Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Markosia FTW!

Okay, as reported in a couple of other places already, The Ragged Man and The Indifference Engine have now found a new home at Markosia - joining Slaughterman's Creed and The Case Files of Harlan Falk, already in production there.

This is particularly great from my perspective as Markosia has been nothing but good luck for me since day one. In fact, after signing on for the Starship Troopers ongoing series in 2007, I've continuously had at least one book in production at the company ever since. They gave me my first ever professional printed comic gig (Mongoose Publishing's Extinction Protocol having been exclusively digital) and have always been 100% behind me and my work.

As for the future of Cancertown and its sequel, we're currently waiting for the artist, Stephen Downey, to get back from his globe-trotting expedition before we make any final decisions there. Should be something to report soon.

But yeah, pretty much on top of the world about this. My journey continues...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Adrift in the Wake...

And that, apparently, was that.

With a 186-word email, much of it copied and pasted from an earlier letter to shareholders, the most elusive man in UK indie comics popped his head up and released all sixty-odd Insomnia creators from their contracts. Obviously, everyone's waiting for the punchline on this one, but as far as anyone can tell, it's all over now bar the shouting...

...of which there has been plenty.

Now, there are several books I'm involved in that are affected by this development, and I'll post up details about those as they become available. Wheels are turning in the right direction, though, and that's good enough for now. By and large, a pretty sizeable weight has lifted and we're all crawling out from under it and blinking in the unaccustomed sunlight of a new day. New homes are being investigated for many of the orphaned properties, and basically this is all the former "Insomnia family" have been asking for over the last few months. That said, there's still a massive question in most of our minds as to why this all happened.

Now, questions are something I'm very comfortable with. I whole-heartedly embrace the timeless, classical mystery of a publisher with a year of great success suddenly going batshit insane and eating itself alive with the determination and panache of a truly talented psychopath. No, questions rarely bother me because they only develop into problems when people start offering uninformed opinions as if they were answers. There's been quite a lot of that going on recently, and that's a great shame.

Example: people have been frothing about Insomnia exaggerating sales figures, operating questionable business practices from the outset, or actively trying to sell creators' Intellectual Property to other companies. To the best of my knowledge, none of that is true. All Insomnia's titles were exclusively creator-owned (a fact that occasionally eluded even creators themselves). All the company ever had was an exclusive right to publish and negotiate for adaptations. No-one was ever in any danger of losing the rights to their books, so far as I was aware, and the one sales statement I ever received for my own work was a clear and accurate representation of actual books sold.

There's a lot more, but you get the point. This is a sad time for UK indie comics, and no amount of I-told-you-so revisionist rhetoric bullshit is going to change that. I'm happy to have my contracts released - thrilled, even - but none of that diminishes the sad fact that a once-ambitious, innovative publisher with enormous potential degenerated to the point of putting a gun to its head under circumstances that very few people have a clear picture of. I myself am not one of those people.

So, whatever behind the scenes up-fuckery went on toward the end, and there's no denying or defending any of that, I'm very much aware that I was one of the luckiest creators on Insomnia's books. I met and worked with some phenomenal people, had an unbelievable launch of my first creator-owned book (around 150 actual cash sales over one weekend), got promoted in magazines and all over the internet, participated in the world's first award-winning experiment in comics/textile art, scored several more gigs off the back of it and consistently went head-to-head with Batman: Year One, Kick Ass and the entire Marvel catalogue in the top 10 downloads on the European PSP store. It was a good year for me, right up to the moment when the wheels came off for everyone.

Thanks go out to Tim Pilcher, Jordan and all at the Comic Book Alliance for their support, advice and unwavering professionalism.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Stephen Downey Explains Himself

If I had to draw up a list of people I'd save if comics turned out to be lethally poisonous and I only had enough antidote for a handful of victims, then Stephen Downey would be high up on that list. Energetic little rascal that he is, Stephen recently had an interview with SF/horror writer, Wayne Simmons. Topics include Cancertown, Slaughterman's Creed and Stephen's new work on the official Torchwood Magazine. So, check out the interview to hear what one of the fastest rising, brightest burning new stars on the British comics scene has to say for himself.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Kickstart My Art

You know what the toughest thing about blogging is? It's coming up with an endless stream of weak puns to title your posts. It's like an eternally escalating arms race against the entire blogosphere where a single lacklustre effort or slightly-too-obscure misstep leaves you scrabbling to catch up. Nightmare.

Anyway, back on topic...

The apparent (possible/probable/alleged/who-the-fuck-knows?) collapse of Insomnia Publications has left a lot of people (over sixty, at the last count) sifting through the wreckage for answers that are, frankly, just not there. There are legal wheels grinding slowly toward getting everyone's books out of limbo, but in the meantime there are things that can be done right now. One of those things is the publication of "Survival Stories" - a collection of work originally intended for Insomnia but whose publication rights remain firmly in the hands of the creators.

So, over on Kickstarter right now, you can find an entry for the anthology with several options for grabbing a copy or otherwise supporting the project. All profits from Survival Stories will go to the Comic Book Alliance to help them in their efforts to safeguard the rights of comics creators.

Good book.

Good cause.

Good luck.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kill or Cure...

So now I find myself in the position of writing the final chapter of the final volume of Cancertown. With only a couple of dozen pages left, I'm torn between wrestling this turbulent story into a graceful landing or simply thundering it full-force into the tarmac and doing my best to leap clear of the wreck.

Obviously, the still-unclear situation with Insomnia casts a needlessly long shadow over the book's future, but while we're all playing another spirited round of Wait-and-See I guess I'll keep writing and see where it gets me.

Just got to remember to land with my knees bent. Tuck and roll...
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