GHOSTS comic art collective
2014 is already shaping up to be my busiest year yet. Steve Morris at The Beat broke the story last week that I’m working as part of a new UK comic art collective called GHOSTS. Co-founded with Owen Johnson (Raygun Roads), Andrew Tunney (Girl&Boy), Mark Penman (Peabody and D’Gorath), James Lawrence (Dangerine), Jon Lock (Afterlife Inc) and Nich Angell (7String), the idea behind GHOSTS is to team up with some of the most exciting emerging comic creators in the UK and shining a spotlight on our work. Our first public event will be CULT, a week-long underground comix exhibition at London’s Orbital Comics, starting on April 14th 2014. The main event will be a club night held at Resistance Gallery on April 19th, where we’ll all be present to talk about our work, sign comics, drink cocktails and play live music. With live drawing, music inspired by our art and the opportunity to talk about comics like they matter, with people that really care, this is going to be a fantastic event. More details to follow in the run up.
The other big news for February is that I teamed up with Oklahoma-based dark punk-rock band For the Wolf, who have recorded a new song based on my Gothic-horror comic with Karen Yumi Lusted, La Belle Dame Sans Merci. For the Wolf’s new track, A Faery’s Song, is available to download free here, with an accompanying music video here. This has been a long time coming, but having an artist record music based on something that I created has been a fantastic experience. For the Wolf are the second band to sign to HorrorHound Records. The first signing was Harley Poe, my favourite band of all time. Harley Poe founder Joe Whiteford contributed to our obscene horror-comedy anthologies BLACKOUT and BLACKOUT II: YOLO. Joe does fantastic work whatever medium he sets his mind to, so do go and check out some of his grotesque sculptures and monster porn artwork. For the Wolf’s new album, Turn on the Dark, is released at the next HorrorHound Weekend event in March, where they’ll play alongside horror-punk legends like Calabrese and the Creeping Cruds.
News of my collaboration with For the Wolf was really well received, so thanks to Digital Spy, Forbidden Planet International, Down the Tubes, Comic Related, 3 Million Years, Starburst Magazine and Comic Buzz for sharing the story.
At the beginning of the month I was quoted by The Guardian online about the appeal of manga to young people. When I worked in a public library, I used to run a Manga Reading Group for teenagers. The first meeting that I set up, one girl attended, and by the time I left we had to turn people away frequently, because I couldn’t handle leading a session of more than 25 teenagers stuffed into a hot, sweaty room at a time. Reading traditional graphic novels and manga can be an expensive hobby, especially when you follow a series that is up to its 60th serialised volume, so public libraries can have a lot to offer to young people in that respect. Creating that sort of universal access negates the need for online piracy or the elitism of people that can afford to buy crates of manga versus the rest of us. Something to think about for anybody contemplating further cuts to public libraries, or telling their constituents that “everything is online now”. Everything *is* online, but that doesn’t make it legal.
The fantastic academic horror periodical Exquisite Terror reviewed my short story with artist Martin Simmonds, All Roads Lead To Hell. Created for Disconnected Press back in 2012, this is still one of the comic strips that I’m most proud of. One testament to the success of All Roads Lead To Hell is that I’m still working with Martin on new projects now, almost two years later. Exquisite Terror‘s Jim Reader has this to say:
“On the surface, Buchan’s text is an extreme, moralistic fable, but its simplicity naturally makes its meaning all the more obscure and alluring. It’s a riddle I’m still trying to pin down.
“Martin Simmonds’ superbly graphic artwork, on the other hand, brings this obscurity to life. The depictions of hell are as torturous as the flashes we witness in Event Horizon, and the sacrilegious, sexually violent imagery is in line with the work of Clive Barker. The concept of perverse, demonic visions continuing to plague Mary, in what appears to be the mortal world, shares familiar ground with Silent Hill and Jacob’s Ladder.”
I was invited to appear as a guest on BAMF UK comics radio show. It was a horror special, and we discussed the real origins of BLACKOUT, my influences in writing La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and a raft of horrific comics like Higurashi, Tomie, Crossed and The Nail. Listen to it here: http://waabamf.podomatic.com/entry/2014-02-05T09_25_13-08_00
Finally, I also reviewed Daniele Serra’s art book of erotic horror, Veins and Skulls, for Starburst Magazine. Desolate and haunting, this collection of watercolours from the Italian artist juxtaposes images of beauty and death to brilliant effect. You’ll see Serra’s work on the covers to so many recent novels and anthologies, there really is no escaping from this talented artist, and Veins and Skulls represents some of his best work.