03 December 2007

Mandy's work has always been a favorite of mine. Her brushwork and inking style give her stories a real density and boldness. Her books are a real pleasure to read.

On the weekend, Mandy launched her new book 'Roof Tops' at the Brunswick St bookshop 'Brunswick Bound'. The place was full of people. A great turnout for Mandy and a thoroughly enjoyable environment.

Except for the HEAT. Geez it was hot. And I mean HOT.

The book launch was on the second floor of the shop.

The display was simple - yet striking.

Mandy had frames of her book enlarged, then 'tiled' across the length of the wall to form wonderful eye-candy. It really 'sold' the book well and gave people a chance to 'voyeuristically' look at the artwork before they held the book.

As people crowded in - the temperature went UP, and I got uncomfortably hot.

So I shot toward Mandy's books like an arrow.

Bought a copy, and left the crowd to go downstairs to view it in air-conditioned luxury. Trev and I sat comfortably on a couple of awesome fat couches and chatted a while. A few regular faces came past and joined us. Had some good chats with the likes of Philip & Micheal about the book launch and 'what sells' in our environment.

Soon most of the regulars congregated around us, and so we decided it was time to head down one block to the pub.

We headed to the back (beer garden) of the pub and nestled into a small alcove with wall-to-wall couches. Very comfortable, and (I'm told by Paul) - was a good environment for drinking.

What followed was the usual talk of comics, craft, books, drinking, etc....... all the things that make these meets great. It was a lot of fun.

After it's over, your filled with a little sadness because you'll have to wait another month to engage your fetish 'publicly' again.

Till next year's meet in January...


PS: Click here for some more pics from Colin Wilson's sweet little iPhone.


05 November 2007

Those who didn't come to this month's meetup missed a good one.

The biker (with the enormous head), staring like a psychotic - is me.

Colin Wilson's new toy. The latest iPhone.

I've had enough of the picture quality of my shitty digital camera, as you can see from the ongoing 'blurred' photos I take (above), and welcomed Colin's new gadget. He took a whole-lota-beta pics than i did.

The 'feel' of each meetup is always (Always) a little different. This month's was very cosy and intimate. Aside from Paul bringing along the final print version of The List, no one brought along any self-published comics to sell. A few comics were passed around which people thought others should look at. Always a delight in finding new comicbooks to read/buy this way. From this, followed a lot of disscussion about comicbook craft & philosophy.

A friendly, relaxed & 'intellectual' kind of meetup was how i saw this month's get-together.

Click here for more photos from Colin Wilson.


25 October 2007

This book put a smile on my face. The voyeur in me couldn’t put it down until I turned the last of its 120 pages. It's a breeze to read, and funny to boot.

I think its one of the best things I've read this year. It's just very entertaining & enjoyable. If summed up, the book shows little more than Joe talking to himself in his 1-bedroom dwelling, watching porn, and a few (real-world) conversations with his 2 cartooning friends Seth & Chester Brown.

But the way it's done is something else!

If you like R.Crumb’s self-loathing comics, then I daresay you’ll get a kick out of this book. I sure did. Joe’s first collection of ‘Peepshow’ (Called ‘The Poor Bastard’) collects his life with his ex-girlfriend, and as such shows a more gregarious lifestyle (Well... as gregarious as Joe can get). This collection (Spent), shows his life ‘after’ the relationship is over. He's alone, and aside from brief chats with a friend or two, is largely introspective and contemplative.

Joe's art & writing are refreshingly clean & simple. Though blunt & honest, Joe doesn't just point at the world and say "You are to blame!" - (far from it) - In fact he's constantly pointing the finger at himself. He recognizes that he's the reason for his lot in life, but knows himself enough to accept it. You get the feeling that Joe is his own 'shrink', and getting it out on paper helps him makes sense of it all. (Though publishing it for the world to see took some balls!)

'Spent' really is like reading someone’s diary. A beautifully drawn and funny diary. For the price, you really are getting a lot in a hard-bound and well made comicbook.

I can't recommend it enough.


16 October 2007

While at the Armageddon Expo, I wandered over to the Local Act Comics (LAC) booth & said a brief hello to Mike Nason while he was sketching behind the table. Nice guy, and shares a similar interest to me in talking about comicbook craft & philiosphy. I made a brief mention about a recent forum thread in which Mike’s criticism was seen as ‘mean spirited’ – to which he replied that he should just learn to end online comments with a ‘smiley-face’ avatar to let people know he’s a nice guy.

I thought that was funny. And apt.

When someone puts up work on forums to be ‘shown’, then it stands to reason that there may be a minority of people ( Like Myself, Mike, or whoever) who may want to leave feedback on that work that isn’t simply ‘praise’. One need not denigrate the person (or work) to offer constructive feedback on it, but neither should they pander to (the all too common) ass-kissing display. Particularly if they have taken the time to look closely at someone’s work and write down a thought-out response. If the response is an honest opinion (rather than a direct insult to the work or person), then I’d suggest these ‘fragile’ posters refrain from publishing any work to the public what-so-ever.


PS: To the above mentioned forum posting (to their credit), the poster wasn't offended, and took it in their stride - though a stampede of 'knights-in-shining-armor' posted to defend the person for no other reason (it would seem) - other than to mention that we should offer criticism in super-nice rhetoric. Because otherwise it "comes across as..." or "seems like..." (or some other emotional description) we're being mean.

15 October 2007

This expo was huge. Massive. Fun.... though I've never experienced being punched in the face by B.O, until this show. Some people really needed some Lynx Deodorant.

Some of the comicbook stalls. To the left was Minotaur, while to the right was Phosphorescent & LAC.

I shared a table with Darren Close (Publisher of Killeroo), who helped me with my sanity by having someone to chat to about comicbooks - because to our right was a StarTrek stand. Enough said. I also dragged Colin Wilson in for a chat behind our table.

The times I wasn't selling my books, I was inking my 'asteroid' double-page spread that i began a few weeks ago (2 posts down this page).

David & Philip's table with some traffic.

Jason Franks & Gary Lau were there selling their respective range of books. These guys are two of the friendliest comicbook authors you'll meet.

Henry Pop (Artist of The List). A guy who loves the starkness of black ink on white paper as much as I do.

The friendliest & hardest working Melbourne publisher David Cunning (with wife Lauren), were at the very impressive Local Act Comics booth. It was full (I mean FULL) of comicbooks & related material of local (and current) comicbook authors. LAC's only been around for a short time, but David's published more authors than the Australian comics scene has seen in a long while.

Ok, so onto what I thought of the show in relation to 'comicbooks'...

The problem (that I found as an independent comibook seller) was that the focus (or lack-thereof) of the Expo, was far too broad to work for a little fish like me. The theme was basically 'Pop-culture & Entertainment' which produced a hodge-podge of wrestling, video games, comics, tv shows, board games, yadda, yadda, yadda. If it could be entertaining - it was there. It was certainly a lot of fun (don't get me wrong) - but from a self-publisher's standpoint, it required more effort to get people's attention, & consequently make the event profitable. (ie. I earnt roughly the same amount at this 2-day Armageddon expo that I did at mid-year's Doujicon 1-day expo.) - which comes down to an event's narrower focus.

For publishers (like LAC, Phosphorescent, etc), I'd guess that the event suited them a little better. They're bigger, and have the variety, stock and merchandise to catch the average consumer's eye, as well as the consumer that is already into comicbooks.

Also, the Saturday was much better than Sunday.

Saturday had guest speakers that fell more into comics & movies, etc - and had a crowd mix of younger & more discerning people looking to see & buy specific things. The Sunday crowd, by comparison, had more Sci-Fi celebrities in it's guest speakers. It seemed like the crowd was a more 'generic' breed that came there to unwind and entertain the kids. Sunday seemed to be the 'Family' crowd. Mom & Dad taking their kids to enjoy things that 'buzzed' & 'popped'. Sunday definitely seemed like you had to hit people over the head with a mallet to get them to notice anything. It may have something to do with the general attitude people (including myself) have with Sundays - that you unwind on that day.

Anyway - I came away at least experiencing the event for the first time as a seller. I will probably do it again next year, though I might give Sunday a miss, or at least leave earlier (Like Darren Close did the smart arse.).

To qualify my take on the weekend - I made about $140 on Saturday, and only about $35 on Sunday. And by Sunday's end I was totally wrecked!

Oh, and here's the finished double-page i inked at the Expo.


(Another late post) - but only by a few weeks. C'mon, give me a break?

There's not much new I can say about our monthly comicbook meets, other than its a joy to anticipate it coming up every 4 weeks. It's either good, or fantastic. It seriously gives me a warm feeling to know that like-minded esoteric individuals gather together (freely) in a supportive environment to offer help, insight & reviews of our comicbook fetishes.

The same faces are generally always there, as well as a few new faces every now-&-then. This shows to me that those that 'stick around' are serious (on at least some level) about this wonderful medium. The flipside of it is, that it also provides inspiration and confidence to hit your drawingboard with a re-energized vigor knowing that someone is hitting their strides, or have just given you an adrenalin hit by simply looking at the wonderful work they've done.

It really is like seeing "comicbook civilisation", while you've been in long periods of isolated writing/drawing. It gives you sanity & strength.

Long live the meetups!

The regulars.

Paul Bedford brought in 'proofs' for people to view in checking for any last minute edits he might make before next week's Armageddon & Supernova.

Til next month fellas...


Ok, this post is going to be a 'belated' post, as I started this page a few weeks ago, but never got around to posting it up here. Im going to start posting only noteworthy pages that I'm doing from now on, rather than a lot of them progressively, so that people will get to see more of the final artwork in the actual finished comicbook rather than in 'drips' here on my blog.

Also, I helps me focus on the book, instead of updating this blog with previews of it.

Anyway, here's a spread of an asteroid field around Saturn I'm drawing.

Anyway, Im really busy this week. So rather than rush this image - I'm looking forward to inking this baby in at the forthcoming 'Armageddon' Expo which I'll be attending in a few weeks. It'll give me something to do in those long 2 days sitting behind the table staring at people dressed in StarTrek outfits.

I'll post the finished image after the Expo when its (hopefully) completed.


01 September 2007

I learnt my lesson at last month's meet. Don't buy a (so called) energy juice from Vitoria Market before the comics meet. It made me fall asleep last time. So I went into this meet - juiceless.

This months meetup was very full. About 12-15 people showed up showing their work and various books.

Greg & Tom were viewing a book Colin brought in called: "The Artist Within" by Greg Preston which showcases large photos of well-known comic artists in their studios. Very nice coffee table book.

The talented Mr Pop looking at my copy of Dave Sim's "Cerebus:The Last Day" - which I brought in for the missing Paul.B to look at.

Bruce Mutard's finished upcoming release called "The Sacrifice". This book looks beautiful and massive! Definitely something to get when it's released.

Some of the attendees...

An even wider shot of some of the attendees. This month's meet was pretty big, yet very 'mingly' (if thats even a word) - as people were comfortably moving around and talking with each other. The feel was more like a gallery or book signing this month.

I really enjoyed this month's meet. Each week has it's own 'feel'. Sometimes its very intimate where only a few people turn up and we have a cosy time hudled around a table looking over people's work and discussing comics. This month was very open and warm (like a barbeque at someone's house). I think I moved around and chatted to most of the people who turned up.

As usual, came away excited at seeing the efforts of some people's work. Embarrasses me into getting my arse into gear.


22 August 2007

Working through the current arc of my book requires, not only my protagonist to wake up, but also his neighborhood to wake up. (I thought it would also add to the mood of the piece). As such, I had to go for high contrast, as at night there aren't any real tones. Therefore I couldn't use my beloved crosshatching/scribble. The results of the opening wordless sequence tuned out better than I expected. Here's how it went:

As usual, I start with the script and thumbnail (below) the page sequence with an ordinary biro on my A5 little notebook I carry with me.

After I've chosen the best scenes to convey my
"early morning" scene from my thumbnails, I decide which order they might go in, and then pencil them in on a full-size rough. (Below) - just to get the basic shapes in.

Like many cartoonists will tell you - even though I pencilled in the sequence in the order I thought suited the flow (above) - it ended up changing. So when I pencilled/inked in the final board (below) - the sequence had changed to something I thought 'flowed' a little better. Hope you agree.

I now know why my fellow B&W artists like Tom Bonin, Henry Pop, & Colin Wilson get off on the high contrast of pure B&W's. It's a real kick, let me tell you. There is something I really like about the bare B&W finished ink. I am always tempted to leave it at that - but unfortunantly, it's hard to create the nuances I desire in B&W without some additions like crosshatching or tones. Crosshatching in this case would have detracted from the clean crispness of the still night I was trying to convey.

So I scan it into the computer, clean it up & add a slight 2-tone grey pallette.

Bada-bing, bada-boom.


06 August 2007

First off, If anyone new is ever unsure of 'what' the pub looks like that we have our monthly 'get-togethers' in at the first Saturday of each month- it's looks something like this:

Ok - with that out of the way, it's onto the 'meet'.

Funny thing is, this month I bought myself one of those 'freshly-squeezed' juices at Victoria Market food court (where the above photo was taken.). It was called an 'immunity' juice (supposedly designed to fight off flu's etc) - well... it (somehow) drained me of energy. I swear - during this months meet-up, I felt FLAT and grey. I can only put it down to the juice. Yeah, that'll do. It was the juice's fault.

Anyway - it was a cosy meetup this month of the regulars. The was a new guy-girl who showed up (only for a short time) - but never had a chance to find out names. Basically it was all the regulars at this months meet. About 10-12 people.

James (thats his hand in the bottom-left) brought along a stack of comics that he just picked up from Minotaur that Tom was rifling through. Michael (right) brought along his newly inked stuff & was showing it around.

Colin Wilson was excitedly telling us about the 'Pixar' exhibition at the Fed Square NGV. He couldn't stop raving about it (as can be seen in his 'blurry' hands.). Bruce Mutard (in the lumberjack shirt) kindly brought along one of his 'Street Smell' comics that I was missing from my collection.

"This was a great meet." - was heard by Greg gates when it ended. Though I was a little 'out-of-it' this week - i have no reason to doubt him.

Til the next one.

(PS: Where I'm not buying anymore juices.)