Wednesday 27 September 2017

Aqua antics

The mucky kids of Hygiene High go on a school trip to an Aquarium this month in Epic No.137. What chaos do they cause there? Find out in the latest story, written by Niall Murray and drawn by me! Epic is on sale in newsagents and supermarkets now!

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Keyhole Kate preview

I'm currently drawing Keyhole Kate for The Dandy Annual 2019 (on sale next August) but here's a preview of one of the strips I did for this year's book, Dandy Annual 2018, on sale now in WH Smith, Sainsburys, and other major stores. 

Monday 25 September 2017

Coventry appearance cancellation

I'm very sorry to say that I won't be able to attend Coventry Comic Con next Sunday. I'm behind schedule with several jobs which are needed by early next week so will be working over the weekend to meet deadlines. 

I was foolish to say I'd go to so many events this month (four within five weeks) but didn't realise when I accepted the invites how they would clash with comics deadlines. I'll pace things differently next year. I really enjoy going to conventions but I've taken too many on this year (15 which I've cut back to 12). My apologies to those of you expecting to see me at the Coventry show. My next event will be the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, over the weekend of 13th to 15th October. 

In the meantime, if you're free on Sunday, go along to the Coventry Comic Con and give it your support. Details at the link.

Sunday 24 September 2017

The hills are alive!

The Living Earth is the title of the next Team Toxic adventure, and you can read the full story in Toxic No.295 when the magazine arrives in newsagents and supermarkets this Wednesday, 27th September! Don't miss it! 

Thoughts on Preston

Preston Comic Con was a great event to attend. You can read my thoughts about it over on my other blog here:

Wednesday 20 September 2017

See you in Preston!

I'll be at Preston Comic Con this Saturday, 23rd September, along with these fine folks. Will you be there? If so, stop by my table and say hello, buy a comic, or commission me to draw a sketch!

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Another great review!

"What I found most surprising about CC was how often I thought while reading it 'They'd never get away with that in kids comics nowadays!' " - John A. Short

Many thanks to John A. Short for his review of Combat Colin No.1. Much appreciated, John! You can read it by visiting John's Kult Creations blog, - and while you're there, check out John's own fab comics!

Buy Combat Colin and my other comics here:

Monday 18 September 2017

Grab yourself some Daftness this Thursday!

This Thursday (21st September) sees the publication of Doctor Who Magazine No.517, with 84 packed pages of features and interviews, plus comic strips including another Daft Dimension from me. Yes, the Daft Daleks are back in this one! 

Sunday 17 September 2017

Cameron on Combat

In times of doubt, comments that come out of the blue like this make it all worthwhile. My thanks to Neill Cameron for Tweeting this today. (Check out Neill's work in The Phoenix weekly and on his website!) 

...and if you want a copy of Combat Colin for yourself, head over to my online shop. It's only available directly from me, via mail order or at conventions I attend.

Saturday 16 September 2017

Stupor-Villain Team-Up

Here's an advance peek into the future with a panel from my Team Toxic story that will appear in Toxic No.295, on sale 27th September. This time, two of the Team's worst enemies combine their forces as Sand-Witch and Techno Troll work together!

Creating the villains and monsters is the thing I find most enjoyable about the Team Toxic strip, and it's been great fun over the 15 years I've been working on the strip. Long may it continue! I created Sand-Witch and Techno Troll years ago, but I like to bring them back as recurring villains from time to time. 

I'll show a bit more of this story next week, including the monster that appears in the strip!

Thursday 14 September 2017

Buster Index cover art

Back in 1995 I was asked if I'd be interested in drawing the cover for the Buster Index, a fan publication produced by A&B Whitworth (who also published the excellent fanzine The Illustrated Comic Journal, - not to be confused with an American magazine of a similar name). The book was written by Steve Holland and Ray Moore; two experts on the history of British comics, who have written many other indexes and notable books on comics.

Naturally, I was happy to do the cover, and created an illustration showing some of the key characters from Buster's long history; Chalky, Charlie Peace, Faceache, Tom Thug, Master Mind, The Big One, Tin Teacher, Galaxus, and of course in the centre, Buster himself. 

I thought it'd be nice to make it resemble an old comics cover, so I hand-drew the logo (copying the 1960s Buster logo), basing the word 'Index' on the Giggle logo from the days when Buster and Giggle were a merged comic. A bit of Letraset for the topline and dates added to the illusion of it looking like an old cover. (Yes, this was in pre-Photoshop days. The colouring was all done by hand too, and if you're interested, the blue background splatter effect was done with an old toothbrush and a piece of card, - after masking off the areas I didn't want splattered of course.) I left the borders white because that's how comics were back in the 1960s.

I was also asked to write the foreword to the book, which I happily obliged. 

The chunky book was printed A5 size and covered the first 35 years of the comic's history. Sadly, we weren't to know then that Buster would be cancelled four years later, but at least this Index covered the best years before reprints dominated the comic. 

The Buster Index only had a small print run and was sold via mail order only. In those pre-digital printing days it was photocopied, so the art didn't reproduce exactly as intended but it was close enough. The book soon sold out, as I recall. I still use it today as an excellent reference work.

In more recent times, another publisher has apparently acquired the rights to do a reprint and sells them on eBay from time to time. Unfortunately, for some reason, he's added a garishly bright yellow border to the cover that ruins the effect of it mimicking an old comics cover. Also, as it's a copy of a photocopy, the art seems murkier too. More tinkering saw Steve Holland's credit removed. Why not just leave everything as intended?  
I don't know how well the contents have been reprinted in the second edition but as a reference work to a long running comic it's invaluable. 

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in the history of that cover. Although it was 22 years ago I can still remember drawing it!

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Next event: Preston Comic Con

Here's the updated poster for the Preston Comic Con, which takes place on Saturday 23rd September at the Guild Hall, Preston. I've heard good things about this show so I'm pleased to be one of the guests and I'm looking forward to it. See you there!

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Conventions coming up

My final list of convention appearances for 2017, and two so far for 2018..

23rd September 2017
The Guild Hall,

1st October 2017
Sports Connexion,
Leamington Road,
Ryton On Dunsmore,
CV8 3FL.

13th to 15th October 2017

22nd October 2017
Venue to be announced soon.

25th/26th November 2017
Rivermead Leisure Complex

...and in 2018...

17th March 2018
Bath Pavillion

23rd June 2018

Hope to see you there! 

Monday 11 September 2017

Plans for the future

Tentative logo design. May change before publication.
It's been 20 years since I created the Suburban Satanists strip, the story of an ordinary family who just happen to summon up demons from time to time. It first appeared in the short-lived Norwegian comic Geek in 1997, then was revived for Egmont's Herman Hedning comic in 1998, also published in Norway (and Sweden). It resided there for several years and there was even a collection of early strips published in 2003. 
As regular readers of this blog will know, for years I've been intending to publish a Suburban Satanists comic for adults in English. A handful of the strips have already appeared in the UK, such as in the back of my Brickman Returns comic and in Time Bomb Comics' Bomb Scares anthology. 
The plan was to publish Suburban Satanists No.1 this year and launch it at the Raptus Comic Festival in Bergen in November. However, as it's a time consuming process I won't be doing it this year now. Basically I need to scan the strips, colour them, and letter them in English. 32 pages. I won't have time to get that done and printed by November. 
Page from a future issue.
Therefore, I've had to decline the kind invite to Norway this year and the new plan is to launch the comic next year, in 2018. I'm not sure exactly when; hopefully before the summer, and hopefully I'll be at the 2018 Raptus event later in 2018 to take copies over to my friends in Norway. (And if you're wondering why Norwegians would want an English-language edition of strips they read 20 years ago in the native language, well, most Norwegians are more articulate in English than some English people I've met.) 

So; Suburban Satanists No.1 is scheduled for 2018, and further issues appearing once or twice a year thereafter, depending on sales and spare time. 

In the meantime, I'll be continuing producing Combat Colin comics, with issue 2 scheduled for November 2017, and issue 3 for March 2018. That's the plan anyway! Keep reading this blog for further updates and news! Thanks for your interest. 

Back from Brum!

It was a good weekend in Birmingham for ICE2017 on Saturday. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my table, and thanks to Shane Chebsey and the team for the invite. You can read a bit more about it on my other blog here:

Wednesday 6 September 2017

See you at ICE2017 this Saturday!

Click to enlarge.
Here's the floor plan of where you'll find the guests and exhibitors at ICE2017 this Saturday, 9th September. I'll be at table 34, between Glenn Fabry and David Leach, and I'll be available for sketching all day, plus I'll be bringing along my Brickman, Combat Colin, and Derek the Troll comics for attendees to purchase.

The new venue this year is the BCEC (Birmingham Conference and Events Centre) on Hill Street, just over the road from the rear exit of New Street Station and next door to the Holiday Inn (around the corner from Nostalgia and Comics). Hope to see you there! 

More info at the ICE2017 website:

Sunday 3 September 2017

Remember; it's a NEW venue for ICE2017

Just a quick reminder that the popular International Comic Expo next week will be at the new venue of the BCEC, not the place it was held in previous years. 

The BCEC is on Hill Street, beside the Holiday Inn (which is itself next door to Nostalgia and Comics). It's in a great location, literally over the road from the back exit of New Street Station. 

I'll be posting more info about it this week on both my blogs, but for now here's a photo I recently took of the venue to help you recognise it when you arrive. 

See you there for ICE2017 on Saturday, September 9th!

More info:

Friday 1 September 2017

Meet Mickey Misery!

Here's a new bad guy who's going to be giving Team Toxic a hard time next week! It's Mickey Misery, who's not happy to be going back to school after the holidays! So unhappy that his cloud of gloom comes to life and causes chaos! 

Find out what happens in Toxic No.294, on sale Wednesday 6th September!

30 years ago...

Thirty years ago this week, over the weekend of 5th/6th September 1987, a few of us appeared on a comics panel at UKCAC'87, the United Kingdom Comics Art Convention that was held annually in London. 

From left to right: moderator Theo Clarke, me (in Oink! T-shirt), Ed McHenry (swigging pop), David Leach, Davy Francis (hidden behind David Leach), Jeremy Banx. 

We were there to promote Oink! comic, which was in the middle of its two and a half year run by that stage and firing on all cylinders. It was the first time that most of us had met and I still keep in touch with David Leach to this day. A great friend. 

We shared the panel with editors/creators from Viz, and the theme of the panel was to try and set up some sort of rivalry but none of us were really into that. We were all on the same side; making comics we enjoyed. 

Does it seem like 30 years ago? Yes, definitely. A lot has happened in life since then and 1987 feels like a lifetime ago. They were good days; most of us were relatively new to the business and full of enthusiasm and ideas. Thankfully, Oink! happened at just the right time as an outlet for those ideas. There's been nothing quite like it since, and that's a shame. However, the enthusiasm and ideas are still there. Long live comics!