Tuesday 22 May 2012

Marney the Fox

Art by John Stokes. I think it's plain to see that this one was a labour of love. Such beautiful line-work. I'd love to have seen the originals of this one. As they say where I came from: bostin'!
Oh yeah, from Buster dated 1st November 1975.

I was in contact with JS a while back and have an interview (of sorts) with him that I'll publish at some point. Here's a little taste:

I found some Buster comics out the other day. You put an insane amount of work into those Marney the Fox pages. They look beautiful! I only wish they'd been printed on a better grade of paper. I see you used a lot of splatter techniques? Did you use an old toothbrush for that? Also I see a pattern that looks like fingerprints too? Your pages are quite textural. It'd be interesting to see an original Marley, to look at the surface of the art. What kind of pens/brushes/materials did you use?

It was the first time I had used spatter. If  I wanted it to be random sizes and quite irregular, I used a toothbrush loaded with Indian Ink, and for a more overall effect I used a diffuser spray, which is a pair of metal tubes, joined together at a right angle. You put one end in a bottle of Ink, the other end in your mouth, and blew until you felt as if your eyeballs were about to pop out! It gave a fair approxamation of an airbrush, which were very rare at the time. Then I went to work with the process white to bring out the highlights, snow effects, etc. And, Yes, I used fingerprints too, anything to give the pages the textures that were everywhere in nature.
   Who knows what happened to the pages. None were ever returned to me, so they probably ended up in bin-bags on a dump somewhere. At that time I was using a Gillot nib with a very flexible tip which was heaven to draw with, but after a few years  the quality dropped off so much that out of a box of a hundred nibs, less than fifty were useable. I only used brushes to fill in black areas by that time, although in my early years I used a sable brush a lot, for figure drawing, but became dissatisfied with the amount of detail I was able to get with them.


  1. What a beautifully drawn and written strip, never seen it before. Any idea who wrote it?

  2. Hi Mick.

    Nice to hear from you. Apparently it was Scott Goodall who wrote it. There's an interview with him here:


    How many of the strips you wrote for were of your own creation?

    I certainly invented "Fishboy" - based, I think, on a TV series of the time called "The Man From Atlantis" about a bloke who lived in a lost underwater city. "Marney The Fox" was also my idea, based on the book "Tarka The Otter" by Henry Wiliamson. My original thought was to do a "boy alone against authority" series, but make it an animal hero instead of a boy hero! My original instructions to artist John Stokes (who'd also drawn Fishboy), was that every picture was seen through the eyes of the animal alone! My thinking being that we'd only see humans from the waist down! Didn't always work, naturally!

    P.S. Any chance of wrapping-up Muto Maniac? ;)

  3. Enjoyed the interview. I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of Scott Goodall, a man who seems to have written so much of the great stuff I grew up with.
    No more Muto Maniac I'm afraid.