Comic Cuts: Brit Creators Reminisce! - Part 2

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Comic Cuts was the name of the long-running British comic that debuted way back around 1890 and, as such, seemed a fitting banner title for Broken Frontier’s celebratory series of articles during our Brits On Top! event. Join us each day this week as noted British creators share some nostalgic comics-related snippets of their childhood; providing anecdotes that are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant and sometimes wonderfully bizarre… Read Part 1 here.

Rufus Dayglo: Air Ace Picture Library

On a sticky summer afternoon in 1984…

My Granddad had sent me on a mission (in my mind anyway) to buy him fags in the local corner shop, and pick up a little treat for myself…

I was tempted by a melting-in-its-packet Curlywurly, but thankfully I spotted a spinner rack in the corner, and stuffed at the bottom unceremoniously was an Air Ace Picture Library Holiday Special! It promised 192 pages of air war action!

The cover was an amazing picture of a ME109 being attacked by spitfires… I was mesmerised… (I’d later find out it was painted by Pino Dell’Orco). It was 65p… which was more than I’d be allowed to spend.. but I bought it… and went to face a telling off back at home.

When I told my Grandad, he asked to see the book…and thumbed through it.. He stopped and glanced at one particular story that caught his attention‘War in the air’…drawn by Ian Kennedy. ‘This fella knows his stuff’, he declared admiringly. ‘That’s a Blenheim bomber.. those are ME109s… vicious buggers.’

He then spent the next hour telling me about his time in the RAF… something he never discussed.

Later on in the evening, I copied one of Ian Kennedy’s drawing of the bomber  flying threw a rain of ack ack fire as a gift for him, vainly trying to recapture the elegant simplicity that he’d so masterfully used in the strip.

I still have that battered Holiday Special… and by a happy stroke of luck was able to buy the original cover a few years back…. It always makes me think of my Grandfather.

For more on Rufus Dayglo's work check out his blog here and don't miss Rufus's art on all-new Tank Girl projects available now! Rufus kindly shared this artwork with us top right, from an unrealised proposed project, that was directly inspired by Air Ace Picture Library!

David Hine: Comic Book Monday

Comic book Mondays! That was the day my Gran delivered Look and Learn, Beano, Topper and Eagle to me and my siblings. It’s impossible to adequately express the excitement of coming home from school, knowing the comics would be waiting. The Spider, The Trigan Empire, Heros the Spartan, Dan Dare. The beautiful painted art of Ron Embleton and Don Lawrence. Frank Bellamy’s wonderfully graphic style. The photogravure printing means that even today, those aged comics look as fresh and vibrant as they day they came off the presses. Time has not diminished them and they still kick the ass of today’s young whippersnappers!

David Hine’s current projects are The Bulletproof Coffin series two (The Bulletproof Coffin Disinterred) due at the end of this year, Hollow Point from Radical, beginning early 2012 and two other projects for Image, to be announced soon. Volume 1 of the unmissable The Bulletproof Coffin is available now as a trade paperback.

Simon Fraser: 2000AD

I was 8 years old in 1977, living in Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth, after returning to Scotland from a 3 year failed emigration to Nova Scotia. I have vague memories of Canada, but the summer of '77 is burned deep into my consciousness. It was a childhood year, equivalent to a decade of adulthood. I started reading voraciously after my 8th birthday, going from Enid Blyton to H. G. Wells & Jules Verne in a few short months. I was now an enthusiastic fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek and any Sci-Fi movie that came on the telly (the BBC kindly showed them on Wednesday evenings, just after the news).

Similarly I went from The Beano, The Topper, Buster, Whizzer & Chips to Commando, Warlord, Bullet and Battle. Those worthy British heroes battling implacable Axis dastardliness, still fighting the war our grandfathers had won. Though Battle (then Action, then Battle/Action) was nastier, more garish and less comforting. Sometimes, if you were really lucky, you might find a US Marvel or DC comic. Smaller, but shinier, more dynamic, colourful and nearly infinitely valuable in the trading market economics of boys.

Of course that summer’s greatest cultural sledgehammer was Star Wars, it is impossible to overstate how significant that movie was to anyone of my age. The movie industry of today is effectively run by men trying to recapture that Star Wars moment of their youth. But Star Wars was only 2 hours long. I needed more to feed my exploding imagination.

So when my best friend turned up at school one day wearing 'Biotronic Man' stickers on his arms, my attention was caught. I missed the first issue (free space spinner) and the second (the biotronic stickers) and even the third (a cardboard decoder wallet) so it wasn't the bribes that got me into 2000AD. It was the ground together gleeful nastiness of Battle/Action, the gaudy dynamics of those rare American comics, then the sprinkling of absurdist humour with a fearsome set of cliffhanger hooks at the end. 2000AD was so plainly targeted at ME that it was electrifying.


Of those early issues I remember the covers vividly, a T-Rex with 3 human heads, a WarRobot soulfully clutching a puppy, Dinosaurs gnawing on cowboys and Starships blasting other Starships into blistering oblivion. Inside those early Progs the linework of Massimo Bellardinelli is particularly vivid, the robust solidity of Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland too. For the first time I had names for the artists. People who drew straight onto my gasping imagination...for money. It was enough to change the course of an impressionable young man's life and it surely did.

For more on Simon Fraser's comics check out his blog here. You can enjoy Simon's swashbuckling work on Nikolai Dante: Hero of the Revolution out now from Rebellion! You can also follow Simon on Twitter.

Nick Abadzis: A Treasure Trove of Comics

At school, I was always being told I read “too many comics”. These days, adults are happy if kids read at all – I’ve written and drawn several graphic novels that actively encourage reluctant readers into the world of comics, so they can soak up the kind of storytelling and iconography that, since my childhood, has become the currency of almost all human language.

Comics helped teach me to read, too – not only to read, but to see, to observe, to listen and laugh – and comics came from my mother. Dandy, Beano, Beezer, Sparky, Cor, Monster Fun, Warlord, Action, 2000AD – she gave me these, and many others from America and Europe, because her own interest had been sparked in her blitzed, wartime childhood. She’d found abandoned stashes of comics in bombed-out buildings, unearthed hidden treasures in imaginary four and spot colour worlds found between wafered, crumbling pages. Perhaps those comics once belonged to somebody else – I sometimes wonder who. Mum inherited them, and I inherited my love for comics from her. I imagine her as a child, a dirty-faced urchin perched upon her mountain of comics, her austere, sallow world lit by the colour and bright lines of those pages that spoke of a brighter world.

Nick Abadzis 's work can be followed via his blog and on Twitter. You can find out more about Nick's graphic novel Laika on his site and count down the days for the Blank Slate collection of his unmissable Hugo Tate strips later this year.

Join us tomorrow for another selection of British comics memories...

If you're a British creator and you'd like to share a similar anecdote with us then e-mail andyoliver@brokenfrontier.com and we'll publish it on the site by the end of the week.

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  • Tony Ingram

    Tony Ingram Aug 16, 2011 at 11:21am

    Interesting. Two days into this series, it's already pretty obvious that one particular title sparked off a lifetime love of comics in a surprising number of current industry professionals. Vive 2000AD!

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 16, 2011 at 11:58am

    True! But, that said, I'm very pleased by the diversity of some of the comics covered in this series (three more days to come!). And also by the generosity of the creators who have shared some very personal memories. One of the most rewarding things we've published in my many years here.

  • Tony Ingram

    Tony Ingram Aug 16, 2011 at 3:19pm

    Diversity? You're not wrong there! I was particularly pleased to see Look & Learn get a mention.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 16, 2011 at 4:14pm

    Just bought the large hardback BUMPER BOOK OF LOOK AND LEARN. It is a thing of beauty indeed.

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