Twelve months in comics

This time last year I was happily relaxing after successfully running Wimbledon Comic Art Festival. That event actually marked the start of 12 months of comic awesomeness for me. Here’s what I managed to get up to in that year.

Wimbledon Comic Art Festival

2018-3Running this event was a big deal for me and I was so pleased that it went so well. I’d wanted to put on an indie comics event in Wimbledon for ages, so to have twenty amazing creators tabling at my event was humbling. Hosted at Merton Art Space, I secured the venue by exciting the Head of Libraries and Heritage in Merton with my plans for the day and I even managed to convince the Deputy Mayor to open it with me. I tried my best to mix the content up so that newbies to comics could come and discover that its not all just about muscles and spandex. David Broughton kept the 2000AD crowd happy, Matt Garvey had something for everyone, Gareth Hopkins introduced people to abstract comics, Inko and Vam Nim represented manga, Richy Chandler had some wonderful kids comics and the Awesome Comics Podcast extolled the virtues of all things indie. It was knackering, but I loved it!

Rock In Purgatory

01-FRONT-COVERI was trying to launch Rock In Purgatory at the same time as running WCAF, so understandably I couldn’t manage both. In the end, I released Rock In Purgatory in spring 2018, pleasing its fans by collecting the horror comedy strip as a parody music magazine. I threw in a poster pull out, fake gig ads, instrument endorsements and articles about the bands that inspired the strip. At 48 pages, this is not just my debut solo comic release but also the biggest thing I have created to date. I’m really pleased with this comic and was ecstatic when it sold out at MCM this year (more on that later).

Unfortunate Tales

DVwnX4xW4AAm7cH.jpg largeProving that networking works, be it online or face to face, in the wake of Rock In Purgatory finishing its run in Popcorn Horror, I was asked by Ken Wynne of Attack From Planet B to take on art duties for his webcomic Unfortunate Tales From Planet B. Each strip features a re-working of a classic VHS horror movie scene, but with little links which take you from one strip to the next. Even I’m not sure where Ken is taking this narrative, but its been an absolute pleasure so far to draw loads of garish horror comics!

Heads!

menu 1Having ruminated on Heads! for nearly two years I finally took the plunge and began drawing my first issue based series as soon as WCAF was over. My plan had been to be able to release issues in farily quick succession by indie standards, which was quite a goal to set for myself. As with Rock In Purgatory, Heads! is created, written and illustrated by me. That includes colours. And editing. And lettering. And compiling for print. And marketing. So I changed my creation process to see what I could do to speed things up without compromising on quality. The distinct difference with Heads! is that I create the pages at actual size, so the only editing I do is to correct a mistake if I find one. It means I can carry pages around with me anywhere, as I’m working on A4 britsol board. I can draw pages anywhere and anytime. And with the scale being 1:1 there is less to draw. I’ve had to adapt to that the most, as some of my page layouts have slightly less panels than I would put in if I was drawing detail at a larger scale, but its actually helping me get better at the amount of detail I can put into a panel.

Issue one was released in September 2018, but by this point I had already completed the art in issue two and had begun to draw issue three. Ideally, I would have loved to have had three issues fully drawn inside of a year, but life gets in the way sometimes. However, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve achieved two and a half issues in a year, which means I can still release three issues within a year. Hopefully by then the next two and a half will be ready so that I can keep up the regularity.

MCM

I closed of my year of comics by tabling at MCM London for the first time. It was a great experience and I’ll be back next year for sure. I officially launched Heads! to the masses at the event and loved being able to get people as excited about as I am. If you are interested in reading more about that event read my previous blog about it.

Now I’m heading into a new period of comic creation and promotion. Besides Heads! issues two and three plus loads more events, I have new projects that I want to get started with. Will I achieve more in the next twelve months than in the last? Stay tuned to find out….

Guitars are cool and everyone is called Chris

Having never done an MCM before (nor ever having been to the ExCel) it’s fair to say my first one was nothing like I imagined it would be. I’ve tabled at comic cons, run comic cons and been part of various events in the past, but MCM was quite unique.

A massive venue filled with so much stuff for three long solid days is quite tiring to think about, let alone be involved in. Luckily I had enlisted horror writer Craig Jex to help me out for the weekend so I had someone to hang out with and hold the fort while I went for a wander. But first, we needed to set up.

I found Comic Village and was enormously pleased to discover it was not in a hall of its own. I think I’d drawn this conclusion because there’s so many things going on that I assumed we’d be tucked away in a separate room. But MCM is all open plan, allowing punters to walk through everything unencumbered. Though I am sure many people never ventured over to Comic Village, there were plenty of people who don’t normally read comics that did come by, take a look and have a chat with creators.

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Once me and Craig had set up and met our table neighbours (the über talented Mr Picto and Yannis Rubbis) we were ready for action. I’d brought my SG to display Rock In Purgatory and unveiled the characters from Heads! who I’d had made as models for the table. I hoped that these unique elements would help start conversations and get people interested in my comics. This really did help get some people over who may have missed out otherwise, and as a result I actually sold out of Rock In Purgatory half way through day two! I spent a lot of time talking guitars with people, which was really nice; it turns out a lot of rock and metal guitarists love comics as much as me too. Heads! captured imaginations as well and the unofficial launch of the book went really well. I was surprised at some of the people who did and didn’t take a punt on it, so I’ll certainly be hearing that in mind when I start marketing it again in due course. Talking to comics fans what makes these events worthwhile. It’s all well and good tweeting away all day and having a bit of online banter, but actual face to face conversation makes such a difference in getting my comics across to people and seeing what really excites them about my work. Oddly, almost all of the men who introduced themselves to me were called Chris, which at least made it easy to say hello to them again when I saw them the following day.

I managed to escape from the table plenty thanks to Craig and got to experience the rest of the show. I saw a horror panel, failed to meet some cool guests due to timing (but did wave to Amanda Conner) and got lost amongst various awesome trader stalls many times. I got round Comic Village and met some great people. I finally met Ken Reynolds in person, ran into Wimbledon Comic Art Festival exhibitors Richy Chandler and Silvia Carrus, traded abuse with Matt Garvey (obvs), and drank far too much coffee with Josh Harris.

By the end of the event I was knackered, but really pleased to have unleashed my comics on so many new people. And I had two really wonderful high points. Firstly, a fella came over to buy a copy of Rock In Purgatory because he’d been following it online. This one person who knew my work and sought it out really made the weekend for me. Great as it is to find new readers, it’s the first time someone I have never met has tracked me down to get one of my comics, so this meant a lot. Secondly, apropos of nothing Ken Reynolds told me how much he thought my art had levelled up lately. I agree – I’ve been looking back on older stuff and am really proud of how my current work is looking, so it was fantastic to know that someone as talented at Ken not only acknowledged this but has been watching me develop as well. Cheers Ken!

Those of you who were following my antics on Twitter will know I also spent all weekend tallying up the various cosplayers I fist bumped. That was a good laugh, so here’s the list of everyone I got:

  • Harley Quinn (loads of them!)
  • Starlord
  • Blacksad
  • Hellboy
  • Dick Tracy
  • Michael Myers
  • Frank from Donnie Darko
  • Amanda from SAW
  • John Constantine
  • Doctor Who mistaken for John Constantine
  • Bloodshot
  • Rocketeer
  • Preacher
  • Thanos
  • Ghost Rider

Top 5 MCM guests who aren’t Dave Bautista

The disappointing news that Drax will not be appearing at MCM London next week has resulted in a lot of upset punters. Plenty of people had booked tickets (some also booking travel and accommodation) to see one of the headline guests, so understandably they aren’t too impressed. But fear not – there are tons of awesome guests from comics, TV and film who you can still meet. Here’s my top five guests who I recommend you seek out; just try not to get in the queue before me cos I have a Comic Village table to run too.

wp-15397938001391498503228Katherine Isabelle

The first person I’ll be seeking out is the delectable Katherine Isabelle. I’m a huge fan of hers and consider her to be the definitive modern day scream queen. Ginger Snaps is a new classic in terms of horror and Katherine’s role as Ginger in all three movies is outstanding. Despite my love of those movies, its American Mary that is the stand out from her career for me. An absolute masterpiece of horror film making with a leading lady cast to perfection. That’s not to mention her stand out role in Hannibal, as well as tons of other movie appearances….yeah I’m going full on fan boy here! I’ll be getting an autograph and gifting her a copy of Heads! for sure.

 

AmandaConnerJune2011Amanda Connor

Over in Comics Village (which is where you’ll find my table) comics artist Amanda Conner will be appearing. Her work on Harley Quinn is outstanding and I totally fell in love with her art following that title. There’s so much going on in her panels yet it never feels overworked or cluttered – I’m in awe of her ability to give so much life to her comics. Her husband, comics writer Jimmy Palmiotti, is also appearing at Comic Village.

 

wp-15397941409442879161Linnea Quigley

Any B-Movie fan worth their salts will be clambering over themselves to meet Linnea Quigley. Best known for her role as Trash in Return of the Living Dead, Linnea has had a long career in all kinds of horror scream-fests. My favourite piece of trivia about Linnea is that she features as a ‘soul’ crying out of Freddy’s chest in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4. Trash featured in two of the Unfortunate Tales comic strips I have drawn for Attack From Planet B, so I am hoping to meet Linnea and show her what we did with the character.

 

wp-1539794076542464578806Frank Miller

The man in black, writer, artist, creator; love him or hate him Frank Miller is an institution when it comes to comics. With headline comic titles to his name, Frank Miller is definitely on my list of guests to meet. This is the man responsible for Sin City and 300 among many others; iconic opuses that have helped define comics beyond the superhero genre. As influences go, he sits alongside the likes of the mighty Alan Moore in respect of kicking comics in new directions and allowing traditionally non-comics readers to appreciate the medium with a fresh outlook.

 

John-Romita-JR-300x170John Romita Jr

The mighty John Romita Jr is joining Comics Village as well! I love Romita’s art style and am honoured to be sharing a convention hall with this guy. I’m a massive fan of his work on World War Hulk, and his art on Kick Ass is also fantastic. If you want to meet an amazing comics art legend you need to make sure you swing by and seek him out.

Spring comics updates

Lots coming up from me in the next few months – here’s the low-down…

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Heads!
My new comic Heads! will be getting released in May. It’s a sci-fi private detective comic, for fans of Dick Tracy, The X-Files and They Live. Expect lots of grimy black and white noir art, classic mystery and devious oddities, all wrapped up with biting south London wit.

Rock In Purgatory WILL get a print run!
Despite the Kickstarter campaign coming in just shy of the target, I am hard at work on funding options for a print run. I will be offering a pre-order for the comic once I have booked in the supplier, with an early bird discount of excited fans and backers of the Kickstarter campaign. Read some samples for FREE now.

Unfortunate Tales
The new webcomic I am drawing for the madmen over at Attack From Planet B will ramp up throughout spring. The first few strips have been loads of fun to create. Parodying classic horror movies, the strip will entertain anyone who loves VHS horror and video nasties.

Events
I’ve been a hermit too long! Once the Rock In Purgatory print run is in my hands I’ll be getting myself booked onto some conventions. If anyone is running a small press event and would be interested in having me run a table, please give me a shout!

Wimbledon’s first comics event is a success! — Wimbledon Comic Art Festival

Our first comics event in SW19 was really well recieved. Find out what you missed!

via Wimbledon’s first comics event is a success! — Wimbledon Comic Art Festival

Check out this great write up of Wimbledon Comic Art Festival, which I organised. It was the first comic event I have run and I’m really pleased with how it all turned out.

THIS SATURDAY – Wimbledon Comic Art Festival

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Come and meet me and loads of other awesome comics creators on Saturday 11 November at Merton Art Space.

I’ll have loads of Rock In Purgatory promotion on the go, so expect heavy metal and horror themed prints and merch. My debut comic Brutal Bombshells will be on sale and I’ll be displaying orginal art from all my comic projects. Plus, I’ll be available for sketch commissions thoughout the day.

And you can grab an exclusive Rock In Purgatory badge for FREE when you visit my table. See you there!

Find out more about Wimbledon Comic Art Festival

Read Rock In Purgatory for FREE now!

NEXT SATURDAY: Wimbledon Comic Art Festival

Next Saturday you need to get yourself to Wimbledon to see me at the first ever Wimbledon Comic Art Festival.

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In case you hadn’t noticed, I am not only appearing this event, but I am also running the show! Running from 10.30am – 4pm at Merton Art Space (in the same building as Wimbledon Library) this small press comics event is FREE to attend!

I’m sharing a table with awesome illustrator Heather Chapman, so you can expect an elaborate display of comics and art from the pair of us. Go check out the awesome line up we have booked and the activities on hand for the day at the event website.

Join my comic event in Wimbledon

I am ecstatically proud to announce that I am organising a comics event at Merton Arts Space in Wimbledon on Saturday 11 November.

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Located within Wimbledon Library, Merton Arts Space will play host to my event, Wimbledon Comic Art Festival.

This one day event will focus on comics and sequential art, with artists and creators exhibiting and selling small press comics and art. There will be activities and workshops throughout the day which will be open to everyone. If you want to come and brush up on your art there will be life drawing with a comics twist. Fancy trying to make your own comic? Come and give it a go! Or how about challenging yourself to tell a story without words by joining in the visual storytelling workshop. Maybe you just want to come and meet awesome creators and get your hands on some incredible comics? This is the place for you!

More details, a full website and social media are being put together in the next few weeks. In the meantime, please check back here or follow me on Twitter for updates. If you are interested in being an exhibitor or helping to run the workshops please contact me directly.