Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing

My old friend Garrie Fletcher (check out his blog here: has tagged me as part of something called The Next Big Thing wherein writers get the chance to tell the world of their current writing project by answering 10 questions about it. I then get to tag three other writers in to do the same thing, which I'll take care of at the end. 

So, Andy, what’s your next big thing?
I'm working on a graphic novel retelling of a real-life event from England's Medieval past, the centre-piece of which is a massive, bloody battle. Unfortunately, I can't talk too much about the specifics (even previous retellings) as I'm keen not to give the game away. What I will say is that turning something that actually happened into fiction has been quite a challenge. I did a ton of research but was still unprepared for how much you have to shape facts, timelines and characters to make something work as an interesting, proper story. 
1) What is the working title of your book?
That's another thing I won't be giving away just yet.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
A couple of years ago I was pitching ideas to a UK-based graphic novel publisher (now sadly defunct) and getting nowhere. The editor I'd been speaking to suggested this particular historical event to me but I have to confess it was something I'd never heard of before. But I started researching the subject, visited the site where it took place and quickly became obsessed with it. I wish I could say more because it's a fantastic, fascinating story.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It's an historical action/adventure tale.
4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
There are three main characters, so let's see... Liam Neeson to play the lead, Viggo Mortensen to play his nemesis, Tom Hardy to play his trusted lieutenant (as long as he promised not to do his weird 'Bane voice').
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Blood, guts, honour, betrayal, death and Vikings. Lots of Vikings.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have a publisher although contracts haven't been signed yet. It's pencilled in for a 2014 release giving me enough time to write it and artist Dan Bell enough time to draw it.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm still battling through the first draft. What I quickly realised is that just because you have a list of events it doesn't mean you have a story. It took me a while to find a genuine 'hook' to hang the narrative on but I've found that now and the writing has been a lot smoother and considerably less frustrating since I did. The maxim about writing being '90 per cent perspiration, 10 per cent inspiration' has been particularly true in this case.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Brian Wood's Northlanders series for Vertigo would probably be the closest thing to what I'm doing but the tone of my project is very different.
9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The story's main character was a truly amazing man - a bloody lunatic but an amazing man. It seems bizarre to me that he isn't better known in this country for his extraordinary bravery and heroism. I think he has a bad rep that he doesn't deserve. It also seems strange to me that the event itself hasn't been adapted into fiction more often. It would make a hell of a novel and a hell of a film. Hopefully it will make a hell of a graphic novel, too. 
10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Dan Bell's lovely art - as the project progresses I'll be posting some of it up here (with Dan's permission of course). 
The three fellow writers I'm tagging are: Jason Cobley, Steve Tanner and John Paul Catton.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Amnesia Agents #1

DESPITE hearing a thousand-and-one positive things about the show, I've never made it up to Leeds for the city's annual Thought Bubble festival which takes place this week. And, sadly, it's the same this year. The main problem is that it always seems to clash with my eldest son's birthday (he turns nine on Friday). Added to that this year is the fact my mother-in-law has just passed away, and my wife will be spending the next week and a bit in Jamaica arranging the funeral and putting the old girl's house on the market, leaving me at home with the kids. 

Although I can't physically be at Thought Bubble, at least a story I wrote will be. It's a short and simple one-pager called 'Leo'. It's illustrated by Baz Renshaw (who you might know from the magazines Redeye and Multiverse), and you'll find it in issue #1 of Jason Cobley's Amnesia Agents comic. AA #1 - "an anthology about memories or the lack of" - also contains contributions from the very talented likes of Andy Bloor, Vicky Stonebridge, Gary Crutchley, Chris Askham and David Hitchcock

Amnesia Agents #1 is £3.50 for 52 pages. For more details, check out Jason's blog

* IN other news, I think I've found a publisher for a couple of my projects. I won't say any more now but hope to have more concrete news in the very near future.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Overload & French lessons

I'VE been invited to contribute a story to the next issue of Martin Conaghan's excellent Overload anthology comic (the cover to the most recent issue is above).

The story will be six pages, in black and white and I'm looking for an artist to work on it with me. My story may be a parody of the Avatar horror comic Crossed, or perhaps something else entirely. Anyone interested, give me a shout at

* SPENT most of last week in Paris, and it was from the huge Virgin Megastore along the Champs-Elysees there that I bought this graphic novel...

It was prominently displayed in the store's large comic department and I couldn't help but wonder what the reaction would be if, say, the big HMV store on Oxford Street decided to stock a comic-book with such a confrontational title. The Daily Mail would be baying for blood and prison sentences, I suspect!

Although the in-your-face title may suggest otherwise, Motherfucker is actually a very serious work as this blurb from the back cover attests...

Point 1: We want the power to determine the destiny of our black people. Point 2: We want full employment for our people. Point 3: We want black people no longer robbed by the capitalists. Point 4: We want decent housing, decent. Point 5: We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in society today.

My French is pretty rotten but from what I can gather the book is about the formation and development of the Black Panther Party in the US in the 1960s. As I say, my French is only a few notches above "J'mapelle Andy" and "Quelle heure est-il?" but with the help of Google Translate I'm going to try and read it. 

It may well take me a month or two though...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Art sample

Here's page one of a graphic novel pitch I'm currently trying to get under the noses of publishers. Art by Stefano Cattaneo (who recently drew a biography of Che Guevara for the French publisher Broche), colours by Vicky Stonebridge (who worked on The Slaughterman's Creed and Bayou Arcana for Markosia).

The double-page spread that follows this page is even better.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


APOLOGIES for the lack of recent updates, I haven't been idle. Indeed, I have a lot of stuff bubbling away at the moment...

Sample pages from Petal, the crime/horror story I did with Argentine artist Nicolas Armano, are with a publisher and I'm awaiting a decision on whether they are interested in seeing more.

Pages from Historical Project #1 are being coloured by the brilliant
Vicky Stonebridge.

Historical Project #2 is being drawn by the excellent
Daniel Bell.

Sci-Fi Project #1 is with a very talented Italian artist and he's designing characters, alien races and spaceships.

I'm also at various stages with a couple of other ideas. Monster Fun Project #1 uses minor characters from a very famous horror novel but in a completely new way, and Time Travel Project #1 is a black comedy featuring a female lead so outrageous she makes Tim Skinner look like Mother Theresa.

I'm looking for artists for both these latter projects, so if anyone out there is interested, please get in touch. More soon, including some artwork...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nine random thoughts about Kapow!

1. I had a great time at Kapow! on Saturday, only undermined by the fact I was utterly, utterly knackered. I'd just done three late shifts in a row at the day job (night job?) and badly needed to catch up on sleep. It would have been nice to stick around in north London for a drink or two after the con, but I was ready to drop by 4pm.

2. The Business & Design Centre in Islington is a terrific venue - probably the best I've come across for a comics-related event in the UK. It's big, well-lit, easy to find and just looks great inside and out. The rooms in which Kapow! held its panels were similarly impressive, and the fact there were lots of places to buy food on the premises - good food, not just sandwiches - made it pretty much perfect. The only criticism was the lack of air conditioning - I was sweating like an Amazon explorer by noon.

3. Actually, the lack of air conditioning isn't my only criticism. The ticketing arrangements for some of the bigger panels were a bit chaotic and venue - not convention - staff sent us to entirely the wrong place to queue for the Warren Ellis panel. No big deal, though, really.

4. Alas, I didn't take the Petal pitch document with me to show to publishers. There were a couple of art corrections that needed doing and I wanted to work a little more on the content of the pitch itself. Petal will be ready soon, though, very soon...

5. I spent a daft amount of money on comics and graphic novels, including The Slaughterman's Creed and White Knuckle (from Markosia); The Red Wing and The Strange Talent of Luther Strode (Image); Kronos City (Time Bomb Comics); Abasalom: Ghosts of London (Rebellion); Guts, Madam Samurai and Slumdroid (Scar Comics), and Westernoir (Accent UK). I may even review the ones I most enjoyed here over the coming weeks...

6. It was lovely to see my old friend and collaborator Declan Shalvey in such high demand for sketches and autographs from fans of his work on Thunderbolts, Northlanders and 28 Days Later. He also told me he's going to be drawing one of my favourite current books later in the year which is great news.

7. In the end, I only managed to catch a couple of panels. Warren Ellis's Q&A was great fun with a wide variety of questions from the floor about his work. I'm not a great fan of Ellis's online persona but mercifully there was no mention here of whisky, technology or obscure bands from Iceland. Best question of the session came right at the end from the guy who asked: "When your daughter goes off to college, who is going to look after her horse?" Brilliant.

8. Also enjoyed the Storage 24 panel with the film's writer/lead Noel Clarke and director Johannes Roberts. Basically, it's Alien, set not aboard a spaceship but in a London lock-up. The clips and trailer they showed made it all look like rollicking good fun and the only surprise was that they decided to completely give away the look of the alien. Talk about spoilers...

9. Just when I thought the number of comics conventions and related events held in this country had surely peaked, a leaflet I picked up at Kapow! brought news of yet another one. The Northants International Comics Expo (aka NICE) is taking place in Kettering, Northants over the weekend of September 22-23 and boasts Alan Moore as its guest of honour. I wonder how long it's been since Moore fetched up at a UK con? Probably not since that famous UKCAC in the '80s when he turned up wearing a gleaming white suit and complained about someone asking him for an autograph while he was trying to have a pee!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I'M going to be at the Kapow! comic convention in north London on Saturday and might even have the Petal pitch document with me to start showing publishers. It's pretty much finished and I'm really just waiting for artist Nicolas Armano and his team in Argentina to send over the final coloured cover and we're in business.

This is my first time at Kapow! (awful corny name, by the way) and I'm really looking forward to it. When I was self-publishing, I only very rarely got a chance to go to panels at cons so that's something I'm hoping to start remedying. I will definitely try to grab a seat for the Image Superstars panel, for Warren Ellis's Q&A and for Noel Clarke's Storage 24 movie preview.

I think Noel's a very underrated talent - he co-wrote Storage 24 and of course also acts (Doctor Who) and directs ( He has the kind of can-do attitude most of us mere mortals can only dream of. I met him a couple of years ago when he was briefly connected to the Blood Psi film (whatever happened to that?!), so I shall be taking a particular interest in his latest project.

* I WAS disappointed to see the kicking that last weekend's Bristol Comics Expo received over at the Bleeding Cool website and delighted that a few creators and punters have subsequently stood up to paint a rather more positive picture (after all, the allegedly poor organisation and lack of publicity didn't stop over a thousand visitors attending). I wasn't at this year's Expo, but it's an event that will always have a special place in my heart. It's where I launched Moonface Press with Devilchild in 2001, and where Hero Killers won its Eagle Award a few years later.

The Expo is clearly done on a much lower budget than the likes of Kapow!, the London Super con and the MCM events and so can't compete for big-name US stars and neither should it try to. Bristol has always served another purpose - namely as an incredibly fertile breeding ground for small press and indie creators, and long may it continue to do so. The fact it returned to its old 'Cowshed' venue (also known as the Bristol Empire & Commonwealth Museum) this year after four years away is a big step in the right direction and I sincerely hope it comes back next year bigger and better than ever.

I remember standing behind the Moonface Press table at the Bristol Expo back in 2008. The Cowshed was absolutely packed with fans, creators and cosplayers and I felt genuinely privileged to be part of a scene that was so vibrant, creative and friendly. Give it a couple of years and I have every confidence the Expo will have all its old magic back.

* I'M delighted to report that Michael Moreci and Keith Burns' Reincar(Nate) graphic novel smashed its Kickstarter pledge target by over $1,000 and will be published in August. Well done to them both! Of course, life being as it is, I ended up having to temporarily withdraw my $25 pledge when I became the victim of identity fraud a couple of weeks ago. The bank stopped my debit card, meaning payments I'd made for books, comics and DVDs online were immediately suspended, including the Reincar(Nate) pledge. It was all rather embarrassing but, thankfully, has now been sorted out.

* YOU should all check out Tommie Kelly's new webcomic, The Holy Numbers. This blurb I've just nicked from Tommie's website probably describes the story better than I could so...

It centres around a spiritual movement in Ireland, founded by a man who calls himself Ravensdale and claims that he is an advanced spiritual being from a higher dimension. This religion becomes the most popular new thought movement in the country and has its eyes set on becoming a worldwide belief system.

It asks the question: What if all the alternative New Age thought about how our universe works, its secret history and its mechanics, was all true? What would the world be like? How would it affect us socially, politically and socially? Would the world be a better place, a more magic place? Would people be happier?

What if you had to believe in it to see it? What if the New Age is already here?

It's easily the best thing I've seen from Tommie (yes, even better than Mongo: Music Critic!), so give it a little of your time. Check it out for free at

Monday, April 30, 2012

More Petal

Above is a full page from Petal, the horror/crime project I'm working on with Argentine artist Nicolas Armano. This is a sequence from a nightmare that Petal's daughter is having and it features a character called 'The Frozen Man', who pops up throughout the story. He isn't real but what he represents most certainly is...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Support Reincar(Nate)

KEITH BURNS (the co-creator of Blood Psi) is the artist on a project currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. It's called Reincar(Nate) and Michael Moreci (of Image's Hoax Hunters fame) is the writer.

There's a page of Keith's lovely art above and here's the lowdown on the project from the book's Kickstarter page...

Reincar(Nate) is a 102-page, full-color graphic novel that tells the story of Nate McCoy, a well-meaning, down on his luck P.I. who has a special ability--he can see and interact with past versions of himself. The people he reincarnated from. With the help of Jameson (a Wild West lawman) and Alan (a 1960s-era hitman), Nate works to solve his latest case, one that digs straight to the heart of the city's criminal underworld.

If you're a fan of stylized, character-driven noir in the vein of Chew or Terriers, you'll find a lot to like in Reincar(Nate).

Sounds great, right? The project needs another $2,880 (£1,178) to reach its total of $8,250 (£5,094) by next Friday (May 4). A mere 20 bucks will get you a signed and numbered first edition of the book, 30 will get you a signed and numbered book, plus your name on a special 'thank you' roll of honour inside.

You can make a pledge right here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'M currently working on a pitch for a crime/horror project called Petal with Argentine artist Nicolas Armano. Here are a couple of panels. We've based the look of the central character - Detective Inspector 'Petal' White - on a young British actress. Bet you can't guess who...

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I haven't updated this blog since October 25, so Happy Halloween, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all! It isn't as if I've spent the last four months sitting around with my feet up watching TV... actually, there has been a fair amount of sitting around with my feet up watching TV, but I have been doing other stuff, too. Comics stuff.

I currently have several projects at different stages of development and the plan is to submit pitches, including finished artwork, to publishers in the next few months. Just to prove I'm not making it up, above is a page (no letters or colours yet) from a project I've been working on with brilliant Brazilian artist Edu Menna. It's for a story called Disintegration, a mad mash-up of small-time London gangsters and bizarro sci-fi.

We're currently on the look out for a colourist to work their magic on a few sample pages, so if anyone out there might be willing to help us out for very little in return (a family bag of Maltesers, my eternal gratitude and, er, that's about it) please get in touch...

There are other projects, too, but you're going to have to wait to find out about those. Hopefully not for four months, though.