Posts Tagged ‘collaborative comic’

Swogger - Visions of the Future - final 6

A Vision of the Future? Page from my section of Supergen’s bioenergy comic.

This week sees the launch of another project I’ve been working on since Christmas – an informational comic about bioenergy, sponsored by Supergen Bioenergy, an industry research consortium.

The project is the brainchild of James McKay – engineer and 2000 AD comics artist (not often those two descriptors feature in the same biography). He’s probably best known in the comics world for his work on the 2000 AD series Flesh, but he’s also the creator of the bande-desinée La Cité des Secrets (Mosquito, 2007). James is also the man behind the Dreams of a Low Carbon Future (I & II) project – a two-part illustrated and comic book exploring the technologies and social changes necessary to create a sustainable, low-carbon way of life in the twenty-first century. I drew several large illustrations for the second volume, and through that was invited by James to contribute to the bioenergy comic.

The Bio-Energy comic is a similar project – but focused primarily on providing good, solid background information about bioenergy – What is it? How is it used? What does it cost? etc. – and combining that with some future scenarios to show how different ways of adopting and using bioenergy technology might shape the next 60-80 years.

Five comics people were involved: myself, James, comics illustrators Corban Wilkin and Emma Chinnery, and comics writer Ben Dickson; I found myself in the company of some very talented people! The project has been extremely interesting – not least for the complexity of the subject matter, and the long, workshop-based back-and-forth that was required to turn that into something more accessible and engaging; but also the process of working with four other creative minds all of whom have very different backgrounds in comics to myself, and consequently approach both the drawing and the writing of them very differently. It has been a hugely rewarding experience, and if anyone out there making a start in the world of comics has an opportunity to work on a collaborative project – don’t let it slip away! You’ll learn far more than you ever imagined. Making comics can be a very solitary enterprise, and seeing how other people do it is invaluable.

The Bio-energy comic is being launched this week in Manchester at a special Supergen event, and will be generally available soon.


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An Approximation of a Moment - artwork inspired by TAG papers given by Helen Wickstead and Louise Adkins

An Approximation of a Moment – artwork inspired by TAG papers given by Helen Wickstead and Louise Adkins

I managed to fit in a one-day visit to TAG [Theoretical Archaeology Group] conference last month, dropping in on the session on Art and Archaeology on the final day. It was the kind of session that only seems to pop up at TAG, and it was typical TAG: diverse and surprising by turns. There were papers by performance artists, archaeo-sound reconstructionists, and art historians and even some archaeologists. I didn’t give a paper, but I did run an abbreviated workshop in the afternoon on experimentality in archaeological narrative. TAG is always full of the unexpected, and this year was no exception. The conversations I had at the conference gave me an opportunity to review all the things I’ve done with comics and archaeology over the past year and think about where this is all heading.

Looking back over 2014, I feel as if it was a year in which I did a lot of practical things with comics in archaeology – from the Middleport Pottery panels to the comics journal I wrote on Carriacou during the summer, the informational comic on archaeology for the Mustique Company, and the panels for the Grenada National Museum and the panoramic comic panel for the Museum of London.

I’ll certainly be doing a lot more of those kind of comics throughout the coming year, but 2015 feels like a year of slightly different projects – some of them exploring new ways to use comics in archaeology beyond the informational handout and the interpretation panel. To start with, I have a couple of articles and papers coming out discussing not just the application of comics in archaeology, but its as-yet untapped potential. I’ll get a chance to explore these themes in more detail, as I’m also going to be writing a book about archaeology and comics, and I’ve got several longer-format works in the publication pipeline. There are also several collaborative projects lined up for this year, giving me the chance to work with other people using comics in new and surprising ways. 2015 looks like being a year to start building on all the practical and theoretical stuff I’ve been doing with comics and archaeology over the past four years.

More on all this as the year progresses. All in all, 2015 looks like it’ll be an interesting year – interesting and busy!


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saved_the_past_1I’ve been interested for a while in trying a collaborative archaeological comics project. Recently, I’ve been reading Thieves of Baghdad, which is the story of the work of Matthew Bogdanos in Iraq. Col. Bogdanos was the man charged with safeguarding and recovering antiquities and other material stolen, looted and lost from the National Museum in Iraq following the US invasion. The book details the extraordinary intersection between politics, personalities, war and archaeology. As you might guess, it’s a highly visual account, and as such, I’ve been wondering if it would be possible to adapt sections of it into short comics. I’ve started working on one section myself, and was kind of hoping that other archaeological comic-makers might be interested in having a go at other parts of the book. I have a feeling that this might be something of a slow-burning project, but I’d be very keen to get others involved besides myself.

Anyone else interested?

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