Saturday, April 28, 2007


This is cool. The official Doctor Who website has a Doctor Who Comic Maker for young audiences, with Mister Russell T Davies himself giving a comic maker tutorial. You need to register to have a go, but it all looks relatively straightforward enough. Great to see comics being used to inspire younger generations to write their own Doctor Who stories. Tip top stuff.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Princess Leia: Fancy Meeting you here.
Laureline: Oh, we've been hanging around here for a long time!"

A long time ago, sometime in the mid-eighties when music sounded terrible and men rolled their jacket sleeves up to their elbows, in a town many miles away (Woolwich to be precise), I picked up a comic book called Ambassador of the Stars, drawn by Jean-Claude Mézières and written by Pierre Christin. The book followed one of many adventures of two spatio-temoral agents, Valérian and Laureline. I pretty quickly discovered within a matter of pages that this was quite a remarkable book. I adored the story and the artwork. There were a further three books but I'm not certain I managed to get all of them on the pocket money I had. World Without Stars was one of them. The other I'm pretty sure I picked up was Welcome to Alflolol (I distinctly remember reading Welcome to Alflolol under my desk during a science class at school ... I call that studying).

There have been a couple of attempts to translate all the books. There were four published in the mid-eighties which is when I first discovered them, and then recently iBooks published Valerian: The New Future Trilogy (collecting "On the Frontiers, The Living Weapons, The Circles of Power). Unfortunately iBooks folded after declaring bankruptcy so it would seem no more translations are forthcoming. Impatient, I have since taken to collecting the books in French. They are to this day excellent. It's also exciting to see how from the first few books like Les Mauvais Rêves, published in 1967, how much Mézières style develops over the course of a small handful of books. The characters develop, the backgrounds however, with all their detailed and lived qualities, remain remarkably consistent.

"VALERIAN'S originality lies not only in the profound humanism that permeates Christin's text and the 'anti-heroic' quality of the main character, although these elements are not negligible. Nor does it rely on LAURELINE, VALERIAN'S companion, who is without a doubt one of the most non-confor­mist female characters in the history of comic books. To my mind, what is basically a question of originality — and originality there certainly is — owes a lot to Mezieres' creations : machines, scenery and creatures. Obviously when we read AMBASSADOR OF THE SHADOWS today in 1981, we no longer have that sense of disorientation we felt when we first discovered it. The decks of Central Point are haunted by machines, vessels and even stranger beings which now seem quite familiar to us."
- Daniel Riche
(article paru dans Ambassador of the shadows, 1982)
Foreword for the unsucessfull english edition of 4 translated Valerian album

As a Star Wars fan, the books aesthetically ticked all the right boxes. Here was a world as well realized, if not better realized, than Star Wars, and yet, as I was to learn, Valerian pre-dated Star Wars (Valerian started back in 1967).

For any fan of Star Wars looking for another lived-in universe, or even jaded Star Wars fans looking for a new place to call home, Valérian is the genuine original article. Seek it out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


“Let hundreds of flowers blossom and hundreds of schools of thought contend"

Havoc in Heaven was made between 1961-1964 by the Wan Bros. The film, based on the early chapters of Journey to the West, is a delightfully choreographed and beautifully laid out film, rich and vibrant in both color and action. Can you get an English translation of this classic on Region 2 DVD? Can you heck. But you can watch a fan subtitled version over at You Tube. Viva la televisión revolución.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


This weeks Illustration Friday topic is "Polar".

Thursday, April 19, 2007


... City of Gods.

That's apparently the title for the next installment where we see Indy aged 64 and with, rumor has it, Shia LaBeouf playing his son (the image of LaBeouf to the left is actually from Transformers, but certainly looks fittingly Indy, ... prior to seeing this picture I had trouble imagining him in the role, but now, no problem now I can just picture him clutching an artifact and falling flat on his backside as Indy would do).

Well the only City of Gods I can think of is Babylon (Babylon is the Greek variant of the Akkadian "Babilu" meaning Gateway/City of the Gods) which is semi topical as it's in Iraq. Archaeologically speaking, the remaining layout of Ancient Babylon is that of Nebuchadnezzer's reign and these remnants now lay on the east and west banks of the Euphrates roughly 50 miles south of Baghdad. Saddam Hussein started rebuilding the site, much to the dismay of Archaeologists, and planned to build a palace (in the style of a Sumerian ziggurat) over the ruins. The UN even had plans to turn it into a cultural center complete with a shopping center of all things. So, much of what remains of Babylon would certainly have had Doctor Jones shouting "it belongs in a museum".

Rumors of Shia LaBeouf playing Indy's son have been on and off, with LaBeouf denying the rumors and so on and so forth. Even Indy Producer Frank Marshall said "We're sticking with Indy on his own. He still gets around pretty good." But Indy's son could be the MacGuffin Lucas came up with that nobody agreed with at the time and that has taken so many drafts to convince all parties concerned would finally work. It is after all touted by Lucas as a Character piece, and writter David Koepp has said it tackles Indy's age. Also... Sean Connery is only rumoured to be in it, Ray Winstone is definately in it as is Cate Blanchett as the leading lady, Sallah has been ruled out and Karen Allen may be back for the part of Marion Ravenwood (and possibly therefore the part of Indy Jr's mother?)

Speculatively speaking, perhaps Indy and Marion had a son, but with Indy barely able to attend his day job because of global adventures, and with he and Marion estranged, Indy had a son he knew nothing about, a son who'd grown up unwittingly in his fathers shadow (given as Marion is his mother... the boy grew up with a keen interest in archeology but this would be an interest associated with his grandfather, Abner Ravenwood who got a mention in Raiders). Then basically you'd have Indy possibly retired (now it's definetely the years as well as the mileage) being drawn back into the game looking for his son who's gone missing.

That would be my bet. This could be interesting. But then again ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Supinfocom is the leading university for computer animation in France. The work that comes out of that place is pretty amazing. As I've been finding out whilst making Grimmwood, there's animation and then there's fight choreography. Go check it out.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


This weeks Illustration Friday topic is "Fortune".

The word Fortune conjures up just one strong image in my head and that's those slot machines that tell your fortune or make you Big and head designer for a toy company. I wanted my Fortune teller to have deep hypnotic eyes, which again instantly conjured up another strong image in my head, Rasputin (or more specifically Christopher Lee's Rasputin in the 1966 Hammer Movie). I also figured I'd use the casing for the Fortune Teller slot machine as a way of framing the image.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


King of the Rocket Men was a Republic Movie serial that I used to watch when I was kid. All I really remember of it was that there were gangsters, an evil genius called Doctor Vulcan and a hero with an atomic powered rocket suit. I just loved watching King duke it out with trilby and pinstriped hoods. And every time King flew up a building they would kind of warp the perspective so the building looked really tall. The climax of the series saw Dr Vulcan using "The Decimator" to destroy Manhatten (the destruction of which used footage from the 1933 movie "Deluge"). What does a Decimator do? It decimates stuff!

So, the mad bad Doctor Vulcan gets to wreak havoc but ends up getting his backside handed to him on a plate by Jeff King (the titular King of the Rocket Men). What was amazing about King of the Rocket Men was that it really did look (for the time...and for young impressionable minds) like he could fly. I wanted that rocket suit so bad!

By the time Radar Men from the Moon (which you can buy on DVD) came around, Jeff King was gone and replaced by Commando Cody (Interesting to note, in Star Wars Ep 3: Revenge of the Sith, one of the clone trooper commanders is called Commander Cody). The exposition heavy dialogue is glorious. The plot is ludicrously fantastic, and while some of the acting may be wooden, it has a wonderful veneer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Fist-A-Cuffs got a mention at PULP SECRET... and the Monarchs got a spot. Saddly, Monarchs didn't get through to the next round.

Damn their eyes!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


My favorite TV show, Life on Mars, has finished. Two seasons totaling just 16 episodes of utter perfection. The makers of Lost ought to take note - leave while the music is still playing.

Monday, April 09, 2007


(click to enlarge)

Here's my version of HELLBOY.

Duncan Fegredo is the artist on the next Hellboy miniseries from Dark Horse Comics (which I'm really looking forward to ... follow the link and you'll find a preview at the Dark Horse site) and is going to be doing a signing at the Nottingham Travelling Man store on the 28th of april from 1.00pm (he'll also be signing at the Bristol Travelling Man store 11th of may from 4.30 pm).

Friday, April 06, 2007


This weeks Illustration Friday topic is "Green".

Don't forget to vote for The Maliciously Merciless Monarchs of Misery over at Sam Hiti's Fist-A-Cuffs while there's still time. They need your love!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


The first round of Sam Hiti's Fist-A-Cuffs tag team challenge is up!

Vote for The Maliciously Merciless Monarchs of Misery. (L-R) The Butcher Wieners (drawn by Woodrow Phoenix) and The Angry Ball (drawn by me) are the greatest. They only want to be loved. You know it makes sense.