Tuesday, January 12, 2016

No. 56 Graham Rolfe

First Prog: 1274
Final Prog: 1405

First Meg: 4.11 (aka 193)
Final Meg: 227

Total appearances: 172
- as design droid, with credits for 5 covers (mostly working with other artists)

On Graham:
Tharg’s design droids are often pretty low key. Rolfe was part of the new guard, arriving fairly soon after the Rebellion take-over (as far as I can tell). He did the usual job of creating a new look for the intro and outro pages,

Rolfe's outgoing design for 2000AD's Nerve Centre
(Tharg pic by Kevin Walker, I'd guess)

Rolfe's incoming re-design for the Megazine editorial page
tinkering with the odd logo here and there, 

The Megazine logo gets a minor revamp as it takes on normal human numbering.
Virtually ever single cover will slightly overlap the text.
Art on this cover by Greg Staples

An even more minor revamp for the cover of 2000AD. Keep that logo out of the way of the cover design!
Cover photo by Malcolm Hulme; design by Rolfe.

This cover credited to Rolfe himself, no doubt using a touch of Carl Critchlow here,
and a hint of Vesalius there.

and presumably doing the ever vital job of keeping everything working, no doubt at a time when the mechanics of the job were a real mix of old school hand-painted art that arrived by post on giant boards, alongside new-fangled TIFFs, PDFs and who knows what other now-defunct file extensions.

It’s hard to say if Rolfe was around long enough to nurture nay top new art talents, but he surely was a mentor of sorts to one Simon ‘Pye’ Parr, who began life as the Production droid working with Rolfe, before taking over as Designer-in-charge.

'The Interrogation cube', a short-lived interview feature for the Megazine; designed by Rolfe

Rolfe's witty design touch helped fill the space around reprints of thrills from yesteryear
when the Prog was short and square.
A short entry this time, to celebrate one of the comic’s quietest contributors.

And no, I couldn’t find anything about him on the internet, either.

Rolfe also introduced the short-lived use of photo-credits for the editorial/design team.
While we’re on the subject of quiet but essential contributors, tip your hat to...

Hero No. 56 ½
Kathryn Symes

-credited as repro Droid on a vast stack of Progs and Megs (as per the credit box above!), but in recent years chiefly responsible for the awesome array of collections, reprints and such. Yes, that’s her photo up there next to Messrs Rolfe and Parr. I’ve no idea how many individual Progs/Megs she had a role in bringing to our eyes, but I’m guessing its lots across 13 years – especially on the Megazine front, as presumably she has a large hand in putting together the files for the reprints bagged with the Megazine, if not with the new material that is nowadays supplied in digital formats.

And talking of reprints, let’s also pause to salute...

Hero No. 56 ¾
Keith Richardson

-who apparently worked his way up over a decade ago from Ad-space droid to Head of Reprints/Collections. One gets the impression he’s also something of the office whipping-boy for the rest of the team, because there’s always got to be a Burt.

Robo-Keef touts his wares
(Photo from CBR)

I really don’t have anything sensible to say in celebration of these two veterans, except thanks for the hard work, and for putting so much effort into the increasingly bountiful and beautiful collections of the best comics ever.

Instead, I’ll provide a link to the Thrill-Cast episode from 25th November 2015, in which both Kat-Scan and Robo-Keef are interviewed.

And here's a CBR TV video of Keith and Matt Smith talking through some essential graphic novels. 

Now, where to fit in an entry for Molch-R..?

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