Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Forthcoming Appearances

Apologies for not having posted for a while, been busy having a life. Went to the Vintage At Goodwood Festival the other weekend, which was, without a doubt, the best festival I've been to. More on that later. In the meantime, I'm going to be at quite a few conventions over the next few months so here's a quick breakdown of where I'll be if you want to catch-up with me (further details on the shows just click on the heading):

New York Comic Con (8-10 October)
Not doing anything official at this point in time (my panel was bumped by Reed Exhibitions for some reason) but I'll be around on all three days so drop me a line here before the 6 Oct. if you want to meet up.

British International Comic Show (16-17 October)
I'm chairing a panel, Brit Pack, on the state of the British comics industry on Saturday 16 Oct. at 1pm with John Freeman (editor of the forthcoming Strip Magazine) and many others. Then, at 5pm, I'll be a team captain again on HAVE I GOT COMIC BOOK NEWS FOR YOU versus my old nemesis, Tony Lee. Making up the teams will be: Dave Gibbons, Staz Johnson, Mark Farmer and Pornsak Pichetshote, but I've no idea who's on my side, but I'm putting dibs on Dave and Staz!! Last year we won, thanks to an outstanding performance by the irrepressible Howard Chaykin. He was a star and a half! The Comic Book Alliance will also have a stand there so pop on by and buy one of our new T-Shirts. Go on, you know you want to, it's for charity, mate!

Thought Bubble (20 November)
Having been to last year's event, I was very impressed and so I'm returning this year for the one day event. The Comic Book Alliance will have a table there with lots of exciting news about our charity auction and forthcoming publications.

Of course, I'll also be at all these events with my Ilex Commissioning Editor's hat on, so if you have a hot concept for a non-fiction book or concept based on comics, art, movies, music or any aspect of pop culture or crafts, grab me for a chat!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Simon Bisley - Centurion

Here's something that caught my eye. Centurion, the new film by Neil Marshall—who directed the excellent Dog Soldiers—is due out on 27 August (having pushed back from April). Essentially it's another "men on a mission" story set in Scotland, but instead of squaddies versus werewolves, it's Romans versus Celts. Looks good'n'gruesome.

But what really caught my eye was this alternative film poster painted by my occassional con drinking buddy, Simon Bisley. This is familiar territory having painted Slaine for many years in 2000 AD, I can see why Marshall wanted the Biz to do this pic. Nice work, fella!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Sekventiellt: Naked manga characters = child pornography

Excellent article by Fredrik Stromberg about the problems of the Swedish government trying to legislate art and put it under some kind f legal restrictions. The situation is currently the same under British law and we desperately need to change this. More on how we are doing this coming up with the Comic Book Alliance.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The One That Got Away (Part 4) - The Unseen Marvel Comics

Well, here's the last of the comic strips I wrote for the orphaned Marvel Superheroes of Science. This one is by Mike Collins. If you look at the second panel you can see Reed Richards is reading a newspaper with a portrait of Spider-Man on. It was originally supposed to have a headline about the webslinger saving New York from Doc Ock's "Volcanomatron" thus tying in with the first strip and the start of creating the cohesive Marvel Superheroes of Science universe. Sadly 'twas never thus. This is the last in this series of unseen Marvel comics for you delectation and delight, I hope they were illuminating. Feel free to ask any questions or drop a comment, as intelligent feedback is always appreciated.

Oh, and I make absolutely no apologies for the terrible pun at the end.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The One That Got Away (Part 3) - The Unseen Marvel Comics

After a brief weekend hiatus I'm back with the remainder of the strips I wrote for DeAgostini for the sadly demised Marvel Superheroes of Science partwork.

This is Gary Erskine rendering a silly little X-Men story I threw together possibly a little too quickly, but there's some fun gags in there. Enjoy, for tomorrow it's the Fantastic Four drawn by British Comics maestro and Dr. Who artist Mike Collins.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Underground at the Unearthing

Last Friday night I met up with the lovely Gary Spencer Millidge and we went and saw Alan Moore perform his spoken word piece, Unearthing in the vaults underneath Waterloo station. The appropriately aged and spooky venue set the mood perfectly, as Alan recounted the magical life of his close, long-term friend and collaborator, Steve Moore (no relation).
The ever-affiable Gary Spencer Millidge
Before the show started we had a quick drink in the aptly named Bunker bar and I bumped into my old mate, actor/writer and self-confessed fanboy, Fraser Ayres. You might recognise Fraser from TV shows like The Smoking Room, Thieves Like Us and Noel Clarke’s Adulthood, and he presented the 2008 Eagle Awards. He’s apparently writing a new series for the BBC with Goldie playing his brother.
Goldie's Brother(!) Fraser Ayres in the intermission
The Unearthing show consisted of Alan reading a piece he’d originally created for Ian Sinclair’s anthology London: City of Disaaperances about vanishing areas of London. But rather than picking a place, Alan chose a person, Steve Moore. Steve is as vital and important a part of the British comics scene as Alan, yet has consistently failed to get the kudos his namesake constantly garners—and this was the latter’s way of setting the record straight. Alan recounted the history of Shooter’s Hill in London—Steve’s birthplace and home for over 60 years. The reading was complimented by images created by photographer Mitch Jenkins with a live ambient soundtrack provided by Crook & Flail.

Alan revealed Steve’s influence in setting up British sci-fi and comic book fandom, early fanzines and his role in the very first comic marts and conventions. He talked about the legendary proto-comic shop, Dark They Were and Golden Eyed and Steve working there with Derek “Bram” Stokes. Interestingly, one of my earliest memories was my dad taking me to the shop when it was in Berwick Street, when I was about 5. I guess comics got into my blood at a very early age! Alan then recounted Steve’s fascination with all things bizarre and esoteric and his involvement with the start up of The Fortean Times, along with founding editor, Bob Rickard. The early FT editorial team often used Dark They Were… as their unofficial office.
The whole event was made even more “meta” by the fact that Steve Moore and Bob Rickard were in the audience watching Alan talk about their lives in a semi-fictional piece. Alan’s tonal inflections, emphasis on key words, Northampton accent, and ambient music all meant he was actually performing a mass act of hypnotism—successfully putting the audience into a trance like state.

The show started late and, at 3 hours in length (including 2 intervals), was a mammoth feat of reading. Although I personally thought it could’ve been a bit shorter. Having said that, the whole evening was a fascinating and intriguing event where a new form of performance magic was acted out in an understated, yet powerful manner, whose resonance has stayed with me ever since.

Unfortunately, with the show running so late I didn’t get a chance to catch-up with Alan afterwards and thank him in person for the foreword he did for the 2nd Volume of Erotic Comics: A Graphic History, as I had to dash off to catch the last train home.

The reason Gary and I were there will become clear in the near future; suffice to say that it involves Alan considerably.