You'll be undoubtedly relieved to know that Dec and I have now finished patting each other on the back about our Eagle win so it's back to reality – and for me that means trying to write some comics.
I have about half a dozen different projects at various stages of development at the moment and have already been in touch with some of the artists I met at Bristol. Hi Alma and Liam, if you're reading this!
The plan is to get Septic Isle finished and with Diamond for as early in January 2008 as we can manage. That way, if they decide to pick-up the book for distribution, it can be solicited in February or March, and I can get it printed in time to do a big launch at next year's Bristol. It will be 52 pages with a spine, and topped off by that lovely cover I posted a few weeks ago.
The first draft of Brothers is pretty much written but there'll be plenty to fix in my second sweep through it. There's a major element of the plot still not working as it should, I probably need to slim down the cast and the final third still isn't doing it for me. Not much to sort out there then! Still hoping to have it finished before the end of the month.
* Read a rather bemusing review of some of my work over the weekend in some fanzine or other. It referred to my stuff at various points as both "dreadful" and "superb". Now that's what I call keeping your options open!
Still, bad reviews don't bother me too much, 1. Because you can always learn something from them and 2. Only a deluded egomaniac expects everyone to like his work.
One thing the review did for me was crystallise something that has been floating around my head for a while. The reviewer in question really enjoyed a story I did called Tim Skinner: Total Wanker, which appeared in a horror and humour one-shot I published around 18 months ago, called SHRIEK! The printing was horrible and I didn't really think the material overall was strong enough to submit to Diamond. But the Skinner story – about a horrible scumbag who can insert himself into comicbooks and interact with the characters – was a definite hit with readers (all 100 of them) and every reviewer who's written about the book.
Anyway, I've decided to bring back Skinner at some point in the near future in his own all-singing, all-dancing one-shot. It would probably be an expanded version of the original story and feature the main character visiting comicbook worlds a bit similar to those of Judge Dredd, Transmet, Blankets and Crisis On Infinite Earths. Watch this space...
* After all my bitching and moaning, it looks like I'm going to be attending the Birmingham International Comics Show after all. It's in October this year and therefore only a few months after Blood Psi hits stores, so it might be a good opportunity to shift a few copies. I'm also interested in attending the Dublin con in November but will make a decision on that nearer the time.
* I've been slowly reading through some of my Bristol indy press purchases and have been very impressed so far.
The Wolfmen (from Accent UK Press) is a hard-boiled crime tale with some lovely art by Andy Bloor, about a criminal gang with a deep, dark, scary secret. It's short, sharp and very effective.
Falling Sky (from Scar Comics) isn't as good artwise but more than makes up for it with a cracking, beautifully-told story about the end of the world. Writer/artist Ben Dixon's definitely a talent to watch.
I've also been picking up 2000AD a fair bit lately and have been mightily impressed with Bob Byrne's Twisted Tales series that's running there at the moment. Twist ending stories have been done to death everywhere (god knows I've done my fair share), but Bob's work is brilliantly inventive and original. Check out the "Final Exams" tale in this week's prog (1537) and marvel at Bob's twisted imagination and terrific storytelling.