Wednesday, October 31, 2012
He was born Roland Green in Rainham, Kent, in January 1890, the son of Roland Green, a taxidermist, and his wife Emily Filmer (nee XXXX), whom he married in the 1880s. Roland was their third child and first son, following Ivy (1885) and Daisy Eunice (1886). According to one biography, Green's father "taught him how to skin, stuff and set up birds, which gave Roland a fine knowledge of anatomy and plumage. Whilst at school he showed a gift for drawing and painting birds and went on to study at the Rochester School of art as well as Regent Street Polytechnic."
By 1911, Green was working as an artist/lithographer in London, the family having moved to Seven Kings, Essex, where Green's father was now employed as a joiner in the building trade. He later moved to Hickling in Norfolk, where his work attracted the attention of Lord Desborough, owner of the Hickling Estate. Green was commissioned to paint the frieze on the walls of Whitelea Lodge depicting the birds of the Hickling Broad.
Green illustrated a number of books, including contributions to The Birds of Australia by Gregory Mathews (London, Witherby, 12 vols., 1910-27) following the death in 1912 of J. G. Keulemans, who illustrated the first four volumes. Other books include Birds in Flight by W. P. Pycraft, The Bird Book by Enid Blyton, Wing to Wing by E. H. Ware and The Ladybird Book of British Wild Animals by George Cansdale.
Green died in Norfolk in 1972, aged 82. He never married. A large collection – 120 watercolours and 7 oil paintings – of Green's artwork amassed by Commander David Joel, a schoolboy when he was first introduced to Green, was sold in 2012 with profits going to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society.
Joel said in an interview: "There was not anyone on the Broads who did not know about Roland Green. He lived in the reedbeds and people thought he was a hermit, but he was anything but. He was an extrovert who gave talks at school and loved enthusing children with his love of art ... Modern artists use photographs but Green worked only from observation and that is why his birds look absolutely real." Joel has written a tribute to Green, A Homage to Roland Green – His Norfolk Legacy (2012), published by St. Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington.
Note: Wikipedia gives his name as Roland J. Green, but there is no record of Green having a middle name or initial.
Wing-Tips: The Identification of Birds in Flight. London, A. & C. Black, 1947.
Sketching Birds. London, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1948.
How I Draw Birds: A Practical Guide for the Bird-Watcher. London, A. & C. Black, 1951.
The British Bird Book by the Rev. Canon Theodore Wood and W. P. Pycraft. London, A. & C. Black, 1921.
Birds One Should Know, Beneficial and Mischievous by Rev. Canon Theodore Wood. London, Gay & Hancock, 1921.
Birds in Flight by W. P. Pycraft. London, Gay & Hancock, 1922.
Birds and Their Young by T. A. Coward. London, Gay & Hancock, 1923. The Bird Book by Enid Blyton. London, George Newnes, 1926.
Ornithologist's Field Note Book by Ronald M. Garnett. Holt, Norfolk, Rounce & Westley, 1932. [Frontispiece]
How to Look at Birds by Thomas Lewis Bartlett. London, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1945.
The Children's Book of British Birds and Verses by Katherine Lloyd. London, Foy Publications, 1946.
British Birds by Wilfred Willett. London, Foy Publications, 12 vols., 1946-47.
Wing to Wing by E. H. Ware. London, Paternoster Press, 1946.
British Birds in Their Haunts by the late Rev. C. A. Johns, illus. with William Foster; 25th ed. edited & revised by W. B. Alexander. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1948.
The Ladybird Book of British Wild Animals by George Cansdale. Loughborough, Ladybird Books, 1958.
Birds of Cyprus by David A. Bannerman & W. Mary Bannerman, illus. with D. M. Reid-Henry. Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1958.
Examples of Roland Green's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Robert Thomas Nixon was born in South Bank, near Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire, on 7 July 1939, the fifth of six children born to Arthur W. Nixon, a steelworker, and his wife Phyllis (nee Thompson), who had married in 1931. He was educated at Cromwell Road School and the Central Secondary Modern School, both in South Bank, where his youthful artistic talents were encouraged. He won several art competitions and earned himself a scholarship to Middlesbrough Art College in September 1954 but he became disillusioned with the course and dropped out. Instead, he found work as an apprentice lithographer and photo-retoucher at a printing factory. That same year, 1955, his father died at the early of 49.
Nixon married Rita M. Kelly in Middlesbrough in 1961 and had four children: Paul H. (1962), Anthony R. (1964), Wendy Anita (1966) and Catherine Ann (1968).
A fellow student encouraged him to try cartooning and he began trying his hand at cartooning, submitting samples to D. C. Thomson. His first success was to produce three fill-in episodes for The Beano's "Little Plum", the first published in April 1964. Later that year, Ken Reid departed from The Beano and Nixon took over his "Roger the Dodger", which he continued to draw until 1973. He turned freelance and 1965, soon after which the family moved to Guisborough, Cleveland.
In 1968, Nixon inherited "Lord Snooty" from Dudley D. Watkins. Later strips for Thomsons included "Esky Mo" (1969) and "Captain Cutler" (1972) for Sparky and "Grandpa" for The Beano (1971).
Nixon was offered work – and the higher page rate of £17 as opposed to £12 a page – by IPC Publications, who were expanding their range of humour titles following the success of Whizzer & Chips and he began contributing "Hire a Horror" and "Ivor Lott and Tony Broke" to Cor!! in 1972 and "Soggy the Sea Monster" and "Frankie Stein" in Shiver & Shake in 1973. This work enabled him to work full-time for IPC, who soon added Whoopee!, Monster Fun and Krazy to their line-up of titles, to which Nixon contributed "King Arthur and His Frights of the Round Table" (1974), "Kid Kong" (1974) "12½p Buytonic Boy" (1976).
Nixon drew "The Gems", written by Trevor Metcalfe, for The Sun newspaper for eighteen months in 1976-78, but his main output continued to be weekly strips for IPC. He took over "Gums" for Buster and "Kid King" for Jackpot as well as creating "Laser Eraser" for the latter (1979); "Elephant on the Run" (1978) and "Stage School" (1979) ran in Cheeky Weekly and "Ossie" (1982) and "Family Trees" (1983) in Wow!. During this period, he also drew "Parkie" (1982) for a local newspaper, the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette. At his peak he was producing nine pages a week.
Nixon was tempted back to D. C. Thomson, where his first "Roger the Dodger" strip appeared in January 1985. Nixon's favourite amongst the characters he created debuted in The Beano later that same year: "Ivy the Terrible",followed by "Willie Fixit" (1985) in Topper and "Polar Blair" (1985) for the newly launched Hoot.
Nixon took over the artwork for both "Korky the Cat" (The Dandy) and "Beryl the Peril" (Topper) in 1986, and continued to draw various other strips for The Beano, including "Little Monkey" (1987) and "Roger's Dodge Clinic" (1989). Nixon also illustrated related merchandise, including jigsaws and Easter egg boxes.
As an artist, Nixon had already illustrated cartoon greetings cards for the Noel Tatt Company and joke books written by Gyles Brandreth. In his spare time, he enjoyed painting fantasy landscapes in oils, pastels and watercolours.
Nixon continued to draw until his death on 22 October 2002, aged 63, his final page – the cover for the Beano Summer Special (2003) – arriving the day before he died. His longest-running strip, "Roger the Dodger" was continued by Barrie Appleby for some years and a series of Nixon reprints were introduced in 2011 before Appleby returned the following year.
More Crazy Jokes by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1980.
Amazing Facts About the Living World by Derek Hall, illus. with Stephen Lings. London, Beaver Books, 1983.
Crazy Practical Jokes by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1983.
The Crazy Joker's Handbook by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1984.
The Rudest Joke Book in the World by Gyles Brandreth, Sevenoaks, Knight, 1985.
The Joke-a-Day Fun Book by Janet Rogers. London, Beaver, 1986.
Crazy Jokes by Gyles Brandreth, illus. with Graham Thompson & John Smyth. London, Madcap, 1997.
Crazy Practical Jokes by Gyles Brandreth. London, Madcap, 1997.
Bumper Book of Laughs by Gyles Brandreth, illus. with Colin Hawkins, Sara Silcock. London, Madcap, 1999.
Examples of Robert Nixon's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
His book illustrations include Architecture (1969), Architecture: The Great Art of Building (1969), Discovery of Australia (1969) and Discovery of South America (1970), some of which were jointly illustrated by Gwen Green who was also a prolific children's educational book illustrator.
Examples of Harry Green's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Neal Edward Adams was born on Governors Island, a 172-acre island a half mile from the southern tip of Manhattan in New York Harbor used by the US Army, on 15 June 1941. His father deserted the family when Adams was only 13 and, with college financially out of reach, he attended the School of Industrial Art, a vocational school in Manhattan.
Graduating in 1959, and turned down by DC Comics, he submitted samples to Archie Comics where Joe Simon was creating a superhero line. A sample of The Fly earned him his first professional appearance when a panel from his sample was used in Adventures of The Fly #4 (Jan 1960). Adams was soon drawing fillers for Archie's Joke Book Magazine and was recommended to Howard Nostrand, who needed an assistant on "Bat Masterson", a syndicated newspaper strip based on the TV series.
Adams gained some much needed experience on the strip and turned to advertising, working for Johnstone & Cushing for a year. The company specialised in comic strip advertising and Adams found himself working on AT&T advertising strip "Chip Martin, College Reporter" for Boys' Life and similar work for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
Adams, following a recommendation by Jerry Caplin (brother of Al Capp), was asked to produce samples for a new strip to be based on the popular TV drama Ben Casey. The strip was successfully pitched and was syndicated from 26 November 1962 with a colour Sunday strip added on 20 September 1964. The TV series came to an end in March 1966 and the strip followed on 31 July 1966.
Adams attempted to return to advertising work but needed to fill in, ghosting a few weeks for Lou Fine on the syndicated hardboiled detective serial "Peter Scratch", Stan Drake's "The Heart of Juliet Jones" and was hawking around a strip of his own, "Tangent". He was offered work by Peter Scratch-creator Elliot Caplin on a proposed adaptation of Robin Moore's The Green Berets but Adams – opposed to the war – suggested Joe Kubert, who accepted the job.
Adams made his first splash in comic books drawing horror stories for Warren Publishing before exploiting the gap left by Kubert at DC Comics. After producing a handful of war and horror stories for anthologies like Our Army at War, Adams found himself working on The Adventures of Jerry Lewis and The Adventures of Bob Hope.
After producing a few covers featuring Superman and Batman for Action Comics, Lois Lane and The Brave and the Bold, Adams produced his first team-up story, "The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads" for World's Finest Comics in 1968. However, it was with the supernatural hero Deadman that Adams found his first real success. He took over the artwork with Strange Adventures #206 and illustrated the stories and covers for eleven issues, also taking over the scriptwriting with issue 212. Adams also briefly drew (and even more briefly wrote) The Spectre in 1968.
Adams was assigned numerous covers at DC and, in 1969, also began working for Marvel Comics, pencilling several issues of X-Men, then under threat of cancellation. He, along with writer Roy Tomas and inker Tom Palmer, are credited with turning the characters around, all three winning the Alley Awards (Best Pencil Artist, Best Inking Artist, Best Writer). That same year Deadman entered the Hall of Fame and Adams received a Special Award for "the new perspective and dynamic vibrance he has brought to the field of comic art."
Awards could not save X-Men, which folded with issue 66 (Mar 1970). Adams continued to draw horror comics for Marvel (Tower of Shadows) and Warren (Vampirella), but it was his debut on Batman which was to cement his place in comics' history. He debuted in Detective Comics (Jan 1970) with a story by writer Dennis O'Neil and, in the next eighteen months, introduced the characters Man-Bat and Ra's al Ghul. Adams' talent to draw realistic figures helped ground the series in the real after years of camp adventure that had overtaken the comic book following the success of the 1966-68 TV series. Adams and O'Neil gave Gotham back its brooding hero and reestablished characters like The Joker as a homicidal maniac rather than the prancing buffoonery of the ABC TV show.
Adams and O'Neill also performed a similar revamping of Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Green Lantern was renamed Green Lantern/Green Arrow with issue 76 (Apr 1970) and took the two characters on a journey across America that ran for two years and encompassed one of the pair's most controversial stories in which Green Arrow's ward, the clean-cut Speedy, was revealed as a heroin addict. The series ended with issue 89 (May 1972) ... the frustrating truth being that controversy in comics rarely translated into sales to the broader public. Speaking in 1978, Adams told The Comics Journal, "It takes a good year to get somebody used to a new idea, to get a market used to a new idea ... It takes a while for the news to get around. By the time the news got around to Green Lantern / Green Arrow it was cancelled."
With the exception of his work on Batman, Adams became a more sporadic contributor to DC, although he was involved in a number of 'event' comics, such as the inter-company crossover, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man (1976) and Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (1978), the latter a 72-page story teaming Superman with boxer Ali to battle aliens.
In 1971, Adams and Dick Giordano, an inker with whom he often worked, set up Continuity Graphics Associates Inc. to produce storyboards for movies and produce comic art for advertising. A studio was set up in New York through which dozens of artists passed. Advertising work would often be passed around various artists with Adams and Giordano inking the main figures. This team effort was often credited to the "Crusty Bunkers", including numerous inking jobs for DC Comics, in the period 1972-77.
Adams was also the art director and costume designer for Warp! (1973) a Broadway play by film director Stuart Gordon and playwright Lenny Kleinfeld.
Adams also took time out to study a film course at NYU and filmed a full-length horror film, Nannaz, on a $30,000 budget. It starred Adams, his children Jason and Zeea and comic personalities Gray Morrow and Denys Cowan and told the story of two children who protect an invention of their father's from crooks with the aid of a toy monkey. It was reputedly released via Troma Entertainment in Europe in 1986 or 1987 under the title Death to the Pee-Wee Squad.
In the 1980s, Adams was tempted back into comics and produced Ms. Mystic (1982) and Skateman (1983) for Pacific Comics, the latter lasting only a single issue which was cited as the worst single comic of the past 25 years by Kitchen Sink Press's World's Worst Comics Awards (1990). Ms. Mystic, a witch in the modern world, appeared only twice from Pacific before transferring to Adams' own company, Continuity Comics in 1987.
Formed in 1984, Continuity launched a number of titles, including Zero Patrol, a reworking of a Spanish series by Esteban Maroto (2 issues, 1984-85) and Echo of Futurepast, an anthology which serialised a number of creations that Adams had planned as books to be published in Europe, including a Dracula-Werewolf-Frankenstein team-up by Adams (based on a 1975 comic book and record set, A Story of Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein from Power Records), "Bucky O'Hare" by Larry Hama & Michael Golden, "Tippie Toe Jones" by Lindley Farley & Louis Mitchell and "Mudwogs" by Arthur Suydam.
Continuiuty entered the superhero market with Armor (1985-92), Revengers (1986-89), Toyboy (1986-89), Samuree (1987-91), Zero Patrol (1987-89), Ms. Mystic (1987-93), Urth 4 (1989-90) and Megalith (1989-93). A 1993 relaunch saw a number of series revert to issue one and new titles appear, the Continuity line-up now including Armor, Cyberrad, Earth, Hybrids, Megalith and Ms. Mystic, with Samuree, Shaman and Valerie, She-Bat added soon after. Continuity were caught up in the collapse of the speculative comics' boom in 1994 part-way through a company-wide crossover. At the time, Adams was also involved in a court case – with Michael Netzer over the rights to Ms. Mystic – which was dismissed in 1997.
One Continuity success was Bucky O'Hare, which became an animated TV series in 1991-92 under the title Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars! on which Adams was credited as executive producer. Adams has worked as a concept designer on movies such as From Beyond (1986), Dolls (1987), Circuitry Man (1990), and the Skeleton Warriors TV series (1994-95).
Adams continues to work with Continuity Studios to produce material for companies, including motion capture comics (such as Astonishing X-Men: Gifted, scripted by Joss Whedon, in 2009 and the upcoming Neal Adams' Blood, based on his Dark Horse Presents series), animatics and CGI. He has also recently been involved with the Disney Educational productions to produce They Spoke Out: American Voices against the Holocaust, an online educational motion comics series that relates the stories of Americans who protested the Nazis or aided Jews during the Holocaust. The first episode was screened in April 2010.
Neal Adams' Monsters, the long-promised story featuring Frankenstein, the Werewolf and Dracula, appeared as a hardcover book in 2004. Adams has occasionally returned to mainstream comics including stories for Giant Size X-Men #3 (2005) and Young Avengers Special #1 (2006) for Marvel and Batman: Odyssey (2010-12) for DC. It was recently (May 2012) announced that Adams would be co-writing (with Christos Gage) The First X-Men, a 5-issue mini-series which Adams would be drawing. Adams has also been involved in a 5-part Wolverine project.
Adams has been twice married, to Cory Adams and Marilyn Adams. His children include daughters Kristine Stone and Zeea Moss and sons Jason (a sculptor under the name Spyda), Joel and Josh Adams.
Examples of Neal Adams' artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Usually signing their work 'Gray', they were regular contributors to comics in the 1980s, producing "Kid's Army", a Second World War strip loosely based on the TV sitcom Dad's Army, "Fame", based on the TV show, and "The Fantastic Adventures of Adam Ant", about pop-star Adam traveling through time to pop up at various points in history. These strips all appeared in DC Thomson's TV Tops comic in around 1982.
The Grays then began appearing in Look-In, contributing "Bucks Fizz" (1983-84), "The Story So Far" featuring Shaking Stevens (1985), "A-Ha" (1986) and Michael Jackson (1986), "Airwolf" (1986), "The A-Team" (1986-87) and "Five Star Life" (1987).
A later graphic novel is credited to Maureen Gray only: The Haunting of Julia (2007) is based on Mary Hooper's children's novel Thirteen Candles, described thus: "When Julia watches Dad's video of herself preparing to blow out the candles, she notices something weird and mysterious, a dark hazy shape, leaning over her shoulder. She's sure it blew out the candles, but what is it?"
The Marriage Scene by Cliff Parfit. London, Collins, 1974.Jim Hunter Books series by Ben Butterworth & Bill Stockdale, 14 vols., 1975-80.
__Jim in Training. London, Methuen, Sep 1975.
__Jim and the Dolphin. London, Methuen, Sep 1975.
__Jim and the Sun Goddess. London, Methuen, Sep 1975.
__The Missing Aircraft. London, Methuen, Sep 1975.
__The Desert Chase. London, Methuen, 1976.
__The Shipwreckers. London, Methuen, Feb 1976.
__The Island of Helos. London, Methuen, Jun 1976.
__The Temple of Mantos. London, Methuen, Jun 1976.
__Danger in the Mountains. London, Methuen, Aug 1977.
__The Diamond Smugglers. London, Methuen, Aug 1977.
__The Sniper of Zimba. London, Methuen, Feb 1978.
__Prisoner of Pedro Cay. London, Methuen, Feb 1978.
__The Killer Rocket. London, Methuen, Apr 1980.
__Sabotage in the Arctic. London, Methuen, Apr 1980.
Escape to London by Kathleen Wood. Edinburgh, Holmes McDougall, 1977.
Go and Get Him by Michael Hardcastle. London, Collins, 1977.
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. London, Collins & Harvill Press, 1978.
The Bridge by John Tully (Inspector Holt). Collins, 1979.
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, adapted by Lewis Jones. London, Collins, 1979.
The Amulet by David Sweetman. London, Longman Publishing Group, 1980.
Oketcho and the Smugglers by Ebou Dibba. Harlow, Longman, 1980. #
Under the Mango Tree: Songs and Poems for Primary Schools, edited by Mabel Segun and Neville Grant. Harlow, Longman, 1980.
The Big Radio Mystery by Jefurio Chisungo. Harlow, Longman, 1981.
Call Mr. Africa by Jefurio Chisungo. Harlow, Longman, 1981.
The Story of Glasgow by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1983.
Kings and Queens by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1984.
Scottish Heroes and Heroines of Long Ago by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1984.
Scottish Traditional Rhymes by Eileen Dunlop & Antony Kamm. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1985.
Costume in Scotland Through the Ages by Naomi E. A. Tarrant. Glasgow, Richard Drew Publishing, 1986.
Counting by Bill Hawthorne. London, Evans, 1986.
The Rubbish Dumpers by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Allsorts: Stories from School by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
The Wedding by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Joseph and his Jointed Camel by Audrey Fletcher. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Thirteen Candles by Mary Hooper. London, A. & C. Black Publishers, 1998.
Caribbbean Password by Shelley Davidow, Macmillan Education, 1999.
Where Is the Baby? by Shelley Davidow. London, Macmillan Education, 2001.
Sabretooth by Rupert Matthews. Oxford, Heinemann Library, 2003.
Woolly Mammoth by Rupert Matthews. Oxford, Heinemann Library, 2003.
Diplodocus by Rupert Matthews. Oxford, Heinemann Library, 2003.
Graphic Novel (Maureen Gray)
The Haunting of Julia by Mary Hooper. Stone Arch Books, Sep 2007.