Friday, 31 August 2018

Destiny takes a break

The somewhat overdue issue #9 of Meanwhile... has finally been scheduled for release, and will be available in comic shops worldwide this November.

Meanwhile…#9 features part two of the stunning Needleman by Martin ‘Simo’ Simpson, Sarah Gordon's The Collector, the penultimate episode of Mark Stafford and David Hine’s The Bad Bad Place and a second episode of Ginny Skinner's Gail Key's Psychic Lost Item Helpline.

But, Strangehaven: Destiny episode 9 won’t be in the issue. Due to some minor but disruptive health troubles leading to some lifestyle changes, a heavier workload for my freelance design (much of it due to GDPR), involvement with the Where We Live project and other factors, I’ve taken an enforced break from drawing for much of this year.

In its place will be a very special guest Strangehaven story, written and drawn by none other than my fellow bass-playing, Mojito-drinking, Essex native, Frazer Irving. It’s called "Atlantis,"and it looks a bit like this:
Intriguing, no? Frazer is an international comicbook rockstar and you should follow him on Instagram @frazerirving and check out his book Playful Inversions on Unbound.

You can pre-order copies of Meanwhile…#9 directly from the publisher Soaring Penguin Press right here. The official listing in the Diamond Previews catalogue is here.

Strangehaven: Destiny episode 9 will return in Meanwhile…#10 early in the new year.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Return to the City of Lakes

I have been keeping a very low profile as far as event appearances are concerned in recent times, and plan to continue to do so until Strangehaven: Destiny is completed, but I have received a late invitation (from my publisher) to appear at the LICAF, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, next month.

Guests include Benoit Peeters, Bryan and Mary Talbot, Charlie Adlard, Frank Quitely, Sean Phillips, Canadian superstar Seth and fellow Meanwhile…  stalwarts Martin ‘Simo’ Simpson, David Hine and Mark Stafford.

The festival runs October 12-14. You’ll find me at various times at the Soaring Penguin Press table in the Clock Tower to sign your copies of Strangehaven, Meanwhile... and anything else you might have to hand.

This will be my one and only appearance this year.

Read more about the festival on the LICAF website.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

A change in management

Illustration: Tim Pilcher by Andrew Richmond
John Anderson of Soaring Penguin Press, publisher of the comic book anthology Meanwhile… (currently serialising Strangehaven book IV, Destiny, of course) has taken on a new business partner and co-owner. And it’s none other than veteran editor and perennial comics enthusiast the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Tim Pilcher.
Way back in either 1993 or 1994, Tim was one of the first editors that I showed my Strangehaven ashcan (a pre-publication photocopied preview of part of the first issue) while he was working for the London office of Vertigo Comics. If my memory serves, it was at the Comic Creators’ Guild’s annual pre-UKCAC portfolio review, upstairs at the historic Sketch Club.

Much later, while at Ilex Press, Tim was the commissioning editor of my books Comic Book Design and Alan Moore: Storyteller, and more recently he was the UK liaison for Humanoids.

So I know it’ll fun and productive working with him, alongside SPP founder John Anderson, who’s moving back to Canada to open a North American office for the company, leaving Tim in charge of this side of the transatlantic operation.

You can read more here: Tim Pilcher joins Soaring Penguin

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Minotaur no more

The Bull, Hockley after the fire. Photo: Essex Live News
The Bull Inn pub in Hockley, Essex, suffered a devastating fire on the 3rd August, and those of you familiar with Strangehaven’s The Minotaur will have already noticed the similarity in appearance. Indeed, the Grade II listed 16th Century country pub was a regular haunt for me in the mid-1980s and 1990s, and was one of the first locales that I selected as a potential location for Strangehaven. It was never quite the same after the Faccinis moved on and it became part of a pub food chain, but I still hope that the owners and brewery will decide to rebuild it.
Fire causes severe damage to the Bull Inn, Hockley

Update: 6 September 2018After just a month, progress is already being made in rebuilding the structure:
The Bull fire in Hockley: New photos

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Where We Live: the Las Vegas benefit anthology

Where We Live is an important new anthology from Image Comics to benefit the victims and survivors of the Las Vegas massacre on 1st October 2017.
The brainchild of Las Vegas resident and writer/artist extraordinaire J H Williams III, it’s a 256-page full colour trade paperback featuring over 150 creators, and I’m extremely proud to be counted among the contributors.
Some of the phenomenal talents enlisted include Mike Allred, Brian Michael Bendis, Kurt Busiek, Amy Chu, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Neil Gaiman, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Mike Mignola, Mark Millar, James Robinson, Gail Simone, Brandon Graham, Rob Williams, Geof Darrow, Tess Fowler, Joelle Jones, Jeff Lemire. Sean Phillips, Bill Sienkiewicz, JH Williams III himself and way too many more to mention here.
I’ve always had a morbid fascination with the apparent American obsession with guns, the NRA and the gun lobby, the Second Amendment and all the statistics, and I was particularly moved by the Las Vegas shooting last October.
A gunman opened fire from a hotel room on to the audience at the Route 91 Harvest music festival taking place on the famous Las Vegas Strip. The casualties from the single shooter’s actions numbered fifty-eight dead and 851 injured (422 by gunfire), which to be frank, are numbers more comparable to a warzone.
So, when J H Williams III invited me to contribute to this noble project, I didn’t hesitate. My own humble contribution is a six-page strip called “The Watershed” which I’ve written, illustrated, coloured and lettered. Not easy subject matter to tackle for sure, and it’s a tragedy that this book needs to exist at all, but I’m sure like everyone else involved, I poured my heart into it.
My grateful thanks go to JHW3 for giving me this opportunity and for all his valuable advice, as well as the inestimable Will Dennis for his editorial skills and my conduit to Image central, Michael Perlman.
Here’s a glimpse of my art process for one of the panels in my story.
Where We Live is released on 30 May, but I’d highly recommend that you pre-order it from your local comics retailer right now to secure your copy. You can quote them the Diamond distributor code: MAR180600.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to an existing GoFundMe campaign for the survivors in Las Vegas.
You can read Image’s official solicitation here, and follow the project on twitter: @WhereWeLive_LV

The full list of contributors:
Michael Allred & Laura Allred
Henry Barajas, Isaac Goodhart & Kelly Fitzpatrick
Jennifer Battisti, Geof Darrow, Dave Stewart & Bernardo Brice
Jennifer Battisti & J.H. Williams III
Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Oeming, Taki Soma & Bernardo Brice
Haden Blackman & Richard Pace
Haden Blackman, J.H. Williams III & Todd Klein
Jeff Boison & Tyler Boss
Ivan Brandon, Paul Azaceta & Bernardo Brice
Ryan Burton, Tony Parker, Dee Cunniffe & Bernardo Brice
Kurt Busiek, Andrew Maclean, Lee Loughridge & JG Roshell (at Comicraft)
Amy Chu, Gabriel Hernandez Walta & Alexander Chang
Rachel Crosby, J.H. Williams III & Bernardo Brice
Al Davison
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Joelle Jones, Dave Stewart & Bernardo Brice
J.M. DeMatteis & Mike Cavallaro
Gustavo Duarte
Aaron Duran, Joe Mulvey, Jules Rivera & Bernardo Brice
Joshua Dysart, Pere Perez & Bernardo Brice
Pierce Elliott & Monica Gallagher
Joshua Ellis, Jeff Lemire & Bernardo Brice
Lucia Fasano, Tess Fowler & Bernardo Brice
Ray Fawkes
Joshua Hale Fialkov, Noel Tuazon & Bernardo Brice
Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams III & Todd Klein
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Dee Cunniffe & Clayton Cowles
Brandon Graham
Justin Gray & John Broglia
Lela Gwenn & Matthew Dow Smith
Matt Hawkins, Aaron Campbell, Dee Cunniffe & Bernardo Brice
Daniel Hernandez, Moritat & Casey Silver
Talia Hershewe, Jock & Bernardo Brice
David Hine, Brian Haberlin & Geirrod Van Dyke
Joe Illidge, Ray-Anthony Height, Andrew Dalhouse & Deron Bennet
Van Jensen, Eric Kim, Chris O’Halloran & Bernardo Brice
Scott David Johnson, Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Mark Englert & Bernardo Brice
Justin Jordan, Tom Fowler & Taylor Esposito
Jarret Keene, Craig Cermak, Marissa Louise & Taylor Esposito
Neil Kleid & Nick Pitarra
Greg Lockard, Tim Fish, Michael J DiMotta & Sal Cipriano
Ollie Masters, Jason Harris, Sina Grace & Shaun Steven Struble
Mariah McCourt, Ariela Kristantina, Bryan Valenza & Bernardo Brice
Mike Mignola & Dave Stewart
Mark Millar, Alex Sheikman, Marissa Louise & Bernardo Brice
Gary Spencer Millidge
Fabio Moon
B. Clay Moore, Kelly Williams & Chas! Pangburn
Greg Pak, Triona Farrell & Simon Bowland
Alex Paknadel, Chris Wildgoose, Triona Farrell & Aditya Bidikar
Curt Pires, Matt Lesniewski & Alex Petretich
Christina Rice, Richard Pace & Bernardo Brice
Darick Robertson, R. Eric Lieb & Christopher Crank
James Robinson, Dean Kotz, Stefano Gaudiano & Casey Silver
Robert Rose & Matt Strackbein
Chris Ryall, Gabriel Rodriguez, Nelson Daniel & Bernardo Brice
Rafael Scavone, Rafael Albuquerque, Patricia Mulvihill & Bernardo Brice
Erica Schultz, Liana Kangas & Cardinal Rae
Alex Segura, Marco Finnegan, Kelsey Shannon & Janice Chiang
Gail Simone, Ryan Kelly, Giulia Brusco & Bernardo Brice
Matthew Dow Smith & Michael Gaydos
Matt Sorvillo & Sean Phillips
Jason Starr, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov & Bernardo Brice
Cameron Stewart
Larime Taylor & Sylv Taylor
Paul Tobin, Dustin Weaver & Bernardo Brice
David Walker, Damon Smith & Motherboxx Studios
Malachi Ward
Rob Williams & Javier Pulido
Scott Bryan Wilson & Cliff Chiang
Chris Wisnia, Bill Sienkiewicz & Jeromy Cox
Wendy Wright-Williams, J.H. Williams III & Todd Klein
Warren Wucinich

Friday, 22 December 2017

Every time a bell rings... angel gets his wings

I can hardly believe it, but even though those hot summer days seem only like a few weeks past, It’s already time for my end-of-year annual update. 

For my now-traditional seasonal illustration, I’ve done something a little different this year, paying homage to my favourite Christmas film (and actually one of my favourite films, full stop), Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It would be a cool tribute to draw a scene from the film, and, or so I thought, would save me some valuable time. But as is always the case when I start working on something, things got a bit grandiose and unnecessarily complex pretty quickly. Maybe if people appear to like it, I may go full Mondo and make an art print available for next Christmas (assuming my online shop is actually up-and-running by then), even though Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed probably don’t have the same selling power as Star Wars these days.

It has been an exciting year for me, and I’ve been as busy as I’ve ever been with both comic-related projects (mainly Strangehaven, of course) and in my parallel career as a designer, despite some disruptive albeit minor health issues. Helping my brother David with the first London gallery solo exhibition of his ceramic sculptures was a highlight. Go take a look:

The final volume of Strangehaven continues to be serialised in the British anthology Meanwhile..., and three issues of the new squarebound format volumes were published this year. You can get a good deal on all the issues at the Soaring Penguin Press website here:

In an effort to to avoid keeling over my desk just yet, I am attempting to ensure at least some kind of regular exercise by starting each day with an hour or so’s walk around the local environs of Leigh-on-sea. To give myself a bit of creative incentive, I’m taking snaps with my iPhone as I saunter along and selecting one photo to post on my Instagram account from that day’s stroll. My Instagram account is here:

The newest issue of Meanwhile…should be reaching comic stores and subscribers’ letterboxes early in the new year. Number eight contains the latest episode of Strangehaven of course, in which those cuddly Knights of the Golden Light return, a fragment of which you can see below.

It’s a fab issue which also includes The Needleman, the first of a two-parter by the astonishingly good Martin Simpson, a new short by Darryl Cunningham and the usual continuing features by David Hines, Mark Stafford, Sarah Gordon and Ginny Skinner.

As always, thank you for your continued support, it’s greatly appreciated. 

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful 2018.

Peace and Love,

--Gary Spencer Millidge.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Knight of the Golden Light at the Chess Hall of Fame

Long-time readers of Strangehaven in its periodical format may remember my cover to issue #6, which featured an inset of the good Doctor Houseman (given that name, incidentally, almost ten years before Hugh Laurie’s Doctor House hit our screens). The background section of the artwork consisted of a Knight of the Golden Light’s costume and some chess pieces hovering about in mid-air.

The interior of the comic also featured the doctor and his brother playing chess, as well as incorporating a number of chessboard pattern motifs throughout, which is why it’s become part of a huge chess-themed comics exhibit at the World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Yes, comics can lead you down some unusual avenues. But chess is a frequent theme for many comics covers, and one that I have a penchant for collecting myself. In fact, the exhibition, POW! Capturing Superheroes, Chess & Comics! has assembled over 200 chess-related comic books, and has them all on display, along with comic character chess sets, and plenty of fun stuff for kids to enjoy.

Among the gems on display are More Fun Comics #76 (1942), Action Comics #112 from 1947 featuring Superman in “The Cross-Country Chess Crimes” and original artwork by Bob Clarke from Mad Magazine #78 (1963).

There’s short video that's worth a watch here: KSDK website.

POW! Capturing Superheroes, Chess & Comics! is open seven days a week and admission is free. It runs until September 17, 2017.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Post-valentine cure-all at Orbital Comics

Like a slightly anaemic grey-haired cherub, flying in from stage left I have the perfect antidote for all those lonely hearts who are destined to spend St. Valentines Day evening at home alone with a bottle of Southern Comfort and DVD box set of Peter Sellers' Pink Panther movies (i.e. me).

On the 15th February 2017 between 5:00pm and 7:00pm at London's fine pop culture emporium Orbital Comics, there will be a Meanwhile...#5 signing event to relaunch the freshly invigorated British anthology in its new 96-page format (which of course features the latest instalment of Strangehaven). I'll be joined by a selection of the other contributing creators including (in alphabetical order by surname) Nick Burton, Matthew Dooley, Sarah Gordon, Mark Stafford and Laura Trinder.

I'm sure we'll all be happy to scribble over anything that you legally own or have purchased on the night from the good folks at Orbital, and will happily interact with you dear reader, just like we are merely human and not the unfeasibly talented superstars we know we are beneath our modest demeanour. There's a rumour that Soaring Penguin Press publisher John Anderson will also be present, so if any potential contributors wish to,they can flash their portfolios in his general direction. Come drown your sorrows with us on Wednesday the 15th.

Orbital Comics' page on the event is here.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Anything is possible

So, that’s another year pretty much done and dusted, and by all accounts 2016 has not been the greatest in terms of celebrity deaths and politics, amongst other things. I certainly have no desire to rake over all those unsavoury coals (there will be plenty doing that in the days to come), but the last twelve months have proved that we can take nothing for granted (especially polls).

Not long ago you would have been laughed out of the office to suggest that Donald Trump might become POTUS or that 5000/1 outsiders Leicester City might win the Premier league, so if nothing else, at least we can take solace in the fact that anything is possible.

With that in mind, the plan for 2017 is that Meanwhile...will return as a hundred-page quarterly anthology from Soaring Penguin Press, and I shall be contributing new episodes of Strangehaven for each and every issue, starting in January. I’ve seen a preview of issue 5, and it does look pretty damn amazing.

Casting my view back over 2016, it’s been nice to have chipped in with the odd piece of cover art for Heroes and Sherlock comics from Titan Comics, to have been featured in two major comic art exhibitions in London and Italy, and to have enjoyed being a guest at another European festival. I didn’t see any of those things coming this time last year, so who knows what 2017 in store for me?

Or for you. Remember, it’s not about what you’re chasing, or whether you catch’s all about the chase itself.

Click here to view or download a large image of my 2016 Christmas illustration

So, happy holidays to you and yours, and wishing you a wonderful, surprising (in a really good way this time) and healthful new year. Peace and Love.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

No sh*t, I’ve drawn another comic cover for Titan

My cover to Sherlock: The Blind Banker #2
The new Diamond Previews (a catalogue of forthcoming comics and related ephemera) is published this week and contains listings for two publications featuring my work. The first is the previously blogged-about Meanwhile…#5 (featuring episode 5 of Strangehaven: Destiny), while the second is my cover for Titan ComicsSherlock: The Blind Banker #2 (an English language edition of the Japanese manga comic adaptation of the British TV series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, based on the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Got that? I’m testing you later).

Those of you with, quite frankly, an unhealthy interest in my work may note some similarities with this cover and my previous commission for Titan, Heroes: Godsend #4.

The basic layout for the Sherlock cover was actually only one of four or five rough sketches I submitted to the editor (as was the case with my Heroes cover), and in both cases, despite my defiant resistance, the chosen design was incrementally tweaked, twisted and tampered until it resulted in a remarkably similar composition of single-point perspective street view and full figure portrait with billowing scarf. Even so, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

So pleased in fact that I made a crude animation (apologies for the low quality, I’m a Premiere Pro noob) to demonstrate the way I’ve built up the Photoshop layers to create the various colour and rendering effects.

To recap: that’s two items in the new Previews, one with a fourteen page strip by me and a cover by someone else; and the other with a cover by me but the interiors by someone else. One day my friends, I shall be doing both again, I promise you.

If you’d like to pre-order either or both, you can simply ask your local comic shop, and giving them the following Diamond order codes would probably save them a little time.

Meanwhile...#5 (Soaring Penguin Press) [Jan 2017] DEC161883
Sherlock: The Blind Banker #2 Cover 'A' (Titan Comics) [Feb 8 2017] DEC161927