APRS, exhibitions & a spot of murder

I’ve not been able to write as much lately as I’ve been focusing on my dreaded APR submission. It’s 18k and counting. Possibly on the excessive side, but the guidelines for part-time students are about as helpful as a chocolate fireguard, to coin one of my mum’s favourite phrases. I won’t get up on my ‘all PhDs have different circumstances’ horse, but I’m not convinced that ‘or part-time equivalent’ really constitutes a clear instruction. Anyhow, my panel will get an 18k extract of around 24k’s worth of Batgirl chapter. Lucky them. I’ve also been told I’m finally on the waiting list for nerve conduction tests, so hopefully the end is in sight for the pain in my hands and arms. The concept of pain-free writing (physical, anyway!)…

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92 pages and 18161 words on good old Batgirl 

Of course, I’ve not spent weeks frantically editing. Last week I went to the new Frank Quitely exhibition at the Kelvingrove museum with some friends. It combines some of Comic Invention‘s pieces (such as The Glasgow Looking Glass) with a vast collection of Quitely’s work in comics, from storyboards and concept sketches, to fully coloured and lettered panels and covers, not to mention letters and notes from editors.

Promotional image for the exhibition- Kelvingrove Museum 

It’s brilliant, giving a wonderful insight into Quitely’s work and processes, but also that of the mainstream comic book industry too. There are also several videos playing throughout the exhibition, featuring interviews with Quitely and some of Scotland’s best comic book writers (Grant Morrison and Mark Millar in particular), as well as my PhD supervisor. Although I enjoyed the opportunity to see otherwise unseen pieces of Quitely’s work, I was delighted to see that the Birds of Prey cover I presented on during Comic Invention also made an appearance.

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Birds of Prey #125- original and coloured

I’ve also managed to cram in a lot of reading this month. I took a break from Batgirl and Harley, and indulged in some Marvel titles instead, managing to get hold of the first volumes of The Unbelievable Gwenpool and Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat. I won’t go into masses of detail, but Gwenpool is, frankly, the comic I never knew I needed and a welcome addition to my shelves. I’ve not laughed so much when reading a comic in quite a while, and Gwen is a surprisingly likeable and entertaining character. As for Hellcat…it’s a lovely character-driven read, with some adorable artwork by Williams to boot. I plan to pick up the second volumes of both when I next have cash to spare- at the moment my bank balance is going towards next month’s trip to Canada for the CSSC conference (future blog topic, of course).


Next week, writer Scarlett Thomas will be visiting campus, and I’m hoping to go along. Upon seeing the advert for the event, I dutifully dusted off the few books by her that I have, and ordered a few others. I read a few of her novels when I was a teenager, and the event was a good excuse to read something other than a comic! Whilst I’ve not been overly keen on some of her literary fiction, Thomas’ (no longer in print, and harder to obtain) Lily Pascale crime fiction books are a good giggle. Lily is an entertaining heroine, and the fact that she is a literature graduate also appeals. The cases Thomas presents her as solving are suitably grizzly and confounding, too. If you can get hold of a second hand copy or two, I’d recommend them. I’m now making a start on her first YA novel, Dragon’s Green, and also rereading Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders. I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and Horowitz has been a favourite since I was a young adult and devouring YA fiction. There may be a future blog post there…

I should perhaps resume editing my APR submission, but I hope to blog more regularly again soon. For one thing, I got hold of the first volume of the new Nightwing comic, and I certainly have a few opinions.

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