Monday, March 30, 2009

Brotherly love

HERE is the cover for the BROTHERS one-shot written by me and illustrated by Andrew Radbourne. The 56-page book is being launched at this year's Bristol Expo (May 9-10).

I had pretty much decided to publish it in the same "graphic novella" format as Septic Isle - i.e. perfect-bound on thick gloss paper for four to five quid. However, because of the bleak economic situation, I've been thinking of doing something that's a bit more cheap and cheerful instead - maybe do Brothers as a straightforward comic on slightly less lovely paper for around £3-£3.50.

It isn't a done deal yet but if I can find a printer that can deliver what I'm looking for I shall give it a go. When flimsy pamphlet-style US comics full of ads are being flogged in stores for £3+, it strikes me that now might be a good time for indie publishers to do a bit of outreach to mainstream readers fed up with seeing their hard-earned cash buy fewer and fewer comics every week.

I'm also considering doing a 16-page comic at some point and selling it for a £1-£1.50. The idea would be to cram as much material in there as possible - maybe a couple of one-pagers along with some slightly longer stuff. The price would massively undercut pretty much everything else that's out there - including a lot of mini-comics - but would have the same top-notch production values as any of the stuff I've done before. This whole "value for money" subject is something I shall return to I suspect...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Skinner for sale

THE Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot is now on sale in the shop. It's £3, plus £1.50 p&p, for 36 full-colour pages (just one page of ads). It's the first time artist Declan Shalvey and I have worked together since the Eagle Award-winning Hero Killers and we're both delighted with the results.

Other people rather like Skinner, too. Jonathan Hickman (writer of Secret Warriors and The Nightly News) called it "Fucking Hilarious" and Rich Johnston (writer of CBR's Lying In The Gutters column) said it was: "A very self-referential, up-its-own-arse comic that I was destined to love."

The book contains scabrous parodies of a host of much-loved comic stories, characters and creators, including Lost Girls, The Boys, Power Girl, Blankets, Judge Dredd, zombie books and Jack Kirby. It's guaranteed to make you laugh... or your money back.*

* This statement isn't legally binding, I've checked.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Future imperfect

CAN'T believe it's been over a month since my last post here. Not that there's been much to report anyway - nothing good at least.

Diamond won't be soliciting mine and Dec's Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag one-shot, which is a bit of a blow really; especially as it's easily the best thing I've yet written and published. And Dec's full-colour artwork is terrific.

I shall probably be contacting Haven Distribution in the very near future to see if they might be interested in picking the book up but, to be honest, I can't see us getting nearly as many orders going that route as we would have through Diamond.

The worrying thing is that if Diamond don't want something as blatantly commercial as Skinner, I really can't see them going for anything else currently sitting on my release schedule (although Brit Force's Glenn Fabry cover might give that book more than a fighting chance).

That means I'm back to square one in many ways - publishing comics to sell online and at conventions. This is something of a backwards step so I'm going to have a serious think about making some changes. I'm currently in the middle of lettering the Brothers one-shot for release at the Bristol Expo in May but, after that, I'm going to take a long hard look at what I do and decide what my next step will be.

It could be that I stop publishing altogether and concentrate 100 per cent on writing and pitching to professional companies, but that would take a lot of the fun out of it for me. I enjoy the entire process of putting a comic together - not just the writing side. And, of course, the problem with pitching is that there's no guarantee any of my ideas would ever be picked up - I could spend years toiling away for absolutely no return.

As you can probably tell, I'm a bit confused about where things are headed at the moment - hopefully I'll feel a bit more positive after Bristol...