Every week, 2000 AD brings you the galaxy’s greatest artwork and 2000 AD Covers Uncovered takes you behind-the-scenes with the headline artists responsible for our top cover art – join bloggers Richard Bruton and Pete Wells as they uncover the greatest covers from 2000 AD!

This week, it’s all getting a bit nasty in the pages of the Prog, with the greatest of the great whites taking a big bite out of the tourist trade down in Cornwall. Yes, since reappearing in 2000 AD Prog 2200, Hook Jaw has been turning the seas red once more in the tale from Alec Worley and Leigh Gallagher.

But for the cover of 2000 AD Prog 2202, readers get even more of the ‘Jaw with this stunning Simon Coleby cover…

Simon’s been working in comics for a while now, with his first big break coming here at the Galaxy’s Greatest with the 1989 Future Shocks tale Rogan’s Last Ride (with Ian Rimmer in Prog 647). Since then he’s drawn Rogue Trooper, Judge Dredd, Venus Bluegenes, Bato Loco, Low Life, Sinister Dexter, and plenty more. He’s also drawn for Marvel UK, Marvel US, DC Comics, and Wildstorm on the likes of Warheads, Death’s Head II, Punisher 2099, Lobo, The Legion, The Authority, and Fringe.

Most recently, you’ll have seen his striking work on The Vigilant (with Simon Furman), featuring Rebellion’s super-team of classic British comic book characters and Jaegir (with Gordon Rennie), chronicling the other side of the Nort-Souther wars with Kapitan-Inspector Atalia Jaegir.

And now here he is, showing us the nightmare that is Hook Jaw. But how did the cover come about? Best thing to do is to go straight to Simon and ask!

So – Hook Jaw. During my three and a half decades of drawing comics, I’ve had the amazing good fortune to work on some really iconic characters. And getting to draw the Great White, SJW, snowflake, gammon-devouring eco-selachimorpha is up there with the very best of ’em. 

I did read Action as a kid – I suspect my rather conservative dad never really looked at what was in the pages behind the rather innocuous title. Controversial as the comic was, I reflect on my long years drawing gothic macabre art, collecting and playing aggressively metal guitars and enjoying the darker fringes of the death metal world, and I conclude that the comic had absolutely no negative early influence on my life whatsoever.

This is, of course, the title that was condemned as a moral disgrace on Nationwide by Frank Bough. That’s Mr. Bough who shortly thereafter was revealed as an enthusiastic wearer of ladies’ undergarmentry and a keen consumer of nose-candy. We all need a hobby, I suppose. Interesting to reflect that in current times Frank’s recreational activities would barely merit a third of a page of ranting in the Daily Express or more than a few moments on HIGNFY, and the comic itself would hardly provoke a ripple of outrage. How times change.

And so, the cover…

I began with the customary handful of fineliner rough sketches. I was looking at the broad theme of Hook Jaw targeting the usual rig-workers, polluters of the oceans and suchlike.

You’ll have someone’s eye out with that, mate.
What big teeth you have…
You’re going to need a bigger boat!

One of my ideas was a slightly cheeky bit of self-reference — harking back to one of the Dredd covers I did back in the mists of time, before I’d actually learned to draw.

Simon Coleby cover to Prog 758 (1991) – A different set of Jaws!

Old Green Bonce liked the first sketch, but asked for it to be a little more direct and impactful — to lose the (presumed) rig worker and the rig itself, and just concentrate on the shark’s head crashing out of the waves. I worked up a revised sketch based on that request, and that one got the thumbs-up from The Nerve Centre.

I should mention that at the time I did the sketches, I didn’t realise that the story would be running in ‘the Prog’ and had assumed it was a standalone project, which is why I placed the Hook Jaw logo on the pages. It’s about the same size as the 2000 AD logo itself, so that wasn’t a problem.

The rest of it was just a straightforward process of the usual tight pencils and then inking the piece — Hunt 102 nib, Daler Calli ink, brush pen and a few chinagraph pencil touches on A3 bristol board. Some of the white areas of texture were added digitally after the drawing was scanned.

Coleby’s first pass at the inks for the cover.

I did look at the piece the day after I’d submitted it, and I decided that the inks could be a little more energetic. And so I inked it again, and also sent that one over to The Nerve Centre.

The second set of inks – making that shark jump out of the water!

I preferred the second one, but Tharg went with the first. Who am I to argue? I don’t need a Rigellian Hotshot on top of the endless parade of delights that this year has already presented.

Of course, I have to thank Dylan Teague for his brilliant work colouring my drawing. I’m really happy with how it all came together.

Thank you so much to Simon for sending over those fantastic images and giving us a look behind the scenes. You can get hold of Coleby’s cover on 2000 AD Prog 2202 from the web shop right now!