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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Comics @ Glasgow Film Festival

Comics fans in Scotland have until now been looking at a prolonged dry spell when it came to major comics events in the country in the first half of 2011 with the postponement of the Hi-Ex convention expected in March by a year and the date change of the Dundee Comics Day from June to November.

However the Glasgow Film Festival, previously a mere bit part player on the Scottish comics scene, has come to their rescue helped along no doubt by GFF Ambassador Mark Millar. While it has yet to mutate into the Millarworld Film Festival, this year the Glasgow Film Festival has an impressive selection of both comics based films being screened and comics creators giving talks and workshops.

The highlight of the film screenings must be Luc Besson's live action version of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec based on the Jacques Tardi bandes dessinees, a film that has yet to be UK classified by the BBFC and is technically part of the Youth Film Festival. As for the talks, workshops and discussions, the highlight is expected to be the illustrated talk by Dave Gibbons to be held in Screen 1 of the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Tickets are £7.50 per event (£6 for concessions) and there are more details of the events as well as their locations and booking details on the Glasgow Film Festival website.

PEOPLE

Mark Millar Workshop
Wednesday 23 February
CCA 5
1430
Mark Millar, the Coatbridge-born comic-book writer and filmmaker will lead this workshop which will examine the art of writing for graphic novels. Cutting his teeth writing for 2000 AD and DC Comics, Mark Millar graduated to Marvel Entertainment ten years ago and in that time has written some of the most successful comic books in the English language. His Civil War event is the industry’s highest-selling comicbook series since the millennium, his Ultimates book provided the template for the current crop of Marvel movies and he was named by Time Magazine last year as global comic-book writer of the decade. After writing everything from the X-Men and Spider-Man to Superman and Batman, he started the Millarworld company to create and own his own material (in tandem with his artists). The first two of these books, Wanted and Kick-Ass, have been blockbuster movies as well as outselling even established characters like Spider-Man. Millar is currently hard at work on a sequel to Kick-Ass, the Superior movie and directing Miracle Park, his first full-length feature film.

Frank Quitely Workshop
Wednesday 23 February
CCA 5
1430
Internationally renowned Glaswegian graphic novelist Frank Quitely, aka Vincent Deighan, will examine his approach to visual storytelling in this involving workshop. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with Grant Morrison on titles such as New X-Men, WE3, All Star Superman, and Batman and Robin, as well as his work with Mark Millar on The Authority.

Metaphrog: Graphic Novels & Adaptations
Thursday 24 February
CCA 5
1430
Acclaimed Glasgow-based duo Metaphrog will discuss graphic novels and adaptations involving different media in a lively and interactive illustrated session. Metaphrog are the authors of the Louis graphic novel series, which has been nominated for multiple awards, and have recently adapted Edwin Morgan’s poem The First Men on Mercury into comic form.

Portfolio Review with CLiNT Magazine
Thursday 24 February
CCA 5
1630
Join the team behind CLiNT magazine and get a unique opportunity to present your own portfolio for feedback and get expert advice on how to break into the comic-book industry. The 50s had The Eagle, the 70s had 2000AD and now we have CLiNT. Edited and co-published by Mark Millar, CLiNT is the first mainstream news-stand comic-book launched in a generation. Synthesising the best of comics, movies and television, this is the one monthly magazine where you will see Jonathan Ross, Frankie Boyle, Kick-Ass, Jimmy Carr, Samuel L Jackson and Quentin Tarantino all under the same cover. The comic also acts as a recruitment drive for new creators, not just established names from the world of movies and television, but newcomers working from home and looking for an opportunity to shine.

ComicCamp 11
Friday 25 February
CCA
1100 and 1400
Free but ticketed.
GFF11 brings you ComicCamp, a two-part event exploring comics, animation, gaming and film, and the increasing blurring of the boundaries between these practices. The first session (11.00–13.30) focuses on emerging innovation, giving the floor to those working within these fields to present current projects or exciting new aspects of their work. The afternoon session (14.00–15.30) is a round table discussion featuring big hitters from comics, gaming and film speaking about crossovers between the three mediums and tackling the questions: What works and what doesn’t? Is this a golden age for film adaptations of comics and games? Can increased collaboration create new opportunities and ideas? Aimed at freelancers, creatives and those working (or studying) in the wider gaming, publishing and moving image industries, ComicCamp is an event inspired by the spirit of BarCamp (www.barcamp.org) – a free, ‘un-conference’ designed to facilitate the sharing of ideas in an open environment. The event will end with an opportunity for networking and refreshments.

Dave Gibbons in Conversation
Friday 25 February
GFT Cinema 1
1600
Dave Gibbons discusses his extensive career in this lively illustrated event. An English comic book artist, writer and sometime letterer, Dave Gibbons is best known for his collaborations with writer Alan Moore which include the miniseries Watchmen and the Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything. He was also an artist for the UK anthology 2000 AD, for which he contributed a large body of work from its first issue in 1977. Works other than comics include providing the background art for the 1994 computer game Beneath a Steel Sky and the cover to K, the 1996 debut album by psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker. In 2007, he served as a consultant along with John Higgins for the film Watchmen adapted from the book, released in March 2009.

Note: The event "Amruta Patil Interview with Paul Gravett" listed in the printed brocuhure and scheduled for Thursday 24 February at noon has been cancelled.


FILMS

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
This subtitled French film has not been certified by the BBFC and the Festival considers it suitable for a 12+ audience.
Show Times:
Monday 7 February GFT Cinema 1 1000
Wednesday 9 February GFT Cinema 1 1300
Thursday 10 February Cineworld Parkhead 1015
Acclaimed French director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Leon) returns to the big screen with his smash hit adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novels by Jacques Tardi. Adèle Blanc-Sec is an aspiring journalist who fears nothing and no one. So when a pterodactyl from the Jurassic era mysteriously appears in the skies of Paris, she must use all her wits and charm to stop it. An exciting Gallic take on blockbusters like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, this is perfect entertainment for genre enthusiasts.

Superman II - the Richard Donner Cut (PG)
Show Times:
Tuesday 22 February Cineworld 18 1830
This screening will be introduced by GFF Ambassador Mark Millar. Never before shown on a cinema screen in the UK, the Richard Donner version of Superman II is a fascinating lost treasure. Donner worked on the original Superman and its sequel at the same time and is thought to have completed between 70–80% of Superman II when he was informed that his services were no longer required. Donner’s material has now been edited into something much closer to his original vision of the film in which Christopher Reeve’s definitive Superman is under threat from both a trio of Kryptonite rebels and his feelings for Lois Lane. Highlights of Donner’s cut include previously unseen footage of Marlon Brando that deepens the father-son relationship at the heart of the story. A unique chance to see a rare piece of film history.

Crumb (18)
Show Times:
Wednesday 23 February CCA 4 1200
An acclaimed 1994 documentary from Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World, Bad Santa) about cult underground comic book artist Robert Crumb. A prominent member of the underground comic movement of the 60s, Crumb is known for his critical and subversive view on mainstream American culture. Zwigoff’s much-loved portrait of the man captures his unique outlook on life, charts the rise of his career and also takes a look at his troubled family and personal relationships. It’s a fascinating insight into a remarkable artist as well as a snapshot of a vibrant slice of American counter-culture.

Heavy Metal (15)
Show Times:
Wednesday 23 February Cineworld 17 1900
Thursday 24 February Cineworld 17 1515
Heavy Metal was originally released in 1981 and whilst not an instant commercial success it soon became a cult favourite, regularly showing at midnight screenings. This Canadian animation is made up of a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories adapted from Heavy Metal, an adult illustrated magazine famed for its blend of fantasy and erotica. This tale of a glowing green orb from outer space that spreads destruction throughout the galaxy also has a memorable soundtrack featuring Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo and Journey.

A Distant Neighbourhood
This subtitled French film has not been certified by the BBFC and the Festival considers it suitable for a 15+ audience.
Show Times:
Wednesday 23 February Cineworld 17 2100
Thursday 24 February Cineworld 17 1300
Who wouldn’t want to relive the past with the benefit of hindsight? That’s the appealing notion at the centre of this time-travelling tale inspired by a manga from Japanese graphic artist Jiro Taniguchi. Pascal Greggory is Thomas, a fifty-something graphic artist suffering from a creative block. He takes the wrong train to a book signing session and soon finds himself back in the town where he grew up. He faints and then wakes up to discover it is the summer of 1967, he is fifteen all over again (Leo Legrand now takes the role) and it is just a few days before an event that would change his life forever. His newfound dilemmas prove to be clever, believable and surprisingly touching.

Battle Royale 3D (18)
Show Times:
Thurday 24 February Cineworld 5 2100
Just when you thought a ‘solid gold cult classic’ couldn’t get any better along comes the 3D version. Never theatrically released in America, Kinji Fukasaku’s edge-of-the-seat chiller celebrates its tenth anniversary with a 3D conversion in preparation for a fresh assault on delicate American sensibilities. The story remains the same but the impact is more intense. In response to a wave of juvenile delinquency, a class of school pupils is kidnapped and transported to a remote island where they must wage war against each other until one person is left standing. If they choose not to fight the explosive collars they wear will be detonated. Clever, controversial and now bursting from the screen. 3D glasses 80p at venue.

Griff the Invisible
This Australian film has not been certified by the BBFC and the Festival considers it suitable for a 15+ audience.
Show Times:
Thursday 24 February Cineworld 17 1830
Friday 25 February Cineworld 16 2045
The gap between mundane reality and the daredevil antics of a costumed superhero has rarely seemed so wide or so poignant as it does in Leon Ford’s zestful feature debut Griff the Invisible. By day Griff (True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten) is a bumbling office worker who serves as an easy target for a bullying colleague. By night he takes to the mean streets of Melbourne to fight crime and save lives. The more exciting and fulfilling his time as a superhero, the more real life disappoints. Then, he meets beautiful, gauche scientist Melody (Maeve Dermody). Can these two lost souls find true love in a world that fails to understand them? A smart, heart-warming, fun-filled delight.

Danger: Diabolik (12)
Show Times:
Thursday 24 February CCA 4 1630
Saturday 26 February Arches 1730
An outlandish, tongue-in-cheek action movie from 1968 inspired by the Italian comic book character Diabolik. Directed by horror maestro Mario Bava and produced by Dino De Laurentiis (of Barbarella fame) Danger Diabolik is the story of an audacious thief – living in a lavish hideout with his lover Eva – who is intent on embarking on ever more challenging heists. But will the daring Diabolik continue to elude the authorities? This often hilarious, fun-filled and action-packed flick has been cited as an influence on, among others, Austin Powers and will especially appeal to fans of the B-movie genre.

More details of the events with their locations and booking details are on the Glasgow Film Festival website.

Friday, 21 January 2011

More Jack Staff issues released for iPhone

A quick plug, courtesy of digital comics distributor Comixology, to remind folk here that Paul Grist's wonderful Jack Staff is available on iPhone and more.

Out now are Issue 9 and 10, with Issue 9 offering "Titanic team-up action as Britain's Greatest Hero, Jack Staff, and Castletown's Cast Iron Champrion, Tom Tom the Robot Man, join forces in the hunt for superhero-hating Detective Inspector Maveryk!

You'll also learn the full details of the Freedom Fighters' battle to halt the Nazi invasion of Castletown in 1942.

In Issue 10, it's time for more action from Karl Stringer, a man who was just a thief until he stole the Claw, a strange metal glove that bonded with his own hand and gave him the power of invisibility! He became the mysterious Super Villain known as The Claw - until the police caught up with him.

Right now he's called Ben Kurmer and he's part of Q, the enigmatic investigators of the Question Mark Crimes – only when he gets caught up in a diamond robbery, he has to decide if he's really a hero or a villain!


More info on Issue 9 of Jack Staff on the Comixology site


More info on Issue 10 of Jack Staff on the Comixology site

More about Jack Staff on Wikipedia

The original Death's Head returns in Marvel Heroes

A page from the new Death's Head
versus Hulk story by Simons Furmsn
and Williams. Via Simon's blog
(with thanks to Simon Williams): One of Marvel UK's most popular characters, Death's Head, is set to return in an all-new story for Panini Comics Marvel Heroes.

Issue 33 of the newstand title, on sale in March, will see the original Freelance Peacekeeping Agent Death's  Head back in action – and fighting none other than the Incredible Hulk.

"For the past month or so, I've been making hints on both my Facebook and Twitter accounts in regards to a certain project that I've been working on," says Simon on his official web site on deviantart, "a project which I truly believe is the most exciting thing I've worked on since breaking into the comics business in 2003.

"Well, after numerous weeks of teasing the masses, I can now finally spill the beans... Death's Head is back! The original Freelance Peacekeeping Agent is returning to the pages of of a UK comic, in the pages of Panini Comics' Marvel Heroes, in a tale written by original Death's Head creator Simon Furman, with art by yours truly.

"It's the second part of a two-part story (both parts in the same issue), the first written by Ferg Handley with art by John Ross. Death's Head grand entrance however isn't until our part of the tale."

"Amazingly, this marks my first work on the original Death’s Head since the early 1990s," says Simon Furman, "when he guest-starred in the likes of She-Hulk, Marvel Comics Presents and Death’s Head."

A page of Simon Williams'
fan fiction tale featuring
Death's Head and Hulk
For Simon Williams, this is a dream come true - the accomplished artist even created his own Hulk versus Death's Head strip just for fun some time back, which features in his online gallery.

"It's no secret that I've been campaigning for the return of Death's Head since I broke into comics," Simon enthuses, "so I can't begin to tell you how excited and proud I am to be part of this."

For him, the fact that Death's Head will be fighting none other than the Hulk is "icing on the cake".

"Honestly, my job could never get any better than this," says Simon. "I know for sure that a lot of Marvel UK and Transformers fans out there are going to be very pleased with this news!!

Marvel Heroes Issue 33 is on sale in all good UK newsagents from 24th March 2011. Death's Head is back... and it's about time, yes?

• Simon Williams blog is here: http://soulmaninc.blogspot.com

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Panel Borders: the deconstructed American Male

Continuing radio show and podcast Panel Borders’ month long look at depictions of Masculinity in American Comics, Alex Fitch talks to award winning graphic novelists Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes, who both publish their work first as chapters, in periodicals Acme Novelty Library and Eightball respectively.

Ware’s graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, won the Guardian First Book Award in 2001, while Clowes’ Art School Confidential and Ghost World have both been adapted as American Independent films, the latter seeing the author nominated for his Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2002 Academy Awards.

Panel Borders: the deconstructed American Male 5pm, 20/01/11, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at www.resonancefm.com

• Following the regular audio podcast of this episode at www.panelborders.wordpress.com, a video podcast will follow, this weekend, at www.youtube.com/panelborders

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Commando at 50: Second Shots

Here's the latest Commandos to hit newsagents, courtesy of DC Thomson, as the countdown to the comic digest's 50th anniversary begins in earnest...

Commando 4359: Johnny The Jinx
Story: Eric Hebden Inside Art: Alonso Cover Art: Lopez Espi
Originally No 301 for 1967, re-issued in 1976 as 1019

Remembered by Commando Calum Laird from childhood and re-issued as part of the 50th anniversary program, this story centres on Lieutenant Johnny Dawson. Gremlins, leprechauns — call them what you like — they all had it in for him. He was the sort of bloke whose Sten would suddenly jam for no reason, or he’d be the one in a million who’d be issued with the grenade with a faulty fuse.

Yes, Johnny had a real jinx. He didn’t like it, the top brass didn’t like it and, most important, Johnny’s men didn’t like it. In fact if his luck didn’t change soon he’d have a mutiny on his hands.

Commando 4360 Flying Fury
Story: Ken Gentry Inside Art: José Maria Jorge Cover Art: Sanfeliz
Originally No 384 from 1969, re-issued as No 1107 in 1977

Chosen by former editor George Low to be re-issued as part of the 50th anniversary programme, this is the late José Maria Jorge’s first book for Commando.

Painted on the fuselage of Otto Koll’s Messerschmitt fighter were many RAF roundels, the number of Spitfires and Hurricanes he had shot down. He was a master-flyer. He reigned supreme.

But there’s a lot of truth in the old saying, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

All the RAF needed was something impossible… a pilot who could out-fly and out-fight Germany’s best!

Commando 4361 Free French Ace
Story: Ferg Handley Inside Art: Rezzonico Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

Although he had been born in France, Mike Perrin grew up in Great Britain and considered himself to be English. Furthermore, he blamed the French and their early surrender to Germany for the deaths of his parents.

When Mike passed out as a fighter pilot his Gallic heritage saw him posted — mistakenly, he believed — to a Free French squadron. He didn’t want to be there and made no bones about it. This bad attitude was going to get him into a lot of trouble…

Commando No 4362: Mountain Warriors
Story: Alan Hebden Inside Art: Keith Page Cover Art: Keith Page

They looked comical in their striped robes and leading their mules. But the Goumiers were soldiers through and through, fighting for France against all comers in North Africa.

Make no mistake, these mountain warriors were silent, dangerous…and deadly!

Calum tells us the working title for this tale was The Goum Show — Goumiers are often referred to as Goums. And it is not the first Commando cover to feature a donkey.

• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandomag.com/

• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846


• You can read interviews with former Commando editor George Low, current editor Calum Laird and writer Ferg Handley on the downthetubes main site.

SFX Weekender line up includes comics guests Abnett, Mills, Talbot and Lee

This year's SFX Weekender, organised by SFX Magazine takes places next month at Pontins in Camber Sands, and the event promises to have plenty of things to interest comics fans as well as exclusive screenings, tons of prizes giveaways and guests.

There's also a competition being run at the moment to win tickets.

Highlights of the event include the SFX Awards 2011, hosted by top sci-fi author Robert Rankin. The famous SFX Blastermind Quiz, the Maskerade Ball and the SFX Imaginarium - the ultimate sci-fi stage show.

Top celebrity guests attending include legendary Discworld author Sir Terry Pratchett, Anthony Head (star of Buffy and Merlin), George Takei (Star Trek's Mr Sulu), Keeley Hawes (Ashes To Ashes) and Craig Charles (Red Dwarf's Dave Lister).

Comics guests include Pat Mills, Dan Abnett, Paul Cornell, Tony Lee, Glenn Fabry, Dez Skinn and Bryan Talbot.

The organisers have 50 sets of SFX Weekender passes to give away. To be in with a chance to win, simply answer this ridiculously easy question: what date is the SFX Weekender 2011 being held?

A) 26-27 February 2011
B) 18-19 February 2011
C) 4-5 February 2011

Email your answer (A,B or C... no really) and your name and contact telephone number (important!) to info@sfxweekender.com and quote the code SFXWSFL.


• The venue is Pontin's Holiday Park, Camber Sands, East Sussex and the weekend runs 4-5 February 2011

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Queen, a super villain!

Following up on our story about Markosia's new Royal Wedding tie-in comic, Kate and William - A Very Public Love Story, we were reminded that the Royal family has made appearances in comics on many occasions, but perhaps only once as a potential supervillain.

Back in 1977, when the weekly comic's American writers of Captain Britain Weekly might have heard about the Royal Jubilee even across the pond, they came up with the idea of having her take central stage, the hypnotised pawn of a supervillain known as the Highwayman -- and order the invasion of Africa.

But first, the Highwayman had to gain the Queen's trust - and to do this, he brainwashes the hapless young Captain Britain and orders him to attack the Queen.  When he does, the Highwayman rides in to defend her, and her "saviour" asks if he could be allowed a look inside Buckingham Palace as a reward.Once there, of course, the dastardly villain soon has our sovereign in his power.

All this was a prelude to a relaunch of Captain Britain's adventures as part of a new comic, Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain, and in the first issue disaster seems to loom, as the Highwayman not only controls the monarch, but also the entire Royal Navy.

Eventually of course, Captain Britain saves the day and defeats the plans of the Manipulator, the Highwayman's boss. 

It's all tremendous but hokey fun, and, as the International Hero web site points out, the Highwayman marks a truly awful attempt by an American writer of Captain Britain to mimic a British accent!

Markosia publishes Royal Wedding tie-in comic by Johnston, Collins and Erskine

British graphic novel publisher Markosia Enterprises is proud to present to the nation a dramatic retelling of the lives of Prince William and Kate Middleton in their new graphic novel Kate & William - A Very Public Love Story.

Written by Rich Johnston, it tells the life story of the happy couple in two directions.

Mike Collins, perhaps best known for his Doctor Who and Star Trek work, tells Kate's story in the manner of a 1970's girls comic book, with some very modern touches. Each event is given added depth and resonance by the use of a fictional diary.

Meanwhile, Scottish artist Gary Erskine delivers a more bombastic story, following William from the rugby pitches of Eton to army officer training at Sandhurst before his army and RAF exploits, all the time narrated by newspaper headlines and mission briefings in a style more familiar to the army and sports comics for boys.

Markosia Enterprises say they've set out to tell the story of Prince William and Kate Middleton's romance in a very different way, offering a dramatic biography with two separate stories told from either end of the comic, coming together in the middle with a fictional look at the wedding day itself, with a kiss. How could it end any other way?

Rich Johnston, a major contributor to the comic news site Bleeding Cool, is a well-known comics industry figure, with appearances on The One Show, Channel 5 Movie Shows, and Radio 4's The Today Programme. His previous work, The Flying Friar and Watchmensch received rave reviews, as did his stint on IDW's US Doctor Who comics.

"I suggested the idea to the publisher on Instant Messaging," says Rich Johnston, who tells us the biggest challenge for him in doing this book was "taking out books about the royal couple from the library while still appearing to be male."

A panel from Mike Collins
Kate Middleton story
"Gary Erskine suggested me to Harry as a good 'girl' artist," says Mike Collins, who has been illustrating comics and working as a graphic designer for over 25 years and whose adaptation of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol selected as one of the top ten graphic novels back in 2008 by The Sunday Times. "Rather than take that as some kind of Alpha Male challenge, I ran with it, embracing my inner Jackie!

"The biggest challenge on this job for me was realising that these are real people, not actors playing roles."

"Harry Markos called me last year and said that he had a special project in the offering and asked me if I was interested," says Gary Erskine, who has been illustrating comic books for 18 years of his role. "Rich had recommended me as a perfect choice for a 'real book about real people' and felt it played to my strengths (or lack of superhero strength?) It also needed to be grounded visually and my realistic work had helped secure the job! It certainly was an offer I couldn't refuse."

"Thankfully I was given the opportunity to work on the William book (leaving the lovely Kate Middleton in Mike Collins more sympathetic artistic hands) My approach was more of a Boys' Own adventure book to compliment Mike's Mandy girl comic style for Kate."

"The biggest challenge for me on this was trying to remain respectful to the subject matter but still producing a good looking book," he adds.

In addition to his comics work, Gary has contributed character designs and storyboards for television, commercials and games development, working with various companies including DC, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse, Virgin Comics and Titan Books and, like Mike, is used to working with licensed properties and ensuring he's delivered an accurate likeness, but feels that when you're dealing with real people as opposed to licensed characters or even actors there is also a responsibility to portray them well.

"Having dealt with licensed properties (and actor and agent approvals) it is always better to flatter the principals," he feels. "Both Mike and I will be honest to a degree, but never cruel.

"Besides, the two books are basically romances and that will be our primary focus for the art.

"This book is a celebration of Kate and William's lives leading up to their engagement and we have tried to remember that. We'll leave the salacious gossip and snooping to the red tops and celebrity rags.

"I'm not really a Royalist but I respect what they do to promote the country abroad and welcome their charitable work. William's continuation of his mother's landmine work is particularly admirable."

A panel from Gary Erskine's story

How do the creators think it will be received? "With cynicism, suspicion and mockery," feels Rich, until they start reading it."

"I think we've got real cross-over potential with this," feels Mike, "getting comics into the hands of an audience that has neglected the medium, maybe has never read a comic. Whether we're just the four-colour equivalent of a decorative plate, we'll see."

"There will no doubt be cynical naysayers and public sniping for our books from certain comic buyers and parts of the general public," Gary feels, "but to be honest... there's enough of that crap around anyways. We're producing a celebratory edition and would hope that most readers will see past their own personal cynicism and enjoy the book for what it is. There's darker books out there if that's their choice.

"We would only hope that we got it right and it is found to be popular and welcomed everywhere.

"I think Rich has done a great job with the script," he adds, "balancing the very public perception of William and allowing for a little creative license. It's always a delicate matter when dealing with real people and the obvious sensitivities that come with their history. He has written a very good script for all that and I am delighted to be working with him on the story."

But what does the man who greenlit the project feel about it - publisher Harry Markos?

"How do I feel? Well, I am about as excited about a book as I have ever been as a publisher,' he told us, "recognising the possibilities and success that it could have. The response we have had from all over the world has been overwhelming, it hasn't stopped!

"Put simply, if we are able to negotiate viable terms this could be one of the best selling graphic novels in the UK in years," he continues, "so you can imagine I am somewhat nervous as well as excited!"
Asked if they would be doing more royal projects in future if  the graphic novel is a success, Mike is cautious but hopeful.

"When Rich and Harry came up with this project, I think they both understood this was one of those zeitgeist moments," he says. "With all the other misery and bleakness in the world here was a shiny, upbeat tale. It's a love story, it's corny but that's that. Whether that moment comes again, I really don't know."

"Maybe when it's time for their eldest to get married!" says Rich.

"Are you suggesting a Royal Markosia imprint? Great idea!," Gary says, laughing. "We could create our own universe and run with that on a monthly series. The Windsor's are basically a large family with constitutional powers and plenty of history and constant interest to the public. All we need is to spandex them!

"Seriously, this is a one-off special project. Harry and Rich saw an opportunity and grasped it. Very much of the moment. There may well be similar books in the future but I don’t see it becoming a staple for the current market."

"We have discussed the possibility of releasing other books that are more suitable for a wider audience," hints Harry Markos, "as opposed to the more niche comic market, and we are not letting anyone know in advance what they are!

"What I can assure you is that they will be tastefully produced by quality creators for as large an audience as possible, so watch this space..."

Kate And William: A Very Public Love Story will be sold in bookshops, select comic stores, supermarkets and all good outlets from April 2nd.



Order Kate & William - A Very Public Love Story from amazon.co.uk


Order Kate & William - A Very Public Love Story from amazon.com

• Markosia Enterprises: www.markosia.com

Mike Collins Official Site


Gary Erskine Official Site and Blog

Moore and Reppion announce steampunk motion comic "The Thrill Electric"


"We are very pleased to say we are now officially allowed to talk about a very exciting new project we have coming up in 2011," the writing team announced on their blog.

"This project came about from a writing cliché, in that it is the very first idea I have had which was so good and so obviously needing writing, that I had to sit up in bed, grab a pen and start making notes," says John. "This has never happened to me before or since, and in fact I never actually believed it did happen to writers. But now it has, and a bloody good job too. Hattrick Productions liked it, and 4education liked it enough to commission it!"

The team are now writing a ten part motion comic series set in the fast paced world of the Victorian Internet.

"We have the lovely and talented Emma Vieceli on board, giving the whole series her drop dead gorgeous signature style, and making sure it all has a smooth cohesive look and feel and then we have the combined force of Windflower Studio on art chores for the series. We managed to get these girls before the ink was even dry on their animation degree certificates, so we have the pleasure of saying 'you saw them here first kids!'"

The Thrill Electric revolves around the office of the International and Electric Telegraph Company in Manchester in 1871 and follows the fortunes of a gang of young adults who connect with wires. They have the day to day data of the city, of the world even, flowing through their telegraph keys and millions of people relying on the telegraph for news of wars, the prices of their stocks, the news of a loved one’s birth, or marriage or death. All of this responsibility heaped on those young shoulders and they still manage to find time to slack off, play games, bitch about each other and fall madly passionately in love, all at the lightning  speed of the telegraph.

For more more about The Thrill Electric, check out this post on John and Leah's official blog

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