Posts Tagged ‘webcomics’

FMC! The True Hollywood Story!

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Critics may suggest that today’s post over at our sister site, Flying Monkey Comics, is sour grapes because of that fact that we don’t have a Wikipedia page, and all my contributions to that particular site keep getting deleted. There may be a smidgeon of a shadow of an element of truth in that. But with our appearance at Leeds’ Thoughtbubble Festival coming up, not to mention the credit crunch, I thought it was time to have a look back at the history of this planet bestriding comics collossus.

Of course, in order to celebrate our tenth anniversary of sequential farts, we have already posted up some of our old strips, including this semi fictionalised account of our artistic development. The current strip, however, is the true story, so if you are compiling the definitive story of our rise, fall and then semi rise, this is the place to look. And don’t forget to check back at the site later in the week for the next two parts of the sensational true life story of FMC, featuring celebrities, sex, nudity, scandal, and incongruous resignations.*

 

*Some of this is lies.

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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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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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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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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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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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