You can order your subscription from this web page here. If you're thinking you'll wait until you see it on the shelves of your local W H Smiths - don't! It is only available through subscription (for now). And you don't have to be a kid either - yes, it's primarily aimed at kids, but the appeal will be much wider.
I'm pretty excited by it, and even if I wasn't a contributor, I'd be a subscriber. It's got Philip Pullman, John Aggs, Neill Cameron, David Shelton, the Etherington Brothers... and many more that are yet to be announced. I've seen some of their work on the DFC office walls, and it'll blow your socks off.
If you signed up for The DFC newsletter, then yesterday you'll have got a sneaky peek at many of the weird and wonderful characters that will be appearing in the comic's pages over the next few months. And if you saw The Comic in last week's Guardian (with Cora's Breakfast by Nick Abadzis - wonderful) then you'll have seen the competition (for under 16's) to win an invite to the DFC launch party on May 15th. Not only will Philip Pullman be there, but Jacqueline Wilson too!
But luckily there are other people in the world (apparently) and they are doing things! Neill Cameron has given us a tasty taster of his strip for The DFC, Mo-bot High, and it looks fantastic. He's certain to be one of the stars of the show.
I had thought Matthew Badham's Overspill had been taken off air, but I'm pleased to see it is up and breathing again, now with interviews with PJ Holden and Al Ewing (no relation) and also Kenny Penman about his new venture, Blank Slate. Let's hope Overspill is here to stay - it's good comics stuff. As for Blank Slate, did you know that I designed the logo?
I want to direct your attention to a wonderful online strip. It's called Strange Times and is written and drawn by Dave West (of Accent UK). The style and stories have a personal touch that many comics could benefit from, and it has a strong clear voice that is pleasantly detached yet remains intimate. The drawing style is by way of Edward Gorey, possibly via Tom Gauld, and it works hand in hand with the tales perfectly. I strongly advise you to go and lose yourself in Dave's strange little world!
Are you aware of Sarah McIntyre's fabulous work? I just absolutely love her watercolour work, and went and bought a big pad and some watercolours for myself, inspired! Oh... it's not as easy as she makes it look. Go and look into the archives of her blog for her wonderful little sequence of 'thatchers'.
I could go on about loads of other things out there to enjoy, but for now I'll just quickly mention a great new blog called Good Comics For Kids that brings you daily news on... comics for kids! It has a US bias, but it's mostly stuff that's easily available. Add it to your bookmarks or RSS reader.
I'll end off with a sketch of no real consequence. I did it last year as a preliminary drawing for a magazine article. It didn't make it to the finished version, but I'm quite fond of it.
|"This issue's stand out strip is Garen Ewing's Rainbow Orchid, a 1920s-set high adventure. It's just so complete - everything about it is good and all fits together wonderfully. If there's any justice you'll see this turning up in local Waterstones on that spinner with the Asterix and Tintin books in."|
With the news that The Rainbow Orchid is to be published in 2009 by Egmont, the UK publisher of the Tintin books, it seems this may well actually come to pass (and Jez's justice will be done!).
When I started the strip, this was not at the forefront of my mind. My main concern was to write and draw a comic that I could enjoy whole-heartedly for myself (see the introduction I wrote here). As more and more reviewers picked out Orchid from BAM!, and then seeing the non-stop interest first-hand as I sold the black-and-white collection at the London Winterfest, and, more recently, seeing the excellent global reaction to the online version, the possibility of it being published with a wider audience in mind became apparent.
One of the really nice things about this process is that, while I had the idea I would finish Orchid before even contemplating finding a publisher (or indeed self-publishing it), events were rather hurried along somewhat by several publishers contacting me along the way. All this eventually led to my agent, Oli Munson at Blake Friedmann, approaching several of these publishers late last year, and successfully getting a deal with Egmont - the best publisher I could have wished for my story.
It's early days yet, but as Tim Jones, Egmont UK brand manager, was off to the Bologna Book Fair a couple of weeks ago, it was thought that this was as good a time as any to make the deal public, so to coincide with his mentions at the fair, a press release was sent out on April 1st. (Unfortunately, this coincided with my website's database going down, thus rendering my site somewhat inhospitable to visitors, and it took a week before Streamline were able to get the problem fixed - it was a server issue their end, so I was helpless).
Anyway, that's a bit of an overview for you. I also received a number of emails about the online strip being whittled down to just two preview episodes. This will remain the case for a while yet, though there will definitely be some new stuff going up at some point. For the moment all my energies are being directed at my new story for The DFC, Charlie Jefferson and the Tomb of Nazaleod. You can read a little about that here.
Lastly (for now), but most importantly, an enormous thanks to all those who wrote with lovely messages of congratulations on the Egmont news - it's been one of the best bits so far to hear from long-time fellow comic creators and brand new readers alike.
Newsspread and a tip of the hat...
You'll perhaps notice that all but two preview episodes of the strip have been taken offline. This is not necessarily a permanent state of affairs, but will certainly remain so for now.