Thursday, 27 April 2017

Thank you, Leo!

The work of Leo Baxendale had a huge influence on the UK comics industry, and on me too. Seeing his work in Wham! in 1965 inspired me to create my own comics. Years later, when I was drawing Tom Thug for Buster, I added a cameo appearance by Grimly Feendish (one of Leo's best characters) into a story I did for the 1990 Buster / Monster Fun Holiday Special (see above). 

Sadly, Leo passed away last Sunday, age 86. There have been an incredible number of tributes to him online today, showing how much the artist and his creations were respected. Here's a tribute that I posted on my Blimey! blog this morning:

Rest In Peace, Leo, greatest humourist of British comics, and thank you for all the laughs and inspiration your pages gave to me.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Kid Cops, back on the beat

When The Dandy had its revamp in 2010, one of the strips I was commissioned to do was Kid Cops. Basically, as the title suggests, it was about two lads who police their local area dealing with bullies and suchlike. 

The initial concept was created at Dandy H.Q. so I was required to supply scripts based on that premise, design/name the characters, and draw the strip. (Their names are Officer Bobby and Sergeant Nick in case you didn't know.) The weekly Dandy ended in 2012 but since then they've popped up in The Dandy Annual and appeared in five mini-strips there last year.

This year, for The Dandy Annual 2018, Kid Cops return in two full page stories. I'll be showing some preview panels in the months to come, but I just wanted to give you that info for now. 

The Dandy Annual 2018 will be on sale late summer / early autumn. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Early days...

 As most of you know, my first published work was in comics fanzines in the 1970s. (Quite a few of us had our start that way and it was a great way to get experience.) This photo is from late 1979 at the launch of the third issue of my fanzine, After Image. Well, I say "the launch". It was actually me taking a few copies to the local social club to show my mates. 

Yes, that's me in the lumberjack shirt. Well, it was 1979! I didn't have a weird afro by the way; it's a shadow from the flash. 
Cover art by Paul Ward.
If you'd like to see the fanzine for yourself, completely free, head over to this brilliant repository of long-forgotten fanzines:

And check out many more 'zines that have been uploaded (with permission of course):

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Coming up this week...

Here's a quick preview of all the strips I have in print this coming week. On Wednesday 26th April, Epic No.131 features another two page Hygiene High story drawn by me and written by Niall Murray. This time, the filthy kids cause chaos on a school trip to a museum!

I also have three mini-strips in that issue, again written by Niall Murray. They are Disaster Chef (see preview at the top on this post), Eric Fail, and Zombie Sports...

That same day, Beano No.3882 has an insect theme, tying in with a free gift, so Ivy the Terrible reflects that... does Pup Parade, which guest-stars Walter and Tricky Dicky (and leads to an insect-themed joke). 

Epic No.131 and Beano No.3882 will both be in the shops on Wednesday 26th April. All images in this post are Copyright D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Rasher's back ! (For one week only.)

When I was doing the Rasher strip for the Beano I sometimes had one or two of the Pup Parade cast make a guest appearance. This week, the favour is returned when Rasher guest stars in my Pup Parade strip in the latest issue. 

The other strip I have in this week's Beano is Ivy the Terrible that starts with Ivy's parents returning home from a well-deserved night out. What will they find when they open the door? Well, Ivy's not called "Terrible" for nothing! See Beano No.3881 out now! 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Zoony the Lazoon!

Three years ago, in 2014, I had the pleasure of being invited to contribute to one of my favourite comics of all time, TV Century 21. "But that comic folded in 1971! Are you a time traveller?" you might ask. Well, that'd be telling, but in this case my contribution was for an official one-off revival of the comic, to be exclusively included in the Supermarionation box set produced by Network.

This was to be a proper, full-size issue of TV21, with the same look and format of the original, featuring all-new strips based on the Gerry Anderson TV shows. Where possible, editor Martin Cater employed the original artists too, so it included Gerry Embleton doing Stingray, John Burns drawing Lady Penelope and Martin Asbury on Captain Scarlet. The rest of the strips were commissioned from artists such as Brian Williamson, Antonio Barreti, Mike Collins, Martin Baines, and myself. 
I was asked to supply the comedy relief strip Zoony the Lazoon. I used the original strip's logo (scanned from an old TV21) and decided it would be a 'silent' strip as the old ones were. The original Zoony strops were often basic gags that could have suited any character but I couldn't resist including references to Fireball XL5 and Stingray now that I was a proper TV21 artist! (It's also a bit of a nod to Wham's Danny Dare too, in that Zoony is a daydreamer riding a cartie.) 
My initial rough pencils for the strip prior to inking.
Of all the many strips I've drawn over the decades, Zoony the Lazoon was one of my favourites as it allowed me (and my fellow comics creators) to be part of a history of TV Century 21, even if it was only for one limited edition.

You can read more about this one-off issue of TV Century 21 here:

...and you can buy the Supermarionation box set here:

Friday, 14 April 2017

Another Combat Preview

I've scanned and prepared all 35 pages of classic material for Combat Colin No.1. Now there's "only" the cover to draw/design, intro strip to script/draw, and editorial to write. I'll do that over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, here's another preview panel from one of the strips from 1987.

Combat Colin No.1 will have 40 pages (full colour covers, 36 black and white interior pages) and hopefully will be out in late May to have its official launch at ICE Brighton on June 10th.