Tuesday 31 December 2019

Happy New Year... from 30 years ago!

Happy New Year for 2020! Here's a couple of pages I did for the New Year edition of Buster thirty years ago! These strips appeared way back in 1989 but I still remember drawing them. 
I've always enjoyed doing Christmas and New Year issues as it's often an opportunity to decorate the pages with holly, snow, bells and other things associated with the occasion. In the page at the top of this post I created a new logo for the Tom Thug strip, with deliberate bad spelling of course as it's supposed to be the Brainless Bully's own graffiti. Script and art by me, lettering by Mike Peters.

The Vampire Brats strip that issue had a bit more decoration around the top of the page, and a "Snappy" New Year pun. Script, art, and lettering by me. Mark Rogers was the original writer of The Vampire Brats and I was the artist, but when he fell ill he asked me to take over the scripts as well for a few months. (Later, Roy Davis became the scriptwriter as Mark had sadly passed away.) 
Thirty years on and I'm drawing three pages over the next couple of weeks for the Cor!! Buster Easter Special featuring Buster and Delbert... but you can be sure that Tom Thug and the Vampire Brats will make cameo appearances! 

Wishing you all the best for 2020 and thank you for your interest in my work. Although my Blimey! blog has ended now I'll be showing more of my pages from the archive soon on this blog, as well as peeks at upcoming strips of course! 


Saturday 28 December 2019

Reflecting on 2019

Pals and places from 2019. Click to see larger picture.
I must admit, 2019 hasn't been a great year financially. One of my worst, in fact. The year started badly when Toxic went reprint with no warning and Epic was cancelled, suddenly leaving me with just one mini-strip a month. (Bless Doctor Who Magazine for continuing to run my Daft Dimension strip.) Bits of other work came along but I've mainly been living off my savings this year. When I was younger that wasn't a position I expected to be in for my 60th year especially now friends my own age have retired on a healthy pension pot. 

But... the comics business is a roller coaster, and as some have said to me, if I wanted a proper salary I should have got a "proper job". (Not that I'm qualified to do anything else.) I've been in this business full time since 1984 and I've always known the score, so I'm not looking for sympathy. There are friends who have had worse years than me and I hope their times improve soon. 

I've never been one to blame others for any of my failings in business or in my personal life. In the comics industry you have to adapt to survive. There's no "conspiracy" to stop you working, and no one is plotting to prevent you getting invites to cons as some claim. If you're a long-established professional and things aren't going well it's either because there simply isn't the amount of work to share out that there used to be, or you're not hitting the right notes for new editors to see the potential in your work. There's not much you can do about the former, but you can focus on improving the latter. I'm starting with ending my Blimey! blog to give me more time to focus on my career. (This blog will continue though!) 

I was grateful for the new material that I was commissioned for this year. Working on the Cor!! Buster Humour Special for Rebellion was a complete joy, and I'm drawing another three pager for next year's Easter Special, again written by John Freeman. 

I usually write my own material as you know and it was great to do a new Felix and his Amazing Underpants page for Viz last Spring and I hope to produce more in 2020. (Although these days there are a lot more contributors to the comic than there used to be so the material has to be top notch.)

I've recently completed eight Postman Prat pages, eight Keyhole Kate mini-strips, and two activity pages for The Dandy Annual 2021 that will be in the shops in August 2020, along with four Lord Snooty mini-strips for The Beano Annual 2021

I enjoyed doing some one-offs too, such as the Maurice the Cat page for TechnoFreak No.2, a page for the Dwayne Hickenbottom collection,  the Liver Birds strip written by Tim Quinn for his new comic (more on that soon), and a couple of strips for companies outside of comics. 

Combat Colin winning the Comic Scene Award for Best Independent / Small Press Comic was a highlight. I never expected it to be nominated, let alone win, so that made my Christmas. Thanks again to all of you who voted for it. Yes, the awards logo will be proudly displayed on the cover of the next issue, which I hope to publish before the Spring.

A big thank you to all the comic con organisers for inviting me to their events, and to everyone who stopped by my table. These shows give me a real boost and it's a pleasure to visit various places to meet the readers and hang out with my comics pals.

Thanks to those of you who bought original artwork from me. I'll be putting more up for sale next year.

Most of all though, a huge thank you to all my friends in the industry and in my "civilian" life for being great mates. A big shout out to my local friends for organising a surprise 60th birthday party back in March. As I have no family I value the company of friends and the laughs we have. 

As for 2020.... it's starting well with a very busy January coming up! Drawing the new Buster and Delbert strip for the Cor!! Buster Easter Special, continuing with Doctor Who Magazine, and hopefully a project for a company outside of comics. Pup Parade will be ending in February but there'll be something new from me in the Beano at the start of March! I'll reveal what it is around that time. I hope the rest of the year will continue to be busy. If not... well, that doesn't bear thinking about yet. This is definitely going to be a sink or swim situation for 2020. 

May I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year and thank you for following this blog and your interest in my work. Onwards and upwards for us all, hopefully! 


Thursday 26 December 2019

Coming soon

Here's a little advance preview of my next Pup Parade strip, which returns to the Beano after its Christmas break. This time the spotlight is on Bones, the leader of the pack. When I ask kids at conventions who their favourite Pup is they almost always respond that it's Bones. (Some of the girls prefer Peeps.)

See the full Pup Parade strip in Beano No.4016, on sale a day early, on Tuesday 31st December! 

Monday 23 December 2019

Merry Christmas!

I was going to show an old Christmas strip of mine but my back issues are under boxes of other comics and stuff at the moment and I haven't time to mess about so... here's a photo of me and my grandad Bill Bakewell from Christmas Day 40 years ago. We didn't know it then but 1979 was sadly to be his last Christmas so I'm glad we had this photo taken. He was the best grandad I could have wished for and I was very proud of him. 

I don't make a big fuss of Christmas but whatever you're doing this year I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for following this blog! My other blog (Blimey!) will end on December 31st but this one will continue so I hope you'll stick around. 

Christmas flashback

Flashback to October 2008 when I was drawing the Team Toxic story for that year's Christmas edition of Toxic

As you can see, back then, 11 years ago, I was inking with a dip-nib and pot of ink. I've used various methods for inking over the years, from Rapidographs throughout the Tom Thug /Combat Colin days of the '80s and '90s, to dip-nibs at the start of this Century, and these days I use brush pens and fibre-tip pens. (I never got the hang of using a brush. That requires a very steady hand and doesn't suit everyone's style.)

If memory serves me right, the reason I stopped inking with a dip-nib was because I could no longer get the smooth quality Bristol board I was using and the new texture made the nibs stick a bit (and splatter the ink). Also, waiting for the ink to dry was time consuming. These days I use Canson Bristol board pads.

I used to enjoy writing/drawing Team Toxic for 16 years but sadly it went reprint a year ago thanks to Egmont suddenly cutting the magazine's budget. They don't pay creators a penny for reprints so I no longer buy the mag. Bitter? No, that's the way that company operates unfortunately and I learned to expect it. That's comics!


Thursday 19 December 2019

A guest page in a great collection

It was my pleasure recently to be commissioned to draw a page for my good pal Grant Perkins' comic book Dwayne Hickenbottom

The book collects all four issues of Grant's Dwayne Hickenbottom comic into one tidy full colour A5 sized comedy adventure. I've drawn a "pin up" bonus page featuring Dwayne and his hated sidekick Nigel. That's a fraction of it shown above, but to see the full page, and read Grant's fantastic comic, order your copy from his Etsy page at this link:

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Happy Christmas!

Wishing all readers a pleasant and peaceful Christmas and a New Year that brings good health and prosperity.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Put Tom Thug at the top of your tree!

It's that time of the year again and if you're looking for a fairy to put at the top of your tree there's none better than Tom Thug! Look how happy he looks to be wearing that dress! 

I did this activity page for Oink! comic back in 1987 and a lot of readers cut it out and made it. One of them being Phil Boyce, who now runs a blog dedicated to Oink! and other comics. That's a recent photo he took below, with Tom still at the top of his tree over 30 years later! 
Photo by Phil Boyce.

Follow Phil's blog here:

Christmas 1987

Over on my Blimey! blog I've presented a collection of Christmas comic covers from the years 1898 to 1998. Quite an array, and I've included one for which I drew part of the cover. It was the Christmas issue of Action Force in 1987 and editor Richard Starkings thought it'd be nice to do a split cover featuring the main feature by Jeff Anderson and Combat Colin by me. That's it above, as I'm sure you've noticed.

You can see a compendium of festive covers by others at my Blimey! blog at this link:

Friday 13 December 2019

It's starting to look a lot like a Daft Christmas!

The Christmas issue of Doctor Who Magazine is in the shops now and amongst its many features you'll find a festive Daft Dimension strip from me. I always enjoy drawing the Christmas strips for any publication but this is the only one I've done this year. Here's a little snippet of it above, and below you can see  the original art. (After scanning it into Photoshop I then fill in the solid blacks and add colour.)
Doctor Who Magazine No.546 is out now in WH Smiths, Sainsbury, Asda, selected newsagents and comic shops. 

Thursday 12 December 2019

COMBAT COLIN wins Best Independent / Small Press Comic Award

I'm very happy to reveal that Combat Colin has won the award for Best Independent / Small Press Comic in the 2019 Comic Scene Awards. Thank you to everyone who voted! There was some strong competition with some great comics out there.

Comic Scene No.11, where all the winners are announced, is available today in digital form, or in print next Thursday. 

Combat Colin comics are available exclusively by post from my website:

Thanks again to everyone who voted!

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Busy time

Postman Prat ©D.C. Thomson 
After what hasn't been a great year I'm very busy at the moment. Currently finishing off a strip featuring this character (above) that you may remember. Will also be embarking on a brand new strip very soon too, but you'll hear more about that in February.

And I should have some news to share tomorrow too! 


Monday 9 December 2019

Pete's Pimple could be yours! (Update: SOLD!)

This is my ORIGINAL ART for the Pete and his Pimple strip that was published in an issue of OINK! comic in 1987. The artwork is drawn in black ink embellished with a grey wash and grey pencil. Drawn on Bristol board and then affixed to a sheet of cartridge paper underneath with Spray Mount, although the art can be easily removed from the backing sheet if required. (Personally I'd keep it fixed to the backing sheet as it's survived perfectly well for over 30 years like that.) 

I signed it in the last panel. See photos for more detail. 

Size 37cm wide by 32cm high. 

The art will be securely packaged between strong card for posting and wrapped in parcel paper. 
This item will only run until December 15th to try to avoid Christmas post delays so buy soon if you want it. Thanks. Update 10th Dec: SOLD!

See listing here:


Wednesday 4 December 2019

Annual bargain

This year's Dandy and Beano Annuals are only £4.00 each, or two for £7.00, in Asda at the moment! Grab 'em now for Christmas!

I have three pages of Keyhole Kate in The Dandy Annual 2020, and I've contributed a lot more pages for next year's book. More news on that in the months to come. 

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Thanks again, Phil!

It's heartwarming when a reviewer really "gets" your work and understands where you're coming from and your style of humour. My thanks to Phil Boyce for this great review of Combat Colin No.4 on The Oink! Blog:

Monday 2 December 2019


I don't usually sell my original Combat Colin art but I've put two of the very early ones up on eBay so this is your chance to grab yourselves a rarity for Christmas. One features the very first appearance of Semi-Automatic Steve! Both are from 1987 and appeared in Marvel UK's Action Force weekly. The auction runs until next Monday, 9th Dec. All bids appreciated! https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/graphite47/m.html

UPDATE: Both sold within an hour with the Buy It Now option.