Thursday, December 29, 2011

Well, 2012 is only a few days away, and my resolution would be to 'be more organised', why's that? I hear you ask, well on a recent rummage around the spare room I attempted to locate my personal samples of stuff I've done over the years. I thought that I'd kept a copy of everything I've done, but it seems I'm mistaken. The following is a 'sort of' bibliography, minus a few printed copies.

Many moons ago I produced a three issue comic called SPIRIT of THE HIGHWAYMAN, a tale of brigandry and black magic, featuring that most-famous of all highwaymen Mr Turpin, hung in the first few pages he didn't feature much in the story, no, it was more his spiritual self...and his fellow brigand Tom King that took centre stage. This was my first foray into self publishing, I had the plot and where I wanted to go with it, but to beef it up a bit Owen Richards added dialogue. A few years after that, I decided to collect it as a graphic novel, I drew 30 extra pages and hit the Bristol Comic Convention with it, that was 12 years ago now. How time flies. After that I produced WHITECHAPEL FREAK, my twist on the Jack the Ripper mythos, in tabloid newsprint form (like a Penny Dreadful of the times). This tale centred on a travelling freak show, with the focus being the prejudice from the locals and their hate towards the unfortunates. This sold 2500 copies via Diamond Previews. I then started producing sketchbooks for the annual shows, featuring comissions and other such work that would not otherwise be seen. Next up was a mini comic entitled 'The Bridge' based on the classic Ambrose Bierce tale 'An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge'.

Then came SPRINGHEELED JACK, a little-known penny dreadful rogue, reported to have a cape and springs on his feet so that he could outwit the local constabulary. I read some eye-witness reports from the day, and one stuck in my mind in particular 'it had eyes like glowing coals'...that was the seed to base my story on an alien rather than a bloke with a cape and pointy beard. I still like the juxtaposition of an otherworldly creature in Victorian London, I'm sure it would make a great film visually. In fact it did get attention from one of the big guys involved with the TRANSFORMERS franchise. The 3-issue series sold out, and I got great feedback from industry greats Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, so I just had to collect it and do it justice as a hardcover. Since then its been printed in colour by Reed Comics (these are the only versions I could get my hands on), with a bonus of SIMON BISLEY covers. Whitechapel Freak was also reprinted in colour, in a US standard squarebound format by Reed Comics. SHJ also won a coveted EAGLE AWARD in 2006. Recently SHJ has been translated in French by Aaltair publishing.

After a few years of producing short stories for other indie publications, I thought it would be a great idea to collect everything and produce another tabloid newspaper comic, along with new material. This time Diamond Previews (the US distributor) had changed their policy with regard to shipping newsprint items, so I could not sell through them, despite having a great Mike Mignola endorsement they would not stock the product, which was a big shame. Only UK for this one folks. All this time on the scene and I only ever did one short story that got printed by a US comic publisher. The story was the brainchild of artist Shane Oakley, and it's thanks to him that I got to draw his story in Cthulhu Tales.

Shortly after I was approached to illustrate the two volume MADAM SAMURAI written by Gael Mclaughlin and screen writer Gary Young (Harry Brown film with Michael Caine). These two books were the largest single project I've been involved in with a total of 160 pages. Half way through this I was asked to draw SIXPENNY MURDER, by John Short. Based a true story from 19th century Liverpool, it had real heart and message to tell.

So, what's next for 2012? Check back here soon folks...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Hello everyone
I had a great time at Thought Bubble in Leeds recently. The two-day show was heaving with folk and some pretty high-profile US creators. As well as selling loads of MS2 (and book 1 to many latecomers) I also went out and about touting myself to various publishers in an effort to try and get my name out there a little more, did sketches in the last few editions of my most recent sketchbook and got to have chats with Jeff Lemire, Adam Hughes, Esad Ribic and Adi Granov, the latter both had original pages to peruse and that was worth the price of admission alone. You just can't beat seeing the originals in the flesh (so to speak). Thanks go to Mark and Sabrina Peyton for getting me in front of those guys, much appreciated---the lines are way too long to be able to queue, whilst being behind a table yourself. I had a fan tell me he'd queued 3 hours for Adam Hughes, then spent another three waiting in line for Barry Kitson, good job it was on for two days:) The Sunday was very slow again, as is normally the case but all in all a great experience, and I sold a few of my originals again too.

Back again soon.