Sunday, January 21, 2007

SKETCHBOOK STUFF 1

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: SUPERMAN RETURNS, John Ottman, 'Rough Flight'

Now that REDEYE 6 is off to the printers, I can get back to doing some drawing. As something of a ritual, I have a big cleanup of the drawing board and surrounding area (mostly because I'm a messy bastard). This time, with moving the final boxes into the studio, I had the added task of going through old sketchbooks and old correspondance that had built up over the last several years, keeping the important or sentimental stuff and shredding the rest. Three bin bags later, I saved a few interesting (to me at least) bits of pieces I thought I'd share before getting back to the Zombie strip which I'm redrawing from scratch.

NEGATIVE PRESS:
Before Engine, there was Negative Press, what was intended to be the imprint name for the comics i had planned. This was a drawing of me and Noel, a comic shop manager I worked for. Our story is told in Deviants: Freaks, Geeks and Berserkers, printed in Fusion Zero. I think Noel still has the original art.

deviants shop sketch

THINGS THAT NEVER WERE:
At the back of Fusion Zero were a number of strips that I had planned or half scripted. Some made it like Black Harvest Moon and Thunderhide, some never did, some where merged into other stories over the years; all are copyrighted. And this isn't including stuff I have ready for artists. To highlight these:

Titan City: A series inspired by the art of Hugh Ferris, originally planned to be a steampunk version of Blade Runner before quickly realising that was a bad idea. Instead it was restructured into a series of ten volumes, each one representing a decade of the 20th century, and each reflecting the sci-fi visions of the time. Book one was fully scripted by Gary Simpson based on my notes, and evolved into more of a gothic horror. The second was to be set after the War of the Worlds, just because I love to draw Martian tripods. But then Scarlet Traces came out, and I don't know if I could ever hope to match that. Status: Waiting me to get off my arse and draw it.

The Monarchy: Was a pitch a few sentences long. From what I remember, something to do with a superhuman team running the world (see Nutopians). Then came Wildstorm's The Monarchy, tying into the Authority universe. Status: Remaining dead.

Kingdom/Knights Cross: Set sometime in a future dark age after a big apocalypse, and involving a religious crusade against... something. Very vague. Heavily inspired by childhood memories of a 80's tv series called KNIGHTS OF GOD. Status: The universe of Kingdom is to be seen at some point in the future of the Deviants storyline in Fusion. And its a bit more specific than the above.

Britannia: A spin off from the Deviants character, telling a three part story looking at the various incarnations of Britannia and her hosts. Status: One for the future for when Deviants gets to the right point.

Nutopians: Taking it upon themselves, twelve superhumans, called the Monarchy (see?) have eliminated war, poverty and disease on Earth, creating a true utopia. But why is reality shifting? Why do people start to remember a different history? What happened to the thirteenth member of the Monarchy? I don't know either yet. Status: Needing a rewrite.

I.E: Was a proposal for a sci-fi series that never arrived; Hinge is a future noir told over several parallel earths, the prologue of which was printed in Fusion 1; Prey was a grim vigilante series that never arrived; the concepts behind Four Freedoms, Byzantium and Fortress Europe all escape me, but they all conjure up different ideas now...

fusion zero coming soon page

EGYPTIAN ROBOTS:
An all ages comic I'm developing for my nephew set in an Ancient Egypt that has robots and alien camel overlords subjugating the populace, using a far simpler style than I would normally draw with. Status: Roughed out.

EGYPTIAN ROBOT DESIGN ROUGH 1

egyptian robot character sketch1

GETH GHOULS:
An underworld story I'm developing set in the Seven Sentinel Universe. Status: Very sketchy.

geth ghoul sketch

Anyway, back to the hoovering.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

THE CURSE OF INSOMNIAC

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: Panic at the Disco- A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, 'The Only Difference Between Matrydom and Suicide is Press Coverage'

Another year, another issue of REDEYE.

For some reason I keep waking up at 2am in the morning this last week and being unable to get back to sleep (and with a distinct lack of whiskey and cigar supply), instead pottering about and catching up on bits of correspondance. And blogging, of course.

As hard as it is to believe, REDEYE 6 is at the printers this week, clocking in at 108 pages. The nightmare is (nearly) over. I won't quite believe it until it arrives warm and glowing in my hands in a few weeks, a mere 6 months later than intended. It's such an occassion we're planning a launch party.

Some of the full page spreads (the ones in the mag will be b/w, the ones in the CBR version will be colour):

22-23 spread full bleed

38-39 spread colour

54-55 spread colour

62_63 spread full bleed

And the two covers:

REDEYE 6 FLIP COVERS WITH SPINE

Yes there's two covers: the flip (back) cover this issue features Aleksandar Zograf's REGARDS FROM SERBIA, a new Top Shelf book out in February. We preview ten pages in what will become a regular feature in the mag.

The support from subscribers and readers, from industry pros and from retailers, all eager to read the new issue, has genuinely surprised and moved me; which makes the delays all the worse to bear. I never realised just how many people look forward to each issue.

To avoid the same problem happening for next issue due in May (colourfully billed as the Spring issue), I've already got a good portion of RE7 content in the bag with others coming in as I type: great interviews with Lorenzo, artist and co-creator of Malcolm Magic will be providing the wraparound cover, ten pages of preview art from the new MOON! series, as well as joining his brother Rob in discussing the last few years of their success; we also speak with New York cartoonist Liz Baillie, creator of My Brain Hurts; the Godfather of modern British Comics, Pat Mills, in an uncut, epic face to face interview done over two days; and creator of Matter, Irish cartoonist Phill Barrett among others.

This leads into an introductory article on the Secret History of Irish Comix, where over the next few issues we'll be spotlighting certain titles and creators. Other articles include Dave Baillie's Grammar of Comics; the 2000AD art of Ron Smith; a retrospective on the much loved Transformers Marvel UK comic; and we investigate the creation of LOOK AND LEARN in our History of Brit Comics series, a highly influential 1960's comic soon to make a comeback.

Again they'll be more as they come in. Anything you think we should be covering? Let us know.