Tuesday, 22 December 2009

"Evacuate? In Our Moment of Triumph?"

That's it, I'm going dark. Jacking out. Dropping off the grid.

All being well, I'll be back online with a new house and a different ISP in early January. In the meantime, if you can accept such a blazingly incongruous sentiment from a reason-loving, godless atheist, I wish you and yours the Swayze-est of Non-Specific Winter Seasonal Events.

Catch you on the flip-side...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

"I Like to Keep This Handy For Close Encounters..."

Y'know, if you're anything like me you've probably lost count of the times you've missed your chance to blast a guy in the belly with a shotgun because it was too much damn trouble to get out of bed...

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Catch the Digital Disease on PSN - UPDATED!

It's here...

Also, I've just received word from Lee Hadfield, of the Frugal Gaming website and podcast, that the interviews Nic and I did with him about Insomnia's digital comics have now gone live.

Feel free to check those out.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Approaching Zero

In the last few digits of my countdown toward finally moving out of London, I find myself thinking a lot about The Ragged Man.

This is a story whose roots are inextricably tangled around my life in this city. It's virtually impossible, from my vantage point, to speculate on how apparent that will be to a reader who doesn't know me, but the fact of the matter is that it couldn't have been written in any other place or at any other time. The Ragged Man is my interpretation of London itself, the best and worst of it at once - and whatever else he may be, he is absolutely, inescapably his own worst enemy. He's probably yours, too.

Now someone's finally got him on paper. I take no further responsibility for him and the damage he will do. He's out of my head and he's out of my hands and he's your problem from now on.

Have fun with that in 2010. In the meantime, here's the first sequential preview from the jaw-flooring team of Neil Van Antwerpen and Peter-David Douglas. Just remember, when the time comes: they're the innocents in all this. If they'd known what they were letting us all in for, they would have run a mile from this deranged, suicidal monster of a book.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Going Meta...

So, I find myself in the delightful position of writing a blog post about why I'm going to be writing fewer blog posts in the upcoming weeks. This end of the year is always a mad flurry of hitting deadlines, chasing invoices and so forth, but this time I've got the added complication of putting my entire world into a series of neatly stacked and carefully labelled boxes in preparation for a still-unconfirmed-but-could-be-any-time-now moving date.

I've said my goodbyes to London in the form of The Ragged Man. Now she and I are in that awkward period where I've already got my coat on and I've stepped out onto the porch, only to find that my taxi hasn't arrived yet and we both now face an indeterminate period of nervous throat-clearing and embarrassed half-smiles before I finally leave.

Also, I'm almost proud to discover how undomesticated I still apparently am. I've never even defrosted a fridge before, so that ought to be an adventure in itself. In a few short weeks I'll be learning to put up shelves and hang curtains, and I can't help feeling that a vital part of my essential self will die in the process.

Hot on the heels of long-time friend, Pete Darby's psychological S&M vigilante thriller,The Gimp comes news of Martin Fisher's upcoming Battle Amongst the Stars. I first met Martin several years ago at a convention, and he's recently landed a deal for a prequel comic to Roger Corman's classic Magnificent-Seven-In-Space movie, Battle Beyond the Stars. Martin pursued this project with the patience of a saint and single-minded ferocity of a frenzied shark, so it's unbelievably cool to see it all pay off. Congratulations are most assuredly due.

So, other than all that, all I wanted to say was that my posting schedule is likely to be a bit patchy this side of the New Year.

Catch you on the flip-side.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Belated Afterthoughts...

Technically, I shouldn't be doing this.

Strictly speaking, I'm on holiday this week, and writing this blog sits right on the dividing line between work stuff and not-work stuff. Anyway, I'm not being watched at the moment, so I thought I'd blitz off a quick post.

Thought Bubble was a blast again this year. It's all-too short, but it has an intensity of focus that is hard to match. I spent the whole day signing books, talking to creators and generally acting like a real-life comics professional. Particular stars of the event were Ian Cullen of SciFi Pulse website and radio show fame (probably the hardest working guy at the entire convention - seriously, he was fucking everywhere) and Dead Goats writer, Ollie Masters. Ollie's a guy who really gets it, and I'm seriously looking forward to seeing his book come out because it's precisely my kind of story and I'm going to read the living tits off that thing.

So, chalk Thought Bubble up as a win, and count me in for next year (providing my upcoming relocation doesn't balls things up travel-wise).

In other news, I got to check out my almost-built new house today. Moving from a two-bedroom flat to a three-storey house is going to be a bit of an adjustment, but I'm quietly confident I can fill the extra space with awesome junk within a few weeks of moving in.

Also, a learned colleague of mine from way back before you were born has just published his first novel on Lulu. I had the opportunity to read this some time ago, and can honestly say that it's a massively entertaining read. If my opinion means anything at all to you, then I highly recommend that you check out Peter Darby's The Gimp at your earliest convenience. Here's the cover blurb:

He despises his work, considers his co-workers to be
cattle, and only hates himself marginally less than everyone else.

Of an evening, he dresses in bondage gear and
hangs around in alleyways waiting to beat up

Because that's what his transcendental dominatrix
tells him to do.

Meet the Gimp.

"Compelling and unexpectedly uplifting" - Cy Dethan, author of Cancertown.

...and there I am: gone.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

3D Glasses: Half Empty

So, then. If last night's Channel 4 extravaganza proved nothing else, it did at least demonstrate conclusively that there's no magic trick so beautiful or spectacular that it can't be cheapened to the point of worthlessness through the addition of poorly conceived, inexpertly applied anaglyph 3D technology.

Don't get me wrong, I love 3d stuff. I even wrote a semi-glowing review of the Beowulf CGI movie back in the early days of this blog. The problem is now that I've seen what can be done in the field, both at the cinema and more recently in the jaw-flooring Avatar: The Game demo that was being run at the London MCM Expo last month, the old red/blue bullshit just seems like a total waste of time.

I also sort of semi-object to the clumsy way the anaglyph 3D was crowbarred into a magic show. Simply put, it added nothing. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest it was deliberately set up to add nothing, as practically admitted by the increasingly entertaining Derren Brown in the intro.

Anyway, all disappointment at this essentially pointless gimmickry aside, you've got to love the latest version of Derren's "host" persona. He's flying a really strong flag for British magic these days. Also, with Pete Firman picking up the long-lost Paul Daniels stage technique and Barry and Stewart's awesome, visceral assault on the senses, I was quickly able to put the red/blue glasses down and enjoy the performances instead.

Anyway, fuck all that. Let's talk comics...

I'm heading up to Thought Bubble in Leeds at the weekend. Had a great time at this event last year, and things look similarly promising this time around.

Nic Wilkinson has announced a couple of competitions over on Insomnia's Red Eye blog. Details as follows:

1) Win a chance to visit the Buskers Film Set. Thanks to Jeymes Samuel for making this possible.

Entry to the competition is free with any purchase, or £1 per ticket.

The draw will be made on the 1st of December and the winner notified by email. Any winner under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied on the set visit by an adult.

The date and time of the visit will be arranged personally with the winner.

2) Win a PSP 3000 loaded with Insomnia Comics. This competition is in association with The Geek Syndicate. Thanks to Sony for donating this great prize.

If you will not be attending the show you can still enter the latter competition by heading over to the Geek Syndicate Website.

To be in with a chance to win, all you need to do is send an email to geeksyndicate@hotmail.co.uk with the title “Going digital with Geek Syndicate, Insomnia and Sony!”

The first entry pulled out of the hat will win.

Closing date for entry is 1st December.

I entered the 2009 convention circuit without expecting to be pitching much, given the number of projects I've already got on my plate, but ended up landing several key gigs. All in all, I've had a pretty great year of it, and can't wait to see what happens in 2010.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Friday, 6 November 2009

Riding the Ragged Edge...

I was going to hold these back. I figured I should meter the previews out like the real professionals do and play things close to my chest until the first story pages started coming in (which should be soon)...

...but then I figured, fuck that - we're all friends here and, damn it, friends share.

So, on the grounds that some things are just too good to keep quiet, check out Neil Van Antwerpen's latest concepts of Ragged Man characters Consensus and the Grudge.

Moments like this make it all worthwhile...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

While I'm On The Subject...

A quick follow-up on the last post. Neil Van Antwerpen and Peter-David Douglas, the phenomenal art team on The Ragged Man, Starship Troopers: War Stories and Harker, have just been interviewed by Ian Cullen on the SciFi Pulse podcast. It's an interesting interview, exploring in some depth the kind of research and technique that goes into their work, so feel free to listen in.

While I'm plugging the team, you should also check out the written interviews with them here and here.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Ragged Roughs

Right before last weekend's London MCM Expo, I received an email from former Starship Troopers: War Stories collaborator and artist on Markosia's recent Harker graphic novel, Neil Van Antwerpen.

Neil's work has always been impressive, both in terms of fluid storytelling and sheer beauty, so when he mentioned in conversation that he honestly felt that The Ragged Man, our upcoming book from Insomnia, was going to be the one that really showed what he and Peter-David Douglas were capable of I was chewing my own arms off in anticipation of some previews.

Well, the previews arrived in time to show them off at the Expo, and I have to say that opening those files was one of the very best moments of my adventures in comics to date.

The Ragged Man is a very important story for me, for reasons I may start to go into as the book moves toward completion. I don't want to say too much about what it is just yet, but I can certainly tell you what it's not.

It's not a superhero book.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it's the reason why I've never actually written a superhero book. Having this vicious, sharp-cornered monster of a story squatting in my brain is the reason I've ended up turning down every superhero-flavoured project I've been asked to get involved in or invited to pitch for.

Also, as I start to measure my remaining time as a Londoner in terms of weeks, rather than months, The Ragged Man is at once a heart-felt love letter and a final fuck-you to the city I've lived in for the past fourteen years. There was a time in my life when, if anyone had thought to ask me, I would have told them that there was nowhere else on Earth I could have written fiction. There was literally no other place I'd lived in or visited that so forcefully compelled me to write. Whatever energy or "voice" I've developed in my scripting style and dialogue rhythms, I owe them entirely to London.

This story is a product of those fourteen years. It's a last act of peacemaking between me and this beautiful, damaged city and, if you were to ask me now, I'd still tell you it's the only place on Earth I could have written The Ragged Man.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Insert Expo-Related Pun Here - Too Tired To Do It Myself...

By rights, this ought to be the easiest convention of the year for me. The London MCM Expo is right on my doorstep, requires no elaborate travel or accommodation plans and there's little to no heavy lifting involved. Despite all of that, I still find it the most exhausting gig on the circuit.

Some 40,000 people apparently attended the Expo this year, and I'm pretty sure I met most of them. The cool thing about helping out on a dealer stand (other than the fact that this is one of the few opportunities a Londoner has to loudly announce, "let me in, I'm a dealer" without risking arrest) is that you get to scout round the venue before the show starts and take pictures of people and things that'll later be entirely obscured by densely packed, frequently grumpy human flesh. Here are a few examples:

Ian Sharman: Convention Camouflage Edition

Clearly Unperturbed By Supernatural Entities: Ecto-1

Unstoppable, Irrepressible, Non-Refundable: Tony Lee

Of course, once the doors opened properly a whole new world of photo-opportunities suddenly opened up. There were games to play, celebrities to stalk (and by celebrities, I mean there was the fantastic Ronny Cox and a bunch of people I'd never heard of but who probably play sulky TV vampires or something). I toyed with the idea of getting Mr. Cox to quote me a line from one of his movies, but couldn't decide between "I'm cashing you out, Bob" (Robocop) and "I don't give you enough information to think!" (Total Recall). In any case, there wasn't much time for fanbushing* celebrities once the actual show started.

I was again astounded by the number of people who wanted to talk to me about Cancertown. The Expo is very broad-based and, historically speaking, has usually devoted most of its limited comics wing to manga. This year, by contrast, there was a lot more comic stuff going on in general and a much wider variety of styles within that. I signed books, chatted with readers and basically got to feel like a proper professional writer - doubly so on signing the contract for Gamebreaker. Bonus!

Highlights were many and various, but Bryan Talbot's input in the Steampunk talk was predictably wonderful, and I somehow managed to shoehorn my way into a satisfyingly lengthy and wide-ranging conversation with Jacen Burrows and Insomnia's own Ollie Masters (writer of Dead Goats and body double for a major villain in Slaughterman's Creed). Great fun. The Ragged Man preview art Neil Van Antwerpen sent me to take along was extremely well received, and I got to plug the book a bit to Dave Monteith and Barry Nugent, whose Geek Syndicate table was right next to Insomnia's on the Saturday.

I should also mention that Ferret's Bad Rain quilt, which dominated the Insomnia area, was a huge hit with convention-goers throughout the weekend. Considering the number of costume-makers and fabric fanatics on hand at the gig, the quilt had a real crossover appeal to it. Thanks are due to Ferret for once again going above and beyond.

...and yes, there were cosplayers. To be perfectly honest, I was staggered this year by the quality of the costumes. The bar has definitely been raised over previous years. I still don't understand the dress-up urge myself, but I do have to admire the time, money and effort that goes into some of these costumes.

I'll leave you with a few of my favourites, plus a video I shot of the weird alien autopsy/stripping scientist stage show that inexplicably broke out on Saturday afternoon:

*"Fanbushing" is a term I'm hoping to popularise, referring to the practice of stalking up behind the object of one's geekery, waiting patiently six inches behind them and then exclaiming, "Oh, are you such-and-such?" in fake surprise when they turn around in alarm to see who it is that's breathing on the back of their neck.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Oh, God - Here We Go Again...

Yup, it's that time of year when otherwise sane, sensible, middle-aged men discover their Inner Awesome through the medium of cruelly revealing lycra leotards and giant foam-rubber gunblades. The London MCM Expo is back.

This gig has really grown on me over the last couple of years. I'm not exactly sure what that says about me, but there's something about the miraculous chaos of the expo that you just don't find anywhere else on the UK circuit. The diversity of life is phenomenal, the energy is unmatched and you get to spend two days clinging on by your fingernails in a feeding frenzy of unashamed, full-on fandom. If any proof were needed that the geek has inherited the Earth, then this is it.

As usual, I'll be wearing two hats this weekend. With Cancertown out and close to a dozen more books in preparation with Insomnia and Markosia, I'll be dividing my time between the two stands and generally trying to keep my head above the waterline. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to catch up with Dave Anthony Monteith and Barry Anthony Nugent (I know - weird coincidence, huh?) of the Geek Syndicate podcast, and anyone else I've got to know in my last few trips round the convention circuit.

If you're coming along and happen to spot me (or someone you think might be me), by all means say hi. I'm hoping to have some preview art from an upcoming book or two, and I'm still riding a high from the Sony PSP announcement, so I'm likely to be in a talkative mood.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Alright, You Twisted My Arm... Cancertown's Coming To PSP!

I wouldn't normally post again so soon after the announcement of a new book, but I've just been given the go-ahead to talk about this, and I honestly can't keep quiet any longer. Here's the official press release:

Insomnia On Demand: Catch the RedEye on PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable)

In the blackest hours before dawn, when all good comic readers were tucked up in bed, the Insomniacs crawled into their dreams.

What were they whispering into the darkness? What did they wish for, lost in the sleep of the innocent?

No less than:

· To be able read Insomnia comics anywhere, at any time

· Take their entire comics collections wherever they went

· To listen to their own music while reading

· To navigate pages their own way

· To find and buy comics easily and access content instantly from the PlayStation®Store

All this will be on offer for PSP owners in December 2009, with the opening of the Digital Comics Store on the PlayStation®Network.

Red Eyed and bushy tailed, Insomnia Publications will be standing proud on launch day as our critically acclaimed books take their place on the virtual shelves, next to world famous names in comic book publishing.

Insomnia Publications’ graphic novels will be presented in the store as single-issue length chapters, following the publication of the book. The first chapter of every book will be offered free to readers as a “taster” of the story.

Crawford Coutts, Managing Director of Insomnia Publications, says:

“We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Sony in the launch of the Digital Comics Service.

Insomnia is committed to nurturing the very best new art, new writing and new concepts in its original graphic novels and the unprecedented scope of this Comics Store will connect independent publishers and readers around the globe.

The help and guidance we have received from Sony throughout truly demonstrates their commitment to support the medium, the publishers, the readers and the comics industry itself.

Many of our creators are gamers themselves and so were delighted to hear that their work will be offered through PlayStation Network.”

With the first Insomnia titles available right from the December launch, you will be able to:

· Unlock Cages

· Fall into Cancertown

· Dissect the bloody history of the notorious Burke and Hare

With a growing range of titles to choose from and the phenomenal scope of the Digital Comics Store, this is just the beginning.


1. The Comics Store will launch on the PlayStation Network for PSP in December 2009

2. Official Sony Press Release and video demo

3. For further information, interviews and comments please contact Crawford Coutts, MD, at info@insomniapublications.com

4. Insomnia Publications can be found online at:
Website: www.insomniapublications.com
Blog: www.theredeye.co.uk

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

"Oh, God! Mother - Blood! BLOOD!"

So, as those brave souls who dared to test their wits in the Citadel of Comics last week may have surmised, I have a new project to announce.

Gamebreaker, signed at this year's BICS by Insomnia Publications, is an insane, free-wheeling rampage of ninjas, gamblers and superspies. It's a story where no-one is who they seem to be, and hardly anyone is who they think they are. It's wild, chaotic and I love it in ways that are almost certainly illegal. Let me break it down for you:

Those who even remember the legend of Godmother Blood and her insane, megalomaniacal schemes consider her a myth. They’re right – and like all great myths there’s a potent, even dangerous, nucleus of truth at her core. When the greatest fictional villain of the Cold War emerges from retirement to reintroduce a disaffected world to the glorious chaos it once knew, she has only one target in mind – her nemesis, the ultimate superspy: Capablanca.

While long-term readers of this blog (yes, both of you) and anyone who's ever been pinned in a conversational corner by me at a convention will be aware, I have a deep suspicion of the Idiot Pitch (or "Elevator Pitch" as the real professionals call it) when applied to fiction. For me, taking the classic "Nutter Hunts Big Fish" as an example, any description that equally describes Herman Melville's symbolist allegory, Moby Dick and stupidest-movie-ever contender, Jaws 4: The Revenge is essentially meaningless.

That said, those who find these things helpful might want to take "Joe 90 Meets The Prisoner" as a starting point for Gamebreaker.

I don't want to spoilerise much further than that, but I'm beyond excited and I'll very likely be shooting my mouth off all over the London MCM and Thought Bubble this year.

That is, if I can even maintain a coherent stream of consciousness over the other piece of super-secret news I've been sitting on for the last month or so...

Oh, and one other thing: thanks to everyone who's commented on, written about or emailed regarding my Fighting Fantasy-style BICS convention report. I'm glad you all seemed to enjoy it so much. For reference, the "one true path" solution runs as follows: 1, 15, 7, 18, 10, 4, 16, 5, 19, 13, 2, 6, 8, 14, 12, 20.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Citadel Of Comics - A Fantasy Convention In Which YOU Are The Hero!

Your journey has been long and arduous, but your goal is finally in sight. As you make your way across the empty, barren Plains of Parking, it looms up above you - a monstrous edifice of glass and steel: the Thinktank of Millennium Point. You begin your adventure with one Trusty Companion and zero Pitch Points.

You pass the entrance gateways unchallenged, navigate the escalator maze effortlessly thanks to your Scroll of Floorplans (cross this off your Adventure Sheet) and finally stand at the portal to BICS. Two cosplay stormtroopers step forward to block your path, but a quick flash of your Pass of Professional Entry silences them and they meekly step aside. Readying your treasure bag, you step boldly forward, only to falter to a stunned and stumbling halt. Directly to the West, you spy the demigod Talbot, guarding a mighty stack of hard-bound books. A queue of supplicants and adventurers awaits his benediction. Will you:

Join the queue to pray at the altar of Talbot: scroll to paragraph 15?

Bypass the queue and enter the convention proper through the portal to the North: scroll to paragraph 7?

As you arrive at the Stand of Markosia, you are astounded at the range and variety of goods on sale. From the monster-infested epic, Serpent Wars to your own humble run on Starship Troopers, every item glitters with possibilities untold. What's more, within mere feet lie the jewelled caverns of Orang Utan Comics and Monkeys With Machineguns. The hypnotic, simian synergy of these fabled studios is almost too much to absorb, but their deadly ensorcellment is broken by the stern voice of your Trusty Companion, who announces that it is time for the Bryan Talbot talk. You hurry out of the main chamber and toward the amphitheatre, praying you are not too late. Scroll to paragraph 6.

The cosplay Judge Dredd grimaces at the perp scum he has allowed to infest his convention. Within moments the entire Fetishman creative team is led away in cuffs and Britain takes another shuffling step toward artistic authoritarianism. Lose one Pitch Point for your lack of backbone and integrity and slouch off in shame to paragraph 19.

Moving on North, you find that the aisle takes a sharp turn to the West. You continue to follow the path, coming to a junction. Will you:

Continue West by scrolling to paragraph 2?

Turn south toward paragraph 16?


Your argument is forceful and persuasive. Comics is a legitimate artistic medium, and no field of human interest lies beyond its scope. Soon, other passing conventioners rally to your cause and the cosplay Dredd is forced to back down and reconsider his position. Gain one Pitch Point and head to paragraph 19.

As you march to the amphitheatre, you are shocked to spy the demigod Talbot himself bearing down upon you. If he notices you at all, it is as the mountain notices the climber at its roots. You rummage hurriedly through your treasure bag. Do you possess the Tome of Grandville? If so, scroll to paragraph 8. If not, scroll to paragraph 17.

The entrance to the main hall is packed with questing conventioners, and you marvel at the diversity of life within the citadel. Surely, it is a golden age you live in when so vast an array of disparate creatures can gather together to celebrate a unified appreciation for Pokemon cards and violent anime porn. Will you:

Head West, where the crowd is at its thickest (scroll to Paragraph 13)?

Make your way North on your Trusty Companion's advice, in search of obscure trinkets (scroll to 18)?

Go North-West, where an altercation of some sort appears to be brewing (scroll to 16)?

Drawing the sacred tome from your treasure bag, you miraculously catch the attention of the demigod Talbot. He looks down at you with an expression of benign dignity, and in an unimaginable show of generosity offers to show you the back way into the amphitheatre, bypassing the queues and ensuring a front-row seat for the ceremony. Gain one Pitch Point for your excellent fortune and scroll to paragraph 14.

Terror grips your throat as you realise you have not prepared your pitch! Panic-blind, you flee the main chamber and hurtle out of the citadel and back toward the Plains of Parking...

... where you are probably eaten by, I don't know, a Troll or something. Either way, your convention ends here.


Thinking quickly, you offer to introduce the C2D4 crew to Stacey Whittle, co-host of the Small Press Big Mouth podcast. Your offer is accepted and the cause of independent comics is advanced one notch. Gain one Pitch Point for contributing to the cause and scroll to paragraph 4.

Crawford considers for a moment before speaking. He's obviously interested in your ideas, but there's something missing. Your heart sinks at the prospect of reformatting your pitch and submitting it again, but your determination remains untarnished. One way or another, your story will be told! For now, however, your convention ends here.

After the intensive training of your conversation with the Nuge, your pitch is primed, honed and razor-sharp. You hit Crawford full in the face with it, obliterating his scepticism and dazzling him with a virtuoso display of cosmic genius...

...or so you hope. Look at your Adventure Sheet. Have you accumulated 3 Pitch Points in your travels? If you have, scroll to paragraph 20. If not, make your way cautiously to paragraph 11.

Pushing your way to the front of the crowd, you find yourself basking at last in the glory of the Stand of Insomnia. Truly, this is the altar of ultimate comics coolness. Crawford Coutts, inscrutable overlord of this realm, ushers you behind the stand to take your place among the company's many creators. You encounter Jeymes Samuel and Michiru Morikawa of Buskers fame, and spend several minutes discussing Burke & Hare with its creative team, Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering. Ferret the Artisan is busy proclaiming the significance of Bad Rain, a moment from Cancertown immortalised in the most ambitious work of textile art since the Bayeux Tapestry. In time, a pilgrim drifts as a shadow through the massed conventioners toward you. Recognising him as the silent enigma known in these parts as the Nuge, you steel yourself for the confrontation. The Nuge demands that you regale him with tales of adventure and mystery. Searching frantically through your memory, you muster up your strongest saga - the legendary Gamebreaker Pitch.

As your story reaches its apex, the Nuge's implacable gaze finally relents. He offers you the slightest of nods, an almost imperceptible acknowledgement that you have narrowly passed this test. Make a note that you have practised your pitch on this most ferocious of audiences, before heading off North by scrolling to paragraph 2.

The Talbot talk is a kaleidoscope of wonders - a sixty-minute epic of brilliance and awe. The depth of the demigod's knowledge and experience instantly robs all those present of any lingering delusions of their own competence or fitness to call themselves creators. While this lesson in humility may be galling to some, you find it personally inspiring. Whatever your own writing capabilities may be at this time, you feel sure that you are on the proper path.

Your self-reflection is cut short at the ceremony's end, as your Trusty Companion reminds you of your appointment to speak with Crawford Coutts about future projects. Have you already spoken to the Nuge? If so, scroll to paragraph 12. If not, scroll to 9.

As you join the supplicants' procession, you are surprised to spy the Small Press Big Mouth podcaster, Stacey Whittle hurrying toward the exit. You hail her, making a mental note that she is present for future reference.

Your wait is long, but fruitful. Your encounter with the mighty Talbot yields a copy of the Tome of Grandville, complete with the demigod's personal blessing inscribed inside. You head off toward the portal to the main chamber, feeling that your quest is well starred already by this chance encounter. Scroll to paragraph 7.

As you proceed, your attention is drawn to raised voices at a small stand to your right. Following the noise, you discover a cosplay Judge Dredd remonstrating with the creators at the Fetishman table. Will you:

Attempt to convince the cosplay Judge that the Fetishman comic is both a legitimate use of the comics medium and a thing of beauty in its own right (scroll to paragraph 5)?

Stand by and watch the situation develop (paragraph 3)?

You are as dust beneath the boot-heel of a giant, staring in undisguised awe as the demigod passes. Scurry quickly to paragraph 14, where the ceremony is already beginning.

Heading North, you are pleased to find the site of C2D4, whose Last of the Chickenheads, Crowman and Jack in the Box have provided you with much entertainment. You rack your brain for a way of assisting them in their efforts to promote their work.

Have you encountered Stacey Whittle in your travels so far? If so, scroll to paragraph 10. If not, continue your journey by scrolling to paragraph 4.

Your phone vibrates in its plastic sheath. Examining it, you receive a text message that Ferret the Artisan is summoning you for a photoshoot at the Bad Rain quilt. You hurry to the Stand of Insomnia and prepare to take your place before the monstrous work of art. You resolve to retain your smile despite your dire suspicions that the arcane camera device will rob you of a portion of your soul. Scroll to paragraph 13.

Crawford's eyes widen in astonishment as your well practised pitch strikes him between the frontal lobes. You spin the tale of Gamebreaker in dizzying detail, taking the overlord through every layered nuance of the premise and its characters. You lose all track of time as your pitch reaches its climax, but when the dust settles and the red mist finally fades from your eyes you see with great satisfaction that your efforts have landed a telling blow. Crawford reaches to shake your hand and the legend of Gamebreaker is cemented as a three-book deal.

Congratulations, conventioner. You have won a hard-earned victory in the Citadel of Comics!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Microsoft Makes Me Want To Cut Myself...

I'm off at BICS this weekend. In case I don't get a chance to blog the event while I'm there, please enjoy the following shameless filler material:

Surely this must be some kind of joke. I mean, it can't be for real, can it? If people honestly believe that this is a sane response to a cocking operating system launch, then there really is no hope for us as a species.

Great, now I'm all emo...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

In With The Out Crowd

Well, in my defence, all I can say is that it seemed like a pretty harmless idea at first. Half an hour of informal interview time with Stephen and Scott of the Comic Book Outsiders podcast - what could go wrong? In the end, we went over twice that long and I've no idea if anything I said was sensible, relevant or even usable. I'll say this, though: I had a great time doing it.

Apparently, the episode will be out in the next day or so. I'm quite interested to find out what I said...

UPDATE: The episode is now live.

Next stop: Brumcon!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Dissecting History

An exquisitely creepy trailer for Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering's Burke & Hare graphic novel has recently surfaced on YouTube, and it's well worth checking out.

Burke & Hare is the true story of the 19th century's most prolific and misunderstood serial killers. Often mistakenly labelled graverobbers, Willian Burke and William Hare were brutal men with a two-figure bodycount who sold their victims as medical cadavers. To some extent, the graphic novel is an exercise in setting that particular record straight, but moreover it is an unflinching, rivetting tale of murderous greed and body-racketeering. I had a chance to read the book this week, and I can only agree with the assessment of Judge Dredd luminary, Alan Grant, in his introduction:

"Together, Martin and Will have produced something of which they, and their publisher - the relative newcomer, Insomnia - can be very proud. As well as being educational and entertaining, they've gone one better and given us something important."

Burke & Hare is the first title in Insomnia Publications' "Vigil" line of biographic novels, and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon. There's a free preview on myebook.com, which you can read by clicking the image below.

Myebook - Burke and Hare - click here to open my ebook

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

People I know, Doing Things...

With Burke & Hare a heartbeat from publication, Insomnia Overlord Crawford Coutts has been interviewed on Down The Tubes about the company, its line-up and his vision for the future. In just a few years, Crawford has turned Insomnia into one of the largest indie publishers in the UK, so it's definitely worth a look.

Speaking of interviews and the people who do them, Stephen Downey recently spoke to the guys at the Sunnyside Comics podcast. This was the first I'd heard of the show, but it was funny as Hell so I'll be listening in from now on.

...and there I am - gone.

Friday, 18 September 2009

It Has to Mean Something...

So, yeah - a British magician called Derren Brown just predicted the results of the National Lottery (or "Lotto," as they have totally failed to convince us to call it). I was fooled, and enjoyed the experience. Naturally enough, there are some perfectly plausible explanations flying around already, but that interests me a lot less than the fact that otherwise normal people are actually talking about magic now. It has suddenly become meaningful to them, if only briefly.

I'm reminded of the following YouTube clip, which was making the rounds a little while back.

Leaving aside the performing animal debate for a moment, it's pretty clear that if you want your magic to be meaningful to a chimpanzee, perform it using watermelons. As the watery-eyed guy in the first Mission Impossible movie puts it, you find something that's personally important to them and you squeeze.

To be honest (and with apologies to Lewis Carroll for the clumsy paraphrasing), who seriously gives a shit about a pack of cards? I only know one professional card player personally, and even she's never expressed any real interest in card magic. If you want to perform grab-you-by-the-throat magic for British people, you might consider using money. I'd guess that over 80% of the magic I practise and perform regularly involves coins - often very old, very beautiful ones with a lot of character to them. Many of my favourite routines centre around the origins and "life stories" of these precise little slivers of history - whose hands they have passed through and what they've been exchanged for. There's a gravity and authority to them that I'd personally find difficult to capture with a £2 deck of playing cards. That's just a statement of personal bias, of course, but I'm coming around to comics in a second so bear with me.

This all plays into my... well, I won't go so far as to call it a theory, but my general feeling that magic and storytelling are intrinsically related. If a magic trick can make such an unapologetic breakthrough into the mainstream, what would it take to do the same for comics? Is stealing the glamour and perceived "legitimacy" of the movie industry through a stream of (occasionally wonderful) Hollywood adaptations really the best way to make comics meaningful or to draw people to the medium? Is that even the goal?

Dunno, mate. I just work here. Besides, this horse is a little too high for me so I'd better climb down before I break my damn fool neck...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Easing the Squeezing...

Nic's interview with Comic Racks podcasters Iz and Stacebob has been very well received on their forum. Personal bias aside, it's always refreshing to hear from a publisher with a strong, forward-thinking game plan and the tools to bring it to fruition. Nic's an ideal spokesperson for this kind of outfit, as she's got the perfect combination of skill set and appreciation for the medium.

In other podcast news, and for reasons known only to themselves, the learned gentlemen of Comic Book Outsiders have requested an interview with me for an upcoming episode. I'll be carpet bombing them with as many plugs for my in-progress books as possible, but I'll make sure I wipe my feet on the way in and try not to lower the tone of discourse too much. Should be fun.

On the subject of my upcoming stuff, I'm getting regular art in from Stephen Downey, Robert Carey and Scott James for Slaughterman's Creed, The Indifference Engine and The Case Files of Harlan Falk, respectively. Here are a few samples:

Slaughterman's Creed
The Indifference Engine
The Case Files of Harlan Falk
Also, with their work on Harker drawing to a close, Neil Van Antwerpen and Peter-David Douglas are turning their attention to The Ragged Man. Here's a quick blast of solicit text:

You save worlds the same way you end them – one inch, one hour, one life at a time.

Alone and despised, the Ragged Man drags himself through life with the weight of murdered billions on his shoulders. Hated by the world and everything in it, his body is a prison to a race of monsters. With every skin cell he sheds, with every drop of blood, a tiny piece of their reality escapes into ours, and a tiny piece of our world dies.

Who do you think you are?

Hopefully, Insomnia will be showcasing some preview art at BICS. I can't wait to see what happens when my War Stories: Tasch collaborators get their teeth stuck into this.

Speaking of BICS, with The Indifference Engine, The Ragged Man, Focal Point, The Insomniac's Guide to Cancertown, Cancertown 2: Blasphemous Tumours, The Case Files of Harlan Falk and Slaughterman's Creed all on the way, I honestly wasn't thinking of pitching anything new for the moment. That said, there are times when an idea grabs hold of your bollocks and refuses to ease the squeeze until you pay it some attention. I've been in that situation for about a week now and it's becoming desperate. Fingers will be hitting keyboard on this very soon now...

... and if anyone asks, you ain't seen me.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

No Sleep 'Till Brumcon (2009 Remix)

With under four weeks to go before this year's BICS, Insomnia Publications have announced their line-up and special offers for the convention. These are as follows:

* 3 for £20 on all standard edition books
* Any special edition + one standard edition for £20

Standard Editions Con Prices

* Burke and Hare (RRP £12.99) Con Price £10
* Cancertown (RRP 14.99) Con Price £10
* Cages (RRP 10.99) Con Price £8
* Layer Zero Choices (RRP £9.99) Con Price £7

Special Editions Con Prices

* Buskers (RRP £14.99) Con Price £12
* MILK (RRP £19.99) Con Price £15

As to the new books:

Burke and Hare (Martin Conaghan & Will Pickering) is the true story of Scotland's most notorious serial killers, who committed no fewer than sixteen murders between 1827 and 1828. There's been a lot of buzz about this book, and from what I've seen it's well deserved. There's a preview on myebook.com.

MILK (Stephen White) is a collection of short stories featuring an amazingly diverse thematic and artistic range. A fascinating concept book, described by Alan Grant as offering "some of the most beautiful, expressive art that I’ve seen in a long time." Again, a preview can be found on myebook.com.

Buskers is a truly intriguing project. Developed jointly as a comic and film from a story by singer and producer, Jeymes Samuel, the book is written by Sean Michael Wilson, with art by International Manga and Anime Festival Award winner, Michiru Morikawa. Definitely one to watch out for. Here's the preview.

You can pre-order to collect on the day, or to be sent out by post (paid by cheque or paypal) so long as you order by 3rd October.

MILK and Buskers special editions are limited to 100 copies.

To reserve for pickup or to pre-order and for payment details you can email Nichola Wilkinson at nichola[at]insomniapublications.com.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Rack Attacks and Replication Terrors

Insomnia's Creative Director and full time Cy-handler, Nic Wilkinson, recorded an interview with Iz and Stacebob of the consistently wonderful Comic Racks podcast this week. The episode should be available for download in the next few days. Comic Racks is highly recommended listening in any case, but having Nic on as a guest makes it pretty much compulsory. I was stealthing silently about like an invisible super-ninja during the recording, so I'm looking forward to hearing how it comes out.

In a neck-breaking segue, I followed a link on Stephen Downey's blog to find the Cancertown-themed stylings of a Northern Irish artist called Darren Reynolds. They're impressive, to say the least, so I've pestered him into letting me reproduce them here.

There's some very strong work on Darren's blog. Well worth a look.

Oh, and it looks like Nic and I are buying a house.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Are You Psychic?


... No, you're fucking not.


For further details, and to begin to understand why Barry & Stuart are among most significant developments in British magic since the eighties, check this concentrated jolt of awesomeness out.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Ferret: Survivor's Quilt

Fuck, that was knackering!

Okay, so we're back from the 2009 Festival of Quilts, and Ferret's gallery was an unquestionable triumph. She'll be putting together a blow-by-blow account of her adventures over the next few days, so I'll avoid stealing her thunder here too much and instead direct you to her blog for the full story and the all-important pictures.

I will just say that Bad Rain, her interpretation of a critical moment from chapter 3 of Cancertown, took a whole lot of people out of their comfort zones over the weekend. The response to what I was calling "the most ambitious work of narrative textile art since the Bayeux Tapestry" received universal acclaim - and actually led to double-figure sales of the book itself! Given that those numbers would be pretty impressive at a dedicated comics convention, I'd have to call the experiment a success.

Also, on a personal note: Holy Christing Fuck, wait 'till you see Ferret's Phoenix Rising quilt! She had internationally acclaimed professional quilters standing round it in slack-jawed awe all weekend.

Not sure how much practical help Nic and I were during the festival, but it's always fascinating to watch committed art enthusiasts interacting on such a large scale - particularly when there's a point of intersection and cross-fertilisation with the comics world. I wasn't at all sure what to expect, but it was inspiring to see the excitement with which that cultural collision was met.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Ferret: Breaking the NEC

This weekend sees the 2009 Festival of Quilts at the Birmingham NEC. Ferret has a gallery this year, nicely situated right in the centre of the hall, where she'll be exhibiting many of her wonderful and deeply troubling quilts. Anyone who's been paying even casual attention to this blog will have seen at least a couple of Ferret's pieces featured, which should give some idea what the show has let itself in for this year.

Ferret's much anticipated new book, Ferreting Around, will be on sale at the gig, as (perversely enough) will Cancertown. If that minor burst of self-promotion appears slightly out of place, then allow me to join the dots. One of the larger quilts on display in the gallery will be the miraculous monstrosity that is Bad Rain, Ferret's medium-shattering interpretation of a critical scene from the comic. Given the awed reaction of festival-goers last year even to Ferret's most wholesome works of art, it's going to be fascinating to see what they make of something as violently surreal as Bad Rain.

So, to whatever extent the unquantifiable abstract, "luck" can be practically and effectively "wished" upon a person and their endeavours, then consider it so wished on Ferret by the entire Cancer Cell. One thing is certain - it's going to be a bugger to top this next year...

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Indifference Engine Breakdown

I've mentioned The Indifference Engine a couple of times in the past, and a number of people have been pressing me to throw a few more details out there. Well, I've now got the first four pages of pencils from Robert Carey, and I've been given the okay to pass them on.

Heh... and to think I'd always considered this to be one of my milder, more all-ages stories...

In other news, Insomnia has just published a well deserved spotlight on Mel Cook, the colourist of Cancertown and The Indifference Engine, among other projects. Included in the article are an interview and several pieces of previously unseen art. Well worth checking out.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Masked Magician is Full of Fail!

Sorry - brief diversion into magic territory. Stumbled upon this and it's too good not to share. Witness the all-powerful Val Valentino (otherwise known as the Masked Magician, otherwise unknown as Leonard Montano), committing a rare and coveted Double-Fail at a self-working card trick.

For the purists, this still technically counts as a comics post - for the three people who actually bought the thing...

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Because Sometimes There's Just Nothing Interesting to Say About Me...

Cancertown artist Stephen Downey has posted the details of his adventures at the Feile art exhibition in Belfast over on his blog. Congratulations are due.

Double congratulations, in fact - as he's also been commissioned to draw an 8-pager for Bob Heske's Cold Blooded Chillers anthology. I'm a sucker for anthology titles and a big fan of Stephen's in any case, so I'll for damn sure be snapping this up when it comes out this Autumn.

There is actually a small item of Cy news, now that I think of it. I've just submitted a first draft script for Parasite Lost, a short story to be included in Insomnia's upcoming Insomniac's Guide to Cancertown (as recently announced over on their blog). It's an origin story of sorts: 12 pages of Crosshair-related mayhem and a troubled teenager strangling a cat on page one. Fun times ahead.


Friday, 7 August 2009


Had a bit of a nasty shock last weekend, when I received an unexpected demand for £1742.12 from HM Revenue and Customs, which they claim is for overpaid Working Tax Credits. I'm being threatened with possible legal action and everything.

Here's the twist: I have never claimed or received tax credits of any kind in my entire life. Not once. Not ever. I had to look up on the HMRC website what the damn things even are, and it turns out I don't qualify for them in the first place. Fucking ridiculous.

I rang the dispute number in the letter, got ejected from their queuing system a couple of times, then spent fifteen minutes or so on hold before talking to a very nice lady who couldn't help me in any practical way. Eventually, she gave me a second number to contact their overpayment office, leading to several more ejections from their queuing system and another five-to-ten minutes on hold (all 0845 numbers, of course). This time, the nice lady I spoke to ran into the kind of logical paradox that shorts out lady robots' heads in old Star Trek episodes. In order to ascertain my identity, she had to run me through a couple of security questions. The final question was "how are your tax credits paid to you?"

Think about that one for a second.

Since I have never claimed or received tax credits of any kind, I was unable to confirm my identity sufficiently for the lady to discuss the error under which I have been charged £1742.12 in overpayment of tax credits I have never claimed! I'm suddenly starring in a fucking remake of Brazil!

After batting this philosophical conundrum around between us for a while, the helpful-but-unable-to-help lady offered me the physical address of a mythical "head office", to which I had to write a snail-mail letter (as this super-secret facility has neither phone number nor email address). That's right, there is no human way of contacting the people who can supposedly fix the error in my records except by post.

Naturally enough, I leapt into action and fired off a letter by Special Delivery. Hilariously, the address I had been given was soooo super-secret that the Post Office had no record of it existing, leading the woman printing the Special Delivery sticker to suspect that there was nowhere to deliver the thing. I now wait excitedly to discover where my complaint ended up.

I tried ringing back again on Thursday, and this time the helpful lady (a new one, from the sound of her) said she'd send me out a form to dispute the overpayment charge - something that hadn't occurred to anyone else I'd spoken to. Apparently, I'll be able to explain in this form that I've never claimed tax credits and so couldn't be liable to pay back something I've never received. In the meantime, I still have a demand for immediate payment sitting on my desk, with the looming shadow of "legal proceedings" should I refuse to comply. Supposedly, that form can at least put a freeze on those threats.

So, to lighten the mood while we all wait, here's Dara O'Briain ripping the tits off pseudo-science practitioners and priests:

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

"Alice in Wonderland on Crack"

I've recently heard that Stephen Downey, artist of Cancertown and the upcoming Slaughterman's Creed, is going to be taking part in an art exhibition in Belfast this month, showing off several pages of Cancertown. Full details can be found over on his blog right now. Congratulations to Stephen on landing the gig!

Thanks to Nic Wilkinson for spotting the following Cancertown review over on the Comic Related website.

Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth
Story by: Cy Dethan
Art by: Stephen Downey
Colours by: Melanie Cook
Letters by: Nic Wilkinson
Cover by: Paul Cartwright
Publisher: Insomnia Publications
Cover Price: 14.99 (UK)
Reviewed By: David O' Leary

Book Summary:
Vince Morley is a man with big problems and a brain tumour like a baby's fist, living with one foot in a monstrous alternate world he calls Cancertown. When the lost and dispossessed of London start tripping over the same cracks in reality he spends his life avoiding, Morley realises he must confront the residents of Cancertown - and risk finding his place among them. Written by Cy Dethan, Pencils/Inks by Stephen Downey, Colours by Melanie Cook, Letters by Nic Wilkinson, Cover by Paul Cartwright. Features a foreword by Bryan Talbot.

Reviewer's Comments:
I have heard quite a bit about this book likening it to a mix between Hellblazer and Alice in Wonderland on crack, and the description is apt. From the mind of Cy Dethan (Starship Troopers) and sensational newcomer Stephen Downey comes an original six chapter graphic novel following Vince Morley, a man dying of an inoperable brain tumour who is either insane or actually able to go to another world filled with creatures of unimaginable vigour and evil.

This book surprised the hell out of me. At first glance the visuals would pull you in immediately but with a coherent plot to boot you are unable to step away from the immaculately paced story following our doomed protagonist. One of the very best things a book can do is deliver a very strong first chapter. By doing that you are ensured of continued interest from the reader. This is one aspect of the overall book that Dethan pulled off perfectly. He revealed just enough of the overall work to make you continue to the next part and so on. In fact, this was one book that I finished in one sitting and, considering its huge page count and enveloping story plot, that was some sitting. How Dethan structured Vince's narrative was particularly interesting. If you see how the word balloons are split with thought blocks the whole process of that shows how vulnerable Vince is even though he doesn't show it to the supporting cast. The thought put into the story was exceptional, the heart between Bugfuck (not really her name) and her father was real and Vince's predicament is never far from his mind and he knows it. The twist behind the origins of the leaders of Cancertown wasn't something I was expecting. Essentially, Dethan put together a hell of a book.

I know for a fact that Irish newcomer Stephen Downey spent over a year working on the book so the work is in fact a wonderful snapshot of the progress he made as an artist over the year plus. The pencils at the end of the book are that bit more tight with less sketchy lines. But from the outset to the end, this book is an excellent product to have on his CV. For someone who is fresh out of the blocks, Downey is one of the very best talents on this isle. My only previous exposure to his work was on Rira (reviewed recently on this site by myself). To try and differentiate between the real world and Cancertown, Downey uses a technique where Cancertown panels are all pencils and colours and no inks and the real world is a fully realised inked page. The technique was an excellent tool in making sure that the two worlds were easily told apart and helped the story no end. Downey at the back of the book lets us in on his techniques for photo referencing. The technique he uses I last saw at the back of the Marvels trade paperback when Alex Ross used a similar process for his art.

It would be remiss of me to not mention the production quality of the book. Think of it as a huge IDW book. With the high end glossy feel to the paper with perfect binding and no cracking on the spine when finished. This was the first book I bought from Insomnia productions but it won't be the last. At Bristol Con this year they were selling a twenty pound three graphic pack which, if the other two were anything like this, sounded like an amazing bargain. Overall there was very little to gripe about this book as just about every aspect of the book was produced with a great love and affection with the end product firmly in mind.

Rating the Issue:

Story: Overall 9
Concept - 9 out of 10
Plot - 9 out of 10
Dialogue - 9 out of 10

Art: Overall 9
Style - 9 out of 10
Storytelling - 9 out of 10
Colour/Tones - 9 out of 10

Importance: Overall 9.33
To the Title - 10 out of 10
To the Company - 10 out of 10
To the Medium - 8 out of 10

Friday, 31 July 2009

Falk Lines

It's been a while since the last piece of Harlan Falk news, with most of the activity taking place below the waterline and several key things I'm not allowed to talk about yet. For those who've been asking for an update, I offer the pages below. Scott James's work on this book has been phenomenal, and Jason Millet's colours are consistently amazing. Anyway, here are a few selected excerpts from the first issue to tide you over.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Monster Island

Well, the Newport Waterstone's Cancertown signing and portfolio review mega-combo is now in the books, and everything went rather well. In addition to chatting with customers about my own work and comics in general, I got to eavesdrop as Nic looked through a number of promising story pitches. The event was covered by the local County Press, which unfortunately means my notoriously camera-unfriendly face will be cropping up all over the Isle of Wight in the next week or so. Fun times for all the family.

In other news, Ferret has finished work on her truly epic Cancertown quilt, titled "Bad Rain". She's laid out a blow-by-blow account of its construction over on her blog, and the piece will be on display in her gallery space at this August's Festival of Quilts at the Birmingham NEC. The Forbidden Planet blog has given Bad Rain a mention, with their blogger, Joe (I had a "Joe Blogs" pun all chambered up, but I think far too much of you to fire it in your direction), calling it "one of the more unusual and cooler comics inspired works I’ve seen recently!"

That's it for now. I've got some finishing touches to lay down on the next Indifference Engine script, but I'll be back around Friday with a long-awaited Harlan Falk update.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Filed Under "Miscellaneous"

So we're heading up to the Isle of Wight for a signing at the Waterstone's in Newport this weekend. More than a signing, in fact, as Nic's going to be running a sort of workshop/portfolio review session there, scouting possible talent for future Insomnia projects. It's going to be an interesting experiment.

Meanwhile, I've been working out the kinks from the second chapter of The Indifference Engine. I've got some excellent concept art coming in from Robert Carey, but I'd better keep most of that under wraps for the moment. Stephen Downey's also been flooding my FTP server with Slaughterman's Creed pages, so Nic's hard at work on the lettering. I've been able to read the first twelve pages today, and I'm blown away by how well the art and lettering blend with the script.

Mel Cook, Cancertown and Indifference Engine colourist and artist of Insomnia's Cages graphic novel, has got her own blog set up. I'll add a link to the side of this page, but here's another one, just to be sure. Mel's contribution to the atmosphere of Cancertown was huge, so it's great to read what she has to say for herself.

Remember that possible Cancertown companion volume/sourcebook thing I hinted at a while back? Well, it's been officially confirmed that The Insomniac's Guide to Cancertown is on. I'll most likely be contributing a prequel story to the mix, along with background material, unseen art from Stephen and more. It'll be a lot like the bonus discs you get in some DVD packages, only in book form. Strictly limited numbers on this one, I'm told. I'll fill in the blanks as soon as I know more.

I'll leave you with a piece of Bryan Talbot news, on the off-chance that anyone's missed it. To ineptly butcher the immortal words of Short Round, "you call him Doctor Talbot, doll". The Grand Master of British comics has been awarded an honorary Doctorate of the Arts by the university of Sunderland. Congratulations are due - especially considering that this is the first time a comics creator has received such an honour.

That's about it for the moment. You take care, now.
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