Archive for Inspired Comics

Bristol International Comic Expo 2009: Highlights

Posted in Event with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2009 by comicmole

Mole note: this post covers my personal highlights from the 2009 Bristol Expo – for general impressions of the event please see my previous post.

Small press comics heaven, one of the SP Expo rooms at Bristol:

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The best thing about the Bristol Expo for me was the chance to walk around many rooms filled with comic creators and buy issues directly from the people who designed and made them.  Being able to meet an artist who’s work you really like and say to them ‘great work, please keep it up!’ is a fantastic feeling that you just can’t get by ordering comics over the internet.

Personally, I also like to ask the creators that I meet if they will sign the comic I’m buying from them, as a kind of memento of meeting them at that time.  Side note: this is why I don’t usually request a signature on a comic I’m ordering over the net, unless its extremely unlikely that I will ever get the chance to meet the creator(s) in person.  If a comic arrives signed then there’s no point in me taking it along to meet the creator(s) and get it signed, therefore the signature means much less to me (do others feel like this or am I just a tad weird?…)

Anyway, as well as the general greatness of actually being there, here are some specific highlights of the event:

  • Going to the SelfMadeHero Manga Shakespeare table  (pictured below) and picking up an advance copy of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, illustrated by Emma Vieceli.  Also, telling them how much I was looking forward to their verions of ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Merchant ofVenice’ (illustrated by Nana Li and Faye Yong respectively).  I got a free poster for that – motto: it can pay to tell publishers if you are eagerly awaiting their books ^_~

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  • Getting the new ‘Cupcake of Doom’ t-shirt from Genki Gear (very apt as I’m trying to lose weight…)

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  • Chatting with Sally and Azure at the IndieManga table and getting very excited about their upcoming release Between Worlds by Anna Fitzpatrick (which is debuting in just a couple of weeks at the May MCM London Expo).  The bookmarks I got from them give a glimpse of the fantastic art in ‘Between Worlds’, which is being printed in full colour.

betweenWorldsBookmarks

  • Getting to meet and shake the hand of Paul Gravett, author of ‘Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics’ amongst many other books about comics , and say how much I enjoyed his work.  Once again, you don’t get to do these kinds of things over the internet ^_^

OK, highlights end there!  Next time I’ll be back with more comic reviews (and belive me I’m not short on material for those now ^_~ ).

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‘Late’, Instant Comics, and MangaZebra.co.uk by Sammy Borras

Posted in Column, New Comic, Review with tags , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2009 by comicmole

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‘Late’ is a new short webcomic by Sammy Borras. It tells the tale of a girl who accidentally gets locked in a coffee shop after hours and encounters some rather strange new customers. It’s only a few pages in so far, but already its becoming a great example of how unique and wonderful webcomics can be.

The comic can be found at Instant Comics’, a new  SmackJeeves account that Sammy has set up to host this and other future mini comics.  More of Sammy’s work, including more short comics, can be found on her website, mangazebra.co.uk.

There are many things that already set this short story apart from all of the more derivative webcomics out there and make it worth taking a look at.  Firstly (if it hasn’t crossed your mind already) the subject matter of coffee shops with a smattering of aliens is a pretty unique one.  The great thing is that the way the comic is written so far is very grounded, making it easy for the reader to get into the story and wonder what it might be like if these events really happened.

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Secondly, the panel pacing works well, with several different layouts being used to good effect.  When the reader needs to take a breather the panels become wider and backgrounds become more plain, but when we need to see where the characters are, Sammy does not shy away from producing some detailed backgrounds featuring lots of notoriously tricky-to-draw figures and furniture.

The art style of ‘Late’ shows a mix of influences with some manga showing in the page layouts and maybe a little Jamie Hewlett coming through in the character designs and colours.  A third factor that sets it apart from a lot of other webcomics is that, rather than being derivative, the creator has turned these influences to her advantage.  For example, manga tropes such as chibis (more cartoony versions of characters) are used to emphasise emotion, but the overall art style does not come across as directly manga-inspired.

The only slight problems the comic has are perhaps needing a little tightening up in the perspective of the backgrounds, and making sure that the character designs remain consistent in every pose and emotion – in some panels the main character can look a little different to others. Even so, thus far in the comic there have been no problems working out what’s going on or telling the characters apart from each other.

Therefore if you’ve got a moment to spare, check out ‘Late’ on Instant Comics – a budding new webcomic with a lot of promise!  (SmackJeeves also has a comment system that you don’t have to be a member to use, so do comment if you like the comic – this is purely a selfish act by me as this Mole wants to see more!)

If you like ‘Late’ and would like to see more of Sammy’s comics and standalone work you can visit her website mangazebra.co.uk.  Under the ‘Manga and Comics’ Section, if you scroll down past the standalone illustrations there are 5 or 6 short comics available to view, plus preview images of other comics that are available to buy in print.  Here’s a page from one of the webcomic shorts on the site called ‘Lunch Break’ from 2008:

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If you prefer to read comics on paper, Sammy is also part of a comic circle called Inspired Comics, who can be found at various comic-y events around the UK selling printed work.  Their first anthology is called ‘A Slice of Life’ and should still be available to pick up at events as of the time of writing this column – look out for this cover:

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There is also a 7-page short comic called ‘Money Money’, drawn by Sammy and written by Laura McNulty, available to read in Leek and Sushi’s Manga Show.