Back from MCM Manchester 2017

July 31, 2017

Well, I guess I’m officially reactivated now.

My first comic con table in a LONG time and while I’m exhausted I really did have a fantastic time. Besides flogging a fair few copies of Apothecary Supreme Issue 1, I talked with a whole bunch of awesome people who had lots of great feedback for me. I’m more motivated than ever now to really hit it out of the park with issue 2! I promise it shall be even more mucky, monstery and weird than its predecessor.

That said I really am knackered courtesy of an extensive journey home and my impending return to the day job so I’ll save my in-depth thoughts for another post. Work on Issue 2 is very much ago-go and I’ll no doubt post up some of the less spoilerific pre-production stuff soon.

My deepest gratitude to everyone who stopped by my table, bought a copy or just had something interesting to say. You all made my day, thank you!


Ghost in the Shell 2017 – Can an adaptation be faithful to a fault?

April 2, 2017

So, yesterday I saw Ghost in the Shell 2017.

As you might notice if you go waaaaaaay back through this blog I hold the 1995 original in rather high regard, being one of the foundation works that developed my interest in the cyberpunk genre in my teens. On the one hand I knew off the bat the remake couldn’t hold up; not simply out of arrogance but because the impact for me personally will never be the same. On the flipside, I didn’t want to dismiss a remake simply for daring to exist and figured I’d at least give it a shot to form some kind of opinion and see what the US take on the franchise would look like.

The shocking verdict?… It’s okay.

No drama, no outrage. Just alright. Not a patch on the original, but not a bad film in its own right. And yet, in a weird way this is even more frustrating to me than a laughable train wreck.

Hollywood has begun taking its adaptations quite seriously, being respectful and diligent with its source material. Is this really a good thing though?

It’s largely the same feeling I got from the Watchmen film; slick, accomplished and weirdly empty. For all the accuracy in its recreation I could never get that precise thought out of my mind, that rather than being immersed in a story I was watching some bizarre reconstruction for assessment.

Aesthetically GitS 2017 was just what I wanted, but ironically perhaps it was the scenes which attempted to emulate the original film exactly that felt most flat and empty. For all the evident technical prowess and care in recreation on show the end result for me felt lifeless. Lacking in passion and simply ticking off boxes rather than causing me to feel exhilaration or intrigue. When the film did its own thing in a way that was more inspired by, rather than a direct copy of the other films/series I found myself far more engaged.

It’s also worth remembering that the superb 1995 film only borrowed characters, tech ideas and a handful of plot points from the manga. I imagine many would furiously disagree with me, but the Shirow Masamune original – while innovative and well drawn – lacks the cohesion, focus and atmosphere present in Mamoru Oshii’s film, to say nothing of the sleazy content present in the manga which always felt unwelcome to me.

All this made me think that perhaps the whole concept of directly remaking a film is broken, inevitably doomed through unfavorable comparison and a lack of surprises. Perhaps the only way to truly adapt something is ironically to tear up the rule book and follow your own path. It may be a more risky approach but at least there is risk in the story as a result, a sense of the unknown, genuine peril and feeling of actually discovering something.

On the bright side, at least this has spurred me into checking out the more recent installment on the anime front; Ghost in the Shell: Arise.

Will it be any good? At the very least I imagine it will be different and that really may be for the better it seems.

 

 


Delays as always

December 14, 2015

Ack. Annoying as the sluggish comic updates may be I’ve got my hands full at the minute starting a new job and juggling an ongoing freelance project. As much as it pains me procrastinating at the climax of the story I’ve got to prioritize realistically to keep things sustainable…

On the bright side, the aforementioned freelance work is proving quite enjoyable indeed as I’m making storyboards, concepts and animatics (below) for a forthcoming short film; all good practice which appropriately goes full circle to my educational roots in film production.

One way or another, I’m determined as ever to press on and get plenty more Apothecary Supreme out around Christmas with a goal of finishing this story early next year. Am I massive fraud making up yet more empty excuses? We shall see…


Where my life’s at

August 11, 2015

Well, I won’t be overly dramatic. Things aren’t exactly terrible but lately they have been turbulent.

Evidence I haven't completely neglected AS in the last month...

Evidence I haven’t completely neglected AS in the last month…

Apothecary Supreme has been on ice for well over a month which is pretty damn embarrassing after my little speeches about getting organised and motivated but it hasn’t been forgotten, rather I’ve been drawn to more immediate concerns. You guessed it, my real real job.

Part of this has been down to assisting with a rather large freelance commission but more pertinently as of a week ago I found myself to be victim of what you might euphemise as a ‘restructuring’ at work; as it stands I’m not sure how I should feel about this being largely inevitable and unconnected to my performance, but regardless it’s thrown most of my immediately plans into disarray. Creative employment is often difficult to come by and while the role was often demanding it was in a niche I didn’t feel ready to leave. I can at least be thankful that those close to me have been very supportive through what could well be a difficult transition.

On the flipside, I presently feel more determined than ever to keep my own creative practices going in the absence of stable employment. Having worked hard in a job that no longer exists returning to my comic is not just self therapy but feels essential in order to keep my creative juices flowing till they can be applied professionally elsewhere and as ever I’m determined to get something solid finished which I can print up for conventions and the like.

There’s plenty more to say but with a new page on the verge of completion and the next few coming together it seems a shame not to the ride the momentum. I’ll make every effort to update regularly again and be more proactive online in the coming weeks.


Coming out of Cold Sleep

February 21, 2015

It’s been a while hasn’t it?… I say to what is likely an empty room…

Aliens-ColdSleep

‘Sleep’ is honestly far from the truth given how busy things have been in my absence from internet updates; work, relationships and life generally have all been exhausting, moving at turbo pace as I cling on for dear life. However, I’m gradually coming back online and I figured some kind of explanation was in order on the off-chance anyone is still left reading this derelict URL.

I’ll get it out of the way. ‘Branch’, my cyberpunk epic and the original focus of this blog is caput. Abandoned. Left for dead. It still makes me wince to say it outright, but the decision to pull the plug was made a long time ago and while saddening to me it was definitely the right call.

There were many reasons; the fact my heart was no longer in it, the longing to return to traditional methods, my awful update schedule, my slapdash promotion, the increasingly awkward connection to my bygone Masters degree. In the end I think I can summarise it most simply as trying to build a galleon before I’d figured out how to build a boat.

The script I wrote for Branch is one I’m still quietly proud of, but realising it on a reasonable timescale as intended was a challenge I was not up to and perhaps, may never be. It was this crushing revelation and the ensuing embarrassment that drove me off the web and back into my bedroom to go looking for my confidence. I was furious with myself for releasing it in an unfinished state, with the conclusion unlikely to be delivered before my prospective audience died of boredom.

What I can say now in retrospect is that the project wasn’t an entirely fruitless exercise. The product of my efforts may never have fully materialised but the lessons learned were extremely valuable. Painful as it was it allowed me to feel the boundaries of my skills and more importantly where my strengths lie.

Branch is not my first big failure – as I have numerous other abandoned comics to my name – but I want to make sure it is my last for some time. I can apologise all I want for all the false starts people have wasted time on (seriously guys, sorry) but I think it’s more important to take action which will provide the results I’ve been failing to provide.

As some of you may notice – silent room – ahem, as may be apparent from my older posts I’ve repurposed this blog for general comic output and stripped everything back to be nice and simple. Being straight, I don’t want to faff around presenting a nice wordpress, I want to get on with actual comics first and foremost without any of the old excuses.

GretaBackpack2webAs the concept art above illustrates I have still been at work on comic stuff while I’ve been away. I wanted to have a clear plot, plan and a nice backlog of pages before I showed anything publicly, what I absolutely didn’t want was another load of long hiatuses and broken promises.

The story this time is a reasonably lengthed little comic, open to being a serial but self-contained and achievable, once again embracing the hand drawn black and white crosshatching I started out in. It’s been progressing quietly for some time now and all being well it should start appearing online in the next few months with a goal for print in the not too distant future.

I could say more about it, slip you plot hints or apologise and moan some more for my past failings but honestly, right now I just want to shut up, sit down and get drawing again.

So yeah, stay tuned!