During the Stripped strand of the Edinburgh Book Festival, I also conducted three video interviews for the festival organisers, asking a mix of standard questions for newcomers to the comics medium and a few fun questions too.
You can see the interviews with Grant Morrison, Mary and Bryan Talbot, and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie on the Edinburgh Book Festival Youtube channel - enjoy!
A series of interviews with guests at the Stripped Festival, including Stephen Collins, Paul Cornell and Grant Morrison, looking at the politics both present and absent in their work.
"One of the historical roots of modern comics is of course the political cartooning of the early newspapers; the mechanical reproduction of images finally allowing art to be consumed by the masses rather than the privileged few, with cartoonists leaping at the chance to communicate complex political situations via their deceptively simple form.
"The idea of comics as a political tool is not without its controversies, from grumbles amongst novelists to riots over religious icon portrayals. Any fan of superhero comics can tell you that comics don’t have to be overtly political, but the recent insistence by creator Todd McFarlane that historically no comic book that has worked has been “trying to get across a message” was largely met by the rolling of eyes."
I've been delighted with the feedback on this long-form piece, and the discussions that it has provoked. You can read the full article at the New Statesman.
Following Chris Ware in the Stripped programme at the Edinburgh International Book Festival came the very entertaining and engaging Joe Sacco, creator of numerous critically acclaimed journalist works, including Palestine, Safe Area Goražde, Journalism, and his upcomingThe Great War.
Beginning with expanding upon his introduction to Journalism, which collected several of his shorter works and came out last year, Sacco spoke about how he rejected objective journalism outright. “I think there’s a lot of subjectivity in journalism that’s portrayed, put across as objective journalism,” he explained, pointing out that all reporters carry baggage and preconceived notions with them on their journeys, regardless of how hard they may have studied objective journalism.
Introduced as the laureate of graphic literature, the much celebrated Chris Ware booked a sell out event at a major literary festival, speaking about our fictional bubble lives, his superheroic beginnings, and his hopes and fears for the medium.
At the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the world, this year saw the unveiling of a brand new programme dedicated to comics and graphic novels: Stripped. The first night, sold out far in advance, heralded the arrival of Chris Ware who confessed himself surprised and delighted to be at such an event.
Two years ago the Glasgow Comic Con returned after an absence of 15 years, with headliner Mark Miller ensuring that the event was sold out two months in advance. Last year the promise of Grant Morrison and Jim Starlin stretched the packed out venue to bursting point, and the 2013 convention coming up in July has been announced as moving to a larger stage.
With a guest list so far including John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Alan Grant, Rufus Dayglo, Mike Ploog, Hannah Berry and more, this years Glasgow Comic Con is clearly looking to build an even bigger notch on the convention calendar. I spent a weekend in Scotland's biggest city, soaking up the atmosphere and scouting out the best places to eat, stay and do stuff - including of course buying comics!
November was an interesting time for me - I attended Thought Bubble for the first time, caught a fair amount of flack for publishing Grant Morrison's thoughts on Alan Moore over at The Beat, and had to take a short break from Twitter due to the aggressive reaction to a piece on the issues of gender bias and privilege within the UK small press comics scene.
The reaction, and to a much smaller extent the personal attacks following on from the The Strange Case of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, As Told By Grant Morrison was not unexpected. From past experience alone I knew that writing anything that even remotely fell under a pro-Morrison banner would get me in trouble in certain circles. Some don't seem to appreciate he is a normal bloke rather than an anti-establishment demi-punk-god. The flack from the pro-Moore camp was a little more unexpected given that I spend a large percentage of my comics discussion time talking with the biggest Alan Moore fans around, all of whom have proved over the months to be lovely and gracious without feeling the need to fling their poo at me. But all in all, that was pretty much par for the course.
The next part I was hoping to have sink into oblivion. I've been asked for quotes on the matter enough now, and it keeps being rehashed on Twitter, that I'd like to write the following, and then have done with it.