Things have been really shitty on the freelance front in November and December so far but I saw something this weekend that cheered me up. This guy, Parka, from Singapore reviewed Studio Space and gave it a really good review. He even put a review up on amazon. Considering that the book has now been out for just over six months, that’s very heartening.
Here’s the review:

Book Review: Studio Space: The World’s Greatest Comic Illustrators At Work

Comic book readers are in for a treat with this book. 20 renowned artists come together in this book to talk about their life, career and art.

These artists write in first person, talking about how they got started in art, their influences, their schools, studio space and work flow. Included are artworks they have done over their careers with their thoughts. There are really interesting stuff like cringing at old work, or reading about the artist wanting to be with their girlfriends than at the drawing board.

The writeup is authentic and raw. It’s very inspiring and motivating to know a bit about the people who create great comics.

At 320 pages, some might complain that the pages devoted to each artists might not be enough. True, but there’s a always a compromise between variety and depth.

Since the book is titled Studio Space, there’s a good amount written on the artists’ working style. Read about their choice of medium, the preparation they do for their projects, where they work and other things they think about. Oh, no, this book doesn’t contain a lot of photos into their actual work area.

This book provides incredible depth to comics we read, by giving us the back stories through the eyes of the creators.

Here are the list of 20 artists featured:

  • Brian Bolland (Judge Dredd, Invisibles)
  • Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, The Originals, Green Lantern)
  • Tim Bradstreet (Punisher, Hellblazer)
  • Howard Chaykin (American Flagg, Mighty Love)
  • Sean Phillips (Hellblazer, Criminal)
  • Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy, Enigma)
  • Joe Kubert (Sgt Rock, Enemy Ace, Kubert School)
  • Mike Mignola (Hellboy)
  • Tim Sale (Heroes, Batman Long Halloween)
  • George Pratt (Batman, Enemy Ace)
  • Tommy Lee Edwards (Matrix, Batman Begins, Star Wars)
  • Adam Hughes (Star Wars, Ghost, Wonder Woman)
  • Sergio Toppi
  • Walter Simonson (Elric, Thor, Manhunter)
  • Jim Lee (Batman, X-Men, Superman)
  • Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, Dark Knight Returns)
  • Bryan Talbot (Luther Arkwright, Alice in Sunderland)
  • Alex Ross (Superman, Batman, Marvels)
  • Steve Dillon (Preacher, Wolverine)
  • Dave Taylor (Tongue Lash, Batman)

There should be another volume coming up as I’ve read on blogs that the authors, Joel Meadows and Gary Marshall, are looking for more artists to interview.

If you scroll to the bottom of this blog, you’ll see a series of Paypal buttons which allow you to pick up Studio Space in paperback and hardcover and the TRIPWIRE Annual. Where else could you get Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, Mike Mignola, Brian Bolland and more in one place (or two places?) So if you missed either or both, here’s your chance to rectify that…

Rather than bore everyone to tears with a report of each day, I’m going to try and move along a little quicker (especially since the show ended ten days ago!). So Thursday was a good day for us: we held a TRIPWIRE panel at 10.30 in the morning which was very badly attended but it was the first morning of the first day of the show so that wasn’t surprising. With 10 copies of Studio Space to last us until lunchtime Friday, interest in the Annual was pretty high. I didn’t do as much reporting and film stuff this year because I wanted to focus on the Annual and the book, so I spent most of Thursday at the table. I had a very productive meeting with James Killen, my rep at Barnes & Noble, and Doug White, my B & N rep at Diamond Books and so B&N are taking 1000 copies of this year’s Annual, which is great. It was the first day that I attempted to find my friend Mark Chiarello, who works at DC. In fact it became a running joke that Jeff Carlisle saw him quite a few times and in fact could locate him seemingly at the drop of a hat whereas I, who have known Mark for a number of years, introduced him to artist Robert McGinnis and always have lunch with him when I go to New York, never saw him once. We had great neighbours next to us at the Image booth: Andy Suriano, artist on Image’s Charlatan’s Ball, and his wife Carlyn were both lovely people and made the show a pleasure to set up at. Thursday night I had dinner with Andy and Susie, don’t remember where, but we had tickets for some party that we blew out because we couldn’t be arsed to go to. What people don’t realise is just how exhausting San Diego is, especially if you’re set up there. You get into the hall pretty early and three of the four days, it doesn’t close until 7pm. So once you pack up and walk back to the hotel, you’re not in much of a fit state to go carousing til the early hours at night. So Thursday ended better than Wednesday because I had resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn’t be getting books until Friday. Friday was a very good day if a bit of a blur: I did two film-related roundtables, one on Watchmen and one on Star Wars: Clone Wars. At first, they wouldn’t let us take photos at Watchmen but they relented so I have some nice shots of the cast and Zach Snyder, who I gave a copy of Studio Space to. Speaking of which, the books turned up halfway through Friday, which was a relief. We did our Studio Space panel on Friday morning with Tommy Lee Edwards, Bryan Talbot and Howard Chaykin, which was pretty well-attended (although I foolishly had forgotten what time that started so I rolled up halfway through it!). I got to meet Frank Darabont, director of The Mist, and showed him a copy of the book. Also, while I was away from the table, Gary and Jeff Carlisle gave copies of the Annual and Studio Space to Joss Whedon, who was passing by, and Gabriel Macht and another guy from The Spirit. Friday night, we went to the Weta/ Dark Horse/ Gentle Giant/Lucasfilm party, where I spent an hour with Jim Steranko, discussing film, which was rather cool. I’m going to leave Saturday and Sunday for another post but here is a selection of more random photos including the ice sculpture from the Weta party, Spider-man waiting for the trolley, the crowds around the convention on Friday afternoon, some shots from the Watchmen roundtable and more…

So tomorrow Saturday 28th June, I’ll be getting on the train and heading up to Forbidden Planet Manchester for the last of our three Studio Space signings in the UK this month. Steve (Preacher) Dillon and Dave Taylor will be there and it kicks off at 2pm. So anyone in Manchester or its vicinity, please feel free to pop in. I’ll be posting pictures next week after I put up my review of Wanted

So last Saturday, 14th June, was the Studio Space signing at Waterstones on Oxford Street opposite Selfridges in London. This time around, Gary wasn’t there (he’s away in Turkey with his missus) but Andy Colman was as was Steve Dillon and Bryan Talbot who were signing. Steve Colgan also showed his support and came to the signing. The numbers weren’t as big as the Forbidden Planet event the weekend before but it still felt very nice indeed to be sat signing in a bookshop. A few people even got their books signed by me, which was a nice ego boost. Steve and Bryan were very cool and it was weird as my Mum and Dad came along so I got to introduce them to the two artists. Glen Levy from Time and his wife Liza as well as my friend Noel also came along to show their support. My first signing at a real bookshop but hopefully not my last. Here are a few photos from the day…

So we’ve got another Studio Space signing, this time on Saturday 14th June (tomorrow if you’re reading this on Friday) at Waterstones, 421 Oxford Street, London, opposite Selfridges. Bryan Talbot and Steve Dillon will be signing and it kicks off at 2pm so anyone who fancies getting copies signed by Steve, who doesn’t do many signings, or Bryan, please feel free to pop down there. I’ll be present as will Andy Colman but Gary is away. See you there…

Tomorrow Saturday 7th June is our Forbidden Planet signing in London at the store at 179 Shaftesbury Avenue with Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and Sean Phillips. It kicks off at 1pm and should be a good afternoon…
Speaking of things getting signed, here is a photo of my hardcover copy of the book signed by Guillermo Del Toro, which’ll be staying on my shelf. I’m going to try and get as many people in the book to sign it…

So there are three reviews out there of the book Studio Space, which is out in the US today (Thursday) and in the UK on Friday, and they are a little bit mixed but you have to get used to criticism if you’re putting stuff out in the public arena. It would also be a bit rich if I was to complain about people’s reviews considering what I’ve been doing with my life since 1992! So check them out here:
and finally here:

Sunday at Bristol was a great day for us as we had Dave Gibbons, Walter Simonson and Dave Taylor all signed on the table so we had a fantastic turnout and sold lots of the book. Dave Taylor is an exceptionally nice bloke and he has a very cute daughter (whose name I don’t remember). Before the show, me and Gary took a wander by the canal at Bristol and I took some great shots. The day passed quickly and we packed up the table, having had a great weekend and Gary headed back to Winchester. In the evening, I went for dinner with Dave Morris, his friend Pat, Misako Rocks and Sean Wilson’s friend Akiko and we went to the Spyglass, the restaurant on the boat in Bristol. It was a very relaxing end to the weekend. So here are a few photos of the canalside at Bristol including some nice crane shots, photos from the Sunday including Walter and Dave Gibbons signing, Dave Taylor signing (apologies for getting the side of Dave) and the Bristol canalside at night. Part Four (where I recount our mammoth trip back to London with Walter and Louise Simonson squeezed into my tiny car) will be up over the weekend but first my Indiana Jones review up on Thursday…

So Saturday was a great day at the show. We rolled up at our table at the Commonwealth Museum and waited for the hordes to descend. After a slow start, the hall began filling up pretty rapidly and we made lots of sales on the first day. I had to leave the table to do two panels on Saturday, the first was with Dave Taylor and Walter Simonson and that was the Studio Space panel and the second was with Walter again but wife Louise was there too. I interviewed Walter and Weezie about their career(s) and we discussed Weezie’s time at Warren, their work on X-Factor and a few other things. The weather was still very very hot so we were like ants under a magnifying glass in the hall so it was nice to get out of there and go to the Ramada, where the talks took place, because it was air-conditioned. So Saturday night we skipped the Eagles and went to an Indian restaurant called Old India with my brother, Gary, Andy Colman, Dave Baillie, Chris Weston and a friend of his called Rich. It was pretty good but the service was very slow. We then walked back to the Ramada but didn’t have a late night as we were working at the show and it’s pretty exhausting behind a table. So here are some more photos for you: St Mary Redcliffe at night, by the canalside in Bristol, by Baldwin Bridge in Bristol, St Mary Redcliffe in the piercing blue sky and the fluffy clouds and the sculpture in front (I got a little obsessed with it as we stayed right next to it), Gary at the table, the turn-out for the Studio Space panel and Paul Rainey and friend…