The gag strip ain’t dead! Not as long as Kate Beaton continues with the brilliant Hark! A Vagrant. I couldn’t hope to match the humour of her strip, but I had to have a go a gag strip that I thought up recently. It was inspired by a friend of a friend who, in a discussion about evolution, claimed that they were ‘never a monkey’.
That crafty bugger Darwin had the world scientific community fooled. Do you remember ever being a monkey? Didn’t think so. Now go ahead and read the full strip.
I was also reminded of a one-panel cartoon I drew for Middlesex University’s Meow magazine, which I’ve posted below. The issue’s theme was ‘idols’. I don’t know if I really ‘did’ the theme properly. I think we were supposed to draw people we admired or something. Oh well, I got a cheap chuckle out of it!
Filed under: comic artists, comics theory, my comics | Tags: art, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration
So that’s two competitions in a row that I’ve entered now, with my entry for the Observer/Comica/Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Prize being posted yesterday, special delivery, since today is the deadline (I’m good at leaving these things to the very last minute!). It’s a short science fiction comic about the last two humans, stranded separately on the moons Titan and Callisto, and who can only talk to each other remotely.
It’s called Ripe and you can read it in the comics section I’ve set up. Cast your eyes left, and click ‘comics’ to choose from a selection of my most recent works, available to read in a single smooth column of goodness, rather than the atrocious ‘click link for page one, read, scroll, read, back button, click link for page two, etc.’ format that a lot of blogs present multiple-page comics in. I’ve always preferred a single long column for on-screen comics-reading as it means you can just tap your down arrow as you read, so as not to disturb the flow of the narrative. Scott McCloud, creator of Understanding Comics feels my pain and frequently speaks out against poorly formatted web-comics, especially in this article. Whilst I don’t know if I would word my objections as strongly as he does (from the linked article; ‘The page designs of most long form webcomics suck donkey dick.’) I certainly find myself in agreement with him.
That being said, I know the layout of my comics here could be prettier. Eventually I hope to set up a fancier interface that makes it as clear and lovely and natural to read as possible. Until then though, a single vertical column is a simple yet fairly effective way of creating a decent reading experience.
Regarding the Comica Prize, I found out from an interview I listened to between Paul Gravett and Stephen Collins that the quality of the entries improves every year. The feeling seems to be that a heck of a lot of young people, inspired by what comics can do from reading the new wave of graphic novels (stuff like Blankets, Black Hole, Persepolis), have decided to start taking comics very, very seriously and are set to produce things far greater than anything we have seen so far in this comics renaissance. It means that every year people who enter the Comica Prize are going to have tougher and tougher competition. I hope it drives everyone to new heights in their comics making.
Filed under: breaker's end, comic artists, my comics | Tags: art, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration
A couple of days ago I sent off my entry for the Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel Competition. Above are some images I’ve cut from my comic, ‘Breaker’s End’. Here’s a blurb I wrote for it to give a quick idea of the story:
For ten years, Isaac and Chloe have lived out of a tent in an abandoned woodland. Chloe makes money selling decorated shells, but they are in their sixties now, and sleeping on the cold ground isn’t as easy as it was when they were twenty-year-old backpackers. Chloe would love to live in a warm house and sleep in a soft bed, and when the government introduces a bill to sell off England’s remaining forests and nationally owned land, it looks like living the life of the ‘travellers’ will become an impossibility. Can she convince Isaac, adamant that he will never return to society though he will never explain why? And could she ever hope to earn enough money to live, selling shells by the seashore?
You can see some of the complete spreads over at my portfolio and I intend to upload the first chapter as a whole eventually, in a format that allows you to read it in one smooth column.
Right now I’m composing a four-page comic for the Comica Graphic Short Story Prize which I’ll be displaying here soon. Short stories are difficult to write, but hopefully it’ll shape up pretty well and be a decent entry into the contest.
Good luck to anyone else who’s entering. Last year’s winning entry by Stephen Collins was a tour de force of design and intense short prose. He set a pretty high benchmark; lets hope someone tops it!