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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nottingham Comic Con

I've been announced as a guest at the Nottingham Comic Con on October 24th. Here's a picture I did as a promo piece for them; you can find more details here.

While I'm back on the blog and I hope to be a bit more regular around these parts now I've finished drawing Abigail and the Snowman – there are a few more things I'd like to mention:
  • I'm on the latest episode of Gregg Schigiel's podcast, Stuff Said. It's an excellent podcast generally if you like to hear creators talk about the nuts-and-bolts of their cartooning craft. Even if the sound of my voice sounds to you like fingernails on a blackboard, the other episodes are well worth checking out.
  • The first issue of Mandrake the Magician, written by me and drawn by Jeremy Treece, will be out tomorrow.  It's a combination of the old and the new - it's definitely the same Mandrake from the newspaper strip, but with a fresh lick of paint and a modern style (Jeremy's put an insane amount of detail into this thing!), and of course it carries on from the events of last year's Kings Watch miniseries, in which Mandrake played a prominent role. Something for long-time fans and for new readers, one hopes.
  • There's an interview with me in the latest issue of the Judge Dredd Megazine. Matt Badham and I had a boozy chat at last year's Thought Bubble Festival, and this was the result. Once a droid, always a droid...
  • Still on sale: Garfield #34, in which I drew a story about Garfield's past life as the pirate captain, Orangebeard. Arrr!
Okay, enough goofing off – back to work. I'll try not to leave it six weeks between posts from now on.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

That Was The Year That Was

And here we are... the end of another one. I initially wrote a longer piece about some of the difficulties and frustrations of 2014, but it was a bit of a downer... so instead I'm going to talk about some of the things that will be happening next year, and what I hope to achieve. Looking forward seems the healthier thing to do, frankly.

The first thing – out this very day as I write – is Abigail and the Snowman from Boom! Studios, a four-issue serialisation of a graphic novel, which will be collected into one volume when it's completed. I've drawn the first three issues so far and am currently pencilling the double-sized fourth issue. So that's going to be occupying most of the space in my head for the next six weeks or so. Incidentally, there's a slightly unusual but (I hope) interesting piece about Abigail here: it's sort of a "directors' commentary" I was asked to write, about a short sequence in the first issue.

Then there's Mandrake the Magician, another four-issue series coming out in January, this one from Dynamite, with art by Jeremy Treece. I'm just strangling the words for this one. I've talked elsewhere about how my mum used to collect Mandrake in scrapbooks for my brother and me when we were nippers. I think she would have liked that I ended up writing his adventures.

In February, Garfield #34 will be out – and I've drawn a ten-pager in there. I never thought I'd draw Garfield in a million years, but my son loves the strip – so I'm doing it for him, really. It's a "Garfield's Nine Lives" thing which extrapolates a possible past life as a pirate. Good fun!

After I wrap up Abigail sometime in February, I'll be jumping in to a long-promised Fred the Clown graphic novel – and when I say long-promised, I mean long-promised to myself. When I stopped doing Fred as a regular web comic in 2004, I said I'd come back to it one day to do a graphic novel which would be a sort of love letter to Buster Keaton. Now, ten years later, I've got a window of opportunity, so I'm going to jump on it while I can. At this stage there's no publishing deal, and to be honest I'm actively avoiding trying to find one until I have a fair chunk of it completed. It's the sort of thing where having those pressures while I'm working on it will likely do more harm than good. What will most likely happen is that I'll serialise it on the web and then collect it as a book when it's done. So look out for that in a bit... once I've given the script another run-through.

After that... well, boys and girls, there have been rumblings about a follow-up to that critical darling, Snarked!, which is something I've been gagging to do for a while. More on that in due course, I hope... for now, let's just say that it'll give the Walrus and the Carpenter a whole new set of characters to bamboozle, run away from and generally get on the wrong side of.

There are a couple of other small bits and bobs around the edges of that lot – a short story or two I've promised here and there, or have already done and am waiting to see published; a desire to get another Fez minicomic done – but those are the high points, I think, and will likely keep me busy for the rest of the year. Generally speaking, I'm hoping to avoid doing too much work-for-hire in 2015 (unless it promises to be ridiculously good fun!) and to concentrate on my own projects... and to see if that's sustainable going forward. That's always been my ideal, and I feel as if the past five years or so have had too many detours in the direction of licensed properties and corporate superheroes (as if there's a difference!), to the point where I'm afraid there's a big part of the comic-reading audience that only associates me with that stuff... and that's not the cartoonist I want to be. So the next year will be a bit of an experiment. We shall see.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Random Reports

A few things to report...

On New Year's Eve, Abigail and the Snowman #1 will hit the stands. To mark the occasion, I'll be doing a signing at Gosh! Comics in London. You may have seen the snazzy poster I blogged a few days ago – here's Gosh's Facebook page for the event. Hope to see some of you there.

In other news, I recorded an interview with SpongeBob cartoonist Gregg Schigiel for his fine "Stuff Said" podcast a few days ago. That will probably be released mid-February, unless I'm bumped by someone more famous. Here's the iTunes feed if you want to keep an eye out for it.

Something that will directly affect this blog: as of January 1st, due to new EU tax laws coming into effect, I will no longer be selling digital comics through this site. To cut a long story short, the extra administration and paperwork required would be a drain on my time that the small amount of money I earn from digital sales doesn't come anywhere near covering. If you want to dig a little deeper, here is Sally Jane Thompson's excellent summary of the issues as they affect cartoonists like myself. I will continue to use ComiXology Submit to distribute digital comics as and when I make them.

Okay, back to the inkpots! I hope everyone has a great holiday.

About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Eisner and Harvey Award-winning cartoonist responsible for The Muppet Show Comic Book, Thor the Mighty Avenger, Snarked! and Fred the Clown. Would like to save the world through comics.