Saturday, 25 July 2015

We Have Comics

Attention all comics readers, comics makers, science doers and that. We have comics. This is not a drill. 20,000 comics are now printed and ready for the Great North Museum: Hancock's Spineless exhibition, opening on 1st August 2015. Our Spineless comic is full of collaborations between comics makers and exhibition curators.

For those keeping score Asteroid Belter was 10,000 comics, two pallets on delivery. Spineless is printed on Newspaper Club's Mini format, a bit smaller, meaning the 20,000 copies fitted on just the one pallet. We sent our top people to track down the comics for the traditional pre-launch celebration/inspection.

The Spineless comic was printed by the brilliant Newspaper Club. It was made on one of their massive newspaper printing machines. Like real grown up newspapers. Woosh.

Then the comics were loaded onto a big pallet and shipped to the museum where they are now in maximum security storage awaiting launch day.

Luckily we were able to acquire access  early on Monday morning for that previously mentioned tradition.

And it wouldn't be a pre-launch celebration/inspection without vines. Unfortunately Lydia wasn't able to dance on the comics this time, so we're going to re-share the Asteroid Belter dance. Because we can.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Hello John Gatehouse and Dave Windett

Who are you?

Writer - John Gatehouse, Artist – Dave Windett

Why did you get involved in Spineless?

We got involved in the Spineless project because we are both interested in using comic strips as an educational tool.
We contributed to Applied Comics Etc's previous project Asteroid Belter and have created a number of other comic strips with educational content such as The Wacky World of Animals.

Tell us about your comic.

Our feature shows the reader how to identify and encourage insects in their garden.

The picture of a wasp's nest was chosen as it is a good representation of the garden feature.

John and Dave are working with Environmental Records Information Centre North East.

Little Lemming Books

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Nearly there! Getting ready for Spineless launch day 1st August

We're counting down to launch day for Spineless: The Newcastle Science Comic.  Spineless is our free comic about invertebrates in partnership with the Spineless exhibition at Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle this summer.  The exhibition and comic are all about minibeasts: where they live, what they do, and why they’re important.

This blog post offers you 3 simple steps to comics enlightenment (or, info about what's going on around our launch day on 1st August):
  1. read our cover comic
  2. who's who: remember to meet our contributors
  3. here's some launch day info
Step 1: let's all sit down and have a read of our cover comic by Jess Bradley
comic by Jess Bradley

Pretty awesome, innit. Here are some people who think so:

Vivek, Britt, & Lydia holding bundles of Spineless
L-R: Contributor & guest curator Vivek Nityananda, Managing Editor Britt Coxon, Editor in Chief Lydia Wysocki.  Photo by @paulxthompson
Step 2: remember who our six comics creation dream teams are:
A geet big stack of Spineless comics
Some of our 20,000 comics. That's 450 kilograms of comics, right there.   Photo by @paulxthompson)
Step 3: join us on launch day
Spineless-the-comic is free and launches in print on 1st August. There are 20,000 print copies and we're proud of every last one of them.  It has 16 pages and is full colour throughout, all comics no messing. It's aimed at children age 6-10 but probably suitable for ages 6-110. We're also planning a digital version which will be available right here at 

Spineless-the-exhibition at the Great North Museum: Hancock runs from 1st August to 1st November, but launch day is of course a special day.  On Saturday 1st August the Museum is open from 10am-4pm, with free cake for the first 200 children and activities all day - and, of course, your first chance to grab a free print copy of our Spineless comic.  Yes, you can take an extra one for your friend, and yes teachers can take extra for their class.  The exhibition is free but donations are welcome.  Info: 

Spineless comic contributors and friends of the project will be at the exhibition from 3-4pm to have a good look around and marvel at all the people reading our comic.  We'll then be off to the pub to raise a glass to the comic. Say hello if you see us!

Can't wait until then?  Asteroid Belter, our first Newcastle Science Comic comic is still available to read in full free online:

Hello Emily Lambert

Who are you? 

I'm Emily, a Greetings Card Designer and Illustrator based in Newcastle.

Why did you get involved in Spineless? 

I had a particular fascination with invertebrate creatures growing up - even keeping some (like Stick Insects, Giant Snails and Jewel Beetles) as pets! I was excited to have the opportunity in 'Spineless' to combine both my interest in invertebrate creatures and my love of comics into something with an educational element.

Tell us about your comic.

My first comic follows Claude the Lobster as he is tagged and tracked by researchers. Scientists are still learning new things about Lobster behaviour and my comic was inspired by the possible adventures Claude could be having underwater.

My second comic is all about Mussel Byssus - a sticky glue-like substance Mussels use to stick to rocks which has potential surgical uses and was used to make fabric in the past. The story follows Zizi and her robot pal Pixel as they explore the underwater 'Musselopolis' and travel back in time in their Submarine Time Machine to learn about the uses of Byssus in ancient Egypt.

Top - this is the panel where Zizi and Pixel travel back in time to ancient Egypt to find out how Byssus was made into luxurious 'Sea Silk' material. After using a lot of blue for both comics, it was nice to shift the colour palette to warmer colours for the section where the characters explore Egypt, this panel shows that transition.

Bottom - Claude finds a rocky crevice to call his own and spends a few weeks relaxing there after a rather traumatic predator encounter! I like the expression of Claude as he's munching on Plankton in this panel. It was fun to try and characterise a lobster and create Claude's different expressions to get across his mood as the story progresses.

Emily is working with Guest Curator Dan Skerritt.

Emily Rose Illustration

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Hello Sigmund Reimann

Who are you?

My name is Sigmund Reimann and I am a freelance illustrator.

Why did you get involved in Spineless? 

I love any and all animals, including the unappreciated spineless denizens of our planet. When an opportunity to teach young people more about these lesser known species arose I was happy to offer my skills to make it happen. If we can educate children today then there is hope that in the future they will care about the plight that these species face in this changing world, and will show them the admiration and mercy they deserve. It would also be great to educate some of the adults that read the comic too!

Tell us about your comic.

My comic explores the invertebrates dwelling in cave systems, specifically limestone caves, and is based on the research carried out by Fiona Ware. It focuses mostly on the encapsulated habitat, what dwells within it and how. It also touches on the danger human quarrying of limestone imposes on the species living in them.

My favourite section of my comic is in the first section where the diver is exploring the limestone cave system. I especially like the part where she swims through the rock formations. Limestone caves hold some of the most beautiful natural formations on the planet and I find them truly captivating.

Sigmund is working with Guest Curator Fiona Ware.

SReimann Artwork

Friday, 10 July 2015

Hello Samuel Williams

Who are you? 

Samuel Williams

Why did you get involved in Spineless? 

I am really interested in my comics serving a purpose, they are such a great format for conveying information and I knew it would be a great challenge. Also getting to work with people with a more academic background and sharing ways of presenting their work!

Tell us about your comic.

My first comic see's two girls parachute in to one of the few remaining church forests of Ethiopia to discover what kind of insects still live there! The second comic is all about an Art loving Praying Mantis showing off his superior sight.

There is a panel in my Mantis comic where the face of the mantis is camouflaged behind long grass, and all you can see is his dark eyes poking through while he speaks to some other confused insects. I think it shows how dangerous they can be to their prey when they can't be seen.

Samuel is working with Guest Curators Vivek Nityananda and Erica McAlister.
Samuel Williams Design and Illustration

Monday, 6 July 2015

Hello Terry Wiley

Who are you?

Terry Wiley

Why did you get involved in Spineless?

Because I remember how much fun it was absorbing science info when I was wee, everyone should get some science in.

Tell us about your comic.

It's called Reef Beasts, it's all about the squishy animals that live at the bottom of tropical seas, and their amazing abilities.

This is a sub-species of Sea Cucumber called a Sea Apple - I picked it for the Sea Cucumber section because of its interesting red-white-blue colouration, most other Sea Cucumbers are greenish-brown and look like an underwater poo.

Terry is working with Guest Curator Irene Brown.


Friday, 3 July 2015

Hello Jess Bradley

Who are you?

 I'm Jess Bradley and I'm an illustrator and comic artist from Bristol.

Why did you get involved in Spineless?

 I had the pleasure of working on Asteroid Belter and jumped at the chance to work on another science comic!

Tell us about your comic.

I've drawn the cover for Spineless which was a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of squishy creatures and as soon as I knew that I could draw sea cucumbers, I couldn't wait to get going!

I like the back cover with all of the different invertebrates on it - it was fun to be able to draw something from every other comic in the book.

Jess Bradley Illustration