My Bristol favourites: Daniel Humphry

3 03 2013

Daniel Humphry is the founder and editor of Off Life, the UK’s only street press comic magazine which is currently distributed around Bristol and London. Only on its third issue, the free magazine has already built up enough critical momentum to be invited to an event at the Design Museum, where on Friday night they hosted their speed sketching challenge Quick Draw.

Here are Daniel’s top-five Bristol favourites:

Brandon Hill
“Considering the size of Brandon Hill, it’s surprising how many people in the city aren’t aware it even exists. While it boasts the best views in Bristol, there’s also enough open space for sports and plenty of tucked away corners for more nefarious deeds. I’ve never figured out how they’ve gotten away with calling it a nature reserve though?”

The Mardyke pub
“You can’t beat the Mardyke on Hotwell Road for sheer wealth of characters. I once saw a man drag a cat to the bar while asking if anyone had lost a stray, only to be reminded that it was dogs who stray and cats who roam free. He hurled the cat out the door and ordered a Natch in the same breath. You don’t get that in Start the Bus.”

Sitting outside the Arnolfini in the summer
“Is it a bit pretentious? I don’t know. Maybe. But watching the sun set over the Floating Harbour while drinking a can of Thatchers Gold and bumping into friends you lost over the winter is a staple of Bristolian summers. No doubt at 8pm some dick will ruin it by throwing empty beer cans at ducks. But hey, it’s Bristol.”

Thekla or Louisiana or Croft or Fleece or… well you get the point
“While plans for a new indoor arena are welcome news in Bristol, we shouldn’t forget that the lack of a big, shiny, corporate nightmare allows smaller venues in the city to regularly punch above their weight and put on some of the best touring bands around. I can’t imagine that an arena will pull any of the loyal crowds from these fine venues but regardless, we’ve got it golden right now.”

Bristol’s DIY publishing scene
“Admittedly I’m pretty biased here, but in the last three years independent publishing within the city has exploded. Whether it is Crack’s assault on the music press, the small press illustration out of the Bear Pit, Photographique’s Vignette magazine or even Bristol Culture itself – people here just seem to get on with it. That all of these publications are started with noble intentions is an added bonus. Hopefully Off Life can add to this growing tradition and no doubt others will soon be hot on our heels.”

I am totally going to climb that thing

Off Life magazine

1 10 2012

Off Life is a new magazine published in Bristol which boldly asserts itself as “the UK’s only street press comic anthology”. This month sees issue number one of this beautifully-crafted publication which collects stories from leading indie comic talent, to be left casually lying around and picked up for free in bars, cafes, shops and galleries.

I picked up my copy yesterday in Mud Dock Deli and an interview with Kofi Annan in the Times magazine was soon relegated to second place as I was transported through Off Life to a world where children make their parents out of birdcages, cats converse with lemons, and a lady octopus carouses with a deep sea diver much to the chagrin of her moustachioed husband.

The style of Off Life is delightfully quirky and offbeat. Each artist brings their own take to proceedings, with one of the joys having no idea what to expect when turning the page to reveal the next story.

For comic book aficionados, there is also an interview with Tom Gauld, a comic artist who wrote best-selling graphic novel, Goliath, and is a regular cartoonist in the Guardian.

Off Life editor Daniel Humphrey writes that he hopes the new magazine will be “a stepping stone to all the works of genius out there in four-colour print”.

“Our aim is to provide a platform for up-and-coming talent while opening comics to a whole new audience. Sure Spider-man is fun and Wolverine is tough but at their best comics are as smart, adult and culturally relevant as any novel, film or classical art.”