Friday 30 December 2011

Crimbo and That

'Ey up chuck.

So, Christmas happened. Very pleasurable and full of cidery evenings and MUCH cheese.

Here's just a brief brief (not very brief) rundown of what went on Decemberwise.

Thought Bubble Video
I briefly appeared in one. Weirdly. It was weird.

Thought Bubble film from Anne Holiday on Vimeo.

Did you spot me? Weird eh?! I was speaking to John Burdis in Judge armour.

Bristol Goings-On

Went to see Amplifier in Bristol with milady, didn't I?! IT WAS GOOD, WASN'T IT? Kind of spacey mod-prog with whirling guitars. Better live than I expected and catchier than a sneeze in a lift.

Bought the parentals many Bristol goods for festivus and I can't recommend higher The Bristol Cider Shop, Dr Burnorium's Hot Sauce Emporium (I shit you not) and... well basically the entire of St Nicholas' Market. It's bloody magic.

Other Comics

Two upcoming comics THAT YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR FACE PEELED FOR. The first is El Bigote by a true comics chap and master of Turtles PJs Matt McLocusts McLaughlin and El Ch-ch-ch-cherry Chivo
Also - the second Vanguard. I have no idea when it's showing up and I believe Mammoth Jack: THE SEQUEL is being drawn by the aforementioned gloryChivo - but I've drawn an art card that'll be given out with it. Featuring the DONKEY FROM HELL.

So look out for that. It'll be Van Domtastic.

Crazy Fox Appearances

Honoured to have my artwork appear in the "Strode College" season planner thing promoting the incredible Pendarves Jenkins Combination. Not sure why but it makes me very happy to see my drawings in there - probably because it's a fixtures guide that's in all the local shops and takeaways and that. Glastonbury folk will look at it and go "WHO DREW THAT SHIT".
Didn't notice it at the time - but the Zarjaz/Dogbreath blog have preview'd my upcoming Tales From the Black Museum strip written by Mike Lynch. "Currently scheduled for Zarjaz 15" so that'll be next summer or thereabouts. Looking forward to seeing it in print!
Not only that - but Futurequake Press has published a story I drew earlier in the year. Written by John Paul Fitch and lettered by the mighty Bolt. If you've not read it I'd really appreciate you giving it a gander over there at the old Futurequake Press Blog.

Weekly Webcomics
Just what you need in those dark and wintry times - more tales from the Jamellabank. Written by the amazing Jasmine Woods. Pleased to report that the script for the entire run has now been completed - so we have a concrete idea of where we're going and how we're going to get there. Hint: It's going to be nuts.
The final (ever?) Time Tale featuring the appearance of Ghostpockets. Who, predictably, destroys the universe. Couldn't have been engineered by a finer chap - ! If you'd like to write a Time Tale give us a shout and we'll construct something!
Here's Flaubert St Cloud page six - and out of interest, here's a close-up of the first panel and a GUIDE to cameos.
From right to left: Lewis Powell, Steev Thulin-Hopper, Neil McClements, Mike Donachie, James Feist, Matt Soffe, Ben Moore and the Burleys.
...and part seven. Do keep your eyes on Crazy Fox Machine on Facebook. For developments and such.

Assorted Art
Drawn for Rich McAuliffe for being my 200th Twitter follower. I've since been asked about the ultimate fate of the unfortunate Moomin. He died a hero - for within him was a T-Rex Bomb (tm) that sploded and took apart the merciless lizard - saving Moominvalley. Shortly afterwards a statue was erected. But the Groke sat on it.

Three panels done for a large collaborative strip written by Dirk van Dom and presented to the 2000ad forum FOR CHRISTMAS. Other parts done by Stephen Prestwood, Filip Roncone, Neil "Bhuna" Roche and Tony Rothwell - can be seen with text in it's entirety here.
Finally - Christmas contributions were capped by this Gronky effort - an idea from forumite "Dash Decent" not Descent. NOT Descent. Whoops.

...and FINALLY...

We've got TWO teasers for you this time around - the first is from Tony Rothwell for his strip written by Blas Bigatti. THAT'S SO CONFUSING THAT IT DESTROYED THE MIND OF OTHER POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTORS.
SECONDLY on christmas I shared a snippet of our sensational cover by a veteran 2000ad artist that I'm still, for some reason, not revealing even though it's pretty obvious - - - stare at this beauty!
Sweet. You'll see the whole thing come March ;)

and I'll see YOU next year. Be lucky!

O x

Monday 19 December 2011

The Ballad of the Civil War Doctor (Updated)

It started moons ago, when David Tennant was on the throne. I produced this bit of rot in 2007.

Drawn 2007
"Metal Paul, killer of posers and wearer of denim was overjoyed when he was called back by the beeb with regards to his Whoaudition (hastily organized when David Tennant was killed to death by several angry Whofans who 'really thought the mockney gurning was just getting too much')."

When it was announced that Matt Smith was taking over as the Doctor I saw red - assuming "a romcom in space" type affair might occur. So in 2009 I tried to picture THE MOST HARDCORE Doctor - a battle-scarred veteran of a thousand psychic wars who'd been living on the edge so long where the winds of limbo roar (cheers Moorcock).
Drawn 2008
Here he be (although he's been remastered since observe my standard titles) and I got quite into the idea of him really. He'd nicked the uniform off of an abusive general who had been feeding his troops to an alien of some sort - and his companion was to be a Union soldier (a la Jamie I suppose who is surely the best companion of all time). He then runs into an old enemy - and using a hammer, sorts it the fuck out. 
                           Drawn 2011
After this he grows a beard and meets his former self in the snow - who is shocked, either at the prospect of his own future or the terrible skills of O before he got a graphics tablet and learnt how to letter.
Drawn 2009

After this he gets into a fight with a dinosaur who tries to eat his TARDIS. Also I don't think that's a Civil War uniform anymore... it looks like Jeremiah Phallushamr's uniform. Shit. 
Drawn 2011

At some point later in his timeline he adopts a more Otastic purple suit - where he appears in an alleyway de-bearded to confront an implausible action figure from the Ghostbusters cartoon.
Drawn 2010

Saturday 10 December 2011


Time again for a bit of a round-up and round-about of all the general activity of the last few weeks.

First off it's high time I shared this with you - 
The superlative Carl Pearce drew this in response to something I did for him a billion years ago. Absolutely floored. The guy is a genius - he drew the cover for Dr WTF 2011 - click on his name up there and go and give him some love. Crabcake will be back sooner than you can say accurately say hammeltartleboon. 

Secondly - I went to see Professor Elemental in Stokes Croft. A very good, if not a slightly messy, evening. Met (and...I think bought drinks for) many a good Bristolian steampunker and admired many a beard. Elemental kicked some arse live as far as I recall. Then suddenly it was the next day and my head hurt. The Elemental comic is coming along well - I look forward to seeing it finished!

Thirdly - a plug for the blog of my workmate Dawn Powell - Subliminal Cheeze. If you've ever REALLY wanted to know what us down-at-heel working archaeologists get up to day-to-day then her odes to cider and in-depth taste tests will answer ALL YOUR QUESTIONS.


Wha-hey. The finale of Time Tale III and the first two parts of IV. The latter was written by the amazing Ghostpockets. Who is a god. If you're interested in writing a Time Tale give us a shout ;)
Parts X & XI of Jamella & Marmalad. You can always catch up on my Facebook page if you'd like. Written by Jasmine - whom I've been officially annoying for two years this month. She also wrote Flaubert - which is ONGOING - >
I did several GIFTS for folk this last fortnight: 
This is for Chris Mole - the guitarist in Northern Oak and the guy responsible for the Professor Elemental comic (he's writing all the stories). This is based on a comic idea that he and I were fannying about with in 2007. All about a man's struggles in a future ice age - we're likely to pick it up and run with it again in the future. But until now - savour the sight of a character you don't know bumping into a time-travelling Elemental ;)
This is something that I (partially) drew for Nich Angell - creator of 7String and Cat & Meringue. He's an enormous inspiration and a good chap. His relentless drawing energy inspired me to start up my weekly webcomics which have emboldened my style and sped me up immeasurably. So for this reason I clumsily inserted Jamella into his DAILY Cat & Meringue strip. I'm currently working through the paper editions of it and man 'TIS BEEFY.
Portrait I did of Darren, a machine driver on our archaeological site. There's a mouse on his shoulder and he said his mother was going to frame it. I'm not certain why but I feel rather... well, proud of that really. 
*EDIT* Whoops! This is my entry for the 2000ad forum advent calendar -featuring Flaubert, Jamella and a TARDIS. Also Dirty Frank and John Burdis as a judge. I'll be doing more later in the month - but I recommend you take a look, there's some truly astounding stuff on there.

Christmas competition entry for the Rik Mayall Facebook page - if you go and like the picture I might win. It's highly unLIKEly but you might as well, like ;)
So - some very big news this last two weeks. First off, Dr WTF 2011 is now on sale digitally at Lulu and CAN BE YOURS for only two pounds! BUY IT

Secondly - the call for an artist was answered by the wonderful David Broughton (who drew a Spencer Nero tale for last Paragon wot I lettered). Additionally the incredibly talented Gavin Mitchell who won 2000ad's "Dragon's Den" Future Shock competition at Thought Bubble is doing a page for us. 
I shit you not. The guy kicks arse. On top of that revelation the COVER now finished and (I'll be brutally honest) IT'S FUCKING AMAZING. Partially all will be revealed as a festive teaser on Christmas day. So keep your eyes on the Dr WTF Facebook page ;)

Finally - here is the teaser for Paul Clark and Dan Bell's story from Dr WTF 2012 entitled "Lights Out"

EXCITED MUCH? See you again just afore Christmas ;)


Wednesday 23 November 2011

Thought Bubble 2011

So Thought Bubble happened. I was very kindly given a little space on the Zarjaz/Futurequake table by the extraordinarily fantastic Mr Dave Evans. We sold a few Dr WTFs and it was a truly fine weekend - for reasons I WILL EXPLAIN

Here's Jazz, Dave and myself - (photo by John Burdis) notice the new DR WTF SHIRT that I've got on. Lawdy it's a beauty. Right, right where to start? Let's do this the only way I know how - ALPHABETICALLY

- Bryan Talbot -
The superlative Talbot (and his computerpaintytacular son Alwyn who was in dire need of sandwiches) were in residence for both days and I made sure to hop over and get a copy of Grandville: Mon Amour from him. He was showing off pages from the third book (in which Toad of Toad Hall is the villain!) and kindly drew me Sarah (le badger) in the front. I don't want to go on about it too much but I shaded her hair at his request. Not because he could see a burning artistic talent within me, not because he wanted to test my skills and declare me MASTER OF SHARPIE but because he wanted to save some time. OR WAS IT.  
I also spied that he had The Tale of One Bad Rat on sale - which was my favourite graphic novel when I was growing up (they had that - as well as Watchmen - in my school library but I'd not bought it until now). The final page of which has to be the most beautiful things ever published. I was also drawn a rat in this, although my shading skills were not required.

- Colin MacNeil -
Singularly the nicest man in comics (which is a phrase that is bandied around a lot but I've yet to meet a more receptive and smiley fellow in my VAST convention travels that started this May). More than this I cannot say - but he was selling pages of his original art for £30!!! and have you seen pages of his art? It's like being licked by Jesus.

- Conor & Liz Boyle -

Very happy to see the Dr WTF 2011 contributors (FOR THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR) drop by the Zarjaz table and say hi on a few occasions. Not only this but his and (Krill Tro Thargo winner) Rich McAuliffe's Dark Judgement 1 & 2 were selling like hot rockie cake rocks throughout the weekend. I finally picked them up as well and absorbed them both on the train back. Bloody spooky and extraordinarily good. Mr Boyle had a more spectacular TB than anyone else I'd met and had advice and future plans coming out of his ears by the end - you can read more about his adventures over at his blog

- D'Israeli -
The man known occasionally as Matt Brooker was there - and I dragged my Brumbought copy of his collected Timulo for him to sign. Which he did, then promptly ran off to get his copy of "Ro-Busters" signed by Mike McMahon. Which I'd call wondrously sweet and I was left to ponder the fanboyishness of my heroes. I later gave him a copy of Jazz & I's Flaubert teaser which we were handing out for free over the weekend.
 FLAUBERT St CLOUD (GOAT) - Did you get yours? Goat I mean, ignore the cider. Actually never ignore cider. 

- Dan Bell -
I met Mr Bell again, a fine young cannibal I MEAN ARTIST who's contributing to Dr WTF 2012 - a strip about a gorilla - Which I will say no more about now. Oh no no no. Check out his art here. He was one of those VERY BRAVE few who submitted stuff to the Tharg's Dragon's Den thing. I wouldnae of had the nads - I mean Matt Smith was over there, and my portfolio was y'know, shite. 

- Forumfolk (John Burdis, Pete Wells, Spireite, Dunk, Mike Marshall, Dandontdare) -
What's particularly memorable about all conventions I've been to is putting a face to the avatars that chinwag away on the 2000ad forums. I met, for the first time, the incredible Pete Wells who has his own block in Megacity and the remarkable John Burdis who... well - this is how he was when I met him:
 Then he beat up Bolt
 Then, for an encore he chatted merrily with Richmond whilst IGNORING Colin MacNeil. Although to be fair that visor doesn't allow for good vision.
 By the last day - John had accumulated a vast array of the most beautiful sketches I'd ever seen. Particularly one by Simon Davis - and another by Kev Walker both of whom to my regret I didn't get scrawls from. Although we did have a chinwag with the former who inadvertently wrote his contact details on my sketchbook. Which is kind of like queuing up and getting a beautiful sketch. Kind of. John Burdis owns the Cellar of Dredd - possibly the most imposing collection of Judge Dredd merchandise in the known universe. You can sneak in here.
Some wonderful drinks were had with forumers at The Palace on Saturday night... and... somewhere along the line a Dreddhead drawing contest was initiated. I don't recall what I drew. All I recall was Jazz winning second place and ... Pete Wells drawing nipples. The Boyle's have them now - for bribery purposes. 

- Hellraisers -
I picked this up thanks to a recommendation from Liz Boyle and ALSO an old old edition of SFX. The authors were particularly nice and the thing was a barjin. I also got a picture of Peter O'Toole in there - which is no OLIVER REED but then everyone was getting them and I needed people to know through the most obscure medium possible that I was... an original. A wild one.

- Kev Levell -
As if by magic, Levell appeared - he's a fucking fantastic artist by the way - and we had a gurt lovely chat about... well - Kyuss and Pearl Jam really. Comics? Who said anything about comics?! Also, unbeknownst to me, his face was about to crack out the most awesome gurn.
Which, compared to Jazz's helmet attempt, is far more menacing
...happiest judge ever?

- Lee Carter -
John Burdis had got himself a Dredd from Mr Carter and I was compelled to seek him out and rub in his face how annoying I can be. Ever since he appeared in the prog I've been dying to know how he comes out with his amazing stuff. Turns out it's a mixture of scanned-in textures, fine pencils and a FUCKTON of training and talent. Dammit. I've got a scanner and pencils, but that's about it. A Brainblooms story he did earlier this year in 2000ad was about the best thing that the prog has come out with for many a month. MORE CARTER.

- Louis Carter -

Another Dr WTF contributor showed up and I CAUGHT HIS FACE FOR THE FIRST TIME. The wonderfully weird Louis Carter - who is drawing something quite strange for next year's issue. 

- Mike McMahon -
So there it was - the reason that D'Israeli rushed off and the corner that everyone in the know rushed to. The legendary McMahon himself was cosied away sketching FOR FREE not selling anything at all. Just being charming and being there. A towering god of art - I found it almost impossible to talk to him - partially because I had one of his covers on my shirt. Why that should be awkward I don't know, but it simply was. Then he drew Slaine.
In my sketchbook. On the reverse of a picture of a cat I'd drawn. 
McMahon's Slaine on the reverse of a picture of a cat I'd drawn. 
The cat had a jetpack and a top hat on.

- Nich Angell -

The eternally lovely Nich Angell - who is MORE CONVENTION THAN MAN - was there, and I shepherded his new works into my flock... of books. I highly recommend you click on this here and give the bugger a look.

- Peter Doherty -
I'd never met Peter Doherty before. He was nice. What was nicer (not implying he wasn't nice) was a print which I purchased from him and promptly left in Jazz's Sheffield clutches. He signed it. He hadn't drawn the picture but he'd added his soft tones. The picture had been signed by the artist.

The artist was Geof Darrow.

- Steven Denton -
It was also a pleasure to meet small press stalwart Steven Denton - whose amazing linework I'm colouring soonish. Could've done without everyone saying "god Denton's an amazing colourist - who could colour him?!" No pressure. No pressure. 

- WJC -
Finally. A man worthy of all the praise known to man. The fantastic, appallingly brilliant Warwick Johnson Cadwell - his art is as vibrant and visceral as you can get and I'm consistantly hypnotised by his work. His comics were cheap but outstanding I very much reckon he's a god.

Thought Bubble was, in short, the best convention I've ever been to. The amount of comic fans who themselves are artists, editors, writers... the amount of artists, editors, writers who are comic fans - the love for the medium is writ large on the faces of all in attendance. It's bloody infectious. It's why I spent all evening writing it all up and it's why I'm flying to Inverness for two days next year. Bolt deserves all the credit for giving me a space and letting me help him out. It was an absolute honour to sell Zarjaz!

At last - an archaeological edition of Time Tales. Contrary to popular opinion, the bearded fellow is not Matthew Law. Shame shame shame.

The Jammy Flashback is finally over - but there's evil afoot. What has all this got to do with bulldogs, eh? Stay tuned!
FINALLY after an absence of TEN MONTHS Flaubert has returned. Only, y'know - in a vastly different style. Such is the passage of time. I do hope, if you were one who got the first three parts in the freebie, you'll still follow it. Despite the dramatic shift!
For TAB. YES it should technically be "Superbole" but who are you? The grammar police?! What do you want, a medal? Ach! ACH STOP SPRAYING PEPPER SPRAY IN MY FACE. Topical.
A logo for my housemates who are entering "GRILLSTOCK" in which groups of people GRILL without fear of rebuke. Also for competition. Ach! ACH STOP SPREADING PEPPER RUB ON MY FACE. 
Finally - here's an image for my friend Pip who keeps owls, hawks, rabbits.. basically every living thing on the entire planet. Naturally I deciphering this as her being some manner of wandering iron-woman style person. It makes sense as much as I make pie. And I'm not making pie, I'm writing a blog.

We've had a good fortnight, us WTFers. Sold quite well at Thought Bubble with still enough issues left for people to buy one RIGHT NOW and have it DELIVERED you want one?! Give me a shout! I may have been able to recruit some lovely new artists - if anyone's interested in doing a one-pager then hurl me a line. Then I'll grab the line, then we'll talk.

Also - the aforementioned Louis Carter and I cooked up this little teaser for his nuts-as-badgers-nuts strip for Dr WTF 2012 -