Wednesday 23 November 2011

Thought Bubble 2011

So Thought Bubble happened. I was very kindly given a little space on the Zarjaz/Futurequake table by the extraordinarily fantastic Mr Dave Evans. We sold a few Dr WTFs and it was a truly fine weekend - for reasons I WILL EXPLAIN

Here's Jazz, Dave and myself - (photo by John Burdis) notice the new DR WTF SHIRT that I've got on. Lawdy it's a beauty. Right, right where to start? Let's do this the only way I know how - ALPHABETICALLY

- Bryan Talbot -
The superlative Talbot (and his computerpaintytacular son Alwyn who was in dire need of sandwiches) were in residence for both days and I made sure to hop over and get a copy of Grandville: Mon Amour from him. He was showing off pages from the third book (in which Toad of Toad Hall is the villain!) and kindly drew me Sarah (le badger) in the front. I don't want to go on about it too much but I shaded her hair at his request. Not because he could see a burning artistic talent within me, not because he wanted to test my skills and declare me MASTER OF SHARPIE but because he wanted to save some time. OR WAS IT.  
I also spied that he had The Tale of One Bad Rat on sale - which was my favourite graphic novel when I was growing up (they had that - as well as Watchmen - in my school library but I'd not bought it until now). The final page of which has to be the most beautiful things ever published. I was also drawn a rat in this, although my shading skills were not required.

- Colin MacNeil -
Singularly the nicest man in comics (which is a phrase that is bandied around a lot but I've yet to meet a more receptive and smiley fellow in my VAST convention travels that started this May). More than this I cannot say - but he was selling pages of his original art for £30!!! and have you seen pages of his art? It's like being licked by Jesus.

- Conor & Liz Boyle -

Very happy to see the Dr WTF 2011 contributors (FOR THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE KNOWN FOR) drop by the Zarjaz table and say hi on a few occasions. Not only this but his and (Krill Tro Thargo winner) Rich McAuliffe's Dark Judgement 1 & 2 were selling like hot rockie cake rocks throughout the weekend. I finally picked them up as well and absorbed them both on the train back. Bloody spooky and extraordinarily good. Mr Boyle had a more spectacular TB than anyone else I'd met and had advice and future plans coming out of his ears by the end - you can read more about his adventures over at his blog

- D'Israeli -
The man known occasionally as Matt Brooker was there - and I dragged my Brumbought copy of his collected Timulo for him to sign. Which he did, then promptly ran off to get his copy of "Ro-Busters" signed by Mike McMahon. Which I'd call wondrously sweet and I was left to ponder the fanboyishness of my heroes. I later gave him a copy of Jazz & I's Flaubert teaser which we were handing out for free over the weekend.
 FLAUBERT St CLOUD (GOAT) - Did you get yours? Goat I mean, ignore the cider. Actually never ignore cider. 

- Dan Bell -
I met Mr Bell again, a fine young cannibal I MEAN ARTIST who's contributing to Dr WTF 2012 - a strip about a gorilla - Which I will say no more about now. Oh no no no. Check out his art here. He was one of those VERY BRAVE few who submitted stuff to the Tharg's Dragon's Den thing. I wouldnae of had the nads - I mean Matt Smith was over there, and my portfolio was y'know, shite. 

- Forumfolk (John Burdis, Pete Wells, Spireite, Dunk, Mike Marshall, Dandontdare) -
What's particularly memorable about all conventions I've been to is putting a face to the avatars that chinwag away on the 2000ad forums. I met, for the first time, the incredible Pete Wells who has his own block in Megacity and the remarkable John Burdis who... well - this is how he was when I met him:
 Then he beat up Bolt
 Then, for an encore he chatted merrily with Richmond whilst IGNORING Colin MacNeil. Although to be fair that visor doesn't allow for good vision.
 By the last day - John had accumulated a vast array of the most beautiful sketches I'd ever seen. Particularly one by Simon Davis - and another by Kev Walker both of whom to my regret I didn't get scrawls from. Although we did have a chinwag with the former who inadvertently wrote his contact details on my sketchbook. Which is kind of like queuing up and getting a beautiful sketch. Kind of. John Burdis owns the Cellar of Dredd - possibly the most imposing collection of Judge Dredd merchandise in the known universe. You can sneak in here.
Some wonderful drinks were had with forumers at The Palace on Saturday night... and... somewhere along the line a Dreddhead drawing contest was initiated. I don't recall what I drew. All I recall was Jazz winning second place and ... Pete Wells drawing nipples. The Boyle's have them now - for bribery purposes. 

- Hellraisers -
I picked this up thanks to a recommendation from Liz Boyle and ALSO an old old edition of SFX. The authors were particularly nice and the thing was a barjin. I also got a picture of Peter O'Toole in there - which is no OLIVER REED but then everyone was getting them and I needed people to know through the most obscure medium possible that I was... an original. A wild one.

- Kev Levell -
As if by magic, Levell appeared - he's a fucking fantastic artist by the way - and we had a gurt lovely chat about... well - Kyuss and Pearl Jam really. Comics? Who said anything about comics?! Also, unbeknownst to me, his face was about to crack out the most awesome gurn.
Which, compared to Jazz's helmet attempt, is far more menacing
...happiest judge ever?

- Lee Carter -
John Burdis had got himself a Dredd from Mr Carter and I was compelled to seek him out and rub in his face how annoying I can be. Ever since he appeared in the prog I've been dying to know how he comes out with his amazing stuff. Turns out it's a mixture of scanned-in textures, fine pencils and a FUCKTON of training and talent. Dammit. I've got a scanner and pencils, but that's about it. A Brainblooms story he did earlier this year in 2000ad was about the best thing that the prog has come out with for many a month. MORE CARTER.

- Louis Carter -

Another Dr WTF contributor showed up and I CAUGHT HIS FACE FOR THE FIRST TIME. The wonderfully weird Louis Carter - who is drawing something quite strange for next year's issue. 

- Mike McMahon -
So there it was - the reason that D'Israeli rushed off and the corner that everyone in the know rushed to. The legendary McMahon himself was cosied away sketching FOR FREE not selling anything at all. Just being charming and being there. A towering god of art - I found it almost impossible to talk to him - partially because I had one of his covers on my shirt. Why that should be awkward I don't know, but it simply was. Then he drew Slaine.
In my sketchbook. On the reverse of a picture of a cat I'd drawn. 
McMahon's Slaine on the reverse of a picture of a cat I'd drawn. 
The cat had a jetpack and a top hat on.

- Nich Angell -

The eternally lovely Nich Angell - who is MORE CONVENTION THAN MAN - was there, and I shepherded his new works into my flock... of books. I highly recommend you click on this here and give the bugger a look.

- Peter Doherty -
I'd never met Peter Doherty before. He was nice. What was nicer (not implying he wasn't nice) was a print which I purchased from him and promptly left in Jazz's Sheffield clutches. He signed it. He hadn't drawn the picture but he'd added his soft tones. The picture had been signed by the artist.

The artist was Geof Darrow.

- Steven Denton -
It was also a pleasure to meet small press stalwart Steven Denton - whose amazing linework I'm colouring soonish. Could've done without everyone saying "god Denton's an amazing colourist - who could colour him?!" No pressure. No pressure. 

- WJC -
Finally. A man worthy of all the praise known to man. The fantastic, appallingly brilliant Warwick Johnson Cadwell - his art is as vibrant and visceral as you can get and I'm consistantly hypnotised by his work. His comics were cheap but outstanding I very much reckon he's a god.

Thought Bubble was, in short, the best convention I've ever been to. The amount of comic fans who themselves are artists, editors, writers... the amount of artists, editors, writers who are comic fans - the love for the medium is writ large on the faces of all in attendance. It's bloody infectious. It's why I spent all evening writing it all up and it's why I'm flying to Inverness for two days next year. Bolt deserves all the credit for giving me a space and letting me help him out. It was an absolute honour to sell Zarjaz!

At last - an archaeological edition of Time Tales. Contrary to popular opinion, the bearded fellow is not Matthew Law. Shame shame shame.

The Jammy Flashback is finally over - but there's evil afoot. What has all this got to do with bulldogs, eh? Stay tuned!
FINALLY after an absence of TEN MONTHS Flaubert has returned. Only, y'know - in a vastly different style. Such is the passage of time. I do hope, if you were one who got the first three parts in the freebie, you'll still follow it. Despite the dramatic shift!
For TAB. YES it should technically be "Superbole" but who are you? The grammar police?! What do you want, a medal? Ach! ACH STOP SPRAYING PEPPER SPRAY IN MY FACE. Topical.
A logo for my housemates who are entering "GRILLSTOCK" in which groups of people GRILL without fear of rebuke. Also for competition. Ach! ACH STOP SPREADING PEPPER RUB ON MY FACE. 
Finally - here's an image for my friend Pip who keeps owls, hawks, rabbits.. basically every living thing on the entire planet. Naturally I deciphering this as her being some manner of wandering iron-woman style person. It makes sense as much as I make pie. And I'm not making pie, I'm writing a blog.

We've had a good fortnight, us WTFers. Sold quite well at Thought Bubble with still enough issues left for people to buy one RIGHT NOW and have it DELIVERED you want one?! Give me a shout! I may have been able to recruit some lovely new artists - if anyone's interested in doing a one-pager then hurl me a line. Then I'll grab the line, then we'll talk.

Also - the aforementioned Louis Carter and I cooked up this little teaser for his nuts-as-badgers-nuts strip for Dr WTF 2012 - 


Wednesday 9 November 2011

Halloween etc


Just a run-through of all that went on in the last few weeks - with pictures, hyperlinks and FREQUENT BOUTS OF THIS KIND OF THING.

First off, I bought a table for Bristol 2012 - it crippled the budget a little but it's where Dr WTF emerged last year, it cemented my conviction to move to Bristol and it seemed to contain an astrological alignment of awesome folk. Worth every penny I think.

The drawn-on moustache can only mean ONE THING! Halloween happened. Due to some accidental glasses ridiculousness and budgetary constraints (see previous paragraph) it was a fairly indoorsy weekend but there was much cider consumed and SATIRICAL PUMPKINS WERE USED AS PUNCHBOWLS.
Over the Halloween period I got two superior guitar-based gigs in as well. The first was John Fairhurst, a steel-guitar botherer and supremely talented fellow who I absorbed in a local pub - much to my own surprise. The second was Anna Calvi - with all sparse riffy atmospherics and that. In an old church. ON HALLOWEEN. Spooky. All credit to Ann Marie(?) and the unparalleled Mullendo for dragging me along to both!

Afore I get on to art pimping do support STRIP magazine - a new British anthology (we need more of those) featuring PJ Holden, John Ridgway, John McCrea etc with SUPERIOR lettering throughout from the superlative letterer Jim Campbell! Go on. They've brought back Hookjaw.


Hohoho The finale to the second ever Time Tale. HILARIOUS, isn't it? No? You do better - write me a three-part time tale and I'll do it. Go on. I DARE YOU.
The sixth and seventh parts of Jamella and Marmalad - observe the first defeat of the Jammy Dodger and the first appearance of Jamella's parents! HOW CURIOUS. We are lodged in a jammy flashback. All due nods to the beautiful Jazz Woods wot writes 'em!
Ah! The third part of Flaubert St Cloud (Goat) - a FREE teaser of which will be available at Thought Bubble this year. The art is a tad out-of-date. BUT OH WELL ;) If you see me or Jazz then shout us down and you'll 'ave it.
A non-existent cover for a non-existent comic that no-one is interested in - back to the drawing... bed. You'll be pleased to hear I won't be doing any more of these non-collaborative hero-bating things again - it's ultimately just disappointing. Tis much more rewarding to just please yourself. Ignore the innuendo and let us continue!
Here's a skeletal facsimile of Locusts of Death - forthcoming editor of an 'orror comic and jobbing small press writer extraordinare. DO check out his collaboration with Ghostpockets in the free horror comic Hallowscream. It fucking beggars the mind.
Don't have nightmares.
A birthday image for my friend Sophie - featuring her INCREDIBLY POPULAR Sherlock shirt design - and Matt Smith.

Here's some fantasy heads also - from a project that will never happen. C'est la wotsit.

And what an entry we have for you this fortnight, the FIRST OFFICIAL teaser, a BIT OF PLEADING and THE RAMBLINGS OF A MADMAN.
Ain't she a beaut?! From a special little tale by David Frankum. What a lovely man.

Secondarily - we need artists. If you've not got involved thus far and you think you can do three or five pages for the 1st of February deadline... I NEED YOU. 


It started moons ago, when David Tennant was on the throne. I produced this bit of rot in 2007.

"Metal Paul, killer of posers and wearer of denim was overjoyed when he was called back by the beeb with regards to his Whoaudition (hastily organized when David Tennant was killed to death by several angry Whofans who 'really thought the mockney gurning was just getting too much')."

When it was announced that Matt Smith was taking over as the Doctor I saw red - assuming "a romcom in space" type affair might occur. So in 2009 I tried to picture THE MOST HARDCORE Doctor - a battle-scarred veteran of a thousand psychic wars who'd been living on the edge so long where the winds of limbo roar (cheers Moorcock).
Here he be (although he's been remastered since observe my standard titles) and I got quite into the idea of him really. He'd nicked the uniform off of an abusive general who had been feeding his troops to an alien of some sort - and his companion was to be a Union soldier (a la Jamie I suppose who is surely the best companion of all time). After this he grows a beard and meets his former self in the snow - who is shocked, either at the prospect of his own future or the terrible skills of O before he got a graphics tablet and learnt how to letter.
Immediately after this he gets into a fight with a dinosaur who tries to eat his TARDIS. Also I don't think that's a Civil War uniform anymore... it looks like Jeremiah Phallushamr's uniform. Shit. 

At some point later in his timeline he adopts a more Otastic purple suit - where he appears in an alleyway de-bearded to confront an implausible action figure from the Ghostbusters cartoon.

WHAT OH WHAT WILL THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THIS IMPLAUSIBLE NON-CANONICAL DOCTOR? IT'S UP TO YOU. Also the Weekly Themed Art Blog as I've decided I'm going to slot him into everything I do for them now. Ahahahahaha.