Sunday, 19 February 2012
Teenage boys aren't known for sharing their fears and emotions, so if you're the father or sister of one, how do you know how he’s coping with his mum's death?
Fifteen year old Hunter isn't entirely sure himself, and even if he could put any of it into words, he no longer knows who to say it to.
"Boys Don't Cry" is the debut 80-page graphic novel from Ostragoth Publishing: Jacqueline Saville, Mark Pexton, Andrew Woods. Jacqueline is a sensitive writer, and Chaz has long been admirer of Mark Pexton's dark and beautifully detailed artworks on the Deviantart.com website. Andrew Woods is responsible for everything else, including layout and design, and has helped to bring together two fine creative talents in this (and other) projects. "Boys Don't Cry" is a well known song by the English goth/rock band The Cure, and the music of that band would make a fitting soundtrack.
Proof, if ever any was needed now, that 'comics', 'graphic novels' and 'illustrated fiction' are no longer the clearly defined genres that many believe them to be, "Boys Don't Cry" is something of a unique and beautifully emotive experience, laced with Mark's delicate yet incredibly naturalistic pencil lineart, and complimented by an exquisitely-wrought text. This is a low-key and intelligent work of art which is as unrelated to the worlds of vapid superheroes and other traditional comic-book trappings as is possible to find, and Chaz thoroughly recommends it to anyone who appreciates good art and writing. Even people who hate comic books.
"Boys Don't Cry" can be downloaded for free here - available under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND, where the print version is also available for £6.99. Their latest comic, 'Moon of Endine', can also be purchased from that page.
The free download is also available free from the Ostragoth Wordpress site, right here.
There's also an author's blog post about the book, right here.
Monday, 6 February 2012
It's a strange piece of work, something I've deliberately abandoned at various times in the past until I felt I was more mature to be able to handle the material the way I wanted it, and illustrate it the way I felt it ought to be. I would regularly get so far and then decide that I didn't have the talent to pull it all together. First it swung one way, from heroic tragedy to more whimsical traditional fantasy, and back again. Now the pendulum's swung all the way around and the work has evolved into what I reckon will be its final stage, fused from the salient points of all the previous incarnations and the multiple revisions and dramatic evolutions. The writing of it has been an epic drama in itself. By turns frustrating, exhilerating, time-consuming and demanding, it's something that's always been a part of me, and probably always will. This I now attribute to the very powerful symbolic themes and motifs which inspired it, and which I've always regarded in the very highest esteem.
And what has actually helped to pull it all together has not been new writing, but new illustration works, which have taken on a somewhat industrial - even science fantasy - edge, to create something that is new and yet true to its origins, like a post-modern staging of the 'Ring' Cycle itself that delves into the deeper symbolism and meaning with radical set design and costuming, my re-imagining of familiar characters and scenes is throwing up brainstorms of creativity right now. I know this is working well, because it was the exact same process which kicked off my work 'The Wish and the Will' recently, and led to a similar flurry of action (producing three full episodes and dozens of full-colour illustrations in less than six months).
In all the time I've worked on this (still untitled) series I reckon I've barely pulled together half a dozen chapters of finished work that is actually worthy of the name, yet I've filled hundreds of pages and written hundreds of thousands of words, produced dozens of sketches and a stack of finished illustration works since 1989, of varying quality. In this 25th anniversary year (I did say in an earlier post that I'm a sucker for this kind of thing...), to the very month when I began this thing on a cold winter's evening while enjoying a break from school due to the severe weather, I took the executive decision to finally make it happen. Yes, I'm in the middle of half a dozen other writing projects, and have recently just started taking on new illustration commissions again. Yet lately I've been buzzing with a nervous, excitable creative energy whereby I simply want more - more things to do, and the ideas have been surging around with the power of a storm. It's a long time since I've felt this wired creatively, if indeed I ever have at all, even during my blast-through of 'TWatW' this time last year.
And in the meantime, I present one of those new works of visual art which is helping me to focus so clearly on the biggest, sprawling, most chaotic mess of a book I've ever conceived!
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