Moon 3 Page 1 Pencils…. Evil Wears a Furry Face

Moon 3.1.1

So, it’s that time again. The third instalment of Moon is beginning to hove into view. With it is the introduction of a very special kind of evil. Revealed briefly in Moon 2, BunBun Warmheart is a villain that had everything going for him. Now his crimes against humanity mean not even his cute little face can get him off. Our hero, Moon and Shades will be facing this little bleeder directly. What will they find out? What will they glean from this little furry bastard?

This is very much the start of the first story arc for Moon. The introduction is over – now it’s all about the investigation! Moon and his new partner, Shades Rodriguez are about to start dog paddling in dangerous waters, and there be sharks there. Heavily armed, laser guided, furry faced sharks that want to bite their legs off. With guns. And things. Threats will come from directions you’d never expect. You have been warned.

Evil is back. And it’s sitting on a raised chair in an interrogation room at the heart of the Agency.

DAH-DAH-DAAAAAAAAAH!

Moon 3.1

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Demoncon VI Poster designed by Beyond the Bunker

Demoncon Steve Penfold Timaree Zadel

On September 15th, we will be in attendance at Royal Star Arcade, in Maidstone with Moon. A new venue for the Grinning Demon’s charity event that attracts both the indy and the professional. Confirmed guests so far are Lloyd and the Bear’s Gibson Grey, Moon print designer Grant Perkins, Tinpot Hobo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle artist Jack Lawrence, Grainne McEntee and Matt Rooke with Apes n’ Capes and Bertie Bear’s Andy Clift. We also know that Cy Dethan and Nic Wilkinson (Cancertown, Reverend: Wrath of God) and Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy, Legion of Superheroes, the Hypernaturals) are confirmed and friend to the Bunker and DJ to the stars Keiron Gillen (Uncanny X-men, Iron Man) may be in attendance.

After 5 Demoncons and 5 very distinct posters, Graham Beadle, Demoncon organiser and owner of Grinning Demon comic shop came to the Beyond the Bunker table and was nice enough to ask me to design the new poster for Demoncon VI. Because of the nature of the convention as a charity event, the posters themselves are more lively and varied than anywhere else. Right from the beginning, Demoncon posters have mashed up mainstream and indy in a visual bash up. Dredd stands beside Frostica, Wonderwoman by the Moose. That lack of limitation is irresistable for an upstart comic book artist like me so I was honoured to be asked frankly. The end mix as you see above.

But i couldn’t do it on my own so I was aided by the incredible talent of Timaree Zadel (who also coloured the new prints that were available at MCM). With Ivanna Matilla currently waylaid by teaching English in 20 different schools, Timaree was her chosen colourist. As you can see, no reason not to be over the Moon with this work.

New Moon Prints by Grant Perkins

Moon by Grant Perkins

At Supercomicon it was decided that we’d like to see some alternative views of Moon from other artists with styles vastly different to what we’ve already seen. These are going to be available as prints at MCM, along with some new artwork completed by myself and Ivanna Matilla. It’s always best to keep things fresh.

This is the first example of these alternatives from the irrepressible Grant Perkins. No one lays down an alternative view of a character better than Grant Perkins. It gives you lines and framing you never imagined from your own work and gives you new ideas for all the Moons still to come.

We’re also expecting work from Boom’s Steed and Mrs Peel’s Yasmin Liang. For now that’s your lot but based on the response to those there’s a very real chance that we may well recruit more of the best from the small press – maybe one or two of the big guns to bring you new and alternative versions of our favourite law enforcing satellite.

There’s far more news on it’s way – it’s our feeling that everything needs a complete refresh every 2 years and we’re moving very quickly towards that point so expect news regarding exactly that in the next few months.

Moon: Build Up to a Comic Book Cover: Part 4

To the cover!! Is this what we’re going with? Hm. Hard to say. Iv will kill me if I come up with another idea. We are now on what should hopefully be the final week (isn) of preparation for issue 2. There’s a lot of lettering going on, a lot of colouring, a lot of collecting material together to combine it all together in a fine visual delight that will be the second issue of Moon.

Good god it’s been a long time on this one but we are finally moving all the tiny meticulous little pieces ever closer together. There are plans to make up for the considerable wait that everyone has suffered. Never again, please god, never again!!

Fun is close!!

Moon: Build Up to a Comic Book Cover: Part 3

The cover moves closer (however may be a poster instead). The argument continues to thrive – at least in my head that the cover for Moon 2 has to be awesome, indicative of what’s going on inside – without actually giving too much of the plot away. It’s never going to live up to Issue 1 and we can’t cheat and do what I did with Fallen Heroes 1 and 2 and just completely recreate the image from the first onto the second.

Seems to me that the second issue is a tough one – possibly the toughest. The initial introduction for any character is exciting and action packed and carries with it a large am amount of momentum. This takes a bit of load off – which had previously been weighing me down a bit about issue 2. Namely that it doesn’t matter that it’s more bombastic, exciting, well drawn, more tragic and funny than the first – issue 2 never compares to Issue 1.

That first sweet nectar of meeting the exciting central character – the anticipation as to where it goes next – frankly both bubbles are burst in Issue 2. This is inevitable – and frankly, don’t take this as a put down of the meaty goodness of Issue 2 of Moon – far from it. All I’m doing is mentally preparing you dear fan for what is a beautifully written and effortlessly coloured second issue. I’ll let you make your own minds up about the art. Like that reviewer from Major Spoilers did (grrrr). I promise you though that if you see Moon 2 on a table at MCM (perhaps) or Thought Bubble (definitely) – grab it, remember it’s issue 2, adjust your anticipation accordingly and get ready to be blown away yet again by the world of Moon. Much, much, much more on it’s way!!

Moon: Build Up to a Comic Book Cover: Part 2

This is the fun part of the process, where the pages are complete and ready to go. Finishing touches, spit and shine. If Moon was a car right now, the Chassis is on and the Engine in place, ignition is working but it needs a little more paint work and a couple of the connections fixed, leather applied to the seats to make sure it’s comfortable for the ride.

Not much of a change from last week but sometimes colour is not so much of a problem. A few years ago, at a convention in Birmingham, I met a digital artist working on his digital art pad (before the IPad existed, which makes me feel like I’ve been doing this a long time). His advice, above all else, in order to give artwork a more realistic look was layering. Literally taking textures from existing photographic material or carefully produced digital version. These resources are easily and readily available via deviantart and stock resource sites – or hi-res Google images if you’re feeling cheeky. You apply the layer and make it transparent or mask it using layers above it, so that it offers a realistic base for your colours.

This is what I did here. Two Hi res images of the Moon (from different sides), the original visible from Part 1, the second at a lower transparency to highlight the existing layer below. It just makes old Moon head more realistic for the cover image – though, before anyone picks us up on it at a con – pretty inaccurate.

Moon: Build Up to a Comic Book Cover: Part 1

Welcome to the first stages of a very effective comic book cover (we hope). Some years ago I saw something very, very similar between two major characters of some very famous toy brand that had been put out as a fairly successful British comic book. The image seared into my head as one of the strongest images I’d ever seen. As such I have shamelessly sought to use it’s basic premise on the pages of Moon 2.

Covers are probably the most difficult part of the whole process. Something that effectively says what’s going on inside without giving the game away, grabs attention from a distance and holds up well under scrutiny. All this and it always has to carry numbers and titles (and maybe a review and occasionally -though not ideally – a barcode). It takes a tonne of thought and trial and error and has been the focus of my attention for some time.

With the artwork for Moon 2 complete we are beginning to move into the final stages of production (finally). This is a relief and I have to say I’m proud of the content – more so as I see the lettering and colouring come into existence. It’s at this point it becomes easier to figure out what artwork sums up all the takes place inside.

This is stage 1: Pencils, inks, lifted from the page by Photoshop and the basic layer of Moon image (applied on external and high detail images of Moon) to finish off what is effectively nothing but a neck in a suit up until this point.

These lines are with Iv and she will no doubt lovingly finish them off ready for the final page – something I personally can’t wait for. Stage 2 Next week.

Moon 2: The Promise of Chaos!!

Chaos is beginning to break out all over the pages of Moon 2. Not entirely sure how as initially the script for the second issue was looking clever, funny and a little sombre at times – but what wasn’t picked up was the potential for complete lunacy to break out.

Dan Thompson is a smart, witty and uncanny writer with a real sense for a one liner – something that perhaps hasn’t been as obvious since our main character doesn’t have a mouth. But it’s all there in Issue 2, more so than in Issue 1 as the fallout continues from the explosive first part!!

We can promise a certain number of things and two in particular; a lot of bullet cartridges in part one, with the potential for an explosion or two and a lot of rain in the second half. A lot. The rain has become something of a matter of pride for myself and our colourist Ivanna Matilla. Dan insists the introduction of every foreground rain drop – in detail – was in the subtext (something I’d have to agree with) but the astounding thing is the way Iv has dealt with the scale of the job. Every single raindrop has been recoloured – o astonishing effect and the tone and pitch of the English weather’d make you think Iv was born in Greenwich.

But the big reveal is still unrevealed – namely the killer of Counsellor Hugh Griffiths, now loose and wild on the streets of London town. New meaning to words ‘Baby on Board’.

Moon’s Alternative Olympics: Crazy Mishaps!!

7 years ago, in a moment of significant success that united the nation in a day of celebration, we beat the French to something they really wanted and secured the Olympics. When the streamers had fallen to the ground we realised we’d just signed up to the biggest economic, transportational, security and cultural nightmare in the world. Any city in the world would succeed in that time surely – however at the time we were still trying to finish Wembley – and that was half a decade late – the equivalent of deciding to redevelop your entire house having failed to finish the bathroom. However, undeterred by bombs, riots and the biggest recession to hit since the 30s, the proud… um… Polish and Australian contractors of London got the work done. To incredible results as seen in the mind blowing opening ceremony that even the most curmudgeonly Daily Mail reader had to concede was a success. Let it all begin – Jeremy Hunt – take it away….

Unabated, we rolled on – only to allow a GCSE student who picked history to be in charge of the Flag machine for the North Korea football match, showing them their greatest enemies flag instead of their own!! Nothing makes you want to watch an Olympics more than the impending potential of Nuclear War brought on by a work experience kid volunteering to press the flag button.

Then of course there was the opening ceremony in which a random volunteer opted to join the main procession and the Queen jumped out of a Helicopter (which put her in a really foul mood). 1200 Pigeons were incinerated in the all-consuming firework display launched at the end of the ceremony – though I can confirm you could see the fireworks on the underbelly of the imposing cloud cover that had descended on London after a divine week of sunshine.

One more for luck!!

Then of course there was Boris Johnson… trying to keep the party going. Trying to get himself down a zip line in Victoria park in front of a crowd of onlookers. His arrival at the end of the zip line delayed as he slid to an awkward halt. Like a baby polar bear covered in Union Jacks and an ill-fitting suit hanging from a washing line. There really is nothing more English…

In spite all of this and the absence of any discernable business for any major attractions in London because 1. They put on the biggest show in the world on 12 miles down the road and 2. They very clearly told everybody to stay at home in case the trains fell apart, it’s all going really well. This has abstractly caused many people to spend more time with their families and opened up loads of seat space on any London commute and we’re scoring some serious medals (read: beating the French). All things considered – so far it’s been a great Olympics!!

Moon Launch 2: The Build-up

We are very quickly moving towards Moon Launch 2. Final touches to the book still need to be completed, extra material, colours, graphics, bit of lettering and effects but as soon as those are complete Moon Launch 2 is a go. Currently scouts are moving through the underbelly of central London, trying to find the perfect location for just such an event Music license, music equipment, fine bar, good atmosphere, reasonably priced alcohol and a door from which the good Moon fans can pick up their brand new spanking copy of Moon 2.

This is the point at which the pressure is greatest, as the finished product forms right in front of our disbelieving eyes. The strange things is seeing how these things develop as each layer is put on. From the first panel of Moon 1 to the last page of Moon 2, little has changed in terms of story, humour and style, but slight tweaks and improvements to Moon 2 mean that it will most likely be a much more slick affair. No typos for starters – though one was indentified in 1 that neither me nor Dan had ever noticed and that no fan has ever commented upon. First to write the typo in the comments below gets a free copy of Moon 2.