Sunday, 13 January 2019

True Believers 2019 - Spotlight on Nick Prolix.




I first met Nick in a dive bar near to Rupert Street, Soho in the February of 1981. He was sipping a gigantic Hemingway Daiquiri, wearing a cravat and a fedora. He was surrounded by the great names in the London art scene and venting about the cruelty of Thatcher’s government on the financing of abstract sculpture.


As I walked into the lounge bar of the Glassblower pub I witnessed Francis Bacon fetch him a clean bar towel to pad his perspiring brow.


‘Of course I chinned him!’ Were the first words I heard Mr Prolix say.


I knew then that we would become firm friends.


We have literally fought our way through the streets, pubs, alleys, strip clubs, jazz dives and punk clubs of old London Town since. The eighties and nineties were the bad old days, when rock and roll ruled, when nobody cared that a thing called ‘Social Media’ would arise like a sticky toffee present in the back of the pants of the world. We were rebels of the medium. 


Drugs, sex, art, murder and taxes were cool. The country ran full pace, never stopping to tell anyone they were ‘offended’ or ‘triggered’. Art was art, it was everywhere and everyone shat their pants when it’s true lords entered the room.


Nick has a depth of rich knowledge that flows effortlessly out of his pen nib and onto the page. He is one of the greats in the UK indie comics scene and his work should be shouted about! His work is at once cartoony yet insightful. He provokes thought and also manages at the same time to throw energy and action onto the page with cool lines and hip dialogue.





His work on Cockney Kung Fu over the last year has been a fucking joy. I’ll often get a text at midnight or later from Nick showing excitedly the progress he is making on a page or asking what I thought about a change of panel or a tweak of dialogue. It literally felt like I’d lost an arm when volume 1 ended and I realised I wouldn’t be looking forward to that art arriving in my phone for a while at least.


Nick’s ongoing story beyond the pages of Cockney Kung Fu is the always inspiring Slang Pictorial. I have loved every single page of this ongoing story of wide boys and girls in swinging London.



I had this to say about it when I reviewed the last issue:


‘But there is a real edge to the characters’ journeys in this overarching narrative. We see the growth of worker’s rights and the lack of tolerance regarding sexual and personal freedoms. You feel the early days of the mixing of religious and ethnic diversity in London and also the problems that came from this mixing. Nick takes the time to make these issues a reality for the reader and for the people he populates his comics with. There are some harsh terms thrown around but they always come with the authentic backdrop of the gritty London streets and pubs of the time. A post war land that was undergoing a revolution. A place of flagrant street crime, wheeler dealer barrow boys, old school factory workers, closeted actors, hard drinkers ex soldiers and a growing feeling of racial and sexual freedom.’


Seriously! You really need to pick this series up. It’s going to be something that people will remember for a long time.


So.... what has Nick got ready for True Believers. 






This is the cover to the new sketchbook from my wrestling tag team brother. I’d highly recommend it as it is full of the cool characters that Nick loves to draw. Make sure that you pick a copy up from his table. 


He’ll also have some original art along with him that you can invest in for a snip of what I’m sure it’ll be worth in years to come.


I tell ya now - this geezer is going places!






Find out more about Nick by following him on Twitter @Nick prolix or head over to his site and have a look at (and buy) some amazing art! 


Here’s the link http://thesheepandthewolves.com/



Many thanks for reading.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

True Believers 2019 - Spotlight on some Little Heroes.


This year at the True Believers Comic Festival we'll have returning publisher Fair Spark Books with their Little Heroes imprint.

Little Heroes is a UK based charity that produces comics and drawing kits and then distributes them to children through hospital trusts and healthcare organisations. During the life of this great charity project they have formed through their illustrious leader Aaron Rackley as the fast growing publishing house Fair Spark Books. I've seen this organisation grow over the last year or so and they are really pushing out some brilliant product.

Here's just a small portion of what Fair Spark have produced and distribute with many more on their way soon...



The charity started in March 2017 when Aaron wanted to give back to the hospital and healthcare professionals that helped him through his own battle with cancer back in late 2013. So along with the burgeoning UK comics community he went about creating the anthology series Little Heroes that lead on to more great comics. Buying a comic helps to supply those drawing kits that will keep sick children occupied in some pretty boring circumstances. Aaron and numerous artists, writers and letterers have given freely of their time to produce some great books. I'm proud to be part a small of this project.

Some of the creators to name but a few include, Susie Gander, Andy Hanks, Darrell Thorpe, Ross Burt, Kev Brett, Tom Curry, Simon Russell, Nick Prolix, Aaron Rackley, Andy Bloor, Mo Ali, Rob Barnes, Claire Spiller, Adam Foreman, Mark Adams, Matt Warner, Israel Huretas, Stu Perrins, John Celestri and more. 

Keep reading.


One of my favourite books at the moment is the all ages adventure series 'Gallant and Amos'. This is a series about a Knight and a very talkative Dragon travelling about a medieval world and getting into all sorts of troubles. The pages add some buddy cop style snappy and funny dialogue to a fantasy world that's full of angry warriors, sea serpents, sentient snowmen, alien visitors and much more.

Single issues are available and written and drawn by Rob Barnes. The art is clean and fresh and pacey and very readable. There's just a glint of the Asterix in the art and writing with little asides and in-jokes for the reader to enjoy.

Fair Spark are currently running a Kickstarter for the collected edition of the first four issues of Gallant and Amos and it is well worth pledging to. (I know that I have). It runs for about another twenty-five pages at the date of posting this blog. Get on it.

Here's the link:


Bringing some kids to True Believers who are aspiring artists or comics makers? Or even got some tiny terrors who are screaming the hall down and just need something that will occupy their brains for a couple of hours then this may be right up your street and is getting it's official launch at the festival.


'How To Make Comics With Springworth' tells of a world of superheroes, plucky side-kicks, monsters and most importantly a robot butler called Springworth who will guide you through the story and help you draw costumes, explosions, monsters, underground hideouts, origin stories and exciting battles. There will be pencils and colouring pens so that you can fill in all the details needed to help General Punchy, Emily and Evan succeed in their mission.


The art is by Andy Hanks who is an absolute revelation on this his first sequential work. I've written this book and the collaboration between myself Andy and Aaron has been some of the most fun I've had in comics. We'll all be there to sell you and copy and sign the book. Andy might even give you a few tips on how to draw and design characters and action.



Seriously folks. You need to get behind such a combination of ace comics and a really essential cause.


https://littleheroescomics.co.uk/about-us/



Find Fair Spark on Twitter @fairsparkbooks 



Also head over to www.littleheroescomics.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @littleheroeskit 


If you cant make it to this particular convention but really feel like then donating then head over to https://littleheroescomics.co.uk/donate-now/
Many thanks for reading.



Friday, 11 January 2019

Just Some Dawg...

I've been a little Dylan Dog mad this week. The character is a sales revelation in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, selling around 120,000 a month. (Only 'Tex' sells better on a monthly basis).. For those that haven't seen them they come out monthly in a slightly larger than digest size format. Usually Black and White interiors from the Sergio Boneli Editore publishers. 

Dylan Dog himself was inspired by Rupert Everett and is nearly always dressed in jeans, a black jacket and a bright red shirt. The series started in 1986 and has spawned two films and a variety of cross-overs and spin-off titles. He is an unorthodox investigator of the supernatural and the deadly who is based in London and drives a white Volkswagen Beetle. His adventures scream both post punk and the hallucinatory. He's prone to shout the melodrama of the moment at people and he has an assistant who looks like Groucho Marx in the Italian issues (and has no moustache in the English language volumes and is called 'Felix' - I think it's a rights issue...)

'Are you joking! Pay money to hear the world's horrors!'
or
'Dancing Judas!' (Dylan shouts this a lot).

A few years ago Dark Horse Comics grabbed the property and produced a mini series that they collected. It's actually quite pricy to find online and reprints a number of the earlier stories in a translated version.

 It's a real shame that so little has been recently translated but looks like Epicenter Comics are fixing that. Here's the link to their 'Dawg' catalogue https://www.ebay.com/itm/162149652669
They currently have four volumes of Dylan Dog reprints available. They are gorgeous and well worth a look - I bought mine at Orbital Comics.

Here are a couple that I read today. Just sublime. 


Just for shits and giggles I thought I'd include some of the other Dylan Dog stuff I have acquired recently. 

No big 'Blah, Blah, Blah' today just some images I have been digging.




The above are cards that came with an issue of Dylan Dog that I bought at Rome airport last month. (In a comic that cost me three Euros and fifty Cents!)


Just look at THIS nine-panel grid. That's how you do it!


If you really want some beauty in your life then grab a hold of The Dylan Dog Diary - published in Italy by Sergio Boneli Editore. (This was a gift from the Mighty Mauro and just breath taking!)





Tuesday, 8 January 2019

True Believers Preview - Part 3.

Time for another post about the True Believers Comic Festival coming ‘...at ya like Cleopatra’ on Saturday the 2nd of February (or just all it plain ‘Troobs’ if you are cool and shit).


So dear reader who else is worth looking out for once you get in the front door. 






Have you perhaps heard of the ‘Netflix for Indie Comics’ that is Comichaus? Pals (and sponsors) of The Awesome Comics Pod they supply an app for your tablet that for a small monthly subscription allows you to read bundles of Small Press and Indie titles. These get added to every week and you can post your comic on there for free. You can also sell copies through their website (they only take a penny!)


It’s all explained here https://www.comichaus.com/about.htm






Comichaus are also getting a great name for producing their own original comics series. Look for titles like ‘Close’ or ‘32 Kills’ for some original horror/thrillers and their own Comichaus anthology title.


Pete Genepool is the Publisher/Head Honcho from Comichaus and he’ll have a table at True Believers. Pop by and have a chat and sign up! (The first few weeks are free). I’m a regular user of the Comichaus App and love seeing what gems are on there.


Who else?





Geoff Senior is a name that UK comic fans will recognise from his work on such titles as the Transformers comic in the 1980s, he’s also worked on the UK version of Action Force, the now famous Dragon’s Claws and Judge Dredd. Geoff also created the Death’s Head Mk1 character for Marvel in 1987 with writer Simon Furman. A character tat turns up every so often even now.





Geoff and his longtime cohort, Simon Furman, are now working on the online comic series To the Death which has been critically very well received and presently collaborating with Get My Comics preparing the series for print very soon.


Geoff will be sketching on the day so get your orders in early. You can find out more about this creator at his website here http://www.geoffsenior.com/


And let’s look at the small press tablers. There are loads. Here’s a good one to visit.





Raechel Leigh-Carter has fast become one of my favourite creators this year. She is hilariously obsessed with some of the more out-there actors and directors of recent years and quite a few from before. 


Here is how the True Believers site describes her work...


‘Lowbrow pop culture themed small press books, stickers and badges. From Sean Connery to Steven Seagal, from Morrissey to Miriam Margolyes, from Nic Cage to Neil Breen, it’s all covered . And nothing is taken seriously.’


That kind of encapsulates her approach to zines and comics. They are highly irregular, strangely hypnotic, fever dreams of dialogue and like catnip to me! Those hinterlands of weird Hollywood are explored, exaggerated, fictionalised and quoted with sharp satire yet also a well-meaning familiarity. 





Dip your foot in the freaky, outlandish, peculiar, unnatural and whacko world of Raechel and her dreamy homages! They will put a smile on your face (just don’t tell the owls!)


Find out more about Raechel by visiting her site at https://tinynoggin.wordpress.com/ or follow her on Twitter @tinynoggin



Don’t forget that you can sign up for the True Believers mailer here You can find more about this brilliant festival at their mailer. Here’s a handy link https://tinyletter.com/Troobs/letters/all-tomorrows-parties And buy tickets for the event itself here http://oktruebelievers.com/tickets/


See you soon for another preview.



Monday, 7 January 2019

True Believers 2019 - Preview Part 2.




Hey Folks. 


Another post about True Believers which is coming in Full Force on Saturday the 2nd of February.


Thought it was time to focus on another guest and someone from the Small Press scene who you can find in the main hall.





First up is one of my favourite creators Rachael Ball. I’ve interviewed Rachael a few times in the last few years after I was entranced by ‘The Inflatable Woman’. A semi autobiographical story of Rachael’s own triumph over cancer it was alternatively tragic, funny, insightful and hugely moving.


WOLF is the new book released last year and is the story of these frightening moments in childhood and through this we explore the life of a young boy and the relationships he forms. This is done in gothic charcoal styled pencils and inks. Like the etchings in a Victorian newspaper suddenly made flesh in a timeless story book. If you enjoy a look at our own true lives through the shock and awe and sadness and pains of growing you will love this story.





Published by Self Made Hero you can find a copy here https://www.selfmadehero.com/news/introducing-wolf-by-rachael-ball


Rachael is also a member of Laydeez Do Comics which recently featured on Radio 4’s Frontline programme. A group of creators that is really pushing the boundaries of art and sequential storytelling they are well worth looking up (and yes, men are allowed). 


If you fancy getting involved you can find details here http://www.laydeezdocomics.com/ or follow them on Twitter @Laydeezdocomics


So, let’s take a look at the Small Press people attending.





Dave Broughton is an old pal of mine. He’s one of those artists who you know is a hair’s breadth from being picked up by 2000 AD. He and I did a fun ‘Homage’ to the Silver Surfer in 2017 and last year we did a short story for ‘Inter Space’ (images and reviewed here http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/2019/01/interspace-nottingham-comic-con.html ) the Nottingham Comic Con charity comic. He’s a true professional and is always worth considering working with no matter your project.






He’s also a busy writer and creates and publishes his won comics. Recently he’s been working on Slaughter Hawk. A science fiction vigilante story full of blood, guts and social satire. It’s got a 2000 AD/Robocop/Marshall Law tinge to its stylings and Dave will have issues and art that you can pick up at True Believers.  


Buy some comics by Dave here http://www.comicsy.co.uk/dbroughton/ And you can follow him on Twitter @DbrughtonDavid


If you have something dropping at Troobs then please get in touch as I’d love to review it.


Before I go here’s something that my ‘Springworth’ collaborator has created. In homage to the great man himself here’s an image of Stan Lee by Andy Hanks that will appear on the 2019 True Believers lanyards. 


How great is this!








More to come tomorrow.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

True Believers 2019 - Less than a month away! (Part 1).


Get Excited!


The comics event of the season is coming back full on and in your face!


I’ve tabled at the last few True Believers Comics Festivals in Cheltenham and never had anything other than a blast! I fully expect that this year will be another triumph for this family friendly event.


So I thought I’d start a series of posts advertising some of the people, releases and events at ‘Troobs’ this year. Pop back for some more news tomorrow...


First off and well worth a mention is the change in venue. For one year only the event is moving to The Jury’s Inn in Cheltenham on Saturday the 2nd of February. The hotel venue will allow the police to easily find myself, Vince and Dan after we PARTY HARD at the same hotel on the Friday night! (Either that or be in bed by ten and watching Out For Justice!)


The Full Address is:

The Jury’s Inn Hotel, 

Gloucester Road,

Cheltenham,

GL51 0TS.


There are some cracking guests again this year.





Mike Collins.


What else can be said of this dude. He’s worked for Marvel, DC, IDW, 2000AD and may more. He’s drawn Superman, Batman, The Flash, Peter Canon, Doctor Who, Kirk, Babylon 5 and a whole hat full of more. He’s also a dab hand at the movie storyboard and design. (Cough, Gary Barlow, Cough...)



(A great 2000 AD cover featuring that crazy murderous barbarian Slaine)


You can find more from Mike at http://www.freakhousegraphics.com





Nick Brokenshire.


A man of many talents who not only is the excellent artist on Amelia Cole, The Once and Future Queen and Star Wars Adventures but also plays in a movie inspired band and once was convinced by the Awesome Comics Podcast to wear some pants on his head! He’s worked for Monkeybrain Comics, IDW and Dark Horse. An artist to keep an eye out for that’s for sure. I love this guys work so make sure you grab something from him!





(The cover to the excellent all ages Amelia Cole omnibus. Probably one of my favourite books of the last few years this is well worth looking at when you stop at Nick’s table.)


Find more about Nick at his website https://nickbrokenshire.bigcartel.com




(Star Trek: Untold Voyages issue 1 by Mike Collins. A comic series that I have owned and enjoyed since it’s release).



(The cover to Star Wars Adventures issue 13 by Nick Brokenshire featuring some familiar characters.)


The Panel!

Now...here’s some hot off the press news. The above two talented bastards of Collins and Brokenshire are kindly allowing me to interview them about working for TV and Movie related titles. If you keep your eyes on the True Believers website you’ll find out the time this is scheduled on the day. We’ll be chatting about Star Wars, Doctor Who and more and possibly be getting a little look behind the scenes of what goes into creating a comic after a hit tv series or movie. I’m really excited to be talking to these two artists.


If you have anything that you’d like to talk about then pop along as there’ll be an opportunity for us to pass the microphone around the audience. (Try and keep it clean....)


You can get your tickets at this link http://oktruebelievers.com/tickets/



Not That Lot!

Yes, you can also find The Awesome Comics Podcast hosts at the venue. We’ll be there larking about, chatting to people and selling issue 4 of our anthology title Awesome Comics. More about that piece of sexiness soon! But here’s an advance look at the final cover of this four issue series that features murderous cars driven by disfigured ghouls, Kung Fu babes in 1970s London and Uber violent vigilantes in super cool eighties bling.



You can buy issues 1 to 3 currently at https://awesomecomicpod.bigcartel.com/ (£3 for a physical copy or £1 for a digital copy).


And why not catch up on the podcast. Episode 182 features Stuart and Andy (the organisers behind True Believers) in a year end quiz. https://awesomecomics.podbean.com/ (BEWARE: Adult Content!)



You can find more about this brilliant festival at their mailer. Here’s a handy link https://tinyletter.com/Troobs/letters/all-tomorrows-parties




More news tomorrow of who and what you can expect!

Saturday, 5 January 2019

In Preview - ‘Resurrection Men’ issue 2.




Resurrection Men issue 2.


Written and Lettered by N. S. Paul.

Art by R. Donald.

Edited by Dan Hill.


Full Colour - 41 pages.



The Story Description Bit.


Do you have a family member, lover or friend who is dead? Want them brought back? There may be some complications.


Previously in Resurrection Men.......


‘When his son Jude died, James was astonished to find out that he had the power to bring him back to life. Now James and Jude find themselves manipulated into joining a clandestine group - immersed in the secretive world of the Resurrection Men...’


The Review Bit (without spoilers).


Issue 2 of this fabulous series is now being sent out to backers and I was lucky enough to get my copy just a couple of days ago.


No Hyperbole Corner.


‘An indie companion to anything by Mignola.’ 


Sinister in it’s angular almost gothic style of alchemic adventure horror. A lot of thought and pacing has clearly gone into creating an extraordinary space for a reality to coexist with the supernatural. This is a book about family, relationships, reality, mystery and action.


Unlike anything else on the scene this is turning into a must-back series. A project that takes itself seriously and looks beyond the usual horror on the shelves. It is a great example of imagination leading a well-written and plotted story.


Don’t worry Carl...you can bring him back.’


Rory Donald has a fascinating style that is both cartoony and iconic but emotes superbly in every imaginative panel layout. He makes great use of long shadows that are made up of some sharp and desperate emotions in the inky blackness. Rory is really one of those guys who someone like Dark Horse or Image Comics should be looking at. Professional level work with a brilliant conception of line-work and acting. I would love to see a Lobster Johnson book by this guy.





This is not a book for the weak of spirit. The violence is often sudden and brutal. The horrors are on occasion fully in the light to echo that empty feeling in your gut as you follow these desperate individuals. This is a truly adult horror book and I relished this approach.


I have no idea where it is going.


The first part of the issue is full of comics goodness that is closely followed by text stories, process, art, pin-ups and more. It has ‘Value For Money’ stamped all over it!






That Bit At The End Where I encourage You To Buy This...


I read issue one again before heading back in for issue two. I sat in a Costa Coffee at a motorway services and didn’t move until I had finished. It is a gripping story that genuinely deserves your attention.


Go find it fuckers!


The Credits Bit.


You can find more about the writer by following him on Twitter @nspauluk 


Mr Donald can be found on Twitter @imnotdaredevil4 and at his website https://www.reachillustration.com/


The Editor of this tale can be found Twittering @dan_hill or you can subscribe to his email mailer at https://buttondown.email/danhill




Many thanks for reading!