Monday, 27 February 2017

Sector 13 and the Attack of the Giant Worms.

Friday 24th February was the last of the month and so was time for the regular meeting of Sector House 13 in Belfast.  A group of 2000AD fans, creators and cos-players, they meet in a local bar once a month to chat, drink and generally have a good time.  I joined the group late last year and a more welcoming and friendly crowd you could not hope to meet.

An early cover rough of Prog 2018
Often among their number is Ryan Brown, one of the most sought after cover artists in comics today. Ryan is a 'digital painter' whose work has been seen on games and albums but most frequently on comic book covers.   His work has been featured on books by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and IDW. 

Particular highlights for me have been his Dredd and Mars Attacks covers for IDW and his depictions of classic horror scenes for Creepy and other comics. 

Talking to Ryan can be an education for any would-be comic artist or writer.  His understanding of layout and storytelling is astounding and his ability to analyse a comic page remarkable.  More importantly he is able to communicate his knowledge to others in a way that is simple and yet sophisticated.  I know that I've looked at comics slightly differently since being involved in a couple of conversations on the subject. 

His generosity in sharing his experience and knowledge with a few of the Sector 13 crowd has been much appreciated as he has helped with their own writing or artistic endeavours and especially with an ongoing group project that I'm sure will be made public in the near future.

Some of Ryan's most recent work has been for 2000AD including covers to Prog. 2018 where he provides a stunning illustration for the John Burns' strip The Order.  For members of the Sector House 13 group the cover is one they are not likely to forget. 

Handsome Devils!
Among the peasants fleeing from the horrific fang-toothed Wyrm are two of their own.  White-haired Laurence McKenna, one of the driving forces behind the group, can be seen screaming as he sprints after comic writer, Mark McMann.  Mark who is already in the grasp of one of the Wyrm's tentacle, looks back in terror.   

The likenesses are excellent, although I've never seen either Laurence or Mark dressed in quite the same mode of dress.  In addition to providing me with the final image, minus all text, Ryan has also been kind enough to let Splank! have an early cover rough and some of the reference material he used for Laurence and Mark.

Both big 2000AD fans, you can imagine just how exciting this is for the two guys. Even if they do not look like they are going to live long in the illustration. 

Any comics fans, particularly fans of 2000AD, from Belfast or the surrounding area should check out the Sector 13 Facebook Presence, and come join us on one of our evenings out.  We are usually in the Parlour bar in Belfast from about 7:30 on the last Friday in the month, but the details are always published on Facebook.

For more information on Ryan and a gallery of some of his work check out his Art of Ryan Brown web-site here.

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