Saturday, 23 August 2008

master of none

The Strangehaven readers among you will probably be wondering what else the rather tardy author has been amusing himself with during its current absence from the bookshelves. Well, in addition to the assorted non-fiction books that I have been writing (currently working on Comic Book Design for Ilex Press due next spring), a large portion of my time has been taken up with creating a website for the local jewellery shop Warburtons.
Curious parties can browse the fruits of my labour now that the aforementioned site has finally, finally, finally gone 'live' here:
Those of you who are looking for someone to blame for the deficiencies in its concept, design, coding, text content and photography need look no further than the writer of this blog. The better parts of the website were greatly enhanced by the contributions and critical expertise of the staff of Warburtons and my good friend photographer John Attwell.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

must-read strangehaven

That mighty fine blogger Alan David Doane has just posted his numbered list of 100 Must-Read Graphic Novels, and I am proud to say that Strangehaven has been included at number 51.
After initially being disappointed at missing out on the prestigious top 50 by a single place (Damn you, Outer Space Spirit!) Alan clarified that only the top 30 or so were actually in order. So therefore, Strangehaven is actually tied at #31 (OK, shared with 70 others, but still, not bad).
I expect you're all wondering, like Patrick McGoohan, who is number one, but you should really pop over to check it out for yourself and see where your favourite placed.
My favourite got number one by the way....
ADD's 100 Must-Read Graphic Novels

Friday, 15 August 2008

san diego agogo

I made my first appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con in six years last month, albeit a relatively low-key one due to the recent lack of new Strangehaven material. Still, it was tremendous fun to hook up various comics peoples that I haven’t seen for all of those six years or more – including Eddie Campbell, James Kochalka, Alex Robinson, Bongo editor Terry Delegeane, Batton Lash and his wife Jackie Estrada, Terry Moore and his wife Robyn, Wayne Beamer, Scott McCloud and many more.
Now, I had heard a lot about how big San Diego Comic-Con had become since I last visited. Comic-Con is big, really big. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemists, but that’s just peanuts to Comic-Con…But no, actually, I didn’t note too much difference (it was already pretty damn big six years ago) except for the significantly increased number of punters crowding the aisles, especially on ‘Preview Night.’
Not surprising as the event was apparently sold-out; 125,000 attendees with a ceiling of 60,000 a day, plus an extraordinary number of comics professionals, exhibitors, celebrities and so on adding to the general chaos.I also bumped into some folks that I hadn’t seen for a while (but less than the six years in question), incuding my French publisher stablemates Ted Naifeh and Eric Shanower, and
Josh Palmano (owner of London’s fabulous Gosh store) who was also guesting at the Top Shelf booth.I also enjoyed a fortuitous meeting with Vertigo head honchess Karen Berger on my way to eat at Buster’s in Seaport Village (Macadamia-nut encrusted Chicken with Hawaiian relish and garlic mash).
I also crossed paths with some people who I have seen much more recently than six years, fellow Brits Bryan Talbot and the Peckerwood contingent of Rob and Pete; in the Marriott’s English-style pub, some more English-style comic creators were to be found, namely David Hine, Eisner award-winner Nick Abadzis (who I note has completed his transformation from clean-cut boy-next look to greasy biker) and David Lloyd.
I also hung out with some new faces on the Top Shelf booth, like that salty Tim Sievert, the too cool Alex Robinson, awesome Andy Runton, sensational Christian Slade and also met the marvellous Matt Kindt for the first time. The Top Shelf crew were as always as hospitable as ever, Robert Venditti, Leigh Walton, Brett Warnock and of course the ubiquitous Mr. Staros.

I was also delighted to be able to introduce myself to the amazing Brian Wood and the exceedingly generous Richard Starkings and his Comicraft cohort John JG Roshell. It’s also obligatory that I mention that I rubbed metaphorical shoulders (as in, “oo, look who’s over there”) with Lost’s Matthew Fox, Simon Pegg (of the Dead) and Stan Lee.
Undoubted highlight of the show was seeing in no uncertain terms yer actual Owl Ship from the forthcoming Watchmen movie (Dave Gibbons, by the way, was nowhere to be seen, having recently been promoted to ‘superduperstar’ status and thus now gets invited to all the superduper top secret parties).
I also attended the annual Panel2Panel after-show dinner for the first time at the Gaslamp District’s premier tapas bar Sevilla where Heidi MacDonald and future Mr. MacDonald, letterer extraordinaire Todd Klein and his missus, Steve Leialoha, Tony Lee and I among others drank Sangria, danced the flamenco, shouted a lot and fought over the bill.
Outside the intense comic environment, I found time to take in my first Major League baseball game at the wonderful Petco Park stadium (a stone’s throw from the convention centre), discovered Pinkberry frozen yogurt (the new Opium, mark my words), saw some polar bears eating carrots at San Diego’s wonderful zoo, saw the Star Trek Exhibition at Balboa Park and at the flicks enjoyed Dark Knight very much and didn’t enjoy The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in the slightest.
So, would I recommend San Diego as a destination event? Absolutely yes. Apart from being one of those events any self-respecting (and financially solvent) comic fan simply must attend at least once in their lives (like Angoulême) it really is a beautiful, sunny and fun-packed city (not at all like Angoulême).