Thursday, February 26, 2015

Defiant launches

Defiant: The Legend of Brithnoth will be launching not once but twice! Artist Dan Bell and I will be signing at the Time Bomb Comics table at the London Super Comic Con over the weekend of March 14-15, and then I will be at the inaugural Birmingham Comics Festival on April 18 (unfortunately, Dan can't make that one due to a prior engagement).

There will also be a Defiant Facebook page going live in the next few days where you can go for updates, art pages etc.

This book has taken so long to get together and I'm genuinely excited that we're nearly there!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

There will be Blood Psi

Blood Psi will be available on ComiXology from Wednesday, January 28 and is being offered at the special knockdown price of 99c/69p. The book contains gorgeous black and white art by Keith Burns (Ex-Con, Aces Weekly) and an eye-catching cover by Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight, Injection). Personally, I think it's the best of the one-shots I wrote a few years ago and has always been a story I'd have loved to continue. In fact, when it looked like the comic was going to be optioned by a film producer a couple of years back, I actually wrote issues #2 and #3, and had further chapters sketched out. Maybe one day...

* With Defiant: The Legend of Brithnoth out in a couple of months, Manuela busy illustrating the final chapter of Hushers (sample page below), and Tim Skinner; Retconned bubbling away quietly in the background, I've been having a think about what I want to write next. One idea I've been working on is for a sci-fi black comedy. I'm going to spend the next month or so plotting out the whole thing in some detail before approaching artists. When I saw Declan in Birmingham last year he made a suggestion about getting published that I've been eager to try out ever since. This will be the project that puts that suggestion into practise...

* People have asked me what happened to a couple of projects I mentioned on here last year. Nothing good is the answer. Nix was going to be a graphic novel coming out through Borderline Press but the artist bailed (a shame because he was bloody good). This is a book I'd really like to return to at some point as I had the whole thing plotted out and had put quite a lot of work into it. I will probably try to find another artist again soon. I'd placed The Good Ship Otzi with a Dutch comics publisher but they had bugger-all money and closed a few months before Christmas. To be honest, Otzi is a project I won't bother returning to but I certainly intend to strip-mine it for the best ideas which I shall use elsewhere. 

* I've started a film blog - As Human as the Rest of Us - here. Come by and check out my recent reviews of superior low-budget horror flick Honeymoon, and offensively crappy kill-fest American Sniper. The blog also has its own Facebook page.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Four months later...

Defiant: The Legend of Brithnoth is finished and should appear in Previews (at least the UK bit of it) early next year. There has been talk of launching the book at one of the country's multitude of conventions but nothing has been confirmed yet. Possibly the London Super Comic Con, in March, or The Birmingham Comics Festival (publisher Steve Tanner is one of the organisers) the following month. Perhaps even both. When I know, you'll know... 

I'm really pleased with how the story came out - artist/letterer Dan Bell and I spent a lot of time tweaking bits here and there to get it right and I think that has paid off. I think it's one of those stories that will need to be read more than once to really get the most out of it. I've tried some storytelling ideas that I haven't used before and taken some serious liberties with the original poem but hopefully it all works as it should. I'm very proud of it and can't wait to see it printed and published - Dan and I have spent the best part of two years on it!

* Most of my time this year has been spent working on Hushers, a graphic novel for another UK publisher being drawn by Italian artist Manuela Bassu Lebrino. It is all written and Manuela is due to start illustrating the final chapter any day now. It's looking good and will almost certainly be the thing I talk most about on here in the coming months.

* Working on Hushers meant that plans for the Tim Skinner: Retconned webcomic slipped down the schedule but I've now finished the third chapter and only have the fourth and final one to write. Artist Ruairi Coleman sent me the first few inked pages the other day and it looks brilliant. Ruairi is signed on for at least the first two chapters but might have to drop out after that to concentrate on his work for US publisher Dynamite, where he is currently drawing Turok: Dinosaur Hunter with the equally excellent Stephen Downey. One way or another, though, there should be new Skinner in 2015.

* And that's about it for now - we're nearing the end of another year in which this blog has been updated even less than usual. I'll try and make it one of my new year's resolutions to change that. In the meantime, have a lovely Christmas and a happy start to 2015.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Run for cover

Defiant: The Legend of Brithnoth now has a cover (above, click to enlarge), courtesy of Dan Bell and Aljosa Tomic.

The book itself is very close to being finished. I'm currently proofreading all 84 story pages while artist Dan busies himself designing various bits of backmatter.

Proofing a story is, I think, one of the most important parts of the creative process (but, then, as a professional proofreader and sub editor, I would say that). Having one last thorough read through what you've created is crucial because you almost always identify one or two things that haven't quite worked. Not just typos but maybe the odd scene in which the art and dialogue don't mesh correctly, a vital detail that has been underplayed, a misplaced speech balloon...

It will hopefully hit Previews before the end of the year and see actual publication through Time Bomb Comics early in 2015. We're also discussing launching it at one of the UK's many comic conventions but nothing has been confirmed as yet. More details as and when I have them...

* On the subject of Time Bomb Comics, they currently have a book out called Longship, by Lawrence Rider and Rebecca Teall. It's a clever and really quite touching tale of a Viking boat, a father and son, and a funeral. You really should buy it. Drop them a line at: or order the book through your local comic shop.

* And while I'm dishing out plugs, Defiant colourist Aljosa Tomic worked on the most recent issue of Veil (#4), by Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula, through Dark Horse. It's a terrific and unusual supernatural mini-series from Lazarus and Queen and Country writer Rucka so well worth picking up.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Digital Bullet

HERO KILLERS - the Eagle Award-winning one-shot I did with Marvel artist Declan Shalvey - is now on ComiXology. You can buy it here for the very reasonable sum of 99c/69p. I now intend to submit a few of the other Moonface Press titles, starting with Blood Psi.

* DEFIANT! THE LEGEND OF BRITHNOTH is now about one-third coloured and - thanks to the excellent Aljosa Tomic - is looking very good indeed. I've also managed to get permission to use a fine translation of the original Battle of Maldon poem in the book which is great news. 

The plan as it stands is to bring Defiant! out early next year so Time Bomb Comics publisher Steve Tanner has a chance to submit it to Diamond and to get a bit of publicity going ahead of its release.

Here is one of the coloured pages; art by Dan Bell...

* I have two other major things I'm working on - one a graphic novel with publisher contracts already signed, the other a very intriguing webcomic with a name artist whose brilliance intimidates the hell out of me. Unfortunately I can't say anything about them until I'm given the green light to do so. Soon, though, hopefully...

* What else? Need to get on with writing more Tim Skinner very soon. It's slipped down the schedule a bit as other stuff has elbowed it out of the way... artist Jim Lavery and I have collaborated on a fun short story which has found a home in a very exciting anthology. I'm really proud of it, actually, probably the best short story I've written since... ever. Aljosa (again) and Nikki Foxrobot have turned in sterling work on the colours and letters for it too.

* I've reached that part of the year where I need to rush to get through as much stuff as possible before the kids break up for the summer. I love them both dearly but struggle to get any writing done when they're around, and there are deadlines I simply can't leave hanging until September. I really don't know how proper professional writers and artists cope with this stuff. I mean, I can't just decamp to a hotel for six weeks, can I? Hmmm...

* Finally, I now have a tumblr page here. At the moment I'm really just using it as a second home for this blog but plan to do a bit more with it soon. Feel free to follow me there, if you must...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Talk is cheap

HAVE I really not updated this blog since the middle of November 2013? Yes, that's exactly what has happened. How embarrassing.

It isn't that I haven't had a lot going on, because I have - bloody loads, actually. I am, however, trying to avoid talking about projects until something actually, properly concrete exists. Like finished pages, printed issues, viewable webcomics... that kind of thing. Because I've noticed that I come on here and jabber on about what I'm up to and then, more often than not, bugger all ever comes of it.

There are also things I won't talk about because I don't want to jinx them - after this morning, one thing in particular...

A few projects I will mention though, purely because they seem a bit more concrete than most of the half-arsed, airy-fairy nonsense I blather on about.

Firstly, I've finished writing the first episode of Tim Skinner: Retconned for Ruairi Coleman to draw. The idea - at least as it stands - is that we will finish all four episodes before the first one goes live and that the episodes will appear weekly for a month later in the year (September is favourite right now). I'm very happy with the first episode and had forgotten just how much fun it is to write Skinner.

I've also penned a one-shot for artist Henry Simon to illustrate. It's a pulpy sci-fi story featuring motorcycle gangs that runs to 28 pages. There's also a seven-page short story for artist Jim Lavery. I'm really proud of this one, actually, and I'll be going all out to get it into a decent anthology.

Thing is, though, I've mentioned those three projects and none of them actually properly exists yet. Any one of them could go tits up tomorrow, making me look foolish... again.

So, let me turn my attention to Defiant! The Legend of Brithnoth, which is becoming more and more real with every passing week. Artist Dan Bell only has a few pages and the odd panel revision to go before pencils and inks on the book are finished. I suspect Dan will treat himself to a stiff drink when it's all done. Then it's just the colouring and lettering, the cover and backmatter to sort out. Easy.

There's other stuff - stuff I'm pitching, stuff I'm struggling to find reliable artists for... the usual. I'll talk about it when and if... or probably not at all.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cut 'n' thrust

I finished writing Defiant! The Legend of Brithnoth a couple of months ago and artist Dan Bell is just under two-thirds of the way through drawing it. It feels like we've been working on it forever and there's still a long way to go (colouring and lettering for a start), but I'm confident it will still see the light of day towards the end of next year – Time Bomb Comics' schedule permitting of course...

Dan's been a pleasure to work with and his stuff has just got better and better the further into the book he has gone (see a recent page above). He's always happy to take a second look at certain pages and panels when I've asked him to and, likewise, I've valued his opinions when it comes to what works and what doesn't in the script. We're a good team, I think, and hope we do more stuff together in the future.

And while I'm talking about Dan, he has a couple of stories in the recently-released British Showcase Anthology graphic novel (published by Markosia). More details here:

He will also be at Thought Bubble, in Leeds, this weekend, where you can buy copies of his excellent comics The Goose and Psircus.

* Next up for me, two new projects (which aren't actually new at all). The first is a one-shot called Razorsnakes for R-Comics, with artist Henry Simon. It was originally going to be a longer 'graphic novella' type thing but I've been keen to have a crack at a couple of shorter, sharper stories in the mould of Hero Killers and Blood Psi. It's only 26 pages of actual story so I'm going to be editing down and refining my original idea and hoping it still works. I first had the idea for Razorsnakes five or six years ago and always planned to do something with it. Anyway, its time has finally come...

The second is the Tim Skinner: Retconned webcomic. I've been holding off starting on this because I really wanted to clear my schedule to get it right. I've also spent the last few months just thinking - soaking up all the comics silliness I can find and generally getting myself into maximum snark mode. Maximum snark mode has now been achieved...

* Once those are out of the way, I shall start writing Nix. I produced 11 pages of script earlier in the year for a pitch sample, but now must get cracking on the whole 80+ page story. I've found a publisher and have been working with an editor to get the story absolutely right. The only recent drawback is that the original artist has decided to leave the project (to pursue a lifelong dream to ink Superboy. Or something).

As a result, I'm looking for a new artist (when aren't I?) so if anyone fancies having a crack at a sci-fi black comedy in which a deranged time traveller has a threesome with JFK and Marilyn, before doing something unspeakable to Idi Amin, feel free to drop me a line at:

* I was really hoping to make it up to Thought Bubble for the first time this weekend but life, it seems, has made other plans yet again. I've only actually managed one comics con this year (the London Super Comic Con) which is almost certainly my worst showing ever. It's something that needs to change, especially as there's a good chance I'll finally have some new stuff published next year.

If you are lucky enough to be going to TB, be sure to check out Time Bomb Comics (their new Squadron of the Screaming Damned book looks fantastic) and Borderline Press (Dennis Wojda's excellent 566 Frames and the Zombre anthology are both worth a look).