Alex Fitch of excellent Resonance FM programme/ podcast Panel Borders uploads an insightful panel discussion hosted by Paul Gravett, featuring Darryl Cunningham, Brian Fies and Phillipa Perry. Recorded at the 2010 Comics and Medicine conference at the University of London’s Institute of English Studies, the panel “discuss issues of biography and autobiography on the page, the process of portraying a narrative that has a story structure as well as an element of education to it and what they learned from the experience.”. Highly recommended by us.
In case you missed it last week, Darryl Cunningham was interviewed by Claudia Hammond for BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind. Focusing on the personal and professional experiences that led Darryl to create Psychiatric Tales, the interview is a succinct yet revealing conversation that will appeal to existing fans as well as newcomers to his work. As of writing, the episode is still available on the BBC iPlayer and also as part of the BBC’s Medical Matters podcast.
Just as exciting (if not more), in the wake of the interview, Psychiatric Tales shot to #1 in Amazon.co.uk’s Graphic Novel sales chart. Leapfrogging over the heads of Maus, The Walking Dead, Chester Brown, and even Batman himself, it really cements the already great response the book has received over the past 10 months, as well as the anticipation for the upcoming sequel. We’re still celebrating at Blank Slate HQ now.
Darryl’s follow-up, Psychiatric Tales 2, is due for release from Blank Slate later this year/ early 2012, and his collection of stories for children, Uncle Bob Adventures, should be hitting stores in August. Be sure to keep an eye on our upcoming releases page and Twitter/Facebook feeds for more info as we have it.
It’s been one week since we announced Nelson and the response has been incredible. I’ve collected all of the press that I can find so feel free to peruse some of the links below.
(And by all means send an email over to email@example.com if you’ve found an article that I’ve missed.)
Brad Brooks- Ninthart
Down The Tubes
Comic Bits Online
Birmingham Mail- Speech Balloon
Forbidden Planet Blog
Small Press Big Mouth
Thought Bubble Festival
Space in Text
Bristol Expo (scroll down)
TCAF went very well – Joe Decie managed to sell out of all his copies of The Accidental Salad- hopefully we’ll have some photos from the event soon. (Probably once everyone has recovered from their jet lag)
And that’s it for this week. Have a lovely weekend-
Again you get your news a bit early this week as we’re off to Toronto for TCAF this weekend.
You can find our table right near the entrance-
He also delighted us with the Three Avengers-
Broken Frontier posted a preview for Luchadoras on their site- you can check that out here.
And that’s it for this week- or is it?
Here we are your Friday re-cap-
Luchadoras has received it’s first review from Paul Gravett.
“Though much shorter at 97 ages, Luchadoras is a concise, focussed gem that deserves to sit up there alongside epics like Los Bros Hernandez’ Love & Rockets and Jessica Abel’s La Perdida as another empathic, perceptive portrayal of troubling aspects of contemporary Mexican society.”
You can read the entire review in his May Previews.
Avoid the Future interviewed the lovely Madéleine Flores discussing The Girl and the Gorilla, her process, what we can expect next and her favorite books. You can read the full article here and don’t forget to vote for theStumptown Comics Award.
Darryl Cunningham’s Psychiatric Tales continues it’s long list of reviews- this time from Comics Worth Reading and PsychCentral.com.
And if you haven’t already- have a listen to the recent interview for Inkstuds. Really good stuff.
After what seems like the mother of all gestation periods, Nottingham’s Page 45 comics store now has a new website. It’s not only a place to shop for comics and Graphics but it’s a repository for a vast archive of reviews that the store has piled up over the years. I know there are reviews for many books all over the web but with Page 45 you can be sure you aren’t reading a thinly modified press release – these people care deeply about comics and they will give you their opinions in black and white terms – like is like, loathe is loathe. That’s refreshing. Stephen Holland might be known to many of you as he’s been around a long time – winning awards for the store he co-founded, running out his agitprop opinions of the comics market for Comics International for many years and writing the essential Page 45 newsletter – where he will turn you on to all sort of great things you might otherwise miss.
Go check out their site – you might find yourself spending a long time there. Sign up for that newsletter. We are very pleased to have had Darryl’s Psychiatric Tales picked as the first comic of the month for the new site and Stephen is already hurtling through selling copies showing he’s a man who puts his money where his mouth is.
Here’s his review
It’s by no means a common experience, but there are some books one starts bursting to write about a mere twenty pages in. PSYCHIATRIC TALES is one of those: a book of such instinctive, level-headed compassion, communication and education which nearly never saw completion on account of the creator’s own deteriorating mental health. A childhood riddled with self-loathing only grew worse in adulthood as Cunningham withdrew at the very time he most craved connection. It was his artistic talent that finally gave him a sense of belonging, whilst his desire to understand his own condition and his natural empathy for others, so clearly evidenced here, led him into work as a health care assistant before training as a student to qualify as a mental health nurse.
“And this is when I overreached myself. This is when I broke.”
After reading the book you will easily comprehend why. It’s no easy job for the sturdiest of individuals but for someone as vulnerable and sympathetic as Darryl, well, it was going to get to him eventually.
The book isn’t about Darryl, though: the preceding pages detail his experiences on the ward and what he learned about various debilitating mental conditions as a result. The very opposite of sensationalist, its measured contents will undoubtedly still prove affecting for there can be few of us who haven’t come into contact with mental illness: schizophrenia with its attendant paranoia and hallucinations; bipolar disorder with its peaks and troughs and compulsion to communicate everything at once; violent anti-social personality disorders; the dementia of Alzheimer’s – the disorientation and delusion and reversion to an earlier period in life; self-harming from anger, self-loathing and a desperation to assert any sort of control even if it involves physical pain as a distraction from the mental anguish; suicide.
Each condition is explained through personal observation and with an education that enables Cunningham to detail current treatments, rebalancing the brain’s chemicals whilst providing the most efficacious environment wherever possible. And without meaning to alarm you, Darryl correctly places an emphasis on one particular truth: it can happen to anyone at any time.
At school the brother of my best friend suddenly started pronouncing himself to be the Second Coming and appointed disciples. I’ve met several self-harmers and known them for years. I know at least one bi-polar, my grandmother slid away from us under Alzheimer’s, someone very close to me is suffering with acute depression and, I guess, most disturbingly of all, a young man I thought brilliant and charming abruptly became barely coherent, violent (he tried to kill his mother and girlfriend) and – because he’d already been misdiagnosed as having a mere behavioural disorder – it took his parents a whole year of research and fighting to get the man properly diagnosed with Cannabis Psychosis and therefore properly treated. I recognise everything I read here. It’s spot-on, including the patient’s delusion, post-recovery, that sustained medication is no longer necessary.
As to the artwork, it’s deceptively simple just like Satrapi’s in PERSEPOLIS for maximum empathy, black shadows casting faces into silhouette, a warning of potential bleak, black moods. It’s the perfect balance between word and picture, so as sequential art it reads like a dream. Or a nightmare.
“The effects of suicide ripple outward. Damaging family, friends and strangers alike. A suicide will leave an average of six people immediately affected by the death. A parent, a significant other, a sibling, or a child of the deceased person. The people are referred to as the survivors. These are the ones left to suffer. Never knowing why, always wondering if he could have done more.”
Darryl’s book is generating quite a bit of buzz and some of it I didn’t even have a hand in. Reviews of the book today on FPI by Joe Gordon and by John Freeman at Down the Tubes. there are also 2 five star reviews on Amazon one by the lovely Sarah Mcintyre. Everyone seems to think it’s an important book – we do too. Go buy it somewhere, we’d like it, Darryl will like it and we think you will like it too.