Category Archives: Interviews


I was elated to discover how well the first Knight Rider Annual held up today when I reviewed it a few days ago. Any fears I had of a cheap cash-in were quickly dispensed with when I saw the comic strips inside. They were simply gorgeous. Coupled with fun prose tales and backed up with interesting articles featuring photographs which enthralled me as a kid, it was a superb package and one I felt proud of as an absolutely massive fan of the show.

I was thrilled to find out none other than David Lloyd (V for Vendetta, Wasteland, Hellblazer) was responsible for all of the art, both the strips and the illustrations for the prose stories. David is the editor of Aces Weekly, the superb digital anthology comic which has featured on the blog before. I thought I’d reach out and ask David if he’d be willing to answer some questions about his time working on the Knight Rider books. He said yes!

Not only was David very forthcoming with some fascinating information he also sent over scans of some of his early sketches, drawn while watching a recording of the series. These show his initial designs for K.I.T.T. and Michael, including a study of David Hasselhoff. I’m thrilled to include this post on the blog and I’m sure it’ll be as interesting to comics and Knight Rider fans alike.

OiNK Blog: I was (and I’ll admit still am) rather obsessed with Knight Rider. The show was a massive hit with families and kids of all ages. How familiar were you with it before working on the strips?

David Lloyd: I liked Knight Rider at the time too, though not quite as much you, obviously!

OB: I just love the finish of the drawings you did for the first two annuals, especially on the strips, they seemed to capture the darker atmosphere of the pilot movie in particular.

DL: I have particularly good memories about the first annual because I was very happy with the work I’d done on the wash drawing. Loved using wash and there were few places you could use it in regular comics art at the time. I had fun with the illos, too.

OB: The show couldn’t have been on for very long when you started work on this, did that hamper you in any way?

DL: No problem with it not being long-running [yet] and no one’s going to wait for you to become familiar with it all before you can draw an adaptation of it. You do your job and get on with it as a professional! And anyway, annuals were usually planned during a first season of a new series in expectation of some success, enough to justify the publishing of them, and also as part of some package of various launch/promotional agreements that might have been made, so you’d normally be drawing one for a new series before it had become massive, if it was going to.

OB: The show’s newness may not have hampered David but he did have to get creative in gathering references.

DL: By the way, to add some detail, I did that first KR annual before I had a video recorder, so I asked the help of a friend who did have one, and went round to sit and sketch some details from one of the shows I’d asked him to tape for me – pausing to sketch dashboard detail, etc. If you’re interested I can scan some of those scribbles, and some Hasselhoff studies I did before starting the job. I think you’d probably like to see them.

OB: What did a study entail?

DL: Just trying to study the likeness and get his face right enough.

OB: There were no credits in the Grandreams annuals but David has let us in on who wrote the strips and prose stories.

DL: The comic scripts and the shorts were all written by the brilliant Steve Moore. In fact, he wrote everything I ever drew on all the annuals I did for Grandreams. He was so good he could write any character to be exact to their personalities in any TV show he had to write stories for. And in some of the annuals, I think his stories were better than the TV scripts.

OB: I haven’t heard of the name Steve Moore before but you’re right, his stories in these were fantastic, especially the text stories. One in particular involving an art heist would’ve made a fantastic episode and I completely agree, some of his stories were better than some of the TV scripts! He definitely got the funny partnership between man and machine perfect.

DL: I’m surprised you hadn’t heard of Steve as I’d imagined you knew a lot about Brit comics as someone running a blog named after OiNK. Everyone who was around at the period of that particular comic were mostly aware of the general scene in Brit comics at the time and its denizens. If you have heard of Alan Moore, though, then you should know that Steve – no relation but a long-time friend – taught Alan how to write comics. Steve was a great writer but never busted through into making a great international profile for himself as some including Alan were lucky enough to do. He was just a fabulous craftsman in a specialist field of writing. And he wrote a book on the I Ching called the Trigrams of Han. No ordinary guy.

OB: David went on to name some of the other titles Steve wrote for, many of which were published before I started collecting comics as a young child with OiNK (and so haven’t been covered on the blog). These titles are classics through and through.

DL: On Steve Moore – he did most of the backup strips in Doctor Who magazine that I did, he created Laser Eraser and Pressbutton for Warrior, amongst other things, and Abslom Daak Dalek Killer and Hercules comics. Check them out if you can sometime.

OB: As far as choosing which parts of those wonderfully written prose stories to illustrate…

DL: The brief on the short stories in Knight Rider, and on all the other annuals I did, was to do a bunch of scenes that you could pick yourself, so it was very freeing creatively to do those. And I had particular fun using coloured inks on the KR stuff.

OB: Can I just ask about your drawings of K.I.T.T. himself? After the first two annuals another artist took over and (I’m not just saying this) the artwork was nowhere near as good or as detailed as yours. How difficult (or indeed, fun) did you find drawing the Trans-Am in these action strips, especially that complicated dashboard?

DL: Not difficult, though I’m no great fan of drawing cars. If you have a good story to tell and enough reference to do it well and you can enjoy yourself with good characters and settings, it’s fine. I sketched enough of what I needed to sketch and used what I could from elsewhere. I don’t know who did the following KR books but annuals publishers generally used talents of varying quality – some straight out of art school, some who were just jobbing illustrators who had no real feeling for comics art, and sometimes guys who knew exactly what they were doing : ) I did a Knight Rider colouring book, too, so if you’re a completist and want to seek that out from somewhere! (I’ll add that to my eBay searches then – Phil)

OB: Of course it wasn’t just K.I.T.T., the character of Michael was just as important and thankfully you and Steve realised this too. Can I just ask you about your process for drawing the strips? They’re unlike anything else from the time that I read. Most used more standard line work, whereas yours was completely different. How did you achieve the finished look?

DL: I can’t say much about the process it would take too long. It still begins with some degree of line drawing to start with except the shading that might be done in line drawing only – with cross-hatching, etc – is substituted with black watercolour washes of varying strengths. As I said, there wasn’t much wash drawing used in most comics at the time, as you attest, so it was good for me to be able to take the opportunity I could with KR. 

OB: Just one more question, all of the images of K.I.T.T. (drawings and photos) have “Knight 2000” on his bodywork somewhere, no matter the angle. This was never the case on the show, he was meant to blend in, but I remember all of my toys as a kid had the same thing. I’m guessing it was to differentiate between Knight Rider and Pontiac Trans-Am merchandise in licensing, can you remember this being something you had to add and why?

DL: The car branding, I don’t remember any instruction about that and there are drawings of mine in the strips and illos where it isn’t added – so I forgot about it if I had been – but I think it must have been a requested requirement from the licensor because on the second page of Crime Buster K.I.T.T. in the second annual the car has the branding, but badly done, so it wasn’t done by me.  Yes, so, perhaps a contractual need from Trans-Am.

I just want to say thanks so much to David for his time, I can’t begin to describe how appreciative I am to have the chance to chat to him about Knight Rider and a book which brought so much joy to not only six-year-old me, but also to the 44-year-old who now writes about these childhood comics and books. To see more of David’s work from the first Knight Rider Annual you can check out the full review and then wait (patiently or impatiently) for the next one in twelve months time.

Don’t forget to subscribe to David’s Aces Weekly, the digital anthology comic. Each volume is made up of seven weekly issues for only £7, that’s just £1 each! The entire back catalogue is also available on the website and even features work by OiNK cartoonists David Leach and Lew Stringer. So don’t miss out, click on the title below and off you go!


Back in 2018 in the days of the old blog I chatted to Dom Blanco, a classic toy collector who had begun sharing his collection on Instagram, particularly of more obscure 80s and 90s toys. He was enthusiastically researching and buying up the entire Ring Raiders collection, a toy range I was obsessed with as a kid and the comic of which I’ve covered on the blog already. In fact, that comic remains one of my very favourites from my childhood to this day.

I was just waiting for Dom to send me photographs of his collection before publishing the interview, but he never did and he even stopped updating his social media. I’ve tried to reach out since (including just recently) but unfortunately it appears he’s moved on. Because of the lack of photos I didn’t publish the interview on the old site but I’ve decided to go ahead and do so now with the two Ring Raiders photos still on Dom’s (apparently abandoned) Instagram and others from this blog to illustrate what we’re talking about.

With the comic’s real time read through now complete and interviews with editor Barrie Tomlinson and writer James Tomlinson (who wrote under the name James Nicholas at the time) now up too, I thought Christmas was the perfect time to discuss the original toy range. So if you’re interested in finding out more about the Matchbox range which inspired the comic, here’s our chat from four years ago, published now for the first time.

OiNK Blog: Hi Dom, thanks for agreeing to do this interview about your Ring Raiders collection. You’re relatively new to Instagram (at least your FigureAboutIt account is), I see it goes back to March of last year (2017 – Phil). Can you tell us a little about yourself by way of an introduction?

Dom Blanco: I was born in 1980 which was the golden age of action figures and associated media. I love toys, they have so many great memories for me. Collecting has always been a form of stress relief, my wife can actually measure my stress by the amount of boxes that arrive. I have a very good memory for action figures, more so than anything else. I can normally go through a box of accessories and pick stuff out (which is very handy). I’m not sure if or when my collection will ever end, but it really is my passion.

OB: As far as your collections go, how long have you been collecting retro toys and videogames?

DB: I’ve been collecting on and off for 25 years. I have sold up a few times, but always came back. Thankfully over the years I have had some great toys and met some amazing people that have become very dear friends all over the world.

OB: Is there anything in particular that draws you towards a certain toy line? Or are they all ones you remember from your youth?

DB: Everything from my early youth I have or have had. The 90s for me was when I became a teenager. I collected vintage Star Wars at that time, but the 90s toy lines I was just not interested in. Now as an adult I have learned to appreciate them and see them like a cornerstone of my collection as the action figures industry evolved in the face of the rise of video games. As far as being drawn to a line I have developed a love for the more obscure ones. There’s plenty of info out there for the major brands, but there’s a ton of very cool stuff most people don’t realise exists. I keep finding stuff that I never knew about and that is a big part of the appeal.

OB: On to the subject at hand then, the Ring Raiders. You’ve stated in a comment on Instagram that you’re trying to document all of the variations in the range so there’s a complete guide out there. What drew you to Ring Raiders originally, either as a child or an adult?

DB: I had one Ring Raider as a kid and that was the A10 (one of my favourite planes). As an adult an auction lot came up with the Air Carrier Justice which you don’t see very often. From that I just started looking into what else was out there and discovered there were a lot of unknowns. There are plenty of lines from the early 90s that have a lot of grey areas around what was actually released.

OB: So what do you have so far in the range? Any particular favourite purchases you’ve made or pieces you’ve hunted down?

DB: I currently have about 75% of the line. The new stuff from Series Two is definitely my favourite, as it’s all very new to me. The bombers are great and some of the Skull Squadron decos are very cool.

OB: The toys were moderately successful here in the UK but unfortunately not so much worldwide so only lasted about a year or so as far as I remember. However, there were still a few different series of aircraft and bases etc. Do you have any idea how large the collection will be once complete?

DB: After a lot of digging I believe the line has 72 basic planes, 13 chrome variants, six medals and 12 bombers. As far as play sets there are two small Ring Raiders play sets, one medium play set for Skull Squadron and the Air Carrier Justice. There are also two Battle Blasters and a display stand. I’ve just found a Series Two packaging card with a carry case, but I can’t confirm that it made it into production. There were also two mobile assault bases that I have parts from, but nobody has seen them before so how many made it out is an unknown. I would not be surprised if other stuff surfaces in the future.

OB: For anyone thinking about collecting them, how difficult is it to track them down these days in comparison to other toys you’re collecting?

DB: It depends how deep into a line you want to go. I’m a completist so I get it all. I’m not collecting everything packaged or the variations as most planes were packaged in multiple ways. The main issue is the fact most people don’t seem fussed by this line and there is virtually no information out there about what a complete collection looks like.

OB: I’ve covered the comic here on the OiNK Blog. It was my favourite (non-OiNK) comic as a child and holds up brilliantly today, but you didn’t know about it until you saw my reviews, is that right?

DB: I didn’t know it went for as long as it did. Same with the TV show, I just saw the one on VHS, but there are still episodes I have not seen as they don’t exist on the net or DVD.

OB: It seems every time we think we’ve seen everything the range has to offer, something pops up we weren’t aware of before. The comic is a good example for you, for me I’ve found out about a lot more merchandise than I ever saw as a kid, as well as some of the toys you’ve obtained. Clearly Ring Raiders were designed to be the Next Big Thing, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. Why do you think it is that we’re still finding brand new things after all these years? How can that be for a toy line which didn’t seem to last long?

DB: The development cycle on a lot of toy lines is currently 12-18 months, back then it was longer because pre-internet communication would have been harder between all the various components of bringing a brand together. Star Wars changed merchandising forever. There are also so many lines that were planned that never made it off the ground. By the time wave one is in the stores, wave two is normally at prototype stage and wave three is in concept, just in case they have a hit on their hands and need to keep it rolling. It’s strange they went to the level they did with additional merchandising for Ring Raiders, but like you say somebody had a lot of faith in it and Matchbox didn’t have many other properties at that point, so I guess they had more reason to be all-in.

OB: Can you give us a quick run down of what else you collect and the same question there about favourites or rare pieces you’ve tracked down?

DB: I collect anything 80s or 90s that’s action figures. I am not actively collecting major brands, but more the niche stuff. I’m about halfway through Street Sharks at the moment, which is a great line with awesome sculpts. There are a lot of lines from the 90s that had stuff released in Europe that never made it Stateside due to cancellation so we got some great stuff that is now very rare there. I just love the hunt and talking toys with people, being an adult on a full-time basis is just no fun.

Thanks to Dom (if he’s reading this) for sharing his thoughts and some interesting nuggets of information on Ring Raiders. It’d be great if he returned to Instagram to continue updating us all on his searches, although sadly it looks like he may have sold up again.

On the subject of the toys, watch out for a special post next year in which I take a look at a very special piece of Ring Raiders history, one which I doubt fans will have seen before and which should interest anyone who collected franchised toys in the 80s or 90s. There may even be another interview to accompany it. You’ll have to wait until then to see what I’m whittering on about, but don’t forget about the comic’s coverage on the blog in the meantime!


I was only one of countless people who grew up on the amazing comics of editor Barrie Tomlinson. Whether you were a football fan and followed Roy of the Rovers, engrossed in science fiction and fantasy and had a regular order for Eagle, or caught up in all the early 90s hype and rushed to the newsagents every fortnight for the next Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles Adventures. These were just three of a huge catalogue of comics Barrie brought to life.

Personally, it was three of Barrie’s shorter-lived titles that hooked me and you can read all about Ring Raiders, Super Naturals and Wildcat on the blog, their respective real time read throughs already completed. I’ve previously asked Barrie questions about Ring Raiders and now he’s kindly agreed to chat with me about the latter of those three terrific comics, the post-apocalyptic Wildcat, the whole premise of which Barrie created.

The very last issue of OiNK contained the free preview issue of Wildcat, like a passing of the baton for me, and I was hooked right away. It’s the year 2492 and Earth has been destroyed. Thankfully, the foresight of Turbo Jones meant several hundred humans were able to escape in search of a new home aboard the massive Wildcat spacecraft. After a long search a planet capable of supporting human life (and the comic’s stories) was found and we followed different teams as they explored the surface, as well as keeping up to date on the happenings back on the surprisingly dangerous living quarters of the ship.

The comic still feels fresh and original today. Barrie’s story is set up to allow five completely different stories every issue while also progressing an overall story arc. I was gutted when it all came to a premature end with #12 and merged into the pages of Barrie’s Eagle. It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of editorial quality, it just unfortunately never found its audience. But I’ve really enjoyed reliving it and to celebrate finally reading the Winter Special for the first time, let’s welcome Barrie back to the blog.

OiNK Blog: Hi Barrie, how did Wildcat first come about? It was marketed as a “younger person’s 2000AD”, but was this the intention? What were the reasons behind the creation of this very different comic?

Barrie Tomlinson: The management asked me to produce a science fiction comic for a younger group than 2000AD. I went away and thought about it and decided to have one storyline running through the whole comic. I thought it would make it a bit different.

OB: Can you tell us anything about the character choices? Wildcat showed true diversity which wasn’t as regular a sight back then as it should’ve been. Were they permanent characters or interchangeable as time went on?

BT: I thought up the characters and wanted to reflect what was happening at the time, which is why I created a black hero and a female warrior. Girls had not been featured very much in boys’ comics so I decided it was time that they were! The characters were intended to be permanent ones.

OB: Is it true Loner was created specifically with David Pugh in mind as the artist? Also, is it true he’s said Loner was his favourite character he’s ever worked on? I hope that’s true!

Barrie: I really wanted David Pugh to be one of the artists and the Loner strip seemed just right for his talents. I hope Loner was his favourite character. He did fabulous artwork on that story and on Dan Dare in Eagle. (David has confirmed Loner is his favourite character and spoke about drawing the strip in the introduction to the Wildcat: Loner graphic novel from Rebellion – Phil)

OB: Did you have an idea of how the story would pan out in the long term? Were they to settle on that planet, keep finding new places to explore on it, or even fly off to discover a new planet every-so-often?

BT: The plan was they would fly off to other planets and there would be a long search for the right one.

OB: Can you give us any insight into who was in the writing team behind the comic and if you wrote any of the strips yourself?

BT: I wrote the script for the preview issue, to set up the storyline and the characters. For the regular comic my son James (under the name James Nicholas) wrote Kitten Magee. I wrote Loner. Joe Alien was by a new writer, David Robinson (Eagle, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Army of Darkness/Xena) who later changed his name and has done a lot of writing since then. I’ve been searching but I can’t find anything [about the name change]. If I do I will let you know.

OB: Do you have any specific memories of your time on the comics covered on the blog you’d like to share with readers today? Anything at all you could tell us to give fans a little personal insight into what it was like to work on them?

BT: It was great fun working on both those titles (Wildcat and Ring Raiders).  Wildcat particularly so, as it was all my idea, they were my characters and my storylines. It was very rewarding when the whole thing came together in a good first issue. I particularly enjoyed designing the free gift, which was a giant poster of The Alien Zoo of Targon-5. Each fortnight, readers could collect stickers which they would stick on the poster. The artwork was by the brilliant Ian Kennedy and featured not only the zoo but also the main characters Turbo Jones, Loner, Kitten Magee and Joe Alien.

It was an absolute delight to be able to ask these questions of Barrie. As always, he was a complete gentleman and very enthusiastic about his comics, which I found wonderful. I’d originally wondered if he would want to talk at all about two comics which ended only a few months after they began, but Barrie was completely open about how proud he was (and still is) of both Wildcat and Ring Raiders, the interview regarding the latter you can also read here.