Wednesday, 16 November 2016

2016 Heath Robinson Museum Secret Art Sale

The Heath Robinson Museum had their 2016 Secret Art Sale at the Upstairs Gallery at West House, Pinner Memorial Park last week. Offering over 170 6”x 6” canvases for sale with all proceeds going towards the newly opened Heath Robinson Museum. Works of art were donated to the museum by both aspiring and renowned professional artists, cartoonists and illustrators and yours truly was one of the 143 artists that participated and I understand it was a great success.
I was artist number 58 and donated this glow in the dark portrait of the ideas man himself Heath Robinson with a symbolic light bulb above his head. As always with my glow in the dark paintings it allows the owner to enjoy the piece day and night and also acts as a convenient locater of light switches in the dark. It was a genuine honour to be able to create a piece devoted to one of my favourite illustrators, more so knowing that proceeds made from its sale will further fund the very museum devoted to him.
A gallery of all 170 canvases can be viewed on the museum's site- if you are Pinner be sure to visit the museum and show your support!

© Arfon Jones  2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Slaughterhouse Farm T-shirts

Seven more days to go of HellboundMedia's Slaughterhouse Farm kickstarter campaign, they achieved their target goal after only a week! I mentioned in my previous post that there are several great rewards on offer to all campaign supporters and this still stands! For example this Slaughterhouse Farm t-shirt designed by Chrissey Harrison and featuring my artwork. The designs are printed on black high quality Fruit of the Loom T-Shirts and available in a variety of sizes. Remember, also, if you back at the £50 level for the T-Shirt, all back issues of the comic will be included for free! So as I said before, join in the fun and support the independent comic scene by following the link and pledging your support!

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Slaughterhouse Farm#4 Kickstarter

My good friends at Hellbound Media are currently looking for supporters to help fund the fourth and final instalment of fan favourite Slaughterhouse Farm! I've illustrated this comic series for four years now and I am delighted with how well it has been received. Even though the kickstarter campaign was only launched four days ago it has already reached the 45% mark! Proof of how much of a hit this title is with readers. But fear not, there is still time to get involved (at the time of writing this) twenty six days in fact to sign up and support the campaign and gain some marvellous rewards including art cards, back issues, badges, t-shirts and also the opportunity to feature in the comic as a gory corpse as drawn by yours truly! So join in the fun and support the independent comic scene by following the link and pledging your support!

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Slashermania! Kickstarter

Just wanted to tell you about an exciting project that I’m involved with, Freaktown Comics are currently looking for Kickstarter backers to back their latest title, Slashermania! This 168 page graphic novel celebrates the slasher movie genre serving a “tribute to, and an examination of, the eighties slasher movie phenomenon”. This terror tale set in 1983 tells of a group of troubled teens that are taken to a summer camp facility to be trained as counsellors. But unbeknown to them they are actually part of a bizarre contest that sees 10 masked maniacs attempting to win the coveted Slashermania Slasher of the Year award! Written by Russell Hillman and illustrated by Ron Joseph and CJ Camba Slashermania promises “It’s mostly played straight but with an undercurrent of post-modern self-awareness and some appropriately inappropriate laughs along the way - carefully designed not to undercut the scares.
Inked by Jake Isenberg, coloured by Harry Saxon and lettered by Sergio Calvet the book will also include a 12-page pin-up section featuring work by “the best artists in the world of indie and alternative comics” such as Phil Buckenham, Dennis Booth, Agustin Calcagno and yours truly!
The book promises to be great fun so follow the link, show your support and back this project and help make this book a reality! Tell your friends, spread the word and share the love!

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Loren Coleman and the International Cryptozoology Museum

If you have ever watched a documentary relating to Cryptozoology (the study of hidden or unknown animals) it is very likely you will have seen this man, Mr. Loren Coleman. He is one of the world's leading cryptozoologists and spokesperson for the science, an honorary member of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club he is also a life member of the International Society of Cryptozoology. Not to mention an author (one of my favourite books written by him is Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology) and in 2003, Mr Coleman realised his lifelong dream of someday opening a museum devoted to Cryptozoology. The International Cryptozoology Museum is filled with all manner of items relating to Cryptozoology achieving its primary mission to educate, inform, and share Cryptozoology with the general public. The museum is filled with an array of sculptures, paintings and souvenirs from around the world and not forgetting an 8 feet tall representation of Bigfoot!
This year the museum relocated to its new premises at Thompson’s Point Portland, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to make the 2,976-mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean myself but I strongly suggest you do so if you are in Portland! In the "Coleman's Corner" section dedicated to the man himself, you will find my painting.  Following on from a painting I made back in 2013 of Professor Philip J. White, curator of Bangor University’s natural history collection for the Bangor Science Festival, we see Mr. Coleman amongst his exhibits. As I previously indicated, I wasn’t able to visit the museum to make sketches and take reference photos so I had to use what I could find on the Internet and this is why some items are not necessarily to scale. But Mr. Coleman was delighted with it never the less and I am equally delighted that it now resides in his museum, and thank him for sending me a photo of it on display.
Remember now, if you are ever visiting Maine, specifically Portland, be sure to visit the museum and show them your support- tell them that Arfon sent you!

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Cannibal Cop Poster

Over the past 30 years Donald Farmer has brought us such movies as Cannibal Hookers, Scream Dream, Vampire Cop, Chainsaw Cheerleaders and Red Lips starring the great Ghetty Chasun!
Now following on from the success of Shark Exorcist he brings us his latest “gore-drenched new horror shockerCannibal Cop! Boasting an impressive cast (including a cameo by legendary Scream Queen legend Linnea Quigley) the movie shot in Nashville and New Orleans  is based on a true story and asks what if there was a cop that wanted to do more than just bust the bad guys? What if he actually wanted to eat them?!Yours truly painted the poster for the movie, which gets its World Premiere at the Reel Cinemas in Pennsylvania on August 19th!

Check out the trailer and then join the facebook group for more information!

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Comic Consciousness: The Comic Book Price Guide for Great Britain

Back in 1993, I had an after school/summer job at a vintage comic warehouse which immersed me into the world of American comics, forever changing my outlook of comics in general. After several years of buying numerous Fleetway reprints of Batman comics I was now not only able to obtain actual first editions of the comics that I desired but I also learned that those first editions would be an investment for the future!
Being the early to mid 1990’s this was the time of the speculator comics boom a topic that has been covered in far greater detail by others so I shall try and sum it up as briefly as I can… When the public (spurred on by the press) realised the finanical potential of rare first editions of comics the mainstream comic book publishers leapt onto the collectors' market bandwagon and produced a barrage of variant covers, cross over stories and gimmick covers. Comic retail prices increased and many of those comics were polybagged sometimes forcing collectors to buy two issues one to read and the other to remain sealed and put into storage as a future investment. One factor had been grossly overlooked however, the reason those early comics sold so well at auction was because they were genuinely rare, where as these newer editions were produced in their millions. Inevitably the bubble burst and the bottom fell out of the "collectible" issues market. Many comic shops went under and many publishers could not cover the costs of distribution and went out of business, most notably Marvel declaring bankruptcy in 1997. Despite that I still look back on those gimmicky, hologram-enhanced, glow-in-the-dark, embossed foil covers with great fondness as it was an exciting time to be a comics fan. During those exciting times comic price guides such as Wizard Magazine, Comics International and Previews were produced that advised investors on the hottest comics to buy. But there was one definitive guide that I look back on with fondness, stirring those nostalgic memories for me, Duncan McAlpine’s Comic Book Price Guide for Great Britain.

Duncan McAlpine’s guides first began back in 1985 and between 1989 and 1997 he published eight guide books (I came in on book #4) every trader at a comic convention, that took their trade seriously would have a comic price guide to hand. If you were looking to sell your comics the dealer would get out their well used, creased price guide and give you an accurate price. I never quibbled, because for me the guide was gospel the price the guide quoted was the going rate. Prices aside it was also filled with informative articles about comic shops & comic shop etiquette along with information on how to collect and sell comics (even how to pronounce certain characters names!). They even offered tips and advice on how to start your own comic trading company. It had numerous guest contributors, many of whom worked within the collectors market, who would write about lesser-known titles, report on sales and speculate on the next best seller
Not only that but they also had cover artwork from some of the most prominent comic artists of the day and forwards written by an eclectic mix of people working within comics or entertainment.
Looking back through them recently I was amazed at how much I had committed to memory. Nostalgia flowed as I recalled all the times I would leaf through the guides and immerse myself in the world of ‘Mint’, ‘Near Mint’, ‘Very Fine’ ‘Fine’ and ‘Poor’.
So who was Duncan McAlpine the man behind the guides? And what was his story? Duncan McAlpine started collecting comics at a very young age thanks to his mother who was an antique dealer that took him to various sale rooms in the local area of Fleet and Farnborough in Hampshire and Camberley in Surrey. In order to keep him quiet she would buy him comics, not knowing much about comics, she chose American ones from the newsagent rather than British and by the latter half of the 1960s he had amassed a collection of a few hundred issues. This collection continued to grow after he discovered a second-hand bookshop called Wicks in Farnborough. Ever the entrepreneur he would ask the owner to keep any American comics that came in to one side for him, any doubles of a comic he would swap with the other children at school! In 1973 he visited his first comic mart in London, (chaperoned by his sister) and spent the princely sum of £20 on as many comics as he could buy including Superboy #12 and Superman #100. He recalled how even then he was already quite picky about condition and not afraid to bargain with the dealers. Even back in those early days he always catalogued his comics at around 1971 he had bought comics from Alan Austin author of the fanzine Fantasy Unlimited who had attempted to produce a price guide in 1975. McAlpine regarded this publication to be a great achievement and recalled how quickly his copy became dog-eared and crumpled due to constant referencing. It was during this time that Bob Overstreet had produced Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide the annually published comprehensive comic book price guide but as extensive as it was it did not cover British comics.  
Alan Austin continued to revise and expand his guides in 1979 and then 1983 however his guides did not include Golden Age comics from the 1930s onwards, which was an area in which McAlpine was increasingly interested in because as he explained, “I could just about start to afford them!” 
Having enrolled at Warwick University he started drawing up sales lists of his own and advertised them across one or two pages in Fantasy Advertiser, although in hindsight he felt that he priced them too low as they all sold very quickly and he was constantly having to turn people down and send money back. He didn’t have stock in depth so if he sent out independent sales lists outside of fanzines ads he was forever Typex-ing and altering the lists. Then in 1987 having left Warwick University to work at the BBC’s Drama Series department Apart, he not only set up his own table at London comic marts on the weekends (buying directly from the States) but decided to catalogue his own extensive collection, (an estimated 12,000 comics at this point), creating his own comic price guide. His task was quite ambitious, compile a comic book price guide that was more pertinent to the UK than America that included British comics as well. That covered golden age comics and address pence variants (British editions of American comics printed at the same time as American editions for distribution in the UK after 1959). He recalled what a labour of love it was typing out the entire Marvel and DC titles in full on an old Olympia typewriter a task that took around a year. Attributing this to his own updated prices in a five grades – Poor, Good, Fine, Very Fine and Mint (grading choices that changed quickly when he came to realise that Mint was virtually unattainable for most comics!). Apparently he still has those hundreds of A4 sheets with the oceans of Typex spread liberally across! Not only did comics develop a lifelong interest in lettering and calligraphy, imitating the title logos from comics when listing varying issues but avid reading of comics developed his sense of story, character, sub-plot, twits, confrontations and resolutions.  Serving him well in his career in television as both a director and producer. He continues to sell on eBay but maintains that he still thinks of himself as a collector, researcher and historian first rather than a dealer. The last Comic Book Price Guide for Great Britain published was the 1997/1998 edition however the guide can still be found online at and is updated every day offering thousands of illustrations and features on grading and restoration. They offer one free valuation of a single British comic, American comic book or British annual. Not only that, they also offer free valuations of a single British comic, American comic book or British annual or on collections or part collections for a fee. 

As I said before I look back on those printed editions with great fondness. They represent a special time for me, during that time I was constantly justifying my comic purchases to my parents, assuring them that they were future investments. Not a week would go by without the word ‘collectable’ being uttered and I would back up my claim with an edition of Comic Book Price Guide for Great Britain. I am happy to report that my teenage self was right and that 99% of my investments paid off 20 years later. 
So I not only thank Mr. McAlpine for his help in compiling this post about them but also for his excellent guides they not only proved my teenage self was right but I was also able to invest the profits made from those comics into setting up as a freelance illustrator/artist.  

More Comic Consciousness?

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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