Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

I'm sure you all have better things to be doing on New Year's Eve than reading a blog (as do I) so I'll keep this brief. 2016 has been a steady and productive year for me and I'd like to thank you all for following this blog, and for supporting my work. 

It's unlikely any of you buy everything I'm in, as the various comics appeal to different tastes and age groups, but presumably you've all read some of my strips this year or you wouldn't be following this blog about my work. So, again, many thanks. 

If you are interested in checking out my work this week, the year closes with several publications out there published in 2016 that feature something by me:

Beano: Pup Parade and Ivy the Terrible.

Toxic: Team Toxic

Epic: Three mini-strips (soon to be joined by a new two page strip).

Doctor Who Magazine: The Daft Dimension

Derek the Troll: A self-published comic reprinting all my old Derek the Troll and Rock Solid strips from the 1980s.

The Dandy Annual 2017: Postman Prat, Kid Cops, The Smasher.

Aces Weekly: Digital comic featuring all-new Combat Colin strips in some issues.

As for 2017... I'll reveal more about my plans for that soon. Let's hope the coming year brings us all good health and good fortune, and whatever parties or celebrations you're at tonight I hope you have a great evening! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Back in the BEANO!

The New Year issue of The Beano is in the shops today and I'm very pleased to say I'm back in the comic too. New runs of Pup Parade and Ivy the Terrible begin in this issue, and I'm doing the scripts and art for both. 

I thought you might like to see part of the pencil rough of a Pup Parade panel, compared to the finished art (before it was lettered by the Beano staff). I use Pentel blue 0.7mm pencil for the roughs, then ink it with Kuratake Mangaka Flexible pens and uniPin Fine Line pens. When scanned at the right adjustment, the blue line isn't picked up by the scanner, then after tidying up the image in Photoshop I then use that software to colour the strips. The finished job is then e-mailed to the Beano, along with another copy of my previously approved script, and the Beano letterers add the captions and dialogue balloons based on my script. Repeat the process for every strip, day after day. 

I'll go into more detail about the process in a future post if anyone is interested? In the meantime, don't miss The Beano No.3865, out today!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas with Tom Thug (1990)

Here's the Christmas Tom Thug page from Buster in 1990, back when I was hand colouring pages before I had a computer. I still remember colouring this with Dr.Martin inks 26 years ago (and it feels like it too). They were great days working on that comic. Wishing you all a brilliant Christmas!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Best wishes for Christmas!

As we approach the end of another year it's only natural to be reflective on the past 12 months. On a personal level 2016 hasn't been a bad year for me; I paid off my mortgage, work's been steady, and I've really enjoyed being a guest at various conventions around the UK, meeting old friends and new people. I must admit I do bury myself in my work, partly because I enjoy it, partly because it compensates for not having a family, but as always, the support of good friends has been appreciated more than words can say. I count my blessings.
I know that for some, 2016 has been a mixed and sometimes terrible year, so I tried to think of a Christmas card that was an appropriate message for all. What it came down to really was a message of peace for the future. Not only to wish you the peace of a non-hostile environment but also peace of mind. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and good health, happiness, and prosperity for 2017.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Thanks, Phil!

Photo by Phil Boyce, from his blog.
One of the original readers of Oink! back in the day, Phil Boyce now runs The Oink Blog, where he's reviewed every issue over the past few years. More importantly Phil's blog (and his Oink! Facebook page) has brought together a lot of those readers who have been eager to comment of how much they enjoyed Oink! in the 1980s. Myself and other Oink contributors have really enjoyed interacting with those readers online so Phil has done us a great service.

Now, Phil has reviewed my recently published Derek the Troll comic, and given it a glowing report. Thanks, Phil, and a very Merry Christmas to you! It's very much appreciated. You can read his review at this link:

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas at Butt-Face's place

Here's a preview of my Team Toxic strip in the next issue of Toxic. That cheeky chappie Butt-Face invites Team Toxic to his house for Christmas dinner. Has the bumfaced baddie reformed or is there another motive? Find out in Toxic No.282, on sale Wednesday 21st December!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

EPIC! preview

Today's issue of Epic! magazine contains three mini-strips I was commissioned to draw. As you may recall, they started in last month's issue and it looks like they'll continue for a while, I'm pleased to say. (I'm drawing the next set next week.) I'm not sure who the writer is, but I'll try and find out. 

The strips are Terrible Movies (above), Eric Fail, and Zombie Sports. Next month will see another new strip begin that I've drawn, but more about that in a few weeks!

Epic! No.126 is published by D.C. Thomson and comes bagged with a bunch of gifts for £4.99. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Combat Christmas 1989

Here's the festive Combat Colin page I did for The Transformers No.250, back in 1989 when I was freelancing for Marvel UK. If this scene doesn't appear in a future Marvel movie I'll be very disappointed. :)

Don't forget that brand new Combat Colin stories appear from time to time in Aces Weekly!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Daft Christmas!

There's a special festive Daft Dimension strip by me in the Christmas issue of Doctor Who Magazine that will be in the shops this Thursday (15th December).I won't show you much of it or it'll ruin the gag, so here's an extreme close up of part of one panel. 

This issue has 100 pages and comes bagged with a free poster, all for the usual price of £5.99. Here's what to look out for in your local shops....

...and don't forget that there's a brand new episode of Doctor Who on BBC One on Christmas Day!


I have two Facebook pages. One is set to private for personal stuff, family photos, etc, and I only accept friend requests on that from people I know and/or regularly communicate with. The other is public which I use to show previews of my work and suchlike. 

If you're on Facebook and you're interested, you can follow me at this link:

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas past

Here's a photo of me, with my cat and dog, in the back yard of the council house I lived in back in December 1967. Yes, a balaclava helmet and short trousers were the norm for boys back then. Our legs were freezing but at least our ears were warm. 

Plus we had an outside toilet. It wasn't all glamour in the swinging sixties. 

1967 was a good year. All my family and pets were still around and healthy, I was making new friends at school, great TV programmes like Captain Scarlet and The Prisoner were fresh and exciting, and the 'Power Comics' were at their peak with five titles (Wham!, Smash!, Pow!, Fantastic, and Terrific) and they'd inspired me to draw my own comics on a regular basis. Maybe I'll show you some of my crude, sketchy, early efforts soon.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Sent to Coventry!

New convention announcement! I'm pleased to say that I've been invited as a guest to Coventry Comic Con next year, on Sunday 1st October. Here's more info at the link below. See you there!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

They're back! On 28th December...

A new series of Pup Parade begins in The Beano in the New Year issue, which will be on sale on Wednesday 28th December. This series will only be half-pagers, but I'm still enjoying writing and drawing them. This accompanies the new series of Ivy the Terrible mini-strips that I'm also doing which also starts in the same issue. Never Be Without A Beano!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

She's back! On 28th December...

I haven't been in The Beano since the recent relaunch but I'll be back in the New Year issue, on sale 28th December, writing and drawing the return of Ivy the Terrible (shown here) and Pup Parade. Right, I'd better get back to the drawing board for the next set of strips....

Friday, 2 December 2016

Who's this?

Here's a sneak preview of a new strip I'm drawing for D.C. Thomson's Epic! It doesn't start until January so I won't reveal too much now, just to say that this is one of the characters. 

I'm only providing the art for this series, but it's all good fun, and it's interesting to work from scripts provided by someone else for a change. More news soon!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Monsters unleashed!

Here's another preview panel from the next issue of Toxic, in shops this Wednesday. Apparently kids like seeing monsters in the strips, and I certainly like drawing 'em, so it seems to work out ok. 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Remembering my grandad

Grandad in his railway uniform, 1939.
On this day 125 years ago, my grandfather William Bakewell was born, in Leicester in 1891. He had a very hard start in life, orphaned by the age of 5 he was put into a boys home in Desford where life was very strict. When he left the school (at age 14 I think) he earned his keep by working as a farm hand on various farms around the Midlands.
He eventually settled in Nuneaton, finding regular work looking after the horses that did the deliveries for the local railway. It was in Nuneaton where he met and married my grandmother in 1920. Tragically, their first child, also called William, died as a baby on Christmas Eve, but they went on to have two more children, my mum, and my Aunt Joan.
Grandad and grandma, late 1930s.
Grandad was in the ARP during WW2 and continued to work for the railway until he retired, working on the capstan after the horse-drawn deliveries were replaced by lorries. He and his family lived in the houses rented from the railway (specifically for railwaymen) in Bond Gate, where the road to Asda is now, near the station. Those houses were set for demolition in 1957 so they had to move. My grandmother had died in 1952, and my grandad never remarried.
Grandad, Grandma, Aunt Joan, Mum, Blackpool 1946.

By the time I was born in 1959, my parents were living with my grandad and Aunt Joan (plus two cats and a dog) in a three up, two down council house. We were a small, close family, which is why I still miss them all today. (My parents and I moved to our own council house nearby in 1963, and I bought my own house years later.)
Giving me a ride in his wheelbarrow, 1961.
As you can see from the photos, my grandad looked like a traditional grandad of the times. He was the best grandad I could have wished for, and used to take me long walks with the dogs on Sunday mornings and was good company. There's a comics connection too, as I remember him telling me how he used to read Illustrated Chips that was shared around the boys' home in the 1900s. (His favourite characters were Weary Willie and Tired Tim.) He also bought the occasional Andy Capp book for himself when he was older.

With all the pets, 1966.
When I started making up my own comics when I was 7, they were mostly about my grandad and family pets. Here's one of my first crude efforts from early 1968...
My grandad was a good, kind, honest, hardworking man with old values who inspired his family to be likewise. He passed away in 1980, but I still remember him well so I wanted to post this tribute to him today.
Grandad and me, Christmas Day 1979.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Krunk goes crazy!

Here's a preview panel from the next issue of Toxic, on sale Wednesday 30th November. In the previous issue, Krunk's robot body was melted, so now Doc Shock puts his hard drive into a new body. But it's affected Krunk's personality! See what happens next in Team Toxic in Toxic No.281 this Wednesday!

Friday, 25 November 2016

The 30 year old Pimple

I'd forgotten that last week was the 30th anniversary of Pete and his Pimple! The character and his huge zit debuted in Oink! No.15 in November 1986, and became a regular in the comic until the last issue in 1988, before transferring over to Buster for about six months. 

There's the first episode above. I remember I was experimenting with inking with dip-nibs at the time, and I wasn't too happy with the results so I soon reverted back to using Rotring pens. 

I changed the look of Pete a bit as time went on, particularly his hair. Here's a later appearance where he starred on the cover...

...and he even had his own 8 page pull-out comic in Oink! one week...

Here's a page I did for the United Comic Art Convention (UKCAC) booklet in 1988. The original art was auctioned for charity so I've no idea where it is now.

I really enjoyed doing the Pete strips, and Oink! allowed me to do a few unusual strips, such as this musical one...

The high print standards of Oink's early issues meant that I could embellish the strips with a grey wash (ie: diluted black ink), which gave it a nice depth. 

Will Pete and his Pimple ever return? Who nose? 

If you want to find out more about Oink! comic or wallow in a prime pigsty of nostalgia, move your trotters to click on this link to Phil Boyce's Oink! Blog...

Monday, 21 November 2016

Ivy the Terrible to return for 2017

Along with Pup Parade, I'm doing another strip for the Beano after Christmas. Ivy the Terrible is to return for a short series of mini-strips, running for 8 issues.

Ivy has been around since the 1980s, originally conceived by now-retired Beano editor Alan Digby and drawn by Robert Nixon. A few other artists have drawn her over the years and I did a series of half page strips in 2014. For the new series of mini-strips I'm both writing and drawing the character.

Ivy the Terrible and Pup Parade both return to Beano on December 28th! 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Busy times

The strip on my drawing board right now.
I'm not likely to update my blogs very often over the next week as I'm snowed under with work at the moment. Not that I'm complaining of course. 

I was up late last night finishing off the Christmas Daft Dimension for the festive issue of Doctor Who Magazine (on sale 15th December). Today I'm drawing Pup Parade and another strip for a January issue of Beano. This weekend I'm drawing a page for The Dandy Annual 2018 (with 7 more to follow over the next few weeks) and next week I'm drawing Team Toxic for Toxic magazine and a brand new two page strip for Epic! magazine. Oh, and coming up with new scripts for Beano too. 

I've no time at the moment to work on the Combat Colin comic but that will happen in 2017 for the character's 30th anniversary. The plan is to do 5 or 6 issues over a few years reprinting all the 1980s strips in sequence.

I also have six comic conventions planned so far for next year so I hope to see some of you at those. More details at a later date.

Who says British comics are dead? It's a hectic time! Back to the drawing board!

Detail from the Christmaas Daft Dimension.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Comical continuity

Continuity has never been a major issue in humour comics. Characters rarely age and can stay static throughout the entire run of a strip. I always aged my Brickman character in "real time", and Tom Thug grew up, and left school in the later issues of Oink! (only for that to be retconned and have him to become a schoolboy again in Buster), but usually, humour characters are frozen in time.

In recent times however, Nigel Auchterlounie and Nigel Parkinson had fun with that by showing that the Dennis the Menace of the past is the father of the current Dennis in the Beano. More recently, I thought I'd suggest a similar thing in a Smasher strip I did for The Dandy Annual 2017 (in the shops now). Yes, Smasher's "grandad" is The Smasher of the early 1960s (as far as I'm concerned anyway).  

A few years ago, in The Dandy Annual 2015, when Keyhole Kate travelled back to 1937, I also showed that the original Keyhole Kate of the 1930s/40s was the Great-Great-Grandmother of the current Kate. Of course, such things can be retconned by future writers in an instant, but it's all a bit of fun for readers past and present. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Announcing three new strips!

Remember that I'd said I was drawing new strips for a magazine? The material is in print this week as I join D.C. Thomson's Epic! magazine as a new contributor. 

I strips are all written by someone else (sadly uncredited) and I'm on board as the artist. There are three mini-strips which are…

Eric Fail, the boy for whom everything goes wrong!

Zombie Sports. Does what it says on the tin.

Terrible Movies. Short strips inspired by / spoofing popular movies. This month it's Harry Snotter.
Epic! magazine was previously titled Dennis and Gnasher's Epic Magazine until several months ago but now it's unconnected with the Beano.  Although it still has the same publisher (D.C. Thomson) Epic! is now part of the boys' magazine group, along with their Thunderbirds Are Go and Danger Mouse comic magazines.  It's a feature-led mag although it seems the strip content will be increasing as I've also been commissioned to draw a two pager for it starting next year, and I hear that another writer is working on another strip for the magazine. 

You'll find my new strips in Epic! No.125, on sale from Wednesday 16th November, in newsagents and supermarkets across the UK.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Return to Enniskillen

I'm very pleased to announce that I've been invited back to the Enniskillen Comic Fest for their event in 2017. I had a great time at this year's show and I'm really looking forward to flying over there again, meeting the new friends  made this year and meeting new people too of course. 

For next year's show, my Beano pals Nigel Parkinson (artist Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx) and Beano colour artist Nika Nartova will also be guests. Joining us will be guests from 2000AD including Steve MacManus, John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Alan Grant (also his second visit) and Colin MacNeill. 

There'll be other guests announced over the coming weeks too, so keep an eye on the Enniskillen Comic Fest Facebook page for news!

If you live in Northern Ireland, or you're visiting next May, I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

In the shops now...

Another quick reminder that on sale in newsagents and supermarkets across the land now is Toxic No.280, featuring a new Team Toxic story by me. This one brings back Hallie Tosis (above) creating problems with her Breath of Doom! Don't miss Toxic, just £2.99!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

New convention for 2017

I've been invited to a few conventions for 2017 but I won't list them until they're officially announced. One show I can reveal though is International Comic Expo Brighton which will take place on June 10th 2017. There'll be more info in the months to come but for now, here's the website...

Comics by the seaside! What's not to like? Hope to see you there! 

Something new

Today I had editorial approval on the character designs for a new series I'm drawing. The strip will start in the New Year for an existing kids' magazine and I'll reveal more about it on publication. 

Also in the New Year, a new series of Pup Parade starts in Beano. I'm writing and drawing that. And... I'm also doing a new mini-strip that starts in the same issue. More news on that later this year.

Plus my regular Team Toxic strip for Toxic, and The Daft Dimension for Doctor Who Magazine.

And this week I'm writing scripts for The Dandy Annual 2018 (which goes on sale next July or August). I also have some private commissions to draw. So... lots to do! And sometime soon I want to start work on my next self-published comic, Combat Colin

As always, my thanks to all of you who follow this blog. It means a lot! 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

This week....

This week I'll be writing scripts for the pages I'll be drawing for The Dandy Annual 2018. Yes, the book that kids will be having for next Christmas! We work well in advance in Dandytown.

I'll also be drawing the first in the new series of Pup Parade (and another strip) that return to Beano in the New Year issue. Plus I also have stuff to do for other titles. Busy week!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Coming up in TOXIC No.280

The villainous Hallie Tosis lives up to her name in the next Team Toxic story, Breath of Doom! After eating a concoction of garlic curry, pickled onions, and more, Hallie uses her breath to defeat Team Toxic. What happens next? Find out in Toxic No.280, on sale in newsagents and supermarkets from Wednesday 9th November!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Nottingham Comic Con announcement

I'm very sorry to say that I won't be at the Nottingham Comic Con tomorrow. I've had a virus the last few days and was hoping it would pass but no sign of that yet. I was looking forward to the con and really hate letting people down. I can only apologise to the organisers who have been great, and to those of you who were hoping to see me there. 

I hope all of you attending have a great day. There's a brilliant line up of guests including Laura Howell, Rachael Smith, Abigail Bulmer, The Etherington Brothers, Dan Berry, Roger Langridge and more. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

One week to go...

Next Saturday, on 29th October, I'll be one of the guests at the Nottingham Comic Convention at the Nottingham Conference Centre (above). Other guests from the current British comics scene include Laura Howell, Dan Berry, Rachael Smith, Abby Bulmer, The Etherington Brothers, Roger Langridge, Marc Laming and more! 

This will be my first time at the Nottingham con so I'm looking forward to it. I'll be available for sketching on request, and I'll be bringing along my self-published comics Derek the Troll and Brickman Returns, and a few other things. I understand I'm on a panel at some point in the day too. I've no other conventions scheduled for this year after this one so I hope to see some of you there!

For full details of tickets etc, see the official convention website: