Friday, 22 January 2021

Zulu Reflections

iSandlwana 2019, note marquees for commemoration event
'A' Company The Diehards Victorian Living History Group

Today marks the 142nd anniversary of the Battle of iSandlwana and the commencement of the action at Rorke's Drift in South Africa. Like every year, I have paused to pay my respects to the many brave soldiers, warriors and civilians who sadly lost their lives or their way of living during the conflict.

Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift 22 January 2019

One of the locals!

As previously noted, my interest in the events of 1879 was originally stirred by the 1964 movie ZULU, leading to a few books (cough, small library!), re-enactment events, museum visits and eventually several battlefield visits all leading to a hopefully deeper understanding of the period and the people.  

The Zulu Nation's Future

These interests have led to a fair few adventures under the African skies and many memorable moments shared with the delightful Zulu people and fellow history enthusiasts leading to friendships, fun and inspiration. In these challenging times when travel is a distant hope and hardship a reality, we cling onto such moments and memories and look forward to a safe time when we can have new Moments of Adventure!   

A lovely reception from the villagers who remembered our previous visit!

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Better than a Poke in the Eye?

The answer to the above question in relation to 2020 is a tough one isn't it? No doubt all your plans were cancelled and replaced with unexpected restrictions as the whole world was turned upside down and we've all had to deal with things previously unimagined in our lifetimes. 

For those families who have suffered illness and loss or financial hardship, 2020 will be hard to get over and sadly we're still in the thick of the storm with no clear endpoint. We don't know how all this will play out and the future remains uncertain.

In these times talk of comics and plans can feel trite and insignificant and at other times can offer a comforting refuge to provide focus for a positive escape and reminder of what was and can be again. 

I have been both in and out of love with comics and creating them this year but they remain important to me, but not as important as my family who have all excelled in different ways this year to face the new challenges placed on them and in doing so they have given me many positive experiences and memories and I hope that that has been the same for you in whatever challenges you have faced.

Best wishes to all and to a brighter future ahead. 

A New Year Gift for you - if Hulk shares?

Monday, 14 December 2020

Marleen Lowe Remembered

Very sad news reached us recently that Marleen Starksfield Lowe has passed away. She was a hugely talented artist with a unique style who contributed greatly to Accent UK's independent comics breakthrough, particularly in the Dave West penned Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man? and various anthology titles including Robots, Western, Zombies 2 and Owen Michael Johnson's opus, Who On Earth Was Thaddeus Mist?.

Marleen's artwork for Teruo written by Paul Bowles from 2008's Robots anthology

It was her work on Robots - her first ever published comics work if I recall - that convinced Dave that he had found the perfect foil for the Fastest Man strip that he was developing and so it proved with the strip being a big success, enjoying worldwide distribution, selling out, leading to a second printing and an Eagle Award for the best British black & white comic of 2009.   

Thoughtful panel from Fastest Man
The comics success tempted Marleen to make her only comic show appearance at an Accent UK table at 2009's BICS (Birmingham International Comic Show), where she was both bemused and pleasantry surprised by the comics reaction and favourable comments received. This was the only time I met and conversed with Marleen who was a very private person, but I recall that she was genuinely happy that the comic had been so well received and enjoyed sharing it's success if not it's spotlight.  

Success breeds success though and through it's global distribution Accent UK were approached for a Brazilian version of the story which with Marleen and Dave's consent resulted in a fine Portugese language edition from Gal Editora.

Marleen continued to contribute to other Accent UK anthologies including a Western themed story written by her brother Stephen and Owen's afore-mentioned Thaddeus Mist book from 2012 and fittingly, Owen has penned a moving tribute of his memories and friendship with her at the Broken Frontier comics site which you can read here

Dave was reunited with Marleen for a further addition to his Blessed/Cursed series in 2017's Has Kane Mesmer Lost His Magic Touch?, which in it's story of real-life magic, gave Marleen a chance to again demonstrate her keen eye for dynamic artwork to great success. 

Our condolences go to Marleen's family and those left behind and we are grateful for the talent she shared that will forever remind us of her.

A dynamic panel from Kane Mesmer

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Get ready to ROCK!

In an explosive end to the year, Accent UK has just launched the Kickstarter for an exciting new comic’s collaboration with industrial post-apocalyptic band V2A!

A continuation of the creative concept unveiled at last year’s Asylum steampunk festival, (in the short story contained within the Return to the Asylum anthology) DOOMSDAY is the first of a two part series involving an exciting team of top creative talent.

V2A with Accent UK's Dave West & Gary Crutchley at Asylum Festival 2019

Scripted by Dave West and V2A’s Drone, the comic is being illustrated by P.J Holden of 2000AD fame, coloured by Accent UK stalwart Matt Soffe (and recent 2000AD & Heavy Metal gigs) and will sport a choice of two covers by V2A’s album cover artist, Vlad McNeally and comics rising star, Ryan Brown, (2000AD, Marvel, D.C etc).

The campaign was fully funded in its first 4 hours and promises to be a bright start to next year. Check out the Kickstarterpage here and Dave’s blog for full information and WITNESS!

A snippet of Ryan Brown's stunning cover!

Friday, 13 November 2020

Creating Comics!

Catching up with things, here's a wee link to the short  'Creating Comics' video I made for Sanctuary Online, the virtual alternative to the annual Asylum Steampunk Festival.

In the video, I run through my process behind the 'Heart's Desire' story featured in last year's Accent UK Return to the Asylum comic - see also an earlier blog post featuring this and also here for a short animation of this, now famous wee story, prepared for 2020's earlier virtual steampunk gathering, Steam over Ether!.

 The whole youtube channel from the Ministry of Steampunk is worth a look for many other fun and informative videos, talks & music. Speaking of music, if you watch my video and like mystery's you can also discover my secret 80's musical crush :)

Friday, 26 June 2020

2020 Gone ?

Ah, in not unexpected news both September's re-arranged Edinburgh Comic-Con and November's Thought Bubble Festival have now been cancelled due of course to the coronavirus pandemic. Both events immediately confirmed their return for 2021 at their respective venues and regular calendar spots. Obviously everyone's health, well being and safety have determined that this was the sensible course of action but does starkly lay bare the massive impact the virus has had on our shared hobby and community with this year's calendar of events effectively wiped out.

There are still a couple of potential events in the autumn/winter timeslots that have yet to make an annoucement, (or to invite exhibitor applications) but it seems unlikely they will be able to proceed for the same health & safety reasons and/or for logistical, economic reasons as the UK, and sadly most of the world, face an uncertain immediate future.

Thought Bubble have quickly confirmed that they will fill their now vacated November dates with a virtual event so we'll see how that goes and there are similar recent announcements about  Asylum, our cherished steampunk festival doing likewise, which should be fun, if the earlier 'Steam Over Ether' event was anything to go by, so there are a couple of highlights to look forward to in an otherwise empty landscape.

At Accent UK HQ, we are, like all independent creators feeling the pinch as planned releases, appearances and of course earnings have taken a hit. We remain though optimistic and with the likes of Kickstarter - still time to check out the current succesful Kia Wordsmith campaign - we are exploring available avenues and platforms to make our future endeavours available and are using the unexpected free time to develop a surprise or two.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

50,000 Adventures!

Aha, welcome all as it seems this blog is about to celebrate 50,000 views since first launched a few years back! I'm not sure if that's good, bad or average as certainly blogs seems less fashionable in this brave new instant world, but I'm happy enough with those numbers.

Of course, it's impossible to guage how many are genuine 'hits' and readers as opposed to 'bots' but it remains a milestone of such. My commitment to post updates and news remains but as observed in recent years, this will be determined by my own available time and enthusiasm so it's unlikely that I'll do any lengthy articles or convention reports like in the good ol' days - hey I'm not even sure I know what a convention is anymore!

Comic projects, art and news are though all progressing behind the scenes so I should have more to talk about and announce in the near future so please stick around and a big 'Thank You' for dropping by and sharing my Moments of Adventure!