Saturday, 28 February 2015

Rest in peace, my friend Venger.

I had originally planned to write my, what I hope will be become standard, 'favourite comics of the month' post, but I felt that I should hold off for a couple of days and write this instead.

Yesterday (Friday 27th February) I found out that a friend of mine who I knew as Venger Prime, who I had met in the Facebook group 'Comic Book a Nerds Are Hot' (CBNAH), had sadly passed away as a result of a car accident.

To say this was a terrible and heartbreaking shock to myself and our mutual friends is an understatement.

I honestly don't remember when I first 'met' Venger (given that I'd never interacted with him any way other than facebook means I use 'met' very loosely), as we had both commented on various posts over the course of time. But at some point in time we became friends and this is something I have never regretted.

Venger was a good guy, who loved his family, never took shit from anyone and, from what I could tell, lived every day of his life doing anything and everything he loved and enjoyed.

I know I'm not alone when I say this, but I will miss his sharp-witted posts which always made me grin, even on my darkest days. I'll also miss the kind, supportive words he gave everyone he (and I) knew, which kind of explains why so many of our friends thought the world of him and are as pained by his passing as I am.

And if we are missing him so much already, I can scarcely imagine how his family are feeling.

Venger was my friend, my brother, and him moving on has left a hole I'm not sure can be filled. But I'm glad to have met him, talked to him and to have called him my friend, just as all other nerds would agree.

To his family, I offer my deepest condolences.

And to Venger, wherever he may be, I want to say, for being my friend and brother, Thank You!!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

True Believers Comic Festival - Best con of the year!!

So, it's the morning after the day before and a good nights sleep has helped repair the frazzled brain and tired legs of yesterdays travels and now the subsequent buzz is more or less subsided, I thought I quickly recap my thoughts on the first True Believers Comic Festival.

And here's my thought; True Believers is most definitely the best con I've been to, fact!!!

In fairness, this isn't a difficult endeavour as my full con experience can be chalked up to a total of four cons before it, but that's beside the point. Unlike those others, true believers was so well laid out and had so much on offer, I was able to happily able to spend about seven hours just wandering the floor, until finally having to go and wondering how the day had flown by.

For me, the greatness wasn't able what I could buy (though there was a lot) but who I could talk to, which began almost as soon as I got in the door with old friends like Ben from Proud Lion, Jon Lock and Nich Angell from Big Punch Studios and Sam Webster(Joe Cape) and Vince Hunt(Red Mask from Mars) all with tables near the doors. This gave me able opportunity to catch up and talk people's ears off (sorry about that guys).

Then it was off for a tour of the floor and, my god, the talent around was incredible, not to mention vast with so many creators I didn't even get chance to meet them all. Of those I did though, the words to best describe them were both 'nice' and 'talented'. Every single one of them was more than happy to just sit back to chat to me about their work and/or comics in general, which really helped make the day a pleasure. The side effect of this, though, was wanting to buy all their stuff. As I said to Lizzie Boyle at Disconnected Press, 'at least if people are unpleasant, you save money because you don't want to buy their books'.

Sadly, that wasn't the case here with me going over my budget and still not getting everything I wanted. Hopefully, what I missed out on I'll get at future cons, but, for now, what I have got is:

Joe Cape #2 by SJ Webster
Midnight Man by Mo Ali and Andy Bloor
7String Vol. 2 by Nich Angell
Cross by Disconnected Press
CC3 by Rob Burton
Convention by George Joy
Orful comics vol. 5 by Rob Cureton
House Party by Rachael Smith
Blood Tear #1 by Tom Coulter
Far From Faith #1 by Adam-James Foulkes and Lynne Triplett

A fine collection if I do say so myself.

Sadly, I didn't see much else of the con, as I talked so much I missed most of the panels I wanted to see, as well as lost my voice by the end (my wife thanks you all for that). What panel I did see (Big Punch's) was a joy, giving me a lot of information about what's to come for them (which means more money to spend in the future I have no doubt).

By the end of the day, despite my worn out demeanour, I have to say that yesterday was the best comic book experience of my life. With most days testing my resolve as a 'comic book addict', I'm glad to say that True Believers has solidified the reasons why I love comics so much. People who missed out should kick themselves, while I go about reserving my ticket for next year. Of course, that's assuming there is a next year so Stuart Mulrain, please make that happen? Thanks.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

My top five comics of January.

So, I'm running a bit late with writing this, as January ended about a week ago. What can I say? I've been busy (two pipedream comics reviews and preparing for True Believers had something to do with it).

January though was a good month for reading comics. Mainly because it was cold out and so I could stay home and read them, but also because a lot of my books really stepped up to the plate and smashed great issues out. I then figured that, as I read so many good ones, I should put together a top five comics from all I read in January. Sadly, as I will only talk about the best five, it kind of sucks for Daredevil and Copperhead, as they just missed out.

5. Batgirl #39 - First up was a real shocker. Batgirl was actually good. Now maybe that is a bit harsh as it implies Batgirl is a bad comic, but for me, prior to this issue, the book was very 'meh'. However, I don't know what it was as nothing seemed to change from previously, but this book suddenly became great for me. It kinda gives me renewed hope going forward (hence why it beat Copperhead to 5th place).

4. Fantastic Four #642 - A part of me was going to give this book a top five spot simply on the fact that the series is ending soon (NNNNOOOOOO!!!!!!!). However, it got number 4 because it is really, REALLY good. Robinson and Kirk make this book fun, engrossing and make sure it has Bentley 23 kick some ass with a chocolate making gun. THAT is what gets it a top five spot!!!

3. Lazarus #14 - The battle for the number 2 was tough and, this month, Lazarus lost out. That's no slight on Lazarus, just bad luck because Lazarus is freaking awesome!!! Seeing the pieces starting to click for Forever was so great to see, as was her saving her piece of garbage brother. The twist as to what Lazarus she'd have to kill I did not see (I was so sure it would be Joaquim). In my eyes, this book can do no wrong.

2. Alex + Ada #12 - The winner of the number 2 spot, though it was a close run thing. Alex + Ada once again gives me another gorgeously drawn, emotionally heartbreaking installment in a series I don't want to end. I do worry about the next three issues as the creators add yet more subplots into the story so late in the game, but for now this is the book that I will rave about forever. Well maybe except for......

1. Star Wars #1 - Ok, this is not a 'bowing to the mainstream' thing, if that were the case I'd have put Batgirl top. Star Wars achieved the impossible; it went from a book I wasn't even considering to a permanent place on my pull list in one issue. Damn my local comic shop for offering a free cupcake with this book!! But even if it hadn't achieved a miracle (or offered a cupcake) it would still deserve this place because it 'felt' like Star Wars, it was well written, beautiful and, above all, very enjoyable. Jason Aaron is my new god and Star Wars got top spot the second I read it.

That was actually fun to do and with a list that good it does makes me eager for February to get done so I can have a whole new batch of these great books to read and find a top 5 all over again. However, knowing my luck, next month is when they all take a quality related nose dive. Let's think happy thoughts though.