Category: ‘Uncategorized’

EXCLUSIVE: FREE FIVE-PAGE ONLINE PREVIEW

July 16, 2006 Posted by admin

Here’s an EXCLUSIVE five-page ARMAGEDDON PATROL online preview.
These pages have never been seen before and have been supplied to Bulletproof Comics by creator John A Short. The artwork is by newcomer Alex Patterson. To view a larger scan of the art just click on a thumbnail image in the left hand column.

An all-new ARMAGEDDON PATROL strip will appear in the launch issue of the BULLETPROOF anthology.

For more information on John A Short take a look at his profile in the CREATOR SHOWCASE.

ANDY DIGGLE’S RANT!

June 16, 2005 Posted by admin

We make sure all of our comics are superb and in mint condition. If you like casino games, you’re going to want to play at Superb Casinos.

Guest Column
by Andy Diggle

So I was the editor of 2000 AD for a while. I was going to write about my time behind Tharg’s desk, and give all you aspiring writers a few useful tips. But I resigned a year ago to become a freelance comics writer – and to be honest, I’m glad to have put it all behind me. This writing malarkey is a lot less stressful – the only deadlines I have to worry about now are my own.

Bliss.

The thought of going back to 2000 AD’s teetering slush-pile of unsolicited submissions – most of which had served a more useful socio-economic function as trees – just gives me the heebie-jeebies. So let me boil it down for you before I move on. There are plenty of books and classes out there that’ll teach you how to tell a story, whether it be for novels, film, TV, radio, whatever. Drama is drama. If you’re a would-be writer and can’t be bothered to teach yourself the craft of your chosen profession, editors can’t do it for you.

Educate yourself.

What else? Read the submissions guidelines, but don’t be a slave to formula and cliché. Be original. Surprise and entertain us. Push the limits of your imagination. Avoid predictability. Have a protagonist we can relate to. Have thrills. Have structure. Have a point. And when it comes to dealing with editors, be patient and polite. Trust me, they have enough hassles to deal with.

So now when I meet people and they ask me what I do, and I say, “I write comic books”, they generally give me a look like they’re not sure whether to pat me on the head or back away slowly. But if you can crack it, it’s a great way to make a living. Just imagine: no boss. No commuting. No having to wear a suit and having to pretend that you get along with your workmates. Get out of bed as late as you want. And best of all, you get to just make stuff up – and get paid for it! How cool is that?

I’m just starting out on the road of the professional writer, but one thing that’s already struck me is an interesting discrepancy between how 2000 AD and the American publishers view their character properties. The traditional path for a new British writer is to start off penning a few Future Shocks for the House Of Tharg; once he’s proven he can tell a story in five pages, he might be asked to develop a new character in a multi-part story. Only after a respectable body of work would he be allowed to write a long-established character like Judge Dredd.

In America, it’s all about “servicing the trademark”, keeping their intellectual properties alive no matter what. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still tell good stories with ’em. In truth, a lot of these properties were obtained by screwing the original creators, but nowadays a writer has no excuse for not going into the job with his eyes open. Don’t want to do work-for-hire? Then don’t. Personally, this discrepancy suits me just fine. Most of the great characters in 2000 AD are closely associated with a particular writer. John Wagner is the only guy who can pull off the perfect balance of character, action and dry humour that defines Judge Dredd; and if you even suggested another writer handling Nemesis, Slaine, or the A.B.C. Warriors, Pat Mills would spontaneously self-detonate.

Yet just think of all the great character licenses created for film and TV that could be turned into popular comics. Who wouldn’t want to see Garth Ennis put words in the mouth of John McClane in a Die Hard comic, or Grant Morrison reinvent the Six Million Dollar Man for the 21st century? Sadly, comics based on TV and movie characters are often dire, produced solely to cash in on a franchise rather than tell a good story at the same time. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some noble exceptions have come from Dark Horse, including Star Wars, Aliens, Predator, Buffy, The Terminator, RoboCop and Indiana Jones. Sure, a lot of it was crap, but there’s been some great stuff too. John Wagner and Cam Kennedy doing Boba Fett in his own book? Yes, please. Frank Miller and Walt Simonson on Terminator Versus RoboCop? Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! It may not win any awards, but it’s one big, fat slice of pure entertainment.

Brand recognition can help attract readers who wouldn’t normally pick up a comic book, and anything that gets Joe Public into a comic shop has got to be a good thing. It just needs to be marketed right – as Dark Horse learned with Joss Whedon’s Fray. The guy knows how to write a comic book, but how many of his fans even knew it existed?

Now if only I can convince them to publish my “Lando Calrissian: Superfly Sex Machine” mini-series…

Andy Diggle is currently writing Hellblazer Special: Lady Constantine and The Losers for Vertigo, and Judge Dredd/Aliens: Incubus (with John Wagner) and Snow/Tiger for 2000 AD.

Copyright © 2002 Andy Diggle

Contact Andy: rant@bulletproofcomics.co.uk

Check out: www.andydiggle.com

Contact us at: editorial@bulletproofcomics.co.uk

THE AUTHORITY

July 12, 2004 Posted by admin

TITLE: THE AUTHORITY

REVIEW DATE: 24/02/02

REVIEWER: MATT YEO

ISSUE: 28

WRITER: MARK MILLAR

ARTIST: ART ADAMS

REVIEW:
auth28zNot an imaginary story! Not a What If..! Yes, folks, as unbelievable as it seems, this is indeed a new issue of The Authority. Delayed for nearly a year (following the sudden departure of artist Frank Quitely and various suspicious factors), the current storyline, ‘Brave New World’, slowly drags its controversy-riddled corpse towards the finish line.
Of course we’re not quite there yet as it’s recently been announced that current penciller Art Adams is to jump ship after this issue, to be replaced on the final part of the story by Gary Erskine. Hey, kids… do you get the feeling there’s more going on here than meets the eye? However, delays not-withstanding, this is another amazing issue, packed with the kind of cartoonish violence and over-the-top characterisation we’ve come to suspect from uuber-writer Mark Millar. The new Authority’s reign of terror comes to a well-deserved (and vicious) end as The Midnighter breaks into the Carrier and takes the replacement team down one-by-one. Not that we actually get to see any of the suggested carnage though, as it’s pretty clear someone’s performed a spot of editorial surgery on this issue. Panels appear to have been heavily re-drawn and it’s often difficult to figure out what’s happening from one page to the next.

We’re also left with a shocking conclusion that’ll leave you gagging for the next issue, but try to contain yourself as that too has been delayed once again. Art Adams always provides insanely detailed art and it’s great to see him handling something other than covers for a change. There are tons of his usual visual in-jokes to spot, including blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em appearances from the likes of Gandalf and The Authority’s own Jack Hawksmoor (check out the first frame of the New York panel). It’s just a shame he’s only drawn two issues as I’d definitely like to have seen more.

As the series comes grinding to a halt, it’ll be interesting to see how DC/Wildstorm handles this monster hit. On the one hand they have an incredibly popular team book that outperforms its nearest rivals in terms of sales and yet the controversy surrounding the book seems to make the publisher want to bury it with the minimum of effort. However, with a strong fanbase and potential future projects in the pipeline, it seems that news of The Authority’s imminent demise has been greatly exaggerated…

BULLETPROOF RATING: 8/10

TRADE PAPERBACK REVIEW

December 1, 2003 Posted by admin

TITLE: CAPTAIN BRITAIN

REVIEW DATE: 12/02/02

REVIEWER: STU TAYLOR

WRITER: ALAN MOORE

ARTIST: ALAN DAVIS

REVIEW:
capbritOne of the first things that Joe Quesada did when he became ensconced as Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief was attempt to build bridges with comics legend Alan Moore. The writer had sworn off working with the company after the shoddy way in which he was handled during his tenure on the Captain Britain strip back in the early Eighties. So it was a genuine surprise when the announcement came a year ago that the creator was back on speaking terms with the House off Ideas, thanks to Quesada’s promise to include a copyright notice in the collected edition of the Captain Britain strips. This announcement that, almost two decades after it was first serialised, Moore’s Captain Britain would be collected in book format had wrinkly comic readers reaching for their heart tablets, whilst those who grew up on the likes of Spawn and Youngblood probably shrugged their shoulders in disinterest. So perhaps a brief British comics history lesson is in order…
At the same time that Moore was writing for Britain’s 2000 AD and Warrior during the early Eighties, he picked up the reins on one of Marvel UK’s few original comic strips: Captain Britain (at the time, the bulk of the material being published in the UK were American reprints). The series’ outgoing writer Dave Thorpe had taken the generic and instantly forgettable costumed superhero and re-invented Captain Britain, planting him in a Lewis Carroll-inspired twisted parallel Earth.

The Fast & The Fury
Whilst Thorpe’s Captain Britain strips were quirky and fun, building a foundation for Alan Moore to build upon, the series really got critics and fans talking when Moore came on board. He actually wrote the last page of Thorpe’s final episode, and remarkably managed to turn the series on its head with just that single page. But for some reason, Marvel’s book department has chopped the entire Thorpe run (including Moore’s aforementioned first Captain Britain page) from the collected edition. Yes, Moore’s writing is the main selling point of the collection, but to start the book in the middle of a storyline is downright dumb for those who have never read the series before (er… and that’ll be the vast majority, then?). But if you’re willing to be initially confused to buggery, there are some real gems to be found here. Moore’s work on Cap predates his greatest superhero triumph, Watchmen, and whilst the latter is famous for its killer dialogue and unforgettable characters, Captain Britain also handles itself quite well. Arguably, Moore’s Captain Britain features one of the most memorable villains in Mad Jim Jaspers – a kind of dandy English fop, very much in a Terry Thomas mold – who is utterly insane and has the power to warp reality. But the real scene-stealer is Jaspers’ mute, techno-organic superhero killing machine, The Fury. For the latter, Moore dispenses with the traditional wise-cracking supervillain, providing us with a far more terrifying proposition. The Fury cannot be reasoned with, it is incredibly resilient, single-minded and simply will not stop until it has eradicated its target. Which, in this case, is Captain Britain. Oh, and The Fury actually succeeds in its task by killing Cap at the end of Moore’s first full episode (but then death never seems to be permanent in the superhero genre).

Anarchy In The UK
Fans of Alan Davis’ art on the forthcoming Spider-Man: The Movie comic adaptation will relish the opportunity to check out some of his earliest work. There’s an anecdote that Davis extended the allocated strip pages per episode since he was unable to accomplish what Moore had asked him to do in his highly imaginative scripts. It’s also a double pity then that the Thorpe run is not included since Davis’ art-style was very much in its infancy during his first few episodes, and it was fascinating to see him evolve through the series’ run.
Quesada’s promise to include a notation in the book’s indicia was to essentially acknowledge the original concepts and characters created for the strip by Moore and Davis. I said ‘promised’, as this little olive branch somehow got lost during the book’s production and never made it into print. Cue: one pissed-off Moore.
So, unfortunately, this long, long-awaited collection is now currently more famous for a production cock-up than the material itself. The result of which prompted Moore to swear that he’d never have anything to do with Marvel again. Fortunately, Quesada was able to smooth things over by promising to correct the mistake in future editions. Hopefully he’ll also re-instate the Thorpe run of stories, include the missing page from one of the Moore episodes (it’s a full page shot of Cap and Wardog which has bizarrely been cut out, coming as it did mid-scene), and sort out the dreadful colouring job. Whether we’ll ever see Moore writing the likes of the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man remains to be seen, but for now, this classic collection of quirky Brit-style superheroics will do.

BULLETPROOF RATING: 9/10 (for the source material) 4/10 (for the collection)

THE FRANK QUITELY INTERVIEW

September 9, 2003 Posted by admin

BY LORNA MILLER

authority2He’s known the world over by testosterone-loaded boys as a brilliant artist who disnae get his work in on time; but he’s the hardest working comic artist that I know. He makes a living drawing big guys and tough women with the skill of the best figure artists in the history of the medium. Characters so real you can almost feel the muscle on bone under the skin.

He’s a superhero artist who likes small press comics. He’s a husband and father of two gorgeous boys. He looks like a film star, and he’s a lovely person too. Does Frank Quitely have any faults at all?!? Well, he’s been known to get shit-faced and throw up in his pants. Phew, he’s human after all!

When did you first start drawing your own comic books? Did you read many comics as a kid?

When I was a bairn, early on in primary school I drew my own comics, they were called Monster Comics; I still have them. I also used to get a couple of weekly comics, The Beezer and The Beano. A friend across the road, who was protestant (I was jealous of him because he didn’t have to go to church on Sundays (laughs)), always got American comics and I would read those too. I also read my older sister’s comics, like Bunty, I liked a strip called The Four Marys. In my teens I drifted away from comics but I did read Mad Magazine. I would also get comics like Weird Science and Creepy World when I went to Millport on holiday.

Who have been your greatest artistic influences?

Dudley D. Watkins. He was the creator of The Broons and Oor Wullie, both Scottish newspaper strips. He also created Lord Snooty and Desperate Dan. He would draw six strips a week. He was a phenomenal hack!

I understand you’re also an avid cartoonist. How does drawing cartoons differ from creating comic book art?

Cartoons are usually a single image, so you create a composition with an array of props and everything is resting on that single image. With comics you’re trying to tell a fluid, moving story in a chain of static images.

Where did your first published work appear?

In 1989 in a small press adult humour anthology, called Electric Soup, which was based in Glasgow.

You then made the move to 2000 AD. Was this the route you had always planned to take? Which strips did you draw?

No, I never planned it, it just happened. I drew a Judge Dredd story in 1992 called Missionary. It was written by Gordon Rennie.

Had you met Grant Morrison and Mark Millar before working on Judge Dredd?

I canny remember! I met Grant around ’94 when I was working on Flex Mentallo for Vertigo. It was a mini-series written by Grant.

How do you think they differ as writers

Mark is good at the big brash stuff; Grant is good at nuance, awkward and embarrassing things and quiet moments.

When were you first approached by the US to produce artwork?

In ’93. My first American editor was Andy Helfer at DC. He has the sexiest voice in comics (sounds like the guy who does the movie trailers)! (laughs)

After your initial collaboration with Grant Morrison on Flex Mentallo, did the offers of regular work begin to pour in?

I wouldn’t say pour in, but I’ve not been without work since.

Do you think it is easier for guys to break into the comics industry?

Yeah, I’m sure if a female was showing a portfolio, no matter how good it was, it would be harder for her to be seriously considered as a potential artist.

Your mainstream popularity really seemed to hit an all-time high with your work on both JLA: Earth 2 and The Authority. Were you aware of the impact were having on the comic book industry and fans alike?

No.

Wizard recently voted you Best Artist of 2001 and Grant has often called you “the best comics artist in the world”. How do you feel about comic creators being celebrities?

Bring it on!!! Give me some!!! (laughs) I sit in my house on my own working. I never go online. The rare time that I do I see “he rocks” and “he sucks” in equal doses; it’s not much of a celebrity status.

How did you land The Authority gig?

Grant had recommended me to Mark, so he called up and asked me if I was interested. Scott Dunbier knew my work and expressed an interest.

Looking back at your time on The Authority, do you feel it was an enjoyable experience?

Yes, very enjoyable.

Can you talk at all about your reasons for leaving The Authority and working for Marvel?

Yeah, I can say a little. Wildstorm were really good to Mark and myself, but they got pressure from DC – they suffered from censorship. Mark and I wanted them to hold the schedule up to give me longer on the artwork, but they decided to get a fill-in artist which broke my momentum; I felt like I was finishing someone else’s story. A complicated incident led to an argument with someone from Wildstorm, so I left because I felt slightly let down by them and I had been made a better offer by Marvel.

How do you deal with Internet criticism that you’re a relatively slow artist and have been supported by fill-in artists on both The Authority and New X-Men?

I read very little of it. Some of the criticism I agree with, some I don’t, it’s just different opinions. At the moment we’re looking for a solution to this issue. The standard I’m working to I can do just over seven issues a year. Ideally I should be doing a six-issue arc in an ongoing series. It is better to do all the artwork before the first issue comes out, but sometimes schedules don’t allow for that.

Do you plan to stay on New X-Men for some time?

For a while and then I plan to do a creator-owned project.

Are you and Grant still planning to produce your oft-mentioned Silver Surfer project for Marvel Knights?

I would enjoy doing it at some point, but it’s not a priority.

Does the thought of developing creator-owned projects appeal to you?

Oh, yes.

Would you make more money?

I’m not sure, I might be able to make the same. (I ask Frank how much he earns per year and he tells me, but I’m no gauny spill the beans!)

If you weren’t a successful comic book artist, what would you be doing?

A driving job – like a van driver. I drove a small furniture removal van a few weeks ago and as soon as I got in I started swearing and smoking. I loved it! (laughs) I would like to make a living doing paintings or book illustration, or production drawings.

You went to art school, but left before you graduated. Where you chucked out or did you leave?

Er… the latter. I was chucked out after two years because I wasn’t doing any work. I loved the first year, but I started to feel disillusioned in the second and became distracted.

By what? Cigareets, whisky and wild, wild women?

Something like that. I felt cheated at art school. It wasn’t about drawing and painting the way I thought of it. So I left and became a jobbing artist, and looked for work anywhere I could get it. I did portraits, caricature, spot illustrations, price tickets and even pavement drawing!

(Frank and I then go on to chat and reminisce about the joys of being jobbing artists, since I’ve done similar work myself. We compare notes about our pavement drawing experiences and laugh some more – Lorna Miller)

THE FLASH

December 6, 2002 Posted by admin

TITLE: THE FLASH

REVIEW DATE: 20/03/02

REVIEWER: MATT YEO

ISSUE: 183

WRITER: GEOFF JOHNS

ARTISTS: SCOTT KOLINS AND DOUG HAZLEWOOD

REVIEW:
I’ve been a Flash fan for as long as I can remember, initially discovering the title during legendary artist Carmine Infantino’s last run on the series through to the equally groundbreaking Mark Waid years. With Waid’s departure I feared for the quality of DC’s scarlet speedster, knowing that only a true fan of the character, who respected the stories of yesteryear yet understood the need to always keep the series moving forward, could spin successful future Flash tales. Fortunately, the current inheritors of the red and gold mantle, Geoff Johns, Scott Kolins and Doug Hazlewood, have consistently managed to do just that. In this prologue to the imminent “Crossfire” arc, we’re introduced to yet another new Rogue, a next generation Trickster. Cocky, arrogant and keen to try his luck against Keystone’s resident metahuman, The Trickster manages to put our hero on ice (well, candy actually) in their first encounter. However, the battle is merely misdirection as this young villain-in-waiting is in fact working for the recently reformed Rogues. Their nefarious plan has been slowly unfolding over recent issues and it’s clear that everything’s about to come to fruition.

While The Flash’s Rogues Gallery has always been a thorn in his side, this latest incarnation has a decidedly darker streak. For instance, in this issue they add Vic Stone (Cyborg) to their list of recent victims, we discover their ingenious covert super villain black market and fellow villain, the Rainbow Raider, loses his life at the hands of their mysterious leader, Blacksmith. Yet while the Rogues have become less 2D, it’s always the title character’s supporting cast who provide much of the real reading thrills. Whether it’s the disgruntled interaction of officers Chyre and (the fake) Morillo, Wally and Linda’s hectic homelife or Jay and Joan Garrick’s moving announcement, it’s writer Geoff Johns’ handling of these non-superhero moments that make this quality superhero title what it is.

Artists Scott Kolins and Doug Hazlewood also continue to make their mark on the Flash legacy with another sterling issue. The representation of speed and the chaos of Wally’s life are essential ingredients in this title and amazing visual details such as The Trickster’s starry airwalking, Wally’s first encounter with the blond-haired villain and the opening shot of The Network are worth the price of admission alone. Another excellent issue and a perfect jumping-on point for new readers as next month’s epic storyline begins.

BULLETPROOF RATING: 9/10

THE STEVE YEOWELL INTERVIEW

August 16, 2002 Posted by admin

Frequent Grant Morrison collaborator and Zenith co-creator, Stockport-based artist Steve Yeowell has been one of the UK’s most prolific comic creators for over 15 years. With work appearing regularly in 2000 AD, guest spots on Starman, JSA and Paradise X, Steve’s high-quality work continues to prove the popularity and reliability of British talent. BULLETPROOF COMICS recently spoke to the man himself…

Steve, what’s your artistic background?

I studied for a BA (hons) in 3D design: Silversmithing and Jewellery – during the completion of which I rediscovered my childhood fascination with comics. If drawing (an essential element of the design process) is going to take up a large amount of the working day, I thought, then why not spend the working day drawing something fun?

Was your first published comic work Lieutenant Fl’ff for Harrier Comics?

Before Fl’ff I was writing and drawing Hawker for Manchester-based stripzine, Totally Alien. I’d met editor David Baber through a college-era friend, who’d shown him some sample designs I’d drawn for a sci-fi hero with robot sidekick. Mike Collins and Mark Farmer – who I’d met at The Society of Strip Illustration (now The Comic Creator’s Guild) – put me forward as their replacement on Fl’ff when they moved on to other things.
Your first published work with Grant Morrison was in Zoids for Marvel UK. However, I understand that before that point you both collaborated on a project for IPC that never saw the light of day?

David Lloyd was putting together a dummy comic for IPC called Fantastic Adventure, an anthology title featuring strips based on then popular TV series and films. Grant and Jamie Delano wrote, I think, all the strips and I drew California Crew (written by Grant) which was loosely based on The A-Team. Other artists on FA were John Burns, John Higgins, John Bolton, Steve Whittaker, Ron Tiner and David Jackson. Unfortunately, IPC dropped it in favour of Mask, a toy licensed title.

You both hit your creative stride with the award-winning pop culture superhero strip, Zenith, for 2000 AD. Where did the concept for the series originate?
The genesis of Zenith has a long and convoluted history which I had nothing to do with. As far as I can remember it includes elements of previous strips Grant had written and drawn for both Near Myths and his local newspaper, along with all the usual Morrison elements – HP Lovecraft, Nazi demonology, Chaos Magic, The Beatles – married with observations on everything that made the early eighties the early eighties.

Artist Brendan McCarthy produced the initial costume designs for Zenith. How much of those designs remained in the final look of the character?

For the first series Grant asked for the retro-Elvis hairstyle Brendan had designed to be altered to something resembling an ultra-firm gelled Morrissey quiff, and for Zenith’s boots to be made somewhat heavier. Design changes in the later series were mine, okayed with Grant.

Were you a fan of superhero comics as a child?

I was never exclusively an American superhero comics fan. The vast majority of comics I read were the traditional weekly British titles (including any girl’s titles my sister would get) or the monthly war comics.

Interested though I was in American comics, they seemed expensive compared to British weeklies, a month seemed too long to wait between issues and I could never work out when they would be in the shops anyway. I knew something like The Victor, for instance, would be in the newsagent on a Saturday morning or sometimes Friday evening which tied in nicely with pocket money being handed over. I would buy the occasional American comic on an irregular basis, and most of those I bought from a second hand stall at the local market. I didn’t get a sustained regular exposure to superheroes until Marvel UK started bringing out their weekly titles in about 1973.

As Phase III of Zenith began, you were called upon to design a huge cast of super-powered characters. Where did the inspiration for these designs begin?

Anything from Fleetway could be used without fear of legal action. Others were modified to varying degrees according to how well known they were in their original form (Big Ben for instance). I sometimes based designs on what I was seeing around the bars/pubs/clubs of Manchester at the time.

Do you think you and Grant will ever revisit Zenith at some point in the future?

Grant likes the idea of doing one-offs, if they seem appropriate, but when that’ll be – if ever – who can say…

Looking back on the controversy that surrounded The New Adventures of Hitler, were you surprised at the reactions from both the press and public?

Bemused more than anything.

What was the first work you produced for the US?

I drew a short story for the first issue of Open Space, the Marvel sci-fi title edited by Kurt Busiek.

You’ve also drawn issues of Starman and JSA for DC. Were these projects you specifically requested?

I’d worked with James Robinson on a strip for Revolver called Mystery Tour (which never saw the light of day) and a graphic novel for Epic called Sixty-Seven Seconds. He asked me to fill in on Starman, and Peter Tomasi (editor on Starman after Archie Goodwin) asked me to fill in on JSA.

When receiving work from writers, do you prefer full scripts or Marvel-style plots?

I’m comfortable with either. I particularly enjoyed the approach James and I used on Sixty-Seven Seconds where he provided me with a screenplay type plot description for a page or several pages, along with all the copy that had to appear. I had both the freedom to break down the page in the way I wanted and all the information the dialogue provides (much more readily than any amount of panel description) for appropriate facial expression and character body language.

When the time came to collaborate with Grant on The Invisibles, did you feel that his writing style had changed dramatically since your days together on Zenith?

It changed in the way that anyone’s work changes over time. No one works the same way forever, at least not if they want to maintain their interest. I could see the same themes present though.

You’ve worked with Grant on many projects over the years. What do you think makes your partnership so unique and successful?

I don’t know that it was unique. It was successful in that Zenith was the classic case of the right thing at the right time. We worked well together because he liked the way I drew, I liked his scriptwriting and wanted to do the best I could and neither of us tried to interfere with the other’s job.

The majority of your artwork has been black and white. Would you like to produce more full colour material?

I would but the opportunity doesn’t seem to come up that often and I tend to dislike my own colouring compared to that of, say, Chris Blythe. I’d like to letter too, which I used to in my Trigon and Harrier days.

Your stark, black-and-white work on Zenith became more abstract as the series progressed. Was this a conscious decision on your part to change your style of drawing?

As I said earlier no one works the same way all the time if they want to maintain their interest. It was, I think, a change influenced by work I was seeing elsewhere and a need to freshen up. It felt like the right thing to do at the time anyway.

You’ve been producing material regularly for 2000 AD for a number of years, including the hit series’ Sinister Dexter, Pussyfoot 5, Red Fang and Nikolai Dante. Why continue working for a UK company when many of your peers have been lured by the call (and big bucks) of the US?

I enjoy working for both The US and UK – each has it’s own challenges. At 2000 AD there’s less money but more freedom.

Which 2000 AD series do you feel has been your most artistically rewarding?

All of them in one way or another – although equally I can find things I dislike in all of them too.

Would you like do develop more creator-owned work?

In so far as I’d like to draw more period costume settings – everyone’s probably noticed that even my approach to science fiction is retro.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I’ve just finished Xen, a Paradise X special which Bill Sienkiewicz is inking, Foot Soldiers: Volume 3, a 156 page b&w trade paperback written by Jim Krueger (Earth X), and I’m currently working on The Red Seas with Ian Edgington for 2000 AD – voodoo swashbuckling in the golden age of piracy – Splundig Vur Ho-ho-ho, me hearties!!!

GUEST COLUMN

July 25, 2001 Posted by admin

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, published by Marvel Comics, 160 pages, $15.95.

As a boy, Matt Murdock was mischievous. Adventurous. He had an inexplicable urge to feel his blood pumping in his ears, as he answered the city’s mysterious call; a call he didn’t understand. He also had a prizefighting father, whom he loved very much. It didn’t matter that he was past his prime, or that he sometimes seemed saddened by memories of a woman Matt never knew. Something else Matt never knew, however, was that his father was forced into working for the mob, in order to protect him. But something happens to Matt which allows him to address the issues of his adventurous nature, as well as the injustices done his father. An accident involving dangerous chemicals and Matt’s heroic nature. Without going into detail, Daredevil is born.

Written by Frank Miller, who is well-known for his comic work (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, Sin City), as well as some movie work (Robocop 2), and is also the man who was largely responsible for Daredevil’s resurgence of popularity in the late ’70’s, Daredevil: M.W.F. is every bit as entertaining to read as any comic material out there, today.

Interesting characters in the ’60’s, made even more so by Miller’s “fleshing out” of them, with believable personalities and dialogue.

Artist John Romita, Jr. seems the perfect penciller for this story. A top talent in the industry, his style lends itself to the grim, the morose, even, at times, the depressing. Ideal for this street-level crime story. No, it’s not a “feel-good” tale; but it’s darned entertaining to read.

The only other thing I can say about the art is John Jr. must have felt honored to have his pencils inked by comics great Al Williamson, whose volume of work stretches back to comics’ Golden Age, and won’t be covered here.

A great introduction to Daredevil for new readers. Recommended for those who enjoy crime stories, great drama, and high action.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

July 14, 2001 Posted by admin

TITLE: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

REVIEW DATE: 24/02/02

REVIEWER: MATT YEO

ISSUE: 19

WRITER: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS

ARTIST: MARK BAGLEY

REVIEW:
ultimatespiderman19How does he do it? How does Brian Michael Bendis produce the kind of thrilling, emotional and consistently excellent kind of storytelling that puts other so-called writers to shame? With a monthly workload of Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, Alias, Daredevil, Elektra, Powers and too many sideline projects to name, you’d think that at least one of his titles would suffer. Well, he’s reaching his two-year anniversary on Ultimate Spider-Man and it doesn’t like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

This issue sees ol’ webhead going through more teenage superhero trauma as he faces up to the aftermath of last month’s encounter with Doc Ock, Justin Hammer and S.H.I.E.L.D. Bendis keeps the pace jogging along with more challenges for Peter as he’s nearly discovered wearing his costume by Aunt May, begins to realise that big game TV hunter Kraven might actually be more of a threat than he initially thought and faces painful jealousy from girlfriend, Mary Jane. It’s the latter that always gives me a thrill when I read this title. The quiet moments when Peter is dealing with the kind of problems we’ve all faced at some point in our lives. Whether it’s been tackling a difficult relationship, wanting to avoid hurting those we love or simply dealing with the mistakes we make that affect those around us.
Of course it’s not all navel-gazing with this title as Bendis always infuses Ultimate Spider-Man with his infectious sense of humour and the ability to pull the rug out from under the reader at the drop of a hat. C’mon, did you really see that surprise ending coming?

And that’s what makes Ultimate Spider-Man such a thrill to read. I shyed away from Marvel’s Spider titles for years, but it’s the like of Bendis and fellow web writer J. Michael Straczynski (Amazing Spider-Man) that make these comic books such a joy to read again. The constant presence of penciller Mark Bagley (Thunderbolts) also helps to give the title an important sense of consistency which, coupled with a unique contents/recap page, makes Ultimate Spider-Man an accessible read for newcomers and long-term fans alike. Great stuff.

BULLETPROOF RATING: 9/10

HIP FLASK: UNNATURAL SELECTION

October 18, 2000 Posted by admin

TITLE: HIP FLASK:
UNNATURAL SELECTION

REVIEWER: MATT YEO

REVIEW DATE: 31/07/02

WRITERS: RICHARD STARKINGS, JOE CASEY, LADRONN

ARTIST: LADRONN

hipflaskunnaturalselectionAs the first launch from Richard Starkings’ Active Images, Hip Flask is an outstanding example of unbridled creativity, professionalism and a real
love of the medium. From the deftly-handled script and truly stunning art to Comicraft’s high-quality lettering and design, the whole package simply oozes talent. It’s rare that such diverse talent manages to gel into one cohesive and entertaining form, but dammit if Starkings, Casey and Ladronn don’t make it look oh-so-easy!

Wearing it’s sci-fi colours with pride, the story of future private eye Hip Flask begins in the 23rd century where man’s conquest of science has allowed him to subvert nature itself and develop twisted hybrid humans/animals. This research has been led by the egotistical and self-righteous father of genetics, Doctor Nikken, a man so certain of his own convictions that his living experiments are indoctrinated to believe he is not only their creator but also their living god.

There are many layers and themes to the story, from the age-old questions of “who are we?” and “where do we come from?” to environmental issues and man’s inhumanity to man. Hip himself is left on the sidelines in this issue, but his real-life creators are merely setting the stage for pulp adventures to come.

Solid storytelling is backed up by the jaw-dropping Euro-art of Ladronn. His unique talents have been superbly channeled into a project that combines the visual flavour of Blade Runner, The Matrix, The Fifth Element and so many other groundbreaking sci-fi films. Detail is unbelievable and you’ll read and re-read each page, picking up on new design elements and artistic touches each and every time.

Of course this quality comes at a price and the creative team would be unable to produce this standard of work on a monthly basis, but so what? The wait for this first issue has been well worth it and I’m definitely looking forward to Hip Flask # 0: Elephantmen, even if it isn’t due until March 2003. For now though, just wallow in this creative mud bath… To find out more about Hip Flask, check out our exclusive interview with Richard Starkings!

BULLETPROOF RATING: 10/10