Friday, 29 December 2017

2017 Comic Highlights

As we approach the end of the year I sometimes cast an eye backwards at what I've particularly enjoyed in the world of comics away from the convention circuit and actually, although there's been lots of great stuff out there, I've generally failed to keep up with it or at least make a dent in my reading pile, such is the life when you're being a busy bee yourself.

Here though are a couple of enjoyable graphic novels which stood out for me this year.

The Marquis of Anon - Isle of Brac & The Black Virgin

Although a long time BD fan I'd not come across this series until the always reliable Zainab Akhtar mentioned it on her blog a couple of years ago ahead of its English language release through those fine folks at Cinebooks. Well I picked up the first couple at last year's Thought Bubble Festival and completed the 5 issue set (so far) at this year's event. I've only read the first two so far but they don't disappoint with their mystery, charm and real sense of peril to make for a thrilling read!

Delilah Dirk and The Turkish Lieutenant

I'd actually been looking for this for years without realising it had finally come out! There had been a really enjoyable Delilah Dirk one shot comic years ago by the talented Tony Cliff and his blog had teased the forthcoming release of a longer form graphic novel but last time i checked it had only come out in France. So I had a pleasant surprise when browsing the English language shelf at Fantask during our Copenhagen trip earlier this year to find not one but two graphic novel collections - yay!

The other is called Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling which I've not yet read but the first one - The Turkish Lieutenant is an enjoyable historical fiction romp with a little steampunk, humour and good ol' honest adventure making for a great read. Annoyingly on catching up with Tony Cliff's blog I discovered that he had made a very rare UK appearance the year before at Thought Bubble in a hall next to Accent UK but I totalled missed him! Ah well maybe next time!

Lady Mechanika 

I'd been aware of the Lady Mechanika comic series from writer & artist Joe Benitez for a little while but it was only this year that I picked up the first couple of collected volumes, recently finishing the first. This really follows our own recent 'discovery' of steampunk which is having quite an influence on our approach to not only comic events but comic making - more to come!

I was more than happy to immerse myself in the world of Lady Mechanika and enjoyable it was with good portions of mystery, action and suspense. The story in this first volume was perhaps more of a 'set-up' of her world and the players in it and for my tastes was a little unsubtle in places, lacking a little of the charm that we have experienced ourselves in the steampunk community and the art, while accomplished was a little too 'cheesecake' and stylish for me, but then I am British and blush easily!

There were a couple of others I enjoyed but the above are the ones that probably made the most impression this year and may influence or inspire my own comics storytelling!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

"An Enjoyable Collection of Tales!"

Aha, I think I've a lot of catching up to do still in what has been a busy but enjoyable comics year! In between my travels I was delighted that Starburst Magazine's Kieron Moore again found time to post an online review of my Moments of Adventure comic, this time the recently released second collection. You can read Kieron's always thankfully honest and constructive reviews here and see how it compares with his earlier review of the first collection.

Again I'm happy with this review as I know I've developed from when the strips were first produced but pleased that the stories still hold up and are enjoyable to read and what more can any creator ask for really.

Thanks for taking the time Kieron and hope to catch up with you at next year's conventions, hopefully with some new material!


Monday, 13 November 2017

Robert Louis Stevenson Day!

Today, 13 November is Robert Louis Stevenson's birthday and has in recent years been marked by Robert Louis Stevenson Day with events in and around his Edinburgh birthplace.

Since I've currently no plans to visit Edinburgh before next year's highly anticipated Edinburgh Comic-Con, I'll mark the occasion with this short comic strip I did based on RLS's interrupted conceivement of one of his most famous creations Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde!

The strip is included in my first (mainly) historical fiction comic, Moments of Adventure: Collection One, which also features a ghost hunter on Edinburgh's streets! Leave a comment below if interested in ordering a copy :) 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

New Interview with Gary Crutchley!

Time has flown here at Accent UK Towers with much happenning these last few weeks so I'll try catching up starting with this recent and well deserved spotlight interview with WesterNoir's artist and co-writer, Gary Crutchley!

Once again its the hard working 'G-Man' of Comics Anonymous who does the honours and its revealing, touching on Gary's artistic process and new projects - read it in the link here!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Returning to The Asylum!

No we're not going mad! Well I don't think so but busy prepping for tomorrow's warmly anticipated return to Lincoln for Asylum IX, the world's largest steampunk festival - yay!

It was only a year ago that we made our debut but the festival made quite an impression on us see last year's report and pictures here. This team the full Accent UK creative crew will be there with Gary Crutchley joining Dave and I. We're delighted to be invited back as guests and this time are participating in the programme with two separate panels:

Comics  for Big Kids! - A discussion on why adults do (or don't) read comics!  
Sunday 11-12 at the Cathedral Centre

The Murky Truth of Comics! - Revealing the secrets behind independent comics publishing curtain (with Sloth publishing's Nick Rossert)
Monday 2-3 pm at the university's Constance Stewart Hall

Accent UK are also exhibiting our wares in 'pop-up' shops across three market venues, Lincoln Castle on the Saturday, Cathedral Centre's Steampunk Embassy on the Sunday and at the university's Steampunk Campus Market on the Monday, so it's all go!

We may even have a couple of new releases available, watch this space!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

End of the year?

The Belfast Attack on Titan crew 'dab' to Accent UK's mighty show schedules!

Ha, no not really it's still summer - I think! Been busy finalising my next comic release (watch this space), our steampunk preparations for the Asylum Festival, some exciting planning for Thought Bubble and also firming up on Accent UK's remaining 2017 show schedule - see updated list to the right.

I'd previously omitted to add 'I-Con', a community run show North of Aberdeen which I've heard good things about. It's just after the Lincoln based Asylum so will be a trek but always happy for an excuse to visit Scotland and the family.

The last week or so has also seen Accent UK confirmed for our final MCM shows of the year, Glasgow which Dave and daughter Jemma will cover as it clashes with Thought Bubble and today we've been notified of confirmation for MCM's London October show - phew - which looks like it'll be the final show of the calendar year for us.  There are some later in the year, including a couple of tempting European ones but we need to stop sometime and knuckle down to creating more comics for next year! Between us we'll have done 17 or 18 shows which is a another new record and if we were able we could've done at least double that!

There may still be Stoke in mid-October to squeeze in but other than that I think we're done. Between now and then though we still plan to release 4 new comics & graphic novels, so whenever you do next catch up with us there'll be plenty of new material to discover!

The Accent UK table circa May 2017 - is there really room for 4 new books!

Friday, 4 August 2017

New Moments of Adventure Review!

Yay! As I'm finishing off lettering the second issue, I'm delighted to flag up a new review of Moments of Adventure:Collection One by The Comic Vault, (an online Bat Cave of all things geeky - so it says here!).

This is a very timely review as I only met the writer, Jamie Ryder at Manchester MCM at the weekend so for him to have quickly read, reviewed and written about the comic so promptly is (hopefully) testament to the strong impression it made on him!

You can read his own thoughts on the comic here and if you haven't already got yourself a copy, check out our convention appearances, order online or add a comment below. Right I'm back to lettering Moments of Adventure: Collection Two with a big smile on my face and for those wondering, yes it 's planned to launch at The Asylum :)

Unlettered preview of the Pirates strip appearing in Collection Two!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

MCM Manchester!

Fantastic 'Ziggy Bowie' cos-player at this year's show (pic MCM's own site)

Last weekend's Manchester MCM was fun, busy and inspiring with lots of interest in our books and sales at the same level as last year. So although not a return to the 'heady' heights of 2015, the recent decline seems to have eased to a sustainable level. Certainly a 'hometown' show like Manchester with minimal costs is a welcome boost and helps offset other shows where travel and accommodation costs can eat into finances.

The show was very crowded both days and seemed busier that last year but the reported 36,000 attendance (gulp!) is, I think around the same as 2016? In any case the celebrity guests and special attractions seemed popular and everyone we spoke to had said they'd enjoyed the show and would return which is nice to hear.

For the first time since, I think, last year's Thought Bubble show, the whole Accent UK crew was there with WesterNoir co-writer & artist Gary Crutchley joining Jemma, Scott, Dave and I. Its always good when we all get together and make plans on what's happening next, in this case co-ordinating our forthcoming trips to the Asylum Steampunk festival and separate MCM Glasgow & Thought Bubble shows which fall on the same weekend this year.

We had a fun social time too meeting up in the evenings with fellow creators and comic dealers which is always an important part of being on the 'convention circuit', both swapping notes on various events and just letting our hair (what's left of it) down!

Dave moonlighting at Mike Garley's table

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

MCM Manchester Returns!

It's been a very quick year but this weekend sees the return of my (adopted) hometown show MCM Manchester, this time with added HULK!

The full Accent UK crew will be pitching up in the Comics Village with our latest comics, prints and special offers in what is always an enjoyable and friendly show and being one, for me, involving minimal travel for once - yay!

You can see some pictures and reports of previous Manchester shows here, here and here but if you're around please stop and say 'hi' - just be careful not to make us angry, you wouldn't like us when we're angry!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Re-making Robots!

My comic strip 'Null 'n' Void' which featured in Accent UK's sold out anthology ROBOTS (Andy Bloor cover above) will soon be reborn in the forthcoming Moments of Adventure: Collection Two! I thought therefore I'd share a little of the process behind the development and 're-mastering of the strip prior to it's printing and publishing.

Me being me, I tend to hold onto things so here's a scan of page 2 that I made at the time from my original pencils!

For ease, let's zoom in and concentrate on the last panel:

Next this is the inked and hand-lettered version that appeared in the ROBOTS anthology:

The original inked art was re-scanned and cleaned before lovely colours were added by Moments of Adventure: Collection One collaborator, Aljosa Tomic, (based in Serbia no less!):

The hand lettering was then carefully removed from the newly coloured art:

 Finally, I added computer lettering & effects using my favourite Bryan Talbot Comic Craft font:

And there you have it, what a difference from the original with the colours breathing wonderful new life into the art which hopefully  enhances the whole story. It may all look rather simple but sadly it isn't, I can't speak for Aljosa but my computer skills aren't the best and lettering on top of existing lettering and balloons is as finickity as it sounds. Necessary adjustments had to be made to both the text and balloon placements in the above panel, including 'colour paste-ups' to hide the originals, a process which sadly had to be repeated on virtually every panel on every page of the strip!

Much as I love hand-lettering and placement of it on the original art to form an integral part of the page and story, I no longer use this technique as I know the difficulties it can cause! Plus the flexibility and legibility of computer lettering - once mastered - is really second to none!

We're getting there and I'll look forward to sharing more as the whole second collection of Moments of Adventure is built and ready for release, hopefully reasonably soon! In the meantime copies of the first collection are still available to buy from me at conventions - see list to the right - and direct from the Accent UK website here. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Matt's Movie Prints!

While I remain busy with comicy things, here's a wee reminder of the splendid art being produced by Matt Soffe who coloured some of my Moments of Adventure comic strips and my - still progressing - Zulu War graphic novel and of course many Accent UK covers.

As well as colouring though, Matt is extremely talented at producing his own art in many different mediums and his site of prints and images is well worth a browse and you'll be sure to find something of interest for you or a gift for a friend! Check his webshop here.

I'm fortunate enough to own the original of Matt's Michael Caine Zulu image above, which I commissioned from him as a pin up in the aforementioned forthcoming Zulu graphic novel, but he's also produced similar striking images from many other movies and genres, enjoy! 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Accent UK reviews!

The indie-centric website Pipedream Comics has a nice catch-up review of some of Accent UK's recent and current titles, check it out here!

Pipedream themselves have recently published a new issue of their 'Pull-List' indie news & reviews magazine which is always worth a look, reminds me a little of the old RED EYE that we once published with Barry Baz Renshaw as editor-in-chief back in the day!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Go-Go Granite City Comic-Con!

Gary Erskine's Splendid Granite City 2017 Poster Art

The Accent UK tour bus is revving up once again to complete 'Colin's Celtic Comic Trilogy Tour' with this weekend's Granite City Comic-Con in Aberdeen!

Can't believe its a whole year since the last Aberdeen show but there we are, although in some ways its come round a little too quick as my planned launch of the second Moments of Adventure collection is sadly not quite there. That's the problem sometimes with doing a large number of shows, there's no time to make the actual comics!

Having said that I have been busy producing some new sketches to go in the special Moments print packs:

......and there are still several new Accent UK titles since our last Aberdeen appearance.

So if you happen to find yourself in the North East of Scotland this weekend why not visit Granite City Comic Con, enjoy the fun and say 'Hi' to us.