Monday, 30 October 2017

Flesh - Issue 2 - A review.

I'm not a big fan of horror comics.
I mean real gritty and grim horror comics where people get their throats ripped out by come creature who lives just to rip people's throats out.
And so I've never really been drawn to the comics of Dark Pond Creations.
They're not my cup of tea.
Talking to Patrick Scattergood, the driving force behind DPC, at this years Nottingham Comic Con however I was struck by the fact that one of the tales in issue 2 of FLESH was a more personal story from Patrick. One about his battle with depression.
I bought a copy.
The first two tales in the comic then are what I expected and although well written and illustrated I found myself passing through them pretty quickly before arriving at The Black Dog In The Night.
It's a personal story expertly illustrated by Luke Cooper about Patrick's fight against The Black Dog, depression. A real horror that confronts too many of the people around us. There are some really subtle touches to the artwork, the thin scars on the wrist for example, that add to the realism. A powerful tale all the more horrific because it is very real for so many.

I'm not a big fan of horror comics.
But I'm a fan of stories like this.
You can find Dark Pond Creations on Facebook.

Nottingham Comic Con.

It's nice to go to a Convention that is all about comics.
The Nottingham Comic Con is all about comics.
Sure, you get the odd stall selling trinkets or chocolate but really it's all about the comics.
This then was our first visit to Nottingham, in previous years it had always clashed with something we'd already committed to.
The Accent UK team of me and Gary Crutchley drove across early Saturday for the one day show and found everything went very easily.
Directions, parking, accessing the venue, the lifts, finding our table and setting up.
All was very very straightforward.
And we were next to the chocolate stall (more on that later).
I'd heard a lot of good things about this show, but always from creators who talked more about catching up with friends than actually meeting lots of the public interested in their books. As such I really wasn't expecting to sell much, but wanted to experience the event and enjoy it for what it was.
Or, what I thought it to be.
There were, however, plenty of people passing our table, lots of interest and we actually did pretty well.
I also managed to catch up with Andy Bloor, Patrick Scattergood and Alex of Pipedream Comics, and if you are interested in Independent comics then The Pull List is a great way to find out what's going on. Recommended. All had tables and all were enjoying the show.
Gary spots me loitering on the balcony above.
I learned a lot about the healthy benefits of 'real' chocolate from our neighbours, and sampled their product in the shape of a dark chocolate frog. Did you know that sniffing 'real' chocolate keeps hunger away? I didn't either, but a quick experiment with the half eaten frog later in the day actually seemed to confirm it. There are plenty of other good things to report and basically 5g - 20g (depending on your weight/build) of 'real' chocolate a day is good for you.
We finished the day with a Thai meal with Matt Booker and then chatted all the way back. We agreed that we'd had a really nice day.
We will definitely be back next year.

They Live in Sainsbury's.

I always give the tagline "It's They Live meets Deadwood" at comic conventions when describing our western horror comic, WesterNoir, and am usually disappointed to find that not many people below the age of 30 have seen the film.
It's a classic.
And it's only £7 for the BluRay at Sainsbury's.
Go get it.
Ha .. a thought occurred to me that I should force it into shopping trolleys as they pass and fight anybody who tries to take it out. Fight them until they accept that they will indeed buy it and watch it.
That paragraph will make no sense unless you've seen the film.
Go buy it.
Go watch it.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bladerunner 2049.

It's not news that I'm a big fan of the original Bladerunner movie.
It's one of those films where everything just works.
The story, the actors, the cinematography, the special effects, the music and the myth that followed in the stories wake... Was Deckard a replicant?
And so I decided that I wouldn't go to watch it.
More than that, I'd avoid hearing anything about it.
But that was of course impossible.
I saw a photo of a much older Deckard.
But did that necessarily make him human?
Who was I kidding. I couldn't resist and found myself at the first viewing.
I think it must have been too early as you can see from the photo above.
What was the film like? It was excellent.
It built on the first story, and didn't try to re-write any of it.
The actors were great, and old Harrison Ford still plays himself better than anyone else can.
The cinematography was as good as the first film.
The music had echoes of the great Vangelis soundtrack from the original.
The myth was preserved, with Deckard's humanity as uncertain at the films end as it was at the beginning.
The film is a success and I'd recommend it to anyone... and everyone.
I liked it so much I even bought the T-shirt.
Go see it.
But take a friend... just in case.

One ticked off my Bucket List.

It started with an email from a good friend of mine from my time working at the Co-op.
Neil Morrow had a spare ticket to an American Football game at the Wembley Stadium.
I was into American Football way back when they used to show it on Channel 4 and it's a game that I've always wanted to experience live.
It always seemed such a great experience. An event that was bigger than the actual game.
'I'm interested.' I replied, 'Who's playing?'
'Miami Dolphins vs the New Orleans Saints'
Wow. Miami Dolphins were my favourite team way back then. Dan Marino being the star quarterback, if memory serves.
'Hell yes.' I was up for this, even if I knew I'd be feeling really tired from travelling back from Glasgow the week before and also that I was going to Chichester, and back, on the Saturday.
And there I was. Sat watching the screens show off cheerleaders and interviews whilst Pepsi cola T-shirts were being shot into the crowd by girls in costume surrounded by men bouncing around on those stilt things.
And the game started.
I still remembered the rules and the first quarter was quite tense, with Dolphins almost getting a Touchdown in their first drive.
Sadly this was as close as they got all game and where overwhelmed by a stronger New Orleans team. There were more penalty plays than I ever remember seeing on TV, maybe the rules have changed a little as they have with our own football where you can earn a free kick these days from falling down when someone looks at you.
I enjoyed the spectacle, and the way that 4 * 15 minute Quarters game time resulted in about 3 hours event time. It was never boring though. Something was always going on, whether it was the man in a Dolphin suit who ran around and engaged the crowd (which took me back to the Simpsons episode when Homer had gotten the job of Team Mascot) or when one of the stewards on the pitch got a decent Mexican Wave going.
An enjoyable day, despite the poor Miami Dolphins performance, and something I can tick off of my Bucket List.
Thanks for thinking of me Neil when the ticket became available.

Meanwhile at the Comic Con.

When Simon Birks (of Blue Fox Comics) mentioned his new Comic Convention in Chichester I must confess to thinking it'd be another small provincial Con with few customers and too many stalls. This was typically how they went so why would Meanwhile be any different ?
But Simon is a friend and so I offered my support and agreed to book a table.
As it typical for me it was a few months later that I actually got around to booking the table, but book one I did.
As the day drew nearer Simon offered me an extra table as someone had dropped out, so I was to have two tables to fill and man (as I was on my own).
It's been a busy few weeks and it was only the night before, having loaded my stock, that I looked to see where Chichester actually was and how long it would take to get there.
An early start for me then but the drive would only be two and a half hours, so not too bad.
I managed to arrive with only 15 minutes to spare, but even on my own had managed to set the table up with seconds to go.
The day started nicely, with a fair number of early ticket holders showing interest, and I realised that this was a comic con then more than a multimedia one. People were here looking for comics.
And when the general population entered that was confirmed with lots of discussions held with a good number of customers and many of these resulted in people buying a book or two.
As first Cons go, this was a great one.
The efforts of Simon and team paid off and I think the Con will only get better year by year as word spreads.
A great mix of professional and independent creators, craft stalls and events.
Well done to all.
Accent UK will be up for returning next year.

Monday, 2 October 2017

From Krypton To Kelvingrove.

I took the opportunity whilst up in Glasgow to catch the end of the Frank Quitely exhibition in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Jemma had kept an eye on the dates and suggested we have a look at it all on Monday.
The last time I'd been in the art gallery was to see an exhibition of Mucha's work, and it was actually quite something to have a Comic Artist exhibit, to me it gave some degree of credibility to comic art in general and I was pleased to see it attended by all age groups whilst we were there.
It was stunning.
I've been a fan of his work since Flex Mentallo and to see original pages and videos interviewing him and his peers about his work was great.
It's a shame that it's not an exhibition that's on tour as it would be really good to make the general public aware of the talent of a lot of comic artist and in particular Mr Quietly, I won't divulge his secret identity.
I can't wait to get see his next project and hopefully the animation that he's creating.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Glasgow MCM.

For the first time in recorded history the Accent UK team was split across two Cons.
The A-Team (that's any team that includes me, and this time was with Jemma) were at the Glasgow MCM and the B-Team (which is any team that included Colin, and on this occasion included Gary Crutchley and our guest from Denmark Martin Flink) were at Thought Bubble.
Of course there was a competitive element to the whole thing, although I'll confess that I was doubtful of my chance to win. Added to the international guest there were two new books at Thought Bubble that I'd not managed to get hold of, WesterNoir 8 and Martin's The Lizard.
Still, I do love a challenge.
This year then saw us on the table next to Steve 'Timebomb' Tanner.
It's amazing that in his 10 years and our 15 this was actually the first time that this had happened.
We would get a chance to see the Sales Master in action.
He is quite impressive and soon we were both busy talking to customers and swapping cash for comics as is the traditional way of things.
Saturday was very busy and an improvement for us on last year which had been relatively quiet. The Lego figures drew in a lot of interest, but sadly it was mostly under 10 year olds and none of the comics that the characters they saw in Lego form were suitable.
A poor marketing strategy then.
There were, as always, plenty of Cosplayers to marvel at.
My particular favourites were...
Spike from Steampunk Giraffe and...

this from Coraline. Amazing.
A good day ended with a really enjoyable night at Babs (Kebab restaurant (thoroughly recommended) with Mikes Garley and Stott, Jemma and Jenika and Steve Tanner. Great food and great company.
Sunday, whilst starting slower, was another good day.
Did I beat the boys at Thought Bubble ?
Well ... not on total number of Comics sold.
But ... wait a minute ... they had two tables and I had only the one.
So if you take the sales per table, which seems only fair, then I won by a country mile 😂.
I'll leave you with this...
Stay tuned.