Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Another page of IRON

Here's page five of IRON.

I'm just trying to tell small human stories in an unusual setting, and I hope it's working.

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

IRON, and what I'm trying to do...

I thought I'd take some time to spell out some of my influences for IRON. I'm not sure how interesting it is, but I'm doing it anyway!

My influences for this are pretty varied, and include Frank Bellamy, Francis Prior, Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Dale Mettam, Dave Elliot and Valia Kapadai amongst many others.

Frank Bellamy really influences all my work, and I suspect all the work I shall ever do. A brilliant draughtsman and a wonderful storyteller, he's also the reason I draw. Through Dan Dare, Heros the Spartan, Thunderbirds and Garth, Bellamy drew real people in fantastical situations.

Francis Prior is an archaeologist, specialising in the Bronze Age, who is I suppose best known for his appearances on Time Team. I find his approach to looking at the ordinary people of history inspiring, and despite the shift in time period to the Dark Ages, IRON is heavily influenced by that desire to examine the ordinary wonders of the everyday in history. He used a fantastic phrase for the scatter of finds people come across while field-walking; "The background noise of history". That's really what IRON tries to be, the background noise of the big stories.

Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol were two of the leading lights in European New Wave cinema. Their revolutionary framing, pacing and storytelling transformed film making, and their influences are still felt today, in everything from blockbusters to art-house. I think it's interesting to look at their work through a sequential narrative lens, and try to take their lessons on board. That's certainly what I'm trying to do, but as to whether or not I have anything approaching the skill to so so, that's a different question.

Dale Mettam writes great stuff, is very funny and after briefly working with him on Jael has transformed how I look at comics, especially the writing. He's a nice chap too.

As is Dave Elliot, co-founder of Atomeka Press, head honcho, writer and editor on A1, and a ton of other stuff, including being heavily involved in deviantArt these days. When I was falling out of love with the medium his work rekindled it. He has been very kind about my doodling and, more importantly, knows who The Steel Claw was.

Valia Kapadai is perhaps the nicest person I know who draws comics. Annoyingly she's also perhaps the most talented. Seeing Valia's work always makes me burn with envy, and force myself to try harder and practice more!

There are a string of others: Marc Laming and his lovely linework, Gail Simone's wonderful work on Red Sonja, Ian Struckhoff for suggesting I draw his comics an age ago when I was more pants than now, The British Museum for having such great stuff to inspire and on and on.

I wanted to do something I'd be proud of, which is why I'm spending so much time drawing each page. It's only going to be a short strip - around six pages, so the same length as the previous two IRON stories, but at least it'll hopefully be something that's the best I can do at this time.

IRON page four

Here's another page of my new IRON strip.

Still putting the hours in on the drawing - the chain-mail, although time-consuming, is something I'm pretty pleased with. It's currently made up of 5 separate layers of tone, but I think it's working in that it gives it a feeling of real depth. Just wish it was faster.

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke

Saturday, 10 January 2015


Here's page three of the new story.

One of the things I'm trying to do is show the difference between the epic legend that grows up and is told in stories and the actual experience of the ordinary people involved.

Pilgrimage is a good example. We have our own preconceptions of what Pilgrims were and the harsh treks that were involved, but from first hand medieval reports it seems to have been more 18-30 holiday than religious trial. A young woman, pregnant outside of marriage was said to be 'on pilgrimage'. I think that language usage, combined with, say, Chaucer's tales give us a pretty clear idea of what went on.

In a lot of the books I've read, where the eminent archaeologist rattles on about strong community leaders bringing all the people together for a great spiritual effort to create the rampart / henge / mound what-have-you, I always think 'bollocks'. It's people. Our motivations are almost always sex and beer.

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke

Friday, 2 January 2015


I'm working up a new IRON short story, based around a simple journey. As in all of these, I just want to show ordinariness in an extraordinary time.

This time around I'm really trying to push the boat out somewhat with the art, and am spending considerably longer on it. Page two here took over three days I'm ashamed to say. Nevertheless, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and hope to keep at least this level going for the rest of it.

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke