hypercomics at battersea park

Here’s Sean Azzopardi and me taking in the wonder of the new comics exhibition at the Pumphouse Gallery. (Sean’s posted a bunch of photos here.)

A whole bunch of comic artists got together to put on this fab show in a gorgeous location in a beautifully restored pumphouse overlooking a pond, curated by Paul Gravett. Here’s the floor featuring Dave McKean‘s very site-specific work. He arranged it so there were lots of places you could see something cool just if you looked at it from an exact perspective. One view was through this mask. (Those guys in the background are John Miers and Mike Leader.)

Here’s the dude wot made it:

And one of the window views where, if I bend my knees quite a lot and pretend I’m Dave’s height, the trees in the picture exactly line up with the trees I see through the window.

Speaking of site specific, I’ve been invited to lead a HyperComics family workshop right there in the gallery space! It’s on Sunday, 19 Aug from 1:30-3:30, and booking details are here.

Masked Adventures in Comics!
Draw inspiration from the Hypercomic exhibition and Dave McKean’s masked characters to design your own story’s masked heroes and villains. Get behind their masks to discover your characters’ unique personalities, then use the Pumphouse setting to bring them to life in a gripping story. At the end, you’ll come away with your own self-published comic book!
Suitable for both children and adults.

I told Dave McKean we’d be very careful while we run around his artwork and stab pencils into the air.
This comic panel reads, He seemed nervous.

Multi-directional comics by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey which you can read online here:

The ever-marvelous John Miers and Megan Donnolley:

A red-lined mask really begs to be looked through.

I actually missed a lot of the exhibition (such as this piece) because it does demand a bit of concentration and quiet contemplation. I was riding a weird wave of being hyperactive and tired-out by a full day in Birmingham at the the Peters Bookselling Services. Basically it’s this massive storeroom full of children’s and young adult books that sell to libraries in vast quantities. All three of my publishers were there, but I was officially with Oxford University Press and doing my shpeil for my upcoming adventure picture book When Titus Took the Train. It was such a funny format… Librarian Speed Dating! The two OUP publicists and I had five minutes at our booth to say our bit to a group of about five librarians. At the end of the time, The Archers theme tune would play and the next group of librarians would pile in and we’d do it all over again. Fortunately we also got a nice lunch and I got to meet Facebook buddy Caryl Hart and the writers Graham Marks, Samira Osman and another one named Dave (with lovely blond curly hair, a fab striped shirt, and I cannot remember his last name for the life of me, hehe).

I was really uncertain about the politics of the whole thing, whether I could talk about Vern and Lettuce when I was with OUP. But Camilla, their accounts person, was actually waving around a copy of my You Can’t Eat a Princess! book with Scholatic, so I shyly stuck Vern and Lettuce up right at the beginning of my super-fast dating talk and they didn’t seem to mind at all. (But there wasn’t any time actually to confer with them about it between groups.) I’ve had several publicists tell me that, even though they’re competition, they all get along very well, and they often e-mail each other about scheduling and try to work around my books with other publishers. In fact, they tend to swap around jobs fairly frequently, so they’re often among friends at these events. (One of my Scholastic publicists, Catherine, had just been one of my Random House publicists until a few months ago, so she knows my stuff very well!) I think I make politic mistakes quite often, but I think they know I mean well and they’re nice about catching me gently when I clump over people’s toes.

Okay, back to HyperComics, where I was pretty much twigging out and hungry, but still glad to see people:

Studio mates Ed Hillyer and Woodrow Phoenix with Warren Pleece wedged in between, along with the guy on the right whom I just met, Etienne Gilfillan, who works for the Fortean Times and makes comics for French comics magazine Spirou. (The first magazine I usually buy whenever I go to Belgium or France.)

From left, Sarah Lightman, a coordinator of Laydeez Do Comics (which features Darryl Cunningham at its next meeting on Mon, 23 Aug), a mystery man(?), John Dunning (writer of Salem Brownstone and the guy who did one of my first festival events with me, at Cheltenham last year), John Riordan and far right, Paul Gravett.

The nearby boathouse featured work by several other people: Sean Azzopardi, Ellen Lindner, Joe Decie, John Cei Douglas, Douglas Noble and Paul O’Connell. This part of the exhibtion was titled Hieronymus Pop: Scenes from an imaginary rock and roll concert.

Here’s my studio mate Ellen Lindner and me in our unintentionally-but-marvelously-matched frocks:

I’m so impressed, Ellen’s managed to raise over $1,000 from 55 backers toward publishing our zine. (Details here.) I’m not utterly sold on the title (Whores of Mensa, taken from a Woody Allen short story) but there are going to be some fab comics in there, including a recent addition from Patrice Aggs.

Nicky Tesco and Francesca Cassavetti. (You might remember my blog post about visiting her studio and finding out about Nicky’s rock star career here.)

I think Etienne’s photos might come out better than mine…

…and Comica Social Club organiser and graphic designer Peter Stanbury had the best hat.

Francesca, Ellen, Douglas Noble and John Cei Douglas (whom I’ve known for ages as carrot-rope on LiveJournal as but finally met in person, hurrah!).

HyperComics runs at the Pumphouse Gallery until 26 September, next time I’m hoping to get back there and look at everything properly, not flit about like a loon.

I had an amazing day leading workshops at the Cartoon Museum, but more about that tomorrow! Sleep now.

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