The British comics scene has two representatives in the set: Return to the Forbidden Planet is based on my 2005 design for Josef Weinberger Ltd., and 2000AD artist Leigh Gallagher has his 2006 Rocky Horror Show poster for SWD included.
I was contacted by Webb & Webb, the stamps' designers, back in June 2009. Since the previous November they'd apparently been looking through over 150 years worth of musical posters and had somehow decided that my Return to the Forbidden Planet artwork merited inclusion. I believe it was originally going to be just part of a collectors' pack - not an actual postage stamp.
I didn't hear anything for months and presumed it was one of the many jobs that starts full of enthusiasm and then fades away quietly to nothing - there are a lot of those! Until one day a nice lady from the Royal Mail phoned up - it was all on, they'd finally contacted Bob Carlton, the author, Her Majesty the Queen was looking over the stamps personally to approve them, mine was going to be an actual postage stamp, and they were coming out in November 2010. Somewhere along the line this got put back to February 2011, and here we are - I'm now nationally available to lick for those wanting to send something that costs 97p (eg. a large letter weighing 101g to 250g in the UK or the price of a worldwide airmail letter from 11 to 20g).
You can see my initial sketches for the original job in this blog post and there's another post about the design here. You can buy special sets of the stamps and postcards at the Royal Mail website and in all good Post Offices across the land (the ones that are still open). So go and send some mail! Especially airmail letters to countries outside of Europe! Or slightly heavier large letters to your fellow citizens of the British Isles! And buy a Return to the Forbidden Planet stamp with which to send it!
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. There might be one further CP-related post this weekend.
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. Coming up next will be some Captain Powerchord posters.
The game takes you from humble beginnings to stardom via 1950s rock'n'roll, the swinging sixties, the progressive and punky seventies, the MTV eighties, and up to the mid nineties, while all the time you must accumulate hits and avoid obscurity. I do remember the first part of the game, where you have to escape your roots, can be quite difficult, so feel free to make that a little easier if you wish - but the frustration can be part of the fun!
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. In the next few days I will post the fun page from Special.
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. In the next few days I will post some of the extras that appeared in the Special.
For me, Darwin's bravery in the face of a theocratic establishment, his open-mindedness and realisation of new ideas, his brilliance at communicating those ideas and his genius in general make him the greatest contributor to the understanding of what it is to be human, or to be alive at all.
Below is a quick drawing of Mr Darwin taking Indohyus for a walk. Indohyus fits somewhere very early on in one of my favourite evolutionary tales - that of the whale, a mammal that went from the land back to the sea and of which the fossil record, including some stunning examples of the intermediate stages, tells a remarkable story. Look at a whale or dolphin skeleton today and you will see one of the many irrefutable proofs of evolution - vestigial organs, for sea mammals retain rudimentary bones that were once hind legs, though they don't do a lot now they have become fully aquatic.
Another fascinating clue to the whale's terrestrial origins is the manner in which it swims, not like a fish, waving its body side to side, but in the same way that a dog or a cat runs, with the spine undulating like a ripple.
Spines... that brings me to a completely different topic, but something I thought I'd share. That drawing of Darwin above is the first thing I've drawn in over two weeks, a rather miserable couple of weeks if I'm honest. Two weeks ago I leant down to pick up a leaflet that had come through the letterbox and did my back in. Big ouch. My back is susceptible for a couple of reasons and I'm used to having a bit of a stiff back every other month or so. But once in a while, maybe every two or three years, it really goes, and this has been one of those times. The piercing muscle spasms render me almost immoveable to begin with, and the trouble this time is that after I started to get some freedom of movement back, I became over-confident and it went again, this time worse, prolonging everything.
Another big ouch. But in time, as it always does, things got better - the remedy beginning with a bag of frozen peas and lots of rest and moving on to heat patches, a back support and light movement as soon as I could. Interestingly, as things improve, the pain moves around, from the middle left, to the lower right, to the left side and eventually up to my right shoulder (just to make sure I really couldn't draw even at the end!). Today is the first day I feel virtually pain free, though sitting too long at the desk still produces an ache or two - so I'm being careful. (Of course, sitting at the desk for too long was the cause in the first place, picking up the leaflet was just the accurately proverbial straw (it broke the camel's back, you see, and the camel, being an even-toed ungulate, is a paraphyletic cousin of the whale - just to keep things Darwinian). Anyway, a regime of daily walks is now on the schedule.)
This, unfortunately, has consequences for the Rainbow Orchid publication date, though I'm not sure yet to what extent. In addition, none of this has done much for my mental attitude, and where the intense work ethic required for graphic storytelling is concerned, that is a hurdle to overcome - which I will, as I get back into things (so don't worry).
I do have one other remaining symptom of my back going, and that is an irregular sharp pain in my right heel. It's slowly fading, but I often have such hurtiness in my foot arches and just yesterday I realised that this may well be related to the state my back's in at the time, so I'll keep an eye on that.
Hm... and that brings me back to Darwin. An article in Science this week has shown how Australopithecus afarensis, an ancestor of modern humans who lived over 3 million years ago (the most famous example of which is Lucy), almost certainly had arched feet, evidence for bipedality - standing and walking upright. The thing about walking upright, wonderful as it is, is that we have not fully adapted to it - as with the entire evolutionary process, it's a matter of compromise after the fact. I became interested in evolutionary medicine after I saw Richard Dawkins interview Randolph Nesse, especially when he talked about how the spine is a mechanism that developed horizontally and is just about ideal for that kind of creature, but when it is moved into an upright position, a recent development, the internal organs that once hung perpendicularly now drape down, causing a few problems - for instance entangled intestines, a number of issues relating to pregnancy and, not related to the organs but to the new posture, good old back ache. Understanding evolution shines a very illuminating light onto all kinds of things - thanks, Mr Darwin!
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. In the next few days I will post the eighth and final strip, a four-pager called Caught 'Napping!
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. In the next few days I will post the seventh strip, a two-pager called The Really Rather Strange Thing That Came From Another World!
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. In the next few days I will post the sixth strip: Super Goth!
See here for an introduction to Captain Powerchord. In a couple of days I will post the fifth strip: The Chickens! (Sorry if it takes a bit longer - I've pulled a muscle in my back and can only sit at the computer for a very short amount of time at the moment.)