Please forgive me. This turned into a bit of a ramble. There is a point, I promise:
So, I contributed a Nemesis/Comic Rock Presents... strip to the latest issue of Zarjaz. Think it's safe to say I was pretty excited. Kev O'Neill's art and Nemesis quite literally fried my ten year old brain courtesy of prog 224 back in 1981 and has continued to do so ever since. No other artist that inspired me as much. When I saw the world that O'Neill had envisioned, it transformed my drawing habits from a cute little hobby, fishing for compliments from my folks and friends, to a manic obsession. When I was sixteen, I got a job at Don Bluth's studio in Dublin working on Land Before Time (fulfilling my other great obsession: drawing dinosaurs) on the back of the 2000AD art I had created (no doubt horrendous, but I still wish I had kept them). It's almost thirty years later now, I'm sitting in Los Angeles working for Family Guy and there's no doubt in my mind that opening prog 224 all those years ago was the springboard for all of it.
With all that in mind, writing and drawing a Nemesis strip was a daunting and simultaneously exhilarating experience. Nemesis had never been tackled before in Zarjaz and that was intimidating enough ("DON'T FUCK THIS UP!") but on top of that, rumours had always abounded that Nemesis was off-limits as Pat and Kev were apparently quite protective of everyone's favorite demon alien agent of chaos and freedom fighter. Maybe that's all second-hand bollocks. I don't know. They both said yes when I asked them. Maybe no-one had asked them before.
Anyway, the strip got done (once I'd gotten over the mental hurdle and realization that I'm NOT Kev O'Neill, I can't draw like Kev O'Neill, neither can anyone else, therefore please stop worrying about it and have some fun instead) and if I do say so myself, I'm very proud of it. It's dangerously compressed storytelling. Two pages in, I realized my story was too large for a mere twelve pages but I ended up embracing that and just went fucking mad with it instead. Comics are too dragged out these days anyway. 22 pages of talking heads. Fuck that. My only big regret was elaborate chase sequences and fight scenes I'd imagined taking pages to flesh out became mere panels instead. So be it. Pat and Kev probably could have hammered out the same story in five pages and done it infinitely better, but hey. We do what we can with what we have at hand.
The story I wrote involved a vacuous celebrity, a Termight-ian Kendall Jenner-type becoming infatuated with Nemesis and I'd always wanted a panel revealing a scrapbook containing imagery she'd collected from various sources so she could have something to secretly ogle. Anyway, along the way I also managed to pull in some collaborators from artist friends, most of whom had never, sadly, even heard of Nemesis. (Needless to say, that's all changed now.) Thought it might be fun to share some of the contributions on here as this became a little bit of a project.
Here's the opening page:
One of American Dad's character designers, Jeff Rebner:
Family Guy assistant director Mark Covell:
Illustrator Peter Donnelly:
Illustrator and comic artist Neil McClements:
Family Guy character designer Sharon Ross:
Family Guy director Joe Vaux:
And finally, Family Guy director Joseph Lee. Bearing in mind these are all busy people and these images were always going to be pretty small in the strip itself, I beseeched everyone not to spend too much time on them. Then Joseph hands me this. Thanks Joseph. Let me just go home hang myself now.