Penned Guins

Penpals, Penguins & Small Press

Good afternoon kind readers!

So, another week has vanished and it’s now almost December. When did that happen? All these Christmas adverts keep coming out and all I can think about is how I’m pretty sure it was October last time I looked.. Apparently not. It seems to be getting much gloomier day by day, and Manchester is living up to it’s stereotype of raining all the time – which would make you think that I’d managed to buy an umbrella by now instead of getting rained on all the time. Ha. Well. Maybe tomorrow.

A few weeks ago when I first moved up here I was doing some scooting around, looking for different creative endeavours I could get stuck into. Low & behold I re-stumbled across the Salford Zine Libary, who describe themselves as “a unique archive of self published materials, currently housed at Nexus Art Café on Dale Street in Manchester. It seeks to preserve and provide access to zines from around the world, as well as promoting zines and DIY culture through workshops, exhibitions and other events“. They had a call for submissions up for a Penpals themed mail-art exhibition, so in the blues-infested week of getting back from Thought Bubble when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, I wrote a little love story on an envelope and sent it off! I haven’t managed to get down to the Zine Library yet to see if my work has been selected to be up, but I’ll be getting down there as soon as possible to check it out. The exhibition runs until the end of the month, so if you’re in the area you should pop down and check it out!

Next up, I also spent some time in the recent weeks on a guest strip for Alan Henderson’s Penned Guins, which is his daily comic strip full of dad jokes, bad jokes and everything in between. There have been a few guest appearances in the past, most recently from my good friend of Good ComicsSamuel C. Williams. It took a while to single out a particular pun, but in the end I went with this one.. Which went up on Sunday 13th November!

Ha.. Penguins. What lovable oafs. It was an absolute pleasure to be a guest on Alan’s Penned Guins, and if you want to keep up with the comics you can keep up with them on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. There’s a lot to be said for being able to smile at daily gag strips, and I highly recommend you supplement your diet with them.

In other news, if you’ve been on Broken Frontier‘s Facebook or Twitter this week, you may have noticed that a guest piece I wrote for State of the Small Press Nation went up on the site! Andy Oliver kindly asked me whether I wanted to write an article a while back, to which is gratefully agreed and then took way longer than I should’ve done to actually get it back to him. Better late than never, my journey into small press is now up on Broken Frontier’s site, and you can read the article here. It was a bit strange to go back through my old blogs and pick out the highs and lows of my journey into comics, but hopefully my ramblings come of some use to someone.

Probably not, but you never know.

And finally! If you follow me on the array of social media channels then you may have noticed that I’ve released my 2016 Christmas card design! I opted for a more subtle, wintery design this year with the hare and the moon, with the card being available to buy on my Etsy store along with last year’s Christmas robin design, and all the usual comicy suspects. Postage for UK orders runs right up until mid-December, so have a gander and order early to make sure you’re not disappointed!

Anyway, that’s about it for now! I’ll be back as usual next week with more progress on my short stories due for release with Good Comics next year. Until then, I hope you all have a good week – and if you’re in England, keep dry, yeah?

 

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Recovery & Scarves

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, that’s it. The last comics’ festival of the year is well and truly over – and what a festival it was. This year’s Thought Bubble Festival was a most excellent weekend full of wonderful people and more laughs than I’ve had in a long time. Though, I did have a nightmare of a time on Friday evening. And I did happen to lose my favourite scarf. But apart from that, it was the best (plus I already have a ridiculous amount of scarves, so.. I can cope).

Thought Bubble Festival ran from 1st-6th November, with the comic festival running over the weekend of the 5th-6th down in Leeds Docks. I was happily plonked in New Dock Hall, between the charming gents of micro-publishers Good Comics (Dr Paddy Johnston, Samuel C. Williams and Pete Hindle) on my right, and the incredibly talented Anja Uhren (whose Irgendwo im Nirgendwo I recommended back in June for Broken Frontier in the lead up to Small Press Day) to my left. With over 400 exhibitor tables between New Dock Hall, the Royal Armouries building and the ComiXology Marquee it really is a HUGE event, and this year definitely felt busier for me than last year. This year I also attempted to make my table as fun as possible, with my Njálla cut-out, fake snow and snowflakes spread out to help entice people over to my table. Check it out!

As you may recall from last week’s update, Thought Bubble saw the release of my newest short story comic Ø, which was kindly mentioned by Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier as one of his picks during the Gosh! Comics Presents ‘The Best Thing I’ve Read All Year’ panel. You’d think I’d have thought about how someone would talk about Ø with no knowledge of the pronunciation, wouldn’t you. I can confirm that no, no that thought didn’t cross my mind.. So I can only eternally apologise to Andy for trying to promote Ø without the foggiest of how to say it! However, it’s probably the most accidentally clever marketing ploy I’ve ever done, shooting it right to the top of the alphabet of Thought Bubble’s debuting books list. But, regardless of my apparent living on another planet, Ø’s debut went fantastically! You can read more about it here on the updated page, and get your copy from my online Etsy store for just £3 plus shipping.

As you can also see above, Alan Henderson of Penned Guins popped by with some original artwork from his submission to Sneaky Business vol. 2, kindly tucking it into the top copy ready for the next purchaser to get free with their sneaky stories – how awesome is that? Also, I have now officially sold out of The Red Road! I took my final copy to Thought Bubble and Andy Oliver passed me back a couple he’d been taking to tabling events – and all three went! First released in January 2015, the starting 100 copies sold out by October, and I’ve since sold through the bumper second edition 100 copies in just over a year. Thank you to everyone who has continually taken interest in The Red Road, it is still my baby and I’m sad to see it go – but it’s time to keep moving forward.

Big, big thanks to everyone who popped by and said hello – and to everyone who took the time to spend their hard earned money on something I made. You’re all wonderful! Also HUGE thanks as always to Thought Bubble organisers and all the volunteers who make it so fantastic to be a part of. It’s now, with my standard post-TB cold, that myself and the other comic creators wait patiently for next year and the next festival.. We sulk back to our desks to hibernate for winter, so please do think of us. And send cake.

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In more cheerful news, last week Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged celebrated it’s 5th birthday! In a very heartwarming day of celebration, a bunch of us small press comics people talked about who we found through the hard work of Andy Oliver and his Small Pressganged efforts and articles – this is the column which first included the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, which gave me endless coverage and interest that I’d never have gotten otherwise, and without it I definitely wouldn’t have the confidence to be where I am today. I made a special piece for the day which features on the article, also seen above. Myself and a few others mention Danny Noble, and if you’re interested in checking out her work, you can do so here and read about her fabulous self here. I was really honoured to be mentioned by Ravi Thornton, so it’s a lovely article to read all-round. Go check it out and feel your soul warmed!

And that’s about it for now! Outside of Thought Bubble and Small Pressganged’s 5th birthday I have plenty to talk about in the coming blogs, so be sure to check back next week for the return to normality. Until then – keep warm! I’m going to go and put another one of my many scarves on…

 

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