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Friday, July 24, 2020

Comic Cuts - 24 July 2020

Welcome back to Comic Cuts in writing rather than on video. After blogging for fourteen years, the last fifteen weeks have been my first attempt at a vlog (video blog). Whenever I've had the urge and the energy, I've toyed with quite a few different ideas of how to bring Bear Alley kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, although they've inevitably fallen by the wayside.

This is the first time I've had an opportunity to act on an idea, and I started doing the videos as it was something different to do during the lockdown. I enjoyed doing them and there's a good chance that I'll be doing more in the future, but it seems apt to bring them to a close—or, rather, put them on pause—as lockdown eases.

With no video to film on Thursday morning, I've knuckled down to some work and managed to leave myself with almost no time to write this. I can round up the week's news fairly quickly. I mentioned in the last video chat that I had the two Longbow volumes laid out and all the text written. I had the book out with a couple of people who had contributed (David Slinn and Steve Winders) and took on board some of their advice and suggestions. I did a little bit of rewriting, which was finished on Monday, and that was that... except the moment I opened the PDF I'd spot something, or decide that I wanted to change something. Better to sleep on it rather than rush, I thought.

It was Tuesday evening before I managed to stop myself tinkering with the books and, with the covers sorted, I was able to send them winging across the internet to the printer... and that's where we are at the moment, waiting on printed proofs.

Wednesday was a bit like the first day of the school holidays. I had plans to do so much, but also had an appointment at the doctors. Nothing serious, just a follow-up to some testing that was done earlier in the year which had thrown up some concerns about diabetes and my kidneys not working properly. The good news is that a recent blood test shows that things are back to normal. I'm still overweight, but I've lost a stone over the three months of lockdown, thanks to regular walks and a better diet—with Mel working from home, I'm making more stews for lunch, for instance, rather than just throwing together a sandwich. The cheese-level in my bloodstream has dropped considerably and it looks like I'm going to be around for a few more years.

As of Thursday I'm working on an article that I hope will be appearing in the first issue of this new magazine thing I've been talking about. Once I have that together and can show some people the kind of thing I'm after, I'll hopefully be able to start planning the contents of the first few issues. As I'm planning on writing some longish articles, I need to plan ahead so that everyone, including me, will have time to write rather than find themselves with an overnight deadline. I'm twenty-five years older than I was when I did Comic World and I don't have the energy to stay up all night like I did back in the 1990s.

I'm keen to run some reviews of comics—British comics preferably, although I'll stretch to British creators elsewhere in the world. I've always thought that the reviews of independent comics was one of the best things in Comic Scene, so I'd be happy to continue that kind of thing. And, while I'm thinking aloud, I'm not sure whether to run news pages or not. I might run one or two bigger news items and some previews of upcoming books or events. We will just have to wait and see what's coming up because the current situation is making predicting release dates almost impossible.

There's no fixed schedule at the moment because I have a staff of one and he's notoriously lazy. I'm aiming for bi-monthly, but that will depend on whether I can off-set some of the work to others. I've edited magazines before and the one thing I know I will need is a small team of reliable writers who can deliver good copy on time. There may be other tasks I can pass to others but, as I said, at the moment the staffing level is just me and a whole lot of woolly ideas that need teasing out into firm proposals.

In summary, we have a long way to go, but the first issue is actually being written and that hopefully means this will be one of my ideas that actually sees the light of day sooner rather than later. More news next week.

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