La Belle Dame Sans Merci at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival
La Belle Dame is coming. Thought Bubble, in Leeds on Saturday 23rd, November is now the official launch date for La Belle Dame Sans Merci chapter two, which features a stunning cover by Karen Yumi Lusted, the next chapter in La Belle Dame’s quest for vengeance or redemption, a back-up essay by feminist pop-culture blogger Miranda Brennan, pin-ups by Anna Fitzpatrick, Jessica Monster and Miranda Brennan, and additional design by Mike Stock. Oklahoma-based punk-rock band For the Wolf are also recording a new track to tie in to chapter two, A Faery’s Song, which will be available to download free from Winter 2013. Keep checking this site for updates about when the track becomes available, and download a copy of For the Wolf’s Aethry to hear one of the tracks that I listened to on loop while writing chapter two.
Everything this past month has been gearing up for my appearance at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF) on Saturday October 19th and Sunday October 20th, where I’ll be exhibiting in the Comics Clock Tower and sharing a table with BLACKOUT co-creator Jack Fallows. I’ll have copies of BLACKOUT and La Belle Dame Sans Merci chapter one on sale, plus a small amount of my earliest self-published comics, none of which are available online (mostly for very good reasons!). I’ll also have a very limited number of limited preview editions of La Belle Dame Sans Merci chapter two, containing the full comic strip but none of Miranda Brennan’s backup material. Come early if you want to buy a copy as stocks are extremely limited and this won’t be available online until the official launch at Thought Bubble.
October saw the release of my final column about digital comics, in issue four of INFINITY, the free digital magazine of graphic novels and sequential art published by Russell Willis and Panel Nine, creators of the deluxe iPad graphic novel app SEQUENTIAL. Not only does INFINITY contain my column, I also contributed reviews of Adam Cadwell’s The Everyday and Marc Ellerby’s Ellerbisms. If you have an iPad and like comics but haven’t downloaded SEQUENTIAL yet then you really should, as it’s pretty much the best method of reading digital comics , and you can download all kinds of free cool stuff on it, like the Off Life anthology and a festival guide for LICAF. You can also read INFINITY online, though it lacks a lot of the functionality of the iPad edition.
Mike Garley‘s zombie comic anthology Dead Roots reached its funding goal a couple of days ago, meaning that the fantastic digital anthology will now be released in paperback and hardback. The contributors come from the worlds of TV, animation, film, comic-books and games, including the likes of James Henry, Jason Arnopp and Gordon Rennie, and a number of creators like Martin Simmonds and Mike Stock that I’ve collaborated with on other comics. I’m going to write three one-page zombie strips for Dead Roots in the style of my Starburst strips if £12,000 is pledged towards the anthology, so get pledging if you haven’t already.
Starburst Magazine issue 394 goes on sale this month, containing my column about comic-books, Adventures On Alternative Earths, and my new three-page comic strip, My Heart Is Yours. In my column this month I recommend Anna Fitzpatrick’s dark meditation on depression, Kore, James Lawrence’s hyper-kinetic fruit-themed superhero, Dangerine, Gordon Rennie and P J Holden‘s supernatural adventure, Department of Monsterology, and the collected edition of Howard Hardiman‘s tender meditation on the world of gay prostitutes, The Lengths. My Heart Is Yours is illustrated by the brilliant Anna Fitzapatrick, who is definitely one of my favourite artists in the UK and whose webcomic Between Worlds is definitely worth reading. Next month’s Starburst strip, Noah’s Folly, is blaspheming fun-for-all, illustrated by James Lawrence.
Things show no sign of slowing down here. As soon as LICAF is over I’ll start devoting my attention to satirical horror-comedy anthology BLACKOUT II: YOLO, which will also launch at Thought Bubble. We’ve got some new contributors thrown into the mix with me, Jack Fallows, Kerrang! illustrator Phillip Marsden and Mike Barnes this time, and so far they’re fitting right in. By which I mean that they cry themselves to sleep every night that I send across new pages of script to be illustrated.