Sunday, 29 August 2010


Printed result

Here's one that didn't get away.  I was in my local chip shop
one night and the owner asked me if I'd do a cartoon to advertise
his delivery service.  Rather than take the man's money, I asked for
a fish supper every week for a year.  (With an onion and a beetroot
for good measure.)  Not too bad for half an hour's work, eh?

Above is the finished article which appeared on his shop bags
and leaflets for years;  below is the "rough" of the initial idea.

Initial pencil rough


Characters copyright MARVEL COMICS

Here's one of the art samples I showed to 2000 A.D. editor STEVE MacMANUS at a Glasgow comic mart back in October of 1984.  The lettering was done with a fountain pen and was a far cry from being truly professional, but it was enough to give Steve an idea of my potential and eventually resulted in me freelancing for IPC about three months later.

The lettering may be far from perfect, but I was always proud of the rather clean pencilling which it adorned, so I thought I'd share it with you here.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


The above pic is a B&W copy of a colour cartoon for a proposed
ad for a local restaurant, which I did some years ago.  (It's a shame I no
longer have a colour copy 'cos it was quite nice.)  However, rarely does
a cartoon (or any illustration for that matter) spring full-blown from the
hand of its creator;  it usually undergoes a process of development 'til
the finished result is reached.  Let me show you what I mean.

The following picture is the original 'rough' suggesting the idea.
This is to show the prospective client what one has in mind.  (I say
'prospective client', but in actual fact I was doing a 'favour' for the
owner.  You know the old saying "There's no such thing as a
free lunch" ?  Well, this is the proof of that saying.)

Below is another rough of the proposed final
drawing - this is essentially what I'm aiming for.

And now the finished line artwork.  I added the restaurant's logo to
the tablecloth and then coloured it with acrylic inks.  The finished pic
was very effective, but unfortunately I gave it to someone, so only the
B&W and grey copy at the top of the page remains in my possession
You'll just have to imagine it in colour - the guy has a blue suit and
the girl has a red dress, if that's any help.  Trust me - it was nice.

And guess what?  After all that work, the idea for the ad was
abandoned.  Just another day in the life of a cartoonist, eh?


A while back, I posted an unused cover for HUGH CAMPBELL's
'80s fanzine, FUSION.  The illustration was one I'd drawn back around
1981 or '82, and as I previously mentioned, I'd first used it for a suggested
cover for RON BENNETT's fanzine/catalogue, SKYRACK'S FANTASY
TRADER, 'though I never got around to sending it.  So, 27 years later,
here it finally is...quite effective, even if I say so myself.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


"I've lost my front door key!"

Here's a real collector's item for you to feast your eyes on - the
1964 AURORA model kit of SUPERMAN, as built and painted by
myself.  Aurora was once the world's biggest plastic model kit com-
pany, before the high price of oil put them out of business in 1977.
(Oil being one of the ingredients in the manufacture of plastic.)

Hopefully, MOEBIUS MODELS will get around to reissuing
this kit in its original form (with original box art) in the near future.
Why not contact them at
and  suggest it?  Go on, you know it makes sense.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


Here's a strange little story for you concerning the item in the above ad.  I bought my one and only TONIBELL MINIBALL back around 1967 or '68.  (Hard to believe it was over 40 years ago.)  When I moved house in 1972, I was sure I'd brought it with me to my new home, but, mysteriously, I couldn't find it.  I'd kept it behind the water tank up in the attic, and I was sure I'd retrieved it the night before moving, but - search as I might in our new abode - it was nowhere to be found.

Over the years, I'd regularly have dreams in which I'd find myself back in my old house, searching for my trusty pal from childhood.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, 19 years later I decided to determine its fate once and for all, and managed to gain access to my old house and attic - and was overjoyed (if flabbergasted) to discover my little yellow Miniball exactly where I'd left it so many years before - completely untouched.  So, not only was I the last person to see it back in 1972, but also the first to clap eyes on it again in 1991.  Strangely, the 19 years that have elapsed since I retrieved it don't seem a fraction of the time it lay undiscovered and neglected for the same period.

And guess what?  I've never had those dreams again since that day I finally solved the mystery of the disappearing little yellow ball.

Pic taken on June 9th 1991, before I removed the ball from where
it had lain ever since I'd flitted from the house on June 14th 1972

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


I'm glad to be able to
say that MARVEL have
done themselves proud with
the release of the softcover
volume.  Quite simply, these
tales, from JOURNEY Into
MYSTERY #83-100, have
never been presented better
anywhere.  For the first
time since its first printing
back in 1962, Thor's origin
is reproduced - in colour -
from pristine proofs, with
no evidence of clumsy, so-
called 'restoration' or 're-
construction' as was the
case in a whole load of
 earlier reprintings in
recent years.

For example, when the story was reprinted in MARVEL TALES
#1, a badly lettered blurb on the splash page declared it was originally
printed in JIM #38 (instead of 83) - and the final page was cropped to
permit a wrap-up panel to the issue.  When the tale was reprinted  in the
GOLDEN BOOK & RECORD SET, the splash page was printed in black
and white, and the "Editor's Note" panel on the last page was eliminated,
with the last two pictures being resized to fill the space.  In ORIGINS Of
MARVEL COMICS, the corner page numbers were removed and some
clumsy touch-up work was noticable in places.  For the first printing of
the Masterworks hardback (and subsequent editions up to now), the
splash page was reconstructed from the reprint in Thor #158, and
the final panel's changes were badly re-lettered back 'til the original
wording.  ('Though the misspelling of "THORR" was corrected.)

Rather than bore you
with the details of every
single presentation of this
ace tale, see my previous
post on the subject.  How-
ever, before you do, rush
out and purchase this super
edition before it's sold out.
(It's just a shame that  they
inadvertently missed out a
paragraph in STAN LEE's
introduction, originally
written for the 1991
first printing .)

ISBN# 978-0-

Start saving now for the giant-sized OMNIBUS
volume coming out at the end of the year.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Following my post
I'd like to look at another of
the fantasies surrounding the
original printing of this story
in FF #108.  I've previously
addressed JON B. COOKE's
idle speculation that STAN
LEE may possibly have de-
layed printing JACK KIRBY's
version out of spite, so I'd now
like to examine the suggestion
that it was released the same
month as the first issue of DC
COMICS' (then National
Periodical Publications,
Inc.) NEW GODS title in a
malicious attempt to sabo-
tage its launch.

Sound plausible?  Let's examine the facts.  Kirby's first comic to be
released by DC was SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN.  When New
Gods hit the stands (six months after Kirby had left MARVEL) no special
attention or promotion was given to FF #108;  Kirby wasn't mentioned on
the JOHN BUSCEMA cover and the Kirby content was bookended by a
Buscema splash and end page, with quite a few redrawn panels inside the
book - rendering Kirby's involvement practically invisible 'til the reader
got the mag home and sat down to read it.  Hardly the way to create
an impact and steal New Gods' thunder, I'd suggest.

Marvel were trying to establish Big John Buscema as the FF's new
regular, superstar artist (after four issues by JOHN ROMITA), so that
would surely count against them harping on about the past glory that was
Jack.  And sales on 'The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!' actually
increased after Kirby left the book (as they did with SPIDER-MAN after
STEVE DITKO departed) so, Stan Lee's personal sadness aside, Marvel
wouldn't have been overly concerned over the King's departure.  The most
likely explanation seems to be that the story was printed simply because
it had been paid for - and once Stan had worked out the problems with
it and incorporated it into a longer, more cosmic story arc, there
was no good reason not to print it.

When one examines the evidence, the fact that FF #108 featured
Kirby material and came out the same month as New Gods #1 seems to
be nothing more than coincidence, otherwise Marvel surely would have
hyped it to the rafters.  They didn't - which puts paid to that little notion as
far as I'm concerned.  That's the trouble with most "conspiracy theories" -
they seldom withstand scrutiny when measured against the plain and
simple facts of the matter.


For previous post on this topic, click here.

Monday, 2 August 2010


Here's another fine example of RON EMBLETON artwork -
the cover to the very first TV CENTURY 21 ANNUAL from 1965
(for 1966).  When the weekly comic first debuted, STINGRAY was
the current GERRY ANDERSON show on TV, essentially making it
the 'starring' strip of the publication.  (Although, with the LADY
PENELOPE strip, the comic was already preparing the ground
 for THUNDERBIRDS as the upcoming main feature.)

Thinking about it, artists like RON EMBLETON,
BELLAMY were very much the ALEX ROSSes of their
day.  Don'tcha think?

To see the 1967 Annual, click here.
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