THIS IS THE NEWS: January 2014

Here’s some stuff that happened while I was away this winter.

GEOGRAPHY!!

Tom Murphy has written a three part feature for Broken Frontier on landscape comics, each respectively focusing on work by Oliver East, Jon McNaught (forthcoming), and myself. He explores, in relation to my comics, the links between place, memory and emotion. It’s a a thoughtful and flattering piece that certainly picks up many of my own preoccupations in my work - in particular trying not to tell readers that something happened, but instead ask ‘did this happen to you, too?’. Also it’s about Geography, and (as a professional geographer) I fucking love Geography, so my thanks go to Tom for taking the time to sit and think about my work. It means a lot. Read it in full here.

Best of…

I’m honoured to say that SMOO 7 made two notable end of year lists. It came number 30 in Rob Clough’s Top 50 short-form comics of 2013Rob’s been very supportive this year, and this is another piece of support for which I am thankful.

SMOO 7 also features in Andy Oliver’s ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own 2013' over at Broken Frontier. SMOO 5 made this list last year, so it's amazing to appear on it two years in a row. Andy writes that “quite simply, [Moreton] is one of the most important and intelligent creative voices in current U.K. small press comics.” Now that is an accolade I'm not sure I deserve, but that I certainly intend to work hard to live up to.

Reviews

Over at Comic Book Resources, Alec Berry writes about Grand Gestures. He explores particularly the tension between art and story, author and audience. He writes:

"Grand Gestures … is so bare bones comics, it’s undeniably beautiful for how it meshes mechanics with its larger considerations of life and the universe, and in both arenas it demands a reader’s participation."

Read the full review here.

Another review of Grand Gestures comes courtesy of Jason Sacks at Comics Bulletin. He writes,

"Though he draws a world outside our windows, full of all the modern stuff and bother of modern life – boring meetings, long car rides, drinking coffee alone at a Starbucks, there’s a calm, meditative heart at the center of this comic: a feeling of transcendence, of meditation, and ultimately perhaps a feeling that our daily lives are suffused by a beautiful sort of calm, internal poetry as we go along in our everyday lives."

You can read that review here.

And coming soon…

In the next months I’ll be focusing on my book-length work for Grimalkin Press, and I’ll be writing about it, sharing previews and talking about drawing and comics and things like that on this blog in the near future. I also have some exciting publishing news waiting to come out, too, so watch this space for that.

Until then, here’s to 2014. It’s going to a busy, important and strange year, I can tell already.

A potted history of SMOO Comics, pt 1.

This May sees the fifth anniversary of SMOO Comics #1, which debuted in May 2008. To mark the occasion, I’ve got a few blog posts coming up reflecting on making zines and drawing boxes. The first two comprise a little potted history of making comics. So without further ado, here is the first part.

Prologue

2007

  • visit Travelling Man on Park St, Bristol. First trip to a comic shop in a while.
  • Another visit to Travelling Man. Pick up and flick through Kevin Huizenga’s Curses
  • visit Travelling Man, look at Curses again
  • Start drawing
  • visit Travelling Man, nearly buy Curses
  • buy Curses
  • Buy Best American Comics 2007
  • Travelling Man fountain of knowledge Tom Trewhella  recommends King Cat and Jeffrey Brown. Doomed to an existence of drawing comics about my life
  • Go back to Travelling Man. Discover lots of people have been self-publishing for a long time. Feel inspired and intimidated
  • Draw my first comic about wandering around town, thinking. Little do I know this will be my formula for the next 5 + years.

Comics begin!

2008

  • Publish SMOO #1 in May with the help of Nick and Dom. Print about 20 copies on a photocopier somewhere. Probably at work.
  • Visit the Bristol Comic and Small Press Expo. See a lot Dr Who things and people dressed up as comic book characters. Leave comics on tables, trade them with stallholders. Meet Rob Jackson for the first time.
  • Start drawing SMOO #2
  • Finish drawing SMOO #2 with the exception of one panel on one page
  • Do nothing
  •  Start drawing more comics that I think will be SMOO #3
  • Fail to draw final panel of SMOO #2
  • Continue to be crippled by self doubt
  • Start drawing a comic about our trip to Lisbon earlier in the year
  • In September, start drawing a daily diary. Manage most days until November
  • Still fail to draw final panel of SMOO #2
  • Fail to finish anything else

A fallow year

2009

  • Not really sure what I did this year. I must have done something. Probably did some drawing I didn’t like.
  • June: Finally finish that last panel of SMOO #2. It takes about 5 minutes.
  • Nick starts making comicsNick is an old friend and his doing comics helps inspire and push me to do more and publish my work. Try and return the favour. Pivotal moment.
  • December: local vintage/art shop SHOP offer me an exhibition and chance to sell comics in the New Year. Decide it’s time to get back on the horse.

Spending valuable time in the photocopy room

2010

  • January: publish SMOO #2 and reprint SMOO #1. Host 24hr draw-a-thon at SHOP. I don’t draw much, but it’s fun.
  • Start finishing the comics that I had drawn and not published back in 2008
  • Do a two-pager for Rob Jackson’s Gin Palace anthology that gets me noticed by Richard Bruton of Forbidden Planet International. He orders my comics and reviews them. Has been a supporter ever since, and a key figure in giving me the confidence to carry on
  • Do a piece for the gone-but-not-forgotten Daily Crosshatch
  • At some point finish and publish Lisbon zine
  • May: attend Bristol Comic Expo for my first time as an exhibitor. Meet Irish contingent including Paddy Lynch and Phillip Barrett. Get them, and us, very drunk.
  • Finish comics originally destined for SMOO #3 and instead publish them as SMOO #2 ½, an interim collection.
  • Start work on what will become SMOO #3.
  • Establish a zine library at SHOP
  • Run a half marathon
  • Finish my PhD
  • Finish SMOO #3 (much hand-wringing and self-doubt)
  • Attend Thought Bubble in Leeds with Nick for the first time. Launch SMOO #3. Meet Lando properly.
  • Return to Bristol and establish Bear Pit Zine with Nick and Lando.
  • Draw picture for my friend’s Christmas Single
  • Finish 2010 feeling oddly dissatisfied with the work I’d produced, but excited, too, to be making things and getting work out there.

My year in review from 2010 is here

Next time – all change!

THIS IS THE NEWS: April

As Spring struggles to spring forth here in mediocrely-weathered Bristol, I’m happy to say there have been plenty of comics things happening.

Very imminent releases

  • Nick and I have a comic in the Unknown Origins & Untimely Ends: A Collection of Unsolved Mysteries anthology, edited by Emi Gennis and published by Hic & Hoc. I drew Nick’s story about Jerome of Nova Scotia, a sad and silent soul with no legs found on a beach a long time ago… The book debuts at Stumptown this weekend. 

 Fundraising for SPX  

  • I’ll be flying to Washington D.C in September to attend the Small Press Expo in Bethesda. I’ll be sharing a table with Warren Craghead. I can’t wait! It does, however, mean I’m flogging my comics a little more ruthlessly than normal to help raise money for flights etc.

 Things on offer: new zine, original art and subscriptions …

  • I’ve released a zine called Holiday. It’s a short poem/story about our recent holiday to Spain. Features balconies, dawn drives through mountains, men in flat caps and many beaches. A sort of spiritual successor to my Lisbon zine from 2009. It costs as much or as little as you’d like or are able to pay and any money raised will help get me to SPX. Buy it here!
  • For a limited period I’m offering to do commissions and selling pieces from some of my comics. I’ll also re-draw and reinterpret pages from my comics. Click here to find out more!

Interview: wittering on about pencils

  • Warren Craghead and I were recently interviewed by Graphixia.ca. It was great fun, talking about comics, drawing, robot voices and speaking to Warren for the first time ‘in the real world’. I’m really grateful to Peter, Dave and Damon for organising it. You can watch the interview here.

And…

  • More generally, I’m getting on with SMOO #7. It’s looking (at the moment) like it’ll be about growing up in the countryside, getting older, change, progress, nature (we’ll see). I’m aiming for a September debut, but we’ll see how it goes – could be sooner, could be later! I’ve also a couple of other projects in the works, but I’ll talk more about them at a later date.

I’ll also be at Thought Bubble Festival with Nick in November.

SMOO COMICS make Broken Frontier’s ‘Top Ten Must-own of 2012’

Andy Oliver is the Managing Editor at comics website Broken Frontier, and a contributor to Paul Gravett’s 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die. He is also the man behind Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged column, in which he reviews and promotes a wide range of small press comics. This week, in his last Small Pressganged post of the year, Andy reflects on ten small-press comics that “represent the diversity and brilliant creativity embodied in the U.K. scene”. I’m delighted to say that Smoo Comics made the final ten. He writes:

"The stark minimalist style of Simon Moreton’s autobiographical Smoo Comics was one of the great revelations of 2012 for me. Honest and often raw storytelling that uses reductionist depictions of landscape and scenery to emphasise mood and emotion, Simon’s work is stirring and quite extraordinary in execution. These are comics that will stay with you long, long after you’ve filed them away."

It’d just like to say thanks to Andy for his support. As anyone making small-press comics out there will recognise, a few kind words and a sense that somebody digs what you’re trying to do, go a long, long way.

Read the ‘Top Ten’ here

Buy my comics here

New review for Smoo #5 from Rob Clough

New review from Rob CloughforSmoo #5. He writes:

"… Moreton’s increasingly confident voice and line have made his quiet, reflective and poetic comics a rich and rewarding experience… When drawing figures, he has a new economy of line that gets across the bare minimum of human details but still does a tremendous job with gesture and body language so as to convey emotion."


You can read the full review here. You can buy the comic from my shop.

I’m in this amazing Latvian anthology! I’m proud beyond words: I mean look at who is in it! Check it out, and pre-order from kuš! now.

27 artists, cover by Leonards Laganovskis, format A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English
Our newest issue with contributions from 27 international and Latvian contributors is in print now and will be out on the 26th of July. You can pre-order the artventurous comics from our webshop now for 12 $. Worldwide shipping included in price.
Artists: Aidan Koch (USA), Betty Liang (Canada), Brecht Vandenbroucke (Belgium), Damiano Fenoglio (Italy), Daniel Wernëck (Brazil), Dilraj Mann (UK),Elīna Brasliņa (Latvia), Emelie Östergren (Sweden), Ilde Betanzos (Spain), Ingrīda Pičukāne (Latvia), Jean de Wet (South Africa), Jen Rickert (USA), KJ Martinet (USA), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Leonards Laganovskis (Latvia), Marc M. Gustà (Spain), Mārtiņš Zutis (Latvia), Mikus Duncis (Latvia), Nicolas Mahler (Austria), Nicolò Pellizzon (Italy), Olive Booger (France), Oskars Pavlovskis (Latvia), Renata Gąsiorowska (Poland), Roman Muradov (Russia/USA), Simon H (Austria), Simon Moreton (UK) and Ugo Schiesaro (Italy).

I’m in this amazing Latvian anthology! I’m proud beyond words: I mean look at who is in it! Check it out, and pre-order from kuš! now.

27 artists, cover by Leonards Laganovskis, format A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English

Our newest issue with contributions from 27 international and Latvian contributors is in print now and will be out on the 26th of July. You can pre-order the artventurous comics from our webshop now for 12 $. Worldwide shipping included in price.

Artists: Aidan Koch (USA), Betty Liang (Canada), Brecht Vandenbroucke (Belgium), Damiano Fenoglio (Italy), Daniel Wernëck (Brazil), Dilraj Mann (UK),Elīna Brasliņa (Latvia), Emelie Östergren (Sweden), Ilde Betanzos (Spain), Ingrīda Pičukāne (Latvia), Jean de Wet (South Africa), Jen Rickert (USA), KJ Martinet (USA), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Leonards Laganovskis (Latvia), Marc M. Gustà (Spain), Mārtiņš Zutis (Latvia), Mikus Duncis (Latvia), Nicolas Mahler (Austria), Nicolò Pellizzon (Italy), Olive Booger (France), Oskars Pavlovskis (Latvia), Renata Gąsiorowska (Poland), Roman Muradov (Russia/USA), Simon H (Austria), Simon Moreton (UK) and Ugo Schiesaro (Italy).