Story: Butterflies and Moths (magic realism drama, graphic novel, visualised and drawn by Jennie Gyllblad)
There’s less of me chatting and more of me quietly getting on with it this week. Why? Because Insomnia has officially signed up an artist partner for my (and now, our) forthcoming graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths.
Step up and take a bow, the talented Ms Jennie Gyllblad (http://jenspiration-now.blogspot.com/). You can read the curious tale of how Jen became noticed by Insomnia Publications over at the company’s blog here.
After a short period of emails and sketch trials, which showed she immediately captured the essence, look and style of the characters, Jennie was swiftly snapped up. And then managed to turn out the better part of a dozen different sketches, layouts, tests and other pieces of artwork to get a feel for the characters and certain settings.
As you can see from the artwork on these pages, she’s a tad different from Fragile‘s also talented artist, Ariyana Vidya, but has a wonderfully eye pleasing style and such a strong command over emotion, expression and nuance that her storytelling simply shines through. There’s also a visual consistency between her version of Angel and Ariyana’s without losing that individuality of style – although the differences are given a little extra attractiveness through the beautiful colours and inks Jen effortlessly lends to her work. At the very least, the graphic novel will be lovely to look at.
Jen is fantastically quick, having produced fully painted pieces of work within a very short space of time, so expect more artwork and previews of Butterflies and Moths soon. As well as a nice little bit about what the actual story is about and how it relates to Fragile.
Catch you in a few…
It’s a sometimes scary thing, this writing business.
After having six stories published and more on the way, the feeling of mind-numbing anxiety has lessened a little, knowing that something I’ve spent days/weeks/months working on will be read and judged within mere minutes, but it’s still a strange trial to see your work on sale for, well, actual money. And learning not to instantly die inside from paranoia when you hear a sentence start with “I read your story…” and hoping everything that follows isn’t along the lines of “…and I want those minutes I wasted back, please.”
It’s a writer’s job to be slightly neurotic, after all. That, and to possess a wonderful god-complex.
Butterflies and Moths: Fragile is now out in the rather great Insomnia Publications anthology, Layer Zero: Choices, which is packed to the brim with superb short stories and amazing artwork. While there’s not been any real reviews as such, the verbal feedback I’ve heard has been good. And while I can’t trust my friends and family to be totally impartial in their opinion of my work, they’ve been honest enough to let me know if they were confused or offended by Fragile, which a couple were (the latter because of the coarse language used at the start of the story, which I explained away with enough justification for it to be acceptable. Phew. Still not sure my grandparents should read it, though).
Thankfully that’s been layered (sorry, bad pun) with generally good feedback on the story, especially in regards to Ariyana’s stunning artwork. Once again, many thanks if you’ve spent the money to buy the book – I’m very happy with the way it’s turned out.
At the same time, yes, it’s nice to hear positive things, but it’s arguably more useful to discover where I took any missteps in the narrative – a lesson especially valuable given Fragile will be followed up by my main graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths, due for release next year. I may have a larger landscape to tell my story, given that will be around 150 pages rather than just 12, but it also means a larger scope for mistakes. And as it’s my largest project (my series work aside), there’s a fair bit of pressure. Which I’ll have to get used to if I want to make a go of this full time again. But I’m excited to see the book slowly come to life, and fingers crossed you’ll see some good news about it next week, in one form or another. Oh yes, the scene curtain is ruffling…
In other news, the second issue to Magic of Myths is all but done, which means I really should get to work on writing the script for issue three – even though we’ve not got to the publishing plan stage yet. It’s a strange, if kinda nice feeling to know I’ve a talented, speedy and professional artist knocking out the artwork and having two issues complete even before we’ve gone near a publisher yet (having something to show for yourself in pitch form is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in trying to get steady series work), and I can honestly say Magic of Myths #2 is one of the most ‘complete’ feeling stories I’ve done in terms of how it’s come together and ended up. I’ve attached the first couple pages as a preview below.
(click them to enlarge)
A quick plug before I go – Insomnia Publications is gearing up for the launch of its next big book, Burke and Hare, a bio-graphic novel. The blurb sums it up best:
Over a 12 month period from 1827-1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland, two Irishmen by the names of William Burke and William Hare murdered 16 people and disposed of their bodies to the eminent dissectionist Dr Robert Knox at 10 Surgeon’s Square. Delve into the murky, misquoted history of Scotland’s most notorious serial killers with a research-based graphic novel that unwravels a ghoulish story of medicine, murder and money.
Insomnia has an interview here (http://theredeyed.blogspot.com/2009/06/burke-and-hare-under-skin.html) and it’s available to pre-order from Amazon here in the run up to its October 6th release: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Burke-Hare-Will-Pickering/dp/1905808127/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245018093&sr=1-1
It sounds like it’s well worth keeping an eye on – dismembered or no 😉
Right, that’s all for now. Next update should come with some cool news…
Isn’t it nice to come back from a great holiday and be greeted by lots of pleasant surprises? Comic book news is coming in thick and fast, so let’s jump straight into it…
* Mine and Ariyana Vidya’s short story, Butterflies and Moths: Fragile, is finished and now part of Insomnia Publications’ May 2009 comic book anthology, Layer Zero: Choices. There were a few hairy moments where the deadline seemed to be crushing our chances of being included, but some valiant late night jam sessions from Ariyana saw the project through – and the results should speak for themselves. Her artwork is truly stunning and really brings the story to life, thanks to some expertly captured emotions. In comic books, your artist is your actor, set designer, special effects artist, principle photographer and much, much more, and it’s easy to take that for granted. It’s all very well to write a script which describes your character looking distraught yet pleading a passionate argument with just her eyes, but ever tried drawing it? Ariyana’s sterling work makes it look easy when it’s anything but.
Fragile is effectively the prelude to my forthcoming graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths – you wont need to read it to understand the graphic novel’s storyline, but it’ll give you an insight to a few things, a intriguing taste of things to come as well as a nice introduction to the character who features in it.
The bitter story of morality and mortality that is Fragile will be surrounded by a vast amount of other talented tales in Layer Zero: Choices and so far the pre-orders have been wonderfully high. You can still get your order in and avoid missing the potential sell-out by either ordering with me (discounted rate for pre-orders only) and leaving a comment, ordering via Insomnia Publications directly by emailing them at their site, or by ordering directly from various online vendors such as Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Layer-Zero-Choices-Cy-Dethan/dp/190580816X?&camp=2486&linkCode=wey&tag=insomnipublic-21&creative=8874) or local comic shops in the near future.
* My very first published story, sci-fi tale Bad Luck Inc., has been reprinted in the pages of the ever-entertaining Tales from the Plex series this month. Drawn by the superb Yui Marr, it’s a curious tale that plays on the concepts of luck, determinism, fate and office working, while being a sideward’s nod to The Matrix. It was slightly misunderstood the first time it was published, which partly led me to writing a huge expose (Part one, two and three) on this site, but I’m happy to see it getting another shout at this time. Check out the previews of the most recently released issue of Tales from the Plex HERE and buy a copy HERE.
* Similarly, my first story with Ariyana, A Twilight’s Promise, should see release either next month or after in Tales from the Plex, which will be a nice build up to Fragile‘s release in May. It’s a short one page missive about… well, how unfair and short life can be, as well as offering a little meta-commentary on the life of a story that only runs one page long. You can see a little preview HERE.
* One of my secret projects rolls on at a pleasing pace – issue two of Magic of Myths has been pencilled by consummate professional and blinding talent, Sergio Calvet, which means the entire secret project is nicely on track. You’ll see more of this and hopefully some news on what exactly this project is later this year, but in the meantime take a glimpse at the raw pencils that is Magic of Myths #2.
And that’s it for now! There’ll be plenty on Fragile as we build up to Layer Zero: Choices‘ release in May, so expect the next few entries to be looking at that with previews, commentary and more, as well as general info about Insomnia Publication’s line-up and more about Tales from the Plex.
Thanks for reading, and catch you in a few…
I’ve been officially signed up to write a graphic novel. For Insomnia Publications.
This is a Very Nice Thing.
Maybe not the initial creation of the graphic novel itself – I’ve written novelettes, novellas and two half novels (one 30,000 words, the other nearly 60,000) and despite the general pleasure of writing, each one was occasionally like a cat trying to give birth to a giraffe. So the process of writing it may not be entirely nice. Nor will the subject matter of the graphic novel in question. It may have a faintly pleasant sounding name – Butterflies and Moths – but it’s a tale about a person who finds herself trapped in a very real purgatory, pinched between life and death and forced to make terrible, life-changing choices more often than a human soul should have to.
Which is kinda bleak. Hopefully also engaging, entertaining, thought provoking and slightly, ever so slightly amusing, albeit in a dark, gallows humour way. But definitely bleak.
However, being asked to write a graphic novel? Yeah, that’s nice. Kinda… amazing feeling. Incredible, even.
Butterflies and Moths has no release date yet and is still very, very early in its creation, but as time goes by I’ll detail elements of it, building to its eventual release – the artist drawing it, what it’s about and other tidbits. Just know what I’m spectacularly happy (more so when you consider the 2-year-long and difficult path it’s taken to get to this stage, which I’ll talk about at a later date) and hugely honoured to be doing it – and when it’s released, there will be cake. I promise.
In the meantime, you can get a glimpse of what to expect from Butterflies and Moths in the imminent prequel, Fragile, which will be released in Insomnia’s forthcoming anthology, Layer Zero: Choices.
Fragile is about a recently turned 18 year old girl called Angelica, thrown into making a dark, terrible decision that will change her forever. How far are you willing to go to help the person that’s most important to you? How much responsibility can one person take? And when is the choice between life and death not really a choice at all?
What would you do if you had to make that choice?
What would you do if your own mother asked you to end her life?
Butterflies and Moths: Fragile (2 page preview – click them to enlarge)
by Corey Brotherson and Ariyana Vidya
Layer Zero: Choices will be available in May for £9.99 from various online vendors and comic/book sites. You can pre-order directly from Insomnia Publications (Cheque or Paypal), pick up a discounted copy at the Bristol International Comic Expo and the Small Press Expo 2009 for a bargain of £7 OR you can pre-order a equally nicely discounted copy via me – email me or leave a message here and I’ll get in touch with the exact price. Then you can let me know how many copies you want and I’ll put in an order and send the copies to you when I get them myself. But get your order in quick or you’ll miss out on the discounts and have to buy them at regular shop prices…
May will also see the release of Insomnia’s brilliant big titles, Cages and Cancertown, the latter of which has picked up a fantastic foreword from comic book legend, Bryan Talbot. You can read more about that, those books, and the official announcement of Butterflies and Moths right here.
Thanks as always for reading, and see you again soon…
I’ll let this one speak for itself – a sneak preview of fantasy realism short story, Butterflies and Moths: Fragile (coming this summer in Insomnia Publications’ forthcoming anthology Layer Zero: Choices).
More to come…
Page one (click to enlarge)