Sun, sea, sand and sequential art

It's summer, and, with unusually good timing, Paper Jam is releasing its latest themed comic anthology You Need A Holiday ...And That.

I did the cover - or at least assembled many of the visual elements of it before Paul Thompson rejigged the layout and sprinkled additional photoshop filter magic upon it (before a final polish from Brittany Coxon). Frankly, I think it came out quite nicely...

Bit of a nod to Coldwar Steve in there, who is definitely the artist for our times. However, I should point out I've been a fan of collage for many years, most notably evidenced by my pieces for the Invisible Beasts art anthologies. This time working digitally was odd - in many ways easier, but in some ways harder.

Additionally, did a little one-page comic 'Sick Of Here' for the anthology. It's about equating literal place with metaphorical place, and being fed up with where you can't get away from.

You Need A Holiday ...And That is being launched at our 'Summer Comics Jam' Canny Comic Con event at Tyne Bank Brewery in honour of Small Press Day.

(Facebook event link)

Where Alexi LaGoon, PXT and Britt will be DJing - bringing the glory days of Exchange Free Range's eclectic auditory cornucopia to a new and unsuspecting audience.

It'll be mint. Get yerself along. Buy the comics. Dance. Dance Dance.


Alternate title: 'Solitude and Table Tennis'

Since the summer, Newcastle-based drawing wizard and general good 'un, Mike D has been running an arts residency in Newcastle's Grainger Market. This has involved all kinds of events, workshops, projects - all very interesting and excellent.

One of those events was a '12-hour Comic Challenge' - a somewhat more civilised sibling of the well-known but fairly brutal '24-hour Comic Challenge'. The challenge is to conceive and draw a full twelve page comic within a twelve hour period (as opposed to twenty-four in twenty-four for the 24-hour version).

Having successfully completed a 24-hour comic in the past (though as it turns out, AAAAGES ago), this seemed a great idea, so I took part.

The resultant comic is Loneliness And Ping Pong, a short tale of, er, well, loneliness and ping pong.

This rudimentary publication is available from me in person, plus probably from Travelling Man Newcastle's small press section at some point, and probably from the Grainger Market Night Market (Thursday 6th December) and the Verbal Remedy Zine fair at B&D Studios (on Saturday 8th).

Depressingly, this is the longest Oscillating Brow comic since the 24-hour one. On the other hand, that does reinforce the evidence that to do productive comic-making, I just need put myself in quiet room with other artists and have an arbitrary challenge hanging over me.


The horror

I've got two one-pagers in the Paper Jam Comics Collective's new anthology Super Spooky Scary Stories ...And That. This time the theme is horror/spookiness, complete with classic 'crypt-keeper' style hosts, though tonally aimed at being suitable for kids (nothing too visually horrific (other than my appalling inability to draw perspective)).

The first of my stories, 'Flopsie's Food', is about a girl who pushes the boundaries of science via deeply inappropriate rabbit food. You may not be surprised to learn that things do not turn out well.

The second page 'Standard Creative Procedure', is partly a reaction to making the anthology - an unusually specific (for Paper Jam) set of restrictions contrasted with our 'hands-off' editorial ethos making this book a little more of a challenge than usual. More generally though, I guess it's a bit of a love/hate letter to the ambition to run DIY creative communities - their impossible-to-fully-organise nature, but the creative purity that arises from that.

Anyway, Super Spooky Scary Stories ...And That is great - further info here.

And, for the first time in a while, PJCC will be throwing their own launch party. AND given the theme of the comic, it'll be a Halloween party!

The Creature From The Funk Lagoon will rise from its inhuman slumber to DJ (along with Count Funkula and The Texas Funk-Soul Massacre) an eclectic set of 100%-spooky choons - encompassing kitsch 50's horror pop, rock 'n' roll, hip hop, soul, metal, mashups and beyond. Best damn Halloween playlist you'll find in toon, guaranteed. Plus: collaborative drawing games! Sweets! Good craic with comics people! It's at Bar Loco Saturday 27th 7-11 FREE.