Ok, time for the weekly round up of bits and bobs from the wacky world that is comics….
Well, it’s April already, which means the comic convention merry go round is in full swing. Yes, yes, yes, I really should get around to doing a full convention list again, I’m trying, I’m trying (sheesh!)
But here’s a quick roundup…..
The second Birmingham Comics Festival takes place very soon – 23rd April, and they’ve already a host of events announced, both on the day and leading up to it including Wild About Comics, Ladeez Do Comics and the Nostalgia & Comics quiz night. In addition, the Festival organisers have just announced that the MAC Birmingham’s popular Creating Comics course (for over 18s) is now enrolling new students for its next 13-week batch of tutorials that will begin as of Friday 15th April.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival takes place on 14th-16th October in Kendall, and they’ve already a rather impressive line-up, including an exclusive UK appearance by Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim and the bestselling graphic novel, Seconds (but you knew that already didn’t you). In addition there’s Joe Kelly and 2000AD‘s Mick McMahon and a world premiere performance of Dave McKean’s Black Dog – the Dreams of Paul Nash, taking place at Kendal Town Hall on 28th May.
Finally, the traditional finale to the comic convention/festival season, Leed’s Thought Bubble, is moving forward to the start of November (1st-6th) and we’ve just had the annual slew of social media posts from artists/creators happy/disappointed with getting in/being rejected by the curation process. It’s a hard thing to do, but as anyone who’s been to Thought Bubble or read the reports on here will know, the festival’s simply grown and grown until hitting a critical mass a couple of years back and there’s simply not the space for all those wanting a place. So curating is the way to go.
Well, much to no-one’s surprise, I haven’t been to see the Batman Vs Superman film yet. But lots of folks have, and there’s a real mixed bag of reviews out there. Garth, writing here on the blog, certainly loved it, but I’m still not entirely convinced (I liked it too! – Joe). It’s the tone of the thing that really bothers me I think, rather than whether it’s actually a good film. I put up the trailer for BvS and Captain America Civil War the other week and really felt that they said everything about the trouble DC has getting its movies right. Marvel is all multi-coloured, involving action (even when the subject’s a bit dark) whereas DC just seems determined to mine the path of grim and gritty begun so many years ago with Miller’s Dark Knight. Yes, I know that’s somewhat the point where it comes to this version of Batman, but even in DK, Supes was a bright light to offset Batman’s darkness.
Oh, I don’t know, I’ll try to go watch it soon, but here’s a wonderful Ty Templeton bun toon that I fear reflects a lot of what I’m talking about….
The redoubtable Corrine Pearlman has snapped up six new graphic novel acquisitions for Myriad Editions, from both new and established talent, which will be coming out from that fine Indy Brit publisher over 2017 and 2018’s schedules. Winner of Myriad’s inaugural First Graphic Novel competition, Gareth Brookes already impressed us with his very unusual The Black Project from Myriad, and now they will be publishing his new work, A Thousand Coloured Castles, “a unique, gorgeously crayoned story about an elderly couple in the suburban South, in which Myriam, who suffers alarming hallucinations, struggles to convince her disbelieving husband Fred that there really is a boy being held captive in the house next door.”
Hannah Eaton has her second book, Blackwood also coming from Myriad, “a graphic mystery set in the small town of Hendersby, where two murders occur, many years apart.” And one of our very favourite creators (and one-time cartoonist in virtual residence) Darryl Cunningham has not one but two new books in the works from Myriad, the first being Graphic Science, a continuation of an area Darryl has (quite rightly) achieved a high reputation for, exploring and explaining scientific concepts and history in an accessible and interesting manner. Graphic Science promises to be “a fascinating profile of seven undervalued scientists, from Mary Anning to George Washington Carver, exploring their aims, struggles, successes and failures.” His second new title, Billionaires, will examine the lives of the super-rich, and should be an interesting book-end to his superb Supercrash (one of my Best Of picks from 2014).
(a page close to my heart – Darryl Cunningham’s debunking of the Moon Landing conspiracy nuts in Science Tales, published Myriad)
Very pleased to see that long-time Brit comics and illustration talent Kate Charlesworth will also be being published by Myriad – I’m sure many of you will be familiar with Kate’s artwork with Mary and Bryan Talbot in the brilliant Sally Heathcote, Suffragette (and Kate was also kind enough to illustrate my own short story in the To End All Wars anthology). (A Girl’s Guide To) Sensible Footwear “opens the curtains on an exhilarating spectacle of lesbian pageantry from the 1960s to the present day. Personal and political, it gives Pride a run for its money, putting lesbian history under the spotlight and making the invisible visible.” I imagine this is one which will have that elusive crossover appeal to a wider audience of readers beyond comics.
Aneurin (Nye) Wright, author of Things to do in a Retirement Home Trailer park, has Noni’s Wedding, which “is the story of one man – widower and father – who sets out to plan the wedding of his beloved niece but finds challenges of mythic proportions standing in his way.”
Terrific to see Myriad continuing to invest in new graphic novel titles, I’m sure we’ll be discussing each of these in more detail in coming months.
I didn’t have time to post on this over the Easter holiday weekend, but as is traditional the annual EasterCon meeting of Brit science fiction and fantasy folk also saw the British Science Fiction Association Awards (BSFA), along with the Arthur C Clarke Award one of the literary highlights for UK science fiction and fantasy. Aliette de Bodard was the big winner, scooping both the Best Novel Award for House of Shattered Wings and the Best Short Fiction Award for Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight, published in Clarkseworld magazine. Jim Burns took the Best Artwork Award for the cover to Ian Whates’ Pelquin’s Comet and Adam Roberts took the Best Non-Fiction Award for Rave and Let Die: The SF and Fantasy of 2014. Congrats to everyone involved.
Now, ending as usual with a few political bits….
Stephen Collins on the US election (as usual, apologies for cutting it down… damn formatting!!!!)