Thursday 28 May 2020

Cover in production (2017)

I can't remember if I've posted all of these photos before. I don't think I have, but I recently found them on a memory stick so here you go. They're shots I took when I was drawing the cover for Combat Colin No.2, photographed on 8th December 2017. 

...and here's how the finished cover turned out... 
I've put my self-publishing and mail order on hold at present due to the pandemic and worries over financial issues but I will hopefully resume later in the year.

Don't forget that the digital Barmy Comix No.1 is available for you to download. More about it here:


Wednesday 27 May 2020

New DWM this week

Many comics and magazines are on hiatus during the lockdown but thankfully Doctor Who Magazine has stuck to its regular schedule, publishing an issue every four weeks. There's a new edition out this Thursday, 27th May, and amongst its 84 packed pages you'll find another Daft Dimension mini strip by me. 

Doctor Who Magazine No.552, out this week. £5.99. If your local shops are closed you can buy it directly from the publisher. Click on this link to find more info:


Tuesday 26 May 2020

Happy 60th, Buster!

Advert for BUSTER NO.1 from the DAILY MIRROR, 23rd May 1960.
It slipped my mind but it was the 60th anniversary of Buster comic the other day! Launched on 23rd May 1960, Buster was the first of Fleetway's new style 1960s comics. It heralded a more modern style of British weekly, moving away from the artistic styles of the long defunct titles such as Comic Cuts and Funny Wonder. He was billed as the "Son of Andy Capp" in those days when they shared the same publisher, but that was soon dropped and there's no connection between the two characters today.

Buster ran for almost 40 years, ending in December 1999. 

As this is my personal blog I thought I'd write some personal remembrances about it. I'd been a reader of Buster in the 1960s, becoming a regular reader in 1969 as it seemed to be the closest thing to the much-missed Power Comics, with its balance of humour and adventure strips.

I was privileged to be one of the numerous artists/writers that contributed to the comic in its later years. I came on board in 1988, when Oink! merged into Buster, bringing with me my characters Tom Thug and Pete and his Pimple.  
One of the covers I did for BUSTER. Colours by John Burns.
Tom Thug proved to be the most popular of those two, and gave the more established characters a run for their money too, as explained in this letter I received from the editor... 
After his two year run in Oink!, Tom Thug ran for another eight years in Buster before the comic went all-reprint in 1996. Then reprints of Tom Thug continued until the final issue in 1999, so the character was in print consistently for thirteen years, ten years of which were new material (over 400 episodes, all written and drawn by me).

Buster was an excellent comic to contribute to in the 20th Century, so I was over the moon to be invited back as an artist on the recent all-new Cor!! Buster Specials and drawing the Buster strip itself (and also the Gums strip this year.)
Page 1 of the new Buster and Delbert. Script by John Freeman, art by Lew Stringer.

Page 1 of the new Gums strip. Script by Lizzie Boyle, art by Lew Stringer.
I'm pleased that, for Buster's 60th anniverary, there is currently a new Buster title on the stands... and if you have difficulty finding it during the lockdown you can order it directly from the publisher at this link:

Happy 60th, Buster! Now you're back, let's hope you stick around for a long time to come!  


Combat Colin No.4 is now SOLD OUT!

Please note that I no longer have any copies of Combat Colin No.4 left in stock. I have a few assigned to send out for recent orders, but that'll be it for the time being. 

I will be getting a second printing done later this year, along with publishing Combat Colin No.5, but not yet. It's all dependant on finances and the safety of sending out items during the current pandemic.  

As I posted a few weeks ago, I'm avoiding post offices at the moment but I will honour the orders from those of you who have recently bought comics. Thank you for your patience. 

In the meantime, don't forget that you can download Barmy Comix, a 32 page digital comic that includes a 9 page preview of Combat Colin No.5 plus lots of other strips! More about it here:

Sunday 24 May 2020

Robots made in Bryce

Years ago I dabbled with the 3D software Bryce to create some images. Bryce is really intended for terrain modelling but it was fun to play around with the shapes and textures to create figures instead. Here's one of my efforts from 2005. 

It took ages to create this so 3D modelling isn't something I'm likely to return to anytime soon. (I don't have any software to create it now anyway.) Give me a pen and paper any day.

Friday 22 May 2020

Development of my convention banner

Here's the artwork for the banner I use at conventions. Pencilled, inked, and finished stages. I've been using this banner since 2016 and will be designing a new one for future shows whenever they can, hopefully, resume.

Comics Salopia, Shrewsbury Castle, June 2019. Artist Aneke on the left.
Laura Howell's banner to the right.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Bash Street from the board to the page

I thought you might like to compare a Bash Street Kids puzzle page I drew from the roughs to the published version. The photo of the version at the pencilled stage on my drawing board was taken on 10th August 2018. After inking and colouring it I emailed the art to the Beano offices on 13th August 2018. 

The published version (below) appeared on 26th September 2018 in Beano No.3954.
A six week gap between deadline and publication is the norm. Sometimes, in the case of specials and annuals, the gap is many months! For example I'll soon be drawing a Keyhole Kate page for The Dandy Annual 2022, which will be published in July 2021! 

Weekly comics pages are drawn 6 to 8 weeks in advance. Annual pages between 9 and 12 months in advance! Obviously we have no way of knowing if any calamity will be affecting society by the time the material is published (as is currently happening with COVID-19) but I like to think that the Dandy/Beano universe exists separately from ours in an escapist world where the worst things never happen.  


Tuesday 19 May 2020

Postman Prat: The origin

It's been ten years this autumn since The Dandy was revamped and I was invited to contribute. An exciting time, as the UK's longest-running comic was to be completely rebooted with a new look but taking it back to its roots as a comic. (It had previously been running as a magazine for a few years, titled Dandy Xtreme which didn't quite work.) 

The characters I did for the Dandy in 2010 were two concepts created in-house by the editors. Kid Cops, about two kids bringing justice to their neighbourhood in daft ways, and Postman Prat.  

I recently found a memory stick containing my Dandy strips so I thouyght I'd show you a couple of pieces. Above are my initial roughs for Postman Prat and his colleagues. I'm sure I must have submitted finished drawings too but I seem to have lost those. As you can see, Prat was originally a much shorter, chubbier character to the one he developed into. Not sure why I changed it. Perhaps I felt a leaner figure had more flexibility for slapstick. His proportions were a bit odd originally. Comic characters often evolve as time goes on, as you'll see if you look at early versions of Dennis the Menace or Buster for example.

Prat was still a fairly chubby character in the first episode, seen below. This is the art as I submitted it, with balloons and captions added later by the D.C. Thomson designers. Postman Prat was originally written by editor Craig Graham but he's had a few writers over the years. I write the stories myself these days for The Dandy Summer Special and Dandy Annual.
Sadly The Dandy didn't last too long in its final revamp. It had already lost many readers in previous years and never recovered from its declining sales. Ironically the final issue in 2012 sold so many copies it had to be reprinted to meet demand! Where were all those readers weeks before? Some said they weren't even aware it was still being published! Ah well, so it goes! 

Today, The Dandy survives in specials and annuals and Postman Prat appears in a new story in The Dandy Summer Special that's out now. He'll also be back in The Dandy Annual 2021, on sale in July!

Below: Postman Prat as he appears today, in the upcoming Dandy Annual 2021

Thursday 14 May 2020

The Dandy is back!

The sun's out and so is The Dandy Summer Special! 68 pages packed with vintage material from creators such as Dudley Watkins, Allan Morley, George Martin and more plus some brand new pages this time too! There's a new Postman Prat page by me in there, plus pages by Nigel Parkinson, Laura Howell, Andy Fanton, Alan Ryan, Nigel Auchterlounie, Steve Bright... and Mike Collins on Desperate Dan! Cover by Steve Bright. 

Available directly from DC Thomson at this link:

Cover art by Steve Bright.
Some of the Dudley Watkins pages from the 1940s are scanned from the original art, so the reproduction is perfect!  
Early Desperate Dan by Dudley Watkins.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

BATTLE returns this September!

Cover art by Nelson Daniel.
Rebellion have revealed some info about another of their 2020 Specials and this one is a 100 page giant! Here's the PR:

"Unveiling the cover by Nelson Daniel for the BATTLE Special - out 19 September with 100 pages marking the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, with brand new work by Garth Ennis, Rob Williams, Alan Hebden, Alex De Campi, Dan Abnett, Alan Grant, Karl Stock, Keith Burns, PJ Holden, Brett McKee, Staz Johnson, Jimmy Broxton, Glenn Fabry, and Tom Paterson!"

Why am I mentioning this on my art blog? Well, although it's not listed in the PR above, I have a four panel mini-strip in there as light relief to the wartime dramatics. Although the rest of the comic is all-new, my contribution is an old strip from the 1980s that I thought would be appropriate, so I dusted it off, remastered and coloured it. I won't say which strip it is yet (not Combat Colin) but you'll find out in September! I'm very proud to be in a comic alongside such industry giants!

You'll be able to pre-order the Battle Special nearer the time of publication from the Treasury of British Comics shop at this link: 

Don't forget that the Cor!! Buster Easter Special (which includes six pages of art from me) is still available from the above link.


Monday 11 May 2020

The77 - Something to SHOUT about

I had my copies of The77 arrive this morning. It's a brand new creator-owned UK comic I've contributed to and it's all turned out very nicely.

With comic shops closed this might not be the ideal time to launch a new comic, but credit to editor Ben K Sy for sticking to his plan to get The77 published and copies are available to buy via mail order. Details at this link:

The77 was funded via Kickstarter, ably supported by generous fans who were eager to see a new British comic published. Inspired by (but not imitating) the comics of a few decades ago, The77 dubs itself a "new retro anthology" and contains strips by a variety of creators, from newcomers to established pros. Here you'll find stories by Steve MacManus, Brendon T. Wright, Mal Earl, John Charles, Kek-W, Phil Elliott, Baden James Mellonie, Marc Jackson, and more. The youngest contributor is 11 year old Drew Marr, producing his strip Key Runners

As mentioned on this blog before, my contribution is a new creation, Sgt. Shouty of the Moon Force, and he'll be back in issue 2 as well. It's a parody of strips such as Valiant's Captain Hurricane and the SHOUTY dialogue from early issues of 2000AD. In subsequent chapters I'll develop Sgt. Shouty's supporting cast too. 

As with any new anthology venture some material is stronger than others but overall it's a good looking package and a nice chunky comic at 68 pages! Most of it is in full colour and I was pleased to see that the interiors are on matt paper, so you can read it in the sunshine with no irritation of it reflecting the light. 

The77 is a nice way to escape for an hour in these difficult times and it'll be good to see the comic grow. Give it your support!


Tuesday 5 May 2020

Don't forget your COR!! BUSTER Special!

Just a little reminder that the Cor!! Buster Easter Special is still on sale, even though it's no longer Easter. It should be in selected newsagents until early June, or you can order it directly from the publishers, Rebellion, at this link:

For years, fans of UK comics gave been hoping the old characters would return and now they're back in a brand new 52 page special! Don't miss it!