Burking was a very specific form of murder for money- the killing of suitable specimens for medical research. No doubt it comes from one of its most famous practitioners, William Burke of Burke and Hare fame.
I found out about the name because of a historian’s claim that two of the most highly regarded pioneers of obstetrics, William Hunter and William Smellie (what is it with the Williams, Hare was one as well), may have ordered freshly murdered pregnant women to help their research and run up a body count greater than Burke and Hare and Jack the Ripper combined.
On the subject of Burke and Hare, there’s a graphic novel about them which has been getting some good reviews. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s going on to my (admittedly long) list of books I should get. Buy Burke and Hare from Amazon.
To limber up before starting work on Point of Contact I’ve done a short erotic tale. It’s called An American in Paris, and this is the splash page.
The tale is a flashback featuring Kerry, one of the characters from my previous naughty comic Shall We Take A Trip?, who’s reminiscing about the time she met her penpal in Paris. Can you guess what happens?
Looking at it now, it appears Kerry (on the right of the page) is about to fall over backwards. I knew she was leaning a little as I drew it, but I had to look at it from a distance to see the problem. That will be remedied in Photoshop tomorrow.
Read two different versions of the same story, or two tales that start or end at the same point. I admit, I’m not sure yet what I’d do. I’ll have to find out how to make one of these and then let it inspire me as I flip it round and round.
Unfurling is a comic on a scroll of paper 400 feet long by 1 foot high. By its very nature this one has to be a one off. MAybe with the right printer a short run of a shorter version might be possible.
My copy of Grandville arrives tomorrow (or, more likely, I’ll have to get them to resend it to me and I’ll get it on Monday). So it seems a good time to read a two part interview with its creator, the great Bryan Talbot (part 1, part 2).
After putting out a call via Facebook and Twitter for volunteers I had a few people willing to give their family names to characters in Point of Contact (previously referred to as “The Space Comic”). Moody won the coveted position after four of the character names through being suggested first and twice (that’s a little unfair on everyone else as I think the Moodys are the only siblings in my friends list, but that’s the way it goes). Please bear in mind I thought of the forenames before putting the surnames out to tender.
Dan Moody. I’m never going to hear the end of this, am I? Dan is married to Alice and father of Sally and Martin. He starts the story with a broken leg, which is one of the factors that decides the roles everyone else plays. However, I may never explain how he broke his leg. I know what happened, but it may not need revealing.
Alice Moody- wife of Dan, mother of Sally and Martin. This is the design I’m least happy with. I’ll get better at drawing her as the series goes on.
Martin Moody. Martin becomes the leader of the quickly formed “away team” in the first issue. A geek, but also into stuff like parkour.
Sally Moody. It’s been all I can do not to make the whole story about Sally and have her making all the cool discoveries and inventions. Originlly she was going to be sixteen, but I’ve aged her to just turned eighteen because there’s this solier she really fancies.
Geri Webster. Martin’s girlfriend. Shares a fascination with blowing things up with Sally, which means they’ve bonded when none of Martin’s previous girlfriends got on with his sister.
George Savage. Martin’s best friend. Martin’s had a falling out with his parents and they don’t talk much any more, so he spends a lot of time woith the Moodys when not at university.
There are a load of support characters to be designed, but I have the core and I have the layouts for the first twenty two pages. I really, really should get started.
And if that isn’t enough, I’m almost ready to start the first page on my space comic, which is now titled Point of Contact. I’ve had a few volunteers on Facebook who want their surname to be given to the family who are four of the six main (human) characters. I may just write all the names down on slips of paper and draw them out as I need surnames.
If you look at the webcomic list in the left hand column you shall see that there have been a few changes. Specifically-
Scarygoround is now Bad Machinery, as John Allison has ended one long running strip and started another. John’s a regular at the Manchester Comix Collective drink and draw meetings I’ve started attending, but I never know what to say to him because I’m worried I might come across as a dribbling fanboy (and a crap one at that, I’ve yet to buy any of his books or t-shirts).
Gunnerkrig Court is a rather lovely strip, which seems to have a long term plan to it. Antimony Carver has started attending Gunnerkrig Court, the sprawling techno-fantastic school where her parents studied and met. There’s an equally sprawling wood across an impassable ravine with a single bridge over it and a long history of antagonism and interaction between the magical creatures who live there and the more scientifically oriented school. The obvious comparison will be with Harry Potter, but I’ve only seen the films so can’t really comment. If, as I did, you dive in and start following the story from the beginning you’re going to lose most of a day. But it’s worth it.
Curvy is a different, naughtier tale. Anais encounters a girl from another dimension- Candy World- and falls in love with her. But Despoina is on the run from an arranged marriage to the ruler of Stupid World and there’s an NSA agent who thinks she’s a terrorist. There are some sex scenes in Curvy, but the lush cartoony linework can make you forget just how dirty the actions getting.
Warning If you don’t know what Goatse is, don’t go looking for it. Seriously. Don’t. I won’t be held responsible if you do. If you do know what it is then your mind is already broken and that’s not my problem.
Last weekend I picked up a bunch of cheap bagged comics, 6 for a pound. You see them in newsagents sometimes, I guess they’re overstocks- dating back to the late eighties in some cases- that someone’s making a final bid to raise money from. In amongst the ones I picked up was issue 2 of Megalith from Continuity Comics, dating back to 1989.
It wasn’t obvious until page 7, but the hero had projected himself into his own body to fix the damage done by a bomb blast.
There’s Megalith, patching up holes by creating multiple naked copies of himself and squeezing realy hard. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity of the first and last panels on this page to a certain notorious internet image.
The Goatse echoes continue on page 6, particularly the first and penultimate panels.
Once you’ve seen the original Goatse your subconcious inserts it into otherwise relatively innocent images. Which is why it carries a health warning at the top of this post. Don’t have any bad dreams now.
Whilst I set about planning, scripting and eventually drawing the Space Comic I have another idea that I think deserves to be explored. The working title is Post (as in post-human) and it’s a virus outbreak tale with a twist. Amongst other things, it’s going to be the infected who have to hide from the uninfected if they want to survive. I’ve been working on the back story and have a few characters ready and the first few pages plotted. All I need is someone to help with the art and I can set it off and see where it heads.
Amongst other things you’ll get to draw abandoned secret Soviet science cities, hospitals, soldiers in Nuclear-Bacterial-Chemical suits, mutants, a sexy near immortal woman and an everyman hero struggling to stay alive long enough to pick a side as his body- and the world- begin changing at an alarming rate.
Get in touch with me at spinneyhead at gmail.com and I’ll tell you more.
Here are a couple of ideas for crewmen of the spaceship which crash lands on Earth in my still unnamed “space comic”. The starfishy fellow strikes me as an engineer- all those hands that can work on multiple problems at once and an ability to orient itself in all manner of ways. Of course the ship would have to have bars hanging from the ceiling of the crew areas so it could get around, but that’s just what you have to do if you have one of these multi-dexterous creatures onboard. The caterpillar thingy with three arms and many eyes looks like a bit of a bruiser, possibly they’re security. That is supposed to be a gun- built for something with two opposing thumbs and two fingers- within easy reach of its left hand.
And this is meant to be the spaceship. It’s meant to be similar to those big container ships which cruise our oceans. There’s a pod at the front which houses the crew, controls and any special cargo (and which has a hold where our human characters will take up residence), lots of containers- each carrying something different- and big engines at the back. I’m going to use a cop-out to get around the questions of the long timescales involved in interstellar travel. There are a series of “ports” into a parallel dimension with different physical characteristics and ships simply cruise between them. If, for any reason, a ship should drop out of this dimension they’re doomed to travel in real space, potentially for millennia, at sub-light speeds to get to the nearest port. Or they can wait and hope someone will come along and build a temporary- or establish a new- port where they are.
Of course, there are territorial disputes in the High Spaces, and pirates roam them. They attack, plunder and commandeer craft and occasionally one is “sunk” back into normal space. Which is how the story begins.
The comic is large format and printed on quality paper with highly detailed ligne claire artwork complemented by fine colouring. I did find, as you can with this style, the figures occasionally lack animation- appearing to be holding uncomfortable “running” poses rather than expressing the motion- but there is no such problem with the machinery. It helps that Biggles and his squadron are flying one of the most beautiful machines ever built, but it’s not just the Spitfires that swoop around the panels.
Thankfully the translation is good, or Cinebook went back to the original novel for the dialogue. Either way, this comic is lacking the poor English that afflicts some other translated strips. It still reads as slightly stiff, but in the way you’d expect lines from a different era to.
I want to dig out my old Biggles books (handed down from my father), but I think I may have finally said goodbye to them a couple of years ago and sent them off to a charity shop. I want to read the Red Fox editions of the comics, but I also know that Cinebook should be supported in bringing them back to market so I should wait for their version. Blimey, I’m just a little frustrated chaps.
The official White House flickr feed. Photo reference for the Space Comic. I’ll stick Obama, or someone who looks a lot like him, in the comic but not Brown. For one thing Obama is going to have more international recognition than the British Prime Minister. For another, it’s unlikely the scotsman will still be in office by the time I finish. If there’s an election whilst I’m drawing the comic there might be a “call me Dave” cameo.
Befoer I dive into doing art I really need to work out what size my final pages will be on the Space Comic. I’d really like to do something large format rather than US comic, because I see it as being more European in style and I plan to pitch it over there when it’s finished.
Lulu do A4 (8.264″ by 11.694″) as one of their size options. ComiXpress, a more comic oriented print-on-demand company does an 8″ by 10.5″ format and is working on a distribution network to comic shops now that Diamond has set its minimum orders cut off lower than most small comic companies can hope for.
If I want to get the comic printed in this country Fallen Angel Media prints comics, including in A4, but I’d have to order in bulk from them. This is an option if I can get enough pre-orders I guess.
A4 is the way to go, I reckon. So I’ll be drawing it at A3 (slightly less, probably, to allow for bleed at the page edge).
I already need a new scanner. Guess I need it to be a bigger one, too.
I’m putting together the plot and script for the space comic, lining up the scenes I’ve already thought of and seeing what connections they suggest. I’m using software called ywriter. It’s quite good for breaking a story down into chapters and scenes. I don’t think I could use it for a whole project, but it was useful for initial scripting of some of the Venn scripts and collecting and ordering Sounds of Soldiers from the published scraps so I could complete the first draft.
Of course, my approach to putting the comic together is going to be more slapdash than the use of ywriter suggests. I’ll probably start doing layouts for the first few pages and character designs at the same time and the whole shape of the story will change a bit as I go along.
The other thing I’ve been considering is a title. The only ones I have at the moment revolve around Contact. Contact itself and First Contact have been used already. Point of Contact, or Contact Point are possible, but they don’t jump out at me. The project remains the Space Comic until I find a title I’m happy with.