Last night after work, I trekked up to GOSH Comics in Berwick St (of market fame), hidden away in the depths of seedy old Soho in the West End of London. The reason for the visit was to meet and listen to Jessica Martin, a relative but exceedingly enthusiastic newcomer to the world of comics and comic-making. She was the speaker at the latest of GOSH’s regular ‘Process’ evenings. Process evenings are open to all, though space is limited, so it’s best to get there in a timely fashion.
To the wider world, Jessica will be best known for her work on stage and TV as a singer and actor (and voice artiste for Spitting Image), but she has also recently published her first comic, ‘IT Girl’, a potted biography of Clara Bow, the silent movie actress and biggest star of her age – and possibly if you adjust for inflation, the biggest star of all time. Jessica talked us through the way she came to comics via fine and performing arts, her first attempts, lucky meetings and new friendships with other creators based upon persistence and a refusal to give up. It was an interesting and enjoyable evening.
At the end, after chatting very briefly – small as the group was, it was too big realistically to take up too much of her time when other people were anxious to talk – I was presented with a sheet of Strathmore paper, which I’d never heard of before. Strathmore paper is an acid free paper, and quite substantial, feeling much like cartridge paper, but rather tougher. Most importantly – and who knew such treasures existed? – it has lined edgings designed to aid in the design of panels for drawing comics. It’s not cheap paper, but it clearly is the tool for the job.
The ‘price’ that came with the gifting, was that it should be used for a single page of comic art. Properly used.
Having got it home, un-creased, against the odds I must say, I spent much of the night and early morning (between sleeps), day dreaming about character designs and layouts. Having got that far (i.e. not very, though still enthused), I continued such daydreaming on my commute in to work this morning. Arriving at Victoria as usual, my phone buzzed as I emerged from the underground and I see, via Messenger, that the idea has morphed: a small group of, I think, six of us are now kicking around the idea of submitting four pages each of our own comic story, to be self-published (if we can work out how to do it reasonably) in a ‘zine’ anthology, in time for Thought Bubble in November.
I am intrigued and ideas are beginning to emerge via FaceBook Messenger. Watch this space.