Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Enki Bilal

Enki Bilal is one of the leading graphic novelists to come out of Europe in the past forty years. Still very active, he has occasionally left the field for movies, but has always returned to create something memorable. Although his work has rarely appeared in the UK (although many of his albums are available in English language translation), his work has been championed by Paul Gravett, who says: "Bilal’s visions reveal a decadent dystopia, overwhelming and baroque, inspired by directors like Andrei Tarkowsky of Solaris and Stalker. His plotting is dense, unpredictable, and really repays close attention. There is also a dark, absurdist humour, from the freakish make-up of politicians and the stripped alien cat Gogol to the world chess-boxing championships."

Bilal was president of the 14th Salon International de la Bande Dessinée at Angoulême in 1987. His exhibitions have included two months at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris in 1991-92 and he was asked to illustrate a stamp in 2006.

Bilal was born Enes Bilalović in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on 7 October 1951. His Bosniak father was the tailor to Marshal Tito, Yugoslavia's prime minister and, from 1953, president, and his mother a Slovakian. The young Bilal's twin passions were drawing and the cinema, especially westerns, and these were combined in a movie that he starred in at the age of nine. A short film, it concerned two youngsters from rival gangs who wandered around Belgrade, stopping to sketch out battles between cowboys and indians in chalk on the pavements. The film was never completed: Bilal's family moved to Paris in 1960. At the time, families were prohibited from going into exile and Bilal revealed to a teacher at school that he was shortly to be joining his father in France. Fortunately, the teacher had an eye on their apartment and helped hasten the family's departure. Bilal became a naturalized French citizen in 1967.

Five years later, he met the editors of Pilote, René Goscinny (author of Asterix and Lucky Luke) and Jean-Michel Charlier. Goscinny encouraged him to apply his artistic talents to comics. Bilal studied briefly (three months) at the École des Beaux-Artes, at the same time submitting work to Pilote, where his first published story, 'La Bal Maudit', appeared in 1972.

He began contributing science fiction stories regularly, later collected in Mémoires d'outre-espace, Histoires courtes 1974-1977 (Memories From Outer Space, 1978), although he was sidelined into producing pages of topical humor on current affairs and caricatures for the weekly paper.

His breakthrough came when he began working with Pierre Christin. Their early collaborations included Légendes d'Aujourd'hui [Legends of Today], a linked series of dark, haunting tales, La Croisière des oubliés (The Cruise of Lost Souls, 1975; serialised as 'The Voyage of Those Forgotten', Heavy Metal, 1982), Le Vaisseau de pierre (Ship of Stone, 1976; serialised as 'Progress!', Heavy Metal, 1980) and La ville qui n'existait pas (The Town That Didn't Exist, 1977; serialised as 'The City That Didn't Exist', Heavy Metal, 1983), each set in a different town threatened by mysterious forces – military testing, developers and multinationals – which were later collected as Townscapes (2004).

Bilal became associated with the French magazine Metal Hurlant, and its American counterpart, Heavy Metal, where many of his stories appeared over the next few decades. Serials in Heavy Metal – including Exterminator 17 (1979, written by Jean-Pierre Dionnet), the three volumes of Legends of Today, two volumes of the Nikopol trilogy and The Hunting Party (1983) – introduced Bilal to a wider English-speaking audience than most European creators enjoyed.

Bilal's popularity in Europe had grown considerably with the publication of the political thriller Les Phalanges de l'ordre noir (The Black Order Brigade, 1979), about the revenge sought by a group of former comrades from the International Brigade following a terrorist bombing in a Basque village. The book won the 1980 Prix RTL for best adult graphic novel.

La Foire aux immortels (The Carnival of Immortals, 1980; serialised as 'The Immortals' Fete', Heavy Metal, 1981) introduced the character of Alcide Nikopol, who finds himself in a future Paris ruled over by a corrupt, fascist dictator bent on gaining immortality from Egyptian gods travelling in an alien spaceship. Nikopol allows himself to be taken over by a disillusioned Horus. In its sequel, La Femme piège (The Woman Trap, 1986; as 'The Trapped Woman', Heavy Metal, 1986), Horus is trapped in a block of concrete while Nikopol has been admitted into a psychiatric hospital, although their lives are about to become entangled with that of a London reporter, Jill Bioskop. The third volume of this trilogy was published as Froid Équateur (Cold Equator, 1992).

Bilal had, meanwhile, received rave reviews for Partie de chasse (The Hunting Party, 1983), written by Christin, about a group of aging Soviet political leaders who plot the death of a politician whilst reminiscing about their growing disillusion with the Russian socialist dream.

Meanwhile, Bilal had become involved in the film industry as the production and costume designer for La vie est un roman (1983), directed by Alain Resnais, having earlier designed a poster for Resnais' My American Uncle (1980). He was subsequently asked to design a creature for Michael Mann's The Keep (1983) and  do graphic research for Jean-Jacques Annaud's The Name of the Rose (1986) and designed the sets and costumes for the show OPA Mia (1990) by Denis Levaillant and the ballet Romeo and Juliet (1991) based on Prokofiev and choreographed by Angelin Preljocaj.

His graphic novels continued to appear, including Los Angeles - L'Étoile oubliée de Laurie Bloom (Los Angeles - The Forgotten Star of Laurie Bloom, 1984) by Pierre Christin, Hors Jeu (Off Play, 1987, by Patrick Cauvin), Coeurs sanglants et autres faits divers (Bleeding Hearts and Other Stories, 1988) written by Pierre Christin and Bleu Sang (Blue Blood, 1994).

In 1989 he directed the futuristic, post-apocalyptic movie Bunker Palace Hôtel, co-written with Christin, where the elite of a totalitarian regime have fled to an ancient underground bunker to escape from rebels; amongst them, a spy (Carole Bouquet) observes the power struggle as they await the arrival of their leader.

Bilal's other excursions into movies have been equally divisive. As the reviewer of Tykho Moon (1996) said: "The film has admirable art direction but no narrative or directional discipline. Like his earlier effort Bunker Palace Hotel, pic seems destined for Bilal fans only, plus a few comic-strip festivals." Tykho Moon was another futuristic thriller, featuring an aging dictator on the verge of death. His soldiers seek out Tykho Moon, who unwillingly donated brain cells years earlier. Tykho – actually an artist named Anikst – suffers from amnesia and is unaware that he is being sought. The film received a Special Mention at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film in 1997.

Bilal returned to graphic novels with Le sommeil du monstre (The Dormant Beast, 1998), the first of four volumes that tell the story of the downfall of a futuristic Yugoslavia split by wars in the 1990s. Three further volumes appeared to make up the Tétralogie du Monstre series: 32 Décembre (December 32nd, 2003), Rendez-vous à Paris (2006) and Quatre? (Four?, 2007).

Stand-alone titles published in the same period have included Un siècle d'Amour (A century of Love , 1999), by Dan Franck, Magma (2000) and Le Sarcophage (The Sarcophagus, 2001). In 2004, his film Immortel (Ad Vitam) was released, based on the first two Nikopol graphic novel (La Foire aux immortels and La Femme piège) with the action transferred to New York. The film was created in CG Animation using motion capture and was again met with mixed reviews that felt it was both inventive and incoherent.

Bilal's recent work has included Animal´z (2009), about a variety of survivors of global warming, Julia & Roem (2011) and Les Fantômes du Louvre (Ghosts of the Louvre, 2012).

The boxing scenes in Bilal's book Froid Équateur (1992) inspired performance artist Iepe Rubingh to organize the first chess-boxing bout – six rounds of chess plus five rounds of boxing – in Amsterdam in November 2003 (which Iepe won). The World Chess Boxing Organization continues to support championship fights of the hybrid sport around the world.

Examples of Bilal's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

S. L. Bodik

Nothing is known about Bodik, whose book cover art appeared on what would seem to be an American family saga, a genre that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s, although it had its roots in such popular novels as The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy and The Whiteoaks of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche.

Examples of S. L. Bodik's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Carl Barks

Carl Barks was nicknamed "The Duck Man" because of the quality of his work on Disney's Donald Duck. To Barks goes the praise for creating many of the inhabitants of Duckburg, the supporting cast featured in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories for which Barks was drawing in the 1940s.

Carl Barks was born in Merrill, Oregon, on 27 March 1901, the son of William Barks and his wife Arminta Johnson. Although he had a brother (two years older), Barks described himself as a rather lonely child, his nearest neighbour being over half a mile away from his parents' farm. The local school had only eight or ten students although Barks later recalled that it offered a good education. In 1908 the family moved to Midland, Oregon, closer to the railroad, where they established a new stock-breeding farm.

The immediate success of this venture meant that within three years the family were able to move to Santa Rosa, California, where William began cultivating vegetables and orchards. Profits were slim and William's anxiety over their financial difficulties led to a nervous breakdown and the family returned to Merrill in 1913.

Barks completed his education in 1916, in part concluded because he was suffering from a hearing disability; it was in the same year that his mother died and Barks had a range of jobs – farmer, woodcutter, mule driver, cowboy and printer. In 1918 he moved to San Francisco, California, and found work with a small publishing firm.

His early interest in drawing had been developed through a correspondence course, although Barks had only taken four lessons because he had so little free time. Now in San Francisco and, in 1921, married to Pearl Turner, he began selling drawings to newspapers. Despite returning to Merrill in 1923 with his growing family (two daughters born in 1923 and 1924), he continued to submit drawings and sold to Judge and the Calgery Eye-Opener. He was offered the editorship of the latter, a Minneapolis-based cartoon magazine, where he earned $90 a month for scripting and drawing most of the contents. He and Pearl were divorced in 1930 and Barks met Clara Balken in Minneapolis and married her in 1938.

In 1935 he learned that Walt Disney was seeking artists and moved to Los Angeles where he was hired at a starting salary of $20 a week. He worked initially as an "inbetweener", drawing the movements of characters between key poses. In 1937, his success at submitting gags led to his transfer to the story department where he first worked on the Donald Duck cartoon 'Modern Inventions'. Over the next few years he contributed to a number of Donald's cartoons, including the first appearance of Huey, Dewey and Louie in 'Donald's Nephews' (1938).

Barks suffered from sinus problems caused by the air conditioning in the Walt Disney art studio and left in 1942. He had then recently collaborated with Jack Hannah – who also worked in the Donald Duck story department – on a number of comic strips for Dell, Pluto Saves the Ship published in Large Feature Comics and the 64-page one-shot Donald Duck comic Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold in Four Color Comics, both published in 1942.

Barks relocated to the Hemet/San Jacinto area east of Los Angeles where he set up a chicken farm, which failed. Barks, did, however, establish himself with Dell's Walt Disney's Comics and Stories as both the author and artist of numerous stories. His first story, 'The Victory Garden', was published in April 1943 and was followed by some 500 tales featuring the Disney ducks, his creations including Scrooge McDuck (1947), Gladstone Gander (1948), The Beagle Boys (1951), The Junior Woodchucks (1951), Gyro Gearloose (1952), Cornelius Coot (1952), Flintheart Glomgold (1956), John D. Rockerduck (1961) and Magica De Spell (1961).

During this time, Barks divorced his second wife and became acquainted with his third, Margaret Wynnfred Williams, known as Gare, who exhibited paintings locally. They married in 1954.

Although Barks' work was published anonymously, his name became known to fans around 1960. He continued to draw strips until 1966 when he retired, although he was persuaded to script stories until the 1970s. He painted in oils and exhibited and sold at local art shows. In 1971, he was granted permission by Disney's Publications Department to paint scenes from his various stories. When fans learned of this, Barks was inundated with requests and had to announce in 1974 that he was no longer taking commissions.

Duck paintings by Barks began to attract large sums at auction and unauthorized prints led to Disney withdrawing permission from Barks. They relented in 1981 following a campaign by Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz and Conan the Barbarian screenwriter Edward Summer. Summer edited Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life and Times (1981), a collection of Barks' tales alongside a new story illustrated by Barks with watercolour illustrations.

The ambitious Carl Barks Library was published in 1984-1990, the thirty volumes reprinting every Disney comic strip written or drawn by Barks. Gladstone Publishing subsequently produced the Carl Barks Library in Color (1992-98). Barks appeared at his first Disney convention in 1993 and, in 1994, embarked on an 11-country tour of Europe. A retrospective of Barks' work was first held in 1994 and was shown around ten cities, attracting over 400,000 visitors.

In the 1980s, Barks had moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, close to where he grew up. His wife died in March 1993. Barks survived a further seven years before he also died  whilst undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia, on 25 August 2000, aged 99.

Examples of Carl Barks' artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Harry Bishop

Harry Bishop is one of the finest artists in the UK who  has turned his gaze – and talent – to the wild west. For most of his career he drew western comic strips, and it was his work on 'Gun Law' – based on the television show Gunsmoke starring James Arness as Matt Dillon – for the Daily Express for which he is best remembered. With its superb figurework and accurate portrayals of horse and rider, Bishop drew on influences ranging from Tony Weare to Remington Russell and Norman Rockwell. He was awarded the British Cartoonists Award in 1965. He took over the ‘Wes Slade’ strip in the Sunday Express in 1980 and this also earned him an award from the Strip Illustrators Society in 1981.

Born in Painswick, Gloucestershire, on 3 May 1920, Harry Bishop was a fan of illustrators like D. C. Eyles, Stanley Woods and H. M. Brock and was keen to attend art school, an interest supported by his parents. He was educated at Hatherley School and the Gloucester School of Art, leaving the latter in 1937 to travel abroad.

Bishop served in the R.A.F. during the war – mostly abroad and for some time with Bomber Command – and recommenced his art education in 1947, using his ex-serviceman's gratuity to began studying at Wimbledon College of Art. Graduating in 1952, he took up a position as a teacher at Mitcham Grammar School.

At the same time he began drawing comic strips for the Amalgamated Press, his earliest known work appearing in Comic Cuts, where he took over the artistic chores for the adventures of 'Cal McCord', the real-life cowboy and actor, in May 1953. Comic Cuts came to a close soon after, but Bishop was to find a regular home for his work in Swift, which was about to be launched in March 1954. His first strip, 'Tom Tex and Pinto' ran for eighteen months, during which time he also took over the colour cover of Swift, drawing 'Tarna Jungle Boy' from June 1954.

After this rapid rise, Bishop found work on Junior Express drawing 'Wyatt Earp', 'Red Cloud' and 'Rex Keene', for Thriller Comics drawing 'Jesse James' and for Sun drawing 'Billy the Kid'. Through these strips he established himself as one of the leading western artists in the UK. In April 1957, he began drawing 'Gun Law' for Express Weekly, continuing the weekly strip until March 1961. A year earlier, in April 1960, the strip had begun appearing in the Daily Express. He continued to write and draw the strip for almost two decades.

Bishop continued to contribute to British comics, although often for brief periods only, drawing 'Smiley!' (Swift, 1958-59), 'Billy the Kid' (Lion, 1959), 'Tarna Jungle Boy' (Swift, 1962-63), 'Morg of the Mammoths' (Lion, 1963-64) and numerous one-off features for TV Express, Boys' World, Eagle and Princess. In 1970-85, Bishop was also a prolific illustrator for Deans.

After drawing a second strip for the Evening Standard, 'Judy and the Colonel', Bishop drew 'Tarzan' and 'The Saint' for TV Tornado and 'Blackbow the Cheyenne' briefly for Eagle before departing comics around 1967. He returned almost a decade later with 'The Wrangler', a brief one-off in Ally Sloper (1976), which year marked his debut in the Dutch weekly Eppo, where he drew the western 'Laben Tall' until 1977. 'Gun Smoke' ended in 1978.

Bishop brought the 'Wes Slade' series to a close in 1980-81 following the death of its originator, George Stokes, after which he concentrated on painting. He has produced surprisingly few paintings on western subjects, although a 'modest number' (around 30) were sold via Frost and Reed of Bond Street, London; he has, however, painted landscapes and other subjects and worked in most media, although he prefers pen and ink.

In 1984-85, an eye infection caused him to give up painting completely.

Artwork by Harry Bishop can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mary A Brooks

Mary Brooks (1922- ) was the illustrator of Enid Blyton's Noddy Gets Into Trouble (1954) and Noddy Meets Father Christmas (1955), having earlier contributed to The Enid Blyton Holiday Annual at least as early as 1951. She wrote and illustrated many books for nursery-age children in the 1960s ranging from early learning titles like One, Two, Three—123 (1966) and ABC—123 (1966) to illustrated animal books, books of rhymes and fairy stories.

Her artwork was, according to one online commentator, "charming and highly detailed whilst retaining a soft edge, and is often aimed at younger children. She was celebrated especially for her illustrated stories centering on animal family life." She also illustrated a number of nature scenes for Treasure magazine.

Her work appeared in a number of books published by Purnell (1978-80) and Dean (1986-87) and it is said that, even in her late eighties, she continues to paint.

Mary A. Brooks was married to Laurence William Penn in Dartford, Kent, in 1947. He died in 1989, aged 73.


Evacuees. London & Bognor Regis, John Crowther, 1942.
Green Bacon. London & Bognor Regis, John Crowther, 1942.
Goggle the Frog (as M. B. Brooks). London, W. H. Cornelius (Success series), 1945.
Who Will Play With Me? London, Golden Pleasure Books, 1963.
One, Two, Three, 1, 2, 3. London & Melbourne, Ward Lock & Co., 1966.
Animal Adventures. London, Ward Lock, 1967.
Animal Paradise. London, Ward Lock, 1967.
Animal Wonderland. London, Ward Lock, 1967.
The Adventures of Rufus. London, Ward Lock, 1969.
Frisky and her Friends. London, Ward Lock, 1969.
Nursery Rhymes. London, Ward Lock, 1969.

Books Illustrated
Kimba by Paddy Smith. London, W. H. C., 1945 [Mary B. Brooks?]
The Adventures of Peppity the Pixie by Shirley M. Graham. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1952.
Little Kanga's Pocket by Marie A. Battersby. London, Sampson Low, 1952.
Fun in Twistle Wood by Paddy Smith. London & Glasgow, Blackie & Son, 1953.
The Lonely Little Turtle by Marie A. Battersby. London, Sampson Low, 1953.
Grimm's Fairy Tales. London, Ward Lock, 1955.
Kandy meets the Bunny-Babes by David White. London, Sampson Low, 1957.
Kandy in Bunny-Babe Land by David White. London, Sampson Low, 1958.
Field Folk (verse) by Brenda G. Macrow. London, Blackie, 1958.
The New Big Sleep Book by Sheila Hodgetts. London, Sampson Low, 1959.
The Hat by Nova Rock, London & New York, Frederick Warne & Co., 1960.
Bobo and the Crocodile by Nova Rock. London & New York, Frederick Warne & Co., 1961.
Babies of the Wild (verse) by Brenda G. Macrow. London & Glasgow, Blackie, 1962.
Calling All Bears by Lilias Edwards. London, Peal Press, 1964.
Sleepy Time Tales by Sheila Hodgetts. London, Purnell, 1964.
ABC 123. London, Ward Lock, 1966.
Bo-Peep Rhymes. London, Sandle Brothers, 1966.
Calling All Pets by Lilias Edwards. London, Peal Press, 1966.
Hey Diddle Diddle Rhymes. London, Sandle Brothers, 1966.
Simple Simon Rhymes. London, Sandle Brothers, 1966
Jack and Jill Rhymes. London, Sandle Bros. & Ward Lock & Co., 1969.
Seven Little Australians, adapted from the story by Ethel Turner. London, Ward Lock, 1975.
Before I Go To Sleep by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1978.
Baby Animal Stories by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1979.
Sleepy Time Tales by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1979.
Peppy the Little Fairy, and nine other tales by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1980.
Pixie Peapod, and nine other tales by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1980.
Pook Goes Bump, and nine other tales by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1980.
Pucki the Piper, and nine other tales by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1980.
A Visit to Fairyland by Barbara Hayes. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1980.
Best of Friends (verse) by Stewart Cowley. London, Dean, 1986.
Happy Days (verse) by Stewart Cowley. London, Dean, 1986.
In the Sunshine (verse) by Stewart Cowley. London, Dean, 1986.
Talking to God: Children's Prayers for Every Day by Barbara Hayes Page. Twickenham, Dean, 1987.
Favourite Toys (verse) by Stewart Cowley. London, Dean, 1988.

You can find examples of Mary Brooks's artwork at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Terry Bave

One of the stalwarts of British humour strips, Terry Bave retired in 2007 to enjoy some well-earned rest after worked in comics for 40 years. Bave's clear, unfussy humour strips were to be found in great numbers – he worked on six or seven characters at any one time – in Fleetway's humour comics in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.

Terence H. Bave was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, in 1931. Inspired by American films and comics, which Bave sought out at newsagents selling American newspapers, he began drawing at an early age. His general education was disrupted by family moves and being twice evacuated during World War II. Bave estimated he attended eleven schools in as many years.

Returning to London in 1945, Bave took on full time work as  a clerical assistant at the Post Office Savings Bank. One day a week he attended the Brook Green Day Continuation School until he was sixteen. It was here that he met Sheila Newton, who subsequently also worked at the Post Office bank.

From filling the margins and covers of his exercise books to posting regular topical cartoons on the Post Office bank notice board, Bave decided to turn his artistic inclinations into a career. At the age of seventeen he joined the Colonial Survey Department as a trainee cartographer, drawing maps with the aid of aerial photography. His first published cartoon was in the department’s magazine, The Drum.

Bave’s combined interest in films and cartoons led to his first professionally published cartoons in the pages of the film magazine Picturegoer and the home movie magazine The Pathescope Gazette. With this success in specialist magazines, Bave sought out others and, by the late 1950s, was also publishing regularly in Do-It-Yourself, TV Times, Fire! and Scooter. In a year, Bave could earn £100 from his cartoons. By then, he had joined a firm of commercial map makers but was contemplating another move. A commission to draw a cartoon design for a dog ointment carton led to an offer of work as a packaging designer for Stable Cartons Ltd.; Bave later moved to C. H. G. Jourdan Ltd. where he successfully designed fancy packaging during the heady days of the psychedelic sixties. At the same time, he became the art editor of The 9.5 Review, put together by enthusiasts of home movies following the demise of The Pathescope Gazette.

In 1967, and still keen to work in comics, Bave targetted Wham!, a recently-launched comic published by Odhams Press. Invited to meet editor Albert Cosser at the publisher’s Long Acre office, he was offered the opportunity to take over the strip “Sammy Shrink”, about a nine-inch-tall boy with normal-sized parents, which was languishing in the lower regions of the popularity charts.

Bave and his wife created their own character, “Baby Whamster”, a half-pager which they also scripted; he proved immediately popular as a mascot for Wham! and “Baby Smasher” was added to the line-up of Wham!’s sister paper, Smash!.

Bave was determined to make a go of comics and used every opportunity to learn more about what his audience wanted, particularly by involving himself in the school attended by his son, Russell (born in 1959). He helped with the school magazine, performed as a ventriloquist at school fetes and wrote a school play.

With the addition of work for annuals and worked sourced locally (including posters, letterheads, leaflets, display advertising, cartoons, etc.), Bave was able to turn freelance. However, Wham! was soon to be merged with Pow!, which promptly folded a few months later. Bave found work on annuals via King Leo Studios but that had all but dried up when the Baves received a letter from Jack Le Grand offering them work on a new paper. This was Whizzer & Chips, a title unlike any other on the market in that it was two comics in one.

Bave created some thirteen possible strips and was invited to write (with Sheila) and draw however many he could reasonably cope with on a weekly basis. Thus, when Whizzer & Chips debuted on 18 October 1969, it featured six strips by Bave: the full-page “Me and My Shadow”, “Ginger’s Tum”, “Hetty’s Horoscope” and “Aqua Lad”, plus half-pagers “Puddin’ Tops” and “Karate Kid” – to which “Nipper” was soon added.

Of these, “Me and My Shadow”, in which young ‘Smudger’ Smith is in constant battle with his own shadow, “Puddin’ Tops”, a brother and sister named after their pudding-top hairstyles, and “Karate Kid”, inspired by their son’s taking up of judo lessons, lasted until the mid-1970s.

One of Bave’s rejected ideas, “Eager Beavers”, was picked up by Buster, where it ran for eighteen months. The new comic Cor!! included Bave’s “Donovan’s Dad” and “Andy’s Ants”. In 1970, Bave and his family moved to a bungalow in Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight, where he and Sheila were to live for over forty years.

Promotional issues often involved creating new characters, and Bave’s creativity gave Whizzer & Chips “Jimmy Jeckle and Master Hide”, “The Scarey’s of St. Mary’s” and, most successfully, “The Slimms” in Cor!!, which capitalised on the contemporary slimming craze – although the portly Mum and Dad in the story had no desire to slim; it was their son, Sammy, who tried different ways each week to help them stick to diets or get some exercise. When Cor!! folded in 1973, the strip moved to Whizzer & Chips where it ran until 1979.

Another ‘two-in-one’ comic, Shiver &Shake, featured the spider “Webster” and, after a ghosting the strips on occasion, took over the lead characters of both sections, “Shiver” the ghost and “Shake” the elephant. New for Knockout was “My Bruvver”, in which poor Len is stuck each week with his tearaway younger brother, the little’un. “Sammy Shrink” was revived in Knockout before transferring to Whizzer &Chips and Bave also took over “Desert Fox” in Shiver and Shake and “Odd Ball” in Whizzer &Chips, the latter about a ball that could stretch and morph into any shape. Truly odd, it proved to be one of Bave’s longest-running strips, surviving in Whizzer & Chips until 1990.

The launch of Whoopee in 1974 brought with it two new Bave creations, “Toy Boy” (who, as his name implied, loved toys) and “Stoker, Ship’s Cat”, a hungry cat in the mould of Ginger. Other cat characters from Bave’s pen included “Police Dog and Cat Burglar” (Whizzer & Chips, 1975) and “Scaredy Cat” (Krazy, 1976-78). 1978 saw the creation of “Calculator Kid” for Cheeky Weekly but the late 1970s saw the merging of various papers, leaving Bave contributing only to Whizzer & Chips, Whoopee and various annuals and summer specials as the decade turned.  “Barney’s Badges” (Wow!, 1982-83), “Good Guy” (Buster, 1983) and the feature “Top Class Comics” (School Fun, 1983-84) kept Bave busy.

The latter half of the 1980s saw fewer new releases from Fleetway, although Bave continued to contribute new characters, including “Pete’s Pop-Up Book” (Buster, 1985-88), “Double Trouble” (Nipper, 1987, Buster, 1987- ), “Mighty Mouth” (Nipper, 1987; Buster, 1987-90), “Melvyn’s Mirror” (Buster, 1990), “The Figments of Phil’s Imagination” (Buster, 1991-94) and “Imagine” (Buster, 1991).

Fleetway’s line of humour titles shrunk further, Whizzer & Chips finally merging with Buster in 1990 and Buster becoming a fortnightly in 1995, eventually folding in 2000. By then, Bave had established himself with rivals D. C. Thomson, ghosting a number of strips – including ‘Number 13’ and ‘Bash Street Kids’ for Beano before taking over ‘Winker Watson’ in Dandy (1991-2002). Over the next few years, Bave’s creations included ‘The Great Geraldoes’ (Beano, 1992-93), ‘Buster Crab’ (Dandy, 1998), ‘Inspector Horse and Jockey’ (Beano, 1999-2000 – a parody of Inspector Morse) and ‘Baby Herc’ (Dandy, 2003).

Examples of Bave's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Janet Blakeley

Janet Blakeley was a regular contributor to Look and Learn and was one of their most prolific artists for nature articles in the late 1970s, appearing almost every week.

She also contributed illustrations to Watching Wildlife by Andrew Cooper (London, Usborne, 1982) and the children's novel Alice's Part by Vera Boyle (London, Macmillan Children's Books, 1983).

Artwork by Janet Blakeley can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Angel Badia Camps

Ángel Badia Camps was born in Puig-reig, in the Cataluña area of Spain, which borders southern France, in 1929. His father was exiled to France following the Spanish Civil War, only returning after nine years when Franco offered a conditional amnesty and allowed him to return and move with his family to Barcelona.

His love of drawing had begun early and Camps was encouraged by his parents but his knowledge of comics was limited to En Patufet and his education came with the discovery of American comics at the Sant Antonio market. Camps developed a fascination with American culture – with artists Milton Caniff and Alex Raymond and the films of John Ford and Howard Hawks, with American literature and the music of Glen Miller and jazz.

Camps attended the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes. He began working professionally in Ameller, drawing fairy stories, and his work began appearing regularly in Florita, Aventuras de Capa Negra (17 issues written by Salvador Dulcet, 1953) and Pulgarcito (1954).

Although he drew comic strips, including the humorous stories of "Pilaropo al servicio de las damas" for La Risa (1956) and medieval historical tales Aventuras de Flecha Roja [Adventures of Red Arrow] (1956-57) and Flecha y Arturo (1956) for Ediciones Gráficas Ricart.

However, it was his work for romance comics such as "Marisol" (Lupita, 1950), Mariló, Sentimentale, Modelo, Dalia, Merche and Sissi that he established himself. He illustrated Bernadette (1956) for Editorial Bruguera. Through this romantic work, Camps developed a lengthy association with the British romantic comics' market, first appearing in Valentine in 1961. Over the next few years he contributed strips to Serenade, Roxy and True Life Library (1964). According to David Roach, "At first glance his drawing style was almost indistinguishable from [Jorge] Longaron's as he mixed a thrillingly loose and expressive line with an inventive and sophisticated sense of composition. His girls were the very epitome of 'the Spanish look' – heavy-lidded, thickly mascara'd eyes, big hair, big lips and lithe, languid bodies."

To give his work accuracy, Camps travelled to the UK and took over 300 reference photos of hospitals, buses, bridges, streets... everything had to be English which was not entirely a chore as his work coincided with the era of The Beatles, swinging London models and MG sports cars.

Camps is perhaps better known in the UK as a cover artist. Following his first appearance in 1960 on the Sexton Blake Library, he produced hundreds of covers for True Life Library, Star Love, Love Story Library, Oracle, Pop Pic Library, Charm, Young Lovers and other titles. The 1950s and 1960s were the heyday of magazine illustration before colour photography became the norm and Camps's paintings were widely reprinted throughout Europe and Scandinavia, often appearing in women's magazines before being reused as covers elsewhere.

For his native Spain, Camps produced heavily illustrated translations of Heidi (1966) and Otra Vez Heidi (1966), based on the works of Juana Spyri, Los Hijos del Capitan Grant (1968) and Viaje al Centro de la Tierra (1969), both by Jules Verne, Aventuras de Tom Sawyer (1969) by Mark Twain and stories featuring Robin Hood (by Norman R, Stinnet) and Davy Crockett (by Elliot Dooley) for Editorial Bruguera.

By the late 1960s, he was working again almost exclusively for Spanish markets, Editorial Bruguera employing him on various lines of paperbacks, including Libro Amigo, La Conquista del espacio, and
Selección Terror. Camps also produced work for Molino, Toray and Ceres.

Although he was still earning a good living, and demand for cover artwork slowed in the 1980s as video became a more popular form of home entertainment than reading, Camps set up a school with fellow artist Rafael Cortiella, which ran for ten years. Camps subsequently concentrated on painting, although he had been exhibiting paintings since 1974.

Camps relates the story that he was painting whilst on holiday in Olot when the owner of a Barcelona gallery approached him and asked if he had ever exhibited his work. Camps said he was merely a Sunday painter but the gallery owner was persistent. "He asked if he could come to my studio and took almost everything I had." His work has, from 1986, featured in numerous solo exhibitions in Madrid, Barcelona, London, Brussels, Castellon and New York. His most regular exhibitor is the prestigious Sala Pares in Barcelona.

Examples of Angel Badia Camps' artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roland Green

Roland Green was a noted nature artist, particularly known for his pictures of birds, which he painted in oils and watercolours.

He was born Roland Green in Rainham, Kent, in January 1890, the son of Roland Green, a taxidermist, and his wife Emily Filmer (nee XXXX), whom he married in the 1880s. Roland was their third child and first son, following Ivy (1885) and Daisy Eunice (1886). According to one biography, Green's father "taught him how to skin, stuff and set up birds, which gave Roland a fine knowledge of anatomy and plumage. Whilst at school he showed a gift for drawing and painting birds and went on to study at the Rochester School of art as well as Regent Street Polytechnic."

By 1911, Green was working as an artist/lithographer in London, the family having moved to Seven Kings, Essex, where Green's father was now employed as a joiner in the building trade. He later moved to Hickling in Norfolk, where his work attracted the attention of Lord Desborough, owner of the Hickling Estate. Green was commissioned to paint the frieze on the walls of Whitelea Lodge depicting the birds of the Hickling Broad.

Green illustrated a number of books, including contributions to The Birds of Australia by Gregory Mathews (London, Witherby, 12 vols., 1910-27) following the death in 1912 of J. G. Keulemans, who illustrated the first four volumes. Other books include Birds in Flight by W. P. Pycraft, The Bird Book by Enid Blyton, Wing to Wing by E. H. Ware  and The Ladybird Book of British Wild Animals by George Cansdale.

Green died in Norfolk in 1972, aged 82. He never married. A large collection – 120 watercolours and 7 oil paintings – of Green's artwork amassed by Commander David Joel, a schoolboy when he was first introduced to Green, was sold in 2012 with profits going to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society.

Joel said in an interview: "There was not anyone on the Broads who did not know about Roland Green. He lived in the reedbeds and people thought he was a hermit, but he was anything but. He was an extrovert who gave talks at school and loved enthusing children with his love of art ... Modern artists use photographs but Green worked only from observation and that is why his birds look absolutely real." Joel has written a tribute to Green, A Homage to Roland Green – His Norfolk Legacy (2012), published by St. Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington.

Note: Wikipedia gives his name as Roland J. Green, but there is no record of Green having a middle name or initial.


Wing-Tips: The Identification of Birds in Flight. London, A. & C. Black, 1947.
Sketching Birds. London, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1948.
How I Draw Birds: A Practical Guide for the Bird-Watcher. London, A. & C. Black, 1951.

Illustrated Books
The British Bird Book by the Rev. Canon Theodore Wood and W. P. Pycraft. London, A. & C. Black, 1921.
Birds One Should Know, Beneficial and Mischievous by Rev. Canon Theodore Wood. London, Gay & Hancock, 1921.
Birds in Flight by W. P. Pycraft. London, Gay & Hancock, 1922.
Birds and Their Young by T. A. Coward. London, Gay & Hancock, 1923. The Bird Book by Enid Blyton. London, George Newnes, 1926.
Ornithologist's Field Note Book by Ronald M. Garnett. Holt, Norfolk, Rounce & Westley, 1932. [Frontispiece]
How to Look at Birds by Thomas Lewis Bartlett. London, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1945.
The Children's Book of British Birds and Verses by Katherine Lloyd. London, Foy Publications, 1946.
British Birds by Wilfred Willett. London, Foy Publications, 12 vols., 1946-47.
Wing to Wing by E. H. Ware. London, Paternoster Press, 1946.
British Birds in Their Haunts by the late Rev. C. A. Johns, illus. with William Foster; 25th ed. edited & revised by W. B. Alexander. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1948.
The Ladybird Book of British Wild Animals by George Cansdale. Loughborough, Ladybird Books, 1958.
Birds of Cyprus by David A. Bannerman & W. Mary Bannerman, illus. with D. M. Reid-Henry. Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1958.

Examples of Roland Green's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Robert Nixon

Robert Nixon was a regular contributor to The Beano for many years, best known for his  work on the likes of "Roger the Dodger" and "Lord Snooty". Nixon's clean line and storytelling talents meant that word balloons were scarcely necessary for readers to follow the action. Nixon had a talent for ghosting styles, whether they were Ken Reid, Leo Baxendale or Dudley D. Watkins, but brought to his artwork a distinctive cuteness. Nixon's editor at The Beano told The Guardian that Nixon would have been able to illustrate a note to the milkman and still make it look appealing.

Robert Thomas Nixon was born in South Bank, near Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire, on 7 July 1939, the fifth of six children born to Arthur W. Nixon, a steelworker, and his wife Phyllis (nee Thompson), who had married in 1931. He was educated at Cromwell Road School and the Central Secondary Modern School, both in South Bank, where his youthful artistic talents were encouraged. He won several art competitions and earned himself a scholarship to Middlesbrough Art College in September 1954 but he became disillusioned with the course and dropped out. Instead, he found work as an apprentice lithographer and photo-retoucher at a printing factory. That same year, 1955, his father died at the early of 49.

Nixon married Rita M. Kelly in Middlesbrough in 1961 and had four children: Paul H. (1962), Anthony R. (1964), Wendy Anita (1966) and Catherine Ann (1968).

A fellow student encouraged him to try cartooning and he began trying his hand at cartooning, submitting samples to D. C. Thomson. His first success was to produce three fill-in episodes for The Beano's "Little Plum", the first published in April 1964. Later that year, Ken Reid departed from The Beano and Nixon took over his "Roger the Dodger", which he continued to draw until 1973. He turned freelance and 1965, soon after which the family moved to Guisborough, Cleveland.

In 1968, Nixon inherited "Lord Snooty" from Dudley D. Watkins. Later strips for Thomsons included "Esky Mo" (1969) and "Captain Cutler" (1972) for Sparky and "Grandpa" for The Beano (1971).

Nixon was offered work – and the higher page rate of £17 as opposed to £12 a page – by IPC Publications, who were expanding their range of humour titles following the success of Whizzer & Chips and he began contributing "Hire a Horror" and "Ivor Lott and Tony Broke" to Cor!! in 1972 and "Soggy the Sea Monster" and "Frankie Stein" in Shiver & Shake in 1973. This work enabled him to work full-time for IPC, who soon added Whoopee!, Monster Fun and Krazy to their line-up of titles, to which Nixon contributed "King Arthur and His Frights of the Round Table" (1974), "Kid Kong" (1974) "12½p Buytonic Boy" (1976).

Nixon drew "The Gems", written by Trevor Metcalfe, for The Sun newspaper for eighteen months in 1976-78, but his main output continued to be weekly strips for IPC. He took over "Gums" for Buster and "Kid King" for Jackpot as well as creating "Laser Eraser" for the latter (1979); "Elephant on the Run" (1978) and "Stage School" (1979) ran in Cheeky Weekly and "Ossie" (1982) and "Family Trees" (1983) in Wow!. During this period, he also drew "Parkie" (1982) for a local newspaper, the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette. At his peak he was producing nine pages a week.

After fifteen-years, the newly appointed editor of The Beano, Euan Kerr, tried to tempt him back but without success. Later that same week, the editor of IPC's humour titles called with the news that mergers would leave him with fewer pages to work on; Nixon contacted Kerr and asked if the offer of work was still open.

Nixon was tempted back to D. C. Thomson, where his first "Roger the Dodger" strip appeared in January 1985. Nixon's favourite amongst the characters he created debuted in The Beano later that same year: "Ivy the Terrible",followed by "Willie Fixit" (1985) in Topper and "Polar Blair" (1985) for the newly launched Hoot.

Nixon took over the artwork for both "Korky the Cat" (The Dandy) and "Beryl the Peril" (Topper) in 1986, and continued to draw various other strips for The Beano, including "Little Monkey" (1987) and "Roger's Dodge Clinic" (1989). Nixon also illustrated related merchandise, including jigsaws and Easter egg boxes.

As an artist, Nixon had already illustrated cartoon greetings cards for the Noel Tatt Company and joke books written by Gyles Brandreth. In his spare time, he enjoyed painting fantasy landscapes in oils, pastels and watercolours.

Nixon continued to draw until his death on 22 October 2002, aged 63, his final page – the cover for the Beano Summer Special (2003) – arriving the day before he died. His longest-running strip, "Roger the Dodger" was continued by Barrie Appleby for some years and a series of Nixon reprints were introduced in 2011 before Appleby returned the following year.

Books Illustrated
More Crazy Jokes by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1980.
Amazing Facts About the Living World by Derek Hall, illus. with Stephen Lings. London, Beaver Books, 1983.
Crazy Practical Jokes by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1983.
The Crazy Joker's Handbook by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1984.
The Rudest Joke Book in the World by Gyles Brandreth, Sevenoaks, Knight, 1985.
The Joke-a-Day Fun Book by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1986.
Crazy Jokes by Gyles Brandreth, illus. with Graham Thompson & John Smyth. London, Madcap, 1997.
Crazy Practical Jokes by Gyles Brandreth. London, Madcap, 1997.
Bumper Book of Laughs by Gyles Brandreth, illus. with Colin Hawkins, Sara Silcock. London, Madcap, 1999.

Examples of Robert Nixon's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Harry Green

A little-known artist, Harry Green (1920- ) contributed extensively to Look and Learn in the 1970s and 1980s, illustrating a variety of subjects ranging from historical buildings to football. However, it was as a transport illustrator that he really made his mark in the 1980 with the series "Britain's Railway Wonders". Green also contributed illustrations to Speed & Power in the 1970s.

His book illustrations include Architecture (1969), Architecture: The Great Art of Building (1969), Discovery of Australia (1969) and Discovery of South America (1970), some of which were jointly illustrated by Gwen Green who was also a prolific children's educational book illustrator.

Examples of Harry Green's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Neal Adams

Neal Adams was one of the innovators in comic strip art to hit American comic books in the late 1960s and 1970s, revitalizing and redefining the looks of the X-Men and Batman. Adams was also an outspoken advocate of creators rights and was central to the attempts to help Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster earn pensions from their creation of Superman and in the setting up of the Comics Creators' Guild. Adams has won the Shazam Award in 1970 and 1971, the Inkpot Award in 1976, Eagle Awards in 1977 and 1978 and has been indicted into the Will Eisner Comic Books Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999.

Neal Edward Adams was born on Governors Island, a 172-acre island a half mile from the southern tip of Manhattan in New York Harbor used by the US Army, on 15 June 1941. His father deserted the family when Adams was only 13 and, with college financially out of reach, he attended the School of Industrial Art, a vocational school in Manhattan.

Graduating in 1959, and turned down by DC Comics, he submitted samples to Archie Comics where Joe Simon was creating a superhero line. A sample of The Fly earned him his first professional appearance when a panel from his sample was used in Adventures of The Fly #4 (Jan 1960). Adams was soon drawing fillers for Archie's Joke Book Magazine and was recommended to Howard Nostrand, who needed an assistant on "Bat Masterson", a syndicated newspaper strip based on the TV series.

Adams gained some much needed experience on the strip and turned to advertising, working for Johnstone & Cushing for a year. The company specialised in comic strip advertising and Adams found himself working on AT&T advertising strip "Chip Martin, College Reporter" for Boys' Life and similar work for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

Adams, following a recommendation by Jerry Caplin (brother of Al Capp), was asked to produce samples for a new strip to be based on the popular TV drama Ben Casey. The strip was successfully pitched and was syndicated from 26 November 1962 with a colour Sunday strip added on 20 September 1964. The TV series came to an end in March 1966 and the strip followed on 31 July 1966.

Adams attempted to return to advertising work but needed to fill in, ghosting a few weeks for Lou Fine on the syndicated hardboiled detective serial "Peter Scratch", Stan Drake's "The Heart of Juliet Jones" and was hawking around a strip of his own, "Tangent". He was offered work by Peter Scratch-creator Elliot Caplin on a proposed adaptation of Robin Moore's The Green Berets but Adams – opposed to the war – suggested Joe Kubert, who accepted the job.

Adams made his first splash in comic books drawing horror stories for Warren Publishing before exploiting the gap left by Kubert at DC Comics. After producing a handful of war and horror stories for anthologies like Our Army at War, Adams found himself working on The Adventures of Jerry Lewis and The Adventures of Bob Hope.

After producing a few covers featuring Superman and Batman for Action Comics, Lois Lane and The Brave and the Bold, Adams produced his first team-up story, "The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads" for World's Finest Comics in 1968. However, it was with the supernatural hero Deadman that Adams found his first real success. He took over the artwork with Strange Adventures #206 and illustrated the stories and covers for eleven issues, also taking over the scriptwriting with issue 212. Adams also briefly drew (and even more briefly wrote) The Spectre in 1968.

Adams was assigned numerous covers at DC and, in 1969, also began working for Marvel Comics, pencilling several issues of X-Men, then under threat of cancellation. He, along with writer Roy Tomas and inker Tom Palmer, are credited with turning the characters around, all three winning the Alley Awards (Best Pencil Artist, Best Inking Artist, Best Writer). That same year Deadman entered the Hall of Fame and Adams received a Special Award for "the new perspective and dynamic vibrance he has brought to the field of comic art."

Awards could not save X-Men, which folded with issue 66 (Mar 1970). Adams continued to draw horror comics for Marvel (Tower of Shadows) and Warren (Vampirella), but it was his debut on Batman which was to cement his place in comics' history. He debuted in Detective Comics (Jan 1970) with a story by writer Dennis O'Neil and, in the next eighteen months, introduced the characters Man-Bat and Ra's al Ghul. Adams' talent to draw realistic figures helped ground the series in the real after years of camp adventure that had overtaken the comic book following the success of the 1966-68 TV series. Adams and O'Neil gave Gotham back its brooding hero and reestablished characters like The Joker as a homicidal maniac rather than the prancing buffoonery of the ABC TV show.

Adams and O'Neill also performed a similar revamping of Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Green Lantern was renamed Green Lantern/Green Arrow with issue 76 (Apr 1970) and took the two characters on a journey across America that ran for two years and encompassed one of the pair's most controversial stories in which Green Arrow's ward, the clean-cut Speedy, was revealed as a heroin addict. The series ended with issue 89 (May 1972) ... the frustrating truth being that controversy in comics rarely translated into sales to the broader public. Speaking in 1978, Adams told The Comics Journal, "It takes a good year to get somebody used to a new idea, to get a market used to a new idea ... It takes a while for the news to get around. By the time the news got around to Green Lantern / Green Arrow it was cancelled."

With the exception of his work on Batman, Adams became a more sporadic contributor to DC, although he was involved in a number of 'event' comics, such as the inter-company crossover, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man (1976) and Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (1978), the latter a 72-page story teaming Superman with boxer Ali to battle aliens.

In 1971, Adams and Dick Giordano, an inker with whom he often worked, set up Continuity Graphics Associates Inc. to produce storyboards for movies and produce comic art for advertising. A studio was set up in New York through which dozens of artists passed. Advertising work would often be passed around various artists with Adams and Giordano inking the main figures. This team effort was often credited to the "Crusty Bunkers", including numerous inking jobs for DC Comics, in the period 1972-77.

Adams was also the art director and costume designer for Warp! (1973) a Broadway play by film director Stuart Gordon and playwright Lenny Kleinfeld.

By the late 1970s, Adams was almost invisible at DC or Marvel due, he said, to the introduction of a Work-For-Hire contract which he considered to be "against the intent of the new copyright law." In 1978 he helped set up the Comics Creators' Guild, which attracted 50 members. The Guild, says Adams, achieved many of its aims. In a 1982 interview, he said, "companies [are] offering better conditions for their artists. They're offering employee conditions for their artists like health benefits and stuff like that, raising their rates, agreeing to pay reprint money, incentive programs, like if you stay on a book so long you get a bonus. The companies started to treat the freelancers better ... a lot of the goals of the Guild were accomplished almost immediately without the Guild having to walk into someone's office once."

Adams also took time out to study a film course at NYU and filmed a full-length horror film, Nannaz, on a $30,000 budget. It starred Adams, his children Jason and Zeea and comic personalities Gray Morrow and Denys Cowan and told the story of two children who protect an invention of their father's from crooks with the aid of a toy monkey. It was reputedly released via Troma Entertainment in Europe in 1986 or 1987 under the title Death to the Pee-Wee Squad.

In the 1980s, Adams was tempted back into comics and produced Ms. Mystic (1982) and Skateman (1983) for Pacific Comics, the latter lasting only a single issue which was cited as the worst single comic of the past 25 years by Kitchen Sink Press's World's Worst Comics Awards (1990). Ms. Mystic, a witch in the modern world, appeared only twice from Pacific before transferring to Adams' own company, Continuity Comics in 1987.

Formed in 1984, Continuity launched a number of titles, including Zero Patrol, a reworking of a Spanish series by Esteban Maroto (2 issues, 1984-85) and Echo of Futurepast, an anthology which serialised a number of creations that Adams had planned as books to be published in Europe, including a Dracula-Werewolf-Frankenstein team-up by Adams (based on a 1975 comic book and record set, A Story of Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein from Power Records), "Bucky O'Hare" by Larry Hama & Michael Golden, "Tippie Toe Jones" by Lindley Farley & Louis Mitchell and "Mudwogs" by Arthur Suydam.

Continuiuty entered the superhero market with Armor (1985-92), Revengers (1986-89), Toyboy (1986-89), Samuree (1987-91), Zero Patrol (1987-89), Ms. Mystic (1987-93), Urth 4 (1989-90) and Megalith (1989-93). A 1993 relaunch saw a number of series revert to issue one and new titles appear, the Continuity line-up now including Armor, Cyberrad, Earth, Hybrids, Megalith and Ms. Mystic, with Samuree, Shaman and Valerie, She-Bat added soon after. Continuity were caught up in the collapse of the speculative comics' boom in 1994 part-way through a company-wide crossover. At the time, Adams was also involved in a court case – with Michael Netzer over the rights to Ms. Mystic – which was dismissed in 1997.

One Continuity success was Bucky O'Hare, which became an animated TV series in 1991-92 under the title Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars! on which Adams was credited as executive producer. Adams has worked as a concept designer on movies such as From Beyond (1986), Dolls (1987), Circuitry Man (1990), and the Skeleton Warriors TV series (1994-95).

Adams continues to work with Continuity Studios to produce material for companies, including motion capture comics (such as Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, scripted by Joss Whedon, in 2009 and the upcoming Neal Adams' Blood, based on his Dark Horse Presents series), animatics and CGI. He has also recently been involved with the Disney Educational productions to produce They Spoke Out: American Voices against the Holocaust, an online educational motion comics series that relates the stories of Americans who protested the Nazis or aided Jews during the Holocaust. The first episode was screened in April 2010.

Neal Adams' Monsters, the long-promised story featuring Frankenstein, the Werewolf and Dracula, appeared as a hardcover book in 2004. Adams has occasionally returned to mainstream comics including stories for Giant Size X-Men #3 (2005) and Young Avengers Special #1 (2006) for Marvel and Batman: Odyssey (2010-12) for DC. It was recently (May 2012) announced that Adams would be co-writing (with Christos Gage) The First X-Men, a 5-issue mini-series which Adams would be drawing. Adams has also been involved in a 5-part Wolverine project.

Adams has been twice married, to Cory Adams and Marilyn Adams. His children include daughters Kristine Stone and Zeea Moss and sons Jason (a sculptor under the name Spyda), Joel and Josh Adams.

Examples of Neal Adams' artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Maureen & Gordon Gray

For such prolific illustrators and strip artists, almost nothing is known about Maureen and Gordon Gray. Some library sources give their years of birth as 1932 (Gordon) and 1940 (Maureen), but that information should be treated with care.

Usually signing their work 'Gray', they were regular contributors to comics in the 1980s, producing  "Kid's Army", a Second World War strip loosely based on the TV sitcom Dad's Army, "Fame", based on the TV show, and "The Fantastic Adventures of Adam Ant", about pop-star Adam traveling through time to pop up at various points in history. These strips all appeared in  DC Thomson's TV Tops comic in around 1982.

The Grays then began appearing in Look-In, contributing "Bucks Fizz" (1983-84), "The Story So Far" featuring Shaking Stevens (1985), "A-Ha" (1986) and Michael Jackson (1986), "Airwolf" (1986), "The A-Team" (1986-87) and "Five Star Life" (1987).

A later graphic novel is credited to Maureen Gray only: The Haunting of Julia (2007) is based on Mary Hooper's children's novel Thirteen Candles, described thus: "When Julia watches Dad's video of herself preparing to blow out the candles, she notices something weird and mysterious, a dark hazy shape, leaning over her shoulder. She's sure it blew out the candles, but what is it?"


Illustrated Books
The Marriage Scene by Cliff Parfit. London, Collins, 1974.Jim Hunter Books series by Ben Butterworth & Bill Stockdale, 14 vols., 1975-80.
__Jim in Training. London, Methuen, Sep 1975. 
__Jim and the Dolphin. London, Methuen, Sep 1975.
__Jim and the Sun Goddess. London, Methuen, Sep 1975.
__The Missing Aircraft. London, Methuen, Sep 1975.
__The Desert Chase. London, Methuen, 1976.
__The Shipwreckers. London, Methuen, Feb 1976.
__The Island of Helos. London, Methuen, Jun 1976.
__The Temple of Mantos. London, Methuen, Jun 1976.
__Danger in the Mountains. London, Methuen, Aug 1977.
__The Diamond Smugglers. London, Methuen, Aug 1977.
__The Sniper of Zimba. London, Methuen, Feb 1978.
__Prisoner of Pedro Cay. London, Methuen, Feb 1978.
__The Killer Rocket. London, Methuen, Apr 1980.
__Sabotage in the Arctic. London, Methuen, Apr 1980.
Escape to London by Kathleen Wood. Edinburgh, Holmes McDougall, 1977.
Go and Get Him by Michael Hardcastle. London, Collins, 1977.
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. London, Collins & Harvill Press, 1978.
The Bridge by John Tully (Inspector Holt). Collins, 1979.
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, adapted by Lewis Jones. London, Collins, 1979.
The Amulet by David Sweetman. London, Longman Publishing Group, 1980.
Oketcho and the Smugglers by Ebou Dibba. Harlow, Longman, 1980. #
Under the Mango Tree: Songs and Poems for Primary Schools, edited by Mabel Segun and Neville Grant. Harlow, Longman, 1980.
The Big Radio Mystery by Jefurio Chisungo. Harlow, Longman, 1981.
Call Mr. Africa by Jefurio Chisungo. Harlow, Longman, 1981.
The Story of Glasgow by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1983.
Kings and Queens by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1984.
Scottish Heroes and Heroines of Long Ago by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1984.
Scottish Traditional Rhymes by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1985.
Costume in Scotland Through the Ages by Naomi E. A. Tarrant. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1986.
Counting by Bill Hawthorne. London, Evans, 1986. 
The Rubbish Dumpers by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Allsorts: Stories from School by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
The Wedding by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Joseph and his Jointed Camel by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Thirteen Candles by Mary Hooper. London, A. & C. Black Publishers, 1998.
Caribbbean Password by Shelley Davidow, Macmillan Education, 1999.
Where Is the Baby? by Shelley Davidow. London, Macmillan Education, 2001.
Sabretooth by Rupert Matthews. Oxford, Heinemann Library, 2003.
Woolly Mammoth by Rupert Matthews. Oxford, Heinemann Library, 2003.
Diplodocus by Rupert Matthews. Oxford, Heinemann Library, 2003.

Graphic Novel (Maureen Gray)
The Haunting of Julia by Mary Hooper. Stone Arch Books, Sep 2007.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mark A. Nelson

Mark A. Nelson is a prolific artist, primarily of fantasy subjects, who has drawn widely for comics, illustrated role-playing games and worked for computer games (Raven Software, where he was senior artist in 1998-2004, Big Rooster, Emergence Games, Sega Games).

Nelson was born on 28 November in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and was educated at Moorehead State College, at Cleveland Institute of Art and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He later worked as a professor of art at Northern Illinois University for over twenty years.

His comic strip credits have included Starslayer (First, 1985), Aliens (Dark Horse, 1988-89), Feud (Marvel/Epic, 1993) written by Mike Baron and Blood and Shadows (DC, 1996), written by Joe R. Lansdale. His work has also appeared in Graphic Classics from Eureka Productions, and he has also contributed to IDW Comics, Eclipse Comics (Airboy), Now Comics, Kitchen Sink Comics and Just Imagine Comics.

His illustrations have been published by Hero Illustrated, Subterranean Press, Cemetery Dance Publications, Borderlands Press, Roadkill Press, Ziesing Books, Journal Wired, Byron Priess, Sight and Sound Books, Worldbook-Childcraft, David C. Cook and Fantasy Newsletter.

Nelson has had a long association with the role-playing games industry and has produced illustrations for many Dungeons and Dragons books and Dragon magazine.since the mid-1980s. He had also produced artwork for games including Villains and Vigilantes (Fantasy Games Unlimited), Earthdawn and Shadowrun (FASA) and Orpheus (White Wolf). He also produced illustrations for the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering.

He has published two collections of artwork: From Pencils To Inks: The Art of Mark A. Nelson (2004) and Strange Thoughts and Random Images (2008).

Nelson nowadays works as a conceptual artist creating digital skins and textures for computer games. He was the lead instructor of the Animation Department of Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin.

He now lives in Missouri City, Texas, with his wife, artist Anita C. Nelson. They jointly run Grazing Dinosaur Press.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rudy Nebres

Rudy Nebres was one of a group if talented Filipino artists who found work in the USA with DC and Marvel, amongst them Alfredo Alcala, Alex Nino, Nestor Redondo and Tony De Zuniga.

Born Rodolfo D. Nebres (pronounced NAY-bres) in the Philippines on 14 January 1937, Rudy was able to attend art school in Manila thanks to the sacrifices of his parents, who sold their possessions to pay for his tuition. He made his first professional sales as a teenager and was already working regularly before he graduated.

After  graduating, he found work with ACE Publications and  Graphic Arts Service (GASI), where he worked on various stories including 'Baby Face' (1958-59) for Extra Komiks, 'Kamay ni Dimas' (1962) for Ditektib Komiks, 'Themesong' (1963-64) for Redondo Komix, 'Anino ng Agila' (1964) for CRAF Klasix, 'Blanca Negra' (1965) for Hiwaga Komiks, 'Babaing Bakulaw' (1965) for Espesyal Komiks with writer Galo Burgos, 'Ang Paborito ni Linda' for Hiwaga Komiks with writer Mer. A Abella, 'Nakabakas sa Langit' (1965-66), for Pioneer Komiks with writer Angel Ad Santos, 'Suicide Sammy' (1967) for Aliwan Komiks with writer Greg Igna de Dios, 'Javlin and the Pirates' 1968) for Pilipino Komiks,'Magkuwento Ka Puso' (1968) for Aliwan Komiks, 'Micaela' (1968) for Aliwan Komiks, 'Talagang Gusto Kong Magpakatino!' for Kislap Komiks (1971-72) and many others.

Rudy Nebres began working for DC Comics in 1972 when DC Comics publisher Carmine Infantino and Editor Joe Orlando visited the Philippines on a scouting trip.  He was given assignments on such DC mystery titles such as The Unexpected, House of Secrets and Ghosts, but was not working as regularly as he wanted. He continued to draw for Filipino comics such as 'Ginintuang Rehas' for Sixteen Magazine (1973-74), 'Huwag Mo Akong Tangisan!' for Kislap Komiks (1973-74) and 'Paper Doll' for Kislap Komiks (1974-75).

Nebres moved to the United States in 1975 and promptly found much more success when he started working for Marvel Comics on such prestigious titles like Dr. Strange, The Avengers, Iron Fist, Master of Kung Fu and The Hulk. His speciality, however, was sword and sorcery and his talents for drawing the muscular heroes  like Conan, Kull, Red Sonja and John Carter are renowned. His ability is to draw exaggerated musculature without losing the realism of the figure. He has put this down to a strong grasp of anatomy. "The key is the collarbone. If that's off, the whole drawing will be wrong," he has said.

He found much further acclaim when he started working for Warren Publishing on Creepy (1978-82), Eerie (1978-83), 1984 (1978-79), 1994 (1980-82), The Rook (1979-82), Vampirella (1980-82) and The Goblin (1982), where he turned in stories that represented an extraordinary evolution in his art characterized by profuse, graceful hatching, dynamic figurework and imaginative compositions. Tim Perkins has said, "His line work was very stylised and yet still had all the contemporary licks of his fellow Filipino artists. Instantly recognisable amongst the group his work flowed with the same lushness of line that the others had, but with a greater dynamic, which probably explained his use of super-heroic titles, when the others were considered, wrongly in my honest opinion, not to be suitable for superhero comics."

Nebres was in demand as an inker. Editor Ralph Macchio recalled working with Doug Moench and John Buscema on 'Warriors of the Shadow Realm' (Marvel Super Special #11-13) in 1979: "We needed an inker to work on John's brilliant pencils who would brink his own flair to the pencils but not over-power the delicacy of what John had drawn. We were astonished at how faithfully [Rudy] rendered John's pencils yet added his own special touch."

He next spent 10 years working with Neal Adams for Continuity Studios doing storyboards and animatics, but was able to work on Continuity comics titles like Armor (1986-90), Toy Boy (1986-87), Megalith (1989) and Ms. Mystic (1989).

He went freelance again afterwards and has since worked on a variety of titles and companies like Spider-man, Conan and Punisher for Marvel, as well as a Negation one-shot in an issue of Crossgen Chronicles for Crossgen Comics in 2002.

The Art of Rudy Nebres, a collection of fan commissions, was published by SQP Inc in 2000.

Nebres currently lives in Edison, New Jersey, with his wife Dolores. They have two children Melvin and Edwin.

In a 2012 interview, Neil Adams said that Nebres "has got to be one of the nicest guys in comics. He's very humble, almost too self-effacing. he's humble to the point that I want to hit him in the head and say, 'You're better than you think you are. You're great.' He's that humble, but he puts better lines on the page than any artist or inker I know."

Examples of Rudy Nebres's work can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Arthur Nash

Arthur Nash was a contributor to Look and Learn, his artwork appearing in 1981. Nash was also a contributor to Treasure. Nash also illustrated Alice in Wonderland but is otherwise unknown.

Examples of Arthur Nash's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dean Motter

Dean Motter is a Canadian artist, illustrator and graphic designer best known as the creator of Mister X and Terminal City, two highlights of the "comics aren't for kids" boom of the 1980s/90s.

The history of Mister X began in the early 1980s: Motter was then sharing a studio with Ken Steacy and Paul Rivoche and the character went through a lengthy development process before independent publisher Vortex Comics began insisting that work the comic book needed to begin. Motter provided a story outline from which Gilbert Hernandez created a script, illustrated by Jaime Hernandez. After only four issues, the Hernandez brothers quit, citing non-payment by Vortex, and Motter wrote issues 5 through 14, which were illustrated by Seth (Gregory Gallant).

Mister X himself was an architect, the creator of Radiant City, which has been designed on the principals of psychetecture, driving its citizens mad.

Although the character continued to appear, it was in the hands of other writers and artists. Motter later used the characters in Electropolis and returned to them in the mini-series Mister X: Condemned, published in 2008-09 by Dark Horse.

Motter has earlier co-created The Sacred & the Profane with art by Ken Steacy, which he later described as being influenced by the Symbolists and the Pre-Raphaelites, aesthetics he had wanted to introduce into comics since his days as an art history student. Mister X was influenced by Art Deco, German Expressionism, film noir, Russian Constructivism, Bauhaus, mid-20th century industrial design and the futuristic artwork of SF and popular mechanics magazines of the pulp era.

Motter's influences, thanks to his upbringing in Canada, were European, especially French, when it came to comics, although for Mister X he acknowledged the heavy influence of Will Eisner and Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Motter, born in 1958, began reading comics around the age of 8 or 9 and was also a fan of vintage horror and science fiction films. He produced comic pages for his college newspaper and freelanced for Media Five, a tabloid magazine published in London, Ontario, whilst at college. After moving to Toronto, he was a regular at the Silver Snail comic book store. The owner of Silver Snail produced the SF magazine Andromeda in 1977-79, reprinting stories by Arthur C. Clarke and A. E. Van Vogt. Mottor worked as art director and designer for the magazine.

Another acquaintence, Marty Herzog, began working as a creatove director with CBS Records Canada, which led to Motter designing album covers for numerous bands, creating the cover art for Anvil's Metal On Metal (1983 Juno Award winner), Seamless by The Nylons (1984 Juno Award winner) and Jane Silberry's No Borders Here (1985 Casby Award winner). He was awarded the Best of the 80's Album Cover award by the Toronto Art Directors Club for Honeymoon Suite in 1985.

The Sacret & the Profane was originally published as a 5-part serial in Star+Reach in 1977-78. Motter and Steacy subsequently revised and coloured the strip for Epic Illustrated in the early 1980s; the revision was then reprinted as a graphic novel by Eclipse in 1987. The story has echoes of James Blish's A Case Of Conscience as it concerns Sister Marianna, a nun aboard a spaceship of the Catholic Interstellar Crusade – in effect, a flying church – who has begun to question her faith. After attacking an alien vessel, the human crew start to fall prey to an invading alien force.

Following on from his work on Mister X, Motter was invited to produce a comic based on Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner,  drawn by Mark Askwith, a former Silver Snail manager who went on to become a TV producer.

In 1990, Motter relocated to New York, working for Byron Preiss Visual Publications where he was art director and senior designer, as well as editing a series of graphic novels based on the stories of Raymond Chandler. He subsequently joined DC Comics as manager of the Creative Services Department. This latter job allowed him to freelance and, for Vertigo, he produced Terminal City, drawn by Michael Lark.

Reverting to freelance, he continued the Terminal City saga with Aerial Graffiti, also drawn by Lark. The two also teamed up for the Batman graphic novel Nine Lives, winner of the Will Eisner Award in 2003. Motter's other works have included The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (adapted for Classics Illustrated), Batman: Gotham Knights, Grendel: Red, White and BlackHellblazer and 9-11: Artists Respond. Further stories have appeared Superman Adventures, Star Wars Tales, Will Eisner's The Spirit, and Wolverine.

Examples of Dean Motter's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

José Muñoz

Jose Munoz is nowadays best known for his work on the series Alack Sinner, which has been hugely popular in Europe for over thirty-five years. The detective series and the many volumes that have spun off from it are characterised by the artist's heavy use of chiaroscuro and the exaggerated (often grotesque) faces and figures.

José Antonio Muñoz was born on 10 July 1942 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and studied painting, sculpture and drawing at the Escuela Panamericana de Arte where he was taught by Alberto Breccia and Pablo Pereyra.

At the age of 18 he pupblished his first comic strips in the pages of Hora Cero and Frontera, magazines strongly associated with Hector Oesterheld. Muñoz drew several episodes of Oesterheld's Ernie Pike and also illustrated 'Precint 56' by Ray Collins (Eugene Zappietro) for Mixterix, then edited by Hugo Pratt.

For many years Muñoz worked in Francisco Solano Lopez's studio, which was set up in the early 1960s to capitalise on the vast amount of artwork that could be supplied to British comics. Lopez, at his peak, had six assistants, working on weekly and monthly assignments ranging from weekly science fiction and football yarns (Kelly's Eye, Raven on the Wing, etc.) to monthly war titles (for War, Battle, Air Ace, etc.). The studio's output was immense and for the most part it is impossible to distinguish the work of individual artists.

Muñoz travelled to Europe for the first time in March 1971 and in Spain, via a mutual friend, Oscar Zarate, met Carlos Sampayo, a fellow Argentinean who, shortly after, settled in Madrid. Muñoz, meanwhile, settled in London where he was working regularly for Lion, drawing a number of short-lived strips – 'A Stitch in Time', 'The Treasure-Hunt Twins', 'Lost in Limbo Land' and 'Sark the Sleeper' – ahead of Lion's imminent folding into Valiant, where he would draw a few stories featuring Adam Eterno.

At this time, he was being encouraged by Breccia and Hugo Pratt during trips to Paris and Lucca to create his own work, but Muñoz's separation from his wife and daughter led to him living in a commune and earning money washing dishes.

Again, Oscar Zarate persuaded him to visit Carlos Sampayo at his home in Castelldefels, Spain. Here, the two began to develop the character Alack Sinner, who was to debut in AlterLinus and Charlie Mensuel in 1975. The two also began working on other albums, including El bar de Joe [Joe's Bar] and Sophie Goin' South, both published in 1981. The following year Muñoz was named Best Artist at Lucca. Alack Sinner won the Best Foreign Comics Album award at Angoulême in 1978 and 1973. Another collaboration with Sampayo, Billie Holiday, won the Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material in 1994.

Very little of his work has been seen in the UK. Escape magazine's tenth issue featured 'Joe's Bar' in 1987 and Viet Blues was serialised in Crisis in 1990-91. In Europe Muñoz has continued to work with increasing recognition. He collaborated with American author Jerome Charyn on Au croc du serpent (1996) and Panna Maria (1999) and continues to collaborate with Sampayo on such titles as Dans les bars (2002), Le livre (2004) and further adventures of Alack Sinner.

In 2002 he was awarded the Max-und-Moritz-Preis in Germany for his life's work and, in 2007, he became only the fourth non-French language creator to receive the Grand Prix at Angoulême.

Examples of artwork by Jose Muñoz can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.