I'm now very close to the end of this particular Super Sam and John of the Night story. After which there will be a break while I work on other projects. This webcomic has been a long haul for me. At, mostly, one page a week on the Forbidden Planet blog, it's taken over a year to work my way through the narrative. Not what I ever set out to do, but the story grew and grew in the telling, until I began to wonder whether I would ever reach the end. It's been well worth the effort though, as I've learned a great deal about graphic story telling, especially in terms of colour.
A couple of years ago, I had a go at building the type of scenes often depicted in my drawings, bringing them into 3D in the form of paper and card sculptures. It's been a while, but I'd like to have another attempt at this, as I'm sure I could improve on the idea.
Here's a couple of photos of the last sculpture I did. Sadly, these were never glued together or expected to be permanent. They only existed as long as it took me to photograph them.
Several different realities collide in the Outernational Hotel's famous ballroom.
A few things to look out for in this illustration: Superman, The Bottle City of Kandor, giant cup of coffee, pencil, glasses, cows, Tarzan, Sam of the Sun, John of the Night, blue ladder, postbox, loads of other stuff.
I realise that if I'm every going to get more than the moderate attention for my work that I currently receive, then I'm going to have really step up to the plate and make a huge effort. With this in mind, I've been spending a neck-hurting amount of time with pencil, pen and computer, producing works like the one above. My plan is to start bring this level of detail into my comic strips. If that doesn't grab people's eyeballs then I don't know what will.
I've put together an ebook, featuring four Uncle Bob stories, and using the fab software at Myebook. Do feel free to give me some feedback. Cheers!
Comic book series by writer/artist Darryl Cunningham. Uncle Bob tells extraordinary tales of his long and adventurous life to his young nieces. Thrill to these colourful stories of Victorian London, the Wild West, darkest Africa, and the Earth's Core. Winner of the Golden Monkey Best Comic Award (which I've just made up). Cheers!
This an extended and re-coloured version of an illustration I did which appeared in a recent issue of Paranormal Magazine. The article was about the parallels between folklore stories of fairy folk and alien visitations in modern times.
While I personally don't believe in the objective reality of these supernatural beings or their space-age counterparts, I am fascinated by what these continuing myths say about the human mind, and its ability to join the dots and create pictures that are not even there. If there is real magic in the world, then it exists in the human imagination. It's more than possible to make such fancies real. Writers and artists do this every day. But let's not confuse the fabulous world of the mind and its constructs, with the bricks and mortar real world we live in. The use of logic and science demonstrates, very well, the clear separation between the two.
As a child I remember thinking that Spider-Man had to be the most difficult superhero to draw, because of all the lines and detail. It seems easy now, so I suppose I must have become a proper illustrator. How about that!
I'm frustrated with Super Sam and John of the Night, but not because I'm unhappy with it. The story and characters work well. The main problem is that I'm finding it difficult to finish. I know exactly how the strip ends and what the final scenes are, but the pages leading up to that are a little vague. Not only that, but it's taking me more pages to get to the ending than I originally planned.
It's a bit like running a marathon, in which you're exhausted, but that's okay, because you can now see the end of the race in the distance. Only, as you're running towards it, the race end is moving away from you at the same speed.
However, endings are really hard and it would be easy to mess the whole thing up, simply because I was in a rush to finish it and get onto the next project.
As for the next project, I've got some strong ideas.
At the weekend I went down to Oxford to attend the annual Caption Small Press Comics Convention.
I haven't been to Caption for many years, as I'd got caught up in the world of psychiatric nursing, and I'd thought of myself as retired from all that comics stuff. Except, of course, there must have been a small part of me still holding out, as I never stopped drawing, and I continued to write and illustrate my own comics, even though no one saw them and there was no real chance of them being published. This is something I just do, because its in my blood.
So it was great to return to Caption and meet up with both new and old friends. I was totally inspired by the event. I received an incredibly warm welcome from everyone. The small press scene is very much like a family. You can be away, like I was, for years, and be welcomed back into the fold like you'd never been away. I must thank everyone for being so kind and generous.
Taken on my drunken walk back to the hotel from Caption 2008 (I got lost).
The Escape panel: Woodrow Phoenix, Ryan Hughes and Paul Gravett.
Paul Gravett, Tony Hitchman and Gavin Burrows.
Taken during one of the panels. On the left Matt Brooker and in the foreground, Andy Konky Kru.
Woodrow Phoenix, Chris Butler, Damian Cugley, Andy Konky Kru, Paul Gravett. Ryan Hughes.
Along with another carer, I've had to take several of our residents on holiday to Butlins in Skegness, this week. Never in my life would I have one day thought I'd be spending a week at Butlins. Curious, isn't it, what life can present you with? Butlins turned out to be a photo opportunity heaven and therefore a great gift to me.
There was something of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner about Butlins' camp. Plenty of happy smiling faces, amongst pretty buildings and an architectural layout that had the unreality of a film set. Pristine, litter-free green areas that couldn't exist in the real world. A germ-free, utopian working class village, complete with cinemas, restaurants, arcades, family friendly entertainment zones, and of course, a Ladbrokes.
Easy to get out of, but you had to have a key-card to show to the security people, to get back through the gates. A prison in reverse.
A drug used in mental health to counteract psychotic symptoms. A difficult drug to draw up, due to having to mix the powder into sterile water first. It's a big needle. US syringes tend to be longer. Can you guess why?
British Artist Darryl Cunningham is a cartoonist. He is the writer and artist on Supercrash (aka The Age Of Selfishness), Psychiatric Tales, Science Tales, and Uncle Bob Adventures.
I'm always available for commissions.
Read all about me in this interview.