I was extremely honoured to be asked to illustrate one of the b-sides to the new volume of Phonogram. It’s a six pager and will technically be the very last Phonogram comic seeing as it’s in the final issue of The Immaterial Girl.
I drove myself a little crazy drawing this as I was nervous about letting the team down and making sure I stepped up to the challenge. Hopefully it goes down well and people enjoy it.
Oddly, the comic is called ‘Modern Love’ and is partly about the (brilliant) Bowie song. This was a comic I drew last summer. I received comp copies of the comic last Monday – the day Bowie died. I feel if I tried to articulate my feelings about Bowie here I could end up doing so for the rest of the day (and still not manage to say anything much that hasn’t already been said better elsewhere), but suffice it to say – I felt more emotional about it than I was prepared for.
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Clowes, and Chrissy Williams (plus all the other excellent b-side contributors) have been doing exceptional work on Phonogram and I’m sad to see it go – make sure you get the whole 6 issues of The Immaterial Girl.
You should be able to pick up a copy in your local comic store tomorrow (Wednesday 20th Jan). I’m excited about being in a comic which is on the This Week’s Comics shelves.
This year, I’ve been working with Chrissy Williams on editing and designing a book about Poetry Comics with Sidekick Books. It’s called Over The Line and features around 70 pages of all-new Poetry Comics as well as a detailed introduction about the history of the medium. It’s been a really fun and exciting project and we’re extremely proud of the final book.
We were particularly honoured to have Alan Moore give us this quote for the book:
This is that spine-tingling moment when two attractive and sophisticated forms, both admired for their rhythm and sense of timing, eye each other across the cultural dance floor. In Over The Line, at once an insightful introduction and a comprehensive showcase for the emerging phenomenon of Poetry Comics, Chrissy Williams and Tom Humberstone provide the best possible venue for what looks like being a breathtaking tango. I really can’t recommend this venture highly enough, and I’d advise you mark your card immediately.
Here are some photos of the book – with a fancy belly band and lovely cover artwork by one of the interior artists Ioan Morris.
The book launched at Gosh! Comics and the Poetry Cafe in September. The Poetry Cafe currently has an exhibition of the work in the book running until the end of October. Do pop in if you’re nearby – it’s free and is a lovely space to spend time in.
The book is available from Gosh! Comics, Orbital Comics, The Poetry Cafe, and online at Sidekick Books. It should hopefully be getting a wider distribution in more poetry and bookstores soon. Keep an eye on the Sidekicks Books website for more details.
After two and a half years of writing and drawing a weekly (except for holidays and double issues) political cartoon, I’m hanging up my Windsor & Newton and moving on to other projects. There are around 120 cartoons (including things like a Christmas special written by Robin Ince) to go back through and read here if you only caught them now and again.
With the Observations section (In The Frame’s home) going through a bit of a rejig in the coming months, and with a new editor there, In The Frame had sort of reached a natural end. I’m really thankful to everyone at the NS who helped get the comic started and gave me the opportunity in the first place, and obviously everyone who offered invaluable assistance over the past couple of years. There’s a part of me that would have liked to have lasted five years and hit that 200 mark, but this has been a perfectly respectable run. And my god, I don’t have to wake up to the Today programme out of professional obligation anymore!
I’m excited to move on to other things but I’ll also miss this job a lot. There were weeks when I could have been braver, or smarter, or funnier. And there were other weeks when I felt proud to be working on this weird little thing. It was a tough routine to stick to every week, but I got a huge amount out of the process and I think that’s clear when you compare the first comic to the last.
I won’t be moving away from political comics. My plan is to still produce an In The Frame every now and then – when there’s the right story and I can’t help myself – and host it here on the blog. But I mainly want to use this time to produce some long-form pieces. One of which I’m researching right now with journalist Valeria Costa-Kostritsky. This is a comic I really want to read so I hope we get it off the ground.
In the meantime, I produced a comic about the benefits of the EU at some point last year and I think that should be going online very soon now the referendum is getting close. I’ll also be producing an extra four pages to that comic with some additional context – expect to see that over the next few months.
Beyond comics reportage, I’m trying to scratch my itch for poem comics as well. I’m working on a new comic with Chrissy Williams which is currently just a bit of an experiment – something we’re just doing for fun – but if it ever gets anywhere, I hope to share it here. Chrissy and I are also co-editing a book about poem comics which will be released in September.
And I’ve also been keeping busy with lots of illustration/design/storyboard work which I’ve finally added to my website and on this blog so click on the illustration link to the right if you’re curious about what else I’ve been up to.
Thanks for reading. In gratitude, here’s a never-seen-before In The Frame that was produced earlier in the year…
And if you haven’t already, you can order a collection of In The Frame from my online store here.
Use the offer code FINALE to get 10% off. To celebrate, there’s also an option that allows you to order the original artwork for your favourite ITF (just specify the title – if it’s already sold I can hopefully find a suitable back-up!).
A very raw, self-knowingly OTT reaction to the general election results last week. I wanted to evoke the feeling of a 1970’s Italian horror film. Lots of abstract, jarring juxtapositions of surreal imagery. An Argento movie set in Buckingham Palace while Cameron met the Queen. It was fun, and weirdly cathartic to draw ram’s heads and crows.
On a more positive note, on the weekend after the results, I started to think about all the artists I know who were feeling angry or despairing at the prospect of another five years of a Tory government – and how there were probably loads of campaigns and protest groups gearing up soon, who would need artwork… So I set up a mailing list for artists to sign up to – so that when that art is needed, I could send out a newsletter to all the artists who were interested in getting involved and helping out. It feels good to put that energy into doing something positive and I’m excited to see what this group can do! If you’d like to sign up, click here.
This was in response to the Robert Downey Jr walkout but seems to be a common trend of KGM asking famous people ridiculously private or tediously controversial questions while they’re contractually promoting movies (see: violence in cinema with Quentin Tarantino, wherein Tarantino is an arrogant douche about it but has a point about that tired question popping up again). I can understand there must be a frustration with having to do these 5-10 minute puff pieces promoting a movie with fairly mundane questions but I can’t help but think Guru-Murphy’s questions are at best, ill-timed, and at worst, opportunistic. Surely, if you don’t want to be part of a PR tour for a blockbuster movie, you just turn the interview down rather than try and hijack it to interview an actor about their past? It can’t be a surprise when someone who is contractually obligated to answer questions in a hotel all day doesn’t react well to their past as an addict being brought up.
I was sat watching the opposition debates, having the usual soul-draining feelings every time Farage opened his mouth to speak, when this idea popped into my head. Whatever the issue, whatever the topic – Farage never fails to crowbar in some immigration talk – to the point at which the word lost all meaning and I was convinced this Immigration person just really hurt Farage once. Broke his heart. And he can’t let it go.
It’s a kinder, sillier, interpretation of his beliefs than he deserves but for my own sanity and well-being, I have to try not to take this man seriously or I become depressed.
After I pitched this idea, I saw the brilliant Babak Ganjei share a couple of Young Farage comics on Facebook which come from a similar place but are very different in execution. He’s much funnier than me. Check them out here. I was terrified it would look like I stole his idea when I saw his posts, but I think we both came at the same idea in very different ways.
BAM BAM BU-BUH BAM BAM BU-BUH BAM BAM. Game of Thrones is back! The idea of juxtaposing the grim violence and backstabbing of GoT with the meaningless soundbites and petty squabbles of the UK election campaigns was just too tempting. It’s weeks like this that I wish I had a bit more room to really dig in and enjoy drawing all characters but I’m still pretty pleased with my Tyrion, Sansa and Jon Snow.
I know campaigning has only just officially started but it really doesn’t feel like it.
I really liked the idea of doing a cartoon version of Monet’s Haystacks with time passing as the hotel ponders the overuse of the word “gate”. I had fun playing with the colours and trying to make the shadows work.
This was for the Easter double issue of the New Statesman (buy a physical copy here) so there won’t be a comic next week.