Sunday, July 22, 2007

ENGINE COMICS: JULY UPDATES

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK:

SEVEN SENTINALS COVER colour PG1

SEVEN SENTINELS #1

It took a while but the US format printing of Marc Olivent's SEVEN SENTINELS is now available in your local comic shop, online and soon through PREVIEWS. Ish 1 comes with a preview of ish 2, a competition to win original artwork from the series, and my personal favourite, hints and clues to the larger story beyond the printed page. You're probably familair with the concept of easter eggs on DVD's or more recently in shows like LOST, deliberately hidden (or not so hidden) clues, information or content. This concept will play a major part in the development of 7S, and the first fairly obvious clue is in the first issue. We'll make you work for the rest.

Issue 2 will be out with an exclusive convention only sketchbook at the Birmingham Comics Festival on October 13/14th 2007. Both Marc and I will be there to chat to fans and do sketches, so do come along and say hello.

REDEYE #7

Originally scheduled for release in May, RE7 has been hit with a number of delays, more so than usual. This has lead to a restructuring of the entire magazine, and a rethink on how best to produce a regular publication on Brit comics. So, I'm trying something new: RE7 will hereafter be called REDEYE WINTER 2007 SPECIAL. Double sized, it will serve as a bookend to the first volume. I think the contributors have done some fantastic work they can be very proud of over the last few years, but without financing to pay them, it's not fair to expect them to be working all hours to send stuff in.

Although we've had a handful of subscribers, with mounting costs of print bills, convention costs and postage charges, it is very much a drop in the ocean. A major problem facing comics in the UK is finance, a way to make it pay for itself. What I intend doing, in the 18 month long break between REDEYE Vol 1 and Vol 2, is to establish a business model that will not only serve to make REDEYE a success, but also one that can be adopted and adapted by other publishers. As a companion peice almost to the Rough Guide, I'll be looking at any grants, government or arts council funding, private investing and advertising/marketing that can be used by Brit comics. The results, positive or negative, I hope will be a shortcut to success for other people.

So, ths is what will happen for RE7: I'm asking for donations to help make the magazine to print. I'll be adding a Paypal Donate button to the website with the next update. The donations will go towards not just the printing but the running costs of distribution, conventions and postage. If it doesn't hit the required figure by October, the content will instead be published on the web in December.

Subscribers will recieve a refund at that point in October for any unpublished issues, and the subscriber button will be taken down shortly from the site.

Reviews will continue to be published (although yes I'm very very behind on them at the moment) at the Owl in Daylight blog, which will be updated again very shortly (I have a long list of stuff to update here) so you can still send review copies to the same editorial address. In addition to this, I'm planning more reviews the Indiespinnerrack podcast and a segment on youTube looking at Brit creators, so conceivably you would get even more readers and viewers this way than just the 400-500 copies of printed REDEYE.

Erm.. thats it really. The content for the REWS2007 is shaping up to be the best of the bunch, and best to go out on a high note. I hope you will think so too.

CELEBRATION EUROPE 2007

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: TheForce.Net Podcast, 20/7/2007

44. 30 YEARS AGO TODAY

July 14th saw the second day of Star Wars Celebration Europe at the Excel Centre London, the poorer mans version of Celebration 4 in LA. There was some disappointment at the list of events at CE compared to those at C4, though we did get Mark Hamill signing during the weekend and Ian McDiarmid introducing an open air showing of A NEW HOPE on the Friday.

53. OLD SCHOOL

I missed all that as I only made it for the saturday with my fellow Celebration Day veteran Aaron. Two talks I was determined to get to was the Force Unleashed panel on the new upcoming game, touted as Episode 3.5, which looked very cool from the trailer and promises to add a lot of depth to the saga. Lots of shots of stormtroopers getting thrown about or stabbed by lightsabers. It was also nice to see that the actor playing Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice, ex BSG actor Sam Witwer, was really into the mythos and knew what he was talking about, and was trying not to give too much away when he really wanted to. Also some good questioning from the audience, including why you can't just beat the shit out of Gungans rather than stormtroopers all the time.

23. 400 EPISODES?

The second was the talk with Rick McCallum (above), hosted by a perky Warwick 'Wicket' Davis. A few confirmations of rumours such as 400 episodes of multiple Star Wars live action series, the development of 3d film versions, and a growing impatience with the movie industries faffing about with choosing HDDVD or Blue Ray. The possibility of going beyond that straight to digital subscription downloads drew a massive cheer from the audience. Much like digital projection, if there's anything that will force a change in way films are distributed, it's Lucas. Followed shortly by piracy of course.

Other highlights included meeting artists Adam Hughes and Matt Busch, two people who at a comics convention, you'd never be able to get near. Suffering from lack of sleep and far too much Fanboy Syndrome, I got a few sketchbooks, poster and photos.

26. SAY 'AH!'

28. MASTER AND APPRENTICE

I did manage to give out a few sketchbooks I'd printed up the night before also to them, but couldn't get up the courage to ask for feedback on my artwork. Next time...

ce sketchbook cover

Other highlights included seeing more stormtroopers/clonetroopers and my personal favourites, Republic Commandoes, who had amazing costumes that I only unfortunately got to see the once on the day but hope to catch up with them another time. Managed to make a few contacts in fandom though agan missed a few people I was hoping to meet. One of the most satisfying highlights however was purely accidental, as we headed out of the Excel centre only to see a growing mob surround Rick McCallum, who was very graciously signing things and posing for pictures.

40. UNDER SEIGE 2

It soon got out of hand however and a ring of security had to be established to keep people from crushing him. I had to admit there were moments when people were seconds away from a swift elbow to the face from me, they were that annoying. Luckily I managed to get a good pic before Rick was evacuated to his car. You know, I love Star Wars as much as the next bloke, but there are some who really don't know when to step back.

42. AWESOME.

All in all a good day, but wished I was there for the three days. With rumblings of C5 in 2009, I'd better start saving up now. May be even be thin enough to get into a Rep Commando suit if I stop eating now.

4. REPUBLIC COMMANDOS AND MINITURE VADER

JAMES REDINGTON

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: Nelly Furtado: Loose, 'Glow'

Been a while since last update again and started getting emails from people asking of things were okay, which was nice of them. Everythings fine thanks, just been busy getting things done for Engine etc.

Since last time, unfortunately, the UK comics scene has lost of its most passionate activists. James Redington passed away a few weeks ago from sudden heart failure, aged only 28. James was a regular presence at the UK comic festivals and one of those people who once gone, you really wished you had spent more time with. Instead, I'm left with the memory of his passion for comics, our shared love of Christopher Reeve's Superman, and his positive attitude in always trying to help people out, whether upoming talents with Portent Comics and his enthusiasm and support for REDEYE. Mostly I'm left remembering a really nice bloke who went far too early, far too young.

JAMES REDINGTON AND PORTENT COMICS

There are perhaps better worded tributes by his peers and more on his contributions at:
http://www.downthetubes.net/news_archive/2007/07july2007.html#portent
http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/panel/

Rest easy, James. I'm sure you and Chris Reeve will have a lot to talk about.