Posts Tagged ‘4 comics’

God Exists, And He’s Awesome

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Watchmen, the Citizen Kane of comic books, the last word in superhero stories, the Grand Poobah of clever clever sequential storytelling, has finally been made into a movie. Many years ago I lived in Wrexham, and this was around the time I was first getting into comics, so I would regularly trudge down to my local comic shop (more of a stall actually) and try to find something that was as good as Judgment On Gotham. Every time, and I mean every single time I went in there, the guy who ran it asked me if I had read Watchmen and that ‘they’ should make it into a film. I never really wanted to get in a conversation with him (he once asked me how many packs of condoms I thought he should take with him on a holiday abroad. The correct answer was that he should have probably got himself chemically castrated, just in case), but I always felt that there is no way Watchmen could be adequately filmed. It’s too long, too dense, and too entrenched in the medium of comics to work. As good as the story and characters were, the best thing about Watchmen is the way the story is told. And you would have to lose the whole Pirate thing.

 

It’s unfortunate that even amongst comics’ most ardent devotees, movies are seen as the superior art form, and the ultimate compliment (and goal) for a comic is to be adapted for the cinema. Ghost World is an okay movie but the comic is so much better. Spider-Man, X-Men and their sequels are adaptations and contractions of entire series, and don’t exactly tell specific stories (I’ll never forgive Sam Raimi for bastardising The Death of Gwen Stacy in the first one. Ah maybe, life’s too short).

 

However, and back on topic. The trailer to the Watchmen movie looks pretty awesome. No wonder Dave Gibbons is stoked. Maybe even the mighty Alan Moore will give it a look. C’mon Affable Al, it might be a laugh! Although I noticed that the music on the trailer is by Smashing Pumpkins. Now I like The Smashing Pumpkins. Mostly. After all, Billy Corgan is a well known control freak, and he invented ‘emo’ (does that make him an emomaniac?). BUT this song was last heard on the soundtrack to Batman & Robin truly one of the worst cinematic experiences of my life. Yes yes it’s an easy target, and even Joel Schumacher admits it’s terrible (apparently the DVD commentary is a hoot), but is this really an association the film studio wants to create? Maybe a grinning, neon Arnold Schwarzaneggar is just what this flick needs!

 

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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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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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Just because my name is Jolli…

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Crimson Jack’s second in command is Jolli, an angry, young man-hating space babe. For someone who hates dudes so much, she’s made a peculiar choice of career – hanging out with a bunch of horny space pirates, wearing bright red knickers. To be fair, Jack himself can’t be bothered to put any trousers on, so I dunno, maybe the air conditioning is knackered on that ship. She also wears a green beret, presumably because she just doesn’t give a fuck. When Han Solo arrives on board, Jolli starts to have some confusing feelings. Well, she’s only human, and he’s monumentally good looking, roguishly charming, and manages to make a waistcoat look cool. At this point, at the age of six, I should have realised that I needed to start modelling myself on him. Instead, I think I still wanted to be C-3PO, so there was no hope for me.

Young Jolli never got to have sexy times with our dashing Corellian scoundrel. Instead she was betrayed by the pirates (surprise), and ploughed a Y Wing Fighter into the side of Jack’s Space Cruiser. We learn that as a child she was also abandoned by her father which led her to a life of piracy and barely dressed misandry. This may have been my first experience of pathos.

If the UK editions of Marvel Star Wars series had been printed in colour, I can only presume I would now have a fetish for girls with pink hair.

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Wilson & Me

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

If you ever lay asleep at night wondered what comics I would take with me to a desert island, if that were at all a concern or possibility, then worry no more. Your prayers have been answered in this handy article I wrote for the Forbidden Planet Blog. Seeing as all I needed to do was write a few words about some comics I liked, it took me an unfeasibly long time to narrow it down, so I hope you appreciate it. Corrections, arguments, rebuttals and queries can be sent through the normal channels. NOTE: This blog originally contained a less than complimentary reference to Jim Aparo, but I cut it out as it was too mean and, like, who am I to talk, right?

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