Sunday, 30 December 2012

Noe: The Savage Boy #1 Preview

Noe #1 from Atomic Diner is back from the printers. It's currently available at Sub City Comics in Dublin, and it will be making it's way to other comic shops and outlets soon. Here's a preview to whet your appetites.

Created and plotted by  Rob Curley, Script by Mal Coney with art and lettering by Stephen Downey (That's me!).

Friday, 31 August 2012

Noe: The Savage Boy

My latest project, Noe: The Savage Boy, has just been announced from Atomic Diner:

My Cover for Noe: The Savage Boy #1

Our latest title Noe The Savage Boy created and plotted by Robert Curley with Script by Mal Coney and art by Stephen Downey is due for release this September. Noe's story begins in the village of Baltimore Cork in 1631 in which the entire community is kidnaped by Barbary pirates and brought to Africa as slaves. Noes faith lies in the hands a group of clandestine monks who help train him to become a true warrior and overcome his dark faith

This is Mal's first work for Atomic Diner but he has written some high profile books in the past. You can read all about him here

Mal is an old friend and collaborator whose past work includes stories for Harris Comics' Vampirella and Top Cow/Image Comics' The Darkness. We first collaborated on a four page story for a local anthology 'Small Axe Comics' back in the days when he was my manager at Talisman (now Forbidden Planet Belfast), so it is nice to finally work together again.

The concept and script is fantastic and I'm having a ball. More soon I'm sure.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bounce! Arts Festival

As part of the Bounce Festival, my Absence co-conspirator Andy Luke and I will be holding a free comicbook/cartooning workshop this Saturday, 25th August, 1-4pm at the Arts and Disability Forum Gallery, Belfast. 

The Bounce Festival is Northern Ireland’s first ever disability and deaf arts festival, and aims to create and showcase new art from disabled and deaf people. The event is a follow up to our successful ADF comicbook workshop earlier in the year. 

No experience with comics or art is necessary, and we aim to get people with all levels of abilities contributing creatively, whether it be good ideas, artwork, script writing. If you feel like attending, try to prebook a spot via the Facebook page, and let them know of any special requirements, BSL etc.

See you there.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

League of Their Own

I've drawn one of the variant covers for League of Volunteers #3 from Atomic Diner. The majority of my recent comic work has come through publisher Rob Curley, and while Black Scorpion is set in the same universe (and officially a spin-off) it was nice to get a chance to work on the flagship pulp superhero team, albeit in this 1795 form. 

League of Volunteers #3 Variant cover

The variants for this issue feature different iterations of the League throughout history, so working off Rob's descriptions I was able to digitally paint the 'portrait'. The frame is patched together from photographs taken of a real frame in my mum's house.

The team sans frame.
The characters feature a mix of real and created characters; Mary Ann McCracken, The Patriot, Crimson Blade, James Napper Tandy [Centre] and Robert Emmet, so quite a bit of reference of the time and people had to be hunted for. 

I've also created a promotional image of the current League that Rob will be printing on Sub City Comics bags, T-shirts and posters. Both the League of Volunteers #3 and the League merchandise should be off to the printers soon!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

May Cons

Four comic conventions, four weekends in a row. May was a very busy month, and I'm still recovering now. I'm posting a little summary of each event below, both for posterity's sake, and so I can look back to choose which cons to attend next year.

Cyclops, Wolverine v Deadpool Sketches.

Bristol Comic Expo

Reasons for going: Launch of Andrew Croskery's first GN Kronos City, chance to catch up with UK small press scene, Transmedia panel.
Highlights: Picking up Kronos City and White Knuckle (by Cy Dethan and Valia Kapadia); two fantastic books. One filled with crazy ideas and the other with just as crazy characters. Chatting with my collaborators Cy Dethan, Nic Wilkinson, Rich Clements, Vicky Stonebridge and catching up with a lot of my con buddies such as Daniel Clifford, Lee Robinson and Graeme Pearce. Transmedia panel with Scott Grandison, Cody Brotherson and Barry Nugent.
Business End: I flew into Bristol on Saturday morning and went straight to the Kronos City panel followed by our Transmedia talk, so didn't get to the main hall until about 2pm on Saturday and apparently missed the busiest period. I shared a table with Owen Watts but still ended up losing money over the weekend.
Total profit*: -£100

Hulk Sketch

Kapow Comic Con

Reasons for going: Money maker
Highlights: Queue for sketches the whole weekend, sharing a table with the hilarious Dave Stokes.
Business End: I was able to stay with Andrew Croskery over the weekend which  reduced the costs a good bit. Sold a few comics, but most of the income came from with a long list of superhero sketch commissions.
Total profit*: £400

My new banner at Kapow!. Oh... and Dave Stokes too.

Cyclops Sketch

Booster Gold Sketch

MCM Expo

Reasons for going: Jennifer Wilde nominated for an Eagle Award
Highlights: Sharing a table and hanging out with Rob Curley and Maura McHugh, the response to Black Scorpion and our comics in general was fantastic. Free drinks at Eagle awards and after party.
Business end: Since Rob was selling the Atomic Diner books, I was relying on sketches for income over the weekend (and brought out a few of my Markosia GNs on Sunday). Atomic Diner comics sold pretty well but sketch requests were a little slower and are a different breed at MCMs, mostly portraits of people as superheroes. I just managed to break even.
Profit*: £0

Deadpool Sketch

Captain Britain Sketch

2D Festival

Reasons for going: Invited as guest, catch up with the Irish comic scene.
Highlights: This was my favourite of the cons, always great craic and a really relaxed festival. Hanging out with Steve and Jac Mooney, Declan Shalvey and Chris Ryall at dinner and convention. Drinking a lot of free drinks on Friday night with Tommie Kelley, Hillary lawler, Deirdre O'Bara and Gar Shanley.
Business End: I was competing with the Atomic Diner table for comic sales, and at the festival you are expected to sketch for free. As a festival guest though, all my (and Aimee's) expenses were paid for, so any money made was profit.
Profit: £100

Daredevil Sketch

I still have Q-con to attend next weekend, but thankfully that'll be the end of the conventions for a while. The heavy schedule really did effect my work output, but I made a convention profit of around £400 total and the long term connections should help. I have a little con fatigue at the minute, but New York Comic Con is at the back of my mind...

*Total profit takes into account Flights, hotels and table cost, but not alcohol or food.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Kapow Comic Con

I'll be attending Kapow Comic Con this coming weekend, sharing a table with the extremely talented Dave Stokes. We're at table number 205 in Artist's Alley, and I've ordered myself a new banner stand so I'm easy to find. Here's what to look out for:

I've also been taking pre-orders for sketches. Inked sketches will most likely be £15 on the day, but I'm taking a final few pre-orders for £10. Send me a tweet or email before Saturday to get on the list. 

I'll have a limited supply of comics with me: Jennifer Wilde #1 and #2, and providing my copies arrive tomorrow, Black Scorpion #1 (I'll only have 15 regular covers and 5 variants).  I'll also have a few copies  of Cancertown and Slaughterman's Creed graphic novels. If you'd like to pre-order any of these I can hold them aside for you at the convention price (£3.50 for regular comics, £10 for graphic novels).

I believe Dave is also taking sketch pre-orders, so send him a tweet to get on the list. 

See you at the weekend!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Strip Tease

It's just been announced that as of Strip Magazine's relaunch on the newstand at the end of this month, I am taking over from PJ Holden as the regular artist on Black Ops Extreme. 

I'll be continuing to work with John Freeman, Rich Clements, Gary Caldwell and Jim Campbell, who have been fantastic to work with so far.

I'm currently working on the art for my third episode (some really cool scenes to draw), so above is a teaser page from #2.

Monday, 30 April 2012


My variant cover for Black Scorpion featuring the Legion Britannia.

I had to ban myself from all social media for the last week while hunkering down to finish the interiors for the Black Scorpion, which, printer-willing, will be ready for the MCM Expo. I'll be a lot more social next month though as May and June are con heavy and I'll be schmoozing (and boozing?) 4 weekends in a row.

Here's the hefty schedule:

12-13 May Bristol Comic Expo

  • 11:45 on the Sunday I'll be talking on a panel about Transmedia with Scott Grandison, Barry Nugent and Nic Wilkinson, discussing the differing experiences of working across various media.
  • Also, check out the launch of previous collaborator Andrew Croskery's first GN, Kronos City (panel at 11:45 on Saturday) and the Launch of Cy Dethan and Valia Kapadai's White Knuckle at the Markosia Showcase 1:45 on Saturday.
  • I'll be sharing a table with the uber-talented Dave Strokes at Artist's Ally during the weekend. Come by for sketches, prints, books or just a look at some upcoming stuff.
25-27th May London MCM Expo
  • We'll be attending the Eagle Awards on Friday night (did I mention Jennifer Wilde is nominated), then hanging around and sharing a table with Atomic Diner during the show.
  • The weekend also debuts the Black Scorpion one-shot and Jennifer Wilde #2. You should pop over for a look at the really awesome books Rob is publishing.
  • I'm a guest at the festival in Derry again this year and Friday and Saturday night host the regular panels in Sandino's Bar. I'll be hanging around there, and may even make a guest appearance on a panel.
  • Saturday is the festival open day and we'll be in the Crescent Arts Centre sketching, selling books and all the usual shenanigans.
I'm going to have to fit in some drawing during May at some point too.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Black Ops Extreme!

Strip Magazine have announced I'm filling in for PJ Holden on 2 episodes of Black Op Extreme. Created by PJ and writer/editor John Freeman, my first episode also marks Rich Clements coming on as regular writer for the series. I've just finished inking my first 6 page ep so here's a little pre-colour preview of one of my panels.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Troll of Tower Bridge #CreatorOwnedDay

The Troll of Tower Bridge.

"Ever wanted your own troll? The Troll Workshop provides businesses with customised, enhanced Troll Bodyguards (TM) to any group or organisation. A one-time fee buys the best guard dog on the market, under your complete control. And the best thing about Troll Bodyguards (TM); They're guaranteed for 10 years. How's that for a low turnover?"

When the illegal mad science factory, Troll Workshop, was found, shut down and destroyed by a UK government task force, all active Trolls were ordered to be destroyed. Fresh off the operating table, one Troll managed to escape, and with only fragmented memories of his human life, took up residence under Tower Bridge. Spoken of in whispered rumours, he has become known as "The Troll of Tower Bridge".

What will happen when the Troll Workshop financiers feel the need to tidy up loose ends, the organisation that bought him realise their product is still out there, or the government realise there's a Troll on the loose?

Well I don't know really, I only thought this up last night and drew it this morning  for Creator Owned Day. Lots of new characters and art on the Twitter hashtag #CreatorOwnedDay. Still time to join in.

I'd be amiss if I didn't mention you can pick up my creator owned graphic novels with writer Cy Dethan; Cancertown and Slaughterman's Creed direct from our publisher Markosia or digitally via Comixology or

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Getting out of the house...

Quick update on some upcoming events:

Friday 24th Feb (that's tomorrow). I'll be co-presenting a comicbook creating workshop for ADF alongside my Absence collaborator Andy Luke. It is open to anyone, free of charge. All ages, levels of ability welcome. 11-3pm ADF Belfast; 109-113 Royal Av, Belfast, BT1 1AF.

The following day I'm off to the London Super Comic Convention. I'll be at selling books and custom sketches during the weekend. Keep an eye on the Markosia schedule as Cy Dethan and I will be signing copies of Slaughterman's Creed and Cancertown at their table at points during the weekend.

On the drawing front, Jennifer Wilde #2 is finished, Black Scorpion #1 is over half way and I'm starting a new project this week that I should be able to talk about soon.

The Outsider Games work I've been doing is coming along nicely, but that deserves a post of its own sometime soon.

I think I have my idea for Creator Owned Day. A concept stemming from on mistyped word. Don't all the best ideas come from errors..

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Creator Owned Day - March 1st

Creator Owned Day is 1st March 2012.

The challenge:

Create a sketch of an original character or concept and and post it on your blog Thurday 1st March. It should be a concept completely owned by the artist (or co-owned with the writer/collaborators permission to post).

Why? A number of reasons: 

1. A lot of reader and creator focus is on characters owned by larger corporations. Let's bring a little spotlight on creating brand new, creator owned concepts.
2. Bringing a little awareness to the business side of co-creating original content. Take a look at Jeff Parker's article and follow up comments on the subject. Co-creators can take this opportunity as a little trial run, just make sure to have a mutual agreement in advance.
3. Fun! A few creators discussed the idea on Twitter and thought it was a great opportunity to create something entirely new, while bringing attention to these sketches.

The details:

1. Create an sketch of a new character/character you own. We're doing this primarily to get our imaginations running, so a concept specifically created for Creator Owned Day is probably ideal. It should NOT be a character owned by either a company eg. Marvel's Wolverine, OR owned by other creators e.g. Todd McFarlane's Spawn. It also shouldn't take distinct features from characters owned by others e.g. Wolverspawn You must own the character.
2. Post it on your blog, or Facebook, Twitter etc.
3. Share your post using the Twitter hashtag #CreatorOwnedDay.
3. Help us spread the word by retweeting your favourite new characters. 
Sound like fun? Let's do it!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


I've been stretching my artistic limbs a little lately and doing a bit of concept work, illustration and game design (I'll blog more about that soon). Today was a bit of character design for a one of the comicbooks I'm working on. This character only plays a small part, but he features on the variant cover I had to make sure his costume was properly designed.

For this all-digital process I experimented with multiple players. When I ended up with something I liked, the figure was copy-merged and pasted to the right hand side, then used as a base to work on top of. My actual Photoshop file looked like the one below:

Click the pic for a better look.

An unusual format for me, but I quite liked the process.