Spilled Blood - video trailer

Monday, 11 February 2019

From desert plains I bring you love...

Meant to post this a few weekends ago, when I was idling and at a bit of a loss as regards coursework...so to keep my creative hand in, I found myself turning back to that genre I thought I'd binned a year ago: namely comix...and, the old Russian crime series, Spilled Blood, in particular.

Watching a couple of recent westerns this New Year somehow, in some strange way, got me inspired to develop a scenario I'd sketched previously, a point in some future (or alternative - e.g., a dream) timeline whereby the Uzbek and Sonya find themselves in the middle of the Uzbekistan desert, free and far from the reaches of Moscow, Putin and the law. It was one of those things that felt very cathartic at the time, as it was exactly what I felt like doing at that moment, and I was really happy with the results. The characters look like their old selves, and in terms of a rebirth for this series, when time and energy allow, it looks like it's back on the cards again, as this is now simply I want to tell, for myself if nobody else.

Page 1 (left) and page 2 of the 'Desert Plains' story

I had previously baulked at drawing horses in action in an earlier flashback sequence to Tamurlaine (issue #1) but this time around there was no excuse. I read up on horse anatomy and proportions and I reckon it wasn't too bad for a start - future practice will probably help.

The original inspiration for this story arc came from Hergé. and one of my favourite Tintin sequences - from The Crab with the Golden Claws - which I thought was very well recreated in the Spielberg movie. There's something about the empty vastness of a desert which opens great storytelling and character development possibilities...

Haddock and Tintin - less well-prepared for their trek than my duo...

Monday, 7 January 2019

Axe-Age, Cat-Age

Most writers and creators, I guess, have one or two of those 'pet' projects which they continue to nourish and dabble with over years or even decades of development, adding bits here and there until they either give up on it or finally see it through to fruition. Chaz is no exception, with this Dark Age/Old Norse fantasy cycle he began exactly 32 years ago! It features a rich world of monsters and myths, epic battles and heroes, informed by original sources such as extant Anglo-Saxon poetry (Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon) as well as the Norse sagas and mythological poetry.

Into this age of axes and wolves steps the most unlikely hero(ine) imaginable - a middle-aged, rather overweight member of Chaz's invented race of wee cat people, who makes her living by healing and reading palms. Womba doesn't even know which end of a sword to wave at a dragon, never mind how to deal with one when a real-life example burns her entire village to a cinder, leaving her as possibly the only survivor... thrown into a world of turmoil and clashing armies, vengeful gods, magic and glorious deeds, our feline heroine has to use all of her wisdom and cunning to even survive, never mind fulfill whatever strange destiny awaits her...

Womba reads a friend's hand
Womba portrait sketch
Finished lines of Womba in cave-home, holding healing herbs
In the past few weeks Chaz has gotten inspired to dig out all the fragments and scraps again, and knock together some brand new illustrations and sketchesin order to inspire a renaissance of this sometime project. Originally conceived as a mammoth volume prose epic, he's now binned that concept as unworkable and is now redrafting the whole thing in heroic blank verse, cutting the language down to its essentials and using the Old English forms of alliteration to add colour and imagery. Here's an excerpt from one of the early battles, which he rewrote as a bit of an experiment in this new form:

As a huge, klunky project in transition (yet again!) this'll take some time to bring up to scratch, but it'll be exciting to see how it proceeds...

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Welcome to 2019!

Whoops, so we kind of missed a year - thanks to being massively busy with classes during term time, and other things over the summer. Needless to say writing and comix haven't been big on the agenda lately, but Chaz is currently working on a couple of things which will soon see the light of day - some new cover art for at least one Fenriswulf title (and possibly a few interior illustrations, depending on time...) - and a very old, long-standing project which finally seems to have matured enough to become a serious going concern, namely an illustrated fantasy tale for older kids. More of that to come...

If there's anybody still out there who cares, stay tuned ;o)

Underground British Metal for Discerning Listeners

Underground British Metal for Discerning Listeners
Because Chaz is a fan of these guys and their music. Help support the British metal music scene!

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'Sword and the Ring' Book 1

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