Monday 28 December 2009

The Ballad of Hatty Jack - page 3

I am happy with this half page I've drawn today for 'The Ballad of Hatty Jack'.

Sunday 27 December 2009

First World War Era Cartoons by James Calvert

First World War Era Cartoons by James Calvert

First World War Era Cartoons by James Calvert

My mum's got a little sketchbook of these First World War era cartoons that were drawn by my great-great uncle James Calvert. He died some time soon after the war, possibly of influenza. At the front of the book is written 'Our Jim's sketches out of the newspapers' so whether he just copied the faces from the newspaper or copied the whole cartoons from them I don't know but I thought I'd put them up here on the internet as they are very interesting.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Saturday 19 December 2009

The Ballad of Hatty Jack

I've got started on my story for 'Gin Palace'. It's 'The Ballad of Hatty Jack'. Expect a lot of hats.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Best of The Year

Here's a link to my list of my three favourite books of the year, from the Forbidden Planet Blog.

Monday 14 December 2009

Two More Books I Really Liked this Year

I really liked both these books that I have read over the last couple of weeks. I will definately read both of them again as they need lots of thinking about and careful reading. The drawing in 'Footnotes in Gaza' is amazing, its Sacco's best drawing yet.

Sunday 13 December 2009


Grrrr... I wonder who these people are.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Brooklyn Comics and Graphic Arts Festival

Oh look, Secret Acres were selling my comics at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphic Arts Festival. Cool, thanks Secret Acres! Here's a link to the Daily Crosshatch report.(from where I found this photo)

Monday 7 December 2009

TCAF Toronto 2010

Bloody hell I've been accepted for the Toronto Comics Festival! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I am very happy.

Gin Palace Anthology

Here's Dave Hughes excellent back cover for the 'Gin Palace Anthology'. Still plenty of room for anyone else who wants to be in this anthology, deadline is next February but I'd like to get a good number of pages together before that so I can work out how long it's going to be. Get in touch if you'd like to do something...

Friday 4 December 2009

Great Deeds Against the Dead - PART TWO - OUT NOW

'Great Deeds 2' is back from the printers tonight. I've put it on the shop page of my website for sale or contact me for details. Only £2.50 with free postage in the UK. 32 pages with a little story on the inside covers too, and colour covers.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Random Nonsense

Hmmm this is the only thing I've drawn this week. I don't know why. I'll try and get going again soon. I was busy all of last week with my anthology cover but have run out of ideas for a bit.

Monday 30 November 2009

Sfar, Trondheim, Blain - Dungeon - The Early Years Volume 2 Innocence Lost

This is the darkest and most cynical of all the Dungeon Series. Hyacinthe, who will become the dungeon keeper in the later series goes from being a courageous hero and defender of the weak and powerless to being a bloated murdererous assassin. We get to see all the things that made him into the cynical dungeon keeper of the later books. The art by Blain (see above) is very dark with awesome use of different colours on each page to set the mood. It's very enjoyable especially if you have read the later books and want to know why things are like they are. The books really build up together into an amazingly complex world.

Thought Bubble Haul

I didn't buy many comics at Thought Bubble but I really enjoyed these two-

Joe List's 'Freak Leap' which is very funny, and you can tell he has spent ages working on it to get the images just right, and Philippa Rice's 'Futuristic Dwellings' which consists of many super detailed pages of futuristic homes. It's very cool.

Sunday 29 November 2009

'Gin Palace' Cover

Here's how the cover looks at the moment, needs a bit more sorting out on some of the colours but it's very nearly finished. It's my cartoony version of a painting by Manet.

Friday 27 November 2009

Anthology News

After lengthy consultations I have decided that the anthology will be called ‘Gin Palace’. It still has no theme and will be black and white with colour covers. I have been drawing the fancy cover all week, it is very fine arty (pretentious moi?) and Victorian looking. I’ll put it on here once it’s done.


Ha ha I have quit my job. I am leaving on New Years Eve. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to make a living from comics but instead am starting up a small travelling food business to sell food on markets. Sounds a nice change to me. In the summer I will make ice cream and in winter I will be cold in a field making curry.

I should have way more time to make comics properly so expect many more comics from me next year. Or maybe the same number but better drawn…

Monday 23 November 2009

Leeds Thought Bubble Report 2009

My stuff all spread out before the con starts...

There's Dave Hughes and you can see MD Penman's fancy 'Greasy Joe' stand in the middle.

Yay had a very good time at Leeds Thought Bubble 2009. I was sharing the table with Dave Hughes and also sub-let a little bit of it to MD Penman for his Greasy Joe comics. I got the train there in the morning so it was a very long day, up at 6. Sales started well until 1 but then there was a big gap when I started to get a bit worried. But then some heroic fellow came about 4pm or so and bought a pile of comics cheering me up greatly, thank you! I was pleased as I had covered table costs. Sales were a bit less than last year but still best sales of the year. There was a lot of great stuff on people's stalls, I bought a few comics which I will mention on here once I've read them.

The after show party was a good laugh and I even had a dance at the comics disco which had some very good tunes. I was suffering a bit at first afterwards with crazy staring con eyes but the magic powers of beer relaxed my eyes and they gradually returned to normal. I was very rough on Sunday as I slowly got the train home via an odd and unexpected route.

Thanks to everyone who bought my comics!

NEWS- Ant Mercer is doing a work themed anthology, here's a link to it if you fancy submitting some stuff.... sounds cool. The Brave Brave Idiots

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Johnny Ryan – Prison Pit Volume 1

Yay! I was looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint me at all. Its very cool, go and buy it, all the good reviews of it are true. A brutal maniac is dumped on a prison planet and proceeds to meet and fight the inhabitants in various long and disgusting battles. Awesome. Each baddy has there own special moves, involving snot, jizz, growing extra arms and heads. It’s very manga-esque in it’s long and elaborate fight sequences and also in the pacing. I am well looking forward to issue 2. It is my favourite Johnny Ryan thing I’ve seen though I like a lot of the Blecky Yuckerella strips and fondly remember his ‘Every Autobio Comic Ever Written’.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Thought Bubble 2009 Getting Very Near!

It's really not long till Thought Bubble on the 21st of November. I am looking forward to it. I will have loads of comics to sell, including some at special discount rates specially for Leeds. Come and buy some if you are there. I am sharing a table with Dave Hughes. Should be good. I am all ready for going as I am very organised this year, so no rushing about necessary.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Great Deeds Against the Dead - Part Two Finally Finished

Hurray! It's finally finished. It took me ages and ages and ages to clean up all the pages but now I have burnt them to a disc so they are off to the printers tomorrow. Too late for Thought Bubble of course but they should be on sale after the end of this month...

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Jiro Taniguchi – A Distant Neighbourhood – Books 1 & 2

These were very enjoyable to read. I ended up reading them both in one go to find out the mystery at the end. The art is beautiful as you would expect from Taniguchi, very detailed and with a great sense of place.

It’s a time travel / body swop story were the middle aged hero gets drunk at his mothers grave and suddenly finds himself back in his 14 year old body in the past. Once he gets over his confusion a bit, he likes being young again, having loads of energy and life. Also with his adult memories he finds all the classes easy, which is very different from when he was young and they were a hard slog. He starts changing all the things that happened when he was young, now he is dating the most beautiful girl in the class who he didn’t dare approach as a child…

Then he remembers that his dad left them without saying a word at the end of the summer holidays when he was fourteen and tries to find out why he left, and stop him if he can.

I liked these books a lot more than ‘The Ice Wanderer’ which I read last year but my favourite Taniguchi is still ‘The Walking Man’ so read that first if you are only going to get one of his books to try.

Friday 6 November 2009

Benjamin Marra - Night Business - Issues 1 & 2

Waaaaaaaaaaahhhh these are awesome. They may well be my favourite comic of the year. The drawing is so fascinating, everyone is super shiny looking with tiny hands and strange poses. Grrrrr they are angry. (As you can see the best way of describing it is by writing funny noises)

The story is set in ‘the city’ at night in 1983. Johnny and Steve are running an agency ‘Glitz Glam’ which looks after exotic dancers. A crazy masked murderer has killed one of their girls in a frenzied knife attack and now they are after him. Johnny gets one of the girls to act as bait to draw out the murderer. The city is very sleazy, full of pimps and strip clubs. Benjamin Marra is a very funny man, the authors descriptions on the back pages of the comics made me laugh out loud. Highly recommended, go and order it from his website.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Great Deeds Against the Dead - Part Two First page with Greys

I didn't get much done tonight as i started drinking some Lambs Navy Rum. Here's the first page of 'Great Deeds 2' with the grey tones added. This is page 3 confusingly. Only 28 more pages to add grey tones too.
P.S. I am excited about GRINDER!!

Monday 2 November 2009

Great Deeds Against the Dead - Part Two Cover in Progress

I have been working on the cover all night, needs more messing with yet.

Reinhard Kleist - Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness

Woah, the drawing in this book is lovely. It’s really great. The story seems familiar ‘cos I’ve seen that ‘Walk the Line’ film and lots of documentaries about Cash over the years, but the drawing really makes the book. My favourite bits are his trees, they’re amazing. He’s very good at the faces too and I like the way he illustrated the songs. It took me a few goes to get into it but it was worth the effort as I really enjoyed it in the end. I think the book gets a lot better after the first couple of chapters, especially the bits were he goes to Folsom Prison to play his famous concert.

John Porcellino - Map of My Heart

This is a great book containing six years worth of King Cat’s (minus the long story from the first few that has already been released as ‘Perfect Example’. It’s really very good, I highly recommend it to everyone. If you have just read one or two King Cat’s and weren’t that blown away you should try reading a whole bunch of them all together, as they build really nicely and become more than the sum of the little stories.

The six years were very crazy for John, he gets marries and moves house, then he gets very sick, moves house, gets divorced, moves house again, and finally falls in love again at the end of the book. Some of it is very sad and there are some beautiful poem comics. I really like his drawing, it’s just right for what he wants to do. It made me want to draw, which is always a great sign. Also it made me want to wander round looking at things and exploring. I’d read a few of the later ones before when they came out but it’s still worth getting them as the book too. It adds lots of context, and you get John’s notes on what was going on at the time too.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

'Great Deeds Against the Dead 2' nearly finished

All the drawing is done now, I am up to the boring stages of rubbing out all the pencil lines, then fixing all my mistakes. Then I am going to add the grey tones... it'll be a couple of weeks yet. This is not the cover but half of page 7.

Friday 23 October 2009

New Anthology

Hello... i'm thinking of doing a new anthology, I think it'll come out twice yearly (in time for the UK Web Comix thing and Leeds...) anybody interested? I'm thinking no theme this time just good stuff. I'll have some time on my hands next year so may as well have a go at doing it more reguarly and see how it goes.

Can anyone think of an awesome name for a new anthology? Free copies of it for life is the prize. I'll have a think myself too, but names not my strong point.

Monday 19 October 2009

Good News

Hurray! I have written the ending for 'Great Deeds 2'. Now I just have to draw the last 5 pages, then clean them all up, add the grey tones, scan them and get them printed. It's not going to be for Leeds, instead I'll bring it out in December. I've still never took 'The Pasty Anthology' or 'Great Deeds 1' to a convention myself so I want to try selling them instead of rushing this new comic out. I'll fix up some mistakes too and do a proper job.

It's a relief to get the ending in right as I didn't know how it was going to go, only in a vague sense, and it's a bit of a risky way to draw comics. It stops me getting bored though. I hope it's not how everyone was expecting it to end....

I can't show any as it will give the story away but I should have the cover to show in a week or two...

Sunday 18 October 2009

Ted May - Injury 3

Yay! Another awesome issue of Ted May's Injury Comics. My favourite story is once again the story from Jeff Wilson's heavy metal school days written by Jeff Wilson and drawn by Ted May. This one is called 'Burnout in the Cosmos', there's a cool page from it above. Jeff has trouble thinking of three things he is thankful for after he is placed in In School Suspension for fighting. The other stories are great too. Ted chucked a copy of the Simpsons Halloween Special (review here from CBR) in with the comic as he wrote and coloured a story for it, it's very good too. Buy Injury here...

Friday 16 October 2009

Cool Interview with Benjamin Marra

I liked this interview with Benjamin Marra who does 'Night Business'. I'll have to get me some of those...

"indie comics don't always have to be indulgent, pitying, self-analyses of despair, sadness and self-importance. There's a broader spectrum of emotions and story ideas out there I'm trying to explore in comics, like, lust, rage, revenge, violence, street justice, drug abuse, nudity and sexiness."

Link found on the excellent Comics Comics website.

Tardi & Manchette - West Coast Blues

This was a good laugh. I’d never read any Tardi before so I ordered this one when it came out from Fantagraphics. There’s another book too but that ones only for sale in the USA for copyright reasons.

It’s very French, and very seventies too in the drawing style… I think it’s because of the rounded cloud like speech bubbles. It reminded me a bit of the Coen Brothers in the story, something like Fargo. I think it’s the ordinary people getting caught up with violent murderers theme. The violence in it is very sudden and brutal but very cartoony. It takes you by surprise when it suddenly breaks out. He draws lovely lumpy people that I really like and great scenery. There are some very funny bits, especially the scene when the hero is explaining to a woman he’s just met what has happened to him.

The only thing I didn’t like about it too much was the way all the people’s and brands names were in capitals throughout the story. I’m sure they were like that in the original French version but I wasn’t sure why. It just bothered me for some reason while I was reading it as it pulled you right out of the story. I suspect it was done to make the story seem more cold and distant, more like reporting on the facts afterwards. It was an interesting effect anyhow.

I’d like to try some more Tardi, maybe his ‘Adele Blanc-Sec’ series as I like the look of the heroine. I’ll get some next time I’m in France.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Oliver East - Proper Go Well High

This is Oliver East’s second book. It’s really good. There’s a fancy review of it here from Richard Bruton.

Oliver spends a lot of time trying to draw things in new ways, such as wind and rain. I really like the way he draws wind in this book, as little spirally things. There are some very beautiful pages in here, especially the buildings in Manchester near the start and the pages where he draws paths going round buildings on otherwise white pages. Those are really good. Some of the pages are really hard to decipher as to what they are, it makes you slow down when you are reading it so it lasts a good while. There were a few I couldn’t work out at all but not very many.

I’m looking forward to his next book which is set in Berlin. I’ve never been there so there won’t be any of the pleasure of recognising things I get from his other stuff but I really like his idea of getting other artists to draw the graffiti on the pages, so that should be cool.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

FEAR ... Baldwin Style

Sfar, Trondheim, Boulet - Dungeon - Zenith 3 - Back in Style

Here’s the third part of the main Zenith story from Dungeon. It’s been ages since one of this part of the series has come out so it’s good to see what happens next. Zenith is set at the height of the dungeons power in the middle of the many stories set at different times.
Boulet is doing the art for this book, I hadn’t heard of him before. It’s really great drawing as to be expected, it took me a little while to get used to the different way he draws the characters. The faces are all quite different. The violence level seems to have gone up a bit in this book with loads of fights and brutal deaths of the many hordes of enemies, also loads of lawyers have appeared! Brrrrrr.

In this book the Keeper has to take out a massive loan to pay for his wedding to Princess Isis. Herbert the duck runs off with her and everyone chases after. The Keeper defaults on his loan and everyone is kicked out of the dungeon which becomes the property of the scheming Delacourt (previous owner of Herbert’s magic sword). Hmm, this is sounding very confusing but it’s a really complicated plot. In the second half Herbert has to return to his home city of birds, which he is banished from on pain of beheading. He goes under a magical disguise which gives him ‘The Face of Death’.

I still really like Dungeon. It is very very enjoyable and fun to read.

Monday 12 October 2009

Naoki Urasawa - Pluto Volume 4

Now I’m up to part four of this series. I’m still really enjoying it, it’s very addictive. Luckily no more are going to come out till next year so I don’t bankrupt myself buying them all at once… I’m not quite as keen on it as ‘20th Century Boys’ (his other series) but it’s still really good, pop type entertainment and something I really enjoy reading. The series is zooming along showing new robots in each volume and the plot is crackling along too.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Great Deeds Part 2 News

I've been very busy this week doing lots of drawing for 'Great Deeds Against the Dead' Part Two. Here's a panel from page 24 that hopefully doesn't give too much away. It's getting very long, I'm going to try and make it end at 32 pages with printing on the inside covers too.

Monday 5 October 2009

Tisdale Carnegie

Here's a drawing I did of Tisdale Carnegie. I call it 'In The Artist's Studio'.
Maybe I'll use it for the back cover of 'Great Deeds 2'.

Sunday 4 October 2009

'Great Deeds Against the Dead' Free Online Preview

I made an online preview for 'Great Deeds Against the Dead - Part One' at myebooks.

Myebook - Great Deeds Against the Dead - part 1 preview - click here to open my ebook

click the link to see it...

'8 Stories' Review

New review of '8 Stories' from Midnight Fiction here.

Monday 28 September 2009

BICS (Birmingham International Comics Show)

I'm not going to Birmingham myself this year but my comics will be on sale at the MCC table. Look at the nice preview poster Adam Cadwell has made... there's some very nice comics there. I've sent some of the 'Pasty Anthology' and some 'Great Deeds Against the Dead'. Thanks MCC!

Great Deeds Against The Dead Review

Richard Bruton has written a nice review of 'Great Deeds Against the Dead 1' on the Forbidden Planet blog today.

Saturday 26 September 2009

Winshluss - Pinocchio

Look what I bought in France, I could only afford one comic book so i bought 'Pinocchio' by Winshluss. I've been wanting to get it for a while. Winshluss is also the director of the Persepolis film, and he did those Mr Ferraille things you might have seen on the internet. This is a massive great big full colour book and it's awesome. It's his retelling of the Pinocchio story, it's not very Disney...

Above there's the cover, an amazing page of Pinocchio fighting the army, and the seven very peverted dwarves waking up Snow White. It's all a bit wrong. It has Jimminy Cricket in it too as a drunken writer who lives in Pinocchio's metal head. It's mostly wordless so a great buy in French.

In this version Pinocchio is created by a scientist to be a killing machine for the army but he wanders off and has adventures through a very twisted fairy tale world. Very highly recommended, the drawing is amazing and he uses many different styles for the different segments of the story, from Disney-esque, french underground, childrens illustration, autobiographical style comics and lots of other stuff.