A Look Back At 2013 And A Look Forward To 2014

As is traditional on this blog, at the end of each year, I talk about what I’ve managed to do the previous year and what I hope to achieve the next year. It’s as much for myself as it is for the select few that visit here. 2013 was another interesting year:

•We managed to get the TRIPWIRE anniversary book out, although it became a 21st rather than a 20th anniversary book. We didn’t make our kickstarter (those things are invariably a popularity contest) but we decided to bring it out anyway. I am proud of it despite the fact that sales haven’t been as brisk as I’d hoped and it is a very nice marker to say where we’ve been up to this point. Our Foyles event and related exhibition didn’t have a massive turn-out but I am rather proud that we can say we have done an exhibition and talk at this bookshop, a London landmark

•We kicked off the TRIPWIRE Digital App despite the fact that it took quite a while to get approved by Apple. It is nice that for the first time since 2003, we have a regular presence and platform to cover comics, books, film and related subjects and that we can build on the momentum we have for it
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tripwire-magazine-comics-film/id717140470?mt=8&ls=1

•On the photography front, I did get to see a few of my shots blown up at the Foyles event and I got one of my Brian Aldiss photos used in the Financial Times magazine, which was rather nice. I continued to submit to Writer Pictures and a new stock place for my landscape photos. I tried to keep improving my shots and took a lot of photos when I travelled over the course of the year. Some of them managed to surprise me

•I continued to write for Comic Heroes, got something into Imagine FX and a few new articles for Big Issue in The North. I also continued with my subbing work, there to pay the bills but it’s still useful

•I didn’t touch my novel much as I was busy with freelance work and the TRIPWIRE anniversary book. I also didn’t do very much on the Dee for Detective comic series, with Andy Grossberg and artist David Morris

But at the end of 2013, hopefully I have planted a lot of seeds for the future. In 2014, I intend to:

•Bring out the TRIPWIRE Digital App bimonthly. So every two months there’ll be a new edition of the app and we’ll continue to ramp up the interactive content in it. I want to make TRIPWIRE the essential digital publication covering the world of comics and genre again

•Keep pushing my photography and keep submitting to stock agencies. I have improved a lot in the last five years but I am still not totally consistent

•Use the digital and ebook formats to put out my own work, whether that’s journalism, writing or photography. I shall go back to the detective novel and also do more on the Dee for Detective comic series, which I neglected

•I shall continue to sub and do the freelance journalism although it would be nice to phase out the subbing and just focus on writing and editing

•I shall also continue to populate this blog and fill Flickr and my Tumblr (www.joelmeadowsphotography.com) with my photos, keeping it updated. Plus, we shall endeavour to update the tripwire website, now www.tripwiremag.net, with new content

Just like 2013, 2014 is looking like a very interesting year…

A LOOK FORWARD (AND A LOOK BACK)

As is traditional this time of year (although it’s usually on New Year’s Eve), I use this blog post to take stock of how the year’s been and what will be happening in the next year. 2011 was a very mixed bag:
•We did put out another TRIPWIRE which was a very strong issue but because of the current climate, advertising was significantly down on the previous year.
•We issued two digital issues which did okay but it has made us think that we need to do a little bit of tweaking re: the digital magazine
•In terms of freelance work, I did more work for the Judge Dredd Megazine including pinning down Steve (Preacher, Punisher) Dillon for it and I also got my first feature for Big Issue In The North which has a picture credit for my Michael Moorcock photo with the feature I wrote, which was exciting
•Speaking of photography, I did take a lot of photos in 2011 and feel that my work is developing (pardon the pun) as we go into 2012
•I got my own place to live, which has felt weird but is quite liberating
•There was quite a bit of subbing and copy editing work although I had to cast my net a bit wider
•I ended 2011 having written just over a third of my detective novel, so that’s good news
So for 2012, there’s a lot to build on:
•In March, there’s my first ever photo exhibition, of my comic creator photos at Gosh now in Soho. This feels odd but very exciting
•At Bristol in May we’ll be selling a number of exclusive TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary prints. 2012 is the 20th anniversary of the magazine and there will be a few items to buy at Gosh but it’ll run from March until late summer when we hope to put out a TRIPWIRE 20th book that will top the 10th anniversary one that came out in 2002 with plans for an anniversary evening also at Gosh later in the summer
•We intend to turn TRIPWIRE into a bi-monthly app from the end of February. 2012 will be the first year in the last five years that US Editor Andy Grossberg isn’t going to be involved
•I will finish the first draft of my detective novel sometime in the first half of 2012
•On the photography front, I shall build on whatever occurs at the Gosh event and put out a few more limited run books. I shall also try to get at least one other book project locked down this year, which is hard in the current climate but I live in hope
So it’s looking like a very interesting year…

LOOKING BACK (AND LOOKING FORWARD)
As is customary this time of year, I thought I would talk about what I’ve managed to do this year and what I hope to achieve in 2011. It’s been a very interesting year:

•We published another issue of TRIPWIRE, packed full of diverse features and content. With each edition, the aim is to improve on the previous and hopefully we succeeded. I am very proud of this issue. We didn’t get it out more frequently but the fact that we brought it out at all in the current climate was something.

•I brought out a number of photo books through Blurb (London Eye, Stone Gardens and Black & White). I took tons of photos in 2010 and at last I am seeing that I am developing (pardon the pun) as a photographer. I am now trying to consider what I am taking and things like composition and framing. I even did a photography weekend with a friend of my brother’s, which I found very enjoyable. Two of my photos ended up in the monster 75 Years of DC that Taschen published at the end of the year, so that was very cool.

• On the freelance front, I had a very good year. Despite beginning it with what I thought was a year’s contract at a consumer ‘champion’ magazine (I won’t tell you Which), one that ended after only five weeks but on both the subbing and feature writing front, 2010 was a very good year. I got work into Future’s new comics-focused magazine Comic Heroes, continued to write for The Judge Dredd Megazine and got some material into Sci-Fi Now as well as another piece for The Word. I also subbed and did production work at a lot of new places (new for me) including Digital Arts, Apollo and The Week.

• There were a couple of book projects including a followup to Studio Space and a number of photographic books that seemed as if they were going to happen but they fell through because of a number of different factors. It’s an occupational hazard so there’s no point getting stressed about it.

•Following on from writing a detective short story for The Sunday Times Culture competition in 2009, I begun work on a novel featuring the same protagonist. While prose is hard, I am pretty chuffed with the results and intend to carry on with it.

So 2010 was a good year but what would I like to happen next year?

• I would still like to take TRIPWIRE more frequently and we are in discussions with a couple of people to try to make this a reality. Nothing may come of it but I live in hope. We do intend to try and do something electronic on a semi-regular basis.

•I would like to find a publisher for the detective novel. I have been chatting to an editor and a agent so it could happen. It wouldn’t see the light of day until 2012 at the earliest even if it did but that would be fine.

Studio Space 2 would find a home. I am talking to someone to see if we can get this off the ground. We have a fantastic provisional list of artists (Sergio Aragones, Frank Quitely, Frank Cho, Dave Dorman, Glenn Fabry, Bryan Hitch, Frazer Irving, Dave Johnson, Mike Kaluta, Roger Langridge, P Craig Russell, John Paul Leon, Ben Templesmith, John Romita Jr, Mark Schultz, Charles Vess, Matt Wagner, Chris Weston and JH Williams III) so I would like to get that closer to being a reality.

•I shall continue to take more photos, do more books through Blurb and I would like to set up an exhibition of my photos and also do things like sell prints and calendars of my work. I would also like to get at least one photographic book off the ground published by a regular publisher.

•I’ll keep on subbing and doing the freelance writing because it’s a good way to keep my hand in with the field of film, TV and genre in-between doing TRIPWIRE.

• I shall still be writing here at this blog as I have done since 2006 as it’s still a great place for me to talk crap about whatever I want to talk crap about.

•In 2011, we’ll be preparing for the 20th anniversary of TRIPWIRE. It’s scary to think that we started publishing it in 1992 but we intend to do something very special for 2012. The current plan (and it is in the very early stages) is to produce a 200 page book that will include the cream of our content so far plus lots of brand new, exclusive material.

So to everyone who reads this blog: Have a great New Year and I’ll see you all in 2011

london-eye-cover




A LOOK BACK AND A LOOK FORWARD
As is traditional here, at the end of the year I talk about what I’ve done and what I hope to do. 2009 was a very strange year for me: work, especially subbing work was thin on the ground and while the writing was there, it wasn’t enough to replace the subbing that I had before. But some good things did happen:

•We got another two issues of TRIPWIRE out, the Superhero Special in February and the Annual 2009 at the very end of July. They are two issues that I am very proud of. It was disappointing that Diamond US chose not to carry the 2009 Annual but it’s a decision I couldn’t take personally as the business environment in 2009 was extremely tough and so they made choices that they wouldn’t have done in previous years

•I cemented my writing portfolio and my cuttings. In 2009 I got pieces published in Big Issue In The North, Sci Fi Now and did a load of work for the Judge Dredd Megazine, which will continue into 2010. I did some work for online genre publications, something I haven’t really pursued much. I got to interview Terry Gilliam and Genndy Tartakovsky, two people whose work I have admired for years. I also interviewed Guillermo Del Toro again when The Strain came out and was able to build up my relationship with him and Richard Taylor at Weta, a relationship that I intend to continue to build upon

•I finally came to the conclusion that the photos I take are just as valid as the photos that established photographers take. In fact, I now consider myself to be a photographer as I finally put my money where my mouth is and put out my first photography book, Town & Country (available now from Blurb.com). I have improved the shots I take and at the end of this year have taken some photos I am truly proud that I have taken

•I wrote and completed a prose short story, The Hanging Man, which is something I’ve not done since I was at university. I entered it into a competition and it was a great exercise for me as a writer

So looking back, it wasn’t a total washout as a year. Studio Space, which came out in 2008, didn’t do anything more and I came to realise that it served its purpose but if we wanted the book to make more of an impact, myself and Gary needed to do the promotion ourselves. I would still like to do a followup but I’ve put that to the back of my mind at present because I am going to devote time to book projects aimed at a more general readership. So here’s what I plan to do in 2010:

•Publish a photography book a month. Town & Country was the first but it will be followed by a new title every month. London Eye will be out in January, then we’ll have a book on London Cemeteries, London Pubs, Statues and much more. I aim to come to the end of 2010 with around a dozen photo books with my name on them. You will also be able to buy prints of my photos too. To that end, I’m going to be starting a new blog that will just talk about my photography sometime in January…

•Hopefully one of the book proposals I have in with traditional book publishers will happen. I don’t know which and I don’t want to jinx it, so I won’t mention the subject of any of them in case none of them happen…

•I shall write more fiction. I was very chuffed I managed to finish my short in 2009 and there’ll be lots more projects like that. We’ll have some Dee For Detective out in some shape or form in 2010 and I may even pursue some other comic writing opportunities…

•There will be more TRIPWIRE. Even though the market is bloody hard at the moment with shops closing and magazines teetering on the edge, the plan is to produce at least a TRIPWIRE Annual as a physical entity in 2010. It’s the 75 anniversary of DC as well as the 20th of The Simpsons, so we plan to be there in some shape and form to document what’s going on. We are also going to attempt to update the website far more regularly…

•I am also going to build up my writing portfolio and get into even more magazines, newspapers and publications that I’ve not been in before…

So 2009 was a pretty dodgy year but it had some highlights. I believe that 2010 will be a better year…

So to everyone who reads this blog, have a great New Year and I’ll see you on the other side…