Saturday, 8 March 2008

Rok Comics Creators: Mychailo Kazybrid

Mychailo Kazybrid has been involved in the cartoon/comic book industry since 1975, mainly producing artwork on various licensed characters, plus promotional cartoons. His strips include Comic Cuts, (for Comics International), The Tick, Wallace & Gromit, Shaun The Sheep, Rattus Holmes (UN comic strip), Aachan Solvitz (a DVD series for World Vision), Do-Do Man (self-published and now running on ROK Comics), Count Duckula, Dangermouse, The Bash Street Kids, Dennis and Matt & the Cat, to name but a few. He has also produced cartoons for broadcast television.

Questions compiled by David Hailwood

How did you discover Rok Comics?

Good ol' Mike Conroy, editor of Comics International, passed on the information.

How do you feel about Digital comics over Print based comics?

I firmly believe that there's room for both.

What's your greatest achievement in the comics field?

Whilst I'd like to think that I've not got to that point yet, I've worked on a number of strips that each in their own way have offered a sense of achievement. (Dear God, that was a good answer, if I may say so myself!)

What projects (both Rok Comics and non Rok Comics related) are you working on at the moment?

On Rok Comics, I'm really enjoying putting together the Do-Do Man strips. As for other work, one of my projects involves the second book on a character, Rattus Holmes. These are being produced for the UN.

What advice would you offer to new cartoonists?

Two things. Consider going to university/college to do a good art foundation course. This way, whilst working on getting into the cartoon/comic industry, they can equally spend their time learning,

However, if they want to or not, the main thing is to practice 100 per cent. That means evenings and weekends too! It doesn't matter what I'm working on or if I'm in a quiet period, I still keep on practicing.

I guess that the other thing is to say, look to the best. If they're into adventure, check out and study the best artists on the market. Likewise, this would go for such as humour or manga strips. I know that I'm going to provide Lew with a red face again, but I've always been proud of the fact that I've shared comic pages with Lew Stringer.

What's your favourite comics related website?

Comic Community Art. Most of the artwork is simply to die for.

Where else has your work appeared?

Where to begin... I did three years with DC Thomson, drawing various characters. The first strip I did was Minnie The Minx, but I spent most of the time working on Bash Street Kids, either for the comic or for summer specials and a number of the pocket library books. I enjoyed my time with Brian Clarke as my editor at London Editions, this covered Masters Of The Universe, Duckula and Dangermouse, to name but a small few.

I also had a good time with Marvel UK on Transformers producing humour strips, i.e. Matt & the Cat, plus other titles. I produced strips for a pre-school type comic called Plus for 11 years. I enjoyed doing pencils on 11 books of The Tick. I've drawn Comic Cuts for Comics International for the last 101 issues and did four years producing cartoons for broadcast television. This was mainly for the YTV Calendar show.

I've also done promotional artwork for various companies, such as Frankie & Benny' and drawn daily cartoon strips for newspapers for six years.

What was the question?...

Where/when did you get your first comics break?

My first real comics break was back in 1984 with Marvel UK. I was lucky enough to get the chance to produce a new humour strip on their Transformers UK comic. What really added to the fun was that my editor allowed the strip to be based on characters that appeared in my daily cartoon strip with the Bradford Telegraph & Argus and The Manchester Evening News. It was great to take characters that I'd already drawn for a number of years and place them in a new setting. The original daily was simply called, Matt, however, once the artwork had been put together for the new series, for some reason, Matt & the Cat seem to fit much better.

What comics are you reading at the moment (both web and print based)?

I tend to buy Essential X-Men and The Avengers United, published in the UK by Panini Comics. Also from time to time, I pick up the Marvel Essential Books.

Whose work do you most admire in the comics field and why?

Where to begin? Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, David Finch, Ken Reid, Frank Bellamy, Leo Baxendale, Ron Embleton, Mike Noble... Yep, I could keep on going!

As to the reason I admire their work, these people are giants and it provokes me to keep on practicing!

Bedside Manner

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Meet Mister Hawk

Bristol-based comic artist and writer Kev F Sutherland, a contributor to weekly British comic The Beano and who regularly provides comics lessons to schools and other groups, is one of the latest creators to give ROK Comics a try.

In addition to the fun strip here Mister Hawk, which runs for three episodes he's made "free to view" on ROK Comics, also on view are strips such as the R-rated Mr Punch and Bristol Superhero.

Here at ROK Comics we like Mister Hawk because despite the supernatural connotations it reminds older team members of one of their favourite British strips, "Spot the Clue with Zip Nolan".

Kev is currently writing and drawing comedy adventures starring The Bash St Kids, Dennis The Menace and others, in the weekly Beano comic and annuals. He's also the comedian who does The Sitcom Trials (you might have have seen him in London and Edinburgh and, hopefully, on TV), and is also a close associate of The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, "and I turn up at parties caricaturing people (my last solo show was Kev F Draws The Crowds, you can guess what the unique selling point was)", says Kev.

• Visit his web site at:

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Martin's Match of the Day

Martin Baines, artist on ROK Comics strip Billy Bang, has been busy working on the BBC's new, weekly, Match of the Day magazine which is being launched by the BBC tomorrow.

The comic series charts the lives of famous footballers for the magazine, which is aimed at the 8-12 market.

Inspired by the iconic programme, Match of the Day magazine aims to position itself as the must-read title for all young football fans and will be packed with star interviews, match results and tables from the weekend, the hottest football gossip, posters, quizzes and competitions.

The magazine also includes an eight-page pull-out skills guide, encouraging children to get active and to increase their chances of becoming a star of the future.

The first issue features an exclusive interview with Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Supporting the magazine, will feature bespoke football games and up to the minute statistics, which users can personalise to their own team.

"Match of the Day is one of the biggest brands in sport," says publisher Duncan Gray says, "and we’re hoping to build on this success with Match of the Day magazine.

"Research has shown there is significant demand for a title aimed at 8-14 year olds focused not only on the star teams and players, but also encouraging young football fans to increase their own knowledge and improve their own game."

"I'm very excited about the launch of Match of the Day magazine," says Editor Ian Foster, "and am confident that the mix of star interviews, results, gossip and skills advice will prove hugely popular with football-mad youngsters."

Match of the Day magazine is on sale every Tuesday

• Left: Billy Bang, written by Mike Knowles and drawn by Martin Baines