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Brett Ewins



Brett Ewins' art on Skreemer, a limited series from DC Comics

Brett Ewins was a British comics artist. Born in 1955, he studied Conceptual Art (art in which the idea or concept presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product — Ewins' finished products are nevertheless of a consistently high standard) at Goldsmiths College in London (which has one of Britain's most prestigious art departments). He met his future colleague Peter Milligan there, and graduated in 1977.

Ewins' first work was creating the comic Sometimes Stories with artist Brendan McCarthy, but only one issue was ever published (although a second was completed). He then started producing covers for sci-fi anthology comic 2000 AD, and went on to work on Tharg's Future Shocks (comic and/or horrific short one-off strips) and Judge Dredd (2000 AD's most famous strip), again with McCarthy. Solo work on the future war story Rogue Trooper and the Dredd spin-off Anderson, Psi-Division followed.

For all these tales Ewins provided gleefully inventive work, seeming to find himself in his element when drawing stories with a strong element of the horrific or the uncanny. He was a perfect match for the adventures of the psychic Judge Anderson, who often found herself visiting unholy netherworlds or wrestling with the unquiet dead. Ewins depicted her exploits in a style that faithfully relayed the eldritch horrors she faced while nevertheless retaining that essential element of humour that was the backbone of her optimistic personality, and of her series.

Some of Ewins' best work was for Bad Company, one of 2000 AD's most popular and iconic series. Holding a dark mirror up to twentieth-century conflicts, it told of a future war of attrition between humanity (what was left of it) and the sadistic alien Krool. Bad Company was written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Ewins and Jim McCarthy (Brendan's brother), who rose to the challenge of portraying robots, amorphous alien monsters and damaged human beings with aplomb. Their art achieved the vital task of making the story believable, thus preserving its emotional impact. Among their bizarre and memorable creations, which influenced a generation of young comic-readers and future comic-creators, were Kano, Danny Franks, Mad Tommy, the shape-shifting Protoid, human weapon De Racine, unsuccessful masochist Rackman and the beautiful, deadly Sheeva.

In 1988 Ewins started the comic magazine Deadline with Steve Dillon. Combining this with continued work for 2000 AD and work on Skreemer for DC Comics led to a nervous breakdown from overwork in 1991. Despite his health problems, Ewins later worked on a number of anthologies and also branched out into painting (several of his paintings are for sale via his website). Brett Ewins died in early 2015 after a short illness, aged 59.

Brett Ewins tribute Rufus Dayglo

Brett Ewins and his creations: a fantastic tribute page by Rufus Dayglo