Britain’s Premier Comics Awards Initiates Facelift

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for (now extinct) Alltern8; Comicking.

At the Bristol Comics Expo last week the first hints of a relaunched Eagle awards were unveiled. If you weren’t there, you’re at the mercy of bloggers who were, and they’re strangely quiet.Eagle Awards Initiative

Barry Renshaw (of RedEye and Engine Comics) was brought in to help relaunch the Eagles. Today Barry posted a link to The Eagles Initiative.

Ashcan version: it’s basically a competition for non-commercially published professionals. There’s a small entry fee, with three quality cash prizes and a short publication deal in a well-printed anthology book.

The Eagles have been a stagnant non-event for a few years, which is sad as they also have a prestigous sentiment with which old-timers and the 30s years generation fondly associate. By extending that association, the Eagles should function to serve the next lot of young cartoonists. Certainly, away from charges that awards are self-indulgent.

Entries

SIZE MATTERS

Kenny Penman (of the Forbidden Planet Blog and Blank Slate) sugested that he was unhappy with these restrictions, and I have to agree. Use of this size has increased in Britain but the dominant format (among an estimated four new print comics per day) is A5. Oh, we used to use A4 a lot, much like the Japanese.

Multiple approaches always work better than the singular.

And some of those points might need re-worded…

Entries - originality

….For the purposes of auto-biography or documentary.

BleedingCool.com (up for a Website Award) has it confirmed that current judges are “Peter Bagge, Karen Berger, Tom Breevort, Chris Claremont, David Finch, Dave Gibbons, Geoff Johns, Gilbert Shelton, Jeff Smith, Bryan Talbo(t), Ethan Van Sciver, Mark Waid and Brian Wood.”

On the whole, this is very optimistic news.

As a consequence, future awards will probably widen categories, addressing small-press and commercial independent differently, as part of the UK’s postmodern heritage.

Speaking of the awards, the nominations were also announced at Bristol. Go vote now!

(Bear in mind that the Forbidden Planet Weblog is a brilliant resource and deserves an award for being a great mainstream champion of indy press.)

The results of The Eagle Initiatives will be released in October at the Birmingham Show. The Awards winners are also announced in October. Co-Operation? Well done.

Barry Renshaw will also be appearing at the 2D Festival in Derry on 3rd-5th June to talk about the Eagles Initiative. So, I’m looking forward to asking him who will be presenting the Phonogram creators with their awards, and how they’ll be doing it.

And this…

Eagles Outreach

Eagles Outreach 2

 

Hmmm.

 

2D: Northern Ireland’s Festival of Comics

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for (now extinct) Alltern8; Comicking.

The European City of Culture 2013 is the site for 2D. Although in its early years, the Derry/Londonderry festival is the closest Northern Ireland has gotten to a proper comics ‘con’ (if you must), and shows every sign of holding in there.2D

This year’s guest list is as impressive as previously: Pat Mills, Glenn Fabry, Leigh Gallagher, Rufus Dayglo, Garry Leach, Gary Erskine, Colin McNeil, Ilya, Emma Vieceli, Steve White (Titan), Will Simpson, Stephen Mooney, Nick Roche, Davy Francis, Bridgeen Gillespie, Phil Barrett, Maeve Clancy, Stephen Downey, Joe Campbell and the 2D Collective. Oh, and Paddy Brown and myself will be there too.

Details on the event have been slow to emerge and the organiser wasn’t available for interview. It appears the Facebook page may be the place to watch having supplied the above details and the following events list:

Tuesday 25th May – Friday 4th June – 2D presents ‘Irish Comic Art’ exhibition at the Void Gallery.

Thursday 3rd / Friday 4th June daytime – workshops

Friday 4th / Saturday 5th evenings – panel discussions

Saturday 5th – Comics Open Day

Somewhere among all that, “2D will be hosting the Titan Talent Search with Steve White (Titan senior editor). There will be opportunities for portfolio reviews and there will be prizes for the best portfolios. Anyone interested or would like to find out more please get in touch. Full details to be released soon.”

In previous years, the Thurdays events have typically been aimed at children and teenagers. On Fridays and Saturdays, the approach is much more all-ages, with these events being held at the Derry Verbal Arts Centre, high up the wall and hill. The Comics Open Day there provides free tables for guests and exhibitors, so for artists on a shoestring budget like myself, it’s a godsend. In the evenings, the event is at Sandino’s, a traditional Ulster pub, the sort of place historic yarns might be spun and where the smell of booze is a beautiful thing.

2D banner

My memories of last year’s 2D Festival are alcohol-informed, though not all of it. Genuine laughter, smiles, education, dancing, positive feedback and great conversations. I scribbled notes during the panels but they’re hidden through travel, time and the War on paper-eating Silverfish.

I’d got into the centrally placed Sandino’s Friday night, a colloquial bar with a whiff of heart. Upstairs, ‘The State of Comic Art’ is underway, featuring at centre the visually recognisable D’Israeli and Rufus Dayglo. A seat opens up near Bridgeen Gillespie, but the tiny spirited bar is packed. The ‘Eclectic Micks’ panel right after discusses Irish comics art and industry, and Bridgeen may have went on a bit of a quality rant there. Like she did on this video Fractured Visions, a two-part open source documentary shot around the event.

Fractured Visions: Interview with Malachy Coney

Fractured Visions: 20 September 2009

[UPDATE: The films were made by Craig Smith, “PhD student with research interests including: motion comics, comics, animation, mobile games and digital media.” You can follow Craig @motioncomix on Twitter or via his eponymous weblog on wordpress.]

(Missing from original article, Screenshot from the documentary featuring Bridgeen, organiser David Campbell, Declan Shalvey, David Lloyd and Malachy Coney)

With thanks to Declan Shalvey’s blogging skills for filling in the gaps in my memory.

Cameraman and reporter stand with Dierdre de Barra and Hilary Lawler (Longstone Comics) the following morning. At the Verbal Arts Centre outside by Derry Walls, high and windy, and I can see the whole sprawling city below. It’s kinda magnificent. Inside I take my free table, a bit Friday-fragmented.

(Re-united with Paddy Brown after years and meeting Barrett and Paddy Lynch: that called for a few drinks)

Below: My hangover wears off. Sourced from the Irish Comics Wiki.

2d_andy_luke
The venue is quickly busy and my first chat with the public is a family and child asking me to draw Spider-Man. I’m flattered and panicked: I have the illustrative abilities of an earth-worm, oh, and most of my comix contain cussin. Heavy colouring pencils go into gear, but it’s still terrible. I send them away with a free, inoffensive comic. Sales trickle and rush, but there’s consistent quality interaction as many people come over for a look and a chat. On the edge of the central promenade, I have a clear visibility. When I nip off to check out the rest of the view, Brown is feverously out-sketching the beloved Will Simpson. The large upstairs hall of the Verbal Arts Centre is jammed, so I can only make it through the mosh pit to pass a gift onto David Lloyd before I’m carried out again. The centre’s hall is plastered with drawings from the children’s workshop: a monster drawing wall. D’Israeli has some good photo captures of that (such as the one below)

Monster Drawing Wall 2d by Matt Brooker

The evening session at Sandino’s included more panels and presentations. Whoops went up when Bryan Talbot announced he’d been presented with an honourary degree from Sunderland University for his work on Alice In Sunderland. Organiser David Campbell got in a few jars and distinctly treated me with a level of care and respect I very appreciated. The only flaw was one that every comics festival organiser makes: the venue was flooded with loud music, which cut conversation and willful intent to dance. Outside, the smokers and non-smokers gathered for those. I stood delicately on the fringes of conversations with Talbolt, Dayglo and Mike Collins and others. I wasn’t the only one with a romantic tear in my eye for a truly great festival experience.

Market Matter: Black Panel Phil Barrett

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for (now extinct) Alltern8; Comicking.

Phil Barrett Interview

Phil Barrett is an acclaimed and respected Irish cartoonist, who returned from Canada a few years ago with a style hybridised from the best of both country’s cartoonists. Readers of The Black Panel Diaries series are familiar with my ravings about the great sales of his work at Belfast markets. Over email, Phil tells me this approach has already outsold his online sales this year.Phil Barrett

Oh, and everyone else loves his gear too.

Andy Luke: Hi Phil,

Paddy (Brown) suspects the reason many people pick up your books is the quality line and brush-work. For people who have never picked up a Phil Barrett book, could you please give a brief description of why they might?

Phil Barrett: Ultimately I suppose I’m trying to create an intriguing story to keep the hypothetical reader reading even if they have no clue as to where it might be leading. After you’ve read one of the stories you should kind of know what I’m getting at with the ideas therein but not quite be able to put it into words. Most of the stories are an elaborately constructed set made to look like a blind alley. Hopefully everything else from the artwork to the presentation should serve this end.

AL: Could you tell me about your own experiences selling at comics markets and community fairs?

PB: In my experience selling my own books at fairs and so on has been something of a revelatory missing link. Previously I’d just distributed my comics as best I could via comic shops and other similar shop based outlets where you dropped off a few copies sale-or-return and hoped for the best (often hanging about the shop to see if anyone ever picked them up). There is something thrilling about witnessing the public handing over money for your books – ‘There are real people reading these things!’ When you put so much into their construction, the pride and satisfaction of seeing them go off the table and out the door is not to be overrated.
festival_covAlso you get to meet other cartoonists doing the same thing. Cartooning can be a lonely oul game and the camaraderie and healthy competition is a good boost.
The Black Panel distribution table is an excellent outlet and straddles the best aspects of the comic shop and community fair – an open-minded but not necessarily comics-savvy crowd looking for something original – what could be better?

AL: Is there any chance we’ll have you over at the Black Panel for a signing this year to meet your adoring masses?

PB: ‘Adoring masses’!?! I think you mean a non-repulsed handful!
Once I get something new together to shill – I’ll definitely be up.

AL: What are you working on at present and when can we expect to see your next print comic?

PB: At the minute I’m finishing up some new material for a collection of short pieces that the publishing arm of the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry are going to put out. Hopefully that should be done for mid-May in time for the Bristol Expo.
There should also be a self published mini-comic ‘Ricky’ before the end of May – rejigged from a previous anthology appearance.

matter_01_cov
AL: If a reader had only to pick up one Phil Barrett comic do you have one you’d be most proud of?

PB: The Matter blue one ‘Stagnant Pool’ is probably the one I’m most happy with. Even though its a good few years old at this stage it’s probably the one comic I’ve done so far where the potential at the time was fully reached – it doesn’t read as if I wrote it at all! Plus it’s funny in parts. ‘Blackshapes’ is also worth a gawk though it came out a bit more serious than me.

matter_01_sm_01 matter_01_sm_02

Above: Samples from Matter: A Stagnant Pool

AL: And readers of your work might also enjoy which comics by other artists?

PB: I would have no doubt those readers would probably enjoy any other homegrown comics available on the Black Panel table – I think they share the slightly mordant humour and surreal worldview of much of the Irish output.

AL: What sort of print runs do your comics usually have and how often do you go back to press?

PB: Unfortunately I’ve never kept accurate figures. I usually print at home on demand and at the moment it’s wholly through fairs and markets and the odd internet order that the comics are distributed. Since it’s been around the longest, the Matter Blue one is probably the bestseller at what I’d estimate at 400+.
AL: You seem to be quite good at selecting disparate images in your comics narratives. (Especially in the blue-covered Matter: A Stagnant Pool) What advice would you give to the kids who want to make a name for themselves as comix storytellers?

PB: Focus on the storytelling more than the comix. It’s the story that people respond to – once they get past the surface of the artwork it’s the story that keeps them reading. It’s worth spending as much time tweaking and honing the story and how it flows as it is on the more obvious return of polishing the artwork.
Keep a sketchbook and use it – ideas disappear as quickly as they appear unless they are noted down. The ‘stagnant pool’ story is practically a jigsaw patchwork of image ideas tacked together.

The Black Panel Diaries season continues over the next month at Alltern8, covering the 2D Festival in Derry and The Point Village Festival in DublinPhil Barrett will be appearing as a guest at both of these events.

Phil’s website is http://www.blackshapes.com/

Comics and Cartooning: UK Election 2010

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for (now extinct) Alltern8; Comicking.

With the UK general election happening this week, democracy gets opportunity to curtail the taint destructive politicians have left on the world stage. I thought it might be interesting to deliver a round-up of what some British cartoonists have been saying on the matter.

Labour or the Conservatives (or ‘Unionists’, as they used to be known, and sometimes are in Northern Ireland) have held power for 65 years. So, care of Sean Duffield, a four page look at the Labour leader, David Cameron,

Cameron Taxi Driver

Ah yes, Cameron’s friendship with Rupert Murdoch, Google-fearer and owner of the British registered Newscorp (BSkyB, The Sun, The Times), which avoids paying tax in Britain.

Might we be seeing this sort of thing in a Murdoch-Cameron Britain?

Dave Brown The Independent 2009

Um, sorry? Dave Brown, 2009

Marc Roberts of Throbgoblins,
“I’ve been playing around on PhotoShop (other image manipulation programmes are available) and have come up with the following. It’s mostly a tad sinister – UK politics and the pending ecological debacle”

Here’s his ApoCameron-lypse,

ApocalyptoCAMERON(web)

Crazy internet-fearing Murdoch, drawing threats on the BBC, a public service broadcaster funded by the public since 1933 with it’s aim to present fair impartial reporting.
Here’s a cartoon on favourite LibDem Clegg’s victory by Rich Johnston from the 26th April as originally posted to Guido Fawkes.

RichandMark 26 April

And of course, the always admirable Steve Bell in his work for The Guardian,

3007-30-4-10_FINALDEBATE

So, really a televised leadership election debate should have taken place at the BBC rather than being relegated to third place after the commercially funded ITV and Murdoch’s private BSkyB.

6559-26-4-10_BEARDCHANGE

6560-27-4-10_BEARDCHANGE

Above: Two more from Steve Bell and The Guardian.

Now the UK have a chance to lock Murdoch out of UK politics and cut the propaganda that has seen the nation’s Green Parties, the welsh Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and others locked out of these debates.

Oh, and this guy too.

fascist guy_72dpi

Source: Duffield

2849-28-5-09_GRIFFINPARTY

Source: Bell

The image above by Holocaust-denying racist Nick Griffin, parasite to re-opened multi-party politic talk. It’s another by Sean Duffield: Go and donate a few pounds towards War – The Human Cost, a brilliant BRILLIANT anthology he’s hoping to get out.

The BBC brought us the iconic kids show Bagpuss, and here’s Sean take on Gordon Brown.

sagpuss_page1_with_text_78 sagpuss_page2_mice_and_text_78dpi

Marc Roberts goes for high pitch animals too,

BROWNgorrilla(MINI)(web)

This will be the first UK election since Web 2.0 has fully worked it’s way into British culture. Hopefully we’ll not get any Votergate-type scandals and see elected tolerable agenda for the job.

Murdoch isn’t the only unelected dictator we need to get rid of, after all.

demonicolour468

Source: Mark and Rich, Guido Fawkes

And what of this man?

2593-17-10-07_CLEGG

By Steve Bell

He may very well be the UK’s new Prime Minister.

Modern politics is driven by who you can’t vote for, rather than who you’d like to. Still, being cooped up in Westminster talking only to other politicians is an uneconomical reality to face.

2963-2-2-10_GUILLOTINES

The above cartoons are by Steve Bell. There are some more of them here.

Dave Brown, then Peter Schrank (The Independent) as to how they’re not really of the same thinking state as many of us,

(IMAGES FROM ORIGINAL ARTICLE MISSING)

Some things are just too prescient. Morland Moreton from The Times way back in 2006..

(ORIGINAL IMAGE MISSING)

Please vote on Thursday. Sure they’re all crap, but not voting helps keep them in power. Remember, ‘Hung parliament’ is code for greater democracy.

If you’re interested in similar, less conservative attitudes to British political cartooning try the works of BRICK (aka John Stuart Clark), Kate Evans,Polyp and Kate Charlesworth.

Publisher Tom Humberstone – Launching Solipsistic Pop #2

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

“Solipsistic Pop is a biannual anthology designed to spotlight the best in alternative Comic art from the UK.”sp2cover

The first issue was part fashionable show-off object full of comics such as,

“Meanwhile”: Robbie Wilkinson’s deranged fantastic Kahlenberg and the fever mind demons of the Social Security Agency offices.

Rachel Reichert beautifully colouring a spider into a butterfly.

Monotone sleepwalking and premonition by Anna Saunders.

Phil Spence’s iconic Ninja Bunny, unconfined in Eastern landscapes

Friendship and stability amongst the televised generation, in Tom Humberstone’s real “Special Guest Appearances”

manifesto pop

Tom is the one of the great folk identified with Solipsistic Pop and with Volume 2 launched only a few days ago, it seemed we might like to read an interview with him.

Andy Luke: Hi Tom, I really enjoyed your American election coverage.

Tom Humberstone: Thanks Andy. That seems like a long time ago now. I really miss it actually. I’m hoping to return to America for a prolonged period of time again as soon as I can. If only for the bagels…

Solipstic Pop Fashion

AL: I get the impression Sol Pop people are all young, thin, talented and incredibly gorgeous. What’s in it for old wrinkly jaded fatties like me?

TH: No, I’m pretty hideous. But if the work implies an inherent beauty within all the contributors, I’ll take that compliment. There are some artists involved in Solipsistic Pop who I’ve only spoken to via the internet. The work is, of course, the most important consideration when putting together the line-up. Physical appearance should have very little to do with the artists or the audience. Maybe I should have gone for a funny answer though…

quadropticon01

AL: In your reading, do you have any particular stand-out favourites? For me Mark Oliver’s “Quadropticon”, a comic which will be readable whichever way up you hold it, is quite seducing…

TH: It’d be unfair for me to single out any particular highlights of either book. Best to leave that to someone more objective. Most reviews of the first book selected different pieces to discuss which is what you hope for with an anthology. Everyone taking part is in there because I love their work and want to publish it so it’s safe to say I’m a massive fan of everyone involved. You’re right though, Mark’s Quadropticon is an amazingly inventive piece and well worth wall space in anyone’s house.

Solipstic Pop Manifesto

Above: An excerpt from Kieron Gillen’s manifesto, full version here.

AL: I really enjoyed the text piece manifestos by yourself and Kieron Gillen. Is that attitude and ethos indicative of how Sol Pop came about? Is everyone involved a drinking buddy with a mutual awesome feel towards each other’s work?

TH: Kieron’s introduction was a wonderful addition to the book and something which still manages to put a smile on my face. The manifesto I wrote with Matthew Sheret was something that was written to lay the groundwork for what we wanted to see happen in the UK comics scene and the comics industry in general. It set an agenda for Solipsistic Pop and Sheret’s We Are Words + Pictures. Most of the points in it are fairly self-evident and those working in comics wouldn’t see anything in there that seemed revolutionary at all. But the point was to collate those thoughts and somehow use them to form a blueprint for what we wanted to achieve over the next few years.

Some of the artists in Solipsistic Pop are good friends who work in entirely different fields but whose work has always seemed appropriate to comics in my opinion. When I set out to make Solipsistic Pop, I knew I wanted the contributors to be a mix of established alternative comics creators, up-and-coming creators, and people working in other media giving comics a try. The result is a a varied mix of surprising and fresh approaches to the medium which I find really exciting.

(SOME IMAGES MISSING)

AL: There’s a conscious decision not to make a comic but a packet of comics, with inserts and inserts. This is a hark back to the comics with free gift days, or calling attention to detail?

TH: It’s not so much trying to mimic a specific ‘free gift’ approach but more about making the most out of a physical object. With so many fantastic digital options available to comic creators and publishers, there really needs to be a *reason* for the comics to exist in print. Beyond the high production values of the organic inks, high quality paperstock, and lithographic printing techniques – I also wanted to make each volume a boutique object that is uniquely suited to the content and theme of each book. The first book contained mini-comics as a nod towards the humble small-press UK comics scene and my fondness for the charm of crude, photocopied booklets. Both books come with a newspaper insert which references a Sunday funnies approach. A tradition which informs the American comics scene and which has thus informed our understanding of the artform too. These additions are carefully considered and, if anything, have more in common with the McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern approach to publishing.

AL: How is it funded? Surely production and distribution costs eat up a lot…. (the free style bag-for-life is kinda pretty)

TH: Yeah, Philippa did a superb job with that design. I fund Solipsistic Pop myself. Using savings and whatever freelance work comes my way on top of my full-time job. It’s a struggle. And it has meant that publishing my own work has had to take a slight backseat. But it’s worth it. I’m incredibly proud of these first two volumes and I’m already excited about my plans for Solipsistic Pop 3.

AL: There’s a question I should have asked you but my girlfriend just broke up with me. What was the question and it’s answer?

TH: Oh… um… wow, this is awkward…

You buy a copy of the newly released Solipsistic Pop via their website. Volume 1 was subtitled and themed “Broken” and the new edition, “Middle”

Comics That Moved Me: Third World War

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

Crisis first five covers

Front-loaded with sequential design and a timeline of atrocities flowing. A futureworld of Pat Mills’ evidence-founded speculative horror. Artist Carlos Ezquerra’s rich figure drawing and the painted colours seemed to move in the heat of South America with its dust and its fire and sheer assault. The slums, the shanty-towns and the barrios; the expressions and adrenaline of fear and the barking army-life. The opening salvos of Crisis, a fortnightly magazine from the makers of 2000AD. As a publishing operation, it appealed. 2000AD was as the time bogged-down by more continuity than Marvel and DC, and it’s readers seemed like a clique of a club: they didn’t want me there. Crisis took the science-fiction genre and rammed it past those worlds detached to me. Lead strip Third World was about things that were happening around me, there and then.

The British Government had instituted compulsory national service from age 18 to work in the poorest countries of the world. They were to protect the interests of multinationals (a new phrase to me then) from the trigger of a gun, if necessarry. The focus was a unit of teenagers charged with re-educating and re-orientating locals. They did this reluctantly, through fear of the threat of force, or through blind faith and ignorance. Unlike a 2000AD story, we weren’t often treated to discussions of active conspiracy to liberate from an unjust system. This was comics realism. Sometimes you just have to follow orders, thousands of miles from your lovers.

3ww subversion

02 3WW free gifts

Third World War has been accused of many things. The characters sometimes lapsed into sociological text-book mode: Haralambos-speak. A fan, Hipsterdad, has referrred to them as “two dimensional” and “only open-minded insofar as they reject conventional society in favor of paganism and rebellion.” The character of Trisha was the type of olde christian. Practicing the faith at the time, she enabled me to see the hypocrisies of some of my fellow Christians’ attitudes and question other characters’ responses, which largely consisted of bullying her. In retrospect, it was Dawkins, perhaps filtered through Mills’ motor-noise soundtrack of The Dead Kennedys, Napalm Death and Chumbawamba. In the affluent part of Belfast, I didn’t know any blacks or punks or soldiers. Stereotypes are not useful for relating to specific people or scenes, but can be helpful fixing in on a broad-area signal. Dave Merrill at the above link is of the opinion that 3WW was so guilty of soap-boxing it was “soap factory-ing”.


Crisis more covers

The format of the strip: two fourteen-page installments, allowed for a quick presentation of a story, before moving on. Mills and Ezquerra didn’t waste their breath. Immediately readers were told about psychological warfare battalions (which our cast were part of), Agent Orange and free fire zones (cattle grazing land prepared by napalm). I was introduced to phrases like “Low Intensity Conflict” and the global horrors of the debt crisis engineered and fed on by Western bankers of the IMF. One story focussed on Coca-Cola’s links with death squads, forces which continue to be complicit in the murder of trade unionists in Guatemala, twenty years before Mark Thomas’ would write Belching Out The Devil. Before he would write about Britain as one of the world’s major arms suppliers to repressive military regimes in the form of CS gas, leg irons, armoured cars, surveillance systems and gallows. In one discussion of strobe guns a character remarks, “Its okay, its been tested in Northern Ireland”. Mills wrote about torture and disappearance, child soldiers and secret police. He talked about food irradiation and sterilisation, while Alan Moore was still pottering about with his giant naked blue man’s penis.

The glossary accompanying 3WW provided reference points in the form of book lists, NGO reports and documentaries, as well as historically-verifiable facts. Throughout its life Crisis retained links with the Green movement and Amnesty International, demonstrating that the news didn’t end with where the News would have you believe. You could get active and involved and for god’s sake, make an effort.

After the initial first book of seven stories (fourteen issue) closed, Mills became more interested in race and policing in London. This new narrative scene timed with format changes in the magazine and started a trend which allowed for Crisis’ death knell. Warren Ellis, writing at Artbomb, had this to say on its demise,

“And when it all fell apart, as it was always going to do, the idea of adult graphic novels in Britain largely went with it. The money was pulled. No-one at Fleetway was going to get a second shot. No other publisher – being careful and scared – was going to put their money on the place where the floor fell in.

And, to this day, no-one’s really been back there.”

Sputnik on Fortunecity has a page with a few details of Crisis and 3WW and I’ve just made a blog with a few transcriptions available.

Neither of these are well-formatted but they are informative. Third World War has not been reprinted recently, bar a few Flickr users, although there is a 2000AD thread (rightfully) calling for Book 1 to be reprinted.

I have it from my sources that we may be seeing the return of a commercial British political comic from one or more publishers in the forthcoming year.  I reckon Warren would visit.

Comicking (news tidbits)

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

 Walking On Broken Diamond

I raised an eyebrow at the serious empathy shown Diamond Distribution when they raised their minimum unit number recently. The cat’s out of the bag though, from this very long story about Checker Comics cutting ties, tweeted by the impressive and often Geoffrey D. Wessel.

People will be keeping an eye to see if this could threaten to dissolve the time-space continuum of comics distribution as we know it.
(Rich Johnston on Steve Geppi’s house-sale)
Solipstic Pop Takes London

Out soon. New work by loads of people.

Solipstic

“Book two of Solipsistic Pop contains 64 pages of sequential art from some of the best comic artists, illustrators and designers working in the UK today. With a 12 page newspaper insert, gorgeous gatefold cover and specially designed tote bag, it’s a must have for any comic fan.”

Check the website for details. The images above were put together by Luke Pearson.

 

Comics Festival Fortnight Ireland

Ireland has two comics festivals coming up. In the north, Derry hosts the wildly popular 2D festival, now in its fourth year. Special guests announced include Pat Mills, Leigh Gallagher, Rufus Dayglo, Garry Leach, Jamie McKelvie, Kieron Gillen, Gary Erskine, Colin McNeil, Ilya, Will Simpson, Davy Francis, Bridgeen Gillespie, Phil Barrett, Maeve Clancy, Paddy Brown and this one. For starters. 2D is made possible by the Derry Verbal Arts Centre, David Campbell and a host of hard working volunteers. It caters for the academic nerd and the whole family and does so quite well. Phew. Taking place this year from Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th June.

The Point Village in Dublin, if this brochure is anything to go by, is a spanking new exhibition centre, a bit big and shiny like Birmingham’s ThinkTank.On Saturday 12th June Hilary Lawler (Longstone Comics, SuperHillbo!) is putting together a special comics festival. I’ll be there with Paddy Brown and many other well-known stars of the Irish comics scene. Special guest Jenika from London will also be there. Jenika is known for creepy lovely vampire goth comics. Also for having a chair at festivals in the hall part of her table for weary travellers to sit. Stylish. Tables are free, contact  02villagefreetable(at)gmail(dot)com for details.

More news on both these events as they emerge over the coming month.

Four Colour Love

Comics Tutor Steve Bissette of the Centre For Cartoon Studies to the comics frat as the cartoonist behind Alan Moore’s ground-breaking run on Swamp Thing and author of the self-published Tyrant, chronicling the early life of a tyrannosaurus rex. Also as publisher of Taboo, the anthology which kick-started From Hell. Oh, and 1963, which with Moore and a host of mainstram and alternative artists brought us the most wonderfully fun superhero comics series of all time.

Retired from the industry, Bissette has no wish to invoke the Moore scotch but wishes to leave a legacy for his children and students. To that end, 1963 characters N-Man, The Fury, The Hypernaut, and Sky Solo are to appear in Tales of the Uncanny – N-Man & Friends: A Naut Comics History, Vol. 1 from About Comics. This 200 page volume  features new work from Bissette and accompanying-universe characters from his students. Contributions are on a work-for-hire contract, Bissette retaining the trademark for characters he has designed and students apparently retaining theirs for new work in the book.

Worth a sponsor I suppose. The book is ready at the end of the year and the preview given out at Mocca can be ordered via paypal from Mr. Bissette while stocks last.

The Above News Story Via Rantin’ Rich Johnston.

Oh, and eventually CBR and TCJ

Why Is Everyone Ignoring Paper Tiger Comix: War – The Human Cost ?

Seems I was wrong on my initial predictions that pre-orders necessarry for publishing this book would be reached within the month

There are still about two weeks left to get a comic that contains a host of professionals such as Spain Rodriguez, an album containing a host of professionals such as  Michael Franti and the Spearheads, and donate to Campaign Against Arms Trade.Pre-subscriptions are required for printing costs. See Paper Tiger Comix and IndieGoGo.

Free Runaway Who

Oli Smith, revolutionary mini-comics dealer has his first Doctor Who book, The Runaway Train, imminent. This Saturday the audio version, voiced by Matt Smith and Karen Gillen, is being given away free with Britain’s Telegraph paper. This is sure to disappear very quickly and probably highly ebayed, launching Oli’s career nationwide. No delays to that platform then.

And hopefully, he’ll not end up looking like Tom Baker when he’s old.

Swipefile.

The new eye-in-the-stalk from Victory of the Daleks, Mid-April.

(Image Missing)

The new comic by Ralph Kidson, Early March.

(Image Missing: The story refers to “Dalek Home Guard”, which was created around about the same time as production on “Victory of the Daleks”. Both featured Daleks serving tea from eye-stalks uttering, “Would you like some tea?”)

Hate to say I told you so.

A Comic In 366 Frames

Warsaw cartoonist Dennis Wojda writes,

“I’ve decided to make a comic. I will draw one frame each day during one year plus one day. That’s 366 frames. I have no script and I have no story. It’s an experiment. It’s a flow.”

But who will review all these comics?

Matthew Murray is “Reviewing zines and minicomics every day.” on his 365zines blogspot. He has a stack of unread gear, but is welcoming to trades. (Source: Matt Badham)

Filmish

Matt sent me a copy of ‘Filmish’ by Edward Ross, which appears to be degree assignments on film theory essays in comic strip form. As such it reads too McCloudian on occassion, but for all its flaws I’m very happy that work like this exists. 24 A5 pages of black and white comic book for only £3 plus p+p. Now available with Paypal for UK, European and U.S. customers!

Irish Cthulu


Talesofthe.com is worth a mention. Featuring Stephen Downey and Andrew Croskery of Insomnia in Irish arts freeform. The new site contains comics, paintings and music. Featuring Downey’s debut directing short films with a brilliantly disturbed Malachy Coney in the lead role. Worth a see.

 

In Absentia

The print version of my new comic launched in London and Belfast last week.

Number 25, Quarter Centennial. Check it out in the display in the Hoxton district in London’s East End at Bookart Bookshop before the end of the month. Look for it to appear in Belfast’s Black Market, Derry’s 2D festival and Dublin’s Point Village Market. Interested retailers get in touch.

Contact me for news stories, stuff and things at drew.luke(at)gmail.com or join us on the forums.