June 2020: The Hell-Year

Hey everybody,

The Usual

We live in interesting times, huh? It’s been one hell of a month, both in the world at large (continuing and justified civil unrest, governments attempting to re-open despite the coronavirus pandemic still being at large) and within our comics scene. In case anyone reading isn’t aware: a number of previously well-regarded men within the comics scene (including Cameron Stewart and Warren Ellis) have been outed as having previously manipulated and abused women throughout their careers, and those women have come forward to share their stories.

It’s easy to call it “Comics’ #MeToo moment”, but that disguises the fact that comics has had a problem with this stuff for years – Eddie Berganza was a noted creep at least 10 years ago, and the response from DC editorial was to just move him to another office so that women wouldn’t have to interact him (but didn’t fire him, of course). I’ve seen a lot of despair, a lot of heartbreak, and a whole lot of anger over the last month, and I completely understand all of it – comics are wonderful, and there’s something about the art form that engenders passion, so it’s heart-wrenching to read stories of younger creators being scarred for life and giving up their attempts to make a career in comics because of the actions of predatory men.

I want to talk about the anger, though: anger can be useful. Anger can be an engine for change. If we’re angry enough about men getting away with this kind of behaviour, we can get angry enough to do something. My very good friend Jennie Gyllblad has already set up (with some other friends) an Association of Comic Creators which I’m a proud member of, with the goal of providing a first step towards comics unionisation – a supportive place for creators to tackle the negative behaviours in our industry and band together. However, I think the lion’s share of the work here needs to rest on the men in our industry (myself included) – we need to call out dickish, misogynist behaviour whenever we see it, especially from people that we call friends, and we need to push for a more diverse industry in our hiring and collaborative practices. We need to burn down the old, patriarchal way that the industry is run and make it more welcoming to women, to non-binary folks, to LGBTQ+ creators, to creators of colour – to the rest of the world that isn’t comprised of white, cis men, basically.

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s essential if we want comics to keep getting better. Let’s get to work.

The Record

*Rewrites on SPACE COWBOYS issue #1 completed (10 pages), further edits given by Claire
*Rewrites begun on BRIGANTIA #3, 22 pages rewritten – 10 to go
*2 one-page scripts written for pitching to an anthology

Much more productive on the writing front this month! I’ve been getting the Kickstarter page ready for BRIGANTIA #2, and that spurred me into a massive rewrite of issue #3 and a re-structure of the rest of the series – the goal is to have issues #1-#3 wrap up in a little mini-arc that we can collect into a “trade paperback” which will run around 108 pages (three 32-page issues, plus covers and extra content) before embarking on issues #4 through #6. That meant I needed a way to bring forward some of the cool stuff I previously had in issue #4 and work it into #3 – I’m around halfway through the issue now and I think it’s going to work a lot better.

Speaking of BRIGANTIA #2…

The preview link for the BRIGANTIA #2 Kickstarter campaign is now live, and I put together the short video above to get people excited. Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismole/brigantia-issue-2-the-comic

Please do check it out, click the button to be notified when we launch (on the 28th of July!) and spread the word. I’m very excited to finally get this issue out into the world – Harriet’s done an incredible job on her pages, Aditya’s lettering is stunning (as always) and I think the whole issue looks gorgeous.

Oh, one other thing – THE BLACK RUBRIC is now available on ComiXology right here. It’s always a thrill seeing one of my comics on ComiXology since it makes them feel more legitimate – if you backed it through the Kickstarter and enjoyed it, a positive review on there would be great (although I think you have to buy the comic on ComiXology to review it, so… entirely up to you!)

This month’s playlist starts off with a few tracks that I think encapsulate the protests which are still ongoing against police brutality and in support of Black Lives Matter. The new Run The Jewels is genuinely incredible, and this track blew me away – particularly this part of Killer Mike’s second verse, drawing on every ounce of his fury at the American police state:

‘And every day on the evening news, they feed you fear for free
And you so numb, you watch the cops choke out a man like me
Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, “I can’t breathe”‘

From there, it’s Childish Gambino‘s undeniable ‘This is America’ (still one of the most powerful videos I’ve ever seen), then a fantastic cover of ‘Strange Fruit’ by Oceans of Slumber. Their frontwoman Cammie Gilbert has one of the best voices in metal – I saw them at Damnation Festival 2016 and she blew me away. Next up is a slab of big, atmospheric BM by Vukari, a long-time favourite by the Mad Capsule Markets (one of my absolute favourite bands as a teen, their discography is FINALLY on Spotify and I couldn’t be happier), a couple of chiptune/vaporwave tracks that I’ve been writing to and closing out with an extended Japanese folk tune (played on koto, shakuhachi and shamisen) which is a soothing banger.

As ever, enjoy the playlist, sign up for a Brigantia #2 campaign notification and I’ll try to be less wordy next month..!

All the best,

Chris

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