Thursday, 28 July 2011

From the WTF files: We Can Stop The Enemies of Youth

At last, something on drugs...

Here's an interesting public service announcement (drawn by the late, great Frank Frazetta) from a 1950s' romance comic that was paid for by the New York City Youth Board and The Association of Comics Magazine Publishers. What's bizarre about this is that it only refers to a generic drug known as "Dope". I'm assuming this is relating to marijuana, but to be honest it could be anything! As public services go, it's pretty bloody vague and spurious to say the least!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Out and About in Paris & London

Last Tuesday I went to the very excellent Foyle's Bookshop on the Charing Cross Road, London for the launch of Grant Morrison's first non-fiction prose book, Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero.
Above and Below: Grant specifically asked for no photos or recording of the talk, so here's a photo of the book and the chair he sat in!
The talk was hosted by the very charming journalist/writer Sam Leith and excellently reported by Rich Johnston on Bleeding so I'm not going to repeat that, and you can read about it here anyway. The book is a thorough examination of the superhero phenomena combined with a part-memoir. Flicking through I noticed he name-checks by old boss, Art Young, and describes the Vertigo UK office as "a glittering mirror-ball where the future of comics was cooked and served by cackling pranksters on shiny chemicals." So, so true. As Grant signed my copy of the book he gave me one of the best bits of "damming-with-faint-praise" I've heard for a while, "Oh, you're nearly in this!"

Afterwards, I had a quick few glasses of wine with Kristan, Grant's wife, Sam, and I met the lovely Adam Narkiewicz AKA Akira the Don, who makes some very interesting music (sort of a cross between Beck and The Streets with a more upbeat tempo) before we were all eventually hustled out by the staff who wanted to go home! Foyle's has a very impressive graphic novel section and they stock Ilex books, which is great!

The reason for me attending was to hopefully develop a forthcoming project with Grant. Remember waaay back when I told you about the project I was developing with Alan Moore and Gary Spencer Millidge? Well, as with Grant, watch this space...

Yesterday I went to Paris for the day to take part in an interesting documentary all about erotic comics. It's being put together by Les Bon Clients, a Parisian production company for the French/German channel Arte. The very lovely crew, including director Joelle and producer Gilles, met me at Art Generation,  a fantastic gallery space stacked with tons of Pop Art by rising French artists. While there were some heavy-handed swipes in a lot of the work (everyone from The Simpsons, Fifties' romance comics, Batman, Captain America, etc.) there were also some truly beautiful paintings inspired by manga and anime. If you are ever in Paris and in the Hôtel de Ville area (just round the back of the Georges Pompidou Centre) I thoroughly recommend a browse. You could pick up some excellent art at very reasonable prices.
The interview itself was long and thorough, and it was a joy to see that Joelle really knew her stuff and was very keen to get an excellent documentary out of the subject. The crew had already been to Italy to interview Milo Manara, Germany to see Ralf Koenig and they had just interviewed Zep (who's turning his phenomenally bestselling graphic novel, Happy Sex, into a live action movie!) before me. With so many excellent creators involved, I'm sure I'll end up on the cutting room floor, but we'll see. Hopefully it'll boost sales of Erotic Comics: A Graphic History in both France and Germany (not that they need that much help)!
Above: The crew get ready. The director, Joelle, in the middle.
Above: A Manga inspired painting called GBH by Y.A.K
Above: The Les Bon Clients team set-up the shot, using Dorian as a stand-in for me.
Above and below: Interesting pop art (or swipes as we call them) featuring Power Girl, Lucky Luke, Sponge Bob Squarepants, and the Power Puff Girls by the prolific Rico Sab.
The plan is for Arte to air the documentary simultaneously in France and Germany on Saturday 28 January 2012, with a special live screening at Angouleme. So looks like I need to head to my favourite French town once more! Further information on this as it happens!

The seven hours I spent on trains yesterday were put to good use and I've been ploughing through Grant's book, which is a cracking read and I thoroughly recommend it.

Friday, 1 July 2011

My Life as a Comic Character (Part 2)

Of course, I didn’t always actually appear in comics , but rather lurked in the back of them. Me old mucker, Garth Ennis had Tulip’s friend Amy teach at Pilcher High School in Preacher as a kind nod.

And in Hitman I was the oft-discussed, but never seen, “Timmy the Fish” (based on the wearisome “joke” than my last name sounds a bit like pilchard—a cross I bear to this day).

Timmy the Fish was Tommy Monahagn and Nat the Hat’s arms dealer, supplying them with all the weapons they need to enact bloody vengeance upon all those that cross them. Here's just a few of my non-appearances (all artwork either by John McCrea and Garry Leach, or just John). 
I sold Tommy his first gun:

When not arms-dealing I would act as a local snitch and informer with delusions of gradeur.
But I was a reliable informer:
OK, so maybe my equipment wasn't as always reliable as my information. Occasionally things went wrong with the supplies (sorry fellas!):
And here’s the book I “wrote” about Tommy, Nat, Sean, Ringo, Hacken and the rest of the Noonan’s gang:
So if you ever need to stage a small coup, or just holding up a grocery store, give me a shout. We do everything from small handguns right up to tanks. And we’ve got an excellent deal on 9mm Glocks this week. Come see Timmy the Fish – He’ll see you right. Because “Forearmed is not to be fucked with.”