Monday, April 16, 2012

Coming Soon...Even More Danger for Icarus!

The new issue of Paragon is almost upon us, featuring (amongst other things) the continuing adventures of Icarus Dangerous, as things start to get reeeeeeeeeeally wierd. Now up to chapter 4, we will rejoin Icarus where we left him - with his souped-up sentient wings, on an alien spacecraft, millions of light years from home, on the run from an army of Bone Monsters, with Meriope, the not-so-grateful alien-in-sort-of-distress he has freed from imprisonment giving him an earful for inadvertantly releasing a whole bunch of FREAKS who have a bone to pick with her...and anyone who gets in their way! Pickaxe the miniaturised dwarf, Ophalia the Gorgon-like snake-beast, Severus the dismembered warrior, Brusque the monosyllabic Centaur and Mynx the, er, teenage minx, are all about to make Icarus' life even more insane than it already was...and that's before Bonehead Dax comes into the picture. And THAT's before....but that would be telling! Let's just say the ending to this chapter is a doozy! As ever, Stephen Prestwood is on art duties and from what I have seen so far, Jack Kirby would be proud! Stephen's space-scapes are nothing short of perfection. I won't put up any preview art from the strip until closer to the time of release, but just so that this post isn't piccy free, here is a super-cool pinup of Icarus Stephen did as a 'doodle', followed by the cover for issue 10 (also featuring Icarus) by the wonderful Matt Soffe. More details on how to pick this baby up coming soon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Here's a funny thing.

When I first decided to have a crack at writing some comic scripts, the very first person I approached about submitting some work was Davey Candlish, who edits Paragon comic. He had put out a call for writers to take on the writing chores for his character Jikan, and when I got in touch interested about having a go at it, he was kind enough to give me the opportunity. I pitched an idea, he liked it, and away I went. The result was a tale called "Griffin's Bounty" --- and it was the very first multiple-page comic script I wrote.

Thing is---that was back in (I'm guessing) March or April 2010. And it's only now that this story is going to be unleashed into the public eye! The reason? Nothing sinister, simply the fact that there were already a whole bunch of Jikan stories in the bag before I came on board, so its taken some time for my spin-of-the-wheel to come up. But it's coming around now, kicking off with the release of "The Jikan Chronicles, volume 2", a 90page collection of brand-new Jikan tales --- including not just the aforementioned "Griffin's Bounty" but also another tale I wrote entitled "Uchuujin" (that's "Alien" in Japanese).

First of all, have a look at the cover, by Dave Candlish:

Pretty sweet, huh?

And guess what's sweeter? When you open the book and turn to the first page---it's the first page of "Griffin's Bounty", right up in your face for you to ogle at! The art is by my old friend El Chivo, who I've worked with on a number of projects over the last two years (most recently with Mammoth-Jack in issue 2 of know what I'm talking about right? If not----why the Hell have you not checked out issue 2 of Vanguard? You can view it for free and everything!!) Here's a typically awesome panel from the story, and Jikan is having a bit of an awkward moment:

Nice one, Chivo!

In this story, Sam Beckett...I mean, Jikan (sorry, I always think of Jikan as Quantum Leap Gone Native...really, there should be a Sam Beckett/Jikan crossover sometime, where Sam leaps into Jikan's body and says "Oh, boy" a lot...) turns up in ancient Greece, and is witness to a flock of typically boisterous griffin's doing a bit of ransacking and pillaging. He comes across a couple of survivors of the raid, young kids, who have been left all alone in the world as a result of the griffin attack. Naturally, Jikan decides he may as well help them out while he is hanging around waiting for his next leap, er, time-shift, and off he goes to set things right. Things don't turn out exactly as he was expecting them to though, and he finds himself up against a bigger threat than he thought. This story is notable as it introduces something new to the Jikan mix, something that will seem completely irrelevant at first, but will later turn out to be very important indeed.

Onto "Uchuujin" then, a shorter tale written as a bit of fun late last year. This one features art by Davey Candlish, which is cool, because I'd been wanting to work with Davey on something for a while, and his Mignola-stylings on this strip are quite groovy.

Here's a panel:

WHOK! Take that nasty...alien? Yeah, that's right, just for a change it's not demons Jikan's fighting in this tale, but ALIENS!!! Didn't see that coming, did you? Doesn't matter to Jikan though, aliens, demons, people, they're all just things to be chopped through if they piss him off. And the aliens in this story REALLY piss him off. This story also refers back to the previously mentioned "very important thing" Jikan comes into possession of in 'Griffin's Bounty', and we get a bit of a hint about what it can do and how it is going to change things for Jikan in the future. Luckily, you won't have to wait long to find out the truth, because in this very same volume is a multi-part story by fellow Jikan scribe Mark Howard, which explains everything via a series of shocking revelations, setting Jikan off in a new direction for his future adventures.

Other contributors to The Jikan Chronicles volume 2 include writers Matthew McLaughlin and Chris Cronin, and artists Dustin Parr and Chris Askham. It's a great book and well worth the few quid required to get your hands on one (£1.50 for the digital download and a fiver for the book!) Click HERE and pick up a copy in whatever format tickles your fancy.

Of course, my Jikan fun doesn't end with the two stories in this book. Oh no, I've also written a very special 2 part episode in which Jikan turns up on...well, that would be telling, to be honest, and I don't wanna. The 2 parter features art by a number of different artists, including Matt Soffe - coincidentally, another artist I've been wanting to work with on something for ages and ages. Jikan, eh? He's like a little-matchmaking cupid for artists and writers, bringing people together! :)

I'll leave you with a preview panel from part 2 of "Stowaway", with art by the aforementioned Mr. Soffe. It's a doozy. This 2 parter will be appearing in an issue of Paragon in the VERY NEAR FUTURE (no, you won't have to wait over 2 years for it!) so keep your eyes and ears posted in the usual places for info as it becomes available.

Thanks for reading - now go get yourself a seeing to by Jikan!

(Jikan, Stowaway, art by Matt Soffe)

Catching up....

This re-location business has meant I haven't really been keeping this blog up-to-date. I've got a really cool new book to talk about, but before I get into that (in a separate post), thought I would take a moment to add in a couple of things that I did for the 2000ad forum in the last few months.

The first is a 5 part Judge Dredd story which I wrote for last year's (God that sounds like ages ago) Forum Advent Calendar. I wrote it in the style of an old Daily Star Dredd and rounded up five different artists to illustrate each installment. The results were pretty damn good I have to say, with Owen Watts, Filip Roncone, Tony Rothwell, Neil Roche, and Stephen Prestwood all turning in some cool art for their contribution. It went down well on the forum too, I am glad to say. And here it is, in its entirety:

Groovy, huh?

A few months later, last February (that doesn't sound quite so long ago thankfully), there was an art/writing collaboration competition on the forum, to mark the 35th anniversary of the Galaxy's Greatest. The idea was that writers and artists were to collaborate on something, but it didn't really take off, unfortunately. I kind of cheated a bit....I wrote something, as I always do...then I took it to the NEXT LEVEL by drawing it myself!! But don't worry...I only said I "kind of" cheated...I did get a collaborator on-board, namely Owen Watts, who coloured and lettered my terribly bad scribbles, turning a turd into, well, something quite polished and pretty to look at! Here then, is the 2 pager I wrote/drew in honour of 2000ad's 35th Anniversary (don't worry, I won't be trading my word processor in for colouring pencils anytime soon).

And there we have it, a little bit of catching up and filling in the blanks.

Now onto something new and different.