Pete Fowler does Nemesis The Warlock in 3D

Further to the 2000ad-related posts this week to mark the comic’s 35th birthday here’s a nicely timed gem that turned up recently on Pete Fowler‘s blog. In 2005 I took part in an exhibition in London curated by Playlounge called ‘Zarjaz’, the brief being for artists who were fans of the comic to reinterpret any character in their own way. I chose to do a fantasy cover that never was featuring Torquemada, a Terminator and the many tunnels of Termight, a homage to Kevin O’Neill and very influenced by this cover, which I later managed to acquire from him. In hindsight it’s a bit overworked but I included it as an oddity in the current exhibition at the Pure Evil Gallery as the timing seemed good.

Anyway, another artist in the ‘Zarjaz’ exhibition was Pete Fowler, who did a gorgeous T-shirt design featuring Nemesis as one of his wood sprites, which I love and still wear to this day. Amazingly he’s just unveiled a toy version of the same design (maybe as a tie-in to the anniversary?) that he’s done with Togetherplus. I’ll be wanting one of them then.

Posted in Comics, Design, Toys. | 4 Comments |

Happy 35th Birthday 2000ad!

I was 8 when I saw my first issue of 2000ad – Prog 61 to be exact, the start of the Cursed Earth saga, what a point of entry. Since then I’ve collected the missing 60 before it and read every issue including annuals, specials, the Megazine and even acquired about hundred pages of original art.

I’ve seen pretenders come and go (Starlord, Tornado, Crisis, Blast, Revolver, Toxic) and endured a mid to late 80’s slump as the graphic novel boom led writers and artists to other pastures. I’ve been lucky enough to work with artists like Henry Flint and Jason Brashill on record sleeves and meet others like Ian Gibson, Rufus Dayglo, Steve Cook and Rian Hughes.

The Judge Dredd film featuring Stallone might have been a turkey but the new one starring Karl Urban lined up for the autumn shows good signs. I love it, I read it ever week and it’s like a soap opera to me. Happy Birthday 2000ad!

There’s a month-long feature on from contributors past and present answering questions on their time with the galaxy’s greatest and the birthday issue arrives in 2 weeks with one of two covers (one is featured above).

Posted in Art, Comics. | 1 Comment |

DJ Food & Henry Flint exhibition opening – Thurs

[singlepic id=3556 w=640 h=480 float=left]

The day had finally arrived and the first problem to be solved was the audio/video one, re-exporting wasn’t an option as there wasn’t the time so I decided to copy both parts to an external hard drive and just hope Charley (Pure Evil gallery owner) had enough kit to play both back separately. Next was the name cards, they were printed but had to be mounted on foam board and then cut out, also there was the matter of framing one of the postcard records I’d made specially for the show. They’d arrived the week before but, with the planetarium gig and others, I’d not had time to put them in for a mount to be cut so that they could be framed. I tried several different backgrounds but decided in the end to just screw the card to the wall and hang a frame around it sans anything else.

[singlepic id=3569 w=640 h=480 float=left]

Anyway, time ran out and I left for the gallery, when I got there it was looking fantastic as Charley and Molly had done a great job with the painting and hanging, just the AV thing to sort now and, with the help of Aneek and Mark, who I’d met through Matt Black, we set about trying to find the best combination with the laptop we had. Downstairs was a little stark so the guys hired in oil projectors and it was nearly time to open when we finally got the audio and video projection to synch. The Ninja staff had arrived to set up banners, beer and merch tables but no sign of Henry yet as he’d said he’d be there around 6pm with a box of forty ‘Broadcast’ books.

[singlepic id=3560 w=640 h=480 float=left]

Just time to frame one final piece that I’d found and give the pictures a wipe before people started coming in and a queue quickly formed to buy the postcard records. As with every event like this, the rest is a blur of beer, catching up with friends and people asking questions, all the while keeping an eye on the artwork, straightening the odd picture or resetting the audio. Matt Johnson popped by with his girlfriend, Nathaniel aka Natural Self turned up, Matt Black from Coldcut and Pete Quicke, Ninja Tune label manager, with his boys in tow. Tons of friends I’d not seen for a while and a few I knew but had never met in person too. Steve Cook, Rian Hughes and David Hine turned up to represent the comic contingent and soon Steve was tapping me on the shoulder to tell me Henry had arrived. It was great to finally meet him in person as we’d only ever emailed before and he is the nicest, most unassuming guy you’ll ever meet, so good to meet your heroes and not be disappointed.

[singlepic id=3566 w=640 h=480 float=left]

The whole thing went on way past 9pm and, right at the end, Mat Ducasse from Skylab, an old friend of Charley’s, dropped in having jut played a 6 minute gig round the corner. Drunk and on cloud 9 with relief that it had all come together, I staggered home and watched the new Noel Fielding luxury comedy which was just what my addled brain needed after the previous four days. I crashed out, only to be woken by a steaming hangover at 6am before getting ready to go to France for two more gigs.

Thanks to everyone who helped out to make it happen and came down to have a look and wonder what it was all about. Most of all I’ve got to thank Charley and Molly at Pure Evil, Will Cooper-Mitchell for his outstanding photos of me in the astronaut suit and of course, Henry Flint, for his amazing artwork which kicked all this off and his continued help and support (donating personal work for the event). Also thanks to the various people who let me use their photos here: Matt Black, Steve Cook & David Hine but if anyone else has shots I’d love to see them.

[singlepic id=3545 w=640 h=940 float=left]

It’s on for three more weeks, the last day is Feb 12th and you can pre-order the gicleé prints there, including two which are exclusively available from Pure Evil during the exhibition – ‘Octopus’ (from the ‘Magpies, Maps & Moons’ cover) and ‘Beats Per Second’ (from the ‘Shape Of Things That Hum’ – below). These are both editions of 33, come signed by the two of us and anyone can order via the web or phone too, you don’t have to go to the gallery personally. The previously released prints are on sale too, including the new ‘Cosmonaut’ one featured on the album cover that made its debut last week, plus limited copies of Henry’s book, ‘Broadcast’, which features the original drawings and tons more – on sale for £12.99 which is a bit cheaper than retail price.

[singlepic id=3568 w=640 h=940 float=left]

Pure Evil Gallery preparations – Mon/Tues/Wed

[singlepic id=3571 w=305 h=640 float=left] [singlepic id=3572 w=305 h=640 float=left]

What a week it’s been, after the planetarium shows on Thursday 19th, straight off to gigs in Amsterdam and Brighton on the Friday and Saturday and back home for a brief respite on Sunday. Monday 23rd saw the release of the album in Europe (Feb 7th in N. America) and final preparations for the show opening with Henry Flint‘s work at the Pure Evil Gallery in Shoreditch. I’d done a fair bit of framing over the Xmas period so some of the larger pictures were ready but there was still a lot of smaller pieces to finish and the show to hang. In addition to this I was playing at the Pepe Deluxe album launch party at the London Aquarium that night (see upcoming post for more). It was an early finish (mercifully for a Monday only 9pm) then it was back home to try and get some more done for the exhibition but I had to give up after half an hour as I was falling asleep.

[singlepic id=3577 w=305 h=640 float=left] [singlepic id=3574 w=305 h=640 float=left]

The first setback was on Tuesday morning when I picked up the huge front cover image from the framers and realised that it just wasn’t going to go in the car. That would have to wait another day while I worked out how to get it there. The rest of the day was spent at the gallery with the owner, Charley and his assistant Molly, working out where to put things, audio and video considerations and lighting.

When I returned that evening I still had a load of framing and mount cutting to do and ended up pulling an all-nighter to get it done. As I set off for another day at the gallery, after less than 3 hours sleep, I set the audio visual piece off rendering and figured it would be done by the time I got home. The problem of the huge picture was solved by hiring a cab driver I know with a Range Rover to deliver me and the last batch of pictures to the gallery, even then, the picture only just fitted inside. Second setback was upon arriving at the gallery I found it all locked up and no answer on any phone numbers I had. After waiting an hour in the car, dodging traffic wardens with the meter running, texting and calling everyone who I could think of with no joy, I phoned my agent whose office was down the road to ask if I could drop the pictures at his place.

[singlepic id=3575 w=305 h=240 float=left] [singlepic id=3576 w=305 h=240 float=left]

After doing that and a quick post-planetarium meeting to go over future options I went back to the gallery to find Molly and Charley there apologising profusely. Turns out Charley had to go to the American Embassy for a visa and had to leave his phone behind in the office, Molly had had a little too much to drink the night before and didn’t have my number but all was fine (although Charley got refused a visa, despite living there in the past). We’d lost the morning though and there was still a lot to painting to do where the walls had images in the past that needed covering up.

[singlepic id=3573 w=640 h=480 float=left]

Also there was the fact that all my pictures were sitting down the road but luckily Ninja had sent an intern up to help and we took three trips back and forth to ferry them all to their intended destination. By the end of the day we’d nearly got it all in place or had an idea where it was going. I got home to find that the AV file was still rendering and set about designing the title cards for each piece now that I knew exactly what was going in the show. Eventually the AV piece finished after 13 hours but had inexplicably only rendered the video, not the audio. Shit, I tried all sorts to embed the audio or re-export it but was so tired I was falling asleep at the machine (again).


“This is Electric, and man we keep it charged”

Comics nerds fans among you may have spotted my little tip of the hat to one of comic artist Brendan McCarthy‘s first published works, ‘The Electrick Hoax’, in the title of a track on the new album, albeit with my own spin on the spelling. Appearing in Sounds magazine in the wake of punk in ’78 was a half page strip of utter madness, drawn by Brendan and, after a while, written by Pete Milligan, who McCarthy went on to do much great work with.

Packed with cultural references and trademark phrases the adhoc ‘plot’ featured cameos by the like of Jonny Rotten and Patrick McGoohan amongst others. Until recently only a few were available to view on the web, via Brendan’s site, but recently David Hine‘s excellent ‘Waiting For Trade’ blog has bought to light a few more, along with a couple of equally vintage strips from the Cipher anthology. More McCarthy here and here and also to come on this blog, maybe I should ask him to draw a special one-off episode for the cover of my forthcoming ‘The Illectrik Hoax’ remix 12″ in April?

Posted in Art, Comics. | 1 Comment |

Secret Oranges blog ping pong

I have to big up my friend Steve Cook who took this amazing picture of me at home with (some of) my records. The picture has already been printed full page in a couple of mags and we set it up to make just such an impact (had to use a pretty extreme lens to get it all in). The reason I’m highlighting it again is that it gets printed but magazines rarely credit the photographer so I’m just showing off his work as a thank you. Steve is another one of those annoyingly talented people who can do everything from graphic design, photography, retouching, colouring, teaching and whip up a mean blog piece every once in a while (well every day actually).

He also runs several self-designed web sites of his work, my favourite being his latest one, Secret Oranges, that focuses on his collection of comic or comic-related ephemera. From the first time I featured it though, shortly after it had debuted online only 2 odd months ago, the hits have gone haywire on the site and it’s quickly built an avid fanbase, keen to see what’s in Steve’s cupboards. I thought I had a collection but his is ridiculous, not only obscure fanzines, magazine cuttings and original stats used to colour B&W artwork but also personal scribbles from the artists he’s worked with and amazing items rescued from the bins that would fetch hundreds on eBay these days.

He has several different regular features running as well like ‘Largin’ it’ where he blows up a comic panel so you can see all the fine detail and print process, ‘Mint.Fine.Good.Fair.Poor.Well Loved’ where he scans some of his oldest, most well-read comics with all the trademarks of time intact, and ‘Other People’s Cupboards’ where he highlights fellow collectors’ storage spaces, of which I’m no.3.

He’s also preparing a book of his photos from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s clubbing and comic days and runs a section of his main site called Alternity where he blurs the boundaries of the present and the past with altered photographs. Also, also, also, he has the best ghost stories ever…

DJ Food & Henry Flint exhibition reminder

I know I’ve already published details of this a while back but it’s been announced to the press in general this week and already been blogged by Design Week, Secret Oranges and ECBT2000ad amongst others. Here’s the final flyer with opening times, myself and Henry will be there on the opening night to drink chat and sign things if you wish.

There will be free booze, kindly provided by Peroni, and you can order signed gicleé prints direct from which will also be on display (third one to be announced next week) as well as pick up an ultra limited postcard record (if they arrive from Vienna in time).


A package from Henry Flint

[singlepic id=3488 w=640 h=950 float=left]

A package at the doorstep this morning yielded the next batch of posters to be signed for and a copy of Henry’s new book ‘Broadcast’. This is the collection of doodles Henry did whilst in front of the TV and provided the artwork for my EPs over the last few years. Several of the pieces are featured and I get a mention but best of all – Henry had done a full page Dredd in profile on the inside page! The fanboy in me was grinning ear to ear.

The posters were multiple copies of the ‘Mad Man’ print of the image I coloured for the ‘One Man’s Weird… ‘ EP. For the thought bubble in the centre, Henry had drawn unique doodles on each poster so that each one is different. Here’s a gallery of 16 of the doodles.

I think these are all accounted for and will be sent out on Monday to everyone who has pre-ordered, there are still some left though if you fancy one.