Sunday 29 June 2014

INJ Culbard - Eye Key, Her?

Brass Sun returns in Prog 1888 and when you've read it the meaning of that 'hilarious' subject line above will become apparent! Wakka, Wakka! Like many, I'm thrilled to see this strip return - for my money, Brass Sun has some of the most stunning visuals and brilliant world-building in recent 2000AD history.
The new cover shows our heroes six months on from where we left 'em in Prog 1861. I commented to artist Ian Culbard that I missed the POV/Hand motif of the previous covers, he said "Yeah, once someone notices what I'm doing I tend to move away from it in the hope of staying relatively fresh. POV/Hand motif's were so last season! New season, new things!" Fair enough!
Below is Ian's 'Rough rough' for the cover, he said "Here's the really rough rough - yes, the rough for this was really THAT simple!"
Rough as a bucket...
Simple maybe, but it's a nice call back to the final panel of the previous book, which looked like this...

Our heroes looking fresh-faced and gorgeous...
Ian explains "We come back to the characters and it's six months later. Our two main characters, Wren and Sept have had a bit of a growth spurt and they're settling in to new looks, as they did with the previous run. They've been mucking in with work and life aboard the Nominal Charge as part of Ariel's crew along with Ramkin and it's probably taken the soft edges off both of them. With this cover, I'd just done the final cover to the mini-series for the US format and wanted to do something that said 'we're back!'"
Which brings us nicely to the American series which sold out of it first and second print runs almost immediately. Most readers will know that Brass Sun is getting the US treatment, 32 pages of strip which will be published as a graphic novel when the strip ends. The design values on these versions are gorgeous and some of the new covers are beautiful. 
Here's the complete run...


 Rudolf the White Nosed Reindeer...
"Oi, keep off the bloody grass!" 

"I saw three ships come flying in, on Christmas Day in the morning!" 

 So last season...
"Cry to it, Nuncle..."
 "She's got the whole world, in her hands!"

Massive thanks to Ian for sending the cover and the roughs - here's to the strips' continued success!

Saturday 28 June 2014

Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague - Godbusters!

Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague get suited and booted as the Grey Area team prepare to take on God! If any artists are up to the task I'm sure it's those guys and as usual, they've delivered in spades!
Below we see Cliff's immaculate rough as Bulliet and Co kick alien butt and chew bubble gum...

Some double logo coverage there to annoy the pedants!
Cliff obviously spent some time doing a study of the Drop Ship and it's engines...
As you can see, Cliff's first effort shot peas...
 Where as the second one was considerably better armed.
And here are his stunning, stunning inks - absolutely perfect!

 "Get to da choppa!"
With the inks finished, it's over to Dylan who has the unenviable task of doing the image justice by colouring it. Of course, he's more than up to the task and gives us this absolutely amazing digital painting. I love the smoke rising from Bulliet's gun... 
Bulliet: "No! I was just saying, John's got a moustache!"
And here's how the Prog looks on the newsagent shelves on the planet Greggsnox. Great to see the logo pedants being well and truly outraged this prog!

UKIP's latest campaign poster.

God-sized thanks to Dylan and Cliff, there are hugs and kisses winging their way to them as I type!

Saturday 21 June 2014

Nick Percival - Dead Rising.

Sadly, this week sees the end of one of the Dredd events of the year, the excellent Traumatown by Michael Carroll and the brilliant Nick Percival. This fascinating story has seen Dredd's mental state stretched to it's limits as an unknown foe warps the very fabric of reality! But who is attacking MegaCity-One?

Once again Nick was kind enough to send a 'clean' version of the cover and his thought process behind it. He says “And so this cover brings an end to the 5 part TraumaTown Dredd series."

"I wanted the last cover to focus on one of the scenes from inside the Prog, where Dredd has another hallucination of being surrounded by the undead, so I decided to have a bit of fun with it."

"I hope the series was enjoyed by loyal Dredd fans and I'm looking forward to working on some more Dredd stuff in the not too distant future. I just felt like I was experimenting with this series and starting to get my feet wet being back on Dredd again, so it’d be cool to kick loose on a larger Dredd tale down the line. We have a few ideas….watch this space.”

Let's hope so. I know this story has been very well received by the fans so I'm sure we'd all welcome some more Percival goodness! Below, we see how the cover appears in our newsagents as well as a reminder of Nick's astounding cover for part one of the series...

Oh stop being so grumpy Joe, they just want a cuddle.

Dredd's eczema was getting worse... 

Regular readers of the blog will remember I mentioned a Facebook competition that Nick ran, the prize being a cameo in the strip itself. The lucky victims were the Prog's own Annie Parkhouse, super fans Iain Souter and Kurt Struss. Check out their Grizzly deaths below...

Parkhouse KNEW she'd regret that vindaloo... 

Yep, definitely suicide... 

Egor loved his giant jelly baby.

Great galloping thanks to Nick for being amazing yet again! Here's hoping we see his 'Family' graphic novel soon...

Thursday 5 June 2014

Neil Roberts - Old Rage Pensioner!

 "I'm fighting a war for you, sonny!"
Now how's THIS for a fantastic cover!?! If Shepard Fairey ever painted an OAP in a mech battle suit then it might look a bit like this! Neil Roberts has produced a truly stunning cover which catches your eye on the newsstand before ripping it out and making it go pop! Pure 2000AD and pure thrillpower if you ask me!
Neil was kind enough to send his mad etchings but not before he broke my heart, over to Neil to tell you why: "First off, no ridiculous reference photo's of me for this one, sorry to disappoint!"
Naturally I WAS very disappointed so I'm sure he'll be happy to know I made my own ridiculous Neil Roberts reference picture. If any artists are reading this, I'm happy to make reference photos for you once an image is finished.
Neil always goes the extra mile for Tharg.

Neil continues "As you know, the brief comes straight from Tharg and into my brain, where I start off with a few sketches - all based on a sneak peek at Lee Carter's wonderful art..." Yep, I've got to agree, Lee's art on this strip is absolutely amazing! Below are Neil's initial ideas for the Mech Suit Mouldies...

"I wanted original Werther's Originals, not chewy!!!"

Albert was always first in the pension queue.

Neil continues "Tharg preferred the second idea, a single war machine with guns blazing - and if Tharg likes it, I'm good to go. It was reappropriated from on an old circus poster - I love the 3 colour print quality. It's very basic, but also very direct."

"And with that I get to painting! Using a bit of 3D for the basic shapes, but also in keeping with Lee's design for the machine, I work on the image until I'm done..."

"Your Titan is ready!" 
"Then it's off to Tharg's awesome design droids to make it look all pretty, by placing the logo and punchy straplines in groovy fonts all over it - it gives the whole image a different feel."
Albert over-reacts after losing at the bingo again.
And there we have it, another superb cover from Neil Roberts. In my opinion, Neil's covers are also really classy affairs and I'd love to see more, especially if we get reference photos!
Huge, mech-sized thank you to Neil, please check out his website here.

Sunday 1 June 2014

2000AD Art Compo Winner - James Newell: Draw Misty for me...

Congratulations to James Newell who scooped the prestigious 2000AD art compo prize for May. The theme was 'What if...?" and James absolutely romped into first place with this nostalgic cracker. In fact you could say it was, ahem... a ONE HORSE race! Hello? Are you still there? Good.

James was kind enough to send a breakdown of his artistic process, over to the deserved winner! "I had a vague idea of the layout of the cover in my head so never sketched it, knew I wanted Nemesis & Girl but Nemesis was not a horse when I started sketching. I looked at Kevin O'Neill, John Hicklenton & Henry Flint for Nemesis look."
 The scribblings of a disturbed mind!

 More madness!

"The horse idea came to the forefront after checking out misty covers, so I swiped a basic outline of a lively horse from the net, and penciled in both characters..."

 Vera was more than a little surprised when she gave birth to a demoinc horse...

"Happy with the characters I inked with mostly brushes on a light box, also inking some background detail that would be needed."


 Trees'll do nicely

"Using a Misty comic reference cover from the Misty site I recreated the logo, because the image was too poor to lift it."

 Mr T's daughter?

Wow! A free lucky black cat ring - are you listening Tharg?

"Put all the elements in together in Photoshop, using classic fonts & added a grain in the black to replicate aged printed ink..."
 "Nemesiiiiis the wonder horse!"

 Vera loved Avon's new grainy look mascara...

"Colored with Photoshop mainly using the bevel & emboss tool to shade and a bit of outer glow on Nemesis to make him stand out."

 Classic Bet Lynch ear rings there.

"I'd prepared this blank aged newsprint comic for a previous project so added that to the mix."

Aaaaah, good old comic bog roll.

"A bit of color correction & sharpen and that was it."

 He's covered the logo! Call the police!

"And the final image..."
Ah, I feel like a seven year old girl again!

So, a hearty congratulations to James on a very well deserved win. The theme for this month's compo is 2000AD re-panelled - can you re-imagine your favourite 2000AD moment?