So on Monday morning, Christopher Muscat, one of the team who run the highly-regarded Malta Comic Convention, involved me in a comics meme… Which led to some great artists drawing new versions of some wonderful, if obscure, British comic characters.
As you’ll see from Christopher’s original public post, the idea of the meme is to fill Facebook feeds with comic book heroes to fight the saturation of negative posts and videos. Someone posts a comic character image; someone “Likes” it and is assigned a character to source for themselves.
Being pretty much a non-artist and having been assigned to find the Marvel character Havok, I dutifully posted an image I found on ComicArtFans drawn by the talented Carlos Pacheco, and added the caution to my own Facebook post that anyone who liked my choice might be assigned a British character.
Now of course a lot of people are going to like Carlos’s art (an artist, coincidentally, whose first work for Marvel was a Motormouth and Killpower story I commissioned at Paul Neary’s direction) and other comic fans dutifully sought out images of their assigned characters, including Brassneck, drawn by Bill Holroyd, located by Andrew Dodd, an image of I-Spy from Sparky, found by Mark Hetherington and Marvel UK’s Dark Angel, found by Andrew John Standish.
But some of the talented artists went one step beyond and have drawn their interpretations of the characters I assigned, including Star Trek Magazine editor Chris Cooper, who posted the marvellous re-imagining of “Doctor What and His Time Clock” the first ever Doctor Who-inspired comic strip, published in Boy’s World between May and October 1964, preceding the good Doctor’s official appearance in comics in November the same year, in TV Comic.
Here are some of the other artworks I hope you’ll enjoy…
Hungry Horace by Ian Ellery
Hungry Horace guzzled his way through the Dandy from 1937 to 1958 and later appeared in other DC Thomsons titles, Sparky and The Topper. Based in Hastings illustrator and cartoonist Ian Ellery has been in the comics business for over 20 years, illustrating and cartooning for books, magazines, websites, greetings cards and many other things that have been thrown at him. He’s a long-standing member of the Professional Cartoonists organisation and a committee member and Webmaster for the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain.
Digitek by Marc Olivent
I’ve worked with Marc Olivent on a couple of projects at ROK Comics and he has some great projects in the works. Digitek first appeared in a four-issue limi ted series published by Marvel UK back in 1992 that I edited, written by John Tomlinson and Andy Lanning and drawn by Dermot Power, and the weekly comic Overkill. The character has made a few appearances in US Marvel Comics since then.
Sparky People: The Cat by Chris Williams
Defrosted Edwardian adventurer, web designer and cartoonist Chris Williams turned his hand to one of my favourite strips, delivering the impish cat from “The Sparky People” from DC Thomson’s Sparky comic. Originally drawn by Jim Petrie (best known for his art for “Minnie the Minx”), the strip ran in the later years of Sparky comic and the writer probably didn’t have to go very far for inspiration when it came to storylines -particularly the character of the unseen “Sir” the comic’s editor who ruled with a rod of iron off frame. Readers sometimes got glimpses of Sir’s lush private office, which was adorned with mediaeval torture devices on the walls.
Old One Eye by Tony Luke
What’s not to like about a terrifying one-eyed and angry dinosaur, first seen in “Flesh” in 2000AD? Tony Luke, creator of Dominator took to his challenge to draw Old One Eye with obvious relish and his usual aplomb. I’m looking forward to seeing his new comics project, currently in development.
Galaxus by Norm Chung
Norm Chung, one of the winners of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival “Lost in Space” competition, drew this wonderful version of the size-changing alien Galaxus from Buster.
Luther Arkwright by Graham Manley
Graham Manley‘s varied credits (which include Near Myths, Diceman, “Juliet November” and “Whatever Happened To?” for the Judge Dredd Megazine and the title sequence of the feature film ‘Electric Man’ (his original drawings of the character were animated). You can find him here on Facebook.
Obviously, the meme has done exactly what you’d expect since I first got involved and spread out across Facebook. Other artists are now working on their own art in response to challenges laid down by other creators (I’m looking forward to seeing Lew Stringer’s version of Robot Archie).
• You can view my reinterpretation of Christopher Muscat’s challenge – and new art since this post – here on Facebook
All characters © their respective publishers
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.