A turning point?

I was reflecting last week, as I trawled the shelves of a local second hand bookstore – for the first time in months… that it is just as much the covers of books I love, as much as the books they are wrapped around.
The artists who graced the covers of the paperbacks of forty years ago have made bookshops nothing less than ‘shelved art galleries’ for anyone with a discerning eye, and it is a shame that too few publishers nowadays allow the painted interpretation of a tale to grace a cover.

Thankfully the trend is not completely lost, and I was humbled when Paul Bishop of Wolfpack Publishing approached me to help visualise something that he was putting together for the near future.

Being a huge fan of westerns in general, but specifically the Spaghetti Westerns, and the huge flurry of adult paperbacks in the vein of Terry Harknett’s EDGE that sprung up in the early 70’s, courtesy of the Piccadilly Cowboys, I was/am in my dream zone.

Hush, hush at the moment, but I guarantee that the concept of this new series will tick a lot of boxes for readers old and new … and as an early tease….

THE JIGSAW

So… as I finish this piece of dabbling into the realms of mod-retro comic creation, trying to pin down the things that establish its particular stylistics – such as line, colour choice, saturation and layouts, I suddenly find myself bitten by an urge to do some more… even though the final product is nothing like I envisaged… funny how things develop from nowhere.

Many thanks to Norman Boyd for being in on this little project from the earliest sketches.

Aces Weekly

Back in the 70’s, when comics were plenty and not afraid to take chances in the anthology titles of the day… Tornado, Battle, Bullet, Action, Jet, 2000AD, Starlord, and more, filled many an adolescent heart with anticipation for, in my case, the Thursday morning rattle of the letterbox.

I have sat, sleep fogged and cold, on the bottom stair of my folk’s house and caught those little bundles of wood pulp wonder before they’d even hit the mat, eager to read the next instalment of Dredd, Strontium Dog, Codename Warlord, Facheache, Von Hoffman’s Invasion or Darkie’s Mob.

Those days have gone, and the mainstream Comics industry (machine) seems to be little interested in risking an easy dollar by giving room to the more experimental, traditional or simply original work that hovers, undiscovered, in the minds of creators across the globe.

That’s where David Lloyd’s Aces Weekly comes in… delivered to your (electronic) mailbox every Monday night, rain or shine…

I can’t promise you sleep fogged and cold, but the anticipation is there, just like the old days.

Jigsaw – Aces Weekly 38

I get the feeling that the title is just hitting its stride. Some of the strips are simply phenomenal, and there is a temptation to say that they would be at home in any mainstream publishers catalogue but I’ll hold off from that – because often they are better than most of what is on offer elsewhere.

With creators like Shaky Kane, Herb Trimpe, David Hine, Henry Flint, Mark Wheatley, Phil Hester, Lew Stringer Marc Hempel, John McCrea and David Lloyd himself peppering it’s virtual pages, as a creator, I am honoured to be in such esteemed company.

It’s £1 a week… I don’t know how that equates to the price of a copy of Hurricane or Wizard back in 1974 but for the anticipation and joy of flicking through those six tales, I’ve been happy to be on board since issue one.

My own strip JIGSAW, which kickstarts a much bigger personal project, starts and completes in the pages of Volume 38, beginning on the 18th February; and as an aside marks my 100th page for the anthology.

http://acesweekly.co.uk

The JIGSAW project…

I love Comics.

An amalgamation of text and image that can spin worlds of wonder from the imagination… with nothing more than a surface and an instrument with which to make a mark on it.

Things have come a long way since I first began making my own marks.

Technology has advanced, both in the areas of creation, and delivery of Comics and currently there are more options for producing our own ‘worlds of wonder’ than ever before.

JIGSAW is my own exploration of what makes my creative consciousness ‘tick’; my inspirations and interests, and the products of those interests once they have travelled through the melting pot of whatever makes my dreams. 

In multiple formats, from A6 zines, to A2 posters to digital webstrips, I’ll be producing an array of stories over the coming year, in word and picture, under the umbrella title JIGSAW. The conceit of the project being that each of it’s ‘Volumes’ is part of a bigger picture… the jigsaw of me.

The first part of the puzzle is a digital strip introducing the eponymous character that will frame the project through its various phases… the walking Rorschach , Jigsaw.

JIGSAW begins in David Lloyd’s ACES WEEKLY Volume 38 on 18th February, and is the first strip that I have produced solely within a digital App on the Apple iPad.

https://www.acesweekly.co.uk

Richard E Grant

On 24th February the Hollywood machine will announce the recipients of this years Oscar presentations.

My fingers are crossed for one, Richard E Grant… nominated for best supporting actor.

In 1995 I was working up a strip to be called, K. A dystopian, science fiction saga, which, ultimately, saw presentation of just the first episode, in a Small Press zine, TOPAZ.

The main character of K was based on my vision of REG, and the fit was so perfect that I dropped a line to his agent for permission to use his likeness.

Now, over twenty years later, after a trail of personal phone calls, emails and a constant approval for his likeness to be used in my works, he still stands as vision of choice for characters in most of my projects.

My latest, JIGSAW, has yet to remove the mask and helm he wears, but when he does… well, have a guess.

So here’s to Richard… and all the very best of luck to you on your big night, sir.

K – 1995
K – 1995
Radcliffe – 2013
Bullhawk – 2014
The Bridge – 2015
Jigsaw -2019

Psychedelic Folk

8ACD2CEB-154A-4E43-814A-6628F64E8673

Currently on display with the South Lakes Art Collective Exhibition – WITHOUT BORDERS, the triptych MEADOW BLUE.

Representing a ‘psychedelic folk’ take on some of the indigenous creatures of the British Isles, the collection will be complimented by the addition of MEADOW RED and MEADOW GREEN early in 2019.

Inspired by the psychedelic poster art of the 1960’s ‘So-Cal’ rock scene (by the likes of Wilson, Moscoso and Griffin), the intent is to incorporate subject, text and landscape into one, organic, balanced, textured whole, evoking the traditional mood of the British countryside, whilst at the same time allowing for a more transient appreciation of the flora and fauna of our little island.

For purchase:

https://malearl.bigcartel.com

https://malearl.bigcartel.com