Tuesday, 28 February 2012

London Super Comic Con: Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin

Well, now - that was just fun!

The first-ever London Super Comic Con is now in the record books, and I'm pretty sure we can chalk it down in the Win column as a score for the Good Guys. It has to be a mountain to climb organising an event on this scale, with thousands of ticket holders to satisfy and, by any credible standard, just about the biggest celebrity in the history of comics to wrangle. That it happened at all is little short of a miracle. That it came together so well puts us well into unicorns-vomiting-rainbows-made-of-crystallised-cancer-cures territory.

So yeah, on reflection, I had a pretty good time.

With no table of my own to manage and no books launching at the show, this was an extremely low-stress event for me. No-one was relying on me for anything terribly important, and no-one was expecting anything major of me in terms of my personal conduct. I actually got to walk the floors for much of the weekend, which is something I'd almost forgotten how to do over the last couple of years - and there was a capital-H Hell of a lot to see. I spent a fair bit of time hopping between the tables of Stephen Downey, Barry Nugent and Dan Thompson/Steve Penfold. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere, and getting plenty of interest from the convention-goers.

Barry, in particular, deserves special mention here, repeating his well established convention trick of selling out his entire supply of books long before the end of the show. Fortunately, UKComics' awesome Stuart Gould was a blur of hyperactivity throughout the weekend, restocking Barry and generally networking the Hell out of the gig. Everyone Stuart works with sings his praises, and watching him work it's easy to see why.

I was glad to be able to spend some time chatting with Nick and Jane from the excellent Monkey on my Back podcast. I always find it a weird experience to meet in person people to whose disembodied voices I've become accustomed - and it's a proven scientific fact that weird experiences are the only ones worth actively seeking out - so it was deeply cool to put faces to those voices at last. I should also mention that their faces suit them rather well.

I was booked for two one-hour signing slots with Stephen Downey over the weekend, which gave me an excuse both to sit down and to stay close to Nic, who was staffing the Markosia booth throughout the show. I was amazed to see the level of interest that our Cancertown book (a first professional graphic novel for both of us) was still capable of generating - competing well with newer books and ending up as one of Markosia's top sellers of the show. I took every opportunity to mention the upcoming sequel, and show off its colourist, Peter Mason.

I had White Knuckle previews to flash around, and had to keep reminding myself to mention the pre-order offers currently running for the book (email me to be added to the list) . Stephen was also selling sketches for a tenner a pop and going great guns with those. His rendition of Black Cat seemed to be a particular crowd-pleaser. I should really learn to draw...

Speaking of upcoming books, Nic Wilkinson, Yel Zamor and I officially signed our contracts for Phantom Lung & the Garden of Dead Liars on the Saturday. All we need now is the autograph of artist, Simon Wyatt, for the full set. The scripts for this book are complete, so it's all down to the art and lettering team now.

Finally (more or less), after making first enquiries at Thought Bubble last year, I took the plunge and secured the services of an agent. What exactly this will mean in terms of the kinds of work I'll be taking on in the future remains to be seen, but it feels like an important step.

So, that was my London Super Comic Con experience in 700 words or less. I had a terrific time, and got to meet a load of creators I'd been hoping to for ages (Andy Briggs and Magnus Aspli spring to mind). Can't wait to see what they come up with for next year...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

That New Convention Smell

As of this writing, we're three days out from the brand-new London Super Comic Con and I'm starting to feel the ground rumble under my feet at its approach. From the looks of things, this'll be the largest dedicated comic show I've ever attended, and the only one this year where I'll be actually able to walk the floors for much of the time. I've sort of shifted into sitting behind my own table at conventions these days, and it alters the whole experience.

I'll be doing my signing duties on the Markosia stand, of course, and flashing around White Knuckle previews at the slightest provocation (where provocation is understood to mean "approaching within fifteen feet of me"). Moreover, I'm looking forward to catching up with guys like Stephen Downey and Graeme Howard, and maybe even catching a panel or two.

By all accounts, the show's going to be legendary. The guest list alone is stunning, so it's going to be fascinating seeing what impact it has on the increasingly vibrant and diverse UK comic con scene.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Tales of the Forgotten – Work Starts on Cy Dethan’s ‘The Immaculate Abortion of Dina Leigh’

Stolen shamelessly and without remorse from Barry Nugent's Unseen Shadows website:

Originally posted by Barry Nugent

Despite my dictator-like behaviour towards the Tales of the Fallen creative team last year they seem to be up for more punishment as the majority of teams will be staying on to create more stories within the Unseen Shadows in 2012/2013. First up will be a series of one shots to be released throughout 2012. The plan will be to release these titles in a digital format and then collect them all in a printed format to be published towards the end of 2012. This will hopefully coincide with ‘Forgotten Warriors’ the sequel to Fallen Heroes, which I hope will be out this year *crosses fingers* – this second anthology will be called Tales of the Forgotten.

I’ll will be giving more details on the new projects in the weeks to come but I wanted to announce this title first as Cy Dethan was the first person to join the Tales of the Fallen project so he is now my official good luck charm!

Cy Dethan, in case you don’t know, is the writer behind the brilliant Cancertown, The Indifference engine, Slaughterman’s Creed , the upcoming White Knuckle and more. In terms of his work with Tales of the Fallen, Cy wrote The Reverend one shot, Wrath of God.

Also on the project are Nic Wilkinson (letterer) and taking up the art duties will be Valia Kapadai, who first dipped her toe in the Unseen Shadows by providing the fantastic cover for Fragments of Fate. I’ve been a great fan of Valia’s art for a while now so looking forward to seeing her bring her unique style to the project. Valia is currently working with Cy and Nic on White Knuckle.

During his ten-year career at the Enquirer, Bob Kelsey had developed a knack for uncovering great stories with very little information to go on. His wife, Fran, preferred to describe his gift as being ‘the right bastard in the wrong place.’ – taken from Fallen Heroes

For Cy’s second project he has picked a far lesser known character to those of you who have read Fallen Heroes. Bob Kelsey was a character who I used as a means to introduce Napoleon Stone and Vincent Marconi into the book. Although I had fun writing such a weasel, Bob was always meant to be a very minor character. However, after hearing Cy’s ideas for Kelsey it’s safe to say all that is about to change. I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say that fans of the old TV show ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’ starring Darren McGavin (no not the crappy modern reboot) will feel right at home with Cy’s story.

The Immaculate Abortion of Dina Leigh

The Truth makes liars of us all. The Truth will kill you, or get you killed. It’ll steal your marriage and your daughter’s love. The Truth will get you shot and left for dead in the desert…

So when a woman tells you she woke up in a bathtub full of blood and ice with stitches in her belly that she can’t explain, you’ll know it’s the Truth because nothing else smells or feels or hurts that bad – and you’ll fall for it all over again, even though you know you were lucky before and it’ll burn you even worse this time.

This, then, is the story of The Immaculate Abortion of Dina Leigh – and I’m daring you to call me a liar…

And now I’ll pass the torch over to Cy to explain why he choose this particular character.

When Barry floated the idea of taking a run at another Fallen Heroes character, the one that came immediately to mind was the reporter, Bob Kelsey. As I’ve said elsewhere, one of Barry’s key assets as a storyteller lies in his crafting of minor characters into little polished gems. After the thundering powerhouse of biblical vengeance he presented us with in The Reverend, I loved the idea of seeing the Unseen Shadow-world through the eyes of someone fighting to survive at the opposite end of the food chain. Bob Kelsey is an everyman in a world populated with monsters and heroes. To survive in those hunting grounds takes the self-preservation instincts of a feral rat. That’s what Bob Kelsey is to me.

We’re still sorting out timings and a release date for the The Immaculate Abortion of Dina Leigh but as soon as we have an idea you lot will be first to know, so keep an eye on the blog.
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