Wednesday, 12 June 2013

We are FOUR!

The first episode of Small Press Big Mouth went live FOUR year ago yesterday! Huge thanks, as ever, to the Geek Syndicate boys for hosting it for us and all their encouragement & support; to Stacey for inviting me to co-host and thank you to everyone who listens in and puts up with our ever-rarer whitterings & whittlings! Cheers, you great big beautiful SPBMers, you!


Monday, 10 June 2013

Improper Books announce KNIGHT & DRAGON

As faithful SPBMers are probably aware we feel Improper Books is one of the most exciting new publishers of British comics; their debut title Porcelain is a triumph worthy of a veteran publisher and their upcoming books Butterfly Gate and Night Post are high on our Keenly Anticipated list. So any announcement from them regarding new projects is going to prick our ears up good and proper. And then we find out it has art by Bevis "Muscles" Musson, creator of Dead Queen Detectives - which we totally flipping adore - and we're squealing "But I want it NOOOOW!" like a comicophile Veruca Salt. So slap your ocular receptors all over the following press release and join us in our overexcited ragegasm....



Written by Matt Gibbs and illustrated by Bevis Musson, with colours by Nathan Ashworth, KNIGHT & DRAGON playfully subverts the story of a heroic Knight defeating a ferocious Dragon to rescue the fair Maiden, by offering variant paths and multiple outcomes to the classic fairy tale adventure.

Each narrative begins the same, with a beleaguered Knight riding his Horse into a seemingly deserted village, where the majority of the Villagers mistake him for a heroic warrior. Distracted by the beauty of the Maiden, before he really knows what he’s doing, the Knight agrees to fight a Dragon and, much to the Maiden’s evident dismay, the Village Chief offers the Knight her hand in marriage should he succeed. Learning too late from the Villagers that the Dragon is both huge and ferocious, the despondent Knight heads out to meet his fate, and at this point the stories begin to diverge…

From here, the Knight, Dragon and Maiden, along with the Horse, Farmhand and Village Chief, provide different paths through the unfolding narratives before reaching different endings.

‘It began as an idea to create a comic that allowed changes in the sequence and resolution of its scenes, enabling different stories to be told,’ said Matt, about Knight & Dragon. ‘This lends itself seamlessly to digital comics, but in a similar fashion to gamebooks, a print version is just as possible with a bit of additional heavy lifting, or page turning, on the part of the reader.’

‘It has also allowed Bevis and I to explore our mutual love of fairy tales, and I’m delighted that the branching script didn’t put him off. I’m a big fan of his work, especially the excellent Dead Queen Detectives, and it has been brilliant seeing each page come to life in his style, which is being perfectly complimented by Nathan’s colours.’

‘It's always a pleasure to take things you love and approach them in a new way, so with Knight & Dragon I get to combine my love of fairy tales and comics and do something that is both familiar and surprising,’ said Bevis, about the project. ‘How could I not jump at the chance to draw a story with romance, drama, action, adventure and a whacking great dragon? In the end I even enjoyed drawing the horse, once I worked out he could wear a tablecloth.’

Designed with both print and digital in mind, Knight & Dragon is a picture book comic for all ages, due out in 2013.

Improper Books is a comic and graphic novel imprint focusing on creator owned stories that have a touch of the fairy tale, the Gothic or the macabre.

Matt "Funky" Gibbs is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked on games such as Sega’s BINARY DOMAIN and Ubisoft’s DRIVER SAN FRANCISCO, and is collaborating with a number of talented artists on comic and graphic novel projects. Alongside his freelance editing, he is the managing editor of Improper Books. Originally an archaeologist, he spent several years grubbing about in holes before turning to writing as a career. 

Bevis "Not Beavis" Musson is the writer, artist and letterer of THE DEAD QUEEN DETECTIVES. He would probably make the paper too if he knew how, but that would just be showing off. He lives in Manchester with his family and generally thinks making comics is a much better way of spending his time than anything else. 

Nathan "No Nickname" Ashworth is predominantly a colourist, working in a range of groups from DEAD ROOTS and VS COMICS to AFTERLIFE INC. and Art Heroes’ HALCYON & TENDERFOOT series. Nathan likes tasty bright colours, punching mates and being fed more inks to play about with. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Episode 43 is online!

Welcome to Episode 43 which is also our podiversary, 4 long years of Stace and Lee providing your earholes with Geordiebrumophonics and a multitude of Indie press goodness. In this episode we review The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, The Impossible Crossing, Deadbeats, Solid State Tank Girl, Inktitioner AND more! We also swear a little more than usual for which we blame each other – though obviously it was Lee’s fault!

Direct Download: Episode 43
[Warning: this episode is a bit swearier than usual.]


Sunrise - read it
Sunrise - buy it

No Stace portrait of Grice this time. So instead here's our favourite bit from Deadbeats.
"Come get a bite of the Dixie peach."

Errata: Idiot that I am I said that Titan Comics will be publishing Jack Katz's amazing fantasy comic "The 10th Kingdom" - I meant, of course, The First Kingdom, for that is what it is called. What a maroon. What nincompoop. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Comic Review: Turning Tiger

Its time for another guest comics review courtesy of Dion Winton-Polak of the almost internationally renowned Scrolls podcast. Take it away, Dion...


TURNING TIGER Special Edition
Renegade Arts Entertainment
When I first met Rich Clements at Thought Bubble a couple of years back I had no idea he was a comic book writer, let alone the fella behind the Hi-Ex comic convention.  As far as I was concerned he was just a nice bloke that I’d got chatting to in the pub after hours.  When I bumped into him again last year we ended up having an epic natter amongst a group of creative folk (who just so happened to be located in an area of the hotel which could possibly be described as a ‘bar’) and his sordid past was revealed.  At one point I asked him what work he is most proud of and he answered ‘Turning Tiger’ with barely a pause for thought.  He told me all about the project but alcohol and an evening of banter burned most of the details away.  All I remembered afterwards was the title and the mental image of a small girl with a gigantic war-robot.  So, of course, I had to buy it...

Plot-wise it’s pretty simple – The military are testing a trio of top-secret war machines, when something goes disturbingly wrong.  Sarah is a young girl with a loving family, lucky enough to survive a car crash.  The family are more than a little shocked afterwards when a giant robot turns up and kidnaps their daughter, but strangely enough the military seem to be almost expecting it.  The rest of the book deals with the growing relationship between girl and machine and the unfolding sins of the past (wrapped up in a big old chase sequence.)  It’s a tight little story, clocking in at a mere 58 pages, yet it packs a lot of punch.  Within the tale are moments of elation and horror, pure excitement and genuine tragedy.  It may not be Shakespeare but the emotional stakes are real and every character rings true.

I found Alex’s artwork took a little warming up to.  The character design is pretty stylised, which I can deal with in general, but to my eyes nine-year-old Sarah looked considerably older around the face, which was a little off-putting.  On the plus side her drawings show consistency, which many first-timers struggle to achieve in sequential art.  Meanwhile, the robots are absolutely fabulous creations – earth-stompingly huge, full of fat chrome curves and pure pistoned power.  Machine versus machine is a real joy to watch here, and the action scenes scream full animated series.  Her page layouts really shine too, popping the action through panel walls with weapons-fire splashing out all over the place.  In Sarah’s presence the colours are vivid and cheery, resonating with the energy of childhood, while the adults are painted in murkier hues.  It’s a subtle cue but it strikes to the heart of the project.

In many ways Turning Tiger is an innocent comic book, the quintessence of wish-fulfilment.  Reading it, you are thrust effortlessly back to that stage of childhood where the world seems full of possibilities and adults are just idiots who try to spoil everything.  A wide-eyed world, then?  Yes, but it has enough of a grip on itself to acknowledge the grown up perspective, of tough choices made and consequences suffered.  There is a much wider world here to be explored though, and it doesn't feel like we've done much other than scratch the surface.  It’s a set-up book, a pilot episode if you will, and as such it leaves you feeling a little short changed.  What happens next Rich, Goddammit?!  Well, we’ll be finding out soon, hopefully.  Volume 2 has been scripted, after all.  So you know what to do now.  Buy it, read it, then start pestering the publishers about the next one.  You know it makes sense.

Rating: 3.5/5

Writer: Richmond Clements
Art: Alex Moore
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Colours: Vicky Stonebrdge
Editor: Alexander Finbow


Thanks, Dion! We're happy to run guest reviews so if there's a comic you want to rave about just drop us a line via our email or twitters!