Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year everyone...

I'm signing off for the year now... yes... I know it's still early but I also know that once I get settled in to celebrate the New Year I'll not remember to come back online to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous 2012, so best do it now.

Hope to see plenty of you at Conventions and the like in 2012, and that all the creators out there continue in their efforts, improving and growing with everything you produce.

All the best,

Dave W

Belmat... as far as I got in 2011.

Well, this is as far as I managed to get with Belmat in 2011...
looks like my first project for 2012 will be to finish him off.

Belmat with head attached.

I decided to fix his head at a slight angle.
and used a couple of very small washers and plastic pins (no idea where I got them from) from the eyes.I think the multiple washes on the arms and legs have done the trick. Of course I still need to do the hands but I'll do them last of all. Need to fix the door now, and finish his back.

Belmat with rusting effect brown wash.

In order to age him a bit I've given Belmat a brown wash ... lots of water and not too much paint.
oops ... amd made a bit of a mess of the TVTimes whilst doing it. ..just need to darken the arms and legs now ... and then I can start to attach his head and the washing machine door and details.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Must see film of next year.

It occurred to me that whilst I commented how the John Carter of Mars books had lost their appeal, I've seen a trailer for the John Carter of Mars movie and it looks absolutely stunning. I think it could be the next epic set of movies to rival The Lord Of The Rings.
Hell, I was getting really excited by the prospect of The Avengers movie but I think this will be even better.

Accent UK in 2012.

Just got back from a long meeting with Colin talking about what we will look to publish next year, dates and how these align to Events.... looks like it's going to be an interesting and busy year.

Yes, as is typical part of the meeting took place in a pub but I didn't sample any of the Delerium Tremens beer, as I was driving. Like the beer mat though so I 'borrowed' one.

I'll be posting the 2012 Events that we'll be attending over on the Accent UK blog as soon as Colin confirms bookings.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Robot table display ... with a little paint.

So, here's how it progressed today. A bit of dry brushing to leave some of the text visible.

Getting there.

Oh .. and here's one I started earlier....

This is a robot that isn't in the Robot Shorts book. I started it about 6 months ago and re-discovered him when I sorted out the materials for Belmat.

I wanted to move away from the bipedal robots that I usually draw.
He has a hairdryer end piece for a base (hope Jane doesn't notice) and I did buy a shower hose for the arms, which was a bit naughty as the idea is to make these purely from salvaged bits and bobs.

Table Robot... update.

The papier-mâché-ing is underway ... a messy process where you end up with bits of glue and paper everywhere.The idea is that I leave some of the words visible through the paintwork, and so I've selected a book on mathematics for the paper used. This is a technique perfected by a lady called Julie Arkell. I'm sure my resulting efforts will look nowhere near as good as hers but if I aim high then falling short will still, hopefully, look good.
With the flash on the camera you can see the tin (from a used tin of soup) that I cut in half for the washing machine drum. Ah ... details details :o)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Table Robot.

OK, so The Mite-E figurine is really a little too small for a table display, so I've been collecting bits and bobs with a view to making a model of Belmat.

So far I'm at the stage of cutting and taping, tomorrow it's time to glue and paper mache.

Favourite mainstream comic of the year.

I've been following Sweet Tooth from the offset and am enjoying the tale and the telling of it, but this year's surprise for me has been Journey Into Mystery, written by Kieron Gillen. I must confess to not having read much of Mr Gillen's mainstream output but decided to give this a go following some favourable words on either the Tales From the Parent's Basement or the Burnt Weiners podcasts (I think it was the latter but it may have been both), and 'Wow'. Kieron has really injected something new and interesting into the Marvel universe with the re... well I'm not quite sure how you classify it, let's say ... reincarnation of Loki. There's just so much to enjoy here and I did, on the back of this, go out and buy the Thor - Ultimate Collection (all tales once again written by Kieron). Very enjoyable and it does set the background nicely to the more enjoyable (to me) Journey Into Mystery, which I now have the excuse to re-read.
Damn... I'll have to pick up some Trades of his X-Men comics now ... and I thought my days of reading X-Men was over.

Favourite movie of the year...

Well, for me the best movie of this year was Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.
I had the same feeling at the end of this that I had with last year's Star Trek re-imagining. They had done the franchise proud and I hope that this will be the first of a number of sequels that would take the story further.

Jemma's favourites (she couldn't choose between them) were Thor and X-Men : First Class. Both very enjoyable films.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hey ... that's not the Blue Beetle !!!

Following on from my wife's comment that the Accent UK table looks a little boring these days, it has only comics on it and nothing to catch the eye of passing punters, I've been playing around with the Blue Beetle figure that comes with that monthly magazine. You know the one, a different DC character with each issue.
So I took the Blue Beetle figurine... add some Milliput, a few bits and bobs and some paint and converted him into The Mite-E.The Mite-E is a character who appears in a few stories in Robot Shortsit's great that he has his own figurine :o)
Sadly though he's pretty small and so won't make much of an impression stood on the stall next to some comic books... so it's back to plan A, which is to make a papermache robot or two ...

Monday, 26 December 2011

Books I read in 2011.

Well, 2011 was a year of change for me. I moved from a job just down the road to one that involves a 45 minute train journey, on a good day.
The best piece of advice I wass given (thanks Jon Ayre) was to make something of the journey. Make it something of value rather than something to be despised, and so I bought myself a Kindle and everyday get to spend around an hour and a half reading.
So, what have I read this year ?
Well I read all of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favour, Turn Coat, Changes and Ghost Story. I really enjoyed them. Great characters in a great setting, with each book building on the last and all written in a flowing style that make them more than just some good ideas stitched together. I loved the short lived TV series and the books are so much better. Nothing too deep, just good enjoyable stories about wizards, demons and stuff.
I then read the 7 Dark Tower books by Stephen King ( I loved the concept and the books are all good solid reads, but I must confess to being one of those who didn't particularly like the ending. Well worth the journey though.
I also downloaded all of the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but sadly only managed to grind my way through three of them, A Princess of Mars, The Gods Of Mars and The Warlord Of Mars, despite loving them as a boy. A wonderful idea in a very rich world but the writing was a little too... well... plodding to me.
Much better written was Red Sonya - the Shadow Of The Vulture from Robert E Howard and his Conan The Barbarian (so much material and they make three rubbish movies as the people involved think that they can do better).
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacipalgupi was downloaded on a recommendation from someone at work and it was a great little book. I'll be looking out for future books from Paolo.
I also re-read an old favoutite of mine, Caves Of Steel from Isaac Asimov. This one also seemed a little dated and whilst the story and ideas are second to very few writers, his writing style didn't flow very well for me.
At the moment I'm in the middle (I think) of the fabulous House Of Chains by Steven Erikson. This is Book 4, I think, of his fantasy epic, starting with Gardens Of The Moon, Deadhouse Gates and then Midnight Tides. It's got to be the most involved and compelling fantasy series that I've ever read and has me completely hooked. It's very well written and operates on a number of levels, mixing the normal sword and sorcery with war and politics on a global scale. If you want just one recommendation from me then these are the books that I suggest you spend your money on.

and lastly ... for now ... Lego Robot Shorts...

This one was an award figurine for one of the other figures ... can't remember which one but it looked like a short Robot to me...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Fastest Man review from Brazil...

If you speak Brazilian Portugeese then check out this latest review ... looks good to me ..., Thanks for letting me know Wendell.

Wolfmen 2 ... a la Lego

This Lego figurine exists in the same time frame as the first one and isn't just the first one being tweeked a bit for this photo ...

... if you look closely you can see he's wearing a different shirt :o)

Next up ... PREDATORS over on the Accent UK blog.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

World's Fastest Man mentioned...

... forgot to mention that Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man? gets a nice mention at the end of a very comprehensive Thought Bubble review over at right near the end...

Bobby Doyle from Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man?

.. in Lego.

.. looking happy, so it must be before all the trouble started.

Next up will be The Man Of Glass over on the Accent UK blog.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Lego does Samuel Close.

This is the figure that my daughter gave me that would start me off trying to get a Lego figure for all of our books.

Samuel Close's hair was part of a Mad Scientist figure and the conversion took the slightest of modifications.

Next up ... Bobby Doyle from Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man?

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Wolfmen ... in Lego

I've been playing with these little Lego figures ... over on the Accent UK blog I put up the image of the first one ZOMBIES, and here's the first of the Wolfmen books in Lego ...
.. next up.. ROBOTS over on Accent UK blog.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

WesterNoir ... a great start.

A while ago Andy Bloor asked me to write something for him to draw that didn't involve Werewolves in suits, as he wanted a break from The Wolfmen. His idea was maybe to do a kind of Film Noir take on the Old West. A great concept and as with The Wolfmen the idea of blending genres started my mind racing off in all sorts of directions.

Over the following months I produced a script for him that introduces Josiah Black to a world that changes around him, or maybe he changes within it. But I'm getting ahead of myself as that dimension is something that was brought to the story by Gary Crutchley.

Andy, you see, whilst helping shape the story, just couldn't found the time to illustrate it and contacted Gary to see if he could. Gary is two thirds of his way through his own Western, Hard Country, and is a huge fan of the genre and someone who can really capture the mood of both the time in which it's set and the land itself.

The great news is that Gary read the script and jumped into designing the main characters.

We were off and ... riding.

Last Friday night Colin and I met with Gary at The Bleeding Wolf pub, and you can't get much more appropriate than that, to discuss the project and to see Gary's work to date. Andy sadly couldn't make it as he's suffering from a bug, the joy of having kids are pre-school.

Blimey. We were both blown away by the pages Gary talked us through, as well as his ideas about issue 1 and future issues. All great ideas which I have already added to the greater story of Josiah Black.
We are hoping for Issue 1 to be available early next year, with following issues less than a year apart.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wolfmen Reviews.

Great reviews of the Wolfmen comics that I co-created with Andy Bloor have been posted up on following the Thought Bubble event.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Robot Shorts nears completion.

Whilst I'm busy on the more traditional Accent UK books, the anthologies and one shots, I always have a couple of more personal projects on the go.
With the printing of Strange Times vol 1 in the form of a nice little hard cover edition I knew that this format would suite me going forward and have paused in my Strange Times Vol 2 efforts to collaborate with Steve Holder on a collection of robot short stories.
Robot Shorts is the result of this, with one of Steve's robots gracing a cover designed by Andy Bloor in the style of the old Haines Manuals.
I'm just waiting on a couple of pin-ups for the Gallery section and then it'll be off to the printer.

Right ... back to Strange Times then...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Robot Shorts is getting there ...

This week I received the artwork for Steve Holder's last contribution to Robot Shorts, and very nice it is to. Very nice indeed.

I've also finished my last full story, in my usual style ...

So, we're getting there. My intention is to have this printed in time for Xmas ... Strange Times is at this very moment getting its second printing, which is great, but of course it's all relative as it only means that I've sold out of the number I printed in the first print run ... could be 10 .. could be 10 thousand but is probably somewhere between the two :o)

Monday, 29 August 2011

What has happened to Strange Times ?

Please forgive me reader.
It has been many weeks since my last posting.
I've been very busy throughout this time, progressing Robot Shorts and ZOMBIES 2, and have had little time to spare for Strange Times, either the blog or the weekly web-comic. I've also been busy sorting out the second printing of the Strange Times hard cover edition.
I confess that I have taken advantage of the Accent UK website re-construction, which prevented me from putting up new Strange Times pages, and promise that once the new site is up, and we've sorted out how to get Strange Times back on there, I will get back to the weekly schedule.
Apologies to those who read this strange little tale.

On a more positive note, PREDATORS is now out and should be in comic shops soon, if you asked them to get you a copy, and I do have a few pages of work in that one. I'm particularly pleased with the two one pagers ...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man ?

Well, he may have ended up on your iPAD.
Yep, through a new independent comics app available through iTunes you can now download Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man?
The Lush Comics app for the iPad can be found by either browsing, which will redirect you to the app, or by just searching for "Lush Comics" in the iTunes App Store. The iPad version is "Lush Comics HD" as opposed to the iPhone version, simply called "Lush Comics". Justin, who created the app etc, is a keen supporter of Independent Comics and created this app as he saw a gap in the market and wanted to allow us to have a presence in the digital world that didn't find us hidden amongst the countless X-Men titles.
It'd be great to see more UK comics up on iTunes, if you would like me to connect you with Justin then let me know.

In other news, I've been busy lettering some ZOMBIES 2 pages and trying to complete Robot Shorts, but every time I think that's it I think of another story I'd like to add... it will be printed by end of the year though...

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Who Is Dave West?

Well, as part of the new day job I've been asked to do a mini-presentation, the idea being that I let the rest of my area know who I am. You know the kind of thing, where you stand up in front of about 50 people and bore them for 20 minutes or so about what you do and where you've worked before ? Yep .. that kind of presentation. I'm still in my probationary 6 months, but what the hell, a few of them know about my 'comic book' hobby now anyway so what could possibly go wrong... Anyway, here's what I'll present to them...
…maybe I should have kept all of this quiet until I’d passed my 6 month probation period…

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Where did all the birds go?

Something has been bothering me ever since starting my day job in Manchester. Something had changed over the years, between the time when I used to travel to Manchester once a month to hit the comic stores (about 15 years ago) and today.
Something was missing.
And then it hit me as I looked up at the buildings. The netting to keep the birds away from store windows and ledges, where they used to amass in their hundreds, was gone.

The birds themselves, were gone.
And then I started to take more interest in their numbers in the garden and their numbers, and variation has really changed. All the Sparrows have disappeared, and the Starlings and other birds were present in much smaller numbers. Is this another effect of Global Warming somewhere along the line hitting them, or their food source ? Will they ever return to their previous numbers ?

I hope so, it certainly feels a lonelier planet without their noisy activity in the skies above us.

I've had a busy month or so compiling, lettering (some contributions) and editing the ZOMBIES 2 anthology, which is coming along very nicely. The deadline for contributions has passed, so get in touch if you're near completion and we'll see what we can arrange.

I've also been busy writing the final installment of The Wolfmen, which will be titled 'The Last Of The Wolfmen', and Andy has approved the script, and suggested a few minor additions.

This has meant that I've not not had much time for Strange Times, which hasn't seen an update on the Accent UK website for a few weeks now, but intend to get back into that now. My intention is to have Book 2 completed for printing next year, early next year, so wish me luck :o)

Oh, nearly forgot, I've been interviewed in the latest Multiverse Comics Newspaper,
so pick up a copy and amongst the pages you'll find out a little more about what I'm up to.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Leaving New York's never easy.

This year I went to New York City's MOCCAFest comic convention, along with Colin Mathieson, co-founder of AccentUK and his son Scott. This was our first Mocca event and had been recommended by a few people as 'the comic event in the US for Small Press and Independent comics', but it was Cliodhna Lyons, who seems to have been to most of the US Cons, who finally convinced us to go. Flying Delta airlines was problem free, and whilst being tempted on the plane to part with $995 in order to have my very own Easter Island Head, I arrived in JFK airport tired, but pretty much OK.

I've done a few Cons now and I tend to keep a little 'journal / scrapbook' going to capture the events of the days. Before I did this I'd get back from a trip completely exhausted and struggle to recall much of what had happened.

I've scanned a few pages of the book and scattered them, hopefully not randomly, amongst the write up.

So, arriving on the 7th April we found ourselves checked into the hotel and were wandering passed the Chrysler Building by around 3pm. The Chrysler has always been my favourite building and it is even more impressive than I thought it could be when seen in person. We had a bite to eat in Grand Central Station, remembering the films that it had been featured in, wandered around Times Square, avoided Comedy Club ticket salesmen, and then planned what we'd do tomorrow, as we had a day free before the Con started. The Museum Of Modern Art was top of the list, Colin for the African Art exhibition (hoping to see some Zulu art I bet) and myself to see the Picasso Guitar exhibition. Scott was happy to pop in with us as it was on the way to Midtown Comics, kind of :o).

The exhibitions were amazing, and the normal collections very impressive. It always strikes me how much more impressive paintings are when seen for real. Pollack's explosions of colour just don't translate into smaller books.

Midtown Comics is a real comic shop. A huge selection of comics and minimal toys and other merchandise. We actually found some AccentUK titles there as well, which is great.

This was followed by lunch in a 'posh' diner (well, it was more expensive than the others we'd been to), before setting off to find The Strand, which is a great bookstore. Selling both second hand and new books, and being on 4 floors. We miscalculated the time it would take a little I think, but we made the 40 block walk and it was certainly worth it. The store is incredible. Sadly out of time we had to leave and decided to return on the last day and buy a whole heap of books, if we had room in our suitcases.

We took the subway back. It was certainly quicker.

The evening was finished off with a Chinese Meal, plentiful portions meant that none of us could finish it, but the food was great, and cheap. The fortune cookie had me a little worried though. 'Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come to watch you burn', can be interpreted in a couple of obvious ways, one good, the other not so.

And so the 9th April had arrived. No need for breakfast as I was still digeting last night's Chinese meal, Colin, Scott and I set off, suitcases loaded with comics, in search of the venue. What can I say, the grid set up to the city streets made it painless to find.

The venue itself is the Armory on Lexington Avenue, which is still in active use, and consequently pretty basic to look at. What you could sense though from first entering the building was the passion and energy being generated by all the creators setting up their stalls. I'll not talk about the event from a comic's perspective (or try not to anyway) on this blog as that will be covered, with photos, over on but will say that our comics were received very well. We met a number of very talented creators, mostly in our immediate area as it was difficult to wander off for too long, a spent some cash picking up some really interesting comic books.
I'll mention a few of the books I picked up. 'Jack' by Olivia Pelaez is a great little understated story illustrated very nicely, and her little greyscale paintings were wonderful ( Manny The Bot, by Maurice Murdock (who almost had the stall next to us) shows an emerging talent and is all the more impressive for being produced so quickly (, two amazingly designed anthology books called The Anthology Project from Lucidity Press ( and Ten Thousand Stories from Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr of Idiots' Books (, all of whom have reviews and thoughts on Mocca.

I also got to meet some of the people who contribute to AccentUK's anthologies, Morgan Pielli, Jonathan Baylis and Charles.D. Chenet for example, as well as Martin Flink who was part of a Danish group who had travelled over. It's great being able to put faces to email addresses. A big surprise was meeting Ed Traquino again. Ed was a regular on the UK comic scene a few years ago but seemed to disappear. Well, that was because he now lives in the Bronx, NYC, and works as a story board artist. See, the comic world is not that big.

I also met Dennis Kitchen... ... briefly.

It was an amazing two days.
One of my main aims whilst there was to sort out an outlet for electronic versions of the AccentUK books. I've got an iPAD now, (yes ... I know ... it'll probably only give me 2 to 3 years of pleasure), and want to see our books in that format. I spoke to a very helpful guy called Frank Reynoso who had a contact for me. I also spoke to Justin Mound who is setting up a Comixology set of apps for Independent Comics. It's early days for Justin but what he does offer is an electronic store that doesn't get swamped with 30 X-Men titles every month. Following a few follow up chats with people we've decided to use Lush.
and see how it goes. I'm more than happy to share our experiences as we enter ... the Twilight Zone ... err ... digital age.

As we had a free morning, before our return flight, we went back to Midtown Comics. We wanted to meet the manager and thank him for stocking our books. We also had 8 comics left (from 4 boxes) and wanted to leave them with him as a free gift, and so the space that they would have taken up could be filled with other books :o)

A really nice guy. He knew of our books and was more than happy to stock them. His attitude to comics was excellent, actually using the sure sales of Marvel etc to allow him to take a few risks on some Independent titles.

And then it was just a quick trip to The Strand book store, by Subway this time, a morning buying books, a quick lunch and then the flight back home.

I would recommend Mocca to anyone, as either a creator, publisher of reader. It's one of those Cons that has a real identity and is all about comics. No Hollywood stars signing autographs, no props from movies, nobody only selling trading cards or merchandise.

We've already booked the same table for next year ...

... just need to create some new books for it now :o)