Friday, 5 June 2015

The artwork of Ballad of Bill McKenzie

Meet old Bill McKenzie, well, at least in art form.

I've been very fortunate to work with some great artists during the production of the Magic Mattress series. Though Ballad of Bill McKenzie introduces us to the character, and his tragic story, he is an ongoing presence throughout the series.

Here are a few illustrations to introduce you to that wily old Liverpool ghost.

In Japan with the anime studio System M. 

In China with Jiang Toon studios.

Most recently with the Czech artist Lenka Simeckova.

I'm looking forward to working on an illustrated book of the Magic Mattress and the Ballad of Bill McKenzie in the near future.

-Rob Sloane

Monday, 1 June 2015

The story so far...

The Ballad of Bill McKenzie is the haunting and Gothic first volume introducing us to the universe and characters of the Magic Mattress series of books. Epic tales of high fantasy, ghosts, monsters, adventure, mayhem and mystery... all happening in our familiar world: just out of sight; or there, in the corner of your eye.

Herein lies a ghostly little tale of top hats and tall booted fantasy, to stir the unquiet imagination.

There is a most infamous ghost in Liverpool. A legendary apparition, to inspire dread and wonder, and his name: Bill McKenzie. He has haunted the city streets in his top hat and tall leather boots for as long as any can now remember. Yet, all anyone truly knows about him is wild speculation and rumour. His is a dark mystery that has remained secreted for a century and more. And there his bones sit on a chair, in a pyramid shaped tomb, in an abandoned church yard, on Rodney Street.
Exactly how did McKenzie – in his life, an esteemed engineer and upstanding Victorian - become in death, this ghastly green-eyed spectre that strikes mortal terror into all who should glance upon him? Why does his restless shade sing among the shadows that dark lament of restitution, justice and revenge?

This then, is old Bill’s ghostly tale, told exactly as it happened: beware, for it is a macabre affair of the magical and the supernatural. The eternal game of souls: vast fortunes to be won, and enormous stakes to be lost. McKenzie’s fate, however, is not the end of the story – no, not by any means. It is merely the beginning of the undertaking. The opening moves in a far grander game: a fantastic adventure spanning all of time and creation.