23 August 2021

Guards At The Nexus Of All Worlds

Having dabbled in boardgame design and creating narrative-led puzzles, and having played and enjoyed RPGs, and being fond of a creative challenge with just the right amount of limitations, Alexi decided to take part in One-Page RPG Jam 2021.

The theme of the jam was 'borders', which prompted Alexi to develop a game inspired by Planescape D&D setting, and other settings like this, where worlds are metaphysically connected by portals of some type, allowing travel between very different worlds.

Guards At The Nexus of All Worlds was the result. It plays really quickly, no messing about with stats or a GM, but there is structure to it; in some ways, it's a sort of improv party game (with elements reminiscent of Taboo and Whose Line Is It Anyway?). You can read more about it and download it for free over on Alexi's itch.io page.

There are loads of really interesting little games in the jam, very much having a look through them all.

27 June 2021

Alexi talks a little bit about Dave Evans

It was with great shock and sadness that I heard of the passing of Dave Evans a few weeks ago. There's not much I can add to the many moving tributes already written, but wanted to at least write something about one of the largely unsung heroes of the UK small press comics scene.

I couldn't claim to have been close to him, but it had always been a pleasure and privilege to work with him over the years - indeed, as editor/publisher of FutureQuake Press (along with Richmond Clements), he published the majority of my the comic stories I've scripted - in FQP titles FutureQuake, Something Wicked, Zarjaz, and Dogbreath. As well as an editor and letterer, he was an accomplished artist (I still have several of the little sketches he'd do on squares of paper during conventions) and I was chuffed when he drew one of my stories for FutureQuake himself.

Ever since I started getting into small press comics and going to comic cons, Dave was a fixture of the scene, an unfailingly positive and welcoming presence - to the extent that whenever I arrive at any comics convention, one of my first thoughts is always 'is Dave here? I should pop by for a chat and pick up the latest FQP issues'.

I remember being pretty new to cons, sat in the bar at Hi-Ex in Inverness, and Dave insisting that no one should be sat separately, urging everyone to sit together and join in the chat and doodling; it was a lovely experience, and that attitude was typical of Dave - friendly, inclusive, enthusiastic about comics.

I think Dave published about thirty issues of FutureQuake, plus the many issues of other FQP titles, and I've found myself reflecting on the thousands of people that must have enjoyed reading a comic he helped create - and about the many writers and artists who got a break and grew creatively thanks to Dave publishing their work.

In an under-appreciated sector (small press) of an under-appreciated medium (comics), Dave did some of the most under-appreciated graft (editing/publishing/sending-a-zillion-emails) in making comics happen and getting people involved - which I find pretty inspirational. I wish I'd told him that more clearly. I hope he knew how many people he'd had a positive influence on. He certainly had a positive influence on me and on my comic-making and on how I view the small press comics scene. RIP.

6 March 2020

Comics are not reality

The best value speculative fiction sequential art anthology that you, puny human, are able to purchase is once again available to you. Yes, there's a new issue of FutureQuake - and Alexi has scripted a story in it.

FutureQuake 2020 continues the title's tradition of being an absolute belter of an anthology, providing a hundred pages of brain-melting science fiction comics from some of the most talented UK & international creators, for a mere £6.50. Alexi urges you to consider purchasing this fine item.

Valiance, the story he scripted - with art by Sinclair Elliot and letters by Bolt-01 - is a tale of a square-jawed space hero Vincent Valiance (who is perhaps not entirely unlike a certain Dan Dare), reflecting on the discrepancy between his clean-cut adventures as reported in comics, and the rather less clean-cut reality of space diplomacy. It was born out of a fondness for that classic style of space adventure where everything is disconcertingly well-mannered.

Obviously other more substantial comics have addressed that tension (between that vision of the future and a more rough-edged reality), including versions of Dan Dare himself (Alexi has always been fond of the Ennis/Erskine run and wishes it had had longer to develop), however, Alexi hopes his story has something new to say about this topic.

The script, as often seems to be the case with many of Alexi's scripted comics, was somewhat complex in structure - jumping between present and past, and real events and how they were reported in comics - but Sinclair (and Bolt) did a great job making it work.

The anthology is chock-full of other great work, and is available now from the FutureQuake Press web shop.