I'VE had a streaming cold for the past couple of days which hasn't exactly helped oil the creative wheels on Tim Skinner. At the moment I've got a very rough first draft that reads like some kind of superhero comedy sketch show rather than an actual story.
The problem is that I've got one character - the titular Skinner - who is in every scene. What I'm now trying to do is to knit those scenes together as seamlessly as possible so Skinner's transition between them doesn't seem too clunky and that decent gags aren't being forced out by the plot exposition necessary to set up each new bit.
The Skinner project started off fairly easy to write but, to be honest, has turned out to be a bit of a bastard. Looks like I'm going to be working on it for at least a couple more weeks (I go back to the day job next week) which is enormously frustrating.
* BEEN really enjoying the three-part Comics Britannia series that's been showing on BBC Four for the past couple of weeks (it's the last one next Monday). Of course comics fans wouldn't be comics fans if they didn't find something to whine about on the internet so it hasn't surprised me in the slightest that some messageboards have been clogged with posters moaning about various aspects of the series.
Some are enraged that the series started with the creation of The Beano and The Dandy in 1938 rather than delving back further into the history of British comics, while others have thrown a strop because their own particular favourite characters haven't been featured.
Of course the problem is that the show's makers have just three one-hour shows into which they must fit almost 70 years of history. They need to edit down and make sense of a huge amount of material and, as a result, they've clearly had to miss a lot of stuff out, cut the odd factual corner and generalise quite a bit.
It's also true to say that many of the people who are going to be watching possess only a rudimentary knowledge of comics (at best), so concentrating on titles and characters that were the best known seems a perfectly sound approach to me.
All in all, as an introduction to and celebration of British comics, it's something I find almost impossible to criticise. The contributions of Posy Simmonds, Alan Moore and Leo Baxendale have been particularly fascinating.
The shining jewel in the Comics Britannia season's crown so far though has been Jonathan Ross' documentary In Search Of Steve Ditko about the chat show host's bid to track down the reclusive artist. It provides a detailed history and analysis of Ditko's work and Ayn Rand-inspired beliefs, but also delves into the reasons for his break with Marvel and fractious relationship with Stan Lee.
Look out for the uncomfortable but undeniably rivetting moment when Ross interviews Lee himself and presses him on Ditko's (thoroughly reasonable) claims to be Spider-Man's co-creator.
The Ditko doc is repeated on BBC Four at various times this week and you can see clips from Comics Britannia here: