"Spears" - John Watkiss

‘Next Blog’ brings news of John Watkiss latest work

"Spears" - John WatkissThis is one of those ‘lucky finds’ on the Web, courtesy of Blogger’s ‘Next Blog’ button. In the past, these often used to throw up random spam sites, but it seems Google has been cataloguing their blogs, so clicking ‘Next Blog’ on downthetubes might just take you to another comics-related blog.

Although still something of a lucky dip, last night I came across the official blog of artist John Watkiss.

Best known to comic fans for his work on titles such as Sandman, Conan and Deadman, Brighton-based John’s extensive career has led him from cover artist for graphic novels to storyboard artist and character designer, working for companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Ridley Scott Associates, DreamWorks and more.

His Conan work remains some of his best known work, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he has provided the illustrations for a new Robert E. Howard collection, Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures.

The adventures are set in medieval-era Europe and the Near East, described by publisher Del Rey are among the most gripping Howard ever wrote – full of pageantry, romance, and battle scenes “worthy of Tolstoy himself”. Most of all, they feature some of Howard’s most unusual and memorable characters, including Cormac FitzGeoffrey, a half-Irish, half-Norman man of war who follows Richard the Lion-hearted to twelfth-century Palestine – or, as it was known to the Crusaders, Outremer; Diego de Guzman, a Spaniard who visits Cairo in the guise of a Muslim on a mission of revenge; and the legendary sword woman Dark Agnès, who, faced with an arranged marriage to a brutal husband in sixteenth-century France, cuts the ceremony short with a dagger thrust and flees to forge a new identity on the battlefield.

At almost 600 pages, the book features plenty of illustration by John and also includes miscellanea, informative essays, and a fascinating introduction by acclaimed historical author Scott Oden. Worth taking a look.

Buy Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures from amazon.co.ukBuy Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures from amazon.co.uk

UPDATE, January 2017: John Watkiss died in January 2017, after a long illness. He was 55. You can read our news item on tributes to both him and his work here and our feature on his career here

• John Watkiss Official Web Site (which replaced his blog) is at: www.johnwatkissfineart.com

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John Freeman

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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