What comics mean to local artist Keilidh Bradley

I spoke to local artist Keilidh Bradley to find out what comics mean to her and who some of her favourite local artists are.
Sit back relax and be sure to check out all the great artists mentioned on the podcast.

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Keilidh’s various social media outlets where you can get in contact with her or look at her work:
Tumblr
DeviantArt 
Instagram 
Twitter

Artists Mentioned:
Neil Slorance
Colin Bell
MJ Wallace

The 5th Laydeez Do Comics Glasgow is on the horizon!

Everyone is invited to attend the Laydeez Do Comics event that will be held on the 8th of March. The idea of the event is to create awareness of the number of amazing women who contribute to the comic industry, so trot on along to the event if you’re interested in learning more about this growing canumdrum where women participate in something that is generally male dominated.

As quoted on their website Laydeez do comics is a “combination between a book club and a series of TED talks.” Since its launch in 2009 by Nicola Streeten and Sarah Lightman the event has gained popularity in Glasgow.

Guest speakers at the event will be Eilidh NicolsonAdam Smith and Letty Wilson. All three are super amazing speakers to have at this event and all of them will contribute varied and useful discussion for everyone to enjoy.

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Are you interested in making comics and need to chat about it? Then the Scottish Comics Unconference is the place to be!

The Scottish Comics Unconference is going to be held on the 28th of February in Glasgow at Dundasvale Residents’ Hall and is free for anyone to attend, all you have to do is register at the event website here.

The meet up is designed to invite people from all walks of life to group together to discuss the medium of comics. If you’re a builder/student/secretary and secretly lust for a life creating comics then this is ideal for you and your needs. The organising committee have stated that they hope that people who are seriously interested in the comics medium tag along.

The meeting will be similar to the Laydeez Do Comics meet up that happened in February 2014 but this is the first year the official event will be running and I hope that in the future it will continue to grow.

I had no idea what an unconference was until I heard about this event, if you’re like me then here is an excerpt from the wiki article about the word:

An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization. 

To put it bluntly, an unconference is basically an informal conference and the key difference between the two is that in a conference attendees are more like an audience but at an unconference you are more like a member of an improv troupe. All members that attend are expected to participate in any discussion so it’s a great way to bring up topic you are concerned about or want to know more about.

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The first session of the day will see a vote on which topics, submitted by participants prior to the meet-up, will be discussed in break-out sessions, there will be moderators there to facilitate the talk.

The hashtag for the unconference will be #ComicsUnconf15.

The Humble Indi Comic

We all know what the mainstream comics are, we have all the classics such as: Superman, Popeye, Judo Master and Batman. The list could go on for these iconic markers in Comic history. Comic enthusiasts everywhere will have read many of these comics at some point in their life, many people began reading comics starting with these beauties and even now in this day and age some people choose to start off from the beginning of the line.

I would just like to make it clear before I begin that putting indi comics up against mainstream comics is a bit like comparing a car to a car. They’ll both have their pros and cons but I would just like to lift the lid on indi stuff for a moment.

From the survey I carried out though, 60% of you seem to prefer indi comics and in the poll it was 75% of you.

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(Credit to the artist who created the image)

This picture doesn’t technically illustrate what I’m highlighting here but you get the gist.

Over the past few years there has been a rise in the number of people leaning towards smaller production comics. This is great news for local comic artists everywhere who deserve to be seen and heard by the greater public. In Glasgow there is a sort of mini Comic Con held every year which invites local artists to come and sell their work to punters. This caters for the ever growing comic fanbase in Glasgow and for these small time comics and zines.

For many people it’s the variety of content that is available through independent comic artists rather than the big ones that makes them lean to the indi side. With more freedom to create what they want, a small time artist can attract a large amount of people by displaying quirky art that doesn’t fit in with a lot of other comics.

It also means that there is a gap in the market where local artists can tackle local issues or interests in their comics. There could be an artists out there who has made a comic about the Scottish Referendum, you wouldn’t see anything about that in a Marvel or DC comic would you?

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(Credit: Neil Slorance)

In short what I’m saying is that even if you read the big mainstream stuff, it’s important for you as a comic fan to go out there and support your local artists. There will be something out there for you and it will more than likely be a nice change from what you usually read.

Youtube Clip from MCM Glasgow 2014

MCM Glasgow was one of the best comic events within Scotland in 2014, I have fond memories of that weekend and I look forward to the next one this year!

Comment bellow with some of your favourite comic-themed memory of 2014!

This year there are plans for it to be held in June/July I believe.

(Credit to channel who own the video)

Waterstones Comic Event

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Last Thursday I attended an event held at Waterstones, Argyle Street in Glasgow. This was a fantastic evening that hosted a whole variety of local talent and may I add that these people were so (SO DAMN) friendly.

Here my friend Keilidh (also a great artist you should all check out) and I walked around each stall and had a look at all there was to offer from these amazing, talented people.

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The atmosphere at the shop held such a sense of relaxation and casualness that allowed everyone to mix, we had opportunities to speak to each artist and the ones that we spoke to were more than happy to chat away to us. Like most events we were free to pick up and have a look at the comics at each table, so exciting!
The great thing about this night is the fact that it was an accessible, low key event that opens the doors to local talent in and around Glasgow. It is important that we support our local artists and creators so that they can stay afloat and keep on producing amazing and wonderful work.

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Now of course, if I could have I would have bought every single comic there. Sadly I live off of the budget of a student who has to pay rent and buy food. *Audience goes awwwww*

So I was faced with a difficult task. I had to chose only a few to buy. *Audience gasps*

Ok, so anyway I am very excited about the ones I did buy:

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In all it includes: 

– Cacachute Comics #2 – Illustrations by Coralie Bourguera featuring Joamie Bourguerra.
– Roller Grrrls Sketchbook – Anna Malady & Gary Erskine
– The Beast of Barton – Written and Illustrated by John Grieve
– The Museum Curator – Gill Hatcher
 Big in Japan (Winner of SICBA Comic Book Awards 2013) – Moogn Kewell

I will try my best to have review posts of them all up soon I swear I’m not a busy student

I’ll have review posts up in a jiffy!

Female Characters in Comics

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Representation of female characters in mainstream comics has never been great, in fact from 1980 to 2010 the percentage of new female characters from DC and Marvel never reached higher than 50%, according to DigitalSpy. Out of all the characters from each of these universes female characters make up just over 30%, they also tend to be one of the good guys or natural. All the male villains outnumber every female character put together.

Comics quietly burst out into the world as a medium in the 1930s and the irony is that in the very beginning more girls read comics than boys. The target audience was aimed at child and young adults, the first comics usually featured teenagers (no super powers yet) who done pretty ordinary things. As the market grew and evolved, more boys began reading when superheroes and crime fighting got involved. The 30s and 40s are knows as the Golden Era of comics as this was the moment in history when comics grew from strips to books. Women in these comics, unless a superhero, were generally portrayed as three things; a career girl, romance opportunity or a sassy teenage girl.

The industry developed and exploded into mainstream markets, gaining a huge audience all flocking towards the heroes and villains creating a mainly male fan base. This gave way to the creation of female characters that almost exclusively were subpar compared to their male counterparts. Although the male heroes were seen as strange at first, being depicted as extremely muscular while wearing colourful skin tight suits, people slowly got used to that and it’s now accepted as the normal hero get together. If you think about it, it makes sense. You wouldn’t want to be fighting villains or saving civilians with a baggy suit on and no strength.

That’s why the female costumes are a little puzzling. Characters such as Wonder Woman are depicted as wearing similarly colourful, yet not quite as modest suits. It would be very difficult (and cold) if you were to fight bad guys and save people in nothing more than a leotard. It something that is seen all over the comic industry and not just within giants such as DC and Marvel, however it is far less common in indie comics. The strange thing is, the hyper sexualisation of women in comics is relatively new. In the past there were still questionable suits for our female heroes however they are actually an improvement to what we have now.

Star Sapphire 1962 and one of her in 2014.

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Star Sapphire is only one example among many; note how her neckline at first was pretty acceptable, now it’s not so much as a neckline, more a huge tear down her suit. This outlines how the mainstream portrayal of beauty that women have to face every day is everywhere. Photoshopped images of women have been strewn across our daily lives. Sure some women look like that, but for all of us to try to adhere to it would be impossible and extremely harmful. These characters have infinitely long legs, extremely bendy spines, permanently shiny skin and a huge bust.

The indie comic scene over the world has more women creators now than ever before; this is the beginning of a market that doesn’t sexualise women. An example of one of these is ‘Roller-skates and Breakfast Dates’ by MJ Wallace, the comic features a collection of light hearted strips where a girl is dating a bear, in this comic the girl features wears normal day-to-day clothes and there’s no sign she’s being sexualised in any way. Another is ‘No More Heroes’ by Gordon Mclean and Caio Oliveria, its main characters are male but that doesn’t dim the fact that all female characters are well respected in their own right.  There was talk of introducing an older female character into Marvels universe, it was originally going to feature a woman who was a ex-police officer who gets dragged into a series of unfortunate events. Original concept art released of her showed that she would be dressed in casual attire.

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The main issue with all this hyper sexualisation within the industry is the fact there is a growing female fan base, not only is it spreading even more unrealistic beauty standards, it is only catering for the male fan base. Before anyone goes on at me for not mentioning the muscles and 22 inch waist of superman, let me explain something. Look at the bare legs of Wonder Woman, now imagine if Superman went around with bare legs. It’s weird right? That’s because you sexualise those legs. Marvel and DC have said multiple times that they love drawing sexy women, but for the future of equality there has to be more respect for the female characters.