Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Major Cleanup!

Here's Major Cleanup, a brand new bad guy I've created for the latest Team Toxic story. He's out to clean up Spud City... starting with Team Toxic Themselves! Can Doc Shock, Kid Zombie, Bog, Krunk, and Sludge find a way to stop him? Of course they can. It's their strip. But the how is the question. 

Find out in the latest issue of Toxic, on sale today, which comes bagged with a free Skylanders watch! Yes, an actual working digital watch! That's something the readers of Comic Cuts never had. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ready, Venus?

Researching a classic TV show / comic strip this week. You could say I started a long time ago. (Photo: Me in Blackpool, age 4, 1963.) 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Spidey mini-strips

I've enjoyed drawing all the strips I've worked on over the past 30 years. Who couldn't enjoy having their childhood dream come true? One of the most satisfying gigs was being commissioned by Panini UK to draw new Mini-Marvel strips when they had run out of the American ones by Chris Giarusso. I've shown some of these before in their original art stages, but here's a few of the printed versions from issues of Spectacular Spider-Man in 2008. Click on them to see the strips at a more readable size.

Spectacular Spider-Man was a really good version of the character for a younger UK audience. The main strip in the comic, often by Ferg Handley and artists such as Andie Tong and Simon Williams, was action-packed and well illustrated. 

Cover art by Andie Tong.

Sadly, Disney's decision to stop Marvel material being originated in the UK put paid to that. There is still a British Spider-Man comic for kids but it reprints American material, and Panini aren't even allowed to run a new humour strip in it now. Still, it was great while it lasted, and having the opportunity to write and draw Marvel characters for an officially approved comic is something I'll always remember fondly. 

Art auction

I've started to sell my old pages on eBay again and this week there's an original Pathetic Sharks page up for auction. It's the art I did for Viz No.221 a couple of years ago. Condition is excellent. 

If you're interested, bidding ends next Sunday evening (August 3rd). Go here to see more photos and place your bid. All bids welcome! Good luck!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Another Snooty Preview

I hear that the mini-strips return to The Beano this coming Wednesday, after an absence of three weeks. I'm pleased to say that amongst them is my Lord Snooty strip. 

I'm not sure which one will be in this week's issue as they're not always published in the order I drew them, but here's a preview of the one it might be. Snooty's Pal, Scrapper Smith is back. 

I've stopped doing Lord Snooty strips for now, but they have enough in stock to last until September. I'm currently drawing a new strip for The Beano (a revival of an old character) and that will start in August. In addition to that, you can expect to see another old favourite return soon too!

Never Be Without A Beano! Every Wednesday! 

Flashback to OINK!

Those of you who grew up reading Oink! in the 1980s are, I hope, regular visitors to Phil Boyce's Oink! Blog where he reviews an issue of the comic every fortnight, 28 years to the day it was published. 

This week, he's up to issue 33 which featured more of my work than usual and Phil's showing several pages of mine on his blog. One strip, Menace of the Headmaster's Brain, I'd forgotten about until I saw it again. Now I remember having fun writing and drawing it. Oink! was a brilliant comic to work for and it's great to see it still has its fans today.  

There's a clip of it above, but you can read the full two page story and more over on Phil's blog here:

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Rasher in the raw

The new Beano Annual 2015 is out now and I have four Rasher mini-strips in there. Above is a photo I took last year of a couple of the strips when they were still in the pencil stage. You can also see part of my Rasher script, printed in red (for no other reason than my black ink cartridge had run out).

Below is part of the completed strip after I'd inked it and scanned it into Photoshop to colour. I thought you might be interested to see how it compares to the raw pencil version. 

The Beano Annual 2015 is available now (online for sure, if not in shops yet).

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Born To Giggle!

Despite the look of the chap above he's one of the illustrations I did fora book called Born to Giggle!, - published by Save the Children in 2012. 

The idea behind the book was to combine poets with cartoonists to produce a book of fun illustrated poetry for children. Amongst the poets are Paul Cookson, Jill Townsend, Ian McMillan, Celia Warren and many more and the cartoonists include Laura Howell, Will Dawburn, Noel Ford, John McCrea, and of course Hunt Emerson, who provided the cover and edited the book with Ian Billings. 

My contribution was illustrating the poem Rainbow Cloud, written by Fi Gallimore.

Profits from the book will help children here in the UK and in 120 countries around the world. The suggested donation is £5. If you wanted to order it from your local bookshop it's ISBN 978-1-84187-129-5

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Dandy Annual 2015

I received a copy of The Dandy Annual 2015 the other day, which I'd ordered online from the DC Thomson shop. It should also be in the shops by now, unless distributors are holding them back again. 

It's an excellent book this year and I'm very proud to be part of it. My contributions are:

The Smasher (Three full pagers, one two pager).
Korky the Cat (One full page, one two pager).
Keyhole Kate (Three full pagers.)

Art only (script by David Mason):
Smashing Word Search.

Plot only (script and art by Nigel Parkinson): 
Cuddles & Dimples (the three page beach holiday story).

The three Korky the Cat pages were a last minute commission and had to be written and drawn over a weekend, but it was great to have a chance to draw my favourite cartoon cat again. (Last time was about 14 years ago for the Fun-Size editions of The Dandy.) I was asked to draw him in my own style, rather than imitate Charles Grigg's Korky, but Charlie's definitive version was an inspiration. 

For the Keyhole Kate strips I chose to do them as a three-part time travel adventure, with the pages spread throughout the book. 

As Kate's adventures took her to different locations I thought I'd make The Smasher more home-based this year, so all of his stories take place in or around his house. 

Cuddles and Dimples was fun. I supplied Nigel Parkinson with a very basic plot and he turned it into a fantastically funny story. 

I'll be reviewing the book over on my Blimey! blog later this week, and showing a glimpse at the work by other artists. 

Cover art by Ken Harrison.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Things to come!

I don't have anything in this week's Beano because they're experimenting with the content a bit so the mini-strips have been postponed for a few weeks. Lord Snooty will be back soon though! They have 9 completed strips still to use, although I don't know if all of those will be used in this run or not.

My work on Snooty is finished for the moment but I've been busy writing/drawing a few puzzle pages for the comic. There's an image from one of them above, with Plug looking more handsome than usual. Expect to see those puzzle pages appear in a few weeks time. 

I've also been commissioned to draw a new series for The Beano featuring an old favourite. I've just sent off the art for the first one so it'll be a couple of months yet before that begins. I'll say no more about it until The Beano reveals what the strip is. 

I was also contacted recently by another company for a one-off strip featuring a 1960s character I never expected to ever have a chance to draw! My contribution is only small but other creators are also working on the comic. News of this special publication will be revealed in a few days time and it'll knock a few socks off I think. 

There's also another strip I'm developing for a magazine which I hope will be accepted as I'm very excited about working for that title. If it all goes well I'll reveal all in a few weeks time. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Back from London

I had a great time at the London Film and Comic Con on Saturday. You can read a fuller report of my day over on my other blog here:

I really enjoyed meeting enthusiastic readers who had grown up on comics such as Oink! and Transformers and it was fun to sketch some of my old characters for them such as the Combat Colin one shown above. My thanks to all of you who stopped by for a chat, sketch, and/or book. It really makes it all worthwhile for a comic creator to know that the work is appreciated.

The event was incredibly busy. Certainly the most well attended show I've ever been to in over 30 years, with estimates of over 120,000 attendees. To see the huge scale of the event, Rich Johnston of the Bleeding Cool website filmed a short video as he walked from one end of the show to the other. It's quite a whirlwind tour. I appear as a blur sitting at my table around 5mins 55 seconds:

The next show I'll be at will be ICE, the International Comic Expo in Birmingham on August 2nd. This will be a smaller and more comics-focused event, so I hope to see you there!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

See you in London?

It's the London Film and Comic Con this weekend so this is just a reminder that I'll be there on Saturday only. As usual I'm in a bit of a rush at the last minute with work still to complete before I go, so I'm not sure what I'll be bringing with me. Copies of my 2005 book Brickman Begins! most definitely, and possibly small pages of original artwork from Robo Capers and Team Toxic if I sort some out. 

I'll be available at my table for sketches of my characters on request of course, reasonably priced. If you just want your comics signed, that's free. 

Please drop by for a chat and a sketch if you're attending the show. It'll be good to see old friends or put faces to names. Below is a photo from last year, taken at a deliberately wonky angle by Debbie Tate. I might even be wearing the same shirt again (summer shirts don't get much wear in the UK) but the angle probably won't be as wonky. 

Here's the convention website with all the details. Tons of guests this year, including the legendary Stan Lee making his final UK convention appearance:

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Toxic 240 Preview

I'm drawing a new Team Toxic strip right now but one I did a couple of months ago is in print today. This time, the Team encounter a new zombie, - Supercool Zombie, who is so cool he can fly and juggle with his eyeballs. That puts Kid Zombie's nose out. (Through envy that is, not the eyeballs putting his nose out. If he had a nose of course.)

The two page story also sees the return of the villainous Techno Troll, - half cyborg, half troll. This is him...

A bit better looking than real trolls but we don't want to scare the readers. 

Team Toxic in Zombie Rivals is in the latest issue of Toxic magazine, out now for £2.99, bagged with gifts. Here's what to look out for...

...and inside the bag...

Monday, 7 July 2014

Combat Colin sketch cards for Aces Weekly!

The award winning digital comic Aces Weekly (now in its 11th volume) has a nice incentive for new subscribers: sketch cards, - a hand-drawn sketch on one side by an Aces Weekly contributor, and a secret code on the reverse. The idea being that these cards are available to buy at comic events for the price of a subscription to the digital comic. So, you choose the card you like, pay your sub, and not only do you then have a piece of original art, the secret code on the back gives you access to a volume of Aces Weekly at the official website when you get back to your PC or iPad or whatever.

Sketch cards from various artists are available, with each one featuring a brand new piece of art. As you can see from the photo above, I've drawn 12 new sketch cards and they'll be available at the London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court 2 next weekend at the Aces Weekly table where you'll see publisher/artist David Lloyd and other Aces. I'll be there myself too, on the Saturday only, so drop by my table and say hello! I'll also be doing sketches on the day, and bringing along a few copies of Brickman Begins to sell. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Smasher preview (Dandy Annual)

Here's another preview from the new Dandy Annual 2015, in the shops any day now. As you can see, it's a panel from one of the Smasher strips I have in the book. Will the situation lead to something getting smashed? You betcha. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Advance annual previews

You can now pre-order The Dandy Annual 2015 and The Beano Annual 2015 directly from the publisher at the DC Thomson Shop, individually at £5.99 each or as a combined pack for just £10. Here's the link:

I only have four Rasher mini-strips in The Beano Annual 2015, although it'll be packed with good stuff from many other artists of course. Above is a preview of a panel from one of the strips. Yes, Rasher and Bones in Blackpool, holiday haunt of many characters in my strips over the years. (And my annual holiday destination too as a child.)

I have about 12 pages in The Dandy Annual 2015, so here's a quick preview of a panel featuring Keyhole Kate, who embarks on a three-part adventure in the book. That's her uncle next to her (Blackhole Bert) who I created for this story. (Not the same Uncle who was the guardian of the Keyhole Kate of the 1960s.)


Being a freelance comic artist is a solitary job. Most people I know who have lasted in the comics biz are grounded, modest, down to earth types who do their best, hoping that the work will go down ok with the readers, so it's encouraging when we receive positive feedback. Here's a nice exchange that appeared on Twitter earlier today...

Thanks folks! Much appreciated. Now I'd better get back to the drawing board!