Great War Dundee – Comic Launch

Great War Dundee comic cover featuring Ian Kennedy painting of a Scottish soldier
Art by Ian Kennedy

On Friday 20th September from 10am-4.30pm V&A Dundee are hosting a FREE all day event inspired by the First World War. This joint Scottish Centre for Comic Studies and Great War Dundee (GWD) event pulls together many of the threads of the GWD projects that have taken place since 2014, and commemorates the GWD project officially drawing to a close. The event will cover topics such as the presentation of the First World War in comics and games, and attendees will get an opportunity to develop their own comic strips.

The Great War Dundee comic will also be launched at the event. The comic contains a story written by legendary comics creator Pat Mills, who worked at DC Thomson before creating the hugely successful British science fiction comic 2000AD. In the 1970s Pat Mills started work on one of the most acclaimed war comics of all time, Charley’s War. The artist for the ‘Ragtime Soldier’ story is Gary Welsh, one of the University of Dundee’s recent graduates. The other strips included in the comic are ‘The Women’s Toon’, written by Erin Keepers and Hailey Austin, with art by 2000AD artist Anna Morozova, and ‘Casualties of War’, written by Calum Laird and drawn by Elliot Balson. All these creators are graduates of the comics programme in Dundee. Ian Kennedy provides the cover artwork.

For more information and to book tickets please see the Great War Dundee eventbrite page.

There will be a signing with Pat Mills from 6.30-8pm in Dundee Creative Comics Space. No tickets are required to come along to this.

‘Frankenstein Returns’ comic launch – Dundee Comics Prize 2018

Frankenstein Returns cover detail – Art by Dan McDaid, colour and lettering Phillip Vaughan.

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, who lived in Dundee briefly as a teenager, partly inspiring her in writing her best known Gothic novel. On Thursday November 22nd at DCCS we are hosting the launch of Frankenstein Returns – the comic produced during the Being Human Festival celebrating the legacy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The comic features stories by Professor Chris Murray with artwork by Norrie Millar, Elliot Balson, and Ashling Larkin as well as a comic by David Robertson, and illustrations by Cam Kennedy and Dan McDaid. The comic also contains the winning entries from the Dundee Comics Prize 2018 and stories by young artists from DCCS’s weekly Comics Clubs. Chris Murray will open the event with an illustrated talk on a history of Frankenstein comics.

Part of the University of Dundee’s Being Human 2018 series “Frankenstein Returns“.

Suitable for all ages. The event runs from 6-8pm.

Introducing the Artists: Elliot Balson

eb-self-portraitTell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Elliot Balson, 23, I’m from the Scottish borders and came up to Dundee to study Animation. After that I went on and did the Comics MLitt course.

What made you want to become an artist?

The same as most people I guess, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t wanting to draw. I suppose it mostly comes from  watching my favourite cartoons and reading comics as a kid.

Do you have a preferred style of art?

At the moment it’s mainly digital, but I’ve been trying to work in more traditional stuff now that I’ve got the studio as well.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Video games, comics, and at the moment a lot of watching film and video essays about storytelling techniques or film techniques. Mostly because I find it interesting but hopefully I can use some of it in my own work as well.

What is your favourite comic of all time?

I knew that was going to come up! There’s quite a few, but the most recent big one I love is Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Murphy – whilst reading it I was like, this is everything I want out of comics put in one nice little package.

What is the best thing about working in DCCS?

Definitely having the space – from uni I’m quite used to having studio space in Animation, but everybody is kind of in and out a bit more in this one, so you keep to yourself a bit more but there’s also the chance to collaborate. Like if you’re stuck on something you’re able to ask someone else if they’re able to help and vice versa. Also having a dedicated area, not only for working in but specifically for comics, is great.

What are you working on at the moment?

Probably too much! I’m actually working on one of the comics we tried to do as an animation in fourth year but we didn’t get finished, so I thought now was a good time to try it. I’m working on a comic – what was originally a short comic – where the writers made the script 150 pages, so I’m slowly working on that in the background. I’m also working with a couple of other people to produce a few short comics for pitching things they want to do, like short films; it’s a nice short way for them to show what they’re hoping it to look like.

How can we follow you on social media?

Instagram – @ellbalson

Facebook – Ell Balson Art

ArtStation –

Thanks Elliot!

– Caitlin


What we’re reading during Book Week Scotland – part 2

In our second Book Week Scotland post, DCCS artist Elliot Balson tells us what he has been reading lately.

“My pick is Head Lopper by Andrew MacLean. It’s a Mignola-esque fantasy set in the Highlands, featuring a stoic warrior called Norgal, or Headlopper, and his companion – the decapitated head of a witch. It’s a fun tale, with gorgeous visuals, with equal touches of Hellboy, Adventure Time, and The Witcher.”

– Elliot

Cover to Head Lopper volume 1 by Andrew MacLean