Monday, October 29, 2007


A FUNNY old weekend. Underwent a "test" at the local hospital on Saturday morning which was fine (well, about as fine as having a camera shoved up your arse can ever be) but it left me with an upset stomach for the rest of the day and Sunday. This meant I was in no fit state to travel into London yesterday for Joel's birthday which was a bit of a downer really (I almost said "bummer" but thought better of it).

Instead, I spent most of the weekend flat out on the sofa half-heartedly trying to keep my noisy, disobedient children amused. I ended up watching loads of kids' TV and was gobsmacked by just how good a lot of it is. Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans and Ben 10 are all great (the first two are substantially better than their comicbook counterparts) but best of the lot is The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy (see pic above).

It's about two kids (sociopath Mandy and cretinous Billy) whose best friend is the Grim Reaper himself. It's violent, surreal and contains loads of gags about bogies, farts and, surprisingly for a kids' show, death. It also seems to have boasted a whole host of intriguing guest voices since its debut in 2001, including Weird Al Jankovic and Fred Willard.

If you're old enough to remember the classic Ren & Stimpy then you'll love every ridiculous minute of it.

* I'VE got an idea for a new superhero project but I'm not sure I should actually go through with it. The subject matter is somewhat controversial (to say the least) and I'm worried that writing it would leave me open to accusations of insensitivity - or worse of exploiting something quite hurtful to line my pockets/boost my career.

The thing is, since I started thinking about this idea on Saturday, much of the story has just clicked into place in my head. It's a good idea and, I think, a pretty original one. Right now I reckon I'm going to give it a shot and see what happens. I can always chicken out further down the line.

Oh, and before you ask, no it isn't about a super-powered paedophile...

Friday, October 26, 2007


My favourite comicbook panel of the week, courtesy of Andy Diggle and Leonardo Manco's Hellblazer #237. A clever little reference to John Constantine's early days as a Sting lookalike perhaps...

* A BUSY week all in all. After a lot of messing about and multiple rewrites, the script for my Robots anthology story is finally complete. It's only three pages long (four if artist Mikey B wants to spread his wings a bit). Not sure why it's taken me so long to get the story right as it's quite a simple idea.

Anyway, it's called The Saboteur and packs a heck of a lot in to just 20 panels. Hopefully, we'll still be able to make the anthology's end of November deadline but if not there are plenty of other indie press publishers to which we can send it.

* LOOKS like the weekend is going to be a busy one too. I'm in hospital tomorrow, the details of which I really won't bore you with. Suffice to say, I hope I'm in and out of the bloody place as quickly as possible.

On Sunday I'm off into London for Joel Meadows' birthday lunch and booze-up. I hate central London these days but Joel - the brains behind the excellent Tripwire annual - is a lovely bloke and it'll be a good chance to catch up with him as we hardly saw each other at the BICS event a couple of weeks ago.

* NEXT week is all about finishing off the script for Tim Skinner. The second half is written as a first draft but needs a lot of polishing. I've got five days to do it in which should be ample.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Don't call me Scarface...

THIS is artist Mikey B's vision of what he and I would look like as gangsters (terrifying, ain't we?). Mikey's the artist who has been waiting an age for me to deliver my Robots script to him and I'll also be teaming up with him on something suitably "gangstery" next year. Mikey draws good gangsters - check out some more, here:

* I'M right at the start of another fortnight off work in which I will again try to get the scripts for Tim Skinner and the aforementioned Robots story finished. Not sure quite why everything is taking so long right now but it's enormously frustrating. I'd hoped to squeeze another two one-shot scripts into the tail-end of the year but it looks like I'm only going to have time to do one now - and that'll be Kurss, something I've been promising artist Duncan Nimmo since Bristol 2006.

* PLANS for next year are shaping up nicely. Pendragon, a three-issue mini-series with artist Simon Wyatt, is probably going to be the first thing I tackle in 2008. It's going to be a bit of departure for me as it will be my first foray into the field of fantasy. Dragons, mermaids, magic, all that malarkey...

* I THINK I've officially fallen out of love with Hollywood. I don't watch a lot of films these days but 90 per cent of those I do see are pretty disappointing. I caught Tarantino's Deathproof and Brian de Palma's Black Dahlia over the weekend and, despite the odd thing here and there, both left me pretty cold.

Quality-wise, I think television has really stolen a march on the movies over the last few years and is now vastly superior. Any night of the week I can turn on my TV and find something new and genuinely terrific, be it The Riches, The Wire, Californication or 30 Rock. Every time I glance at a list of what's on at my local cinema it just seems to be an interchangeable list of dumb comedies, CGI-soaked action films, please-give-us-an-Oscar melodramas and misogynistic horror films.

I can't remember the last time I saw a film that really blew me away like Blade Runner, Good Fellas and Crimes And Misdemeanors did all those years ago.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New column

THE second of my "Starting Out" columns is now up at This one deals with how to get your comic or graphic novel into Previews and what happens once you have. Hopefully there's some good advice in there.

Monday, October 15, 2007

BICS and pieces

I'M delighted to say that this year's Birmingham International Comics Show was a massive improvement on the one at the tail end of 2007. First and foremost the venue was excellent - the show was held at a place called the ThinkTank in the city's impressive Millennium Point building.

The ThinkTank is a kind of miniature version of the science musuem in London, full of moving, talking, whirring, clicking technology from the past, present and future on four or five floors. There's even a planetarium. It would be a great place to visit even without the comic show.

The other good news is that the venue, convention hotels and public transport were all within easy walking distance of each other. It may seem like a tiny thing but I spent a small fortune on cab fares last time which is an expense I could have well done without.

The event was a success in terms of punter numbers too - the main event room, which is probably only a bit smaller than the one at Bristol, was absolutely packed all day Saturday and pretty damn busy on the Sunday. I took a fair bit of cash and sold most of the comics I took up with me but, more importantly, I was able to catch up with all the people I only ever get to see once or twice a year.

It was lovely to see SBC columnist Regie Rigby who had just signed a contract with Markosia to publish his Sunset mini-series. Really delighted for Regie who's one of the nicest and most supportive people I've met in the five years I've been doing this.

Also good to see Phonogram writer Kieron Gillen whose bullshit-free attitude to his work and recent success make talking to him an absolute pleasure.

I was surprised by just how young Hassan and Rachid Otsmane are. They're the guys behind the website for which I write a column, and I was expecting them to be the kind of grizzled 30 or 40-somethings that UK comics fandom is full of. But not a bit of it - I'm old enough to be their dad!

Sean Azzopardi was kind enough to keep me company on the Moonface Press table for practically the entire weekend and sold a fair few of his own comics too. It was funny because although we're mates, our work has bugger all in common. Sean's stuff is the kind of thing likely to get picked up by Top Shelf or Fantagraphics whereas mine is far more influenced by a lifetime reading very mainstream Marvel and DC books.

Anyway, Sean has a trade paperback collection of his brilliant Twelve Hour Shift comic coming out soon and you should really check it out. You'll find information here:

... and here's the cover...

Also caught up with a host of collaborators and soon-to-be collaborators. Confirmed with Declan Shalvey that Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag is going to be full-colour. Don't think I've mentioned it on here before but Dec will be the artist on the Skinner one-shot. It will be our follow-up to the award-winning Hero Killers and I'm currently entertaining a totally mad notion to launch it at San Diego 2008.

Mick Trimble showed me all the Septic Isle pages he's done so far and it's looking terrific. That will probably be our big launch at Bristol - a 52-page, perfect bound graphic novella with a wraparound cover by the aforementioned Mr Shalvey.

Briefly met with artist Simon Wyatt about a three-issue mini-series we're hoping to get together early next year. Working title: Pendragon. Also confirmed with Duncan Nimmo that he's still up for illustrating Kurss, the one-shot title I will be writing as soon as the Skinner script is finished. I've been promising him the script since Bristol 2006!

And that's about it really - as per usual I didn't get to see any panels or talks and didn't do nearly enough after-show socialising. Still, there's always next year...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Return to Brum

OFF to Birmingham on Friday for the second annual International Comics Show. I'm looking forward to it although I'm not going to enjoy spending a weekend away from the kids and missus.

Hopefully this year's BICS will be an improvement on the one last year when the crap venue, terrible weather (it was December) and a severe lack of punters with cash to spend kind of put the kibosh on things.

As ever, I'll be spending a great deal of time catching up with all the people I haven't seen since Bristol (I'm usually hoarse after a weekend of incessant comics-related jabbering) and looking to recruit a couple of new artists for projects next year. Particularly looking forward to seeing Mick Trimble, Will Sliney, Declan Shalvey, Simon Wyatt and Jamie Richards, all of whom I'm either working on projects with now or will be in the new year.

Of course, one person who won't be at BICS is James Redington who died in July. It's going to be weird not having him there and I really hope the show's organisers are going to mark his passing in some way.

* TIM Skinner: Total Scumbag will be Moonface Press' very first full-colour comicbook when it comes out next year. Better finish off that script then, eh?

* CONGRATULATIONS to my friend and collaborator Will Sliney who has just secured a paying gig with Classical Comics (check out to draw their adaptation of Richard III. Look for it next summer.

* OH dear, it looks like the Heroes backlash is well underway: To be honest, I'm surprised it's taken this long for the show to be found out. Yep, it has some intriguing characters, the odd absorbing plot twist and half a dozen episodes in season one were genuine crackers. But the season finale was tosh, the pace of the show is so sloooowwww and Battlestar Galactica and Buffy are way better. Oooh, controversial.

* MUCH better than Heroes is The Riches (being shown on Virgin 1 in the UK). Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver play a couple of "grifters" who assume the identities of a wealthy couple when they are killed in a car crash. Two episodes in and I'm hooked.