THE UKs LARGEST INDEPENDENT COMICS PUBLISHER
Between 1984-1994 I worked freelance as a writer/artist/editor/agent in comics as well as comics journalism for MU Press,Blue Comet Press,Fantagraphic Books,Eros Comics,Dorne,Fleetway,IPC and others in the United States,UK and Europe. During this period I also produced large numbers of single panel gag cartoons for agencies in Germany such as Boiselle-Lohmann and Baaske Agency –these going to magazines and publications around Europe. I also worked as a freelance editor in comics and publications ranging from wildlife,astronomy and science fiction magazines.
From 1984 to present I've been self publishing comics as well as publications on a wide variety of subjects under the Black Tower banner.
I have also produced packages of work for companies in India,Hong Kong and China. I have also been working as an industry advisor for smaller companies in countries such as India,Canada,Singapore,China,Europe and the US. email@example.com
Why am I mentioning this now? Simple. If you watched Howlermouse and his DC 52 rant video (just go down this page a post or two) I think it was one of his best video blogs. Firstly, he lives in the United States, has been a life long DC comics fan and collector and, more importantly, I don't know him and he does not know me.
Again, why is that important? Firstly, because he has underscored literally everything I have written about Marvel and DC and, to an extent, the current "new fans" and how the companies are treating their fans as morons who are told what they want in comics because it is the latest "cash cow" plan. I think "Enough is enough!" has been screamed out by so many long time comic fans that if Marvel and DC really did have that open-ness to fans and creativity of the 1960s/1970s they would have taken notice long ago.
Instead, we all know that DC and Marvel are run by "suits" who get a great deal of sexual gratification when they see that $ sign....the higher the number the better it gets (though some require sedating when it gets too intense).
Another point was that George Perez is "one of the old guys" but the companies don't pull them into conventions because they want, what they see as young, hip and cool creators so that their companies look young, hip and cool. Some of the "old guys" do get to comic book conventions like Perez or Neal Adams but usually independent of Marvel or DC. You know, the "young, hip and cool" are not that good and people like Sal Buscema have to tidy up and make their comic work presentable. Do these old guys get credit? HELL NO!! Is DC or Marvel going to tell their purchasers (I won't say "fans") that "old guys" have to finish off the latest 'star's' work because he is not capable?
WHY do you need six pencillers and some times even more inkers on one feckin comic??? You work it out. In the old days when quality was the key word and artists pencilled and inked without a computer it was one penciller and one inker unless a deadline had been moved up and so a book had to be rushed through.
My conversations with youngsters (I'm old and "rad" enough to be able to write that) on putting comics together usually goes like this.
Me: "I pencil straight onto the page then ink it"
Anon: "What computer program?"
Me: "Don't use one for anything but lettering"
Anon:"So HOW do you draw -?"
Me: "I use a pencil -different types- and then various pens for inking or brush and ink for solid black areas"
Anon:"On the computer?"
At this point I usually pull out pencils and a pen and demonstrate. Usually to dumbfounded expressions.
A silence usually falls as the person stares at what I've drawn. It's almost like them trying to push their brains through thick molasses!
Anon: "Every page?"
Anon: "You don't do any drawing on the computer?"
Me: "No. Not one page. Only lettering because I simply cannot letter to any publishable standard -that I use the computer for"
Oh lords! They see a colour illo and when I explain I used colour inks, water colours or a mix of tools a few have to be taken away in an ambulance.
Come on, I am not the only one out there does this and it surely cannot be beyond the little minds to understand that I use a pencil for what pencils were designed for and pens and inks for what they were designed for?
I almost feel like I've been thawed from a block of ice having been frozen in 1950!
Jim Lee does drawing demoes at events using a Wacom. Big feckin deal. I've seen one after another "computer artists" have near nervous breakdowns when their computers fail because everything -everything- is stored on it. "Art studio", comic work -everything. I just have to go to my folders and pull pages out. Word.
"Old school" they say to me. "Artist" is how I normally respond to the non-pain-in-the-ass ones.
In the United States and UK "it's all about age", as Bollo once said. Howlermouse nailed that. And I pointed it out in my "Too Radical" post. I mentioned how I got the strange looks and even the rudeness of other creators there -and it really did seem to be because of my age. Drawing, writing and publishing comics at my age? My response is this: how dare YOU fucking demand that I conform to your inane and grotesquely stupid idea of what someone of my age should be doing.
In Europe you have musical performers who started in the 1960s and still continue today because it is the talent and music NOT their age that is taken into account. If you do not know that or understand it then get back inside your tin can.
Hansrudi Wascher...well, I could make a very long list of comic creators from Europe who are well past 60 years of age and still going strong. In the UK many comic creators and cartoonists are kicked out into retirement on reaching 65. There is no reason WHY any publication cannot use them as freelance or, in more recent years, continue to employ them. Let's not get started on British comics because that is dead unless someone with money comes along.
You see, following my response to a comment on CBO as to WHY I am unable to get a table at event after event in the UK (excluding the little minded conspirators) I hear from two comic people that when they mentioned to certain event organisers my post on the subject the response was also a whince and (that ***** expression again) "Well, he's really old school and we want to attract younger people". So Howlermouse REALLY nailed it.
I mentioned someone into maths had worked out the odds of my being "unlucky" enough not to get a table for five straight years for every event I contacted. Doug responded in an email: "Actually, easiest way of putting it when it gets broken down, is that the odds against this happening over that period come out as 99.8% against it" I think the term is "screwed".
I get far more views of my Maakika Art from Europe -mainly France. UK hardly ever registers.
This is why, and I was only just sitting down to catch up on videos yesterday, I shared the video. I had not intended to but I thought "See? Ain't just me! I'll show everyone" and that was it.
No one told Jack Kirby "You iz too old, man!" (but then he had 99% more talent than me!)
Dean Jones, the actor
who helmed a wealth of classic Disney movies from ‘The Love Bug’ ,
‘Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo’ and 'That Darn Cat!’, has died aged 84.
He had been suffering
from Parkinson’s disease.
Jones, also starred in
46 films over a prolific acting career, including titles like
'Jailhouse Rock’, with Elvis Presley, 'Under The Yum-Yum Tree’ with
Jack Lemmon, 'Beethoven’, 'Blackbeard’s Ghost’, and 'Clear And
It was after serving in
the Navy during the Korean War that he took to acting, working at a
local theatre in Buena Park, California.
He made his debut on
Broadway in 1960 alongside Jane Fonda in the play 'There Was A Little
Girl’, later appearing in Stephen Sondheim’s 'Company’.
After inking a deal
with MGM, he then embarked on a movie career in 1956, and would go on
to star with Frank Sinatra in 'Never So Few’, Fonda once again in
'Any Wednesday’, and Gregory Peck and Danny DeVito in 'Other People’s
He also played the evil
vet Dr. Herman Varnick in 'Beethoven’ in 1992.
Jones was inducted into
the Disney Hall of Fame in 1995.
He is survived by his
three children and wife, former actress Lory Patrick.
“The Pizz” (a.k.a.
El Pizzo a.k.a. Stephen Pizzurro), the self-described Lowbrow artist
who evolved into a celebrated influence to a generation of artists, has
left us. He was only 57. Born in 1958 and raised in a large Italian
family in Orange County, California, The Pizz grew up creating art – he
once said that he began drawing since he had a pen in his hand.
caught his first big break working on Rat Fink comics for his
personal inspiration, cartoonist Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, before going on to
design cover art for punk label Sympathy for the Record Industry, and
eventually entering the gallery world with fellow notable artists like
With his signature dark glasses and a most impressive
“fuzzy chin”, The Pizz was a familiar figure at openings and events. He
even made appearances on reality TV and in film documentaries, including
Flake and Flames (2013) and The Treasures of Long Gone John (2006).
At that time, Lowbrow Art was just a bubbling underground art
scene and today works by The Pizz are considered as one of the original
sources of “cartoon expressionism”, inspiring waves of artists to build
upon. Artists like The Pizz, Coop, Anthony Ausgang, and many others drew
from the well of hot-rod influenced Kustom Kulture, surf,
skateboarding, tattoo, underground comics, Beatnik and tiki styles and
brought it to galleries like La Luz De Jesus as fine art like no other.
For over 20 years, The Pizz’s brutal, colorful, and enthralling graphics
presented a surreal alternative to our consumer-driven pop culture.
Using the sensibility of cartoons, his paintings pop with the things he
loved: eye-catching pinups, pimps, perverts, pirates, post-apocalyptic
demigods, motorcyclists and fast cars. Dedicated to an art form that was
generally frowned upon by society, he helped to create a new genre of
imagery that was undeniably interesting; unapologetically presented to a
myriad of folks from all walks of life, not just the pedigreed elite.
As he said, “It’s a
tumultuous adrenaline-soaked hellride of a lifetime leaving a mountain
of debris and unspeakable carnage in its wake. Yeah, it’ll scar your
fragile psyche for miles into the hereafter.”
Going by a few Face Book comments it seems that some people have the
idea that I think I can just turn up at a European comic convention and
the sales and money will flow.
Obviously, these people have NOT read the CBO posts that elicited these 'responses'.
Back in the 1990s I tried to chat to German comic fans on various forums. I think I had a couple positive experiences -darkjedi and, unless my memory has really gotten so bad that I've got it wrong -Subzero and his brother, Enrique. I even contributed to various groups -scans of 1960s/1970s comics from Germany that most had heard of (or not) but never seen. Sadly, that group (basically) took away my membership after earning that I was opposed to illegal scanning of new comics.
The other forums got me these responses:
1. "Who do you think you are? English and you think you know German comics!"
2. "We have seen your work* and it does not fit in Germany!"
3. "It seems you like the low-brow, childish comics of Bastei and those others. Comics have to be
taken as a serious medium not frivolous!"
meh. Arschlochs everywhere.
All I can say regarding (1) above is that I was able to provide cover scans of old German comics back to the 1950s as well as covers and art of Hansrudi Wascher and provide background information most of the members had never heard of. However, when two very "vocal" members took over they all faded away and, obviously, weren't going to support the foreigner out loud!
(2) well, I had contributed to German zines and was a very active correspondent with many of the Small Pressers of the 1980s/early 1990s and some of my work had been translated into German -including "Revenge of the Ice Queen", the first published D-Gruppe story. So it was odd that after so much positive feedback, the internet (shock!) produced very negative idiots.
(3) It's true that this type exists everywhere. They feel that comics cannot be anything other than intellectual or very arty. These people considered 99% of comics published in Germany as "purile".
Where are they now?
I partly grew up on a farm in a German village -Dalborn- along with other kids and we read and talked comics and played. At that time (1960s/1970s) there was, amongst some young people, the need for everything "to be German" and not in a bad way.
My cousins decided that they could no longer understand English -"Auf Deutsch! Ich kann dir nicht verstehen!" It's not as though I was talking English all the time but if you've not spoken a language in a while and go back to it you need a couple weeks to get in the stride again so if I could not remember certain words such as, say, Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz, I said it in English to get a prompt to the German word. My cousins carried on this "Ich kann dir nicht verstehen" ever since.
In a way it's a bit like the British, in general terms, and "I cannot understand you so I'll shout!"
But I do know that there are a lot of German comic fans who do speak and read English -buy Marvel and DC comics and a lot are into Independent comics. People seems to misunderstand things and think "But they speak German -they won't understand an English comic" which is a bit insulting to be honest. Germans like comics as much as anyone else. My uncle used to read Micky Maus or Donald Duck, Lupo and so on. This was back in the 1960s/early 1970s when it was looked down on to be an adult reading a comic -they were for kids! And, yes, I came across that attitude.
German comickers, publishers and comic history are not exactly unknown to me! That gives a clittle bit of an edge.
The thing is to make sure that German comic fans know about Black Tower Comics but forums I would never like to try again. So what is the alternative? That is something I am looking into. It is also why the idea of spending a fortune going to a big German convention is out. Maybe smaller events but then mainly to let people know what Black Tower is and see what is available.
After all, there is no reason why a German comic fan who reads English should not enjoy The Iron Warrior or Phantom Detective or even Chung Ling soo or Dene Vernon. It is making them aware of these books and making it very clear the idea is to exist alongside existing German publishers not push them out of the way (not very likely to happen!).
So all of this needs to be assessed and mainly because to translate books into German will take a long time and if the interest is not there...
It is a necessary move, though as today I am told I have "been unlucky this time" in getting a table at another event. Very depressing when you have the books but no direct customer contact. Of course, if an entrepreneur backer for comics comes forward (UK or Germany) it makes it easier.
I've not given up. And I've no fantasies about the "big time" in Germany. But we all need to eat, right?
APERTA-MENTE - LA DIVULGAZIONE PER RAGAZZI TRA SCIENZA E CONOSCENZA
Il 3 e 4 settembre Hamelin partecipa a "Aperta-Mente. La divulgazione per ragazzi tra scienza e conoscenza". Il corso, rivolto a insegnanti, bibliotecari, educatori, studenti universitari,
si terrà all’Auditorium Don Milani - Scuola Primaria Don Milani (via
Monte Cristallo 4, Pergine Valsugana - Trento) e avrà come tratto che
unifica gli interventi del corso il rapporto tra libro cartaceo e libro digitale, tra forme antiche, nuove e nuovissime di trasmissione del sapere.
"Aperta-Mente" è promosso dalla Biblioteca Comunale
"Sigmund Freud" di Lavarone con il sostegno della Fondazione Caritro e
la collaborazione della Biblioteca di Pergine Valsugana, la Biblioteca
di Luserna-Lusérn, il Comune di Folgaria, Apt Alpe Cimbra, l’Istituto
Cimbro-Kulturinstitut Lusérn, Iprase, AIB.
LEGGERE LE FIGURE:
LIBRI E METODI TRA BIBLIOTECA E SCUOLA
Mercoledì 9 settembre dalle ore 9,15 alle ore 17,00, presso l’oratorio di Aviano, Hamelin partecipa alla giornata di formazione del progetto Per crescere leggendo, "Leggere le figure: libri e metodi tra biblioteca e scuola" organizzata dalla biblioteca comunale di Aviano.
Rivolto a docenti di scuola primaria e secondaria di
primo e secondo grado, bibliotecari e operatori culturali, il corso
prende in considerazione albi illustrati, fumetti,
graphic novel e silent book per riflettere sulle nuove frontiere del
leggere e su come conquistare i bambini alla lettura.
Continua il ciclo di formazione sugli albi illustrati "Ad occhi aperti"
presso la Biblioteca Cantonale di Bellinzona nella sala conferenze.
Il corso, promosso da Bibliomedia Svizzera italiana e Istituto svizzero
Media e Ragazzi vuole sviluppare una riflessione sull’albo illustrato e
sperimentare nuovi percorsi pedagogici.
I prossimi incontri, che si terranno il 10 e il 24 settembre saranno incentrati sulla divulgazione scientifica, e sulle forme del comico nell’albo illustrato.
Board on Books for Young People è una rete internazionale di persone,
che provengono da 77 paesi e promuove la cooperazione internazionale
attraverso i libri per bambini, creando ovunque per l'infanzia
l'opportunità di avere accesso a libri di alto livello letterario e
artistico e incoraggiando la pubblicazione e la distribuzione di libri
di qualità per bambini specialmente nei Paesi in via di sviluppo. www.bibliotecasalaborsa.it/ragazzi/ibby/
Se desideri disiscriverti da questa newsletter, vai nel box "cancellazione" su questa pagina.
Vom 8. bis 11. Oktober 2015 finden mit der SPIEL
erneut die alljährlichen Internationalen Spieletage in Essen statt. Die
„weltweit größte Publikumsmesse für Gesellschaftsspiele“ ist in den
letzten Jahren auch für Comicfans zur wichtigen Adresse geworden. Seit
die Frankfurter Buchmesse im vergangenen Jahr den Bereich „Faszination
Comic“ abgeschafft hat (der Comic Reportberichtete), nutzen immer mehr Comicverlage den Messeauftritt in Essen im Rahmen der „Comic Action“ als Alternativtermin.
2014 debütierte dort auch der Splitter Verlag
und war ob des großen Publikumsinteresses mit diesem Einstand überaus
zufrieden. In zahlreichen Gesprächen vor Ort zeigte sich, dass man den
Nerv vieler Neuleser/innen traf, die von der Vielfalt des Comics völlig
überrascht waren und begeistert die neue Welt der Bildergeschichten
erforschten. 2015 wird Splitter abermals auf der SPIEL vertreten sein
und diesmal auf einem großen Gemeinschaftsstand zusammen mit Tokyopop/Popcom sein Pro....
The incredibly talented Kate Glasheen, artist on Hybrid Bastards and writer-artist of Bandages: A Diary Of Sorts, and still VASTLY under-rated in my opinion, is making a superbly demented web-comics tribute to the classic game, #ManiacMansion.
"Unfortunately you haven't made it for this round of Shake, but
please keep up your sick, sick work and apply for the next one! (We will
add you to our applications mailing list and send you a reminder when
the next one pops around!)
We hope you'll still pop in for a hang and to check out some fellow illustrators work!
Robyn & Max K
Exactly what I said would happen. UK Small Press or comics -feck the lot. FIVE YEARS of trying conventions and events and every single time the same thing.
I will no longer feature news of UK Small Press nor Comic events on CBO unless they are paid for ads.