Michael Stock

Posts by Mike Stock

Comic Books / Lettering

Bubbles O’Seven: Dr O

The star of Dr O, Bubble O’Seven, is described by his creators as having an “unassuming simian suaveness that permeates the air around him”. But they also suggest that “maybe he’s just an ape in a suit”. Well, the issue was successfully kickstarted in March, so we are about to find out.

The first issue of the wonderful new series from Bounce Comics members Grainne McEntee and Matt Rooke, Bubbles O’Seven is finished and ready for the printers. It’s been an enjoyable journey so far, I am also working on the title logo for Bubbles, but this first issue marks the start of series which I anticipate being a huge amount of fun to work on.

 

Comic Books / Lettering

The Kill Screen Hardcover Collected Edition

“The UK indie cult comic ‘The Kill Screen’ collected for the first time, as a hardcover edition, featuring a whole host of extras!

“The Kill Screen is sci-fi/horror/thriller that explores what would happen to our world if it were infected by computer and computer game viruses. How would we all survive?

“The hardcover collects the original four issues – with a whole host of extras, such as SEVEN additional stories, original sketches, scripts, and guest pin ups.”

The Kill Screen Hardcover Collected Edition

This book features a bunch of new stories which were added as Kickstarter stretch goals and featured and array of art talent to boot. Check it out! I’m looking forward to the conventions in the new year where can start selling these, I can’t wait to get some reaction and feedback.

Lettering

The Kill Screen #4

The forth and final issue of this run of The Kill Screen is ready for you all, head over to Mike Garley’s store. Josh Sherwell and Mike and have been killing it on this series and I’m so happy with how it’s turned out.

The Kill Screen #4

Did some one say “collected editon”? You’ll have to wait and see!

Lettering

The Kill Screen #3

The third issue of the wonderfully well received ‘The Kill Screen’ is ready for release on the world you should be able to pick copies at Mike Garley’s store.

This release has more digital shenanigans, we spend some time on a boat, look at blueprints, hang out with Nine-Lives and there a bunch of explosions!

Blog

VS Comics Interview – Part 2

Originally published in VS Comics #3 – March 2013

Mike Stock // Digital Editor & Letterer // Interview

Can you talk us through your process, and any tools you use?

I could, but then I’d have to kill you … nah, all the dialogue, balloons etc. are created in Illustrator. I created my own blank templates in the software that are the US and UK page sizes and have bleed, trim and live area guides. I have separate layers for artwork, balloons, text, and SFX.

Lettering page template

Lettering page template

This set-up means I can drop in the artwork and scale it down to the page size so I am always lettering over the same size canvas. This also means I can just drop in updated art files as amendments come in – often I’ll start lettering over pencils and then the inks and colours come gradually as they are signed off. I like to involve the SFX in the artwork as much possible so they are made in Illustrator but then imported into Photoshop where I can manipulate them and the original image to blend them in in whatever way suits the style. The style is different for each story; it is dependent on that of the writing and the artwork. Sometimes it is quite simple but occasionally there is a bit more work involved like in Swan Song, for instance.

In Swan Song there is an immediate pace change to, say, ‘Eponymous’ and ‘Day and Night’, which are both full of action and are often very dark. Instead we are set in a geriatric ward of a robot-run hospital so the pace is quite thoughtful and the colour palette is very clean. There are several characters straight from the off: three humans, one of whom speaks solely through video screen; two robots, both with their own personalities; and a sort of mainframe computer who calls the shots. After reading the script and looking at the art I set about creating a sort of style guide, which outlined the dialogue for each of these characters.

Style guide - Swan Song

Style guide – Swan Song

The humans have normal white balloons, which I tweak slightly for the video character, and I chose a dialogue font that I felt had lots of personality. For Sadie and Stevie I gave their balloons’ corners and a pattern to emphasise their robotic-ness and a casual sans serif font (like what this is written in now) that contrasts the font used for the human dialogue. I coloured the pattern in relation to the speaker to help distinguish the dialogue and personalise it further. For the computer I squared up the balloons further and took the kink/bend out of the tails, sort of removing as much personality as I could. In cases where I make a style guide like this I’ll include it on a new layer in the Illustrator file and keep it locked and hidden so it is always close to hand, should I need it.

Logos and titles will often follow the same process as SFX but usually involve a lot more sketchbook (random scrap paper) work, I usually find it much easier to adapt and rework a typeface by hand. Photoshop gives me a lot more flexibility to have the element interact with the artwork should I need it to. Quite often I will also be entrusted with the production of the finished comic, either in a print-ready PDF or a digital format. For compiling these files I use InDesign; it links all the artwork files which means the original art is amended or changed and then I can just refresh the InDesign file and hey presto.

What are you working on outside of VS – Tell us about it.

Jon Lock has just got Afterlife Inc. #3 successfully ‘Kickstarted’ so I can look forward to that over the coming year, lots more Dead Roots too as that’s released quarterly. Also in the works: The Six should have popped up on your radars during LSCC (2013); Destiny’s Fate #3 is well on its way and has been really good fun; The GeeBees is shaping up fantastically and is due out this spring; I’ve just finished one issue of The Pride and there already 6 more in the pipeline; and something really funky called Raygun Roads with Owen Michael Johnson.

Urbanality - logo and credits

Urbanality – logo and credits

What inspires you?

Creativity; it sounds like a cop-out but, creativity is contagious. If I’m having one of those days where I’m not feeling creative I go hunting for other people’s. I collect images that make me think, make me laugh, or feel sad, happy, confused; anything, basically, that makes me stop and look at it again. I don’t leave them on my computer or share them on Pinterest or something weird, I print them out and stick them in a big ol’ scrapbook; which I can flick through.

SFX - Afterlife Inc.

SFX – Afterlife Inc.

Where do you see yourself in five/ten years time?

Well I’m new to comics as far as I’m concerned but I look forward to burrowing further and further in. I’ve not really been lettering for that long either so I’ll keep learning for now. Maybe in 5 years time I can be living off of comics … I think I’d like that.

www.michaelstock.co.uk
@sheriffstocky

And there you have it. It was really fun to read through this again and, retrospectively, see where it has taken me; particularly the bit about what I was working on at the time. Jon Lock’s Afterlife Inc. rolled straight off of the success of #3 and into a MASSIVE collected edition called the ‘Book of Life’ which was also a huge Kickstarter success! The Six preview (available for download still) went down very well too. Destiny’s Fate led to an awesome anthology by it’s writer Devin L. Michaels called ‘Capitalism and Other Stories‘ which I lettered and did a lot of design work for. We finished all 6 issues of The Gee Bees which now exist in a hardback collected edition. I drew the cover art for that, a bit out of my normal comfort zone but I enjoyed it none-the-less. The Pride is going strong, we just released #4 of the main series and #2 of The Pride Adventures which are made up of shorter stories following the same team, filling out some of history of the Pride’s universe. And finally Raygun Roads was just nominated for ‘Best Comic’ at the British Comic Awards we lost out to Image’s The Wicked and the Divine but it was an honour to be recognised for what is a strong, and truly unique, comic book.

Blog

BCA Best Comic Nomination

It’s a real pleasure to say that Raygun Roads, a comic that I worked on with Owen Johnson, Indio!, and Andy Bloor, has been shortlisted for ‘Best Comic’ at this years British Comic Awards. The winner is to be announced at Thought Bubble in Leeds later this month.

BCA-Nominee-600pxw-300x300

The ‘Best Comic’ nominees are:

  • Dangeritis: A Fistful of Danger – Robert M Ball and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell (Great Beast)
  • In The Frame – Tom Humberstone (New Statesman)
  • Raygun Roads – Owen Michael Johnson, Indio!, Mike Stock and Andy Bloor (Self published)
  • Tall Tales & Outrageous Adventures #1: The Snow Queen & Other Stories – Isabel Greenberg (Great Beast)
  • The Wicked + The Divine #1 – Kieron Gillen, Jaime McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)

We are amongst some hard competition though in so it will be tough but, frankly, just being nominated is Exciting enough. Also to be in that list as the only self-published title, I think, is an amazing effort when you consider the readership that something like ‘The Wicked + The Divine’ has through a publisher like Image.

As if all of that isn’t exciting enough the team of judges includes the likes of Jonathon Ross, Jessica Hynes (Spaced) and Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf). Incredible.

The 3rd Annual British Comic Awards Ceremony will take place at 6pm on Saturday 15th November in the Royal Armouries Bury Theatre in Leeds as part of the Thought Bubble Festival.

Design / Lettering

Happy Halloween

A few of us UK Indie Small Press comics people got together and made a free Halloween comic. The comic was available to download and we all shared the link amongst our individual fan bases in hope of advertising our creator-owned projects to a few more people. After a week the link was removed and the individuals were free to do what they want with their respective properties.

Contents:

  • Chop Chop Chop! by Peter Mason
  • Afterlife Inc. – The Black Room by Jon Lock and R.H. Stewart
  • Peg Powler by Samantha Holmlund
  • Descending Outlands – Halloween Special by Shaun Dobie and Paulo Oliveria
  • A Date with Death by David Hailwood, Tom Suleri, and Ken Reynolds
  • One More Family Secret by Luke Cooper
  • Bertie Bear – Prelude to Terror by Andy W. Clift
  • Think Yourself Dead by Stu Smith, David Hailwood, and Brett Burbridge
  • The Gee Bees – The October House by Steven D Quirke, Kel Winser, and myself
  • The Kill Screen – Out of Sync by Mike Garley, Josh Sherwell, and myself
  • The Witch of the West Wood by Giuseppa Barresi
  • Little Terrors – A Halloween Tale by Jon Scrivens and Patrick Cline
  • The Red Mask from Mars Vs the Halloweener by Vince Hunt and Shaun Dobie

Cover Design

I also had the honour of designing the cover for this little anthology, Mike Garley (who compiled the book did all the layouts, and co-ordinated all the creators and their stories) had suggested we wanted to feature as much of the artwork as possible so I used big chunky letters (adapted from a BlamBot font) and chose some artwork to fit inside them, I was given free reign to pick the art so that was fun. I went my instincts for the most part, tried not to dwell n what was being included and what wasn’t and I had fun cropping them together as the letters overlapped. I was really happy with the result.

Halloween Cover

Spoilers

The following is for showcasing my lettering and may include SPOILERS (many of these stories will appear as bonus material in collected editions I imagine).

Halloween Black

Created an un-cropped logotype version of the cover text for Mike Garley to use throughout the book.

The Gee Bees - The October House 1

I had a lot of fun doing the story title for The Gee Bees story and it also required thought bubbles which are uncommon nowadays so I tried something different with them.

The Gee Bees - The October House 2

The Gee Bees - The October House

The Kill Screen 1

The Kill Screen story required ‘syncing’ symbols throughout so I had fun slotting them in where required.

 

The Kill Screen 2

The Kill Screen 3

Lettering

The Kill Screen #2

Issue #2 of The Kill Screen is ready for it’s launch at Leam Comic Con on the 18th October. It was another really cool issue, and amazingly Josh’s art gets better and better. For me the highlight of the issue was these cool health bars Mike had me design, they are another example of the interesting story-telling techniques he comes up with.

“Grab it now and treasure forever.”Word of the Nerd

“This is a book with real legs.” Down the Tubes

“The stellar work from issue #1 was just the start for The Kill Screen as writer, artist & letterer continue to maintain this fantastic read” – Comics Anonymous

“A fascinating look at a different type of dystopian future. I highly recommend checking it out.” What’cha Reading?

“A fantastic read, with an incredibly original concept, and it’s not coming from the Big Two or Image, but from the UK Indie Small Press scene. You have to get your hands on it however you can!”Bleeding Cool

“Kill Screen #2 is a real treat, and offers a promising premise. Go grab this thing today.” Unleash the Fanboy

” It continues to be a welcome change from zombies and will make anyone who loves video games smile.”  Fanboy Comics

“Like the internet? Like games? Like comics? Well then read The Kill Screen because it is right up your street!”Nerdly

“It could easily rely on just its unique concept to carry it, but the three creators of the comic put their hearts into it and make it a very well-written and entertaining piece of fiction.”A Place to Hang your Cape

Spoilers

The following is for showcasing my lettering and may include SPOILERS.

Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.45.34 Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.47.13 Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.49.06 Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.50.20

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