Sunday 25 August 2013

Dave Kendall - Kick Axe!

What better way to celebrate 30 years of the Warped One than with this stunning, stunning painting by Dave Kendall? This is seriously one of my favourite Slaine paintings ever; an intense MacRoth holding his bloodied Brainbiter over a recently beheaded Skull Sword, cool.

There's a lovely story of how this beautiful image ended up in your prog. Dave says "It was a fan piece I did at the start of the year. Pat Mills saw it and and said he loved it, a real jaw to the floor moment! He suggested to Matt that it would make a nice bonus for the 30th anniversary and he agreed. It's a real honour to have this in the Prog."

Dave also recalls just why he did the piece, he said "One of the reasons I did this image was because of a Facebook friend; He'd shared a page of my French graphic novel with a comment suggesting that Tharg should give me a shot at Slaine. I smiled and didn't really think much of it. I'd love to do some Slaine work but didn't really have a way of realising it.

"Start of the years can be a bit slow work-wise, and I was also feeling a bit jaded. I wanted to get back to some traditional work. I remembered the kind Facebook comment and thought I'd have a shot at my favourite character, Slaine. That's how the image came about...

However, the image itself came from somewhere else entirely. "A couple of years before I had a dream of a silhouetted Slaine, standing amongst standing stones, in a grey and damp atmosphere. I used that as a jumping on point for this image. Design wise I wanted dark damp leather, evoking Glenn's leather hero harness, and I wanted the celtic head to be a dominant design element throughout, on the axe and his ornamentation."

Below we have the pencils for the piece, however the image will have been laid out electronically. Dave says "All of my work now starts of digitally, even if it's destined for a traditional finish. The ability to use layers, and the flexibility they give, really allow you to refine the composition. Once I'm happy I print the blueline image on Bristol board and then pencil it traditionally." 

What a pain in the neck

"That is then scanned and printed onto high quality, smooth watercolour paper. I paste it onto MDF and then seal it with an acrylic matte medium. This helps keep the acrylic paint finish bright without it soaking into the paper...
Wane Runey

Just wonderful, I really hope we get to see a lot more of Dave in the Prog. Readers with eagle eyes will have spotted that Dave has completed an excellent cover for the forthcoming Flesh series, let's hope there's many more follow. Of course, that won't be Dave's first cover for Tharg the Mighty, he provided this fiery image of Jenny from Caballistics, Inc back in 2007... 

The Crazy World of Jennifer Simmonds

Those clever Zarjaz boys had Dave in mind for Slaine on the cover of their Pat Mills Special in 2009. Below is the breakdown for that fine wraparound (or should that be 'warparound?) cover, starting with his digital composition...

Kiss my axe!

Followed by the sublime pencils...

I adore these pencils! 

And the final, Zarjaz painting!

Slaine didn't think it too many

Dave is keen to do more work on Slaine in the future, maybe even working on the strip. He said "Hopefully someway down the line I might have the opportunity to contribute to Slaine's saga. It would be a career topping project if it happened. However I'm really looking forward to what Simon Davis has in store. As a fan of Slaine I just love seeing what new artists bring to the character. Pat Mills is one of those writers that bring out the best in his artists. I would jump at the chance to work with him again, on any project!"

Gigantic thanks to Dave for sending the images for a seriously beautiful poster. Check out Dave's Deviantart gallery here and his website here!

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Tiernen Trevallion - Dead Foes.

Braaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnnsssss! This week Tiernen Trevallion brings us this awesome cover featuring Defoe doing what he does best, dispatching reeks! The design of this is just brilliant and once again, I love Tiernen's restrained colour palette. However, my favourite part of the cover are those disgusting maggots on the zombie on the lower right, and the poor blighters are completely hidden by the barcode on the printed version - for shame!

Below are Tiernen's pencils...  

Defoe goes crowd surfing during Songs of Praise

Followed by his outstanding inks...

Skinky inks

And finally the coloured version, those gushots really pop (no pun intended!) 

Dead Moon Rising?

Here's how the cover looked at your newsagent, hardly a maggot in site! 

Give us back our maggots, Tharg!

Of course, Tiernen is supremely qualified to bring you this cover after gaining his undead chops on Absalom with Gordon Rennie. Speaking of which, the pair or working on a new Graphic Novel from Renegade Arts called Robbie Burns: Witch Hunter which looks absolutely amazing!






A shuffling, groaning thank you to Tiernen for sending the images, they're excellent as usual! Please go and visit his site, you'll find it here

Oh and in the interests of completeness (and to keep my anal retentiveness at bay, here's Dylan Teague's coloured version of Leigh Gallagher's (swoon!) cover of Prog 1842. Check out Leigh's cover process here.

Meatloaf's next album cover

Friday 16 August 2013

Henry Flint - May I take down your Lenticulars?

Yesterday saw the release of the critically acclaimed Trifecta graphic novel, which has been given a luxurious hardback treatment and a glorious lenticular cover by fan favourite Henry Flint. For some reason, this brain meltingly brilliant book collects Dredd stories 'Bullet to King Four', 'The Cold Deck' and 'Trifecta' as well as the Simping Detective tale 'Jokers to the Right' and Low Life's 'Saudade'. Hmmmm, I wonder why...?

Here is Henry Flint to tell us more about the creation of the books' dazzling lenticular cover: "The brief was to create two images so they could be turned into a lenticular cover. The idea would be to have both Dirty Frank and the Simping Detective reflected in Dredd’s eye visor, switching between the two. The trouble with the visor is that it’s too small and the lenticular effect would be wasted on having such a small area of the cover change. A solution was to distort Dredd’s face with Photoshop to make the visor as big as possible, without it looking too ridiculous."

"The black and white image here is the rough cover before distorting. Notice the mouth is in the slightly wrong place, but is easily fixed."

Old Stony Face himself

"I printed out a copy of the Photoshop distorted Dredd, put it onto the light box and inked a second image. I didn’t want to use the printed distorted image as it looked too obvious it had been played around in Photoshop, re-inking made the distortion more natural. The distorted fish eye lens effect kind of gives the impression Dredd and the others are being scrutinised and under pressure, which fits in well with the story..."

How Dredd looked to Judge Cal's deputy.

"Last of all I played around with the background colours just to get the most out of the expensive cover printing.  Also notice; Dredd’s right visor glint is blinking on and off, almost as if he’s winking."

"Don't be here when we come back!"

I cobbled together the gif below to give an idea of the effect. It's a truly brilliant idea, completely fitting of the story. Of course, it's flawlessly executed by Henry and I have to say I'm a little bit in love with the shading style he's used on Dredd...

Dirty little winker!

Here's how the book looks on your shelf... from a certain point of view!

Huge thanks to Henry for sending the images and commentary. Please be sure to check his brilliant blog at The book is available to buy today, what are you waiting for!?! 

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Karl Richardson - Rage Against the Meg!

Karl Richardson blows us away this week with an action packed cover. As the Megacity Skulls attack, Dredd calmly changes the clip in his Lawgiver, ready to dispense instant justice. Perfect, classic Dredd if you ask me! 

Below we see a couple of Karl's initial sketches, a fearsome looking Dredd getting ready to re-educate with the aid of his daystick... 

 "Bend over sir..."

Next we get the beginnings of the cover, Dredd changing his Mag, looking mean as can be...

Clip Art

Karl said "Tharg liked the solitary figure of Dredd, but it was his idea to add the perps firing away - which is funny because one of my early scribbles (which I never ended up sending) was very similar, but a little cheesier/comedic - which is why I never sent it in..."  

Below we see the final sketch. Being a greedychops, I'd have loved to have seen this as a wraparound, kind of a mixture of both images - a cool looking Dredd calmly loading his lawgiver on the front, then the chaotic, advancing perps on the back as Dredd's situation becomes clear. I also want the moon on a stick and Katy Perry's underpants.

"Can't you boys see, I'm changing?"

With the sketch approved, Karl inks this fantastic Dredd...

 Bullet time...

And that awesome Dredd coloured, ooooooh!

So... Joe dresses to the left eh? 

Next Karl begins to add the background... 

 I'm sure Dredd is standing in front of a Chopper smiley there.

If you look closely at the image above, you can see 'Rage Hard' amongst the graffiti. Squaxx with long memories will recall that Rage Hard was a violence-obsessed perp who gave Dredd a thorough pasting in Al Ewing and Karl's 'Rehab' story (Prog 1644-1648.) He was formally a mild mannered, albeit duplicitous scientist working on reverse engineering the Blockmania virus. However, Dr Alvin Templar sold out to racketeers, boosting the virus and turning it into a narcotic. Alvin took a massive dose of the drug and became the vicious Rage Hard! 

After a fierce battle, Dredd managed to subdue and cube the perp. Unfortunately, whilst in his cell, Rage was transported through a dimension gate to Macro-Zone Alpha, a peaceful, communitarian version of Megacity One.

This dimension was peacefully policed by Rehabilitation Supervisors, the most liberal of which was Judge Joe. Of course, Dredd entered the dimension and captured his perp, leaving a trail of destruction in his path... 

The doctor will see you now...

The story featured one of my favourite panels of recent years, the brilliant "Incoming Eldster!"

Agnes was particularly flatulent today!

Most recently, Rage Hard made an appearance in the Innocent storyline, which saw him as meek as a kitten having been subjected to a Justice Department drug testing which left him incapable of showing aggression. Is this the end for Rage Hard?

Karl certainly hopes not "I'd love to do another strip with him in but guess I'll be waiting a while!" Let's hope not!

Rehabilitation Mega-City One style

Back to the cover, here we see the image almost finished...

Those pesky Mega-City Skuls!

And that brilliant final image with smoke and lighting effects added as well as a little composition work and some work on the perps' spelling! Karl also invites us to suck his something or other, I'll ask him what next time he sends a cover...

 A typical day of chaos for Dredd

And here's how the magnificent prog looks on your shelf.

Huge thanks to Karl for sending these exceptional images, this is a truly excellent cover which sums up our favourite lawman and his crazy city perfectly. 

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Simon Davis and Clint Langley - Scarface!

Soth! Has it really been thirty years since the Warped Warrior lobbed a toad into the gob of a rampaging Time-monster? Since those early days, Slaine MacRoth has gone from exiled wanderer to high king of Ireland and back again. His journey has been nothing short of epic and has featured the artwork of some of the biggest and best names in 2000AD history.

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of this classic character, 2000AD are running a brand new Slaine series, 'The Book of Scars.' The battle ravaged Slaine is in fact the book of scars, with each and every mark on his body telling the story of his adventures. The series promises to revisit some of Slaine's classic stories, with artwork from some of the strips' most memorable artists. Below we see brilliant Clint's opening splash page and some of the scars in question...

Aye, but has he ever had man flu, eh?

Prog 1844  features two variant covers, the first is a tantalising glimpse of the future by new Slaine artist Simon Davis. Below we see Simon's cover sketch... 

The axeman cometh... 

Followed by the marvellously atmospheric finished version, lovely!

A sign of things to come.

And here's how variant one looks on the bookshelves:

 Ho ho ho... oh, Slaughter!?!

Variant two is a superbly nasty wraparound by Clint Langley, yikes!

Two faced git!

And here's how that looks on the shelf...

Say hello to my little friend!

The roster of artists for the strip is dazzling. Clint kicks the series off in fine style, before channelling the work of the late, great Massimo Belardinelli on 'The Wickerman and the Bride of Crom.' Below is a comparison of Clint and Massimo's work, stunning...    


Following that we have 'Sky Chariots' by Mick McMahon, 'El Women and Eflic' by Glen Fabry, 'Sloth Feg and Crom Cruach' by Simon Bisley and then 'Molloch' by Clint. I don't think it too many!

Below is a mash up of the covers by Pye Parr, which has been used to advertise the digital edition of the comic. I think they fit together rather nicely!

Thanks to both Clint and Simon for sending the images, I'm sure you'll agree both are absolutely excellent! I can't wait to read this story!

Thursday 1 August 2013

Ian Gibson - Angel Delight!

For some it was McMahon, for some it was Bolland, for me? Ian Gibson was easily the premier Dredd artist of my youth. His linework was exquisite, his characters were so full of... character, his Dredd was both quirky and cool (his eagle had a personality all of it's own fer Grudssakes!) and I was, and still am, head over heels in love with his ladies.

I've been looking for an excuse to celebrate the work of my fave artist ever since I started this blog and finally I have one! IDW have managed to tempt him into drawing a brand new Dredd cover for their ongoing series featuring not only Dredd but the Angel Gang too! Heaven!

Below we see Ian's sketch, a wonderful z curve composition if ever there was one...

Z curve commentary - "Oh shit, the Angel Gang! Dredd's down! He's lost his gun!"

Followed by those deft brushstrokes, yummy!

And the final image coloured by Tomb, hmmm, I'd have loved to have seen Ian's airbrush at work on this one...

So let's have a wander down memory lane, gushing over some of Ian's work for the galaxy's greatest and a peek at some of his amazing commission work... It's time for...

We'll begin with Robo Hunter. Ian's work on this strip was absolutely mind boggling - the sheer amount design work involved in the strip, the level detail on every single page, the way he managed to make it gritty yet cute and make the Teeny Meks adorable yet terrifying is just brilliant.

What really blows me away about this period is how Gibson kept this up week after week as well as submitting so many covers and star scans at the same time, amazing!

So here's Ian's first ever 2000AD cover, Prog 76, what a start!

The name's Slade...
Above: Slade and Kidd about to become human fertiliser on the planet Verdus.
Sam and Kidd play Robopoly with cheating sewer droid B.O.
Holy Joe Smith! Slade, Cutie and Kidd in the thick of the action as usual!
Da God Droid wants Sam's head in Day of the Droids

Hey, it's ages since Tharg gave us free crisps.

Sad to see childhood obesity is still a problem in the future.

"S-LA-Y-E-D to you!"

Sam vs 100 Hoageys - They don't stand a chance!

And now for some glorious Slade Star Scans...

Star Scan from Prog 103, aw Cutie... sniff!
Always thought the above Star Scan from 214 had a look of the James Caan about it, however now I can only see Michael Barrymore, awight?

Here's lookin' at you Kid!

Stogie and Hoagy, TB Grover at their very best.

Ian revisited the character for the several of the reprints too... 

Best of 2000AD 86, Sam spent most of this story strapped to a chair, disgusting!

2000AD Extreme 30... yup!

From Brit-Cit to Mega City One now. Ian has drawn dozens of Dredd and Anderson tales, my favourite being  'Meanwhile...' in the1987 Dredd annual if you were wondering! Here are a selection of covers and other odds and sods from yesteryear...
Drokkit, Dredd was just in time to save Walter! Damn you Gibson!

Dredd socks it to those evil Stookie Glanders!

Who IS the Executioner?
Check out those cits and their fashions - Pure Gibson brilliance.

This next Dredd cover is for one of my favourite TB Grover stories ever - Paid in Full. The story tells of Adele Dahl (how did they get that past editorial!?!) who is a professional biller. This means she randomly sends out bills, charging people... for the bill. 95% of recipients simply throw them away as they should, but 5% pay up, giving Miss Dahl quite the luxurious lifestyle! It may sound far fetched, but having just changed my mortgage provider, I'm fairly certain there are some billers around today...

Bill Oddie

It's rare I pick out a specific panel, the the story contains this 'un, which is all kinds of frikking genius...

What did go on in that room with a corpse a Adele Dahl?

One of my all time favourite Star Scans - loving the eagle!

 Dredd stares down a Bombuddy.

Your Vulced, creep!

Ah, Jacob Sardini... and who could forget Janet Turvy and Christopher Probe?

Love this! 

and this!

Of course Ian drew his fair share of Anderson which made young Pete feel all 'funny.'

There is nothing about this image that isn't brilliant.

Oh yeah!

And of course I couldn't do a Gibson review without looking at Halo Jones, the tale of an ordinary girl who did extraordinary things. Below is the first cover for the classic series...
Play it again Yortlebluzzgubby

The first cover for book 2 is beautifully cinematic

Burn Toby, ye bastard!

Hmmm weird, I can't recall this character at all...

The opening cover of Book 3 is a brilliant contrast to that of Book 2

Along came a spider...

Granny Halo - will we ever see her?

And onto possibly my favourite part, Ian's stunning commissions. Speaking from experience, I can truthfully say that Ian really goes the extra mile with these.  Let's start with two commissions that are very close to my heart, firstly pasty-thief Pete Wells getting arrested by Dredd and Anderson...

"She's a fair cop!"

And secondly, Dredd and Mean tussle at Pete Wells Block. This was the first ever depiction of the mighty Wells Block...
Bok and Drokk

Next up, this genius recreation of the Star Wars: A New Hope poster. I hope the client gets the rest of the trilogy done...
Law Wars: Attack of the Clone

Below is Ian's latest Dredd vs the Dark Judges commission, the prelims for this are great, I'll post the link at the end of the piece...

They're behind you!

Hershey and Anderson after a work out... phew!

Of course Ian gets asked to do the odd Robohunter...

And, of course, lots and lots of Halo...

I know this is (understandably) one of Ian's faves

Something a bit special next, someone commissioned the cover of Halo Book 4...
Halo Jones Book 4: Lost Girl

Halo and Toby...

Burn Toby, ye bast... oh, sorry...

Next, Halo ready for the Glory Barge...

Your Planet Needs You...

Something I alluded to earlier,  I've always loved Ian's fashion sense and think he may well have have a career in fashion if he hadn't become a droid. The next couple of images show this nicely...

The Gibson Collection 2013

The final commission I'll show is a tribute to some bloke called Alan Moore...

That's a cracking Skizz

And speaking of talented creators, here was Ian addition to the commemorative poster for the wonderful Tom Frame...

RIGHT! I MUST STOP! Honestly, I could have put hundreds more images on this. You can see loads more of Ian's stunning work (including LOADS more commissions and their beautiful prelims) on his Facebook Page - The Art of Ian Gibson. If you're not a fan of social networking sites, this is the kind of stuff you can miss!