Friday, 26 December 2014

Rant of the week returns.

There really needs to be a fine system in place on Kickstarter and Patreon (is that still a thing?) for those users who fail to fulfill their orders in a specified time.

I have used Kickstarter twice now and they have both been experiences I'd rather not repeat. Both are comics related so I'm unable to speak of other styles of Kickstarter (music, tech etc).

In both cases I have had to badger the creator to actually send out the book long after they have been available in the shops (shops who had nothing to do with Kickstarting the venture).

There seems to be a policy with some of the less professional creators to just get the book printed and then sell it to shops and on their tables at conventions. (Or get it picked up by a publisher).

I thought I would have a look at one of these creator's other projects. Turns out that a 6 issue run of comics was successfully Kickstarted in 2012 and it has neither been completed, in many cases no issues have been sent off and the creator has moved on to another project that also people are asking when it's going to be sent out internationally.

Comments on one page I looked at said things like 'Are you still alive?'

If you pay for something you expect to receive it.

If you help fund a project you don't expect it to be available elsewhere long before you receive a copy (if that even happens at all).

From what I can see on the website some people are awaiting comics from years ago. How is that either ethical or legal?

I am tempted to say that you should just go back to making a project and then asking people to buy it.

Or is that me just me being old fashioned?

NIA.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Year of Comics - 2014.



Who'd have thought that this year in comics would top the last. I have had a brilliant year of creativity along with a few dips in disappointment.

Top of the list is the great friends of the St Albans Comics Club. We share laughs, road trips, beers, and a passion for comics that is always inspirational to me. Happy members all, Alex Martin, Marc Laming, Matt Harrower, Natasha Healey, Christian Wildgoose, Lara Margarida, The Boy Wonder and many more.



Mr Laming himself has literally exploded back into the American Comics scene with work for Dynamite Comics and Marvel. So chuffed that he has had this success and there is no stopping him now. It's down to him that I got some awesome name checks in Kings Watch, Flash Gordon and Legenderry. Every time I see my name in a comic I smile for a week!


It's also great that Christian Wildgoose and his partner Laura Trinder are getting the recognition they richly deserve. Just amazing work. And also richly deserved is the art job Lara did on the recent Flash Gordon special. There are great things on the horizon for this artist!

I have also dipped my toe back into creative writing with a plotting and dialogue assist on The Big Couch by my pal Matt Harrower. It's a cosmic battle bastard of the highest mind fuck and I can't wait for you to see it. Here's a little teaser of his style.



The comics journalism also kicked up a number of clicks this year with the slowing down and technical problems at BeardRock another door opened in the form of John Freeman's www.downthetubes.net This is the real deal and John has kept me busy with reviews, previews, Con reports and more. I am absolutely loving working for this site and learning from John's editorial skills.

I also have a great relationship now with the new Comic Convention titan on the block. Nottingham Comic Con will be in it's third year this coming October and I got to chair a panel with John McCrea, Marc Laming and Chris Wildgoose. We had a ball and I am hooked for next year (mystery guests to be revealed in 2015) and cannot wait!


Beyond those guys and gals I have met and become friends with some great talents over the year. Through an enthusiasm of the medium I have become friends with some genuinely exceptional talents. 

Pat Mills continues to be one of the greatest writers in the industry. His Slaine this year is easily one of the best stories ever (yes ever) in 2000AD. Our chats and email to and fros continue to brighten the corners of my life. He, Dave Houghton and I have shared beers and the odd meal here and there and talked through many a subject. So proud to call this guy a friend. He writes like a beast and has a moral core like nobody I ever met. His chat with Tardi recently at Foyles was awesome.

Mike Medaglia is someone who should be better known. Whilst I was writing for beardrock.com I came across his book Seasons and LOVED it. He's got a poetry in his line that nobody else has. He and I got to meet this year a few times and he was exceedingly kind enough to send me some original art from his books that now adorns my wall. I have an interesting interview with him that I will spring on him in the new year.



I've been lucky enough to meet loads of great comics people this year and hopefully I haven't left anyone out. Brian 'Hey Buddy' Vander, Ricky Miller and David White from the mighty Avery Hill Publishing, James Robinson, Wilfredo Torres, Jason Wood, David Price and Vince B (from the ever awesome 11 o'clock comics), Vera 'Tap Dancing' Greentea, Vince Hunt, Dave Stokes, Dean Beattie, Sally Jane Thompson, Leah Moore, Chris Thompson, Robin Harman, Adam Sharif (and all the guys from The Orbiting Pod), Alex DeCampi, Bukkake Bobby, Jon Scrivens, Andy Clift, Tim Bird, Paul Rainey, Paul Gravatte, Kev Brett, Tom Ward, Luke Parker, Alex Potts, Chris Sides and Chris Travell (and all the guys at Red Shift Comics), Elizabeth Querstret, Adam Cadwell, Rachael Smith, Mike Garley, Alfie Gallagher, Gareth Brookes, Steve Tillotson, Owen Pomery, Andy Poyiadgi, Julia Scheele, Jim Alexander, Ed Murphy, those awesome Futurequake people, Jessica Martin, Cristian Ortiz, Alice Mazzilli, Samantha Holmlund, Tom Digby-Rogers, Sam Webster, Robin Hoelzemann, Jeff Parker, Brian Level, Mike Grell and so, so many more. This list doesn't even include all the creators I have interacted with online.



The list of Conventions this year is huge. I loved every single one of them (well apart from NICE where everyone had decided to go home at lunchtime on the Sunday - just as we were arriving and the admission fee was too much). The NYCC was a highlight.




I finally finished a comic script and although it wasn't right for one creator I am still hopeful that I'll man up and get the balls to send it to others. We'll see huh?

It wasn't all high points and a couple of things in my comics life happened.

An aforementioned pal (in last year's round up) completely failed to understand my misgivings over Patreon and Kickstarter and became quite insulting about my partner. I understand things ain't going so well for this person so no names. Their reaction is evidence that they shouldn't really have contact with human beings (well until their spelling improves at least).

Out of the failings of my last LCS I moved to a new one (Orbital Comics) and am happier than ever. Finally a comic shop that takes pride in it's service and is staffed by excellently helpful people. Events, podcasts, exhibitions, back issues, sales it's all great. I thoroughly recommend Orbital. A real comic shop. The best I have been to in the UK in fact.

It's been a big year for comics. The movies and TV series are really finally spreading the love of these characters that we fans have all known about for years. I hope that these movie ticket sales can soon translate into comics sales.

As always I am thankful to have a great life that allows me to enjoy comics, a great son who also reads them and a great best mate who after 35 years of friendship is still there for a chat.

I've gone on a bit so I'll leave it here.

If you want a chat about this medium don't hesitate to contact me on here or on Twitter @Ezohyez

Many thanks for reading.

Ez.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The role of the writer.....kinda.

The anonymity of the writer.

His trade is in his words. Not in his black leather jacket, his grand beard, his jaunty hat, his slow pronounced sermonic speech or the fact that he had 4 million Twitter followers.

Speak through the words.

The character comes through the words.

Unless all you are interested in is the money then it's never about you. It's always about the jigsaw of words and paragraphs and pages..

Communicate, distract, thrill, love, hate, steal, flatulate, felate only through those. Nothing else matters.

Fuck the hype. Fuck the Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, signing, panel appearing, podcast boring, tap dancing shite of it all!

Move on world.

Yes this is an unrealistic, idealised world. But it doesn't stop it being one we can strive to attain.

Those that pander will be bummed by a panda.

Here endith.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Best thing from Thoughtbubble '14.



From Sally Jane Thompson. This may be my favourite purchase from the weekend.

Gorgeous line work!


Thought bubble 2014

Phew.

For me at least Thoughtbubble marked the end of a really busy convention season. With beardrock.com being down for ages I have started writing for John Freeman over at www.downthetubes.net

It's been great and I am loving the non stop writing. It's really been pushing me to write on the commute and not just when the mood takes me. John seems like a great guy and it's nice to have that editorial eye put over my work - I am really learning a lot from his input.

I have just come back from Thoughtbubble and sent John a 'freaking' big file of stuff for his website. I just thought I would pop on here and give credit to those not mentioned properly on that DTT piece.

It was a Comics Club outing again this year and the guys and girls were in fine form. My voice is a little horse from laughing (and shouting) for pretty much the whole weekend. 

I first met up with Alex Martin who insisted I keep up with him drink wise. This proved to be difficult as he is finely oiled machine in that arena. After sitting in a hotel bar for an hour devouring drinks it was pointed out by kind comics creator Roger Landridge that we were in fact in the 'wrong hotel'.

Making our way to the proper prearranged RV point we met with Dean and Victoria Beattie, Marc Laming, Dave 'Gangsta' Stokes, Natasha Healey and Matt Harrower. We headed off for a swift meal and then to a great rooftop bar.

The view from the misty bar.

We then headed downstairs to the party proper and chatted to Ben Read, Laura Trinder and Chris Wildgoose from Improper Books. Love these guys and without naming any specifically sexy acts we aimed our rockets at a certain Comics Club member and the hilarity continued.

In usual bar fashion it was a huge lark from beginning to end and I got annoyed/laughed with/shouted at/danced with all the right and wrong people. 



Allow me to point out at this juncture that being a baldy big head does not mean you rule the bar.

Also if you are a photo tracer do not interrupt my awesome comedy routines. 

Dance off with Harrower!


This night went on drinking and myself and Alex ended up back at the hotel bar putting the world to rights!

Like the good soldiers we are we ended back at breakfast ready for the convention bright and early.

The line was a strange affair this year and seemed only for the TB Teepee? (Evidence of Native American structure as below).


We then headed into the main hall without having to line up. It was a busy day and there were huge piles of comics creators to be seen both small press and big press. These interactions (where I tried not to make a complete fool of myself and totally failed) are listed over at the Con report on downthetubes.

However. Where the Fig were the back issues? There were very little on show. Chatting to a small press editor he told me that this was the first year that they picked and chose the table holders and it wasn't just first come first served. This is a real shame because I am always up for a big stack of back issues. Shouldn't at least part of every good comic convention have these?

Because of this (you will be mortified to hear) we didn't manage to play our usual game of 'Shit Comic For Under a £'. I know that Dean and Victoria were disappointed as they act as judges!

C'mon Thoughbubblers more old paper!?

(Neither of these three men is me! But that may be Columbo to the left of Doc Strange?)

The gang then met up with Lara Margarida, Bryony Evans and a lady who was funny but refused to tell me her details or her home phone number. We all went for a pizza and Alex ate a cake!

He shared this cake but I am not saying who with!

At this meal Matt shouted at me! I made a reference to runny eggs. Marc kept referring to a bus he was run over with. I was told my hair is like a beautiful Waterfall. Myself and Lara had the best hair there and may produce a TV series with us as detective hairdressers.

One lady told me she doesn't watch The Valleys. I didn't believe her. 

We then went to the bar again. 

I then drove home and snored a little at Leicester East Services - 'cos I am cool!

Out!