Friday, 23 December 2011

Crazy Christmas Cannibal Capers

So this is Christmas, and what have you done?

Well, I wrote this: Goodwill.

I'm dead chuffed with this as it has no words. You've no idea how hard that made writing the script. Of course, it helps that it looks bloody fantastic.

The jolly spiffy art is by Jon Taylor (who I'm guessing is here, but he hasn't told me so I may need to correct that!). This started out as something I put forward for the annual 2000ad messageboard Advent Calendar. Um, but then I realised - after seeing other posts - that it was meant to be about 2000ad. Which makes sense, I suppose.

You can also see this at Hadron Colliderscope and I normally wouldn't re-post it here, and certainly not so soon. But it's Christmas, innit?

All the best to you and yours.

Monday, 12 December 2011

...and Einstein said it was impossible

Einstein: hot on physics, cool on small press comics

My PC decided to keel over a few weeks ago, which is annoying. Still, I'm posting this having just got my new one up and running. Yay!

In the meantime, FTL has accepted the strip The Commute, by me and Leigh Kalibor. It should be published in early 2012. And there's a rumour that Dogbreath like something - if only I can master Viking accents...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

What's his story?

The noble Roadie. Hear all, see all, say bugger all.

So I had an idea for a story three days ago: The Defect. It's about a sad and scary old man.

This is just to measure how long it take to get it all done. The timer starts... now.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Christmas is a-coming!

Beware of robbers over the Christmas period

 As the great philosopher Homer once said: "There's only one fat guy who gives presents and his name ain't Santa."

We can all learn something from The Simpsons.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Rot your eyes, Alpha

Johnny was annoyed to find his "bargain" new gun was actually an electric razor.

Just finished a Strontium Dog script. I'll probably send it to Dogbreath, despite not hearing back on the last one. That's the way I roll. (And who else can I send it to?).

P.S. The watermarking on the above image is okay -it was drawn by Dave Thomson and is cut from my contributor's copy to the "Get Well Carlos" comic that was done last year when the comic great was sick.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?

The closest you'll come to a present. Naughty Boy!

Is it wrong to have written a story about Christmas cannibalism?

Does reindeer decapitation capture the Festive Spirit?

Ah, well, too late to ask such questions. I don't put this stuff in my head - I take it out.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Another one bites the dust.

Vindaloo and public transport don't mix.

 A panel from The Commute, drawn by Leigh Kuilboer. This is based on a micro-horror story I wrote a while back and will be included in the submission comic thingy that I am putting together.

 I'd love to post the rest of it, because Leigh has done a stunningly good job. All in due course, I suppose.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Stick a plaster on it mate, you'll be fine.

On reflection, Pete regretted the Gutbuster Burger

A snippet from a page by Dan Cornwell for The Price, a five pager that I've written. This is not the worst thing on the page. It really isn't.

I love Dan's art and am sure he'll make it big.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Something Bad.

Dave didn't like strangers touching his Kindle.

"What's this?" I hear you cry. It's only a cover by Neil McClements for my current obsession - I'm going to collect what I think are my better scripts into a bound comic, to accompany submissions in an effort to stand out from the slush pile. It's to get a logo on it.

I'm very grateful to Neil for doing it.

It's not going to be sold because the stories in it will be from other things, like Hadron Colliderscope and Zarjaz, and some of them won't have been published there by the time this is finished. And because I'm lazy. And fearful no one would be interested.

No idea if it will work. If it doesn't then is it vanity publishing, even if no one else sees it?

(And I have a three page script I'd like to put in it - if anyone wants to draw it then let me know, as I'm not printing it until November).

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Waiting. Watching. With infinite patience and eternal evil...

Hello, handsome

I've been busy. Honest. A 10,000 word short story has kept me busy the last couple of months, my first prose in five or six years. I've also written up three comic shorts in the last month and now have seven scripts being drawn for various small press things.

In addition, I yesterday finished a 10 page strip featuring this chap. I'd say what it was about but am afraid that it might be rejected: it's either genius or the Worst Idea Ever. My broken and gibbering mind can no longer tell...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Where do you get your ideas from?

A teenager. Up to no good, obviously.

I'm not a professional writer by any manner of means, but even I get asked that question.

Well, here is "The Answer".

The last of my one page submissions to Clint. Now happy at Hadron Colliderscope.

Art by El Chivo. Letters by Jim Campbell.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A nose for crime...

What the sneck, indeed. This piccie is from Rich Pickings, my first ever strip for Zarjaz and my first ever Judge Dredd story. It's been drawn by George Coleman, which is great too. He's done an incredible job and I really think his art should be back in the Galaxy's Greatest Comic pronto. George's little touches and eye for detail really add to the atmosphere of the strip.

The story involves the latest future sport to hit Mega City 1 - Competitive nose picking! I'm really chuffed with it, as I think it has a real old-school Dredd vibe. Then again, I suppose I'm biased.

You can read it in a future Zarjaz.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

Oooh. The first new thing from me in ages and ages.

He's 'armless really.

Paradox Man is on Hadron Colliderscope. Go read it. Now! Here!

Drawn by Dan Cornwell. Lettered by Matt Brown.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Bit Tardy

Oops. I forgot to say that another Clint reject, Eviction, is on Hadron Colliderscope. Yay, me!

This was drawn and lettered by Kyle Smart

Wot no update?

See it right here.

It's been there for a couple of weeks, but I've been so busy with the Day Job that I haven't had time to post.

I've also had the Paradox Man one pager lettered by Matt Brown and it, too, should appear on Hadron Colliderscope. Which is nice, as it is something new and not for Clint. More of that when it appears.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Paradox Punk

I love seeing my scripts turned into art. Especially when it's by someone as good as Dan Cornwell.

Right, who else thinks my hair is "funny"?

This chap is from a one pager, Paradox Man. It's based on an ancient short story I wrote. Now, to find it a home...

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

Have you got a Plan?

You know. One with a capital "P". A grand plan, if you will - a masterplan.

Mine is to build a portfolio of comic strips and prose stories in the small press, finish a book, show all this to an editor, get an agent and then be published. After that, the idea is to live happily ever after, writing a mix of comics and prose until I die. I have no delusions that I will be the next Stephen King, although that would be nice. I just want people to read my stuff and quite like it. I know that's trite, but there you go.

Sometimes I get despondent, though, and wonder if there is any point to the Plan. Getting published isn't easy. Too many people have the same Plan and I think they are quite a bit better than me. But I'll try anyway - this stuff pops into my head and has to go somewhere!
So, the next steps in the Plan are:

Matt Soffe has agreed to draw this four page horror strip. It's based on a 500 word micro-horror tale I wrote last year. I'm really pleased as Matt is an amazing artist, especially on nasty stuff, and I have no doubt he can turd-polish my script into something special.

He just agreed to do it this week, so there's nothing to show. Instead, here's a picture of a hand with a mouth in it that he drew for a prose story of mine (If Thy Hand Offend Thee, which made the Top 50 in SFX's Pulp Idol) that is to be published by Starscape.

If Thy Hand Offend Thee: "No! No! Not... the soap!"

A six page tale, mentioned in an earlier post, being drawn by Dave Thomson for Chris Cronin's Indie Pulp mag.

A four page super anti-hero script being drawn by Dan Cornwell. With a bit of luck this'll be on Hadron Colliderscope.

A one page comic based on a short story I did years ago (and which won Futurequake's first and only short story competition). Again by Dan. This has no home, but Hadron Colliderscope's looking at the script just now so fingers crossed.

A one page Clint submission by Kyle Smart and myself. This will appear on Hadron Colliderscope in the next few weeks.

Eviction: Indian Head Massage Goes Wrong

This six page Judge Dredd script has been accepted for Zarjaz. I don't know when it will be printed or who is drawing it.

A three page M.A.C.H. 1, again accepted by Zarjaz. Again, I don't know anything else about it.

A twelve (count 'em) page script accepted by Zarjaz. I wrote six and they asked for six more. I'm really keen to see what this looks like.

Another one page Clint reject. But Mark Millar's loss is Hadron Colliderscope's gain! Art by El Chivo. Lettered by Jim Campbell.

When Gimps Attack

This is something a little different. No monsters. No aliens. But it does have disembowelling. It's currently awaiting rejection from Murky Depths.

I may write for another fifty years and not come up with a more unoriginal pun for a title. This is a Terror Tale that I submitted to the 2000ad slush pile last year. Every day I come home from work expecting the Big Brown Rejection Envelope.

My graphic novel ('cos everyone who wants to get into comics is writing one, right?) Dave Thomson is working on this with me and one day, oh yes, it will be done. I recently finished a re-write of a chunk of it, and Dave is re-doing the first ten pages so that it can be pitched to folks.

Mr Tuesday: Unsung hero of Dyna-rod

So, that's the scripts that are finished and being drawn at present. With any luck, these will start to see the light of day over the next six months or so. Meanwhile, I need to keep churning out scripts and stories. The current project is a prose story: "Harvest."

I didn't say it was a good Plan. I didn't say it was unique or realistic, either. But it's better than nothing and it's mine.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

No Creeping Reclamation

I've gone and had another comic posted on that there internet! Now, if only I could get paid for this. Anyway, a little background:

Back when I was a spotty teen, the first short story I wrote of my own accord was "Green Fingers". An every-day tale of Death by Vegetation.

Years later, I had the idea of a sequel: "The Growth." This involved scientists trapped in a bunker, Dawn of the Dead style. They would bicker and argue and die while alien plants tried to get in. The idea went nowhere.

Many years later, one of the very first comic scripts I wrote was a one page variation of The Growth. Looking back, it was way too wordy. Each panel was a paragraph or more of description. I still find it hard to strike the balance between sufficient description for an artist and over-bearing amounts of extraneous, stifling, detail. But it did have a line I have always liked: "This was no creeping reclamation, this was an invasion."

Now, many, many years later, that script has been brought to life by Josh Mathus. You can go read it at Hadron Colliderscope, right  here. It looks a lot better than my rambles deserve.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

"Kingpin gone to seed"

I'm a comics magpie - easily impressed by shiny, pretty pictures.

As a kind of follow up to my previous post, I should say that I am in awe of anyone who can draw a comic strip. The simple act of drawing the same character more than once, but getting it to look the same each time, is beyond me. So to follow a script and capture what a writer was thinking - well, that's doubly impressive.

Dan Cornwell (who I think is more talented that he realises) did just that when he drew Extras, another script I did for Clint. It's been hosted at Hadron Colliderscope, right here: Extras. Thanks again to Jim Campbell for lettering this.

In idle moments, I plan about putting together a portfolio of shorts and some longer stuff to put to editors along with a script. This would, I think, have been ideal for Wasted but for the fact it's already been around the internet (what with it being a Clint submission). Still, that's no reason for me not to plug it here!

I found it hard to cut a panel that didn't feature naked flesh, but here is one of a character I described as "Kingpin, gone to seed." I think Dan nailed it.

 You don't want to see what's happening in the
background. Especially if you're at work.

Be warned, this one is really not safe for work. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY not. I can do stories without naked ladies. It's just that the two I've mentioned here (Extras and Malignancy) were done for Clint and so I upped the naked body count. (Did I mention that my latest accepted script features hot succubus action...?)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

If I had talent, I'd be famous.

I wish I could draw. My artistic career peaked at age 9, when I came second in an art competition. I got a medal from Glen Michael and have plateaued since. Thing is (call me a radical thinker, and maybe it's plain crazy talk), but I reckon that having the artistic ability of a nine-year old holds you back if you want to make comics. Sometimes I think I should just give up and focus on prose.

It's a problem for blogs, too. I peer jealously at the postings of artistic folks, sneaking a glance at their pictures like a digital urchin - nothing more thatn a grubby chimney sweep on his tip-toes staring through a window at all the pretty things he is denied. I'm green with envy at your effortlessly cool postings, filled with esoteric babbling about layers, and filters, and pens, and boards. It's a lost world to me.

But, then again, this is my blog. So, in true comic-creator style, here's a Judge Dredd I doodled. Brian Bolland will be trembling.

 There ought to be a law against this!

Hopefully this will change. I am working on stuff. By typing this, I am procrastinating over a couple of short comic strips (a risqué five pager, S.T.Z. and a time travelling tale of the credit crunch, Futures), a proposed graphic novel (Mr Tuesday, with Dave Thomson, if we actually get the collective finger out) and a prose story (working title: Dave Marsh Gets A Life). Of course, I still then need to find someone willing to draw them, which isn't always easy.

That said, I also have stuff that is being, or will be, drawn: three scripts with the folks at Zarjaz, a strip in Chris Cronin's up-coming small press anthology (my story is The Second Ringer), and three for Hadron Colliderscope (The Price, which is an entry to the 2000ad board's monthly regular story competition, and two old one pagers, Paradox Man and The Growth).

Part of the purpose of this blog is to give me a boot up the backside and make sure I keep writing. The lack of art is, I fear, down to the fact that I have been lazy and not produced enough stuff. The plan is that I should eventually have a steady trickle of images taken from comics I have written and that I can use to illustrate my ramblings. Pictures better than this:

Most feared being in the Galaxy? I think not.

So, I think radio silence is in order until I have something easier to look at to put on a post.

Oh, and if anyone who is working on my scripts happens to read this - then please note that the art in this post is entirely your fault. I look forward to you turning my words into pretty pictures. And if you're not quick then I might just do it myself...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Second Ringer

I've had a script accepted for a new small press comic mag being put out at the end of the year. Yay!

It's an anthology of pulp stories. So, brooding detectives, femme fatales, lost tribes, double crosses and smouldering looks were order of the day.

Did you know this doesn't 
actually feature any postmen?

I'd no idea what to write, so I spent a couple of days reading plot summaries for every 1940s thriller I could find. Then I came up with something that's part Gilda, part The Postman Always Rings Twice. Only with a tiny little dash of, um, The Hidden.

I'm looking forward to seeing it in print.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dead parents and abandoned by God. It's for kids, yeah?

Welcome to my nightmare.

Welcome to Time Bandits.

The chaps at Hadron Colliderscope asked me to review a film. As they have foolishly agreed to take on three of my comic strips, I couldn't say no. So I did a little piece on this 80s classic, the scariest film I've ever seen. Here it is here (it's the second review, so scroll down):

I think it has something to do with free will

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Stick or Twist?

Ideas are cheap. Writing is hard.

Writing short stories is even harder, if you ask me. Because not only do you have to worry about all the things  that go into a story (y'know, characters and motives and plots and stuff) but you also need a twist. Twists are wriggly buggers. When you think you've got a good one, it slips away.

Writing a story with a good twist is mind-bogglingly difficult. Not only do you need a decent story, but then you have to get all creative again and come up with a twist. The twist has to be logical, fit with the story, be foreshadowed but not be obvious.
I know all this but I really struggle with it. I fear I can't do it, or at least do it well enough. Ideas are cheap because 99% of them are unoriginal. As an example: this morning I came up with an idea for a story where robbers use a time machine to steal gold in the future (dull, unoriginal) but the twist is they are stealing from their future selves (never saw that coming!), so they end up poor. That kind of thing would be laughed out of hand by most magazines as derivative pap.

                           Used with permission from the very funny Savage Chickens

But I wonder if such a set up can be saved. What about a double twist? You take the lame "seen it before" set up and play out the twist. But, in fact, that's just the set up for a second twist. You play with the reader's familiarity or anticipation of the first twist, creating a false expectation so that the second one is surprise.

I don't know if that would work. You still need to produce a logical and coherent second twist, and you will have the bulk of your story being dull or unoriginal - which is never good. But maybe the variation at the end could save it? My plan is to come up with a few stories that follow this structure and see what happens.

Of course, grand declarations of intent mean nothing. Knuckling down and doing this will not be easy. I know what I am supposed to be writing. I have an idea of what I want to do. Then again - ideas are cheap, and writing is hard.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Friggin' Tharg

Tharg, eh?

I sent the green so-and-so a script submission ages and ages ago - last May, in fact. Haven't heard a thing. Guess he's got better things to do, what with being an editor and all.

The scunner of it is, 2000ad is quite clear that you should only send one script at a time. Which is fine. I've got a pile of them, all ready to be rejected. But what do you do if you don't actually get a rejection? I've heard of one poor soul who waited 14 months before trying a new submission, and then got his wrist slapped for sending multiple submissions.

So I've waited... and waited... and waited. But then the fear kicks in. What if it never arrived? Did I properly address it? Did I put on enough postage? Is it lost?

What to do?

My cunning plan? Re-write the outstanding script and send it with a grovelling letter asking for an update. So it went off today. I'll post to say what happened as soon as I know - assuming I'm still doing this in 2012.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Bad Medicine

I've been lucky enough to have a couple of scripts accepted by Futurequake in the last few years. I'll probably post some of them in the future so it looks like I am doing stuff.

However, the current issue features Bad Medicine, written by myself and illustrated by Bruno Stahl with letters by Mr Bolt-01. It's a cheery tale. Here's a peek:-

So go buy Futurequake! You can procure it right here:

Richard Smith's cover is great.

Why not have a peek at the Futurequake blog while you're here?


Like a bazzillion other folk, I submitted some comic strips to Clint magazine. And then got ignored.

One of these was Malignancy. This is based on an idea I had years ago - a prose version, called If Thy Hand Offend Thee, made the Top 50 Short List in SFX's Pulp Idol back in 2007 (and you'll be able to read that version in an upcoming Starscape magazine, illustrated by Matt Soffe).

When I turned it into Malignancy, though, I made it a little more... visual. And Dave Thomson did a great job drawing it. I also have to give great credit to Jim Campbell, who kindly lettered it for nowt. His insightful blog is here

And here's a look at Malignancy.

It's now been posted on the American comic site Hadron Colliderscope. 

You can read it there by following this link. Only, it's not safe for work so be careful if anyone is looking over your shoulder. And don't tell my mum about it.

Starting This Blog

I was asked today for a link to my blog, and not for the first time. (Yes, it was the second).

So, here it is. I need to work out what to do with it but in the mean-time here's a picture from a comic I'm working on with art by Dave Thomson. More of this another time.