Wednesday 26 August 2009

Carl Critchlow - Man of Granite!

One of the many, many wonderful things about reading 2000AD is seeing the hottest UK talent evolve and grow and sometimes, completely change direction! A fine example of an artist who simply refused to let his considerable talents stagnate is Carl Critchlow.

After making a name for himself writing and illustrating Thrud the Barbarian for (amongst others) White Dwarf magazine, Carl brought his fully painted style of art to 2000AD with Nemesis & Deadlock back in 1991.

This was followed by the obligatory Future Shocks as well as a reboot of Flesh and the sublime Son of Mean Machine, among others. These strips led to the third high-profile Dredd vs. Batman team up, The Ultimate Riddle in 1995, but also helped pigeonhole Carl into the “painted artwork” artist category.

An early Critchlow cover for the Nemesis & Deadlock story in Prog 728:

Around this time, Carl wanted to explore using the computer to write, draw, colour and letter this artwork. He decided return to his beloved Thrud character to hone a radical new style in a self-published comic. The fruits of his labours certainly paid off with the Thrud the Barbarian comic winning the prestigious Eagle Award for “Favourite British Small Press Title” in 2004.

Carl’s uncompromising new style hit 2000AD in Prog 1313 with the fantastic Judge Dredd tale ‘Out of the Undercity’ which saw the return of a fan favourite, the grim Judge Prager. Following this, Critchlow teamed up with Si Spurriur to create grizzled torturer for hire, Lobster Random – a character who’s grotesque, craggy features epitomise Critchlow’s wonderful, granite-like style.

Here we have designs for the Lobster Random cover for 'The Agony and the Ecstacy' in Prog 1482:

As well as inks:
And the coloured version:

Most recently, Carl has returned to Dredd, illustrating classics such as Mandroid 2, as well as the shocking events of the Judge Dredd stories Backlash and Under New Management. For me, these stories are so notable as Carl has skilfully managed to ooze emotion from his granite-like cast, simply amazing!

Finally we have the fantastic cover of Prog 1593. Originally intended to be a Megazine cover, the image suited the Judge Dredd story 'The Edgar Case' perfectly and was used for that instead...
Here's the roughs:

The inks:
And the amazing coloured version - a masterclass in computer colouring in my opinion.

A HUGE thanks to Carl for sending me the images! Please visit Carl’s site here and the official Thrud site here.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, Carl is HUGELY overlooked IMO, so its real nice to see him getting a nice bit of exposure here (as it were).
    And top marks for the Judge Prager mention - one of my favourite Dredd supporting characters in recent years. So much so i bought the hero panel off Carl of the fella.