It’s been an amazing year.
As the tweet above says, my 2021 Inktober project – where I drew a different protester ever day of the month – led to me putting out my self-published book Sorry For The Inconvenience We Are Trying To Save The World.
This sold faster than any comic I’ve ever made before – I guess it hit the zeitgeist, what with the government clamping down on our right to protest, at the same time as giving us all more to protest about.
It seems this book was what caught the attention of the Workers Gallery in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales. At the start of this year, they emailed to ask if I would exhibit my protester pictures in August. I was delighted to say yes.
A new comic
And I suggested that, alongside the exhibition, I made a comic. I invited local residents to share their memories and photos of protests, marches, boycotts, strikes and activism.
I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t get any.
This was the wrong thing to worry about.
In fact it soon became apparent that my main issue was going to be politely declining the slightly less interesting stories (which I would have been quite happy drawing) in favour of the very, very many extremely interesting ones.
From the local mayor who ran a pirate radio station and drove a lorry with a smoke-breathing dragon on the back of it; to the Maerdy miner who can never look another Fray Bentos pie in the face; to the septugenarian willing to chain herself to a gate and be arrested in the name of preserving an ancient meadow; to the camp set up at the road to a toxic landfill site that succeeded in getting it closed down… it is clear that the people of the Rhondda protest just as they live and breathe.
When I discovered on Wikipedia that one theory for the meaning of Rhondda is ‘noisy’, I had my book title:
Now to get this book finished
As regular readers of my blog will know, I fit my comics work around a full time job, getting up very early to put in a couple of hours before everyone else is awake.
I will finish it either way, but I will finish it more quickly if I can take some time off work to complete what I reckon is at least another 50 pages and could easily be extended to 100.
If you are a publisher or an agent, please come and talk to me – I’ll be at the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival (LICAF) as part of the Bungaroosh comics collective (tables 7 & 8) – but if you’re not planning on being there this year, I’m also always up for a Zoom call.
I’d like to give you my work-in-progress comic, the first 24 pages of The Noisy Valley, so you can see the potential of this work for yourself.
What’s the plan?
I would like to apply for Arts Council funding under their ‘literature projects‘ category. This requires me to find an agent or publisher interested in being my partner. Funding can cover production and marketing costs, as well as my time in creating the work.
If you think you might be interested – let’s talk.