Not updated this thing for ages

So let’s have some random waffle and odd pictures I had kicking around. And then a bunch of separate posts on various things that deserve to be singled out.

First, it’s DOWNLOAD! But I ain’t there, though looking at the virtually non-stop rain we’ve had since Wednesday I’m kinda glad. Though I am missing Nightwish, Anti-Nowhere League and various other great bands.

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A pic from about 10:58, there’s probably no band on

That said the rain did stop at about 2:00 in the afternoon today (at least in Cambridgeshire). It was not exactly hot, but not cold, and the wind was very strong. If those conditions persist in Donington it might “blow dry” the ground and make it nice and soft, but not muddy. Ideal if you ask me, people will bounce if they fall over in a pit XD. Also the one bad memory of every Download I have been to is sore feet, from walking too far / on rock-hard, baked mud.

I saw this the other day: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/falklandsmalvinas-a-national-cause/

The mention of Argentine comics about the Falklands War got me interested. I’m interested in the history of the comics of all nations, and a look at “the other side” ought to be interesting. I’d also love to see Japanese comics from during World War 2 and German story-papers from the 1890’s – 1918. Unfortunately both of those countries lost the respective wars and have now taken on a more pacifist viewpoint, preferring to act as if the “imperialist propaganda” in their comics of the time never happened.  Indeed, many histories of Japanese comics jump straight from the Ponchi-e of the 1850’s to Sazae-san and Osamu Tezuka in the late 1940’s, ignoring everything in between!

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Take this the next time you go to a talk about manga.

British comics have hardly mentioned the Falklands either. Apparently Battle (by then probably the shitty, ruined Battle Action Force version) did a story about the war while it was happening, but set it in the future, and made the enemies some sort of weird terrorist force. Commando did 2-3 stories about it in the early 90’s (reprinted circa 2009/10), but they were mainly about the lives of SAS soldiers, and the action they saw in the Falklands was only part of the story.

More recently Commando did two more Falklands stories, though only one was set in the actual war (feuding RAF brothers, one a Harrier pilot, the other a Sea King pilot). The other was again about the SAS, this time on a secret mission in mainland Argentina. They discover a crazed fanatic (at a time when the country was ruled by fanatics and murdering it’s own people left, right and centre) working on a biological weapon and have to arrange for the base to be bombed. In real life the Port Stanley airport was stretching the range of Vulcan bombers, let alone going any further!

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Some cakes

If only there was some small presser doing a patriotic, jingoistic adventure comic, who could produce the definitive comic version, eh?

Oh yeah, on the subject of Commando, it’s recently upgraded it’s paper quality enormously, and has reached issue 4500. I trust you are all doing your bit to help it on the way to issue 5000? Well somebody must be, a new “batch” comes out roughly every 2 weeks, but if you don’t get to them on the ‘first weekend’ (and sometimes even that’s too late) you might not get the full four. For a while I thought this was because WH Smith’s staff were idiots and not putting enough of them out. But the varying numbers lead me to another explanation. They are selling out! A Boys’ Own war comic, in 2012!

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A cute girl

 

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Only certain people will get this

Mind you, I do have a couple of “promising” friendships at the moment. I had more, but they were far out of my league and I’d better not delude myself. My first crush, who is still single and still beautiful, was liking my Facebook updates an awful lot. Then I hinted at a possible date and she switched off – that was a wake-up call XD.

Other recent things have included Camcon, cambridge’s “first” comic / anime / nerdy stuff convention… apart from 3-4 in the 80’s (including another one also called Camcon, but run by completely different people. The current crew were babies then XD). It was pretty good, and sold out. Plans for expansion are already being made. I hope to become one of the “moving spirits” of the convention, with my Union Jack-bedecked table welcoming people year on year.

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Hopefully with increasing numbers of comics. And neighbours who turn up.

I also had an idea to hand-animate a Julian and Sandy sketch advertising the next one. Anybody want to voice act? I need an RP-speaker and a raving queen. I will of course play the other raving queen XD.

I also went to the ‘rather’ bigger MCM Expo in London. This is held twice a year (there’s also other MCM’s in Birmingham, Manchester and, er, Telford) and gets 60,000 people through the doors. It’s in the gigantic Excel centre, though the convention proper only occupies one ‘room’ of the building. The forums are always full of complaints about overcrowding, things are going to reach a crunch point soon, I reckon. The qeue for convention tickets uses another room, which is left half empty. I don’t know why they can’t put some stands in there too, to open things out a bit.

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The hallway in the middle of the Excel Centre

Mind you, the MCM forums are always full of complaints about free huggers and the (hilarious) Yaoi Guy. Miserable fuckers.

I’m going to be going to an anime convention on the 30th, even though I don’t really like anime, my favourite one is 5 minutes long. Oh well, I can meet some interesting people and maybe obtain some more ‘promising friendships’ XD. Also it’s in London so I could slope off to the Japan Centre or Gosh. Probably the latter as I’m about ready to give up on Japanese and switch to learning a language that will be both easier and more useful to me.

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I think you know what I’m talking about

There was probably more, but I’ve just hit that sudden tiredness wall. Plenty to do tomor-erm-later today, including getting the latest Commando comics, trying to find this Falklands conference (if it’s even open to the public) and of course checking out the Cambridge University Anthropology Museum, which has recently been re-opened and apparently contains examples of art and design down the ages, from 40,000 years ago to may 2012 XD. I doubt there’s many comics, mind you.

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Only certain people will get this

BUT I’ll also get a Euromillions ticket. If I won a gigantic prize on that I’d create a huge and truly international comic museum. The “International Manga Museum” in Kyoto sounds more like a big reference library for Japanese comics, with a small ‘exhibit’ of pages stuck on a wall (Okay, maybe I will go to Japan once more, to see that museum… and the Mikasa… and Jinbocho…).

My museum would have vast wings dedicated to each continent, with bigger or smaller galleries depending on the comic output of each nation. Japan and Britain would of course have huge ones XD. They’d also treat each country’s evolving comic culture on it’s own merits. The Magnet and Hokusai Manga were not picture-strip “comics”, but both played thier own part in thier respective country’s comic development. I’d also give cave paintings, hieroglyphics, early Chinese writing and The Bayeux Tapestry their dues!

The new year

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Last sunset of 2011

I was magnificently lazy over the Christmas holidays, I just sat about eating chocolate and writing short half-arsed reviews of a bunch of small press comics for a magazine. Oh wait, that’s bad! I meant to do a heap of comic drawing, including finishing off my ill-fated manga for a competition the Japanese embassy was running. I’d failed to get it even near finished before that closed, but I hoped to get it finished by tomorrow for inclusion in the next “issue of” (it’s no longer a ‘regular’ comic) Non Repro. But won’t finish it in time for that either now.

The reason? Sherlock! Yes the BBC finally got off their arses and made another three (three! When are we getting a proper series?) episodes of this. And BY GOD are they awesome. The first one was shown on New Year’s day and the second last night. The second was based on the Hound of the Baskervilles… except now “Baskerville” is a secret bio-weapons research facility. You can see where this is going… except it doesn’t go there, actually XD.

Speaking of Sherlock Holmes the latest Hollywood film is incredible too. It’s 2 and a half hours long mind you. But actually there’s only 8 minutes of story and the rest is filled up by slow motion (troof). Still it’s incredible, even if some anachronisms annoyed me… no, his car is not one of them! But the fact there’s nobody walking in front of it with a red flag is. Mind you though, Sir Conan Doyle never liked Sherlock Holmes using motor vehicles, and still had his hero riding around in horse-drawn cabs even after he’d bought a motorcycle. Of course Sexton Blake’s writers had no such qualms, and a motor-car featured in those stories as early as 1898. Later he was thundering around in a Mors car at thirty miles in the hour!

An even more annoying anachronism (to me), though, is the fact that they got the German flag wrong! Germany wasn’t using that flag in 1891 (though had used it earlier), they were using a Black-White-Red tricolour up to 1918. Mind you though, “The First World War in Colour” managed to get it wrong too. As did an old docudrama about the early days of Albert Einstein.

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My 2011 Calendar, from Sweatdrop Studios. It kind of sums up the person I was in 2011, very interested in Japan to the point of considering moving there and even becoming a naturalised citizen (eventually). I was working diligently on learning the language and spending hours reading blogs by foreigners who had gone to live there.

I was also giving vague thought to converting myself to drawing manga style, in the vague hopes of “doing a Bakuman” once I was naturalised. But then my girlfriend dumped me in November, and in December I found myself constantly saying “Nanaji” for Seven O Clock, when it ought to be “Shichiji”. Also I read a load of Debito (though a lot of it “through the filter” of Tepido). I still think he’s bonkers and his followers a bunch of commie shitstabbers. But you can’t argue with clear cases of shitty policing, insane working hours with no recognition and GIANT FUCKIN’ INSECTS. If I never set foot in neon hell again, it’ll be too soon!

On to the 2012 Calendar, then…

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Yep, that sums up the kind of person I want to be in 2012, the same person I was in 2006! I’m getting the Mini on the road no matter what and waking the echoes of a July afternoon out in the fens (without going over 50 XD). I’m also doing Download and as many local rock/metal/blues/ska gigs as I can cram in. Oh I’ll be collecting more antique comics rather than horror movies though. (Bring back Silverscreen! Those shops were great). Starting with this…

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It’s 6 months worth of The Boys’ Friend (aka the best British comic ever) from mid 1904. I got lucky on this one, nobody else bid and It went for £50! I was expecting to pay over £100. Maybe the low price was because it’s January. Anybody else out there wanting to sell bound volumes of the Boys’ Friend/Realm/Herald, Union Jack, (Halfpenny) Marvel or Skipper please do it right now or wait until Jan ’13 eh?

Boys Friend Price fluctuations…

Complete year 1903 – 04 – £49.99 (Was “pickup only” and BIN, I cheekily offered to pay extra postage and the seller agreed, bargain!)

Complete year 1902 – 03 – £170 (! And I had to drive down to Enfield to get it. Well worth it though! they look great on the shelf)

Half year Jan-Jun 1910 – £110 (great condition)

Half year May – Nov 1904 – £49.99 (woohoo)

Plus loads of individual issues at about a fiver each. Anybody out there got any they want to unload?

 

Other crap I can’t be bothered to write at length about…

– Helicopter crash! I saw it fly over my work, it seemed to be ‘skidding’ in the air and the wind was really strong that day. It exploded near Ely and crashed into a field

– The strong wind! Part of our fence blew down. A panel of fence at work somehow not only blew down but ‘jumped over’ a big wheelie bin.

– The Pheonix, and it’s dire distribution: http://blog.crystal-knights.co.uk/2012/01/09/the-post-formerly-known-as-wheres-your-pheonix/

–  Despite the lazy last days of 2011 work is going ‘decently’ on comic for 2012. I hope to do at least 6 issues of the Red, White & Blue, 3 of the The Trident, 2 of The Sentinel (a ‘red top’ for comic collectors) and 1 of the Small Press Digest (encouragement-filled magazine with yellow covers). I’ve got a table at Camcon in May, seemingly the first nerdy convention in Cambridge for many a year (possibly since the Old Boys’ Book Club met there!). Gonna be great! Also got a ‘premeet’ in April.

 

Why yes,

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I was reading yaoi at work

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And I don’t even care, man.

Mind you though it wasn’t very pornographic yaoi. The “Explicit Content” label was writing cheques that the story couldn’t cash. You don’t even see it going in or anything!

Still it’s better than a “hot” yaoi comic I got from another stall at the same convention (run by a hilarious Yank/Cank, youtube “Yaoi Guy”), that one didn’t even have kissing! And it cost me like £25. Next time (October) I’ll make sure to check da moichendoise.

So I’ve been spelling “Gaijin” wrong all this time…

Then way I was writing it actually said “emerging person” rather than “outside person”. If I’d put that on my t-shirt people might have thought I was wandering about giving birth and just wanted to advise them. Luckily I looked it up before I made any blunder with the fabric marker.

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And with that, it was off to the MCM expo!

As I can’t sell my already-printed copies of The Red, White & Blue and The Trident, I was going to give them away for free. However it seems like I still can’t give my comics away even at a comic convention while wearing a T-shirt labelled “FREE COMICS”. Only one guy actually came up to me and asked for some, the rest of the time I had to persuade people to take them, usually bemused stall-holders.

I also forgot to take a proper camera and forgot to take pictures at the actual event so am just going to chuck up the few I have randomly.

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Canned coffee and having to hold on to my ticket to make sure I don’t lose it. It’s just like Japan!

The train journey was remarkably problem-free, hooray.  Mind you at one point I did just assume an oriental-looking guy at the Docklands Light Railway was going to MCM and started to give him directions, when he actually wanted to go to Tower Bridge or something, oops.

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A basketball court in the middle of the neighbourhood? Are they trying to be some sort of shitty pound-shop version of America? … oh yeah, it’s London.

After arriving the Qeue took TWO BLOODY HOURS. There was some interesting cosplays though. Including a guy who had dressed up as a death note, as in the actual book. He was getting people to write in it, unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to add “Chris Moyles, 2nd June 2011, 9:30. Mysterious inexplicable release of 10 alligators into the studio”.

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What? Did the builder’s union demand that an unfinished roof be put on to symbolise the plight of the homeless Nicaraguan yak-combers? Probably, this is London.

Anyway after finally getting through that (and in spite of worries that I’d be chucked out for being an “unauthorised seller” as I had a backpack full of “stock”) I finally got into the enormously-crowded convention proper and began to wander. Of course I first went to the Sweatdrop Studios table as somebody on their forums had said she wanted my free comics. But she wasn’t there at the time. I then wandered around the very narrow and overcrowded small press area. I didn’t have much money to had to pass a lot of people by 🙁

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I suppose the Kremlin jokes have already been done. Why didn’t they build some grand and imposing edifice with columns, sash windows and a statue of Britannia? Oh yeah, London.

I then looked around the “main” part of the convention, mainly looking for a Shonen Jump stand to see if I could get the latest Bakuman book. However I couldn’t find it, but then noticed the Manga Entertainment stand had a familiar shape, and lo and behold there was number 5! Also the Tokyopop stand was a sad sight, just a bunch of trestle tables with cardboard boxes on them and hand-drawn clearance sale signs. However as I don’t really like Manga and have no intention of getting into a series published by a defunct company I actually only got one book… a Star Trek manga. No, really!

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Do driverless trains need wipers?

After a lot more wandering I went back to the small pressers and encountered some I knew, mainly Jenkia Ioffreda who does Vampire Freestyle (I think I have them all now XD), Ushio who does Japanofail and some other things which he very generously gave me for free in exchange for free comics, and Yuri Kore who won a manga competition organised by the Japanese embassy. She didn’t have any new books out but is fun to talk to, she said she’d be moving back to Korea and I said I might move to Japan, which turned in to “when you visit Korea email me” XD.

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There was a building that looked like the Fukushima nuclear power plants, before explosion, but I couldn’t take a decent pic.

After that I had a “not brilliant” ham and cheese …thing. I should mention there was actually two conventions going on at the same time. The other one was the international confrence on rheumatology or some such thing. Some of the delegates came out while I was eating and had to walk through the gauntlet of people dressed up as anime/star wars/video game characters. The look on their faces…! Then I got out more money and went hall wandering again. I caught a bit of a talk by the bloke who made Simon’s Cat. He said he made it ages ago but never bothered to put it online. Then his friends took it as a movie to embed into their website just to see if such a thing world work… and it got so many hits their server crashed XD.

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The qeue as I first joined it

I later visited the rather infamous Yaoi stall over in one corner of the hall. Apparently it first appeared in around 2006 and has attracted occasional controversy, mainly from the improvised songs sung by the proprietor that contain the sort of language that The Macc Lads usually peddle.  It’s also horrendously overpriced and the comic I bought, vaguely promising to show Cloud from FF7 and Squall from FF8, has no porn at all! I’ll not get stung again… at least the “Yaoi” comic I bought last year from a different stall has a decently long story and is in a language I can read XD.

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And here’s the back corner of the room, still qeueing XD. The ticket desk is somewhere in the middle.

About 4-ish I decided it was time to go so I’d get home in time for Doctor Who (I didn’t, I’ll iplayer it later XD). I went to Kings Cross and caught a direct train to Cambridge near enough AS the doors were closing. Then waited a wee while for another one to Ely. Then had nice steak.

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The buys, minus Bakuman book 5

Here is some post so it looks like I still had something to type and so spread the pictures out better than I actually did.

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Sweatdrop studios stuff! An entry about them will eventually appear in my comic blog.