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In our continuing quest for new audiences, we’ve ventured to comic shops in other parts of Yorkshire, specifically Sheffield. Our literary graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry (why not read the synopsis) is on sale at Sheffield Space Centre – it’s completely non-genre (macabre in places perhaps, but not horror. No scientific or fantastical elements. Just a teenage goth with shallow friends) so it does seem a bit weird in a way, but I’m not about to complain.

One day we might leave the county boundaries, but for this weekend we’ll be sticking around as it’s the Leeds Alternative Comic Fair tomorrow and all 3 of us will be heading along to check it out after lunch.

This lunchtime I made a very brief visit to the Artists Book Fair at Leeds University. The pieces ranged from books that documented art projects, to books that were art in themselves (not necessarily having any content or being for anything other than display), to art made out of cut up books and maps (like Deckle Edged), to hand-made paper and cards, to small booklets of the kind I’d expect to see at any comic gathering (A5 or A6 size, coloured paper, black and white printing with fairly simple drawings, illustrating conversations or everyday life or a common saying or poetry) (try Artists Books Online for examples of several types). Where is the line drawn? What makes these eligible for something where the catalogue costs at least £5, and others not? Is it a matter of what you declare your work to be? Word-art seems popular at the moment, so if you market something as thoughtful ‘art’ it gets taken seriously, exhibited, and priced accordingly, but if you call it a comic it’s relegated to specialist outlets and dismissed as ‘mere’ entertainment? Seems unfair, but sadly it also seems true.

Or, if you prefer, we’ve now got the graphic novel (Boys Don’t Cry) in Forbidden Planet in Leeds. OneMonkey quietly goes about his organisational business and then announces these things. Oh, and Travelling Man should have more stock by Friday morning.

Phew! In between all of this, and my ridiculous blogging challenge over at my writing blog (a post a day for a month, how hard can that possibly be? Very, would be my current answer. And it’s only the 9th), I do have a finished first draft of the main follow-up to BDC (which might follow an in-between, lighter comic which is half-written). OneMonkey’s legendary editing skills will come into play just as soon as he’s emerged from the Jeff VanderMeer book I got out of the library.

Ideas are also starting to crystallise for the comic script I’m hoping to write during ScriptFrenzy in April. Watch this space.

Sold out in Leeds

Well, actually, only in Travelling Man. Yes, today brings the exciting news that our graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry is (temporarily, i.e. until OneMonkey takes more copies along) out of stock at Travelling Man in Leeds. Still (as far as I know) available at OK Comics though (and of course via our website). Quite a thrilling feeling.

While I’m being so parochial, I’ll mention that there’s another Alternative Comics Fair at the pub (bar?) Nation of Shopkeepers (Great George Street) in Leeds on March 19th from 12-6pm. Free entry, and I assume the usual suspects will be in attendance (I confess I haven’t had time to check it out – just been given a flyer by OneMonkey who picked it up in town). We may well wander along if we’re not otherwise engaged (she says, as if there’s some kind of Ostragoth social life).

Now back to finishing off the first draft of the comic script I promised I’d deliver to Mark about 6 weeks ago. I’m on a roll now, or I was this lunchtime, so fingers crossed.

The latest missive from Duotrope’s Digest proclaims that March is Small Press Month, the time when everyone should go and support their favourite small press affairs, submit stories, buy books and magazines, donate money etc. A little investigation reveals that this may well be an American arrangement, but we live in a global village now, so people keep telling me. Which means this is an excellent time for you to support your favourite small press literary graphic novel publisher (that’s us) by buying a copy of Boys Don’t Cry (or one of Mark’s prints) from our excellent website, or if you’re in Leeds, Travelling Man or OK Comics (prints not available at OK Comics).

On sale in Leeds

You can now buy our graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry from the proudly independent OK Comics in Leeds, home of the UK’s only free graphic novel lending library, which is probably a good enough reason to check the place out, even if you weren’t already on your way there to flick through Boys Don’t Cry before you buy it.

Those nice people at Travelling Man in Leeds have been busy selling Mark’s art prints and our graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry. OneMonkey called in this afternoon and it brightened his day considerably. So if you happen to be in Leeds in the near future, go support a supportive local comic shop by buying stuff – it doesn’t have to be anything of ours but obviously if you feel like it…

The soundtrack to our graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry is now complete – click on the link if you have spotify, but for those that don’t, here’s the list (one track per scene, as long as your definition of a scene matches mine):

  1. The Damned – The Portrait
  2. Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod
  3. The Mission – Wasteland
  4. NIN – Hurt (live version from Further Down The Spiral)
  5. Green Day – American Idiot
  6. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?
  7. Patti Smith – Elegie
  8. Machines of Loving Grace – Butterfly Wings
  9. The Cure – Pictures of You
  10. Jefferson Airplane – Aerie (Gang of Eagles)
  11. Danzig – Cantspeak
  12. The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry

Of course, if this was a film I’d fade out of some of the longer ones, and Pictures of You and Aerie are for the two scenes that sort of cut back and forth so some kind of blending may be necessary, but you’ll have to imagine that. I hope it adds to your enjoyment of the book (or brightens your day, or makes you go listen to a forgotten album – it made me dig out Patti Smith’s Horses).

900 views

Vaguely interesting if you like that sort of milestone thing – we’ve now had 900 views of this blog. Stephen Fry no doubt gets 900 views a nanosecond when he’s announcing what coat he’s thinking of wearing, but for a little backwater like this, 900 in a few months seems quite a lot. Thank you and hello to all those who’ve visited.

2010 has been a year of achievement for us, the culmination of a dream (we should get out more, maybe) and the beginning of something (we hope). OneMonkey is planning to book us a table at the Bristol Comic expo in May, this week, so pencil it in your diary and it’ll give you something to look forward to with us.

Pre-Christmas promises

It would be a great shame to waste the long break from work (2 weeks of mince pies and lie-ins) so I foolishly promised Mark yesterday that during this holiday I’d finish writing the story for our next ‘proper’ (serious) comic as long as he did all the art for the fun in-betweener comic we’re hoping to put out in the Spring. A tall order perhaps but aided by stollen, tea, marzipan, tea, amaretto, and tea I might manage. Or possibly just be sick.