Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

No New Years resolutions or looking backs at 2006, I know what was good in '06 and what I want to do in '07 so I'll just try and get on with it.
Hope you all had a good Christmas and all the best for 2007.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Here's to you Clarence

Christmas is almost here, but working in a shop and preparing for Christmas insanely early (and I'll be there tomorrow (Christmas Eve) after we close up putting the Sale in, gah!) makes it sort of fade to the back of my mind.
My favourite moments still happen, the cheese/biscuit/port on Christmas Eve tradition my wife and I started a few years ago. Opening presents early Christmas morning and looking to see if there's a channel showing Laurel and Hardy, or any good b&w film. Crisp cold nights in town/city centres, people wrapped up, twinkling lights and stars and the promise of snow.
Christmases to come will have the added bonus of enjoying it all through our daughter's eyes and that will be the best gift of all, work or not.
And so, as tiny tim observed "God bless us, everyone!' Merry Christmas to everyone who's ever dropped by, I'll be raising a festive glass (got a present that looks suspiciously like a bottle of single malt) to you all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Good for you sir!

It's the kind of bold, moral and possibly mad move that impresses the hell out of me (it's why I love Bill Watterson), an independant children's author has asked amazon to remove his book from their site as he would rather support indie bookstores. Read a bit more about it here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What have I been up to?

As Peter points out, I've had an out of character bout of no posting.
Time's been taken up with Olivia, work (retail + Christmas=AAARGH!!!!), getting back into exercising again (great timing I know) and roughing out artwork for a story in the upcoming AccentUk Zombie book.... sneak peaks artwise coming as soon as there's something peakworthy. Been catching up on some reading too, but nothing particularly great as it turned out and I don't want to be negative about other people's work. I do have a proof of Joe Hill's upcoming book to read which I'm hoping will be good. Thanks to the new age of information the big secret that he's Stephen king's son wasn't a secret for long (nice to hear it was as much a surprise for his publisher, although I bet it now makes it's way onto the marketing!)
Better get back to things.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Did you know the last post was no. 400?

Well I had to squeeze it in on the odd spare minutes, but I’ve managed to finish the first pass at a new comic script called ‘Wedding Bells’, and I’m quite happy with it. It’s the first time I’ve tried just plotting something. My usual method is to make it up as I go along and then rewrite, fiddle, procrastinate, scrap, cut, paste and generally worry the thing into submission. Plotting doesn’t feel like proper writing, it’s still making it up as I go along, but without actually trying to write prose. Now I’ve got a full(ish) plot I see the wisdom. There’s the framework of a story that I can easily mess about with and there’s still enough room to add new stuff so I hopefully won’t feel like I’ve stifled off any possible future creativity.
It still sort of bugs me that Burgess made up Clockwork Orange as he went, but then if I start talking about my writing and Burgess I’m onto a bit of loser aren’t I:) And, y’mow, whatever works for you.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

oh wow

Hope you've all been following the links on the right, if not you might not have seen Kazu Kibuishi's new incredible elephant illustration on Bolt City and your life will be much sadder for it.

Pens and pencils and bears oh my!

If there's one thing I love it's interviews with comic folk, seriously, I've got loads of TCJ as well as other comic magazines and have reread the interviews many times (including the massive Charles Schulz interview!) TCJ's interviews are amazing, long indepth and insightful, but one thing they do lack (apart from when Dylan Horrocks mentioned it) that I've always found utterly fascinating is 'tool talk', so I'm dead chuffed to see a blog devoted entirely to tool talk. Hurrah!

*** edited to fix links and ease Peter Bangs pain:) ***

Saturday, December 02, 2006

One for the ladies

Don't know how true it is the this'll be the first of it's kind, but it is good to hear that DC are launching a new line of graphic novels, called Minx (wonder if they'll be 'minnie'?) aimed specifically at girls. A group of good and interesting creators and some nice ideas means that once again girls comics look better than boys. Don't think this would've been the case in the US as much (mainly romance titles there), but in the UK there was a quite a tradition of good girls comics.... that may be an exaggeration, but there's been enough of them. I've got a whole bunch of Jinty comics with some top stories in them and if it wasn't for the ridiculous price they go for on Ebay I'd be trying to get back issues of Misty (I really should pick up the fan produced Halloween special - esp. as Garen worked on it), a comic I remember borrowing off my cousin way back when.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Bloomsbury returned my manuscript today. Disappointing getting a form rejection after the positive response from Orion. Unfair of me really, can't expect publishers to take time out to critique every manuscript they receive.
Few more publishers to try though before I let Simian rest and see if I can interest someone in something new.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rolling up my sleeves

As mentioned in the comments on my previous post I've decided to dig through my old stuff in a effort to get working. I'm going to call this not wasting decent ideas rather than see it as running out out of new ones:)
First up is a 5-8 year novel that I never could come up with a name for. Reading through what I still have of it (lost the finished version, but I do have about 2/3's of it), it was my first go at prose and pretty bad ( hope I've improved!), but what really lets it down is a some terrible plot contrivances to move the story on. Not sure how I'm going to sort the plot out just yet, but it's good to have to do a bit of work on it instead of just cranking it out.
Plot is quite hard I think. When it comes to reading I like good prose and interesting characterization and could care less about plot.... until I started trying to write. Once you write a bit you realise that it's the plot that ties everything together (like a good rug!), I mean, you've got to give the characters something interesting to do and react to.
Over at Jeff Smith's blog there's sample art for the (not soon enough) upcoming Shazam, knowing I'll never be that good is a reason to keep trying harder!
Oh, and the Moomins comic collection is out adn I've bought it, so should EVERYONE!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Big Sigh

Back to work tomorrow, and I can quite honestly say that I do not want to go. Nobody likes going back to work after time off but I'm really struggling with the idea of leaving Olivia for over eight hours a day. Didn't think I'd find it this hard.
Slow going but I'm trying to get back into the (my own) work. The two biggest problems I face with writing and drawing is that I don't spend enough time doing it and I never send it off anywhere to try and get published. Best change that then.
It's going to be hard going but I'm going to try and knuckle down with the various projects I've got half finished barely started and not quite forgotten. There's also a couple of new things I'd like to do, I've not tried to do any picture books for years and I love them so I'm going to try very hard to come up with some ideas - the hardest part for me, picture book writers everywhere, I salute you!
The subtext here is that I'd much rather be working at home with my daughter than anywhere else without her:)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

For Mr Glazebrook

Man this one took longer than it should've! I fiddled about far too much with the placing of each zombie to try and give them a decent outline but still look like a big jumble of DEATH!
Obviously this scene doesn't quite appear in Return of the Living Dead, but I'm gonna call artistic license if that's ok.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It had to happen

Quiet new born baby becomes actual baby and cries shocker! I guess Olivia couldn't stay quiet for too long. It's tough hearing your child cry and not always know what to do, feeding, holding and rocking and all the other tricks tends to work but quite often it's a short term solution. Checking up in books, websites and asking around it's nothing worrisome at all, just regular baby grizzliness.
Weirdly the crying is a lot less during the night (although fairly late), not that it helps as the evenings are draining enough.
There is something amazing about managing to calm down a crying baby though, it's a fantastic sense of achievement.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sapphire and Steel

This one's for Danny, hope you like it fella.
Obviously it really needs some checkerboard/spiral/Steranko/Pop arty background, but I didn't fancy drawing that and I don't really have any artpackages.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

What was I thinking?

Mix boredom, obsessiveness, bizarre sleeping hours and new beta blog account and you get me wading through my old blog posts. Which is weird, and scarily enlightening. Lot’s of posts about plans for things that haven’t happened, morose musing and not enough actual work.
Glad I got a lot of that out of my system:)
Found some interesting comics as I wasted valuable sleeping time, Zombee by Miles Gunter and Victor Santos sounds like fun; samurai, ninja, zombies? Yeah, I’m buying that.
I’ll also be buying Chickenhare. There’s preview pages here and the Bone influence shows pretty heavy, which is fine as it also has it’s own flavour.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Captain Kronos vampire Hunter

Welcome to anyone wondering here from the Forbidden Planet blog!
Thanks to a little help from Danny I've finally upgraded to beta which means I can tag all the various randomness.
Anyway, here's the skinny about the latest pic. Before Buffy, there was Kronos, and he was one seriously cool chap!
For those who don't know Kronos was a Hammer film and was written and directed by Brian 'Avengers' Clemens. It's one of the best Hammer films (which is saying something) and has some brilliant touches.
As I mentioned before I faffed about with the background, mainly out of guilt for the lacklustre Phibes background earlier. It's not the most detailed of bgs but I think it works at least.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sulking..... not really:)

Ever since I started using sitemeter I've become obsessed with seeing who has been visiting... well, guessing, it doesn't say 'who'. Mostly it's the people who comment but I also get the odd visit from random searches, having mentioned that I enjoyed the Raconteers CD I seem to get visits for that and I get a fair few visits because of the Batgirl meme last year. What those hits have in common is that the visitors never look at anything else, fair enough about the CD but I get a little pet lip that the Batgirl visitors never look elsewhere, are they unimpressed? Dunno. Hope not.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Bit tough last night with Olivia being unsettled from the evening on. Cranky and hungry is not a good mix for a baby, they want to feed but are just too fed up to do it, so now we know.
We're both dog tired, with Rebecca obviously having to shoulder the worst of it, but at least Olivia's being a bit more cooperative today.
The latest issue of Neo magazine reviews Best New Manga and on the whole is pretty positive, with reservations mainly due to the 'is it manga' aspect. The first review on amazon is less that complementary and although very little is mentioned about individual strips I can't help feeling a little put out as it seems to be a petty and cursory reading of the comic at best and at worst is quite arrogant in it's assumptions. I never realised the 'is it manga?' thing would be a... 'thing'. Like Bush I guess it shows what I know. Shame about the uncharitableness shown to new creators too - even if not all are that new. Oh well, can't please everyone.
Bulldog: Empire artist Neill Cameron is writing and drawing his own comic, Thumpculture and it's shaping up to be top stuff indeed, Neill's a great artist and his writing's a lot of fun too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Inevitable baby post

Good thing about sleeping babies is how still they get, perfect for drawing. The biro drawing was done when Olivia was a day old, the pencil one late last night when I was giving Rebecca a chance to catch up on some sleep. I'm still a bit rubbish with likenesses, luckily these are recognisably 'baby'!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Long post

(Edited to fix links.... hopefully)
Normal life is resumed, or gone forever depending how you look at it. Rebecca is finally out of hospital and last night was Olivia’s first in her new home, and therefore my first night of interrupted sleep - luckily Peter was right, having Olivia lying on my chest easily balanced out being woken.
Nonbaby stuff now.
Last Saturday was the Lancaster Comic Con and I managed to get an hour off work to have a look, which was a good move as although the con was unsurprisingly small it was perfectly formed. Catching up with Solar Wind creator Paul Scott was nice (even if he had forgotten me! And after I’d contributed to Solar Wind 2. Mind you that was 3 years ago so fair enough) and getting a stack of Solar Winds was an added bonus.
Talked to small press mogul Jay Eales about our contributions to Best New Manga and I picked up an issue of the Girly Comic, edited by his Partner Selina, and very good indeed, as well as a couple of issues of the top Violent!, including the last one I contributed to (for the excellent strip Flatworm)
A quick chat with Colin Mathieson of AccentUk might mean I’ll be doing a short strip for their next anthology, it may even be written by Jason Cobley, which would be great as it’s a long time since we’ve worked together. The ‘could’s’ are due to dwindling time on my part, but it’s a zombie anthology so frankly I’ll just have to make time!
I also picked up The Faceless from the very friendly Adrian Salmon, which I highly recommend you check it out (it’s available on amazon if you’re comicshopless) The artwork is beautiful and I love the story as it’s set in the 60’s, involves a secret society, monsters and the main character as well as being a two fisted monster fighter is also a super cool seducer of women and director of horror films for a studio that bares more than a passing resemblance to Hammer)
A few more nice chaps and comics rounded out my flying visit and then it was back to work. I hope that the con proves to be an annual event and that it grows from it’s very respectable beginnings.
Even with the big new happy responsibility I hope to get working on stuff. Instead of feeling like writing and drawing is even less likely than before I really feel like doing stuff. I hope to take a look at the various things I’d been writing and see if I can’t make sense of them. Drawing wise I’m not sure what I’ll be up to, some more spot illos when I can think of something and possibly a comic strip or two - I bumped into John Freeman of Down the Tubes yesterday, he was still feeling excited from the Lancaster con and was thinking about channelling that into something, which might give me something to aim for - I don’t necessarily produce my best work to deadline, but I do produce more!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


In my haste to show off our little girl I mixed the weight up. Olivia was seven nine and a half, still very healthy. Thanks to Nimiwey's amazement for pointing that out!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Olivia Harrison-Davies

Born yesterday, 9lb 7.5oz and beautiful beyond belief.

Friday, November 03, 2006


So it's a little late, but here's my contribution to Halloween.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nigel Kneale no more

But Quatermass will live forever.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Abominable Dr Phibes

Classic film.
Figured it was time to go back to a kind of drawing I'm most comfortable with, hence the french curvy bendy arms.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Book 'em!

It's a bit of thrill to unpack a book you're part of, that's what happened to me today. The Mammoth Book of Best New Manga turned up today and I have to say it's a nice package. I'll be honest, my own contribution is a bit disappointing, seeing it in print all I can see are the flaws, and the whole strip looks rushed, which it was. Fortunately it's still not bad and I'm happy to keep trying to get better, and that's a never ending process. The really good news is that the other strips look great with an excellent Andi Watson strip amongst the other nice stuff - Craig Conlan's strip looks great too.
So, er, please buy a copy, I want a chance to do a better job next time!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The new me

Very much like the old me really, but with slightly shorter hair and some glasses to pick up in a weeks time. Sadly it seems the new me still has terrible eyesight and I've discovered it's worse than I thought. Due to the appalling state of my 'bad eye' (the right one), not only is my other eye doing all the work but my brain is in fact not even registering the duff eye, it could be poked out and make no difference to how well I see at the moment, I'm like a cyclops. The glasses are to take the pressure off the working eye and to correct it because it's not actually that good (I'm badly long sighted in my right eye and slightly short sighted in my left), there's not much point in doing much with the duff eye as it's not paying any attention to what's happening anyway - also it'd require a lense the size of a jam jar bottom and I had enough of that as a kid. Tsk.
We bought the last lot of baby stuff (for now!) today, so now we're just sitting tight waiting for the stork.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

For Penny

Having been told off for not posting lately plus having a tashe conversation I present a picture I took way back when I last grew a beard. Any other hairy gentlemen enjoy facial hair experiments?
Actually, I really liked my tashe (which might explain the posing expression I adopted here), but Rebecca had a VERY bad reaction to it, so it only last an evening.
Typing of Rebecca, the belly's big, tight as a drum
and making sleep next to impossible!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Haven't posted for a while which mean's I'm burning out, drawing regularly (for me!) has been great and there's a lot more characters I want to draw, but I think I need to broaden things a little.
It's possible that there'll be another 'Best New Manga' and I'd like to be in that one too (got my cheque for the first one - due out end of the month folks, be sure to check it out... please!) - the only thoughts I've had is that it'll be a horror story and something to do with a wedding..... and zombies probably.
Links have been updated, blogs that aren't updating anymore (I've kept Garen's because it goes to 'Rainbow Orchid') have been (oh so ruthlessly) and changed the Bryan Lee O'Malley (creator of the fantastic 'Scott Pilgrim') link to his livejournal.
I've also deleted the link to my writing samples, as I wasn't updating much.
Rebecca's only got 4 weeks of big big belly left and everything's going well, Olivia's got a strong heartbeat and is already keeping her mum awake. There's still a bit of work to do in the nursery, but the cot's up and we bought a cool playmat and mobile last weekend - I'm getting jealous of all the cool stuff babies get to have!c

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Axel Pressbutton

Pedro Henry and Curt Viles' classic creation from 'Sounds' and later, with Steve Dillon/Mick Austin/Alan Davis, in 'Warrior'.
It's the 'Sounds' version that I liked best so that's the version I decided to draw, Steve Dillon's redesign was great but I just liked the quirky lo-fi charm.
This is the pic I decided to redo, there's not that much difference between the two versions, but enough to keep me happy!

Monday, September 18, 2006


Finally managed to get this pic uploaded, but it's not as sharp a scan as a result, I'll try and sort a better one out tomorrow.
Mike Mignola's a tough act to follow, but the nice thing about doing these pix is that I feel like I'm learning quite a bit from looking at the original works and then doing my own version, I certainly learnt a lot from this one.

Monday, September 11, 2006


It's a pram, it's a car seat, it's a push chair! Yes my new toy just stops short of turning into a large kick arse robot.
Nice having a pram in the house, what with Rebecca's belly-button becoming an 'outie' last night I things are moving forward baby-wise.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Strontium Dog

Not as much atempt of the old school 2000ad stylings for this one. I'm not actually a big fan of Johnny Alpha, I think his last decent story was the one where Wulf got killed off and he went off for revenge, but the early stories were great and he is a classic 2000ad character.
Think I'll try my hand at some non2000ad stuff next, although I do plan to do some more. Maybe I'll give Hellboy a go, Mr Zombie Dollars Nik Holmes' fine version has inspired me!

Ghost Rider rebelling against whadevah ya got

Back when I lived in london I was a regular at the excellent Gosh comic shop and when the staff decided to put together a Marvel pin up book they asked me and some of their other regulars to contribute, this meant getting fine pictures from the likes of D'israeli,Ilya, Woodrow Phoenix, Will Kane, Craig Conlan and Garry Leach.
IIRC I figured that it'd be fun to draw a goofy but cool character and when I thought of GH an image popped into my head so I did it. I stuck with the early G
host Rider because the later versions with the big flashy bike look a bit embarrassing to me, bit too 'hair metal' instead of the rock 'n' roll of Mike Ploog's version.
Anyway, the basic drawing's not quite right, GH isn't sitting on the bike right, and so on. But I was really pleased with the inking and I think the pose and attitude worked despite the proportions being off.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Judge Dredd

And here's the finished version. Not as scratchy as my RoBusters pic a few posts back, but hopefully just as chunky looking.
Deliberated over whether or not to draw the original lawgiver or the new one and decided to not be such a old sod.
No new artwork for a few days as, like the previous post says, I'm going away, but I will dig out a Ghost Rider pic I did as I saw the trailer for the upcoming film and thought it looked pretty cool (or as cool as a seen it all before effects driven film can be)

London's calling

We're off to visit a friend in London tomorrow. Since we left five years ago we've been to London twice, read into that what you will.... as long as you read into 'London? Pah'.
We were at our weekly 'parentcraft' class last night and watched a two day old baby getting a bath, it was brilliant, can't believe it's taken me this long to see how amazing babies are.
I also learned a bit about Ventouse and Forceps birth..... ow. Respect to Mothers everywhere. There was a picture of a baby that had been delivered by the ventouse method, poor little thing! Basically this method involved using something that resembles a sink plunger (there's a a fancier looking one now but the principle's the same), sticking it on the unborn babies head and pulling (it might require a bit more finesse than that). Then end result of birth by this method is a healthy baby which will look like a conehead for about three days. Seriously, it's not a little bump on top it's like a pink bowler hat without the brim.
Forceps on the other hand require mum having,um, a snip in the lower regions to allow room to get the forceps and the baby out. Once again, respect to mums everywhere.
Olivia is under instructions to leap out not touching the sides.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jobling made me do it

Here ya go Mr Bling, you asked for it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


There's something to read over on my writing blog if anyone feels like looking, go on, have a go.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Sorry about the ropey scans, had to do these using my digital camera so they're a touch fuzzy (my shaky hands) and the colours aren't quite right. There's another painting in between these but I just couldn't get a decent picture of it - I'll try later.
These are from my attempt at a picture book called 'Astrodog, I mocked up the full thing and did three finished pieces but only sent it to Walker Books (I knew someone there), they liked it, but not enough. I did the decent thing and gave up. Actually I find painting really hard (these are nearly two years old and the last that I've done, I just wasn't happy with the end results - annoyingly I did a couple of paintings a year before, cranked them out and am still far happier with them than my 'proper' attempts!) and writing picture books even harder, I'd love to try again, but not just yet.
As soon as I can muster up a better scan I'll post the middle pic, it's of Astro's space ship coming out the ground from underneath his kennel, very Thunderbirds.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rojaws and Hammerstein

Long time 2000ad fans will know who these guys are. Did this a while a go, it was one of my occassional atempts at drawing in a different style, I felt like trying to capture a little of the look of yer classic 2000ad artdroids McMahon and O'Neill, both of them comic gods.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Batgirl Returns

Image hosted by
A few people visited here lately to look at the pic I did for the Batgirl meme thingy back in January. So I thought I'd repost it as I'm not sure if the people who visit nowadays ever saw it. Apologies for the pixellation, neither me or the scanner are to blame this time around, when I coloured it on the shockingly basic art package I have it ended up all blocky and I don't have the original smooth scan on my hard drive anymore.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Drunken blogging, why?

Honestly, what made me think it was so important to tell people what I had on my ipod shuffle? No idea. And when I'm sober 'Working Class Hero' is good but embarrassingly 6th formy.
Now I think of it I reckon I might post a bit less drunk or sober, I'm stuggling for things to waffle about lately and deleting posts before I put them up. I'll just post art and stuff and reviews on t'other blog. With the odd ramble here and there just for good measure of course.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Danny's Doctor

As requested, by Danny by me, here's my go at The Second Doctor by the brilliant Pat Troughton. The cover design of the book (d'y' geddit?) he's reading is inspired/stolen (delete as applicable) by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli's fine comic adaptation of 'War of the Worlds' fact fans.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Save my brain

Okay, I feel like drawing stuff but I'm not sure what, so how about I get other people to do the thinking for me, pop something in the comments, keep it simple (please!) and keep it comics/monsters/films/cartoon characters/you get the idea, pin up stuff basically.
That's it really, I'll probably come up with something myself but any help assistance in not thinking for myself is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Another blog.

After the teaser of my last post, and a comment from Mr Bling on his blog, I unveil the new improved Jackanory
Now that I'm moving all my review type stuff to HappennyWorth I've decided Jackanory is where I'll put examples of what I'm writing. The first chapter of 'Simian Smith' is still there (it doesn't have the changes in it I made after fine suggestions from INJ, but that only counts for a few lines here and there) and I've also decided to post the first chapter of 'The Tale of The Turnip'. TTOTT is in fairly early stages at the moment with only four chapters written and this is very much in first draft stages, but for anyone who wants to read a warts an' all (ie spelling mistakes and grammatical gaffs and an' all) work in progress you might find it interesting. All comments are, as always, greatly appreciated.

Monday, July 24, 2006

You won't break me!

Bit of rough day today. Moving boxes went fine and my folks have been doing a spot of decorating for us, but work was an exercise in pain. I didn't realise practically every aspect of the place was under warranty, but it must be as they all seemed to expire today accompanied by many puffs of smoke. Computers crashing, tills jamming, orders going weird and staff sick, and that wasn't half of it.
To unwind I've posted more reviews on Happenny Worth and am just about to finish 'The Bullet Trick' by Louise Welsh, is it better than 'The Cutting Room'? Not sure, but frankly when your books are this good it doesn't matter.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Opinions, everybody's got 'em

After much faf I've revived my 'review' blog. It's called Happenny Worth and the links to the left. The first few reviews will be from my old review blog and Wazzock's Lantern but I'll be sneaking newer stuff in too. Reading it is not obligatory but if you want to agree/disagree please join in so I can tell you why I'M right and YOU'RE wrong!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

We move house next week!

Picked up the keys yesterday after a lengthy but straightforward buying process. The sellers dawdled signing papers and agreeing times, we only found out we could get the keys on the 21st late on the 20th.
It'll be a rushed move but we're pretty handy at moving after wandering from house to house over the last 10 years.
A quick look around the place last night turned into a drama as the last people in (house sitter I think) decided to set the alarm and no one thought to tell us the code or how to use the thing. Half an hour of shrill ringing before we found someone who knew someone who knew the people who knew the code.
Once our ears stopped ringing and we were able to look past the left behind tat, dust, cobwebs and green stained sink with a beer can in it, it was nice to be looking at our first home.
It's not fancy but it's big enough to fit us all in, it's practically detached (the bedroom at the back is the only part of the place connected to next door) and is quite private, which is great for me as I like a house less like a castle and more like a cave away from civilization. For people on our measly wage we seem to have been really lucky.
And anyway, we've bought our first HOUSE!!! YAY!!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Everyone's going zombie crazy

And so they should!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Check out Zombie Dollars for some seriously tasty flesh, uh, I mean artwork.

Superman Returns. Not really a review.

Oh gosh. Superman Returns, Brilliant. Ok, it's not quite as good as Superman The Movie, but it is utterly fantastic and oh so close.
Don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet so I'm not going to say much about it. There's some beautiful moments, as expected from Bryan Singer, some brilliantly tense moments and some jaw dropping moments. Brandon Routh really does honour Superman, Clark and Christopher Reeve, Spacey is a crueler but recognisable Lex with everyone else doing a bang up job in their roles (I did find myself wishing Kate Bosworth would channel Margot Kidder but that probably wouldn't quite work for the film so what the heck), Parker Posey and James Marsden bringing a lot to roles that could've gotten lost.
If it has one flaw it's that it works so hard to successfully achieve the balancing act of introducing Superman to a new audience and respectfully following the Donner film (and there are so many wonderful riffs on that film, minor and major)) that it's not quite able to cut free. Funnily enough Singer's excellent X-Men film had a similar flaw, so much work was spent setting it all up that it was the 2nd film that took all the glory. Which is why as much as I absolutely loved Superman Returns I think the next one (please be another!) will be phenomenal.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Felt Olivia moving around for the first time! Couldn't tear myself away, Rebecca kicked me off after getting sick of my head on her belly.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

First tour of duty

Back from Nottingham, and I have the bruises to prove it. Paintballing bruises, those buggers sting!
Paintballs was as embarressing and dumb as you'd expect with the coaches looking exactly like the kind of social misfits you'd imagine them to be. It was also a lot of fun. And I was pretty bad at it. Thankfully there was a few games which just involved shooting anyone and ignoring the fact you were getting shot at, which is how I ended up with the kind of bruises I used to get when I fenced (little circular welts with red and purple halos)
Managed to remain upright throughout the night (I'm not a big drinker), but had enough to temporarily convince me I could dance (I can't), and all in all had a jolly good weekend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

With his band of men

Going to Nottingham tomorrow evening for the first for the first time in a year. Should be fun, paintballing curry and drink (not all at once, that'd be messy) - if it sounds like a boys day out then that's because it's a friends stag do.
Didn't get much work done this week, it's just been too hot (we've not had the storms yet) for me and I haven't been able to concentrate, typical Brit. I've felt sweaty and grubby all week and I'm uncharitably wishing Autumn would get a move on.
By way of a diversion (always with the diversions!) I've decided to resurrect my book (except it won't just be books, more like anything I've read or seen) review blog and have been hunting down all my old reviews as well as catching up on the new ones. It's not really about reviewing, I just like having a record of what I've read and watched, it makes me evaluate them properly, something I don't do when I first take them in (I don't mind this, I enjoying taking stuff in without thinking to hard about it), and as I don't want to keep everything I buy anymore it makes it a little easier to let them go after I've spouted of about them.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Secrets and gripes

Annoyingly it's very difficult getting hold of DVDs in Lancaster, the local HMV is not geared towards marginal releases or backlist and the only other place is Musiczone which isn't bad and does have the odd interesting thing but still suffers from the same problem HMV has.
Renting's also a problem with only one place in town which is basically a vending machine that stocks pretty much only chart releases. Renting and buying here has the same big negative factor for me - I like to browse.
So I usually wait until we go to Manchester (I don't always buy online because I get a discount at HMV) but with no plans for traveling at the moment there's 3 DVDs I'm going to have to be patient (not one of my strengths) for, 'Eerie Indiana', 'Beasts' and 'Kingvig'. Fortunately I managed to get hold of 'Seance on a Wet Afternoon' and 'Dust Devil' which has finally been given a descent release (now if only the 2000ad 'inspired' 'Hardware' was reissued) so that's the next couple of evenings sorted!
'It's Superman!' is proving to be very enjoyable indeed, I'd love to listen to the interview Garen sent me the link for (cheers) but after an hour of downloading all my lame modem connection could give me was a minute and a half of a couple of comic fans talking about mylar bags and backing boards so I gave up.
Things will be going topsy turvy here soon as it looks like we've bought a house, signing papers on Monday so fingers x-ed that works out, and a couple of interesting possibilities have cropped up where I which I'm not going to jinx by saying anything more about, all I've got to do now is start getting my work published and world domination is merely a short step away! When that happens I'll be moving next to somewhere that has a big DVD shop.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Close encounters

Let me introduce our little girl Olivia.

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It took me over half an hour to get over seeing this, and even then seeing the pictures again, seeing babies in the street or thinking about it made me fill up (no denying it, I am the biggest sap you'll ever meet, just ask anyone who saw 'Finding Nemo' with me), for the first 10 minutes I couldn't speak (a novelty Rebecca enjoyed)
What these pictures don't show is just how much she was moving around, clearly taking after me (I rarely sit still) which was just amazing. We also got a brilliant look at her little face which blew my find, the features were so clear, I could've stared at her for hours.

Final lot of Simian Smith artwork.... for now

All done at last. Storywise I'm going to incorporate some suggestions from INJ (cheers for them!) which shouldn't take too long as it's only for the first chapter and doesn't effect any of the others.
I had planned to send a couple of copies of the manuscript off today but I wanted to do some examples of incorporating the artwork into the text and other stuff (I'll spill those beans in the post after this) took over the day.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Up up and Away!

If you read my geek splurge on Wazzock’s Lantern a while ago you’ll already know I’m a bit of a Superman fan, sort of. I love the 70’s movie (the sequel is great but as any fellow nerd will already know it’s sadly flawed - be interesting to see what the ‘directors cut’ atempt will look like), the Bruce Timm cartoon and the early Fleisher ones as well as some of the old comics and I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of the new movie. But Superman isn’t always handled that well, I’ve not read many Superman comics in the last ten years or so. He’s a great concept and a great character but time and over used has tarnished.
One of the sad things about loving books but working in a bookshop is that you rarely get suprised, advance proof, trade press, info passed down from head office etc means you’re forewarned about new releases. So imagine my surprise when I pick up a stack of books to shelve and see a beautiful Chris Ware cover adorning a copy of a book I’d never heard of, and it’s called ‘It’s Superman!’ Being a small shop we only had one copy come in so I quickly put it aside for myself and ordered a bunch more.
I wasn’t sure if I’d actually buy the book when I first saw it until I read the back and found out that the author (Tom De Haven, a writer I’m vaguely familiar with but have never actually read - a quick check on amazon is making me think I’ll be reading more) had done something I always wanted to see happen. No dumb updating of Superman, this is Superman in the time he made sense, ‘It’s Superman!’ starts in the 30’s, everything is right with the world!
And so here I am ‘reviewing’ a book I’ve yet to read. I’ve flicked throught and it looks interesting, De Haven’s reputation as being a bit of an arty post modernist but his obvious love of comics are solid signs and the fact the chapter three’s entitle ‘The Saucer-Man From Tinsletown’ all adds up to a fun read. There’s a couple books on my to read list first (see, I can rein in my enthusiasm), but as soon as I read it I’ll let you all know how it was.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Come out soon!

Take a look at the latest post on Bob Fingermans blog (link to the left) for some droolsom sketches from his upcomin book Recess Pieces. Fingerman's artwork is wonderful mix of clean elegance and disgusting detail. I honestly can't wait for Recess Pieces it's a killer idea for a cutesy/horror nut, zombies in a kid's school, cute little moppets hacking up zombiefied teachers in gruesome glorious detail, my schooldays should've been like that!

Brilliant artisit, new blog

the very wonderful Matt Broker, commonly know as D'israeli in the comic world, has a blog and there's a link to the left. D'israeli has drawn some great great comics over the years, starting out I believe in Deadline way back when I was more spotty than I am now, and I've loved every bit of artwork he's done. Scarlet Taces features some of his finest work and Leviathan is well worth checking out when Rebellion release the collected edition.
D'israeli combines everything I like about certain kinds of comic art, it's got a lovely clean line European feel but it also has the odd quirkyness of yer classic 2000ad artisit like Mike McMahon and Kevin O'Neill.
Look at his blog, marvel at his skill and go out and buy his books.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another piccy

Here’s another Simian picture, the little shifty guy is Mr. Crankadder and the big fella is Augustus.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Glued to the telly at teatime

Where ever the Doctor Who team are right now I hope they’re taking a bow or having a drink because that was a hell (ouch!) of a good episode tonight.
In other fine works of art I listened to Vivian Stanshall’s genius ‘Sir Henry at Rowlinson End’, today, a fine example of British eccentricity. Here’s a quote, “A pale sun poked impudent marmalade fingers through the grizzled lattice glass and sent the shadows scurrying, like convent girls menaced like a tramp.” Maybe it’s best to imagine it spoken aloud in Stanshall’s fantastic voice so rich it was an early inspiration on Stephen Fry.
Off to bed now, won’t be sleeping though as I’ve got an advance copy of Meg Rosoff’s new book and her last one was brilliant.

Deep sigh update

Thanks to everyone who responded to my earlier post, on and offline (special thanks to Gopher for his thoughtful response)
Had a brief sort of unofficial chat with a counsellor friend and have a pretty good idea of where I need to go from here.
INJ (hope I get a freebie mug or t-shirt!) hit’s the nail on the head, a lot of this angstiness is work (not my day job) related. The other problem is the usual selfesteem issues, some of it to do with writing and drawing and some of it personal.
In about 4 months there’ll be new Harrison-Davies and I’m so looking forward to it but I think I’ve been putting myself under a bit of pressure to get things done before then instead of simply enjoying the process of doing them (ironically when I don’t question it not only is the work better and more fun but I do more, gah!) which has just worn me out.
Thankfully the sun has beaten all the worry out of me as it’s far too hot for anything other than sleeping and melting into a sunburnt puddle.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


In the interests of some sort of balance (or just being flighty), here’s a less self pitying post. Well, can’t moan on my 300th post can I?!
I’m loving writing at the moment.
About six months ago a few of the different things I was doing were going nowhere (it’s a familiar tale) so I decided to do something else. Starting something new whenever you get stuck isn’t always a good move, I’ve far too many uncompleted projects lying around, but sometimes it’s just nice to work on stuff and not worry too much.
Anyway, I eventually ran out of steam on my side project and went back to finishing the other stuff. Last week I started thinking about that not forgotten just resting side project and a few days ago decided to have a look at it. It turns out it’s not bad and as I read through it I started extending bits, took bits out and added new bits. And I just realised how much fun it was, making things up, I can’t believe I keep forgetting that.
Real life and all it’s concerns is still looking behind my shoulder but I think it’s probably taking a sneaky peak at the computer screen now.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Deep melodramatic sigh

A slightly blue mood has descended on me over the last week, I’ve moped and stropped around, started reading several books, put them down, started others, gone to bed late slept in too much, tried to write, tried to draw, not been happy with the results, trawled the internet for forgotten friends and bitter enemies, updated my profile and have written over a dozen posts that I’ve not bothered posting.
Today Rebecca suggested that maybe I should ‘see someone’. Ugh. I get down sometimes but I’ve never considered myself depressed, and still don’t. Still Rebecca's concern/fed upness made me think. I don’t like this feeling, it’s self indulgent and dull, but worst of all I don’t like the idea of bringing down people around me.
There’s loads of interesting possibilities in my life, I’ve never quite understood why I’d rather regret not taking advantage of them instead of making the most of them.
Silly boy.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Tried to write something relatively lucid about the possibly going ahead buyout of Ottakar's, but I just can't. Well, I can't do it and be anything other than dull and rambling. Shame really as it has been a real pain at various times over the last few months or so, especially when ill informed people have actually taken me and other members of staff to task over it (particularly over Christmas)
I suppose all I really want to say is that I'd love to see more choice of places to shop (and that's not just for books), but I'd love for those places to afford to stay open. Sadly people shop for cheapness and bookshops, particularly but not exclusively independents, just can't compete with online retail and supermarkets.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Comic Con

Seeing as I’ve been too lazy/broke to go to any comic conventions for a while I’m pretty chuffed that there’s going to be one in Lancaster in October. Even better is that I’m involved in it - well, I like comics and live in Lancaster so I got invited to the first chat about it, other than that I’m not sure what my involvement will be. By a lucky quirk of fate the book I’m in should be out by then, so that could be handy.
Had the day off work today and thought I'd get some writing/drawing done, instead went into Town with Rebecca, drank coffee, ate cake, went to the park with a friend, lay on the grass, read, ate ice cream, went back to friends and ate pizza and played with their cat. A day wasted isn't always a wasted day.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Animal crackers

Readjusted the previous artwork post, the images should fit a little better and still be big enough to see properly.
The picture below introduces the villains of the piece. No more Simian artwork to scan now.

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Danny asked earlier where I'm up to with Simian so here's the update. The new final draft is all complete, it's shorter and tighter than the previous one but other than that there's nothing new about it, I haven't added any scenes or characters or taken any out, this was pretty tricky in places but it's always rewarding, hopefully it now reads smoother and is better paced.
Artwise I want to do another spot illo (all the ones shown are from chapter 1 BTW, apart from Simian jumping from his office, that's the start of Chapter 2 but I really wanted to draw it!) and a mock up of the cover. Don't know if it'll seem presumptuous to do a cover, it's just meant to be enticing. At the moment I haven't got a clue what to do for the cover, so I might end up not bothering including it with the manuscript.
And that's it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And now the fearing starts!!!!!!

YEEEESSSSSS! The finest show Channel Four buried (not including OZ) is finally getting released on DVD. All hail Garth Marenghi's Darkplace!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Been drawin'

Only going to do a couple more pictures to chuck in with my manuscript. Might actually get it done by the end of the week after all!
This fellow is Lionel Cetera, fish fan.

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Simian Smith primate detective prepares to interrogate a banana.

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Here's a reminder of an older pic for those who've forgotten, or not seen it before

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and another

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There's another bit of artwork I'll post tomorrow, right now I'm off to bed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bits and bobs

Oh, friends trade blows over Doctor Who shocker! Ok, I exaggerate but as Sam nearly never reads my blog I can do that and not get caught. The controversy is this, I reckon 'Life on Mars' is the equal of the new 'Doctor Who'. Sam is a massive Who fan and has trouble with this even though he rate LOM very highly. Anyone else go any thoughts?
Back when I first wnet online I signed up for all sorts of newletter stuff I never look at now, but an email from Universal caught my eye. The have a new site called BrilliantButCancelled, which is probably not much use to my nonbroadband connection. Not sure what I think about that. There's been far too many shows that've fitted that bill and it's brilliant that DVD popularity has allowed some of them a better chance (Firefly's been an obvious winner, but so has the excellent Wonderfalls (thanks for the heads up Danny)), but it's bittersweet to watch something that was never allowed to grow. Still, nice to be able to see this stuff.
Had hoped to have some Simian Smith artwork done to post but haven't managed it and as family are visiting to look at my wife's belly it'll probably be a couple of days before I do. Best hurry up though as I'm planning to send Simian off to some publishers in a week or so.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The rest of the cast

This is the mad scientist (I'm hoping that's obvious), I've scanned a little larger in scale to the monster, he comes up to the monster's ears. I also drew his hands pretty badly, ignore that.

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Evil assistant, this fella's more a deviation from the classic Universal Frankenstein look, but I needed something more in keeping with my idea for the comic strip. Height wise he comes up to the bottom of the monster's moobs. The blank bit round the neck is due to my not being sure about whether to give him a regular collar or not. Actually I'm not sure about his costume full stop, that's why it took me a while to finish the drawing.

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The artwork's brush on watercolour paper, a technique I really like but don't pull of very well myself. Craig Thompson, Andi Watson and Dean Haspiel really make it sing, but I labour the brush lines a little more which tends to loose the textural effect that's the whole point in the first place.
It'll probably be a while before I get round to doing the strips featuring these guys. I've got two scripts but would like to get a few more written before I start posting, consider this a teaser. I've also GOT to finish the Simian Smith artwork this week so I can send off the manuscript. I've part done two new illustrations and want to do a couple more and maybe a cover. Might take me two weeks come to think about it.
Too many things and too little time!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Behold, my creation!

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A while back I mentioned I planned to do an ongoing series of one off comics. Well, this guy's one of the cast. There'll be two other people in it, if I told you one was a scientist and the other was his assistant would you be surprised? Thought not.
Anyway, I quite like this big guy.

Be like me, buy these books!

A couple of months ago I mentioned that

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Not what it was meant to be

I had planned on posting some artwork, Danny recently reminded me about a children's book proposal I knocked up a couple of years ago (that long? Oh dear) and I decided to dig it out.
Thinking it's about time I started proving that I do occassionally write and draw I though I'd scan the dug out kid's book, sadly although I'm getting the hang of scanning b&w artwork my colour scanning sucks. Give me a couple of days and I'll sort it out.
In the meantime I figure I'll catch up on comic reviews. Unlike the book reviews these aren't in any order, mainly because I've read so many in the last few months (it's my last big spending spree before all the money gets spent on nappies and the like) and can't remember when I read them.
First up is a couple of books published by the always reliable Fantagraphic.

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Mad Night by Richard Sala

Buried in archives of this blog lies my fevered musings on the greatness of Richard Sala. And great he is, if you like that sort of thing, and I do. He’s often compared to Edward Gorey and Charles Addams, but he mines his own version of macabre humour. The original title of ‘Mad Night’ (it was first serialised in Sala’s comic ‘Evil Eye') was ‘Reflections in a Glass Scorpion’, a title that screams the influence of Mario Bava. Intricately plotted slasher thrillers are the order of the day here. There’s secret identities, mysterious killers, gruesome deaths, a crazed disregard for logic and plenty of psuedo-psychology, but Sala makes it his own. His artwork for example, an obvious way to draw these kind of tales would be in an EC style, all lushly detailed all the better to appreciate the violence and sexiness, instead Sala works in a quirky, almost woodcut style, with all the dreamlike menace of german expressionism (‘Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ clearly a major influence) Add a love for bizarre trashy crime and the Sala picture is almost complete.
Mad Night is vintage Sala, it all is, he’s sometimes criticised for doing the same thing over and over again, yet he believes this criticism misses the point, for him it’s an exploration, mining the same influences in a never ending quest to find his perfect story - as he points out, nobody complains that Hitchcock did the same thing.
What I like about Sala is that he takes all these influences and churns then up into something obviously very personal to him. A hard trick to pull off, harder still to make it look so easy.

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Meow Baby by Jason

When a new book by Jason comes out I buy it straightaway, don’t care what it’s about or how much it costs, and I knew that’s how it’d be when I finished his first translated book, ‘Hey Wait’. Like Lewis Trondheim Jason uses a anthropromorpihc characters, but they have more in common than that, they both like to play with the formal elements of comic storytelling, they’re as adept with ‘silent’ comics as they are with ‘talking’ ones and they seem to move effortlessly from humour to pathos.
In ‘Meow Baby’ we get to see more of Jason’s funny side, it’s a collection of short pieces and ranges from belly laughs to wry smiles.
Jason and Trodheim share another trait, they’re prolific. Fantagraphics have released 7 books by him in the last couple of years, ‘Why Are You Doing this?’ and ‘Hey Wait’ are good places to start, but you can pick any of them up.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Back again

No posts for a week!? Pretty slack of me.
Actually I have written a few posts, I’ve just not put them up, most are comic reviews which I’ll put up soon. Other are typically whiny and self indulgent and I figure I should try and spread that kind of thing out so I don’t end up looking too... um, whiny and self indulgent.
The heatwave at the moment is very nice, shame my body doesn’t seem to like it, I tend to get headaches and rashes (such a sickly child) before I adapt to such non British weather. Think Rebecca would appreciate more if she could work un the energy to get out and about a bit. A couple of you kind folk have asked about Rebecca so I thought I’d update. She’s not too bad, except for lots of discomfort over the last couple of weeks. She pulled a muscle through retching (nice), as apparently it’s easier to pull muscles during pregnancy, and had to have a very boring couch and bed bound week off work. There was a brief respite from that and now she’s having some serious trapped wind discomfort, which is rubbish for Rebecca but quite pleasant for the baby - I can only assume it’s a boy if it’s finding such pleasure in bodily functions.
Oh yeah, I was 34 yesterday.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Once I get on that soapbox it's hard to get off

Just had some rubbish news confirmed. Red Route has closed. Some of you probably have no idea who they are, but they’ve been very handy for me, working in a bookshop and trying to get an interesting range of comics was made very easy due to their existance. Last week I tried to contact them a few times to try and order some stuff and got a ‘number does not exist’ type message which gave me cause for concern, looks like it was justified.
Trying to move into book shops is a risky undertaking for comic publishers and distributors (as Pete Pavement of the sadly missed Slab O Concrete will tell you) and it could be that this is what has been Red Route’s downfall. With only a couple of places for bookshops to get a decent range of comics from, it could be that Titan books are the only thing you’ll see in the graphic novel sections, nothing terrible with Titan but a section that only has Batman, Superman, film tie-ins and a few UK reprints is not going to attract that much interest.
As you might’ve picked up from the last post, I’m a bit worried about the lack of variety and quality when it comes to books, films, etc. Sadly (I speak from bitter experience here) it’s easy to blame the places that create and sell these things but the biggest problem is the people who buy them. As customers we get what we deserve, and if that’s a bookshop full of Dan Brown or a cinema full of repetitive Blockbusters then maybe it’s time we started actively supporting quality and dismissing dross.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Me three

Once more my public asks and I repsond. I promised Danny a look at the beard and Nimiwey needs proof that my hair’s longer, so here’s some photos. They’re in order of date, so the detectives amongst you will have guessed that I’m beardless now, nearly 3 months not shaving is a personal best I think.
With a bit of luck there’ll be a much more exciting picture up tomorrow.
Windswept at Winderemere

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Old, grizzled and barely dry from the rain

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Fresh faced and little smug looking for some reason

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Crap creative

This is sort of like owning up to being male, or Northern or something equally obvious like that, but whatever; I’m a ‘crap creative’, don’t know if this label exists, but it has a suitably lame early ‘90’s feel to it so it must be genuine.
It’s been about 3 weeks since I got my complimentary (as in ‘you look nice’ not ‘here’s a mint with your bill’) rejection letter and in that time I’ve edited 600 words out of Simian Smith and I’m not even half way through the manuscript. The rough synopsis for ‘Green World’ has expanded by, oh, 50 words? A week ago I took on a short easy little script to draw and have done nothing but fiddle with the script. I’ve also been messing around with endless thumbnail layouts for a one page strip I came up with, the script isn’t finished, the characters aren’t properly designed, I’m not sure what the house that features in the 1st panel looks like, but I’m still drawing endless little boxes on scraps of paper as if it will get the work done.
So, I’m a crap creative - not with out talent but doomed to whittle away on project after project, sometimes finishing one, but most likely doing a small amount of messing about over far too long a period of time before giving up and trying something else. My ideal is the Philip Pullman route, it may be creative but it’s still a job sort of thing, and I do try and work even when my brain’s dry and chaffing the inside of my skull, but it usually amounts to work best forgotten in the cold unforgiving light of the next day (or week as is usually the case) Sadly the best I’ve been able to do is occasional bursts of work and count my blessings if I’m able to keep those bursts focussed on one project.
It’s a bit sobering thinking that I’m in my mid ‘30’s and have only completed a couple of things. I’m quite proud of them, but it’s a small part of what I’d like to do and an even smaller part could do if I could train myself to just sit down and get things done.
There it is though, that’s what I am, and the first step towards cure is to recognise there’s a problem. If anyone else wants to swap shoulder’s to weep on and stand up and be counted as a CC then please do so.... if you’ve got time that is, if there’s something on telly or you really need to get the washing up done and alphabetise your cds before you commit I totally understand.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Seeing as you asked.....

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Living with my folks after quitting a job many miles away and having nowhere else to go. It was a big mistake and led to a terrible year.

What were you doing 5 years ago?
Living in London on a street affectionately named ‘murder mile’, thinking maybe it was time to leave London, my AM was making a crap job a hateful one and we felt lonely far to much.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Moving to Lancaster. Things were looking up, nice house, nice area and the job looked like it would be interesting, which it hadn’t been for a while. I was writing more often than not and it felt like a fresh start.

5 Snacks you enjoy.
Peanut butter
You know, all the low fat stuff.

5 Songs (you think) you know by heart
‘Old Man’ - Neil Young
‘Our House’ - Madness
‘Light My Fire’ - The Doors
‘Lucy in the Sky’ - The Beatles
Picking Up After You’ - Tom Waits

5 Things you would do with a LOT of money
Stop worrying about not having enough money
Buy an old house with a lot of land in the country, preferably in the Lakes.
Open up some small book/comic/arty type shops.
Set up a grant system for people wanting to produce comics/books/art/music/etc
Light cigars with twenty pound notes and laugh at the poor..... well, no, not really, but I can’t think of anything else.

5 Things you would never wear
Baseball caps
Jumpers made of the itchy shit I was made to wear when I was little
Shell suits
T-shirts with football nonsense on them

5 Things you should never have worn
Bright orange slip on shoes
‘Blouson’ type jackets of the ‘80’s
Pastel colours
A Bon Jovi sleeveless t-shirt
Jeans that were mainly made up of stains and holes

5 Things you enjoy doing
Writing and drawing
Being with my wife
Lying in bed/lazing around
Being out walking/drink coffee/general mooching

5 Bad habits you have
Wasting time
Not achieving all I’m capable of
Doing things I don’t care about and have no love for
Not being honest with myself - or at least not acting on it

5 people you would like to do this
Well, assuming I can’t pick the same people Reece did and I have to know them
Katy - who I can't find a link for so she's probably finally given up blogging

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Let me just get this off my chest....

I’ve just recieved some very dodgy spam. No idea what it contains (although amidst the usual gobbledygook the word’porn’ appears), but what’s particularly grim about this is that it’s disguised as an unsent message. Is this spam or someone sending me a virus? Either way it makes my mad. I hate spam at the best of times but this kind of trojan horse thing is particularly vile.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Slightly less news worthy follow up

Thanks to everyone who passed on their congratulations (on and off the blog)
Bit difficult following up that last post, haven’t felt like moving it further down the screen to talk about the usual nonsense. But life goes on, so nonsense is back on the menu.
Met up with my sister and Phil yesterday, mooched around Manchester, I bought socks and comics, Rebecca bought some bigger clothes. There was food, coffee and cake and it was nice and relaxed, if a little brief due to train times. Can’t say Manchester does it for me, it’s a good city, but a good city is pretty meaningless to me as I just don’t think I’m into cities any more (Edinburgh and York are the only exceptions I can think of - in this country anyway) Huge crowds and way too many shops just get on my nerves after a while.
E4 music has the ‘Call Me’ video from Eric Pro? at the moment. I hate that video, utterly foul. On the other hand they had a song from Jack White’s new band (Racoonteers I think?)not so long ago and that was a cracking tune, I was impressed by some group called ‘Hot Chips’, sounded like Devo mixed with Daft Punk. I am so down with the kids.
Okay, the rain’s let up for a second so I’m off to get the food in.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Frightmare by Pete Walker

‘Making Mischief’ is the title of Pete walker’s biography and it’s aptly named. Walker’s supposedly best 3 films (I can’t say if they are or not having not seen all his films... yet) are all designed to create controversy, or as he put’s it ‘to rub people up the wrong way.’ Thankfully there’s a bit more to them than that. Walker’s films are bleak grubby cynical affairs with black humour and over the top concepts that brilliantly capture the 70’s, perfectly in keeping with the decade that spawned the excellent UK comic ‘Action’ (Pete Walker directing a film version of ‘Kids Rule Ok’ would be amazing. In fact he’d have been perfect for the previously mentioned ‘Psychomania’ come to think of it) and the once excellent ‘2000ad’.
So far my favourite Walker film is ‘Frightmare’ which funnily enough is the least controversy courting film of his loose trilogy and does seem to be the best (although ‘House of the Whipcord’ is a close second). Plotwise the film seems to try and play things a bit coy by not coming out and saying what it’s about, yet Walker’s exploitation pedigree and his obvious affection for liberal amounts of blood mean that the hints are less than subtle and nothing else about the film or the marketing implies that there’s meant to be some great reveal. Which is a roundabout way of saying I’m going to tell you what’s going on, so consider this a spoiler. ‘Frightmare’ is about a cannibal old lady. There, the cat’s out the bag.
When Walker first cast Sheila Keith he must have instantly realised he’d found his muse, either that or she was cheap/available/game for a laugh, either way both found the perfect match. In ‘Frightmare’ Keith adds something a little extra to her creepy old lady act (and a fine act it is too!), gusto. The literally lip smacking relish she displays when she goes in for the kill, especially the bit with the drill, is over the top genius that must make even Tom Baker turn an envious shade of green. It’s all the more effective when juxtaposed with her scenes as a slightly confused old lady.
There’s a bit more to the plot than that and it’s actually quite a good one involving teenage kicks far too loving husbands dopey psychiatrists and Peter ‘Manuel’ Sachs, but I’ve already given too much away. ‘Frightmare’ is available as part of an Anchor Bay boxset and it’s very nicely put together, 5 films, a fair amount of extras and available pretty cheap on amazon and no doubt elsewhere..... it’s also got ‘Die Marianne Die’ which has a title sequence that features Susan George wearing a very skimpy outfit and giving it some serious go go dancing.... just thought I’d mention it.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Biggest and best news on this blog EVER!

And now it can be told. My big secret project is a collaboration with my wife. Yes, Rebecca is pregnant. Cheesy grins have been the order of the day for the last few weeks. Expect regular updates.
It’s still early days really (the baby is due on November the 9th), but no morning sickness only occassional queesiness. The ‘hormones’ excuse has been used frequently though - although mainly by me everytime I want to annoy Bec.

Friday, March 24, 2006


There’s am advert for IBM that uses a Kink’s song, during the making of this did anyone think to question the concept of having loads of different people all singing ‘I’m not like everybody else’? Idiots.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My nonexistent website

I found a sketchbook under a pile of comics, magazines and envelopes and found the rough layouts I did for my website. Somewhere I've got the finished artwork I did, but until I actually learn how to program you'll have to wait for those, in the meantime here's the scribbled versions
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Less than seven degrees

How weird, I look at a friends blog, look at a blog link, look at another and then see the name of a blog I already check out, sadly they didn't know Kevin Bacon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What's it all about

At the moment I’m thinking about a career change, maybe, sort of. It’s at least time I started expanding my options. Doing a night class in something (I’m thinking classroom assistant at the moment) seems like the best way to go. It’s a bit difficult because I’m not sure if I should change the job I’m already doing. You could say I’m a bit confused, I want some changes but I’m not sure how to make them happen or if it’s even possible.
Apologies for the vagueness, it’s just because I’m not sure what I’m thinking myself!

No more, honest

Last word on V For Vendetta by me now. Actualy it’s not mine and it’s not just for the V thing. Here’s a couple links for the man him self. Um, Alan Moore that is, not V.
On the Moore kick this is worth a look, Moore’s clearly a fan of The Bonzo’s. My copy came with an issue of Critters but the original record of this had a fantastic Kevin 0’Neill cover which is well worth searching for. Oh, yes, that is Moore singing.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Had a rubbish weekend end (even though I was off!) which lead to some tedious blog posting as I obsessively trawled the net for pointless diverting nonsense (which does seem to be the reason it exists after all) Apologies for that, but it wasn’t my fault, it was my wife’s fault, she had a cold so we couldn’t really do anything.
Obviously I can’t promise that my post will stop being so tedious, but hopefully the tedious ones won’t quite be so frequent.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Possible V For Vendetta spoilers

Because I like to think I can listen to others I decided to check wiki for a synopsis and whatnot about the V For Vendetta adaptation. I’m glad I did as it’s confirmed my desire to not watch the film. Plotwise it’s incredibly disappointing to see what’s been taken out - such as inspector Finch’s attempt to ‘become’ V, which means he doesn’t get to have the same finale with V. The manner in which Evey and V part company (does that mean no ‘Land of do as you please’?), how she spends her time away from V and more importantly the way in which she is originally captured - not to mention the changes to her introduction; all different, all worse. The subplot about the wife of one of V’s victims appears to have been left out, which provided a great deal of depth to the story as well as some incredibly powerful scenes. Finch’s younger partner is eather gone or his role is greatly reduced which means that the parallels with V and Evey’s initial meeting are lost at the end. And V’s speech when he captures the TV station is criminally gone! No doubt Americans wouldn’t have liked the religious content.
Making it explicit that V is the man in room 5 eliminates the possibility that V could be Valerie (at least thatValerie was left in, I can only hope it’s as emotionally draining as the original - do we still see V watching her films and his reaction I wonder) - also the notion that V is scarred by burns from his escape undermines the reasons for wearing a mask.
Reducing Fate’s role in the story means we don’t get the reveal of how V is so able to plan as well as he does, which means Susan/Suter doesn’t get to react to it which dramatically reduces his character - I’m guessing he doesn’t go through the same drastic but inevitable character change he did in the comic.
All plot changes are for the worse and are designed to ‘streamline’ but what’s intended as streamlining comes across as pat and weak, and the cutting out of characters and subplots leads to disjointed storytelling which comes across even in the synopsis - it’s also telling that the things considered unimportant enough to edit out are things that gave V For Vendetta emotional depth and texture.
It’s easy to complain and list all these changes but the big horrible change seems to be in the philosophy of the story, V is no longer such a proponent of anarchy (so I suppose the brilliant scene of V’s conversation with Lady Justice is gone) out to wreck the forces of fascism, he’s now a sort of liberal freedom fighter. Yeah, it keeps a lot of the themes but in typical Hollywood style reduces and simplifies them, which for me takes it even further away from what made the comic so special.
It’s also pretty sad that V For Vendetta looks just like any big film, the comic had such a unique look, couldn’t a bit more thought have been put into the visual stylings.
Maybe if I had never read the comic, maybe if I hadn’t read it at such an impressionable age, maybe if it hadn’t been so brilliant, maybe then I would’ve been able to enjoy the film, but that might have been all I’d done, enjoy it , and that’s the problem, the film of V will be forgotten by many, that seems to be the fate of many big films nowadays, but V the comic is one of the most memorable ever written.
One bizarre postscript that I’ve not seen much about is regarding the novelisation of the film. The V book is written by none other than Steve (no relation) Moore, long time friend of Alan Moore. Considering Alan Moore’s opinion of the V film this seems more than a little odd, is the book an attempt by a friend to readdress the damage the film has done, has Hollywood tried to get one Moore and settled for another, or worse are they unaware of the difference? Weird.

Here comes the fuzz

Interest level is probably not high, but it’s my blog so I’m telling you all my beard’s a bit shorter okay! Only a little bit though. All I trimmed was the neck and side bit’s, which are now about an inch long. This took will power as I’ve become pretty attached to my facial hair, but as the sides looked like way longer than the rest it was probably a wise move to make some concessions to taming it.
Next post will probably be about the length of my fingernails or bellybutton fluff or something.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Doing my homework

Looking at the websites of various publishers is a little deflating. Most publishers only look at manuscripts through agents or already published authors. I’ve been lucky to have a contact who can pass stuff direct to a publisher and I may be able to do it again but it’s probably best not to totally rely on that. My only attempt at interesting agents was a bit miserable. A few years ago I did a picture book proposal and phoned several agencies to see if they would look at it, most wouldn’t look at unestablished creators (there’s a pattern forming here!) and the few that did sent the work straight back saying they weren’t interested in taking on unpublished creators (a bit irritating considering I’d already contacted them to establish that they would look!) and one sent me a polite form letter rejecting the proposal with a little bit of supporting wording.
For someone with a shaky grip on confidence like myself it was a bit disheartening. Getting an agent is possible, as Garen can attest, but you need to have work as good as Garen’s!
Fortunately the encouraging letter from Orion is still working it’s magic on me so the plan is to tweak and improve Simian and work on other projects so I can follow up with proposals if I’m lucky enough to get a similar response to the one I got from Orion. It’s a nerve wracking but exciting time!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Not see V

My sister tells me the V For Vendetta film is very good. I’m still not going to see it though. The reviews, good and bad, don’t bode well, the changes to the story make me cringe, Alan Moore’s treatment is deplorable and V is one of the few comics that I genuinely care about because Alan Moore is more than just one of my favourite authors, because of how old I was when he started I feel that he’s helped shape me - if that sounds lame or melodramatic then you’re either not a writer or shouldn’t be!
So many bad films have been mad from good source material, but worse so many forgettable films have been made from good source material. That’s the thing though, ‘source material’, the film industry is a money making machine that sees anything as grist for the mill, remakes, adaptations, sequels and films that are supposed to be new but seem suspiciously like a film you saw last week but forgot about because it was, you know, okay an’ stuff and had thingy in.
Actually comics aren’t much cop either are they? DC and Marvel choking the shelves with as much product they couldn’t care less about as possible just so there isn’t any room for competition.
That’s is, I’m officially a miserable old duffer.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

This is where all my money goes

Not long before publishers First Second start releasing their books and there's not one title on their list that I'm not getting. A lot of publishers have tried to tap into comics over the years but First Second looks like it could join Pantheon in being one of the few to release strong titles and carry on releasing them. Of course any line up that includes Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar, Eddie Campbell and Greg Cook was bound to get my cash, but the list is bigger than that with some names that may be new to me now but look like they could become good friends. The same publisher is part of another imprint that publishes children's books and there seems to be an overlap in style if the upcoming Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller's anything to go by... it's on my shopping list too.

Saga of Simian

My Simian Smith manuscript arrived in the post today, which is a sure sign that it was rejected, however it was a hell of a nice rejection. The reason given was the old chestnut of not being for them, but when it's accompanied with phrases such as ‘I enjoyed it very much.... fast and funny.... terrifically clever use of repition and catch-phrases that establishes the character well.’ I can take it on the chin.
The letter also contained a few pointers and an invite to talk a little if I would find that helpful.
All in all I’m very heartened by this, I was expecting a form rejection. I’ll tinker a bit with the manuscript and try and address some of the issues mentioned and then send it on somewhere else.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What Happen's Now by Jeremy Dyson

I’d been waiting for this for a while being a League Of Gentleman fan, but also because Dyson’s collection of short stories was fantastic. The pained expression I wore whilst reading it was not because it was bad, it was a sign of it's brilliance.
What Happens Now is the story of two sensitive emotionally unstable people and what happened to them to make them that way. Some books you can’t put down even when you know they’re going somewhere you don’t want to be, What Happens Now is one of those, it's painful reading, but so beautifully written that you have to keep going. Alistair Black is a fantastically realised character, nervous, shy with a imagination that opens him up to occassional brilliance but his naivety is a flaw that will have grave consequences for himself and Alice Zealand.
I can't recommend this book highly enough, every one should wear the frown I had to wear when reading it!


Heavy snow fall and blustery winds, it looks ace outside! I gotta go to work but I'll be treking through the snow wrapped up warm with snow sticking to my beard fulfilling my Grizzly Adams fantasy, well, without bears and such.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Utter utter genius.

I just caught the end of Star in Their Eyes Kids which means that if I die tomorrow I will die happy. A 7 year old kid dressed up as Noddy Holder at his peak, and I mean really dressed up, mutton chops and everything. I'm going to try and find a pic online.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Silent Executioner (a Fantomas story) by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre

It's hard to explain this book, and I don't think it would make any difference anyway. Certainly the plot is the reason for a lot of the book's charm, and it has loads, but it's not because of what happens. I can't really tell you much about Fantomas either, at least no more than the back of the book would tell you. Fantomas is an arch villain and master of disguise, he likes money and enjoys setting elaborate traps the kill in fairly gruesome ways, but really I think he just enjoys spreading terror.. Uh, that's it for Fantomas, I mean he doesn't even appear in the book until at least half way, they really go to town with the whole disguise thing, we don't even get to know who he's pretending to be and it's not exactly obvious, well, it might be if it wasn't for the fact that it could 'obviously' be a few people. Apparently later in the series it's entirely possible that Juve, the smart, but not smart enough, police detective trying to bring him to justice, is Fantomas.
If you're getting the impression that the authors were just making it up as they went along you'd be amazed how right you are. To get the Fantomas stories out regular and often enough Allain and Souvestre worked out a basic plot and then went off and wrote a alternate chapters with very little contact. This is probably the reason for the strange dreamlike atmosphere that makes Fantomas so enjoyable not just to the general public loved the stories but to the surrealists of the time.
It's easy to see why the Fantomas series became such a cult hit, I loved it, I just couldn't honestly tell you why!