There was a tantalizing, small, tightly cropped snippet of this image as a house ad in last week’s 2000AD, but here is the cover to Prog 1830 in all its insane glory. Available May 1, it’s a very retro effort by Elephantmen artist Boo Cook starring the cast of his new three-part miniseries “Gunheadz.” Tharg’s regular spokeshuman Michael Molcher explains:
One of the highlights of every comics reading week for me is on a Saturday morning, when the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper has a new strip in its magazine supplement by Stephen Collins (they’re all available to see on the website). Collins won their Observer/Cape graphic short story competition in 2010, which resulted in a book deal with Jonathan Cape, the fruits of which is the upcoming The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil.
As you can tell from his weekly strips, Collins is something of a master at finding new angles to view the world from, as likely to see the absurd and the unsettling as the humorous. Liberated from the joke-of-the-week short form, Collins has produced a rich allegorical work with a certain Kafkaesque quality, with the story told in a rolling, rhyming blank verse (you can see examples on both his blog and this preview at It’s Nice That.
He’s also produced a great director’s commentary feature for Joe Gordon’s FPI blog that goes some way to show the scale of the hard work that goes into producing such a hefty end product. It’s telling that Cape have secured a quote from Raymond Briggs for the back cover. Like so much of Briggs’ own work, this book has a timeless, ageless quality, that could be as enjoyed as much as an entertainment by children or as a satire by adults.
This awesome-looking comics-themed Macbook keyboard skin has been doing the rounds on design blogs, but I saw it on HiConsumption. For an atrocious, eyes-on-the-keyboard, six-fingers-in-a-claw, typist such as myself, it’d be a nightmare. But it does look fantastic. It’s from Killer Duck Decals, and is available from its Etsy store.
The accompanying blurb shows them to be very witty people, indeed: “Zorro instead of Zatanna because I didn’t want to deal with the top hat, sorry”; “Our skins are meant to make your stuff look cooler, not make them bomb proof. So don’t go flashing them around in the bad part of town and skipping them across lakes because they do not grant your electronics super-powers.”
There’s a few inspired choices on this thing (check out the “Y” key), and a couple I’ll admit I’m baffled by. (What are the icons on the “O” and “D” keys referring to? I presume I’ll kick myself when someone points them out.)
Adding another string to his bow, comic artist/storyboarder/production designer/album cover illustrator/rapper Chris Weston has decided to branch out as a caricaturist.
He’s posted these over the past couple of days via his Twitter feed and Facebook page: the Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan cartoon (below) shows something of a classic MAD magazine influence (the Wilson being particularly Jack Davis-y); his second, “A Feast of Lecters” (above), shows an artist quickly getting the hang of this cartooning lark, displaying that unctuous slickness we expect from Weston’s linework.
We reported in November on the announcement of comics making it into the roster of World Book Night for the first time ever, in the form of 2000AD/Rebellion’s The Dark Judges collection. Now World Book Night has now rolled around, and to find an event tonight where you can receive a free copy of this book, consult the list of events on the website, or take a dig around the interactive map of the United Kingdom.
Brendan McCarthy has taken to Facebook to plug the upcoming Dark Horse collection The Best of Milligan and McCarthy. He’s been using it to spread rather fetching memetic images from the classic strips in the book: so far, “Freakwave,” “Paradax” and “Skin” have gone up, presumably with similar designs for “Sooner or Later” and “Rogan Gosh” to follow.
I have to admit, I have a horse running in this race, because Brendan and Pete asked me to write an essay for the book, and it proved damned hard getting the reasons of why and how much I love this material down to less than a thousand words. Anyway, I feel jealous of anyone getting to experience this (inspirational, influential) material for the first time. It’s been downright criminal that its been out of print for so long. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love, you’ll walk funny for a week.
It’s been a big couple of weeks for U.K. comics publishing, and a lot of that might have to do with this weekend’s Comica Festival (a.k.a. “the 10th London International Comics Festival”). There has been a rush of titles from British graphic novel publishers of late, no doubt timed for a big push at this most art-centric of U.K. comics conventions (it’s hosted this year at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, and I dare anyone of a certain vintage to think of that place and not start humming this).
There’s a lot of great stuff out there at the minute that’s maybe not getting enough coverage internationally, so let’s do a round-up, shall we? There’s a myth that the American comics audience is insular, so let’s disprove it: These books are even already available in English, although their spelling is a bit suspect at times. Yeah, you heard me, buy a dictionary, limeys!
• The Man Who Laughs, the oddest of Victor Hugo’s novels, adapted by David Hine and Mark Stafford, published by SelfMadeHero: Hine has posted a host of panels from the book at his blog. I was previously ignorant of Stafford’s work, but these are some handsome-looking samples; they reminded me a little of the great Dave Cooper. Hine is always good value, and has a track record of making some genuinely unsettling comics (Strange Embrace, The Bulletproof Coffin), so this sounds like the perfect alignment of talent to source material.
We’ve been following the progress of the free U.K. street-press anthology Off Life since July, before the launch of the first issue, and now it’s up to its fourth. It’s released today in its home city of Bristol (for a cross-cultural comparison, we’ll call it “the U.K.’s Portland”), with the digital edition arriving on Thursday; the print version hits London on Saturday.
It may also be their best issue yet, featuring work by such stalwarts of the U.K. indie scene as Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Dan Berry, Oliver East and Sean Azzopardi; a very entertaining group interview with three more of the best new cartoonists in the U.K., Hannah Berry, Jack Teagle and Isabel Greenberg; and fulfills editor Daniel Humphry’s mission statement of breaking some interesting-looking new talent, most of which I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on after this. How about some preview art after the break?
I’ve seen this linked in the last couple of days at David Hine’s blog and Shaky Kane’s Facebook page: The Endless Coffin, wherein the blogger Inigo Saenz de Viguera takes the contents of Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #4 (the experiment in Burroughsian cut-up techniques that gained a certain notoriety in fanboy circles after this publicity stunt), and turns it into a genuinely disturbing psychedelic experience.
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).
Within days of each other, we’ve had new seasons of Game of Thrones and Mad Men starting, here’s the inevitable mash-up, “Don Stark” by the great PJ McQuade. Don wouldn’t last five minutes in the Night’s Watch, of course. They may be the most stylish men in the Seven Kingdoms, but I couldn’t imagine him ever taking that vow of celibacy.
Daniel Krall posted some typically amazing-looking design work for Doom Cannon at his Tumblr, and I’ve been racking my brain ever since trying to remember if it has ever been officially announced anywhere. We can tell it’s for Offset Comics, where he’s also working on Doublecross, because Ivan Brandon posted this in February, but it has yet to appear at their (already very juicy) list of ongoing projects.
Krall states that “it’s kind of a riff on teen robot pilot cartoons (Voltron, Evangelion, etc). Like most illustration types, I think character design is one of the best parts of the job.”
Very cool-looking work, and it kinda reminds me of how much I miss Sym-Bionic Titan, too.
Just spotted this via the blog at the Art of Simon Bisley fansite: Sculptor Avinash Hegde now has a Behance gallery. It still has a long way to go before it catches up with the cornucopia of delights that is his DeviantArt page, mind you. His work-in-progress of a Batman sculpt based on Simon Bisley’s work really captures the Biz’s style to a tee. It is however, extremely pointy, and should only be handled while wearing safety goggles.
You may have already heard about Orbital Comics’ Image Duplicator art show in London (probably via this piece at The Beat): This story is right in my wheelhouse, but I was resisting writing about it until there was a large enough stockpile of art from it to present here. The show is a reaction both to the recent Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the city’s already-iconic Tate Modern gallery, and to the BBC’s coverage of the event (which I wrote about at the time elsewhere).
Dave Gibbons is a long-standing critic of Lichtenstein (you can find footage online of him complaining about what he calls Lichtenstein’s “dishonesty” from as far back as 1993). Gibbons appeared on the BBC’s documentary to put the case for the accusations of plagiarism that may always dog Lichtenstein’s reputation. The segment featuring Gibbons debating with presenter Alastair Sooke was filmed in front of the famous “Whaam!” canvas. Sooke was all too dismissive of Irv Novick, somewhat deriding his work in order to flatter Lichtenstein. It seems odd Sooke chose to criticize Novick’s compositional decisions and praise Lichtenstein’s, when every element of Roy’s piece was lifted from Irv’s. Anyway, these new perceived slights seem to have been enough to stir Rian Hughes, Jason Atomic, and the Orbital Gallery regulars into action.
I’ve been writing about the Judge Minty short film since 2010, when after seeing the first teaser trailer I made the observation “these days Judge Dredd would be totally do-able on a BBC budget.” I still haven’t managed to see the bloomin’ thing yet, despite it becoming a U.K. comic convention staple since it premiered at the Leeds Film Festival last November.
Well, the wait is nearly over, as the production team has announced that it’ll soon be free to view on YouTube and Vimeo, without giving us an actual date yet (“in April/May” they vaguely state, the teasing sods). They’ve released a new extended trailer for the project to whet our appetites.
One thing this trailer adds is some great music. I’m no soundtrack expert, so for all I know it might be borrowed from elsewhere, but I do know that it reminds me of Jerry Goldsmith’s avant garde score for the original Planet of the Apes. And I still think that with a little ambition and imagination, Judge Dredd could work better on TV than in films.