Thursday, 7 November 2019

Couple more comics to look out for @Thoughtbubble.

Hey all. 

As promised here are a few more books to look out for at the upcoming Thoughtbubble Comics Festival this weekend in Harrogate. It seems like it's been a great year for experimentation and stretching the medium and here are three great examples of that advancement and worthy of your attention in my humble opinion.

First up is the second offering of my old mucka's new beatnik/comics/poetry/jazz/abstract fusion series.

Oh Yes!


'PANNONICA' issue 2 by Nick Prolix is fresh off the printing press and is another series of images, instructions, musings and jamming on comics and more. (It also contains a nod to Wally Wood.)  A book that will twist your melon and yet also leave you somewhat inspired to create. I reviewed issue #1 here http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/2019/10/a-few-thoughts-on-pannonica-by-nick.html and this is a glorious second album!

'What straight lines,
You can freehand,
In the paddock'

Find Nick in the Ask For Mercy Hall or visit his website here
And follow him on Twitter @nickprolix



'Park Bench    Kensington' by Peony Gent.

You know how it is when you work with someone and you don't realise how both of you are creators (of comics). During a lull at the recent MCM myself and Peony began talking about the comics we have been making and I handed her a copy of my recent book. She in turn gifted me this absolutely marvelous hand-crafted account of an interaction she had with a lonely and weary man whilst sat on a park bench. He told her about his life and his need to return home.



Peony returned to her more local home and created a comic from this brief but poignant conversation. It has an abstract truth about the story and a total veracity to the dialogue. I talked with Vince and Dan about it on the next Awesome Comics Podcast so have a listen next Monday for a more detailed dissection.

Peony will be at Table 131 in the Ask For Mercy Hall and you can also find her work online at http://www.peonygent.com/ and on Twitter @peonygent


Death Inc Book 3 from Charles H Raymond.

Charles and I are old pals and I finally got a chance to work with him on a comic project recently. His creator owned project Death Inc is an ongoing multi-leveled existentialist horror/fantasy series that has now reached an impressive and triumphant volume 3 (and just in time for Thoughtbubble!)


This is a series full of idiosyncratic twists and turns and deep black and white artwork that so suits the tone and story. Pop over and see the hardest working man in comics at Table 197a in the Ask For Mercy Hall.

You can also find this creator online and buy his books at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/NotsotinyComics?ref=s2-header-shopname 
and follow him on Twitter @not_so_tiny

I'll be at the Nobrow Table in the Ask For Mercy Hall (102-103) and you can find Vince at the Awesome Comics Podcast table in the same hall at table 93A. If you fancy showing us your new books and can't make it you can also find us on Twitter @theawesomepod or listen to upcoming episodes here http://awesomecomics.podbean.com/

Look for these outstanding deals!


Many thanks for reading!

Thoughtbubble Nobrow Signings!

This weekend is apparently Thoughtbubble? 

Had you heard? 

I'll be there with the Nobrow and Flying Eye table in the Ask For Mercy Hall Table 102-103. We'll have a few exclusive pins and tote bags as well as our usual selection of excellent books.

We'll also have a couple of signings that you won't want to miss.

First Up.

Luke Healy.

Saturday 1 - 2pm at the Nobrow Table.


Luke put himself through five months of grueling all weather hiking to bring you this outstanding graphic novel. It tells a tale of him walking the Pacific Crest Trail up one side of America and is at once hilarious, educational, inspirational, personal and might on an odd occasion make you wince. Pop over to grab a book and get it signed and sketched in and have a good chat.

On the Sunday - Luke Pearson - 1 - 2pm.


There isn't a person out there who doesn't love Hilda and reading about her adventures. Luke will be spending some time on the Sunday signing the books and chatting to fans. I dare you to ask him why our hero has blue hair.

I'll be there all weekend and looking forward to meeting with readers of this blog and listeners to The Awesome Comics Podcast.

Make sure you say hi!

Many thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Did Someone Say Wood Man Badges?



There are a few left and they’ll be available for purchase at the Nobrow and Flying Eye table at Thoughtbubble.

(Ask For Mercy Hall Tables 101-102).

We’ll also have all manner of other goodies and a few signings!

Watch this space.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

In Preview - ‘Spookids’ issue 1 from Marc Jackson.





Spookids’ issue 1.


Created by Marc Jackson.

Published by Weirdo Comics.


24 pages - Full Colour - £5.00


Here’s what Marc has to say about this new release on his website.


Join Nellie, Bud and Eric the “SPOOKIDS” on a weird and wonderful caper in the new 4-issue mini-series starting in November. When Eric’s latest invention goes haywire, things start to get strange in their hometown leading them into a world of weirdness! What is a “Brain-hat” who is “Fred Danson” and just what is going on will all be revealed over the next few months!


Fans of 1980’s cartoons, Stranger Things, Scooby Doo and Peanuts will love this sci-fi/monster comic, that is suitable for ages 8+’






The Review - This book will be getting a release at Thoughtbubble in a few short days and you can find Marc in The Pride Hall at Table 33.


Over the last year or so I’ve had the chance to meet up with Marc and chat about comics. As well as being a really busy creator he’s also one of the organisers of MACCPOW - the Macclesfield Community Comics Art Festival that I was lucky enough to attend. He has a really striking and original all-ages style of comics art and writing that is immediately recognisable on a page. This style is assured and honed and has a hilarious energy.


‘Spookids’ is what us old folks used to call a ‘mini series’ and also has echoes of an age gone by within it’s storyline and tone. It also has that irreverence that we know well from good kids comics. It is the sort of comic that is so full of dangerous antics that make it a gem for a kid to read and giggle from the back seat of the car on a long drive. (Editor’s Note - experimenting on your friend’s brain is not recommended!)


Just one of Eric’s dumb experiments that almost killed me.’


The characters never sit still and even when just chatting are full of motion and activity. They don’t stagnate in front of computers or stare at smart phones they run about and have adventures. (Another good idea to set it in the eighties). The kids head into the woods or argue animatedly about ‘Nerd Stuff’. The comic also ends on a fun twist that makes you look for that next issue.




I have a few reservations about the colouring and layouts. For a style so dynamic and bouncy I feel it was a mistake to go with the two colour panels and to stick over and over again with the page layouts of three horizontal panels. For me this became a little bit of a labour to read each page and sucked some energy from the art. Marc’s line-work and character designs are so kinetic that a full colour job would have worked much better. A good example of what I mean is the final page big reveal is considerably dulled down and the impact lessened by having a solid grey across the page and little spots of orange. The possibilities to go nuts here are completely lost.


You can find Marc on Twitter @MARCmakescomics and buy his comics over at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Marcmakescomics


On Saturday at Thoughtbubble Marc will also be running a couple of workshops. (See below for full details).






Many thanks for reading.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Some Comics to Look Out For at Thoughtbubble 2019.

Morning chums. I thought I would take a look at some of the books I think are well worth looking out for at Thoughtbubble 2019.


There’ll be more so watch this space.






The Bones Of The Sea’ by Gareth Hopkins.


Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a fan of this creators work. He mixes the abstract with the magical and dark with some autobiographical musings (on occasion).


This is a book that combines the honest momentary thoughts of Gareth as he goes about his daily life with the poetry of some underwater gothic fantasy. An underwater battle between a Blue Whale and a Giant Squid rubs shoulders with X-Men comics and ham sandwiches. Gareth combines the truth of his life with the beauty and often bleakness of the abstract. 


The art in this new release is dense and swirling and hypnotic and I cannot recommend it enough.


Find out more about the work of Mr Hopkins by visiting http://www.grthink.com/and finding him on Twitter @grthink You can buy this upon release over at https://grthink.bigcartel.com/


Gareth will be found at Table 170 in the Ask For Mercy Hall.


Next up is ....






Sticky Ribs’ issue 2 by Dan White.


I absolutely loved the first issue in this series when I read it earlier this year and this is more of the same. Dan has a style that at first glance you may be forgiven for thinking is for kids but when you search further you realise quite how wonderfully fucked up his imagination and comics really are!


This issue is comprised of two stories. ‘Last Summer’ and ‘Christmas With Bunty’. The first story will suck you in with a ‘Lord of the Flies’/‘Where the Wild Things Are’ vibe and then twist your preconceptions and get you thinking much more about where and why this is all happening.


‘Christmas With Bunty’ is a text story with some great illustrations and you also get a piece on ‘Ghostwatch’ and the effect it had on Dan as a young man.


Once again this is highly recommended and you can find Dan in the Originals Hall at Table 16.


You can also find him on Twitter @thebeastmustdie and at his website https://milkthecat.blog/





Bell Time’ by David Robertson.


This is the story of Lenny. A school kid who upon the sounding of a bell is thrown into his own future and discovers that he now works as the librarian at his own school. Times have changed and the techniques of teaching and the marshalling of teenagers in the classroom have also been brought up to date with all the complications of the modern world. Whilst Lenny initially feels out of his depth we soon see him getting a grasp on what he might be able to achieve.


This book is absolutely as fun as it sounds and manages to cross all those great school comics and tv series we remember with the world of time travel. David has a simple and iconically British style and he understands how a comic should flow. 


Highly recommended.


You can find David in the Ask For Mercy Hall at Table 214. 


You can also find David on Twitter @FredEggComics and at his website http://fredeggcomics.blogspot.com/






Endswell’ Issue 2 by Peter Morey.


This is the second issue in the semi-autobiographical story of Peter and his family. It centres on a farm bought by his grandmother and the shenanigans when she takes in a whole army of dogs and a rather suspicious younger man.


The second issue came out a couple of months ago and focuses on the story of a couple of the dogs, much of it from their own point of view. This is a series that is at once a little funny, a little tragic and a little quirky. I’ve enjoyed both these issues and look forward to more from this up and coming creator.


Highly recommended.


You can find Peter in the ComiXology Hall at Table 174.


You can find him on twitter @PM_Illustration and at his website https://www.petermorey.com/(I also got a crafty and rather blue pull quote on the new issue).





Manu’ by Gustaffo Vargas.


This is the real deal. I did a deeper dive on the blog more recently and you can have a read of it here http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/2019/10/in-preview-manu-by-gustaffo-vargas.html


I’ve been mentioning this creator quite a few times recently and really think he’ll be the next creator to jump from the small press to the mainstream with his confident line and ability to draw pretty much anything from future cyberpunks to barbarians to jungle leopards. Get on this ship before these become collectors items.


Find Mr V in the ComiXology Hall at Table 154A.


Buy yourself a copy over at https://gustaffovargas.bigcartel.com/product/gustaffo-vargas-sketchbook and follow this dude on Twitter @GustaffoVargas



Many thanks for reading.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Rozi Hathaway and something you need to read.





I have just read a new comic by the always insightful Rozi Hathaway. This is a story that will be going live on the Good Comics Blog here https://www.goodcomics.co.uk/at lunchtime today.


I have just read it more than once.


I am also more than a little broken by the emotion on show and the beauty in which Rozi portrays some moments that are true and raw and part of her life. The comic has an autobiographical elegance but lays everything out there for others to learn from and experience.






It is the best thing, in my humble opinion, that I have read of hers and I am more than a little moved by the story, the words and the art. This is what comics can do folks!


I’m not going to say much more than the fact that you really need to see it.


Follow Rozi on Twitter @angelsallfire and head over to her site http://rozihathaway.com


I have something in my eye.....


Many thanks for reading.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

A few thoughts on PANNONICA by Nick Prolix




PANNONICA’ by Nick Prolix.


Not a review.


My own thoughts, from my own perspective on something that made me think.


Good art makes us ask questions..... (there follows a series of question marks).


I got my copy with it’s rough newsprint pages and uneven shaping in a sterile plastic sleeve. Even in this format Mr P plays with composition and preconception. I had followed the chorus of PANNONICA beat poetry on Twitter by my pal Nick and had been enjoying this free-form rebellion from afar. This book, here in my hands is the concentrated version. Squeezed into a zine and delivered ready to read whilst clicking my fingers (I jest - and am thoroughly ashamed of myself!)






This seems like a project that is at once really personal yet from a position of authority and instruction.  It is also cool and formless and reminds me of a cross between a seventies comics artist laying down his rules and the Billy Whiz soaked beginnings of the beatnik/psychedelia interchange.


The zine (if indeed that is what I should be describing it as) begins with a loose page of stream of consciousness writings. All gorgeously hand lettered in Nick’s trademark style and in a large brick of a block of ink and paper.  I stayed with this page for some time, read it and then returned to pick out moments.


Cheesey Twilight Joyride’.


‘My Heart is a Black Book’.


‘Like Dial-Up of Bowel Cancer.’


I began to wonder if there is a different page for each version? What would 24 of 24 be like?


Beyond Burroughs and Bukowski. We have jumped a train through the centre of comics - let a confession begin.


The interior pages beyond the introduction in my 7 of 24 version take various forms. These are often confined within borders and running along the base of a free-floating page like a footnote on a 13th Floor Elevators song. The pages use snapshots of comics iconography like the corners of wordballoons or the smear of dropped ink to formulate a visual verse. The zine hums with the feeling of reinvention and pokes you with moments of clarity. This zings along and whilst a quick read is one you’ll leaf back through immediately. 






Everything that we read should leave us changed in some small way. We are ever so slightly a different person whether we read Superman or T. S. Eliot. I have enjoyed this experiment from Mr P and look eagerly for what he does next.


Find Nick and buy his comics over at http://nickprolix.comand follow him, his antics and more PANNONICA on Twitter @nickprolix


This is another reality - it is comics.


Many thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

In Preview - ‘The Skullfucker’ issue 2 (of 6) from Warwick Fraser-Coombe.



The Skullfucker’ Issue 2 (of 6).


Created by Warwick Fraser-Coombe.


Full Colour - 28 pages - Not For Children.


The Story - The mystery deepens regarding the new sex drug called Paragon and nightmarish creatures that seem connected to these unexpected deaths and suicides. A trashy tabloid newspaper journalist pursues this and other mysteries with little care for his own safety. He may take a step too far. 


But maybe ..... ‘Everything will change by morning’?


The Review - I was lucky enough to have been sent an early review of issue two of The Skullfucker before it’s release at Thoughtbubble is a few days time. I really enjoyed issue 1 and this is a great continuation.






As soon as I hit the first few pages of the story that runs on through from the cliff-hanger at the end of the previous issue I know that I am back on the Fraser-Coombe rollercoaster ride. As I examine this many limbed demon/mutant/fever dream and how a man’s arm extends from where it’s groin should sit I feel that shiver. The hand is fully formed and twisted and tense and simply signifies the nasty/crazy/satirical/horror tone that follows.


‘.....after all, there’s more ways to skin a cunt.’


The creator of this tale never fails to go where it takes him no matter how dark. He allow himself and the reader to dwell in the stagnant and putrefying depths of human and society’s dark and dirty secrets. It is a detective story about the low-life’s of our country and is in so many ways and angles transgressively antiestablishment. Literally and figuratively flipping the bird at authority. The people are as bad as the madness of the beasts he crafts. Warwick uses visual, verbal and environmental prompts to push tone and story. It is a comic that sits in the here and now and plays with our fears by showing us a mirror to ourselves. 


The art is photorealistic but uses this well and crafts around the real world prompts. It doesn’t overuse reference and you can see flourishes of the imagination alongside the models that Warwick uses. This is much more ‘realism’ than ‘photo’. Visually it wheels around somewhere between a coloured version of Strangehaven by Gary Spencer Millidge and how I imagine Clive Barker dreams. 






The art shines with detail from the notes pinned to the journalists walls, to the many handed creature to the beams in the old English countryside pub. These added moments build the real world setting and the culture and sourness of modern Britain. They add to both story and the eager-eyed interpretation of the reader.


If I had one criticism it’s with the pages that are really text heavy. A couple of sequences describe over and over the deaths at the hands of Paragon and this was a little heavy going. For me maybe a sequence of images or newspaper headlines would have worked?


This book is not for the over sensitive but it most definitely was for me. Roll on issue 3.


Highly recommended.


You can find Warwick over at https://warwickfrasercoombe.blogspot.comand PM him for details. He’ll be at Thoughtbubble in a week and a half so pop by his table.


Many thanks for reading.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Some Recent Aquisitions.

It’s been a busy Convention tabling month here and I’ve fallen behind a little on talking about some of the great books that I have bought and been given. So I thought I would do a few short round-ups of some of the sketchbooks I’ve got my hands on.

First up is something from Gustaffo Vargas.



I’ve only recently become a fan of this gentleman’s work after reviewing ‘L1MA’ during ‘Honest Review Month’ on here and dipping back into the Cyberpunk South American landscape he inhabits with the also excellent ‘Manu’. I genuinely think that Mr V will be a name on the front of a cracking Sci-Fi Image book in the next couple of years. He has a style that manages to bridge the line between Cyberpunk and Underground but has a mastery of form and physique. Full of imagination and twists that are fresh and surprising.  So when I saw this sketchbook on sale for just a measly £3.00 I jumped straight in. He sent it through just a couple of days later and included a great piece of original artwork for being the first order.

Buy yourself a copy over at https://gustaffovargas.bigcartel.com/product/gustaffo-vargas-sketchbook and follow this dude on Twitter @GustaffoVargas



Next up is ‘102: A Tribute to Jack Kirby’. This is a collection of art inspired by The King and the brainchild of prodigious comics maker Adam Falp.

Here’s how he describes it;

A 28 page A5 Art Book compiling tributes to The King of Comics. All proceeds are donated to The Kirby Museum. Featuring art from Russell Mark Olson, Lukasz Kowalczuk, Paul Harrison Davies, James Corcoran, Sandy Jarrell and many more’.

This is a cracking project and another one that I got straight to ordering when I heard about it. I’d also like to mention Tom Curry who did a cracking piece full of Kirby characters and Sarah Harris who used a combination of collage and line-work to create something really special. There’s also a great Kamandi double-pager from Adam himself.

Head over to https://goodfornothingcomics.bigcartel.com/product/102-a-tribut-to-jack-kirby and order your copy. You can also follow Adam Falp and his comics on Twitter @adamfalp



Next up is another offering from the always brilliant Darryl Thorpe (aka ‘Forpe’). Full disclosure that I own one of the pages from this and have it framed in the Comic Room, anyone who knows me can guess which one. This guy is a creator who operates on a combination of positive energy, originality and some wacky designs that have me comparing his work to a book like Head Lopper by Andrew MacLean or Rumble by John Arcudi and James Harren. Darryl’s work has an edgy energy that flies off the page and it was great to get this sketchbook of one page designs and homages through my door.

Find a copy over at https://www.deathbyheroism.com/products/forpe-sketchbook-preorder Or follow his ongoing webcomic for free at https://forpe.co.uk/erolvsevil

You can find this creator and follow him on Twitter @MrForpe





The King must be on the minds of the UK Small Press Scene at the moment because I also saw this from Jason Garrattley. I headed over to his website and ordered a copy based on the subject matter and the series of music and comic inspired zines I had seen from Jason over the last year or so. Jason describes this American Comics sized collection as follows at his Etsy shop.

A collection of digital collages and illustrations produced for the Jack Kirby blog - Kirby-Vision.’

The £5.00 cover price also contains a donation to the Jack Kirby Museum. 

Jason does the quirky and the cool with idiosyncratic ease and this is another book that you can spend your time on looking at images that are produced in various styles and techniques. Highly recommended.

Find this art book over at https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/732625418/kirby-vision and follow the creator on Twitter @JasonGarrattley

28 Page A5 Art Book compiling tributes to the King of Comics. All proceeds are donated to ThMe Kirby Museum. Featuring art from -



And finally here’s one that you need to put on your shopping list for Thoughtbubble. This is by my pod brother Vince Hunt and contains some cracking sketches and fully rendered pieces from this great artist. Vince is genuinely one of my favourite artists and especially when it comes to monsters and horror characters. I’ve had a peek inside this when he sent me the digital files and you will not be disappointed!


Head over to Table 93 in the Ask For Mercy Hall at the upcoming Thoughtbubble and grab your copy whilst stocks last. You can also find other examples of Vince’s work on Twitter @jesterdiablo and over on Instagram @jesterdiablo You can also pick up a copy of his ongoing series The Red Mask From Mars over at http://www.theredmaskfrommars.com/



Many thanks for reading!




T

Russell Mark Olsen 
Lukasz Kowalczuk 
Paul Harrison-Davies 
James Corcoran 
Sandy Jarrell

and many more!