About a month ago, the sad and sudden news that Carlos Ezquerra had been taken ill with Lung Cancer broke on the 2000ad forum. The good news was that it had been caught in time.
A short while later, I, and many others (including some professionals) were contacted by Mark Howard (The Legendary Shark) and asked if we would like to contribute something to a get well comic that would be given to Carlos. The importance of Carlos Ezquerra's work in 2000ad's history and it's meaning to hundreds of adoring fans cannot be understated. With John Wagner, he created both Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, two of the comic's most enduring characters. His work was also something of an inspiration to me in my youth, so my answer to the question posed was a resounding yes, I want to contribute something!.
A quick e-mail to Rich Clements and Dave Evans to ask whether they'd like to collaborate on a special 'Teen Wulf' for the project and a simple suggestion that it involve Wulf's Dad, who would be a doppleganger for Carlos yeilded the swift and genius response from Rich, a script for 'Cucumber' (a favoured word of Wulf's in his dealings with Johnny Alpha) arrived in my in box. I had enormous fun illustrating the strip, and I'm sure I've not done Carlos justice, but it's the thought that counts, right? I'm not going to share Dave's lettering for the page here, because there will be a publicly available link to a download of the whole comic that I will share when the time comes.
With my contribution made, I thought nothing more of the project until I received an e-mail via Dave that Mark had secured a deal for printing the comic, the printer would do the job for a substantial discount if he could get a logo designed for his motorcycle club... could I help out? Well, again, it was an easy decision, of course, if I can help out - I will.
Luckily the illustration above, did the trick and with one happy printer, the project could go full steam ahead!
Again, I thought nothing more about the project until Mark posted on the 2000ad forum asking if anyone could help out with special duties... In the spirit of the project's secrecy I responded simply to ask what the problem was and if I could help again... Mark desperately needed a cover, had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted and needed it pretty swiftly - I should have been working on other things, but it felt like an important job to help out on, so again, I found myself contributing to the project.
Yesterday, the comic was received by Carlos and he expressed his gratitude to all involved through a message to Mark on facebook. It has meant a great deal to me to be involved in honouring a hero of mine and I only hope it helps speed his recovery.
To Mark the Shark, all who contributed and those who simply kept the secret, I salute you, it makes me proud to be a fan of 2000ad!