Progress Report

After far too long, the “new” 1910 Press website was launched recently. It’s the third or fourth “revamp” it’s had which is not actually a revamp at all, just a few small alterations that took 6 months.

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And even then it’s not finished!

The URL is http://www.felney.co.uk/

It actually needs further edits, as I have decided to cancel The Small Press Digest and The Sentinel before they even began! As they are both “newspapers” my typical working speed meant that by the time they got printed the news in them would have been hilariously out of date. I’ll stick to the blog for that!

I originally intended for The Sentinel to join “The 22 Club” and merge with The Red, White & Blue at a later date. I may instead just add a one-page “The Sentinel Says” article to the RWB, containing news of small press cons and new British Comic releases.

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Marcus Morris wouldn’t have liked this

Speaking of The Red, White & Blue, it’s bi-monthly publishing schedule began at the start of 2012, meaning the first issue is dated Jan-Feb 2012. So where is it? Horribly delayed! Virtually all of the artwork is done, but the “Complete history of British adventure comics 1777-2012” article turned out to be rather long, for some reason. An early draft of the article, with huge numbers of spelling and grammar errors, and not a small amount of factual errors, can be read under the History tab. It is being slowly revised, the Norman Saxon story will also be re-read and corrected and the first issue will hopefully “go to press” on Friday, in time for it’s unofficial “launch party” on Saturday.

The party that the RWB will be “hijacking” is actually a premeeting for Camcon, the first Comic/Sci-fi/Anime/Cosplay/Roleplay/My Little Pony (all the cool kids are going mad for it, seriously) convention to be held in Cambridge!

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www.thecamcon.com 

I have decided to prepare the first two issues of the RWB in time for Camcon, in May, and put them both on sale there first. After that I’ll sort out an online shop, probably using the arts and crafts website Etsy.

The first issue of the RWB, including the overlong article, is going to be a “mammoth” 40 pages! From issue 2 it will be 32 pages and from issue 3 (after various ‘setting up’ articles and editorials are out of the way) will contain:

One colour comic strip (4 pages)

Three black and white strips (5 pages each)

One complete text story about Norman Saxon (7-8 pages)

One text serial instalment (3 pages)

Plus other short complete stories/strips, articles and filler.

Unless I can find somebody to help with artwork (and who in the UK small press cares about jingoistic boys’ own comics?) the page count will be drastically reduced in future. Probably shedding the colour strip, one black and white strip and the text serial. Of course I will try to keep the  “full size” comic going for as long as I can manage!

As for the release date of the first issue of The Trident… your guess is as good as mine! If I can manage to get ahead of myself on the Red, White & Blue I’ll take a week off work and pummel the keyboard until it’s finished! The story in Issue 1 is going to be the “actual” first Norman Saxon story, set in 1899. It will be a heavily-revised version of an old Sexton Blake story I wrote, which can be found here: http://www.felney.co.uk/web/blake/hong.html  (warning: long and terrible!).

 

And now, in light of the cancellation of The Sentinel, here is Black Widowe, the comic strip that was due to appear in it! I will continue this one day, I’m just not sure where or how!

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Thing 2010 Report!

Yesterday the one time per year (though maybe that will change this year!) when people can buy my own comics rolled around, The Thing!The day before i was still putting the finishing touches to Issue 3 of the Red, White & Blue, mainly the two “2-up” panels on the front cover. By aroundabout midnight i had finished it, compiled a PDF, printed it, scanned the text pages back in as images, and made all the images 300dpi. NOW i could start to print! However as i was still getting used to the intricacies of both my new printer (which i got a few days ago and which ought to greatly increase my self-publishing abilities)  and Publisher 98, which i was using to quickly and easily stick two A4 sized images on one A3 sized page.

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The amazing(ly heavy) printer and the old computer i had to drag out to connect it to, as it only has a parallel connection.As i was still experimenting, i didn’t think to shrink the images slightly and so on the covers of most copies the logo and strip are shifted and slightly cut-off one way or the other… just like on proper comics! (mind you all the colours are in the right place). The interior pages are much better, mind you. I only printed 25 copies of issue 3 so i could actually go to bed that, er, night.

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We have comics!

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The rest of the room. The small table also had my other old printer (that i got from a skip) on it pumping out penny comics and flyers earlier in the night.

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Everything else in the room got shoved aside, i actually slept on the bed there as i couldn’t be bothered to move it all back XD.

Having finally finished the stapling at about 3 in the morning i went straight off to sleep after only a token ‘shoving aside’ of the old computer so i wouldn’t tread on it when i got up.At about 1 minute to 6 in the morning my cat climbed in bed with me, expecting me to get up at half 6 as i usually do. She was a bit surprised to find me immediately getting out of bed, and stretched out one paw and yawned confusedly.  After having some rushed tea and a wash i packed and left for the train.

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The packed case the nex- er- later on that morning.

In the spirit of the first Thing that i went to, the trains were a disaster. Apparently somebody in Cambridge dropped a sodding match so they literally metaphorically evacuated THE ENTIRE WORLD, and also cancelled all the trains that would even be going past that station and not even stopping there (as the Ely-Kings Cross one i had planned to get was doing). I could then either get one to Stanstead and get into London by the Stanstead express, or go to Peterburough and then get a London train from there. The latter choice was the one i made, and probably the worst one considering it was going in the wrong direction… but i just wanted to start my journey somehow! So off i went.

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Going to Peterburough… must be a good 50 or so miles in the opposite direction!

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No it’s not actually near the coast, those are just flood plains and probably only a few CM deep. They’re bound to still have scratty estates built on them eventually though.

I texted my friend Natasha, who lives right near Cambridge station, saying “so is it a smouldering bin or a real fire?”, she asked me where and then didn’t reply when i told her, so i guess it was nothing special. Having changed at Peterburough (and being reminded of my university days) i was finally on the way to London, luckily the train was fast and non-stop. I had to keep my case upright so sat on it in the doorway, probably not the best of ideas as i was going to be on my feet all day.

Anyway, on arriving in London i set out for the underground, dreading that experience as Mile End, the station i normally used, was shut. However it turned out the alternative one, Stepney Green, was actually closer! So i did alright and even made it to the Thing just before the opening time of 10!

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People setting up before the event opens.

The grand old hall was still the setting for the Thing (it was in something different the first year, when i didn’t go). This time i was up on the stage, facing the reading/drawing/cartoon watching area.  To my left was Geek-girl and to my right was the wonderful Vampire Free Style by the lovely Jenika Ioffreda, who i thought was Slovakian for ages but actually she’s Italian… oops. She also out-Japanesed me, and i’m supposed to be learning it for real!

I began to set up, with my amazingly-made flyer container and penny comic display (made from a not-even-disguised cat food box). I also had my giant Union Jack as a tablecloth this time, it looked good, i might continue to do that even when i’m at a table with a wall behind it.

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My table… If you have seen my picture of it from 2008 you will notice the difference… yes, in all that time i have made ONE new comic!

Some people came around promoting Caption, another small press con held in Oxford which is kind of a meet-up event rather than a selling event. I may go to it as a visitor one of these years. Also the people who did the genius Dino-Saw-Us“passports” came around giving out blank stickers for those of us who hadn’t bothered to order any proper ones. Amazingly i saw some people not taking part in it anyway! It’s an amazing idea as it encourages people to visit tables they might otherwise just wander by. As it was almost starting time i just dashed off “RWB” letters on a sheet of them. Jenika next to me did loads of cute small designs with punk skulls and things… wish i could be talented enough to do decent drawings quickly XD.

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Random picture! I didn’t know there was chairs up there.

The doors opened to the eager public who… stayed away. There was some other conventions being held that day including one in Scotchland and also Memorabilia in Birmingham. Also it turned out it had been raining that day reducing the numbers of casual passers-by as well. Still a few people came by early in the day just checking stuff out before buying. I handed out free flyers and a few passport stickers profusely. Even if they didn’t come back then they’d still have my URL. I managed to lure in a few people early on to buy penny comics too, but i don’t think i sold my first RWB until about 11! Also i managed to nab Vampire Free Style fans, it pays to be next to somebody good XD.

Business became a bit more brisk by mid morning as people came back and actually wanted to talk in more detail about the comics. I couldn’t really explain what mine was beyond “Old fashioned boys’ own adventure” as i doubt 99% of the people there would get references to Amalgamated Press and The Boys’ Friend. Did run into one guy who had heard of Sexton Blake, though. But only through the allegedly comedy radio show XD.

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One of the boxes

During the lean periods us people on the stage had cartoons to watch! Though at a funny angle on a projection screen in a room not really suited to projection. Early on they had some Edd Egg ones that looked entertaining. On a wander i went to see if they had a DVD of them for sale but the table was too mobbed to ask much questions. Also shown were some old Mr Men ones, some odd-looking ones made by students, and something apparently called Avatar, though it didn’t seem to be related to the blue people film (not that i’ve seen it). It had a wizard creating some sort of blob thing that people were flame-throwering, and a kid making a whirlpool in the air with his hands… or something. As i said i couldn’t see it very well XD.

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The screen, the camera actually captured more details than my eyes did.

Around 2 i went for my first walk around to buy essentials, which included TozoMassacre for Boys (the British adventure comic parody that’s not crap… unlike just about all the others), and West. Going back to the table i had probably my best time, even came across somebody who had bought issue 1 of the RWB last time and wanted 2 and 3. Another bloke bought all 3 but also paid with a 20 pound note, eating up all my change! (which all seemed to be 50ps anyway). This put a bit of a downer on it as i wanted to have a later wander and buy stuff at random from unloved-looking tables… but i had to be more selective. Next year i’ll have two change collections, one for the ’till’ and one for buying!

I also met an Irish guy who said it looked good but the name Red, White & Blue put him off… which was apparently the reason why the name of it’s spiritual predecessor, Union Jack (1894-1933) had it’s name changed to Detective Weekly. An American girl came looking around but when i offered her a penny comic she said she actually had no money at all XD. Quite a few people were attracted by my old comic, Scum Slaughter, because of it’s name and grimy-looking artwork. Makes me seriously consider a second print-run of it (only with colour this time so you can see the blood!). Mind you i still didn’t sell too many, i ought to have pressed the fact they were 20p harder! Also a girl had a long look through the Red, White & Blue’s and settled on buying issue 2, after i convinced her that the serial stories were “easy enough to pick up if you miss an issue”… i think she beleived me, bwahahah.

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About as full as the room got… damn those schedule clashes!

A guy then came up saying “You are Felneymike and a claim my five pounds!”, i knew immediatley this was somebody who knew XD. Mind you i use that username everywhere so couldn’t narrow it down at first, til he explained he was from the great website Comics-UK, I was just glad to be able to explain my own comic in proper terms like “it’s got complete Sexton Blake stories in the style of Amalgamated Press, text serials in the style of DC Thomson, ‘Square panel’ adventure strips in the style of Victor or Knockout, ‘Jagged panel’ strips in the style of Action and colour cover strips vaguely like Eagle”. Phew… no wonder i call it “The comic of the twentieth century – today!”.

I had my second wander of the hall with a little more change, and was able to collect a bit more by using notes on other people. Still i had to pass up a heap of interesting looking stuff, but got some great things including Jambo, “the UK’s first jam-powered superhero!” (sounds, but doesn’t look, like something straight from Viz!) and the amazing Delicate Axiom, which starts out normal and then just gets weirder and weirder, but the weirdness is treated in a matter-of-fact “yeah… you didn’t know?” way.

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Yup, all gorn.

Aroundabout 4 i ran out of free flyers. I had 103, so that’s 103 people who got my URL (even if only 10% will bother to visit it XD) . They’re always worth making and mine only took minutes. I also had time to chat to the people either side of me about various stuff including other conventions, cats and learning Japanese.

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Binbuyin’

Just before 5 some bloke who was not the organiser bellowed out “The show’s over so bugger off”, to rapturous applause from the tables downstairs. Guess it was some in-joke that was going around down there. Stinkin’ non-stage people thinkin’ they’re better than us… They were jealous of our Mr Men.

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About 5 minutes after the announcement of the end. 

My pack-up time was remarkably rapid, and i sodded off. Only then discovering it was cold and wet outside. I had been intending to track down the New Globe pub for Schmurgencon, but was far too tired so went straight for the train. After almost falling asleep on the underground i decided to sit on my case in the doorway of the train back to Ely. However this was crazily uncomfortable so i then moved to a proper seat.

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Going home…

Uuuntil we got to Cambridge where the train was splitting, and everybody had to overcrowd into the front carriages. Surprise Surprise, Cambridge station was not a smouldering ruin but completley undamaged. A huge area was cordoned off by police tape for no apparent reason. I was again sitting on my case in the doorway until Ely, when i walked around to the Park and Ride car park and drove home for a very long and deep sleep!

A new post at last!

Well, it’s been a while since this site got updated eh? But university is finished and job-finding is not going very well (according to probably third-hand information from my mum, one job i applied for at a nearby laboratory got several thousand applicants -_-). I was also working on a videogame but now that is finished i intend to give some attention to comics and story-papers once again. Though primarily my own! It’s well over a year since the last issue of The Red, White & Blue was finished.

To begin with, here’s a scan of a cool page from last week’s issue of 2000AD (prog 1645). If you ask me it perfectly sums up the quirkiness of British comics…

does anybody read these titles?

(2000ad copyright 2009 Rebellion inc).

And now, the logo’s of my own two comic projects. Here is the re-designed logo for my main comic, The Red, White & Blue, which is a mixture of picture-strips and text stories.

RWB logo

Very grand, eh? The pictures depict numerous British (or at least half British for some of them) discoveries, inventions or works that have had a large impact on the world. They include Antibiotics, the Lee-Enfield rifle, an A4 class steam locomotive, Association Football, Cricket, SS Great Britain, Boolean algebra (at the heart of almost every computer), DNA, Newton’s Phiosiphae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, a Spitfire, a Newcomen steam engine, Lawn Tennis, a Mini (far from the first front engine front wheel drive car, but one that gave rise to the imitators that in turn gave rise to almost every car on the roads today), Concorde and of course Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Phew! Left out due to space constraints were Magna Carta, a speech baloon representing the English language, a map of the empire, some representation of Shakespeare, a King James bible (for it’s language, not it’s effects on it’s readers!), Collosus, Television (the invention of this is disputed), a Telephone (and this), an Iron cannon and The Magnet … because Shakespeare was forgotten for a long time then rediscovered and hailed as a genius, in the same way Charles Hamilton will one day be.

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The logo of The Trident, this will be an A5 sized all-text story paper. With the occasional full-page illustration, depending on the length of the story the number of these will vary. The first story is going to be an epic Sexton Blake tale set in 1916 which will see him caught up in the mire of the Western Front (i’m aiming for a balance between the jingoistic “let’s get ’em!” of the contemporary story papers and the sombre reflections of Charley’s War), he then travels to a castle in Germany where secret weapons are being tested. After a lot of cloak and dagger (literally, in one scene!) action, during which the “German Blake”, Herr Milzinger, will be introduced to the world, Blake and Tinker escape back to England. Here they find Herr Milzinger has preceded them and a final showdown occurs in the cosy confines of Baker Street.

I hope that issue 3 of the Red, White & Blue, and issues 1 and 2 of The Trident, will both be ready for sale at the UK Webcomix Thing 2010, which is to be held at the Great Hall, Mile End Road, London on the 27th of March. As i tend to be highly lazy with regards to buying envelopes and stamps &c, it’s unlikely i’ll ever be setting up an online shop for my comics – so this event will probably the the only chance to buy them! But watch this space.