Story: Butterflies and Moths (magic realism drama, graphic novel, visualised and drawn by Jennie Gyllblad)
The Sleepless Phoenix: Survival Stories anthology has launched at the British International Comic Show (BICS) today, featuring stories from the likes of Martin Conaghan (Burke & Hare), Ben Bates (Sonic the Hedgehog), Jim Boswell (KiCk!), Peter Forbes (Oz: Fall of the Scarecrow King), and more, as well as including horror short The Twilight Cleaner by myself and artist James Daniels. You can check out the previews right here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/910305588/the-sleepless-phoenix-comics-anthology/posts and a preview of The Twilight Cleaner below:
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You can buy Survival Stories at BICS or by dropping me an email or leaving me a comment. Thanks for all your support!
So, we’re launching a new book in a few days.
I’ve mentioned this before, but perhaps haven’t mentioned it quite enough. The Sleepless Phoenix: Survival Stories anthology will be launching at the British International Comic Show (BICS) this Saturday 16th October, playing host to a massive array of talent. You can read all the backstory at the site, but the most important thing is that Survival Stories is going to come swinging out of the gates with 192 pages of tales from all kinds of genres and styles, from the likes of Martin Conaghan (Burke & Hare), Ben Bates (Sonic the Hedgehog), Jim Boswell (KiCk!), Peter Forbes (Oz: Fall of the Scarecrow King), and more. Popular and respected British writer, Mike Carey (Lucifer, The Unwritten, X-Men Legacy) said the book is “a kaleidoscope of graphic stories – mostly in the darker colours of the horror palette, but all the better for that.” – so it can’t be too bad, right?
Lauren Sharp and Michael Moreci have been among some of the creators who have made sure this could come together to happen, and will be among a selection of creators at BICS helping launch and sell the book. If you’re at BICS stop by our stand, say hi and check out the anthology. If you want to buy a copy, please get in touch and you can order through me.
What’s that, you ask? You want to see some previews? Well, take a look right here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/910305588/the-sleepless-phoenix-comics-anthology/posts.
Oh, yeah – Survival Stories also has a 12 page story by myself and James Daniels, The Twilight Cleaner. It’s a British based coming of age vampire story with a little… well, buy a copy and find out for yourself…
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With gamescom, stag dos, weddings, and various trips making the past couple months something of a blur, I’ve finally had time to sit down and gather my thoughts for a few seconds. Although the funny thing about reflection is sometimes you stare too long and don’t get anything done…
So, how about that World Cup, eh?
Sorry for the long radio silence. Magic of Myths is doing its best to keep me busy, so most of my writing has been kept to scripting, promotional work, planning and approvals (not just for that, but other projects as well, which I’ll get to in a bit). It’s kept me off here for a while although I’m determined to not let more than a month go before putting up at least one post. As long as I get this one off, then, I’m good for another month. Hopefully.
In any case, there’s been a lot to talk about. Magic of Myths is doing well, with Issue three now out to read for free, also marking the final free chapter before the graphic novel comes out within the next 6 months. It’s been a wonderful, educating and tiring experience, something I’d happily do again should I be able to convince another artist to come along for the mad ride, as Sergio was so willing to do (for which I’m forever grateful).
We also managed to get some free promotional copies into comic book shops, which went down well, with plans to follow up in the near future. On top of that, an interview with Sergio and I was recently published, giving us lots of space to talk about the miniseries. Many thanks to Drew Edwards and the Your Mom’s Basement crew for setting that up, it was a fantastic experience.
So, if you’ve not read Magic of Myths #3 yet, please do give it a go – and if you like it, tell everyone about it. The postman, your boss, your mistress, everyone.
In other news, James Daniels’ and my vampire story, The Twilight Cleaner is all polished and ready for publication in Insomnia Publications’ Layer Zero anthology this October. Yes, there’s been some rather public problems with the publisher the past couple months, but things are still moving forward, as they are with graphic novel Butterflies and Moths with Jennie Gyllblad – that big preview we promised is still on its way, as well. Don’t worry – I may be bad at keeping this blog updated, but I’m not shy about this sort of thing when it’s around…
This week is also National Transplant Week, which I’m a supporter of – Jac has written a great blog post on it and the transplant register over at Up the Far Away Tree that’s worth checking out (as is her blog in general): http://weejac.blogspot.com/2010/07/national-transplant-week-today-marks.html
Oh, and one last thing: Netherlands for the World Cup. You heard it here first. Well, that is, unless you actually live in the Netherlands, in which case you’ve probably heard it a few times already. The psychic octopus gets all his predictions from me, don’t ya know…
Happy New Year!
Okay, so it’s coming a bit late in the day, but as the first entry of 2010 it’s still relevant. Which in turn reflects my hopes that this blog will be more relevant this year, through a combination of more frequent updates (or at least more than once per month) and the formation of my publishing plan, which is coming together bit by bit.
But we’ll get into all of that as we go on. The first thing which the newborn gaze of 2010 will turn to is forthcoming 12 page story, The Twilight Cleaner, drawn by James Daniels. The artwork is finished, the pages are lettered and so it’s just going through a final round of minor edits before we can put it to bed and declare the first project of the year completed and ready for publication.
So, as expected, here’s the first lettered preview of our British vampire story, The Twilight Cleaner (to be published in Insomnia Publications’ forthcoming Layer Zero anthology). Hope you enjoy it and see you again soon…
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Later than planned, yet earlier than it would have probably been, this update comes with a modicum of Christmas cheer, sprinkled with a dash of weary caution that has come with 2009 so far. It’s been a year with a bewildering array of ups and downs that have kept punching me in the face/feeding me heavenly strawberries right up until now, and I fully expect that to continue right into its death-knell before we celebrate the arrival of a newborn 2010. That said, it’s better than having just a year of bad news with nothing to balance it out. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself…
In any case, the writing side of things has been mostly good and my sights are firmly placed on 2010 for things to get even better.
My collaborative graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths, is well on the way. I finished the complete draft of the script a few months ago, fired it over to my partner-in-crime, artist Jen G who has been busily working at it since, as you’ve seen already. I couldn’t be happier with her work so far and you’ll be treated to nearly half of the coloured pages from chapter one in a sneak unlettered-but-sequential preview in the next entry, all things willing. While you wont be able to read the dialogue, it’s testament to Jen’s strong storytelling skills that you’ll likely have an understanding of story’s bare bones from the artwork alone. Fingers crossed we’ll have a whole, entirely finished chapter ready to preview to the world in a couple months. Which makes me smile.
Regarding the actual script, well, I’m happy with it. It still needs tweaks here and there, which I’ll likely be doing right up until the book is nearly drawn in its entirety, but that’s the nature of comic books – as with anything creative, you cant help but tinker with it, but when you see the artist’s interpretation of your script you tend to crop dialogue which has become superfluous or change bits to better suit the depiction. It’s work all the way up to launch (and then after that, given the promotion) but it never really feels like work… and that’s part of the grand aim.
There are also a few other things around the corner, as you may have seen in the image previews dotted on this page… but we’ll get to those in due course. Oh yes.
Look out for the preview and have a fantastic Christmas/New Year!
Merry Christmas/happy holidays!
I know I’ve been talking about a story I wrote which was recently released and on sale, but now is not the time to discuss that – we’ll come back to it in a month or so when the time is more appropriate. Instead, I’m going to focus on a story which is possibly going to get me into slight trouble next year, albeit entirely accidentally.
The Twilight Cleaner.
Due for a mid 2010 release in Insomnia Publications’ next Layer Zero anthology, The Twilight Cleaner is a vampire story.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking…
In the wonders of typical creative coincidence, the emergence of the Twilight books/films has become a big ol‘ double-edged sword for me in the past 12 months, and will continue to be so for… well, as long as the films and books are popular. And The Twilight Cleaner (or TTC, as I’ll refer to it) is the crux of that, because people will think I wrote it in response to Stephenie Meyer’s popular teen-vampire saga.
Thing is, I wrote TTC way back in 2006 before I’d ever heard of the Twilight books – it’s just taken this bloody long to get my story out, as per the glacial world of publishing (and almost to prove how slow the wheels move in this industry, it took Meyer 2 years to get Twilight released, from writing it and the book deal in 2003 to publication in 2005, before the film option came in 2007… and this is considered ‘quick’ by normal standards).
So what’s going to cause the hoo-ha, if any at all? Well, I re-read my script recently as very talented artist, James Daniels, is currently drawing it, and I made the realisation it could be seen as a counter/commentary on the Twilight novels.
See, when I wrote this short 12 page story, it was for another publisher who was looking to complete an anthology of horror shorts. I knocked out the tale while on holiday in Florida for my Mom’s birthday, the editor was happy with it and we were all set to go.
Then the project fell through as the publisher disappeared.
This was the second time a publisher fell apart before my story was published, so the hammer didnt quite fall as hard as the first time, but I was still a little saddened by the whole thing. Yet, I had a story written and finished, and that’s something that never goes to waste.
Fast forward to 2007, and a friend at work introduces me to James (who also works at Sony), a superb young artist looking to get into the comic book industry. I fire him over TTC and he creates some samples, which turn out to be phenomenal.
Jump to 2009, and my first ‘high street shop bookshelf story’, Butterflies and Moths: Fragile, is released by Insomnia. They’re looking for more shorts of a twisted kind to fit the theme of the next book, and TTC is a perfect fit. James is still keen to work on it and starts to deliver the goods, of which you’ll see below in the first public preview of the story.
Now, The Twilight Cleaner is a story about a young female vampire called Kira, who is forced to clean the roads at night at the command of her vampire sire. Unable to hunt during the day, they prey on the drunk, the violent, the homeless and others who roam town during the twilight hours. Kira is fed up, a lonely figure of enforced servitude and boredom, but her vampirism doesnt let her make any friends, while loyalty to her ‘master’ keeps her enslaved, ‘cleaning’ the streets in more than one sense (albeit in very unsavoury ways), against her will. And after acting as the bait for countless victims, feeding off those mostly undeserving, she’s had enough…
So basically, The Twilight Cleaner is about a young woman looking to fight against the conformity of what she’s been told she can be and what she’s been told she is. Trying to take control of her destiny and not be governed by oppression, especially that of a man stuck in his outdated, sexist ways.
In essence, something of an opposite to the Twilight saga’s main character, Bella.
The fact Kira’s a vampire (who looks around the same age as Bella, but is a lot older), seems to reject the submissive ideals that Bella falls into, the use of ‘twilight’ in the title and another plot point that comes up in the story, would suggest some sensitive Twilight fans looking too deeply into the material with this unintentional commentary in mind may think I’m being mean-spirited. “‘Twilight Cleaner‘? Who does this guy think he is?! Is he suggesting his story is ‘cleaning up’ the Twilight saga by trying to be better or something? That this is how vampires are supposed to be? How Bella should act if she was turned?” and so on.
I admit, it’s a happy accident that both the third film in the Twilight saga, Eclipse, and The Twilight Cleaner will share a release date within bare months of each other next summer. But like everything else between the two properties, these are coincidences that I can only smile at. Like this 🙂
Whether or not people will even notice my little story anywhere near the juggernaut of the Twilight saga is hugely debatable, even if it’ll be sitting in the same book shops next year. In fact, all of this only occurred to me when a friend pointed out another story of mine had ‘twilight’ in its title (A Twilight’s Promise, which has no vampires in it, promise), at which point I realised what had happened. But it gives me something to write about, and hell, made me realise that things do indeed happen for a reason – The Twilight Cleaner will come out during a time when vampires are very much in-fashion again in the media, between the likes of Twilight, True Blood and other vamp-related properties.
Anyway. Here’s an early and unfinished 2 page preview of The Twilight Cleaner fresh from James’ drawing board. There will be more artwork previews coming up soon, not just for this but also for Butterflies and Moths, and a bit more detail on what stories I have coming out in 2010. It should be a huge year between a short story, graphic novel, planned mini-series (more on that soon) and potentially, hopefully something absolutely huge come this time next year… keep your fingers crossed for me…