Thursday 30 September 2010

British International Comic Show

I'll be at the British International Comics Show in Birmingham on the 16-17th of October. On the Sunday I'm sharing a table with Warwick Johnson Cadwell and selling my wares. I've designed this Doctor Who poster to sell and will also be selling posters of some other work I've done in the past year (see below). I've had some Doctor Who postcards and greetings cards and other goodies printed up, plus I'll have original artwork from Doctor Who, Roy of the Rovers and Judge Dredd for sale. Hopefully I'll see you there!
The A2 Doctor Who posters are £15, the A3 prints are all £10 plus P&P on both.

Tuesday 28 September 2010


I realise I'm not blogging as often at the moment, partly that's because I'm busy and partly it's because I'm mainly writing rather than drawing. However watching This is England '86 the other night I was reminded of some Skinhead strips I was working on in the early 90s. Can't find the original artwork, but I found this Jpeg I did for a folio at some point with a character from one strip superimposed on a one-off short. Must have used my own Doc Martins to pose for that pic judging by how old and battered they look.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Graphic Novel Within A Novel.

I set myself 144 comic pages in which to fit the 500 text pages of Don Quixote part one. I had a few tricks in mind to compress certain elements, and of course the dialogue would have to be reduced otherwise every speech bubble in a conversation between Quixote and Sancho would fill a page. Even with all the sleight of hand, pictures speaking for words and shortened dialogue I still need to cut something. What to cut?

Within those 500 pages of part one there is a short novel (40 pages) called The Novel of the Curious Impertinent* which most adapters see as prime candidate for the chop. Many argue it has no place in the Don Quixote in the first place. It's the story of a man who wants to put his wife's fidelity on trial and in doing so creates the very thing he fears.

Well, I'm keeping it. It's key to my reading of the book. What we see in the Novel of the Curious Impertinent is a scientific search for truth in love, but it's like a quantum experiment where the viewer affects the results. This is in perfect contrast to Don Quixote, who sees what he wants to see. Including the Novel of the Curious Impertinent sets Don Quixote the character into sharp relief, helps bring him to life. And it's part of the alchemy of the book watching the fiction come to life.

So what does get the chop? Well, there's a lot of hullabaloo at the inn towards the end of the book that puts a great strain on many modern readers' credulity. I'm paring it down right now. Hopefully I can lose a couple of events that have no bearing on what comes before or after. I can already feel the Cervantine Scholars lighting their torches and marching on Blandford Forum.

Oh, yeah, the picture above - that's an attempt at designing a cover for Volume One. Emma and I decided to go for something else which you'll see in good time. This cover is illustrative of the book as a whole in a quite literal way - it shows the two friends jabbering happily away to one another in a featureless landscape. The new cover will be a tad more dynamic. And it will feature sheep! What more do you want?

*The novel also has been translated as "The Man Too Curious For His Own Good" and other variations.

Sunday 12 September 2010

Don Quixote Volume One.

I'm 12 days into my allotted 8 month adaptation of Don Quixote Volume One. Before I even started drawing a pitch or writing scenes I had a few basic ideas that would define my adaptation, one of these was that we should split the book back into its original two volumes for publication. There's no reason why the two volumes can't be anthologised in the future, but for my sanity the books will come out a year apart. The originals came out ten years apart so be grateful for small mercies. It's worth noting that the end of Volume One was the end of the story and not a cliffhanger or unfinished work, so there is a natural break. I have also written an additional scene to the end of volume one that will hopefully make it seem implicit that this is a standalone book.

It's not entirely true to say I'm doing it as two volumes to save my sanity (that ship sank without survivors some time ago), there are more important reasons for doing it like this. The gap between the two original books is part of the life of the novel and is a big part of the story in Volume Two. People Quixote meets in Volume Two have read Volume One. Don Quixote lives as a book and I really don't want to create an adaptation that treats it like a revered monument, I want to demonstrate that it still lives. Or maybe that should be: the two friends Don Quixote and Sancho Panza still live.

Yeah, yeah, enough with the blather, I hear you say, we only come here to look at the pretty pictures. These are two images from the pitch. The top one is a slice of a panel, and is one of the earliest images of Quixote that I was content with (terrible pic of Sancho though). The one below was about working out his clothes (still unresolved, although Martin Brown has invited me round to look at his doublet), it then became about unusual colours of night. Realistic but seemingly impossible colour palettes fascinate me.

This post has covered one of the 'basic ideas that would define my adaptation', I'll blog about the others in the coming weeks/months, they include "Why there won't be any giants", "Thou, thee, you, ye", and "What to do with novels within novels". If you've read the book you can probably guess at some of the hurdles facing the diligent adaptor.

Right, must get back to the writing, I left our valorous knight and his squire chasing phantoms in the dark woods.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Influence Map

I succumbed to the 'influence map' meme. I'm sure I could add a few more or do a whole other one given the chance, but here it is. It's all artists, although I've sneaked in some writerly skills through the back door.

Roy of the Rovers 1993

Found a decent-ish scan of this page from Roy of the Rovers monthly #1 whilst sorting out this morning. Stuart Green, the writer, editor and co-conspirator on the plan to Watchmen-ise Roy, kept the original and this is the best version I have of it. Some of it is atrocious, but it was a long time ago and the blatant mix of bravado painter and struggling cartoonist has produced a scruffy mongrel of a page that I'm quite fond of now.

Thursday 2 September 2010

Here's The Deep Hereafter

The Graphic Novel collection featuring mine and Dan McDaid's Doctor Who story The Deep Hereafter will not be available for the foreseeable future. As I've been asked by a number of people if they can see the strip I'm putting these low res files on here for the time being. Credit to Dan for such a brilliant script and credit also to Roger Langridge for his Abe Kanegson font and to James Offerdi for letting me redo the colours the way I wanted them. So, without further ado here is THE DEEP HEREAFTER...

Wednesday 1 September 2010

The Original Selfmadehero

This is my reworking of the Selfmadehero logo. Given the nature of Don Quixote as the hero who invents himself it's hard to imagine a more aptly named publisher.

Today is my official start date on Don Quixote and I have been writing most of the day. The opening scene is one of the trickiest to adapt. There's no dialogue or character interaction, it relies heavily on the author's voice. Just need to decide who the author is really...
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