Posts Tagged ‘Dance Magic Dance’

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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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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Reflected Sounds Of Underground Spirits

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Terry Pratchett’s books were a big part of my childhood. Aside from being endlessly imaginative and entertaining, he had the knack of making his readership, mostly awkward fourteen year old boys, feel more intelligent than they actually were. Much like contemporaneous TV comedy like  Blackadder, Red Dwarf and (the newly repeated) Monty Python. It was a perfect storm for me, entrenched in Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks and D&D.

It was David Langford’s review of The Colour Of Magic in White Dwarf magazine that made me pick up that book in the first place. Even though the references to Fritz Leiber, Anne McCaffrey and HP Lovecraft went straight over my head, I was hooked by the adventures of failed wizard Rincewind and his tourist pal Twoflower. Pratchett’s world, and his audience increased exponentially over the years (the last one I read may have been 1994’s Soul Music “he looks a bit Elvish”). By all accounts the later books are far superior to the early ones I read, but there will always be a place in my heart for them.

The Colour Of Magic: Not available in Photoshop

 

 

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