Saturday, 28 August 2010

Death's Head


The classic Freelance Peacekeeping
Agent. The original... and best, yes?
Artwork by Geoff Senior.
It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Marvel UK's classic character Death's Head. Created by Simon Furman, and first appearing in Marvel UK's TRANSFORMERS title as a bounty hunte... sorry, Freelance Peacekeeping Agent, Death's Head was part of several classic UK Transformers storylines. Along the way, he battled the likes of Galvatron, Shockwave, Cyclonus and Scourge and even Unicron! From the get-go, Mr. Furman knew his character was destined for great things... and Death's Head eventually moved on from the Transformers universe (via a certain Timelord... in a classic Dr. Who strip written by Mr. Furman and classic DH artist Geoff Senior) to the Marvel Universe. From there he went on to battle Dragon's Claws (another Furman/Senior classic) in Dragon's Claws issue 5, then star in his own 10 issue series, followed by a graphic novel which told Death's Head's origin story: Death's Head: The Body In Question (which features absolutely beautiful painted artwork from Mr. Senior!). He even went on to guest star in several US Marvel titles... including She-Hulk, Marvel Comics Presents and the Fantastic Four (which at the time was written and drawn by Walt Simonson, who had become a fan of the character).

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Auto Assembly 2010

This past weekend, I had the honour of being a guest at this years Auto Assembly convention, which was held at the Holiday Inn, in Birmingham. For those of you who don't know... Auto Assembly is a convention which is devoted to the popular line of Transformers toys, comics, cartoons and movies, and is the largest Transformers convention in Europe (and in my opinion, the best TF convention in the world!). This is my 6th Auto Assembly, and I can honestly say that it gets better each and every year. The atmosphere there is simply amazing... I feel like I'm in attendance with 570+ friends, who all share the same passions and interests that I have.

Among the other guests were the incredibly popular Nick Roche, artist on the hugely successful (and brilliant I may add) Transformers: Last Stand Of The Wreckers... recently published by IDW comics. Also there for the first time was writer James Roberts, who co-wrote the aforementioned series along with Nick.
Also making their first appearance at AA were Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster, who of course are responsible for the brilliant Transformers: The Ark and Transformers Animated Almanacs published by IDW. Transformers comic legend Simon Furman also made a very welcome return after missing last years AA. The usual suspects were there as well, including Liam Shalloo (who recently coloured some of my work for Clear Vision's line of SPIDER-MAN dvds. Cheers for the awesome work, bro!), fellow Welshman and all round good guy Kris Carter, Transformers: Animated artist Lee Bradley, and my bro Jason Cardy and the lovely Kat Nicholson (who are both working on an illustrated version of A Midsummer Nights Dream for Classical Comics... and trust me, even if you don't read Shakespeare you'll want to read this: the artwork has to be seen to be believed).
And finally, there were three guests of honour this year. First guest of honour was Garry Chalk, who is of course the voice of Optimus Primal in the very popular Transformers: Beast Wars and Beast Machines (and of course, went on to voice Optimus PRIME in Transformers: Armada/Energon/Cybertron). Second was the incredibly talented and charismatic Scott McNeil, who along with Garry starred in Beast Wars, providing the voices of Dinobot, Rattrap, Waspinator and my personal favourite Silverbolt. I tell you, just seeing Scott go from one voice to another is just amazing (check out this video here to see what I mean!!). And last but not least was Derrick J. Wyatt... who is the lead designer on the most recent Transformers: Animated cartoon and an amazing artist (Derrick drew me an AMAZING rendition of how Death's Head would have looked if he had appeared in the show. Thanks Derrick!!).

I can't begin to tell you what this weekend has meant to me, and how much I enjoyed it. Highlights of the weekend for me were the following:
  • Being presented a customized Transformers; Revenge of the Fallen Sideswipe figure by my 'little bro' Chris (who has recently passed his exams to join the RAF.... well done bro, I'm very proud of you!), and a wonderful Optimus Prime sketchbook, personalized with my name on the cover by Sam, a wonderful young lady as a thank you for a sketch I did for her last year. Thank you both... I'll treasure these :)
  • Being given a custom made Grimlock Helmet by Sarah, an incredible young lady who had made the best Grimlock cosplay costume I had ever seen! Both me and Simon Furman were awestruck when we saw it (during the comics panel on the saturday). Sarah is in the United States air force, and let me say I have unlimited respect for her. I had drawn a sketch for her featuring the Autobots Inferno and Red Alert, and she was so grateful she gave me the Grimlock helmet! Thank you Sarah... god bless, this will have pride of place amongst my Transformers collection.
  • Being bought an miniature Optimus Prime toy, plus a Takara Animated Grimlock by Hannah, who is the lovely daughter of organizers Simon and Trish plumbe. Hannah is a very special young lady and one of my bestest buddies in the world. Thank you lovely :)
  • Getting to meet Garry, Scott, Derrick, James, Bill and Jim for the first time. And of course... catching up with Kris, Liam, Lee, Simon and Nick. Plus it's always great to see Jase and Kat (love you guys!!)
  • Getting to share the stage with both Garry Chalk and Scott McNeil during the script reading on saturday night. This was a real honour to be on stage with those guys... although I think my interpretation of Wheelie will haunt poor Garry forever!!! (By the way, hats off to the attendees who participated in this script reading in the roles of Blackarachnia, Grimlock and yes, 'awesome' Michael Bay! Well done guys and gal, you were amazing!!)
  • Having Garry Chalk come up and shake my hand after my performance of Sweet Home Chicago on saturday nights karaoke. Garry had performed an awesome Blues set earlier on in the evening, and that made my night.
  • My photo shoot with Tori and Isa, who are the coolest cosplayers I know!! Thanks for such an awesome laugh.... I giggle every time I look at those pics!
  • Having James Roberts compliment me on my Incredible Hulk versus Death's Head strip, and telling me that in his opinion, it IS canon. Thanks James!!
  • Seeing folks again from previous AA's, and meeting many wonderful new people as well. It would take me too long to mention everyone, but it was just awesome to see you all!
  • And last but not least, THAT entrance. Yes, I have to say it... but having folks tell me that they loved THAT entrance really means a lot to me. During the opening ceremony, each guest walks on to the stage to theme music, kind of in a WWE/TNA wrestling style (something I have to admit I helped convince Simon Plumbe of doing a few years back!). At last years Auto Assembly, my theme music was Stone Cold Steve Austin's wrestling theme.. to which I played up too when walking on (well, just a little bit!). This year, Simon rang me and asked if was willing to go the full hog and walk on the Hulk Hogan's Real American theme. Me, having no shame whatsoever happily agreed to.. and let's just say the rest is history. I shall now and forever be known as Hollywood Williams, thanks to Mean Dean (thanks for playing along with this bro!). I've been picking boa feathers out of my clothes ever since..... :)
Again, I can't put into words how much I enjoyed this weekend.... after a pretty rough couple of months, this weekend was a god-send. Thank you to everyone who made this weekend so special... from Auto Assembly organizers Simon Plumbe and his wife Trish, and daughter Hannah; Martin Fisher (Mr. Awesome Man!), 'Mean' Dean Holdaway, Billy Edwards, Lola Gudgeon and the rest of the gang (I apologize if I've missed anyone!! Feel free to email/Facebook PM me to tell me off!); my fellow guests and of course, everyone in attendance who not only took the time to talk to me, buy sketches and have their comics signed... but took the time to ask how my mother was doing (my mother has not long come out of hospital after a couple of serious operations). It really meant a lot to me... thank you :)

So to finish off, let me just say this:

WHATCHA GONNA DO, WHEN SOULMANIA, TRANSORMANIA AND AUTO ASSEMBLY RUN WILD.... ON...... YOU!!!!!!!!

'Hollywood' Soulman and the Auto Assembly
cosplayers..... running wild!
An INCREDIBLE sketch of Death's Head...
drawn for me by Derrick J. Wyatt. I'd always
wondered how an animated version of
Death's Head would look... and now I know!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Marvel Heroes 25

Issue 25 of Panini Comic's MARVEL HEROES title is out today in all good UK newsagents.... and features an all-new INCREDIBLE HULK story drawn by yours truly. This is my second Hulk strip for the title (my first being in issue 5), and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.
This Hulktastic story is written by Marvel/Panini UK regular Ferg Handley, pencils by me and awesome inks by Gary Erskine. A Hulk-sized thanks to MARVEL HEROES Editor Ed Hammond for giving me this story to do... I had a blast drawing it, and hope you guys enjoy it!




Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Incredible Hulk and me.

Ever since I read my first Marvel comic back in 1977, I've been a fan of the Incredible Hulk. I don't know if it was Sal Buscema's awesome artwork, or the larger-than-life image of the Green Goliath (I suspect it was a little of both), but my four year old self just feel in love with the character. Several months later, the classic TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno debuted... but I was already a fan by then, collecting Marvel UK's MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL every week (I can remember wondering, even at that early age if the live-action Hulk would be wearing his ripped purple trousers!).

Since that very day, my life's ambition was to draw the Incredible one for Marvel Comics... something I am very, very proud to say I've been able to achieve. Since starting in the comics industry in 2003, I've drawn the Hulk several times -- the first time being a Hulk vs Thing battle in Panini Comic's SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN issue 100, and a couple of months after that a cover for the 2005 INCREDIBLE HULK Annual. From there I've gone on to draw three Incredible Hulk comic strips for the Panini/Marvel UK title MARVEL HEROES (the third of which featured the Hulk fighting another all-time favourite of mine, Death's Head -- which was another dream come true), a Hero Initiative cover for Marvel US's HULK #1 (printed in the Marvel/Hero Initiative HULK 100 Project Collection), drawn Hulk spot illos for SFX Magazine's preview feature for the 2008 INCREDIBLE HULK movie, and produced the cover and disc artwork for the entire line of UK Incredible Hulk cartoon DVD's... which include the classic 1966, 1982 and 1996 cartoon shows.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

The Mighty World Of Marvel

Back in the 1970's, the first comic I ever read was a Marvel UK comic by the name of The Mighty World Of Marvel. This title featured black and white reprints of US Marvel stories, with the Incredible Hulk it's lead strip. This title (along with Marvel UK's other line of comics) featured some beautiful cover artwork, especially produced for these UK collections by the US Marvel Bullpen. Here are some of my favourite ones... most of them featuring the artwork of Pablo Marcos, who after Sal Buscema is my favourite classic Hulk artist. Looking at these covers brings back some wonderful memories of a more innocent time. My thanks to my mum and dad for always making sure I had my weekly fix from the Mighty World Of Marvel.



Friday, 30 April 2010

First look at Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Here's the first official look at Chris Hemsworth as the title role in the upcoming THOR movie, which will be released next year:




Looking very good so far.... I'm glad they've kept the costume similar to the comic version :o)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sal Buscema... Comics Fast & Furious Artist

I've made no secret that my all-time favourite comic artist is the legendary Sal Buscema. A huge influence in my own work, Sal's dynamic artwork and excellent storytelling made him one of Marvel's most popular and well loved artists. Thanks to the Official Walt Simonson fanpage on Facebook, I found out that TwoMorrows Publishing has released a book solely devoted to Sal's career.. titled Sal Buscema: Comics Fast & Furious Artist.




This book features an excellent in-depth interview with Sal, who talks about his 40 year long career in comics (and still going strong!). He also discusses how he broke into the comics business and working with his brother, the equally legendary John Buscema. It also includes a gallery of his artwork... which features some of Sal's favourite published work, plus some of his own personal work as well. My copy of this book arrived the other day, and I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone who is a fan of this amazing artist. You can either order the book from TwoMorrows, or Amazon.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The 60th anniversary of EAGLE.... and Dan Dare.

With the 60th Anniversary of the classic UK boys comic Eagle upon us, I've been taking some time out to read the Dan Dare: Pilot Of The Future collections published by Titan Books.
Now, my first introduction to the Dan Dare character was during the 80's, when IPC Magazines relaunched the Eagle for a newer audience. This version of the comic was very different from it's '50's incarnation... who was originally created by artist Frank Hampson and was the headline character of the original comic (running on the front page for many years of the original titles run). This new Eagle was made up of mostly photo-strips, featuring characters such as Doomlord, Manix and Joe Soap. The Dan Dare strip featured was different from it's 50's predessessor as well, in the fact that although it was a traditional drawn strip... the title character wasn't the ORIGINAL Dan Dare, but in fact his great, great grandson - who took up the mantle to face his ancestors greatest enemy, the Mekon (who was indeed the original from the 50's strip... and had survived by being banished out of space inside a metor). The modern version featured some great stories, with wonderful artwork by the likes of Ian Kennedy, Carlos Cruz and Oliver Frey... and as a fan I was always intrigued to read the original Dan Dare's adventures. I was lucky enough to read a few, courtesy of re-prints/second hand books... but it wasn't until a couple of years ago when Titan started publishing the original stories in hardback form that I truly was able to appreciate how wonderful they are. Considering these stories where written and drawn in the 1950's, both the stories and the artist who produced them were well ahead of their time. The artwork, by Hampson and his studio is simply beautiful to behold... artwork in the early collections can look a little basic, but really comes into it's own from the collection Man From Nowhere (Safari In Space featuring some of the most beautiful work I've ever seen in comics). I'd recommend to anyone out there who loves good comic art to pick up these collections. For more information on where to get these wonderful collections, please click here.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Incredible Hulk Library interview with yours truly

Julio Molina-Muscara, who runs the excellent Incredible Hulk resource site incredible-hulk-library.com recently got in touch with me in regards to doing an interview for his site. As a long-time Hulk fan turned professional Hulk artist, it is a real joy for me to know that my artwork is being noticed by Hulk fans around the world. I'd like to thank Julio for this opportunity to be featured on his site.... you can check out the interview here.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The New Doctor

Saturday April 3rd, 2010.... a day that heralded the start of a new era for the long-running BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who. The highly anticipated first episode of the new series, now starring Matt Smith in the title role aired tonight.... and was the first full episode to feature the 11th Doctor. I'm not going to post a review of the show.... I just want to say that Matt Smith is FANTASTIC as the Doctor, and is a worthy successor to the excellent David Tennant, who raised the show to whole new levels of popularity during his tenure as the 10th Doctor. This episode also introduces us to the ever-so-slightly attractive Karen Gillan... who excels in her performance as new companion Amy Pond.

The 11th Doctor is here.... and the Tardis is in very good hands.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow

When I had heard that director Jon Favreau had cast Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow in the upcoming blockbuster sequel Iron Man 2, I had my doubts.... that is, until I saw this:



Iron Man 2, which also stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson will be in cinemas worldwide from May. You can visit the official site here.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

My work with Joe Rubinstein

Over this past year or so I've been honoured to work with one of my all-time favourite inkers, comics legend Joe Rubinstein. It was an absolute dream come true to work with one of my long-time favourite artists, and I am very proud to be able to share this work with you.




Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Bad Blood... the Vampire Saga has a name at last

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been working on my Vampire Saga story (which will be named BAD BLOOD: A VAMPIRE PROPHECY) for quite awhile now.... I first came up with the idea as a 14 year old who had been inspired by the Stephen King classic Salem's Lot, specifically the 1977 TV adaption starting David Soul and James Mason. My story has changed a lot since then, but elements from the story as written back in 1999/2000 will still be very prominent in the version that will see print. Here are some pages that I drew back then. The first one is something I'm still very proud of to this day, and hope to use somewhere in the final version. The second image is possibly the style of artwork I'll be going for... a watercolour wash, to separate it from my usual, old-school style superhero artwork. And the third, is a character design sketch for the master vampire. As it is though, I'll be doing something totally different for the main big-evil. Something totally different from any vampire ever seen before.....

The fourth image is a more recent piece featuring one of the lead-characters (the same character featured in the first piece of artwork). And believe me, this guy would eat both Team Edward and Jacob for breakfast...

Fingers crossed I'll have more to show and tell soon......

One of the main characters in
BAD BLOOD: A VAMPIRE PROPHECY.


An old page of artwork, from a previous version of the story.
Drawn around 1999-2000.
Character design sketch for the main, master vampire.


BAD BLOOD.



BAD BLOOD: A VAMPIRE PROPHECY and all related characters are ™ and © 2012 Simon Williams. Do not use without permission.

Monday, 29 March 2010

He's a cool exec with a heart of steel.....

I've just finished an Iron Man comic strip for Panini Comic's Marvel Heroes, which will appear in issue 23. This isn't my first time around drawing ol' Shellhead... I drew a couple of team-up issues featuring Iron Man teaming up with a certain wall-crawler in Panini's Spectacular Spider-man Adventures, and he's always been a particular favourite of mine to draw. However, aside from a spot illo a couple of years ago, this is the first time I've drawn him in the modern armour... which was hard to get the hang off at first (having been used to drawing the classic armour), but great fun once I got into it. Again, this story (written by James Peaty) will appear in issue 23 of Marvel Heroes, which I believe is out in a few months time.

No previews at the moment (until it sees print anyways), but here's a page from one of the Spider-man team-ups I drew... featuring Shellhead in all of his classic glory. Inks by Simon Ecob.

Friday, 19 March 2010

I bid you... welcome, to my home.....

And for my first post here, I thought I'd show you a character sketch from my upcoming creator-owned project, working title: Vampire Saga.

With the recent surge of Vampire related films, comics, TV series etc.. you may ask what will my upcoming Vampire project have that others do not?
Let's just say that I'm going to do my very best to make this one of the greatest character-driven horror stories in recent history. Wait and see... you'll see stuff in this you've NEVER seen before.

Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.....

Artwork and character © 2009 Simon Williams.