Monday 7 March 2011

More Weirdsville from McLoughlin

Another tip of the hat to Malcolm Norton for sending through more vintage McLoughlin artwork. This was the kind of stuff that mums that might have tolerated Eagle comic. would carefully steer their children past should they encounter these comics in their local newsagent. The kind of comics that would have been decried as trash, the kind of comics that made no pretensions to educating children, unless it was for an appreciation of the seamier side of life where pistol packin' mamas named Annette gave men named Roy Carson sleepless nights aplenty.


  1. There's something about McLoughlin's covers that just makes them work so well. It's not just the style, but I've been trying to puzzle out what he does and I find it elusive. Is it the cinematic depth of field in so many of his pictures? The intriguing "camera angles"? As I'm not an artist, I think I'm missing something so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, Peter.

  2. Poor Malcolm!

    It's kind of you to put such a positive spin on these mouldering relics of a bygone era Peter, but it's clear to me that this is really a heartfelt cry for help on his behalf. I can only guess at the despair he must feel every day looking at bookshelves weighed down with such yellowing anachronisms, knowing there is no room left to show off his stylish, leather-bound collection of the works of Jeffrey Archer. Those two Super Coloured Comic Albums look particularly worthless, bearing in mind that they were only ever a publisher's cynical attempt to offload a bunch of unsold comics by binding them together in a new package.

    Fortunately I am prepared to take pity on his wretched situation. Herewith I undertake to take all these musty old items off his hands - at no cost to him whatsoever! All he has to do is send them to my address forthwith and I promise that he'll never have to worry about them again...

    Ahem! (...and, no, these *aren't* the droids you're looking for! ;-) )

    On Dave's question about the elusive quality that makes McLoughlin's work so curiously attractive I agree that it's not his draughtsmanship so much as something about his unique sense of design. I've always felt that there are three very different skills needed by any comic artist: basic drawing, picture composition and story-telling. The very best, like Frank Bellamy and Ron Embleton, excel in all of these areas, blending them together into a seamless whole. By contrast it seems to me that while McLoughlin was always a good (if unspectacular) draughtsman, the thing which made his covers so outstanding - a natural ability to combine the elements of any picture (including the text) into a single, dramatic statement - is the very thing that worked against his strips, which all too often tended to look like a succession of disconnected images as a result.

  3. That's a very interesting point, Phil - that being able to convey a story in one image makes for great covers but poor panel-by-panel art (at least in these decompressed times).

  4. The thing I find attractive (besides the subject matter) is the flat use of colours - similar to those posters of Britain portrayed in railway / tourism posters. Look at 'Lady of night' and those greens - really odd but attractive!