Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Mighty One

Can't let the moment pass without expressing my heartiest contrafibularities to Graham McNeill, who won the David Gemmell Award for his novel Empire last friday night. In a kilt. Three cheers! Hip hip...

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Quiet. Too Quiet.

Extract coming soon. Promise. What with a family wedding (congratulations, Ryan and Jacqui!), a two day brainstormer visit to the Black Library donjon (the High Lords of Terra gathered for the latest Heresy spitball/symposium) and actually getting some writing done, I haven't been manning the blog as often as I'd like in the last few days.

For your amusement until I catch up, try this, which was recommended by Ben Metcalfe over on my Facebook page. Dip into the long and rich list of past monologues once you're there. Magnificent. My faves so far are Julian Lennon, Bob Hope auditioning for Jaws, and Beowulf.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Get It While It's Hot

Thanks for all the kind messages of encouragement and goodwill, even the mad ones (you know who you are). I will prepare that extract of Prospero Burns forthwith and let you know when it's going up.

In the meantime, a couple of items for today. First off, I want to point you in the direction of this piece of nonsense on the Black Library blog where ADB and I "interview" each other. The second half of it is now up, though this takes you to the first bit so you read it in the right order (the second half is easily found from the first).

Item two - The whole creative team on Guardians of the Galaxy got an email from Nathan Fairbairn, our brilliantly talented colourist, who writes "Hey, guys! Just wanted to drop you all a line to let you know that I won a Shuster award for outstanding colourist on the weekend for my work in 2009, and the jury specifically pointed to my colours on Guardians as what put me over the top and won me the award. So I just want to say thanks, truly, to all of you for letting me work on such a fun book and making me look good!" To which we all say a very hearty and well-deserved congratulations to Nathan. Hip hip!

Item three - our Marvel editor Bill Rosemann forwarded a little round up of the press The Thanos Imperative has been getting:

“Great! Starts things off with a bang…this issue delivers both in terms of developments and setup for the cosmic event. For my money, this issue sets the bar for how event lead-ins should operate…Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are more than prepared to give readers some big moments and cataclysmic happenings…it's not a challenge to pick Ignition right up and follow along easily. I felt as though I completely understood every development…First class stuff from an already strong section of comics.” –

“5 Stars. I haven’t been this stoked about a cosmic event since Annihilation premiered. It turns out that naming this comic Ignition was apt in many ways – most importantly perhaps in its potential to re-ignite popular interest in Marvel Cosmic. Ignition hits the ground running…Various surprises ensue with DnA delivering perhaps one of the most shocking endings in recent comics history. DnA’s writing mojo is at a peak with Ignition. They deliver a tightly paced, action packed story that shows promise in actually surpassing the modern benchmark and trend setter with which all Marvel Cosmic comics much compete – Annihilation...Walker’s art is magnificent as usual – as is Quintana’s coloring…In short, DnA and Walker deliver a tour-de-force.” –

“Boom! Thanos, Nova, Magus, a mystery surprise person, it's all crazy and it's all good. If you haven't been reading Guardians of the Galaxy or the War Of Kings books, you can still pick this up and follow along. This is what "event" books should be like.” –

“Fantastic character work and superb action…Once again, the team of DnA does not disappoint.” –

Thanos Imperative: Ignition lives up to its subtitle. The fuse is lit, Houston has been contacted and this event is blasting off. I'm not sure how these cosmic events manage it, but every one has had one of these prelude one-shots to kick the event off and every single one has been absolutely amazing. Thanos Imperative continues the trend…If they were looking to build hype and add a level of "OH $%!&!!!" to this event, mission accomplished.” –

The Thanos Imperative: Ignition is a comic that is scarcely contained by the edges of its pages. It’s a comic about big explosions explosively told…Abnett and Lanning the mad bombers behind it all…haven’t so much used Ignition to light the fuse on their explosive event as they’ve set the timer on a thermonuclear device. Blending Lovecraftiana, alternate universe tropes and the most cunningly and subtly cast ensemble of cosmic players the Marvel U has to offer, The Thanos Imperative has every chance of eclipsing War of Kings, and the Annihilation sagas…. Thanos Imperative: Ignition is a an exploding supernova of a book, a piƱata made of nitroglycerin. Wack it with a stick and you get a face-first blast of cosmic coolness.” –’s “Best Shots”

“It's hard to not cheer on all the various characters as their paths intersect in this opening salvo of all-out war with another universe.” –

“You need to be reading this mini-series. It's accessible and epic, pitting an epic threat against the whole of Marvel's alien civilizations... and it seems their only hope is Thanos.” –

“Like much of their work for the cosmic line, the duo delivers here with a surprising, action-packed issue that sets the stakes high…This issue continues to push the idea that anything can and will happen in the Marvel cosmic books…The writing of Abnett and Lanning is bold and confident.” –

“It should come as no surprise by now that the first issue is an action-packed, frequently humorous blast. DnA rock the Marvel space ways, and they’ve grown extremely confident in their ability to handle sprawling casts in epic situations. We’re talking the collapse of existence here, and two of the big heroes are a heat-packing raccoon and a telepathic cosmonaut dog. Who else does that? The writers manage to make just about everything work, and that’s saying something, considering there are literally dozens of threads at play here… DnA, however, have done a banner job since taking on Annihilation Conquest and their successive pods. I don’t have any inkling now that this will be any different. The Thanos Imperative looks to be one of the most enjoyable reading experiences of the year; it’s a summer blockbuster backed by humor and characters I actually care about.” –’s “Best Shots”

"Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have managed to perfect the art of juggling their ensemble cast...They skillfully jump back and forth between these characters, always giving us just enough pages and information to make each moment matter without dragging down the story or creating jarring shifts in narrative. Every page feels important on some level and like the content we are getting matters and that's something many events struggle with delivering. Every event can manage a big splash page or shock death or stunning reveal. Few can keep the story between these moments just as engaging...The only imperative you need concern yourself with is finding a copy of this issue. An event comic done right and one you won't want to miss out on. Verdict: Must Read"

"The writing team of Abnett and Lanning are knocking this one out of the park...Abnett and Lanning fully embrace the fact that these characters have been around the block a few times, and the goal is to continue their adventures rather than erase them...Brad Walker juggles a multitude of characters and epic space vistas with ease...And did I mention that he draws a mean anthropomorphic raccoon? A great-looking, great-reading the best classic Marvel manner." -Aint It Cool News

Phew. Despite the meds, I must be doing something right, right?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

From Big Purple Ones To Tiny Blue Ones

I finally had to admit defeat this week and own up to the fact that the anti-epilepsy meds they put me on when this condition started last year just don’t suit me. I persevered as long as I could, because quite often I felt perfectly fine (good, in fact), and I knew it takes a while to get exactly the right balance of dosage. I didn’t want to give up because it was a little difficult. I didn’t want to be that person.

I had to keep edging the daily dosage level up to fend off the seizures, and then make sure I didn’t even get those wonderful, euphoric flutters of nostalgic bliss (a bad sign, apparently - another avenue of pleasure closed off), and with each increase came a few days of depression.

In the last month or so, the depression’s become a much harder thing to work around. I can live with all the stupid little side-effects, but feeling devastatingly miserable for no reason at all, and being unable to follow any thread whatsoever has finally made me pull the ejector handle.

So I now have a fun-filled few weeks while I swap from one brand to another, decreasing one medication while I increase the other. I may be entering a brief zone of uncharted floopiness. Deep breath. Here goes.

In other news, work is going well (parts of it have been going well in ways I can’t write about yet), and I’ve been thinking about sticking up an exclusive extract of Prospero Burns here on the blog sometime soon. Would that be a popular move?

Oh, and for those of you who were asking, Sinister Dexter returns to 2000AD in Prog #1693, on sale July 14th. The story is called The Why-Shaped Cut, and has huge consequences for our gunshark heroes and the future of the ubercity of Downlode. Miss it at your peril, you scuzzpuck funts. I mean that in a nice way, obviously.

Meanwhile, there’s still time to catch Paul Cornell’s splendid pilot (yes, let’s be confident and call it a pilot) Pulse on BBC3 iPlayer, and may I also recommend Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, which collects the best from ten years of John Scalzi’s blog and shows how shit like the preceding three hundred and ninety words should be done.