Wednesday 31 August 2011

Tales of Nambygate - out now

And this would be why I've been a little quiet and locked away since Monday. I've been scanning, compiling, editing, drawing new covers and bits and bobs for, and publishing this - TALES OF NAMBYGATE. Check it out:

(Might not work on a iPad, do let me know)

It's a 122 page graphic novel collection of my classic comic strip series Tales of Nambygate and Phallas The Soap Opera, with spin-off series Battler Britten and Sam Shovel, all of which cross over at points, and though I say so myself it's brilliant. I haven't looked at most of these strips since I wrote and drew them over twenty years ago, and now revisiting them I'm delighted. At the blurb website or via the above link, you can check out the first 15 pages (which gives you one self-contained short story, The Scalp Huntress, to enjoy). And the whole 122 page book only costs £5.99. Tell me what you think, I myself am well chuffed.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Tales of Nambygate rises from the ashes...

Prompted by the briefest of mentions on Twitter, I have dug out from the bottom drawer, my run of comic strips Tales Of Nambygate which ran from 1989 - 1991 in Gas and UT comics.

Having not looked at these strips for twenty years, I have decided they are worth putting in a book, so I am scanning them, along with their sister strips Phallas, Battler Britten and Sam Shovel, whose characters overlap to create a bizarre comedy universe, and will be putting a book out. Though I say so myself, it's rather good. Here's just the tiniest taster...

Monday 29 August 2011

Sunday 28 August 2011

Selling comics at 2011BC + Youtoobling

Yesterday I had the pleasure of selling comics at the 2011BC comic convention, and also being asked to present Play Your Comics Right which was great fun. For the record, Sinnerhound was the surprise seller, shifting all but one copy. Captain Clevedon did well, selling the most, Hot Rod Cow shifted a few, and I sold three signed Beano annuals, a signed Beano comic and two Doctor Who t shirts (the leftovers of the Are You My Mummy and You Would Make A Good Dalek print run from 2005).

The surprise hit was Sinnerhound, a comedy adventure of a female highway robber in Georgian Leicester, of which I sold all but one copy. This was the title whose concept I thought couldn't get arrested. But it turns out cartoon characters in space (Hot Rod Cow) and spandex superheroes from Somerset (Captain Clevedon) capture the imagination less than a woman with swords and pistols in a basque, a mask and thigh-length boots stood in some mud saying Stand & Deliver. Who could have known?

Then we got home in time to watch Doctor Who (see earlier review), which was preceded by what looked like It's A Knockout and followed on ITV by what was to all intents and purposes New Faces. I think TV is intent on replaying my childhood.

Then I got into a bit of random Youtoobling, watching a video and seeing what, via YouTube Google or Wikipedia, it links to. Here were last night's fun findings...

Twiggy Here I Go Again

Here I Go Again, Country Joe & The Fish - who knew they did the original?

Twiggy to Stalin in 2 links on Wikipedia via Country Joe & The Fish, Here I Go Again

1, 2, 3 what are we fighting for? Country Joe McDonald (I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag)

Hush children, what's that sound? For What It's Worth, Buffalo Springfield (intro'd by Peter Tork)

The Muppets, For What It's Worth. What's that sound?

The Muppets trailer. Yes, I am still #youtoobling

We Built This City On Rock & Roll, Jefferson Starship #youtoobling

Jefferson Airhead, Scrap Happy Baggy classic #youtoobling

Funny How, Airhead - So 90s #youtoobling

Kula Shaker, Hush #youtoobling

Hush, Deep Purple with Hugh Hefner Playboy After Dark #youtoobling

Deep Purple, Artie Shaw & Helen Forrest #youtoobling

Purple Rain, Prince #youtoobling

Purple Pants, Ponce via The Heebeegeebees #youtoobling

Y Bother, The Heebee Beegees #youtoobling

Some guys walking round a ruined city #youtoobling (OK, Beegees Staying Alive. But what is that set?)

Emotion, Samantha Sang #youtoobling

I Second That Emotion, Japan #youtoobling

Emotion, Destiny's Child Same song, way more notes #youtoobling

My Boo, Kelly Rowland #youtoobling

Betty Boo, Doin' The Do, Alison Clarkson #youtoobling

Captain Of Your Ship Calling, Reparata & The Delrons #youtoobling

Herman's Head - what tonight's #drwho reminded me of. And The Numbskulls. #youtoobling

Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry, Heaven 17 #youtoobling

Hyperactive, Thomas Dolby #youtoobling

Saturday 27 August 2011

On Doctor Who, Let's Kill Hitler

I enjoyed it. But then I'm the sort of person who reads Gallifrey Base.

However if you wanted to alienate, confuse and shake off a couple more million viewers for the rest of the series, starting with something as continuity-bound and self-referential as that was the best way of doing it.

As I say I like the Moff's writing. It's designed for someone like me, a forty-something obsessive Doctor Who fan and comedy lover who gets all the in-jokes and enjoys solving a puzzle, and following twisty turny plots with snappy witty dialogue. But I'm not the general public. That contains children, boys and girls, and families watching together, and my Mum. This show was so not for them it's hard to believe anyone could think it was.

Russell T Davies's writing (and stewardship of the show) was all about drawing viewers in, making them love the characters, making them care what happened to those characters, than making amazing shit happen to them that made the viewer worried for the characters they loved. What was important was the characters. The shit that happened came second.

Moffat's writing is all about the shit that happens. He builds mazes, big tangly knotted snares, rollercoaster rides, big story-sized Mousetrap games, and you are dragged along at speed deciphering and decoding what's happened. Which is fun. Then when you've got to the end of the ride, escaped the trap, untangled the knots - supposing you're among the game-playing minority - you go "that was fun". Then you look around at the characters and say "oh yeah, there were some other people on this ride. Wonder who they were." But they're only part of the game and once it's over they have no purpose or meaning.

I love Rory & Amy's acting. I think Arthur Darvill and Matt Smith are two of the funniest comedy actors ever to have been in Doctor Who. And I know I - and other normal people - could be made to care for all three (or four) of the central characters in these stories. But right now we're getting all game and no players. All performance on the big stage, and nothing going on at home.

I love Steven Moffat's writing, have done ever since Press Gang. And I have Joking Apart on VHS. But I keep going back and watching his Doctor Who episodes from when RTD was in charge and spotting the bits that RTD clearly either wrote or asked for (I'm getting back in practice by doing the same with this season's Torchwood - if it's good it's either RTD or Jane Espenson off of Buffy, but I digress...).

Ironically it was Russell T Davies who had Christopher Eccleston's Doctor say "don't make this place domestic" when Rose & Mickey were in the Tardis. Right now that's what is so missing from Doctor Who, a little bit of domesticity which would make my 8 year old niece want to watch it next week. A dramatic scene about how River was programmed by the Silence who are a Religious Order who have also just sent The Numbskulls to Kill Hitler and now she's given up all the regenerations that none of us is quite sure how she got in the first place and now we have to forget all those things even happened and move on, while simultaneously remembering what happened in the first episode of the series which was five months ago - isn't.

Kev F

The Facebook copy of this blog posting has spawned an interesting conversation with lots of comments. Sadly not a single dissenting voice, which doesn't bode well.

Friday 26 August 2011

Edinburgh sketchbook - new art book by Kev F

I've just published a new book. Well, I say new. It's a book of my sketchbook drawings done on Hev's and my very first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe way back in 1984. Having unearthed the sketchbooks in my office I find they give a unique take on Edinburgh and the Fringe which a few photos on Facebook just can't compare with.

You can see sample pages and order the book here:

It's just £2.99 for the 70 page paperback, or you can treat yourself to a hardback copy. Enjoy.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist

On this day two years ago, when the Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist was announced, I have to confess I was a little outspoken and abrupt in my criticism of the narrow selection and how nine out of 11 nominees were all on in the same venue. My words were so brusque yet concise that, somehow, they ended up making it into the Scotsman, splashed across the promo photo of the shortlisted acts.

Do I have such grounds for complaint this year? Let's have a look. The nominees are, Best Act:

* Adam Riches: Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches (Pleasance)
* Andrew Maxwell: The Lights Are On (Assembly)
* Chris Ramsey: Offermation (Pleasance)
* Josie Long: The Future Is Another Place (Pleasance)
* Nick Helm: Dare to Dream (Pleasance)
* Sam Simmons: Meanwhile (Gilded Balloon)

And Best Newcomer:

* Cariad Lloyd: Lady Cariad’s Characters (Voodoo Rooms)
* The Chris and Paul Show (Just The Tonic Caves)
* Hannibal Buress - My Name is Hannibal (Pleasance)
* Holly Walsh: The Hollycopter (Pleasance)
* Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher! (Pleasance)
* Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD (Pleasance)
* Totally Tom (Underbelly)
* Josh Widdicombe: If This Show Saves One Life (Pleasance)

So this year we have a bit more balance, with the Pleasance providing just 9 out of the 14 nominees (a success rate of only 64%), and with all the main venues making a showing. Plus the Voodoo Rooms which, coincidentally, is the only one of these Edinburgh venues that the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre have appeared in this year, which must mean something.

Good luck to all the contenders. And the Socks take great consolation in the newcomer nominations for Humphrey Ker and Thom Tuck, both of whom have previously been nominated as members of the sketch show Penny Dreadfuls. So, if each Sock does a solo show next year...

PS: The winners will be announced on Saturday (27th) & the Awards Show is on Sunday (28th) at the Pleasance.

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