Thursday, February 28, 2008

Suicide strike

As my books usually take about six years to break even, while the last couple of hundred copies sell out in 2 days flat, I have decided to try something new for the book 6 pre-order. I have to sell about 400 to break even, so the first 400 will come with a random hand-drawn postcard by me. Some are felt-tip line-drawings, some are done with brush markers or pencils, a few are in colour, I may paint a couple to be won like golden tickets. My question to you, readers, before I break my body and mind forever in completing this task, is does this provide the necessary frisson to speed your early purchase?

A few weeks ago I may have lightly poked fun at XKCD. This was done out of pure jealousy at its enormous readership and minimal artistic effort, probably after a day spent agonising over drawing someone's shoulders correctly. It was not a very nice thing to do. Randall Munroe is just a man doing his level best in the world and receiving towering wheelbarrows of money and gems as a result.

I am not as successful as Randall Munroe because, instead of making humorous comics about lofty scientific and mathematic principles, my comics are emotionally impenetrable thousand-yard stares into the void masquerading as hi-jinks. From now on, this is going to change.

(Thinks for a minute, I do not know anything about science, all my expertise lies in skylarking and tomfoolery, what have I done &etc)

I have been forced by circumstances to change back.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The tallest entry of all time

It hasn't all been ACTING ACTING ACTING and drinking acting juice round here the last few days. I have also been working on my UK Webcomix Thing limited print. I don't know how many of these I'm going to make yet, but you can have a look at it. I abandoned my country pride idea but what I finally came up with seems reasonable. I just wish it wasn't one of five big jobs I have to finish near simultaneously.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

There Will Be Ham

Well, I saw "There Will Be Blood" on Friday. What a preposterous film it was. Maybe Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest actor of his generation, or maybe, just maybe, he serves up slices of the thickest ham ever cut and lays them on as thickly as ham has ever been laid on.

Anyway, I drew some diagrams to explain the film immediately after watching it, these should save you three hours and the price of a ticket.

I will say that the three hours passed quickly, it sure looked pretty. But it was total twaddle.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's my lucky day

Did you hear that Nicholas Gurewitch is winding up Perry Bible Fellowship? This is fantastic news. All I need is the following things to happen and I will be the creator of the greatest comic on the internet:

Chris Onstad (Achewood) decides to concentrate on carpentry, Jimmy Carter '80 style
Kate Beaton (Kate Beaton) retires to Orkney to breed bonxies
Kelly Vivanco (Patches) finally gets her call up to the US hang-gliding team (she's so close!)
Aaron Diaz (Dresden Kodak) announces his "fingerpainting period" has begun
Steven Cloud (BOASAS) vanishes in Mongolia
Dorothy Gambrell (Cat & Girl) takes public office
Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie) and Chris Hastings (Dr McNinja) destroy each other in a blaze of anger and recrimination
James Turner (Beaver & Steve) will go pearly full-time

Do you suckas not understand? I will be the last man standing, ride your "talent", "ability" and "skill" all you like, but the tenacious battleship barnacle of webcomics (me) will not be denied!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Phoo Action

The first artist who I ever sat down and tried to copy was Jamie Hewlett of Tank Girl/Gorillaz fame. Very early in his career (I suppose 1987 or so) he used to do spot illustrations for Commodore User. Commodore User was a bit rub compared to Zzap!64 but I was fascinated with his dirty-looking, angular illustrations that seldom bore the faintest relation to the article they accompanied. I was only 11 or 12, but there seemed to be something vulgar and insane about them that I wasn't getting from Fantastic 4 or the Avengers. Or The Gambols.

So I enjoyed BBC3's Hewlett adaptation "Phoo Action" last week, and I'm pleased that a series has been commissioned. The hour-long pilot wasn't the best TV show ever made but it had a lot of promise, and it looked fantastic. I'm sure most people who watched it were mystified, but I revelled in Jamie Winstone's perfect Hewlett-girl look and the beautifully silly villains. And despite the fact that the heroine's main power was rooting around in her magic hotpants and retrieving items, you could have watched it with your mum without having to avert your eyes or pretend that you do not understand what is going on at any point.

I wish there was a symbol in the TV guide that indicated post-watershed shows like that. "This episode of The Shield contains no up against the wall lady-man activity slash smoking crack through an empty eye socket". What a relief!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I don't know why I'm making so many blog posts at the moment. I'm sure you long for the days when I used to update once every three weeks.

Anyway I have made the back cover for book 6, a clear indicator that this dang thing is on the way soon!

Me and the boys from Brussels

I had that Jacques Delors on the phone the other day after I complained about the USA constantly fingerprinting me and making me queue for a long time. "Johnny," he said, "you have done more for freedom and transatlantic relations in the last 9 years than any other man alive." Of course I thanked him - it's nice to be appreciated.

"It's a cuss of the first order from the USA to make you stand in a queue and maybe miss a connecting flight. We'll bite back. Leave it to me and my crazy good legislating skills." Here's what happened.

I'm sorry I started this now. Jacques is a good lad, but he's over-eager. Now what are we going to do?

PS Happy Valentines Day to everyone who does not have a sweetheart. I am not going to kiss you all because I don't want to catch a cold. Divide yourselves into boys and girls and work out who you want to kiss, school disco style. It will be fine.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh-woah country pride

I'm working on a print for the UK Webcomix Thing in March. It'll probably be a very limited thing on canvas (maybe 10 or 12) in a non-standard size. Anyway, after several countrified drafts, here's the final rough:

I see Shelley's country style as being like a very distracted Dolly Parton, while Esther is kind of a dread Crystal Gayle of the night.

Also on that page was a picture of Barbara Bosson in Hill Street Blues, I'm obsessed with her big specs and huge wall of hair. She must have had some kind of super powers. The missing speech bubble for the picture on the right says "it's municipal!"

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's been a pleasure

I love American freedom as many of you know. I salute the eagle and would personally dry his tears on Old Glory. But travelling into the country just gets worse and worse. Here's why I'm not attending any conventions in the USA this year or for the forseeable future. It's starting to get silly.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I did a painting today to test some techniques Kelly Vivanco showed me, I post it here for completeness! It's 11x16" on canvas, dimension fans.

UPDATE: The auction is go!

Friday, February 08, 2008

More snoozing and losing

Thanks for your help with the mathematical deal between snoozing and losing. Armed with what I was told, I started on the design. But it came out... sort of nondescript:

I can only describe what had happened five minutes later as "inexplicable".

I think I've used up all my brains for this week. See you next week.

Snoozers vs losers

A few people have written and asked for a shirt based on this strip, and actually for once I think it would make a good one! But I don't know how to express "snoozing directly correlates to losing" mathematically. I can't remember any maths at all. I can't even do matrices or vectors or simultaneous equations any more. What I hope is that in the comments to this post, someone will help me as best they can.

Thanks maths.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Beatmasters and Merlin MC come correct

Who's in the house?
A Desmond hat made by Rachel Thompson is in the house.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fellow ups

Well, thank you for all the responses to the previous post. I hope I can address them for you.

Scary Go Round launched as a subscription-only comic in 2002! It was about as successful as asking people to pay with their own teeth. Two years after the two week long debacle of subscriptions, people were still finding the comic and saying "hey mang John Allison I thought you stopped doing comics".

All bonus efforts are currently directed into making the daily comic good, and the blog must remain free otherwise where would I wail at length before admitting "I was wroooongggg".

I now feel better about book 6 and have some hope in my heart. But I will do a pre-order to allow people to flex their patron muscles as this seems to be what is desired.

I might have a one-off NPR-style pledge drive if I stop feeling a bit weird about things like that. I think the comic is good enough now that it is okay to do something like that once a year. But I'd still want to create a kind of reward program and I know the rewards would be rotten.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Scary Go Round book 6 news

I spent today laying out Scary Go Round book 6. It comprises stories 35-40, which runs from Crowley in love through to the ghost cube halloween thing.

Reading back through the whole Super Crisis Quests thing today, I get the sense that I wasn't at my best. I tried hard but it didn't quite come off. If I had another stab at it, I could probably do it a lot better, but such is the peril of a daily comic!

I suppose what I really want to know is, is anyone that bothered about the collections any more? There's nothing special about a book of Scary Go Round comics, I've released about ten. You've been kind enough to read them on the web, which is all the indulgence I ask.

I'm getting tired of bellyaching about merchandise and I bet you're getting tired of hearing me bellyache about it. But I worked out last night that if every reader paid one english pence a week for Scary Go Round, I'd not have to sell anything at all. It felt like a sad statistic. The people who read the blog are probably paying hundreds of those 1ps each, wouldn't it be a lovely world if you didn't have to?

A world where a unicorn was President of the United States of America.