Saturday 30 December 2017

Happy New Year!

2017 was a good year for me. Work was steady, producing strips for Beano, Toxic, Epic, Doctor Who Magazine and The Dandy Annual. I also finally self-published Combat Colin No.1, the first in a series of comics collecting the classic strips. I was fortunate to be invited as a guest to a lot of conventions and attended 12 in all, in various locations across the UK. 

It really has been a boost to attend so many events and meet readers past and present. It's also been great to see old friends from the comics industry, and to meet new people too! 

Closer to home, it's been brilliant to hang out with my friends and have a good laugh, and to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in years. 

As you can see from the photo compilation above, 2017 was full of laughs, travel, and friendship, and I'm always grateful for that. I never make long-term plans as that can lead to disappointment and stress, so I take things as they come and hope for the best. Hopefully 2018 will bring more of the same and some nice surprises too. 

I know that this year has involved losses for some of you but, take it from me, even though it's a cliché, time is a great healer. The grief never completely disappears, and can come crashing back some days, but it happens less over time and the comfort from the company of friends can bring peace of mind. I wish you all good health and happiness for 2018. Onwards and upwards! 

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Toxic No.299 - out today

Toxic No.299 is in the shops now, and features another two-page Team Toxic story I did. Winter Warmer sees Doc Shock invent the Toasty Coat to keep Kid Zombie warm, but it all goes pear shaped! 

Dash up to your newsagent to buy the latest issue now!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Convention capers

Sheffield, Stoke-On-Trent, Enniskillen, Brighton, Birmingham, Macclesfield, London, Birmingham again, Preston, Kendal, Loughborough, Reading. I've enjoyed travelling around the UK as a guest at various comics events this year, and I'm looking forward to doing more of the same next year! My thanks to everyone who stopped by my tables in 2017.

In 2018 I'll be visiting places I haven't been to before, plus revisiting favourite conventions again. If you run an event and would like to invite me as a guest, contact me at with the details.

So far, I'm scheduled to be at four shows next year, but I'll add more dates as and when. Hope to see you in 2018!


17th March 2018
Bath Pavilion,

24th/25th March 2018
More info soon.

12th May 2018.
More info later.

23rd June 2018

More info later.

Friday 15 December 2017

In next week's TOXIC...

The Christmas issue of Toxic is in the shops now (see preview here), but next Wednesday the next issue will be out before Christmas Day. Such are the ways of publishing. As Toxic has a three-week schedule, it made sense for the one that came out on November 29th to be the festive one. If the Christmas ish had been the following one, it'd mean it'd still be in the shops for two weeks after Christmas, making it irrelevant. 

Anyway, to make sure it's still seasonal, the new issue will feature a winter theme and plenty of snow in the Team Toxic strip, (see panel above), so consider it a Christmas strip without Christmas if you wish! 

Toxic No.299 goes on sale on Wednesday 20th December for three weeks.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Combat (almost) Ready

Yes, it looks like the most boring screenshot in the world, but what it represents is the near-completed pages for Combat Colin No.2. I'll be tinkering with some pages a little more over the weekend, then sending the files off to the printer next week for publication in January. 

On New Years Day I'll be posting an exclusive preview of the issue right here!

Monday 11 December 2017

Those Daft Christmas Daleks!

After seeing the Daleks for the first time in 1964 when I was four, I'd draw them everywhere in wax crayon. I never envisaged that I'd be drawing them for the official Doctor Who Magazine in the 21st Century, so it's a privilege to unleash my versions of the Skaro pepperpots in The Daft Dimension. This month, they're up to Christmas hi-jinks, as you can see from the exclusive panel above. 

See the full Daft Dimension strip in the festive issue of Doctor Who Magazine, on sale from Thursday 13th December! 

Saturday 9 December 2017

Brickman in progress (2007)

Here's a photo I took in 2007 while I was inking a Brickman page for Elephantmen, published by Image Comics in the USA. As you can see, it co-starred Combat Colin

A few years ago, I collected all of those pages I did for Image, and published them in a comic; Brickman Returns! You can order it from my online shop here:

Friday 8 December 2017

Team Toxic Ten Years Ago

Click to enlarge.
Here's a photo I took ten years ago, in 2007, when I was working on the Team Toxic pages for the Christmas issue of Toxic for that year.

I've used various tools for inking over the years. Most of my work in the 1980s and 1990s was inked with Rotring pens. By 2007, (can't recall when exactly) I'd switched to using dip nibs, as shown in this photo.

I've also used uniPin Fine Line fibre tip pens (and still do, for lettering and for more intricate detail) but mostly now I use Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Felexible pens, which are kind of like brush pens. 

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Have an EPIC Christmas!

The Christmas issue of D.C. Thomson's Epic magazine monthly is out today, and it includes another two page Hygiene High strip by me, written by Niall Murray. It's Christmas present time in the classroom with the world's stinkiest schoolkids! 

Epic No.140, on sale now. £4.50 

Monday 4 December 2017

Combat Colin update

I had hoped to publish Combat Colin No.2 by early November, but being busy on mainstream comics work meant that ship has sailed. The comic is complete, except for the cover art, which I'll be finishing off later this week. To avoid any delays/losses with Christmas post, I'll now be publishing Combat Colin No.2 in January 2018. I hope the delay isn't too much of a disappointment. Issue 2 will be packed with around 70 Combat Colin strips from the period when it joined The Transformers as a half page strip in 1988 through to 1989.

The plan is then to publish issue 3 in late March or April, and issue 4 sometime next summer. I'm still planning to stick to the schedule of 2 or 3 issues a year. 

Sunday 3 December 2017

Pedantic Stan, Comics Fan!

Back in the late 1980s I worked with John Freeman on a strip called Pedantic Stan, the Comics Fan for Speakeasy fanzine. John came up with the character, and had originally called him Captain Pedant, but I felt that Pedantic Stan suited him better so we agreed to call him that. John wrote the scripts, and I drew it. The strip didn't run for long, but I think it'll be due a revival one day soon. 

The page above was created for the UKCAC 1990 convention booklet. For this one, I did the script as well as the art. This was set in the days when comic cons were dominated by lads with rucksacks full of comics. Times have changed for the better!

Hopefully next year, when I've found all the original strips, I'll self-publish a little comic collecting them all along with other bits and bobs. Watch this space! 

Friday 1 December 2017

Skinhead Fairy time again!

It's that time of the year to put the Tom Thug Skinhead Fairy atop the Christmas tree again! What's that? You don't have one? Well, you do now, with this handy page I did for Oink! comic back in 1987, 30 years ago! 

Simply print out the page, glue it to card, and follow the instructions. You could have Tom Thug in a pink frock glaring at you from the top of your tree in no time! 
Photo © Andy Hall.

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Meet Grumpy McGrumpychops, Comics Critic

The Christmas issue of Toxic is out today, and it includes the debut of Grumpy McGrumpychops, Comics Critic, in my Team Toxic strip. He'll be turning up from time to time in future issues too!

Read more about this issue over on my other blog today: 

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Genesis of a cover

Today I thought I'd show you how the cover for Combat Colin No.1 developed.

I had the vague idea for the artwork in my head but the first thing I wanted to do was design the logo. This might seem an odd way of going about things, as the logo isn't usually the first step in designing a cover. However, it's the way I worked in this particular instance, and it would help give me an idea of how much room I'd have for the illustration beneath it. 
I toyed around with a few fonts I'd bought from Comicraft, before settling on the design to use. I chose the Battle Damaged font, which seemed appropriate and captured the kind of classic comics look I wanted. I shifted the letters a bit to give them a less serious feel, and added a shadow. My intention was to try and emulate the look of Marvel comics of the 1950s (and British comics of the 1960s to an extent) when they had clear, dynamic mastheads on a plain background that could be seen across a room. To me, clarity like that is important to grab attention. I'm afraid I don't agree with the modern approach of subtle colour coordination or covering up half the logo with artwork. 
With the masthead design finalised, I then did a very rough mock up of the cover, indicating the position of Colin etc. 
That done, I began to rough out the actual cover art, using a Col-Erase 20068 blue pencil...
I wasn't too happy with Colin's pose, and felt he should look a little bit more defiant, so I altered that before I set about inking the piece...
The reason I used a blue pencil was so the scanner wouldn't pick it up. Here's the completed inked artwork after I'd scanned it into Photoshop and tidied it up...
Next step of course was to add colour with Photoshop. 
Finally, the masthead, cover copy and speech balloons were added and the cover was ready to go! 

The final result, the printed comic, turned out great!
Issue 1 of Combat Colin is still available from my online shop and I'm finishing off issue 2 shortly. I was hoping to publish No.2 around this week, but realistically I think I'll wait until early January now to avoid any delays with the Christmas post. (Especially as some issues went missing in the summer during normal post times.) Watch this space for more updates!

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Banner roughs and finished art

Here's another example of my rough pencils compared to the finished product. This time it's the art for the banner I use at conventions around the country. The original art was drawn A3 size and it was enlarged for the finished banner. 

Above are my rough pencils, and below is the finished art after I'd inked it, and scanned it into Photoshop to colour and add fonts etc. (Click on it to see it larger.)

That's the banner to look out for at Reading Comic Con, where you'll find me this weekend 25th and 26th November.

Monday 20 November 2017

Zoony: Roughs and finished art for TV21

I showed this earlier in the year but I thought I'd show it again, this time with the pencil roughs next to the finished inks for better analysis. Back in 2014, I was commissioned to write/draw a new Zoony the Lazoon strip for a one-off revival of 1960s classic comic TV21. (Zoony was the comedy relief character in Gerry Anderson's Fireball XL5, in case you didn't know.) The comic was part of a Supermarionation box set produced by Network, still available from them if you click this link: 

As TV21 was my favourite adventure comic of the 1960s it was an honour to be part of this new edition (issue No.243, following on from the sixties numbering). The original Zoony strips had run in the first year of TV21 in 1965 as "silent" stories free of dialogue, so I kept to that. Also for consistency, I scanned the original logo, cleaned it up, and put that on my strip. The old Zoony strips tended to have him in traditional slapstick situations but I couldn't resist the opportunity to incorporate Gerry Anderson related scenes, as part of Zoony's daydreams. 

I was pleased with the result, and proud to be a contributor to TV21 at last! You can read more about the contributions by other artists and writers by visiting this link:

Sunday 19 November 2017

Julius Sneezer!

Back in 2012 I had the pleasure of being commissioned to draw three Julius Sneezer pages for The Dandy Annual 2013, written by editor Craig Graham. The character had originally appeared way back in 1946 in The Dandy, so it was great fun to revive him. 

D.C. Thomson sent me scans of the old strips for reference, which were drawn by Allan Morley. I interpreted the character in my own style but retained as much as I could of Allan Morley's design. To homage the old strips, I used the original logo from 1946 and cleaned it up in Photoshop.

It made a nice change to work on a different character and the three pages were good fun to draw. As that annual is long out of print now I thought I'd show one of the pages here for those of you who missed it. 

Friday 17 November 2017

Rough Tom Thug! From pencils to print

Back in 1987 I was commissioned to draw the cover to Oink! No.33 featuring my Tom Thug character. This was the first time I'd drawn a cover for a mainstream comic, so it was quite an honour. 

As with any cover for a comic, the editor wanted to see a rough first, to make sure it had the impact they were looking for. You can see my pencil rough above, and all the notes and suggestions added in blue biro by editor Mark Rodgers. Mark wanted the cover to be less "Whizzery", a reference to the comparatively pedestrian humour of Whizzer and Chips, and suggested the kids piling out of school should be "less cute" and "more punky / revolting". Mark also suggested barbed wire on top of the school wall, and a squashed teacher behind the gate that Tom Thug kicks open.

Bearing Mark's notes in mind, I set to work producing the finished cover, and here it is...
Now, you'll notice that there are a couple of blobs in the sky. This photo is of the art after it was published. What happened was that the Oink! studios had a leaky roof one day and some of the artwork got soaked! My cover was one of the pages that was fortunately salvageable, as the water damage would be covered up by the logo and topline (which were added onto an acetate overlay)...

...and here's the final result in print, 30 years ago...
Looking back, my style was still developing and there's parts I'd do differently now (and I think Photoshop colouring would improve it) but I was very proud to see my first cover on the shelves of newsagents all those years ago.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

When Combat Colin met the 12th Doctor!

My thanks to reader Ben Gurney on Twitter for reminding me of a sketch I drew at the Doctor Who Festival at the ExCel centre exactly two years ago today! I hadn't seen this photo before.

If you're interested in a sketch, I'll be at Reading Comic Con on November 25th and 26th so come along! I'll sharpen me pencils in anticipation. 

Monday 13 November 2017

In print this week...

I have a couple of things coming out this week. On Wednesday 15th November, there's Epic No.139 from D.C. Thomson, featuring a new two page Hygiene High strip I drew, written by Niall Murray. This time, the mucky kids play a football game against their posh counterparts. Kind of a Swots and Blots thing for today's readers.

On Thursday, 16th December, Doctor Who Magazine No.519 will be in the shops, featuring The Daft Dimension by me. This issue, I spotlight the Time Lords. 

Don't forget that Toxic No.297, which came out last week, is still available too, featuring a new two-page Team Toxic story by me.

All three publications are available from newsagents and supermarkets across the UK. 

Sunday 12 November 2017

Slob City Rovers! (1995)

Daily Star  21st March 1995
Here's a strip I'd forgotten about, that I found today. Back in the early 1990s, I was a contributor to two Viz-type comics, Spit! and C'Mon Ref! Both were edited by Graham Hey and Chris Whitehead, who often supplied the scripts. Good fun stuff. One of the strips I regularly drew was Whitley Baywatch, created by Graham, about two boozy, leery, layabouts in charge of beach safety in Whitley Bay. 

In 1995, Graham and Chris were commissioned to devise a comedy football section for the Daily Star, which they called Bite Yer Legs. It ran in the paper every Tuesday, and I was commissioned to write and draw a strip featuring the Whitley Baywatch characters. 
Daily Star   28th March 1995
The strip was called Slob City Rovers, and you can see three of the strips here. I didn't actually do many. Four in total if memory serves correctly. I don't remember why it was dropped so suddenly but I'd guess it was due to budget cuts. So, my initial enthusiasm at being in a national newspaper was quickly cut short. That's the comics biz, and you never truly know what goes on behind the scenes. Sometimes it's budgetary, sometimes it's office politics, sometimes it's people telling tales. Happily, I've managed to avoid such nonsense during most of my career, but it does happen. Perhaps in a few years I'll spill the beans in an autobiography. 
Daily Star 4th April 1995

Friday 10 November 2017

The line-up for Reading Comic Con

The last convention on my "road trip" for 2017 will be Reading Comic Con at the Rivermead Leisure Complex in just two weeks on 25th and 26th November. I hope that some of you can join us all and will stop by our tables to buy comics, prints, or ask us to draw you a sketch! For ticket details visit this link...

More info at their Facebook page here:

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Today in Toxic...

As mentioned the other day, Toxic No.297 is out today, and in the Team Toxic story, Kid Zombie needs to lose weight! Will he succeed? RUN to your local newsagent and buy the latest issue to find out!

Thursday 2 November 2017

Next week's Toxic...

Here's an advance preview of a panel from Toxic No.297, which will be in shops next Wednesday, 8th November. Kid Zombie needs to lose weight. Will he succeed? Find out by buying the mag next week!