Ok, page 2. I’m less happy with the script, the art and the letters. But sometimes you need to let a wound have air to heal.
The first lettered draft of this, I had dredd muttering those captions to himself, but it felt wrong. Popping them in a caption fixed that, reads more like a dredd script. But, for your delight I’ve kept that version of the lettered art below.
I’m not sure the lift reads as much like a lift as it needs to (if this were a paying gig, I’d be spending a bit more time figuring this out) and my lettering lack-of-skills are really starting to show here. But anyway. That’s page 2.
If you’re a long time reader, you may know my 11 year old son, Thomas, has taken a hankering to make some comics (and you can download them from free from here).
Well, he decided he wanted to do a Christmas Special, and here it is – the Why Not!? Xmas Special! Free to download.
If you want to let me know what you think of Tom’s comics, please leave a comment and I’ll make sure he gets to read it (and if you’re of a generous spirit you might want to reward him by donating to my paypal – he’ll get it all, don’t worry – he’s too young for his own paypal…)
So, here’s a special thing, just for you (for the moment) a two pager.
John will be tweeting a two tweet thread.
I had planned more, but this came in late with double the normal workload. I struggled a little with building a story telling narrative around the first tweet, so instead I decided to try and play something clever, a christmas bauble on christmas tree, but it would be the planet Saturn, with the god Saturn behind it (the god of course, lending its name to the planet).
That done, I wanted to do a more traditional comicbook narrative thing for the second tweet, but time really did kick my arse (panel 1 would’ve been hundreds of gladiators killing and stabbing each other, panel 2 bodies piled upon bodies in front of the temple of Saturn and panel 3 the ancient roman symbol of christianity – the Chi-Ro symbol on banners in front of a burning rome.
Even I, as fast as I can be, just couldn’t turn that around in a day (not given my time-budget on this is only about 3 hours). So sketched and abandoned, and instead this, which actually is thematically closer to page 1 and not-so-subtly suggests that Christianity is build on the blood shed of rome.
“John, look, I think we need to get engagement on twitter up. The internet loves cats, so whatever the NEXT folklore tale is about — I’m drawing cats”
And thus, John sent me this:
Cat Sí are Celtic fairies in cat form. An old tale tells of a man walking at night hearing a voice say “Tell Tom Tildrum Tim Toldrum is dead”. Returning home, he repeats this to his wife, whereupon their own cat exclaims “Then I am king of the cats!” and flees. #FolkloreThursday
I’ll be honest, no matter what John sent, I was drawing cats. I’ve got to find ways to amuse myself.
And here we are. Usually ideas like this are about making sure I’m trying new things, if I can constrain myself in some way (esp if it’s a thing I never normally do) the thinking goes (well mine does) this might spur me into new stuff.
Beardsley, though, frustratingly, doesn’t seem to have drawn many cats. (No great surprise, he was a startlingly young 25 when he died) and so I was stuck with how to draw a Beardsley cat. Panel one cat was drawn on the basis that he tended to draw very wide bottomed figures, art noveauesque shapes. So I cobbled a silhouette around that. The spikes I added much later when the whole page was finished, partly because Beardsley did sometimes add fringes on to black areas, and partly because I wanted it to have some sort of air of the supernatural or – mostly – to differentiate it from the cat on the last panel. As it happens, the spikes I added made it look like Mog from Meg and Mog and that amused me, so in it stayed.
Panel 2, it’s Beardsley himself. A young man, never married so this is, clearly a fictionalised version of him. Beardsley’s work seems to have large black shapes (often fringed with white dots or black) and large clear white space. So it’s trying to figure out how to balance that all. Very pleased with the lettering balloon – done in Clip Studio, which is not a brilliant tool for lettering, but this was an easy effect to make (black on white balloon, white text, then the entire layer is given a black outline)
Panel 3, Beardsley and wife – just made her up. The picture behind them is “self portrait in bed” by Bearsley
Panel 4, finally our cat walks out – this is a Beardsley cat – taken from Pierrot and cat, from St. Paul’s – I’ve had to add a couple of legs as the original is behind another figure.
And the decorative around the frame element was important, but I felt I needed to get the thick black border for the full on Beardsley effect.
Hope you like it! One more to go before we call this year done, the next will be the last for the year, and it’ll be very wintery…
Look, I’ll address this head-on. Yes, that’s Alan Moore, Leah Moore and John Reppion. I wasn’t asked to do that (John never asks for me to do anything, it’s all me) but reading the tweet, laying the panels out and thinking “I need a weather giant, a wise woman and a wizard-like Monk” and it suddenly occurred to me that it would be both perfect and funny.
I started colouring it with the sky with a view to full colour, but I’m a bit up against it here at the moment and then I thought I’d use the same blue for the giants – as I wanted them to feel ephemeral rather than big solid giant then realised I didn’t really need any colour (phew, that saved some time).
Sometimes I wish I had more time to attack these things, but you don’t always get what you wish for.
I’ve been itching to do a scifi-ish tale with one of the folklore stories since we started (I am, at heart, a 2000AD artist, scifi is the norm for me) I honestly didn’t think we’d ever get to do one, but this presented a neat little departure. And I hope the twist in the tale end of it comes through (because I always need to explain the jokes: it was a hoax! AN ALIEN HOAX!)
I thought drab dreary 1970s england colours set against bright colourful alien life would be a fun contrast. On first pass of the thumbs I drew for it I thought I couldn’t draw an alien, because… well, the alien is never seen, but then I figured that would give me the freedom to do what I wanted – it’s an alien in the imagination, so he’s superimposed on a static TV background (I created a layer in clip studio, filled it with black, generated some perlin noise that was nice and big, then smeared some of it, then converted it to lineart – that gave me the static I wanted.
The below was published in our Patreon (which you can subscribe to and get the comic as soon as I draw it, which is usually a day or two early!)
“Does this work” has become something of a mantra between John and I, he’ll send me something and a “does this work” (and it always does) and sometimes I’ll try something different and email it to John with a “Does this work”
So, anyway – does this work?
Bar a couple of bits all the ghosts are photos of me, my wife and my kids. (The couple at the door is from our wedding photo).
I’ll admit this may be gimmicy, but it’s one of the pleasures of this format is trying something once and moving on to something else.
I think if I could, I’d do something better with the fairies, the playground stuff (overlaying a photo of something…?) and the circus poster – dig in and find something that’s a real circus clown poster (and out of copyright).