Monday, July 26, 2021

Titan rising: Rogue Trooper by Dave McKean


Rogue Trooper could be deeply creepy - a stone-cold killer with blank eyes and an impossible resolve - and sometimes artists tap into how unsettling he can be. Some artists, including co-creator Dave Gibbons, just gave us loads of clear, concise and brutal future-war action. Dave McKean is not one of those artists.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Titan rising: Ro-busters by Kevin O'Neill


Kevin O'Neill was so good at the robotic craziness because he didn't have to worry about realism or anatomy or anything like that, and could give his droid creations outlandish features and obsessive detailing. Plenty of other great artists have taken a crack at Ro-Jaws and Hemmerstein, and none of them have come close to O'Neill's fevered vision.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Titan rising: Halo Jones by Ian Gibson




Ian Gibson's female form was absolutely seductive, no matter what form it took - Halo Jones goes from young and independent, to delicate and self-conscious, to tough and seasoned. We can only imagine what the pirate queen version in the lost Book 4 would have looked like, but Gibson would undoubtedly have nailed the look.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Titan rising: Judge Dredd by Mick McMahon










The Judge Dredd art of Mick McMahon was always my least favourite as a kid, more drawn to the crystal clear lines of Bolland, or the bulky superheroics of Ron Smith. Now I genuinely think it is incomparably amazing, with weird anatomy and dramatic shadows. His Dredd is almost always standing wide and firm as he deals with alien scum and mechanical psychos, and is always instantly recognisable. It took me a while, but I got there in the end - if you don't get McMahon's Dredd, you don't really get Dredd.
 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Titan rising: Zenith by Steve Yeowell






Steve Yeowell's art style evolved drastically over the four Phases of the Zenith storyline, from eager clarity to chunky abstraction to a bold, clear line, and there is just a taste of it in the way Zenith is portrayed on the covers of these five books. The Zenith strip was the most 80s thing 2000ad ever produced, but these things still look sharp.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Titan rising: Rogue Trooper by Walt Simonson


This might be the only official 2000ad thing Walt Simonson ever did, which is a damn shame, because his vivid dynamism was well suited to the tiny attention span of British boys comics. (John Byrne did a whole Dredd story once, but we don't talk about that.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Titan rising: Charley's War by Joe Colquhoun




Charley's War was the one of the very few non-2000ad strip to get his kind of Titan treatment - there were some Jeff Hawke books as well, but who gives a shit about Jeff Hawke? - with Joe Colquhoun doing the usual expereinced brilliance for the covers. While it might not have had robots and ray guns, Charley's War is the greatest war comic ever produced, so it was always worth collecting like this.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Titan rising: Judge Dredd by Simon Bisley







It's impossible to overtstate how influential Simon Bisley was on British comic artists of his age. After his astonishingly explosive work on Slaine The Horned God, all of his contemporaries started slapping on the paint, with many ordered to do so by editors determined to capture the magic of Bisley. But the artist, who famously had no fucking idea what he was really doing when he decided to give painting a crack, was lightning in a bottle, as can be sen in these covers. Nobody used colour like Bisley did, or had his weird and endearing awkwardness, and he instantly clicked with the idea that Dredd is an inherently absurd story, and that its blast of dark humour and action needed an absurd face.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Titan rising: Alan Moore's Shocking Futures and Twisted Times by Kevin O'Neill



The Twisted Times book was the only Titan album that I actually bought in the 1980s. They were usually thunderously expensive and rare as hell, but I found these two absolute pearlers - collecting the best of Alan Moore's Future Shocks and Time Twisters - in a Dunedin bookstore shortly before it closed, about 30 years ago. They were in the bargain bin, and going for $5 each, which was still a lot of money for 1989 Bob. So I could only get one and went for the Twisted Times book, mainly because it had all the Abelard Snazz stuff, and that was seriously the funniest fucking shit when I was 14. It was still hard to pass up that other book, especially when O'Neill's cover might be the best portrait of the bearded writer ever produced. The one I did get is still there on the shelf, two metres away from where I'm sitting writing this right now, and I swore I'd complete the set if I ever saw the Shocking Futures book anywhere else. But I never did.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Titan rising: Judge Anderson by John Bolton




Despite being a classical British artist, John Bolton somehow bypassed 2000ad, seemingly going straight from Hammer horror adaptions in the 1970s to Classic X-Men back-up features in the 1980s, without doing a stint for Tharg. And even though this is just about all we got from him in this regard, it proves his soft (and still weighty) line would have made him a majestic Judge Anderson artist.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Titan rising: Nemesis by Kevin O'Neill



Nobody quite does the even sharper edge of alien anatomy and spooky hatred with as much violence and vitality as Kevin O'Neill does. 


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Titan rising: Judge Dredd by Dave McKean




When you couldn't get Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean will always do in a pinch. Especially when he is actually drawing something, instead of just going for the eye-popping collage.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Titan rising: Robo-Hunter by Ian Gibson

 



There is an extra level of gleam and shine to Gibson's air-brushed colour work of this period, and while his black and white pages for Robo-Hunter were always gorgeous and energetic, these colour covers gave all that metallic insanity a whole new dimension.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Monday, July 12, 2021

Titan rising: Judge Dredd by Carlos Ezquerra




It's genuinely surprising that Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra only did this tiny handful of covers for the Titan books. Still, we can probably make do with the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of interior pages he also did.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Titan rising: The ABC Warriors by Kevin O'Neill



Nobody quite does the very sharpest edge of robotic mayhem with as much vim and vigour as Kevin O'Neill does.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Titan rising: Rogue Trooper by Sean Phillips



Sean Phillips was one of the few second-generation 2000ad artists to do a Titan cover in the 80s, and was probably 12 years old when he painted this little number, but no matter how old he was, he still managed to capture the future war angst on Rogue's face with real aplomb.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Titan rising: Judge Dredd by Bill Sienkiewicz













Sienkiewicz's art is always an absolute visual overload, and while it's a tragedy we never get him doing any sequential work on a 2000ad character, he did produce some of the very finest covers for Titan. Dredd stories didn't look like this at the time - after Bisley came along, any jobbing British artist with a paintbrush and a total willingness to jump on a bandwagon was laying on the pigment as heavily as possible - and Sienkiewicz really captured something new with his hazy and exaggerated Mega-City One. The City of the Damned cover was a particular stunner, conveying the real horror of that tale that was sorely lacking in the story itself, and is arguably the single best cover of the entire Titan line.