Saturday, 30 July 2011

Robot Archie vs Judge Anderson - Dave Taylor

Right from the off, i had Dave down for Robot Archie as he's proven himself again and again to be a master of robot design, so wanted to see what his version of the fella would be like.
When coming up with these projects, i usually have either the old or new character in mind for a certain artist and then have to come up with t'other for them.
But, just as with Leigh Gallagher, i knew right from the off who i'd like both to be and, in Dave's case, the other had to be Anderson, after the stunning work he'd produced for her strip in the Megazine.
After Dave had okayed the premise it again was a case of letting the artist decide what the characters would be doing.
Now, of all the scenareos i could've come up with, a date wasn't exactly high up on my list for them to be doing.
So was in equal parts stunned, amazed and thrilled to recieve this.
Barking isn't it?
Barking and brilliant - its detailed here but in the flesh its even better and i keep going back to it to study it more.
Dave's known for his incredibly fine line work but here it's so fine its untrue - Anderson's jawline is so, so delicate.
Love it! Love the concept of them going out for the evening, love what's going on behind them (even though i've not a clue what that might be), love the lil' fella running out of his lil' door, love Batman making a guest apperance (Dave took a break from his Bat-title to do this), and love that i get a Mega City One establishment named after me.
Ace work Dave and thanks ever so.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Black Max - Leigh Gallagher

With an all new "? meets ?" coming along soon, lets have another "shove a ref pic under a startled artists nose" production.
In this case, Leigh Gallagher, who'd already done me the excellent Janus Stark vs Defoe commission previously.
He was attending the London Expo a while back and i had to use the chance to try and get his take on Max, with his stunning B&W Defoe art showing that whatever he did would be special.
And didn't he do well?
Despite not knowing who the fella was, and only having this provided pic:

and not much time at all, he still delivered the goods big time.
Cheers Leigh.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Adam Eterno vs Slaine - Glenn Fabry

Had a lovely day yesterday at a real small SF event down in Worthing. The two big guests were legends Pat Mills and Glenn Fabry and we had a fantastic laid-back time nattering for hours to both.
Being a massive fan of Glenn's Slaine, especially his magnificent early B&W work on the strip, i had to use the chance to garner another meeting for this project.
And who better for Slaine to meet than this earlier "time travelling hero who pops up just at the right time to solve a peoples woes", Adam Eterno.
Glenn had only the vaguest memory of the fella but still, with only this one reference shot to go on, came up with this stunning take.

He's nailed him hasn't he? The nose is just right, the big jaw spot on. LOVE IT.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Black Max commission - Dom Reardon

As i say, figured there's two ways to go with Max - traditional war comic style or to play up the horror element.
Going the spooky route, i have a top three wish list of Dom Reardon, Frazer Irving and Leigh Gallagher, because of the stunning, moody B&W work they've produced over the years.
So i was thrilled that Dom was up for it. He didn't know the character and needed reference pics and, again, i asked if i could have a full length shot with maybe a Bat in the background?
Dom said yup and that he also planned on putting a plane in there and could i supply some frames from the strip for reference.
Happy to do that and happier still to get this prelim before long:

Of course it was ok so i asked to carry on and the finished piece is up top.
I wanted a dark, moody, supernatural take on the fella and Dom didn't disapoint.
Cheers Dom!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Spider - Paul Grist

At the risk of this site looking like a Spider/Black Max fan page, here's Paul's take on an older version of the fella.
It's of course as he's seen in Paul's excellent "Jack Staff", where he's a FAR more believable and in keeping elderly version than the one seen a few years back in "Albion".
If you've not read "Jack Staff" (where you also get Paul's takes on the likes of Steel Claw, Tim Kelly, Adam Eterno etc) i recommend any of the graphic novel collections.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Black Max Commission - Chris Weston

I'd been having a hankering for quite a while to commission my own piece of Black Max art, mainly because it doesn't look like any of the original Font pages will ever see the light of day.
Straight from the off, i thought i could go two ways with one - the moody, gothic horror way, or the more factual traditional war route.
I went with the latter first as (A) i'd just been chuffed to bits with Chris' Spider he did, (B) Chris had been posting on his Blog what a fan he was of the character, (C) Chris had already proven himself superb at WW1 hardware and aerial scenes with his excellent work on "Enemy Ace".
So, i was put on his commission list and it wasn't too long before he was asking what i was after.
All i said was a full shot of Max, with maybe a Giant Bat in the background.
Before long, Chris asked me if this prelim was ok:

Yep, you heard right: A. PRELIM.
I've seen tons of prelims before but this just blew me away - it ain't a prelim, its a fully finished piece!
Of course it was ok - every detail was absolutely spot-on, even down to the Bats todgers.
And i especially loved the castle and the detail on it.
Chris said if it was okay, he'd finish it off.
Saying of course yes, i couldn't really see how he could better it but, of course, if you compare the two, he's piled detail on to detail on to detail.
Stunning, stunning stuff that i'm hugely impressed by and love to own. Both versions.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Spider - Jock

My last catch from the Dreddcon was this stunner from Jock. Something about the use of black in The Spider was really evoked during Jock's work on Lenny Zero, so he was a natch to me for the character, and he sure didn't disapoint.
Incidently, the apperance of a whole bunch of ants muttering away to themselves doesn't on the face of it appear to make sense.
Until you see the reference pic i'd provided Jock with:

A good example of the blokes sense of humour and a nice reminder of the laid back, easy atmospheres of the Dreddcons.
How i miss 'em.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Janus Stark - Dom Reardon

Next person to corner at that Dreddcon was Dom.
He only had a small reference pic i'd brought along to go on but still produced this excellent portrait shot.
It was great to see it being done in front of me, even greater to see Dom was enjoying it, commenting on what a great face Janus has and what fun he was having doing it.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Spider - Chris Weston

My very first dealings with Mr Weston was quite a few years back when talk had turned on his Blog to all things 70's comics.
Also at that time, Chris had mentioned he was taking on small commissions. So approached him and agreed a price for a B&W A4 "with a bit of colour".
Stunned and amazed then to open the envelope and be greeted by this near full colour fella staring up at me.
Love his take on him - and especially how he's used solid red for the background, leaving gaps to make the white paper the webs.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Rogue Trooper vs Major Eazy - update

Just a quick one to point you in the direction of Staz's Blog, where he's nicely detailed the making of his piece:

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Billy The Cat - Dylan Teague

I first hit on the idea of modern artists doing their takes on classic characters way back in 2005 and had my first chance at nabbing some at that years Dreddcon.
Real hazy now but i'm pretty sure the first person to ever do me one was Dylan Teague, who not only did a lovely shot, but earns extra points from doing it straight off the top of his head with no warning nor reference pics.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Black Max - Cliff Robinson

Cliff was a joy to deal with and is a true gent.
An excellent example of that is how he contacted me to say sorry but one of the prelims had been slightly damaged.
He felt really bad about it and, to make up for it, said he'd do me an extra picture and would i rather know what it was or wait till the art arrived?
I'd had JPEG's of all stages of the commisssion so knew what i was getting there, so chose to wait and have a surprise.
And boy was i - a truly brilliant, evil take on Max and i was blown away and chuffed to bits.
What a great guy

Rogue Trooper vs Major Eazy - Staz Johnson

Last year saw Rogue return to the pages of the Prog, with a lovely tale by Gerry Finley Day showing he'd not lost it with the character, and excellent art by Staz, really evoking the vibe of the strips origins.
A worthy succesor to the likes of Gibbons and Wilson with his brilliant design work, Staz must be the number one choice if the strip ever becomes ongoing again.
Anyway, really pleased that Staz was up for returning to the fella and it seemed natural to look for a military type from the 70's to have him meet.
I straight away ruled out Charley Bourne and Darkie from this project, figuring the seriousness of those strips just wouldn't work on such a fun project.
In my mind that left two to choose from - Major Easy or Hellman.
I initially went for Hellman as i reckon he's a crimingly over-looked character and i wanted to give him a bit of exposure.
So Staz set to work but then i had second thoughts.
Rogue is such an iconic character that i thought maybe Hellman, in his plain black tank outfit, would get swamped in the piece.
So asked Staz if he'd mind changing to the far more visually striking Eazy and, luckily he did - and mighty glad i am too.
Stunning stuff.

Janus Stark vs Defoe - Leigh Gallagher

During the creation of Cliff's commisssion, i got to thinking that as well as having the Dredd versus those characters piece, it would be nice to see an old classic character meeeting up with a modern one.
Part of the fun of it would be choosing which characters would meet,
who would draw them (if they were up for it),
and what they would end up doing.
First to come up with the goods for this project was Leigh Gallagher, and i can't think of anyone more appropriate to kick things off.
Since Defore started in 2000AD, i've been waffling on about Leigh's stunning B&W art and how he seems to be the natural successor to the likes of Lopez and Font etc with his incredibly moody and evocative line work.
That's especially true with his London vistas - very inkeeping with Lopez's work on Janus Stark, as just the title logo can show:

So, it was a natch that i'd go for Stark meeting Defoe. Luckily, Leigh was up for it almost straight away and very soon came up with these two ideas i had to choose from:

I'd have loved to have seen the nose to nose version completed as its a lovely shot and he's totally nailed Janus' hawk-like nose and forehead.
But the other shot really gets across Stark's nimbleness, along with showing off how dead hard Defoe is, so i went with that one.
And mighty pleasd i am with it - cheers Leigh!

Judge Dredd vs the Seventies

Right, lets start at the beginning shall we?
A while back on my "AIEEEE!" Blog i did a poll to find folks' favourite ever British comic character. It was a real close run thing, but Dredd just pipped Charley Bourne from "Charleys War" to the post.
That got me to thinking how it'd be nice if someone could do me a picture of Dredd victorious, with all those classic characters vanquished at his feet. This thinking was going on at the same time that folk on the 2000AD Forum were discussing and showing off their Cliff Robinson commissions. "Hmmmm...." thinks i, "Cliff would be a natural for that, what with the amount of detail he puts into his work". But dismiss the idea as no way could i afford one.
But, get an unexpected work bonus, contact Cliff who says sure just let me finish the project i'm on, and thing was a go.
First thing Cliff asks is what do i have in mind?
I'd taken my insperation from the classic Brian Bolland cover for 2000AD Prog 2000AD, of Dredd and co summounting a mountain of past titles, and came up with the idea of Dredd sitting on a pile of fallen past characters. I had it in mind that he'd be kind of slumped rather than victorious by this stage, more reflective than triumphant and sent this crappy sketch off to Cliff to show what i was thinking:

Almost immediately i regretted it, thinking it'd be a waste of the characters and also Cliff's talents if all we'd see of them was just a head here and part of a costume there. So, let Cliff know that and he agreed, so i simply asked Cliff if he could do Dredd standing off against a bunch of classic characters, who were advancing on him.
Cliff wanted a guest list of who i'd like and it was pretty easy - Black Max, Adam Eterno, The Spider, Janus Stark and Robot Archie. While i waited for the first thumbnail, i was umming and ahhing whether i should ask for an additional figure of one of Max's Giant Bats in the backgound as a sort of framing device. Very chuffed to find that Cliff had somehow read my mind and not only put Max on a Bat, there was a whole bunch more:

He asked me if i thought it was ok? Did i think it was ok? It's cuffin' brilliant! With the go ahead, Cliff set to work and it was a real thrill each time to see there was an update of progress in my Inbox.
The only ammendmant from the first design was after i was sent this one:

Cliff had done a different style of face for the Bats faces as he thought they'd be more fearsome this way. But, Fonts brilliant long, almost cat/bear-like features for the creatures is one of the appeals for the strip for me, so i asked him if he could please change it back. Cliff was happy to do so and continued work, sending my more progress shots until done.

To say i'm pleased with the final result doesn't come close. Its so much more than what i had in my head and i love the composition and the fact that Dredd's in deep doo-doo, with that whole squadron of Giant Bats to deal with should he beat all these guys.
Cliff, you were a dream to work with and a true gent - thanks ever so.