Wednesday, 16 November 2011

UNCLE SILAS WEBSITE COMING SOON...



There'll be news, info, reviews, character descriptions, synopsis, downloads and the 
ANIMATED TRAILER for Uncle Silas: Genetis!

Monday, 14 November 2011

STANLEY AWARD WIN FOR UNCLE SILAS: GENETIS

All those years of hard work slaving away on Uncle Silas: Genetis in my lonely artist's garret (ok, so maybe not, I was slaving away in the Watermark studio in Sydney) won me a Stanley Award for Comic Book Artist on Saturday night at the 27th annual Australian Cartoonists Association awards dinner in Sydney.
And what a night! Well, what a weekend, really...

The ACA run a conference the whole weekend with guest speakers and events and I was lucky enough to be invited to chat on a talking panel with Tim McEwen and Jozef Szekeres about Australian comics and graphic novels and the industry. Tim gave a great introduction showcasing Australian creators and artists that gave those uninitiated some idea of the talent out there, Jozef talked about his fantastic work and what a labour of love it is, and I babbled about my own gear for newspapers and my graphic novel.

This was followed up by questions from MC Jules and the audience and we gave our thoughts and impressions on the amazing talent pool in Oz and how damn hard it is to keep up with the volume of work being produced. The issue of being able to hunt them all down considering the disparity of the DIY minicomic movement and the lack of an Australian based distributor of comics was touched on, as was the accessibility of so many comics and graphic novels thanks to the internet.

Australian publishers such as Black House Comics, Gestalt and Allen & Unwin were discussed as were their agendas. I recommended to the ACA that they get these people in next year to have their own panel forum discussion- that would be terrific to listen to.

Ron Cobb was the headlining guest speaker over the 2 days and he gave wonderful anecdotes on his experiences both in cartooning for newspapers as well as his production design work for movies such as Conan, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Alien and more.

Nat Karmichael gave a very unique talk on Jon Dixon's incredibly popular newspaper strip Airhawk; Reg Mombassa was another guest speaker and Jordan Verzar gave an illuminating talk on his work with GRAPHIC, the comic book festival/event held every year at the Sydney Opera House. Jordan told of the whole Robert Crumb vs Jesse Phillips case and the incredibly devious libelous lengths the News Ltd hack went to for the sake of selling some newspapers that led to Crumb cancelling his trip to Australia where he was to be interviewed by Gary Groth on stage. Not helped by news people repeatedly harassing Crumb and his family over the phone for the sake of comment. No surprises he didn't come to Australia. There were plenty of other guest speakers and talks but I wasn't able to make them all unfortunately (sorry Anton and Eric!)

The Awards dinner was a fun affair and it was great catching up with buddies. Good mate Anton Emdin won 2 stanleys on the night, not surprisingly one of them was the gold Stanley for Cartoonist of the Year. He'd also picked up a Reuben Award in America earlier in the year (the first Australian to do so) and it was a safe bet he'd get some Stanley lovin' back home.

The Comic Book Art category is in its second year in the ACA and being able to submit Uncle Silas into it was a treat. Australia's got some killer talent in the comic creating field and I feel pretty lucky to get a gong this year. Once the rest of Australia's comics crowd catches up with this particular Stanley award the competition is just going to keep getting tougher and tougher, so I feel pretty bloody fortunate to get this one while I could!

A huge thank you to all the ACA peoples who made the weekend happen. Next years Stanley Awards promises to have Gerald Scarfe as a headlining guest speaker, so that should be worth going to.
Unless Jesse Phillips gets wind of it and manages to get him to cancel as well...



Saturday, 30 July 2011

UNCLE SILAS: EARTH begins...

Arts SA are a lovely, generous bunch. They've given me a grant to produce the first draft of the sequel graphic novel Uncle Silas: Earth. I'll be working on that over the next several months, collating my research, writing and storyboarding simultaneously approximately 160 pages of action, drama and sci-fi fun.

I won't be hindered by the Sunday Newspaper format for this one, so I'm going to let rip with the page layouts and design. Scenes will breathe on the page and fill out as their needs require, which is something I'm very much looking forward to doing. I can't wait to finish this book!!

As for what's going to happen in this story? You'll just have to wait and see, but I can tell you this much: The only constant in this universe is change. Oh, and there'll be more monsters than in book 1, you can be sure of that!

Friday, 29 April 2011

TALENTED PEOPLE


I couldn't have finished Uncle Silas: Genetis before the deadline without the huge help from Tony Giles and Tom Brown. They were my work for hire friends who flatted all the colours in the book.
For those who don't speak the parlance, 'flatting' is the preparation process of taking a black and white image, and in Photoshop adding flat blobs of colour underneath, matching up with the shapes of the characters, speech balloons etc to then make the second stage of colouring that much easier to do.
By selecting these blobs the fancy part of colouring with all the tones, shadows, highlights and special effects etc, is incredibly faster. Flatting is really a monotonous 'paint by numbers' process that nevertheless requires good Photoshop skills and an artistic eye. Two things these boys have in spades.

Tom's a web designer who's previous experience with Anifex behind the scenes in the computer dept. meant he was in control of a lot of complex cinematography involving stop motion animation, video editing and more.

Tony's just outright talented, and proves it with an intensely prolific output of his stylised oil paintings. Check out his portfolio, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

UNCLE SILAS FOR YOUR iPAD AND iPHONE


Uncle Silas: Genetis is finally available to buy as a downloadable graphic novel from Dark Horse Digital!
Simply click the link and create an account, or download the Dark Horse Comics app from iTunes and then buy the book. For Australian readers it's $3.99.

I haven't seen it yet on an iPad, but considering how good it looks on my iPhone I'm sure it looks even better. I found the best way to read the pages were up close and rotating the iPhone to a landscape format. The navigation controls are super simple to use which is a huge bonus.
A welcome surprise was discovering the various 'reveals' as the panels popped up. Some of the panels read so well in this medium.
DH are also offering a HUGE range of free comics to tempt the curious so what are you waiting for? Check it out already!

Monday, 11 April 2011

WIRED UP

WIRED's GeekDad gives a reasonable review of my book here.
It sounds like I confused GeekDad by not making it clear just who is the good guy or bad guy in the story, but it was always my intention not to. What interests me is that despite the high levels of interconnectivity in the forest, communication between species doesn't make it easier to translate. Especially when usually passive plants start being proactive and sentient at different rates. I also didn't want to make a book where every new species speaks english fluently. This leaves Uncle Silas and the kids reacting to events more than preempting them and this reflects life more honestly- adapting to change. Besides- I like making things difficult for them.

A lot of the other points that reviewers are bringing up is in part due to the size of the artwork in the book and the hangover of making it originally for newspapers.
Originally the book was meant to be A5 landscape, with a single weekly installment on each page, so the flow of the Sunday newspaper strip would be intact, and more importantly the artwork would be reproduced much larger.
As it was, halfway through me working on it DH went with a portrait dimension and stacked 2 installments per page (which makes a double page spread a whole month's worth!) which is fine and would have been great if the book was then A4 or thereabouts, but as it stands readers are missing the details I put in. There are some pages with 15 panels of action which at A5 is ridiculously busy.
Should the book go into a second printing (touch wood) I'll also add some splash page panels to really take advantage of the space, and to make clear some of the action sequences and to let some scenes breath and relax. I'll even add some extra talky panels to help readers catch up ;)

I'm taking all this experience on board for the sequel Uncle Silas: Earth, where I'll not be restricted by the Sunday newspaper format at all. I'll be able to really sink my teeth into the page layout and design and let the action really sing and fill out.

Friday, 1 April 2011

TIDES OF HOPE

Here's my submission for Tides of Hope, an anthology produced by Supanova to help raise money for the Queensland flood victims. Tim McEwen's one of the driving forces behind this worthwhile comic, and Supanova's donating ALL publishing costs, and ALL MONEY RAISED from the sale of the comic at the Supanova events in Brisbane will go straight to the Premier's Relief Fund.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

MORE GREAT REVIEWS...

A couple of great reviews, this time from the REVIEW liftout from The Weekend Australian, Australia's national weekend paper, and InDaily, Adelaide's free eNewspaper.

All this has me itching to get started into the sequel Uncle Silas: Earth.
I can't wait to draw me some monsters!!

It's all about comic timing

COMICS aren't just for grown-ups. Though until very recently you wouldn't know it as English-language publishers became perhaps a little too eager to rehabilitate the comic book's long-suffering status as an exclusively juvenile pastime by appealing to a more mature, affluent readership.
In so doing they seemed to lose sight of what more established, cradle-to-grave markets in Europe and Japan have known for decades: young readers are essential for the survival of the medium. Recognising this, in the past few years some publishers began belatedly embracing comic books for all ages, such as Uncle Silas: Genetis, by Adelaide-based David Follett. Originally conceived in 2005 as an Australian newspaper comic strip, Uncle Silas went on to win US publisher Dark Horse's New Recruits program, finally seeing publication late last year.
The long gestation period appears to have paid off in this wry, inventive and assured graphic novel debut that sets the scene for a proposed series of eco-conscious science fiction escapades starring the aptly named Mulch family. When their uncle Silas Mortimer Mulch, a tree-hugging mad scientist with requisite, if well-meaning, delusions of grandeur, goes missing in his mysterious greenhouse turned rainforest, quarrelsome pre-teen siblings Selena and Tommy set out to find him, with help from S.O.F.I.A, Silas's secretive, organic supercomputer.
Clad in modish hi-tech pod suits and armed only with their wits and digital savvy, not to mention high-velocity plant tranquillisers, the bright, feisty Selena and her impetuous, headstrong brother encounter all manner of delights and dangers in their uncle's rapidly evolving bio-tech garden of Eden. From fungi-based networks and holographic databases to killer carp and malicious tree sprites, from sentient weeds to zombie fish, the intrepid duo learns the hard way about self-reliance, teamwork and the inherently symbiotic relationship between humankind and nature . . . while Australia's fate hangs in the balance.
For all its techno trappings and environmental caveats, Uncle Silas: Genetis is an enjoyably old-fashioned adventure romp that nonetheless feels fresh, smart and unpredictable, while retaining a larrikin sensibility that wouldn't be out of place in a Ginger Meggs yarn. Befitting his background in animation, Follett's kinetic cartooning style, spiced with a dash of Japanese anime, lush colouring and confident draughtsmanship, perfectly conveys his action and idea-packed story.
Unfortunately, the blistering pace and continuous flurry of discoveries gives the characters, let alone the readers, little time to reflect on their predicament or the wonders they are witnessing. This is compounded by the episodic, two-tiered newspaper comic strip structure and the book's unsuitably compact size, which constrain the artwork and storytelling, resulting in some clunky exposition and an occasionally jerky narrative. That said, Follett has cunningly put so much into play in this first volume and hinted at even more that I, for one, am keen to find out what happens next. Let's hope exploits of the family Mulch will have more room to manoeuvre in an appropriately expanded format.
Cefn Ridout is a Sydney-based comic-book writer and editor.


COMIC: Uncle Silas: Genetis

By David Follett
Dark Horse Books, $15
DASH TAYLOR

BLAP. BLOOP. BAM. This graphic novel, written and illustrated by Adelaide’s David Follett, is a bio-tech action adventure to be experienced.
Dense frames fill the 72 pocket-book pages as niece and nephew Selena and Tommy discover Uncle Silas has gone missing and they are his only hope. Apart from SOFIA, an organic computer, POD suits and a greenhouse which has come aggressively to life (all in the first four pages), these siblings are confronted by cognisant garden fungi seemingly intent on taking over anything and everything in its path.
In this genetics/genesis hybrid, graphics are vibrant. All the characters (the garden as a pulsating setting is so much more) are animated with colour, speech bubbles and sound effects, segueing from frame to frame at a frantic pace. The visual energy is high, with little respite as the search extends further among Silas Mortimer Mulch’s ecological astonishments; some of the new creatures are simply mind-boggling.
As an educational text, Follett is on the right track. Computing terms/jargon is prevalent; from internet to interconnectivity, a broad sweep of ages and experience can be engaged. Mythology, Man v Nature and the influence of technology all combine to build a platform for future episodes with this budding dynamic duo, their dangerously brilliant uncle and his Frankenstein-like creations.
The Adventures of the Wishing Chair meets Little Shop of Horrors. THE END … FOR NOW!

Friday, 18 February 2011

USG PENCILS NOW UP ON FLICKR

You can now check out the whole Uncle Silas: Genetis book in early inks and pencil stages ONLINE!
That's right, people! You can sit there with your copy of the book and flick through the pencils to do a page by page comparison to see what I was thinking and scribbling.
Sound like fun?
YOU BET!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

HUMANS AS BACTERIA?

This TED talk by Bonnie Bassler gives one reason to pause for thought...
How does this biological perspective reflect on human overpopulation, cultures, religions, societies and behaviours?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

COMPULSIVE READER INTERVIEW NOW ONLINE.

The very smart and engaging Maggie Ball, from Compulsive Reader, interviewed me about Uncle Silas: Genetis on Blog Talk Radio. Maggie interviews so many interesting writers it's well worth your while checking out the back log of interviews on iTunes.
Enjoy!


VOTE 1 FOR SILAS!

The annual UK Eagle Awards for comic books and graphic novels are now open for voting, so now's your chance to support Uncle Silas: Genetis!
I've submitted into these categories below to save you the hassle of looking for my name every time:

Favourite Newcomer Artist: David Follett
Favourite Artist: Fully-Painted Artwork: David Follett
Favourite Writer/Artist: David Follett
Favourite Artist: Inks: David Follett
Favourite Colourist: David Follett
Favourite 2010 Cover: Uncle Silas: Genetis
Favourite 2010 Original Graphic Novel: Uncle Silas: Genetis

 Please vote!
Every vote counts as this is a numbers game, and it would be amazing to even get into the nomination rounds for any one of these categories.
Thanks in advance!
Cheers,
Dave

Saturday, 22 January 2011

SCIENCE IS CATCHING UP TO UNCLE SILAS...

Science is catching up to me!
A group of students at Hong Kong's Chinese University have developed a way to store complex information in bacteria.
Sounds crazy, right? Yup.


This one's even freakier:
It's probably the nastiest, slimiest computer in the world. Powered by oat flakes instead of electricity, scientists in the UK have developed a rudimentary computer using a slime mold they have affectionately named Plasmobot.

LET'S GET DIGITAL... DIGITAL...

Uncle Silas looks set to be available via Dark Horse Digital in April 2011!
While nothing beats holding the book in your hot little hands and smelling that ink on the butter stained and well thumbed glossy page, readers will now have the chance to carry USG around in their hot little iPad and iPhone with all the Hellboy and Star Wars they can possibly download!
Why does this excite me? Because you'll be able to ZOOM IN and check out all the brain-bending background detail UP CLOSE!!
I'll keep you posted with release dates and pricing when I know more myself.

THE WEEK REVIEW


The good folk at The Week magazine reviewed the reviews of Uncle Silas: Genetis in their latest issue. A great little piece of publicity as the magazine is available nationally.

ANTON's REVIEW for INKSPOT

The ever-talented and genuinely great guy Anton Emdin has done me a good turn and reviewed Uncle Silas: Genetis for the Australian Cartoonist's Association's Inkspot magazine.
Thanks Anton! I'll release your puppy now, don't worry- she's fine.

Uncle Silas: Genetis

Technicolour mushrooms, carnivorous plants, holographic apparitions and a giant rotting fish carcass. No, it’s not the contents of the Inkspot bar fridge, but a new graphic novel by David Follett.

Uncle Silas: Genetis hits the ground running as two kids (Selena and Tommy) visit their uncle (scientist and “ecological supergenius”, Silas Mortimer Mulch) only to discover him missing, with some bizarre plant activity occurring in his laboratory. They prove themselves to be pretty smart, tough kids. Instead of soiling their pants (as I would have done) when an overgrown cauliflower explains the situation, they take up the adventure with gusto – and set out to save Silas!

Tommy and Selena’s search for their uncle introduces them to an ever-changing, endless greenhouse of super-organisms; shrubs that spring up in seconds, fungal hard drives, frog cameras, smart pod suits with organic weaponry and a network of plants that make the your new Mac seem pretty dull. It’s environment meets technology, and watch out! The action comes thick and fast – almost giddying at times – in this book for kids of all ages.

Follett’s mastery of linework and form bring the artwork to life with a ton of energy and movement. The forest and its inhabitants are dense and intricately rendered, in stark comparison to the main characters, which are simpler and stylised. This contrast allows the reader to not only focus on the characters quickly, but to relate more easily to them. As the characters bounce around the page, one can sense deep roots of comic tradition in Follett’s flowering style – from the Manga-inspired action to European ‘Band Dessinee’, and a healthy dose of classic American adventure strips. Unfortunately, Dark Horse has printed the book fairly small (A5 sized), making the detail harder to appreciate in this edition.

Dave has been working on Uncle Silas: Genetis for around eight years. In its original incarnation, Silas was a weekly interactive half-page Sunday strip for News Limited, but the project kicked into gear after winning US comic publisher Dark Horse‘s New Recruits competition in 2008. Since then Mr. Follett has written, pencilled, inked and coloured the book in-between his busy freelance career, with publication by Dark Horse in October of this year.

And if his wife, Christie, thought she was getting Dave back on nights and weekends, she might be mistaken! There are five more sequels planned, all to be set in and around South Australia, and according to the Follett, leading to “a massive earth-shattering climax!”. I need a Bex and a lie-down already!

Uncle Silas: Genetis is available from all good comic stores and darkhorse.com

Anton Emdin