Posts Tagged ‘Are We A Collective?’

New Thing

Monday, March 21st, 2011

So the new London Comic & Small Press Expo has been and gone. The attendance was fairly low, which I had put down to The Central Line being shut down due to works (because apparently The Olympics next year just has to fuck up every aspect of modern life). Hopefully if they do one next year a lot more people will come along, because it was a very enjoyable event with a friendly atmosphere. We arrived late, because it’s us, although this is also partly due to the fact that whilst waiting on a train we were told by staff to run across the platform to the opposite carriage no less than four times because they couldn’t quite decide which one was supposed to be leaving first. Fun!

We sold out of HFTF Book 1 a while ago, so we have a brand new edition printed by our friends at Print X. And a jolly good job they did too. It has a new cover, and the interior pages have been cleaned up, so all the blacks are actually black rather than a washed out fuzzy grey. Spelling errors, bad grammar and plot holes remain, so as to be as old school as possible. As always we met some lovely people, did some sketches and said “Damn, that felt like a sale!” every time anyone spoke to us but didn’t buy anything. We are nothing if not traditional. To those of you who bought stuff, thanks. Those of you who didn’t, it’s not too late, homes –

Once again I didn’t get around to taking many photos, but here are a few:

Lovely!

After selling a complete set of books to a lucky consumer he asked me to draw in his sketchbook. I was just about to doodle some half arsed nonsense when I had a look through the rest of it. He had drawings in there by some proper artists, far too numerous to list (the two that I particularly remember were Scott McCloud and Roberta Gregory). If I was to have my work alongside such illustrious company I would have to up my game. So I proceeded to draw something that ended up looking like some half arsed nonsense. I guess if I claim to be an artist, I will automatically lose my ability to draw for the rest of the day. Luckily Andrew was on hand to ink a sketch I did for someone else:

I was invited at the last minute to participate in a panel, but my memories of it are pretty hazy. I’d had a few drinks by that time, so I apologise to anyone I may have inadvertently offended (the only thing I can remember saying to the assembled throng is “I love pretentious people”. Quite what I was talking about, I have no idea).  If there had been more people in attendance I could have been crowned the idiot savant of small press comics, held aloft by a cheering crowd, and then sacrificed at this year’s Thoughtbubble in a giant wicker Garfield. Ahem.

We sold a fair bit but not tons – about normal for us, but from the sounds of it nobody exactly made a killing. What this tells me is that as a rule we don’t sell enough shit. In fact, Oliver and Andrew said that they sold more stuff when I was away from the table making an idiot of myself. I need to get to work on my pitching technique! Always Be Closing!

More reports here, here, here and uh… here. Who’s that creepily smiling halfway down the page? Oh yeah!

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14/17

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Holy Guacamole! There’s a new issue of Hope For The Future! Check out this thrilling (and misleadingly coloured) pic –

Hannah is determined to work out what’s been going on in the series up to this point, and who can blame her? In order to find a connection between various secret societies, murders, hauntings, genetically engineered monstrosities and demonic incursions, she takes a trip to the coast and ruminates on an adventure from her early life in which she kicked it with some friendly talking animals, became a wizard and hunted monsters. Also features some guy getting abducted by aliens, but there’s a chance he’s lying about it.

It’s currently available from our friends at Indieplanet. However, you won’t be able to buy it from us at the ThoughtBubble Festival, in beautiful Leeds, on November 19-20th. Bit weird, I hear you cry. Well, the comics are currently at an unspecified location, somewhere between New Jersey and Leeds. If you see them, let me know, yeah.

We’ll still be there, in the stately surroundings of The Royal Armouries Hall with smiles on our faces and songs in our hearts. And a merciless desire to sell you comics. Not the new HFTF, obviously. I can describe the plot to you in person, but I suspect this is a poor substitute. We will, however have all three collected editions (collecting issues 1-12), issue 13 (screaming ghost monkey cover), issue 12 (sexy goth girl cover) and loads of skanky old back issues that we are selling for pennies. Bargain!

In addition we’ll also have something brand spanking new, yet heavily redolent of the past. Thought Bubble will see the debut of our new all ages, all action, all fun old school minicomic PIZZA THE ACTION! Drawn by Flying Monkey Comics’ very own Andrew Livesey it’s our attempt to revive the days of scratty photocopied black and white A5 comics at a recession busting price of 10p. You can’t afford not to buy a copy for you and all of your entourage. Check out these awesome  and totally out of context preview images!*

*complete with non sequiter, non final dialogue, for added intrigue
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Thought Bubble 2011

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

So we were at Leeds’ fantastic Thought Bubble Festival. Now twice as big and twice as long (snarf snarf), it continues to be the most fun event on the UK comic book calendar. Judging by everyone I spoke to and all the reports I’ve read, a brilliant time was had by all and I’m sure everyone who went is looking forward to the next one as much as I am. Would it be too much to ask for two Thoughtbubbles a year? Or three? Make it happen, Obama!

As I mentioned (moaned about) previously, my copies of Hope For The Future 14 had not arrived from the printers on time, but even with this potentially disastrous mistake, we still managed to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. I felt it was necessary to have something new  to flog, so I did a bunch of sketches of various comics characters (and not, as I had threatened while at my lowest ebb, a series of pics of cock and balls). People seemed to like them anyway, so much so that I struggled with the number of requests I got. The lesson we can take from this is clear: charge more money for them!

I accidentally got up an hour early due to drunk alarm setting and a poor grasp of the concept of time, but for once I was prepared and remembered to bring such essentials as a pen, some change and a bottle of vodka. I’m getting better at this conventions lark. What I haven’t mastered yet, clearly, is the art of going in for the kill, sales wise. Our fantastic brand new comic Pizza The Action, drawn by Award Winning Artist Andrew Livesey and written by me, was available for a reality shattering low price of 10p – officially the lowest priced comic at the convention (I decided). Look, I’m sure there was stuff being given out for free but this comic is actually good. I should have been screaming this at the top of my lungs every second of the weekend in order to publicise it. I would make a terrible prostitute.

The nearest I got to any cool creators was surreptitiously taking this photo of the top of Woodrow Phoenix’s head, and staring creepily at Peter Milligan from across the room. Never meet your heroes, kids. Especially if, like me, you are incapable of forming a comprehensible sentence at the best of times, let alone in front of someone whose work you admire.

There are always plenty of cosplayers at Thoughtbubble. I never tire of seeing stormtroopers. They look brilliant even if most of them are too short. At one point I passed The Joker at a urinal, which really isn’t something that happens enough in my life. Talking of which, this Harley Quinn was so perfect she could have sprung fully formed from the pencil of Bruce Timm. Mr J would be happy.

If you don’t want to cosplay yourself, you can always dress up your kids. I saw a mini Jedi and a mini Han Solo. Why doesn’t anyone dress their kid up as an ewok? Or Grievous?

Far too late on the second day I realised that we were opposite the bar prompting me to tell people Come over, buy some comics and get pissed! By this time, everyone (including us) was recovering from a hangover, but I reckon if that had occurred to me on the first day we would have sold ten times as many comics. Other ruses that we missed were procuring an endorsement from someone famous, and getting hot girls to pose for photos with our merchandise.

Contrary to my carefully constructed image of a socially inept curmudgeon, I did actually speak to some folks over the weekend. Apart from everyone who came to our table (hello), I had a chance to catch up with some old friends. Lee Carter’s a brilliant illustrator who’s currently doing some truly jaw dropping stuff for 2000AD. I knew him when he had long hair and listened to Steve Forbert. John Welding‘s a good pal and is currently doing some wonderful artwork for a new comic for kids called The Phoenix (incidentally, if you’re a fan of his work, he once drew a story I wrote in Hope For The Future issue 4). I hadn’t spoken to Terry Wiley for a while so it was good to bump into him. I say it all the time but his Sleaze Castle was a massive influence on my stuff and his new comic Verity Fair looks total aces. Also big ups to my convention chums and Twitter pals Jason Cobley (whose Frontier: The Weird Wild West collection is soon to be published in hardback) and Richard J Smith (who gave me a copy of his new opus Dino-Might, the everyday tale of a luchador who may or may not be a dinosaur). I hope I didn’t forget anyone. If I did, tell me off in the comments!

I dunno what my highlight was, but being mistaken for a student was up there. Or maybe when my new comic arrived THE VERY NEXT DAY! Argh! Ah well, there’s always next year.

More pictures over at Flickr – get taggin’!

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Great Googly Moogly, It’s Another ThoughtBubble

Friday, November 9th, 2012

How quickly time flies. It only seems like five minutes ago that I was fretting about getting my new issue printed in time for last year’s Thought Bubble comics convention in Leeds. Long time readers will know that I got the issue the very next day, which means Hope For The Future #14 is making its TB debut. This bumper issue features all sorts of crazy shit and whimsical shenanigans. And some hidden messages that didn’t really work, but you’re welcome to look for and try to decipher them. If you are able to do this, you’re a lot bloody cleverer than I am, and I definitely owe you a special prize.

In addition I have a brand new printing of the previous issue, with some crucial, special edition style changes. While I’d like to say I was waiting two years for “technology to catch up with my original vision”, the truth of the matter is I changed some dialogue in order to make it somewhat easier to understand what’s going on. This is what you have to deal with when you work without an editor, kids. Never work without an editor.

There’s also a new printing of (the long out of print) Hope For The Future Book 2 – now with a slightly better cover, and the usual back issues and junk. In addition I’ve had a limited number of A3 prints of various illustrations, both HFTF related and general comic book and film characters. And by “film” I mean Star Wars. And by “characters” I mean mostly weird old obscure guys that you’ve probably never heard of. I definitely haven’t yet got the hang of this “shameless ransacking of popular culture for massive commercial gain” thing yet.

Something that always goes down well (snarf snarf), and by “well” I mean “miles better than any of my comics” is bespoke sketches. So if you have any requests, let me know via e-mail or Twitter and you can pick them up on the day, or you can take your chances in the massive queues that are sure to form as soon as the doors open. For some examples, check out last year’s report. Three quid will get you something decent – anything less will probably just be a cock and balls or something. A tasteful cock and balls, mind, but a cock and balls none the less.

 

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Thought Bubble 2012

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Another year, another Thought Bubble Convention in Beautiful Downtown Leeds. It was pretty much the same as last year’s, but better. Normally at this point, I would write a long rambling blog post about what I got up to, with lots of stupid gags and dopey sketches that I’d scribbled on the day. I fear if I were to do one this year I would be repeating myself. It’s still exceptionally well organised and managed, it’s still packed to the rafters with insanely talented artists and crawling with cosplayers of all castes, and it’s still the most fun convention we’ve ever been to.

This kid wins Thought Bubble - actually this kid wins at life!

People love that Harley Quinn - I saw at least seven of them

I tried to get around and have a look at as many artists’ work as I could – I think I must’ve managed about 3%, but I have since made it my mission to follow every single exhibitor (and most of the punters) on Twitter. I can genuinely say everyone whose work I have seen was really good. I could have done with seeing a few that were crap to be honest. The trouble with seeing so much great art is that I can’t decide whether it’s inspiring, or alternatively makes me feel like I should give up and set fire to everything I’ve ever done. I can’t be alone in this.

Here's a pic I drew for our pal Richard J Smith of one of his many characters, surly bat demon type thing Chainsaw

It looks like I'm about to be assimilated. I hate it when that happens. Of course all you need to do in this situation is start busting some dance moves and sing "We Are Here To Change The World"

As we were walking away from the venue at the end of the second day we came upon a weird little scene playing out. Some people were stood around watching another man stood above them on some steps, who was shouting at them. It entered my mind that it could have been one of those religious guys that stand in the centre of town at the weekend that yell at passers by about how they’re going to Hell, but as we got closer, it became apparent that the man was performing a soliloquay, and was dressed as Doctor Who (surely the easiest and least imaginative costume, next to “normal guy carrying gun”). Now if I was up on Doctor Who lore I would be able to identify what episode the monologue was from, and what its significance was, but, alas I must remain ignorant. But it struck me as something that just wouldn’t happen anywhere else. Our sonic screwdriver wielding pal wasn’t playing to a big audience, just a handful of mates, but he was having a whale of a time. It summed up the friendly, welcoming and diverse atmosphere of Thought Bubble. I haven’t worked out how quite yet, but as soon as I do you’ll be the first to know.

Love that Joker

Long time readers of this blog will remember we were interviewed back in ’09 by Spider-Girl. This video never emerged, and I presumed it was because our answers were a bit dull – possibly our thoughts were elsewhere i.e. trying to work out precisely what relationship this young lady had with Peter Parker. However we were interviewed again last year, and that video has just emerged. I wish I had shaved, and I keep pulling slightly pissed off faces for no apparent reason, but I do gush about how brilliant Thought Bubble is, so, y’know, Thought Bubble people – don’t ban me next year!

Thanks to: All at Thought Bubble HQ for the Herculean task of making the convention run smoothly. Andrew for being my sidekick on Saturday and making me buy him loads of drinks at the evening party. Harriet for helping me out on Sunday in the face of my terrible terrible hangover. Rosie for interviewing us, editing the vid and acting as if we are the big shots that we like to think we are although definitely are not. Everyone who came up to chat to us, and bought comics, sketches and prints – you people are what makes Britain Great.
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THOUGHTBUBBLE 2014

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Thought Bubble is the UK’s best comic event. However, last year, instead of attending, I sat in the shell of a house and felt sorry for myself. Moving house took up a lot of my year, and as a result I was unable to get anything together to sell. And also I couldn’t afford it. I’m sure you all had a brilliant time, bastards.

HFTF15

This year though, I will be there, along with the long awaited (by me) issue 15 of Hope For The Future. Yes, I put out comics about as regularly as Kate Bush treads the boards. And with a thousand times more theatricality! In this thrilling PENULTIMATE issue, the shit starts to go down! An implausible underground city is discovered and our gallant heroes face off against gun toting maniacs (pretty much), ninjas (kinda) and dragons (uh… ish). Also tons of plot gets explained, so all that crap that you thought was just random words thrown onto the page to fill up space in previous issues will all be laid out. You won’t want to miss this. Unless of course you haven’t read the comic previously, but if that’s the case you’re in luck, because I’ll be AGGRESSIVELY SELLING the previous two issues that set this one up.

Con Sketches1

In addition, I’ll have trade paperback style collections, prints, original art, and all the usual crap. In the past I’ve drawn multiple Harley Quinns, sexy zombies, and Darth Vader decapitating Justin Bieber, but you don’t need to pick something quite so highbrow. I’ll pretty much draw anything, and this year I’m bringing out the BIG GUNS – yes I have some grey markers! A sketch done on the day will be a STUPIDLY LOW PRICE of £4, and here are some AMAZING examples of past commissions.

sketches2

 

If you want something more elaborate, perhaps something inspired by a browse through our pretentiously named Galleria, and you wish to commission your faithful artist before the event, get in touch. Your people can speak to my people and we’ll sort something out.

Also my brand new uber moderne innovation is paper bags. Yeah, paper bags, yo. That shit is tight! Everyone needs a bag for their junk and you can get a super fantastic Sketch Bag, like the ones pictured here, for one smokin’ hot English pound. OR if you’re feelin’ flush, how about you get your own choice of character or thing, specially commissioned for £3. It’s basically a convention sketch on brown paper, with handles, that you can put stuff in. IT’S THE FUTURE!

 

bags

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Thought Bubble 2015

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Thought Bubble is genuinely the world’s greatest comics convention, and not just because it’s the only one I regularly attend. As a gathering for all lovers of comics, art, and people dressed up in gigantic space marine costumes, it’s unparalleled, and it just gets bigger and better every year.

I guess Hope For The Future is temporarily on hiatus right now (final issue out next year, by the way), but I’ll be selling back issues and collected editions as normal, and I have a large selection of prints for sale, so, you know, you can get some of them proper cheap! (Plenty more examples here in La Galleria).

A selection of prints FOR YOUR EYES!

A selection of prints FOR YOUR EYES!

I’ll also be taking commissions to do unique original artwork, right there at the convention! Just like every single other exhibitor there! Why choose me over Mr Shit Hot DC and Marvel guy? Yes you guessed it, my stuff is PROPER DIRT CHEAP! So, come see me if you want a picture of Galactus punching Harry Potter in the face, while The Death Star blasts The Planet Of The Apes. Or maybe just a cartoony picture of you. Choose wisely, bro.

Here's some warm up sketches  - all this junk is available too. Yeah, I'll pretty much flog anything

Here’s some warm up sketches – all this junk is available too. Yeah, I’ll pretty much flog anything

Here’s some additional sketches, seriously, yo, I’ll draw anything. Well, y’know, within reason.

So, make haste, get your ass to beautiful historic Leeds this weekend. Specifically the Thought Bubble Marquee, Table 98, cos that’s where it’s at – and by it I mean me and my junk.

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