You can read Paul‘s story That Fat Red Bastard in PMM HERE!
*Click on the image to enlarge*
The name’s Dick. Paul Dick. But most folks call me ‘Deadeye’. Before I explain my nickname…lets get the elephant in the room out the way. My surname is Dick, I’ve heard all the jokes and like Steve Martin in that film Roxanne, I always pre-empt people with multiple jokes at my own expense, before they can open their smirking mouth. It takes away their mental munitions in a battle of wits with someone who is completely loaded for bear.
But there is a funny Dick family saying which goes thusly “ If you are a Dick – do one of two things. Be a soft Dick and have everyone laugh at you. Or become a harder Dick, ready for action and give everyone a surprise”
I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years from a gravedigger (worst job ever) to meat/vegetable packer, from nightclub bouncer to house furniture removal man and a bike courier, but I loved doing creative stuff more like my comics and some volunteer stuntman work, sfx and prop making for low budget indie film outfits. The last one I did, I was a body double for the main villain in Glass Bullet production’s “The Legend Of Black Diamond”
Since I’m crippled these days with Fibromyalgia, being active is getting less and less more easy. But my brain and fingers continue to more than make up for it And I’ve embarked on a career as a writer/artist. Here’s how I got to be the way I am..
Born half-Italian on my Mum’s side and half-Irish on my Dad’s side, I grew up in a tough neighbourhood in Scotland, a Roman Catholic in a very sectarian Protestant area – to get to school I had to cross through “enemy territory” which already painted a green and white target on my back. From an early age this taught me a few things – How to take a kicking. How to give one back. And how to run.
If the protestant kids didn’t try to beat me up. There was plenty of weird sadistic Priests and Nuns at Catholic school that would smack the shit out of you to compensate. This was those good old days where you could whack a child with impunity. They did their utmost to make me equate my religion with pain, punishment, guilt and sadism.
Though I still believe there is a God, These representatives did not impress me much. And when I called customer services to complain about them. God didn’t seem to want to answer me. But instead as compensation I firmly believe he blessed me with a creative mind that no beating could stifle. Or my bad eyesight.
I was diagnosed with Cateracts in both eyes when I was 7 years old, I had them since birth, medicine back then wasn’t like it is now, so they decided to leave them as operating on me was more tricky than someone who gets them later on in life. So I progressively went more blind as the years went on – squinting my way like Clint Eastwood through kindergarten and through high school in a world that was a lot more colourful than my foggy vision could register. Blues were Grays. Reds were browns and so on.
Until I was diagnosed properly I was hit across the head by those sadistic priests and nuns for being “retarded”. I couldn’t color right, couldn’t tie my shoelaces cos when I looked down I lost focus. Then my Dad would smack me for causing a fuss at school or for embarrassing him. This was before he finally got his moral compass corrected by my diagnosis and finally marched up to the school to smack the priest. But they had always done a runner by then…
My Dad would make it up to me by reading one of his Mickey Spillane books to me. Or one of his old 40s Batman comics. He spoke most of the dialogue in the same tone but when it was the Mike Hammer or Batman spoken parts he would do this corny, deep American accent.
But despite the crappy vision I developed a strong instinct for two things being a naturally good shot – earning me for the first time the nickname “Deadeye”. The other thing I developed was a strong instinct for creative writing and combined with my art skills, made up for my visual short comings.
Stories and art flowed out of me unchecked – weird, messed up stories, Pulp scifi, Horror and Westerns that had a combination between the two. I would draw and write them, making them into little comicbooks for myself. I collected many a comicbook from Marvel to Dc and the fact the old man had some 1940s Batman comics written by none other than Mickey Spillane himself – made me love the Spillane guy and my Dad all the more.
As well as my Dad’s collection of dog-eared Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer books, he had Robert E Howard Conan reprints. Together those books introduced me to my first taste of Pulp noir and Pulp fantasy adventure. I would sneak them from him every once and a while when I was able to read on my own – It was the larger print in comics that taught me to read long before books did. The dangerous world they represented enticed me. Spillane books were a world that mirrored my tough upbringing, but also amplified it. Femme Fatales smouldered hotter than the sun and blood ran redder in those books.
To quote my “adopted older sister”, good friend and noir fiction mentor Cindy Rosmus Pulp noir represents:-
“ – black streets slick with rain, loving (and sometimes killing) the wrong guy or chick. Wondering when the body will be found. It’s booze and sexy, ugly people. It’s about not having enough—or too much—to drink. Noir is saying it like it is, and not giving a shit if the p.c. hounds find you offensive. Fuck them. Noir is seeing them laid out on a slab, nice and pretty. That’s about as pretty as noir gets.”
Though tame by today’s standards Spillane’s prose contained as much violence and as much sex in its day as your average season of Sopranos. From that taste of Spillane I would eventually years later graduate onto Raymond Chandler, Dash Hammett and the like at the local library and absorbed every line of it. Reading the finer print with a magnifier glass when my thick glasses weren’t enough.
I read Ray Bradbury scifi tales and HP Lovecraft cosmic horror tales with gusto – even though I couldn’t understand much of it – it had a forbidden feeling that enticed me. But I always came back to Spillane’s hardboiled, trashy and corruptively flawed P.I. He was a true anti-hero and existed in a world like our own where there isn’t clear Whitehats and Blackhats – but a world that is foggy with too many shades of gray. With my vision? I was used to foggy.
My mum on the other hand was an English Lit and Art History graduate, and tried to get me into Shakespeare, especially the dark tales like Hamlet and Macbeth she knew would interest me more. But the only great Dane hero I took to at that young age was Beowulf and his fight with Grendel. An almost Brother’s Grimm like legend with hideous monsters, a brave, but flawed hero and lurid gore. She also got me into the Classics – Gods, monsters. Heroes like Perseus, Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts, Ali Baba, Sinbad enthralled me more than anything. And if there was a Ray Harryhausen stop animation film about them, I was first in the queue at the Saturday matinee to see it. Then I got into Celtic stories of Cu Chulainn whose battle frenzy swole him into a gigantic rage beast – not unlike Marvel’s Hulk.
I wanted to be a Mythological head chopping hero, a hardboiled PI, an Outlaw cowboy, a two-fisted starship captain or a gangster more than I wanted to be a superhero… well maybe except for Batman. If there was any old noir movie or police show like Dragnet or Peter Gunn on the Tv, I would watch it enthusiastically as much as I watched any Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Fantasy, Western or Horror program or late movie.
Mike Hammer, Humphrey Bogart PIs and Gangsters, Clint Eastwood Cowboys were my anti-hero role models as much as Batman, Captain Kirk and Rooster Cogburn were my white hat heroes (although even those three were not whiter-than-white good guys). I liked the darker more twisted side of things from an early age – and lapped up any old Universal or blood dripping Hammer Horror film I used to watch with my dad both of us giggling with glee along to the shenanigan hammy horror hijinks on screen and their equivalent on the printed page.
The 70s had the BEST Dr Who’s and James Bonds. They had the best villains. I wanted Sean Connery or Christopher Lee for my absentee Grandads I never met. And as I grew into the punk era, 1977 changed my life as new anti-hero role models presented themselves in the comicbook 2000AD with Future cop JUDGE DREDD and HAN SOLO in Starwars.
Captain Kirk looked too saccarin when compared to Han Solo. A space cowboy gunslinging outlaw/pirate, who plays by his own rules. Judge Dredd on the other hand represented The Law, but then would reinterpret those laws to suit his Judgement. His was a Law where you feared his Badge and the gun he enforced it by. Dredd was like the Man with No name from the Spaghetti Westerns and Dirty Harry rolled into one. Forget that crappy Stallone movie. Dredd comics gave me my first real taste of dark satire disguised as police action movie in comicstrip form.
2000AD was unlike anything America could produce in the 70s and 80s Scifi comic wise. It was a Scifi Anthology title where each story was as good as or better than the others. But it mixed in healthy doses of horror and RE Howard style fantasy action too. While the American superhero comicbook format concentrated usually on one hero. 2000AD gave you 6 heroes – WEEKLY
My dad had some old EC Tales From The Crypt comics from the 50s which were lying in a box in the attic and those blew my mind. Graphic as hell. The quality of 2000AD’s weird and hardcore scifi tales reminded me a lot of Tales from the crypt in its no nonsense approach. 2000AD had the outwards appearance of “safe” But it was subversive, dark stuff indeed. And the fact its been going nearly 40 years means its damn good in what it does.
It got me into reading more and more hardcore scifi in a big way in novel form. I craved dystopian visions of the future from Harlan Ellison, dark visions with a sense of dark humor to them. I started to have less and less interest in the pants and tights antics of the Marvel and DC superheroes and made 2000AD my home. Not only did 2000AD have great stories of their own, but it serialised the adventures in comicstrip form of “The Stainless Steel Rat” Novels by Harry Harrison. Which then led me to read the books that inspired the strip.
The 80s came with more and better 2000AD characters that rivalled JUDGE DREDD, for both story-telling power and innovative scifi.
ABC WARRIORS, NEMESIS THE WARLOCK, SLAINE, ROGUE TROOPER and STRONTIUM DOG – Not only was Strontium Dog someone I could relate to having an eye birth defect myself, as I felt like a mutant, but Strontium Dog and Rogue Trooper are partial influences on my own bountyhunter – Dick Dice.
The 80s was the home video boom and I hungrily cosumed every horror, noir or scifi movie I could watch – which warped my mind even further – but did I go out to rape and kill people? No. I wrote about supernatural crazed killers and disturbed detectives on their trail instead, influenced by the Masters of modern horror like Craven, Carpenter, Hooper, Raimi, Romero etc. ALIEN was a futuristic Horror film and introduced me to the superb storytelling of Ridley Scott.
And its Scott’s visuals that also gave me Harrison Ford starring as Detective Rick Deckard in BLADERUNNER based on the book “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K Dick. I was finally vindicated in my belief that a Dick could write great stories . Have so much vision of a dystopian future that it echoed the nihilistic world of Judge Dredd. Course I found out later Dredd’s world was influence by Dick.
Yeah I know that doesn’t sound right…get over it.
Dick’s scifi is very noir, very sleazy, grimy down-at-heel and dysfunctionally dystopian.
I got into my scifi Kinsman, Phil Dick’s work in a big way. First reading naturally the book that influenced the movie and then “Second Variety” (which was adapted as the movie “Screamers”), “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” (which was adapted into the Total recall movies) and the very weird Scanner Darkly (the movie was very close). But above all else with people raving about E.T. (Fuck E.T.) – Blade Runner was my film
The Starwars Trilogy (the Good films with Han Solo, fuck that whiny Annakin brat in the ear) were my films. And the Pulp, slightly noirish, adventures of Indiana Jones was my kinda films too. Harrison Ford could do no wrong for me in the 80s – he made the best hat-trick of hardnosed character driven action films since Eastwood. He may not be considered the best actor ever. But he was as much an antihero as Clint was until I discovered the films of Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke.
The late 80s and early 90s I consumed Stephen King, Ramsay Campbell and Jame Herbert (The Rats trilogy Shrine and The Dark) horror novels. I always liked King’s short story collections more than his full novels (though fave King novels are The Dark Half, Pet Cemetery, Salem’s Lot and Carrie). I got into rereading Conan books by RE Howard and its Fantasy antithesis in the Michael Moorcock Elric/Stormbringer Saga. Moorcock reintroduced me to the concept of the multiverse. Infinite dimensions and their variations on time and space relativity. Also got into Jerry Cornelius by Moorcock too. An amoral, more dysfunctional mix of James Bond and Dr Who.
The 80s and 90s also reaffirmed my devotion to 2000AD and also introduced me to the work of two literary greats in any medium, (Though these men called Comicbooks their home) – they are of course Alan Moore (Author of V For VENDETTA, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN and WATCHMEN) and Frank Miller (Author and Artist of BATMAN DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, ELEKTRA, 300 and my all time favourite SIN CITY – another influence on my Dick Dice character) between them they made comicbooks grow up in a very mature fashion. And truly gave birth to the GRAPHIC NOVEL boom. Miller can quite rightly be called a modern noir great.
I returned to my early dabblings in Lovecraft and other weird fiction authors, even when I had to write dissertations on Shakespeare stuff I always chose the darker stuff with horror overtones like Hamlet and Macbeth, stories chock full of violent, lurid murder, the supernatural and bloody conflict.
I graduated Art college in the early 90s but my sight was on its way out. My future wife Suzy came into my life and I was better for it. Suzy like me was a surprise – one of the kindest women you could ever meet as I’d dated some real twisted women with lovely wrapping but tarnished hearts.
Suzy was who I needed to get me through the quite literally dark times ahead.
Just when I had a chance of getting into Dark Horse comics, after getting turned down by 2000AD a few times, my sight cut out. I would be blind on and off for a few years, gaining sight some weeks only for me to go more blind again the next week. It was like I had a loose wire in my head. I needed to have that double cateract operation.
The eyes took 6 months to fully heal apiece and by the time I got full vision back, everything was so bright and colorful for my brain to take in. Imagine turning up the brightness, color and contrast on your tv to max – that’s how I see all the time now. I have to wear dark glasses 24/7 and look like a white-washed Ray Charles.
After a while I started to lose power again in the left eye, until it was useless. Nothing would repair it. And as you may have already clicked that old “deadeye” nickname has taken on a whole brand new meaning.
Now I’m a Scots Cyclops “Jock of All Trades”- but master of none. Good at art and a bit of writing…. How good with one eye? – you can decide, as art and fiction writing are subjective to individual taste. Some say I lack subtlety. Spillane, who was once accused of the same thing said:-
“I never professed to have any, so go fuck yourself”.
I’ve been married over 20 years now – got a bunch of kids. I am a regulator short story and art contributor to a few websites – YELLOW MAMA, BLACK PETALS and A SHOT OF INK. I’m starting to get a few stories and some art published now, both online in titles like Black Petals and Yellow Mama and cover artwork in publications “Next Stop Napper’s Holler” By Anne Stickel and “Death Takes A Snow Day” by my good friend and noir mentor Cindy Rosmus. The former also features interior B&W artwork by me, some of the best pieces are presented in the showcase.
Under the Pseudonym Paul Knight I’ve created my own Comicbook Series called “AKAITAIYO” – Deadeye Samurai” Its about a blinded archaeologist mystically empowered by an ancient warrior God (Kami) bonded together sharing the same body with a dual mind they seeks out and destroy evil in classic superhero and Chanbara samurai movie fashion. It combines heavy elements of Japanese mythology and folklore with the violent horror of the Japanese Horror movie.
I have also created an intelligent Zombie Wild West bountyhunter called EZEKIEL GRIMM in the Horror Western series I wrote called GRIMM PRAIRIE TRAILS. I plan to take this from prose short story into a graphic medium at some point. Zeke is a zombie in so far as he needs flesh to replenish himself and temporarily stop his crumbling decay – though he can eat humans, he prefers supernatural sustenance in the flesh of Werewolves, Vampires and other entities. So he hunts outlaws both supernatural and mundane for a fistful of dollars and a bellyful of fresh meat.
Sometimes I create horror stories with my only brother, Earl. Earl is a great story teller in his own right. Together we are writing some psycho killer tales for an anthology book and also writing the modern horror western Pooch and Sundown, a road movie of sorts with a bickering werewolf /vampire odd couple who fought on opposite sides of the American civil war.
Hope you enjoy the artwork you see before you which because of my visual disability I’ve affected a faster style that combines a bit of Photoshop and classic painting/illustrating techniques using photographical reference. Giving me a degree of control on the digital page I can no longer have on real life paper one. Some slick bastards use a WACOM stylus tablet – I keep it dysfunctionally dytstopian old school drawing with a temperamental mouse.
I’m not slick enough to use Adobe Photoshop, so I use the meat and potatoes of Paint Shop pro 9.
My art influences run from pulp comic greats like Bob Kane, Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, to Dave Mckean and Bill Siekeiwicz and of course the Writer/Artists Frank Miller and Todd MacFarlane. And practically EVERYONE that’s ever drawn or wrote for 2000AD favorites are Dave Gibbons, Ron Smith, Mike McMahon, Cam Kennedy, David Lloyd, Brian Bolland and Bryan Talbot and writers wise you cant beat the unholy 2000AD writing Triumverate of John Wagner, Alan Grant and Pat Mills. These men along with Alan Moore, Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison revitalised American comics in a more literate fashion.
I tend to be influenced by these people a lot but unlike those artist’s clean lines I go for a more chaotic, freeform, cinematic style – like I’m illustrating a movie still, but putting whoever I want into the cast, using an impressionistic style rather than something that’s flawlessly photoshopped. And definitely using a comicbook composition sensibility.
I go for strong images using mood colors and good composition. Sometimes I even use a favoured genre actor in the role but try to disguise them a bit. Or even create a Frankenstein’s monster of several actors in a new image. For example when I illustrate my good friend KENNETH CRIST’s BARRY WILDER character he’s a mix of actors Michael Gross(Tremors) and Terry O Quinn (Lost).
In the artwork I gave Jason for this showcase – there’s also a serial killer Elvis
Music influences my artwork and writing a great deal. I’ve always been a bit of a 70s rocker and favoured bands are Led Zeppelin, 70s Sabbath, 70s Deep Purple and 70s ACDC.
But as I’ve got into my mid forties I like just about a bit of everything, From Old school Public enemy, NWA or Ice T to Symphonic and Prog rock.
But I hate manufactured Pop. Nothing boils my piss to steam more than that mindless pap.
Heres my playlist and what I use it for.
When I’m doing something horror-related -writing or art – on goes some Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson, The Cramps, The Misfits or Rob Zombie to get me in the right mindset.
If I’m doing something Noir – on goes the heavy sax Jazz, Lalo Schifrin 70s Funk Jazz and John Lee Hooker/Robert Johnson blues tracks , even the Peter Gunn theme tune.
Writing/drawing westerns I play Johnny Cash, Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western themes and some Nick Cave tracks like Stagger Lee, Red Right Hand and his Murder ballads.
For the Scifi stuff I do, I go orchestral, from a mish mash of John Williams and Harry Gregson-Williams scores.
Above all else I hope you enjoy my noirish pulp Scifi dystopian hitman/bountyhunter story –
Dick Dice. And the artwork that goes with it
Its a heavy chunk of Phil Dick and Frank Miller even the Post apocalyptic Mad Max movies, Dick Dice is a hybrid of all three as the story progresses, with even a heavy influence of Dr who-like time travel shenanigans as he discovers the true abilities of the dice he has in his possession.
THAT FAT RED BASTARD is a prose nod to THAT YELLOW BASTARD by Frank Miller. One of Miller’s best Sin City short stories. The only similarity between the two stories is that there is a paedophile villain in the story. With Miller’s it’s a State Senator’s son. Mine its Santa Claus. Dice speaks much like a Spillane or Miller character does. He’s a cold-blooded, some may say psychotic, killer who enjoys what he does maybe a bit too much.
Though this is a flashback story to Dice’s origins and his first kill. Its not the first story in the series which is actually Dick Dice – A Case Of Deadly Relativity.
Dice in this story is an unpaid “Church” Assassin working for a crazy dice based Death Cult who enacts their religious vengeance through random dice rolls on altar crap tables.
In his main stories Dick Dice has escaped the death cult operating as a P.I. – a Problem Interceptor. A freelance hitman-cum-bountyhunter. He takes jobs wherever he finds them but the death cult still has an open warrant for his head. Dick has stolen their holiest symbol – a pair of black, faceless dice which are a lot more than that – theyre alive…
As Dick Dice would say…
Take a gamble…Roll ‘em… And be lucky…
Paul ‘Deadeye’ Dick