Sunday, February 12, 2012
The day Dave Gibbons drew for Oink!
Oink! was always a comic willing to try something fresh and different and to set itself apart from the standard formula of the other IPC humour comics. So when I asked editor Mark Rogers if he'd be interested in a strip drawn by Dave Gibbons, Mark jumped at the chance.
Dave had drawn for several British comics in the past of course, most notably 2000AD, but by this time had moved on to the US market. This was 1988 and Watchmen had become one of the hottest and most important comics in decades. I'd known Dave as a friend for several years by then from attending the monthly Comic Marts at Westminster Central Hall, and the lunchtimes in the nearby Westminster Arms - then the watering hole of almost the whole UK comics industry. If I remember correctly, Dave had told me his son was a reader of Oink! (and of Transformers) so Dave was happy to contribute to the comic and we'd discussed this before I pitched the idea to Oink's editors.
I'd worked with Dave before, when he'd contributed a guest page I'd scripted for my 1986 Brickman special, and we'd team up again in 1989 on The Glut for Knockabout's Seven Deadly Sins book. (That time with Dave writing and me drawing.) Obviously I knew that, whatever I wrote, Dave would turn in a marvelous job even if I'd just posted him my shopping list as a script, so I hoped my humble effort was worthy of his impeccable talents.
Anyway, judge for yourselves as The Superhero's Day Off was the end result of our collaboration. Ever the professional, Dave went the extra mile and added additional funny details that were not in my script, such as the kid reading Oink!, the newspaper headline, and the dog's face turning blue. I believe the superhero hailing the bus, and its impact, was Dave's idea too. (I seem to recall my script just had the hero standing in a mighty pose. Dave's twist was funnier.) Dave also coloured and lettered the page by the way, including designing that eye-catching logo. Fantastic work.
The page appeared in Oink! No.49, dated 6th February 1988, with the cover running a small blurb saying "Watch Out - New superhero strip by Dave Gibbons inside". However I'd guess that many comic fans have never seen it simply because they didn't follow humour comics so hopefully this finally gives them the chance to catch it.
And if you want to keep up with what Dave Gibbons is doing now, don't miss the first issue of The Secret Service, a brand new comic book written by Mark Millar which will be on sale in comic shops this month!