Sunday, September 27, 2009

British International Comics Show 2009…

Comics Convention Saturday 3rd October – 4th October.

Hi Guys,

Well, it’s that time of year again and it has crept right up on me again, like a Frank Miller Ninja.

I really cannot fathom where the time is actually going. There is a theory that as we approach the galactic line up in 2010, time is actually getting faster, well although it’s only a theory, the way things are going I would be tempted to say that statement is bang on, as I cannot believe we are so late in the year again.

Well I will be popping down to Birmingham again this coming weekend. I will be at the launch party on the Friday and the convention on the Saturday, so if you see me, please come over and have a chat, don’t be shy.

I will have the completed pencil pages for Worlds End with me to show you and also some Ashcans and other bits and bobs of merchandising for sale.

Time hasn’t allowed me to sort a table, unfortunately, but I will have copies on me all the time I am there, so feel free to ask for one or ten.

If there is anything in particular you would like to buy off me, please just drop me a line and I’ll bring whatever it is along too.

I’ll have my trusty camera with me too, so will try and remember to take photos of all the madcap mayhem within the halls there.

The digitally painted pages are coming together nicely at the moment, which is great. I’ll have more to say about the work soon.

BTW: a few other things you may want to check out:

Al Davison will be launching his new graphic novel, at the convention.

Paul H Birch will hopefully have some of his new comic books by legendary artist, Alex Nino over the weekend, I know I intend to buy my copies off him, whilst there.

Show co-organiser, Shane Chebsey also has a new B&W comic book, Sardine Solitude, which my printers have done the honours on. It looks great and it reminds me a little of Mike Mignola.

So there will be plenty of stuff to check out and buy for everyone visiting.

Looking forward to seeing some of you guys soon.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins
August 27th 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Orphan Works Bill - Update...

The latest news from the USA…

Hi Guys,

I just received this earlier and thought I would post the updated news as usual.


Orphan Works and the Google Book Settlement / Part I

We've been asked for news about the Orphan Works bill. Last June Intellectual Property Watch warned that it would be back during the summer. And on June 11th, Senator Orrin Hatch confirmed his intent to reintroduce the bill. We immediately put out a notice to artists. But summer's over and we've had no further news. So far, so good.

Of course Congress has had other priorities: the ongoing financial mess, the health care debate and - on the copyright front - the Google book search controversy. For those who haven't followed the news about this Google assault on copyright, we'll try to summarize it.

The World's Largest Library (Or is it Bookstore?)
In 2004, Google announced its intent to digitize all of the world's 80-100 million books - and to make most of them commercially available as orphaned works. The plan has been controversial since its inception.

Google began with the cooperation of several major libraries. The libraries gave Google access to their holdings. The problem is that libraries are libraries; they don't own the copyrights to the books they hold. In short, they gave Google the rights to other people's work. So far, Google has scanned over 10 million books.

In 2004, the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers sued Google for copyright infringement. Last October the parties settled. The resulting agreement is 141 pages long, with 15 appendices of 179 pages. The implications for copyright holders are not clear, but what the litigants would get is breathtaking. As Lynn Chu, a principal at Writers Representatives LLC, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2009:

"[I]f approved by the federal court, [it would] permit Google to post out-of-print books for reading, sales, institutional licensing, ad sales, and other publishing exploitations, by Google, online. The settlement gives the class-action attorneys $30 million; a new, quasi-judicial bureaucracy called the Book Rights Registry $35 million...and $45 million for owners infringed up to now -- about $60 a title."

Google would keep just over a third of the profits generated by selling these books online. The rest would go to the Book Rights Registry run by publishers' and authors' representatives. In other words, 63% would go to the parties that sued Google. In theory, the Registry would attempt to locate the authors of orphaned works and pay them royalties. But as Ms. Chu points out, the parties that sued Google - and would therefore benefit from Google's infringement - have themselves traded away other people's rights in the bargain:

"No one elected these 'class representatives' to represent America's tens of thousands of authors and publishers to convey their digital rights to Google. Nor are the interests of this so-called class identical."

The US Department of Justice apparently agrees. Last Friday, it filed an objection to the settlement and advised the court to reject the settlement as written. On page 9 of their brief, the DOJ attorneys write:

"The structure of the Proposed Settlement itself, therefore, pits the interests of one part of the class (known rights holders) against the interests of another part of the class (orphan works rights holders). Google's commercial use of orphan works will generate revenues, which will be deposited with the Registry. Any unclaimed revenues, however, will inure to the benefit of the Registry and its registered rights holders. Thus, the Registry and its registered rights holders will benefit at the expense of every rights holder who fails to come forward to claim profits from Google's commercial use of his or her work...

"The greater the economic exploitation of the works of unknown rights holders by Google and the Registry, the stronger the incentive for known rights holders to retain the unclaimed revenues for themselves." [Emphasis added]

The Department of Justice also warns that the settlement fails to comply with copyright, antitrust laws and the rules of class action litigation.

The US federal court was scheduled to hold a fairness hearing October 7. But over 400 objections from around the world have been filed by rights holders, competitors to Google and (in addition to the US government) the governments of France and Germany. Yesterday we received news that the fairness hearing has been delayed.

The Google settlement has also been condemned by Marybeth Peters, Register of the US Copyright Office. Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee last Wednesday, Ms. Peters stated that it would allow Google to "operate under reverse principles of copyright law," adding "it could affect the exclusive rights of millions of copyright owners, in the United States and abroad, with respect to their abilities to control new products and new markets, for years and years to come."

We haven't had much to say about this agreement because, with the notable exception of children’s' book illustrations (which for purposes of the settlement are considered part of the text) the agreement doesn't include visual art. Yet like the Orphan Works bill itself, the Google Book Settlement would be a radical change to copyright law.

Tomorrow we'll examine some of the ways in which this settlement parallels the Orphan Works bill.

Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership

For news and information, and an archive of these messages:
Illustrators' Partnership Orphan Works Blog:

85 organizations opposed the last Orphan Works bills, representing over half a million creators. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.

If you received our mail as a forwarded message and wish to subscribe to the IPA mailing alerts, click on the link below, "Join Our Mailing List" and follow the simple directions on the webpage.

Please post or forward this message to any interested party.

I will post more information as I get it.

I have some very exciting news to share with you guys, but not quite yet.

Now then, there is your teaser, and you know how long I sometimes make you wait.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…

September 26th 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Comics Collecting and the Creative...

The Hobby and The Life…

Hi Guys,

Over time folks have questioned me about my views on what comics are and whether I collect them and if so, what kind of comics? With this in mind I decide to write this Blog to cover my thoughts on the questions.

Collecting, as far as the comics go for me personally, is like this. I love them to death but I don't bag them or have backing boards or any such. I have a lot of them archived away from the studio, itself, which is a shame, as I don't look at them that much really, but they are there if I do. It is all down to the space they occupy and besides I haven’t the time nowadays to look at them as often as I once did.

For me collecting as I was, prior to me beginning to work in the field and also for much of my early career, stopped a good few years ago, when I looked at the amount of product, which I was still buying, but more out of habit then really enjoying them. There were multiple crossovers, every two seconds, and the books that claimed that fame, as part of the ongoing stories, were quite often so far removed from being an actual real part of any such storytelling, as to be beyond belief the companies expected to get away with it.

For a while they did so with me too, but when all it simply needed was a single panel of a character in the background to suffice the cover claim tagline of appearing this issue, such and such as part of the multi-part cross-over event of the year, etc, etc, that I personally began to feel put off. Add to that the enormous price hikes, the lake of any real content of worth and I began to drift away from collecting the one thing in my life that from being a child I had adored and held dear.

Nowadays the studio contains lots of my favourite comics, graphic novels, trade paper and hard backed books, art books and novels. They are all easy to get at and the comics and magazines are in comic boxes, but only for ease of storage, not to protect them.

I do try to keep them as tidy copies, but not at the expense of reading them, which is the reason I collect them and indeed write and draw them for others to do the same. This is what is important for me, as a comics creator.

Back in the day comics used to be a disposable commodity for the kids and the adults who continued to buy them, which is ultimately why they continue to be collectible, because of the low numbers of good copies still in existence. Whereas nowadays the books are kept by the fans and so who else is there to collect them, unless the comic(s) in question are in short print runs and become sought after.

Folks have said they see the little of the fan in me, when speaking to me, as well as the creator and business guy, well you guess right when you say that. I guess everyone in the business is a fan to some degree. I love the way we are able to tell stories in a quite unique way, as opposed to Film and TV, novels and kids books, etc. But I am not obsessed and never have been, unlike a lot of comics fans, with how many rings Cap’s shield has or how many characters have changed identities and took on the mantle of Goliath, or with the convoluted continuities, which I feel stifle comic books today.

That said if I was to draw Cap’s shield then I would have to check to get it right, if that makes sense. Comics for me are both a great past time and also a business and I use different heads for the different aspects, as and when they arise for me, either as a reader or a creator.

I still get the same buzz out of comics nowadays as I did as a kid, but the difference for me is the way we see them displayed in the comic shops. Back when I was a kid we had them on spinner racks here in the UK and the shipping of them from the States was sporadic at best. We may get issue 23 of any given title and then some years later number 7 and number 10, which for me added to the fun of searching them out and completing my collection. I remember collecting Jack’s fourth world series like this and yet still making sense out of them, something I have discussed with others of a similar age to me, and older, who didn’t get Jack’s work at the time.

There is also the matter, as I mentioned earlier of the enormous cost of seriously collecting nowadays with massive amounts of different issues of a single character in several disassociated books. One example I saw recently was separate issues of a single US character in 14 separate titles in a single month, which, to me, means anyone wishing to collect even that single character, must do so as a very costly hobby. It also stops many readers from either collecting other characters, or even chancing a new title. I cannot for one instant imagine kids managing to collect such huge amounts of comics, when adults cannot afford to do so.

Personally, I buy more collections as hard backs nowadays and I am trying to get hold of some European titles at the moment too. I don’t frequent comic shops as much as I did, but that is down to a combination of the workload with Wizards Keep and also with having to look at a sea of product, which all looks the same and, which has so many multiple titles. The trouble with seeing it like this, is the inevitable missing of the gems, unless you sift through countless titles on the shelves, or are willing to read Previews, which used to take me long to read through than the entire month’s books I had bought, back when I was still collecting them more.

There can be any number of Spider-man comics, to use him as an example, and I have to ask myself, which is the series I want to check out, is this a mini series, and questions of that ilk. The problem is, if, as someone working in comics, I am asking these kinds of questions, what chance is there of a new reader staring to pick them up, with no jumping on point?

I see the same thing happening with graphic novels being displayed en masse with their small spines only, showing.

One other thing folks mention is creators having a “unique insight” towards the aspect of comics. I have to admit that I like to read how other comics creators think of these questions, just like a fan does. It makes for interesting reading at times and can make you think either, yeah I agree, or wow I never thought of it like that.

I still love comics, but not the corporate, formulaic books, with the new, so-called “de-compressed” storytelling in US comics. We have something at out disposal, as comics creators that folks in other media, such as film and the like, don’t and that is an unlimited budget, as far as the production costs go, the only limitation on that being the amount of time one can afford to give any given project, at any one time. What costs millions, in film, can cost us, in comics, as little or as much as we wish, according to time. There is room for all kinds of storytelling, all kinds of genres, and formats, just so long as we continue to experiment and look to produce new and innovative creations.

We are script writers, actors, directors, lighting operators, set designers, costume designers, prop designers, location specialists, fund raisers and any other number of hats we may have to wear to produce a single comic story for print.

I am grateful to have been able to pursue a career in a great art field, in a very privileged position, which many other folks aspire to. We have a very important thing we must all strive towards, if the medium is to continue to grow and flourish and that is to provide the readers with something that entertains and makes them want to come back for more by trying to give every page we produce the wow factor.

The only limit I see with what we do is governed by the limits of our individual imaginations.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…

September 20th 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Worlds End Update…

An update on the forthcoming graphic novel series.

Hi Guys,

As I said the other day there doesn’t seem to be much time for writing Blogs at the moment, except for smaller titbits like this one.

I thought I would continue to let you guys know the ever-increasing progress being made on the graphic novel.

The scanning of the pages is now done and the cleaning process of the original blue-line artwork is now almost complete. These I have been uploading for Yelena to do her Flatting Wizardry or Witchery upon and she is making a very fine job of doing so. The pages are continuing to arrive back here and they look fantastic. This is making things faster for me and enabling me to work on the design aspect of the book, as well as the digital painting and also allowing me a little time to concentrate on the colouring book too, which is also due for release.

I have also sent a PDF of the finished pencil pages and my final draft of the script, for final subbing by James, who is casting his eagle eye over the project, as you read this Blog, whilst on holiday, so no rest for the wicked in this game.

As soon as the final editing is completed I will be speaking to Richard and scheduling the lettering into the mix.

Each week that passes at the moment is a productive one and the end of the tunnel is almost in sight now.

I have chosen not to show any further pages until later in the process of production, but in the meantime the Ashcan, which contains artwork, which will not be in the graphic novel is on sale at the Wizards Keep website, for £1.50 and comes with a £2.50 money back voucher, which can be redeemed against the cost of the graphic novel upon release.

That said here is a version of the Ashcan back cover artwork, as coloured by that legend in comicdom, John Ridgway. John coloured this for me several months ago, just because, as he said, he loved the illustration and fancied colouring it up to see what it could look like with his colours. Thanks John!! I am sure you guys will agree with me that it is superb!

Below: Worlds End Ashcan Back Cover Art:
Pencils: Tim Perkins
Colours: John Ridgway

If you want to see more of John’s wonderful colouring, you can check out his latest stuff within the pages of Spaceship Away.

Advanced orders for the graphic novel will also be taken shortly, by simply placing an order for the book in the website shop. An announcement here on the Blog and on the website will be issued when this process becomes available.

Oh well back to the cleaning…where’s me brush…

Until next time have fun!
Tim Perkins…
September 12th 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Worlds End Update…

An update on the forthcoming graphic novel series...

Hi Guys,

There doesn’t seem to be much time for writing Blogs at the moment, but taking a break from the computers, I figured I could release a few more snippets of news to the world about the SOP here at the Keep.

Presently I am doing two things here:

The first is scanning and cleaning the original blueline artwork, which I am transposing to Greyscale and then adding digital borders and setting out the base layers. These I am then uploading for Yelena to do her Flatting Wizardry or Witchery. The pages are beginning to arrive back here and they look fantastic. This is really going to make things faster for me in the long run.

The second thing I am doing is giving the script the final once over, making sure the grammar is correct, that the typos are, at least hopefully, ironed out and that the heroes and villains read correctly and are all true to their characters. Once this is finalised I will then send over the script and a copy of the line art for final subbing by James.

I said in my last Blog that I would let you know who was going to letter the book, once I had finalised the availability of the letterer. When I first decided upon this route of creating my own graphic novels I only had one guy in mind to produce the lettering. Many folks believe the lettering is unimportant, luckily for me neither the letterer in question or I agree with that statement at all.

Bad lettering can ruin an otherwise good book, like all the stages in a comic or graphic novel’s development and production. I like to pride myself with working with the best suppliers in the business and the best creative folks in the business too. As a consequence I felt I had to use the best letterer in the business, enter: Richard Starkings. Some of you may have seen the news pages on the Website the other day, when we announced this, but for those who haven’t I thought I would like to add I cannot wait to see the final book, once Richard has put his lettering Wizardry to work.

I am so grateful for the help these guys are providing me with here at the Keep and cannot wait to share that with you all once the book is complete.

I wasn’t going to show any further pages for the graphic novel, certainly not until the book is ready for publication, but decided that this one, not shown in public before deserved to be seen, after Yelena had sent it, the first of the flatted pages, over to us, here at the Keep, earlier today.

It will be some days before I am able to start work on the final digital painting, as there is still a lot of work to be done with the cleaning of the artwork files, but I have to admit I cannot wait now!

Below: Worlds End – Volume 1 - Page 7:

I have some Blog material on the computer in notational form at the moment, but for the next few days at least I reckon my hands will be full with the present workload, so more shorter Blogs, such as these may be the norm for a while, whilst I try to forge my way forward.

Now at last I can actually say with confidence;

Worlds End Volume 1 – Riders on the Storm

Until next time have fun!
Tim Perkins…
September 8th 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Worlds End Pencils Finished…

An update on the forthcoming graphic novel series.

Hi Guys,

Wow what an insane couple of weeks that was, hence the lack of Blogs from me for over a week. I ended up helping a good illustrator friend of mine to meet a deadline on his children’s book. The deadline was tight and the work needed very detailed digital painting to complete it. I did the backgrounds to 16 DPS’s (Double Page Spreads) in just over a week. The brief asked for Disney standard background artwork, I guess nothing more need be said by the standard of work, which was expected there. Each set of pages had between five and six panels per spread on each. It was a mammoth job, but despite the speed at which I had to work it was an enjoyable experience for me.

I thought I would just pop in this quick extra Blog, as recently many folks from all over the world have been asking on the various networks and via email how the Worlds End book is coming along?

Well at long last the pencils are finally finished for the first volume of Worlds End and now that this part of the project is done I can scan the artwork and then clean it up reading for digitally painting it in Photoshop. The year is pressing on regardless and I have to get a lot of work completed before we see print.

I am hiring a letterer to help out with that part of the comic, although I will still be handling the graphic design and making suggestions for the fonts, etc, to free me up to concentrate on the painting and the design of the book, with all its elements. I am also thinking of hiring an assistant to help with all the flat colouring to further help meet my deadlines, which I have set for the publication date. I’ll let you know who these guys are going to be, soon.

My illness a couple of months, or so ago, has set me back somewhat and the advice that the doctors gave me has given me enough cause for concern to slow down a little, although my wife and family would certainly argue the case with me here, as they still see me working all hours to finish this book, meet my Hot Wheels deadlines, run the company from day-to-day and keep up with the huge network I have established across the Internet nowadays.

I am excited now though, because the drawing is finally done and all that remains, although still a big job, is to paint the finished pages now.

That said I have recently hired the very capable talents of Yel Zamor, whom you may remember from last year’s Blogs on Markosia comics’ Relentless comic, which she coloured for us. I spoke to Yel a few days ago and asked if she was interested in producing some of the flat colours for me, to free my time up a little, so as to get ahead again with the production of the book. She very kindly agreed, despite being busy on a book for Orang Utan Comics and another for Markosia, see I said she would become an in demand colourist.

I am so grateful for the help she will soon be providing me with here at the Keep.
Toontastic Publishing's Editor-in-Chief James Hill has agreed to act as co-editor on the book to give it his eagle eye with the proof reading and such and again is a great addition to the team now working on the book with me.

I have shown a handful of folks in the industry the final book, as it stands, at the pencils stage and I am excited by their positive comments and support I am receiving from my peers.

I hope you guys agree and enjoy it as much as I did producing it when we see publication.

Until next time have fun!
Tim Perkins…
September 2nd 2009