Robot Wars ++

Saw this over at Angry Zen Master he finds some of the coolest links and videos.

I’m just waiting for the boffins to invent ones which can use weapons, and this will be ‘proper’ robot wars.

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Fables – 1001 Nights of Snowfall

Since I went to BICS last month and got a free sketch of Flycatcher by Mark Buckingham, I wanted to find out more about the character and comics he was from and see more of Buckinghams work, so a couple of weeks back I ended up buying the first two trade paperbacks of Fables by Bill Willingham and have to say I was not at all disappointed.

As the title suggests, the comics are about fables (or rather the characters therein) but it’s done in such an interesting and well written way that helps you recognise ‘familiar’ characters and accept them in a new and more grown-up light, in completely different and unusual (or should that be normal?) circumstances and the direction and pace of the storytelling is great. The current story run is centred on the ‘Fabletown’ community who now (and for the last few centuries) live in an area of New York (and also an up state farm for those who are too inhuman not to draw attention).

Whilst looking to buy the third collected instalment though, which was out of stock at the shop I was in, I decided to pick up 1001 Nights of Snowfall and again am really glad I did. It’s a prequel story (or collection of stories) set out of normal continuity that give a new take on the origins of the characters we know (or thought we did) set either before or after the fables remembered from our childhoods, and as well as tying this altogether in the guise of the original 1001 Nights storyline, and packaged in a hardback book that’s set out like, and captures the feel of, the best classic fable style storybooks I remember getting me interested in reading in the first place as a child.

If you like to read the odd comic/graphic novel (or even if you don’t) I recommend getting hold of a copy, just if you have kids don’t get it mixed up with their books by mistake.

Karma Police

I did use to have several t-shirt designs up on cafepress for sale, but decided it wasn’t worth the cost of paying for a premium site when I wasn’t prepared to put the time in to get all of the other designs out of my head and onto the computer, and then market the whole thing as much as possible, just for the few dollars you get out of cafepress.

The one shirt that has sold a few times though is my Karma Police design, an homage to one of my favourite bands, and also to one of my favourite tv shows ( “…I’m just trying to be a better person…” ) and I realised I don’t think I ever mentioned it here, but it’s still up there, and I’m trying to decide if I should leave it where it is, scrap it altogether, or get a few printed myself and sell them that way instead.

Karma Police ShirtKarma Police Shirt Design

Angry Zen Penguins

It’s known far and wide that I’m not the best at drawing and painting (I’d still have trouble keeping between the lines in a colouring book) which is why I asked Jamie Noguchi if he wouldn’t mind designing and painting a couple of my penguins for me.

Everyone’s favourite Angry Zen Master and artist on the excellent Erfworld, he’s lived up to form and done a bang up job producing these really cool little fellas, cheers Jamie.

Penguins 01Penguins 02Penguins 03
Penguins 04Penguins 05

BICS 2007

Last weekend I attended the second annual Birmingham International Comics Convention (I know, I didn’t realise there’d been a first either, thanks a lot to a friend of mine who told me about it, you know who you are).

I had a pretty good weekend overall and managed to get out of there spending hardly any money on comics/graphic novels etc, and even managed to snag a few free sketches/signatures from a few luminaries of the comics world.

As I pre-ordered tickets I got entry into the launch night the evening before the show in a pub in Birmingham and found myself sat at a table with Bryan Talbot and Jordan Smith with Mike Carey and lots of other ‘names’ milling around within arms length, but I found myself a little shy that evening (uncharacteristically so, especially with a couple of pints inside me) and decided to let them all talk to people they knew instead of bothering them, before retiring fairly early (not the cheapest bar I’ve been to).

Getting to the show late the next morning, I just managed to get in and get a seat for ‘Comic Artists Flip Out’ which had Alan Davis, Staz Johnson and Mark Buckingham at the front of the room sketching whatever they felt like on A1 sketchpads (and taking requests and answering questions at the same time). It was great fun to watch professionals knock out such good pictures in such short order, and the really good part was that everyone in the audience got a raffle ticket before they started and as soon as a sketch was complete they called a number and whoever had a ticket ‘won’ the sketch. It turns out Mark Farmer was sat in the row in front of me and won the first completed sketch which just so happened to be an Alan Davis Batman, (I was gutted to say the least, but then I actually won a Mark Buckingham sketch myself).

Later on after queuing for an age I got to talk to Dave Gibbons who was a genuinely friendly and chatty bloke. As I knew Dave was going to be at this event I thought it would be fun to try and make something to take along and get signed, but as I’m still not very good or fast and only had a limited amount of time to work on anything I decided to use one of the penguin cast-off’s I had lying around from the penguins I make for my fiancée I made a couple of ‘Rorschach Penguins’ gave one to Dave to keep, and he was more than happy to sign the other one for me as well as do me a little personalized Rorschach sketch and sign all my copies of ‘Watchmen‘.

After a bit more wandering round I just managed to catch Mike Mignola before he went off for the first of his Q&A sessions of the weekend and gave him a ‘Hell Penguin’ custom I’d made and got him to sign one for me too. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get into his incredibly popular talk that day, but did manage to catch the ‘Darkness Calls‘ talk the next day as well as see the Q&A session with the incredibly talented and unassuming Kevin Nowlan who later on did a quick Wasp headsketch for Susan and a Jack B. Quick for me.

My only regrets from the weekend were missing the Adi Granov and Esad Ribic talk and the Matt Hollingsworth colouring master-classes and that I didn’t manage to get more sketches and signatures, but then there’s always next year.

Staz JohnsonMark BuckinghamMark Buckingham sketch, 'Fly Catcher' from FablesMike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo and Pete DohertyMike Mignola notes and layout thumbsDuncan Fegredo pageMike Mignola character designDuncan Fegredo pageDuncan Fegredo pageDuncan Fegredo pageDave Gibbons holding his 'Rorschach Penguin'RorschachWasp sketchJack B. QuickModded penguins signed by Mike Mignola and Dave GibbonsModded penguins signed by Mike Mignola and Dave Gibbons