Friday, December 04, 2020

Comic Cuts - 4 December 2020

The first issue of BAM!, the new magazine from Bear Alley, took a bit of a leap forward this weekend when I sent off some pages to test the colour from our printers. I haven't finished the full contents, so I had to drop in some images that I was planning to use for one of the articles and a couple of pages had a bit of placeholder text ("CONTENTS", "REVIEWS") and there's a section on forthcoming books at the back end that I'm thinking of cutting as it would work on a monthly but is less useful in a quarterly, especially at this time when publishing schedules can be a bit fluid.

I normally try to relax a bit over the weekend, and we made the best of the good weather on Saturday with a nice long walk in the glorious sunshine. We went out to buy some buns from a local baker who has set up shop in the local business centre. While I'm still trying to lose a bit of weight, I'm not sticking to a strict diet -- you've got to have something to look forward to in these dark times -- and our weekend buns have recently become a regular treat. We're slowly working our way through all the different variations the bakery produces, but I have to admit that chocolate & orange and mince swirls are particular favourites. Yum!

I spent all Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning putting together a cover, which I think you're going to like. Let's make sure it works before I reveal all. I then had to upload the whole lot to the printers and, fingers crossed, I'll have the samples (printed on various qualities of paper) in a week or two.

Since then I've been distracted by a number of things. One is eBay -- not listing items, which I would normally do on a Sunday, but with their payment system. I'm a slow mover when it comes to pretty much any new advances, and that includes internet banking. I don't want to make myself out to be a Luddite, but most of our bills are paid by direct debit and I write out cheques for any others. I still like to get bills on paper, I don't have a mobile phone (I'm sitting here right next to a land line), and I've managed to get through life quite happily without internet banking.

The problem I have now is that eBay, who previously paid into my PayPal account, want to now pay into my bank account, and I've had a ton of problems setting it up. One is the "simple" problem that one of eBay's partners in their payment operation doesn't like Mozilla. I use Firefox as a browser because it's one of the safer options. But there are a couple of websites that don't like it, and eBay's payment operators is one. However, even with that angle sidestepped (I'm using Edge, the browser that comes with Windows 10, which seems to work), I still can't link eBay to the account. I'm now waiting on a phone call from someone at eBay to see how this can be fixed. I'm the meantime, I'm not receiving any payments from them for items that are selling. We're not talking vast sums of money -- maybe £30 at the moment -- but I'd rather have this sorted out quickly so I can get on with the rest of my life.

I've now had a couple of days break from the first issue as I've been working on a couple of things for issue two and one that probably will have to wait until issue three. There's confidence for you!

I posted a couple of pages last week which, I'm pleased to say, generated some solid interest. Also a couple of people offered advice, which is always welcome. One was none other than former Tharg, Steve MacManus, who suggested right justifying the text. This is where a little extra space is placed between words so that the lines all match up along the right border. Well, I've given it a try, and, while I'm a fan of the ragged edge, I think I might go with it. I've also put in a divider between the columns. And here's the same page for comparison.

Comments welcome. This column's header also has the columns right justified. The page numbers are temporary and will be moved by the time the mag. goes to press.

No review this week as there was no time to watch anything. I did catch a rather terrible action movie, Rogue, which stars Megan Fox as a leader of a band of mercenaries tasked with saving the daughter of an official from terrorists. The terrorists are also trafficking two other women, who (against Megan's better judgement) they also take with them.

It isn't that the movie is that bad, and the acting is good for the most part; no, what's wrong is that it's all so utterly predictable and by the numbers. There's a rogue lion that breaks out from a lion farm -- where lions and other big cats are held so that rich Americans can pay to shoot game. So you know that some of the mercenary team are going to get taken down by the lion and, at the end, Megan Fox will lead the top bad guy into the jaws of the lion. Why have the lion at all if that wasn't the case?

And so it plays out.

Our weekly highlights are probably Taskmaster -- still as off the wall and gut-wrenchingly funny in its tenth series as it was in series one -- and The Last Leg, which has improved over the last batch of shows thanks to the team being reunited. Zoom is all well and good, but the interplay between the hosts relies of their instant reactions, and you can't do that on Zoom.

We're currently watching the last season of The Good Place and a kids' series based on Ronja the Robber's Daughter, with animation directed by Goro Miyazaki (son of Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki). Both are a delight that have been around for some while. If there's a silver lining to this pandemic, it's that we've been able to catch up on quite a few shows, thanks to Mel working from home. You've got to find the good in everything.


  1. This probably doesn't help ay all, but the "ragged edge" text works much better on the second page of the article, because it follows the line of the wonky pictures. If other pages have illustrations laid out in a similar fashion, then I'd go your ragged edge. (It also takes up slightly space than right justified text). Oh, and I'd also go for the column divider.


  2. Well, I thought it was a worthwhile comment I submitted, so I'll repeat it. A space between the paragraphs, especially where the last line of each one runs nearly the full width, would make the text a little easier on the eyes. Look at the first page on your second example above - it just seems too dense.

  3. Missed your comment first time around. All opinions considered.

  4. If you do go with fully justified text you should probably try to 'box' the accompanying illustrations in a similar way, thereby avoiding the 'wonky' edge that Robert noted in the second page of your example. This might make your layouts less dynamic, but on the plus side it would avoid a lot of tricky design work. Also, I think one can be a bit too obsessive in cramming as much text as possible into the available space: in my opinion paragraph breaks and a slightly wider margin between the columns would give the page more room to breathe, as well as allowing you to dispense with that awkward dividing line.



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