Thursday, December 30, 2010

LOOKING BACK (AND LOOKING FORWARD)
As is customary this time of year, I thought I would talk about what I've managed to do this year and what I hope to achieve in 2011. It's been a very interesting year:

•We published another issue of TRIPWIRE, packed full of diverse features and content. With each edition, the aim is to improve on the previous and hopefully we succeeded. I am very proud of this issue. We didn't get it out more frequently but the fact that we brought it out at all in the current climate was something.

•I brought out a number of photo books through Blurb (London Eye, Stone Gardens and Black & White). I took tons of photos in 2010 and at last I am seeing that I am developing (pardon the pun) as a photographer. I am now trying to consider what I am taking and things like composition and framing. I even did a photography weekend with a friend of my brother's, which I found very enjoyable. Two of my photos ended up in the monster 75 Years of DC that Taschen published at the end of the year, so that was very cool.

• On the freelance front, I had a very good year. Despite beginning it with what I thought was a year's contract at a consumer 'champion' magazine (I won't tell you Which), one that ended after only five weeks but on both the subbing and feature writing front, 2010 was a very good year. I got work into Future's new comics-focused magazine Comic Heroes, continued to write for The Judge Dredd Megazine and got some material into Sci-Fi Now as well as another piece for The Word. I also subbed and did production work at a lot of new places (new for me) including Digital Arts, Apollo and The Week.

• There were a couple of book projects including a followup to Studio Space and a number of photographic books that seemed as if they were going to happen but they fell through because of a number of different factors. It's an occupational hazard so there's no point getting stressed about it.

•Following on from writing a detective short story for The Sunday Times Culture competition in 2009, I begun work on a novel featuring the same protagonist. While prose is hard, I am pretty chuffed with the results and intend to carry on with it.

So 2010 was a good year but what would I like to happen next year?

• I would still like to take TRIPWIRE more frequently and we are in discussions with a couple of people to try to make this a reality. Nothing may come of it but I live in hope. We do intend to try and do something electronic on a semi-regular basis.

•I would like to find a publisher for the detective novel. I have been chatting to an editor and a agent so it could happen. It wouldn't see the light of day until 2012 at the earliest even if it did but that would be fine.

Studio Space 2 would find a home. I am talking to someone to see if we can get this off the ground. We have a fantastic provisional list of artists (Sergio Aragones, Frank Quitely, Frank Cho, Dave Dorman, Glenn Fabry, Bryan Hitch, Frazer Irving, Dave Johnson, Mike Kaluta, Roger Langridge, P Craig Russell, John Paul Leon, Ben Templesmith, John Romita Jr, Mark Schultz, Charles Vess, Matt Wagner, Chris Weston and JH Williams III) so I would like to get that closer to being a reality.

•I shall continue to take more photos, do more books through Blurb and I would like to set up an exhibition of my photos and also do things like sell prints and calendars of my work. I would also like to get at least one photographic book off the ground published by a regular publisher.

•I'll keep on subbing and doing the freelance writing because it's a good way to keep my hand in with the field of film, TV and genre in-between doing TRIPWIRE.

• I shall still be writing here at this blog as I have done since 2006 as it's still a great place for me to talk crap about whatever I want to talk crap about.

•In 2011, we'll be preparing for the 20th anniversary of TRIPWIRE. It's scary to think that we started publishing it in 1992 but we intend to do something very special for 2012. The current plan (and it is in the very early stages) is to produce a 200 page book that will include the cream of our content so far plus lots of brand new, exclusive material.

So to everyone who reads this blog: Have a great New Year and I'll see you all in 2011

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Monday, December 27, 2010






TIME FLYING
Coming up in the next few days is my customary look back at 2010 and look forward to 2010 but before that, I just wanted to talk about something else. It is a cliche that time seems to move faster as you get a little older but it certainly seems to be true. Over the last couple of days, I have been hunting for a photo I took of Alan Moore quite a while ago for someone else to use in a book project and, as a result, I've been going through some CDs that include backed-up pages from old TRIPWIREs, photos and images that date from some period over the past decade. They have proven to be an amazing treasure trove of material, reminding me of trips, holidays and work past. I even found the issue of TRIPWIRE that we completed in July 2003 but never published (it exists in its entirety as a .pdf) and it's been interesting to take a look back. Also in terms of my photography, I did have a camera on trips during that period but it was only my compact. So it's very intriguing to see how I've improved as a photographer. So here's a photo I took of Moore in Northampton back in 2000 and some shots from a week away in Ireland in May 2005…

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010








LIFE OF GRANT
On Sunday I went to see Talking With Gods, a documentary about Grant Morrison that was showing at the ICA as part of Paul Gravett's rolling Comica festival. Clocking in at 80 minutes, despite the portentous title, director Patrick Meaney has done a decent job of trying to encapsulate Morrison's significant contribution to comics and related culture. Morrison has always come across as a far more likeable character than Alan Moore and this documentary does nothing to disabuse me of this opinion. Having met Morrison over the years (and he wrote a few columns for TRIPWIRE back in the 1990s), I did know quite a bit about him already. Having said that, the sections of the film where he talked about his father, who took him along to break into government facilities, were genuinely interesting as were segments with him talking about his teenage years and his time in bands. Obviously there is a decent amount of screen time with the man himself but Meaney has included brief chats with comic industry figures like Geoff Johns, Karen Berger, Frank Quitely, Jason Aaron, Warren Ellis and many more to try to give it all a little bit of context. There are strange omissions here: despite the fact that Zenith in 2000AD was probably what exposed him to a wider comic-reading audience, AD's editor at the time isn't included here and there is no Peter Milligan, a contemporary of Morrison's. The inclusion of former Warrior editor Dez Skinn was a little bit strange here too as his connection to the writer is that Morrison wrote a Marvelman story that never saw the light of day and almost took over from Moore on the character. Despite the fact that Grant Morrison as weird, out-there, occasionally drugged-up maverick feels like a persona that he has created for himself, oddly there is something very down-to-earth about him that the viewer can't help but like. The Q&A afterwards was a little bit pointless and rudderless: a Skype chat had been set up with the director and at the screening were Rian Hughes, Frazer Irving and Steve Cook. But Hughes hasn't worked with Morrison for a number of years and Cook, a letterer, didn't have much to contribute. Only Irving, who had finished a Batman run earlier this year, has worked with Morrison recently and so it felt a little bit redundant. It felt a little bit like it hadn't really been thought through properly. The event would have worked better if it was just the director who was interviewed or if they couldn't get him physically over, then there would have been no shame in just screening the documentary. However, Gravett's intentions were obviously decent so I'm glad I went along. The documentary is worth seeing if you're interested in Morrison or modern comics but hopefully he may be able to insert the missing figures into the documentary for DVD or a future release…
www.comicafestival.com

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