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Review – Afterlife Inc. Volume 1: Dying to Tell

Review – Afterlife Inc. Volume 1: Dying to Tell

With the Kickstarter for Afterlife Inc. Volume 4 over halfway to it’s funding goal (hurry, the campaign ends on September 26th), I thought now would be a good time to have another read through the book that started it all and give my thoughts. A disclaimer before we begin, I’ve met Jon Lock, the man behind the series, several times on the indie comic circuit and following several convention after parties I’m relatively confident I can call him a friend.  At the very least, we’re pals according to Facebook so I am likely to have some personal bias. On to the review! Afterlife Inc. follows the exploits of Jack Fortune, a now dead con-artist who saw a business opportunity.  His company, the titular Afterlife Inc., promises to make death a new beginning.  The first book introduces us to Lock’s carefully crafted world, characters and some of it’s lore through a series of short stories. The first of these does a fantastic job of conveying the basic premise.  By following a pilot’s death and first meeting with main character Jack, Lock gives himself a proxy, a character that the audience can project themselves into.  This allows for Jack’s explanation of death, the world of the Empyrean and the mysterious “Calamity” to feel natural instead of coming across as force fed exposition. The remainder of the book hops across different styles, settings and formats.  For example, there’s a black and white, film noir-esque, detective story, an Alice in Wonderland tale that flicks between comic panels and full prose pages, as well as a mostly black and white, seemingly manga inspired, entry centred around Sherlock... read more
Melksham Comic Con 2016

Melksham Comic Con 2016

Two weeks ago, I launched Unfamiliar Skies at the ever amazing Melksham Comic Con!  I can confidently say that Melksham celebrated it’s fifth birthday in style with it’s usual combination of hilarious panels, an impressive focus on comic-related guests and exhibitors, as well as what’s possibly the greatest team of staff members of any convention – the mighty Brians! The Panels As an exhibitor, I didn’t attend many panels.  That said, I did participate in this year’s Comics In Just A Minute, hosted by the Paradox Comics Group.  The panel certainly lived up to it’s legendary status, seeing high levels of attendance and frequent hilarity.  It’s been a staple of the show for a number of years now and I sincerely hope it remains that way!  To see how I got on, check out the video below: I also hosted a panel of my own, Economics of Indie Comics.  While I was recording it, my camcorder sadly decided to die halfway through.  If you’re curious, it was based on an article I’d previously written on this very site, which you can check out here.  It was definitely educational. While I didn’t attend any other panels I’m relaibly told that the annual Pictionary contest was a good time for all, Sonia Leong ran some high quality manga workshops, and many interesting topics were discussed over the weekend, such as reboots and the constant deaths of superheroes.  Despite it’s small size, Melksham continues to utilise the space available in the nearby town hall, as well as the King’s Arms pub (a new addition for this year), to offer a wide variety... read more
Putting the Con in Comic Con

Putting the Con in Comic Con

How much comic content does an event need to have before it can call itself a “Comic Con” and what should count as “comic content”?  It’s a very heated discussion within the UK indie comic scene at the moment as we see more shows crop up than ever before. Some of these events have heavily advertised TV and movie guests, as well as replica Batmobiles, DeLoreans and Game of Thrones… thrones, while having very few, if any, comic creators, back issue sellers and actual comic books and graphic novels.  This has left a sour taste in the mouths of many creators who feel that the title “Comic Con” has become an umbrella term for nerd and geek culture events. I can’t help but wonder why that seems to be the current state of play and I’ve certainly seen frustrations from both convention organisers and artists.  Naturally, I am somewhat biased as a creator but I’m going to try and be as objective as possible. What’s Gotten People Angry? As previously mentioned, several events which have labelled themselves as Comic Cons have had very little to do with comics.  I’m going to show some specific examples, though I have obscured usernames, avatars, etc. as I have no intention of starting a witch hunt.  I must also stress that I am not commenting on the quality of these shows. Here’s a convention organiser admitting, on their Twitter account, that they don’t read comics apart from the Beano.  Their event has “Comic Con” in the title.  As you can imagine, this caused quite a stir, with the main question simply being “How can you run... read more

 

2016 Convention Appearances

16th January 2016 – Weston Super Sonic, Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare

6th February 2016 – True Believers, Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham

18th June 2016 – Didcot Comic Con, Didcot Civic Centre, Didcot

27th & 28th August 2016 – Melksham Comic Con, Melksham Assembly Hall, Melksham