Wednesday, September 15, 2021

New Comic Book Day 15/09/21

Check out SHIP WRECKED Vol 5 Page 3 either at ShipWreckedComic.com or tapas.io/series/Ship-Wrecked.

Words by me & Frank Cvetkovic and art by Katie Fleming & Rebecca Nalty


MR & MRS VAN HELSING Page 11 is now online to read at IrishComics.ie and it's also being uploaded a few weeks later to tapas.io/series/MrMrsVanHelsing.

Words by me & everything else by Hugh Madden

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

New Comic Book Day 08/09/21

Latest pages of my two webcomics are now online. 

Check out SHIP WRECKED Vol 5 Page 2 either at ShipWreckedComic.com or tapas.io/series/Ship-Wrecked

Words by me & Frank Cvetkovic and art by Katie Fleming & Rebecca Nalty



MR & MRS VAN HELSING Page 10 is now online to read at IrishComics.ie and it's also being uploaded a few weeks later to tapas.io/series/MrMrsVanHelsing

Words by me & everything else by Hugh Madden

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Octocon

 


It's just been confirmed that I'll be taking part in Octocon over the first weekend in October! I don't think the panels are finalised yet so I'll wait a little bit to share but it's a pretty awesome one by the looks of it. 

It's a fully virtual convention with lots of cool events on Twitch, you can find out all the details @ https://2021.octocon.com. But the best part? It's absolutely FREE to attend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

New Comic Book Day 01/09/21

Folks, for the next few months Wednesdays are going to be a very busy day for me as new pages of both MR & MRS VAN HELSING and SHIP WRECKED Vol. 5 will go live online.

I'll talk a little bit more in-depth about both in the future but for now just check out SW Vol 5 Page 1 either  at ShipWreckedComic.com or tapas.io/series/Ship-Wrecked

Words by me & Frank Cvetkovic and art by Katie Fleming & Rebecca Nalty

M&MVH Page 9 is now online to read at IrishComics.ie and it's also being uploaded a few weeks later to tapas.io/series/MrMrsVanHelsing

Words by me & everything else by Hugh Madden

Friday, July 9, 2021

"Busy, Ben. I Said I'm Busy"

When the pandemic started I was finishing up a couple scripts and gearing up for a Kickstarter. While the world stopped my day job at the hospital geared up and it's all been a bit of a blur since. But now, the summer of 2021 is looking like the culmination of all that hard work. Folks, I have a lot of comics coming out. It's time I told you more about them.

Launching tomorrow, IrishComics.ie is a website myself, Paul Carroll, Hugh Madden, and Clare Foley have been putting together in order to showcase Irish comic creators and their work. Every day, Monday to Friday, we'll be posting a new page from a series of comics we'll be hosting at the site. You can read more about it from our interview over at ComixIreland.com.

My contribution is the new comic MR & MRS VAN HELSING, a story about newlywed monster hunters tracking down a beast terrorising a mountain town. Hugh Madden is the artist and co-creator, he's been doing incredible work. Just check out our preview below!

We'll be posting a new page every Wednesday and the story will be about a year's worth of content so strap in for what is definitely going to be a wild ride.

SHIP WRECKED is finished and is currently being put together for the printers. Our new letterer Frank Cvetkovic did a great job, especially with our Trey short story that features music by Caleb Lee. Just look!

I don't have an exact date yet for when we can start posting VOLUME 5 pages online but it will be some point next month. This is a preview of the first page (you may note a little reference to a frequent collaborator of mine). 

The very successful anthology TURNING ROADS is being released next month and it's another project involving Paul, me, Hugh, and Clare. In fairness, this was all Paul's but we contributed. The story I wrote is an adaptation of the Children of Lír myth (which is pretty fucked up if you want to wikipedia it). Alice Leclert did the art with David B Cooper colouring. It's only 4 pages but I am immensely smug with how well it has turned out. Just look at this gorgeous page:

And for a peak into how insane this anthology is, take a gander at all the credits on the cover!


Tomorrow I'm meeting up with Paul, Hugh, and Clare to celebrate the launch of IrishComics.ie but it'll be a little more than that. We've all been struggling to keep our comics career going through pandemics and everything else. To be where we're at with all this stuff going on right now is a hell of an achievement and I plan on patting everyone on the back. 

And then we'll probably get back to work.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Things You Need To See

It's not all about me, sometimes it's about my friends and right now they're doing some amazing stuff that you need to know about.

David B. Cooper, the Scottish sweetie pie and comics collaborator, has been making some wonderful indie comics the past few years. This past week he made a chillingly morose short comic about Lenny, the longtime Simpsons side-character, and his existential crisis of being such. I don't think even David could have foreseen the huge stir this would create online as Simpsons fans and comic fans alike have delighted in its morose macabre. His original tweet of the comic has 28,000 likes and rising, which doesn't include all the website and fan groups who have been reposting it too. Do yourself a favour and check LENNY out, then explore David's work from there. 
David and Chandra Free worked together on a short comic for my upcoming SHIP WRECKED release so it's only right to segue into Chandra's amazing Kickstarter campaign that will soon draw to a close.


THE GOD MACHINE is a gothic graphic novel that has been a huge hit for Chandra in the past but was being released by another publisher. Now that its rights have returned to her, she wants to continue the story but also release a deluxe version of the original with corrections, updates, and improvements. I've personally had the joy of seeing THE GOD MACHINE fans gush at conventions about how amazing the book is and I think you'll agree it's a lusciously beautiful comic. So don't miss out on your chance to back the project and grab yourself one of your own at thegodmachine.org! The Kickstarter ends on April 8th 3:30pm GMT. Go, go, go!

Finally, while you're over at Kickstarter...


Len Peralta and his son Maxmillian are both amazing artists. Len's original 5 GEEK-A-WEEK series was a wild success featuring the likes of the Mythbusters team, Jonathon Coulton, Neil Gaiman, Weird Al Yankovic, and many more! You could treasure them as collectible cards or even play a table-top-game. Now he's teaming up with his wildly talented son to do a 10 year anniversary special and I'll think you'll agree it looks enchanting. Learn more and get involved at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lenperalta/geek-a-week-masterpiece#. This is another campaign coming to its end soon so don't wait around, it's over April 9 2021 3:00am GMT.

Friday, April 2, 2021

SHIP WRECKED - March To The Finish

It's Volume 5 monthly update time! 

Folks, the pages of Volume 5 are almost finished, we're really close now, I think we're about 5 (?) pages away from being finished with art. I'm very excited and also very sad, something I didn't realise would happen until I saw this particularly gorgeous panel (that is, thankfully, spoiler free). 


Even though I have written these characters for the last 5 years, they've taken on a life of their own and they feel like close friends at this point. Saying goodbye to them is going to be hard. I just want them to be happy. I hope you'll be happy with how their stories end, too. 

We have our table of contents for the trade paperback collection, here is the run-down and order of the comic pages included. All pages written by Aaron Fever and Lettered by Zakk Saam. 
  • Volume 1 - 25 pages - Art & Colours by Triona Farrell 
  • Aloe short - 4 pages - Art by Iuli Niculescu, Colours by David B. Cooper 
  • Volume 2 - 24 pages - Art by Katie Fleming, Colours by Rebecca Nalty 
  • Bobsjvul short - 4 pages - Art & Colours by Triona Farrell 
  • Volume 3 - 24 pages - Art by Iuli Niculescu, Colours by David B. Cooper 
  • Oscar short - 4 pages - Art by George Kambadais, Colours by David B. Cooper 
  • Volume 4 - 24 pages - Art by Katie Fleming, Colours by Rebecca Nalty 
  • Trey short - 4 pages - Art by Chandra Free, Colours by David B. Cooper 
  • Volume 5 - 26 pages - Art by Katie Fleming, Colours by Rebecca Nalty 
Lots and lots here! Gonna be a chunky boi when it's all printed out. 

And the front cover of the trade by Alice Leclert and David B. Cooper? There are possibly a couple more tweaks in store so it's still a Work-In-Progress but for now... feast your eyes on its beauty: 


Pow! 

The only things left now to finalise are the Volume 5 single issue cover and our new buttons. It's the home straight and it's all looking good! Get hyped!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

It's (Hopefully) All Happening

 

I finally have a reason to update my events page! My first booked convention since 2019 and my first time back at Thought Bubble since 2018! It will be a new venue for me as my previous outings there were based in Leeds and things have moved to Harrogate but I'm told by friends who attended there last time out that it's a great convention centre. 

Something to look forward to? God, I hope so. Fingers crossed things can go ahead by then. For all the details check out https://www.thoughtbubblefestival.com and I'll update this site with more details as I get them.

Monday, March 22, 2021

#WriterJam

Last month on Twitter, I put out the idea of a fun writing experiment. There have been some very cool hashtags allowing artists to either work together on a piece or work separately on the same piece and then coming together to show how their different styles can make the same thing look very different. Check out the hashtag #coloristjam for some great examples of this concept.

I wanted to do the same sort of thing but for writers. To pick a simple premise, in this case I chose the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, and to write a two page short story based around it. You could go as wild in different directions as you like as long as you could still tell that you took some elements from the original rhyme. So, the #writerjam tag was born. 

For those who are unsure, here is the actual nursery rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Pretty simple right? I hoped that having such a simple starting point would allow you to show your own imagination as a writer and also the different styles of writing out there. Sometimes I feel like it's not easy in comics to show exactly what the writer contributes as it is such a collaborative medium. I like showing raw scripts (although, I think I'm in the minority there) because I like to demystify the process as much as I can. 

To start off, here is my version. Maybe I've been watching too many Aaron Sorkin movies lately or maybe I just saw too many puns to exploit but I went for a political drama...

PAGE 1 - 5 Panels

Panel 1
INT. NIGHT - HUMPTY'S LIVING ROOM

We see a couch armrest in the foreground to the side of the panel, in the background a large television shows the news. The room is dark and is only lit by the television's glow. On TV the news anchor is giving their update.

ANCHOR:    Senator Humphrey Dumpty in hot water tonight as a controversial document is leaked indicating his involvement in the illegal treatment of immigrants at our border.

Panel 2
Same scene but now a hand has entered the panel, holding a glass of whiskey and leaning over the armrest. Someone is watching this news and isn't taking it well.

ANCHOR:    The leaked document alleges that Senator Dumpty ordered soldiers to meet any immigrant seen attempting to scale the border wall with lethal force.

Panel 3
We now see the whiskey drinking viewer as our panel is directed towards the couch from the point of view of the television. It's the same man pictured in the news report, Senator Dumpty. He is a man with a dour disposition. In an expensive shirt and loosened tie, he watches grimly. His mobile phone rings on the couch beside him. 

ANCHOR:    The border wall, the centre piece of the popular Senator's campaign promises, has seen its support from Texan citizens drop severely in recent months.

SFX:               Bvvd Bvvd Bvvd

Panel 4
The man has stepped up and answer's his phone. He's walking to his apartment windows. It's an expensive place. Penthouse. Floor to ceiling windows show an impressive night-time view of the city's skyline. 

DUMPTY:    Yeah... I saw... I'm on my way.

Panel 5
Close up of Humphrey staring out, his face reflecting in the window's glass. The reflection makes it appear like he's taking a long hard look at himself.



PAGE 2 - 6 Panels

Panel 1
EXT. NIGHT - TEXAS CAPITOL BUILDING
Exiting a car, Dumpty is barely visible over reporters and photographers. He holds his hand up to try and shield his face from the cameras. We could have a cacophony of voices asking him questions but I prefer the idea it's the photo we'd see in the paper the next day.

CAPTION:    "It's over..."

Panel 2
EXT. NIGHT - CAPITOL BUILDING MEETING ROOM
Dumpty is sat at a large boardroom style table with 5 other people, similarly dressed in expensive suits and attire. One man, the speaker from the last panel, addresses Dumpty with casual authority. He's a shadowy figure. A mystery man, pulling all the strings

MAN:            ... we can't fix your mess, Humphrey.

DUMPTY:    I'm up for re-election at the end of the year. You know that even with minimal support from the party I can win my seat back.

MAN:           We've decided to back a different horse in that race. 

Panel 3
The man looks to a younger gentleman standing at the back of the room, leaning against the wall. This is Charles King. The new hotshot member of the party. Humphrey is enraged at the implication.

DUMPTY:    What? You mean King? You really think they'll elect Charles King over me?!

Panel 4
Close up of the authoritative man's face. He sinisterly leans forward and smiles. 

MAN:            Yes.

Panel 5
The people start to file out of the room. Charles King casually takes a parting shot at Dumpty, buttoning his suit jacket.

KING:           Oh how the mighty have fallen...

Panel 6
Dumpty, now left alone in the room, sits with his head in his hands contemplating his fate.

Now, here is Hugh Madden's script (remember him from last week?). He wrote a very funny parody of 90s  superhero comics and edgy, grim-dark scripts. However, despite the contrasting tongue-in-cheek story you may notice some similar themes...

Humpty Dumpty

A Nursery Rhyme… FOR ADULTS!!

Page 1
Panel 1:

We open on the US-Mexico border wall stretching for miles into the Sonora Desert. It’s hot. It’s desolate. It’s gritty. It’s real.

Panel 2:
At the foot of the wall, looking up are a trio of refugees. They are shabbily dressed, wearing rags and carrying babies. This is very real.

Panel 3:
On top of the wall, sits a shadowy figure enveloped by a sandstorm, which is very gritty.
        - “Quick! There’s no time”

Panel 4:
We focus in on Humpty Dumpty (HD to his friends… not that he has any!) He is wearing a leather duster, a cowboy hat and a pair of wrap around shades. In his duster pocket is a bottle of scotch. In his holster a revolver. He is the kinda guy who says “I don’t make love, I fuck”
        -”If you wanna make it to freedom, you gotta trust me!”

Panel 5:
A refugee steps forward. She is different from the rest. She is hot. Her rags are just short enough and just long enough. You know what I mean. Wink Wink. She reaches her hand out to HD

Panel 6:
He hauls her up beside him on the wall. She stares longingly into his eyes.

Panel 7:
Close up on their faces. She’s obviously smitten. Who wouldn’t be?! He’s just so cool and real. 
        HD - “Tell your “Amigos” to get over the wall. We’re running outta tim-”

Panel 8:
A speech bubble interrupts saying 
        “Halt!!!”


Page 2:
Panel 1:
On the other side of the wall stand a troop of ICE agents. They are uniformly fat, almost spherical, red faced and squeezed into mismatched uniforms. They carry an assortment of weapons.
        Agent: Come down from there. And don’t do any cool shooting stuff.

Panel 2:
H.D looks down on them with contempt. He has seen too much of this shit. The hot girl is trembling at him.
        HD - “Not in this life time!”

Panel 3:

HD jumps off the wall firing his gun.

Panel 4:
The ICE agents get shot. It’s all blood and gore. So raw!

Panel 5:
HD surveys the battlefield.
        HD -” [Insert witty yet profound quip here]”

Panel 6:
HD addresses the hot girl;
        HD - “It’s cool. Tell your friends its safe.”

Panel 7:
HD looks down and sees he has been shot by a stray bullet. His shell has cracked. His yolk is spilling out. Its gritty and real!

Panel 8:
HD slumps over by the wall. He knows that he is a goner but he is too cool to complain. He is hard core. The hot girl kneels beside him. She starts to cry because girls do that.
        HD - “Go! Go with your family! Leave me”

Panel 9:
Hot girl leaves looking back at HD in that way that allows you to see her breasts and her buttcheeks at the same time. She’s sad because she knows that she will never find a lover as manly as me HD

Panel 10:

The refugees disappear into the desert. Into America. Into Freedom.

Panel 11:

HD rests against the wall, smoking cigarettes because he doesn’t give a shit anymore and he looks cool doing it. His yolks have spilled out. No one is going to put him back together again. He was always broken anyway… but on the inside!!!!!


As you can see, without meaning to, we both ended up doing American border wall themed stories but from very different styles. Also, you can see the varying type of comic script formats out there. That's one thing I hear a lot of people starting-out ask about; format. I think, as long as you make your panels and page counts clear, along with dialogue and other important information to give to your art team, there are very few wrong ways to do it.

If you're an artist, like Lúc O'Cofaigh you can even jump past the script stage and just sketch out your idea. He clearly had a lot of fun with this one so I'll leave you on his sci-fi odyssey!






Let me know if you have a go at this yourself. Would love to see everyone's version. Have some craic with it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Life Update

Well hello, everyone. This page may have seemed a little like a ghost-town for a while and don't even get me started on the Live Shows tab... woof! Can you believe I used to post a new article nearly every day and kept that pace up for a couple years? I don't know how I had so much energy!

Covid hit and a lot of things changed for ya boy. Priorities became more about mental health and protecting myself. I think everyone has struggled with quarantining for a year now. I know I've hit my breaking point. Cocooning helped in the beginning but Ive found myself reaching out more to friends (over video chats and emails) and as part of that I'm going to make more of an effort to blog again too. So... let's get in a quick update!

I've been working on a number of larger comics projects the past year. Worked on an original graphic novel with my long-time working partner Katie Fleming, an ever-increasing-in-size comic with artist and first time collaborator Hugh Madden (more on him in a future post), and currently completing the 5th volume of the double Kickstarted webcomic SHIP WRECKED. And that's just the stuff I can tell you about! Things seem to be in a good flow at the moment with writing comics. I've taken the foot off the break in terms of trying to "crack the industry" and "get a foot in the door". I don't think I even care about the door anymore. I'm just trying to enjoy making the damn things with the people I respect and it's been the best decision I could make. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that the writing part is fun, even if the drama surrounding that can be shitty. 

Hugh Madden's artwork for our upcoming comic

As a result of this work, and Covid, and life, my podcasting just kind of stopped. Throughout the years I've recorded over 400 hours of podcasts (frighteningly, that's a conservative estimate based on a quick search) and have really enjoyed playing around in the medium but, man, it got to a point during this when I just didn't feel like I was the person who should be talking. Between quarantining, BLM, MeToo, and everything else, this straight white cis guy from Dublin didn't feel like an important voice. I didn't feel like joking about movies was contributing to anything. I just wanted to spend time with my wife, alone. Will we ever get back to our show? Maybe. But I don't see it happening anytime soon. That feeling hasn't changed yet. 

Recording the 2020 Gonzo Quiz Show via Zoom

Which brings us to the third part in my own personal holy trinity; improv. I did 16 comedy shows in 2018 alone. None since. That's... I'm not gonna lie that's been fucking tough. In 2019 I took a break from both improv and comic conventions, choosing only to do one event which was Dragon Con in Atlanta, USA (which handily combines the two for me). I had done a lot of both in 2018 and got pretty burned out. My improv group Kill The Monster had a member get pregnant and two others had their partners get pregnant so with 2019 being the Year of the Baby for them, we decided to take a group hiatus. All well and good until you try and get back on the horse in 2020 and a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic hits. So I have spent over two years now without stage-time. My confidence has crashed so hard that for the first moment in my life I don't think I could walk on to any stage and nail it. Yes, it was insane for me to have such a strong ego about it before but this is another ill-advised extreme. I can't go from Kanye to Eeyore, neither is healthy! I'm going to have a lot of rust to shake off when this is all over and a very tender self-esteem to build back up again. Wish me luck.

The last Kill The Monster show, at the December 2018 Improvfest Ireland. Note the already heavily pregnant Claire.

Oh and I decided to stop shaving all the time. Turns out my wife likes facial hair on me. Thankfully she also likes the bit of weight I put on too.


I'll be back soon to talk #WriterJam and some other silliness.  <3