Friday 29 March 2019

Moto Moto & Jeremy Kyle - comics by kids

A couple of days in Northumberland gave us some of the best comic titles of the year so far. These two, from Bellingham Middle School, being particular favourites.

These two, from Seaton Sluice and Whytrig Middle Schools respectively, were also fun, though slightly disappointing in that they were the kids repeating popular memes rather than being actually original. Still, it's good to be able to Google what they want you to draw, rather than trying to think of something myself that, ultimately, isn't so impressive.

These two from North Bradley in Wiltshire were just the sort of cover I'm disappointed by. Fine suggestions from the kids, turned into lacklustre scribbles by me. You can't come up with a classic every time.

This comic, produced with NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) at Colmore school, was an inspiring idea which I somehow turned into a really naff cover. Which I then coloured even nafferlier. Which, of it isn't a word, should be.

The celebrities these 7 groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Little T (a rapper, m'lud), Kim Jong Un, Mo Salah, KSI (a boxer, apparently), Beyonce, Kevin Du Bruyne (plays for Man City, my ignorance of popular culture references knew no bounds this week), and Donald Trump.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Lost Sheet Music & resales - more eBay fun

For the first time since I started this eBaying lark, I’ve lost some items, and their whereabouts are a mystery.

Five bits of sheet music, that came from Kibworth, have been going round and round the eBay carousel for a few weeks and finally sold last week. They included Cliff Richard’s Living Doll and three bits of Black & White Minstrels music. But when I came to put them in their envelopes I could not find them. 

They weren’t in any of the boxes in the house, so I have now made two visits to the storage unit, taking the tops off boxes that have been opened and resealed countless times now, and the little buggers won’t show up. Either I’ve tucked them away in a box that I’ve now buried deep or, worst case scenario and frankly I can’t imagine this has happened, they’ve been sent to someone else who didn’t pay for them. Being sheet music they are the thinnest of paper items, making them the easiest to overlook and the hardest to spot. Five punters have been refunded.

Those distractions aside, the last few weeks’ sales have also included the comics that got bought and returned en masse by one rather odd buyer. (You’ll remember I thought he was scamming me, turned out he was just eccentric). I think he realised he’d overpaid for them because, as you’ll see below, most went for less than he paid for them first time round.

The clearout continues, latest thing to be uploaded is a mountain of Look-In comics, a couple of which got snapped up on the first day as you can see.

SOLD since March 10

(Excluding sheet music that got lost)

3 x Lion Holiday Specials. £17.00
Wicked 1 + 9 £11.05
Happy Warrior. £10.00
10 x Dr Who 11-20.  £8.50
10 x Look-In 1976. £8.00
10 x Dr Who. 2 - 10 £7.50
10 x Dr Who  21-30. £6.00
8 x Look-In 1977 £6.00
8 x Rampage (resale, was £14). £6.00
8 x Rampage inc 1 (resale, was £9). £5.50
10 x Dr Who  31-40. £5.50
12 comics inc Action 21. £5.50
10 x Dr Who 1990-96. £4.25
3 x Cap Britain 29-31 (resale, was £2.50). £4.20

10 x Dr Who  94-125 £2.95
10 x Dr Who  75-93. £2.90
Cap Britain 2 (resale, was £2.50). £2.70
10 x Dr Who 1987-89. £2.60

9 x Dr Who  55-72. £2.50
10 x Dr Who inc 150. £2.50
5 x Dr Who specials. £2.50
Pebbles BamBam + 4. £2.50
Beezer 68 + 8. £2.50
3 x Valiant, Billlys Boots  £2.50
3 x Jackie. £2.50
Mystery In Space x 2  £2.50
2 x Radio Times Xmas. £2.50
All Star Western (resale, was £3). £2.50
3 x Cap Britain 32-35 (resale, was £2.50). £2.50
3 x Cap Britain 36-39 (resale, was £5.50) £2.50 

Total March 10 - 27 = £136.15

Yes, but think of all the shelf space I’ve made. Oh shut up.

My eBay items for sale are all here - happy bidding!


July 31 - Aug 25 - GILDED BALLOON Patter Hoose Edfringe - On Sale Now

Saturday 23 March 2019

Socks Roll Up at Glasgow Comedy Festival - 3 great shows

Remembering last year’s previews of Superheroes, when I suffered with a tough crowd on the second night, this year the Socks geared themselves up for three nights in a row, giving the first full tryouts to the new show Roll Up! I’m happy to report they went wonderfully.

In February we did a partial tryout of some new material, but mostly gave the crowd the best of the Superheroes show, so these were the first attempts to do an hour of Roll Up. Two nights at Dram, and a night at the Britannia Panopticon.

Night one, Wednesday at Dram, went well, considering the shows gags were all badly clustered together and we finished after 45 minutes, so rounded the show off with a revisit of Earth Song and Don’t Let’s Be Beastly.

I then spent Thursday daytime rewriting the script, introducing new material, adding new music, totally revamping the show. The structure for Thursday night at Dram was the one that worked so that’s what we stuck with for Friday at Britannia, with one small addition. Here’s the running order we have so far:

Opening 3 gags Ocelot/Barnum/Steroids - (on the first night we opened with way too many strung together)
Can I do Eurovision? - Introduced Thurs, got sympathy from start
I’m A Sock

Greatest Showman opening - (on the first night opened whole show with this. Much better after I’m A Sock song, still needs better punchline).
Gags Burlescue/3 Rings/Knuckles/Leno - good, could use more

Philip Astley routine - (slashed by 2 thirds from first night, musical punchline introduced, from audience suggestion, 2nd night)
Mad Cow adlib (started as adlib Weds, currently part of script)

Anne Hathaway Song - this will have to be replaced by something better.
Performance Artist - Remembered this from the 07 show and threw it in adlib on 2nd night. It works.

Audience suggests acts. This has given us good adlibs so far. Whether they’ll work so well as repeats we’ll have to see. Lion Tamer was good, Knife Thrower good, Juggling I developed into a routine with sound effects for Friday, which suffered from bad sound, it might stay.

Bechdel Test - Repeated from last year’s show, for Thurs & Fri. Will have to go.
Magic Routine - Brilliant as always (from 2010). So tight, we just have to make everything else this tight and we have a good show.

Nicole Kidman - Worked well from start. ‘Flying Fuchs’ monologue may have to go.
Brexit/Polish/marriage - contrived but seems to work as a plot line.
Eurovision Brexit song - Now works as it’s integrated into the plot.

Lady In Pants - gappy but it works.
Cross Channel Golf - a bit long, not sure it fits. Might replace.
Greggs song - works well. Would like to expand into dance routine.

Grimaldi routine - My favourite new routine. We need more like this.
City Of Stars song - seems popular, it’s a grower
Trapeze act - quite good but needs tightening. Call back to juggling is good (need more of these)

Phantom Of Opera Finale - Good in parts, getting better as it goes. Not the greatest showstopper, could we find something new and perfect?

Don’t Let’s Be Beastly - A mild end to the show, people seem satisfied with it. Again, if something amazing comes along in the next spate of writing, all the better.

So we have a good plot, with the capacity for tightening, and much more staying on topic than last year’s show. I’m inspired to keep writing, feeling like we’re building towards more of a Shakespeare than a Superheroes.

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Roll Up! at The Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, July 31st - Aug 25th 2019 at 9.30pm. On sale now!

Thursday 21 March 2019

Socks @Edfringe On Sale Already - earliest date ever!

It's the earliest date ever that the Socks' Edinburgh Fringe show has gone on sale, and on sale it is! It's the middle of March, we're still about to do the second of our three Glasgow Comedy Festival tryout gigs, and tickets are already on sale for ROLL UP! at Edinburgh. You can start buying them here, if you're so inclined.

And we're proud to announce we're inaugurating a brand new Gilded Balloon venue. It's called Patter Hoose (or is it The Patter Hoose, time will tell), which used to be C Venues opposite the Museum. And I'm in a room called Dram which, purely by chance, shares its name with the venue I'm playing in in Glasgow. What were the chances of that.

And the best thing is The Socks are on at 9.30. It's the first time we've managed to nab ourselves an early primetime slot like this for some years (we've been going up at 10.30 for a goodly while now) so let's hope this suits our punters well.

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Roll Up! at The Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, July 31st - Aug 25th 2019 at 9.30pm. On sale now!

Friday 15 March 2019

Messy Kids Lazy Pets Shedding Husbands - comics by kids in Dublin

A week of classes in Dublin, expertly organised by the librarians of the JSCP libraries in these schools, and I got to work with eight grand groups, plus had a day off in the middle in which I stayed in my hotel room all day and wrote my new Edinburgh show. These comics are the first of the week, from St Pauls CBS in the North of the city.

Killinarden School is in Tallaght, where I was based (at The Plaza Hotel, now you ask) for the rest of the week. Aside from a rubbish TV, it was a good base from which to reach the week's schools. I Wanna Be A Cowboy is a meme, inevitably, and Nitna was a form of cyber bullying, based on a guy who hangs around the local shops. 4th and 5th years, of course.

My favourite cover came from St Kevins Crumlin where the chance to draw someone in the sewer gave me that much more to draw. Also loved drawing a chip shop.

And St Aidans gave me the favourite title of the week, a line from a Simpsons comic chosen by a kid at random. And finally to Colaiste Dhulaigh for the sweeetest and most unlikely title of the week. Cheesy, but a good way to wind up.

The 7 celebrities these groups chose for my demonstration strip (which I skipped with one group) were Michael Jackson (twice, this being the week of the Neverland documentary being watched by all high school kids), Will Ferrell, Donald Trump, Conor McGregor, Freddie Mercury and Beyonce.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Wednesday 13 March 2019

eBay update - Lots Sold, One Problem Customer

I was chuffed to get a message from eBay congratulating me on 100 successful sales. And, though I might be winding the eBay selling down a bit as I get busy with schools and socks, there are still lots of items up there.

The less good news is that those are things that simply won’t sell and have been listed for a second, third or even 4th time.

The worst news is that I’m dealing with a customer who’s behaving suspiciously. He kept me waiting for payment as he bid for more and more items, ultimately bagging over 50 quids worth of comics, mostly the Captain Britain collection. Then he made an unusual request about how I should post them. Not getting this in time, I sent the comics by my usual method. Lo, a few days later, he’s demanding a refund and wants to send all 50 quids worth of comics back. Alarm bells are ringing, as Hev and I have heard of scams whereby buyers pretend to return goods but make deliberate errors to the address so it registers as returned but is never actually received by the original owner. I am trying to avoid being a victim of this scam by getting the suspect buyer to return the items in the three individual batches in which they were sent. If I receive the first intact, I’ll approve return of the second and so on. Let’s see how that progresses.

UPDATE: Reader, he returned every item, and they all looked the same as when they'd left me. I've re-photographed them and put them back on eBay.

Meantime, here’s my list of what’s actually sold this month. (Sold Feb 20 - March 10):

9 x Daredevils comic  £32.00
Captain Britain 1 - 13 (85). £31.00
4 Annuals Dredd, Lion Smash.  £21.00
Tamagotchi £21.00 (later got £10 refund)
Spawn 1. £20.00
Tantrum by Jules Feiffer. £15.00
Hulk 1 - 11. £14.08
2 x Radio Times Xmas 91, 98. £13.59
Revolver comic x 2. £13.00
12 x Planet Of The Apes. £10.50

2 x David Cassidy annuals. £10.00
5 x Warhammer comics. £10.00
15 x Rampage Defenders. £9.50
10 x Planet Of The Apes. £9.13
Radio Times Xmas 1987. £9.00
Monty Python Bok. £8.50
16 x Avengers & Conan £8.01
11 x Planet Of The Apes. £7.50
Phantom Stranger comic. £7.50
20 x Avengers & Conan. £6.50

Comic Relief comic + 3. £5.52
Robert Burns sheet music £5.50
Topper, Sparky, Hotspur annuals £5.00
5 x Quantum Leap comics. £5.00
8 x Power Man comics £5.00
Savage Sword 1 + 4  £4.71
Accolet Binoculars. £4.70
Bandmaster harmonica. £4.50
Comics Scene mag x2. £4.20
Esso football badges. £4.20
Spawn 9 & 11. £4.00
From Me To You sheet music. £3.70
14 x Planet Of The Apes. £3.53
Spec Spider Man 189. £3.50
All Star Superman 1. £3.50
Melody Maker 1978. £3.50
Heavy Metal comic x 2. £3.50
Titan no1 + 7  £3.50
Spawn 8. £3.50

Parrot harmonica. £2.50
Masonic sheet music. £2.50
6 x sheet music Carousel, Annie Get Gun £2.50
Fonz Poster mag  £2.50
Valour, Future Tense + 2  £2.50
Mad mag fall special. £2.50
6 x sheet music Lonnie Donegan. £2.50
It’s Only Make Believe sheet music  £2.50
9 x Heat magazines  £2.50
4 Buster mini comics  £2.50
11 comics inc Gladiators  £2.50
Space Precinct comic + 3. £2.50
Beano Anniversary + 8 comics  £2.50
Lion, Battle + 3 comics. £2.50
All Star Comics 1. £2.50
Beatles All My Loving sheet music. £2.50
Death graphic novel. £2.50
Roy Of Rovers + Tiger annuals. £2.50
Sinbad comic + 3 £2.50
Ronin x 3 £2.50
Philbert Desanex. £2.50
Plop comic x 4.  £2.50
Sound Of Music sheet music x 3. £2.50
Superman 202 203. £2.50

TOTAL (ex postage).  £437.87

(NB: I just noticed an addendum to an earlier post, meaning I've totalled up some of these items twice. As if anyone's keeping score.)

So, comparing this list with the list of unsellable items from the same period, we can conclude that batches of 10 or more comics from the 70s and 80s will sell, especially Crown Jewels like my Daredevils and Captain Britain collection, but individual US titles have a less than 50/50 chance of selling, as has sheet music (I’m pleasantly surprised to see sheet music standing at 7 items sold 8 items unsold though, I thought they'd done worse). Random old magazines like Mojo, Total Film, The Listener and Private Eye are currently unshiftable, so I’ll be trying them in larger batches when I try again. 
See the full range of my eBay items for sale here

Tuesday 12 March 2019

eBay - The Great Unsellables

As you probably know, I've been selling stuff on eBay, clearing out my childhood comic collection, and a vast stock of magazines and sheet music. I've been doing rather well with much of it, as reported elsewhere. However some items have been listed and relisted and failed to find a buyer.

If you want any, all my eBay items are here.

Here are the items that look like they will never sell.

4 x sheet music - Hollies, Wombles +
To Know Him Is To Love Him sheet music
All I Have To Do Is Dream sheet music
Why Do Fools Fall In Love sheet music
Living Doll sheet music
TV Tornado annual 1970
Spider Man weekly + 3 comics

Pebbles & Bamm Bamm + 3 comics
Valiant pullout comics
Radio Times Dr Who cover 2007
12 comics Action 21, Sonic, Duckula +
Super 296 + 3
2 x Radio Times Dr Who covers
5 x Radio Times Dr Who covers
3 x foreign Superman, Disney +
Rocketeer 1
Power comics 1
3 x Plastic Man
2 x Punisher

Sin City trade paperback
Total Film + 3 mags
3 x Mojo mag + Classic Rock
Fortean Times + 3 
The Listener x 3 + Sunday Times
2 x Private Eye Xmas specials
The Mask 1
Superboy 161
Superboy & LSH x 2
Marvel Spotlght
Marvel Premiere
DC Showcase 100
Silver Star 1 & 2
TMNT x 2
New Teen Titans x 2
Robocop v Terminator
DC Super Powers 1

Black & White Minstrels sheet music
6 x sheet music Brigadoon, Annie
6 x sheet music Irving Berlin
Superman 308
Superman 234
Stormwatch 1
10 x NMEs 2004-08

From which we can conclude that there’s no market for classic sheet music (though I’ve seen titles of this vintage going for high figures, the devil must be in the detail), and there are very few individual US comic titles that will sell on their own merit. (Again, I’d seen every single one of these go for a figure of £5 or more on eBay, though admittedly most were from US buyers and sellers which must be the key difference). And NMEs, no matter how big the job lot is, have to be at least 20 years old before they’ll find a buyer at all. 

If anyone wants these, they continue to go round the baggae carousel for your perusal, almost all starting at just £2.50

Saturday 9 March 2019

How'd It Go Mr Joe? - World Book Week comics by kids

Thursday was World Book Day, which makes this, I assume, World Book Week. It's certainly the week on the calendar when my Comic Art Masterclasses are most in demand, as you can see from these, the fruits of five solid days visiting schools. Kicking off with St Ambrose Barlow in Birmingham who had me doing two Mega Groups.

My class is usually done with a maximum of 30 pupils, each of whom goes away with a comic containing a strip by everyone, and an individual caricature. A Mega Group, which I do reluctantly but have to sometimes, involves bringing two classes together in the hall for the initial demo part of the session, then they break off into their separate classes to draw their characters, return to the hall for the second demo part (wherein a celebrity treads on a worm in my demonstration strip), then back to their classes to draw their strips. I join the first class and lead them in naming the group comic, then I join the second class who get their caricatures drawn. Finally I print off two different versions of the comic, containing the two classes' different strips. The end results look pretty damn good, though I say so myself.

From Birmingham, it was then a four-and-a-bit hour drive to Cumbria, where I stayed over in Bassenthwaite, ready for the next day's classes at Beckstone Primary in Harrington. Lovely kids, lovely comics, and a five and a half hour drive home.

From the mileage of Cumbria, to the luxury of a school that was only 25 minutes from home, Elmlea Juniors in Bristol. Of course, thanks to rush hour traffic, I managed to be 25 minutes late. The two delightful classes came up with possibly the most random title of the week and a Brexit metaphor, which was quite good going for year 3 and 4.

Lochinver House in Potters Bar, a private boys school, was inevitably the poshest and best connected of the week. Apparently Martin Freeman's kids go there, as do the sons of a number of football players. Which might explain why there were so many suggestions of footballers I'd never heard of when it came to naming a celebrity. We ended up with Billy Sharp. Me neither. After I'd finished these classes I had to get into London to appear on stage at the British Library with David Sedaris, Helen Fielding and Nina Stibbe, about which I'm sure I'll write more.

The week ended at Newton Ferrers Primary in Devon, with another almost Mega Group (in fact it was one big group of 42 kids in the hall, with whom I produced an oversized comic, again with deceptive ease) and a normal sized class. A good week's comic teaching, and ten lovely artefacts to show for it.

The celebrities these ten groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Donald Trump (3 times), Ariana Grande (twice), Freddie Mercury, Billy Sharp (plays for Sheffield United apparently), Amy Tinkler (Olympian of some sort), Bob Marley, and Melania Trump.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Friday 8 March 2019

Meeting David Sedaris (and Nina Stibbe and Helen Fielding)

I was kicking myself that I didn't get a selfie with Nine Stibbe, David Sedaris and Helen Fielding, then I later discovered that not only does David Sedaris have a loathing of photos, but that we were in fact prohibited from taking them. So this is the only photographic evidence I have of me being on stage with those writers, and a couple of other fellow diarists, at the British Library.

I'd been invited to join this illustrious group because of my 1970s diary, which Jon Fawcett the events organiser had seen online and knew me from when he'd had my World's Biggest Comic on show there a few years ago. So pages from my diary got blown up on the big screen and discussed, alongside the other minor guests (Dion Baker and Patti Keane) whose illustrated diaries were way more impressive than mine, being the work of talented grown ups rather than a precocious kid.

Nina Stibbe remembered me from school, which was nice, and we were able to chat about Kibworth, Fleckney and the old days. David Sedaris was fun. I've loved his readings on the radio for years, and he is the same in real life. Witty, open and amusing, but most significantly he's nice to people. He finds something complimentary to say to everyone, like asking where they got that item of clothing. In my case it was my 'plaid' braces that got his attention. I was delighted when, on stage, I got a couple of laughs from his with my occasional line. The only one I remember was when, in the Q&A at the end, someone asked all the guests whether they reread their old diaries and I replied "If I fancy a cringe I'll look at my review of Jim'll Fix It and my Record For The Day by Gary Glitter - no." He chuckled and repeated the 'if I fancy a cringe' bit, which was lovely.

Hev and I had an enjoyable wee night out in town, which had been preceded nby me working at a posh boys school in the home counties while Hev came into London, then of course the long drive home at night before I headed off to a school near Plymouth the next day.

Surprisingly this event, which is surely of note, took me a month to get round to writing up in my diary. This speaks volumes on how my approach to diarising has changed in forty years.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Saturday 2 March 2019

Guinea Pigs Go To War - comics by kids, Maesteg to Hannover

This week saw my travels with my art kicking in big time, beginning with Monday at Maesteg Town Hall. Two classes, two great comics (I remember I did a couple of nifty covers when I was there last time). Next time I visit, if they'll have me back, the Town Hall should have a shiny new glass extension, which is good. Maesteg deserves it.

Then there was a nearly four hour drive to Selby in North Yorkshire to give a couple of classes at Selby Library. A nice old market town with some historic buildings, and another couple of cracking comics.

Then it was to Stansted and over to Hannover (you can read about my travel fun here). Dammit Jerry is my favourite title. They weren't, of course, thinking of Seinfeld when they came up with the title (it was one of those that comes about when I suggest a kid stabs their finger in a comic and writes down the first phrase they hit) but that was what I drew. And I love my colours on Super Dog (I coloured these and the previous 6 covers in my Hannover hotel room on Thursday night).

The second day in Hannover only had one class in it, so I got the chance to go to the Museum before heading home. I also took in the Sprengel Art Gallery while I was there. A grand round trip (and unlike last year, weather didn't interfere).

The celebs these 7 groups chose to star in my legendary demonstration strip were Stan Lee, Michael Jackson, Ariana Grande, Snoop Dogg, James Bond, Dwayne Johnson and, appropriately enough for Hannover, Angela Merkel.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here
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