Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Low Energy Day

London Underground Comics have organised their second festival of 2008 which, once again, takes place in Camden on this Saturday. I will will be exhibiting along with the who's who of the current small press scene. See you there, hopefully.


Thursday, 21 August 2008

There's No Time Like The Present part 7

Craig Johnson writes an astute review of There’s No Time Like The Present part 7 for Comics Village. “it's top quality, it's as moving, tragic and interesting as ever…

Copies are still for sale from the shop at pbrainey.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Necessary Monsters

Here’s something else I picked up at this year’s Caption; Necessary Monsters by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Sean Azzopardi. Once again, I feel I should have known of its existence before stumbling across it last weekend. I think I’ve been wandering around recently with my head inside a fish tank.

This is a tonal change for Sean who draws Necessary Monsters. I love his (perhaps) semi autobiographical Twelve Hour Shift. Here, he’s delighted me by rising to the challenge of a genre switch to spy-horror like the professional he is. Goodbrey writes a creeping tale that suggests that supernatural dangers surround us all.

Pages from the story seem to be being rolled out here.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

The Dan Lester Mysteries

Monkeys Might Puke’s Dan Lester, one of the funniest men in comics, has teamed up with cartoonist Oliver Lambden from Tales From the Flat to produce Marked for Death. This is the first in a planned series of The Dan Lester Mysteries which he writes for other artists to illustrate. Hopefully this won’t be the last time that Dan and Oliver work together. Copies of The Dan Lester Mysteries can be bought from here.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Rumble Strip

Either I’m not as savvy at trawling the comic websites for news of new publications as I thought or it turns out that they really are inadequate at what I expect from them but the first I knew of Woodrow Phoenix’s new graphic novel Rubble Strip is when I saw it for sale at Caption last weekend.

Rubble Strip reads visually like a long drive at some mystical point during the night when absolutely everybody is asleep and all vehicles have been hidden away in their garages. Phoenix takes us on a journey that involves drifting across vast motorways, negotiating narrow streets and nervously conforming to freshly painted markings in empty car parks. Visually, it’s one of the bravest long comic strips I have encountered. Occasionally, surreal elements creep in, such as grand pianos hanging from ropes, as if our driver is fighting falling asleep at the wheel.

The narration, however, is unapologetically anti car. It reminds me of Alan Carr’s How To Stop Smoking The Easy Way (a rubbish comparison if you’ve never smoked or you quit by other means) but more considered; it’s not telling us anything we don’t know already in our hearts but the genius is in the saying of it. Unlike smoking, because we all consider driving to be a necessity, we don’t think seriously enough about the dangers that come with it (along with the impact it has had on our landscape). With Phoenix’s surprisingly humane Rubble Strip, he reminds us that we should.

Rubble Strip is the antidote to Top Gear. I think Jeremy Clarkson should be made to read it and then take a drive across town, as I did. I want to know if, like me, he was slightly afraid, driving with extra consideration, trying to stop his brain from translating the road signs into Phoenix’s stark visuals.

I give Rubble Strip ninety-eight horn beeps.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Dear Robert and Partner Review

The first review that I’ve come across of my comic Dear Robert and Partner appears here at The Comics Village website. Craig Johnson writes, “the depth in the disparity of the tone between the words and the art, and the fact that we can all relate to noisy and nuisance neighbours, the desire for a quiet life and the understanding that rocking the boat just isn't "the done thing" means we can relate to this…”

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Caption Timewarp 2008

I reckon I have been attending Caption, Oxford’s small press comics event, two out of every three years from the second or third time since it began during the early nineties. Initially I just attended out of curiosity. It was a few years before I had any work to demonstrate and even then it was with US sized product which was being distributed by Diamond. I felt, down entirely to my own neurosis, as if I wasn’t quite entering into the spirit of the event until recent years where I’ve been producing truly small press comics.

Caption has always been a laid back affair involving sitting in the sunshine with a pint, chatting and wandering back inside to see what new arrivals had placed for sale onto the comic table. This year, which took place over the weekend just gone, didn’t involve much sitting outside thanks to the weather but did happen to be one of the most enjoyable Captions so far. I attended my first convention panels (Escape Magazine, twentieth anniversary of Deadline, The DFC and “State of The Union”) anywhere for over a decade and would have attended them just the same even if the sun was beating down outside.

If you’re interested in comics and have never been to Caption then I strongly recommend that you do one year. It’s a laid back event populated with civilised drinking in a creative atmosphere. Thanks to all the organisers who every year never fail to do a great job. Of course, I picked up lots of comics, some of which I am sure to mention here over the next few days.