Thought Bubble 2014: De Mysteriis Dom Instazines!

I'll be exhibiting at this weekend's Thought Bubble comics festival once again, you can find me at Table 139 B where I'll have Roachwell, Crawl Hole, Metrodome and Haunted Bowels available. You can check out a slew of reviews down there on the right, but trust me when I say they're dead good.

But in addition, I'll have these cool wee Instazines which are hot off the press and I'll be giving them away for FREE this weekend! Contemplate the mysteries of Pophammer! Weep and wail to the sounds of Pophammer: The Ballads! Enter the realm of Black Metal... and who, or what, are the Dance Dudes??

Pretty small beer compared to some of the cracking looking books that are being launched at this excellent event, but I'm pleased that in the meager time available to me I've been able to complete something I'm pretty happy with and is pretty entertaining. So come on by my table, have a chat, check out some comics and grab some zines!

Lastly, if anyone in the UK would like these, Paypal me one £Squid on craig_stuart_collins (AT) to cover postage and they can be in your filthy claws in a matter of days!

Reviews and Events Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism!

While Metrodome and Crawl Hole came out a little over a year ago, I was delighted to see the excellent Rob Clough of and High Low Comics has recently taken a very favourable look at both comic. Rob said of Metrodome:

"This macabre and darkly humorous duo continue to be a perfect writer/artist pairing... It's essentially two artists playing around but committing to a premise with great enthusiasm and seriousness."

And of Crawl Hole:

"This macabre and darkly humorous duo continue to be a perfect writer/artist pairing... Their take on horror is smart, funny and genuinely unsettling."

Thanks to Rob for his time and enthusiasm for me and Iain's work. Also recently was Craig Neilson's review of Crawl Hole as part of an in-depth look at the Scottish Independent Comic Book Award nominees.

"Crawl Hole is actually an almost shockingly intelligent endeavour. Collins makes sure that ever tale has a point, that every observation has a meaning, and rather than simply shocking the reader with a barrage of surreal weirdness..."

Thanks to Ceej for his kind words! Now, crawling from the wreckage of reviewing to gravitate to the inordinate density of some upcoming events. I'm very happy to be returning to Scotland's MCM Comic Comic con this weekend on the 5th and 6th of September. Come by and see me at table B6 and get your fill of experimental weirdo comics!

Last year was a hugely enjoyable time of comics, banter and extraordinary cosplay. I even met this foppish young dandy.

Then come November 15th I'll be back at the prestigious, invigorating and terrifying comics singularity that it Thought Bubble! Much like 50 Cent, you will find me in da club, the club being New Dock Hall.

So what exactly is going on in the dank comics writing oubliette at Fort Collins? Where I can find the time I've been working pretty successfully on some substantial longer form comics and I'm pretty pleased with how it's coming along. There's won't be much to say or show for some time, but to scratch that itch of getting fun weird stuff out there, I'm working on a few wee things that may or may not make it to my Thought Bubble table. We'll see. I bought a sketch pad. It can only end in catastrophe.

Crawl Hole - Waist Deep In SICBA

I'm very happy to say that me and Iain Laurie's 2013 experimental horror comic Crawl Hole has been nominated for Best Comic and Best Cover at this year's Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards!

The SICBAs are part of the Glasgow Comic Con on the 5th and 6th of July. I'll be exhibiting in the Art School venue both days, so please do come by and check out some comics and have a chat! Voting for the SICBAs is on the 5th of July with the winners announced at the Ceremony that evening at the CCA. Do check out the full nominations shortlist, some excellent work therein, and all books will be available to read in the voting area. No expectation of snatching a gong in the name of weirdo comics, but a good night is sure to be had!

If you're not at the Con, you can get it in Forbidden Planet GlasgowWaterstones Argyle StreetGeek Retreat UK, or by post at my Big Cartel Shop and digitally at Gumroad

Glasgow Comic Con is popular with the Cosplay Contingent, who are always a pleasure to talk to and bring a huge amount of colour and fun to the comic con scene. So should any of Scotland's cosplayers have the nerve, the steeeeel required to commit to Crawl Hole Cosplay.... here's a handy guide. Click to embiggen!

Hope to see you there! Some kind words on Crawl Hole of late...
As usual with these gents, gore, violence and a twisted sense of humour is real high in the mix... All in all, this one is slight, but manages to do the important thing; it’s satisfying, with ideas that make the sum of the experience far greater than the page-count." Forbidden Planet.
"The breadth of stoires covers the existential angst of modern man, assisted suicide, uncomfortable reunions and childhood nursery rhymes, all filtered through a death metal sensibility.... Collins' warped sensibilities really do hold nothing sacred." Starburst Magazine
"Once again Crawl Hole is material that makes the reader positively delight in the unnerving; if you like your comics riddled with a creepiness that will leave you feeling profoundly uncomfortable after reading then you can’t go far wrong with a Collins-Laurie offering." Broken Frontier

Interview - Grossly Incandescent

I was recently asked by Kyle Overkill of The Death Of Comics to do an interview for the "Grossly Incandescent" indie comics spotlight on Rhymes With Geek...

See here for some extended chat on the mysteries and secrets of Metrodome, collaboration, reviewing and much much more. Thanks to Kyle for his time and some very interesting questions.

Panel Show Recurring Talking Head Extravaganza

Hey! Well it's been very quiet on here recently, with not a great deal going on and no new comics to show... but there's plenty happening, as I'm quietly working away on some longer form projects and broader undertakings. But here's some goings-ons of late...

I was recently asked by John Wilson, a filmaking student and independent director at Glasgow City College, to be interviewed for a short documentary he was making on Glasgow's indie comics scene. You'll see me and also Marjory Wallace of the famous Team Girl Comics collective and the colourful environs of Glasgow's Geek Retreat:

A big thanks to John and his colleagues for inviting me to take part in what's clearly come out as a very skilled product. Look for that guy in future! In addition to that, I found a cool little documentary on the Edinburgh Book Festival's Stripped Comic Mart that I took part in last summer. Based on these two movies, I only own one shirt. Check it out!:

This Saturday 5th of April I'll be heading to the Dread Realm of Dundee to exhibit at the annual Dundee Comics Expo, which is running in conjunction with DeeCon, Scotland's largest Anime convention. Both events are free! There looks to be all sorts of cool events, talks and displays to be had at both, including a Kendo display which is safe to assume will be great. So I'm looking forward to meeting the comic readers and cosplaying anime-mad fans and fiends of Dundee, Tayside and The Kingdom Of Fife!

I'm missing a Gorgoroth show to be there, so you guys better show me a nice time!

Later in the month I'll be at the Graphic Stories event in the Glasgow's Waterstones in Argyle Street. A section  section of local comics talent has been carefully curated in Waterstones, and a small event is on for people to meet the creators and buy their wares. It's a real honour to be in Waterstones and to be invited to come along, and I'm sure it'll be a fun and interesting day and perhaps an opportunity to meet some new readers who are less familiar with indie comics, or comics altogether.

This lovely image by the excellent Coll Hamilton.

Lurching Toward Legitimacy...!

It's possible but unlikely that you might have seen my ill-conceived prank in which my "successful line of children's adventure fiction Foes Forever" was presented on the shelves of Waterstones...

Well look here if it isn't me and Iain Laurie's books, genuinely and legitimately available in Waterstones of Argyl Street Glasgow, and the Graphic Novels of the Month at that!

A sincere thanks to Waterstones for having our work in store, and for the generous feature spot!

2013 Round Up

Now that 2013 is winding up it's time for a wee retrospective. Something to look over what I've done and failed to do, something to appreciate some of the unexpected opportunities that have come my way and consolidate some plans for the year ahead.

This year I brought out two new comics, both in collaboration with the mighty Iain Laurie, and rather unusual beasts they were.

First up was Metrodome. Metrodome was a long and involved process at every stage, partly due to the unconventional nature of our collaboration on it and partly due to the extremely detailed task it proved to be to collate and finalise, and it seemed to take forever to bring to completion. So it was a challenge to complete and a relief to finally put it out into the world! I'm pleased to say it's been very well received, broadly speaking the reviews have been great and I've had all sorts of excited feedback from friends and other small press colleagues, so I reckon in the end me we be pretty pleased with this unruly book. There's a little something extra for Metrodome to come, so look out in early 2014.

About a month later I released Crawl Hole, the spiritual cousin to Roachwell and a collection of various experimental surreal horror strips from across the years. These strips in this collected format had been my plan for a few years, and while it's a strip or two slimmer than I'd planned, it's great to have this out there and finally feel that this part of my work is brought to a kind of conclusion. It seems to have gone down very well, and I'm particularly proud of this book. While I expect I'll do work of a similar sort in future, this feels like the Roachwell / Crawl Hole axis of evil brought to a solid close.

This year was also a bit of an achievement in that I finally got into the frenetic world of selling my comics at conventions and events. I had a little warm up in selling Metrodome at the Glasgow Comic Con, where John Lees kindly invited me to perch on his table. But the first major event on my own was the excellent Stripped Fest as part of the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Something unexpected that came alongside Stripped, and I've no idea how this came about, is that I was invited to take part in a special 'comics edition' of the famed Literary Death Match, with none other than Neil Gaiman as a judge. I've written about it in detail here, but needless to say it was a nerve-wracking and extraordinary experience that was hugely enjoyable and just great to be involved in. Certainly the coolest thing that happened to me, comics wise, for the year.

Stripped itself was a really enjoyable show in a truly lovely set of halls. We were all ridiculously well looked after by the Book Festival and its staff, and it was a great first foray into the world of selling at conventions.

Following that - MCM Glasgow. None of us really knew what to expect of it, but we did not expect the astounding attendance that resulted. I had an excellent day, selling comics and chatting with cool folks and admiring the brilliant costumes going on. I have to say that I was hugely impressed by the crowd, despite a three-odd hour wait in intermittent rain the positivity and good humour on show was really something. Plus I met this guy:

Lastly the mighty Thought Bubble. It was quite an experience, as was my Sunday hangover. All in all I had a great time, I sold better than I expected to, and had the opportunity to finally meet in person lots of friends I know from being in anthologies with, Twitter, Facebook and all. And the huge variety and quality of work on offer was simply fantastic. I suppose the scale of the event is, for an exhibitor, both a positive and a negative. In that there's very little time to get away from your table and in that time, there's so many people's work to look into and events and talks on, it's impossible to make much of a dent in what you'd like to see. Similarly I wonder, with the number of exhibitors, can it be possible that enough punters come in the door with enough money to not send many an exhibitor home short of breaking even? But all that's for wider discussion, and it was a great weekend.

Rounding out the year nicely, I was asked to do a reading for the recent inaugural event for a new Scottish outfit the Speculative Bookshop. Myself and four other local writers discussed our work and did readings, for my part I discussed Roachwell, it's conception and some of the ideas therein, and the wider freedoms and limitations of small press comics, then finished with a spoken word version of a Roachwell strip that never was. The highlight of the night was Stephen Goodall's excellent and dread-inducing reading that linked to his Institute for Marine Research Comic. Do check that out!  Kudos to Jen and Dale for running a great event with enthusiasm and professionalism, keep an eye on those guys.

So despite not feeling so, it's been a pretty productive year and I've been able to do some pretty cool things. And with those two long-gestating comics out now, the cupboards are bare.  So I'm looking forward to the year ahead, and hoping between my young family and compressed working week I can find a little more time a little more regularly. I've got two (or maybe three, if there's an appetite for Haunted Bowels: Volume II) projects at various stages, all of which will be longer and more substantial undertakings. You may even see me flirt with crazy notions such as character and plot...!

Lastly I'd like to thank my collaborators over the years, in particular Iain, and the various reviewers for the time and effort they put into critical assessment of small press work, and the various friends and colleagues who've read and been supportive of my comics. Thanks all!

Speculative Bookshop Event

Hey hey - I'll be at the inaugural event for the Speculative Bookshop this Sunday 1st December, at The Old Hairdresser's in Glasgow. Check out this ace poster by Julian Dicken!

I'll be doing something of a talk on me and Iain Laurie's Roachwell, followed by an attempt at a prose reading adapted from the mysterious script for a Roachwell that never was....

There's also the undoubtedly excellent talents of Douglas Thompson, Alexander Abraham and Hal Duncan, and fellow comic maker Stephen Goodall of the fantastic Institute For Marine Research (that's me pictured on the left, and Stephen on the right) as well as a range of local distros and bookmakers.

A massive thanks to Jen and Dale for inviting me to be involved. Come along to see me crash and burn then enjoy the lovely beers available in the Old Hairdressers!

Crawl into The Dome: Review Roundup!

It's been a busy few months, having had both a great time and a great success of the Stripped Fest Comic Fair and the MCM Scotland Comic Con, and in doing so meeting a load of very cool and talented people around these exhibitions...

Meanwhile, behind the facade of this innocent-looking blogpost, comic reviews have been creeping about the place unchecked and it's time to round them up in one place and exterminate them! Here we go...!

Both Metrodome and Crawl Hole, by me and the excellent Iain Laurie, have both received a powerfully good review in the latest issue of Starburst Magazine. Our "work together is instantly recognisable and like nothing else you've ever read... often hilarious, occasionally incomprehensible and always, always disturbing". Yeah!

On Metrodome, "...this ultraviolent, sickeningly offensive midnspew is utterly brilliant", while on Crawl Hole reviewer Phillip Buchan is impressed with our breadth of stories "all filtered through a very Death Metal sensibility". Iain's work is complimented as "grotesque as ever, improving in consistency and confidence with every comic that he releases" and for my part my "warped sensibilites really do hold nothing sacred". Hey man, click to embiggen and read it for yourself!

Thanks to Phillip Buchan for the review. Starburst #393 available from all good newsagents and Good Guys doll factories now!

Over on the Forbidden Planet Blog, Metrodome takes a bit of a battering from the ever-astute Richard Bruton. Unsurprising for an unconventional comic, but he does find some qualities therein, saying "It’s well written and Laurie is obviously having a great, great time doing his vilest, most grotesque characters...".  Read it over here...!

In the following weeks, Richard takes a look at Crawl Hole and finds it very good indeed. Yeah! He states Iain's work "has his very best Kev O’Neill on in a couple of the final stories. And it suits him, the angular, scratchy style, the explosion of bodily fluids, guts, and gore picked out in every detail" and describes the writing as having "...something more about them, a heft not in keeping with their short length". He concludes "All in all, this one is slight, but manages to do the important thing; it’s satisfying, with ideas that make the sum of the experience far greater than the page-count." Man, Craig, shut up. It's over here!

And following that I was delighted to see the complimentary covers for Roachwell and Crawl Hole featured on the Forbidden Plant blog! A little trick that I was pretty pleased with myself on and Iain and Derek Dow executed perfectly, so it was excellent to see it appreciated in this way.

And finally Andy Oliver of Broken Fronteir looks at Metrodome over here, with plenty good to say! On Metrodome "the characters emerge fully formed from the deepest, darkest depths of the magnificently poisonous headspaces of Collins and Laurie...".

He concludes " If you like your comics unsettling, in-yer-face and gratuitously grotesque then you can’t go wrong with the wicked and wily wit of these guys".

So here ends the gratuitous splurge of frothing reviewage! All in all I'm really pleased to see our weirdo experimental comics being received so well in some very esteemed quarters. Thanks to the reviewers above for their time and efforts in writing these, and their continued support of the UK small press.

Scottish MCM Comic Con: Beyond The Wall

I'm very excited to be at this weekend's first ever Scottish MCM Comic Con (7th September) in the frozen wasteland of the SECC, tabling my comics in the Comics Village along with a massive but undisciplined warband of talented indie creators! It looks to be a very busy exhibition with a great deal going on, and for a pretty cheap entry too...

Here's a wee round up of the books I'll be selling - do drop Table C11 by and check them out, say hello and have a chat. Note that Metrodome cosplay is actively encouraged!

Metrodome: by me and Iain Laurie. Drawn from The Metro like poison from a wound, Eight Contenders in The Fight for Survival, The Battle for Ultimate Victory! An experimental production in creation, destruction and survival, in a comic created from a single edition of the free UK newspaper The Metro. Sized A5, 24 pages Black and White with colour cover, released July 2013 (£3.00).

"The characters emerge fully formed from the deepest, darkest depths of the magnificently poisonous headspaces of Collins and Laurie... If you like your comics unsettling, in-yer-face and gratuitously grotesque then you can’t go wrong with the wicked and wily wit of these guys." Broken Frontier.

Haunted Bowels: A collection of small press comedy comics - gruesome gags and oddball humour, surreal comedy and morbid light entertainment. Omniscient beings, strange cowboys, troubled poets and unruly spectres and much more await within...!

Nominated for Best Comic and Best Writer at the 2012 Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards.
Sized A5, 24 pages Black and White with colour cover, released June 2012 (£3.00).Chocked to the gills with comics and featuring art by a multiuide of fine comics artists from Scotland and beyond.

"Yep, funny and surreal, dark, gruesome fun inside with a series of wildly different art styles..." Forbidden Planet.

"In the strips that make up Haunted Bowels, Collins combines clever bad taste humour with perceptive pop cultural parody... ruthless satirical swagger" Broken Frontier.

"That dichotomy between wry observational humour and outright bad taste lies at the heart of Collins’ best work... Collins’ love of horror elevates his comics to the extent that I suspect we’re only getting a glimpse of what he’s be capable of on a more sustained project" Starburst Magazine.

Roachwell: A surreal horror comedy comic by me and Iain Laurie. Sized A5, 28 pages Black and White with colour cover, collected June 2011 (£3.00). Featured in Indie anthologies Hive 4 and 5 and New British Comics #2. Nominated for Best Comic and Best Writer at the 2011 Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards.

"It’s a clever, solid, surreal and funny comic – and at its end, it manages all four in one strip." - Forbidden Planet.

"This is exquisitely macabre material drenched in a flawless cynicism; wonderfully and self-indulgently morbid in its delivery, it is gruesomely entertaining fare" Broken Frontier.

"...refreshingly weird, effortlessly funny and at times just plain psychotic... Funny, frightening and a world unto itself..." - Comic Heroes.

" interesting meld between Collins' absurd blackout gags and Laurie's intensely hatched and grotesque character work". Rob Clough's The High-Low.

Crawl Hole: A collection of surreal horror comedy comic by me and Iain Laurie. Trilingual comics, relationships past and the terrors of the Vengabus await... Sized A5, 16 pages Black and White with colour cover, released August 2013 (£2.50). Includes work featured in Indie anthologies New British Comics (UK), Top Shelf Online (USA), Lazer Art-Zine (Belgium) and Yuck (Australia).

"As usual with these gents, gore, violence and a twisted sense of humour is real high in the mix... All in all, this one is slight, but manages to do the important thing; it’s satisfying, with ideas that make the sum of the experience far greater than the page-count". Forbidden Planet.

Forbidden Planet - Roachwell / Crawl Hole cover spotlight. 

Of course, if you fancy any of these but are nowhere near Glasgow you can head over to my Big Cartel Shop. You, yes YOU, could be the guy who pulls a gun because we're no longer serving the breakfast menu!