Sunday, November 17, 2013

Meltdown Man sketch.

It's been a while since I posted on here, sorry. Mostly that is because the material I have been working on is either 'hush-hush' or not particularly interesting.

Anyway, here's a thing I did fairly recently. Done in a sketchbook that a guy is passing round to as many 2000AD artists past & present as he can. I was totally free to draw whoever I pleased from the 2000AD stable, which for me would normally mean Rogue Trooper, however, since there was already two scarily fantastic Rogue contributions from both Dave Gibbons & Colin Wilson (yes, really... sheesh) in there, I decided to spread my net wider. Dredd was considered, as was Johnny Alpha, Matt Tallon (from the original Mean Arena), Slaine & various others. But in the end I came down to this guy, Nick Stone, 'The Meltdown Man'. I'll not go into the details of the original story, but I remember enjoying it, it involved Nick Stone (an ex SAS trooper) in a kind of a 'man out of time, Planet Of The Apes' thing, with beautiful artwork by Bellardineli. I suspect that when he drew the strip he was given an early still of Kurt Russell in Escape From New York (which was more or less contemporary with the strip), since as you can see, the resemblance is striking. What occurred to me only recently is that many years after this strip, Bravo Two Zero veteran, Andy McNab,  took to writing novels about an ex SAS trooper called Nick Stone. Coincidence or homage, who knows.

Any way, here's the sketch, done with a fineliner pen, & a brush pen. Also, a still of Kurt Russell in the aforementioned flick, for those unfamiliar with it.

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Blogger Kid said...

Yup, I certainly see a resemblance. I wonder if 2000 A.D. deliberately changed eyes in regard to the patch, so that they could stave off any accusations of plagiarism, image-wise.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Staz Johnson said...

You know what Kid, I don't think they even bothered about that sort of thing back then. 2000AD simply wasn't seen as high profile enough to go noticed by movie producers looking for copyright infringements, it was just another 'boy's paper' on the news stands. I have heard all sorts of stories about writers seeing 'cool looking' images in newspapers & magazines & just cutting them out & sending them to the artist, this being seen as an easier form of communicating an idea with (what was often) a European non-English-speaking artist. John Wagner has gone on record as saying that Dredd initial image was based on David Carradine's character from Death Race 2000. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the photo Bellardineli got (if that IS what happened here) was a 'reversed' image making Snake look as if his eyepatch was over his right eye.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Kid said...

Very true, I suppose. Having said that 'though, Anthony Quinn objected to his likeness being used on the Aurora box art of their Hunchback model, resulting in the face being altered. However, M.A.C.H. 1 bore quite a resemblance to Lee Majors, so, as you say, IPC probably weren't bothered about things like that.

9:45 AM  
Blogger John Pitt said...

They certainly didn't care. It got even more blatant with Harry 20 on the high rock shouting, " I am not a number, I'm a free man! " on one cover!
Later on one Strontium Dog story "The Moses Incident " was practically " Pet Cemetary " whilst another was " Pale Rider "!
In spite of this, I LOVED the comic!!

1:52 PM  
Blogger Staz Johnson said...

I think this has to be seen in the context of the day. Certainly when 2000AD first started back in the mid-seventies, the newsagents racks were filled to brimming with a plethora of 'boys papers' from both IPC & DC Thompson, 2000AD was just one of those. I doubt that neither the editorial team or the management at IPC considered for a second that any of their comics would ever become the cultural icon that 'Toothy has now, as far as they were concerned these things were read by 8-13 year old boys, then by the following week they had been chucked, swapped or just forgotten about. These paper's got through a LOT of material, & no doubt the whole team working on them were constantly under pressure to come up with good ideas, hence 2000AD's predecessor 'ACTION' blatantly ripped off any number of popular movies (Jaws, Rollerball, The Marathon Man, Dirty Harry etc etc) & that was part of why as 10year old's we loved those stories, & I think that tradition of just 'getting good ideas quickly by 'borrowing' concepts from movies & books probably carried on for many years to come least into the early 80's when they ran stories which were a riff on 'Escape From Alcatraz' (Harry Twenty) & E.T.(Skizz). So a 'minor' infringement like borrowing an actor's likeness was almost certainly considered irrelevant, lets not forget, Meltdown Man (the story for which the Snake Plissken image may have been used) was basically a riff on Planet Of The Apes.

Bus as has been said, despite a few dodgy practices, 2000AD was BRILLIANT back then!

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking as an original reader, I think Meltdown Man was one of the best early 2000AD stories. It also owed a lot less to Planet of the Apes and more to Cordwainer Smith and H.G. Wells (The Island of Doctor Moreau). As for Escape from New York -- that came out in 1981; Nick Stone's adventures began in 1980. A great series.

9:21 PM  

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