Meet the Portsmouth cartoonist who has been nominated for a Comic Con award

Portsmouth International Comic Con
Portsmouth International Comic Con
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TALENTED cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this year’s International Comic Con being held in the city.

Known in the industry as Russell Mark Olson the city man, of North End, has been nominated in the best new talent category at the first Tripwire Magazine awards, being held at the Portsmouth International Comic Con on May 4 at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

The American-born illustrator creates mainly crime-based comics for independent publishers and small press and has worked with the likes of Cult Empire, It’s Alive and Accent UK.

His most recent work, Gateway City Vol 1 is the first of a series of comics centring around the gangs of St Louis, Missouri –where Russell is originally from – and set in the 1920s.

Speaking about being nominated for the award, Russell said: ‘To be nominated for this award alongside breakout stars like Ram V, Bilquis Evely, Martin Simpson and Ryan Howe is a humbling achievement and an honour.

‘The recognition is surprising and wonderful, but more than anything, it makes me feel like I’m part of the industry. If nothing else, just being nominated is amazing.’

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

Earlier this year, Russell unexpectedly picked up the Yancy St award for best UK artist for his comic Lady Hollywood. He was unaware of the award until a friend told him that he had won afterwards.

Inspired by the likes of Harvey Kurtzman, he’s been drawing since he was 10 – but since 2004 has upped his game and started creating comics, and began creating Gateway City in 2016.

When he’s not sketching, Russell works part time in the Portsmouth Grammar School library.

He moved to Portsmouth in 2008 to live with his partner Emily, who he married in 2015.

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

The two met when Emily was backpacking around the US with friends and Russell was working as a security guard at the hostel in which she was staying.

Since moving to the UK, he has always worked in various libraries around the city, including the John Pounds Centre and the Portsmouth Central library.

Russell is a keen Comic Con-goer and has attended 13 of the conventions over the years.

It will be the second annual international festival of comics in Portsmouth after Tripwire Magazine launched the first Comic Con in 2018.

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

Portsmouth cartoonist Russell Mark Olson has been nominated for an award at this years Portsmouth International Comic Con. Pictures: Russell Mark Olson

You can vote for your favourite until midnight on April 30 at portsmouthcomiccon.com/tripwire-awards.