Archives for the month of: March, 2015

Sorry it didn’t go up on Sunday, I have had a busy week, what with the launch of 50Signal and me working on the sequel and redecorating the house and eating lots of chinese food and drinking wine.

I’ve been out a lot recently actually.

THEN THERES THIS WHICH I WILL TALK ABOUT MORE LATER

And I think we should all take a moment to appreciate the fact that despite my constant consumption of food and alcohol over the past few weeks for the first time in a while j can confidently fit into a 36 inch waisted trouser. Before I could wiggle my way in but preferred the 38 because I for some reason thought it was a legal requirement to have at least a thumbs width of space all around the edge of my waist band, but now I’ve conquer the trouser… beast? No wait that sounds wrong. Moving on…

++++++++50SIGNAL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW++++++++

The lovely people over at Starburst
Magazine, a science fiction and cult entertainment magazine forever doomed to be autocorrected to Starbucks by my corporate whore of a phone, has included a very favourable review of Papercuts and Inkstains, the very splendid and worthwhile comic anthology put together by Rob Jones as part of the first wave of Madius releases.

(I’m sure by now you’re all aware of what it is and that I did some art for it so I’m not going to labour the point. Buy it if you want, if not wait for the DVD release with the directors commentary or illegally download it from Napster.)

Thing being, and the reason I bring this up, is that it’s really surreal to see something YOU made in a magazine that PEOPLE can BUY from newsagents and the like. The only reason we know it was in there at all is that Jones was in a WH Smiths and took a courteous look through an errant copy and found our comic in its review section.

There’s one thing about seeing a review on a website and the seeing it in print. In my head the website is still the place where the “see: other” content is stored. When I was younger I’d hoover up copies of Empire whenever our paths would cross, and after the cinema reviews there would be the reviewed-on-the-website list and it’d be a cinematic grease trap of all the guff people who hate films would go and see. For example whilst purile money engines like Grown Ups would get a begrudging review in the magazine, Big Mommas House 2: Like Father Like Son would be relegated to the website, where I wouldn’t read it. Having a review in the actual comic near the reprint of Grant Morrison’s Zenith and the latest volume of Sex Criminals makes me feel like one of the big kids. Like what we are doing is very Splendid and Worthwhile.

The first of you people to contact me telling me what the phrase “Very splendid and worthwhile” comes from, who said it and in front of which building I will send you a nice little prize.

++++++++PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS VOLUME 1 IS AVAILABLE NOW++++++++

image

image

image

image

Back to that Forbidden Planet review, it’s staggering how nice people have been about 50Signal, and I know people aren’t being ‘nice’ they like it and are reviewing it as such, but I’m always worried about my art work and how people will see it. I started drawing 50Signal in response to a suggestion by my sister. After looking at the art I’d done for hourly comic book day she suggested that I draw more simplistic things. Sure I do the overly complex line art on Harvey Spig and more recently on NO where people actually commented that it was hard to tell what was going on in some of the more creative panel layouts, and they were right. Took a gamble and whilst visually attractive it wasn’t the greatest way to tell a story.

(I can talk about this its fine. *sobs*)

So, 50Signal is an attempt at more simplicity in telling a story, and I think people are getting that and I’m managing to do it without sacrificing content.

If you want a sketch edition of 50Signal please drop me a line at nickgonzo@outlook.com and there is a little delay at the moment getting them sent out due to the volume of requests I’m getting. If you want one and are patient send me an email they cost £5 if you live in England that’s including postage, elsewhere we will have to come to some sort of arrangement.

++++++++LIKE ME ON THE FACEBOOK++++++++

“Hey Nick, you haven’t written an extended piece of Bum Hattery lately, why don’t you indulge us by talking about Cyborgs and creeping futurism” says no one, ever.

“Good idea,” I shout back hearing no reply but the sound of my own voice.

This will be just a long stream of thoughts, so if you are into comics and art and don’t like my ramblings, see you next time.

My friend recently had brain surgery. They did a bit of drilling into her skull to implant an antennae as part of treatment for Dystonia. Now as well as the antennae she has wires, a junction box and a battery pack all powering this electrical unit under her skin. She’s a cyborg, and you can say that without a hint of irony as she is modified with the power of technology to function better.
Which makes me think of this lecture by Amber Case where in she discusses the new definition of a cyborg. In the simplest of terms I have been a cyborg since I had to put glasses on, and used technology to augment my sight.

image

Ultimately that’s really lame, because by that logic we’ve been cyborgs since we decided that we could use a big bone to smash up a tapir instead of chasing after it and hitting it wirh out hands (then again if you are really lucky one day I’ll go off on one on my theory that Hal 9000 is the logical result of the bone at the beginning of 2001) but recently our dependence on technology has become more and more apparent.
For example: take away my glasses and I can still ‘see’ but just not very well. Take away my phone and you are removing a whole spectrum of my functionality. By removing my phone I am being diminished as a person, and that’s something that will apply to a lot of people on Earth if they are really honest with themselves. I use my phone to communicate with people I have never met, I use it to talk across the planet. The Internet is one of the few reasons I still have friends from University and have a career in comics because I have networked my way to this position. Remove my connection to the Internet and my connection to the world around me goes away.

How many times a day do you Google a song or a news story, fact check a piece of trivia?

You are connected to the world through your screen, and it’s portrayed as a negative thing increasingly, but what if it’s a massive positive? What if it’s the logical merger between human and data? Dan Harmon talks a lot about this in an episode of his podcast where he posits that we are just the evolution of Data storage, the ultimate word in biological data capture and therefore, to further the evolutionary process of the data that has formed our life they require us to build better computers. Imagine that, humans as meat prosthetics for information.

I also read an essay recently that suggested that we are just technology developed by bacteria as vehicles. Bacteria has moulded our growth as a species so they can live within us.

Humans as technology is something that really interests me and I would love to write something extended on this. Might do when I get home. Right now, see you later.

Advertisements

First up some shameless promotion.

50Signal is on sale tomorrow… or at least Wednesday the 25th of March via the Madius Comics shop.

++++++++50SIGNAL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW++++++++

But if you want a copy of the comic with a thank you and a sketch in the back the you will have to email me directly at nickgonzo@outlook.com and I can get that sorted out for you for the tiny price if £5 which includes shipping within the UK.

Title your email “50 Signal sketch edition”

image

That great fleshen lump at the bottom of that picture is my ankle, just so you know it’s now some squamous horror I have lurking around. Just me and my grotesque body.

If you have any questions or insight or statements to make concerning 50Signal or anything else in this beautiful world of ours, then direct your emails to the same place:

Nickgonzo@outlook.com

And if you are okay with them appearing in here please note them “fit for print” and that’ll be cool won’t it.

People have been talking to me about the comic a lot. It fills me with a warm sense of pride that this comic, whether you enjoy it or not, is worth talking about. I’ve had a few wild speculations in what exactly is going on during the comic,  one of which more or less got everything right.

++++++++LIKE ME ON THE FACEBOOK++++++++

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts recently. But which I mean I have been listening to two podcasts recently in a highly concentrated volume. The first is Harmontown, a podcast that completely bypassed me for some reason, or more accurately I bypassed it because it just didn’t seem like it was for me.

Weird considering I’ve been a fan of Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab for years and channel 101 inspired some terrible videos from me over the years. But I’ve probably heard Dan Harmon’s voice more than anyone else’s over the past few days. It has inspired the sort of surprise laughs in me that make you seem like a psychotic in public. A guy avoided me by circumnavigating a whole store instead of passing me in one aisle because I was laughing my tits off to a solid gold harmon anecdote. I’d recommend it if you like rambling humour.

I know Harmon is a bone of contention because he spends a lot of time in the public eye for being loud and shouting and being hard to work with. That doesn’t bother me too much because I know how these things can boil out of control, but if you put aside those thoughts and remember that American national treasure Chevy Chase is a mammoth rape joke making dong and that Season Four of community DID SUCK then you’ll be fine.

The other thing I’m listening to is The Beat Bee Sessions which is a radio show style music podcast hosted by Jane Dope and Food One, aka Jim Mahfood the comic book and funk artist extraordinaire. I love a good music show, when I used to work late nights at university and such I would listen to all sorts of radio shows like God’s Jukebox with Mark Lamar. BBC6 music is my favourite thing on earth and listen to the catch up shows on an evening, but until the BBC let me download shows for offline listening then podcasts will be the groove for me. The Beat Bee delivers all ranges of music: funk, soul, hip – hop, rock and electric. Not having the tyranny of a self curated play list breathing down your throat is strangely liberating. Because I have no option but to listen to someone else’s music choice and having no option to fast forward means I will put up with stuff I’d usually skip and develop an like for stuff I’d usually hate. Also, the conversations between the tracks are charming and chill and it adds to the shows overall relaxing vibe.

I also like Spektor module curated by Warren Ellis because he has basically produced a podcast of music I love because the music hates me.

The word press app is bugging out so this is the end to today’s edition.

Thank you and good night.

Sort one this one.

Good god, I hate trains. I’m more aware of DVT on a train than I am on a plane. Probably because planes were designed by a guy aware that long flights will happen and trains were designed by a guy who fucking hates you.

++++++++PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS VOLUME 1 IS AVAILABLE NOW++++++++

Now I know this is weird, but I was talking about fears with… either a colleague or my sister the other day… or both at separate intervals. Anyway, during this conversation everyone was like: Spiders. Roller coasters. Fire. Whatever. Me, I was asked what my fear was and I have two answers:

1) People touching my eyes and teeth.

2) BLOOD CLOTS.

I will touch briefly on eyes and teeth.
I don’t like them being touched. There is a big trend of me doing foul damage to eyes in my comics and I blame things like The Evil Dead an 28 Days Later for this. I don’t like the idea of being blind. Hence; fear they’ll get all wounded.
Teeth comes from my years wearing a brace. During that time I have my teeth wired and tightened and pulled out in the name of cosmetic improvement. That’s enough to fuck anybody up.

My fear of blood clots is based in the idea of objects hurtling around your circulatory system like asteroids of scabs getting stuck in your valves and lungs and tubes. It’s a frightening concept and I don’t want to entertain it.

image

Here I am, surrounded by the joys of 100 or so copies of 50 Signal. Hooray, it exists and you can probably order it now. Check out this link below:

++++++++50SIGNAL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW++++++++

Or of you want a personalised sketch copy (each equipped with a unique drawing and a dedication) you can bug then for a flat rate of £5 including UK postage by emailing me at nickgonzo@outlook.com . If it’s America or elsewhere I will review it on an individual basis.

That’s all you get this Sunday evening. I’ve been travelling down to London and back this weekend and I am all alcohol delicate and my sister is feeding me soup. I’m weak and tired and need my rest.

image

Hola,
We now live in a word where the Utopia series 2 soundtrack is available for purchase. I mean it was released on December the 15th 2014, but this is the first time someone has brought it to my attention.

++++++++50SIGNAL ISSUE 1, AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK++++++++

I was stunned by the music for the first series, it was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, adding to the show as well as compliment it. I think that Utopia received a lot if stick for going with its own aesthetic but that’s something I admire.  There are musical cues we here all the time now which are all absent from Utopia. Steering towards a Dub style with a heavy emphasis on samples of weird instruments and vocal sounds, it mixed up the format you expect from conspiracy theory/spy action media. Then to do a whole new suite of music for the second series which developed it’s tone as the plots focus shifted was a master work. Its much darker, much more disturbing, and in some instances is barely music, but its a fantastic apocalyptic collection.

ANYWAY

++++++++PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS VOLUME 1 IS AVAILABLE NOW++++++++

image

Went to see Jon Ronson talk at Waterstones Leeds yesterday. The PowerPoint heavy original presentation had to be abandoned after the computer failed to work in any way or form so we had a mighty question and answer session. The main focus of evening was discussion about his latest book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, a book about people who whether or not by their own hand, have been publicly shamed by us, the mighty public.

As Jon puts it; “We’ve sleep walked into a surveillance society, and whilst we’re all frightened of the NSA or the government but the real monster is people like us”. I’ve been on twitter since 2008 and I know exactly what he means, and I’m not talking about the shambling terror that is Gamer Gate that is you besmirch its name it will come down on you like a tonne of hammers made of solid shit, but its the warriors of the public world that want to cut the biggest slice out of those who offend. For example, one of the people Jon talked about was Justine Sacco who made a fairly ill judged joke on Twitter, which in her mind was meant to be social comment on White privileged, but due to the wooden nature of 140 characters it read like a racist statement and in the space of an 11 hour flight the woman’s life was unpicked by people calling for her public destruction because of this one joke. It can happen to any of us. It could happen to you that anything you say could ignite and having been taken the wrong way will become the stick people beat you to death with. You can lose your job, lose you friends and have your life thrown through a blender because you’ve said something that may be wrong, that may just be ill judged, but does the punishment really fit the crime?

I’ve done it, and if you’re honest you’ve probably done it, where you join the raging crowd tearing at someone who did something bad. Sometimes it feels good, like taking a bite out of a Daily Mail journalist for being a homophobic twat, or holding a political party accountable for what it says and does, but when that rage machine has no target it can turn to anyone.

Its practically a Black Mirror episode.

The Tweet, a new novel by Franz Kafka.

I also got to ask him about going through the Kubrick family boxes. Way back when Jon made a documentary called Hotel Auschwitz, all about the tourist industry surrounding Auschwitz. People would visit, but no one wants to stay. He got a call from a member of Kubrick’s people who wanted to procure a copy of it for Stanley, and he sent it and heard nothing, until after Kubrick’s death where the same Member of his people invited him to the Kubrick house hold for tea. There Jon found that every room was filled with boxes and boxes of stuff, a life’s collection and research for films that sometimes never got made. There’s a library of books at Kubrick mansion all of them biographies of Napoleon collected for a film that was never completed. Spurred on by his wife during his investigations into the Men Who Stare At Goats, a book about Psy-ops and shadowy government military research, Jon asked to look into the boxes and eventually made a movie about their contents.

He found photos of scenery for films and location shots and books and the severed head of the Sniper from Full Metal Jacket, oddly a character who makes it all the way to the end of the movie without ever being decapitated…

I’d love to do something like that.

It was a pleasure to meet Jon and I can’t believe I didn’t get to ask him about his time with Frank Sidebottom.

Are you reading Nameless from Image comics? Its absolutely batshit comic about the journey to Space to stop a huge Asteroid from crashing into the Earth, an Earth in the grip of a psychic sickness driving people into murderous frenzies. Its filled with deeply odd magic talk that can only come from the mind of Grant Morrison, and it has a gritty brutality to the art that could only work in their comic. Its on my pull list at the moment and is hugely deserved of a place in yours. I’ve been buying a lot of single issues, I buy the first issue and then judge whether I want to get the rest of the series, or get the trades, or just ignore it because its a piece of shit. But there are a LOT of strong titles out at the moment. It really is a good time to be a reader. Here are some other things to check out:

The Surface (Image Comics)

Help Us Great Warrior (BOOM! Comics)

Casanova (Image Comics)

Curb Stomp (Boom Comics)

Howard The Duck (Marvel)

Still reading through the weird history of North Korea at the same time. Its a well crafted and easy to read book, and I’m flying through it. As a finalé to this blog post, Eliza Gauger has made a playlist of space related tunes that is the sort of thing that makes me thing of 50Signal plot details and development. I love writing 50Signal.

Google: Von Neumann Probes

 

See you later, Space Cowboy.

I wrote a whole blog post here over a period of two days.

++++++++PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS VOLUME 1 IS AVAILABLE NOW++++++++

I went into great detail about the Southern Gothic in music with a specific focus on The Handsome Family. I spoke a bit about Stanley Kubrick’s boxes and Jon Ronson, author of The Men Who Stare At Goats, who went through said boxes after Kubrick’s death and made a film about his experience. I waxed lyrical about Public Service Broadcasting’s new album The Race For Space.

image

Also involved was this photograph from Better Call Saul.

Anyway that disappeared because the WordPress app fucked up. The thing about blog posts, or mine at least, is that they’re interesting to you when you’re writing them, but now it’s buggered off I don’t want to write it again.

Not really much going on at Tower Gonzo at the moment. The slow spinning wheels on the Madius train are creeping into town. 50Signal is at the printers and I made this statuette the other day. As a result I may be doing concept art for another stop motion animation movie. Hopefully this one won’t tank like the last one.

image

image

Something that has happened is that PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS ISSUE 1 the first official release from Madius Comics has hit shelves and is available now from the Internet store.

A reviewer made it official too that my weird creations are a reason to buy the comic. Lots of fuss has been made about my busy pages, but no one’s really reported on their contents so this makes a pleasing change.

image

We are also running a competition on the Facebook page to win some stuff. So go there now, follow the instructions and win things, including a bunch of original art pages by me.
I for one wouldn’t want original pages by me. I fix so much shit in post it’s unbelievable. For example: last page of my submission to PAPERCUTS and INKSTAINS I totally fucked up the characters eyes and had to rearrange them to so she didn’t look like a lobotomy patient. It’s really surreal giving away artwork. I spent quite a bit of time working on NO which is what it’s now called, originally CLEAN UP ON AISLE 37, but the huge NO on the first page cause reviewers to not read the title. I drew it mostly without pencils to keep it loose and weird, then just handed it over to Rob never to be seen again. The last page literally leaving the table to his hands as I finished it on his living room coffee table.

image

It’s official that I am attending Nottingham Comic Convention as well this year. It’s too far away to get a good gauge on what exactly I will be pushing upon you, but I bet it’ll be good stuff.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I’ve taken time out from reading really heavy philosophy books interspersed with modern poetry to read something more light hearted. I was reading The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, Weird Realities: H P Love craft and Philosophy and In The Dust Of This Planet and decided to switch to a biography of Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick was MY kind of controlling, misanthropic film maker. The control he wanted to exert over everything he made was both admirable and maddening. He also embraced ambiguity: something modern, glossy directors should embrace. I walked out of the BFI reissue of 2001 late last year, having gone on my lonesome, listening to a bunch of people throw their arms up in the air and cry out “But what does it mean” or more disturbingly talk about wrong interpretations. Urgh. The idea of about wrong interpretation is baffles me.
Anyway my light hearted reading ploy failed and I’m now reading A KIM JONG-IL PRODUCTION,  a book about North Korea and it’s film industry. North Korea is a weird place, simultaneously the butt of many of the world’s jokes and yet possibly the most terrifying nation on earth. We cover up our guilt about letting these horrific crimes against humanity continue by having a good chortle about how they dress weird in clothes and Kim Jong-Un has a weird haircut.

Oddly I have become the part owner if a car that actually is the same model used in North Korea as taxis.

image

So here ends another blog post.