Sometimes, life isn’t straight forward. In order to get where you’re going, sometimes you need to take the long way around. That was certainly the case for these stories. They had their inception a world away from the draughting tables of art schools, or the notebooks of Stan Lee-obsessed, prepubescent boys. The preliminary sketches for what would become Hitmen Sagas, were drawn from a jail cell.
In order to fully understand how Hitmen Sagas came about, you need to go back further, to North London in the early 90’s, where a young Michael Combs was coming up hard. Like so many young black boys, Michael became acquainted with the system early. His youth on the streets of Tottenham gave way to trouble with the law, and time in and out of youth facilities and care homes. Here he met some of the best and worst his peer group had to offer. While the aim of these homes was to straighten him out, they in fact only forced him to grow up quicker, to become more self-reliant. In short, to give less fucks. This is the way for many young men, trapped in a system designed to keep them at the bottom of the pile.
Michael was given a gift... At one of these care homes, Michael had a teacher. The kind of teacher that everyone should have at least one of in their life, but whom very few people do. He put a pencil in Michael’s hand, encouraged him to write and draw. Not as a means to an end, or to make others happy, but as a way to express himself. He taught him that when things got tough, there was some peace to be found in self-expression. He taught him about being an artist.
It was a lesson the kid kept with him, and before long, he wasn’t a kid anymore. Michael Combs became Mike GLC, a pioneering UK MC, renowned for his singular flow and unflinching bars, who has influenced some of the biggest in the game... It’s fair to say, he took the self-expression thing and ran with it.
Which brings us back to that jail cell. When Mike found himself in trouble again, having already conquered one artform, it was here that he began making moves to focus on others. The very first sketches of The Collector, Trooper, and Max- characters we hope you’ll come to know and love- were done on the back of prisoner application forms. Soon after leaving prison, Mike was on Channel Four, starring in Dubplate Drama. Life is weird sometimes.