Friday, June 28, 2013

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NAO (TROISIÉME ACTE)

JANUARY 31
I remember waking to total darkness. The kind of darkness where you can't even see your hands infront of your face.  I couldn't even find my phone or the light switch. The Farmhouse/Manor I'd woken up in had shutters outside the window - I had no idea before I went to sleep that they'd be that effective. 

Eventually I found the light switch.

I was the first down to breakfast. It was a massive room with a huge oval dining table and a fire place so big you could roast an elephant in it. It even had seats in the fireplace. I was being observed by two sword fighting squirrels. Taxidermy humor.

Croisants and bread and jams and cake… plenty to eat. So, I tucked in. Slowly but surely and one by one the rest of Akileos, Ted Neifeh included, joined me. More eating. More talking. Then off to the festival.

The day began proper. Now, they say at Angouleme that the busiest day is the Saturday. So its weird that this day was incredibly busy. Busier than Quais Des Bulles in St Malo (a festival I LOVE, btw and I'll be documenting the heck out of this October when I go). A lot of foot traffic coming our way. 
"Pre-nom silverplate" and people wrote down their names for me and then I drew them either a Cthulhu, a Holmes or a Watson or a Hound or anything they wanted. But never a dog holding a red balloon (even though I'm always tempted to do just that when invited to 'draw what you like').

The immediate impression you get of French readers is the broad demographic— what you'd expect from a country where sequential art is a part of the culture not a part of the subculture as it is at home. That's not to sound downhearted in the least bit about 'the scene' back home because things are great and getting better all the while… plus, its Britain. We have a knack of doing great things with subculture. We did it with Punk.

On to the afternoon and many more books are signed and drawn in and then the day draws to a close. I think that by the end of either the first or second day, Glyn had sold all his copies of Nao. A lot of people coming up and getting their copies signed by him, even bringing copies bought in English. 
In essence my diary entries become increasingly scant on detail as each day really becomes much like the last. We get up, we breakfast, we arrive at the festival, we sign books. We lunch, we sign, we drink, we dine. We sleep, we rise. Repeat.

A vicious yet delicious cycle…

(to be concluded)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NAO (PART DEUX)

JANUARY 30
Woke early to the tiger after a night in Nao's bed. Got dressed. Got ready.  Met the rest of the lovely Dillon clan. Said hello. Said goodbye. Cab on time. St "Pancreas" bound.

Paul Gravett greeted us in the International departure lounge. He really is The Man at the Crossroads!! He was Angouleme bound via a different route and we parted ways.

We rendezvoused with our publisher, Emma Hayley. Quick coffee. Quick chat. And off again. After being dragged out of England and through a tunnel backwards and tangoing with the Paris metro (considerably cheaper than the London Underground and just as efficient! Grrrr!!!) we we're on the Angouleme train rattling through the French countryside.

We arrived in Angouleme to rain we didn't bring with us. Something Brits from an island of inclemency are often blamed for, but seriously, it was like that when we got there! And then it was goodbye Emma as she headed off to her hotel and hello to Mara, an Akileos auteur from Switzerland (speaks excellent English and puts us both to shame for our lack of even basic 'Allo 'Allo French).

Our French publisher, Emmanuel Bouteille (aka Manu or Mr Good-Bottle), picked us all up in his car and we headed for our booth in town.

The town was abuzz with the set up. Vans parked up on curbs with people carrying boxes into the convention centre, and inside, people sorting tables, setting up stands. It's not unreasonable to say that the whole of Angouleme is commandeered by this festival. When I say convention centre here I'm actually just talking about our marquee which houses all the main publishers… there are marquees dotted all over Angouleme with various things going on in them. It's huge and when you're signing at Angouleme you don't really get a chance to see it all because you're signing. All the time.

We waded through bubble wrap and empty cardboard boxes. We had arrived. We met with Richard Saint Martin (the other half of Akileos). We saw the tables we would call home for the next few days (an excellent spot, right opposite Dargaud) and then off to accommodation. Glyn stayed in town in a beautiful apartment I'd stayed in before and I was staying with my extended family, Akileos, in the countryside. We drove out to a beautiful farm/manor house. The room I got was gorgeous. I dumped my bags and we headed back into Angouleme for food and drink!

Later that night, Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin) joined us for dinner. We ate. We drank. We talked. We had the entire plot of The Life of Pi spoiled for us, Glyn discovered that he quite likes Camembert, we discovered that Manu does not, and then we parted ways with Glyn and headed back to the manor house and to bed.

I closed my eyes and bid the long day goodnight.

No Tigers.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NAO (PART I)



Okay, it has been awhile since I updated this blog. It has been a very busy year. Hot off the back of last year which was insanely busy too. Plus, I lost a month due to surgery back in March which went horribly wrong but that's another story for another time and really less important than the fact that I'm alright now! No amount of time in hospital is great when you're freelance. So, I've been playing catch up and working hard.

Now I'm sort of back on top of things I'm determined to update this blog more regularly. I have a new book out, The Shadow Out of Time, and I'm currently drawing the second twelve part series of Brass Sun (due out in 2000AD this Autumn) and I've just written my first original graphic novel, Celeste. Celeste is not an adaptation and not remotely Lovecraftian. It is going to be nearly 200 pages long and full colour and there will be more about this over the coming months as I'm working on it right now and it will be out next spring in the UK and the US simultaneously from SelfMadeHero.  And to top it all, Dan Abnett and I are also set to start working again quite soon on a new collaboration.

In short, exciting times! Much to do and much to write about the doing there of.

For now, let me begin with a story that goes right back to the beginning of the year, back to January 29th.   Glyn Dillon (writer and artist of The Nao of Brown) and I travelled to France together for the Angouleme 40th year festival (where the French edition of Nao was in the running for the Jury prize) at the invitation of our French publishers, Akileos.  I kept a sort of incomplete journal of our adventures, so, here it is, this is just the first part of four which I will post over the next few days…

Cue swirly flashback graphics and harp.

JANUARY 29th.
Set off late. Wanted to say goodnight to my bairns before I hit the road. My youngest said 'see you in the morning' almost breaking my heart before I'd even set a foot out the door. 

Arrived in Mother London, tired, nauseous for eating carbs on the train, and outraged at the price of an underground ticket! I caught a train to Glyn's house, but at that price I was expecting a piggy back at the very least.

He opened the door barefoot and dressing gowned and I realised I was considerably later than I'd anticipated. The rest of the house was abed so I trod as quietly as any six foot four galah could. He made me tea and asked if I recognise the room I was standing in. Took a moment for me to realise… it was Nao's kitchen and living room.  I was in Nao's house. A surreal moment as fact and fiction collided. When I read the book, Nao became a sort of tulpa, she became real, and here I a was, one half sitting in Glyn's house, one half sitting in Nao's.

I was to sleep in Nao's room, the actual room at the actual house in the actual bed. The bed was Nao sized. My feet stuck out at the end.

I wrote my Angouleme diary long hand in the absence of a smart phone and in the light of a lamp I christened 'the moon' even though it wasn't even moon shaped. The off switch was guarded by a tiger.

So many books. So many wonderful things. But I had to sleep. Cab booked for seven am.

Tiger be damned…

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

THE NEW DEADWARDIANS - GOSH! EXCLUSIVE BOOKPLATE EDITION!



This is the bookplate I produced for Gosh! They have 200 bookplate editions of The New Deadwardians tpb (out tomorrow) signed by both Abnett and me. Their site has details about how you can get a copy of the bookplate edition:
"If you’d like one reserved or if you’d like to arrange a mail order send us an email to info@goshlondon.com and we’ll sort it out for you. Postage is a flat-rate of £5 within the UK, £5.50 to Europe, £7.80 to the USA and Canada, and £8 to Australia and NZ (if you’re elsewhere let me know and I’ll get a quote for you)."
They may take a couple more days to be ready, I only just posted them back to Gosh! today. They arrived at my house when I was in France attending Angouleme which I kept a diary account of and am currently writing up so expect that over the next day or so.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME

Oh my dear long neglected blog… I've been busy. Deadbeats hit shelves Nov last year - debuting at Thought Bubble where we sold out of every copy we brought with us and hot on the heels of that comes The Shadow Out of Time which is out this May from SelfMadeHero.  Here's the cover. Sneak peeks to follow over the coming weeks.  I shall endeavor to update this dear old blog more often. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

DEADBEATS!

Deadbeats has arrived at SMH HQ - The first 60 copies anywhere in the world will be available at Thought Bubble this weekend. If you want one signed and drawn in by Lackey and me then BE THERE! I'll be there Saturday and Sunday and Lackey is there Saturday only. 

There's an interview with Chris, Chad and me over at the SMH blog - I talk a little about what's different about this book for me… silhouettes is one thing I mention in the interview and you can seen an example of that on the back cover (that's from a scene inside the book), but also layout. Layout on this book was different to anything I'd done before. This time layout was all overlapping panels and panels going off into the bleed (as seen in the last snapshot here)…




Tuesday, October 30, 2012

THE END IS NIGH!!



The FINAL ISSUE of The New Deadwardians will be out tomorrow and a five page preview of it can be found HERE.  I have really enjoyed working on this series, its been a lot of fun and I will miss the team I've been working with - Dan Abnett (writer), Patricia Mulvihill (colorist), Travis Lanham (letterer), Will Dennis (editor), Mark Doyle (Assoc. Editor).

If you missed The New Deadwardians or you waited for the trade, the collected trade is out next February from Vertigo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME


Announced on my guest bio for Though Bubble is news of my next Lovecraft adaptation, The Shadow Out of Time which will be available Spring 2013 (in time for Bristol and Kapow 2013).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BRASS SUN - THE WHEEL OF WORLDS

Forgive me reader. It has been a long time since my last confession. I've been busy.

2000AD Prog 1800 is out today and in it is episode 1 of Brass Sun written by Ian Edginton and drawn by me. It is 12 episodes long and opens with a 10 page kick off.

Drawing this has been as much a journey for me as it has been a journey for the characters. I have almost 9 graphic novels under my belt so far and each of those has afforded me a chance to go back through the work and make changes before its seen print. But with episodic work you really are thinking on your feet in a whole new way. It has been an education and a hell of a lot of fun. 

Its a science-fantasy and Ian's vision for it is epic. There's been a good opportunity here for me to blow everything up big scale and really dive into the bleed with some enormous double page spreads. And the format itself is generous - 2000AD pages are pretty big. Feels like widescreen comics. 

I've enjoyed it enormously and really do hope, with any luck, that we get to do more. 

I hope you manage to pick up a copy (available in comic shops but also pretty much any newsagent in the UK from today).

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

PAGING DR. WILLETT


My copy of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward arrived today. I only finished it in February so I was somewhat surprised. Oh my goodness, where to start, where to start?! Rather chuffed to bits. Many thanks to SMH for all their help and expertise - especially the wonderful Lizzie Kaye who put up with no end of nonsense from me obsessing about the color!). Unlike 'At the Mountains of Madness' there's no forward in this book - the marvelous Dan Lockwood* does however provide the jacket copy which actually serves as a forward - instead we leap straight in with a curious symbol… What could it be? Oh, the mystery! The book's out this May, so, not too many sleeps till you can find out for yourselves. 



*Aside from being a marvelous fellow, Dan Lockwood is also editor and occasional writer of The Lovecraft Anthology - volume 2 of which is just out NOW from SelfMadeHero. Get it. It is brilliant! Get it also because Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer (with whom I'm working on Deadbeats) have written two brilliant adaptations for it. Go get it NOW and make your Lovecraft collection like mine.