Its 2019, and despite the fact that this year has been eight decades long it seems to be travelling at a thousand miles an hour.
Also its on fire.
I anticipate that when 2019 gets turned into a movie that vampiric Keanu Reeves will be playing the cop attempting to wrest the steering wheel of the year out of the maniac hands of Willem Dafoe who will still be wearing those false teeth he had installed in Wild at Heart.
Hows it going? I’ve missed you.
The above image is the cover to a comic I am making for my local record store Wah-Wah Records. They’re celebrating 5 years of being, I believe, the best record store that the fine city of Wakefield has had in its existence. By the way, when I say ‘fine city of Wakefield’ its not fine like a wine and more fine like “Huh, okay whatever”.
The cover is an obvious riff on Doctor Octagonecologyst, to give it its full name, last year’s record by Kool Keith, which happens to be one of Alan’s favourite albums. Alan is the severed head featured above at the steady hand at the tiller of Wah-Wah, and the man who gets me my Thee Oh Sees albums.
At the moment I am in the process of clearing the deck. I am finishing all of the jobs I agreed to do last year before assessing what needs to come next, and working on that. I have been in the past easily distracted and I certainly feel that its been the cause of a few delays. I mean, its been four years since Funk Soul Samurai 1 came out. That’s a long time. It’s my New Year’s Resolution to get shit done. Lets stop talking about what we are going to do and simply do it.
To that end, a month ago I moved into a studio in Leeds and started working out my year. I can’t take the whole credit as the majority of this planning is being done by my partner in crime Bash, whose name you will see all over this blog. Already I can feel its going to be a big year. So far I’m going to be appearing at MCM Birmingham, Swansea Comic & Gaming con, and Glasgow Comic con, with my sights on a few others. I’m feeling tired already. Where is Keanu when you need him?
Did you know Keanu is Hawaiian for “bad ass parkour vampire”? Google it.
Myself and my friend Christopher R Moore, of The Awful Truth fame, (whose latest EP features a still from one of my more experimental video projects) intermittently record Skype conversations that he edits and sticks on YouTube because we like to think we are entertaining. The reason I bring this up is that I started our Look Back on Ye Mighty 2018 and Despair! episode by talking about how much buying an iPad Pro changed my art life. Its genuinely improved the way I do things, and this ghost mermaid is one of the first things I drew in Procreate. I did a series of them, calling them Spirit Warriors for the purpose of Instagram and they will be appearing on my store to purchase really shortly. So if you’re into that, check it out.
If you follow me on Instagram you can see time-lapse videos and things of the development process.
I will finish shortly I promise, but I want to talk a little bit about Ales Kot and Michael Walsh’s run on Secret Avengers. I’m a big fan of Ales’ work having got into his four issue mini-series The Surface back when I used to walk into comic shops and just buy stuff. Those days are over by the way, as I have such little time to read stuff, comics just sit in piles, neglected, like white goods by the side of the road. Anyway, The Surface was the right type of meta-comics magic, and it made me seek out Zero which was the right type of super-spy wonderment, and Secret Avengers had been on my radar for a while.
I’ve always liked the idea of the Secret Avengers. Not everything can be super public punching all of the time, and it makes sense that spy masters like Nick Fury and Maria Hill will be spinning so many super powered plates behind the scenes to keep the world going. A glimpse behind that particular curtain is a treat.
Kot is skeptical of the intelligence community, that you can tell from his work, and seeing him lay out his suspicions in the format of a super hero team up is a delight. The deals made, the lives traded, the things done both great and terrible to save the world. The best thing about the series though is the way he writes M.O.D.O.K., who is in my head a ridiculous villain who one cannot take seriously. I mean his name means “Mechanical Organism Designed Only (for) Killing” which is both inaccurate grammatically and absurd. So having him be acting on the side of the “good guys” makes an interesting parallel between the actions of heroes and villains. Rather than the film version of the Avengers who spend their time fighting killer robots, and then wearily looking at their hands wondering “Who asked us to do this?”, the Secret Avengers asks: If two people use the same methods for the same end, but one is for the state and the other is for personal gain, why is one person right, and the other wrong.
Also LOOK AT THAT LAYOUT. It makes me want to do some trippy spy stuff, or some trippy sci-fi stuff. Or just something trippy and world-buildy and… NURSE BRING ME MY SEDATIVE… THE IDEAS ARE BACK!