Friday, 20 January 2017

The Stowaways

In 2016 as part of the Heritage Inverclyde - A Quest For Learning project, Mhairi and I worked with pupils from Ardgowan Primary School, to begin adapting the tragic tale of the Arran Stowaways as a graphic novel.

Our version of the story is taken from the work of one of our favourite local writers of yesteryear, John Donald - author of Old Greenock Characters.

Free copies will be available from Inverclyde Libraries and 7 1/2 John Wood Street in Port Glasgow from Friday 20th January. It will later be made available to read for free online.

Amazingly, this week, as a result of an article in the Scotsman newspaper, we were contacted by the Great Granddaughter of one of the Stowaways - John Paul. She was delighted to hear that the story of her great grandfather was being retold. The story of the stowaways is a sad one, but it is heartening and humbling to realise, that some of those boys were able to build new lives and families for themselves - and that those families are still around today, remembering them.

Occasionally, it's a beautifully small world we live in.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Magic Torch 2016 Review

22 Pages Exhibition Artwork - Mhairi M Robertson

2016 was, lets be fair, a pretty rubbish year on many levels. However, in between the moments of inescapable darkness, teetering over chasms of endless despair, Magic Torch did have great fun with our projects.

There was our awesome 22 Pages exhibition at Paisley Museum - which reinterpreted key Scottish events and characters as comic book covers. Hopefully, more folk will get a chance to see the exhibition again next year.

22 Pages Exhibition Artwork - Andy Lee

Our First World War graphic novel Achi Baba - Gallipoli 1915, won a national award for innovation from the Community Archives and Heritage Group. You can still read Achi Baba for free online.

We were supported by Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland and Inverclyde Place Partnership to reinvigorate the tradition of performing a Galoshans play at Halloween. We created a new version of the play, which you can read and download for free, and film-maker David Newbigging filmed the projects workshops in schools and also a performance of the play by our new Galoshans Troop volunteers.

We published our first adventure of the Rowan Tree Legion - The Skeleton Key - a Dad's Army with witches romp, inspired by local legends and featuring a few local landmarks. Skeleton Key is available from the Magic Torch Comics shop.

Rowan Tree Legion - The Skeleton Key by Paul Bristow and Mhairi M Robertson

And of course, more than anything else, we made lots of comics this year, with Magic Torch Comics getting support from Firstport to develop into a separate educational social enterprise. We created comics with Whinhill Primary, Gourock Primary, Newark Primary and Ardgowan Primary. All this years comics, with schools and for various events, can be read for free on our Magic Torch Comics ISSUU page or below.

2017 is the Scottish Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology - and we have a few projects lined up already. Comic wise we have our adaptation of John Donald's The Stowaways created with Ardgowan Primary for the Heritage Inverclyde project. And we will finally be publishing our Captain Kidd graphic novel in May.

We'll also be working on a new comics project with Notre Dame High School. And hopefully, we'll be delivering on our new interactive fictions project IF / Then - with all sorts of unusual creative outputs. Fingers crossed.

For now, be merry, be safe, share stories and hugs with your nearest and dearest.

See you in 2017.

The Stowaways created by Magic Torch Comics and Ardowan Primary School for Heritage Inverclyde

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

From Heritage to Creativity / ECAF Community Comics

In November, we're delighted to be presenting on the work of Magic Torch Comics at two fantastic events.

On Saturday November 19th, we'll be up in Inverness at the From Heritage to Creativity workshop in association with Scotland's Urban Past and the Dare To Dream Storytelling Festival. We worked with the SUP team and Newark Primary School on our Ghost Train comic earlier in the year, and as well as showcasing some of that work, we'll be running a workshop on creating your own comics.

On Saturday November  26th, I'll be through at the Edinburgh Comic Art Festival, presenting on Community Comics and Cultural Identity.

Hope to see some of you around.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Yokai Work Experience

Alucard by Adam Leitch

Back in September, Magic Torch were delighted to have Adam Leitch from Inverclyde Academy along on his work experience. Adam is an artist, and so we gave him a brief script to work on - a lot to get done in a's some of Adam's artwork, some thoughts from Adam and the finished piece Yokai - which is appropriately spooky for Hallowe'en.

SSJ4 Vegito by Adam Leitch

My name is Adam Leitch. I am 15 years old and I love drawing manga. I especially like drawing fan art of Dragon Ball Z. I worked with Magic Torch for my 4th year work experience because I want to do something related to illustration when I leave school. I have also attempted to draw my own manga using both traditional inking methods combined with digital drawing software for colouring.

Note : If you thought that creature was weird, explore some of the other Yokai. Gotta catch em all....

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Go Yer Own Galoshans


We have been out and about distributing copies of our Galoshans Play to every Primary School in Inverclyde, every pupil will get a free copy - and hopefully some folks will begin performing their own versions of the play again.

Copies will also be available from The Beacon and The Dutch Gable House during the Galoshans Festival weekend - be sure to grab one.

And don't forget that we have two different versions of the play being performed at The Dutch Gable House this weekend, on Saturday at 12 and 3 we have a rehearsed reading of our new version of the play and on Sunday at 3 we have a puppet show performance from Sokobauno Theatre. Both are free but the puppet performance is ticketed - email for tickets.

The Going Galoshans project is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland and Inverclyde Place Partnership.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Skeleton Key

There's a war on, well, two wars really. There's the one everyone knows about, with soldiers and bombers and then there's the other one, with spells, magical swords, zombies and giant ravens.

The Rowan Tree Legion are here to help us win both.

The Skeleton Key, by Mhairi M Robertson and myself is available on Saturday 29th October. You can pick up a copy at The Dutch Gable House from 2pm during the Galoshans festival. Shortly thereafter it will be available online from the Magic Torch Comics shop, amazon and comixology. 48 full colour pages for £5. Mhairi will be along to sign copies on the day, rendering it all the more precious.

We will also have a new print edition of our first book Wee Nasties, unavailable since 2013. The book introduces younger readers to the popular folk characters of Inverclyde. I will be along at Inverclyde Library on Friday 28th October from 4 - 5 to share some spooky local stories, including Wee Nasties, as part of the Galoshans Festival.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Galoshans Play Performances

We have two different versions of The Galoshans Play for you to enjoy during the Galoshans Festival this year. Our new version, presented by volunteers is on Saturday 29th October at The Dutch Gable House in William Street, Greenock. Performances are at 12 noon and 3pm. It's free to attend, but spaces are limited.

The second version, you can see on Sunday 30th October at 3pm in The Dutch Gable House. This is Shane and Stan's puppet theatre version, which has been performed around local schools over the last few weeks. Again, the performance is free - but this one is ticketed. Contact to book your tickets.

And of course, you can download our new adaptation of the play for you to perform yourself.