.. As in Daniel Johnston and Craig Johnson.
I done did a gig poster for Daniel Johnston's upcoming Leeds show, which I posted somewhere below this post. I was pretty chuffed with how it came out so when The Stool Pigeon contacted me about a space they needed to fill.. fast (!)... I saw the potential for corner cutting, and slightly adapting a stone so that it might be brutally thrown into the chirping face of a second bird..
.. and so the corner was cut. I don't usually like to adopt time saving devices like this, but the deadline was met and the one stone lay bloodied next to the corpses of the two birds, although one of them was perhaps still twitching with signs of life with the 'Here's a picture I drew of..' slogan hastily carved into it. Anyway, there it is and you can see it in this delightful free music paper (for which I'll try my best to do summat new for next month!)..
..And now onto Craig Johnson, a chap who's based at Nottingham's jolly good comic shop Page 45. They sell my comic there and I'm honoured that he's a big fan. I posted a few kind words he had to say about it (and about my band Wooden Bolts) a while back, but recently he posted a full blown review on his blog... so here it is. Cheers Craig!
"Pictorial Showboat #1 (self-published) by Tom J. Newell. You mark my words, this man is going to be enormous: I've seen him in MacDonalds every day. No, that's not what I mean. He's so lovely he's probably a vegan or something. Take a look at his website here, including the blog where new poster work is posted all the time: LINK. It's a toss up as to whether he'll be big in the art scene or the music scene because here he is as well performing as part of the Wooden Bolts due on Balcony TV: LINK. How long he'll stay on the comics scene depends, I suspect, on how long it is before he's attracting so much attention in the others that he no longer has time for it. I don't mean us, I mean it, because he's not that kind of guy. He's even sage enough to blog about where you can buy his wares, and unlike everyone else in this business it aint a link to fucking Amazon.Meanwhile here we have his first PICTORIAL SHOWBOAT which stands apart from so very many other promising pieces of self-published craft we're sent in so many ways. Brilliant composition for a start. Already he has a sense of space and an instinct for placing blacks which - whilst not exactly Charles Burns just yet - draws you in to actually read what he has to say rather than making it a chore. With that space comes an understanding that the lettering is not the last thing you bother cramming into the cramped confines of your biro-drawn doodles or facile, 'fuck-it'll-do', slapped-out brief encounters with a felt-tip pen. It's handwritten and in both lower and upper case it's as clear as a two-year-old tombstone.'The Dust Blows Forward... 'N the Dust Blows Back' is a single page of self-deprecation along the lines of Vasquez' FILLERBUNNY in that it's filler. Only it's a fuller filler than those three 16-page "joke's on you for buying this shit" combined. And I think he may be an Evan Dorkin fan, given the four-panel gag strips. 'Teenage Jesus' makes the only sensible use of bottled water I've come across in my life, whilst the Rorschach Test herein (untitled) made us all weep with laughter given its comicbook retail punchline. Said retail outlets don't actually sell PICTORIAL SHOWBOAT which is a shame as the strip isn't so much having a go as paying tribute to their particular brand of expertise. Anyone wanting to pop Page 45 in a gag strip whilst substituting me with Mr Rude from the Mr Men will almost certainly be stocked in perpetuity here - I'll take my ego boosts where I can. Lastly, I'm always into a little history as well you know, so it was fascinating to read an authorative account of how Chesterfield's church got its trademark crooked spire, and how that in turn inspired a laudable surge in pre-marital sex. Look, I'm not saying the content's all there yet, but I am saying it will be or that this will cost you 2,555 Top-Cat dollars in five years time based on his successes elsewhere."