Is it Friday already? Heavens, that means it must be time for Richard and Joe to take a little wander around the comic news of the week. Shall we begin?
Broken Frontier has a guest post from Avery Hill Publishing’s Ricky Miller talking about the ongoing lack of a UK comic award to match those in other major comic countries.
“So another year comes around where there will be no British Comics Awards. In fact, the awards landscape in the UK is looking pretty barren across the board. Despite the apparent growth and health of comic/graphic novel sales we don’t seem to be able to come up with one comics award ceremony that recognises the full spectrum of work that is produced on these isles.”
Yep, the lack of the BCAs is a major problem for the UK comic scene/ industry/ market/ insert generic preferred term here. I was part of the first couple of BCAs as committee member and it was a wonderful thing, that we really thought would get bigger and better with each coming year. Trouble is, no matter what your intentions, the sheer amount of work behind something like the BCAs is a major issue. Adam Cadwell did an amazing thing to get them off the ground and keep them going for years the way that he did, but in the end, it was simply too big a job for anyone, particularly a comic creator who needs to work on things that actually pay the rent.
So, what’s the answer? The Broken Frontier piece comes up with some, although as always there are more questions than answers. Will there ever be a major UK comic awards again? Oh, we all hope so, but not this year, and given the time needed for the groundwork, probably not in 2018 either. But one day, hopefully.
Over at Women Write About Comics, Arnar Heidmar writes about one of my favourite comics of the 90s, Terry Moore’s Strangers In Paradise. And in the first part of the series, finds a lot to praise, but also isn’t shy to point out the failings of the comic, failings that became more and more apparent as the series continued past the first 20, 30 excellent issues.
Sure, Terry Moore created something very fresh and new, but the series lingered rather than ended, and the ever more complex and far-fetched storylines he threw into the mix took so much away from the delights of those earlier issues. Here’s a little of what Heidmar has to say…
“While not terribly famous today compared to contemporaries in the same field, SiP has a devoted fanbase due to its discussion of feminism, body issues, and queer content. It touted itself as being “the comic to give someone who doesn’t read comics” due to its sizable female audience and lack of clear fantastical or superheroic elements typical of most comics at the time.”
“It is also a zany, dated piece of guilty pleasure fluff stretched across 19 volumes that I adore to pieces, despite its very, very clear issues.”
Yes, I’ll certainly agree with that. And in retrospect, although not having read the series for many years, I have to agree with Heidmar’s analysis of Katchoo and the more unfortunate aspects of gender and relationships going on in the books. Go have a read for yourselves.
Coming in summer 2018 from Knockabout in the UK and Top Shelf in North America, those splendid chaps Mr Alan Moore and Mr Kevin O’Neil, Esq, return for the final outing of their much acclaimed illustrated publication, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with The Tempest. From the description:
“After an epic seventeen-year journey through the entirety of human culture – the biggest cross-continuity ‘universe’ that is conceivable – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill will conclude both their legendary League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and their equally legendary comic-book careers with the series’ spectacular fourth and final volume, The Tempest.
Tying up the slenderest of plot threads and allusions from the three preceding volumes, The Black Dossier, and the Nemo trilogy into a dazzling and ingenious bow, the world’s most accomplished and bad-tempered artist-writer team will use their most stylistically adventurous outing yet to display the glories of the medium they are leaving; to demonstrate the excitement that attracted them to the field in the first place; and to analyse, critically and entertainingly, the reasons for their departure.”
“Opening simultaneously in the panic-stricken headquarters of British Military Intelligence, the fabled Ayesha’s lost African city of Kor and the domed citadel of ‘We’ on the devastated Earth of the year 2996, the dense and yet furiously-paced narrative hurtles like an express locomotive across the fictional globe from Lincoln Island to modern America to the Blazing World; from the Jacobean antiquity of Prospero’s Men to the superhero-inundated pastures of the present to the unimaginable reaches of a shimmering science-fiction future. With a cast-list that includes many of the most iconic figures from literature and pop culture, and a tempo that conveys the terrible momentum of inevitable events, this is literally and literarily the story to end all stories.
Commencing as a six-issue run of unfashionable, outmoded and flimsy children’s comics that will make you appear emotionally backward if you read them on the bus, this climactic magnum opus will also reprint classic English super-team publication The Seven Stars from the murky black-and-white reaches of 1964. A magnificent celebration of everything comics were, are and could be, any appreciator or student of the medium would be unwise to miss The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume IV: THE TEMPEST.”
Birmingham peeps!! The Not Another Comic-Con is taking palce at the Novotel on Broad Street on Saturday August 5th, running from 10am to 3pm, circle your diaries now!! And with the kids all out of school it could be a perfect day out with the family! More details to be had over on their Facebook page.
In Edinburgh the city, already heaving with tourists from all over the world, is about to explode at the seams like a cultural Mr Creosote as the world’s largest arts festival kicks off with the Fringe (then the Interntional Festival and, of course, our chums at the Edinburgh International Book Festival later in August). The Fringe, if you don’t know it already, is wall to wall shows all day and night and into the wee, small hours, every kind of act and show going on, and of course there are some geek-friendly ones among those hundreds of shows. One that caught our eye is Marvel Us, from the Just Us League, who aim to do “all the Marvel movies in an hour. Sort of”.
They’re on as part of the Free Fringe (that is unticketed, the audience is encouraged to chuck some money in the hat at the end of the show) at the City Cafe, right round the corner from the Edinburgh Forbidden Planet, so if you are Fringeing, maybe think about giving them some support!
Tania Del Rio talks to SyFy Wire’s Tara Bennett about being a woman in the comics business:
Hannah Berry’s the Mermaid and the Diver on the International Literature Showcase caught my eye, especially so soon after reading Metaphrog’s gorgeous comics version of the Little Mermaid (reviewed here). In this short comics work Hannah takes the Little Mermaid tale and has a woman telling a child the story, but here with a twist, a metaphor for the seemingly endless rise of small-minded, bigoted xenophobia and the wretched “go back where you belong” mentality which seems to be so horribly pervasive in many countries at the moment.
On a related note, I will be talking to Hannah and Sarah Laing about their comics works at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on August 20th, if you are in our festival-frenzied city please do come along!
Belfast peeps!!! Forbidden Planet Belfast is hosting artist Mark Reihill this Saturday (29th July) from 2 to 4pm, a good chance for you to get on down, support a good artist and also get a signed copy of the first issue of a brand-new comics series, Off Girl!
It’s a way off yet, but it’s one to pencil into the growing roster of comics events around the UK and Ireland these days (so nice compared to the old days when we pretty much had the Bristol and Birmingham shows and that was about it). Portsmouth International Comic-Con is scheduled for the 5th and 6th of May 2018, and is being organised by good chum of the blog, Joel Meadows and the long-running Tripwire magazine, in conjunction with Portsmouth Guildhall. Early days yet, of course, but already some guests – including Frank Quitely, Rafael Albuquerque, and Mark Buckingham – are already confirmed, with more updates to follow over the next few months. If you are interested in exhibiting or sponsoring you can email enquiries (at) portsmouthguildhall.org.uk
Simpsons creator Matt Groening has a new animated TV series in the works, Disenchantment, coming from Netflix in 2018. The series will feature a dysfunctional princess, Bean and will cover subjects such as ““life and death, love and sex, and how to keep laughing in a world full of suffering and idiots, despite what elders and wizards and other jerks tell you.” As the Guardian notes the show sounds darker than the Simpsons, but from the Man who created Life in Hell it seems quite appropriate. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more on this over coming months.
The first teaser trailer for Ready Player One was shown at the recent San Diego Comic Con and is now on the web for your viewing pleasure. From the description: ” The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.”
It’s not due till next spring, but it does whet the appetite! And meantime if you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend Ernest Cline’s novel on which the film is based, it went down a treat with my long-running science fiction book group.
The trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas Special also aired at San Diego and is online. I’m sure most of the inhabited planets have watched it by now, but hey, let’s have another look! Two Doctors, a link to the very first regeneration we ever saw way back in the 60s, Pearl Mackie back and… Yes, that new regeneration, and then it won’t be two Doctors in that special episode but three. Vworp!!!
Chris Riddell suggests a few books for your summer hols….
Stephen Collins on all the fun of school sports day….