Monday, 29 November 2010

Do you ever miss Aberystwyth?

Quite often. I've not visited in some years now, and I have friends there still, but I can never seem to find the time. But yeah, I really miss it sometimes. You?

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Friday, 26 November 2010

Can you quote one lyric that inspires you, and why?

One which has recently been inspiring a story that I am writing at the moment is by The Irrepressibles, from the song In This Shirt.

"In this shirt/ I can be you/ To be near you/ For a while"

I just find it a hugely moving notion as well as a line, and hopefully it will be a hugely moving story that I am working on as a result.

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Are you looking forward to TRON: Legacy 17th December?

Yes, which is perhaps a little odd as I barely remember the original

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In the cinema the chairs only have 2 armrests but unless your on the end of an empty row, you have other people's arms either side of you. Which armrest is yours?

Umm, the right hand one.

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If you were to film your own version of Carpool ( & shown on Dave Thursdays 20:30 basically Robert Llewellyn offers an interesting celebrity a lift and films the conversation ) who would you have in the passenger seat?

Me. Because I can't drive.

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Gay Pirates - Cosmo Jarvis

So I just found this while looking around on Thingbox (people there post the most awesome things). I found it utterly adorable. Really sweet but also a lot of fun (even if it does have a lyric about getting gang raped).

Monday, 22 November 2010

Thought Bubble 2010

So, this past weekend I attended the Thought Bubble one day comics festival in Leeds, UK. With me I had the ever creative and ever English (except when he's Welsh) PJ Montgomery (I am NOT his sidekick), and later in the day I was joined by the incredibly talented Gavin Mitchell and his missus, Leanne (lovely girl).

The idea behind going was not only to have a weekend to just geek out at the awesome comics, fanboy gush over creators and generally spend all my money on all things comic books. No no, the idea was also to meet up with various creators we'd been getting to know, network and schmooze and maybe even spread the word on our comic, Stiffs (and maybe a little of The Pride too).

So really, it was a mix of business and pleasure, and you know what, it was rather brilliant for both.

(I also had to pick up some Christmas presents for myself from my mother, to be wrapped and given back to me on Christmas Day. What I managed to get was an original page by Marc Ellerby for his Phonogram: The Singles Club story and a canvas print of a cutesy Batman by Dave Evans Illustration)
Merry Christmas to me!

Me and Paddy went up the night before and stayed with our friends Dave and Lolli, who live in Huddersfield (big thank you for their hospitality). First thing on the Saturday morning, we made our way to Leeds, and quickly found ourselves at the Royal Armories Hall, next to Savilles, and joined the MASSIVE queue of people waiting to get in.
It was awesome to see the con looking so busy, and everyone in the crowd so eager to get in. The air was generally that of excitement, and when the doors eventually opened we began pouring in at a steady pace. Me and Paddy got ourselves sorted, and made our way inside.
Now, I've been to Thought Bubble once before, back in 2008. Amazingly, I thought the main hall looked bigger. I don't know how exactly they managed it, but it just did. The number of people exhibiting ther wares seemed to have vastly increased, as did the number of fans pouring through the doors. By the time Paddy and I were inside, it was already heaving with people. Also, there seemed to be more cosplayers than I ever rightly recall seeing in one place at any time, ranging from genuinely good, well thought out costumes; to the utterly awful, looking like they knocked something up in the space of five minutes when they rolled out of bed in the morning. At any rate, all seemed to be having the time of their lives.
We made a quick lap of the hall, getting our bearings, seen as we had just narrowly missed out on the first panel we wanted to attend due to our getting through the doors a little late. Wasn't long before we saw one of the first guys we wanted to see, as it would be Paddy's first time to meet him, Adam Cadwell.
One snag in getting to him: the queue of people waiting to see John Romita Jr. was sooooooo long that it actually came right up and blogged the tables for Adam, Marc Ellerby, Kayla Hillier and more.
Paddy and I joined the queue as we figured at least then we'd get to Adam, at some point. Of course, by the time we reached his table, Adam had wandered off somewhere. Kayla recognised me though (something I still find hugely odd, the number of people who 'recognise' me from Twitter), and we got talking with her at the table (lovely girl!) and checking out her work and Adam's portfolio showing off Blood Blokes pages. Sadly, BB wasn't ready for TB10 as was hoped, but frankly, the pages he had showing were totally amazing. It looked very slick, totally professional, and frankly the kind of quality you'd expect to see in a big Image book; so waiting a little longer so that it's ready and at suh a high quality will be totally worth it. If you know nothing about Blood Blokes, or Adam and Kayla for that matter, I absolutely suggest checking them out.
Now, we'd had a minor misunderstanding at the doors coming in to the event. Paddy was told that he didn't have access to the afterparty, as the person on the door thought only the first 50 tickets did, and Paddy was number 54. Well, Kayla was very helpful, suggesting people we should talk to, in fact, so was Howard Hardiman, Adam, Marc and more throughout the day. Of course, it turned out to be a mistake, and all was fine, but this was the first sign of the feeling that for me became the over-riding feeling of this con: that the UK independent comic scene is a very close knit, and friendly community.
I should mention actually that we also stopped by Howard Hardiman's table, and saw some of his excellent work too (seriously, pick up a copy of The Lengths you guys). Now, Howard is someone I had spoken to a couple of times on Thingbox, a gay social networking site, and had always found him very friendly there. Awesomely, in person he continued to be totally friendly, sweet and generally an all round nice guy.
We decided to stay in the queue and en route spoke briefly with Anthony Johnston, before getting to John Romita Jr. Now, through a massive oversight, I had not brought anything for him to sign (wtf, right?), but Paddy gushed like a child seeing Father Christmas when he met one of the best creators in comics.
We briefly had a word with Paul Cornell, ever the gentleman and lovely guy, who was signing and giving out free comics, because he's just awesome like that. By this point, it was time to meet up with Gavin.
After finding him (a minor logistical nightmare, as inside the hall we had no reception on our phones), we went back inside to catch up with the now returned Adam, Kayla, and also Marc Ellerby who was also back at his table. Now, we bought a lot of these guys comics, and stayed chatting with them for a little while, because not only are they very talented but they're all really nice people too. And of course Adam had been colouring Gav's work on Stiffs, but this was the first time we'd all met.

I left Adam doing an excellent sketch for me, and went down a table to meet Jamie McKelvie. The man was, well, a busy man, signing loads of his work and chatting with fans. When I handed over my comics for him to sign and he asked my name, he (again, oddly) recognised the name, and tapped up Kieron Gillen (who had just returned from a panel, I think) and told him who I was, who immediately dropped what he was doing and shook my hand, which made me feel like a fanboy again (if Paddy was gushing over JRJr. then I was having a slight fan moment right now). Anyway, again, totally nice guys, and enthusiastic and chatty with fans. I picked up a copy of Phonogram: The Single's Club as although I had all the singles, I wanted to get the trade too, as it's really nicely produced. If you have notread this awesome piece of pop history, go online, find a copy, and buy six. NOW!

(On an aside: I've today realised that with both Phonogram trades I read the Glossary first. No idea why I do that (aside from it being hugely informative and my music knowledge is a little lacking, and incredibly funny too))

Anyway, meeting back up with the guys (and retrieving my sketchpad with a new awesome Cadwell sketch inside) we moved on to a panel that Adam was on, about the ins and outs of Self Publishing. The panel also featured Tom Humberstone (who I'd just picked up all three Solipsistic Pop's from), Liz Lunney, Phillipa Rice, Kristyna Baczynski and Matt Sheret. This was hugely helpful stuff, and if nothing else has made me want to organise some kind of Drink And Draw style event in Cardiff. I'm going to be looking into that now, and will let you all know how that comes along.

Con sketch: Zombie Little Adam by Adam Cadwell

At this point, the group kind of split up for a bit, but not before Gavin showed me the full six pages for a The Pride story, that will hopefully be the first The Pride story available for everyone to check out. The six pages looked fantastic, and I really think that anyone who picks up the comic when it's done will be totally wowed by the fantastic work Gavin is putting into it. If only my words can live up to those pages!

During this time, me and Paddy continued exploring and doing some fanboy style stuff, mostly getting sketches or signatures (I sadly only managed to get two sketches, Adam's and an excellent Generation X's Chamber sketch done by Becky Cloonan). Then, it was time for me and Paddy to get interviewed.

Becky Cloonan with her skecth's of 'Generation X's Chamber she did for me.

Yup, we were interviewed by Sidekickcast guys about Stiffs. It was a little weird, being interviewed about a book that wasn't out there yet, but also totally cool too. As soon as I hear anything about when that interview is available for listening, I'll let you know.

Meeting back up with Gav, we dived back into the con to continue signature hunting, before the day finally drew to a close. The day was totally fantastic, really useful and fun for us in terms of what we were planning and want to do with our comics.

We checked out the afterparty in the night too, meeting up with the guys from Dead Star Publishing, and meeting new people as well, in the form of April Nash and Rhiannon Lucy May. In fact, I cannot possibly recount the host of new people I met (as my memory for names is pretty dire, plus I was pretty drunk by this point).

But the afterparty served to exemplify again exactly how I felt about the con and the UK comics scene: it's a community. And one I loved, and I embrace, and oh my god, I have found my place! It's awesome. I mean, anywhere I can be stood at a bar, listening as the theme to Quantum Leap comes on and then wind up having a huge conversation with a random stranger girl about QL and how exactly did it end, is an awesome community in my book.

We sadly didn't get much time to dance to awesome DJ sets being let out through the speakers, as our train back to Huddersfield was fast approaching. So after mingling at Warp Speed and saying a quick, slurry, drunken 'Hey!' to Adam, Marc and Howard, mine and Paddy's Thought Bubble 2010 was over.

Or sort of, anyway. End of the day, we met a lot of cool new people, got out a lot of info about the comics to such people, and also learned a great deal which we can now work on in our own efforts to get something out on that scene, and properly become a part of that community.

The biggest thing I think we learned is to stop freaking out about our comics and getting them out to publishers etc. To just try it, to put stuff out on our own terms, whatever that may be, and see how it goes. Learn from the mistakes, but have the courage to make them, and to realise that a comic as an artefact of art can be anything, whether it be a glossy American styled floppy, to a photocopied table napkin with a narrative. It's just a matter of DOING IT and putting it out there.

So thanks to everyone we met at Thought Bubble 2010, and thanks to the organisers for putting on a great show! Look forward to seeing you all next year, and hey, maybe next time we'll have a table too.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Can I have a tenner please?

Depends what it's for :P

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Which writer working in comics today would you most like to collaborate with on the book they currently write?

Ooooh, a good one. Umm, hard to say. I have loads of ideas for the X-Men, and so I guess Matt Fraction and/or Kieron Gillen would be good for that. I'd love to do something with Warren Ellis, but his awesomeness would overshadow, rape and eat my own (not necessarily in that order). Neil Gaiman would be fun to write a tale of humanity with. But I guess I'd really love to work on Green Lantern with Geoff Johns too

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Monday, 1 November 2010

If you could ask George W. Bush one question what would it be?

What on earth made you think you could possibly run a country

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Would you rather be a famous musician or a famous actor?


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What was your favorite toy to play with as a child?

My Power Ranger toys I remember most, but I used to be a huge Transformers fan before that.

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Would you rather swim in a pool or the ocean?


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When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

In order: a mad scientist, an astrophysicist, Buffy, a comic book artist, a teacher, a writer (especially of comic books)

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If you could ask God one question what would it be?

Where's the beef?

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Do you have any scars on your body? If so, how'd you get them?

Tattoos are scars, you want them too? I have a scar on my belly where my appendix was taken out, and then five tattoos.

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Where would you like to spend your retirement?

Sometimes I think Aberystwyth. I have a lot of fond memories there. But probably somewhere warmer

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If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose?

The year I went to study in America. I'd stay there longer, and I'd stay in better contact with the friends I made there.

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Which comic book artist, past or present, would you like to work with more than any other?

Oooh, a toughy. I have a list as long as my arm, and many of them know as I've alread messaged them about it lol. Right now though, I would love to work with Joe Quinones. Love his style.

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What celebrity would play you in a movie about your life?

Hmm, someone bald, obviously.

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How would you describe your personality?

Positive. I try not to let bad things get me down. Sometimes this is kinda unsuccessful, but I never stay down long.

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Who's the most talented person you know?

God, I know so many, it wouldbe hard to think of any singular person as most talented. I can say I'm jealous of all of them!

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What's the best place near you to get a pizza?

Hmm, Valley's Kebabs has some interesting choices.

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Have you ever been fired? If so, why?

Never been fired, sorry. I do my best at whatever I do.

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