I meant to post this ages ago, but I …er, um forgot to. Last August I ran a terrible puns competition under my Worst Pun comic which was won by Evan N of Graycontrast. He got a print of my Grammar Nazis comic as a prize (eventually – thanks U.S. Navy postal service) see below
This isn’t the sort of thing I’d normally post, but since the site just turned one year old, I’m feeling a little self-indulgent. Now, I regularly view other webcomics and subscribe to far more than could be considered healthy. Almost daily I see a comic that, whilst making me howl with laughter, also depresses me slightly, as I see how far my own work has to go before regularly attaining such standards. Depending on my mood, it either spurs me on to try and create my funniest cartoon yet or it makes me want to just throw my pen away in despair and scuttle under the nearest convenient rock. I realise that these comics are coming from all over the world and are created by very talented people who have dedicated their lives to the artform (rather than being an enthusiastic hobbyist like myself), so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. However, I didn’t expect there to be competition coming from within my own household. This is a cartoon that my six year old daughter drew.
It may not be immediately obvious what’s going on in the picture, so let me explain. A bunch of little men are having a party on her head whilst she is shouting at them to “Get Off!” I particularly like the little man on her nose who has got lost on the way to the party. Of course, I might be a little biased, but this makes me guffaw and in a way that I guffaw at the work of people like Nedroid and Buttersafe. I don’t know why I find it so funny, I just do. I think I could learn a thing or two from her.
This is the cartoon that I was going to publish last week but had a late change of heart about. I decided that it just wasn’t funny enough and that, despite what I said in my original post, I didn’t want to jump on the anti-Twilight bandwagon without having read or seen anything from the series. So instead I posted Science (which was rather hastily drawn as a result). I think that this is a good sign for my writing, as a few months ago I probably just would have posted it anyway with a promise to myself to try harder the following week. Anyway, I thought I’d let you have a look at it and you can let me know if I made the right choice or not. Beneath is the cartoon and the text that I was planning to post with it:
I had decided not to slag off a film that I hadn’t actually seen yet, but this cartoon and post from For The Reels convinced me otherwise. I don’t have a problem with a vampire movie that’s popular with preteen girls (it’s no bad thing). I don’t have a problem with a story that plays fast and loose with the idea of what a vampire is and isn’t. There aren’t (and shouldn’t be) any concrete rules on these things. But, goddammit, vampires shouldn’t sparkle. They. Just. Shouldn’t. Anyway, I know that I’m not exactly they first person to point this out and I very much doubt I’ll be the last, but some things just need repeating and repeating until everybody gets the point. Okay, end of sermon.
At the age of 41 and 11 months, I went to my first ever comic convention. Thought Bubble was being held in Leeds (where I live) and I couldn’t pass up the chance of meeting some of the webcomic artists who I follow on Twitter. I decided to bring my kids with me and they even agreed with my suggestion of dressing up for the day. Initially my daughter Niamh picked out her fluffy tiger costume and I was a bit worried that people might think that I was grooming her to be a furry. Thankfully she had a change of heart and went for the lizard ensemble, whilst Fergal donned his trusty Spiderman outfit. I thought it best to get there early, as the kids’ enthusiasm would not last long in a busy, noisy hall and when I saw the enormous queue that had formed shortly after opening, I was thankful for having the sense to prebook tickets. As the kids were in costume, they got a bumper bag of free comics as we went in. I’m not sure that they’re ready for Wolverine and Captain America Reborn just yet, but they should enjoy the Indiana Jones one.
As we wandered around the various stalls, I had to balance numerous requests for toys and pictures whilst I attempted to chat to some of the artists who were there. The first name I recognised was Daniel Merlin Goodbrey from E-merl. He is, of course, better known for writing other comics, such as Necessary Monsters, but it’s for the very dry and droll E-merl that I was familiar with him and I helped myself to a copy of All Knowledge is Strange. After a brief chat it was on to a stall with Adam Calwell of The Everyday, Marc Ellerby of Ellerbisms and Chloe Noonan and on a table beside them was John Allison of Bad Machinery.
Adam was kind enough to do a wonderful sketch of all three of the children that were with me (Niamh had brought her best friend Ludo) and the reasonable price he gave me on it (three sketches for the price of one effectively) meant that I could get the first collection of The Everyday, along with the first Ellerbisms and Ghosts, a Scary-Go-Round story from John Allison. I was able to have a quick chat with John and he had actually heard of DJ Bogtrotter (better yet, he even said a couple of nice things about it). But I couldn’t stop for long with the kids dragging me off to gawk at some more people in strange costumes or to ask me yet again if I willing to part with £74 for the really big Spiderman model.
Next I managed a brief hello with Anjar Sarkar of Moronoid (my friend Marcus Daley wrote one of the stories for their first issue) and the final webcomic stall I visited was Philippa Rice’s charming My Cardboard Life. As usual, with kids pulling at my shirt, I wasn’t able to talk for as long I would have liked with these talented artists, but it was great to actually meet up with some of the people I chatted to on Twitter (and some people think the internet is killing real communication). And I’m looking forward to settling down with my haul when I get a bit of time to myself.
I had a great day and it was lovely introducing my kids to all this exciting art. However it was frustrating that I wasn’t able to have a proper chat with anyone. But when people like Gary Erskine (of Dan Dare) do a free sketch for your son and daughter, just because they like how they got dressed up, then it doesn’t seem so bad. All the stall holders were very enthusiastic and friendly with the kids and made sure they didn’t get to see anything they shouldn’t (there was a quite a bit of mature content on display).
And finally, when you see how enthusiastic it makes them to join in, then it definitely seems like a good idea to bring the kids along.