Running across Zarjaz 10 and Dogbreath 23 is the story 'Death To The Future' (script by Lee Robson and art by Dunk! Nimmo). I just noticed that Laura Gonzalez makes an appearance in the background of a couple of panels- brilliant!
As always you can click for larger images. Big thanks to the fantastic Dunk! Nimmo, another Dogbreath regular- you can check out more of his art at his blog:
Here's a picture I did for Dirk Van Dom's Xmas 'Choose Your Own Adventure' for the 2000ad forum's advent calendar. Rather than explain it all, here's a link to Van Dom's blog for the detailed explanation as well as the game:
Whilst taking a bit of a break from the relentless, endless sea of comic pages I am currently trying to wade through, I drew some Tyranny Rex (mainly because I have been drawing lots of surly fighty blokes recently and it made a nice change). I am under orders from The Emperor to put these on the blog, so I thought I'd post them before bed- otherwise I'll forget. Tired. Sooooo tired!
First up, a cleaned up (slightly) pencil drawing of Ms Rex dancing. It was my intention to put a handbag on the floor at her feet, with a gun but sticking out. I just haven't finished yet.
Next is another top down view- I had an idea to put some images together into a montage piece, but I'm a bit busy to go any further with this, which is a shame, cos I was getting into it for a bit. C'est la vie.
I had a go at a bit of colour on this one, which was to form part of the montage (but without the background, which I just lumped in without much thought or planning).
Anyway- off to bed then back to work on comic stuff tomorrow. I promise, I will show what I've been up to eventually- I just can't really do that just now.
Here's a picture I did which was inspired by a discussion on the 2000ad forum. I was going to work on a back ground which would tie it in (in some convoluted way) with the current 2000ad art competition theme- something to do with Dredd on a busman's in Millarworld. But I've no time to work it up (I did try some colours out on this too and have some rough ideas of backgrounds worked out) . Maybe I'll stick the colour version up, but it's not going to be finished off now. Just another 'practice'.
When the news came out that Carlos Ezquerra was undergoing treatment for lung cancer and Mark Howard (The Legendary Shark from the 2000ad message board) was putting together a comic to send as a 'get well soon' gesture from fans and pro's alike, I wanted to get involved. So I produced a little pastiche of Kursed Earth Koburn (Judge Dredd Megazine, Gordon Rennie/ Carlos Ezquerra) . Apologies to Rebellion for nicking the logo out of the Megazine, but it was in a good cause. I'll show the page without the lettering, as that seems to be what the consensus is...
Sorry, haven't blogged much lately- Ive just been too damn busy!
I still am actually! Anyway- here's a quick teaser from the last part of From Below which will be in the upcoming Dogbreath, due for publishing pretty soon- keep an eye on The Quaequam Blog for details on this and Zarjaz. I think I fractured my right thumb over the summer hols- thought it was staved but it took 7 long weeks to get full movement back, and the first half of that time I could barely hold my pencils, couldn't hold my plectrum tight enough to play my guitar properly and was struggling to tie laces! Still, all better now, I got the work done and it didn't mess up my schedule too badly (well, any worse than I would have messed it up with little or no excuse anyway!).
Been a while since I've gotten a chance to squeeze one out, as I've been straining at the drawing board. So this one is a bit of a double-header. Faintly amusing poo analogies aside, this month sees the debut of Red Sands 2.1 via Starscape Online through Clickwheel and MyEbooks. Some time ago now Alex Ronald wrote and drew Red Sands 1 and shortly after was working for Tharg at 2000ad. It's a new century, hell it's a new millenium, and it's long past time that The Lawman was plucked from that rope hanging off the cliff! So here is the first episode of Red Sands 2, written by Matthew McLaughlin, art by me and lettering by Dave Evans (Bolt 01). The icing on the cake was when Alex kindly agreed to produce the cover image- and what a fantastic image it is- I love this cover!
click for larger image I was also working on a promo image for Time Bomb comics. This is for Angels of the Somme- a graphic novel following Pvte Frank Docherty on the Western Front. This is written by Alec Robertson and I'm currently working on the art. Dave Evans (Bolt01) will be lettering. It's a biggie though, so it will be a while before it's out.
Couple more teasers for 'From Below' this issue of Dogbreath (N0.22), 2000ad's longest running fanzine. It is now available to pre-order, and will be available to buy at Hi-Ex in Inverness on 28th March. Also available will be new issues of 'Zarjaz' and 'Futurequake', plus back issues of all three and Something Wicked. All from the guys at the FutureQuake table.
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Last issue saw Laura Gonzalez and her young protege, Wolfboy, head out to the Pacific and an undersea town in search of their prey- Dela Cruz. Things don't quite go as planned and the two Stronts now have to find Dela Cruz before their unscrupulous rival Stront (Slabhead) gets to him first. To top it off, Slabhead may not be the biggest problem our mutants have to deal with...
Right, first off- I've just put pen to paper and signed to provide the art for a 52 page Graphic Novel. Still can't say too much about that, but I'll be posting details as and when I can. What I (probably) can say is that the script is written by my good friend Alec Robertson, with whom I've worked on Dogbreath (Shadow of the Mutant, From Below).
Obviously- I'm both ecstatic and shitting bricks!
In the meantime, I'm currently working on a comic for StarscapeOnline. I'll reveal a bit more when I can, but the pencils for the first part are well on, so I hope to get this rounded off pretty soon. In the meantime, here's another teaser to whet the appetite of all 11 of you!
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On top of this, I still have 'From Below' to complete for Dogbreath as well as a five page horror strip for 'Something Wicked'- the fantastic horror anthology from Futurequake Press. I did the art work for 'Confession' (written by Rob Spalding and lettered by Dave Evans) in issue 5, so it's good to get another crack of the whip. I'll be posting some teasers on this stuff as I go along- it's going to be a busy end to the year, I think!
The next issue (no.22) of Strontium Dog fanzine 'Dogbreath' should be out at the end of this month. As I understand it, it is scheduled to be out for the Highland International Comics Expo (Hi-Ex) in Eden Court, Inverness on the 28th/ 29th March. This is the third Hi-Ex and is the only comics convention I can realistically get to! I've went to the last two and they were great days out meeting folk I only know digitally and meeting some comics creators into the bargain.
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Anyhow- 'From Below' part 2 appears in this issue. Last issue saw Laura Gonzalez and her young protege, Wolfboy, head out to the Pacific and an undersea town in search of their prey- Dela Cruz. Things don't quite go as planned and the two Stronts now have to find Dela Cruz before their unscrupulous rival Stront (Slabhead) gets to him first. To top it off, Slabhead may not be the biggest problem our mutants have to deal with...
I had another go at that, inking it this time. The colour is done using artrage and photoshop and the background is a photoshop filtered photo. I smudged it and twiddled the colours with some gubbins until I got the look I wanted (ish). There are bits of the other one I like better, and bits of this one I prefer. Och well, it's all practice!
Another entry for the 2000ad art comp. This time the brief was to do something involving criminals- I didn't have too much time on this due to being busy with a couple of strips, but I bashed one out today. It's just a pencil sketch, no inking- then cleaned up on photoshop with some colouring, background and gubbins added digitally.
I went for a picture of Dog Deever- lead character from the Judge Dredd story 'Full Mental Jacket' back in Prog whatever.
As mentioned earlier- I did artwork for a script written by The Emperor for the Little White Lies magazine competition. The challenge was to do the whole film in only 6 panels on a downloadable template. We attempted 'The Shining' and here it is...
No blogs so far this month as I've been a bit busy! I did artwork for the Little White Lies 'Film in 6-panels' competition. The Emperor provided the script for 'The Shining'- I'll post the whole page up once the winner has been announced.
I've also been working on 'From Below' part 2 for Dogbreath, I'll get some samples up for that soon too.
Work then commences on the Final part of 'From Below', as well as a couple of other projects in the pipeline, including a strange request from a friend for something for a magazine he's involved with. All will be revealed. Or at least some of it, anyway!
Another thread on the 2000ad message board. This time the challenge was to depict Dredd without the helmet in under 15 minutes. I did this in pencil in about 5 or 6 minutes whilst taking a break from drawing the next episode of From Below. It's a bit scrappy but it's only a sketch.
I had a go at quickly applying colour in Artrage before cleaning the image a little and combining with the colour layer in photoshop. It's still a far cry from a finished piece...
If I was going for a finished pic I'd replace the pencil layer with an ink and use additional layers in photoshop for shading and highlighting as I've only used minimal tone in Artrage. I kind o' like the pencil layer and often find I lose something in the inking. Enough distraction!
Probably my favourite comic outside of 2000ad over the last while has been The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. It's hilariously OTT and also has a point to make about big business and US politics. I've never been a fan of spandex goons and I love the way that the 'Supes' are relegated to the status of a moronic sideshow, albeit a pretty dangerous one. If you haven't read it, check it out. Anyway- here are some sketches of The Boys I did when I was between strips for Dogbreath.
Here's a picture I did for a 2000ad message board competition- it's Shadow Warrior Doc Maniacus from the ABC Warriors strip. A mixture of paper & ink, artrage and photoshop with the balloon done in Illustrator (big thanks to Jim Campbell for his tutorial and additional assistance in teaching me how to do that).
'Something Wicked' is the horror anthology from Futurequake Press. The latest issue is No. 5 and I did the art for 'Confession' written by Rob Spalding and lettered by Dave Evans. I can't say a lot about the story- you'll need to buy it to find out more, but here is page 2...
From Below is written by Alec Robertson again and lettered by Dave Evans- 'The Letters Machine'! It started last issue of Dogbreath (#21) and continues in 22. It features 'Noseless' Laura Gonzalez as the main Stront- a character introduced in 'Shadow'. I like this character, for various reasons and I like drawing her too.
I recently noticed a comment in an old post on the Quaequam Blog, under an early preliminary drawing of the characters from 'Shadow', where someone says "Typical- the only female Stront is a glamorous norm". Now, this is daft. Laura has no nose! In 'normal' society she would be considered hideously disfigured. I'll talk a bit about the decisions made by Alec and I for the character.
We could have made her like Big Cynthia from 'The Schicklegruber Grab'- but it's too obvious and not particularly 'cliché- busting'.
My take on Big Cynthia is that she is a male character drawn as a female. No concession is made to her femininity whatsoever. Carlos could just as easily have drawn a bloke and she could have been named 'Big Cyril' or something. It makes no difference.
Durham Red is a character I'm not overly keen on myself, and Alec positively, irredeemably hates her as a concept! For me she's that gun-toting, sassy, hardcase femme fatale that has become so passe. Add the fact that her 'mutation', whilst possibly being interesting, flies in the face of most of the mutations in Strontium Dog over the years. Unlike, say... the X-men, most S/D mutants have debilitating or utterly useless mutations which turn them into sideshow freaks or 'monstrosities' in the eyes of normals. We didn't want to make Laura like Durham Red.
Laura's mutation in profile
Whilst her mutation is certainly subtle, she could never stand with the cheerleader set- a small bony lump with two holes in her face for nostrils ensures that she could never be accepted as 'a hottie'! It's a pointless mutation that cannot be hidden from normal society and puts her very firmly in the 'sideshow freak' category. The biggest problem is that a convention with many artists in comics is to keep the nose as minimal as possible on a female seen face on. If you've ever tried to draw a stronger nose on a female character- you'll know why that is! So we went for 'in your face' profiles.
Anyhoo- Laura always seemed to be a rather sad and under confident type figure to me (possibly because I've seen some unfinished scripts for her that play on this) and I wanted the reader to feel sympathy for her- that she would be quite pretty, if only she had a nose! Almost as if this was what she was feeling too-"if only I had a nose!". As a result I felt that, rather than getting all pumped and manly, she would try to make the best of other assets- in the way that real people with buck teeth or a crooked nose often do. I certainly didn't want her to be all tits and erse, so I tried to give her more regular proportions. I had hoped to retain her femininity, but make her vulnerable to merciless piss-taking by 'norms'. She's also not sassy, gun-toting and uber-cool. I find her very human- polite, under confidant and she doesn't always do the right thing. I hope this will come across as the tale progresses.
Laura and her new partner, Wolfboy
Introspective shite over. I gave her a revamp for several reasons- I liked the way that in early Stront tales Johnny's costume changes continually and one way to achieve this was the occasional haircut. Again, a fairly realistic thing- especially, perhaps, for a woman who lacks a little self-esteem. There were a few bits and pieces about her costume I liked and a few I didn't- both for visuals and because they were a pain in the bollocks to draw continually! Here is a sketch I did whilst deciding on her new look, along with one of her new 'partner'- Wolfboy. Wolfboy is basically a kid who Laura has taken under her wing. He's a little young to be a bounty hunter and again I think this shows a softer, more vulnerable side to Laura- if a little foolish.
I wanted to post one more picture from this story. There was one flashback panel in the final episode which depicted Harry making a bomb. Alec and I thought it was quite an important picture as it showed beyond any doubt that Harry had once held the same views as Visionary Lygate, but the bomb got covered with a speech balloon. With hindsight- we should maybe have asked for it to be moved, though we just assumed it had been deemed a bit too controversial having the 'hero' portrayed as a 'terrorist'. That may or may not have been the case but it's Dave and Rich's comic- they pay for the publishing so that's their prerogative. Hence, we didn't say anything at the time.
However, it was Alec's story, my art and this is my blog- so I've decided to put it on here without the dialogue, that's my prerogative. So here it is...
The panel itself has that scratchy, unfinished look that Ezquerra often used to portray flashbacks and dream sequences. The lack of solid black hopefully makes it different enough from the 'real-time' panels to mark it out as a flashback.
The final episode of 'Shadow' brings the tale to an explosive, violent conclusion. It appears in Dogbreath 20 which, again, is still available to buy from the Futurequake Press shop. Here the action first moves to Drumossie moor on the fringes of the Highlands proper- a place steeped in atmosphere, more commonly called 'Culloden' after the wee village not far from Inverness (also the historic scene of the defeat of the rebel Jacobite army in 1746 led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart, at the hands of the British army under the Duke of Cumberland- 'Stinkin Billy', the Butcher of Cumberland). Here is page 1 and that axe-killing:
For the final showdown, we move further north to Ross & Cromarty where Harry tries to find the answer to the question "Can a man kill his past?". This is page 6:
I hope you've enjoyed these samples and if you want to see more, you'll have to buy the issues. It's not just a 'dumb actioner'- it's a fairly dense and intelligent story, which I am proud to have been part of. It really benefits from reading right through. Dogbreath is a non-profit fanzine which needs to be supported to keep it in production- stock is limited, so buy it before its gone forever!
These pages are from the second episode of 'Shadow of the Mutant' which appears in Dogbreath 19, which is also still available from the Futurequake Press shop (linked on the right). The whole story makes use of flashbacks from Big Harry's past and his involvement in the Mutant uprising and it's aftermath to help evoke 'Portrait' as well as show his link with Visionary Lygate. This is page 1:
and this is page 4, mainly told in flashback and showing Harry's viewpoint of that classic picture:
Posting time again. Call it a teaser, call it a sample- whatever ye like! Anyway, this page is the opener for 'Shadow of the Mutant' part 1. This appears in Dogbreath 18 which is still available from the Futurequake Press shop (see links on the right). It's the set up for the scenario and introduces the main characters. First person who can name all the Stronts who make background cameos wins the satisfaction that they are true S/D geeks! You can click on the images for a larger view.
Next up is page 4 from the same issue- as well as a touching tale, action packed and thought provoking, there's also a bit of tongue in cheek humour in the mix:
These are spaced out to avoid spoilers and are pretty low-res images. I'm showing the lettered pages to promote the story in general, rather than just the artwork. Each episode is eight pages long, so there's a decent chunk of story in there.
As promised, here is the wraparound cover to Dogbreath 19, without the titles etc. This was completed on the final day of the deadline at stupid o'clock in the morning! I had completed the colouring on the figures and spent hours on the original background, but the original background really was appalling and was utterly obliterated in a fit of tired pique and replaced in a mere 20 minutes with the purple/ green/ blue that you see here (yes- green is in there too- the way it mixed with the purple produced a bluish blend into the very small amount of blue added).
I said last post that Shadow was a touching tale- but don't let that fool you- from episode to episode the violence escalates from brutal fisticuffs to a finale which starts with an axe killing and follows through with an entire installment of gunplay and explosions, fire and a rising body count. The whole thing hints of more background to Harry's former life as well as adventures new for the characters left standing.
And there is more- I know, because I've seen the preliminary scripts! Whether these will appear in Dogbreath, or whether Alec and I will need to do these as some sort of web-zine, I'm not sure.
Dogbreath always appears to be seen as the poorer cousin of Zarjaz- but it's my favourite and I think I'm correct in saying that it is 2000ad's longest running fanzine, so buy it and ensure it remains so. All hail Dave Evans and Richmond Clements for keeping it alive after Dr Bob decided to call time on her editorship. Long live Dogbreath!
Here's a picture I did for fun as a kind of advert for Shadow of the Mutant- a three part story written by my good friend Alec Robertson for Dogbreath, the Strontium Dog fanzine. It features porcupine-haired bounty hunter Big Harry McShane and his ex-comrade Visionary Lygate, a die-hard mutant revolutionary, in a touching tale of a disillusioned man haunted by past demons.
Is Harry really on the right side- or is he trying to wipe away the feeling that it is him who is wrong?
The story ran in issues 18, 19 and 20 and all three are still available via FutureQuake Publishing. Once I get a better handle on this blogger thingamy I'll put a link up to FQP. I also did the cover for issue 19, which featured Shadow of the Mutant on it. I'll post that up without the cover lettering at a later date.
The story was a homage to Portrait of a Mutant- A Strontium Dog story from many moons ago in 2000ad. This story was the one that got me hooked on 2000ad and is still a firm favourite of both myself and Alec.
That means I can feel the weight of expectation and will shortly feel the need to put something on here just so as I don't feel like I'm letting anyone down. I shall have to rustle through some shoddy bits of paper I have stashed in a cupboard to find something. Bear with me.