2014 11 07

Future Shock: The Story of 2000AD

Watched a preview of an entertaining, impeccably produced and directed documentary called Future Shock: The Story of 2000AD. It will appeal to anyone who is interested in 2000AD and also any creative person in almost any field. Plenty of examples on what to avoid with copyright issues and object lessons on how to get it right.

Thanks to Helen Mullane, Nick Harwood, Sean Hogan, Paul David Goodwin and the rest of the creative team and people I met on Friday!

Check out the Future Shock website and teaser trailer...!

In other news...

A number of showings at conventions over the next months are worth checking out. Thought Bubble in Leeds will be the next opportunity.


2014 10 30

Greysuit on the Cover of 2000AD

The Mighty Tharg asked for a cover illustration of a Greysuit agent... This is Family Man who has a scorched-earth approach to his hits. "Collateral Damage" could be another name for him, a cold-blooded killer. Tharg wanted an extreme perspective composition. I decided to do the cover as a traditional painting, as I wanted to get paint under my fingernails again after going digital for the story art.

With Sally Jane's colour using a dark muted palette in the strip - giving the story a layer of down dirty and moody - I used the cover as an opportunity to use strong complimentary colours to accentuate excitement and the jagged vibrancy of violence, contrasting exploding red, orange and yellows against cold blue.

For more background info on the Greysuit cover (and many other 2000AD covers), check out Pete Wells' excellent website 2000AD Covers Uncovered!


2014 10 01

Greysuit Returns to 2000AD

The first episode of Greysuit series 3 is finally appearing in 2000AD, prog 1901!

I first talked to Matt Smith (AKA The Mighty Tharg, editor of 2000AD)and Pat Mills (writer of Greysuit)about the latest book in the Greysuit saga in 2010. Pat was too busy to even think about it then. In 2011 I was talking to DC about Before Watchmen (which was also a long time starting) but then smack in the middle of its run, I got Pat's first script, in May 2012... which sat in my in tray until the beginning of 2013 when I finally put pencil to paper.

Another aspect of this series - after the massive length of time from script to print date - it is the first time I have used a digital tablet for pencils and ink. I felt this gave a dark and dirty feel to a world of murderous hit-men and hard ball-crunching bastards. The Wacom digital tablet allowed me to give a line style that can have the immediacy of a high-contrast black and white photo; mainly because it is a high-contrast black and white photo - with some additional line work and digital tweaking.


2014 08 18

I'm With Geek interviews John Higgins!

Thanks to Sarah Wagner for my latest on-line interview!


2014 07 15

London Film & Comic Con

LFCC 2014 was the biggest one yet, according to Mike Conroy. Thanks to Cassandra and Mike for keeping the whole thing running smoothly over the weekend while dealing with the constant pressure of such a massive undertaking.

The Comics Zone was packed on both days which kept me at the table sketching and talking to comic enthusiasts all weekend. My Watchmen connection brings in such a diverse and interesting group of people - a number of whom said it was the first graphic novel they had ever read and it had created an interest in reading more comics - so having copies of Razorjack with me worked out rather well as it sold out on the Saturday. Good to know they found the evil bitch interesting enough to shell out for!

A big thank you of course to Sally Jane and to Rob Ewing who help out all day Saturday and also entertained the queue when I was called away for an interview. Not sure his song and dance routine was necessary but it stopped people from getting bored, I am sure.


2014 06 24

London Comic Mart, June 29th

John will be a guest at one of the oldest, most well-established comic marts in British comics on 29th June - the famous London Comic Mart, taking place at the Royal National Hotel, London, WC1H 0DG.

John will be signing the latest paperback edition of Before Watchmen, and will also have original pages of Curse of the Crimson Corsair (and loads of other stuff!) come and say hello!


2014 06 17

Free Comic-book Day, Forbidden Planet, Southampton

The free comic-book day at Forbidden Planet Southampton was a fun and successful day for everyone involved at FP, so said Steve the manager.

We did a full afternoon of business, loads of sketches and, according to Steve, Razorjack was the top seller of the day, very satisfying for me - my monstrous baby is still snarling and spitting out at the world. So a big thank you to Sally, Steve, James and Phil and all the FP staff who attended to my creature comforts. Talking comics with the customers, regulars and newbies, was top notch.

If you need a Titan Razorjack edition check it out here for the special price of 11.99!


Graphic Brighton - 24th May 2014

This was the inaugural Graphic Brighton, which you could say was at the other end of the convention/expo spectrum as it is possible to get from Calgary. It was around the corner from where I live (no jet lag) a tiny little jewel of a convention, maybe even describing it as a convention is not the right nomenaclature. But what it had in common with the big international expos was the enthusiasum for our medium and the care and attention to detail it took in all things. The panels were varied and informative.

I do have to mention the pleasure I had of sharing a panel with Daniel Locke. I am from mainstream stream comic illustration publishing background and Daniel is from alternative artistic background. When the organizers put us together, I really could not see what we had in common and wondered about the decision, but what I found was we did have a lot in common and the different approach to making graphic stories made an interesting, thought provoking and I hope entertaining panel as we came from such disparet ends of the creators spectrum.

I hope it is the start of a long life for Graphic Brighton!


2014 06 09

John's Report: Calgary Expo 2014

I have said before how much I love travelling to new and interesting places, and one of the pleasures of being a comic creator is you do get that opportunity by invitation - but I have also said in the past one of the problems with travelling to see these wonderful places and lovely people, is you have to get from home to this new Shangri La. But I can happily say this time it was as good as it can get, the holiday started from the moment we left home as I decided rather than the vagaries and stresses of trying to get to the airport on the day for an early flight we would spend a night in a B+B close to the airport. Not only was it convenient but we also found the best curry meal you can ever have is in South-west London. Hounslow, to be specific.

Maybe not the best last meal to have before you fly internationally but in this case it sat like a baby's rusk, settled warm and comfortable in my tummy and no other passenger suffered my previous evening's curry enjoyment. The security was bearable but the Air Canada flight was bliss, I had a full row of seats to stretch out on, the service was as good as you expect from a national airline and the flight of 13 hours slipped comfortably past. Only one complaint - the plane landed before I saw the last 10 minutes of Frozen.

What is the difference between, SDCC, Supanova or the Calgary Expo? Nothing, they are all massive and highly successful celebrations of popular media, film and comics, incredibly well run and impeccably organized, with a bunch of organizers and volunteers that are among the nicest people I have the pleasure of spending time with.

I was so very busy at my table over the Expo weekend that I didn't even manage to meet up with David Lloyd (V for Vendetta, ACES Weekly) who was at the other end of the cavernous exhibition centre. But I did manage to see him in Brighton for Graphic Brighton the following month. My table kept me busy all weekend with just one panel duty this con. I have had the pleasure of being on panels with many talented people in the past, my heroes and friends, but I have to make a special mention to Brian Haberlin who is not only one of the most talented artist creator and colourist around but also incredibly generous with the time we shared, he expressed an interest in listening to me and well after my allotted time I had to force him to do his presentation and boy do I wish he had spoken first.

I am not a huge fan of digital bells and whistles on graphic novels as usually they are just bells and whistles and do not take the story any further on, but Brian showed an app that was associated with his flat hard-copy graphic novel which I felt was the best synthesis I had ever seen for incorporating digital story telling (called UAR) and the effects can be updated regularly and will still work with your old copy, phenomenal! Check him out here.

I can't get away from reminders of the only city in the world that counts, Mega City 1. Here is a covered Mall that is linked by a series of connecting over-road walkways that cover Calgary, no matter what the weather, shopping or eating anywhere in a cold and snow blasted city is just a warm wander over roads into and out of multiple building complexes, just mind-blowingly similar to my favourite fictional city Meg 1.

Thanks to the fans, interesting and knowledgeable who came up to my table with, of course, Watchmen and the other one ... mmm - The Killing Joke. But also some of my really early stuff, and Razorjack did her snarling best with new readers, bless her evil and black immortal heart.


2014 05 22

Graphic Brighton - 24th May 2014

John writes: I am going to be in Brighton on Saturday for Graphic Brighton. It is going to be neat to go to a comic event close to home for a change and funny enough, David Lloyd will be doing his slick professional presentation there also. Considering we both went to Calgary last month and we did not meet up is pretty weird, so the Guinness is on me this weekend, David!


2014 05 09

New Gallery - Convention Commissions!

As you might expect, John is regularly commissioned to create artwork for fans, and conventions are the best time for this to happen! If you're planning to attend a particular convention where John will be a guest, you can get in touch with him beforehand and when you arrive your commissioned work will be finished and waiting for you...


2014 04 09

Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo - April 24-27

John writes:

Sally and I have designed and illustrated a second Twist Bitch poster (below) specially for our Calgary appearance. This one is called Twist Bitch Braide. If you do not yet know what these creatures are...

1. Why have you not bought the Titan Collected Edition of Razorjack?

2. The Twist Bitches are modified super warriors, part female and part other things - animal, insect and alien. Stolen or harvested from their birth mothers at three years of age, and changed by Razorjack - twisting and blending their basic DNA into something more than human. And after a decade of training in all forms of martial arts they are turned into implacable killing automatons, bred for one thing only: to do Razorjack's bidding, which is "KILL!" Faces of angels and black hearts of demons.

Braide's sharp teeth indicate her predeliction for...? Ask me at Calgary!


2014 04 09

Report: Paris Manga and SciFi Show

Paris was the first con of the 2014 and I must say I was not looking forward to it at all, after getting back from such an incredible Antipodean end to my convention trips of 2013, Supanova. I felt nothing was going to live up to the heights of organization and consideration of those cons in Brisbane and Adelaide. And no way was any sunshine going to be as sun-shining as Australian sunshine. Plus I had so much work to catch up on, Christmas, that big surprise at the end of the year didn't help, I was well behind on everything (sorry Matt - editor of 2000AD - Greysuit Series 3 will be finished this year. I promise!) So I was in a foul mood when we arrived in Paris. Not helped by being taken out to the wet, windswept building-site suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux and the hotel.

I now apologize to Sally for being such a grump and to thank everyone involved in the Paris Manga and SciFi Show for making it such a top event, particularly Patrick Chaduc and Guilliame Bresch for organizing our trip with such care and attention to detail, and hosting all the invited guests with such flair and Gallic charm. I now cannot think of a better way of starting the new year of conventioneering. I met up with a bunch of great people and brilliant artists. The convention was packed with all things Manga and SciFi related and of course comics too. The French fans (plus one Scot and one Australian) kept me working from the moment I sat down on Saturday until I stood up to leave on Sunday night, with impeccable patience and forbearance as I tried to fit everyone in, so thank you to all who asked for commissions at the con, but a special thanks to Gilles Bled and Florent Steffany who gave me the opportunity on private commissions before the event to give them a finish in the studio that it is not possible to do on the day.

I think I must have the memory of a gnat, as yet again I go to a conventions not wanting to leave the studio, with deadlines looming, but I am reminded yet again it can be one of the best parts of the job, and I come back recharged with all cylinders firing ready to meet the deadlines and all the tasks of being a comic artist. A final apology to the wet, windswept building-site suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux. I have never been to a suburb anywhere else in the world that would feature as many four-star restaurants - within a five-minute walk of the hotel - with not one McDonald's or KFC to be seen anywhere.


2014 01 08

SUPANOVA 2013 - Brisbane and Adelaide

It is now the start of the new year of 2014 and time to do the last report on the final convention for me of 2013.

My trip to Supanova - Brisbane and Adelaide started with 23 hours on a plane, but boy was it worth it! I have done many, many conventions this year and enjoyed all of them. Considering they all have the same aim - to meet, greet, show work, promote Razorjack, talk about Watchmen, Dredd, John Constantine and the rest - they are all just a little different, the same but with their own individual personalities.

Supanova was one of the friendliest of 2013, and was the first one that gave me the sense of it being just one big happy family, with almost all the organizers and helpers seemingly being together since day one of the very first Supanova organized in 2002, and with most of the attendees knowing each other before they come to join in on a three-day celebration of all things comic and movie related.

And anything written by George RR Martin, who was one of many top guests I met at Brisbane and Adelaide.

The fans were incredibly knowledgeable and it still amazes me I can travel around the world and they know of my work.

We landed in Brisbane around 08:30 on the Thursday morning, after a quick freshen up, I went straight to Griffiths University to be a visiting lecturer and assessor of students' final year animation. Top-notch stuff it was too. I was helped and gently directed by Andi, Louise and Pete as we went through the work. I reckon we will be seeing the next Shrek or Toy Story coming from these artists in the future.

Griffith University was just the kick-start to the Supanova trip that I needed!

I am now looking forward to the cons we will do in 2014, the first one being Paris Manga/Sci Fi Show, Feb 89.

For more on John's antipodean trip, check out the latest Postcard from Alternity!


Please get in touch if you have any queries, or if you can help provide cover scans (or other information) for the bibliography.