Chased Stars, Cat Save-age, and Comic Superheroes (Reading Wrap-Up – May 2016)

Chasing the Stars by Malorie BlackmanThis month, I finished We Were Liars by E Lockhart (the ending almost ruined me, I swear!), read A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf, and X-Men: The Unlikely Saga of Xavier, Magneto, and Stan (a graphic novel, binding up four individual comics).

I also started Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screen Writing You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder.

Buffy and Angel ComicsSpeaking of Comics, though, I was lucky enough to attend Showmasters ComicCon in Belfast this month, at which I picked up three Angel comics, and a Willow comic, as well as Malorie Blackman’s new novel: Chasing the Stars.

Goodreads Update: 18 books into my 45 book goal for the year = right on target.


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Lulu Junior, but for Adults?

Comic Book Front CoverApparently it’s been around since February 2014, but I’ve only just heard about this thing called Lulu Jr.

Lulu.com (the parent company), for those who don’t already know, allows people to self publish using the print on demand model, meaning there’s very few overhead costs to releasing a book. As a big fan of this M.O., I’ve used Lulu to create the paperback versions of all of my books.

So now there’s this new thing – essentially Lulu for kids – and it sounds so cool! (No, I’m not getting paid to say this.) Lulu Jr’s book making kits come with everything needed for a child to draw out pages of a book, which they then send to Lulu via the included envelope, and then Lulu compiles the pages into a proper printed masterpiece and sends it back. I told you it sounded cool! WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS A KID?!

Ahem.

Don’t judge me, but I find this so awesome that I’m tempted to do it myself. Yes, the kid’s version and, no, I’m not joking.

As and adult that shamelessly reads children’s books, and enjoys a good spot of coloring in, this is right up my street. But here’s what I’m wondering: why isn’t there a Lulu Jr, but for adults?

Okay, okay, I can practically hear you rolling your eyes at the screen. There’s already the main Lulu service, I’ve already said that, I know. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a third option, in which adults who are not professional artists but who like to doodle as well as write can, not only self publish a book, but can illustrate one too.

In 2014 I made a comic for 24 Hour Comic day, and that resulting comic is available through Lulu’s main site. But let me tell you, it was not easy getting it there – I fought with my printer/scanner for three hours straight!

What I’m essentially saying here, in my perhaps not so humble opinion, is that Lulu is great, and Lulu Jr is a stroke of genius, but I want more. I want to be able to draw out pages to accompany my text, and then have Lulu put them into a book for me, no stress of misbehaving scanners whatsoever. Now, wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas gift?

Reading Wrap-Up – October ’15

Books I’m generally trying not to buy a lot of books until I get my ‘To Be Read’ list down, but for part of this month I was visiting my aunt, and she took me to all manner of places that had discount book stalls. As such, I broke my guideline (it’s most definitely a guideline, not a rule!) and I bought the following:

And I also bought Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics: Season Ten, issues 18 – 20.Comic Books

I’ve rather unintentionally started doing this thing where I’m alternating between reading a paperback and a Kindle book at any one time. My current paperback of choice is P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (page 210 out of 519), and the eBook I’m reading is The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth (also enjoying mixing up my fiction and non-fiction, at the moment).

2015 Goodreads Challenge Status: 36 books read out of 40 (90% complete | 3 books ahead of target).

 

Comics as High Culture

For a lot of last year I was producing a weekly radio show all about the Arts Scene in Northern Ireland. It was a mixed bag, regularly featuring interviews, reviews, and exhibition notices. As part of it I spoke to poets, authors, painters, and singer/songwriters, not to mention a range of people involved at various levels in the organizing of Belfast’s many cultural events and festivals.

One group of people I didn’t initially seek out were the city’s many talented comic writers and graphic illustrators, however. A good friend kept insisting I do a feature on comics, but I dismissed the idea. Comic books are for kids, I kept thinking, they’re not particularly cultural. Needless to say, my friend challenged this thinking, and he was right to, because I was wrong. Let me break down why, for a second:

  1. Comics are not just for children (Watchmen, anyone?)
  2. Even if they were, that wouldn’t make them inherently less valuable to society
  3. Who even gets to decide what culture is? Everyone and no one. My friend’s definition was as valid as mine (except for the fact that mine was wrong).

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