As well as opening a new shop in Coventry, crammed with some of his stunning artworks, comic creator Al Davison – well known for his work for DC/Vertigo and his stunning graphic memoir, The Spiral Cage – has turned to Patreon to gain backing for his powerful new graphic story Muscle Memory (Warning: Some distressing scenes).
Al’s numerous credits for DC/Vertigo include such titles as Hellblazer, House of Mystery and The Dreaming, and he has also drawn Doctor Who comics for IDW. He’s the creator of several creator owned titles in addition to his work for other publishers such as Renegade and Active Images.
Jonathan Ross describes him as “One of the most consistently original and thought-provoking creators working in comics today.
“Al Davison’s art is a joy. His writing powerful. His martial arts, apparently, lethal. So don’t mess with him.”
“Al Davison astounds us… with his deft marriage of a personal perspective that is utterly unique,” enthuses Alan Moore, “and his facility for line, form and anatomy that takes the breath away.”
Al is probably best known for his graphic memoir The Spiral Cage, first published in 1990 and re-issued by Active Images in 2003, which explored his experiences growing up with Spina-Bifida, a condition he was born with and wasn’t expected to survive.
“I have been trying to complete the second volume, Muscle Memory, for nearly three years,” says Al, “but the pressure of having to take on commercial work to pay the rent, and health problems, meant that I had to put it on hold.
“Discovering Patreon, via a tweet by Neil Gaiman, has inspired me to have another go.
“Muscle Memory: A Survivor’s Story, is even more of a challenge than the first volume,” he says, “as it not only continues to look at disability issues, but also addresses my experiences of physical child abuse at the hands of my Father. I want to make it clear that this is not a story of victimization, but a story of survival and of winning against the odds. There will inevitably be distressing scenes throughout the series, but it is also an optimistic and often funny look at my life, because that’s how I am.”
Even though this is a pay by page/picture campaign utilising Patreon’s means for fans to be patrons of a creator’s work, you can ‘cap’ your monthly total, just in case Al goed crazy and start producing 10 pages a week.
“I intend to try and upload three to four pages a month,” says Al. “The completed Volume Two will be in the region of 400 pages when finished.”
The earned so far has already huge praise from fellow creators. “You make beautiful art out of atrocious acts,” notes Leah Moore via Twitter. “Makes me cry but I want to read on!”
“So well crafted!” enthuses artist J.H. William III. “You know a print version will need to exist someday.”
Patrons of the strip are being offered a range of special benefits including access to the special “patrons” area of the project online, high resolution PDFs of some of Al’s work and, for those sponsor Al at $100 a month, an original page of art from his Doctor Who and Hellblazer comics for as long as they last.
As well as launching Muscle Memory in recent month, Al Davison’s Astral Gypsy shop, run with his partner, has moved and is in the new £5m Fargo Studios ‘Creative Village’ in Far Gosford Street, Coventry. As well as graphic novels/manga it also stocks graphic art materials for comic artists – and features some of his stunning art, which he’s featured on Twitter.
• Visit the Astral Gyspy online at www.astralgypsy.com or follow Al on Twitter or Facebook; or visit The Astral Gypsy Bookshop & Art Studio, Unit 2E, Fargo Village, Far Gosford Street, Coventry CV1 5ED. The opening hours are dependent on Al’s convention schedule (funded in part by Patreon support) so it’s best to check his Twitter or Facebook pages before paying a visit.
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