Friday 23 July 2010

Mark Harrison - Curran Fo... I mean, Sinister Dexter!

Mark Harrison, Rebellion's head of concept, is certainly a perfectionist. As if this is not already apparent in his amazing design work for the recent Aliens vs Predator game, it certainly is in his harsh judgement of his fantastic cover for Prog 1693. He says "The Sin Dex cover was a quick job that I wasn't entirely happy with to be honest. There was an initial idea to work to, an "Ocean's 12" movie poster of the 4 characters walking towards us."

A quick job? Not entirely happy? Surely, he jests! Mark continues, "That played to my liking to "cast" Hollywood stars as the characters, the obvious choice being Tony Curran and Jamie Fox (Curran has already played "Sinister" in Blade 2 of course for the eagle eyed!)"

Anyone familiar with Mark's work, especially strips such as the Pulp Sci-Fi tale 'Blood of Heroes' or the Travellers (see his star studded poster later in this entry) will appreciate Mark's penchant for adding the odd familiar face in his work.
Ocean's Twelve - Tharg's Inspiration for the cover...

Below we have Mark's initial roughs, of note here is naughty Sinister, Mark says "Initially I had Sinister "flipping the bird" but that was deemed inappropriate for a cover so it was dropped to him smoking which is much of course much more appropriate! And Jamie, sorry Dexter pointing his fingers as a gun, which had an air of menace to it when you consider they are both packing."
Mark was very unhappy with the ladies on the cover (Finny's estranged wife Carrie Hosanna, queenpin of Magnapore and her T1000-like robot Polly Alloy.) He says "The ladies were nondescript and made up eventually as I was being rushed as new concept work became available. The females I feel are superfulous to the shot. Indeed I submitted a version without them hoping they'd go with that. I think it's stronger with just the characters. Plus the manga styled girl I painted is awful- I hate her! (I admit it!)"

Heh, that version is shown below.
"The abstract "Vegas" background completed it, which I cropped to a central strip so the characters walked out of it, like a door, white all around to maximise the impact as they 'broke the frame'."
Harsh as ever, Mark says "Ultimately I wasn't satisfied with the cover because being rushed I defaulted to a safe, tighter style. I wanted it to be much looser and more painterly like the Abaddon covers I've been doing." Mark's beautiful Abaddon covers can be seen on his site though I simply had to include my absolute fave later in this post!

"That said the Sin Dex was fun to work within the restraints and add some character touches. And you need to go out of your comfort zone on occasions and try new things, even if it isn't entirely successful."

Thankfully, the all-knowing Tharg disagreed and the we were treated to a superb image full of wonderful little touches. Mark tells me he has a Dredd cover coming up that he's much happier with, so bearing in mind Mark's impossible standards, that should be amazing!

Below I have selected some images from Mark's fabulous site which I urge you all to visit immediately! Firstly, as promised, my favourite Abaddon cover image. This was for Al Ewing's 'Death Got No Mercy' which naturally features a man punching a bear! I love it!
Moving on, we have this beautiful image of a Justice Department Manta Tank. Mark has always had a very distinctive computerised style which this image demonstrates perfectly. It's fantastic!
The bulk of Mark's 2000AD work was for Dan Abnett's far-future rebirth of vampiric Strontium Bitch, Durham Red. Mark's distinctive, unique art style was perfect for capturing Abnett's dark, futuristic vision of the universe and pair brought us a fascinaing, visually stunning space opera.

Going back to Mark's love of giving actors cameo's in his work, here is a poster for his personal strip 'The Travellers' which you can read here.

Another notable series to feature Mark's amazing visuals was the fantastic Glimmer Rats by Gordon Rennie. This bleak tale took place in a nightmare dimension filled with all manner of evil beasts where Earth's criminals would be sent to fight in a hopeless, supernatural war. I absolutely adored this strip and, though very unlikely, would love Grennie to revisit it someday. Finally, I had to include a Dredd cover, this fine image is from Prog 1404 from the strip 'Big Deal at Drekk City' which was beautifully illustrated by the amazing Cam Kennedy. Enjoy it creeps!

Thanks again to Mark for sending the images and the thoroughly entertaining commentry. Can't WAIT to see that Dredd cover!

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