Saturday 27 February 2010

Prog 1674 - Doktor Grobari!

Here's Clint Langley's spooktastic cover for Prog 1674 featuring terrifying Doktor Grobari! The doctor is the head of the G-Men, the police force of the Terran Government of Mars.

The Doktor is a creepy, floating, bulbous headed, winkle picker wearing freak, so one can't help but think of Reeves and Mortimer's skit of Lloyd Grossman of Masterchef! Apologies to Clint and Pat!

Also on the cover we see police chief Inspector Sturn, who has a Dredd-like chin to die for! Clint's fantastic futuristic work on ABC Warriors and his depiction of Sturn makes me really want to see him have another crack at doing a Dredd story. Imagine the image below but set in one of those Martian Cities, perfect!

Finally, I wanted to include the Star Scan from Prog 1665 last year. I loved this Amber Smuggler image of Slaine and thought it'd make a cracking cover. I am, however, a huge fan of Star Scans too and will do a feature on them in a future blog entry...Thanks yet again to Clint. Remember to visit his site here.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Elson Smash(ing Cover!)

Ah, the beautiful Blood Sisters cover of Prog 1672 featuring Romanov and Makarov fighting side by side! This awesome cover by Richard Elson is a representation of John Burns' fantastic centre pages, double page splash (I feel like I'm 10 years old again, three cheers for Tharg!)

I asked Rich if he'd seen John's page before undertaking the cover as the two complement each other so well. Rather modestly, the man who has produced some of the finest 2000AD artwork in recent years said, "Matt did send over the brilliant John Burns double page spread for reference when he asked me to do the cover. Obviously, that was a bit intimidating. John Burns is the consummate draughtsman. I am in awe of the man's ability." I don't think he needed to worry too much, I'm sure you'll agree.

With regard to the printed cover, it's a shame the 2000AD Logo has a big black background this week as it really obscures Lulu's beasties. I'd have loved to have seen them looping behind and in front of the 2000AD logo.

If, like me, you're missing Mr Elson's work in the prog, then fear not, he's doing something for 2000AD while working on things for Marvel - phew!

Below we have Richard's roughs followed by those absolutely beautiful inks.
With regard to the inks, Richard just inks on top of the roughs, there's no intermediate stage between the two, the talented beggar!
Thanks once again to Richard for sending these, they really are appreciated by me and I'm sure all that read this blog!

Saturday 6 February 2010

Prog 1671 - Lawgiver? Check! Daystick? Check! Erm...draining board? Check!

At last, a cover by the legend that is Cliff Robinson! Cliff is among a handful of classic, iconic 2000AD artists who, thankfully, still produces work for the galaxy's greatest today. And what amazing work it is!

Cliff is responsible for well over 100 covers for the mighty House of Tharg, many of them being among the most iconic, enduring and memorable in 2000AD's long history. His depictions of Dredd are impeccable, and because of this grace 2000AD merchandise for everything from poster flags to geometry sets to bobble heads to socks! I have a Cliff special planned very soon where I will be highlighting many of his amazing covers.

Onto Prog 1671, which features this wonderfully composed and executed cover showing our favourite law man battling a Cursed Earth dragon. This was for the story Dragon's Den, a cracking Gordon Rennie scripted tale which saw Cliff on art duties for the first two parts and P.J. Holden for the second half of the story.

Above we have the finished version of the cover and below the roughs...
Cliff said "I based Dredd's makeshift armour on P.J.'s design after he emailed me the pencils of that lovely splash page of Dredd from episode 3." Thanks to P.J. for sending those pencils...

And, of course, the finished inks.
Which brings us to Cliff's beautiful finished line work. Cliff notes "You may notice on my original line art, I (for some weird reason) thought it would be a 'good idea' for Dredd to have (what looks like) a washing up drainage rack on his left shoulder pad. I'm not sure just how much more protection that would have afforded him though. I must have been on the wine when I came up with that amazing idea. I got rid of it once I'd come to my senses!"

One more time.
Breathtaking stuff! Thanks to Cliff for being so generous with his time, he really is a star. Please check out his superb blog here, the banner is particularly nice...

Friday 5 February 2010

D’Israeli D’Emon D’Raughtsman!

An artist I’ve been dying to showcase since this blog began! D’Israeli, or Matt Brooker to give him his real name, is a phenomenal talent with a style (or range of styles) all of his very own. Working in the field of comics since 1989, D'Israeli has done everything from writing to lettering to, of course, producing amazing artwork, for a variety of companies.

Above we see his most recent Stickleback cover, an impeccable image complete with trademark grime and a touch of humour. I was excited to post this on the blog for three reasons. The first being that it's such a wonderful image, the second was because in the printed version, the burning buildings in the background were completely obscured by the 2000AD logo and thirdly, because I'd heard about the mythical coloured version, shown below...
D'Israeli himself tells you more about this cover's creation in his outstanding blog here. And what a blog! There is an absolute goldmine of information in it, from tutorials to history lessons to studies of other artists' work to informative weekly commentaries of individual panels in his current strips.

The ways in which the artist works are fascinating too, from his 3D rending of objects and panels to his encyclopaedic knowledge of Illustrator, there's always an amazing level of intelligence and creativity crammed in each and every panel.

D'Israeli's first work for 2000AD involved colouring the legendary Cam Kennedy’s artwork for the Judge Dredd tale ‘Alien Town's Burning' before going on to colour Devlin Waugh, Pussyfoot Five and more - you can read the great man's (somewhat harsh) thoughts on his career as a colourist here. Below is an example of his work on Pussyfoot Five...

Before long, D'Israeli had lost his colouring gig, going on to write and draw Future Shocks as well as working on the phenomenal Scarlet Traces, as half of a very fruitful partnership with Ian Edginton. If any readers haven't read Scarlet Traces, a kind of unofficial sequal to War of the Worlds, I urge you to do so immediately! It features possibly my favourite designs of any comicbook - Martian Technology fused with Victorian engineering, it's simply beautiful. Below we can see D'Israeli's meticulous design for a Spider-Cab.

Leviathan was Matt's first ongoing serial in 2000AD. This spooky strip featured a colossal Ocean Liner populated by some 30,000 passengers and crew, which had been lost and adrift for 20 years in a featureless oceanic hell. Aboard the ship, monstrous things kept escaping from the bowels of the boiler room to flay passengers alive with their whip-like tongues.

Leviathan is, in my opinion, one of the best 2000AD strips ever, and features an incredibly uplifting ending. It's extra special to me as I read the last part the week my dear old mam passed away and remember getting goosebumps as one of the major characters was able to poignantly say goodbye to his dead wife. It was such a touchingly written scene...

Below we have D'Israeli's first 2000AD cover... or not. As I couldn't get hold of it, I've Photoshopped the logos and text from my prog copy. I hope no one minds! Note the symbolism of the eye on the Leviathan ship, as that may crop up in several of Edginton's later works...

The Leviathan Graphic Novel cover, stunning...
Around this time, super strange dinosaur strip XTNCT was running in the Megazine, again with art by Matt. This peculiar strip was set in the far future and focused on a set of genetically engineered dinosaurs at war with their human creators. The story, by Paul Cornell, featured great characters and dialogue and is quite possibly the only story in existence that features a full page splash of a tender, lesbian triceratops love scene!

Below we see roughs and the finished version of the graphic novel cover.

D'Israeli's next projects for 2000AD were Dredd related, with prog 1390 being the start of Edgington and D'Israeli's HG Sewell time trilogy. This is a fantastic read featuring a hapless Victorian time traveller who ends up on the wrong side of an iso-cube following a disastrous meeting with Judge Dredd.

Below is an imaginary cover D'Isreali's did for Imagine FX Magazine showing hapless time traveller with the mixed-up name!
Brooker's only other Dredd based 2000AD strip to date is 'Horror in Emergency Camp 4' by John Wagner featuring the return of a Nosferatu alien. However he did contribute the wonderful cover of Prog 1497 featuring a crackers bunch of Weirdies. Long time Dredd readers will spot classic character Citizen Snork in there as well as the artist himself...

Prog 1518 introduced us to Stickleback, nefarious Moriarty-esque kingpin of the Victorian criminal underworld. Again, working with Edginton, D'Israeli has helped craft a masterpiece, with superbly designed characters and settings where every panel demands repeated scrutiny from the reader. The story fits into the writer's wider 'Edginton-verse' featuring characters and symbolism present in the afore mentioned Leviathan stories and popular 2000AD strip The Red Seas.

Mystery surrounds the identity of twisted and broken Stickleback, could he be a famous literary character to whom both artist and writer already have ties? It would explain the grotesque injuries to his back...
Stickleback with some of his motley crew...
D'Israeli next got to play in the mysterious writer G Powell's universe, crafting a bizarre world known as 'The Vort.' The strip followed journalist Meredith Bless as she visited a hostile, alien-infested, war-torn planet top write a piece. Before long she met and ended up depending on a mysterious, almost indestructable character known as Crispy. However, all on this bizarre planet, and strip, were as they seemed...
Just who is the mysterious Crispy?

Next up, it was back to Mega-City One and Wally Squad strip Low Life. Written by Rob Williams and featuring the very popular Alan Moor... I mean, Dirty Frank, D'Israeli got to depict a number of miracles of biblical proportions in the grittier regions of the great city. D'Israeli contributed two covers to the strip, including the legendary Stained Glass Frank cover of 1631, winner of the 2000AD message board's favourite cover of 2009, and this beautiful 'Got Milk?' parody below...
And the winner of fave cover of 2009 goes to...
So there we have my take on one of 2000AD's truly special and most creative artists. Please take the time to lose yourself in his blog for a few hours, I promise you won't be disappointed...

Leigh Gallagher's Making Of A Megazine Cover.

Defoe and Dredd artdroid Leigh Gallagher has posted an excellent 'making of' the current Megazine cover on his fantastic blog. The post contains his roughs, pencils, inks, colours and even a bit of Barry White.

You'll find the post here, thanks to Leigh for sharing.