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.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Bad Rain: A Double-Page Bedspread

Following on from the impending launch of her first book, mentioned a couple of posts back, I'm excited to bring you another piece of Ferret news, this time with a cancerous twist.

Bad Rain, one of Ferret's current projects, is approaching completion. This is particularly cool for me, as the piece is a faithful but still innovative reinterpretation of one of Cancertown's key moments. Anyone who's read the book ought to recognise it immediately from the work-in-progress images on Ferret's blog, reproduced below with permission.

The quilt itself is going to be enormous - over ninety inches across, so you can imagine the amount of work that's going into it. Actually, scratch that. There's no way you or I can imagine how much effort it takes to produce something of this size and complexity.

Bad Rain is scheduled to appear at this August's Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. I can't wait to see the end result, and I really can't wait to see Stephen Downey's reaction when he sees it in person.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Okay, NOW I Get It...

The economic crisis explained the only way it can be: through the twin media of 80s drug comedians and Tron.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Slaughterman's Creed: Fair Warning...

I've mentioned before that Slaughterman's Creed, one of my upcoming Markosia titles, is among the darker things I've written. To be fair, it pretty much tops that list with room to spare, which probably explains why it's so close to my heart. Stephen Downey, my partner-in-crime-fiction on this one, has spared no effort in finding the right style to convey the tone of the book - as the examples below should demonstrate.

I'm really impressed with how Creed is shaping up in Stephen's hands, and working with my Cancertown co-creator again is beyond awesome - so buckle up, people. This is going to be a rough one...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Where My Stitches At?

Regular readers of this blog (should such an obscure cryptozoological entity exist) will by now have heard of a textile artist and friend of mine named Ferret. She's unquestionably been among my most vocal supporters since this whole comic thing started working out for me, and now she's got a book of her own - the awesomely titled "Ferreting Around". Here's the book's foreword, written by internationally acclaimed quilting god, Ricky Tims.

Every now and again, a new talent emerges in the quilt world that transcends the ordinary and is instantly unforgettable. I witnessed this first hand at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August of 2008 when an emerging artist's name was announced again and again as a winner. Not only were her quilts fresh and exciting, but so was the artist who stepped on stage to receive the awards. It was a thrill to see a young talent making her mark in the quilting kingdom. It is obvious to quilters worldwide that the general quilting demographic is of a ‘certain’ age. It is therefore exceptional to me when someone from a younger generation latches on to this timeless art/craft and puts a fresh spin on it. To this I say, “Hear, hear!” However, I have discovered that Ferret enjoys creating her work using a variety of quilting techniques, many of which are rooted in tradition. She does not fly in the face of traditional quilting, but rather she embraces it and includes it into her extraordinary ‘quilting toolbox’.

Ferret is young and talented. But being young and talented are not the qualities that I most have come to admire in Ferret. It is her enthusiasm and heartfelt desire to share her passion with others. Many artists have a selfish side—or at least they hoard a few secrets to themselves in fear that someone else might rise above them. Not so with Ferret. She has not chosen to write a book about shocking and unorthodox techniques. Instead she polled individuals to find out what they most wanted to learn. In turn she has authored her first book with you in mind. The techniques included here range from simple to complex, but in every aspect it is written with easy-to-understand language and presented with excellent illustrations.

I am honored that Ferret asked me to write a foreword for her first book (thank you, Ferret). I hope she will pursue quilting and fiber arts as a lifelong career. If she does, you are no doubt holding in your hand a collector's item for it will always and forever be—Ferret's first book!

So, I guess it's safe to say he liked it, then.

Congratulations to Ferret. It's like I've always said, no-one ever got rich betting against her.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Introducing Alan Blake

Just a quick one today - the first concept sketches of The Indifference Engine's Alan Blake. Very cool work from Robert Carey and, as the art on his website demonstrates, the man's got a gift for forceful characterisation.

As for me, I put together the entire 6-part structure for the second volume of Cancertown today. I'll be grinding the sharp corners off that tomorrow, in preparation for turning it into a full-on plot outline. All the pieces are in position; it's just a case of stress-testing the whole thing and making sure it's solid. I'm excited about how it's turning out already, though - which hopefully is a good sign...

...and I'm gone again.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Plugging the Whole

Got a bit of an update on the Isle of Wight signing. Nic and I'll be at the Newport Waterstone's branch from 11am-1pm on Saturday the 25th of July. For this one, we're going to do a bit of a comic workshop alongside the signing. Anyone who's interested will be able to take a look "behind the curtain" and see how the whole process works. Should be fun. Check out the flier below for more.

Cancertown is given a spotlight feature in July's Previews. It's on page 7 of the UK section, and the order code is JUL091827. It's also been given a listing on the Forbidden Planet website, which is very cool.

One last bit of Cancertown news: I've just been informed that the book has acquired a Hollywood agent. More details on that when I can spill them...

So, it's been another busy week for my collaborators. I've got some beautiful concept sketches for The Indifference Engine coming in from Robert Carey and a metric tonne of rock-solid Slaughterman's Creed art on its way from Stephen Downey. For my part, I've just completed a treatment for a five-issue story I'm going to be pitching around pretty soon.

Catch you next week.
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