Sunday, 4 February 2018

Accent UK's first ever True Believers.

True Believers is one of those Comic Conventions that we'd heard plenty about over the last year or so, but had never been able to attend as it always clashed with something that we'd already committed to. This year then we were fortunate enough to be able too say 'Yes' and Saturday saw me doing my first solo Con for a very long time (in fact I'm not sure I've done one on my own before).
The venue was Cheltenham Race Track which due to the magic that is GoogleMaps I found pretty easily. Getting in and set up was actually pretty painless and the helpers were all clued up and helpful, which is not always the case (they're always helpful but not always as clued up).
So, there I was all badged up, finding my table was near the front, off loaded and set up within about 20 minutes of arriving. I'm not saying this is a record (although it might well be as I'm usually slowed down a bit by Colin, Gary or Jemma) but it felt so painless.
...just noticed that the Scooby gang
were just arriving as I took this.

One table meant a few changes and the need to leave some things at home but I was happy with the layout and ready for anything by the time the doors opened. I'd even remembered to bring my 'signing pen'.
It was a nice Con.
All comics (apart from the odd posters, cakes and I think games (on the balcony above)), not as great a proportion of the browsers in Cosplay as you get at the MCM events, although I did take this photo if one of the security guards and strangely I just can't remember taking it...
It was a rainy day but plenty of comic book enthusiasts turned up to make it a pretty good day. Introduced our work to a lot of new readers, chatting to some like minded creators I'd not seen before and sold some books.
It was great meeting up with Andy Bloor, Mike Garley and Steve Tanner as always. Nice to see Jeremy Biggs (of the wonderful Metal Made Flesh) wandering around as a punter (thanks for the Early Grey Tea Jeremy .. life saver).
I also popped by the chat with Conor and Lizzie Boyle of Disconnected Press and picked up a copy of... well... I'm not entirely sure what it's called...
..but I loved it. Conor's art just gets better and better. I promised myself on reading this that I'll try my best to work with him one fine day, he's worth every penny. I had only one criticism of what is a very thought provoking book and that's that I think it should have been longer. Hey Lizzie, how about this being the sampler and you both building it out more? I'm not saying the ending was wrong, I'd just like to see more development of such a great concept.
One of the great things about Cons are the little unexpected things that happen.
I met Jo of Vault29 Comics, and online comic store dedicated to Small Press comics. What a great idea. Somewhere to go and order all sorts from the talented people out there making their own comics. I gave Jo some copies of our books and hope he does well with it, I think it'll only be as successful as we make it and so it needs the people who are sold through his store to go and talk about it, spread the word.
A big thanks to my table neighbour Andy P of Batch25 Comics. We chatted about a lot of things and he helped make the quiet periods pass without notice. We traded a few comics at the end of the day and I must say I'm a fan of what he's doing. My favourite is...

A great little A5, and the pack it came in included all sorts of goodies, equally interesting and well design and produced. I'm intrigued by his concept but you'll have to track his books down (on Vault 29) and find out for yourselves.
So... True Believers ... we'll be back next year, thanks for putting on a great show.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Still enjoying Dungeons & Dragons.

Just back from a D&D weekend with old friends. We've been playing for many years and still stumble around in the dark, or panic, at times.

I doodle when I'm nervous ...
but tidied it up a bit when I got home.

I turned the whole thing around as I was going to put words in it ... the jaguar / black panther being a Druid gave me an idea from a discussion that took place... but decided that what happened in Longbridge stays in Longbridge.

Friday, 12 January 2018

A good start to the year...

And it's true, my parents never did believe I'd finish... fact they still don't.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

The 42nd Post.

A bit of a change to my usual 'last post of the year' and as I write this I worry that I am becoming a grumpy old man.
My first smart phone was an iPhone.
My current smart phone is an iPhone.
It is the same phone and I've had it for about 4 years now.
To me 4 years isn't very long at all.
I have an iPhone 5C.
For 4 years I've been pretty happy with it. I do love its ease of use.
I bought my daughter an iPhone 5S a year ago.
The only real difference being the amount of storage capacity, her's is much bigger than mine and the size of mine was a mistake from the start. A mistake that has caused me to be careful with the number of applications I download and to have to frequently manage the space, deleting emails and managing photos etc.
It was something that I've managed to get my head around and something that I've been able to deal with, although it has been frustrating at times.
Now I'm getting messages to upgrade to iOS version 11, from 10.3.3.
I worried about the fact that doing so might actually grab a bit more of my most precious smart phone resource:- Space.
From SETTINGS I can see that the 10.3.3 iOS takes a hungry 578.8 MB. That seems a lot to me but its a great little device so I'm sure its all for a good reason.
I asked my daughter what iOS she was on.
'iOS 11' she informed me, as if that's what everyone should be on.
'How much space does that use?' I asked.
'1.36 GB' she said, 'and I'm running out of space.'
Bloody marvellous.
I don't have that much space, it's been ages since I have had that much space. I can't afford to lose that much space. I've long since run out of sacrificial applications.
And what on earth is Apple doing between versions that requires so much extra space anyway?
I feel that I'm being ripped off by Apple.
They have been caught out already for nudging people to upgrade their devices to the latest version by slowing down older machines.
I think they are also making the smaller capacity phones obsolete by guzzling up as much space as they can get away with in their operating systems.
Sadly I think I'll be moving to Android next year when my contract expires.
I love the iPhone.
But I'm sick of being taken for a mug...

Movies of 2017.

I'll confess to see mostly movies about Superheroes with my daughter Jemma but I also took time to see the last Apes movie in the trilogy and the sequel to my favourite film of all time, Baderunner.
It's always difficult listing things in some kind of order as they all have something different and overall then only assessment I feel qualified to talk about is 'How much I enjoyed them'.
Here goes.
In order of my enjoyment.
Thor - Ragnarok
This had the feel of a buddy movie, and whilst it had a similar feel to the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, with Hulk playing the role of Drax to Thor's Starlord and even Valkyrie playing Gamora, I went along for the ride and really enjoyed it. There were some great one liners and I loved the way the even the trailers were misleading when put in context of the surrounding movie.
War of the Planet of the Apes
A great ending to the trilogy, and I hope not the parking of a great re-imagining of the franchise.

I loved everything about this movie. I really 'human' story with a message. Some really nice touches, one of which explained humanity's loss of the ability to speak as seen in the original. Yep, I really hope they do more.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Yep, this one was almost as good as the first and like the Thor movie it never let up from bugging to end. One of those films where the end credits surprise you more for them coming what seems like too soon than the little extras.
Drax is excellent and baby Groot is used really well. The soundtrack is fabulous too. Sure it plays a bit with comic book mythology but I'm not going to complain at all. Comics are comics and movies are movies. I love the little changes, otherwise what's the point really.
Wonder Woman.
Certainly the best of the DC movies to date. Human story, well developed characters, not too much CGI and an actress who carried the role really well.

I had worried that this would feel too much like Captain America, a warrior out of time, but it had its own thing going on and just flowed so well.
A bleak end to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine run but the best of the lot.

I just wish they'd been allowed to make this type of movie for all of his solo outings. Powerful stuff.
Justice League.
Yep, I enjoyed it. So there.

There has been a lot of criticism of this movie but I was always going to watch it regardless. A lot of the criticism I'd read was actually, well, just wrong. Written by people who must have on half watched the movie. It's a shame that the internet gives a voice to anyway (yep, I see the irony there, with me writing the post). I loved the Flash and the scene when he was spotted by Superman despite feeling invulnerable moving at speed is the standout scene for me this year. Yes, it was dark, but it allowed all the characters to have screen time and certainly sets up an interesting future for the franchise. This is if people stop listening to know-nothing critics and give the films a chance.
Bladerunner  2049.
It didn't ruin my favourite film.

I actually allowed myself to go to this despite my fears that it would ruin the myth that follows the original, Bladerunner.
It didn't and I enjoyed the movie.
Not as good as the original, or anywhere near it, but a decent film with a great soundtrack and some amazing visuals.
SpiderMan - Homecoming 

Although it felt a bit too much like the main Marvel movies and didn't really stamp its own identity on the franchise (which Ant-Man did so well), I enjoyed this latest version of Spidey and think it is probably the best to date. I also liked some of the more subtle changes to supporting characters and thank somebody somewhere that it wasn't another origin story.
Plenty of movies lining up for next year, should be a good one.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Street Art in Birmingham.

Every now and then I'm really impressed with a piece of street art. I came across this a few days ago whilst meeting up with my daughter in Birmingham.
I need to explore Birmingham better and see what other artworks have been produced around the city.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Bargain at HMV.

Spotted this bargain yesterday in HMV.
Yep, for £9.99 I can get this DVD of a film that intrigued me when it came out. Or, I could combine it with another £9.99 DVD and pay an extra 2 pence, for a total of £20.