REVIEW NEWS: SMOO 7 gets reviewed on Forbidden Planet International

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SMOO 7 receives a review from Richard Bruton at Forbidden Planet International. He writes:

"Smoo #7 is … a further exploration of Moreton’s art, with so much going on in so few lines, it’s quite something to behold, creating more beautiful minimalism with an emotional, meandering narrative that’s evocative, beautiful, and far more complex than either the length of the piece, or its surface simplicity would lead you to imagine."

You can read the full review here.

Buy the comic here.

THIS IS THE NEWS: Avery Hill Publishing to release SMOO as book length collection

I’m excited to announce that acclaimed UK comics publisher Avery Hill Publishing will be releasing a collection of my work from 2011 - 2012. It’ll comprise SMOO 4 -6, as well as selected anthology work and an essay by me about comics, drawing and self-publishing.

As these zines are on their way out of print, I’m delighted that the work will continue to be available in book form.

More news on this soon.

Avery Hill Publishing press release,

Pieces in process from the new book.

At the moment I’m thinking through how I want to use the narrative voice. On the one hand, using narration gives a scene or a story context, especially in short stories that move across times and spaces like these do. On the other hand, narration can give a ‘Wonder Years’ vibe to a story, which purports to offer a definitive account of events, a revisionist voice of twee sentimentality.

The problem is one I see in many teenage memoirs: that of the rose tinted glasses. I reckon teenagers can be the most wonderful, intelligent, imaginative, heartbroken, worldy-wise people on the planet. Those years can be vital and important - hence the book. At the same time, teenagers can be complete dicks (I know I was). Sometimes they can do be those things all at once.

I’d prefer the stories to be ambiguous in context and detail, but to carry sufficient information for the reader to work out what’s happening, without offering post-hoc rationalisation. I’m not sure any art is an objective portrayal, but at least calling attention to one’s own subjectivity might make for a more relatable read.

Rough scans of  pages in process from two separate stories from my forthcoming Grimalkin Press book.

The book doesn’t have a title as yet. It’ll be oversize in its dimensions, with around 200 pages of stories, short and long. I’ve drawn around 20 of those pages to date.

The book itself is a collection of recollections about growing up in a small UK dormitory town.  That same town informed SMOO 4 (out of print but available for download soon), but I always felt like there was unfinished business with that place. 

The stories will take different styles, grid layouts etc, as the story dictates, but the basic process I’ve developed over the last year will most likely apply: Bristol board, some schematic work in blue mechanical pencil, soft 8B pencils, a 4B 0.5mm pencil, a ruler, and not much else.

I’m at the very beginning of drawing the book, though, and these things have a tendency to develop a life of their own so we’ll see where we end up.

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.

On drawing

I was in a museum the other day sketching the artefacts when I realised I have no interest in that kind of documentation, of creating an imperfect facsimile of an item in pencil. That kind of drawing tries to hide the fact it is a drawing: this sketch of an item is the item, not a human made mark on paper.

I’m interested in drawing life, not from life. Capturing a moment that remains always a drawing, but also a story of the time and place it was made, is the goal. Not craft, not rational, realist aesthetics, but life writ large and always aware of itself as such. Fuck scarcity and ‘sketching’. Every drawing made is its own unique piece of life. Fuck ‘perfection’.

This is why anyone can draw. Reject received wisdom and find your own mark. Start by rejecting this ‘wisdom’ and go draw.