During the development of the “Genesis 1992” Marvel UK universe in the early 1990s, Editorial Director Paul Neary explored different paths for its core characters, developing the look of them over at least a year with numerous artists before settling on their final appearance and origins.
One of the earliest characters he developed was cocky space and time travelling teenager Motormouth, and it appears that not only did he create the character, but he may have designed her too, as one early drawing featured in two promotional booklets has now attributed to him.
Before commissioning Gary Frank to draw her initial adventures for her title, which launched in June 1992, Paul had been working with then relative newcomer, Richard Whitaker, brother of the late artist and colourist Steve Whitaker, on early designs for Motormouth – and he was originally hired to draw the strip too, but the commission was suddenly withdrawn, without explanation.
(Richard’s published credits for MUK include two Doctor Who strips during my editorship, “A Glitch in Time” for Doctor Who Magazine Issue 179, and “Conflict of Interests” for DWM Issue 183).
Now living in France and actively seeking work as an artist again after a few year’s break, Richard recalls his time working for Marvel UK with mixed emotions.
“Not bad memories, more disappointing as I wanted to draw Motormouth, and waited over a year before editors decided to axe me,” he reveals. “I did quite a lot of work on the character but I don’t think it was used at all.”
As for why he was passed over, Richard says nothing was ever explained at the time.
“I was very green,” he acknowledges, “and actually needed mentoring, as I’m self taught, no art college. C’est la vie, eh?”
Living on a boat today, Richard has been prompted to start promoting himself as an artist again recently, “which I’m doing quite shamelessly on Instagram at present,” he tells us.
“I’ve also set up a small digital studio to work with so I can draw and paint digitally, which is a useful practicality nowadays.”
We wish him the very best of luck on his return to the field.
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.