Friday, 21 December 2012

Compared to the rest of the third world we're doing just fine

Wanted to wait until this went up elsewhere before posting, but in association with Zarjaz and to celebrate the birth of Santa, the release of the Shako trade collection and IDW's US format Dredd monthly, here's Judge Dredd fighting a bear.

If you fancy reading it via a Borg distribution node or tablet, it's also available on PDF and CBR.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

I don't mean to be judgey but this is the kind of thing lunatics do.

Just today finished my read-through of John Allison's Scary Go Round, and a fine read while it lasted it was, too, even if coming at it backwards after Bad Machinery just bummed me out at the end as we never did get to see what became of Des Fishman, Comrade Bat or Dark Esther.  Quietly moving in some places, be it the sad and horrible deaths-by-fire of Natalie and Rachael, or the stiff upper lippedness of the ends of the affairs of various characters as they graduate from the strip in it's dying days.
If you are not a dinysaur who needs things in his hands before you will read them and have finally joined the rest of us here in the terrible world of the future, I highly recommend it, if only to see Allison's work mature in front of your eyes as the pages go by.  Plus next year Oni Press starts collecting Bad Machinery so it's probably worth checking out before it blows up huge and you're SO SICK OF THE BLOODY SIGHT OF IT YOU WILL NEVER ENJOY IT AGAIN.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

My real name isn't Angel Dynamite

Whoopsy daisy forgetting to post again.
Anyway, still drawing Dredd, still finding I only make headway when I get out of bed and sit down and work - I swear, it's almost like there is some sort of connection between not staying in bed playing videogames and actually getting something done.
If I had posted last week, I would likely have posted a link to the shitstorm in a teacup that was comics genius Grant Morrison  writing a snide, itemised, meticulously researched 5000 word response to an internet article.
So now we know - when you read something that is incorrect on the internet, don't just go about your day like ONE OF THEM, sit down, decide on an editorial direction for your response, then throw obsessively-collated facts at each and every sentence of the article and sign off by saying that you're in no way bothered by what the article was saying - because that's how genius rolls.

Monday, 19 November 2012

In my heroin days, this would have been a perfectly acceptable first date

Six days, six pages.  That's the plan, internet... that's the plan.
Of late, I have caught up with Caprica, a show I avoided first time around as it seemed to be an origin for the bits of Battlestar Galactica that I hated - specifically all that creepy sexbot bollocks - and while it's okay - not good, but okay - it suffers from a complete lack of awareness.  This is a society which twenty thousand years ago had developed virtual reality, the American legal system, cars, car tax, licence plates, home computers, the internet, 24 hour rolling news coverage, digital satellite broadcasting, bicycles, domesticated dogs, pencils, mobile phones, cigarettes, touchscreen technology, catholic schools, talk shows, football stadiums, the word "Trojan", the English language, the English written language...
...And yet they have not invented the word "fuck".
This would not be a problem except they use the analogue for the word "fuck" ALL THE BASTARD TIME and it kept taking me out of things to think "these are only actors saying words that mean nothing."  Perhaps I am misunderstanding the aim of telly drama, but I always assumed it was to have me not do this.

Monday, 12 November 2012

I can't believe I bleached my mustache for this

One last robot pic to finish up before I get into Dredd and his furry chum!  Oh the japes they will have!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Wild tigers do not have the qualities of a good president.

I am not drawing today because I have finished up my projects and can have a day off or two before I jump into the world of Dredd for a one-off that combines my two favorite things (post-apocalyptic fascists and polar bear-related murder), so I have been watching a marathon of CBBC's Wolfblood©, a werewolf show that makes a big deal about not being about werewolves to the point that one character mentions werewolves and is immediately berated as a fool because "it's Wolfblood©, not werewolves!"  So this werewolf show full of werewolf mythology like inadvertent transformations during the full moon is not a werewolf show at all, nor is the mythology ever explored in the context of shape-changers or tricksters even though this would give the show an in-built rationale for the arbitrary changes of character or introduction of new superpowers from nowhere that drive a lot of episodes and would also double as a metaphor for The Puberty, no, this is about Wolfbloods©, the completely original made-up and copyrighted concept of BBC Wales, and as werewolf shows go, it's not a patch on MTVs Teen Wolf, but relative to the rest of CBBC's output, it's much better than it has any right to be apart from some confusion in the scripts between what is branding and what is actual storytelling to the point that you will wince everytime someone says the word "Wolfblood©" even though you are watching a television show aimed at 8 year old girls.
Apart from being a functional paradigm for the show itself, the episode "Eolas" is especially hysterical for how wrong-headed and clumsy it is in utilising subtext to the point that it is almost impossible to read the story as anything other than "lying to children about serious stuff is okay" because their deference and respect of their elders is not something which has to be constantly earned and their formative opinions are not to be encouraged if divergent from accepted wisdom.  It centers on a plot McGuffin that is essentially "children learning to meditate is the same thing as them taking drugs and will lead to hanging out with working class people who are all crooks" and yes, I know that chain of logic and the conclusions drawn doesn't make a lick of sense, but this is actually what happens.  A child meditates, it blows her mind and she ends up taking a truck ride with a stranger to the middle of a city where she seeks out poor people who immediately try to rob her.  The cliched story structure of the average episode means that rather than be painted as the actions of plain old middle English bigotry, the anti-meditation slant will turn out to be the result of Experience, and lo and behold, we discover that the middle class housewife decrying meditation as evil used to have a cousin who was into meditation and it ruined her life.  Yes really.  The message of the story, stripped away from the ludicrous specifics, is thus that children are wrong to question their elders because their elders only lie and hide things from children when it is something they really need to know about in order to make an informed decision.  As I say, aside from being an outright irresponsible moral, it makes not a lick of sense in isolation as a story in itself - it only makes sense if you've seen lots of other sci-fi shows that explore the theme of addiction through allegory and don't need the show to actually join the dots in a coherent manner for you as a viewer, but even speaking as someone who has watched far more sci-fi and fantasy shows than could possibly be healthy, this is a story about a shrill housewife shouting at her child to shut up, and then being proven absolutely right to do so because children are all fuppin' idiots.

I make a point of mentioning class warfare, too, because there's also a strange setup to the show where everything seems to be geared towards a stereotypical depiction of a working class provincial community, from the bodhrán soundtrack, Scottish folk theme song, the cast having names like Shannon, Madeline, Rhydian, the rural setting, and of course the folklore that informs the premise of the series itself (werewolf folklore being uncommon in England compared to elsewhere because actual wild wolves are extinct there - a fact the show itself points out more than once), yet the setting is a "slightly Northern" England that doesn't actually exist outside television idioms like the cafe from Friends or the school full of kids who don't have mobile phones or internet access in a year beginning with a 2, and the end product resembles more a picture of a community of summer-cottage residents.  But perhaps I'm being unfair as there's no overt class, religious or racial divide in this community beyond what we can read into it as viewers, and what we see without looking too hard is an implicit understanding of an unspoken dominant monoculture where - tellingly - the only people who are excluded are those from "outside" who express elements of cultural identity that doesn't gel with groupthink.  There's no talk of people's jobs in this supposedly remote community, no hint of what people actually do for a living, and it is very, very hard to see a great deal of the text concerning "wild" Wolfbloods© as anything other than gypsy-bashing to the extent that the overall story arc for the lead family is essentially that they're hiding their racial and cultural identity from their neighbors and close friends because they're ashamed of it.
I accept that it's asking too much of a tv show aimed at kids these days - on top of the story making any objective sense - to not reinforce class prejudice when the other tv shows from which it derives all its ideas and plots are telling kids to make fun of differences rather than celebrate them alongside everything else that makes each and every one of us unique and beautiful as people, and the auslander is thus necessary in Wolfblood© only to instigate or foment conflict amongst the community and threaten the dominance of the prevailing orthodoxy - but never as a good thing, not even when challenging lies, dissembly or outright bullying both emotional and physical.
In this, Wolfblood© is a conservative and cowardly show, but somewhere in there I think there is the potential to be something a lot better with a bit of seasoning and experience, and even if that is never realised, then... well, it's only CBBC.  It's not like anyone cares what their kids are watching, anyway.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Put your arms around me. I need their warmth to keep the chill of death away.

I'd planned to post a strip daily for the week leading up until today, but life got in the way of that plan so I decided to just bung 'em all up now.  These are awful and I have posted a couple of them here on the blog already, but they are vaguely supernatural or horror-themed and thus appropriate to the season, though they do have the novelty of being roughly a year apart in their creation so you can see a vague progression in the artwork starting with the appalling Binmen of the Apocalypse, which may or may not be the very first comic strip I ever created back in 2005 (it's in a vague tie with Love Is Hell, an Eddie Robson joint that appeared in FutureQuake), and then a year later when I came to draw Mark Woodland's On The Prowl I was clearly going A Bit Mad with Photoshop filters, which it took something like five years for me to stop doing to the point I could do a decent service to people's scripts.
Slightly more worrying than the eye-watering blurs and tragic anatomy would be my clumsy attempts to make jokes about racism that sort of read to me to just be racism, so apologies for that in advance should you dare to read further, but you have my sincerest assurances that I am not a massive racist jerk and merely sound like one.
And, of course, Happy Halloween to you all.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The more I look at you, the angrier I get that you don't have a beard

The usual hit and run post on a monday before I hit the sack, and I'm just squeezing out the last couple of panels of Rathbone before doing a final pass over the pages for edits to fix dodgy drawing, bad perspective, adding tones and so on.  Still not happy with the final pages, but I can admit there's some improvement since the last episode.

Checking Twitter feed from native US East Coasters and every new Twitpic and Instagram snapshot looks like a scene from The Day After Tomorrow, which is quite horrible as you can imagine - I wouldn't wish that film on anyone.
Thinking of you, folks.

Monday, 22 October 2012

It's always sad when anyone explodes

Just two more pages of sci-fi robots to get in the bag and then I get to draw Judge Dredd fighting a bear - because it's important to have life goals.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Tonight is about one man's functioning penis

Some more whoring for the GN, as Babble gets what I classify as a "good review" at Comics Anonymous seeing as it entails the reader not having been sickened and angered to his core by our presumption, and also an interview with me and Lee over on Broken Frontier where, in a break with tradition, I come off like a complete twat.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Can you believe that the zoo wouldn't let me borrow their white tiger? I'm gonna be sitting at the back of the party and Philip Seymour Hoffman is gonna be like "look at that idiot."

Hey ugly!  Yeah, you - who else am I gonna be talkin' to?  Judge Minty is showing at the Leeds Film Festival and Thought Bubble and is proof that Dredd fans don't know they're bloody born - you wait thirty-five years for a good Dredd movie and then two come along at once, though admittedly I'm biased when it comes to fanfilms, as I love them dearly.  It's so easy to snark from a distance, but to see all that effort to produce something even as horrid as The Death Of Batman is heartening stuff that reminds you that even a solitary pursuit like the reading of funnybooks is a shared passion.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Dreams CAN come true - unless they involve wingless flight and setting objects on fire with my mind

 So Babble got a good review from possibly the best-named website on the internet, and I am pretty chuffed about that - until the reviews from other websites come in to give it a kicking, at least.  If you fancy pre-ordering it, just give your retailer the Previews order code OCT120971 and they'll let you have a copy when the book hits in December.  Just don't ask them how much they're charging you for it because I can't believe it either.  It's worse for the US price, or at least it looks worse because there's a seven and some nines in there, but that's US currency which is basically as worthless as Monopoly money so I don't feel quite so bad about it.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Those rape analogies don't always work, but that one's right on the money

Prompted by the debate about the attempted gang rape of a backing character in the pages of DCs Sword of Sorcery, I dug out the old Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld issues to check out the attempted gang rape (by goblins) from the first issue that everyone seems to be throwing up as a shield against criticism of rape, because, you know, rape needs to be defended from liberals, apparently, and it's clear that a lot of these armchair apologists haven't actually read the original series, otherwise they would not have stopped with just the one rape attempt and might have gone further to point out the multiple rape attempts in issue 2 while the (13 year old) protagonist is tied up and being molested by her kidnapper while they travel on the back of a robot tiger (yes, really - it is probably some clever metaphor I do not comprehend), or the cover of issue 3, which has the young heroine looking terrified as an erect pink serpent rears up between her legs and stares intently at her breasts, which does not even remotely resemble anything within the issue itself.
Naturally, I ordered the DC Showcase edition immediately, as this is a comic I cannot give to younger relatives quickly enough.

Monday, 17 September 2012

I can't find the remote and I refuse to stand up

There's this bit in Fallout 3 where - if you are playing through the game with a character who is a total jerk - you're asked by slave traffickers to abduct a child for them to sell, and carrying out this mission was pretty much the only time I've felt dirty playing a videogame until I was trying to get into the phenomenally popular Gears Of War saga and got put off when I made the horrible mistake of looking up on the web why there weren't any female characters in the games (and just to make me doubly warm and fuzzy inside the comics where a lot of this was expanded upon and spelt out without any real challenge or moral condemnation was the top-selling comic book on the shelves when it was published).
And so to Duke Nukem Forever, where topless ladies are torn apart from the inside by alien babies while Duke slaps titties growing from the walls to literally boost his ego (it's an actual game mechanic) and the whole level (and the next) is soundtracked by wailing women who sob for death because saving them is old-fashioned and offensive, so you murder them instead to make the game easier because if you don't, their babies will burst out and try to rape you:

I can only hope the new Tomb Raider is good.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I read books without pictures and you think Two and a Half Men is funny... there's no chance.

Just back from watching Dredd 3D, and while it's a decent thriller, it's not a classic action flick, nor a great adaptation of the source material, though it is an effective and economic realisation of the main character even if it moves the goalposts to make Dredd more of an outright heroic figure, portraying as it does he and the Judge system as an overtaxed and reactive response to the collapse of society instead of the effective and omnipresent mechanism of oppression and containment it was in the comic until recently (it seems to have been rebooted to fall more in line with this movie version).  Here, the numbers are against Dredd, with crime so fantastically widespread that only 6 percent of that which is reported can be responded to - in this light, Dredd doesn't look very fascistic, he looks like he's an agent of the only viable authority struggling to rebuild and maintain society in difficult circumstances and doing his best in a losing battle against crime, and as such as a character and a narrative device loses a lot of the inherent commentary about a streamlined judicial process, which is a shame as Karl Urban gets it spot-on, he really does, as Dredd is a nothing character with no development, he just is.
The script - in my humble opinion - takes a couple of mis-steps, like when Anderson is kidnapped and we get the usual references to forced sexual acts and the film genuinely feels like it's derailed from this point, that it has meandered into extraneous plotlines about a drug lab and crooked judges, neither of which add a single thing to the story to the point both could have been excised entirely and it wouldn't have impacted the narrative, as one character takes a bullet to the gut in the drug lab sequence and yet it impairs them not one iota later, nor do they grab a fresh gun or ammunition from their fallen enemies during this same sequence to use in later scenes despite this being a plot point directly commented upon around this time in the film.
But these are niggles.  Niggles about a mid-budget action flick that does plenty right, particularly the mid-1970s aesthetic that I think would have benefited tremendously from a soundtrack by John Carpenter instead of the Skrillex-style stuff it has going on to compliment the plentiful music video slow motion.  I'd certainly give it a recommendation to anyone who could tolerate a thriller rather than go see Brave or Moonrise Kingdom on their next jaunt out to the picture house.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Not all the Vikings raped and pillaged - some of them just liked sailing

Robots today, serial killers tomorrow as I try to get the ledger cleared so I can go back to drawing bears mauling people.  Which may or may not be quite therapeutic, but is still how I like to spend my time.
In other news KITTENS

Monday, 20 August 2012

If you touch me again, I'll kill ya

                                                  Tony Scott: 1944 - 2012

I've genuinely lost count of the number of times I've sat all the way through The Last Boy Scout, a loud and knowingly brash LA-based anti-noir that came with its own opening music video sung by Bill Medley, continued through some classic deadpan one-liners from star Bruce Willis in the role of near-psychopathic cold-blooded murderer-cum-PI Joe Hallenback, culminates with Damon Wayans' day-saving hundred-yard throw despite a bullet through his million-dollar hand, and then ends on an uplifting note as the male lead tells his wife that he wished he could spit in her face.  Its fantastic and I love it and I am gutted that its director, Tony Scott, took his own life after being diagnosed with incurable brain cancer.
Scott's legacy is a healthy and populist one full of star vehicles and glossy action scenes from his mid-80s era-defining Top Gun to later efforts like his remake of Man On Fire, a film whose artistic legacy is far-reaching as it brought the world the slow motion shot of a male lead walking away from an explosion in the background with nary a glance back, which has gone on to become a defining image of male badassery in popular culture despite the original explosion in question being caused by a bomb stuffed up a man's arsehole and the reason the male lead was walking away from the explosion was because he didn't want to get splashed with burning poo.
Though he could have easily been an arthouse scumbag making movies about gay cops or something, Scott rarely let down the teenage me because he was a populist entertainer rather than a cinematic auteur, with movies tailor-made for loud, crashing soundtracks and tense stare-downs between male leads, but unlike many of his action movie contemporaries he could actually direct an action scene, his camera often prowling around looking for a new angle on particular elements of scenes rather than just jumping about to give a false sense of vérité during fisticuffs.  It's a trait I only really see in Eastern directors or those low-budget film-makers who cut their teeth on action television in the 1970s and 1980s, and is a method based in the belief that the audience should be able to follow what is happening in something as base and vulgar as a fight scene rather than simply figuring out who won by seeing who's standing come the scene change.  Scott was a film-maker for whom the narrative mattered in ways both small and large and for whom gloss was stage-dressing for the story no matter how slight that story ever became, and screw it, I'm gonna go watch Last Boy Scout again.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

With snark like that you'll wind up with your own dirty girl sitcom on NBC

Well, it's time for my weekly daily post on the blog and this here is the final cover for a book that I went and drawed, now all designed, laid out, and solicited in Previews.
It's an odd one is Babble.  When I was fishing around for a longform project (although at the time if you'd asked me, I wouldn't have said I was networking as much as "bullshitting about comics with some other nerds on the internet" as I didn't know then - or arguably now - how to draw a comic page as I'd been laid off - again - and was really just trying to fill my time with something other than three hour bouts on San Andreas and evenings in the pub), I was surprised that so many creators seemed obsessed with high concept conundrums like "one day everyone comes back from the dead", "the entire population becomes amnesiac", "the whole world develops diabetes" or "everyone falls asleep and wakes up as a dinosaur" and the graphic novel/comic series would follow what happened next, but with Babble, Lee was more interested in exploring his feelings about a high school shooting and the hag that squashed his heart via a short story about the beginning of the end of the world (rather than the spectacle that follows and the last-ditch plan that saves us all).  Most people would just put a housebrick through her window at four in the morning while she's fucking someone you thought was your friend, but not Lee - he has to go and write a story about it, and then later develop said story into a graphic novel whose page count suspiciously mirrors that of a screenplay and which features a timely vein of commentary on gender roles in zombie fiction, though when I actually started drawing the book twenty years ago, zombies weren't actually as played out as they are now, so this may be the one time that my slow pace and general unreliability might have worked in the favor of the project I insist on ruining.  It intrigued me, is what I am saying, because it tried something different to what I was seeing elsewhere, with Lee actively telling me to rein in anything resembling the excessive gore that often typifies sophomore comic book projects, though he balanced this by insisting that the main character look less like a child - which took the form of terse emails in the early hours insisting that I draw her tits bigger.
I shall probably mention more on the subject as the publication date approaches, but the cover price shocks me - 11 quid for something I have drawn?  You could get a book where Judge Dredd fights a werewolf in Old New York which is also the Mines of Moria for that much, and yes, that is actually my benchmark for comics that you need to read.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

You know, the rents are a lot more reasonable in Peru

promise me the next time you have a heart attack and go into a coma you'll at least send me a text

Today I have been chilling and catching up on my Eagle reading.  I think Star Rider seriously needs to be reprinted.  It's amazingly entertaining stuff.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

I'm bored - what say you go out on the wing and pretend to be a gremlin?

I have, for the better part of a month, had 707's proprietary theme from Megaforce stuck in my head to the point that it appeared three times on the one playlist of songs I put together for the gym.

Friday, 3 August 2012

It's official - people in the tent rental industry are just horrible

On the robots again.  Please stand by, normal service - whatever that might once have been - will resume shortly.