Thursday, 4 September 2008

And speaking of Hellboy

My daily routine has been shaken to the foundations by my son starting secondary school. Having been able to walk him round to a school that was a few hundred yards away we now have to cycle across Cambridge in what has been a week of foul weather. I am taking him and one of his school friends for a while until they are more confident.

So instead of starting the day with a cup of coffee at home I now cycle to my studio and grab a coffee in a local cafe before sitting down at my laptop. I am trying to break the back of my new book before I go to Rio at the end of the month. To do that I would ideally like to be writing 10,000 words a week (or more). So far I am reasonably on target.

The new book is called Ghosts, but that title is going to change I feel. It is a Victorian-set Gothic chiller. It has - I hope - elements of The Fall of the House of Usher and Jane Eyre: a creepy house full of dark secrets, strange noises in the night, a brooding host. I'm certainly enjoying writing it. I just hope the same goes for reading it. It should escape from the crypt at the beginning of 2010.

And speaking of the weird and creepy, I was talking about going to see Hellboy 2 a few posts back and I've mentioned the Hellboy comics before. I am a big, big fan of Mike Mignola. His drawings are superb and the way he uses a page is a masterclass in narrative illustration. So when I picked up a copy of B.P.R.D some years ago, I bought it for Mike Mignola's cover design alone. Imagine my disappointment when I then discovered the inside drawings were not by him at all, but by somebody I'd never heard of called, Guy Davis.

But the thing is, once I got used to the idea that Guy Davis wasn't Mike Mignola, and certainly wasn't trying to be, I began to realise that he was actually pretty good himself. He is one of those amazing graphic artists who appear to be able to draw anything. His work is stylised of course, but with a softer edge to it than Mignola's and so he is able to carry a story in a more conventional, almost filmic, way. Look at his website and see just how much work is going into these books.
The amazing this is, both Mignola and Davis are inked by Dave Stewart (whom I'm assuming is not the bearded half of Eurythmics). His inking of Mignola is all about restraint and mainly flat colour. His inking of Davis shows his ability with a larger palette and a wonderful use of texture and subtle modelling. He uses light sources incredibly well.

Inkers are an underappreciated quantity here in the UK - which is why so many British graphic novels look like. . .Well, they don't look very good.


  1. dave colours both BPRD and Hellboy. Both Davis and Mignola ink their own stuff.

  2. You are absolutely right of course. I meant colourist. I am an idiot.