Sunday, 14 June 2009

Ron Smith, The forgotten giant of British comics.

Ron Smith was a stalwart in the British comic 2000a.d from the late seventies onwards and an absoloute favourite of mine, around about that time I was recieving back issues of 2000ad from cousins, friends, my friends older siblings and jumble sales etc I was a happy dumping ground for homeless comic books and so i had a hardcore education in the joys of 2000a.d and the artists and writers inside.
Judge Dredd at that time had a core of three of Britains finest illustrators working on it, two of whom went onto worldwide acclaim... Brian Bolland,Mike McMahon whereas Ron Smith, who for some unfathomable reason has been unfairly consigned to the ranks of the also rans which is a disgraceful as he was not only massively talented, proficient and prolific but his work had a weird and brutal flavour all of its own.
He was responsible for some truly memorable characters and vistas.
This is the man who gave us Otto Sump, the Blood of Satanus, Filmore Faro, Captain Skank and the pirates of the Black Atlantic,Pug Ugly and the Buglies, Citizen Snork, he drew the final chapters to the Judge child quest in which there are scenes of horrifying torture and the final bloody moments of the Angel gang as they are summarily executed by Judge Dredd, who else gave us a double page spread of a blood soaked Junior Angel, fresh from mutilating Old Joe Blind falling into a lava flow and igniting at the same time? Or the inhabitants of the Robert Oppenhiemer block being utterly obliterated and the resultant devastion in the immediate area in scarily convincing full colour detail by a Nuclear explosion? Ron Smith thats who... a man alongside Kevin O'Niell who I thank for having a huge influence on my own artwork and worldview.
For whatever reason Titan books deemed fit to downplay Smiths efforts when they were busily reprinting back catalogue in the eighties and turning it out as tradepaper backs which is a fucking disgrace as Smith is the equal to anyone who appeared in that particular comic book and should definitely be counted among any of the artists who are lauded as the best of British.
Theres even a severe lack of material by him available to look at online which is something i hope to rectify at some point, his work is amazing.
Ron Smith... I salute you.

1 comment:

Dave West said...

I echo everything you've said ... Ron Smith was certainly one of the reasons I kept picking up 2000AD back in the day ... and like the other greats ... you could always spot his work amongst the pages before seeing his name in the credits .. it had a distinctive feel to it that I loved ...