For Glasgow based graphic novelists Metaphrog, who are artist Sandra Marrs and writer John Chalmers, 2009 has been a busy year. As part of National Poetry Day in October they adapted the poem The First Men on Mercury by Edwin Morgan into a four page, full colour comic of which over 32,000 copies were given out free to Glasgow’s school children while they also have continued work on the fifth of their Louis graphic novels, Louis Night Salad.
In addition to this writing and illustrating they have also regularly given workshops on their work and on comics creation in general and this year to date they have presented some 26 workshops to the general public as well as both primary and secondary school pupils.
On 16 January they were at Oldmachar and Harlaw Academies in Aberdeen for two separate workshops for secondary school children and they were back to Aberdeen on 30 January at Bridge of Don Academy. 6 March saw them take part in the Big Book Bonanza at Perth High School while their first public workshop of the year was for teens at Johnstone Library on 26 March. 8 March saw them do their only non-Scottish events with two workshops at Cardiff Central Library before returning to Scotland and another two workshops on 15 May at Alexandria and Duntocher libraries as part of the West Dunbartonshire Festival of Words. On 19 June they were at Glasgow’s Hillpark Secondary School Book Week before a run of six public workshops for 8-14 year olds from 7-9 July in Dalmuir, Parkhall, Balloch, Dumbarton, Clydebank and Alexandria libraries.
26 August brought perhaps their most significant event of the year when they sold out the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s RBS Workshop Tent with a teen workshop entitled Design Your Own Comic. 21 September took them to Bellshill’s Cultural Centre Library for two workshops for late primary pupils while 30 September to 2 October saw them give five workshops to teens as part of the school orientated WESTWord Festival section of the Wigtown Book Festival at Stranraer Academy, Newton Stewart’s Douglas Ewart High School and the main Wigtown Festival marquee. On 23 October they were near Edinburgh at Kirkliston library for a children’s workshop while on 6 November they finished off their 2009 workshops with one at Edinburgh’s St-Thomas of Aquin’s High School.
October’s Kirkliston workshop has just been featured in the City Of Edinburgh council’s Edinburgh Outlook newspaper with a picture of Sandra looking over the illustrations that the Kirkliston children produced. The article is also available on the Edinburgh Outlook website.
For libraries, schools or other organisations wishing to discuss putting on comics workshops with them, Metaphrog’s details are available on the Scottish Book Trust website along with other Scotland based comics creators such as Alan Grant, David Bishop and Denise Mina. Metaphrog can also be contacted directly through their own website.
The full version of The First Men on Mercury comic is available here.
More details of Metaphrog and the Louis series of graphic novels are available on the Metaphrog website.