Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Another illustration based on this week's Illustration Friday topic "I Spy". The artwork here's a lot like my original pitch to Dark Horse Comics for Wild Talents, back in 2003 (which reminds me, I must dig up my original pitch (it was a Victorian zombie yarn). This particular image sprang to mind after watching "The Thirty-Nine Steps" last night (the Robert Powell version), which is a cracking spy adventure story based on the novel by John Buchan (who hailed from roughly the same neck of the woods as the Culbard Clan). There may be a Wild Talents Redux appearing at Strange Planet sometime soon.

Whilst drawing this I learned about the reasonably interesting origins of the term "I Spy". According to Phrases.org:

The game I Spy originated in the early 20th century. It remains a common pastime played by children - albeit often initiated by adults to occupy bored children on car journeys and the like. One person secretly choose an object that they can 'spy with their little eye' and the others take turns to guess the name of the object.

The game isn't especially old and the first record of it that I can find is in The Winnipeg Free Press, December 1937:

"Other games ... are: What is My Thought Like, I Spy With My Little Eye (children love this) and Bird, Beast, Flower or Fish."

The game spawned a highly successful series of I-SPY spotter's guide books made for British children. These were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

The guessing game was preceded by another children's game called I Spy (or Hy Spy). This was a variant of what is now called Hide and Seek and was known in the UK from the 18th century. John Brand refers to it in his
History and antiquities of the town and county of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1789:

"'I spye', is the usual exclamation at a childish game called 'Hie, spy, hie'."


Jeannette said...

very cool. this one wins!

paulhd said...

Killer pic.
Victorian zombies? Must see!
Wild Talents Redux? Loved the original, would love to see more.
Do you actually sleep? :)

Andrew Glazebrook said...

He looks a shifty sort of fella !! I bit like Jobling during a signing session ! :)