Three Saturdays

Not updated this again for ages. Dum de dum. Things have been ticking over, issue 2 of my comic (supposed to be cover dated March – April) is still not finished, but ought to be tomorrow. Only the editor’s page and a map to do!

 3sats11.jpg

EXTERMINATE!

Also Doctor Who is back on, but I missed the start of the episode just gone >.<, I notice it appeared to show a prosperous India of the future, with it’s own space programme. I notice that this prosperous India of the future was still full of ethnically Indian people, though. I remember some “leaked episode synopsis” that was doing the rounds before the last series, which suggested there would be an episode set in Japan in the 2170’s. I bet if the BBC had actually made that, the Japan of the 2170’s would still be populated entirely by ethnically Japanese people.

Of course, in my own comics, scenes set on the future Earth will have, say, a mostly black guy (‘pure’ races will be rare hundreds of years in the future) named Vladimir Rodriguez, who comes from Tokyo and mainly speaks Japanese. Just to ridicule this “mah effnic origin” disease that the yanks are into, which is infecting Britain at an alarming rate.

But enough of that. Two saturdays ago (or 1 week BDW) we had a huge storm. There wasn’t much visible lightning, but the thunder was just a constant rumble, it sounded like when you are videoing something and the wind blows against the microphone. I did capture a bit of footage, some of the thunder and some of the rain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj_DpbIINUQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXJEKD_oetc

There had also been hail before that, I got a few photo of that after it had finished.

 3sats01.jpg

There was also cool-looking clouds and sewage coming out of the drains, which somebody drove through really fast with their window down slightly, lawl.

 3sats02.jpg – 3sats03.jpg

Anyway, on the second of these saturdays, I trolled into Cambridge to see my friend Asha. Except (as usual) she took forever to get ready (it was literally like all day). So Instead I wandered around Charity shops killing time. So, lets just turn this into a haul post!

The best thing I got was this:

 3sats04.jpg

Grummock yer parts…

It’s a tape of Round the Horne , the greatest radio comedy ever! It’s where Julian and Sandy, who I’ve just noticed I never posted about (to my shame, got a CD of them ages ago), come from. Anyway, it evolved out of another show called Beyond our Ken (the host of both was Kenneth Horne), but was a lot funnier.

Anyway, this box contains 2 tapes, which are supposed to be the third set of four episodes. But one of them is actually from the tenth set, but as the show had got into it’s stride then I won’t complain! Anyway, aside from Julian and Sandy (polari-speaking queens who did a different, innuendo-laced, job each week)

 3sats05.jpg – 3sats06.jpg

‘Evvy Metal

I also got this, for the amazing price of 10p. It’s an old demo tape by a band called Jackal, probably from some time in the 80’s, or maybe early 90’s. The paper insert appears to have been produced on a photocopier, and the red has been hand-coloured. An (admittedly vague) search of the internet has failed to turn up any reference to a metal band called Jackal, so I assume they are long since defunct. Shame, the music is actually pretty damn good (in fact, better than some early thrash which was signed by big labels – like old Testament – which all sounds like it’s recorded in an echoing empty room).

Also, I have been looking at Danny Choo, and his other site called Figure FM, recently. A lot of people were posting pictures of their “otaku rooms”, awash with manga, anime DVD’s and figures. I wanted to tart up my own otaku room a bit, though of course I am an otaku by the Japanese definition and not the foreign one XD. I needed some models to display – no, not anime figures! I’m an otaku for old British culture, and that means…

 3sats07.jpg

Airfix!

I’d seen this set advertised in Commando a few times. You get two planes and a display stand for yer money. I got that one because “jet planes are easier, they’re just pipes with wings on” and also having an Argentine plane would be a bit “weird”. I presume the standard Douglas Skyhawk kit Airfix make comes with 1960’s US Air Force decals. I’ve not started to make this yet, though. As it will be displayed I want to get it right, so got a ‘simpler’ kit to ‘practice’ with. Of course I made tons of these as a kid (I also did a bunch of cheap foreign kits which never got painted, bright green ME109 ahoy!), but I usually just slapped on single coats of paint, glued on the decals (paper and all) and then they got broken and chucked out XD.

Oh yeah, the display cabinet itself, well I got that (along with some other bits) a few weeks ago when I went to Ikea. It’s a Detolf cabinet, which nearly all the otaku rooms on Danny Choo have XD. I have stuffed it with various odds and ends at the moment, but they’ll be gradually replaced by Airfix planes and ships (got my eye on a huge Golden Hind, but that will be tough to build), Gundams and a few (and I mean a few, possibly two XD) anime figures XD.

 3sats08.jpg

The full thing. All that crap next to it is a stack of Roy of the Rovers which desperately needs gaps filling, putting in order and binding into 6-monthly books. Anybody got a spare grand?

 3sats09.jpg

Some Lego stuff, including the Lego Felney characters, from when I had a regular webcomic (ha!) and the scanner broke. Also some limited edition Corgi Minis, a limited edition Lotus F1 model (now very battered and with sun-faded stickers) and some other bits.

 3sats10.jpg

A Download Festival programme, a Star Wars toy, more lego (“FW Devil 1” is a ship of my own creation called a Slasher), some Judge Dredd cards that the Megazine gave away, my Camcon wristband and some bijou statuettes.

And so on to today. Today was the second day of “Open Cambridge”, an event I also went to in 2010. Basically various colleges open up certain seldom-seen parts to the public for free. Lots of guided tripettes also take place around the city, but those were all fully booked months ago. Anyway I made a list of small libraries in colleges that I wanted to see and trolled around, only to find that this year’s Open Cambridge had a slight difference, namely, it was shut! Still I did go to the Whipple Museum (which is open to the public all the time anyway) and to the Sporting Christ’s exhibition, in one of the libraries there (which, it turned out, is a separate exhibition running for the duration of the Olympics and a good month and a half either side to boot XD).

Buut before that, I went into Ely and got a simpler Airfix kit, from the “City Cycle Centre”, an independent toy and hobby shop (with a side of DIY and, of course, cycling). I used to go in there a lot as a kid, but then we called it Zaskies, for some reason. It used to sell these wicked cap guns that looked almost like real rifles and shotguns, you wouldn’t see that these days! Anyway, up the stairs and round the corner used to be the Airfix (well and Revell, Tamiya and so on), Warhammer and Hornby department. These were all still in roughly the places I remember, but are now bigger(!) than they were when I was a kid. The back wall has also been knocked through and a load of other rooms (perhaps store rooms or other shops before) have now been incorporated into the main shop. Anyway, which simpler kit did I buy just to get my eye in? Which do you think?

 3sats12.jpg

Can’t beat the classics!

… Mind you, if they’d had a Red Arrow I probably would have got that XD. It was £8, though the same sorts of kits in Model Zone (where I got that Falklands set) are only £5.99, you have to support these independent shops or they’ll disappear!

After that I trolled off to Cambridge, to be disappointed XD. Still I couldn’t resist the Haunted Bookshop, and bought a hardback, cloth-bound prospectus for a girl’s boarding school. Like you do. There’s an inscription dated 1943 in it, but I should think the book itself is older, from before rationing, because the paper is lovely, thick and glossy. It has a great many photos, which will be useful reference material for illustrations in my own boarding school story, Xin Zhou’s Schooldays – the first chapters of which will appear in the Red, White & Blue issue 2, erm, eventually!

 3sats13.jpg – 3sats14.jpg

I’m reading an American comic

Last post today, I promise XD.

Anyway, yes, I decided to get into at least one American comic, in the lead up to the Avengers film (which is spectacular, by the way). So what did I start getting? Avengers? Nope, something about a “war in the stars”.

 starwarsgal01.jpg

They ought to do a film about it.

That’s actually the British edition of the Star Wars comics, mind you. It differs from the American versions in that:

– You get less of the stories than you do in each individual American issue

– They are ‘behind’ the US releases

– You get parts of three stories in each issue

– In Forbidden Planet the American comics are about £3 each, for a whole chapter of one story. This is £3.15 for three half-chapters of three stories.

So on balance, I’ll stick with the British editions! I have three issues so far, so caught the end of some serials. So far two new serials have started, which I’m following more closely.

 starwarsgal02.jpg

The first is Agent of Empire – set just before Episode IV, it’s part James Bond, part screwball comedy. Oh and Han Solo is an old friend of the agent in question!

Then there’s Dawn of the Jedi – set about 10,000 years before the films. They still have space travel and laser guns though. I think in the Star Wars universe they had space travel (as in, easily travelling to inhabited planets orbiting other stars) something like 50,000 years before the films – meaning even “ancient religions” emerged in an environment of many different races, computers and hyperspace.

Shame, I was half hoping the story would be confined to one planet and one race (perhaps whatever planet the Star Wars Universe humans evolved on – though they are just like us, they don’t come from Earth!), using swords, plate armour and siege engines. And the force!

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.

mcm01.jpg

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.

mcm02.jpg

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.

mcm03.jpg

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”.

mcm04.jpg

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 🙁

mcm05.jpg

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!

mcm06.jpg

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.

mcm07.jpg

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.

mcm08.jpg

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.

mcm09.jpg

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.

mcm10.jpg

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.

mcm11.jpg

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

Dieselpunk Star Wars

I went back to lurk a forum I used to post on, and saw that as a thread title. It got me thinking, and then I did some sketches on the whiteboard at work…

 dpsw1.jpg

Messerschmitt T-13 fighter and a Super Sea Destroyer

 dpsw2.jpg

Supermarine Mark 10

dpsw3.jpg

Lockheed A-Type

dpsw4.jpg

Nakajima Tei Interceptor prototype

dpsw5.jpg

Fairey Y-type

 dpsw6.jpg

Shijima

“He’s heading towards that small island…”

“That’s no island… that’s a ship!”