Wednesday, 30 July 2008

United States of Whatever

Nic and I were down in Canterbury at the weekend, along with our friends Tet and Ferret. We'd gone there to celebrate the relocation of our favourite comics shop, Whatever Comics, to an outstanding new address right in the middle of the main high street.

I've been buying my floppies from Whatever since late 1990 and, despite a number of address changes for both me and them, I've never felt the slightest temptation to change suppliers. As long as Manny and Debe are in the business, I know my pull list is in good hands. If you ever find yourself in Canterbury, or if you're looking for a good place to set up your own mail order list, I highly recommend checking the shop out. Here's the address:

Whatever Comics
9 St. Peters Street
Canterbury CT1 2AT.
Telephone 01227 453226

Had a great time at the shop, then went out for a drink with the owners afterwards. Laurence Campbell (fantastic Marvel artist and a friend of Whatever Comics), showed up as well. It's always great to chat with Laurence, and I'm really looking forward to his upcoming run on The Punisher. He's also one of the nicest guys I've met in the industry so far. He's actually got an interview up on the Whatever Comics Website, which you can read here.

So, thanks to everyone who showed up to mark the occasion, and commiserations to Whatever's competition. Let's face it, with such a great shop right in the middle of the city's main shopping centre, any other comics retailer in Canterbury might as well be incognito...

PS: Thanks to Kikari for the Kentish Gazette clipping at the top of this post.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Cometh the Hour...

Regular readers (should such an unlikely animal actually exist) may remember that waaaaaay back in November last year I talked about having a story idea within a genre that I'd never touched before. That idea continued to sit as an uncomfortable wad in the back of my skull until the last London MCM Expo, where I got talking to Orang-Utan's Ian Sharman about it.

Ian, one of the key driving forces behind the Eagle Award nominated Eleventh Hour anthology, had been compiling material for a second volume and he asked me if I'd like to contribute something. So I bashed out that stubborn little story idea, sent it in and got it accepted for Eleventh Hour Volume Two.

So, for anyone still playing along at home, I can now introduce my first crack at the genre of zombie fiction. I'm calling it Carrion Camping: From the Case Files of Harlan Falk - Zombie Negotiator.

Details to follow at some unspecified future point. Probably.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Geek Syndicate - Now With Added Awesome!

Way back at this year's Bristol Comic Expo, I was called over to the Insomnia stand to chat about Cancertown with Dave Montieth of the Geek Syndicate podcast. As luck would have it, Stephen Downey happened past at exactly the right moment and got in on the interview as well.

Anyway, some months later, the interview has made it into the podcast, which can be downloaded from the Geek Syndicate Website right now.

This was my first podcast interview, and I basically stumbled my way through it. Even so, I was excited to see it actually make it into the show.

Crawford Coutts, the Top Dog at Insomnia Publications, is there as well. He gets the chance to talk through some of the company's projects. I've had nothing but good experiences working with Insomnia, and I'm looking forward to many more.

So there you have it. World domination must surely follow...

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

The Secret Ingredient is Chaos!

Well, Starship Troopers has another review over at Comics Village, this time from Graham Mogford.

This review is for issue #9, which is the first part of the Triple Threat crossover event. Triple Threat was an insane fever-dream concocted by Tony Lee, marking his two-month return to the book as co-writer and editor. The idea, as I mentioned back in March, went something like this:

Phase One: Three teams create three interconnected Troopers stories.

Phase Two: ...

Phase Three: Profit!

I provided the title and basic plot for the arc, and each of the writers tackled it in his own way. I worked with Scott James on my sections of the two issues, with colour from Alex Johns, Ian Sharman and Scott himself. Thomas Mauer worked his lettering magic, as always. A great deal of behind-the-scenes work was needed to ensure that everything hung together, of course. In fact, when you factor in the other two parts of the story you begin to get an idea of the organisational scale of the project. It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to be its editor.

In the end I think issue #9 hangs together rather well. The stories mesh together as intended and the comic has a strong, distinctive look. I'd buy it. Of course, if you'd prefer a slightly more impartial opinion, you might want to take a look at Graham Mogford's review.

Issue #10 looks set to be even crazier, by the way. After that, we've got the next full story arc, Fool's Errand, in which large objects explode...

Friday, 11 July 2008

Cancertown: It's Out Of My Hands Now...

On Monday night, I completed the script for the final chapter of Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth. I've devoted a week of each of the last six months to writing this book around my non-comics work and, now that the scripts are all done, I'm starting to realise how much I'm going to miss it.

I've got plenty to keep me busy, at least. Starship Troopers is still about the most fun it's possible to have without a firearms licence, and I've got projects in development all over the place, any one of which might turn out to be the Next Big Thing for me. Cancertown does occupy a special place in my tiny, blackened heart, though. The original idea for it was born in a thunderstorm on the Isle of Wight, so it seemed fitting that the final chapter was completed in the middle of a lightning-fest of epic proportions on Monday.

We're apparently looking at a release date toward the end of the year for the book, and I've been repeatedly blown away by each new set of pages sent to me by the artist, Stephen Downey. I'm actually going to sneak out a preview at the bottom of this post, so you can see what the brilliant young scamp's been up to since Bristol. Seriously, this is an artist with a major future in comics.

There's already been talk of a second volume of Cancertown (and possibly some kind of companion book), and I'm more than up for it. Inconvenient Tooth was always intended as the first volume of a series, and I think there's a lot more potential to explore in there. I've already got the bones of the next volume assembled in my head, but we'll see how it all comes together if and when the time comes...

Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy watching the art materialise for this first volume. Now, here's that quick preview I promised:

Monday, 7 July 2008

Free? Have They Gone Fucking Insane?

Well, the astute reader will have noticed a new feature on the side navigation column of this blog. It appears that some crazy outfit calling itself has started up a bold new adventure in online publishing. Here's the meat of their press release: 'Perfect comic-timing as historic new chapter in book publishing opens.' (beta), a newly launched, web-based, ebook community site gives everyone the tools to create book content and get it out there for free. And straight away it's proving to be a hit with comic book publishers.

Every aspect of publishing your content is covered, from creating, to sharing, to reading, in by far the slickest and simplest way seen so far.

Comic book creators love it. The system is a great environment to create and publish comics and graphic novels. The power and richness of the design features are out of this world, certainly by web standards.

You can read the full version here:

The immediate practical upshot of all this is that the first issue of my Markosia Starship Troopers run can be read for free by clicking on the cover over on the right of the page.

Whatever will they think of next? Some kind of automated flying machine is my guess...

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Introducing Scott James!

Scott James is an American artist, currently turning out some stunning work on my section of Starship Troopers: Triple Threat. He's well known in the gaming community, having produced art for CCGs and roleplaying games such as Mutants & Masterminds and Spycraft. He's also worked on Savage Dragon for Image, which should serve to establish his industry credentials.

Scott's the latest in a string of artists that I consider myself very lucky to have been able to work with. He's also the latest person to take the Whatever Comics Questionnaire, which I highly recommend you check out right now.
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