Thursday, 16 January 2014

Me in the Hull Daily Mail

I didn't manage to see the print version of this, which had lots of pictures from the show. But here's my first press appearance of 2014, from the Hull Daily Mail.

The Flame-Haired Dynamo at Hull Truck Theatre: The Marvel-meets-Roy of the Rovers cartoons of Kev Sutherland
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: January 01, 2014
As Hull Truck Theatre hosts its Christmas fantasy show The Flame-Haired Dynamo, which runs until January 11, Ian Midgley talks to artist Kev Sutherland, the man charged with creating the comic book world of its goal-scoring hero.
TO BE honest, Kev Sutherland never used to read Roy Of The Rovers. He was more of a Marvel man. Growing up in Leicestershire, his boyhood daydreams were fuelled by the adventures of Spider-Man, the Hulk and the weird and wonderful cast of characters in British sci-fi comic 2000AD, led by Tharg The Mighty from the planet Quaxxann.
He was not a particular fan of Roy's on-pitch antics at Melchester Rovers – for him, the footballing story lines were a little too "ordinary".
Yes, Roy may have been kidnapped numerous times by South American gangsters, faced endless promotion and relegation dogfights and even lost a leg in a helicopter crash, but the Melchester icon just did not have the same appeal as superpowered mutants in spandex and capes.

"Looking back at the football comics of the Seventies and Eighties, they were very gritty and mundane," says artist Kev, 52.
"To me, they were very reminiscent of the back streets of Sheffield or Oldham. And the crowds in the background were not a pretty bunch. You could almost smell the Hai Karate.
"I preferred the shiny, muscular figures in superhero comics, with spaceships flying around in the background."
But that doesn't mean Kev does not appreciate the artistry of footballing magazines such as Scorcher and Tiger, in which Roy first appeared. As a man who went on to draw comics for Marvel, not to mention The Beano, Doctor Who Magazine, the Red Dwarf Smegazine, Viz and Oink, he knows quality craftsmanship when he sees it.
That is why he drew heavily on those iconic drawing styles when he was asked to create a fictional new comic character for Hull Truck's festive Christmas show The Flame Haired Dynamo.
The Dynamo of the title is Titch McCreavie, a Boys' Own hero of Roy Of The Rovers-proportion. And when grown-up Chris McCann finds his life falling apart, without a job, money or luck, he retreats into the fictional world of his boyhood comic books in a show that has been described as a cross between A Christmas Carol and Back To The Future.
For the Flame-Haired Dynamo show, Kev, who has drawn iconic characters such as The Bash Street Kids, Dennis The Menace, Roger the Dodger and Minnie the Minx, was asked to draw 50 panels charting McCreavie's fictional adventures, which could then be brought to life onstage.
Kev said: "I got involved because I came to Hull Truck a short while ago to do one of my comic art master classes. Nick Lane, who directs The Flame Haired Dynamo, saw me and thought he could use me in the show.
"Dynamo is basically looking back to the footballing comics of the Seventies and, in the show, they come alive.
"Although I didn't really read the football comics, I did inherit two years' worth of Scorcher comics from my cousin, so they were a great source of inspiration.
"Looking at them now, the art was actually very good. they were very well drawn. But there's no real equivalent of them today.
"Kids don't really have comics like they did in the Seventies and Eighties, it all been superceded by Xboxes and video games.
"Just looking at the old Scorcher comics made me realise that later generations don't have that connection with comics like I did and my mates did.
"Of course, there's still Batman and Captain America and things like that, but there's no modern equivalent of Roy Of The Rovers.
For Kev, whose only previous venture into footballing culture was drawing Match magazine's Galaxy Wanderers, delving into Titch McCreavie's world was "a joy".
"It was huge fun to do," says Kev.
"I tried to create a pastiche of the old football comics. It was like being an art student again, studying how they did it and then trying to recreate it.
"I had to take photos of the actors in the rehearsal rooms and then create the characters for the comic that looked like them.
"The story has these great bullet points where the actors disappear into the comic book world and the characters come alive.
"I haven't seen the show yet, but I'm really hoping to catch it. I've heard it great. I can't wait to see my artwork onstage playing its part."
The Flame-Haired Dynamo runs at Hull Truck Theatre, Ferensway, Hull, until Saturday, January 11. Tickets cost from £12. Call 01482 323638. Visit for information.
Comic book masterclass
BORN in Aberdeen, and brought up in Leicestershire, Kev F Sutherland was always destined to be a comic book illustrator.
Growing up on a diet of Marvel and 2000AD adventures, with favourites including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Savage Sword Of Conan, his first published work was in Oink satirical magazine.
He has since gone on to pen Dr Strange, Star Trek and Werewolf By Night for Marvel, Ickle Bitty Werewolf On Bash Street and The Bash Street Zombies for The Beano and Tarquin Hoylet, He Has To Go To The Toilet for Viz.
As well as a comic book cartoonist, he has also worked as a stand-up comedian and is the founding member of The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre. He regularly runs comic book masterclasses around the country.

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