Thursday 30 December 2010

Two Uncle Bob Pages

Two pages from Uncle Bob Adventures. First a page from Uncle Bob And The Phantom, and then a page from Uncle Bob On Skull Island.

2 bob phantom

4 skull island

Monday 20 December 2010

Christmas Card Design 2010

You may want to check out an interview with me on the The Comics Bureau.

Here's a Christmas card I've designed.
Christmas card 2010

Monday 13 December 2010

Climate Change

I intend to come back to this strip and rewrite some of the first half, in order to make the science clearer. I'm sure there will be a few spelling errors and suchlike. Feel free to point them out, but keep in mind that I've been staring at many of these pages for weeks, to the point where even the word 'and' looks funny to me. I shall be adding on references to this strip over the coming few days. Thanks to Albert the Knowledge Penguin for his help.

Note: added Jan 2012. A slightly different version of this strip will appear in my book Science Tales, out from Myriad Editions in April this year. This is a book of comic strip essays on controversial science subjects that include: chiropractic, evolution, the so-called Moon-landing hoax, the MMR/Andrew Wakefield vaxination scandal, and homeopathy.  Read all about it here.

1 climate

2 climate change

3 climate change

4 climate change

5 climate change

6 climate change

7 climate change

8 climate change

9 climate change

10 climate change

11 climate change

12 climate change

13 climate change

14 climate change

15 climate change

16 climate change

17 climate change

18 climate change

A few references. More will be posted shortly.

Superb New Yorker piece about the Koch Brothers and their involvement with the far right.

That Proceedings of the National Academy of Science paper, which I mention in the strip, on the numbers of climate researchers who believe that science points to the truth of man made climate change, compared to those researchers who don't.

Excellent book that does what it says on the tin. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.

NASA's climate change evidence page.

Wikipeadia entry on the the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Scott Mandia's research into the media's deplorable Climategate coverage.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Kirkus Reviews

Bloomsbury sent me the review of Psychiatric Tales from Kirkus Reviews. My first US review.

An illustrated primer on mental illness that builds to personal revelation. Despite the title, most of these chapters are not traditional tales with narrative and characters. They are, instead, explorations of various psychiatric illnesses common in the wards where Cunningham worked as a health-care assistant. In his book-length debut, the author, who created the Web comics Super Sam and John-of-the-Night and The Streets of San Diablo draws on his experience with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and other illnesses. Despite the darkness of much of the material—as reflected in the black-and-white drawings, polarities that the illustrator exploits to creative effect—the prevailing tone is one of compassion. As Cunningham explains in the introduction, this is “intended to be a stigma busting book…needed because fear and ignorance of mental illness remains widespread in society.” Most of the text is similarly straightforward, but the art is more revelatory, as it illuminates brain patterns, brain disease and psychological conditions. Yet there are flashes of deadpan humor as well, particularly in the chapter titled “Anti-Social Personality Disorder,” in which the author relates how a condition that sometimes results in criminal behavior shares traits that society generally considers normal: “Selfishness, lack of empathy, superficiality, and manipulativeness…are highly valued in the worlds of business, politics, the law, and academia.” In the chapter titled “People With Mental Illness Enrich Our Lives,” the author focuses on a variety of luminaries—from Winston Churchill and Judy Garland to Nick Drake and Brian Wilson—who have struggled with mental conditions. “How I Lived Again” provides testimony on how the artist’s own mental illness led to his interest in the subject (as well as his employment in the field) and how his art proved crucial in his recovery. The illustrations are compelling throughout, but the narrative is more powerful when it is more personal and specific.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

My Talk at the London Print Studio

On Saturday I did a talk with the cartoonist known as Brick at the London Print Studio, Harrow Road, where the That's Novel exhibition is currently running. We were there to discuss the role comics can play in depicting mental illness. Brick has a graphic novel out from Knockabout called Depresso, which is about his long struggle with depression. The talk ended up being fractious and not a little tense. We were both coming from quite different ends of the mental health debate. I'm not saying the situation blew up into a row or anything. It didn't. But there was an underlying tension which made me uncomfortable. None of this made it any less enjoyable for the small audience who attended. They responded well. I got very good feedback from the event.

Apart from Paul Gravett , the Comika organiser, also in the audience was Knockabout publisher Tony Bennet and esteemed cartoonist Hunt Emerson.

I still haven't finished reading Depresso. Paul Gravett gave me a copy to read the night before (homework, he called it) and I was still reading it on the tube on the way there. Actually, just this afternoon I got a letter from Brick, saying how he enjoyed the talk and how lovely it was to meet me. He enclosed one of his Stamp Out Stigma comics, Once a Wino-Junky, which depicts the severe prejudice those with addictions often (mostly) suffer. It's extremely good with a nice blue tint over the artwork. Very direct and to the point.

I hung around after the talk for the next event, which was an interview with Charlie Adlard, who is the artist on the comic book The Walking Dead. This has become the most successful cable TV series ever after a mere two weeks, and has already been renewed for a further season. I hadn't read the comic book, but I'd enjoyed the first episode of the series. Charlie's stark black and white artwork really suits the subject. I can admire it, even though it's not my kind of thing.

Finally I helped Tony Bennet carry some boxes of Walking Dead back to his car, avoiding the busy traffic. I was careful. Being run over carrying a box of The Walking Dead would be just too ironic, I thought, and it would be all that people then remembered me for.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

The London Psychiatry Conference

Had a long, but enjoyable week in London. I went down for many events, first up was the London Psychiatry Conference, where I was on a panel with Phillipa Perry, author of Couch Fiction, and Ian Williams of the Graphic Medicine website. We'd done this before, of course, at the Graphic Medicine conference earlier in the year. The Psychiatry Conference is an event that takes place every year for psychiatry trainees in London. It's as much as a social event where trainees from all over the city can meet up, as it is anything else.

The Cumberland Hotel near Marble Arch was the venue. I suffered comedy buffoonery of the highest order in getting there. I wasn't sure where this hotel was in London, so I used my iphone map GPS system to tell me and this turned out to be something of a mistake. It kept pointing me towards an area where there was postal sorting office near Oxford St. After walking up and down side streets in a futile effort to find the place, I asked at a nearby hotel. They told me that the software had been directing me to a post office box used by the Cumberland Hotel. The staff at this hotel where I found myself, told me that they often had people walking in asking the whereabouts of the American Embassy, having made the same mistake. There are clearly a few bugs in the system still. I had then to take a taxi down to Marble Arch in order to get to the conference in time.

As it turned out everything had been delayed anyway, and the event hadn't even started yet, due to a bomb scare on the street outside the hotel. Plus, there was a tube strike that day, and because of this, Marble Arch tube station was shut.

There were hundreds of people milling about in the vastness of the hotel. Somehow I still managed to locate Phillipa and Ian (the only people I knew there). The event kicked off in the big conference hall where Ruby Wax was doing a show. The connection here is that Ruby Wax has a MSc in Psychotherapy. Her show was basically a comedy monologue, with musical accompaniment, detailing her spiral into depression and subsequent recovery. It was good, but I thought she was funnier in her intro to the performance, than in the performance itself. The improvised stuff was better than the practised performance of her show. I don't think the music added very much either.

It could be that I'd have found it much more enjoyable if I hadn't been suffering from a migraine that morning. I was shifting in my seat uncomfortably throughout Wax's show. Luckily, Ian Williams, who is a doctor, had in his bag some very effective painkillers, and this did the trick. It's nice to have your own personal physician with you. I felt like Elvis.

We did one talk in the morning and then a repeat performance in the afternoon. We talked about our books and how the comic strip form is so suited to relating personal experience and getting complex information across. This went down well with both audiences. I sold every copy of Psychiatric Tales I had with me. Thanks to Stephen Ginn for the invite.

Monday 25 October 2010

I was in London briefly overnight on Thursday for the opening of the That's Novel: Comics Off The Page gallery exhibition. Go see it at the London Print Studio on Harrow Road. Pages from Psychiatric Tales are on display along with a ton of other cartoonists' good work. Paul Gravett writes about the event here. Look closely at the photo in his article and you'll see me in the middle of the pic. That tall guy wearing glasses.

There is a staggeringly good review of Psychiatric Tales on the Page 45 shop website. I didn't know I'd garnered comic book of the month there.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

More Uncle Bob

Four panels from Uncle Bob and the Martian Invasion.

Uncle Bob In Autumn

Monday 4 October 2010

Uncle Bob And The Frankenstein Monster

Latest chapter of Uncle Bob Adventures. I'm now around half way through the book which will be out from Blank Slate next year. Feel free to point out any errors. Thank you.

bob frankenstein 1

2 bob frankenstein

3 bob frankenstein

4 bob frankenstein

bob frankenstein 5

bob frankenstein 6

bob frankenstein 7

bob frankenstein 8

bob frankenstein 9

bob frankenstein 10

bob frankenstein 11

bob frankenstein 12

bob frankenstein 13

bob frankenstein 14

bob frankenstein 15

bob frankenstein 16

bob frankenstein 17

bob frankenstein 18

bob frankenstein 19

Wednesday 22 September 2010

A Little Update, With Dream.

Been very busy putting the finishing touches to the US version of Psychiatric Tales (out from Bloomsbury in February). This edition will have a new introduction and a different cover. I found this work to be very hard going. I've had to retype all the text, so that the lettering is now on a separate photoshop layer from the artwork. This will make it easier to make any further changes without having to alter the artwork beneath. In future I'll be doing all my comic book work this way. I wish I'd done it that way from the beginning. You live and learn.

I've also been working on the Uncle Bob Adventures book (out from Blank Slate next year). A collection of stories featuring the 150 year old Bob and his fantastic life. Currently I'm near the end of the Uncle Bob And The Frankenstein Monster chapter.

Four Frankenstein Frames 2

In a recent dream, I found myself in a old spit and sawdust tavern. Dark and crowded. A Spanish man sat at one table playing poker with two gypsy women. They were using oversized cards. On the floorboards near the Spaniard's feet was a luger pistol. A forth hand was being dealt to a place at the table where there was an empty stool. I was told, or somehow just knew, that the Spaniard believed that Death himself was sitting on the apparently empty stool. Death was his personal protector, he said to a woman nearby. At one point, during the evening, I realised that I was sitting at a table adjoining the card players, and that the empty stool was at my back. I moved away, fearing death's grip on my shoulder.

Thursday 19 August 2010

The US Edition of Psychiatric Tales

News. The US edition of Psychiatric Tales is prominantly displayed on page 34 of the new Bloomsbury's Winter catalogue. Here's what the US version of the cover looks like.

Psychiatric Tales US edition

Also, two interviews with me are now online. One is at Avoid The Future, and the other is at Frontier Psychiatrist.

Saturday 7 August 2010

A Summery of Recent Events

It's been a very good year, so far. Perhaps my best ever. Psychiatric Tales was finally published after years of effort. All hail the internet for getting me to the attention of publishers. It's now out in the UK from the small but perfectly formed UK publishing house, Blank Slate, and will be published by the giganto-sized publishing house, Bloomsbury, in the US early next year.

The book is selling well. It's certainly attracting a lot of attention. I was interviewed for the Big Issue back in Feb (far better than selling the Big Issue). Did a live radio interview on a Scottish arts show. Was invited to take part in the Graphic Medicine conference at the University of London. This latter event looked at the ways that the comic strip format could be used in the study and delivery of health care. Which sounds dry, but it was a very enjoyable event.

Last week I was in Oxford as a guest of Caption (Oxford's annual comic's convention). In three weeks (Monday 23rd of August) I'll be doing a talk at the Laydeez Do Comics meeting at the Rag Factory in Brick Lane, London. The day before that I'll be attending the Comica Comiket Independent Comic Fayre, at the Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London.

Oh yes, Psychiatric Tales was also Graphic Novel of the month in the Observer, and this week will be reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. So it's all rumbling along very well. It's amazing how quickly I've started taking all this for granted.

Also this year I've started putting on the internet chapters of the latest book I've been working on, called: Science Stories. These chapters have whipped up a storm of controversy, as they've tackled such divisive subjects as the MMR Vaccine Scandal, Homeopathy, and NASA's supposed Moon Landing hoax. The comments I've received about these strips have been mostly positive, but I have had my fair share of hate mail. So it goes. Here's a typical example from Anon.

"It is morons like you that cause even lower level idiots to attempt to think with bad information. I am so glad I don't know you or your friends."

This stuff doesn't bother me though. It's to be expected.

On the negative side, despite all this success, I'm still very poor. Although now years in the past, the consequences of being ill and having to leave the nursing course I was doing, are still with me. I ran up huge debts at that time (I was in such despair that I didn't care what happened). So the little money I do make is usually sucked up in charges by the vampire bank, leaving me feebly dry.

This will of course change in time. I presume that Psychiatric Tales and the books I'm working on now will generate money at some point in the future. But I'm not there yet. Which is why donations are still gratefully received. Thanks all.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Darryl at Caption

As I may have said previously, in my day job I do care work with the elderly. It's agency work, which means I get sent all over the place to cover, when nursing or residential homes are short staffed. Summer is good to me, because it's the holiday season, and this means I'm getting plenty of shifts (days and nights). However, this also means that I've not had much time to do any comic book work recently (none actually). I'm tired from the long shifts and just want to flop down when I get home from work. This will change soon though, as I launch myself back into the four-colour world.

This weekend I'll be a Caption in Oxford. Where I'll be interviewed by the delightful Sarah McIntyre.

And now as promised ages ago, here are the main references I used to write the Moon Hoax strip.

Wikipedia. Moon landing conspiracy theories.

Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog. Fox TV and the Apollo Moon Hoax.

Nasa Science. The Great Moon Hoax.

The Guardian. Those hoax myths debunked.


Moon Base Clavius. Photo Analysis Page.

NASA. Where No Flag Has Gone Before: Political and Technical Aspects of Placing a Flag on the Moon.

MythBusters Episode 104: NASA Moon Landing. 2008 Season. NASA Moon Landing.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

The Moon Hoax

Today is the 41st anniversary of the first moon landing. So I completed this strip just in time. Feel free to point out any errors and I'll correct them over the next couple of days. References will be in the next entry.

This strip is but one chapter in my book Science Tales, out now from Myriad Editions.

moon hoax 1

moon hoax 2

moon hoax 3

moon hoax 4

moon hoax 5

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moon hoax 7

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moon hoax 14