Michael J. Austin: the artist formerly known as Mick
Scotch Corner is the sketch blog of a group of Scottish comic artists that includes regular Garth Ennis/Warren Ellis collaborator Gary Erskine and 2000AD staple Simon Fraser. To celebrate their blog’s birthday, and to take a break from their regular schedule, every July they feature a series of guest bloggers who’ve included quite a star-spangled list over the last couple of years. On Saturday their had quite a coup – their guest contributor was the painter Michael J. Austin, known to comic fans of a certain age as Eagle-award winning Warrior, Doctor Who Monthly and 2000AD contributor Mick Austin.
While many comic book artists have moved on to successful careers in other media (such as Troy Nixey becoming a film director, or the countless hordes lost to storyboarding and concept illustration, or Chris Cunningham making music videos, right through to Jamie Hewlett becoming a bona fide pop star), Austin is one of the few who’ve made the leap to the fine art world. The last time I heard Austin’s name was on press coverage of Prince Charles’ visit to India and Oman in 2002, when he was invited along as the official tour artist. Austin clearly still has a clear admiration for the craft of comics, though shows no inclination to return to the form (though when you’re keeping such vaunted company, why would you?).