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.