July 2022: Hottest on Record

Hey folks – July is over, and with it one of the fastest (and hottest) months I remember in a while. Some nice bits of progress this month, scattered in with everything else – let’s get into it!

The Usual

After last month’s “no pages, only V I B E S” situation, I have managed some more productivity this month. Chief amongst those is managing to secure a (truly fantastic) colourist for the next three issues/second volume of BRIGANTIA, which means that the creative team is set, apart from a letterer:

Line art: Alaire Racicot
Colours: Rebecca Nalty
Editor: Claire Napier

We’ve got less than a handful of pages left to go for issue #3, and Hass has been keeping right on track with the lettering despite a brief bout of COVID, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get it off to CPUK in the first half of August and I’ll have plenty of time to check the proof before we do the full run. And then we can dive headfirst into issues #4-6! I’m very excited to see how this absolutely killer team interprets the script, which has already been polished and primped by the wonderful Claire.

The Record

  • 4 pages written (SPACE COWBOYS)
  • 17 pages outlined (BLACK RUBRIC II: BACK II BLACK)
  • 4 pages lettered
  • 2 pages of secret design work

Definitely a healthier-looking section this month! I finally found the energy and words to finish off the last issue of SPACE COWBOYS; now I just need to put issues #4 and #5 for that in front of Claire and start thinking about who could draw it. I’ve also made solid progress outlining the BLACK RUBRIC sequel – I wanted to make sure I could build on the first one and have something to say as well as continuing to take the piss out of the black metal scene, and I think I’ve come up with a hook that makes it worth writing. Aiming for something around 50-60 pages long, so double the length of the last one, but we’ll see how it goes!

The Tunes

This month’s list follows a bit of a bell curve; we’re starting off with some weird experimental ambient courtesy of SUGAI KEN, a Japanese artist I read a fascinating interview with this month. This isn’t my usual sort of thing but it’s a good soundscape to write to! Next up is JAMBINAI, who make instrumental post-rock with lots of interesting sounds and big crescendoes – definitely check out the rest of their material. They’re followed by the start of our climb into “heavy shit” territory, with a new track from one of my favourite bands, Tribulation – this yet again showcases their brand of “harsh vocals/bouncy as shit riffs” and I love it. They’re followed by Uneven Structure from France, with some huge, atmospheric prog-djent – I got into this album before I knew what djent was or cared about it, so I don’t really consider them under that label. Next up is VLTIMAS, a blackened death supergroup made up of members of Morbid Angel, Cryptopsy and Mayhem – my band played a support slot for them this month which was a fun time! They’re followed by Watain with a classic (and cheesy-named) slice of black metal – I don’t have a specific playlist for writing The Black Rubric, but I like to throw on the most OTT Satanic shit I can find to get myself in the mood. Cellar Darling have a bit of a silly name, but they’re formed of members of Eluveitie (one of few very good folk metal bands) and I found them interesting – there’s a lot going on here but it all works. Gilmore Trail are local to Sheffield and friends of mine – their album launch was this month which featured a live performance of this monolithic track. Most oppressively hot gig I’ve ever been to but a good experience nevertheless! At the bottom end of the bell curve, we’re closing out with a couple of electronica/pop songs – new material from The Midnight who are always a delight, with almost frustratingly catchy vocal hooks, and a new track from Metric which is equally earworm-y and will get stuck in your head.

The Links

Not a particularly long read this month, but I want to use it as a springboard to rant a little: https://www.indiewire.com/2022/07/stranger-things-subtitles-trolling-1234740521/

As somebody who’s half-deaf, I rely heavily on subtitles when I’m watching/playing things at home – to the extent that if a show or movie doesn’t have subtitles as an option, I will struggle to follow what’s going on and will probably just decide not to watch it. This line in the article particularly hit home for me:

“What I’ve noticed quite a lot online are people who don’t really understand the subtitles are for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. I’ve seen a lot of, ‘Why are the subtitles so overly descriptive? We don’t need these.’ And I know you don’t, but you weren’t the main audience for subtitles from the start.”

I honestly love this whole approach – subtitles shouldn’t just be a boring, passionless thing added to a show to ensure that you get the bare minimum of information required to understand it, they should absolutely try to bring you into the world of whatever you’re watching. Obviously there are certain occasions where you’ll just need to indicate what’s being said (quickfire dialogue scenes, etc) but when you have the opportunity to communicate the emotion or feeling that everything audible in the show (like music, foley and other sound effects, tone of voice) is working towards – do that, every damn time. Don’t deprive deaf or hard-of-hearing people of the same overall aesthetic enjoyment that you get from it.

There’s a crossover here with comics lettering, I feel – very basic comics lettering will absolutely communicate the information that you require to understand the comic, in that there will be words and you’ll grasp what the story is as a result of them. But if you can, why not fancy it up a little? Have the lettering work in tandem with the rest of the story to really communicate unease, or joy, or whatever else. If you’re not giving it some zazz, what’s the point?


Anyway, that’s all from me. Have a great August – I’m finally going on holiday (for the first time in about 4 years) at the very end of next month, so I’ll be giving the monthly update a miss while I cram every slice of pizza and every cannoli that exists in Naples into my gaping maw. Molto bene!

All the best,

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