NEWZROUND: Laydeez and LACF5!

Hi Pals
Firstly, I want to say thanks for the great response I’ve had to the ‘I Yeti’ strip, I put a lot of work into it so it’s nice to be recognised, even if my moment in the spotlight is now over. I’ll be selling prints of the I, Yeti strip on here very shortly (UPDATE- now available here), and it will also feature in a new comic, more of which to follow…

So, on with the NEWZ:
This coming Monday the 26th November, I will be one of the speakers at the inaugural meeting of the Leeds branch of Laydeez Do Comics (details here), doing a short talk about my comics and co-organising the Leeds Alternative Comics Fair. So if you’re a comics laydee, please come along.

Speaking of LACF it appears I have been remiss in not posting my poster here, so here it is:

All being well, I will be selling a special, very limited edition comic called ‘Banal Pig’s Royal Assortment’ a full-colour collection of new and recent comics including ‘I, Yeti’, a few one-pagers and the all-new strip ‘Vampire Weekend’:

Well, you get the idea of that, I’ll have to get my cheeks in gear to get it finished though, still got to do a cover and that.
Also, if i’ve got time, I’m gonna attempt some linocut christmas cards for your pleasure.

The last thing in my newsfest is that i’m working on the possibilities of a print version of Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure. I’ve pretty much worked out the main story now, which will be six chapters, but there will be a difference between the webcomic and the book as I’m gonna expand the character’s stories and have a few more sub plots weaving their way into the main plot. Here’s a sketch of some of the characters you can expect to see in coming chapters:

This is as much as you’re getting for now, but I’ll keep you posted as things develop, and keep an eye on the webcomic as I’ll still be posting new pages…

Very lastly, please have a look at Banal Pig vice president Gareth Brookes’ blog which he has updated with much gusto in the last few months, and is packed with tasty nuggets of art, comics and books.

completist available to view as a pdf!!!!


that’s right, as another anniversary treat, i’ve turned the completist comic that was originally in the fan club pack from 2008 into a pdf for your viewing pleasure. in terms of running order of the strips, i haven’t got any copies left, and quark doesnt work on my new computer, so ive just made up the order- i hope this doesnt impact on your enjoyment too much. ive stuck some extra colour bits in there and the poster too. the fan club pack was a collaboration between me and gareth, so there’s a lot of his strips in there too, if you like them why not buy his comics?

anyway, here’s the link

newsround

so thought bubble was last saturday, and what a fine time it was! now that i live in leeds and there are zero overheads, it was quite the profitable experience as a vendor, and also good to see all the old faces- shout out to U Raine, Ben Clark, Lando and of course banal pig vice president, Gareth Van Brookes.

here’s a view of my plain display (maybe i should jazz it up one of these days?). As usual, many thanks to everyone who came and bought stuff or chatted, and well done to clark, lisa and everyone else who was organising- job was a good’un.

There was also a pleasant surprise at Thought Bubble as Gareth had got hold of some of the first copies of the comix reader, a fantastic 24 page newspaper anthology of comics in colour, featuring myself, and a plethora of excellent small pressers, all of which you should know about- check the links on the website for more info.

Here’s the cover by Richard Cowdry, who has also edited and compiled it, and done a great job, and the information on the cover is not fooling, this is available for just £1! it’ll be available from the website soon, ive got a couple, or they’re in stock at OK Comics in Leeds.

Speaking of which, i also put some copies of Banal Pigs’ Showcase in OK Comics, so get ’em while they’re hot.

Even more information and pictures to follow….

it’s still in its planning stages, but here’s a sketch idea for my next book. it will feature an epic journey by untitled cat and untitled ape across untold sublime landscapes and so far my research has included giant salmon, woolly mammoths, noah’s ark, the flooding of paris and the mississippi and will probably also have a yeti, an axolotl, a jumbo jet a rainforest and a castle, and maybe the underworld. this is one of those things that i will probably look back and laugh at as the finished book may well have none of the above in it. we’ll see.

also in the works is a long-awaited follow up to manly boys, comely girls which will be the same sort of thing as manly boys, only for girls. Me and Gareth were discussing it at the weekend and hopefully it will see the light of day in the spring/summer, although this may be a bit ambitious, we’ll see about this as well.

lastly, don’t forget to send me a picture of yoursen with a banal pig comic, to win a prize!

Leeds Alternative Comics Fair

gareth brookes doing the business

Well, the dust has settled on the first ever LACF and a splendid time was had by all.
We turned up to an area that had about three tables for our 14 exhibitors, but we scrabbled together a selection of tables and surfaces of different shapes and heights which somehow seemed to work well. i had a high table which actually seemed better than a normal height one for selling as the items were nearer to eye level, and i could stay sat down but still be on a level with the customers. In the end the venue couldn’t have been better- we took over one corner, but there was still plenty of space for people to mill about and have a beer afterwards, or ignore us completely if they weren’t interested.

ben clark was exhibiting for the first time since his baby-induced hiatus, and bounced back with the excellent space dracula

my boy, fellow organiser hugh “shug” raine (right) on his table which was a speaker, with andy sykes

helen “memo” entwisle and kristyna baczynski (photo by hugh raine)

The place has got a relaxed arty atmosphere which suited us and the location was great, bang in Leeds city centre. I think we had a good mix of exhibitors too, and a good mix of punters- i reckon there may have even been more female than male customers, but it was at least 50/50, which is of course how it should be, but its nowhere near this at the big comics cons (which i think, Thought Bubble aside, are seeming ever more redundant for small press creators).

gary bainbridge and andrew waugh

Special props and shout out to our special guest, “small press celebrity” Oli East, pictured proudly above, who manned the communal table and managed to create this lovely display from what could have been a dog’s dinner. Thanks too,  to all the exhibitors and everyone who came down to support us, we really appreciate it.

Anyway, i dont want to blow my own trumpet too much, and it could have been beginner’s luck, but i think we managed to put on a well-received event with minimal effort and (travel aside) no costs to anyone– so why don’t you have a go too?

post its

with no more meaningful comic news to speak of, here’s some doodles i did today. oh, there may be something coming soon involving mr wobbles and ties, but i daren’t say more at this point.

while i’m here, a big up for the good old alternative press hour presented by my pal, and vice president of banal pig comics, gareth brookes, if you havent listened to it, click here and enjoy.

Banal Pig’s Review of the Year 2007 (Part One)

In the spirit of many a lazy journalist at this time of year, I have decided to take a look back at the last 12 months of banal piggery, perhaps it will teach me some lessons; perhaps it will waste half an hour- we shall see.

January

January found me in chipper mood, sometimes you do get a bit enthusiastic at the promise of a new year, a new start and all that shit, even though time rolls on whatever us humans call it. I made another list of “Reasons to be cheerful” which included:

crispy bacon
Queen
unsolicited praise
rowdy blues music
puns
art that i couldnt do
snow
the smell of a pub as you walk past

aw… I am an optimist you know.

In comics, I was collating the BP Portrait Prize Anthology which was a good experience, I enjoyed the editing side of things and it was nice to put something out fairly quickly and have a mixed selection. Top Shelf’s Brett Warnock described it as “hit and miss”, which I suppose is fair enough, but I think it’s a better quality of Antho than many out there.

Also in the spirit of new opportunities, I was attempting to raise the profile of the Banal Pig brand, and I think I have done to some extent with the Web Funnies and that, but we’ve still not cracked how to engage with punters at comic expos. I think it’s impossible.

February

I did this quite decent banal pig for the web and mini comix thing anthology, but they didn’t use it for some reason. I’m not doing another one.

March

Here’s an exerpt from my report from the Web and Mini Comix thing:

“it was quite a good day, and as the punters there are our specific target market we did probably as well in one day as we usually do over the weekend at the big cons. the new anthology went down quite well and there were quite a few of the contributors there to pick up their issues. i didnt actually buy anything but there was some decent stuff there- The Sound of Drowning, Dan Locke’s Green comics, Monkeys Might Puke, Beaver and Steve spring to mind – there was plenty of shite there too. Plenty of fucking awful shite. Gareth managed to get Man Man 3 out too, and we were also selling good old Oli East’s Trains Are Mint which also went down well.”

We’re doing it again this year, by the way.

Also this selection of Road Jokes, which I feel are worth repeating:

What does a road say when he wishes to thank you?

TAR!

Whats a Road’s favourite Grandmaster Flash song?

WHITE LINES!

What does a baby road do before it can walk?

KERB CRAWLING!

But of course, March was most famous for the “Sour Grapes” post, in which I vented my frustrations about the state of british small press comics. This caused a bit of stir, particularly with those people who I (and others) vented about, and I’m not going to repeat any of it here as it is history (although you can read the post and it’s comments if you like). Maybe it was unwise to blog in such a way, but it was only the difference between me thinking it and saying it, and I didn’t think anyone would read it anyway.

April

April marked the end of the financial year, and I was contemplating my accounts thusly:

“Today i am taking stock of my comics business as the financial year is all but wrapped up. i’ve made a considerable loss and am wondering where my profit margins can be increased. buying a laser printer and doing the job myself is one option, not doing the big conventions, and putting up the price of the comic are all options, none of them easy. hopefully i’ll get some tax back again, but i’ve got to start being a bit more canny, which is not the side of the business i’m interested in. any ideas?”

(Whenever I write “any ideas?” no-one ever responds. I’m the same generally. A covert blog reader but not commenter, and however I try to encourage the comments, it doesn’t make a difference.)

In relation to the above, I didn’t really make any changes, but on balance this year’s Birmingham Con was too expensive (we shouldn’t have even got out of bed on the Sunday), and I don’t think we’ll bother this year. I do feel a bit ambivalent towards money making, I am in no way a ruthless business man- I always want to give the reader value for money. This doesn’t really make my business very lucrative, but value for money is my core business plan, and it has led to repeat purchases and word of mouth and all that, and hopefully that will continue to grow.

The rest of April was Ethel Sparrowhawk previews, more of which presently.

May

Of course, May was the highlight of the comics year, the Bristol Comics Expo, the reason I busted my balls to get Ethel Sparrowhawk finished (I actually took a week off work- dedication eh?). The reason it’s my highlight is because its ten minutes down the road from my house, so there’s no extra costs and there’s plenty of people I know. Ethel went down (sold) well, and we got some nice big ups from (small press stalwart) Paul Rainey and (V for Vendetta artist) David Lloyd, and I think it was a good choice to do a change of direction at this stage, and it was a different way of working, collaborating with the lovely Jemima Von Schindelberg, to make something I certainly couldn’t have come up with on my own.

I was also contemplating a small press community website thing, where it would be easy to sell and give recommendations and that sort of thing, but to be honest I haven’t given it a second thought since then.

One thing I have learned this year is that you really have to plough your own field, do your best, work hard, etc and this brings its own rewards. No-one else is going to do it for you (me). Although I haven’t seen any tangible rewards yet, I am confident they will appear.

June

Very exciting things happened in June, yes that’s right, I won £54 on a scratchcard! Happy times.
Gareth’s website, Appalling Nonsense was created too, and I laid out my hopes and dreams for BP4:

“anyway, i was also thinking about making longer comics, and i really want to step it up a notch with banal pig 4. my current vision (sounds a bit pretentious doesnt it?) involves 2 levels of comics- i.e. a main strip and a sub-strip running alongside/under/against it, and i want to continue to develop the banal pig “universe” (again this sounds a bit poncy, but it is fairly common comic speak i think) and feature more of the peripheral characters and make the general look a bit more dense, or at least vary the layouts a bit more. this means that it wont be ready for birmingham, but i’ll have JBFCSS2 and maybe another minicomic, and i’ve got my fingers in a few other pies.”

One thing that I always do is underestimate the time it takes to do anything. Jolly Bear 2 was just about ready for Birmingham, and I have decided to really take my time with BP4 and have it out for Bristol in May ’08, but it will be worth it- having started drawing it, it is actually still quite similar to this, but there wont be as many sub strips. I cant remember what other pies they were.

I was moaning because of my shit job, as is my wont from time to time, and I started doing the ROK comics thing, in the hope of winning $10,000 (ha!). I think all competitions are flawed, in as much as I never win them.

So that’s it for part one, the first six months, but I’ll be back soon with part two probably….