CRASH issue 14, 1985 Everyones a Wally

Roger Kean asks Oliver how he coped with a cartoon figure for the cover of CRASH issue 14, 1985 – Everyone’s a Wally

CRASH issue 14, 1985 Everyones a Wally

Thundering space ships, laser beams, lightning, powerfully physiqued super-beings – these are the stuff of Oliver Frey’s more usual output. Cute comic characters are not a part of his known repertoire. As you may imagine, he was not especially thrilled to learn that I wanted to feature Mikro-Gen’s third Wally Week outing on our March issue of CRASH. Following modest success with Automania and a Smash for Pyjamarama, Wally III, as it was known in working title, was the most accomplished game of the series, and also a Smash.

‘The characters were interesting, however,’ Oli concedes, ‘and I had already penned a few line drawings which might be used in the review layout. After I roughed out a composition to incorporate the five characters, Tom, Dick and Harry, plus of course Wally himself with Wilma and baby Herbert, I worked out that for once this was a picture that called for the use of acrylic paints and not my usual inks. Acrylic paint gives the finished article a more impasto, chunky look, which I thought more in keeping with the subject.’

The resulting cover, though it hardly fitted the ‘look’ to which CRASH readers had become accustomed, was well received. It could have just been a collection of cartoon figures, but Oli has always emphasised in illustration the importance of a narrative thread wherever possible, and the Wally cover is a fine example, from the interaction of the characters and their game attributes (note that Herbert, an NPC, is not only uncontrollable but out of control) to the hints of game elements in brick walls and the essential safe.

‘Wally was fun to paint,’ Oli grants, ‘but in truth I was very happy to get back to something gruesome, horrible and toothy with the next issue!’

This article was published in FUSION magazine

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