Droid Icons: The (Mostly Unseen) Art Of Clint Langley
Having impressed with his fully-painted art on strips like Nemesis the Warlock, Slaine, and some superb cover work, the Langley droid’s star seemed set to soar..
But, apart from a one-off Sinister Dexter tale: F.A.Q (Prog1076,6Jan’98), the art droid did not appear again in the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic for four long years.
It was not until the new millenium that the Langley droid made his dramatic, triumphant return - and how!
Taking his art in a whole new dazzling digital direction, unlike anything we’d seen before, (Mark Harrison's Durham Red, had utilised some CG-art, but not to this extent) Langley's stunning style was a revelation.
Lending itself to dramatic cover art, initially this was where Langley's style created the most impact, but it wouldn't be long before the art droid would team up with his long-term script droid partner, Pat Mills to decide which of the Mills droid’s many creations would be best-suited to Langley's brand new dynamic, futuristic art style: Nemesis the Warlock perhaps - far-flung futures &tamp; far-out alien species; a multi-part Dredd epic maybe, or Flesh, with it’s mixture of dinosaurs and time-travelling space cowboys, could be cool; possibly even an original creation, designed especially to showcase this fresh, experimental style of Langley's..
What the creative team did next was probably what we least expected, they took the Langley droid’s visual trickery, and applied it to the one character in the comic whose entire world is firmly rooted in the past (or pasts, to be specific!) and instead of gleaming spires and sleek spacecraft, we were going to see his CG-style applied to the fantasy-driven, swords & sorcery epic of… Slaine?
To be honest I didn’t think this could work, and his art would’ve been totally better suited on another strip, but as usual the Mills (and Langley) droids were right, seeing Slaine with a recognisably human face,and the ferrety, rat-like Ukko, brought to life in such a realistic fashion, was a genuine eye-opener, and by Tharg the Mighty - it worked. Of course it did, this is Pat Mills we’re talking about, and obviously the Langley droid did have previous experience on Slaine, as well as drawing awesome monsters!
But before we dive into Clint Langley's frankly spectacular work on Slaine…and later work…we thought it would be cool to look at some of his earliest digital cover work, and some of his lesser known pieces..
So sit back and marvel at the genius of an art droid at the top of his game..
- .One of Langley’s first digital covers: (Prog 1332,19Mar’03) - Caballistics Inc., Hammer Horror movie-style poster
- More marvellous Caballistics Inc, feat. Hannah Chapter (Prog1363,22Oct’03)
- Leatherjack (Prog1456,14Sep’05)- scripted from the twisted imagination of the John Smith droid (Indigo Prime,Cradlegrave), this is a tale of,an assassin tasked with saving a book containing all human consciousness, in danger of being destroyed along with a library world in a galactic war, against a cult of Mary Whitehouse-types, determined to censor everything, known as the Spinster Empire
- .An early Judge Death with a ‘guilty’ ssinnerr! - his 'crime' was life, and there could only be one sentence….
- Langley gets to work with one of his heroes, and major influences, the late,uniquely great maverick art droid, John Hickleton (died with dignity ~ 2010). What a shame that Hicklenton and Langley never did more collaborations, their art was a perfect match, would’ve been brilliant for any of the Prog’s darker series. Anyway,they did manage a couple of fantastic Judge Dredd covers and such though. This is one of our favourites: pencil & colours from the Langley droid, beautifully inked by the master of mayhem, art droid, John Hicklenton (R.I.P, sir!).
- Shakara Rises! Stunning Shakara cover art - Prog 1715.
- Dredd looks grim-faced (nothing new there, then!), as the tragic events of Chaos Day begin to unfold, in what will be the worst ever catastrophe to hit Mega-City One, killing over 3/4 of the population - a massive 350 million citizens - grim news, indeed, believably portrayed by the Langley droid on this cover - Prog 1743 (20Jul’11)
- Unused cover art - Prog 1858 - art for Gorehead, the terrifying T-Rex from Flesh: Texas & Badlanders (Progs1850-61)
- Special US promotional art for the Mills & Langley droid’s most recent collaboration, the darkly divine, American Reaper, which brings a whole new meaning to identity theft! Published originally in the Judge Dredd Megazine (Meg337,18Jul’13)
Some truly jaw-dropping art from the Langley droid, but it was on Slaine and another much-loved strip where he would really blow our Thrill-circuits…!