Tuesday, 29 March 2011

"Hooked Like a Slab of Meat..."

Recently, I was contacted by a horror journalist who was looking to put together an article on Slaughterman's Creed. A number of very cool things have started to happen as a result of that, and I'll be going through some of those in more detail in future blog posts.

One of the more immediate upshots was that noted comics polymath David Hine agreed to read the book and give his thoughts on it. David Hine, of course, has an incredible list of credits as both writer and artist, spanning around thirty years and including everything from creator-owned indie books to the biggest titles and companies in the business. This is a man who's done it all and keeps on going. So, with his permission, here's what he had to say about the first chapter alone:

"I've had a read of Slaughterman's Creed and enjoyed it very much. It sits very well with the tradition of British gangster movies from 'Brighton Rock' through 'Get Carter' and 'The Long Good Friday' to 'Lock, Stock'. And there's a nod to 'No Country for Old Men' too. It's not the first time the image of the slaughterman has been used to show human beings brutalized and butchered like meat, but the metaphor is extended here to reflect the way human trafficking reduces human beings to cattle. The lead character is unusually enigmatic. In spite of his trade, he operates within a strict code of ethics and it's not obvious which way that will lead him in future episodes. There are some nice twists here and the promise of more to come. It has me hooked like a slab of meat. "

So, y'know, I'm a bit happy about that...

In other news, as reported on the iFanboy site, Markosia seems to be having a bit of a mad moment. With what senior analysts are calling a "crap-tonne" of their books suddenly becoming available on Graphic.ly, they've decided to mark the occasion by offering anyone who buys just one of their books in that format the chance to win all of them. Full details are listed on iFanboy, so it might be worth checking that out before someone comes to their senses...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

"A World Where We Can't Share Stories"

Okay, now this really fucks me off.

For a while now, I've been keeping tabs on an upcoming indie book called The Society for the Remarkable Suicide - not least because my Indifference Engine (and - say it in whispers, guys - maybe even Indifference Engine 2) collaborator, Rob Carey, is working on it. It's got a strong creative team, a fascinating premise and all the ingredients for a book that I want to fucking read.

Thing is, there seem to be a couple of ignorant piss-bags out there who are prepared to go to quite extraordinary lengths to prevent that from happening. I can already tell that I'm going to lose my rationality if I let this rant build any further, so I'll do the responsible thing and let the book's author, Stephen Coffey walk you through the clusterhump of ignorance, cowardice and spite that has been levelled against it.

The Society for the Remarkable Suicide
by Stephen Paul Coffey
Art by Cormac Hughes and Robert Carey

Here are the FACTS about the story:

Three years ago, I wrote the script for this graphic novel. I wanted to write a story that started a conversation - after all, a conversation can help so many of the problems we have in our personal lives.

When I first told the people in my life the title of the book I was going to write, I got a few strange looks. More than usual, but I expected that. I expected a lot of the hostility that I have faced since finishing the script. I know that everyone knows someone directly who has been touched by suicide. I know too many who have left by their own hands. When I finished the script for the graphic novel I let people read it - some artist friends, a few other writers and some friends - and the same response to the story came from each one of them.

‘It wasn’t what I expected!’

I think it was due to the fact that people expected a tale of disgusting suicidal acts that would just be done to shock the reader. I wouldn’t have written that book.

The Society for the Remarkable Suicide is a book about love. Yes, there are suicides in the book that are ‘Remarkable’ yet they are told with as much dignity as I could manage to fit in. The story is a very human tale about the feelings that people have, and stigma surrounding the feelings that each human on this planet feels at one point in their life.

Trevor and Catherine are the main characters of the book and we follow them through a process where they join the Society and, through the planning of their own suicides, they come to find a reason to live. That reason is each other, a reason that neither of them thought that they would find. That is the whole essence of the book. We don’t know what it is that will make us want to live - that special someone coming into our lives, a pet, a book, even the promise of a well cooked meal.

When our two heroes declare their intent to live, the Society tries to intervene and fulfil their contracts by any means.

Since writing the book and talking to people, it has been a mixed bag from people saying they can’t wait to read the book to others who openly say that they won’t buy the book, and I respect them for saying that to me. There have also been some threats. People have read the title of the book and made their minds up. Also, there have been a few people who believed that this book is just a manual on how to kill yourself. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Life is worth every piece of heartache and pain we go through. Every moment of love, no matter how brief or fleeting it may be, wipes all that pain away. Trevor and Catherine find their reason to live while planning their deaths. This book is about love and hope, redemption and enlightenment. I guess I wanted to share a story of hope that I had not seen anywhere else. I think I have.

Facebook have shut down both my own fan page and the page for the book - without reading one word of the script - and stopped me sharing and friends posting on my walls because of this book. I’ve also received a number of threats from people to my face, and have had pictures sent to my email of me walking around Dublin. I assume that this is to show that they can get to me.

I don’t fear sharing a story with the world, I fear a world where we can’t share stories.

If you or anyone you know would like more information about this book, you can follow me on www.twitter.com/stephencoffey or www.myspace.com/chrestfelt

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Podcast Round-Up

So here's the thing. Over the last two years I've been forced to become accustomed to listening to the sound of my own voice. Between podcast interviews and audio commentaries for Cancertown and Slaughterman's Creed, there's actually a surprising (even hazardous) amount of my voice out there. As it happens, a couple of fresh examples have cropped up recently.

On the 2nd of March, I was a guest on the Comic Book Outsiders podcast, where I had the opportunity to talk about Slaughterman's Creed and a few other projects. This was my second time on the show, and I had a great time. You can find the episode on the CBO website.

After that, I horned in briefly on Wayne Hall's new show, Wayne's Comics. I first met Wayne through the SFP-Now site and, in addition to having probably the coolest voice in comics journalism, he's got a strong interest in both the classic and more out-there branches of the industry. I got to talk about that upcoming Fallen Heroes one-shot, spinning off from Barry Nugent's adventure novel, and to give my early thoughts on Dwight L. MacPherson's Indie Comic Alliance initiative - which is something I'll probably be raving on about here very soon. Anyway, you can find the episode over on the SFP-Now site if you fancy a listen.

Slaughterman's Creed got a blazing review on the outstanding Comic Cast show, as a very excited Stephen Downey reported to me yesterday. I can honestly say that this was the first time a review of one of my books has actually had me laughing out loud. All reviewers should explode their way through reviews with this level of energy! Check the episode out on their site.

In fact, their insightful guess at what "Cy" is short for has me chuckling too much to concentrate on typing, so I'll just leave it there...

Friday, 11 March 2011

Stop the Press!

Seeing as we're balls-deep in press release season at the moment, here are a couple of good ones - the first regarding Michael Moreci and Monty Borror's hard-hitting zombie allegory, Quarantined. I recently had the chance to read this book, and was startled by its originality. Got to love a zombie story that strikes out in its own direction:

Quarantined Sets Loose

For immediate release:

“Paranoid and political: At last, a zombie book with its sights set higher than just cannibalising the genre. Horror fiction with real teeth.” –Cy Dethan, Cancertown, Slaughterman’s Creed

Markosia Enterprises continues its strong tradition of thought-provoking horror with its latest release, Quarantined. Reminiscent of films such as The Thing and Dawn of the Dead, Quarantined takes readers on horrific journey through a politically charged landscape. Centering on a group of survivors trapped in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula after a virus turns nearly every resident into a vicious killing machine, Quarantined examines the fragile bonds of society, and what happens when those bonds are severed.

Quarantined is written by Michael Moreci (Image’s Hoax Hunters) with art from Monty Borror, colors from Lauren Anne Sharp, letters from Jim Campbell, and covers from Keith Burns (Highland Laddie, The Boys).

“Michael Moreci knows that the living are the scary part of the zombie tale. He knows what evil lurks in the heart of those facing inevitable death…. You’ll get
a great, terrifying tale.” Tim Seeley, Hack/Slash (from his introduction)

Quarantined can be ordered through the March edition of Previews. Find it on page 220, order code MAR 11 0810.

The characters in Quarantined, led by Henry Foreman, are forced to fight against the mayhem caused by the infected, as well as their growing paranoia of each other. After confronting a mysterious stranger, the survivors dig into the town’s secrets as they hatch their escape—yet none of them are prepared for what they discover.

“Zombie fans watch out, because Moreci and Borror are here! Full of Gore-Geous scenes and a story to die for Quarantined needs to be on your shelf next to The Walking Dead and Deadworld." - Decapitated Dan Royer, ComicRelated.com.

You can read a 9-page preview here:

http://www.myebook.com/index.php?option=ebook&id=69366

Quarantined will also be available for digital download on the Sony PSP network, Comixology, and Graphic.ly.

Cover art, preview pages, sketches, and any other information can be obtained by contacting Michael Moreci at Michael.Moreci@gmail.com. If you are a retailer and would like promotional materials or to book an event at your store, please contact Harry Markos at harry@markosia.com.


To follow that up, here's the release for Marx Pyle's intriguing web-series, Reality on Demand. I've been impressed with the way this has been developing since Ian Cullen of the SFP-Now podcast first mentioned it to me. Definitely worth keeping an eye on this one.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

'Reality On Demand' Announces Cast, Moves Into Production
New Series Selects Cast And Begins Filming Season One


LINKS:
Production Website: http://AlienJungleBug.com
Cast Announcement Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8TAfALWjSQ
First Teaser Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l--qBnTkBEs&hd=1

Evansville, IN – The fast growing collection of online original series and movies is about to grow a little more with the addition of a new series filming in the Midwest. The new science fiction web series REALITY ON DEMAND has announced its cast and released a short video introducing the world to some of the cast. A mix of experienced actors with relative unknowns will help bring to life this new independent TV series that follows four strangers trapped in an advanced virtual reality game world composed of their favourite TV shows and movies.

“We are proud to announce the talented cast we've selected. Some may be familiar to those who follow indie filmmaking in Indiana and Kentucky, but soon the whole world will get to know these talented actors and the characters they portray,” said series creator Marx Hernandez Pyle.

Reality On Demand follows four strangers who playtest a highly advanced virtual reality game that puts them into their favourite TV shows and movies. But when they become trapped, a fun adventure takes a dangerous turn where cancellation means death. Pyle first announced the series on his popular column, The IndieNet and Beyond on the website ScifiPulse.

“Reality On Demand has action, laughs, special effects, and zombies. And everyone knows you can't have a web series without zombies,” said Pyle tongue-in-cheek. “But if there is one thing I've learned with all of my interviews with web series creators is that you have to have a talented cast to bring a good script to life. I'm very happy with the talent we've found.”

Julie Hernandez Seaton (Daylight) stars as Courtney Thompson, a struggling writer with a secret. Seth Cheek (Silence of the Belle, Bloomington) stars as Nick Jacobs, an uber-geek computer programmer that is obsessed with TV and movies. Kathlin Finn (Reality) stars as Kelli Hartz, a wannabe celebrity that is looking for her big break. And Aric Dylon Stanish (Silence of the Belle) stars as Trevor Clay, a marine veteran that is focused on winning.

Experienced actor Christopher P. Tyner stars as the Reality On Demand host, Aiden Kingston. Indianapolis actor and filmmaker Jim Dougherty (Leach, Fire From Below) stars as Robby, a TV character that's a monster hunter who helps the trapped playtesters. And actor Louie Lawless, who has acted in over 100 films, stars as the villain Pastor Jim.
Actors Grant Niezgodski, Benjamin Crockett, Sidney Shripka, and many others portray fictional characters in the game. Many will recognize the characters that inspired them.

“We have nods to many shows in the series. I don't want to give away too much, but if you are a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural then you'll want to check out season one. But there are nods to many more shows than just those two,” hinted Pyle. “I've been interviewing web series creators since 2007 and have seen the amazing growth in what many call independent television. I'm excited to finally develop one.”

Vancouver Film School graduate Marx Pyle has also gathered together talent for behind the camera with graduates from New York Film Academy, Full Sail University, Ivy Tech and University of Evansville. Pyle said they plan to have the web series online mid- to late 2011.

Alien Jungle Bug Productions, LLC was founded by Marx H. Pyle in 2010 to create the short film SILENCE OF THE BELLE. Alien Jungle Bug is all about thinking outside the box, with high quality imaginative projects often made on a limited budget. We are not limited by any genre or medium of storytelling, be it feature film, short film, documentary, or web series.

Marx H. Pyle: After attaining degrees in Psychology and Computer Information Systems, Marx decided to pursue a dream he had since childhood - filmmaking. Leaving his home in Evansville, Indiana, Marx went to Vancouver Film School in Vancouver, British Columbia to study film production.

In Vancouver he worked on a wide range of projects, including short films, independent feature length films, documentaries, reality television and commercials. He also studied another hobby of his outside of school – fight choreography, which naturally arose out of his interest and background in martial arts. Missing home he returned to the Tri-State, where he has worked as a freelancer in various film projects and wrote/directed Silence of the Belle.

While in Vancouver, Marx interviewed Damien Kindler about the then web series, Sanctuary. Kindler's excitement of the future of web series inspired Marx to go home that evening and write outlines for three pilots meant to be web series. Reality On Demand is one of those three.

###

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call 812-774-7587 or email alienjunglebug@gmail.com

Friday, 4 March 2011

Take a Butcher’s at Slaughterman’s Creed in May 2011


For Immediate Release:

Markosia Enterprises are proud to present their new graphic novel, Slaughterman’s Creed - a surreal London gangland thriller which combines the vicious intensity of British crime fiction with the structure and spirit of a Samurai revenge drama in a nightmarishly compelling urban fantasy.

The book re-unites writer Cy Dethan with artist Stephen Downey, the creators of the 2009 indie hit, Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth. Set in a world where an ethical knife-edge is all that separates hero from villain, the story combines a strong British crime aesthetic with mythological overtones and a distinctive noir edge.

Slaughterman’s Creed Can be ordered through the March edition of Diamond Previews in the usual way using order code MAR11 0811.

Laurence “The Punisher” Campbell recently wrote in his foreword to the trade paperback: “What you will find is a nasty, dark tale which cuts into the underbelly of gangland London. Think The Long Good Friday meets No Country For Old Men.”

This man drew The Punisher! He knows “nasty and dark” when he sees it. He goes on to say, “Cy Dethan pushes the boundaries. No, not pushes them - casually disregards them and walks right over them.”

So, it’s not a book for the squeamish.

Read a free 12-page preview of Slaughterman's Creed.

Solicit Text

“Thine is the task of blood.
Discharge thy task with mercy.
Let thy victim feel no pain.
Let sudden blow bring death;
Such death as thou thyself would ask for.”

The Slaughterman’s Creed

“Sidney is a professional killer working for Big Lenny Addison, a London ganglord specialising in human trafficking. He is almost completely uneducated except in his family’s trade at which he is an unparalleled expert.
“When he is called upon to breach his code and bring a pregnant woman to slaughter, Sidney's world is changed forever. Betrayed by those he has served his whole life, the Slaughterman embarks on a bloody vendetta - determined to put Addison's entire monstrous empire to the blade.“


Carving A Name

Slaughterman’s Creed, described by writer Cy Dethan as “a story of the fall and rise of monsters” is already carving a name a name for itself on the independent comic scene.

"My plan was to take my time and read Slaughterman’s Creed over a few days, but pretty much by page five I was in for the long haul and ended up reading the whole thing in a single sitting. Cy has a way of leading the reader by the hand and letting them think they know exactly where the plot is going, and then the next thing you know he’s kicked you down the stairs, leaving you battered, bruised and with no idea where the tale will lead you next.
"Slaughterman’s Creed is a bloody gourmet, serving the reader a mixed platter of gangland politics, murder, betrayal and revenge with a large side order of body parts. It’s a tale that is dripping with great writing and art. Digest it today,"
said Barry Nugent of The Geek Syndicate.

The book gave Wayne Hall of Sci-Fi Pulse a case of the night terrors - although, strangely, he seems to have enjoyed them. He said: "If Mr. Dethan keeps delivering this kind of novel perspective on the world, I’ll have trouble sleeping at night. Yikes! But I was gripped from the first page, so please keep it up!"

“This is old school – dark story telling. This is the London gangster scene without the rose-tinted glasses. Brutal and grim,” said Michael J Nimmo on the digital comics review site 3 Million Years.

“One of the things I liked about this book was that there are no good guys in it at all. Everyone in this book could be the sole bad guy in another story,” said Richard McAuliffe of Everything Comes Back to 2000AD. “Cy Dethan’s writing is very tight and the book has a real British cinema feel to it... this is a book screaming to be made into a hard 18 certificate movie. If you like gritty underworld stories with a seriously dark edge you’ll really enjoy this book. I did.”

To wrap up the whole bloody package, here’s a final word of persuasion from Rich Clements of the Hi Ex Blog:
"So, all in all, I’d say this book is a bit of a triumph for all involved. With a strong narrative, well realised and rounded characters, strong visuals and a wonderful seam of oh-so-black humour, this deserves to be a hit for all involved. And not turning it into a movie would be nothing short of a travesty."

Notes for Retailers
Markosia would like to help retailers in any way possible please contact Harry Markos, publisher, at harry@markosia.com for posters, flyers, shelf hangers or to discuss the possibility of an event at your store.

For further retailer information, offers and support, contact Markosia through the Retailers section of their website.

Notes for Editors:

Writer: Cy Dethan
Pencils & colours chapters 1-2: Stephen Downey
Inks: Andy Brown
Colours: Vicky Stonebridge
Letters: Nic Wilkinson
Cover: Ryan Brown
Foreword: Laurence Campbell

Cover, logo, character sketches and more can be found at www.slaughtermanscreed.com. These images may be used in reviews.

Slaughtermans Creed is published by Markosia Enterprises and will launch on May 14th at the Bristol Comic and Small Press Expo, as part of the Markosia Madness event, which will include signing, sketching and facepainting. A limited signed edition, costing £10 (RRP Price £12.99), is available to pre-order, which also includes entry into a draw to win a piece of original art by Stephen Downey and Vicky Stonebridge.

Pre-order details can be found at Cy Dethan’s blog: http://theraggedman.blogspot.com/2011/01/slaughtermans-creed-convention-edition.html

Slaughterman’s Creed is also available digitally on the Sony Playstation Network with audio commentary by Cy Dethan, and will be available on Comixology and Graphic.ly, with other formats to follow.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Following the Creed...

With Slaughterman's Creed #1 hitting the Sony PlayStation Network tomorrow, I find myself still having a hard time believing it's all actually happening.

The past few years have been pretty much a blur for me. From Starship Troopers to Cancertown, The Indifference Engine and now Slaughterman's Creed I've been consistently staggered by the experience of working in comics. In terms of the people I've met and the opportunities I've been given, I can honestly say it's been everything I could have hoped for and a lot more than I had any right to expect.

I'm still very much at the stage where I'm confronted with "firsts" at every turn. Slaughterman's Creed, for example, was the first project I ever pitched in person (at full volume in the dining area off the main hall of a busy convention), and represented a first opportunity to work with the fantastic team of Vicky Stonebridge and Andy Brown on colours and inks. It's my first straight-up crime book, albeit with a strong horror aesthetic threaded through it. The experience of writing it and watching it come together was every bit as exhilarating as it had been on my earliest gigs. In fact, I think if I ever lost that sensation of taking first steps at every turn I'd probably jack the whole thing in and go back to whatever the Hell it was I was doing with my time before.

So, yeah - Slaughterman's Creed #1 goes up on the PSP download store on the 2nd of March, with an audio commentary from me. Sony, Markosia and the whole creative team have gone well beyond the call in getting this book out there, and I'm really excited about the launch.

Of course, I've still got the release of the trade paperback edition in May to look forward to - which will be the first time I've actually had a table at a convention dedicated entirely to a book I've worked on.

Every step takes me somewhere I've never been before - and that's really what comics are all about for me.
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