Monday, 11 November 2013

"Irregulars" - The Ladies & Gentlemen Anthology

The Water Closet Press is very pleased to announce that our very first anthology has been finished and sent off to press.  Featuring the work of some 28 contributors and 20-something stories, it's coming in at a whopping 136 pages.

We will be launching the book at this year's Thought Bubble in under a fortnight's time. Pop by our table and pick one up, then walk around the convention in hunt of signatures from all other contributors in attendance. Collect five, meet us at the after party and we'll get you a pint. Probably.


The Irregulars be also available at any subsequent conventions that we attend (TBA), online through UKcomics, and on the shelves of select comic book retailers (TBA).

See you in the funny books folks.

Love,
Rik and Jordan

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bear Pit Cover Art and The Bristol Comic & Zine Fair 2013

Greetings, frequenters of the Water Closet (by the way: eat some fibre).

I'm happy to have my artwork feature on the cover of the upcoming Bear Pit Zine #7, focused around the theme of Time. BPZ #7 will be available at the Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (continue reading below for deets), and on the Bear Pit website after that.

  Old tree, old man, old paper: the "deep time" that nature operates on is something that oak trees are far more familiar with than wee creatures like us. And stuff like that.

I forgot to post my contribution to the last issue (#6 if you're counting along), Flight, which I adapted from an unpublished comic I made a while ago about Carl Sagan.  I've been unable to display it anywhere else due to copyright reasons - a shame because I was quite proud of it - but this version gave me the chance to showcase it, albeit in a re-worked and re-imagined form.
The folks behind Bear Pit Zines are also the masterminds of The Bristol Comic & Zine Fair which is returning for its third year on Saturday 5th October. This time 'round it has expanded from the basement of Cafe Kino (its past home) to the glorious studio space of The Station

Water Closet Press will be 1 of the 40 exhibitors at the event (as well as the afterparty following the Fair, and probably the pre-party on Friday), so if you are in or around Bristol that weekend, be sure to come on down to see some fantastic creators and celebrate the world of independent publishing with us.  

End transmission,
Jordan

Thursday, 12 September 2013

London MCM / Anthology Announcement

We regret to inform you that, due to a massive oversight on our part, Water Closet Press will unfortunately not be able to attend the upcoming London MCM Expo in October.  



While this is indeed terribly sorrowful news and Rik and I are both crestfallen, it does mean that having our Ladies & Gentlemen Anthology ready in time for the convention is a bit pointless. And that means that the 1st October deadline is also moot.  So, if you are currently working on your story -- ink stains on your cuffs, 3 inches of cigarette ash piling at your feet, black rings around your eyes and 7 gallons of black coffee in your bladder -- lift up your weary heads.  Cast your eyes on the calendar and behold:

THE NEW DEADLINE FOR ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSIONS IS THE 1ST OF NOVEMBER 2013.

Just in time for a Thought Bubble launch. If you were wanting to contribute before but didn't have enough time, now is the perfect chance to hop on board (click here for submission details).  Hopefully we can use this opportunity to re-double our efforts and get even more fantastic creators involved and make this collection even stronger than it already is.

Apologies again to all our current contributors who have carefully budgeted their schedules, or if you were hoping to see us (or the anthology) in October.  But we assure you that there will be no such proverbial ball-dropping with Thought Bubble, that most sacred of conventions.

And may God have mercy on our souls,
Rik & Jordan

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Ladies & Gentlemen Anthology Preview

Oh hello,

By this time next month, all the artwork for our upcoming Ladies & Gentlemen anthology will be in the capable hands of Mr. Stuart Gould of UKComics, diligently being bound together in what is shaping up to be one heckuva book.  We thought we would give you but a glimpse of some of the splendorous comic-ry that has been trickling into the Water Closet Press inbox.  




Check out the websites and so forth of the contributors pictured above:

Tony LaVella & Pyrink

And we have other confirmed stories and images not yet gazed upon, including but not limited to:

Sarah Rowles

Wait till you see the whole thing!  What a joy it is to see so much talent all joining hands and frolicking about in the blossoming fields of small press. And playing jumprope, perhaps.

Release Date and Convention Schedule:

The Ladies & Gentlemen Anthology (title to be announced) will be available at the LONDON MCM EXPO on 26-27th October.* Before that we will also be at the BRISTOL COMIC & ZINE FAIR on the 5th October (but without the anthology), and then in Leeds at THOUGHT BUBBLE on the 23rd-24th November (with the anthology, hooray).  Hope to see you at one/all of those  *(EDIT: We will no longer be attending MCM and will be launching the anthology at Thought Bubble instead).

Signing off,
Jordan

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Redd Rockz and Submission News

So, here it is, our very first paid piece as the Water Closet press. It's a promotional piece that will be appearing in Manic Mosh magazine. We met the editor at MCM in London who was won over by Jordan's cover work. The brief was pretty simple: "A one page comic that promotes alternative model Redd Rockz." I think originally there was talk of some kind of superhero origin story, but I decided that was lame and opted for the more noir type tale. One page really isn't enough to play around with story. It would work fine for a gag or a last panel twist but since we we're being paid to promote I didn't feel comfortable doing that. Similarly I made Redd herself the McGuffin of the tale rather than the protagonist. That free'd us to play with her range in modelling styles and didn't force a character we'd created into her real life repertoire. Originally I wanted Jordan to have a frog in a top hat playing the trombone sat atop panel one as a little nod to our first ever creation The Land of All Sorts , but he claims it didn't fit...

...and instead left an easter-egg to another one of our creations. See if you can spot it. Now without further gilding of the lilly. REDD ROCKZ. 

Click to Enlarge
Don't forget guys we are still looking for artist and prose stories for our anthology book coming out in October. Check out the full details for submissions here. We have so many fantastic teams already on board and the book is really shaping up to be diverse, fun, silly and action-packed so why not get involved. 

This is the Voice of Richard, England Prevails.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

BLAM Blacksad... Blamsad?

It's been a while since I drew anything productive at a BLAM! meeting, but this week the theme was "absent cat".  I wasn't entirely sure to go with that direction, so I just drew my favorite feline private eye (not quite as inventive as Razarhawk Dani Abrams' brilliant cat-silhouette-in-smashed-plate-glass-window).  The sun was glorious so we were outside all evening, the lovely folk music more clear than ever.  BLAM! is Bristol's comic creators collective and it meets once a month at the Golden Guinea pub.


  


He must have a pretty heavy tie, considering the wind.

Signing off,
Jordan

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

MCM London 2013

Good day to you all!

Just a quick update to let you all know what's going on in the Water Closet. We attended MCM London last month and it was our most successful convention to date. In fact at the moment we don't own any issues of Ladies and Gentlemen issue 1. WE SOLD OUT!!! Whilst this is obviously fantastic news for us it does mean that issue one is only available to read on the blog. But dry those tears, we will be getting our fourth run of the book done in time for our next convention.

Happy as clams. Photo courtesy of Paulus Van of Manic Mosh Magazine.

Which reminds me, at our next convention we will also be launching our anthology book. We've had a bunch of great submissions already and there is still time to enter with prose stories and art work. We also have a bunch of scripts waiting to be picked up so if you like making comics, whether it will be your first or your millionth book, get in touch with us. The final deadline for artwork is OCTOBER 1ST so there is still plenty of time to join the Water Closet Press.

Also whilst I've got you, why not check out this interview we did for the 20 Minute Longbox Podcast. We talk about Ladies & Gentlemen and our adaptation of (part of) Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" which can be found under the Weird Planet tab at the top of this page.  It's a great show and Stephen is a friend of ours so why not check it out.

That's all for now. At least all I can remember. See you in the funny pages.

Rik

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Rough Planet


I had a bunch of Weird Planet rough work and concept sketches floating around the flat that I didn't quite know what to do with, so I thought I'd scan them in and give you a chance to see the comic without it's clothes on before dropping them in the ol' recycle bin. 


Imagining the visual world and the characters who populate it is my favorite stage in the development process, where it's all about just getting the ideas down on paper. Many of those ideas don't end up translating into the final piece and serve as more of a creative background radiation for me; it's nice for me to give them some daylight here.

There are lots of little permutations that occur as I try to get things just right, much to both Rich and my wife's annoyance ("Does this look better? What about this? Or this? Okay: this?). Why not compare these to the final comic and see if you can spot the differences? Weee, a game!

The first time I've done the thumbnail sketching stage sans Rich.


Playing with some avian and Mesoamerican influences for the Malakhim, and an early Thomas character study
 
Trying a new (and unsuccessful) over-sized thumbnailing technique
 

Divine evolution. I briefly toyed with the idea of having scraggly clipped feathers poking out from under his manacles.
 

    
And then there's colour, my mortal enemy. Sometimes I wish I was colour blind so I didn't have to worry about it. Oh wait.... hello black and white comics.  

It also helps settle petty disputes between Rich and I, like whether or not our protagonist could possibly be a ginger (the answer is no).



Getting psychedelic...

Let's try some normal colours (incomplete).

Enough of this madness!

Signing off,
JC

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Water Closet Press Interviewed by the Swansea Comics Collective

Ladies & Gentlemen, comics, Jordan Collver, Richard Worth, smallpress
www.sccassemble.co.uk

Rich and I feature in a Mr & Mrs-style round of "Who's Your Comic Crush?" Q&A hosted by the fine folks over at the Swansea Comics Collective.  Go check out their blog (here) to learn our inner-most comic secrets! Then get yourself a copy of their Copperopolis anthology.  If you read that aloud it's almost poetic.

This was alot of fun to.  If you're an indie/small press creator, get in touch with the SCC and have a go yourself! 

Don't forget: We will be at the MCM London Expo this weekend so if you're in the neighbourhood, stop by our table in Comic Village.  See you there!

-JC



Monday, 13 May 2013

Water Closet @ Bristol Comic Expo 2013

Water Closet Press is pleased to report that we had a delightful time at the Bristol Comic Expo this past weekend. This was our second time at Bristol and, while we did enjoy last year (despite some mixed reviews from fellow exhibitors and attendees), this year was better by far. We more than doubled our sales (more of a testament to the fact that we came out with a second issue since then than our skills as snake oil salesmen), and it was really encouraging to have people who picked up Ladies & Gentlemen #1 last year mention that they had been looking forward to getting the sequel. One kind gentlemen even bought some pages of original art!
 

The historic Brunel Old Station was a fitting setting to sell the Victorian-themed L&G.  The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and we got the distinct feeling that the comics present were the comics that everybody in the room were reading anyway; that we were all in it together, were all part of something.

Our evening activities on Saturday consisted mainly of being serenaded by a mono-toothed Sinatra-singing geezer who staggered over to the table we were sitting at in an Irish pub. It was quite endearing at first, but soon turned in to more of a hostage situation by the fourth or fifth time he sang the apt lyrics “Please release me, let me go.”  Then, perhaps inevitably, he turned out to be a wee bit racist, so that was the end o’ that.

Sunday proved to be the nicest day of the two, providing us with a chance to go and meet a whole bunch of other creators and confirm our theory that Stuart Gould of UK Comics, who prints our books, is in fact single-handedly running the entire British comics scene. We chatted with (and swapped books with) a whole bunch of folks who are increasingly becoming the pillars of the Small Press, including but not limited to:

The conglomerate of lovely chaps generating the eternal feedback-loop that is LOU SCANNON / THE PRIDE / STIFFS;  the wonderfully embeardened and bubbly RAZARHAWKS duo (I was drawn!) ; the master anthologists of the DISCONNECTED PRESS; Mark Pearce, responsible for the maniacally hilarious RONIN DOGS (and the TMNT poster to my left); Owen Watts and his many comic-fingers in many comic-pies; Andrew Scaife and his debut comic NEW YORK PARK; and Jon Lock of the glorious AFTERLIFE INC.  Not to mention all the other folks who were kind enough to stop by our cramped little table and chew the fat about comics.  Thanks to you all for your interest and support.

Whewph! All in one fantastic weekend.

NOTE: Despite us not appearing on the list of exhibitors on their website (silly us), don't forget that we will indeed have a table at the upcoming MCM LONDON COMIC CON on the Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26th. Hope to see lots of new faces, and some of those faces we met in Bristol!


Monday, 22 April 2013

Weird Planet!

Hello folks!  We've got a new science fiction comic for you.  We've added it to the tabs on the top of the page.  Stay tuned for some of the black and white line art and a description of both the writing and art process we'll be posting in the near future. But in the mean time check it out, and enjoy...

 (click on the image to view the full comic)

Weird Planet comic, Michael Chabon, Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Monday, 1 April 2013

Issue Three Update!

Ok y'all, here comes an important update... We are closing writing submissions.

We have had an overwhelming response so far and are now in the position where we have a backlog of scripts in need of artists, so if you are gifted with the pen and want to get involved just e-mail us at thewaterclosetpress@gmail.com and we will match you up with an eagerly-waiting story to draw.

Provided we get enough artists to cover all our current scripts, it is possible that we will re-open submissions for solo writers in the future. We'll post an update if this happens, but until then, we are still accepting artist and story + art submissions as usual.

A bunch of our creative teams have gone away to work on their stories and we already have a completed story in!  Furthermore, to give you a little taste of what we have in store for you, here is Ken McFarlane's sketch of The Gent. He will be working on a Hex-centric (see what we did there?) story written by Jamie Lewis.



Moreover, very soon we'll be releasing our latest short story inspired by Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

See you all in the funny books,
Rik

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

ISSUE THREE SUBMISSIONS UPDATE

Good day to you all,

Well the feedback we've received for our anthology submissions has been outstanding thus far and can only get better. So to whet your appetite we're going to give you a little guide to some some of the creators already involved.

First up we have Jamie Lewis of Free Form Jazz Detective . And just to get you all in the mood, Jamie has sent us this wee sketch of a wee Gent.
Next up, from Professor Elemental we have Chris Mole (writing) and Brendan Purchase (art). The first two chaps to come to us looking for artist and writers independently, it made perfect sense to team up Brendan's dark ink work with Chris's Lovecraftian script.

An old friend of The Water Closet from Canada, one Master Tony La Vella of Comic Blvd is collaborating with Californian artist Rafael Desquitado Jr. Tony has smashed a script out of the ballpark with a tale told from the villain's perspective entitled "DISMEMBER OF PARLIAMENT"!

Thought Bubble panel guest and writer Umar Ditta is on board with a script just waiting to be drawn. Mesr Ditta is also working on a third issue and is looking for artists. You can check out his stuff over on facebook.

Hailing from The Swansea Comics Collective and contributor to Copperopolis is the fantastic Pete Taylor. Pete is ideally looking for something along the lines of "Moth versus Awesome Monster"! Not only can you check out his art at thismanthispete.com but you can check out his Moth sketch right now!


All the way from Texas (in America) is Micheal Waggoner. Mike is planning on doing a crossover with his own character El Diablo Azul. A Luchadore ghost hunter....'nuff said.

Dave Evans is the first contributor to our gallery and what he has done is both brilliant and adorable. Check out his stuff over at daveevansillustration.com

A good friend to the Water Closet and wearer of the most splendid face hair, Sir Adam Steele of Darkmook Miniatures is going to be contributing, we don't want to say exactly how and give the game away but watch this space. It's going to be a lot of fun.

That isn't even everyone so far! The hectic schedule of artists means we're still working on how (and more importantly when) people can get involved in the book. We don't mean to brag but we are talking with such outstanding talents as James Stayte, Jacob Wolf, Neil Ford, Biz Horne, Graham Johnson, Nick Souček, Neil McClements, and the fine folks behind El Bigote!

But fear not, if you want to contribute there is still plenty of time. Whether it be a story about Hex's favourite playing card, and alternative universe wherein the Gentry are Spanish, or the back story of a thug who once felt their wrath, we want your stories. Our final deadline isn't until October. Full details can be found here.
 
So far this anthology is looking great and is going to feature a wealth of talent. So why not get involved and we'll add your name to the list!

See y'all the in funny books,

Rik & Jordan

Monday, 4 March 2013

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - ISSUE 3: LADIES & GENTLEMEN (AND COMPANY)

Ladies and Gentlemen comic, Lord Kitchener needs you, comic art

Good morning/afternoon/evening to you, fine ladies and gents. With the unprecedented success of our first two books, Water Closet Press is in the process of creating a third. And, being the sociable and comic loving creatures we are, we are keen to have you take part.

For Issue 3 we’re planning a printed anthology based in the Ladies & Gentlemen universe, and we're looking for submissions. This is where you come in. 1-5 page complete comics (black-and-white or colour), alternative covers, pinup art, poetry, short prose fiction (with or without illustrations)... whatever it is you want to do, we want to print it!

If you are an artist looking to make a comic but have no script or writer, get in touch. We'll do our best to get you connected to a writer in the same boat (as they very often are), or we'll craft you a script ourselves. The goal here is not only to tell a bunch of great stories, but also to develop a network of comic creators within the Small Press community.

THE RULES

We want this project to be as open as possible so we won’t limit you with too many rules. Having said that...

1) The Gent. He never speaks or is seen without his mask. Ever.

That's basically it. We would also ask if you’re thinking of submitting that you respect our characters and don't dramatically kill them or maim them or give them insane back stories that will be impossible to work into future plots. Just be sensible.

Other than that, it's your toy to play with. Use any of our existing characters as a springboard for your own imagination, or feel free to ignore them and/or invent new ones to interact with and explore the world of The Gentry. If you already have your own comic project, why not do a cross-over? Or re-imagine things from a "What if...?" perspective. It doesn't have to be an adventure story... even if it's a whimsical look at a day in the life of The Moth's hat, we're looking for variety and innovation. Any style, genre, and theme will be accepted. We don't want to see imitations of our work, we'd rather see yours.

THE IDEA

Here at Water Closet Press, one of our favourite things about serialised comics is the process of collective storytelling. The idea that stories are immutable and sacred scripture carved into stone is an illusion. Narratives change over time, growing and transforming with each manifestation. They are made alive in the hands of others.

This folkloric potential is one of the most appealing aspects of hero-genre comics in particular, and it's something we would like to reflect in Ladies & Gentlemen... but we can’t do it by ourselves. We want to put it in your hands - the hands of the Small Press community in the UK and beyond - and have you participate in its telling.

SUBMISSION & DEADLINE

If you have an idea for a story or artwork you'd like to do (or anything else up your sleeve), simply e-mail us at thewaterclosetpress@gmail.com and we'll go from there. Want to contribute but haven’t read Ladies & Gentlemen? Fear not! Issue 1 can be read in full online, and we have several other short stories you can browse to familiarize yourself.

We are aiming to release the book at the London MCM Expo. We had fantastic results launching there last year and met a great bunch of people. Since the date for the convention itself hasn't been announced yet, we are going to say that the absolute deadline for completed submissions is the 1st of October 2013.* We're hoping that this will give people enough time to work at their own pace and produce something they are proud of.  *(EDIT: We will no longer be attending MCM.  The deadline has been changed to 1st of NOVEMBER 2013 and we will be launching the anthology at Thought Bubble instead).



WHAT DO YOU GET IN RETURN?

That's a good question.  Unfortunately we are not able to pay for entries at this time, however...

1) Your work gets printed in a high quality UKcomics publication.
2) You will receive the number of issues equal to the number of pages submitted.
3) As a contributor you will also be able to order copies from us at print cost (which should be significantly lower than retail price), sell these at your own leisure and retain the profits.
4) Finally, you'll be getting fantastic exposure at the conventions we attend and through our social media/blogging, and vice versa.  Small Press cross-pollination!

The collection will be a minimum of about 30 pages of Water Closet material, but our goal is to get enough entries to push that to around the 80 pages mark. Obviously once we have received enough synopses from interested parties we'll have a better idea of the book's size and cost, etc.


Sound good?
Let's make some sweet comics!

~ Rik and JC

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

SAPIENT CEPHALOPOD SKETCH


I recently enjoyed the Bristol-based BLAM! comic creators' doodle jam in the chilly basement of The Golden Guinea, to the delightful tune of live folk music from upstairs, in the company of friendly and talented individuals seated around the table, savouring a pint(s) of Potholer.  The suggested theme of the evening was Seamonsters.  The Giant Pacific Octopus is one that actually exists, calculating her schemes in the murky depths...

Octopus cephalopod giant octopus comic drawing

I also recently did a banner image for Bear Pit Zine's facebook page for the Expedition theme.  It is, unsurprisingly, octopodial in nature...


While you're here and I have your attention, read this poem: "The Kraken" by Alfred Tennyson, 1830.

-JC

Thursday, 7 February 2013

COMIX TRIBE REVIEWS LADIES & GENTS #1

Thanks to John Lees from Comix Tribe for his charming review of Ladies & Gentlemen Issue 1, wherein we were complimented on our "superbly-designed characters (The Gentleman in particular looks brilliant – I want an action figure!)", the fact that Jordan "proves himself to be a very talented artist," and that Rik "deftly weaves a tale" with "strong, concise storytelling."



Read the full write-up here

You know, come to think of it I want a Gent action figure too...

Ladies & Gentlemen action figure, the gent
* Not available in stores... or anywhere.


Monday, 4 February 2013

BEAR PIT #5 - "EXPEDITION"

Here is my contribution to Bear Pit Zine's 5th installment, "Expedition."  I was thrilled to be able to participate in such a great local (Bristol) project.  Each thematic anthology is printed in limited runs so be sure to get 'em while they're hot! Check out Bear Pit's tumblr here, and also on the Facebook.






This 5-page short represents my first foray into writing, as I've only ever worked in collaboration with the eminent Richard Worth.  I suppose it's appropriate, then, that I opted to go exclusively with pictures and no words.  I say appropriate, but it was really because I lacked the confidence.  Maybe it was a mistake.  I'll try next time and see. 

The Michael Jackson of exploration
Something I always had in the back of my mind while reflecting on the zine's theme was this particularly expedition-appropriate passage from The Worst Journey Ever. Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard nails it:

"The desire for knowledge for its own sake is the one which really counts... Exploration is the physical expression of the Intellectual Passion. And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore.  Some will tell you that you are mad, and nearly all will say, 'What is the use ?' ... For we are a nation of shopkeepers, and no shopkeeper will look at research which does not promise him a financial return within a year. And so you will sledge nearly alone, but those with whom you sledge will not be shopkeepers: that is worth a good deal. If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg." 

In a longer draft of the story I was going to cut back to the fat man falling asleep in his armchair, beard growing and stomach diminishing each time we return to him, until he is little more than slumbering bones.  Apsley might have called him a shopkeeper.  In this version, I closed with the words:  “A full man will sit at home and rub his belly, thinking himself content. But a hungry man, though his belly pangs, will rove -- and see the world.”  That ending had less context in the final draft, and I felt it was quite heavy-handed exposition besides.

The text that does appear in the last panel is taken from the ending of The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. It reads (translated, with the quoted text underlined): 
 
The James Dean of existentialism

 "I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."



I did The Hungry Fellow as a way of allagorizing my own experience of religious disillusionment, but it's also a more general parable about any process of discovery - of finding fulfillment in it, even when it wounds us.  Don't take my word for it though; could be about something else entirely.  Or nothing, for that matter.  Maybe you find it's a jumbled mess that makes no narrative sense, let alone a story with discernible meaning… but I hope you can enjoy something about it in spite of that, even if it's just the drawings.  And, heck, I think that's exactly what Camus was talking about anyway...

There's another 40+ pages of Bear Pit Zine #5 from some fantastic small press folks (12 of 'em)! 
You can ORDER ONE right here, right now from our Water Closet Emporium, or directly from the BPZ webpage.  You'll be glad you did.

-Jordan