Tag Archive: art


Boys Don’t Cry, out of our hands

Our first graphic novel, Boys Don’t Cry, now has a life of its own. Last year a student from Edinburgh contacted us to ask about using BDC as the basis for a project, he wanted to produce an animated version of some sort. Being generally agreeable sorts in favour of educational pursuits, we said yes. I hadn’t mentioned it here because I didn’t know if it would work out and didn’t know if he’d want it broadcast in advance (piling on the pressure, perhaps) but I’ve recently found out he has a blog about the project, which you can read here (he does say nice things about us, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you. Honest). Interesting to see the thought processes behind it all as it progresses, and the enthusiasm. Also quite entertaining to realise I was wrong when I thought he’d partly chosen BDC because of where it was set (apparently the Edinburgh connection didn’t occur to him till later). I will keep you posted on how it all goes.

While we’re observing the BDC-shaped ripples in the wider world, I’ll mention this review that was pointed out to me fairly recently, from April 2013. Gratifying to know that someone has spotted the ‘Hunter has no face’ idea and the link to depression and social expectations/stigma (it may well be that everyone who’s ever read it has spotted these, but I don’t recall anyone mentioning it before. If you have, whether in writing or when meeting one of us, point it out and I’ll happily correct myself here…)

If you haven’t read BDC and have no idea what I’m talking about, you can download the pdf for free by clicking here. In the past you could have bought a printed copy from us but we’ve run out, sorry.

Friend of Ostragoth, Chaz Wood of Fenriswulf Books, has just released the first print edition of his The Sword and the Ring series, full of Norse gods and heroes. He describes it as darkly humourous, and quirky, both of which sound good to me, and you can’t go far wrong with Norse myths.

Since the dawn of the Nine Worlds, the gods of Asgard, led by all-wise Wotan, have enjoyed prosperity and power. Wotan’s noble house of Aesir rules the heavens and all Middengaard, the realm of men and monsters; yet on this peaceful stage will be wrought curses, war, treachery and ultimately, disaster. The two-faced trickster Loki, once a blood-brother of Wotan, seeks to spawn an unholy dynasty to rival the Aesir, while gold stolen from the River Rhein sets in motion a tide of torment that will drown all who come into contact with it. Sensing doom, one-eyed Wotan broods and begins to gather warriors of Middengaard to serve as his private army, while struggling to repair the growing cracks in his marriage to Fricke, and his relationship with his thirteen unruly daughters, the Valkyren…

It’s available (along with some of his other books) at lulu.

I’ve also come across Tracy J Butler’s Lackadaisy recently, and I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here; the comic’s online, but also collected in print. It’s a sort of 1920s gangster story starring cats, with art deco and art nouveau stylings, but maybe I should leave the description to those who know it best:

St. Louis – 1927. Times change. Laws change. People still want booze. For the better part of a decade, hidden beneath the inconspicuous Little Daisy Café, the city’s best-kept secret has slaked the thirst of a prohibition-wearied populace.

Lackadaisy.

Unfortunately, the once raucous and roaring speakeasy now rests at a crossroads, its golden age seemingly at an end. Lackadaisy’s remaining loyalists are left with few options. But with all the cunning, tenacity, and sly ingenuity they can muster, they might just have a chance.

And if that doesn’t work, fire does.

I hope you enjoy those, and don’t forget you can download a pdf of our graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry for free now, though you can still buy print copies of that, and the more recent comic The Moon of Endine at our online shop.

Thought Bubble 2011 round-up

I’ll be honest, I would have been happier if Thought Bubble had been Saturday-only; Sunday’s emptiness put a downer on a good weekend. However, we sold a fair few copies of our new comic, The Moon of Endine (now available in our online shop, as well as in Leeds at Travelling Man and Forbidden Planet), and some of our year-old graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry.

If we hadn’t been there on Sunday we wouldn’t have met Brian Gorman (and he wouldn’t have bought a copy of The Moon of Endine). Sadly I rolled in rather late to the conversation, having had a bit of a break in the Royal Armouries to look at the fencing swords, but Mark reliably informs me that I missed an enjoyable chat with a purveyor of fine anecdotes. Who also happens to be doing a graphic novel about Joy Division – what’s not to like?

I also indulged my geekier side and in a quiet moment asked a bemused Dr Geof to sign one of his physics cartoons from long ago. Yes, I did cut a cartoon out of Physics World and keep it for several years. Yes, I did used to read Physics World.

I saw some amazing art by Kev Crossley, and met a few people who’d bought and enjoyed Boys Don’t Cry either at or since the last Thought Bubble, which was reassuring, to say the least. One of those was Lani Irving who does rather snazzy embroidery and unique artistic books; I’ve also just noticed she said some lovely things about us on her blog <blush>.

The Librarian, who was in attendance on Sunday, found and purchased a publication called The Green Bean that mentioned libraries, and was very, very happy. I got lots of random ideas for stories and comics that may never see the light of day.

See some photos from the day at Flickr. I’m off to drink more tea.

 

A guest post from OneMonkey: lettering guru, editor, publisher, salesman and all-round comics linchpin here at Ostragoth.

I get to do most of the technical part of putting our graphic novels and comics together.  Most recently I’ve finished preparing the print-ready pdf for Moon of Endine.  I was initially going to use OpenOffice for the page layout as I’d done before, but once I’d generated the pdf there were some odd visual artefacts in the pdf which I’m sure were just antialiasing rendering problems in the pdf viewer, but which I didn’t want to risk being visible in the final copy.

That’s when I remembered a dtp package I first played around with on Linux many years ago, but never had real occasion to use.  I soon had the excellent open-source desktop publishing programme Scribus installed.

I spent a couple of days learning how to use it and putting together the Moon of Endine using Mark’s artwork and Jacqueline’s script.

With the exception of one minor niggle (greyscale pngs being imported in the rgb colourspace – I thought by exporting everything to a greyscale pdf the black would be uniform, but apparently not.  The black for the text and text boxes of the comic is different from the black of the artwork, but I can live with that – it actually looks quite good in the context – I’ll know for next time to keep a closer eye out for that) everything went well.

I will be using Scribus more in future.

The wrap-round cover of The Moon of Endine, as put together by OneMonkey

He has in fact put together our cartoon mini-comic The Episodic Adventures of Bentley the Rabbit in Scribus this week.

Earlier this week, amid tea and chocolate digestives, the Ostragoth trio (that’s us) finalised our new comic, The Moon of Endine. All we need is OneMonkey to finish lettering it, and it’s ready for printing; when it is, it’ll be available to buy from our online shop and of course at Thought Bubble in Leeds in November.

It runs to about 40 pages, and is all in black and white (I know Boys Don’t Cry was almost entirely black and white, but it did have occasional hints of purple). Mark’s gone for a more traditional approach this time, hand-inking the pages before scanning them in, instead of sketching, scanning, then inking on computer. Much fun was had making black splats with brushes, apparently.

The story is set on a frontier planet: tight-knit communities, subsistence farming, and werewolves. Not that surprising perhaps when the moon’s on a decaying orbit and slowly dominating the sky.

As a bit of a taster of the stark monochrome of this Western-style tale, here are a couple of panels:

It’s that time of year again, we’ve just booked our table for the Thought Bubble convention in Leeds in November. It’s running over 2 days this time, and we’ll be in the Royal Armouries Hall. I’ve been having a quick look at who else is going to be in there with us, and I love the style of Jade Sarson’s Cafe Suada.

This blog’s been untended even longer than my main writing blog, but as well as me getting back into the writing groove, Mark’s pressing ahead with the art for the next Ostragoth publication. At the moment, he’s aiming to have a first draft by the end of the month, but art doesn’t always go to plan. This one’s more of a standard comic length (hence cheaper – doesn’t it sound more appealing already?) and yes it does have a werewolf in it, but this is Ostragoth – you know it’s not going to be that straightforward.

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.

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.