Thursday, 18 November 2010

Unbelievable News: The Beast of Bryn Boncath Rehomed

A great piece of news this week. Unbelievable: The Man Who Ate Daffodils by Simon Wyatt (lettered by me, Nic Wilkinson) has been signed up by Markosia for a 2011 release.

Unbelievable: (Adjective: Not to be believed: inconceivable, incredible, unimaginable, unthinkable. Idioms: beyond belief, contrary to all reason).

The remote mining village of Bryn Boncath has its share of stories, of local legends, of half believed histories. It is a close knit community, with closely guarded secrets. It is home to the orphaned Ben Ellis and his grandfather, Emrys, and it has become the scene of a series of bizarre and mysterious deaths.

A new neighbour has moved in. A man long thought dead has returned. Livestock are missing. There are noises in the night. People are afraid to go into out after dark and sightings of a giant hound, or maybe a big cat are on the increase once again.

Suddenly it seems to Ben that what he took to be the tall tales of his grandfather may be more than just stories. It seems that something is stirring in the forests and the mountains around Bryn Boncath. It seems that ancient history is repeating and this time round Ben has an important part to play.

Unbelievable is a dark masterpiece that weaves strands of Welsh legend, modern murder mystery and horror with a dash of crytozoology that wonders: What if seeing isn’t always believing, but believing will allow you to see?

As for how I got involved, well, this is what I said when I was asked that question for the book...

My Unbelievable Adventure

Folk always tell you not to stray from the path, don’t they? Although they never quite tell you why, and they never quite tell you when, or what will happen if you do, and I’m not entirely certain I know where the path starts, anyway.

Anyone would think they did it on purpose. Anyone would think they wanted you off that path, quick as you like, over the streams and under the hills and deeper and deeper into the forest.

As I sit, tangled in a heap of letters, with a large black dog at my feet it seems that I’ve been here all along. Was there another world I once belonged to? Let me see if I can retrace the steps of the dance.

I remember being warned that, should I chance to meet any creatures of worlds not our own, I must not eat their food, that I must not accept their gifts, but no one ever told me that I should not read their books.

One of the first books I can remember choosing, and then reading for myself, was a ladybird book called Legends of King Arthur: The Mysteries of Merlin. It was a hardback, filled with glorious pictures of swords of horses, of brave men and faery women, and stirring in some old dark way I couldn’t fully understand. That was that, then. I turned the page. The rune was cast. The trap was sprung.

The years wound on and my passion for northern mythology and folklore and the matter of Britain grew with me. So, really, you’d think I’d have been more wary, when on a day close to midsummer I thought I heard a distant howling, and glimpsing a black shape slipping away just on the edge of vision, I wandered from the safe and well signed path through the web. When I finally hurtled to a stop and looked around me the gods and heroes of the island of the mighty strode from the page before my eyes. Who had called them all to this place?

As sure as if 3 hot drops from a cauldron had landed on my thumb I understood everything at once. I had to be involved with this Unbelievable piece of work with its strong, sleek, powerful art and its playful, dangerous echoes of the very oldest tales.

I followed that black dog, and in the end he brought me to the great Welsh Dragon. Well, to Simon Wyatt, as you may know him, but how I tricked my way inside the book is a tale for another time.

Like all the best stories there were times when all seemed lost, the way was full of twists and turns, triumphs and setbacks, but we made it here, somewhat changed, in the end.

The black dog is in my house now.

There is no escaping him.

I wouldn’t even try.

Visit Simon Wyatt's blog for more art and updates as the launch approaches.

Keep a look out for news in the near future of some projects involving Cy and Si - and most likely me!

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