Wednesday 14 December 2011

Christmas goodies

Hey folks, do not despair! The Duckie Christmas market will solve all your Christmas shopping dilemnas — or some of them anyhows — and Sean Azzopardi and my good self will be plying our wares there in the foyer of the Barbican this Saturday and Sunday 17 and 18 December from 2-9.30pm. There are rumoured to be other comics folk there too.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Comical Animal 6

There is a new issue of Jim Medway's brilliant Comical Animal online!
Along with splendid work by Jim, it features contributions from such regulars as Alex Potts, Rob Jackson, Lizz Lunney, Fred Blunt, Rick Eades, Piotr Nowacki, Woodrow Phoenix and little moi.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Some comic reviews

Here goes:

It's a Man's Life in the Ice Cream Business
by Rob Jackson
This 24 page in-depth examination of the business that is the manufacture, distribution and selling of said frozen dessert takes us from the germination of the idea in Rob's brain through his brave leap of faith in resigning his job and the obstacles he has to overcome in the guise of Hygiene, Health and Safety. His first market is a triumph, the second less so. The highs and lows, battling recalcitrant canopies, having to think on his feet and reinvent himself to suit weather conditions, make for a fascinating read told with the gentle humour that we expect from Jackson, and includes some unusual recipes.
Bring on Part Two!

Eight Tablet Dream
by Sean Azzopardi
What if Harvey Pekar had been British and could actually draw.... ? Sean gives us another bunch of beautifully drawn anecdotes, thoughts and conversations, his jaundiced self-deprecation interjected with a fierce sense of humour that had me laughing out loud on the tube.

Saturday 26 November 2011

November swag

The last few weeks have seen a resurgence of activity, and quite a few events, notably Comiket, Thought Bubble and Ladeez. I seem to have accumulated a bunch of publications which I shall endeavour to review as I work my way through them.

Friday 18 November 2011

Heading oop North

I have just taken delivery of some brand new comics hot off the press for your delectation.
Tomorrow morning we will be winging our way up the M1 to Leeds for the Bubblé Fest. Hurrah! See you there!

Sunday 13 November 2011

A grand day out in Bishopsgate

After five years of attending Comica's Comikets, the event has finally come of age.
Though previously held in some wonderful locations such as the ICA and the Pump House in Battersea Park, this the first time that the combination of venue and location has worked so well to bring in the kind of footfall that I'm sure made every exhibitor's day worthwhile. With plenty of passing trade, free entry and a magnificent continuous large-screen live drawing display kept visitors in the hall. A parade of talents, including such luminaries as Posy Simmonds, Woodrow Phoenix, Sarah Macintyre or the rockstar-like Brecht Evens, below, enthralled the punters and inspired them to purchase product.

Well done Paul and Peter and all the team!
And thanks for being such wonderful table companions, Sean, Sally Ann and Joe Decie.
Then we went to the pub.

Check out lots more pics HERE.

Next week Leeds Thought Bubble...

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Come and get it

Things are gaining some kind of momentum as the convention season gets into its stride. This Saturday you will find me touting the old comicfare at Comica's Comiket at the Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London, 11am to 6pm, alongside my old muckers and fellow B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S Sally Ann Hickman, Sean Azzopardi and Oliver Lambden and many other eminent folks of the comic fraternity.

Thursday 27 October 2011

It's a paper and it's a comic

Hey everybody, rejoice!
Your new favourite comic newspaper is ready, featuring contributions from Sean Azzopardi, Tom Humberstone, Kristyna Baczynski, myself and many more. Click here for details.
Paper Science 6 will be on sale at MCM Expo this weekend and is available from the Words and Pictures website as of now.
Or you can wait a few weeks and pick up your copy at Comica in London or Leeds Thought Bubble.

Friday 21 October 2011

The revolution starts here

Last night, we gathered in a fantastic house close to the British Museum for the launch of Nicola Streeten's graphic memoir, Billy, Me and You, a frank reflection on the aftermath of losing her two year old son. Her unflinching examination of her and her partner's ways of dealing with this terrible tragedy, from suicidal thoughts to angry judgement of others' inadequate responses, may sound like a harrowing read but Streeten's honesty at revealing some of her less generous thoughts, along with her sense of humour, manage to keep this sensitive material far from grim, while remaining extremely moving. In the words of The Guardian, it is quite a feat.
And that is another reason to rejoice at the success of this project. Despite much recent progress in the way comics are perceived in the UK, we still have a long way to go. Like the music business in the late seventies, the mainstream press and publishing world still seem stuck on the idea that the virtuoso artistry of the package outweighs its content. It took punk rock, much of which has stood the test of time and has gone on to be a huge influence, to explode that myth. I see this book in the same revolutionary vein, its artwork not seeking to soothe the reader with beautiful images, but rewarding with its raw emotion, and an ultimately uplifting message, those who can look beyond esthetic orthodoxy . Bands like The Ramones and The Clash were denigrated as poor musicians by the establishment, but their legacy still carries more power and energy than anything any supergoup ever produced.
This is brave step in the right direction, helping to bring about a shift in attitude. UK readers and publishers will eventually understand that Sequential Art is more than a series of illustrations arranged pleasingly on a page, but words and pictures combined to convey stories, ideas or feelings, that transcend the sum of their parts.

Comics are more than pretty pictures!

Sunday 16 October 2011

Cominget yours at Comiket

Next month I will be exhibiting at Comica's Comiket alongside my good friends and very talented individuals Sean Azzopardi and Sally Anne Hickman, as well as many other creators and publishers. It will take place at the Bishopsgate Institute and entry will be free.

Friday 14 October 2011

Sunday 25 September 2011

Hey Ho No Show

Friday night's show at Flashback Records was great fun, with a good turnout, and beer and some artwork too. Thanks for organising, Sean!
Unfortunately I had to cancel my table at the Bearpit Comic and Zine fair. Work reared its head on top of a lot of other obligations, and after a couple of days stressing out, I followed the advice that something had to give, and that was the trip to Bristol.
I'm sorry I had to miss it, but I hope it's a big success and they do it again. The good news is that I have finished the job in time, and it's still only 4pm.

Friday 16 September 2011

Flashback to Bear Pit

Next Friday 23rd September We are Words and Pictures are launching an exhibition of Comics and Music at Flashback Records in Crouch End in which I will be showing some pieces of work.
And on Sunday 25th I will be heading west to Bristol for a day of comic and zine trading at Bristol Comic and Zine Fair 2011

Monday 12 September 2011

Job almost done

Almost completed my contribution to Paper Science 6, here's a sneaky peek...

Tuesday 23 August 2011

War - The Human Cost

At last Saturday's panel at the Imperial War Museum we shared the stage with Sean Duffield of Paper Tiger Comix who, along with contributors Dan Locke and Ben Naylor, was discussing his latest publication War - The Human Cost.
I have just finished reading my copy and I would urge anyone who cares about our planet to invest in one. This is a compelling 260-page collection of hard hitting comics from many contributors from around the world. The quality of this anthology is unquestionable; top notch artwork and proper intelligent discourse, covering conflicts all over the globe going back over a century, it tells a variety of stories and looks at the issue from many perspectives. Not only will you be contributing to a worthy cause (Campaign Against Arms Trade), you might actually learn something too.
And I haven't even listened to the CD yet.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Radio days

On Tuesday night Eileen and I appeared on a special edition of Alex Fitch's Panel Borders on Resonance FM informing people about the goings on this weekend at the Imperial War Museum. Click HERE to listen to the programme.
Check Paul Gravett's blog for a full report and information about the event.

Friday 5 August 2011

Comics and war

Two weeks after Austerity Caption, my mother and I will be appearing at the Imperial War Museum to present Philip and Helena in the context of the Comics and Conflicts event.
Eileen's moving account of her wartime experiences might surprise those of you who imagine it was all spam and powdered eggs.

Monday 4 July 2011

Bubbling with excitement

Yay! I am looking forward to going to Caption in August and have got round to booking a table at Leeds Thought Bubble in November.

Now to produce some new work...

Sunday 3 July 2011

Go East, young man

Dan Lester has left the building.
On Friday, after two and a half years in Harlesden, Dan has packed up his belongings and headed for the Far East in search of new adventures.
What seemed like a month-long farewell party culminated last Thursday June 30th in his final goodbye to the comics fraternity at the launch of David B's latest oeuvre, the Self Made Hero published Black Paths. I have so far only dipped in to my copy, a thing of beauty, the usually stark black and white line work complemented by gorgeous colour. I will savour it slowly to make the pleasure last.

Dan could barely contain his joy at his awesome leaving card.

A month of events kicked off for me with David O'Connell's very jolly Queen Mum Workshop at Orbital, part of the International Alternative Press Fair, on June 9th. The 16th saw the London Print Studio play host to a private view for the Imagined Cities exhibition. Dan's official farewell barbecue took place on a rainy Saturday 18th (Sarah McIntyre wrote a report here). Next up was the Comix Reader launch on 22nd June – get yourselves a copy already, it's only a pound for chrissakes!
July 1st we celebrated We Are Words and Pictures displaying their work at Bookartbookshop and last night we popped by the incredibly talented Julia Scheele's birthday drinks in Camden.

Latest news is that Dan arrived safely in Korea and has started making friends.

Friday 3 June 2011

Comical Animal 4

It is online.
I have contributed.
It is fab. It is free!
You should subscribe.
Check it out.

Thursday 2 June 2011

A woman's point of view

Having failed so far to find any reviews of this by a woman, here goes.
Chester Brown's Paying For It, a graphic memoir detailing his experiences with prostitutes as a customer, is a fascinating insight into the mechanics of a transaction that tends to be mysterious to a lot of us.
Unless engaged in said activity in one or other capacity, one has but a sketchy idea of the interaction. Chester Brown presents a totally deadpan, and presumably honest, picture of his dealings with a number of women over a period of five years. Prompted by the end of a relationship and coming to the conclusion that the only part of it that he misses and can't get from friends or family is the actual sex, he rationalises that it would be easier and cheaper to pay for the occasional shag.
This is actually very funny as he details calculating how often he can indulge without it costing him any more than dating a girlfriend, gets all wound up and paranoid about how to hook up and worries about the etiquette.
The reactions when he confesses his actions to people, the Woody Allenesque discussions between him and friends (mostly fellow cartoonists Seth and Joe Matt), the thoughts that go through his head while engaging in the activity all contribute to the humour as we vicariously follow this odd skull-headed creature into unknown territory.

But once he has got over the initial awkwardness and fear and gets more confident with the milieu, it starts to become an uncomfortable read. As he tries to reconcile his supposedly non sexist attitude with his dispassionate dissection of the women he visits, evaluating the attractiveness and the performance of faceless females (the facelessness, he argues, in order to protect their privacy). He visits review sites and starts leaving reviews himself. He seems unable or unwilling to look too deeply at some of the situations he finds himself in. He wants to believe that all the women he visits are simply business women who have chosen this profession as logically as he decided to use them. There is a total lack of questioning as to the myriad motives and experiences that may have lead them to this place. And an inability to consider that maybe what they are telling him is not the truth. Maybe he was very fortunate in only meeting such well adjusted ladies, maybe all johns are polite, mild mannered individuals like himself, who even tip when they don't have to. Maybe Canada is a country where everything is nice.
At the beginning, he is constantly afraid of being robbed, beaten up or arrested, it doesn't seem to occur to him that those are the risks the women are taking. In the lengthy notes at the end of the book, Brown seems intent on justifying his position by glossing over the darker aspects of the trade - pimping, violence, drug addiction and trafficking. He refuses to see that the relationship is not one of equals; he is in a position to take it or leave it, while they are bound to provide the service, however repugnant he may be to them. He is in control as to whether the transaction takes place.
While I believe all women should be free to dispose of their bodies as they wish, including selling them, most have complicated reasons for going into prostitution and too many are forced into it. Chester Brown's premise that prostitution is just a form of dating and that one day everyone will just buy sex from each other is actually hilarious. He doesn't seem to understand that the world is already that way, just that he's not rich enough to participate in that particular feast. Since time immemorial, the elite have generally been able to mate with the better looking females of the species. Wealth allows men, however old or hideous, to take their pick, and pension off the no longer nubile.
Paying For It is an appropriate title, as money is the crux of the matter and Chester just needs to make more of it to make his dream a reality.
As an autobiographical comic, this is fascinating. We observe tiny figures in rigidly laid out panels from a distance as we follow Brown on his encounters. An articulate and intelligent, apparently kind and gentle, but emotionally remote and ultimately self-deluded man, he has managed to justify his solution for getting laid with attractive and mostly younger women, without risk of rejection or getting involved, by naively denying any troubling aspects of the trade that he is engaging in.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Slow but hopeful

A taste of something I have contributed to issue 4 of Jim Medway's excellent Comical Animal.
Hoping to kickstart me back into action and break this cycle of BLOCK.

Friday 1 April 2011

Funny Bunnies

Yeah! Issue 3 of Jim Medway's excellent online comic Comical Animal is up for your perusal.
Featuring mostly rabbits ('tis the season to be hoppy), with contributions from Jim, Fred Blunt, Rick Eades, Alex Potts, Lizz Lunney, Joe List, Rob Jackson, Gary Northfield and yours truly, Jim's project is a winner. At the moment it's still free to subscribe so get yourself signed up.
Since the London Comix and Small Press Expo, I seem to have lost my spark, but the appearance of buds on the trees and the odd ray of sunshine are coaxing me out of hibernation. I have been seen wielding a pencil, and may even break out the ink...

Monday 14 March 2011

Punk meets small press comics

Last week was the opening of the St Albans Punk and New Wave Exhibition.
Thursday night saw us head out to the burbs for the opening at the St Albans Museum, along with Sally, Heather and Ian.

It's a really nice space, small but perfectly formed. We loved the army of (punk?) bishops in the first room, while the displays in the main area looked fab. Browsing the exhibits and bumping into people I hadn't seen for so many years was a curious experience and brought back some memories. Phil and Angie Smee from Waldo's Records had contributed a large amount, and I was pleased to see quite a lot of my stuff on show.
I was a bit surprised at the lack of labelling, as visitors who weren't part of the scene at the time might benefit from a little more information.

The first London Small Press and Comix Expo was held in New Cross last Saturday. Replacing the Webcomixthing, this new event in Goldsmiths College benefited from taking place during term time, in a larger and better lit hall. Rob Jackson very kindly invited me to share the table that Koyama Press had sponsored for him. Thanks Rob and Koyama!
The new East London line made it easier to get to than I originally feared, the show was well organised, my new comic sold well after a slow start, so all in all a good day, and I would go again.
Too tired to face the pub, Nick and I headed instead to East Dulwich where Heather, after a long day at ChiChiRaRa, found the energy to knock up a scrumptious curry.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

ladee done comics

I have contributed some artefacts to the St Albans Punk and New Wave exhibition that kicks off next week, details here. Heather and I headed out there to drop the stuff off, we hadn't been back for over twenty years. Strangely, the town doesn't seem to have changed that much... By the way, if you're in South London and a lover of the vintage, check out ChiChiRaRa, her shop in East Dulwich, you won't be disappointed.

In a fit of self-indulgence and vanity, I am posting a rare thing – a not hideous current picture of me. Taken by Oliver Lambden at his birthday drinks do the other night. There.
I like it.

The following night, Monday that was, I managed to speak for a whole fifteen minutes at Ladeez Do Comics. It was a very good evening, the other speakers being my lovely and talented fellow B.A.S.T.A.R.D Sean Azzopardi, Karrie Fransman and her posse from London Print Studio presenting their impressions of Angouleme, and the cerebral John Miers explaining his experimentations with language.
My thanks to Sarah Lightman and Nicola Streeten, the Ladeez in question, whose warmth and generosity help draw out any recalcitrant participants. The after show curry was much needed and helped thaw us out, the heating at the Rag factory leaving somewhat to be desired.

Next upcoming event will be the London Small Press Expo at Goldsmiths on March 12th. Rob Jackson has kindly offered to share his table with me. And I will have a new comic.

Friday 4 February 2011

Angouleme Comics 2011

My second visit to Angouleme was a more relaxed experience than the first.
For starters I knew now that spending six days with my chosen companions would not ruin our friendship. This year, Dan Lester, Sean Azzopardi, Oliver Lambden and myself were joined by Sally-Anne Hickman and Rob Jackson. Though quite a large crowd to squeeze behind a table, we rubbed along fine, wandering off at will to check out the rest of the festival. Our spacious lodgings meant we could chill out by the fire and play pool when we had tired of the frenetic bar-hopping and party-seeking. Having scoped out the layout and the town previously made it easier to plan my sorties and hone in on the bits I fancied seeing. And not being so overwhelmed by the whole hugeness of it all made it easier to take in.
There were familiar faces – it was lovely to catch up with Abby Denson, Tim Fish and Xavier Lancel back again on the LGBT stand. Sally Anne and I popped over to the theatre where they appeared on a panel alongside Fred Harper and Charlie Adlard.
This time I checked out the permanent collection at the museum as well as the excellent Parodies exhibit, while Baru's wall of artwork was pretty humbling.

We made the effort to get to the Castro Building on Saturday morning where Dash Shaw, Marc Bell and John Pham gave a most entertaining and informative talk.
There were more brits than last year: the Nobrow group and Pittville Press were also exhibiting, Karrie Fransman brought a delegation from the London Print Studio and Dan Berry was teaching at the Maison des Auteurs. Let's not forget Ellen Lindner, gamely touting the Comix Reader, who could be found recovering in Le Chat Noir alongside Stephen Betts, Cliodnah Lyons, Tanya Meditzsky , Patrice and John Aggs and Gary Northfield. We even bumped into Alex Potts of Turd Party fame.
We had some fantastic neighbours in the tent. Adriano Barone and Christian Marra of Passenger Press were unfailingly warm and their sense of humour was as off-colour as ours.
Now home and suffering from a mysterious virus, I am working my way through my bunch of swag. Wednesday's official Comix Reader launch party helped to alleviate the withdrawal from 24hr comic immersion, and most cheering was a favourable mention of my contribution in this review of Solipsistic Pop 3

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Hiatus over

Angouleme is fast approaching and I need to get my act together. Like last year a contingent of B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S, will be heading down to South West France to represent the British Independent Comic Scene. This time our numbers will have swelled to six with the addition of the gorgeous Sally-Anne Hickman and the brilliant Rob Jackson. I am really looking forward to the trip; knowing what to expect removes any trepidation about whether the table will be big enough or the accommodation suitable – one does feel a certain responsibility as organiser . I can relax and concentrate on making the most of the experience. Plus we will be travelling on my birthday...
Christmas and New Year went by smoothly. Andrew came over and helped Granny move into her appartment, in time for Lucy to reclaim her room on her return from Quebec.
Life is gradually settling back into some kind of normality, I produced a review for Electric Sheep last week and will soon get back to the comic I was temporarily stuck on.
2010 was a tough one. Bring on 2011, I am ready!