On Writing

On Writing

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posted by JP at 11:14 am  

Why self-publish comics?

Why self-publish comics?

Other than because you’ve received a knock on the head.

I mean, why?

There’s a lot stacked against you.

Chances are your effort as well as the time and money will never be fully compensated.

And if you are looking for compensation, stick your money in the bank. It’s safer

But then again, a lot of things you do in life never pay you back the way you thought.

You do it because out of all the other ways life finds to swindle you out of money, out of all the distractions you could lose yourself in, making comics is the most fun.

You do it because it beats being bored and you do it better than anything else you do in life because it means something to you.

You do comics, because you have to.

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posted by JP at 12:00 am  

Spidey Trailer

Spidey Trailer

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posted by JP at 8:03 pm  

London Horror Comic – Review

London Horror Comic – Review

“London Horror Comic is a series of comics that are beautifully drawn and will make you chuckle despite yourself. Although the title has the word ‘horror’ in it I would describe the comics more as a collection of short stories with horror elements. Featuring aliens, vampires, werewolves and monsters it is an eclectic collection of stories that can only really be called random. We like random.”

Review of London Horror Comic by Anna over at No Ratings.

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posted by JP at 7:04 pm  

DC Comics’ new launch

DC Comics’ new launch

DC’s revamp strategy was much needed, but will it work?

Looking back on the past three years I’ve picked up Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, Hellblazer odd issues 100 Bullets and odds and ends of Vertigo titles.

Their Superman/Batman title has always been good fun, but the Green Lantern/Flash/Brightest Day stuff left me cold.

Put succinctly, the reason I don’t pick-up more DC books then I do their competitors is because on the whole their competitors put out more interesting books.

By interesting I don’t just mean better written, I mean whole genres and new concepts are available from other publishers.

What made DC a success in the early 1980s (remember the new DC there’s no stopping us now?) was developing works outside the superhero genre while keeping their superhero works sophisticated and thrilling.

The remit of DC’s re-launch seems to be superhero books. Yes, they’ve classed books as “Edge” and “Dark” but they’re essentially superheroes.

This leads me to believe that the thrust of the re-launch is about making their stable of characters more marketable for movie franchises—something which Marvel has been acing them at since the first X-Men movie came out. DC have had Batman movies and the Smallville TV series, but that’s been it.

Marvel’s stable of characters make an easier transition to movies because they are two-dimensional. Superman fights crime and does good. So does Batman but he’s a bit moody. Spiderman fights crime but moreover juggles the foibles of living the life of a teenager—something that everyone can relate to.

I expect Jim Lee on pencils and Adam Hughes on covers will be (relatively) fleeting affairs, so the long-term goal for DC is to ensure their superhero brands remain relevant and contemporary. This isn’t about more fight scenes and less talking heads, but asking: is this comic book interesting?

Readers may care about a re-designed Superman so long as Jim Lee draws him, but after that, then what?

I think DC should have used this opportunity to branch out into other genres AND supported it with an aggressive marketing campaign.
That to me would be a more telling sign about just how “new” its re-launch ethic is.

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posted by JP at 8:07 pm  

London Horror Comic interviewed by Liberation Frequency

London Horror Comic interviewed by Liberation Frequency

For full coverage of the event head over to their site here.

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posted by JP at 7:58 pm  

Night Moves

Night Moves

Night Moves

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posted by JP at 9:22 pm  

Advice to writers

Advice to writers

A question that keeps popping up at conventions is how I go about writing a comic book and what tips I have for aspiring writers.

While the above might smack of self-importance I thought I’d give a run down on my top tips.

Here goes:

10. Check out the following books: Come in Alone by Warren Ellis, Alan Moore’s Writing For Comics and Cerebus Guide To Self Publishing by Dave Sim.

9. Go to a comic book shop and look on the shelves. What can’t you find to read that would really please you? Find out what isn’t on the menu and start cooking it yourself.

8. Use what’s around you: if you take the bus or if you’re confined to a tower block, what situations could occur around you?

7. Read comics you like aloud—you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.

6. When you write your story, remove all the good lines. Does it still work?

5. Make your story have a point.

4. The King died and a week later the Queen died. The King died and a week later the Queen died of a broken heart. See the difference?

3. What wouldn’t you do?

2. What’s at stake?

1. Finish what you start and then start the next story.

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posted by JP at 9:11 pm  

London Film and Comic Con 2011 Wrap Up

London Film and Comic Con 2011 Wrap Up

The fourth convention of the year and every damn time I forget how to set up my damn easel to display my prints. Honestly!

I’ve got my set-up time down to about 20 minutes but if this was war and I was asked to set-up a similar piece of equipment like a rocket launcher my regiment would be fucked.

London Film and Comic Con was slightly different to the other cons I’ve done this year. This is because there were big gun names drawing crowds here and I wasn’t sure whether I’d be just a footnote in the eyes of people longing to sniff Karen Gillan’s hair.

On the other hand, having a bunch of celebrities had an upside. For the duration of Saturday I could say that for once the only difference between me as a writer and Clive Barker was the approximate distance of 100 metres. Hoo-ha!

Being in close proximity to my one of my heroes bridged the grind of my daily life with the exotic flourishes and fortunes I imagine make up most of the moments of his.

Reverse-engineering the above thought, you begin wondering how Clive Barker would cope with a morning drive through Slough for five days a week. Maybe, in a way, I’m kind of mentally stronger because I don’t require the comforts of an LA lifestyle.

Back to reality and the scene at hand. Earl’s Court 2 is like a giant aircraft hanger. The curved red scaffolding frowns as it holds up the dome like an awkward teenager smiling with recently installed braces. Industrial spotlights form ordered constellations. The God of Earl’s Court 2 has OCD and everything must be just so.

The ground is hard with tattoos of paint, claw marks of chairs once dragged kicking and screaming and red set squares like hieroglyphics mark the spaces of perfectly positioned tribes long gone. Bits of tape cling to the floor like happy memories refusing to let go.

As I looked around the show I saw toys that I had received for Christmas and birthdays past. I saw video games which occupied my youth and film stars that I remembered vividly, like bumping into an old school friend in the high-street.

This is what conventions like these sell: memories of the familiar, a warm safe place called home in world that moves relentlessly forward and frightening speed.

Who needs a DeLorean when you can sift through a back issue bin of magazines you once bought when you were eight?

Daily lives are, by and large, filled with drudgery and much like the hanger the convention takes place in, is grey and dull, predictable and indifferent to our presence in it.

It’s only once we occupy it and fill it with our wild fantasies, our insane colours and our relentless ambition of queuing for an hour to get a glimpse of people who help us on our way that we get any true sense of meaning in living.

Conventions are spiritual to me. After I’ve finished selling on a three-day marathon, I feel I’ve done right by the world and by my work. There’s an odd peace that descends over me and anxiety evaporates.

That, and I got to meet Bret Spiner—which was AWESOME!

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posted by JP at 9:26 pm  

London Film and Comic Con 2011 Day 3 Photos

London Film and Comic Con 2011 Day 3 Photos

Selection of photos from the event below.
Red Riding Hood rednered by awesome artist Matt Dixon.

London Film and Comic Con 2011 image by Matt Dixon

London Film and Comic Con 2011
London Film and Comic Con 2011

London Film and Comic Con 2011

London Film and Comic Con 2011

London Film and Comic Con 2011

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posted by JP at 7:51 pm  
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