Creating Comics: Artist Paul McCaffrey, artist on the new Joe 90 comic from Network

Network Joe 90 Comic Cover-1000Following up on our news item about Volume 4 of Network‘s Joe 90 Blu-Ray collections, which features a brand-new comic featuring art from acclaimed comics artist Paul McCaffrey, we’ve pinned him up against BIG RAT to ask him about the project.

The story in the new comic offers a cracking adventure with Joe and the team, as an unlikely spy tries to steal the secrets of the BIG RAT… but why, and for who?

Joe 90 Volume 4 Blu-Ray Packshot“Following on from the TV21 and Captain Scarlet projects, this one again takes the form of a ‘parallel universe’ version of Joe 90 comic imagining it taking a new direction rather than going through the merger with TV21,” says editor Martin Cater. “I always felt Joe 90 got short shrift in the comics department, with black and white strips in his own publication, and only the two Annuals presenting anything remotely worthwhile, so I hoped we could aim for something better.

“I wanted a story that focused on character, as well as including an action sequence with Mac’s car, and a scene in which Joe faces danger without his glasses. I was aiming for the tone of the TV episodes, and I hope we got reasonably close. Paul McCaffrey’s illustration work is, as ever, exemplary.”

You can order the new Blu-Ray here, direct from Network – and if the sales of past specials are anything to go by, you’d better get in quick!

Paul McCaffrey should be no stranger to regular downthetubes readers – we’ve followed his work since his Omnivistascope anthology days and of course, he provided the strip art for Network’s previous Captain Scarlet comic.

For many years, he worked as a freelance illustrator, mainly in the area of children’s education. His clients have included NME, Vox, Punch, Deadline, Empire, CUP, OUP, Attack! Books, Macmillan, Harcourt and Heinemann, amongst others.

A cover for Omivistascope by Paul McCaffrey

A cover for Omivistascope by Paul McCaffrey

downthetubes: Paul, how did you get into the world of comics?

Paul McCaffrey: I was a comic book reader before I could actually read – mostly American superhero and horror comics – and that obsession has persisted, on and off, ever since. Despite this, though, and despite working as an illustrator, I never seriously considered working in comics until 2007, when my first small press strip was published in Ominivistascope.

downthetubes: Can you tell us about some of your previous comic and illustration projects?

Paul: Specialising mainly in scholastic publishing, I produced a lot of work very few people would ever see but I also drew the occasional piece for the NME. (Music is another one of my obsessions.)

I drew Fawkes Of The Air Ministry for David Lloyd’s Aces Weekly (written by Network’s very own Martin Cater), but my biggest project so far has been Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days In Mayhem, written by Kim Newman.

Kim Newman's Anno Dracula Issue #1 Cover A - Paul McCaffrey

downthetubes: Do you have any particular comic influences or heroes?

Paul: Growing up, I was a huge fan of Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Jim Steranko and John Buscema, to name a few. Since then, I discovered (or re-discovered, sometimes) the likes of Brian Bolland, Alex Toth, Wally Wood, Moebius, Richard Corben, Brian Lewis, John Severin, Ron Embleton, Frank Bellamy, John M Burns and so many others who continue to be influences today.

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 4 Limited Edition Blu-Ray set - comic art by Paul McCaffrey

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 4 Limited Edition Blu-Ray set – comic art by Paul McCaffrey

downthetubes: Can you describe your working method?

Paul: My method is pretty simple, really. After many false starts and much frantic scribbling, line artwork is eventually drawn, scanned into my PC and then coloured digitally.

Network Joe 90 - Strip Sample 1

Network Joe 90 - Strip Sample 2

Network Joe 90 - Strip Sample 3

Above: art for the Network Joe 90 comic by Paul McCaffrey

downthetubes: Any dream projects you’d like to mention?

Paul: I need to finish Fawkes Of The Air Ministry and Adler (written by Lavie Tidhar and out from Titan Comics later this year) before my mind wanders to other things…

Joe 90 in BIG RATdownthetubes: What are your memories of Joe 90 and did you draw on them for the comic strip?

Paul: My memories of Joe 90 mainly consisted of the Milky Bar Kid sitting inside a rotating sphere while black tape spools out over the floor like a mangled audio cassette caught in a cheap player.

Paul McCaffrey - 2010 Self Portrait

Paul McCaffrey

The theme is etched indelibly on my brain, of course, and I did own a Dinky jet car, but neither of those things were of any use whatsoever!

downthetubes: Paul, thanks very much for your time and good luck with all your future projects!

Check out the full details of the new Joe 90 Blu-Ray and a background to the original Joe 90 comic here on downthetubes

• You can see more of Paul’s doodlings here on Coroflot or here on www.sylviepoggio.com. He will be a guest at Stoke Con Trent on 14th April: stokecontrent.co.uk

• You can order the new Blu-Ray here, direct from Network – and if the sales of past specials are anything to go by, you’d better get in quick!

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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