SCREAM 37 and more free horror comics
SCREAM issue 37 is now on sale, featuring ‘The Beast of Liverpool’, my four-page interview with John Reppion, co-writer of SelfMadeHero’s upcoming M R James graphic novel anthology, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary: Volume 1. I spoke to John about how Liverpool has influenced his work, whether or not it’s still cool to hate Lovercraft and how his peers are all flying around in helicopters drinking champagne by now. Don’t tell anyone, but I submitted the youngest photo of John that I could find to accompany the interview, just to unnerve anybody confronted by his wizened face at a convention.
I’m continuing to post all of my previously published comics online to read for free, and plan to continue uploading a new strip every week until at least the end of the year.
Esben and the Witch, illustrated by Phil Marsden, was our interpretation of the Danish fairy tale, which I discovered purely through love of the band with the same name. I’ve been making comics with Phil off and on since we worked together at Travelling Man Newcastle. Phil went on to illustrate features for NME and Kerrang! and to exhibit at fine art galleries around the world, completely unhindered by the fact that I demanded he draw cannibalism, cross-dressing and sexual deviancy on a semi-regular basis.
Next up was Tourou Nagashi, a two-page colour strip illustrated by my La Belle Dame Sans Merci co-creator, Karen Yumi Lusted. Tourou Nagashi was inspired by my love of Higurashi (still my favourite manga and anime of all time) and was created for SCREAM‘s first colour special, back when the mag was still printed in black-and-white. Karen and I are currently prepping La Belle Dame Sans Merci: Chapter Three for a 2016 release, waaay later than originally planned, but we’re determined to see the story through to the end and then have it collected as originally envisioned, without compromise. Life got in the way for both of us doing it as quickly as we’d have liked, but it’s a very personal project that I feel is worth waiting for.
Not Now Bernie, also illustrated by Phil Marsden, was the first strip that I ever had published in Starburst Magazine (issue 375, March 2012). Working on these one-page monthly strips for Starburst was the best – it taught me so much about economy of storytelling and the nuances of working with different artists, and because I had to find a new artist every month I met SO MANY cool people that I’ve continued to collaborate with. I created one-page (and sometimes longer) comic strips for Starburst for every issue from 375 until 396, March 2012 until January 2014, running alongside my column about comics Adventures On Alternative Earths.
Because you haven’t had enough Phil Marsden in your lives yet, Colt 45 was one of our earliest strips together, created around 2010 and based on a true story from my misspent youth, walking home from the nightclub Cuba Cuba in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I might have taken a *little* artistic licence with the tale, but no more so than I would do if I told you the story in a bar. After some lonely only-child years when I first became a teenager, I led a charmed life from the age of 15 or so when I discovered the wonders of sex, drugs and rock and roll (in reverse order…). Probably more of the stories that I write have autobiographical elements than anybody sane would give me credit for, but there’s a good reason our horror-comedy anthology was named BLACKOUT.
Finally for this month, Embrace the Dark was the first strip that I created with Martin Simmonds, who’s currently illustrating Monty Nero‘s Death Sentence: London (Titan Comics). Embrace the Dark was created for Starburst issue 382, published in October 2012, and was my opportunity to discover that there really are some artists in the world that share my macabre tastes. After working with Martin on Embrace the Dark, I felt like I was ready to start pitching to comic publishers in earnest, the results of which will hopefully be revealed before the end of the year.