The Standard – Comic Book Column Category



The Standard Reviewed at Comics Anonymous

Written by on Dec 8, 2011
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The reviews of The Standard #1 and #2 are still coming in, and the response is still positive.  Gary Watson, of Scottish-based comics site Comics Anonymous, recently picked up the first two issues, and here’s what he had to say:

Now as you’ll no doubt have seen in my recent reviews…..the small press shelf is not to be passed-by……and “The Standard”….is yet another reason for that.

The special powers of writing belong to John Lees with his art sidekick Jonathan Rector and they combine to bring us the story of Gilbert Graham aka The Standard.  A mild-mannered scientist given superpowers when a meteorite hits his lab…..don’t you hate it when that happens?  Now that premise is pretty typical of a superhero origin…..but thankfully that’s where this stops being your typical comic book.

The Standard #1:

Gilbert’s days as The Standard seem to be long behind him as his side-kick, Fabu-Lad (aka Alex Thomas), has taken on the role following Gilbert’s retirement from the hero game.  Set in Sky City, we see that Alex has veered away from the hero business and into the world of celebrity…..fame, fortune and reality TV has grabbed his attention these days….but at heart he’s still a hero.  When a young girl goes missing he promises to find her…..and from here we’re on the betting game as to whether Alex will become a hero “The Standard” should be or give in to the celebrity life-syle.  The issue plays out with a mysterious figure and a violent ending that I’m trying not to give away as best I can.

The Standard #2:

Issue #2 builds on the fallout from #1 and we get to know a lot more about Gilbert’s life these days as a school teacher……answering questions about his hero days and wowing the class.  Intermingled with this we have some back-story on Fabu-Lad and we get to sit-in on some pretty poignant moments as Gilbert finds out about his abusive life so-far……false papers and an alias later, Gilbert has taken “Alex” under his wing and his training begins.  We have mentions of secret serums, corporate goings-on and Alex’s agent chasing after Gilbert for what seems like ulterior motives but it all boils down to the missing girl and the quest to find her.  Another hint at the mysterious figure at the end of the issue has me hooked BIG time.

It’s rare that I read and re-read an issue, let alone 2, in the way I have with The Standard……there’s something about it that seems familiar….the writing is so strong and involving that I just can’t seem to put them down……but that’s a good thing……I can only imagine that I’ll be re-reading the whole thing as each issue comes out.  The pacing and plot are perfect, with a switch between now and a flashback here n there at just the right point to keep you up to date with the info you need.  Even the supporting characters in this are likeable….the Scottish agent guy is BRILLIANT…..and the Villain, “The Frying Scotsman” is a stroke of genius.  It’s actually a welcome change to see a Scottish character in a comic….one that I can pick up on his accent….even though it’s in print.

This is all backed up by Rector’s art which is exceptionally detailed where it needs to be and then slips into minimalist panels and bold colours that you’d expect from a hero comic.  Looking at that cover for issue #2, it reminds of Joe Quesada and the colouring throughout both issues just seems to seep into the pages and settle into a natural look.

For me, the 2-issues here are among some of the best I’ve read in quite some time – thanks to both the writing and the art.  It’s got a nostalgic edge to it but not in a schmaltzy way and somehow managed to keep hold of its on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller status….as well as being about a superhero.  That’s no mean feat from an independent title – a first class book and I’m holding my breath for issue 3….4….5……AND 6…..because I’m getting them all.  It’s no wonder it gained 2 nominations at this years Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards (SICBA)….if anything, it should’ve won them….in my opinion anyway.

Hoping to have more reviews of this as the issues hit the comic book shelves.

Thanks to Gary for the very kind review.  Comics Anonymous is a great collective of comics journalist, commentators and reviewers.  I got to meet a couple of them at a Glasgow League of Writers event a few weeks back, and they’re nice folk too.  Check out the review at the site here, and while you’re there, check out the rest of the site, with insightful reviews and cool creator interviews, among other goodies.  Thanks again!




Buy The Standard at ComixTribe!

Written by on Nov 30, 2011
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At the official website of ComixTribe, the publisher of The Standard, a new shop has been opened, where you can buy ComixTribe’s complete line of titles, including The Red Ten, Epic, Runners, Scam, Tears of the Dragon and, of course, The Standard.  To celebrate this store opening, and to tie into the Black Friday sales, ComixTribe is currently doing a 25% off everything sale.

MORE INFO ON SHOP.COMIXTRIBE.COM AND THEIR 25% OFF SALE.

BUY THE STANDARD #1!

BUY THE STANDARD #2!

If you haven’t yet bought The Standard, now is the perfect chance – your own physical copy of the comic mailed to your door, at 25% off the marked price!  I’d also highly recommend getting the ComixTribe bundle deal.  It’s a great offer, and you’ll be getting a superb lineup of quality comics.  Our bindle deal went down a storm at New York Comic Con: time to find out why.




The Standard Gets Podcast Love!

Written by on Nov 17, 2011
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On the latest episode of the We Talk Comics podcast, the review team featured some of their favorite recent independent comics. One book that got a mention was The Standard #1! The panel had some really nice things to say about the series, with one saying it was comparable in quality to Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman’s Animal Man, and another saying he’d rank it above any of DC’s New 52! Of course, that’s high praise I’m not going to agree with (I hope one day I can make comics half as well as Jeff Lemire), but all the same it’s very flattering, and I’m incredibly grateful for the mention.

Check out the 10/11 edition of the We Talk Comics Podcast!

The gang starts talking about The Standard at around the 48:30 mark. Also, if you’re interested, fellow ComixTribe title The Red Ten, by Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano, also gets some rave reviews, starting from 34:55. Check it out! Thanks again to the whole We Talk Comics team for the mention.

Remember, The Standard #1 is available from Indyplanet, priced at $3.99. You can also buy it digitally for $1.99 from Graphicly, Wowio, DriveThruComics and MyDigitalComics. The Standard #2 is also available now via IndyPlanet for $3.99, and digitally from Graphicly, Wowio,DriveThruComics and MyDigitalComics, priced at $1.99. Readers in the Glasgow area can also pick up both issues from Forbidden Planet, A1 Comics and Plan B Books. The Standard #3 is due for a January 2012 release.




New York Comic Con Report: Day 1

Written by on Nov 7, 2011
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For ages, it seems like it’s been looming as something exciting and a little bit scary in the distance.  From Monday October 10th to Monday October 17th, 2011, I would be visiting New York City.  Tyler James, publisher of ComixTribe, had invited me out to the New York Comic Con to represent The Standard, and I jumped at the chance.  Having missed out on getting tickets for San Diego Comic Con earlier in the year, I had the funds to pull the trip off, and so I decided to build a vacation to the Big Apple around my first experience as a pro at a major con.  And somehow, it managed to sneak up on me, and all of a sudden I was in New York City, with the con itself right around the corner.

It had been fun seeing New York City, but with the arrival of Thursday it was time to get down to business: New York Comic Con was upon us.  After another 6:30am rise and a hearty breakfast to set me up for the day, I headed down on the brief walk to the Javits Convention Center.  I had scoped the place out on my first day in NYC, and it had seemed pretty barren, an empty vessel waiting for a sense of purpose.  But what a difference a few days make.  Now, the Javits Center was getting ready for New York Comic Con!

 

Once I arrived, I discovered that Tyler James and Joe Mulvey – my booth partners, who would be bringing the tables, chairs and our supply of comics – had been held up in that notorious New York traffic.  And since we needed Tyler, who’d booked the booth, to get our exhibitor passes, I had to just sit around in the foyer for a while.  But eventually, the rest of the gang arrived, and while Joe seeked out a parking place outside, I got to meet the mighty Tyler James, glorious leader of ComixTribe, for the first time.  I always get a kick meeting people I’ve talked to online in person, and so far I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve not had an experience of someone I thought was alright over MSN or Skype turning out to be a weirdo in person (probably because I’M the one who’s the weirdo in person), and Tyler was no exception, turning out to be as smart and cool in the real world as the virtual one.

There was a brief scare where it seemed like our passes had been lost, or accidentally given to someone else, but thankfully it was resolved before too long, and we were kitted out with the Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket that is a Comic-Con exhibitor pass.  Meeting up with Joe and his friend outside, we went through the arduous task of dragging our heavy bundles of stock and equipment from the car park to our booth on the show floor.  An interesting aside: over the course of the week, I only noticed that the escalator from the foyer up to the show floor had stopped working on two occasions.  The first was on this day, meaning we had to haul all our stuff up it like it was a regular flight of stairs.  The second was on Sunday, when we had to haul all our stuff back down it again.  Typical.

Another problem emerged once we located our corner booth just near Artist’s Alley.  Namely, that it wasn’t a corner booth.  We were located quite inconveniently next to what I can only call a massive China exhibit.  If that sounds vague, it’s because that’s the impression they gave.  It was this collection of 8 connected booths that ran in a big line next to where our booth was, all with the words CHINA written on top of them, but each with its own hazey subtitle, like “Skyworks Technologies” or “Guangzhou Daley Media Co” or something similarly uninformative.  And these booths were typically partitioned off, and often empty.  And I don’t just mean no con-goers stopped by – though people rarely did – I mean that even the exhibitors themselves were barely there.  It must have been an expensive bit of real estate, but obviously these guys must have had a lot of money to throw around to book all that space then not really use it.  And the problem with these massive booths was that they jutted right out onto the floor, far beyond the reach of our table, meaning anyone walking past them was automatically cast at a distance away from our table, breaking that essential passing trade connection.  On the plus side, I pointed out, we were at a good place to catch people headed to the nearby bathroom.

 

I have to say, it was really exciting setting up the ComixTribe booth.  Sure, I got a little thrill laying out my comics at my table for the Glasgow Comic Fair, but this was on a whole other level.  Organising not just The Standard, but the rest of ComixTribe’s diverse lineup, reminded me of the stellar company I keep being a part of ComixTribe.  The absolute best thing about The Standard being published through ComixTribe is that I get to be a part of such a fantastic roster of talent, and an incredible lineup of titles.  I had already read and loved Runners, Tears of the Dragon and Epic, but once the booth was set up, I was able to sit down and read Joe Mulvey’s Scam, and The Red Ten by Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano.  Both are just great comics, which I highly recommend checking out if you possibly can.  Here’s the thing that helped me a lot while pitching all the ComixTribe titles over the weekend: I didn’t have to be dishonest in my shilling.  My enthusiasm and passion for each of these comics and their quality was absolutely genuine.

With the booth ready, we all headed out to a local deli for lunch.  And, like the sophisticated artistic souls we are, we spent the entire meal sharing puke, shit and fart stories.  Classy, my kinda people.  Afterwards, we headed back to the convention center, and I took the time to have a look around the show floor.  The layout was actually quite a lot like San Diego, only with less TV and movie booths, and more of a central focus on comics.  I also noted that Marvel had situated itself far away from the rest of the comics booth, instead settling down right in the middle of the video game section.  This struck me as a bit isolationist, and because it was so far off my beaten track, I actually never visited the Marvel booth save for passing by it on my way into the show floor in the mornings.  I’d say the trifecta of the DC Comics booth, the Image booth and the Midtown Comics booth felt more like the central hub of the show floor, with the well-furnished Archaia booth situated well in amongst them.

After a while, the doors opened to the public (at least, those with 4-day VIP passes), and the first day of selling began.  In all honesty, business was a little slow on this first day.  We did have a steady flow of eyes on our table, but we had our quiet periods.  My problem was that I couldn’t get my salesmanship down.  My pitch for The Standard was overlong and clunky, and I could practically see eyes glazing over as I launched into it.  I just didn’t seem to have a good knack for it, and was grateful that the affable Joe and the super-efficient selling machine that was Tyler were there to take my slack.

Shifting from my exhibitor hat to my fan hat, I took a wander around Artist’s Alley.  The first familiar face I got to meet was Mikel Janin, the talented rising star artist of Justice League Dark.  He very kindly agreed to sign my copy of Justice League Dark #1, and we parted on what I thought was a good note.  But then I realised, to my horror, that I had given Mikel my sharpie pen, and forgotten to take it back.  Now, those who know me from work will know that I am paranoid about ensuring nobody takes it from me, and I will stand and watch people use the pens they borrow fro me to make sure they give them back when they’re done.  So I launched into this awkward moment where I had to go back to this gifted artist I admire, and politely ask him to give me my pen back.  Thankfully, my subsequent friendly Twitter chat with Mikel would suggest this faux pas was not too disastrous.

The next folks on my list were Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, the esteemed writer/artist team on cracking Western series The Sixth Gun.  Long-time followers of this blog will know I’ve devoted a lot of time to promoting this comic, reviewing the first graphic novel collection and several other subsequent issues and bestowing superlative but well-deserved praise.  I tried my best to convey this praise to the team in person, telling them that The Sixth Gun had so much content packed into each issue that every individual comic was a rewarding read in itself, and that this most definitely wasn’t a comic for trade-waiters.  I then gave them a trade to sign.

But perhaps most exciting of all for me on this day was the chance to meet Jason Aaron.  Regular readers may know that I have gushed about The Sixth Gun, but they’ll also know that I’ve lavished numerous dissertation-length odes of devotion to the seminal Verigo crime series Scalped, a title I’ve not been in shy in saying I’d rank as definitely the best comic on shelves today, and well on its way into entering the canon of the all-time greats.  Considering all this, getting to meet Scalped writer Jason Aaron was one of the things I was most excited about going into the New York Comic Con.  And I’m pleased to say he didn’t disappoint.  This is something that has struck me about all the folks in comics I’ve been fortunate enough to meet over the past couple of years: they’re all nice guys.  It must be really deflating to meet one of your heroes, and they’re a jerk.  But the comics creators I’ve had the chance to talk to have all been friendly, and keen to chat with their fans, and Jason Aaron was no exception.

At first, Jason bamboozled me a bit: when I produced Scalped #25 and told him that, after much painful deliberation, I had decided this was my favorite single issue of the series, he asked me the dreaded question, “Why is this one your favorite?”  I garbled at him in incomprehensible Glaswegian for a while as I struggled to come up with a good answer (I failed), and then I introduced myself as the writer of the Studying Scalped columns he had kindly linked to on his blog.  It was great that Jason knew who I was enough to thank me for the columns I’d written.  I also told him I was the guy who’d asked him to bring along Scalped #3, #15 and #16 to the con, and he responded by producing them from his backpack.  Getting these elusive comics given to me by the writer himself!  I was ready to pay double the cover price or more, but Jason amazingly said I could just take them for free!  What a classy guy.  With these issues in my collection, I was now the proud owner of every Scalped single issue save for issue #1.  I tried to fire a couple of quickfire Scalped questions at Jason before leaving.  Will there be any Scalped deluxe hardcovers in future?  Probably not.  Will there be any Scalped retrospective panels at San Diego 2012 or next year’s NYCC?  Again, probably not, but Jason did mention I could take part in some kind of series of closing interviews at the end of the series, which would be amazing.  I gave Jason copies of The Standard #1 and #2, then gushed some more about how Scalped was one of the greatest comics of all time, before finally making my exit.

In terms of stuff I bought, I was able to grab almost all the issues of Zot! my friend Jamie Fairlie was missing from his collection, and I picked up two T-shirts from DC’s Graphitti Designs booth: a Swamp Thing T-shirt, and something I’ve wanted for a long time: a grey Batman with a black Batman logo.  That’s right, none of that “black T-shirt with the black bat logo inside a yellow circle” movie bullshit for me, I’m a comics purist, baby!  And a nerd.

Back at the ComixTribe booth, Steve – the friendly fan from Jim Hanley’s – stopped by to say hello.  He had read and enjoyed The Standard #1 after buying it at the signing, so was here to get his hands on The Standard #2.  I have to say, this happened a few times over the course of the con, and it was the biggest compliment.  When someone buys and reads the first issue one day, and takes the time to come back the next day, tell you they loved it, and buy issue #2?  That’s quite possibly the most rewarding thing about writing these comics.  It’s a great feeling.  Steve also ended up buying the rest of ComixTribe’s lineup too, which was great.  Perhaps our first convert of NYCC.  Thanks, Steve!

 

Once the NYCC preview night wrapped up, I stopped back at my hotel to make a quick change and drop off my heavy satchel bag (this bag, filled with books I wanted signed, was the bane of much of my travels during the con), before heading down to Tempest Bar for ComixTribe’s Drink Draw event.  Food was provided in the form of giant pizzas brought in from a nearby pizzeria.  Yes, that’s right, pizza again.  And these ones were MASSIVE, dwarving even the oversized slices from Pronto Pizza.  Quite possibly the biggest pizza I’ve seen in my life.

Drink Draw started off quiet, but once it got going we ended up with a good crowd of comic creators at the event.  Now, I say “quiet”, but what I actually mean is that deafeningly loud music was banging away at all times, and it seemed like the louder I tried to speak, the louder the music got.  See, I just don’t get this.  I see a bar as a place meant for socialising, so while ambient music is fine, what’s the point of cranking up the volume so loud you can barely communicate?  And remember, I was trying to make myself understood to a bunch of New Yorkers with a thick Scottish accent as it was, so I was already fighting an uphill battle.

I did get to have a few good conversations, though.  In particular, I got to have some lengthy chats with Rich Douek, regular ComixTribe commenter, and writer of an intriguing title called Gutter Magic that I was able to get my hands on at NYCC.  And I also got one of Tyler’s friends to draw up an image for one of the artist edition covers of The Standard, which was greatly appreciated.

After hanging out for a few hours, I took my leave, feeling a little sick from the watered-down Coke and oversized pizza.  But it was a good kind of sick.  The New York Comic Con was off to a great start.  And it was only going to get better.




New York Comic Con Report: Day 2

Written by on Nov 7, 2011
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My day didn’t start off well.  Three days in a row of New York pizza had wrecked havok on my stomach – which already had never exited amber alert from my departure from Glasgow – and the less said about the terrifying monstrosities that escaped from my bowels that morning, the better.  I opted for a lighter breakfast in hopes of stilling my queasy belly, and minimising the risk of any violent sprays coming out from the other end, and thankfully once I was out of the hotel and heading for the con my tummy seemed to settle.  I was worried that tides of projectile vomit might hurt our comics sales.

Thursday was a nice way to ease into New York Comic Con, a chance for us to get set up and dip our toes in the selling waters.  But with Friday festivities began in earnest, as we launched into the first full day of NYCC.  The doors opened to the public at 10am, but I got there before 9, wanting to be early to make sure everything was in order.  Already, a line had formed at the venue.  It was a great feeling, being able to just walk past the queue, waving my magic exhibitor badge, and head into the show floor.  And it’s also really cool just being able to walk through a serene, quiet, empty show floor at a con, knowing it’ll soon be bustling with people.

I arrived at the booth, and started getting everything set up for the day.  Tyler arrived not too long afterwards, and I got a chance to do some early shopping before the con started proper: another bonus for exhibitors!  I looked all over in vain for Scalped #1, but it was nowhere to be found.  I think I checked literally every booth selling comic back issues on the entire con floor, and only a few of them had any issues of Scalped, never mind the first one.  However, I did pick up a first print copy of The Saga of the Swamp Thing #29, the infamous “Love and Death” issue that murdered the Comics Code.  Having picked up the “Anatomy Lesson” issue in a back issue bargain bin at the Glasgow Comic Con, I now had my OTHER favorite issue of Moore’s seminal run – and my vote for the scariest single comic ever made – to add to my collection.

Speaking of Swamp Thing, I also got the chance to make what was surely my most frivolous purchase of my time in New York.  One of my big regrets of being unable to attend the San Diego Comic Con this year was that I missed out on getting the SDCC exclusive DC Universe Classics Swamp Thing action figure.  So imagine my joy when I spotted it in New York!  I was on my way back from not buying the ridiculously overpriced water from the snack stall (they had marked it up a price a dollar from the day before, and the next day they would add on yet another dollar to the price – incredible) when I spotted the big box sitting at one of the stalls.  It was even more ridiculously overpriced than the water, but I had to have it.  This guy is absolutely massive, with some really cool detail on the sculpt.  I now have him proudly displayed in my bedroom.

 

And then it was 10am, and time to get to work.  Joe was held up waiting for a shipment of stock, so at first it was just Tyler and I holding the fort.  Again, business was slow but steady, with us still having a hard time hooking as many people as we’d like.  One thing that did sell well was our ComixTribe package deal: all 6 of our comic books – The Standard #1, The Standard #2, Epic #1, The Red Ten #1, Runners #1 and Scam #1 – plus an 11X17 print and one of Tyler’s art sketchards, all for $25.  That really enticed a lot of people, as it was a good deal that was giving people a lot of stuff for their money.  The package deals were what really made us the bulk of our money over the first couple of days.

I briefly slipped away from the booth to head over to Artist’s Alley and meet Rahsan Ekedal, whose artwork on Echoes greatly impressed me as I read it while waiting at the departure gate at Glasgow Airport.  He was a friendly guy, and signed my copy of the book.  I then headed over to Archaia’s booth, where I hoped to meet editor-in-chief Stephen Christy.  I got to say hello to him and introduce myself, and talk to him a bit about Archaia’s submission policy.  They have recently made the move away completely from single issues, now focusing solely on the original graphic novel market.  I love Archaia, the presentation of their graphic novels is always of the highest quality, and they’re a company I’d love to work with in the future.  So I gave Stephen copies of The Standard and told them I’d be stopping by at their panel later in the day.

I feel pretty guilty, as I spent the bulk of this particular day away from the booth, attending various panels.  The first one I went to was the screening of the Locke Key TV pilot, which we now know was not picked up by Fox – one more reason to hate Fox.  I was pleased that there was a big queue for this event, and I only barely got in.  The episode was great, really true to the spirit of the comic, which makes it all the more devastating that we probably won’t see any more of it.  I will say, however, that the pilot alone covered the entirety of Welcome to Lovecraft, the first volume of the series.  So I don’t know if there would be enough content within the Locke Key mythology to sustain 22-24 episodes across multiple seasons.  Perhaps a miniseries would be a better bet?

I stopped back briefly at the booth in between panels, to find that Joe had arrived, and he’d kindly brought lunch!  When I next set off, it was for a double-header of panels.  First up was Archaia’s panel on how to make a great indy graphic novel.  This had all kind of useful pointers about developing ideas and the submission process.  Plus, I got to ask a question about Archaia’s approach to design in publication.  I had to leave a bit early in order to make the next panel, but what I saw of Archaia’s panel made it worthwhile attending.

Next up was the Vertigo Visions panel.  Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder and Jason Aaron all on a panel together, how could I not be interested in this one?  And they were accompanied by such a wealth of talent that the bulk of the panel was taken up simply by Karen introducing each panelist and letting them talk a little about what they were working on.  Poor Karen arrived late, getting the starting time for the panel wrong, and was all flustered in her attempts to moderate the panel.  The highlight of the hour for me was the announcement that Paul Cornell – another favorite of mine who sadly couldn’t attend New York Comic Con this year – would be writing a new Vertigo title called Saucer Country.  I was pleased when the mention of his name was greeted with well-deserved applause.  What this means is that, in the brief window of time between Saucer Country beginning and Scalped ending, four of my top five current comic writers will all be writing titles at Vertigo (the fifth one is Grant Morrison, as I’m sure you can guess), meaning it’s a very exciting time for the DC imprint, at least in my book.

After the Vertigo panel, I got to say hello to Mark Doyle.  Here’s a guy involved in editing American Vampire, Sweet Tooth AND Scalped, meaning he surely has one of the most awesome jobs in comics.  I regularly tweet him about my progress in trying to assemble every Scalped single issue, so I got to tell him in person that I was now only missing the first issue.

I returned to the booth to find that sales had been chugging along nicely in my absence, and I hung around for a while, until I once more left my compatriots in the lurch for the Creator Connections panel.  This is presented as a kind of speed dating for creators, where writers are paired up with artists.  I enjoyed this a great deal, as I got to talk to a lot of talented artists, and got a whole bunch of business cards and potential contacts I may get in touch with for future collaborations.

By the time that panel was done, New York Comic Con was done for the day.  As I said, I felt pretty bad about not being at the ComixTribe booth much on Friday, and told Tyler and Joe that I planned to be there for much of Saturday and most of Sunday.  It’s just the way things worked out that Friday had a high concentration of panels.  And I still had one more to attend!

I made a brief stop at a jam-packed McDonalds near the Javits Center for dinner (I kid you not, I was sat between a girl dressed as a Green Lantern and a guy dressed as a White Lantern) , before heading back to the con for a night-time panel on horror in comics.  I had a hard time finding the room at first, but once I did I was able to just slip in without needing to queue, which was nice.  The panel was actually really interesting.  Horror is a genre I’ve long loved, and have recently begun to appreciate more in the comics medium.  I’d love to attempt a story in the genre, and attending this panel gave me a lot of inspiration and ideas.

This panel took me to near 10pm.  By this point, the ComixTribe gang were over on the other side of the city, so rather than trying to play catch-up, I just walked around New York at night a little, then headed back for an early night.  I’d enjoyed the panels, but I felt this day was a lot of sitting and listening to people talk.  I wanted to make the most of the last couple of days.  Though I did get to see a dog dressed as Superman on Friday.

 




New York Comic Con Report: Day 4

Written by on Nov 7, 2011
Filed in: The Standard - Comic Book Column  |  No Comments »

I got to sleep a little later this day, staying in bed until the luxurious time of 7am before getting up and ready.  I headed off to the Javits Center with a tinge of sadness, as I knew this would be the last day of what had been an immensely fun New York Comic Con.  I didn’t have any panels lined up, so I knew I’d be able to make the most of my last day with lots of selling at the ComixTribe booth.

My only extended foray away from the table came when I attended the Jeff Lemire signing in the afternoon.  I had arrived at Javits with a much lighter satchel bag on Sunday, having been able to leave the Joshua Hale Fialkov hardcover graphic novels and the massive pile of Scott Snyder comics at the hotel, and now all that was left was a few Jeff Lemire comics – Sweet Tooth #1, Animal Man #1 and #2, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 and #2.  I’ve been a fan of Lemire’s since Sweet Tooth, and reading modern masterpiece Essex County took my appreciation of his talent to a whole new level.  Combine that with the fact that, with Animal Man, he’s also writing one of the very best titles of DC’s New 52, and Lemire was the one guy left on my checklist of creators I really wanted to meet at NYCC.

With the massive queues I endured at the Snyder signings on the previous day, I dilligently showed up at the Top Shelf booth early, and asked where the queue for Jeff Lemire started.  The bemused guy at the booth told me, “It can start with you.”  Once Jeff arrived, I started gabbling at him about how I would have brought Essex County to get signed but couldn’t fit it in my suitcase, and how I’d convinced someone sitting behind me at the DC Dark panel to go and buy Animal Man #1 by showing them the copy I had in my bag.  I don’t think he understood a word of my incomprehensible Glaswegian brogue, but he did smile and nod politely.  I gave Jeff copies of The Standard #1 and #2, thus completing the trifecta of my favorite creators that I wanted to give my comic to.  Having also given copies to Grant Morrison and Paul Cornell at earlier signings, this means that my top five favorite comic writers all theoretically have a copy of a comic I wrote in their possession, which in itself is a very rewarding feeling.

I’ll also take a brief aside to mention that the people at 215 Ink all rock.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to them at length at any point over the course of NYCC, and I think they had an even harder time making out my accent than most, but they’re a talented bunch of creators, and I eagerly scooped up a couple of their titles on my travels.

 

Back at the booth, and I’m pleased to report that I was able to carry my momentum from the previous day over to Sunday.  They say Sunday is often a very quiet day, slow for sales, but together we managed to make Sunday top even our performance on Saturday, and against the odds make it our most successful day for sales.  There was one small thing that made a surprisingly huge difference.  Each day, we had been inching our table a little further out, trying to lessen the effect of being overwhelmed by the massive China booths pressed against us.  Well, on Sunday, at the time of the con floor opening to the public, the China exhibitors hadn’t even shown up, and all the tarps were still up on their booths, suggesting they wouldn’t be showing up on this last day.  Tyler and I took advantage of this by bringing round an extra table from behind the booth, and sitting it out in front of our current table, creating a “corner” where we could display Tyler’s prints of Batman and Spider-Man at Yankee stadium.  This had an amazing effect: loads of people that might have otherwise walked right on by were stopped in their tracks by this eye-catching print, now displayed prominently in full view of the show floor rather than hidden behind us.  We sold loads of that print, and that in turn got people more interested in the rest of our output.

It was also fun to get a bunch of cosplayers interested in checking out our comics, and even have a few buying them.  It’s a bit surreal when you’re standing next to Spider-Man, telling him about your comic, or you have Batman taking off his gloves so he can take money out of his utility belt to buy a ComixTribe package deal.  But I think cosplayers are awesome.  Screw that jerk from Men’s Fitness who made fun of them.  It just creates a great party atmosphere when, for a few short days, you have people dressing up as fictional characters and walking around the streets of New York (or San Diego, or wherever), and having fun.  I especially loved the couples who cosplayed together, particularly as complimentary characters: e.g. The Doctor and Amy, Green Arrow and Black Canary, The Joker and Harley Quinn.  That right there is true love.  I think that should be my litmus test for whether any future girlfriend is a keeper.  But of course, the great downside of attempting to establish myself as a professional at cons is that there will be less of an opening to dress up in a silly spandex outfit at such events.  Perhaps I should commission a Frying Scotsman costume for next year.  Cosplayers, we salute you!

 

This last day flew by, and before we knew it, the announcements were blaring that Comic-Con was now closed for 2011.  But that wasn’t going to stop me!  I think I was still selling comics for a good 20 minutes after the show closed, catching people passing on their way out, or general stragglers.  I had to live up to my “Sellin’ Scotsman” alias!  The Standard really picked up steam on this last day, flying off our table at such a rate that, by the end of the day, I only had one copy of The Standard #1 first print edition left, and only small amounts of The Standard #2 and my NYCC exclusives.  It was really exciting seeing my comic start to break out and get people interested enough to buy it, particularly on Sunday.  Overall, I’d say The Standard was a big success at New York Comic Con, as was ComixTribe as a whole.

Just before we got ready to leave, Rich Johnston walked past our table.  I made sure to call him over and thank him for publicising some of our titles and sending increased traffic our way over the course of the con.  I’d given him The Standard on Wednesday, but we made sure to give him copies of all our other ComixTribe titles before he headed off.

With the con finished, we embarked on the tedious process of tidying up.  Everything was packed away, and painstakingly hauled out from the show floor and back out to the car park, for Joe to load into his car.  Once we were done with that, and I had said my goodbye to the Javits Center and New York Comic Con (until next year, hopefully!), Joe, Tyler and I made our way to the Pig Whistle, where I had the best dinner I’d eaten in several days!  It really felt like a victory meal, with the great con we’d all had.  As a parting gift, I gave Tyler and Joe a copy each of The Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book One, upon learning to my horror that neither had ever read any of Moore’s Swamp Thing.  In return, I was fortunate enough to grab copies of ComixTribe’s entire line – Scam, Runners, Epic, The Red Ten and Tears of the Dragon.  After a great dinner, I said goodbye to Tyler and Joe – already creators I had a lot of respect for, but who over the course of the week I had become good friends with too – and headed back to my hotel.

 

New York Comic Con was a total blast, and I’d had one of the best weeks of my life.  I was a bit sad knowing that tomorrow would be my last day in New York City, but I was also determined to make the most of it and end my trip on a high note.




The Standard at SICBA Exhibition

Written by on Oct 2, 2011
Filed in: The Standard - Comic Book Column  |  2 Comments »

All this week, running daily up until Friday 30th September, the Mackintosh Church, Arts Heritage Centre will be running an exhibition showcasing the nominees of the Glasgow Comic Con’s Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards.  On display is a gallery of framed artwork from each of these comics, and the exhibition also has a pop-up indy comic shop selling all the nominated titles and other quality books from the Scottish small press.

The Standard was nominated for two SICBAs – Best Writer, and Best Comic/Graphic Novel.  As such, I am excited to report it is being featured as part of the exhibition.  That’s right, Jonathan Rector – your artwork is now in display in a gallery here in Scotland!

The Mackintosh Church, Arts Heritage Centre is the same venue that the Glasgow Comic Con was held in earlier this year.  It can be found on Garscube Road.  It’s a little out of the way from the City Centre, but this not-very-helpful map kinda shows how you can acces it:

If you’re up for the journey out there, however, it would be great if you could check out the SICBA Exhibition.  As well as The Standard, there are lots of great indy comics being showcased there.  I can’t wait to check out the exhibition myself at some point this week.




The Standard NYCC Exclusives!

Written by on Oct 2, 2011
Filed in: The Standard - Comic Book Column  |  2 Comments »

If you didn’t check out the ComixTribe Takes Manhattan digital preview of ComixTribe’s New York Comic Con lineup yesterday, you should scroll down and check it out now.  For those of you who won’t be attending the show, this is a chance to get a glimpse of what you’re missing.  And for those of you who are attending, I hope this encourages you to come see us at the ComixTribe booth.

For those of you falling into that latter category, there will be a couple of NYCC exclusives on offer from The Standard.  We’ll have an exclusive artist edition of The Standard #1 (with talented artists Tyler James and Joe Mulvey both on hand to sketch on it for you) , complete with a brand new cover by Jonathan Rector.  And now, for the first time, I’m unveiling the NYCC exclusive cover, which you’ll also be able to buy at the show as an 11X17 print:

Looks good, eh?  New York Comic Con is now just two weeks away.  Come find us at the ComixTribe table, Booth #2537, and say hello!




ComixTribe Takes Manhattan

Written by on Sep 30, 2011
Filed in: The Standard - Comic Book Column  |  2 Comments »

With New York Comic Con just two weeks away, we are pleased to release a free, 60+ page digital preview of five new series that will debut at the show.

ComixTribe Takes Manhattan features an extended first look at EPIC #1.  Written by ComixTribe publisher Tyler James and drawn by Matt Zolman, EPIC is the story of a teenager who gains incredible super powers, only to learn he has but one weakness…beautiful girls.

Also featured in this release are first looks at:

SCAM #1by Joe Mulvey, a book about superpowered grifters who believe it’s better to die as a conman than live as a mark.

THE RED TEN #1 by Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano, a superhero murder mystery that’s Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” meets “The Justice League,” and features a NYCC exclusive cover by CP Wilson, III (Stuff of Legend).

The STANDARD  #1 #2 by John Lees and Jonathon Rector, the first two issues of the award-nominated story of an elderly superhero who comes out of retirement to avenge the death of his former sidekick.

RUNNERS # 1 by Steve Forbes and Mac Radwanski, a horror book that asks, “In a world over-run by zombies, with humanity on the brink of destruction, what the #$%! are vampires supposed to eat?”

ComixTribe can be found at Booth #2537 in the small press section.

 

Download a free PDF version of COMIXTRIBE TAKES MANHATTAN here!

 

Or read it online right here: http://bit.ly/CT_NYCC_O

 




Glasgow Comic & Toy Fair Report

Written by on Sep 25, 2011
Filed in: The Standard - Comic Book Column  |  2 Comments »

Setting up for the Glasgow Comic Toy Fair

I don’t normally update this site on weekends, but I thought there was no time like the present for posting up a recap of today’s events.  Today, at the Queen Margaret Union at Glasgow University, I attended the Glasgow Comic Toy Fair, selling the first two issues of The Standard.  I posted over on my personal blog about my first experience tabling as a pro last week.  That was a small event at the same venue, with no publicity, and so there wasn’t much of a turn-out.  Today’s fair was much more successful.  Even before the 12pm opening, there were early birds filtering in, and once it got going properly, things got really busy.

I was once again sat next to my Glasgow League of Writers compatriot Gary Chudleigh, who today was with his Obscure Reference Comics partner Graeme Kennedy.  They were selling the first issue of their comic, Villainous, another series which is certainly worth checking out.  I, meanwhile, had both The Standard #1 and The Standard #2 for sale, and I’m pleased to say there was a lot of interest in the series.  I had surpassed the sales I made over the whole day last week within the first hour, and things went up and up from there.  Some people had no awareness of The Standard until I pitched the comic to them.  Others had spotted the first issue in Glasgow comic shops and were interested in reading more.  And a few mentioned learning about the comic through this site, which made me happy!  Thanks again for checking out the site, guys.  I’m glad it made you interested to give the comic a try, and I hope the end product doesn’t disappoint you.  Whatever made you give the comic a try, a big thank you to everyone who picked up one or two issues of The Standard today!

Some of the GLoW Team: Me, Luke Halsall, Graeme Kennedy, Gary Chudleigh, Gordon Robertson

On another note, I was also incredibly pleased with the awareness we were able to build for the Glasgow League of Writers over the course of the day.  Gordon Robertson, writer of Arse Cancer, printed out a whole bunch of flyers for the event, and they were almost all gone by the end of the fair.  A whole lot of people had questions about GLoW, and were eager to find out more.  As it turns out, there seems to be a real demand – in Glasgow, at least – for a community where writers can get together and talk about making comics.  GLoW has most certainly been that community for me, and I can’t wait to see where that community goes next with all the potential new faces.

All in all, the Glasgow Comic Toy Fair was a great day.  It’s the first time I’ve been to one of these fairs – which Glasgow Comic Con organisers Sha Nazir and John Farman run twice a year – and I’d definitely be up for going  again.  Thanks to Sha and John for a great event, and thanks again to everyone who came along and supported The Standard!

Me and my comics!

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