Tuesday, 30 September 2008

No Sleep 'Till Brumcon!

Right, then. This weekend is the Birmingham International Comics Show, so Nic and I are heading up to kick arse, take names and generally monster up the place. I'll be screaming between the Markosia and Insomnia stands as normal, pushing copies of Starship Troopers and Cancertown badges into every hand I see. Hell, I may even get round to pitching a few stories while I'm there. I've been lucky enough to have attracted the interest of a couple of publishers with the books I've had out this year, so it's time to press that luck a little harder.

Still, no matter how high the stakes or how tight the deadlines, nothing about comics ever feels like work. Even going into Birmingham with clearly defined objectives - things I actually need to accomplish in order to stay alive in the industry - I'm just really looking forward to it. These gigs have never been anything but good news for me, and this one looks like being an absolute classic.

In other news, the free preview of Starship Troopers #5 on the MyEbook site broke the 1000 views barrier this week. I've been amazed at the response. Also, after only being up on the site for 12 days at the time of writing this, the Cancertown chapter has already been read 185 times. Thanks to everyone who's had a look at either of these books. I hope you enjoyed them.

Anyway, expect my usual three-part convention report to commence soon.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Congratulations Are In Order...

Nic Wilkinson, the artist behind Extinction Protocol and Remember This Moment and the letterer on Cancertown, has just been appointed as the Creative Director of Insomnia Publications. This is a particularly smooth move for Insomnia, since Nic's an award-winning marketing genius with over a metric tonne of professional experience. She's also my personal favourite human being. Here's the announcement from Insomnia's Managing Director, Crawford Coutts:

I am very pleased and excited to announce that Nic Wilkinson (letterer of Cancertown and Daemon and artist of Remember this Moment in LZ) has been promoted to Creative Director of Insomnia Publications.

As well as her artistic and lettering prowess, Nic will be giving her constructive criticism in the process of recruiting new creators; using her creative mind to aide us on products and merchandise; and her experience in marketing and PR will be invaluable.

Welcome again to Insomnia Publications, Nic, and we look forward to working with you even more than before!

Another of Nic's recent triumphs is her assignment as contributing artist for Accent UK's upcoming Western anthology. She's working on a story called "Shooting", written by Alexi Conman (give it a moment, you'll get it). Here's a very sneaky preview:

As her bio on the Accent UK site says:

Nic has been drawing nasty things since she was only little. It has been said that you shouldn't let the fact that she is still only quite little fool you. The main difference is that she now draws her nasty things on a Wacom and doesn't use mud in her art so often.

So, in summation, rock on Nic!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

God Help Me, I've Created A Monster...

"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed."

So, with the immortal words of Darth Vader still echoing in my brain, I hit the power switch, offered a silent prayer to the Machine God and watched my unnatural creation flare to life.

I'm a non-techie, by any credible standard. I push the buttons, but I don't waste a lot of time thinking about how they work. I do, however, have precisely the right combination of optimism and ignorance to allow me to build computers from spare parts. So, when my Dell Inspiron 531 crapped out on me less than a week after its guarantee expired, I took it upon myself to cannibalise its still-warm corpse to salvage parts for a new machine. One Novatech Bare Bones kit (and a bunch of miscellaneous components I found lying about the place) later, my brand new home-built quad core system is up and running without a hitch. I even ripped it open again this morning to install a multi-format card reader left over from the Dell. It's all been suspiciously easy.

If I knew more about computers, I'd be way too terrified to touch them. I can plug the pieces together quite happily in my ignorance of anti-static straps and basic electronics. A real techie would probably get me condemned as a heretic for the blind fumbling I'm prepared to inflict on an innnocent computer but, so far, I've been getting away with it. Tomorrow, I may be cursing myself for even trying this as I scrape the melted circuitry out of my carpet, but today my new Frankenstein's Machine is happy, healthy and miraculously free of murderous intent.

Now, excuse me while I deal with the mass of pitchfork-wielding techie peasants who have gathered beneath my castle window...

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Cancertown - Free First Chapter Online

As those with a sharp eye will have already noticed, there's another new item on the page today. Insomnia Publications have released the entire first chapter of Cancertown for free over at Myebook.com.

For those who don't know, Cancertown is the story of a former mental patient with an inoperable brain tumour who conducts search-and-rescue missions into a monstrous alternate version of London.

As I've mentioned before, Cancertown's a book that's very special to me. Working on it has been a fantastic experience, and I'm really excited to watch it all play out. By all means, feel free to take a look.

Myebook - Cancertown - www.myebook.com

Friday, 12 September 2008

Reasons to be Fearful...

There are moments when it's truly great to be alive. Waking up early on a Saturday morning is a particular favourite of mine, as is the instant you recognise the very distinctive sound of an Amazon parcel dropping heavily through the letterbox. Hell, even getting through the last few sets of a particularly difficult workout gives me a couple of seconds of genuine joy.

You'd have to go a long way, however, to match the sensation of opening an innocent-looking email and having this test version of Paul Cartwright's cover to your first creator-owned graphic novel explode onto your screen.

Take a moment and look at this...

... now ask me why I love working in comics.


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Come One, Come All!

Finally, the beans can be spilled. Whatever Comics, the first and finest comics shop in all of Canterbury (and possibly the world, we're checking on that) is holding a grand re-opening celebration to mark its 20th anniversary and relocation to a fantastic new spot on the city's main high street.

Here's what the shop's owner, Mighty Manny Amario, has to say:

We are having a bit of a do. Mark the 18th of October 2008 on your calendar.

Laurence " Punisher" Campbell and Rob "Indy 2000ad Jones" Williams have confirmed.

Also, we'll have Cy "Starship Troopers" Dethan, Nic "Cancertown" Wilkinson and Ian Sharman, co-founder of Orang Utan Comics.

It is even possible that we may have some very special guests on the day. We will just have to wait and see...

Full details can be found on the Whatever Comics website.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A Brave New World...

Okay, this was something of a new one for me.

I consider myself pretty open to new technologies. I keep my PC fairly up to date, I own laptops, ultra-portables, consoles and PDAs - I even have one of those newfangled portable telephones the kids all seem to rave about these days. I also own a PSP - and today I bought my first downloadable comic on it.

The book in question is called The Cryptics, by Steve Niles and Ben Roman. It's sort of like The Munsters. Actually, it's a lot like The Munsters... with a touch of Calvin and Hobbes thrown in. It's got some music running along with the images, and a few sound effects thrown in - neither of which really add anything for me, since I tend to think that comics have been getting along quite nicely without those so far. Still, it's all harmless and quite fun. Not something I'm going to go back to, but that's probably true of a lot of the comics I read each month.

There are some interactive features, which amount to several video clips of the creators talking about the individual stories, and the whole thing's pretty entertaining. Bottom line, it's okay. Nothing special, but a worthwhile use of the couple of quid I had knocking about in my Playstation Store wallet.

So yeah - s'okay. If I see more PSP comics, I'll consider giving them a shot...

...and, um, that's about it.
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