John Riodan

ELCAF, Editing & Early Starts

Good afternoon all,

So, it’s a bit toasty outside, isn’t it? Even rain-blessed Manchester is rather balmy in the sunshine, and I haven’t had to carry my umbrella around with me for a week. A WHOLE WEEK! That’s almost unheard of around these parts.. But alas, despite the weather there has been a lot going on – so put your feet up with a glass of something refreshing and read on..

Last weekend was the sixth annual ELCAF, the East London Comics & Arts Festival, in the sizzling southern heat. Said heat was particularly enjoyable on the Underground, I assure you.. Now, I applied for ELCAF back when tables were announced but sadly I didn’t make the cut. However it left me with an opportunity to head down to the capital for the day and be on the other side of a table for once; dreamily drift around, catching up with old creator pals and making new ones.

I teamed up with one half of the Good Comics micro-publishing duo Samuel C. Williams to spend the day amongst the comic masses, as well as celebrating the latest Good Comics release – Josh Hicks’ Human Garbage (which is excellent, by the way). ELCAF is a festival where I’m happy I didn’t get in. Not because I wouldn’t love to be a part of it – I really would – but how they curated it this year and true breadth of work on offer was new, exciting and visually overwhelming in the best possible way. It was amazing to walk around and talk to people without having to rush back to a table, too! I had a chance to have a brief catch up with the Avery Hill gents, there with Tillie Walden and Ellice Weaver – whose beautiful new book Something City launched on the day. I also finally put faces to the names of the Dirty Rotten Comics crew Gary and Kirk, met and discussed the business of comics with Sam and Simon Moreton of Smoo/Minor Leagues fame, and had a chance to speak to John Riordan and John Cei Douglas (..and his dog).

John Cei Douglas’ dog, an excellent sales tactic and wonderfully friendly pup.

Also amongst the busy aisles of creators and browsers, we bumped into Pete Redrup of The Quietus, who has kindly just reviewed Cosmos & Other Stories on his most recent column Behold! A Comics Round Up For June. Here’s a snippet:

This book shows how Hathaway is developing as an artist. There’s a clear consistency despite differences in panels, lettering styles and colour. One particularly effective technique is the way she follows a densely panelled double page spread with a single two page image overleaf. This somehow opens up the stories, creating a hopeful, positive tone regardless of what has been established before. Cosmos & Other Stories is a beautiful book by a considerable talent.

Pete Redrup, The Quietus

Don’t forget you can pick up Cosmos & Other Stories online from the Good Shop or my Etsy store.

I was also generally pretty well behaved with my spending at ELCAF, with my small but beautiful haul consisting of (L-R) Bianca Bagnarelli‘s comic Daughters, published by Short BoxIcinori‘s beautifully printed Dessus Dessous and Peony Gent‘s A6 short comic Growth – plus a bonus postcard from everyone’s favourite friendly face, Mike Medaglia.

I had the chance to read Daughters and Growth on my coach journey back home on Saturday evening, and I can confirm that they are both equally wonderful books; Growth is a short, poetic narrative with a reassuring tone of looking after your mental health, told in an abstract form through caring for plants – I can definitely recommend this if you’re into poetic comics with that nice warm after-feeling. And.. who isn’t? You can pick up Growth from Peony’s Etsy store here. Daughters is a more traditional start-to-end story, picking up the proceedings in the middle of a family crisis in a dystopian society. Two stories run parallel, one through narration and one through the characters discussions and body language. It’s a thought-provoking short, beautifully told with clean lines and crisp colours. You can pick up a copy on Short Box’s website here.

Phew, lengthy round-up! But there’s more. Maybe time for a quick interlude to go and top up your drink?

In other news, I was kindly asked to produce a print for Emily B. Owen‘s Kickstarter campaign for Brain Schoodles, a comic about anxiety and depression told through doodles. The campaign recently ended on Kickstarter with Emily smashing her target of £250, and the comic will be launching on Saturday 8th July at Small Press Day at the Cardiff Comic Expo! Here’s some working snaps:

My print was commissioned as an addition to the Printorama pledge. So all backers getting that tier reward will receive their copy of the print with their zine. If you missed out, fear not! I will have some of these prints on sale in the coming months with proceeds going towards a Manchester-based mental health charity of my choosing. Big, big thanks to Emily for asking me to do a piece for her campaign. I’m humbled and very happy to be a part of it! See the final piece below:

Brain Shoodles Print. On sale soon!

Finally, this Saturday the Birmingham Comic Art Festival graces Birmingham City University, with yours truly behind a table selling the likes of Njálla, Ø and Cosmos & Other Stories, as well as an array of other goodies. There isn’t a huge amount of information to find online, but you can see the key details of the event via the Facebook page. If you’re in or around the West Midlands please do come and say hello! It’ll be another early start for me (Up at 4:30am for ELCAF, and up at 5am on Saturday for BCAF) so I’ll appreciate any company I can get – tickets are free, with registration required here.

And that wraps it up for now! Keep cool everyone, and I shall be back with more (but probably not quite as much) news next time. Peace out!

 

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Dead Singers Society Vol.2

In my second offering to Good Comics comics-anthology-zine Dead Singers Society, I created a one-page comic based on the life of Nina Simone. Other comic artists and illustrators work include:

Tim Bird / Danny Noble / John Riordan / Wallis Eates / Elizabeth Querstret / John G. Swogger
Edited by Samuel C Williams / Paddy Johnston / Pete Hindle
Cover by James Howard

Good Comics débuted Dead Singers Society Vol.2 on Sunday 29th May at the eclectic DIY Cultures Festival at Rich Mix in London. You can purchase your very own copy of Dead Singers from their online store, priced £5.

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