Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Checking the Pulse

Got another interview coming up on Ian Cullen's SciFi Pulse radio show - this time with my Starship Troopers / Ragged Man co-conspirators, Neil Van Antwerpen and Peter-David Douglas. I'm particularly looking forward to this one, as it'll be the first opportunity I've had to speak to the guys directly (what with them being tucked away in South Africa and all). The episode's being recorded this weekend, so I'll post up the details when I get hold of them.

One thing I've noticed from my adventures in the industry so far is that really talented comic artists almost never seem to know how good they are. So, as a tribute to Neil - one of the most humble, most breathtakingly talented people I've ever worked with, here are a few excerpts from his recent work on Ragged Man. Dig in and enjoy...

Friday, 19 March 2010

Cancertown Residents Escape!

I really wasn't sure what to say when I first spotted this over on Simon Wyatt's blog. I mean, I was almost literally speechless. The man's a genuinely talented artist, with an upcoming book from Insomnia as testament to that fact, but it turns out he's one of those polymath types who's just as skilled in other media. I sometimes think that people like Simon exist solely so I can reflect on how little I've accomplished in my own life...

Anyway, the point is that he's taken his latest inspiration from Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth, and is now working on some truly staggering sculptures of Crosshair and a Badmouth. Check out his first in-progress shots below:

Between this and Ferret's dangerously ambitious and thoroughly beautiful Bad Rain quilt, I have to say I'm really excited to see the book so well and truly "out there" in the artistic community. Much as I'd love to take more credit than I'm due, it's clearly Stephen Downey's transformation of my written character descriptions that's primarily to blame for these cross-media manifestations. That said, if there's any glory to be had, I'll gladly bask in it until Stephen shows up.

As for me, I'm already balls-deep in the sequel and having the time of my life.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

In Like Flint

This is something intriguing and new for me. I've been approached by Insomnia Publications to work with the awesome Henry Flint on his upcoming art book for the company. I've been a freelance copywriter since forever, so this is pretty much my wheelhouse, but this is the first time in a while that I've had the opportunity to use my powers for good.

Henry Flint, for the benefit of any non-comics readers, is responsible for some truly staggering artwork. He has amassed credits in books from Vertigo, Wildstorm and Dark Horse - to say nothing of his truly epic body of 2000AD work. My job in all this will be to provide the text to go with the images, exploring the process from inspiration to final expression and doing my best to understand how a man with things like the image below in his head can somehow still function in an essentially rational world:

Watch this space for more announcements about Outsider Broadcast: The TV Doodles of Henry Flint. God, I fucking love my job!

Friday, 12 March 2010

The Question

Every month or so I get a cluster of emails (and they do seem to bunch up and all arrive within a couple of days of each other) asking about Starship Troopers, and every time I do I'm reminded of Tom Wilson. Tom is the actor, comedian and musician best known for his portrayal of Biff Tannen (and related characters) in the Back to the Future Trilogy. He gets so many questions about the series that he incorporated them into his stand-up act as a time-saving measure. Observe:

Inspired by his example, here's a brief consolidation of answers to the questions that keep cropping up in my own humble inbox:

1) How did you land the gig?
Answer: Blind luck and ignorance. See my early blog posts for a more thorough run-down.

2) Can you get me a run on the title?
: Sorry, that's so completely out of my hands that I don't even know where to start.

3) What happened to the series?
Mongoose Publishing stopped producing the games the comic was grounded in and so the licence expired.

4) Any chance of a Bad Blood trade?
None whatsoever, as I understand it. Breaks my heart.

5) How many scripts did you write in all?
I had the book scripted up to issue #21 at the time the licence ended. That's two more four-part story arcs ("Fool's Errand" and "My Time in Hell") plus two more one-shots ("War Stories: Brasier" and "War Stories: Burgess"). If you're interested, hit me up at a convention some time and I'll spoilerise the tits off them for you.

6) Any regrets?
For myself? Not a single one. Every script I ever turned in for that book, whether it saw print or not, was invaluable experience and a hell of a lot of fun to write. Of course, the other side to that is there was a LOT of art turned in for Fool's Errand by the very talented Diego Simone before the series terminated, and for that to go to waste was an incredible shame.

That pretty much covers it, I think. For those who read the book during my run - thanks, I hope you enjoyed it. If the chance ever arose again, I'd leap at it.


Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Taking a Butcher's...

I've been biting my lip trying to hold these back for a little while now, but I absolutely have to post a few of the outstanding pages Stephen Downey's been turning in for Slaughterman's Creed. Stephen's one of the most energetic and enthusiastic artists I've met and, even considering the height of the bar he set for himself on Cancertown, he's been tearing into Creed with the intensity of a frenzied dog and the results have been astonishing. Take a look:

These pages come from the latter half of the story, which is where the real brutality kicks off. From the looks of things, Stephen's nailing it.

Speaking of Stephen, I see he's also participating in the multi-creator talesofthe.com project, which he describes as "an online weekly blog-style anthology incorporating all types of creative media and a platform for N.Ireland creators to showcase film, artwork, prose, audio and just about any other type of creative endeavour you can think of."

The site launches on April the 4th, and looks like it'll be something worth checking out.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Indifferent Strokes

So, as just announced on the Insomnia Blog, there's a 14-page preview of my next book, The Indifference Engine, up on myebook.com. Here it is:

Myebook - The Indifference Engine - click here to open my ebook

Also worthy of note is the interview Insomnia has just published with Rob Carey, my co-creator on the book. Rob is one of the fastest artists I've ever worked with, due in part (but only in part) to his willingness to work from 4am pretty much every morning. In addition, he has a real skill at characterisation - something that's absolutely critical to a book like this.

As for The Indifference Engine itself, as my first full-length creator-owned project since Cancertown, I wanted to try something rather different. It has kind of an overtly sci-fi burn to it, but it's fundamentally a story about a man finding his identity - more specifically, finding a whole bunch of his identities running a reality-hopping armed response task force. I was very lucky to have been teamed up with Rob on this, and Mel Cook's expert sense of colour balance proved indispensable in building the book's atmosphere and expressing its themes. You'll see what I mean about that as the story unfolds, but suffice it to say that The Indifference Engine genuinely needed a colourist of Mel's calibre.

Work on the book is building to a crescendo as we speak, so by all means watch out for it later this year. More details to follow...

Quick detour into Cancertown territory - I've finished up a draft of the first chapter, and I'm pretty happy with it. If the first volume, as described by John Freeman in his review, was "a rip-roaring mindf***", then the follow-up's going to require at least another five asterisks to do it justice. Be warned...
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