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.

 

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.

RWB to be relaunched, and Slutwalk!

The other day I decided to email IPC, who own the copyright of the famous old detective character Sexton Blake, and try and get permission to use him in my own comic The Red, White & Blue. Well I have already created 4 issues of it (plus one of The Trident). Anyway, they said no!

They also said that “a certain American comic company” (not sure if I can reveal this or not)  have “exclusive print rights”. Which may possibly explain the seemingly indefinite delay to the next Snowbooks compilation. However it’s also extremely worrying as, given the type of commie shitstabbers that work in comics these days, they’ll probably start doing a comic about him where he uncovers conspiracies in the British government and fights to bring down the empire and all the usual Crisis shit.

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Any excuse to re-use this.

Having been half-expecting a rejection (and also having been considering removing Sexton Blake anyway for a while) I have decided to re-launch the Red, White & Blue (and of course The Trident and Dragonfly) in a de-blakenised version. Originally I planned to just change the names but keep the character the same, and even have him stop ageing and living in many different time periods (as Sexton Blake apparently did XD).

But instead I decided to just create different characters for each time. For instance an Agatha Christie style character for the 20’s, a “Gene Hunt” for the 70’s and a “Spooks” style secret agent for modern times. I’ll also ditch the crap logo that adorned the first two issues of the Red, White & Blue, give it an editor’s page from the start and re-do the Sexton Blake article to an overview of British adventure comics as a whole.I still want the RWB to be bi-monthly (I may even succeed now that I have 4 issues “in hand”, kinda). Issue 9 is intended to be a Christmas special, as one of the serial stories is planned to end then with a Christmas scene. So the new Issue 1 will be on sale in the July-August period this year, on the internet! Mind you my emigration is also pencilled in for around then so printing and posting might get erratic, but we can put that down to it being a new publication XD

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Issues 3 and 4 will actually look almost identical when reprinted.

With regards to the Trident, as well as un-Blakeing it I’m going to increase it’s size to A4, give the main story (now about a Bulldog Drummond type secret agent in WW1 called Norman Saxon XD) illustrations and also include a short complete story and two serials! All in 3 columns of tiny text.

What am I going to do with the stock of the old issues? Well recycle them, obviously. Of course ‘packs’ of copies may possibly find their way into the hands of unscrupulous attendees of, say, the Saturday of the next MCM convention at the Excel Centre later this month. But I trust that those people, having obtained the comics from me for nothing after asking about my T-shirt saying “ask me for free comics”, will throw them in a recycling bin.

In other news, some cop in Canada told a bunch of women to “not dress like sluts” if they don’t want to be raped. His ill-chosen words have caused a worldwide backfire in the form of protest marches called “slutwalks”, which I will of course be wholeheartedly supporting. Mainly the London one on the fourth of June.

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Pictured: An overdressed lady

It’s about time somebody stood up against the prudish elements on the right, who’s idiocy is well-documented, as well as those on the left who are always the first to post “yay dignity” and a rolleyes smiley on the Download festival forums whenever “boob cam” is mentioned. These scum, usually students, are clearly going to turn into prudish Express readers once they graduate anyway… it’s always amusing when the topic of casual sex and scanty dress is bought up. These so-called supporters of equality can’t help but let the mask slip!

Isn’t blaming the victim of a crime socialist anyway? “A bit of redistribution of wealth in the here and now” I seem to recall was a justification for mugging “rich people who move into working class areas” on some punk song back in my commie shitstabbing days.

Any Briton worthy of the name ought to be supporting the slutwalks, there are those in our society who complain that they “don’t want to see” short skirts and such attire as it “looks like an invitation”. Anybody who talks like that shouldn’t even be allowed out, as they are seemingly only just able to keep their rampant savagery in check. It reminds me of the sick scum who claim that “without religion as guidance people will do whatever they want”. Maybe you would commit random rapes and murders if you didn’t have the bible telling you not to, but please don’t project your character flaws onto the rest of us.

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Atheio-nationalists, advance!

Them DVD’s I bought yisty…

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Ah. 

Looks like I’ll be going back for the actual discs too, then XD. Well these shops do have a high turnover of volunteers, suppose they don’t always know the procedures.

Anyway. I’m working on issue 5 of my comic. I often “cheat” with perspective by creating google sketchup renderings of things I need to draw, and then trace the outlines of print-outs. With buildings and that a few boxes will do, but for more complicated things there’s always the model warehouse. However, for more complicated things of my own imagining, I have to bite the bullet and battle with 3D modelling myself…

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With masses of unessescary lines because Sketchup refused to just fucking cooperate and fill in the surface.

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 One Ion engine, two Scramjets. Yes I know Ion engines are “crap”, this is over 150 years in the future and that cockpit is a 3-man one, giving you some idea of the scale!

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Spaceship away

Oh also if I didn’t want to emigrate to a country where “Tattoos” automatically means “Criminal” (Though Yasue has some she’s Japanese, so can get away with one “offence”. Being a gaijin and tattooed is two “offences” XD) I’d get a ‘slag tag’ saying “Enquire Within”.

The wedding and that

Back at the start of the year, I had intended to spend the duration of the royal wedding with this inside me:

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The folder his pics are in is still not his name. It’s just labelled “Hot Icelandic dude”

But because I didn’t get issue 4 of my comic finished in time I self-punished myself and didn’t go. Also we’d not talked for months or arranged anything proper either XD.

Soo instead I just printed 25 copies of the now-finished issue 4 and then, er, put them in a box under the bed where they will probably stay, as there’s no way of selling them.

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6 pieces of paper folds into 12 sheets with print on both sides = 24 pages!

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And there we are.

Being a jingoistic little-Englander I did of course also watch and enjoy the wedding. Shame I missed the drive to the church. Mind you though, we may have gained a new possible future queen, but by the time either of them gets the chance to sit on the throne I do of course hope to be a subject of Emperor Heisei instead.

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Here’s a clue if you don’t know who that is.

Also this really hot girl shows up on Southern Charms photo sets, but is not a “charm” herself. Anyway today one of them posted a link to her twitter, where she mentioned the fact that there has been a “porn wikileaks” which revals many thousands of porn stars’ real names and HIV status.

Now personally if I was a porn star I wouldn’t give a shit about people knowing my real name or HIV status. But then again I wouldn’t see it as shameful because I’m genetically superior. And also because at night I’d lead a black-shirted paramilitary group that would patrol dodgy parks looking for queer-bashers who would then be dragged to a secluded area and forced to inhale poisonous gas.

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Victory, Victory, VICTORY! / Onwards we march ’til victory be won / Victory, Victory, VICTORY! / Any means shall justify the ends!

RWB Issue 4 Finished!

Today, not long after waking up, I noticed my cat appeared to be licking her nose in her sleep. But she soon woke up and starting making the bizarre “knocking on wood” sound that shows she’s about to be sick. Luckily I reacted quickly and caught most of it in the bin, which was full of toilet roll I’d been blowing my nose on to soak it up. Mind you it did smell like McDonalds.

Anyway the builders currently working on our house (we’re having 3 extra rooms added, when it’s finished I’ll picspam pics of the work) have a skip, so I went and chucked the contents of the bin in that.

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Can we have one all the time?

I also finished the last of my easter chocolate. Was nice to have a lot, and I’ll have to get some more in the sales too XD. Anyway the boxes had to go somewhere…

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Yep.

I’ve been using this long holiday to work on my self-published comic The Red, White & Blue. Supposedly bi-monthly from 2011 onwards, however I only finished the Jan-Feb issue today -_-. The main reason for that is the Sexton Blake story contained in it, almost 25,000 words! I knew it’d be “extra length” but not, er, excessive. Hopefully the average length of the Sexton Blake story in each issue will be more like 12,000 words from here on.

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The cover. It has story on the cover too because that’s proper.

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A short, complete story about Speedway. I’d wondered if this was the first time there had been a Speedway comic strip, but there has been others in the past.

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Now that’s a wall of text! The Sexton Blake story is in 7.5 point font! 8 was too big and 7 was way too small. Other pages do have block illustrations.

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Tigers of Punjab, an adventure/war serial set in India. I actually wish i’d never started this story because it’s crap. Oh well only 2-3 more parts ought to see an end of it, and I can get on with something better – a story about football in the 60’s!

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The Day of the Green Skulls, a text serial. Also the continuation of the colour story from the cover.

I only printed one issue today. I’m not actually sure when or even if issue 4 onwards will even be on sale! There’s no conventions I can reasonably get to (well except as a visitor) before August, when I’m hoping I’ll be leaving the country. For various reasons (like my unwitting use of a copyrighted character, oops) setting up an online store might be problematic too. I might just make the comics into PDF’s and put em online for nothing.

Also my printing is a bit SCIENCE-ey

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Connected to an old computer because it’s parallel-port only.

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Yes, that’s where the keyboard is! Luckily by this stage I don’t need to type anything much. The text stories are also “images” because I convert them to PDF’s and then to images. Mind you it makes the small text blurry, so I might have to find a way to do it better. Probably copying the text into Publisher 98 and arranging it on the page that way.

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The beast. That’s A4 paper in there! God knows how me and dad got this thing up the stairs. Why no it will not be leaving the country with me XD.

What’s that?

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Why I do believe it’s the finished artwork for part 4 of Tigers of Punjab. All ready for issue 4 of my comic The Red, White & Blue. Cover dated Jan-Feb 2011. FML.

Also, does Wilson live on?

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O_O

Also yesterday, after 3 weeks of trying, I finally caught up with the boss of a bookshop in Cambridge who I had been told would probably like to buy various duplicates I have. It took him all of a 10 seconds to say no. FML.

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Any takers?