It’s been a while.
I renewed this domain name months back when I was on the brink of finding time to blog again, but things kinda went wild since then. Having just come to the end of a two month cycle of crazy I thought I really should sit down and write up quite what’s been keeping me away.
First off; since way back in late July, all the way up till the last weekend I had been taking part in Grayhaven’s Comic Writers Apprentice. This was a competition run by the Grayhaven Comics, pitching 18 aspiring writers against one another via a series of both group and individual challenges, the winner getting the opportunity to publish a 22-page one-shot comic with them next year.
Being aware of Grayhaven as a great publisher of new writers, thanks to one of my own pieces having been accepted into an upcoming anthology of theirs (which I’ll be blogging about soon…), I jumped at the chance to take part. I though I might make it a few round, and was sure to learn a tonne of new skills, regardless of how I faired.
To my surprise, via a combination of a little hard work, luck and a distinct lack of sleep for two months, I managed to make my way right through to the final, culminating in my coming in overall 2nd place to eventual winner Jared Moore. I am delighted to have made it so far, mainly because with every passing round I learnt more and more, both from the interactions with my fellow contestants and the advice of the judges. All the work conducted, and the feedback on it, was made public, and if you click HERE and follow the links at the bottom, you can check out all the projects I and the other contestants submitted.
Though I was disappointed to not make it all the way over the line, this experience taught me many valuable lessons about writing that it would probably have taken me years accumulate outside of the intense environment of the competition, and I am very grateful for having had the chance to compete. Grayhaven have stated they intend to run the contest again next year, and I urge anyone with an interest in writing for comics to take part. You won’t regret it.
Dublin International Comic Expo
This brings us to the second meaning of this blog post’s title. I was lucky enough to be able to head over the Irish Sea last weekend to the wonderful city of Dublin to attend Dublin International Comic Expo, or DICE for short. Having never visited Ireland, despite travelling to some pretty far flung places, it was great to finally do so, and the show was absolutely mega.
There was a fantastic line up of guests from across the comic world, including Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder of ‘Batman’ fame, alongside a rich roster of closer-to-home talent, such as Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire, Si Spurrier, Kieron Gillen and many more. It was a brilliantly intimate affair, with creators generous with their time, and an excellent selection of interesting panels across the weekend.
I was fortunate enough to be staying with one of the guests Ruth Redmond, a ludicrously talented colourist and artist who I am very fortunate to be collaborating with on an upcoming book (more on that later…). I had also been introduced via my own boss at OK Comics to John Hendrick, DICE’s mastermind and manager of the fantastic Dublin comic store The Big Bang, who was very kind in making me feel welcome.
Across the two days I was able to spend a very decent amount of time socialising and chatting with the professionals in attendance, both in and out of the convention, and was given much excellent advice for my own writing career, as well having some seriously good fun. I look forward to bumping into many of those I met again at Thought Bubble in nearby Leeds this November.
What is ‘Exit Generation’..?
Speaking of Thought Bubble, this year is the first time I will be exhibiting proper at the event, having assisted friends there previously. This is because I am using the occasion to release the first issue of what is my début comic series, ‘Exit Generation’. It’s a project that has been swirling around in my mind for quite some time, but has really come together in the last six-to-eight months, and I am tremendously excited to finally get the opportunity to share it with the world.
It is a four part series and I’m lucky to be collaborating with an extraordinarily talented bunch of people it. ‘Exit Generation’ features art by Caio Oliveira (‘No More Heroes‘), colours by the aforementioned Ruth Redmond (‘Imagine Agents‘), letters/design by Colin Bell (‘Detective Spacecat‘) and covers by Ramon Villalobos (‘Abstact3‘). It is all coming together nicely, and nearer release I’ll be doing a special preview of the book right here, so keep your eyes open.
I’ve one or two other projects bubbling away in the background, and I hope by the time the first issue of ‘Exit Generation’ is out there I’ll be able to talk a little more about a few of them.
‘Dead Roots’ – A zombie anthology with a difference
One project I can now talk about is ‘Dead Roots‘, an anthology featuring stories from a number of different writer artist teams, which is currently on kickstarter HERE.. These all look at a zombie outbreak from a range of different perspectives, with the tales ranging from horrific to heart-warming to comedic. I’m fortunate to have a four page story in the project called ‘Boxes’, drawn by the brilliant Leonie O’Moore, who produces beautiful art and comics that I insist you go and check out.
The brain behind ‘Dead Roots’ is Mike Garley, founder and editor of online anthology comic VS Comics,. With just three days gone of its month-long funding period, ‘Dead Roots’ has already raised over 50% of its target, so it looks like Mike has put together another winning project, and I’m proud to be involved.
So… that update proved to be a lot more substantial than I intended! However, I’m planning on keeping the content flowing significantly more frequently here in future, so watch this space for more news of projects I’m involved in, some reviews/recommendations of comics/graphic novels I’m enjoying, and also some general thoughts about whatever is on my mind. I aim to keep you interested…
Till next time, keep safe and enjoy yourselves.