Sunday 30 June 2019

Comics! Comics! Comics!

Surprisingly there are always some who follow this blog who aren't aware that I publish my own comics. I guess it's a problem when reading this blog by 'phone that the sidebar advertising my comics isn't visible. 

Anyway, yes, as well as writing/drawing comic strips for mainstream publications I also occasionally self-publish comics collecting the material I own the rights to. At present there are three issues of Combat Colin available, a Derek the Troll one-off, a Pedantic Stan mini-comic (co-created with John Freeman), and a Brickman Begins! book (which was published in 2005 by Active Images). 

Apart from a handful of copies in branches of Wow Comix up North, you won't find these items in the shops. They're available to buy directly from me, either at the various comic cons I attend around the country, or by post. Check out my website here:

Thanks for reading! Any questions about the comics? Please post a comment below! 

Saturday 29 June 2019

Busy week ahead

It's 31 degrees outside, I'm still fighting a virus, and I have a busy week ahead. Ideally I'd have taken the week off and headed to the coast but you can't predict when the lurgy will slow you down and typically it happens at the one time of the year when you suddenly have a lot to do. 

Still, first world problems and all that, and I'm certainly grateful for the work! This week I'm writing the next Daft Dimension script for Doctor Who Magazine, drawing strips for the Dandy and Beano Annuals that will be out in a year's time, plus drawing the final episode of Derek the Troll for the last issue of digital comic Goof! 

I'm also researching the complete run of a short-lived comic for an article I'm writing for Comic Scene No.7, which will be out in August. There's the stack of every issue in the photo above. I've blurred the cover to keep it a secret for now, but feel free to post your guesses in the comments below! 

Monday 24 June 2019


There will be a new issue of Doctor Who Magazine in the shops this Thursday, 27th June, and it celebrates Jon Pertwee's centenary.

Although I'd been watching Doctor Who since the very early days of William Hartnell's original Doctor, it was the Jon Pertwee stories that engaged me the most I think. I was 11 to 13 years old when the third Doctor was on TV, which was a good age to appreciate the show's move to slightly more sophisticated stories. For our generation, Doctor Who had grown up a little to retain its audience and to pull in new viewers. 

It was also helped by the Doctor Who strip moving from TV Comic to the new comic, Countdown, in 1971, which was also more sophisticated than TV Comic was. Countdown swiftly became my favourite comic of the early 1970s, and I still have every issue, carefully stored away. (A year later, Countdown changed its title to TV Action, which I didn't like quite as much, and later dropped, but I've managed to collect a complete run now.) 

It was therefore an honour to be able to put the third Doctor in my latest Daft Dimension strip for Doctor Who Magazine No.540. Check out the full strip when it's published on Thursday! 

Sunday 23 June 2019

Marvellous Macc-Pow!

Back from a very enjoyable day at Macc-Pow yesterday, the 4th annual comics show in Macclesfield. With over 1,000 attendees and a pleasant atmosphere throughout, this was the best one yet! Good to met some very nice and enthusiastic readers of all ages, and to catch up with comics friends old and new. My thanks to organiser Marc Jackson and his team for the invite and hospitality, and thanks to everyone who stopped by my table for a sketch and/or comic! 

I didn't have much time to take photos but here's a few...

Great to spend time with wonderful artist/writer Rachael Smith, who had the table next to me. Check out her books here:
On my other side was my old pal David Leach, creator of Psycho Gran
Across the aisle was the Beano's Nigel Parkinson and colourist Nika Nartova. 
Another shot of Nigel and Nika, hard at work...
It was great to finally meet artist Jessica Lucas after being Facebook friends for ages. See her website here:
All in all, a fun day, proving that small comics-dedicated conventions can be as busy and engaging as the large multi-media ones. There's room for both kinds of events in the UK comics industry, and long may that be so. 

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Busy days ahead!

It's often "feast or famine" as a freelancer. Metaphorically of course. Clearly I've never experienced a famine. After a very quiet start to the year I'm going to be really busy over the next few weeks! 

I'm currently drawing a new Keyhole Kate strip for The Dandy Annual 2021, and have a Postman Prat story to draw for it too this week. (Yes, Prat's back! Yay!) Unfortunately you guys won't get to see the book until July 2020! - but here's a sneak peek at my pencils (above) for Keyhole Kate. 

Then I'll be off to Macc-Pow! this Saturday at Macclesfield Town Hall, along with lots of other guests such as Nigel Parkinson, Rachael Smith, Hunt Emerson, David Leach and many more! It's free admission so hope to see you there!
Then as soon as I'm back from Macc-Pow! I'll be straight into a new strip that I can't talk about yet but if all goes well I'll be able to reveal all at the end of the month! Deadlines on this are very tight, so I'll need to give it my full attention next week.

I've also just been commissioned for a new series for a popular comic, and the first script is due this week. More on that in a few weeks! 

After that, I'll be finishing off the concluding chapter of Derek the Troll for the final issue of Goof!, drawing more pages to for The Dandy Annual 2021, a few Lord Snooty mini-strips to do for The Beano Annual 2021, my regular Daft Dimension strip for Doctor Who Magazine, my column for Comic Scene, putting together Combat Colin No.4, and anything else I can fit in. 

It's going to be intense, so wish me luck! 

Thursday 13 June 2019

Something different!

I was recently commissioned to draw the covers for a booklet for an advertising research agency, System 1, who wanted it to resemble the old Summer Specials. One big beach image on the front, and a strip on the back. 

The brief was to use several well known characters from TV adverts, such as the Meerkats and the man on the horse from the Old Spice ads. I had some leeway to change things of course, so I put him on a donkey. 

The back cover strip is Flo and her Fluent Device; the sort of "kid with gadget" strip that was popular in the old IPC comics. System 1's head of marketing, Tom Ewing, wrote the script, which was top class and would have fitted in perfectly with any comic. 

The booklet will be given away at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next week. 

John Freeman has more info on his Down the Tubes blog here:

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Thanks Cor!! Buster! It was fun!

The Cor!! Buster Humour Special was on the shelves for its allotted two months but time was up today and my local Smiths removed the remaining two copies from the shelves this morning. It was an absolute pleasure to contribute to this one-off (from John Freeman's script) and I hope that Rebellion publish another one next year.

If you missed your chance to buy it from the shops, you can still get it by post by ordering it from Rebellion's website at this link:

Tuesday 11 June 2019

"Lovely subversions of storytelling norms"

 My thanks to John A. Short for his great review of Combat Colin No.3 over on his Kult Creations blog:

"There's a wonderful daftness to these tales". John understands where I'm coming from. If you haven't already bought one, issues are still available from my web shop here:

...and check out John's blog for his own comics such as Reverend Cross! All good stuff! 

Monday 10 June 2019

1987 colour Tom Thug illustration for sale

This week on my eBay page there's a full colour Tom Thug illustration I did in 1987 which was used as the artwork for a free postcard in Oink! comic. This original artwork is far bigger than the postcard-size it was published at of course. See my eBay page for full details...

The auction ends on Sunday 16th June, so you have less than a week to enter the bidding. All bids appreciated! Good luck!

Sunday 9 June 2019

Sorting through the past

Today I've made a start on Combat Colin No.4 by sorting out all the old original artwork from 1990 that I'll be reprinting in the comic. Thankfully I still have most of my original pages so the reproduction should be quite nice.

The pages need to be scanned and cleaned up a bit of course, and I'll need to draw a new cover, write a feature for the back of the comic, etc. The intention is to bring it out in time for the London Film and Comic Con on July 26th-28th, but my mainstream comics work has to take priority of course so we'll see. 

Keep following this blog for progress reports! 

If you're missing previous issues, they're available exclusively from me here:

Saturday 8 June 2019

Conventions to come

In just two weeks' time, on Saturday 22nd June, I'll be up in Macclesfield for Macc-Pow! 4, which once again takes place in the Town Hall. Completely dedicated to comics, there's a great line-up of guests including Hunt Emerson, Rachael Smith, Nigel Parkinson, Gary Northfield and many more. It's free entry too! You can find out all the details here:

Then, next month, over the weekend of 26th to 28th July, there's the massive three-day London Film and Comic Con that takes place at Olympia. A huge number of guests from film, TV, comics and more including William Shatner, Jenna Coleman, Rob Leifeld, Yishan Li, Jessica Martin, Christopher Eccleston, Mike Collins, Bernard Cribbins, Simon Furman, and loads more! (I aim to have Combat Colin No.4 published for that weekend!) Take a look at their website for full details and the amazing guest list:

After that, I'll be off to Worcester, Birmingham, Norfolk, and a short trip overseas. More info soon! 

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Thoughts on Comics Salopia!

I had a very enjoyable time at Comics Salopia over the weekend, the first comics festival of its kind to take place in Shrewsbury. I arrived on Friday to check in, then made my way to the jetty, as the organisers had scheduled something special for the guests; a boat trip along the River Severn. A perfect treat for a Friday afternoon in the summer as the Sabrina boat took us steadily along the river to the English Bridge and back. 

Later that evening, we gathered at the Guildhall for the official opening ceremony performed by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Phil Gillam (who, it turns out, was a big fan of TV21 and American comics as a child). The reception also included an auction of items for charity, and ended with music including organiser Shane Chebsey's own band, Cosmic Rays (with Charlie Adlard on drums). 
Shane Chebsey rockin' it.
Great company, including Aneke Murillenem and Paul Goodenough. 
The next morning it was an earlyish start to set up for the day. Comics Salopia was a festival that took place in various venues across the centre of town, and I was one of the guests in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle. Having stalls in the open air was quite a gamble with our climate but we were very fortunate to have glorious clear skies and warm weather on Saturday. The grounds were busy and it was great to meet so many people who were interested in my work. Not just readers who had read Combat Colin when they were kids, but also enthusiastic children for whom the stories were new. 

Yes, Morris Dancers at a comics festival!

Above: It's John A. Short of Kult Creations and now of the new Mondo Comics who have just published an Octobriana comic. 

Above: Nigel Parkinson, artist of Dennis the Menace and other great work for the Beano

At mid-day, Nigel Parkinson, Laura Howell, Hunt Emerson and I trekked over to the Guildhall to join Beano editor John Anderson for a panel discussion. A very enjoyable hour with a pleasant audience, and the best attended humour panel I've been involved with. It was excellent to meet John at last too, as we'd only communicated via email over the years.

Then it was back to our tables at the Castle grounds to continue the day until around 5pm. As this was a new show for Shrewsbury I wasn't sure how well it would go but I practically sold out of all the comics and books I brought with me and did quite a few sketches too.

Saturday evening saw myself and the Beano crew meet up for a very nice Italian meal. There was a party and concert provided for guests elsewhere but by the time we left the restaurant it was too late to attend so we all has a relatively early night to prepare for the next day.
Beano editor John Anderson with Laura Howell, Nigel Parkinson, me, and Hunt Emerson!
Sunday... saw the weather change considerably. Wet and windy, it did cause a few problems keeping the comics and prints dry and in place but the gazebos protected everything to an extent and there were calm spells so we could do some work.
Only a few comics left unsold on Sunday morning.
Last sketch of the day on Sunday, and it was fun to draw Bananaman!
Thanks to Paul Goodenough for the above photo. His website is here:

Above: Great to hang out with my good friend Aneke Murillenem again who had been invited over from Madrid. Aneke is currently drawing Judge Anderson for Judge Dredd Magazine and Age of Conan: Valeria for Marvel, both out in August! (UPDATE: Aneke's Judge Anderson series will now appear in 2000AD from June 26th.)

Above: Fantastic Manga artist Sonia Leong.

Any new event has its teething problems, but Comics Salopia had also suffered the tragic untimely passing of Amy, one of its organisers, just a couple of weeks before the show. I think she would have been very pleased with the happiness and enthusiasm that was evident at the castle grounds on Saturday as proof that such an event can work for the town. Shrewsbury has some beautiful historic buildings and is a great place to visit!
I'm bound to miss some names out here but many thanks to my good friends for being fantastic company over the weekend and for all the laughs. Thanks also of course to everyone who stopped by my table, and those who attended our packed-out panel on Saturday, and last but not least thanks to Shane Chebsey, Andrew Richmond, Chris Ball and all the team for their hospitality and for running the event.

Thanks to everyone for being you! Laura Howell, Nigel Parkinson, Hunt Emerson and Jane, John Anderson, Aneke Murillenem, Paul Goodenough, Sonia Leong, David Roach, Marc Jackson, Sarah McIntyre, Neil Kenny, James Fletcher, Emily McGorman-Bruce, Laurence Campbell, Charlie Adlard, John A. Short, Dan Berry, Paul Duncan (who I hadn't seen for about 25 years), Deborah Tate, Robbie Morrison, and more!

The following photos are courtesy of Shane Chebsey who has passed them on to me to post here...
It's Shrewsbury's own Charlie Adlard, artist on The Walking Dead!
The amazing Chip Kidd and equally amazing Yanick Paquette in the Town Square.
Great to see writer Peter Hogan again!
Incredible artist and comic art expert David Roach,
Local artist Bethany Turland-Carless.
Mighty Al Ewing and sturdy Andy Diggle.
Supergirl Salopia staff member, Sarah Prince, who looked after us on the boat trip.
A good varied range of cosplayers!