Friday, November 16, 2007

Mark Harrison

I first became aware of Mark Harrison’s work through the British sci-fi and fantasy weekly anthology comic 2000AD, specifically when he took over art duties on Dan Abnett’s re-imagined Durham Red strip. His blend of traditional art techniques and digital methods was a joy to below, expressing a level of detail not seen before, at the time.

I remember how I felt the first time I saw Mark’s work on Glimmer Rats, scripted by Gordon Rennie. This nightmarish sci-fi take on Platoon was made all the more disturbing by Mark’s intense visuals. Words such as blood-splattered and visceral just don’t go far enough to describe how the panels looked on the page and how, combined with Gordon’s words, they added a sinister depth to the growing sense of horror expressed throughout the series.

I heard Mark speak at a convention once about the lengthy process by which he realised his art. I was fascinated and over-awed at the same time. Here was a man who was passionate and dedicated about his work. To understand just how much he cared about getting it right and turning in his very best, you only have to read the relevant chapter in ‘Thrill-Power Overload’, David Bishop’s history of 2000AD.

Then came Abaddon books. For those who don’t know, Abaddon is an imprint owned by the company Rebellion who also just happen to own 2000AD. As soon as the new book lines were launched it was Mark’s images that were seen gracing the covers, helping to give them their own dynamic identity. Not long after I was welcomed into the fold and worked up the background setting for the Pax Britannia alternate-history-steampunk line of novels and started work on the first adventure in the series ‘Unnatural History’. And so I found myself working on a proposal for Mark Harrison to realise!

With both of my book covers for the series so far he really took the brief brief I provided and ran with it. His big gribbly monsters are fast becoming a trademark of the whole Pax Britannia series, what with the dinosaurs on the front of ‘Unnatural History’, the fantastic Nazi robot from Al Ewing’s ‘El Sombra’ and now the big beastie on the cover of ‘Leviathan Rising’. Have no fear, I have another suitably unpleasant monster in mind for Ulysses Quicksilver’s third outing and can’t wait to see what Mark will make of it.

Cover images of Abaddon Books novels are the property of Rebellion Ltd, and are used with permission. Copyright © Rebellion Ltd, 2007, all rights reserved.


Blogger Mataeus said...

Unnatural History - I love that cover The backdrop is amazing. I always enjoy looking at concept art for movies and games, and that's what this reminds me of - Someone running wil with the original idea. It's a great picture, would make an excellent framed work in my Living Room :)

November 16, 2007 at 1:34 PM  

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