TIME FLIES

Okay...where did 2017 go? No, really, what have you done with it?

Time doth fly when you get older, they weren’t kidding.

Train of thought segue - what the fuck is up with all this STAR WARS chatter online?! I don’t get involved in that shit, because, quite frankly, I can’t be bothered to waste my energy debating ANYTHING online, it’s pointless. But wow, the sheer vitriol and wanky polemics being thrown around is hilarious. Did I come out of the cinema enriched by a strong allegory about the times in which we live, where the filmmakers commented on the socio-economic, philosophical and religious state of the world? No. Was it entertaining? ‘Pew-pew weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee laser swords and spaceships!’. Yes.

Job done.

Talking of films - top films of this year...

DUNKIRK was phenomenal - one of the best war films of recent memory, if not of all time. Brilliantly realised and put together, but then you can expect no less of Nolan.

And BLADE RUNNER 2049. Big T was telling me he heard a review on the radio saying it was ‘too long’. Really? That’s a criticism now?! Visually stunning, great story, nice way of bringing Grumpy Harry back into the mix and the sound/music was something special. Loved it.

While I’m on a ‘Best Of’ roll--

Books:

The SOUTHERN REACH trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer - good luck trying to decipher this, it’s mind-blowing, but in the best possible sense. Superbly written set of books.

Comics:

I am sooooooo far behind on my comics, it’s just silly now, but really enjoyed THE GODDAMNED by Jason Aaron and RM Guera and THE HUNT by Colin Lorimer and Joanna LaFuente (the visuals were stunning in this - Colin’s on fire at the minute).

Talking of which, it’s been a funny old year (more in a sec) - my big book release of the year was IMPOSSIBLE by Jake Rowlinson, Dan Franco and myself. Still can’t thank those boys enough for the incredible job they did, as well as Ken Reynolds for the additional edits and design and Harry Markos for taking a punt on it in the first place. The book has been very well received so far, made a few ‘Best Of’ lists (Comics Anonymous / Pipedream Comics) and some very favourable things said about it on Episode 128 of the Awesome Comics Podcast (thanks, chaps).

 

Come January, I’m starting work on IMPROBABLE, the direct follow-up. Depending on how I get on, I might see if I can back-to-back the scripts for that and the third and final part. We’ll see, depends on how the planning goes for it.

I also had two short stories out - SCALP HUNTER: DRIVE’S A HARD BARGAIN released in the very last (noooooo) MASSACRE FOR BOYS anthology (which you can buy here), illustrated by Eddy Lyle and lettered by Bolt-01 and OFF THE RESERVATION, a bonkers little short by PL Woods, Liam O’Connor, Ken Reynolds (you’ll see his name pop up a lot, because he’s the BOSS) and myself that was released in issue 19 of Dave Hailwood’s 100% Biodegradable (which you can buy here). 

Here’s the ‘funny old year’ bit - there was (and still is) a lot of talk online about the State Of Things In Comics, especially this year. Lots of talk. And understandably so. There’s been a slump in sales for most and it’s been noticeable. Last year, Travell and I made enough money at conventions and the occasional online sale (we never do especially well online) to cover the print costs on DARK MATTER II, which was nice. We felt like we were making a bit of headway in that making comics might, possibly, maybe, become self-sustaining, but alas, this year managed to thwart that endgame right and royally.

We don’t do this for the money (money in comics, HAHAHAHAHAHA), we do it because we like telling stories, we like putting those stories in other people’s hands (EGO) and we hope that they enjoy them (MORE EGO). But there IS a monetary aspect to it, there always will be, because free enterprise but more importantly every sale we make means that the books are in someone’s hands.

Give you an example:

Jay Martin, Big T and myself spent £480 on 2 tables at this year’s London Super Comic Convention. We were on the main floor, in the mix of it all. Jay, Big T and myself made £260 over the 3 days of the convention. That’s a £220 loss. Not included in that - hotel, food, drinks (okay, that technically doesn’t count because, well, we had a good time - A GOOOOOOOD TIME).

This is NOT (repeat NOT) a ‘woe is me’ story, ‘please send money to my GoFund Me account’ etc. This is just an example of this year. We took a gamble, it didn’t pay off. But in previous years, we would’ve made that back.

[As an aside, read me ol’ mucker Tony Esmond’s blog and he’ll tell it how it is, better than I ever could.]

Interestingly, it’s not just comics, it seems to be across all walks of life. Just turn on the news. Speak to someone who owns a small business. People aren’t spending as much as they were. Could be a whole heap of things that I won’t get into here (again, just turn on the news) that’s affecting this, but it’s definitely been noticeable in our little corner of the media market.

What’s the answer? Don’t know. Jay and I are knocking a few conventions on the head after last year and focussing on the one’s we love / enjoy / think there’s a chance we might recoup the costs and make a bit on top - you can see that list-in-progress here - www.chrissideswriter.com/cons. If you’re headed to any of these and we’re there, come say hi.

Again, it’s not about the money, it’s about getting books in hands, but if we’re not making sales, we’re not getting books in hands. Anyway, enough of this. Next year...really looking forward to next year--

Big launch for 2018 is THE GUNRUNNER, an all-action thriller from artistic maestro PL (Pete) Woods, colouring wizard Liam O’Connor and lettering (struggling to think of something that means you’re a boss at that particular thing) person Ken Reynolds (I love you really, Ken). We’re dead excited to get this out into the world and the concept work Pete’s knocking up is awesome. To that end, it’s SO awesome, here’s a wee taster...

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The other big launch for 2018 is CLOSE, a serialised crime thriller from Chris Travell, Ken Reynolds and myself. It’s been published by Pete ‘When The Fuck Does He Sleep?’ Genepool and James ‘Tallest Man In Small Press’ McCulloch aka Comichaus in their incredible monthly (soon to be bi-monthly) anthology of the same name. We’re excited to be a part of this and looking forward to getting that first episode out. You can find out a little more here - www.chrissideswriter.com/comics/close - and here’s a panel to whet the appetite -

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Chris and I are also hoping to have INTERSECTION done and out next year, but it depends on schedules etc. Oh, and there's this...

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But more on that another time.

I’ve also got another short coming out in March’s issue of 100% Biodegradable - WRONG TIME, WRONG PLACE is a little timey-wimey 3 pager with art by the incredible Rory Donald aka Reach Illustration, with letters by Ken. Been wanting to work with Rory for some time and was made up he agreed to get involved with this one - you can see why right here--

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I’ve also got a lot of pitches on the go that are coming together for sending early next year. I won’t say too much about them for the minute, but there’s a psychological horror one-shot with rising megastar Adam Jakes, colour supremo Aljosa Tomic and lettering GENIUS, he’s FUCKING GENIUS, Ken--

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An all-ages something something with the inimitable Jim Lavery, another colour wizard Chris ‘Burbs’ Jenkins and, you guessed it, Ken, and something I’m working on with IMPOSSIBLE’s colourist Dan Franco (and Ken). AND there’s a short story I’m working on for SLICED QUARTERLY that’s going to be REALLY fun to try and work out. That’s with Ken. Again. I might just move in with Ken, it might be easier? What do you think, Ken?

So, yeah, busy. In a good way. There may be more, depending on how things pan out.

But like I said, I’m dead excited about 2018. I’m thinking of maybe jumping on the newsletter bandwagon too. I really like the idea of newsletters - straight into your inbox, you only subscribe to stuff you’re interested in and you don’t have to go hunting for your favourite stuff, unlike TwitFace where there’s algorithms and other shit that point you at things you don’t really want to look at, like people screeching at each other and adverts covered in Ray Winstone’s face. Two I enjoy are Ken’s (I might have to tally up how many times I’ve typed ‘Ken’ in this post) and Tony ‘Ez, Ez, Give Us A Rant’ Esmond.

Right, I’ve rambled enough and that Christmas beer isn't going to drink itself.

An enormous thank you to everyone that’s supported us in one way or another this year, to the event organisers that put on the excellent conventions, to those incredibly talented mofos who I’m very lucky to have worked with / am working with on those various projects above [and others in the pipeline] / that I’m lucky enough to call friends for the fun at conventions and beyond and thank YOU because you’re here reading this, when you could be...watching...a sexy film. Or something. Anyway, thanks x

Happy Christmas / New Year etc.

See you on the other side...


- Sidesy

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