Based on a conversation with a four-year-old, Moon is an original comics story with plenty of imagination, a look at familial relationships, and a nod the Chinese legend of Chang-e and the Mid-Autumn Festival.
…Our first port of call was to catch up with some familiar faces, and we started off with Good Comics’ Sam Williams, Rozi Hathaway and Josh Hicks who were all bunched in on a row together. Rozi was showcasing her new book Moon and this was our first chance to see it in print and the newsprint finish really made the most of Rozi’s beautiful artwork.
What’s that I can hear? The soothing sound of a free calendar? That’s right, the last two festivals of the year have been and gone, and what excellent festivals they were.
Thought Bubble Festival was held over the weekend 22nd-23rd September in central Leeds, it’s newer location for the second year running. This year I was in the very large ComiXology marquee, with David B. Cooper (colourist: Alex Automatic, Sleeping Dogs, Pirate Fun) to my left, and my dearest Good Comics on my right. I felt particularly smug this year as normally I travel up the morning of Thought Bubble feeling ridiculously tired and worn out before the 8 hours of day one tabling begins. This year, however, as I was driving from Bournemouth to Leeds, Sam and I travelled up on Friday and spent the evening in Leeds with the other half of Good Comics – Dr Paddy. We ventured across to the pre-Thought Bubble party gathering at Travelling Man in Leeds for the Avery Hill launch of Katriona Chapman’s Follow Me In and Kristyna Baczynski’s Retrograde Orbit, which was fun!
Thought Bubble itself was excellent; I had the opportunity to meet so many new people and see some regulars, with people who bought comics from me last year coming back to see what was new and say hello. I also had a nearly tear-inducing moment when one person bought a few of my books, went away and read them both in a café before coming back to tell me how much she enjoyed them. This, folks, is why I do what I do.
As you may be aware, Thought Bubble was also the official launch for my newest self-published newspaper comic, Moon. I’ve had so much positive feedback so far, I’m really glad everyone’s enjoyed seeing something a little different. Creating Moon in such a short space of time was incredibly isolating and also meant I didn’t have the time to talk about it in blogs or beam about its progress on social media, so launching it at Thought Bubble and being able to sit back and listen to people’s feedback was really, really nice.
Speaking of Moon, it’s now available on my Etsy store with additional stickers and temporary tattoos! Have you been plastering yourself with Moon temp tattoos? Send me some photos, I’d love to see how they turned out!
Moving onto the last festival of the year, one of my all-time favourites Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) was this past Saturday 5th October, held at The Station in Bristol. BCZF is excellent for many reasons; for one, it’s free entry for the public so anyone can wander in and discover the breadth of different comic genres around. Secondly, it’s in Bristol so the creative scene there is always great, and finally, they have some of the best food around. Again, I had some really nice chats with people and the atmosphere is always friendly. Thanks so much to both the teams at Thought Bubble and BCZF for all their hard work in putting on excellent shows!
Whilst in Bristol Sam and I stayed with Mike, who has recently started Assembly Press, a risograph printing studio in Easton, Bristol. We played around with his older risograph machine in years previous, but this year he has upgraded to a two-colour machine, meaning we could quickly and easily try out some two-colour prints! I reused a design I previously ran through the riso, with amazing results. Check it out! (fluoro orange and yellow; fluoro pink and fluoro orange).
If you’re into creating work on a risograph printer or if you’d like to give it a try, Assembly Press has a special offer running until the end of August for 50xA3 prints for £30. Contact AP via Instagram for any enquiries!
That just about rounds it up for now. Phew, it’s been a busy one!
Now, I’m not going to pretend that this kind of concept is a good idea – it was a pretty stupid idea because it meant I had to juggle an already busy existence with a very short deadline. I took days off from work here and there and spent my evenings at the desk too, but it was so, so worth it.
The campaign for Moon went really well; it was 50% funded after two days, and then had a steady increase of 1-2 pledges per day to reach the original target of £800, then onward and up to a total of £1082. The campaign itself was really short so that I could get the comic printed and out in time for Thought Bubble Festival. But, regardless of the rush, it all worked as planned! The only real comparison that I have with Kickstarter is Njálla; but that feels like an exception to the rule, as that was fully funded on the first day (and something I never expected to happen again)!
Given how little time I gave myself, the creation side of the comic went really well. I did my usual process of thumbnailing out the comic, pencilling it up on big layout sheets, and then inking straight onto artist cartridge paper and painting on the same page. Moon is a total of 24 pages, 17 of which are painted story pages. Check out a little preview here:
What’s next? Well! First thing this Monday morning the print files were sent to print at the Newspaper Club. Tuesday night the rewards were sent off to print (A5 prints, temporary tattoos and stickers – you guys who pledged are in for a treat!), and now comes the waiting game. Digital review copies are being sent out on Monday 17th September (get in touch here if you’re keen to review Moon), digital comics are being sent to backers by Tuesday 18th, and all of the physical stuff should be arriving by Wednesday 19th. On the morning of Friday 21st September I’m (gently) throwing all of my wares in the boot of Billie the car and driving up to Leeds to launch Moon at Thought Bubble Festival on Saturday 22nd September. Phew!
It’s certainly been an experience, but this comic has been so much fun to work on and I truly wouldn’t have been able to work to this crazy schedule without the faith of every single Kickstarter backer who helped me make Moon into the physical comic I wanted it to be. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to release it any time soon, or even dream of making sweet temporary tattoos of shipping containers.
And that’s about it for now! Remember to keep up with my more regular blogs over at Patreon, and until next time… Peace out!
Did you see the news? Did you? No, not the news about a babies with teeth; the news of my newest project going live on Kickstarter this month! I know, I know, I like to give myself an unreasonable amount of work to do in a short amount of time, but I have a new story underway that I can’t wait for you all to see. It’s title: Moon.
After creating a few short stories for anthologies this year that haven’t yet been released, and the second edition of Cosmos & Other Stories, I’ve been really keen to push something out in the second half of this year whilst I’m dipping in and out of on The Biggest One Yet (my next, full-length book due out in 2019/20). I’ve been lucky enough to develop a beautiful story to tell, and I just. couldn’t. wait.
What do you need to know?
Moon will be Kickstarted, with the campaign launching soon.
This brand-new 24-page story will be printed in mini-newspaper format.