Thursday 30 December 2021

Reflecting on 2021

Highlights of my year in chronological order.

I don't think anyone has escaped this year unscathed by the pandemic. Even if most of us have been very fortunate in not catching the virus it's still affected our work, our social lives, and our mental health. With other disappointments and setbacks in life it all adds up to a year most of us would rather forget.

An increasing number of friends across the UK have contracted the virus this year, some mildly, some more severe, and I wish you all a full recovery.

Despite the ongoing situation, some of you found happiness and huge changes in your lives for the better, and I'm very pleased about that. Other friends experienced a lot of sadness and upset and I hope things will turn around for you soon.

By nature I'm an independent person who enjoys solitude, but this pandemic has pushed it to the limit. I enjoyed my walks in the local parks and countryside in the summer though.  

I am very grateful for the few times I did meet up with friends, whether face to face or just online. It really gave me a boost to have a laugh with good friends both in my home town and at the one comic convention I attended this year in Coventry. I hope to see more of you next year.

I'm also grateful to the editors who commissioned me for work this year, from traditional material such as Keyhole Kate for The Dandy Annual to more unusual one-offs such as The Statues of Liverpool comic and the billboard art for the Shrewsbury Comics Trail.

However, it was certainly a year of reduced workload and, subsequently, self doubt that affected my work rate. I'm busy for the next few weeks but beyond that point... that's a worry. I appreciate there are many of us in the same boat, as is the nature of freelancing.

Counting my blessings... my Daft Dimension strip continues in Doctor Who Magazine every month, and Sgt. Shouty will still be in The77 every few months. I'm pleased to announce that I'm about to start on a new weekly mini-strip for Beano, which should begin in March. Nothing like the workload I had a few years ago though so I hope it leads to more.

I'll be taking on private commissions soon (watch this space) and selling off more old pages of artwork from Buster and the like.

Finally, thanks to all of you for following and reading this blog. None of us know what the next 12 months will bring and we have to be pragmatic whilst still maintaining optimism. I hope we all get through 2022 intact and I wish every one of you a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Hogmany Fun from Oink! and Buster!

Here's a selection of New Year themed strips that I did long ago from the pages of Oink! and Buster. Script, art, and lettering by me unless stated otherwise. As always, please click/tap on each strip to see it at full size. Let's start the party off with the Pete and his Pimple strip above that was in Oink! No.18 at the end of 1986 celebrating HOGmany for 1987. 

Also in that same issue of Oink! was this Tom Thug strip of mine...

A year later and here's the Pete and his Pimple strip that looked forward to 1988...

The Tom Thug strip in that issue for 1988 didn't mention Hogmany but it did have a snowy theme so I thought I'd include it anyway...

Oink! merged into Buster in late 1988 and I was fortunate that my strips carried over into the long running weekly. Here's my Tom Thug strip that appeared in Buster in December 1988, looking forward to 1989. Balloon lettering by Mike Peters...

The Pete and his Pimple page that appeared in that same issue of Buster for 1989. Balloon lettering by Mike Peters...

In 1989 Pete and his Pimple was replaced by a new strip, The Vampire Brats. Initially scripted by Mark Rogers but by the end of the year I was writing it as well as drawing because Mark was ill (and tragically later passed away). This page from the New Year edition of Buster for 1990, with script, art, and lettering by me...

Back then I had two regular pages in Buster every week. Here's my Tom Thug page from the same issue. Balloon lettering by Mike Peters...

A year later, and Buster had added more colour to its pages so Tom Thug now appeared in full colour. (I used Dr.Martins water colour inks for my strips back then.) Here's the Hogmanay one published in December 1990 for New Year 1991. Balloon lettering by Jack Potter...

...and the Vampire Brats strip for the same issue. By this point the scripts for this strip were written by Roy Davis. This form of flat colouring was done by the Buster designers. (The comic couldn't afford full colour painted art on every page so this cheaper method was used for most pages, solely using 100% Magenta, Yellow, and Cyan. Somewhat garish but it's what the publishers wanted.) Jack Potter was now the letterer on both strips and those that follow.

Another year later and sadly The Vampire Brats had ended but Tom Thug was still ringing in the New Year. Published in December 1991, looking forward to 1992...


Finally, my Tom Thug page that appeared in Buster for New Year 1993....

I hope you've enjoyed these pages from the 1980s and 1990s. I'll be posting my end of year blog post over the next day or two.

Incidentally, Phil Boyce has done an item about the 1986/87 Hogmany issue of Oink! over on his OiNK! BLOG. You can read it here...



Beano Search and Find!

I'm pleased with how this turned out. As I mentioned a while ago, I was commissioned to draw a two page spread for the Beanotown Search And Find book and it's now available. 

Each book is printed to order, and you can have it personalised with the name of your child (or anyone) and use the available props to make it look like a young cartoon version of the person drawn by Nigel Parkinson. I like to have a copy of everything I've been published in so I bought one. As I don't have any kids I used my own name and based it on how I looked when I was a kid. (Yes, I had a full head of black hair back then. :)) 

Cover by Nigel Parkinson.

Various artists have contributed to the book including Nigel Parkinson (cover, main story and a couple of spreads), Laura Howell, Hugh Raine, Steve Beckett and more, each tackling different locations in Beanotown. I was assigned to draw loads of kids teeming out of Bash Street School, which was great fun! (Yes, there are a LOT more pupils attending the school than the usual 11 Bash Street Kids we usually see. I enjoyed creating some new ones!)

I also drew Bananaman's General Blight and Doctor Gloom for a puzzle page. Very good characters to illustrate. 

As the book is printed to order and each one is unique it doesn't come cheap, but it's a personalised item that would make a nice birthday gift. You can order one exclusively from the Beano website at this link...

Friday 24 December 2021

Compliments of the Season

Another year most of us would prefer to forget. I'm pleased that at least some of you found bright spots and upbeat changes to your lives and that makes me happy. I don't know what the future holds but I wish every one of you an enjoyable Christmas as best you can make it, and for good health, prosperity, and happiness in 2022.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Tales of Christmas Past

As promised, here are a bunch of my old festive stories from over the years. I've been working in comics professionally since 1983 and I always try to do at least one Christmas story every year if I have the opportunity. I didn't have time to dig out one for each year but here's a selection that I hope you'll enjoy! 

Script, art, lettering and colouring by me unless otherwise noted. 

As always, click on the images to enlarge them.

Showing them in chronological order, let's start with 1987 and the Pete and his Pimple strip from Oink!


Also from 1987 it's the first Christmas Combat Colin story from Action Force comic. Colours by Steve White...


Next, it's The Vampire Brats from Buster, Christmas 1989. 


From that same year, but a different publisher, it's Combat Colin from The Transformers comic for Christmas 1989. (Colouring by the Marvel UK staff.)


A year later and it's Christmas with Tom Thug from the festive 1990 issue of Buster...


When Buster went all-reprint in 1996 I found work on another Fleetway comic, Sonic the Comic, as a writer for several years on their comedy-adventure strips. There were some great artists who illustrated my scripts on that comic. This Christmas story from 1996 is written by me, with fantastic art by Andy Pritchett and a nice lettering job by Gordon Robson...


Moving forward a few years now, and over the ocean to an American comic, here's the festive Brickman episode from Image Comics' Elephantmen for Christmas 2005...

I did a lot of work for Toxic magazine as we moved into a new Century. Team Toxic was my regular strip for the mag for 16 years! Here's the one for the Christmas 2006 issue. Script and art by me, colouring by Lorna Miller, lettering by Egmont staff... 


I hadn't realised until now how often I'd had my characters helping Santa deliver presents! It's a standard theme of course, to have the hero "save" Christmas from adversity, and one that I think kids like to see. 

Working on The Dandy was a dream come true, and it was great to design a new character for them, based on their brief. This is the Postman Prat episode for the Christmas 2011 issue. Script by David Mason, everything else by me...

Working for Beano is another mighty privilege. I've done lots for them over the past several years and one of my favourite commissions was taking over the Rasher strip for five or six series. This is the episode from the Christmas 2012 issue. Lettering by the Beano designers...


Finally, more up to date, my current regular strip is The Daft Dimension that appears in Doctor Who Magazine every month. Here's the strip that was in the Christmas 2019 issue...

That concludes this trawl through my comic selection box. I hope the strips raised a smile or two in these grim times and that you all have a Happy Christmas wherever you may be. 


Saturday 18 December 2021

An Annual Treat

This is my last promo for the annuals I'm in this year. I've contributed to two titles. One is a brand new book and one is a title that's been around for over 80 years, and I find that old and new aspect really pleasing. 

The new title is The77 Annual, a 136 page book spinning off from the ongoing independent comic The77. Contents are all new and feature a variety of strips from established creators such as Glenn Fabry, Steve Pugh, John Charles, and myself, and newer creators such as Andrw Sawyers and Ian Stopforth. 

My contribution is The Origin of Doctor Plank, written, drawn, coloured and lettered by me, explanding the storyline of Sgt.Shouty with the backstory of his nemesis. 

There's also a colouring spread using a black and white version of my artwork for the variant cover for issue 4. 

You can find The77 Annual in comic shops (not newsagents) or you can order it from online sellers here: 


The long established book is of course The Dandy Annual, still going strong even 9 years after the weekly comic folded. 112 pages of all new material in full colour from creators such as Nigel Parkinson, Laura Howell and Steve Bright. My contributions are four Keyhole Kate pages I've written, drawn, coloured and lettered, plus a puzzle page I drew.


You can buy The Dandy Annual from WH Smith, some supermarkets, and bookshops, or you can order it directly from the publisher here:



Tuesday 14 December 2021

It's Christmas in comicland

Just a reminder that the Christmas edition of Doctor Who Magazine is out now, packed with features plus a festive Daft Dimension from me.

It's the only Christmas strip I've done this time, although I've always tried to do at least one every year. I'll dig out some of my old ones and show them on the blog next week!


Tuesday 7 December 2021

Final art sale for this year!

This will be my final art sale for this year so things don't get held up in the Christmas post. I've just put a couple of original pieces on eBay. A Combat Colin (The Transformers, 1989) and the pencil and ink versions of a Daft Dimension (Doctor Who Magazine from 2019).

The auction runs for a week until next Tuesday evening (14th December). Good luck to all bidders! You'll see more photos of each piece in the links....

Combat Colin strip from Transformers No.231 (1989): 


Daft Dimension Strip from Doctor Who Magazine No.538 (2019):

Monday 6 December 2021

Christmas / New Year DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE preview

The Christmas / New Year issue of Doctor Who Magazine will be in shops this Thursday! Packed with news, reviews, interviews and more from the world of Doctor Who and a double sided poster, plus I've contributed a festive themed Daft Dimension strip. (See a snippet above.)

Look out for the great cover featuring the Daleks and their new weapons! (Christmas presents perhaps?) Doctor Who Magazine No.572 this Thursday! If you can't find it in the shops order it online and he publishers will post one to you!


Sunday 5 December 2021

Thank you

A big thank you to everyone who bid on my art auction that ended today. I'll get the pages off to you this week when payments come through. I might put one or two other pieces up on eBay Tuesday night but as we're getting close to Christmas they will be the last ones this year. I'll hopefully sell more next year though! 

As always, when I do list items they'll be mentioned on this blog so please follow the blog for more updates.

Friday 3 December 2021

Art auction ends this Sunday

Just a reminder that my latest art auction ends this Sunday evening. Pieces of original art are two Robo-Capers strips from the 1980s, a Daft Dimension strip from 2020, and the only appearance of School Spanner from Viz (2002). 

Follow this link for the listings....

Good luck! 


Wednesday 1 December 2021

BAD PETS return

Occasionally I'm asked to contribute to Animal Planet Magazine which I enjoy very much as it's a mag educating kids about animals and the environment, - in a fun way of course. Issue 11, out today, features another Bad Pets mini strip written by Nigel Auchterlounie and drawn by me. The issue has something of a winter/snow theme to it so I couldn't resist putting a Christmas tree into the strip. 

Animal Planet Magazine No.11 has 68 packed pages and is out now in all good newsagents and supermarkets, or you can subscribe online...