Thursday, 28 November 2013

Strange Kids Club


Just a quick link to a Scream! based interview I did way back in 2011. Strange Kids Club is a website celebrating all that is weird in geekdom. Covering films, comics, animation, toys and a whole host of nutty, nerdy stuff, it's worth a bookmark if you're looking to sate the appetite of your inner child.

Here's the inteview in full. http://www.strangekidsclub.com/2011/10/28/in-comics-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-an-interview-with-tim-west/

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Snapper & Drilby in Something Wicked 09


One of the finest publishers of indie comics, FutureQuake Press, creators of the well-known 'Zarjaz' and 'Dog Breath' 2000AD fanzines, have recently released their latest annual horror anthology SOMETHING WICKED. Inside this year's issue is a 4 page story written by your truly and illustrated by the awesomely talented Ben Michael Byrne.

My tale of terror, 'Snapper and Drilby', begins as Inspector Varley, of her Majesty's Police Force, wakes to find himself bound to a chair opposite his main suspect in a series of gruesome murders.

If you want to read the story in full, along with 11 other ripping yarns, head over to the Futurequake Comicsy Shop and purchase Something Wicked 09.

You can see more of Australian artist BMB's work by taking a look at his apocalypse survival web comic Kranburn which is well worth a read.

To find out more about this ace anthology, visit the FutureQuake Blog.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Hallowscream 2013

Bit of a delay getting this posted here due to illness but better late than never. Ghosts and ghoulies, feast your eyes on this.



The fifth annual Hallowscream! Hallowe’en Special is here! Available to download as a totally free pdf file, this year’s comic features 96 pages of shocks and scares to chill your blood over the Samhain season! We’ve also uploaded an horrific hi-res version this year, to give the gore and ghosties an extra gloss.
Here Are The Download Links :
Lo-res Version (file size = 46.3mb) :      MEDIAFIRE      DROPBOX
Hi-res Version (file size = 125mb) :       MEDIAFIRE     DROPBOX
You can also read the issue online at :      ISSUU

Full contents of the terrors lurking behind that gloriously icky cover by “The Gurch” are as follows…
Page 3 : Pumpkin Soup  Art & Recipe by Simon Mackie
Page 4 : A Mother’s Devotion Story by Chris Charlton, Art by Rowel Roque, Letters by Brant W. Fowler
Page 9 : Bestiary of Beasties : Lurking Tut Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 10 : 6 Seconds To Die by Gordon Innes
Page 17 : And Now A Few Words From Our Sponsors Story by Stu Perrins, Art by Israel Huertas
Page 19 : Wicked Stepmother Story & Art by Philip Sneyd
Page 23 : The Claws of The Catman Story by Paul Bristow, Art by Andy Lee
Page 29 : A Grim Tale : No Bones About It Story by ‘Clark Holland’, Art by Malcolm Kirk.
Page 31 : Empty Story by Chris Charlton, Art by Gregory Woronchak, Letters by Brant W. Fowler
Page 39 : Curse of The Season Story & Art by Carol Kewley ( Merry Xmas Everybody lyrics © Copyright Slade 1973 )
Page 43 : Terrorvision Guide by Malcolm Kirk
Page 44 : Hellevator Story & Art by Paul Gordon Innes
Page 48 : Apocalypse The Board Game Concept & Colour by Tim West, Illustration by Mike Legan
Page 50 : Home Is Where The Heart Is Story by Tim West, Art by The PXD
Page 55 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Spring-Heeled Jackalope Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 56 : Full Moon Jacket Story & Art by Gordon Innes
Page 59 : All The Fun of The Fair Story by Jamie Lambert, Art by The PXD, Letters by Tim West
Page 63 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Pear Wolf Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 64 : Artificial Unintelligence Story by Chris Charlton, Art & Letters by Joe Badon
Page 72 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Crypt Id Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 73 : Hair Scare! Story & Art by Gordon Innes
Page 77 : Run Story by Chris Sides, Art by Simon Bennett Hayes, Letters by Chris Travell
Page 83 : Dead by Dawn ZX Spectrum Game Advertisement
Page 84 : Many Happy Returns Story & Art by Michael Crouch
Page 89 : The North Wind Doth Blow Story & Art by Russell Hillman
Page 90 : Help! Mummy! Story & Art by Simon Mackie
Page 91 : Bestiary of Beasties : The Glook-Gonk Article & Illustration by Malcolm Kirk
Page 92 : Happy Family Story by David Stoddart, Art by Graham Stoddart
Page 95 : Hierophantom’s Poeticorner : Ghost Train by Paul Bradford, Art by Eric Hurley
…and…
Page 96 : Back Cover Skull by Malcolm Kirk
Previous issues of Hallowscream are available to download from backfromthedepths.co.uk/hallowscream or you can buy real-life monochrome paperback versions from Lulu.com.
HAPPY HALLOWE’EN!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Anti-Social Network

This little one paged freak show appeared on the back cover of the first ever issue of AAIIEEE!!! and also in Paragon #13 both available here. Paragon's master of ceremonies, Dave Candlish, put out a shout for a one page horror script to fill a gap in his comic. Your's truly beat the competition to win prize place and have the script drawn by Dave himself. Enjoy...


Friday, 27 September 2013

The Wanbies

Huzzah, it's Friday! Let's celebrate it with a lovely comic strip. The Wanbies first appeared in issue 4 of Hallowscream and is drawn by the awesome Neil McClements. Like a knight in shining armour Neil stepped in at the final hour after the original artist was forced to drop out due to personal reasons. What a ledge!




Yours truly was on lettering duty for this bad-boy. Done in Photoshop. Skillz.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Teddy Bears Picnic

As a writer of scripts, there's nothing better than snagging a badass artist to draw your story. For this two page tale of terror I was lucky enough to find Glen Ostrander, a gloriously talented penciller. I'd been saving this story for a while as it required an awesome artist to pull it off. It appeared in the 2011 edition of Hallowscream.




When starting off as a writer, you're blind to many of the faults within your own scripts. It's a bit of a Dunning-Kruger situation; you're not aware of the errors within your story, because you're not skilled enough to see them. With this story, I could tell I was on to a sure fire winner.

Short one or two page horror stories are the best so it ticked that box. Taking a classic such as the Teddy Bears Picnic song and giving it a twist also works because EVERYONE knows it. Tick. The familiarity is already there so I could just concentrate on telling yarn as quickly as possible.

The length of the words I was using from the song dictated the number of panels and length of strip. The rhythm of the six lines of the song worked perfectly as six panels on the first page, with the seventh and final line demanding it's own splash page.

It was like the coming together of pieces of stone tablet, an alignment of planets, the formation of Girls Aloud - just pause and take in the full horror of the artwork on that second page. Proper nasty, love it.

Me in the Meg

Here's an article from the Judge Dredd Megazine dating back to November 2011, where I get a name check and a couple of quotes, in an story about 80's IPC horror title, Scream! As the creator of the Scream! fan site www.backfromthedepths.co.uk I was contacted by a chap called Matthew Badham who wanted to ask a few questions about the site. I'm fairly certain he didn't mention the Meg at any point so it was a lovely surprise when I received am email from a friend letting me know I was in this awesome publication.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Pirates

Really should have added an exclamation mark to the title of this comic!!!

Pirates, arted by the skilled Nathan Allen, appeared in the 2011 issue of Hallowscream.

Like the previous comic strip, I'd mark this script down as one from the 'early years'. By that, I mean it's more of a mind-vomit script writing style, rather than the more measured writing approach that I have no adopted, that involves thinking more, checking spelling, editing and re-editing, and generally being increasingly mature and considerably more poncy.



Friday, 6 September 2013

2000AD Forum Art Competition Entries

I like the 2000AD forum. Apart from being the home of the galaxy's greatest comic and full of enthusiastic comic loving perps it is also a location visited many of the UK's indie comic creators. It's a sweaty, thrashing, hotbed of talented comic folk.

One of the most enjoyable sections of the forum is the monthly themed art competition. Each month a new topic is decided and everyone gets busy drawin', sketchin', scribllin' a piece of art for the comp. Prizes are at stake but I'll never win because some of the people who enter are really fucking good.

You've got to be in it to win it. Here's 3 attempts by me, one of which did win me a Tharg's choice award and a free GN.






You can see some of the more recent, and better, competition entries by visiting the Facebook Page.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Day I Commissioned An Artist

Roughly two months to go until All Hallows Eve and the release of a horrorific new Hallowscream. The ghosts and ghouls are busy finishing off their comics strips and we'll expect an influx of artwork in the next the weeks. One of these incoming stories is written by yours truly as I always like to have some sort of presence within a Hallowscream (we're no making these for just shits and giggle).

I've also been toying with a concept for a while called Apocalypse: The Board Game. This is a hybrid comic strip type illustration that suits the Hallowscream style we try to copy from Scream!

This 'board game' is a simple snakes and ladders type game where players must roll a dice and advance along a path until they reach the end. Along the 'evolutionary path' there are various apocalyptic dangers which slow down a player's progress. It's a cute little idea and all done in the name of fun.

I twice attempted to draw this myself but in the end I've decided to commission an artist to draw it instead. It would take me a considerable amount of time and I know I'd never be happy with it. To keep the costs down I'll be colouring it myself on the Wacom Bamboo.

I've never paid for an artist before so it was quite an educating experience. Initially I placed an advert on the Deviant Art forum which scored a high number of responses (30) of which only (4) were any good. Most just didn't suit the style I was after.

In the end I contacted an artist direct, after seeing their posts on ConceptArt.org. The artist is Mike Legan http://michaellegan.blogspot.co.uk/ and I'm vert much looking forward to what he does with the idea.


Friday, 23 August 2013

It Wasn't Me

It's Friday so let's enjoy an old comic strip what I did write back in 2010. This story was ably drawn by the talented Carol Kay and appeared in the second edition of everyone's favourite horror anthology, Hallowscream!





Friday, 16 August 2013

Mr Fatty

Next up from the back catalogue is Mr Fatty first published in Hallowscream 2010. This strip was actually drawn by my own fair hand, although technically I did in fact cheat (see below).



I claim to have drawn this myself but the vast majority of the imagery was indeed borrowed. The backgrounds are all genuine images that have been distorted, and the characters within the strip are traced from other comics such as Eagle and Scream! That's the magic of Photoshop.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Hallowscream 5 Cover - Sneak Preview

Unable to contain my excitement any longer, I've decided to post a special sneak preview especially for the few thousand* viewers of this blog.

* Figure may or may not be accurate**
** It's bollocks!

Specially created for the 5th edition of everyone's favourite indie horror anthology, this piece of original artwork was produced by the most excellent of horror artists, The Gurch. This is nasty!



The Gurch is a stalwart of the horror comics scene, most famous for his disturbing imagery in the 80's horror comic Gore Shriek. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long relationship bewteen 'The G' and Back from the Depths.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Mostly Haunted

There's only so many short 1-2 page stories you can write before needing to branch out to larger tales of terror. 'Mostly Haunted' is a 5 page parody of the UK TV show 'Most Haunted'. It appeared in the 2009 issue of Hallowscream.

Again, I sketched the layout for this strip, I even drew a different version with pencils and inked the lines! It was, however, not really up to standard so this version was kindly drawn by artist Carol Kay.
Drawing layouts myself allowed me to control exactly what I wanted from the artist. It's not really something I do anymore, having learned to trust artists to deliver my scripts in their own special way.






Friday, 9 August 2013

Research and Facts make for a Better Story

I have an idea for a new story that's been simmering in the lab for the last few months. I've written a very rough draft of the main plot points but have yet to dive in to writing the script. It's going to be between 2 and 4 standard comic book issues long. That's roughly anywhere between 40-90 pages.

The story will be set at an American funeral home with many of the action scenes taking place in a nearby graveyard. An ideal place for a gruesome tale of murder, mutilation, and malintent!

Now, it's easy to just whip out the pen and get busy with the wizzy but, as I've never been to an American funeral home, it makes sense to do a bit of research on the matter first. There are plenty of writing websites that tell you to, "write what you know." Eager writers will charge head first in to brain-story-spewing on a subject they no little about. I is not one of those.

Research and knowledge of a subject will help you to write a better story.


EXAMPLE

I've written a 6 page war story, which is soon to appear in that most marvellous of small press anthologies, Massacre For Boys. Without proper research on WWI theatres of war, weaponry and locations, the story would have been factually incorrect.

"So What", I hear you cry. Who cares if I had included tanks in the story when factually there were very few German tanks in production, let alone operating in the Middle East during the time the story was set? For some this doesn't matter. For others, the glory is in the details, so why no tickle the pedant's balls and satisfy his needs in your story.

Knowing my facts and figures also helped to drive the plot. Using the details I had discovered opened new options for sub-plots, twists, and plot-devices, that were unknown prior to the research. Without my improved knowledge I'd have been writing a story based on war scenes I'd watched in Carry On films and Hollywood movies. AKA, Bullshit!

Your artist will have to do research in order to get visual reference for authentic imagery of weapons, uniforms, stuff and tings. Why not make it easier for them by helping with that research. In this case, I was able to supply the artist with a visual reference of the location of the story, including a Google Maps reference point, showing a fort that was ideal for the story.



Returning to my new story, I wanted to make it more authentic so began researching American funeral homes. I'm not saying go to the library and borrow 15 encyclopedias. No one wants a story that's all fact and no fiction! Just do a bit of Googling.

This base research helped me to focus on possible plot issues within the story. Whilst surfing, I came across information on Mormon funerals, which sounded interesting. Delving further I found some Mormon religious principles fitted perfectly in to the main plot line. Boom! I'm doing it Mormon style.

This choice has been vastly beneficial to the whole story. Rather than just some boring, average American funeral home, I now have a theme that effects every aspect of the story. The setting. The character's clothing, their attitude to their jobs, to each other, to outsiders. The unique processes of a Mormon funeral service.

This is the meat upon the bones of a story.

Realism will help to draw the audience in. It will flesh out the characters, giving them personality, hopes and desires. Realism will generate interest. It will give your scenarios and situations more depth. Realism will make the reader think you're a better writer, having actually bothered to do some research rather than just making stuff up.



If you've ever worked in sales, you'll know that product knowledge is a key factor to completing a sale. Sure, there are some who can just chat shit and walk away with a huge order. For most, having a good understanding of what you are selling will help you to close the sale. It's the same as doing a presentation. If you know what you're talking about, you'll sound more professional and confident. This can be applied to writing - If you know the subject you are writing about you'll be a better writer. Being a confident and well researched writer means you'll try more literary tricks, or use different dialect or spoken language for certain characters.

Being confident in your understanding of the subject matter will reflect in your writing.



Being generally clueless about Mormon funerals I've recently purchased a PDF article from the University of Mormons (not its real name) titled 'Last Rites and the Dynamics of Mormon Liturgy'. It's a thrilling ride, 33 pages of tightly packed intrigue and explosions...no, no it's not, but it will give me the insight to craft a superior narrative.


When purchasing this formidable study from the University of Mormons (still not its real name) website, it continually asked me to check my address was correct. Nothing unusual when buying online, but I have a nagging feeling I'm in for a lifetime of Mormon literature being posted through my door.

Buzz

This was my second story, which again, was drawn by the talented Andrew Milne, and appeared in Hallowscream 2009. At this time, myself and some comic loving buddies were planning our first Hallowscream.



As you can see from below I had sketched an initial first page, which I believed made use of a very clever optical illusion. Unfortunately this idea was pooh-poohed by the artist as unworkable. Rather that waste the excellent creepy imagery of the reveal page I sketched a another page with an alternative story.




The artist took both these pages and reworked them in to a single page, and a great job he did. However, as the artist re-scripted the story, I no longer feel 100% comfortable claiming this is a story that I’d written. Based on my idea, sure, but some anal writing nuance means I can never truly claim it as my own.

This isn’t really a problem. The script was done in the spirit of collaboration and I’m cool with that. These were my early frontier days of script writing and I was still finding my feet.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

FutureQuake Strip Assigned an Artist

Good news, everyone. A two page script titled 'The Travelling Salesman' which had been approved by the legends over at FutureQuake Press has been assigned an artist.

Matthew Harrower, whose blog can be found here, is an illustrator and graphic designer. This is Matt's first crack at a FutureQuake script and, I believe, his first attempt at drawing someone else's script!



The guys at FQP have chosen well.  Matt's distinct, scratchy and raw style is a perfect match for the script. Exciting times, ahoy!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Stone The Crows


This was my first comic strip since I was a wee child. I'm a huge fan of one page shockers and this fits the bill perfectly. It appeared in the 2009 issue of Hallowscream.

The idea for this strip came while driving past signs advertising the Belbroughton Scarecrow Weekend. The signs had lifeless scarecrows hanging off them and of course my finely tuned horror brain kicked in to gear.

Originally titled 'Scarecrow Scare', I actually sketched this bad-boy out myself but was fortunate to have the skilled Andrew Milne on hand to draw it proper like.

A pleasant surprise in my Inbox

I had this lovely image sent to me today from artist Pete https://twitter.com/thepxd that shows his pencils for the first page of a 5 page script I've written called Home Is Where The Heart Is, set to appear in this year's Hallowscream.

Pete's drawn some lovely tight lines and I have high hopes for a top notch strip when it's finished. Hopefully he'll have all 5 pages drawn and inked sometime in September. It's then over to me for lettering duties.

This story is kinda based on the little old lady I purchased my house from, just with an evil twist.


What's the point?

The purpose of this blog is to keep a record of comic related activities I am involved in. I'll be updating this page with strips, scripts, artwork and info relating to any and all comic mischief I get up to.

If I had to categorize myself in the comics world then I would be under the banner of Editor/Writer. However, I'm dabbling in the fine art of comic colouring and getting better and better and lettering. You could call me a jack(ass) of all trades - except for art.

I'm not really an artist, yet I'm not terrible at art - just not very good. I can clearly see the images I am after in my head but when it comes to translating them onto paper something goes horribly wrong. I do plan to get better but I know I'll never be good enough to comfortably draw a comic strip I would be proud of.

I'll be starting by uploading some old strips, in chronological order. Hopefully this will help show the progression I've made as a writer.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

New Blogger Site

After a considerable amount of mincing I stumbled upon a section of Blogger that informed me I can set up a new blog at the click of one singular button as I already have an account.

As this saves me a bit of time setting up another website I'm just going to use this instead.

Welcome to the Danger Geek blog. Buckle up, we're going on an adventure.