Mike Jaye writes:
Eleven years ago, Mike Ploog was offered a three-issue miniseries to illustrate titled Thicker Than Blood. While he was busy on a film project at the time, he was able to get to work on TTB just one year later.
"I was immediately attracted to the subject matter," says Ploog. "It had all of the gothic elements that I enjoy working on."
A real bonus for Ploog was that Simon Bisley, whom Ploog long admired, would be painting the comics from Ploog's finished pen and ink work. Bisley, who brought much fire to the project, states:
"As a youth I was totally inspired by Ploog's brilliant art, and to get the chance to work with my hero, as you can understand, it was a dream come true."
Anyone seeing the comics immediately recognized the quality of the art. The combination of Ploog and Bisley is as far out as it is complementary. And, both artists brought their A-game to Thicker Than Blood.
In 2016, FPG President Mike Friedlander saw the original artwork for the first time. Friedlander said that he was completely blown away by seeing the original art, and it made him want to produce both Ploog and Bisley's artwork at the full size of the originals, so all of the fans could really get a look at it — ink stains, bumps, wrinkles and all.
"Not many people have ever had the chance to see complete original comic stories by Mike and Simon at actual size. Maybe a page or two here and there, but never the complete books."
Now, FPG is releasing the Thicker Than Blood: Collected Artwork Edition. This is an original-art-sized edition unlike any before it. Not only will the book reproduce the art at the original size it was created; it will also represent the work of TWO artists, not just one. And, further, it will cover the mediums of both black-and-white line and full-color paint, presented side by side. As a lover of art, Mike Friedlander thought that fans of Ploog and fans of Bisley would genuinely appreciate viewing their art in this format.
As this book will show, both artists brought something very special to Thicker Than Blood. Studying each page will give you a view of two artists injecting a lot of energy into each other's work. Ploog's composition and drawing is spot on, and Bisley's work complements and expands on Ploog's masterful page layouts. You will see just how much thought and time Bisley put into each and every panel.
"For the long-time Ploog fans out there, I believe that not since the days of Frank Chiaramonte, laying down wonderful inks to Mike Ploog's pencils, have I seen another artist's work complement Mike's drawings as well as does Simon Bisley's. It's really good stuff!"
Together, Ploog and Bisley created 136 interior pages and 12 covers. Each piece of the original art was painstakingly scanned, capturing every fine detail. So, what you will see when you look through this large hardcover book, which measures 12" x 17", will be as close to looking at the original artwork as possible. And, in actuality, this book contains six complete comics; three by Ploog and three by Bisley.
At the age of 77, and after very, VERY serious consideration, Mike Ploog has decided to officially retire. He wants to start spending his time relaxing with friends and family, so he has decided to stop doing commissions, conventions, and alas, comics. For the many Ploogies out there, it's a sad day to learn that Thicker Than Blood will be his last new published comic work.
Perhaps it's not too extreme to see a romantic connection between Werewolf By Night and Thicker Than Blood, for Ploog's spotlight in comics has now begun and ended with a full moon…and a werewolf.