Monday, September 27, 2010

Games Day 2010

And lo, we have returned from Games Day 2010, which we know to have been the greatest Games Day ever. Ever.

Very, very cool to see everyone (Big Steve must now be re-named Buff Steve - who knew?!), and special congratulations go out to Xhalax’s (yes, let’s call it Xhalax’s) costume posse for its outstanding Titan crew group impersonation. Also, thanks to Xhalax for the fudge, Bambi for the cookies, and who-ever it was for the Mechanicum cake (I wasn't there when that was delivered). Liam and Rachel? I’m sorry, I know who both of you are, but I was suffering from Games Day Daze when each of you came to see me. Thank you to everyone who attended and said hello, in fact. I hope no one went away disappointed. And, dude, was the Ultramarines trailer pant-wettingly exciting or what?

I’d like to say a very particular thank you to all the staff, crew and volunteers who did things like police the queues and man the tills and look after everyone. You know, the people who actually made it happen. Thank you from all of us who were just there larking about and having fun.

Now, a serious note for a moment. As is our wont, us author-types were locked in a very earnest little chat beforehand, and we decided that what we really wanted to do was to enter the arena on the day as a dramatic convoy, each one of us riding or driving an electric vehicle. It would be really, really dignified, and befit our status as, you know, 40K gods. Jim wanted a floor polisher or an airport baggage cart. I wanted to rise aloft aboard a cherry picker. Graham wanted a fork lift, and Aaron rather fancied an zamboni. We decided we’d all have special costumes and stage names, like wrestlers. Jim named me “Doctor Danhattan”, which supposes I want to be both blue and naked, and have CGI work applied to the ‘eye draw’ area. Eye draw. Yes, that’s what we’re going to call it.

Anyway, we’d all have theme music too. "Iron" Jim wanted Rock You Like A Hurricane by Scorpions. I wanted Don’t Fear The Reaper by BOC (which, while we’re on the subject, is my idea of a perfect Sinister Dexter theme). Graham wanted the title music from Roobard and Custard, which would, we felt, require him to lope into the hall. These aren’t big demands, let’s face it. They’re very do-able. We’re not prima donnas, after all. I really don’t understand why GW doesn’t let us organise Games Day one year. It would be full of win. And end after five minutes in a public safety debacle of truly Biblical proportions.

Anyway, let’s examine my photographic record.


Road trip! I call (automatic combat) shotgun!

Matt Farrer finally locates the hard-to-find venue.

Flash photography versus high-viz vests fail.

Inside the forbidding lair. Nik seems perfectly confident in her hand-sewn Titan crew outfit, but Aaron is beginning to get jumpy. "It's too quiet, Abnett! You said this would be fun! Damn you! It's too freaking quiet!"

The atmosphere builds. Deep in the bowels of the NEC, something stirs. Is that...the faint strains of the Roobard music I hear on the sepulchral wind?

They're he-ere!

Actual people doing actual proper work.

Katie excitedly shows off her augmetic nipple.


Nik begins to regret selecting the invisible clone for Games Day duties this year.

At the pre-signing, Aaron busies himself with copies of the Sabbat Worlds Anthology while nobody is watching, crossing out the words edited by in the phrase "edited by Dan Abnett" and replacing them with HI.

Matt chooses the wrong moment to critique Aaron's painstaking and carefully researched Sharpie puppet interpretation of the Horus/Emperor/Sanguinius showdown.

The view from where I was.

Aaron, mate, you do realise your mum can see the gesture you're making at me, don't you?

Then it was Graham's turn to be offered an augmetic nipple.

Jim WILL rock you like a hurricane.

The Next Big Thing.
(Alternative caption: Due to a slight warp mistranslation, Jim Swallow arrives twenty five years too early.)


Om to the nom.


Everyone in this room is about to have "a moment".


Winner of the funniest T-shirt of the day competition.

After much shouting and threats of violence, the moderati finally agree which Titan they belong to.

Mrs A and the soon-to-be Mrs ADB wear this season's House Of Mechanicus couture.

Tona and Caff 4 ever.

The Emperor Protects, but it doesn't hurt to have a giant cog-axe as back up.

Clothes by Mars, eyes by Shoggy Domor.

And good night cadets, where ever you are. We salute you.

Next year, they tell me, the costume posse is going for an Inquisitor theme, which is so appealing I might have to join in. While I leave you pondering that shocking development, here are two podcasts - for The Overlords and Seanhammer - that I've done in the last week or so. Thanks again, UK Games Day-ers. See you in 2011 (which, for Jim, will be 1986).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hired. Hired As.

So, Heroes For Hire - just announced. Andy and I are very excited, and it's nice that Marvel is giving us a tilt at something a zillion light years away from our cosmic stuff. We think you'll really enjoy this series, and we're shooting for that tightly plotted, unexpected character combo feel we had in the very un-street team book Guardians of the Galaxy. Read us talk about the series here, and see the pre-buzz build here. Brad's art on this is eye-gasmic*.

Just so we're clear before the comments flood in, two things: first, I KNOW some of these characters can't be 'hired'. It's a little format reinvention, so go with it and see how much happy-happy-joy-joy it can be before you express outrage. Second, please PLEASE realise I have no say in - or control over - how, or when, or in what form the cosmic books might be published, or whether they're on hiatus or not. That's why Marvel is the "publisher" and I'm the "hired word monkey". I don't make the decisions, and when you wag your finger at me as though I do, please bear in mind I might be quite emotionally invested in the cosmic stuff too.

Aaaand relax. Anyway, one bright spark of cosmic loveliness to come that I can promise (apart from the cock-spankingly** amazing conclusion to The Thanos Imperative) is the Rocket and Groot mini series. Tim Green is doing amazing work on this, and we (by 'we', I mean DnA,) feel confident that you'll enjoy more explosive fun with this series than you would from twenty four hours locked in a XXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX with XXXXXX XXXXXX and two XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX and a full XXXXXXX and absolutely zero inhibitions. ***

In other news, Games Day UK fast approaches. Look, look at it, whizzing towards us! How will we cope? How will we begin to navigate our way around the sheer awesome-ness-ness**** of it all? I'm glad you asked. Here's a map.

Now don't say I never give you anything.

Are you excited yet? Is your costume ready? is it? Iiiissssss it? Nik's is. Are you part of Xhalax's Titan crew? What do you mean, you don't know what I'm talking about?

The last few days, we've been having great fun hanging with Shira Calpurnia author Matt Farrer who, along with James and Donna, is visiting from Australia in time for Games Day. They are great company, and we've had a lot of laughs. An unnecessary amount of our amusement has derived from this vid. And the concept of the indifferent lamington. And awful puns based on the word "Hever".

Haven't got time to post all the pics, but here are a few:

Matt versus Anne Boleyn's attack swans. Bro, they were beached as, them swans.

We gave them Hever, Hever in the morning (see what I mean about puns?). Donna was also denied gravy at Hever, but we don't talk about that.

A maze, like wot we got lost in. There was a water maze too, wot we got wet in. Wet as. In the Tudor-bethan era, people must've thought: "I know what would be a fun activity. Extreme hedge navigation."

Meanwhile, in a moodier part of the county, Rochester Castle continued to look windswept and interesting, even though his name was Norman.

Speaking of Rocket and Groot, as we were earlier:

Idea for a new series house ad Marvel would never allow #9
A full page splash shot of Rocket Raccoon and Groot, full figure, armed to the teeth, posing with guns, looking us right in the eye. Leave space for series logo and credits.
Caption: “Got wood?”

* technical comic editor terminology.
** technical term of literary criticism, copyright Big Steve 2010.
*** Content redacted for extreme rudity.
**** A real word in real dictionaries. Look, I ought to know, I is a writist.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A (Magic) Leap Forward and other stories


In a packed blog today, I wanted to present a little round up of some recent goings on, and generally get excited in anticipation of Games Day UK, which happens in just over a week. Who will I see there? As many of you as possible, I hope!

Before I forget, I got all worked up a few minutes ago when the postman brought me my sample copy of this, which is a very very nice package indeed. Six hours of beautifully read Horus Rising audiobook? Yes please!

Let me also, while I remember, furnish you with a link to the second part of the Panel Borders broadcast about Marvel UK. Again, thanks to Alex Fitch for this, and to the London Science Fiction Film Festival for having us.

Next, a little anticipatory build up from

Next up, a link I shared on my Facebook page to a thought provoking piece on SF Signal entitled 'Casting the Eisenhorn movie'.

Once you're done there, come and hear this podcast Mike Shevdon and I did for Angry Robot (thank you, Mur!).

Finally, a link to a new website from Magic Leap, a company I'm going to be talking about a lot in the next few months. You'll see why. Go take a look, and get yourself a little jazzed up.

Did I say finally? I was lying. This is just idleness, but I feel the world can always do with a link to a really good song on a Friday afternoon.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saturday Cartoons

First, a mighty thank you to Forbidden Planet for hosting the feth-tastic Black Library Invasion last Thursday evening, where we launched The Sabbat Worlds Anthology. I say 'we', I mean me and fellow contributors Graham McNeill, Nik Vincent, Sandy Mitchell and Nick Kyme, along with High Lord Of Terra Jim Swallow. It was a roaring success, and here's some photo-magraphic evidence for those of you who were unable to make it. If you were able to make it, thanks for coming and it was absolutely jim dandy to see you.

If you'd like to read one of the first reviews of The Sabbat Worlds Anthology (spoiler warning!), go here.

Speaking of spoiler warnings, here's a nice reception for the latest issue of The Thanos Imperative. And here's another.

Finally in the catch up, here's a link to a podcast of the Marvel UK radio broadcast mentioned in the last post. Thanks, Alex!

Anyway, it's Saturday. More from the note book:

Idea for a one panel cartoon #419
In a wood-panelled study at the turn of the nineteenth century, a group of distinguished, bearded psychoanalysts look up at a sudden interruption. One of them raises his hand to make a calm gesture akin to a benediction, and addresses the IMPERIAL STORMTROOPERS who have burst into the room
Caption: “These aren't the Freuds you're looking for.”

Idea for a one panel cartoon #12
A VW Polo is parked outside the main doors of a magnificent French cathedral.
Caption: The hatchback of Notre Dame.

Idea for a one panel cartoon #33
A gloomy and conspiratorial board room in some anonymous office complex. Seated around the table, in deep and furtive discussion, are several sinister, silhouetted figures, although they have a curiously cuddly, ursine air about them.
Caption: The Build-A-Bear Group

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Comics On The Radio

Panel Borders: Making Marvels in the UK part 1

Resonance 104.4FM says: "Continuing our month long look at British creators who have written and drawn superhero comics for both the American and domestic markets, in a panel recorded in front of a live audience at the London Science-Fiction Film Festival, Alex Fitch talks to a quartet of Marvel UK luminaries who were responsible for some of the best action / adventure titles in the 1980s and 90s.
Dan Abnett and Gary Erskine co-created the Knights of Pendragon, a series which gave UK superhero Captain Britain a new, darker spin in the 1990s by adding him to an Arthurian team of heroes. Simon Furman was (and still is) the primary writer of Transformers, as well as the scribe behind a dozen installments of the Doctor Who comic strip, plus many of Marvel UK’s most memorable SF titles including Dragon Claws and Death’s Head. John Freeman helped create many of Marvel UK’s early 90s titles such as Death’s Head II, Warheads, Killpower and Motormouth.
Alex and the four creators discuss the rise in popularity of Marvel UK as a producer of original material in the 1980s and some of the memorable comics they founded along the way."

5pm, Resonance 104.4FM (London), Thursday 9th September 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Postal difficulties

First things first...Invasion! at Forbidden Planet. It's tomorrow, okay? Thursday. I know I've banged on about it here and on the Book of Face, so pardon me if you know the details by heart, but I'd hate anyone who really wanted to go to miss it.

Second thing: post. Due to a variety of factors, including the phase of the Moon, the mean annual rainfall in Guatemala, and the elasticity of Roger Federer's socks, the Clones have fallen behind on this website's post-bag chores. Many apologies. It isn't helped by the fact that the mail box is I'm sure there's a word for it...oh, cock-awful, that's it. Totally counter intuitive and user unfriendly. So answering post is a gazillion* times more complex than it needs to be. Then the mail box froze on me and, well, post was lost. There, I've said it. So if you've mailed me in the last six weeks or so, and I haven't replied to anything that needed a reply, I'm sorry.

As a general round up, if you were emailing me with a nice comment, thank you so much and keep on corresponding. If you were asking for some favour or work-related thing and I haven't got back to you as you might have expected, please mail me again. If you were selling me viagra or the chance to accept funds from Nigeria, I'm good, thanks.

If you were asking me to check out your writing, please understand that I get that a LOT, and I can't read your submission. With the best will in the world, I don't have time, and if I did it for one person I'd have to do it for everyone. Really sorry, and good luck. As far as general writing tips go, I'll always try to help, though I'd probably draw the line at inventing names or storylines for you to get you started, or listing what source material to read to get 'into' things (clue: the answer starts with "all the 40K rulebooks and supplements..."). If you were or are after a very specific piece of writing advice, re-mail your question. As far as writing tips in general go, I have wibbled about that before, at length, and would point you in the direction of my most recent round of comments on the subject, the posts entitled "Dear Ryan" (parts 1 to 3) back in February. Go read them, then see if your question still stands.

On that same topic, may I take the opportunity to point you all at this blog post by the splendid Chuck Wendig, which makes some extraordinarily useful and cogent remarks about the FREELANCE CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding the twenty-four hour party that is writing for a living. If you want to write, in any serious way, it's as important to know about this stuff as it is to know about words and the order correct go they in.

So, are we all good? Magnus and Viktor, I've replied to you. Niels, the reward is on its way. Steve, a podcast response is coming to you. Anyone else?

Okay - back to the twenty-four hour party, everyone, and see you all in Forbidden Planet tomorrow night.

*technical term of mail complexity measurement.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Vote for me! Today! Before it's too late!

This piece about the Not The Booker prize just came my way. Please vote, if you feel like it. For me, I mean. But it has to be done today.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Saturday Cartoons

More from the note book:

Idea for a one panel cartoon #211
An apparently lifeless HAND or FOOT protrudes from under the curtain of what appears to be a PASSPORT PHOTO BOOTH in a corner of a busy supermarket.
Caption: “Thank you for using Dignitas self check-out.”

Idea for a one panel cartoon #400
In an ice-cave hangar on the planet Hoth, a disgruntled HAN SOLO (dressed in snow gear) looks daggers at the only bipedal steed available, which is an especially mangy animal being offered to him by Joey Tempest of the Swedish melodic heavy metal band Europe.
Caption: “It’s the final tauntaun.”

Idea for a one panel cartoon #67
French General de division PIERRE BOSQUET seems singularly unimpressed with the contestants in the Stefani Angelina Germanotta look-alike competition he is judging.
Caption: “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas La Gaga.”

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Invasion of the Sabbat Worlds!

Just an over-excited reminder that THIS is happening next week, and that missing it will suck for you. Bear in mind the link needs to have the words "...and Aaron Dembski-Bowden" added to it.

Wanted to celebrate the US and canadian publication of Triumff on the first. That's simultaneous ebook publication too.

And here's proof that the books are actually on sale.

Let's also pause to get hot under the collar about Hammer and Bolter, and the splendour that is Thor AND Iron Man being in the same place at the same time as me and Andy.

Then here's this very nice write-up of my talk to the BSFA last week. Thanks, Kai!

Finally, for your early warning radars - I'm going to be at Games Day UK (of COURSE I'm going to be at Games Day UK!) on 26th September, The New York Comic Con on 8 - 10th of October, and Games Day Italy on the 17th of October. Oh, and Thought Bubble in November.

And FINALLY finally, if the following trailer doesn't fill you with a huge squeee! of excitement, then you should surrender your boltgun at once and report to the Inquisition for immediate chastisement.