Friday, December 22, 2006

Thank you DC/Wildstorm and the Albion team.

I was just made-up to recieve 3 copies of the collected Albion today (can I call it a graphic novel?), from DC/Wildstorm - courtesy of Fed-Ex. In addition to being a complete set of the comic, it carries a bunch of extras, a bit like a DVD, and has some wonderful old vintage British comic reprints: Janus Stark, The House of Dollmann, The Steel Claw, Kelly's Eye, (I loved the artwork of Solano Lopez) and others. The introduction by Neil Gaimen struck a chord and his rememberances of comics like Fantastic and Terrific and the transgressive appeal of The Spider seem like a shared collective memory to me, and will, I suspect, to many other comic lovers. As you will have guessed, I raced through it quickly so I can look forward to reading it later (see below about my problems with delayed gratification).

You know, there's just a couple of panels of me in it (see below), but they were kind enough to send me 3 copies. I think I had about 15 of my cartoons in National Lampoon's Favourite Cartoons of the 21st Century, and they only sent me 2 copies. Tight-fisted bastards.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays.

My special holiday greetings go out to the fantastically talented Leah Moore, John Reppion and their team, and to the extremely hard working and very funny cartoonists/illustrators Vlad Kolarov and Buck Jones, wishing you all health, wealth and happiness for the forthcoming year. Lang may yer lums reek! as we say in these parts.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A (comic) book of delights, that's Nick Mag.

I hate posts on noticeboards and websites where people say 'a lot of people ask me' and you think well who? Who are they who ask? I don't know people who ask. Why do they ask you? More often than not they are just making it up, I think. I mean, I've been doing this a long time and the only time 'people' ask me anything is when I'm in the pub and they say 'you're a cartoonist, do you know ...?' and I answer 'he/she is dead'.

However, other cartoonists ask one another things all the time, but usually in a round-about way, so as not to arouse any suspicion. Like this: 'How are you, I hear such and such a publication is now taking emailed submissions; are you aware of this?' This usually means that they have picked up an unsubstantiated rumour, but if you verify it and maybe supply a contact address, they can check it out. I think that the maroons who send out those Nigerian banker-scam 'phising' emails could learn a lot from cartoonists.

Anyhow, I am often asked (I've been asked twice now) 'what do you consider to be the best cartooning publication out there'? Well, in terms of sheer creativity, and energy, and space and for experimentation, I'd have to say, Nickelodeon Magazine (US). Susprised you eh? I've never failed to be astonished by the sheer energy in the magazine and I know of no other publication that so successfully mixes artists, illustrators and cartoonists from the indy and mainstream scenes. In any one issue you might find work by Kaz, Sam Henderson, Johnny Ryan, Charles Burns, Robert Leighton, Aaron Reiner, Dave Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier, etc, etc, etc. It is like, at times, a barely contained whirlwind of artistic styles and talents, which is a big testament to the skills of the editors involved. I just wish we had something like it over here (whisper: the British version blows).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Updated WebComic Nations site with the Tammyclava.

I suspect a lot of the trends of the 60s were inspired by surplus goods. The 'trend' for haversacks as school bags came around quite nicely to use up the surplus of gas-mask bags in the Army and Navy stores. The Tamaclava probably came from a similar source and would have been some kind of Naval thing, I suspect. Anyway, we woke up one day and everybody had to have one. That's about the long and the short of it.

You can read the entire comic at WCN

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Got a new Prospect in the post today

I did some real slap-happy painting with this cartoon for the January 2007 issue of Prospect (Good Heavens, the new year jobs have begun already). I've done a bunch of art-related cartoons over the years, but not too many Magritte's, which is odd because he strikes me as the most cartoony of artists, well, outside the Lichtenstein, Warhol, Blake pop art circuit. I mean, c'mon, that's a skyful of Herge's Thomson Twins, no? Or are the Thomson Twins really an homage to Magritte?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Bunty

Ha, my cousin Allan always made fun of me for reading American comics, and yet all the time he was laughing at my DC/Marvel/Charlton/Harvey, etc, collection, he was collecting The Bunty, a comic for girls and his favourite story was The Four Marys.

Anyway, I have been keeping my Lepertown Comic (sort of comic) up-to-date at Webcomics Nation and I posted this, which I thought I'd put here for anyone who, like Allan, fondly remembers the Bunty, for Girls.

As usual, click the image to see the larger version.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Early Comic work

I got a note in the post asking for some original comic pages from THE PAST (imagine 'the past' is written all wiggley). There are some examples on the web somewhere, but as you know my Online cartoonist site is down and well, I'm not really sure I'll put it back up.

Anyway, this page is one I quite like, it's part of the introduction of the character Skid Kidd (they called him Mike Kidd, but I tried to smuggle in Mark Kidd, so he'd be SKID MARK - didn't fall for it, though). When I started out, I was drawing with a conventional Parker fountain pen with a very rigid, unbending nib. I knew how I wanted the comic pages to look, and had no idea that I was, at the time, continuing the tradition of Clean Line drawing. Herge's Tintin, is perhaps the best example of European Clean Line drawing, but Heath Robinson's Punch cartoons are another and Winsor McCay and George McManus's comic strip work are superb examples of American Clean Line work.

I spent a lot of time with Beano artist Tom Paterson during this period, regularly thrashing him at Pool and Snooker. Around that time we put our own comic idea, Squelch, together, but it didn't work out and Tom sold his main character The Wet Blanket to the 'Viz for kids rip-off' Oink:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Super Hero Guys

Well, I finished redrawing the Super Guys (see below). I've posted the entire story on Web Comics Nation, but tightened it up a bit and changed the title. Last I heard, only one of us was dead. That was unexpected and tragic though because the guy was around, or under 40 when he died. We lost touch, latterly, but I lived next door ti him for years and we collected comics and things together. He was the one in the Batman suit. I think the others are still living.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I become older on the 28th of November.

It came and went, and I do feel older, but then I always did. I am still in my 40s. I am worried about becoming 50 one day, but then I worried about becoming 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, 30, 31, 35, 39, 40......................

Anyway, the genre of autobiography allows us exorcise some of these demons. I just put another story on my Webcomics Nation page. Here's a taster of page 1: