Tuesday, 26 November 2013

2014 First Graphic Novel Competition – Myriad Editions

Winner of the 2012 First Graphic Novel Competition

Myriad Editions has launched its 2014 First Graphic Novel Competition (FGNC) for unpublished graphic novelists resident in the UK. 

The FGNC looks for 15-30 pages of a graphic work-in-progress, fiction or non-fiction, and the winner has the opportunity for their book to be developed with and published by Myriad Editions. New for 2014, the winner will be invited to have a week’s working retreat at the studio of a writer’s house in France.

Information and guidelines for the competition is available on the Myriad Editions website. The winning entry will be chosen purely on the strength and promise of the art and writing by a panel of judges:
Andy Oliver, critic and blogger, Broken Frontier
Corinne Pearlman, Creative Director, Myriad Editions
Woodrow Phoenix, author of graphic essay Rumble Strip and co-editor of Nelson 
Meg Rosoff, author of How I Live Now, Picture Me Gone and other novels 
Nicola Streeten, author of graphic memoir Billy, Me & You 
Plus one other judge, to be confirmed

Corinne Pearlman says: the inaugural 2012 competition was so strong that Myriad is publishing both the winner and three shortlisted authors”.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Comics For Everyone - a Thought Bubble Festival panel hosted by Matt Badham

Matt Badham writes:
Thought Bubble is my favourite comics convention and so I'm very pleased to be hosting a panel there on Sunday 24th November at 10.40am. 
The panel is called 'Comics For Everyone' and I think it's going to be great. Here's its description from the Thought Bubble website:
We here at Thought Bubble believe that comics should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their age, and that great kids' comics should be read by everyone! So if you're a young comic fan, or one who never grew up, and want to hear about some great stories to read, please come along and get the low-down from some of the best creators out there!
Well, I don't know about you but that's sounds to me like THE. BEST. PANEL. EVER! 
(I might be slightly biased…) 
Especially as those aforementioned creators are Neill Cameron, Meredith Gran, Nathan Fox, Roger Langridge and Maris Wicks. 
(Seriously, make sure you check out their work even if you don't make the panel. It's fab.) 
I hope to see you (yes, you!) on Sunday for what I think is going to be a fascinating panel, at which you'll get tons and tons of recommendations of groovy comics to read. (What could be better than that?) Please come along. It's gonna be a blast (as is the whole convention)! 
Matt blogs about comics and you can also follow him on Twitter.

The Thought Bubble Festival is "the UK’s largest event of its kind – an annual celebration of sequential art in all its forms, including everything from superhero comics to independent and small-press artists and writers". Find out more on the Thought Bubble website.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Comic Genius - a blog post by Dawn Finch

Click here to read a post by children's librarian and writer, Dawn Finch, on why comics are good for children. I couldn't put it better myself so I am not going to try!

Go to Dawn's website to find out more about her and her writing: www.deefinch.moonfruit.com

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Billy, Me and You - a graphic novel memoir by Nicola Streeten

Sometimes achingly sad, at other times funny and ultimately uplifting, Nicola Streeten's book tackles the complexities of grief: how we manage grief ourselves and how we deal with it in others. 

Billy, Me and You is an account of Nicola and her husband's lives immediately after the sudden death of their two-year-old son, Billy. Though the drawings are based on diaries written 13 years before they have a rawness and immediacy that is very affecting. The sparse design of the book sits lightly on the story but cleverly holds it all together. I find the juxtaposition of the tiny empty pushchair against the big black letters of the title on the front cover extremely moving. Pages seemingly ripped from a diary contain reflective drawings and text, apparently created in more recent times, that help us understand what has gone before.

The humour comes from Nicola's ability to stand back from situations and to see the absurdity in her own and other people's actions. Though she sometimes inwardly rages against the words or behaviour of others she recognises the difficulties that others face in reaching out to her and is always compassionate.

This is also a account of the strength of Nicola's relationship with her husband and the various ways they support each other through their shock and grief. There can be no happy ending to a story like this - nothing can take away their loss - but I was left feeling optimistic and uplifted by the unshakeable trust and bond that Nicola and her husband have with each other.

I can't finish this post without mentioning the afterword. It brings the story up to date and includes a funny account of how Nicola Streeten met Sarah Lightman and Laydeez do Comics came into being.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Comics are my Rock and Roll - a documentary by Daniel James Baldwin

Just a screen shot - click here to see the real thing.
At the time of writing this post the documentary is still under production. There is a Kickstarter campaign currently achieving £1,350 of the £3,000 required to finish the film. Daniel James Baldwin says:
There is one last push needed to finish the film, which will probably have a final run time of c. 30 mins. The money pledged to me will be used for the final processes the film needs to go through that will transform the look and feel of it, making it broadcast quality: Grading the colour (c. £1000) mixing the sound (c. £1000), creating a website for the film (c. £500) and finally, paying for the submission of the film to as many festivals as possible in a bid to try and get it shown alongside other great documentaries on cinema screens (no matter how small or parochial!) around the world. This costs around £20 per submission.
I haven't met anyone involved in the documentary and have not yet been to an Alternative Press event but I was taken by Daniel's statement below as I think it encapsulates a lot of what is going on in the world of comics:
[The documentary is] about something that's popular the world over (self-publishing) and not popular enough (doing things for love, not money).
Making money seems to be a by-product (if any money is made at all) rather than an incentive for comics creators. Perhaps many of them dream of making enough to live on as this would enable them to give up their day jobs and devote more time to their creations but lack of financial gain does not stop them putting together their stories. There is something wonderful about this.

Do help Daniel achieve his funding if you can. As little as £3 will get you a pdf of a comic telling the story of how the documentary was made, the treats for pledging more are even better - £30 gets you the opportunity to go to a private screening!