Posts Tagged ‘Conventions’

Old School

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

After the current run of one off strips (early April), we will launch into posting issue 10 of Hope For The Future –  Old School. Here’s a teaser for the comic, soundtracked by some full on theramin fuelled rock, courtesy of our resident musical director Ol.

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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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Judge Not

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Leeds has often been called The Cradle of Civilisation, and it’s easy to see why when there’s an event as enjoyable as Thought Bubble. Once again I’m hearing nothing but good things about Saturday’s Comics Convention/Festival/Thingy.

Relieved that I had managed to get the new issue of Hope For The Future printed on time (get it here, bitches. Well, after I get some more printed, that is. Big up to our friends at Print X for doing such an excellent job, incidentally), I was able to abandon my usual irascible and hateful demeanour and just enjoy the event. As we were setting up I was casually sliding underneath our table, and was told off by a zombie, for contravening heath and safety regulations, which set the template for the day. Shortly afterwards, a couple of Mega City Judges walked by, and I (trying to show off my geek credentials) suggested to “Judge McMahon” that his boots should be bigger. He suggested that he should smash my face in with a daystick. It’s good to see some of these people don’t break character.

Thought Bubble not only focuses on the traditional twin pillars of comic conventions, signings by professional comics creators and a ton of merch, but equally important to the day are the independent creators like us, and the cosplayers. A lot of people roll their eyes when they see cosplayers but I think it adds a lot of colour to the event, which would otherwise be predominately ragged, mundane looking men in t-shirts. And to be honest, I’d rather see Harley Quinn and Catwoman than, well, people who look like me. Talking of which…

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was by this. It doesn’t come across in the photo, but this guy was massive. He even had the cyborg asthma thing going on as well. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to taking that many photos (the ones I did get are all up on the Thought Bubble Facebook Group page) so I missed out some other notable costumes. By the way, I don’t care what anyone says, Vader with boobs is not canon.

Andrew has sold out of Chimpanzee Democracy, and has decided not to get any more printed, because he hates giving people what they want for money. He also hasn’t drawn any comics in ages even though we keep telling him his stuff’s ace. Rest assured we will keep nagging him. Oliver is a non combatant in the ongoing war of sequential art, but had brought his trusty ukulele along to give him something to do with his hands. He also offered to write a song for anyone who came to our table, but ended up musically accusing somebody of being a paedophile. This is probably not good business practise.

Similarly, offering all your sketches for just 50p is a bit daft, especially when some of them are quite good because you prepared them beforehand. I was inundated with requests including group portraits, Spider-Man and Stephen Hawking, which I dutifully completed, but neglected to take photos of any of them for posterity. On the plus side I managed to shift my “Edward Cullen: What a cunt!” pic. I guess now I need to do one where I call Wolfboy a bellend. What do you say, Twilight fans?

When you’re hell bent on selling your stuff there’s not much time left for networking with your comics making brethren, and certainly none for queueing up to meet the guy who writes “Elf Wizardz”. But having said that I think we had more people stop at our table than in previous years, many of whom said they weren’t massive comics fans but just came by to see what was going on and decided to stay because it looked interesting, which strikes me as very healthy. And the monkey on the cover thing? Totally works!

I had a brief chat with Award Winning Artist Neill Cameron, who I think got tired of me constantly referring to him as Award Winning Artist Neill Cameron, as he claims he hasn’t won any awards, but I reckon he’s just forgotten. You should check out his book Mo-Bot High, but don’t take my word for it. This review sums it up better than I ever could. We also finally met the guys from Geek Syndicate, who are thoroughly decent and charming fellas. I seem to remember them filming us trying, and failing to explain what HFTF is actually about. This is something I have difficulty with at the best of times, which is why I prepared this handy visual guide:

I’ll be honest with you, by this time some drink had been taken. I realise that’s an incredibly boorish thing to go on about, but we are no doubt friendlier when in our cups, even if our diction, penmanship and spelling suffers. Oliver was doing his usual trick of laughing loudly at someone else’s comic (in this case My Cardboard Life), and for some reason we were singing the hits of Boston, but this is just an indication that we were having a good time.

Soon after this we were swanning around the Alea Casino, like a badly dressed Rat Pack. In previous years we have bailed fairly earlier and found some dingy pub in favour of the after party, but this year we hung around. Pausing only to start a rumour that they were going to show Labyrinth in the screening room – I think we even started to believe that this would actually come to pass and we would be confronted by Bowie’s oversized junk on the big screen – we then moved on to the dancefloor, which resembled a wedding disco for nerds. People seriously lost their shit over the themes from Ghostbusters and Poddington Peas. After a while it turned into a bit of a 90s indie night, and I have to hand it to whoever had the idea to play Kandy Pop by long forgotten one hit wonders Bis. I thought we were the only people in the universe who remembered them (although I always preferred this), but everyone else was dancing along. This made Andrew’s night. Seriously, if he’d found a mint copy of Amazing Fantasy 15 in his loft he wouldn’t have been happier.

I saw a lot of happy faces that day, and that’s a testament to what a great atmosphere this convention has. We had a whale of a time, and can’t wait for next year. Congratulations to the organisers, for putting together such a successful event, and thankyou to everyone who came up to our table for a chat. And if you bought anything I’ll love you forever. Yeah I’ve turned over a new leaf. No longer am I the most miserable sod in comics (not while the guy that ran the UK Web & Minicomix Thing is around. JUST KIDDING. Or am I?).

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Oh Shit It’s Next Week!

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

For some reason I blagged my head into thinking it was at the end of the month, but apparently The London Small Press Expo is next week. I need to get ready! But I will be there, so if you have the urge to meet Leeds’ most iconoclastic comic book creators (Andrew’s so unconventional that he hasn’t drawn a comic since 2006), come along. We will have the new (to London) Hope For The Future issue 13, and er… some other stuff… possibly (if it gets delivered on time). And all the usual crap. If you ask nicely we may even draw you a stupid picture of Brian Blessed in Flash Gordon BECAUSE WE CAN!

By the by, Sandman cover artist and all round genius Dave McKean will be there. I dare you to go up to him and ask for a sketch of Gen 13.

EDIT:  COOL STUFF ALERT


Yes, we now have prints

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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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