Thursday, 31 December 2009
As a result, they have a cool decoration in the car park:
And that text again, more readably:
Excellent hotel, excellent wedding. Bring on 2010!
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
This you may recall is the strip that hit the headlines last summer when Apple decided to ban it from their app store.
The script is by Al Ewing and the art by - who else? - PJ Holden.
The original version of Murderdrome was published a few years back in Solar Wind. It's available online and is basically great.
Given that so many comics are basically crap I reckon Steve's done pretty well to link up with PJ who in turn seems to be doing some really interesting work. PJs' latest is a Garth Ennis war story! I am a big fan of Mr Ewing's too, he's been doing Judge Dredds that kick ass.
Anyway, that's it from me for 2009. I'll be back in January with some updates relating to Walking Wounded #3.
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Here's a sample page:
Lots more to see here.
Sadly, Imago was subsequently published in black and white, so Steve's pro colouring debut had to wait until Phonogram: The Singles Club issue 6.
Saturday, 12 December 2009
It will be our fourth successive year! Come along and see us. I can guarantee either:
1) The brand new issue of Walking Wounded
2) A really excellent array of creative excuses
will be available for your entertainment.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Script by Chris Denton, painted artwork by Steven Denton.
An updated and extended version is intended for Massacre For Boys: Back In Action.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
The script is by Chris Steifvater Thomas and Steve has contributed the art. Here's a panel:
Buy it here.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
The rather lovely cover is by 2000AD's PJ Holden & our very own Steven Denton.
Steve also contributed the script for an 18-page Friday story, with art by the extremely talented Chris Askham, that appears in its entirety in this very comic. I would suggest you pop over to The Quaequam Blog and buy it now.
Still need some convincing? There's a preview here.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Anyhow, whilst Anansi Boys was quite good in Gaiman's sadly now typical "I don't know if I'm British or American" kind of way, I was struck by the short bio on the opening page, and particularly this sentence:
So, ashamed of the comics then?
He has written books and films and children's books and television.
That is probably one of the least accurate but entirely true sentences ever devised. It's a bit like describing Alan Moore as a novel-writer and performance artist.
Still, given the Gaiman bio doesn't even mention Good Omens (still to my mind his only successful adult novel, excluding Stardust), I think we can safely assume that it is either purposefully omission-heavy or written by someone who hasn't got the first clue about Gaiman or his work.
In MFB news, I just booked us a table for Thing 2010. It will be our fourth glorious year at the show, and somewhere nice to show off Death on the Rock.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
One of the challenges of producing a war comic is capturing the correct martial flavour. This is pretty difficult for a peacenik like me who's only experience of the army is once having to write the following letter:
9th October 2004
Re: Credit card application
Please find a completed agreement form enclosed.
You will note I have amended my title from “Col” to “Mr”. I wish to make it clear that I never knowingly described myself as a Colonel when completing the online application and that I ascribe the mistake to an error with the website.
Please would you amend your information at the earliest possible opportunity? I will not be able to accept any future correspondence to “Col Denton”.
Saturday, 12 September 2009
He's done a four-page strip illustrated by PJ Holden for Phonogram. Here's the first 25%:
Steve's also been getting the figurative crayons out for PJ's contribution to Interagents, which is a US-based web comic. Check out the art as well as PJ's take on the above here.
If you need a colourist and, you know, fancy paying, check out Steve's colouring blog.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
The above is a collaboration between Steve and his university comrade James Harkins.
Massacre fact fans will be interested to know that James designed the Walking Wounded logo which graces the cover of Walking Wounded #2. We'll use it again for the new issue as it's damn fine.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Therefore yesterday Steve and I kicked off work on our forthcoming graphic novel by heading into the old East End. More specifically, we made a beeline for Whitechapel Art Gallery:
It's an extremely interesting place, nestled next to Aldgate East tube station, with fantastic architecture and some fairly interesting art too. We were gratified to find that yes, they do indeed have a portrait of the Krays.
Colud the staircase be important? Probably not, but at this early stage, anything is possible...
Sunday, 16 August 2009
The Gaiman Batman story has come out of some Grant Morrison headline-seeking nonsense about Bruce Wayne being "dead", but fortunately it's not linked to that at all. It's sort of a generic last Batman story apart from the point is clearly Batman will never need one. More accurately, Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? is about Batman the cultural phenomenon rather than Batman's death.
It's an affecting piece of work, very metaphysical but with a genuine emotional core. It's also got lots of references to Batman's entire history, but all weaved in so that you don't need to get them for it to make sense.
The supporting stories in the graphic novel are in a similar vein, but alas fairly inconsequential. The Riddler Secret Origin is a love letter to Adam West-style adventures. The Batman Black & White strip is a one joke affair (and a rather sorry joke at that). Only Poison Ivy's Secret Origin is up to Gaiman's usual standard, and it's probably no coincidence that this also the only story in the entire volume that's actually about a character rather than an icon.
Of course, everything but the title Batman strip is old, and absolutely everything in the Superman volume is from the 80s. That's not a problem though as Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow contains the entirety of Alan Moore's landmark work on the character. It was during the period when he was reshaping comics into his own image, and as you'd expect the content is still amazingly good.
The title story provides a proper conclusion for Silver Age Superman's adventures, and actually finishes them in a way pretty reminiscient of the conclusion of Watchmen. Even non-Superman lovers like myself have to admit this is one of hell of a strip.
The supporting features are just as good. A Swamp Thing / Superman crossover that really packs a punch, followed by the sublime For The Man Who Has Everything, which sees Supes plunged into a Better Than Life style situation where Krypton wasn't destroyed, so he grew up as Kal-El and married an actress. Dave Gibbons art too. Wonderful.
I'd read all these stories before as part of a previous Moore collection, but that also included his work on lesser strips such as Green Lantern and Vigilante which diluted the impact somewhat. Here at last it's possible to see with absolute certainty that Moore's version of Superman is the greatest ever.
Such a shame really that both Gaiman and Moore are now only really part time comic writers. Gaiman has bigger fish to fry and Moore prefers the obscurity of writing pretty much exclusively (and mostly prose) for Top Shelf, where he has the 100% creative freedom his talent has always demanded.
Comics needs more writers of this quality.
Monday, 10 August 2009
The colours are once again by Steve, who has also contributed the script to the Friday strip which will be included inside.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
Of course, by "research" I actually mean perusing Wikipedia and hoping it confirms my poorly-informed preconceptions.
Luckily, I was right about this one:
And this one too:
So no need to change a word. Magic!
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Quite a ropey "Souvenir Special" really, the quality of the reproduction is not great and the material does not seem to have been complied with any particular thought.
Still, for all that it's still avery entertaining read and the contributions of comics demi-gods like John Wagner, Pat Mills, Carlos Ezquerra and Jo Colquhoun (amongst others) ensure that it won't be enjoyed purely as a nostaglia hit.
Obviously Walking Wounded is in the tradition of these Battle strips such as Major Eazy and D-Day Dawson. It wasn't our only influence - Commando & Victor both featured heavily in our childhoods too - but it is probably the most important one.
I am not sure quite how today's youth would respond to unadulerated 70s war comics - a generation currently being brought up on Doctor Who Adventures - but this review I found via Google is quite encouraging in that regard.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
PJ has now blogged about this.
Here's a favourite of mine, a Rogue Trooper pinup they did together:
Oh and if that wasn't enough, Steve starts his new day job on Monday!
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Great news elsewhere, however, that Crusader Colourist and British comics luminary Richmond Clements is making his professional writing debut. Well done, Rich!
Oh and I was quite taken with Paul Harrison-Davies' latest Astrodog pinup. A little bit similar to the Massacre For Boys contribution to the Thing 2009 anthology. Surely, the British conquest of space must be about to begin...
Saturday, 4 July 2009
I'd read it before, as you might expect, but coming back to Year One after a decent interval it's pleasing how well it stands up. The writing is first rate - Miller's trademark ultra-noir but not overcooked as in his latterday work. The art is pretty special too.
Sadly the other two books both sucked big time. Batman: Jekyll and Hyde is a sort of Two-Face version of the Killing Joke, only really badly done. It completely fails to nail either Batman or Two-Face, which kills the whole thing stone dead. Shame as he's potentially one of the great villains - as The Dark Knight film amply demonstrates - but inserting bollocks about him being a multiple-personality disorder loon with an extremely predictable childhood secret is utterly the wrong way to go.
Batman: Ego & Other Tales isn't any better. Darwyn Cooke draws a good comic, but he writes a below average script. The Ego story where Batman and Bruce Wayne meet is not a bad concept, but sadly beyond Cooke's abilities to do anything with it. His Catwoman tale Selina's Big Score, also included for some reason, is an improvement but only marginally. At least it knows it's pulp.
Of the three books I think they all have lessons for Massacre For Boys, perhaps the bad ones more so than the Miller masterpiece. I am currently working on a new Crusader strip. I am trying to avoid either being one-dimensional junk but also aiming too high and missing by miles. Both Batman Jekyll & Hyde and Batman: Ego come across as wanting to be classics. Alan Moore and Frank Miller Batman comes across as wanting to tell a story.
Sunday, 28 June 2009
These now include Steve's first FQP effort from Something Wicked #2.
The strip viewer is currently a little dicey but it's still very much worth a look, as indeed are many of the other strips, including many by comic pros.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
The purpose of this exercise is to take out the "big boys" and to see what's left.
My list looks like this:
You can see from the above that I have a very strong prejudice in favour of British comics or at least British-created comics. I used to read a lot of American stuff but I don't feel the love of it has stayed with me into adulthood as it has with the British strips.
Zenith by Morrison & Yeowell
Scarlet Traces by Edginton & D’Israeli
Bad Company by Milligan & Ewins
Killing Time by Smith & Weston
Slaine The King by Mills & Fabry
Marshal Law: Fear & Loathing by Mills & O’Neil
Button Man by Wagner and Ransom
War Stories by Ennis & Various
Judge Dredd Origins by Wagner & Ezquerra
Dare by Morrison & Hughes
I do keep trying - most recently it's been with Ed Brubaker's Catwoman run. As with a lot of DC stuff these days I felt it was sort of okay, but no better than that. Nice art though.
Saturday, 13 June 2009
I just read a preview version of Steve's next work for Futurequake, again from a Chris Thomas script, detailing the Korean war experiences of a certain Neil Armstrong. It's arguably even better than Traumatised Astronauts and publication is definitely something to watch out for later in the year.
Bosher's Goal's fans will be pleased to know I've finished the script to a new adventure, Bosher For England. When it's ready for the world to see we'll probably post it here before collecting it on the main site.
2000AD artist Ron Smith, a favourite of mine, recently had some legal trouble which could have destroyed his substantial legacy. Fortunately he has won his court battle and judging from the reaction the British comics world is very relieved and pleased. I won't link to any details for fear of perpetuating unfounded allegations, but suffice to say they were bad enough to destroy his reputation had they been true.
And finally, I know I said I was done with mentioning the SP Expo, but then I found the Official Show Photos. We're in there somewhere!
Saturday, 6 June 2009
I really enjoyed Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead, a great period zombie one-shot from Time Bomb Comics. The script is very good and the art complements it nicely so marry that to a cast iron concept and the result really can't fail.
At the Expo we were placed next to Bearded Skull Comics, whose Dexter's Half Dozen is a fun war action strip with a supernatural twist. Not unlike Walking Wounded actually, but with a very different take on the subject matter. Really nice guys and we wish them every success.
Which brings me to the end of my SP Expo coverage. A bit sparse but there we go. For a proper show report, check out this excellent post from the Short Fuses blog.
Saturday, 30 May 2009
Still one essential item on the checklist I did manage to achieve was obtaining a copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 signed by Kevin O'Neil. It was fantastic of him to come along to what was essentially a Small Press day out and not surprisingly the queue was fairly massive. I took some time out from manning the Massacre For Boys stall to join it. In fact, it turned out to be quite a lot of time out as the gracious and accommodating artist was signing piles and piles of his old books for punters as well as being ever ready to provide a (staggeringly high-quality) sketch on request.
I read 1910 in the hotel room that night and I was quite impressed but also perhaps a little disappointed. So I re-read it this morning and I can see now it's a masterpiece. The art is truly incredible, O'Neil is arguably the greated comics artist now working. Every page is a pleasure to look at, never mind read. Of course, with an Alan Moore script it's worth reading too. It's a darker story than previous League outings, with less action, but it's also a bit more intricate, repaying close attention.
If 1910 has an Achilles heel, it's the over-reliance on familiarity with Brecht's Threepenny Opera. The plot of the book closely follows this early 20th century slice of Marxist propaganda, and the songs are clearly re-workings of Brecht's originals. I'm pretty well read but I don't like Brecht and I don't know the tunes. Indeed I only really worked out what was going on with Pirate Jenny and Mack The Knife thanks to Wikipedia. This does make the story hard to follow, especially in comparison with earlier volumes which had the good sense to stick to more universally known works.
There have been lots and lots of interviews with both O'Neil and Moore to promote this book, mostly fascinating, but perhaps the most telling of all was a recent CBR chat with Top Shelf publisher Chris Staros. He talks at length about the advantages of going striaght to press in graphic novel form and skipping the traditional comics format entirely. This chimes in with my thoughts on where the medium is going and I find it impossible not to conclude that League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 is the future of comics.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
As one of the founders of Massacre For Boys, can you tell us about the initial idea for setting it up?
It was an accident… Well maybe accident is not entirely fair, it developed out of a desire for people to actually read our comics. As far back as the early 90’s we had experimented with self publishing in a small way but never really managed to find a plausible method of advertising and distribution so that all stalled fairly quickly. For a little while a lot later in the 90s we discovered the mail order zines community and I became a regular contributor as an illustrator on some fantasy and horror publications, that was my first experience of the small press but we still neither had the equipment or the desire to really publish our own magazine.
I completed a politically charged comic called ‘Another World’ just after university and put it together 90’s bedroom zine style. Photocopied glued and stitched by hand and looking pretty shabby even if I do say so myself. I made exactly 6 copies and gave a few to friends, all in all not a gigantic commercial success but it did kick start our current interest in self publishing.
Chris did all the real legwork, the original Walking Wounded story ‘the resistance that went mad’ was our only complete publishable comic, dating back as far as 1994. A new cover some new pages and some fairly shabby new hand lettering and he was ready to go to print. Chris proved that we could not only print our own comic but if we got off our arses we could even sell it to people we have never met before simply by taking it to comic shows.
Massacre For Boys was born out of a shared love for the British comics of the 1970’s and 80’s. As an umbrella theme Massacre For Boys allows us to explore any thing from football strips too Marvel UK style superheroes and the desire to sell our comics at shows keeps our jokes from becoming too esoteric.
What are your feelings about how the comic has changed and developed as more characters / genres have been introduced?
I have always liked the anthology format and by its nature it is best suited to a fairly wide spread of characters and it gave us a pretty free rein over the type of story that we want to work on. Anthologies need a core theme to hold them together, the way 2000AD had sci-fi and Battle was full of war stories, the Eagle re-launch and Hotspur were more anything that could be classed as a boys own adventure under one roof. With so many influences and stories to tell it never was going to be easy to put out just one comic, all the other ideas, some connected some not, would constantly be scrabbling to get out. A lot of the characters we are working on for our comics have been with us for a very long time so for us I think it seems less like introducing new characters and more like including more of our long term ideas.
What is that attracts you to the comics industry over more traditional forms of art?
I have an early childhood memory of the Eagle re-launch way back in 1982 being read to me as I looked memorized at the artwork. I think it was love at first sight. One summer holiday I picked up both the eagle and 2000AD at our local news agents (the renewed R.G. Styles and sons, a news agent of the old school who would remember your name) and I then collected one or the other continuously for the next 25 years. The Comics industry is in a sorry state and as an artist it’s insane to pursue it as a career path. Comics are a unique medium and it’s more the visual and written story telling combined that attracts me. If it wasn’t comics it would be picture books of short films. I find the combination narrative mediums seductive. I flirted with film making and animation but it takes a committed team to produce a short film, it only takes one committed hand to create a comic.
What's the most difficult subject you've had to draw so far? And how did you go about tackling this?
For me it’s all hard. I’ve put a lot of work recently into measured perspective and technical drawing. I have never really found drawing easy and I find the technical aspects a particular challenge. Within any comic there are always going to be individual challenges like drawing complex objects or backgrounds and I normally cope with that by good research and reference. I can’t emphasis enough how much a real world starting point has helped me in the consistency of my art work.
Out of all your work so far, what are you most proud of?
Issue 2 of Walking Wounded stands out in places for me. It’s not perfect but it has a visual coherency and solidity that I think makes it rank as my finest comic work to date. I’m particularly proud of the way that The Glasshouse turned out.
Who would you say your main influences are?
I tried to make a list of main influences but gave up after putting down about 50 names and realizing I was nowhere near done. When I was younger I was heavily influenced by Carlos Esquerra, Colin MacNeil and Chris Weston amongst many many others but I think you can still see their stamp on my artwork.
As well as your work as an artist, you've also taken on scripting duties from time to time - is this something you wish to pursue in the future?
One of the things I have been extremely fortunate with in the small press is the opportunity it has given me to collaborate with a number of different writers and artists. Although I said earlier that comics could be produced by a one man band I enjoy the creative dynamic of collaboration and have contributed as an artist writer and colourists for other peoples line work. Time permitting I hope to continue and refine all of my skills. The idea is the easy part with a story, it’s the seed, whether it’s as a collaboration or as a solo author the real craft is learning how to make it grow either by yourself or with the help of others.
How do you feel about the small press industry? And if more mainstream publishers come calling, would you still wish to be involved in it?
The small press is a pretty social scene. Most the customers are creators themselves and every one seems pretty passionate about art in some form. A lot of people look at comics and books and films and think ‘I could do that’ the small press it full of people who thought that and then did it. You have to respect that. Sure if a main stream publisher started banging on the door we would be crazy not to give the big time a shot but once you have been in the small press you would have to be some kind of jerk to move on up and not support it any more.
What can you tell us about your work outside of Massacre For Boys?
Largely I contribute to a few Futurequake Press titles as both a writer and artist working on Futurequake, Something Wicked, Zarjaz and Dogbreath. I have coloured pages for P J Holden and Dave Evans and coloured 2 Paragon covers for Dave Candlish. So I’ve put my work about as a bit of a small press Mick Jagger.
If you could draw any existing comics' character, who would it be and why?
Judge Dredd, written by John Wagner. Because no other character holds the same place in my heart or my personal history.
Finally, what can we expect from you in the future?
Mad Max style global apocalypses, gangs of leather clad sci-fi petrol punks roaming the scorched desert prating on the small communities that are all that’s left of humanity, clinging desperately to life on our once green planet. But moving to comics, more Walking Wounded, more Futurequake, more colouring. More comics, basically. Oh, and a Holt Bros graphic novel.
Alex Finch is still a writer, researcher, actor, stage manager and former celebrity Text Jockey.
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Steve will be represented at both the SP Expo and also the main show where he can take credit for the cover and lead strip of this:
Why not pick it up and then bring it over to the Massacre For Boys stall at the SP Expo for him to sign?
Hope to see you there!
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
Although we're very proud of this comic, it's rather rough and ready compared to our subsequent efforts. The main story was written and illustrated back in the 90s and when we finally came to putting it together our lack of lettering know-how resulted in a fairly amateurish look. Given the progress we've made since Steve and I both feel it's something that we don't want to be pushing very hard these days.
Still, that's not to say I won't sell you a copy if you want one. You can buy WW0 from the Massacre site if the fancy takes you, or alternatively I note that it's still available from Smallzone too.
The support strip, Beales on Wheels, should probably be counted as the first Walking Wounded story of the MFB era. We'll no doubt re-master both pages at some point but meanwhile this is how we put it out originally:
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Doors opened to visitors at 10am and we waited for our first sale.
The table was right by the door and visitor numbers seemed to be well up on last year, but very few people seemed interested in our wares. To be honest we started to think that maybe our display was perhaps a little too reliant on irony and that what people were seeing was a potentially neo-fascist table they were not keen to approach.
In fact each time someone did stop and take a look it was almost an event:
Our first sale came a good two hours into the show and by that time we were about ready to call it a day. Fortunately we held on because the turnaround in the afternoon was somewhat dramatic. People started seeking us out having bought our work at previous Things and enjoyed it. New visitors arrived, much more interested in checking us out than their early-bird predecessors.
Even the poster, a source of early neurosis, started to attract a lot of positive interest:
In fact we had several requests to buy it as a print. That was both fantastic and pretty much entirely unexpected, so is something we will definitely be following up on in the neat future.
Business continued to be brisk as the afternoon wore on, then our fellow contributor Matthew Hunt dropped by:
Matthew's arrival livened things up even more, aided somewhat by his generous supply of "lime cordial" and the hall was properly buzzing as the event entered it's final phase.
Although generally tied to the table, we all managed to wander around to check out the work of our fellow creators, which looked to be a bumper crop. I was very happy to pick up a beautiful looking collection of Odd Fish. Matthew sought out and obtained both issues of the London Horror Comic. To be honest though this was the tip of a very large iceberg of great stuff. No wonder many people were wandering around not knowing how best to distribute their funds.
I am looking forward to going through the Thing Anthology (beautiful as ever) and checking out the work of many many more writers and artists.
Well 5pm rolled around and there was just time to press a copy of MFBIC on Paul Gravett before heading to the local Wetherspoon's to imbibe some extremely cheap and fairly potent cocktails with our many fellow creators.
All in all, a fabulous day out.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Saturday, 14 March 2009
The countdown to show season continues. Only 14 days to go!
Saturday, 7 March 2009
The theme is Mars and we came up with a couple of pages riffing on the idea of Massacre For Boys in Space. Here's the first which wordlessly sets up the situation:
For the payoff you'll just have to come along to the Thing and buy the Anthology!
Oh alright, that is a bit mean. We will be putting up an extended version as a web strip on our site shortly after the show, so I guess you could wait for that. But don't!
Saturday, 28 February 2009
Cover - Crusader & Dog by Steven Denton. Logo by Bolt -01.
Walking Wounded: Night of the Big Heat by Chris Denton, Steven Denton & Bolt-01.
The Crusader: Honey Trap by Chris Denton, Bolt-01 and Richmond Clements.
The Diogenes Club: The Game is a Foot by Matthew Hunt and The Wrong Man by Chris Denton, Steven Denton & Bolt-01.
Jimmy Baker Animal Hatmaker: Three Lions by Chris Denton & Steven Denton.
Bosher's Goals: Hands on the Trophy by Chris Denton & Steven Denton.
Badland Rules by Steven Denton.
Walking Wounded: Hot Air by Chris Denton & Steven Denton.
Back Cover: Nazi Zombie by Paul Harrison-Davies.
So in total that's 36 pages (40 with the cover sides) and pretty much everything we've done in colour, including lots and lots of brand new stuff.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Still, whilst I'm here I will say that I was in Brighton last weekend and ended up in Dave's Comics.
It's a great shop, packed to the rafters with well-selected and artfully arranged graphic novels. Scarcely a tie-in toy to be seen! I wasn't in town to buy comics but couldn't resist and, mindful that someone has to keep the UK economy afloat, walked out with a stack of ABC paperbacks, including Tom Strong 6.
Friday, 13 February 2009
In other news, I am please to say tht we will be appearing at the Bristol Small Press Expo. Should be fun!
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Oh well, at least we're not far away now. Here's the coloured and lettered version of Night of the Big Heat page one:
Thanks to Bolt-01 for doing a great job on the lettering front, as ever!
In other news this week I've now created a Massacre for Boys Facebook group. As I am pretty hardline in my anti-spam stance, you'll never receive an invitation to join the group from me, but that doesn't mean we don't want you! On the contrary, please join now! If you do, I can at least promise we'll not fill your inbox with spurious updates a la some annoying groups I could mention but won't out of politeness.