February 2021

Very quick fan art of Matt Garvey from back in October, drawn in procreate.

Some other stuff from the sketchbook…

Pull List – January 2021

13/01/21

  • Sentient (W) Jeff Lemire (A/CA) Gabriel Walta (L) Steve Wands

15/01/21

  • Redfork (W) Alex Paknadel (A/CA) Nil Vendrell, Giulia Brusco (L) Ryan Ferrier

20/01/21

  • Hicotea HC (W) Lorena Alvarez (A/CA) Lorena Alvarez

Couldn’t resist picking up some titles from the recent TKO STUDIOS sale on comixology. Hicotea, the follow up to Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez was a lovely surprise gift from my wife, highly recommended.

Pull List – December 2020

17/12/20

  • Solid Blood #17 (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn (L) Rus Wooton
  • Barbalien Red Planet #2 (W) Tate Brombal (A/CA) Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire (L) Aditya Bidikar
  • Fire power #6 (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson (L) Rus Wooton
  • The Plot #7 (W) Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel (A/CA) Josh Hixson (C) Kurt Michael Russell (L) Jim Campbell
  • The Autumnal #3 (W) Daniel Kraus (A/CA) Chris Shehan, Jason Wordie (L) Jim Campbell
  • I Walk with Monsters #1 (W) Paul Cornell (A) Sally Cantirino, Dearbhla Kelly (L) Andworld Design (CA) Nathan Gooden, Tim Daniel
  • Origins #2 (of 6) (W) Clay Chapman (A/CA) Jakub Rebelka, Patricio Delpeche (L) Jim Campbell
  • Crossover #2 (W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe (L) John J. Hill
  • Stealth TP (W) Mike Costa (A) Nate Bellegarde, Tamra Bonvillain (L) Sal Cipriano (CA) Jason Howard

Fire Power #6 was EPIC! such a great end to the second arc, the choreography by Samnee continues to blow my mind with each issue.

Finally got my hands on a print copy of Stealth by Mike Costa, Nate Bellegarde, Tamra Bonvillain, Sal Cipriano & Jason Howard. I’m a HUGE fan of Nate’s work so I was ecstatic to learn about this series and his return to drawing comics at Image again after his outstanding run on Nowhere Men. If, like me you missed out on Stealth due to lockdown/speculators I’d highly recommend picking up this trade.

Solid Blood #17 was a MASSIVE surprise this month, an awesome homage by Kirkman, Ottley & Rathburn to all the early 90’s Image books that defined the period. It’s clear Ryan Ottley had a blast here with overly elaborate character designs, splash pages and his signature spatter practically featuring on every page. The inks by Cliff Rathburn are equally impressive, his colouring perfectly evokes the retro style of books like WildC.A.T.S, Stormwatch, Prophet, etc… and THAT paper, oh boy… just glorious… so great to read a book printed on newsprint again!

  • Batman Black and White #1 (of 6) (W) Various (A) Various

I love collections like this, different interpretations of a well known character by various creative teams/creators. I’ve read the previous volumes and couldn’t resist grabbing this latest issue as I’d already seen some previews of Greg Smallwood’s art for “Metamorphosis” written by G. Willow Wilson with letters by Clem Robbins (above).

  • Wonder Woman Dead Earth #4 (W) Daniel Warren Johnson (A/CA) Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer
  • Hedra (W) Jesse Lonergan (A/CA) Jesse Lonergan
  • INVINCIBLE #1 (LCSD 2020 GOLD FOIL LOGO) (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Cory Walker

29/12/20

  • 2000 AD #2212 XMAS 2020 SPECIAL (W) Various (A) Various
  • Katsuhiro Otomo (Seisei) (French) Paperback (W/A/CA) Katsuhiro Otomo
  • Nightlights Vol 1 (W) Lorena Alvarez (A/CA) Lorena Alvarez
  • Marvel Greatest Comics: 100 Comics that built a universe (W) Melanie Scott, Stephen Wiacek

Got some great gifts this Christmas, hope you all had a good one!

Pull List – November 2020

14/11/20

  • Wolverine Black, White & Blood #1 (of 4) (W) Various (A) Various
  • Fire power #5 (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson (L) Rus Wooton
  • Crossover #1 (W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe (L) John J. Hill
  • Origins #1 (of 6) (W) Clay Chapman (A/CA) Jakub Rebelka, Patricio Delpeche (L) Jim Campbell
  • Girl TP (W) Peter Milligan (A/CA) Duncan Fegredo, Nathan Eyring (L) Ellie De Ville
  • The Scumbag #1 (W) Rick Remender (A/CA) Lewis LaRosa, Moreno DiNisio (L) Rus Wooton
  • Grit #1 (W) Brian Wickman (CA) Mark Laszlo (A) Kevin Castaniero, Simon Gough (L) Micah Myers
  • Hellboy & The BPRD The Seven Wives Club (W) Mike Mignola (A) Adam Hughes (L) Clem Robins (CA) Mike Mignola, Dave Stewart
  • Stillwater #2 (W) Chip Zdarsky (A/CA) Ramon K. Perez, Mike Spicer (L) Rus Wooton

Wolverine Black, White & Blood has firmly rekindled my early nineties obsession with the art of Adam Kubert, still undoubtably one of my favourite artists on Wolverine. Weapon X has never looked so good in “The beast within them” (below), I mean look at those pages, 32 panels of sheer jaw dropping detail, AMAZING! As a teenager, the Kubert’s were my comic art GODS, the image of Magneto ripping the adamantium from Logan in X-Men #25 by Andy is permanently seared into my brain along with the page by Adam in Wolverine #79 when Cyber smashes the Ol’ Canucklehead’s bone claws.

The limited colour palette is such a unique selling point for this book and the creators show real restraint with the application of red to draw the eye or create mood, etc. When red features on a panel or page its genuinely striking, for example, in “Cabin Fever” by Declan Shalvey you really feel the flash of machine guns in the page above.

Great to see Shalvey’s use of grey wash so clearly here as well, it’s something I’ve enjoyed in his work since the early days of Electic Micks and also the short story “Ball Park” published in Tripwire Magazine, 2009 (page one, page two & page three are available on his old dshalv blog).

21/11/20

  • Oblivion Song #28 (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Lorenzo De Felici, Annalisa Leoni (L) Rus Wooton
  • Barbalien Red Planet #1 (W) Tate Brombal (A/CA) Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire (L) Aditya Bidikar
  • The Autumnal #2 (W) Daniel Kraus (A/CA) Chris Shehan, Jason Wordie (L) Jim Campbell
  • Frank at home on the farm #1 (W) Jordan Thomas (A/CA) Clark Bint (L) Lettersqids
  • Sea of Sorrows #1 (W) Rich Douek (A/CA) Alex Cormack (L) Justin Birch

I’ve been looking forward to Barbalien Red Planet since the early solicits. I’m a huge fan of the Black Hammer books by Lemire and Ormston so I’m always particularly interested in anything related to that series.

This is a fantastic first issue that expands on the back story of Barbalien and his personal struggle with identity during the 80’s, highly recommended!

22/11/20

  • The Plot #1-6 (W) Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel (A) Josh Hixson (C) Jordan Boyd, Kurt Michael Russell (L) Jim Campbell (CA) Various

Tim Daniel kindly sent me a pdf copy of The Plot #7 after he offered the issue up on twitter. I’ve been curious about the series for some time and was hooked straight away, I pretty much tracked down issues 1-6 immediately after reading issue 7.

I buy trades fairly regularly so it was a pretty satisfying experience to sit down with six single issues from a series like this and read them all in one sitting.

The story of The Plot is hugely compelling, I love the characters and the creeping feeling of dread that practically oozes from every page.

28/11/20

  • Rick and Morty presents Jaguar (W) Marc Ellerby (A/CA) Marc Ellerby, Leonardo Ito (L) ccrank

Jaguar was one of the more memorable characters from Season 3 so I couldn’t wait to read Marc Ellerby’s take on the highly skilled rebel fighter.

I laughed like an idiot pretty much all the way through this issue, Marc deserves an award for this panel (above) of ‘barista’ Jaguar serving coffee.

One of the BEST moments in a comic for me this year!

Pull List – October 2020

03/10/20

  • GIANT SIZE X-MEN TRIBUTE WEIN COCKRUM #1 MOORE VAR (W) Len Wein (CA) Tradd Moore (L) Clayton Cowles

Looks like everyone had a blast reinterpreting this classic, fantastic stuff from everyone involved!

05/10/20

  • OLYMPIA TP (W) Curt Pires (A) Alex Diotto, Dee Cunniffe (CA) Christian Ward (L) Micah Myers

Loved this! The pages positively krackle with silver age Kirby energy! Read the first issue online here and be sure to check out the process by Alex Diotto in the DEC 2019 issue of PanelxPanel.

07/10/20

  • WALKING DEAD DLX #1 CVR C ADLARD (MR) (W) Robert Kirkman (A) Tony Moore, Dave McCaig (CA) Charlie Adlard (L) Rus Wooton
  • FIRE POWER BY KIRKMAN & SAMNEE #4 (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson (L) Rus Wooton

Hadn’t intended on picking up the Walking Dead deluxe… but dayum! that cover by Charlie Adlard is awesome! I originally read this series in the collected hardbacks so it was refreshing to read issue one again as a single. I always really loved the black and white aesthetic of the walking dead (especially the greyscale work by Cliff Rathburn) so I was surprised how much I also enjoyed the fantastic colours by Dave McCaig. It’s staggering to think that McCaig has been steadily working on these deluxe issues for the last FOUR years! Whatever your feelings on the recolouring of the book, that’s a gargantuan undertaking, McCaig has completed 100 issues so far! There’s also new lettering by Rus Wooton to replace the original treatment by Robert Kirkman and a fresh design by Andres Juarez. Other additions include a variant cover gallery and a fascinating script breakdown by Kirkman in the back matter.

  • AUTUMNAL #1 CVR A SHEHAN (W) Daniel Kraus (A/CA) Chris Shehan, Jason Wordie (L) Jim Campbell

The latest title under Vault‘s NIGHTFALL imprint is a dark atmospheric folk horror that oozes with the rural pagan weirdness of cult films like The Wicker Man (1973) and The Kill List (2011). If you’re not familiar with artist Chris Shehan I’d highly recommend reading MANDIBLE an eerie 3 page horror story about a dental practice mannequin written by Dillon Gilbertson with lettering by Cristian Docolomansky, just don’t have nightmares… chok chok.

14/10/20

  • DC THE DOOMED AND THE DAMNED #1

Fantastic halloweeny special from DC including the stand-outs “Baytor vs Darkseid” (W) Garth Ennis (A) PJ Holden, John Kalisz (L) Rob Steen and “From Humble Roots” (W) Amedeo Turturro (A) Max Fiumara, Dave Stewart (L) Aditya Bidikar.

  • TRUE LIVES FABULOUS KILLJOYS NATIONAL ANTHEM #1 CVR A ROMERO (W) Gerard Way, Shaun Simon (A/CA) Leonardo Romero

Lookit that art by Leonardo Romero, soooooo good!

30/10/20

  • SLIME TUNNEL by Gavin Fullerton

Visceral, claustrophobic… deeply unsettling storytelling available on Gavin’s gumroad.

Recommendations – October 2020

Lot’s to talk about and recommend this month but here’s just some of my favs from the last few weeks.

Joe Palmer – Comic book artist

Joe Palmer posted this AWESOME Spider-man fanart at the start of the month on instagram, really like his take on the character!

Criminal: UK (2019- )

Criminal: UK (2019- ) available on netflix

Missed this brilliant anthology crime series when it was initially released in 2019, love the format and performances by the stellar cast.

Cory Walker

Cory’s scatchblag blog is sadly no more but occasionally, just occasionally he drops some of his sweet sweet art on instagram.

Chris O’Halloran – Comic book colourist

LOVE these warmups by Chris, be sure to check out his colours on the recent X-Men Marvels Snapshot #1 as well, spectacular work!

Ghosts: Series 1 (2019- )

Just finished series 1… I know, I know, how did I miss this? it’s been out for ages!

Almost impossible to pick a favourite character from the terrific cast, this is a must watch for fans of Horrible Histories and Siblings.

Ghosts (2019- ) available on BBC iPlayer

Big thanks to Gavin Mitchell for posting this fanart of Ghosts at the start of the month, really piqued my interest in the show.

Gavin was also a guest on the Captain Fishbeard youtube channel in September, it’s a great chat with Tom Sparke about comics, process and Mike Tyson in spaaace, well worth a watch.

Joe Todd-Stanton – Children’s book illustrator

I’m lucky to see a lot of amazing new children’s books at work but these recent titles by Joe Todd-Stanton published by Flying Eye Books really caught my eye this month. Joe posts regular sketches and illustrations on his twitter and instagram.

Deftones – Ohms (2020)

I’ve been listening to Ohms on repeat, a stonking return to the 90s nu metal production style of the bands early work.

Marco Ferrari

Italian comic book artist Marco Ferrari has been blowing my mind this month, check out his work on instagram and twitter.

Big F#@k off Worms is back!!!

Big F#@ck off Worms was one of my recommendations back in May so I’m very excited to see what Matt Garvey and J Francis Totti have in store for Petey in issue 2!

Sketchbook 2020

I’ve put together a 16 page collection of drawings and illustrations from the last two years, check it out below or download the free pdf.

Darren-Reynolds-2020.pdf (approx 6.2 MB)

Recommendations – September 2020

Haven’t done one of these in a few months so thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve been enjoying during September!

The Breadwinner (2017) Director – Nora Twomey

The Breadwinner (2017) available on netflix

Absolutely adored this beautifully animated film by Cartoon Saloon.

Parasyte – The Maxim (2014)

I recently finished watching this series based on the science fiction horror manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It’s produced by Madhouse Inc. the studio behind the first season of one punch man.

Black Widow Vol. 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Most Wanted – Marvel

Holy crap! This book grabs you from the first page at break neck speed and just doesn’t let go! Highly recommended for fans of Chris Samnee’s artwork, the fight choreography and explosive action sequences are something else!

Fire Power – Skybound

One of my favourite ongoing series atm, I picked up the prelude OGN along with issues 1 & 2 and immediately added it to my pull list the next day.

Pan Nowak – Illustrator and graphic designer

Really love Krzysztof’s work, be sure to check out his instagram!

The Hater (2020) Director‎ – ‎Jan Komasa

The Hater (2020) available on netflix

An unnerving and tense Polish drama thriller, Maciej Musialowski is fantastic as the nihilistic Tomasz Giemzo.

Possessor (2020) – trailer

I’ve been avoiding the details about this film as much as possible before it’s release. If you’re not familiar with director Brandon Cronenberg I’d highly recommend watching Antiviral (2012).

The Mandalorian Season 2 (2020) – Disney+ trailer

I watched the first season during lockdown and LOVED IT! Really looking forward to the release of season 2… this is the way.

Making Comics with Matt Garvey

Matt’s infectious enthusiasm for comics and storytelling shines through as he breaks down the comic writing process into easily digestible chunks of sheer positivity. As a fan of BFOW it’s also been fun to hear him discuss some of the characters from the first issue and his future plans for the series with cocreator J Francis Totti.

OTOMO: A Global Tribute to the Mind Behind Akira – Published by Kodansha Comics

This is a gorgeous book featuring full colour high resolution reproductions of original art by more than 80 artists, illustrators, and comics creators. There’s a preview gallery here at publisher Kondasha Comics and also a great review by Vong Yonghow on his Halcyon Realms blog.

Glenarriff Forest Park

Glenariff forest has become a regular weekend walking destination for me (I’ve been 3 times in the last month). I find it’s best to get there early to secure a parking space and avoid the afternoon crowds.

Pull List – September 2020

I’ve largely been reading digital comics in the last few years, only really picking up the occasional small press printed book from creators at comic markets or through their websites. It’s really a space thing for me, there’s only so much stuff I can keep and I’ve even been selling things online to reduce my collection. With lockdown though and everything else that’s going on (insert internal screaming) the urge to visit comic shops again has been reignited for me in a big way. Newsagents like WHSmith and Eason have already closed in Northern Ireland and some other small newsagents have paused their magazine sales entirely. Comic publishers and local comic shops are taking a HUGE hit right now and it really feels crucial to get behind them in whatever minuscule way I can. With that in mind, I’ve now got a regular pull list with a LCS and thought I’d post some of the stuff I’ve been reading the last few months… it’s all great btw.

15/07/20

  • NEGAN LIVES #1 (Jul 01, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A) Cliff Rathburn (CA) Dave McCaig (A/CA) Charlie Adlard (L) Rus Wooton
  • OBLIVION SONG BY KIRKMAN & DE FELICI #25 CVR A DE FELICI (Jul 08, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A) Annalisa Leoni (A/CA) Lorenzo De Felici (L) Rus Wooton

When I heard Cory Walker was returning to draw Science Dog again in Oblivion Song #25 I couldn’t wait to grab a copy, check out that cover!

22/08/20

  • FIRE POWER BY KIRKMAN & SAMNEE TP VOL 01 PRELUDE (Jul 01, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson (C) Matt Wilson (L) Rus Wooton
  • FIRE POWER #1 PROMO ED FORMERLY FCBD (Jul 01, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee (C) Matt Wilson (L) Rus Wooton
  • FIRE POWER BY KIRKMAN & SAMNEE #1 (Aug 05, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson (C) Matt Wilson (L) Rus Wooton
  • FIRE POWER BY KIRKMAN & SAMNEE #2 (Aug 05, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson (C) Matt Wilson (L) Rus Wooton

Absolutely loving Fire Power atm, the process pages from Kirkman & Samnee in issue 1 was an unexpected bonus!

  • FCBD 2020 INVINCIBLE #1 (August 5, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Cory Walker (C) Bill Crabtree

So excited for the Invincible animated show, these designs by Cory Walker are awesome.

  • OBLIVION SONG BY KIRKMAN & DE FELICI #26 (Aug 12, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A) Annalisa Leoni (A/CA) Lorenzo De Felici (L) Rus Wooton
  • BIG GIRLS #1 (Aug 12, 2020) (W) Jason Howard (A/CA/C) Jason Howard (L) Fonografiks

Lorenzo’s fight sequences in Oblivion Song #26 are something else!

12/09/20

  • FIRE POWER BY KIRKMAN & SAMNEE #3 (Sep 02, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A/CA) Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson (C) Matt Wilson (L) Rus Wooton
  • OBLIVION SONG BY KIRKMAN & DE FELICI #27 (Sep 09, 2020) (W) Robert Kirkman (A) Annalisa Leoni (A/CA) Lorenzo De Felici (L) Rus Wooton

17/09/20

  • STILLWATER BY ZDARSKY & PEREZ #1 (Sep 16, 2020) (W) Chip Zdarsky (C) Mike Spicer (A/CA) Ramon K. Perez (L) Rus Wooton

23/09/20

  • X-MEN MARVELS SNAPSHOT #1 (Sep 16, 2020) (W) Jay Edidin (A) Tom Reilly (CA) Alex Ross (C) Chris O’Halloran (L) Tom Orzechowski
  • SUPERMANS PAL JIMMY OLSEN #1 (OF 12) (Jul 17, 2019) (W) Matt Fraction (A/CA) Steve Lieber (C) Nathan Fairbairn (L) Clayton Cowles

Head shapes

Some inking practice in clip studio paint using the real g-pen (one of the default brushes supplied with the app). The aim of the exercise was essentially to improve my digital drawing by limiting myself to using only one brush. I love the default brushes in CSP and the real g-pen is one of my favourites. This page was completed over a couple of weeks by adding a few heads at a time usually for about 20 to 40 mins.

I had the urge to colour some of these and tried out a few palettes and added some rendering.