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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 comics. Nick 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
- 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.
Next time – all change!