Friday, July 17, 2015


Rather than start a new blog, as was my intention, I've decided to dust down and resuscitate an old one that I think will serve my purposes well. It's got the added advantage of containing lots of things I've blogged about in the past, in various places, gathered together as a kind of archive. However, rather than dwell on past blog posts too much, this is a new beginning for me, and a way to communicate to an audience and work through some of my thoughts and ideas about my writing and research. It's also a place for me to continue to develop my evolving sense of who I am as a writer and critic, so while I have blogged about comics primarily, I'm planning to dive into the other areas I'm interested in too, including literature, film, TV and music.

I was recently moved by something Mark Rylance said on the South Bank Show. I can't profess to be a fan of his acting, only because I haven't seen anything he's been in (an omission I'll definitely be rectifying soon). He was talking about the single most important piece of advice for new actors, and he distilled it into three words - "You are enough". He says that the fear and self-doubt that actors feel is borne of the worry that they will not measure up, when in fact the opposite is true -- it's often enough that the actor is on stage and performing, while an audience is willing them on the give a good performance.

I think this applies to all manner of artistic processes and life in general, whether it's writing or being the best person we can be generally. Perhaps we should all try to banish self-doubt as best we can and simply aim to be "enough". I think this blog is my attempt to live by this philosophy a little more by turning up here to write, think and communicate more.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Alan Moore and H P Lovecraft

I'm really looking forward to Alan Moore's new series Providence, inspired by H.P. Lovercraft's life and work. Here is a really interesting interview with Moore about the series.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Conference - Academic Study Skills

I am very proud of this conference held at Glyndwr University on Monday. Here is a write up of it. I missed being in the picture because I went for food - me and my appetite ;-) It was months in the planning and an incredibly satisfying experience :-)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sequart and Swamp Thing

Here's my author page on Sequart, including the work in progress on my Swamp Thing book and my other columns. Go on - give it a visit!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blast from the past: part 5

My final ICS post, originally uploaded on 7th Nov, 2009 here.


Andrew Edwards here.

My experience with Manga is limited. Until recently, I think I held quite a negative view of it, and subscribed to the view that is was limited in terms of art style (impossibly wide eyed characters) and subject matter (immature cutesy-ness or overly violence). Yet this assumption was subconscious, one I’d barely formulated – and I’d never really read any Manga (except for a translation of Barefoot Gen some 15 years ago, which I’d enjoyed but hadn’t revisted, and had largely forgotten about).

And then I read Ode to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka, the father of Manga, thanks to a copy loaned to me by Dan Berry (thanks again Dan!), senior lecturer on the BA Illustration for Graphic Novels at Glyndwr University, Wrexham (see links below). I read this huge tome and I was blown away. It was amazing stuff. It’s the story of a doctor fighting a disease which deforms people’s appearance, leading them to look distinctly dog-like. Like all good art it challenged my preconceptions and I wanted to know more. So I’ve spent some time reading Paul Gravett’s Manga – Sixty Years of Manga this week. Like all of Mr Gravett’s book it’s a very accessible guide, both clearly written with wonderful illustrations.

You have to admire the influence of Manga in Japan, if only for the fact that it accounts for around 40% of all print publications, which is astonishing. Gravett’s book has allowed me to become acquainted with, and then immersed in, a whole new comics culture, something I haven’t really had the pleasure of since I first discovered UK comics (aged 5) and American comics (aged 11 or 12). It’s taught me to read more widely in the medium. Now I just need to make a start on the Franco-Belgian stuff…

You can find Dan’s excellent site ‘The Comics Bureau’ here and details of the BA degree here.

Blast from the past: part 4

Here's the penultimate ICS post, originally uploaded here on October 31st, 2009.


Andrew Edwards here.

In my ongoing study of comics I’ve come across many attempts to define comics and explain how they work. These include Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art and Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, both being popular, accessible and wonderful works, in my opinion. There are also the more academic works which are of great interest too, such as Thierry Groensteen’s The System of Comics, which is a challenging but ultimately rewarding read thus far  (I’m working my way through it at the moment).

However, my favourite definition and explanation is just one sentence long, and it’s perfect. Here it is:

“They’re words and pictures, and you can do anything with words and pictures.”

These are the words of Harvey Pekar, creator of the groundbreakingAmerican Splendor series. Like most of the definitions of the form we can find, it can’t quite capture all forms of comics (such as mute ones), but it’s still close to perfect in it’s simplicity and adaptability.

I’ve been thinking about the function of comics, and Pekar’s belief that they can do “anything”. I think that there is a growing awareness of the potential of the comics medium to move beyond entertainment (as great as that is). In particular, I think that the potential for comics as a medium for instruction and learning is vast, and it’s an area I’m currently researching, and I’m finding it fascinating, being someone with a working background based in education and libraries.

One significant example is the work of Will Eisner. While his Spirit work and Sequential Art instruction texts are well known, his two decades plus work using comics as an educational tool are relatively unexplored. A great resource that contains lots of examples of his work can be found online via VCU libraries Digital Libraries– check it out to see another example of what comics are capable of. It’s a totally free and accessible resource, and well worth checking out. You can find it here.

I think that the future of comics lies in its acceptance by mainstream society and culture and the continued diversification of the functions of comics can only help to sustain the growth of the medium. I can’t wait to see what other areas will be enriched by using comics in the future!

Blast from the past: part 3

From my old ICS days: this was originally posted on Oct 24th, 2009 here.

Conferences and Journals.

Andrew Edwards here.

I’ve been thinking about conferences and journals recently, and the important role that they play in promoting and advancing the study of comics.

On 21st November I’ll be attending the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds, specifically the Possibilities and Perspectives Conference. I’m there as ICS Assistant Director for Great Britain. I’ll be talking about ICS and my own scholarship and criticism in the morning, and chairing a panel in the afternoon.

One of the great things about events like this is that they spread Comics Studies into fandom and this raises the awareness of the range of possibilities open to potential scholars. It’s a fine mix of academics, professionals, critics and enthusiasts that will be involved and it really highlights how open Comics Studies can be to everyone, from whatever educational or vocational background.

This sense of openness is also evident in a new journal which is forthcoming in 2010 from Intellect – Studies in Comics. You’ll find more details here

My favourite part is this –
“Submissions are welcome from both scholars and enthusiasts. Contributors are encouraged to approach comics from any discipline and to turn their attention to comics from all countries and in all languages. So whether you’re a semiotician, philosopher, scientist, historian, enthusiast, cultural, literary or film critic, Studies in Comics welcomes you! Please send all submissions to”
It’s so inviting, open, inclusive – and I was so impressed when I read it. There is also a call for creative comics work too. This is surely the way to extend and develop comic studies!

Unlike many academic journals, there’s no sense here that not having a suitable degree or qualifications will bar you from submitting. It think this is great, and it confirms something I feel strongly about – good written scholarship should be judged on its own merits, not on the merits of an author’s qualifications (or lack of them).

I have strong hopes for both the Thought Bubble conference and Studies in Comics to be figureheads in including scholarship from all quarters.

[Unfortunately, I never got to attend Thought Bubble, which was a shame...]