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Embracing the Dark

September 13, 2012

iPad fans rejoice – I’m now a columnist for INFINITY, an iPad-exclusive free magazine about digital graphic novels and comics.  Published bimonthly by Panel Nine, the first issue was released yesterday and is free to read and subscribe to through iTunes.  My column will cover my experiences of going digital as I begin reading comics for the iPad, starting off with a roundup of some of the big players like Comixology and Madefire.  This first column doesn’t go into a lot of depth as I basically floundered, hopping from one App to the next and looking for a reason to feel passionately about iPad comics, but hopefully for the next issue I’ll have fallen in love with something that I can share with the world.  It’s also worth noting that Panel Nine are conspicuous by their absence in my first column, as it seemed disingenuous to extol the virtues of the publishers of INFINITY so quickly.  I’m actually looking forward to reading their versions of Dapper John by Eddie Campbell and Kickback by David Lloyd, as it was editor Russell Willis’ assured sales pitch for his Apps that persuaded me to buy an iPad in the first place!

As always I’ve been working on a number of different comic projects recently, one of the most exciting being a series of collaborations with artist Martin Simmonds.  Our strip together Embrace the Dark (lettered by the always-reliable Mike Stock) will be published sometime next month, preview below, and we’re currently working together on a longer strip for the next anthology by Disconnected Press, which is due to be released at Thought Bubble in November.  Martin’s grasp on page layouts, the importance of good anatomy and character design, combined with his gorgeous digital colouring, make him a force to be reckoned with, and I hope very much that we’ll be working on a much bigger project after submitting to Disconnected Press.

The Bleed issue 2, which I contributed a short story to, got a great review recently from Cara aka The Tattooed Book, an awesome reviewer, bookseller and alternative model.  In the interests of full disclosure I’ve known Cara for a couple of years now through our work together at Starburst Magazine, but she’s had the good grace NOT to mention my contribution to The Bleed and instead focuses on the meta-narrative that editor Daniel Thomson was trying to tell.  I heard a rumour that crime writer Denise Mina loved the issue two, something that I can’t verify but I’m happy to assume is the truth.

Lastly my friend Mike Garley is editing an anthology of zombie comics called Dead Roots that you should all be aware of by now.  I spoke to him earlier in the year about writing a segment that would have told the story about the return to life of an abusive father, buried in his backyard, but it became apparent that my story of a broken family wouldn’t easily fit into the allotted space.  Stories with punch-lines are easy to do in a single page, but stories with emotional resonance take a little more room to breathe.  Anyway, Dead Roots is entering the final stages now and I’ve submitted a couple of story ideas to the Survival of the Fittest competition, which will choose a final story to enter the anthology based on the number of Facebook Likes that each receives.  My two strips are a zombie parody of Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue and a more horrific strip set on the underground that combines a recurring nightmare I used to have about infection spreading on a rush-hour train with a story that I picked up in the Toby Tripp comic Welcome to Slightly-Grubby Heaven, which was partially about his time cleaning dead bodies off train tracks.  I pretty much never use Facebook, so this popularity contest might be over for me before it begins, but show some love nonetheless and Like one of my entries if you get the chance.  Dead Roots is a great idea and well worth your support with or without my involvement.

Oh, and I turn 30 this week too. Big milestone, or so I’m told, but since I’m married with two kids and already actively chasing my dreams I don’t feel like I’ve been suddenly faced with the spectre of my own mortality.  There’ll be a party in Manchester before the end of the month, any friends within travelling distance should get in touch for more details.

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