Sunday 29 March 2015

This week's Rasher preview

Here's an advance preview of an unlettered panel from the Rasher strip I did for an upcoming issue of The Beano. This is the final one in this run, and unfortunately my last work for the weekly for the time being but I hope to be commissioned for more strips soon. Work will commence on the 2017 dated annuals in a few months (yes we work that far in advance) so hopefully I'll be doing a few pages for those. 

Thanks for continuing to follow this blog. I really appreciate it. I'll continue to keep you updated on my current work and also post some items about the comics I've worked on over the last 32 years. 

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Friday 27 March 2015

More original art for sale

I have a couple of pieces of old artwork on eBay this week, both from the 1980s and both from Oink! One of them is the cover I did for Oink! No.51, which as well as having the original Tom Thug art also includes the layers for colour instructions to the printer and the logo etc. Of course comics are produced a lot differently to that now, with the layers being digital, so this is a chance for the buyer to own a piece of old school history!

The other page is a Pete and his Pimple strip, where Pete dreams of being the superhero Captain Pimply! I offered this for sale before and for some reason it didn't sell. (Strange, as all the other pieces I've put up for auction have sold.) If it doesn't sell this time I'm keeping it as I quite like it. 

Anyway, all bids are appreciated and the auction ends on Sunday. You'll find them here:

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Mister Nostril is back!

He's 'snot' to be sniffed at. He 'nose' the score! It's Mister Nostril! The bogie-bending bad guy is back this week in Toxic!

Mister Nostril was a character I created a few years ago as a villain in the Team Toxic strip. As you may guess from the preview images here he has telepathic control over his mighty mucus. He's done his time and now he's out for revenge! Can Team Toxic defeat the runny-nosed rascal again? Find out in Toxic No.252, on sale Wednesday 25th March! 

Monday 23 March 2015

Joe's Last Laugh

Here's a preview of an unlettered panel for the final Joe King mini-strip that I drew for The Beano. Presumably the strip will appear in this week's issue, on sale Wednesday.

I've enjoyed doing this run of Joe King. It wasn't a character I was familiar with. (The brilliant Bob Dewar drew him years ago.) The mini-strip format of three or four panels suited the structure of setting up a joke to deliver the punchline in the final scene. It also gave me the opportunity to bring in other Beano characters as guest stars to share the joke or to act as the 'straight man'. I wrote all the Joe King strips in this run except for this last one which was scripted by John Anderson.

There should also be a Rasher strip I did in this issue too, which will be the penultimate one in this series.

Saturday 21 March 2015

Shed of the Dead! (2008)

I was intrigued by a news item in the latest issue of Starburst (a great mag by the way) on a new horror movie in production called Shed of the Dead

Back in 2008 I came up with the title Shed of the Dead as a horror comic spoof and created a mock up 'weathered' cover as the title panel of a Brickman page that appeared in Elephantmen: War Toys No.2 published by Image Comics. (More info on that issue is at the blog post I published seven years ago: )

In the 1950s there were comics such as Vault of Horror and Crypt of Terror so my artwork was a parody of those sort of covers. Perhaps it's time I produced some Shed of the Dead merchandise utilizing my image, considering my version was in print in 2008. Watch this space.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Rasher doing what he does best

Here's Rasher stuffing his face again in this week's Beano, out now! It's always a pleasure to draw Dennis the Menace's pet pig although this current run of strips is almost over. I've drawn four series featuring him so far (if we include the short-lived Watch-Hog series he starred in). Hopefully I'll be commissioned to do a fifth series at some point. 

Monday 16 March 2015

The penultimate Joe King

Here's a glimpse at an unlettered panel from the Joe King strip that will be in this Wednesday's Beano (unless it's replaced by necessary ad space of course). this is the penultimate one, but I hope there'll be more in the future. 

Sunday 15 March 2015


Remembering my mam on this Mother's Day as I do every day. A kind, gentle woman who was the best mother I could have wished for and my best friend. She always gave me the encouragement and support I needed to pursue my dreams. The photo I've chosen is from 1962 at Blackpool. 

Thinking too of those of you who have also lost your mums. It's not easy to cherish the happy memories without also remembering the sad times, so my thoughts are with you. 

Friday 13 March 2015

My first IPC strip (Jackpot Annual 1986)

I sold my first professional cartoons in 1983 to Marvel UK's The Daredevils comic, (see here) and found more work from Marvel and other publishers shortly afterwards (as well as working as art assistant to Mike Higgs). However, D.C. Thomson and IPC proved to be tougher nuts to crack. 

I'd been submitting several samples to Bob Paynter, who was the head of IPC's humour comics, but initially it was just rejection after rejection. Then in 1984 Bob gave me the chance to create something new for Oink! comic which was being planned out at that time. I created Tom Thug, (story here) but of course as Oink! took two years to develop it wouldn't see print until 1986!

Bob called me up one day in late 1984. He said that while they were waiting for Oink! to be finalised, would I like to draw four pages for the Jackpot Annual 1986? (Annuals are always prepared months ahead of their cover date.) 

Naturally I jumped at the chance. What may surprise you to know is that IPC's annuals paid a lower page rate than the weeklies, so sometimes they needed artists to fill in on strips if the usual artist wasn't available or wouldn't work for the lower rate. This was a great opportunity for Bob Paynter to try out aspiring artists. He could get them comparatively cheap and if the results were good then regular drawing commissions on the weeklies would eventually follow. Bob was very good at giving new people a chance this way if he knew they were serious about wanting to draw for comics. There was no room for time wasters of course as IPC were the biggest comics publisher in the UK at the time, but Bob knew I was eager to draw strips for his comics.

Bob sent me a script for a four page Scooper story. I wasn't very familiar with the character (never having read Jackpot) but he supplied me with photostats of old episodes. Scooper was a Tom Paterson character, and the brief was to 'ghost' Tom's style on the main characters for consistency but I was still free to use my own (evolving) style too. I was also allowed to sign it, which I appreciated. 

Anyway, here's the four pager I drew. Bob liked the results and I did a six page Bookworm story for the Whoopee! Annual the following year, and then of course it was on to Oink! comic as a regular, then Buster until its last days. And I've been freelancing for IPC/Fleetway/Egmont pretty much ever since. 

The strip isn't perfect by any means and some parts of my artwork make me cringe today. (The letterer made a mistake on page three panel six, by first moving a speech balloon without whiting out its border, then having it point to the wrong character.) It wasn't an easy strip to draw, having never drawn boats or the ocean before, but every commission teaches us something new and I was very proud to finally have something published by IPC. 

Below: The cover for the annual, drawn by Mike Lacey.

The Unseen Plug (around 1985)

Scanned from the original artwork.
I found this strip today, which I'd completely forgotten about. It's a sample I sent on spec to D.C. Thomson in 1985 or thereabouts when I was trying to get work on The Beano. The editor politely turned me down unfortunately. I can understand why. My work back then just wasn't up to their standard. 

You can see the influence of Mike Higgs' style in panel 1 and Tom Paterson's style in the two characters in the foreground of panel 2. I was quite pleased with the reaction shot on Plug's face in panel 5 but overall the strip was nothing special for a sample that was intended to impress editors. It took quite a few years before I managed to get work from D.C. Thomson, even though I was freelancing regularly for Marvel, IPC and others. 

Anyway, I thought I'd show it here so that for better or worse it's finally seen by an audience, 30 years after its creation. (Click image to see it larger.)

Thursday 12 March 2015

A commotion in the Brain Dept.

As I usually write my own material it often means there are days when I don't actually earn anything because they're spent thinking up the next ideas. This is one such day. I'll be paid for the finished script of course, along with the artwork, but there could be a few ideas I'll reject or rewrite before that stage. 

The old grey matter is pondering a few scripts at the moment. The next Team Toxic strip (may involve one of the team going yampy, or not), a proposed script for Viz (ooer, might be a bit rude), the next Grindhouse back pager (will definitely involve comic violence) and another Combat Colin 3 pager for a future edition of Aces Weekly (may include the sfx 'Smoshya!'.) Then there'll be the next Daft Dimension for Doctor Who Magazine and possibly some Beano ideas. 

They're all fragments of ideas at the moment, and I need to prioritize which needs fleshing out first. No doubt some will have potential and some I'll choose to rewrite before submitting them. (Sometimes an idea for a strip springs to mind almost fully formed but not often.) 

Anyway, no point in talking about it. I'd better get on with it! 

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Beano 3775 preview

The 3775th issue of The Beano is out today and it's a special Comic Relief themed edition with a red and gold cover. My two regular mini-strips are in there; Rasher and Joe King. (Rasher guest-stars in the Joe King strip this week so pig-fans get a double helping of his porky pranks.) 

The Rasher strip was drawn last October, and it features a snowy setting because I (wrongly) presumed it'd be printed in December or January. Still, I'm sure that with climate change it's probably snowing somewhere in the UK in March. 

The Beano No.3775, on sale now and still only £2.20. Look for the red and gold cover by Nigel Parkinson and read more about this special issue here:

Friday 6 March 2015

Go Daft!

Here's a preview of my latest Daft Dimension strip in Doctor Who Magazine, which is on sale in all good newsagents and supermarkets now for £4.99. The original Doctor Who mag and still the essential purchase for fans of the series. 84 packed pages of good stuff!

Here's the cover to look out for...

We're ready for your close up, Doc Shock

I've just e-mailed the latest two page Team Toxic strip to Egmont for Toxic No.253. I was up late working on it last night, and up early this morning to colour it, so I'm taking the rest of the day off now. 

I can't show you too much of the story yet as it won't be published until April 15th so here's an extreme close up from one panel, much larger than the size I drew it. It's Team Toxic's leader Doc Shock looking a bit... shocked. 

Who's the bad guy this issue? I'll reveal more at a later date when the comic hits the stands next month. In the meantime, don't miss the latest issue of Toxic (No.251) out now.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Beano 3774 preview

Here's a quick preview of the mini-strips that I did for this week's Beano. Fatty and Walter guest star in Joe King and Bones and Manfred of the Bash Street Dogs guest star in Rasher

The Beano No.3774. Out now! 

Also, a quick reminder that I now have a public Facebook page where I upload art previews so if you want to 'follow' you'll find it here:

Wednesday 4 March 2015

BOG-MAN is here!

The latest issue of Egmont's Toxic, out now, features something a bit different from me; a story within a story. In the Team Toxic strip Stinky Hero, Bog is knocked out and dreams of being a superhero, - Bog-Man

Superheroes are very popular with kids these days thanks to blockbuster movies and games (and comics of course) so I thought I'd reflect that with this Batman parody. As this is Toxic you can expect lavatorial humour of course, particularly with Bog-Man and his sidekick Trumpy riding their Bog-Mobile! (Some of you may notice a certain old character of mine making a cameo appearance here too. Yes, it was inevitable that Tom Thug would become a white van man!)
See billionaire Bog Strain become Bog-Man to fight The Stinker, The Poopin, and Cat-Litter Woman! The two page strip appears in Toxic No.251, out today, which also includes various features for kids plus Russ Carvell's Captain Gross strip. All bagged up with a bunch of gifts for just £2.99. 

Monday 2 March 2015

Look out! Monster!

My thanks to those of you who bid on my auction last week and congratulations to those who won. The pages will shortly be winging their way to you. 

I only have a couple of items up on eBay this week. For a change I thought I'd do a brand new drawing exclusively for the auction. That's him above. A5 size, black ink on Bristol Board, drawn yesterday (Sunday 1st March 2015). Never seen before. Your chance to own something unique. 

I'm also selling an original Robo-Capers strip from the 1980s that was published in Marvel's The Transformers. I don't have many Robo-Capers strips left now so if you're interested, bid while you have the chance. 

Again, all bids are welcome and I do really appreciate your interest. Good luck!
Here's my eBay page: