Saturday, June 07, 2008

Welcome back...

Yes, yes, I know, I'm a bad blogger, no updates for six months is not really on, is it? I can only apologise to the three men and a cat that actually read this blog. I could make the obligatory pledge to update more often but it probably won't happen. If anyone out there wants some more regular updates from my crazy, fun packed life, you can check out my LiveJournal (which I actually do update regularly), or if you prefer random, meaningless crap, no longer than 140 characters, then subscribe to my Twitter feed.

Now, on to the business of actually updating you do I cram six months into one blog post? You know, I recently caught up with some old school friends on Facebook who I hadn't spoken to for thirteen years, and it amazed me how easy they found it to sum up the last thirteen years of their lives in just two sentences. I didn't think I'd had that eventfull a life until I had to try and sum up everything I'd done since leaving school. I thought it was just normal for people to do the things I've done, but I guess it isn't. I know I can't be happy in life unless I'm striving to achieve something bigger and better with my life.

So, what's been happening?

Orang Utan Comics Studio

The last six months have been fairly huge for the Orang Utans, with a huge amount of growth in just about every area. To a certain extent, too much growth, too soon. For a group of friends who essentially got together just to put out an antholgy of our own stories to get our names out there we suddenly found ourselves hailed as an up and coming new indie publisher, the bright new hope of the British comics industry. All a little overwhelming, really, and not something we ever wanted to be. Pete and I both found ourselves quickly bogged down in the process of "running things" rather than creating things. So, the last few months have seen us restructuring and refocusing and ultimately rebranding ourselves as a studio. I think the main reason we didn't call ourselves a studio from the start is that we wanted to differentiate ourselves from Visionary Comics Studio after we split from them. However, I think we've established our own identity to the point now that we don't need to worry about people comparing us to them.

On the studio side of things, we've been really successful. One of our artists, Diego Simone, has recently taken over the artistic duties on Starship Troopers, and by the end of its run, Kong: King of Skull Island was an Orang Utan Comics Studio production, artistically speaking. Recently, I've contributed colours to Kong, Starship Troopers, Lazarus: Immortal Coils and Johnny Saturn, and I've been inking a book called Legendary. Contraband has received some great reviews, even if they didn't mention my inks, and my colour work on The Flying Friar received a fantastic review in The Guardian. The recent Bristol International Comic Expo was a big success studio wise, and it was particularly satisfying to have editors approach us about working on new projects.

On the publishing side, we picked up Baby Boomers, which hasn't sold bucket loads (yet), but has been picked up by AAM/Markosia as a regular web comic and they have plans for a 100 page tradepaperback. Not only that, but there's some Baby Boomers animation in the works and Markosia's Hollywood agent is particularly excited about the property.

Which brings me to Eleventh Hour. What can I say? I would hope that anyone reading this will know that the book got picked up AAM/Markosia, and that an 80 page tradepaperback featuring twelve new stories (okay...okay...technically ten new stories...) is due out from them this week. On one hand the book has been a huge success. It's had rave reviews, been nominated for an Eagle Award, and I've spoken to a ton of fans and creators who have all said that Eleventh Hour is exactly what the industry needs right now. We've had some amazingly talented writers express an interest in contributing to further volumes of Eleventh Hour, including Cy Dethan, Dwight L MacPherson and Scott Lobdell (yes...Scott Lobdell...fingers crossed that he actually sends me a script). On the other hand, one sector of the industry clearly hasn't caught the vision with Eleventh Hour, and that's the retailers. At this point I should say that there are some amazing retailers out there who have been extremely supportive. The good people at Comic Guru in Cardiff have hosted signings, Mario and his pals at Apocalypse Comics are not only some of the best people you'll ever meet but have aslso bigged up Eleventh Hour at every opportunity. That's just two examples, others include Mike Sterling, who I know ordered the book for his store, and there are many others. Okay, well, "many" probably isn't the right word. The order numbers were very disappointing, maybe that's because there isn't a market for the book. Well...maybe not...after all, at the recent London MCM Expo, Eleventh Hour was the best selling book on Markosia's stand over the weekend. It sold well at Bristol too. The market is there...I know it...the fans know's just a matter of persuading the retailers too. That's our job, I fully accept that, and hopefully with more glowing reviews and a few "name" writers on board, we'll win a few more of them over next time.

Both Young Gods and Slam Ridley continue to tick over. It's frustrating that neither of them are out there yet, but that's the reality of the indie comics business. These things take time, and I hope that people will agree that they're worth waiting for when they finally arrive. The Young Gods OGN is very nearly completed and we're starting to look for a publisher for the book.

There's a ton of other stuff, I'm sure, but I think that'll do for now.

Go order Eleventh Hour Vol 1 to keep yourself amused until the next update.


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