The Bristol Small Press and Comic Expo
Nick and I will be appearing again at the Bristol Comic and Small Press Expo, Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th May, at the Mercure Hotel in Redcliffe, Bristol. It marks our second appearance at Bristol, and closes our very first year of distributing our comics in the small-press world.
On Saturday, at 4pm (I think), Nick and I will be taking part in a panel discussion with Ian Williams (Graphic Medicine) and Katie Green (Green Bean), talking about comics and mental health. It looks set to be an interesting debate, and one that is very important to me – given my own experiences, and those of others close to me, I believe mental health issues need to be discussed more openly, and I think drawing is an important tool in communicating ideas about, and dealing with, these challenges.
The Sorry Entertainer:
The Sorry Entertainer is fundraising is storming ahead. If you haven’t yet donated, and would like to back the project – receiving the newspaper, comics and even original artwork in the process – do check out our IndieGoGo page. The newspaper will (all being well) see print next week, and be ready to debut at Bristol Expo. Watch this space for confirmation news.
First three panels of my contribution to the Sorry Entertainer
As you may have noticed, Smoo #4 was, just the other month, all lined up to be finished, and then it dropped off the radar. It remains pencilled and largely unlinked, as I’ve been in all sorts of turmoil about what I want the zine to be, what I want it to do, what it represents for me. After much thought, I have decided that I will be moving Smoo to an annual schedule, after the release of Smoo #4 this summer. It will continue to contain comics, but most likely also writing, illustration and other, less-comicky things. I have made this decision because I would like an outlet for more than just comics, and I’d like Smoo to be that outlet. I have plenty of things lined up to go in future issues of Smoo, including a write-up of a trip to Berlin, a holiday in Spain, and countless other shorter ideas. I didn’t want to give up on Smoo, but I just wanted it to be something different to what it has been to date.
Alongside Smoo’s annual release, I will be working on a much shorter form minicomic, called tentatively, The Escapologist. It’ll be 100% comics, but perhaps more abstract than Smoo has been to date. It’ll still deal with many of the central concerns of my comics to date – philosophy, everyday life, mental health, making sense of the world – but will try and remove some of the obviously narrative or ‘straight’ autobiographical context in order to explore other avenues of story-telling. The images below will appear in the first issue of the Escapologist. I have submitted a shortened version of the story to JM Shivelely’s Hive Anthology.
Panels from The Escapologist #1
Each issue will also be much, much shorter (and cheaper) than the average issue of Smoo. This will enable me to work in bite-size chunks, getting ideas fleshed out and into print quicker than working on longer-form comics. They will be stand-alone issues, but designed that once they are put together, to flow as one long, disjointed yet interconnected narrative. They should be released with more regularity, and, every four issues or so, I will collect them together in volumes. I intend to keep the series going as long as I have something to explore. The Escapologist will debut at Bristol Expo, alongside the Sorry Entertainer.
So that’s it: that’s the news. All this new stuff will be available on my online shop soon. In the meantime, get donating!