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.


  1. Sniff...Well, now that's just bloody rude...

  2. The looser Paul gets, the nearer he gets to really nailing a killer style all his own.