Monday, December 28, 2009

Films 2009!

I like lists of ‘movies of the year’ but I rarely get round to sorting out my own - mainly because I can never remember what I’ve seen. But now, thanks to the Empire Mag ‘movie list of the year’, I’ve done one! I’ve only seen 29 movies in 2009! That’s not many is it!? But it means that I can give you a full 30 rundown, with commentary where I can be bothered lol
29 - The Spirit: 10 minutes in, I realised this movie wasn’t going to get any better. In fact I realised the same godawful look and tone was going to continue for the next two hours. And it did. Awful. Frank Miller, please stick to comics (well actually, judging from your last few comics, don’t bother with that either).
28 - District 9: I’m sorry, I know I’m in the minority (so to speak), but I just couldn’t stand this film. It’s good that it was innovative and the story was lively and fairly unpredictable, but I just couldn’t take to it. It was all too brown-looking, I didn’t understand why the aliens were called ‘prawns’, the main guy irritated me, it never felt like there were millions of ‘prawns’ in the camp, and I just didn’t understand why the ‘prawns’ couldn’t just stay on the ship.
27 - 2012: Stupid, annoying, insulting, imbecilic. John Cusack’s idiotic face. Lowest point: realising John’s son was called ‘Noah’ as the survivors are about to get on the ‘Arks’. My jaw dropped. Plus, would people’s mobile phones be working in a huge disaster like this? Especially when a tsunami is heading right towards Jimmy Mistry…
26 - Knowing: I didn’t hate this as much as most people, but I didn’t like the gratuitousness of the plane crash and subway disaster. Nasty.
25 - Haunting in Conneticut: Meh…
24 - Milk: It had some really nice, human moments, a few great characters in there, and the ending was affecting, but it was so sloooowwwwwwww.
23 - Outlander: Hmm…
22 - The Good The Bad and The Weird - However much I love ‘The Bad’ guy, this was just too long and uninvolving.
21 - Whiteout: Just completely uninteresting… The only good bit about this film was that I saw it in an empty movie room with my chum Marcus, which meant we could lark around and try different seats and also complain about the aircon being too cold.
20 - Blood: Meh… Reeeally bad CGI!!! Honestly, must do better! Couldn’t they see how crap it was?? I felt awful for the Blood guys tho when they’d make Blood annoucements on Facebook, and everyone would just slate the movie. Ouch.
19 - Terminator Salvation: Oh dear… I actually edited the official movie magazine for this film… I’d read the script and feared there wasn’t much to it… And I wasn’t far wrong. Some of the cinematography was good and some of the characters showed promise - and I’m glad they kept a lot of Helena Bonham Carter in it (the script seemed to change every five minutes) , and the Arnie bit was good, but …it felt a bit lacklustre. It also didn’t help that I had gone on a really weird diet that week, and my blood sugar decided to crash during the movie making me go all feverish and what-not, so it wasn’t a pleasant experience!!!
18 - Funuke: One of the Japanese movies I saw with my lovely Japanese classmates. This was okay - a bit drawn out, and it was set in the Japanese countryside which was gooorgeous…
17 - Push: Hmm nothing special… but nice to see Hong Kong…
16 - The Proposal: Sweet…
15 - Zombieland: Hmm… meh… The girls were annoying…
14 - Bruno: Kind of funny, very shocking… Had a very entertaining lesbian in front of me at the cinema providing really stupid, but funny, commentary. “He’s fallen out the window bwa ha ha”.
13 - Wolverine: Origins: Not as bad as everyone seemed to say, but I didn’t really understand why they had to dick around with the comics mythology so much.
12 - GI Joe: Well it was really really stupid, but it did entertain me. Honestly though, that ‘clever plot point’ where they come up with a Celtic phrase to make the Scottish guy’s plane work - ouuuch. Storm Shadow was very sexy though.
11 - Paranormal Activity: Well it kept me entertained and hiding behind cushions, but there wasn’t really much to it.
10 - Thirst - Korean films are getting an excellent reputation (well-deserved), although I think they need to be careful on the lengthiness and quirky factor. Thirst didn’t grab me as much as previous Korean movies, but was worth it for the final 10 minutes alone. The cinema I saw it at actually showed the movie reels in the wrong order (trainee projectionist, apparently), but I just thought it was part of the quirky factor… I still managed to follow it though.
9 - Watchmen: First time I saw it, I felt it was too violent and depressing. It grew on me more the 2nd time though. Fab opening sequence… I liked Silk Spectre, and Rorshach was amazing.
8 - Inglorious Basterds: Very dark and disturbing, but clever and entertaining. Not one of my fave QTs, but still got it on DVD.
7 - Gran Torino: Sob…
6 - Slumdog Millionaire: Weep…
5 - Let the Right One In: Just such an amazing ‘feel’ to it. And that final scene in the swimming pool - wow.
4 - Benjamin Button: Spellbinding…
3 - Star Trek: Just so entertaining - a *good* blockbuster (yeah, it’s possible, Mr 2012). Had me laughing, had me crying, and I loved the whole crew and their hopefulness and optimisim - it just came across in waves. Nice to see Sulu actually get something to do too!
2 - Departures: A Japanese movie about a guy who joins a funeral company. It’s just so gentle and moving. I had tears rolling down my cheeks.
1 - Tokyo Sonata: Such a simple movie - about a dysfunctional family - but it works so well. So well acted, so moving, so engaging. Again, had me in tears. Wonderful.

On another note, I think my real favourite film this year was an old one that I just happened to catch on DVD. A Bittersweet Life - so good.

No more Twitter!

It’s been in the news lately how Lily Allen has dumped her Blackberry and Ipod (not sure why her Ipod…) and left Facebook and Twitter, as she felt they were taking over. Now I can’t live without my Ipod (and shouldn’t have to!!) and I’m verging on being addicted to Facebook (I do think Facebook is great and a cool way of having fun with mates, and I’m frustrated that some of my closest mates aren’t on there)…but Twitter…
What a waste of time! I just can’t see the point. It’s been on my Ipod Touch and has it enriched my life in any way? No. It just seems to be full of people bragging on about their lives. And each time I turn my Ipod on, there’s about 130 ‘Tweets’ to catch up on! It’s stressful, man! So I’ve taken it off my Ipod. I won’t delete my account, cos I’m on there as Spandex, but I doubt I’ll be on there much.
One other thing - I think people need to think about what they are ‘Tweeting’. It was in the news how one woman was ‘Tweeting’ about how her child was drowning (he died…). A music guy died last week, and that’s all Kristen Hersh has been Tweeting about - depressing, and inappropriate. And people Tweeting tributes to Britney Murphey. Guys, if I get run over tomorrow, please don’t ‘Tweet’ about my death…

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The end was nigh

2012. Well what a load of shit. Honestly, it's a crime against humanity. It's so brain-numbingly bad that I think I suffered brain damage. It's so unbelievably stupid, I'm just in shock.
What were they thinking? California is destroyed - what a horrible thing to see - and they just make it look like a video game. It's the end of the world - let's have John Cusack go 'woooah' and get into all sorts of silly scrapes. and what's up with his face? His goldfish mouth and mascara eyes? And some of the characters - yeesh. John Billingsley - awful in everything he does. 'Gordon' the new hubby - okay, so someone wants you to help fly the only plane in the area, you don't go 'I can't fly, I can't fly'. Idiot. No one seems to be bothered when he is minced to death.
In fact all the survivors were utterly cretinous. If i survived the end of the world I think I'd kill myself. Well actually I'd kill Jabba the Russian and his awful fat Katie Melua kids first.
I was just laughing so much in most of this film. "Oh there's the Queen" said my cinema buddy, as my attention had drifted. There indeed was the Queen with her Corgis. And as the survivors get onto the 'Arcs' I suddenly realise the hero's son is called Noah. Dear God.
What a waste of millions of dollars. A film that embodies what everyone hates about Hollywood.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Almost getting back to normal now...

Thank goodness, things seem to be calming down!!!
Just one radio interview this week, a couple of website interviews, still a bit of Spandex press going on and website stuff, but I can handle it now I think. I think I 'hit the ground falling' last week lol. I didn't know if I was coming or going.
Some of the negative comments about Spandex really got to me - but I just have to really focus on the positives, and some people have been really positive. Rich Johnston very kindly invited me to join his lovely Thanksgiving preview project on Bleeding Cool, so I posted a pic from issue two (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/11/27/thanks-given-33-spandex-second-issue/) - altho immediately got a 'he draws like a 10-year-old!' comment (rolls eyes).
So yeah, just the odd wacky email here and there. Someone told me my use of the word transvestite was 'offensive'. Can't win really - my friend said to me that even if I made a comic about a fluffy bunny making friends with a cute toad, the internet-haterz would still try to knock it down.
So yep, hopefully things will calm down. I have ordered a second printing of Spandex which should hopefully be with me on Tuesday - which is good as I have about 400 orders to send out, and people are starting to get annoyed with me I think!!!
So yes, I am going to do an issue two, aiming for Jan or Feb, but fully aware that it's going to be a lot of work. I just tweaked the script this weekend and I think it's a doozy, a lot of fun. Better crack on!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Criticism

Man, this is hard...
From the very start, I swore I would avoid reading stuff online about Spandex, but I looked at a few things today... And however many wonderful messages I've had from people, the nasty stuff really sticks. Nasty stuff by people who haven't even read Spandex yet.
I'm so bored of this 'first gay superteam' stuff now. People keep throwing gay comic team book titles at me - but all I'm seeing are gay duos (that's just not a team), very adult stuff (not my aim with this), and Rich Johnston just showed me Prism High - but isn't that a high school thing? I feel that some people are just being picky.
My point of view is that when I read Previews each month, I haven't seen a gay superteam comic - and I've been looking at it for months, years. Of course, there are indie comics out there that have covered all sorts of subjects, but my brain isn't an indie comic encyclopedia. There are 1000s of comics out there, what do the cynical people want me to do, leaf thru every comic shop's indie section before I dare release Spandex?
I just can't understand how some people can react so negatively to a comic they haven't read.
And I was looking at this today, and it started off so nicely, but at the end it turns out that the guy is offended by Spandex (just from looking at the Metro piece).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJMM0SeYfbU&feature=player_embedded
I read through some of the comments beneath it, and thank god, some people GET IT (that I'm playing with cliches to have fun with them, not make fun of them), but it's so frustrating that some people don't. Comments about the art, and how I can't draw sequential art - how can you tell that from one panel showing a team shot, which is all that's shown in the Metro? Did I ever claim I was an amazing artist? I wish I was. Did I expect Spandex to create such a media storm? Of course I didn't - I expected to get about 50 readers. Did I expect any of this? No I didn't.
There's a comment about my reference to transvestite Liberty as 'he/she' and that that's not right and that I don't understand. But isn't that person categorising transvestites, dictating how they should be - isn't everyone different? How do people know what I am trying to achieve with Liberty? Am I supposed to be making her a character formed from the opinions of other people, a representative, or can I go ahead with the character I've forged with a great deal of care, love and attention? I just wish some of the negative people would think about what they are saying.
And of course I allow myself to get riled and say negative stuff about Rich Johnston on a web-page aargh!
I've had enough - no more comment-reading for me, I'm just not going to get involved in never-ending narguments, and I shouldn't have got involved in the first place.
I just wish the negative people could see what I'm trying to see what I'm doing with Spandex - to explore the lives of gay people and show them in a natural manner (apart from the powers of course!). It's as simple as that. I had no idea that this would open such a massive can of worms - in many ways - and maybe I was naive. All I'll say is that Spandex is a labour of love for me, it comes from a very caring place, and I feel that I'm being made - by a vocal minority - to apologise for that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A week in the life of Spandex


So then, you might just have heard what happened this week with Spandex. It’s been an incredible week! It hit the Sun website, the Metro newspaper, and then it went on to reach several more newspapers, and the story (the world’s ‘first gay superteam’) has hit websites all around the world - Russia, Spain, Argentina, Australia… It’s been absolutely incredible! An absolute dream come true, but also in some ways, quite daunting and scary.
A lot of people have been asking me ‘how did you do it?’ and so I thought I’d try to document exactly what happened, because it’s fairly interesting, I think. It’s certainly been a massive learning curve for me.
So anyway, after a full year finishing Issue One, Spandex is finally ready to get printed (this is in October). It’s an absolute experiment for me. It’s 40 pages, full colour, so not cheap to produce (although I did get a good deal on it) and to be honest, I just want to get it into people’s hands now, so I dipped into my savings and never really expected or even cared about earning back the money I spent on it. I just wanted to gauge reactions and give copies to the people who have helped me in its creation, so I see the 350-odd quid I spend on printing as a one-time only indulgence. I think I earned it.
I start the ‘distribution’ and so far, so good, a pretty nice reaction, generally very positive, and I also set about finishing the Spandex website, including setting up Paypal links etc. I also do a comic show, the Comiket, and the reaction is great - people like the colourful new comic (including kids - oops, it’s too adult for them) and I’m really grateful to Paul Gravett for plugging its launch in the Comiket flyer.
Then I start putting a press release together, which is basically a 9-page PDF full of lots of artwork, blurb and selling points. I send it out to 3 or 4 UK gay mags, including Diva, and Diva is the only publication that replies - the Editor seems quite into it, and asks for a copy.
And this is where everything changed. I’m looking at Digital Spy and I can’t find a contact for love nor money, so I ask my friend, who is in Marketing, if he knows a contact at DS. He asks me why, so I explain, and he says ‘Mart, I know loads of people, let’s do this together’. We’re both busy, so this takes over a week to get organised, but it involves a very important pub chat where we go over my press release. It’s all wrong - you can’t send a PDF press release, because how are people supposed to grab images from it? My Marketing chum then talks me through some pretty obvious changes that need to be made, plus additions, including adding a page at the end, ‘For Editorial Information’, which is basically a character breakdown. You really have to just tell journalists what the selling points are and make their lives easier and just send some jpegs. So that’s done, and I select the images to send out. We also set up a separate email address for Spandex that we can both access.
Monday 16 November comes along, and I’ve got a day off work (it's new Tori Amos album day ;-D. My mate sends the press release out and I’m at home drawing. 5pm, My Marketing mate calls me and says ‘Mart, the Metro have emailed, they want to interview you!’ I’m sitting there relaxing, and he tells me to get this interview done as soon as possible so I can hit tomorrow’s paper. He coaches me a bit on what I should say and what I should avoid saying. With his push, I really nail the answers, but it’s too late to get into the paper anyway.
Tuesday 17 Nov, I’m back at work. Things go crazy. My MM calls me and says ‘Mart, you’re on the homepage of The Sun’s website’. He’s in shock, I later find out that he’s only ever been involved with a couple of Marketing campaigns that have had this kind of coverage. I get a call from BBC Radio Sussex, they want to interview me. A local Brighton news team want to interview me too. I’m at work!! What do you do?? Luckily my boss is happy for me to ‘make up the time’. I head out at 11am for the Radio interview at BBC Centre near Oxford Street (I see Vanessa Feltz and Colin Murray on the way). Radio and TV interviews are completely out of my comfort zone but I’m willing to give it a go, plus I love talking about my comic. I get to the place and the secretary dumps me in a room on my own with a microphone and headphones (the DJ is in Brighton). She goes out for lunch and leaves me completely on my own! Eventually, ’Danny Pike’ comes on the headphones and the interview goes well - I think I made him laugh. I get the cliched surge of adrenaline when I'm being interviewed, and all worries die away. All through the interview, I’m stuffing Spandex into envelopes - I’m getting a lot of orders online…
Rush back to work, and immediately go into the TV interview for Brighton local news. It goes well, and the camera-man is really into comics so I make sure he gets a couple of freebies from the office. I don't see the final interview and I don't hear the radio one either - I don't like seeing or hearing myself on TV or radio, but my mates hear the radio one on i-player and say it's good.
Luckily the interviews then go quiet, but I get several requests from websites for imagery (this evolves as a panicked scramble on my work machine to find the good stuff - until over the week I get a good folder of pics that I’m happy with - although most people tend to only use the stock images anyway - the giant lesbian pic, the team shot, etc). Comments on the Sun page vary from ‘this looks lovely’ to ‘he draws like a 4 year old’ (‘I had been aiming for a 3 year old’ was my comeback, and a joke I made on the radio earlier). The negative comments do weigh heavily, and it’s easy to forget how lovely everyone else is.
In the meantime, the orders are coming through thick and fast, and I’m starting to worry about the amount of copies I’ve got, and the amount of time I have to send these out.
Wednesday 18 Nov. I’m in bed at 7am, and my best mate calls me - Spandex is on page 3 of The Metro newspaper (one of London’s biggest free morning newspapers). Several other friends text and phone. Me and my Marketing guy are in shock. The orders for Spandex increase. The Daily Star calls me for an interview which goes well, but I don’t think they run it.
But for me, The Metro is a dream come true. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve seen features on the death of Cap America, or Batwoman being a lesbian, and I’ve thought, ‘sigh, I’d love for my comics to get some kind of attention’. Whatever happens from here-on in, I think it’s safe to say that a dream has definitely come true.
In the meantime, I am really struggling at work. The Spandex orders are coming in thick and fast, and my copies are running dangerously low, shops are asking for copies, and I also have to make sure I have enough copies for the Thought Bubble convention in Leeds at the weekend.
I also discover a couple of financial things. First up, I had NO idea (yes I’m stupid) that Paypal took a fee from your earnings, which mounts up to about 10% of each copy. It doesn’t sound like much, but it all mounts up, so I have to start thinking about increasing the price slightly so that I’m not losing out here. Things have certainly moved on from The O Men days, where I’d maybe get about 30 or 40 orders and I’d pay for all the postage myself. I’ve got to be very careful. I also have to really think about the US postage. Initially I have it at $4, which is just ridiculous. To ‘break even’ on an issue, I have to make about half the cover price, then there’s Paypal’s fee, and post to the US costs a couple of quid, so I set the price at $7.50 to make sure that I am covering my costs. Imagine if I’d left the price at $4 and then had hundreds of orders. I’d have lost out massively, and pretty much lost all my savings - disaster. I want to go to Japan next year, and the thought of losing all my money for that because of a silly mistake is awful. One good thing is that people are buying the PDF of the comic where no paper product/printing is involved.
In the meantime, things are really manic. I’m trying to do my full time job, but I’m also trying to keep on top of orders - especially for the PDFs - and I’m making sure I’m monitoring press emails. My mind is a bit of a whirl, and to be honest, I’m finding it very hard to focus on my job (it doesn’t help that I’m not sleeping, waking up at 4am, cos I’m so wired). At work, I’m having a vague idea that I have meetings, I just don’t seem able to focus on emails etc, so I just make sure I keep asking my boss when the meetings are (although I manage to be half an hour late for one...). I also feel a bit isolated from my mates and start to miss them, as I’ve lost my regular email contact with them.
In all this, I am actually surprised a publisher or an agent hasn’t got in touch. Maybe they think I’m all professionally set up. Nothing could be further from the truth! It's just me doing it all and I have been really struggling.
What else happens, let me think... I do a string of interviews for a variety of people, including people doing dissertations, a very cool guy off the Wired blog and more. In the meantime, I’m getting a lot of nice comments on my website. People just seem generally ecstatic about the whole gay super team situation. One Russian guy asks for some images so I send them to him and get the following message - ‘you have become a real media hero in recent days’. I mean, what can you say to that?
Friday 20 Nov, things are starting to quieten down, media-wise, thank goodness. I am gearing up for a 2nd printing of Spandex and sort out my quotes. I’m not happy with the situation though - I have about 300 orders to process, only 70 copies left, and the 2nd printing won’t be ready for a few days, which means people won’t get Spandex for at least a week. I’m worried that people will get pissed off with me, and in the meantime I’m also pretty much seeing at least one order come thru on Paypal every half hour. Crazy and daunting! A lot of the people who have ordered Spandex are a mainstream audience, they don’t understand the ramshackle world of independent comments, and one unnoticed negative comment on my Facebook page could do a lot of damage.
I decide to go thru with going to Thought Bubble - I had been in two minds because a) I am exhausted and b) I have so few copies of Spandex left. I'm frightened to leave my emails for a couple of days, but what the hell. Thought Bubble is a success though. Sales are steady, and I do come back with a few copies, which is good, as I can fulfill a few Paypal orders. The best thing about doing a comic con like Thought Bubble is that you can really gauge the reaction of people and see what they like and don’t like. For instance, the ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Lesbian’ picture is very popular and makes people laugh, Glitter is popular with the younger kids and about 60% of the audience is female. I thoroughly enjoy talking to everyone, including some mature lesbian women, some giggly teens and some generally ecstatic people. I’m also incredibly appreciative of the straight male guys who bought a copy off me - it just goes to show how things have moved on. They don’t care about any possible ‘stigma’ there might be involved in buying a gay comic. Each and every person I met in Leeds at the con truly touched my heart.
So now, I’m back at home. I have maybe 40 copies of issue one left, so I can do a mini mailout before I get the 2nd printing, but in the meantime I can write all the envelopes out in preparation. Finally after a mad week, things have calmed down, and I can start to get on top of things. I have taken a couple of days off work to ‘re-group’ and I have an interview with Radio Dublin on Monday.
I’m also thinking about pitching it as a TV show, and I’m also seriously thinking about doing an Issue Two…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oops

Um, I seem to have lost my own copy of Spandex - the one I intended to keep for reference. I hope I haven't given it to someone or sent it to someone by mistake! If I did, just let me know - it's a bit ripped up and there's a gold star on the cover!! D'oh!

First Gay Superteam?

I just wanted to address some recent internet comments about Spandex. Now my Spandex guys are always up for a ‘backlash’ (ooer) but I just wanted to set a few things straight (so to speak). There have been lots of interweb write-ups about the comic, and the press release I sent out claims it is ‘The First Gay Superhero Comic’ (which should really be ‘Superteam’), and this is being disputed and commented on. Okay yes, it is a bold claim and let’s face it guys, we’re all on the same page here – the point of a headline on a press release like that is to grab people’s attention and get publicity.
Yes there have been gay superheroes in the past, but have any of them really set the world on fire? Look at the limp-fest that was Northstar (who, in Alpha Flight Issue 50, was supposed to reveal he had HIV, but the Editors wimped out and decided to make him a ‘fairy’ instead. Yes, a fairy.) His coming-out was barely noticeable in that famous Alpha Flight issue and ever since then it’s been pretty much ignored – even when he got his own series.
There have probably been some indie gay superteam comics, but I don’t know them.
So really, I hope people can get past the ‘first superhero comic’ thing – it’s just a headline to attract attention – and besides – I really don’t think there has been a gay superteam. And if there has, well, let’s call it the first gay superteam comic set in the UK. And if that fails, Brighton. And if that fails, well let’s call it ‘the first gay superhero comic created by Martin Eden’.
I hope people can just focus on the actual comic itself, which introduces a whole bunch of cool new characters and a slice-of-life storytelling style which you don’t really see much of these days. It’s a load of fun, it’s there to be enjoyed and I’d love people to come along for the ride (so to speak)!
P.S. I’m going to try to resist reading people’s comments on internet articles – people can say some pretty horrible things, I think!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spandex pics

Some stuff from issue one! Check out www.spandexcomic.com to find out how to get a copy!






Saturday, November 14, 2009

Something from the weekend



Inspired by pics of Michael Caine and Alicia Keys!

Friday, November 13, 2009

James Jean and Tara McPherson


I've been to quite a few comic 'do's over the last couple of years (check out the events on www.paulgravett.com, so many cool things going on) but tonight I went to a really cool one - no waffle, really informative and entertaining...
It was basically talks by James Jean and Tara McPherson on their work. Now I'm a massive fan of James Jean, so I was very excited about that. James came on second, so first up was Tara. She's a cool pretty rock chick person who seems to draw the same girls over and over again, but in a very appealing stylish way. Very 'now' and a bit 'emo'. She was lovely (altho considering we only had a limited time in the room I could have lived without her fiddling about with her mobile and playing a couple of short movies on how she hangs paintings for a show).
James was incredible - I mean, like Adrian Tomine, I thought he would be a recluse, but he was very funny and engaging ('I slept my way to the top', 'this painting is quite soft and luscious like my hair'). So James talked us thru some of his work and how he got into the biz and a few anecdotes (a recent XMen painting earned him a five-figure sum...) and he also intimated that he's moved away from comics and into his surreal paintings.
What fascinated me, was how these guys just do their own thing and do incredibly well out of it. They both openly admitted that they can't be bothered drawing comics! They just like doing portraits.
So anyway, great stuff, very inspiring. Gonna do some drawing now.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Selling Spandex


I thought I’d do a little con report – following Sunday’s Comiket small press con at the ICA.
It was the first show I’d done in a couple of years. I used to really enjoy them when I was doing The O Men, but after 10 years, and 35 issues, it was getting hard to keep everything in print, plus people are less likely to 'get on board' as the numbers increase (however much I try to make O Men accessible), so I ‘retired’!
I’d been going to shows in the meantime as a punter, and was getting really inspired each time, so I’m glad I finally got back into the ‘scene’ to launch Spandex.
I was actually only there on Sunday for a couple of hours, due to a clash, but it was really worth going. I met some really nice people, and shared a table with Mr Paul Rainey, who is very entertaining company. Spandex seemed to go down well, and I was happy to sell some copies – and actually gave some freebies away to people who had no money on them. Bad ‘business sense’, I guess, but I’d rather someone actually read it than leave it to fester unread on a coffee table (or bin). I was a little embarrassed when some kids started to come up and look thru my stuff – it’s very adult!!
On a whim, I also took a few O Men copies, and they went down well too – and it was nice to meet people who had really been into O Men (and I mean really into it!!!). It actually made me want to do some more O Men comics sooner than I’d planned... I’ve actually kind of shelved O Men away in a part of my brain, to an extent where I can’t remember much about it! A guy at the con was talking about an old storyline, and I actually couldn’t rememeber it! That’s quite sad...
My favourite moment though was when I was leaving (ha ha carry on reading) and I put some Spandex fliers on the table near the entrance – and while I was packing my bag, a lady went straight up to the table and grabbed one straight away – it seems to be attracting people at least!
I bought some nice wares too. I was very pleased to get my hands on the final two parts of Necessary Monsters, and I checked out Howard Hardiman’s comics (very intense, but impressive), plus I got my hands on Solistic Pop, which is a gorgeous collection. Shame I wasn’t there longer so I could have met more people and bought more stuff.
The only downside was the venue – dark, windowless, hot, crowded – I felt like we’d all been rounded up and were about to be exterminated or something... Death to the small press!!
But anyway, thanks to Paul Gravett for organising this show, and also for adding ‘the launch of Spandex’ as one of the highlights on the program flier – what an honour!!

The X-Factor – my two-pence


Well what a shocker! In case you didn’t know, the ratings/headline-grabbing X-Factor ‘twins’ (who can’t sing or dance but are fairly entertaining) were in the ‘bottom two’ with ultra-talented Welsh girl Lucie last night...
The decision came down to Simon Cowell who has said he has hated the twins all along – and he effectively decided to get rid of Lucie from the competition.
I need to get some stuff off my chest!
First of all, all the people saying ‘but this is a singing competition’ - well yeah, it’s about talent, but it’s all about the X-Factor. Are Robbie Williams and Madonna excellent singers? No they’re not. Pop is about more than singing, it’s about presence and charisma too.
And now onto Simon Cowell. I like the guy, he speaks the truth, but he did expose himself as a lying hypocrite last night – he effectively sacrificed a talented young girl’s career just for ratings. Seeing her crumble into tears on stage was very sad and disturbing.
But for a few weeks now, Simon has started to grate on me, because his nasty words have a real weight behind them. He’s like a bully – and when he (falsely) criticises someone (purely to swing the audience against them), the audience will take note and start to believe what he says. His words hold a lot of weight.
And for him to say ‘I’m basing this decision purely on the sing-offs’ was utter rubbish. Lucie sang her heart out, while Jedward jumped about like two desperate men who knew it was their last performance. Plus Simon was apparently talking to the Producers just before he made his decision...
So I think the show crossed a line last night - putting the audience’s wishes behind those of the ratings. The Jedward 'joke;, as much as I like them, has worn thin and I’m bored of them now. But how Simon can happily show himself to be a liar, a hypocrite and a deeply uncaring ‘human’ being, is absolutely beyond me...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spandex - first internet review!!!

Woooooo!
"The next big thing in comic books. 9/10"
Check it out here!!!
From http://totalscifionline.com/reviews/4221-spandex

Monday, November 2, 2009

Music!

It’s been an amazing year for albums. I want to mention two albums in particular in a bit, but let me just waffle on for a while...
So yes, anyway, not one but two albums from Tori! Plus new albums from loads of my faves like Kings of Leon (a bit over-rated), Bats for Lashes (better than the first one), Regina Spektor (awesome), Jenny Owens Young, Florence and the Machine (a bit shouty), Imogen Heap (disappointing!), La Roux (great!), Lisa Hannigan (disappointing!), Neko Case (awesome), PJ Harvey (not bad), Tegan and Sara (cool), The Veronicas (oh dear), Yeah Yeah Yeahs (amazing) and Karen O (cool).
Plus it was a year where I discovered the amazing Katherine Edwards, Sarah Slean, St Vincent and Paramore.
And I was online the other day and discovered that a couple of my faves – Mindy Smith and Catherine Feeny – had new albums out and I’d had no idea! (I’ll never forget when I was a kid and I loved Edie Brickell and I was so thrilled to find her 2nd album in the Virgin Megastore in Birmingham – I had no idea there even was a new album. I think it’s moments like that that you try to recapture in life... It’s one of my favourite albums of all time.)
So yes, a great year for music (for me lol), altho not so much for my bank balance. Scary but true, sometimes I spend more money in a month on music than I do on food...
But I just wanted to mark out two new albums in particular...
First up is Nerina Pallot’s The Graduate.

Now as you may know, I like my angst-ridden women, and Nerina kind of falls into that category. So I heard she had a new album out - ‘meh’ I thought... Started to see some live songs she’d put on her website – ‘blimey she doesn’t half witter on’, I thought. I got the album, which was quite strong... I decided to see her play a gig – not that I was all that bothered, but some of the tracks on the album were lovely and she was playing at the ICA, which I thought would be a nice venue (it wasn’t that nice!). I was expecting a drab night of wittering-on...but my god!!! Incredible!!!! She rocked!!! She was amazing! Really gave me a complete new perspective on her, and in particular some of the songs on the album that are a bit weird. For instance, the bizarrely ‘up-tempo’ ‘I Don’t Want to Go Out’ is actually a piss-take... In the gig she also did an Elton John medley which sounds crap but it was astonishing!!!
But anyway, yes, fab album – Human is one of the best songs you’ll ever hear, When Did I Become Such a Bitch is a stormer – the only clunker is English, where I’m not sure what message she’s trying to convey. I think it’s a bit of a mis-calculation to be honest...
I don’t really understand why she released Real Late Starter as the first single – there are so many better songs on the album!!!
Anyway, take a look at this live take on Human. Fast forward to 2.30 if you want to avoid the wittering (it’s such a great idea to do these live promotional versions, but the wittering is really annoying!).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbFIBltiZUw
Second album worthy of mention is The Temper Trap’s Conditions. If you’ve not heard of them...well you probably have! Their current song Sweet Dispostion, is one of those tracks you hear on the radio and love, but you don’t know what it is!

It’s Q Magazine’s fault that I avoided this album, because they described the album as sub-U2, blandly epic. Luckily I heard more at the weekend and my god, it’s amazing!!! It’s like a cross between Radiohead and Bloc Party (who I think I’m bored of now) (also a teeny bit of Scissor Sisters) - but it’s kind of what they should be doing now (instead of BP and RH slowly disappearing up their own backsides). It’s such a fantastic album, although it’s a shame it’s only 10 tracks long (one of which is an instrumental, and there’s Sweet Dispostion too, which I’ll probably over-listen to very soon...)
Anyway, check out this awesome awesome video...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MltGXUcq-fs

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How I spent my Sunday





Some new pics here, that i've had bubbling away in my brain...
They're actually all modelled on poses of famous actors and actresses - a prize if you know the originals (they're really obscure lol). The Diva one is loosely based on the Hello Boys ad thingy, I'll give you that one.
I hope, by basing some of my pics on photos, that I'm not going to get a reputation as the next Greg Land hehe - they really are only loosely based... inspirations.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Paranormal Activity!


Have you seen it yet?
I won't spoiler it...
Okay, the first thing that springs to mind - and it will probably appear in most reviews - is Blair Witch. But not because of the camcorder aspect - it’s because of the fact that it brought the same sensations to me - the feeling of dread (which is slightly unwarranted in both movies) and the amount of screen time where not much is happening…
So anyway, if you hadn’t heard - PA is the latest ‘real life’ camcorder style movie, which tells the tale of a couple who are being terrorised by a ghost or demon or something nasty - and they decide to film their nights - and spooky things do happen!
It’s a very claustrophobic movie - halfway thru I just wanted them to get the hell out of the house (which is modern, but somehow slightly scary and the dark downstairs is horrrrible), but the worst parts are the moments of dread when the title ‘Night 1’ ‘Night 13’ etc pops up…and the infra red comes on…and you really don’t know what’s going to happen next… Some of it is a bit disappointing, some is creepy, but one in particular is fairly jaw-dropping!
All in all, it’s not the best movie ever, or the scariest, but it does have bits that will make you ill at ease, I did watch most of it through my fingers and I will probably have trouble sleeping tonight…
Some annoying faults of the movie - okay, if a demon expert tells you not to buy a Ouija board, don’t buy a Ouija board… The bit where (spoiler follows, avoid this sentence) they show footage of someone chewing their arm off is a bit daft - could they really eat thru bone??
And finally - just the acting - having watched so much Curb Your Enthusiasm lately, these guys do need improv lessons, and I never once thought they weren’t actors.
Oh and finally, apparently there are so many different versions doing the rounds (apparently Stephen Speilberg had a hand in one) that I don’t actually know which one I was watching… Moreover, a trailer I saw had the hubby being flung thru the air, so I was steeling myself for that bit - but it wasn’t actually in the movie I saw!!! Tsk…

Happy Halloween from Diva!

Happy Halloween from Prowler!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Very chuffed

Gosh... On Saturday, my Facebook Spandex page had 10 'fans', and now, after a little mail-out to various chums, I've reached a milestone - 50 fans!!!
Wow.
I'm so chuffed and touched that people have taken time out to sign up. I hope I can come up with some fun things to do on the page!!
If you fancy joining up, just search for Spandex Comic and I'm there.

In the meantime, I've now spotted three mistakes in Spandex 1!!! I already knew there was one before printing, but I just let it go as i didn't want to 'jinx' it at that point - I was happy to let it go.
But now I've spotted two more...
They're continuity errors... I challenge you to spot them!

Standards are slipping?

In the old days, newspapers NEVER had typos, but they tend to have a fair few these days (sorry, it's the Editor in me). Similarly, I've started to notice standards in the cinema slipping too!!!
Went to see Zombieland last week and they repeated the trailer for Saw 6 twice... Maybe it was deliberate...but I can't see why...Mistake!!
And then on Saturday I saw Korean movie Thirst...and halfway through, it went really strange... The story started to jump around a lot... I thought 'hmm has the projector gone all funny?'. It really wasn't making sense... A character suddenly was paralysed, and then later we saw how it happened... Another character suddenly disappeared and only later we found out what happened to them...
I put it down to quirky storytelling, as I was still able to 'get' the movie, but I compared notes with my chums today and I started to get suspicious. Turns out I was correct - the screening I saw just wasn't right! So I emailed the cinema to warn them about future screenings and it turned out that a 'trainee projectionist' messed it up!!!!
So I got two complimentary tickets :-)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spandex is OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hey guess what - Spandex 1 is now available!!!!!
Yes, not a dream, not a hoax, after just-under-a-year of work, issue one is all done, and you can get it from select shops in London soon, or direct from me (cheque or Paypal - just email me for details - martrpeden@yahoo.co.uk).
40 pages, full colour, free posters, free stickers and cards, postage included - all for just £2.50 (or mates' rates of a quid hehe).
I've also put together a PDF so if you fancy that instead, it's £1.
Now if only I could figure out how to add Paypal buttons to things...
Copies are on their way to people I owe them to, so don't worry.
In other news - there's a Spandex Facebook page, if you want to hook up on there - just search for Spandex Comic. There's a Spandex website at www.spandexcomic.com, and also, the Spandex team will be 'Twittering', just look for SpandexComic. Liberty's watching Strictly Come Dancing at the moment hehe
I started my invasion of bars, giving out fliers and stickers last night - it was fun!
And in other news, it's become painfully apparent that the final Spandex book won't be done for about a year, at least...So prepare yourselves for 'Spandex Shorts' in the meantime... More news on this project soon!
The Spandex journey is just beginning - I've got a lot of plans!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'd like to Kick her Arse...


Congratulations to author Jeanette Winterlesbian for making my blood boil on Friday's Newsnight Extra (a programme I normally NEVER watch ever!).
According to her, "The comic book world is misogynist! It wipes women out."
For fucks sake.
Just because you can use big words like "proclivity", doesn't make you an expert on everything, madam!!! I thought Kevin Smith was going to thump her.
And it's 'Kickass', not 'Kick Arse', so ner.
(Oh and congrats to Kirsty Wark for patronisingly dismissing comic fans as geeks - but it's okay, we're used to it... Sigh...)
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/10/09/mark-millar-and-kevin-smith-do-bbc-newsnight-review/

Monday, October 5, 2009

The X-Factooorrrr

Just had to get X-Factor opinions out of my system re the 'Final 12' plus those who didn't get through...

Simon's group - over 25s

My gosh what a tough category - they could all have got through.
Olly - so relieved he got thru, as it could have gone either way. I reckon he'll win!
Danyl - oh goddd. started off so well, but now he's just too much. already thinks he's a superstar. simon would have been well within his rights to reject him.
Jamie - glad he got thru - good luck to him.
Trey C - amazing audition, but she doesn't have the x-factor, personality-wise.
Nicole - i couldn't even remember her name - had to look it up!!! she had a good voice, despite being a bit too gospel, a bit too shouty. I don't mind her, and it's weird for Simon not to have a female in his group, but the competition was just too strong.
Daniel - well he's good, not particularly likeable, not a particularly strong personality, and, well, he's had his shot with One True Voice. we're gonna start going round in circles if we keep allowing old contestants into this.

Louis' - groups

Kandy Rain - well they won't last long, but good luck.
Miss Frank - should do okay, although they need to stop shout-singing
John and Edward - hehe I actually quite like them! they're just silly. Good luck!
Harmony Hood - hmm, nah. Didn't even know what two of the group looked like until I actually focused on them last night.
Project A - Thank god they didn't get through - I don't think I heard them sing a single correct note, plus the brown haired one looked like bitchy Saffia from this year's Big Bro.
De-Tour - hmm look good, but not amazing at all.

Danni's - girls


Lucie - thank goodness she got thru. Amazing voice and pretty girl. Exactly what this show is all about.
Rachel - I don't think she'll get very far. I don't really understand her personality.
Stacy - awww so sweet! Good luck!
Black haired girl - well she had potential...but not that bothered...
Black girl - who...?
Despina (?) - Not amazing... Actually this is one thing about the X-Factor - it's pretty obvious who isn't gonna get thru because you don't get to know anything about certain people!

Cheryl's - boys
Oh godddd
Ricky - noooooo!!! Too needy, too desperate, too annoying. Go away!
Lloyd - nooooo!!! You can't sing!!! And Cheryl does the big speech about not being able to cope with fame when she was 19...leading to the logical conclusion that she's gonna let a 16 year old thru???
joe - yaaay - should do well
Ethan - should have gone thru! Good looking, good voice.
Duane - should have gone thru!! Good looking, good voice.
Daniel - just didn't register, barely shown on the auditions... Glad he didn't get thru.

And my predictions...
Out first...
Rachel
Then...
Ricky
Lloyd
Kandy Rain
Miss Frank
John and Edward
Jamie
Danyl
Stacy
Joe
Lucie
Winner! Olly

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spider Tart


So this is the cover to Spider Woman issue 5... The cheesecake fest continues!
I wonder if she will be completely naked on issue 6's cover...?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Diva


New pic!
Inspired by a current movie poster...
do u know it?

Comic Crimes!

Okay, witness these!

1.
JLA - just so lazy! ugly! And Wonder Woman has a penis thrown at her. Look at that woman's body in the final panel!!!


2.
Spider Woman's pose. What was Maleev thinking!!!!


3.
Namor kills his wife! Did it not occur to him that Walter Langowski could have transformed her back to Marrina or something?!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Comics Anger!!!

Comics are starting to actually make me angry!!!!!
Just the incompetence....

Three comics I read today -

Thunderbolts - awful!!! Terrible amateurish art, unbelievably bad storytelling, who are these people on the team, i don't know them?? Why did Norman say 'fetch me Songbird's head', when she was sitting right there by him. Who drew this - a four year old?? Aaargh!!!

JLA - this comic could currently single-handedly destroy any trace of credibility comics have got. It is just AWFUL. An awful team, an awful story, vomit (sorry) -inducing artwork. You can tell a comic's struggling when:
a) Tom Denerick draws it. Who is this guy? Does he draw with his feet? It's just the laziest, ugliest, unattractive art I've ever seen.
b) The Royal Flush gang are in it. A good idea, they look okay (despite their costumes being a bit skimpy), but somehow they never do anything exciting.
What is so hard to understand - JLA should be about the big DC seven, not rubbish D-listers like Vixen, Red Tornado and Firestorm...

XMen The List - okay...
So when did Normy get an underwater office? Where is he at the start of this comic??? When did Marrina come back to life? Why is Dazzler on the cover when she's not on the inside? Why did Wolverine bother showing up in this comic? Why did Wolvy skewer his old chum Marrina without a trace of sadness? Why on Earth did Cyclops call Namor 'My Lord'?
And okay - why the hell does Namor do what he did to Marrina???? Was she that beyond hope of redemption? I mean, if they'd Shakespeare-d it up, I'd have been convinced - you know, given it an air of epic tragedy, but this was definitely not Shakespeare...
And while moaning - why are the X-titles so bad at the moment? They're all over the place. Too many characters hanging around (Magik and Pixie just aren't both needed in this issue)...XMen Legacy is completely pointless...

AAARGH!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Spider Woman




Here's a question for you, on this fine Friday morning.
Which cover of Spider Woman 1 did you go for? The 70s porn star one where she has HUGE KNOCKERS or the one where she is looking seductive and has her legs open.
I mean, jeez, since when was Spider Woman 'cheese cake'?
oh no wait, there was that anatomically impossible New Avengers cover wasn't there - and the scene where she walks downstairs in costume and all the Avengers guy start salivating.
I mean, c'mon, I know people are generally trying to make comics more mature and write women as strong characters, but they seem to be making Spider Woman the exception.

So anyway, we finally now have the Spider Woman comic - about 2 years after it was initially mentioned (I'm guessing it got hugely delayed when Bendis decided to make her a Skrull).
I was quite excited about this. Like many people, I'd been starting to go off comics - and Walking Dead is really the only comic that makes me still go to the comic shop - but now Powers is coming back, and we've got Spider Woman too.

So is SW any good?
Well it's certainly no Alias, sadly. I'll stick with it, but SW has the most unnecessarily over-convoluted origin of any character ever (and it's still boring). I love Alex Maleev's art, but he does seem to 'cheat' by tracing everything - and there is one horrendous panel which is so 'stiff' and 'posed' that I'm amazed they actually pritned it. I might scan it later if i get the chance.

So anyway, fingers crossed it gets a lot better.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Under the Dome


Well I'm quite excited about the new Stephen King novel...
I first heard about it in the intro to Blaze - where King discusses an old abandoned manuscript called The Cannibals - which sounded so cool.
I'm not sure it'll be as good as everyone predicts - Kingy seems to have gone a little bit off the boil.. but I can't wait! I hope it's nice and epic (more epic than 'Desperation', which was called 'epic' but wasn't really).
The only problem is...the premise.
Town gets trapped under an invisible dome.
Are the Editors too polite to point out that this already happened in the Simpons Movie - and to a less famous extent, in the Girls comic?
Oops...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Basterds


Just a short review, I won't witter on.
Finally saw Inglourious Basterds today.
It was ...interesting. Boy was it slow. Never boring, but slow. Yes, QT, we get it, you're a good film-maker, you've got style, but just get on with it.
It's definitely worth a look...but it's not a classic. And where Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill brought QT into completely new realms, this one seemed maybe too familiar - in little touches like the credits and the use of music that has appeared in Kill Bill. Plus a couple of slopply mistakes, such as 'the Bear Jew' pulping a Nazi's head nastily, and then in the next shot, the Nazi looks fairly untouched.
Brad Pitt didn't particularly impress, the 'Jew Hunter' guy was good, but should have got a nastier fate (considering a 'less evil' Nazi soldier shared the same fate).
Best thing for me was Melanie Laurent as Shonessa - just an amazing role, an amazing actress, an amazing character.
Too bad you had to wade through a way-too-long film to get thru to the good stuff.
I kind of left the movie a bit shocked and disturbed... images of Shonessa laughing manically... the nasty Nazi symbol-cutting... and ...was it just me who felt sorry for the Nazis/Hitler...????

Friday, September 18, 2009

Torriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii


oh my god, Tori has another new album out in November! She only just had one out! weeeee!
it's a Christmas album though... with a strange cover...altho i don't mind it.
So much excitement! And not long to wait, so I am going to try and 'hold back' and not listen to it before it's released.


Tori Amos Announces Midwinter Graces
(Universal Republic)

Tori’s First and Highly Anticipated Seasonal Album to be Released November 10th 2009

After nearly two decades writing and recording some of her generation’s most emotionally powerful music, Tori Amos will release her first seasonal album, Midwinter Graces, on November 10 via Universal Republic. A follow up to Tori’s critically acclaimed studio album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, Midwinter Graces will find Tori reworking and expanding on classic carols as well as developing some of her very own seasonal tracks.

Midwinter Graces is an album that has been in the making for the past 40 years. Raised in the Baltimore area under the watchful eye of her Methodist minister father, Tori grew up playing holiday carols at Sunday services and Christmas Day celebrations in her father’s church. These were the songs that gave a young Tori her first taste of music, and now almost 40 years later Tori gets her own chance to reimagine classics like “What Child, Nowell” and “Star of Wonder.” Tori will also add her own bittersweet bliss to the season with originally tracks like “Pink and Glitter” and “Our New Year.”

For Midwinter Graces, Amos has again teamed up with long time collaborators Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and Mac Aladdin on guitars. Tori has enlisted the help of a Big Band and an Orchestra with stunning John Philip Shenale arrangements to create Tori’s new seasonal classics.

Midwinter Graces Tracklist:
1. What Child, Nowell
2. Star of Wonder
3. A Silent Night with You
4. Candle: Coventry Carol
5. Holy, Ivy, and Rose
6. Harps of Gold
7. Snow Angel
8. Jeanette, Isabella
9. Pink and Glitter
10. Emmanuel
11. Winter’s Carol
12. Our New Year

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ipdo

The fates have come together and my lovely 80GB video ipod is dying, apple have released new ipod models, and my mobile contract is up soon...
Do I get an iphone?? has anyone got one? recommend them?
I always fancied an ipod touch but they never had much capacity - now they're up to 62!
And now Classic Ipod have 160 gb wow!!!!!
Hmm not sure what to do... Get all 3?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Will it ever end???




I've finished Spandex... except i haven't! I'm going thru it over and over again and I keep spotting mistakes!
A couple of friends told me to 'now let it go' last week - just be happy with it...
But you wouldn't believe the stuff I'm spotting. Disappearing side-burns, changing costumes, faded colours that need re-tuning. Are there gremlins in my Photoshop???
Tonight I spotted that Glitter's tattoos change direction (they're supposed to be diagonal, but in some pics they just go vertical), his mask changes shape, his tattoos don't finish, and there's even an arrow on his body where I was supposed to move the tattoos down!!!! How'd I miss that???? That would have been so embarrassing if it had slipped thru. I've pasted here the wrong mask shot/wrong tattoos, the unfinished tattoos, and the arrow! D'oh!
aaarrrghhhhh
Ah well, I think I'm getting there, and I'm sure some gaffs will slip thru (hopefully no one will notice!)
I'll keep checking for a few more days, as some really silly things are happening... Mixing up people's powers...stuff like that...urrgh

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Random observations on comics

This always happens - i grab a handful of comics from work and then get loads of opinions about them which i need to 'vent', and where better to do it? So here we go...

Marvel Zombies Return
Oh just stop it.

The Marvels Project
zzz

Adventure Comics
It's issue 2, and all it is is a 'date' between Connor and Wonder Girl. Oh come on now, DC, must do better! I mean, it's all nice enough, but do you really think you're gonna 'hook' readers with stuff like this?
In general, DC just need to focus on actually telling stories, rather than going over mythology over and over again. Look at Flash... just give me a proper story, not all this alternate Flash stuff - I honestly don't give a crap.

Black Panther
urgh

Fantastic Four
It's the new creative team, and I think I'll just read work copies rather than buying it now. Absolutely loved Millar and Hitch's run, despite ending without Hitch. One major question looms over the new issue - why is Dale Eaglesham drawing everyone like they are entering a Mr Universe competition? Johnny is huge!
And one thing I love about the FF - Valeria! Such a cool character (4 year old genius). Give me Valeria over Layla ('i know stuff' bloody know-it-all) any day.

Iron Man
So Madam Masque is Miss Frost (Whitney isn't it?). That's a bit jarring seeing as Emma Frost is so huge now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Slowly getting there....



Well... I think Spandex is done...
I've checked it several times and can't believe some of the mistakes that snuck through (I liked Glitter's disappearing sideburns the best)... And I'm sure there are plenty more mistakes...But I think I have to draw a line under it now... Maybe just one more read through.
I pretty much know what I'm doing print wise now and I'm happy with it. I need to figure out how to create a downloadable PDF too, but I'm sure I'll get there.
And also, thanks to a suggestion from my workchum Andrew, I'll be printing out a freebie sampler - it'll be an A3 sheet folded very cleverly to include lots of mini-pages and info and two posters! Take a look at these, these will be part of the free sampler.

VicTORI!


What a week!!!
My friends all think I'm mad but... I saw Tori in concert 3 times! I'm a groupie!
But the thing is...you just have to go and see her more than once. She varies the setlist every night, so the thought of missing out on a fave song is unbearable!!! I mean, she does around 5 songs the same each night (Cornflake Girl, Precious Thing, opener Give, closer Strong Black Vine, and stomper Big Wheel)

Concert #1 - up in Birmingham. I had to see her as she was playing the Birmingham Symphony Hall, an absolutely gorgeous venue that I'd prayed she would play one day. Very intense...very scary...not knowing quite what to expect...
Audience was a bit dull but eventually warmed up... Tori said she was sad that her daughter had to go back to school and then launched into Leaving On A Jet Plane. Playboy Mommy, Siren, Cloud on Your Tongue, Sister Janet, and Your Cloud were all amazing, and Take to the Sky - with I Feel the Earth Move inserted in the middle - was a true stomper. Strong Black Vine was funny as her ear piece fell out and she improv'd a new mini-song about it 'I can't heeear' hehe. A great show.

Concert #2 - London Hammersmith Apollo. A strange experience because I was with 2 friends, one who had never seen her before - so I was nervous and wanted him to like it! It was a great show again, but not as good as #3 (I won't tell them that!). I felt a bit unrelaxed...plus she repeated a couple of songs from the Brum concert that were a bit weak live. However, there were some fab songs - Space Dog, Pancake, Icicle, Jamaica Inn, Cooling, and Lady in Blue which was just 10 out of 10. Big Wheel was hiliarous because she lost track of the countdown-handclaps so had to redo it over and over again hehe. One problem with this gig was the audience - I don't know what the hell was up with them getting up and down up and down for beers all the time.

Concert #3 - London Hammersmith Apollo again (zzz dull place!). This was amazing... Tori's not the same as she used to be. I've seen her on every tour she's done. She started off chatty and funny in the early days, and full of improvisations and innovation in her songs, but over the years, the anecdotes and chats have died down (I guess you run out of things to say?). But she seemed to connect more with us than she usually does these days, and there was a lot of energy in the concert.
Also, the setlist was totally different from the previous day (apart from the five 'standards') which was really appreciated. She looked stunning in a gold outfit.
Some great songs including Marys of the Sea (worked so well live), Welcome to England (I saw this solo at the Savoy but it was great with the band), Putting the Damage on, Hotel, Body and Soul,
Tori does a solo bit in the middle, and this one was phenomenal. Two truly classic songs from Boys for Pele, Mr Zebra and Not the Red Baron, and new song Ophelia which was so fresh, and just reinvograted my Tori stalker-fandom. Reminded me of how fantastic she really can be in concert.
Precious Things this tour was amazing - she's really played with the structure of the song to include dramatic pauses and kind of a remix-y vibe to it, where she doesn't sing all the lyrics properly.
The song that impressed me the most this tour though was Strong Black Vine - which she played each night, and which slowly crept up on me. There's a fabulous improv thing in the middle where she just sings 'She is a mother-fuckeeeer' for about 5 minutes! Amazing!
The audience behaved a bit better in the 2nd London concert. I'd actually emailed the Hammersmith Apollo to complain, and they seemed a lot more on the ball where it came to audience distractions and people filming the show - altho sadly this backfired as for most of the concert all i could see was the doddery old security guard running around. Also there seemed to be about 4 guys who were incontinent and kept going to the toilet...
Anyway, roll on the next tour!!! More!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Preacher

I was asked to review Preacher Book One (hardcover) and my review is now online!
http://totalscifionline.com/reviews/3952-preacher-book-one

A travesty of justice!!

Ha ha not really...
Anyway, I am fine about not getting arts council funding for Spandex. I'm actually quite excited, as it will properly my 'baby' and i won't have to include things in the comic that I just said I'd include in order to get funding hehe.
It's quite funny how it's all worked out. I've pretty much finished issue one now, just as the funding decision came through.
So the plan - stick it online as a PDF, but also print up 200 or so copies. 40 pages, full colour isn't quite as exorbitant as I'd feared, and won't break the bank (which means I won't lose all my savings!).
I think my only decision is whether to keep it a5 or go crazy and go a4. a4'll be a lot more money though I think. I'll get a5 and a4 proofs printed up, so I'll see how it looks.
Also need to decide how much to charge for it. It'll prob be a quid for download. Copies will set me back £2.80 an issue...so I should really charge over 3 quid for it... But I might just charge 2 quid or 2.50. This is just an experiment to me, it's more about putting heart and soul into it, I'm not that bothered about being a millionaire (yet). I've never been a fan of expensive comics, and hey we're in a recession people!
If anyone has any thoughts, please let me know.

In the meantime, I thought I'd show you the letter i got explaining why I didn't get funding. It looks like I was a cat's whisker away from getting it - but was under-ambitious in making money apparently (I thought the idea was we couldn't make money - oh well!)


Dear Martin

Your application scored Met Strong in Artistic Quality, Management and Public Engagement, and scored Met in Finance. Grants for the Arts is very competitive and when applications reach the panel stage, decision making can come down to the overall scoring. Your overall score was 11 and as it did not score Met Strong in every part of the criteria, it lost out to stronger applications.

The reason I scored the finance part of the application Met was because although you had good financial controls in place and a well thought out distribution strategy, you did not include a fee for yourself. The Arts Council aims to support artists and wants to see artists receive a fair fee for the work they do. I recommend that you reapply and this time include a fee for yourself. Details on artists' daily and pro-rata rates can be found through Artist Newsletter (AN). Including a fee would increase your ask slightly, and although your what you requested before was reasonable, I would continue to seek partnership funding from other sources, as this can also make your application stronger. I realise that finding other funders for
With best wishes

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nooooooo!

Shiiiit!
I didn't get funding for Spandex 1!!!
'Too much competition'. aaargh!
I've been filling out forms since March!!!
Everyone I know who's applied for funding received it (three!)
aaargh!

Ah well...
I'll get it out there somehow :-)
Might just print up a modest amount instead of 1000... Put it online... Set up a Facebook page... Still do PR in mags...
Boooo!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bittersweet Life


It's Lee Byung Hun season chez Martin. New to me, I loved him as 'Storm Shadow' in the hilarious GI Joe and can't wait to see him in The Good, The Bad, The Weird (I didn't even know he was in him!). My friend recommended A Bittersweet LIfe, and my god it's good!!! Check it out if you haven't seen it.
There's one amazing, amazing scene, where our hero is about to be killed by gangsters and he had to fight them all - about 30 of them - with one broken hand!!!! Check it out!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS_2A6ktnvI

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The home stretch

Well I'm almost there with Spandex #1...kind of...
The art is done, and now I just need to wait and see if I'm going to get lottery funding to print it up... That's pretty much the final thing now - sorting out 'thank-you's' on the intro page (I have gone blank and forgotten who I need to thank) and if I get the funding I may have to put a lottery symbol on there or something. (If I don't get the funding, I will be using all my savings, uh-oh, don't tell my parents...)

However...I thought the art was all done...but I started going thru it all with a fine tooth-comb...and my goodness... so many little things to tidy up, and a couple of glaring errors that I'm glad I spotted. Scary. So still going over and over it, going slowly insane... I spent 5 hours on Monday night and 5 hours last night after work - it's very tiring! I mean, I think all comic creators go thru this towards the end, and it happened a lot on O Men, but Spandex is all colour, which is too expensive to print out. So I'm proofing black and whites and then spotting even more things online.
Oh and another moan - god only knows what's wrong with my Photoshop, but half my original files are now corrupt and have strange lines all over them! Thank god I've been saving Tiffs - so I'm not working on flattened Tiffs. So if Spandex becomes big and successful, I'm sorry but I don't have any layered Photoshop files to send people lol

Anyway, I'm sure it'll be worth it.......

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Websites!

I have a new website!!
Kind of...
My previous website, The O Men one (www.comix.org.uk/theomen) was handled by my friend Dave, he did it all for free, bless him. But I wanted to make a new one for Spandex, and this time round, I felt it was unfair that someone else do all the work so i investigated making my own site.
I felt this kind of blogging site here was a bit limited, so I put it over on Wordpress, and it's been quite hard getting my head round it all, but i think i'm getting there. I bought a 'domain name' to make it sound more attractive - so everything just gets re-routed there now.
Anyway, it's at www.spandexcomic.com
I'm still 'building' it, and figuring out what to put on it, but at least I've made a start. I'll probably put a 'Store' on it - Spandex T-shirts would be so cool! If anyone has any suggestions, please drop me a line!

In other internet news, I'm putting all of O Men online here:
http://www.myebook.com/index.php?option=ebook&id=12734
The idea is to set up a group on Facebook and announce it more when I've got a lot more pages on there. I''ve been trying to put a page up a day but I do keep forgetting hehe. So this isn't really officially 'live' yet, but it's there...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Cast!


Here is the final version of my Spandex cast pic.
left to right, from bottom row up:
Prowler, Liberty, Neon, Indigo, Butch, Mr Muscles, Diva, Chunk, Glitter, Ms Fantastic, James Bend, Pussy, Incognita, Hag, Crusader, 50 Foot Queenie, The Pink Ninjas and Seagull Man...

Cast pic


I thought I'd show you some rough versions of my latest Spandex cast drawing, to show some little secrets of how I work.
First up, this cast shot is going to appear on the inside back page of Spandex 1, and it's the final thing I've done for it. Originally I was going to put an advert there, but I decided to go with this instead.
This type of pic is something I've toyed with for a while. It's kind of influenced by the cover to Love and Rockets 50, and when I first did it, it was only the main 7 Spandex people, so they were much bigger. i decided to add everyone into this version.
I started this on Tuesday, I think, then tinkered away, colouring when I had chance during the week and finally spent pretty much all of yesterday, Saturday, finishing it - a lot of work.
As you can see if you compare the original drawing here and the final version, pretty much every character changed! Can you spot the differences?
- Originally Prowler had his tongue stuck out and Neon was winking, but I thought that was a bit too much, so i made Neon look normal and gave Prowler the wink. I completely redrew Prowler's face.
- I thought Liberty looked really boring so I redrew her head.
- I was really happy with Indigo's expression. I wanted to add a cigarette but thought that would take away from the way she looked.
- Mr Muscles wasn't working for me, so I just copied and pasted Butch's head (they are twins) and made it more male.
- For the central image, I thought Diva looked very bland, so I totally redrew her, to sex her up.
- Chunk wasn't working for me. I tried stretching her down in Photoshop but in the end I redrew her.
- Ms Fantastic's face was redrawn.
- I liked Pussy's hair and look but the face looked too freaky with the ears on top of her head. I redrew the head and I don't think I'll ever draw her with her hair drawn back again!
- Seagull Man isn't even in this picture because I couldn't remember what he looked like!
- I really liked the casual way 50 Foot Queenie was just there in the background, slightly obscured, but it didn't make sense to me why James Bend was so high up. So I lowered him down and added more of Queenie's face - very hard to draw on Photoshop (and I don't have a Wacom tablet).
- Even when I was all finished and I put this on Facebook and on here, I tinkered further and added some more Pink Ninjas and I redrew Queenie's eyes.
All in all I think I spent about 11 hours on finishing this yesterday lol. A lot of time, but I really do love it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Absence makes the heart...


Big plug for my chum Martin's new comic The Absence!
It's just come out and is a really engaging read about a fella who comes back to a small town after the war - and he has brought lots of secrets with him.
Reminded me a lot of Moore and Campbell, and it's nice to read the kind of small press comic I thought they didn't make any more.
Check out more details here, absencecomic.blogspot.com, but honestly, give it a whirl!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Iron Tran


Some work I did this weekend - a spoof 'Spandex Origins' cover for our resident transvestite superhero Liberty.

Book of Lists


Quick plus for my chum Paul Rainey's book Book of Lists. Paul is one of the funniest creators in the UK small press and i love his work to bits. I can't wait to get my hands on the Book of Lists (if/when I ever get some money) - 120 pages, full colour - but if you want to beat me to it, go here@
http://www.pbrainey.com/shop.htm

Red Eye

Red Eye Magazine is back - thank god!
i've really been missing any kind of decent UK comics mag - especially something focusing on the small press.
The issue looks amazing, can't wait to read it, altho i already read the feature on my chum Bridgeen Gillespie. Liz Baillie looks interesting...
Best of all there's a li'l Spandex news-piece plus an ad for issue one - showing the cover. Hehe shame the image I sent the editor for the news is a bit unfinished - the balloons haven't got tails and they're all over the place - but ah well, hopefully no one'll notice eh? ;-)
you can download it from here:
http://www.enginecomics.co.uk/redeye/reframeset.htm

Dark Spandex



Every now and then i see an image that just makes me want to draw...
I'm loving the Marvel house ad for the Iron Man comic - Immortal Weapons Thingybob... It's beautiful...
Made me want to try a dark Spandex image - something mean and moody...
Still a work in progress, but have a sneak peek.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A new redhead in my life


I've always had a bit of a taste for redheads - i don't know why. Maybe i was one in a previous life.
Tori...
Ragged Robin...
Damian Hellstorm...
Hellcat...
Er, probably loads more. As King Mob once said, 'maybe i am just drawn to the devil's daughter'.
And now there is a new one!!!
Yes, just when I thought it was safe to continue to be unexcited by Iron Man 2, a few new promo images turn up and.... Scarlet Johannsen as Black Widow woohoo! She looks great!!!! She looks Russian!!

I have a strange 'relationship' with Scarlett (advance apologies for probably spelling her name wrong throughout this). I first noticed her in Ghost World (maybe that was her first film?) and i quite liked her quirky, laidback style. She was even more laidback in Lost in Translation, almost comatose, but what a great movie, and she was perfect for it. It's a movie that didn't really do much for me initially - well apart from inspiring a rampant desire to visit Japan, which is why I'm now on my 4th term of learning Japanese - ... but then I rewatched the movie last week and it bowled me over (I want to avoid the term 'blew me away' as it's so over-used).
It's weird how she's coma-ed her way into so many movies - unlike her Ghost World castmate, Thora Birch. Even her terrible English accent in The Prestige couldn't turn me off my Scarlet.

So Scarlett as Black Widow - yes yes yes!!!!!