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...