Sunday, 31 May 2015

Billy the Cat & Judge Hershey by Colin MacNeil

VERY happy to see Colin here!
Four years ago, when i first had the notion of this here project, i straight away came up with a wish list of artists i'd love to see take part, with Colin being high up on that list. So i contacted the fella and asked if he'd be up for it and, happily, he said yes just as soon as he had a gap in his schedule and who did i have in mind for the characters?
Even back then four years ago, i figured there'd be a real shortage of female characters in this collection, so i asked him for Hershey for the modern one as i love his take on her:

And for the classic character, i went with Billy the Cat as (A) i loved the character as a nipper, (B) i thought Colin's style would work well with him (this pic courtesy of the Beano annual 1972, an annual i still have mainly becuase of Billy):

Colin jumped on the idea of drawing Billy as he too had been a fan when small, but hadn't thought of him in years so relished the idea, but i'd have to wait until he had a gap in his schedule.
That was four years ago and its been a sort of twice-yearly tradition to contact Colin to see if he was still up for it. He was each time but was still busy each time - and there's nothing wrong with that, the guys a stellar talent and deserves to be in demand - and would i mind still waiting?
Of course i was, and that's how its been until about two weeks ago when Colin contacts me to say he had a gap in his schedule, did i still want it, and still with those characters?
Of course it was a yes so the project was a go!
Colin said he'd have a think about the composition (remember, apart from the two characters, its totally up to the artist as to what they'd be doing) and a few days later, this prelim came through:

Along with the prelim, Colin also gave his very eloquent reasoning for it:
"It was really quite tough to come up with a idea for this. ... well, an idea that actually meant something other than just a pic of the two of them together.
I got to thinking about Hershey and how idealistic she was earlier in her career, in regard to the law, justice, integrity. She's had to make some really tough choices over the years, some of which her younger idealistic self would hate herself for.
I also got to thinking about Billy the Cat and his ideals of law, justice and integrity. He was from a much simpler time where the baddies were easier to spot. He was from a time when the law and those who uphold the law meant something, something for good. In Hershey's world "good" and "bad" are much more ambiguous. Much harder to tell apart.
Yeah, Billy is a vigilante, especially from say Dredd's perspective, but I reckon he could represent a younger Hershey's idealist heart. Catching the "bad guy", upholding the law, doing good, that sort of thing. In a sense a Peter Pan in Hershey's psyche.
So,... We have a meeting of Hershey and Billy, sitting on a roof looking out over MC1 at the Grand Hall of Justice. The roof they sit on is from Billy's time, an old fashioned slate roof. Billy points toward the Hall of Justice, the city, a marvel of the future from his perspective. Hershey sits there, like Wendy next to Peter, looking at Billy.
She smiles as looks at the idealistic child that she used to be and remembers what it is to hope for a better world. ..... Or something like that. :)"

A brilliant idea, one much beteer than anything i could've thought of, so it was a nod for that too and off Colin wnet with his inks.
And it arrived safe and sound yesterday i'm VERY happy to say!
Love everything about it, love how Colin has nailed Billy, even down to the rope thingy for a tail:

Hershey's wistful look:

and a Northern slate roof amongst all the Hi-Tech of Mega City 1:

Love it all. And didn't mind the wait at all!

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