Sunday, 30 September 2018

Nottingham Comic Con - What to Look For! Part 1.




Nottingham Comic Convention is heading our way fast!


Now in I t’s a one day event being held on Saturday the 20th of October at The Nottingham Conference Centre, Nottingham, NG1 4BU.


You can find tickets here http://www.nottinghamcomiccon.co.uk/tickets/


I’m going to be posting about it over the next few weeks. Here is a ‘Part 1’ of what to look out for there.





This is one of the best events of the year and I’ll be there with my Awesome Comics Pod brothers Vince and Dan. We’ll have issue 3 of the Awesome Comics anthology for sale there and as of 10am this will be the first time you’ll be able to get your hands on it.


You can order it from this link if you aren’t attending and catch up on issues 1 and 2. We’ll also have some special offers on prints that go along with the series, Watch this space.


https://awesomecomicpod.bigcartel.com


Nottingham has turned into the sort of comics event that I always reserve the date early. This year,once again, has some cracking guests.





First up is Luke Pearson, the man behind Hilda. A long running comic series out of Flying Eye books (aka Nobrow’s children’s imprint) this is also now a highly successful Netflix tv series. I’ve been ranting about how great this series is for years. It is a wonderful oasis from the daily grind that the kids will also (maybe) get a look at. 


Find Luke’s books at https://flyingeyebooks.com/creator/luke-pearson-2/





What about some hardcore action adventure? Marc Laming has been drawing the kind of comics that make you miss your tube stop for years now. A regular on The Avengers, The X-Men, Flash Gordon, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and his new series for Dynamite Comics with James Bond!


This is the sort of guy who can run circles round the other artists out there! Find more about him at http://monkeymarc.blogspot.com/






Who are the power couple in UK Comics I hear you ask? For my money it’s Laura Trinder and Chris Wildgoose. Each of them have produced some of the most amazingly beautiful comics of the last ten years. 


Why not come to their table and have a taste!



You can find Laura at http://www.lauratrinder.co.uk/






And you can find Chris at http://christianwildgoose.blogspot.com/


So.... who else?





How about an Eisner winner? Oh go on then. Hamish Steele is the creator of numerous comics but is perhaps best known for Deadendia and Pantheon from Nobrow. I’ll be road tripping up to Nottingham with this talented fella. Come to his table for some sketches, signed books and good old fashioned chat.


https://www.hamishsteele.co.uk/


One more?





THE ETHERINGTON BROTHERS. Literally the most enthusiastic people in comics. Chatting to them for five minutes will push you on creatively and that is a solid gold promise. I cannot stress how much you need to look at their books. Both brothers are favs of ours on the podcast. So if you are looking for some help on making your own comic or just reading some great series....these are your guys!


Go to their website now and get excited! http://theetheringtonbrothers.blogspot.com/



Those busy people at Nottingham Comic Con also have a Kickstarter that will be running for a couple more days. Every year they produce a comic that helps raise money for some great charities. I’ve done a four pager with the mighty Dave Broughton so get over now and pledge!



It has this ace cover by my comics brother Nick Prolix!



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1478064521/nottingham-comic-con-comic-anthology-inter-space




Many thanks for reading.



Thursday, 27 September 2018

In Preview - ‘Dead Singers: Volume 4’ from Good Comics.


Dead Singers: Volume 4.


Edited by Paddy Johnson and Samuel C. Williams.


Published by Good Comics.


The idea is fairly simple. This is an anthology series that deals only in the dead variety of singers. That’s something of a niche market but one that has been pursued by many creators over the four issues of this comic. I have enjoyed each and every volume as it has come out from those enthusiastically cool folks at Good Comics.


This is what they have to say about this new release:


The fourth and final (and by far biggest!) issue of our flagship anthology Dead Singers Society is here. Features over twenty artists and writers talking about their favourite Dead Singers, including Scott Hutchison, Gord Downie, Chester Bennington, Eartha Kitt, Dusty Springfield, Dolores O'Riordan and many more!’


However.....as I read the introduction I learn that this is the final issue! Say it ain’t so!? Don’t leave me this way? Go now? (OK, I admit that last one was a bit of a stretch).


But those gentlemen at Good Comics were kind enough to send me an early copy. So I’ll happily forgive them.


Listen, its an anthology. Not everything lands for each and every reader but this has more hits than flops! (I really need to stop). The cover isn’t as strong as I would have expected from this firm. I see what they are doing with it but it seems a tiny bit under rendered and on the nose? Maybe that’s just me. It does however communicate the content and in a way harks back to the punk fanzines from the last century. This will be getting a release at the Bristol Comics and Zine Fair on the 6th of October. Then it’ll be available from the web shop from the 8th (see link below).


So I thought that I would name a few of my favourites. In no particular order here are a few that really caught my eye.


PS I swear quite a lot in this piece....it is rock and roll for fucks sake, deal with it!






‘Warren Zevon’ by Ethan Edward.

This one is particularly impactful for a number of reasons. The first being the fact that I am sat in Soho reading this comic and the song that springs up in the Zevon section is Werewolves of London’. I’ve also been racing through his back catalogue on the commute recently and loving the lyrics. This is a single image one pager that could easily be a 1978 7” cover. It uses two punchy examples of Zevon’s lyrics, makes a point and leaves. I suppose that in itself is a spot on sentiment. (Cough, this would make a great print, cough).


Ethan can be found at www.ethanedward.weebly.com





Chrissy Amphlett’ by Frank Candiloro.

This is a short story that has so much energy you can feel the floor jumping as the guitars kick in! The art is nutty, square and rectangular, solidly inked punky madness. The clashing of the black and white sets up a solid chord strike on the page. Gloriously a 1980s punk fanzine of a strip. I’ll be on the look out for this creator in the future.


Frank can be found at www.gumroad.com/frankencomics 




Marissa Veres’ by Conan Fiori-McPhee.

This looks like a Peter Bagge strip crossed with some of the best of Viz (just with less ejaculate!) and in my eyes there can be no higher compliment. This is also colourfully cool period specific post flower power comics. This could easily have come from the inside of a gatefold cover from a blues rock band of the mid seventies. I want a whole comic like this - now, let’s Go!


Conan can be found at www.catsmeat.com





Captain Beefheart’ by Gareth Hopkins.

This is another one pager. It is powerful, edgy, vibrant and striking. It has a teeth grinding amphetamine angle to it but also seemingly at the same time explores the lysergic side of the musical world. It is in your face with intelligence and experimental confidence, much like the music itself. Fucking bravo!


Gareth can be found at www.grthink.com 





G. G. Allin’ by John Tucker.

If there was ever a singer who was both dead and suited to the storytelling skills of Mr Tucker this is the one. John tells a brilliantly hilarious story of the poop obsessed shouter’s attempts to read poetry to his audience. They demand more poo! (It doesn’t end well, but then again the stories in this comic aren’t really meant to?)


Find John Tucker storing downstairs items at his website http://www.johntucker.co.uk/


One more.....?


Oh go on.





2Pac’ by Miguel Peres and Tainan Rocha.

I have to admit to knowing fuck all about the man, his music or his demise but this first page wants me to shit the bed and get my head into some of his lyrics. This is like Sienkiewicz had a baby with Tom Scioli and Jim Mahfouz and decided to draw/paint a rap song. The words and images combine to make a ruddy beautiful page. To coin a more London friendly 420 phrase ‘I want what he’s smoking!’


Find Miguel Peres at www.miguelperres.myportfolio.com and Tainan Rocha at www.tainanrochailustracao.tumblr.com


Oh, and this by Jamie Howard is fucking spectacular! (Find Jamie at www.themookscomics.tumblr.com )





This is a great showcase of an anthology. I could easily head off now and pick up comics by many of those involved here. It’s a real shame to see it stop but sometimes it’s better to get off at the top. (The Only Way is Up?) I’m now wondering what the next subject area will be all about? For future releases? I have a few suggestions for those Good Comics industry bigwigs.


Movie stars with a Safari-suit obsession? 


Elderly ladies in 1980s Detective tv series? (‘Murder She Drew’?)


The later movies of Eddie Murphy? (‘Murphy The Wilderness Years’ or ‘Desperate Spice’?).


‘Tiswas vs Swap Shop? (‘Only Communists Liked Tiswas’).


1990s confectionary and UK indie movies? (‘Curly, Hurly, Burly’? ‘Kes nicked my Star Bar’?)


The Carry On Movie series vs On The Buses.


The Singles of Go West?


I’m now off to listen to some 2pac on Spotify (I’m so down with the kids!)




Find Good Comics at http://goodshop.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-dead-singers-society-iv You can also find them on Twitter @Good_Comics


Many thanks for reading and ‘Just Go’!



Tuesday, 25 September 2018

In Review - ‘A Place for Birds’ by Robbie Cathro




A Place For Birds.


Created by Robbie Cathro.


Black and White - 20 pages.


A5 - £6.00.


The Story - ‘The artist waits each year for the birds to pass over her home during their migration’.


What will come from their visit?





The Review - I met Robbie last weekend. He was actually at a table opposite mine at Thoughtbubble. The weekend was a busy rush of people and comics and we grabbed a couple of moments to chat. He kindly gave me this comic during one of those conversations. I read it this morning over the morning coffee and found a little moment of peace. And for that I thank him.


Let’s start with the cover shall we? It is a fluid like sketch on a white card background. It shows a castle from afar. The castle sits in the countryside. The battlements are overgrown by bushes and tress. It sits there alone and solitary as two egrets approach from each side of the page. Their beaks point towards this structure. It is a minimal and ethereal image that reflects the mood and style of the rest of the book. It has a gentle style that drew me in immediately.


As the story opens inside we see a woman sat on this structure. She has a stoic ladylike aloofness to her arched back poise and beehive coifed hair style. She wears golden hanging earrings and has strange otherworldly markings on her forehead. She sits and waits and watches the horizon for the birds to arrive.


A CAW on the horizon is the beginning....’


As the eye of the reader scans the page you notice bird boxes and feeder tables that she has prepared for their arrival. You realise that this is a moment that she prepares for all year long, it is the point in many ways of her life. This is a genuinely interesting and original way to guide a story that Robbie has achieved here in this short comic.





Then the storm, the flock, the flurry, the charge of the birds arrive. All manner of shapes and sizes, egrets, sparrows, crows and others swarm the castle. The woman opens her sketchbook and draws them and the reader is invited in to watch this art grow and the notations of what each species is all about. The woman is the narrator and tells us little short stories about her visitors. But this goes beyond an observation this is contact and communication. I’ll let you read the later pages and see what you think.


I’m going to hazard a guess that Robbie has great fondness for our feathered friends. In the book he describes each species as a personality with a background based on folktales and science and he draws them with a real sense of personality.


This book is a visual poem in a lightly sketched style. It reaches out and touches the reader and grants them a few minutes of tranquility.


Grab a copy and make you day all the better for it.


You can find aa copy at http://www.robbiecathro.com/shop/a-place-for-birds or follow the creator on Twitter @RobbieCathro


Many thanks for reading.

Friday, 21 September 2018

In Preview - ‘Kingdom’ from Jon McNaught


Kingdom.


Created by Jon McNaught.

Hardback - 128 pages - £16.99.


Published by Nobrow.


The Story - ‘Jon McNaught returns with another beautiful comic that makes the ordinary, extraordinary. A family sets off for a long weekend at a caravan park on the British coast. We follow them through the familiar landscapes of a summer holiday: motorway service stations, windswept cliffs, dilapidated museums and tourist giftshops. In this atmospheric and contemplative work, Jon McNaught explores the rhythms of nature, the passing of time, and the beauty and boredom of a summer holiday.’


The Review 


Have we all felt this way?


Have we all been in these moments?


A family on holiday in a seaside town. They make the most of their time. The mum drags the kids around museums and seaside tourist spots. The son loses himself in the coastline and at moments alone or with people he sees, eavesdrops on or meets. It is a little sad, profoundly quiet, a lot familiar and an awful lot impressive.


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.


I remember as a kid on this exact same holiday. Of course, I’m far too old to remember being frustrated looking for a phone signal whilst wandering over rock pools or up hills but the feeling this book projects gave me shivers nonetheless. Another world at the end of the motorway. As the rain comes down you hear it on the roof of their caravan and the following morning as the daughter wades lonely through the deep puddles you can feel the air as it clears as the day begins anew.


‘...we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.’ - Eugene O’Neill.


As a kid I’d head on holiday with my parents. Long and almost endless journeys down the side roads and highways of England sitting in the back of my parents’ estate car with just a comic for company and looking forward to the next wee break. The breaks on the trip for a fizzy drink and maybe a toy if you were lucky are described perfectly here by McNaught.


I have to admit that I was totally entranced by the beautiful art and the melancholic and never overly sentimental story. It is a book of realistically few words but some complicated emotions are displayed slowly over a period of days. The frustration of the journey, the family dynamic, the saving money, the bickering. I also have to admit that I found this an emotional read. It speaks to the loneliness of people on levels you rarely see in comics. Slowly building that picture of three members of a family with such realism it’ll bring a lump to your throat.






The mother and the son and daughter come across as totally real and you understand their lives from this little emotional Polaroid photo album of a graphic novel. The slow pace is never a problem, rather it is a strength. With at moments up to thirty-five panels on a page the progression of movement and story only exemplifies the feelings projected up to the reader from the deeply carved pages. Then you see a landscape or a sea or a long lamp lit road as a splash page. ‘This is now, this is here!’ We know these moments all too well.


As I stare at the art on show here I am at once instantly in love with the craftsmanship and totally confused at how this level of accomplishment is created. The pages have a linocut look to them but are more measured, never clinical but with none of the Lino cut trademarked double edges and accidental overlapping. The lights on the motorway give away the shapes of maybe a knife that carves them but the water and sea and reflective rain puddles are far more detailed. It is absolutely breathtaking!


This 128 page hardback will be available for the first time at Table 28 in the Victoria Hall. Come past whilst stocks last.






If you can’t get to Thoughtbubble this year then order your copy online here https://nobrow.net/shop/kingdom/?


The Creator


Jon McNaught graduated from the University of the West of England in 2007 with a degree in illustration. He now lives in Bristol where he works as a print maker and a freelance illustrator. He has contributed stories and art to Nobrow, Art Review and Stripburger.


You can find more about his art at http://www.jonmcnaught.co.uk/ and follow him on Twitter @Jon_McN



Many thanks for reading.



Some last minute Thoughtbubble suggestions....


This is a piece that appeared in last week’s mailer. Thought it might be worth sticking out for those attending Thoughtbubble tomorrow and Saturday.

BUT, do not fear. If you cant attend there are some handy links to assist you in buying all these glorious comics!

————————————————————————————————————————————-
 
So.... Thoughtbubble is so close you can taste it.
 
Last week I wrote a few paragraphs on who would be good to visit and this is part two.
 
First up is that crazy person Todd Oliver. Now don’t get me wrong when you meet him he seems totally normal and friendly but you cannot hope that is really the case if you have a look at his comics! They are THAT good!
 
 
His most recent work is a book called Smedley that I absolutely devoured when I bought a copy at ELCAF earlier this year.
 
A comic depicting the life of a worm shaped man.’ Todd Oliver.
 
Buy your copy and have a look for his other series Boxes that is also full of outrageous strangeness in the ComiXology Marquee at table 167a.
 
If you cant make it to Thoughtbubble then head to https://toddoliver.bigcartel.com/ or find him on Twitter @ToddOliver
 
 
Why wouldn’t you head to the Improper Books table in the Mercy Marquee? (They are at tables 7-8).
 
A great group of creators. Christian WildgooseLaura TrinderMatt GibbsSara DunkertonBen Read. All to a person are putting out some outstanding work. It is impossible to choose between any of their books. ( I already own them all).
 
 
If I were a betting man I would say that it is now a good time to get some original art from Chris Wildgoose. If the work he’s doing on the YA Batman book is anything to go by it’ll be shooting up in price anytime soon.
 
Visit them and breathe in their sexiness!
 
If you cant get there then you can order some of this comics crack from http://www.improperbooks.com/ and follow them on Twitter @ImproperBooks
 
So. Who else...
 
 
Like Penguins? Like Dad jokes, word play, chuckling during the morning business? I make no bones about this The Penned Guin is the only book you need in your downstairs loo. Alan Henderson is an absolute machine of ideas and art. He puts his books out and I gobble them up.
 
Find Alan in the ComiXology Marquee right next to Mr P. Alternatively find him on Twitter @Shadow1972 or buy some frozen goodness https://pennedguin.bigcartel.com/
 
How about a cracking artist to chat to and possibly get a commission from? (It’s always best to preorder!)
 
Here are a couple of saucy options.
 
How about the artist responsible for one my favourite series of the last few years? Nick Brokenshire cleaned everyone’s clocks with his work on the Amelia Cole series! A cracking series that I recommend to everyone. Also have a look at The Once And Future Queen and now for Star Wars Adventures from IDW.
 
Max Rebo has landed! 
 
Find Nick at Table 24 in the Originals Marquee. Or find him at https://nickbrokenshire.co.uk/ and on Twitter @NickBrokenshire
 
 
How about an artist who has drawn Apes, Marvel Capes, Noir Gangsters, Star Wars and now James Bond.
 
Yes folks. Step forward Mr Marc ‘Lambo’ Laming. I’m the proud owner of quite a few pages from this fella and they are true class!
 
Find Marc at Table 52 in the ComiXology Marquee. Or find him on Twitter @monkey__marc or at his site
 
And finally, something that is getting a launch at the festival...
 
 
 
I’ve just heard from my bosses at Nobrow that the hauntingly atmospheric Kingdom from Jon McNaught will be available from our table.

This is a genuinely really special book and in the running for my favourite book of the year so far. It is beautifully sensitive and hauntingly nostalgic. I am immediately a fan of Jon’s and now keen to get more by him.

If you are going to get one book at Thoughtbubble this year it should, in my humble opinion, be this one.
 
Here’s what the press release says:
 
Jon McNaught returns with another beautiful comic that makes the ordinary, extraordinary. A family sets off for a long weekend at a caravan park on the British coast. We follow them through the familiar landscapes of a summer holiday: motorway service stations, windswept cliffs, dilapidated museums and tourist giftshops. In this atmospheric and contemplative work, Jon McNaught explores the rhythms of nature, the passing of time, and the beauty and boredom of a summer holiday.
 
This 128 page hardback will be available for the first time at Table 28 in the Victoria Hall. Come past whilst stocks last.
 
Preorder your copy online here https://nobrow.net/shop/kingdom/?
 
Many thanks for reading.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Thoughtbubble recommends..... Part 1.

This is a piece that in part ran on the mailer last week. I thought it was worth reposting here as we are getting close to the comics event of the year.

Part 2 soon.

————————————————————————————————————————-

Morning Bastards.


All eyes are now on Thoughtbubble. My inbox has been building up with review/preview and promotion requests in the last week or so and this is only going to get more frenetic.

Seems like there are a lot of people releasing new books at this event.


Don’t forget that I’ll be there with the Nobrow and Flying Eye crowd. This will coincide with the release of the Hilda The Animated Series on Netflix. We will have a limited number of these books but if you want one and feel like you might not get to the table in time feel free to preorder through me for collection.

Drop me a note on Twitter @Ezohyez or at Tony.awesomecomicspod@gmail.com and you wont miss out.

We’ll also have all the other great books from there catalogue and some great deals to be done.

Obviously the mighty Nick Prolix has a table that you should also visit ( "In the Comixology Marquee and sharing with Russell Mark Olson" - ed.)  They are both sure to be taking commissions so grab one while they are hot!

So... what else is coming out that has caught my eye?


I’ve just seen an advance copy of this beautiful book. Other than it being a collection of some of the best art you’ll see its also a collection of stories with a lot of heart and done by a group of friends. The fun that the Wine & Zine Collective have had making this book shines out from the pages.

You can find this talented group at table AFM 57-58. If you cant make it to Thoughtbubble then head over to https://wineandzine.bigcartel.com/ and buy something from their shop. You can also follow them on Twitter @wineandzine

What else.


You must have seen me this week getting very excited about this comic that I got sent to preview. You can read my opinion here http://neverironanything.blogspot.com/2018/09/in-review-needleman-by-martin-simpson.html

I also just got a gorgeous A4 full sized anthology from Martin that I ordered straightaway after reading The Needleman. It came with some great prints. Both titles are highly recommended.

You can find out more about this creator at https://martinsillustration.com/projects and follow him on Twitter @SIMO_paints

What about the Mighty Harrower?!


I love this guys crazy visual eye! 

He draws like no one else and does so with huge enthusiasm and originality. He’ll have comics, prints and sketchbooks at his table. Find out more about this artist at https://hpmatt.bigcartel.com/ and follow him on Twitter @hp_matt


It’s going to be great to finally catch up with Europe Comics. They are sharing a table with Cinebooks. Both companies produce some breathtaking books. Have a look as there is bound to be something that you’ll like. If you like original sci-fi may I suggest anything by Leo. His work never fails to hypnotise me with it’s strange beauty.




They will be in the Mercy Marquee at tables 60-62. It’s my experience of years gone by that they tend to have a sale on that is well worth taking advantage of whilst you are at the convention.

You know I am a convert! Be one too. 

You can find Europe Comics at http://www.europecomics.com/ or follow them on Twitter @EuropeComics

Cinebook can be found at https://www.cinebook.co.uk/ and look them up on Twitter @CinebookLtd

Watch out for Avery Hill. They have for some of their best ever books launching at this festival.


Of them all I would have to plump for Katriona Chapman’s book Follow Me In. A book that sensitively, intelligently and beautifully accounts a journey that Kat and her now ex boyfriend took through Mexico. It is exceptional and at 248 pages is a steal at £18.99.

(Further to the above I have just read Retrograde Orbit by Kristyna Baczynski. A sci-fi story that follows the life of a refugee girl and her mum on an alien planet. The girl grows up and we learn about her as she discovers a life not so dissimilar to our every day now. A real thing of beauty that had me quite emotional. More on that soon.) 

You can grab a copy by heading to www.averyhillpublishing.bigcartel.com or follow them on Twitter @AveryHillPubl

Find out more about the creator and find some more examples of her comics, art and travels at www.katrionachapman.com and follow her on Twitter @katchapman

Find more about Kristyna at https://www.kristyna.co.uk/ 


CLOSE

These fuckers are clever. A thriller is a hard thing to pull off in a comic but Chris Sides (writer), Chris Travell (artist), Ken Reynolds (letters) and Colin Lorimer (cover art) have done so with panache. Imagine what would happen if the stalker becomes the detective. That’s the jumping off point that may welll become much more complicated further on. Wait and see.

CLOSE is launching at Thought Bubble 2018 and will be available to buy via the Comichaus website (www.comichaus.com) and available to read digitally via the Comichaus app (www.comichaus.com/app). I shall be grabbing a physical copy.

You can find Chris Sides (IMPOSSIBLE, DARK MATTER, WHISPERING SANDS)
At www.chrissideswriter.com and on Twitter @Sidesy1982

Find more art by Chris Travell (DARK MATTER, WHISPERING SANDS)
 At www.instagram.com/travellsky and on Twitter @travellsky

Edited, lettered & designed by Ken Reynolds (COGNITION, IN TROUBLE, SLICED QUARTERLY) www.kenreynoldsdesign.co.uk and find him on Twitter @kreynoldsdesign

Cover art by Colin Lorimer www.instagram.com/colin_lorimer

There will be more recommendations next week. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Look out for the next mailer or have a look at www.neverironanything.blogspot.co.uk for updates.

Many thanks for reading.