Who'd have thought that this year in comics would top the last. I have had a brilliant year of creativity along with a few dips in disappointment.
Top of the list is the great friends of the St Albans Comics Club. We share laughs, road trips, beers, and a passion for comics that is always inspirational to me. Happy members all, Alex Martin, Marc Laming, Matt Harrower, Natasha Healey, Christian Wildgoose, Lara Margarida, The Boy Wonder and many more.
Mr Laming himself has literally exploded back into the American Comics scene with work for Dynamite Comics and Marvel. So chuffed that he has had this success and there is no stopping him now. It's down to him that I got some awesome name checks in Kings Watch, Flash Gordon and Legenderry. Every time I see my name in a comic I smile for a week!
It's also great that Christian Wildgoose and his partner Laura Trinder are getting the recognition they richly deserve. Just amazing work. And also richly deserved is the art job Lara did on the recent Flash Gordon special. There are great things on the horizon for this artist!
I have also dipped my toe back into creative writing with a plotting and dialogue assist on The Big Couch by my pal Matt Harrower. It's a cosmic battle bastard of the highest mind fuck and I can't wait for you to see it. Here's a little teaser of his style.
The comics journalism also kicked up a number of clicks this year with the slowing down and technical problems at BeardRock another door opened in the form of John Freeman's www.downthetubes.net This is the real deal and John has kept me busy with reviews, previews, Con reports and more. I am absolutely loving working for this site and learning from John's editorial skills.
I also have a great relationship now with the new Comic Convention titan on the block. Nottingham Comic Con will be in it's third year this coming October and I got to chair a panel with John McCrea, Marc Laming and Chris Wildgoose. We had a ball and I am hooked for next year (mystery guests to be revealed in 2015) and cannot wait!
Beyond those guys and gals I have met and become friends with some great talents over the year. Through an enthusiasm of the medium I have become friends with some genuinely exceptional talents.
Pat Mills continues to be one of the greatest writers in the industry. His Slaine this year is easily one of the best stories ever (yes ever) in 2000AD. Our chats and email to and fros continue to brighten the corners of my life. He, Dave Houghton and I have shared beers and the odd meal here and there and talked through many a subject. So proud to call this guy a friend. He writes like a beast and has a moral core like nobody I ever met. His chat with Tardi recently at Foyles was awesome.
Mike Medaglia is someone who should be better known. Whilst I was writing for beardrock.com I came across his book Seasons and LOVED it. He's got a poetry in his line that nobody else has. He and I got to meet this year a few times and he was exceedingly kind enough to send me some original art from his books that now adorns my wall. I have an interesting interview with him that I will spring on him in the new year.
I've been lucky enough to meet loads of great comics people this year and hopefully I haven't left anyone out. Brian 'Hey Buddy' Vander, Ricky Miller and David White from the mighty Avery Hill Publishing, James Robinson, Wilfredo Torres, Jason Wood, David Price and Vince B (from the ever awesome 11 o'clock comics), Vera 'Tap Dancing' Greentea, Vince Hunt, Dave Stokes, Dean Beattie, Sally Jane Thompson, Leah Moore, Chris Thompson, Robin Harman, Adam Sharif (and all the guys from The Orbiting Pod), Alex DeCampi, Bukkake Bobby, Jon Scrivens, Andy Clift, Tim Bird, Paul Rainey, Paul Gravatte, Kev Brett, Tom Ward, Luke Parker, Alex Potts, Chris Sides and Chris Travell (and all the guys at Red Shift Comics), Elizabeth Querstret, Adam Cadwell, Rachael Smith, Mike Garley, Alfie Gallagher, Gareth Brookes, Steve Tillotson, Owen Pomery, Andy Poyiadgi, Julia Scheele, Jim Alexander, Ed Murphy, those awesome Futurequake people, Jessica Martin, Cristian Ortiz, Alice Mazzilli, Samantha Holmlund, Tom Digby-Rogers, Sam Webster, Robin Hoelzemann, Jeff Parker, Brian Level, Mike Grell and so, so many more. This list doesn't even include all the creators I have interacted with online.
The list of Conventions this year is huge. I loved every single one of them (well apart from NICE where everyone had decided to go home at lunchtime on the Sunday - just as we were arriving and the admission fee was too much). The NYCC was a highlight.
I finally finished a comic script and although it wasn't right for one creator I am still hopeful that I'll man up and get the balls to send it to others. We'll see huh?
It wasn't all high points and a couple of things in my comics life happened.
An aforementioned pal (in last year's round up) completely failed to understand my misgivings over Patreon and Kickstarter and became quite insulting about my partner. I understand things ain't going so well for this person so no names. Their reaction is evidence that they shouldn't really have contact with human beings (well until their spelling improves at least).
Out of the failings of my last LCS I moved to a new one (Orbital Comics) and am happier than ever. Finally a comic shop that takes pride in it's service and is staffed by excellently helpful people. Events, podcasts, exhibitions, back issues, sales it's all great. I thoroughly recommend Orbital. A real comic shop. The best I have been to in the UK in fact.
It's been a big year for comics. The movies and TV series are really finally spreading the love of these characters that we fans have all known about for years. I hope that these movie ticket sales can soon translate into comics sales.
As always I am thankful to have a great life that allows me to enjoy comics, a great son who also reads them and a great best mate who after 35 years of friendship is still there for a chat.
I've gone on a bit so I'll leave it here.
If you want a chat about this medium don't hesitate to contact me on here or on Twitter @Ezohyez
Many thanks for reading.