1. If you’re at Kendal Comic Arts festival this weekend you may be dismayed to learn that I’m going to be talking there. Fortunately the talk I’m doing is with Lizz Lunney and Donya Todd so it might actually be quite fun to watch. We’re going to be discussing funny comics. It’s at 12.15pm today in the brewery arts centre. I’ll also be drawing in books in Waterstones (they’ve asked me to, it’s not vandalism) on Sunday from 1pm, as well as sporadically in the clock tower at the Jonathan Cape table.


  2. Tomorrow night! I’m at Manchester Literature Festival talking graphic novels with Nick Hayes and drawing things in my new comic collection. Tickets are available here.


  3. The US book launch for BEARD is next week at Brooklyn’s Bergen Street Comics. Check out this great poster made for the event by Ryan Dunlavey. (Thanks Ryan)


  4. capegraphicnovels:

    Some Comicsby Stephen Collins is out NOW (!!!) and we had the chance to catch up with the man himself.

    What was the first comic you wrote?

    Oh now you’re asking - I seem to recall entering a Blue Peter comics competition with a strip about a mouse who inflates his fist with air so that he can punch a cat really hard in the face. It didn’t even get shortlisted - it lost out to some typically sappy Blue Peter thing about the Earth getting all sad because it’s got pollution in its hair. I think I’d rather misjudged the nice Blue Peter tone. I just went straight in there with the whole ‘extreme animal violence’ thing, and it turned out that wasn’t really their bag. 

    The first proper attempt at a comic I made was called Albert Ross the Albatross (see what I did there), about an Albatross who jailbreaks all his animal friends from the zoo. I think I must have been about 10 or 11 when I made it, at the height of my Asterix obsession. A plot hole immediately presented itself when I realised that no humane zoo would actually keep an albatross in captivity. My mum says she still has the comic. Albert never got to free his friends of course, as his story stopped about 3 pages in. It was intended to be this huge, full-length comic album. I was definitely as misguidedly ambitious then as I still am, in terms of getting out of my depth with these too-large projects. 

    Who are your comic heroes and influences?

    My earliest influences were Gary Larson and Goscinny-era Asterix. I distinctly remember reading Larson’s Prehistory of the Far Side and thinking, “Hey, I could do that”. 

    My most significant influence in recent times has been Chris Ware. Just the novelistic scope and the complexity of his stuff, and the way in which his stories could only be comics, not films or novels or poems - simply because their narrative structures and techniques are entirely new, pretty much invented by Ware as far as I can tell, for the purpose of making comics alone. Jimmy Corrigan is one of the few works of art which I can honestly say has changed my life in a tangible way. I was an illustrator before I read that book, and now I’m a cartoonist, for better or worse. ‘Genius’ is an overused term, especially in the arts, but Ware is one of the few who actually deserve it.

    I have loads of other influences as well - mostly modern North American cartoonists like Dan Clowes, Alison Bechdel, Seth, Charles Burns, Michael Deforge. I also get very fired up by pretty much everything that Nobrow put out.  

    What was the last comic you read?

    (In A Sense) Lost and Found by Roman Muradov. An incredible piece of work, wholly original and stunningly beautiful. There’s another recent influence. 

    What helps you write?

    I’ve actually just started using this app called Write Or Die which literally deletes your words in front of you if you stop writing for too long. I’m finding that very helpful because I can easily start over-thinking things while I’m writing scripts, and I’ve got so much actual prose to write for my next graphic novel before I can even start drawing it that this app is already helping me get through it faster. It’s a very ugly and strange app, but I’d recommend it to anyone who writes as slowly as I do. 

    I’m always scripting things with one eye on how it’ll look visually as well, so once I start blobbing sentences around the pages design, then that helps me edit the writing also. Designing your words around a page comic form is an interesting way to get your head round how things will read. You’re literally ‘designing’ the experience for the reader, and I’d recommend that even to prose writers, as a conceptual exercise.

    Have you ever run into an old schoolfriend who was, in fact, an anteater?  

    No, but the comic in the book to which you’re referring is called I Met That Danny Clark From School The Other Day, He’s An Anteater Now, and I did know a guy at school named Danny Clark. The kid in the comic even looks a bit like I remember him. But it’s not about the real Danny in any way at all - it’s just quite a normal name, so it worked well with this extraordinary situation the comic describes.  


    Stephen Collins is a cartoonist and illustrator. His first book, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2013. Praised by the likes of Raymond Briggs and described as ‘a future classic’ by the Observer, it became the first graphic novel to be shortlisted for Waterstone’s Book of the Year and won the Edinburgh Festival’s inaugural 9th Art Award.

    Stephen previously won the Jonathan Cape / Observer Graphic Short Story Prize. His work has appeared in many publications worldwide, and he contributes regular comics to the Guardian Weekend and Prospect magazine. He lives near Hertford with his wife and son.


  5. OUT NOW (UK) - SOME COMICS BY STEPHEN COLLINS. Signed bookplate editions still available by mail order from Gosh, or you can get it from Hive, Guardian Bookshop and Amazon UK. Signed copies available soon from Forbidden Planet in London (I’ll be doing those in the coming weeks).


Unbelievably, someone is actually paying to have me leave my house and go to New York. I have never been, and am very excited.

    On Thursday 9th I’ll be signing The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, published by Picador at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn from 6.30pm

    Then on Friday October 10th I’m delighted to be doing a joint signing with Roman Muradov at Desert Island in Brooklyn from 7pm-9pm

    …and then on Saturday 11th I’ll also be at NY Comicon, doing a panel talk on Editorial cartooning with the New Yorker’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff from 8pm.


  7. I’m at Manchester Literature Festival next Tuesday evening (7th October), talking graphic novels with Nick Hayes and drawing things in my new book. Tickets are available here.


  8. Come down tomorrow evening and get this signed & limited edition DEPRESSING GLOOMY BOOKPLATE with every copy of semi-satirical whimsical humour product! See www.goshlondon.com for details.


  9. Book launch! This Thursday! Gosh Comics! London!


  10. New super-short print edition now available in my shop: ‘Holiday Reading’


  11. New book! 25th September (7pm) at Gosh Comics, London: a signing and launch of SOME COMICS BY STEPHEN COLLINS, a collection of my short comics old and unseen. Includes the best of the past five years of my editorial comics, as well as new and unseen work. Gosh have an exclusive bookplate edition on sale limited to 200 copies only, and will also be selling exclusive prints and displaying originals of my work. Come along and I’ll draw in a copy for you.


  12. A page from my next long story, as yet untitled. The full book is a couple of years off yet, but I’ve contributed an extract from it to Steak Night 4, which is debuting at the East London Comics and Arts Festival on 14th June. I have incredibly managed to double book myself with my summer holiday, so I’ve had to pull out of Elcaf, which I was gutted about. But you can go and buy a copy of Steak Night from Babak Gangei's table in the small press room.


  13. Call For Jeeves: illustration for Radio Times


  14. Two more Guardian supplement covers about postgraduate education


  15. Interactive web feature for Open University, about the ‘psychology of shopping’