Thursday 27 January 2011

Prog 1719 - Dead Zeppelin?

Pip pip! Another Zarjaz cover by SB Davis for the Ampney Crucis series. Once again, this features the Airship Graf Orlok and the mysterious worm that haunts our perculiar protagonist's psyche.

Joining this with its counterparts forms a thill powered quadtych that could keep any thrill sucker at bay!

Friday 21 January 2011

Karl Richardson - Breakout!

Boom! Here's an action packed cover for Prog 1718 by the brilliant Karl Richardson. He sent me this a couple of weeks ago and I bet him that Pye-01 would put text over the rather gruesome spurting blood from the judge's neck. Looks like I lose!

The story by Al Ewing focuses on Devil's Island, the strange vehicular prison mentioned in the first ever published Dredd story, Judge Whitey. Art on the story is by comics legend John Higgins who has long been a favourite of mine - I can't wait! Below is Karl's rather lovely rough which completely captures the insanity of the fnished cover!

Thanks as ever to Karl for sending the cover, he's a star!

Tuesday 18 January 2011

SB Davis: 51 42 51.22N, 1 54 19.43W

Huzzah and hurrah! The third in Simon Davis' brilliantly designed covers for the upperclass paranormal investigator series, Ampney Crucis! This perfectly painted portrait follows the same conventions as it's peers, featuring the dapper detective posing perfectly properly against an eerie, yet cleverly constructed backdrop. This particular image features the airship Graf Orlok, where Ampney has found himself in the middle of a series of grisly murders which are being committed to satiate the hunger of a giant, Lovecraftian annelid!

The three covers that have featured in this series to date make a rather splendid triptych, which I've made below. Pip-pip!

Thanks to Pye for the image!

Sunday 16 January 2011

2000AD Message Board Cover of the Year 2010

And so, after feverish voting throughout December and January, the fine members of the 2000AD message board voted on their favourite cover of 2010. Throughout the voting process, I have to say the spread of votes was fascinating, with over 75% of the covers being voted for by one or more reader.

So, the winner is... Prog 1700 by Jon Davis-Hunt (see the making of it here.) This cover was for the summer relaunch issue and has a particular place in my heart as it features my name on it. Here's Jon official statement to all that voted "Thanks' to everyone who voted. It's an enormous thrill working on 2000AD, especially when you produce a piece of work that people like and enjoy. Thanks again to everyone who liked the cover and took the time to vote. I am extremely chuffed!'

However, I'm sure Jon won't mind me printing the actual email he sent when he found out he'd won. He said "NO WAY!?! Well that is AWESOME news! I am sooo chuffed! I am so bloody thrilled to have won! I am still incredibly thrilled to even get to do a cover for 2000AD. BLIMEY! How cool is that?

Mate, I think a celebratory plate of biscuits and a cup of tea is in order now. WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! The more I write the more excited I'm getting. Must go now and calm down! Cheers me dears!"

I think he was happy!
Very narrowly missing first place was the amazing cover for Prog 2011 by the awesome Simon Fraser (see the making of it here.) As I'm sure most of you reading this will know, when I announced the winners on the 2000AD board I had a spreadsheet malfunction and actually got the winner and runner up mixed up. Again, I'd like to publicly apologise to Simon as I actually wrote to him to tell him he's won then had to send a very awkward email telling him I'd messed up.

Simon was very kind and understanding, stating on the message board "I like Jon's cover and it is a deserving winner." Simon's statement to voters reads "I'd like to say a big Florix Grabundae to the guys and gals of the 2000AD Message Board for being so supportive over the years. I've been on the 2000AD Newsgroups/Discussion Forums in one form or another since 1996 and the enthusiasm of the Squaxx dek Thargo is part of what makes 2000AD such a joy to work for."

And similarly Jon asked "Could you please tell Simon though that I didn't mind coming 2nd to his cover as I thought it was bloody brilliant!"

Sorry again guys, I've never been so embarrassed... Moving on, here is that spectacular cover!
In third place was the eye popping cover for Prog 1690 (see the making of it here) by Judge Dredd himself, Mr Greg Staples. The artist said "That's great news! Thanks to everyone who voted!"
Bubbling under were the following covers who got so many votes I simply had to include them. Prog 1713 by last year's winner D'Israeli was in the top three for most of the competition and only just missed out on the winner's podium! See the making of it here.
Next up it's that man again Simon Fraser with the brooding Dante cover of Prog 1679 (making of here,) it really is an absolute stunner.
Mark Harrison's cinematic cover of Prog 1702 (making of here) was also very popular with voters...
As was the brilliant Ben Willsher's 'Rain' cover of Prog 1681. The making of this cover can be read here.
And finally D'Israeli creeps in again with this classic Stickleback cover of Prog 1669. The making of this cover (along with the beautiful coloured version) can be seen here.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote and to the winners for their kind words. A personal thanks to Rebellion's Simon Parr for all his help with the blog over the year and to Simon Fraser for not throttling me. 2010 was certainly an excellent year for covers, let's see how 2011 goes!

Saturday 15 January 2011

Jon Davis-Hunt - Kingdom of the Wicked!

So here it is, another mind blowing cover from 2000AD message board cover of the year winner (more on that in a later post folks,) the brilliant Jon Davis-Hunt. This is Jon's first ever crack at doing a Kingdom cover and he was thrilled to do it. He said "It was was ace fun to do, specially as I'm a big Richard Elson fan!" Well, aren't we all?

Below are Jon's roughs. Sometimes when we see roughs on this blog is obvious straight away which one was going to be the cover. However, with this lot, I'd have liked to have seen any of them get chosen, they all look really, really cool!
Obviously, in his infinite wisdom, the mighty Tharg went for cover number three so Jon got straight to work on the sketch...
The sketch complete, Jon begins to ink the fearsome Gene the Hackman...
And then onto the mysterious robot. As many know, Jon is a huge Transformers fan, respected artist on Titan's Transformers comic as well as IDW's Revenge of the Fallen movie adaptation, so he has a real flair for drawing big, cool, stompy robots!
Jon adds base colour to the image...
Before enhancing with shading and a few highlights...
Aaaand finally, the beautiful finished version that is embellished with some lighting and textural effects to really make it pop! A strong contender for next year's cover of the year already!
And I'm sure after seeing this cover, Richard Elson will now be a mutual fan of Jon's as he's certainly done the superbly illustrated strip justice!

Thanks to Jon for being so kind and jolly as usual! Another outstanding cover from a lovely guy!

Friday 7 January 2011

Clint Langley - Shakara!

And here it is, the first 2000AD cover of 2011, and what a stonker! Not only is it the first of 2011, it's also Clint Langley's first fully painted cover for 12 years!

Of course, the cover features a rather worse for wear looking Shakara, the instrument of vengeance of a long dead race. When we last left the protagonist of the series, it's decapitated head was floating lifelessly around in space following an attack by Cinnabar Brekkena, the sole survivor and murderer of the Shakaran race. Surely even the mighty Shakara can't come back from that?

Cheers to Clint for a very fine start to 2011!

Saturday 1 January 2011


Happy New Year squaxx! And what better way to start a new year than to show designs of a brand new creator owned series? Step forward fan favourites PJ Holden and Simon Spurrier and their mindboggling new Megazine series, Numbercruncher. Both creators have a special place in many 2000AD reader's hearts as they themselves are tooth fans done good, stalwarts of various 2000AD message boards that were eventually crafted into art and script droids by the mighty Tharg himself!

As you'd expect from Spurrier, the brains behind highly original hits such as Lobster Random, From Grace, The Simping Detective, The Vort and the very wonderful Gutsville, Numbercruncher is an intelligent, high concept offering that requires a skilled and very imaginative artist to bring it to life. Enter PJ Holden, superb, ever evolving artist on strips such as Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Jonny Woo and Garth Ennis' Battlefields.

The series itself focuses on a very dead Mr Bastard Zane, a nineteenth century goon who now works for 'The Universal Calculator,' ruler of an numerically obsessed afterlife where every soul is judged, tallied, filed and, if necessary, bargained with...

Over to the very wonderful, nicest man in comics, PJ Holden. He shows us some "unused character designs - I really wanted Zane to have the little Hitler moustache, but it was vetoed."

Below: a truer representation of the strip's superb characters...
Naturally, when showcasing a brand new strip, Tharg was eager to slap it on the cover of the Mighty Meg. Paul says "Here are some cover roughs. Cover A was always going to be the winner - good intro piece for Zane, and lots of crazzzy background details."
Next, hold your breath and look at the amazing line art for cover, such detail, wowzers! Paul does absolutely wonderful commissions for a measly £35, check out samples on his blog and to contact him, I can highly recommend them!
Here's a coloured version which PJ states is 'way too saturated', though I've got to admit I like it, especially those tumbley numbers!
Aaaand, the final cover art, brilliant! Who'd mess with him?
I love Spurrier's work, it is always extremely ambitious and highly original. I wouldn't be at all surprised if one day he is spoken about in the same way as industry giants such as Alan Moore. Continuing this tradition, Paul says "Si wanted something unspecifically specific for the art style on Numbercruncher, so here's some tests of page 1 - took forever to come to something that turned out to be fairly simple."

Below is PJ's inks for the page...
Followed by a simple greywash...
And an experiment with glowing numerals...
The final pages are kind of a compromise between the two, complex environments packed with enough floating numbers and symbols to make your eyes pop!

So there we go! I must say a massive thanks to PJ for supplying the images and text when he was very, very busy. However, he wasn't too busy to say the following: "There ya go - sorry for minimal waffle, no time - except to say Leigh Gallagher is a big poo poo head!"

Numbercruncher (c)2010 Si Spurrier & PJ Holden and begins in Megazine 306.