Sunday, May 11, 2008


Fanging down the highway at 80mph, narrowly escaping getting sandwiched between trucks, almost run of the road by blind dickheads and then my son goes and breaks his leg in a shoe shop. He was on my shoulders and deciding he didn't want to be, jumped off. I meanwhile had a solid hold of his right leg. His weight and my grip on his poor little leg didn't give it much of a chance. You know, you hear cracking sounds all the time and you know everything's fine? Well, this wasn't one of those times. It was a sickening crack and I knew instantly his leg was broken. It ended up not being too bad. (A poor 13 year old at the hospital had a horrible compound fracture with his bone pieced through his leg. He'd only fallen down while running down a grassy hill!) Eti will have a cast on for 6 weeks but he's in good spirits, the only thing I fear is his boredom.
Now, onto the comic expo.
Everyone was there (or not there. Their name tags left by the door): Bisley, D'Isreali, Gibbons, Burns, Talbot, Chris Staros and many others whose work I recognised and whose I didn't but knew the name. Pretty much most of the big names who've worked for 2000AD. There were huge queues for Gibbons, Bisley and the other big shots. I managed to show my portfolio to a couple of people but didn't get the most positive of responses. There were so many talented people walking around showing off what they could do. I didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell.
Firstly I approached a company called Classical Comics. They're doing adaptions of classical texts such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Bronte, Shelly and Stoker. 3 versions in 1. Direct text, modern text and then something for the kiddies. A fellow I'd met in the queue, a penciller from Cardiff, told me I should show them my stuff. Which I did and was told that my style was too caricatured and then went on to say the stuff I'd inked (see 2 posts ago) was more lifelike! I was rather offended by this and finally got the guy to admit that he didn't like my stuff beause it couldn't be coloured easily. With that I moved on.
The next person I showed my work was John M. Burns. I asked for some harsh criticism and got some. (He was much more constructive than the fellow from Classical Comics). He told me to brush up on my figure drawing and to get some more clarity in my work. It was pretty hard to take but I took it and have come away more determined. I went away and mulled over his words for a while and finally rested on what he'd said at the end. Something about how he was sorry to be so critical but that if I wasn't stealing jobs from him in a year he'd know I'd killed myself. The way he'd slammed me I'd totally missed that compliment at the end. I'd better knuckle down get back to life drawing again otherwise he'll think I've 'run in front of a bus'.
I then showed my work to Matt Smith who was impressed with the inking I'd done but wasn't very keen on my own stuff. It seemed that he said if when I submitted to 2000AD I had more work like those inked pages he might have work for me. I heard him say to the fellow in front me, though, that there were alot of other regular 2000AD contributers not getting work so I took the compliment but definitely not going to get my hopes up.
Everywhere I went people liked my tracing abilities but not my original work. Oh well.
I actually talked to a lot of indie and small press guys and they were the only comics I bought actually. There's alot of fun stuff coming out in the small press and if any of you have some futuristic sort of stuff get it over to Future Quake. They were really nice guys and eager to publish budding young artists.
All in all a great show. I still came out of it feeling pretty depressed (stupidly). Getting told to sod off (not in as many words) by Dave Gibbons, when I approached him outside the expo, didn't help none but I guess I was looking for it. I just missed out on a sketch by D'Isreali (he was the only guy doing free ones. Tight bugger ain't I) too. A bit overwhelming the whole thing. I reckon I would've done better if I'd got a table. Oh well.
So I went off feeling a bit fragile (not looking at the positives of the day) and then Eti broke his leg.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I went to the Hexham writer's festival yesterday to see Bryan Talbot and Simone Lia talk about their recent comics: Alice in Sunderland and Fluffy.
The talk overall was quite good but this was mainly due to Bryan being an interesting person. The moderator was some idiot who had probably until now never read a comic in his life. He had done his research very well but his questions were superficial and boring. The crowd was mostly middle aged people, a couple of young guys and a few kids. I think most of them were there because it was part of the writer's festival rather than because it was about comics.
An argument that I'm quite interested in came up (but was not dealt with as much as I would've liked). The old argument of whether you create comics or graphic novels. Apparently the term was coined by Will Eisner when trying to sell a comic he'd done to a prospective publisher. After having been turned down several times because he was trying to get a comic published, he told the next publisher that he'd created a graphic novel and the publisher was intrigued. Bryan said he didn't like the term and used it only so people would understand what he was talking about. Many comic artists don't seem to like the term and it only the buying public that want it. It seems as a marketing ploy it works and maybe to get comics back into the mainstream it may be worth accepting. I do like these quotes that I came across the other day: As Marjane Satrapi say that the term enables ‘the bourgeois to read comics without feeling bad’; and Alan Moore says, they allow publishers to ‘stick six issues of whatever worthless piece of crap they happened to be publishing lately under a glossy cover and call it The She-Hulk Graphic Novel’.
Simone didn't have much of an opinion on the GN topic. She belongs to a different breed of comic artist to me who is more accepting of the term.
Anyway, I approached them after the talk and had a bit of a chat. Simone was, after being a bit weary, very nice a easy to talk to where as Bryan, though a nice guy, was a bit standoffish and I felt like a bit of a fanboy. I showed them both my work and both were very nice about it. I would have liked some criticism but I don't think they understood that. I also gave them both a copy of my latest comic. I don't know what thought of it. I would've liked to talk a bit more to them about the industry etc but they had other things to do so I went away feeling a bit deflated.
Simone's work can be found at and Byran's at (this is a bit of a strange site. Hard to navigate and clunky).