‘Bout! The Fight-Zine’ is a new short comic by John Robbins. I love how John tells stories. ‘Bout!’ is funny, a bit deranged and prime twisting. It’s free: go and read it via @ComicsWendy this half hour!
Spide: The Lost Tribes is out on Thursday. In case you missed it, capsule review: two Belfast louts get roped into a Free Presbyterian grail quest, sped by the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise train and through the pages of history. The narrator, Dan Spide, is sat backwards on the journey, now that I think to tell you. I’ve caught most of everything else in the wee novella. The link to give out is https://tinyurl.com/thelosttribes – why not pre-order it in case Amazon crashes?
Advance feedback’s good and today the first full review is up from Chris McAuley at Talking Comics:
The excellent cover is by @TheMarcSavage who was shooting for the Drew Struzan movie poster scale and succeeded. You can also find Marc at @media_large. I’ll be talking about it to Eileen Walsh on @Drive105 FM in Derry Wednesday morning.
At the weekend I was in Derry for Comics City Fest where a good time was had by alcohol. My comrades for the too-old-to-do-this nights drink were the wildcard Darren McCay, and No-Selfie Will Simpson. Here’s a shot of ‘The Ambassador’ with Lightspeed Stephen Downey.
The Comic City event at the Guildhall was bustling popular. Thanks to Dave Campbell and all the staffers who worked to make it be.
National Novel Writing Month is upon us: extreme prose writing and I’m using it to catch up on an outstanding project. When not smashing up telephones, I’ll be scowling at loud grandparents in cafes up and down the country.
Filling in on Patreon this month: 24 hour comics never seen before. That’s pretty big news actually. Should probably be a headline somewhere. Cough, cough.
(All calls are screened before the telephone ejection policy is decided)
Hello me hearties, and thanks for leaving behind Facebook for my blog, which was once in the Top Trillion websites but is now a speck of salt. Beezer time to us all.
Dan and Ape must make community films with religious fundamentalists or risk losing their dole. Before they can do a bunk, they’re implicated in a three thousand year old conspiracy and a cross-border rail trip they’ll nat forget.
Spide: The Lost Tribes is a wild west quest through the pages of the Old Testament and Irish mythology. From Andy Luke, award winning author of Gran, Absence, and Axel America and the U.S. Election.
I’ve been taking some shots of my bed hair alongside the cover by Marc Savage. Maybe this’ll catch on…
You know, with you posting photos of your comical bed-hair…
…thus launching a meme whereby Spide enters the Top 100 and pays rent?
Priced 99p, October 13th pre-order; November 1st release.
I wanted to say something about Carlos Ezquerra but I imagine I’ve little to say that hasn’t been felt. I met him a couple of years back at Enniskillen for all of five minutes When he passed it seemed sudden, because though an age, he was full of hope and life. Anyone who read 2000 AD or IPC casually, most over 40s in the UK I’d think, knew Carlos’s work. That clotted ink style seemed to bleed through to all the other pages. His inventiveness with Mega City One ensured he was on a par with Jack Kirby, before we get to Stontium Dog, Al’s Baby and Third World War, one of the greatest influences on my own life.
24 Hour Comics Day #24HCD was last weekend. Eleven people showed up at Farset Labs to create around eighty pages of work. I was one of two who made the full 24, despite falling six hours behind. Silas Rallings made the count by 1am and his effort will show up on his poetry and cooking blog in the future. I’ll be sharing mine exclusively on patreon.com/andyluke as well as the unseen 2014 effort. I’m quite happy with the quality. Feast your eyes on the contributions, starting with our sponsors, the wonderful Comic Book Guys.
If you turn the image sideways you can make out some Transformers art brought to me by one of my younger fans. Thanks Alex and Jawine! I’m still tickled about that.
Culture Night is almost upon us. It’s the biggest day of the year for Belfast with a hundred thousand descending on… four hundred events? All run by volunteers.
I’ll be doing my in-demand poet thing this year: because I’m a poet, who writes poetry. First off is Inspire’s Time for Tea by Lombard House, 10-20 Lombard Street from 5:30-7pm. It’s a family oriented event. Inspire perform valuable mental health services, and they’re co-hosting with Addiction NI.
Then I’ll make my way through the crowds to the Costa Coffee on Castle Place. From 7-9pm Studio NI/Titania are running a unique Open Mic with performances filmed and some contest or other. Turn up to both and I’ll not pop the same material.
Terry Wiley passed away earlier this month. Terry was an independent cartoonist. He had a style which any-one could look at and say, ‘that’s a Wiley’. He was detailed and graceful and infused his characters with life. In the 90s he co-created Sleaze Castle with Dave McKinnon. A tale of dimension hopping students, it drew influence from psychedelia, Subgenius, and quantum malarkey and Terry brought all of that to the pages in every conceivable magical aspect. Sleaze Castle had, perhaps, a cult following? A small but passionate readership. Terry was similarly magical. He looked part-squirrel, part gnome, and could be so easy-going I found him a bit intimidating on our first meets. Or maybe I was star-struck. Or maybe it was because that first time I had the accidental honour (and I was aware of it) of sitting next to Terry and Dave for a Balti in Birmingham, and I’d never seen candles under food or a balti bowl before.
Huh. There’s too much to write about Terry. He was a regular fixture at the CAPTION festivals, sketching and yarning, and building unusual props. It was the Midwinter Comics Retreats, (MCRs), organised by Debra Boyask, where I got to know him. Recipe: a dozen cartoonists in a country cottage, plied with home-cooked food and booze, tasked with creating a book over a weekend. It was Christmas come early, with a substitute family. (Debra made sure all the men wore ties at dinner)
Terry was massively prolific, finishing about two to three pages a day. Somehow he also found time for the craic, curmudgeonly rants, and enlightening us with poignant observations. Ha! I’m just remembering the last MCR. We’d picked up that it was also the abbreviation for My Chemical Romance, whose lead singer Gerard Way also writes for DC comics. Our MCR was traditionally happy to be low-key, but Jay and Terry got it into their heads it might be fun to take back the hashtag, and so began uploading pages and jest-trolling MCR fans on Twitter.
There’s a selection of the Retreat Comics for free on the Factor Fiction website, and some other books Terry worked on with them. His last work was Verity Fair, which I’ve heard nowt but great things about.
I visited Terry in the care home a few weeks before he passed. He was more concerned about me than about himself. That was the measure of him. He was well loved throughout the communities. He was brave as could be.
I have a lot of new work up on Patreon. The poems Handle-Guards, K. What? and Green-Way/Decoded. There’s also new short stories, The Youth of 2062 and Riot City, Junk Garage. Very soon these are joined by the first-look at my new novella, Spide: The Lost Tribes. More on that soon.
Take care of yourself and yours. Good night,
Holy Shitzam, around fifty, more than I’d estimated. Twenty years since I got my first review from Comics International and Pete Ashton’s TRS review sheet. Rose Reynolds, my consultant, drew the first comics cover, with brother Stuart on the second. A few years later I was writing with Pete on Bugpowder, one of the UK’s first sites covering underground comics. By then I was making comics with people I wish I’d seen more of this last decade: Dek Baker, David Morris, Emmett Taylor and Gary Parkin etc. TRS and Bugpowder also put me in touch with John Robbins, thought-provoking flash-fic author and life-long friend. At the same time the Belfast Comics pub meets introduced me to Richard Barr, my sometimes one-man support network, whom I continue to collaborate with to this day. As well, I got to meet Patrick Brown, creator of ‘A Virtual Circle’. AVC was an astounding prophetic story of violence by internet. Paddy’s ‘Just do it’ process inspired my first efforts. Ten years later we were both making comics and literal neighbours, running The Black Panel small press distributor.
Around for the long vital loving in my comics making: Ralph Kidson, Sean Duffield, all of the Caption event people, Joe at FPI and John Freeman, my editors at Altern8, Glenys Williams, David Logicaine, Garr Shanley, Suzanna Raymond who goes above and beyond. The departed ones: Debs ‘Badass’ Boyask, a bright beacon of love and community in my life; John ‘Jackfirecat’ Grandidge, one of my biggest supporters who always made me feel clever and honoured. More recently, Helen Gomez, Miriam Turley, Peter Duncan, Laurence McKenna and Sector 13, Aaron Flanagan of ComicBookGuys, people who never let me feel like I’m not working in a vacuum.
And Aaron Flanagan of Comic Book Guys is hosting Belfast’s first ever Small Press Day this Saturday:
The store is located at 130 Great Victoria Street, between the garage and Shaftesbury Square. There’s likely to be a few surprise guests but here’s a who’s who to those announced:
Colin Langan – Artist on ‘A Life in Defence’, a medieval fantasy on life, death and leadership.
Dave Louden – Writer who draws ‘Detective Roscoe’ and publisher of Belfast City Comics.
Yours Truly, Andy Luke – Another writer who draws, most recently on the collection, We Shall Not Be Stapled.
Roddy McCance – Writer/Publisher of Tales of the Fractured Mind, an important anthology of stories about mental health.
Glenn Matchett – Anthology mixer and writer of one-shot mystery/crime noir, Sparks!
Peter Duncan – Editor on Sector 13 and Splank! Annual, and the comics blog of the same name.
Right, who’s going to the pub?
I’d like to represent as many of the styles and genres of British comics as possible. The book/magazine will be printed in a mixture of colour and black and white and at A4 format. I’m looking for offers of contributions from writers artists or complete stories that fit into any of the following categories.
– Humour strips, think Wham!, Smash! and Pow! but also Beano, Dandy, Monster Fun and the like. Be anarchic, bring old concepts up to date or hark back to memories of great strips of the past. The Power comics featured spy spoofs that fed off the movie and TV craze at the time. Something that mirrors that, or other TV memes that are current now. I’m looking for single page strips, half page gags or longer stories where warranted. I’m also looking for an artist to help me with a newspaper style strip that I may scatter through the pages.
– Adventure stories. Think the old British Hero sets, Robot Archie, Black Max, Janus Stark and Adam Eterno were my favourites. I’ve no formal page limits at the moment, but think 7-8 as a sort of maximum with 3-5 being a norm.
– Sports Stories. I always liked football comics more than I liked football. But a good sports strip would be a great addition. My own preferred sport is Rugby Union and I think I could come up with a few good Rugby gags if I had an artist to work with, but I’d be delighted to look at ideas about almost any sport. But please, bear in mind that any strip about international Rugby Union should end with an emphatic Irish Victory.
– Spooky stuff. I maintain that Misty, and to a lesser degree, Spellbinder were among the best comics produced in the UK. A Misty style ghost or supernatural story would be a superb addition and very much welcomed.
– Factual strips. Remember Look and Learn, Tell Me Why, World of Wonder? Strips that tell stories from history or science or current affairs.
– Nursery Comics – I learnt to read with comics. Things like Rupert the Bear and Tiger Tim. I don’t want a strip for young kids but perhaps something that is done in that style would be interesting.
All of these are just ideas and I’m willing to look at anything. I’m especially keen to get strips with female protagonists, so far I have none and it stands out like a sore thumb. I’m aiming for a PG-13 vibe so bear that in mind and if you have any questions please do contact me and we’ll see if we can bring Splank! back for the first time. All characters should be original, I’m not looking to tread on any copyrights here, and will remain the property of the creators.
If you are interested in becoming part of this project please do contact me. Writers should send a proposal for their story or, get in touch to discuss what they might look at. Artists should send some samples of their work and an idea of which story types they are most interested in working on.
This could be fun, let us see what we can do.
E-mails to Splank@boxofrainmag.co.uk
Physical Samples (if your prefer) to: Peter Duncan 16 Belmont Church Road Belfast BT4 3FF
Today I’m sending out my new novel in part-work through Patreon. Next month it’ll start for free on my andy-luke.com but now S1 a month buys four chapters and $2 gets a weekly commentary. It’s a globe-trotting time-crossing of adventure and escape which traverses the Edwardian age to World War Two. Some of you know the highlights, retold since I began this in 2010. It’s in the vein of my Horatio Bottomley story for To End All Wars, Yet Unlike Anything. I’m very excited to finally get ‘Ignacz the Watch Thief’ off the ground. I understand if people wait for the free version on June 6th though I’d be grateful if you spread the word. This is unique.
More information at http://patreon.com/andyluke and the prologue is already there for subscribers with more new words tomorrow.
Calloused fingers from my new comic, stained with blue ink after a reasonably good launch; thankfully it didn’t stain the customer’s copy. Then the Enniskillen Comics Fest, were I got a good chat with Colin Mathieson among others. It was nice to see Alan & Sue Grant again, they give me a warm feeling. It was old skool fest life: abandoning the table, talking with everyone, getting excited about stuff! I hosted ‘Breaking into Comics’ with Colin, Jenika, Ciaran Marcantonio and Grainne McEntee, who makes Bubbles O’Seven: Simian Agent, which is really fun. I’m excited to be reading Ciaran’s comics soon. He’s properly excited about Neon Skies, and Red Sands looks great. I seem to be out of copies of We Shall Not Be Stapled, though it didn’t sell so well. Maybe a second printing. An e-version for sale in a month.