Sheffield's comic genius

ZOMBIES in Meadowhall, UFOs destroying the Tinsley Towers and a magical bottle of Henderson's relish... just some of scenes artist Jim Connolly is creating as he tries to show Sheffield as a real-life Gotham City.

Jim, of Wadsley Park Village, Middlewood, said: "It started about a year before the Tinsley Towers were due to be destroyed.

"The Archipelago Press Company in Sheffield contacted me and asked if I would be interested in doing some artwork on the city in the style of a satirical graphic novel and I was very interested."

The 31-year-old illustrator, who works for a company producing learning-based video games, wanted to combine his love for his home city and passion for graphic novel illustration while also poking fun at the authorities.

He said: "I have tried to give Sheffield a bit of a Metropolis or Gotham vibe and to take the mick a bit.

"The first piece was on the Tinsley Towers. I was a big fan of them and was sad to see them go. The drawing was a subtle swipe at the people who knocked them down as well as a souvenir of them as landmarks.

"The next piece was about Henderson's Relish which is obviously a popular local icon and a good way of hammering home the Sheffield-meets-comic-book idea.

"I am heavily influenced by Tim Sale who does the artwork for the TV show Heroes. I wanted to draw on that - without ripping him off!"

Jim came up with the idea for his latest work after a busy festive trip to Meadowhall which reminded him of a classic horror film set in a shopping mall. "I went to Meadowhall last Christmas, which was really busy and not a particularly pleasant experience, and I thought of the poster for Dawn of the Dead and could just see the whole film playing out in front of me."

The Manchester University graduate is aiming to have his next three prints out by Christmas and is going to focus on another famous aspect

of Sheffield for the next drawing.

"I am thinking for the fourth one I will do something along the steel theme. Obviously steel and comic books are very much linked but I can't do 'Man Of Steel' as I think DC Comics might send the men in suits round!

"I'm also intending to get the Town Hall in there somehow - it's an amazing building topped by a Viking god brandishing big pincers, which is a good thing in my book!" Jim is working towards holding a show later in the year to show off his images, which are available in very limited edition premium A2 versions and cheaper A3 versions via his website:

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