Page one, panel one

So NaNoWriMo isn’t going well, he says, to the shock and alarm of approximately no one. The project requires 1600 words a day, and I barely manage three blogs a week. I’m not being down on myself here, I work a lot and have other things to do. If I could write more, I would. Taking on NaNo along with the blog was always more to just spur me on to write, rather than to have a novel at the end of November. I’m still writing the blog, so it’s helped.

Thing is though, I just want to write comics.

See, I’ve spent the weekend looking at photos and Facebook updates from friends who were attending Though Bubble Comic Arts Festival in Leeds. It’s basically the best comics convention in the UK, filled with panels, high profile guests and signings and everyone in the UK comics community. Which I count myself a part of. And I wasn’t there. You see where this is going.

I love making comics. I want to be making comic right this minute. I love the community (not the industry, such as it is). The people. The enthusiasm. Did I mention I love comics?

I’ve been a comic book fan since I could recognise basic pictures. Blame my brothers. I grew up reading comics, from Superman and Batman to the X-men and Spider-Man and the Beano and the Broons and Oor Wullie and on and on. Eventually I started reading about comics. Books on the form, how they do what they do, what makes a comic different and how we’re criminally squandering their potential.

In a comic, the world of the comic, the whole universe, is the page. The panels. And as the creator, you have control over that. You can change panel six and frequency to control your reader’s sense of space and time. You can render things that Hollywood budgets couldn’t reach in a thousand years.  You have complete control, which appeals to a control freak like myself. As much as I love books and film and music, I’ve never been as affected by any of them as I have been by comics.

So, while I tried to focus on the blog or NaNoWriMo, I couldn’t help but imagine new comics. I can’t walk away from them even when I turn the other direction and break into a sprint. And that’s just fine by me. Why would I walk away from control over time and space?

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Insert Boomtown Rats Reference Here

It’s Monday when you’re reading this,(for me it’s Thursday, I try and write in advance) so that means it’s a writing blog. Contain your excitement, yeah? It’s only the first paragraph. As with the last two, I’ll just be giving a quick update on where I’m at with my writing endeavours before getting into more meaty stuff next week.

As most of you are likely aware, the main focus of my writing is usually comics. Can’t get enough of em. Can’t afford to make them, either, which means comic book writing is going to have to take a back seat for a little while. I love it, I always will, but a huge part of making comics is actually making the things, which means working with and paying an artist, colourist, letterer etc and I can’t quite get there right now. I still have a few projects simmering – a political thriller, a coming-of-age drama, and an exercise in comics form disguised as a coming-of-age drama. I’ll get them done in time, I’ll keep working on them, but they’re not a priority.

NaNoWriMo, because apparently I love self harm and am drowning in free time, is the priority for the next month. For those who don’t know, NaNo is National Novel Writing Month, the challenge being that you sign up and try and knock out the first draft of a novel by the end of November, 50,000 words. “Ambitious” doesn’t quite cover the size of that task given my usual time constraints, but I’ll give it a whirl. Goals and all that, If anyone else is taking part, search for me on the site as Sudge. We can weep into each others virtual arms.

Then there’s this blog. It’s here because I need to write more often, preferably every day, and I need something to write about that isn’t a big meaty piece of work that I need more time than I have to complete. That doesn’t mean it’ll be an afterthought though. I’ll put all the time and consideration I can into updates. The plan is to always have a post or two queued so I don’t miss a scheduled post. Doing OK so far, but it’s early.

That’s all for now. Comic and novels and blogs, I also snark on twitter as @StephenSuthes, should your timeline be oddly quiet when Question Time is on and you just want to liven things up.

NaNoWriMo: 1,243 words

The Consumption

It’s Wednesday! And from now on that means I’ll be yakking about things I’ve read or watched or listened to lately, so here’s a little update as to where I’m at.

Surprising no one more than myself, my comic reading habits have changed dramatically from even 6 or 7 months ago. I used to easily hit 20+ comics per month, and now I’m lucky if I hit one a week. Maybe my tastes have changed, maybe I’m harder to please, but there just aren’t that many comics that are really grabbing me right now. I don’t even collect Superman regularly, which is a bit like a bishop missing mass. Although I should point out that Greg Pak’s Action Comics is a mainstay, one of the few books I read month on month. (Along with The Wicked + The Divine and anything Ellis has written that month.) Comics just aren’t exciting me like the used to, certainly not at the pro level. And this has led to even my comics writing ambitions sliding a little. Comics will always be my first love as a medium for storytelling, but lately everything from the most popular content to the inner workings of the industry has just felt wrong, sometimes even poisonous. More than ever, I need a strategy and philosophy for comics that will carry me through. Maybe I’ll work it out here.

I’m currently reading all the Robin Hobb I can get my hands on. The Farseer trilogy was wonderful, so now it’s Liveship’s turn. I know there are more trilogies with Fitz and co after Liveship, so I’m eager to progress. That being said, Liveship is a great series in itself. I’m a sucker for politics in my comics and novels, and Liveship seems to be playing with that a little more than Farseer did. I’m also hoping to get more into my “classics” in the future, having had Don Quixote on my Kindle for quite some time now. I try and read a fiction followed by a non-fiction, but the trilogies keep sucking me in…

As for TV, I’m midway through a rewatch of my favourite TV show, the West Wing, and about halfway through Sense8. They share an unabashed romanticism about people and the world in general – people are generally good and decent and will come through in the end. That’s so far up my street it’s sitting in my favourite chair. I think we might be seeing a post-cynicism era of genre TV coming through, with Sense8, Supergirl and the Flash coming to mind immediately. I hope so. Pop culture’s dark night of the soul is long overdue its daybreak. Also watching and loving Doctor Who, which might be having its best series since Matt Smith’s debut. I feel like this series is about the effect of and importance of companionship, which really doesn’t bode well for the resident companion. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

That’s it for today, just a wee overview before we get into the good stuff. Hope you keep reading!

(OH, gaming – I mainly play Destiny on X-box One at the moment, but will shift to Battlefront when I can.

Trajectory

Hey, so here’s a weird, thing, I’m using WordPress again! It’s been a while. It was between this and Tumblr but I just prefer WordPress for regular blogging. Which I’m attempting. Again. I’ve been very tired lately, and very busy and as such I’ve missed writing an awful lot. I’ve kept my toe in the water with stuff I don’t publish, but it’s time to get back out there. Time to do it right.

I’m going to try something a bit different this time. I realised when I was in training for Tough Mudder some time ago that I do much better with targets and goals and deadlines rather than a hazy notion of “I feel like blogging”. So I’m setting some targets.

Mondays I’ll likely write about writing – I’m attempting NaNoWriMo this year, so please, if you’re interested in that or are participating yourself, look me up. User name is Sudge. Between that, blogging and comics projects, I’ll hopefully have plenty to talk about.

Wednesdays I’m giving over to my inner (read: outer) nerd and will likely be commenting on stuff I’ve been reading or watching or listening to. This might be in the form of articles or reviews or me shouting “WOW DOCTOR WHO WAS GREAT THIS WEEK” over and over.

Fridays will be more niche I think, as I’ll be trying to talk about general wellbeing and lifestyle stuff – I’m becoming a fitness nerd so expect progress reports on my workouts and such. This could very easily descend into half-journal style entries, as the workouts seem to help my general mental health a lot. Could also tangent off into current affairs, futurism etc. A more grounded entry than “I’ve been writing this piece of fiction” or “HOLY CRAP THE DALEK EMPEROR”.

Please, always feel free to comment or get in touch with anything you think would be interesting for me to talk about. Listen to me, talking like I have an audience already.

Let’s do this.

Taking Flight

So I have a little announcement to make.

After much attempting, delaying, procrastinating and self doubting, I think I’m actually making a comic.

In the middle of last year I was fortunate enough to become friends with a good man named Garry McLaughlin. Now, over and above being simply a good man, which is no simple task, Garry is also a phenomenally talented artist. After a few coffees and conversations about our mutual man-crush on Grant Morrison, I sent Garry a comic script I’d been working on and, to my endless astonishment and flatter, he offered to take the art duties.

I wont put a date on publication, as I’m pretty sure that’s the kiss of death, but I hope to have more news for you soon. What I can say is that I’m immensely excited about this, excitement which only grows when Garry drops off artwork like this:

I hope you guys can pick up the book when it’s released. I honestly can’t wait.