Thursday, 26 December 2013

The 42nd Post...

As is customary with bloggers with their last blog posting of the year I'll use this opportunity to look back at the films I've seen and books and comics I've read over the year that's just about to come to a close.
I'm not going to label them 'The Best'. They are just the things that I've enjoyed the most and the list doesn't even survive without disagreement within my own house. I stand by this list though, nobody can argue with it apart from me, and if that happens... well, let's just hope it doesn't.
The film of the year for me was actually Now You See Me which was a clever little film about stage magicians and... well, that'd be telling. A great cast, a good story and pretty fast moving, it is certainly a film that I would recommend, and have recommended, to friends.
The best Superhero movie ? Well there have been a few but I agree with my daughter Jemma (a rate thing :o) that for me it was Thor 2 - The Dark World. It had all the action and battles of the others but also mixed in a fair dose of misdirection and the characters, now established, were free to develop. I also enjoyed Wolverine 2 which for me was a massive improvement on the first and the new Superman film had its moments.
My favourite Sci-Fi movie was Star Trek 2- Into Darkness, I'm a bit of a Trekkie and this film was a great follow up to the last one and a clever interpretation of Wrath Of Khan. It's a shame that J.J. Abrams has moved on to Star Wars, but then again if any franchise needed his help then that would be the one.
Favourite Fantasy movie ? Well I think it may have been the only one I saw but The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug was a great follow up to last year's effort and sets the scene really well for the closing chapter. It did leave me feeling that I'd just sat through half a movie and then been asked to leave, but I'll suffer that as I'm enjoying the journey. For those who criticise it for straying too far from the book, well, if you want the book then read the book, if you are going to a movie then expect to see something different.
The film that confused me the most was The Lone RangerJohnny Depp did a good job playing a Native American version of Captain Jack Sparrow but I found that I couldn't laugh at the funny moments that followed a scene where we watched Native Americans get cut down by Gatling guns. Those scenes were just too harrowing, do Directors really expect viewers to be able to flip so easily from one emotion to another or am I just odd? I did however really enjoy The World's End the last in a trilogy of movies from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. I had absolutely no idea where it was going 40 minutes in and then it took off, good fun but my favourite in still Shaun of The Dead.
TV-wise, I've really enjoyed Ripper Street, Sherlock (I think there was a series of this earlier in the year) and Game Of Thrones. Not much else has really caught my interest as much as these. Dr. Who is still too fast paced for me and I'm hoping that the new Doctor will slow it all down a bit.
I've been watching old Twilight Zone episodes (I'm up to about the middle of Season 3) and have really enjoyed them. Some great stories in there. I have, however, failed to get my daughter interested, as highlighted in my Christmas Card to her this year. OK, I went a bit mad and it was too big for any card I had in the house by the time I'd finished it...
As far as books go, well this year I've been re-reading the old Larry Niven Science Fiction books that I last read a long time ago. I'm really pleased to say that they've aged pretty well, still page turners (for me) after all these years. I did pick up the two issues of The Long Earth from Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett. finding the concept and characters pretty interesting and looking forward to see where it all goes. I've also caught up with Skulduggery Pleasant and really enjoyed the penultimate book, The Last Stand Of Dead Men, in the series. I do hope Derek Landy has plans for what he's going to follow it all up with.
I'm not sure what I'd highlight from a comic book perspective. Getting my hands on a copy of the Zenith hardcover collection was a highlight, but I've still not found the time to sit down and read it yet. I've enjoyed Deathmatch from Boom! studios, I always look out for books from Paul Jenkins, there's always another layer to his comics, and really enjoyed this one. As is usual for me I won't make mention of any small press or independent titles as I know I'll miss something and upset someone somewhere.
So, looking forward then...
  1. I will finish Strange Times Book 2 next year.
  2. I will try to finish that book I've been playing with for quite a few years now.
  3. I hope to publish Has Kane Mesmer Lost His Magic Touch ? with Marleen Lowe's art.
  4. I will publish at least one WesterNoir book, and current plans have it at three new books.
  5. I hope to publish From Super-Zeroes to Super-Heroes with art from myself and Seba Velez, and
  6. I'm really hoping that we get a few issues of Stephenson's Robot in print.
Plenty to go at there...
...and on a personal note, I'm going to look up some old friends and work at keeping some of the newer ones as I move jobs.

I wish everyone a prosperous 2014.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

A busy year...

This has got to have been one of the busiest years I've had.
My day job at  the Co-op Bank became a real challenge as I found myself being moved from my Data Architect role into a more generalist Senior Solution Architect one, on a very complex Programme. There was a greater need for Solution Architects than Data Architects in the Coop at the time and so it was a case of me getting my head around a new role and a part of the Banking Group that I hadn't looked into at all in my two years with the company. I accepted this change in my role, although I did discuss it with more senior people, but as this role was not what I had specialised in over the years I also started to look for opportunities outside of the Co-op.
Whilst this was going on Accent UK was having one of its busiest years as far as Conventions and publications were concerned. We had had tables at more than 10 events (with Colin doing an additional two without me) by the end of the year.
On top of all of this my daughter Jemma has had her first year of exams and is at the stage where she needs to consider what she does for her A levels, and where she does it. This is always going to be a tough time for parents as you want to advise but need to step back and not take control. It all has to be their choice in the end. It is their life.
Hard work all around then.
I know I wouldn't have been able to cope if I didn't have the good fortune to know and work with a lot of really good people.
As I sat on the train going home from the last of this year's Christmas Parties I reflected, in a bit of an alcoholic stupor (supported by a whole load of drunken footfall fans who belted out the one song they knew... for the entire journey), on  how many good people I had met at the Co-op and how I'd miss them as I take on a Data Architect role at Lloyds (yep, I had managed to secure the role that I wanted).
Cracker Joke from first Co-op Xmas party.
I have made some really good friends at the Co-op and I realised that working in a city really helps. It's nice to be able to pop out for a coffee and chat at lunchtime, or to pop into a pub for a quick beer and chat on the way home. To get out of the office environment. My previous job at Barclays (looks like I'm collecting Banks) was more of a campus, self contained set up, in the middle of nowhere. This meant that when the day was done everybody just got into their cars and went home. I'm not sure what it'll be like in my new role but I've promised myself that I'd work at keeping in contact with my friends at the Co-op and also look up some of my old ones from Barclays, I really shouldn't have let so much time pass without getting in touch.
I guess I've discovered that I really am a bit of a people person.
We discussed this one a bit on the night of the Party..
it reads wrong to me... surely the little candle would go out first.
When it comes to Accent UK, I've always split the workload with Colin, but this year has seen our on going title WesterNoir go from strength to strength. Gary Crutchley and I meet up every week or so to work out a bit more of the plot, and Gary not only produces the wonderfully appropriate artwork but also fleshes out the first draft of the script, leaving me to merely edit it and suggest a title. This has helped enormously and I will go so far as to say that we wouldn't now be looking at print dates for issue 4 if Gary hadn't invested so much of himself in the project.
My best Christmas Cracker toy this year.
And finally, when it came to helping Jemma it was my wife Jane who was always there to listen and provide advice when asked for. We'll see what Jemma decides to do when she gets her results, but I commend Jane on playing a background role, answering questions, providing advice when asked for but never suggesting or recommending.
So, what am I trying to say ?
  1. I guess I've realised that it's important to take the time to sit back and think about your life once in a while, rather than just carry on rushing into each new day.
  2. I guess I've realised how important good friends are and how lucky I am to have so many.
  3. I guess I've realised that with good friends around you you're less likely to get swamped by it all, and...
  4. I guess I've realised that if you want a nice quiet journey home then not to get the 9.04pm train from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

WesterNoir in Curiosity Of A Social Misfit's Top 10 comic books of 2013.

Yep, our WesterNoir series has been selected by Pat Challis in his ''2013's Top Ten Comic Book Releases!'' list. You can read the full list and see how high we got over at Curiosity of a Social Misfit.
We've a lot planned for Josiah Black and the world he wanders, and are planning an accompanying series called Tales of WesterNoir, which will let us tell stories about the other characters that cross Josiah Black's path. I've already written a short story about Jim Wilson, yep, the bloke who died in issue 1, and an artist has accepted the job of bringing the words to life.
I'll be meeting up with Gary sometime soon and he'll no doubt have his story written up as well. I know he also has an artist lined up but we'll announce who they are when the books are closer to seeing print.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Invisible Man seen in comic stores...

I've just been informed by my local comic shop (Millennium Comics in Northwich (thanks Dan)) that Missing - Have You Seen The Invisible Man? has been delivered by Diamond and so should be in stores across the country (and wider) as of tomorrow.
If you would like a copy then I suggest you pop in before they run out as stores don't tend to order many.
And please do let us know what you think of it.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dreams Of A Carbon Future.

A little while ago I was invited by James McKay to contribute to a graphic novel he was involved with that would look at a future world where we had exhausted our fossil fuel supply. It would involve comic creators, scientists, local school children (well, local to Leeds) and was being organised by Leeds University.
What a great idea. I quickly responded that I'd love to take part, and sent in a few ideas, which a number of scientist then responded to with their views on whether they would work or not. They wouldn't, but when has a small detail like that put me off. I set to illustrating it anyway :o)

Cover Art by Mark Wilkinson.
My story is called 'Moonshine' and is an upbeat tale of how the spirit of mankind will shine (err, excuse the pun) through and solve the problem for the good of all.
The comic was launched at this year's Thought Bubble event, appropriately, in Leeds where I managed to meet up with James himself and collect a copy (or two). It's a free comic and the guys on the stall were busy handing them out all day.
Me and James McKay at Thought Bubble 2013.
I'm really happy to be part of what is a great little book, and even better my pages have been selected to appear in the Cartoon Museum exhibition called ‘Saving Tomorrow’ which runs from the 3rd Jan to the 1st June 2014.
I'll be doing my best to pop down there... with my camera :o)
It's a shame my two pages are on such scrappy paper... oh well... I wasn't to know.
Here's a press release of the project...
University of Leeds Press Release
Novel vision of the future

Penguins wearing reflective hats and cars that run on tomato ketchup are among the highlights of a new graphic novel published by the University of Leeds’ Centre in Low Carbon Technologies.

More than 370 schoolchildren from Yorkshire, 40 Engineering PhD researchers at the University and 20 artists contributed to the 96-page cartoon book, titled Dreams of a low carbon future.

The project was led by Professor Paul Williams, Director of the Doctoral Training Centre in Low Carbon Technologies, and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering as part of its Ingenious scheme, which aims to foster creative public engagement with engineering.

James McKay, who works in the Centre in Low Carbon Technologies and managed the project, said: “The aim of the project was to work with young people in schools and other groups and to think about how current environmental issues and the challenges they pose might affect the future of the Earth and its inhabitants.”

McKay is also a comic artist, with art published in magazines including 2000AD, and contributed his own work to the project. Six professional artists took part.

Dreams of a low carbon future mixes the young people’s original ideas and art with work by professionals. In parts of the book, characters invented by the children are taken up by the professionals in their strips and in other sections the children’s own drawings are featured. The result is a highly polished and engaging comic narrative expressing the ideas of young people about the world of the future.

“Scientists in universities like ours are constantly trying to understand the future, working out what that might be, and how we can change it, but this is an attempt to visualise that future through the eyes of younger people. It is made up of stories that stand alone, but they also fit together to build a bigger story,” McKay said.

As well as producing a gripping book, the project has resulted in a comprehensive set of activities to encourage young people to think about the environment, sustainability and alternative ways of living on the planet.

Five thousand copies have been printed, and will be distributed for free at the London Cartoon Museum, specialist cartoon shops in Leeds and London, and at the 2014 Leeds Festival of Science.

The King James School in Knaresborough, Mirfield Grammar School, Wakefield City Academy, The Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School in Towcester, and schools in Skipton, Barnsley and east Leeds took part in the project. Girl Guides in the north of Leeds also contributed and activities were held at Leeds City Museum.

Monday, 25 November 2013

A video review of the WesterNoir books.

Aaron has posted a great review of the WesterNoir books over at, and it's a video review, which is actually a really good way to review books as it allows the reviewer to show samples of the pages and covers whilst he's telling what he thinks.
Very interesting and hopefully a trend for the future.
If you like Aaron's was of reviewing then why not subscribe on the YouTube page, I did and it doesn't cost anything to do so.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Another great WesterNoir review ... this time issue 3....

Check out the great WesterNoir Issue 3 review over at
Hope to see some of you at the Leeds Thought Bubble event this weekend.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The honesty in a child's artwork.

In my day job I sit opposite a lady called Claire Smith. I can't say that I ever really noticed the way her ears stick out a little at the top until she showed me the drawing her four year old daughter. Olivia, did of her mum.
It always amazes me how a child's eye just naturally picks out things like that. Maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself, but I did share them with Claire, and this resulted in her getting Olivia to do one of me, from photos on this very blog.
The result is really great, and I love the fact that she's signing her work (she just needs to put the date on for posterity).
She even captured my sideburns.
Great work Olivia, and Thanks !

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Another great Robot Shorts review.

Robot Shorts has been reviewed over at and it's another really good one.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stoptober... is over.

It can be said that we eat far to many cookies, cakes and sweets in the office.
So I decided at the beginning of October, well my waistline actually said it but I tend to listen to my stomach, that for the whole of October I'd sample none of the wares that littered the cabinets not 10 foot from my desk.
I succeeded, and it wasn't easy.
Friday was the 1st of November.
Stoptober had... stopped.
I was dashing from one meeting to another, as is typcial with me (time management never being a strength) when I passed my desk to spot a large Millie's Cookies box just sat there...
Seems my decision on what cookie to get in celebration had been made for me.
It's a massive cookie... or was...
No, I didn't eat it all myself, as this would have resulted in my taking on all the calories that I'd avoided in October in one cookied munching session.
Thanks to everyone on the team who contributed to the gift, and more importantly helped me to eat it.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Wolfmen Review.

There's a great review of Wolfmen and The Fall Of The Wolfmen over at It's great that new readers are discovering these books and enjoying them.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Invisible Man and WesterNoir update.

Well, the machine that is Diamond Distribution has received orders from the stores for Missing - Have You Seen The Invisible Man ? and so comics should be hitting stores in the next week or so. It's a healthy number, for a small independent outfit like us, so thanks to everyone you went into their store to order a copy. Please let us know what you think of the book when you've read it.
I had a great two days at The Lakes event last weekend, you can read a report over on the Accent UK blog. The biggest high for me was getting our new banner out of the packaging...
It's a great visual draw, thanks to everyone involved in its creation.
Speaking of WesterNoir, Issue 3 has been reviewed over at
pop over and see what Pat thinks of the latest book.
Gary Crutchley is busy finishing off Issue 4, which'll see print first thing in 2014. It'll be nice to start the year off with a bang.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

From SuperZeroes To SuperHeroes.

Following on from Robot Shorts, my collaboration with Steve Holder, will be a little book called From SuperZeroes To SuperHeroes and this time I'm collaborating with Seba Velez.
It's my take on super-heroes I guess and won't be your typcial book of super-villains trying to take over the world and super-heroes stopping their evil plans... well... OK, it'll be a bit of that, but also it'll be a bit different.
Seba and I are nearing the middle of book now and things are moving along very nicely.
I finished greycaling a page of Seba's artwork this weekend, which I've sampled above, great stuff.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

A few things...

Colin and I had a great day at the Manchester Mart yesterday. We each shifted pretty much all of the comics and GNs we took. These varied widely, from recent Marvel titles to more difficult to find independent titles.
Paul L. Mathews also popped over to discuss a future Accent UK project with us. We'll release more information at the beginning of 2014, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it develop.
Oh, and the marketing for Robot Shorts continues at a pace, with the Forbidden Planet blog giving it some great coverage.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Advertising Budget for Robot Shorts is nearly exhausted.

Steve Holder (co-artist on Robot Shorts) has been busy spreading the word about our book. Check out his photos over on
Looks like Steve has had a lot of fun with these, very effective.

WesterNoir Issue 2 gets a great review.

Pop over to to find out what Patrick Challis thinks of WesterNoir issue 2, which follows very nicely on from his review of issue 1.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

WesterNoir update.

I met up with Gary Crutchley last night at a local pub called The Bleeding Wolf (I love that name) and we discussed all things WesterNoir.
We've plotted up to issue 11 (probably) and Gary has done the first draft of the script for Issue 9, which had to be written before Issues 7 and 8 as it is such a significant issue. It's taking some great twists and turns and has us both really excited.
Gary also showed me development on the artwork for Issue 4 and it's awesome. He just continues to astound me with how good his story telling is and how well he captures the essence of what is being portrayed. Yep, I'm loving this on going title. I can't wait to see it all in print, and hear what people think of it.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Manchester Comic Mart.

I'll be at the Manchester Comic Mart in the Thistle Hotel on the 28th September.
Time to clear some space and sell some of the Graphic Novels and comics I've picked up this year. Pop in if you're looking for some bargains.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Skulduggery Pleasant in Manchester.

Skulduggery Pleasant is one of the central characters in the series of wonderful books by Derek Landy.
I can't remember who started reading these first in the West household but we are all fans of the series and eagerly await each new book.
I was shocked this week whilst wandering through the Arndale in Manchester to see that Derek Landy was due to do a book signing on Saturday (that's today) at 10am. I risked being late for the meeting I was rushing to, to text my daughter Jemma, but should have known that of course her phone would be out of charge.
Anyway, it was back to Manchester today and we were in the queue as the doors to W H Smiths opened at 9am.
What a nice bloke Derek Landy is.
He was very generous with his time as he chatted to each eager fan in turn and was more than happy to pose for photos.
Jemma asked him about where his ideas came from and he told about his decision to set the skeleton detective in today's world rather than a purely fantasy setting and I think I surprised him when I followed her question by asking whether he had clearly defined rules about how magic worked in his 'universe'.
Yes, I do read the books myself.
He then went on to sign Jemma's copy of Deathbringer (which is her favourite, so far) and almost personalised my copy of the latest, Last Stand Of Dead Men, to Jemma as well, but we stopped him just in time, he'd written 'To', and I now have 'To Dave' rather than 'To Jemma' in my copy of the book I'll start reading tonight.
Jemma then got her photo taken with one of her favourite authors.
We had a great day.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WesterNoir Issue 1 reviewed.

WesterNoir Issue 1 has been reviewed over on, and it's a good one. Let's hope Pat enjoys issues 2 and 3 as much as he enjoyed issue 1.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

WesterNoir Number 3 in Lego.

I've been meaning to post this up here for a while now. Continuing the theme of Accent UK books in Lego, here's one of the Mermaids for Issue 3 of WesterNoir.
I've just got back from a fabulous MCM event in Glasgow and will put a report up on accentukcomics.blogspot sometime this week.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Paul Gravett highlights 'Missing : Have You Seen The Invisible Man ?'

Paul has highlighted our Invisible Man comic from September's PREVIEWS over on his website which is great as it'll help raise the book's profile.
Thanks Paul.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

WesterNoir background image for your laptops.

This great WesterNoir image by Gary Crutchley (and you can see the inked only version over on his blog), coloured by Matt Soffe and surrounded by a border and text by Andy Bloor, will soon be available as a limited print.
In the meantime, you can download it as a backdrop for you laptop from the AccentUK website. I've got it on mine and it looks awesome.

Invisible Man Spotted in Previews Issue 300.

Well I've finally managed to sort out getting Missing : Have You Seen The Invisible Man ? in the latest issue of Previews, which is the catalgue that goes out to all comic retailers so that they can decide what their respective stores will stock.
You're probably thinking that this should have been sorted out a while ago, as the comic has been on sale at a number of Cons already, and you'd be right. It's just that with all the Cons and life in general, sometimes important things just never get to the top of the To Do list.
Still, it's finally been sorted.
and page 240 has it in all its glory. Yes, I know I name dropped the Eagle Award that Marleen Lowe and I won for Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man ? but us Independent comic creators need all the nudges we can drag up if we're going to look interesting to the Comic Shop Guys out there.
I still get complaints from customers that our books never appear in their local stores, we used to send out a free copy to stores across the globe in the hope that they'd order some through Previews but it costs a lot of cash, and I'm not sure if it was very effective.
The problem is that the retailers have to spread their cash across a whole heap of Marvel and DC Event Books as well as the usual number of X and Bat books ... so it's no wonder that they buy one or two copies of our books at most. And when they've sold them, that's it. There's no re-order or re-stock.
So, if you want to get your local store to have a copy for you then you really need to go and ask them to get you one.. and do it before they put their Diamond Previews order in. Which means over the next week or two. All the details you need can be seen in the above scan.. the Order Number is STK623409...
I hope you do, and I hope you enjoy the read.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

WesterNoir Update.

Well WesterNoir is getting more and more interest, and it's clear that having an on going title is quite different to one shots. At the Carlisle MegaCon yesterday one customer came over the to stall, picked up the three issue sketch pack and said that his gaming friends had recommended the book to him. That kind of 'word of mouth' recommendation is great, and reviews like these for Issue 1 and for Issue 2 really help.
Meanwhile Gary Crutchley has completed in the artwork on Issue 4, with Andy Bloor (also featured on the cover of Issue 4) providing the lettring... you'll know what I mean when you pop over to have a look on his blog) has provided the lettering. It's looking great and is going to be a great issue to end the first mini-series on.
Whilst you're on Gary's blog you also find a link to an interview where he also mentions WesterNoir a few times...
Not stopping there though, Gary (mostly) and I have already plotted the second mini-series and Gary has started emailing me about Issue 9...
And finally, with regards WesterNoir, Gary has produced a great piece or artwork that is being coloured by equally talented Matt Soffe (who I met again at yesterday's Carlisle MegaCon and is a really nice bloke) and once that's done we'll ask Andy Bloor to design some kind of frame/setting and I'll get some printed off on some nice paper. Not sure when all this will have been completed by but I'll announce it here when it is.
...and almost finally, the Invisible Man review from is now also up on, which is great.
...and finally... one of my little doodlings has turned up over on, which is nice.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Strange Times Book 2... the end is in sight.

I'm focussing my efforts on finishing Strange Times over the coming weeks. Book 2 sees everything resolved, although there's always going to be a temptation to come back to the characters at some future point.
Here's a recently finished page, without the words (mainly because I haven't written them yet).
Whilst not drawing the Leyton Angel I've been trying to remember how to update the Accent UK website, and believe I've now added WesterNoir Book 3, so you can see a few sample pages and also buy a copy if tempted. If you find any errors, and I'm sure you will, then please let me know and I'll try to fix them. It's a complicated website (for me anyway) and infrequent updates mean that I almost have to learn how to update it every time I try to do so. Ah well, good job I've not got a job in IT... wait a minute... damn.

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Invisible Man reviewed and artwork revealed.

There's a great review of Missing: Have You Seen The Invisible Man? over at which quite rightly highlights again the fabulous work that Joe Campbell did bringing invisibility to the comic book page.
Over of Joe Campbell's blog he shares his process with those who would like to know more. Here's a sampled page, in case you need any further temptation.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Mermaid Sightings.

Well I'm just back from a too brief visit to North Wales and Anglesey.
Whilst there we were determined this time to pay a visit to Port Meirion (of the original The Prisoner TV series fame).
I never realised before our visit that there was a Mermaid connection, but everywhere I looked I seemed to spot one. The entry ticket had a stylised version...
I spotted this carving of a not-so-attractive version...
and then found the ironwork of gates and railings to sport another nicely designed one...

and then there was this hard-to-spot one that had weathered a bit over the years, and looks a lot clearer in the photo than it did gazing up at it...
All these Mermaids were certainly very inspiring, and if we hadn't just had an issue of WesterNoir where Mermaids were the central monsters, then... and then it dawned on me.
Hadn't Gary Crutchley visited Port Meirion not so long ago ?
Wasn't it Gary who was so keen that we work Mermaids into issue 3 of WesterNoir ?
Yep... it's all so clear now.
Mermaids were still working their magic on unsuspecting men.
I wonder where Gary is off to next ?
Maybe the plot of a future issue of WesterNoir will make it all clear.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

WesterNoir Issue 3.

WesterNoir Issue 3 arrived Thursday morning. Once again the guys at UKCOMICS had come up trumps and delievered to a very high standard in a very short time. Stuart Gould, at UKCOMICS, gets comics and more importantly he gets Independent Comics. He knows what we're like. He knows we only manage to pull things together on the 11th hour and he takes this in his stride. I'm always really happy with the results.
So, here we are with Issue 3 in our grubby little hands.
And it's a beauty.
Andy Bloor's cover design layout still makes me smile and the three of the books sat together really do have the feel of a cohesive on going story. Inside the pages are sharp and clean and my worries about the double page spread lining up were needless, once again Andy made sure it all came together nicely.
Gary Crutchely is driving this book for us. He's the one who prompts the get togethers where we lay out the plot, the twists, the ebb and flow, and he's the one who then lays out the plot and thumbnails the pages before we agree the issue and he sets down to work his magic on the finished art.
We took Issue 3 to the Manchester MCM Expo yesterday and it was a real pleasure to see customers of previous issue just walk over to it and pick it up. No need to hit them with any details, they just bought their copy as they would any ongoing series. Yes, we now have an ongoing title on the table, and it feels great.
Gary and I had a busy time (and you can see a fuller report over at accentukcomics) but still managed to take time out to sit and discuss Issue 5 over a coffee. Issue 4 will be a defining issue for the series but Issue 5... well...
Gary and I will be sending out review copies over the coming weeks, so if you're a reviewer for a website or blog then get in touch (the email address can be found on the Accent UK website) and we'll send a copy your way.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

So what am I up to at the moment?

Well I've finished my three page contribution to a Scientific graphic novel about what happens when all the oil runs out.
It's in my usual style and is the typical downbeat tale that I throw together when I know that I'll be illustrating it. In fact when I'm illustrating a story on my own the whole thing kind of evolves as it goes along.
It's nice to finish something and I hope they like it.
In other news WesterNoir is moving along at a really good pace, mainly thanks to Gary's passion for the project as he keeps us focussed on it. I'm really enjoying where this is heading and our colaborative get togethers are great fun. Book 3 is at the printers and Gary is 11 pages into Book 4. We've also plotted out most of the second story arc, and it's going to surprise quite a few people I think.
I'm also working on another mini-series with an artist I met in Sweden. I saw Anders Lundell's art and it brought to mind a story I'd been playing with in the background. More fantasy than anything else I've written and something that needed the right artist. Well, I'm fortunate enough to have found him and he's currently working on designs for the first issue. I'll share some of his design work soon, but just as a taster, here's his work on the city which acts as a backdrop to the story.
It's funny putting work like this alongside my own. I'm more a doodler than an artist I think as Ander's has captured the city in a way that I wouldn't be able to acheive in a lifetime of doodling. I'm looking forward to sharing more about this and will do so as it develops.
I'm now going back to focussing my doodling on Strange Times Book 2...

Monday, 17 June 2013

Strange Times Book 2 - Evolution of a cover.

Strange Times was always going to be a trilogy in two parts, and I'd always intended the cover of the second book to reflect that of the first. I wanted it to be similar, but different.
The danger though, as I've experienced a little with my Blessed/Cursed books, Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man ? and Missing - Have You Seen The Invisible Man ?, is that this can confuse people. I've had customers at the table in conventions say that they'd read The Invisible Man when I knew that they couldn't have. When I then show them Fastest Man and point out that it's different they have all then bought the new book.
Strange Times Book 2.
How to make it similar, but different.
How about use a different character in a different car. How about it being a car that flies (which does appear in the book). Hmmmm ... still looks too similar...
OK, how about setting it at night.
OK, that seems to work. I had to lose the animal this time as it's night but I quite liked it.
Time to send it off to Andy Bloor to work his magic.
Andy had problems with the moon. I hadn't thought about the placement of the book title.
That's why I'm not a designer.
Yep. I like that. I had thought to make the lettering red, similar to the car but once again Andy had been right to make it blue.
A day or so later however I wondered that maybe the background fields were a little too light and that they lost the impact of the vapour beneath the car.
And there you have it. I'm really happy with the finished look.
Now I just need to sort out a quote for the back cover... oh, and finish the internal pages.
Thanks as always to Andy for his help in making our books so polished, and for being patient with my 'ideas'.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

'A Place To Hang Your Cape' reviews Fastest Man and Invisible Man.

David Molofsky has reviewed both of our Blessed/Cursed books over at A Place To Hang Your Cape, and there's also an Interview up there as well.
This week, and the next, will be spent getting ready for the Copenhagen Con, Gary Crutchley, the driving force behind WesterNoir has produced some special sketches for the show, I wonder if I'll allow people to buy them though... The always busy Gary has posted the title page for Issue 3 up on his blog. In a word... awesome.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Getting ready for the Copenhagen Comics Convention.

It's been a few years, I think maybe 3 but would need to do some digging to be sure, since we attended the last Komiks.DK in Copenhagen and we've really missed both the trip and our friends over there. It'll be great to catch up and talk about what we've all done since.
We're going to be a little more limited in terms of what we can carry over with us this year as it's just me and Colin. Previously our friends Chris and/or Scott have come over with us but sadly this year they're not able to do so. We'll miss them both.
We're both really looking forward to it though, it's always been one of our favourite Cons and hopefully the name change will be just that, a change in its name.
I've been busy this month with the day job and the impact that a such a significant change in the Organistional Design of the company brings, but am still finding the odd moment to be creative.
Gary Crutchley has been great keeping WesterNoir 3 progressing, and has worked wonders with my script to produce a book that sets things up really well for the final book in the story arc, even changing bits of scripting here and there to improve it all. A great collaborative effort. A big thanks to Gary for his efforts, and talent.
As I've not had much time to do my own 'art thing' lately and work on Strange Times 2, I've been playing with collages in my spare moments, cutting and sticking images on a page, I wish I could be more loose and random but I think for me that's not going to happen...
 If nothing else I'll have a little sketchbook full of images to look at should I great a creative block...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

WesterNoir 3, cover image is all sorted.

Well, as promised WesterNoir #3 is the Mermaid issue.
Once again Gary Crutchley has worked his magic on the cover (and pulled the script in all sorts of interesting directions), Andy Bloor has continued with his great design and Matt Soffe has worked wonders on the colouring.

How good does that look...
Gary is well into the book now with all the inking done, he's applying the grey tones and lettering. All coming together really well.
And then it'll be onto book 4, last in the mini-series, I'll say nothing more on that... for now.

Saturday, 13 April 2013


I took a day off work yesterday and took the family on a trip to Stratford Upon Avon. The town is famous as the birthplace of a long deceased writer called William Shakespeare, but more importantly, to me, it is where the Mechanical Art & Design museum is located.
Now I must admit I was a little surprised by the £6.80 fee for entry, and multiple this by two and add a child and it's a sizeable amount. I've been caught out before by museums that promise much and deliver very little. I wasn't going to be put off though so I entered a rather dark room to a world of mechanical sounds.
I was in fact in tinkerers heaven.
There were two floors littered with all forms of mechanical contraption. Most of them did something at the push of a button or were in some form of perpetual activity as ball bearings raced around tracks of wire.
Now I like to build robots from all sorts of salvaged household appliances, and some odd items bought at car boot sales or antique shops (don't tell them though), but the guys who built these machines (on retrospect the word 'contraption's doesn't seem fair) are on a whole different level.
Some of the pieces where some kind of kintec art,
whilst others had strange little creatures manning (or is that flea-ing) exotic craft on some adventure or other.
We spent a good hour in there marvelling at the creativity and effort involved in producing such elaborate structures.
A great way to spend your time and well worth the price of entry.
I believe that they change their exhibits periodically so I'll be back some day to see what else is going on in studios across the globe.
I don't feel so odd now, having seen that others are also out there tinkering away with salvaged bits and pieces.