Creator Profile: John Cooper

John CooperPerhaps best known as the artist on “Johnny Red” for Battle Picture Weekly, John Cooper, who died on 22nd February 2015, is regarded by some as the British “Gil Kane”.

John first drew comic strip for TV21, drawing “Secret Agent 21” for the 1968 annual, followed by “Thunderbirds”, “Captain Scarlet” and “Joe 90” for Joe 90 comic and and “Lady Penelope” for Lady Penelope.

Most of his art credits are for IPC, working on titles such as “One Eyed Jack” for Valiant, “Johnny Red” for Battle, “Roy of the Rovers” and a limited number of strips for 2000AD. He also worked on Striker for The Sun.

Notes on Credit List

John kindly gave me a list of all his comics credits to date back in 2003, but unfortunately, I seem have lost the page covering some of  his work prior to 1976 – my apologies. John had promised to send me it again, but now that’s not going to happen. As usual, information on any omissions is most welcome.

Unless otherwise indicated, the list below details the strips he worked on and the years they were completed (“Completed”), not necessarily the year in which they were published – if it was published at all. (DC Thomson, for example, have been known to hold on to work for some years before publishing it). John’s ‘work sheets’ did not detail issue number of final publication and we have added that information where known.

It should be noted that the work was not necessarily for the weekly comics, but there is no detail in John’s notes as to where the work ended up.

• In some cases, the work John listed may have appeared in an annual rather than the regular title he listed.

• In some cases, it is entirely possible John was commissioned to do work for an internal dummy and, in the case of licensed titles, the licensor may have felt his art was not the style they wanted for their title. We simply do not know why the work never appeared. For example, no work by John was published in Marvel UK’s Blake’s 7 Magazine and in the case of Doctor Who, also for Marvel, there’s no strip by John published in the Magazine, and we don’t know what he did and neither does the editor of the time, Gary Russell.

• It’s also possible that John was commissioned to draw an ‘inventory’ strip that was never published in some cases. While it’s rare these days because of budget restraints, publishers putting out a weekly comic might well have rare instances of a strip failing to be delivered on time. While many would replace a late strip with a reprint – the cheapest option – some would have unused material on hand to drop in, perhaps on ‘young’ titles where readers would spot a reprint (most publishers assume a title has a three year ‘life’ for a reader before they move on to something new, not appreciating the staying power of fans of 2000AD, for example!)

• The titles of some strips – particularly in the case of DC Thomson – the strip title John lists may not have been the final title as published. For example, we can find no trace of the Bullet strip “Pickford” listed below.

 

John Cooper's portrait of Johnny Red, drawn for the 2003 Raptus Festival program.
John Cooper’s portrait of Johnny Red, drawn for the 2003 Raptus Festival program.

2000AD

M.A.C.H. 1 Appeared in #5, dated 26 March 1977; also #8, 9, 22, 34, 35, 58
Harlem Heroes
Note: John did not draw the regular strip and we’re still trying to track down exactly what he did draw.
Completed 1979
Judge Dredd John’s first Judge Dredd – “Muggers Moon” – appeared in Prog 19. This was the first commissioned Judge Dredd strip, held back for its overt violence.He also drew Judge Dredds for Progs 126, 139, 231-232, 298-299, 515
Tharg’s Future Shocks Prog 47, 50, 85, 135
Tharg’s Terror Tales
Cold Spots Appeared in  Prog 1494

Action

Dredger Published in Action Annual 1978
Look out for Lefty
Inventory strip? Barrie Mitchell and Tony Harding drew the strip for the weekly.
Completed 1976
Play Till You Drop
No strip by John was actually published. Barrie Mitchell was the regular artist on the weekly.
Completed 1976
Spinball
John drew this strip for a shortish run (18th June-20th August 1977) filling in between regular artist Costa, then Ron Turner took over from 17th September 1977 until the strip ended in 1979.
Published in 1977

Battle

Action Force
John drew all the Action Force lead strips, from when he was taken off Johnny Red in September of 1984, until IPC lost the franchise in December 1987. The Fleetway Companion notes the Storm Force reprints are all by Vanyo.
1984 – 1987
Dredger
John didn’t draw this strip in the weekly until the Battle Action merger, where he drew it exclusively until its conclusion
The General Dies at Dawn
Written by Alan Hebden
Johnny Red
Night of the Jackal
Written by Alan Hebden
The General Dies at Dawn
Written by Alan Hebden
• For more on Johnny Red visit www.falconsquadron.sevenpennynightmare.co.uk
Major Eazy
John did several one-off strips for Holiday Specials and Annuals
Rat Pack Information welcome

Book House

Richard the Lionheart: The Life of a King and Crusader
(Graphic Novel)
by David West & Jackie Gaff

Published 2005

Bullet

Pickford
Note that there is no title of this name published in the actual comic
Completed 1976
Twisty Completed 1976
Kid Cox Completed 1977

Captain Scarlet

Captain Scarlet Completed 1994

Channel 4

South of Waterloo Comic Completed 1988

Daily Mirror

Scorer Completed 1990

Eagle (1980s)

One Eyed Jack
One Eyed Jack

One Eyed Jack

Published 09/07/83 -15/09/84, 8/10/84-15/12/84
• Reprinted from Valiant20/12/75-16/10/76
Gaunt Published 22/02/84-30/03/85
• Reprinted from Battle 25/06/77-17/09/77 & 05/11/77-12/11/77
The Ultimate Warrior Published 06/04/85-27/04/85
Computer Warrior Published 20/07/85-24/08/85 & 28/09/85-11/01/86
M.A.C.H. 1 Published 27/09/86 (Reprinted from 2000AD prog 8); 04/10/86 (Reprinted from 2000AD prog 9); 03/01/87 (Reprinted from prog 22)
Johnny Red Reprinted from Battle, 30/01/88-14/10/89 but not in 15/10/88, 29/10/88, 05/11/88
Mask & Venom
Jungle Rescue Published 29/10/88-19/11/88
The Prisoner Published 26/11/88-31/12/88
Robot on the Run Published 07/01/89-25/03/89
The Amstor Computer
Shooting Star Published 01/10/83
They Were Caught with Their Boots On Published 08/10/83
Bike-Man’s Bluff Published 05/11/83
There’s No Such Thing as Magic Published 26/11/83
Mercenary Published 14/01/84
The Alien Pet Published 03/01/84
The Thief and the Computer Published 21/04/84
Snow Beast Published 16/06/84
Happy Families Published 09/06/84

Grand Prix Magazine

Skid Solo Completed 1999

Football Picture Story Monthly – DC Thomson

Football Picture Story Monthly strips and Covers

Hotshot

Playmaker Completed 1992

Look In

Fall Guy Completed 1981
Worzel Gummidge Completed 1981
Chips Completed 1981
Murphy’s Mob Completed 1983
Norman Whiteside Completed 1983
Streethawk Completed 1985
Knight Rider Completed 1986
Steve Cram Completed 1986
Wiliam Perry Completed 1986
The ‘A’ Team Completed 1987
Airwolf Completed 1987

Judge Dredd Megazine

Armitage: Dumb Blond
Script: Dave Stone, Letters: Ellie De Ville
Five episodes (Megs 266 to 270), 2008
Armitage: The Mancunian Candidate
Script: Patrick Goddard
Six Episodes (Megs 285 to 290), 2009
Armitage: The Unpleasantness at the Tontine Club
Script: Dave Stone, Artist: John Cooper, Letters: Ellie De Ville
2 episodes (Megs 300 to 301), 2010

Look Alive

There is some John Cooper art in issue One

Marvel UK

Blake’s 7
Inventory strip of try out? No John Cooper strip was published in Blake’s 7 Magazine, which launched in October 1981 and ran for 23 regular issues and assorted specials
Completed 1981
Trakker Completed 1993
Doctor Who
There’s no strip by John in Doctor Who Magazine and editor of DWM at the time, Gary Russell, has no recollection of any work. It’s possible this was commissioned by another department
Completed 1994
Biker Mice from Mars Completed 1995

Match of the Day Magazine

Roy of the Rovers Completed 2001
Wonderland Figure Completed 2001

News of the World

Camp Keeper Completed 2002

Radio Times

Soccer and Hockey Completed 1989
England versus France Completed 1992
Euro Cup Completed 1992
David Beckham Completed 2001

Red Dwarf

Ray of the Rovers
Tryout? No strip by John appears in the published editions of Red Dwarf Magazine (or the “Smegazine” as it was re-titled from Issue Three)
Completed 1992

Ring Raiders

Trackdown Issues 1-6 (The complete run)

Road Maniax

Road Maniax Completed 1995

Roy of the Rovers

Mars Bros Completed 1983
Go For It Completed 1986
United Completed 1992
Roy of the Rovers Completed 1993

Scoop

Guts to be a Goalie Completed 1978
Speed Kings Completed 1977
Stark Completed 1981
Superstar Completed 1980

Scream

Library of Death
Death Road Published 28/04/84

Speed

Speed comic for 06/09/80 & 27/09/80 have centrespreads by John

The Sport

Various work Completed 1991

Starlord

Timequake

Published 20/05/78

Stingray Comic

John’s work features in Volume 1 Issues 5-13 & 23-24. And in at least Stingray Comic (monthly) volume 2 Issues 1-3 (no copies of issues 4-8 to hand)

The Sun

Striker Completed 1995

Swift Annual

One of John's earliest published works, in 1962: a cartoon strip for the 1963 Swift Annual (with thanks to Steve Holland)
One of John’s earliest published works, in 1962: a cartoon strip for the 1963 Swift Annual (with thanks to Steve Holland)
Humour Strip Swift Annual 1963

Sunday Times

Lost in Space Completed 1998

Super Naturals

Ghostling Tale Issue 5 (Published 26/12/87-08/01/88)
Issue 6 (Published 09/1/88-22/01/88)

Target

Kojak Completed 1978

Tornado

Lawless Touch
Partially illustrated by John. He drew it for three weeks (30/06/79 – 14/07/79).
Completed 1979

Total Football

David Beckham Completed 1998
Billy’s Boots Completed 2001

TV Century 21

John Cooper's first comic strip work, a Secret Agent 21 story for the 19968 annual, which had the working title "Mission Impossible", not featured in the published story. Secret Agent 21 © Anderson Entertainment
John Cooper’s first comic strip work, a Secret Agent 21 story for the 19968 annual, which had the working title “Mission Impossible”, not featured in the published story. Secret Agent 21 © Anderson Entertainment
Secret Agent 21  1968 TV Century 21 Annual

Valiant

One Eyed Jack

Young Telegraph

Sherlock Holmes Completed 1992
Jason and the Golden Fleece Completed 1993
Gulliver’s Travels Completed 1993
The Nutcracker Completed 1993
Journey to the Centre of the Earth Completed 1994

Wendy – DC Thomson

Wendy

Where’s Wally?

Where’s Wally Completed 1996

Compiled with thanks to John Cooper, with additional information from Jeremy Briggs, Moose Harris and Richard Sheaf, with thanks to Calum Laird for some archival digging at DC Thomson

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

2 thoughts on “Creator Profile: John Cooper

  • Richard S.
    May 8, 2015 at 10:03 pm
    Permalink

    also work in “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” comic issue 13+14 (strip is called ‘Grandmaster’) – 1994

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: