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Melksham Comic Con

Well, this weekend saw us at Melksham Comic Con, the first convention I've been able to get to since my son Greyson was born and boy, was I glad to get back in the saddle!  Joe Cape #2 was released and well received.  I caught up with a lot of friends I have not seen in far too long including Jon Lock (who was launching Heavenly Chord #2), Vince Hunt (Red Mask from Mars), Owen Watts (Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel) and Dani Abram (who was launching Worry Wart - a fantastic read that we'll come back to in a moment), among many others.  Put it this way, at the pub afterwards we needed to put four tables side by side and people were still standing!

Melksham Comic Con 2014Our table at Melksham Comic Con

I also presented a panel on making indie comic and common pitfalls and mistakes you can avoid through planning and preparation.  Once the video is live on YouTube (currently been uploading for 3 and a half hours and it's quoting me 3 more before it's done), I'll post a link here along with the Powerpoint slides.

Quick Edit: Video is now live!  Link to slides coming soon!

youtu.be/tcLYMHQjgss

State of Mind

I debated whether or not I should post about this, especially in a public place, but after reading Dani Abram's Worry Wart and having a long discussion with her and other friends I think it would be healthy for me to openly discuss this here.  It might help take some weight off my shoulders.

I am currently signed off work due to stress and anxiety.  Short version is that our team took on a workload we underestimated and did not have the resources to tackle.  I've found myself working with an excessive volume of in-depth queries and complications regarding a complex product I am unfamiliar with and have no formal training on.

I don't know if it was through male pride, stubbornness or a desire to progress/get a pay rise but I also said yes to taking on a variety of other responsibilities, including assisting new starters and less experienced team members, tackling IT faults (both hardware and software), organising systems access, and being the sole point of contact for another... issue (yes I am keeping the nature of my job and the company I work for secret, figure that's a smart move considering what I'm saying, this is going to be vague, sorry).

The environment became quite high pressure quite quickly.  We started to lose people.  The guys coming in the door weren't put on the same product I was working on because they weren't trained on it and weren't likely to be for the foreseeable future.  I appreciate I'm not trained on the product either, yet here I am.

As you can imagine, the work wasn't going anywhere but the people were.  Their work had to be reallocated and whilst my managers assured me it was their job to worry about the bigger picture, I was all too aware that more and more cases were finding their way to my desk.  The cases also have a time limit and I was finding they were getting older and older when they arrived with me.

Still, I have to pay rent and feed the kids, same as you.  I also thought I might get recognition for helping out and staying on-board during a difficult time.  When my appraisal came around I was told I had a satisfactory rating but hadn't warranted an exceptional rating, this affected my annual pay review and annual bonus.

Feeling under appreciated and overworked, I applied for another job within the company, one relevant to my degree and skills.  The new business area wanted me, I wanted to go, but my current business area were able to prevent me from going and, yes, I have checked with HR, my contract and my staff union.

In the end, I had the option of taking the job, but as a fixed term contract for 6 months.  This meant I would no longer be under the company pension or bonus scheme, my sickness benefits would change, and there would be no guarantee of work after 6 months.  This is all because they would have terminated me as a permanent employee and then re-hired me as a contractor.  Thinking of my responsibilities to my family, I stayed put.  My brain still tells me I made the right choice but my heart is screaming "Idiot!" at me on repeat.

By this point, I knew the dam was going to break, that our team's way of working was unsustainable and everything would go drastically wrong sooner or later.  I hoped I wouldn't still be one of the few left to fend it off when that inevitably happened.  Honestly, I knew I was at my limit too but I figured the system would break before I did and, at that point, the system would have to change.  I honestly thought that, if I could make it that long, I'd be okay.

I then received the news that my grandmother had suffered a seizure at home, needed to be resuscitated and was then taken to hospital where she had another seizure and had to be brought back a second time.  She's since been sent back home with medication but no one has given a diagnosis and she has a follow up appointment with a neurologist in October.  Upon receipt of that news, I had a full brown break down in the middle of the office as a teary eyed mess.  I'm still not proud of it (but if you keep reading you'll notice pride is a recurring theme here).

Thankfully, I had the following week booked off for my daughter's second birthday.  The timing was sheer coincidence but I was thankful for it.  We tried to book an appointment with a doctor as both my partner and my bosses were concerned, however this was right around the time of Robin William's unfortunate suicide.  Reading between the lines, I think the NHS were getting a lot of calls from people about stress and depression and they weren't sure who to take seriously.  Regardless, instead of pushing them I figured, hey, I had time off and I'd be able to relax, get everything out of my system.  The second I returned to work I knew I was wrong.  I called the doctor's surgery back, persisted, and managed to get an appointment for that same afternoon.

I spoke with the doctor, but due to male pride, a stubborn nature and not wanting to show any signs of "weakness" (traits that unfortunately appear in every male of the family) I was somewhat reserved.  The doctor diagnosed me with stress and anxiety, but thankfully gave me the all clear for depression.  He suggested signing me off from work.  I declined due to the same reasons outlined at the start of this paragraph, alongside concerns as to what being signed off would mean for my job security and potential progression opportunities.  "He can't cope with what he's doing now, why would we promote him?" was the phrase that kept going through my head.

In addition to that, I knew that every time we had lost someone, we had felt the strain even more.  I didn't want to go away and take care of myself because it meant putting some of my colleagues under even more pressure.  Even then, they couldn't reallocate all of my work while I was gone.  We can't cope with the headcount we have now, never mind coping without me!  As egotistical as it sounds, I felt it would be selfish to allow myself to be signed off and let the team down, almost as if I believed they couldn't function if I were not there.

The following day, I had a long discussion with my immediate manager.  It was clear they were also extremely frustrated at the situation, that they had tried to implement solutions yet found themselves impeded by the people they then report to.  Such is the chain of bureaucracy around every office worker's neck...  I was told things would change, the additional responsibilities would be gone, I could focus on my core job role and I would be given a manageable workload.

Within 24 hours, I had received 5 cases, set up a new user's system access and realised that the bigger picture would remain unchanged.  There would still be more work coming into the department than the department could put back out.  My manager could be sympathetic but had already admitted the larger problem was outside of her control.  We were still fighting a Hydra, every case that we got out the door, another two or three would take it's place.

That Friday saw another long standing team member leave.  We lost three people in total that week, all of whom were in a similar boat to me, all of whom had been working the same product as me, and all of whom would not be replaced for months.  Another colleague started to talk to me about the working environment and I admitted I'd sought professional help.  They are considering doing the same and I strongly urge you to do so, you know who you are.  We both knew the work our lost colleagues would have undertaken has to go somewhere, and we also had to question if maybe those who had jumped ship had the right idea.

The doctor called on the Friday for a status report.  Following that status report I am signed off and my absence is to be reviewed with the doctor on an on-going basis to assess when and if I am fit to return to work.  Honestly, I burned myself out and I should have said or done something so much sooner than I did.

Symptom wise?  I'm a bit of a mess, I go from frustration to anger to a ball on the floor.  I have no fuse and I get angry very quickly, sometimes at people who really don't deserve it (to those people, I am so, so sorry).  I was getting home from work and shutting myself off in another room to go 30 rounds on Street Fighter so I could then go into the living room without taking out my frustrations on my family.

My other half has been feeling guilty because we moved from Norfolk to Wiltshire to accommodate her emotional need to live nearer to her immediate family.  I quit my job in Norfolk and took the first job that was offered to me in Wiltshire in order to facilitate that move.  That's how I wound up working in the company I'm with today.  She thinks she's to blame for me being unhappy, that if she hadn't asked me to move, this wouldn't be happening right now.  That is not fair to her at all and it tears me up that I've made her feel that way.

I very much blame myself for my own situation.  I chose my relationship with her over staying in Norfolk.  I chose to take the first job I could get.  I didn't have to.  I own those decisions.  What's happening now is my fault, not her's.  I also believe, to an extent, that I'm dissatisfied with what I've accomplished.  My day job is just that, a job, not a career.  What I do is not even remotely linked to what I studied or what I'm passionate about.  It was that same disappointment which led me to create indie comics.  Does that mean I resent my partner or our kids?  Of course not.  I love them.  I don't know what I would do without them.

You might notice Joe Cape #2 is a little different in tone than #1.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't release some of my feelings into my comic work, but I also found it to be extremely helpful as an outlet.  I want to really focus all my attention and energy on my art while I'm off to help my state of mind and work towards a recovery.  I'm lucky to have that outlet.

Worry Wart, Danni's book which I mentioned earlier, discusses several similar issues that she has faced in her life.  It's a deeply personal and endearing book that is easily one of the most fascinating reads I have seen - though bear in mind I am somewhat biased as I can relate to the work on a personal basis and the author is a friend of mine.  It's a brilliant book and you should all read it if you get the chance.  I know I've read and re-read it and it's helping.  Thank you Danni, I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels a little better for having read your work and knowing they're not alone.

Equally, I need to thank everyone who attended Melksham Comic Con.  Every time I go to a convention I feel like I've gone home, like I'm where I'm belong.  I'm among friends in a safe environment.  People are buying my artwork, showing me that my passion produces something that brings joy to other people.  Hell, my table was even next to Andy Lanning (yes the comics professional) who was a brilliant guy and even told me I draw a mean Rocket Raccoon and Groot (those who know his work will also know his involvement in the Guardians of the Galaxy comics).  Jon, Vince, Hayley, everyone, thank you so much.  Honestly, you have no idea.

Now I'm back home, back to everyday reality, the next convention is two months away (MCM, end of October) and it sucks.  The contrast between conventions and the real world seems pretty severe to me given my current circumstances and frame of mind.  My head space is all kinds of screwed up.  I would love to make my art and comics a full-time thing, however at the moment it's simply a self-financing hobby and it's frustrating that I don't know how to take it beyond that.  If I had my way, me and everyone else from the con scene would go found a village somewhere where it's a comic con all year round!  If only, right?

What's really weird is that, even knowing I am doing the right thing, I can't help but feel conflicted and guilty, like I really am being selfish and letting the team at work down.  Heck, I've almost closed my browser window while typing this on several occasions because I thought I'd be burning bridges or somehow failing to show loyalty to my company!  Isn't that insane?

Wow, I have rambled.  I'm sorry, I didn't expect this post to be this long.  I really didn't.  It helps to talk though, even to the vast void that is the Internet.  If you're going through anything similar, I really hope this helps you.  I don't know what the answer is yet and I don't know what the outcome will be.  I want there to be a happy ending, something positive to come out of all this, I just don't know what that resolution would be right now.

Superheroes Ltd is undergoing a change of name.  From issue 2 onwards, the series will be titled Joe Cape.

Joe Cape Logo

Wait, What?  Why?

I previously posted about Arcadia getting accepted for digital distribution via Comixology.  I also submitted issue 1 of Superheroes Ltd whilst working on issue 2.  Comixology rejected the submission recently, stating they were concerned about a potential trademark issue.

Upon further investigation, it turns out that Marvel and DC jointly own a trademark for the word "superhero", including all of it's permutations.  "Superhero", "super-hero", "super hero", it doesn't matter how you spell it, if you use in it the title, advertising, or promotion of your product without Marvel & DC's permission you're infringing upon their trademark.  

Oddly enough, the rules seem to allow for the use of the word on internal comic pages, so the actual content of the book remains unchanged.

So Marvel & DC Came After You?

No, they haven't.  I'm making this decision to avoid any potential problems in the future.  I know I'm a small indie comic artist and I'm probably not even on their radar, but I would rather be safe than sorry, especially as they've previously gone after other indie comics such as A World Without Superheroes.

What Happens Now?

It seems I can use the word superhero on internal pages, so I do not need to make any alterations to the content of the books or the story I have planned out.  As I am implementing changes immediately upon learning of the trademark issue, I should reasonably be allowed to continue selling the original print run of issue 1, which was only 200 copies.  Once my stock is low enough I will reprint the first issue with the new title and a new cover.  This means that first print run is going to be quite a rarity!

Joe Cape Issue 1

Issue 2 will be printed with the new title and logo from the get go.  I had hoped to launch the book at Melksham Comic Con later this month, however this last minute change might throw a spanner in the works.  I'm currently doing everything I can to ensure the book still launches on time.

Over the next few weeks you'll see the digital version of Superheroes Ltd issue 1 available through Comicsy replaced with Joe Cape issue 1.  The great thing about digital distribution is that I don't face the problem I do with the physical copies, in that I have to sell those before I can afford to reprint copies with the new logo.

Outside of that, everything continues as normal.

Good morning one and all!  We've got updates and news galore today, so sit back, relax, and take in some awesome new news!

Who's Who In Superheroes Ltd #2

As Superheroes Ltd #2 progresses nicely, I figured it would be a good idea to let you in on who's who and what's happened between issues 1 and 2.

profileJoeJoe Cape: Still unemployed after the events of issue 1, Joe has decided he's going to use his powers to help the people of the city, whether he's licensed or not!  Hiding his face, and with law enforcement in pursuit of his new alter ego, Joe is trying to find out where the mech that attacked in issue 1 came from, who built it, and if there could be more of them out there!

profileMariaMaria Sides: Her actions at the end of issue 1 have earned her a stretch in prison for unauthorised use of her powers (even though it was in defence of the city)!  She knows Joe has been playing vigilante and is deeply concerned he's going to wind up behind bars with her.

profileDerekDerek Black: Now a government employee, Derek has been tasked with finding and bringing in the new rogue superhero that's been appearing across town.  Unbeknownst to Derek, he is hunting his friend and former colleague, Joe!

Derek has tried to investigate the origins of the mech from issue 1, however his bosses keep blocking his attempts to gain answers.  This has only made him more suspicious.

profileBryanBryan Bodington: Bryan is also now working as an agent for the government.  He was hired alongside Derek and the two have been partnered together.  Their bosses are hoping Bryan's animalistic instincts and keen sense of smell are going to be crucial to tracking down the new vigilante.

So, there you have it!  Issue 2 is shaping up to be an exciting tale where old friends suddenly find they're on differing sides of the law.  Will Derek and Bryan bring Joe in?  Will any of the parties find out the truth behind the mech?  There's only going to be one way to find out!

Not Read Superheroes Ltd #1?

Not to worry!  You can purchase a physical copy from this website, or at any of the conventions I am attending.  Alternatively, you can get a digital copy from my new Comicsy store!  Get caught up and get ready for one of the best indie comics you'll read this year!  (Yes, I'm confident.)

Bristol Comic Expo!

I recently attended Bristol Comic Expo and had an awesome time as usual.  It was held in a new venue this year, Future Inns near Cabot Circus.  Despite being a little cramped, there was a great atmosphere and a ton of people came out to say hi and buy some comics!

2014-05-10 09.34.46

Whilst there, I met some new faces.  First up we have The Red Mask From Mars, by Vincent Hunt and Shaun Dobie.  An alien has stuck itself to the face of Doug Stewart, making him practically indestructible.  It's a bloody fun and hilarious read that feels like a very British Deadpool.  Definitely one to check out!

Next up is Razarhawk, by Ian Matthews and Dani Abram.  Agent Hawk is the pilot of an experimental plane which transforms into a battle robot!  (Think Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' Megazord or a Gundam and you're pretty much there.)  With artwork reminiscent of Kim Possible, it'll be interesting to see where the duo take the idea.

Finally, I cannot fathom why I've not spoken about her before because I have an embarrassing amount of her stuff, I grabbed volume 2 of Nanniiebim's Mephistos.  Centering around a genuinely cute and heartwarming romance between a quiet but straight talking woman and the demon-disguised-as-a-man-but-she-can-somehow-see-through-it that lives in the flat next door, it has a unique, scratchy, almost concept art, manga aesthetic which never fails to amaze me. (I really, really, like this book, okay?)

Thought Bubble Confirmed!

I have booked the time off work, paid the invoice for the table and reserved the hotel room.  Thought Bubble, Leeds, 15 and 16th November 2014.  I'll see you there!

Rogue Wings - A Video Game I Happen to be Making

I'm putting my BA (Hons) Games Art & Design degree to good use by creating a game inspired by Star Fox, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, and After Burner together using the Unity engine.  I present to you, Rogue Wings!

You saw two videos of this game in my last update, but since then I have put up two more developer diaries, which can be seen below.  I'm very much learning the programming as I go (because I'm primarily an artist, not a programmer) but a friend appears to be onboard to help me with that, which is awesome.

youtu.be/8EjkGz0TJt0

youtu.be/hCy9KSmWjYo

First of all, Kitacon!

I literally just got back in the door from this year’s Kitacon and wow, it’s easily still the most insanely fun convention the UK has to offer!  While I wasn’t selling at Kitacon, I did get the chance to catch up with some fellow creators and held a panel called “How to Draw Your Own Comic Or Manga”, which people found to be very helpful.  Unfortunately, the panel was not filmed but I do intend on releasing a video of the presentation slides with myself talking over them.  I can’t reproduce the talk verbatim because there were some deviations and tangential subjects that I simply cannot recall accurately enough to include.  That said, I still think the information in there is going to be invaluable to anyone who is thinking about creating their own book.

Speaking of panels, Ubisoft’s Reflections studio held a panel on getting into the video game industry which was very informative and I even won a copy of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag during their talk.  Now I just need to pick up where I left off in Assassin’s Creed Revelations and then beat III before I can play it.  The ones I’ve played so far have taught me I cannot afford to skip entries where the plot is concerned.

Fellow comic creator Tab Kimpton of Khaos Komix also gave a panel on “Kickstarting Your Comic” which had plenty of useful advice for comic creators, direct from a veteran of the webcomic community.

Kitacon held it’s reputation as being the party convention, and this is proven by the fact that I am still stiff and sore from Saturday night’s rock party.  DJs LastKnight and Shenny absolutely nailed it and an awesome time was had by all!

If you look very carefully, you can just about see my head behind the shoulder of the guy in the blue shirt on the right.

Alas, it all had to come to an end eventually but Kitacon will be back in 2015 and the committee plan on making it even bigger than before!  I’ll see you there.

Weekly Art Challenge!

It’s always a good idea to keep your eyes and hands sharply trained so I’ve set myself a weekly art challenge.  The challenge is simple, depict the most ridiculous, insane or hilarious thing I have heard or seen that week.  The first week’s image is complete (see below) and the second week’s will shortly follow.  This should create a nice collection of varied, interesting and bizarre images for you all to enjoy!

01 04 Dinosaur Rider Coloured Web

A Traitor’s Reasons

So, there have been some whispers of myself working on a comic titled A Traitor’s Reasons as well as some questions about what this means for the continuation of Superheroes Ltd.  First of all, I can confirm I want to create a comic called A Traitor’s Reasons and hope to have the first, and possibly second, installment complete by the end of 2014.  I will, however, still be working on Superheroes Ltd and also hope to have the first arc of that complete by the end of 2014.

Logo

A Traitor’s Reasons would essentially follow a soldier who has not only questioned, but disobeyed direct orders on moral grounds.  He is struggling with an internal conflict between his loyalty and allegiance to his country versus his morality and conscience.  It’s going to a dramatically intense book and I can’t wait to draw some of the more explosive scenes!

So how is this going to work and why am I doing this?  As mentioned above, I need to keep my creative abilities at their peak and by drawing two separate stories with different tones and demands I will ensure I’m really challenging myself in order to create end products which are energetic, engaging, and imaginative!  I will basically work on issues in rotation between the two books, so I will complete one issue of A Traitor’s Reasons, then complete one issue of Superheroes Ltd, then another issue of A Traitor’s Reasons, then another Superheroes Ltd, so on and so forth.  This means there should be a steady release pipeline for fans of both series with no one losing out.

A Few Closing Notes

Unfortunately, due to an administrative error on their part and an on-going dispute which is unlikely to be amicably resolved, I am no longer attending MCM Comic Con in London at the end of May.  If their guys sort the problem out then I will of course be in attendance as usual but right now they’re giving me the impression that I am so low on their priority list they’ll need professional drilling equipment before they can get to me.  It’s a shame as they have already admitted fault but refuse to offer any resolution.

I will still be at a comic convention in May though, Bristol Comic Expo, 10-11th May, unsurprisingly in Bristol!  Come say hi, I’ll post my table number as soon as I know it!

First of all, let's talk comics!  Superheroes Ltd now has a complete roadmap - this means I know what's going to happen in the long term, roughly how long the series will be and how it will all end.  I am also going to be working on a second series called A Traitor's Reasons, which you'll hear more about later on.  To keep my mind and eyes sharp I'll be alternating between the two projects.  I'm going to draw one issue of Superheroes Ltd, followed by one issue of A Traitor's Reasons, then another Superheroes Ltd, then another issue of A Traitor's - you get the idea.  If you've not read the first issue of Superheroes Ltd yet you can purchase a copy here: sjwebster.net/buy-my-comics-2/

Second of all, I have set myself a weekly art challenge!  I am going to draw an image once per week (most likely over the weekend) depicting the most bizarre, ridiculous and/or hilarious thing I have heard at my day job that week.  The first one went up today, check it out, it has a dinosaur!  sjwebster.deviantart.com/art/W…

That's about all from me for today but no doubt I'll have more news for you all soon.
Why not start the new year with an awesome commission?  Commissions operate on a first come first served basis.

Options and Pricing

Bust (head & torso) $15 USD (£10 GBP) - Example here sjwebster.deviantart.com/art/D…

Full Body $25 USD (£16.50 GBP) - Example here sjwebster.deviantart.com/art/I…

Title Card $30 USD (£20 GBP) - Example here sjwebster.deviantart.com/art/M…

Examples of Past Commissions




How To Order

Send me a Note here on DeviantArt detailing what you want (how many prints, full body or bust, which character, any relevant reference material etc) I'll then reply asap to let you know if the commission is possible and confirm the price.  Payment needs to be sent to me via PayPal at samwebster_3@hotmail.com and I'll begin work.  As commissions are first come first served I will advise you if you are in a queue (ie, if there are other commissions I need to complete first) and give a rough timescale for completion.

Terms and Conditions

By ordering a commission you are agreeing to the following terms and conditions.
- US customers can pay in USD, UK customers can pay in GBP.  Customers from other territories will need to pay using one of these two currencies.  I do not take responsibility for any charges or fees your bank, building society or any other party may impose for currency conversion.
- Prices are per character unless stated otherwise.
- Whilst I will aim to provide an approximate deadline when undertaking a commission, timescales for completion can change at any time as I work a day job and have a family.
- Work produced is intended for your personal use only and you are not to claim my artwork as your own.  If you want a commission for commercial purposes then you must state this when placing your order and I may ask for royalties (a percentage of the profits from any resulting products) in addition to my normal fees.
- Please provide references in a visual format.  If you are asking me to design or create a character then an extra fee may be applicable.
- Prices are non-negotiable and payment must be received via PayPal before work begins.
- All commissions are non-refundable.  You are paying for my time, which is something I cannot return or reclaim.
- Your commission may be posted on my DeviantArt page, personal website or appear in my portfolio.
So, issue one of Superheroes Ltd is complete, and now I'm turning my attention to the creation of issue two, but I need your help! Unfortunately, creating and printing a comic isn't cheap, and I admittedly already used my overdraft and credit card to print Arcadia and Superheroes Ltd #1. I want to bring you an action packed and hilarious Superheroes Ltd #2, so I have set up a Kickstarter! The link can be found below, there are some fantastic backer rewards, and you'll be helping an indie comic artist! Just follow the link, take a look, pledge if you like what you see, that's all I'm asking.

  • Reading: Superheroes Ltd #1 (get your copy now)
  • Watching: Bakuman
  • Playing: Saints Row IV
Hey guys, there's a new blog post up over at my main website.
Link is here sjwebster.net/bristol-comic-ex…
  • Reading: Arcadia (and so should you)
  • Watching: Bakuman
  • Playing: Sleeping Dogs
I have fantastic news for those of you who can't get to either one of the comic stores stocking Arcadia or any of the conventions I'm attending - Arcadia can now be ordered online from UK On Display! The link is right here! ukondisplay-com.mybigcommerce.…

I sincerely hope you guys will support me in somewhat recklessly chasing a dream I've held for a very long time now! Once again, that link to the online store, ukondisplay-com.mybigcommerce.…
  • Reading: Arcadia (and so should you)
  • Watching: Bakuman
  • Playing: Sleeping Dogs
This is a very strange feeling. I'm packed, ready to head to Gemucon in the morning to make Arcadia publicly available for sale on my first ever artist alley. I have 100 copies of the comic (which may prove to be an optimistic volume, we'll see), 100 comic bags, 100 comic boards, 200 carrier bags, multiple art prints, various display stands, a price list, markers with a bleedproof pad (for doing on-the-day commissions), change (and lots of it, I jingle), few sets of clothes, a toiletries bag (just because it's a convention, doesn't mean I won't have to shower), 100 bookmarks, 250 business cards, hotel and train booking references, tablecloth, a PSP (hey, it's a long journey and the other half won't let me take the Vita out of the house) with earphones (because I'm considerate to other travelers like that), Bakuman volume 6, my phone (filled with reference images of popular characters, just in case) and all the other essentials. Hell, I even called ahead to the event organizers to ask whether I head to normal registrations or whether I need to be elsewhere when I arrive so that I have a rough idea of what I'm doing!

Taking all of the above into consideration, why do I still feel nervously unprepared? First time jitters are certainly a possibility. It could be the fact that, up until now, everyone who has viewed or commented on my work face-to-face has been a friend or family member. Yes, my work has been seen on several occasions by the online community, but those perfect strangers are at a distance, so I've still been in a relatively safe comfort zone. I would suppose that, overall, this weekend confirms whether or not my plans to sell comics and artwork I have created at various conventions is a viable one. This is where I discover whether my artwork is up to scratch, whether I have the people skills to get people interested and invested in my work, and how I cope being away from my fiancee and daughter for four days. Ultimately, my greatest fear is that I don't measure up and I discover that my boring, dull-as-dishwater, barely pays the bills day job is all I will amount to for the time being.

I'm setting those fears aside, or at the very least doing my best to, being optimistic, and hoping that I will see a lot of new faces, sell enough comics and make enough contacts that the cost of going to the convention is more or less covered, and, most importantly, have fun! So, if you're at Gemucon this weekend, come find me on the artist alley and say hi, will you?
  • Reading: H'el On Earth
  • Watching: Ghostbusters
  • Playing: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
My new website is now up and running and ready for visitors and feedback.

Click HERE to go the site! www.sjwebster.net

Let me know what you think!
  • Reading: H'el On Earth
  • Watching: Ghostbusters
  • Playing: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
So yeah, I sat down and got to drawing the final page of my first comic, Arcadia, a good few days ago. It was an odd sensation, I'd actually put the final page off for a good few days simply because I didn't know what completing the comic would feel like, and what I'd actually do once it was completed and the journey was over.

So, what did it feel like, and why has it taken me a week to stand up and actually write about it, have I just been resting on my arse since completion? I bloody wish! Finishing the comic provided no rest, and if I ever thought it would end my journey, I was entirely wrong! It feels like I'm at the start of a mammoth task, like I just walked out of the vault in Fallout 3, with the sun blinding my eyes. I have been proof reading the comic, formatting the comic for print (a long, boring, task), submitting that to a local printer and negotiating cost, ordering bookmarks, carrier bags, and a small cash box, ensuring that convention artist alley table spots are definitely, 100%, secured, and filling in their paperwork, filling in paperwork for the tax office, noting pre-orders, doing my sums and realizing that, even if I sell out of the first print run, I'll only make 22.87 profit, while at the same time, seeing nearly half a grand leave my bank account overdraft/ credit card to actually cover the insane upfront costs of getting these things ready and getting them to cons!

At the same time, I can actually call myself a goddamn comic artist now. No tongue in cheek, no pretentious bullshit, I completed a comic. It's being printed RIGHT NOW. I'm a comic artist and I am elated (of course, it makes the day job seem even more menial, trivial, and shows it as an absolute waste of eight hours of my day every single damned day). I also have the creator bug, BAD! I'm sketching out concept designs and writing down plot ideas for the NEXT comic and I'm eager to start work on it ASAP. The second the corporate-esque paperwork and budgeting is out of the way and I only need worry about taking my stock and showing my face at various events, I start work in earnest.

No, I'm not continuing Arcadia, I envisoned Arcadia as a one shot, it even says One Shot on the cover. It will not be getting a sequel for future installments, I did what I wanted to do, said what I wanted to say with it, and I'm damned proud of it. I want to stretch myself and try a variety of genres and styles, so the next comic is a satirical comic called Superheroes Ltd. There will be scope for this to be 3 issues in length (three times the amount of issues Arcadia has), and 24 pages (Arcadia is 18 pages), and coloured (Arcadia is black and white). The plot mocks both the oversaturation of superhero comics on the shelves, as well as venting frustration at my seven years in customer service roles. How? The plot is that there are so many superheroes, a new business emerges, offering something similar to a car breakdown service, but with superheroes instead of engineers, and for when you get mugged as opposed to when your car breaks down. It will have lines such as "Hi, I'm Joe, and I'll be your superhero today!", and "Is there anything I could have done to improve your satisfaction with your rescue today?". It's going to be a hell of a ride, trust me!

That about covers it for now. I'll keep you guys posted, Arcadia launches on April 6th, at the start of the UK's new tax year, at Gemucon. I'll also be taking mail orders too (I will post internationally, I'll just have to work out postage costs). By all means, grab a copy, spread the word!
  • Reading: H'el On Earth
  • Watching: Ghostbusters
  • Playing: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
I've just made a few changes to my DeviantArt account, with more to follow shortly. First of all, I've cleaned out my folders. Anything I created prior to 2013 is now in a separate 2009 to 2012 folder, I think it's important to keep a record of my personal progress, but at the same time, a lot of that old work is no longer a true reflection of my ability. The only exception to that rule is the commissions folder, where older artwork has been left in it's original folder. It means my folders will look a little bare for the time being, but I can soon solve that by literally hitting the drawing board.

Second of all, I changed my DeviantArt username from Afr0Blu3 to SJWebster. There are a few reasons for this, one, it looks more professional, having a name that had 1337 characters in it before made me look like a kid who didn't take himself seriously. Two, it's easier to find, I hate having to say to people "It's Afro Blue, but with a zero instead of an O and a three instead of an E, and all as one word. Here, let me write it down." SJWebster is a lot simpler, and people are more likely to remember it/ get it right. Three, I haven't had anything even resembling an afro for around three years now.

Third, I'll be changing the way I do commissions, I said before that I would give individually tailored quotes for pieces instead of having set prices, so that any quote would take into consideration the complexity of the job and the time it would take me to complete that particular commission. I'm going to be installing the Commissions widget, I'm going to have set prices, and I'm going to trial it, for the sake of making everything simpler for you guys.

Oh, and that silly two tone blue Journal skin is gone. Like, right now.
  • Reading: Death of the Family
  • Watching: Big Bang Theory
  • Playing: Infamous
There are a fair few conventions I'd like to go to in 2013, many of which I am aiming to be on the artist alleys for. I've applied for all of them and am currently awaiting confirmation from... pretty much all of them, but here is the (hopeful) list.

Gemucon - Friday 5th to Sunday 7th April 2013, Britannia Hotel, Nottingham. Video game themed convention, so this could be interesting!
MCM London Expo - 24th to 26th May 2013, Excel Centre, London Docklands. One of the UK's largest conventions for anime, manga and video games. There are a lot of people attending each year, so if you want to say hi, your best bet would likely be the Friday or Sunday when it tends to be quieter.
Melksham Comic Con - Date TBC, Melksham, Wiltshire. This is a small, local convention. Much better opportunities for conversations.
Ayacon - 16th to 18th August 2013, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwickshire. This is the only one I haven't applied for the artist alley on. It's their last year, so I want to enjoy this one as a regular guest.
MCM London Expo - October, dates TBC, Excel Centre, London Docklands. Same as May, but later in the year.

I would have liked to have done Bristol, but it's right before May MCM so it's not practical, I would have also liked to have done Kapow, but their artist alley was so far removed from the main floor in 2012 it was off putting.

Of course, none of these conventions will go ahead without one very important element - funds. I'm currently hoping that revenue from my YouTube channels, www.youtube.com/afr0blu3 and www.youtube.com/afr0blu3art as well as those lovely things we know as commissions! My commissions are open! You still have time to order stuff in for Christmas, so get hold of me and help me afford the combination of booking, travel, and hotel costs to appear at the conventions listed above and pave the way forward!

Commissions themselves can either be ordered through sending me a message here on DeviantArt, or on the e-mail address sam@sjwebster.net. I will send you a tailored, individual, quote with no obligation.

I will also be posting progress bars in several locations regarding getting funds together for these conventions. Any commissions you order, any AdSense revenue that comes in from my YouTube page, it all goes into the pot to fund the artist alley appearances!



70/1640

  • Reading: Death of the Family
  • Watching: Big Bang Theory
  • Playing: Infamous

MCM Expo

Sun Oct 28, 2012, 2:14 AM
Yesterday myself and the other half went down to MCM Expo for the day with our baby. Expo is commonly known for being overcrowded, for being nothing more than a giant dealer's room, and for not having any panels. We had noticed that Expo had expanded to take up more of the Excel Centre it's situated in, that there were actual panels now and it seemed as though it might have improved. It was also a great opportunity for friends who live quite some distance away to meet the new addition to the family.

We'll start with the good aspects. When we were in a very long queue to get tickets, practically shoulder to shoulder with strangers for 40 minutes, a member of Expo staff offered to take us to the front of the queue to avoid the little one getting knocked or pushed about and apologized that we hadn't been brought to the front already. This showed an initiative and kindness that we were not expecting and we were very grateful for it.

There was a wider range of nerd culture on display this time around, with games developers giving hands on sessions of their new games, some actual comic dealers and comic guests, and the usual sci fi guests and memorabillia. There were also panels and events with a set timetable, which isn't something MCM used to really offer.

The coffee stall that's usually in Excel's "runway" had a stall inside so that people could buy refreshments and there were a few other food stalls too. It's a shame they were tucked away and separated from the seating area as this could have formed a nice food court if it had been located centrally.

The bad... MCM has now ballooned to an attendance it frankly cannot facilitate. Yes they're constantly increasing the amount of physical space they have, but it's far from being in tune with the increase in the number of attendees. It seems that if they have 150% of their previous floor space, they end up with 250% of their previous attendance, meaning we're still packed in like sardines. Maneuverability continues to be Expo's biggest problem, and I now feel the problem stems from simple greed.

On the day entry can no longer exist if Expo is to tackle their rapid inflation before they get to bursting point. They are going to have to limit attendance and only sell tickets in advance as most other conventions within the UK do. It is neither safe nor preferable for them to try and entertain the numbers they do. It's bad for visitors, because guests end up having to physically force their way through congested areas, usually with little to no alternate routes, making everybody hot under the collar and inevitably more aggressive which only serves to make the problem worse. It's bad for dealers because no one can see their stands through the masses of people, and even if you do see something you like, you cannot get over to their stand or browse it through the literal walls of bodies on every side. It's bad for the organizers because when these frustrations arise, it makes dealers and attendants leave early, log complaints, request refunds, and not bother turning up next time. Having our child with us, me and my partner actually took shifts where one of us would look after our kid while the other went around the various stalls because it simply was not safe for our daughter to go in there, which is extremely disappointing as we wanted to start introducing her to the culture and show her where her mum and dad had met each other.

I had really wanted to attend the artist alley and support some independent artists (such as DestinyBlue), but the aisles were simply too packed to go down them, and the frustrated guests were starting to really think for themselves, I even saw a lady on crutches getting pushed and pulled about by waves of people, they just plain did not care.

The demand and level of attendance also meant that it was nearly impossible to get a hands on session with any game, meet any guests or get anything signed because the queues were far too long and three quarters of the people in each queue would be stood there for an hour or so only to be turned away because the signing session was over, or all of the seats in a panel were taken. It was to the point that people started to say they couldn't be bothered. Take the Rooster Teeth queue for example, it literally ran from one side of the hall to the other. This could have been resolved by a ticketing system, or assigning people in the queue a set time slot to come back at.

Another suggestion to combat this is to bring back the maps we used to be given upon entry. Previous Expos, I would walk in and be handed a map that showed exactly which stall was where and made navigation both easy and efficient. That doesn't exist anymore it would seem. We didn't get a map, no one we met up with throughout the day got handed a map either and admitted they'd been wandering around not sure where they were or where to find what they were looking for.

Minor gripe here as I know this one is not the fault of, or under the jurisdiction of, MCM Expo's organizers, but cash machines. Seriously, I've never seen such long queues for cash machines, especially when one of them decided to break down. My tip? Use a cash machine before travelling to Expo if you ever go, and take out extra cash just in case because you do not want to spend 40 minutes of your day queuing to use one.

I have heard rumours that MCM Expo want to rename themselves as London Comicon (in fact, they already use that as their slogan). If they want to do that they need to set a firm identity as a comic convention. Right now they have their hands in too many pots, they want to try and cater to video games, manga, anime, comics, sci fi, webcomics and webseries, if you can tie it back to geek culture, they want it. This causes a lack of focus and, frankly, an identity crisis. There were all of three dealers I encountered selling comics (and by comics I mean Marvel, DC, etc), everything else seemed to stem from Japan. You can't call yourselves Comicon or dare to compare yourselves with San Diego or New York Comicon while this remains to be the case. You can;t tell us what you offer and specialize in because you have no one set goal and everything is therefore diluted into one strange pot.

I am hoping that the organizers of the event read these comments, that they do take some of the points on board instead of merely dismissing them, and that we see improvements in the future.

We really do not know if we'll attend the event again. We had already taken a two year break from it before going yesterday. I feel that, if we did make the trip for the May one, we would go either the Friday or Sunday and avoid the Saturday at all costs. I'm amazed no one has been seriously injured or trampled.

  • Reading: Spider-Island (loved that arc)
  • Watching: Big Bang Theory
  • Playing: White Knight Chronicles 2

One Week Into Fatherhood

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 12:37 AM
As some people reading this will already know, I recently became the proud parent of a beautiful baby girl. She's just over a week old now, and wow, does a lot happen in that first week! There are a ton of emotions, a whole host of visits and events, but also, far too much confusion.

We were able to have our birth in a "birthing centre" instead of the usual maternity ward, as my partner had not had any complications during pregnancy. They provide you a larger room, all to yourself, with comfy furniture, free TV and multiple ways to give birth, an exercise ball, a good old fashioned bed, a small pool of water, you get the idea. We ended up being a day early when we initially arrived, discovering that, despite contractions coming regularly and with a good strength, the missus wasn't officially "in labour" yet. Initially, you're told that contractions need to be three to five minutes apart, lasting for thirty to ninety seconds each, before you go to the hospital, this is exactly what was happening, yet we were sent home with the phrase "Not quite yet". Over the course of the next full day, we would be told more than twenty variations of that timescale.

When we were finally considered to be in labour, it quickly dawned on us that the birthing centre is equipped and run in a way that caters to those who have had children before. This was our first child, and some of the midwives seemed genuinely surprised when we were then asking questions about just what was going on, what pain relief was available, and whether certain bits and pieces were considered to be normal.

To give you a rough idea of how much pain was involved for my other half, her contractions started around 3pm on a Sunday, our daughter was born at 7:14am on Tuesday, however, according to her medical records, her labour lasted a mere two hours because she spent most of that time working her way to being five centimeters dilated.

After the birth, the baby was weighed and we were very much left to our own devices. Again, this birthing centre seemed to expect you to know what you're doing and have prior experience, which doesn't apply to us, this is our first time and this is all very new to us. We had two problems right off the bat, first of all, the baby wouldn't latch on for breast feeding, second of all, my better half was still in a certain amount of pain and found herself unable to urinate.

As mentioned earlier, the section of the hospital we were in were unable to handle anything that was, not necessarily unusual, but most certainly inconvenient and prevented things running smoothly. At this point we were moved to the regular maternity ward, where four sets of new parents with four sets of newborns would share one room with four uncomfortable beds. Being moved to the maternity ward meant that the staff there didn't know what checks on mother and baby had been carried out, which bits of advice and information packs we'd been given, and honestly, what they should do with us. We were also in the dark, so we didn't know if anything had been skipped over. The staff did a normal top to tail look over on the baby, then told us that if my partner could go to the toilet on her own, without pain, three times, and provide samples each time, as well as successfully breastfeed our newborn child once, we could go.

That evening we left the hospital dazed, confused, tired, and glad to see our own bed, but we'd be returning to the hospital much sooner than we had hoped.

At home, we were still struggling with breastfeeding, it was hit and miss. Sometimes, the little one would just plain go for it, no issues, and at other times, she would just sit there, expecting the milk to flow freely without any suction on her part. When a midwife then arrived for a home visit and weighed the baby, we found she'd lost more than ten percent of her birth weight, so we went back up to the hospital. This time they'd be keeping my fiancee in overnight.

We were now on the children's ward, instead of a maternity ward, and the baby was the patient where before the parent had been the patient. The staff confirmed that they do see mothers returning to the hospital after childbirth because they're discharged too quickly. Many are groggy and confused from any pain relief they may have taken, combined with the exhaustion of labour, and many times, doctors and midwives tend to discharge new parents as quickly as possible to free up new beds. There were several shift swaps throughout the night and early morning whilst my partner and baby were in the hospital, with them noting that with each shift swap came a different set of advice, a different method for breastfeeding, a different way of holding the baby... you get the idea. One midwife even joked "Well, last year we would have said never to mix formula in bottles with breastfeeding, but this year we've been told it's absolutely fine!", this came with conflicting reports on how often you should feed a baby as well. Some said every three hours, some said every five, others simply opting for the vague timescale of "whenever the baby needs it". On the one side, you had people actively telling you to wake your baby up for a feed if she goes five hours without one, the next shift telling us not to wake the baby, and that if she's hungry, she'll be quick to wake up and let us know.

Raising a baby, especially in the first week, seems to largely be built around mere theory and conjecture. There are no set facts, and the professionals openly admit that every pregnancy and every child is different, and will therefore present unique challenges and need to be dealt with in unique ways. In my mind that's the equivalent of shrugging and forwarding an educated guess as a solution. Any of you who pay for a pediatrician is apparently paying for a very expensive "best guess" man. We can use process of elimination and common sense too.

After one night in the hospital we were able to leave again with a healthy baby, and we've simply taken to trying to breastfeed in the first instance, if she doesn't take, we get a bottle of formula or, if we have any, previously expressed breast milk. The baby's happy, we're happy.

Right now, we're thoroughly enjoying being parents. It's amazing just how much of a personality babies seem to have even at this young age. There are varying cries for different needs, little facial expressions are starting to come through, and she seems to be developing likes and dislikes already! There is a sense of pride and an immediate emotional attachment that comes with your child in my experience. There is nothing quite like meeting them for the first time.

There have been a few bumps in the road, we lost a lot of sleep to colic, resulting in us changing her bottle to one that releases milk slowly and tries to prevent air bubbles, changing her formula to a thicker, anti-colic, version of her usual feed, and also giving her regular doses of a medicine called Infacol, which again, is designed to combat colic. Despite this, there are still nights where she cries in pain and frustration, and it is heart breaking knowing there's very little you can do to help, except hold, comfort, and try to burp her, which is a very short term solution at it's best.

I appreciate that kids aren't on everyone's to-do list, and I also respect that a lot of people don't like children, but I can tell you now, I used to be uncomfortable around children. I didn't know how to hold them, how to interact with them, I just plain did not get it. Now that I have my own, I suddenly get it, and I'm entirely different with her than I ever have been with other people's kids. I'm now able to enjoy being a father, and there are a lot of things I suddenly find myself looking forward to.

It's also the reason I've been relatively quiet online, so I apologize for that, priorities and all.

  • Reading: Justice League 12
  • Watching: D-Gray Man
  • Playing: Mega Man X
Originally posted on SJWebster.net, there's nothing stopping you taking a look at the website you know! www.sjwebster.net

After getting very fired up, enthusiastic, and passionate I sat down for around a seven hour stretch and was able to draw the first page of my comic, The Convention. The Convention is a light hearted, fun, comedic little adventure that I plan to span three issues. It has a definitive start, middle, and end and I should really class it as a mini-series. I'm not going to say too much right here and now, but what I will do, is provide you with a preview of the first page, as well as video footage of me drawing said page and talking about the techniques I'm using. Enjoy!

[Due to how DeviantArt works, please use the links below or visit SJWebster.net for full content]

The comic page - afr0blu3.deviantart.com/art/Th…

Video part 1 - www.youtube.com/watch?feature=…
Video part 2 - www.youtube.com/watch?feature=…
Video part 3 - www.youtube.com/watch?feature=…
  • Reading: Batgirl #11
  • Watching: Peep Show
  • Playing: Mass Effect 1 again
Originally posted on SJWebster.net, why not visit it now? www.sjwebster.net

So, two weeks ago we went and stayed with my mother for a week in Norfolk to visit friends and family that we simply haven't seen in about a year or so. Funnily enough, that's because we moved away from Norfolk about a year or so ago! I have to admit, it was both cathartic and nostalgic to return to my old stomping grounds, see those familiar sights and familiar faces, and just not have to worry about anything at all for the duration.

It surprises me how little somewhere can change in a large span of time. The town looked mostly the same, the same people I knew were, by and large, still living in the same houses, working the same jobs, as when I left. Whilst I have been keeping in contact with those I care about through phone, e-mail, Facebook (this really is an era where it's impossible to lose touch unless you make an active effort to cut someone out), it did strike me that everyone had little news to tell me or gossip to share.

Exceptions to the rule being two pals called Chungy and Craig, you see, Chungy, when I left, was sleeping on a friend's sofa every night after a falling out with his family that meant he couldn't return "home". By the time we were back to visit, he had gotten some money together, he had moved into a nice little place, and he was talking about, and planning for, his future, his hopes, his dreams, and how he's going to achieve them. From just the way he was talking I fully believe he will achieve those goals through sheer force of will if nothing else! He's a smart, determined, guy and he'll go far, mainly for the fact that he's one of few people that want to leave the bubble that is Norfolk.

Craig, meanwhile, has gone from living with friends/ co-workers from his old job, to his own place, funded by a new non-retail job. Again, he was talking of his girlfriend of three or four years moving in, he had a tone that told me "This isn't all there is. I can climb higher and I damned well will." He was very relaxed, comfortable and jovial, and I'll be damned if I wasn't proud!

Norwich itself is particularly hard to leave, and not just because no one there knows what a motorway is (seriously, it's only A roads to be found, just build a damned M road already), but because it's the very heart of Norfolk. It's got the most varied shopping around and is mostly surrounded by small towns and villages for about forty miles in all directions. I spent 22 years in the dome that is Norfolk, and I can tell you now, it's very hard to come to the realization that other, potentially better, places to live exist outside of that dome. If my other half hadn't come from the other side of the country, if she hadn't forced me to visit anything outside of East Anglia, I might not have come to said realization!

Another person who had made trails was Si, a guy who had worked at a store called Swallow Games, then a store called Norwich Gaming Engine, before saying "Screw it!" and opening his own store, Regenerating Gaming. He seems to be doing good business, and as always, he's a good guy to catch up with. Someone who has a store that sells everything from the 80s right the way through to today, who's actually played most of it and is still passionate about it! If you're ever in the area, check them out!

That brings me on to the one, single, aspect that I actully miss about the place I grew up in, the retro gaming stores and gaming culture and community there! There are three retro game stores on one street in Norwich, but I have yet to find even one such store in the counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire! If any of you know of one, then please, let me know! Me and my friend Tony think we might have found one in an area of Reading I wasn't aware existed, it has boxed Master Systems and the like in the window, but it's been closed every time we've been by it. I don't know if they're even still trading or if I might have found them a little too late.

Over here, there's more of a focus on comic culture, and we have a larger selection of not only comic stores but American sweets and treats (Lucky Charms, proper Mountain Dew, Fanta Grape, Wonka Nerds, Flipz). Last week, Norwich held Fight For Life, a Street Fighter IV tournament in aid of charity, which Chungy got to the semi final of! That would never happen here, because we're crying out for an independant games shop that also sells retro titles, to the point I'd flat out consider opening one myself to fill the hole in the local market!

At any rate, I said I don't miss Norwich, and no doubt that's going to upset some people. Let me clarify, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with living in Norwich. I'm very glad I grew up there, I have lots of fond memories from the area, and I've made some friends that, damn it, need to move out this way. I'm saying I would never return to Norwich, I would never want to live there again. That chapter of my life is done, finished, a closed book. I'm more than happy to visit once a year, but it's to see people that I care about, and I would care about those people wherever they were located (hi Penny and Doug, hope you're doing OK in Australia, and Eric and Randi, I know you're doing the same as usual in Arizona, Kat, you post daily VLogs so I know you're doing fine, it's a shame plane tickets are so expensive).

Sometimes, it feels like I'm being a little bit selfish, my mum's about to be a grandparent to my daughter (who could really arrive at any time between now and the end of August) but the four and a half hour drive to cover the physical distance between our place and her house means that she won't get to be as involved or hands-on as she'd like to be, likewise, our daughter won't get to see her as often to get to know her as well as she would in the "ideal" scenario. On the other hand, if we lived nearer to my family, we wouldn't be on the doorstep of my partner's family. If we were in Norfolk, then her parents would be missing out instead. If we lived smack bang in a middle, a two hour drive from either, we'd be in a place we might not like living in, and both parties would be missing out because a two hour drive on either front is still something you plan ahead of time (at least, in the UK it is, before any American readers jump in saying that's nothing).

Overall, the visit gave me a lot of time to think, to come to terms with certain things, and also provided a certain sense of, and I know this sounds weird, closure. I'm not hanging on to the past anymore, I'm looking directly forward towards the future, and while it might be self-centered, it feels great!
  • Reading: Batgirl #11
  • Watching: Peep Show
  • Playing: Mass Effect 1 again
My website, www.sjwebster.net , is up and running, and officially open for business! I was surprised at how quickly I managed to get it finished when I actually sat down and set my mind to it. Remember to add it to your bookmarks and check back on a regular basis!

Today is going to be a day of many things. First of all, it's Wednesday, and my rota day off work, so priority is to go pick up new comics! Especially looking forward to reading more Red Hood And The Outlaws, an absolute gem that should have more readers!

In addition to that, I've woken up to the news that Sonic Adventure 2 is being re released on XBLA, and that Microsoft apparently want to launch a scheme where you can earn Microsoft points based on the achievements you unlock. I've been waiting to hear both for far too long now!

Planning to make major progress on The Convention today, after a brainstorming session with a friend yesterday, and I might even be able to post some preview material for you all.
  • Reading: Tough Shit - Life Advice From A Fat Lazy Slob
  • Watching: Tsubasa Chronicles
  • Playing: Lego Batman
I recently asked people which comic, from a choice of four, they'd like to see, and I've since had responses here, on my Facebook, Twitter, and in numerous other places.

Whilst there was interest in all four books (thank you for validating my imagination), May and A Traitor's Reason would have been quite heavy, ambitious, long running series whilst Beta Squad and The Convention were far better suited to being limited to a one-shot to maybe three 22 page issues at most. That's the kind of length and commitment I need at the moment to show people "Oh hey, I can draw comics, by the way." and then, if that's viable and people like my work, I can crank out the heavier hitters that would be May and A Traitor's Reasons.

The Convention also got the most votes, so yay democracy I guess.

I'm still hashing out the finer details of The Convention. It's very much a title where I know the spirit I want to put into it, I know the colour choices, atmosphere and characters too. What I need to refine is the order of events, pacing, and finalized script. I want this to be better than good, I want this to be awesome, I want this to leave a damned fantastic impression, and most of all, I want to prove myself. Fortunately, my ever patient fiancee is busy reminding me that if I keep revising it over and over, I'll never get to actually making this thing, and she's right. I feel it still needs more fleshing out.

Right now, it's part comedy, part love story, part me being a fanboy. Need to tighten it up and give it more of a sense of identity.

Today I've decided to work on my website, SJWebster.net, to take my mind off the comic for a few minutes and recharge my batteries so I can then return to, and own, this thing!
  • Reading: Tough Shit - Life Advice From A Fat Lazy Slob
  • Watching: Tsubasa Chronicles
  • Playing: Lego Batman