Remember the sound that resonated around the world on July 24? The unison gurrrr-klap! noise made by thousands of readers groaning and slapping their foreheads simultaneously, accompanying the release of Constantine #5, and the eponymous warlock usurping the powers of Shazam? Yeah, you’re bound to. That earth-shaking racket was the first thing I thought of when I saw this the other day at Sean Phillips’ blog, drawn for the 1995 UKCAC convention booklet.
Phillips has been revealing the material he rejected for the upcoming Art of Sean Phillips book, due in September from Dynamite Entertainment. That reject pile would probably shame most artist’s entire output. Among the sketches, commissions, trading card art, covers and paintings done for his own amusement, I spotted this historical curio, for a dummy issue of a comic that never existed but I’ve heard occasionally mentioned in accounts of the United Kingdom’s early-’90s comics boom and bust: Fleetway’s Xpresso, part Euro-reprints, part lifestyle, designed to sit alongside their then portfolio of 2000AD, the Judge Dredd Megazine, Roy of the Rovers (Rob Davis’s post-Watchmen deconstructionist-era that’s begging for someone to reprint), Crisis and Revolver. Some of Abuli and Bernet’s “Torpedo” strips would eventually appear in John Brown Publishing’s short-lived magazine Blast! around the same time, if memory serves.
The quality of Phillips’ rejects reminds you of how prolific the man is, and also makes me wonder just how good does the work have to be to guarantee inclusion? This will be one seriously can’t-miss collection.