Sunday, 29 January 2012

Strip Magazine

I stand corrected! There might be hope for some sort of comics scene and it might lie out there in Eastern Europe. I would guess, from what my friends in the US tell me, that the comics scene in the US and UK is either dead or stagnating or both. However, I was in Belfast on Tuesday for a meeting with Adrian and on the way home I stopped into Forbidden Planet and picked up a copy of Strip magazine which is a kind of comic anthology. I'm still reading through it - this week has been hectic, I'm not long out of hospital and I've been running round trying to get things done - but it looks interesting. The introduction says that the publisher, who's based in Bosnia, I think, has been a fan of strips like Adam Eterno and the Steel Claw. I can't fault his taste. He also can't understand why something similar is still not being produced in Britain today. Nor can I. These are the comics I grew up with and for better or worse I still think they're the best. There was a bit of thought and a bit of adventure with them - not the formulaeic material that's brought out now. I had a look round Forbidden Planet and do you know - for the the first time in a long while there was nothing there that I genuinely wanted. The American and British scene seems to be more or less petered out. So maybe the smaller publishers in Eastern Europe and I'm told South America may point the way to the future. So here's to Eastern Europe which I may explore further. Anbody who likes the Steel Claw can't be all that bad!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sunday Supplements?

Just out of hospital where I had to go for tests - nothing major, just a few ulcers but it wasn't a pleasant experience. I took a few days off - well sort of - to recuperate although I have to go back in tomorrow for a few more tests to make sure that things are working o.k. It was not an experience I'd care to repeat. Just before I went in last week I was rushing around like a mad thing trying to get a lot of things cleared up. Consequently I haven't had a chance to see what has been happening in the comic world but I guess not a lot. All my friends in the US state that the comics scene there is completely stagnant and there's nothing worth having. I've spoken to a couple of people over here who tell me that they've cancelled all their comics at the comic stores as there's really nothing they want. And thanks to those of you who contacted me telling me that 2000 AD was still on sale but that it's pathetic and they don't buy it any more. I haven't seen a copy either here or even in Belfast for a long time - so much for the UK's leading weekly comic! Is it still weekly? Rob told me that it'll probably fold very soon as nobody buys it now. Not like the great old days when it was gone every Friday morning. There was one short-lived spot of light. I happened to lift the Times and there was a free comic in it. Great, I hought, maybe some of the newspapers are taking comics seriously - the way they used to. It was all syndicated stuffbut it was a start. But I haven't seen it since. I take it that the Times has ditched the idea. I hadthought that a nice Sunday supplement might be the way forward but it doesn't look like it. Oh well. Still thinking about 1949 and I have a meeting with Adrian hopefully this coming Tuesday in Belfast and we'll see what we can come up with. He thinks digitial comics may be the way forward and I would guess he's right. We'll see and I'll keep you posted. I'm supposed to be taking things easy for a while but there's some chance! I'll go on but let me know what you think of a Sunday supplement for comics - now that would be back to basics but it might be worth it. And would there be a newspaper that would be interested. Who knows?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Materia Osscura

A Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year - although I think 2012 is going to be a really rough one, especially if you're in the creative market. All my friends in the States tell me that both the publishing and comics business as we know it is going downhill and they doubt if it will pull back. I tend to agree. Comics are now being digitalised and the choice is now so restricted that I don't see how it can pull back to what it was even several years ago. Having said that, on New Years Eve, the postman knocked my door and handed me a package. And when I opened it I can now truthfully say that I've got my name on the front of a recent comic. It was Materia Osscura which I'm told means Dark Matter, a collection of stories illustrated by David Lloyd who did the original V for Vendetta comic strip and it was published in Italy - in Tuscany I think. So it's sitting here beside me on my work desk as I write and it looks very well. But outside of Italy there doesn't seem to be much going on in the comic world. Certainly not here in Britain . Does anyone know if 2000 AD is still running? I haven't bought it for years and when I asked about it in one of the Northern Ireland newsagents I was told that they didn't bring it in from England any more as there was no in terest in it. I asked Adrian who works in Belfast and he said that he hadn't seen an issue for a long time, even in Forbidden Planet. So maybe it's stopped publishing. The last issue I saw of it was dreadful so I wouldn't be surprised. On the other hand, I lifted a copy of The Times today and found a weekend comic. However, it's all the usual stuff but it's good to see that some of the newspapers are taking comings a bit more seriously, even if it is The Times. I wonder how long it'll last though - I seem to recall that some other paper tried something similar a little while ago and the comic folded pretty quickly. It's aimed at children and how many children take an interest in The Times? So let's see what 2012 brings - after all it is a time when Britian is supposed to be investing in culture with the Year of the Olympics and so forth. And we'll see what American comics do - everybody I talk to in the States say that they're on their last legs, that all creativity's gone and merchandising has taken over. However, I live in hope. We can do little else. Have a great New Year and we'll all talk soon