Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Convention Season Hots Up for Nobrow and Flying Eye!



(Hilda has a busy few months ahead of her!)

If you are a regular UK Comic Convention goer you can’t but help to have noticed that October has become quite the busy and competitive month. I’ll be attending and tabling under my role as Events and Sales Rep for Nobrow and thought I’d let you know where you can get our books.



First up is this weekend in Kendal the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF). I’ll just be attending this one as a punter but will have some of our new releases with me if there’s anything you wanted bringing along. I have to admit to not having been to LICAF before and will be having a mooch around to see if it’s worth Nobrow tabling there next year. I’ve just scanned the ‘Guests’ and ‘Exhibitors’ categories on the website and notice that there are a couple of people shown as attending who have cancelled so it might be best to check before travelling if there’s someone in particular you’re looking to meet?

Find their website here https://www.comicartfestival.com/ and follow then on Twitter @comicartfest


Next up is the excellent Nottingham Comic Convention. I have been to every one of these so far and always had a blast. Kev and Kel Brett are local heroes and run the event for charity. In fact this year’s anthology ‘Slings and Arrows’ not only sports a cover rom Chris Imber and Chris Jenkins but also sports stories from Myself and The Mighty Prolix, Vince Hunt and a pin-up by Dan ‘The Guns’ Butcher. It is currently funding on Kickstarter and you can find the link here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1478064521/nottingham-comic-con-anthology-vol-4-slings-and-arrows





At the event this year Nobrow will be tabling with the new Hilda title and some special giveaway surprises for those popping over to the table. More news nearer to the event but make sure you follow Nobrow over at their website https://nobrow.net/ and follow them on Twitter @NobrowPress




Watch out for the new series from Fairspark Books and Little heroes dropping. The Spark is an all ages ongoing anthology that features exciting tales from some great creators. If you cant make it to the event you can head over to https://fairsparkbooks.co.uk/product/the-spark-magazine-issue-1-oct-2019 and order your copy!

Other great guests include The Awesome Comics Podcast (I’ll be hosting a panel with Vince and he’ll be manning the pod table so make sure you head over and give him a pinch), Staz Johnson (make sure you get a copy of his new sketchbook it’s ace!), Rachael Smith, Martin Simmons, The Etherington Brothers and many more! 

Head over to their site and grab some tickets http://www.nottinghamcomiccon.co.uk/tickets/




After the madness of the New York Comic Convention I’m buying some comfortable shoes and a flask for three days of busy comics craziness at the MCM London event from Friday the 25th to Sunday the 27th October at the Excel Centre in London’s East End. We’ll be on the main floor with every conceivable piece of Nobrow, Flying Eye and Hilda goodness you could possibly need. Pop over and see us for some new releases and cracking giveaways. (And a coffee for me would make me your best buddy!)

Head over to https://www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/ and get your tickets!



Less than two weeks after MCM is the Thoughtbubble yearly pilgrimage. This year the venue has changed to the town of Harrogate and Nobrow will be out in force. I’ll be posting the details of the Hilda Exhibition that will be in the town that week soon. It’s going to have original art and unseen Hilda bigness that you won’t want to miss!

We are huge fans of this comic convention and it really has quite a line-up this hear (other than us obviously). Brian Azzarello, Jillian Tamaki, Daniel Warren Johnson, Terry Dodson, Christian Wildgoose and YES!!!!! The Awesome Comics Podcast. Vince will be manning the table and he and I will be there repping the podcast day and night! 

Get your tickets for this event over at https://www.thoughtbubblefestival.com/tickets

We might even have a cheeky representative from Thoughtbubble on the show next Monday who will give you a full rundown of all the saucy happenings in Yorkshire this year. Keeps your eyes on the Awesome Comics Twitter account @theawesomepod for more details. You can find the pod on all your podcatchers or over at https://awesomecomics.podbean.com/

I’ve applied for a Zine Fest in London to sell Springworth and The Whore Chronicles later in November but got turned down.... I’m still chasing some feedback as to why without success. This might even turn into a blog post at some point. More soon.

Many thanks for reading.





Saturday, 5 October 2019

NYCC 2019 - Day 3.




Today started off strangely. I was sat reading a Defenders comic and minding my own business when I realised I was being watched by a Mafia Hitman posing as a Balloon Salesman! I then headed into the Convention Centre wearing the obligatory noise cancelling headphones. I was stopped by a short woman with blue hair. I became aware of her talking at me. I removed my headphones and said;

Me - ‘Sorry, are you talking to me’.

Blue Haired Lady - ‘Yes.’

I made that face that invited her to repeat/continue what she was saying.

Blue Haired Lady - ‘Do we have to line-up or can we just walk in. I can see people walking about.’

(At this point we were standing in a very long queue.)

Me - ‘No, you have to line-up with everyone else.’

Blue Haired Lady - ‘Are you sure?’

(I put my noise cancelling headphones back on.....)



(Main Hall - Back Issue Area - twenty minutes after opening).

Once I got through the long wait online I went straight upstairs to the back issue area. It was surprisingly quiet for the first couple of hours and a good time to shop. 

Then after popping to the Hilda table for a quick chat I made my way over to the Small Press area.



My first stop was a chat with those creative maniacs from the ‘Man Vs. Rock’ title. I bagged an interview for the podcast with these two men and they told me about an all ages Furry Comic they have released (the mind boggles). The current troubled times are certainly ripe for the kind of satire that this company revels within, always keep an eye on these men! Head over to http://www.manvsrock.com/ and browse their own particular form of psychedelia!


I then finally met up with Ben Slabak and his wife. I read and reviewed Exilium on the podcast about six months ago and it’s an exciting mix of Alienation and space adventure. Ben had travelled all the way to New York from Sydney. I also got an interview for a future episode of The Awesome Comics Podcast. You can find Ben’s work over at https://benslabak.com/

I then took solace in the Original Art area and here are some of the pages that I marvelled over.







The Hilda table was extra busy all day long and we have been blown away with the enthusiasm and knowledge of the fans of the comics and the series. Whilst at the table I finally met with Clare from the Fandemonium Network. She’s a great fan of pop culture and comics. She also writes a mean review. Look out for her writing over at https://fandemoniumnetwork.com/

I then headed out of the Javitt’s Centre and met up with Cliff Cumber. This was the historical first meeting between us as we are working on a comic that will be getting a release at the start of next year. Cliff is a great artist who I have dubbed ‘The Frank Quitely of the Small Press’. You can find more of his art over at https://www.instagram.com/cgcumber/ He also has a mean taste in T Shirts! We grabbed some dinner with the Mighty Sarah Harris before I hit the showers.



A top day......one more to go.







Friday, 4 October 2019

NYCC 2019 - Day 2.



Today was pretty great in the cocooned world of the New York Comic Convention and in my own private corner. I started off with the usual Olympic level ‘standing in a queue timed event’ surrounded by mouth breathing imbeciles. This experience actually bucked the Status Quo as I saw someone reading a comic on their phone. As I peeked a little more however I noticed that he was reading it on a pirate site! Baby steps?




I then headed to Terry Moore’s table and picked up a copy of his book ‘How to Draw’ for my pal Stuart Mulrain. Terry is the consummate professional and an example to all self-publishers everywhere. If you haven’t ever read ‘Strangers In Paradise’ I’d highly recommend picking up a copy.




I then headed over to Matt and Brennan Wagner’s table only to find that they weren’t there but their art dealer was sat with fat folders of art. This guy was Jim Warden and it turned out that he also represented John Byrne! So...... I only flaming went and bought a John Byrne page! Listen, I know it’s not a classic page or anything but it is Byrne! That’s all you need to know. You can find more pages that Jim has for sale at www.whatashock.com/doasales



While I was buying expensive art Brennan Wagner turned up and we chatted it up about the most recent Grendel series that he coloured for his father. I bought the above prints from him without a thought. Brennan is a funny guy and a real up and comer in the art stakes. I read ‘Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey’ issue 1 on the flight over here and it has some real Heavy Metal/Epic Magazine touches about it’s art and story. It’s a series I have no hesitation in recommending.




I also managed to get my hands on this Master of Kung Fu print by Jim Starlin. I’m hoping to catch up with him in the next couple of days to get it signed.




I then tracked down Michael Fiffe and got a signed copy off the first issue of the new ‘Copra’ series that is now released through Image Comics. It’s a great first issue and more of the excellent story and art I’m used to with this series. The paper seems to have been chosen carefully and is an uncoated heavy stock that really suits the subject matter.

In amongst the big crowds I also got to spend some time with Jason Wood, Vince Bon and David Price from the 11 O’Clock Comics podcast. One of the best and most popular pods out there they are also great champions of us at Nobrow.




I then headed upstairs to the main floor and put in some time at the Hilda stall before heading off and interviewing the MIGHTY Enrico Marini. Easily one of the best artists out there and someone that I’ve only really discovered in the last few years I’m glad to tell you that he is also an absolute gent. The interview was arranged by Irina from Europe Comics. If you’ve never met or chatted online to Irina you are really missing out. She is one of the most enthusiastic and informed people I know. Almost every week she recommends great European Comics to myself, Dan and Vince from The Awesome Comics podcast. Got to give her a big thanks for really making this particular fan’s day!



Is also got this great sketch from Enrico in a French Edition of The Eagles of Rome....more news on that particular book coming up on the podcast soon.



Whilst at the Europe Comics stall I also got chatting to Edanur Kuntman who had preview copies of ‘Tales Behind The Window’. Edanur is a Turkish creator who has recently has this book translated into English by Europe Comics. She also, very kindly, did me a sketch in Her great new book.

I then spent the rest of my Convention Day 2 working with Sam, Geoff and Jake at the Hilda table. The books are flying out at a rate it’s hard to keep up with. If you’re about pop by and say hi - we’re at Table 2063.

I have now resigned myself to only spend time in the Back Issues/Original Art section of the main floor and in Artists Alley for my spare time for the rest of the convention. I’ve never cared for video games, crap prints, toys, cosplayers etc and have recently become very bored hearing about movies and tv series. So for the next couple of days it’ll only be about comics.

As it should be!

Tomorrow I’ll be meeting Mr Clifford Q. Cumber for the first time. Tony Osmond is coming at you really soon and REALLY violently. Watch this space. Cliff is a real talent and it’s a pleasure to be working with him.





Many thanks for reading.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

NYCC 2019 - Day One.

Well, that was something of a mixed bag today. After the initial start where I realised that ‘I won’t bring a jacket, won’t need one and will make more room for comics’ attitude I’d had whilst packing thoroughly had me kicking myself as the rain shit itself down on Manhattan!


I got in the line nice and early and stood in a packed aircraft hanger for a couple of hours. It was noticeable that absolutely nobody but myself was actually reading a comic! Thank Grodd for noise cancelling headphones and an internal mantra that I used to brainwash myself that I wouldn’t miss any of the juicy limited edition prints in Artists Alley (AA)! As the gates opened at 10am I made my way into the adjacent hall that is now being used for the AA only to find that around a third of the tables lay empty and a number more where still being set up! For those that actually showed up on time I salute you. For those that didn’t I hope you had a lovely Thursday morning lay-in and a round of toast!

I headed over to the Hilda setup at Main Floor isle 2603 only to find that the NYCC organisers had actually incorrectly placed the ‘1900’ banner on the alleyway. If you are looking for us tomorrow that head to the far side of the ‘1900’ isle. The Wood Man’s hut and more was ready for readers and fans to visit.





I had a cracking time working with Geoff and Jake (from our New York office) and we shifted an awful lot of books, figurines and Wood Man pins. I’ll be back there tomorrow so pop by and say hi if you are at the Con.

After my shift with Hilda and her chums I headed to the Back Issues section of the main floor. This is just the first of many trips as I mentally guess at how much room I’ll have in my luggage.



I’d also popped to the Europe Comics stall and bought a book in preparation for meeting Enrico Marini tomorrow. I don’t really read much French but I already have the digital copies to compare this to and it sure does look pretty.



Adjacent to the Back Issue section is the Original Art area. I met up with my old mucka Ed Tarquinius and we wandered and marvelled at the pages on show. Here are just a few of what I drooled over.



(A Mike Ploog Man-Thing page!!!)


(Moebius - Anyone lend me $17,000?)



(Some more from Moebius!)



(Some Curt Swan and Bruno Premiani goodness!)



(Kirby ....... Doom!)


(Some John Byrne/Mike Mignola gold!)



(A slightly lacklustre Steve Ditko/Stan Lee/Artie Simek page).



(On an indie tip there was a folder full of Johnny Ryan ‘Prison Pit’ pages at $200 a piece.)



(Loads of pages by the master Jim Woodring that were just peeking into my wallet!)

I thought I’d also tease you with some key issues that were there for sale and wildly out of my price range.




I’m now off for a bite to eat and read some Thongor!

(In a thong!)

Many thanks for reading.











 


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

In Preview - ‘Manu’ by Gustaffo Vargas.



Manu: Altiplano Volume 1.’


Created by Gustaffo Vargas.


Book size is A5 (148mm x 210mm), 44 pages, full colour, price £5.00.

Published by Tacu Tinta Press.


A comic about monkeys, jaguars, cyborgs and a mystery.’


The Story - ‘Manu is a Peruvian science fiction comic about monkeys, jaguars, cyborgs and a mystery. Set in a dystopian world, the main story takes place in the Amazonian rainforest and the Peruvian highlands.’


The Review - This is the book from Gustaffo and one that I have very much been looking forward to reading. I reviewed his last offering ‘L1MA’ here http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/search?q=Vargasand it was a sweltering hot action based cracker!


This is more of the same from Gustaffo Vargas and from page 1/panel 1 this is an explosion of colours and ideas. The series setting is in the most part the ‘Manu National Park, Peruvian Amazon Rainforest’ and this creator sets this out straightaway with a full page spread of the Amazon river and the lush yet terrifying dense surrounding jungle. This page is imagined from a turtle’s eye view and shows this aforementioned amphibian surrounded by water lilies, butterflies, the shapes of exotic parakeets overhead and some excellent use of colour.






As I read onwards I discover that this book is many things at once. A sci-fi comic with an environmental/effects of the overuse of technology message, a neo-noir thriller and also a very real feeling and on occasion quite sexual love story. It throws dramatic action at you with style and sudden bursts. Making use of a bait-and-switch opening narrative technique where we initially believe that we are watching a chase through the jungle with a tattooed woman carrying a machete attempting to escape the ferocious and deadly terrors of the jungle. A cybernetic jaguar jumps out at her but rather than chowing down it licks her face and the character’s girlfriend appears out of the trees to remonstrate at her.


You really feel an otherworldly strangeness at all the corners and moments of this comic. Add to it’s science fiction premise the Peruvian culture, language and criminal community and it comes over as pretty darn fresh. It also has a real harshness where life is thrown away at a moments notice. Drugs and violence are commonplace especially between the humans and human/cyborgs. There is a real feeling of a world that sits uneasily in a constant ethical grey area, doing whatever it needs to just get through a day.






One sequence has a moment of peace broken by the ‘Sica-pokantis’ warriors arriving. Men who look like a cross between jungle tribesmen and The Terminator they run full pelt towards our heroes. They are counter-attacked by the couple and their animals and red blood washes and sprays out into the greenery. I am literally agog at the skill Mr Vargas puts on show here. As I read this sequence in particular I’m surprised that he hasn’t been picked up by an Image book or maybe something in the Hellboy universe!


If I had one problem I would say that it’s the overuse of Spanish in the script. I was going back and forth looking up words to get some meanings in their speech. Although that can be seen as an educational device? I looked up the word ‘Chinane’ in Spanish for example to discover it’s equivalent to ‘Darling’ or ‘Honey’.


You live and learn huh!?






Overall this is a book and a creator that I would highly recommend you go find out about. I’ll certainly be grabbing a physical copy when it is released at Thoughtbubble next month.


Find the creator on Instagram @gustaffovargastataje on Twitter @GustaffoVargas and at his website where you can buy this an others of his books https://gustaffovargas.bigcartel.com






Many thanks for reading.




Sunday, 29 September 2019

Nick Prolix in a Phone Box!


Who out there doubts that Nick Prolix is a dude?


After the recent release of The Whore Chronicles (details here  http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/2019/09/new-release-whore-chronicles.html) my old mucker sent me this great ‘Phone Box Advert’ for the first issue!


Just wanted to share it on here.


Find out more about one of the best creators in the indie scene by going to http://www.nickprolix.com/homefollowing him on Twitter @nickprolix or on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nickprolix/?hl=en


Whipping is extra! 



In Preview - ‘Moon’ by Nicole Bates



Moon’ 


Created by Nicole Bates.


40 pages - Full Colour.


Available from the 11th of October and getting a launch at the Lakes International Comics and Art Festival.


‘Moon’ shows how to overcome fears and worries that attack us in our own daily lives. This quiet assistance is told through a dream that is full of strange events but also stress and anxiety. This is a book that moved me, a grumpy fifty-one year old, more than a little.


‘Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow’.


There are a few comics creators out there that put out books that I rush to both read and review. Books that evoke something more than the average and try something that many might see as oddball or left-field or quirky or experimental. Artists and writers like Dimitrius Zach, Stuart McCune, Gareth Hopkins, Gareth Brookes, Gustaffo Vargas, John Tucker and Nick Prolix are some of the people who send me their work and I rush to read and then describe how their work is exciting/moving/intriguing/inspiring me. They often tell stories that are nothing alike from each other but all strike a chord. Nicole Bates has joined that list for this particular blogger.


‘Moon’ is the new release from Nicole and takes it’s place in both the stable of books coming from Charity Comics Label Fair Spark Books as well as her own personal growing library of graphic novellas.






Like it’s predecessors ‘Moon’ makes use of small intricate drawings and watercolours that are sat on a broader page. They evoke a quiet sadness in the brush, line and style. This highly expressive and warmly personal approach allow for something of a confessional vibe whilst simultaneously carrying the reader along on the back of a story.


It used to be colourful’.


The story follows the night, dawn and then day of a young girl wandering through a forest, hearing tall tales, encountering strange characters and creatures and learning a little bit about herself. It is a tale told almost wordlessly but with a broad scope of feeling. There is an ever pervading feeling of being lost and isolated that I felt a little moved by what it was whispering to me from the page. There are some great uses of black and white in the negative to portray the night time in a forest. This moves into a navy blue and then the brightness of both the waking day and the strength of realisation - all with minimal yet iconically configured images.






It strikes me that I would love to see Nicole break free of this smaller format and use her obvious skills on a wider canvas, fill the page with her brushwork with a change of pace abandon. She works in a way that is beholden to nobody and neither should she but I think a Treasury Edition size artbook is somewhere waiting for it to be picked up and painted?


As always this is highly recommended.


Find Fair Spark Books on Twitter @fairsparkbooks or at https://fairsparkbooks.co.uk/ 


Find out more about Nicole by following her on Twitter @Nikki_Draws or find her website at  http://www.nikkidraws.pictures/


Many thanks for reading.