As I write this, it’s Sunday morning and I am sipping on some Champagne. I’m celebrating being alive and celebrating being involved in an industry which I love and where I meet some incredible artistic talents. One such talent is Neil Blackbird Sims, someone whose art carries a deep narrative quality and portrays a powerful love of the subject matter. A self confessed fan of my patreon Pat Mills, he consumes comic book material and has the incredible ability to make each character his own.
It was Neil’s powerful depiction of the Dark Judges from 2000AD that brought him to my attention. The warping of Death’s helmet shaping itself to his face and character, the beautiful flames emitting from the appropriately named Judge Fire blaze across the canvas. The phosphate Judge Mortis grabbing the viewers attention, his skull like visage wonderfully detailed in the disturbing green light. This image was crafted using traditional illustrative materials rather than digital means. An incredible feat.
Even more impressive is his Slaine Depiction.
Slaine is one of Pat Mills crowning achievements as a writer, he has created a celtic warrior who travels through time fighting for the Earth goddess. A cipher for illuminating celtic legends and an enduring myth that melds conspiracy and ancient legends. Neil illustrated this image from using poundland pens – proving that with basic tools a skilled artist can create powerful images. Here he depicts the brutal savagery of Slaine mixed with the powerful charismatic figure of heroic myth.
As a gamer one of my favourite franchises is the Street Fighter beat ’em up series. A mixture of martial skill and powerful characterisation. Something that Neil has been able to reproduce in this pin up.
His skill also bleeds into the sequential artwork which shows a powerful narrative style.
Chris : What has been your biggest influence in comic books?
Neil: Eric Bradburys work in scream doing Dracula file, I adore the artists style and dynamics.
Chris : What is your favourite comic book series?
Neil: ABC Warriors by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley.
Chris : What has been your favourite piece to illustrate so far in your career?
Neil: I wouldn’t say I have a favourite as I’m very critical once all my pieces are finished, always room for improvement I think, generally though I love character design and conceptualisation
Talking Comics thanks Neil for his time and would like to leave readers with one of our favourite pieces of Neil’s work. A depiction of Batman Returns.