Friday 30 April 2021

Ellis is back next week!

Ellis meets The Bash Street Kids!

I'm pleased to say that not one but two of my Ellis's Great Escapes strips will be in the Beano next week! 

This is the first time I've had anything in the comic since my series of Ellis strips ended in December, although they've kept a few in stock since then. I had no idea when they'd be used so it's good that two will be in print next week.

Why now? Well, Ellis the Elephant also makes an appearance in the Dennis and Gnasher strip in that issue (drawn by Nigel Parkinson) so I guess it was the right time. There are also a couple of other Ellis strips in stock but I don't know when they'll be used. 

Ellis even appears on the cover (also drawn by Nigel Parkinson) so this is the issue to look out for when it arrives in the shops next Wednesday, 5th May! 

Cover by Nigel Parkinson.


Thursday 29 April 2021

The Future of Football (1990s)

Here's some old artwork of mine that I found today. I'm not sure if it was ever published, or which comic it appeared in if it was used. As there's a note at the top to fax it to Graham Hey I think it's a fair bet it was intended for either Sweet F.A. or C'Mon Ref! as he was the editor of both of those football comics. I was a regular contributor to them but I don't know if these strips were used or not. I'm guessing they probably were, as Graham was a good editor and always keen to give me plenty of work.

Sweet F.A. and C'Mon Ref! were comics similar to Viz, but with an all-football theme and (slightly) less bad language so that they could be sold to younger readers as well as adults. That said, shops still put them on the top shelf, although some did stock them alongside the football magazines which is where they should have been. 

When I have time, I'll dig out my old issues and show a few pages here. 

By the way; for those who have complained the images on this blog are too small, I'm guessing you're using a smartphone? Click / tap on the images and they'll open up at a larger size where you can read them more clearly.


Monday 26 April 2021

Combat Colin is back today!

Read Aces Weekly on your tablet!

In his first all-new strip in five years, Combat Colin returns to Aces Weekly today! The new three page story appears in the online comic Aces Weekly Vol.50 No.7 that went live tonight. The new adventure sees Colin and his sidekick Semi-Automatic Steve face their old enemies Professior Madprof and Bankrobber Man! 

Combat Colin was a character I created for Marvel UK back in 1987 when he appeared in Action Force and The Transformers weeklies. When his run ended in 1991, Marvel returned all rights to me and Colin has appeared on and off in various places over the past 30 years. A reprint collection of all his stories was halted by the knock-on effects of the pandemic after issue 4, but issue 5 will appear sometime this year. 

A few new Combat Colin stories have appeared in Aces Weekly over the years since its debut issue in 2012. 

You'll find the first one in Aces Weekly Volume 1 No.1. Colin and Semi-Automatic Steve encounter a new menace in the form of the Zombie-Yeds!

The second new complete story appeared in Aces Weekly Vol.8 No.7, with a guest appearance by The Giggly Sisters leading to Colin and Steve encountering their old enemy Madprof!

The third new Combat Colin strip appeared in Aces Weekly Vol.16 No.6, with our heroes flying into space to avert the Ass-teroid!

The fourth new strip appeared in Aces Weekly Vol.21 No.7, and saw Colin and Semi-Automatic Steve battle each other!

...and now they're back again in Vol.50, No.7 as part of Aces Weekly's celebrations of reaching 50 volumes. Each volume is comprised of seven weekly issues, meaning that this week's edition is No.350! Pretty good for an online comic that some were skeptical about when it launched nine years ago.

I'm very pleased that editor/publisher David Lloyd invited me to contribute a new story for this significant issue. Combat Colin remains my favourite creation so I'm very happy to bring him back once more! 

This issue also features five other strips including David Leach's Psycho Gran. You'll remember that she originated in Oink! comic back in 1986 so in this week's Aces Weekly you're getting two classic 1980s characters back in new stories! (By coincidence, today is the 35th anniversary of Oink! comic!)

Subscibing to Aces Weekly costs just £7 for each volume, meaning that each issue is only £1 each, - and the beauty of it being digital is that every previous volume is always available to buy too! Go to the website at the following link to read more and sign up!



Meet The Curator!

In the next issue of Doctor Who Magazine I've done a daft spin on the 11th Doctor meeting The Curator in my Daft Dimension strip. Doctor Who Magazine No.564 will be in shops on Thursday 29th April for £5.99. There's the cover below. Don't miss it!




Sunday 25 April 2021


There have been some unusual items throughout the history of comics; curious comics to promote toothpaste (Signal and Arrow comics) or even Danish bacon (the Princess of Asgarrd one off). Now here's another, with a more noble purpose than merely selling goods. STATUES OF LIVERPOOL is a one-off educational comic produced by the charity Liverpool Heartbeat, to inform local kids, and anyone else interested in Liverpool history, about some of the figures represented in the statues in the city. 

The 24 page full colour comic is written by Tim Quinn and illustrated by Russ Leach, Nigel Parkinson, Holly Bushnell, George Sears, Dicky Howett, and myself.

I thoroughly enjoyed drawing my four pages, and using a slightly different style. The grim subject matter of drawing the Blitz was quite harrowing but I hope I've done it justice. Every penny made from the mag will go back into projects to educate and entertain the young people of Merseyside via the Liverpool Hearbeat charity. 

Not available from newsagents but STATUES OF LIVERPOOL is available to buy directly from Liverpool Heartbeat for just £3 at this link:

Cover by Russ Leach.


Thursday 22 April 2021

It's Combattin' Time!

On my drawing board right now is a brand new three page Combat Colin story that I'm doing for the digital comic Aces Weekly

Yes, the bobble-hatted hero is back for his first new adventure since 2016 (which also appeared in Aces Weekly). 

As you'll probably know as you follow this blog, Combat Colin was created in 1987 for Marvel UK's Action Force weekly, then hopped over to The Transformers when the two comics merged in 1988. It ran there until the final issue in 1991, after which, Marvel UK returned the rights to me. I've since produced several Combat Colin collections and the fifth issue will be published sometime this year. 

A brand new Combat Colin story debuted in Aces Weekly No.1 back in 2012 and a further three stories followed in various issues. Aces Weekly is published in volumes of seven issues each, and as it's currently on Volume 50, editor/publisher David Lloyd asked if I'd be interested in bringing back Combat Colin as part of the celebrations. I had time in my schedule so the answer was yes!

The deadline for this story is imminent and it'll be online on Monday so I'd better get a move on! More news soon!

You can subscribe to Aces Weekly at this link:


Monday 19 April 2021

Summer's coming!

D.C. Thomson have revealed the covers of their Summer Specials for this year, along with details to pre-order them from their online store. 

The Dandy Summer Special will once again mainly contain classic reprint as a great showcase of strips from the comic's long history. There will be some new art too though, as I was commissioned to draw an introductory half page illustration for one of the sections. (Other artists have drawn new pieces for other chapters. You'll find out who soon!) I really enjoyed drawing classic characters such as Dirty Dick (above), Bully Beef and Chips, and The Smasher in their traditional 1960s styles. Here's how it looked during the pencil stage...

Apparently there's one new story too, but I've no idea who features in that. With covers by Steve Bright, The Dandy Summer Special 2021 arrives in shops in May, but you can pre-order it and the all-new Beano Summer Activity Special directly from D.C. Thomson at this link:

Cover by Steve Bright.




Footballer Dixie Dean.

One of the new things I've done recently was to illustrate four pages for a brand new one-off comic for Liverpool Heartbeat. Statues of Liverpool is a lively educational comic focused on the history represented by Liverpool's many statues. Scripts were provided by long established writer Tim Quinn, and other contributors include Nigel Parkinson, Russ Leach, and Dicky Howett.

A section of my Ken Dodd page.

My pages feature the statues of Ken Dodd, Dixie Dean and others. It was a challenge to draw in a slightly different style as it needed to be semi realistic but I found it immensely satisfying and a very pleasurable job to do. For the Ken Dodd page I also created a background of theatre posters inspired by the various designs of posters from Ken's long career. I couldn't resist adding a TV Comic cover from 1969 too as it featured Ken Dodd and his Diddymen.

A section of my page on the Blitz.

Here's Tim Quinn to tell us more about the comic...

"One of the best things about being the editor of a brand new comic magazine is that you can choose the illustrators to bring the story to life. In the case of this particular publication I thought I would try an experiment by pooling 6 of the great diverse talents I've been lucky enough to work with over the past 50 years to tell a single story. As I approached each artist in turn and set the book in motion, I suddenly had doubts that there would be no blurring of the lines and that you would be able to see the join between each illustrator and that that join would be jarring. Happily, as soon as pages started coming in those fears were put to rest and it became obvious that we were creating a unique comic book in its own write and draw as John Lennon might have said. The illustrations are superb as we bring Liverpool and its history to life. This is one proud editor. And it's all for a great cause as every penny made from the book goes back into projects that educate and entertain the young people of Merseyside via that fabulous charity organisation Liverpool Heartbeat."

Order your copy today at the following link:

Fab cover by Russ Leach!


Saturday 17 April 2021

The CLUMP! (Toxic, 2011)

Here's a creation of mine that you may not have seen before. Back in April 2011, Toxic magazine No.137 had a 16 page comic bagged with it. Toxic presents Crazy Comics was full of brand new humour characters from creators such as Jamie Smart, Laura Howell, Paul H. Birch, John Erasmus, John Freeman, Paul Harrison-Davies... and me!

The idea was for readers to vote for their favourite new charcter, and the winner would then get its own regular strip in Toxic. In the end, Jamie Smart's Count Von Poo won, although sadly it was a short lived victory due to parents complaining about it being about poo with a face drawn on it. (As if kids would imitate that!) 

My contribution to Crazy Comics was a character called The Clump! This lumbering purple monster had previously appeared in my Team Toxic strip but I thought I'd give him a chance to break out on his own. With this being for Toxic it contained the elements of "gross humour" that readers expected of the magazine. 

In hindsight, The Clump probably wouldn't have had much longevity as a regular strip, but I didn't mind not winning as I already had two regular pages in Toxic every issue!

Anyway, ten years on, I thought you might like to see the full two pager of The Clump's one and only solo adventure! 

You can read more about the other strips that were in that Crazy Comics special in this old blog post of mine at this link:

They were good days for Toxic magazine, when it contained several pages of originated strips. Sadly these days the only strips it features are bought-in ones such as Teen Titans Go! and its Unique Selling Point of gross humour has been excised from the mag. 

Wednesday 14 April 2021

New interview about HAM DARE!

Art by Malcolm Douglas from a script by Lew Stringer.

I was recently interviewed for Spaceship Away magazine, the comic dedicated to Dan Dare and other space heroes of the 1950s. The reason being that back in 1986 I wrote a Dan Dare spoof serial for Oink! comic entitled Ham Dare, Pig of the Future

Ham Dare was illustrated by the brilliant Malcolm Douglas (using his alias J.T. Dogg) and he accomplished wonders with it. I was lucky to have him drawing my script.

You can find out more about the background to Ham Dare (and other Dan Dare parodies) in Spaceship Away No.53, available to buy from this link:

The interview is part of a six page feature called The Fake Dan Dare Syndrome by Andrew Darlington which also includes other Dan Dare spoofs and related strips such as Danny Dare from Wham!. The article mentions that my Ham Dare plot bears a passing resemblance to the 1957 novel Wolfbane by Frederik Pohl.... which came as a surprise to me because I'd never even heard of that book until now! 

Spaceship Away features brand new stories of the original Dan Dare along with colour reprints of Jeff Hawke and other material. There's also a tribute to the marvellous artist Don Harley who passed away in January.

If you want to know more about Oink! comic, be sure to check out the Oink! Blog run by Phil Boyce:

Art by Malcolm Douglas, script by me.

Sunday 11 April 2021

Back to the drawing board

Work has picked up of late, and exhausting side-effects from the Astra Zenica vaccine finally seem to have worn off, so I'm busy at the drawing board at the moment. I can't show any of the pages I've been working on yet but I'll post more info whenever I can. 

One of the projects is an educational comic about the statues of Liverpool. It's written by Tim Quinn and I'm drawing four pages for it, and other pages have been drawn by Nigel Parkinson, Russ Leach, Dicky Howett and others. A change of pace to my usual work and I'm really enjoying it! 

I've also just sent off the latest Daft Dimension for next month's Doctor Who Magazine. I'll show a sneak preview of that when it's published. 

I recently drew an illustration for The Dandy Summer Special. More news on that soon.

There are a few other things to draw too, including exclusive Sgt.Shouty sketches for people who pledged extra for The77 Kickstarter, plus a few other projects on the go so all in all it's a busy time again! 

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Bat and Eyeball! (2008)

One of these days I'm going to do a blog post about all the artwork I did over the years for various free gifts in comics. It'll take a while because I've forgotten half of them! For now though, here's one of my favourites. 

Above is the "Bat and Eyeball" as Egmont called it which was given away in an issue of Toxic in 2008. I preferred my name for it, the Skull-Bat, but as it was based on the old Bat and Ball toy it made more sense for them to call it the Bat and Eyeball! 

It was the editor's idea to do a gory variation on the old Bat and Ball. I had to work to an existing template to design the art for this. It was an odd shape, not very much like a skull, which is why I put a few spiderwebs in places to fill it out. 

I was pleased with the result. Even more so when I saw the great colouring job that Chris Watson had done for it. I remember buying this issue on holiday in Wales and a friend's little girl really enjoyed playing with the gruesome toy. Kids love monsters!

Friday 2 April 2021

Happy Easter!

It doesn't seem a year since the Cor!! Buster Easter Special was published. What a year it's been! If you're inclined to celebrate Easter I hope you can have an enjoyable weekend despite the lockdown restrictions. 

If you missed the aforementioned Easter Special it's still available to buy directly from the publisher at this link: 

The panel above is from the Buster and Delbert story I drew for the comic, written by John Freeman. Both the Easter Special and the previous Humour Special from 2019 have been collected into a softback book which you can buy at this link: 

There won't be a Cor!! Buster Special this year but in September look out for the all new Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular

Happy Easter weekend! 


Thursday 1 April 2021

It's your Shout!

I've completed and delivered the Sgt.Shouty page for The77 No.5 so here's a little sample featuring the villain, Doctor Plank! 

The77 is an independent British comic funded by a Kickstarter campaign. There's still a little way to go for it to reach its target for this issue so if you're interested you can pledge at the following link. You can also get an original Sgt.Shouty sketch from me as a stretch reward. (Limited number available.)