Thursday 20 March 2014

Charlatan Tales... The End

It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights...

The third issue of my self-published comic material 'Charlatan Tales' is now out there in the big bad world. I've decided that this will be the final issue of material under the 'Charlatan Tales' banner. As the title hints, this was an open-planned vehicle for me to make things up as I went along and to have an outlet for producing pages of material. The first issue contained 5 self-contained pieces, ranging from a 1-pager to 6 pages. The second issue contained two longer tales at 9 pages and 18 pages respectively and now the third issue contains a single 28-page story in full colour. So I feel, it's served its purpose in giving me the outlet to stretch myself and limber up for doing more (semi) polished long-form work. And also, to be frank, it's been a bit of an indulgence which is getting less and less tenable to throw money at.

Below are the first 6 pages of issue three's story ' The Cosmic Plectrum'. My initial idea was to try and cram loads of fun/daft imagery, concepts and set ups into one story that would be fun and engaging to flesh out, without too much over-thinking or picking apart. The likes of Gilbert Shelton's 'Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers' adventures, specifically 'Idiots Abroad', where it careens from one crazy set-up to the next with a bit of sloppy satire thrown in to the mix, was a main point of fuzzy reference. Along the way, some genuine sentiment and my own half-baked world view crept into proceedings, hopefully fleshing things out a bit.

A lot of the stuff going on in this issue stems from interests and passions going back to my teens; hoary old rock references, psychedelia, dystopian sci-fi satire. Even the character of Spaceman first appeared in a school copy doodle going back roughly to maybe aged 17, and to be honest he hasn't developed much farther from that in the meantime, so this is definitely going to be the last time he appears on the page. Hopefully I can move on to fresh work putting new ideas, outlooks and ways of working into the toybox.

I'm really glad I committed to doing this in full colour, even though this took far longer than I initially considered, it's really made me appreciate the sheer scale of work a colourist has to do in modern comics. Where possible I wanted to ramp up old school garish comic book colouring and contrasts. Prior to beginning colouring, as a main point of reference and influence, I took in and soaked up a cherished, battered copy of Captain America 111 by Steranko. In future, I'd like to display more confidence in using more extreme colour choices and contrasts to ramp up the stylized possibilities of comic book visuals.

It can be picked up in the following outlets, who've all gratefully carried previous copies of Charlatan Tales:

Mega City Comics, 18 Inverness Street, London NW1 7HJ
Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7J
Sub City, 62 Dame St, Dublin 2, Dublin
Universal Books, Church Lane, Letterkenny, Co.Donegal

It can be bought online via my Etsy shop and also on Comicsy. Charlatan Tales no. 2 & 3 can be bought together for only £5 (+p&p).

All original ink pages are for sale at very reasonable prices, please inquire if interested.

I'm hoping to consider working on something more structured and more long-form, maybe a 48-page one off or a 3/4 issue series, or potentially working with a like-minded writer.

To the future...

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