February 2022: Sneak Attack!

Hey folks,

Once again, the last day of February has snuck up on me – on the one hand, I appreciate a shorter month after the never-ending hellscape that is January, but on the other it’s hard to process that we’re already getting into March and the years keep coming (and they don’t stop coming)..!

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The Usual

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or two (and if you have, you’re probably not reading this), you’ll have seen the global news – specifically Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s an atrocious situation and seems to have really taxed the ability of some people to hold multiple thoughts in their head at once – for example, it’s possible to support the Ukrainian people in standing up against a violent, imperalist oppressor whilst also acknowledging that our government has been horrendously complicit in empowering and enabling that oppressor. On top of that, I’ve seen some truly clown-makeup takes from people suggesting that this conflict is worse predominantly because most Ukrainians are white and “look like us”… as though the suffering of black and brown people in the middle East and elsewhere in the world is a tragic but essentially inevitable thing, but white people aren’t supposed to fear for their lives.

I don’t really have anything useful or insightful to add to the conversation, beyond this: Putin is a complete fucking dickhead who’s been coddled and enabled by a massive string of bedroom fascists across the Western world, and the Ukrainian people deserve to make their own choices. Let’s all hope things cool down before too long!


The Record

  • Pitch document for CYBERCLIMBERS (with Rosie Packwood) assembled
  • 12 pages lettered (8 for The Phoenix, 4 for Big Hype)
  • 1 anthology rejection (wheee)

Took a break from actually scripting pages this month – partly because I’ve spent A LOT of time at band practice (my folk/metal ceilidh band POWERHOUSE had a big show at the “Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival” to prepare for, which we smashed a few days ago) and partly in favour of putting together a detailed pitch/synopsis for something Rosie and I are working on. Our collaboration for Big Hype (now called Jumpstart Comics) has been delightful, so when she put out a call on Twitter for writers to work with on a story idea that she’s had, I was keen to throw my hat in the ring. Fast forward a bit, and we’re pitching a chunky YA climbing tournament manga with a cyberpunk vibe and some very relevant politics! It’s been a lot of fun fleshing out this world with Rosie and I hope that folks enjoy it once it exists for real.

To get real for a moment: I struggle with rejection when it comes to my creative pursuits, because a lot of my self-worth comes from being a person who Makes Things and is creative. Obviously rejection is par for the course in comics because there are a lot of people trying to eat a relatively small pie, but anthology rejections in particular hit me quite hard – especially when I see friends excitedly tweeting about how they got in. Intellectually, I know I should be happy for them and supportive, but it’s very hard for me to slide over to that from the negativity of being turned down. That isn’t a fault of anyone else’s – it’s entirely on me and my fucked up brain – but it’s something I’m doing my best to work on.

(Here’s a quick pro tip, btw: don’t spend a whole day brooding about an anthology rejection then try to help your partner with the Crash Bandicoot remake – because that game is brutally hard, and being bad at videogames, a thing you’re supposed to be good at, is just going to give you a full-on panic attack!)

Anyway, the HOCKEYTOWN pitch went off to one interested editor earlier this month and got a very enthusiastic response back – it’s apparently going in front of the whole editorial team later this week so keep everything crossed for us..!


The Tunes

This month’s playlist is definitely weighted towards the heavier stuff – we kick things off with The Mist From The Mountains, who do big, atmospheric, melodic black metal. No “4-track demo recorded in a cave on a Fisher Price tape recorder” vibes here! Next up is a one-two punch of death metal – The Spirit mine a more cosmic vein (reminding me a little bit of Iotunn and Mithras) for their riffs, while Venom Prison and vocalist Larissa Stupar have gone for Greek myth on their newest album (which is excellent from start to finish). Next up is a little bit of gritty synthwave from Author & Punisher‘s new release, and that’s followed by a cut from the new Cult of Luna which I need to listen to a few more times – Mariner is still the pinnacle of their releases for me but this new record is very well put together. New Zeal & Ardor is up next – the new album is extremely listenable and there’s more snarl and bite to a bunch of the tracks, including this one. Try not to shriek “DEATH TO THE HOLY” at full volume for the chorus, I dare you! Following on from the Satanic vibes of Z&A is Twin Temple, with their Satanic doo-wop – if you haven’t heard this band before, prepare to enjoy, because they are very fun indeed. It’s been a good month for new music – I wasn’t expecting to get a new Florence + The Machine song, but here it is, and it’s amazing as usual! High As Hope from 2018 is one of my all-time favourite albums, so I’m excited for more from Florence. In the penultimate slot is a lush, relaxing piano piece from composer Phamie Gow – I tend to have ClassicFM on in the car (because when I can’t be bothered to pick something to listen to, classical is quite soothing) and spotted her name which led me to hunt down this album. Highly recommended. Lastly, in a nod to current events, the Ukrainian experimental & progressive black metal band White Ward close the playlist out with this track from a 2021 single which runs the gamut of their expansive sound.


The Links

Just two links from me this month – in today’s world, where corporate elites gorge themselves on wealth stolen from their workers, may I interest you in a suitably brutal horror comic that addresses precisely those kind of inequities?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ianmondrick/tomb-of-the-black-horse-corporate-horror-and-brutal-revenge

Tomb of the Black Horse is the latest in a series by my good friends Ian Mondrick and Ben AE Filby, ably assisted by a host of excellent collaborators. It’s extremely worth your time!

Secondly, here’s a very interesting read about what’s happening right now and what it means: https://eand.co/the-west-was-a-sleeping-giant-and-putin-just-woke-it-up-485ee1adc984


That’s all for now – thanks for reading, and onwards into spring we go!

All the best,

Chris

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