Sunday, 10 January 2021

A walk in the country

It's only been a few weeks, but somehow this latest Lockdown is more draining than the last.

Sometimes you just have to get out of the house.

Today I walked down some country lanes, not too far from my flat. 

Yes, it was cold.

But it was great to be out.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Thick skin

I thought I'd share a few pages of character studies by the very talented Joseph Parangue for an upcoming Blessed/Cursed comic.

Joseph worked on one of our Tales of WesterNoir scripts, but the lack of conventions has pushed the launch of this back a little, and did a fabulous job.

I love his style and thought it would perfectly suite a story I've been working on for a while. It's a bit gritty and a little violent and so needed an artist who could bring this across. 

Joseph accepted and has made a start already.

A great start to the year.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

42nd Post - Looking ahead to 2021

 It's a little more difficult to plan ahead with releases this year. 

The situation is less clear with regards to which Conventions will run, if any, and if they do then how late in the year will they start.

Crowdfunding Platforms at the moment are the only game in town, and we're lucky to have them, so they let us carry on producing and selling our books. The issue then becomes one of storing the comics until we have a chance to ship them out and equally importantly, start selling them at Conventions. An added complication, that I hadn't even considered, was our printer getting the special paper required for some of the extras we do as Kickstarter Stretch Goal Rewards. 

All of this considered, my intention for 2021 is to print:-

V2A - Wasteland Chronicles - Doomsday 

Kia Wordsmith - The Inbetween 

Stephenson's Robot - the collected edition

WesterNoir - Vol 2 (which collects coloured versions of issues 5 to 8, plus some extras)

If the Convention season supports it then also 

Tales of WesterNoir - the collected edition (which also sees some new tales)

The Accent Volume 1 - collecting Fastest Man, Invisible Man (out of print) and some new stories.

In the background I'll be working on more titles as always, so we'll have plenty ready for printing when the world reaches its new normal.

Was 2020 all bad?

Looking back at the last year, which has seen me pretty much confined to my flat since March, it's easy to think about the things that I miss, but instead I thought I'd look for the positives, the 'glass half full', and so here are some of the things that I have appreciated over the last 9 months.

Family video calls - I feel this year I have got closer to my sister and her daughter than ever. Families tend to drift apart and it's usually the distance between them that causes it. Having a weekly video call has been great. Yes, we still have the comedy of my mother versus technology. Yes, we still find ourselves all trying to speak at the same time. But that's all part of the fun.

Shorter working days - I have been one of the fortunate ones whose job has allowed them to work from home throughout. I actually work longer, and more effectively, than I did when going into the physical office, but if you take into account the 2 hour's travel time each day, I am in credit. I have more 'me' time every day. I feel less tired and less stressed and this is due to not having to get in a car every morning to  drive up the M40 for a few junctions before spending as long navigating little roads as they wind through little towns. And then do the same in reverse every night. I've also saved a lot of money on petrol.

Re-assessing comics output - When there were Conventions I was forever 'rushing' things in order to meet the convention dates. I have kept myself as productive as ever during the pandemic, maybe even more so, but now consider what works best for me from a story telling and also financial perspective, before starting work on a new comic/issue. Stephenson's Robot issues 6 and 7 have been ready for a while and I would have produced these as individual issues. But, as there have been no Cons (after the wonderful little True Believers event), I've decided to move straight from issue 5 to a collected edition. I've spent the time improving the colouring in places. Adding some new pages to help the flow of the narrative and also re-lettering the entire book. It's looking great. I'm also moving to collected editions of my Blessed / Cursed books, and each will have new stories along with the old and out of print ones. I always prefer to buy books as collected editions myself. That is not to say that I will not be producing anymore comics though, with both Kia and the new V2A comic being exactly that, just that when it's appropriate I will go straight to collected editions.

AccentUK - We've used this time to work on the website and also a little AccentUK Magazine where we can let people know what's coming, what's just out and what's planned for Kickstarter. It will be annually produced, include an original story and also the planned events for the year (when they start happening again). My daughter Jemma has been driving both of these, using new tools along the way. We're very close to launching the website (first version) and the magazine will hopefully be available (as a free digital download) from the website in Q1-2021.

Dungeons&Dragons - I've been playing this for about 40 years now and it stopped a little as I moved down south. With the lockdown came Roll20 and me reconnecting with my old group for new adventures. For me it actually works as well as being in the same room. We use Zoom for the audio as we find it better but Roll20 is great. 

AccentUK (part 2) - Covid hasn't changed the number of calls we have discussing projects and the direction we are looking to take. We are all very positive about what we are doing and our love for the comic book medium.

I try to keeps these things in mind when I have a low moment and think about those things we can no longer do. 

It helps me get through it all.

TV Series to recommend.

 Well, this year has afforded the opportunity to watch more TV than previous years.

I've subscribed to Netflix and NOW (TV and FILM) and get Amazon PRIME as part of PRIME membership... oh..and let's not forget the terrestrial channels.

Programmes that I remember, and therefore feel had some value to me as a consumer are:-

Umbrella Academy - Season 2 arrived this year and I think was actually better than Season 1, which I loved.

WestWorld - I think this one is wandering a little but I still look forward to each season and binge watch it when it arrives.

Lovecraft Country - I really enjoyed the set up for this. Interesting, well acted and on the whole the stories were well told.

The Boys - This was another than I thought improved in the second season from a really good start.

The Watchmen - I loved this. I loved the way it played to the comics as much as the movie. I also really enjoyed how it ended. I hope that it isn't continued but is preserves as a single foray into that world.

Doom Patrol - as crazy as I'd hoped, and far better than I expected.

Queen's Gambit - I like to play chess, and watched this because of that. It was stunning, great acting, great representation of the period it was set in, loved the colour palette. Everything about this was wonderful.

Raised by Wolves - Wow. Great Sci-Fi. I didn't like the ending particularly but will watch another season if they make it.

Looking at this list I'm sure there are some that I've missed. 

Of the list above I think my personal favourites are Umbrella Academy (closely followed by The Watchmen) and Queen's Gambit (as the unexpected gem).

Sunday, 27 December 2020

V2A has got to £6k before the New Year.

   As I took the opportunity to do a little lettering on the V2A comic, Kickstarter announced that we had gone over the £6K mark, which is fabulous.

   We are a little behind with Stretch Goals but I really happy to say the next will be from the pen of Andy Bloor, my collaborator on The Wolfmen and my 'go to' designer for the Accent UK books.

   Yep, things are moving along nicely.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

A week in and the latest Kickstarter, V2A Wasteland Chronicles - Doomsday is doing really well.

 Yep, we're just a week into the campaign and we've exceeded £4k.

This is the first time we've used a professional artist, in PJ Holden, and so a lot of money had to be invested up front to see this project come to life. 

We've had lots of support, including a wonderful cover image from Ryan Brown, all of which helps us get the money needed to pay all the bills and get this printed and in people's hands.

It's a great start and we're looking good.

Thanks to all who have supported it.

If you haven't checked it out yet then please pop over to Kickstarter and have a look.
It's been described as Mad Max meets Suicide Squad and I think that works pretty well.