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Looks like the 2000AD publicity department are starting to take its Youtube channel seriously as a promotional tool: Alongside the trailers for various strips and some goofing around by creators, the magazine just posted a couple of videos with Simon Davis, one of the more under-appreciated artists in its stable for the past few decades. The videos quietly cover some news that will be seen by some as a big deal — that Davis is taking over as regular artist on the classic thrill “Slaine” (well, it’ll be news to most, though not those who listen to the ECBT2000AD podcast).
Davis broke into 2000AD during the 1990s “brown period” of muddily reproduced watercolor art. Davis’ work stood out by a mile as created by someone who understood how to paint comics that looked crisp and detailed on newsprint, often by making novel palette choices (becoming notorious along the way for using blue as a skin tone and giving the assassin character Finnegan Sinister the brightest of red noses). Davis is rare for a U.K. comics artist in that he’s never made any prolonged attempt at breaking into the American comics industry (I can only remember him producing a handful of pages for the JLA: Riddle of the Beast Elseworlds graphic novel alongside a dozen or so other painters). Instead, Davis’ work outside of comics has been as a storyboarder and as a fine-art painter of no small renown (his awarding-winning portraits can be seen at his website).
Davis recently posted to his Facebook profile “…. climbing onto the shoulders of colossi…intimidating but exciting…“: drawing Slaine is indeed one of the glamor positions at 2000AD, a strip that has been worked on in the past by artists such as Mick McMahon, Glenn Fabry and Simon Bisley.
Davis’ gouache sketch (above, as seen in the interview video below) is evocative of Bisley’s work on the character from back in the days of “The Horned God.” This can’t be a bad thing, surely — as the strip’s creator Pat Mills frequently reminds us, that era was 2000AD‘s commercial peak. The interviews reveal Davis to be a charmingly soft-spoken and modest man, with a subtle line in self-deprecating humor.