Friday, 30 December 2011

Travel Waaaaaay Down South of the Border with El Bigote...

Take a trip South of the Border, the border between Life and the Afterlife, and visit Undead Mexico, where El Dia De Los Muertos never ends…

Living dead banditos and ghoulish conquistadores, cannibalistic muertoads and spectral sessquatches prowl Mexico’s haunted prairies – and it’s up to Undead Mexican Mustache-Quillslinger El Bigote to put them back in their tequila worm-infested graves!

Writer Locust (that's me, but I'm trying to make this sound like an official press release), artist El Chivo and letterer Bolt 01 are set to uncork El Bigote: A Tequila-Drenched Reckoning on unsuspecting comic book readers.

A Tequila-Drenched Reckoning is a special stand-alone series preview issue aimed to introduce readers to and showcase the bizarre world of El Bigote, which just might be the only Gothic Mexican Horror-Western-Fantasy-Comedy comic book in existence!

Blending dark humor and cartoon violence with biting satire and the meanings of unlife, El Bigote is sure to be regarded as profound by someone and nonsense to everyone else.

'So where can I read El Bigote: A Tequila-Drenched Reckoning?' you inquire impatiently.

A special limited (100 copies) print edition of A Tequila-Drenched Reckoning will soon be available for FREE through the El Bigote El Blogote or the El Bigote Facebook Page (details will follow in a future post, but it’ll basically be first come first serve).

To make sure no one’s left out, the issue will also be available FREE digitally through…well…everywhere really: Clickwheel, Dropbox, Comixology, Myebook, ect. The plan is just to get as many people to read and (hopefully) enjoy El Bigote’s adventures.

Of course El Bigote's creators are actively searching for a Big Comics Executive off-kilter smart enough to throw lots of money at a weird little comic project and make them Rich Comics Superstars…

Buuut in the meantime, they'll continue to produce the comic independently.

The first full-length El Bigote story, La Noche De Los Muertoads, will be available mid-2012, and a series of episodic quillslinger adventures will appear in the pages of British Small Press anthology comicsParagon and AAAIIIEEE!!!.

Be sure to subscribe to El Blogote for updates!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Squashed Bugs.

above: Exterminator extraordinare, Elroy Wargle, and entomologist wannabe, Stoss, prepare to take out a colony of space earwigs in Extermination Theory (art by Matt Soffe).

Some disappointing news. The Starscape Comics Storypaper has been cancelled after a single issue. Editor Christian Smilie issued the following statement:

"Thanks to all those who bought the first issue of the Storypaper...unfortunately, there just wasn't enough of you. I do however, appreciate those who dipped their hand into their pocket and, for many of you, the feedback given. With a number of big name artists and writers (both sides of the Atlantic) showing interest in the concept, it's a shame there was not enough appeal to develop a bigger audience.

"The good news: the stories will be switching to the internet to read for free, with collected text stories available in both book form and via Kindle etc.. See 'Prose' to read the first chapters of the Knights of Eternity (sword'n'sorcery) and Extermination Theory (action sci-fi), plus full stories for Identity Unhidden (superhero) and the Metphysical Police (weird sci-fi). Also, comic and television fanfiction plus links to classic sci-fi/fantasy. Stay tuned for more stories too, including Atomic-CALL (feline espionage), the Deterrent (if Spidey was on Battlestar Galactica), the War Dogs (WWII superhero action) and historical war stories (Vikings, Romans, Celts etc.).

"But what happened with the Storypaper?

"Reviews from readers were extremely good but, without distribution, it's just not possible to go on in print form. At £1.50 for over 50 pages, plus terrific spot art and stories that seemed to be popular, there appeared to be a lot of pull but it was just impossible to get it into readers' hands.

"Comic shop distributor, Diamond, rejected the Storypaper (in the nicest possible manner) as it wasn't a comic. A specialist sci-fi book/mag distributor rejected it for not being either a book or a mag. I tried the direct approach. I mailed every independent comic and sci-fi bookshop in the UK I could find. Each got a copy of the Storypaper, plus generous terms, that included the option of sale-or-return. I then followed up with an email after a couple of weeks to gauge interest. Now, I used to run a comic shop myself. I know how difficult it is to sell indie work. However, I also know that replying, which about 90% of comic shops chose not to do, is easy. How long does an email take? So no distribution to shops. That's the biggest shame really. If people didn't take to it, fair enough. Truth is, most potential readers had no chance of even seeing a copy.

"I had also hoped to do more with the pocket-book format. Around 50 pages of comics featuring Vikings, Romans, Medieval and Celtic action for £1.50? In my book, that sounds terrific. But if comic shops won't even countenance this format, there seems little point continuing with it. Unfortunately, almost halving the page count doesn't mean being able to sell 28 page US-sized at £1.50, taking into account comic shops' 50% discount. Its pocket format or small press only.

"Not that I'm having a go at small press distribution but, hopefully, I've moved on from that. With some of the previous work having sold into four figures, selling the odd 50 by mail order, then doubling that at festivals, but losing out via hotels, transport and table costs, is not something I'm interested in doing regularly. I've already written on my thoughts on distribution. It depends what your comic is for. In the case of the Storypaper, it was an attempt at mass-market appeal, rather than fanfiction, vanity press or trying out ideas. The choice then between a few small press readers (where superheroes/sci-fi/fantasy isn't the main interest) or hundreds of thousands of web readers, plus collected print editions seems a fairly obvious choice.

"So, unfortunately, no room in the UK for pocket-books at an attractive price with terrific covers. I did what I could."

above: Earwigs teeming under the surface of Colony Planet Dustworld (art by Dustin Parr).

So that's that. An interesting endeavor, fallen through.

Boo! Hiss!

Extermination Theory, was one of the stories serialized in the Storypaper, and as (maybe) one of you might recall, I was very enthusiastic about the project. Now I wonder if I should submit the story again - at this point there's a very big possibility it's a jinx, and I'd hate for Extermination Theory to exterminate another unsuspecting magazine.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Something Wicked 07 Named SFX's Small Press 'Zine of the Month!

above: Warrior-Sorcerer Nakis battles the Witch Amondi and the Spirits of the Dead (art by Vicky Stonebridge) in Witch of the Mists.

I woke up this morning to the news that Something Wicked 07 - which featured my comic strip, Nakis: Witch of the Mists - was named SFX Magazine's Small Press 'Zine of the Month (editor Bolt 01 has posted a pic of the mention over on the FutureQuake Press Blog; be sure to buy a copy or two of issue 07 while you're visiting).

Congrats to editors Bolt and Richmond for putting out such a quality release, and congrats to all the writers and artists involved!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Paragon and Done It for the 9th Time...

above: Thrill, Gasp and Shudder - in whichever order you please - to Paragon the 9th (cover art by Davey Candlish)!

Hmmm. Seems like only a few posts ago I announced the arrival of the 8th issue of Paragon Comics.


Right, that was only a few posts ago. But that was posted three loooooong (and looking back, they sure felt loooooong, or maybe just sloooooow) months ago.

In the meantime I've been busy. Some massive comics and prose projects are afoots and afouls, in the offings and prowling the yards. Been simply itching to blah-blah-blog about these, but...well, besides being sworn to secrecy under the penalty of death or tickling or something like that, I always feel that the more I'm blogging, the less I'm doing what I ought to be doing: offing things.

Words are precious, so why waste them on blogs or facebook posts, twitter feeds or myspace spaces (does anyone even myspace anymore)...?

So anyway, yeah, um...right, okay. Let me stop pissing away letters and cut to the chase: Paragon #9 is out, and you should buy it. Ordering details to follow, sales pitch here:

I've got two stories in it, Jikan: Caves of Death and Rise of the Mekkosapiens: Who Am I, Robot?. In Caves of Death (art by James Corcoran and letters by Jim Campbell), time-traveling samurai Jikan slaughters a horde of demon-possessed cavemen, while in Who Am I, Robot? (art by Louis Carter and letters by David Withers) G127 learns who he was a thousand years before the rebellion...and then robots are blown up into bits.

Also in the magazine you'll find the latest installment of Icarus Dangerous, a great strip by my good friend Dirk Van Dom (art by the fantastic Stephen Prestwood), one-off Western No Compromise and the initial adventure of a pulpy hero-type called Spencer Nero (good old Davey Candlish renders these two tales).

In the UK you can order your copy of Paragon #9 - and copies of 1-8 while you're at it - by adventuring to the Paragon Blogspot; US buyers, journey to Lulu. All you cheap bastards and trendy e-reader readers, you can get yours on Lulu for only 99p British cash-money.

Now...I'm off to the offing, afeeting, prowling and afouling.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Jikan Noon Rides off into the Sunset...

above: Jikan and his Demon-Killing Posse protect a wagon train from the Deminjun Horde (art by Davey Candlish).

‘And just as suddenly as he appeared, the stranger disappeared, riding that hot wind to the next hell he would cleanse...’

After thirty-one weekly episodes spanning over six months, the Old West chapter of Jikan’s life is concluded. We’ve been through airborne fights with harpy gunslingers, an orgy of blood and butchery at the hands of a horde of deminjuns, and a gut-wrenching finale involved a giant planet life force dearth worm…

(right...I've collected all the weekly episodes of Jikan Noon for you to read, but in my normal fashion I’m going to ramble a bit, so click here to ignore me and skip to the comics)

Writing a strip like this has its challenges – action and adventure has to dominate, because that’s what keeps the audience (both of you) returning week after week, and every episode has to end with a cliffhanger of some sort for the exact same reason. Yet somehow, for the sake of “character development”, a quiet moment or two has to find a place between all the violence and bloodshed. The process of writing a three-panel weekly can seem confining and frustrating at first, but really fun once you get the hang of it (and there are those of you who will question whether I’ve gotten the hang of it yet).

Davey Candlish – creator of Jikan and editor of small press comics anthology, Paragon Comic – began the time-traveling samurai’s adventures in this exact format (you can find that strip collected in the Jikan Chronicles) as content for his blogsite. The next few Jikan stories were written (by Mark Howard) for Paragon, and traded in the newspaper strip format for the…um…yeah…the comic book format (I love it when I hit a spot like this, where there’s no better way than the obvious to describe something - but as a so-called writer I first feel obligated to “make it sound better” and then sheepish for being unable to do so).

I’d just finished a pair of stand-alone Jikan scripts for ParagonJikan: Witch Fires and Jikan and the Caves of Death – when Davey asked me to come up with a sequel to the original newspaper strip.

What I like about Jikan is that, because he hops around from time to time, he can really go anywhere or do anything; one strip can find him in feudal Japan, the next can launch him into outer space; he can wade through an episode of violent action or creep through a horror-plot.

For the newspaper strip's relaunch, Davey wanted a gritty Western - but I convinced him to let me write a whimsical fairy tale...and the adventure of Jikan & the Kappa King unfolded over the next six months.

above: a rotten-mean oni steals a bouncing baby in Jikan & the Kappa King (art by Davey Candlish)

When Jikan & the Kappa King concluded, I felt the script an uneven bit of writing; there are several really fine moments scattered throughout, but those moments are cancelled out by unfunny jokes and a very rushed ending. I could have had the story go on ten more episodes, mostly to explain the Oni’s back story, but simply ran out of space; this was mostly the result of me making the story up as I went, and when I blinked the weeks had flown by and I had an ending miles off but only inches with which to tell it. I had to wrap up the Oni’s origin in TWO PANELS

Having learned a few valuable lessons - and having read reams of Prince Valiant and Conan the Barbarian newspaper strips to see how it should be done - I was eager to give the format another go. Davey again asked for a story set in the Old West. This time I sat down with an idea – and wrote every episode in one sitting. As a result the pacing in Jikan Noon is much better than in Kappa King, and the cliffhangers are more natural. I supplied Jikan with a new set of supporting characters, yet managed to give each of those characters a bit of depth...(if you consider THIS NONSENSE depth)!

Look out for Jikan Leviathan, the time-travelling samurai's next small-format weekly adventure, next year!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The (Something) Wicked Witch of the Mists...

above: Yeah, there's definitely Something Wicked after the poor sap on the cover of issue 7 (art by Adam Bolton).

Creeping from out of its grave, the seventh of issue of Something Wicked - FutureQuake Press' annual horror anthology - is sure to leave slime-stains all over the carpet. Flipping through the crumbling (not really) pages of this unholy (not really) tome you'll find my 'Spear & Juju' strip, Nakis: Witch of the Mists.

above: a Warrior-Sorceror battles a hungry swamp creature in the Spear & Juju epic, Nakis: Witch of the Mists (art by Vicky Stonebridge).

Witch of the Mists is the first chapter in the saga of Nakis, a Warrior-Sorceror who wanders magic-haunted prehistoric Africa in search of - souls to steal. In the Land of the Witch, Nakis comes upon 'villages wiped out by plague, chieftains transformed into blood-drinking demons to prey on their tribesmen, and women possessed by evil spirits to eat the flesh of their children'. The maker of such doom-magic must have a powerful dark soul indeed...and can only be the dreaded Witch of the Mists.

Order your copy of Something Wicked 7 here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

AAAIIIEEE!!! Hallowscream is Back From the Depths!

above: Back From the Depths' Hallowscream Special doesn't suck - it bites! ...and gnaws and chews and makes a bloody mess of its unfortunate victims (cover art by Andrew Milne)...

Every ghoul's favorite Scream! tribute comic is unleashed for the third straight Halloween, and dare I say it's quite the carnival of carnage. Best of all for you Whorror fans - it's FREE!!!

112 pages of FREE gore and gristle! 112 pages of FREE exquisite evisceration, delightful disemboweling, a veritable cornucopia of carnality! FREE, FREE, FREE!!! AAAIIIEEEEEEEE!

You can download the comic (for FREE) at CLICKWHEEL and DROPBOX, or view it (for FREE) online at MYEBOOK. Printed copies of the current issue - and back issues - will be available in the near future (those, sorry to say, will not be FREE).

As you perform as autopsy of the magazine, quickly chop away the flab and fat to locate page 86. There you will discover a ghastly tale of sickening sacrifice as grim-faced monks encounter an evil spider goddess on an alien world in Ubek Naren-Ka! My collaboration with the aptly monikered Ghostpockets and the Ever-Letterer, Bolt 01, is sure to have you barfing your insides out...

The first two issues - each featuring one of my gruesome monster morality tales - are still available (for FREE) - here.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Robot Ramblings: Mekkos 3 Preview/Mekkos 2 Review...

above: has G127 been destroyed? And who are those other Mekkos? Find out in Rise of the Mekko-Sapiens Episode 3. (art by Louis Carter)

Paragon 8 has hit the proverbial stands…and the Rise of the Mekkosapiens continues!

In episode 2 the action heats up, with G127 inciting a robot rebellion against his mechanical enslavers. Several glimpses of the past – and mastermind of the Machine Earth – are given, and we learn who G127 was before his Mekko-conversion. Plus there’s smashing and bashing and explosions, and robots getting blown to bits.

Sounds like a good time, I hope. To me, of course, smashing and bashing and explosions, and robots getting blown to bits sounds like a good time – we’ll see what the first of the strip’s critics think come Monday (9/12/11) when Forbidden Planet’s review is posted. If you’ll recall, episode 1 received…um…a less than favorable write-up

But this time round there’s smashing and bashing and explosions, and robots getting blown to bits – that automatically makes it better, right? Having the ultra-talented James Corcoran on art duties doesn’t hurt either.

And yet the pencil-monkey carousel has turned once again. Louis Carter has lent his pencils to the strip – and as you can see from the series of panels above and below, has done a bang-up job. Louis and I worked together on a strip called Lugal last year, and his incredibly detailed artwork is perfectly suited to capturing the ticks and tocks of the Machine Earth and its robotic inhabitants. Episode 3 looks fantastic.

Rise of the Mekko-Sapiens Episode 3 is set to appear in Paragon 9 later this year - so go buy Paragons 7 and 8 to catch up on the first two episodes!

above: smashing and bashing and explosions, and robots getting blown to bits in Rise of the Mekko-Sapiens Episode 3. (art by Louis Carter)

It’s rather empty down here, I know. But here – here you’ll soon find reviews, of which there will appear at least three…the first on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed.

The first review is in, and it's pretty indifferent:

From the Forbidden Planet Blog: "Rise Of The Mekkosapiens is the second part of a strip that debuted last issue, and the errant G127 starts to build a revolution having thrown off his programming last time. Art okay, story a little hmmmm, dialogue a touch hmm as well, just too static for its own good. It is, to be honest a bit of a nothing strip in story and art....Mekkosapiens hasn’t really got my attention..."

So I suppose all that robot action upgraded the strip from "shite" to "meh". Maybe episode three will recieve a round about compliment...yeah, maybe.

Edit: 09/15: The next review is in...and it's actually positive! I am both shocked and relieved.

From Line of Fire Reviews' Kelvin Green:

"The Rise of the Mekko-Sapiens" was the weak link last time around, but is much improved with this issue -- although it now appears to be called "The Mekko-Sapiens Uprising", which suggests that Candlish needs to employ a firmer approach with his editing -- with a higher page count, a bit more action, and strong art from James Corcoran. It still seems a bit derivative -- there are some eerie similarities with a Dark Horse series called Syn from a few years ago, but it's too obscure a series to be an influence, I'd imagine -- but at least something's happening, and there are some interesting -- and unexpected, in a story about robots -- musings on religion from writer Matthew McLaughlin."

I do have to mention that I've never read Syn, the comic Mr. Green felt Mekkos bears a resemblance to (funny, as last time it was compared to The Matrix - and I've never seen that either!). I hope that, as the story progresses and the further surprises I have in store for the reader, Mekkos will continue to grow on the reader - and stand on its own. Anyway, this review makes me feel a lot better about the strip.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Paragon 8: Those Mekkos Just Keep on Uprising...

above: The one and only inter-dimensional, time-traveling demon-hunter: Jikan slashes across the cover of Paragon 8! Art by Chris Askham!

That's right, Paragon 8 is back and bigger than ever! Robots rumble through the bleak future! Demons pollute the distant past! Mythological Heroes hurl through time and space! And more! The robot revolution continues in Rise of the Mekkosapiens Episode 2!

And best of all, you get 36 action-packed pages for the paltry sum of 3 pounds and 50 pence!

To order your copy of Paragon 8, click here if you're a UK resident! Or here if you live in the States! And if all of these exclamation points don't convince you, check out the Paragon Blogspot for sneaky peeks!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Behold...the Ubek Naren-Ka Cometh!

above: foolish Monks attempt to bring god to the godless, with less-than-divine results. Art by Ghostpockets.

Some time has passed since I mentioned Ubek Naren-Ka, an upcoming strip I'm really enthusiastic about. But just the other day the enigmatically-monikered Human Ghostpockets updated me with his progress and, wow, the comic looks great - so great, in fact, I had a short 'trailer' cut together from several of my favorite panels (with letters by Chaingun Chimp).

(I should mention that none of the above dialogue appears in the strip - in fact, I've purposely made up a bunch of nonsense that has nothing to do with my script so to avoid SPOILERS)

So far I haven't really given any clues as to what the project is about - well, now that we're getting closer I'll remedy that. Living in a quasi-medieval otherworld, Ubek Naren-Ka ('The Great Destroyer' in Quasi-Medieval Otherworld speak) is a creature of nightmares and cautionary tales...yet quite real, as those who end up in her belly can attest. An order of Monks has been tasked to bring the work of god the Ubek Naren-Ka - or destroy the Destroyer! ...I shall say no more, for now.

above: a WIP Panel from Ubek Naren-Ka. Recognize that good-looking fellow up front? Yeah, I'm not going to play sly or subtle - that's me. Art by Ghostpockets.

As soon as the finished strip hits my inbox, I'll be sure to announce where Ubek Naren-Ka's set to be published!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Concerning the Morphology of Extermination Theory...

above: 'The only person standing between civilization and infestation is a dedicated Exterminator.' Art by Matt Soffe.

Extermination Theory…

There’s always a story behind a story. The journey ‘Extermination Theory’ embarked on from its conception to the published page has been both strange and trying…to say the least.

Extermination Theory, from Microfiction to Novel:

‘…and what did Stoss find, but a little flesh-basket nest filled with gelatinous eggs. He could see ropey creatures inside, floating through the yolks, squirming impatiently; the brood was going to hatch soon…’

A few years ago I wrote a tale called ‘The Exterminators’ and entered it in a microfiction contest sponsored by Dark Horse Comics. Clocking in at roughly 450 words, ‘The Exterminators’ tells of a boy who lives in a rundown apartment complex and discovers that a pygmy Alien (yes, you read that right) has set up a nest in the building’s basement. When his mother calls the exterminators to rid the complex of the Aliens, the boy, feeling sorry for the little creatures (and unaware of how dangerous even a ‘full grown’ pygmy Alien would be), rescues one of them to keep as a pet…

The story didn’t win the contest, but it did score a nice email from a Dark Horse editor. Based on his phrase ‘nice dark atmospherics’, I shamelessly offered to turn the story into an Aliens novel – it only needed what, a gazillion more words added on…right…?

(ah, I was soooo shameless in my youth, so, so shamelessly shameless)

Couldn’t hurt to ask, I figured (shamelessly). Of course, I never thought I'd hear back either which way.

Well, I found myself surprised when an opening chapter was requested…

above: the aftermath of an earwig infestation. Art by Dustin Parr.

Extermination Theory, from Novel to Short Story:

‘…hissing, the Queen uncoiled her serpentine body – and struck at his knee, her teeth plunging through flesh and shattering bone…’

My idea for the novel was simple: what if the Aliens found themselves on a planet where the native creatures grew no larger than, say, cats? Well, they’d adapt somehow, right? That’s what the species does above anything else. Adapt and survive.

So, after years of evolution, the Aliens on the planet are no bigger than ‘fist-and-forearm’ and live underground in a network of caves – breeding – feeding – biding time until, of course, bumbling humans arrive to set up a few colonies.

I wasted no time in hashing out a dozen pages. The result – that opening chapter – is essentially the same ‘Extermination Theory’ appearing in the Starscape Storypaper, but with alien-earwigs replacing Aliens…

My contact at Dark Horse claimed to love it (“‘contact’ means ‘editor’, but I’m not giving out any names…especially when I still have hopes of someday working for him,” he said shamelessly), and I started counting my money in the bank and mentally memorizing ‘big-time writer’ convention speeches. But after a few largely positive emails our communication cut off, even after I submitted the requested rewrites. Eventually, nearly a year-and-a-half-later, I was told that pygmy Aliens weren’t scary enough and that Dark Horse no longer had any interest in my novel.

Although pretty shattered (a broken heart? too sensitive? yeah, I’m still crushed at a rejection but this experience more than any other taught me that you’ve got to pick yourself back up – still, I do go through a period of mourning for a rejected story before the picking up parts), I realized I really liked ‘Extermination Theory’ and wasn’t about to let it keel over and die so easily. A quick going over, x-ing out any Aliens references and injecting creations and backdrops of my own, and hey, I had new a short story…

above: Elroy Wargle, self-proclaimed exterminator extraordinaire, and his protege, Stoss, get set to take on a colony of Al - um - earwigs. Art by Dustin Parr.

Extermination Theory, from Short Story to Story-Comic:

‘Alright kid,’ Elroy Wargle, self-proclaimed exterminator extraordinaire, announced as he led the teenager into the empty warehouse. ‘I know this is your first day on the job, but the first day is as good as any to start killing earwigs.’

In no time, a magazine called Dark Worlds picked up ‘Extermination Theory’ and paid me a hundred bucks for the first printing and electronic rights. The editor seemed very enthusiastic about the story and planned to run it in the upcoming issue…the issue that never materialized. Months passed, no issue. More months, still nothing, not even a communication from the editor. With some trepidation – editors can be an evil lot, and I find it’s best to leave them alone at all times possible – I contacted him and asked if the story was still scheduled for publication.

It wasn’t.

The magazine folded, I was told, bad luck and all of that. Disappointing to say the least, but I still had my story and still had my hundred dollars. Wrong. Oh, that damned contract, that damned contract that gave away my rights to the story – at least until it had been printed. Those rights belonged to the creators of Dark Worlds and ‘Extermination Theory’ was theirs to do whatever they wanted with it…including nothing.

So I bought it back. I gave my hundred dollars back and got the rights returned to me. A painful thing to do, because at the time I needed the cash. But ‘Extermination Theory’ had become like a bastard son, the little bastard that gets shoved into the closet while the legitimates get to shine (I have no bastards, promise, and I’ve never shoved a kid into a closet except maybe once or twice). Well, finally the bastard was going to prevail whatever the cost.

So all in all in ended up costing a hundred bucks and about two years.

I was determined to place it in the hands of an editor that would take care of it and do right by it. Then I noticed editor Chris Smillie advertising a very unique idea: a Storypaper (and I highly recommend that you take a peek at this very informative article Chris wrote on the history of Storypapers).

Chris is the editor of Starscape Comics, a small press outfit that specializes in Superhero crossover comics and very cool reprint collections. There is a heavy air of nostalgia breathed into every comic Starscape releases – and a lot of care. Luckily, Chris liked ‘Extermination Theory’ enough to publish it in the first issue of the Starscape Storypaper, accompanied by wonderful the illustrations of Dustin Parr and Matt Soffe.

Order your copy of the Starscape Storypaper here!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Big Steaming Load of Cosmic Excrement...

above: a load of 'Cosmic Excrement' (art by Bhuna and letters by Bolt-01).

The first issue of Doctor WTF?! Magazine is completely sold out, and as I'm fairly certain none of you owns a TARDIS there's no going back in time to snag a copy. Luckily editor Owen Watts heard your plight and decided to do a couple of somethings about it: not only is he set to release a limited second print run, he's allowing the creators to post their strips on blogs, deviant art pages, bathroom stalls, Craig's List, the walls of underground tubes and wherever else they can be posted. So if you're a cheap bastard and didn't buy the 'zine the first time round and don't plan on buying it the second time round, you can take a few hours to scour the internet and read every single strip for free. Ah, even being cheap has its price.

And so I present to you my humble offering, 'Cosmic Excrement'. There's nothing more I can say about the strip that I haven't already discussed at (great, greeeaaat) length here, here, here and here. Sheesh. Don't read all my blibber-bloggering (I'm being presumptuous, as if you would anyway) - read the comic...and take comfort in knowing that issue 2 is in the works!

Friday, 8 July 2011

What's That Smell? Mmmmm, Dogbreath!

above: the b'dass cover of Dogbreath 24, by Nigel Dobbyn.

Faithful readers of this blog (if you exist, and I'm not sure you do) might recall me mentioning 'Catch of the Day' as far back ago as last November. Well, it's made its way to print at last, appearing in issue 24 of the fantastic Strontium Dog fanzine, Dogbreath.

above: Catch of the Day's crusty crew - (from left) Crabtree, Eel in a Filthy Suit, Mukky Mud Flapper, Vince Scampi, Bibb Squiddly and Shellboy (art by Ryan S. Thomason).

'Catch of the Day' tells the story of Mukky Mud Flapper, the perfect character for a Redemption Story if there ever was one. Problem is, Mukky's not interested in redemption.Years ago Mukky himself was a young up-and-coming Strontium Dog bounty hunter. But then he got old. Got mean. Got drunk. Got drunker. Killed a few innocent people and then killed a few more. Now he's got a whopper of a bounty on his head and every SD agent is after him - but for Mukky, that's like shooting dogfish in a barrel!

Order your copy of Dogbreath 24 at the Quaequam Blog - !

Friday, 24 June 2011

Tequila Worms: Bustin' Cabezas Since 1995...

above: the Tequila Worms are out to bust a few cabezas (art by Some Fat Guy Whose Name I Can't Recall).

This afternoon, as I shuffled through a stack of old papers that had sunk to the bottom of my desk drawer, I came across the last surviving page of a comic book I worked on a looooong time ago...

Way back in 1995 the High School version of me could most certainly be called one of the (ahem) Cool Kids. In fact, the coolness that began rooting itself within me back then has only grown and grown until now my coolness cannot possibly be measured. What started it all? membership in the Comic Book Club, of course.

In High School, what can be cooler?

Except I wasn't really a member. Aaaaaand it wasn't even an official club. A few of us (ahem) Cool Kids would get together in the library to read and talk about comics. Eventually, we started writing and drawing them, too. Each 'member' (I think there were four of us, or maybe five) of the 'club' wrote a comic script and Some Fat Guy Whose Name I Can't Recall, the best artist of the group, decided which one he thought was best and drew it. My script caught on: The Tequila Worms.

The Tequila Worms were borne out of my love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mexican Action Films (no one should be so cool, I know). It was a Great Idea, everyone (three out of four of the Comic Book Club members) agreed, and Some Fat Guy Whose Name I Can't Recall and I started putting together the comic book that was sure to catapult us into comics super-stardom.

I'm still waiting for that, yeah.

Years passed, and all of that. For some reason The Tequila Worms and members of their team - El Bigote and Tener Fojos (check 'em out in panel 3) and the Ape with Toilet Paper Roll Hands - have always stuck with me. A few months ago, when I sat down to write a script for an upcoming Pulp Comic anthology I found my thoughts drifting back to them. I tried to write a 'grown up' version of the Worms, but everything that spilled onto the computer monitor was derivative of TMNT - old habits die hard. However, the supporting characters came to my rescue...

El Bigote, updated as an undead Mexican Bandito, became the star, and Tener Fojos one of the baddies. Lots of the weird creatures that inhabited the Tequila Worms' alternate Mexico showed up as well: Tequila Goblins, Tekilla Worms and more. Artist El Chivo has posted a sample of the new El Bigote strip on his blog here.