Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Spectre of SPECTRE

Last year I did something I called the 'James Bond Poster Project'. Inspired by Vintage Books' gorgeous covers (you really should judge these by their cover), I decided to do a poster for each James Bond movie I didn't do it to sell and make any money, I just did it because I love James Bond and drawing stuff. This was the result:

Lovely. But James Bond never rests, not even in bed, because he's too busy shagging the ladies. Later this year this 24th adventure, SPECTRE, is released, and more sheets will be creased. And ooh I am excited! So much so that I dusted off the Poster Project and designed a new one, based solely on the trailer. When I see the movie, I'll obviously design something else. For now though, this will do and satisfy the completist in me:

As with all the others, it's meant to be a stripped-down, uncomplicated representation of Bond's adventures. The trailer strongly implies that SPECTRE have been working in the shadows and controlling Bond's life for a long while - Christoph Waltz (surely Blofeld?) declares himself the author of all Bond's pain. So at top we have the SPECTRE (Specialist Executive for Counter-Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion, snazzy) logo, its tendrils turning into strings which control a puppet Bond, his own weapon turned against him, emphasising how apparently helpless Bond is in the face of a massive organisation, while also tangled up in it. 

It's a very clean, stylised culmination of what started out as Bond being caught in the tendrils of the SPECTRE symbol, an idea which I thought looked good, but couldn't make work without losing the design of the SPECTRE symbol, at which point it was in danger of looking more like Hokusai's 'The Dream of The Fisherman's Wife'. 

So it's okay. And that's okay, This is a temporary, a stop-gap, and after 06/11/15, I'll come up with something better. Until then, this is good enough. A spectre of the forthcoming SPECTRE. 

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

He Came At Her With An Axe

Occasionally I write a short story. This is one of them. 

He Came At Her With An Axe

Michigan, 1989

He came at her with an axe, so she shot him dead.

That was an hour ago. Now she sat on the kitchen floor, as far away from his body as she could position herself, and watched his corpse and wondered what to do next. The panic had subsided, the trembling had ceased. Now she was becoming methodical.

The gun had immediately been dropped in the empty sink. It had been the first time she had fired the damn thing. It had been loud – so damn loud – but there hadn't been as much blood as she's thought. Lot of spray on the walls, yes, but nothing that couldn't be wiped away. She'd clean soon, although she now realised that she should have done it straight away because blood was tough to shift when it dried. 'Coca-Cola works', Mom had told her once, but she didn't drink Coke. It tasted like robot piss.
She'd been quick to mop up what had pooled around his body. Fistfuls of kitchen paper towels, thick and glistening with red, were clumped together in a bucket by his body. A blood-stained pair of Marigolds hung over the tap. He'd stopped leaking now. She'd have to bleach the floor later and she hated the smell of bleach.

Could she go to the police? Would they believe her? Perhaps. Most of it would be truth. It had been self-defence. It had. She had invited him round. He'd had the axe hidden in the coat folded over his arm, and the bastard had only revealed it when the latch had clicked behind him and he was in the living room and being offered a drink. All that was true. Yes. Yeah she could tell them that. The living room would corroborate that. Now that the door had been hacked off its hinges she could see straight through to the splintered coffee table, and the stuffing and springs popping out of the couch. He'd swung wildly to scare her at first, reciting the Lord's Prayer as he smashed into the china hutch and the TV and the stereo. Fucking weirdo. The Lord's Prayer? She could tell the cops that too. Religious nutjob. She'd emphasise nutjob – 'Nut. Job' - and then be sure to point to the crucifix tangled round his neck. The first time she'd seen it was when she'd been clearing him up.

The gun. No. The gun. She couldn't account for the gun. They would charge her for possession and she'd be taken in. There'd be photos and statements and CCTV. No, she couldn't do that. She couldn't go to prison. She'd only bought the damn thing for this kind of home invasion shit that Patsy had told her about. She never thought she'd have to use it. Why would Patsy have one? No one would invade fucking Patsy and her cats. Now she could see the shell casing lying just under the refrigerator. Oh thanks, Patsy. 

No, she couldn't go the cops. There was a bucket of his soaked-up blood lying next to him and that wouldn't look good. She'd have to move him.


He was a tall guy and he looked heavy, and he would leak while she dragged him. More bleach. Where could she put him? The spare room? No. But...the chest freezer in the basement was big enough for him. She might have to snap some parts of him, but yeah...yeah he would fit. She had a good hammer. He'd break up easy. She'd bag all the food and put it in the garbage and then she'd wrap him in trash bags and drag him downstairs and break him up. She'd throw the gun under him too. She wished she'd never listened to Patsy. Fucking Patsy.

Jeez, but he looked heavy. She didn't know why she'd said yes to him in the first place. She wouldn't want that lurching up and down on her. But he'd been so charming, with his 'watching you for months, been dying to introduce myself' shit. Bastard. She should've read the signs. Mom had taught her how to spot the predators, but this flash prick with his coffee and his beard and his mountaineering stories and his hidden crucifix...he'd slipped under her sights. Well, fuck him and his 'art in Heaven' and his fucking carabiners. His axe was still under his hand. It looked like the kind of thing you stabbed at mountains. She'd use that to fit him in the freezer, better than a hammer, and then toss it in with him. Mountain fucker.

Now here was a list of things to do and she was happy. She realised how hungry she was. The dinner she had made for the two of them had burned and congealed in its pan on the stove. It smelled terrible and it still didn't cover up the smell of the blood. Hunger pulled at her stomach. Hunger like she had resisted for years now. She had been so good for so many years, but now that rich metallic stink was in her nostrils and she could feel her heart beating faster and faster...

She crawled forward and pulled the bucket of blood and kitchen paper close. She sat back and pushed her hand in – it all still felt so surprisingly soft and warm - and pulled out a hunk. It glistened in the kitchen lights. She held it there in her hands, feeling the wet and weight of it. Then slowly, gently, she pushed her lips against it and began to suck out the red. And when that wasn't enough she stuffed the kitchen towels in her mouth and ate them, blood and paper running down her throat as a pink mash. The endorphin rush hit her and she felt her fangs break through. Saliva dribbled down her chin. Her upper lip curved over her sharp new teeth in pleasure. She'd missed this. Oh sweet relief! She had been so good for so long and she had missed this. Fuck, it tasted good. It had been years and it tasted so fucking good. Her hands plunged into the bucket.

When she reached the bottom of the bucket her eyes lifted to his body. The blood had begun to crust on her lips. Her tongue flicked over it. Then she began to lick her hands clean. She'd drink the rest of him tomorrow, all of him. She would use that axe and snap him open and drink him down to his bones. She would drink him until his arteries popped, and when he was skin and marrow she would pack him in the freezer and she wouldn't feel guilty about it. No. She wouldn't feel guilty. Well, it was in self-defence. After all, he came at her with an axe.  

Friday, 29 August 2014

'Well it's about time...'

Been a while since I've done one of these holiday posters. To celebrate The Twelfth Doctor's arrival, I thought I'd do a new one. Welcome back, Doctor.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

And now for a very short story about Tortilla nothing much else

Once in a blue moon I put a very short story I have written on here, more to pad out what has become an occasional blog than anything else. It started with this one, The Clockwork HeartThis one is about tortilla, often known as 'Spanish Omelette' over here, and is for my good friend Chris. 


Cross-legged on the warm terracotta, Pablo and his father sat in the doorway of their home and ate the tortilla they had cooked together. Somewhere behind them, beyond the single wicker armchair and the table and the radio that crackled with sport from the city, the frying pan sputtered and cooled.

It was a simple meal and they ate with their hands. The thick wedges of tortilla were still hot. The bread was fresh and the olives bitter and salty. Pablo had already devoured the single slice of ham his father had cut for him. Both of them drank Rioja from glass tumblers, the young boy's being topped up with a good amount of water. The bottle and jug stood beside his father's empty work boots.

The short garden in front of them was parched yellow. Both father and son spat their olive stones into it, making silent competition of who could make furthest. The orange tree near the front gate had turned crooked and brittle two summers ago. An axe lay next to it in the scrub. Despite his talk Pablo's father had yet to chop it down. Pablo was sure it would make fruit again next summer. He spat an olive stone in its direction.

The sun was falling toward the horizon and everything was golden and shadow. The air was warm on their faces and sweet and dusty with a full day's work. In the valley below them a tractor moved along the dirt road between the vineyards green and golden. An occasional breeze wafted the smell of the vines and the soil up the hill and into the garden. The orange tree did not stir.

On the radio a cheer rose and dissolved into static. Pablo looked back into the empty house. The shutters were closed and it was cool and gloomy. His father topped up both their glasses with the Rioja.

'Miguel says this year will be a good harvest. We will have to work hard and work long hours. But this is a good reward.'

'The tortilla is good too,' Pablo said.

'The best tortilla is simple. It is onion and potato and egg. The widow Diaz puts peppers in hers but she is wrong,' Pablo's father picked up a triangle of the thick tortilla. Strong white teeth broke it. He caught a chunk of potato that fell toward his lap and popped it in his mouth.

Pablo watched his father and ate. His mouth was dry. He gulped at the wine and wiped his lips with his forearm as he had learned to imitate from his father.

'Your grandmother never put peppers in hers,' his father continued. 'My father and I liked that. People must always make things so complicated now. No respect for simple things. No appreciation.' He took a bite of tortilla and then wiped his fingers on his overalls. 'It is the simple things which are the best. Sun. Wine. Tortilla. These are the things people enjoy coming home to.'

He took a chunk of the bread and mopped up the oil from the tortilla on his plate. Pablo did as he did.

'Senor Alvaro says widow Diaz makes the best tortilla in the village.'

'Alvaro drinks too much. He thinks it is endearing,' Pablo's father chewed as he spoke. His mouth was thick with bread and oil. 'He'll eat anywhere he can. He hardly notices what he is eating. He is like a dog.'

'I think he was eating with Senorita Pilar last night. He woke me up with his singing.'

'Yes. Drunk. Fat and drunk. Your teacher should know better than to feed him.'

'He was not always drunk, was he papa? Senor Alvaro used to drink orange juice. I saw 

There was another cheer from the radio. This time Pablo did not look around.

'Eat,' his father said. With one of his great brown hands he placed another piece of the tortilla on his son's plate. 'And drink the wine, it is good. You are a growing boy. Grow up strong.'

'Like you father?'

Pablo's father spat an olive stone onto the prickly yellow grass and took a sip of his wine. He washed it around his mouth and swallowed. All the time he was gazing out at the vineyards on the hillsides and the tractor crawling away between the shadows. The sun was touching the highest undulations of the horizon now. Everything below the burning sky was dark and green. Hot and mysterious. High on the hill, father and son sat in the last of that day's light and witnessed the night creeping up behind them. Suddenly Pablo felt very far away from his father and it scared him.

'It is very good papa,' he announced in between bites. 'Much better than the widow's.'

The frying pan had cooled. The radio continued to play. The air was still warm. Pablo's father took another long draught on the Rioja. A little of it dripped from his bottom lip. He wiped it away with his forearm and looked down at the slices of onion and potato and egg. The light was fading fast around them now. His father's head remained bowed.

'I am sure your mother will come home. Soon she will', his father said. 'When we were first married she made the best tortilla.'

Monday, 19 May 2014

Read On...

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Friday, 16 May 2014

Monsters & Words

Earlier this year, before the Bond posters, I did a project called 'Monsters & Words', where I drew the silhouette of a famous monster/creature from 19th century fiction, and then stuck a choice quote from their novel next to them. It turned out quite well (as in, I actually sold a few without even really planning). They'll be going on sale individually to everyone later this year. For now, here's all 9 collected together. 

Top (left to right): Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein's Creature, The Invisible Man
Middle: Dracula, the Giant Poulp, Dorian Gray. 
Bottom: She, a Martian, a Morlock.