2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, March 07, 2008

Prog 427

Judge Anderson's first, big solo adventure finishes this prog with thousands dead, the Dark Judges stranded in a random dimension and her suspension lifted. It turn's out that, being a psi, she was prone to influence from Judge Death and therefore not in control of her actions. I'm still surprised that she got let off the hook when you consider the things people do get arrested for in Mega City One; for example, I saw a guy get busted once for whistling in a humming zone.

When I wrote my entry for Prog 422, it was with the incorrect memory that Brett Ewins draws the entire story. I had completely forgotten that he is replaced half way through by art editor robot, Robin Smith, and Cliff Robinson. As Brian Bolland's number one fan, Robinson's presence partly undermines by point that Ewins serves as a bridge between the old and the new artists to draw Anderson and The Dark Judges. Fortunately, Smith's style is far enough removed from Bolland's that I don't feel entirely stupid by what I said the other day.

I joke about the influence that Bolland's work has had on Robinson's but I can't deny my sense of awe at the staggering discipline he displays in his inking. In general, I ink my comic strips with a brush and I find that I am frequently frustrated by how it splays or my line looking that it's been applied by somebody with Parkinson's Disease. Robinson's ink work looks like it's been applied by a, well, robot. Sometimes, I'm so mesmerised by it that I want to lick the page.

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  • Cliff Robinson's inking does look like it was drawn by a machine. That's undoubtedly why I found it so unappealing when I first encountered his work after he took over from Brett Ewins on Anderson. Ewins' work on the Anderson strip had been bold, sassy, mobile, sexy even. Robinson's art seemed stiff, flat, and lifeless.

    I appreciate Robinson's technique, but I've never been emotionally engaged by his comics.

    By Blogger Jez, at 7:37 pm  

  • As a kid I fancied myself as a comics artist. I always suspected there was some secret that 'real' artists had for covering areas of blackness (space backgrounds and so on).

    The sad truth is that there was no shortcut: I was just too lazy (and crap with a brush) to cover the required areas in ink.

    The result was that all my epic space battles took place in some kind of bizarro-world null-space of perfect white.

    By Blogger Stavros, at 8:07 pm  

  • Jez, I think his work gets better as he goes on. I seem to remeber stuff due over the next year or so in The Slog being an improvement.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:11 pm  

  • Stavros, these day you can black out the area in one fell swoop in Photoshop. Easy!

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:12 pm  

  • A lot of artists that start by emulating another tend to throw those shackles off quite quickly, especially as the pace of work increases. Unfortunately, I failed to see that in Robinson's work: I feel that to this day his stuff looks like a computer with a Bolland-chip did it. If you glance over his work you may also notice a lack in the dynamism of the layouts (viewing angles, use of black, figure construction), when compared to Bolland's.

    I dislike the way he adds little bits of useless frippery to standard Judge's uniform - eg. straps where none are required - making life more difficult for himself, and adding nothing to the artwork. Quite an achievement ;)

    Sorry Paul, I'm not a fan.

    Filling in blacks: I recall Dave Gibbons at Comicon'81 describing how he powered through slab blacks by using a Q-tip dipped in ink. A chap in the audience asked him which art supplies shop sold Q-tips and how long did they last! Dave was fairly charitable with his explanation of the concept of cotton buds.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 3:21 pm  

  • Good story, Ken. As for Robinson; I see that he still produces work for 2000 AD, covers mainly, and they look okay to me. I recall that his artwork does evolve but The Slog will prove my recolection right or wrong, I guess.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

  • i'm pretty sure Paul is right that Robinson's art gets better. This stuff for Anderson looked ok but a bit awkward. I remember some really great Dredd's in the 470s and 480s.
    I've never really liked Robin Smith's art. Anderson looks ugly in these stories he does. The only things I've liked by him are Bad City Blue (coming later in the 470s I think! and Wagner and Grant's Bogie Man - which was awesome art and stories. I notice he's changed his style recently, such as in the story republished at the end of David Bishop's Thrill Power Overload. It looks better, more relaxed and cartoony.

    By Blogger Simon C, at 10:10 am  

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