Keep On Going #2: Speed Bumps

Posted on December 30th, 2014

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Issue 2 of Keep On Going is now ready to download from this website, continuing the story of Mickey Move and the Cult of Keep Going.

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It turns out that attracting a cult following brings with it a glare of publicity. And with that comes a differing viewpoint. Some people don’t particularly agree with Mick’s ongoing journey, and want it to stop, and they are willing to go to some lengths to achieve their aim. Dangerous lengths. Lethal lengths.

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With added external pressures, certain members of the group start to question everything that they’ve assumed about the expedition, and they don’t like the answers that they come across. But it seems that leaving the group is harder than getting in to it, unless you want to take the bad way out…

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A warning: a fair bit of death in this issue.

You can go to the Keep On Going page to download the 1st issue now. Alternatively, you can directly download the PDF version here and the CBR version here.

Metallica: Through The Never

Posted on November 30th, 2014

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I just watched a film that’s rather unlike anything else I’ve seen in a while. I decided to watch Metallica: Through The Never because it sounded pretty cool: a hybrid between a concert film and an urban thriller. It’s rather spectacular, and rather unique.

Now I like Metallica. I wouldn’t say that I’m a superfan of them or anything – I broadly subscribe to the idea that the first five albums are great (yeah, that’s right, I love The Black Album) then they go a little too far down the sellout road, but somehow Death Magnetic is rather awesome again (I haven’t heard any of Lulu because I suspect it’s just better that way). But that’s enough to be predisposed to liking this film, I’d say (only a couple of songs on the setlist aren’t from those albums).

Would I have enjoyed this film so much if I didn’t like (or at least appreciate) Metallica? Hard to say. After all, a significant proportion of this film is a Metallica concert. But it’s also a concert with some of the most ridiculously high production values ever seen. This is a concert where ‘One’ opens with a firework display approximating an air raid. This is a concert when ‘…And Justice For All’ sees a large statue of Lady Justice being built just so it can get smashed down again. This is a concert where a man is set on fire, made to look seriously injured, then the band decide to play on anyway.

The man on fire appears apparently for story reasons, because as the band are playing, their nameless roadie gets in a car crash and wakes up in a cross between The Warriors and the future scenes from The Terminator, where gangs on horseback are fighting riot police. There are some broad thematic links to the setlist and the outside action, but mostly it just provides a tempo for the carnage onscreen (because most of the film involves Metallica songs, there’s almost no dialogue in the story scenes). Daniel Dehaan as the nameless roadie is not really asked to do much other than frown in a variety of ways, but he does it with full conviction.

The sense of foreboding and dread drips right off the screen. No matter what you may think of how this film sounds, you will probably be impressed with how it looks. The concert itself looks incredible, with pyrotechnics and light-shows aplenty, and the story sections portray a plausible dystopian urban nightmare that somehow glows in the darkness. I definitely wish I’d been able to see the IMAX version.

One final thought: between this and Some Kind of Monster, Metallica may just have the best filmography of any band outside of The Beatles. What would the band that refused to make music videos for so many years have made of that? I don’t know, but the band in their place now probably love it.

Rotting Teeth

Posted on October 30th, 2014

I’ve been thinking about my sugar intake a lot lately. There’s been a whole wave of thinking that sugar’s the really bad thing for the human body, and ever since I had my crown put in I’ve been trying to reduce the chances of getting another one. But you know when’s a really bad time to try and cut down your sugar intake? In the weeks leading up to Halloween.

Seriously, every supermarket has industrial sized bags of sweets and chocolate on special offer right now. I’ve just discovered that Iceland sell Drumstick Squashies for £1 a bag (a steal). I’ve discovered these really nice tiny chocolate bars that Lidl sell (Mr Choc, I think?). I went on a rampage with Maoam Stripes a few weeks back to the actual point where my teeth started hurting. It’s a miracle that I haven’t been gorging on Percy Pigs lately, or Waitrose Jelly Babies (vastly superior to the originals).

What also hasn’t helped is recurring injuries stopping me getting my workout on. I’ve found that when I’m regularly exercising, I’m actually pretty disciplined about eating properly. When I’m not, though? I just become a disgusting gluttonous mess, who thinks nothing of inhaling chocolate eclairs. Leading a more sedate lifestyle is probably when I should be more careful with the white stuff, right?

I’d actually lost a fair bit of weight when the crown was put in, as I cut out sugar whilst waiting for it to be made (and a lot of solid food, to be honest), but this pagan tribute to sugar has made it a little difficult to cut it out. It’s hard to take something in moderation when it’s been shoved in your face at every opportunity.

End Of An Era

Posted on September 30th, 2014

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A few weeks ago I went to the London Broncos’ final Super League game, against the Bradford Bulls. Typically, they found a way to lose from a leading position with time running out. It was my first visit to the new home of the club at The Hive in Canon’s Park, home of Barnet FC and essentially a nice-enough stadium in the middle of a training facility, which made it seem somewhat more picturesque than your typical Super League ground.

I’ve been going to Broncos games on-and-off since 2002. I went because it was the only way to see top class Rugby League in London and that’s primarily been the reason that I’ve continued to go for the odd game. I’ve always been more of a London Skolars man (local club), but it heartened me knowing that there was an option for Super League, and a focal point for all the junior work the various clubs dahn saaf do. Whilst that figurehead is still technically there, it’s hard to argue that relegation has not significantly damaged its position.

I used to think that a Super League team in the capital was viable, but I’m less sure these days. London is a Football town, and it’s also an Event town – the past weekend’s NFL game just showed that. Hell, last year I was amongst a crowd of 66,000 to see a Rugby League international at Wembley (the World Cup semi-final, which England lost to New Zealand with literally the last play of the game). There’s not much room for other regular sports in London.

There certainly wasn’t room for the barely credible club the Broncos have been eroding into over the last few years. The reason I stopped going so regularly (I’ve only been to one game each of the past two seasons) was because the club became morbid to be around, always getting beaten and seemingly lacking any concept of fringe defence. People don’t want to pay to fund a club that seems unwilling to learn its lessons.

The Broncos could theoretically be back next year, but I doubt it. They appear to be scaling back operations and the Championship is super-competitive. Also, the RFL’s re-structuring of the game heavily weighs in favour of incumbent Super League teams. Barring a crazed money-throwing benefactor coming in, it looks like London’s lost its Super League chance for a while, which is a shame, because it was fun whilst it lasted.

 

Carnival

Posted on August 31st, 2014

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Here’s a shitty photo from this year’s Notting Hill Carnival. It’s somewhat of a tradition for me to a) go to Carnival every year and b) take a lame pic with my phone’s camera (the photo of me on the About Me page is from Carnival, though not taken by me).

Carnival is one of the few constant sources of pleasure that comes around every year. It’s pretty much the only time I ever drink during the daytime, and it’s one of the few times that many of the people who’s company I enjoy are together en masse. It’s the kind of place where you can start at midday and end up going on all through the night.

But there’s always been a tension at Carnival. I don’t necessarily mean the kind of tension that comes with such a large number of people cramped into a confined area, but that’s obviously an ongoing concern (it only really hit home just how ridiculous a policing operation the Carnival is when I was walking down Ladbroke Grove at 4am and saw that the place was absolutely teeming with stationed police, at a time when I was the only person on the street). I mean between the local residents, who certainly towards the south end of the Carnival zone are of a more wealthy sort, and the interlopers, the people who get to drop in once a year and wreak havoc on the place. It’s a tension that’s only going to get worse.

This year, it was really noticeable how many new flat developments there were in the Carnival zone. That means an influx of new money into the area, and that’s exactly the sort of person who get vocal about people pissing on their garage door for two days a year (incidentally, I can’t believe it took organisers until this year to stick portable urinals at toilet stations). There was already an attempt at obstruction by Westminster Council on Channel One, one of the most popular sound systems which thankfully they managed to resolve. But it’s the kind of obstruction that’s probably going to become more prevalent in years to come.

I entirely understand not wanting to have people piss on your front door. But Carnival is one of the few places of coming together that there is in London. Considering how many people are in attendance and how much alcohol is flowing through the day, the amount of aggro is rather low. I just hope we’re not going to see the dissolving and dilution of a true London institution.

Keep On Going #1: Destination Unknown

Posted on July 21st, 2014

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Did I say definitely two weeks? How arrogant of me. Still, at last, the new series that I have been working on is available to download from this website.

Mickey Move is a guy who’s on a mission. He’s trying to get to somewhere important. A lot of people want to go with him. The thing is that no one knows where he’s heading, or why he has such a large devoted following, or what he’s running from. A journalist is trying to find out about his mysterious ways, but he’s not exactly forthcoming.

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This is a less overtly dark series than Wounded, but it can get a little heavy at times. I’ve also changed up the art style somewhat. It’s also a surprising change having to draw buildings instead of trees. A lot more characters to draw too. It’s all a quite different process compared with before, but I’m pleased with the results.

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You can go to the Keep On Going page to download the 1st issue now. Alternatively, you can directly download the PDF version here and the CBR version here.

Enjoy.

The Final Push

Posted on June 29th, 2014

I’m in the final stages of the 1st issue of my next project, and it’s grinding to a halt. This tends to happen a lot in the home stretch, I find. What is it about procrastinating that makes it so powerful the closer the finish line is? It’s all fairly routine colouring and lettering as well. The World Cup really isn’t helping, either.

Hopefully this time next week there will be a comic to download a read from here. Certainly in two weeks.

Chekhov’s Gun

Posted on May 24th, 2014

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Sometimes I get an urge to tell a joke so terrible and obvious that I just HAVE to get it out of my system before it becomes a corrupting influence. This is one of those occasions. I make no apologies.

Click here or on the picture above to see it.

The Right Image

Posted on May 10th, 2014

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As a fan of cheap, multi-platform video games, I’ve been aware of Humble Bundle for quite some time and have also benefited from their forays into other media, such as ebooks and comedy albums. Right now, they’ve got a special Image bundle going on, allowing you to pick up such great books as Saga and East of West for a fraction of the usual cost, with the money going to the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund. It’s a great deal that’s worth checking out, and it also feels incredibly telling to me that Image should be the company to distribute their work like this.

The whole point of the creation of Image was to be a creator-first company, founded by men who were fed up of being put upon by the mainstream comics system. Most of those early comics weren’t particularly good, mainly because they were so derivative of the mainstream superhero fare that they had left behind, but as soon as they started to diversify their range more, their comics increased in quality. These days, they have a fantastic portfolio of great stuff. From The Nightly News to I Kill Giants to Three to Sex Criminals, there’s something for everyone, which probably explains why they’ve massively expanded as a commercial force.

It also seems like Image has become the default place for creators to go for mature, creator-owned work. Marvel have never really gone in for that (Icon feels like a reluctant imprint at best) but it’s the decline of Vertigo that seems to have benefited Image the most. Years ago, Brian K. Vaughan may have tried Saga out at Vertigo, but with the rise of Image as a commercial power, not to mention with DC seemingly getting more stringent in their creator contracts, going to the place where you can be most free must be incredibly desirable.

But as well as being good for creators, they’re good for readers too. They sell first volumes of their series at discounted rates, enticing in impulse buyers.They’ve pioneered selling DRM-free digital comics on their own website in basic proprietary-free formats like PDF and CBR at reasonable prices, and also frequently offering these in sales. They also day-and-date new books digitally. They’re open to new avenues of readership, and  it seems that they also realise that part of bringing in new readers is not being a dickhead and making life difficult for the customer.

Image taking part in the Humble Bundle shows a confidence, both in themselves and in their audience. They know that there’s also a great deal of quality in they books that they are offering. They also know that offering these books at a (very) cheap price will no doubt entice some people who may not have looked at these books otherwise. They also know that getting involved with Humble Bundle and the CBLDF is just straight up good PR. But they also know that offering purchasing opportunities like this to fans makes them a more desirable company, because in a digital environment where media companies want to make lives difficult for their customers, offering opportunities like this is going to lead to good vibes between customers and company.

Anyway, check out the bundle. It’s got some awesome stuff in it.

What’s This?

Posted on May 6th, 2014

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Could it be the inked first panel of the next series I’m working on? You know, it might just be.

But what does it mean? Well, I can’t tell you yet. I have to finish drawing (and colouring) the thing first.

Hopefully it’ll be turning up around the middle of next month (I mean, I have drawn more than the first panel already). I may even say what it’s called and what it’s about nearer the time.


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