Wed, 16 April 2014 MCM Ireland reviewed

Crowds scene

My review of MCM Ireland Comic Con went up on the Forbidden Planet International blog today, along with some pictures I took at the event.

You can see all my photos from the con on my Flickr stream, including photos of many of the Irish comic book creators who were at the event.

By the way, have I mentioned that I have a Tumblr? I started it three years ago, but after a time I didn’t have the ability to maintain it along with my other various social media.

Recently, I’ve gone back to updating it. It’s strictly focused on comics and art, so if that’s to your tastes you might like to follow it.

Mon, 14 April 2014 Sláine and Niamh

I had a great time at MCM Ireland Comic Con at the weekend (more of that soon). The best thing was meeting friends and getting my geek on.

While these kinds of events can get a little manic at their busiest, they always have a friendly atmosphere. I love seeing Cosplayer’s creativity, and how much pride they have in their work, and the sheer enjoyment they get from their fandom.

I got a cool sketch from the legendary Glen Fabry of Sláine and Niamh – Martin and I are both fans of the comic, so we’re happy to get this fun tribute of the bronze age power couple.

Fri, 11 April 2014 Cúirt Labs – the shout-out

The Cúirt International Festival of Literature is in full swing in Galway at the moment, and the city is abuzz with theatre, poetry, art exhibitions, literary discussions, workshops, and readings.

The Cúirt Labs are the part of the programme directly targeted at a younger audience, which will take place in the Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street where three floors of gallery space will become custom-made spaces for inventiveness and imagination.

I’m going to be partisan and draw particular attention to some friends who are taking part:

Maeve Clancy: one of the best comic book artists in the country who also creates cut-out paper installations and has a background in music videoes.

Rhianna Pratchett: journalist, comic book writer, and ace video gamer writer who is responsible for the latest incarnation of Tomb Raider, as well as Heavenly Sword, Mirror’s Edge, and the entire Overlord series.

Celine Kiernan: popular young adult novelist of The Moorehawke Trilogy published by O’Brien Press, who has a background in feature film animation.

Julian Gough is an author, songwriter, and troublemaker, as well as the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award in 2007, and other literary prizes.

That’s just a small sample of the creative talent in Galway currently. If you – or your children – are interested in the creative arts, get them over to Galway this weekend.

The irony of it all is that I’ll be in Dublin for most of the weekend, soaking in the atmosphere at MCM Ireland Comic Con.

Thu, 10 April 2014 neglected film adaptation

Recently my friend Tina Connolly contacted me and asked me if I’d like to contribute as a guest on a web site called Novelocity to answer the question: ‘What ONE (and only one) book needs to be made into a movie?

This is not a question I ponder on a regular basis, but the first answer that zipped into my mind is the one I went with: Mythago Wood by Rob Holdstock.

You can read my reasons for this choice on the web site, but anyone who is familiar with this splendid novel will immediately know why I picked it.

I happen to know that Mythago Wood was under option for a long time, but due to the vagaries of Hollywood it never made it out of development hell. Rob was keen to see the book adapted, so it was somewhat of a disappointment to him that it never worked out.

The potential is still there for a marvellous film version of this pivotal British Fantasy novel, but the great sadness is that Rob will never witness it now.

Wed, 09 April 2014 MCM Ireland

I was back on the RTÉ Radio 1 art’s show Arena last night, this time talking about the forthcoming MCM Ireland Comic Con, which is happening in Dublin this weekend for the first time.

You can listen to my contribution online now: I come in around the 30 minute mark.

I suspect MCM is going to be a popular event, especially as they have carpeted Dublin with posters, so everyone in the capital knows it’s going on. I’ll be there meeting friends and colleagues at the Comics Village, and generally checking out the event.

The arrival of the MCM ‘brand’ into Ireland heralds that traditionally geeky interests are now mainstream. The days of kids being bullied because they like anime or comic books are on the decline – although adults might still get a hard time if they admit to such prurient hobbies.

It’ll all pass. One day people won’t think it’s weird if you’re playing video games in your 60s or enjoying horror films in your 70s.

Our lives are becoming so science fictional that these pastimes now seem like a natural focus for entertainment. All acts of imagination are breaches of reality after all. Spaceships, zombies, and giant robots aren’t that big of a fantastic leap nowadays.

Perhaps the harder creative act in the future will be to imagine a smaller, quieter world…

Thu, 03 April 2014 la femme signs

Today I received 150 signing sheets for the forthcoming anthology La Femme, in which my story ‘Valerie’ is appearing.

That’s just half the contributors. The entire Table of Contents is: Frances Hardinge, Storm Constantine, Ruth EJ Booth, Andrew Hook, Stewart Hotston, Holly Ice, Adele Kirby, Maura McHugh, Jonathan Oliver, Stephen Palmer, John Llewellyn Probert, and Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

It’s an odd experience writing your name out 150 times – after a short period your own signature looks odd, and then you have bizarre moments when your brain suddenly doubts itself and shrieks, ‘Is that how you really spell it?’

My apologies to anyone who gets a sheet in which my signature looks a bit hitched – that was me in a moment of existential penmanship crisis.

The companion anthology to La Femme is Noir, and that volume features a great line-up of talent too: Adam Roberts, Simon Morden, E.J. Swift, Jay Caselberg, Emma Coleman, Paul Kane, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Marie O’Regan, Paul Graham Raven, Donna Scott, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Paula Wakefield, and James Worrad.

Both titles are available for pre-order now (just follow the links above), and cost £9.99 for the paperback or £15.99 for the hardback.

However, there is a deluxe edition of both titles available, called The NewCon Press Little Black Box, which comes in a black presentation box that contains hardback copies of both anthologies, an envelope filled with a quartet of sheets signed by all the contributing authors, and a black tea-light candle shot through with silver which comes in a purple organza bag. It costs £39.99.

The Little Black Box

It’s also strictly limited, with only 100 available, and each box is individually numbered. I happen to know that over half of them have sold via pre-orders, so get them while you can.

Wed, 02 April 2014 Diablo 3 expansion in the house

This arrived today…

I don’t play loads of games because as a freelancer they pose a dangerous temptation (just as I don’t turn on the TV prior to 6pm on a work day). Yet, they are also a fun way to blow off steam.

I’ve played all the iterations of the Diablo series, and enjoyed them, so I’m looking forward to cracking into this quite soon.

Thu, 27 March 2014 Irish Comics Chat on Saturday

I’m a guest at an event called Irish Comics Chat, which will take place at the Rua Red arts centre in Tallaght in Dublin from 12.30pm – 6pm on Saturday, 29 March, organised by Lightning Strike Comics.

I’ll be on a panel with Darrin O’TooleRuth Redmond, and Rob Curley, which will be moderated by Ciaran Marcantonio, during which we’ll be discussing our career thus far and our comics. The panel will be recorded for The Irish Pubcast podcast.

Here’s the schedule of events:

12.30pm: Opening.
12.45pm: Panel Talk with Maura McHugh, Ruth Redmond, Robert Curley and Darrin O’Toole.
1.30pm: Break and cake.
2.00pm: Panel Talk with Dave Hendrick and Robert Carey.
2.45pm: An Aimsir Óg video game talk.
3.30pm: Shards of Darkness launch.
4.00pm: ‘Collider’ Screening
5.30pm: Open Mic, Close of talk.

It should be a fun afternoon, and I’m looking forward to it.

Sun, 23 March 2014 witchfinder chat on pop culture hound

Over on Pop Culture Hound, Kim and I are on the latest podcast, episode 81, hosted by Chris Thompson.

The 50-minute episode continues on the theme of celebrating Hellboy, so featured on this podcast are Dark Horse Comics Publisher Mike Richardson, Mouse Guard‘s David Petersen, and editor Scott Allie, before Kim and I turn up to talk about working on Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland.

It’s good listening for those of you who appreciate the Mignolaverse and are interested in some background information on the comics. Perhaps do some ironing and have this on the background! (Personally, I dislike ironing and put it off until it hits crisis point, so podcasts make that chore a little more bearable.)

Sat, 22 March 2014 Happy Hellboy Day!

The Mysteries of UnlandIt’s Hellboy Day around the world – with comic book shops promoting the anniversary of the arrival of the first Hellboy comic created by Mike Mignola.

Here in Ireland it’s been fun watching the excitement and buzz via Twitter on the hastag #Hellboy or #HellboyDay.

I’ve also created a Mignolaverse twitter list that contains most of the creators who have worked on any of the titles in the Mignola world.

There have been a lot of articles and interviews published about the titles online, and today on the 13th Dimension web site Kim Newman and I discuss our influences for our forthcoming Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland mini-series within the Mignolaverse.