It is probably educational

This weekend sees Newcastle's Paper Jam Comics Collective turning up in force at Leeds' Thought Bubble festival comic convention thing and my word, they have a lot of new stuff for sale (including my own new pamphlet).

Amongst the great deal of exciting new things is the group's latest 'And That' anthology History... And That (see the amazing cover above). The And Thats have been going from strength-to-strength, and this latest one, with a loose history theme, is full of dang good work. It also features an Oscillating Brow one-pager called 'For The Record', which, by examining the start of recorded history, examines the very concept of history and its inherent subjectivity - and is also quite silly.

Amongst the other tremendous gear on show will be A4 Comics Presents, an all ages anthology of great quality put together by mastermind Daniel 'comicsdaniel' Clifford, that features a story 'Trainee Space Chef', written by (former chief of the Oscillating Brow Comics writing team) Quinston Q. Blowfish and drawn by the supremely talented Martin Newman (king of 24HCD Newcastle and Project Z main man). It features: Action! Adventure! Cooking! You should check it out.

A thing which does things

The brand new and biggest ever Oscillating Brow comic will shortly be released on an unsuspecting public.

So what is The Device? The product of my efforts at 24-Hour Comic Day, it's 24 pages of A6 black & white comic. A little story which crosses the boundaries of time and space to tell a tale of human aspiration and failure and success, exploring the human condition. Or something like that.

It features several little cameos. First person to spot them wins respect if not a prize.

The Device will cost a £1 and will be first available from the Paper Jam Comics Collective table at the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds this weekend (also available will be my previous 'works': Cat and Tales of Extraordinariness #1 & #2). Subsequently it will hopefully be available from Travelling Man Newcastle and various other fairs/cons/etc.


Take that official 24HCD!

It was 24-hour comics day recently, and I did one! Despite some unexpected clamouring for me to do a sequel to my previous sort-of-'24-hour'-comic, I tried to take it fairly seriously this time.

Anyway, it went alright. My full report can be read here, and the comic, The Device, should hopefully be available fairly soon.


You will like this

People who like comics-related podcasts should be aware of an exciting new podcast on the Geek Syndicate network called 'If You Like This'.

It takes particular books/TV/films/games/genres/whatever, and recommends comics that fans of the first thing might like.

I will admit to a tiny amount of input into this wondrous new audio delight: I've done the short theme music for it. This is the second podcast that has been blighted by Oscillating Brow music, the other being the equally excellent Small Press Big Mouth (also available on the Geek Syndicate network).

Anyway, anyone who likes things and might like to like comics that are like the things they like will almost certainly like If You Like This, so should check it out now.

The first episode is looking at stuff for people who like either The Wire and/or Boston Legal, so the recommendations have a political/law & order flavour. All bias aside, it's a dang fine show and you would be mad to miss it.


Leeds Alternative Comics Fair

Last weekend saw the first Leeds Alternative Comics Fair. It was in a pub ('A Nation of Shopkeepers') in Leeds, wherein a select bunch of small press comics producers sold their wares in a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Paper Jam were amongst them, or at least Gary Bainbridge, Andy Waugh, Paul Thompson and Ben Clark were, I just turned up and insisted on dumping my shoddy comics on the table too.

Anyway, it was thoroughly enjoyable, I bought a bunch of comics, the pub did good beer and food, and I made a brief trip to the wondrous indie-centric comic shop OK Comics during the afternoon. Plenty of comics were sold (even one or two Oscillating Brow ones) and a pretty good time seemed to be had by all. For more info, see the write-ups from organisers Hugh Raine & Steve Tillotson, and Stacey Whittle on the SFX magazine blog.


The future is somehow not what was expected

Can you believe it has been over ten years since all that business about the millenium?

Are we in some futuristic utopia? Have things got better and more wondrous? I think most people would concur with an answer of 'not really'.

The inexorable rise of Twitter and Facebook and suchlike seems the main product of a decade that was meant to be about stepping boldly forward into the future but has just instead just seen humans getting even stupider.

It was somehow fitting that the decade ended with a track that was recorded in 1992 by Rage Against The Machine as the Christmas pop charts number one, a final feeble pop-cultural wail of disappointment and disillusionment from a populace not sure of anything except that they'd been led to believe that the future was somehow meant to be better.

Anyway, this is all only vaguely connected to the new Oscillating Brow comic, which is much more microcosmic and frankly silly.

Tales of Extraordinariness #2: 'So Much For The Noughties' is a very small and inexpert comic that can now be purchased from Travelling Man Newcastle (and possibly the Made In Newcastle shop and various fairs/cons/whatever in the future), probably for around 30 pence.


Take that, world of gallery art

The Paper Jam Comics Collective released their latest anthology, Art ...And That, at a whirlwind evening of arts excitement in Durham last week organised by the excellent people of the DLI Museum & Gallery and Empty Shop.

A proper write up with photos and everything by the illustrious Andy Waugh can be read here.

Art ...And That was commissioned for the event and was put together very quickly (by Mr Waugh with cover by Mr Bainbridge), yet thanks to the increasingly skillful PJCC contributors, it is full of top-notch work. The concept was to talk about a particular fairly well-known artist or piece of 'gallery art' via the medium of comics - and some genuinely thought-provoking work came out of it.

My own piece, 'De/Re-Recontextualisation', was borne of a profound distaste for recent nonsense such as Icelandic "artist" Erro copying Brian Bolland Tank Girl art and claiming it as his own. That kind of thing seems to pretty much sum up a certain segment of contemporary 'gallery artists' and their smug, self-congratulatory, meaningless, creatively-bankrupt attitudes, particularly towards 'low art' like comics. Bolland's riposte (in the link above) is totally spot on and is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the place of comics in the Art world.

It's not always so simple though. I've always liked Roy Lichtenstein's work with its tongue-in-cheek hyper-melodrama (plus I suppose the concept of recontextualisation was more novel in the Pop Art era), but still the inherent imbalances about credit for such work prove difficult to digest. Anyway, enough blathering, you should make up your own minds. Great artists apparently don't need to explain their work, and I won't either. Suffice to say, the anthology is smashing and anyone with an interest in art or comics should purchase it.


Take that, world of aerial toy construction!

Paper Jam, after having been at Durham's EGO Festival of alternativeness the previous weekend, then appeared at the Sunderland Friendship and Kite Festival last weekend.

A plethora of comics were sold at both events, including several copies of the glorious Space Monkey (an anthology aimed at kids, inspired by the fact that at same event last year, the collective had nothing really suitable for a younger audience - so it was satisfying to see the plan vindicated) and, bafflingly, several copies of my own Tales of Extraordinariness and Cat (the poor fools).

The festival itself was good fun, involving kites and crafty activities for kids, plus various things for sale - in the tent where Paper Jam was at, there were vendors selling cacti, cupcakes, and cuddly knitted creatures amongst many other things. Indeed, through this mixture of coolness, links were forged with the Newcastle Craft Mafia, resulting in Paper Jam joining their exciting new shop-based venture Made In Newcastle, which launches shortly - check it out!

In other news, Paper Jam is lining up TWO fantastic new anthologies: History And That, and Art And That, both of which will be marred by the inclusion of work from me. Also Tales of Extraordinariness #2 is pretty much done, and since I've also run out of copies of Cat and Tales of Extraordinariness #1, there may have to be a printing session soon to get this tat made and available to you, the bad-comics-buying public.


Viva the medium-sized press

Paper Jam Comics Collective was on tour last weekend at: the Washington Arts Centre - in Washington! P.R.E.S.S. had put on a groovy little get-together celebrating the wonder of small press things. Read the official Paper Jam write up! DO IT NOW!

It was a nice mixed gathering, plenty of local prose and poetry publishers vending their fine wares, but also a chunky comics contingent: aside from Paper Jam and the remnants of the There Goes Tokyo small press stockpile, there were also Unico comics and London-based WAW+P (thoroughly nice folks).

It was a nice do, and seeing quite interesting things being done that experimented with the physical nature of print publications was quite inspiring. From books that were essentially sculptures on one stall (that I'm too rubbish to track a link to), to WAW+P's ambitious Solipsistic Pop anthologies, to Paper Jam's Mike D who provided a tremendously fun zine trail, it was all quite thought-provoking about what the printed format can do.

That said, my next publication is still almost certainly going to be an A6 photocopied shambles, but it now might be ironic.


High times in the highlands

This weekend was the third Hi-Ex Highland Comic Expo and after having unexpectedly been gifted use of a table (from Omnivistascope) Paper Jam were there selling comics. Well, the wondrous mechahumanoid Paul Thompson was, and I helped out a little bit.

The whole shinding was really nice, great panels, socialising, it was all really really nice. More importantly: Oscillating Brow Comics had two titles for sale and even sold some! Incredible! Yes, there were a few copies of Tales of Extraordinariness #1, and yes, the brand new sort-of-24-hour-comic CAT was launched on an unsuspecting public.

In addition to all the fun and beer, there was even some work got done on Tales of Extraordinariness #2. You have been warned.

Anyways, CAT should hopefully be available elsewhere, possibly Travelling Man Newcastle, for a mighty 40p sometime soon, and big thumbs up to anyone involved in any way with Hi-Ex, it was ace.


Yes, the wait is over, there is a new Oscillating Brow comic. It is a bit small, but never mind.

Several plucky comic-makers from the Paper Jam Comics Collective did a 24 hour comic. The challenge they faced was: to start from nothing (no preparation allowed) and draw a complete 24-page comic within 24 hours (following the original Scott McCloud rules). They succeeded and are all tremendous admirable people and I salute them.

For people less keen to stay up all night there was a social 'Drink and Draw' event in the evening which I was at. After having said hello to those brave souls slaving away over their 24-hour epics, I decided that in an act of solidarity and/or smartarsery, I would do a 24 hour comic just at the Drink and Draw. It is very small (A8 landscape I think) and is about a cat and other things which rhyme with cat and it's called, somewhat unimaginatively, 'CAT'.

If you like such things, you may be able to purchase CAT soon (see next post).

In other news, later that weekend, the legendary Alan Moore rolled into town and did a wacky AV event with several collaborators entitled An English Journey Revisited. It was a bit noisy but impressively odd. Mr Moore was as hairy as he is in your dreams.


Comic-to-film adaptation article

After being incensed last year that someone should choose to make a film of Watchmen, I resolved to write a fairly chunky piece looking at the process of comic-to-film adaptations. It took a while for me to work out what I was trying to say, but it's done now and I think you should read it here on the Readers of the Lost Art site.

I know comments aren't active, but if you know me, do feel free to discuss this in person, I think it's a pretty interesting topic. If you don't know me, maybe you could discuss it with people you do know who read comics and/or watch films. Or not, I mean who am I tell you what to do, I don't even know you, honestly the presumption of some people, I do apologise...


2009, bah

For reports on the goings-on in the world of comics in the North East of England in 2009, I'd suggest that interested persons investigate the blogs of the members of the Paper Jam Comics Collective (links on the right of the Paper Jam Comics Collective's blog). Many of these bright and wondrous people report on the myriad exciting and excellent things they have been up to in 2009 and look forward to the many exciting and excellent things they will be getting up to in 2010.

Things roll a bit different here at Oscillating Brow Stuff.

Highlights of 2009!
2009 was yet another year of pathetically poor output, where, with tedious predictability, ennui and inefficiency allowed the innumerable banalities of life to crush any spluttering remnants of creative potential, leaving only melancholy, misanthropy and self-loathing. The few shoddy things that did get done in the year served only to highlight what a pointless, useless, worthless excuse-for-a-human-being created them, proficient only in wasting a miserable nonexistence doing nothing.

Predictions for 2010!

Happy New Decade Y'all!