Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The excellent annual London comics festival COMICA is once again running a COMIKET festival - showcasing UK small pressers. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it along this time, but I'm sending along copies of Dump #1 in my absence.
They'll be on sale at the ICA Theatre & Bar, ICA, The Mall, London from 1pm on Sunday, November 8, 2009.More details of the event can be found here.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
There comes a point when you've just got too many comics, and it's time to get rid of some. A nice place to take them is a local charity shop, along with any novels, videos or what have you.
Over the past few weeks I've been leaving a bag a day at the door of the charity shop before it opens on my way to work. I then have ten minutes to kill before my next bus connection, so I go and have a coffee in the shop facing the charity store. Last week I noticed that a mere five minutes or so after I drop off the bag, two ladies come along, pick up the bag and go to work in the shop.
Now, this entire scenario poses no problem when it's a 25 year old Spider-Man or X-Factor. But you've been around, you know that some comics have swear words in. Like f**k, s**t, and maybe even c**t. They may also have sex scenes in. I must stress that I'm not talking about hardcore porn or Eros comics here. I'm talking about comics that may have any and all of the things that are in those aforementioned novels and videos that are in my charity bags too.
But you'll also know that people don't expect this stuff to be in a comic! As I have sat having my coffee, I have imagined those altruistic charitable ladies in that shop and their faces of amusement and/or horror at the FILTH that is being left on their doorstep each morning. I have found myself leaving my donation, looking around furtively, not wanting to be caught leaving my bag there, hurriedly shuffling across the road for my coffee. "So that's the pervert leaving this stuff" they would proclaim as they saw me leave my bag and run off to the coffee shop!
I'll continue leaving donations for now, but I don't know how much longer I can evade being caught handing stuff in...
Comics page by Mary Fleener. Not one I would hand in to a charity shop, just using the story as an excuse to post some of her great work.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
This week's page is up. You can have a look here.
On Tuesday, I wrote about Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury's book Great British Comics, posting a lovely image from a 1981 Adam Ant comic. It's uncredited in the book, and I asked if anyone knew.
Well, Gravett is way ahead of me and as you can see from the bottom of this page, the artwork is by Maureen and Gordon Gray. Job's a good 'un.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
FEELING BITTER AND BETRAYED POST
A while back, I took part in a well publicised attempt at a local arts centre to create the biggest cartoon strip in the word. It was a fun event held over a summer weekend and all participants of different ages were working on A2 sized sheets. You could make up your own stories or use ones that had been handed in by locals over the preceding months. I completed five stories – the ones that come to mind were an illustration of a man’s 1930’s childhood tale of the excitement caused by a red balloon, a modern day child’s story of their first day at school (she ate spaghetti bolognaise), and drawings of local actor Ian McDiarmid, best known for playing Palpatine in the Star Wars movies.
As it happened the guy running the event stuck all the art together. Although I wasn't crazy about the idea, I was willing to donate the art to their care - I didn't want to ruin the record attempt. What I specified though was that I definitely wanted copies of my work so I could use it in my own self-published comics. He agreed to that, explaining the digital camera he planned to use to do this with all the artwork. Fine.
Anyway, you already know how the story is going to go. I continually phoned this guy, and popped into the arts centre after work (I commute in and out of town, so it wasn’t too handy). Each time, smiles all round and no problem, “I’ll put it on a CD, give me your e-mail, postal address” etc.
Months later I’d still heard nothing, and meanwhile started in a new job. There was an employee leaving my new workplace to go work at this arts centre. So! I ask her to ask them about the artwork.
Today I received confirmation that my artwork, and all the rest of it, was chucked in the bin. It’s not altogether surprising, but very disheartening.
This is something that has continually happened to me as I have temporarily left my artwork with other people. I have had my artwork “lost” or outright thrown away by an art college, a museum, and my workplace.
It is impossible for other people to care as much about your artwork as you do. So my advice in my current miserable frame of mind is to be a hardass and keep your hands on it at all times.
“People don’t realise what they have when they own a picture by me. Each picture is a phial of my blood. That is what has gone into it.”
Pablo Picasso, 1954
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
In my continuing mission to convince you to go to the library and check out what they have on comics which started here and continued here, I present Great British Comics by Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury. This book is more recent than those other two, having been released in 2006.
Gravett is a comics publisher, historian and general enthusiast. His writing covers a lot of bases regarding comics, as he writes on nostalgia, comedy, super-heroes, self-published works and anything else he deems good. This book is a treat. It's jam-packed full of images from comics down the decades.
A few of my personal highlights:
This is really neat. Near the beginning of the book, there is a set of comics writers and artists' bios presented in the style of old cigarette cards. A nice touch.
As I've never stopped reading comics and kept most of the ones I had as a kid, I rarely find any that I had forgotten about. This Adam Ant page though was like a bolt from the blue when I saw it reproduced herein. It's lovely art, but uncredited (it was published by D.C. Thomson after all). It actually reminds me of Walt Simonson, which sees highly unlikely, to say the least. Does anyone know who drew this?
Look at this page! Three of my absolute favourites of the 70s/80s: Marvelman by Alan Moore and Garry Leach, Night Raven by Jamie Delano and David Lloyd and Captain Britain by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. That is value for money. The 1969 Billy the Cat stuff by Sandy Calder looks fun too.
Gravett is a tireless campaigner for comics. Check out his website. It is an invaluable resource in keeping on top of what's going on in the world of comics.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
A while back I paid tribute to Jack Kirby, and in particular his stupendous work on The Incredible Hulk. After much thought, I chose one particular page to illustrate how good he was. In the time since I posted that, I mused on how it would be great to get a hold of the original art for that page. Kirby originals sell for a lot of money. If you know anything about Marvel Comics, you'll know they practically used the original art of their books as coasters, so I wondered if that page still existed.
Well, I had a look through the latest printing of the Hulk Marvel Masterworks book at the library, and guess what was included as an extra in the back. Two original page reproductions, one of them the artwork in question! I can't resist posting that...
While I'm at it, here's the other one. It's great too...
The great man's signature at the bottom...
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
In 1954 Willy Vandersteen's Suske en Wiske (that's Spike and Suzy or Willy and Wanda in English translations) came to Scotland in a tale called Highland Games.
They managed to win "Scraggymount" castle and came along to claim their prize...
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
The 24 Hour Comic I did at the weekend was called Everything.
David Wright has uploaded all the comics over at the Kingdom of Adventure website. There's some good stuff on there. You can have a look at my story here.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
3rd October was 24 Hour Comics Day all around the world. I took part in this at the Kingdom of Adventure Games and Comics Shop in Kirkcaldy. It was an absolute blast. An immense amount of work, but well worth it. Here are some photos of the event:
Outside the shop, twenty minutes before the starting time of 1400hrs. A nice sunny day, you'd never guess the insane project about to commence.
The calm before the storm. Upstairs in the shop, preparations are underway. Darren Stewart trying to get a drawing tablet to work; Artyom Semenov drawing like crazy; Robert Linehan blowing his nose.
1400hrs - Shop owner David Wright fires the starting pistol.
1600hrs - Michaela Morrison and Nathan Stevenson working hard as a team. Other soft drinks are available.
2038hrs - Artyom and Sean Cameron in high spirits, while Robert has a read.
2334hrs - Sean checking over work. At eleven years old he bashed on through page after page with a work ethic that put many of the older participants to shame.
0214hrs - a change of scene; Alexander Jackson, Michael Elliot, Paul Laurie and Darren working downstairs on (closed) shop floor.
0309hrs - Local drunken nightlife at the windows, "Your drawings are pish!"
0524hrs - Artyom's power nap note.
0524hrs - shop regulars take over the music system and play William Shatner songs.
0525hrs - David surveys his Kingdom (of Adventure).
0635hrs - the Morrison/Stevenson comics team is half asleep.
0641hrs - taking a break to check out the comics on sale.
0642hrs - at this point, I wrote all my remaining pages just before my brain shut down. Above are the layouts.
0706hrs - Eek. The sun starts to come up again.
After the war.
What an experience. I'm glad to report that by 12noon I had finished my 24 page comic!
David Wright scanned everyone's work and plans to upload it online soon.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009
In my local library, they keep copies of The Beano and Dandy in the kids' section, which seems like a great idea to me. I was surprised today to see a copy of Whizzer and Chips. A brand new copy of Whizzer and Chips. Surely that was cancelled years ago, I thought to myself. It must be a facsimilie.
Indeed it was. Looking into it online, it seems The Guardian gave away comic freebies every day for a whole week very recently, and I missed it. Bummer.
Anyway as an image to go with this story, here is the cover from my copy of Whizzer and Chips from 1979. Yes, I still have it. It's a bit the worse for wear: