Here is also a photo of the office for the week!
Catch ya soon.
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.
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!
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.’
Now everyone head off and moan like children on their ‘social’ media.
See you at 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.email@example.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!
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
You can find Gabriel Hardman on Twitter @gabrielhardman
And you can find Corinna Bechko @CorinnaBechko
Many thanks for reading.
(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?
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.
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.