Sunday, 13 October 2019

Pup Preview

This week's Pup Parade spotlights Tubby! Why's he looking surprised? Find out in Beano No.4007 this Wednesday! 

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Never Be Without a BEANO!

Enlargement of a small part of a panel.
It's Wednesday, and that means it's Beano day! Issue No.4006 is in the shops now featuring all the regulars by the UK's top humour artists and another Pup Parade strip from me! Don't miss it! 

Monday, 7 October 2019

A few thoughts on clarity...

One of the things that was always stressed by one of my first editors (Richard Starkings) was to remember that every comic is someone's first issue. Therefore the plot should be clear enough to be understood by new readers, and the characters defined enough for people to know what part they play in the story.

In addition, I'd also say that art-wise, it should be clear what the characters look like and where the story takes place, so there should be at least one full figure shot if possible and enough background info to let readers know the location, even if the strip is only a page or less in length. (Classic newspaper strips were a masterclass in this kind of thing.)

Unfortunately, this isn't always the case these days, leading to confusing stories, which can fail to engage the reader and lead to them abandoning the comic. We often (quite legitimately) blame High Street retailers and their treatment of comics for falling sales but sometimes we as creatives have to shoulder some of the blame too. It's all about being aware... mindful, to use the modern term... of a clarity of storytelling that appeals to everyone, not just to the regular readers.

Also, with a month or so between issues, there should be enough info for everyone to catch up on the plot. Sometimes readers are just dropped into a continuing story with no resumé. People have busy lives and although the creative team will remember what happened in the previous issue, the average reader might have forgotten.

I hope that doesn't come across as preachy. I'm sure most people reading this will know it already anyway, but it's just something I wanted to put down. One of these days, if I ever get around to writing an autobiography / how to do comics/ history of comics book, I'll elaborate on it there.

Friday, 4 October 2019

This month...

I have quite a few one-off jobs to draw throughout October. Some include work for next year's Dandy and Beano (2021 dated) annuals, while others are completely new things. I'm also drawing a jokes page for an upcoming issue of the Beano. See the rough sketch above, which is just a small part of it.

Hopefully some of the jobs will lead to more regular work in the future. Freelancing is always unpredictable but these days it's more precarious than ever. I wouldn't advise anyone to give up their day jobs at present. I gave up mine back in 1980, but things were different then! 

Meanwhile, you'll find my Pup Parade strip in the Beano every Wednesday (except for the Halloween issue at the end of this month), and my Daft Dimension strip in Doctor Who Magazine every four weeks! Plus The Dandy Annual 2020 is in the shops now, with three pages of Keyhole Kate by me, and the current Comic Scene has an article on TV Comic I wrote. 

Not to mention my self-published comics of course. Oh go on then. I'll mention them again. Combat Colin No.1 to 4, Derek the Troll, and Pedantic Stan are all available to buy exclusively from my web shop at this link:

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

This week's Pup Parade preview!

Here's a sneak peek at a panel from this week's Pup Parade that I've done for the Beano No.4005. See what happens next when the comic hits the shops on Wednesday 2nd October! 

Monday, 30 September 2019

Back from Nor-Con!

Trying a new comic con is always a bit of a gamble, especially one that takes a few hours to get to, but any doubts I might have had were soon put aside when Nor-Con proved to be a very pleasant conclusion to my run of cons this year. I think this was the 9th year for the show, but it was the first time I've attended, and the first time I'd even been to Norwich.

The venue was the Norfolk Showground Arena, which was a 15 to 20 minute taxi ride from Norwich but a very good venue to hold a convention. Organiser Mark Dean and his team worked hard all weekend to make sure all the guests were looked after and everything ran smoothly. It's not easy to run an event but they did a fantastic job. 

Multi-media events can sometimes give priority to the actors with comic guests shunted to a side hall (or, in one show I attended a few years ago, put in the foyer where visitors walked past us). Nor-Con isn't like that. It had a nice balance of actors and artists, and we were all treated equally, and positioned in the same area. This helped to give a good, positive vibe to the whole weekend. Indeed, the atmosphere of the whole show was upbeat anyway. 
Dalek invasion! With actor Cara Theobold and Gladiator Wolf in the background.
Wolf meets a Dalek!

It was a very colourful event, with numerous cosplayers and props from film and TV on display, and everyone I spoke to was enjoying the weekend. For some it was their very first convention, so I'm pleased it gave them a good impression. 

Photo by Martin Griffiths.

As always, it was great to meet people who have followed my work over the years or are totally new to comics and bought Combat Colin to try it out. I was particularly pleased that Daryl Selby stopped by. He was one of the many readers who'd submitted a "cure" for Pete and his Pimple back in the Oink! days, which was published. (Similar to Pow's Dare-A-Day Davy, I instigated a contest back in 1987 where readers were invited to send in their ideas to cure Pete's giant pimple. The winners had their ideas turned into a story which I drew up, and they won some "Piggy Prizes".) Daryl's son had grown up reading my Team Toxic strips in Toxic, so it was nice to know that my work had been appreciated by two generations! 
Nor-Con had a good line up of guests and as ever it was great to catch up with my comic mates Mike Collins, Nigel Parkinson (and colourist Nika), Martin Griffiths, Lee Townsend and Grant Perkins. It was also nice to meet artist Katie Bass who had the table next to me. (Check out her work at

It was an absolute pleasure to meet comedian Hattie Hayridge (Holly in Red Dwarf) who joined a few of us for dinner on Saturday night and was great company. It was also very nice to see Sophie Aldred again and to meet (and share taxi rides with) actors Eve Myles, Sylvester McCoy, and Cara Theobold, and to chat briefly with Nicola Bryant. 

All in all, a very happy convention with lots of laughs, and, on a personal level, a perfect way to conclude my list of shows for this year. Thanks again to Mark and his team for a great weekend! 

Nor-Con website:

Friday, 27 September 2019

Extra Daft!

I've just sent off the latest Daft Dimension strip for Doctor Who Magazine. This one is a bit different, and special, as part of the celebrations for DWM's 40th anniversary issue. I'll say no more for now, but you'll see it in print in Doctor Who Magazine No.544 when it goes on sale on 17th October!

Meanwhile... one last reminder that you can see me this weekend at my last convention for 2019 at Nor-Con, in Norwich. Details here: