“The Cthulhiad”, Theogony update & “Redux”

“The Cthulhiad stands alone like a bewildering tower of Lovecraftian passion and excess”, one of my favourite reviews of the books to date, as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m not sure all of that review was meant to be taken as such a complement, but I did anyway… that I guess was the “vibe” I was going for.

The Cthulhiad was always going to be sprawling and unhinged. I’d written scripts set in time frames as disjointed as the post-American Civil War, Viking age Yorkshire, Roman Cyprus, present day Iraq, WW2 Hull, 80’s Paris… All with still more to come.

Up to now we have, in order of publication, The Indian Fighter (48pgs, b/w), The White Ship (48pgs, b/w), Severed Head Cult (48pgs, b/w), Vanitas (54pgs, b/w), Drakon (48pgs, b/w), Some, Rough Beast(s) (70+pgs, b/w), and the 4pg mini-comic, Seventy-two Nights. Well over three hundred pages of art drowning in speech balloons and captions, all supported (for those willing to go find them) with the additional prose outings of The Thief, The Norseman, Kareoke Queen and The Sorceress.u

…and in the works, Theogony, and The Red Corsair. Will I ever have time to finish it all? Considering al, the other work I’m producing? It’s hard to tell, but for now I’m going to keep pushing.

The thumbnails for the first 15pgs (plus the rough cover design) of Theogony (that title might still change, but it’s been the working title for a number of years now so it might also not). This sequence follows on immediately from the last panel of Drakon.

This book (Theogony) will probably be produced as a b/w “ashcan affair”, mostly to complete the as yet incomplete Lance trilogy (The White Ship and Drakon), books that look at the legendary founding figure or patron of the formal monster-hunting society portrayed in The Cthulhiad comics. The reason for that print choice is that I’m currently (and very leisurely, I might add) in the process of revisiting the whole set of the books, looking at reading those short sections excised for production time the first time around, and reordering the chapters to make more sense (to me if not the readers). This will hopefully result in two large books. All in full colour, the second of which will be The Cthulhiad, Volume 2, “The Lance”. All three Georgius of Lod books in one, with some small additional material, and some material moved across to the first volume instead.

The first will hopefully be will be, The Cthulhiad, Volume 2, “The Cedar Forest”, collecting all the other books, plus new bridging and extending material, again in full colour. The notional cover sketch for which you can find below…

I’ve started working my way through these updates, trying to get a feel for new page layouts (uncompressing some of the original art, to spread across two or more pages instead of being crammed into one, trying to let some of it breathe a little more. Elsewhere I’m producing new material altogether…

Below are some coloured pages, working over extant inks.

…whilst these next pages are works in progress, bridging sequences, still in flux, but starting life with the notion that they will be in colour, so somewhat different in approach. Some of these images have reference photos and historical imagery laid in waiting to be redrawn/worked from. But they give a sense of some of the scenes.

Here we see pencils and some worked up inks for scenes involving our protagonist Harry, later in life than we’ve seen him so far, set some time after the scenes at the end of Some Rough Beast(s).

Whilst these, outline new characters, a ideologue and bureaucrat, talking over his brow beaten secretary, dealing not so much with the conjuring of monsters to plague our “heroes”, but instead, the whittling away at humanity just enough to let evil, or at least purposeful malice to flourish.

With a quick look at some design sketches and layout/colour plans below that, trying to get my head around how to emphasise links between narratives or themes separated over several pages.

These full colour Redux editions are probably going to be doorstep like tomes, and as such I might have to look at kickstarting or some other method of covering the print costs. I guess I’ll know more when I have a clearer page count. Not all the writing is complete even at this stage, but as you can see, things are moving along.

I’m looking forward to seeing it myself. There an as yet unseen pivotal character who I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing, who will appear in Theogony, and who started “life” in a cemetery on the outskirts in Norwich, many years ago. I just need to clear some space so I can draw the damn thing now, laughs.

Below are some more, older thumbnails, for the book Drakon, you can see here how I tried to define the scenes as simply as possible by drawing really small versions of the panels with no room at this size for extraneous detail. I think this was a great way to work, Drakon turned out to be my fastest produced book to date, which from finishing the script, to handing off to the printers (48pgs) took me just shy of four weeks. I’d like to think I’m a little quicker than that now too.

Those Vikings are still lurking about…

As I mentioned earlier in “Half Of Something…”, I have some unfinished books in the wings, some have been hanging about longer than others. But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten them. Case in point, the third and final book of the Viking Saga trilogy, instigated by Rob Jones of Madius Comics (now legendary comics letterer in his own right), with art and interjections by me.

The first two books, The King’s Leap and Ake’s Trial seemed to hit their marks, getting some favourable reviews even from non-fantasy comics fans, and we had planned the third book, almost immediately.

Life, however, sometimes gets in the way, and other things needed to be dealt with. I pencilled the book, and started inking it, but it just didn’t get all the way to the finish line.

I’d like to think I can get it (that third book) there this year, but I’m not going to make any promises. We’ve even talked about a full colour collected (and maybe expanded) edition, but that will be further down the line still.

The book/s was/were supposed to be a cycle, both in the mythological definition and in terms of the actual narrative structure itself. So getting the complete trilogy done would really make sense of it all.

In the meantime, here’s some pencils with the text overlaid, a preview of things to come, if you will. Enjoy

Ferens Open Exhibition – Comics Related Art, Accepted!

I had thought my submissions for this years event had been rejected, and was pretty pleased to get an eleventh hour message letting me know that, in fact, one of my submissions had made the cut, being accepted into the annual Open Exhibition at Hull’s Ferens Gallery

The piece in question is one of the works first seen at Salt earlier in the year (a joint exhibition with Joseph Cox, nice to see his work at the Open as well, see image below, second from the right).

The piece I submitted was originally one of a set of comics iconography inspired, cinematic pieces called Hero Noir.

All were created using a number of techniques from traditional ink and paint on board, to digital paint on the iPad. Finally printed using the giclee print process onto textured paper and worked into traditionally one last time before each embellished print is signed and rubber stamped.

It will be interesting to see what the general art audience makes of it all.

Comics… divisive stuff I hear.

Awesome Comics Podcast – the process sessions

Just saw this tweet go past on my timeline, and that reminded me. The guys were kind enough to ask me onto the podcast back in August 2019 (Episode 214) as part of their Comic Making Process sessions – episodes 213 – 219 over on podbean etc.

If you are into comics, (particularly if you make them and are based here in the UK) and haven’t heard of the The Awesome Comics Podcast, you really need to check them out. Loads of great critique and advice, across a wide range of comics subjects, styles and genres.
Just be careful if listening with your favourite old aunt, she might not be prepared for some of the colloquial language.

There’s also a great Facebook group, again with tonnes of advice, support and a real sense of community for UK comics creators and enthusiasts. Go check it out.

A New Gig – “Flintlock” / Time Bomb Comics

I was pretty happy last year when I was approached to submit an art trial and subsequently be given the task of taking over art duties on Steve Tanner’s “Flintlock” title, found in the historical anthology comic of the same name, published under his Time Bomb Comics imprint (as it stands Book Four is now out in the world, and the script for Book Five is currently in my in-tray).

This was the first book I’ve worked on completely digitally, using Procreate fro the entire process from thumbnails through “pencils” and “Inks”. You can see that process in the video below. A real learning curve, but it certainly had its benefits.

EB0D2632-8A29-4ECB-8354-D466F2603365If you are not aware, Flintlock follows the adventures and trials of a highway-woman in 18th Century England., the book also features two other female character led historical tales in each issue, with a bunch of other great artists. If you wanted to check it out you can find Steve at many of the major comic con events around the UK, or check it out on his site/store (he has a whole range of similarly historical adventure titles on there too). It is also currently being republished in the pages of Comic Scene magazine, which is available in most WHSmiths, which is cool.

The book has been great to work on despite throwing up some challenges, not least that the predominant mode of transport/travel involves horses, laughs. But I guess an artist just can’t keep avoiding equine anatomy. One big boon is that I already had access to a tricorn hat and a brace of flintlocks.

Stand and Deliver indeed!