Steve Ditko, RIP

As it’s been a while since the news broke, I thought it was about time to mention Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man (and lots of others), who died late in June, aged 90.

He was always one of my major art influences. He had a unique eye and a memorably distinctive style that persisted to the very end. I was one of the ‘faithful’, I guess; those who followed Steve’s work throughout. It was always worth looking at, even if he favoured a very stripped-down approach later in life.

90 is a good run, and he lived it on his own terms. I did not agree with some of his views—I’m not big on Ayn Rand’s philosophy, for instance—but I respected him thoroughly, and was largely in sympathy with his thoughts on intellectual property and etc. He was a man who would put principle firmly ahead of a fast buck—rather like Alan Moore, but rather unlike most people. I was lucky enough to correspond with him for a while, some years ago… I always intended to write to him again and catch up, but I never got around to it… that’s life, isn’t it.

Steve Ditko on Wikipedia.

Steve Ditko - 1927-2018

Monsters Storyboards

Monsters is a short film project which will star the frankly brilliant William Hayes. We haven’t worked with Bill yet, but we’ve been waiting to get this one running.

We’re still looking to firm-up a location and I’m currently storyboarding a few key elements. See first two below. There should be positive news on this one real soon…

Monsters Storyboard #1

Monsters Storyboard #2

Terror At Bell’s End News

And yep, see the Bell’s End tag for more! This is our faux grindhouse trailer, homaging Euro Cult and the likes of Lucio Fulci. Of course, if any backers or companies showed an interest, we’d definitely be up for making a full movie!!

Anyhow, it’s been on the shelf for months and months, and we still need to shoot a couple of extra scenes. We’re working on it. It’s back on the schedule after the hiatus. More news soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a couple of frame grabs; firstly, from a titles sequence I’ve recently been playing with… secondly, good old Melyza Fay being stalked by THE KILLER

Bells End Title

Bells End Stalked

Club Vamporama News

You can follow the Club Vamporama tag for more on this project. The newest news is that we’re planning a crowdfunder for a full, 30-minute pilot episode. Liz wrote the script ages ago, and completed a new draft of it quite recently; most of the main cast are in place, all being well; currently, the theme song is being worked on (you can hear an instrumental rough mix of it in the video below)… we’re looking to recruit a couple of ‘name value’ cast members and get things on track very, very soon.

Here’s the official preview vid!

Inking Green Lantern by Gil Kane

This inking job over Gil Kane pencils was one of the things I worked on while Fred was seriously ill, which I finished up just after he died… I lifted a copy of the pencils from Kevin Nowlan’s blog—Kevin inked the published version back in 1996… you can see his posting here. I really like what he did, but I had different ideas about it. Judge the result for yourself.

Inks on Gil Kane Green Lantern

I’m Back! Meet Tikki!

Yeah, I’m really back, and there will be a flurry of catchup postings coming up. It’s been a weird few months.

Last time I was here, it was to write about the passing of my Westie, Fred, aged 14. Not long after that, Steve “adopted” Oscar, a two-year-old Chorkie (Yorkie Chihuahua cross). It was nice to have a dog back in the house without too much of a break, and he’s awful cute…

Oscar

But… BUT… for me, there was a Westie-sized hole and it wasn’t getting filled so easily.

Enter Tikki. She was born in March 2017 and came into my life in mid-April this year.

Tikki

No one can replace Fred, but she’s a great companion in her own right!

And Oscar and Tikki do get along… some of the time. At other times, not so much. What the hey.

Oscar and Tikki

Next up: some work from recent months and news on various projects!!

Fred H, RIP (2004-2018)

So: a belated return to posting on here, but it’s for a very sad reason. After getting over the New Year slash January funk, around January 24th, my beloved dog Fred started to get sick. At first it was extreme exercise intolerance, soon followed by alarming breathing difficulties and severe weakness/lethargy.

An initial vet appointment early in February gave us a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis (apparently common in Westies) and suitable meds were given. I was not convinced or happy about this diagnosis; I had my own suspicions/fears, which later turned out to be correct. Anyhow, after a week or so, there was no improvement… and in fact, Fred had started to experience very obvious fluid build-up in his belly, which was having a big impact on his mobility and comfort.

We ended up going to a different vet by mid-February, and this time received the diagnosis I’d feared: Fred had terminal stage congestive heart failure. They drained his belly and started him on new meds (Vetmedin and Flurosemide), but in less than three days the fluid build-up (which was making it very difficult from him to lie down or rest) was becoming obvious once again. The drugs seemed to be doing nothing at all. We took him into the vet again last Saturday (Feb 24th), fully expecting him to not be coming home… but the vet we saw recommended an additional drug (Cardalis), as a last resort.

Again, this drug had no impact on his condition, and Fred was suffering mightily from the fluid in his stomach, hardly able to get any sleep at all—and finally his declining appetite completely vanished too. We had no choice but to take him in and have him put to sleep, last night (Feb 28th).

He was born on March 14th 2004, so he had a run of 14 years, more or less, which is a good lifespan. He wasn’t far from 100 years old in dog terms; and he’d seldom been ill enough to warrant visits to the vet. He remained quite active and full of life until the last five weeks. So this is not a tragedy… I keep telling myself, because I am so fucking upset it can’t be put into words. It’s just the way in which he was a permanent fixture in my life for so long… a constant companion, and for some spells my only companion. He was there and a comfort when my mom died 12 years ago. He was a rock. We were quite fond of each other!

Nothing else to say right now… I’ll be posting some new work shortly… for now, here’s a gallery of Fred through the years… for my own enjoyment/therapy, but I hope you like them.

Fred, May 2004
Fred as a puppy… May 2nd 2004

Me & Fred, November 2004
Me and Fred… November 2004

Fred in London, October 2006
Fred in London… October 2006

Fred, September 2008
Fred in HIS Chair… September 2008

Fred & Toy, May 2010
Fred and his BESTEST Toy… May 2010

Fred, November 2010
Fred Smiles for the Camera… November 2010

Fred, July 2013
Fred in Bearwood… July 2013

Fred, June 2015
Fred in the Back Yard… June 2015

Fred, July 2015
Fred in the Sun… July 2015

Fred Wearing Glasses, May 2016
Fred Wearing Glasses… May 2016

Fred & Cigar, September 2016
Fred and His “Cigar”… September 2016

Fred, February 2017
Fred Looking Adorable… February 2017

Fred @ 13, March 2017
Fred’s Happy 13th Birthday… March 2017

Fred, September 2017
Fred Looking Sharp… September 2017

Fred, February 2018
Fred Looking Hopeful… February 24th 2018

Me & Fred, February 2018
Me and Fred… February 24th 2018

Fred's Final Walk, February 2018
Fred Bravely Takes His Final Walk… February 28th 2018…

The last one is the final photo ever taken of him. He was gone less than 30 minutes later.

But never forgotten, my old friend…

Happy New Year

So we’ve had a bit of radio silence over the holidays, pondering what comes next (and there was an abortive house move in there, too, but that’s another story). Hope everyone is feeling good and all the best for 2018… lots of news & new stuff coming soon!