Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Second Sight - A sneak peek

Okay, here it is! I can now show you some preview art from my new creator-owned book SECOND SIGHT from AfterShock Comics.

It's a huge pleasure to be working again with Mike Marts, the editor-in-chief of Aftershock. I've known Mike since 2003, when he invited me to write District X for Marvel. That was the kind of chance most writers dream of and Mike was incredibly accommodating as I felt my way into the role of mainstream comics writer. I've since worked with him on lots of books at both Marvel and DC and it's a real privilege to be invited to join Aftershock with a property I've been working on for a number of years. Finally I have the publisher to bring the concept to fruition.

Mike has put together a great team, with Alberto Ponticelli on art. Alberto's previous work includes Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Unknown Soldier and Dial H, all for DC Comics.
Check out more of his work here

Also on board are John Kalisz on colours and Jimmy Betancourt lettering. That fab logo was designed by JG Roshell. Both Jimmy and JG worked on The Bulletproof Coffin. (In fact they both kind of died in The Bulletproof Coffin, but lets not go there...)

Here are some unlettered preview pages from the first issue of Second Sight

Put this book on your Pull List and check out the first wave of Aftershock Comics, out in shops in December. They include Replica by Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke, Insexts by Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristantina,  Strayer by Justin Jordan and Juan Gedeon, Dreaming Eagles by Garth Ennis and Simon Coleby and Superzero by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, with American Monster by Brian Azarello and Juan Doe to follow in January.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Pulp Covers #2

Some more scans from my collection of pulp novels...

A classic Virgil Finlay

On the back of Super Science - is it just me or is Charles Atlas looking a trifle puny by today's standards?

Nobody fucks with Mickey Spillane!

This edition featuring Ray Milland from the movie

Classic cover featuring Frank Frazetta rising from his own grave

I'm currently working my way through Simenon's 400 novels. This is one of the best.

And finally, three fabulous covers by the brilliant illustrator, Robert Maguire...

Thursday, 5 November 2015

"It came from the box..." Live!

Last weekend Shaky Kane and myself were guests at Dev Con Exeter located in the Great Hall at Exeter University. The building brought back many happy memories from my years as a student in Exeter in the latter half of the 1970s. Digging through the contents of my magic box under the bed, I came across these souvenirs of some amazing nights out at the University Great Hall...

 The Uni wasn't the only venue for decent bands. Tiffany's of all places, hosted this "New Wave Nite" with Chelsea and The Cortinas. I remember the Chelsea set was performed under a rain of phlegm. Gobbing on bands was considered an expression of respect in 1977. Gene October was highly respected that night...

Zhivago's had the wonderful Only Ones with Peter Perrett.

Occasionally, given a good excuse and a bus laid on, we would trek up to the big city. Here's my ticket to the 1978 Rally and Carnival Against Racism, organised by the Anti Nazi League.

This photograph was taken on our arrival. That's me on the far right and I believe the pic was shot by Shaky Kane. The photo was used by Exeter punk band Annalise on the sleeve of their hit single Hit The Bottle.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

"It Came From THE BOX..." - Flying Saucer From Mars

If you read the second volume of The Bulletproof Coffin (Disinterred) you may remember that the renowned UFOlogist George Adamski featured prominently.

Rooting around in that bottomless box I keep under the bed I stumbled across this book by Britain's own expert on UFOs, the legendary, Cedric Allingham.

Like Adamski, Allingham witnessed the appearances of flying saucers, in this case in the skies over the north of Scotland in 1954. 

If this amazing photograph isn't enough to convince you, here is an even more stunning image of the UFO moving in to land.

Note the uncanny resemblance to the UFOs sighted by Adamski himself...

Surely this must be more than mere coincidence!

What's more, Allingham was lucky enough to meet the Martian pilot and engage him in a limited conversation. As the alien departed, Allingham managed to snap this remarkable image.

As the author notes: "The Saucer itself is just out of the picture to the left." One can only lament Allingham's failure to take a shot including the UFO, that might have more closely resembled the cover image, and laid to rest any lingering doubts among sceptics.

Here is a photographic portrait of the author. 

Cedric Allingham spent most of his time travelling the length and breadth of the UK in his caravan, searching for more evidence of the aliens among us. When he was not pursuing his scientific endeavours, Allingham was a prolific author of exciting thrillers, which he wrote under a pseudonym. He was also a keen birdwatcher.

And let's have none of this nonsense about the whole thing being a hoax perpetrated by Patrick Moore!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Hastings Graffiti

A few pictures snapped this week in the back streets of Hastings...

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Sequential Summer Sale - Ends July 31st!

If you buy digital comics you should know about SEQUENTIAL, the comics and graphic novel app for iPad. Sequential is more than just a gateway for digital versions of comics, it is a genuine store front, with free samples, author biographies, special editions and back issues of the free digital magazine INFINITY. I've plugged Sequential before, particularly the exclusive edition of my own STRANGE EMBRACE.

There's lots of information on this edition, with extras and commentary here. Right now and until the end of July, Strange Embrace is available for 50% of normal price and there are over 350 other graphic novels on sale at between 50% and 90% discount! You can see the full list of sale items here: SEQUENTIAL SUMMER SALE.

With so many amazing books on sale, I've been asked to list 10 recommendations. That's a near impossible task. Seriously I would be happy to have almost all of these comics in my digital collection. Here, then are 10 books I have read and own and love. I'm not going to talk about Hellboy  and Sin City, because I'm sure you already know about them. You may not have heard about some of these...

1) Heroes of The Comics by Drew Friedman is a collection of portraits and potted histories of the greats of Comic Book history, from Ditko, Toth, Krigstein, Frazetta, to lesser-known artists like Ramona Fradon and even including a painting of Frederic Wertham, ageing and lonely and very far from a 'Hero' of the comics. I've been following Friedman since his Warts And All collection of celebrity portraits. Those illustrations were laboriously detailed pen-and-ink works, these new painting are in colour and are more a case of 'freckles and liver spots' but the uncompromising style is intact. At 60% discount the portrait of Wally Wood lighting a cig against a backdrop of stars and planets is worth the price on its own.

2) DKW by Sergio Ponchione is on sale for only $1.99. It's a fabulous piece of work that pays homage to the three greats, Ditko, Kirby and Wood, using their various styles as inspiration while getting to the core of what these three creators meant to everyone working in comics today. Ponchione is new to me, but a creator to keep an eye on.

3) The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez is 60% off at $6.99. Love and Rockets has always been up there in my top ten best-ever comics. The Death Of Speedy storyline was the first comic to make me weep. The Love Bunglers did it again. No one has ever depicted the developing lives of  characters like Jaime Hernandez in any medium. Just when I though I was getting over her, I fell in love with Maggie all over again, dammit!

4) Room For Love by ILYA has a massive 73% knocked off its price at $5.99. This story of a doomed love-affair between a middle-aged, middle-class author with writer's block and a young, bisexual homeless man is poignant and utterly authentic. Ilya's ear for dialogue is flawless and this story of everyday tragedy is up there with his best work, like End Of The Century Club and Skidmarks.

5) Supercrash by Darryl Cunningham is reduced to only $5.99. I came across this book recently when I had the pleasure of sitting alongside Darryl for the second half of the Glasgow Convention. As soon as I realised that this book started with a biography of Ayn Rand I had to have it. I am one of those noble few who have waded through Rand's Atlas Shrugged, often listed as the most influential book among young Americans. If you know anything about the book, or Ayn Rand or her philosophy of 'Fuck The Poor, I Love Dollars!', otherwise known as Objectivism, you will realise how horrifying that is. This book goes into just how influential Ayn Rand was on people like Alan Greenspan and how that influence had a massive bearing on the current economic mess the world is in. Darryl somehow manages to be calm and objective as he dissects the consequences of rampant self-centred capitalism. I realised by the end that there is actually an undercurrent of quiet anger running through this book that is much more effective than fist-waving outrage could ever be.

6) The Park by Oscar Zarate is yours for only $5.99. The setting for this everyday story of love, hate and revenge is a city park where petty confrontations gradually assume the proportions of Greek Tragedy. Pigeons, dogs, swans and stag beetles all have their part to play, as do Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Both the story and art display Oscar's habitual delicate touch. Completely, unpredictably unique.

7) Cherubs by Mark Stafford and Brian Talbot. For only a quarter of the usual price at $4.99 this book is written by the inimitable Brian Talbot and illustrated in black and white by my frequent collaborator, Mark Stafford. I'm going to be a bit cheeky here and simply quote the blurb from the web site because frankly, its the best blurb you're ever likely to read: "Falsely accused of heaven's first homicide, five churlish cherubim escape to New York in pursuit of the renegade archangel Abaddon on the eve of the Apocalypse. Befriended by exotic dancer, Mary, and chased by unstoppable Seraphim terminators, the Cherubs stand alone against Hell's hordes as Satan prepares to make war, not love." Blimey! The writing is hilarious, the drawing manic. Also the writing is manic and the drawing hilarious. 

8) Fran by Jim Woodring is on sale at $7.99. If you are familiar with Woodring's deceptively horrific surrealism then you will know what to expect from this. If you have never seen his work, you are in for a treat. Wordless, beautifully crafted, there's a perfectionism to his work that is a rare pleasure. Woodring is impossible to categorise but I guess there are elements of Basil Wolverton, Charles Burns and George Herriman in his work - only a lot trippier. This book should be read a hundred times and more.

9) Pinocchio by Winshluss is reduced to $5.99 from $27.99. This book is a work of pure genius. I've talked about other books here being unique and this one is too. But more so! I've honestly never experienced a comic that has so many surprises at every turn of the page. This feels like it was created by someone who has not so much ignored or broken all the rules, but simply isn't aware that there are any rules. Pinocchio is an absolute delight and it's a crime against Art, Nature and Commerce that it isn't a massive best-seller.

10) I can only recommend one more and there are so many I haven't mentioned yet. It's going to be a toss-up between Bomb Run, collecting the war stories of Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin and Charley's War by Joe Colquhoun and Pat Mills. And it's...heads...Charley's War. An amazing collaboration that covers no less than 16 volumes of 30 pages each at 99 cents each! These stories were told as weekly episodes of only 3 or 4 pages, and it's a testament to Pat Mills' skill that he could tell such an effective story under those constraints. Joe Colquhoun's illustration is breathtakingly detailed and painstakingly researched. The ultimate anti-war story, told from the point-of-view of the ordinary working-class Tommy. You can also download the first volume for free here.

There you go, just 10 of over 350 amazing titles at remarkably cheap prices until the end of July. Check out the full list here: SEQUENTIAL SUMMER SALE!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Last Tuesday Society

When I visited ELCAF a couple of weekends ago, I was advised to visit this...

Not only is this a very fine cocktail bar but, more significantly, it houses the Viktor Wynd Museum Of Curiosities. I can't believe I didn't already know about this. Here are a few samples from the wonderful, chaotic collection...

In the lower part of the picture, a human skeleton, sealed under glass in the table (This room available for dining)

A gold-plated hippo skull, formerly in the collection of Columbian Drug Baron, Pablo Escobar

Actual Dodo skeleton

Actual Human Vagina

Actual Mermaid

Actual Stuff

More Stuff

Stuff and Nonsense

If you can't wait to learn more about the inimitable Mr Wynd, watch this documentary...