Monday, 29 April 2013


Been bit busy lately and certain domestic hiccups mean my time will be eaten up for the next few weeks...BUT I've finally managed to complete the mysterious YSKIL (preview pages and prelims below), as well as save a few old Lois lane pics. Both have new heads and the one with the shorter skirt (which could do with a few other tweaks but ones I can live least for now) has new legs that are more in proportion.

That led me to tweaking the head of another figure (all will need colouring again), redesigning Alan Scott for an online thing and digging out my sketch books to do some inking of my own illustrations on my lunchbreak, continuing the liney drapery pix I experimented with before.

Anyway, next post will probably be back to memory lane...

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Memory Lane Part 4: Flashpoint

Now, as a kid, I never was one for asking for much. Any comics mentioned earlier were bought back from the shops for me (other than one issue of Mighty World of Marvel) so the first comics I remember wanting, needing and asking for were...well, memories are a funny thing.

I clearly remember walking into the local NSS newsagent and seeing the cover of Justice League of America #167 calling out at me from the bottom shelf. I later managed to pick up #168 too, a rare two-issue run for me as a kid. You could never guarantee which titles you could find and even if you could, limited funds meant you'd have to prioritise what you could find, coming back later for additional purchases when your coffers filled up a bit.
As a result, my early comics reading was pretty eclectic and early on, I had no real favourite title or publisher. I read whatever I could get my hands on, although superhero comics were always the genre of choice...very occasionally, I'd pick up (or trade for) copies of stuff like Sgt Rock, Jonah Hex, Weird War Tales, Ghosts and House of Mystery but those were always picked up when there was nothing else available.

Anyway, those JLA issues (introducing me to the Reverse  Flash, who I instantly loved as he was like the Flash only yellow, my favourite colour as a kid...though now it's black, so what does that say about my psychology?) were the ones that were later revisited in Identity Crisis but more importantly they were the ones that I always remembered as being my first "collected" comics.

Well, until recently that is as I've had to check the Grand Comics Database to check dates because I also recall another first comic that screamed out at me. This was Brave and the Bold #151: I distinctly recall the split screen cover, with Flash running away on the cosmic treadmill. It was the Flash  that caught my eye and soon this would become my first favourite series (and Jim Aparo became my favourite artist as I was taken with the way he drew Batman's noggin for some reason. Later early favourite artists included Dick Dillin and Sal Buscema...until I discovered John Byrne's X-men in Rampage Monthly and everything changed).
I bought this off the spinner rack at Pops Newsagents in town and I also recall this as my first issue. The GCDB states both issues came out in the same month, cover dated June 1979 so I would have been about 7-8. I think BB was actually the first one and JLA must have come later: BB is more clear in my mind a being a revelation and must have made me look at the local comics, hence the response to the JLA issue.

With these baby steps, I had started my own comic collecting...

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Saturday Somefinx

Productive day today: pencilled the final page of YSKIL, coloured a Sheldon Cooper pic (with markers, which tend to bleed a bit so a little photoshop cleaning needed), was ready to do a two Doctors pic and pencilled the Eleventh, Amy and Rory for inking later and pencilled two more general illos for inking later at some point. I added a Disney Rapunzel done fairly recently, which I'm quite happy with...

Taking it easy tomorrow as it's gonna be a hectic and knackering week...

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Memory Lane Part 3: Pre-Collecting Part 3

Now in addition to those early Marvel UK and handful of US comics (I forgot to mention an issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Blackhawk from the mid 70s but they didn't make much impression), I also have memories of a few other comics.

I never in my life bought anything like the Beano, Dandy or Whizzer & Chips (though my I used to read my sister's Buster each Saturday morning at my nan's) but for some reason I recall Disneyland. While only having vague memories of that, I do recall the Beagle Boys and this would have been early 78 (as it coincided with Star Wars weekly). I would have been 7 then, my sister only a few months old so God knows how they came onto my radar.

I also loved the Saturday morning repeats of the Ron Ely Tarzan series and I also recall some Tarzan strips but can't recall if this was a comic, special or annual. I know Dave Stevens did early work while assisting Russ manning in the 70s so I suspect I may have come across some of that work, though it remains very indistinct in my mind. I also had a late 70s Star Trek annual, reprinting two or three (unknown to me at the time) Gold Key issues from the 60s.

However, the big one was Look-In, the "Junior TV Times" from the 70s. (For some reason, I never counted this as a comic, much as I didn't the two Tintin and five Asterix albums I later picked up). However, I used to love this, picking up a new copy each Saturday when I visited my nan, some of my happiest childhood memories. I hated the sports star pinups and can't recall any feeling towards the pop star material but I loved the strips, two page serials based on the popular TV shows of the day. (Licencing today would make this an impossibility!)

When I started reading it, Benny Hill was the inside front cover strip but this was eventually usurped by the original Peyo Smurfs strips, which I loved at the time. This preceded the animated series and launched in the wake of those awful 70s records and the resulting fad for collectible Smurf figurines available from Jet garages (they must have been highly desirable for me at the time to recall that detail!) The main joy though was the adventure strips: I don't recall many now but know series such as Space: 1999, the Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, the Tomorrow People and Logan's Run all had strips. The one strip I do recall with clarity was Sapphire and Steel as it was drawn by what I considered to be Look-In's "good" artist: later I would recognise his work on IPC/Fleetway books and learn his name, Arthur Ranson. He drew a few strips and I loved any he drew, loving his accuracy and likenesses.

Once I began collecting my own comics and learning my own tastes, Look-In seemed less special, especially once the strip content started to drop. Eventually, my sister continued to get Buster each week but I choose to drop Look-In and have the money to buy my own comics instead.

For a late educational starter like me (I mix of anxiety and absence from school hampering my pace), the comics were a life changer. Without them, I probably would have struggled to read as well and may have suffered literacy problems later on. Instead, comics opened the written word for me and my class ranking grew higher each year. I was not at all academically minded (and I still struggle trying to focus on important but mind-numbing facts at work) so comics helped me learn to read and expand my knowledge.

I do recall consciously later starting to say "ain't" and getting told off for it ("Ain't ain't a word!" always confused me as a statement!) after reading the Thing say it all the time (it was cool to me then!), so comics weren't entirely a positive influence...