Monday, September 28, 2015

No. 47 Richard Elson

First Prog: 564
Latest Prog: 1909 – with more Kingdom to come, at the very least.

First Meg: 3.69 (aka 172)
Latest Meg: 242 (on the cover); on the inside 4.12 (aka 194) – a very long time ago, but no reason why he won’t appear in its pages again one day.

Total appearances: 197 and counting
-including a fair handful of colouring work on top of other artists.

Creator credits:
Shadows; Roadkill; Atavar; A.H.A.B.; The Scrap; Kingdom; Marauder; Go Machine  

Atavar tries on a new suit.
Words by Dan Abnett

Other art credits:
Judge Dredd
Tyranny Rex
Maniac 5
Rogue Trooper
A handful of Future Shocks

Notable character creations:
It’s hard to look past the awesomeness of Gene the Hackman, but before that there was:
The unnamed Atavar and the various alien / AI creatures he encountered
Captain Ahab and his space whale (obviously the ‘character’ is Herman Melville’s really, but Elson did a bang-up job of designing this Space Opera variant!)
The Lawlords, sometime enemies of Judge Dredd

Notable characteristics:
Fun; bright colours; snarls; action, action, action; looks of stark terror.

On Richard:
Richard Elson got his start with 2000 AD rather a long time ago, in the usual way, with a handful of Future Shocks and then a one-off series, Shadows. In some ways his art was a little rough around the edges, but I rather liked it, it was a pretty neat contrast to some of the other artists of the day (coughSimonBisleycough), not least the vibrant colours (some of which were produced by Elson himself, but also Tim Perkins). He had some crazy hairstyles going.

The Shadows of the title are the underclass - people living in slums, basically.
Words by Peter Milligan

Definite Matrix vibe going on (some 10 years before the movei, mind!)
Words by Peter Milligan
I didn’t notice it at the time, but I get the distinct impression now that he was following hard in the footsteps of art legend Brendan McCarthy. Check out these two Elson star scans, one from his early days…
It's all about the slope of the helmet

and one from more recently, celebrating a Dredd episode that you’d have to say Elson chose to draw, rather than being commissioned.* 
Some classic snarling and grimacing going on, too.

For who knows what reasons (although working on Sonic the Comic was presumably one big reason), Elson hardly appeared in the Prog again, until one day he was back, and from then his star has risen and risen and risen. He tackled a handful of Dredds in the Megazine, and honestly, he’s such a good fit for the world of Mega City 1 that I don’t quite understand why he hasn’t done more. He even got to design the Lawlords, villains who are, arguably, an alternate take on Judge Death. Where Death is about pushing Dredd’s resort to killing to an (il)logical extreme, the Lawlords show what would happen if you pushed Dredd’s steadfast obsession with upholding the law to an (il)logical extreme.

Big chin, bigger chin
Words by John Wagner
From that point, Elson got more and more steady work, much of it on a rather particular theme. He’s the go-to man for ‘everything’s going/gone to hell’ future society stories. I wouldn’t entirely call them dystopias, it’s less ideological than that word implies. The Scrap, the most overtly dystopian, isn’t at all like Shadows, but nonetheless feels a lot like that earlier series. Both have female protagonists who struggle against what they learn to be an oppressive regime that specifically holds back the poor. And both have an atmosphere of drudgery (although The Scrap is entirely grey, where Shadows was cyber-psyche-delic-tastic.)

In the Scrap, the hero is a law officer working to help keep the underclass down. For a time.

Roadkill, again entirely different, has the air of ‘oh shit, things are about to get a bit tricky…’, with its tale of a man pursued by his own Googledrive car. Elson’s first collaboration with writer Dan Abnett, it’s very clearly about the inexorable death of life as we know it. The first step on a long journey that eventually ends with the world of Atavar, perhaps?

Killer cars on the loose
Words by Dan Abnett
Atavar, set in the far, far, far, future, follows the story of the last human, a man who fell asleep one day, then woke in deep space surrounded by mysterious enemies, and sometimes allies. Across three series, our hero jumps forward in time, with occasional changes in who is meant to be good, and who bad. In all honesty, I enjoyed Elson’s designs and action sequences more than Abnett’s writing. In between bouts of Atavar, Elson delievered a vaguely similar-looking variation on Moby Dick, with a script by Nigel Kitching. A.H.A.B., as it was called, worked perfectly well but hasn;t gone down in 2000AD history. Some lovely character designs by Elson, mind.

Fear. Elson is very good at fear.
Words by Dan Abnett
Atavar gets gory for Book III

The evil/obsesed captain from A.H.A.B. linked his soul with a robot / alien exo-suit.

How do you call back to Moby Dick but also stamp your own take on it? Here's how.
Words by Nigel Kitching

Back on Earth, also in the far future, humans are guarded by packs of genetically modified dogs, their DNA spliced with Hollywood actors (OK not really), in the world of Kingdom.** I think by the time Kingdom first appeared people already knew, trusted and liked Elson’s work, but he hadn’t yet had a full-on hit series. I don’t think he, Abnett or Tharg himself knew what a hit Kingdom would be, but it really works. I do think a large part of it is the vibrant colours, the still-uncommon setting of a gritty action thriller in a world marked by verdant greens, deep blue skies, and occasional flourishes of pink and purple.

Words by Dan Abnett

Also, with the Dog-Man Gene Hackman, Elson is regularly able to pull out his signature trick of having characters whip around, quick as a flash, to fight off enemies on all sides. Frantic and frenetic stuff.

Figting the fighty fights.
Words by Dan Abnett

When a character in an Elson strip turns around, you know there's trouble ahead.
Technically, he's breaking some unwritten comics rules,too. Works though, don't it?
Words by Dan Abnett
In a complete change of tack, Elson teamed up with writer Robbie Morrison, and brought out a very new art style to match for the series Marauder. It’s the follow-up to an old Dredd story they’d created together, in which a young boy enrols as a Judge. Marauder shows what happens when the same boy, now a late teen, drops out of the Academy of Law and becomes a vigilante. Elson’s tone here is largely the same as before, but his lines have a scratchier feel. I believe he explained in an interview that he was teaching himself to draw digitally.

In this story, the Judges are most definitely the bad guys (among others)
Words by Robbie Morrison

Thematically, the scratchier style works perfectly. Out of costume, our hero is more vulnerable. In costume, his extra sinister. As far as the story goes, it’s not something that could come back (I don’t imagine), but I wouldn’t mind if it did!
Marauder's vigilante suit is pretty sweet.
Words by Robbie Morrison

Spare a final thought for Go Machine, a 3riller before Tharg had invented the concept.*** It’s about a cyborg who fights other cyborgs with a backdrop of corporate and legal shenanigans. It also shows off various of Elson’s skills: character creation, simple world-building, blood-spattered fights, and human emotion.

Metal fist on fleshy face.
Words by Al Ewing

More on Richard Elson:
A brief profile of his professioanl work, taken from the Birmignham Comic Festival earlier this year.
You can read about his time on Sonic the Comic here.
A very short review of Kingdom from a fan here, notable for the assertion that the series is the best kick in the head since Big Dave..?!

Personal favourites:
Judge Dredd: Word of the Law; Lawcon; The Incident; Ownership
The Scrap
Go Machine
Kingdom (all of it, obvs)

*No offence to Oz, one of the better Dredd Mega epics, but the Judda storyline isn’t in my top 20 Dredd-based moments in Thrill-Power, let alone moments from 2000AD overall.

**As far as I know, there is absolutely no connection between the universes of Atavar and Kingdom. They’re both just futurey post-post-apocalypticy slices of fun.

***Which is to say, it’s a three-part Future Shock designed to show-off the talents of an up-and-coming writer, in this case one Al Ewing.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

No. 46 Si Spurrier

First Prog: 1232
Latest Prog: 1812 – quite a while ago now, but I can’t believe he won’t be back some day.

First Meg: 3.46
Latest Meg: 324 – again, surely he’ll be back one day, when he runs out of X-Men tales to tell for Marvel.

Total appearances: 199
- not including his long-running and very entertaining series of articles about film and popular culture that ran in the Megazine some years back. But it is including the episodes of Metro Dredd he wrote that were reprinted in the Megazine.

Creator credits:
The Scrap; Bec and Kawl; From Grace; London Falling; The Simping Detective; Lobster Random; The Vort*; Harry Kipling (Deceased); Chiaroscuro; Numbercruncher

Lobster Random's very name betrays the essence of Spurier's work.
Art by Carl Critchlow

Other writing credits:
Judge Dredd
Zancudo – technically a spin-off from Ant Wars but arguably its own thing
The Angel Gang
Fink Angel
Plenty of Future Shocks and other one-offs

Notable character creations:
Becky Miller and Jarrod Kawl
Jack Point
Miss Ann Thropé
Lobster Random

Notable characteristics:
Complex plots; complex language; outrageous ideas; film and TV references; trying to be clever; actually being clever; trying to be funny, and succeeding more often than not. First person narration.

Spurrier's writing style emerged fully-formed.
Art by Nigel Raynor

He can do wordless action scenes, too!
Art by Peter Doherty
On Simon:
Simon ‘Si’ ‘El Spurioso’ Spurrier was by no means the first fan-turned-creator to work for 2000AD, but circumstances have perhaps rendered him the most visible fan-turned-pro in the comic’s history. As far as I can tell, pretty much every new writer and artist who started on 2000 AD since the early 1980s was something of a fan. I mean, who wouldn’t be***? And let’s not forget that if you wanted to work in comics in the UK any time after about 1986 there was really only one mainstream option.

What marks out Mr Spurrier is a) he was a pretty high-profile letter writer for a period, penning poetry and many a paean to the thrills of the day in the Nerve Centre; b) he won the first ever pitchfest – a competition in which hopeful writers pitched their best Future Shock idea to a room full of 2000 AD convention goers. The winner was selected by audience vote, and would see their story published (with a certain amount of editorial caressing, one assumes).****

Maliss from The Scrap acts out the emotions Spurrier may have felt during Pitchfest
Art by Richard Elson

He had, unsurprisingly, actually sent in plenty of scripts to Tharg before this point, presumably meeting with his share of rejection, so it’s doubly unfair to accuse him of getting a writing gig out of nowhere - but one fears this reputation may ever follow him around, at least in 2000AD circles of a certain vintage.

Leaving that aside, it’s noteworthy how rapidly Spurrier rose from an occasional Future Shocks writer to a regular scribe of short one-off series (The Scrap, From Grace) to someone with a bunch of recurring series (Bec and Kawl; Lobster Random etc.) Within a few years, he was practically writing half the Prog some weeks, and some of the best bits of the Meg as well. Talented bastard.

Kipling on overdrive
Art by Boo Cook

While he does have some very apparent stylistic tics and tricks, it’s impressive how Spurrier puts them to use on stories that couldn’t be more different from each other in tone and subject matter. As is typical, he’s generally had more success with the serious stories, but he’s also had the bottle to tackle out and out comedy head on more than once, in one notable case scoring a huge hit.

Let’s get down into the details, eh?

Spurrier likes his characters to have ADHD
Art by Gary Crutchley (I think)
After a few typically imaginative, irreverent and verbose Future Shocks, he was thrown in the deep end with not just an out and out comedy series – always risky, always difficult – but with a series that specifically called to mind one of 2000 AD’s most beloved comedies, DR & Quinch. The only similarity really is that both feature jokes and students, but it’s enough. In fact, Bec and Kawl was arguably more similar to then-current TV show Spaced, another dangerously well-liked thing to be compared to. Early episodes laboured ‘students are lazy’ stereotypes...

Trying too hard
Art by Steve Roberts
  along with as obvious as possible Sci-Fi references, but it was passable enough*****. 

Not just invoking a plot point from Ghostbusters, making sure we know that's exactly what's happening.
Art by Steve Roberts

Later episodes were actually pretty clever and funny (aided by artists Steve Roberts, who was learning on the job every bit as visibly as Spurrier).

As if in response, he lurched the other way entirely into a sombre Dark Future short story, The Scrap. It’s also, I think, one of his first forays into experimental writing styles. For a five-episode thrill, it doesn’t half jump about in time, in narration, and generally in what the status quo is with each new episode. In short, it’s kind of hard work to read – but rather impressive if you put the effort in.

A typically frantic mixture of action and exposition
Art by Richard Elson

An equally typical bit of semi-exposition. Note the hand placement  lead character Maliss is now pregnant.
This is significant! Spurrier will not hold your hand.
Art by Richard Elson

Channelling lessons learned from both stories led to Lobster Random, one of Spurrier’s more enduring creations. God it’s a weird series to describe. In a sentence: an aged war veteran with brain surgery and giant lobster claws uses his skills as a torturer to help villains get money/revenge/whatever, while all he wants for himself is a) not to die and b) to have mecha-sex with robots of various vintages. Oh, and each story is designed to bring on as many weird-looking / sounding characters as possible, all tied up in plots of farce-level complexity. 

Ah, you gotta love a narrator who comments on his own narration.
Art by Carl Critchlow
At times it’s a bit too much itself for its own good, but it’s also an incredibly 2000ADish series, and I’ll love it for that forever.

From this point, Spurrier split his efforts pretty seamlessly between the Prog and the Meg, delivering a mixture of all-in-one, usually fairly serious horror stories, alongside lunatic short recurring stories featuring the most outrageous, yet readable characters he could muster.

This is about as close as you'll get to a simple depiction of what Harry Kipling is all about.
Art by Boo Cook

Colonial-Brit-throwback-zombie-Godkiller Harry Kipling tried very hard but didn’t quite connect. Noir-movie-throwback-undercover-Judge-clown-faced-PI the Simping Detective tried equally hard and landed with a bang. Lead character Jack Point been gone for years before resurfacing to help out with Trifecta, but seeing him again was like welcoming back on old friend. Being a Dreddworld strip, Spurrier was free to make use of various floating characters, notably an alien Raptaur, rival PI DeMarco, and her ape assistant Travis Perkins.

Jack Point only narrates in white on black.
Art by Frazer Irving
Spurrier does an excellent job of keeping the same routines fresh.
Art by Simon Coleby

If there’s one thing I haven’t brought up yet it’s how well-suited each of Spurrier’s collaborators were on all these outlandish forays, all the way back to Steve Roberts on Bec & Kawl. The likes of Carl Critchlow, Boo Cook and Frazer Irving have a very personal and distinctive tone and style, which matches Spurrier’s equally distinctive voice as a writer. The key note being ‘as weird as possible, but always trying to make sure that the weird suits the story, rather than being weird for its own sake’.

Somehow, even the way Spurrier chooses to mimic different genre narration styles ends up being a style in itself. Compare the Chandlerisms of Simping Detective with the world-weary crabbiness of Lobster Random. Maybe it’s all the made up gobbledyslang that he enjoys, throwing half-words together with non-words that echoes John Smith without the reach for poetry.

Even the brutal first-person perspectives of the villainous protagonists of From Grace and London Falling had a way of talking/narrating that felt like Spurrier’s voice, as channelled through vastly different characters. I mean, you can’t get more different than a mass murdered and a family man. Both stories are well worth another look if you haven’t read them in a while. Behind all the stylistic stuff lie two pretty stripped down stories about character, and what drives people to do the things they do (with violence).

London gangsters re-imagined as legendary monsters
Art by Lee Garbett

Spurrier's philosophical side: an exploration of what it means to be evil.
Art by Frazer Irving
Which leads me to my all-time favourite Spurrier tale, Chiaroscuro. I think what marks it out is his refusal to hide behind outlandish settings and characters, choosing a real-world and potentially autobiographical tone instead. I mean, I don’t think it relates to incidents from Spurrier’s life specifically, but he is a self-confessed film geek, and I wouldn’t put it past him to be a gorehound. Ostensibly a thriller about a film fan searching for a haunted film, the story ably explores themes of obsession, and minutiae of mondo movies, and dives into ‘real’ pre-Romero zombies in a way that few others ever do.******

Ever seen Faces of Death?
Art by Cam Smith aka Smudge

You know, the ones born of Voodoo
Art by Smudge aka Cam Smith
 Meanwhile, back in the Megazine, Spurrier turned his hand to Judge Dredd himself, but more memorably to some old supporting characters, the Angel Gang. I think by this point it was obvious that he’d be a good fit for the characters – a motley collection of redneck weirdoes who love torture, and speak with their own particular brogue. All they really needed was someone to give them a bit of plot to hang off, and Spurrier has no trouble teasing out plot.

A journalist tagging along with the Angel Gang? What could possibly go wrong?
Art by Steve Roberts

Don't eat that burger, Elvis!
Art by Steve Roberts
I find plotting in comics to be something that 2000 AD has always done rather well, in a way that superhero comics seem to have given up on. Spurrier especially seems to enjoy finding ways to have characters solve super-convoluted problems in ways that readers just can’t guess. His most recent series, not commissioned by Tharg but printed in the Meg, is the apotheosis of this. Numbercruncher has great characters in it, but it’s driven by an incredibly clever bit of worldbuilding, rule setting and plot machination. How can a dead person escape from the afterlife to reunite with his true love? Spurrier can show you one way – and while it does involve the power of love, it’s so much more intricate than that.

Maths and violence
Art by PJ Holden

We miss you, Si Spurrier. Don’t you go changing.

You'll never have enough of weird.
Art by D'Israeli

More on Si Spurrier:
The man's own Blog
A fun general interview about Story on Comics Bulletin
A radio interview with Alex Fitch (not Frith) of Panel Borders that covers his 2000 AD career.

Personal favourites:
Art by Carl Critchlow
The Scrap
Bec and Kawl: Attack of the Cones; Freakshow (sadly his scripts only got good in time for this series to end)
The Simping Detective
Lobster Random (If you like one story, you’ll like the lot I reckon)
The Angel Gang: before they wuz Dead
Fink Angel: Pizen impossible

*Sssh! Don’t tell anyone!

**Sssh again!

***Mark Millar is one exception, who has been pretty open about the fact that he was a long-term fan of American superhero comics, and didn’t read 2000 AD. I’m sure this is true of some other creators, but I expect most of them grew up reading (and loving) 2000 AD.

****I went to DreddCon 3 (I think) and bottled out of entering the pitchfest. I didn’t see Si Spurrier, but I did see (and indeed vote for) Arthur Wyatt - another who has gone on to become a regular writer for Tharg. These days, budding artists can go through a similar ordeal at Thought Bubble if they dare.

*****It’s hard to put my finger on why, but the latest iteration of this type of strip, Survival Geeks, seems to work a lot better.

******For the sake of showing off my own film-geek cred, I’m going to use this final footnote to recommend some hidden gems for readers who liked Chiaroscuro and wanted to see some films that explore similar themes: The Serpent & the Rainbow; Cannibal Holocaust; Cigarette Burns and most especially Tésis. And, for a palate cleanser, maybe Evil Ed.

Friday, September 11, 2015

No. 45 Tom Tully RIP

First Prog: 1
Final Prog: 283

Total appearances: 218
-including his work for Tornado, and the final run on Mean Arena. These were credited in the Progs to ‘A. Ridgeway’, but this is very likely Tully himself, under a pseudonym or in collaboration.

Creator credits:
Inferno*; The Mind of Wolfie Smith; The Mean Arena

Other writing credits:
Harlem Heroes
Judge Dredd
Dan Dare

Notable character creations:

Wolfie Smith
Matt Tallon
Artie Gruber
The Harlem Hellcats (but not, I think, the Harlem Heroes?**)

Notable characteristics:
Sports stories that riff on the film Rollerball – you know, where the main character is the absolute best at his chosen sport, but his manager is more or less openly trying to kill him because he won’t shut up and play ball.
Also characters motivated by greed, revenge and other base instincts. With snappy banter to go with it.
Eeeeeevil villains, who are often also ugly.

Mr Chubb and Mr Torso. Don't trust these guys.
Art by Massimo Belardinelli

Definitely don't trust this guy. And he's not even the main villain!
Art by Jesus Redondo

And death. Lots and lots of death.

So much death that a) it nearly got 2000 AD cancelled on teh grounds of excessive violence, and b) Tharg couldn't even find room to squeeze it all into the page count.
Art by Massimo Belardinelli
On Tom:
Tully was a regular writer for the IPC stable of comics. According to Thrill Power Overload***, he had a reputation for being somewhat cynical about spinning stories out for as long as possible, on the grounds that he got paid per episode, not per storyline. As a result, over 280 Progs he was one of the most prolific of all writers, although only on a handful of stories.

For whatever reason, he was the go-to man for sports stories. This started with Harlem Heroes, a series that morphed into Inferno. Same main cast of characters, same basic thrust, but in many ways feels like a very different beast.

Obviously the most noticeable difference comes from the artists involved. Heroes had Dave Gibbons, who focussed a lot of attention on large close ups of graceful humans swooping through the air, punching, kicking and occasionally throwing a ball into an impossibly small goal. Many of the players were hidden underneath crazy costumes, but it was very much a celebration of the human form.  

All art by Dave Gibbons
Inferno, by contrast, was at ground level and involved motorcycles, fire, spikes, and weird semi-human characters rendered by the lunatic whirl of Massimo Berlardinelli.

Don't expect subtlety...
Art by Massimo Belardinelli
My dim memories of the two series also suggest that Harlem Heroes was generally more focussed on game mechanics and actual games, while Inferno had much more behind the scenes shenanigans. I could be wrong, though. What both stories definitely had was a noble, manly hero who butted heads with ignoble, slimy corporate villains – who were supposed to be on the same side. 

Fighting with opponents before the game
Art by Dave Gibbons

Fighting with thr management after the game
Art by Dave Gibbons

They also had, I think, a cast of distinct characters who traded sharp words as often as blows in a way that was always entertaining. Sure, there were clichés aplenty, from the young hothead to the cool-headed old hand, but there was also a brain in a robot body and a sort-of Neanderthal. Oh, and a motorcycle chick who turned out to be a robot.

Best sexy/scary robot/lady ever
Art by Massimo Belradinelli

Tully sustained all this for 76 episodes in a row – and even the then, the final episodes were a mad rush to just get the story done.

For his next trick, he took Dan Dare off his spaceship and into a full-on space opera with alien princesses, a golden laser-glove, high treason, and behind it all, the Mekon in cackling villain mode. This time, the story was left hanging to the consternation of some, but perhaps not many.

'Dan Dare: Servant of Evil' in a nutshell
Art by Dave Gibbons

 Personally, I much preferred Tully’s original creation, the Mind of Wolfie Smith. I’ve not read much of his first outing in Tornado, but the idea is that he’s a ‘normal’ teenage boy with all manner of psychic powers. For Tully, ‘normal’ means somewhat underprivileged and unloved, large chips on his shoulder about society at large, and generally being utterly selfish. Wolfie Smith is a fantastic character. I say this in all seriousness. He’s such a dick, and he’s got sort of limitless power but no imagination about how to use it beyond stumbling into weird adventures.

Suprisingly, Wolfie Smith has no friends
Art by Ian Gibson

Wolfie doesn't even want friends - he just wants female attention
Art by Jesus Redondo

Wolfie will do pretty much anything for money.
Art by Vanyo

The strip itself become something of a joke for Tharg, and the actual stories weren’t always great, although who doesn’t love a bit of Jesus Redondo art? I think he’s a character who could come up trumps with a reboot, although the late 70s setting helps and that might be a weird fit for a Sci Fi comic in 2015.

Plenty of action when Wolfie Smith's around.
Art by Jesus Redondo
Tully shifted back to sports for his final and most epic saga, the Mean Arena. Protagonist Matt Tallon, another sports superstar, was more in the vein of Wolfie Smith than John ‘Giant’ Clay. Which is to say, he was a massive dick with a chip on his shoulder. Also, he was the world’s weakest cyborg.

Somewhere, Tanner from Night Zero is laughing.
Art by John Richardson

Stories revolved around the essentially ridiculous game of Street Football, which is kind of a mildly futuristic version of the medieval version of football, and would actually make for a pretty neat movie or even TV series I reckon. And, apparently, the story was very closely copied from a novel called KillerBowl, by Gary Wolf. The mild futurism comes in the form of androids and psychics, as well as invasive commentators and other reality TV style shenanigans. But the game play is essentially: run with the ball and throw it into the opposing team’s goal. 

Along the wasy, you kick your opponents in thechest
Art by Eric Bradbury

If Tully had lived in the era of predictive text, his computer would've had
'Panel x: Tallon kicks the ball into the goal' at the top of the list.
Art by Mike White

But the main thrust was Tallon’s quest for revenge against people who killed his brother and generally made his life miserable. Tallon’s antagonistic relationship with his teammates was generally fun, but the series did get stale as the premise proved not to be strong enough to stretch to nearly 100 episodes.

Tully's characters generally don't go in for caring.
Art by John Richardson

Local Annie is every bit as hard-edged as Matt Tallon
Art by Steve Dillon

And that was it. Tully was dispatched, never to be summoned by Tharg again. A handful of future sports stories have appeared here and there (Mean Team book 1: excellent; Second City Blues: a noble failure) – is it time to try again?

That's a lot of gravestones right there. Maybe if Inferno was sold as a slasher film, it'd've been more poular?
Art by Massimo Belardinelli

More on Tom Tully
There’s an interview here that covers his Roy of the Rovers work, although it isn’t actually Tom Tully in the interview!
Scoring goals is always delightful
Art by Dave Gibbons
-sadly he seems to be otherwise neglected.
His short bio on the British Comics Wikia is worth a glance.
It suggests that reports of his death have been exaggerated in the past - but Mike Molcher recently referred to it on a 2000AD forum post so I'm going to say I believe it.

Personal favourites:
The Mind of Wolfie Smith: The Evil of Matthew Hobb; Book 2 (following Barney’s naming)
Mean Arena: most of The Southampton Sharks, aka Book 1; The Jensens

*technically a continuation of Harlem Heroes, but it feels more like a spin-off; essentially a new series with some of the same characters as the old series. I guess Pat Mills or, more likely, Kelvin Gosnell had a hand in some of the details, but let's credit Tully, eh?

**It's not clear whether Pat Mills actually invented the basic plot and original cast, and then gave it to Tully to script the stories, or if he just asked Tully to do a future sports story with unspecified Harlem Globetrotter analgoues. Tully did sterling work with the characters either way.

***I haven’t mentioned this book for ages. Once again, I urge you to get hold of a copy!