Rochdale cartoonist Joe has come a long way since the childhood days when he and his brother John kept themselves busy with a pencil and some paper, creating their own superheroes and comics. This early appreciation of comics, cartoons and art set forth Joe’s career as a self taught comic artist.
By 1985 he was well established, drawing “Ivy The Terrible”, “Ball Boy” and “Billy Whizz” stories for The Beano. He had a regular newspaper strip called ‘The Sunday Gang’ for Newcastle-based Sunday Sun. Trials for the Count Duckula, Barbie and Rug Rats comics eventually led to Joe getting the contract with Warner Bros to draw ‘Tom & Jerry’ and ‘Baby Loonie Tunes’ comics, as well as doing storyboards for the BBC children’s programme Bob the Builder.
In recent years, though, he’s concentrated on his own characters and publications – and his plan to publish A Christmas Carol in comic strip form in time for the 2016 festive season is just part of that.
Joe created the All Star Squad for the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre Kids Club, each of whom have been embodied with life-sized mascots. He also designed animated characters for Animal Impact PE Ltd to engage children in primary school PE lessons and is currently producing Funny Monsters Comic for children, with the characters ‘Zackster Kid Zombie’, ‘Werewolf Growl’, ‘Millie Monster Hunter’ and Bed Bugs.
“It has always been my dream to illustrate Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol in cartoon form,” says Joe. “When I met Dave McCluskey at a Comic Convention and saw what brilliant work he was doing with his Dammaged books we decided to collaborate on making my dream come true.
“This version will appeal to children and adults with humorous illustrations and quotes.”
Now seeking backing on Kickstarter backing, the verse and story is done and nearly all the pages have been pencilled, and he’s set aside the first six months of 2016 to ink, colour up and prepare for the print run so, if the project gets the £4750 in backing he’s asking for, the book will be ready to be posted in time for next Christmas.
• For more information on Funny Monsters Comic visit the comic’s official Facebook page; or follow Joe on Twitter @FunnyMonstersCo
• More of Joe’s work with his partner at www.animalimpactpe.co.uk
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.