Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bristol Expo '12 and OTHER GOINGS ON


Before I get onto all that exciting convention pimpery I must mention Simple Things which was a sort of 'pop-up' festival that took place in Bristol earlier this month. As part of the festivities Jamella and Marmalad took over Vivian Stanshall's Old Profanity Showboat (now known as Thekla and considerably less psychedelic) 
You can see all the pictures here. As I understand there are still some left, so if you want a laminated cider-soaked giant Jamella strip for yourself or a loved one, give me a shout! Actual artists on the bill included Bo Ningen, a favourite band of mine as they are all-out heavy psych bonkertude. That always somehow get on the bills of like, indie festivals. The second were a sort of stoner blues band from Sheffield called Wet Nuns who generated a fucking absurd amount of noise between the two of them and possibly had the best on-stage banter of any band I've seen. Never before has a band been so sarcastic to their audience. Now - I'm not saying that on the entire bill there was no one else worth seeing. I just didn't see anything else. Because there was a cider festival elsewhere rammed with local applebrews that were £2.50 a pint... and, well the rest writes itself really. Also, if the man who yelled at me for breaking his van's wing mirror reads this. I'm sorry. Fax me your details. I'll fax you some money.
Our benevolent Tharg, who giveth with one be-gloved hand has announced that he will award prizes for the forum competitions. This may not mean a great deal to everyone that reads this but it makes me happier than bacon in a roll. Although I'm aware that strips of dead pig don't feel emotions and if they did they wouldn't be any happier in a roll than they would be anywhere else the point still stands. I am happy. Because I moderate the Art comp you see. ENTER NOW HERE WIN PRIZES. Subtext: I want bacon
We had our second meeting earlier this month and it went rather well despite post bank holiday wallet emptiness. A member was kind enough to bring along Ray Friesen who creates "Pirate Penguin versus Ninja Chicken" a lovely chap who was probably uttery bewildered by our cider fuelled conversation. The next meeting takes place June 12th in the Golden Guinea and there are more details here.

RIGHT, BRISTOL. Straight off the bat I'd like to say that no, it wasn't busy. As a result sales suffered and there really wasn't many punters. For someone like myself who doesn't make a living off cons and had to travel minimally and not pay for a hotel, this wasn't an issue. However, for those that had say, flown from Ireland or Scotland and make money from selling sketches - it's disastrous. That's not to say it wasn't a good con, it was a lot more intimate than any I've previously been to and I got quite a lot of time to chat to creators which was bloody marvellous.There have been a few aggravated voices about it, about Fallen Angel's advertising choices and the fact that it clashes not only with Mark Millar's cash cow Kapow but also with MCM the week after that. It's a crowded month May, perhaps the Bristol Expo'd be best suited to a different one despite the traditionalism of that placement (always around my birthday - the first one I went to was as a birthday trip in 2001 I got sketch from Simon Fraser AAAAAAAAAAAAND Frazer Irving and I saw Tharg walking around it was amazing). Who knows, all I know is that I've heard about three or four sellers saying that emphatically they wouldn't do it again. Which is hurtful, but reasonable. 
Right - now above is a picture of m'swag. The things I came away with. It's important to say now that I HAVEN'T READ ANY OF THEM. So this isn't reviews it's more just general pimpery. (Creators: I'm still yet to read things I bought at Inverness in April so bear with me - !) 
Keegan Jask
This is a collection of tales from Omnivistascope - written by the wonderful Paul Von Scott who gave me my first slot in a small press anthology. Solar Wind back in '06. I drew terribly. But that gave me the confidence to apply to others and press forward. Leigh Shepherd was also there and came to see us at the Dr WTF table but didn't say owt so I didn't know it was him!!! LEIGH *shakes fist* also - everyone should have name badges. Just saying. His art is always glorious and soft on mine eye.
A teasr comic given to me by Bristolian animator and artist Dani Abram and her INEXPLICABLY KNOW TO ME writer and chap Ian Matthews. Who I once spent a drunken evening at Glastonbury discussing Pearl Jam with a long, long time ago. 
Afterlife Inc.
Everyone was talking about this. It was ridiculous HOW many people were talking about it. So went to see the chap, Jon Lock, wot writes it. And he was very nice. So I bought it. Grant Perkins is in it, Nich Angell is going to do a crossover with it. If you see it, you should talk to Jon Lock and buy it. CONVERT. WE ARE MINION.
David Frankum
David Frankum is nice. Not only is he nice, but he's friendly and he drew me this picture of myself being attacked by a "Scare Tescrow" - a character he had removed from his Dr WTF strip for us. He was hanging around with the Massacre for Boys chaps (more on them momentarily). Awesome chap, hopefully we shall split tables and boogie to gypsy jazz again one sunny day!
Kingdom of the Wicked/D'Israeli
Upon seeing D'Israeli seated down from me I realised that I had bought everything I could possibly buy from him! Although - actually, I'd forgotten about this one. An early project with Ian Edginton that DC reprinted after the popularity of the phenomenal Scarlet Traces. Part of the slowness of Bristol was that I had time to sit with the masterful chap and have him go over my portfolio which was, possibly, the most amazing moment of my comiclife so far. He spoke excitedly about defining his "Desert Island 2000ad Strip" as McMahon's Sky Chariots and my instantaneous answer to the same question, although I didn't say it, would have been Scarlet Traces. (IT COUNTS IT WAS IN THE MEGAZINE).
Psircus/Daniel Bell
Daniel Bell is a comic machine. People have accused me of it, but Dan is actually GOOD. Unlike most small pressers he can do it all, colouring, lettering, writing, and he's a mean artist ALSO HE PLAYS GUITAR WTF. Psircus is a small anthology that you can buy RIGHT NOW here. I encourage you to follow the man he's a one man revolution and I'll never get done envying him.
Massacre For Boys
The brainchild of the glorious Denton brothers - Massacre for Boys is a taught book of BOYS STORIES. Heroes, villains and ACTION. I coloured some pages for it (drawn by the amazing Stephen Denton) Which you see below. David Frankum also drew a story. THAT'S RIGHT, DAVID FRANKUM. You can find out more here -- >
 Mark Pearce/Ronin Dogs
The supremely talented Mark Pearce produces books of the most astounding style. He's a Bristol Comic Creator and a chap. Find out more about him here or simply flag down a seagull and ask it. He trains them, you see.
Disconnected Press
 Disconnected Press is here! They launched at Bristol - a new anthology series brainspawned by the amazing Boyles. Conor and Liz. I'm not certain if I've stumbled apon an intentional contradiction in their name but they are easily the most well-connected people I know in the small press. EVERYONE is involved Richmond Clements, Rich McAuliffe, Gavin Mitchell, Matt Timson, Louis Carter, Neil McClements, Tom Foster, Greg Meldrum etc etc. Me. (I lettered Lost:Boys) So they're not THAT lucky ;) <-- INVESTIGATE
Lou Scannon
Now, I said people were talking about Afterlife Inc, I said that Disconnected Press were connected. But HOLY SHIT I hear about Lou Scannon all day every day from every single person alive (exaggeration). I went and showed them a test colouring thing I did of Trystan Mitchell's Lou Scannon. They are lovely. Find out more, buy the issue, continue the hypewheel!
James Stayte
James Stayte is so cool that once he slapped Samuel L Jackson on the wrist and said "No, Samuel. Stop it." (This never happened) He is SO cool that he once got onto the back of a shark and made it swim to the wreckage of the Titanic, whereapon he got in there and began to dance (that didn't happen either). Either way, he's certainly cool enough to see through this rather disastrously unfunny attempt to build hype and mystique around his person. Instead I'm sure he'd rather I said you can see his amazing art on and you can buy his amazing art at the MCM expo in London next weekend or from his website. Sorry.
Jess Bradley
 One of the many cavalcade of images by the phenomenal (and phenomally popular) Jess Bradley who has on her stand more merch than I'VE EVER SEEN ANYWHERE EVEN IN DISNEYLAND I'VE NEVER BEEN TO DISNEYLAND. A Bristol comic creator and a genius - you can find her here
Nich Angell
 Here he is with his MONSTROUS CAT & MERINGUE creation. Nich is, was and I suspect always will be, the nicest and most hard-workin' chap in small press. Cat & Meringue for example, is his DAILY webcomic. See all those cons that go on (one as I type)? He's at them. All of them. Selling his wares, building his fanbase UNTIL ONE DAY THEY ECLIPSE THE SUN. Then he will strike. For what is Nich doing when he's not drawing or selling at cons...? He's BIDING HIS TIME.
I defy anyone to see that cover and not want to buy the whole bloody lot of Orbital. So I did. I'd been eyeing up since Inverness and now was my chance. I got a reduction because I drew a sketch of one the characters. I fucking love Cinebooks. I don't want to say that European creators piss all over us, but they kind of do.

- Things I didn't Buy but Should've -
Shamefully there are a few that I didn't get 'round to supporting that I really regret - but the next comic show or online they will receive my money and the very least I should mention them here. 
I met and had a very enthusiastic chat with Tim Keable the artist of West which I've been assured IS VERY GOOD. There was also an anthology called Stray Bullets with WJC and others in that looked HIGHLY appealing - ugly stupid bugger that I am I didn't get 'round to picking it up. But I can and will with the magic of the internet at Angry Candy's online store

Stiffs & The Pride
The upsettingly talented Adam Cadwell & Gavin Mitchell are behind bits of this. And they were sat behind me. And I didn't buy it. Like a fucking cretin. You really must see this stuff and Look into it!
Jennifer Wilde
Q: Owen, what's dumber than not buying the amazing comic of the guys sitting behind you?
A: Not buying the amazing comic of the guy sharing your table
D'oh.  Stephen Downey is incredible, he was sketching and sharing a table with me and stuff he came out with was so beautiful I WEPT BLOOD. I leafed through Jennifer Wilde, I admired it! I DIDN'T BLOODY BUY IT. When I got home and took the picture of my stash I realised I hadn't and I physical hit myself in the face. With a fork. 

Shore Leave/WJC Comics

I'm not going to over-stress this point too much so I'll say this only once and in bold. I FUCKING LOVE WARICK JOHNSON CADWELL. He's a genius, he's a gentleman and his comics make me so happy that I literally dance before and after reading them. Shore Leave was a collection of postcards really, views of a salty cove - that he personalises with "tattoos" on the backs of each book. They were spectacularly gorgeous and I failed to buy one like a jerk.

Right. That's that done - roll on whichever convention I do next. Not sure what that'll be but keep your face peeled - !
 Here's me with the El Bigote comic that I did a TEQUILA WORM based logo for. Bolt-01 did the letters and the cover was a combined effort of El Chivo and the amazing Matt Soffe. Chivo did the interiors and Matt "Locusts of Death" McLaughlin wrote it. It's a lovely wee comic and there's a couple of pin-ups coming up drawn/coloured by meself. 

New webcomic!!! Written by my faithful Robpanion; Rob Phillips. I've had some good feedback and I managed to hand out some printed versions of it Keep your eyes on for more
 Flaubert, as ever, written by the glorious Jasmine Woods. Things, uh, are about to go QUITE ODD in Flaubert land. So strap in - that'll arrive this Friday on t'Facebook page ;)
Some teasers for the Elemental comic WHICH IS BEING PRINTED AS WE SPEAK. More details in the next blog by which time it will have emerged ;) Special thanks to my first ever flatter Mr Kenneth Bryan Diez who you can contact here if you want flatting done quick and cheap!
 Monopoly-style chance cards done for the Screama Ballerina band who are lovely and not a bit silly. Video that they're featured in below :D BUY THE SINGLE. 
 Our wee spot at the con. Didn't sell spectacularly as stated above but a lot of cards and flyers went - NOT TO MENTION ALL THE JELLY BABIES.

Here are some of the creators with their pages - ! That's Neil McClements, David Broughton and Gavin  Mitchell to you! Talking of Broughton - the chap has ALREADY finished his pages for the Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel - here's a sneaky peek....
 All together... ooooOoooH! There are less than TEN PAGES left to fill in the first issue now - so get your submissions in quick to - and if you want a copy of Dr WTF 2012 give us a shout on :D

Cheers :D

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