On it’s way to the printers is my latest comics effort, a short story triggered by an unexpected discovery while trying to get my head round what the hell was going on in Syria. Unlike my previous work, this is very much a drama-documentary, low on humour but high on the fog of war. It is being published by a new imprint of the large independent publishers Five Leaves, imaginatively called Five Leaves Graphic, and will be available from the end of next month (June), available through bookshops on 1st September. Price, just a fiver to y’all.
Five Leaves Graphic’s second publication will be a critical review of UK women comics creators, past and present, currently being completed by Selina Lock, the thrust behind the seminal Girly Comic. Price yet to be decided.
Just completed the 26 page story East of Aleppo: Bread, Bombs and Video Clips. It’s been a bit of a battle, not just because the possibly true story has been harvested from a number of loose threads I stumbled on in alternatives to our mainstream press, but also because I’ve had to hold my tendency to go for humour in check to tell this documentary story. Then there was the pain of getting the art close as possible to the actual (not easy for a cartoonist) and the tricky bit of having three different locations that, on the surface, look and do pretty much the same thing.
I have no particular publisher in mind and might just go for self-publishing. We’ll see.
Two of ten toons recently produced for Irish development agency 80:20 and published in their excellent Development in an Unequal World, co-sponsored by New Internationalist.
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And here’s the back catalogue.
In February 2017, look out for an all-women’s session, with the great Nicola Streeten (‘Billy, Me and You’), Steff Humm (Ink-Mag) and our own Carol Adlam (artist in residence at Djanogly).
An in-between-our-bi-monthly-meetings meeting for anybody interested in the pitfalls and traumas of adapting pros literature into comics literature, and we are up at the University of Nottingham, School of English, playing away for this one. It’s their gig but they have enthusiastically added our flag to their mast as co-sponsors (in spirit, ‘cos we’re broke!).
November 11th 7:30 Antenna, Nottingham Launch of DAWN OF THE UNREAD hardcopy
A great award winning project reaches its climax with the launch of the book of the digital comics extravaganza designed to promote reading and save libraries from the ignoramuses who run this iniquitous land. My story of the inspirational exploits of Slavomir Rawicz, chronicled in The Long Walk, is the opening salvo and sticks out like a sore thumb! It was the first to go into production, and I think I caught the project managers in the starting blocks, before they’d learned how to control pushy cartoonists. It sorta fits the theme of the project, but is more a personal story, close to my heart, so a big thanks to the team for letting it through. Never did understand all that ‘literary figures coming back to life’ stuff. For me, they never died!
Another promising evening in store! Ian Culbard, originally thought to be available for this session but isn’t, despite a flier suggesting so, will be available at some future date, have no fear. And we are already plugging in folk for November and December, so keep an eye on nottinghamdoescomics.co.uk.
Although not the first outing for my talk on The Curious Case of Leonardo’s Bicycle, the one recently presented at Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery to accompany the city’s exhibition of Ten Leonardo Drawings from the Royal Collection was by far the most prestigious. It was a real honour to be invited to join the handful of reputable scholars (including Emeritus Professor Martin Kemp, the man on Leonardo) presenting talks on the great ‘Florentine’ and, despite all the shows being fully booked, mine was the one most ticket holders actually turned up for, also an honour.
Hopefully I came up to scratch, despite overrunning by 15 minutes that the vast majority of the audience stayed for. Certainly the comments and emails that followed were very complementary, and my exhaustion at the end indicated I’d earned my meagre money. Sadly, two days later, I received my final rejection from the list of 30-odd publishers I had approached to take on the book, but what a rejection letter! Myriad had solicited critiques from all their staff and a number of outside readers, all of which were positive, even gushing. Problem was, in the current publishing climate, Myriad couldn’t commit to take on the book without a co-sponsor, which they had made (and still are making) every effort to put in place, presently with little success. Their hugely complementary and useful email filled the screen and must’ve taken a good hour to write!
But Myriad’s wasn’t the first rejection note to applaud my esoteric efforts. Roughly 50% of the publishers I’ve approached have come back with comments that range from ‘a masterpiece’ (I kid you not!) down to ‘totally neat’ (from an American publisher, naturally). Across the board, the reason given for not running with the book is that ‘we can’t picture where it would sit in our catalogue’, which is the problem I’ve had with almost every book I’ve ever had published, including To End All Wars.
Will I never learn!? On the other hand, scanning through the lists of what does make it into print, one can’t help but despair. Thank heavens I don’t work in television!