This coming weekend we are infiltrating the row of tables holding the Paper Jam Comics Collective, thanks to Terry Wiley hosting us on his table. I think that makes us honorary Northerners for the day…
Paper Jam Comics Collective is a group of Tyneside-based comics creators that meets every two weeks to talk about comics and collaborate on anthologies. The group will have a table at Thought Bubble where they’ll be selling a new anthology, (1 to 4 page comic strips set throughout history; some factual, some fictitious) as well as a host of their other comics: Space Monkey (all-ages), Art…and that(art-themed) and Robots…and that (sci-fi).
Aside from the main Paper Jam table, members from the group will also have their own tables:
Andy Waugh and Gary Bainbridge
Show and Tell – launching at Thought Bubble – will be Andy’s first foray into this new territory. Madame Doreen, Medium is a supernatural story from the point of view of someone for whom the extraordinary is an everyday occurrence. Andy’s second strip for Show and Tell is called, somewhat appropriately, Big Things Hiding Behind Little Things.
You can also read my review of Andy’s autobiographical comic Coupledom
Collaborating with Andy on Show and Tell (utilising the flip-book format that makes one comic into two!) is Gary Bainbridge. Gary’s two strips are Merry Fox and a further adventure from the world of Nightbus; his comic about the vigilante drivers of Northumbria University’s nightbus. Gary’s other new work launching at Thought Bubble is the tale of a fickle North East teenager whose latest ambition is to become a costume crime-fighter.
Daniel Clifford, Martin Newman and Paul Thompson
The North East Geek Feast co-host, Daniel Clifford, will be launching three new comics at Thought Bubble. One of which is Sugar Gliderwhich he wrote and co-created with Gary Bainbridge. Daniel’s other works are the all-ages comics, A4 Comics Presents… and Lily and Danel: Adventurers>A4 Comics Presents…
Martin will be launching the results of Project Z – an epic collaboration between 14 creators, in which 4 creative teams told the stories of 4 survivors of a Newcastle-based zombie uprising before Martin and his own team completed the story. Featuring zombies, museums, the Tyne and Wear Metro system and St James Park, this is one gigantic zombie comic that is still relevant! Martin will also have his 24hr comics on hand and a book by his 9yr old daughter, Sophie.
Paul Thompson’s work can be found in A4 Comics Presents…, Project Z and all of the latest Paper Jam anthologies (most of which he has been involved in organising and designing). Thought Bubble will finally see his second issue of Tales of the Hollow Earth come out, as well as selected works from his many 24hr Comic Challenge attempts.
At only 22-years-old it’s amazing that Jack Fallows is a 10-year veteran of the small press comics scene. Jack’s most expansive work so far is The Big Bang – issue 1 of this character study set during a bizarre disaster somewhere in America was released at last year’s Thought Bubble and issue 2 has just been finished in time for this year’s convention.
North East comics legend and Rich Johnson’s favourite comic creator, Terry Wiley will be launching the second issue of Verityfair Terry’s Verityfairis a beautifully-drawn story of Verity Bournville a chip shop worker and struggling actress who has to contend with her acting agency burning to the ground and haunting nightmares.
Although he hasn’t been to a Paper Jam meeting in over a year due to various factors (having a baby is one!) Ben will always be a Paper Jammer! Thought Bubble will see the launch of a new 24hr comic and hopefully the first collection of his Spinechillers webcomic (starring Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce living together in a boarding house).
We attended a talk by Joanne Harris last night, and she’s a very interesting speaker. She mainly talked about her new book Blue Eyed Boy, which sounded intriguing. It deals with a couple of unreliable narrators who are involved in an online forum, and much of the story is told through entries posted to the forum.
She also talked about the evolution of her writing and the subjects she chooses. One of her main drives is to try and convey how she perceives the world, as she has mild synaesthesia and didn’t realise for many years that not everyone can smell/taste colours the way she does. An initial inspiration for Blue Eyed Boy was a taxi driver telling her that he, and his two brothers, had been assigned colours as children. So, he was blue so all his clothes were blue etc. She then started thinking about how this link with colour may have influenced those brothers.
She’s fascinated by the dynamics of small communities, which she witnessed frequently when a school teacher. Hence many of her earlier books are set in small villages and the latest book extends the idea to online communities.
She also said that most of her books have an old fairy tale or fairytale ideas at their core, so Blue Eyed Boy is very loosely inspired by the Boy Who Cried Wolf… though in this instance I think it might be the boy who cried murder. Yorkshire, where she grew up, is steeped in folklore and mystery which have always interested her. She mentioned an iron age fort down the road and Pendle, where the witches were hung. You can certainly see the way magic and fairytale have influenced her short stories in the collection Jigs & Reels, which I’m currently reading. Great stuff, just the right length for a magical trip while riding the bus home.
I’ll certainly be plucking the other Joanne Harris books we own (Runemarks, Gentlemen & Players) off the “to be read bookcase”, and reading Blue Eyed Boy after Jay’s finished it.
A slightly belated FantasyCon report, but Jay came down with the lurgy the following week and things have been a bit hectic.
Our first FCon was five years ago and it was a bit of a shock, after being entrenched in comics events, to show up somewhere and not know anyone! Thankfully in those five years of attending we’ve met lots of people and now always have friends to talk with in the bar.
For a change we managed to get there on the Friday before the reg desk closed and pick up the goodie bags. Then headed straight into the small press panel… which concluded that we really should rename it the indie press… the same debate has raged in comics for years! It wasn’t surprising to note that many people were very in favour of the small presses for their dedication, author support, editing skills and as a learning ground in the sf&f and horror fields. Plus for publishing those more speculative and undefinable stories that would never find a home with big publishers. Not that different from the comics small press, apart from it is much more accepted to self-publish in comics than in the book world. Possibly because there are even fewer places to pitch comics? Or because there are big names in comics who have gone down this route to maintain complete creative control?
We then planned on going to the bar but met Mark West on our way out the room and got dragged back in to take part in the quiz. Could hardly answer any of the questions, even the supposedly easy ones! Our team, the Fantastic Furies, came last (thought there were less points in it than expected), but it was good fun (plus there were free chips). Finally made it into the bar for a few quick chats before heading out.
Saturday we made it in time for a quick scoot around the dealers room and an early lunch before heading into two of the Special Guest interviews. First up was Lisa Tuttle being interviewed by Stephen Jones. I’d not heard of Lisa before she was announced as a guest at FCon, but managed to pick up one of her short story collections before the event and I’m a convert. Intriguing stories with good central ideas and characters, plus a feminist overtone that appeals to me. I later succumbed to buying the lovely special collected edition of her early supernatural stories “Stranger in the House”. Interesting to hear about her life and decision to move over to the UK from America. Her thoughts on what she writes, and on British accents.
Next up was Chaz Brenchley interviewing Bryan Talbot. Now we’ve heard Bryan doing talks several times about his different projects, but I’d never heard about his early influences and work. Chaz did a great job of steering us through Bryan’s career and Bryan was entertaining as usual (see my last post to see us co-presenting a British Fantasy Award at FCon).
Then straight off to the Never Again launch for me, and the Rio Youers reading for Jay. Lots of authors were signing for the Never Again launch, in support of the good causes the money is going to. Showed the passion and hard work put in by everyone involved in the project, especially editors Joel Lane and Ally Bird, and publisher Gary Fry. (Otherwise known as the lion, the witch and the wardrobe).
We then got a chance to chat to a few people, like Simon Marshall Jones and spend more money, before heading off to dinner with Jan Edwards, Peter Coleborn, Jen Barber, Mike Chinn, Debbie Bennett and the rest of the gang. Thanks for inviting us along.
Obviously we got back in time for the awards. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. We then planned to head off, but got immersed in conversations at the bar!
Sunday was a much quieter day, as we got up somewhat late and didn’t make it over to the con until lunchtime. I made the mistake of wandering around the dealers room too many time and spending all the money I had left! We decided to stay for the raffle and won a few things, though didn’t manage to win anything for Mary Talbot who had to leave part way through.
The weekend finished off with chatting to Di Price and Marion Pitman, who we hadn’t met before, and many goodbyes.
Now we have to work out whether we can afford FCon next year, as it’s moving to Brighton.
The Girly Comic was short-listed for the second year running for the British Fantasy Award for Best Comic or Graphic Novel, and the awards were held last Saturday at the FantasyCon event in Nottingham.
Thanks to all those who voted for us, it was a great honour to be short listed, alongside comic great, such as Neil Gaiman, Bill Willingham, Joe Hill and Warren Ellis. Alas, we lost out to WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER?, by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert (DC Comics/Titan Books).
However, I still got to get up on stage as I was asked to co-present the Award for Best Artist with Bryan Talbot. I was a last minute replacement when the sculpture who had designed the awards this year couldn’t make it, but it was lovely to be asked. You can see Bryan & I presenting the award on this YouTube video: