Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bodyguard - the Musical!

I'm not going to bang on about every film or musical I see, but I noticed there weren't many online reviews of The Bodyguard musical, so I thought I'd review it myself! (I saw it last night.)
I actually hadn't seen the original movie, so I decided to catch up on it the weekend before watching the musical. I wasn't that impressed by the movie, to be honest. I found Whitney's character a bit unengaging and unlikeable, and I couldn't see the point of not really playing any of the songs properly.
The musical is a brilliant idea. It solidifies the film and makes it work, and it's a great showcase for Whitney's best songs - all played in their entirety. 
It's not a perfect musical by any means. A few quieter moments really drag, and you can hear the audience getting restless. The lead actress - Heather Hedley - never really engages with the audience and her acting and singing aren't quite pitch-perfect, so even when tragedy strikes, some of the audience members meanly sniggered! I mean, even slightly bitchy, stand-offish characters could make the audience like them - with a cheeky nod or wink - but our lady/the writing didn't go for this.
I tell you who *did* engage with the audience: the lady who played Whitney's sister (yes I know I'm mixing up the names here lol). A fantastic, soaring voice, beautiful lady - I'm pretty sure everyone in the audience wondered what it'd be like if the roles were cast differently.
I also found the main lady's vocal range to be occasionally too low for Whitney.
On the plus side, it's a great story, told well - and I loved the slo-mo stalker bits in one of the musical numbers - inspired. 
But really, we all went to see I Will Always Love You, and wow, the main lady did not let us down. I criticised her voice in this musical - and yes, she did fudge/avoid certain notes - but I can't really fault her performance of Whitney's trademark song. Truly magnificent. 
And it didn't end there! I guessed this would happen, but after the applause for the cast, there was an extra musical number - I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Everyone in the audience is still on their feet from the standing ovation, and now everyone starts dancing! It is *so* much fun, as each main actor comes on and really lets rip on the song (the old guy, the little kid - so cool), and there's even a bit of a feelgood factor, as dead/separated characters are reunited with the cast for the singalong!
I love musicals like this. You go in, not sure you're going to like it, but it really grabs you and hooks you in and presses all the right buttons. Even if this musical isn't quite perfect, there are moments - the finale in particular - that really make it completely worthwhile. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Comics Bulletin - 2012 panels & Spandex 7 reaction!

I only just spotted this! A '2012 review in Panels' on the Comics Bulletin site - and they included a Spandex panel, which is cool!

I also just spotted on there a review of Spandex 7! I've been badgering the reviewer Kelvin to let me know when the review went up - and didn't realise it was already there, a bit buried away! It's here (down a bit):

I've known the reviewer for a long time now! He's reviewed my O Men comics pretty much from the start, and I can pretty much always guaranteed getting a fairly positive review from him when I send him comic.
The review confused me a bit, as the majority of it seems fairly negative, but the issue still gets a 4 out of 5!
I can see where Kelvin is coming from in some ways, and I was very aware that issue 7 would not go in a direction that people were expecting. Instead of going down a 'dark Phoenix' route, I went in a more character-based route. I felt like Spandex 6 was the climax and issue 7 was the fall-out - almost the epilogue/wrap-up.
I think when you go in the direction that I went in with Diva, you have to ask yourself 'where do I take this from here?' and of course, there aren't many places you can take it! Which is partly why I decided to end the series.
But I do think Spandex is a series where you pick up a lot from reading between the lines.
There are some little side comments which hint at what Diva's up to when she's not centre-stage. I also say quite a few things about Diva and what she's become. You see, really, she's no different. 
Personally, I do feel that even though it's a 'quiet' issue, it has some very powerful moments - Alicia v Ms Fantastic, the discussion about homosexuality & religion at the HQ, Isabelle's appearance, and maybe most powerful of all (in my mind), the scene between the priest and God.
I wanted Spandex 7 to be an under-stated issue, and I wanted to subvert people's expecatations, but I do hope people still find it powerful in its own way. Hopefully, Spandex is a series you can re-read and pick up different things with.
And don't forget, there's still one issue left, and the story of Diva (and Isabelle) is far from over...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Comiket April 2013

April 20th was Comiket day!

I like Comiket, and I've been selling my stuff there for a few years now. Each one has been a bit different. I remember taking a break from cons after putting the O Men on hiatus, and I went to a Comiket upstairs at the ICA, which looked great. I think people had trouble carrying their boxes up the stairs though, as there was no lift! Then I signed up for a table at the next one at the ICA, which was downstairs and it was very dark and claustrophobic! I launched Spandex there (when I printed up about 100 copies!) and my little colourful flyers seemed very popular! I remember having to leave early to go to my Japanese teacher's amateur soprano concert. Then they moved the Comikets to Liverpool Street and it was good - but one show was way too busy - and the one after got a bit quieter (altho mainly because it was spread into different rooms). 

This time they moved to the new Central Saint Martin's College in King's Cross - it used to be near Tottenham Court Road. 

I tend to feel more relaxed about Comikets, as they are just one-day fairs and they are local to me, but in the weeks leading up to it, I felt like I should have been preparing stuff (flyers, making mini-comics etc) but was too busy drawing other things! Eventually, the day came along, and I got up at 7am and prepped as much as possible, but there still wasn't enough time. (In the end, it turned out I had plenty of stuff, so didn't need to prepare anything!). 

So we got to King's Cross at 10 and I got a bit confused because of the building works. After staring at a map for 10 minutes, we decided to follow Google Maps, but apparently the College isn't set up properly there yet - as we discovered! So the iphone was sending me south, towards Chancery Lane, and after 15 minutes I was like 'Hmm, nah, it's supposed to be in King's Cross!' So we headed back and again looked at the aforementioned map we'd looked at before (nope still couldn't see it), then I decided to check out the little map on the Comiket website (which I probably should have done first of all) and headed in the right direction. I bumped into Sean Azzopardi and someone else, and we all headed north, not convinced we were going the right way. Eventually we thought we'd found it, and suddenly about 30 indie people turned the corner too - so finally, success!

Because of our troubles finding the venue, I was worried the con would be dead, but no - what a great turn-out. It was really busy all day. I was in the back room with a lot of the big publishers plus the Drawing Parade. Jonathan Cape were there (one of the women was knitting all day, which I found a bit odd), and Nobrow (I was expecting them to be loads of bespectacled arty men, but no, they were two quiet young ladies). Zoom, Philippa Rice and Timothy Winchester were also in there, plus Self Made Hero and Myriad. I think I had the best banners lol.

This Comiket reminded me a lot of Thought Bubble, partly because a lot of the same creators were there, and partly because the other room had a Thought Bubble atmostphere. The other room had a lot more tables in it and was a bit brighter - i think i'd prefer to be in there next time. 

So I can't really talk much about the comics that were there, as it's all the usual suspects really!

I didn't buy much, as I have a lot of the stuff I want - and I'm generally trying to cut down - I prefer digital these days. I did pick up Windrush 2 (which has some nice Spandex in-jokes), a couple of things from Philippa Rice, a couple of things from Rob Jackson (i've seen him around for years but never tried his comics - about time!) and something from Lizz Lunney (see Rob Jackson).

The audience at Comikets is fantastic. Very open-minded, chatty, inquisitive, lovely. You kind of get the same range of punters at every show - the people who are quiet, the people who talk a bit too much, the people who want to start their own comics but don't know how - plus of course you get the friends you see each time (some of whom have their own stalls). 

So all in all, a really nice show - a bit tiring. The only drawback? Our neighbours - naming no names (not Nobrow). Boy, did they stink. From the moment I arrived, I caught a heavy B.O. whiff, and it's true - at least two of them really did smell. Grown men - what's wrong with them? I just hope punters didn't think it was me!

Monday, April 22, 2013

​​ ​My poor blog

My poor blog! I've neglected it so much! Partly because we have Google Mail at work now, so my personal passwords for the Blog don't seem to work on my work computer (not that I would write blog stuff while I'm at work, obviously...), and partly because I've been very busy. But I'm determined to use this blog site! I see my different websites as having different uses - the Spandex website contains EVERYTHING, the Facebook Spandex page contains the best highlights (because I think putting too much on Facebook can piss people off), and Twitter contains stuff when I remember i've got a Twitter account.
Plus, as  lovely as Wei's Gulk pic is (below), it's been at the top of this blog for a while and it's a bit eye-popping and needs to go down the page a bit!
So I've decided to - for now - do a quick update on where I am with things, but also - going forward - to update more regularly with something interesting...

So anyway, where am I with things now?

Well, I'm beavering away with the Spandex Special! It's going to be 48 pages (41 pages of story) and it's going slowly but surely. I'd like to get it done for October - usually I'd aim for November/Thought Bubble, but I found that a November release date tends to make a comic get ignored - people seem to wind down a bit for Christmas! I'll write more about the Spandex Special here soon.

I'm also working on The O Men Book Three - tidying up a page per day (annoyingly, there's a lot of tidying up that needs doing - just cleaning up marks on the art.) No editing or new art at all, just polishing it up.
I've got a couple of side projects on the go - I'm contributing to Too Much Sex & Violence issue 5, and I'm doing a two-page story for Geeked Magazine.

And then we have 'Class'. This is where the blog might get interesting ("Finally!" I hear you cry)! Class is going to be my next project after Spandex and The O Men - so we're looking at 2015 at the earliest! But that's the fun part. Between now and then, I can plan and plan and plan and plan. I don't have all of the story yet - nowhere near - but I will have it all by 2015, I think. I'm being inspired all the time with new ideas, so it's fun.
I'm not going to reveal everything about Class, because part of the storytelling is a spoiler, but I'll reveal little bits and pieces.
I've put a rough sketch on here. The main cast should consist of 16 people, but at the moment I have only got 12 - the others will pop into my head, I'm sure.
Stay tuned!

(Oh, I also might use this site to get things off my chest. I don't really like seeing other people do that on Facebook, so I rarely have an FB moan - but I might do it here from time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Okay, I explained this on Facebook, but in case you missed it...
Artist and writer T'Sao Wei has been at it again, drawing pics of my characters. This one is very naughty! Apparently he did it as a joke for a friend and he sent it to me. It's GULK from the old Spandex team. He's basically a big gay Hulk who romps around naked with a pixellated schlong. Wei's picture isn't pixellated though...   :-O
You can check out Wei's comics here:

Monday, June 11, 2012

What I have been up to…

Yet again I have been neglecting my poor Blog – I spend most of my time on the Facebook Spandex Comic page, so join me there! But here is a quick round-up of stuff!

The Spandex book was released on 24 May, and I launched it at Kapow, which was really cool – sales were slow but steady, and I had the support of my friends and some Titan Books people, so it was great fun! Plus Jonathan Ross visited my table and it turns out he is a big fan of the comic!
Then I did a signing at Forbidden Planet, which I was nervous about, but it was fun! It mostly consisted of my friends turning up – and I told them they didn’t need to buy the book, but they did anyway. We had drinks after, which were great fun.

The reviews have been very positive – and it’s weird, because I have already had the issues reviewed before, so I didn’t consider it was going to happen again. And now I’m getting a lot of American reviews and they are really positive and excited! My favourite overall reviews were from a journalist who writes for Q – he wrote a really in-depth analysis – and I the Ain’t It Cool News review was amazing.

I did get kind of worried about all the gay hoo-hah – there is so much gay comics stuff in the press, and I worried that people might just get bored of it all – and Spandex – but I think Spandex has strengths beyond being a gimmick.

But all in all, it’s very cool to see my own book in comic and book shops!!!

So anyway, I am also working on Issue 7 of Spandex. It’s going slowly but surely – I am aiming to get it out for Thought Bubble, which should be do-able.

I’ve also been working hard on The O Men – scanning and tidying up pages. Book one was a bit stressful, so I want to pace this out a lot more, so it’s less of a nightmare! Book two should be out for Thought Bubble, and after that, I’ll release the books maybe just once a year.

Good digital deal!

Well after my post below, I actually found a good digital deal! I bought the new Walking dead trade digitally, and it contains all the original covers and letters pages, plus some ads – you don’t get any of those in the actual book! So that’s pretty cool.