Thursday 31 December 2020

Pete and his Pimple on New Year's Eve 1988

Here's a page I did for Buster dated 31st December 1988. Script and art by me, lettering by Mike Peters. As you may know, I created Pete and his Pimple for Oink! comic in 1986 and when the two comics merged in 1988 it was one of the few strips that made the transition to Buster

I must admit, this page didn't take too long to draw due to the solid black panels. I even offered to do it for less than my usual rate, but editor Allen Cummings was a good bloke and made sure I got the full rate. Visually I thought it'd be fun to do a few black panels to signify that Pete was totally in the dark. Unfortunately the printers had some problem with so much large black ink areas being on one page so you'll notice it's a bit patchy. Ah well. Hopefully the humour wasn't patchy. 

I still remember drawing this page even though it seems a lifetime ago. These are harder times now, and I know the prospect of a New Year doesn't seem very significant this time but I wish you all good health and the very best of luck for 2021.

Wednesday 30 December 2020

The77 - issue 4

My complimentary copies of The77 No.4 arrived last week. People who backed it on Kickstarter should receive theirs any time now too!

I drew the wraparound cover variant for this issue, and there's my usual Sgt.Shouty page inside of course. Plus loads of strips by other creators! In case you haven't heard of it before, The77 is a new independent British comic launched earlier in 2020. It's an anthology of action strips by new and established creators.

If you missed the Kickstarter you can still buy a copy from the publisher, and issues will be shipped out next month. Here's the link: 

Monday 28 December 2020

Well, that was 2020 then

Usually when I post these yearly retrospectives my photo compilations are full of happy scenes at the various comic conventions I've attended over the past 12 months. Not so this year of course. I've really missed travelling all over the country to see old friends and meet new people. Usually we'd all gain new friends through our travels so it's strange to have our lives so suddenly diminished. So this year's photos are mainly from walks within a two mile radius.

The photos are all in chronological order, starting with New Year's Eve last year. The last time I had a big night out with a group of friends. I saw a few others before the lockdown but then life changed for everyone of course. I must admit I've struggled at times this year without any social life or human interaction. But any self-pity has been short lived because I know my solitude is a luxury compared to the hardships that key workers amongst you deal with every single day. Plus those of you who have lost loved ones through this virus or suffered / are suffering with it yourselves.

I'm grateful to good friends who I have been able to briefly meet up with this year (socially distancing of course) and to those of you I've chatted with in video calls, messages, and phone calls. It's really been a lifeline and I don't know what mental state I'd be in by now without social media or those short meet ups. Even just scrolling through my news feed and seeing artwork from fellow comics folk, music videos, or updates about your lives has been essential to getting through each day, so thanks for being there!

Thankfully, I've also been able to keep busy working, although the pandemic did impact on it somewhat, and (like many of us) I also struggled with a lack of motivation, but thank you to Doctor Who Magazine, The Beano, Rebellion, and The77 for the work you've been able to put my way.

New Year feels very flat this time because it's going to be pretty much the same as this for most of us for quite some time yet, but more than ever I wish you all good health, happiness, and prosperity for 2021.

Sunday 27 December 2020

Preview of next week's Beano

Ellis the Elephant has escaped from Beanotown Zoo! The hunt is on in the next issue of the Beano. Will he be found? Well, it gave me a chance to put a few of the Bash Street Kids in the strip anyway. I always like drawing those iconic characters. Leo Baxendale designed them well back in the 1950s, and let's not forget that David Sutherland has been doing a fantastic job on The Bash Street Kids strip since 1962!

See the full story of Ellis's Great Escapes in Beano No.4066, in the shops on Wednesday 30th December! 

I'm not sure how often Ellis will appear after this issue unfortunately, as there will be new stories coming into the Beano (none by me I'm afraid). I've drawn a few more Ellis episodes for the future but I won't know when they'll see print until they're actually published. I'll let you know on this blog whenever my work appears in the comic.

In the meantime, here's the cover of the next issue to look out for, drawn by the Sharp Brothers...

Thursday 24 December 2020

Wishing you all the best for Christmas

It's been a difficult year for all of us, and a tragic year for many. Christmas will feel very different, and very empty for a lot of people this year, but I hope you can find some peace of mind and some cheer if you're seeking it.

The one thing to hold onto is hope, and with vaccinations now under way, hopefully some form of normality can resume by next summer. 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and good health and happiness in 2021. Let's end with a couple of songs. Here's a very poignant one from comic artist Emma Vieceli, the original wartime version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"...

...and here's "Silent Night" by a good friend of mine, professional singer Sarah Leaman...

Happy Christmas all. 

Team Toxic in Crazy Christmas! (2006)

I freelanced for Toxic magazine for 16 years on the Team Toxic strip. Firstly as a writer, then by issue 14 as writer and artist. It was a two page strip every issue but I had the luxury of a double length story for this Christmas 2006 edition! 

The remit of Toxic was for "gross humour" but I didn't want my stories to only rely on that so I put the characters into the sort of comedy-action situations that I'd enjoyed doing on Combat Colin, creating bizarre villains menacing the city.

Script/art by me, colours by Lorna Miller. Toxic No.82, published December 6th, 2006. Hope you enjoy it! 


Wednesday 23 December 2020

Christmas with Tom Thug in the Nineties

This Christmas page appeared in the very last Christmas issue of Buster in 1999, but the comic was all reprint by then so it originally appeared a few years earlier. I'm not sure when, as some of my Busters are still unsorted and it'd take me ages to find the right one. (I found this one by chance.) It'd be before 1996 which was the year Tom Thug went reprint. Going by the mention of Captain Scarlet, I'm guessing it was 1993, which is when the TV series was repeated on the telly. 

Hope you like it! Another Christmas strip in the next post!

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Combat Christmas 1989

I've posted this a few years ago but in case you missed it, here it is again. The Christmas episode of Combat Colin that I did for The Transformers No.250 back in 1989! Even though it was 31 years ago I still remember drawing it. I even put a Dalek in there, not realising that I'd be drawing them these days for Doctor Who Magazine! 

I'll sort out some other old Christmas strips of mine to post soon before the big day. (Or in this year's case, standard size day I guess.) 

Friday 18 December 2020

Funny Find-It (2003)

Back in 2003 I was a regular contributor to a kids' magazine called Know How!, published by Egmont. One of my assignments was to create a double page spread every month for kids to find various characters in a busy picture called Funny Find-It. Here's one of them, that has an appropriately winter theme for the New Year 2003 edition. Social distancing not a problem 18 years ago of course (although we did catch more colds). Click the picture to see it much larger.

Two of the characters in the pictures were based on the editor, Claire Mewett, and the magazine's designer, Kate Merritt, as they both asked to be included. (Kate is the taller of the two.) The dog was based on my own dog, who sadly passed away later that year age 18.

I really enjoyed working for Know How! magazine. There were no comic strips in it though, so comic fans wouldn't have seen my work there, but I was commissioned to draw lots of illustrations. Every issue was different, with various topics, so it kept everything fresh and lively. Sometimes my art was re-used for free stickers, which was fun. This was back when gifts were cover-mounted, not bagged and hiding the magazine...

Know How! was a great mag to work for and I appreciate Claire for putting so much work my way. Not many of today's kids' mags seem to feature much originated material, tending to use and re-use photos and art from press releases instead, which is cheaper for the publisher but it shortchanges the readers somewhat. You can read more about Know How! in this blog post I wrote a few years back:

Thursday 17 December 2020

Artwork for CARTOON NETWORK (1996)

I've worked for lots of clients over the years as an artist and writer but I've rarely drawn licensed characters. These examples are from a time when I did work on a few things like that. Back in 1996, I was commissioned by Egmont UK to do some illustrations for a 16 page magzine they were doing for Cartoon Network. The magazine was to promote the channel over the Christmas period and was given away free inside a national newspaper. (The Daily Mirror if I recall correctly.) Cartoon Network Christmas Preview was its full title.

Above is the cover I was asked to do. Sharp eyed readers will spot that the characters are mostly based on existing poses but that's what the client wanted. Both Dexter and Johnny Bravo are pretty much cribbed from the model sheets but I had a little more flexibility with Tom and Jerry. I've been reliably informed that Alan Craddock did the colouring on these comics.

Inside, the magazine mostly used promotional art from the company, although there was a nicely drawn four page Dexter's Laboratory strip by Dave King.  

I was asked to draw a page and a half adapting a Cartoon Network trailer into strip form and this was the result...



A few months later, in 1997, I was asked to contribute more material for the Cartoon Network Easter Extravaganza, another 16 page magazine once again to be used as a giveaway in a newspaper. I think someone else came up with the idea for the cover but the artwork is all mine... 

I also drew a four page strip in that issue starring the Two Stupid Dogs. I don't know who wrote, coloured, or lettered it, as the strip was uncredited unfortunately! I did the sound effect lettering though. 

I enjoyed my venture into drawing Cartoon Network characters although drawing licenced strips isn't something I wanted to do regularly. It all adds to the CV though and provides variety to my portfolio. 

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Combat Colin will return... one day!


Just an update for new readers. As I mentioned back in September, my self-publishing has been on hiatus this year as a knock on effect of the pandemic. Hopefully I'll publish Combat Colin No.5 sometime in the first half of 2021, but life is too unpredictable these days to commit to a firm date. 

As for back issues, some have sold out, and I'm not sure whether to go back to print or just wait until I do a bumper collection at some point in the future. It's all up in the air at present I'm afraid. 

I've been thinking of doing a digital comic that's not related to Combat Colin, but that's not priority at the moment. 

Keep following this blog for developments because whatever the future holds for my comics, mainstream or self-published, you'll read about it here first!

Sunday 13 December 2020


Just a little clip of a strip I drew last night, that will be in print next month. Pencilled with a non-repro Prismacolour blue pecil, inked with a Japanese Tombow brush pen. I've been working long hours recently and it's disturbed my sleep pattern so I didn't see daylight today again. Got a lot to do before Christmas, but what my schedule will be in 2021 is uncertain at present. Then again, thanks to the pandemic and the idiocy of Brexit, life is uncertain for all of us right now. Stay safe and hold onto hope!


Friday 11 December 2020

Preview of Sgt.SHOUTY for The77 No.4

Here's a little preview of my next Sgt.SHOUTY episode. Shouty and Ralph explore the planet they've crash-landed on... but danger beckons! You'll find the full page in The77 No.4 along with lots of other strips by new and established creators. 

As mentioned before, I've drawn the variant wraparound cover for this issue. Here it is with the logo I designed...

How do you get hold of The77? You can back the Kickstarter campaign and there's only a few hours to go. Check it out here:

...and if you've missed any back issues you can buy them from this webshop:

Are you a regular reader of The77? Comment below with your thoughts...

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Daft Christmas Preview

Here's a glimpse of part of my Daft Dimension strip for the Christmas issue of Doctor Who Magazine

Other features include Jodie Whittaker, John Barrowman and Chris Chibnall previewing Revolution of the Daleks!

DWM 559 also includes: Chris Chibnall's Production Notes, a behind-the-scenes look at Season 8's Blu-ray trailer with Pete McTighe & Katy Manning, the DWM's Christmas Quiz, and much more!

On sale 10 December.



Sunday 6 December 2020

Christmas with Tom Thug (1991)


Thanks to Richard Langford for reminding me of this Tom Thug page I did for the Christmas issue of Buster 29 years ago back in 1991! Guest starring the Royal family... and I didn't get locked up in the Bloody Tower for it! :) I always enjoy doing the Christmas pages and decorating them with festive bits and bobs.


Christmas BEANO preview

Here's a sneak peek at my Christmas episode of Ellis's Great Escapes! This would have been the final episode but I'm glad to say the strip's had a reprieve to carry on for a while into the New Year. 

I also provided some illustrations of The Bash Street Kids to be used in a board game that's in the issue. It's always fun drawing them!

You'll find it all in the Christmas issue of the Beano (No.4065) that will be in the shops from Wednesday 9th December. It's been several years since I had anything in the Christmas edition so I'm very pleased with this. I added some holly to the panel corners of course and it definitely has a festive theme. 

In fact the whole issue is very Christmassy indeed and it's a bumper 44 page edition plus a pull out calendar poster that's nearly A2 in size. Here's the cover, by Nigel Parkinson...

The issue comes in a cardboard pack that looks like this....

...and it includes a bunch of gifts such as this Gnasher Face Mask! 

This Christmas issue will be on sale for three weeks, so there won't be another Beano until 30th December. Don't leave it too late to buy a copy though as they're likely to sell fast!   


Friday 4 December 2020

Burning the Midnight Oil


I'm pleased to say that my run on Ellis's Great Escapes will now continue beyond the Christmas issue of the Beano. I'm not sure for how long, but I've been commissioned to do seven so far. 

They're needed fairly urgently so I've been working crazy hours recently. Bear in mind that I write my own material so there are deadlines for scripts as well as art deadlines, all to be done over the next few weeks. Two are drawn, and I've just sent off two more scripts, and I'm currently drawing the third as the deadline is today. It's currently 3.22 A.M. and I estimate I'll be working on this until at least 6 A.M.

Not that I'm complaining! Finances have been very tight this year due to effects of the pandemic. Bills and the cost of living are still eating into my dwindling savings but steady work such as a weekly Beano strip really helps.  

This weekend I'll also be drawing the Sgt.Shouty page for The77. Deadline for that is Monday. Then I'll be cracking straight on with more Ellis strips plus another project I've had on the drawing board for some time. After that I have a job to do for another publisher that won't see print until next year.

I'm also finishing the latest ideas for The Daft Dimension this weekend for the January issue of Doctor Who Magazine, and that needs to be drawn next week too. 

Freelancing tends to be "all or nothing" but I appreciate the work and try not to turn any down if I can help it. To coin an increasingly annoying cliché, "these are uncertain times" and most of us are struggling mentally and financially these days. I count myself as one of the fortunate ones because I paid off my mortgage five years ago and have no family to worry about so it's just me taking one day at a time. That's my philosophy these days; don't dwell on the future. Take it steady and deal with each day as it comes. 

I do worry about friends though, especially ones who I know are having a tough time right now. For what it's worth, my thoughts are with you and I hope we'll start to see brighter days ahead in 2021. 

Right... back to the drawing board...

UPDATE 9/12/20: Just been informed that Ellis will only be used as a fill-in now unfortunately. So it goes.