Sunday, January 10, 2021

No. 141 Garry Leach

First Prog: 58
Final Prog
: 1449, but before that 558.

Megazine credit: 214 (inking), and two covers: 219 and 227

Total appearances: 61
-including his work as an inker, his illustrations for Slaine: Tomb of Terror, and a handful of star scans.

The cover to the Titan collection (Vol 2); looks just like a 50s SF novel cover
-only way better because there's COMICS inside!

Art credits:
Dan Dare
The VCs

Judge Dredd

Various one-offs

Notable character creations:

The 50 Foot Woman. I mean, once seen, you can’t unsee it…
Brother, the physical manifestation of the VCs shipboard computer

Brother Mark 1: looks like a clown but talks straight

Brother Mark II: looks and talks like a hippy.
Words by Steve MacManus - and one can't help but imgine this gag was inspired by the
'genuine people personalities' bit in the Hitch-Hiker's Guide.

Notable characteristics:
I’m going to say hyper-realism, but I don’t know if I’m using the word correctly. Certainly on a Garry Leach comic you know you’re going to get meticulously rendered illustrations of people, clothes, vehicles and, this being 2000AD, things that couldn’t possibly be real but LOOK real, y’know?

Looks like it's drawn from reference - but the only reference for this stuff is a person's imagination.
Words by Kelvin Gosnell

He's got a way of showing faces in mid-expression that is super intense. And definitely he's fond of well-defined cheekbones (aren't we all). I want to call his style Bolland-y, but he was playing his trade at basically the same time as Bolland – were they both influenced by someone else? And yes, he did ink/mimic Bolland himself on a handful of Dredds. 

Capturing a character in mid-expression, this is Leach all over.
Words by John Wagner


These are some delightfully well-posed people here. I kind of assume he used photos,
but the devil only knows he he took them!
Words by Gerry Finley-Day (or maybe Steve MacManus?)

Oh, and for some reason I’ve been struck by a handful of panels he drew of heroes running away from danger. I do love an artist who tackles a scene from a really weird angle…

MACH One, up your bum.
Words by Gary Rice

A spaceman is chased through the corridors of a spaceship - yup, it's the late 1970s alright.
Words by, no lie, Garry Leach.

On Garry:
Garry Leach feels like a classic 2000AD artist to me, only he never quite had a series or character to really call his own. But he’s someone who cropped up sporadically over the first, what, 600 Progs? He's worked as an inker as well as full artist, and even produced some superb full-painted work.


This cover is like a million miles the best thing about the 1987 Sci-Fi Special

His longest association was the VCs, where he tag-teamed with Cam Kennedy, and even wrote his own episode (published after the series finished as a Future Shock). But he’s actually done more Dredd overall. He was definitely part of the UK comics scene in the late 70s / early 80s, working on Warrior and that. I have to assume that he was, shall we say, not as quick as some artists, and that’s the main reason he mostly crops up on one-off episodes and in Annuals. Because, frankly, he classed up some stinkers of Annuals in the early days. When people talk of early 2000AD having a Metal Hurlant sensibility, it’s Leach’s work I immediately think of. It’s more prog-rock than punk-rock (no pun intended…), mind, but he really delivered on grown-up looking science fiction stories.


Insert 'Death Planet' joke here if you must - but based purely on this cover that story
is 100% a Heavy Metal comic!

Part of this association is also to do with the work Leach delivered: Dan Dare, the VCs, various Future Shocks – they’re all quite Space Opera-y; the kind of sci-fi that certain adults really latch onto with all seriousness - even if the versions Leach was working on were absolutely NOT to be taken too seriously!

Scary robot, mostly serious.
Words by Gary Cruden?

Nose-sucking plant - not serious.
Words by Kelvin Gosnell

Space soldiers on a jungle planet - serious
Words actually by Garry Leach

Planets turning out to be eggs - not so serious
Words by Alan Hebden

Toddler God on a rocking horse -
I guess this one's not remotely serious...
Words by Alan Moore

These one-off jobs aside, Leach had an occasional slot on the roster of Judge Dredd. His first job there was inking Brian Bolland, and then filling in for him on one episode of ‘The Day the Law Died’.

Leach inking Bolland
Words by John Wagner

Leach inking Leach
Words by John Wagner

Some years later he delivered a small number of one-offs, but they’re super memorable ones, basically because his art was exactly the right fit.


How do you mark a decade of Dredd? Have him kill an old perp in the least
subtle way possible!
Words by Wagner and Grant

Leach was part of some sort of collective of artists on early episodes of Oz.
His style is unmistakable here I rekcon! The hands, the face, the cheekbones - the pose itself...
Words by Wagner and Grant

His longest continuous run in the Prog is technically not on strip work at all, but delivering the incidental illustrations that came with You are Slaine in: the Tomb of Terror! that delightful experiment in solo-gaming.

I wonder if Leach also created the illuminated border, which is rather lovely.
Words by Pat Mills


Ukko's eyes are super-Leachy somehow.
Words by Pat Mills

A proper page of 'choose your own', complete with
small panels of bodily mayhem.
Words by Pat Mills

His meticulous style also graced some cracking front and back covers…


That's young Purity, from Nesmsis Book VIII

A propos of nothing in partiucalr, Leach delivered a series of Dark Judges star scans.
Mortis, of course, is the best.

Before Leach disappeared from the Prog, presumably to pastures greener. He did get lured back for a single inking job in the Prog and the Meg, and lush they were, too.

Inking on top of Rufus Dayglo's pencils;
Words by Al Ewing

  and a couple of covers:


A slightly more refined style than his early days, but still super slick!

Will he return one day? I guess it's possible.

More on Garry Leach:
These days, Leach is one half of Atomeka Press, publishing as well as making comics. There's an interview with his publishing partner, not the man himself, on Down the Tubes, in which you can see some pages from a recent graphic novel series Leach has been inking on about Cyberbullying. Interesting stuff, and he’s lost none of his touch.

Personal favourites:
The VCs
Judge Dredd:
Attack of the 50ft Woman, The Comeback
Future Shocks
: They Sweep the Spaceways, Scrambled Eggs

Yup, no un-seeing this piece of work. You'll be forgiven for not noticing the exquisite
details on the citizenry at the bottom of the page...
Context by John Wagner and Alan Grant

No comments:

Post a Comment