Here’s a comic strip page I did for Deluxe Magazine, a magazine about record shops from The British Underground that’s going to – among other places – the South by Southwest Festival that’s going on right now in Austin, Texas.

Deluxe Magazine coverDeluxe Magazine #1Thanks to Deluxe for the photo, it's better than any of mine...

Here’s the strip from its image file, click through to read it at a comfortable size: Deluxe Magazine comic stripAs this was an opportunity to poke my head above a parapet with a view of a landscape I didn’t have that much of an excuse to be in – record retail and collecting – and then proceed to throw my opinions around, I wanted to make sure it was half worth reading, so I wrestled with some roughs:Deluxe #1 comic 1st roughsI ended up getting two comics-worth from the preliminary brain rummage, so cut the first one free and then threw this at the Editor as a statement of intent:Deluxe #1 comic strip dummyThe poor guy.

It was nice to wang on about something using comics as a medium though. The whole thing brings to mind the increasing troubles facing physical shops that sell physical objects. Bit like your local comic shop. If you have one left anywhere near you. I suppose comic shops have people going in every week for their fix of The Big Two‘s product; something that there isn’t really a parallel to in indie record emporiums. But then again digital comics are on the up, slicing more share away from the comic shop owner. Hmm. I remember thinking to myself a while back that if there was any true future in comics they would have to become a trash medium again. Even though mail order ‘long tail’ graphic novels and collections – and even Kickstarters for the same – are fantastic, if we really want to be anywhere approaching relevance we need to jump onto the digital platform bandwagon – even if we don’t know where it’s headed – and start pedalling like crazy, and hope the mainstream takes some notice of us again.
Mind you, I do like a nice physical object like a graphic novel or trade paperback to read, so I suppose I want it both ways really. Harrumph.

Slow News and Delayed Gratification

Just got my comp copy of the first edition of the Slow Journalism Company’s quarterly Delayed Gratificationmagazine, which features me doing my best bad impression of the engravers of yesteryear and turning a news event into an illustration. They did that before cameras were invented, you know. Those were the days.

Delayed Gratification

Anyway, the news event in question was an Ernest Jones jewellery shop being robbed by a gang of organised thieves with sledgehammers on motorbikes, who were ultimately foiled by passing members of the public. Huzzah for community spirit!

Delayed Gratification

I even hand-lettered this. Well, ‘hand-lettered’ by freehand tracing a printout of a computer font. Cough.

Delayed Gratification

And here’s a pretty tight layout version I showed the Slow News peeps before I set-to on the finished art.

Delayed Gratification

The magazine itself is fantastic, the idea is it’s three months-worth of news slowly picked over and analysed, with connections drawn and themes brought forward, all the name of ‘Slow Journalism’. The design is fantastic too, and leads the entire product rather than just being the last coat of shine on top of the copy text, as it is with some magazines.

Copies are available to buy from the Delayed Gratification website!

Dark and Satanic Mills, or, ‘We’re All Going to ComICA’

Unbounded excitement once again goes whooping down the corridors of the upper East wing of O’Connor Towers, chums – I’m going to have a story in the Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption book from the youth initiative Ctrl.Alt.Shift and hyper-goodly creative agency Margaret London.

Who’s writing this short story, you ask? Some bloke called Pat Mills.
Erm, the Pat Mills who set up 2000AD, created the ABC Warriors, Nemesis the Warlock and Sláine… That bloke. In a funny way, what I laughably call my ‘career’ as a comic ar-teest is kind of Pat’s fault, because it was those comics that scarred my fragile, juvenile mind with Maximum Thrill Power…

Anyway, our story’s the longest of the twenty (count ’em) in the volume. It’s called ‘The Ayatollah’s Son: STARS’and concerns our young hero Ahmad just trying to get along in the Iranian capital Tehran before the much-publicised 2009 presidential elections happen and his life changes forever.

Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption - The Ayatollah's Son: STARS

Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption - The Ayatollah's Son: STARS

Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption - The Ayatollah's Son: STARS

Some layouts. Check out how much dialogue and exposition we get into! I’d like to show you more pages and bumph, but as always, there are spoilarz…

Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption - The Ayatollah's Son: STARS

Annnd some character permutations:

Now, the next cool thing is that this book’s going to be launched at Paul Gravett‘s 2009 ComICA festival, taking place as it does annually at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. It’ll be my second glorious entanglement with this most elevated of events, after the launch of the Iraq book two years ago. The festival runs from the 5th to the 26th of November, and I’ll keep you informed as to the events as I get the information.

Cool Thing #3 is that as also as part of the launch, there’s going to be sister exhibition running alongside the ICA events – possibly with some of my originals in it – at the Lazarides SHOP Gallery on Greek Street in Soho, a place that has exhibited works by the likes of Jamie Hewlett and David Choe, among many others. Crumbs…