Wednesday, 24 December 2008
So just before Christmas a great thing has happened. SFX, that well-respected and much-loved British monthly that covers all aspects of SF/Fantasy/Horror has spotlighted Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead as their 'zine of the month. They describe it as a "whimsically dark engaging read" which is a quote I'm more than happy with, and will sit there with Comic Shop Voice's opinion in November that we "create comics that everybody can tap into, everybody can enjoy" as our most favoured soundbites.
The SFX review appears within their lively letters pages, and being one of the most popular sections in SFX means that a fair proportion of the readership will see it and perhaps even go so far as to buy it. However the biggest thing SFX has given us, apart from being our first mainstream printed press exposure, is awareness. If even a handful of SFX readers stop by our table at our next convention appearance and pick up one of our comics based solely on the fact they've heard of us through the magazine then job done. If just one person remembers we featured in SFX at Christmas we won't complain, because it means the exposure worked and somebody who never knew of us now does.
The issue of SFX featuring our review came out last week. This week the January 2009 Diamond Previews hit the UK comic shop, featuring our Dick Turpin as one of the comics available to order in the Previews UK section*. The timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, with a comic being highlighted in the former being offered for sale in the latter. Maybe, just maybe, some UK comics fans will ask their retailer to stock the comic because they liked the sound of it in SFX and that little bubble of awareness inflates ever so slightly.
You see, Time Bomb Comics is still a very small fish, but we're a species that some are beginning to recognise and remember. This awareness, this prescience, is something solid that we can build on as we enter our busiest publishing year yet.
And at this time of year, what really could be better than some Christmas Prescience?
*9781845765132 is the Previews order number for Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead, but expect to hear a lot of this number over the next few weeks...
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
That's what a lot of attendees, guests and exhibitors are saying about the Leeds Thoughtbubble Show that was held this Saturday gone and I have to say I'm inclined to agree. It was a terrific day and the way Thoughtbubble had matured from an intimate little affair in the crypt of Leeds Town Hall in 2007 to a full-blown, bells and whistles, must-be-there comics party at Saviles Hall in 2008 was nothing short of remarkable.
And over the day the vibe became The Vibe, as everyone began to agree that there was some atmosphere about Thoughtbubble that was making it a bit different to all the other comics gatherings. There was a real feel-good atmosphere in the hall, people were having a good time - even the exhibitors that weren't actually selling that much were enjoying themselves. By the end of the afternoon The Vibe had soaked into all of us. Then was the after-party, held in the nearby casino where some of the day's talks had been held and which was obviously going to be going on for a lot longer after we left at just before midnight.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Of course, every cover image starts with an idea, and the idea I had for The Sisterhood was to have a riff on the iconic photograph that depicted the US flag being raised on Iwo Jima during World War Two:
Why this image? Well, it seemed to fit ideally the militaristic angle that The Sisterhood features as one of its central themes, and gave scope to produce a suitable action pose featuring all the main characters. I passed this idea to Dan Barritt - The Sisterhood's artist - and asked him to work something up. He came back with some rough sketches including this:This perfectly captured the look I was after, the flag in the background adding some desired weight to the image, so I confirmed with Dan that the cover would be based on this rough and asked him to work up a suitable finished version. Dan soon gets back to me with this:
To be honest, Dan had strayed from his brief here. The Sisterhood cover had never been planned as a wraparound, but Dan had worked it up that way with the notion that if I didn't like the widescreen version the left hand side could easily be cropped with the right hand main image not losing anything. Part of the fun of working with artists is seeing what they come up with creatively and the work they produce often surprises and delights. It was a no-brainer to me - The Sistehood would not only be the first full colour comic from Time Bomb Comics, it would now also feature the first wraparound cover.
The cover artwork completed, I now brought Andy Dodd on board to start adding the cover text to the image, and working with The Sisterhood logo that I had also had Dan design. Despite not being the artist for The Sisterhood Andy is responsible for the editorial design of the comic, and his first crack at a finished cover resulted in this:
There were a number of things I didn't like about this, the primary one being the placement of the logo at the bottom of the cover. I could understand Andy's reasons for the placement - he wanted to show off as much as Dan's artwork as possible - but I felt that we would lose display prominence when displayed if the logo deviated too much from the traditional location. I also felt the Time Bomb Comics brand label looked too squashed, the addition of our "Telling Great Stories" strapline making it look too busy. I detailed these issues to Andy and he then came back to me with some more options:
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Dan Barritt is storming through The Sisterhood, with some beautiful artwork being produced for our first full-colour book. The image here is not the cover but page one of the comic itself - the opening splash page. I'm sure you'll agree it looks pretty awesome - jaws collectively hit the floor when we first saw it - and the cover is pretty breathtaking too, which should be up on The Sisterhood page on the main website pretty soon.
As for the website Andy has been doing a great job knocking it into shape and it now has the foundations in place for what we had in mind for it originally. Over the next few weeks there'll be more tweaking and some bells and whistles added that Andy's getting quite excited about, including some animations. If you haven't seen the new website yet click on over here and then let us know what you think of it.
Looking to the future, I'm just putting the final polish to the script for Primetime, a forthcoming one-shot with art by Paul Thompson, and Andy is cracking on with the final few pages for The Furies graphic novel. At the same time Andy will be working on a 4 page short story of mine that will hopefully be published in a future Accent UK anthology book. After he's done all that, I suppose I'll have to start taking Andy's mutterings of putting together another Ragamuffins comic seriously...
We've also just had our final table confirmation through for the Leeds Thoughtbubble show on Saturday 15th November. No new releases for that, but looking forward to seeing what the Leeds contingent think of Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead and the preview art for The Sisterhood. I'm also wondering if we'll find another "Dan", given we found the talented Mr Barritt at last year's show!
Then we've had some follow-ups from some of the fellow creators we met at BICS including writer John Owens and artist John Cahill. No definite plans as yet, but one of the great things about shows like BICS is the chance to find some new talent to work with - and there's always the possibility that the Next Big Thing in the comics industry will have had their first published work in a Time Bomb Comic!
Finally the guys over at Comics Village have given over their latest Eye Candy column to showcasing Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead. Check it out and indeed the rest of the site which has a pretty hands-off approach to it's contributions and can be wickedly entertaining as a result. Glenn Carter, one of the brains behind the website, was another face from BICS and we look forward to seeing his review of the Dick Turpin book on the site soon. The feedback we've had about the comic already has been very positive - so fingers crossed!
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead has arrived back from the printers, looking fabulous and as different in tone, style and genre to Ragamuffins as we'd wanted. Naturally I'm biased, but this is a great comic and I'm looking forward to seeing the reaction it will get - especially as the cover art that we had on display at the Bristol Expo last May seemed to generate lots of enthusiasm in itself!
Yesterday I took delivery of a brand spanking new free-standing banner that proudly displays the Time Bomb Comics logo which will be our new table backdrop. It looks great and is wonderfully portable and easy to erect, unlike our existing backdrop which was great to look at but a bugger to cart around the country and a nightmare to put together. From the front it looked mighty fine, but was held together with clips, string, sellotape and luck - and with a tendency to sway threateningly if breathed upon when anyone had to squeeze past it. Our new banner will at least make those essential mid-afternoon toilet breaks much easier to achieve.
We have been confirmed as being at table #95 in the BICS Main Exhibition Hall, which is almost exactly the same place we were last year but just facing the opposite direction. I'm delighted with this spot, as we're in one of the main BICS small-press dens, and on an end-table which again makes those toilet trips a breeze. Don't get me wrong, Time Bomb Comics are not all a weak-bladdered bunch (well, maybe Andy...) but it's much easier having to just slide off the end rather than crawling underneath or moving everyone else in your table row out of the way. We're also nowhere near any pro-artists, which is a bonus, not because we don't want to mix with the comics superstars (because we so do) but because the lengthy queues of fans snaking past your table tend not to be interested in what's sitting on your table and block the way for those that do. However the bonus for us this year is that we're sat next to the guys from the Geek Syndicate podcast (by far the most entertaining comics podcast on the planet) - so at least if no-one buys our comics we've got some fun people to talk to!
It's also going to be a Time Bomb Comics mini-summit, with some of our other creators coming along to catch up with us on their forthcoming projects. There's Dan Barritt, the artist of The Sisterhood and Paul Thompson who's working on Primetime* as well as a couple of others who have yet to commit to anything specific but hopefully will by the end of the weekend. Hopefully we'll also meet some brand new talent too.
So if you're at BICS this coming weekend search out the Time Bomb Comics table, buy our wares and say hello - it's going to be a fantastic weekend!
*Primetime - a brand-new project set for the middle of next year. No details to report as yet but that I'm still finishing off the script and Paul's still getting comfortable with the look of the characters. Still, Primetime is the latest Time Bomb Comic. You heard it here first!
Friday, 26 September 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
So here's the current Time Bomb Comics dilemma. I've received through a copy of the latest pages from Andy Dodd for the upcoming Dick Turpin And The Restless Dead, including page 11 which is posted above.
Why are there two versions? Well the top left page is the one I received first - and I got straight back to Andy saying that I really didn't go for the greytones on the page. I thought they looked out of place with the pure black and white of the rest of the artwork and, in particular, felt that the large central panel with the group of zombies lost a lot of its impact by having most of the figures fading into the background.
The top right page is the revised version of the page, with the graytones either removed or converted to solid black. I thought this page was a huge improvement but now thought the final panel with the big black clouds was too much. Maybe that last panel needed a final tweak but all done and dusted.
Or so I thought. As well as sending the revised version to me Andy posted both versions on the Smallzone creators group - a fine invitation-only networking site similar to Facebook but set up exclusively for comic creators - asking for other creators opinions and general preference to which page version is best. What's been fascinating is that there's a pretty even split between those who prefer the original version to those who prefer the revised page. For example Bryan Talbot prefers the original grey-toned version. But then Leah Moore prefers the black and white revision.
Which leaves us pretty much in a quandary - a real six of one, half a dozen of the other kind of situation. However, at least everyone seems to be looking forward to seeing the comic itself irregardless of which version of page 11 they do prefer!
What's your choice?
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Unfortunately the existing demands on Andy's time meant that the something would have to be done later rather than sooner. So I treated the website like a senile old relative, hid it away in the corner and tried not to talk about it. At the same time I made sure we had some kind of web prescence on Comic Space, Facebook and here on Blogspot. But it wasn't the same, and for the last year the awfulness of our official website has hung over me like the mariner's albatross.
However, the "later" has slowly shuffled its way to the head of the queue and I'm delighted that nearly one year on we've removed the existing website and happily consigned it into the bin marked "crap" to undertake a complete upgrade. I've also snagged the timebombcomics.com domain in the process which we couldn't get last year as it was being held by a US-based domain realtor for no other reason than they wanted to charge an arm and a leg for it.
So expect a much healthier official web prescence for Time Bomb Comics in the near future, which will include previews, updates, animations and an online shop where you can buy the very products that I'm always banging on about!
Friday, 29 August 2008
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Monday, 25 August 2008
Unlike many other comics publishers our we just have two simple editorial policies. The first is that we only publish one-shots - completely self-contained comics with a beginning, middle and end. The second is that each of those comics meets our basic requirement that we've also adopted as the Time Bomb Comics slogan: Telling Great Stories.
What makes a Great Story worth Telling? Well it can be fun, frightening, entertaining or thought-provoking but ultimately has to be something we regard as good solid comic book entertainment. Therefore any comics released under the Time Bomb Comics banner can wide and diverse in theme, genre and format, with only a single limitation - the imagination of our creative teams. Sounds good?
Whether we succed or not is what Short Fuses is all about. It's an ongoing journal of how we try to achieve our goal of putting together a comics company, our highs and our lows, to share the perils and pitfalls of self-publishing comics. There's also the shameless self-promotion bit of course - we'll be bigging up our project's like there's no tomorrow here make no mistake. Forget the PR - we want you to buy our comics!