Thursday, 24 August 2017
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
|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
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
|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
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
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
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
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
|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.
Friday, 12 May 2017
Hard to believe that its already a week since I set off to the second Enniskillen Comic Fest but here I am back in wet and windy Manchester after a whirlwind weekend in the South West of Northern Ireland. The whole trip was hugely enjoyable and took me to parts of NI I'd never been to before and the freedom of hiring a car more than justified the costs.
|Belfast City Hall view from top floor of the car park!|
Having a car and a reasonable knowledge of Belfast from recent visits meant I was soon whizzing my way round the city and parking up to have an Ulster Fry the early flight demanded at the delightful Spires centre. We'd discovered the Spires cafe during one of our first Belfast visits which coincided with the opening of the adjacent Comic Book Guys comic shop which I always try and visit. I caught up with Flanagan senior, Daniel for a good catch up on the shop's imminent move (following the Spire's planned redevelopment) to newly fitted premises further up Gt Victoria Street, and also later with Aaron, who was also going to Enniskillen.
Then it was back in the car and as I was still ahead of time an unplanned stop - prompted by losing a tooth! - I ended up by Portadown Football Club's Shamrock Park ground! This was quite a moment for me as years and years earlier as a wee boy I'd 'adopted' Portadown as 'my' football team as they played in the same red as my hometeam, Aberdeen. Our basic Subbuteo set only came with a red and a blue team so when we were bored of playing Aberdeen against Rangers, we looked for alternatives and (of course) I chose Manchester United and also Portadown with no real understanding of who or where they were. I had a Portadown fixation for a wee while afterwards even inventing my own football team and making football cards for them but that's a story for another day (I think I was only 9!), so for me standing at the ground was really something special!
With my little detours I arrived at sunny Enniskillen late afternoon and soon found the impressive Enniskillen Castle Museum where the event was to take place. I quickly popped in and the very helpful caretaker, (also Colin), showed where I was likely to be but they still had a bit of setting up to do when the museum closed so I left to check-in at my B&B and grab a bite to eat. It was a little odd having tea on my own but I was tired after my early start and grateful for a bit of 'down time'. The Fest had organised a special 2000AD event at a local theatre that evening which I understand was very successful and busy but I was happy with an early night.
|Yep, Enniskillen Castle, venue for the Comic Fest!|
The following day after another big breakfast fry I headed to the castle and met Paul Trimble the busy event organiser and his team of volunteers and was soon set up in the visitor centre above the museum entrance. It's always a little strange when you set up in a new unfamiliar venue but any worries soon passed as I discovered that I was to be in the same section as longtime comic buddy, Jenika Ioffreda, who in fact was the one who had recommended the show to me after guesting in its debut last year. Also in our little snug (or greenhouse as some referred to it) were artists, Ian - Rico - Richardson, Davy Francis and one of Scotland's comic legends Cam Kennedy who with his wife, Isobel were a delight to chat to all weekend and get my copies of the Kidnapped and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde graphic novels signed!.
|Cam Kennedy hard at work in our 'snug'|
|Dan and John both 'Rok' !|
Close by too were John Wagner with Rok of the Reds artist Dan Cornwell and the hard working Carlos Ezquerra who had a huge queue all day long, popular chap. This was, truth be told, the only real downside of 'flying solo' while both being a comic fan and exhibiting your own work. You can't sneek away from the table to join a queue for signatories and if you do, then you potentially lose sales so its quite a dilemma. In this case, my travel, accommodation and car hire costs necessitated that I stay behind the table as long as possible which I did until very late in the afternoon when I finally had my first cup of tea and snack of the day, forfeiting the chance to have writers Alan Grant and Alan Hebden sign the books I'd brought and missing out on Steve MacManus book which I heard had already sold out very quickly.
Don't feel sorry for me though I had a great time chatting to the many interested attendees who filed past my table. The event was free admission and had been well advertised locally so, despite the glorious sunny weather outside, there was a fine steady stream of visitors all of whom were interested in what was going on even if not active comic readers themselves. This is testament again to Paul and his team in making the event 'all about the comics' so folk could see and experience actual comics themselves and not be distracted by the merchandise and pop culture noise that can sometimes dominate events.
I did though also venture out early doors, shortly after the event opened for the 'Breaking into Comics' panel which I was pleased to be on along with the aforementioned Jenika, Grainnie McEntee and Ciaran Marcantonio, ably hosted by writer who draws Andy Luke who is one of the few folks out there that can beat Accent UK's independent comics pedigree, being a late 1990's inductee compared to our early 2000's! It was a fun wee panel and I think covered a lot of informed ground for those attending - with its early start, the panel gathered more and more attendees as it progressed which was satisfying to observe.
I did make one very quick run round the site as the charity auction commenced which was a signal for most folk to pack up and was rewarded in catching up with Danny McLaughlin and Nathan Donnell of Revolve Comics , Steven Young and Richard Davidson of Back Pocket Comics, Tim Stampton and David McDonald so as well as catching up on the Irish scene managed to at least grab a few new comics to add to my Cam Kennedy signed ones.
That evening, after I'd dropped off the hire car I had a splendid evening at a downtown bar where the guests, creators and fans had gathered for a wee drop of food and some good old fashioned Irish craic and that, together with the chats at the show with fellow creators and visitors helped remind me what a strong welcoming inclusive community, comics are. So despite the show not being an economic success for me, I had a super time and had a big warm smile on my face as I drove through the sunny countryside the following day, slowly making my way back to City airport.
|Happy Comic Chappies all - Paul Trimble, Ciaran Marcantonio & Me!|
If I can make the numbers work I would dearly love to return next year and again be part of something which "Is all about the comics!".
|My farewell airport gift to myself!|
Thursday, 4 May 2017
The next part of my Celtic Comics tour is a real step into the unknown heading deep into Northern Ireland for Enniskillen Comic Fest! I'll be flying into the almost familiar Belfast City Airport then hiring a car to get to Enniskillen which seems the simpler option than the 3 hourly buses!
The show itself promises to be special with an official 2000AD 40th anniversary status so wish me luck.