Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Orbital/TLDC ERB special!

With a new Tarzan movie “The Legend Of Tarzan” scheduled for a summer 2016 release, we thought now might be a nice time to take a look at some of the amazing artwork inspired by the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and hopefully inspire some more…

On Friday March 11th 2016 The Life Drawing Collective will team-up with Orbital Comics to present an evening of Tarzan/ERB themed life drawing.

Life drawing, comics and the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs are not such an incongruous match as one might initially suppose. 

The celebrated artist Burne Hogarth (wiki) whose outstanding work on the Tarzan newspaper strips led to him being heralded as  the“Michaelangelo of the comic strip” was actually a founder member of the School Of Visual Arts in New York.

This image I previously submitted to Bleeding Cool's Swipe File

Anyone who has frequented art shops in the last 50 years or so will know Burne Hogarth as the author of the acclaimed Dynamic Figure Drawing series of books.

As we are talking about working from models it's worth mentioning that Hogarth was obsessed with the actress Hedy Lamarr and often featured her in his stories.

Another artist renowned for his work on Tarzan comics was Joe Kubert .

Kubert, like Hogarth, was also a dedicated educator, who also established his own school, and comic book dynasty, several of his own children and grandchildren have followed him into the industry.

Probably the most famous artist to have illustrated the Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs is (ex-EC comics artist) Frank Frazetta (wiki). Frank's beautifully painted paperback novel covers, record covers and comics have thrilled a generation of fantasy art fans.

Frazetta was, of course, well known for his meticulous use of life models in his work.

There are literally too many artists to mention who have illustrated Burroughs tales, but I can't resist a tip of the hat to a few more:

 Orbital Comics have played host to a variety of drawing sessions aimed at bring back the practice of live figure drawing to comic strip illustrators.

Doug Sneyd

Steve Rude

Catsuits & Rayguns

This is their first time working with the Life Drawing Collective who bring, classically inspired, multi figure poses their sessions. 
For this special Tarzan themed event we will have 3 models posing over 2 hours.

Manko, who has previously modelled at several of these events (eg. Va Va Valenties), returns to Orbital with two other members of the Collective.

Andrew Crayford, whose honed physique is well suited to the role of a Burroughsian hero (he actually worked as a Tarzan stand-in for pre-production of the new movie)

  Carla Tofano with her pin-up curves Carla seems to be the living embodiment of a Frazetta heroine.

So if this has gotten your creative juices flowing and you're in the London area on Friday March 11th 2016 please join us at Orbital for an evening of dynamic figure drawing.

Tickets available here

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Legend Horror Classics

Back in 1975, I was an 8 year old horror-freak with a penchant for posters. 
Imagine then my delight when I discovered "Legend Horror Classics", not only were there lurid posters featuring Hammer Horror monsters but they were also filled with the gruesome and gory comic strips of a certain young artist by the name of Kev O'Neill.

I'm not sure of the circumstances that led to this 22 year old being given the editorial freedom to publish his own twisted takes on classic tales such as Dracula & Frankenstein, but for a glorious 9 issues he was given, apparently, free rein to create a series of lurid masterpieces that warped my young mind and set me firmly on a path that I still tread.

Full cover gallery here

A couple of years later when 2000AD hit the stands I was already a big fan of his work and recognised his input instantly. O'Neill's art style was so well developed by that time that it is hard to name his artistic influences but looking back at "Legend Horror Classics" with the benefit of hindsight (and the assistance of UK comics legends Savage Pencil & Garry Leach at a recent Satanic Mojo Comix signing) we spotted a slew of potential visual references to Wally Wood/EC Comics, Jim Steranko, Will Eisner, Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, Mike Ploog & more...

Atomic, Savage Pencil, Garry Leach & Billy Chainsaw peruse the Legend Horror Classics mags at the Satanic Mojo Comix #3 signing at Orbital Comics.

Issue 1, featured Kev's unique take on Dracula.
 One of O'Neill's first published works features Mina Murray & her 'foreign gentleman'. Mina is a character he still draws 40 years later in Legion Of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Alan Moore.

(note use of choker/scarf to cover vampire bites)

Spot colour is used for added drama, giving this series a bold pop-art edge.

Read the whole issue here

Issue 2, Frankenstein.

Read The whole issue here

Issue 3, The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad 


These torn fragments are all that remain of my original childhood collection of 
"Legend Horror Classics"

This strip is notable for O'Neill's uncharacteristic use of photo-reference.


Read The Whole issue here

Issue 4, Blood Lust Of The Zombies

These 1970s car crash scenes give this strip a very Ballardian edge.

Read The whole issue (+ issue 5) here

Issue 5, Dracula Must Be Destroyed

In panel 3 we see the thorny motif that will become one of O'Neill's trademarks a few years later on Nemesis The Warlock for 2000AD.

Issue 6, Terror From Space

A character looking like one of Frank Hampson's Treen emerges from a Kirby style cocoon and mutates into something resembling Bernie Wrightson's Swamp Thing.

Issue 7, Beowulf

Kev takes a break in this issue handing over the art chores to Derek Tyson.
Read the whole issue here

Issue 8, Killer Jaws

I don't have this issue, but apparently it acted as a prototype for the following year's notorious Hookjaw strip in Action.

Issue 9, The Jokers

According to Dez Skinn this EC comics tribute was reprinted from his Fantasy Advertiser zine.

Out of all the gory splendours of Legend Horror Classics this was the one that had the biggest impression on me. I think my guts really did churn... 
"Good Lord... Choke!"

To round things off here are some misc. editorial illustrations.

Around this time Kev also did the cover for this Dr Who poster mag.