cdave: (Default)
And both [Ultimates comics] are incredibly quick reads. Okay, perhaps that’s what I should have expected, but these comics are $4 / £3 each. And that works out to about £1 a minute or £60 an hour. When the comics are costing about the same as my plumber there’s something horribly wrong. - Richard Bruton


Even [livejournal.com profile] jamesb has been talked a little about the cost of comics recently.

I finally remembered to head down to my local library to raid their comic shelves. Seems they don't have any Sandman (although I can order it from other local libraries), but I did pick up:

7) Bleach by Tite Kubo Volume's 1 & 2 (Manga)

This is very popular Anime series at the moment, and I've only seen one episode, so when I saw it on the shelves I snapped it up.

It's about a high school student, who can see ghosts, and accidentally gets recruited to be a sort of combination monster hunter / grim reaper. And frankly he's kind of pissed off with the whole situation.

The first volume is essentially an origin story, giving us a lose background into this world, and a few short battles. The second volume introduces a few more characters (I get the impression no-one in this place is going to be left without some mystical power for long), and a bit more about the way this afterlife thing works.

I can see why it's popular. The battles are fun and all, but there's a wonderful sense of humour throughout.

Guess what's happening in this thumbnail? With all it's dramtic shadowing, and extreme close ups.
Bleach page

He's answer here ) Bizarre.

8) Flight Explorer Volume 1 anthology editor Kazu Kibuishi (Graphic Novel)

I'm not going to pretend to know a lot about the Flight anthologies. They've been produced as something quite different for a few years now and are coming to an end soon. Full colour, and luscious art, they are often ... quieter tales than your typical super hero comic.

They're produced "via the internet" in some sense. At least most of the contributes are geographically spread, and are often bloggers.

Flight Explorer is the first (but hopefully not last) in a line pitched at the same market as the DFC, the 8 to teen market that seems to be so neglected in comics today.

The art is cartoony but brilliant for it, and the stories from a moment in the life a little girl and her monster friend's first experience of snow, to an action packed tale of a space mouse crashing beside a tribe who are under threat.

9) Watching the Watchmen by Dave Gibbons

Seeing the thumnails and early sketches for the iconic Watchmen moments is pretty neat, but Dave's tale of how it was produced is what really made this for me. And hats off to him for refusing to get drawn into the drama of what happened next. It's a story that needs hearing, but this celebration of the art of the Watchmen was not it.



Oh, and the library had a clever promotion on. They offer a cheap DVD rental service (with a lot of art house stuff as well as block busters), and to encourage the DVD crowd to read more they had a box of wrapped up mystery books on the counter you could borrow, and get a free DVD coupon.

PSA: PLR

Jan. 7th, 2010 10:17 am
cdave: (books)
Calling all authors. Seen this twice in 24 hours, via comics and SF.

I'd advise any published UK authors reading this who haven't registered for PLR to do so, as at over 6p a loan, that's a pleasant post-Xmas bonus.

Via J.N. Fenn's Garret.

RT Public Lending Rights, meaning you get a payment every time a book with your name on the title page gets loaned from a library
RT All the info you need to sign up is on their website: http://www.plr.uk.com/
RT Incidentally, you can't get away with just going into a library and writing your name on the title pages of all the books in biro.
RT Apparently.

Via @VictorianClam Laura Howell
cdave: (Default)
A little while ago Sarah McIntyre lamented that she didn't know how to crochet and wouldn't able to learn in time for BICS. She wanted to make a pair of horns for her book launch.



But I know how to crochet! So I knocked up a pair, finishing them on the train to Birmingham, and gave them to her on Saturday. I think she liked them, she certainly wore them all weekend :)

(I forgot my camera, so I'll update this post if I manage to get hold of a photo of [livejournal.com profile] jabberworks wearing them).


Pattern for Moris the Mankiest Monster horns )

Standard Fan Art Disclamer: All characters remain the property of their respective authors, and I have neither asked nor obtained permission to use them.

Cross posted from Scratch UK
cdave: (Comics)
[livejournal.com profile] scratch_uk is a proto British comics and small press publications fanzine, created by [livejournal.com profile] stevegreen. I'm going to try to post stuff there on a semi regular basis (and probably CC: much of it here, under a cut tag).

In that respect, I've just posted a couple of creators recent planned events lists, and which of them I think I'll make it to.
cdave: (Comics)
Since 2006 thelondonpaper (sic) has published Em, the semi-autobiographical comic strip of a twenty something woman growing up in London by Maria Smedstad. The paper is shutting down now, and Friday will be the final issue.

I'm not a regular reader of the free evening papers (generally I take a book with me for the evening commute), but occasionally picked it, and always turn to Em first (followed by the columns, stopping before I get to the "news" and celebrities).

When I first saw Em, I must admit I wasn't hugely impressed with the cut'n'paste art, or punchlines. But after running across an early strip in the Cartoon Museum in with the Young Cartoonist of the Year entries IIRC), I decided to look again, and remember that this is more like a blog/column, than a daily humour strip. While I'm not the biggest fan of Em, I have to say that the art has got more expressive, and I was enjoying the ones I saw.

If you're quick you can catch the double page spread on pages 12 and 13 of yesteday's e-edition, which is devoted to an interview with the creator.
cdave: (Default)
I read the Drop Dead Monstrous anthology last Autumn after picking it up at the MCM expo, from by Sweatdrop Studio's stall (A UK small press Manga publisher). Richard Bruton's reviewed it if you're interested.

I his review he writes that it, like many anthologies is:
patchy, all the strips are punchy, truncated things and it has the feel of the artists just throwing their odd little rejected stories onto the anthology pile. Okay, maybe a little harsh, but you know what I mean.


I like comics anthologies. I'd guess I've probably picked up about 3 or 4 small press anthologies a year for the past few years. More often than not I do enjoy the stuff in them. They all have something that's not my favourite, but that's sort of why I like them. It's a chance to see stuff I'd normally reject on quick glance when deciding what to buy. Even if I don't like a story, or art style, I've not spent that long on it anyway.

Which segues into this weeks reading list:

*) The DFC
Thinking about the DFC as an anthology, it would be a clear favourite. But that's probably not fair because most stories run over multiple weeks so do have a chance to say more.

I mean I've even grow to like most of the stuff I didn't get at first after reading Richard's interview with Molly, his young daughter.
Richard: I just didn’t see any story in it, just friends standing around chatting.
Molly: I like the way it’s about a group of friends hanging around and talking about stuff. Maybe it’s just meant to be for kids Dad?


This was the issue where they announce the closure :(

The Weird Wild West wrapped up it's first run. The Bad Guy got away, setting up for a second season that won't happen :(
With inking, I normally prefer a fat line that changes width, but I really love the sketchy quality of the lines in this epsiode in particular.

13) Born On A Blue Day by Daniel Tammet.
This is the autobiography of a high-functioning autistic savant.

It's a pretty moving story following his life from his birth, through to the release of a documentary about his ability to absorb languages (he gave a live televised interview in Iceland, less than a week after starting to learn the language). His synaesthesia and love of numbers run strongly through the book.

While much of the book is about the difficulty of his life, the chapters where he breaks out the comfortable rhythms and moves overseas for a year, or first meets his partner Neil, are really uplifting.

At one point he writes that he finds it very difficult to understand phrases such as "Jack isn't tall, he's a giant!" Since he can't mentally go back and change it to "Not only is Jack tall, he's a giant!" As such the book has a curious precision to it's prose, that is interesting in itself.
cdave: (Default)
*) The DFC
I'm still so sad that this is almost certainly ending. There a list of where most of the artists and writers can be found online, compiled by a fan.

There's no sign of it in the comic though. I hate to be pragmatic about it, but I guess I'll need to look at what happens to my direct debit.

*) Whatmen! by author Scott Lobdell, artist Alejandro Figueroa
A one shot Watchmen parody. 300 pages down to 30. If I tell you that the second page features the comedian falling out his window, butt naked, after slipping on a piece of smiley faced soap, you get the idea.

The art is very much captures the style of the original. Often times a panel is a detailed joke based on the original. For instance the first time we see Doc NYC, he is gigantic and standing in the same pose as the first time we see Doctor Manhattan in Watchmen. But the giant machine he's poking at is a washing machine.

12) Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation by Tom Siddell
This is the print collection of the first school year at Gunnerkrigg Court webcomic. It's absolutely gorgeous. A hefty hardback with shiny black paper that really shows the muted colours well. The pull quote on the back is from Neil Gaiman.
"Lots of different flavours in there -- it's a semi-gothic funny-sweet school story with mysteries and robots and so forth -- but I kept finding myself reminded of the early days of reading Bone. Nice stuff."

Distributed by Diamond, I ordered this from my local comic shop.

Meanwhile back at the webcomic we've just found out a major part of the main character's back story. Nearly 4 years after the comic launched! He's a master of the slow reveal.

Check out his answers to fans' questsions too. He somehow manages to answer most questions without actually telling anyone about the plot. :)

13) Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
Based on Ben's Blog and Guardian column. A series of detailed, well thought out, often irreverent chapters debunking everything: from homoeopathy to big pharmaceutical companies, and from the media driven MMR frenzy to nutritionists. A passionate argument for evidence based medicine.

Nice to see a shout out to [livejournal.com profile] shpalman in the back.

Nooo!

Mar. 3rd, 2009 10:15 pm
cdave: (Default)
It looks like the DFC may have to shut down.

Sarah's daily doodle of this )

I've managed to find RSS feeding blogs for all but one of my favourite strips creators, so hopefully I'll be kept informed of their future work, but it won't be the same. No other comics anthology I've ever picked up (okay that's probably less than 30) stands up to an issue of the DFC in my eyes.

I'll try and track down and post something about all of them soonish.

Oh, and this weeks reading list.

*) The DFC.


*) Dead of Night: Devil Slayer issues 1 - 4
Catching up on a backlog of regular comics, so expect more *s in my reading list.

This showed a lot of potential. The first issue follows the first few hours of a soldier returning to his third tour of Iraq. Ending in a ambush, with the final page being the first revelation that this is something more fantastic than a simple war story.

However from then on it descends into cliché. )


10) Zot! The Complete Black and White Collection by Scott McCloud.

As he says in the intro to this collection, these days he is better known as the author of "Understanding Comics". A brilliant textbook of the comic form, in the form of a comic. Actually many of you will know him from the Google Chrome Comic.

I'm very much a fan of good black and white line art, and Scott's stuff in particular.

This book covers his comics from 1987 to 1991. It very much changes in tone as the book progresses. It starts as a visually arresting superhero story, with his only powers essentially being flight (artificial), dexterity, and boundless optimism. With the plot being driven by the villain of that ark. By the end is instead a compelling tale about the lives* of group of fairly geeky American high school students.

*Well sexual awakening is probably the correct term. There's a whole issue devoted to too of them in a bedroom discussing if the time is right for them.

Every few issues, there's a page or two of directors commentary from Scott, that gives some fascinating insights into where the character's came from and what he was trying to do.

I'll definitely re-read all 575 pages of this one at some point soon.


11) Umbrella Academy story by Gerard Way Art by Gabrial Ba.
Lent to me by [livejournal.com profile] raven_mocara.

The art reminds me is a slightly tighter version of the graffiti style I particularly like in Jim Mafood.

The first page is picture of a wrestler doing an elbow drop onto a space squid. For no real reason that has anything to do with the plot. Brilliant!

Most of the humour in this comes from the same sense of the surreal.

However for all these silly asides, this is actually a fairly dark tale. The hero's have been raised together, but been separated for some time, before being called back. Each has their own power, but also their own neuroses.

I can't quite decide if this is too silly for a serious story, or too serious for a silly story. Either was something doesn't quite sit right. I've spotted it's still going at the comic shops, so I may track down the second volume to see if it improves.
cdave: (Default)
Bad news for indy comics from Diamond.

Diamond, who have a virtual monopoly on the monthly comics distribution, appear to bringing in a new minimum sales total. This will effectively rule out any 30ish page comics that isn't in the top 300 list of comics (including the larger graphic novels).

I don't have anything against Marvel and DC superhero comics, I do get one or two of them, but I much prefer some of the stuff coming out the so called independant publishers like Avatar, Desperadoes, Slave Labour Graphics, or self published, that will probably disappear from comic shop shelves.

Seen at Jamie Smart's
cdave: (Anime)
I know I say I usually just wait until a draft post is out of data and abandon it. I was trying to get that last one posted before the exhibition closed, but failed. At least partially due to spending the last couple of evenings working on a costume for Sunday. Anyone going to the expo?

Speaking of which anyone fancy a grand cosplay ball? I've got my ticket.

Oh, and is anyone planning on going to Novacon and want to share a room?

Craig Gidney, (who ran the Tanith Lee novel discussion at Orbital) is in a spot of financial bother and his publisher is selling pre-orders of his book and giving the whole amount to him, not even covering costs.

One last sfnal thing: I see from issue #6 of Captain Britain & MI:13 the the Cabal have clearly been at work on [livejournal.com profile] paulcornell2 is it features a villain called [livejournal.com profile] drplokta.
cdave: (Comics)
Charlie Stross nearly wrote for the Iron Man comic!

With his love of gonzo technologies, I'd have loved to have seen that.



The warning signs that inspired [livejournal.com profile] purplecthulhu's icons will soon be available for purchase
cdave: (Default)
A new comic book shop opened in Finsbury Park about 2 months ago, right by the station, and I only just noticed.
That's probably because while I read a lot of webcomics (and by their books) I don't tend to read too many trade paperbacks. I've started getting into it and, there's three series I'm reading at the moment.

The 99 - Teshkeel Comics. Described as "the world's first superheroes based on Islamic culture and society." So far each of the issues centres around introducing one more of the cast, each of whom based on the 99 Attributes of God. It looks like it'll be an X-men style team effort. It's set in America, but so far most of the cast come from the rest of the world. All in all, it's a basic superhero team story but from a slightly different view point.

Necessary Evil - Desperado. A high school for super villains, "in the tradition of Harry Potter and Sky High". At points it feels like a lame magic high school drama: The "treasure hunt" they are sent on as their first piece of homework. However these moments are somewhat offset by the deliciously amoral moments in there: A girl who kills a teacher, in retaliation for a slapped wrist.

Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now - IDW. Basically 6 of his short stories are being turned into comics. You can read, or listen to, the stories online first. I like the stories, and the comics are going well. In particular, the layouts of "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" are great. Some clever panel sizing and ordering really helps the timing and enhances the chaos.

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