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.
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…
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.
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 email@example.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.
“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.
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.