Monday, December 8, 2008

Something new

I'VE just had two weeks off work which has given me a chance to catch up on a few things. I've also started writing something brand new which, as things stand, I'm rather pleased with. At this stage I'm not sure whether it will end up as a standalone graphic novel or even a two or three issue mini-series. I'm just having fun writing it and am quite happy to just let the story take its course and see what I end up with.

I've been experimenting a bit with the way I write. I had a pretty good idea where I wanted to go with the story and characters but, instead of planning everything out meticulously, I just decided to start writing and see if anything interesting occurred. So far I've found it a really useful exercise for developing the characters - I've discovered what kind of people they are by just getting on with writing them rather than sitting down and thinking through individual traits, motivations etc.

When I'm a bit further into the first draft (I've only written a dozen or so pages so far) I'll provide a few more details about what I'm up to - all I'll say at this stage is that it's rather more sci-fi than anything I've done previously and that it's very much a "group book".

Of course it means that the other stuff I was writing - particularly Kurse - remains annoyingly unfinished. Kurse is a decent idea that I can definitely do something with but I ended up writing myself down a particularly tricky cul de sac with the book that really needs a lot of work to resolve. I'll return to it at some point next year but for now it rests in limbo...

* THE lovely people at Comic Related have interviewed my Hero Killers and Tim Skinner collaborator Mr Declan Shalvey. You'll find it here:

In the interview Dec mentions that there are no plans for a Tim Skinner sequel and, as things stand, he's quite right. However, the words "Tim Skinner sequel" are now loose in my head and I've come up with a few ideas for how to continue the story past the original one-shot. I've even caught myself in odd moments day-dreaming bits of dialogue.

On the subject of Skinner, I was a bit unprepared for the high number of enquiries I got from comic fans following the book's positive mention by Rich Johnston in Lying In The Gutters last week. The first print run of 100 was meant to be little more than a marketing tool to get a bit of a buzz going before the book's appearance in Previews. I hadn't even set up a PayPal page for it on the Moonface Press website so people could buy the book. I suspect I won't be troubling Sir Alan Sugar for a job any time soon...

* TOMORROW I have a day off and will spend a bit of it watching The Dark Knight (I missed it at the cinema so have had to wait for it to come out on DVD). I thought Batman Begins was good but overrated so I'm a bit worried TDK won't bowl me over either. We shall see...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Skinner In The Gutters

RICH JOHNSTON says nice things about Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag in his Lying In The Gutters column, here:

You'll find the review about halfway down the page under a heading that says "Comics Irish Style" (Rich picked up a copy of Skinner at the recent Dublin City Comic Con).

By the way, if anyone would like a copy of Skinner just send £4 (£3 for the book, £1 for postage) to me at on PayPal.

* THERE'S an interview with Dec about his Frankenstein book over at Comics Bulletin. You'll find it here:

The interviewer seems to think Dec actually drew Blood Psi and, ahem, "Septic Island" (he did the covers only) but, apart from those research glitches, it's well worth a read.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


THERE'S a new interview with me up at the Comic Related website, here.

Conducted by David O'Leary (not that one), it covers everything from Hero Killers and Tim Skinner to David Hasselhoff and Liam Gallagher!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Septic Isle US

Mick Trimble and I's Septic Isle graphic novella hit comic stores in the States yesterday. Just in time for Thanksgiving when everywhere will be closed!

Still, it's 52 pages, perfect-bound, with a wraparound cover by Eagle Award-winning artist Declan Shalvey - all for under six bucks!

More info here:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Larking around in Dublin

"So, you've been writing Doctor Who..."
Daredevil artist Michael Lark to me in the Park Inn Hotel bar, Dublin. He'd mistaken me for Paul Cornell (I think).

I attended the Dublin City Comic Con over the weekend and had a ridiculously enjoyable time. I'd carried 100 comics over with me on the plane and sold over 90 of them. All 50 copies of Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag went and the book received a hugely encouraging response from punters and professionals alike.

Indeed, Dec and I did a panel with Jonathan Hickman (The Nightly News, Pax Romana, Secret Warriors) and he told us he thought the book was "fucking hilarious" and that we should submit it to Image pronto.

The Dublin Con isn't the biggest comics-related event I've ever been to nor the busiest but the fans that turned up seemed very keen to get their hands on stuff they hadn't seen before. This was perfect for me as a first-time exhibitor and selling my stuff at a little bit less than usual to encourage sales worked wonders. British small pressers and indie publishers really should think about giving Dublin a go next year, especially as Bristol is downsizing for 2009.

Of course, the other crucial part of any con worth its salt is the social aspect and Dublin didn't disappoint there either. In fact, I preferred the cosy, intimate atmosphere in the Park Inn Hotel bar after the con each day to the chaos and noise of the Ramada at Bristol. I met some great people too, among them IDW artists Stephens Mooney and Thompson and their partners, Dec's hilarious mate John Skelton, writer/artist Paddy Brown and colourist extraordinaire Matt Hollingsworth.

My favourite moment of the whole show, though, was when an elderly chap who'd been propping up the hotel bar for most of the weekend accosted Dec for an autograph after being told he was the writer of Spider-Man. The look on Dec's face as the guy continued to pester him even after Dec had told him he had nothing to do with Spidey was absolutely priceless! Dec eventually gave him an autograph, too.

All in all, I really can't recommend the Dublin con enough - the organisers always pull together an impressive guest-list (Jim Lee, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch in previous years; Michael Lark, Dan Slott and Tommy Lee Edwards this time), the atmosphere is friendly and fun, and, if you're a self-publisher, chances are you'll do decent business.

I'll probably pop back here later in the week to talk about a few of the Irish comics I bought over the weekend...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Skinner invades Dublin

THE Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot is back from the printer and is ready for its debut at this weekend's Dublin City Comic Con. Guests for the weekend include: Dan Slott (writer of She Hulk, the Amazing Spider-Man), Adi Granov (Artist Iron Man), Olivier Copiel (Artist Thor), Jonathan Hickman (Writer/Artist The Nightly News, Pax Romana), Tommy Lee Edwards (Artist Marvel 1985), Michael Lark (Artist Dardevil, Gotham Central) and Paul Cornell (Writer Captain Britain And MI:13, Doctor Who).

I'm heading off to the Con late Friday morning and should touch down at Dublin Airport sometime after six in the evening (yes, I know short-haul flights are very bad for the environment but I haven't set foot on a plane in three-and-a-half years so I doubt my carbon footprint is enormous). I've never been to Dublin before (and Ireland only once) so it's something I'm really looking forward to. Dec and I have a table from which punters will be able to purchase the usual catalogue of superior Moonface Press product, plus Dec's frankly marvellous Frankenstein graphic novel. If you're at the Con, please come and say "Hi". And, y'know, buy our stuff.

Skinner only costs €3 (about £2.50) for 36 full-colour pages (30 pages of story, a letters page and a bit of deleted script) on gorgeous thick glossy paper. It looks so lovely, in fact, that you won't know whether to read it or snog it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Skinner and stuff

Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag is finished and with the printer. Dec and I are both very proud of our latest collaboration and can't wait to get it out there. The 36-page, full-colour book will make its debut at the Dublin City Comic Con over the weekend of November 22-23 and will then go through the process of being submitted to Diamond.

You can find out more about the Dublin event here:

Oh, and here's the blurb from the book's back cover for anyone not up to speed with the idea behind Tim Skinner...

"Soon after Tim Skinner inherited his grandfather's old comic book collection he discovered something extraordinary - it was magic and by making a simple wish he could step into the pages of any of the fabulous four-colour fantasies his heart desired. He could hang out with cowboys, futuristic robots or whingeing adolescent mutants.

Unfortunately, Tim is a loathsome piece of garbage and instead of enjoying fun and frolics in a universe of action and adventure he brutalises and exploits his comic-book chums for his own nefarious ends.

Truly, Tim Skinner is a total scumbag!"

* I'd really hoped to attend the Thought Bubble comics festival in Leeds this weekend but, unfortunately, it clashes with my son's fifth birthday. It's a shame as I've heard nothing but positive things about the event since its debut last year.

* Septic Isle hit UK stores last week and should arrive Stateside in the next fortnight. I know I've been doing this for a while but I still get a little buzz when I walk into a comic shop and see one of my book's shelved alongside other new titles from the likes of Marvel, DC and Image. I'm sad like that.

* There's a cracking Future Shock - called "The Lie" - in last week's 2000AD (PROG 1611) written by my pal Dave Baillie. If you're quick, you should still be able to grab yourself a copy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brief update

Blimey, where have the last three weeks gone? I can't believe it's been so long since I posted anything. So, what's been happening? The last month has mostly been concerned with lettering the Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot. It's looking great - Dec has really excelled himself on the art - and the plan is to finish it off in the next week and get it printed up ready for the Dublin City Comic Con later in the month. The Dublin event has its own website, here:

Meanwhile, copies of Septic Isle should now be with Diamond and in UK shops in the next week or two. North American stores should expect their copies sometime in the next month.

There isn't much to report on the writing front at the moment, but that will change once Skinner is done and dusted. I have a couple of weeks off at the end of November/beginning of December and will use it to catch up a bit - whether that's with the long-delayed Kurse or something else I haven't decided yet.

Like I said, a brief update. More soon...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Birmingham diary

THE third Birmingham International Comics Show was easily the best one yet and the Moonface Press table did pretty good business all weekend (especially on the Sunday, which is usually quiet). The first limited edition print run of Septic Isle has now completely sold out - a second printing hits comic shops through Diamond early next month.

Eleven other Brum highlights...
1. Chatting to Andy Radbourne to iron out a few problems we've been having with our Brit Force project. Things are back on track now though.
2. Being genuinely stunned by Andy's work on another forthcoming project of mine that should be ready for next year's Bristol.
3. Talking secret Blood Psi plans with Keith Burns.
4. Getting my hands on a copy of Frankenstein by Jason Cobley and Declan Shalvey - it's easily as lovely as I thought it would be.
5. Finally meeting Toxic/Bulletproof supremo Matt Yeo after exchanging emails with him on and off since 2002.
6. Getting to spend time with Rob, my oldest mate, who travelled up to Birmingham from Warwick on Saturday.
7. Congratulating my old Devilchild collaborator Jason Dennis after he was offered work by DC.
8. Spending a hugely entertaining Saturday night with Mick, Heather, Jamie, Theresa, Keith and Rob.
9. The moment the event's organisers finally switched off the No Heroics* trailer - our table was right in front of the big screen that had been showing the bloody thing on a constant loop for nearly an hour.
10. The bloke who walked about the show dressed as Heath Ledger's version of The Joker all weekend. Respect is especially due for the hours he spent in the nurse's costume on Saturday afternoon.
11. Getting a lift back to Southend on Sunday night with Jamie and Theresa meaning I didn't have to spend hours on a variety of slow-moving trains.

* No Heroics is a desperately unfunny ITV2 superhero sitcom that was being publicised at the show.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Winter in Birmingham

I'M heading off to the third Birmingham International Comics Show on Friday morning and plan on arriving in Brum between three and four. That way I get time to check into my hotel, grab something to eat and generally take it easy before heading off to the launch party in the evening. Last year, I got into Birmingham stupidly late on the Friday night and had to cram everything into a couple of hours. It was all a bit frantic and I was a sweaty, knackered mess at the end of it all.

I haven't really given the event much thought but, suffice to say, am looking forward to spending time with the likes of Declan Shalvey, Mick Trimble, Keith Burns and Jamie Richards. Jamie only lives down the road from me but, this year, I've seen more of him at comics-related events than I have in my regular day-to-day life.

I haven't got anything new out for the Birmingham show – Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag won't be making its bow until Dublin in November – so Mick and I will once again be pushing copies of Septic Isle, ahead of its Diamond release early next month. It might also be your last chance to get hold of Hero Killers, Blood Psi and SHRIEK! as I'm running pretty low on copies of all three and have no current plans to reprint.

If anyone fancies visiting the Moonface Press table - you can find us in the compact and bijou Exhibition Suite, table 150. That's between Bulletproof Comics and Lee Thacker. Bulletproof is run by my old email buddy Matt Yeo, who is also the editor of the brilliant boys' comic Toxic. I've corresponded with Matt many times over the years but we've never actually met so I'm really looking forward to finally seeing him in the flesh.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


DEC SHALVEY'S pimping his new Frankenstein book from Classical Comics over at Joe Gordon's excellent Forbidden Planet blog, here:

Dec also talks about Hero Killers and our forthcoming Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot. The interview's worth a look not only for Dec's words of wisdom but also because there's lots of his lovely art featured in it, too.

As far as I know, Frankenstein will be available for the first time at October's BICS show so do yourself a favour and pick up a copy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Chemical Toilet

RECENTLY I mentioned Gerard Way's excellent Umbrella Academy trade paperback and it reminded me of a script I wrote last year called MONGO: MUSIC CRITIC. It was written for Natalie Sandells to illustrate and the idea was that we were going to submit it for publication to Alan Grant's new Wasted comic (

Busy on other stuff, Nat never got around to working on the story so I thought I may as well post the four-page script here. The story features Mongo, a monstrous-looking alien who is both a Venusian warlord and music critic, turning up at Glastonbury to pass justice on a band not entirely unlike My Chemical Romance...

MONGO: MUSIC CRITIC (four pages)
By Andy Winter

Make room for a credits box somewhere on here, which reads: MONGO: MUSIC CRITIC in “MUSIC! MAYHEM! MONGO!” and then the usual artist and writer creds.

1) Exterior – night. We’re at the Glastonbury Festival. Scores of ghastly young people are throwing themselves about in a decidedly un-coordinated manner. They think this is “dancing” – I, and everyone over the age of 19, beg to differ. Emo rock gods, MY CHEMICAL TOILET, are “rocking” the festival’s main Pyramid stage with their winning combination of piss-weak metal and whining, woe-is-me lyrics. The horrible little shits.

Let’s make this first panel an establishing shot – looking down on the stage and the massive crowd from above.

CAPTION #1: The Glastonbury Festival.

CAPTION #2: Packed to the gills with noise and young people.

CAPTION #3: In the name of sanity, bring back National Service and the birch!

2) Close up of MY CHEMICAL TOILET, in the middle of their set. They are, of course, an amusing send up of rubbish American "emo" band My Chemical Romance, so feel free to make your visual interpretation of the band as caricatured and gratuitously unpleasant as you like. They deserve it.

CAPTION: Emo rock gods My Chemical Toilet are midway through their set…

LEAD SINGER (singing): I’m dead and the world has turned a nasty shade of black, I’m dead and my cat is high on crack.

3) Close up of the crowd. Several especially vile emo-fixated youngsters are moshing about to the appalling din emanating from the stage. But one of them – a ridiculous-looking teenage boy – is standing stock still, looking directly up in the air.

4) Close up of the boy. He’s now pointing at something he can see in the sky immediately above him and the crowd.


5) Big panel. We’re looking up at a massive alien spaceship hovering above the crowd. The crowd panics as well it should. Mongo’s on board, and he’s here to kick ass and chew gum... and he’s all out of gum!


1) The spaceship has landed in the middle of the throng, directly in front of the Pyramid stage. The crowd has scattered but many of them are squashed under the craft’s massive, extraterrestrial bulk. Take that indolent, useless youth of today!

2) A door on the side of the spaceship has flipped open and Mongo appears, with his gratifyingly huge alien blaster thingy slung across his shoulder on a strap.

3) Mongo floats out into the air towards the stage.

4) Through some kind of portable alien loudspeaker system, he addresses the band, who have remained on stage clutching their instruments and looking frightened. They look up at him, still floating in the air.

MONGO: I am Mongo – Venusian warlord and music critic. You shall now continue playing.

5) The band look at each other, puzzled and scared. They’re not sure what to do.

6) Mongo bellows at them.



The top six panels on this page should be a kind of mini-comic all of their own as we cut back and forth between Mongo and My Chemical Toilet. It should take up about half the page, I reckon. Maybe two banks of three.

1) The band start playing again.

LEAD SINGER (singing): I heard a rumour that you’ve got a tumour…

2) Cut back to Mongo – he wears an inscrutable expression as he scribbles into a notebook that he has taken out.

3) Back to the band giving it their all on stage.

LEAD SINGER (singing): ...but there’s no way you can ever be, as sick as me, because...

4) Back to Mongo with the same expression on his face as he scribbles away furiously.

5) Back to the band.

LEAD SINGER (singing): cancer has cancer, and it hurts so bad, my cancer has cancer and the pain is driving me mad…

6) Back to Mongo, who has now finished scribbling. He holds his notebook and pen in one of his hands.

MONGO: Enough!

7) The band stop.

8) The lead singer addresses Mongo.

LEAD SINGER: So, er, what did you think?


1) Mongo reads from his notebook.

MONGO: Your lyrics are morbid and melancholy, your tunes repetitive, unimaginative and hugely derivative. Your musicianship is limited, your image ridiculous – and you have the on-stage charisma of a moon rock…

2) Mongo smiles a slightly scary, not-to-be-trusted smile.

MONGO: ...I rather liked it.

3) The lead singer looks up at Mongo with a hopeful, optimistic expression on his face.

LEAD SINGER: R-really?

4) Mongo scowls – he looks scary.


5) Mongo blasts the band with his enormous gun.

MONGO: Rating: one star out of five. Sentence: death!

6) We see the band’s ashes on the stage and the spaceship in the background taking off.

CAPTION: Musical justice is served!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let's go to work...

THAT'S summer done and dusted. The kids have returned to school/nursery so that means it's back to the grindstone for me, too. Here's a projects update...

SEPTIC ISLE: Hits comic stores in the UK and North America in early November. Artist Mick Trimble and I will also be flogging copies at the Birmingham International Comics Show over the weekend of October 4-5.

TIM SKINNER - TOTAL SCUMBAG: Artist Declan Shalvey only has around 10 pages of this left to draw and colour, and I've started lettering it. Our plan is to launch Skinner at the Dublin City Con over the weekend of November 22-23. I'd better get that new passport sorted out.

SCOREGASM: Mine and artist Duane Leslie's long-delayed football-themed one-shot is firmly back on the schedule. Look for it in 2009 - maybe launching at Bristol, maybe before.

KURSE: The aim is to get this fully written by the end of the year. Starting again today!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

septic isle interview

There's an interview with artist Mick Trimble and I to publicise Septic Isle over at Comics In it Mick and I talk about such fun stuff as Nazis, sex scenes, James Bond and whether MI5 has a file on us!

The interview, conducted by Kelvin Green, is here:

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stuff I've been doing

So, what have I been doing for the last couple of weeks...

* Lettering issues 2 and 3 of Brit Force.
* Reading The Umbrella Academy trade (it's so good it almost made me feel guilty about all the hateful things I've said about My Chemical Romance).
* Sending Declan Shalvey admiring emails about his beautiful full-colour Tim Skinner pages.
* Rolling home at 1.30 in the morning from work (ouch!).
* Reading comedian Mark Steel's latest book, What's Going On?
* Following the American Presidential election even though I can't vote in it and wouldn't vote for McCain or Obama even if I could.
* Loving every minute of Dexter season two on the FX channel.
* Telling my kids to be quiet about a hundred times a day.
* Inching ever closer to getting this movie option stuff sorted once and for all. The contract is now with a solicitor...
* Putting a few ideas together for a couple of new projects.
* Realising that I shouldn't be thinking about new projects when I have lots of perfectly good old projects to be getting on with.
* Enjoying the heck out of the Luna Brothers' new Image ongoing, The Sword.
* Taking the kids to see Space Chimps. It sucked.
* Visiting LegoLand with the family. It also sucked.
* Itching to get back to the comics writing on September 9.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Declan Shalvey interview

MY good friend and collaborator Declan Shalvey has been interviewed by the Indie Review website. Dec talks about his work on Classical Comics' adaptation of Frankenstein (see his lovely cover above), as well as good and bad comic shops, why studying fine art is no use for comic artists, Hero Killers, Tim Skinner and loads more.

You'll find it here

Saturday, August 9, 2008


THERE'S very little to report on the comics front as I've done bugger all work for a couple of weeks. The main reason for my indolence is that the kids are on their summer break from nursery which means the house is about as quiet as King's Cross at rush hour. It also means I've been filling my days off with trips to places like Legoland in a forlorn bid to keep the little buggers happy and entertained.

The redundancy scare at the Daily Mirror (i.e. where I work) hasn't helped matters either. Basically, my department has been closed with the company accepting voluntary redundancies. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I've ended up with a new job – working on the paper's sports desk. The hours are a bit more demanding but I suspect this is what they call falling on your feet.

So, all in all, I'm just waiting for life to return to something approaching "normal" before I can crack on with things again. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen until Monday, September 9, the day my eldest son starts school. I suspect Duncan Nimmo – the artist who was supposed to be working on the long-delayed Kurse – will have grown old and died by then.

* THIS week Declan Shalvey sent me some inked Tim Skinner pages to see and they look terrific – even better than the top-notch work he did on Hero Killers. There's one panel in particular that is really going to blow people away. Can't wait to see it all in full-colour.

* CRIKEY, the Birmingham International Comics Show is less than two months away (October 4-5). Guess I'd better book a hotel then...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Septic Isle in Previews

THIS month's Previews is out and, look!, there's SEPTIC ISLE on page 313. ISBN: 978-0-9542739-3-4, Diamond order code: AUG08 4213. Order it from your friendly local comic store!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ain't It Cool review

Ambush Bug, aka Mark L. Miller, has reviewed Septic Isle over at Aint It Cool News. It's another positive write up, although, like a couple of others, he reckons Marley and Maggie "knock boots" rather too quickly after their first meeting.

Here's a snippet of what he has to say: "... the story is thick with spy coolness with a bit of noir-ish hard luck, over-the-hill living adding flavor and distinction to our main character."

You'll find the full review here

Friday, July 11, 2008


THE last couple of weeks haven't been very productive on the writing front as real life has been busy chucking obstacles in my way. First, my youngest son Connor contracted chicken pox so I had to forget about my comics work for a week and spend it looking after him. Unfortunately, he still isn't 100 per cent and I've had to take him to both the doctors (twice) and the hospital for a blood test. He still hasn't completely recovered and he has another hospital appointment a week Monday. Poor lad.

The other bit of disruption has centred upon my day job. Basically, the national newspaper where I work is making 11 people redundant and while I'm now about 95 per cent sure I won't be one of them, my job is still going to change. Looking on the bright side, it could actually change for the better but we shall see...

The one thing I have actually managed to get done recently is publicity for Septic Isle. The press release has appeared all over the net and Comics are doing a preview on Sunday. Next week I shall do a big postcard mail-out to retailers in the US and UK, and around the time August's Previews hits stores (later on this month) I'm hoping to actually visit some shops in London and Essex in a bid to get them to order copies. I have cool SI button badges with which to bribe them...

For now, though, I desperately need to get some writing done. I haven't written a single word of Kurse or Razor Snakes in a month and I'm worried that at this rate we'll see 2009 before we see complete scripts for either of them. Bah!

* A COUPLE of people have recently asked me what's going on with the movie stuff. As far as I know it's still happening. I'm just waiting for the guys from the production company (Phyllis, Sascha and Bill) to come over to London so we can finalise all the details and I can sign a contract. Updates as I get them...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Britain in broken...

THE Septic Isle website is now live at and includes a 10-page downloadable PDF preview of the book, plus stuff about the plot and characters.

* THERE'S a mostly positive review of Septic over at Comics by Kelvin Green. He gives it four bullets out of five here

Monday, June 30, 2008

Get your geek on, ninjas!

Septic Isle is very positively reviewed by Barry Nugent and David Monteith in episode 86 of the Geek Syndicate podcast. They start discussing the book around 20 minutes in, but I'd heartily recommend you listen to the whole thing as it's entertaining, informative stuff.

You'll find it here

Friday, June 27, 2008

Broken Frontier

THERE'S a nicely-written and very perceptive review of Septic Isle over at Broken Frontier. You'll find it here

It isn't the most glowing write-up the book has had, but reviewer Tonya Crawford clearly gets what Mick and I were trying to do with the story even though she doesn't think we're always entirely successful.

Actually, Broken Frontier's a really decent site for comic reviews and news, and one that doesn't get half the attention it deserves.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Failure to launch

I'M always jabbering away on here about the stuff I've written or am in the process of writing. But since I started doing the comics thing back in 2001 there have been a few projects that I've started with good intentions and great enthusiasm that have ended up falling by the wayside. Some of them deserve never to see the light of day again (I'm looking at you Dead Rock Stars) but there are one or two that could feasibly make it back onto my schedule at some point in the future. In the meantime, here's just a taste of the ones that got away...

This was a bawdy comedy featuring an aristocratic demon called Dhaxx who was supposed to be Satan's cousin. Even by Hell's standards he was a total wrong 'un and spent all his time causing trouble as he tried to build a power base for himself in the Inferno. Alas, everything Dhaxx did rebounded back on him spectacularly - it was sort of like Blackadder in Hell.

I wrote practically all of the first issue in which Dhaxx had to travel to Earth to retrieve a photograph of his flabby bare arse that was for sale on eBay. I seem to recall he encountered a future Messiah, monsters on a council estate and angels that performed some kind of song and dance routine. I quite liked this one actually but I wrote it not long after the third volume of Devilchild and ended up deciding to move right away from demon-related stuff with my next batch of work.

This was a story about a British all-female superhero team named the Reckless Girls because of their gung-ho approach to adventuring. The idea was that the Girls' oldest foe - Amok - had supposedly been rehabilitated and actually married a member of the team, only for her to be found brutally murdered a few weeks after their wedding night. The story would have centred on whether the Girls' ex-arch-enemy was the killer or not. For reasons I can't exactly recall I really struggled to write this one but having read the plot synopsis for the first time in ages the other day it could be one I return to in future.

This was the graphic novel project I started immediately after finishing the first Devilchild volume in 2002. It was set in the near future when Britain had become a fascist state in which all rock music was banned.

The plot saw the ghosts of famous musicians and rock stars (Jimi, Kurt, Biggy etc) visiting a young lad who had been chosen by mystical forces to lead the rebellion against the government. It was a bit like The Invisibles with lots of rather clumsy music references chucked in. The artist who agreed to work on it bailed out to do something significantly less shit.

This graphic novel project is the one I most regret not finishing. It was a story about warring East End crime gangs, one of which just happened to be run by a pair of homicidal vampires. Lethal Lenny Limehouse was the Cockney vampire hunter in the middle of it all, aided and abetted by a friendly female vamp to whom he was obviously attracted. The arrival of the unfairly maligned Blade TV show killed this one off as there were more than a couple of similarities in the premise, but I will do something with Lethal Lenny, especially if I ever bring back Blood Psi.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Up Shoot! creek

I WAS sad to hear this week that kids' football magazine SHOOT! is to close at the end of June. I was editor of the title for a couple of years in the late '90s and although the job wasn't nearly as much fun as you'd imagine, the magazine will always have a special place in my heart.

Being made Shoot! editor was important to me as I'd been a keen reader of the title when I first got into football as a kid in the early '70s. Back then the mag was serious of tone and fairly wordy, and gaining access to big-name footballers was as easy as walking into the pub in which they were boozing away their afternoons.

By the time I took over in '98, Shoot! had become more of a "soccer Smash Hits" (that isn't meant as a criticism, I worked for SH, too) - everything was short, punchy, design-led and full of rather embarrassing "yoof" speak (Mega! Wicked!). Talking to players was also considerably tougher and we'd often be expected to jump through all sorts of hoops by a star's kit or boot sponsors just for a half-hour chat and a quick photo.

The biggest disappointment in my time at Shoot! was the day I travelled up to Chester to conduct an interview with George Best and Michael Owen. They'd just been voted No.1 and No.2 respectively in a readers poll to name their favourite footballers of all-time (Owen was so high because this was 1999 - barely seven or eight months after the player's fine showing in the previous year's World Cup finals). The idea was that I would talk to them together and that they'd get to swap anecdotes (the pair had never met before) and muck about for the Shoot! photographer.

Alas, Owen was ridiculously late (at least a couple of hours, if memory serves) and Best didn't show at all (apparently, his agent thought the interview was the following day). We'd even had a really nice award made to give Best (some sort of engraved crystal bowl). It now sits gathering dust in my attic and poor old George never even laid eyes on it.

Shoot! was struggling sales-wise when I took over the editor's chair and despite my best efforts its circulation continued heading south. The late '90s were a bit of a graveyard for football magazines with the likes of 90 Minutes, both modern incarnations of Goal! and the original Match Of The Day magazine all biting the dust within a couple of years of each other. I was always worried Shoot! would meet a similar fate but publishers IPC kept faith with it.

In June 2000, I quit Shoot! for a job in the States which ultimately fell through and soon after IPC decided to make half the mag's staff redundant and switch the title's frequency from weekly to monthly. The result was hideous - the sort of kids' magazine your grandad would produce. One of the things I was most proud of during my time at Shoot! was that I made a real effort to increase our coverage of women's football which was then just starting to make an impact here and in the States (the US were world champions in 1999). Of course, all that went out the window when the new editor took over, along with every shred of personality and attitude my staff and I had given the title.

The switch to monthly frequency saw the title's circulation bottom out at about 30 thousand or so and that's pretty much the way it stayed until IPC decided to try one last relaunch a few months ago. As part of its revamp, Shoot! was returned to its original weekly status and brought back the yoof speak and short, punchy articles with it. Alas, it was a last throw of the dice that didn't work.

Finally, to give this ramble down memory lane some kind of comics angle, I commissioned a regular weekly cartoon called Shoot! FC from an artist called Rob Davies. Rob, it turned out, had drawn Roy Of The Rovers (the period when Roy Race only had one foot) and had also done stuff for 2000AD, including (I think) Dredd. I lost touch with Rob after leaving Shoot! and a Google search has produced nothing about his current whereabouts. Anyone out there remember him and know what he's up to these days?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ad for Previews

Here's a look at the ad for Septic Isle that I'm placing in August's edition of Previews.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The working week

I HAVEN'T got a lot of comics writing done this week as my thoughts have had to turn to Septic Isle's forthcoming solicitation in Previews. That means I've written a press release, sorted out an ISBN number, booked a little ad space and started sending out some more review copies. I now need to design an ad, start work on a dedicated SI website (help, Kay!), hit up the news sites for coverage and sort out some publicity material with which to inundate retailers. If I had any money, I'd hire an assistant.

* ONE of the best things about Septic Isle being picked up is that it makes the chances of a sequel that much more likely. I know artist Mick Trimble is up for doing more Jacob Marley and I already have a story roughly plotted out.

The Marley you'll see in Septic Isle 2 would probably be quite different from the rather lost guy in book one. The seven shades of hell he goes through in that first story are going to have changed him; probably made him revert back to the way he was before his retirement from MI5 - ruthless, uncompromising, almost a force of nature.

The ways things are shaping up I probably won't get to write a sequel until next year but I hope it happens as doing the first one has really given me a taste for writing spy fiction. Before that, though, I have to finish Kurse, Razor Snakes, Pendragon and whatever I end up working on with Keith Burns.

* THE other thing I've been doing this week is lettering the first issue of Brit Force. This is proving to be a rather interesting and unusual challenge. Andy Radbourne, the guy who writes and draws the series, had already lettered the first six issues by hand when he submitted it to me. I suggested computer lettering would look better so Andy went through and removed all the words but couldn't take out the hand-drawn speech balloons as well as it would have meant having to redo most of the art. So, I'm going back through and putting new lettering into Andy's balloons. I'm also editing and refining his script as I go. It's a peculiar way to work but, oddly enough, I'm quite enjoying it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Septic Isle is being solicited in August's edition of Previews and will hit comic stores in October. Er, that's it for now...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Southend Book Fair

YESTERDAY'S Southend Book Fair was a very low key affair - 25 exhibitors and around 150 punters through the doors all day. Suffice to say, I didn't have to fight off customers with a stick. Despite being held at the local college, there were very few students in attendance, with most browsers in the 50+ age bracket. I waited three hours to sell my first comics and almost kissed the bloke who bought them. From what I gather, though, none of the exhibitors will be retiring on what they made from the day.

Still, despite the lack of sales, I had a good time and met some lovely people. A local artist even turned up specifically to see me and point me in the direction of his website. He's a really talented bloke and I intend to send him a script to see how he handles sequential work.

I also talked to a woman from the Southend libraries department who seemed keen for me to do some sort of workshop there. I'd even get paid!

If they run the event again next year, I shall probably give it another go. Selling my stuff at Birmingham and Bristol is a piece of piss (you're surrounded by comics fans all weekend with money to spend) but a book fair really takes you out of your comfort zone and that's something I rather enjoy.

* THE week off was fairly successful. After a number of false starts I'm finally making real progress with Kurse and it's shaping up nicely I think. Sometimes you can spend so long on something that you get fed up with the entire enterprise but I'm having no such problems at this point.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Book him, Danno"

I'M going to be at the Southend Book Fair next Saturday flogging copies of Septic Isle. It's my first time as an exhibitor at any sort of book event so it's going to be interesting to see how well my work is received. Judging by an article in the local college magazine, DAVE, I certainly have a lot to live up to, the fair's organiser having described me as "an amazing talent" and "a leader in his field". I'd settle for being either of those things - then I'd be writing fiction for a living instead of doing crappy nine-hour shifts at my day job.

The book fair will be at South East Essex College (it's smack bang in the middle of Southend's main town centre street) on Saturday, June 7 from 10am to 4pm. Admission is FREE. You can find out more here:

* STILL waiting for the movie options stuff to be sorted. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

* CRACKING on with the writing and alternating between two scripts right now in a desperate bid to catch up a bit. Bashing on with Kurse is my first priority but am also about nine pages into Razor Snakes, something I haven't even got an artist for yet. I'm now off work for a week so should be able to make quite a bit of progress...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fool? Hardly...

Regie Rigby's Fool Britannia column this week talks about the Bristol Expo and reviews Septic Isle. It's possibly the most positive review we've had yet, with Regie concluding: "Seriously, [Septic Isle's] right up there with Oni’s Queen and Country and TV’s The Sandbaggers, which in this genre is about the highest praise I could give."

You'll find the review here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bristol pics

Here are a couple of pics of Septic Isle artist Mick Trimble and I at the Moonface Press table at Bristol. Note the mandatory nerd T-shirts and my rapidly greying hair...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Brit of all right

I'VE been meaning to make this announcement for weeks, so here goes. Moonface Press is proud to announce a new ongoing series called Brit Force. It's written and drawn by Andy Radbourne, lettered and script edited by me and the cover to issue #1 is by Glenn Fabry (above). Look for it later in the year and in the meantime find out more at

* SEPTIC Isle is now available to buy from the shop at It's £3.95 (plus £1.50 p&p) for 52 perfect-bound pages.

* THERE'S a lovely review of Hero Killers here by Paul Brown. Yeah, I know it's a bit tardy but Paul has only recently got his hands on a copy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gene Colan

COMICS wouldn't mean nearly as much to me as they do if it wasn't for artist Gene Colan (above). I grew up pretty much obsessed with his beautiful, evocative work on Daredevil, Howard The Duck and Tomb Of Dracula. In fact, he's part of my Holy Trinity of all-time favourite artists that also includes Jack Kirby and John Buscema. Anyway, in the last few days Gene has been hospitalised with liver failure. As his wife, Adrienne, says: "My darling, sweet, handsome and brilliantly gifted husband's liver is failing. The complications are very nasty. This week it's fluid retention and encephalitis. He's on powerful meds now to diminish the symptoms. He sleeps a lot and has very little energy."

If you're a fan of Gene's, why not raise his spirits a little by sending him a get well soon card. Here's his address...

Gene Colan
2 Sea Cliff Avenue
Sea Cliff,
NY 11579

Also, writer Clifford Meth is organising a charity auction with all the proceeds going direct to Gene and Adrienne. This from Cliff's blog:

We're getting lots of email saying, "How can I help?" If you're a writer or artist or TV/film professional, please contact me at -- Or just mail a drawing or signed book or whatever it is you're contributing to:

COLAN c/o Clifford Meth
179-9 Rt. 46 West
Box 252
Rockaway, NJ 07866

Items will be auctioned off at (details, dates, etc. TBA)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bristol 2008

THE Bristol Expo just sped by in a blur this year. It seemed as if one minute we were arriving at the hotel and the next I was loading my stuff into the car and heading back up the M4 for Southend. Still, I've never had anything other than a great time at Bristol and so it proved again this year.

The Moonface booth had a prime position on the floorplan (opposite Forbidden Planet) and did a roaring trade for much of the weekend but especially on the Saturday. We sold lots of copies of Septic Isle and older stuff like Hero Killers and Blood Psi did steady business too. In fact, in terms of copies sold, it was our most successful Bristol since 2002 when we launched the first Devilchild volume.

The best thing about the Expo, though, is the people. It's just fantastic to spend time with the likes of Declan Shalvey, Mick Trimble, Simon Wyatt, Keith Burns, Bob Byrne, Colin Mathieson, Dave West and Regie Rigby . These are people that I not only admire but for whom I have genuine affection, even though I don't see them that often.

I'm looking forward to Birmingham in October already...

* LOOKS like the aforementioned movie stuff is going to take longer to conclude than I first thought - the people from the production company I've been talking to aren't coming over to London now until early June. This isn't as frustrating as you might think because, not having an agent, I'm having to find a solicitor to help me with the contract stuff. Updates as I get them...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Just time for a quickie

CRIKEY, looks like it's going to be a big week. Not only will Septic Isle make its debut at this weekend's Bristol Comic Expo but the movie stuff is about to be concluded too. I'm not going to jinx it by saying any more at this stage but will hopefully be able to divulge a whole lot more next week.

* IF you're a superhero fan, you really should see the Iron Man movie. It's an absolute hoot with Robert Downey Jr pitch perfect as Tony Stark.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Septic bits

THERE'S a nice mention of Septic Isle at Terry Hooper's popular site. He says: "... this story has elements of the TV series/books featuring the character Callan [starring Edward Woodward] and even The Professionals.... I enjoyed the story and art and if you get a chance to buy a copy – DO!"

I rather enjoyed the Callan comparison as it was a TV show I loved growing up as a kid - and I'll happily take the Professionals comparison too!

Friday, April 25, 2008


* I'VE booked a table at the Southend Book Fair in June after being approached by the organiser. They're quite keen on attracting local and indie authors but it's still going to be interesting to see how the crowd react to a – gasp! – comics writer showing up. They'll probably try and beat me to death with their copies of The Great Gatsby or something...

* I HAVE another meeting with the LA movie people the week after the Bristol Expo. I'm currently redrafting the Kurse outline for them (they wanted something a bit lighter and comedic than the one I originally sent over) and hope things are going to move forward from there. The only downside of writing these outlines, of course, is that it's severely limiting the amount of time I've got to write comics. At this rate I'll still be writing the Kurse comic-book this time next year!

* The Bristol Expo is just a fortnight away and I'm looking forward to it in much the same way a small child anticipates Christmas. It's not just because I want to sell lots of copies of Septic Isle but also because I can't wait to catch up with people I haven't seen in a while. These include Blood Psi artist Keith Burns, who has recently returned from his year working in Hong Kong; and Phill Evans, who, despite being one of my oldest and dearest friends, I haven't laid eyes on for nearly three years! For once, I think I might actually indulge in a drink or two...

Monday, April 21, 2008


THERE'S a another review of Septic Isle over at Comics Village, in which writer Glenn Carter gives the book 9 out of 10. You'll find it here:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Septic's first review

The first review of Septic Isle is in and it's overwhelmingly positive. It's written by Joe Gordon and you can find it here:

A few quotes from Joe's piece...

"...a dark-edged, modern-day spy story for War On Terror era Britain"

"Andy and Mick do something remarkable – they make you feel sympathy for a suicide bomber."

"The central character is Jacob Marley, a nice Dickens reference for a man who’s almost a ghost of his former self..."

"I can see fans of Queen & Country or even Shooting War picking this up and enjoying a story which eschews gee-whizz gadgets and heroics for a more realistic tale which avoids the stereotypical plot traps of many of its fellows."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Skinnered alive!

I MENTIONED the other day that I'd soon be publicising the Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot we have coming out towards the end of the year. Anyway, this is the design for the postcard to be given away at the Bristol Expo (art by Declan Shalvey, words by me). I think it looks great and Dec says he'll be cracking on with the artwork for the book when he comes back from New York (the lucky beggar's at the Big Apple Con this week). All being well, it should be finished and ready to launch at the Birmingham International Comics Show in October.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, this is the FF cover we've shamelessly ripped-off, er, homaged...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's here!

Septic Isle arrived from the printer yesterday and it looks magnificent - production-wise easily the best comic-book I've yet been involved in.

It's the first time I've tried digital printing since the printer I used to use made an unholy mess of the first run of Hero Killers and Blood Psi. Since then I've been firmly wedded to litho printing and didn't think I'd be changing my mind. But Cambrian, the Wales-based printer I use now, produced some really nice samples from the page files I sent them and so persuaded me to give digital printing a second go. I'm glad I did and not just because the quality of what they've produced is so high - digi print is also substantially cheaper than litho meaning that I can afford to sell Septic for a paltry £3.95 (for 52 perfect-bound pages).

Any self-publishers reading this who are looking for cheap, reliable printing could do a lot worse than get a quote from Cambrian; their website's here:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bristol hoves into view

Blimey, the Bristol Expo's less than a month away. Where did that come from? As usual I have two tables and this year will be pushing copies of Septic Isle on anyone who comes within six feet of me. The book's artist Mick Trimble will be on hand for most of the weekend to sketch and sign copies and cover artist Declan Shalvey will also be around for an hour or two I'm sure. My good pal Jamie Richards is threatening to help out on the table too so make sure you ask him for a Star Wars-related sketch - trust me you won't be disappointed!

I'm also really pleased to announce that Bob Byrne (2000AD, MBLEH!) will be guest of honour on the table all weekend selling copies of his brand new and reportedly spiffing graphic novel Mister Amperduke. Bob couldn't get a table (according to Expo organiser Mike Allwood space ran out back in December and there's a waiting list that could comfortably fill the hall again by a third) so I was happy to step in and offer him a bit of space. Bob's a hugely talented creator and a top bloke so I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun having him around.

The table will also feature some publicity material for two forthcoming Moonface releases: the Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot (drawn and coloured by Declan Shalvey who, I notice, has been nominated for ANOTHER Eagle Award), and the ongoing superhero series I'll be talking about on here in the week, the first issue of which has a cover by Glenn Fabry. Yes, that Glenn Fabry.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Number five is alive...

THE fifth in my series of columns about self-publishing is now up at This one is aimed at creators about to attend their first comic convention as exhibitors and works as a 10-point checklist of things not to forget. You'll find it here...

* WITH Septic Isle at the printer (we're at the correcting proofs stage now) and the three movie outlines written, there was a brief moment at the end of last week where I felt I'd cleared the decks. Then I remembered I'd still got a script for Kurse to get on with and a ton of lettering for the six-issue, superhero mini-series that I'm publishing but not writing (expect an announcement soon about this). Looks like my forthcoming week off work is going to be as restful as ever...

* FINALLY saw the Ghost Rider movie last night and found it a frustrating, underwhelming experience. Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Sam Elliot and Eva Mendes were all fine and the effects budget clearly had a few quid in it, but the script was rotten and the baddies under-developed to the point of anonymity. A missed opportunity...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kurse words

THE final outline has been written and is now with the LA movie people. More news soon hopefully...

The last outline I wrote for them was one for Kurse. Now, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I've been writing a Kurse one-shot for the last few months and that progress has been even slower than usual. Although a lot of the stuff in there - characters, ideas, situations - were pretty good ones, it just wasn't hanging together in the way that it should. It felt like two or three different stories sort of mushed together and was therefore a bit uneven.

A way of fixing all the problems came to me last week and the solution was simple. In the words of Edwyn Collins, rip it up and start again. So I did. I kept quite a few elements from the original story but have completely reconfigured everything else - most of the plot has completely changed, almost all the characters have changed and the story is infinitely stronger as a result.

I was about 20 pages into writing the comic-book version of Kurse and it means I'm going to have to start from scratch but this is a small sacrifice to finally get the story working as it should. God knows what the poor bloody artist, who has been waiting for a script for two years, is going to think though...

Luckily, I have another week off work soon and shall spend it banging out Kurse script pages like there's no tomorrow. Unless I change my mind again that is...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter blues

EASTER was a bit of a drag this year, mainly because of the terrible weather. I was cooped up inside with the kids for the Friday and Saturday (we all went a little stir crazy) and then had to work on the Sunday and Monday. As a result I'm champing at the bit to do something – anything! – creative.

Luckily, I have today and tomorrow off this week and will use it to crack on with the remaining two movie pitches. The one for Septic Isle was emailed to my contact last week and didn't read nearly as well as the comic itself does. I found the process quite frustrating because reducing everything to a three-page plot loses so much character and thematic stuff. Suffice to say I'll be sending him a copy of the actual book once it's back from the printer in a couple of weeks.

* I KNEW Hero Killers and Blood Psi would be picked up by Diamond but don't have the same confidence about Septic Isle, which is odd as it's the best thing I've written to date and Mick's art is terrific. Superheroes and vampires are an easy sell, brutal and bleak British spy thrillers perhaps less so. It's also a bit "controversial" I suppose, the main bad guy's plan to target and destroy the UK's Muslim community in the most profoundly unpleasant way imaginable is hardly fluffy or commercial. Still, fingers crossed...

* I DIDN'T attend last weekend's UK Web and Mini Comix Thing as I had nothing new to sell and thought the price of tables for so small an event was extortionate (£70 – the same as I paid for a stall at this year's Bristol). On the subject of coventions and such, it looks like I won't be able to do Comicon in San Diego after all. To be honest, it's purely a matter of finances - it would cost me an arm and a leg for a table, travel and accommodation; and although I think I'd do good business there I really can't justify the couple of grand it would cost. It'll just be Bristol, Birmingham and the Dublin one in November this year I reckon...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Done and dusted

Three dummy copies of Septic Isle will be winging their way to Diamond's Warrington headquarters later today. Getting everything right with the book took rather longer than I had anticipated and I was still tweaking tiny bits of the script and lettering as late as Friday.

As things stand, though, I'm very pleased with how it's all turned out. It's the strongest script I've written to date and Mick Trimble's art is spot on. In fact, I hadn't really appreciated just how good Mick's work on the book was until I came to letter it. He really has done a first class job - perfectly capturing SI's somewhat bleak, nihilistic tone. There's a nasty fight scene at the end that he just absolutely nails - it's bloody and brutal and exactly what a fight to the death would look like.

The plan now is to do a limited edition print run of 100 to sell at Bristol and a second print run for comic stores if the book is picked up by Diamond.

With SI out the way for the time being, I can crack on with those movie outlines I mentioned a couple of weeks ago and the script for Kurse, a project that has been having to sit on the back burner for the last month or so...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No fun

I've reached the part of the lettering on Septic Isle that's the least fun. It's the bit where you have to print out every page, check it for errors (spelling, continuity, scan marks etc) and then print it out again for the "master copy". The thing is, there's always something you can tighten up or improve on just about every page, so this part of the process tends to be long and laborious. It's necessary, though, as it means the final "product" will look that much better.

Proofing is a nuisance but it isn't the thing I'm struggling most with at the moment. No, that particular honour goes to writing the "blurb" for the book's back cover. I want it to sound exciting and powerful but, somehow, everything I've thus far come up with sounds a bit, well, shit. Let's call it a work in progress and get back to the proofreading, shall we?

Monday, March 10, 2008

A good start

This is the week I have to have Septic Isle ready to send to both the printer and Diamond. Under normal circumstances, of course, the book would go to Diamond first and then the printer much later, after order numbers had come in. Thing is, I'm really keen to sell SI at Bristol so I'm going to do a 100-copy signed and numbered limited edition thing to flog at the Expo.

Anyway, I'm off to a flier as far as getting everything finished is concerned. A first draft of the lettering is done and I'm now going back through re-reading and correcting, then turning all the pages into PDFs. These will be printed off either tomorrow or Wednesday, and then the whole thing proofread one last time. From there, discs will go to the printer so they can, er, print the book, while dummy copies make their way to Diamond, artist Mick Trimble and a few friends/journalists/comics pros who have asked for one.

By Friday, Septic Isle should be out of my hair - for a month or so anyway...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I'M busier than at any point in the last couple of years and yet, frustratingly, I'm not going to get very much done this week. This is because, between long shifts at the day job, I'm going to be in Warwick visiting my old mate Rob and his partner, Tracey. Rob has become a dad for the first time at the grand old age of 42, so I'm going up to lend a little moral support and see three-week-old Lily for the first time. I'm looking forward to it but deadlines are certain to be nagging away at the back of my mind at least some of the time I'm there.

Luckily, I have next week off work in which I intend to finish getting Septic Isle ready for both Diamond and the printer. I have 16 or 17 pages still to letter, plus the back cover, and then the back matter (Mick's sketches and the book's original opening) to sort out, too. I then have to proofread the whole thing, turn the CorelDraw docs into PDFs and print out the whole 52-page book to make several dummies.

I also have those three movie pitches to write up in more detail. The one for Septic Isle should be simple enough (after all, I'm taking it from a finished script) but the other two might be a bit trickier. Looks like I probably won't be leaving the house much after Sunday then...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


* LETTERING progress on Septic Isle is slow but steady. I've got the week after next off work and plan to have it all finished and ready for Diamond to see by the end of that break. To be honest, I find lettering slow and laborious, even though it gives me the opportunity to tinker with the script a bit.

* I WAS in London yesterday, having been invited to pitch some ideas to a newly-formed Los Angeles-based film production company. This is the first time I've pitched anything to anyone but the meeting went pretty well and they definitely liked a few of my ideas. I've agreed to work up more detailed outlines of three of my pitches (including Septic Isle and Kurse) and we'll see what happens from there.

* IT looks like Moonface Press will be publishing its first comic series written by someone else (i.e. not me). It's a six-issue superhero-based mini-series. As well as publishing the book, I'm going to be lettering it and doing a bit of script editing, too. More news when everything's 100 per cent confirmed...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Vote for James

IT'S Eagle Awards time again and you can now nominate your favourites for the eventual short list here:

A vote for mine and Keith Burns' Blood Psi one-shot in the Best Black & White Comicbook: British section would be most appreciated. If you haven't seen Blood Psi, you'll find a 10-page preview here:

More important than that, though, is a vote for James Redington in the Roll Of Honour category (it's right at the bottom of the online voting form). As I'm sure you'll all remember, James died last July at the horribly young age of 28.

He was a champion of the small press in this country as well as being a very talented writer and publisher in his own right. Adding his name to a Roll Of Honour that includes comicbook legends such as Alan Moore, Stan Lee and Will Eisner would be a truly wonderful way to honour his memory.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A man of letters

* MICK Trimble's art for Septic Isle is finished and I'm just waiting to receive scans of all 42 pages so I can get on and letter it. The finished book will be 52 pages in all but some of that will be backmatter featuring Mick's character sketches plus the story's original opening four pages that ended up on the cutting room floor. It'll be a nice little package when it's all printed and very similar in format to Warren Ellis's Crecy graphic novella.

* WRITING-wise, the first 17 pages of Kurse are pretty much how I want them but, as ever, it's clear the project is going to run to more pages than originally envisaged. I think we're talking around 42-44 pages, which is what Septic Isle and Brothers came in at too. It's a story length I seem to be increasingly drawn to because it means you can pack a lot in - characterisation, action, plot - without sacrificing the "done-in-one" philosophy underpinning it.

* THE rather brilliant Bob Byrne has a new graphic novel out, called Mister Amperduke. You can read all about it and buy a copy from here:

* AND while I'm recommending things - check out Tommy Lee Edwards' gorgeous Doctor Who inspired cover for this year's Tripwire annual. It's right here:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Village idiot

I'M featured in's Village Gossip section this week, answering questions on my favourite movie, alien visitation and what I'd like written on my gravestone. You'll find it here:

* IT'S shaping up to be one of those weeks. Our boiler packed up again (second time in a month) and the trains down this way have been playing silly buggers making getting into work even more of a pain in the arse than usual. Still, I'm off work tomorrow and Thursday and will use the time to crack on with Kurse.

I'm trying to get as much of the first draft down as possible because I'm fast approaching the point where I'm going to have the 52-page Septic Isle to get lettered and print-ready. Mick Trimble reckons he'll have SI's art finished by the end of the month and I'm hoping to have a dummy to send to Diamond ready for the end of February.

By the way, the name Kurse is taken from graffiti "tags" I've seen for the last few years around Barking and other parts of East London. One was painted in massive letters on the side of a house and was clearly visible from my train into work (they've painted over it now, the miseries). Anyway, the first time I saw the name I liked it and resolved to use it for something. After all, the bloke responsible (and it will be a bloke) is hardly going to sue me for copyright infringement, is he?

* CONGRATULATIONS to my good friend Joel Meadows on being made content editor of Comics International. The new iteration of CI has had a few teething troubles but, judging by Joel's work on the excellent Tripwire, I'm sure he's just the man to sort it out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


THE interview I mentioned on Monday is now up at - it's the first item on their home page. If you're interested in finding out about Septic Isle, Tim Skinner and the other Moonface Press goodies headed your way in the next 12 months go take a look...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Skinner postponed

TURNS out the mightily-talented Declan Shalvey has his hands full with Frankenstein, Freak Show and a basketful of other paying work. We've therefore decided to push back the launch of the full-colour Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot to the Birmingham International Comics Show in October. It'll be worth the wait, though, honest.

That means my appearance at the San Diego Comicon (if it happens and I'm still mulling it over) will be all about pushing Septic Isle instead. This could actually work in my favour as SI is the kind of quintessentially English book that might just stand out there.

* THE front cover to SI is finished and I'll post it here soon. It ended up being a real collaborative effort in the end - artwork by Dec, logo by Will Sliney, and Dec and I going back and forth until we were both happy with the positioning and size of all the other bits on there. It looks great and perfectly captures the book's slightly chilly atmosphere.

* I'VE just been interviewed via email by Hassan from the website. In it I answer questions about pretty much everything I've done including Devilchild, Hero Killers, Septic Isle, Brothers and Tim Skinner. Look for it on indiereview later this week...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Column inches

The fourth of my Starting Out columns is now up at This one is aimed at aspiring comics writers and offers tips on recruiting and working with artists.

You'll find it second item down on their homepage. I think they're going to be interviewing me soon, too.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

On target

WILL Sliney's designed a suitably blood-spattered logo for my forthcoming graphic novella Septic Isle. Here it is...

Make Will a happy man by visiting his blog and checking out some of his gorgeous artwork, here:

Septic Isle is my big launch for the first half of the year with its first appearance at the Bristol Comic Expo in May. Diamond permitting, the book will be rolled out to the rest of Britain and North America a little while after that. I'll post a fully lettered cover here in the next couple of weeks.

* I DON'T really do resolutions but I do have six real, achieveable aims for the year ahead...
1. 2007 was very much a "writing year" so the aim is to make 2008 a "writing and publishing year" in which I continue banging out the scripts while publishing most of the stuff already with artists. By year's end I aim to have at least three new books out there (probably Septic Isle, Tim Skinner and the Brothers two-parter) but four would be even better.
2. To have the long-delayed football story Scoregasm! finished and ready for launch in 2009.
3. To reach a wider audience. My books are being distributed by Diamond now and order numbers have been encouraging, but I'm keen to take that to the next level. I haven't got any extra cash coming in to pay for more advertising and marketing so need to work out how to better utilise the money I've got or maybe even find an already established company to publish my work (Image? Markosia?) Whatever, I think it's high time to explore a few new avenues to reach more readers.
4. To attend more conventions in Britain and the San Diego Comicon in the States.
5. To create some web-only short stories to entice punters over to The first of these will probably be The Saboteur, my three-pager with Mikey B.
6. To continue to improve as a writer. I've got loads better in the last year but now intend to take on projects that are really going to stretch me - writing a three-issue mini-series (Pendragon) will be start of that but I also want to tackle more difficult subject matter (that'll be The Utopians then) and start to experiment with my story-telling a bit more.