Wednesday, 27 March 2013

'nuther Drowntown sketch

Here's a wideshot of the first set in the story from a fairly small panel; a silted up section of street that's been partially drained, and into which our main character is slowly sinking. The final version in the comic is a slightly tightened sketch with barely more than a few acrylic washes.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Drowntown sketches

Thought I'd share some pencils from Drowntown in conjunction with the finished acrylics. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


One of the great thing about being a comics writer is the thrill you get when see a page of artwork that's been drawn from one of your scripts, or, in the case of a cover, features elements and characters from the story you've been working on, combining into a single striking, attention-grabbing image that will hopefully have the book flying off the shelves.

Jim's initial sketch for the cover of Drowntown certainly grabbed my attention when it arrived in my email box late last year - an early Christmas present.  

The bulk of the image features the shambling hulk of Leo Noiret, who, from the first page of the script - the very first panel, in fact - has become one of my favourite characters to write. 

I'm probably best known as the creator (along with artist Simon Fraser) of Nikolai Dante, a swashbuckling thief and adventurer in 27th century Russia, whose exploits were published in iconic UK SF comic 2000AD from 1997-2012, and subsequently collected as a series of 11 Graphic Novels. Dante was a young, sexy, handsome devil in the vein of Errol Flynn. 

Leo Noiret is almost the anti-Dante, a downbeat, down-at-heel, down-at-everything hard-luck hero a little too fond of his beer, more along the lines of battered, world-weary film icons like Robert Mitchum or Lee Marvin. 

Jim’s finished version of the cover, complete with logo and credits also offers us a glimpse of some of the book’s other characters, namely Gina Cassell, Aqua-Courier - seen speeding across the Thames at the bottom of the image - and London itself. We see a small part of the cityscape on the cover too, the palm trees of Noiret’s shirt becoming the blades of the wind-turbines that help power Drowntown, as London's come to be known.

Finally, we have the finished cover layout – front and back – combining a short synopsis of the story (see previous post) with a beautiful shot of the book’s most dangerous and enigmatic character - notorious underworld figure Alexandra Bastet.

Drowntown Book 1 is out in the UK in June. Pre-order your copy at your local book or comic shop, or at

Jim also has a blog of his own, where you can view some of the incredible paintings and concept art he's produced over the last few years. 

Once you're there, you'll find it hard to get away:


Drowntown is an epic adventure set in a flooded futuristic London that hurls down-at-heel minder Leo Noiret head first into a web of intrigue, murder, conspiracy, revenge and psychotic talking chimpanzees. No wonder he feels like this...

Drowntown is a new Graphic Novel written by Robbie Morrison and illustrated by artist extraordinaire Jim Murray, Book 1 of which will be published in June 2013 by Jonathan Cape.

Between now and publication, we thought we'd set up this blog to share some of the development process behind Drowntown and showcase a few behind-the-scenes extras.

Here's how the story is described on the back cover of the book:

‘Just had a romantic Waterloo sunset spoiled by the sight of a corpse being dredged from the Thames? Welcome to Drowntown…

‘The name's Noiret, Leo Noiret. I'm a Minder, which means people hire me to protect them, figuring that my beer belly and monumental streak of bad luck are big enough to intercept any blades, bullets or bad feelings heading their way.

‘Staying alive isn’t easy, though, when everyone who’s anyone in Drowntown wants your new client dead in the water. I’m going to need a bigger belly…’

The world has changed forever, ravaged by climatic upheaval. The flooded metropolis of London has adapted to the rising sea levels, remaining a centre for international commerce and a magnet for environmental refugees. The elite gaze out over the ever-expanding Thames from their ivory towers, while the denizens of submerged pubs peer into the sunken streets like specimens in an aquarium.

Hired by notorious underworld figure Alexandra Bastet, Leo Noiret uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that stretches from the depths of Drowntown to the highest echelons of power and influence.

Struggling aqua-courier Gina Cassel learns that young love can be a dangerous game when she becomes romantically involved with the heir to the Drakenberg Corporation, which aims to control both the environment and the future of human evolution.

There’s a storm brewing in Drowntown, with Gina and Noiret at its heart…

Drowntown Book 1 is out in the UK in June. Pre-order your copy at your local book or comic shop, or at