Thursday, 21 July 2016

Doctor WHO and the Angels!

Here's a pleasant surprise, although I'm not a big fan of Doctor Who, I've just finished reading a recent Father's Day gift (thanks Scott!) of the Tenth Doctor's graphic novel and really enjoyed it!

The collection from Titan Comics contains the 4-part Weeping Angels of Mons and the shorter Echo story, both written by Robbie Morrison and illustrated by Daniel Indro and Eleonora Carlini respectively.

The 'Mons' story cleverly ties in the good doctor's adventures with World War One in both respectful and entertaining fashion as The Weeping Angels, (of the TV episode 'Blink' I think?), descend on the war torn French town of St Michel where the defending German soldiers have strangely disappeared.

The story moves along at a fair clip and suites the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant's personality of the TV series, being equal measure frantic, playful, beligerent and arrogant. The supporting cast, paticularly the Scottish soldiers are surprisingly well rounded given their limited space and, minor character identification confusion aside, you find yourself emotionally invested in them.

That this story comes from well respected comic scribe, Robbie Morrison should be no surprise given his back catalogue (of which White Death is a classic war story) and the art from, unfamilar to me, Daniel Indro perfectly captures the characters and the action.

The short Echo story suffers in comparison with the main 'Mons' event but is a fine, fun disposable tale with servicable art and shouldn't detract from a quality collection.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Viking Comics and Cheese!

Just finished reading Rob Jackson's latest delightful comic, 'Ragnar The Cheesemonger'!

I've known and been a fan of Rob's work for many years now with his French revolution set 'Cafe Le Guillotine' (from 2006?) being the first to attract my attention and I've been a fan of his storytelling ever since. He's amazingly prolific, usually producing 2 or 3 titles a year and always has a project or two on the go, putting most of us indie creators to shame.

Ragnar is his new one, set in Viking times and at 52 b&w pages is quite the epic, but Rob being true to form concentrates his tale on an ordinary fellow, a cheesemonger, who through no real fault of his own finds himself trapped in a potentially deadly situation.

The Fighting ground where Ragnar may meet his destiny

Told in Rob's easy engaging style, Ragnar doesn't disappoint with its moments of tension, humour and absurdity which makes for an entertaining read. If you've not sampled his work before this makes a great starting point and can be purchased for only £6 including UK postage from his shop here -while there, why not take an inexpensive gamble on any of his other titles for a refreshingly honest and rewarding approach to comic making!

For updates on Rob's comic activities, also see his blog or follow the link from my site, enjoy!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Incoming Comics!


After an amazing Aberdeen trip and launch of my comic Moments of Adventure at Granite City Comic-Con (of which more later) and a fun appearance at Geek Box Comics in Newcastle-under- Lyme for Free Comic Book Day (Thanks Dave & Nic!), this week I took delivery of the balance of stock from those fine chaps at UK Comics Creative!

Nothing beats the ink smell of freshly printed comics and - smell apart - I think I was able to hide them away before Mrs M returned, phew!

Mrs M overcome by that new comics smell!

Full details of the comic will follow along but can now be ordered online from the Accent UK website here and will of course be available at all forthcoming comic shows that Accent UK are attending with London's behemoth MCM show being next at the end of this month, where #3 of Stephenson's Robot will also be making it's debut!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Moments of Adventure!

Printer's cover proof !

Aha, well finally I can confirm why I've been fairly quiet despite some amazing events and times these last few weeks (months? years?), the release of my new comic strip collection is here!

Suitably, the unveiling will be in my hometown (well close enough anyway!) Aberdeen at the Granite City Comic-Con show, which makes a hotly anticipated return this weekend - and kindly includes me, (wearing my Accent UK hat) on a 'Breaking into Comics' panel on it's launch event!

Not sure that Team GCCC got my image right on this one?

The comic is a new collection of four of my strips (and more) all newly re-mastered and in full glorious colour from the talented duo Matt Soffe, who coloured three of the strips and Aljoša Tomić, who does one strip and the cover, all amazing.

I will post more about contents and previews but need to be heading North to sunny Scotland for it's launch, so after recent fab events in Liverpool, Edinburgh and Birmingham - of more see Dave's always timely reports here - I'll finally be attending an event again with my own new comic, which I am soooo excited about!

A wee snippet of one of the panels!

It's been a long journey and will lead to more as I also work to finally complete the collected Zulu graphic novel (again with Matt) and onto something totally new that only a few folk know about! 

So many folks have helped and encouraged to make this happen, too many to name all here but you know who you are, so big thanks for now and see you in Aberdeen and beyond!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

No Zulu's Round Here?

"Keep your head down Bromhead, the Ewing brothers have posted their podcast!"

Aha a quick wee post for those of you who've found your way here thanks to Garen and Murray Ewing's War Film's Podcast, featuring of course, ZULU! - and if you haven't yet had a wee listen check their well informed and entertaining thoughts here. 

Their shared blog also offers opinions and insights into other adventure and war movie classics like, A Bridge Too Far, The Man Who Would Be King, SHE, Lawrence of Arabia and the like so is well worth checking out and listening to when you can - see here for details!

"Quick - to the Adventure Films Podcast!"

Details of my own Zulu related posts on the movie, comics and my trips to Zululand can be accessed by clicking on the 'Zulu' topic on my blog labels to the lower right. A good place to start is probably my own recent re-watching of the movie at a classic cinema showing which can be found here and maybe followed by an earlier, 'all things Zulu' posting here.  

"No! Zulu:Water Cart Rescue is still out of print!"

My main related comic, ZULU:Water Cart Rescue! that Garen mentions, is currently out of print having sold out of both it's first and second editions some time ago. However I'm pleased to say that it has been re-mastered and brought vividly to life in glorious colour by the excellent Matt Soffe and, with a brand new back up strip, will be due for release as a graphic novel from Accent UK Comics later this year.
The news that Colin is to release a new comic was too much for some!

For those that can't wait, I am very soon to release a collection of some of my short comic strips under this blog's true title, Moments of Adventure which, amongst other delights, features a six page Zulu story, Day of the Dead Moon, with my explanation of why I think the Zulu's famously defeated the pride of the British Army at Isandlwana! 

Keep an eye on this blog for big news about that very soon - promise - and please check in from time to time for other comics and Zulu related news!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Oxford Makes The Grade!

The Examination School Oxford - venue of Ox-Con!

Well that was more like it! I'm pleased to report that last weekend's new Ox-Con, (the Oxford Comic-Con), was a success for all participants. Within the stunning historic examination school buildings, comic creators, authors and actors mingled with comic fans, cos players, families and bemused Oxonian academics as comics came to town.

The venue behind - no signage or queue?
Great Oxford views


This was perhaps a more modest show launch than perhaps we'd seen elsewhere - no huge snaking queues here - but perhaps it reflected the quiet efficiency of the organisers and Oxford itself. Signage was largely absent but didn't seem to matter as social media & word of mouth had insured that the show had sold out of tickets in advance so there was minimal 'walk in' opportunity.

The Impressive Corridors
Upstairs to the convention!

Entrance Hall - Wait! Is that our The Man Of Glass comic?

The advance sales had also been carefully organised into early bird and general admission with a two hour gap between ensuring that there was a gentle stream of people making their way up the impressive stairwell to the two oak panelled vendor rooms, with talks taking place below.

Set up at Ox-Con - note the oak panelling? Other shows please take note!

People seemed quietly relaxed about the show, taking their time to study the stalls and options before carefully making their choices, meaning you soon saw the same people make their way round several times before making their purchases. That though was the immediate difference compared with our recent Bolton experience, people were genuinely interested in comics and wanted to find out about them before deciding if their interest was piqued enough to buy, meaning that we had a steady stream of browsers and purchasers from the start.

Inside our 'wing' of the convention floor
Our surroundings!

Although the show was a sell out, the numbers had been restricted by health and safety requirements to 'modest' levels, meaning that, with the rich variety of talks and attractions on offer, the halls did regularly empty with the crowds ebb and flow.

This was fine though, given us frequent chances to nip out for refreshments, (one downside with using a historical building is that no hot drinks were allowed inside!), and to catch up with familiar faces, like T-Pub's Neil Gibson, Mild Frenzy's Iqbal Ali and Richy Chandler amongst many new folk who were also pleased with the way the show went.

Chewie asks Dave to dance
Well dressed customers!

The pauses also allowed us to enjoy the great soundtrack provided through the school's speakers, a carefully curated play list of contemporary music and movie themes which caused many impromptu dancing and movement between the aisles - don't worry those pics are staying hidden!

The Troll find's a home!

Excellent Bowie/Goblin King tribute

So an enjoyable show and although sales were slowly steady, given the attendance restrictions, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we had in fact done pretty well for a first-time show and had indeed covered our costs - despite Oxford City Council's best efforts with outrageous parking charges and aggressive traffic cameras!

The devil's in the detail, they say!

We understand from the organiser's that this was a bit of a trial for both them and the building's trustees and that plans are already underway to open up more areas to allow for a bigger show next time, increasing the attendance restrictions. On this basis, and providing the dates don't clash in the crowded convention calendar, we will gladly return, and review our assessment on Ox-Con's pass mark which on it's 2016 intake, I would award a respectable 2.1 :)

Dave's Oxford thesis can be assessed here.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Accent UK go to Oxford Town!

Something strange in Oxford this weekend?

Accent UK are revving up their tour bus again for this weekend's 'Ox-Con' in, of course, Oxford!

It's been years since we've  been there for comics but we've fond memories of the 'homely' Caption small press gatherings at various tranquil locations in Oxford but this promises to be something very different.

It's the organiser's first time but they're doing their best to make it memorable, taking place in the famous historic Examintion Schools (does this mean we have to do a test?) for starters and a good mix of comic folks, exhibitors, cosplay and media guests so hopefully will be good. They've even got an unique 'Oxford' spin on the programme of talks with a decidely more academic leaning than what perhaps we normally see, with physics, globalisation, alienation and redemption among the usual superhero and 2000AD  topics!

Here's the floor plan with Dave and I parking up at Table 9:

Following the recent Bolton, we're on a run of new (and new to us) shows coming thick and fast with MCM Liverpool and The Edinburgh Comic-con coming shortly after Oxford, so we'll see how we do, there's even rumours of someone having a new comic at one of them?