Saturday, 17 August 2013

Choices, choices...

Just finished a new ART MONKEY ADVENTURES 4-pager for The Phoenix and thought I would share a Sneaky Peeky of it here!



Thursday, 8 August 2013

WHY DON'T YOU... Enjoy some Bonus Holiday Mo-Bot Fun!

Did I mention that the brand new paperback edition of my book Mo-Bot High came out recently? Of course I did! Did you buy your copy yet? Of course YOU did! Although just in case you didn't: available in all good bookstores - including as of this week the eminently wonderful Page 45 in Nottingham / on the internet!

Anyway, if you've finished it already and are finding these long summer holidays starting to drag: Why Don't You head on over to the Mo-Bot High website for details and all sorts of fun extras! Including such Summer Holiday Funtime Stuff as..

Giant Robot Design For Beginners activity sheets!

Build-Your-Own Cardboard Mo-Bot kits!

A step-by-step guide on How To Draw A Mo-Bot!
...and MUCH MORE! 

What are you waiting for? Go get your giant robots on!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Writing about Talking about Comics about Dancing

I recently had the great pleasure of being interviewed along with m'colleague Kate Brown for Women Writing About Comics Radio. Claire Napier of that august podcast got in touch wanting to discuss the ballet comic Kate and I did for the Phoenix last year, Emilie's Turn, and a very interesting chat we all had too. If you would care to have a listen, you can do so here!

PARENTAL ADVISORY in case any young readers were planning to listen, the discussion features FRUITY LANGUAGE and also brief reference to MATTERS OF A REPRODUCTIVE NATURE (or "grown-up cuddling"), so please proceed under advisement.

It was lots of fun, we talk (quite a lot) about the making of that particular comic but also more generally about ballet, and comics, and comics about ballet in general. Have a listen and you too can learn precisely how ill-informed I am on all of those topics!

Anyway, one other very cool thing is that, for the benefit of any ballet comics aficionados who may have found their way to us, the fine folks at the Phoenix have very kindly put Emilie's Turn up on their website to read in its entirety!

AND the issue in question is currently on sale at 20% off as part of their grand summer sale. So please go check it out! And then who knows, maybe someone will let us make MORE BALLET COMICS. Which I think we can all agree is the main thing here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

How To Make (Really Really Giant) Comics (which are also THREE-DIMENSIONAL)

I am freshly returned from a gloriously bewildering weekend at Camp Bestival, where I spent three nights in a tent and three days doing dinosaur and pirate-themed cartooning workshops with the fine folks from The Phoenix! It was a brilliant weekend: there was so much cool stuff going on and the Phoenix tent was absolutely buzzing all weekend, in no small part thanks to the brilliant cartooning workshops being given by my fellow Phoenixy Phellows Adam Murphy, Gary Northfield and Jo Bowes. It's all a bit of a blur frankly, and one downside of the constant goings-on was that amongst all of it, I... basically forgot to take any photos?

But! There was one thing I managed to grab a couple of snaps of: on the Saturday, we seized the opportunity of some giant letters spelling out 'ART TOWN' in our corner of the field and, after our Comics Captain Caro Fickling went and asked very nicely, we gained permission to turn them into a GIANT COLLABORATIVE JAM COMIC. (You know how much we love making  GIANT COLLABORATIVE JAM COMICS, after all. Give us a nice large blank surface and you can be sure we'll whack a GIANT COLLABORATIVE JAM COMIC on that thing.) But this one was something new: not only was it Really Really Giant, but it was also... in Three Dimensions!

Anyway, it was brilliant fun, and really great to be able do something like that in such a spur-of-the-moment way. I started things off with the first 'panel', and then handed over to Adam to carry on the story...

 ...and then we pretty much turned it over to the kids!

 And they absolutely ran with it, taking to these slightly non-conventional page layouts with APPLOMB.

And so unfolded an epic tale of Unicorn Penguin Aliens who really really liked donuts, global destruction, and one hedgehog named Gerald.

Here is Jo, up a ladder, drawing comics. We thought it was probably wise to hand over to grown-ups to do the top tier of panels, because... well, because the last thing any of us need is a child being crushed under a giant letter 'N' covered in drawings of Angry Unicorn Penguin Aliens, right?

And then of course there were the kids climbing around on TOP of the comic, the kids chasing each other THROUGH  HOLES in the comic, and even the occasional danger of stepping on a small child crawling UNDER the comic. It was a pretty action-packed scene, let me tell you.

Action-packed and a lot of fun. It was great to see kids getting so enthused, and like the whole weekend really, it was extremely cool to kind of take comics into places, and to readers, that wouldn't normally encounter them.

Anyway, that's all the pictures I got. We were barely halfway through before I had to dash back to the Phoenix tent for more dinosaur / pirate shenanigans, so huge thanks (again) to Adam and Gary and Jo, who oversaw the rest of the jam and (As far as I know) managed to prevent any small-child-crushed-under-giant-letter-N style mishaps.

And the hugest thanks of all to everyone at the Phoenix who worked so hard to make the whole event happen and who made it - look, I'm just going to call it now - such a brilliant success: Zara Markland, Lotte, the aforementioned Caro Fickling, Jo and Will and Tom (and indeed support staff Lisa and Di and Official Pencil Monitor Logan) - and most of ALL of all to the incredible, tireless efforts of Liz Payton. Good job all! Let's do it again soon.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

MO-BOT HIGH out in paperback, TODAY!

Happy August 1st! And a very happy August 1st it IS, because today that all these lovely DFC Library books come out in shiny exciting new paperback editions!

It's a cracking line-up that includes a brand-new, paperback-first collection of Jamie Smart's wonderful Fish-Head Steve, and all these other fine works from amazing creative folks such as Sarah McIntyre, The Etherington Bros, James Turner, not to mention prizewinningly-certified-awesome author Dave Shelton!

And also, oh yeah, THIS ONE: 

This (beautifully printed and hghly affordable) new edition of Mo-Bot High collects the first story arc from the DFC, telling the story of a young girl named Asha and her first week at a new school where she's barely figured out where the toilets are before becoming embroiled in MIND-BOGGLING GIANT ROBOTIC WARFARE.

It's a story very close to my heart; my first 'graphic novel' (or 'big long comic' if you prefer), it's my attempt to do a classic girls' school comic, in the mode of Jinty or Bunty or one of those many lost titles that I have been known to witter on about from time to time; a story about friendship and rivalry and triumph and tragedy, played out in lunch-breaks and the walk home past the bike-sheds after school. But with giant robots. Because, y'know, GIANT ROBOTS. Updated elevator pitch: It's kind of like Pacific Rim, if Jacqueline Wilson was the screenwriter.

Anyway, if you've discovered my work in the last couple of years and particularly if you're a fan of Pirates of Pangaea or my other stuff in The Phoenix, I really hope you'll give it a try. Action! Excitement! GIANT ROBOTS! COME ON WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO HEAR? GIANT ROBOTS!

BUT DON'T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: here are a bunch of reviews telling you that - to sum up - this is an awesome comic and you should totally buy it!

So to sum up: GO GO UK KID'S COMICS YEAH. I really hope that these editions can serve as a beachhead for children's comics in bookshops, getting us nearer to the dream of having ACTUAL WHOLE SHELVES OF COMICS in the chilren's section! Imagine it! And in the meantime: collect the set!