Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'll be doing a signing in Forbidden Planet Dublin for THUNDERBOLTS #148 on Sept 16th, the day it comes out in the UK/Ireland. I've done an exclusive sketch for FP in Dublin (which I coloured and used for the poster above) and another for their UK counterparts. I've also done a sketch for Sub-City in Dublin and Asylum Books and Games in Aberdeen. Check with the above shops for a chance to win one of the sketches.

See here for the original black-and-white sketch of the above poster


Monday, August 30, 2010

Nightcrawler by Stephen Mooney

One of THE best costume designs of all time, gotta be. So utterly simple and effective. Up there with with the classic Hal Jordan Green Lantern outfit for me. I also adore the swashbuckling aspects of the character.

WTF Update: Nightcrawler is DEAD?!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

'Look-In' and 'Playgroup'.

So. my first hard introduction to the art of sequential story-telling came in two forms. The first was 'Playgroup' comic, a nursery title that had stories from Thomas The Tank Engine, Sooty and Sweep, Mr Men, the Nordic fatalist nightmare that was The Moomins, and the ever-popular, never-to-be forgotten Wimpole Village. I can find no evidence online that this periodical ever existed, but my Wimpole Village alphabet Wall Freize (missing 'F', 'L', 'Q' and 'T' through to 'Z') says otherwise.

The stories in Playgroup weren't comic strips per se; they were numbered panels (so us tots could use our newfound numeracy powers) with colouredy drawings set above simplistic text that described the action. And up until well after I started reading Transformers comics in late 1986, that was how all my self-penned stories were displayed. The evolution into speech balloon use was a quantum leap I was yet to make.

The other big influence on my was 'The Junior TV Times', better known as 'Look-In'. 'Look-In' was a catch-all magazine for all things kiddy and pop-culture in the eighties. It mainly pimped ITV-based TV shows like Supergran, Terrahawks and The A-Team, but it also had articles on films, music and gave away Back To the Future sticker albums.

Playgroup and Look-In came into my orbit every sunday morning as myself and my little sister Fat 'Fattie' Laura were brought down to visit our grandparents and watch my gran wrestle with the logistics of preparing Sunday Lunch. We were taken to Dick Whelan's newsagent on Wexford's Main Street, bought a Milky Bar each and given our respective periodicals to peruse in silence while my mam used to show her mother the bruising around her face from another set-to with the man I was forced to call father.

While also starting me on my journey of panelling out my homegrown tales of nonsense, 'Playgroup' and 'Look-In' probably cemented the notion in my brain that television is very, very important. I'm sure ITV was cack even back then, but the fact that it was where I watched Transformers, Knight Rider, Robin of Sherwood, Hardcastle & MacCormack and all the ace Cosgrove Hall shit, meant that Look-In was essential reading to me. Especially when they ran a Five Star Comic strip.

So, culled from the pages of 'Playgroup' and 'Look-In', I present to you my superteam: The Inspiratorialables! Mr Tickle! Michael Knight! Robin of Sherwood! Cannon AND Ball! And a Moomin with his pervy little midnight-sun buddy, Dunnohisnameson. Together at last!

God bless TV! And may He have mercy on all of you who had to make do with Bosco.

Fucking Bosco.

Into The Alien Pit

I was nine.

Kevin O'Neill was kicking off Nemesis The Warlock and Massimo Belardinelli was doing Meltdown Man. What else can I say? I was exposed to the first flowering of 2000AD and I was ruined for any other line of work. Later on I would sit and lose myself in my cousin's Prog collection during long summer days in the wilds of Waterford, discovering Mick McMahon, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Ian Gibson, Carlos Ezquerra and everyone else who shaped an entire generation. By the time I picked them up, US comics just felt tame for a long time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Outlanders issue 1

Other than British kids comics, Oink and Freak Brothers I was never a huge comic fan. Hated TinTin and Asterix. I read Dark Knight Returns fresh off the press when I was 9 as my older bro was big into American comics and that really opened my eyes but the one comic and perhaps the one panel that really got my attention was from 1988's Outlanders issue 1.

I picked it up along with Ninja High School in 1990 in Forbidden Planet. I was blown away by the cartoon Samurai Pizza Cats and wanted to see more Japanese material. The story itself is fairly standard but I just couldn't get over and I hate this word 'cinematic' flow of the action. Giant insect ships crash land into Tokyo.

I just couldn't understand how everything looked real, the lines were all different weights and the speedlines just boggled me. Even the screen tones used to give forced perspective was something new to me. It just made me feel excited. And all drawn and written by one bloke and that really impressed me, if you draw comics you can do exactly the same thing that takes thousands of people to do with animation ( he won a small press competition to get it published so some of the art is ropey)

So after loads of pages of action, the Japanese army are using tanks and choppers against the insects and one of the alien ships shoots out a beam and obliterates a chopper. And this panel, which looking at now isn't that well executed really rocked my world. The pilot's craning head, just showing the neck and jawline blew my fucking mind!!! I can't explain the effect that one panel had on me but it started me thinking.

Now I don't read manga at all really but I always pick this comic up when I want to read a fantastic example of explosive action.

This was issue one, the rest of the story turned into a wishy washy space opera. My own personal wishy washy opera Spazzmoid just won't shut up

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Various 90's Jim Lee comics

Yep, more X-men, more Jim Lee. Although I'd read lots of comics as a young kid (mostly black and white British war weeklies and Ninja Turtles comics) it wasn't until I set eyes on some Jim Lee issues of X-men that I decided I wanted to draw comics for a living. Before that I had planned on being an animator.
Actually when I was younger I don't think I even realised comics were drawn at all, I just took them at face value. Kind of like how as a kid I didn't notice that Han Solo and Indiana Jones were the same guy.
So one day, while I was in a friend's house playing Lemmings on his Amiga, I noticed this stash of American comics. I think they were mostly Jim Lee X-men's and some of the early Image stuff like Spawn. I borrowed them off him and took them home, then a few days later a slightly pissed off guy came knocking on my door. This turned out to be the actual owner of the comics, fabulous Fran Johnston.
Once he realised I was a fan he supplied me with more of the good stuff. I have a distinct memory of reading Wildc.a.t.s one on the walk home from his house and completely overshooting my road, ending up halfway to our local shops before I took my head out of the comic.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Essential X-Men no. 57

Or Uncanny X-Men no. 342 for you Americans amongst us.
My exposure to comics came mainly from seeing the characters in cartoons first. So my main influence were the 90's Spidey and X-Men cartoons. The first comic I got that made me want to draw comics was Marvel Panini's Essential X-Men no. 57, which came out in February of 2000.
(I just found the date there. God it feels like a lot lot longer ago, considering I have been drawing comics full time for nearly four years now)
The artist was the mighty Joe Madureira and I must have read over the issue hundereds of times. I loved all the chunky black lines and the over exadurated muscles. The x-men end up boarding a Shi'ar ship where they change outfits too. It starred Gambit, Rogue, Bishop, Beast, Joseph (Magento or whoever he was), Trish Tibley and Deathbird against the Phalanx.
I redrew one of the pages with Bishop after I got it, then the following year (my first in College) I drew this Bishop. (A redrawing of one from that same page)

Heres me with my first ever comic.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

X-MEN Issue 35 Tribute

This was fun.

For my 'Inspiration Week' i decided to do a 'remake' of the cover of the comic that had a huge effect on me. It was X-Men Issue 35 written by Fabian Nicieza, pencilled by Liam Sharp and inked by Robin Riggs. I thought i might mess around a little with the composition by moving the figure more into the foreground and push Cyclops and Phoenix into a smaller corner; to make them look more trapped. Also, the costumes Liam Sharp came up with just weren' t working for me when i tried to draw them, so i just changed them to the current SHIELD uniforms (In the issue, it was a variation of SHIELD uniforms that were given to them, so it still makes sense story-wise)

I had been reading stuff like Duck Tales and a lot of Asterix as a kid, but it was both the Batman and X-Men animated series that got me hooked on comics. By that; they were got me into drawing comics, but at that stage I hadn't get properly gotten into the comics themselves. In X-Men Issue 35, Cyclops and Phoenix (who i knew from the cartoon) had returned from the future (had no idea why) and met Nick Fury (knew him from the Spidey cartoon?). Fury sent them on a mission to investigate the mutant Sunset Grace. It was a sad done-in-one story and it got me HOOKED. The next issue confused the hell outta me; Jubilee, Emma Frost, Banshee and Sabretooth were in the X-Men. Where the hell was Gambit and Wolverine? Anyway, i clearly stuck with it and became a huge X-nut.

PS. I totally should have put an 'after Sharp' in the signature. Whoops.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Inspiration Week: X-Men 1 by Stephen Mooney

Tonight; on a very special episode of The Eclectic Micks, I've come here to tell you about a very special comicbook, by a very special man.
The  single comicbook that made me want to draw comics professionally was X-Men Issue 1 by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont. It was also the first superhero comic I ever read. Sure, I'd devoured all of the Tintin and Asterix albums as a kid, but I'd no idea at that point that I was reading 'comics'.
I didn't actually buy this comic until a year or two later(what a skinflint!), I merely repeatedly borrowed it from my friend, who was already a major fan of American comics. This stuff blew me away, it was just so well crafted. Handsome heroes and beautiful heroines in incredibly outlandish situations chock full of derring-do. And oh my, the boobies.

I was 14, and I was hooked.

It wasn't util a few years down the line that I really came to appreciate the incredibly solid draftsmanship and storytelling abilities of Mr. Lee, I just knew that the artwork APPEALED to me incredibly, and that I couldn't stop looking at it; studying it.

It was the first American superhero comic I'd ever read, and its fair to say it blew me away. I had drawn a fair bit as a kid, but once I saw this book I spent hour after hour, day after day trying to replicate what I saw on the page. I was utterly inspired. And I knew what I wanted to do for a living.
The rest of Jim's x-men run followed, then WildC.A.T.s, Deathblow, Fantastic Four, Batman, Superman et al. To this day he's still my favourite comics artist(alongside Adam hughes) and I devour everything he puts out there.


I actually got to hang out with the guy for an hour or two at the Dublin Comic Con a couple years back, and he couldn't have been more courteous and friendly. We shot the shit about our ladyfolk, hilariously.
Earlier that day my then girlfriend(now wife) Jackie had approached him and asked him to draw me a Nightwing piece in my 'Hush' hardcover, since it was my 30th birthday and she knew it'd mean the world to me.

The fact that he cheerfully obliged(even though I'm pretty sure he was about to try and eat his lunch) just pushed my pathetic hero-worship further over the edge. Whomever said you should never meet your heroes can kiss my fat hairy arse.

And that's my heroic story.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Fistful of Shanix, Yes?

Everyone's favourite Freelance Peacekeeping Agent, Death's Head!

I got asked to sign someone's boobs at Auto-Assembly...


Justice Department Summer

I did this for a different project, but since it's such hoot, I'm sticking it up here.
It's my first Dredd in years, and modesty aside, it's odd to see how much better I've gotten in the meantime.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Etrigan by Stephen Thompson

My next couple of jobs are gonna be traditional pencils so I thought I'd get a bit more practice in this week with a sketch of Etrigan the Demon, a classic wacky Kirby design.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SENTRY by Will Sliney

Busy at the mo. Next week all the micks are going to be talking about their first comics!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Was stuck for an idea this week so i asked for suggestions on Twitter. One suggestion was for Chamber. I always really liked the look of him. The character was all tragic and junk too, and i lap that stuff up. Messed around with the costume too. Anyway, here you go.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Hellboy by Stephen Mooney

Came home from The Expendables the other day with an overwhelming urge to draw muscular arms holding muscular guns.
Drew an arm, turned out to be 'ol Anung Un Rama's.


Tidied this up a bit for Thompson's benefit. Looks better.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's a Rattrap, Baby...

Another automated entry from me, my third in a row. So no idea if a mystery theme week is currently taking place. Being crushed for time between trips, I'm kinda breaking my MicksBlog oath by drawing a TF. This is Rattrap, from Beast Wars, so that's my loophole. This pic adorns various nametags at the Auto-Assembly Transformers convention I'm appearing at right now, hence it's inclusion here.

Something fresh next week, one hopes.


The Oogey Doogey Moggi is the wee git who's the first protagonist in FARSEEKER. This was the first attempt to capture the basic jumped-up nastiness of the character. Apart from a few tweaks, it really just came together pretty much straight off- which is rare and welcome.
Apologies for the lateness of this post- my schedule was pretty much buggered this week.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Come together by Bob Byrne

I really enjoyed last weeks posts about the studios so maybe another idea for us time pressed Micks would be to talk about the one comic that pushed us over the edge and made us want to do this nonsense...?

Spazzmoid is heating up so don't miss it! Also, don't know if all the Irish readers have yet seen my infamous Joe Duffy Soundboard thats burning up the internet. Fruitcake homo hamburger

Also my new design blog

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Return by Stephen Thompson

Batman's costume is getting a little tweak when Bruce Wayne returns courtesy of David Finch, so I thought I'd take a stab at it. Plus It gave me a excuse to do some pencilling and get away from the Cintiq for once.

Exciting update! I threw some ink on it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cú Chulainn

I think over the course of the last decade, I've written about ten Cú Chulainn stories. When I was in college I wanted to do a short film, when I worked in 3D I wanted to do an animation. Then, at the back of my mind for years, I've wanted to do a comic about him.
The beauty of the Cú Chulainn myth is exactly that, its a myth. With many different interpretations.

Early stories of the Ulster cycle deal with vicious heroes, dating back from the high middle ages.
Centuries later than that, the stories took a much more heroic stance. One to rival the Arthurian legends coming from across the Irish sea
In the late 1800's the Cú Chulainn stories centred around him fighting for oppressed people, reflecting our own countries struggles against the British at the time.

So with that I've decided on my own version. Its something that I'm going to tip away at in my own free time so expect to see the odd panel and character design pop up here on the blog.

I've drawn it very open line, as I'm going to leave a lot of the work to colour, something I'm getting more and more into these days

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Saw this yesterday. HAD to draw it. It's a super-Gorilla for godsake!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Party like it's 1999

A reeeaaaallly old one today, just for yuks. I drew this Grifter way back in '99, when I was 21, during Travis Charest's second run on the Wildcats book. I was mad for all things Grifter, it just didn't get any more nineties for me. Looking back at this is kinda painful, as the staging is AWFUL(the muzzle-flash from his pistol isn't even on the freakin' page), the motorcycle is completely made up and wacky, and it's over-rendered within an inch of it's life(as was everything I used to draw). Still, has the odd bit of decent draftsmanship here and there, and more importantly it brings back very fond memories of drawing all day everyday, and dreaming of life as a professional comicbook artist.

Ah, memories....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fall Girl

Nick's not at home. Hence this automated opt-out of show and tell.

Another old Batgirl drawing (I was mildly obsessed briefly), this time with added confusion. It's a scan of a photocopy too, but I dug it out with an interest to practicing some inking digitales on it. Hmm. Watch this space...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Studio Corner by Len O'Grady

This project caught me at a good time, since I just cleaned up between gigs. Space is at a premium until we move again, so the drawing table with Cintiq cradle is in storage. Instead, I've got a heavy-ass glass table which doubles as a book case. The majority of toys and all my statues are in storage. Comp copies are kept in the boxes underneath- they'll be heading to storage once I get motivated. Big Rubbermaid Drawers for Pads, computer bits and bobs and such.

Anatomy, Comic Book Theory, Movie/Artbooks and Graphic Novels. The top shelf hold stuff I've done that has been collected (sweeties are kept in the ceramic Vader head). Small Rubbermaid Drawers are handy for all my art materials, application manuals and various fiddly bits. Amongst the wee bottles are my two best friends in a deadline crisis: 5 hour energy shots and eyedrops. The whiteboard is magnetized so it doubles up for ideas and schedules.

If killing time, the Xbox, Wii and big ass Telly are just in the other corner. Outside is looking a lot better then usual, so here's the view outside my front door.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Studio by Bob Byrne

My studio is up these stairs....

My girlfriend NEVER comes up to visit except to print things. We both lived in an apartment in Dublin where my desk was in the living room so we were sitting 3ft apart both with headphones on so I absolutely love having my own space now

The studio leads on to the terrace which is the same size as the room itself, it's great. We're right on the top floor so nobody can see on to it. I sit over there on the left.

To the right is a collapsable desk with my pc and my top secret hydroponics lab where you can see three little baby hash plants just about to sprout into monsters. Above it is my notice board which I usually use as a production list but as you can see there's not much happening!

Beside that is the book shelf. Not that many comics or toys, mostly incredibly interesting history and educational manuals. Notice the pink stair stepper machine, absolutely indispensable for exercising. I'd recommend all you Micks get one, every time I send a big file or whatever I hop on that thing and strut it with gay abandon.

Here is my desk. I put a custom sliding tray on it for the Cintiq and it's perfect for switching between the two screens.

And what studio would complete without a visit from other artists?

So that's my place. Not very swanky like Mooney's but check out my view from the terrace. I sit out there drinking most days when I should be working. It's really calm.

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So now you know where the magic is made, go read some, the last panel is something every artist can relate to.