Sunday, 15 January 2017

Top Ten Lists are Shit!

To keep in with the cool kids I thought I'd do my top ten shits.

1. Central Park 3am - both ends. Aug 1998.

2.  The toilets at the Old Den, New Cross. Jan 1989. (West Ham scored!)

3. The Blackstock Arms, Finsbury Park. June 2006. (No door).

4. Horse and Groom. Bury St Edmunds. Nov 1986 (fell asleep and they closed).

5. The Silver Buckle. Camberwell Green. May 1994. (No door & no light).

6. House party. Peckham. Xmas 1994. (Person asleep in bath).

7. Bush. A12. Winter 2000. (Had been eating beetroot and worried something was up...)

8. This morning. In and out no messing (well, a little bit of mess?)

9. Once. Just once. By accident. (Bit of a surprise tbh).

10. Right now. What else are smartphones for?  


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Nottingham Comic Convention 2016.



We all do stuff for the love of comics. We do it for free especially on great sites like downthetubes. It also seems that there are a series of cynical money grabbing 'Comicons' out there who charge you to come in then rinse you of your coins before booting you out the other end. This we know.

But sometimes you find an event that is all about the love of the medium. The love of the comics community and the art that cheers up your day. Nottingham Comic Convention is now in its fourth year and is guaranteed to brighten up your day. Kev and Kel are the organisers and a hardworking pair of people they are too. I personally attend a couple of comics events every month and I can't recall one that was so smoothly run with a genuine enthusiasm and sense of humour.

Couple the above with the fact that this convention is run to raise money for some really worthy charities. The Royal British Legion, The Ear Foundation and The Marfan Trust and for me this is a must attend event in the convention season.



For the third year of its run it has been held at Nottingham Conference Centre. The organisers were keen to encourage the growing Small Press and Indie scene this year with guests like the mighty Avery Hill Publishing, Rachael Smith, Sally Jane Thompson, Dead Canary Press and Improper Books.



To this attendee this was a one day event that managed to join the cool small press scene with a big dollop of Professional 'big two' players and a colourful mix of cosplayers and stalls. After getting in early I set about buying some back issues before the doors opened. I managed to find some reader copies of The House of Hammer and The Halls of Horror to fill some gaps in the collection. There was also a healthy dose of reasonably priced back issue sellers at this event too.


This was a really great find from a stall that seemed to specialise in 1970s and 1980s UK magazine format comics. 




Once the doors were open it was all about getting round to see pals and creators. First on the list was my favourite collaborator Jen Brown (@JenRhyssa28 on Twitter and can also be found at www.dragonfairydesign.co.uk). She and I have done a short page strip for the Nottingham Comic Con anthology called 'Forest Tales'. We did a pastiche on the old girls comic Misty and called it 'Shifty'. It tells the story of a plucky 1970s, East End, shoplifting vampire girl. 



I then popped over to see pal and comics creator Nick Prolix (seen above with Dave Robertson on the left). His webstrip The Sheep and the Wolves has just been packaged into a comic and is a joy to read. It tells the story of a London long gone by full of cool kids and is chocked full of character. Head over and grab a copy at www.thesheepandthewolves.com.



Nick turned out as a big hit on a panel he shared with equally funny and educational guests Chris Imber and Sally Jane Thompson. (Wiith Alex Martin asking questions).



Chris Imber and Chris Jenkins run the Indie publishers Reckless Hero. This company is fast becoming a really slick operation. They produce books of real quality that could easily be part of an Image or Dark Horse comics stable and they do so with bags of wit and talent. I had a chat with both the guys and they have got some really interesting projects in the pipeline with some new creators onboard.

Pop over to www.recklesshero.com and find out some more.



I also got to chat to Darrell Thorpe (aka Forpe) and hear about all the new projects he has in the pipeline (yup, that's an axe he has there - in your face 'MCM Weapons Policy'!) His comics and prints were full of crazy imagination and individually observed quirky humour. Genuinely refreshing to read and a fun guy to chat to I thoroughly recommend a click over to www.forpe.co.uk to see some more of the sam.


As a big friend of The Awesome Comics Podcast it is always great to chat to Chris Baker from Dead Canary Comics. His book The Last Driver (with art by the National Treasure Shaky Kane) has just dropped after a hugely successful Kickstarter run is eye Poppingly Good. So do yourself a favour and go pick it up!

www.deadcanarycomics.com or @DeadCanaryComic on Twitter.


What you going to do at a comic convention without Christian Wildgoose and Laura Wildgoose. Two of my favourite people and comics artists they were there with the equally spot on Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton. I managed to keep up with them in the drinking stakes in the pub and also got to hear some great news from Improper Books. 

Matt and Sara have just launched the third issue of their ruddy excellent series Mulp on the public, Laura is gearing up for Halloween with her intricately detailed and gorgeous kids comic The Night Post and Christian showed me pages from his third instalment in Improper's Porcelain series and his upcoming run on DCs Batgirl. To a person this company puts out beautiful product. Get on this and don't be late to the party for a group of creators who are going places.

www.improperbooks.com or @ImproperBooks on Twitter.



I hadn't seen the prolific Andy Bloor for quite a few months so it was great to chat with him and look through his portfolio. Any is without a doubt one of the secret weapons of the Indie comics scene. His use of bold characters and solid blacks works excellently in the horror/action genre he has been working in of late. Pop over to www.andrewblooor.blogspot.com and have a look for yourself.


My old mucker Marc Laming (seen above with Vince Hunt looking like the doormen on a nightclub you probably wouldn't go to sober) was on hand to sketch and chat to fans about his recent work for Marvel on their Star Wars comic, Avengers and Planet Hulk. He also had a fit of the giggles later on a panel with Chris Wildgoose (obviously the trouble maker) and Roger Langridge.

Pop over and have a look at some of the art Marc is producing for his upcoming stint on Ninjak for Valiant Comics. Stunning stuff indeed. Find him @monkey__marc


Matt Harrower was there and it was great to see him after his triumphant strip I recently reviewed in Dark Matter issue 2. Matt was showing off some artwork from quite a few upcoming projects that are bound to open your eyes to this exciting artist. I have been a fan of Matt's work for a couple of years now and can't wait for others to catch on.

Find him at www.hpmatt.blogspot.com or on Twitter @hp_matt


Those two talented maniacs Emily Owen and Gavin Mitchell were on hand to abuse me.. Currently engaged (so calm down Fanboy Nation) Gavin is just finishing up on a graphic novel that will show the British Comics industry that this is a guy they should bee fighting over! Grab a copy of Santa Claus vs The Nazis from Gavin and find him at wwww.gavinmitchell.blogspot.com or find Gav on Twitter @bobgoblynn and Emily @TommboyPrincess.


It was also great to see Will Overton (pictured above with his son) had a table. Always there with a witty comeback he is a ball of energy and the creator of the fun and jam packed Smart Bomb magazine! This combines retro gaming and amazing visuals to produce a magazine that is well worth your coin and time. A great guy to chat to at a Con.

Find Will at www.wiloverton.carbinmade.com or on Twitter @Kosmikat


All in all you are going to have trouble finding an event as friendly and fun as Nottingham Comic Con. Our comics frolics continued into the night and it would be remiss of me not to namecheck comics pal and excellent panel co-host Alex Martin and comics drinking pals Sarah Harris and James Gibbs. Much hilarity was had.

So, make sure you attend next year. You'll have a blast.

MMany thanks for reading.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

NYCC 2016 - Con Day 3 'Speed Dicks are Cool!'


Saturday is the big day for Conventions. I'm sitting here writing in one of the rare seated areas just bracing myself for the impact of the crowds. Crushed beyond belief it can sometimes take you up to forty-five minutes to cross from one side of the convention centre to the other. This is also the big day for the Cosplayers. The outer lobby and the car parking area outside the building are full of cardboard, foam and feathers. 



But c'mon! That's not why I am here. I'm here for art, comics back issues and to meet the creators. Artists Alley is normally the most civilised of the various areas in the Javitts Centre but today is going to be carnage. It is hard to pause or stop to look at something or chat to a buddy or creator because this rushing river ain't stopping. 


You think the above photo looks like a crush it isn't anything compared to the main retailer floor in the next building!


I used the advantage of being in early to catch a few minutes with Chris Burnham and grab a copy of the hardback presentation of Officer Downe. Written by Joe Casey with some crazy art by Chris this is not a book for the faint of heart. Gorgeously mental in each panel I got a copy for my University age son and Chris Burnham told me how excited he is for the movie that comes out in November. 

Find out more about Chris at www.chrisburnham.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBurnham.


LOOK AT THAT PRINT!!! LOOOK AT IT! Paolo Rivera is a beast. This is a print from a page of his in The Valiant from last year. It's also a series that Mr Vander bought on my recommendation and just bloody incredible. 


I also got to catch up with Fabrice Sapolsky who is the writer on the new Dynamite Comics series called The Intertwined. We chatted about his home in Paris and how he finds the US comics scene more condusive to his style of writing. This is a series with a full on Old Skool kung-fu movie vibe to it and is well worth a punt.

Have a look at all the products from the mighty Dynamite Comics at www.dynamite.com and follow them on Twitter @DynamiteComics.

You can find this creator at www.fabricesapolsky.wordpress.com and on Twitter @Fabricesapolsky


This is a photo of Alan White aka NewMutant. One of my favourite people in the small press scene and it was doubly cool to meet him as it is also his birthday!!! Buy  his comic The Power Principle at https://www.comixology.com/The-Power-Principle-10/digital-comic/376445?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=ThePowerPrinciple%2310&utm_content=Submit+Email&utm_term=Indie+Comics or follow him on Twitter @NewMutant or have a read of the story online at http://thepowerprinciple.co/

Happy Birthday Alan!


The upcoming movie Valerian: The City of a Thousand Planets was getting a big push at NYCC this year. Not only did they have a big green screen booth they also had a Valerian only shop that was showing off these fuckers. Looking like a night out in Newcastle these were getting a lot of attention from punters. This coincided with some new teaser footage of the movie.

Directed by Luc Besson this has some real promise and I can't wait to see it. Also great to see the English translations out of www.cinebook.com getting some much deserved publicity.


I got to chat to one of the storyboard artists on the upcoming Justice League Dark movie Kirk Van Wormer. He's an interesting chap and has also worked on Batman: The Killing Joke, The Venture Bros and Chasing Amy. We talked about our love of the John Constantine character and how great it is to see him returning in the DC TV Universe as well as the animated movie.

I bagged a great print from him for my Hellblazer obsessed son.



I then headed off with Marc Laming to his signing at the IDW booth for their Star Trek comic line. Laming managed to sign a book for me (along with Donny Coates the writer - 2nd from the left) without drawing a speed cock on it. Nicely done sir!

I'm just back at my room and there is just one more day of the Con left. Thiis year has been fuller and a tiny bit more tiring than usual. Oh well, I'll soon be back to work for a rest!

Oh, here's a few more photos from the weird and wonderful world of cosplay nonsense 'cos I know you love them!





They also seemed to be giving these away??? Anyone would think there was an election on!












NYCC Day 2 of Con - 'The Ghost who Poos....'


The second day of the NYCC 2016 was pretty ruddy great. I once again managed to blag it early into the dealers hall which seemed eerily empty compared to the crazy hours of opening yesterday.




During this magical hour I got to handle and gaze at some incredible original art. Thor Kirby pages, Ditko horror pages, Starlin, the Buscema brothers it was all there. Pages that you can touch and examine but all with a huge pricetag.


Today was going to be all about the art and the back issues.



If you have to ask how much these cost you ain't got enough dough to buy them!



After a short time the best quarterback in comics Brian Vander arrived (pictured above with punchy Marc Laming). A pal who hangs with us every year at the NYCC and beyond and the hugely talented artist on www.worldofgreycomic.com and so much more. (You can find more about Brian and his great art on Twitter @vander11chi).


Our first stop was to see Daniel Warren Johnson. We were lucky enough to have Daneil as a guest on a recent episode of The Awesome Comics Podcast and he is totally the guy to watch at the moment. His art is (as I told him) Geoff Darrow level detailed with some of the best design and action you'll see in comics.


This photo shows a page from Daniel's new mini comic Martok abaout that much put upon Klingon from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Brian has asked this photo to be called 'Suck it Vince' :)

You have got to get over to www.space-mullet.com or Twitter @danielwarrenart to see more of this incredible work.


Whhilst we were hanging out at Marc Lamings table I was lucky enough to meet Tristan Jones. Currently working on Aliens for Dark Horse this is another guy who is really going places. We swapped stories of comics and laughed at some NSFW tales. A grreat guy with an bloody incredible art style.

Find out more about this Aussie at www.instagram.com/tyrannojones or follow him on Twitter @tyrannojones.


Roaming the main floor I also got to finally meet the writer of Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises a great guy called Jeff Kline. This was a great new series that launched with a zero issue on New Comic Book Day this year. It is co-written with Lee's daughter Shannon Lee and has some great pencils and inks by Brandon McKinney. I hadn't been able to find new issues in the UK so grabbed the new ones straightaway.



Find out more about this and other stories and grab a copy at www.darbypop.com or follow them on Twitter @DarbyPopComics.



The day was also filled with watching some top names draw. Here are a few examples.


Bill Sienkiewicz was putting some real time in with the fans. THIS GUY!


Ed Benes working on possibly the best Jam Piece I have seen in a while.


Steve Dillon representing the UK with some Punisher for fans.


And I had to include this amazing Ben Grimm from Brent Schoonover! Chjatting to Brent we agreed that a Crime Noir/Private Eye story of Ben as a Detective investigating crime in Yancy Street would kill!

Also here are some of the better (and weirder) cosplay I found ('cos I know you love it!)


(Why have a spaceship when the walk from Grand Central it is only a half hour?)


Hey! I know this geezer!


BEST COSTUME EVER!


Tomorrow is Saturday. You better get yourself in order.