Monday, 11 February 2019

Still Alive.

Hey folks! Apologies for the radio silence in the last couple of weeks.  Don’t worry I’m still alive.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the comics front.

We had a great launch of issue four of Awesome Comics and ‘How to Make Comics with Springworth’ at True Believers on the 2nd of February. They both went down a storm and we’ve been getting some great feedback from parents and kids who have thrown themselves into drawing Punchy and his pals.

Here’s the link to buy yourself some Springworth from Waterstones! https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-make-comics-with-springworth/andy-hanks/tony-esmond/9781916488601


You can also head over to the Little Heroes website and grab a copy there https://fairsparkbooks.co.uk/product-category/series/how-to-make-comics

Shhh but it’s a secret but myself and Andy Hanks have started working on something new so watch this space. I’m busy plotting it right now.




It also goes without saying that you’ll also need a copy of the new Awesome Comic. Issue number 4 rounds out the three stories and we have had a ball producing this series. There may even, possibly, be something else in the pipe (ain’t that right Mr Cumber?). So head over to our store and grab a copy https://awesomecomicpod.bigcartel.com/

In other news I’ve been to Spain visiting Pat and Lisa Mills as part of a retirement present to myself. It’s been a blast and they have looked after me and hours have been spent shooting the breeze over an awful lot of red wine.

Here are a couple of pictures of Pat with some familiar comics. He was kind enough to do this and proof if it was ever needed what a gent he is! If all goes to plan we’ll have a short interview for the pod with some of his exciting new plans.



Pat is running a series of articles called ‘Storyteller’ that break down the comics creation process and are like crack to fans of writing like myself. They are highly recommended and you can find them here https://www.millsverse.com/


Here is also a photo of the office for the week!


So...fuck you all, I’m off to write about a brave robot, a strange movie star, a prostitute (obviously) and read some more comics.

Catch ya soon.


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

A Rant that’s worthy of a repost...

Hey Everyone.


This is a recent rant from the Mailer that I think I’ll repost here on the blog.


Beware that the language gets a little salty. There are indications of the approach later in the piece for those that are thick.


Here you are, enjoy........


I’m now retired.



(Pol Pot.)



My new book that is aimed at the shelves of WH Smith’s any day now entitled ‘You are all Cunts and so am I’ is almost finished. It has a long appendix and an intro by Pol Pot.

 

I’ve made something of a concerted effort (and this may come as a surprise to many of you) to be a little civilised and not state the fucking obvious. It’s fair to say that having a large organisation, like the one I used to work for, looming over you as you type I tried (mostly) to be a little restrained.

 

So as of today, Wednesday the 16th of January 2019, the gloves are off. If you send me something to review and I think it is shit I won’t be avoiding it or saying something/anything nice about it having ‘Nice staples’. You might actually get a decent critically constructive review.

 

If you contact me out of the blue after ghosting me for a year asking me to help promote your ‘New Project’. Expect a rocket up your Aristotle. (I got three in a morning a few weeks ago - thus pushing me off social media for a few days).

 

If you try to angle your own agenda into something that isn’t anything to do with whatever flatulent rubbish you are crowing about I’ll snap back at you and quite possibly make you cry the tears of the man/lady child that you are.

 

If you message me out of the blue asking for me to help you with your shite cosplay, furry fucking, bollocks celebrity signing ‘Comicon’ cash-in then you may actually get a legal letter written in human blood.

 

If you run an embarrassingly unfunny (possibly musical) podcast/website then expect a bitingly satirical review. Especially if you can’t name the actual story you are writing about!

 

If you sell cakes, or prints, or heat sensitive butt plugs, or Hentai, or musical dongs at a festival aimed at COMICS then you’ll get the sharp end of this aggressively grumpy fifty year olds tail! (The rumours are not true - I do not have a tail!!!)

 

Put simply ..... Bellends Beware!


But.


To all you people who are out there creating comics with love and craft I am now one thousand percent behind you. I will continue to promote your work for free because comics is something that I love. (Peter Grant has always been something of a hero!)

 

I also promise that the long expected Prolix/Riptide wrestling team will make a comeback!

 

And remember what Carl Hiaasen said, ‘Good Satire comes from anger.’

 

Or even Maajid Nawaz - ‘Satire is, by definition, offensive. It is meant to make us feel uncomfortable. It is meant to make us scratch our heads, think, do a double-take, and then think again.’


5.


4.


3.


2.


1.


Now everyone head off and moan like children on their ‘social’ media.


See you at Troobs!

Friday, 25 January 2019

Fancy some Nobrow with your Troobs?!

TROOBS!!!


It’s almost here. The event of the season!


True Believers Comic Festival in Cheltenham starts promptly at 10am on Saturday the 2nd of February.


I’ll be there with the Awesome Comics Podcast and the final issue of the anthology for sale. Myself, Vince and Dan will be there for a chat and if you have a new book dropping we’d love to hear about it. I’ll also be signing ‘How To Make Comics With Springworth’ with the mighty Andy Hanks and Aaron Rackley from Fair Spark Books!



But.... what about all my Nobrow and Flying Eye people? What about your needs? (I hear you shouting.)






Don’t fear, whilst Nobrow won’t be tabling I will bring some books down if you preorder. What would you like? Here are a few recommendations for the day with the link to browse the Nobrow site at the bottom of the page.





Who wants the marvellous ‘Kingdom’ by Jon McNaught. Easily my favourite book of the last few years. Here’s the link to the review http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/search?q=Kingdom


‘Nobrow and Jon McNaught do this so well. They capture a moment, a feeling, a place, a face, a time so brilliantly well in their books. Genuinely without hyperbole this is one of the best things I have read over the last twelve months. Insightful, sensitive, hypnotic and gloriously a comic.’


Something for the kids? (Or maybe just for you?)





How about some ‘Hilda’ in your life? A plucky adventurer who can’t sit still and is always getting herself in scrapes. Just plain fun that makes a great companion to the recently released Netflix tv series. Find out where this hit cartoon started. (Just watch out for Trolls!) Luke Pearson is fast becoming a superstar of the medium and this is where you can find all his Hilda comics work.


Have a look through the range of Hilda books over at the Flying Eye site (there’s a rumour that I may have a spare doll or two available! https://nobrow.net/shop/?s=Hilda


What else would I recommend?





Think you’re tough. You wouldn’t last five minutes against these tough cookies or ‘Mean Girls’!


Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn.


Created by Ryan Heshka.


The Mean Girls Club have been laying waste to the town for years, and the power-crazed Mayor Schlomo is hell-bent on their destruction. He blackmails a young mechanic named Roxy to infiltrate the Clubhouse – but her feisty attitude lands her an initiation into the Club instead! Torn between the sleazebag Mayor’s dirty threats and her unexpected friendships with the Mean Girls, Roxy holds the fate of the Club in her hands…’


14 pages - hardback - £14.99. (Recommended for adult types).


Here’s a link to a preview I did before the book was released http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/2018/02/in-preview-mean-girls-club-pink-dawn-by.html


Nobrow and Flying eye have something for everyone. All their books are genuine pieces of art on their own and at great prices. 


But remember I won’t be tabling at True Believers - you’ll have to let me know on here or on Twitter @Ezohyez or on email at Tony.awesomecomicspod@gmail.com if you fancy anything bringing along.


Head over to https://nobrow.net/product-category/books/ and let me know if you have your eye on anything and I’ll have it ready for you at the convention.


See you there!



Tuesday, 22 January 2019

In Review - ‘One Way Tickets’ by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman.




One Way Tickets.


Created by Gabriel Hardman and Corina Bechko.

Design by Dylan Todd.


32 Pages - a mix of Black and White and full Colour short stories.


$8.00


‘A new comics anthology of short horror stories from Gabriel Hardman & Corinna Bechko, the creative team behind GREEN LANTERN: EARTH ONE and INVISIBLE REPUBLIC! Features 3 brand new short stories and one illustrated prose story.’


For Mature Readers.


The Review - I’ll pretty much buy anything Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko produce. The writing always has an edge and the art is a pleasure to own, read and return to later. They will often put out these short horror books. I’m always heading to their table at conventions and grabbing what new gems they have for sale.


This is basically a horror anthology of three comic stories and one short text piece. They read like those great EC stories, like having The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone in a comic. Tales that twist and turn where you aren’t expecting. All done with dark style and masterful pacing.


I’ll give a little tease of each story, but without any spoilers.





The Land of Ice.


Written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman.

Art by Gabriel Hardman.


Pirates land near to a snow covered encampment. Their ship is now ice-locked they look to loot the homes of those living there. What they encounter is not at all what they expected.


I love it when accomplished comics artists show the snow and ice. It really can show their chops and this is peerless. You get the sense of the breath in the air and the desperation of those you encounter. The blood that you see against the whiteness always has a dangerously alluring quality. The art has an incredible richness. This is a great opener.



The Road is an Open Door.


Written by Corinna Bechko.

Art by Gabriel Hardman.


A girl is driving, escaping, roaring away from something in a neo noir film style. But as she stops for a moment at a service area she realises that something much worse may be happening.


This story really grabs the nasty atmosphere and feeds it to you. It’s tense and brutal and haunting and creepy all at once. A much more claustrophobic story than the opener but nonetheless effective. I’d read a whole series with this as the opener. Glorious nightmare installing storytelling.





Settlers.


Written and Drawn by Gabriel Hardman.


A pair of Wild West Settlers have nefarious plans whilst round the fire on the High Plains.


This one is just by Mr Hardman on his lonesome and is the only story told in black and white. It really works given the night setting and the twist (which I refuse to reveal). I love the way that the fire burns and flares up into the nigh and then in turn lights up and emphasises the faces of the playerst. This shows and doesn’t tell to perfect exactness. (There are a few people at 2000 AD who should be taking notes at the short story narrative style in this one.) Love western stories, always wish we had more.


Two Couples.


A short story from Corinna with a single page illustration from Gabriel. This is a beautifully told poetic haunting of a tale. Brief and with words chosen carefully and tenderly. It’s hard to talk too much about without giving anything away but it is sadly heartfelt in all the best ways.


A lovely end to the volume.



This is a comic that assembles stories that have all have that haunting quality in a different way in each chapter. Never fitting into each other more than that they make a great read at night time before bedtime.


Produced by Gabriel and Corinna and then sold straight to the reader online. This sort of technique seems to be the future. If all the comics were this good wouldn’t that be nice!


 

Here’s the link to buy yourself a copy.


https://gabrielhardman.bigcartel.com/product/one-way-tickets-comic


You can find Gabriel Hardman on Twitter @gabrielhardman


And you can find Corinna Bechko @CorinnaBechko




Many thanks for reading.

A few thoughts on attending a comic convention.

(For the purposes of transparency I would like to state from the outset that I am not a convention organiser. I am not involved in organising True Believers or any other events. Anyone who does organise one needs a round of applause in my opinion. From what I’ve heard and seen it’s very hard work.)


It’s now the run up to True Believers. A comic centric, grass roots convention run by enthusiasts for the medium for those who read and create. Done for free to promote the medium in some difficult times of bad sales and commercial closures.


They’ve made myself and my two podcast brothers Vince and Dan guests. I actually feel really blessed (and a touch of the imposter) to have a free table at the event. We are big fans of comics conventions and True Believers is one of the best. We’ve decided that it made a great place to release issue 1 of our Awesome Comics anthology last year and we’ll be rounding off the celebrations by releasing issue 4 (our last chapter) at the 2019 event on the 2nd of February. We had great sales there and have an absolute blast year after year in Cheltenham.


I’ll also be releasing with Andy Hanks and the Fair Spark Books brigade our charity comics and activity book ‘How To Make Comics with Springworth’.


So I’ve been throwing myself into promoting the event. The three of us have been talking it up a storm on the podcast and invited the organisers on for a quiz and interview. I’ve written numerous blog posts (scroll below) and mailer pieces. We’ve all been Facebook and Twitter reposting (and so on). It’s not difficult and it’s a very worthy event. I make zero money out of any of this and neither do Vince or Dan. We do it for the love of the medium.


So last night I thought I would have a look through the other guests and see what they had been looking forward to at the event and to see if any had opened any commission lists I could jump on.


It’s great to see that Comichaus will be there and they have posted and spoken about the event. Pete is a good egg - let that be known and Comichaus is a growing resource for indie comics at a great value.


But as I scrolled through the social media accounts of the other guests I didn’t find a great deal. Virtually nothing in fact.


Why is that?


Do they think that gracing an event with their presence is enough? Maybe it is?


Are they in fact just shy and RT’ing the ticket link is too scary?


Are they just oblivious? 


Selfish? 


In another country? 


Out of internet reach?


Captured by witches?


Chained to a radiator in a rock star’s flat?


It’s getting to the point where you’re more likely to see some hobbyist small press comics maker talking up the event than you are someone who pays the mortgage with their work.


I’m afraid that after scanning their posts the excuse of being ‘too busy’ doesn’t wash. They have time to talk about all sorts (I won’t repeat these posts on here to save a few blushes) but can’t seem to find the time to RT a link to the ticket sales? 


Or even just mention that they are attending? Isn’t it worth them publicising their attendance from a sales point of view? I’ve spoken to four convention organisers elsewhere than True Believers and they have had the same problem every single year. Some of these people have a substantial following that would financially assist the conventions and themselves if they announced appearances one would guess?


Many of these guests are also getting travel payments and complimentary hotel rooms in a pretty nice hotel as part of their deal.


Yet still radio silence.......


Isn’t now a time to get behind events like this? The industry is in flux and comic shops are closing all over the country at a worrying speed. This sort of event will get new eyes on comics and inspire those with a possibly flagging interest.


So professionals. Pay attention and help us to help you and the rest of comics. In the long run it can’t hurt to repost a link or say how much you are looking forward to something.


Come on... we’re in this together.


Here’s that ticket link again http://oktruebelievers.com/tickets/


If you are there please come say hi.


If you are one of the people shouting loudly about comics I’m on your side.



Many thanks for reading.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

In Review - Fabled Four issue 1.





Fabled Four issue 1.


Created by Luke Summerscales, Jamie Me and Jonathan Carter.

Editing by Archie Dalit.


24 pages - Full Colour.


‘A twenty page original comic using 100 percent pixel art.’


The Story - The story starts off by identifying the four warriors involved in this series. The Warrior, The Mage, The Healer and The Rogue. This introduction showing their powers then skips forwards ten years to them all in a tavern and wishing they were back adventuring during their glory days. They discuss their own perceived middle-aged crisis and their sense of ennui. You soon understand that the glories they expected I their later lives have not been realised.


To change this dissatisfaction with their lives they debate climbing ‘The Great Tower’. After some discussion they head off to start this quest and the issue ends on a cliff-hanger that I won’t spoil for those wishing to pick this book up.






The Review - I will be honest and say from the outset that I found this a difficult read. I tried three times to read through and forced myself to keep going on the final try. I also showed this to another comics reader and after about four pages they said ‘Nah, I’m out’.


It would be wrong of me to leave that hanging so here are my reasons. 


The use of pixel art has a certain nostalgic appeal. It has a kitschy and tongue in cheek feel to it when you see a single image or even a short strip. But for me it’s prolonged use here made it a dull reading experience. The lack of detail, especially in the faces of the protagonists, lead me to become quite bored. My mind wandered off to other things.


‘I wonder if I should get a shed for the garden.’


This pixel style may well appeal to others and I have always made it clear that I’m not a computer game guy. But the lack of detail would still be there causing a block to showing any personality, facial acting or on occasion sub-text.


But to say that this comic is just a pixel art inspired story would give it a huge disservice. There is more to the story than just the sentimentality of the stylised visuals. The writer (I’m guessing it is Jamie Me as I’ve reviewed his books previously - the credits don’t differentiate between creators) adds some modern language to the mix. The characters talk flippantly about ‘brown trousers’ or wind each other up about there being no ‘cuddle time’. It has that dialogue approach of modern sensibilities mixed in with the Dungeon and Dragons vibe. 





The use of swearing and laddish humour saved the book a little bit for me as I find that sort of joking appealing. But it didn’t save it enough I’m afraid. I found this to be a book that took so long to say something and get anywhere with uninteresting visuals that I wouldn’t be onboard for issue two. It left the reader at exactly the spot I expected it to after reading the premise in the first half of the book. Personally I want something with more depth.


Some people who have an affection for this type of art may get a kick out of what the creators are doing here and all power to them. I do have an underlying worry that this is a comic that may be another cash-in on nostalgia sales. But if this review encourages you to pick the book up and you enjoy it I am pleased. It simply wasn’t for me.


Not everything can be.



You can find Jamie Me on Twitter @jamiewrites and search for him on Kickstarter for upcoming projects.


Find Luke Summerscales on Twitter @ sadface_rl


Find Jonathan Carter @W4RCRY777


Find Archie Dait @archiedait



Many thanks for reading.



Here is a picture of the shed I’m going for. Something for the summer where I can sit and read.





Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Troobs! Not Long Now!

The True Believers Comics Festival 2019 is now only a couple of short weeks away. I’ll be heading there and manning a table with Vince and Dan from the Awesome Comics Podcast and the Awesome Comics anthology.

I’ll also be hosting a panel that has now been given a snazzy new name and a snazzy new graphic.

Here’s the official blurb:




2019 PANEL ANNOUNCEMENT 
WEIRD SCIENCE: CELEBRATING SCI-FI COMICS.

Ever wanted to know what it’s like to work on Star Wars or maybe Doctor Who? Wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and more? Then now True Believer is your chance! Come along and ask artists Mike Collins and Nick Brokenshire about their experiences on these fantastic properties and maybe get some art tips along the way.

These two guys have loads of experience in the comics industry that they’ll be sharing with host Tony Esmond so pop along to the Panel Room at the event.’

I don’t subscribe to that many mailers but the True Believers weekly commentary is well worth your time and effort. It gets released bright and early on a Monday and if you sign up by heading to the tab at the bottom of this link you’ll be just in time for the convention news. http://oktruebelievers.com/tickets/

As a weekly piece on the run up to the event they’ve been asking a question to attendees. here’s mine (posted with permission from the Troobs guys). I had fun with it and tried to give it in part a spoof Beat Poetry style.


WHY COMICS?

It's time for another instalment of Why Comics?  Our one question interview that ponders the most important thing in life. 

Why comics?

That’s the question huh?

I’d be a richer man without them in my life that’s for sure (have you seen the prices these days?).

But would I be happier. Nah. I’d be part of that Society of the General Public of Venerable and Miserable Bastards. You see them on the bus, looking agog into their tablets and watching some reality based shite. They used to be the same people who read The Sun or The Telegraph or Razzle Reader’s Wives on their commute. Then the lads mags and lifestyle monthlies arrived, full of the cocaine lifestyles of the rich and dreadful. Then they slowly morphed into some dreadful thriller promoted on the limited shelves of WH Smith’s or Forty Shades of Banality? All the while I sat there and read comics and raised the odd eyebrow.

So why? What’s makes them so special to me?

I could rattle on about the feeling of community or being included by others like me? But let’s face it that would be bollocks. Comics are at their heart a solitary pastime. You as a kid or as an adult read them without anyone else butting their beaks into your business. that’s kind of the beauty really. That’s a big part of why.

What other factors are there? Probably far too many to name but here are a few.

A short(ish) list.

Stan, Jack, Steve, Sal and John, Carmine, Roy, 
The Avengers and Defenders, 
The X-Men, Spidey, The Hulk, Thor and Hercules,
 George Tuska, Romita Snr and Jnr, Neal and Barry (sometimes Windsor),
 Marv and Doug, Jim Starlin, 
Captain Marvel and Britain and America,
 Gene Colan and Joe Sinnott, Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson,
 Cary Bates and those pesky Kupperbergs,
 Curt Swan, Oh yes,
 Killraven and Shang,
 Cage and Danny and Logan,
 Swamp and Man Things, Never And Sometimes Giant-Size,
 Pat and Carlos and John,
 Claremont and Byrne and Austin, One with a shiny walnut head,
 George Perez and his Titans.
 2000 AD, Marvel UK and US, DC, Vertigo, Comico, Eclipse, First, Image, Boom, AC, Pacific. 
The New Mutants and the New Teen Titans. Green Arrows and Lanterns. 
A Flagg and an E-Man. A Nexus and a Badger. Elementals and DNAgents. A Mage and a Savage Dragon....

The list can, will and should go on. But I’ll leave it there for the moment.

A world of characters, creators and stories.

It’s been forty-five years and more and it’ll always be just like this.

That’s why.  



See you soon....