Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Deadline #1

The legendary first issue with cover by Jamie Hewlett.

Kev O'Neill's Galactic Olympics

A great production piece from 23rd August, 1980 for 2000AD Prog #174. 
Art by Kev O'Neill. This was the cover that inspired Strictly Kev aka DJ Food's homage that I posted a few weeks back. Kev also owns the original art for this, which you will find on his own website here...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Brett Ewins on the FP Blog

I discovered this photo of Brett Ewins and Jamie Hewlett from 1988 last night that I'd forgotten I'd taken, so I sent it to accompany all the great tributes on the Forbidden Planet blog. They are celebrating Brett's massive contribution to comics over the years and it's really worth checking out here...

After Punk, there will be... Disco!

Wow! This is a real discovery. Time Out Magazine cover (no art credit) from March 1978. Look at the distinct lack of overcrowded, screaming cover-lines. Takes me right back...

Mint. Fine. Good. Fair. Poor. Appalling #7

What is it with some people? A classic cover being used to rest someone's tea on. What utter contempt! It certainly wasn't me, I never drink the stuff.

Superman's Birthday, 1988

I just discovered another cuttings file, full of wonderful memorabilia including this Birthday Celebration cover by Dave Gibbons for Radio Times, 4-10 June 1988.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Future of Fashion 2012-2013

If I were to hire someone to design Superhero costumes, it would be the inimitable Pam Hogg. No doubt about it! Check this amazing video from the Pam Hogg Autumn-Winter 12-13 catwalk show, at Vauxhall Fashion Scout in the Royal Freemasons' Hall, London Fashion Week, February 2012.
Shot and cut live in Full HD by Brightonart.

People Really Danced Like THIS...

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The London Super Comic Convention

Well, I got back from a little trip to the London Super Comic Convention a short while ago, which is luckily in my 'hood', so it only took 10 minutes to get there. I didn't stick around for more than a couple of hours because I hate the temptation of all the things on offer. I have enough already; I'm sure you know how it is, and I have to resist, resist... though I did buy a page of original art for a bargain price, which I'm very happy with and it's flat and doesn't take up any room, so that's okay. There were a lot of fabulous cosplay fashions going down, and I ran into a lot of good people, including these fine fellows...

Some very fine costumes from dedicated attendees

Simon Bisley and The Dark Knight

Raiders of the Atomic Desert!

Production art from 17th October, 1981 for 2000AD Prog #234. 
Art by Dave Gibbons.

Accounts of Anomalous Phenomena

Location: Kitzbühel, Austria - Date: Unknown
More to be found here...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Manko is The Black Widow!

Just in time for the Jason Atomic curated STRIPPED Exhibition at Orbital Comics next week, here's Manko against an East London sunset as The Black Widow, and in case you're wondering... although this image has been manipulated, we really were that high up.

For the Panoramic, Wide-Screen version, Rich Johnston has the exclusive for that over on Bleeding Cool, for it was he, who prompted me to do a follow-up to the MJ - Face-it, Tiger! image.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ewins and Dillon of Deadline Gulch

From Secret Origins: The Birth of Deadline. Brett Ewins, Jamie Hewlett & Steve Dillon, 1988

Many moons ago, I decided to leave my job at Marvel UK and go freelance. Robert Sutherland, Marvel’s MD, very kindly offered me a studio space in the basement as an incentive to carry on working for them in some capacity. This was a very helpful gesture and made the leap of faith into the precarious world of the freelancer a far more secure option.

With my design work for Marvel, my newly acquired work for 2000AD and my photographic commissions from other clients, things were working out in my favour. I’d also taken up Martial arts in the form of Hapkido and my teacher was a terrific guy called Philip Hartstein. The reason I mention Phil, is because he was instrumental in helping me find another studio when Marvel eventually re-located to another part of London. He also helped me move all of my equipment which was no mean feat. Way back before the modern-day scanner, there was a humongous piece of equipment called a Grant Enlarger, which was a vital tool for a designer, but it was made of metal, it was six foot high and it weighed a ton!

The studio that Phil discovered was a place called South Thames Studios and it belonged to a business acquaintance of his. I don’t know quite how he did it, but he managed to get me a work unit there for no rent whatsoever. It was also a 3-minute walk from the 2000AD editorial office. It was a good, nicely located place and before long the word got around, and it became a thriving community of comics professionals. One of these was another ex-Marvel colleague John Tomlinson who will continue the story from here...

Ewins and Dillon of Deadline Gulch
By John Tomlinson

Judge Anderson by Brett Ewins
When I first went freelance I rented an office unit (read: open top cubicle) in South Thames Studios, Blackfriars, across the road from the 2000AD Command Module at Irwin House. The 2000AD droids called it Vermin House due to the hot and cold running rodents, but South Thames Studios was quite plush by comparison – we had pigeonholes, photocopiers, even our own receptionist! Steve Cook, who already had a unit there, had told me about it. And my next-door neighbours were Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon, then in the process of setting up what became Deadline magazine. Brett and Steve were the undisputed stars of South Thames Studios and to me they always sounded like a couple of legendary gunslingers – Ewins and Dillon of Deadline Gulch, Arizona. Saloon doors wouldn’t have looked out of place on their cubicle. Regular visitors included Phillip Bond, Nick Abadzis and a gangling teenaged Jamie Hewlett with his early Tank Girl strips.

I soon discovered that freelancers keep weird hours. I’d rented the unit for some semblance of office life, but I certainly didn’t work a 9 to 5 day. I think I realised I was overdoing it when, as the last to leave one night I found myself thinking it might be a laugh to slip away unseen by the baleful red eye of the security motion sensors. I turned out all the lights and began to crawl, verrry slowly, across the carpet. PLNK! Damn. I started again, got a few more millimetres: PLNK! Bugger. Go HOME, Tomlinson.

Despite the silly working hours, the worst that ever happened to me was nodding off at my desk and having to answer the door with bog brush hair and my keyboard clearly indented on one side of my face. But then, I was a lone freelance writer/editor. Next door, Brett and Steve were launching a completely new, fully originated magazine whilst also writing and drawing much of the content, editing all of it and organising production, printing, marketing... No matter how early I arrived each day there'd be the inevitable plume of smoke and tinny murmur of headphones from over the wall and I'd know that Brett, Steve or both were already at work. There's a legend (perhaps apocryphal, just as likely not) that Steve could draw an entire US format comic book overnight, a can of Guinness on one corner of his drawing board, a bottle of Pro Plus tablets on the other and his favourite album on auto-repeat.

The Art of Brett Ewins: Air Pirate Press
What's not in doubt is Brett's Herculean schedule, as detailed by Brett himself in the epic, no holds barred interview that forms the backbone of The Art Of Brett Ewins. He wrote the Deadline editorials and drew one of the lead strips, Johnny Nemo (written by his long time friend and collaborator, Peter Milligan). Brett also wrote regular text features, music reviews and my personal Deadline favourite, the brilliant and frankly uncategorisable Ron Merlin’s Paradigm Shift. To make ends meet he also took on extra illustration work (advertising, album covers) whilst also drawing a miniseries, Skreemer, for DC. After eight hours in the office he’d arrive home – and sit down at his drawing board. Few could survive such a workload for long. In Brett's case it was the catalyst for a serious breakdown from which, in many ways, he's still recovering. It certainly affected his output, forcing early retirement from comics. His recent problems and disastrous run in with the law have been well documented elsewhere. The short version is that an incident, which might best have been contained by qualified mental health professionals, was instead dealt with by police with truncheons – leading to Brett being hospitalised with serious injuries and to a subsequent GBH charge.

Brett Does Dredd! (click for large)
The Art Of Brett Ewins, produced in collaboration with former 2000AD editor Alan McKenzie and published under his POD (print on demand) line, Air Pirate Press, is an autobiographical retrospective of Brett’s life and career. The in depth interview covers his days at art college with Peter Milligan and another lifelong friend, artist Brendan McCarthy, from their earliest collaborations (Sometime Stories) to Brett’s groundbreaking association with 2000AD, from Rogue Trooper and Judge Anderson to the Milligan/Ewins/McCarthy masterpiece, Bad Company. Brett pulls no punches in the fascinating and frequently inspiring interview, which also covers the Deadline days, his battle with illness and more recent projects such as The Dark Gate, a labour of love anthology that took a decade to complete. The book includes detailed pencils, inks and lovely full colour artwork from all stages of his career, some previously unpublished.

In terms of recovery, Brett is at least out of hospital. Anyone interested to help might like to know that he benefits directly from each copy of The Art Of Brett Ewins sold. For anyone merely curious about the work of this uniquely gifted creator, here’s ample proof of his reputation as one of comics’ all time greats.

Deadline lasted seven years, outlasting other, similar counterculture comics/magazines, and was never more brilliant than in those early issues with Brett and Steve at the helm. For me, The Art Of Brett Ewins was a fun reminder of the short, exciting time I spent in the company of two unusual artists and creators, slipstreamed briefly along in their wake on the road to Deadline Gulch, and their place in publishing history.

The Art Of Brett Ewins is available for £9.99 from:

UPDATE Nick Abadzis talks about his time at South Thames Studios, here...

and then I found... Eden

Project: Imaginary people
Number 1 in a series of 9 digitally constructed portraits from found analogue prints and transparencies to be seen, right here... 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Metropolis 2010

Fashion feature inspired by Metropolis by Karl Lagerfeld for Vogue Germany, February 2010.

Black Kiss

I only seem to have one issue of this series, probably because I particularly liked the cover. According to Wikipedia, Black Kiss became one of the most controversial North American comics of the late 1980s, due to its explicit nature. The twelve-issue series was written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, best known for his American Flagg series.

...And Finally: Black Bolt!

A production stat from: Thor #148 - January, 1968 
'And Finally...Black Bolt!'
Script: Stan Lee
Art: Jack Kirby
Inks: Vince Colletta
Letters: Sam Rosen

They're Dropping Like Flies!

I know I shouldn't laugh at my own jokes, but every time I look at this it cracks me up! I took the original shot in Rome in 1983 and had been trying to figure out how to utilise it ever since...

If you like the absurd, there's plenty more where this came from, right here on my website.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Guess the Prog!


Anyone in the vicinity of London's West End next week might want to make a note of an exhibition that's currently being orchestrated by Jason Atomic. It's at Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JA - March 1st - April 1st 2012, as you can see by his very jazzy flyer above and his blogspot here...

Jason describes it thus: Stripped is an exhibition featuring art that demonstrates a love of comics. Not necessarily comic art but art which celebrates the medium itself. Artistic reinterpretations of comic book iconography, the graphic devices used and the actual artifacts themselves, splash pages & spreads, select panels, logos & trade dress, corner boxes, speech & thought bubbles, backgrounds, Ben-Day dots, explosions, small ads, etc...

I'm currently working away on a new image starring the wonderful Superdupermodel, Manko with this exhibition in mind, so if I haven't been quite so prolific with my posts lately, you'll know why!

Giger Does KooKoo

From my ancient vinyl media collection: A classic pre-photoshop masterpiece by H. R. Giger.
KooKoo was the debut solo album by Debbie Harry, released in 1981.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Brigitte Bardot Was Here...

I'm not usually bothered about autographs but I have one prized exception that I was lucky enough to find in an old flea market a good few years ago; this postcard print of Brigitte Bardot that she'd actually signed with her own hand - Yikes!

Most probably NOT Brigitte Bardot, 1978
As a teenager in the 70's I used to spend every summer with my pals, backpacking our way down to the South of France on a long-haul, overnight train that was usually rammed with young French military guys doing their national service. The train was so full, we'd be lucky to get a seat, in fact most of the journey was usually spent sitting on top of our rucksacks or sleeping in the corridors. It was a hellish journey, but the destination was the reward. 

Every year we'd convince ourselves that we'd spot Brigitte Bardot, skipping barefoot through the streets of St Tropez or lounging around on a private beach somewhere along the Riviera. But we never did... though there came a day, when for a brief moment I thought I saw her, looking very cool, standing in a shop doorway; so I took a photo just in case.

I found a couple of videos on YouTube that seem to sum up the whole fascination with Bardot as a French National Treasure, so I'll post them here. The track by Serge Gainsbourg - The Initials BB - written for Brigitte Bardot after their relationship ended, still sounds incredibly powerful.

An outtake from the Comic Strip music video featuring Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot.

It's... DR. OCTOPUS!

This production stat is from:
Amazing Spider-Man #54 - November, 1967
'The Tentacles and the Trap'
Script: Stan Lee
Art: John Romita Sr.
Inks: Mike Esposito
Letters: Sam Rosen

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Superhero Style #4

From American Vogue, May, 2008 by Photographer Craig McDean. This fashion editorial coincided with the SuperheroesFashion and Fantasy exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. May 7 - September 1, 2008.

Goldfrapp - Ooh La La

Saddam's Favourite...

Item: National Lampoon from June, 1979 with cover art by renowned fantasy illustrator, Rowena Morrill. According to BBC News, two pieces of her original art were discovered in Saddam Hussein's own private collection. I'd imagine it's not something you'd want on your curriculum vitae!

The Great Tyrant

With all the posts I've been putting up about Barbarella, I thought I should add one for her nemesis, The Great Tyrant (Anita Pallenberg), just to balance things out a bit.

The Judge Dredd Database #2

As promised, more pages from the Judge Dredd Database. The printed booklet was something that Tharg used to hand out to artists who were about to work on the Dredd strip, or to any licensees. Cliff Robinson did the artwork for this in 1990.


Here's one from my magazine collection: British Vogue magazine from October, 1967 featuring Twiggy and freckles. The video link is an interview with Barry Lategan on his first shoot with Twiggy.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Going Underground

I spotted this on the London Underground at Tottenham Court Road an hour ago... Looks like a Jamie Hewlett to me...

Another Earth

A Modern Classic.

Superhero Style #3

Poison Ivy! From American Vogue, May, 2008 by Photographer Craig McDean. This fashion editorial coincided with the SuperheroesFashion and Fantasy exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. May 7 - September 1, 2008.
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