Saturday, 18 July 2009

Buskers: The Graphic Novel

Popquiz, hotshots: What do the artists Mos Def, Kevin Spacey, Damon Albarn, Ian Brown, Sean Michael Wilson and Michiru Morikawa have in common with Insomnia Publications?

A: All of the above are involved in some way in with Jeymes Samuel's BUSKERS project, some with the comic, some with the music, some with the independent film.

BUSKERS is an offbeat tale set in contemporary London with an array of odd but realistic characters. The comic book is based closely on a screenplay written by singer and writer JEYMES SAMUEL (who might be tired of being refered to as the brother of the singer SEAL, but just so those not familiar can get an idea) .

It's written by Sean Michael Wilson, who we profiled when we announced the recent signing of his book, Conway, and is illustrated by Michiru Morikawa, an incredibly talented Japanese artist who won the International Manga and Anime Festival Award a few years back.

“Yet you get into a full blown fight over Joni Mitchell and I have to just suck it up. I mean, what is it with you and Joni Mitchell? As soon as Gary’s face heals he’ll be looking for me, because of you and Joni Mitchell. I had to do a pick up from Terry Ryan because of you and Joni fucking Mitchell.” - CABBAGE

I just loved the dialogue from the very first balloon.

Jeymes is currently working on the film version of BUSKERS and the different versions will complement each other.

He says:

"I was a comic geek since I’ve been able to read so it was an absolute necessity for me to have a graphic novel of BUSKERS whether I was making a film or not.

I liaised with Mike Lake (the founder of Forbidden Planet comic stores), who then introduced me to the the cult pen-man Sean Michael Wilson, who in turn brought on the IMAF Award winning Manga artist Michiru Morikawa. Thus began the creation of BUSKERS: The MANGA graphic novel."

You can find out more about the film version, and its soundtrack, on the Buskers Movie Blog.

This is how Jeymes summarises the story:

"Timothy Book is considered a big success amongst his peers – a high ranking job in banking, plush city apartment and trophy girlfriend to top it off. He’s on top of the world – until he crashes back down to earth with an almighty bang!

After underhand dealings at work lead to a police escort off the premises and a botched suicide attempt on the Thames, he turns up on the doorstep of ex best friend Cabbage, a streetwise busker who Timothy fell out with many years ago.

Cabbage inhabits the exciting underbelly of London’s colourful busking scene and Timothy is introduced to a side of life that he has never experienced.
As he tries to claw his way back to his previous self he becomes embroiled in Cabbage’s eventful and often dangerous lifestyle and begins to fall for the lovely Variniana – Cabbage’s beautiful girlfriend.

Timothy falls deeper into the busking scene and is forced to re-evaluate his former existence, friendships and relationships while embarking on an eventful journey back to the real Timothy Book."
Buskers the comic will be launched at BICS 2009 in Birmingham, UK where we will have a very special edition of the book (signed and limited to 100 copies), including a "Buskers Demo CD", with previews of a number of songs from the incredible soundtrack by The Bullitts.

If you cannot get to the show this year there will a number of books set aside for pre-order by paypal. You will need to email me at nichola[at] for details. Also if you want to be sure of getting your hands on one at the show, you can reserve your copy for pick up on the day.

The creators will be on the Insomnia stand at various points throughout the weekend, watch this space for more details as the event approaches.

Sean is a special guest of the show and will also be speaking on a panel showcasing his AX: Alternative Manga work for the godfather of indie publishers, Top Shelf.

New Signings

  • Babble by Lee Robson and Bryan Coyle

    "Carrie Hartnoll is a working class English girl stuck in a life going nowhere fast, but after a chance meeting with her old university professor she heads to America to start a new job as part of his research team.

    The team works to resurrect the mythical language of Babel - a language, Curtis theorises, that can be understood by any human being - and use it as the basis for the world's first universal translator.

    In this tale of dead languages and deadly secrets it’s not what you say, but how you say it that counts.

    Lee and Bryan have worked together before, with work appearing in the Accent UK anthologies and Futurequake
  • Sun Moon by Matt Gibbs

    Not about to let Matt slip away now he has completed the frankly wonderful Ion Monger's Daughter script we have signed him up to a second project, Sun Moon.

    "One ageing, one eternally young, two lovers must overcome the growing gulf, as their differing social classes remain locked in an endless cycle of oppression.

    Exploring love, devotion and duty, SUN MOON is the story of star and time crossed lovers, set against a backdrop of environmental disaster and segregation. One of the underclass, Leto is the son of a cryogenic engineer and destined to follow in his father's footsteps. A member of the ruling elite, Selene is a young and gifted scientist and one of Leto's cryogenically frozen charges. As the years pass they fall in love, against the conventions of their segregated society and the counsel of their friends and peers.

    For Leto their affair is a few brief days grabbed every few years, for Selene it is the passage of weeks, watching him grow from a boy to a man much older than her. As the years move on Leto becomes a dissident, rebelling against the injustice and oppression of their society, forcing Selene to choose between him and all that she has known."

    Matt says:

    "I’m really excited and grateful that Insomnia has signed Sun Moon. I’ve been kicking around the idea in one form or another since before The Ionmonger’s Daughter and the opportunity to realise it now, as a graphic novel, is fantastic.

    It is great keeping Sun Moon in the family, so to speak. Working with Larry and Insomnia on The Ionmonger’s Daughter so far has been a delight. Chatting with people on Twitter, reading people’s blogs, it is obvious everyone who is part of Insomnia is doing work they love, and it shows in the atmosphere and attitude of all involved.”

  • A big welcome to letterer Jim Campbell who will be joining the Kronos City team, for starters. Jim also works with Classical Comics on their range of graphic novel adaptations of classic literature, and for Zenescope's Grimm Fairy Tales.

    Jim's sensitivity to the art in devising his lettering styles is exquisite, and I'm incredibly pleased to have him on board.

Rachel Robbins: Sidhe-Wolf Of the North!

Proving that not only is she a great writer, but a bit of secret artist on the side here is what Rachel "Sidhe" Robbins has been up to instead of writing her script:

Rachel says:

"This piece --titled "In the Dark"-- features a blindfolded Brigid O'Connor, Queen of the Bean Sidhe.

The story is an amalgamation of mixed mythology, twisted history, and borrowed genres.

Our book is a celebration of collaboration and the marriage of contraries and this piece is an expression of exactly that:
darkness juxtaposed with light, Celtic paganism, gothic mentality - multi layered in both themes and media"

Combining various elements from both creators: Kevin's modified drawings, Rachel's painting/collaging, Sharpie (!), various paper textures, random glossy clippings, etc. the collage truly reflects the nature of Sidhe I: The Howl and is a perfect expression of the minds of two creators truly working as one.

The knot is a letter taken from the Book of Kells. Rachel is offering a free copy of "In the Dark" to the first Redeye reader who can translate! Go to the new Sidhe facebook group for full details.

I've been talking with Kev Crossley and Rachel about some incredible ideas for the presentation in this book - you've been warned!

Insomnia On The Road

  • Cancertown Signing and Comics Workshop in Waterstones, Newport, Isle of Wight. As well as a signing with Cy Dethan we're going to do a bit of a comic workshop, open pitch session and portfolio reviews. Anyone who's interested will be able to take a look "behind the curtain" and see how the whole process works

    In other Cancertown news I was pleasantly surprised to find, on a random visit earlier this week that the free ebook preview of the complete chapter one has now had over 100,000 views.

    Visit our ebook page on our website to see what other previews we have for you.

  • Half Term Seminar: What Makes A Comic with Alasdair Duncan

    On Tuesday 21st of July writer Alasdair Duncan will be holding an Insomnia workshop in Colchester Central Library from noon onwards.

    Topics covered will include what is a comic; where you find comics; how do comics differ from prose and paintings ans illustrated texts. Practical sections will explore using a familiar sequence of events to look at scripting, layout, artwork and types of panel progression.

    It will all be very much hands on, with with lots of examples and exercises.

    The workshops will run approximately one every 8 weeks, with the students having produced a book by the end of the course that will be published with the help of the library.

The Oxfam Comics Event sounds like it was a great day for all involved. Here is the piece from the Evening News that appreared the night before the event (click on image to read full size version):

Crawford writes:

"I arrived at the McDonald Road Library with banner, table and previews in hand and my glamorous assistants - my girlfriend, Audrey and my good friend, Matt. We were the first to arrive and met up with Jamie, one of the organizers from Oxfam who had very kindly arranged for Insomnia to come along and be a part of the Edinburgh event. While Jamie was busy setting up all the stock from the Oxfam shops, including some Akira, Ghost in the Shell, 2000AD, Nightmare on Elm Street, and a copy of Insomnia’s Cages (which was purchased later in the day) John McShane, Publisher of the Bogie Man (amongst many other things), former owner of A1 Comics in Glasgow and the panel chairman for the event arrived.

Soon after, Ferg Handley (Commando, Spiderman) and our very own Insomniac Stevie White (MILK) appeared. Stevie had brought along some of the original pages from MILK to put on display.

I was introduced to Barbara Bryan who’s producing a graphic novel on Human Trafficking which sounds very interesting, and Ben Morgan (Zoo Keeper) arrived later on, along with Callum Carr, who is contributing to the next layer zero and currently talking to us about some longer projects.

On the first panel, talking about “Comics in Scotland: Scottish Comic Creators” were John McShane, David Bishop, Ferg Handley, Stevie White and myself. This was a light-hearted discussion about how we’d all become interested in comics, our backgrounds, and our inspirations

At the first interval I spoke briefly with David Robertson (Carnoustie Library) and Jeremy Briggs (Down the Tubes). Before the next panel I gave a short presentation on Burke and Hare, showing the eight pages which are currently available to view on MyEbook and two exclusive pages which have never been seen before. The second panel was a discussion about “The Up’s and Downs of Small Press Publishing”. This time David Bishop took to the audience and we were joined by Bad Press and Wasted’s Fraser Campbell for an insightful look at Small Press from screen to print and distribution.

I spoke with Lyndsey Hutcheson, who’s producing a piece for the Burke and Hare Gallery in the book, briefly at the second interval and Fraser about his work on Wasted. Meanwhile, Stevie spoke with visitors about MILK and was able to show off some of the incredible artwork he’d brought along. The last session of the day was “Inspirational Scotland: Why do so many comic folk come from Scotland?” with the original 5 members, David and John brought up interesting discussions about 2000AD and Ferg spoke about his work on Spiderman in Edinburgh and much about his work on Commando and using locations in the highlands of Scotland.

Concluding the comics fest we headed along to Pearces Bar (on Elm Row) for a good bit of “after-party networking”. Amidst the consumption of numerous pints there were thoughts and suggestions bouncing around of a monthly meeting with the Edinburgh local creators. If any of the folk that were there are reading this, please get in touch with me and we’ll see what we can arrange!

It was fantastic to be a part of the Oxfam Comics Fest, and I hope all the visitors found the topics interesting… we’re already discussing what to do for next year!

My thanks to Stevie for coming along and braving an audience, and to Jamie and Andy, from Oxfam for inviting us and for putting together a superb event."

And Finally...

The Geek Syndicate are running a competition to celebrate the DVD and Blu-ray release of Watchmen on July 27.

Paramount Home Entertainment and Empire have teamed up to offer you the chance to meet Dave Gibbons and also have him draw your favourite Watchmen character!

More details on the Geek syndicate website - but quick though, it closes on 23rd July.

Bryan Talbot was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts last week by the University of Sunderland. This is the first time such an award has been given to a comic book artist.

Bryan says:

"This doctorate, a first in the UK for work in the comics medium, is an indication of the growing recognition of the graphic novel as a respectable vehicle for entertainment, education and communication and the medium itself as a legitimate art form. There's still a lot of prejudice and preconceived notions of what comics are but we're getting there."

Congratulations to Bryan, and well deserved. He's been blazing the trail for all of us for decades, and he's still as far out in front as ever.

Read the full story and see a picture here.

See, it's not all happening at San Diego.

No comments: