Thursday 19 May 2011


G'day you exceptionally gorgeous blog-reader you,

It's been an incredible fortnight AND A BIT as I've done several noteworthy things

- drawn some stuff
- officially aged another year
- recorded the last Owen in Rock

First, let's just catch up with what my orrible hands and mind have been collaborating on, NORMALLY WITHOUT ME NOTICING.
This is, clearly, Dredd in the guise of Raymond Briggs's The Snowman. For the 2000ad art competition of May which involves interpretations of 2000ad characters as children's books. You can check the rest of the entries here - WARNING: The majority are better than this.
Here is something for phenomenal cat and extraordinary teacher of piano Richard "The Jenk" Jenkins - who recorded a new song with reputable man-about-town Dan Shandy ....
Movement by Crazyfoxmachine

By the way, it should be noted that the idea of a keyboard zebra or Zeyboardebra (?) was thought up by my girlfriend Jasmine, who literally comes up with everything interesting.
More from the Jenk, who is the nicest man in Glastonbury - him and the extraordinarily effervescent Amie Pendarves have a jazz group goin' on and I recommend it for those not afraid of joyous soul, funk and jazzy boogie.
Little wild west image for the immutable TAB. Constructed entirely digitally and with a cheeky texture flung in there to make it look INTERESTING.
Crabcake... returning... MY DOK. What do you mean you've never read Crabcake, ARE YOU MAD?! I can't help you with your growing insanity but I can fill in your Crabcake needs.

Here, the partial fruits of my Spring Slog - page one of MAMMOTH JACK for Van Dom's Vanguard anthology. Look out for that showing up in the future. Click on those words to find the full image of the thing. Gorgeous. The script that is.
Finally - the cover of my portfolio that sat gamely on my table at the Bristol comic con.....


Here is Dave Thomson & I - flogging our wares and looking extremely sceptical. Bristol was my first comic event as a seller (his too) and I was entirely terrified. My travelling companion was Chris Nolan-Rennie, an artist in Dr WTF and a thoroughly excellent man. This weekend was entirely about slotting myself awkwardly into a glorious scene that I've been on the outskirts of for a billion years. The last time I went to a convention (and it was Bristol) it was 2001 and I was fourteen. Ten years later, I was there with my comic under my arm and a tardis full of jelly babies...

I bumped straight into Dr WTF contributor Mike Bunt (artist of "The Secret of Comedy") and his extraordinary posse - and I proceeded to sit there and babble away as if I was watching the end of the world through a telescope. Overawed but powerless. The lettering machine Jim Campbell was the first to approach and say hello - seeing his bluntness on the forum made me anticipate severe grumpiness but he was extraordinarily chatty and had much to say on the hot topic of the "Crossbar I" in lettering. I'd never had an involved discussion about lettering comics before. This was a brave new world. A brave new world and a bar more expensive than Dubai. Seriously, each round seemed to cost about eighty percent more than I anticipated. I hate you Ramada. It was then I spied Richmond Clements and decided to run up to him excitedly (because a man who's flown down from Scotland needs noobs all up in his face). He introduced me to his chatting companions - Michael Carroll and John Higgins. URG. Michael Carroll, who designed the Dr WTF logo (as well as writing a recent run on Judge Dredd and a series of excellent books - seriously, click on his name back there), was charming and disarmingly interested in my tiny little small press anthology. Mr Higgins was involved in a conversation with Mr Clements about some such but I was so incredibly in the deep end of starting to feel quite overawed that I slunk (?) away to the bar to buy another seven billion pound drink. So overawed was I then that I instantly forgot my pin number and near locked my card. Out to the smoking area with me, where I had an animated discussion with NatWest. A familiar man watched me throughout as I explained "I had forgotten my pin number out of excitement". Only when the mess had been sorted and I wandered aimlessly back to Bunt and co did I realise it was Henry Flint. Balls. The night wore on - and the long-travelled Mr Thomson and his companion arrived (from SCOTLAND). I believe I met ... Dandontdare - ? I think - it became a slight blur. The final unfortunate comic thought (before taxi, garlic bread, and a hell of a lot of pin-number guessing ensued) was willing myself to talking to Bryan Talbot at the bar. I was under the impression I would wing it and it would work - however my mouth produced ultragash and all I said was that he was very good - and then proceeded to list everything I owned by him - followed by a reinstatement that he was very good. Gracious he was, although terrified was I.

After a brisk start my companion & I made our way to the con and sheepishly put together our table - cue alternate view - !
It was... amazing, to say the least. Rooms stuffed with artists, writers, floggers - all vying for attention, appreciation and sales. Costume'd gadabouts trawled the walkways - in all manner of guises -

Who goes that far and doesn't bother wearing a wig? That's a level of non-commitment I'm not even willing to think about. We sold a lot of Dr WTFs that day - thanks to the astounding level of artwork and the extraordinary loveliness of 2000ad forum folk. The most interesting purchase was to Johnny "I'm David Knight" Alpha (Writer of Dr WTF's "Quarry Planet") ...

Those aforementioned boarders mostly congregated around a table hosted by these lovely folk -

My two mentors - Mr Dave Evans & Mr Richmond Clements - editors of Dogbreath, Futurequake & Zarjaz - the premier British small press anthologies. Mr Evans was the man who gave me my first constructive criticism - and commissioned me to appear in Futurequake way back in...

*works it out*

the past. Don't click on that!!! Needless to say, he's the reason I was sat at the table down the way and flogging my own stuff. A glass raised to the man - as long as it's within his limit!

The sketches I got that day were from Kev Crossley - a supremely underrated bod who's portfolio brimmed with all manner of glorious physical goodness. I mean, the WHOLE THING was hand-drawn.
After the show, Chris & I took our ill-gotten gains into Bristol - seeking cider! We supped mightily at The Apple and The Orchard - finding many excellent apple-tinted beverages. Also we bumped into an extraordinary bistro, some fantastic houseboats and Aardman animation studios - before raggedly returning to the Ramada bar close to midnight. A lot of the big names had depleted after Azerbaijan's now-famous victory and only the dedicated remained. Bunt and a reduced posse, a slightly-squiffy but still-terrifying Bryan Talbot, a knackered Clements & Evans - The wonder group of that evening were LIZ & CONOR BOYLE, KERRIN and THE EMPEROR. Liz and Conor are extraordinarily lovely folk and contributors to Dr WTF (Liz wrote 'Canine' Conor drew 'Berlin') - Kerrin is a hilarious boardman who looks like an amazing mix between Eddie Izzard and Oliver Reed - The Emperor (Dr WTF writer of "The Secret of Comedy") stood as sober witness to the dregs of an evening where many MANY a man was presumed to be Charlie Adlard and I backed out of an impromptu meeting of great writing minds (Cornell, Ewing & Williams) I MUST DASH. More pizza, more taxi and a tiny bit of Doctor Who before sleep took poor Chris & I.


Apart from this sight, Sunday was a slow and sober affair. Barely any Dr WTFs were sold and browsers were pensive or uninterested. Such as it was - I spent most my time harvesting sketches of Doctor (s) from fellow panellers - you can see the results over on the Doctor WTF Facebook group . My eternal regret is that I didn't get a Doctor from Sean Phillips who WAS JUST OVER THERE - and from Nich Angell who was super lovely and basically a bit of a con beast. Coneast?

The primary thing I've learnt is that - SKETCHING IS HARD. Dave Evans asked that I drew my Anderson (which, by the way, is the partial subject of a Forbidden Planet post in which I preposterously get drawn alongside Boo Cook) in a sketchbook full of comic heroes. I freaked out and re-drew it a billion times and it was the most terrifying thing I've ever done. I've been sketching forever and convention sketching is... fucking tough.

Right. That's Bristol over with. If you weren't someone that I met or weren't involved, and you stuck with the whole thing, I'm bloody grateful that you read it. It took ages to write but it's basically been the pinnacle of my comic life so far - it deserves that kind of report really.

Also, it was my birthday on Tuesday. My endlessly excellent lady Jazz got me tickets to see a Stewart Lee stand-up marathon in London next weekend which should be EXTRAORDINARILY BRILLIANT if not clever, cynical and endearing. I love that man. He shouldn't pile his website with negative reviews though, eh? Silly sod. My main man Chris bought me Michael Palin's Around the World in Eighty Days and I spent the afternoon doodling and watching his adventures. Which is possibly the most calming bit of television ever recorded - a world were everyone is a bit silly and very human AKA the world we live in. Reassuring.

Other lovely men bought me quantities of cider and I have been slowly ingesting them and writing EXTREMELY lengthy blogs.

Sigh. Finally - I have put together the last ever Owen in Rock - with the now-familiar Richard Jenkins inputting a jazz corner - GIVE IT A LISTEN BY CLICKING ON THESE CAPITAL LETTERS HERE - thank you for all the requests and listens you beautiful bunch -

There'll be LESS in a fortnight. Thank you so much for reading it all if you have. Have a coconut.

O x