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.
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!
So it begins… with a day’s delay (at the kindest estimate), I’m off to a good start with this year’s 30 Days of Comics. While you’re waiting for me to catch up, why don’t you read up on my 30 Days comics from last year, or even better, order the print version of those. Tell you what, order the whole damn Spring Collection while you’re at it. Cartoonists need love, too (but we’d rather have your money).
Ahem. Sales pitch over. I’ll ping you when I have Day 2 up
As part of my current comics class, I let the students give me assignments in return for the ones I give them on a daily basis. Fair is fair, and it gives them a way to vent their frustration with the teacher. Returning after the weekend, our classroom had been used for a papier maché workshop, leaving us with a huge stack of empty egg trays, which became the basis for my exercise. See below for an unreasonably silly egg comic (that will not be continued, no matter what the last page says…!).
I’m joining Derik Badman’s 30 Days of Comics program again this year, and because I seem to have a masochist strain (at least when it comes to work), I thought it would be fun to make a complete, comprehensive piece of work this time.
That’s basically all I have to go on, except I’d like to work within a musical frame, or what I just coined a “graphic symphony” on Twitter. That may or may not be the end result, but I’m running with that for now. I’d like some input from you guys, though.
The next few days I’ll prepare a word bag à la Lynda Barry, or perhaps Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, which will serve as random prompts for my daily output through November. What I need from you is some words to put into my bag (or envelope, actually), specifically verbs and adjectives.
Since so much of my work is non-figurative these days, I don’t think nouns will be of much use to me. Sorry nouns, I’ll do you some other time.
So please, comment with your contributions below, it’ll be a great help (and you’ll be namechecked if your prompt is used during November)! Thanks in advance!