Archives for category: THINGS!

Yeah, totally started a blog post mid-May, and got so involved with it, it became an essay, and then, its still not written. I hope to push it into your face soon.

So much stuff is happening right now, so much stuff, that I need to do a blog post to remind you I am alive.

I AM ALIVE

Hello from the Moon.

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

Please if you haven’t, do buy a copy of 50Signal. We are so close to selling everything we have in stock, and when we do, we are going to re-letter the dialogue of one of the characters because its been pointed out in enough reviews that it disrupts the story the way it is currently written, so we will bow to their wishes, because they’re right and I’m being a luddite.

So why am I encouraging you to buy it now when its going to be re-lettered?

Well because the version we have for sale now is my favorite one, and the one I believe to be the best, and even though it will be easier for people to read it, it won’t look as good. It won’t be as I intended it. I know the idea of a Directors cut of a comic is madness because there is no such thing as a director in comics, but for lack of a better term, this is my directors cut. The harder to understand director cut.

I thoroughly understand the need to create a great product, and an understandable product so that the world can share and enjoy with me my Baby thing, so I’m really happy to have it re-lettered. But I like this one.

Buy it from the link above, or email me directly and for the cost of £5, which includes the postage within the UK, I will send you a copy with a sketch I did in the back.

EMAIL ME AT nickgonzo@outlook.com

++++++++PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS VOLUME 2 IS AVAILABLE NOW++++++++

I appeared on a Podcast recently, and they released not one, but TWO recordings of my voice as I chat stuff about comics and the universe. The lovely, friendly men from Games and Graphics had me on their podcast and I give an apt description of why Batman is a drink driver.

The first one is the proper, REAL interview, and the second on is a short collection of my babblings on Rob Jones’ plan to conquer the universe and how Arnold Schwarzenegger is an abomination. SO MUCH MUSCLE. They did remove my speech on how the more muscular a man gets the smaller his bum gets… so there is a small glory there.

You can hear the proper interview HERE and the random Ramble is HERE

In other news the Leeds based production company Sakerco are making a documentary about me, that I think has a working title of simply; GONZO, which was also the title of a great documentary about Hunter S Thompson released a few years ago (Just googled it and HOLY SHIT it came out in 2008 so I feel old. I saw it at the cinema, loved it, don’t know if you know but I am a massive Hunter S Thompson fan.)  Because the initial trailer has been uploaded to Facebook I can’t share it with you embedded in this post, so, I can link to you here.

My work with Kevin Pospisil on a project called NO LOVE that hasn’t been announced yet has had some concept work posted on line so here it is, enjoy:

no love

More about that soon. Looking forward to a SKYPE session with the man about how we move forward. And I am working on a print that will be for sale soon through the Madius shop, as well as hurtling on with 50Signal 2. Here is the work in progress image I took on my phone from my computer screen in order to tantalize people.

godzillaSome times its hard to be in Madius comics, all I get is Mike Sambrook and Rob Jones sending me messages day and night:

“Oh, I’m working with this great artist on a thing”

“Oh, I’m getting paid to do lettering for a famous comic company”

“Oh, I’m getting funded to piss my name in huge letters in the dust of the surface of the moon”

“Oh, I’m co-writing a version of the Bible with the newly resurrected Mega-Jesus as he rides the great beast from the sea in judgement of Man”

I get to work with myself mostly, and that guys a dick.

To be fair, I am working with two astoundingly talented artists RIGHT now on two comics I am very proud of so I should stop whining.

++++++++I REPEAT 50SIGNAL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW++++++++

Have you picked up Island from Image comics?

Its an anthology comic with long stories with no shared theme just being what they want to be and I love it for its adventurousness and creativity. It features work by Brandon Graham and Emma Rios as well as work by Ludroe and an essay by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Worth a read and a monthly release schedule and a thicker, glossier print makes it feel like an object to collect and treasure.

It makes me think more about the collaborative nature of the anthology and the THINGS an anthology can achieve. Papercuts and Inkstains is an Anthology comic that Madius does, but the real purpose of it is to show off Rob Jones as a writer. That’s why Issue 1 was made, in all honestly, to piece together a bunch of shorts that Robin had written and then put them in one place, and then Mike Sambrook has had work in it and then I’ll have a short in issue 3 hopefully. We are sneaking our stuff into his house really.

I’d like to create something like the anthology I was doing a bit back, it was called My World Is Clouds, and it was all about the collaboration betwixt poets and artists, presenting an artist with a poem and seeing what they create. Back in those days I didn’t have the creative network or the money to get something off the ground so it lasted one issue and then went no further. If I didn’t have a billion things to do I’d release it as a PDF.

I think a future plan for Madius would be to be even more experimental with our output and create a title that is just platform to do really weird and original things. Comics have so few limits that you can do almost anything, but with an Indie title you have to be marketable otherwise its your money going out the window. Its a bit of a sad truth, because if you tank as a small press guy you’ve just lost your cash and you have to create that balance between adventurousness and self expression. Sort of like with the Big 2, if no one buys the singles then the story ends.

So yeah, further down the line, I’d like to do something crazy.

Then again these stories really don’t always go as planned. 50Signal was going to be an old style panel a day web-comic, like a newspaper comic, now its a book.

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Encourage your friends to do so to. Such as, by sending a tweet like the one I prepared below:

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For all you playing along at Home, I just finished reading John Dies At the End by David Wong which is a staggeringly good Horror book which also has the added feature of being organ-rupturingly funny. It is a long book and I read it so quickly because of its palatable blend of fear inducing prose and absurdity. I think that it doesn’t have the swing that other combination genre books have, the fact it can be funny and terrifying on the same page, in the same paragraph, and describe scary things with a familiarity that makes it quite as creepy as it is.

I have now started The Thing by Dylan Trigg which is all about the Phenomenology of Horror, and more specifically, body horror. I haven’t read much of it yet, because I have been distracted by the collected editions of Jonathon Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s The Manhattan Projects which is one of the finest comic series I’ve discovered unaided. No one told me about it, I found it alone and its all the better for it. Anyway, I haven’t read much of Trigg’s book but it is a framing of Phenomenology as that of the Unhuman, adding an alien element to our understanding of our-self and our consciousness. I will write n more about that next week.

Anyway, talk later. I went to a wedding later and ate too much food, so the only logical path to take is to spin a cocoon and come back out as a winged creature.

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++++++++

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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.

NICK: For the final post of the year I’m going to have a fireside chat, and who better to chat to than Robin Jones, writer of Average Joe, Furthermore and Rock Of Ages. Welcome Rob to my digital fireside. What do you want for Christmas?
Robin: My two front teeth. Failing that, gender equality; a unified Earth; respect for cultures, nationalities and creeds; an end to world poverty; an end to racism and finally for Rik Mayall to not be dead. However, if I’m being realistic, I would say some comics, being surrounded by family and a smile or two from my wife, Charlotte. That would do me.
N: OK, well there you go. I think a unified earth would be a bit dull. End to wars and conflicts would be nice, stop needless blood shed and hate, an end to ignorance and the beginning of a golden age of acceptance, but I’d still want people to not get long. Sort of like “I respect Kevin’s views and religious practices and accept his right as an individual, but I still think he’s a Dick”.
A lot of inspirational people died this year, not to get all morose. And Crystal Castles split up. I know you approach comics from a not very comics back ground, because correct me if I’m wrong its only the past few years you’ve actually had an interest in them, so were people like Rik Mayall more instrumental in your development as a writer?
R: I’d say so, to be honest, over the last 5 years I’ve had as kind of awakening. I studied history at university, absolutely loved the writing process and wanted to continue doing something similar. At the time I was heavily influenced by writers such as Stephen Fry, Jeremy Clarkson and Charlie Brooker. The last two offered up a caustic world view but from different sides of the coin, and often set me up with a cognitive dissonance. In fact, Clarkson does that to me anyway! However, people like Rik Mayall, Russell Brand, Terry Prattchet and Hunter S Thompson are the writers that have really influenced my writing style when it comes to comics.
And, yeah, I’ve only really been reading comics for about 18 months and they really struck a chord with me. That marriage of visuals and prose seemed to stir something in me, and comic writer wise, I would tout Snyder, Ellis, Morrison, Ennis, Weibe, Whedon and Miller (Frank) as perhaps my biggest wells of inspiration now. Their style, their flare, their delivery all speak to me and all have delivered amazing work in comics, yet all show different styles and ways of composing a story, so I reckon they’re a pretty varied bunch to draw some inspiration from!
N: I agree with you on everything on there except for Clarkson. He leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Actually I feel quite sick in general right now. Made a quesadilla and there must have been mould in the tortilla bag because everything was tainted with this blue cheese taste. Not cool.
Getting back on topic, not that this ever intended to have a topic, I don’t think you have a unifying narrative in your comics, you spread your ideas all over the garden, would you say there’s some form of binding theme you’re trying to put out? Do you have a message you want the world to hear?
R: I know what you mean about Mr Clarkson, but goddamit, I find him funny despite every instinct I have. He, and top gear, are my guilty pleasure.
And with regards to a unifying theme, I wish I was that clever if I’m honest! The stories which I have planned up to 2016 (which is crazy really considering only one of my stories has been looked at by someone other than me) are all mad capped, crazy, zany, emotive, funny, ridiculous, moving and most of, I hope, fun to read! I think a shared world would kill me. (laughs)
Plus if there’s anything that bugs me beyond recognition with comics its continuity, the minutiae of detail, knowing that in this one issue such and such did this a specific way, and it had these ramifications so many years later. I think a unifying theme to the ideas which are crumbling out my brain like wet digestive would be stifled by something like that. I mean one story is really grounded and dark, involving drugs, death and alcoholism but yet in another there’s a talking beard, embodied with the ghost of an unsung virtuoso guitarist… Its hard to find a theme linking the two together!
And turning this round in its head, since its a chatette, how about yourself? Do you hide/have recurring themes within the comics you write and draw? Is there a higher message or higher purpose to the content you create?
And what about future comics? I mean, it’s safe to say people know we’re working together and we are going to be unleashing Madius comics on the world at large, but what else is there for Dr The Nick Gonzo, Esquire BSC…?
N: I like stitching things together. I never get held down by one particular thing but multiple universe theory just gets me every time. I want one character from one comic to punch through to another if needs be. Even if one world is ridiculous and the other is super serious. Did you read Sandman all the way to the end? Batman turns up at the Wake in the last volume, Constantine compliments some guys in their trench coats. I want my mythology to be as dense as the comics I grew up reading. That thing about a Wake can’t be a spoiler though, the last volume is called the wake.
You ever watched the Venture Brothers?
What else is there? Well, I’ve got a few comics, a few ideas banging about. I really want to work on a HUGE project that has no direction or hope at this stage but I will polish it into something at some point.
Something that gets forgotten quite a bit is that I’m a fine artist as well as a comic book artist. I want to do a show of oil paintings or portraits or something. I love comics but I’d like to have more time to work on different projects.
R: I actually haven’t finished Sandman. I do have the first 20 issues in a beautiful hardback book which I won in a contest from an awesome Podcast called Feedit Comics. Its the super sexy annotated edition, black and white but it contains notes, script notes from Gaiman and all sorts of other extras. Its a weighty tome, and it’s one I am working my way through. Same with Hellblazer, and Dream and Constantine are two characters who should definitely be in more things together!
I get the whole shared, layered, multiple universe thing, its a nice idea and a cool concept, but I don’t know if I’m fully sold on it myself.
If you had to choose two characters to cross over though from wholly different dimensions/universes/comic companies etc, who would you pick? I could see a lot of potential in a Black Dynamite/Early 70’s Sam Wilson crossover, complete with Pam Grier cameo, funk/soul soundtrack and a shit load of ass whuppin! Thoughts?
N: Best Crossover has already happened in the Judge Dredd vs Batman series they did. But I’m not sure what else I’d like to see. My own personal cross over elements will come to fruition in something I’m working on now. Can’t believe you’ve never read Casanova by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba. That’s all about multiple universes and cosmic weirdness. When you read Grant Morrison comics you KNOW that they all could take place in the same world. All Star Batman and New X men take place in the same word and you can feel that.
Sandman though, that’s entirely about the massive multiple nature of time and space. The Endless in an Endless world. That sense of wonder and the infinite, that’s COMICS.
2000 AD had that. Has that still.
I also like looking for little bits and pieces that tie things together, and I sew them into my comics, because I’m a N+E+R+D 
R: Fine art you say? Such as installations, commissions etc? Any themes you want to explore in those as you create them? Political? Cultural? Ethical? Racial?
Are there any other design projects you have in the pipeline, mixed media projects etc?
N: Never actually been commissioned for a piece of “Fine art”. I always feel like such a wind bag when I say fine art, because to me there’s nothing fine about it. And I also, and I say this knowing full weld I did this a second ago, but, I also hate it when people put a division between Fine Art and comics. I think there have been a few people who have put the axe through the myth that there’s somehow a lower level to comic book art versus other sorts. I was just about to write “I see the distinction in my art work as being Narrative and non-narrative art” and yet that’s a lie too because there’s the greatest of traditions of showing narrative in art.
Look at the Pre-Raphaelite painters and their narrative tradition. Art, arguably started as a form of basic communication and that’s how it should stay, even moving into the subtle and complex world of abstract and conceptual art its purpose is to communicate a feeling or an emotion or message to the viewer to change them in some ways. Only portraiture and comics do that slightly differently.
I’ve had a few gallery shows, one in Strange Cargo Gallery Folkstone and one at West-gate Studios Wakefield. The West-gate one, which I named ‘Shimazl’ which is a Yiddish word meaning Idiot, was a sort of retrospective, a collection of all sorts of different art and drawings, sketches and models I’d made. I love working in Papier Mache and making a mess with printing presses and the like. My next gallery show would be one with a set theme and a set meaning. I have always been interested in human form and the expression of people through art, and I’d like to get to grips with oil painting, maybe move into surreal portraits and expressive paintings of people. But I don’t known, truth be told all my art has evolved out of what was convenient and comfortable. I started using the ink nibs you dip in India ink because it was cheaper than buying fine liners.
I like to push boundaries though, and I like to think young can see that when I do comics I want to do things that can ONLY be done in comics. I want to use cool panel layouts and sound effects. Funk Soul Samurai is a comic I did that only contains sound effects, all communication in non-verbal. Watchmen has no Thought-bubbles and no sound effects. I know that was instrumental in making comics a more grown up medium that people would take seriously, but I think it’d be more subversive to make a comic entirely in Thought Bubbles. Did you see Warren Ellis and D’Isreali’s SVK that had UV inked thought bubbles on the pages that could only be seen through a black light? Revealing hidden thoughts. Imagine a comics which is 30 pages long, but its the same three pages done ten times each with a different artist drawing the same thing with different characters thoughts on it, each one delivering a different layer to a seemingly simple story.
I want to make a 3D comic you know. Not 3D all up in your grill coming off the page, but one on a series of cubes. My Step-mother has this anatomy model that’s eight cubes attached together and you can rearrange them to show different parts of human anatomy. Its an educational tool, but I think it’d be amazing to do that and each surface is a panel and you can rearrange them to tell different stories with the same base ingredients but each one is unique. My friend Joe McCarthy is a very talented writer and he wrote a story called Grimes Ladder which was in three chapters  and about the progression of one guys ice from adolescence to adult hood and then old age with his kid, and the three bits never end. Because the guy and his kid have the same name, at the end the guy’s story becomes his sons story and so on and so forth. We came up with the idea of printing it on a big scroll and joining it up in a loop so as soon as it ended it started again.
2014 was very much about making comics, 2015 might be about pushing comics a bit further.
R: See, the idea of pushing comics further is an exciting one! Comics as a medium are only just becoming a “respectable” medium and are only just getting the recognition as an art form. I totally agree that comics are a merging of fine art and interesting, though provoking narrative. Have you tried drawing something/someone twenty times in a row in various different styles/ranges of emotion etc? I have… I suck at it. Its damn hard to do! Its a skill, an impressive, fantastic skill. Look at Jocks work on Wytches!?! That is art. And then there’s colourists, letterers etc! That’s art, a skill. It isn’t just plonking letters and colours on a page and going “yeah…fuck it that’ll do…!” its about complimenting the art, directing the page and being individual.
And when it comes to your art/gallery shows, do you have different influences and methods which you use? Anything you’re working on at the moment you care to share?
N: You’re right about the acceptability of comics and I honestly think that the Marvel movies have been massively instrumental in making them more approachable. When I was at high school, in the late days of my GCSEs I started buying comics and making my own zines on the staff photocopier, and I remember the bookshop had a small shelf of graphic novels and I’d buy things out of sequence because before then I’d just read batman books and judge dredd books that could be read in as my order. I bought the 11th volume of The Sandman first.
Back then it was semi acceptable to read stuff like watchmen and maus but super heroes were for kids and comics were for nerds unless it was specific graphic novels. All that’s out the windows now and it fills me with joy that I see people reading stuff like Hellboy in public.
I have drawn the same thing 20 times in different emotions, I’ve done conceptual art work for games and film work so I have done drawn the same thing so many times I’ve wanted to jump out of a window. Actually that’s what a comic book is sometimes, just drawing the same people in different emotions. Imagine Darrick Robertson drawing Spider Jerusalem for 60 issue over a period of 5 years.
Jock is a wizard and his art comes from a Graphic design place. I like to think my art in comics is a bit different because I specialised in architectural design at university, but that might just be me deluding myself. But graphics is demonstrating data, comics is demonstrating data. It’s expressing data to a person only that data is a story. A good letterer can make a comic, a great colourist can improve art no end. It’s team work isn’t it. I’d love to work with more people, like to get a colourist involved. My art has flourished since starting to work with you because you see things I wouldn’t and think differently to me, so your perspective adds a different dimension to my work.
I’m not working on anything at the moment with regards to a future art show. I have ideas but it’s been so solid doing comic books this year and working on a big secret project that will NEVER GET MADE but due to the owners of my work will NEVER GET SEEN. My art future depends on tomorrow really. At time of writing it’s Christmas eve and I asked for a book on oil painting. I buy art magazines, subscribe to blogs and buy art books and things to keep abreast of other people’s work and absorb their work. But the general influence in my stand alone art work is what I want to try and what my mood was.
R: I agree with you entirely with regards to the marvel movies exploding comics to the fore front,  now every major production company, TV company etc wants to get their hands on hot comic property and in some ways, it may seem tiring, but in others its a revolution, a great wind of change and its finally making people accept that comic books, the format, the medium, are an art form to themselves. A unique one, merging deep and meaningful stories with emotive, evocative and passionate art. Its taken a long time for comics to stand up and grow up and there are still hiccups! However, a medium which preaches acceptance, tolerance, equality of gender; race; culture; sexuality and creed is one which I can happily throw my considerable weight behind!
N: I think that because the eye of the world is on comics we have to be good. The old eighties ideology of muscular man comes back from somewhere to punch something or someone doesn’t cut mustard anymore. There is a pressure to strive to achieve. Its like Iron Man. Before the movies he was going through a bit of a Dick period. Super human resignation and massive prison complexes in the negative zone. When they realized people would actually start reading it he stumped up a bit and started acting like a human. Have you read Guardians of the Galaxy since they announced the film? Its exploded in quality. I can’t wait until Doctor  Strange catches up with its own hype.
Mark Millar (ahahahahaha not a big fan) once said Comics were the only way to be a rock star anymore because its the only way you can truly say what you want, and he was totally utterly wrong, back in his Millar World column in SFX magazine, but he was kind of right that no one is REALLY telling you want to do, and its cheap to make and all it needs is passion and taint and you can tell tales of equal genders sexualities religions and cultures. Have a blah Captain America, have a Muslim Ms Marvel, have a female Captain Marvel. Comics should be about equality because everyone’s making them and EVERYONE is reading them and they should be for everyone.
Even crap characters, like Miss America who Joe Casey told the world doesn’t wear underwear, what a subversive guy, can have a renaissance like she did in Young Avengers, because with the right direction any character can not be shite.
Diversity is important in every medium. This bullshit about Idris Elba being Bond offending people is proof of that. The detractors use two examples without fail; the first being “This is like Shaft being played by a white guy” or “This is Ike Malcolm X being played by Tom Hanks” or the such like. And this is because there are so few series fronted by characters of colour that their stunted minds can only think up Shaft or ACTUAL HISTORICAL PEOPLE OF COLOUR. James Bond isn’t real, change his gender or race if it makes him more interesting. History has already been white washed, look at Christian Bale in Exodus paying the PRINCE OF EGYPT, why should comics be constantly white washed, I’m glad Wolverine is dead. 
I found the article where Joe Casey talks about the invention of Miss America: “For example: one thing we’ve decided about the new character, Miss America Chavez, is that she doesn’t wear underwear. Believe it or not, that was an important creative decision. I think it says something about her personality that she deliberately goes out into the field sans underwear. You can see it in the art. How’s that for selling it?”
I fond that whole thing so utterly offensive. Your gear for the character is not anything to do with their ethics or person, but to do with their choice of underwear. And this is a middle aged white guy talking about a teenage girl. It’s just pervy.
That and the art they released of the character still showed her thong string over the top of her Jeans waist band.
Gillen did a great job making that character cool by actually think about her like a person rather than a dress up doll. Same with Ms Marvel and Kelly Sue Deconnick. I remember when Geek Week reviewed the first issue of her solo series all those years ago and it was like a medical exam the way her swim suit camel toed.
Men get to be heroes and women get to be sex objects. It’s bit unfair and I’m glad it’s changing.

Heres a blog post…

I got a new job recently, working proper nine til five for a few weeks before I start doing earlys/lates rotations and being able to squeeze more comics into the day. Right now I’m sort of shuffling about in comics limbo. But, I have been sticking with the sketchbook I promised myself I’d draw in. So here’s some choice cuts.

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You can see the four horses I got in the Grand National Sweepstakes above. All ran, two were dismounted including ol’ TeaForThree there who just happened to be the FAVORITE TO WIN THE BLOODY RACE and thus ended my first foray into the gambling world, in twelfth and fourteenth place. I place this game where I semi-watch TV and as quickly as I can draw peoples faces. None of them ever look like the people I’m drawing, but they look interesting enough to slip into comics. I am always looking for character designs.

Get this, when I was younger I thought that Character design was the be all and end all of comics. But ultimately, it isn’t. Like a Harvey Spig comic for example. I invent a bunch of people, then spend far more time drawing the main characters over and over. Per title I must come up with one or two new characters, then the rest are background faces you’ll see once or twice. Heres an example, in the next Harvey Spig I get to draw a bunch of demons. Here is the character design sheet for them:

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Thats your lot. In my days of Deviant Art addiction I’d do character sheet after character sheet of poses of mooks who’d turn up for a panel. Realistically, if you’re comfortable drawing a guy from several angles, you’ve won the hardest battle there. Only one person above made it into the comic, I thought the melty guy looked dumb and replaced him with something more threatening, and the cyclops is a quick drawing of someone’s twitter Av I liked. I wanted to get something of a similar look later on so I scribbled him down.

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Iron-man should go into space. If I had all that cash/money lying about I’d be off star-fucking the galaxy, ripping Galactus a new one, getting cosmic powers, finding the new world in SSSPPPPPPAAAACCCCEEEEE…

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I do miss my beard, but its growing back now. I realised I’d never actually drawn myself without one, so I ended up looking like Beaker with bushy hair. Also; adding AND BRING ME PICTURES OF SPIDER-MAN to any urgent request will only make you seem more cool and awesome.

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Half-Life 2 is the best designed game I have ever played. The detail and world building, the attention to story telling and plot progression, the fact it tells you NOTHING and you have to infer so much by exploring and reading and PLAYING the game. Its amazing. Its sick-wicked-cool. No game has had the same pull over me than Half-Life 2.

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Faces are weird.

Remember, trust no one whose sketchbook is filled with perfect pin-ups.

Mistakes are how we learn and learn to be AWESOME.

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I draw myself a LOT, not in a sort of self-celebratory way wither, I’m always a dumpy Gnome. I might do a comic about that, why I fantasize about myself.

I think its because I find it funny to stick me in daft situations, or because I’m a rampant EGOTIST.

Who knows.

That bear is a cool guy though.

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I’ve started doing life drawing as well, so when I have a few of those I’ll stick them online. Usually, in a hour and a half session half an hour is devoted to loosening up and sketching lines and shapes for the big one hour drawing, so I only ever leave with fragments of any use. I love Life drawing, I think if you don’t do it as an artist you clog up and get bogged down with how you think a person is shaped instead of how they’re actually shaped. Everyone is different, we have lumps and bumps and no one adheres to the stupid image forced into our faces my magazines.

You can always tell artists who don’t life draw because their women always look airbrushed.

I read a Supreme comic from the early nineties last night, and the women in it where fucking horrible. Their necks were thicker than their waists. Its like everyone forgot how the world worked for a while. You can see why comics were such a boy-club for so long, I felt disgusted just holding it. I imagine having to explain it to my daughter years from now. You know, when she exists.

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People keep thinking I have kids. Its probably because I talk about my hypothetical children a lot.

That’s MEANT to be Casanova Quinn from the super sweet comic Casanova by Gabriel Ba and Matt Fraction. I was experimenting, I’m not sure if it worked, but its worth mentioning.

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So there we go, Ten more Turnips from the Tip.

Hoped you liked looking.

If you have any thoughts or feeling please comment, or email me at nickgonzodraws@gmail.com

Have a nice evening.

Gonzymandius

Ultron MK5    electric cake orchestra

Ultron is available for £10 , and the band Electric Cake Orchestra commissioned me to draw them, so I did.

Remember, if you want a Black and White £10 commission like the ones above, all you have to do is email me at NickGonzoDraws@gmail.com. Check here and here for others I’ve done.

 

Anyway, from the title I think you know that I’ve started watching Attack on Titan.

I was recommended it by a few people, and thought I’d dive in (helps that its on Netflix) and now I have a few things to say about it. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably heard most of what I’ve been thinking, because its been the source of great conflict and confusion in my mind as of late. But first, here is a little explanation of what it is, and I’m going to remain as spoiler free as I can, but I will talk plot details.

Attack on Titan is an anime based on a Manga about a world where humanity has been pushed back to the brink of extinction by huge wandering giants called Titans. Desperately the survivors put up three huge walls in rings to protect themselves from the endless hordes of huge digestion machines, and developing spider-man like gas powered rigs to fight the Titans, who can only be slain by a slash to the back of the neck. But, after a 100 years of inactivity, the Titans get into the last human stronghold aided by several unique titans never before seen, including one the size of a mountain, and a third of our ground is lost. The action picks up 5 years later, where humanity is starting to fight back.

Its a really bleak series, which I like, the first two episodes are basically a block of anguish and tears, episode three and four are semi-uplifting military training montages, and the fifth is just a big ball of nihilism as the writers start offing people like there’s no tomorrow. Its beautiful really, when the first massacre starts and ends so suddenly, it just put a smile on my face.

The Titans are actually a menacing adversary. They’re big, naked, genital-less people with weird proportions that have the sole drive of eating people by the fist full. As the series progresses you learn more and more about these Titans, and how they make no sense, and their direct opposition to the laws of nature is creepy.

Their lack of any particular anger is refreshing, and if they were just another set of gnarling monsters it’d dull the banality of big people who will bite you in two. They’re just nightmare fuel, and the major reason I watch it, to see them grind people up and watch the characters struggle along. I also hunger for knowledge about what they are, and that’s one of the key draws to the show, it controls the flow of information well so you are left at the end of an episode already slicing up your day to fit a couple more in. Attack on Titan also has this great Fascist overtone to it. The Royalty in charge seem to be corrupt, or at least self serving, and the military have this “just go out and die” mentality, it feels like the little people are being played with by their rulers as much as the Titans, because they can’t feel, house or control the masses. Its all very interesting.

But its so intense. And not in an edge of your seat, THE WIRE kind of intensity, I mean theres all sorts of moments where people say things with such severity it makes me want to laugh.

During the above MAGIC POMEGRANATE scene I almost had an aneurysm. Its brilliant, nihilistic breakdowns and magic fruit. If theres one thing thats hard to puncture in the show its how the Overly dramatic, overly intense moments and the violent little psychopath main characters constant shouting detract away from a really good show. I keep going for the story and for the world’s lore, but there are moments I want to turn off because, say for example, two characters will have an argument about a potato or someone will say something and their clothes will billow from the sure drama of what they’re saying. Also, the melodramatic speeches are constant. People will scream about their own insignificance, the insignificance of humanity, the pointlessness of everything in the face of titan death, all the while bright light shooting from behind them, or intense atmospheric forces whipping their hair about.

I suppose in conclusion of this ramble, if it was bad, I wouldn’t be writing about it at all. Its a really good show, that just happens to embody all the criticisms I have heard of anime shows. Heck, I’ve taken the piss out of shows for the exact same things this displays,  but the overall pros are much much better than the cons. There isn’t a cat themed comic relief character, which is nice, and everyone seems to hold their own, and its got good over all writing. I recommend it if you can get past the scene in the first episode where the father, a man who looks like MANY other characters in anime shows, promises to “show you the cellar I have been keeping a secret” which I was just all DUM-DUM-DUMMMM, FORESHADOWING! It has its ridiculous moments, but what doesn’t. And so what if some of the Titans look like your Grandfather?

I mean, the ridiulous moments aren’t as fun as Parasyte’s.. but then again, not many things are:

 

Only God Forgives is set in hell. The Thailand in this movie is a thick bristling jungle of neon lights, dark streets; all steeped in an ethereal glow. The characters are their own tormentors, each one twisting apart in agony like worms pinned to cork, drowning in their own guilt. No one is good or bad, such concepts are far too throwaway for this film, instead they simply act out an increasingly doomed series of vignettes, drawn to hell like Moths to candles until they just burn away to nothing. It takes place in a land between time, much like the directors previous film Drive; Drive taking place in a faux 80’s neo-noir paradise, this instead takes place at the heart of a sweaty labyrinth of debauchery, at the alter of a fallen city.

The direction is perfect, exacting, precise; Nicholas Winding Refn creates each still as a photograph, as a painting, with the sort of poetic and romantic vision Peter Greenaway uses, but in a filthy, urban setting. Prostitutes sit in pink lounges made up like Dolls, amidst floral wall paper and arranged lillies, sitting silently whilst a drug dealer is crucified in his own lounge chair, and its beauty makes it all feel terrible. There is not a relenting second, even in moments of silence, which they are many; Refn understands the importance of dialogue and it manipulation, even in moments of inaction, the long breathy moments between scenes that let the images you’ve witnessed sink into your brain, coupled with the flawless score and juxtaposition of all this pound the tension harder, like a tent pen into your mind. It turns the screws and your stomach knots.

Ryan Gosling is a stoic figure throughout the movie. Whilst harsher critics could see his performance as wooden and unresponsive, the rippling rage within his character barely contained under a zen facade is just another part of the boiling pot of tension. He is resolute to his fate, holding steady against tides of poison that simply wash over him, but you can feel the bluffs and buffets underneath.  The moments where you get a glimpse of this anger are the points where it almost becomes too much to bare, and watched through caged fingers you wonder what will happen next. The film is unpredictable and dense, much like the neon city it takes place in. It takes you places, toys with the conventions of revenge and violence. The unnamed police chief, the one people simply know when seeing, is an avenging angel, cutting reminders of guilt with a sword pulled from between the shoulder blades; simultaneously there and not there, is gentle, calm, collected, a lover of art and music and without remorse; justice in the flutter of the watchers heart.

Only God Forgives creates a tension like a varnish. It covers everything in the movie. Every perfectly framed scene is coated in the knowledge it will all go horribly wrong. It wrenches the guts and pulls at your nerves. Its tightly wound and the final delivery just lets it go. It grows in you. Every cell is steeped in anticipation, expectation.

So is my house now.

I burned the carpets and the curtains, got new furniture, it wasn’t enough.

I buried my review copy of the film in my garden, all the flowers grow wrongly now.

Wrongly and dramatically.