Nelson Editors Woodrow Phoenix (middle) & Rob Davis (right) receiving the British Comic Award for Best Book from host Adam Cadwell.
Last weekend, Forbidden Planet International—Zordon style—unleashed its bloggers into the aisles of the UK’s most inclusive comics festival, Thought Bubble (read Zainab’s report here). My role was to frenetically dash about to conduct short interviews with some of our favourite festival regulars—as well as a few relative newcomers.
We caught up with Nelson co-editor Woodrow Phoenix a few hours after he and Rob Davis accepted the Best Book award for the 52-creator graphic novel at the inaugural British Comics Award ceremony. Woodrow has been a mainstay of the comics scene in the UK since his small press origins in the 1980s and has produced work for Escape, Myriad, Blank Slate, SLG, Kodansha and The Cartoon Network just to name a few. Most recently, he has edited Felt Mistress: Creature Couture for Blank Slate, released next month.
On winning the first ever British Comic Award for Best Book award for Nelson:
“I’m very proud of it. I’m very proud that we did this thing that everyone thought was ridiculous and impossible. We showed that it’s not ridiculous or impossible: it just required singular vision, determination and a certain amount of co-ordination… and tenacity!”
How he feels about co-editor Rob Davis nabbing the physical award for himself:
“Goddamnit! I knew he was going to do that actually, it was obvious. It’s just the latest of his perfidious attempts to grab all the credit. I think he has it handcuffed to himself now – in a high-security briefcase.”
On being the editor of the imminent Felt Mistress: Creature Couture:
“It’s a bit of a monster; it’s 400 pages. It didn’t start out that way. It was meant to be a regular 160 page kinda thing but as I began working on it I realised that, actually, it was going to be almost impossible to choose what to put in and what to leave out. [Louise Evans and Jonathan Edwards' work] is all so great that it didn’t really seem right or reasonable to do any picking and choosing. I thought “if we’re doing a book that is going to be about their work, we need to see all of it. Because that’s what this book is: a round-up.”
On his hopes for the book’s release:
“I hope it’s going to be received with the same interest as I felt when I was making it. It’s amazing, fantastic stuff: imaginative, colourful, funny, weird, interesting; its just great to see it all in one place. I think anyone who picks the book up will be just as fascinated as I was making it.”
His favourite creature from the book:
“It’s kind of hard to say because they all have things about them that are cool. I must admit that I do actually own The Mad Hatter and I’m very proud of that. Bridget and I look at him every day; he hangs around on the sofa. It’s going to be difficult to let go of Elspeth [Creature Couture's cover star] to whoever wins the Felt Ticket because I do love her.”
The Mad Hatter, one of hundreds of hand-made creatures in Creature Couture.
On the importance of comic festivals in the UK:
“I think festivals are vitally important. They are the place where people who know nothing about comics can come and get an instant snapshot of what’s going on, who’s involved, how they’re affiliated and that kind of thing. It’s very important for people making comics also, as focal point to get ready work for – especially for people who have no deadlines of their own. Festivals are good rallying points and you always have that flood of activity leading up to the event where everyone’s getting their books, cards and badges done.”
On upcoming projects:
“Nothing I can really talk about just yet. I don’t like to talk about things until they’re really solidly underway. You’ll have to wait until the next convention!”
Many thanks to Woodrow for letting me steal some of his valuable convention time, like the comics blogging vampire I am. Stay tuned for more Thoughts from Thought Bubble over the next few days!