Saturday 29 April 2017

Meanwhile, on Christmas Day 2017...

Who's up for a bit of time travel? You're looking into the future with this panel from a Kid Cops story I've done for The Dandy Annual 2018. It'll be published around August but most readers will traditionally have the book as a present on Christmas Day. 

We work well in advance in the world of comic annuals. I wrote a script for the 2019 annual the other day!

Thursday 27 April 2017

Thank you, Leo!

The work of Leo Baxendale had a huge influence on the UK comics industry, and on me too. Seeing his work in Wham! in 1965 inspired me to create my own comics. Years later, when I was drawing Tom Thug for Buster, I added a cameo appearance by Grimly Feendish (one of Leo's best characters) into a story I did for the 1990 Buster / Monster Fun Holiday Special (see above). 

Sadly, Leo passed away last Sunday, age 86. There have been an incredible number of tributes to him online today, showing how much the artist and his creations were respected. Here's a tribute that I posted on my Blimey! blog this morning:

Rest In Peace, Leo, greatest humourist of British comics, and thank you for all the laughs and inspiration your pages gave to me.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Kid Cops, back on the beat

When The Dandy had its revamp in 2010, one of the strips I was commissioned to do was Kid Cops. Basically, as the title suggests, it was about two lads who police their local area dealing with bullies and suchlike. 

The initial concept was created at Dandy H.Q. so I was required to supply scripts based on that premise, design/name the characters, and draw the strip. (Their names are Officer Bobby and Sergeant Nick in case you didn't know.) The weekly Dandy ended in 2012 but since then they've popped up in The Dandy Annual and appeared in five mini-strips there last year.

This year, for The Dandy Annual 2018, Kid Cops return in two full page stories. I'll be showing some preview panels in the months to come, but I just wanted to give you that info for now. 

The Dandy Annual 2018 will be on sale late summer / early autumn. 

Sunday 23 April 2017

Early days...

 As most of you know, my first published work was in comics fanzines in the 1970s. (Quite a few of us had our start that way and it was a great way to get experience.) This photo is from late 1979 at the launch of the third issue of my fanzine, After Image. Well, I say "the launch". It was actually me taking a few copies to the local social club to show my mates. 

Yes, that's me in the lumberjack shirt. Well, it was 1979! I didn't have a weird afro by the way; it's a shadow from the flash. 
Cover art by Paul Ward.
If you'd like to see the fanzine for yourself, completely free, head over to this brilliant repository of long-forgotten fanzines:

And check out many more 'zines that have been uploaded (with permission of course):

Saturday 22 April 2017

Coming up this week...

Here's a quick preview of all the strips I have in print this coming week. On Wednesday 26th April, Epic No.131 features another two page Hygiene High story drawn by me and written by Niall Murray. This time, the filthy kids cause chaos on a school trip to a museum!

I also have three mini-strips in that issue, again written by Niall Murray. They are Disaster Chef (see preview at the top on this post), Eric Fail, and Zombie Sports...

That same day, Beano No.3882 has an insect theme, tying in with a free gift, so Ivy the Terrible reflects that... does Pup Parade, which guest-stars Walter and Tricky Dicky (and leads to an insect-themed joke). 

Epic No.131 and Beano No.3882 will both be in the shops on Wednesday 26th April. All images in this post are Copyright D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Rasher's back ! (For one week only.)

When I was doing the Rasher strip for the Beano I sometimes had one or two of the Pup Parade cast make a guest appearance. This week, the favour is returned when Rasher guest stars in my Pup Parade strip in the latest issue. 

The other strip I have in this week's Beano is Ivy the Terrible that starts with Ivy's parents returning home from a well-deserved night out. What will they find when they open the door? Well, Ivy's not called "Terrible" for nothing! See Beano No.3881 out now! 

Saturday 15 April 2017

Zoony the Lazoon!

Three years ago, in 2014, I had the pleasure of being invited to contribute to one of my favourite comics of all time, TV Century 21. "But that comic folded in 1971! Are you a time traveller?" you might ask. Well, that'd be telling, but in this case my contribution was for an official one-off revival of the comic, to be exclusively included in the Supermarionation box set produced by Network.

This was to be a proper, full-size issue of TV21, with the same look and format of the original, featuring all-new strips based on the Gerry Anderson TV shows. Where possible, editor Martin Cater employed the original artists too, so it included Gerry Embleton doing Stingray, John Burns drawing Lady Penelope and Martin Asbury on Captain Scarlet. The rest of the strips were commissioned from artists such as Brian Williamson, Antonio Barreti, Mike Collins, Martin Baines, and myself. 
I was asked to supply the comedy relief strip Zoony the Lazoon. I used the original strip's logo (scanned from an old TV21) and decided it would be a 'silent' strip as the old ones were. The original Zoony strops were often basic gags that could have suited any character but I couldn't resist including references to Fireball XL5 and Stingray now that I was a proper TV21 artist! (It's also a bit of a nod to Wham's Danny Dare too, in that Zoony is a daydreamer riding a cartie.) 
My initial rough pencils for the strip prior to inking.
Of all the many strips I've drawn over the decades, Zoony the Lazoon was one of my favourites as it allowed me (and my fellow comics creators) to be part of a history of TV Century 21, even if it was only for one limited edition.

You can read more about this one-off issue of TV Century 21 here:

...and you can buy the Supermarionation box set here:

Friday 14 April 2017

Another Combat Preview

I've scanned and prepared all 35 pages of classic material for Combat Colin No.1. Now there's "only" the cover to draw/design, intro strip to script/draw, and editorial to write. I'll do that over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, here's another preview panel from one of the strips from 1987.

Combat Colin No.1 will have 40 pages (full colour covers, 36 black and white interior pages) and hopefully will be out in late May to have its official launch at ICE Brighton on June 10th.

Thursday 13 April 2017

Combat Preview

I've spent a few hours scanning more of my old Combat Colin pages today, preparing them for Combat Colin No.1 which should be out in late May /early June. It's interesting to read my strips from 30 years ago again as there's some I've forgotten so they seem new to me. Here's a panel from one story as a preview for you. 

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Beano No.3880

This week's Beano features two strips by me again. Ivy the Terrible takes a country walk with her parents, and Tubby of Pup Parade has a sneaky plan. See what happens in Beano No.3880, in the shops now!

Beware of the Grabber!

There's a new issue of Toxic out today and it contains the second part of Team Toxic's three-part adventure in space. Still stranded on an alien world, the Team encounter... The Grabber! Find out what happens next in Beware of the Monsters in Toxic No.287, in newsagents and supermarkets now!

Monday 10 April 2017

Next stop on the road trip: Enniskillen!

The next event I'll be at will be the Enniskillen Comic Fest in Northern Ireland on May 5th and 6th! I was there last year too, and had a splendid time meeting the attendees, so I'm very pleased to be invited back. 

It's now an official celebration as part of 2000AD's 40th anniversary and you'll find guests there such as John Wagner, Alan Grant, Carlos Ezquerra, Steve MacManus, Cam Kennedy, and more!

Other guests will include Nigel Parkinson and Nika Nartova from the Beano and there'll be lots of local creators there too. As organiser Paul Trimble says, Enniskilen Comic Fest is "all about the comics" so if you live in Ireland, head to the Comic Fest next month!

More info:

Yesterday at STOKE-CON-TRENT

Top comics talent Simon Donald, Marc Jackson, Laura Howell.
I didn't take many photos at Stoke-Con-Trent this time but here's a few from yesterday. Thanks to all who stopped by my table. Great to catch up with comics pals Mike CollinsJessica MartinLaura HowellMarc Jackson,Simon DonaldKev HopgoodJohn CharlesGary Crutchley, Kev Gunstone and more. Also good to hang out with Trev and Simon again and to meet Sophie Aldred again. Many thanks to Adrian Tooth and his team for their hospitality over a very enjoyable weekend and for their organisation of the event. 
Cosplay in the sunshine!

Multi-talented actor. singer, comic artist Jessica Martin.

Dalek meets Wookie!

The comics community wouldn't exist, and most of us wouldn't know each other, without the hard work that convention organisers put into setting up such events so I'm always grateful to those who put on the shows. We're living through a golden age for conventions/festivals/expos at the moment!


The next event I'll be a guest at will be the Enniskillen Comic Fest in just under four weeks on the 5th and 6th May. More info here:

Friday 7 April 2017

See you at STOKE-CON-TRENT this Sunday!

Come along and meet us at Stoke-Con-Trent this Sunday, April 9th, Staffordshire University. More info here:

...and here:

Yes, they confused me with Lew Temple but we'll BOTH be there!

Wednesday 5 April 2017

In print this week...

There's a new issue of Beano out today, and it contains a couple of strips from me again. In Pup Parade, Sniffy isn't too keen on what he finds when he tries to bury his bone, while in Ivy the Terrible, her dad shows Ivy how to cartwheel. It won't end well. (Actually I hope you'll think it ends hilariously but I mean it won't end well for Ivy's dad.)
There's also a new issue of Doctor Who Magazine out, and, as I mentioned the other day, there's another Daft Dimension strip in there from me. 
Beano and Doctor Who Magazine; in all good newsagents and supermarkets now!

Monday 3 April 2017

Combat comics

I've been loosely working out the pagination for the Combat Colin comics I'm working on and it looks like it'll probably take six issues to reprint everything. If I stick to my plan of publishing two or three issues a year (more likely two this year) it'll be covered in about three years. 

I know some of you wanted it to be a done-in-one book, but it's going to work out much better all round if I do it as six comics. A 200 page graphic novel would take me ages to get all the pages ready to print and it'd be a big expense. I think it'll be better for the readers (and for me) to spread the cost out over six issues. Before anyone suggests crowdfunding; no. Call me old fashioned but I'd rather pay my own way up front, but thanks to anyone who would have been willing to pledge. 

With a six-issue series you'll not only have the advantage of spreading the cost over a few years you'll also get a brand new cover every issue, as opposed to one cover on a book. Plus one or two new pages of strip every issue as introductory pages. (And hopefully a letters page every issue too, if enough people write in.)

Anyway, there's still a way to go yet, and at the moment I need to get back to mainstream work as deadlines on Beano and Toxic are beckoning! More news on Combat Colin at a later date. 

Sunday 2 April 2017

Coming in the next DWM...

Here's a sneak preview of my next Daft Dimension strip that will appear in Doctor Who Magazine No.511, in the shops this Thursday (6th April). This is the first time I've drawn the Doctor's new companions Bill and Nardole so I hope I've done them justice. They only appear in this one panel but I think it means this is the first time those characters have appeared in a Doctor Who strip. Hey, collector's item! Don't miss your copy this Thursday!