Fund This: The Sound Of Drowning

Published On May 16, 2016 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Fund This

Heavens, it’s been a long time since I did one of these, not because there’s been a dearth of material to talk about needing your funding, but because… well, life, you know, it sort of, kind of, gets in the way. In fact I did mean to do this a week or so back when Paul O’Connell got in touch, but since then it’s been manic and I’m only just getting round to it now.

The good news is that The Sound Of Drowning has already been funded, but hey, throw some extra money at the project anyway, because dammit, it’s a good project, well worth your support.

The Sound of Drowning brings together the very best of Paul O’Connell’s (and others) comic series into one 228 page retrospective collection. I’ve long enjoyed O’Connell’s comics for a long time now, covering them again and again on the blog; Charlie Parker Handyman, Smoke & Mirrors, Muppet Wicker ManCircus LilFred Hates Us AllLook Out!, Seinfeld Matrix and many, many more.

The book cherry picks highlights and fan favourites from the comic’s 15 year history and with a foreword by award winning author Benjamin Myers, this is ‘The Sound of Drowning: The Directors Cut’…

This from Paul O’Connell:

From it’s DIY beginnings amongst the tumbleweeds of UK small press scene of the early noughties through to gracing the covers of Design Week and Future of the Left albums, during its 15 year history The Sound of Drowning has consistently gone where no comics have gone before. Influenced as much by artists such as Gilbert and George and the kitsch aggrandisement of Jeff Koons as mainstream comics such as Mad magazine and European comics periodical Heavy Metal, The Sound of Drowning rose out of the ashes of the indie comics boom of the 80’s and 90’s to inspire and disturb a whole new generation of creators and readers.

“I never really expected anyone to read them, let alone like them, I was making them for myself mainly. One bad review of the second issue almost made me give up before I’d even started. I was very unsure of myself. I was still experimenting with doing what I thought I should be doing, trying to be accepted in the comics world at the same time as trying to appeal to those outside of it. I gave up on worrying about acceptance pretty early on.”

As The Sound of Drowning’s existence continued it began to include collaborations with other left-field writers, artists and comics creators and numerous collaborations ensued. Most notably the Charlie Parker Handyman comic strip with illustrator Lawrence Elwick which became a regular feature in The Stool Pigeon music paper.

“People loved Charlie. It had a lot of heart. Lawrence had illustrated a biographical comic strip about Charlie Parker that I’d written. I was so impresssed with what he had done that I wanted to come up with a way to make him keep on doing it. So I came up with the idea that Charlie Parker had never discovered jazz a conduit for his genius but that everything he did still turned to jazz. I pitched the strip to The Stool Pigeon as a one off and they wanted to run it in every issue. The initial premise didn’t last longer than a few strips, Charlie took on a life of his own. We had a lot of fun making Charlie.”

A collection of all the Charlie Parker Handyman comics, along with original art, sketches and storyboards, is one of the rewards that Paul is currently offering as part of a kickstarter campaign to fund a retrospective collection of the best of The Sound of Drowning’s 15 year history. Despite Paul’s comics being made available in countless other publications and exhibited from London to New York no single Sound of Drowning collection has ever been published.

So many people have had such nice things to say about my comics. Really the book is one big thank you to all those people who…I’m sorry…it’s just, you know, this is very emotional for me…Can we cut here? Is that ok?”

Definitely a book to look forward to, packed with delights such as these…

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A Muppet Wicker Man Screenprint Master Lo Res

A Muppet Wicker Man circa 2009

Charlie book cover

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Carousel circa 2012

Fred Hates Us All circa 2014

Klopsy and Chops circa 2013

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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