Saturday, September 23, 2017

Preston Comic Con

A Day Out with Friends

Hi Everyone,

Well, a few weeks ago I was invited along to the Preston Comic Convention, as a guest by Darren Wildman one of the organisers – not an official guest as usual, but one just visiting. I had originally said I would try my best to get along to it.

However as the time got nearer I decided that although still lots to do on Worlds End Volume 2 – I needed a break. Conventions are not breaks or us comic creator folks on our jollies despite them being enormous fun; they are in actual fact also an enormous amount of work to get ready for and to take part in. This one, however saw me just visiting for a change.

Today took my back 30+ years to the heady days of UKCAC, which at the time was the only UK comic convention taking place annually in London and it also harked back to my final convention Bristol 1999, soon after, which I left comics behind for a while, until my return with my then new company, Wizards Keep.

I travelled the 15 or so miles to Preston from my home and met up first with Dave Windett. We had a great time chatting about the comics scene, conventions and arranging for a visit to the FAU course, as we sat drinking coca cola in the Yates Bar on Church Street.

Moving on I made my way to the Convention and once inside, the packed to the rafters show, met up with Michael Barrett, the writer and creator of Invincible Books and the writer of Preston North End: Rise of the Invincibles. He had a stall in the Guild Hall.

First up was Dave Taylor, and his wife and daughter whom I briefly chatted to, before who should I meet, but another mate and comic con organiser, Dennis Whittle and his wife Sarah. We chatted for an age and then as they dashed off I spoke to Martin Griffiths. Martin and I go way back to his first Marvel job in the Christmas Transformers Issue of December 2006 and we hadn’t seen each other for a good few years, although we occasionally speak here on the web.

Next up was, John Higgins, whom I hadn’t seen since Bristol 1999. My memory of that convention’s Saturday night was a skin-ful of drink and the breakfast the morning after at which John and I sat on opposite tables. I remember asking how he felt and he said fine – he returned the question and he got the same answer. The shared smile told the real story – my trusty bags of sugary sweets came to the rescue at that convention. We were joined by Darren and the usual banter ensued. John asked me if I was sticking around after con and I said I would do, yes.

Next up was Phil Winslade, again, whom I hadn’t seen in years, but is a regular with me on Facebook.  It was whilst chatting with Phil that Adrian Salmon another visiting comic creator like me came over to chat. He told me he was going along to speak with Lew Stringer and I said I would join him shortly. Like the previous guests I have mentioned Phil and I righted the world of comics and then I looked at the time and realised I had put in money at the car park at Avenham Park for four hours and I had just shy of 20 minutes, left.

So rushing to ask how long Lew and Adrian were staying off I dashed back to put another four hours’ worth in the meter. Upon my return I went and spent time chatting with Lew and Adrian and then as the convention began to unwind I flitted between all the aforementioned guests for more catch ups.

After everyone had left I spent a little time with the organisers chatting and told them how much fun I had had and thanked them for asking me along again. Farewells wished until Blackburn Comic Con I made my way back to the car.

It is only a stone’s throw to the Holiday Inn hotel from the car park, so I was soon in the company of John and his wife and Martin and his wife too.

The rest of the time was spent with these two fantastic comic creators and it was like no time had gone by since those Marvel UK days. I had a fantastic time and I am so glad I took a little time out for myself away from the pressures of deadlines. I have been saying several times this week how I am feeling tired at the moment with the current workload, so today was the best move I could have made. I still feel tired and in need of a recuperation period, but I also feel re-invigorated, especially after all the kind words I have I listened to about my work with them and especially my current work on Worlds End from my peers, which means the world to me.

What a terrific day out amongst friends and what a privilege to be able to say that too.

In fact, a day so good, I took not one photo.

Thanks everyone for your company today, I am taking a little time this evening to read the books from Martin, John, Adrian and Lew – tomorrow, as much painting as I can muster.

See you all again soon.

Until next time, have fun!

September 23rd 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Centenary Celebration

Hi Everyone,

Well, as usual, as I try to both celebrate and spread the word about the Genius that is Jack Kirby – here I am once again – but this year with a difference.

If Jack had been alive today he would have been 100 years old.

Sadly Jack died back in 1994.

As you all know by now – I have always cited Jack as my main influence in my storytelling and in my wanting to create comic books from a very early age.

This year I have been fortunate enough to continue spreading the word about him creating so many characters that we see in American Comic Books today. First up was my involvement in the French Tribute book put together by Alain Delaplace and Mickaël Géreaume; Kirby & Me. Secondly was my involvement in the Jack Kirby Panel at Lancaster Comics Day. Thirdly was my most recent involvement in the Jack Kirby Panel following the World Premiere of Glenn B Fleming’s JackKirby – A Personal Journey – Documentary.

His total output of comic book pages is phenomenal and is in the high double-figure thousands.

Some of his creations and co-creations, include:

Captain America, Silver Surfer, Galactus, Sandman, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor, The Uncanny X-Men, The New Gods, The Eternals, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Demon, Kamandi, Manhunter, OMAC, Toxl the World Killer, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Uatu
 – The Watcher, Ego – The Living Planet,  Mister Miracle, The Red Skull, Devil Dinosaur, Nick Fury, The Losers, The Dingbats of Danger Street, King Cobra, In the Days of the Mob, Spirit World, Darkseid, Dessad, Orion, The Bugs, Lightray, Izaya – the Highfather, Big Barda, Destroyer Duck, Atlas The Great, Mantis, The Forever People, Machine Man, The Black Panther, Silver Star, Captain Victory, The Fly, Bombast,  and too many more to mention here.  

You can become part of the Jack Kirby Membership here at The Jack Kirby Museum

This evening – will see a group of 20 or more of us Comic Creators and Comics Fans getting together on the outskirts of Blackburn to Celebrate his 100th Birthday. I can’t wait to raise a glass or two to the man responsible for kick-starting the dreams of my having a comic career back then in the mid-sixties.

I wasn’t able to thank him in person, so this is the very nearest I will ever get by letting the world know how much his work means to me.

Now for all those that won’t be there in person tonight, please marvel at these wondrous pieces of his amazingly dynamic artwork. 

100 in total – Just random pictures here – but each one a gem:

HAPPY 100th Birthday, Jack and thanks for everything.

Until next time, have fun!


August 28th 2017