Tuesday, 30 December 2014

"MEN OF MYSTERY" Virus Of The Panda - Part Three Post Three

When I first started posting these comic strips on the internet one of the (constructive) criticism I received from the 'comic art community' was that the composition of each page was identical and as a result somewhat unappealing. I actually like the 'order' six identically-sized panels generates but I did take the point that others might not find it so. However as I was posting stories I had written and drawn some months earlier it has taken this long to finally post up one of the changes I've tried to incorporate in my most recent adventures. 

The final three panels are my first attempt to mix-up my panel arrangements and provide a glimpse of just how acrobatic Sensei Cheng Fu is. Initially I just depicted the British Kung-Fu expert in each separate panel. But found I actually preferred the idea of him flowing from frame to frame so allowed the action to 'bleed' into each adjoining panel.

The final assault by the British Law Enforcement officers on the Hospital begins. But does the Peking Panda has one final deadly trap in store for them..?

Thursday, 18 December 2014

"MEN OF MYSTERY" Virus Of The Panda - Part Three Post Two

Continuing the 'off-screen' mass battle between Ninjas and law enforcement officers, these panels are still rather wordy. However they do finally set up the opportunity for Sensei Cheng Fu to get more involved in the action by 'foolishly' volunteering to take on the black-clad assassins single-handedly in order to distract the Peking Panda's men whilst the Police storm the hospital.

The final frame was actually reworked repeatedly as I wasn't terribly happy with Cheng Fu continuing to have his arms crossed as he 'walked into danger'. In the end though it seemed to be the best pose for the martial artist as he fearlessly believes he won't be attacked as it goes against the ninjas' rules of honour.

Surrounded by the Peking Panda's deadly assassins, Sensei Cheng Fu attacks in an all-action fist-fight..!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

"MEN OF MYSTERY" Virus Of The Panda - Part Three Post One

As with many of my four-parters, the third instalment is really all about setting up events for a final confrontation between the story's main two protagonists at the end of the adventure. These opening four panels are a good example of this philosophy, with the Peking Panda making it clear to the reader what he plans to do (i.e. infect his men's weapons with the virus and then contaminate the British), whilst Cheng Fu wants to storm the hospital. Both plans will inevitably bring both sides into direct conflict with one another.

The final panel also continues the 'running battle theme' of the British Authorities involved in a large fight with the ninjas outside the medical facility, with throwing stars peppering the law enforcement officers.

Determined to 'storm' the hospital and stop the ninjas with their diabolical plan, Sensi Cheng Fu makes a determined assault on the black-clad assassins single-handedly...

Monday, 8 December 2014

"MEN OF MYSTERY" Virus Of The Panda - Part Two Post Three

These final panels for Part Two of "Virus Of The Panda" not only conclude the super-villain's explanation of why China hope to infect the United Kingdom mainland with a deadly virus; so they can woo the British survivors into becoming a Chinese province. But also continues the battle taking place outside the Hospital between Cheng Fu and the Ninjas.

Ideally I'd have liked to have mixed up the lengthy scene with the Peking Panda's dialogue and the fight. But because the plot is rather complex I thought it would lose the reader if it was broken up into chunks with other another scene interrupting it all the time. Obviously a series of endless 'wordy' panels is not that great either. But I felt the action 'book-ending' the dialogue was the lesser of two evils.

The action heats up as Cheng Fu faces another barrage of Ninja throwing stars as the Authorities attempt to enter the hospital...  

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Mooretoons - Early "Doctor Who" Adventures - The Doctor Battles Strontium Dog

Top: Johnny Alpha faces Impetigo     Bottom: Johnny Alpha blasts TARDIS crew member Viki
Many of my early “Doctor Who” cartoon strips were either heavily influenced or based upon actual monsters and events from the BBC Television series. But I never strayed so far into the IP domain of another comic book character as I did with the four-parter “Stronties Rage”. 

The 1986 “2000 A.D.” comic strip “Strontium Dog” had a profound effect upon me as a teenager and when the bounty hunter Johnny Alpha’s long-time partner Wulf Sternhammer was killed at the conclusion of “Max Bubba” I was mightily upset. The comic’s following adventure “Rage”, in which Alpha hunted down and shot Max Bubba and his gang did little to sate my anger at the demise of one of my favourite characters. So as a result I decided to write and draw my own ending to the lengthy “Strontium Dog” saga.
Top: The Doctor stupidly disguises himself as Bubba     Bottom: Alpha and Bubba die as lasers fly everywhere
Unfortunately “Stronties Rage” was a far cry from the excellent “2000 A.D.” storyline and the artwork, although far more detailed than that of its predecessors “Dual” and “The Earthboom”, was still very rushed, rough and ready.

The adventure was notable for several reasons however. Firstly Strontium Dog Johnny Alpha featured prominently throughout the story and dies at the end; a complete departure from the conclusion of “Rage”. The tale also features both Max Bubba and one of his gang members, Impetigo. Both of which are slain by Alpha. But lastly, and most importantly, the four-parter also depicts the accidental slaying of the Doctor’s travelling companion Kame Viki [Vicky] and introduces a new assistant, Katarina; who inadvertently wanders into the TARDIS whilst taking an armful of fruit home. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

"MEN OF MYSTERY" Virus Of The Panda - Part Two Post Two

Unfortunately this scene set within the hospital is extremely wordy. But essential for explaining the motivation behind the Peking Panda's plot. What I didn't anticipate though was just how much space the villain's Alpha Beta BRK font would take up within each speech bubble. As a result vast chunks of explanatory dialogue written in the script were either condensed on the 'drawing page' or simply discarded.

I also felt that the detail and colouring of the hospital's professor, which was admittedly an older 'Mooretoons' design, was just not working alongside some of the newer illustrations; especially as his all light blue attire clashed badly with that of Hua Qin. I therefore replaced him with a dark green-clothed junior doctor for the story's later panels.

The battle over the Britain's sole virus patient heats up as Cheng Fu battles an army of Ninjas... 

Friday, 5 December 2014

"MEN OF MYSTERY" Virus Of The Panda - Part Two Post One

One of the things I wanted to try and illustrate with this particular story was a shoot-out between the Government forces, using modern-day weaponry, and the Ninjas, using just their throwing stars. Unfortunately I once again found myself rapidly running out of room within the four episodes to really give this a proper go, but the first two panels hopefully show some of the fast-paced action I wanted to portray. With hindsight the shuriken probably should have been larger and thus easier to see. However I really liked the imagery of the deadly throwing stars appearing from 'off-screen' and literally striking people dead in their tracks.

Having quickly realised how cumbersome the Ninjas looked in their isolation suits, and how silly they looked as a result, I swiftly removed them of their cumbersome attire in order to better depict their famous acrobatics... and I couldn't think of a better way of doing this than having the deadly assassins drop head-first down a rope.

With both Cheng Fu and the Police bravely battling his lethal black-clad ninjas outside, the Peking Panda finally starts to put his deadly plan into action... 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Mooretoons - Early "Doctor Who" Adventures - A Duplicate Doctor And The Ice Warriors Return

Top: 'The Two Doctors' meet     Bottom: The TARDIS lands in a variety of bizarre locations
In many ways my early “Doctor Who” stories “Dual” and “The Earthboom” are of little interest except as examples of a time when both my storylines and drawing style were possibly at their most sloppy and undisciplined. However despite the poor quality of my writing and shoddy penciling, both four-parters do hopefully have some elements of note within them.

“Dual” was a rather half-hearted attempt to bring back one of my Doctor’s former companions, Susan Foreman and a duplicate First Doctor. It soon becomes abundantly clear however that I quickly ran out of ideas for the adventure as the tale swiftly degenerates into the Timelord simply meeting an earlier version of himself and having to then briefly travel with him (and his grand-daughter) in order to return to his own timeline’s co-ordinates. 

The story was clearly drawn in a hurry as well, as the inking is splotchy and undisciplined, and many of the panels lack any background whatsoever. However the plot does contain several references to genuine BBC “Doctor Who” television serials, and I must have been heavily influenced by these adventures at the time. As a result the TARDIS lands in Brisbane, Australia during World War Three (Magnus Greel was the Butcher of Brisbane and started World War Six in “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”), momentarily stops off in the year 1,000,000 B.C. (as does the real TARDIS in “An Unearthly Child”) and then briefly arrives in sunken Atlantis (inspired by “The Time Monster”). Even the planet Skaro and the Daleks make a single panel appearance before the Doctor is reunited with his own TARDIS once again.
Top: The Ice Warriors are swiftly replaced by a Terminator     Bottom: The Doctor blows up the Martian rocket
I still remember that at the time of my drawing “Doctor Who And The Earthboom” I was fleetingly filled with a lot of enthusiasm for the story, as it heralded the long-awaited return of the Ice Warriors; one of my favourite televised monsters. However my zeal for the tale quickly evaporated when I started making mistakes drawing the Martians and as a result I quickly removed their visible presence from the ‘screen’. Indeed after just a handful of frames during the second part, and yet another poorly executed Ice Warrior, they were never to be seen again.

Instead I replaced them with the Terminator character, who had accompanied my Doctor’s companion Viki during her initial story “Magma’s Return”. During that earlier two-parter I had only implied that the bald-headed humanoid space policeman had been eaten by the monster, Magma. In “The Earthboom” Viki discovers her former jailer was somehow rescued by the Ice Warriors, cybernetically enhanced (i.e. given the trademark ice Warrior clawed hands) and placed in charge of a rocket which had been built in order to destroy the Earth. A complicated, convoluted and unbelievable plot which only a young teenager could create.

In addition the story also gives my companion the full name of Kame Viki… a massive departure from the televised companion Vicky (Pallister) and in all honesty a bad mistake on my part. However as with its predecessor “Dual”, it was clear that I was in something of a rush to finish the tale and move on to the next one; my keenness for reintroducing the Ice Warriors clearly having been already exhausted. Needless to say the Doctor uses the TARDIS to land inside the Martian’s rocket, and blow it up prematurely, rescuing both Steven Taylor and Viki in the process.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

"MEN OF MYSTERY" Virus Of The Panda - Part One Post Three

These final four panels to Part One of "Virus Of The Panda" have actually taken far longer than they should have done to post but when I originally drafted them out I realised that there was a mistake within the dialogue of the final panel and as a result I have had to find the time to not only address the error but then adjust its composition and remove the ellipse which had been there beforehand.

To be honest this whole scene is rather wordy but I felt necessarily so in order to quickly get Cheng Fu and the Armed Services into direct contact with the Peking Panda's ninjas. The medical gowns were actually based upon genuine isolation suits, although they had to be slightly adapted to fit the 'Mooretoon' head-shape.

Sensei Cheng Fu uncovers a diabolical plot to abduct his sick passenger. But can even a master of Kung Fu survive a hail of deadly shuriken..!?!