Friday 22 February 2013

Simon Davis - The Scrotnig Evening Prog.

The wonderful Simon Davis treats us to another superb J. C. Leyendecker inspired image for his second Ampney Crucis cover of the current arc. Again, based on a Thanksgiving image from the Saturday Evening Post, the cover features a mysterious, and somewhat disturbing Babbagist, as well as our two hapless heroes of course!

The inspiration came from a cover dated 29th November 1924, shown below...

Just a Pilgrim

Simon was kind enough to send his beautiful watercolour sketch...

Grandad Smash Robot

As well as these glorious inks. 

Max Babba

And finally, the fantastic painted cover with a bit of digital jiggery pokery to age it. Babbage would have been proud!

Here's how the prog looked on the shelves, lovely!

I'm loving Simon's return to a themed set of covers. he did something similar with the first couple of Ampney stories to create this rather wonderful series below. It's great that he's getting the chance to do it again...


What are the Babbagists?

If the Babbagists seem familiar, it's because we've seen them in other stories running through the Edgeverse. They first appeared in the opening episode of Stickleback, as did the human incarnations of Gog and Magog, who the Babagists seem to worship. 

Below Ampney gives us an important bit of backstory...

Stickleback fans will recognise Bernoulli, she was the villain in his most recent tale London's Burning, which saw the apparent demise of the eponymous crime lord. Here she is as depicted by the brilliant D'Israeli...

To add to the intrigue, it seems that Ampney's lover is involved in shady dealings with a dangerous doctor who is not only the head of the criminal fraternity of London, but also the son of Stickleback himself. Curiouser and curiouser...

Thanks to Simon for sending the images - can't wait for the next cover in this series!

Monday 11 February 2013

James Harren - Mind the Gap...

Here's a fine, fine debut Dredd cover from one of the comic industry's biggest rising stars, James Harren. Having worked for both Marvel (X-Men) and DC (Doc Savage,) James seems to have found his home at Dark Horse Comics, impressively adding to Mignola's Hell Boy universe as well as Turok and Conan. Not a bad CV there!

Rob Williams is obviously a fan and managed to persuade James to illustrate Mega-Cit One's toughest law man. Matt Smith, talking to the Comics Alliance website tells the story "Rob had been talking with James about doing a Dredd story together. Rob asked me if I was up for the two of them doing something.  When I gave the thumbs up he wrote the script for 'Save Him' specifically for him, knowing James's forte was big monsters. The post-Day of Chaos story starts with Dredd being brought before a catatonic psi-cadet called Salas, whose only words have been Dredd's name. Dredd has never met the cadet before, and while he's in the room with him things get very weird indeed... James has had great fun taking apart the city, cramming seven pages with as much destruction and action as possible! After Guy Davis and Dave Stewart's fantastic work for the Judge Dredd Megazine in 2010, it's great to see another BPRD artist bring their flair to 2000 AD."

So, over to James to tell us about the cover...

"I had the very vague idea of showing the monster crawling around the big buildings like a spider but absolutely nothing about that idea was going to work..."

Below are James' thumbnails, complete with big stompy spider - aaaggghhhhh!

Thumb 2: Dredd shits himself after hearing that big, stompy spider...

And the incredible pencils for the chosen idea...

 Psi's-Head Revisited.

However,  with the spider idea abandoned, James ramped up the horror another way. He continues "I swapped the spider out with a big scary arm in the inks. That way we could keep the monster's full body reveal for the interior pages!" And what a monster it is! If you haven't read the strip yet, prepare for a treat!

Below are James' phenomenal inks, complete with spooky arm, which were sent to the legendary Chris Blythe to be coloured...

A man with a lot on his mind!

Chris' coloured version is an absolute joy, his glowing colours contrasting wonderfully with James' heavy inks, brilliant!

Tense nervous headache? Take Sump's Headex-plode

And the image as it appears on your super soaraway prog...

Huge thanks to James for sending the thumbs, pencils and inks, they're wonderful. Be sure to check out his blogs here and here and his brilliant Deviantart page here!

Sunday 10 February 2013

Henry Flint - Tights, Xavier, Action!

Ha! Tights, Xavier, Action! I think that pun is almost does justice to Henry Flint's brain bogglingly stunning cover for the special Free Comic Book Day edition of 2000AD. This is a real spectacular as, never one for slacking, Henry has done FOUR covers in one here, and what iconic covers they are!

Before I start, I'll tell you a little about the FCBD edition of 2000AD; this year prog boasts a BRAND NEW Dredd story 'The Jimp Club' by John Wagner as well as part one of the new Zombo Story 'Planetronix: Mohawk of Menace!' Add to this Indigo Prime, Insurrection, the Visible Man and the wonderful DR and Quinch and I think we're set for a winner! Remember Free Comic Book Day is on May 4th 2013, so support your local comic book store!

Now then, over to everyone's favourite Henry Flint to tell us more about this truly Zarjaz cover...

'This was commissioned by Keith Richardson for 2000ad’s contribution to free comic book day. He wanted an alien reading three recognisable comic book classics. First is issue one of Superman replaced with DR and Quinch...'

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a bloke in tights smashing up a car?

Mind the auto-mobile Marlon!

Go compare! The two covers side by side

Notes - This cover was published on April 18th 1938 and the art is by Joe Schuster. This comic is considered to be the birth of Superhero comics and is the only comic to have sold for over $2,000,000! 

Back to Henry: "Second is a classic Spider-Man cover replaced by Judge Dredd..."

A bit of Ditko/Kiby magic.

Mind the Law Man Marlon!

The Law and the bore...

Notes - The cover of Amazing Fantasy 15 (formerly Amazing Adult Fantasy!?!) was produced by two hacks called Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby and saw the d├ębut of everyone's favourite web slinger, Spider-Man. A near mint copy of this will go for just over $1,000,000. 

Back once again to Henry: 'Then an issue of X-Men replaced with various other 2000ad characters which appear inside.'

Muties, look!

Muties and the beast

Mutant Mayhem from Henry Flint

Notes - Giant-Size X-Men was published in 1975 with a cover by Gil Kane, Joe Cockrum and Dan Crespi. A mint version will fetch around $17,000. It has a shit title.

Henry continues: "The comics where drawn and coloured individually then dropped into the final piece."

Three iconic covers right there!

Some trademarked Henry Flint lunacy.

Ever the perfectionist, Henry wasn't totally happy with the image so he used a bit of digital help to get it just right. He says "I tried lettering the comics freehand, as you can see from the photo it looked amateurish so fiddled about with Photoshop lettering adding various filters and blurring followed by contrast to get something close to the original covers."

It was the many-eyed, no-horned, sitting, green prog reader.
Finally, here's the FREE comic as it will look at your comic shop on May 4th.

Whopping thanks to Henry for a real history lesson there and a genuinely spectacular cover. Is there no end to this man's talent? On a side note, Henry recently had an Ablation procedure on his heart. According to the artist, it's 'nothing to worry about' and was indeed 'a great adventure!' Hope all is ticketyboo with the ticker now Henry!

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Karl Richardson - Killy Savage!

Hold on to your hats as Savage comes speeding towards us on a desperate suicide run, thanks to the brilliant Karl Richardson. The battle to liberate London from the dirty Volgs is really reaching it's climax, with Savage prepared to do anything to give the enemy a bloody nose and bring peace back to Britain. The question is, will Savage be around to enjoy it, and does he even want to be?

Below is Karl's sketch, which really captures the action of the strip...

Death Race 2010?

And here is the completed cover. I must admit, I wasn't sure about those bullet holes on my initial viewing, but in hindsight they work, really adding depth to this action-packed piece.

Car-mageddon/Car Blimey/Bad Car-ma/Car-l Richardson - insert your own car-based pun here.

And here's how it looks your the newsagent's shelf, lovely!

I couldn't possibly do an article on the mighty Karl Richardson without showing off my beautiful, fully painted Dredd commission. This piece is just stunning in the flesh, a scan could never do it justice!

Thanks a million to Karl for sending the images, I really hope we see more of his work in 2000AD in 2013!

Sunday 3 February 2013

Neil Roberts - Hammertime!

CLANGGGGG! Neil Roberts is back with an amazing companion piece to his Savage Blackblood cover of Prog 1745 (shown below.) You can see how that was put together here. The Gurnmeister General has crafted an incredibly dynamic image that again shows the dying seconds of an ABC Warriors victim. I do hope he gets to illustrate all of Meknificent Seven in this way as I love these covers! 

The terrifying cover of Prog 1745.

Over to the esteemed Mr Roberts to tell us more; "It started off with a brief from Tharg - He wanted a War Droid bringing his hammer down on the viewer.

I gathered up a load of reference images - particularly old-skool 2000AD covers and Simon Bisley. I wanted to get some thick impasto and airbrush effects in the image - to make it full of energy...

Take a look at the images below, can you name the artist of each and where they appeared? Answer at the bottom of the article... 

 Some relatively well known artists amongst that lot...

Now, my favourite bit, the obligatory Roberts' Reference photo, the man has no shame! He says "Then I took some reference images - this is always the fun part (I've hidden the eyes of the model to spare him the embarrassment) ;)"

As usual, Neil has spared no expense getting incredibly realistic props together to add realism to the image. He explains "I wanted to see how the arms moved and the torso rotated when in motion. The Cheerios box Hammer was an improvisation. Classy!"

Neil replied with a terse "No comment" when asked if the man who recently spent six hours in A&E at his local hospital with a cereal box stuck to his hand was him.

 Warning: Never practice ballet near the breakfast cereal cupboard...

Check out Neil's incredible sketch, amazing! Note how Hammerstein's six pack is exactly the same as Neil's from his reference photo...

Going once, going twice... SOLD! To the man with the Cherios Box stuck on his hand.

With the sketch approved it was time for the main event.Neil says "From there, I worked the image up in Photoshop, adding a few textures here and there to make the piece look more traditionally created. "

Spread the Word!

 "Then it was off to Tharg and the droids to work up for print. Finished!"And here's what the design droids at the nerve centre came up with, lovely!

Thanks again to Neil for taking time out to tell us about this fantastic cover, please go and visit his rather wonderful blog here. Coming soon on this blog, the great Neil Roberts Reference Photo Quiz, keep 'em peeled!

Speaking of quizzes, did you get all the reference images?

Simon Bisley - Titan ABC Warrors Cover
Mick McMAhon - Judge Dredd the Movie Trading Card
Patrick Goddard - Savage, Prog1813
Dave Gibbons - 2000AD cover Prog 91

Coming soon: IDW cover image round up, Karl Richardson's cover of Prog 1818 and something very special from Henry Flint...