Halloween Costume
This is seriously comfortable. I might not take it off.

London Horro Comic

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posted by JP at 12:32 am  

More Piccies
The more time I get with the camera the more shots I’ll post. Enjoy some super spooky shots of surburbia after dark.

London Horror Comic

london horror comic

london horror comic

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posted by JP at 10:51 pm  

What’s in a name?

“The choice of title owes a lot to the way old black-and-white horror films were titled. A name like FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN does the audience a service. If seeing Frankenstein fight a wolf man is not what you want to see, move on. Otherwise, stay and get your fill.

Interview where I explain why I chose “London Horror Comic” as the the comic’s name over at Bookgasm.

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posted by JP at 9:09 pm  

More piccies

Me out and about with a camera in London.

london

london

london

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posted by JP at 6:22 pm  

Trapped in a lift and thinking about comics

Karma rewarded me for leading a blameless life by trapping me in a lift today.

I was given a good 30 minutes and 3.5 feet of floor space all to myself, to reflect on what I might have done to offend the cosmos, when the lift in my apartment block stalled.

The first response was annoyance. I heard the gears of the lift groan and slur like a record powering down but figured that this was something that could be easily solved by tapping the button for the third floor just a couple of times….

The true situation dawned on me twenty seven presses later. I had mistakenly thought that faults with lifts could be cured with less difficulty than a frozen PC.

Clearly I am a Luddite. Lifts are a Martian technology way in advance of processors and software. You have been warned.

Lifts are evil.

Ok, what’s the procedure here? What’s the etiquette for being trapped in a lift? What have I seen in movies that could practically help me right now? Scream like a girl? Bond like neutrality, perhaps?

Someone is bound to come along in the next few minutes and find me. Best act suave.

They could be pretty. This is how I meet Ms Right. I could be boring my grand kids with a tale of how my fearless resolve in the face of danger won over grandma’s heart one day.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more action films than ones about romance. And given the mild penchant I have for justifiable vandalism in public spaces, busting open the roof hatch and navigating the labyrinth of air conditioning ducts to freedom seemed like a good idea. I did try it.

It might sound a bit nit-picky, but knocking the roof off a lift is pretty much impossible. You’re more likely to hear someone scream in space. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to suspend my disbelief when I watch Die Hard again.

Luckily, the owners of the building had put up a little sign on one of the walls to help me feel less awkward about needing to be rescued:

helpful sign

Such sage like advice saw my thumb marry the alarm button for five minutes before hearing yet more groaning from the cables suspending the lift. Realisation turned to panic.

The notion that the cable could snap meant I saw my life flash before my eyes. Unfortunately, my life up until now has now hasn’t been that interesting, so I played back the trailers from Tarintino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse in my mind instead. I’d make a good Machete I think…


Grindhouse

Politeness was going to get me nowhere. But the 24 hour breakdown number located above the alarm button just might. Luckily I had my mobile with me AND it was charged. Had I known my luck was going to be this good, I would have bought a lottery ticket.

My mouth stuttered as a woman answered the call. All-right then: how do I say “I’m trapped in a lift” without sounding like I’m joking? If she thinks I’m joking, I’m fucked.

“Hello, is that the 24 hour emergency breakdown number for lifts?”

“Urm, yeah?” said the voice on the other end. Why is it politeness genuinely met with bafflement these days?

“I’m trapped in a lift. The sign said to call this number,” I said.
It could be a joke sign, I thought. Or the company that managed the lifts may have gone bust. The fonts used on the sign were pretty ancient. We’ve been through at least two recessions in the past twenty years. I don’t think lift-people make all that much.

“Oh. Right,” she said indifferently.

“Give me your address and one of our engineers will be around to rescue you.”

I gave her my address. I tried giving her my phone number but she said she already had it stored on her mobile phone from when I called her and not to bother – so definitely not Mrs Right then.
The engineer eventually came and pulled the doors opened.

I assumed he used some sort of machine or device to help him and NOT his bare hands. I didn’t ask. I had tried myself earlier on, so the last thing I needed was confirmation that I need to visit the gym.

What has this all got to do with horror comics?

For the few moments – and they were brief – that I thought the cable would snap, I took great comfort in having got issue one out the door.

At least, I thought, I had got a message out there and into the ether of tomorrow’s back issue sections and future dusty attics.

If I had been standing there and still thinking how about I should have, would have or could have have made my own comic, then I would have been infinitely more scared.

But I wasn’t.

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posted by JP at 11:34 pm  

Creator owned or not – what’s the verdict?

To go fully creator owned – and make a living from it – you need to establish an audience for the type of work you intend to produce.  A big audience. There are two ways you can do this: start from scratch with an idea of your own and build a life in comics for yourself (what I am doing), or work on mainstream books for the big two, building in the sensibilities and themes into issues of the Fantastic Four which you will explore later, in more depth, in works of your own (what people who don’t live in padded cells do).

I admire the roots of Robert Kirkman’s argument: we need more comics and we need different comics about wider subjects if we are to bring in more readers. Nothing new about that. Full flag salute. But it’s the notion that going creator owned will automatically deliver the size and scale of rewards that working for DC and Marvel will overnight.

Bendis’ line about how everyone who worked in a video store the year Pulp Fiction came out thought they were the next Tarantino is a solid jab against Kirkman’s argument. Going wholly creator will pay-off for the few and they are the ones whose names you and your mother already know.

Take a look at the top 300 sales list for July over at CBR. Notice anything? With the exception of maybe Buffy and Kick-Ass you have wallets showing nothing but support for company franchises. This isn’t likely to change (sadly) in the next decade. Superheroes are bread and butter for retailers.

Therefore, what these properties represent for the creators working on them currently is a stage – a stage where they can make their name very quickly with a lot of readers.

It does take time to build that following and working at Marvel and DC can help speed it up. If you can build a following, you too can pull a McFarlane. Spider-Man #1 sold 2.5 million copies. On the back of that success, McFarlene realised his own value, founded Image with his co-creators, and proved the point by selling 1.7 million copies of Spawn #1.

That said, I’m more than happy with the route I’ve chosen, even if it does feel like banging my head against a brick wall sometimes. Building a comic on a set of values and beliefs – out of necessity – seems a bit more honest than building an audience first. It just takes longer, that’s all.

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posted by JP at 9:53 pm  

The Bendis-Kirkman debate

The debate between Robert Kirkman and Brian Michael Bendis on whether people should produce wholly creator owned work and ditch Marvel and DC.

Captured on mp3.

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posted by JP at 12:31 pm  

EC Comics Doc

Listen to Russ’ comment at 1:58. I’ll be doing a piece about the Robert Kirkman video and this ties into it.

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posted by JP at 6:24 pm  

Some pictures

Stomping around London taking pics to inspire stories. Have a gander:

Dark Bank

Smoke Machine

Up in lights

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posted by JP at 8:18 pm