Filed under: Features | Tags: Arse Cancer, Colin Bell, Gillian Hatcher, Glasgow League of Writers, Gordon Robertson, Hoodie, John Lees, Jonbot Vs Martha, Luke Halsall, Team Girl, th, The Standard
Glasgow is a good place to be if you’re a comic fan – that coming from a totally unbiased Glaswegian comics fan of course. Not only is it home to an exceptionally large number of writers and artists, it’s got an amazing community of fans, eager to meet anywhere from their local comic shop to marts and events. One of those gatherings however, encourages budding comic book writers to come along, share their work with others and join in on discussions. Comics Anonymous popped along to one of the Glasgow League of Writers (or GLoW for short) fortnightly meetings to see what was going on.
Meeting at the heart of the Glasgow comic scene, Hope Street Studios, there’s 3 important things that make up a GLoW meeting: the people, the chat and the refreshments (a large pack of beer and crisps). There’s certainly more members than there is space, but this only helps the friendly atmosphere where it’s socially acceptable to sit cross-legged on the floor with a can while you chat all things comics. It’s not all idle banter though – leader Gordon Robertson makes sure that things stay on-topic (mostly) with an aim of updating the group on current ventures before delving into the week’s submitted scripts.
For those looking to step into the world of comic book writing, this is an excellent place to start. As someone who has dabbled with a script or two in the past, I know that one of the hardest parts is getting someone else to read it and give you meaningful feedback. Your Mum and non-comic fan friends are likely to give you the usual “it’s good” – which is encouraging, but they’re unlikely to pick on how you’re blatantly ripping off Watchmen. What GLoW offers though is a friendly environment that’ll give you the honest viewpoint of those that know their Green Lantern from their Green Arrow. But it’s not only a deep knowledge of comics’ past that its members have as its arsenal – there’s a lot of experience in the room too, which lends itself well to the nature of the group.
It’s not just helpful when someone who reads a lot of comics can tell you where you’re going right and wrong, but to learn from the experience of those who have ‘been there and done that’ is pretty invaluable too. Which is why we suggest not only attending one of the meetings, but also checking out some of the outputs from its members. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the members and their work below that we think is worth a look:
Founder of the group, Gordon is the creator of the online web-comic Arse Cancer. It’s weirdly saddening and hilarious at the same time, made up from Gordon’s own experiences with bowel cancer. The art is pretty decent too – provided by Newcastle based cartoonist Cuttlefish. Gordon also writes for the website Geek Chocolate.
Gillian is the creator of the all-girl small press anthology Team Girl Comic – a must read for boys and girls alike! The book, now onto its 4th issue, does a great job of pushing the boundaries of what a comic can be. Written and drawn by girls of all ages (even as young as 11) you can usually pick up copies at local comic shops, marts and cons – however they’re also available to buy online too! Gillian’s own Go Wildlife also comes highly recommended.
As a young aspiring writer, John is one of the few lucky ones to have published a comic he’s written – The Standard. And we at Comics Anonymous think it’s excellent – Gary reviewed issue #1 and #2 late last year, and we’re all excited to see issue #3. John’s great love of comics aides him well in both his comic writing and his reviewing over at his (rival!) website.
Colin sure does get around the internet, writing for Comic Booked, Newsarama and his own blog It’s Bloggerin’ Time – however it’s his web-comic Jonbot Vs Martha that you really need to check out. Updated every Monday, JBvM tells the tale of a couple in the middle of divorce, however Jon has a heart attack and is brought back to life as a robot. Hilarity then ensues.
Luke has taken his love of all things superhero and written two novels, Hoodie 1 & 2 – described as a “hero with an ASBO”, Hoodie tells the tale of the young vigilante’s bid to clean up the streets. You can buy these books for Kindle from the Amazon store now.
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