Thursday, 28 November 2013

REVIEW: Freelancer by Martin Kirby

At this past weekends Thought Bubble Convention (See my previous blog) I was able to pick up a couple of small press titles. Not as many as I would have liked, but that's what happens in the real world when you have no money, unfortunately!
"Freelancer" was one of the ones I was lucky enough to pick up. I say lucky because, I had gotten through most of the convention, it was after 16:00 on the Sunday and I thought I was done with buying things for the weekend. Prior to the con, I had made a list of all the small press titles I wanted to check out while I was at the con. Then, mere days before the con, I lost it. This comic was on that list simply because, utterly by chance, I had stumbled across Martins tumblr. I instantly fell in love with his style and adored his "Last of Us" drawing.
So it's late on the Sunday and I had completely forgotten about checking out Martins stall. Simply put, there was just too much going on at the con for anyone to successfully get everything they wanted without a prewritten list.
with about half hour of the con left to go for the year, my printer Stu of UKcomics fame, came up to my table and I asked to see his haul. Amidst the haul was "Freelancer" and I instantly knew it was one title I needed to pick up. Particularly after Stu let me have a flick through it. He told me exactly where to find Martin's table. I was at the Lou Scannon table on my own though so had to wait for Jim or Kris to come relieve me of my duties.
Jim and his sister soon arrived at the table so I double timed it over to the Royal Armouries hall, where Stu had told me I could get the comic.
Suffice to say, I got the comic and had a pleasant, short chat with Martin and it was pretty much literally before the con finished. I picked up a copy of his "Last of Us" print too. How could I not? It's epic. Just need a frame now...

I didn't get to read the comic until Tuesday, on a sick day from work (post-con lurgy strikes again).
I started reading it and really dug the art style. I did think it started a bit... Insanely? Sort of full on and over the top crazy but that's part of the genius of it- it's a dream sequence of sorts. Then when it gets to the stories "real world" it's grittier and somewhat more akin to the sort of thing folk expect from Whedons "Firefly".
It's a light and fun read. The comedy elements work well and the action scenes are nice.

A lot of the "aliens" in the comic are anthropomorphic versions of rather familiar animals  (I'm assuming they're aliens at the moment as opposed to being the next stage of Earths animal evolution but that could all be opened up more in later issues.). This works pretty well for me as I'm a big fan of the game "Beyond Good and Evil" and this reminded me a lot of that. Never a bad thing in my opinion. The character designs are nice and there's a good healthy mix of all the sci-fi things we've come to love and expect from the genre.
Sorry... My photography skills seem to have failed me here...
The main character is a girl called Elena. She sorta reminds me of a healthy mix of Tank Girl and Luke Skywalker. Tough, fun loving but wants more from life. She's a crewmember, not the Captain, on a ship of barely-getting-by folk who seem to participate in some... Not exactly legal activities. In this issue in particular, it's about the crew picking up an artifact from some less than savoury gangster types. As is the way in the world of comic books and cinema, things don't exactly go to plan. Elena has, what i'm assuming is the set up for her own personal sidekick, a robot buddy called Veetu and the pair end up in the middle of something they were specifically told to stay out of.

I'm not much of a reviewer, I know. I find it hard to not go in to detail because in doing so, I would be giving away major plot points. I thoroughly enjoyed this comic though. All the way through. One major difference between this comic and my own, is this comic is considerably more family friendly. It has violent bits, sure, but I would liken them to the violence in the animated film "Titan A.E" (Which despite a panning from the critics, I thoroughly enjoyed) and so therefore, is more accessible to all ages.
Great story, great art and I'm intrigued to see where Elena, Veetu and the crew go from here on. A nice first issue to break you in to the universe. You pick up bits of how the universe works but I'm looking forward to when that's explored in detail.
It's great to see more Sci-fi titles making their way out there now too and this comic is reminiscient of classic sci-fi in all the right ways.
I'd give this a big 8/10 as first issues go!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Thought Bubble 2013

The weekend just past saw this years annual Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival (Posh way of saying "Comic Con") and for the third year running, Team Scannon was in attendance.
Jim and I headed up to Leeds early afternoon on the Friday (Kris followed in his own car later that day after he finished work) to make sure we had time to chill in our hotels before the start of the convention on the Saturday. Unfortunately, things didn't exactly go to plan, as there were severe roadworks on the M6 and we got stuck in traffic for so long, that we ended up hitting the rush hour traffic too. Eugh.
By the time we reached Leeds and checked in to our hotels, the last thing we wanted to do was just sit around more... (I was originally supposed to be sharing a bed with Jimbo, but thanks to my very generous friend @Sweena not being able to make the con, I was able to have her room. She's a star.).
We met up with Jim's sister, Katie, who just so happens to live in Leeds. She showed us car parking facilities and took us to the most amazing place to eat- Trinity Kitchen. Seriously, this place was awesome. They seemed to do every kind of food and I had some of the best pulled pork I have ever eaten.
I'd received a phonecall just before we got to Trinity Kitchen off Steve "Moon" Penfold who told us about a pre-con party going on in a nearby bar. So after food, we hooked up with him there for a bit. Jim and Katie took off earlier to get to sleep. Jim had driven for near on 6 hours and was wiped out. Penners and I stayed longer, debating the pros and cons of the superhero comic. Chatting about the best stories of recent years AND some of the worst until we both left to go to our own hotels.

Saturday morning came (As it does) and Jim and I got to the Allied London Hall by Royal Armouries shortly before Kris did and we set everything up. I thought the hall had promise but I was sceptical as it was around the corner from the other two halls that made up the rest of the convention AND it wasnt particularly well signposted. The hall was very cold, looked unfinished and in the early morning, looked foggy due to plaster dust falling from the ceiling and just... hovering about. It's ok kids- it's nontoxic. Apparently.
Now we had had to book in this hall as, for the first time ever, tables for the original two halls at TB sold out within two hours. Insanity... But it seemed to me that a lot of folk didn't really seem to know that the hall was there. As you can imagine, this made for very slow sales. VERY slow sales.
I kinda expected it to be honest. Leeds is always our worst convention for sales, but we love going and have a real laugh there, so we like going. Though Kris wasn't feeling it. Already ill with the flu, poor sales just contributed to him being a (self confessed) grouch for the whole weekend.
Jim and I on the other hand, had a helluva time! We thought it was a lot of fun.
Luckily though, Jim and I had done a series of prints under the Pencil Pirates banner that we put out on sale and these seemed to sell REALLY well. It's something I have noticed with Thought Bubble in previous years- there are a lot of stalls that almost seem to revolve around craft as opposed to comics. Prints fit in to this really well and seem to sell pretty damn well too.
Pencil Pirates prints by Bampfield and Harris
These prints aren't only limited to the convention though. We have some stock left, so if you're interested, contact me! £5 each, 2 for £8 or any 3 for £10.
One woman actually commented on how she loved the idea of the Pencil Pirates. She loved everything about it. The name, the logo. She thought it was a really clever idea. This was quite nice to hear.
Prior to the convention, I had been asked by G-man of the Comics Anonymous lot, to draw up a Lou Scannon Commission. I was more than happy to do so. He's enjoyed the comic and given us incredibly positive reviews. I ended up drawing what I think is one of the best pics of Lou I have ever done! I gave it to him on the Saturday at the convention. It was good to see him! I'm looking forward to seeing the photo his wife took of us all together! Should be funny!
Anyway, here's the pic I drew up for him!:

The Sunday was even slower than the Saturday. Which came as no surprise. Kris slumped further into his pit of despair. Which came as no surprise. Jim and I remained jovial. Which came as no... Wait... ok, It was a little surprising. Aren't I normally hungover at Thought Bubble? Ah, the joys of having given up drinking!
To pass the time, Jim and I did some sketching. Jim did a wonderful little drawing of BatFleck that is available for purchase if anyone is interested:

and while Jim was drawing up that bad boy, I started a piece in the style of some of my other prints. It's Daryl from Walking Dead. This is still available for purchase right now (Though I have had a few interested parties so it might not be available for long...) and can be yours for just £10 (plus £1.50 P&P)

With Sunday being even shitter on sales than the Saturday, it gave plenty of time to go wandering and taking in the other sights and delights that are small press. I'll write up a review blog for some of the titles I picked up over the weekend. I really lucked out and bought some incredible stuff.
There was only one thing that sullied my experience in small press that day. There's a small press title that I have followed from its first issue. I decided at the con to pick up the latest issue as I actually did really enjoy the earlier ones. As I picked up a copy and approached its creator, he was in the middle of dancing with an illustration partner of his. Fine, I have no problem with that! People are there to have fun, so I love seeing this sort of thing going on behind the tables. To a punter, this could make you seem more approachable than if you're sat there looking miserable with your arms folded. What I didn't like, was what happened next.
The comics creator turned and saw me, laughed and walked over to me. Again, this is all fine but then he said "Oh, sorry about that. It's a publisher thing. You wouldn't understand."
"You wouldn't understand"??
I'll spare you the expletives that ran through my head immediately after he said that. If I hadn't already bought the first comics in the series, I would have put down the latest issue and said "No thanks mate, you just lot yourself a sale there."
Now this creator has met me a couple of times. Chatted with me. Sat next to me at another con!! But I don't mind that he didn't recognise me. I've changed my beard a few times, it's been a while etc etc. So him not knowing who I am, I couldnt care less about.
I DO take exception to the "You wouldn't understand" though. If you don't know who I am, you certainly don't know if I'm a publisher or not. I could have worked for Image. Or I could have just had an extensive knowledge of how print works. The arrogance of it astounded me. He's a self publisher. He has a couple of titles out but not so many as to make people even think of him as any different a publisher as the rest of us self publishers. Get down off your high horse chuckles. This isn't some exclusive world to which you are privy that the rest of us are not. It just made him come across as a jumped up, self important, Hipster dick.
That said though, folk often say things without thinking. It just struck me as rude. Particularly at a festival where the small press is king.
So all in all, with that aside, I had a great time. Unfortunately, I got home only to realise I had caught Kris' dreaded con lurgy and I spent all day Tuesday in bed, feeling sorry for myself and playing GTA V.
As a final note, there's one thing I want to mention that I have noticed now from doing the con circuit. Autographs. Signatures. However you refer to them. Buying small press titles, I have noticed that a lot of the time, the comics creator will ask you if you want the comic signed. Now personally, I think this is wrong as it puts you, as the punter, in the position where you feel obligated to say "Yes". I think that it should be in the domain of the punter to ask for one rather than be asked if he wants one. Some people may genuinely want their comics unmarked but don't like to say "no" to signatures. Some might just think "It's small press. Enjoyable but no need to get it signed". Whatever the thinking, I think it should be up to the customer to ask for a signature if they want one rather than feeling pressured into having one. We on Team Scannon don't offer them to people. We get asked a lot to sign them though. This is cooler and feels less like you're putting it on the punter to have it signed. So please, please, please guys, wait to be asked for your signature. Don't offer! Just my own personal opinion. If you want to know more of my reasoning, or have an argument against my logic, please feel free to comment and let me know! Or message me on Twitter or something.

So despite poor sales, I will definitely want to attend Thought Bubble 2014. Hopefully we can get back into the New Dock hall then and better sales will follow. If not, maybe more folk will be aware of the third hall. Either way, at least Jim and I will be in attendance! Even if Kris hasn't got out of his funk and decides not to go...

Anyway, there will be a couple of review blogs to follow. For now, toodle pip!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Pencil Pirates Prints

Earlier this year, Gavin Mitchell and I came up with the idea of doing our own... not so much a company, but joint art venture. It would effectively be a brand that we could use on our print ideas, so that rather than just have us put out our art under our own names at conventions where there are a sea of names to try and remember, we had something punchy that would stick in the mind.
We came up with the Pencil Pirates.
We liked it as it stems from our love of drawing and... um... Monkey Island. It's been slow going but we have finally started to get some stuff together under the PP banner. We also have the intention of using this banner when we publish future small press titles.
Tip: Look out for a nifty little title called "Out 2 Sea" next year.

I'm in the process of getting my shit together to set up a big cartel store for my own stuff, as well as a PP BC store. Gav already has his own Big Cartel store with some of the first PP prints available for purchase there. There's some great stuff so if you feel so inclined, head on over to his store here!

If you're curious about the prints I'll have available, here are some of the new ones I have done (I don't have watermarked ones yet so I've just taken screenshots)

The difference between Justice and Punishment...

A Saints War in the sun
Darkest Knight

These will all be available at A4 size on high quality 280-300GSM paper (Haven't finalised which just yet but both feel pretty much more like card than paper) and will be £5 each, not including P&P.
I'm currently sold out of my Adventure Time prints and very low on the Sandman ones but should hopefully be getting more of those printed up soon too.

If you're interested in any of them, you can message me on Twitter, here or email me at


Monday, 4 November 2013

London MCM and other things

Just over a week ago so Team Scannon attend our first MCM convention in London as exhibitors. We had an idea that this was predominantly a Manga convention so weren't 100% sure how our comic would be received. We had been told it was a great convention for sales by our Small Press brothers responsible for the Moon comic (Brilliant. If you haven't read it yet, I really insist that you do. Absolute genius.) but we had yet to find out for ourselves.

We're here somewhere... Off to the right.

This con saw Jim, Kris and myself going up there on what almost felt like our own. Normally at these conventions we have... like, a crew of us I guess. We have the guys from Stiffs and the Pride there normally as part of our regular team. In fact, at the last convention we worked (Cardiff - see my previous blog entry) we even had Gavin Mitchell's (Stiffs, Pride, Aces Weekly and upcoming Out 2 Sea) girlfriend, Emily, working on our table with us. With Kris off on his own table as a "Guest" (Oh the famous bastard) this was especially handy, as it meant that if Jim or I ever needed to go to the loo, get a drink etc, there was always two people manning the table. Plus with her not having worked on the comic herself, from a selling point of view, she could be more... unbiased? Which can help with sales technique.

What I mean by this, is something I have noticed more at the London MCM than other cons before - Scannon is our baby and we want it to do well. When it comes to selling though, we haven't quite got the perfect balance. It kinda tends to go like this:
Kris tends to oversell (Really tries to get people pumped. I admire the confidence, the man has the biggest balls, but even he's the first to say he doesn't know when to stop himself)
Jim tends to undersell (Loves the comic but he hates the interaction of selling. Not that he doesn't like people, he just doesn't think he has the confidence for it. That said, he's gotten a lot better at it since our first con. Though I doubt he sees it himself...)
I tend to be somewhere in the middle (If i get into my pitch, like Kris, I can't stop myself but if I look at someone and think "Oh they won't be interested" I don't even attempt to pitch. Which is stupid)

Somone who has nothing to do with the comic can just pitch to anyone really without fear of rejection or anything like that. It's not their baby. They don't perhaps have the same vested interest that the creators do. They can find it easier to get the balance right. Maybe? Maybe I should write another blog about convention etiquette or something? As I see it from my own experience? Anyways, point being, it's nice having a... support team, to help take the weight. Working conventions is hard! London is REALLY hard. Maybe that's just because it's... such a big city and not home turf.

Anyway, the convention ended up being great for us. We had our best first day ever, in terms of sales, and our 2nd best con ever, in terms of overall sales. PLUS we got to launch this bad boy there:

Lou Scannon Issue 6 with wrap cover by Huw-J.
We launched issue 6 (Available here with an incredible cover by Huw-J) and it seemed to go down really well! It has also been our most preordered issue to date. This issue really was a labour of love. With me having not long finished working on Issue 3 of The Pride, it really didnt leave much in the way of time to get Scannon done. We managed to crank the baby out in little over a month, though we lacked sleep throughout. It's definitely the best looking issue so far, but even as soon as I finished it, I was looking back through and thinking "I can do better". My work has progressed a fair bit even since finishing this issue! Good thing? Yes, definitely... but equally frustrating too.
We were sat in the comics village right by Scannon friend Sarah Millman, who was there with her comic The Heart of Time. She was launching her issue 2 (Which I picked up of course) and seemed to have a pretty good convention herself. She was, as always, sat with her lovely friend Sian Jefferson, who was launching the first issue of her own comic there- The Book of Fey.
Sarah hooked us up with our one chair for the weekend after someone had stolen the two we had been provided with on the Friday night.
Yep, three of us were crammed behind a very small table where there was very little room to move. I decided to approach it from a different angle and tried selling from in front of the table. I managed to get a few people to come over and have a look, even if they didn't buy anything.

Kris in the zone, Jim hating the camera...
I discovered that an old convention drinking buddy of mine was there working, none other than comics legend John McCrea. John has pretty much worked on all the big titles... Batman, Spider-man, Hitman, Judge Dredd, Preacher, Mars Attacks, The Boys and a personal favourite of mine, Dicks. I popped over to him, had a chat and then mentioned Lou Scannon to him. After a request from me, he took time out of his day to do us a Scannon pinup which we are going to use in the Graph! (Out next year)

Lou Scannon by John McCrea!
All three of us were pretty blown away by Johns take on Lou. Absolutely brilliant job and I can't wait to see it in the trade.
I need to mention as well, my dear friend Serena launched a preview of her own book Elysia there. I got me a copy and it's looking absolutely lovely. If you can pick up a copy, you totally should.
Suffice to say, we will definitely be doing MCM again. Though utterly, utterly exhausting, it was great fun and had a really good atmosphere and gave us great sales!
While there, I purchased Manga Studio 5 for my computer. I have to say, it's taking some getting used to but so far? I am absolutely loving it! I tried it out by first drawing a random made up comic page from scratch. This is what I came up with-

and once that was done, I remembered that we had run out of Scannon business cards at MCM so I, in biro first, drew up a new idea for the new one. Then I scanned it and redrew it in Manga Studio. Kris is colouring it at the moment but here's my take on it:

Left: Biro, Right: Manga Studio 5
So with issue six now done and out of the way, new projects can get developed and issue seven can be started. It's all quite exciting right now in that respect. My prints sold out at MCM and I have a few more Ideas for some other ones. I'll keep you posted on that and if you're interested in buying them, contact me.
I'm also going to be selling my Scannon pages for £30 a page. If you would like a piece of original Scannon art, let me know.
and here's a sneak peak of some Scannon in colour!

I've also come up with an idea as a variant cover for Stiffs. Not sure if it will be going ahead yet, waiting to hear from the boys... but it will be based around this idea I drew up in my sketchbook:

Oh and it's worth mentioning! Halloween has just passed us by, and I had a hoot! I actually spent some time on my costume this year and did myself up as Batman villain, Twoface! Here's a look at the burned up Dan!:

Harvey Dant
I was trying to keep this short but blatantly failed. I shouldn't leave so long between blogs I guess.
I'll try do another blog about my prints when I have more done and in print. Next though is the Sheffield tattoo convention. While there I am kinda hoping that some of a flash set I have designed will sell. I'll post a pic. They'll be going at £15 a copy. Let me know if you would like one at

Candy Skull goodness

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Cardiff Film and Comic Con 2013 and Lou Scannon Issue 6

So this past weekend (31st Aug-1st Sept) saw the first ever Cardiff Film and Comic Con in the Cardiff International Arena (I refuse to call it the Motorpoint Arena. Terrible, terrible name.).

Of course Team Scannon had booked a table there for the weekend. We didn't have expectations that were too high or unreasonable, simply on the basis that there was a hell of a lot there for folk to see and take in... Potentially dwarfing a small press title like ours...
We were blown away by the response we received. Higher sales than we have had at any previous cons we have done, and we've done a fair few now!

There was a great atmosphere at the con. Maybe not as personal as the Cardiff Expo that was held earlier in the year, but it was great all the same.

On the table to our right was a friend of the team, Pete Rogers selling a great little indie title called "Chris Smith & the Nazi Zombies from Hell". It's a great comic! I bought it for the art but stayed for the story.
To our left was convention regular and dear friend to Team Scannon, Steve "Moonfold" Penfold. He was there selling his comic "Moon" issues 1 and 2 along with an absolute fuckload of prints. Seriously guys, if you get the chance to read "Moon", do it! It's one of the best comics out at the moment and I'm not just limiting that to the small press scene. If "Lou Scannon" is top of the "Cool Comics" list, then "Moon" is an easy 3rd or 4th place behind it (That's an in-joke...)

Now I'm sure you may have noticed that Kris Carter doesn't seem to be making an appearance in any of the pics at our table. Well that's because the lucky chap was there as a guest due to his pro work on little titles you may have heard of called "Transformers" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".
This meant he had a table on another row separate to us. This was actually an incredible advantage as it gave Lou Scannon double the exposure! Kris was selling loads from his table, where there was a lot more traffic, and then sending folk on to us to sign covers and try sell other items to.
These other items include prints. Prints that I had drawn and coloured as part of my "Pencil Pirates" venture I have started with my good friend Gavin Mitchell. You can see Jim and Me wearing t-shirts in the above picture emblazoned with the PP logo. We intend to have a table together for this sort of thing next year but for now we sell them from our own respective tables. He had his on the Stiffs table and I had mine on our table obviously. They were very well received! We have very limited numbers of them but some are still available post-con. If you're interested in any of mine, contact me and let me know!
£5 for one, £8 for two. Printed on 300gsm paper with a gloss finish
The one thing I do still find weird, more so than the fact that something I created has fans and quite the cult following, is that I get asked to sign copies of the comic.
This is my friend Jojo. She had me sign her copy of Issue 2 then had Jim photobomb us.
Kris I think takes it somewhat in his stride but I know Jim finds it rather bizarre too! It's quite an honour I guess!..
Not bad... For a bunch of humans
We met Lance Henriksen! He was at the convention all weekend signing autographs and at one point decided to go for a stroll! He approached the table that Kris was on and Kris started showing him issue 4 of the comic which is our Aliens homage. When Lance saw the very last page with a scene not too dissimilar to something that happens to his character in the Aliens movie, he said "Oh wow. I should sign a copy for you guys!"
The man is an absolute gent and I was honoured to shake his hand and converse with him. If only for a moment! It was one of those knee shaking moments that you get when you meet one of your heroes...
He then was decent enough to pose for a couple of pictures with us. Considering people were being charged for that over the weekend, we were incredibly lucky!
It was a great weekend. So exhausting though. But it has given me even more drive to get issue six of Scannon ready for the London MCM in October. I don't have much time to get it done but by God I am determined and I really want to see it done.
I started pencilling the issue a couple of days before the con and I have to say, I think it is some of my best work on the comic so far. I've ditched the inks for this issue and flipped it back to just pencils... but with a twist. It's looking pretty good I think.
Page 1 of Scannon issue 6

A panel from page 2
I have a load of drawing to be getting on with and I've spent this evening working on a last minute commission. I should probably be getting to bed.
Before I go though, It's worth mentioning that I got to meet yet another hero, Neil Gaiman, last week. But I think I can go into that more with the next blog perhaps!
Toodle Pip!

Monday, 22 July 2013

A Day In The Life Of... (2)

I think I mentioned in the last blog that I wanted to try keep a comic blog of actual events in my life WHEN something actually happens. I certainly think this counts.
It was a break from the norm. From monotony. It was most certainly welcome.
I fucking love this girl.
And you mark my words, she's going to be big. Of that I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever.
She has talent, beauty (Inside and out) and so much charisma that it's practically impossible to dislike her. Unless you're a vacuous, empty, shallow, monster I guess...
Millie's the type of person worth travelling for. If you get the urge to watch her perform, I urge you to do so.
She's on Twitter as @MillieManders so go follow her. Get in on the ground floor so you can say "I knew her before she was famous" because I guarantee you she will be.
Millie has been very supportive of my art for as long as she has known me. It's been a couple of years now. She appreciates my art in ways that were strange to me at first. Strange in the sense that she had no personal connection to me when we first met and no reason to tell me she thought that my stuff was good other than... well, she actually thought my stuff was good.
We've only met twice in person, but to me, both times have been like I've known her all my life and I just feel... completely comfortable around her. I'm sure everyone probably feels like that around her but she has a way that makes me feel... I dunno... Special, maybe?.. Millie has amazing people skills (Even when bullying cashiers in Tescos over a 5p fee for a carrier bag ;D - in joke).

I don't mean to write this as a gushing idiot but too many blogs and other types of posts on social media these days all seem to focus on the negative, bad things in life. I think maybe we should try focussing more on the good.
Millie's definitely one of the good things in my life right now and I love her for it.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A day in the life of...

Yeah... So this is basically how my Tuesday went.
I like to think I'm a fairly decent, nice guy... and I rarely post anything about my personal life as I think shit like that should be kept personal but this... Well, it annoyed me more than anything I guess.
It wasn't like it was a date or anything. It was just to hang out!
I know we all have our own shit and reasons for doing things... But I kept I spent ages trying to contact the person in question and was getting no response at all. So little response that I thought there might have been something wrong with my phone.
No common decency says that if you have no intention of going to meet someone, you let them know BEFORE they have gone and spent the money on tickets to see you. I know £16.90 might not seem a lot to most folk. Hell it didn't to me at one point. But times are harder these days and I'm struggling enough as it is without doing something which is effectively like flushing the money down the toilet.
Now I could even take NOT being told that she wasn't going to meet me before I bought a ticket.
Just plain old good manners should dictate that you reply to a text message and/or phone call to say that you're not coming BEFORE the other person has spent 3 hours in a city not their own.

I'm not even angry about it anymore. I'm sure at some point in the future, I may even be able to look back on this and laugh. But not today. Not for the foreseeable future.

Right now, more than anything else? I feel let down and hurt.

People are funny things.

Oh, as for the travel anxiety I mention? That's a LOOOOOONG story but it's a hell of a lot more common than you might think.

CFCC end of August. Come buy Lou Scannon comics.

Much love.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Free Hugs? Aint nuttin in this life fo free fool

I did this MOSTLY because I'm sick to my back teeth of seeing teenage girls doing this in town, at festivals etc etc - seemingly oblivious to any potential danger such an act might pose.

And partly because I have a sick sense of humour I guess...

These strips are also available in their entirety on my deviantART page though I will point out that they are a trifle adult so don't read if you're... um.. easily offended I guess...
You can check the gallery of them under the name "White Lies, Black Truths" here
Take it easy peeps.

Friday, 15 March 2013

99 Problems...

Really dislike this song but i've been hearing it a lot lately so thought I would have some fun with it and work in an expression that I equally dislike that seems to be gaining in popularity recently.

Feel free to distribute this however you like but please if you do, include a link back to the blog ;)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Cardiff International Comic Expo 2013

Last weekend saw the Lou Scannon team participating in the 3rd annual Spring time Cardiff Comic Expo. The event was once again being held in the Mercure Holland Hotel on Newport Road over the Saturday and Sunday and it was even bigger this time than the last time we attended!

We decided to make it a big weekend out and Jim, Kris and myself were kindly being put up by our good friend Kirsty, who just so happened to have moved into a house in Canton, Cardiff the week before the convention.
I managed to get out of work slightly earlier than normal so I made my way straight to Cardiff by train and was picked up and given a lift by our hostess back to her house (Which coincidentally enough is spitting distance from a house I used to live in there).
Jim joined us soon enough and from there we headed to City Road on the other side of town to meet Kris and the rest of our usual Small Press crew for a meal at an Indian restaurant. Dinner followed by beers, followed by DVD's til 2 in the morning, followed by a 7am rise.

L-R: Jim, Kris and Me

The Saturday morning started off so busy that we were pleasantly surprised! Comics sold like hotcakes. Our table was towards the back of a rather large hall and in an area devoid of any natural light due to a giant partition wall that had been erected since the con early last year. I initially thought that this might hinder our sales somewhat, but I couldn't have been more wrong!
We launched Lou Scannon issue 5 there and by the end of the weekend, half of our stock of it was either sold or spoken for.
Folk who have already managed to read it cover to cover have thus far given us great feedback. Some going so far as to say that it is their favourite issue yet! So we were chuffed to say the least.

Dylan Shipley on the left there with the boys and holding a copy of issue 5. Dylan is the original "Keith Bowen" who has thus far appeared in each issue of LS as graffiti under the name "Keef Bo-Wing"
We tried out an offer of buy issues one to five and get a free keyring. That seemed to go down really well. A very close friend of ours (Dylan Shipley - co-owner of Sun and Moon Animation studios based out of Bristol) was kind enough to commit himself to doing a Scannon picture for the graph - maybe even the cover - and was then talked into putting us up for the weekend at the Bristol convention in May.

A while back, another old friend of mine had offered to do a cover for Lou Scannon. This would be the immensely talented Rob Jackson. Now I have always been a fan of and loved Robs work so when he offered, I of course jumped at the chance but had to figure out what cover he would be doing. We decided that the variant for issue 5 would be best and that gave Rob plenty of time to work his magic. Boy did he work some magic! His poster blew me away! He turned up on the Saturday with a few prints of the cover as you can see in the picture below. If you want to see it in full though, click the link on the first mention of his name above and it will take you to his deviantart page which is filled with lovely, pretty works.

Rob on the far left
Rob has his own Science Fiction character himself. I would love for him to self publish a comic of that. Even if it's only as a one shot initially as I would love to work his character "Jobe" into Scannon at some point as maybe a reoccuring supporting character.

The remainder of the print run for the first print of Issue 4 sold out at the Cardiff convention too. Made me wish we had gotten the second print done in advance as we definitely would have sold more... That said though, none of us could have predicted we would sell as well as we did. Nor as quickly as we did. It means that in time for Bristol we will have the new variant cover for issue 4 for sale which was provided by another old friend of the team, fan of the comic and incredibly talented artist Neil Alexander. Keep an eye out for this:

Lou Scannon Issue 4 2nd cover: Predator
Any geek in the know will be able to tell that it's based somewhat on the famous image of Sigourney Weaver from Alien 3.

With this weekend, we got to catch up with a lot of our small press friends as I mentioned earlier. Now though, I get to pimp their wares.

First up I would like to mention the brand new small press comic "Razarhawk" by my good friends and everyones favourite couple, Dani Abram and Ian Matthews. The comic seemed to go down a storm and it was great to see them do so well. Particularly as I know how Dani has stressed herself and pushed herself with the comic. Ian on the other hand is just one suave ass mother fucker who everyone loves. It's impossible not to, the charming sod. He pinched my bum. Definitely check the comic out as they have it priced incredibly reasonably.

Next i want to mention one of my favourite comics of the moment, "Moon" by Dan Thompson and Steve Penfold. Seriously guys, this comics is so... Clever and yet bonkers at the same time. It really is a bloody cracking read and Steve was at the Cardiff Expo minus Dan who had to attend to his wife on her birthday. We talked over many a beer and Steve is going to be doing a pinup for the Scannon graph which I am totally stoked to see.

Of course there is the usual crew of misfits and reprobates in the form of the Stiffs and Pride guys!
This was us once again getting to spend some quality time with our dear friends from these titles: PJ, Drew, Joe and of course, my bromosexual life partner, Gavin "Loves Dan" Mitchell.
Always a pleasure to see these guys. Never a chore.

All in all, I think a fun weekend was had by all.

Which leads me to the usual con post of the Monkey Island-off (Gav we really need to come up with a better name for it than this) where normally Gav and I would draw a specific character or scene from the game and then compare them with each other to see who wins. This time though we both picked a random character and drew it. Neither of us picked a winner this time though. we were both just happy with each others work.
Here they are!:

You can still buy Issues 1-5 from our website which I linked to earlier but just in case, here's the actual purchase page with a 5-6 page preview of each issue if you're still on the fence! Til next time, don't say "Goodbye", say "Safe Journey".

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Creepy Cartoon People

While playing around with my side project idea i'm working on, I decided to see if I could use the style slightly modified for other types of cartoony things.
I figured I would try doing cartoons of folk I knew in this heavy inked style but instead of just doing it in black and white, I would add 2-3 base colours to it to emphasise that person.
Obviously it works better if the person dyes their hair one specific colour or wears one colour a lot more than any other.

Here are the two I have done of other people (so far)



After doing these two lovely ladies, I decided to have a crack at doing myself:

I like the way this style is looking. Not sure what I would use it for yet... But i'll keep posting them to this blog as I do them.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Kids Project

Sometimes I am SUCH a doofus!

Just posted that massive blog about my work and stuff and totally forgot to include a cool little thing I got to be a part of last summer! I can't believe I haven't blogged about this at all! Duh!

Last summer I was asked by the very talented Maxwell A. Oginni if I would like to be a part of a project he had organised. Basically, Max had been to a school and done a presentation to a class full of children. Something I have done myself on a few occasions so I know how terrifying it can be. He then asked the kids to develop their own superheroes. The next stage from there would be Max passing on the kids ideas to a variety of different artists for them to interpret what the kids have come up with and to do it in a more... professional capacity.

I was more than happy to be a part of such a cool project! Getting kids into Superheroes and comic books is always a good thing in my opinion.

My friend and regular collaborator Kris Carter was also asked but since he mainly colours these days, he asked if I would draw his as well and he would colour both of the drawings I came up with. Being a fan of Kris' colouring, I of course agreed.

These are what we came up with:


I know the styles are somewhat different in my work here but I figured that would be more fun for the kids!

Anyway, I think that's defintely it for now!

First Post of 2013! A lot to catch up on!

Yeah, pretty much had a lot going on since my last post in November! After the Thought Bubble convention I realised I would pretty much be working flat out to get everything done. Figure I'll start with the oldest and work up to what I'm doing now.

For Christmas, I decided to make a book for my Niece. Now she only turned two in November so I know she wouldn't be able to read it but I figured she could grow up with it and always go back to it.
It features my niece, Erin as the main character. It's about her adventures in Dream World when she goes to sleep.
To do this, I switched to a different style to what I might draw Lou Scannon in. In fact, I've been playing with a few different styles lately but more on that later.
Anyways, the drawings within the book were styled as such:

Each page has a verse of a poem which is part of the story written entirely by myself.
The finished product looked something like this:

Printed by UKComics (Thanks Stu)
It turned out pretty nice in my opinion but then I might be somewhat biased...

I managed to get this finished just in time to get back for Christmas which was lucky. I then took a few days off for Christmas. After those few days I panicked when I realised that we wanted issue 5 of Lou Scannon to be ready for the Cardiff Comic Expo and we hadn't really started it. We had to have the entire thing finished and e-mailed off by the 15th of February to get it back in time for the con. A little over a month to get the issue done in time, whilst working our day jobs too? Tough but we did it. I don't want to show off too much of the issue here but here are a few sample panels:

It's a bit of a break from the normal Lou Scannon story but we think it's still pretty strong. Jim has done a bang up job on the storyline and we introduce a new character who will be sure to make more appearances in the future :)

Since finishing issue 5 I've started to turn my attention back to working on The Pride Issue 3. I can't really post any of that work though as it's not my baby. I won't post without permission. More info on that as it comes.

I also have a little side project I'm working on which would be intended for prints, posters and eventually if it all works out pretty well, vinyl toys. Doing it all off my own back though so will have to see how the prints and stuff do. Now I'm pretty busy at the moment tattooing and... so don't have much spare drawing time but when I get a couple of minutes here and there, I'm sketching out these ideas. I don't want to give too much away about it (Not even the name) but I will show you this one sample of one of the characters:

These are great fun to draw. Can't help but feel they sort of have a Mike Mignola feel to them though. That's the shadows and jagged lines though I guess?

Around Christmas time, I promised my printer Stu (UKComics) that when I had a chance, I would knock up a wee doodle of him. This is what I came up with:

Twas only a quick bit of fun ;)

And just for the hell of it, here are a couple of other random sketches I've done...

Insomniac Robot

I think that's pretty much it for now...
I'll post more as it comes to me. Or if I find something lying around I thought I had already posted... :)

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram under @Baresark_Artist