From the author interview in FLOOD!, 3rd edition. Interview by Chris Lanier, originally published in The Comics Journal.
The site will generate a custom, numbered PDF for home printing, and offers different page formats and print options. I recommend the A4, single page printing method, which requires a bit of cutting and folding, but produces little books about the size of the playing cards that inspired the whole thing:
I posted this on the Team Weird Comics tumblr some days ago, but I thought I’d bring it home, so to speak. The Team doesn’t just moan on Twitter about how bad mainstream comics are, we also do it in private email correspondence. Eventually, a voice of some constructive spirit suggested that we actually try and do it better ourselves. And, as some incentive to actually get it done, we should do it as a joint project, each interpreting a spread (or consecutive page pair) from some really shitty superhero comic. Say, Daredevil #275.
And so it was agreed. I hung a sheet of paper on my studio wall and threw some paint and scrap paper on it when I felt frustrated or annoyed with the other unpaid work I do. A couple of moths later, here we are. To be honest, I have no idea how the others (Derik, Warren Craghead, Simon Moreton, and Oliver East) have fared with their pieces, but I’ll link to them here when I find out. They’ll likely be better (but less hateful) than mine. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the sorry piece of shizzle I had to work from:
There I was, pacing a comics class through a modified 24-hour comics exercise (going for 16 pages to allow for other classes during the time frame), and as usual the students didn’t need my help in any way. To keep myself busy, and to prove my point that anything works as inspiration, I started this comic using elements from playing cards. Look, I didn’t say it was my brightest idea, did I?
The above is a beta version, or a proof of (ill) concept. I thought I might colour in some flats, in tune with the original cards, but now that I set the thing up I think it may need another polishing before going into colours. Anyway, it’s only number one in a series, so I have plenty of chance for improvement. Ahem.
The main interest for me of the comic strip is the infinite possible links between text and image : a system of representation continually confronting , in a kind of alchemy, text and picture. [...] I try to find new reading perspectives. I dismantle a given material to make something else of it.
I landed in Leeds a bit before noon today, where I’ll be part of the Thought Bubble comics festival 2012. I’m sharing a table with Oliver East, with whom I did a remix book that will premiere this Saturday — we decided to call it East-Haverholm, more about it when I’m home and have some kind of idea how many I can put up for sale.
I’m very excited to be here, so excited in fact that I got up at 3am this morning, after 5hrs of sleep, to catch my flight. I spent the afternoon walking around the city in a daze of insomnia, trying to keep myself awake long enough that I could beat my sleep pattern back in place.
That may have worked, but in my mind I started taking notes about the British Experience that stood out for me. Kind of like, I don’t know, Xmas ornaments to a heroin addict. I would like to state again, for the record, that I was only influenced by sleep deprivation and caffeine. Ahem.
So here it is, my seven-points list of Notes About Britain so far, filtered through a lack of sleep:
Oh yes, one thing: I’ve been improvising these first installments to test what I can do with the form, but starting tomorrow I’ll be using the word prompts I asked for you guys’ input on some time ago. Consider this the end of the intro, or overture…
As you have probably noticed, I’m trying to work grafitti/street tags into both layouts and contents. That and city spaces, but let’s stay with the grafitti for a second. It is a form that is completely foreign to me; I was never a tagger, or part of the whole hip hop/street culture. Since I started teaching comics, however, I’ve had one or two students in each class who almost manically filled sketchbook after sketchbook with elaborate signatures and aliases.
I’ve come to appreciate the form and penmanship required to do these pieces, that sometimes remind me of Quranic calligraphy (which, because of language barriers, I don’t understand either, and therefore am equally fascinated by). The funny thing is, some of these students find it very hard to separate the form from the literal meaning of the words. They simply cannot translate those letters into other forms that don’t carry verbal meaning. I have still to find some way to handle this in my teaching, but now I’m trying to practice what I preach.
These early, awkward attempts to ape “street” calligraphy are mostly done from photo references that I have collected the last couple of years (among those a very thorough documentation of a Finnish bar toilet that was covered from floor to, and including, ceiling in layer upon layer of tags) so if anybody recognises their handiwork on these pages, remember what they say about plagiarism and flattery… Besides, I’m still learning.
Another thing: I’ve always hated when somebody tries to mimick a culture they don’t understand or belong to, usually getting the whole thing ass-backwards. Lego pillaging Maori culture to make their Bionicle line, springs to mind; or Lichtenstein’s comics swipes. But here I am, doing the same. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis. Apologies in advance!