Sunday, 25 January 2015

Bulletproof Nylon and Withering Looks.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day.
The postman handed me a large envelope which contained my copy of the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival Limited Edition of Bulletproof Nylon from the pen and mind of the very talented Marl Earl, and as if this wasn't enough, I opened the package to find that Mal had included a page of his original artwork for our upcoming Tales Of WesterNoir #2.
A great start to the day.
Colin and I had booked a table at the Comic Mart in Manchester's Thistle Hotel. We do this once a year and use it as an opportunity to get rid of a lot of the comics that we'd amassed since the last one. We sell it all pretty cheap and typically sell pretty much everything. 
What struck us this year was that there were far fewer dealers and those that were there we selling comics as cheaply as we were. There seems a much stronger market in Graphic Novels these days, with only true collectors willing to pay the higher prices demanded by Silver Age comics. Personally I think this is a healthy turn of events.
We did pretty well, I managed to shift more than 2/3rds of what I took with me, and managed to resist buying much to replace it all.
And then we all, with our families, went to see the latest play from Lip Service.
This year, we saw Inspector Norse last year, it was Withering Looks.
As with the previous play, the two ladies, using only two sets and a few changes of clothing, managed to portray what life must have been like for the three sisters... probably... maybe. 
Very enjoyable, British humour at its most British. 
Yep, can't wait for the next one, which is called Doreen Grey.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

January activity.

WesterNoir #5 is very nearly completed, and we're looking to launch it at the DemonCon event in Maidstone on the 15th February.
This is the issue that really turns things around I think, and leads deeper into the bigger story that is taking place around Josiah. You can see a page or two over on Gary's blog.
INDIO! has been busy as well, and has now completed all artwork on the main story pages of Issue 4 of Stephenson's Robot, I just need to colour them now. Fabulous as always. I'll need to give issue 1 a bit more of time to sell at Cons this year before printing Issue 2, but am looking to print it over the summer at latest, ready in plenty of time for the year's autumn and winter conventions.
A page from Issue 2 sees Stephenson and Brunel hard at work.
Apart from these, Mal Earl is sending some great pages to me on our collaboration for issue 2 of Tales Of WesterNoir and I'm busy greyscaling pages of From SuperZeroes To SuperHeroes.
So, a pretty busy start to the year.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The 42nd Post.

Well it's been a pretty busy year for me.
I started the year with a new job, leaving a lot of good friends and making a lot of new ones. The two don't balance each other out though and I still miss seeing some people around the office everyday. I did pop back for the XMas do of the last project that I worked on before I left, a project that I was on for around 8 months or so, and it was nice to see everyone again, albeit briefly.
The new job is more me though, so I'm happy I made the move.
Accent UK has done incredibly well this year. We've doubled last year's sales, I think down to the fact that we now have an on going series on the table at Conventions. Added to WesterNoir it's also great to have Stephenson's Robot #1 out, it's been a while in development but it is amazing to see Brad Tuttle (INDIO!)'s art in all its glory. There'll be more coming next year with two issues of WesterNoir, another Tales Of WesterNoir and at least one Stephenson's Robot, as well as Strange Times Book 2, which wraps things up for Samuel Close and the guys.
I've seen plenty of movies this year, Jemma has made sure we got to the cinema more than we have in previous years, and picking my favourite is even harder than usual. I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, I loved the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I was suitably shocked by Under the Skin and surprised that I actually enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but I think my favourite has to be Captain America - The Winter Soldier. It just carried on the whole Marvel Universe so well and moved it to a very interesting place, whilst still being a film the worked as just a sequel to Captain America 1. It had it all and whilst Guardians of the Galaxy was novel and fun, this was just a great film that worked for me on a number of levels.
I'm actually reading less these days, the train journey to work has been replaced by a car journey, where I'm the one driving. I did manage to read the last Skulduggery Pleasant book however and it ended things really well, pulling together all the threads and not ducking out of a few deaths and emotional moments, I'm looking forward to see what Mr. Landy does next. Apart from that I've enjoyed the Long Earth books by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett, an interesting concept, good characters and nicely written.
My favourite comic book of the year has to be Mind Mgmt by Matt Kindt. I only picked up the first two collected editions at Thought Bubble in November, as Mr Kindt was there to sign and sketch them, I'd heard that they were good, and Sumyra of Lucky Target Comics had recommended it to me. Wow, what a great story, crying out to be made into a TV series. I'd read Revolver by Matt, which I enjoyed, but I'm loving this series. Apart from that I've been following Lazarus and C.O.W.L, but interesting comics, and my only Marvel book has been Elektra, which I picked up for the artwork but am enjoying the tale being told.

I looked back at last year's 'To Do' list when I sat down to write this...
  1. I will finish Strange Times Book 2 next year.
  2. I will try to finish that book I've been playing with for quite a few years now.
  3. I hope to publish Has Kane Mesmer Lost His Magic Touch ?with Marleen Lowe's art.
  4. I will publish at least one WesterNoir book, and current plans have it at three new books.
  5. I hope to publish From Super-Zeroes to Super-Heroes with art from myself and Seba Velez, and
  6. I'm really hoping that we get a few issues of Stephenson's Robot in print.
And as I expected it's a patchy result. I have finished Strange Times Book 2, just need to get the cash together to get it printed.  WesterNoir, thanks mainly to the driving force that is Gary Crutchley, is going from strength to strength, and Stephenson's Robot book 1 is in print. Kane Mesmer has stalled a little as I've been so wrapped up in the other books, as has From Super-Zeroes To Super-Heroes but I'll sort that next year. As to that book I've been playing around with ? Well, I'm still playing around with it...

So, this year's list then...

  1. Published Strange Times Book 2
  2. Publish Kane Mesmer, more Westernoir and Stephenson's Robot comics
  3. Publish From Super-Zeroes To Super-Heroes
  4. Work with Andy Bloor on Wolfmen 3, he has told me that he wants to make this his next book, and
  5. Try to finish that book I've been playing with for quite a few years now...

All the best for 2015 to all you comic book creators out there, professional or amateur ....

Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Last Sketch Of The Year.

Dan, who owns and manages my local comic shop, Millennium Comics in Northwich, gave me his convention sketchbook a few months ago and asked me to contribute an image, of my choosing, to the great collection he already has in there.
For me this year has been quite momentous from a comics perspective, well for a number of perspectives I guess, and whilst Stephenson's Robot is now in print, for me my greatest effort has been on getting Strange Times 2 completed.
So, it didn't take me long to decide on doing Samuel Close in his Time, but sadly not Spatial, Travel device.
The beauty of doing these sketches in your home, rather than being scrunched up behind a busy convention table, is that you can draw as you normally would, with no fear of getting nudged from the person on the table crammed in behind you, or of trying to balance everything on your knee.

It also means that you can take more time over the drawing, and take on compositions that would not be possible at a Convention as it would mean that you would have to spend too long with your head down concentrating and less time talking to prospective customers and selling comics.
For me, it also means that I can have a go at colouring, getting out a brush and water colour paints at a convention is not something that I have ever considered trying.
 So, all in all for someone like me, who is not that comfortable drawing at Conventions, this really lets me have a go at producing something that I'm pleased with, although that said I have been happy with some of my convention efforts.
  I only hope that Dan likes it and wasn't hoping for a Batman sketch...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Tales Of WesterNoir - Baylocke in Lego.

 So it's the turn of Aloysius Baylocke to be immortalised in Lego.
I love the way the figure came together... his face has the perfect expression.
If you've not read any of the comics yet then you can find the links to a few reviews on this blog.
As we approach 2015, Gary is finishing art on Issue 5 and we have a couple of artists working away on two short stories for Tales Of WesterNoir 2... and Issue 6 will complete next year's WesterNoir issues. We'll be trying to keep the same output going each year.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The first Stephenson's Robot review.

Issue 1 of our new book Stephenson's Robot has been reviewed over on, and it's great to see that the first issue has hooked at least one person into our new little universe.
A fair comment has been made about us not fully explaining the abilities of one of the characters... all I can say is that you'll learn more as the story continues... about his abilities and those of the strange characters that surround him.
The design of Stephenson's Robot himself came straight out of Indio's mind ... as we collaborated on a tale in the Robots anthology a few year's back ... I was so stunned by Indio's art that I felt compelled to tell the robot's story and enjoy the pages of artwork as they hit my inbox.

WesterNoir and Tales of WesterNoir reviews.

A couple of popular website, Starburst and Travelling Man, have posted reviews of the WesterNoir books up on their websites.
Both are great, with reviewing all of them in one posting and reviewing issue 4 of WesterNoir at Westernoir - Book 4 and then Tales of WesterNoir over at Tales of Westernoir - Issue 1.
Both are very positive and it's always interesting reading where reviewers think the story is going and what it's about. I'll say no more than that, you'll find out more in Issue 5 which'll be launched at next year's DemonCon event in Maidstone.