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my typical working speed meant that by the time they got printed the news in them would have been hilariously out of date.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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What laziness has wrought

You may remember that I was required to take my self-published comics The Red, White & Blue and The Trident off-sale, because it turned out the character of Sexton Blake was copyrighted after all. Well I’d hoped to have had them both re-launched by early September… some hope! I’d like to make some waffling excuse, but the actual fact is I’ve been far too lazy. The 3-page Speedway story in issue 4 of the old RWB took me almost 2 months, the time I’d set aside to do the entire issue in. Oh and each issue (once it gets underway) is intended to have 19 comic pages in! Plus a 10-15,000 word text story, a 2-3,000 word serial instalment, an editor’s page and illustrations for all of those… and still be bimonthly!

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WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Oh well, the new date for the debut of issue 1 of both publications is January 2012. Even I ought to have finished them by then! From then on, hopefully, the RWB will be bi-monthly, and the Trident intermittent but ideally about 3 times a year.

BUT in addition to that, I also hope to be emigrating to Japan sometime next year. That means I’ll be (to begin with anyway. Perhaps things will change if certain circumstances go well) on a work visa which will restrict the type of things I can do for money. “Making comics to sell on the internet” won’t be one of those things, and so they won’t be on sale, just tantalisingly have their covers previewed on the website. Still at least for a while people won’t notice if the issues are not finished in time, so long as the covers are!

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This took me ages, as you can see.

Anyway In some other bad news, I have been working on a manga-style comic for a competition organised by the Japanese embassy. The closing date for the competition is November 1st, and I’m fully booked this weekend. So it looks like that won’t be finished in time. However I do have tomorrow off work, lets see just how fast I can draw eh?

If I don’t finish the comic in time I’ll instead finish it more gradually and upload it here in a rudimentary form (the screen toning will be more Gordon Livingstone than Takeshi Obata). At least then somebody will read it!

If I had been sensible I could have had the manga nearly finished by now, but “sensible” is not in my line. I decided my room needed a re-arrange, so that I could put my various books in some sort of order, free up some shelf space and most importantly put the bed closer to the heater. I thought that this re-arrange would take “maybe 2-3 hours” and started at 5:50 on Saturday. I finished at 7:00 today. Still it feels good to have a collection that looks like a collection!

This picture was actually taken after the furniture moving was mostly finished. The only book re-arranging that had been done was the fitting of the dark brown shelf and putting the books on it (which before were where the bed now is).

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No more than 2-3 hours work, this(!)

The arrangement of the rest of the books got, er, a little complicated…

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Still it’s no worse than the comic section in Smith’s…

Finally, though, some order started to emerge. All the Boys’ Friend, Chums, Union Jack, Chatterbox and Captain are together!

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 With a row of odds n’ ends in the middle.

Aand here we are, everything together with it’s companions. I even found room to put my volumes of Punch that I rashly bought on Ebay years ago and haven’t been able to shift since up there. Weirdly enough jokes about political scandals of 120+ years ago just aren’t funny today, especially if they are in French (which language Punch apparently expected it’s readers to know). Even the quality of the illustrations doesn’t save them!

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Finished!

Oh yeah as well as moving my desk I also freed up some space on it.

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What will I do with all this? well, draw comics on it hopefully.

Oh well, Just to show I haven’t been totally idle, the back page of the first issue of the new RWB is going to introduce the first “Felneyverse” characters to  make it into print. Here’s the rough artwork, which still needs processing, colouring, lettering and putting together.

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Erm, quite a bit of processing…

Here we have Norman Saxon, the Sexton Blake replacement (but set entirely in the early 20th century). Xin Zhou, Norman’s assistant who will also feature in a series of boarding school tales. Eugene Manx, the secret agent hunting down escaped Nazi criminals, and the Tigers of Punjab, fighting for justice during Indian partition!

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All my character’s faces look the same so I cunningly part-concealed one in a space suit

And here is Steve Gunn, a soldier in World War 3 which happens from 2020 – 2023 (this is set in a very different alternate universe, which diverged from our own history in a major way in 1985, with the discovery of zombies!). Sarah Millman, the future cop who features in the first colour strip (her arm looks bizarre, oops). Robert “Rocket” Redferne who will take to the space-lanes from issue 5 onwards. Finally there’s Mary of Middleford, who has a 4-page intro story on the website and ought to “kick off” (ha ha haaaa) in issue 7 or 8.

Oh and also I’ve created a new logo for The Trident too. The new version will be A4 sized and will feature a complete story of 15-25,000 words and a short story of 5-10,000 words and/or a serial installment. Not quite decided yet! Oh it’ll also have illustrations, unlike the A5 sized old version.

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London SP Expo 2011

The UK Web & Mini-comix Thing is gone, but the London SP Expo is here to replace it! It’s run by the same people who started the Bristol SP Expo, which is a few years old and now runs over two days.

Anyway, the first one was held yesterday and I went to sell my comics. I didn’t get issue 4 of the Red, White & Blue finished in time. Even though my new year’s resolution was to take it bi-monthly, and the cover still actually says “Jan-Feb 2011” it’s still not done! I’d like to blame a cold I had late last month, but really I was just too lazy. I did have one new production, in the shape of issue 1 of The Trident. I finished this last year and it’s an unofficial continuation of the Sexton Blake Library and Boys’ Friend Library, ie one long text story. The first is about Sexton Blake in World War 1, I sold an amazing two copies! XD

But before setting out to the convention I had to make a “colours nailed to the mast” T-shirt to wear. Using rubbish print-yourself iron-on transfers, it didn’t go well. But then again it only had to last a day.

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First print a mirror image… (my dad inevitably had to point out that it was “wrong” in case I “hadn’t noticed”)

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Get yer amazing Tesco value t-shirt, and a mum with an iron

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One not-burned-down house later… The E was the corner I peeled the paper off first, and some of the red went with it. Also the far corner wasn’t stuck down.

 I’d been intending to stay up for “as long as it took” to finish issue 4, but it had got to 9 at night and I’d still not finished the (20,500 words so far!) Sexton Blake story, and not even started on the 5 pages of Tigers of Punjab (the three of issue 4’s short Speedway story took all of January). Anything produced that quickly wasn’t going to be any good, so I decided to not produce it at all and leave issue 4 out. The Sexton Blake story could do with some big tweaks too, if it’d printed it as-is it would have been very rambling and bland. So instead I packed what I had, printed the strips for issue 4 that did get finished, and went to sleep at a decent time.

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Stuff packed. I have some display stands this year!

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The finished material in a display book. I need to take my printer’s colour management in hand… things that are supposed to be darkish grey are almost-black purple! It will be sorted out for when the actual comics are printed.

As it NOT traditional for my comic convention trips, the transportation ran perfectly smoothly. Nobody had dropped a match at a station or anything. (Actually the fire that closed Cambridge station last year really was huge and could be seen over most of the city, plus a tall former mill was in danger of collapsing onto the station. But at the time I didn’t know that XD).

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Had to use the “London Overground”, I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I just thought it was a funny nickname for the parts of the Underground that aren’t actually underground (which is a surprising amount of it, actually). But the Overground is actually a seperate train with it’s own lines.

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Packed with convention-goers, as you can see.

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Is that some blue I see?

After arriving at New Cross station, apparently near Millwall stadium (they weren’t at home, I doubt supporters of a club with a reputation for hooliganism and long-haired comic con goers would mix!) I predictably got lost. At least the Thing was on a straight road from it’s station, even I can’t get lost on a straight road XD. I found the venue pretty much at 10 o clock when the event was opening to the public, though for the first hour it was pretty much just the exhibitors, still. Several wandering around and chatting to people they knew.

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What I could see. Opposite me were several DFC contributors. To my shame I never got that comic, but will certianly be getting The Pheonix, it’s “replacement”. Even if I hope to have emigrated by then I still will!

I just took lots of pictures… all of the architecture!

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Wanna see a huge organ?

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 All ceilings should look like this

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Balconies

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The top, sadly the windows are obscured by this horrible modern lighting rig. They ought to use ornate chandeliers. I’d love to be in this room alone when it’s raining heavily.

I also set up my table. The new stands make it look a lot better, but I really need an A5 one for The Trident (and, when it’s done, The Dragonfly). Also I’d hoped to have the A6 sized penny comics in a seperate box all jumbled up (the different stories will be different colours), but I’d only got one finished (-_- and that was a reprint) so into the stand they went as well.

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I later made a seperate notice pointing out the price of the penny dreadfuls which got a bit more attention XD

After that I took a quick run around the hall to look for the stuff I wanted to buy especially, but as I was in a hurry I actually didn’t see any of them. I did see  Yuri Kore but she didn’t have any new books out. But if you haven’t got the two she had released then buy ’em! One of them won a competition organised by the Japanese embassy!

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How do they work?

At 11 I phoned up my girlfriend, who is Japanese. I’d not had any contact with her since the earthquake but she said she was fine, just that she had to walk home from work which took 10 hours O_O. I also found a yen in my change bucket and gave it to some anime fans behind me. From about 11 on people actually started arriving and browsing. Though I didn’t make any sales til gone 12 I did give out a few hastily-made (they always are) free flyers.

There was also no less than three film crews wandering about at one point! Well this is in a university, I suppose the media studies students wanted to get their “interviewing” badge. “for some strange reason” they didn’t interview me. Oh well, I only would have said that a story paper that ended in the mid-1920’s was the best comic ever.

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“You’re sure that’s not a Tribble”?

As the day went on I handed out a few more free flyers, though oddly enough still had a few left. People won’t take shoddily-produced rubbish with silly puns in it even if it is free! No less than three people who came to see me had actually heard of Sexton Blake! The story paper revolution gains momentum, comrades! Around 1 I went off for food and then a longer wander around the hall. I found all the stuff on my shopping list, including (finally) some issues of FuturequakeOmnivistascope (both near-professional quality publications inspired by 2000AD’s heyday) and some Starscape productions, including the Starscape Storypaper! It’s A6 sized but what can ya do. It’ll while away some time at work. “For some strange reason” the guy at the Starscape stall thought I’d be older. Well I do mainly collect comics from before World War 2.

I also got the first two issues of Non-repro (a seperate post about this will be made eventually!). This came about when somebody posted on the forums of Sweatdrop Studios (a seperate post about them will be made eventually!) saying “Why isn’t there a regular UK manga anthology?”. The people who came to produce Non-repro said “Why isn’t there a regular UK manga anthology?” and made it!

Aand I also got “The Comix Reader” – 24 tabloid-sized pages on newsprint for a pound! There’s all sorts in it and some is not for children. Encouragingly it says “Issue 1” so unlike the similarly-formatted Gothic there will hopefully be many more!

I got heaps of other stuff too, and ought to blog about some of it eventually. I want to treat all British comics the same, whether they be million-sellers or photocopied pamphlets!

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Free advertising! Where’s me discount?

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Buys

Eventually the day came to a close. I’d spent a good 50-odd quid all in coins and sold about 10 comics, so my case was considerably heavier on the way out! One of the rules of this con, unlike the Thing, was that we had to help put away the tables and chairs too. I was half expecting a load of whinging and moaning and sudden development of bad backs, but actually everybody was making themselves useful and actually doing it. Then again contrary to expectations the majority of people at the con seemed to be working class, when you’d think a bunch of “creative types” would be airy fairy and middle class. Oh well, comics were always too good to be wasted on the likes of them!

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My real name is tarquin wetherby but I used my cleaner’s name to blend in.

Then it was time for the journey home, which was similarly uneventful. I’d used cheap Tesco deodorant which didn’t last the distance, luckily the trains weren’t crowded and stereotypes about comic con goers remained unproven to the public at large XD. Wierdly when I arrived at Ely station it was soaked and smelled like heavy rain, but the train had not passed through any rain, and my dad said our village hadn’t had any either. Very narrow band!

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.

Trident logo

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.