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The critically acclaimed artist makes his Marvel debut in DARK X-MEN: THE BEGINNING #3

By Marc Strom

Just to clear things up, the artist known simply as Jock has little propensity for sports.

He can, however, produce some of the most dynamic and explosive pages in comics today without breaking a sweat, and in DARK X-MEN: THE BEGINNING #3, on sale August 26, he teams up with writer Jason Aaron in his first work for Marvel Comics.

Though he's worked in the industry for a number of years now, Jock first broke in "mainly from showing my portfolio around at [United Kingdom] conventions. After a few knock backs I showed my work to [writer] Andy Diggle, who was an editor at 2000AD at the time, and he gave me my first work there. I then met [editor] Karen Berger a couple of years later, who dug my 2000AD work, and that led to working on The Losers with Andy. It all came full circle."

Throughout his career, Jock has switched back and forth between his creator-owned properties and work on various franchise comics, a dynamic that he finds very creatively fulfilling.

"Obviously the freedom of creator-owned work is great, but there's a real kick to be had working on characters you've known and loved for a long time," the artist relates. "I like different things about both to be honest."

When it comes to working on pre-existing characters, such as Mystique in DARK X-MEN: THE BEGINNING, Jock actually finds very little difference in the way he approaches them versus his own creations.

"I just try to approach every project with enthusiasm, and hopefully play to the strengths of the story and characters I'm working with," Jock continues. "I guess differences can come about, but I aim for that to happen naturally as I draw."

Beyond his work on the interiors of comics, Jock has also served as cover artist on other series, such as Jason Aaron's Scalped.

"I love working on covers," confesses Jock. "I'd say a favorite was probably The Losers, mainly because it was our first series, and my first American work, and, now [that] I think about it, the first work I did using a

Mac [computer] as part of the process. But I had total freedom to play around with a lot of design ideas and try different things, which was a lot of fun."

While his pages have a strong design element to them, Jock tells us that he allows a lot of that to come out in the process of the actual drawing, as opposed to any prep work ahead of time.

"With story pages I tend to just do one thumbnail," reveals Jock of his process. "I enjoy laying things out and like to be quite instinctive. Covers can often go through a few ideas. I do love the design aspect of covers and page layouts, but again, I try to just feel my way with it. If it looks cool to me, I hope it looks cool to other people!"

The artist first began to work under his penname by way of making a more memorable impression, but its origins go back to before he began his career as an artist.

"It's just a nickname from school that stuck," remembers Jock of his pseudonym. "When I was starting out I found that no one forgot the name, so I kept it. When I started at DC I did wonder whether I should change it, as it means something entirely different in the States; no, I'm not an all-American sports star."

It may have taken him a few years to make his way over to Marvel's hallowed halls, but not for a lack of desire to work with its heroes.

"I've always loved Marvel's roster of characters," explains Jock. "At the time [I signed exclusively with DC], I was just starting on an ongoing series so it suited me very well. I'm thrilled to now get a chance to draw some mighty Marvel."

Jock's short story in DARK X-MEN: THE BEGINNING #3 also marks the first time he'll work with writer Jason Aaron on the interiors of a comic.

"Jason's a good friend, and from working on covers for his series Scalped I became all too aware what a brilliant writer he was," says the artist. "I'm so pleased he's now getting the recognition he deserves. We'd talked about working together for a while, and when the offer of a Dark X-Men story came up, Jason kindly stepped in to write the script.

"I was grinning from ear to ear when I read it for the first time. He gave me not only Mystique, but [Spider-Man] and Wolverine to draw too. I love how 'tough' his scripts are and I had a great time drawing this one."

The artist also hopes that this story will prove the first of many for Marvel, with a bevy of characters he'd like to work with in the future:

"Probably the predictable characters, Daredevil, Punisher or Wolverine. Things that I can draw in a cool, bold and gnarly way. I think I could do a pretty good Daredevil with Andy Diggle-I love working with him and I'd dig drawing [New York City] a lot. And I'd love to work more with Jason too-we'll see!"

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      I loved Jock upon ' Green arrow : year one '...it was surely a matter of time to see him working for Marvel; teaming onto 'DD' with Andy Giggle is such a wonderful idea...Looking at these pages seems like Jock had more creative freedom allowed than Chris Bachalo, who didn't had the chance to stay himself.


      Wow... Jock doing Daredevil with Diggle would fan-friggin-tastic. Marvel please make this happen!!!!


      Jock is one of my favourite artists to date. His style is very dynamic and eye-catching. He's very underrated.