Posts Tagged ‘Are We A Collective?’

Thoughtbubblin’

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Comic conventions are a peculiar phenomenon. For a start most of the organisers of these events go out of the way to discourage them from being referred to as “conventions”. As an exhibitor, you can go with the express purpose of trying to make money, or to just make friends and get pally with like minded individuals. Here at Flying Monkey International, we are far too idiosyncratic (or possibly stubborn) to do much of the former and way, way?too misanthropic to do any of the latter.

In fact, one of our major directors and creative lynchpins, Mr Andrew Livesey, isn’t attending the forthcoming Thoughtbubble Festival in Leeds at all, instead opting for a weekend of sex, drugs, violence and miscellaneous debauchery. He swung by my house to drop off a stack of his new collection Chimpanzee Democracy, and his legendarily limited Tasty Fanzine T Shirts, with the veiled threat of evisceration if I dared not to sell any of them.

Tasty!

Despite this we shall be in attendance at Thoughtbubble. When someone decides to put on a Comics event pretty much on your doorstep, it seems rude not to show up (except last year, when I waited far too long to order any books, so didn’t have any on the day).

However, if you wish to purchase any of Andrew’s blood money funded merchandise, or any of our wonderful Hope For The Future collections and back issues (including the new(ish) issue 10), or even one of the few remaining copies of the epochal small press anthology Flying Monkey, come on over to our table and say hello. Underneath our irascible exterior we are actually quite friendly, and happy to chat about anything from the new Clone Wars cartoon, last week’s X Factor result shocker, the Credit Crunch, or Instru-Metal.

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Gig Review: Thoughtbubble Festival, Savile Hall Leeds, 15 Nov 2008

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

OK I guess it’s not technically a gig, but if we wanted to be conceited and act like we were making a personal appearance, that is exactly what you’d class it as.

I had no idea that Savile Hall was named after Jim’ll. I suppose he’s considered to be the greatest living?leodiensian, but what about Andrew Eldritch? Arthur Brown? Andi Watson? Mel B? Science off of Big Brother? These things are far too arbitrary if you ask me.

We were, as I had previously noted, a man down during this convention. Andrew was actually at a wedding, but for some reason, his stuff just flew off the table. People couldn’t get enough of Chimpanzee Democracy, so he should really make an effort to publicise it. I guess that’s too “obvious”. Maybe if I don’t show up to the next con, it’ll be my stuff that sells like hot, shitty cakes. I can dream.

Something else I can’t believe is that even though there were Stormtroopers, Imperial Officers, various superheroes and manga characters, lots of girls with pink hair and a slightly chunky Tusken Raider, the only photograph I managed to take was this-

No stormtroopers. Move along, move along...

No stormtroopers. Move along, move along...

They were really good costumes too, even though one of them was (get ready for this…) too short to be a stormtrooper. No, really. Because of this gross lack of foresight, I shall have to rely on ages from my sketchbook instead.

 

They wouldn't stay still

They wouldn't stay still

As I had not gotten up early enough I was in a bit of a rush to get to the venue, and neglected to bring any pens. Luckily the bloke next to me, Ben Powis had tons of them, and I’m really grateful that he let me borrow a couple. Unfortunately, his art was really good, so people went straight to him without noticing our stuff. I really have to start insisting that we get placed next to crappier artists. Still, at least I was able to while away the lonely hours drawing Batman.

 

My lovely assistant, and musical director Ol, here looking a little more like a salty sea dog than he does in real life

My lovely assistant, and musical director Ol, here looking a little more like a salty sea dog than he does in real life

Lots of people asked why we need a musical director if we’re a comic (I said we were a collective. That’s a lie), so I pointed them (and you) towards our fantastic musical animations.

In addition to seemingly vast quantities of Andrew’s comic (which I feel I can take a small measure of credit for, as I came up with the name), we sold a fair few back issues (bissues) of Hope for the Future which I presume is because they are so cheap.

Idle sketchings

Idle sketchings

The hard sell is something I still struggle with (along with basic human interaction), so I think I sometimes have difficulty putting my work over across as well as I could. But I have discovered a solution. Alcohol. Ol decided he fancied a drink so popped out for a bottle of vodka and some coke, not forgetting the lemon. We may have been drinking out of plastic thermos cups, but we’re not barbarians. Seemingly in no time at all we were shitfaced, which made it incredibly easy to go and say hello to people (yeah, about that, apologies to the artists behind?Scary Go Round, Reet!?and?Fetishman. And possibly a few others that I don’t remember. It is we who were the drunken fools babbling at you).

Self Portrait: drunken comic artist in his natural environment

Self Portrait: drunken comic artist in his natural environment

Being slightly tipsy (to say the least) also improved our sales technique. This manifested itself in our shouting at hapless passers by. Amazingly, many of them actually bought our comics. In the final ten minutes of the con we sold probably more than we had done all day up until that point. If anyone ever tells you that alcohol is not an answer to life’s problems, they have clearly never tried this. As the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi would have said, it totally kicks ass.

After the convention, as I believe R Kelly once said, is the After Party. Unfortunately in this case it was about three hours after, and we had sobered up by then (and I had resumed my usual sullen demeanour), and this, in addition to the fact that it was being held in a stupidly expensive bar (yeah, because comics people have tons of cash don’t they?) and a very brown room playing the kind of non-music that makes Morcheeba sound like The Mars Volta, we buggered off to a nearby old man’s pub and drank weird, cloudy cider. At the end of the night I was bundled into a taxi and trundled home, losing a Robin of Sherwood series two DVD boxset in the process. I may now no longer be able to watch The Swords of Wayland, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. We had a great con, and Herne himself would approve. And then probably spout some mystical bullshit about light and darkness. But he’s like that.

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We Got Served!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Due to various server changes, our regular schedule has been thrown into disarray. You may have noticed that the site has been absent, replaced temporarily with a picture of a friendly dog. Awww!

You may need to change your RSS subscription settings. And by “may” I mean “will”.  But make no mistake, we’re back baby! And just in time for our (sure to be) heroic and historic appearance at the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing this year, on March 28th. Check us out at table number 70. That’s the best number.

UKWMT

We may not have any new merchandise (because of laziness), but there is plenty of all the stuff we had at the last con. And don’t forget we have Hope for the Future back issues for sale at the credit crunch busting price of 50p a pop.

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Thing Report

Monday, March 30th, 2009

 

On our (late) arrival at this years UK Web & Minicomix Thing, an errant “N” caused us to be renamed “Flying Mo’key”. I think this sounds better. It’s a good job our image has always been shambolic and self effacing rather than one of slick professionalism, especially when we had to resort to using the same tatty old red tablecloth we’ve had since 2005 and having to give out flyers with the wrong url on (although to be fair, that’s Lycos’ fault. Damn you Lycos!)

And so to our traditional convention report. Most people will have tales of schmoozing with other talent, and reviews of new groundbreaking work discovered. This will have none of those. It will however feature me pontificating in a long winded manner. No change there then.

These pics, drawn by me and inked by Andrew, remind me of Evan Dorkin's work. This should come as no surprise as we both idolise him.

These pics, drawn by me and inked by Andrew, remind me of Evan Dorkin's work. This should come as no surprise as we both idolise him.

My strip for the Convention Anthology, Godiva Jones: Warrior Princess of Mars, turned out quite well, even though I forgot about it until the last minute. I was going for a kind of Frank Frazetta/pulp magazine style illustration, which is of course completely at odds with everything I was selling, but hey ho. It’s the only new comics work I’ve done in ages, as was pointed out to me a few times by punters who had bought all of my stuff years ago. It’s a fair cop. 

Chimpanzee Democracy:  A collection of Andrew’s strips from the Flying Monkey site was certainly a hit with “The Kids”, which led us to badger him to do more for most of the day. When we weren’t doing that we were planning our next collective masterpiece. After our trailers for Flying Monkey Comics and Hope for the Future issue 10, not to mention our Halloween Special Musical Zombietacular and , we decided to use our combined skills to craft another multimedia extravaganza. Now all we need is an idea, so let us know if you have one. 

Lots of people we spoke to mentioned Watchmen, unsurprisingly enough, so I thought I would attempt to capitalise on the general interest in squid

Last year, there seemed to be about 12 people, and 9 of those were exhibitors. This year the attendance was much higher, a fact borne out by the fact that our first sale was pretty early, whereas we usually have to wait a couple of hours and go through several stages of depression. 

Some hastily drawn portraits, done so we would have something to stick on our wall

These hastily drawn portraits were done so we would have something to stick on our wall

When I wasn’t pimping for Spotify, I was still unable to explain to semi interested punters what Hope for the Future is actually about. “Like Buffy but not as good” is probably the most accurate (and effective). Of course when you are trying to engage with the public (and draw stuff, to prove that you can), you don’t really get a lot of time to check out everyone else’s work. From what I saw, there was some excellent work around, but not being willing to fight my way through the hordes of studenty girls and men who resemble MJ Hibbert, I ended up not really networking. Of course I don’t expect any fabulously talented artists out there would want to draw my scripts rather than their own stuff, but you never know. It may be the only way you’ll get to know what happens.

My new character, Tungsten Dude

 We sold quite a lot of stuff this year, and even met a few people who described themselves as fans (and asked why we didn’t have any new stuff). However, if you were the bloke that bought the copy of Hope for the Future book 2, and asked me to do a sketch in it, you forgot to come back, so let me know where I can send your book. That’s a stone cold collectible now!

Greg, looking peeved

Greg, looking peeved

Although we didn’t have enough time to look around too much, and we weren’t drunk off our asses like we were at Thoughtbubble, we had a great time. I’ll write another post linking to some of the stuff I was given and what I liked in the anthology. Thanks to everyone who came up and said hello. Superthanks to anyone who bought stuff. Can’t wait to do it again. Next time we’ll bring the ukelele.

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Really Deep Thought(Bubble)s

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

How time flies. A year ago we were fresh faced young scamps at our first comic convention (in Leeds). Now we are grizzled veterans with the attendant emotional scars, gearing up for this years’ Thoughtbubble on Saturday 21st November. For the first time ever I am actually prepared. And by “prepared” I mean not still setting up two and a half hours into the actual convention. Only one thing remains in question – that is whether issue 12 of HFTF will be back from the printers. They are cutting it a bit fine, it has to be said. Of course issue 11 will be available for the first time at a convention, but I was hoping to have 12 as it’s… well… better.

TB

Never fear, dear readers. We promise to hide any crushing disappointments and not be “Captain Bringdown”. You can rest assured that we will be sparkling, witty and accomodating. Failing that our musical director Ol has promised that he will perform a song on his ukelele for everyone who buys a comic. Actually that seems a little excessive… maybe we’ll hold back on the musical accompaniment and just keep it for the people who buy our “high end” stuff (basically, the collected editions).
So whether you buy anything from us or not, come over and say hello. You’ll need something to do while the queues to see the popular artists subside. Talking of which I see some of my favourite comic book creators are in attendance. Duncan Fegredo, Frazer Irving, Frank Quietly… honestly I can’t decide who to stalk most.

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Closing Thought(Bubble)s

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

It seems to be de rigeur to write up a “report” after attending a comics convention, but what to say that everyone else hasn’t already said? ThoughtBubble 2009 seems to have been a resounding success for exhibitors and attendees alike, which is a testament to the professionalism and friendliness of the organisers and staff. In fact the convention was being reported on largely as it happened, through the magic of Twitter. We are truly living in the future. Usually at this point I struggle to remember specifics, but because of Twitter I can tell you exactly what I was doing at pretty much any point. Let’s take a little trip back into the mists of time…

9.56 Finished setting the table up. After being surly all week at the prospect of HFTF issue 12 not arriving, it actually appeared on Friday, which was a bit of a relief. Of course issue 11 hadn’t been ready for the last con we did, so that was essentially “new” too, but I’m really pleased with how 12 turned out so it would have sucked to not have it available. Remember to order your comics well in advance kids.

10.45 Sold first comic. It was Andrew’s.

11.16 We got interviewed by some girls, one of whom was dressed as Spider-Girl. Not “The” Spider-Girl, or at least not Spider-Girl in her official costume. She looked more like Spider-Girl if she was out at an indie night. Anyway, I’m always up for pontificating in public, especially if it gives me a chance to publicise my comic. However, I’m not actually very good at it. If you thought these blog posts were rambling, stilted and incomprehensible, they are as nothing compared to when I struggle to remember what Hope For The Future is actually about and string a sentence together live.

11.35 At this point we remembered our promise to stick anyone who bought something into the next issue. The guy didn’t look too thrilled about this, but we still took his picture.

12.00 At this point I realised that there were no Imperial Stormtroopers about. There were millions of them last year. I was looking forward to getting a photo of myself getting bitchslapped by “our brave boys” in the 501st. Plenty of cosplayers were around though – these were mainly kids dressed as characters from manga that I don’t recognise, although there were a few Zatannas and a great Riddler/Penguin double act doing the rounds. I’ve never seen anyone as The Penguin before, which is surprising as I imagine it’s an easy costume to put together. Easier than killer Croc and Man Bat anyway. I don’t know what this guy was meant to be. Maybe he always dresses like this

1.00 There was a bit of a dinnertime lull, so Oliver decided to do a ukelele based cover of Marillion’s Kayleigh. I would have preferred Interior Lulu, but that’s not quite as well known, although I realise that Kayleigh is only recognisable to most people today because of the vast amount of girls born in the mid eighties who are called that. I’m not sure whether our uke assisted serenades were actually keeping people away, but I suppose the main thing was that we were enjoying ourselves, even if no one around us was. It’s instructive to note that by this point, some drink had been taken.

1.56 At this point we noticed a particularly badass Iron Man. Now that’s a costume. We should have invited him over for a drink.

2.42 At this point, we were proper drunk. I can tell this as I tweeted about the fact that we had decided our comics should be recommended by a gentleman by the name of Awesome Wells. This struck us as absolutely hilarious, and we vowed to at least create a T shirt featuring him. Probably doing something awesome. Sadly no one took us up on our free comics offer, which is proof that no one actually reads my blog, or my twitter feed, or that they were so intimidated by being in our presence that they lost control of their faculties. I choose to believe the latter.

So we hung out, had a few drinks, sold some books and spoke to a few fellow comics creators, such as Chris Doherty, Richard J Smith and Garen Ewing, gents all deserving of your attention and support if they are not already receiving it. We would have schmoozed more with our fellow creatives but, as misanthropes, that goes against our image. And we are socially inept.

Once we had eaten (and sobered up a bit), we went along to the after party and attended the post con chat show, brilliantly hosted by the boys from Geek Syndicate. Someone should give these two their own TV show, seriously. However, interviewing comics creators about the difficulty of interpreting Grant Morrison’s scripts and the finer points of producing sketches for glue fixated weirdoes, while fascinating to someone like me, may not have the mass appeal of, say, getting deluded no marks to sing Robbie Williams songs tunelessly while brutalising rare tropical insects. Ah well, I’ll never understand the modern world.

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Strange In A Stranger Land

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Here we have the trailer for the new Hope For The Future Collection. Our last two trailers for HFTF were greeted with worldwide acclaim, and grown men were seen to weep openly in the streets and embrace their former enemies, inspired by the sheer awesomeness of extremely limited animation and a burst of some tasty tunes.

This is no different, as you can see, but this time we decided to write some lyrics in order to fully express the mind manglingly cryptic themes of this epochal comic book series. The ideal musical medium for this was naturally a vaguely glam rock mid paced guitar stomp, with plentiful harmonies, because, as Brian Eno says,  backing vocals solve everything (although he’s never heard my nasal rasp). Many many thanks to our resident musical director Oliver for putting the whole thing together, and to our pal Ben who played the bass.

Let’s not forget the real message here, which is BUY HOPE FOR THE FUTURE BOOK 3, which is something you can do at the UK Web & Minicomix Thing, next Saturday, March 27th at London’s Queen Mary University in Mile End.  You can also buy a bunch of our other crap, pick up our contribution to the Dino-Saw-Us project, get a sketch, or just say hello. We will probably have Quality Street. I also have a four page strip in the Dinosaur Themed Official Anthology, but that’s the last time I’ll be doing fully painted comics as it takes too long!

Even though our Be In The Next Issue Of The Comic and Twitter Feed Scavenger Hunt went down like a fucking lead balloon at November’s Thoughtbubble, we’ll be doing the same thing here, so if you want to appear in HFTF issue 13 pop over and buy something, or repeat something from our Twitter feed to us to get some cool free junk.

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A Remembrance of Things Past

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

It’s customary to write a report of a convention you’ve attended as soon as humanly possible, but frankly they’re all pretty similar, so to minimise the risk of repeating myself, here are some pictures…

The sight our potential readers were greeted withCthulhu- very popular with the puntersAnother happy customer

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it turned out no one had seen this…

… despite my best efforts to pimp it. Turns out it could have been shown there, on a big screen, if only I’d been aware of it. I will endeavour to have it projected onto that Dalek building in Leeds this November when Thoughtbubble rolls around again.

Andrew's sketch of Doctor CthulWhohu sold within about five seconds of being completedBehind The Scenes - this was my view pretty much all dayKinda terrifying. But weirdly, a very nice bloke

Thing Sketch 2010 - Lizzie now in colour on TwitpicYes we definitely sold stuff. In your face, recessionMichael G knows a good comic when he sees it

As we were setting up, some bloke whose name I didn’t get, casually suggested we draw “any old thing” and put them on sale. We baulked at this for about 5 minutes and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day scribbling away. People seemed to really like the sketches and snapped them up, especially those that featured HP Lovecraft’s much loved eldritch monstrosity. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of my favourite stupid pun of the weekend: Cthulhu Live At Leeds. Maybe we should do some in advance for next time? Having said that we still have a few left over, so if anyone buys a book from our store I’ll liberally chuck some in! I still have my “Edward Cullen: What a cunt!” pic, so, y’know, form an orderly queue Twilight fans!

Oliver greeting potential readerscreative differencesHover Bike on Twitpic

Thing 2010 sketch: The Cruiser on TwitpicOverwhelming enthusiasm from Oliver and AndrewThing 2010 sketch: sad

As ever we met some great people – a few of which seemed to actually be fans. Someone (again I didn’t get anyone’s name) started a conversation with “what I like about Hope For The Future…” as if it was a real comic like Maus or Cable or something. The most frequent comment was that the art style changes from issue to issue. That’s… er… at least partly intentional I can assure you.

tipsy on TwitpicThing 2010 sketch: Joker on TwitpicAftermath

So there we go for another year. We came, we saw, we sold some comics, we had a few drinks, and we then spent seven hours stuck in traffic on the way home. Thanks as always to anyone who bought anything, and massaged our fragile egos. Enormous overdue thanks to our mate Jim who every year puts us up and provides us with food, booze, oyster cards and a seemingly unlimited supply of terrible terrible horror movies on DVD. These are the ties that bind

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This Just In: Stuff Actually Happening

Friday, October 15th, 2010

The site traffic to hftf.co.uk is very healthy at the moment, which is a little weird as I haven’t updated in a while. The normal schedule will resume soon (ish) but for now here’s some news. I’m sure this will make the hits dry right up, but anyway…

The big news is that Hope For The Future issue 13 is now finished, and should (should) be available at this year’s Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds next month. This is the much anticipated cryptozoology special, in which our heroes tangle with the mystery beasts of the British Isles. And some nauseatingly trendy students.

We’ll also have all the collected editions, back issues, sketches, and those stickers that we have left over from the last Thing. You know the drill.

I’ve also done a strip for friend of Flying Monkey and all round splendid chap, Mr Jason Cobley. He’s been putting together Bulldog Clips, an anthology of stories based on the long running Small Press Comics character. My story involves a mad scientist, a giant robot, and pizza.

So as you can see it’s all happening here at Flying Monkey Comics. Or at least it will be. In a bit.

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Thought Bubble 2010

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when Leeds becomes the centre of the comics universe, and artists stagger out of their hermit like existence into the outside world, their pale eyes blinking in the unfamiliar sunlight as they attempt to flog some of their stuff. The boys from Flying Monkey Comics Incorporated will be out in force at Thought Bubble 2010, regaling all with tall tales and scintillating anecdotes, holding forth on the creative process and meeting fans, admirers and comic book groupies. That’s the plan, anyway. What is more likely is that we will sit, scribbling strange images, pausing only to scowl at passers by and try to remember who we have sold books to in the past. Actually I’m going to try to keep the scowling to a minimum this year, so come up and say hello to see if we manage to mask our misanthropy. We’ll at least draw something for you (as long as it’s not porn).

We’ll have the usual clutch of comics, books and sketches, and we also have a shit ton of those stickers we got for the Dino Saw Us thing at The Thing. I don’t know if they’re doing that passport thing at Thought Bubble, so you can just, come up to us and get some stickers for your school books, phone, court summons, or wherever the hell else you might want to stick them.

We will also have a BRAND NEW ISSUE for sale. Yeah you’re right to look amazed. Hope For The Future 13, the long awaited Cryptozoology special continues the intrigue and mystery of ish 12 (such as it was), and features dragons, alien lizards and a ghost monkey on the cover, because an old man once told me that comics with monkeys on the cover sell better. I think it might have been the old man that featured in all those rock songs in the early 70s. He was always talking shit about demons and that.

I shall also endeavour to update my Twitter feed in the run up to the Festival, and throughout the day. I’m sure this will be of no interest to that Pizza Shop in Plymouth that is inexplicably following me, but those of you who are interested in the mental deterioration of a once loved and respected pillar of the artistic community will no doubt find it mildly diverting. More soon!

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