Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to one and all...

Peace and Goodwill to everyone, wherever you may be...

Hi Guys,

Just a quick one today to give you a little e-card.

I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying it with those you love and are safe and well.

All that remains is for me to wish you all the Very Best and say that I hope Santa brought you all you wished for...

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
December 25th 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

‘Twas the Night before Christmas 2010...

Not long now guys...

Hi Guys,

I apologise for the lack of Blogs during this festive season, which I have come to use as the Bloggiest time of year of late, but the workload as I work through the enormous amount of work with the digital painting of Worlds End has been taking up most of my waking hours and I hope the finished art will show you the truth of this, when you finally see the graphic novel in print in 2011.

To tell the truth this year has seen fewer Blogs from me, but for the same reason and the fact that the first half of the year saw me working on projects, which in hindsight I should have left well alone.

Anyhow with only a few hours left before we hear Santa’s sleigh bells – If you do my advice is get to sleep ASAP, or else Santa may not pay you a visit – I thought I would share a few festive moments with you all.

Thanks first to all of the customers that have bought things from us this year – your support, as always is invaluable. Thanks also to the many people that have either left comments here on the Blog, or other Social and Professional Networks, or emails either sent privately, or to the main Wizards Keep Website – I appreciate your time spent in doing so.

The entire local landscape is covered in deep snow and looks beautiful – picture postcard/ Christmas card perfect. The plan is to take some photos of the place over the next few days and post them in a later Blog during this season of goodwill.

Yesterday saw me visit the nearby city of Preston with my wife, Margaret and daughter, Joanne as we did some last minute shopping. During our time there I saw one of Santa’s helpers and a very friendly Red Dragon and add my photo took with them, in fact it was at the insistence of my wife and daughter that it was taken...let me know what you think. The place was a nice gentle hustle and bustle with folks to-ing and fro-ing as they too did their last minute Christmas shopping – to me it seemed some were doing all of their LATE Christmas shopping, and we all know how that can be... LOL.

This morning saw me visit my home town of Blackburn and despite the sunshine the temperature is still minus silly and the snow is not moving away, so we are set for a wonderful white Christmas again, just like last year.

Whilst in the centre of town I paid a visit to the newly moved comic shop, Bat-Cave, which is now situated on the first and second floors in a fantastic store with a bicycle shop occupying the ground floor. This new move means the store is now much bigger with much more scope and the plan is to stock some Wizards Keep products in there in the New Year and have a signing for the graphic novel when we launch in 2011. The address is here and I strongly advise you guys to pop along, if you are visiting.

Bat-Cave, 48 Northgate, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB5 1JL UK.

We’ll be placing a permanent link in the Website links pages ASAP.
I’ll be Blogging between Christmas and New Year, as much as I can and may let you guys see more recent work on Worlds End unseen up to this moment, except for a few colleagues and friends and family...I’ll see...

Well just before I go, Bentley would like to say thanks for all the messages he has received this year too and all the friends he has seen add him to their Twitter pages. Tonight he plans on an early bedtime with his stocking hung up at the side of his basket, although he will probably be beside me in bed...if I know him at all...LOL.

All that remains is for me to wish you all the Very Best and say that I hope Santa brings you all you wish for...
Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
December 24th 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mum...

And some more snippets...

Hi Guys,

I wanted to share my Mum’s Birthday with everyone today, so, once more, I hope you’ll indulge me.

With Bentley "Bogtrotter" in tow once more and braving the wintery weather we made the short car journey to Mum and Dad’s home today, where we were plied with chicken and stuffing sandwiches, chocolate roll and several cups of tea.

The sun had set by the time we were making our way back home and just as it has for several days now the temperature was well below freezing even before it had done so.

Well more snow is forecast and I have lots to do, so I will leave you with me wishing my Mum a Happy Birthday once more.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
December 6th 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad...

And some other snippets...

Hi Guys, I wanted to share my Dad’s Birthday with everyone today, so I hope you’ll indulge me.

Dad & Bentley "Bogtrotter"

I have just got back from visiting my parents amidst the snowy landscape and was attired accordingly, despite going along in the car. Accompanying me was Bentley “Bogtrotter” sporting his new haircut and Christmas coat and scarf. Margaret was out with Joanne, so I set off before any more snow arrived. Bentley, as you know by now, loves going out in the car with me, so with his winter togs on and his little seat belt on he settled down for the trip in the snow.

It was lovely and warm in Mum and Dad’s home and it wasn’t long after Dad had opened his card and present before we were settled down with a brew and some biscuits. We looked at his other cards and presents and chatted and they both played with Bentley, whom they both love and spoil rotten. Mum fed him Brioche whilst we chatted, which he scoffed down enthusiastically. There is always a great smell of cooking at their home and today was no exception. The time just flew and then it was time for Bentley and I to make our way back, so I could return to the studio to work.

We didn’t make it to the Pickwick evening, after all, this year, as I fell asleep in the chair for a while after the long hours I had worked this last week on the computer with more paints being applied digitally to the graphic novel pages. Mum had not been too well anyhow with a chest infection and I had paid a visit to the doctors for some anti-biotics on Monday for the same reason, so with that in mind, my tiredness and the snowy weather and the trip was unfortunately missed this year, but I am sure we will make up for it in other ways during this festive season.

Last evening’s Murder Mystery Buffet at The Olde England Kiosk was brilliant with me managing to get the correct murderer, the correct motive, but getting the method of the murder wrong. It was great fun and, never having been to one before, I would certainly go again. The venue has a Tudor feel to it inside and feels really quaint. It is always great having time out with friends and the weather certainly added to the venue, situated as it was not far from my daughter’s house in the depths of Sunnyhurst woods – certainly a great place to hold a murder mystery...

Well more snow is forecast and I have lots to do, so I will leave you with me wishing my Dad a Happy Birthday once more.
Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
December 4th 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, again...

25 days to go and counting...

Hi Guys,

Well one minute I seemed to be looking at a summer wedding for my daughter Joanne and her husband, Toby from the viewpoint of just coming out of a few months of very wintery weather, with snow lasting arriving pre-Christmas and lasting for three months and here we are once more in Winter with pre-Christmas snow. This is something even here in the north west of England that I certainly haven’t seen since my days as a little kid.

It looks very picturesque here at the moment outside the studio windows of the Keep – just like something from any “olde worlde” traditional winter scene.

What’s on the agenda then for this season of good will I hear you ask?

Well, first off, the website will see a return of the FREE SHIPPING throughout the holiday season until 12:00 midnight on January 1st.

We are also launching FOUR NEW Christmas Cards. These were traditionally illustrated by me during the nineties as line art with colour washes and used to send to my colleagues in the comic industry and I have decided to publish them this year en masse.

Tomorrow on Thursday sees the return of the pilgrimage to the village of Whalley for the annual Pickwick Night event. Weather permitting I’ll be going along with Mum and Dad again.

Friday sees me enjoying an evening with some friends at a Murder Mystery, which sounds like being fun.

The final edits on the Worlds End script are now complete, so I’ll be winging it off to Richard Starkings very soon for him to letter the book.

I am forging ahead with the digital paints on the rest of the book – I am over the half way mark now and the graphic novel is now starting to come together nicely.

Last year saw me produce a Blog a day over the entire month of December. Unfortunately time will not permit me to do so this year, but I will try and publish some nice frivolously festive footnotes to carry on the tradition here on this Blog as many times as I can.

As you guys now realise this is a very important part of the year for me and my family, so I’ll be trying to keep that feeling prevalent here too, as usual.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
December 1st 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thought Bubble 2010...

The Leeds Comic Convention Reviewed...

Hi Guys,

A little later than I had planned to publish this Blog, but I am having to fit everything around the production of the graphic novel nowadays, to enable me to finish it.

I have decided that the venue for the comic convention in Leeds is the best one on the UK, for actual ease of access. The site includes the car park, convention halls, and after party reception rooms, with the panels and workshops, just a short walk away.

The only thing that could now be added is hotels on the site, but as the buildings are already in existence then the short taxi journey to them has to be acceptable to everyone. As I haven’t stayed over, as it is a one day event up to this moment (next year’s event is set for two days of convention added to the week-long outer events) I don’t know how much of an inconvenience this is, but I haven’t heard anyone complain about the situation.

From the off for me it took around fifty eight minutes to get from home to the car park. The Sat Nav guided me along the way with complete ease. From the second floor of the car park and as I had no table and was only carrying my small A3 portfolio it took mere moments to descend from the second floor to the outside. From there it was around thirty seconds to a minute’s walk, so you can see what I mean about the convenience of the venue.

The organisation is great too, with one nice orderly queue of fans waiting for entrance and a more civilised bunch of folks in such a long queue you will find hard to beat. As a professional attending, despite not having my own table, my access could not have been smoother. I was allowed past the front doors and given my pass within moments and then I was through the reception foyer and inside the convention itself.

The first person I saw whom I knew was John Anderson of Soaring Penguin fame and we chatted for a while, whilst I perused his wares and he asked how the graphic novel was coming along and how Bentley was. He is a big fan of both, with Bentley easily edging his way to pole position with him.

As I turned to walk away and check out more tables I was instantly greeted by another comics buddy, Nigel Dobbyn, of 2000 AD and Billy the Cat fame. Again we stood for an age simply chatting about our families, the way of the world, the convention and our current work.

This was to be repeated many times though out the day.

As I covered the far left hand side aisle I ran across my longest known mate in comics, Al Davison, who was there with his brand new Hokusai – Demons graphic novel which looks absolutely superb.

I next crossed paths with my good buddy and fellow MaltaComicCon guest, Sean Azzopardi with whom I spent two long sessions during my time there idly chatting away about all sorts of things and who very kindly gave me a copy of his excellent ED Sketch Book, which now as pride of place amongst my other sketch books, from comics folks like, Bernie Wrightson and Alex Niño.

Then during my second chat session with Sean we were joined by firstly Lee Townsend, with whom I spent a good while discussing our mutual favourite prog rock band YES and then we were joined by Paul Gravett who kindly took me over to and introduced me to the guys at Blank Slate publishing. After a chat about printing we swapped cards and then I was off on my travels once more, whereupon I spied my good buddy, Barry Kitson, who as usual was sketching for the fans. It is almost unfair to call them that, in my humble opinion though, as his pictures he produces are nicely inked and sometimes coloured too, depending on the fans’ requests and further more they are still free in a new age whereby we see most comics creators charging for their sketches. Nothing wrong with either approach but nice to see such sterling work being produced at ever convention I have ever seen Barry attend.

It was whilst I was chatting with Barry that another mate of mine from the worlds of comics appraoched me, Mike Conroy, who very kindly showed me the dummy for his brand new project, his magazine, Multiverse, which looks fantastic!!!

Well, hidden behind John Romita Junior’s queue of fans and Barry’s who was to his left, lay the hidden treasure I had made the extra effort to attend Thought Bubble this year and that was in the form of French superstar writer/ artist/storyteller, Didier “CRISSE” Chrispeels, who was sat at his table next to his friend and colleague, Nicolas Kéramidas. I found it incredible that this marvellous talent did not have as huge a queue as his American counterpart. This shows for my money, just how much influence the US comics scene still hold sway over with the comics fans here in the UK.

Now I love John’s work as much as the next guy, but we do not often see any European comics creators here in the UK, much less someone of Crisse’s stellar achievements, but this made my introductions all the more easy and the first thing I did was buy a magnificent hard back book off him, which he very kindly sketched in and signed.

After the introductions, I told him I had first seen his work in the prestige format book, Tellos, Maiden Voyage, by Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo back in 2001 and had tried to get hold of him ever since to see if he would like to work with me on something, that something has since become, Worlds End, as you guys already know.

I also told him about the Malta Comics Conventions and that the organisers would love for him to go along to the next one and he was certainly up for that.

We spent some time chatting about the work he was doing at present and he was interested in seeing the Worlds End pages, which I had with me. He had gathered a queue again though and as the sketch was still wet I asked if I could leave it with him and I would return a little later and would show him the pages then.

I next came across my mate Bryan Talbot, or Doctor Talbot, as he is now known, since his honorary doctorate was given to him a few months ago now. Bryan as always was signing and sketching in both his Grandville volumes and chatting merrily away to his many fans, who were queued waiting for their books signing too. We chatted and Bryan asked how my graphic novel was coming along and I have to admit to feeling pleased that at least I can now say there is more than half the book completed.

At the end of that aisle I met and chatted to a couple of guys producing their own small press comics under the guise of Under Fire Comics, but sadly I did not manage to go back and get one of their anthologies, but have added them to my list of must sort out next time items.

I also chatted to Jason James, who produces a wonderful comic for Apple’s App Store entitled Ghost Boy, which also took my eye. I also picked up some other advertising literature for some of the other wonderful books on display there, but sadly there wasn’t enough time to chat to many others, so next year’s two day event may enable me to do this, although the plan is to have a table in 2011, to promote and sell the Worlds End graphic novel.

I chatted with Dean Ormston and his wife Fiona Stephenson at their table and arranged to meet up with them after the show. I couldn’t manage to get near to my other buddy from the Marvel UK days, Dougie Braithwaite, but did manage to catch up with fellow MaltaComicCon2 guest, Gary Erskine, who as usual was sketching away for the fans.

The sight which intrigued me most was the Cinebook tables which now have an incredible line up of books, some of which I have bought over the last few years. The plan was to buy some more, but again time ran out and I will either have to wait for another convention, or else place an order on line, which do you reckon will come first...I’ll leave you here with that thought.

I decided to make my way back to Crisse’s table and saw a queue on front of me in the aisle I was walking down and there behind it signing his many books on display with his colleague, Book Cook was none other than my good buddy and future Worlds End letterer, Rich Starkings, whom I had not seen in at least twenty years, or so, who was signing his Elephantmen books.

He caught my eye and made room for me to sit and chat with him at this table, where we discussed our families, comics, life in general and all manner of other subjects, as he continued to sign relentlessly. Once I was captured like this he asked when he was going to receive the script off me to letter the graphic novel and I explained I had only recently received the script back from James and I had to give it the once over and then he could have it.

The next week, or so will see me do this and then I can wing it off over the net to Rich’s studio in the USA for him to begin lettering. One of the fans asked if he was correct in assuming Rich was also a letterer and before he could answer I did so for him, saying this was THE best letterer in the business, which I know meant a lot to him and certainly made the fans smile too around him.

That is after all why I am employing him alone to do the honours with the lettering. I want this book to be the best thing I have ever worked on, so why not use the guy I hold in high esteem to place the literary side of things.

Well, after an absolute age, I parted company and although we were due to meet up at the after party that evening, sadly I never got to see him again, so hectic was the day and evening. I will be in touch soon though with the script.

Just before I reached Crisse again I met up Leah Moore (Alan Moore’s daughter) and her husband, John Reppion and their little son, Edward. This was the first time I had met the little fellow and he is definitely of comic blood, as when Darth Vader, yes the actual one out of Star Wars walked past with his Storm Troopers and Judge Dredd he did not bat an eyelid. I have to add here that there is always a large Cosplay contingent at Thought Bubble and this year was no different.

It was at their table that I met up with another buddy Michael Molcher, whom I first met here in Blackburn when he was still in school. His father was the minister at the time at the church in the centre of town, where I have parked my car now for over twenty odd years. Now somewhat older and much taller we chatted for a while with Leah and John, before I finally said my goodbyes and prised myself away to go back to Crisse’s table.

Eventually I got there and we chatted further and asked each other about our current and future projects and he asked to see the pages from the book. By now the sketch was dry that he had produced and I was now its very happy owner.

We arranged to meet up at the after party at some point and I then spent some time looking through Nicolas’ prints and having bought a couple of them had him produce a sketch for me too, which was part of the deal.

He had only just made a start on it when the stentorian voice of one of the organisers roared out that it was now time to leave the hall, before the first of the tables were folded up, or rather thrown to the ground (an attempt to get rid of the stragglers perhaps?). Regardless the sketch was finished and a fine one it is. I plan on framing it in the next week, or so, so I can display it here in the studio.

I met up with Dean and his wife, Fiona and we set off for the after party along with Dougie. Like I say the situation of the venue is perfect and within a minute we were inside the Casino, where the after party had been booked.

Eventually we found the room where we were meant to be for the after show party and we sat down, me with a coca cola, as I was driving and spent the rest of the evening chatting. We were soon joined by Sean Phillips and Duncan Fegredo, with whom I spent half the night chatting, Bryan Talbot, Gary Erskine, Paul Gravett, Adi Granov, his wife, Tamsin Isles, Didier Chrispeels and Nicolas Kéramidas, with whom I spent the second half of the evening chatting, and Peter Doherty, who told me that John Smith was also there at the bar, a fellow citizen of Blackburn and a writer for 2000AD amongst others. I hadn’t seen John since the early nineties, so we did a little catching up too.

Then eventually, around two fifteen, I decided to call it a night and head off home back across the Pennines. I arrived back around three thirty, or so and after unpacking, answering a few emails and spending a short time with my little mate, Bentley, who had obviously missed me during the day, I retired to bed with a cup of tea and my hard cover Crisse art book.

Below some photographs of the show:

Bryan Talbot signs Granville Mon Amour

Rich Starkings signs Elephant Men

Darth Vader meets Judge Dredd

Barry Kitson sketches for the fans

Barry Kitson hands his sketch over to fan, Karl

Leah Moore, John Reppion and Edward

Peter Doherty sketches for Nicolas

Nicolas sketches for Peter Doherty

I had an absolutely fantastic time this year and although the plan had first been to attend with a table the freedom not having one afforded me, meant I was able to catch up with a great many of my friends in the comic business, some of whom like Richard and John I had not seen in a long while.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
November 26th 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010...

Have a wonderful time...

Hi Guys,

Just a few short lines to wish all my American friends and colleagues a wonderful day.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
November 25th 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thought Bubble...

The Leeds Comic Convention...

Hi Guys,

It’s just a quick one today to let everyone going along tomorrow to the convention that I will be popping along too. Although I will not have a table this year, I will be taking along prints of the latest pages from Worlds End for folks to check out and a few bits and bobs, so you can still ask for Ashcans and the like.

Please feel free to ask me what I have with me and a sketch if you want one too; don't be shy.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
November 19th 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Remember; remember the 5th of November...

Have a Safe Time this evening...

Hi Guys,

It’s just a quick one today to share my now, annual, quick, digital Bonfire Night sketch with you all.

I hope you have a fantastic time this evening whether you are going along to a Bonfire and/or firework display, or staying in to watch the Fireworks from the safety of your own home.

Please remember to let your neighbours know if you are going to be setting them off in your garden, so they can make sure their animals are inside.

All our pets will be safely tucked up with music and the TV on too.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
November 5th 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween...

Have a Safe Time Trick or Treating...

Hi Guys,

It’s just a quick one today to share my now, annual, quick Halloween sketch with you all.

I hope you have a fantastic time this evening whether you are partying, or staying in to watch the latest Fright Fest!!!

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
October 31st 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

MaltaComicCon2010 – Part 03...

MaltaComicCon2010 – Part 03...
Hi Guys,

Well as I opened my eyes on the Sunday morning I had to wonder if “The Windett Curse” would again be rearing its ugly head and I guess by now you realise why...

You may want to order your supper and/or make a sandwich and a brew before embarking on this last and very epic episode of my second trip out to is a have been warned!!!

It was however the best start of the two days, so far and as I peeped outside of the curtains I was met with glorious sunshine...yes, now this was sunny Malta. Hurriedly I showered and got ready for breakfast, where I only came across Dave looking incredibly weary, who went on to explain he had not slept a wink since getting up on Friday morning. We sat and chatted over breakfast, and were soon joined by the organisers, Chris and Joanne Le Galle followed after a while by Fabio and Nadia (sorry I got your name wrong in the first Blog), Mark and Elaine and finally by Sean, Gary and lastly Liam.

The weather certainly had everyone much more invigorated and excited, especially the organisers who realised that in Malta folks stay indoors when it rains, which if that happened here in my part of the world would mean everything would be at a total standstill for most of the year.

It certainly seemed like the curse may be finally lifted, although Dave may have disagreed and credited it with his inability to sleep had I asked.

After breakfast we each returned to our rooms, I got changed ready for the convention and went down to the reception and then out to the front of the hotel to enjoy the sunshine. I was soon joined by the others, as one by one they sought out the sun. We posed for photos outside and were soon being whisked away back to Valletta and the awaiting convention.

Like it had been on the previous day the main convention room was a hive of activity and the weather did indeed seem to be attracting more folks to come along to see what was going on there. It seemed that all the hard work done by the organisers for months since the last event was finally paying off. There was even time for me to sit at my table for a while before that morning’s children’s workshop and do some more work on Martin’s commission, as I chatted with Inez’s father, Peter who was again manning her table whilst she took time out to mingle with the other Maltese artists.

I had no sooner started work on the piece however when it was decided to switch places with the organisers table to my left, which would give me a much better area for my display, which had been cramped on the Saturday and partly behind their table in an L-shaped affair.

This gave me much more room and better coverage of the products I had brought along. Last year the big sellers had been the Ashcans and Sketch Books this year it was the Ashcans, T-shirts and Posters, with everyone wanting to look at the painted pages of the Worlds End graphic novel, which got a lot of enthusiastic praise and bodes well for the future of the book.

Well, once relocated a couple of feet away, I again returned to work on the commission and was soon aware of the presence of Mike once more who was there to tell me that Olivier was ready and that the children were arriving for the workshop. So it was that once more the short walk across to the upper levels was made and like the second session on the Saturday these children were of junior school age and were ready to draw from the off.

It was in this session that I saw young Kimberley, who was a little cutie and her uncle Brian, whom I had met last year. They were the first people there and he told her I would show her how to draw lots of things, throughout which she bashfully smiled.

I looked around and there was no sign of Susan and with Mike and Olivier having gone off already I had to start without her. I later found out that she had had to sort out something else at the same time, so didn’t feel as bad about starting the session without her.

Many of the children’s parents often stay to watch what goes on at these sessions and the wonderful thing is I love to get them involved as well and truth told, that is rarely not an easy thing to pull off, as the parents enjoy it as much as their children do. So I showed this new group how they could create characters using my three trusted techniques, of basic shapes, the movement seep line and scribbling, all of which went down well with those attending.

The sessions although an hour long, I try to pack as much as I can into each, always seem to be short affairs and over before you know it, but the amazing thing is the amount of work the folks there actually get through and take home with them.

Once it was finished Kimberley and her uncle came over again to chat, as I packed things up ready for that afternoon’s adult workshop on storytelling. She asked if I would draw a sketch for her, so I did and told them that I would see them later, if they came around to my table.

Back at my table I borrowed my new artist mate from Malta, Laurence Paul Zrinzo’s acrylic inks to add some painted colour to Martin’s commission. The only problem was that although a very nice book for having sketches in, it was not ideally suited for colour to be added. Luckily I have been in this situation many times and realised I needed to add water to the piece first and then add small amounts of colour, building the art up in washes of colour. It took longer, but meant the colour adhered to the paper better and also didn’t warp the paper.

I soon found myself being whisked off once more to the Inspirations cafe/restaurant for lunch with the other guys and this time Gary joined us. Not, however, before I found myself being sidetracked and taken to see the display of Malta Collectibles by the owner of the company. We chatted for a while about the impact Manga had had on the island’s fans and collectors and toys and the comics industry and my career to date, all in around ten minutes, or so. Then, after having our photos taken, and bidding each other all the best, I found myself taking myself with Mike to meet the others for some much needed food.

The main difference this time with the lunch was the tables were split into places for four people, unlike all the previous times I have been whereby they seated eight at a time. This time I looked at the menu and it was the mozzarella, pimentos, capers and olives salad, which caught my eye and I discovered that it was a huge dish when it arrived a short while after ordering it. I also liked the look of Sean’s salad too, which came topped with one of my favourite toppings, sun-ripened tomatoes, drizzled in olive oil.

This lunch was much more relaxed than the one the day before with more time between the workshops, lunch and my attending to my table. The sun was still out and it was a lovely day.

Before long though we soon found ourselves back inside the venue and amongst the fans and I began to finalise the colour commission for Martin. Copies of The Golden Lizard were being thrust at me in ever increasing numbers and ever faster in their turn-over, which was great for the sales of the book, for me to add my signature to them. Like I say it was Malta’s first ever graphic novel and I was incredibly honoured to have been asked to produce the cover art.

It was soon almost three and time for one last adult workshop, this time about storytelling, which was again well subscribed by the adults there at the venue and we had a full house once again. I was joined by Susan for this one again and we had some great fun with the content of the workshop and also with the Q&A session afterwards once more. After one of my usual talks and demonstrations on storytelling I had the students draw me three equal sized panels, which had to contain the three characters I had asked to see in the same scene, but from different perspectives. I had asked them, how inventive could they be with layout and the dynamics of the panels and then proceeded to draw nine quick examples on the flip chart, whilst I faced it away from them so they couldn’t see until theirs were finished.

By the end of that I then opened the results to a competition, adding that if anyone came close to any of mine they would get a free Ashcan. It is always amazing the difference even a short time like this can influence and give people a better understanding of what is needed to produce work of this kind in a very creative way and this workshop was no different. The guys did great and received their Ashcans later that afternoon. Hopefully they will build on what they learned in the session and be in a position to bring along their artwork at the next Malta Comic Convention.

Susan gave her views on storytelling coming from a Disney/Warner Brothers cartoon aspect, which went down equally well with the attendees. I have to admit that like last year Susan and I gelled perfectly as a team, especially in light that we had never worked together before, in fact we had only spoken briefly on the Saturday morning as we were about to start the first of the children’s workshops, which goes to prove the disciplines are the same for most artists and that up to press the type of creative minds brought across to the convention have been very like-minded and also very accommodating to the other artist in question, which again is lovely to experience.

Then like all the others we had ran, so too this workshop was over almost before we had begun and we returned to our tables in the main hall where I returned to finalise once and for all the colour commission for Martin. Whilst I worked on the colour illustration the guys brought along another dignitary, the Prime Minister’s wife, and like the day previous when we had met the President’s wife I was extremely honoured to meet her and chat for a short while.

By this time I was still working on other sketches and signing and selling my stuff too in between times, but by and by the Worlds End piece was eventually finished and Martin returned to collect it and was really happy with the end result, which is always nice to see.

This was in my honest opinion, a true fan of comics, willing to travel abroad for his passion and also wanting to have many different types of art from many different genres and for me it was a pleasure to be involved in and I will say once more here on this Blog, just in case Martin happens by, that it was a pleasure to produce the piece and to thank him for being patient, as I wandered between workshops lunches and my table.

Well the afternoon was jam packed with excited folks all trying faster and faster to buy stuff, get stuff signed and ask for sketches before the convention was over and even then, as I sat and worked away on yet another piece for a fan, I remember thinking that the con was almost over again for another was incredible to think how quickly the weekend had gone by without almost noticing it.

I looked up and noticed that some folks had begun packing up ready to leave, but I had a queue of folks wanting to buy things and sign things and sketch for them too, so I worked like a little beaver to make sure I accommodated everyone willing to come along to say hi to me.

By the time I heard the guys say it was time to pack up I still had two sketches to produce, which were already promised and some guys waiting to buy Ashcans and Bookmarks and some just wanting for autographs. I acknowledged the guys and continued to work. Last of the sketches were for my little mate, Kimberley and her uncle, Brian. Now her uncle had received a Batman sketch last year and this year he asked for Robin to accompany it, so I obliged and then produced a batman head and shoulders for Kimberley, who had asked me to draw him for her.

Then there was just time for a number of folks to have their photos taken with me and then I heard the shout which went out that the bus was here now and by this time, as I say, I had completed all the sketches, sold folks the books and stuff and signed autographs, until my head spun and then I began to pack my gear.

I took down the banner and posters and packed those and then proceeded to put everything else left into their respective places in the baggage. I was two items away from completion when Fabio came dashing up and shouted not to worry that the bus had gone and they would take me back to the hotel... had "The Windett Curse" struck again...thankfully no, as I spent the next hour, or so taking a few posters down for the guys, signing more of their graphic novels, lots more in fact and producing a Manga-type sketch for one of the recent additions to the organisation team, Tamara Fenech.

Then we left the main hall and waited for Fabio to bring his car around to the front entrance from where he had been parked and eventually looking reminiscent of a tin of sardines with the boxes of stuff, which surrounded us in the car, which would have as much use as the seatbelts in the case of an accident, we set off for the journey back to the hotel. Chris who was sat in the back with his wife Joanne and Nadia complained profusely about the positioning of the boxes on his lap and the precarious predicament he found himself in as a result – I’ll leave it to your imagination. Suffice it to say none of us especially Chris was going anywhere for a while.

On the way back the guys checked the time and asked me if I would like to accompany them for a meal out, as the chances were that the rest of the guests would already be out eating, so I agreed to go along – I certainly wasn’t going anywhere else for a while anyhow, as I have said.

We pulled up not too far away from the hotel, so I am told, it was dark after all by now, so I had no idea where we actually where. We then spent a pleasant time reflecting on this year’s convention over a meal in what the guys tell me is THE best kebab restaurant on Malta, and it was delicious too, so I guess they were telling me the truth. Fabio would not hear of me paying for my meal either, which was very kind of him.

Upon arriving back at the hotel, I took a shower, got changed and sent a text message to Sean to find out where everyone was. He called me back and told me he was in his room, or at least on his balcony having a glass, or two of wine, Renee, Gary and Liam had gone for a meal, Dave was trying to get some sleep and he figured Claudio too was trying to get some rest, as he still wasn’t feeling too well still with his throat infection, which was obviously bothering him.

The original plan had been to have a glass of wine and then go off to the bar downstairs, however it never transpired that way, as we spent a very enjoyable few hours chatting away about our work, comics and life in general on his balcony, as the folks below went about weekend life.

I left for some sleep and arose the morning after to the sound of thunder... “The Windett Curse” was back it appeared and with a vengeance. By the time we had been for breakfast, however the weather was beginning to break up somewhat. I met Dave in the breakfast area and then just as I had sent text messages to the other guys, saw Sean grabbing himself something to eat and Gary about to join us. A few moments later Liam replied he was awake, but not actually up yet and that he would be ready for collecting the bus at 10:00 a.m.

Checking the time I sent another informing him that the bus was due at 9:15 a.m., which I had learnt the evening before from Fabio over the meal. So it was that Liam suddenly had to get himself ready earlier than it looked like “The Windett Curse” was back for sure.

By the time everyone was ready and set to get on the bus we were late by at almost an hour. The bus driver, Topsy, was none too pleased with this, but aside from me everyone else was under the impression that we were to set off at ten and not nine-fifteen.

The weather as I say was starting to break a little and at least the thunder had passed and the sun poked its head out of the clouds more and more to our relief. This was the day of the trip around Malta, but this time we were visiting different places. We met with the guys in Valletta outside the St James Cavalier, where the convention had been held and once all the organisers arrived (so we actually weren’t late, thank goodness), which was good, we set off for the short walk through the capital to the Armouries to check out all the many pieces of armour from the Great Siege of 1565 and those predating that year.

We were introduced to the convention organiser’s contact at Heritage Malta, Russell Muscat, who then took us inside to meet the head curator.

The head curator and technical consultant of the Palace Armoury, Michael Stroud himself took us on our journey around the weaponry and armour, which began with the earliest chain mail through to the incredibly ornate almost pre-baroque styled armour of the 1400s and 1500s.

For all of us it was an incredible experience, but what made it so special is all the stops were pulled out for us as foreign visitors and Michael’s incredibly in-depth accounts and explanations of a large and very important part of Malta’s varied history up to the accounts of the Great Siege of 1565 were all part of the day. I took lots of photos of the amour and stuff whilst I was there.

As someone whose work is closely associated with fantasy looking at all the weapons, armour, cannons and the insanely massive cannonballs with their huge amounts of ornamentation on what were to cut to the chase, weapons of war and for dealing out death in a massively bloody way I found the close connection of the two opposing words, death and ornamentation fascinating.

Why bother to decorate in such a fashion implements that meted death out to those that faced them? The two things seemed to be in complete opposition. It was this level of decoration which will no doubt be implemented into my work at some point; such was its impact on me during this marvellous visit. I looked at the shape of the pike-type weaponry and saw my own designs for the Storm Serpents of the Aoevill horde in my own Worlds End graphic novel were not so far-fetched and removed from reality as I may have imagined.

The tour was well presented and made all the more enjoyable, because of the way in which the events and pieces were described by Michael and I for one feel incredibly lucky to have been present for the time we spent there.

We made our way back the short distance to St James’ and our driver, “Topsy” and his awaiting bus, which was now going to take us to the second part of our tour and a visit to the ancient prehistoric temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, something I had been waiting to see even before setting off on the flight to Malta some days before when I first found out we were due to visit the place.

By the time we had made it across the island via mini-bus the weather had again picked up and was sunny and hot. We were waiting for the organisers to meet us there and so went inside for something to drink and soon found ourselves sat down eating. I had a slice of cream roll and then when it was decided we would have lunch now, as the next tour would take us closer to our evening meal, Mark Ellul very kindly bought me lunch, which again was nice and just shows what kind of guys these are. Something about this trip made me look at the salads and choose those and this meal was no different, as I chose the Tuna, Capers and Olive salad.

Well, no sooner had we eaten and decided to set off on the tour, which again saw us having it conducted by an excellent tour guide in the form of Archaeologist, Joanne Mallia there was a sudden change to our surroundings. As soon as we decided to do so then the heavens opened up once more in a fleeting, but heavy shower. “The Windett Curse” struck again. It soon abated though and we found ourselves up the hillside from the tour centre in the sunshine once more. I took out my camera and low and behold “The Windett Curse” struck yet again, as the battery ran out after just one shot of the temples, so those below are courtesy of the other guys in the group, so thanks to Renee, Liam, Chris and Joseph for that.

Like the earlier one at the armoury this tour was both interesting and well conducted. It is incredible to think the structures we were being shown were over 4,000 years old. I had to touch them and thankfully “The Windett Curse” did not rear its head and the place is still standing...phew!

I wondered just how many people throughout those thousands of years had stood in exactly the same spot and how many had had the same thoughts; why were they built and by whom?

The structures were impressive, just by their immense size. Even today with all our state-of-the-art lifting equipment and high tech wizardry the stones would prove problematic, but with a lack of tools for even carving them with any great speed (at least using the same tools in the hands of modern man) that they were excavated in the first place and then shaped and erected afterwards is an incredible show of mankind’s ingenuity.

I love the outdoors and feel more kinship with the countryside than the towns and cities, but when you come across these kinds of places and their mystical looking monuments one cannot help but “feel” something different about the place, perhaps an energy, or a spiritual thing, as we get closer to nature and our true selves.

Just like the armoury this tour too, had my imagination going off all over the place and even now I am working on research along with the help of my friends in Malta to create a new graphic novel script.

These kinds of structures and rocks with ancient carvings on them are dotted about in a lot of my past work and especially the Worlds End book, which has ancient carvings on even more ancient stones and temples in the first volume, so you can imagine my interest peaking as I was shown around and listened to the speculated explanations as to what the structures potential uses could have been for and who the actual creators could have been.

The only unfortunate aspect of this particular tour was my camera battery going flat before I could take the photos I would have, but with the kind permission of the others in the group, like I say, I am able to show you guys using their photos what we actually saw.

There were two temples we visited, the first on the top of the hill overlooking the sea and the other much smaller temple residing as it does at the foot of the hill nearer to the sea. These impressive monuments have made a serious lasting impression with me and I would love the chance to return and view them at my leisure, perhaps even sketching and painting them in the summer months, sometime who knows.

Upon first seeing them I turned to John Bamber and mentioned that they looked like something out of a Quatermass film, especially as they were both covered by a state-of-the-art canvas covering that made the stone structures beneath them look like they belonged to a science fiction story.

The temples had rooms that we could see into, but nowadays are kept away from the footfalls of visitors due to the erosion of these timeless artefacts.

Next we paid a quick visit to a little part of the island that is riddled with coves straight out of Treasure Island, which is much like our own Cornwall here in England, a place with the name of, Blue Lagoon. The weather was quite blustery down so close to the sea, which was choppy as the waves crashed against the rocks below us.

On the journey back John Bamber received a call from Mike who asked to speak to me. Mike asked if I was still up for the TV interview, which had been mentioned to me on the Saturday and I told him I was and he asked if I could ask one of the other guys to join me and I told him I would. I elected to ask Liam, as I felt we would bounce off each other well as we usual do at conventions when we get together for any length of time.

Once back at the hotel I packed everything ready for the trip back home the following day and set about signing some of the new posters to give one to each of my fellow guests and the main organisers at the farewell meal. Once that was done it was time for a shower and a change of clothes and then, after a few text messages back home, off back down to the reception to meet up with the others and the bus, which was to take us to the restaurant where Chris “The back” Stellini – see last year’s Blogs, one of the organisers and a superb chef awaited our arrival.

I sat with Liam, Sean, Gary, and Claudio for a short time in the hotel cafe/bar chatting whilst we waited for the TV guys to arrive to make their short interview with Liam and me. Before long Frank Zammitt arrived with his camera man and we were whisked away to the reception area where the camera was set up and we were joined by the rest of guys who began watching us and he proceeded to interview us both, which seemed to go down really well. Frank had mentioned some of the things he wanted to ask us, but when you have been in the game as long as Liam and I have lots of the questions have been asked before anyhow, so it is just a matter of making it interesting to folks that have not heard what your views are before.

We both enjoyed answering the questions and I will be posting links to the interview here, on the Website and on a few other networks too, as soon as the files arrive. The guys left and we waited to go off for our meal.

A short while later we were joined by Renee and the only thing that spoilt the evening was seeing Dave, who gave me Mike’s sketch book (he had drawn Mike a sketch earlier). Now that may sound bad, but the reason I did so was he looked so ashen. He told me he was not going to be accompanying us to the meal, as he was absolutely shattered and he looked it and a bit wobbly on his feet too from lack of sleep. He asked me to apologise to everyone, but it was self-evident that he was in no fit state to come along. Was this the ultimate example of “The Windett Curse” reappearing?

We arrived at the Peperoncino Restaurant to be greeted by an obviously adrenaline filled Chris, who was anxious to start creating his magic for us with his team. Also there and this is also indicative of the attitude of the organisers were Laurence Paul Zrinzo and his girlfriend, as well as Martin the comic fan who had come all the way from Germany, just for the convention and also came along on the tour too.

My menu choices were Soup of the day, which we all got. This was followed by Pasta Peperoncino. Followed by Veal Scallop in Marsala sauce and I finished with Tiramisu and a coffee. It looked incredible and tasted even better. Chris will make someone a wonderful husband!!!

Well there followed lots of chatting, laughter and photos followed by hugs and promises to keep in touch and I have to admit this is the hardest thing about the trips so far, saying good bye to these most wonderful of folks and it does get quite emotional.

Soon it was time for the final group photo, which we ended last year’s convention with too. Then it was time for more hugs and promises to keep in touch and then we were on the bus heading back to the hotel. There was little time spent in the reception area that evening, as both Gary and Sean would be back up and on a flight home in two hours. As it was, for Dave, Liam and I, our flight wasn’t until early evening, the following day, so we had time to spare. That said, Dave and I still met early for breakfast and he looked massively better. The colour had returned to his face and he had managed to get some sleep.

We checked out and put our baggage in the storage area, whilst I bought some little gifts for the folks back home and then we sat outside in the sunshine outside the hotel cafe/bar and had a couple of soft drinks, whist we waited for Fabio to kindly take us to the airport.

The trip to the airport was an uneventful, but enjoyable one, as we chatted about the weekend and all we had experienced. Then it was time to say our farewells to Fabio and again it was quite an emotional time for me.

At the airport we joined Liam who had just arrived moments earlier and we passed through customs without a hitch. The flight home was a pleasant one, for which most of the time, Dave rested and Liam and I chatted about the industry of all things – perhaps the first time ever in our time of knowing each other from the late eighties that we have done so to such a degree.

After touching down, albeit about forty minutes later than scheduled, and collecting our baggage, Dave and I said goodbye to Liam who was catching a different train to ours and we set off back down the travelator to the trains, which hopefully awaited us.

Dave and I said our own goodbyes and he went to Platform 1a, whilst I went to Platform 2b to await our respective trains. It was then we saw the return of our old friend “The Windett Curse” again. Dave’s train had switched platforms and was now on 2a, but I need not have chuckled because within a minute or so an announcement came over the intercom telling all passengers to my destination and beyond that the train had been cancelled due to the late connections with the flights.

But there was light at the end of the tunnel, because I was told to catch the very same train Dave was hopefully now on. Lo and behold he was and we shared a short trip back to Bolton, where I left to catch my connecting train, which was now due in around forty-five minutes. I was by now feeling the freezing cold of the north west of England, which had dropped in temperature even more than when I left a few days earlier and after the heat of Malta was finding it much colder.

At length the train came, which would take me home and I settled down for the half hour trip, finding myself speaking along the way to a fellow passenger going my way who asked if I had been anywhere nice.

It wasn’t too long before I found myself being picked up by my wonderful wife, Margaret and relishing the much appreciated warmth of her car. Once back home I regaled her with the stories of my trip (read bore if you like - LOL) and gave her the little gift I had bought for her and it was back to normal after a much needed rest.

Below are some more photos of the trip I took this year:

After Party with Sean, John

After Party with Claudio, Gary, Mike, & Dave

Fat Spidey 

 Joanne & Chris Le Galle

Stefan & Hero from the Golden Lizard in the background

Kimberley and Uncle Brian with their sketches

Tamara catches me taking photos

Proud Dad, Peter, mans Inez's table

Stefan, Samantha & Tamara


Laurence and girlfriend

Susam Waitt

Liam & Fat Spidey

Ever the Hero, Fat Spidey

Laurence with his signed Ashcan

 Working on Martin's Commission - Peter, Inez & Mum


Adding some colour to Martin's Commission

Brian, Kimberley with their sketches

A quick sketch and autograph for Jeanelle

Dave sketching for the fans

The incredible mural being worked on at the front entrance by Chris

Palace Armoury head curator & technical consultant, Michael Stroud

The magnifiscent display of weapons and armour: Palace Armoury

Streets of Valletta

Archaeologist and Tour Guide, Joanne Mallia

 A scene from Quatermass? Hagar Qim

Gary watches on as Liam takes some photos

Over 4.000 years old and still looking great


Winner of the wet T-shirt contest, Chris Le Galle

Are we still on for the TV interview...are they kidding?

Blue Lagoon

Gary, loving it all



Chris - Yes another one...Muscat

Anthony with his signed poster




The farewell meal

The traditional last group shot...lots of emotion

Waiting for Fabio in the sun

Chilling in the sun

Dave "bearer of the curse" Windett chilling in the sun

The Hotel Santana cafe/bar

Thanks again to those folks from whom I have “borrowed” your photos for this Blog.

I hope this little mini-series of Blogs from our trip to this wonderful island has served to whet your appetite to seek it out yourselves and ask your forgiveness for the length of this last little missive. I also hope you have enjoyed your stay with me, as I recounted my memories of my time with my colleagues/friends that accompanied me and my friends that live out there.

By the way the little in-joke about the curse was not only endorsed by Dave himself, it was he that gave it life as a joke.

I for one cannot wait until next year and MaltaComicCon3.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
October 30th 2010