Wednesday, 29 February 2012

London Supercon

I made it to London Supercon for one day on Sunday. Thanks to Jeff Chahal for setting me up for signing on the Close Encounters table, and thank you to all the people who came along to chat and get stuff signed.

I guess I should also thank Jeff for this very special gift...

Photos by Josh Price

I'm beginning to suspect that I should take a more proactive approach to preserving my public image. Here is the other photo that made its way onto Facebook over the weekend.

Photo by Tony Lee - well it had to be, didn't it?

I was more than a little jet-lagged after a very long flight home from Vietnam on Saturday, so if I talked gibberish at you during the Con, that's my excuse. The Con seemed to be a great success. 7,000 people attended I believe and there wasn't a sign of non-comic media, which made a pleasant change, though it was weird to be at the Excel Centre without the hordes of Cosplayers. 7,000 people actually came out just for the comics!

I didn't do a lot of shopping but I did pick up two lovely prints from Warwick Johnson Cadwell.

And this print from Bernie Wrightson - an illustration from the all-time classic Frankenstein

Sunday, 26 February 2012

What? No new posts?

I'm just back from a two-week holiday to Viet Nam. Daily posting has continued throughout by the miracle of pre-set posting. However, I now find myself facing a massive backlog of work that just has to be dealt with, so... no new posts for a day or two, but I shall return in a few days, when Supercon is done and dusted and my deadlines are back on track. Thank you for your patience...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Shaky Kane: Blast From The Past #12

Back in December, I posted my art for the 1984 New Musical Express Illustrated songbook. Four years later, Shaky Kane was featured in the 1988 songbook illustrating 'I Want Your Love' by Transvision Vamp. This was during Shaky's 'Gender Crisis' period (note the Tracey Kane signature). Ah, the eighties...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Disinterred: The Origins of The Bulletproof Coffin #10

This was a great recent find: Justice Traps the Guilty #38 a British reprint from Arnold Book Co. a publisher run by Arnold Miller, son of L. Miller, who was responsible for vast numbers of reprints of American comic books in the UK. ( I got that information from themagicrobot )

Here are a few interior panels. Some really nice (uncredited) art and intriguing, well-written stories.

Art by Warren Kremer?

These last two panels are from  the story 'Big-House Bait', drawn by Gene Colan and originally published in Crime Must Pay The Penalty #20 - June 1951

Monday, 20 February 2012

Steranko! Part 4 - The Death of Captain America

This is the cover of Captain America #113 that you never saw. Stan Lee rejected it as being too shocking for Marvel readers' delicate sensibilities.

From 'Steranko: Graphic Prince of Darkness' - Vanguard Comics 1998

Mind you, the cover that did appear wasn't too shabby either.

The interior art was some of Steranko's best, which of course automatically makes it one of the greatest comics in history. Steve Cook has posted some of the interior art on secretoranges. Here are a few more classic images...

Damn! Spoiler...

And it helps that the hordes of Hydra are all lousy shots!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Shaky Kane: Blast From The Past #11

A cover of the Judge Dredd Megazine from 1992, featuring the cast of the infamous Soul Sisters written by editor David Bishop with Dave Stone.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Disinterred: The Origins of The Bulletproof Coffin #10

When I was a kid we didn't have TV. I know, that's hard to believe, but this is a looooong time ago. Our neighbours acquired a television set a year or two before us. It was a coin-in-the-slot rental TV. A silver sixpence would pay for five hours of television and the rental company would empty the box every month. The concept of the pay-per-use TV will be familiar to anyone who read the first series of The Bulletproof Coffin, though we Americanised the concept by using a motel coin operated TV as a model.

The very first program I ever saw on television was on that television. My brothers and myself would sit on the floor along with the neighbours' three kids gazing up in awe at the glowing black and white screen waiting for the magic words "Hi-yo Silver!"

Friday, 17 February 2012

Folio Editions - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

In the age of digital downloads, the real thing - the hard copy, wood pulp and ink book - has to be something special. It has to be an object of beauty that you want to hold in your hands, to turn the pages, to feel the texture. There is a book publisher that loves books as much as I do. The Folio Society is a book club, but its editions have little in common with those gold embossed Reader's Digest edition of the classics that your grandparents used to collect. Each book is designed to a unique format. The size, the paper, the typeface, the binding, are all selected to reflect the subject and style of the book. There are scholarly and entertaining introductions, and above all, there are some of the most beautiful illustrations you will every see anywhere. No expense is spared and the cost of the books reflects that. Some of the limited edition facsimile books can cost up to £1,000. Regular editions are anywhere from £20 to £50 and well worth it. Fahrenheit 451 will only set you back £22.95 for a beautifully illustrated hardback with slip case.

Below is a scan of the cover and a selection from the illustrations by Sam Weber. There's also an introduction by Michael Moorcock. It starts like this:

In the late 1960s my friend J.G. Ballard phoned me full of outrage. Feeling weighed down by the bad prose cluttering his study, he had dug a pit in his back garden and thrown his review copies in, splashing them with a little petrol. But they proved harder to burn than he thought, so he put one in the kitchen oven, which had a suitable thermometer, to test the igniting heat of the book paper. 'Bradbury was wrong!' he complained. 'Fahrenheit 451 isn't the temperature at which book paper burns!'

You may have read Fahrenheit 451 before, but reading the Folio edition is a whole new experience.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Dave Gibbons - Super Hero!

Britain in 1979. A new comic book appears and the U.K.'s first real life Super Hero is unveiled - the cunningly disguised Dave Gibbons! 

Hey, Dave - YOU KICK ASS!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Classic Movie Clip: Tarzan and Jane

From Tarzan And His Mate (1934) - starring Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan and Jiggs the chimp as Cheeta. Three versions of the swimming scene were filmed, one with Jane clothed, one topless and this one as nature intended (almost -  Weissmuller does keep his loin cloth on). The nude swimming scene was doubled by Josephine McKim, who like Weissmuller, was an Olympic swimmer.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Odds and Sods #6 - Classic English Comics

The late Keith Watson was the artist who came closest to recapturing the look of Frank Hampson's Dan Dare. Here's a brilliant cover for a 1964 edition of Eagle.  A highly unusual composition that makes it one of my all-time favourite covers. Click for the giant version.

This is a less well known British comic but a worthy rival to Eagle. I think it must have been linked to the Daily Express newspaper because it featured two Westerns, The Lone Ranger and Gun Law, both of which ran in The Daily Express. There's more about the comic on Lew Stringer's blog. On the cover is Wulf The Briton painted by Ron Embleton.

Inside though, is a real surprise - Sky Masters by Jack Kirby and Wally Wood!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Confidential File: Horror Comic Books!

In 1955, comics were already neutered by the recently set up Comics Code Authority. But ace reporter Paul Coates wasn't going to let that stop him from making this bloodcurdling documentary about the sick, twisted horror and crime comics still circulating in their tens of millions. Shudder as you see the terrible consequences of reading these filthy, perverted, sexy periodicals. Young children turn into sadistic psychopaths before your eyes!

To tell the truth I was drooling with envy through the whole thing. All those cool comics. Those lucky kids didn't know they were born!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

This Paper Will Self-Destruct in 100 Years

Here's another one from the box. It must have been in there for about 30 years. The last time I took it out, you could still turn the pages to read it. This time it literally started to crumble away in my hands. It was published in 1912, so I guess it's official - without taking precautions to preserve it against aging, a paper printed on cheap newsprint, will last 100 years before it disintegrates.

The pages are A3 size. That's twice the size of a standard US comic book and the print is tiny, cramming many thousands of words onto the pages and you certainly had your penny's worth with half a dozen exciting tales of crime, high adventure and trouble at t'mill.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Judge Dredd - "Drokk! Blimp!"

Here's a scan of a page from 'Blow Out', a Dredd story I illustrated for 2000AD #949 back in 1995. Story by John Wagner. The art is heavily influenced by Mick McMahon, my favourite Dredd artist.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Disinterred: The Origins of The Bulletproof Coffin #9

Sometimes a piece of dialogue is so good you just have to rip it off!

The Bulletproof Coffin #3 - Art by Shaky Kane, Dialogue by David Hine

International Times #117 - Art by John Buscema, Dialogue by Stan Lee

International Times was a British underground publication. The interior of this magazine, sympathetic as it was to armed revolution, would be banned now, and the staff banged up for promoting terrorism. And of course the cover is barefaced piracy. I had this image on the wall above my drawing table when I was at art college. It still think it's an utterly classic image. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Steranko! Part 3D - "Repent Harlequin!"

If you don't have a pair of 3D glasses by now, you really should do something about getting hold of some, because there's more 3D to come! This time, it's Jim Steranko's illustrations for the 1978 edition of The Illustrated Harlan Ellison published by Byron Preiss. Preiss had earlier published Steranko's Chandler book, Red Tide and this was another ambitious undertaking. The book featured adaptations either as illustrated stories or comic strips, of a number of classic Harlan Ellison stories by artists such as Alfredo Alcala, Bill Stout and Ralph Reese. Steranko's adaptation of 'Repent Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman definitely stood out from the crowd...