For our second in 2011′s Best of the Year series our guest is one half of the gestalt comics entity known as the Etherington Brothers, a man who has literally worked for Monkey Nuts, Robin Etherington:
FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Robin: ‘Corporate Skull‘ (mature) by Jamie Smart – very funny, very rude webcomic by one of the most prolific British creators.
(gross photocopier gruesomeness gives birth to The Corporate Skull by and (c) sick genius Jamie ‘Smarties have the Answer’ Smart)
‘Orbital‘ 3 & 4 by Serge Pelle (published in the UK by cinebook) – wonderful European sci-fi series.
(fabulous art from volume 4 of Orbital by Sylvain Runberg and Serge Pellé, published in English by Cinebook)
Scott Pilgrim 6 by Byran Lee O’Malley – the end of an exceptionally enjoyable era – if you’ve only seen the film go back to the beginning to devour the entire series whole.
(Scott Pilgrim by and (c) the one and only Bryan Lee O’Malley)
FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Robin: ‘The Sisters Brothers‘ by Patrick deWitt (exceptional Western. Elmore Leonard fused with Charles Portis, funny, violent, that rarest of creatures – a constantly surprising read)
‘Snuff‘ by Terry Pratchett (the master of satirical fantasy proves there’s more than life in the old dog – there’s DEATH … and a superlative study of the very nature of justice)
‘The Last Detective‘ by Robert Crais (okay, so this is a few years old but I’ve been playing catch up and I have to read books in order! Detective Elvis Cole is a page-turning delight)
FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Robin: True Grit, Battle LA, How to Train your Dragon. A mixed bag, I agree, but that’s what I love about cinema. True Grit showcased the Coen’s in effortless adaptation mode, bringing the very best of the book to the screen.
Battle LA (stale, prosaic dialogue and wooden characters aside) splashed the screen with some truly impressive daytime special effects and maintained an almost non-stop action-orientated narrative, which is hard to achieve.
How to Train… showed the world that not only do Pixar have some real competition, but that the teenage dilemma (an oft-overlooked element in Pixar’s catalogue) makes for great animated fodder.
FPI: How did 2011 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?
Robin: It’s been a superb twelve months, with a year-long school and festival tour for Monkey Nuts, a 30-week run in the Dandy with YORE!, two new comic series signed for publication, the launch of our second graphic novel, Baggage, and some really positive reviews of our work (see here for a review of Baggage by Mia (year 6), one of our cub reporters – Joe).
We’re currently discussing three different TV projects, none of which would have come about if we hadn’t been on the road. The self-promtional side of the business is vital to creators as publishers invest less and less in the marketing machine.
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2012?
Robin: First up is the launch of The Phoenix Comic (issue 0 just reviewed at the weekend here – Joe). We’ll be contributing an ongoing serialised strip ‘Long Gone Don’ (a comedic tale of a little boy and a crow trapped in a bizarre underworld) and a puzzle story series ‘The Dangerous Adventures of Von Doogan’.
Later in the year we’ll be launching book 1 and 2 of our new illustrated novel series ‘Freaky Giblets’ (the title referring to two popular fictional comics, Freaky and Giblets). Then there’s the ongoing Lost and Found tour (which already has fifty dates lined up for 2012), and the second, already complete, volume of Monkey Nuts (release date tbc).
FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?
Robin: He’s already a familiar name to many in the UK but Warwick Johnson-Cadwell is a genuine superstar in the making. I’d recommend that everyone buys a copy of ‘Gungle’ from Blank Slate as soon as it launches. The boy’s gonna be HUGE!
(Gungle sketch by and (c) Warwick Johnson Cadwell)