Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quarantine Team Assembled

Quarantine, now with color! And coming soon: words!

The complete team for Quarantine is now set and ready to do those things that we all do. Lauren Anne Sharp, currently coloring Kronos City (art by my pal Alex Willmore), will be taking over coloring dutues on Quarantine as well, making her one busy, busy person. On her own intiative, she colored page one as a sample (seen above), and greatly impressed both Monty and I, making the decision to give her the job a no-brainer.

On letters is Jim Campbell, who is also working on Kronos City, and doing a very nice job (based on the chapter one eBook, which can be seen here). I don't know too much about Jim yet, other than he's a gin drinker (that's one thing we, somehow, know about one another, that we're all drinkers--though so far Lauren has only mentioned enjoying Earl Grey tea).

So that's the team, with Keith Burns rounding everything out with cover art. We'll be a busy bunch these next few months--myself included as I set off to write Quarantine 2: Temple of the Empire's Two Towers.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Something Wicked--On Sale Now!

The latest issue from FutureQuake press is now available for order. This issue features the short 'Underworld' (art by the always amazing Keith Burns), which I've previewed here a few times. In case you missed it, here's a link to the archives. Otherwise, follow this link to FQ's blog site where you can put in an order and support a small press (and me!).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Windy City Comic Con

In spite of it being my first wedding anniversary, I'll be at the Windy City Comic Con this Saturday.* For those unaware, the WCCC just started last year, and it's a con I hope continues and becomes an annual event (it sure looks like it is). I attended last year, and the event reminded me of cons from when I was a kid; fans can interact with creators, pick up great swag for cheap, and not be inundated with the lunacy that has become the modern-day con. Put short, WCCC focuses on, you know, comics.

In addition to hanging out, catching panels, and picking up a fresh stack of comics, I’ll also be on hand promoting Quarantine, which this week has jumped on the fast track (more on this in an upcoming entry—waiting on some potential news). I’ll be passing out limited edition (well, they are limited) postcards and talking up the book. Plus, I’ll have some fliers for Insomnia on hand, showcasing their upcoming releases. So if you know me, and see me wandering around, tug my sleeve. I’ll tell you all you need to know.

*I'm not a bad person, or a bad husband. Really. My wife will be gone most of the day as well, at work and being the best judge at a pie contest ever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

News, Launches, Teaching, Etc.

BICS (the British International Comic Show) is coming soon, and Insomnia is going to be on hand with some exciting launches, deals, releases, and perhaps a lion-taming exhibition (well, maybe not that).

At the show, Insomnia will launch Burke and Hare (first of the Vigil books) by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering, Buskers (con special edition with a VCD) by Jeymes Samuel, Sean Michael Wilson and Michiru Morikawa (who has a panel and talk at the show), and MILK by Stref (limited ed hardback will be available at the con).

Now, seeing that I don’t really know many people in the UK, this bit of news probably isn’t relevant for most of you reading this. But—there is a but—all of these books can be ordered via Amazon, or by contacting Insomnia. Nic Wilkinson (nichola@insomniapublications.com) and her troop of properly-attired Victorian mice can direct you to any information there is, from pre-orders to pre-launch review copies to a recipe for a nice quiche.

For previews on the books themselves, check out the eBooks, which are available via the links below.

B+H: http://www.myebook.com/index.php?option=ebook&id=12015

Buskers: http://www.myebook.com/index.php?option=ebook&id=14821

Milk: http://www.myebook.com/index.php?option=ebook&id=6499

And while I’m promoting, I want to send a reminder that space is still available for the course on graphic novels that I’m teaching in the fall at the Newberry Library. For registration information, go here.

One last thing: Monty's first page of Quarantine, here again in case you missed it.

UPDATE: Speaking of Nic Wilkinson, you can catch her being interviewed on episode 43 of Comic Racks. It's a truly insightful, witty, and illuminating discussion she has with her interviewers.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blurred Lines

I kept this project under wraps for awhile (like most of my projects). It'd been a long time since I wrote any prose fiction, and I was admittedly tentative about getting back on the saddle. I was equally apprehensive about writing noir--even though it's always been a genre I've wanted to explore with my writing (and have, with short comics such as Underworld). Thanks to the urging of my friend Keith Rawson (an excellent crime/noir writer himself) I got back to writing prose. Noir prose.

The result is Blurred Lines, a story I began writing over a year ago, but shelved for a number of reasons. Christopher Grant over at A Twist of Noir was gracious enough to accept the story for publication, and it is posted there right now.

And, to note, stories appear regularly on ATON, so if you're looking for a fix of great noir fiction, check them out. You can't go wrong.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Page One, Panel One: The Beginning

Well, here it is. I've been anticipating the moment where I'd be able to preview the first page of Quarantine.

It's a bit strange, really, seeing this page. I wrote these panel descriptions, the action, and these characters (and the dialogue, which you'll see later) over two years ago. The project languished for a long time between now and then. I was working on prose fiction more diligently then; then I put Quarantine on the shelf for some time until resuscitating it and giving it a complete overhaul. It also took me awhile to get comfortable writing in the sequential format--my natural comfort zone is prose, and before I started writing comics, I needed to hone my craft.

That all being said, this page looks terrific. Monty has done an superb job in creating the perfect atmosphere--I never intended on the close-up of the snowy television set to look so eerie. The feel I get from looking at this page takes me back to the '70s and '80s horror films I grew up on: there's that sense of dread, of terror, that anything can happen. And the background in the second panel, how the lines aren't defined, how everything isn't completely formed--frightening.

I'm not sure when more will be previewed, so enjoy soak this in. We're still looking at a colorist, but Monty is working hard on getting pages out in the meantime. I'll have more of what I can, when I can. Until then, get prepared: Quarantine is coming.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Noir, Times Two

And all I had to do was get married, go to Canada, and finally find a copy.

I’ll backtrack a little. About two years ago, I heard of this graphic novel from France, Le Treu (I believe is the French title), or, The Killer. I tried to track it down—diligently, spending nights searching the internet, visiting comic shops, and speaking to local comic owners. See, French New Wave noir is one of my favorite—if not my very favorite—genres of film. I’ve found more pleasure from these movies—and inspiration—than I can possibly describe. It get knocked flat by the films of Melville (Le Samourai, Les Doulos), especially.

So, The Killer. The French version was released more as a complete graphic novel, which is in line with the way comics are published in Europe (the demarcations between graphic novels and prose novels aren’t as strict as they are here). In the US, the book was broken down into 10 issues, and released by Archaia press, who are known to lose all their money every so often, and halt all publications. Therefore, The Killer was out of print—there was a trade collecting the first four American issues, but I couldn’t find a copy for less than $100.

As weird, unexpected luck/fate would have it, while on our Honeymoon in Montreal, my wife and I came across a comic shop. I figured I’d take a look, just in case. Montreal is kinda French, after all. And there, I could hardly believe, were issues 5-8.

Since then, the trade has been re-released, and Archaia unceremoniously released the final two issues within weeks of each other (after a year + gap). I’m currently re-reading the whole thing from the start, and am enthralled. If you’re into slick, spare, existential noir—The Killer should be at the top of your list. I can’t recommend it higher.

Around this same time, connecting tonally and thematically, I came across a hidden gem of a film: Allen Baron’s 1961 Blast of Silence. It’s an American noir film, though in the vein of French noir—long takes, spare dialogue…it could’ve been made by Melville himself. The film is available, thanks to Criterion, on DVD; for decades its only appearances was at film festivals, where it was regularly met with praise. In the spirit of film fests, I’m considering including it in my own, a French Noir fest I’m planning for the fall.