Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Ancient UFO Attack on Greenock!

Before tabloids, a broadside was a cheap way of printing and distributing (mainly) sensational or salacious stories. You can read loads of good ones here.

This one, as dated, describes strange lights above The Clyde...centuries before the sightings in Coronation Park and elsewhere on the river.

Could this strange sighting be related to the investigations of Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes ?Or had a few folk just had a bit too much to drink in the East End?

This broadside helped inspire my first childrens book The Superpower Project, published by Kelpies in February 2016...

With the help of a wisecracking, steampunk robot, two accidental superheroes discover that they have inherited some amazing, if unusual, abilities. Computer whiz Megan can fly (mostly sleep-flying, but she's working on it) while her best friend Cam can (in theory) transform into any animal, but mostly ends up as a were-hamster.

Together they must protect the source of their ancestral powers from a wannabe evil mastermind and his gang of industrial transformer robots who've disguised themselves as modern art installations on their Greenock estate.

It isn't easy to balance school and epic super-battles, not to mention finding time to search for other super-talents and train with their Mr Miyagi-esque were-tiger coach.Can Megan and Cam beat the bad guy, defeat his robot transformers and become the superheroes they were born to be?

The Superpower Project is available from Floris Books / Kelpies.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Tellin' Stories...

Following on from the launch of our Comic Making Workshops, we are also developing a new programme of organisational development training using storytelling. If you fancy helping us out with the pilot, give us a shout. You can read some Community Fables on my other blog, Stramashed.

For more information on that or our comic making workshops, contact aulddunrod@gmail.com

Saturday, 22 February 2014


Merry Ragnarok everyone...it's the Viking Apocalypse today.

Multiple news sources are reporting that the epic doom of the norse gods has been brewing for over 100 days...with strange signs and portents scattered across the world.

"Legend has it Ragnarok will begin when Fenrir the wolf breaks free from his imprisonment. This sets off a chain reaction of events where Jormungand the Midgard snake rises from the sea and a wolf eats the sun. This will culminate in a titanic battle among the gods, men and all the races of the nine worlds."

So just in case we never get a chance to show you, here's another of Andy Lee's epic panels for our Battle of Largs / John Galt project which will now theoretically never see the light of day. 

Have a good one folks!

Monday, 10 February 2014

13 Commonwealth Tales!

Glasgow 2014

We are delighted to announce that as part of Big Lottery's Celebrate Fund, we have been awarded £9285 for our new project 13 Commonwealth Tales.

The project builds on the success of last years storytelling project and ties in with cultural celebrations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

13 Commonwealth Tales will involve us researching and retelling ten traditional folk tales from around the Commonwealth, along with a traditional tale from the UK and one from our own area of Inverclyde. We also hope to make contact with similar groups in other commonwealth countries and invite them to continue and contribute to a new folktale which will start here, and travel around the Commonwealth being added to.

All the stories explored and collected, will form the basis of two publications. The first will be an illustrated children's book retelling the stories in a very straightforward manner to encourage retelling. It will feature Captain Kidd following a map around the Commonwealth looking for hidden treasures and will be illustrated by Mhairi M Robertson, who worked with us last year on Wee Nasties.

The other, Uncommon Tales, will be a 32 page comic, charting the adventures of Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes as he travels the Commonwealth on the run from the sinister local cult, the Cluthee, with mysterious artefacts from his collection. The childrens book will be published and distributed for free to local schools and at a celebration event in September. The comic will be made available exclusively in digital form, also for free. It will be illustrated by Andy Lee, our resident artist, currently busy painting vikings and steampunk robots.

As part of the project we will also be working with pupils in partnership with the superb Digital Commonwealth project, sharing new digital skills for storytelling. The project will conclude with a storytelling festival, with local and national storytellers sharing commonwealth tales in the historic Dutch Gable House, along with an exhibition of illustrations from the project celebrating the stories and characters of commonwealth folktales.

The Commonwealth Games presents a real opportunity for us to explore, celebrate, compare and contrast the cultures of other commonwealth countries and of course in times past, Greenock was a vital port in the trade across the empire and commonwealth, so has connections and associations with many commonwealth countries.

Our free open events and storytelling training will be scheduled throughout summer 2014 to capitalise on the Commonwealth Games. The project seeks to explore cultural similarities and differences apparent in how we tell stories and what we share. 

There will be lots more info on all of this very soon, best way to keep up with what's going on is here on the blog or via our twitter. As ever, the whole project is volunteer led...but as we all know, voluntary doesn't mean amateur.

Over the next few months on the blog, we'll be sharing traditional tales and mysteries from the Commonwealth, even just a quick glance at what's out there has revealed spider gods, rainbow serpents, sharktopus teeth, monkey ghosts, wendigo and goatsuckers. Sounds like fun...

For more information, contact aulddunrod@gmail.com

Monday, 3 February 2014

Book Your Own Comic Making Workshops

This week, a new venture from Torch, we've now run successful comic workshops / created comics and stories with a number of schools and groups...so we thought...let's see if we can make this part of our ongoing activity - buy in the workshops for your groups or schools and not only will you get a rather smashing comic produced, you'll be helping contribute to our future projects...

Why Comics?
Comics are a vibrant and expressive artform, now recognised as a gateway to literacy and engagement.
From addressing community issues to exploring local history, Magic Torch can work with your project to create new ways of telling and sharing your story.
While often used as an engagement opportunity for working with groups of young people, there is absolutely no age limit on groups we can work with. For schools groups, we are able to map the process to Curriculum for Excellence outcomes.

What’s the programme
We offer a flexible programme which can be tailored to suit the time and resources you have available. Our workshops include everything from working on scripts and illustration through to actually publishing a completed comic, you simply choose from our menu of options. 
- Graphic Storytelling : introductory session exploring comics
- Finding the story / researching : shaped by your project outcomes
- Character design
- Script and page layout
- Creation

The 1 or 2 hour sessions are delivered over one or two months, with the end product being an 8 page pdf copy which can be shared online and printed. Additional options resource permitting, include producing presentation display boards of your comic, or short runs of physical copies.

If you are interested in finding out about costs etc, contact aulddunrod@gmail.com

Meantime, check out the scary Slenderman comic we produced with Inverclyde Academy 1st and 2nd years.

And here's our very own local superhero team, flying your way soon...