Thursday, 22 October 2020

TIME PANTS!

What happens when mad scientist Black Hole Bert gives Postman Prat a pair of Time Pants to help him deliver his letters on time? Find out in The Dandy Annual 2021.

This is just one of four double page Postman Prat stories I did for the book, plus eight Keyhole Kate mini-strips. Cheer yourselves up this winter with the latest annuals, in the shops now!

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Terry Knowle, - Telly Knowall

Here's a strip of mine you may not have seen before. Terry Knowle, Telly Knowall was a one-off character I created in 1996. His only appearance was in the back of a Combat Colin special I self-published that year. 

If you're familiar with 1960s British television shows you might recognise a few faces. If not, you'll probably get the joke anyway 'cos it's not that subtle. :)

As always, click / tap on the image to see it full size. 


Saturday, 17 October 2020

HALLOWEEN-O!

Here's a quick glmpse at my next Ellis's Great Escapes strip, which will be in the Halloween edition of the Beano. See the full story and loads of other spooky strips in Beano No.4058, on sale Wednesday 21st October. 

Here's the cover to look out for, drawn by Nigel Parkinson... 

 

Friday, 16 October 2020

Beano strips - free to read!

The Beano have made a load of their old mini-strips free to read on their official website. It includes several Rasher strips I did for the comic a few years ago. (I always enjoyed doing those.)

Follow this link to see one of the strips and explore the page when you get there to see more:

https://www.beano.com/posts/rasher-new-diet 

 

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Clowning Around

As I mentioned a while ago I was asked to draw a clown for a new illustrated book and the book is now in print. Circus De Niro is written by Michael Powell with artwork by Phil Elliott, with bonus illustrations of the circus performers at the back of the book by Paul Grist, Robert Wells, and me. (My illustration was coloured by Phil Elliott.)


Circus De Niro tells the story of Edgar and Elsa, two twins who escape the sinister grip of their father to discover a strange new world. Not a comic, but an illustrated story, it features some of Phil's best artwork to date, showing his mastery of black and white illustation. You may remember Phil Elliott's work from the days of Escape comic in the 1980s. He's been in the business a long time and has honed his craft. Here's an example of his work in the book:

To buy a copy of the book, contact Phil via his Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/phil.elliott.589/

...or e-mail him directly at phil@elliott-design.com 

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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Beano No.4057 preview

Here's a preview of my contribution to this week's Beano. It's a panel from the latest Ellis's Great Escapes strip (script, art, colouring and sfx lettering by me). The comic will be in the shops on Wednesday 14th October. 

It also includes loads of other strips of course from today's top cartoonists. Here's the cover to look out for by Nigel Parkinson...

Monday, 12 October 2020

The Daleks are back!


The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine cover features the invaders from Skaro, relating to the launch of the new Daleks! CGI series coming to YouTube next month. 

If you want to see a trailer it's here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaEvHnMPeH4

Other contents include the next comic strip chapter of Monstrous Beauty by Scott Gray and John Ross, a feature on Doctor Who Annuals and much more...

...including another Daft Dimension strip from me. Naturally, with this issue's Dalek-centric features I couldn't resist putting Daft Daleks into my strip, which also has an appropriate Halloween theme.

The official BBC Doctor Who Magazine No.557 will be in shops on Thursday 15th October. Accept no inferior imitations or you will be exterminated!

 

 

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Shouty's Secret Origin!

The next issue of The77 will be out soon and amongst its packed contents will be another page by me featuring Sgt.Shouty of the Moon Force! In this episode I reveal his origin so if that doesn't make it a collector's item, what does? (Let's face it, every issue of The77 is a collector's item. It's the breakout comic of 2020 and I'm proud to be one of the contributors.) 

You can pre-order The77 No.3 now and it comes with a choice of three covers. All of them are excellent so it's a tough choice! Get it from the Get My Comics website at this link:

https://getmycomics.com/The77


 

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Tom Thug meets Rover!


When I was doing the Tom Thug strip for Buster I always had him go on holiday during the six-week school break. Even the strip itself changed its title to Tom Thug On 'Oliday during those weeks. For the 21st August 1993 issue of Buster Tom and his Dad visited Portmeirion in North Wales.   

By that stage I'd been a regular visitor to Portmeirion myself for several years. Friends of mine were part of the co-ordination team that organised the annual conventions dedicated to The Prisoner, the unique 1960s TV series starring Patrick McGoohan. For this story I timed it right so that the issue would be published a week before the convention as a free advert for the event. Fortunately the editor was up for it so there was no problem with Fleetway charging advertising fees. 

(Incidentally, if you're wondering who the "Rover" is in the title of this post it's the name of the strange white sphere from The Prisoner, used to keep people from escaping the Village. In reality it was an inflated weather balloon.)

I could have done an illiustration of Portmerion for the first panel (as I had when I put Combat Colin in the village a few years earlier) but I liked the idea of using a photo for authenticity. I had loads of photographs I'd taken of Portmeirion over the years so it was easy to find a suitable one to use.

The people in the final panel are all based on friends and acquiantances of the time. (Well, some are still friends to this day.) The guy with the big nose is the late cartoonist Tony Reeve, based on the way he'd draw himself. (Tony was a regular attendee too.) The guy in the red shirt is professional magician Dave Jones, who also appeared in Combat Colin strips as The Amazing Dave. Next to him (with the stripey shirt) is journalist Howard Foy, who also played a part in Combat Colin strips as Headline Howard! Everything is connected in the Lewniverse! 

The Prisoner Appreciation Society was at its peak in those days and the conventions were great. Several of us used to stay for the rest of the week after the con for a holiday, having hired the cottages in Portmeirion. By 2001 things weren't so good within the fan club and problems with the unethical behaviour by some of the other coordinators led to many of us quitting the society. (Which we still consider to be one of the best decisions we ever made and have no regrets over walking away.)

If you're interested in The Prisoner TV series I highly reccommend The Unmutual Website. It has no connections to the fan club and is a totally free rescource of information and news. You'll find it at this link:

https://www.theunmutual.co.uk/

As a bonus, here's part one of the Combat Colin serial which was set in the Village, which I did for The Transformers comic back in 1989...

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

WHAT IF...?

Every single one of us has seen this year change our lives and our plans for 2020. The impact on our jobs and careers is a relatively minor part of the decimation that COVID-19 has caused, but its effects are still being felt and will be for a long time to come. 

It seems incongrous perhaps to talk about comic strips in this context but the pandemic has affected the livelihoods of comics creators along with everyone else. If the virus hadn't swept across the planet the Liverpool Heart Beat Magazine I contributed to would have seen more issues than just its premire edition. It launched just as the lockdown began, and that put paid to that, but hopefully it'll return one day. 

Ellis's Great Escapes, which I do for the Beano would have ended at the start of summer, and I had been commissioned for a new series to replace it. Then the pandemic hit and Ellis (and other mini-strips) were immediately dropped from the Beano to be replaced by puzzle pages. Ellis is back now, for a run up to Christmas, but I've no idea about work beyond that yet. 

With the loss of income, I decided to put my Combat Colin comic on hold. Issue 5 would have been published in April, and No.6 would be out around now, but everything is on hiatus is now until 2021. There are no conventions where I can promote it, and even though I usually sell my comics by mail order I really don't want to be standing in a post office queue every day, especially as our local staff aren't enforcing social distancing or the wearing of masks! 

Thankfully Doctor Who Magazine was still a constant and my Daft Dimension strip (shown above) has continued to run throughout this year, so that's been some help. And The77 was launched, with Sgt.Shouty in there, which is reaching a growing audience. Over all, this situation hasn't been condusive to coming up with ideas for humour strips though and isolation does affect one's mental health.

So, in a personal "What If" scenario things would have been a lot different but I'm managing to survive and count myself luckier than many people. Even though some days it feels like we're taking one step forward and two steps back, like all of us, we have to look forward with as much optimism as we can muster. 

 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Next week in the BEANO...

Here's an advance look at next week's episode of Ellis's Great Escapes. Script, art, colouring by me. You can read the full story (and many more by other creators) in Beano No.4056, in the shops on Wednesday 7th October! 

Here's the cover to look out for, drawn by Laura Howell...

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Comparison


I thought you might like to see what this week's Ellis's Great Escapes looked like when I was drawing it. Here's part of a panel during the inking process. As you can see, my pencil roughs are VERY rough and untidy, but I find it's the best way to convey the energy of a drawing from my imagination to the paper. I know which line I'll be inking but I don't think anyone else would! Fortunately Beano artists ink their own work and don't use the factory system that American comics have employed for years. (Although no doubt if one artist was churning out several 20 page comics a month then we would have to use separate inkers and colourists.) 

Below is the finished job, after I'd inked and coloured it, and the lettered, printed version as it appears in the Beano No.4055 out now! Buy your copy to read the full story and loads of other fun strips!