Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vanguard in Japan Postcards 3 and 4

Here we go, the remaining 2 images for the set of 4 which will be turned into beautiful, laminated postcards and sent out FREE with printed copies of our super-size, jam-packed issue 3!!! Card number 3 features Call Malone, of Atomic Call, taking out a sumo wrestler with a damn big hammer she pulled out of her handy, compact glove. Well, where else would you keep a hammer like that? I'm not quite sure what this wrestler did to deserve this whonk on the noggin, and perhaps Call doesn't either, if she was simply following some of her childhood-bully-turned-brothel-madam employer Sally's non-debatable 'need to know' instructions. Maybe we'll find out some day! Art on this image comes courtesy of the brilliant Chris Askham, who I've actually been wanting to work with on something for some time now. It's a very striking image, with great use of colour to bring it to life, and the letratone affect is the icing on a very nice cake! Thanks Chris!

Last but certainly not least comes this suitably awkward and tongue-in-cheek image by the wonderful Neil Roche featuring serial killer-turned-demon slayer Buck Tucker and his 'one that got away'. Tucker's a bad 'un, and no mistake, having knocked off a number of poor unfortunate ladies during a six month spree of serial-killing dating, culminating in the horrific Speed Date massacre of 2010, during which he slayed his final ten victims. It would have been twelve, had not one Katarina Cruz turned the tables on him and put an end to his murderous, love-inspired rampage. The story didn't end there though, for Tucker OR Cruz. Tucker died alright, but didn't get much further than limbo, where he was intercepted by the mysterious Slug Slut and selected for a very important mission. We will find out exactly what this mission entails in the next installment of the story. As for Katarina...well, as her appearance in this postcard image suggests, neither we nor Buck have seen the last of her. But what are the circumstances of her return to the story? And just how much has her "Speed Date" ordeal affected her? Stay tuned, as all will be revealed in Vanguard Issue 3!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Vanguard in Japan Number 2 - Zephyr and the H.A.L.O

Hey everybody, it's awesome picture time!!!
Following hot on the heels of Tony Rothwell's Mammoth-Jack in Japan picture, here we have Stephen Prestwood's rendition of Zephyr and his alien Halo, from "Halo and the Gryphon"This is a cool, colourful pic of our half lion-half eagle hero, complete with high-tech alien weapon H.A.L.O attached, as he takes a breather from being attacked by Smoke Demons and hunted by Heartlings to take in the view in the Land of The Rising Sun.

This image will be produced as an A6, laminated art-card and will be given out free (with the others in the series) with issue 3 of Vanguard later on in the year. If you haven't already, give our Facebook page a like and be in with a chance to get a free copy!

More Vanguard in Japan images coming soon!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Issue 2 Review at Comics Bulletin

Issue 2 got a nice little write up over on Comics Bulletin, check it out HERE!

 As the reviewer says, we are all having a blast putting these comic strips together and hopefully that is evident from the reading. Good point about the difference in tone between Atomic Call and the other ("loopier") stories but that is very much intentional. With this comic we are trying to present a variety of stories and styles across a number of different genres. So along with the shlock-horror ultra-violence of Mammoth-Jack, the far-out, bizzarro, trip-fest of Halo and the Gryphon, and the darkly black humour of Buck Tucker, we get the more conventional, down-to-earth adventures of Call Malone and co to provide a bit of 'sanity'.

Having said that, although Call's story may appear straightforward at the moment, it's going to turn out to be anything but, as we delve into the mystery of the atomic gauntlet, where it came from...and why Call coming into possession of it isn't as 'coincidental' as it seems. All I can say for now all has something to do with the person below, the mysteriously named Mandy SNA (Surname Not Applicable), who made her first appearance shooting the place up like a lunatic in issue 2. Watch out for more of her in a special four page story to be published online soon, and in the next chapter of Atomic Call in Vanguard issue 3, later this year.


                                               (Art by David Blankley)

Vanguard in Japan, Number 1 - Mammoth-Jack

Since I am currently living in Japan I thought it might be a nice idea to have some special images featuring our comic's characters prepared, showing them in some recognisably Japanese situations.

There will be four of these in total and they will be produced as a second set of laminated postcards to be given out free with issue 3 later in the year. First up is Tony Rothwell's rendition of mutilated, donkey-with-a-grudge Duncan Mammoth-Jack, taking a leaf from the famous Hachiko's book:


Hachiko was a stray Akita dog taken in by Professor Hidesaburō Ueno in 1924. Every day, Hachikō would go to meet the Professor as he arrived home from work at Shibuya Station, a routine which continued until May 1925, when the Professor did not return. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died at work, never again to return to the station where his loyal pet waited. Every day for the next nine years though, Hachiko would travel to the station at the same time to await his master, and he became famous as a result. He died in 1935. A bronze statue was erected in his memory in August 1948. It still stands and is a popular meeting spot at Shibuya station. The station entrance near this statue is named "Hachikō-guchi", meaning "The Hachikō Entrance/Exit". It is at this statue that Duncan is pictured sitting in the image below. It seems appropriate. He may not be a dog, but he is as loyal to his mistress, Jamie, as Hachiko ever was to Professor Ueno. Even if he does show it in a much more violent way!

Stay tuned for more "Vanguard in Japan" images coming soon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review and Facebook Info

Hey folks!

Been a bit quiet around here lately - mainly because I've transferred my Vanguard updating to the Facebook page recently introduced - it's a much more convenient means of posting images and updates, so if you aren't already following us there, you can do so right now. There's loads of behind-the-scenes info and unseen artwork, as well as links to blog posts about the stories by some of the creators. Check it out here!

In other news, we've received a write up of issues 1 and 2 on The Hipster Dad's bookshelf, which is an overall positive assessment. The article makes the point that all of us involved in producing the comic are newcomers to the scene, but are doing our best to produce the goods! We are improving all the time - wait til you see how things progress in issue 3! Check out the review and I'll see you all on Facebook! Dirk

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Slightly later than advertised (click HERE for the full gorey details and behind-the-scenes rundown on why) Issue 2 of Vanguard is now available, and there are a couple of ways you can read it, which I'll get to in a moment.

Vanguard 2 cover art by David Blankley

This second issue sees the continuation of the stories that began in issue 1. As before, art duties on International Woman of Mystery tale "Atomic Call" are by David Blankley, while Louis Carter continues to produce some brilliantly bizarre artwork on sci-fi, fantasy epic "Halo and the Gryphon". This issue's violent installment of 1800's "When Good Donkey's Go Bad" tale "Mammoth-Jack" features a change of artist however, as my good friend El Chivo takes over pencilling duties from Owen Watts. But fear not, Mr. Watts is still on board providing some fantastic lettering work for the 6 page tale...and that's not his only contribution to this issue, as you will see when you take a look.

Apart from this there is another Tucker story, featuring glorious, blood-soaked, full colour artwork by Bhuna. This tale features a change of direction for the psychopathic character originally created for Hallowscream, bringing a fantasy-based twist to proceedings in order to 'lighten' the serial-slashing tone somewhat. I've also got another two wonderful pages of art featuring the comic's fictional editor 'Redbats' by David Withers, who also provides lettering for two of the strips herein. And, of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention that lettering master Jim Campbell has also deigned to grace us with his presence lettering David Blankley's noir-tastic Atomic Call pages. It's 24 pages of cover to cover action, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, alien creatures, ass-kicking babes, angry donkeys, demons and deceased serial killers. Honestly, what more do you want from a comic? What's that? Free gifts? Oh alright then....but we'll get to that. First...have a look at some preview pages why don't you?

Page from Atomic Call - art by David Blankley

Page from Halo and the Gryphon - art by Louis Carter

Page from Mammoth-Jack - art by El Chivo

So, how do you get your hands on this? Well, there are two ways.

Yes, that's right, I've decided to put this issue online to be viewed, in it's entirety, for free. Why? Well, because I would like a lot of people to read it, to be blunt. Although I practically sold my entire print one of issue 1 over the course of five or six months, that still only came to a small number of copies distributed (less than 50). Which means less than 50 people read the comic. I'd certainly like to have more of a readership than that but since it's difficult to persuade people to part with their cash for something they can't see in the flesh before they take a chance on, I thought this might be the way to go. That, and the fact that I will be in Japan for at least the next six months and the postage costs back to the UK would be ridiculous! So, with that in mind, you can, right this very minute, make your way HERE and enjoy the comic.

The only thing I would ask in return is that you throw a few comments our way upon reading. The beauty of that site is that you can comment on each page as you read, so if something comes to mind, if you like something or hate something, if you have suggestions for how we could improve things, you can very quickly make a note of it before going to the next page. I would love to know what you think of the stories/writing and I'm sure my collaborators would love to know how you find their art so please do take a few seconds to do this.

Note - only issue 2 is available to view. I didn't think it would be fair to those who purchased a copy of issue 1 to then make it available for free, so I haven't done so. However, there is sufficient recaps given in the strips themselves that this shouldn't hinder your enjoyment of the comic. If you haven't read issue 1 and what you see here intrigues you enough that you would like to, I still have a few copies left which I would be more than happy to sell to you - failing that, the issue is also available to view as a myebook for the ridiculously low price of 50p - click HERE to access it.

If you are the type of person (like me) who prefers to read comics 'in the flesh', let me see if I can entice you into purchasing a print copy. For anyone who does decide to avail of this option, there are a couple of extras.

Firstly, you will receive - absolutely free - a copy of "Speed Date", a 16 page full-colour A5 comic that collects together both parts of slaser-serial killer story "Speed Date", which originally appeared in Hallowscream's 2010 and 2011 issues. Art on part 1 is by Ghostpockets and on part 2 by Bhuna. The story comes wrapped in a pair of beautiful covers rendered by Bhuna - check out his awesome "after Bill Sienkiewicz" homage:

Secondly, you will also receive a set of four, full-colour, gloss laminated artcards featuring art by some of the comic's contributors. There's an unlettered version of Liam Byrne's groovy issue 1 cover art, an unlettered version of David Blankley's issue 2 cover and brand new images by Owen Watts and Louis Carter, featuring 'Mammoth-Jack' and 'Halo and the Gryphon' respectively. They look really, really good, if I do say so myself.

So there you have it. If you would like to support us by purchasing a copy, you can order via paypal at the below rates:

For ROI orders, the cost is 3.50 Euros, including p&p.
For NI orders, the cost is 3.50 Sterling, including p&p.
For UK orders, the cost is 4.50 Sterling, including p&p.

Payments should be made to

There are also copies of the comic on sale in Sub City, Exchequer Street, if anybody Dublin-based wants to check that out.

That's it! I hope you all enjoy the comic, whichever way you choose to read it!

And don't forget - let us know what you think!!!