Saturday, 8 August 2020

RASHER returns for a guest spot!

This was a pleasant surprise today. Back in February I was commissioned to write/draw a one-off Rasher strip for the Beano. In the end it wasn't used due to lack of space, but it's turned up in the latest issue! 

As you know, I've drawn three (or is it four) series of Rasher over the years and he's one of my favourite Beano characters to script and illustrate. I've no idea if he'll ever be back on a regular basis but you'll get to see one new Rasher strip in the Beano No.4048, in the shops this Wednesday 12th August. Here's the cover to look out for...
Cover art by Nigel Parkinson and the Beano design team.

Roll up for the Circus!

I was recently commissioned to do a drawing of a clown for the forthcoming book Circus DeNiro (written by Michael Powell and illustrated by Phil Elliott). I thought I'd make him a sleazy looking weirdo, because those sort of characters are more fun to draw. 

I submitted my black and white version (above) and Phil coloured it. I usually colour my own work so it was interesting to see another artist interpret it. In this case Phil felt there was something "Homer Simpson" about it so gave him yellow skin....

Circus DeNiro sounds like it'll be a great book and I'm honoured to have a small part in it. I think Phil's done the best artwork of his career on this book (and he's always been good). You can check out some samples, and back the Kickstarter, at this link:


Thursday, 6 August 2020

Don't miss out on the fun!

With unpredictable bad timing The Cor!! Buster Easter Special was available in WH Smiths... during the lockdown, so as most branches of Smiths were closed it meant that some readers missed it! 

However, the good news is you don't have to miss out because the comic is still available to buy by post, directly from the publisher!  

The Easter theme is only present in a few of the strips so you can look at it as a Summer Special if you wish, although hopefully you'll still find the Easter stories egg-selent too! (Couldn't resist. Don't worry. The humour in the special is funnier than that!)

I'm very pleased with how the special turned out and it was a pleasure to contribute, so I hope you enjoy it too! Hop over to the Treasury of British Comics website to order it now! 

...and if you missed last year's special, that's still available too! 

Sunday, 2 August 2020

This week in 1991 in BUSTER...

It was a very busy time for me this week 29 years ago! I had three pages in the issue of Buster dated 10th August 1991, (which was published 3rd August.... remember that back then comics were dated for the following weekend after publication).

First up, Tom Thug on 'Oliday was the strip on page three. Every year during the school holidays I'd do a six-week story with Tom on his holidays. (Usually Blackpool as I recall, as is the case here.) Note the old sea wall, which has since been replaced by a smarter looking seafront.

Next, The Vampire Brats was my other regular Buster strip. Initially written by Mark Rogers, then by me, but by this period the scripts were by Roy Davis with me on art. Roy's method of writing was to rough everything out on an A3 sheet in biro (as he was an artist himself). It was then up to the artist, such as myself, to interpret it as they wished. I chose to give the Lion Tamer a wildly exaggerated reaction in panel 7.

Writers never had a credit in Buster but on some strips I added Roy's initials next to my signature because I felt that all contribitors should be credited! If I'd known who'd be lettering it I'd have added that too. In this case it was Jack Potter (who also lettered the Tom Thug strip shown here).

Finally, Specky Hector's History of Comics reached its 10th and final part. I did everything on this; script, art (apart from the Turtles panels), lettering, colouring, layout. Specky Hector was a character I'd created for Oink! and used a couple of times there, so I thought he'd be an ideal character to host this series of articles for Buster. Editor Allen Cummings agreed and these History features appeared about once a month. A reprint of Specky's first strip will appear in the forthcoming Battle Special, newly digitally remastered and coloured by me. 

So... that was a glimpse at my work for Buster back in 1991. Great times and a very busy decade! Were you a Buster reader? Post your memories about those days below!

Remember also that Buster is back, in the latest Cor!! Buster Easter Special, still available to order by post from Rebellion's website at this link:

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Look who's back!

Now here's a character no one expected to see again. At least not in the pages of Battle!

Rebellion's revival of Battle comic as a 100 page special will be in the shops this September but it's ready for pre-order now! New strips from top class talent including Garth Ennis, Alex De Campi, Glenn Fabry, Alan Hebden, Staz Johnson, and many more!

There's even a small contribution from me, as Specky Hector, the Comics Collector returns for a new audience! The character originally appeared in Oink! in 1986, and then ocassionally in Buster in the early 1990s.

You can order your copy of Battle (of Britain) Special at this link:

Monday, 27 July 2020

It's July and here are the 2021 Annuals!

Yes, it's that time of the year again when the annuals are published and my order for The Dandy Annual 2021 and The Beano Annual 2021 arrived this morning.
I've been looking forward to these ever since I drew the strips last year! (We work well in advance on annuals.) Here's the content I have in these books...

For The Dandy Annual 2021:
Script, art, colouring, lettering on 4 double page Postman Prat stories.
Script, art, colouring, lettering on 8 Keyhole Kate mini-strips.
Art / colouring / design on two activity pages (Prat and Kate).

For The Beano Annual 2021:
Script, art, colouring on 4 Lord Snooty mini-strips.

Each book is hardback, full colour throughout, with 112 pages of all new material. Other artists include Nigel Parkinson, Jamie Smart, Laura Howell, Mike Collins, and more. Available now from the D.C. Thomson Shop:

As I said earlier, we work well ahead on the annuals and I'm currently drawing a Keyhole Kate page for The Dandy Annual 2022!


Sunday, 26 July 2020

Back at the drawing board. A personal update.

This is a tough year isn't it? I must admit I've been struggling. Not out of fear as such, but more of despondency that things won't get better. It's hard to be positive or to "think funny" when coronavirus and all its relevant news is dominating the mind and you haven't had any human contact for months. With other concerns as well I've found this year to be a very dark time in my life.

Don't get me wrong; I'm fully aware that there are thousands who are far worse off than me. I'm one of the very lucky ones. This post is just a personal update because some have asked how I am.

Having my Beano work put on hold as soon as lockdown began was another blow to my morale but I'm happy to say that it looks like Ellis's Great Escapes will be coming back to the comic starting in September. I've been commissioned to do new episodes ready for its return.

Thankfully Doctor Who Magazine has continued to commission me for The Daft Dimension throughout these dark days so that's helped. I also have a few Keyhole Kate pages to do for The Dandy Annual 2022 (out next year) and another project that I need to complete. There's also Sgt.Shouty of the Moon Force and episode two of that will be in The77 in August.
Yes, lockdown has been lifted and life is returning to normal (or rather an illusion of normal)... but personally I think it's far too soon and putting the economy over people's health is a huge mistake that the history books will not record favourably. I'm fortunate that I work from home anyway, and will continue to avoid people as much as possible, but that's not an option for those forced back into the workplace.

I'll be keeping in touch with close friends of course, either in person or online. The irony is I was invited to dinner today with friends I haven't seen for ages but it'd be an hour's walk to get there and I have a deadline for tomorrow so declined. Hopefully we'll meet up soon.

As for my Combat Colin comics; I still have them on hold but hope to publish issue No.5 later this year. I'll also be posting out the remaining orders for back issues soon. Thanks for your patience.

Anyway, thart's the update so far. I'm feeling a little more motivated than I was  and I hope you're all doing OK in these stressful times. There's a long way to go yet with more hardships to come but let's hope we can all survive them and move forward to brighter years ahead.