|Strange Days - Ewins channels Tenniel|
Ewins was at his height in the pages of 2000AD just as I began to take notice of it and started collecting. Through the middle era of Rogue Trooper and then on to memorable stints on Judge Dredd and its spin-off Anderson PSI Division, Ewins’ work was rarely out of the mag for long, and in time he’d notch up another well-loved series to his belt, the quite brilliant Bad Company.
His work made an immediate impression on me, for various reasons. It was recognisable, reliable, and easy on the eye – you could admire the brilliance of artists like Mick McMahon or Carlos Ezquerra, the robust meatiness of Cam Kennedy’s brushwork or the precise lines of Brian Bolland, but Ewins seemed more accessible to the illustrator in training. This isn’t to say his work was the less, or not as sophisticated than his stable mates, but to a degree – and in particular in Ewins’ middle era of the mid-Eighties in 2000AD, there’s the ability to anatomise his work; he paints with a heavy brush, all elements on the page readily-identifiable components; his work, while dynamic and obviously influenced by US comics artists, had a layered arrangement which was easier for me to pick apart and see how he’d put everything together. To this day McMahon at his height, and Kevin O’Neill with him, seem to defy compositional analysis on my part – some panels are brilliant messes – orgies of limbs and skewed planes, but Ewins’ work, which became crisper and more stylised over time, was a great lead-in to the world of illustration. I’d say that his work, alongside his colleague and friend Steve Dillon, was the style I most frequently looked to in developing my own meagre talents.
|Judge Gellar, one of three Ewins covers for HoSH9|
|The Possessed - Ewins channels Polanski!|
After Bad Company came Deadline, Ewins' own title with Steve Dillon which introduced readers to Jamie Hewitt and combined Ewins' two loves of music and comics, being the mature readers' pop culture magazine that 2000AD couldn't yet manage to be. Though short-lived and seemingly doomed by the fate of its greatest character's movie adaptation, Deadline gave the world Tank Girl, and arguably in Ewins and Dillon Tank Girl has two godfathers.
|Like a blue Wendy O Williams: Venus Bluegenes|
I hope we'll see a decent Ewins collection from Rebellion Publishing in time. For me, he is the epitome of the comic in the Eighties.