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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Norty Norty!

Truly, there are celebrations in the 2000 AD Covers Uncovered sub-sub-sub-basement today as I finally get to feature the work of the magnificent Simon Coleby. I have long been a fan of this brilliant artist; a droid who renders death and destruction, creepy looking skulls and industrial tech better than anyone I can think of. 

Simon is back on art duties for the current Jaegir story ‘In The Realm of Pyrrhus,’ which sees Kapiten-Inspector Atalia Jaegir return to the hellhole that is Nu-Earth. Atalia and her team are on a mysterious mission at the behest of a particularly nasty war criminal, but what could be so important that she would travel to such a forsaken planet?

Simon was kind enough to send several images and let us into the secrets of his workflow, he said “Tharg’s original brief was really straightforward — something along the lines of ‘Maybe Atalia running towards us across a Nu Earth Battlefield’. That was fine, but I decided to just try something a little different, so I went with a first sketch of a hallucinatory/nightmare image of Atalia’s Dads’ big, scarred head looming up out of the chem-clouds. In retrospect; not the strongest idea ever, and a bit cliched…”

“Bloody Josef Jaegir, always has his head in the clouds!”

Simon continues “Tharg didn’t go for that one, quite wisely. Also, in retrospect, the previous couple of progs have featured fairly close shots of heads and faces, so it was right to take this another way. Of course, Tharg alone has the insight to know these things — we humble droids do well to heed the inhumanly wise words of Green Bonce.” (And it’s the best way to avoid a Rigellion Hot Shot – P-Wls.)

“My pencils for the finished version came together quite quickly, without any major issues. These days, rather than graphite, I tend to do a quick coloured-pencil layout, then refine that work in fine-liners and markers. I find that gives me a much cleaner scan, and makes the inking a more straightforward process.”

Norts and Crosses

“The ‘pencils’ shown here are precisely that scan. The coloured version is what I print out, on A3 bristol board, and then ink.”

“Whose stupid idea was it to do the Nu-Earth fun run in these stinking costumes?” 

“The inks are very close to the pencils, as almost all the design decisions have been resolved at that stage. In the inks, I’m largely concentrating on line weights and textures — anything to add life to the piece. Cut up bits of kitchen sponge dipped in Indian ink is one of the very expensive, elite, hi-tech tools I tend to use a lot.”

“Nu-Earth is so Bracing! And it’s quicker by Black Hole!”

With sponges dirtied and stunning inks complete, the art is taken by Souther Hoppa to colourist supremo Len O’Grady. Len has been absolutely knocking it out of the park with his colouring on Simon’s interior work, really bringing the disgusting, cloying chem clouds of Nu-Earth to life. Simon was quick to praise him, he said “Len’s colours are consistently amazing, and he’s added so much to my work on ‘Jaegir’. I was absolutely delighted when he sent me a copy of this one. The chem clouds are almost psychedelic in their luminous, toxic intensity. I imagine you’d hallucinate colours like that if your mask failed on Nu Earth. Very pretty to look at, as your lungs exit through your nostrils. Good times!”

“Down the road I look, and there rots Mary! Skin peeled off and looking scary! It’s gross, to touch, the green, green gas of home!” Popular song by Tomac Joneski.

As I gushed at the beginning of this piece, I’m a big fan of the Coleby droid. He is responsible for some of my very favourite 2000 AD moments and a few of my very favourite covers, including this gloriously subversive Low Life cover of Prog 1521…


And when Total War were at their height, Simon brought us this magnificent slice of Mega-City destruction!

BOOMS-Day for Mega-City One!

And finally, this wonderful wraparound for the Origins epic which is truly (law)masterful!

Just another day at the office…

A huge, huge thanks to Simon, there’s another off the bucket list!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – “Hey Joe, Where You Goin’ With That Gun Of Yours?”

A1! Behold Clint Langley’s final, zarjaz cover in his ABC Warriors trilogy for the Fallout arc, which see’s Joe racking up those kills! I’m so pleased to present this cover, as Clint hid much of his robo-carnage with those flames of retribution! Check out Volkhan’s vanquished villains below…  

Manspreading much, Joe?

Clint was also kind enough to send more of his amazing extras from the newly released, must-buy, that is the Mek Files 4 Graphic Novel. This bumper book is absolutely chock full of redesigned pages and extras, you’d be a fool to miss it!

The first extra is a mean and moody profile shot of Joe, probably deciding what he’s going to have for tea… 

Why the long face, Joe?

Next up we have old Hammerstein himself, looking forlorn, as he has just stood in a steaming pile of Biol…

Stop… Hammerstein!

And finally, the mysterious Blackblood, facing his eternal, internal struggle of whether he prefers B*Witched or Bananarama…

It was murder getting those bloodstains out of his cloak.

Huge, huge thanks to Clint. Be sure to buy your copy of the Mek Files 4 here!

Tomorrow: The Making of Simon Coleby’s awesome cover of Prog 2075!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – The Gawking Dead!

Wow! How’s that for a creepy cover? The master of intricate detail,  Dave Taylor, brings another insanely complicated cover, I swear Tharg has implanted him with a masochist chip! 

Current Judge Dredd tale Live Evil sees Mega-City One’s premier lawman reunited with Exorcist Judge Miryam Lamia. The troubled exorcist judge has an overactive sixth sense which allows her to see dead people, which, since the tragic events of Chaos Day, means she doesn’t get much peace. Imagine when she goes to the toilet! 

When a deep space vessel crashes in Mega-City One and the crew are all murdered, Dredd calls on the troubled judge to help him get answers, whether she wants to or not…

I asked Dave to give us the lowdown on the creation of the cover, he said “Below is the sketch for the cover I did; very fast and very small. Fast to capture as much energy as possible and small because if it works small it’ll work big. That’s a rule. Follow it or be a foolish one.” (Try telling that to my wife – Pwls) “Tharg saw it, liked it, and gave me the big thumbs up, so to speak. He knows a good thing when he sees it. I knew it was a strong idea, now I just had to do the near impossible, which is to get the published image as good as it…”

Lamia and Dredd try a bit of crowd surfing…

Dave continues “I spent an hour or so hunting for the ghost faces in reference books and the net. I had a firmish idea of what level of caricature I would use (level 4 if you’re interested), not wanting the folk to look too cartoony like I do in the story, a little. Level 4 requires you to keep most of what you see in the photo and play around a little with the features. This is fascinating isn’t it? I got the face of Dredd, or FOD as we droids call it, just as I’d hoped I would. I see his skin as cling film, vampiric; his face aged as an Egyptian mummy. It was going well.”

I’d argue the blob-like Lamia looks more like the cling film-face in this partnership… 

“Lamia was different matter. She’s a little aloof and doesn’t like sitting for long periods, but I got there eventually. I’m still not that sold truth be told.”

Typical, Lamia gets a new hair dryer just as she shaves all her off!

Dave continues “THE FUN BIT! I go in and out of the love of inking. I’m like that. Deal with it. I love another, her name is pencil. Man, she’s a hot one. I can’t put her down sometimes.”

“She’s behind you!!!” “Oooooh no she isn’t!” etc…

Dave sets the tone of the piece; “Took me a while but I eventually settled on this overall colour. Weird thing is that I usually mess about with the base colour a lot. A very lot. This one stayed as it was. You don’t know how weird that is. I do.”

“Because you know it all about that base, ’bout that base, no treble.”

“Now I start in on the “flats”. Some people live in flats, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Or apartments. This is about laying down the basic, overall colour for each part of the figures (or whatever). Easy to fix as you go if you keep everything on separate layers (on photoshop), which brings me onto…”

Dredd has totally busted that one on the left in the cap staring at his boobs.

“My former self was telling you about the impotence of layers. While colouring Lamia I became somewhat stupid, rash almost, to the point of doing her whole figure on one single layer, probably without saving too, which is madness. Got away with it.”

It must be quite nice for Dredd not to be surrounded by people that’s HE’s killed for a change!

“This is the fun bit of colouring for me. The lighting. This is where you make your characters (Judge Dredd, sadly, is not MY character, but you feel me) come alive. You shape and form the figures…like…real shapes and stuff. It’s great!”

Dave needs to be careful, he’s having too much fun. The Mighty One will not stand for that… 

“Lamia’s face is cold, I’m sure of it. I’ve not actually had the opportunity to actually touch it, but it looks cold, doesn’t it. The moment I add a little feminine colour to her cheeks it all goes horribly wrong and I have to start all over again.”

That guy on Dredd’s shoulder has a splitting headache!

“Once I’ve completely redrawn from scratch the entire image and have got to where I was with the now destroyed first pathetic attempt with the colouring, I remember this time to do her tats. These are living tats. Not like you have, or your older brother. No, these are ALIVE!!”

Got herself some cryin’. talkin’, sleepin’, walkin’ living tats!

“Hey, talking of things alive, I seem to have forgotten all about our ghosts, which are dead. Remember when you, or that nasty tattooed bigger brother used to get a torch and hold it under your chin? No, nor do I.”

I hope they’ve had some breath mints…

“Finally, as a sign of respect, I add some grit to the ghosts here collected. That’s all you need to do. Goodnight, and thanks for having me over again. I like the carpet.”

Who ya gonna call?

Phew! Thanks Dave, that was amazing! The scary thing is, Dave’s interior artwork is every bit as stunning and intricate as his cover work and he still finds the time to write this for us. What a droid! 

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Mek Phile

Clint Langley is back, spread the word!

Welcome to another 2000 AD Covers Uncovered which this time looks at the Deadlock levels of zarjaz Magik that Clint Langley manages to put into his artwork. Just how does he do it? 

Clint has been working for the House of Tharg for an astonishing twenty four years and has been the regular artist on ABC Warriors/Ro-Busters for the last eleven, wow! I still think of him as a new artdroid!

His lush ABC Warriors Volgan War volumes are a joy to behold, with Clint completely redesigning his strip work (for example, single panels become glorious double page splashes) to expand and explore key scenes, it really is fascinating. You can see an example here.

Today we shall be looking at Clint’s artwork for the covers of Progs 2062 and Prog 2069 as well as some EXCLUSIVE bonus illustrations for the forthcoming ABC Wariiors Mek Files 4 which collects Books 1 & 2 of the Volgan War in gorgeous Clin-O-Vision!

We’ll begin with the first cover of 2018, with Tharg and Clint quite literally pulling out the big guns to start the year with a bang! The cover of Prog 2062 features everyone’s favourite ABC paratrooper, the mighty Mongrol! Below we see Clint’s glorious inks for the piece…

“New Biol Deodorant smells great and leaves no white marks.”

Then Clint truly brings the chaotic scene to life using is arcane magik, wow…

Mongrol loved dancing to Superman by Black Lace.

A more serene, but no less menacing cover for Prog 2069 see’s each of our heroes contemplating just what they are going to do to with Blackblood when they get hold of him. Again, below are Clint’s gorgeous inks…

Steelhorn’s afro was starting to get out of control.

And then, witchcraft!

Clint forgot to take the red eye reduction off.

Amazing! Clint also provided three exclusive illustrations from the forthcoming Mek Files 4 book, which you can order from here. The first is this cooler than cool image of the ice cold Joe Pineapples…

Joe Pineapples seconds before the infamous Plant Butlins Beach Ball Massacre of 3082

Next up, Mongrol Smush!!!

Q: What does Mongrol have with his fish and chips?

A: Smushy Peas!

And finally, the treacherous Blackblood gleefully surveys the destruction of Mars…

Beneath the sadism, duplicity, treachery and deceit, he’s quite nice really.

So there we have it! A bumper 2000 AD Covers Uncovered! Thank you so much to Clint for sending the glorious images, be sure to check out his Facebook page for more insanely great images!

Tomorrow, Phil Winslade’s amazing Lawless cover of Meg 393!  

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Maul Cop!

Bzzzt… Bzzzzzzt… Beep! Cough! Cough! Splutter! (Fart!) Wooooooooop! P-WELS droid is online! Battery reserves at 2%… Insert pasty immediately… 

Welcome to 2000 AD Covers Uncovered, where we take a regular look behind Tharg’s plush green curtain to marvel at the skill, ingenuity, imagination and alcohol that go into the creation of the galaxy’s most zarjaz covers! This week, art droid Nick Percival takes a break from painting Judge Dredd battling scary monsters to paint a picture of erm, Judge Dredd battling a scary monster. Tharg is too kind!

Earthlets will be aware that Dredd has been sold to slavers in the frozen Siberian Wastes, and is being forced to fish for deadly squidipedes by his evil handlers. The big bad in the story is called Maul (his parents couldn’t decide on Maurice or Paul, so they went with Maul,) a heartless, virtually indestructible villain. In the absence of any Hi-Ex, Dredd is going to have to use all his wits and ingenuity to beat him and get back to the Meg.  

Nick said “It’s always fun to pop back to Dredd and this cover was a nice little palette cleanser between finishing the ‘Dark Judges: Dominion’ series for the Megazine and starting on its sequel, ‘The Torture Garden’, out later this year…”

Ssssspeaking of whi-, ahem, sorry, speaking of which, here’s Nick’s amazing wraparound cover from Megazine 389 – sleep well everyone!

A group shot from the bar at the 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Event last year…

Nick continues “As with all covers, I got the brief from Tharg to have the villain choking Dredd and first thing to deliver is the usual very rough, wonky old sketch which was approved…”

Maul just couldn’t get the top off his Mr Dreddy Bubble Bath.

“Then moving forward to slap on some digital paints and all done and dusted. It was nice have a brief artistic moment away from the undead and Judge Death & co, but hang on….I think I can hear them calling me from the studio now….mussst leave…cannot resissst…………”

Duty and the Beast!

So there we have it, Nick’s handy guide on painting a brilliant cover. Simply do an amazing sketch, then do an incredible painting over the top of it – simple!

HUGE thanks to Nick for taking time out from his busy schedule of painting horrific, nightmare inducing images for us. He is a legend!  

Come back tomorrow when the mighty Clint Langley will show us how he created this weeks’ prog cover (plus some EXCLUSIVE images from the Mek Files!) and Phil Winslade paints an angry monkey in braces!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – “I am the Noir!”

I was absolutely delighted to see that the cover of Prog 2051 was painted by verteran artdroid and all round good egg, David Millgate. The artist has been working for the galaxy’s greatest comic for over twenty two years and, among many other things, is responsible for co-creating one of Tharg’s most popular thrills, Sinister Dexter. Dave has always been a fan of Judge Dredd so it was great to see him return to painting MegaCity One’s most famous lawman!

Dave was keen to tell us about returning to his spiritual home, he said “I was kindly invited by Rebellion to attend the 2000AD 40th Anniversary show this year. I decided it would be cool to paint a new Dredd piece, but I certainly wasn’t thinking ‘front cover’ at this point.To be honest the whole thing was kind of done just flying by the seat-of-my-pants. It was more a case of…”Oh no! Now I need something new to display on my creators table!”

“I decided to sketch Dredd from a lowish angle, to make him look iconic. I had no idea what kind of background I was going to put behind him either. Once I had the prelim sketch done my initial idea was to do some generic Mega-Cityscape as a backdrop, but the moment I start thinking words like ‘generic’ I get worried that I’m not trying hard enough, or maybe I’m just copping-out?” (Cop-ping out! Ha! Geddit? No? Just me then… P-Wls)

He’s got no pants on…

David continues “I’d done a couple of other Dredd paintings using an old film-noir lighting effect where the character was illuminated by rays of light streaming in through venetian blinds. I thought that technique would lend itself to the new sketch I’d done, so I just went with that!”

That time Joe accidentally stick the pin in his chest…

“My name… is Judge Dredd… and I… am a nosey neighbour!”

David continues “I like the way the light creates those stripes across Dredd’s chin and the way it picks out the colours of his Judge’s uniform. On reflection, it almost looks as if there’s the faint hint of a smile or a smirk on his face, but if he is smiling (?) he’s smiling in the same way the Mona-Lisa isn’t!”

Old Moany Face!

“I was thrilled when Tharg decided to use it as a 2000AD cover. It worked out great!” 

Gruddammit Dave, we were too! It’s a fantastic cover, he’s hoping the mighty one cranks up the Millgate droid again soon. I’d love to see him return to Sinister Dexter…

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Stone an’ the Barbarian!

Well, it looks like Slaine and Sinead are up to their necks in it again, as the Celtic warrior takes on the Yaldabaoth’s army of stone cold killers!

Series artist Simon Davis provided the zarjaz jumping on cover to Prog 2015 to celebrate the return of the warped warrior! Below we can see Simon’s rough, which has a real Goscinny and Uderzo vibe…

Slaine the Gaul!

With the rough sorted, Simon created the beautiful finished version – wow!

Stone Killer!

Huge, huge thanks to the brilliant Simon Davis for sending the zarjaz images!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – And It’s Goodnight From Him!

Prog 2049 saw the end of Greysuit as John Blake took on the entire British intelligence service singlehandedly. Is this the end of the line for the rogue agent or did he just have a particularly tricky time with a jam doughnut?

Below we see Alex’s rough which depicts Blake’s bloodstained glasses, perhaps he should have gone to Specsavers?

John Blake was a huge fan of Roy Orbison

Here’s the chilling final cover, something tells me things arent going to end well…

Grey’s Anatomy

Huge thanks to Alex for sending the images, a truly magnificent send off for this excellent series!

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – Preece Force!

Beneath all that glorious cross hatching is one seriously cross law man! A conflicted Judge Dredd must take down a rag tag squad of ex-judges who heroically helped him save the city in it’s darkest hour. In hot persuit of the desperate War Buds as they attempt to save the tortured Med-Judge Costa from the Euthanasiam, Dredd is forced to confront demons from his own past. Are the War Buds simply taking the same course of action he himself has?

Veteran design droid from the House of Tharg, Luke Preece, has provided an outstanding cover which hammers home all the urgency, conflict and determination from this modern classic of a story.

Below, see see Luke’s awesome digital rough. As ever, he has used his trademark “Dredd did a Thing… It’s really awesome!” placeholder text, which is somewhat at odds to the actual story within!   

If by awesome, you mean hunting down a group of eldsters who helped save your city, then yeah!

With the rough completed and approved by Old Green Bonce, Luke meticulously pencils the cover using nothing more than a steady hand, a pencil and six cans of Castrol XXXX. 

Lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines!

 Next Luke begins to ink the image with his trusty Pigma Micron pens!

Dredd loved playing with his toy Lawmaster…

 And here are those stunning, completed inks. If you love them as much as I do, then be sure to visit Vice Press’ zarjaz erm… Zarjaz Exhibition in Leeds throughout September where you can see those inks up close and personal like!

Koom  Skrree!

With the inks complete, it’s time to fire up the trusty Wacom and colour this bad boy! Luke made a really cool video, charting his progress with the cover, check it out HERE

Headshot, grim.

And here is the incredible, finished cover, an absolute classic!

Think Bike (for your safety, not his!)

Huge, huge thanks to Luke for sending the files, this is truly one of my very favourite covers of the year. The rendering style is incredible and shows just why Luke’s prints are so popular. Remeber to check out more of Luke’s work HERE.

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2000 AD Covers Uncovered – False Flag!

Alex Ronald – mild mannered artist or false flag enabling black ops agent? You decide Earthlets! As Grerysuit nears its murderous and no doubt extremely bloody conlusion, Alex brings us the second of his Greysuit trillogy of covers.

Delta Assassin John Blake’s programming has well and truly broken down, resulting in a gruesome revenge spree on those who corrupted him. Not content with erasing the spectres of his past, he is also determined to bring down the system by exposing the government’s more controversial activities. Next on Blake’s hitlist is Dunstin Wood, head of the evil Monarch Project that created him, what grisley fate does Blake have for him?

Below, we see Alex’s rough, it seems that Old Dustin is going to go out with a bang! 

Wood not Bang?

With the rough approved by the Mighty One, Alex creates one of his amazing trademark digital masterpieces; a real subversive cover that 2000 AD does so well!

Union Whacked?

Thanks to Alex for sending the fantastic images! Be sure to check out more of his amazing work at his wonderful blog!