Saturday, 22 July 2017

Re-making Robots!


My comic strip 'Null 'n' Void' which featured in Accent UK's sold out anthology ROBOTS (Andy Bloor cover above) will soon be reborn in the forthcoming Moments of Adventure: Collection Two! I thought therefore I'd share a little of the process behind the development and 're-mastering of the strip prior to it's printing and publishing.

Me being me, I tend to hold onto things so here's a scan of page 2 that I made at the time from my original pencils!


For ease, let's zoom in and concentrate on the last panel:


Next this is the inked and hand-lettered version that appeared in the ROBOTS anthology:


The original inked art was re-scanned and cleaned before lovely colours were added by Moments of Adventure: Collection One collaborator, Aljosa Tomic, (based in Serbia no less!):


The hand lettering was then carefully removed from the newly coloured art:


 Finally, I added computer lettering & effects using my favourite Bryan Talbot Comic Craft font:


And there you have it, what a difference from the original with the colours breathing wonderful new life into the art which hopefully  enhances the whole story. It may all look rather simple but sadly it isn't, I can't speak for Aljosa but my computer skills aren't the best and lettering on top of existing lettering and balloons is as finickity as it sounds. Necessary adjustments had to be made to both the text and balloon placements in the above panel, including 'colour paste-ups' to hide the originals, a process which sadly had to be repeated on virtually every panel on every page of the strip!

Much as I love hand-lettering and placement of it on the original art to form an integral part of the page and story, I no longer use this technique as I know the difficulties it can cause! Plus the flexibility and legibility of computer lettering - once mastered - is really second to none!

We're getting there and I'll look forward to sharing more as the whole second collection of Moments of Adventure is built and ready for release, hopefully reasonably soon! In the meantime copies of the first collection are still available to buy from me at conventions - see list to the right - and direct from the Accent UK website here. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Matt's Movie Prints!


While I remain busy with comicy things, here's a wee reminder of the splendid art being produced by Matt Soffe who coloured some of my Moments of Adventure comic strips and my - still progressing - Zulu War graphic novel and of course many Accent UK covers.

As well as colouring though, Matt is extremely talented at producing his own art in many different mediums and his site of prints and images is well worth a browse and you'll be sure to find something of interest for you or a gift for a friend! Check his webshop here.

I'm fortunate enough to own the original of Matt's Michael Caine Zulu image above, which I commissioned from him as a pin up in the aforementioned forthcoming Zulu graphic novel, but he's also produced similar striking images from many other movies and genres, enjoy! 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Accent UK reviews!

pipedreamcomics.co.uk

The indie-centric website Pipedream Comics has a nice catch-up review of some of Accent UK's recent and current titles, check it out here!

Pipedream themselves have recently published a new issue of their 'Pull-List' indie news & reviews magazine which is always worth a look, reminds me a little of the old RED EYE that we once published with Barry Baz Renshaw as editor-in-chief back in the day!

https://gumroad.com/pipedreamcomics#

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Go-Go Granite City Comic-Con!

Gary Erskine's Splendid Granite City 2017 Poster Art

The Accent UK tour bus is revving up once again to complete 'Colin's Celtic Comic Trilogy Tour' with this weekend's Granite City Comic-Con in Aberdeen!

Can't believe its a whole year since the last Aberdeen show but there we are, although in some ways its come round a little too quick as my planned launch of the second Moments of Adventure collection is sadly not quite there. That's the problem sometimes with doing a large number of shows, there's no time to make the actual comics!

Having said that I have been busy producing some new sketches to go in the special Moments print packs:

......and there are still several new Accent UK titles since our last Aberdeen appearance.



So if you happen to find yourself in the North East of Scotland this weekend why not visit Granite City Comic Con, enjoy the fun and say 'Hi' to us.


Friday, 12 May 2017

Enniskillen - it was all about the Comics (and Subbuteo)!!


Hard to believe that its already a week since I set off to the second Enniskillen Comic Fest but here I am back in wet and windy Manchester after a whirlwind weekend in the South West of Northern Ireland. The whole trip was hugely enjoyable and took me to parts of NI I'd never been to before and the freedom of hiring a car more than justified the costs.

Belfast City Hall view from top floor of the car park!

Having a car and a reasonable knowledge of Belfast from recent visits meant I was soon whizzing my way round the city and parking up to have an Ulster Fry the early flight demanded at the delightful Spires centre. We'd discovered the Spires cafe during one of our first Belfast visits which coincided with the opening of the adjacent Comic Book Guys comic shop which I always try and visit. I caught up with Flanagan senior, Daniel for a good catch up on the shop's imminent move (following the Spire's planned redevelopment) to newly fitted premises further up Gt Victoria Street, and also later with Aaron, who was also going to Enniskillen.


Then it was back in the car and as I was still ahead of time an unplanned stop - prompted by losing a tooth! - I ended up by Portadown Football Club's Shamrock Park ground! This was quite a moment for me as years and years earlier as a wee boy I'd 'adopted' Portadown as 'my' football team as they played in the same red as my hometeam, Aberdeen. Our basic Subbuteo set only came with a red and a blue team so when we were bored of playing Aberdeen against Rangers, we looked for alternatives and (of course) I chose Manchester United and also Portadown with no real understanding of who or where they were. I had a Portadown fixation for a wee while afterwards even inventing my own football team and making football cards for them but that's a story for another day (I think I was only 9!), so for me standing at the ground was really something special!

 
 

With my little detours I arrived at sunny Enniskillen late afternoon and soon found the impressive Enniskillen Castle Museum where the event was to take place. I quickly popped in and the very helpful caretaker, (also Colin), showed where I was likely to be but they still had a bit of setting up to do when the museum closed so I left to check-in at my B&B and grab a bite to eat. It was a little odd having tea on my own but I was tired after my early start and grateful for a bit of 'down time'. The Fest had organised a special 2000AD event at a local theatre that evening which I understand was very successful and busy but I was happy with an early night.

Yep, Enniskillen Castle, venue for the Comic Fest!

The following day after another big breakfast fry I headed to the castle and met Paul Trimble the busy event organiser and his team of volunteers and was soon set up in the visitor centre above the museum entrance. It's always a little strange when you set up in a new unfamiliar venue but any worries soon passed as I discovered that I was to be in the same section as longtime comic buddy, Jenika Ioffreda, who in fact was the one who had recommended the show to me after guesting in its debut last year. Also in our little snug (or greenhouse as some referred to it) were artists, Ian - Rico - Richardson, Davy Francis and one of Scotland's comic legends Cam Kennedy who with his wife, Isobel were a delight to chat to all weekend and get my copies of the Kidnapped and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde graphic novels signed!.
 
 
Cam Kennedy hard at work in our 'snug'

Dan and John both 'Rok' !

Close by too were John Wagner with Rok of the Reds artist Dan Cornwell and the hard working Carlos Ezquerra who had a huge queue all day long, popular chap. This was, truth be told, the only real downside of  'flying solo' while both being a comic fan and exhibiting your own work. You can't sneek away from the table to join a queue for signatories and if you do, then you potentially lose sales so its quite a dilemma. In this case, my travel, accommodation and car hire costs necessitated that I stay behind the table as long as possible which I did until very late in the afternoon when I finally had my first cup of tea and snack of the day, forfeiting the chance to have writers Alan Grant and Alan Hebden sign the books I'd brought and missing out on Steve MacManus book which I heard had already sold out very quickly.


Don't feel sorry for me though I had a great time chatting to the many interested attendees who filed past my table. The event was free admission and had been well advertised locally so, despite the glorious sunny weather outside, there was a fine steady stream of visitors all of whom were interested in what was going on even if not active comic readers themselves. This is testament again to Paul and his team in making the event 'all about the comics' so folk could see and experience actual comics themselves and not be distracted by the merchandise and pop culture noise that can sometimes dominate events.

I did though also venture out early doors, shortly after the event opened for the 'Breaking into Comics' panel which I was pleased to be on along with the aforementioned Jenika, Grainnie McEntee and Ciaran Marcantonio, ably hosted by writer who draws Andy Luke who is one of the few folks out there that can beat Accent UK's independent comics pedigree, being a late 1990's inductee compared to our early 2000's! It was a fun wee panel and I think covered a lot of informed ground for those attending - with its early start, the panel gathered more and more attendees as it progressed which was satisfying to observe.



I did make one very quick run round the site as the charity auction commenced which was a signal for most folk to pack up and was rewarded in catching up with Danny McLaughlin and Nathan Donnell of Revolve Comics , Steven Young and Richard Davidson of Back Pocket Comics, Tim Stampton and David McDonald so as well as catching up on the Irish scene managed to at least grab a few new comics to add to my Cam Kennedy signed ones.


That evening, after I'd dropped off the hire car I had a splendid evening at a downtown bar where the guests, creators and fans had gathered for a wee drop of food and some good old fashioned Irish craic and that, together with the chats at the show with fellow creators and visitors helped remind me what a strong welcoming inclusive community, comics are. So despite the show not being an economic success for me, I had a super time and had a big warm smile on my face as I drove through the sunny countryside the following day, slowly making my way back to City airport.

Happy Comic Chappies all - Paul Trimble, Ciaran Marcantonio & Me!

If I can make the numbers work I would dearly love to return next year and again be part of something which "Is all about the comics!".

My farewell airport gift to myself!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Off to the Emerald Isle!


The next part of my Celtic Comics tour is a real step into the unknown heading deep into Northern Ireland for Enniskillen Comic Fest! I'll be flying into the almost familiar Belfast City Airport then hiring a car to get to Enniskillen which seems the simpler option than the 3 hourly buses!

The show itself promises to be special with an official 2000AD 40th anniversary status so wish me luck.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Blogged!


While I catch up between by trips I see that Adrain Tooth gives Accent UK a wee mention in his recent blog about the Stoke-Con-Trent which you can read here.



Also it was a rare delight to see and chat with Joe Gordon - he, of forbidden planet blog - at Edinburgh last weekend and he too was quick off the mark with his wee report which you can find here.  I had a splendid time at Edinburgh and hopefully will have time to do my own report before my next travels.

Be warned though both blogs contain photos of yours truly and many other fine comic folks!
 
Oh and while  I've been a bit tardy on my own write-up from this year's Copenhagen Comics festival, that fine fellow Garen Ewing recently did his own one here  which is a good perspective on European comic shows.
  

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Colin's Celtic Comic Tour!


So I'm just about set for this weekend's return to Edinburgh Comic-Con and realised that the next three shows are all in Celtic countries of Scotland (twice) and Northern Ireland - I just need Wales to complete the set! This little 'Celtic Tour' is also different as I'll be 'solo' at them as, my Accent UK partner, Dave West is unable to make the trips :(

Don't feel sad though it's only logistics which is keeping Dave from accompanying me as we juggle this year's schedule of shows - the eagle-eyed may spot that we've already added two more since the last update - both in England to balance these Celtic ones! Its been a long time since I flew solo, so we'll see how I get on. It shouldn't be that bad though as the comics community is a friendly bunch and I should see a few familiar faces at each of them to I'm sure keep me company.

Mind you this is what happened at Edinburgh last year when Dave was keeping an eye on me!



A couple of weeks after Edinburgh will be Accent UK's first ever trip to Enniskillen who's Comic Fest returns for its second year. The show was highly recommended by our good friend Jenika Ioffreda and I'm quite excited about, particularly as its to be held in Enniskillen Castle itself!

Tharg has also recently awarded the Fest Official 2000AD 40th anniversary partner status as the mag continues its celebrations so expect several art & script droids to make the trip. While its our first time in Enniskillen, we have of course exhibited in Northern Ireland several times at the popular MCM Belfast shows so know there are many enthusiastic comic fans over there. At the moment though Enniskillen is likely to be our only NI trip this year as the MCM Belfast dates clash with Birmingham Comic Festival and as I've previously commented on, we sadly can't do them all.


The final leg of my wee tour suitably winds up at my North East homeland in Aberdeen's Granite City Comic-Con which is now in its third year. I shouldn't be quite so lonely here as, apart from catching up with relatives and comic chums, I should be joined at the table by Ace sales team Adam and Joe who did a sterling job last year, freeing me up for an occasional wander round the show which I, apparently, am prone to do!

Then a week after Aberdeen, the Accent UK team are re-united down south at the mighty MCM London show where both Scott and Dave will be in attendance while I perhaps take things a wee bit easy!

Please say hello if you're at any one of these shows where hopefully you will find a few new books and surprises since the last time you saw us!

Some of the new Moments of Adventure sketches ready for the tour!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Accent UK are Comic Heroes!


 

Ha! Ha! we'd almost forgotten about this but the latest Comic Heroes magazine is sure to be a best seller as it features a wee spotlight on Accent UK and interview with Dave West!

It's a lovely two page spread conducted by Miles Hamer who contacted Dave after recently reading his Whatever Happened to The Invisible Man? title. I assisted a wee bit and supplied the images and am delighted that it's come out so well - and amazed that I found a decent photo of Dave to use!


The same issue also features long time peer - and recent Copenhagen Comics companion, John Anderson of Soaring Penguin Press and my newly made chum from Stoke, Marc Jackson, who I understand regularly supplies a strip for the mag.

All in all its a good read and, as they say, available from all good newsagents - but grab it quick, that pic of Dave ensures it won't stay on the shelves for long!  

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Stoked for More!


Just a few words about Sunday's Stoke-Con-Tent which was good fun in a bright sunny day in the potteries. Gary and I were making our second appearance at the twice yearly show and were joined by Gary's long term chum Chris Przygrodzki who is also making his Accent UK artistic debut with Tales of WesterNoir 3!

The Staffs University team couldn't have made us feel more welcome with smooth friendly set-up and regular check-ins throughout the day offering us teas and coffees and water - they even offered a certain Dave West's favourite tipple of Earl Grey which I'm sure he would approve of, even if he couldn't make the trip this time.

The Accent UK emporium all set up

Fun and enjoyable as it was, it was noticeably quieter than our previous October experience, possibly only half as busy? A number of factors came into play, the warm day, a number of rival shows (we counted 5!) including one in North Wales, not too far away, but the biggest one was that with it being the start of Easter, the uni itself had just 'broken up' the previous Friday, meaning many students had already made the trip home.

Things you only see at Comic-Con's, Chewbacca, a Dalek and a Starship drinks vendor!

This reduction in attendance was reflected in our sales which were just over 1/2 of the previous October, but being a local show, its inexpensive to attend so we were still happy with things and there are worst ways of spending a Sunday - Gary had skipped doing DIY for example!

Oliver had great taste as well as a great costume!

We all took the opportunity to have a look round the show and although I didn't make it to all the attractions, it was clear there was a nice vibe about the place. In addition to the uni staff who run the cartoon and animation course, Gary and I caught up with some of the students we'd previously met when we'd been invited in to speak after the October event, and see how their work was progressing - as well as the challenges of the course itself, the students are all encouraged to prepare for and exhibit at the con which is a real test for them to display and sell their work for the first time! What a great opportunity to learn from though in this friendly environment, both Gary and I were impressed when we visited and bemoaned the fact that there was nothing available to us when we were their age, however long ago that was!

Gary and I at the uni last October - hope I was talking sense!
 
Cheesy grins all round!

I was particularly pleased to catch up again with Jessica Martin, a musical actress and entertainer who we've gotten to know these last 2 or 3 years as she's bravely added 'comic creator' to her resume. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious and I was pleased to hear of her forthcoming comics projects, including turning her own colourful life into a graphic novel to be published by Unbound, and is currently the subject of a fund raising campaign which I had already happily backed. Jessica was at Stoke embracing her Doctor Who pedigree where she played werewolf 'Mags' to Sylvester McCoy's Doctor, so it was good to chat to her about that and also with her long time chum, Bob, who frequently accompanies her on these excursions.

Jessica and Bob

Caught up with most of the other comic creators attending, albeit briefly in some cases - see the poster in my previous Stoke post for full line-up! Also met Marc Jackson for the first time who is an artist who's worked for the Beano, ACES Weekly and produced his own work and, it turns out, is fairly local to me in Cheshire. We have a few mutual contacts and Marc is also involved in comic events, more of which later!

Right, so yes a good enjoyable day in the sun and a show we'd hope to return to again - possibly this October, if they'll have us!

My little Stoke haul including some student comics