Friday, February 12, 2016

No. 60 Patrick Goddard

First Prog: 1220
Latest Prog: 1959 (with more Savage on the way soon!)

First Meg: 3.71 (aka 176)
Latest Meg: 341

Total appearances: 165 and counting
Dredd on bike - always a classic test
for an art droid.
Words by John Wagner

Art credits:
Mean Machine
Young Middenface
Judge Dredd
Grey Area
Sinister Dexter
Cadet Anderson
-but, curiously, not a single Future Shock or similar one-off.

Notable character creations:
He must have had a hand in designing the look of Wardog, although one suspects the basic character came first?
I don’t know my Savage well enough to be sure, but he probably designed the human face of Howard Quartz

H. Quartz by way of R. Branson
Satirical intent by P. Mills

Notable characteristics:
No nonsense action; deadpan humour; clear storytelling; crisp pencils; bodies in motion, especially as they fly through the air mid leap. Combining a real-world feel with future-tech fancy.

Johnny Woo takes a leaf out of film director John Woo's book by diving sideways and firing two guns at the same time.
Goddard has proved a master of the sideways gun dive.
Words by Gordon Rennie

On Patrick:
For a number of years, Goddard appeared as part of a double act with fellow Welsh artist Dylan Teague, who inked Goddard’s pencils. As I understand it, this was pure editorial suggestion, not that the pair were friends or co-workers as such. Anyway, safe to say that they fit well together, and Goddard/Teague art is notably lush and well-defined.

Graceful, flowing, ass-kicking action how you like it.
Inks by Dylan Teague; Words by Dan Abnett
Goddard has long since become his own inker, and jolly good at it, too. Although he has yet to set up a new series (Wardog aside, sort of*), he has become a regular fixture in the Prog since the early Rebellion days, most visibly as the man behind Savage. But he’s been a dependable go-to droid for Tharg, taking turns on recurring strips from Dredd to Middenface to Sinister Dexter, and growing in confidence with each new challenge.

His early stuff, even the generally derided Wardog, is laced with a sense of fun throughout. It’s not always easy to parse how much it’s the artist, how much the writer, and how much the nature of 2000AD itself – but early Goddard work often reads as both deadly serious and tongue-in-cheek at the same time. Classic 2000AD, in other words.

The story is something to do with humans fighting machines.
It doesn't entirely hold together but scene by scene it's pretty fun.
Words by Dan Abnett

 I mean, Abnett and Goddard must have been having a bit of laugh with the super Sci-Fi cliché-fest that is Wardog, right? But it does also work as a straight down the line DTV action film, in the vein of Circuitry Man II: Plughead Rewired.**

Young Middenface was much more deliberately a mixture of schoolboy hijinks and serious social commentary. You couldn’t really pick a more different artist than Goddard to follow up from work by John Ridgway, but he certainly nailed the same tone of genuine anger at prejudice alongside sniggering at a mutant with a penis for a nose. Very ably helped by Dylan Teague’s fluid inks, it must be said.

This scene could almost come straight out of the Dandy.
(apart form the penis-nose. Unless it was a Leo Baxendale strip)
Words by Alan Grant

This follow up is pure 2000AD, though.
Words by Alan Grant. And he means, them, too!

Getting picked to replace Charlie Adlard on Savage was surely a big deal for Goddard. He’s the only artist to work on it since then, and at this point it’s hard ot imagine someone else stepping in. Again, he’s a very different artist, but this time he really made the strip his own, pretty much right from the start. Goddard (now sans Teague) draws a properly mean-looking Savage. I don’t know how he does it, but with a simple crew-cut he’s been able to make his lead character always recognisable, no overt cartooning or hair curls necessary.

Goddard announces his intent to keep Savage to his roots.
Words by Pat Mills (and a special tip of the hat to his cocney-ization of 'Do svidanya')

Then there’s the tone. You’ve still got the OTT undercurrent of a stereotypical east Londoner offing Nazi/Commie*** stand-ins with a shotgun (and any other weapons that come to hand). But you’ve also got the genuinely serious politicking from Mills that Goddard conveys convincingly. His streets and houses and bombed-out estates feel lived-in. He makes it easy to put yourself in the mindset of living in a country that has been invaded, a place where there are collaborators and resistance fighters, and where everyone has to compromise their morals in some way.

A poignant flashback scene, calling to mind the likes of Carlos Pino, perhaps?
Context by Pat Mills

In more recent books, the Howard Quartz / Hammerstein robot subplot has pushed the street-level social commentary to one side, in favour of more Sci-Fi concepts like embracing AI and robot technology on the one hand (and I’m into this), as well as some rather heavy-handed ‘ooh, corporations and the bottom line are what really makes the world go round’ finger pointing.

This is a cover for Savage: angry man firing his shootah
This is not a cover for Ro-Busters or indeed ABC Warriors

Goddard carries on regardless, and his Blackblood-inspired robo-terrorist design is magnificent.

Storytelling, character design, tone and action all in one neat three-panel package.
Words by Pat Mills

2000AD remains, at heart, a hard Science Fiction comic. Although Goddard has proven his chops at the softer SF that is Savage, I suspect his heart lies more with the hard stuff. Witness his sterling work on Grey Area, with its mix of aliens and high-tech hardware. 

Now that's what I call an exo-skeleton
Words by Dan Abnett

Channelling the monster design and the suspenseful tone of Aliens. Immaculate posing.
Words by Dan Abnett

Not to mention his Dredds (and that one Chopper series). Goddard hasn’t been lucky enough to work on a true classic Dredd tale, but he’s got a real eye for Mega City 1, that mixes the police procedural concept with the need to throw in future-y stuff.

Alongside the kinetic action, Goddard does not shy away from realising assorted madcap citizenry.
Inks by Dylan Teague; Words by John Wagner

Procedural horror.
Pencils and inks by Goddard; Words by John Wagner
Talking of procedurals and future cities, Goddard is a rare artist whose had a go at Sinister Dexter both in the fairly early days, when it was all Downlode all the time, 

A page from Goddard's first publihsed work in the Prog
Inks by Lee Townsend; Words by Dan Abnett

And in the most recent outing to Generica (for some reason an entirely different planet; I'm not clear why it couldn't be the future America on the same Earth as future Downlode). I've deliberatley chosen to contrast two pretty similar scenes of Sinister adn Dexter chatting outside a car to show both how acconplished Goddard was right from the start, but also how much mroe confident he's become recently (it seems to me).

One of Goddard's most recent published pages. It's just delightfully easy to read,
not a million miles from European thriller comics like XIII.
Words by Dan Abnett

 And let's not forget just how diverse a range of strips Goddard has worked on. Aquila, set in ancient Rome and largely based around black magic and demons, couldn't be less like hard SF. Yet Goddard proved a perfect fit. Just as he did with contemporary war comic Savage, boy's own adventure Young Middenface, High-tech soap opera Grey Area and on and on.

Getting Roman soldiers right is an endless challenge, even in a fictional setting.
I always admire an artist who can construct a convincing crowd scene, too.
Words by Gordon Rennie

 Now that I'm thinking about it, there is one through-line to a lot of Goddard's work. He seems to have to draw a lot of scenes of hard men (and women) gearing up for some sort of conflict, but mostly talking to each other. The sort of scenes that fill most of the running time of action films between short set-pieces of explosive violence. (which he delivers every bit as well as you'd expect from any 2000AD stalwart). And you know, he really does a good job of keeping the  talking scenes dramatic. He gives good gruff, dependable deadpan, suitable snarls.

Keep on keeping on, Patrick Goddard! Stay savage.

More on Patrick Goddard:
He co-hosts on episode 11 of 'Everything Starts with 2000AD'  (a sadly-missed podcast!)
An interview on Judgment in Cardiff
An older print Q&A with Everything Comes Back to 2000AD


Personal favourites:
Aquila: Where all Roads Lead
Chopper: The Big Meg
Grey Area -technically five different stories, but basically one arc
Judge Dredd: The Edgar Case; Hong Tong, Invitation to a Hanging
Mean Machine: Butt me Deadly
Middenface McNulty: A Parcel of Rogues; Brigadoom
Savage: the art has been stellar all the way, but I especially liked Grinders
Sinsiter Dexter: Generican Dream: the Taking of the Michael
And he's done himself proud with an especially long piece of art - the spine image that will one day stretach across all 82 volumes of the Judge Dredd Mega Collection!

*Wardog was I think conceived as a computer game for Rebellion to develop, but tested out in the Megazine. How much of the design/story/charecterisation existed before Abnett, Goddard and Teague got involved, I have no idea.

**Sadly not nearly as much fun as the box art or title would suggest. But, like Wardog, it’s not terrible, either.

***The Volgans may have originally been intended as Soviet invaders, but the way they’re portrayed lately is surely more like the Nazi occupiers in WW2 France, wouldn’t you say? Not that they are given any ideology as such – they’re just running the country, and we the readers are supposed to hate them.

Always end on a joke.
Words by Dan Abnett

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