letters to walter kovacs

A Cardiff Comic Blog

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Interview With Liz Prince.

Liz Prince with a copy of 'Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir'.

Liz Prince with a copy of ‘Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir’.

2014 was a big year for award winning comic book creator Liz Prince. First in February, Top Shelf published ‘Alone Forever: The Singles Collection’ a book that brings together Liz’s popular online comic about single life and dating. Liz then released her first graphic novel ‘Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir’. In typical Liz Prince fashion, ‘Tomboy’ is an unflinching, humorous and sometimes poignant comic about how difficult it is growing up when you don’t fit the typical gender stereotypes. Tomboy has already gained critical acclaim by being nominated for the ‘Goodreads Choice Award for Best Graphic Novel’ and by appearing on numerous ‘Best of 2014’ lists.

I managed to catch up with Liz a few days after Christmas. Despite the festivities being over Liz managed to rustle up a lot of enthusiasm while discussing why memoir is her favourite genre, how punk inspired her comics and how 2014 was the year of the C’s.

What made you decide now was the right time to write and publish Tomboy?

Tomboy came about because Zest, a small press YA publisher, contacted me to see if I was interested in drawing a non-fiction graphic novel for a Teen audience.  Tomboy was the only story that seemed like it could cater to a younger audience, as most of my work is “for adults”.  I’ve always wanted to write a graphic novel, but I had been putting it off because I didn’t feel like I was ready, or good enough. But then I decided it was time to jump in and do it already.  In hindsight I’m so glad that I waited, because Tomboy truly is the book I wanted to write: I am so proud of the end result.

When writing about your own childhood, you are fundamentally grappling with how your adult identity formed. How did you start going about structuring, writing and drawing about such a difficult subject objectively?

I don’t really believe that memoir can ever be “objective”; it is a narrative told solely through one person’s point of view.  Memoir to me is more of a reality-based fiction: the events in Tomboy really happened, but they are my version of events, and the timeline is fudged here and there to make the story move forward. It’s the same with the characters who are more like amalgamations of people I knew, instead of one person.

Writing about my entire life, from the time I was a toddler to being 17 years old, took a lot of focus in order to create an actual narrative. By using gender as the theme of the book it made it a lot easier to stay on task. It helped me to avoid just telling every fun anecdote that popped into my mind.

Tomboy is my childhood through Liz-coloured glasses; To be more accurate it’s through 32-year-old Liz-coloured glasses.

Is Tomboy as honest as it could be, or was there anything you thought was too personal to put in it?

Tomboy is as honest as it could be; I was more concerned with protecting the other characters in the book, than with protecting myself.

An Extract From Tomboy.

An Extract From Tomboy.

In Tomboy, I interpreted a dichotomy between the fictional females as depicted in films / popular culture and the real female figures of your life such as your Mother, Phyllis and Maggie the punk. What message are you trying to give here in relation to gender identity and the role of fiction and culture in forming those identities?  And what do you want to see change in the depiction of gender in fiction?

Roxane Gay wrote a great essay about why we feel the need to find female characters “likeable” in order to enjoy a film about women. She used Charlize Theron’s flawed human character in the film ‘Young Adult’ as her example.  Subsequently, a lot of reviews of the movie trashed it based on how unlikable her character is.  But, women are sometimes unlikeable, and that was one of the things that I appreciated about the film.

Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying women have traditionally been portrayed in a one-dimensional way, and that is obviously pretty damaging. It subconsciously dictates the ways that girls, and women are supposed to behave. Having a less rigid gender binary expressed is really important. The Swedish film ‘We Are The Best’ was a really great example of a movie about teenage girls in a punk band that eschews gender stereotypes.

While describing your narrative technique in this book, you referenced how you wanted the writing style to reflect the mental age you are at that point in the narrative. For example, it sounds like a ten year old’s thoughts when you are ten etc. Did it ever worry you by doing so Tomboy might lose some of its sophistication or depth?

I think since the driving narration in the book is very much my current self, I wasn’t in danger of the storytelling becoming too juvenile.  I don’t think I was all that successful at keeping the voice of my character at the different ages represented in the book separate. That could be because when I read it, I just hear myself very clearly.

One of the frustrating things that I read in a lot of reviews of Tomboy, on places like Goodreads, is there’s too much swearing in the book. This is a bummer for me, because that aspect of the script is true to the way that my friends and I talked. I think, for the most part, kids and teenagers swear A LOT. If you think that your kid doesn’t, you are fooling yourself. It’s one of the most accessible ways for kids to feel “grown up”. To me, leaving the swearing in was one of the ways I authenticated my experience.

Punk Rock Is Ruining My Teeth By Liz Prince.

How much did the local punk scene affect you and your work while growing up? Also as a bit of a punk myself is there any particular records from your old, or current local scene you would recommend?

Well, the direct effect was the ethos of Do It Yourself (DIY) culture. It inspired me to start self publishing my comics.  I found a lot of great anti-mainstream stuff in zines, that ultimately helped shape the way I think about things.

The portrait of punk that I painted in Tomboy highlighted its ability to empower women, but sadly this isn’t always the case. However, the good thing about punk is while there are still misogynistic leanings, there is a lot more conversation about why it’s like that, what it means and what we can do to change it.  Punk is not perfect, but there are folks in punk who are interested in becoming more self-aware about issues of sexism, racism, ableism, etc.

For me, 2015 was kind of a slow year for music. I was a little more sequestered from going out to shows. I wasn’t seeking out as much new stuff to listen to, but as the year ended and more people started putting together best of lists for records, I’ve started finding some cool stuff.  Standouts for me are The Capitalist Kids “At A Loss” (which has a great song that I kind of consider to the unofficial theme song of Tomboy, “Gender Binary Bop”),Chumped’s “Teenage Retirement”, and Caves “Leaving”.  I already made this joke in a different interview, but my musical tastes from this year are brought to you by the letter C.

Why do you draw in such a stripped down, line based style? Is this a reflection of your stripped down, unpretentious stories or merely an aesthetic choice?

It might be less of an aesthetic choice and more of a reflection of my actual skill level as an artist. It’s charmingly “simple” because I’ve never been very talented technically. But, I think that I have learned to employ narrative storytelling techniques well. I’m very much a “cartoonist”.

The upside of the situation is I feel like my artwork fits my stories well, especially because autobiographical comics, when written and drawn by the same person, seem to embody the way that person sees the world.  Ultimately, I wouldn’t ever feel comfortable trying to draw a sprawling fantasy epic, or a slick superhero story. Luckily I don’t have any interest in telling those stories, so I’m OK with my own limitations.

Tomboy is part of the long tradition of comic memoirs which includes the likes of Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Do you wonder why the memoir has become such a popular genre in comics, especially outside of conventional comic reading circles? Do you think it has something to do with independent comics distancing themselves from their mainstream and genre based counterparts?

I’m a pretty biased person to ask this question to because memoir and autobio have always been my favourite genre. Not only for comics, but also everything else I read.  Even my taste in TV shows and movies usually stays firmly on the “slice-of-life” side of things.  I love the connection that can come from reading someone else’s true stories.  Whether or not those are the reasons that graphic memoir has found a readership outside of the traditional comics circles, I can’t say. But, there is definitely something in marketing that makes them seem very sophisticated (which is only sometimes the case).

Tomboy has made a huge impression this year with many people taking notice of it. This can be seen by how many ‘Best of  2014’ lists it’s appeared on. As your work becomes more popular does it put a pressure on your future work, and do you think inadvertently it is forcing you to change how you write?

I don’t know if the success of Tomboy will have an effect on “how” I write, it might have an effect on “what” I write.  Tomboy was my first graphic novel, and I loved the experience of having one project that I devoted all of my creative energy to. In the months since I finished Tomboy, returning to freelance work has felt substantially more scattered than it did previously.  I’m anxious to get started on whatever my next full-length project ends up being.

Every person I interview I ask for his or her 3 favourite comics that have come out this year. I will then read and review one of those comics. Liz can you recommend me your three favourite comics from the past year? Also I think this will make it your Best of 2014 list .

I’m so glad that I started actively using Goodreads to catalogue what books I read this year, because otherwise my mind would be a total blank when faced with this question.  I read a lot of prose novels this year, which is somewhat of a new development for me, so I have to dig a little deeper to remember what comics stood out to me in 2014.

‘How To Be Happy’ by Eleanor Davis is a collection of a dozen or so shorter comics, on varying themes, but they are all so breath-taking.

‘Get Over It!’ by Corinne Mucha is a wildly funny comic about getting over your first serious relationship.

‘Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast’.  I don’t know what’s happened to me. I used to really dislike Roz’s comics in the New Yorker, because they had this “get of my lawn, kids!” quality to them. But now, I think one of the side effects of getting older is that I like them now.  This memoir about what happens to parents at the end of their lives is smart and touching.

For all those Liz Prince fans I have some exciting news.  Liz is coming over to Britain to do an in-store comic signing at Orbital Comics in London on Saturday February 7th at 4pm.

Orbital Comics,

8 Great Newport Street,

London,

WC2H 7JA

Details of Liz’s appearance aren’t up on Orbital’s website, but should be soon.

http://www.orbitalcomics.com/

Find out more about Liz’s work here: http://lizprincepower.com/

INTERVIEW WITH JACK FALLOWS

jack 1

Jack Fallow, or the ‘Geordie Yeti’ as I once saw him described as in an article, is a Newcastle based comic artist whose been self-publishing comics since his early teens. Now in his late twenties Jack has developed both a unique style in his art and writing. His art is characterized by his classically alternative cartoony characters and his stark use of black and whites. While in his autobiographical writing he explores themes such as sexuality, gender issues, physical insecurities, family history and social isolation with a blunt honesty and humor.

Find out more about Jack’s work here: http://www.jackfallows.com/

I managed to catch up with Jack a few weeks ago. In our interview we had a chat about how his own life is his biggest influence, how Jack thinks the British comic scene is incredible  and how in Jack’s eyes Liz Prince maybe the best comic book writer / artist of all time.

So here is what Jack had to say for himself.

Why do you use your own life as the primary source for your work?

I’ve been self-publishing for thirteen years now and the content of my work has changed a lot in that time. This is mostly down to a cycle of self-loathing. It doesn’t take long for me to end up hating my work after it’s finished and my main motivation is the voice inside my head saying “you need to do something totally different to this now”. The exception to that rule is my recent return to autobiographical stuff. While all of my work features big elements of my own life, the diary comics are an effort to just tell the truth. Its taken this long to work up the courage to do that but it’s a rule I’m trying to live by in everything I do these days – my comics, illustration, music and relationships with people. In doing this, I’ve managed to reach more people on a deeper level, which has been a total dream come true. The kid version of me would be really proud to know that I eventually found out I wasn’t so weird and all alone just by making comics and having people read them and tell me they were relatable. So I think I’ll stick this out for a while.

Issues of gender are prevalent in your work. Do you think it’s important to be vocal about these issues?

The simple answer to that is absolutely, yes. The longer answer is almost too insurmountable to put into a single response as it permeates so much of our culture and daily experience. I think the gender binary is a damaging concept and enforces ideals that can be alienating and oppressive to a lot of people. The world at large can be doing a lot more than it is to understand gender identities better, and it would take very little effort. In the cases where I’ve touched on it with my comics or music, it’s kind of been circumstantial because it’s just something I think about a whole lot. I haven’t built up to my big gender comic yet but you can expect it in an issue of Axolotl somewhere down the line!

What artists have had the biggest influence on your style?

My whole comics career has been an exercise in plagiarism so it’s pretty hard to pick out specific cartoonists. I tend to become infatuated with small things in people’s work – the way they draw eyes, or backgrounds, or their panel borders or page layouts. I assimilate them into my own visual vocabulary and make this kind of half-assed, mediocre broth out of it all. People I know I’ve stolen from include Chris Ware, Rutu Modan, Julia Wertz and Daniel Clowes to name just a few!

'I Never Knew My Grandad' a comic by Jack about his Grandad.

The Opening Page Of A Comic About Jack’s Grandad. Drawn For The Paper Jam Comics Collective Anthology ‘Newcastle Stories… and that’

Jack, you are a very productive comic artist, I am always seeing your work pop up in zines and across the internet. Can you please tell me what cool stuff you have lined up for the future?

I’ve really cut back on commissioned work but I do have a couple of record covers on the horizon on that front. Comics-wise, I’m just being opportunistic and taking offers to include work in cool sounding stuff if and when those opportunities arise. I founded this non-profit arts group called The Paper Jam Comics Collective and we’ve got a food themed anthology set for release in the new year and probably another before 2015 is over. But mostly, it’s all about Axolotl now. I’m just using that as a platform for everything I want to do to make it all a bit more manageable and easy to follow for people. Kind of the same way Clowes used Eightball, or Ware used Acme Novelty Library or Tomine used Optic Nerve, except, you know, not a work of genius or anything.

What do you think of the British independent comic scene?

I think we have a totally amazing scene here. I’ve been regularly exhibiting at conventions since around 2005/2006 and made some of the best friends and met some of the most amazing humans I’ve ever encountered in my life. The level and variety of talents on show is breathtaking, the work being produced continues to keep my interest in the medium peaked (it waned a lot when I was working in a comic shop). Above all of that though, there’s a real sense of community and inclusion. Creators love sharing ideas and resources, welcoming new people to the medium and offering help and advice. This isn’t without the occasional exception, of course, but on the whole I’m proud to say we’re pretty fucking rad when it comes to doing comics right.

Every person I interview I ask for his or her 3 favourite comics that have come out this year. I will then read and review one of those comics. This is all basically an excuse for me to find out about loads of new comics. So Jack can you recommend me your three favourite comics from the past year?

‘Tomboy’ by Liz Prince has to be my number one. As soon as I put the book down, I went home and drew a comic about it and posted it online. Rather than repeat everything I said in words, you ought to just read that instead. You can still find it on my blog. (Find below this comic in full) Liz Prince is unbelievable. Liz Prince for president of all comics forever.

‘A Measure of Space’ by Kristyna Baczynski really bowled me over. It was a late entrant for 2014 but watching Kristyna’s visual language grow from vast to universe-engulfing over the last few years has been so amazing. It’s the kind of book you could switch your brain off and enjoy aesthetically or switch your brain on and have your heart ripped clean out. A great musing on solitude vs. loneliness, a prevalent subject in my life right now!

‘Double Dare Ya’ (Riot Grrrl anthology). Literally the coolest thing I’ve seen committed to print in a very long time. It’s feminist, it’s punk rock, it’s slickly produced but has all its DIY credentials intact and it boasts one of the most eye-popping contributor lists you could imagine. It’s like the Bikini Kill basement show of UK independent cartoonists and it deserves to take up space on your book shelf.

The Opening Page From Jack's Comic About Liz Prince's TomboyJack liz 2

Review – Father’s Day #1 – Dark Horse Comics

With reviews on Letters To Walter Kovacs I am going to go a slightly different way about how I choose what to review. Every person I interview I ask for his or her 3 favourite comics that have come out this year. I will then read and review one of these comics. By doing it this way I hope to find out about the newest and most exciting comics.

Dave's Recommendations

Dave’s Recommendations

The first three recommendations come from David Bath one of the co-founders of Cardiff Comics who I wrote an article about a few weeks ago.  The three comics he recommends are:

Father’s Day by Michael Richardson / Gabriel Guzman (Dark Horse)

http://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/26-548/Father-s-Day-1

War Stories by Garth Ennis / Keith Burns (Avatar)

http://www.avatarpress.com/2014/08/garth-ennis-spins-war-stories/

The Royals Masters of War by Rob Williams / Simon Coleby (Vertigo)

http://www.vertigocomics.com/comics/the-royals-masters-of-war-2013/the-royals-masters-of-war-1

Of these three I have decided to review Father’s Day as Dave called it his favorite comic of this year.

Father’s Day is a classic crime comic written by the founder of Dark Horse Mike Richardson. It’s about an abounded child finding and confronting her long lost Father  but he turns out to be an old mob enforcer called the ‘East Side Butcher’ whose been in hiding to protect her. Oh and guess what by finding her Father she has just lead a bunch of low life creeps to his front door who are hell bent on killing both of them.

A page from Father's Day

A page from Father’s Day

As you can tell by this brief summary of the plot Father’s Day is equal part ultra violence and family melodrama. Nothing particularly groundbreaking for the world of comic books but it is fun enough to hold your attention span for 20+ pages. It reads like a pulpier version of John Wagner’s ‘A History Of Violence’ with a touch more attitude. Similar elements run through both such as the theme of people’s inability to escape violent pasts, the ominous underworld figures  and the small town setting. But Father’s Day does not reach anywhere near the heights of Wagner’s classic.

Another Example Page From Father's Day

Another Example Page From Father’s Day

Gabriel Guzman’s artwork, much like the plot of Father’s Day, fits perfectly within modern mainstream comic book conventions. You could find similar artwork if you open any comic coming out from DC, Marvel or Dark Horse. This is not to say it is bad but there is nothing particularly expressionistic about it, instead Guzman’s artwork goes for a simplified realism which I for one am bored of seeing in comics. However the cover, drawn by Keron Grant is intriguing in its use of blurred colours and lines which jars with the rigidness of Guzman’s artwork. The fear on the Father’s face on the cover represents a depth of emotion not seen anywhere else in this comic.

This comic was fun enough with its fist fights and wise cracks but lacked any real direction. Regardless of its cliffhanger ending I doubt I will be hunting out the next issue of this four part series.  Father’s Day embraces the idea of the comic as an action film but just wasn’t fun enough to warrant any great deal of attention. Its only redeeming quality is the cover artwork by  Keron Grant. It’s a shame he couldn’t have done the whole comic.

The Story Of Cardiff Comics

 

Cardiff Comics first started selling comics over thirty years ago and is the oldest comic book shop in Cardiff. Many spend their weekends trawling through the multitude of brown boxes of comics in the shop in attempt at finding that rare gem.

I went down last week to see if I could find out how it all got started. I was pleasantly surprised to find David Bath still standing guard on a Saturday afternoon. He was more than happy to reveal all the secrets behind the history of Cardiff Comics. Above is Dave’s story.

OFF LIFE Comics Are Delving Into The World Of Journalism . . . . Sorta.

OFF LIFE LOGO

OFF LIFE!

 

Today OFF LIFE announced the launch of their new 52 week project entitled ‘Yellow’. Each week for the next year OFF LIFE will get a different artist to produce a two page comic about their take on that weeks news. Gradually this will build into a year long image of that years news. Then at the end of next year OFF LIFE will publish all the work created for Yellow in a book with some accompanying essays. Read their official announcement here: http://offlife.co.uk/2014/11/yellow-our-new-series/

OFF LIFE may not be the most credible newsagent but they have already set out their journalistic agenda. It is a little different to what you might see in the BBC’s guidelines.

Yellow Journalism: reporting that exploits, distorts or exaggerates the news to create sensation and attract readers.

The Yellow project is set start next week with the first piece of art work being posted on their blog next Monday. The first strip is being created by Manchester’s Stanley Chow ( http://www.stanleychowillustration.com/ ). OFF LIFE have several other artists signed up for this project which includes the likes of Jean Jullien, Grace Wilson, Paul Davis and Krityna Baczynski. Yet just like their free magazine they accept submissions from anyone. So if you think you might be the new Joe Sacco here is their contact page: http://offlife.co.uk/contact/.

To check out the other stuff OFF LIFE have been published in you can read their entire back catalog for free online here: http://offlife.co.uk/magazines/

INTERVIEW WITH SAAM AND DEAN OF HATS AND MILK COMICS

(from Left to Right) Saam and Dean of Hats and Milk Comics.

(from Left to Right) Saam and Dean of Hats and Milk Comics.

I recently spent some time interviewing Saam Watkins and Dean Smithers the two very talented people who create comics under the very bizarre title of ‘Hats and Milk’. In our interview I managed to find out Saam and Dean’s creative process, how references to Weezer’s new album ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ may end up in their future work and why Dean keeps stifling Saam’s Colour dreams.

For those unfamiliar with their work Hats and Milk have been creating online comics over at http://hatsandmilkmakecomics.tumblr.com/ for a few years now. They create moody and fantastical strips that deal with themes such as love, relationships, how to deal with wizards and ‘Twin Peaks’. It is clear that both Saam and Dean’s style is influenced by a range of artists. Their black and white work remind me of Charles Burns’ ‘Black Hole’ while the simplistic cartoony faces are reminiscent of more contemporary cartoons such as Adventure Time.

Recently the duo’s work has made the transition from the virtual world to the physical as their strips have appeared in several issues of Space Junkie Press’ ‘The Gutter’ and the beautiful zine ‘Honey Pot’.

You can find issues of ‘The Gutter’ comic on sale here:

http://spacejunkiepress.bigcartel.com/

Unfortunately ‘Honey Pot’ has sold out but if you stare at their big cartel long enough you can imagine you have your own copy:

http://honeypotzine.bigcartel.com

Anyway this is what these two chaps had to say for themselves.

With Hats and Milk comics you have an unconventional way of creating your comics. Can you please elaborate on how you write and draw your comics?

Dean: Dunno if I would call our work unconventional, but I guess everything we like is either dark or weird or whatever you want to call it, so maybe our comics are those things. Anyway, Saam will usually send me a text that contains the bones of a plot and then I’ll add to it, or we’ll meet to discuss it in detail over pizza, burritos or pancakes. Once we’ve fleshed stuff out we start to draft panels and evenly distribute the workload (we’re so cute) and then I’ll make a template, print two copies and we’ll both get to work. I’ll arrange/tweak everything in Photoshop before uploading it to Tumblr or sending it to you or whoever is nice enough to print our stuff.

Saam: Yeah sometimes I have thoughts and Dean is really good at visualising everything. I don’t really draft because I can’t really draw but somehow we make it work.

Music seems to play a big part in your comics. Can you tell me what records / songs have had the biggest influence on your work?

Dean: Totally. I think bands I’m into when working on something will influence me subconsciously, whereas Saam will consciously link certain songs to certain panels. Either way, we’re always listening to or talking about music so it definitely plays a role in what we do. We sing ‘Reach Out to You’ by Adventures at each other a lot, but generally speaking Perfect Pussy are our biggest influence ever. Anything by Mac daddy DeMarco is always okay, plus the new Weezer album. Also, I think we’re both listening to the Trust Fund album right now, which is definitely going to soundtrack future comics. Ellis!

Saam: Music is my favourite thing ever and I can’t turn my brain off from thinking about it so it always seeps into my writing. It is never really intentionally; I just can’t see anything without relating back to a band or song in my head. That’s why there are all these references in our writing. Plus we’re always listening to music when we work.

Most of your comics are in black and white. Is there a specific reason you do this?

Dean: Saam is always suggesting we use more colour, but I’m mean and don’t want him to be happy so I leave everything black and white. Only kidding. I don’t know, in terms of printing it’s cheaper but most of our work is online so I’m just making excuses. I guess I’ve just never had time to experiment with colour properly. I’d rather release something that looks the best it can, which at this stage means being black and white. That said, all of the best comics are black and white so maybe I should use colour? Pass.

Saam: Colour is something I’ve always wanted to play around with because it’s a skill we don’t have. For me the desire to use black and white stems from the work of Charles Burns and Michael Deforge. There’s just so much black in their work and it always looks amazing.

This Summer Is Going To Kill Me: Pilot. A strip Saam and Dean created for Space Junkie Press' Blog.

This Summer Is Going To Kill Me: Pilot. A strip Saam and Dean created for Space Junkie Press’ Blog.

What comic artists do both of you most aspire to be like?

Dean: Since Saam rediscovered ‘Stray Bullets’ and kick-started my most obsessive obsession ever, I haven’t been able to stop admiring David Lapham. I’m also a huge fan of Terry Moore’s ‘Strangers in Paradise’, which Saam hasn’t fallen for yet, but he will. I don’t ever want to be like anyone, but if I’m choosing role models then David and Terry are my guys. I’m also continually wowed by the work of Michael DeForge. He’s always pushing his boundaries and improving on what he did last and basically showing everyone how it’s done.

Saam: Julia Gfrörer’s ‘Black is the Colour’ has some of my favourite line work in the whole world in it, as does ‘In the Sounds and Sea’ by Marnie Galloway. It’s just real simple but affective stuff. I wish I could draw like that. In terms of story writing I’d say Deforge is also a big one for me, real weird shit. Yet, my number one has got to be Jeffrey Brown. He nails auto-biographical comics as a genre and the way he portrays emotion/facial expressions is perfect.

Why the name Hats and Milk, it’s a pretty weird name?

Dean: We were making stuff under the moniker ‘Oh, Sweet Serendipity’ for a while, but figured that should be an umbrella term for our comics rather than a name. I wear hats all the time and Saam has milky skin, so there you go. Richard Walsh pointed out that Saam should be Soya Milk now though because he’s vegan. Maybe we’ll change it?

Saam: Milk is a good bracket because I love oat and rice milk too. I love milk. I have been looking for a hat recently so this could throw a spanner in the works?!

Guts - The Strip that appeared in 'Honey Pot' #1.

Guts – The Strip that appeared in ‘Honey Pot’ #1.

What do you think of the British independent comic scene?

Dean: To be honest, most of the comics I read are American/Canadian. I don’t feel qualified to answer this question, but I really, really like Donya Todd and everything she does!

Saam: Donya Todd’s ‘Death and the Girls’ and her Bimba comics stuff is really empowering and funny. I love all of that. I’m a big fan of Jack Teagle too, he’s got a great imagination for crafting characters. The 24hr and Simpsons comics he does always make me super jealous of his writing abilities. Also everything Nobrow and Breakdown Press put out is incredible.

Every person I interview I ask for his or her 3 favourite comics that have come out this year. I will then read and review one of these comics. This is all an excuse for me to find out about loads of new comics. Can you recommend me your three favourite comics that have come out this year?

Dean:

Michael DeForge – ‘Lose’ #6

David Lapham – ‘Stray Bullets’ #8

Gillen & McKelvie – ‘The Wicked + The Divine’ #5

Saam: I’m going to try and remember what was from this year and say different things to Dean and give you a top 5 because a top 3 is never enough.

Noah Van Sciver – ‘Youth is Wasted’

Donya Todd – ‘Bimba Vol 1’

Shaky Kane – ‘That’s Because You’re a Robot’

Evan Dorkin – ‘Eltingville Fighting Club’

Jason Aaron and Jason Latour – ‘Southern Bastards’

Thank you very much to Saam and Dean. I will be reviewing one of each of their comic choices very soon.

Cardiff Comic Con 2014 – Freaks, Geeks and Super Nerds

Anyone in Cardiff this weekend would have been surprised to see a mass of Bat-mans, Doctor Whos and Supermen milling about amongst all the rugby fans. The cause for this was the scheduling clash of Wales vs. Australia in the Millennium Stadium and The Cardiff Comic-Con in the motor point arena.

It seems that every year this event draws bigger and bigger crowds. Even on Sunday a huge line of eager sci-fi, television and comic book fans stretched all around the Motor Point arena.

The que outside of Comic-con 2014

The queue outside Comic-con 2014

On the inside stalls were set up to fulfill the materialistic needs of even the most obsessive fans. You could purchase autographs from every person who has ever appeared in an episode of Doctor Who since the start. But for those more into Games Of Thrones do not worry. There was a stall selling real life replicas of all the swords featured in the show. Who doesn’t need their own version of “oathkeeper’ or ‘longclaw’ hanging above their bed.

Inside Comic-Con 2014

Inside Comic-Con 2014

The only place not swamped by people was a misplaced sports memorabilia stall. It seems no one at comic con is interested in a pair of shorts signed by Eric Cantona or a pair of boxing gloves worn by Joe Calzaghe. The traditional looking man who owned this stall looked particularly awkward as Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker walked past without even a second glance at his Man Utd top trumps cards. I am sure he realizes now that comic con might have been a bad business move.

For those brave enough to make it through the crowds of the first floor to the second floor were rewarded with the comic zone. The comic zone is where all the comic artists were hanging out signing comics and drawing original works for people. This year attending Cardiff Comic Con were David Roach and Lee Townsend who have both drawn for 2000AD, Mike Collins who began his professional career by joining up with Alan Moore, Simon Williams who is Aces Weekly’s newest recruit and David Lloyd the artist behind Alan Moore’s British dystopian classic V for Vendetta as well as a dozen other talented artists. However, it was disappointing to see more people queuing to get an autograph from long forgotten actors than from these comic artists and writers.

But before I end no post on Comic-con would be complete without the obligatory pictures of people who really, really, really, really love dressing up as comic book characters.

Brit- Cit Justice Department. (From Left) Featuring Judge Drone, Judge Broad, Judge Spike, Judge Purcell and Judge Harrington.

Brit- Cit Justice Department. (From Left)
Featuring Judge Drone, Judge Broad, Judge Spike, Judge Purcell and Judge Harrington.

 

 

Ben Jordan as Galactus.

Ben Jordan as Galactus.

 

Jon Johannson. He started building his costume in July!

Jon Johannson. He started building his costume in July!