Friday, September 30, 2011
Live and direct from the city of Cosmopolis comes Frank Sartre!
Created by James Peaty and James Reekie, Frank Sartre is a washed up club singer in the grip of depression and haunted by recurring dreams of a mysterious girl. With a killer stalking the streets of Cosmopolis and an intrepid reporter looking for a connection to Frank, will our hero be able to find the answers he's searching for?
The Ballad of Frank Sartre is an original graphic novel from comics pro James Peaty (who may be familiar to readers of DC's Supergirl) and newcomer James Reekie (a name to definitely watch out for), currently being serialised every Friday at www.franksartre.com. Arguably the best webcomic out there, The Ballad of Frank Satre is destined to become a major hit, so be sure and check it out.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
If you're unfamiliar with Chuck's work or his blog, Terrible Minds, then I highly recommend heading on over there; each and every week day, he spits out some great writing advice like bullets to the brain and challenges some of the perceptions of what it means to be a writer.
Chuck's e-book, 250 Things You Should Know About Writing is available from Amazon now or you can buy it directly from him. His first novel, Double Dead, is available for pre-order now.
Friday, September 23, 2011
This week, The Babble Project welcomes the neurotic elf herself Ablyss!
Ablyss is the alter ego of Greek artist (and comics making machine) Valia Kapadai - a name you'll be hearing a whole lot more of in 2012. Not only is Valia providing artwork for Seeing Shadows from Scar Comics, she's also got three graphic novels from Markosia lined up (White Knuckle with Cy Dethan, Kindred Spirits with Maggie Lewinowicz, and Snow with Rich MacAuliffe). And if that wasn't enough, she's also contributing short strips to a vast array of upcoming anthologies, including the much publicised Womanthology!
Be sure and check out Valia's Deviant Art page for more of her work.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Predators features a strip by me and Bryan Coyle (which the guys at Small Press Big Mouth raved about), and is priced at £7.99 ($14.99). If you prefer to buy it through your comic shop, though, you can use the Previews order code STK449777. While you're visiting the website, you might want to grab yourself copies of Robots and Western, which also feature strips by me and Bryan, and pre-order a copy of Zombies 2, which features a strip by me and Valia Kapadai.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Tearing their way out of the London gangland and into The Babble Project come The Wolfmen!
Created by Dave West and Andy Bloor - two thirds of the Accent UK team - The Wolfmen are an infamous gang of armed robbers known for wearing wolf masks during their heists. But, as their newest recruit, Jack Grey, soon discovers, those aren't masks... Expertly mixing British crime fiction with elements of the supernatural, The Wolfmen graphic novels are books that no comic collection should be without.
Published by Accent UK, there are two Wolfmen books available from Dave and Andy - The Wolfmen and Fall Of The Wolfmen - but plans are afoot for a third and final installment, The Last Of The Wolfmen. The books are available from all good, and disreputable, comic shops, or you can buy them on-line from Forbidden Planet. Accent UK's latest themed anthology, Predators, is available now (Previews order code: STK449777), and features a story by us!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
Whistler was originally created by comics making machine Bolt-01 (a.k.a. artist/letter and art editor/publisher of FutureQuake Publications Dave Evans) for Dogbreath, the Strontium Dog fanzine. As all good characters seem to do, Whistler has pretty much taken on a life of his own and made cameos in a multitude of Dogbreath strips - and even managed to find his way into the pages of 2000AD, courtesy of Carlos Ezquerra!
Bolt-01 has been a great supporter of our small press work down the years (and was the man responsible for first pairing us up oh-so many moons ago!), so it was a no brainer to ask him to get involved in this. Thankfully, he managed to take some time out from creating some of the best small press anthologies money can buy to provide us with this weeks image.
For more information about FutureQuake Publications, be sure and check out their website and their shop; for news and updates, check out the FQP Blog.
For news and updates on the 2000AD fanzines Zarjaz and Dogbreath (published by FQP), check out The Quaequam Blog.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Lee tweeted this a while back:
If you can't spend the time to learn how to write comics before doing it? Fine. But when you ask people for money? You'd better know what you're doing, which means you NEED to learn your craft, or at least have someone edit / read over your work. Ego does not = talent.
He was talking about many of the comic based Kickstarter projects that are popping up all over the shop, and the way that the platform has become a way to get mediocre comic projects up and running. He picked up this thread again last week and went on to make some valid points about the whole thing, the main thrust of it being that people seem to want to use it as a shortcut to get their project out there without learning the craft of making comics.
I'll put my hands up here and admit that I don't know that much about Kickstarter; I've never used it to either donate or help finance a project, and I don't have any plans to do so in the near future. However, I do find myself wholeheartedly agreeing with Lee, especially on two points from the tweet above:
- Ego doesn't equal talent and
- You need to learn your craft
The first one goes without saying, really. There's an abundance of ego in the comics world, at all levels of it, that can be both hilarious and terrifying in equal measure. I understand that it takes a lot of guts to put your work out there in front of people, so you have to wear your game face in public and build a front of self-confidence to hide your insecurities behind (I do that all the time, I don't mind admitting). But sometimes, it's not a front, and people genuinely believe that everything they're pumping out are slices of fried gold.
Self confidence is paramount to making comics - or writing, or creating art, or song writing or whatever - of that there's no doubt, but letting your ego take control and allowing it to make you think everything you're doing is quality, that you have nothing to learn, that you're good enough to work in the big leagues, is, frankly, fucking ridiculous.You need to learn the craft.
See what I did there? Seamless.
Anyway, that's the key thing about comics: it's a craft to be learned. Scripting, art, lettering and colouring are a discipline in and of themselves, each of them needs to be mastered, so each of them can be put together as a whole; they're parts of a puzzle that should all lock neatly together to produce a damn good read, which is the goal of good comics - hell, good stories - let's not forget.
However, having a great idea for a story doesn't mean you'll automatically be able to immediately turn it into a comic or novel. You need to have the skills and knowledge to put it down on paper in a narrative form, and if you don't have those, well, you should just go away and learn it, ask for help, do whatever it takes to get to that point where you can do it for yourself.
It is just literally a case of you have to practice and get good, then get better, because just being "good enough" should never be, er, good enough. You should be constantly striving to improve, to build your creative arsenal, rather than just sitting back and coasting by on whatever skills you've already picked up. But to get there in the first place, you have to go and learn the basics.
How? Just fucking do it.
Yes, it takes time and it takes patience, but, as with all things, it will pay off if you work at it hard enough. And - this should be pretty much common sense, but I think it needs to be said - if you're asking people for money, then giving them a halfway competent product in return is always favourable than handing over steaming a pile of shite.
Let me be clear: I'm not saying all comic-related projects on Kickstarter (or Indiegogo or whatever) are crap; there's sure to be some real gems that are worth the cash, but I'd lay good money on those being, y'know, half decent, and done by people who have that understanding of the craft.
Some of the replies that Lee got were interesting, too (although not as vitriolic as I'd expected), but one in particular stood out for me, about people using Kickstarter to get their "learning the craft" experience. On that, I found myself calling bullshit.
I'm only speaking on my own personal experience here, but the small press scene is a healthy and vibrant place (in the UK anyway, not sure how it shapes up in other parts of the world). It's a great place to plug in to, make friends and contacts and, above all, learn. No, there's not a lot of money in it (if any), and, yes, some people will look down on the whole thing (both from within the scene and without), but there is, simply, no better place for people to get to grips with the creation of comics and work out what they're actually doing. It's a lot of hard work, of that there's no doubt, and there's not always a reward at the end of it, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
Personally, I've taken something crucial away from every piece I've had published. I've learned a huge amount from seeing my scripts turned into completed comics. I can literally see what works and what doesn't, where I need to improve and where my strengths lie. It has, I think, helped make me a better writer, and develop a thicker skin - which is, basically, a pre-requisite to embarking on any creative pursuit. I've also learned to work with editors and artists, and not to just simply try and bend them to my will to make sure they realise my vision. More importantly, though, I've made friends and contacts that I can turn to for help and advice regarding comic projects.
I doubt you'll get any of that going straight to Kickstarter.
To make it clear, I'm not dismissing Kickstarter out of hand completely. As I said, I've never used it, but that's not say I won't in the future; I'm not ruling anything out. I can honestly say, though, if I had to go back and try and gain the same tiny little patch of ground that I've managed to grab hold of over the last couple of years, I wouldn't use it, largely for the reasons outlined in those last three paragraphs.
Friday, September 02, 2011
Bursting from the pages of the critically acclaimed Forty-Five comes the mysterious Japanese hero BlueSpear!
Created by Andi Ewington and originally visualised by Callum Alexander Watt, Blue Spear will be the first character from Forty-Five to have his story told in a one-shot - and, perhaps more importantly, the first character to feature in The Babble Project. Art for this image, however, was provided by the incomparable Kevin Levell, a superstar in the making if there ever was one (who we hope will remember us when he reaches the top of the industry). If you're not familiar with Kevin's work, be sure and check out his blog.
Written by Andi Ewington and Eddie Deighton, with stellar art provided by Cosmo White, the Blue Spear one-shot will be available for pre-order soon from our very own publisher, Com.X. Be sure and check out them on Twitter and Facebook to find out more.