Saturday, 31 January 2015

"THE RAMBLER" The Time Henge" - Part Two Post Two

These three panels are another attempt to inject a little bit of 'proper' history into the story, and at the same time move the action along. Once again the backgrounds are actually of the relevant parts of Stone Henge.

I made the last panel double-sized in order to incorporate the extra dialogue and to give myself some space to illustrate that there really were quite a few of the Neolithic tribesmen running around the ancient monument; albeit they're now all burning to death.

Have the historical site visitors survived the murderous machinations of savage man just to be burnt alive in the flames of time itself... or does the Rambler have a solution; one which means a visit back in Stone Henge's past..? 

Monday, 26 January 2015

"THE RAMBLER" The Time Henge" - Part Two Post One

One of the things I like to try and do with my stories for "The Rambler" is include the occasional little-known or interesting historical fact. These panels are one such a scene, as I wanted to explain that the modern-day lay-out to Stone Henge isn't actually the same as it was during the Neolithic Age.

Indeed one of the reasons I decided to main one of the main characters an English Heritage tour guide was to allow me to do this more easily, as he was bound to have some knowledge of history in general. The photograph in the background is actually of the Heel Stone mentioned in the story.

[I've spotted an error in the dialogue which I'll correct as soon as I can]

Fleeing the Neolithic savage the surviving site visitors readily follow the Rambler. But is the mysterious stranger leading them to safety or to be sacrificed.!?!   

Sunday, 25 January 2015

"THE RAMBLER" The Time Henge" - Part One Post Three

Although reasonably action-packed, these final panels of the first episode are really just about establishing which visitors have survived the attack by the Prehistoric savages, and enabling them to reach the actual archaeological monument. They also firmly establish that the Rambler is the leader of the small group and has some sort of a plan to thwart whatever disaster it is he keeps saying is about to destroy the Earth.

With hindsight I realise that what all three of this 'main cast' lacked was eyebrows, something these days I almost religiously draw on all my main characters. As a result I can't help but think that both the Rambler and the older grey-haired survivor look younger than what I actually envisaged.

Hunted amongst the tall rocks of Stonehenge, the surviving visitors must cast aside their concerns over the sanity of the Rambler, and put their trust in him when he says he must alter the Earth's time-line..?   

Saturday, 24 January 2015

"THE RAMBLER" The Time Henge" - Part One Post Two

I'm a big fan of the double-length panels, especially when I want to get a big scene in with lots of figures and don't think it'll look terribly good if I shrink it all down in order to fit a single frame. They also let me increase the amount of dialogue I can 'squeeze' into a scene; albeit this particular posting seems 'riddled' with the ellipses I no longer use these days.

The prehistoric builders are actually just some recoloured drawings of some Celtish warriors I made in 2005 for a short-lived series entitled "Pax Romany". I just removed their tattoos and re-dyed their hair and moustaches.

The mysterious alien race known as the Beorge are rather piscine in look, though they are not an underwater species. The characters of the Chancellor, the Emperor and one or two other minor ranks have remained the same since I first started making these stories over twenty years ago, despite changing the Earth's 'Rambler' from time to time. The background is a photograph from a brightly lit underground cave, as I like the alien-feel of all those stalagmites and stalactites. Plus they are wonderfully colourful.

Outnumbered the remaining tourists must fight for their survival against the attacking Prehistoric savages. Only then dare they risk a surprising escape route...  

Thursday, 22 January 2015

"THE RAMBLER" "The Time Henge" - Part One Post One

Drawn in September 2009, this is actually the third series of "Mooretoons" I've drawn for the time-travelling agent of the alien Beorge. Indeed, originally titled "The Timeman" the first hand-illustrated adventures were started in 1992 and ran for a couple of years before, under the new banner of "The Rambler", I started to incorporate computer graphics, sound effects and speech bubbles into my artwork.

"The Time Henge" is all about handing the baton over to an entirely new agent of Beorge. I hadn't actually drawn any more 'Rambler' stories for seven and a half years, so wanted to give the character a completely fresh start but also give a nod to role's former incumbent. I also had to create a new 'companion' for the agent. Someone who would ask lots of questions and get into trouble. As a result I started with a little bit of a crowd scene so it wasn't immediately clear both who would be the new 'Timeman', imbued with time-travelling powers and who would 'assist' them in ensuring the smooth-flow of Earth's timeline.

Despite having wholeheartedly moved over to computer-enhanced drawing for some years before this story was drawn, I made this four-parter rather quickly as a 'pilot' to see if the characters would still be interesting. As a result many of the drawings are simply 'pulled' form other stories I've drawn and as a result they're a rather inconsistent mixed-bag.

Who is the mysterious pensioner and what is his plight!?! Murderous ancient man and bizarre aliens abound in the next instalment...  

Friday, 16 January 2015

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

Whilst I like the smaller tight panels for this final instalment of "Virus Of The Panda" I don't think they let you easily see the swirling disorientated background effect of Cheng Fu's poisoned blood. It is also a little unclear that The Peking Panda is escorted away by the local authorities, having been arrested at the end of the fight.

The faded background to the final panel is actually a piece of glazed painted pottery depicting the Taoist Immortals who are meant to be coming to claim the soul of the sick Sensei Cheng Fu. It was a bit of a balancing act to work out just how visible this needed to be. I didn't want it too strong so you couldn't still see the hospital, but clear enough so you could make out the Immortals' faces and realise Cheng Fu was in grave danger of joining his spiritual gods.

Next time a hapless visitor to Stonehenge becomes embroiled in a plot to destroy all of time, and as a consequence embarks upon the first of many adventures travelling through Earth's history as an agent of an alien race. It's time for "The Rambler"...  

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

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

With this scene I wanted to quickly cover why the Peking Panda wears the skin of a Giant Panda, and show him infecting Cheng Fu with the virus. Indeed, I actually went so far as to use a red mottling effect to visually show that both the villain's claws and some of this own ninja henchmen were contaminated with the infection.

As I didn't want too much of a distraction from this simple 'story telling' I predominantly reverted back to using my basic composition format of similar-sized rectangular panels. Although I had already learnt that by changing their edges and making some of the frames larger and smaller it was possible to completely eradicate the dialogue ellipses I have been using for the past ten years or so.

Infected with a deadly disease, can Cheng-Fu defeat both the Peking Panda and the killer virus..!?!

Monday, 12 January 2015

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

For first four panels of this final part of "Virus Of The Panda" I went back to using my usual sized panel but continued to try and break up the perceived monotony of all the frames being the same shape. The opening drawing is an attempt to show what a character is thinking as an event takes place elsewhere. Thus you have the Peking Panda inside the hospital and within a tiny frame, reacting to a large explosion outside. I think the dialogue bubbles sort of ruin this illusion, and with hindsight I'd have drawn the villain on the other side of the panel.

The fourth drawing is a simple split panel which I wanted to use to show Sensei Cheng-Fu running through the corridors of the hospital. in addition I slightly blurred the background in order to suggest he was travelling at speed. Again I think the text and speech bubbles somewhat impinge upon the effect I was hoping for.

As the order is swiftly brought back to the hospital, Cheng-Fu faces the mastermind behind the attempted viral outbreak, and only one will walk away from the encounter in good health...

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Mooretoons - Early "Doctor Who" Adventures - Daleks, Cybermen and Dodo

Top: 'City of Daleks' and a Thatcher!?!     Bottom: Dodo and the Emperor Dalek
Written at a time when I was clearly full of teenage angst and lashing out at anything and everything, irrespective of whether I actually understood the subject matter in question, “The Demise Of The Daleks” is probably the most disappointing story I’ve written… and much of the artwork isn’t that great either. Indeed if I could turn back time and remake just one story, this would definitely be it.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some nice elements to this four-parter, such as being set within the ‘City of Daleks’ and being based upon companion Steven Taylor’s to recover and resurrect the Doctor after he is electrocuted by Terry Nations’ pepper-pot creations. It also introduces the new travelling assistant Dodo Chaplet, a talking budgerigar and provided me with an opportunity to draw my own version of the Dalek Emperor. But all these good ideas are implemented quite appallingly, and the inclusion of a clip-clopping tortoise-shelled behemoth based upon Margaret Thatcher is possibly the worst thought out creature I’ve ever imagined.
Top: The Doctor falls foul of a water trap     Bottom: The Cybermen
Bizarrely, the following story, “The Chasity Of The Cybermen”, despite its somewhat perturbing title is actually one of my all-time favourite tales. And it would appear that some passage of time passed between its creation and that of ‘The Dalek Story’ before it, as the artwork is clean, stylised and the plot rather funny; in my opinion at least. Clearly inspired by the “Doctor Who” September 1967 television story “The Tomb Of The Cybermen”, it concerns the TARDIS crew exploring the Tomb of Metal shortly after an archaeological explorer has been killed by a Cyberman.

Fleeing the silver giant, the Doctor, Steven and Dodo rush headlong into a water trap and only escape by drinking all the liquid up using straws. Having survived, the friends then rush back to the time machine, and depart. Simple, straightforward stuff which let me draw plenty of ‘Patrick Troughton-era’ Cybermen for the first time.