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Hi everyone,
Eeek! It's been a year since my last journal! Well, you know, reasons...

Anyway, quick post just to say I'm doing commissions. In fact, I've been doing them for a few months now. I'm a jobless, struggling artist and I'll be honest: I need the money. I might as well make some money doing something I enjoy. So, as a rough guideline, here are my prices:

Fully coloured, digital: £200 ($300)
Black & white, inked, A3: £150, ($230)
Black & white, inked, A4: £80, ($120)

Note: these are only guideline prices. If you're interested in taking this further, drop me a note and we can haggle. This is based roughly on time taken do do an image etc. If you want a small coloured image that I can knock up in a day, I can reduce my price.

Here are some examples of what I've been doing recently:

The Silurian Doctor (2016) by SteveAndrew Doctor Who: Time's Ravager (2016) Full by SteveAndrew
The Silurian Doctor
This was commissioned a few weeks ago, cost £150 ($225) and took a couple of weeks. Private commission for :icondocotto:, based on original design by :iconpaulhanley:

Tamburro (2016) by SteveAndrew
The Tamburro Family
Private commission from someone at the producers of Doctor Who: Dark Journey. Cost £150. Private commission. Took a few weeks and ended up being a lot bigger than I'd usually work - biiiig poster.

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 Badges (2015) Inks by SteveAndrew
Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD Badges
I drew out the black and white images for this series of badges which are available here:…
Just a quick job, took a couple of days. Cost £50.

So, there's a lot of leeway in my prices. Let me know if you're interested!
I've been working on Stuff! Yes, something that people outside our happy little club here on DA are going to see. A few weeks ago, the splendid chaps over at AM Audio Media asked if I'd like to do a bit of artwork to help publicise their new audio series called Doctor Who: Dark Journey. Turns out they'd seen some of the Target book pastiches I've been knocking out over the last couple of years and wondered if I'd do one for them. Also, their writer (and Doctor) Andrew Chalmers is, like myself, a massive fan of the old Target books.

So, what's the story? From their own website:
Doctor Who: Dark Journey is an original full cast audio adventure which takes The Doctor on a darker journey than ever. Emotionally shattered after a tragedy The Doctor arrives in London and becomes companion to Sherlock Holmes in an effort to stop Jack the Ripper’s murderous trail of terror. But is there an even greater evil at work in Victorian England?

Dark Journey is a multi-episode series written, performed and produced in Toronto with a Canadian and international cast and crew featuring the music of Doctor Who fan favourite Traffic Experiment.

With Doctor Who - Dark Journey, AM Audio Media has twisted the ‘Whoniverse’ of Doctor Who in a subtle way, making it a little darker, but without losing the essence of what makes the show as brilliant as it is. Dark Journey tells the story of a new Doctor, on his last life, haunted after a mysterious tragedy but still very much ‘The Doctor’ that fans around the world have enjoyed through his adventures on television, books and audio.

AM Audio Media has emphasized intriguing elements of the show’s mythology and run with them. It’s a version that you would probably never see on TV but can exist, quite happily, as a standalone, alternate version.

Dark Journey has found an audience who like their ‘Who’ a little darker. With this extremely positive fan response AM Audio Media is currently in production of further adventures of The Dark Journey Doctor.

Doctor Who Copyright © BBC. No infringement of that or any other copyright is intended. Doctor Who: Dark Journey is a non-profit, unofficial, fan production.

I've listened to season 1 and it's tremendous fun - very atmospheric, great sound design and a cast that clearly love what they're doing. There's a great chemistry and banter between Andrew Chalmers as The Doctor and Roy Miranda as Holmes. Season 2 is already on the way! Check it out at AM Audio Media or iTunes (or whatever audio thing you kids listen to these days). They're also on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud and Google+. (Where you can find my banners displayed prominently.) They're lovely talented people and have tremendous taste in art.

Doctor Who: Dark Journey (2015) Full by SteveAndrew
OK, sorry, it's been a long time. There are reasons. I've been unemployed for the last 5 months since the temporary contract I was working came to an end. I am also in the depths of a mahoosive depression that just won't shift no matter what. (Although I am seeing a therapist now, so that's something.) I'm doing art just to keep my brain busy and to stop Bad Thoughts.

So... I'm finally thinking I might start doing commissions. It's not definite, but maybe something will come of it. And maybe it will help keep the Bad Thoughts at bay.

This is just a test. What do you think of these prices, if I were to do commissions? Are they over-the-top for someone of my limited talent? They're just a stab in the dark at the moment, based on what other people appear to be charging and what I think I could realistically do in a day.

A3 (approx 29cm x 42cm)
Black & White, single character, no background, fully inked:£80 ($125)
Black & White, single character, with background, fully inked: £100 ($160)
Black & White, multiple characters, any background, fully inked: £150 ($235)
Coloured, any characters, any background: £200 ($310) - these take a lot longer

A4 (approx 21cm x 29cm), smaller than I usually work, but I thought I'd provide the option
Black & White, single character, fully inked: £50 ($75)
Coloured, single character: £100 ($160)

I work on good quality Bristol board, so I'd send you the original physical artwork and a high quality digital image (I tend to do any tidying up in Photoshop after scanning, so the digital image is the final image). I can reasonably do a single A3 B&W image in about a day or two, which is why I've gone for these prices.

Check out some of my best characters here. Maybe you'd like a Marvel or DC (or other) superhero?
Black Widow 1 (2014) by SteveAndrew Rogue 4 (2011) Inks by SteveAndrew She-Hulk and Power-Girl 2 (2012) Inks by SteveAndrew She-Hulk 2 (2011) Inks by SteveAndrew
Or perhaps something from Time and Space might interest you?
The Tenth Doctor 3 (2014) by SteveAndrew The Twelfth Doctor 1 (2014) Inks by SteveAndrew The Ninth Doctor 2 (2014) by SteveAndrew

Maybe something in colour?
Judge Hershey (2008) Colours by SteveAndrew Hulk (2011) Colours by SteveAndrew Captain America (2012) Colours by SteveAndrew

Let me know what you think: is this something people would like? Am I being reasonable? If I get enough requests, I might give it a go.
  • Listening to: Dave Ross: Terrified
  • Reading: Science Of Discworld 4
  • Watching: Dr Who: Colony In Space
  • Eating: toast
  • Drinking: coffee
Hi everyone,
Oh it's been a long time... Well, a quick update to let you know that I'm still not dead. Last time I posted I was pretty much at an all-time low, things were not going well at all. I wouldn't say I'm on top of the world now, but certainly well enough to update my watchers (all two of you).

Employment-wise, I have a job! A few months back I had a job offer from a local computer games company. Sadly the offer was withdrawn when some project fell through, which put me back to square one - and when you're dealing with the Job Centre in the UK, it can feel worse, as they seem to treat everything as being your own fault. A couple of weeks ago a local recruitment agency got me an interview at a serious games company. (For those unfamiliar with the term, serious games are mostly non-commercial simulators and training apps. Doesn't sound very interesting, but it involves 3-D modelling, at which I'm at least competent and it's challenging enough. Anyway, they seemed to like me and I start tomorrow! I'm 50% shitting myself in terror and 50% strangely looking forward to it. And it's an income, so I can't complain.

Art-wise, I've finally finished the bulk of my work on the semi-secret project I've been working on for Vworp Vworp magazine, issue #3 of which will be published this year. It was going to be done for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary, but I suppose when the content is being done by various professionals and amateurs who probably have day-jobs, we can only do the work in our spare time. The two guys running the mag, Colin & Gareth have been fantastic and seem really pleased with what I've done. It's a 12-page strip written by the wonderful Daniel O'Mahony, called The Woman Who Killed The Doctor. I've drawn it and will be lettering it soon. Sadly it's looking unlikely that I'll be able to colour it (not if they want it done anytime this year!), but Colin & Gareth have an endless supply of industry contacts, so I hope they'll be able to rope in someone to make my scribbles look cool. It's been stressful at times, but it's my first go at doing the art for someone else's script and I'm honestly quite proud of it. I reckon it's the best artwork I've ever done. Hopefully I can cobble together some teasy screengrabs soon, and maybe post the full strip when it's published. Hey, Gareth has already leaked a small snippet on the Vworp Vworp Facebook page, so it's official now!

Other than that, and a few non-life-threatening health issues, it's been a quiet few months and I can now get back to posting some more personal artwork soon. You know, the usual busty superheroines and mad time-travellers...

Back soon!
  • Listening to: Kermode & Mayo
  • Reading: Penn Jillette: God, No!
  • Watching: Dr Who: The Reign Of Terror
  • Playing: Lego Batman 2
  • Eating: a roast dinner
  • Drinking: less coffee
WARNING: Incoming inappropriate honesty and talk of "feelings". And stuff.

OK, it's been nearly a month and no sign of a new job despite the near endless applications made. I'm still trying for games industry jobs as it's what I know best, but I'm open to anything. Being under pressure from the British job centre to prove that I'm looking for work and being told by the careers advice service that my CV is not great really doesn't help either. And how exactly am I supposed to come across as enthusiastic and creative in interviews when I'm feeling so shitty?

I'm even now considering freelance comic art as an option, despite the unpredictable nature of the job. (It's probably not a good thing to go for a career that you've always wanted as a last resort - that seems rather screwed up somehow.) I was always perfectly happy doing this as a hobby, but now I might have to make a go of it.

So, I'm using this entry to ask a few questions to fellow Deviants:

1. Would any of you be intererested in commisioned work by me? Check out my gallery and you can see the kinda stuff I do.

2. As I've never done commisions before, this is uncharted territory for me. So, artists who do commisions, I need your advice: what's the going rate for what you do? Do you specialise in one genre? What do you think I could seriously charge for pictures? Do I send original art or just digital art? Does that even matter? Does my bum look big in these jeans? Anything else that I haven't thought of?

I'm not explicitly saying I'm doing commisions now, I'm just testing the water. But I'm probably going to have to start soon, or it's gonna be a cold christmas in the Andrew household...

On a brighter note, I'm finally catching up on Arrow and really enjoying it. And it's looking likely that we really are getting some missing Doctor Who episodes after all! Woohoo!
  • Listening to: a dog gently snoring
  • Reading: John Sweeney: Church Of Fear
  • Watching: Arrow and old Dr Who
  • Eating: terrible lunches
  • Drinking: coffee
Well, a bit of a bombshell got dropped today. The company that has been putting up with me for the last 7 years, Blitz Games Studios has sadly had to close up shop. Very suddenly. It's incredibly sad as everyone at the company is very talented and lovely. They're all good people, actual professionals, unlike me. The Oliver twins put everything into this place, they really don't deserve this.

So, it's a bit of a rum situation and no mistake.

I guess the small bit of good news is I'm going to have some time on my hands and I can finally get this Doctor Who fanzine comic finished off sooner than I thought. And hopefully my redundancy pay will keep my wife and I from being destitute for a few weeks while I try and get another job.

The thing is... what to do? I've been in the games industry for the best part of 20 years, but as nice as Blitz has been, I confess my heart hasn't been in it for some time. (My various mental health issues haven't helped.) I've always wanted to be a comic artist, but it's something I've only ever done for the fun of it - I've never done it for money. I wouldn't even know how to go about making something out of that. I'm probably up shit creek, with a paddle made out of... I don't know, paper or something...

So, I'm deeply confused and conflicted. I'm open to suggestions.
  • Listening to: nothing
  • Reading: my P45
  • Watching: an endless expanse of no job
  • Eating: not enough chocolate
  • Drinking: the strong stuff
Just a very quick update. I'm not dead, I just went for a holiday with my lovely wife in the Austrian lakes near Salzberg. It's the first time I've ever had a birthday outside the UK. Great fun. We didn't Climb Every Mountain, nor did we see any Lonely Goatherds.

First: I just want to thank everyone for the fantastic birthday messages, you're all really lovely people. I'm starting to think DA is a thriving hotbed of anti-trolls, nice people who go out of their way to Be Excellent To Each Other online. It warms my cockles. And there can never be too many images of kittens holding cakes!

Second: although I won't disappear completely, I might not be updating so much over the next couple of months. I've been offered a great opportunity to take part in a secret Doctor Who related fan project. (Well I don't think it's really secret, I just want to make myself sound mysterious.) I'm just doing sketches at the moment and will be spending a few weeks on finished artwork. It's unpaid, for a fanzine but it's probably the first time I've done anything like a commission. Eeeeek! Slightly scary, but I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully I can reveal more when I'm nearer to finishing.

Cheers everyone!
  • Listening to: Skeptically Yours podcast
  • Reading: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Watching: Defiance
  • Playing: Gemi Bears
  • Eating: Austrian chocolate
  • Drinking: Tea
(In which Steve tries to distract everyone from the coming Smithageddon with some stuff on Tom Baker and two horrible made-up words. And it all goes downhill from there.)

Everyone has their favourite Doctor. Mine is and always will be Tom Baker. And recently I've been indulging in some of The Scarf's adventures on screen and in books...

The Face Of Evil ("The One With Tom As Mount Rushmore")
This was always one of my favourite Target books - the concept of the Doctor having to sort out a problem that he'd set up in an off-screen adventure was intriguing and always made me wonder when it occured in his timeline. Beautiful cover image too.
On screen, it's not quite the story I imagined in my head, but damn good fun anyway. The environments are trying to replicate the excellent Planet Of Evil (there's even the same jungle animal screeching in the BG). But it's not quite so successful - maybe it's overlit?
That aside it's a great intro for Leela, a companion I always liked. The episode 3 cliffhanger still feels quite creepy, with some excellent "Argh, my head hurts" acting from Tom. And... my word... there really is quite a lot of skin on display, isn't there?

The Sunmakers ("The One With The Tiny Blofeld")
Ahh, the feeling of nostalgia I had one watching this was almost overwhelming - this was the very first story I have concrete memories of watching all the way through as a kid.
Loads to enjoy with this one. The location shots on the roof are fantastic and those bleak tunnels and corridors are perfect. (Just ignore the cheap studio sets.) Tons of humour in this - we are in the Graham Williams era, before the excesses of season 17. It's well known that this was Robert Holmes' dig at the taxman, but I think it works just as well as an attack on modern day corporate greed. And the characters are just lovely, from the over-the-top Collector and Gatherer  to the grumbling rebels and the childishly bland workers.
I'm not sure how well-liked this story is in the wider Who fandom, but I cannot recommend this highly enough. Even K-9 is on top form. And speaking of K-9...

Shada (Gareth Roberts / Douglas Adams) ("The One That Got Away")
This is the unfinished story which was sacrificed at the end of season 17 and would have been a great cap to an already bonkers season. An ancient book ends up in Cambridge, an alien baddie is after it, the Doctor has to find it. Hilarity ensues.
Gareth Roberts adaptation of Adams' script is a hoot from start to finish. The plot is pure Adams, full of fast-paced action, witty dialogue, talking ship computers and cups of tea. It's stuffed with memorable moments and great set-pieces which would have been lovely to see on screen. The cliffhanger when the Doctor is being attacked and Romana comes to the rescue in the TARDIS reads like it's out of the new series. Roberts gets the dialogue just right - you can just imagine Tom Baker and Lalla Ward delivering these lines.
But ruling over the whole story is K-9 who steals every scene he's in. Polite sarcasm drips from every line, he's clearly devoted to his Master and Mistress, but often appears to be putting up with them. I loved this TARDIS team and this is the perfect way to experience their madcap adventures before things got all serious in season 18.
This is a great book, quite thick but rips along with the pace of a Target book. And the paperback is bright red, you can't miss it.

Also, a couple of non-canon BBC Past Doctor books...
Drift (Simon Forward)
Some time after Robots Of Death, the TARDIS sets down in modern day New Hampshire where soldiers are searching for an alien McGuffin. This is a bit of a strange setting - it seems odd for the Fourth Doctor and Leela, two quintessentially 70s characters popping up in what is clearly 21st century America. They really feel like two aliens visiting our world. And all the supporting characters have fairly well mapped-out home lives, like they're in a new-series story. And the monster feels like a new-series high-concept creature. There's loads of action worthy of a Hollywood film, loads of gruesome deaths, a fantastic oppressive snowy atmosphere, and some great characterisation. Again, the author has Tom Baker and Louise Jameson's voices done just right.

Last Man Running (Chris Boucher)
Boucher is the guy who gave us Leela and wrote some of her best stories (including the afforementioned Face Of Evil). So, it's the pre-Invisible Enemy team we have again, for this adventure set on a strange jungle world where nothing is quite what it seems to be. The first half of the book is great with Leela getting some intense action scenes. There's some nice humour for the Doctor and the supporting characters are a suitably inept bunch of soldiery types. Some of the death scenes are very grisly though - can't imagine them being shown on TV. Sadly it all gets a bit messy and confused in the later chapters when we find out what's really going on. But it all get's resolved neatly I guess. I just wish I knew what was going on with the characters' weird names.


So then, Matt Smith's leaving then?
  • Listening to: Walking The Room podcast
  • Reading: David Mitchell: Back Story
  • Watching: Parks & Recreation
  • Drinking: Morrison's Summer Fruits Squash
(In which Steve tries to impress with his film-cred, then throws it all away with an embarrassing confession)

I've only just got round to watching Dark Knight Rises on DVD. (Yeah, I'm slow.) Not exactly a flawless film, but pretty close, I thought. Excellent performances all round and a cracking story that nicely amps up the tension all the way to the end. Bane worked surprisingly well - that's a character that could have so easily come off as ridiculous (his previous cinematic outing was frankly embarrassing). I even had no problem with Tom Hardy's voice, it just suited him. And John Blake may well be one of the best creations in the whole series.

I'm kinda hoping this is the end of the series though - I really hope they don't dip into this version of the Batman mythos again. This trilogy is such a nicely contained, perfectly-resolved package - merging it with the larger DC universe feels wrong somehow. Which is why the Justice League project worries me slightly - it would be so strange for the Chris Nolan Batman to interact with super-powered individuals. But I would be happy to have my mind changed.

Skyfall was another recent watch for me. (I'm so miserly that I refused to watch it until our local cinema did cheap nights, just before the film's run ended!) I am a huge Bond fan and always have been. Like DKR, Skyfall is not without its flaws, but they are incredibly minor. It's not just a fantastic Bond film, it's an incredible film full-stop. Craig gives his best performance yet - I really hope he stays on for a few more films. He's the only actor to play Bond who looks like he was previously in special forces. Javier Bardem made a great villain, I loved the scene where he's taken prisoner and reveals his disfigurement. Very creepy. And the best part was probably the very final scene where Bond fans of old suddenly realise, "oh, so THAT'S what they were setting up." Nicely played, Mr Bond.

An argument could certainly be made that it's objectively the best Bond film ever and better people than me have done so. But... it's not quite my favourite. Oh dear, here's that confession....

Disclaimer: I'm a child of the 70s and I reeeeeally liked Star Wars. After 1977, I would watch any film as long as it had lasers and spaceships. So, no matter how unbelievably silly it is, my favourite Bond film is probably most others' least favourite. When I want to escape, empty my mind and have 2 hours of pure silly fun with a Bond film, I get drunk and watch Moonraker. It's my cinematic comfort blanket.

And I'm sorry. I'm very very sorry.
  • Listening to: Bourne Supremacy soundtrack
  • Reading: Dr Who: Drift
  • Watching: Parks & Recreation
  • Playing: Jewel Mania
  • Eating: Snickers
  • Drinking: Sainsbury's Summer Fruits Squash
So I do my usual morning check of my favourite pages as usual, and note that a huge amount of people have suddenly favourited my recent 3rd Doctor image ( You know, the one with the dinosaur. In my semi-awake state, this struck me as slightly odd, but very welcome as I always take it as a great compliment every time someone takes the trouble to look at my art.

It's only just now hit me that this is all because it's been featured as a Daily Deviation today! I was so astonished my deuced monocle popped out and into my cuppa tea!

Thank you so much everyone who's favourited it today, it really means a lot! Such a pleasant surprise - it really made my day. :D

My polarity is well and truly inverted.
  • Listening to: Dark Knight Rises soundtrack
  • Reading: Terry Pratchett's Dodger
  • Watching: Wonders Of Life
  • Playing: Jewel Mania
  • Drinking: Lemsip Max (I have a cold)
The Timey-Wimey Catch-Up Continues!

I really wish I had been born a couple of years earlier than 1972. My own memories of 70s Doctor Who are patchy - I vividly remember the Key To Time season and I'm vaguely aware of seeing Tom Baker getting buried in gravel in the Robots Of Death (still not quite sure about that one). But sadly I was just far too young to have seen "The One With The Krynoids". I can only imagine just how terrifying this would have been to my 4-year-old self, so maybe my parents didn't want me to see Dr Who that young.

So here I am, I'm now 40 and I've only just seen Seeds of Doom for the first time. And I'm ashamed it's taken me this long. Rounding off Tom Baker's second year, this is without a doubt the ultimate high-point in a run of high-points. Everything you could imagine that's great about mid-70s Dr Who is here: Tom & Lis, running through corridors, squicky body-horror, violent deaths, an insane megalomaniac, not one but two interfering Men-From-The-Ministry, fantastic cliff-hangers, a dotty old lady, tooled-up UNIT soldiers, evil happenings at an English country house, Douglas Camfield at this best... Wonderful.

I've been trying to find the positives in every story I watch, but Seeds of Doom makes that task far too easy. Even the stuff that usually lets down classic Who is fantastic here. The story was originally written to replace The Hand Of Fear which was held off 'til the next season. It's a 6-episode story which rattles along with the pace of a much shorter tale. (I recommend watching these stories over the course of a few days rather than in one quick burst - the pacing is better and the cliff-ghangers are more effective.)

Despite an occasional wobble the sets are gorgeous. The Antarctic base in the first 2 episodes is really moody and nicely lit. The model shots are some of the best ever in the classic series (especially the helicopter) and even the outside quarry footage complete with fake snow is brilliant. There's a real sense of peril in the Antarctic section - the Doctor and Sarah don't arrive by TARDIS, so it feels like they're really trapped when the Krynoid first pops out to say hello. Of course, the parallels with The Thing (any version) are obvious, but the "trapped in a house with the monster" story is as old as the hills.

Oh, the Krynoid... another thing that really shouldn't work. The special effect (done twice) of the tendril emerging and infecting its victim looks amazing. The second stage of the victims partially transformed with green make-up should look silly but is actually quite gruesome and tragic as you can still see their eyes. (Nice touch - the green make-up even continues onto the second victim's bald-spot!) The third stage is just a hastily re-sprayed Axon costume and again, should look dodgy, but works so well. From then on it's just increasing levels of monstrosity until the final garganutan Krynoid destroying Chase Manor, realised in another spectacular model shot. Some dodgy CSO lines and an unintentionally comic tentacle don't spoil this.

The actors are great throughout - Tom strikes the perfect balance between nonchalance and sometimes violent fury, Lis has a scream or two in amongst her heroics and you can't find much better villains than Scorby and Chase.

With every episode I kept coming back to imagining how I would have reacted to this as a kid. The terror gets ratcheted up throughout - that episode 3 cliff-hanger is especially scary. And at moments when the tension gets too much, Tom Baker will grin and quip at a bad-guy and suddenly everything's all OK.

If you're at all new to classic Dr Who, this is the story you really need to watch. I know I'm gushing, but it's impossible to over-sell this, it's a complete masterpiece, start to finish. In fact I might go as far as to say, sorry Talons Of Weng-Chiang, I think I've found my favourite story...

Next: Leela!
  • Reading: Terry Pratchett's Dodger
  • Watching: The Walking Dead
  • Playing: Bejewelled Blitz
  • Eating: Snickers
  • Drinking: coffee
The Timey-Wimey Catch-Up continues!

I confess I came to this one blind. I have never seen "The One With The Androids In The Fake Village" and I've never even read the Target book. All I knew was it was one of the rare stories of the Tom / Lis run that isn't very well regarded. A story has to be really special to stand out when it's plonked in the midst of such bona-fide classics as Planet Of Evil, Pyramids Of Mars, and Brain Of Morbius (all of which I adore).

So... yeah. It's not exactly a brilliant example of mid-70s Who. There are a few things that let it down. The Kraals are a bit pathetic really, unintentionally funny one-note villains who shout a lot and meticulously plan an invasion which falls apart really quickly. Styggron especially likes to declaim everything as if he's a panto villain. Although having seen the DVD extras, it seems the actor's delivery was forced by the somewhat ill-fitting mask. (He sounds a bit like Christopher Ryan's turn as General Staal in The Sontaran Stratagem.) It's a shame because the Kraals have a lot of potential and I reckon they could easily be re-imagined for the new series, maybe as relatives of the Judoon. There are certainly similarities.

And the story itself is rather generic. I get the feeling a lot of better invasion stories had scenes like this happen off-camera. Maybe the Daleks had a fake London set up on Skaro so they could try out a training invasion before heading out on the real thing? In this, you just get the feeling the Doctor and Sarah turn up way too early for a change.

But in the midst of this there's lots of good stuff. The scenes in and around the village are great, with Tom and Lis running around forests and deserted lanes. It all looks great - there's even some top-notch quarry action! There is quite a bit of Prisoneresque creepiness in the first episode where we're not entirely sure what's going on and everyone in the village is acting strange. Sadly the title of the story gives a big honking clue as to what's happening.

It's great to see Harry and Benton one last time, just a shame they're not themselves. And clearly they couldn't get hold of Nic Courtney, so the stand-in colonel sticks out like a sore thumb. Laughably this DVD came as part of the "UNIT box set", AKA "Scraping The Bottom of The UNIT Barrel". Well, there are certainly a few characters wearing UNIT uniforms, so I guess it counts?

There are a few good shocks, like the episode 2 cliffhanger and the bit where the TARDIS disappears early on. Milton Johns is great as the duped astronaut Crayford. But the real reason to watch is the pairing of Tom & Lis, who manage to turn even a quite generic story like this into something special.

So, not great, but not awful - just a filler story nestled in the middle of my favourite run of stories. Which means it can only get better next time... Baker! Sladen! KRYNOIDS!
  • Listening to: Thomas Newman's Skyfall soundtrack
  • Reading: Negima! Vol 34
  • Watching: The Walking Dead
  • Playing: Bejewelled Blitz
  • Eating: Mars Bars, because we've run out of Snickers
  • Drinking: coffee
The Timey-Wimey Catch-Up Continues!

I was really looking forward to "The One With Daleks With Machine Guns". I've read this Target book probably more than any other and always loved the story. So many cool ideas and iconic moments - Sarah Jane's first Dalek adventure, powerless Daleks resorting to primitive weaponry, the living city! And that amazing cover with the exploding Dalek is one of the best of the range.

Sadly it's one of those stories that's been dismissed by fandom as being mediocre, with Terry Nation treading old ground, silvery Daleks, dodgy effects, and that laughable episode 3 cliffhanger.

I have to admit it's not the best Dalek story and doesn't contribute much to the pepperpots' mythology. (But is that even important?) Certainly they could have been substituted with pretty much any other Who monster - the story would have worked just as well with the Cybermen or Sontarans and no-one would have noticed the difference. They are very shiny, which doesn't really work in the mucky environment. I always preferred the darker gunmetal grey Daleks from "Day" or "Genesis". (Maybe the production team were trying to hint at Daleks at different stages in their time-lines? The silvery ones crop up again in "Destiny" IIRC.) And, their spaceship is clearly just a dustbin lid and looks really rough.

But one of the great things about watching these old Pertwee stories has been how pleasantly surprised I've been by them. Maybe it's been lowered expectations? Maybe I just try really hard to find the positive in even the worst classic Who stories?

The pleasant surprises really kicked in with Death To The Daleks. The first episode with the de-powered Tardis is really spooky. I love the echoing console room - makes it sound huge. Pertwee is at his most dapper - with his Green Death outfit now accessorised with a fetching red waistcoat. And there are some great Doctor / Sarah moments in this - they've really bonded by now (which makes the end of Planet Of The Spiders even more poignant in hindsight).

The Exxilon  location scenes are traditional quarry stuff, but they look fantastic in this story. One of the best evocations of an alien world in all of the classic series - it looks like a muddy Tatooine, bleak, grim and really atmospheric. It's one of those rare occasions where it looks exactly as I imagined when reading the Target book. The plot with the living city is great and the exterior shots look surprisingly effective, even with dodgy CSO lines.

Unfortunately the slim budget is made obvious with the city interior scenes. It's all rather over-lit and a bit bland, and the aforementioned episode 3 ending is rightly derided - "Arrrrgh - the floortiles of dooooooom!" Imagine a similar story being done today... well, I guess it might look something like "Asylum Of The Daleks". The melting polystyrene model at the end is weirdly cool especially with the eerie screaming. And The Doctor's friendship with the Gollum-like Bellal is quite sweet too.

All-in-all, it's all a bit of a throwaway Dalek story, but far better than I thought it would be.

Next: Baker! Sladen! Kraaaaaaaaaaaalls!
  • Listening to: Penn's Sunday School
  • Reading: Running Through Corridors
  • Watching: The Mentalist
  • Eating: Jelly Babies!
  • Drinking: really sugary blackcurrant squash
The Timey-Wimey Catchup 2012 continues!

From one end of the Pertwee era to the other - I've finally got round to watching The One With The Crappy Dinosaurs In London. This is one whose novelisation I've read several times, but never seen on TV. It's sat there on my shelf and I've always been a bit hesitant to actually put it on. It's been so maligned in fandom and is generally regarded as the epitome of that phrase "the special effects are better in the Target book".

And it's nowhere near as bad as I'd imagined.

The bad stuff first - yes, the dinosaurs are awful, really really bad. Mid-70s, tiny-budget models at their 'best'. The two worst offenders are the over-used rubbery T-rex and the inexplicably tiny pterodactyl (could the evil scientists only pluck baby pterodactyls out of the past?) Although, that said, I found the tricerotops and stegosaurus quite endearing - maybe not the reaction the production team was aiming for.

There are some really bad CSO outlines everywhere, but they're forgivable and I've seen far worse. (Underworld, I'm looking at you.) And this is one of those few stories with genuinely wobbly sets! Everytime a door slams shut in front of the Doctor in the underground bunker, the walls visibly tremble! It's a shame because apart from that the sets look really nice, especially in the gloomy tube station.

The story does drag at times. That was always the trouble with 6-parters and this story in particular could easily be trimmed down to a pacier 4-parter.

But enough of the negatives - there's a lot of fun to be had here too. I love that Petwee looks rather different here than he did in season 7 or 8. In real life it's just down to changing fashions, but it gives the impression that the 3rd Doctor has aged and has been around for a lot longer than 5 years. He's at his most bouffant and seems a lot more light-hearted & relaxed than in earlier seasons (I guess that happens when you know you're leaving the show in a few weeks.)

The Third Doctor's relationship with the UNIT cast is a good as ever, especially with the Brigadier. Nic Courtney's exasperated sighs when Pertwee proposes some new insane plan are precious. But he goes along with each new scheme anyway! I love the scene in part 6 where they head into the tube station with explosives - just imagine a whole season of the Doctor and Brigadier having exciting adventures in space. (Actually, having seen some of the slash fiction imagery knocking about here on DA, it's clear a lot of people have already imagined that. Pass the brain bleach...)

Part 1 is only available in black & white or dodgy recolourized versions and is really atmospheric with its empty streets and abandoned cars. I wish there had been more of that.

Despite it only being her 2nd story, Liz Sladen seems like she's been part of the cast forever. And Sarah contributes a lot more to the plot than just getting into trouble - although there's quite a lot of that too. And the whole sub-plot with Mike Yates works really well.

Best bit - the Doctor struggling against, I don't know... time winds or something to reach a console and Reverse The Polarity on the big-bad's timey-wimey machine. Textbook Pertwee!

Benton apologizing to General Finch while attacking him was funny too.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this story. I'm sure someone will come along in years to come, remaster it with CGI dinosaurs, but I'm happy with the version we have for now. It's got such a bad reputation, but really is tremendous fun. Like sitting in a comfy sofa with a nice warm cup o' cocoa.

Next week: Pertwee! Sladen! Death! Daleks! More death!
  • Listening to: Daft Punk's Tron Legacy soundtrack
  • Reading: Running Through Corridors
  • Watching: classic Doctor Who
  • Drinking: really sugary blackcurrant squash
Looking at my shelves of classic Who DVDs, I recently realised it's been ages since I actually watched any. I've still been buying them, completist that I am, just hadn't found the time to actually put them on. So, without further ado, and since the next new episode is a couple of months away, let The Great-Dr-Who-Catchup-Marathon-of-2012 commence! (I really should come up with a snappier title for that.)

First up: Terror Of The Autons, first story of Season 8, 1971. Pertwee! Manning! Courtney! Delgado! Nestene! First thing that struck me as I looked at the date on the back of the box - bloody hell, this story is a few months older than me!

Damn fine if basic story. Nestene try to invade again, this time with the help of The Master in his first appearance. The Autons are a good "blank canvas" enemy, anytime you want a no-nonsense straight up invasion, you can't go wrong with some blank-faced shop dummies. There's probably a good reason they were used in the first Pertwee story, first Master story and first Eccleston story - there's no complicated back-story to them to get in the way, they're just mannequins who come alive and shoot people, as simple as that.

Delgado's the real star in this and rightly so. Evil charm personified. I never watched his stories in the 70s, I was too young, so Ainley was the Master I knew. But Delgado really is the definitive Master.

Includes top quality googly-eyed acting from Pertwee as he's strangled by a telephone chord in the episode 3 cliffhanger. Excellent stunts by HAVOC in the UNIT battle scenes. And the squishy chair and troll doll! Crappy special effects, but so much fun.

Next on the marathon: Dinosaurs! Not on a spaceship!
  • Listening to: Ardent Atheist podcast
  • Reading: Running Through Corridors
  • Watching: classic Doctor Who
  • Drinking: Coffee
Wow, bloody hell. Did not expect THAT. Occasional plot-holes and strangeness, but overall an excellent opener to the series. Good Dalek story too.

American Who fans, I think you're in for a treat when you get to see it.
  • Listening to: The Memory Cheats podcast
  • Reading: Fables book 6
  • Watching: Dr Who season 7
  • Drinking: Coffee
Well, what a month. Getting a dog didn't work out, sadly. We got Speedy the terrier and could only keep him for a few days before handing him back to the shelter. A shame as he is cute, but he was just too terrified of everything - more experienced dog-owners probably could have handled him, but not my wife and I. :-(

We left it a couple of weeks before getting a retired racing greyhound called Rose. Gorgeous dog and would have been perfect in everyway - placid bordering on lazy, with a lovely personality. But, we just decided that it's just not the right time for us to have a dog and she was probably a bit too big for our tiny house. And we had to give her back as well. So, no idea when in the future we'll be getting a dog, but it's something we'd still want to do. It'll just have to wait until we get a bigger house, whenever that'll be. :-(

But, on the upside - my latest project at work has finished (a certain Disney-related computer game, if you want to know), so I'm off for a week! Hooray! Really looking forward to a week of lazing around and hopefully catching up on some drawing.

I've got a short list of pictures to do. Just finished the inks on a silly new 4th Doctor / Time Cat parody and I'm about halfway through a new She-Hulk picture, which seems to be going quite well. All that and more coming soon...
  • Listening to: Dark Knight soundtrack
  • Reading: Avenging Spider-man
  • Watching: Dr Who season 7, as of next week!
  • Playing: Lego Batman 2
  • Eating: apples
  • Drinking: Coffee
Hi everyone,
Firstly thank you, thank you, thank you to all who sent birthday wishes, you've made an old man very happy. (Seriously, I have an old man chained up in my cellar - I read him your messages and I swear I could see a lone tear of joy trickle down his parched cheek. I think it was a tear of joy. I'm pretty sure it was.)

Anyway, onto the second part of my message - I'm probably going to be a bit quiet on here for a little while. Not for any bad reason, but it is a personal one. You see for a while now, my wife and I have been wanting to get a dog and at the weekend we put a reserve on one at the local Dogs Trust. If all goes well, we pick him up next week!

He's a rescue dog, so will do doubt need quite a bit of training and settling into this new home, which could take up a lot of my non-work time and leave very little time for drawing (not that I do much of that anyway.)

So, thanks everyone for your continued support and :+fav::+fav::+fav::+fav:! Hopefully I'll be posting some artwork again soon, as well as some photos of the little chap.

...The dog! I was talking about the dog!
  • Listening to: podcasts
  • Reading: Bleach
  • Watching: The Hollow Crown
  • Playing: Lego Batman 2
  • Eating: Birthday cake
  • Drinking: Coffee
A quick bit of double Marvel-based goodness...

I finally saw Captain America: The First Avenger on DVD at the weekend (yeah, I'm slow, but I have... issues with the modern cinema-going experience). It's a really great fun film. Cap had the potential to be a very very silly character in a live-action setting, especially these days where heroes have to be DARK. But they did a great job with this of establishing him as a proper, inspiring heroic hero, with a solid, convincing backstory. Initially I wasn't keen on the casting of Chris Evans, mostly down to him still being fresh in the memory as Torch in the 2 FF films, but he's brilliant in this. And the special effects involed in making him skinny in his pre-Cap persona were very impressive.

But the main reason I liked this film: the setting. One of my favourite games is still Return To Castle Wolfenstein, so I'm a big fan of seeing Nazis tooled up with unfeasably futuristic weaponry and mystical ancient artifacts... and still getting the shit kicked out of them. If you ever fancy a marathon of excellent films with cartoony, sci-fi Nazis getting a damn good thrashing, watch Raiders, Hellboy and Captain America. Ahh, happy times.

As for the other captain in the title, I was really delighted to find out this week that Marvel are relaunching their Captain Marvel title, and it's going to be Carol Danvers! Woohoo! Finally they're going to partially rectify the criminal ditching of all their female-led titles. And I can't think of a more deserving character to get the name. Kinda obvious choice really, I wouldn't be surprised if someone at Marvel thought of it ages ago.

Carol's one of those characters that's been mucked about with so much over the years. I really hope Marvel get behind the series, because this has the potential to be something special. And as you can see at this article (…), her costume's fantastic: simple, iconic, and ties into her backstory as a test pilot.

(Although, isn't she a Colonel? So could this count as a demotion?)
  • Listening to: podcasts
  • Reading: Fear Itself
  • Watching: The Mentalist
  • Playing: Lego Star Wars
  • Drinking: Coffee
"Or How I Tried To Stop Worrying And Love The Cleavage-Window"

(This is going to be another rambling post, apologies.)

I'm in the midst of a dilemma. I like superhero comics, and I've been drawing superheroes on-and-off since was a kid. I'm also male, straight and nearly 40, so I hope I'm more mature now.

The comic series I find most interesting these days have female leads. A lot of this is down to the art, but also they seem to be more "complete" characters. They have lives outside of superheroics. They're witty, they're fascinating, they're likable, they're strong and yes, they're also sexy. She-Hulk, Powergirl, Batgirl (Steph Brown), Zatanna... All great enjoyable series, written and drawn by men and women. That said, I also think Caitlin Fairchild is one of the greatest comic creations known to man, for purely obvious and predictable reasons. (Am I evil for thinking that?)

I also read a lot of team books (X-Men and New Avengers mostly), preferably with a good balance of male and female characters. I read very few comics with male leads - don't know why, just the way it turned out.

I do have feminist aspirations, but I can't tell if I come across that way - that might be for others to say. I think in an ideal world, the sexes should be generally equal. Sadly, I realise that's clearly not the case, both in the real world and in comics. Recent comic blogs have made me more aware of the huge disparity in the depictions of male and female characters. (For further reading, I recommend DCWomenKickingAss ( and Kelly Thompson's blog posts at Comic Resources (goodcomics.comicbookresources.…) on the subject of sexism in comics.)

When female costumes are considered too revealing, is it OK to cover them up? Or is that venturing into hyper-conservativeTaliban territory? ("Cover up your women because we can't control our horrible male lust!") The backlash when DC redesigned Wonder Woman's outfit and covered her legs was quite amazing. "She's iconic", went the understandable cry, "by changing her you're ruining that!" Male fans obviously thought she looked great as she was. Female fans said she shouldn't have to cover herself up because she could be a powerful character even in her revealing outfit. Is WW an empowering symbol, or is she dressed like a tart? Or was her outfit just outdated, having been designed decades ago? I honestly didn't know what to think, because I liked her with the old and new costumes.

Black Canary and Zatanna: the fishnets were recognisable parts of their characters and made their looks iconic. But what was the point of them? They can't have been very practical - they must have as many pairs of tights as the Hulk has shirts!

When the fantastic Amanda Conner drew Powergirl, she gave her the biggest cleavage window ever. But because her style is fairly cartoony this wasn't a problem, it was just the way she dressed and it led to some genuinely funny moments, rarely at PG's expense. She wasn't depicted as a sex-object, despite exposing a sizeable amount of flesh. That was a great series - I totally recommend it.

Most of my favourite and influential artists (Art Adams, The Dodsons, Adam Hughes, Frank Cho, Brandon Peterson, Amanda Conner, too many to name...) are very talented at drawing women that are both sexy and strong, and I attempt to emulate them in my own ham-fisted way. I try to avoid depicting women in overly sexualised poses, although I admit that some my drawings tend towards caricaturised cheesecake.

So here's the dilemma - where do I draw the line with my own art? At what point does strong and sexy turn into objectified, sexualised and sexist? Is fanservice inherently wrong, or is it fine when it's done occasionally as a knowing joke? Or am I just worrying about this too much? Is this subject just a huge can of worms? For someone who's been reading and drawing superheroes for the best part of 30 years, much to learn have I, young padawan....

Any thoughts? Who are your favourite artists who get that balance between sexy and powerful? Are there many good examples of male superheroes who can be drawn in a fanservicey way? (Or is it just Gambit and Nightwing?)
  • Listening to: podcasts
  • Reading: Zatanna: Mistress Of Magic
  • Eating: sausages and red cabbage
  • Drinking: Coffee