Friday, June 5, 2015

No. 22 Henry Flint

First Prog: 889
Latest Prog: 1929; just finished on Judge Dredd: Enceladus. (And one hopes for more Dredd, more Zombo and ideally something completely new, too)

First Meg: 3.34 (or 138)
Latest Meg: 355 (and surely he’ll be back soon)

Total appearances: 359 and counting
-including 53 covers / star scans

Creator credits:
Sancho Panzer; Zombo, Shakara, Banzai Battalion, Low Life

Other art credits:
Judge Dredd – often called in to tackle the epic stories, from Total War to Day of Chaos
Nemesis the Warlock
ABC Warriors
Rogue Trooper / Venus Bluegenes (the Friday version)
A story or two each of Missionary Man, Sinister Dexter and Nikolai Dante
A small collection of one-offs, including a number of ‘alien invasion’ shorts that he scripted himself.

This character can't cope with the awesomeness of being drawn by Henry Flint.
Words by Pat Mills

Notable character creations:
Shakara – and a whole host of delightful alien beings, but the eyeball hovering above a spindly body is especially fondly regarded.
Dune sharks (wandering creatures in the Cursed Earth)
The Banzais
Aimee Nixon (hero turned villain – or is she? I’m a bit confused by her current status, to be honest. I’m assuming there’s a further part of the ‘Titan/Enceladus’ storyline to come. Or maybe I just need to read it again.)

Notable characteristics:
Being able to channel great artists of 2000AD’s heyday (from McMahon to Ezquerra to O’Neill); creating new characters and series for others to run with (The VCs reboot; Banzai Battalion, Low Life; movie Dredd as a strip); an enormous imagination; pouring crazy amounts of details into every panel; wild eyes.

Chief Judge Hershey is CROSS.
Words by Rob Williams.
On Henry:
Henry Flint is the real deal. Steeped in 2000AD history, birthed in madness. Flint’s skills famously allow him to combine a diverse range of legendary art droids, but really he’s always been his own thing, and has used so many different styles across a 20-year career for Tharg that I’ve lost count. And he’s managed to write a bit as well, following a comedy tradition in the vein of early Kevin O’Neill, to name one example.

Fr1day rolls into action, teeth gritted.
Words by Steve White
Flint burst into action with a stint on the Friday version of Rogue Trooper – specifically, when script duties were taken on by military jargon fan Steve White - and this incarnation became something of a pure action-stravaganza, with side-issues of continuity-bodging that are frankly best ignored. But the art was glorious! It was cartoony yet gritty. Zingy. Poppy. Chirpy. I’m reduced to onomatopoeia here. Which is telling, because you can’t hear art, but you sort of can hear it when Henry Flint is behind the pen.

Who else has drawn ALL the GIs? And made them look badass, too.
Words by Steve White
He took on a few Dredds pretty soon after that, and has in the fullness of time become someone that Tharg (maybe guided by John Wagner?) turns to for the big epic game-changing storylines, which is as good a way as any to notice that he is a most-favoured artist. A position he may have held surprisingly early on, given that he earned his own Judge Dredd poster-Prog very soon after he joined 2000AD, following on from long established greats Carlos Ezquerra, Colin MacNeil, Greg Staples and Cliff Robinson.

Since then, Flint has gone on to develop his style in all sorts of ways, but retaining some elusive Flint factor that means one instantly knows it’s him. But seriously, look how his styles have changed over the years…

Bare bones
Words by John Wagner

Words by John Wagner

Words by Pat Mills
Words by John Wagner

Words by John Wagner
Words by Matt Smith
I suspect that some readers back in the early days may not have been fans of Flint’s cartoony style, coming as it did in the middle of the fully painted, gosh, aren’t comics grown-up era. Sancho Panzer was perhaps an early victim of this problem. It was one of those strips that should have worked great on paper – Abnett on puns, Flint on massive tanks – but for whatever reason neither the writer or the artists quite pushed the strip beyond the level of ‘good enough’.

You'd think I'd show a panel from Sancho Panzer here, but I don't have any to hand.
But Preacher Cain hitching a ride on a Styracosaur makes much the same point.
Words by Gordon Rennie.
O'Neill turned up to 10...
If there was a turning point that brought everyone on side, it was surely when Flint was tapped to draw 9/10 episodes of Nemesis the Warlock Book X, doing his best to live up to Kevin O’Neill’s mighty legacy – and then outdoing the master himself on the following yeas’ Deadlock (which is basically Nemesis the Warlock Book XI).

Invoking the beauty of Kevin O'Neill, part 1
Words by Pat Mills

O'Neill turned up to 11...

Moving past O'Neill and just doin' the Flint do.
Words by Pat Mills

 This gave rise to Flint’s status as a full-on creator, setting up opening series for the new VCs and LowLife - and he was surely the right choice for this series that is all Dreddverse, but also has overt meta-ness that focusses on featuring protagonists that'd never be the lead in a movie ('ugly' men and women,obese people, the elderly, and tiny babies). Meanwhile lending his considerable imagination to a neverending stream of alien weirdness (and a touch of horror) with Shakara, and, later on, downright lunacy with Zombo. If I’m honest, I haven’t fallen for Zombo the way I did Shakara, but it’s a true treat for the eyes. Flint doesn’t always add his own colours, but when he does, as with Zombo, the detail is phenomenal. It's very much worth noting that Zombo was Flint's idea in the first place, especially the 'death planet' setting of the first book. It takes the mind of an Al Ewing to keep up with the Flint-y craziness of the concept, too.

One of many AMAZING but ultimately short-lived Shakara foes.
Words by Robbie Morrison

Zombo awakens...
Word by Al Ewing.

What do you call evil Zombo?
Words by Al Ewing

I guess one of the greatest achievements for a 2000 AD creator is to be fondly associated with a wide variety of series and creations. Flint is one of those hallowed few. He gets to draw key Judge Dredd episodes, have his own mini-comics in the Prog, and seems as likely to be seen reinventing an old favourite as he is diving headfirst into something completely new. 

Henry Flint – he’s here to stay, we love him, keep him in the Prog, Tharg!

Fiery Apocalyptic death during the Total War debacle - the first greast Mega-Epic of the new Millennium.

Personal favourites:
Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Aliens; Total War; The Gingerbread Man; The Cold Deck; Titan/Enceladus; Dead Zone
Shakara: artwise, all of it!
The VCs: Peace Day
Zombo: Book I; Planet Zombo (aka Book 4)

More on Henry Flint
He hasn't posted for quite a while, but Flint's blog is still online.
You could do a lot worse than buying a copy of his private jottings, too: Broadcast
A straight up text interview on Den of Geek
And a video interview from 22 Panels comic art show on YouTube
And a neat in-depth discussion of all things Zombo on Sequart, by the legendary* Colin Smith

But remember, when Googling Henry Flint, don't get him confused with US comics artist Flint Henry...

*If you like reading blogs about comics on the Internet, and especially about 2000 AD, it doesn't get much better (or longer) than Colin Smith

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