Thursday, March 31, 2011

New pic

This is one for the Matt Smith/Doctor Who fans, a piccie based on his new TV show, Christopher and His Kind

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Norwegian Woe

Watched Norwegian Wood today. Everything you've heard is true - it's very slow! And depressing - but then what else do you expect from a Murakami novel - jesus, they're novels for manic depressives! I really can't cope with them - I've never got thru a whole one. The author's insecurities seep out and I find it a bit overwhelming.
I think the movie just about works, because you don't feel like you're reading someone's tale-of-woe biography (kinda like one of those near-the-knuckle indie autobiography comics) - you're watching the movie star instead.
I kind of enjoyed it, mainly cos the main guy is cute (jeez, he's doing well for himself - Death Note, Gantz...), and I thought it was unfair of 'Little White Lies Mag's review to call him a 'dullard'. It looked nice too and I was quite surprised by some of the sex scenes.
But it really does get harrowing in points. Let's put it this way, there's one scene where things get way too much for the main guy, so he has to take himself off to a remote area where he spends his time (literally) wailing with his drool blowing in the wind. Good drool though!

Generation No Hope

I have been on a spending spree this week - I thought I'd treat myself as I rarely spend money! One of the minor purchases I bought was the new issue of Generation Hope, which has the creative team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Now I don't know these guys personally, but I have seen them doing their bit on the small press scene over the years, so it's nice to see big things (really BIG THINGS!) happening for them.
But sadly the comic is soooo indicative of what is utterly wrong with comics at the moment. It's a good comic - the characterisation is spot-on, the art is lush but....NOTHING HAPPENS!!! Just like in FF 1. Grear art, great writing but...NOTHING HAPPENS!!!!!!
When are the comic companies gonna realise that we really do need value for money!

Amazon wishlist

I was about to embark on reading Naoki Urasawa's Monster. Initially Naoki's art style on 20th Century Boys put me off - but his Pluto converted me.
Buying manga is sometimes a big decision - it's a big investment, not just financially, but storage-wise too. That's why I like things like Death Note, which is only 13 parts.
But after hearing so many good things about Monster (just 18 volumes), I had to get it...
But what's this? When I'm about to buy Monster volume 3 on Amazon, it's 60 quid! Apparently it's completely out of print! It's impossible to get, and anywhere you see it, it costs loads! So then, what's the point of that? It kind of makes it pointless for any potential new collector to try that series...
(I've been checking out London bookshops in the hopes that they're not clued up and they've got vol 3, not realising how valuable it is - but no luck!)
Oh well, I hope I have better luck with Urasawa's next series, Billy Bat, when that comes out.
(Oh and of course, I can read all of Monster online if I want to, but i really wanted to own it, d'oh)

Indie Indigo

Here is a new pic of Indigo I did today (my birthday!). It's less 'polished' than normal and more indie/free!
I also did a Prowler/Neon drawing which Matt Smith fans should like (if there are any Matt Smith fans). I'll put it up tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My life in Ballet

Ha ha i'm kidding - i have no life in Ballet or association with ballet - except for watching the fairly pointless Black Swan - and now I've been watching BBC4's Agony & Ecstasy: A Year with English National Ballet.
It's a three-part documentary, and my god it's depressing. You'd think it would be interesting, insightful and inspirational? No. It focuses on the cost-cutting, the problems with being too old as a dancer, the upset and angst of the dancers... all accompanied with stark music and a grave voice-over.
Who decided to take this direction with the show?? Why couldn't it be a cool insight into the lives of ballerinas? What is wrong with the BBC?? Why is it all doom and gloom? Look at Eastenders - it's not drama, it's misery!
Alas, my poor license fee money...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm currently in the process of pitching Spandex to publishers. I worked on my pitch for about 3 months until I was happy with it, and now I'm just steadily sending it out to people. I'm just picking and choosing targets at the moment rather than trying a million publishers at once.
It's been an interesting process, and surprisingly a couple of companies have said they couldn't handle the gay angle...!
Some publishers' submission guidelines are quite shocking too. I won't name names, but at least a couple are quite dismissive, patronising and rude. Now I can kind of see where they're coming from. I did portfolio sessions for my day job at a con once, and a couple of the people I met thought it would be a great idea to phone me every day for 2 weeks afterwards to get work. No, it's not a good idea, whatsoever! So from that, I can see their frustation, and how they might be narked, but still, they should keep being professional.
But the one thing I really don't get is the companies who say WE DO NOT ACCEPT UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS. Really?? In this climate, you're that financially stable that you'd turn down a potentially good, money-making project (no I don't mean mine, I mean in general)? I find that a bit baffling, to be honest.

Reactions to the situation in Japan

Like most of you, I was horrified by recent events in Japan.
Japan has a strong place in my heart. I’ve always been attracted to Japanese culture and especially things like Manga. I decided to start learning the language 2 years ago, and I'm still learning (it's getting more difficult!).
I went to Japan last March (a year ago now), and had the best time of my life. The people are amazing, so friendly. If for one minute, me and Travel Buddy looked like we were lost, people would just run up to us and help.
I don’t actually know many people in Japan – I know a couple of people in Tokyo. The people I know are all fine, but they were very scared. They are now facing food shortages, afterquakes and just general uncertainty.
My heart also goes out to my Japanese friends in London. One of my friends didn’t hear from her family for 3 days after the quake. How awful must that be? And her brother lost his home – all his belongings – but he is okay, thank goodness.
I did a little drawing for the cause, directing people to the Red Cross appeal, and I’m contributing to a charity comic too. I donated to Red Cross but wish I could just go to Japan and take food to people.
I have been angered by a few things UK-related things though.
Firstly the news. Talk about scare-mongering. Yes, it is serious, but the emphasis is always on the worst case scenario, the shock and the negative. I watched events streaming for a day, and the bombardment of images was just too much. Explosions at the power plant over and over again. Psychologically, it’s too much – I can’t see what they are trying to achieve. It just makes my Japanese friends in London, worried about their families, even worse.
Secondly, is the reaction from some of my friends. One of my friends on Facebook did a running commentary on the day it all happened, treating it like a blockbuster movie. ‘Wow, this just happened’ etc. He was actually posting things on my Japanese friends’ pages, and he must have really upset them. 'Woah, this just blew up!' I think it got to the stage where he said ‘could be another big one soon, hold tight people’, that I deleted him off Facebook.
And now we have the ‘jokes’ emerging. One guy was telling jokes on Facebook last night about the whole situation, so I had to delete him. I already confronted him over something and he called me a 'baka gaijin' (stupid foreigner). Jesus, how would he feel if he was affected by this? If he lost his home and all his possessions? Was scared about radiation? Mind you, this is the same guy who has a ‘competition’ with another friend to rush to announce a death on Facebook, so I'm not surprised. What a scumball.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eagle Award Irony!

Last year I was stunned to be nominated for an Eagle Award for Spandex for Best British Colour Comic!
The new nominations have just been announced, and sadly Spandex didn't get a nomination in that same category - but guess, what, I still got a nomination! Yes, one of the comics i do in my day job, Torchwood Comic, got a nomination in that same category...
It's a nice tribute to the hard work of some excellent artist, including UK talent Steve Yeowell, Stephen Downey and the Harker boys. Shame about Spandex though - maybe next year! Thanks to everyone who voted for Spandex, and also for the TW comic nominations.
Full nommos here:

I'm not very familiar with the Futurequake comics, but it does seem a shame to have so many of their titles in the Best Brit B&W category - other great indie comics can't get a look-in. And Doctor Who Magazine as Best British Colour Comic? It's not a comic, it's a magazine. Doctor Who Adventures is more of a comic, but I'd still class it as a magazine.
Oh well, onwards and upwards.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sketches: Saga

This is a pencil sketch of Saga, a new member of Les Girlz (now that Chunk is dead). She pops up in Issue 4 and will have a huge impact in the 4-part 'OMFG' story arc!

Sketches: Salary Man

This is Salary Man from Spandex's J-Team - Japan's national superteam. I love those guys! They'll pop up in Spandex 5 and also appear in a special story free with issue 5. More details to come!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spandex update!

Thought I’d provide a Spandex UPDATE for anyone that is interested!
I’m hard at work on Spandex 4! Work has been slightly delayed by having to send my laptop to the ‘PC World Tech Guys’ (my ‘M’ button fell off about a week after I bought the thing) - let’s hope I get it back soon... It’s been nice to concentrate on illustrating the comic though, and lettering. If I had my laptop here, I’d be all in a frenzy and be scanning stuff before it was really ready. I get too excited and carried away, and start Photoshopping things before I really should do!
Anyway, issue 4 is going well, and proving a little bit easier than previous issues. For a start, it’s a bit shorter – I’ve deliberately kept it down to 23 pages of story (rather than spiralling towards 30, as usual). And there are no ‘daunting’ panels to draw (such as St Paul’s pics, huge celebrity gay zombie panels – even the page where Glitter goes home in issue 3 was a lot of work). Issue 4 is much more character driven, so there are some nice talking heads pages!
It’s actually the start of a 4-part arc called ‘OMFG’. Now, I pretty much kicked off The O Men with a 4-part arc and at the time I felt it was a bad idea (readers might lose patience at such an early stage of the series). However, it’s a strong story, and each issue of the arc is very different and compelling, so hopefully people won’t get too put off. I have to say, the cliffhangers for each issue are doozies.
So now I just need to work hard on Spandex 4 for a Bristol/May release – it should be okay. I’ve had a couple of other projects to work on (not paid projects of course – never paid projects!), but now they’re out of the way so I can focus on this.
I’ve storyboarded issues 5 and 7 too. Those are quite key issues, and I was anxious to make sure everything fit into them. Issue 6 is a big issue, and is something I can have fun with and be a bit ‘loose’ with. Maybe tie up all the story strands before issue 7 kicks off.
I love how writing all this comes together. Because it takes such a long time to draw each issue, ideas for future issues come into my head all the time. I now have a huge new plot twist for Pussy in issue 7 – it’s one of the biggest shockers of the series. And I’m also going to address her name and why she’s called it – because even I’m uncomfortable with it!
Finally, here is an early version of the cover for issue 4 (above). I thought this idea up at Bristol last year (when some of the straight punters didn't seem to want to buy a pink colour for some reason) - but it’s not quite working, so I’ve come up with a similar but re-worked idea.