The Paper Jam Comic Collective are back with another anthology and I'm in it. Space Monkey, or to give its proper title Space Monkey, featuring: Squids, Bicycles, Cowboys, Skeletons, Bogeys, Dinosaurs, UFOs, Galleons, Loners, Emos, Aliens, Accidents, Bulls, Electricians, Pizza Pirates, Missing Heads, Secret Codes, Astronauts, Cheese, Massive Plants, Toilets, Tortoises and Bob...And That is themed, as you can probably guess, to be both child-friendly and child-orientated.
This came about largely because we've been represented at a number of events (book fairs, arts fayres and the like) that there's been kids at and hardly any of our individual output is suitable for them (I put my hand up as the guiltiest party). So, the decision was made to embrace this challenge and do a comic that kids would be proud to read. I'm sure this was suggested in an apologetic manner to me, as if I would kick off at the thought of not being able to fill a comic with rude words. Quite the opposite was true - this year has been all about trying new things and attempting to stretch myself, so I was right up for a challenge.
The results took many interesting forms - everything from adventure tales, to sci-fi adventures, to half-page gag strips. I collaborated on 4 pages of the latter with Mr Gary Bainbridge and am very pleased with results. And they're silent too, which is another break for me, seeing as most of my stuff is very dialogue-based. For those fans of Melanchomic who miss the swearing, you can always add your own profanity to it.
The cover image is by the hugely talented Dan Gilmore and the whole thing was painstakingly put together and shaped into loveliness by Paul Thompson. It is frankly the most beautiful anthology the group has done thus far. Congratulations all round.
Space Monkey is available now from Travelling Man Newcastle and shortly via the site for the measly price of £3. We're in the midst of trying to get an online shop set up, but in the meantime if you want a copy just contact them via e-mail and it'll get sorted out. And I must stress, while this is a comic aimed at children, it's still a very funny and enjoyable showcase for some of the huge North East talent we have in the group. If you like comics - it's well worth checking out be you child or adult or something in between.
And yes, there will be a launch party - there's always a launch party - but as this is a kids anthology we'll have to dispense with the usual venues, drink and loud bands and shape it to suit the target audience. This will involve much thought and creative planning, so I'll let you know when we've found our thinking caps.