Thursday, May 06, 2021

MONSTER / MONSTERS

In 1985, my family went to Canada for a family holiday. The first trip abroad we’d had. One of the highlights of the trip for me was access to comics I couldn’t usually get. American Marvel, DC, and other comics. I discovered Archie Comics on this trip.

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars had just begun to be published by Marvel UK, and I was eagerly reading that series. One of the comics I got in Canada was Secret Wars II #3 – a jump into the future which blew my mind. 

Another Secret Wars related comic I got was Incredible Hulk #312. The Secret Wars II tie-in element was a few pages tacked on at the end of what was actually a very powerful story. A retelling of Bruce Banner’s life with the conceit that the Hulk was part of his character from the moment he was born. 

The story by Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola showed that Bruce’s father was possibly irradiated over the years as he worked with dangerous materials. Bruce had suffered mental and physical abuse throughout his childhood, and so when the gamma bomb from The Incredible Hulk #1 went off, it released the Hulk creature which had always been inside him.

It was heady stuff for The Hulk comic, I read it a thousand times and it became a real favourite.

Many years later in 2003, around the time of the Ang Lee Hulk movie, I read an interview with Barry Windsor-Smith in Comic Book Artist #1, where he said the idea of that story had been his. He’d pitched it to Jim Shooter, but for various reasons depending on who you speak to, they’d gone ahead with a Mantlo/Mignola version. Windsor-Smith let the readers know he’d continued working on the comic in the eighteen years since, and completed pages from it were shown in the magazine.


It was shocking to see that one of my favourite Hulk comics had this background, but exciting to think a more expanded, purer version of the story was on the way. 

I used to write letters in to Comics International magazine, and in #163, I sent in the following to them:

Fast forward another eighteen years. As a regular guest of Tony Esmond’s Never Iron Anything podcast, I am called upon to choose different comics to discuss in depth with him. I decided Hulk #312 would be a good choice, as I had seen that Fantagraphics were going to publish the apparently completed “Monsters”. This would be a timely conversation! Have listen here.

Today, my copy of Monsters arrived and I am keen to read it. In fact, I am a bit trepidatious to read it. What if it’s crap? We’ll see…


Monday, May 03, 2021

INDIANA JONES and the AGE OLD QUESTION

Over the past few years, I have done guest comics for Star Jaws, published by Robin Barnard and Barnstormer Comics. Star Jaws is a love letter to / parody of Star Wars and the UK Star Wars comics of the 1970s and 1980s. As I’m a big Star Wars fan, I have fun coming up with stories to run by Robin and see if he’ll use them.

Last month, as I drifted off to sleep, I had an idea for an Indiana Jones comic and wondered if Robin would be interested. It’s not Star Wars, but it does have the Lucasfilm/Harrison Ford connection, so maybe..?

Woke up the next day, keen to ask Robin. But before I messaged him, I saw this online:


What a coincidence! This was perfect! I read his mind, or vice versa.

Now I couldn’t wait to tell him I had an Indy comic idea, and ask if he wanted it for this. He did, and agreed for it to appear in the second issue. 

I’m working away on it, with pencils done. I’ll be inking and colouring it before the release date of 14th May. Look out for it online then!

THE TAY BRIDGE DISASTER at DAREDEVILS & WARRIORS



Alister Black has written on The Tay Bridge Disaster comic over at Daredevils & Warriors.

Have a read here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Thursday, April 22, 2021

THE TAY BRIDGE DISASTER - Available now


The Tay Bridge Disaster comic is available now.

Have a look at the Fred Egg Comics Shop here, or Buy Small Press here.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

GOSH! COMICS / BROKEN FRONTIER Drink and Draw

I had a good time this week taking part in the Gosh! Comics / Broken Frontier Drink and Draw.

The fun began a couple of days before when I provided a prompt drawing to present to the group.

The participants in the group, and online at Twitter, drew a picture based on the prompt. I had to judge this round and pick a favourite!

After that, came another two rounds chosen by others. The second was "Wholesome Violence" from Josh Hicks, and the third was from Andy Oliver - "That Comic Smell".

As @thatcomicsmell was tagged in the original tweet, all the drawings that were posted sent multiple notifications to Tom (from That Comic Smell)'s phone. He didn't know what was happening for a minute there!

I had a great time, and it was nice to meet (sort of) new friends in the comics community.

Photo pinched from Andy Oliver's Facebook.

Friday, March 26, 2021

THAT COMIC SMELL: Intention Fails Revisited (Plus Xmas Swag)

The new episode is online now.

From the web:

"Come back with us to the start of the year. Christmas had not long been, Santa had not long visited the TCS HQ and all of us were bestowed with comics goodies and ready to show them off and talk about them.
Now cast your mind back to the start of 2020. The Folks here at the pod went through their “Intention Fails” the comics in which they bought with reading being the number one priority, then it never happened. Well, we revisit those top 3 intention fails of ours and see how we got on. Did we manage to read them? Do we have more for the comic year? What are stuff do we waffle on about?
You’ll have to listen to find out. Here on…
That Comic Smell!
Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @thatcomicsmell
Get us on…
Soundcloud: tinyurl.com/y8vzeh3c
Spotify: tinyurl.com/y2qtu2cs
YouTube: tinyurl.com/yajnxcno
Apple Podcasts: tinyurl.com/hwbqxab
Podbean: tinyurl.com/yxvecykj
and most places you find podcasts.

The Dumbest Idea Ever (Jimmy Gownley)
Last Gig in Shnagrlig (Gilbert Shelton)
Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (Brian Fies)
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (Sydney Padua)
King (Ho Che Anderson)
Flesh: The Dino Files (Various 2000AD)
JLA: Year One (Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, Barry Kitson)
Robin: Year One (Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Javier Pulido, Marcos Martin)
Batman: Black and White (Various DC)
Atomic Hercules: Goes Commando (Tony Esmond, Adam Falp)
DC Through the 80's: The End of Eras (Various DC Creators)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection Volume 1 (Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird)
Maus (Art Spiegelman)
Marney the Fox (Scott Goodall, John Stokes)
Judge Dredd Volume 1: The Complete Case Files (Various)
What we Don't Talk About (Charlot Kristensen)
The Story of Sex (Philippe Brenot, Laetitia Coryn, Will McMorran)
Daredevil: Born Again [ARTIST EDITION] (David Mazzucchelli)
The Celts (Hugo Pratt)
Daltokyo (Gary Panter)
CABBIE (Marti)
Batman: Strange Apparitions (Marshall Rogers, Steve Englehart, Dennis O'Neil)
Laika (Nick Abadzis)
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World (Penelope Bagieu)
New York Drawings (Adrian Tomine)
Challengers of the Unknown (Jack Kirby)
Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes (Paul Levitts & Various)
Wonder Woman 75 Years (Various)
Regreso al Edén (Paco Roca)
Universo! (Albert Monteys)
On a Sunbeam (Tillie Walden)
Box Office Poison (Alex Robinson)
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories Vol.2 (Various: Edited by Ivan Brunetti)"



Wednesday, March 24, 2021

NERDS WHO HAUNTED THEMSELVES: WHY COMICS?


I had a lot of fun guesting on Stuart Mulrain's Why Comics? podcast.

A good, open format, wherein he asks that simple two word question as the starter for a conversation on comics, and whatever else comes up!

Have a listen here.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

NEVER IRON ANYTHING: The Incredible Hulk #312


I discussed the influential issue 312 of The Incredible Hulk by Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola with Tony Esmond on his podcast.

Have a listen here.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

THAT COMIC SMELL: Environmental Messages

The new episode is now online.

From the website:

"We are getting on the hot topic items here at TCS this time. We are talking “Environmental Messages” in comics and we have some absolute belters as well. We cover all aspects and ways in which creators have tackled this extremely important topic. Some serious, to the point, more informational and even fun. It really does show you though that the environment has been on creators minds for some time and how we should have always been taking this shit seriously. Before we go deep on that though, we have a right good laugh. Get ready for some mad tangents in this one.
This and all the usual comics chat on…
That Comic Smell!

Get us on…
Soundcloud: tinyurl.com/y8vzeh3c
Spotify: tinyurl.com/y2qtu2cs
YouTube: tinyurl.com/yajnxcno
Apple Podcasts: tinyurl.com/hwbqxab
Podbean: tinyurl.com/yxvecykj
and most places you find podcasts.

Sharks (Bernard Solé)
Science Comics: Trees (Andy Hirsch)
Gon (Masashi Tanaka)
Godzilla: official compendium (J.D.Lees, Marc Cerasini)
Cadillacs & Dinosaurs (Mark Schultz)
Flesh (Pat Mills)
Raze (Claire Spiller)
Lost Light (Claire Spiller)
Trashed (Derf)
Animal Man (Grant Morrison)
Captain Planet (Marvel)
Saga of the Swamp Thing (Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben)
Nausicaa (Valley of the Wind) (Hayao Miyazaki)
Asterix (Dogmatix) (René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo)
Crisis: World War Three (Pat Mills, Carlos Ezquerra)
Concrete (Paul Chadwick)"