For someone who rarely leaves the house, the last week has been particularly busy with a wedding, a birthday and trips to London and a gallery opening on top of the usual sitting around and writing. No wonder I'm knackered.
London proved strangely nostalgic as the underground station I usually use when I'm heading up to IPC has been closed for months for upgrading and will be until late 2011. After a brief panic (I'm a bit OCD about travel plans when they go wrong) I picked up a map and decided to walk, partly because I realised that it wasn't an especially long distance and partly because half the distance was the route I used to take when I worked in London twenty years ago. Back in 1989-90 I was office manager for a company called City Sports & Services, commuting into Liverpool Street every day and then heading across London Bridge. So every day I got to see Tower Bridge, which I found very cool. It never got dull.
I mentioned this to friends in the USA who also thought it was very cool. But not as cool as the next job I had because the next office I worked in looked out over a castle. I swear nobody believed me—I had to send out photos taken out the window just to prove I wasn't winding them up. (You'll have to go with me on this as I don't have any of the photos... this was back in the days of non-digital photography.)
Anyway, I think that's enough nostalgia. Just one more personal message... Happy Birthday Mel!
Back to comics.
Ace Comics in Colchester has been planning to open part of the shop up as an art gallery for some time and had a little launch party on Friday evening. The opening night highlighted the works of Jon Haward (Website, Blog) and John Watson (Website), both very good artists.
The selection of artwork was American-centric. John Watson is, of course, best known for his covers for Marvel and DC, and Jon Haward can pull off a mean superhero image even if most of his time these days is taken up with Classical Comics. Jon had to hand the first copies of The Tempest, the latest Classical Comics' release, which looks astonishing.
It was good to chat with everyone from Ace Comics owner Martin to Comics International's Mike Conroy. It reminds me how much I miss going to conventions and just nattering with everyone. My own fault up to a point—there are now quite a few comic cons in the UK but I usually only roll up to places when I've got something to promote, which is a bit sad but financially prudent. That's freelancing for you.
The evening was a huge success and not as boozy as you'd expect, although I learned the next day that the after-party chat went on until 4.30 in the morning.
A couple of bits of news: the Frank Bellamy's World War 1 book has turned up on Amazon for those of you wanting to pre-order copies. The official release date is November 2009 and I have to admit that, with the six to eight weeks it will take to print and ship, I don't think we'll have copies in time for the ABC Show, which will be on Sunday, 1st November. But don't let that stop you coming along as there's always plenty of other stuff going on.
I recently heard from Martin Gately, like myself an ex-Starblazer writer, who tells me he is currently writing for Moonstone Books (a small independent outfit based in Chicago) and, after a 20-year gap, has reteamed with Enrique Alcatena (my favourite Starblazer artist) to produce The Phantom: Generations #5, due shortly. "The last time I worked with Enrique was on Starblazer #240 (Slayer in the Mist) which I wrote back in 1988. We join the distinguished group of storytellers chronicling the adventures of all 21 incarnations of The Phantom in this maxi-series of comic novellas (i.e. prose and illustration combo accompaniments to Moonstone's regular ongoing Phantom comic)."
Good to hear that some ex-Starblazer folks are gainfully employed and good to know that Alcatena is still working in comics. Thanks, Martin.
And I think that's all the news that's fit to print.