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…

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A NEW DIGITAL TRIP THROUGH THE WIRES
After months of preparation and development, the TRIPWIRE bimonthly app will be available for people to buy from iTunes this month. We shall be producing a new edition every two months so issue two will be out in Feb, issue three will be April and issue four will be June. It will give us the opportunity to cover material from the worlds of comics, movies, genre and related fields with the same approach we have always taken: quality, intelligent journalism. The first issue includes a piece looking at how mainstream superhero films are killing quality Hollywood, what’s wrong with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD show and an audio interview with Ian Rankin, talking about his new Rebus book and much more. To tantalise everybody, here’s the cover image to the first issue. We are all excited at the future opportunities digital has to offer and we’ll be taking full advantage of them. I have neglected this blog over the last few weeks but I shall be back with a vengeance over the next couple of weeks. Come back here to see my review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug this week. But in the meantime, TRIPWIRE digital app is available from iTunes as of now. Please visit the following URL (the app is free but each edition only costs £1.99)
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tripwire-magazine-comics-film/id717140470?mt=8&ls=1

A LOOK BACK (AND A LOOK FORWARD)
As I always do at this time of year, I take a look at what I’ve done over the previous year and what I hope to do in the following year. 2012 has been a very interesting year for me:

•I had my first photography exhibition, the comic portrait photos shown in Gosh back in March of 2012. Even though this was supposed to tie in with a 20th anniversary that didn’t quite happen, I was still very proud to see my work blown up and shown at Gosh in Soho in London for three weeks.

TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary through Unbound. Unfortunately, the 20th anniversary book that was supposed to be published through book crowd-sourcing site Unbound didn’t happen, despite our best efforts. We gave out postcards at Kapow and Bristol and constantly promoted it on Twitter and Facebook. But it just didn’t gel. However if I hadn’t started to gather material for the project, I wouldn’t have had about 20 images in hand that will be running in the 21st anniversary book in 2013, so it wasn’t a totally wasted effort

•I published two more photography books, Spooked: A London Gothic and Faces. They had their problems but it was thanks to the Faces book being published that my Bryan Talbot photo was seen and I received some money from Steve Bissette for its use on the cover of an ebook he is bringing out about Bryan Talbot. So I am very pleased that I put it out

•We did another digital TRIPWIRE edition, our Dredd special, in November. We were hoping to put a digital TRIPWIRE out a bit more frequently but this was designed to show that we are still a going concern. It made me decide to do a digital bi-monthly as of Feb 2013

•Freelance work was pretty good. Despite a parting of the ways with the Judge Dredd Megazine in the summer, I continued to do features for Comic Heroes and by the end of the year, I have a number of other outlets lined up including a publishing website and a print magazine I haven’t worked for in a while, which is a result. In terms of subbing, despite a few contracts ending prematurely, was also a good year, thanks to me casting my net a bit wider

•I also continued to submit stock photos to Writer Pictures and I have a number of pages there now. The fact that I kept shooting increased my confidence and I intend to build on this

•I am almost halfway through the first draft of my detective novel, which I am determined to complete

•I started two new blogs on Tumblr, one dedicated to my photos and the other whose aim is to promote TRIPWIRE 21

So it had its ups and downs but it was a very packed year. So my aims for 2013 are almost as ambitious

•We shall be doing a TRIPWIRE 21st anniversary book through Kickstarter UK. It shall be up to pledge on by the middle of January and it will hopefully be a great celebration of the magazine’s 21st birthday, with the plan to release it sometime in May to launch at Bristol. There are also plans afoot to schedule some anniversary talks and events around London in 2013

•From the end of February, TRIPWIRE digital will be put out initially as a bi-monthly publication. It will cover comics, film, TV and genre in the same way that we have been doing it in the magazine, offering quality and depth while also making the content accessible. I am very excited to get started on this and if it works out, then we may do a print annual which will reprint the cream of the digital

•I probably will do some more photography books, both in print and as ebooks, as I have improved considerably since I started and really want to pursue some more photography projects

•I shall continue to populate the three blogs and the TRIPWIRE website with content as they all serve a slightly different purpose

•I shall follow up on a few nibbles from New York Comic Con, one of which may be the resurrection of a comic artists studio interviews book like Studio Space

•I shall finish the first draft of the Hanging Man detective novel

•I shall continue to submit photos to Writer Pictures

•I also intend to try and get my photos seen in a number of new places. The Gosh exhibition made me realise that there are an infinite number of opportunities regarding where to show off your work but you have to think laterally sometimes

I want to build on what I have achieved in 2012 and hopefully set some new goals. These blog posts at the end of the year are as much for me as for regular visitors to this blog. It helps to crystallise my own intentions if I consider what I’ve done professionally.

So 2013 is looking like another very fruitful year…

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MAKING AN EXHIBITION OF MYSELF

The last couple of weeks have been crazily busy but I said I would put something up about my Gosh exhibition, which opens today. It’s a selection of 16 images taken over the last few years of subjects like Alan Moore, Michael Moorcock, Grant Morrison and more. As well as seeing the photos in a huge format up on the walls at Gosh, you can also pick up a book to commemorate the exhibition, Portraits, which retails at £9.99. And prints are available of all 15 shots. If you go to Gosh, you can leave your name and details on a sign up sheet. So here’s four shots that will be up there and the book cover…
So feel free to pop by tonight, 10th March, or if you can’t make it, it’ll be on until 29th March.

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FROM FAMINE TO FEAST

The life of a freelancer is a strange one. You can go from scrabbling around for the odd crumb of work to having to really plan your time within a week. January was a terrible month for me: there was little work around and I was without my car for its entirety. Now into the second week of February, I have just landed a few days a week regular subbing/ production work that will see me into late May/ early June. On top of that, it looks like a TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary book looks like a real possibility for sometime around August. I also need to finish my spooky London photo book plus my comic creator portraits book, which ties in with the Gosh exhibition that kicks off on March 10th. I have also landed some more Judge Dredd Megazine and Big Issue in The North work and I am doing more for Comic Heroes, which means that I am off to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle at the end of March. We have also booked tables at Bristol (as ever) but also at Kapow! in May. There’s also some other things bubbling under but if they happen, they would be amazing. So I am insanely busy from now until the beginning of the summer. But a week ago, I was still wondering how I was going to get by the next few months. I’ll be including ordering information on the two books (Faces and Spooked) as it gets closer but here’s a few images including covers to whet your appetite. I’ll be posting a blog entry on the Gosh exhibition nearer the time…

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TRIPWIRE BACK IN PREVIEWS
After a gap of two years, TRIPWIRE will be available to order from Diamond US in Previews. If you go to page 351 of Previews May 2011, you can order TRIPWIRE#55, item code MAY111336. For £6.95 UK/ $9.99 US, you can get 124 pages in full colour. Here’s info on what’s going to be in it

Under an exclusive painted cover by illustrator David Michael Beck, we celebrate Michael Moorcock’s Elric anniversary by talking to Moorcock himself, looking back at the past of the character in comics and what Boom! has planned for it. We also profile movie location scouting company Sarah Eastel plus London fantasy author Christopher (Bryant & May) Fowler talks about his career. It’s fifty years since Fantastic Four #1 so we commemorate this with a look back at Marvel’s first family with the help of some of the creators who’ve been part of FF history. Then there’s STRIPWIRE, like an entire 22 page comic inside a magazine with artists like Roger Langridge and Kev Mullins, a profile of classic artist LB Cole, the return of old favourites like the Power List and the Graphic Novel roundup and a look at the success of Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG.

Here’s Beck’s magnificent cover image…

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

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A TRIP THROUGH THE WIRES FOR 2010
The new issue of TRIPWIRE is at the printers now. It’s hard to believe that this is the fifth issue we’ve done with the new format but it’s hopefully our best yet. We’ve got a Futurama feature, an interview with movie poster master Drew Struzan, chats with fantasy veteran writer Michael Moorcock and bestselling author Glen David Gold plus artist, illustrator and photographer Dave McKean talks about his career. We’ve also got anniversary commemorations of DC’s 75th birthday and Captain America’s 70th. It’s thinner than last year’s issue but this is reflected in the price (£6.95 UK or $9.99 US rather than £9.95 UK or $15.95 US). It’ll be out in the second half of this month, available at select Tesco Metros, West End newsagents, Forbidden Planet, Forbidden Planet International, Gosh and Orbital in the UK and through Barnes & Noble and Border in the US plus in Chapters and Indigo in Canada. Here’s a few pages and the cover from it

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FAMINE TO FEAST
I realise that I haven’t posted here in a few weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to be working back at Guinness World Records after the lovely people at Which? terminated my contract early. Although, after what happened, I feel I may have had a lucky escape. I’ve always said that freelancing is famine or feast and it’s currently in its feast phase. Apart from working at GWR, I have been doing more features for Sci Fi Now (Hellblazer 25th anniversary and Futurama), more for the Judge Dredd Megazine (Predators) and diving into a new TRIPWIRE. This new issue will hopefully be the best one we’ve pulished. I’ve also been doing lots more photography with Stone Gardens, my London Cemeteries book now up at Blurb, which looks fantastic and I’ve also put together a photo portfolio book of my best shots to show to potential clients and employers. So the blog has taken a back seat. I’ll be posting a Robin Hood review later this week but here’s the cover to my photo portfolio book and three interior spreads…