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Friday, 13 March 2009

John Higgins Talks Razorjack, Watchmen

Brilliant artist and colourist John Higgins has just completed a new four page comic strip for his collected magnum opus, Razorjack. Published with revived Com.x, the Brit independent comic company that John says "have quality and production values that can be compared to any of the big companies".

Com.X is led by Eddie Deighton as the sole remaining Com.x creator and Publisher with his USA creative representative and co Publisher, Benjamin Shahrabani.
(See news story)

"All I had wanted to do with Razorjack was to create my own world outside of what I had been commissioned to do all my professional life," John, whose past credits include strips for 2000AD, The Hills Have Eyes and Thunderbolt Jaxon, tells downthetubes. "As much as I love working on Batman, Spider-Man or even the Watchman (sorry Watchmen), it has always been as a gun for hire.

"Now that doesn't stop you from being the best you can be, the best artist, the best writer, the best colourist or the best anyone, of the long production line of creative people that makes the book that goes on the shelves. But I had a story I wanted to tell, a story that no one else could tell, it was a John Higgins story. It is not profound, it won’t make you look at the world around you in a different way and it will never win the Nobel Prize for literature. (Although it would be nice to be nominated). But anyway, it is just a horror story populated by weird creatures, with colourful art and nice designs.

"It kept me entertained writing, drawing and colouring it on and off for around ten years," says John, " and now it's finally collected into one book.

"Check it out, I hope for you to get at least a couple of hours enjoyment from it and if you do, tell your friends and even tell me."

John also tells us he's currently enjoying all the renewed interest in Watchmen generated by the new film. "I'm blown away by the interest in Watchmen now, from all corners – not just comic fans.

"For me it has always been a towering creative presence that has been there on the periphery of my career, for twenty odd years, due to the genius of Alan and Dave," he continues. "But until I had the opportunity to digitalize the colour for the Absolute Watchmen I had no real interest seeing it or talking about it. As I have said in my section of the Dave Gibbons book Watching the Watchmen, all I could see were the limitations imposed by the primitive colour printing process in 1986 when it was first printed and I hated what I saw on those collected editions for over twenty years.

"But thankfully I got the second bite of that creative cherry in 2005, and was gratified my Watchmen colour concept had stood the test of time and was still relevant for the subject matter. We could also finally get rid of the grey I used on the first couple of issues, before we found how badly it printed and create a consistency of scene colouring, add better modeling and balance the colour across the Watchmen spectrum. I was also working directly on the art/print files so no intermediate hands interpreted and hand sep’d my colour for the printing plates this time.

"Absolute had a direct link to my golden years at Marvel UK," John reveals. "I worked closely with that goddess of comic production, the immaculate Alison Gill who worked at Marvel UK all those years ago, (and she still only looks 16!) and who was one of the stalwarts of the socializing then and is now working at DC as the Head of the Production department ensuring the highest level of comic production. And a glass of White Chardonnay is till her tipple of choice!"

Absolute Watchmen original colour proofs are now on sale,
via Splash Page Comic Art’s website www.splashpageart.com. When John was hired to re-master the colours for the oversized edition of the series in 2004, a single colour proof was printed out for each interior page of the book and the colours were checked for accuracy, which is what is being offered at Splash Page. With Watchmen original published artwork selling for several thousands per page and more, this is a rare opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind piece of original Watchmen artwork.

Each colour proof is printed on high quality paper that measures 11 X 17”, and will be signed by both Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins, and embossed with a Watchmen design seal at the bottom of the page. A certificate of authenticity will be provided for each page purchased.

Read an interview with John Higgins on The Mindless Ones web site

Issue 281 of Judge Dredd Megazine (dated 3 Mar 09) contains a seven-page interview with John, in which Michael Molcher covers almost every aspect of John's career. It's available digitally via www.clickwheel.net

• John will be doing a signing at Orbital Comics in London on Saturday 18th April 2009

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