Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tales from the Drawing Board 1


drawing board
Originally uploaded by Barry Renshaw.
Finished inking page one of my TWELVE submission... three more to go...

Monday, March 28, 2005

"Nice to meet you. Run for your life!"


newseriesdalek1
Originally uploaded by Barry Renshaw.
CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: Doctor Who Confidential, Episode One

It took it's time but saturday nights are now back to normal. Doctor Who is back on tele, and you can't quite wrap your head round the reality of it. I mean, it took fifteen years, a weak tv movie, tons of books, audio adventures, and comic strips, but finally the Tardis is vvvarping back. And its pretty damn good.

Chris Eccleston is spot on as the new Doctor, at times grinning and goofy then suddenly deadly serious, with every ounce of conviction you'd expect from such a top actor. Even when talking about the Nestine Consciousness plotting to take over the world. From pieces in the first episode you get to know he has recently regenerated into his Ninth incarnation, as he looks at himself in the mirror for the first time. He warns Rose to forget him, as contact with him puts people in danger. Maybe picking up a strand from the alternate Ninth doctor Richard E Grant webcast, Scream of the Shalka, of maybe his last assistant meeting an unfortunate end. By the end of the episode he seems to realise he needs an assistant to do what he does.

"Lots of planets have a north!"

Billie Piper has majority of the screen time since its through her eyes we are introduced to the Doctor, and she does a decent job, though at this point mostly running away from the Autons, but she shows promise and given a few episodes will definitely come into her own.

The Tardis... still trying to decide if I like the new console room. I loved the McGann steampunk-esque version, packed full with momentoes from across space and time. The Ninth Doctor's console room (since i believe the Tardis, now so in tune with the Doctor) regenerates along with the timelord himself. It seems very Farscape inspired, more organic than before, but strangely empty. There seems to be no other doors, or any personal items besides the hat stand. Hopefully as the series progresses we'll be able to explore it better.

Next saturday, "The End of the World". Can't wait.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Thing Two

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: Pete Ashton's Podcast 6; The Dresden Dolls - Bad Habit

Got back sunday around 5.30pm after a great weekend at the UKWebcomixthing 2. A bigger venue and a bigger crowd this time, Pat is to be congratulated on mounting such a successful festival. His photos of the event and clips from the videos can be found on the official site at www.ukwebcomixthing.co.uk, and a handful from my digital camera by clicking on the photo right.

Once again I was amazed at the amount of new faces from the webcomix scene that for some reason you wouldn't get to see at the Bristol events. Curious as to why there is such a difference in exhibitors, but I'll come back to that later.

Leon and I managed to get to hotel on friday night just before 10pm, and spent a bit of time trying to get something to eat before settling on a local chinese takeaway. Took advantage of the 2am hotel bar while giving into geekdom, discussing narrative structures in between catching glimpses of the new Doctor Who trailer. Couldn't help but think when Chris Eccleston speaks to the viewer at the start: "You want to come with me? You want to come with ME?", it sounds almost like he's offering someone outside for a punchup. "You looking at my TARDIS?" Couldn't help but also notice the amount of billboards advertising the new series next weekend, absolutely everywhere. Good to see some proper investment in the show.

Getting to the venue for 9ish the next morning, setting up quite quickly and catching up with the likes of Andy Winter, James Redington, Jay and Selina, Frazer, Nick Jones, Gary Spencer Millidge, Pete, Brodies Law blokes and many more, and getting to know some new faces as well. I did intend to get some actual drawing done in the morning before the panels, still beavering away at our TWELVE submission, but couldn't really get into it, instead started doing sketches for people (Colin D, your Judge Death is still here!) and had a walkabout a bit. Had a really positive chat with Pulp Theatre lads, Daley and Dave, discussing how popular their Brodies Law has become and the great response they had at the San Deigo con. Again, these lads are producing material of such a high standard, theres no question they'll make it big. With these and the many others in the last two years, the UK press just continues to grow. Anyone who says there isn't a Brit comics industry is blind and just talking shite.

This was a fact reinforced by those creators on both panels I hosted, while Leon and Bridgeen manned the fort. The first at 1pm, covered indie print publishing, and included Mardou, Nick Jones, Roger Langridge, Aaron 'Smurf' Murphy, Paul Rainey, and Colin Dinnie stepping into the breach as a last minute replacement. Since the self-publishing panels we do often cover the basic how-to's, I wanted instead to concentrate on the motivations of the creators in their work and how they both their comics and UK press as a whole developing.

Beginning with questions posed from the website, emails and message boards, we then opened it out to the audience. The second panel at 2.30pm focused on webcomix specificaly, with Kat and Dave of Two Sides Wide, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Bunny, Weebl, Madson and John Allison on the panel fielding queries.

With the webcomix scene itself something of a new territory to me, I was amazed firstly about the number of readers these creators have on their sites, with up to a million individual visitors in a month. That's such an incredible figure that any publisher would kill for. Not to mention the level of interest and interaction with the readers themselves in forums, message boards, fan fiction, and buying merchandise. I realised there's lessons to be learnt from the webcomix model that would do well applied to the printed variety.

Sales wise things were constant, selling a majority of what we had brought with us and the boxes once more being filled with review copies for the next REDEYE. Lots of interest in the next issue and nothing but positive feedback on the new design.

After we cleared up, dropped things off at the hotel and had a quick pint over discussing Philip K Dick's mental state, we headed back to the Half Moon Wetherspoons in Mile End, meeting up with Shane Chebsey, Dave Baillie, Sean Azzapardi, and many others for a fantastic night, best I've had in ages. Had a massive sketching session, with closing time coming far too soon.

A massive thanks to Dave and his suffering housemates who put up with us after the pub closed. With many a whiskey in hand we stayed up till 4.30am until making moves back to the hotel, grabbing a few hours sleep before the paltry hotel breakfast and checking out.

All in all it was a great weekend but over far too soon. Like the Bristol events it was like a mini holiday catching up with friends and talking about comics, but unlike Bristol it highlights a whole other section of comic creators who are often unheard of in general comics press, and who are perhaps more influenced by the manga way of storytelling than by the traditional American way of comics. And maybe there lies their strength: these webcomix creators are reaching audience numbers unheard of in printed comics. They're doing things the way they want to without conforming to any conventions or clinging to any old school rules of what makes a comic, without the worry of print costs and distribution. They're motivated more by the creative process, by the fact they CAN do it rather than monetary reward.

Maybe the future of comics is a mix of both online and printed formats. Until the development of digital paper reaches the point it's as widely available and as cheap as real paper, people will always want something tangible to hold, something they can own. At the same time thanks to the widespread prolifiration of internet access, millions are able to read them. If a way can be found for creators to still recieve an livable income from their work online, maintain widespread access to the work, and still provide the physicality, the ability to own a copy of it, then I believe the comics industry will continue to thrive, as it needs to adapt with new technology and new opportunity.

Anyway, thanks again to the panellists, to the customers, to the exhibitors, and to Pat and his helpers for making it all work. Check back for more photos as they come in.

Friday, March 18, 2005

LONDONIUM


LocationMap3D004
Originally uploaded by Barry Renshaw.
We'll be travelling down to the Big Smoke tommorrow for the UKWebcomixthing in Mile End. I'll be hosting two panels, 1pm and 2.30pm on saturday, so beware. Find us on this map and come say hello. And buy things. Preferably buy things.

Friday, March 04, 2005

SPONSORED RAGE


ablogo-white_on_black
Originally uploaded by Barry Renshaw.
Current Soundtrack: ALTERBRIDGE: ONE DAY REMAINS, 'Down to My Last'

Fellow ragecagers will know I'm just as partial to a bit of rock as well as geek sci-fi tracks, one especially of note are the above. Went to their gig last night at the Academy, thanks to Aaron's ticket buying skills. Despite being first time I'd actually heard their stuff, they did rather kick arse. Their set was really strong, but of particular note are Open Your Eyes, Broken Wings, Shed My Skin and the acoustic version of In Loving Memory, which gave me a shiver. The few covers were quite cool as well, particulary The Who's Teenage Wasteland, used as the theme tune to CSI: NEW YORK. All top stuff. Go to top fan site www.alterbridgeband.net/
for links, info, downloads and all that stuff.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

SOUND OF SNOW PART TWO

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: The Truth and the Light- Music from the X Files; Mark Snow; Mercutura

Besides recovering from a bout of food poisoning (someone Upstairs has it in for me I swear) over the weekend and coming home ill today, decided to test the search engine for the Engine Site. Quite a few blogs picking up the Alan Moore interview which is good to see, though linking directly to the page is annoying, when they miss out the other great stuff available to read on there. Thanks though to the few people who emailed to advise of typos from the original transcript.

Sci-Fi.com described the site as: "Online comics, articles, interviews, and reviews will keep your comics sense tingling at the home of the U.K. independent comics collective". Which was nice of them.

The Talk About Comics Blog (http://www.talkaboutcomics.com/blog/index.php?cat=1) had this to say: "This is one to sit down for with a cup of tea and maybe a couple of sammiches: Daniel Whiston of Engine Comics interviews Alan Moore with two of his mates. The interview was recorded in two parts in 2002, but not published on the site until January of this year. I haven’t read the whole thing myself, because it is a pretty long piece, but from what I have read it looks like the focus is on his creative process rather than any particular project."

Well to be fair the original interview was published in 2002 over two issues of the shortlived 2000AD fanzine ZARJAZ. Daniel offered the interview in print or via web late 2003, and its such a great interview it deserves the widest audience available.

Even Neil Gaiman (www.neilgaiman.com) mentions "There's a marvellous interview with Alan Moore at http://www.enginecomics.co.uk/interviews/jan05/alanmoore.htm. It's particularly recommended for would-be writers."

There's a new interview up with the younger, sexier side of UK indie press, Colin (Underfire Comics) Dinnie, http://www.enginecomics.co.uk/interviews/interviews.htm.

Also added is a complete comic, Marc Olivents' HEROHUNTER now available at http://www.enginecomics.co.uk/onlcomics/onlcom.htm. Are we good to you lot or what?

I'm off to get more painkillers.