Adapted from BOX=ART | Interviewed by Adam Gidney in October 2016
Dermot Power is a British illustrator known for his work in comics and for his box art for Virgin Games from 1990–1992.
Fans of British comics will recognize Dermot’s contributions to comics anthology 2000 AD, one of Britain’s most significant and long-running comics. It was in the pages of 2000 AD #2 (1977) that Peter Harris and Mike McMahon created Judge Dredd in a five-page story. As Judge Dredd grew in popularity and came to be illustrated by Brian Bolland and Simon Bisley, among others, it would have been difficult to be an aspiring British comics artist without being keenly aware of their work; Dermot was no exception, counting both artists as inspirations.
Ironically then, as is detailed in the 2016 Adam Gidney interview above, although Dermot was a fan of both 2000 AD and Bolland, his opportunity to follow one of his artistic heroes in illustrating Judge Dredd for 2000 AD came about through his box art of the character for the video game from Virgin Games. When Dermot went in to interview with Virgin Games, he was unaware they were doing a Dredd game. By pure coincidence he had some sample pages in his portfolio of Dredd—as he had been hoping to get into 2000 AD—catching the eye of the art director and securing the commission, which Dermot considered “very much an homage to Bolland.”
Dermot’s portrayal of Judge Dredd for Virgin Games was duly noted by 2000 AD staff, and within a few months of the game’s release he’d be commissioned to illustrate the cover for prog (short for “programme”) #699. Dermot’s covers would quickly establish him as a significant talent, launching an eight-year career in the comic book industry where he became a much-loved artist depicting not only Dredd but also Celtic ax master Sláine, joining artists Simon Bisley (Gods, The Terminator: Rampage) and Glenn Fabry (Speedball 2, The Incredible Hulk) in immortalizing the character.
Dermot would follow-up his Judge Dredd box art with box art for the Amiga and other home computer ports of Sega’s arcade smash Golden Axe (1990). Dermot proved capable of working in a range of styles, some of which were inspired by his artistic heroes. Noticeably, Dermot could ramp up or down the proportion of traditional to airbrush painting, as the situation required. Where Golden Axe is a typical fantasy image painted with what appears to be relatively little airbrush, his box art for Supremacy / Overlord, released the same year, instead relies on significant airbrushing while leaning into a limited palette.
Perhaps the most vivid and memorable box art Dermot created for Virgin was Wonderland, launching the start of a long history for Dermot of illustrating Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland characters that would later also take him into TV with the Hallmark series (1999) and into film with Tim Burton’s 2010 offering. The painting for Wonderland is a personal favorite for Dermot and one he has kept, despite selling nearly all of his other game art originals..
As was common of the period, all of Dermot’s box arts were created using traditional media, specifically acrylic and gouache on Cs2 paper.
Dermot Power illustrated his final box art in 1992 (Lure of the Temptress), the beginning of an 18-year hiatus from the video game industry that would be briefly interrupted in 2010 with some design concept work for 2K’s Bioshock 2.
In the late 1990s, Dermot moved on to design concept work and storyboarding within TV and film, cementing a truly international presence by working on the art team for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (1999). This job opened up his career to other high profile movies such as Batman Begins, V for Vendetta, Alice in Wonderland, and the Harry Potter movie series. More recently the artist worked on Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens within the costume design department, along with some contributions to sets and environments.
OVGA has included below Dermot Power's full known box art catalog:
- Judge Dredd (Virgin Games | Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 | 1990)
- Golden Axe (Virgin Games | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS-EUR, ZX Spectrum | 1990) Not Genesis
- Supremacy: Your Will Be Done a.k.a. Overlord (Virgin Games | Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS-EUR, NES | 1990)
- Wonderland (Virgin Games | Acorn 32-bit, Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1990)
- The Magnetic Scrolls Collection (Virgin Games | Acorn 32-bit, Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1991)
- Realms (Virgin Games | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1991)
- Sarakon (Virgin Games | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1991)
- Lure of the Temptress (Virgin Games | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1992)