BugPowder Weblog
Regular slugs of news for the UK Small Press Comics Nation (huh?)
May 31 2004

For me, and I suspect a lot of comics readers of my generation, the first stuff I saw that showed me how fucked up and genius comics could be was Brendan McCarthy's work for 2000AD in the 1980s. That he's done barely any work in the comics industry in the last decade is a crying shame though he has often said he'll return to comics when he can afford to publish his work himself. In the meanwhile you can wallow in this massive site of celebration, The Strangeness of Brendan McCarthy, featuring a huge number of covers, posters and design sketches plus a career overview chock full of interviews and scans. Lovely!

# Posted by Pete Ashton

Following on from the last ComICA post, Marie from the French Institute in London has sent through a list of the ComICA related exhibitons, events and films going on there...

# Posted by Pete Ashton

As a hopefully monthly exercise I've been asking people on the BugPowder mailing list what they're up to in an attempt to sketch out the activity that's going on in the UK Small Press scene. If you want to be in the next bulletin join the list and await my call.

# Posted by Pete Ashton

Louis, the ever popular character trapped in a Kafka-esque nightmare that all children can identify with, has his own site featuring a lovely little animation.

# Posted by Pete Ashton

During the weekend at Bristol I had the good fortune to visit Here, a lovely little shop specialising in zines, small-press comics, prints and strange arty ephemera that cannot quite be described. It's an Aladdin's Cave of the fascinating, every corner crammed with things that make you go "ooh!" and all of it lovingly hand-made in some way or other. If you're in Bristol it's well worth popping along but more importantly they're always looking for new stock, taken on a sale or return basis. Send sample copies to Here, 108 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RU or call them on 0117 942 2222.

# Posted by Pete Ashton

Simon Perrins has had an idea and is telling everyone about it...

The Independent Comics Sampler CD

So anyway during the Small Press talk at the Comics 2004 Festival in Bristol (in which, among other things, everyone vowed to no longer refer to it as "The Small Press" because it sounds like something that the Women's Institute organise at a Village Fete) the topic of comics on CD (saved as PDFs, or some other universal document viewing format) came up.

Some girl with cybergoth hair (sorry if you're reading this but I don't know your name - I'm not part of the comics in crowd, I guess) suggested that seeing as producing CDs was so cheap, why didn't we just use them for free previews. Immediately everybody proclaimed that this was a pretty bloody brilliant idea. "Free" is a very seductive word, as Paul Rodgers would probably tell you, and people are 98.5% more likely to try something if they don't have to shell out for it. So what I'm proposing is this:

Those people who want to produce their own previews in their own way, do so and send it out to a few people. When you receive someone else's files you can put them on your own CD in addition to your own stuff. Hopefully this will snowball, so that we have a number of different people's previews on a CD. People can then burn as many copies as they want and send them out with orders (or to Shane Chebsey at Smallzone, who seemed up for the idea when I mentioned it to him), or have them at marts, conventions and so on as freebees. Bang a nice cover on it (I have been putting in colour inserts with the vinyl sleeves I send CDs out in and they look pretty nice, and its cheap too) - alternatively a lot of printers these days can print directly onto CDs - although my flatmate has a printer that can do this but we haven't figured out how to actually do it!

People who don't have CD burners, or no knowledge of how to put a CD together can just e-mail scanned files of previews of their comics to those who can. I'm willing to do this to get the ball rolling, and once we have a few people doing it, as I said before, people can burn as many CDs as they want - then the onus isn't on just one person to provide all the blank CDs and pay for all the postage.

If anyone wants to send me anything, make sure its in a format that will look good at a normal screen resolution of 72dpi, and include ordering details, information about what you have available, and all that sort of thing. I don't know what exact form this will take, possibly one big ass PDF, or maybe lots of little separate ones (the latter is easier in terms of updating the CD), but I definitely think there should be some simple front end, possibly in HTML that lists all the comics, and has images, so that people browsing through the CD can quickly get an idea of the kind of work
that people are producing.

To be honest I'm just throwing this proposal out there to see what people think. Loads of us have this kind of thing on our own websites, so it shouldn't be too much effort to get sorted out. As I said, people will no doubt be already working on their own CDs, but by pooling our efforts and resources, we can hopefully share and increase our audiences.

# Posted by Pete Ashton
May 27 2004

Le Gun is both a group of artists and a forthcoming magazine. Spearheading the new diversity and vitality emerging in illustration and narrative artwork, Le Gun believes in the power of drawing and storytelling. Revelling in the eccentric rather than the fashionable, Le Gun celebrates the published and the yet to be published. Mixing established practitioners such as Andrzej Klimowski and Peter Blegvad with emerging international talent, Le Gun is a place where imaginative people spill their minds.

(For more details get in touch with Neal Fox: ammunition@legun.co.uk)


Fresh Faces, Inky Fingers
June 6, ICA Nash Room, 6.30-7.30pm
ICA The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
Box Office & Inquiries 02079303647/


Le Gun at the French Institute
Original Le Gun artwork at the French Institute-June 5-13
17 Queensberry Place, London SW7
Box Office & Enquiries 020 7073 1350/

Primordial Ink presents Le Gun
Monday 5th July - Saturday 31st July. Free. Match Bar
37-38 Margaret Street, just off Regent Street, W1, 1 minute from Oxford Circus tube. Open Monday - Saturday, 11am - Midnight. Private view Monday 5th, from 7pm.

# Posted by Mardou
May 19 2004

wiLbur produces a comic strip every weekday which subscribers receive via eMail - a beautifully simple method of comics distribution - but with one snag: people so like to see what they are getting before releasing funds from their steely grip.

Now you can see samples of wiLbur's work, & for simplicity, & convenience, pay subscriptions by Paypal:
Visit wiLbur's website - it features 21 pages of comics for you to sample (1 is hidden) and then... why not subscribe?

# Posted by mooncat
May 17 2004

This will confuse and befuddle any newcomers and probably a lot of oldcomers, but then it is a Martin Hand comic. Presented here is one of Martin's earliest works, The Aquaberry Crew, from the early 80s before his style developed into the 2D-Kirby-talking-head style you're possibly more familiar with. Juvenilia of the very odd? The fact that the lead heroine is based on Fiona Jerome (founding editor of Bizarre magazine as it happens) might help.

# Posted by Pete Ashton
May 15 2004

In an example of very-open-planning the Caption (small press comics convention in Oxford in August) organisers have put the minutes of a recent meeting on their blog. Interesting if you're attending, what with this being "new venue year", interesting if you're wondering about organising your own event and want some pointers on how it's done, and just kinda... interesting.

# Posted by Pete Ashton
May 11 2004

The forthcoming Comica at the ICA has announced it's Schedule

ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH, Box Office and Enquiries 02079303647,

FILM: The Mindscape of Alan Moore
European premiere of director DeZ Vylenz’s cinematic audience with born raconteur Alan Moore, author of the modern classics Watchmen, From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Pre-screening panel discussion on the 7th with Moore’s collaborators including Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, Jose Villarrubia and Oscar Zarate . European Premier on Monday 7th, 8.30pm, ICA Cinema 1, further screenings at 6.30pm on 8th, 9th and 10th June.

TALKS: Creators presenting their work in depth, including never before seen material and, in some cases, live creation.

Drawing Front Lines: Bittercomix and Aleksandar Zograf.
Bittercomix comprises Conrad Botes and Joe Dog, South African revolutionaries whose comics literally were on the front line in the struggle for South African democracy during the eighties. Hailed as heroes with the release of Nelson Mandela, they have continued to train an unblinking eye on their national psyche, and have been pivotal in the nurturing of the nascent comic scene in Africa with a string of important exhibitions . Aleksandar Zograf, a Serbian comics writer and artist, explores the former Yugoslavia’s complex psyche in a darkly amusing manner. Thursday 10 June, 8.30pm, ICA

McSweeney’s Launch: Seth & Ware in Conversation
Chris Ware is at the very top of his game – not only has he won the Guardian First Book Award (the first time this has been awarded to a comic book) for his genre-defying Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth, he has also compiled the Penguin/Hamish Hamilton-published Comic Edition of McSweeney’s to be launched at Comica, featuring a stellar line-up of North America’s finest including Crumb, Spiegelman, Clowes, Sacco and Seth and Ware themselves and . Seth is considered one of the great cartoonists of the past decade, and is synonymous with the style and sensibility of Canada’s massively influential Drawn & Quarterly Books. Seth will be launching Clyde Fans and an illustrated prose novel of his father’s Great Depression memoirs . Also: screening of documentary on Ware after talk. Tue 8 June, 8.30pm, ICA Cinema 1

Family Secrets: Craig Thompson & David B. in Conversation
Craig Thompson, creator of the poignant autobiographical epic Blankets that runs to 592 pages, is set to be the biggest thing since Chris Ware. Praise for Blankets: ‘… achingly beautiful’ Time Magazine . David B. put himself at the forefront of the autobiographical comic book movement with the completion of his 300-page masterpiece Epileptic (to be published in the UK 2005) about the impact on his childhood and family of his elder brother’s disease. As teacher of Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) his influence is wide-ranging and ever more apparent. Wed 9 June, 8.30pm, ICA Cinema 1

José Villarrubia is Spanish-born, now living in the US. He is an innovative illustrator/ photographer who has worked with Alan Moore on Promethea and on The Mirror of Love, a history of gay and lesbian culture, expected out during COMICA. He will be giving a computer colouring workshop and a slide lecture history of gays and lesbians in US comics. Sat 5 June, 3pm, ICA Digital Studio

A violent demystification of the creative genesis of comic books with an all-day 'comics factory' taking place in two rooms of the ICA. High profile participants will work together to produce new forms of ‘nano-comics’ intended for mobile phone communications, touching on autobiography and politics. Sun 13, 12 – 8, ICA Nash & Brandon Rooms


First Persons Singular
Thinly disguised or brutally frank, autobio-comics put the cartoonist’s life inside the panels. Al Davison (Spiral Cage), Ilya (Skidmarks) and others discuss. 2 - 3pm

21st Century Escape
From graphic novels to animation, Glenn Dakin (Temptation), Carol Swain (Food Boy), Woodrow Phoenix (Pants Ant), Chris Reynolds (Mauretania), and other Escape artists unveil their latest projects. 3.30 - 4.30pm

Same Sex, Different Stories
José Villarrubia examines representations of gays and lesbians in US comics and launches his new book The Mirror of Love, Alan Moore’s history of homosexual culture. 5 - 6pm
Fresh Faces, Inky Fingers
Sylvia Farago (Sturgeon White Moss), Simone Lia (Fluffy), Neal Fox (Le Gun) and other new publishers on the magic of print comics, followed by launch of Le Gun with the Royal College of Art. 6.30 - 7.30pm
All talks will be followed by signing sessions
Sun 6 Jun, ICA Nash Room

At the French Institute:
17 Queensberry Place, London SW7, Box Office & Enquiries 020 7073 1350


Sylvain Chomet is the visionary French director of the magical Oscar-nominated animated film Belleville Rendezvous (2003), as well as the creator and author of several bande dessinée albums.
Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim are stars of the ‘Nouvelle Vague’ of French comics

Dupuy & Berberian, the unique double-act behind Monsieur Jean, soon to be a live action movie.
Frank Margerin famed for Lucien, France’s favourite rock’n’roll anti-hero.
Benoît Peeters, Belgian author of Cities of the Fantastic and Hergé biographer.


The French Institute presents a retrospective display to celebrate Tintin’s 75th Anniversary, including drawings and sketches by Hergé. May 11 to June 13 - admission free.
Original Le Gun magazine Illustrations in the bistro.


Crumb film screening British Museum (June 4)
The Adventures of Tintin at Sea exhibition, National Maritime Museum (continuing)
BookArtBookshop Exhibit of Mini-Comics curated by Les Coleman and Paul Gravett (June 4, 7, 5 & 9-12)
The National Comic Book Marketplace at the Royal National Hotel (June 6)
The Making of the Rakoff Collection of Graphic Literature is a talk by Ian Rakoff and viewing of treasures from the Rakoff Collection of Graphic Literature at the V & A Museum, Ground Floor Seminar Room 3 (June 11th 2.30-4pm)
National Maritime Museum talk (2pm, June 13) Benoit Peeters, biographer of Tintin’s creator Hergé, will be in conversation with Comica’s director Paul Gravett and guests on comics' new found cultural respectability and its relation to art and literature.

# Posted by Mardou