Wed, 24 September 2014 D.I.C.E. 2014

This weekend the third Dublin International Comics Expo (D.I.C.E) is taking place in Pembroke Square, Dundrum Town Centre, Co. Dublin, and I’m delighted to be attending as a guest.

It’s the first time I’ve been able to go to D.I.C.E – I was out of the country for both previous events – so I’m looking forward to checking it out.

The convention is featuring a ton of fantastic guests from Ireland, the UK, and the USA, including talent scouts from Marvel, DC, and 2000AD who will be conducting portfolio reviews. Plus, there will be panel discussions at the Screen 2 of Movies@Dundrum on a variety of topics.

Here’s my schedule:

  • Saturday at 15:00 Writing Comics Aaron Fever, Gerry Duggan, Maura McHugh, Si Spurrier, Kate Leth, and Nick Roche
  • Sunday at 14:00 Comics Are For Everybody! Aaron Fever, Jordie Bellaire, Kieron Gillen, Kate Leth, Maura McHugh, and Declan Shalvey

It should be a fun event and a great opportunity to mix with some of the top talent in comics today.

Wed, 17 September 2014 Unland 4 out today

Issue 4 of Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland is out from Dark Horse Comics today. You can buy it online, or in any good comic book shop.

Here’s the blurb:

In a struggle with the local police, the witchfinder is taken down, but before they can drown him in the rising waters, a strange fisher woman takes him in and reveals the mystery of Unland.

This comic is part of a five-issue Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder story, which I have co-written with Kim Newman, with art by Tyler Crook, coloured by Dave Stewart, covers by Julian Totino Tedesco, lettered by Clem Robins, and edited by Scott Allie.

All set in the Hellboy universe created by Mike Mignola.

This is probably my favourite issue of the pentalogy, because of the structure, characters, and the tragedy at its centre, but in particular both Tyler and Dave have done a superb job with the art and colouring. Plus, another fantastic cover from Julian.

Again, I’m thankful to have worked with such a talented team.

Thu, 04 September 2014 FantasyCon in York

I’ve just recovered from the double-header of Worldcon followed by Eurocon, and I’m off to York today, this time for FantasyCon – the annual convention of the British Fantasy Society.

I last visited York about 20 years ago during May, and have good memories of of the city. So, I’m looking forward to returning to the town to be in the company of fellow horror and fantasy writers. Some of whom I haven’t seen lately despite the multitude of conventions.

Here’s my schedule of events, all taking place on Saturday, 6 September:

10.00am – From Page to Screen
What’s different about books and film and how can you make your book/script/pitch saleable?
Tony Venables (m), Toby Whithouse, Joanne Harris, Ellen Gallagher, Maura McHugh, Sean Hogan

5.00pm – Horror on the Small Screen
TV is getting darker, and with the recent success of American Horror Story, Black Mirror and Being Human, are we entering a new golden age of terrifying TV?
Maura McHugh (m), Stephen Volk, Toby Whithouse, Paul Kane

7.00pm – Comics on the Small Screen
Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, the Flash, Daredevil, Peggy Carter – is TV the new cinema for superior superhero drama?
Maura McHugh (m), Selina Lock, Guy Adams, Mike Chinn, Den Patrick

On Sunday at 1.00pm – The Annual British Fantasy Awards Banquet starts, which will be followed by The British Fantasy AwardsJennifer Wilde, the comic I’ve written for Atomic Diner Comics, is up for the Best Comic/Graphic Novel Award.

Here’s the shortlist of nominees in my category – I’m in fine company:

Best Comic/Graphic Novel

  • Demeter, Becky Cloonan (Becky Cloonan)
  • Jennifer Wilde, Maura McHugh, Karen Mahoney and Stephen Downey (Atomic Diner Comics)
  • Porcelain, Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose (Improper Books)
  • Rachel Rising, Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
  • Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • The Unwritten, Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo)

Whatever happens I’m sure I’m going to have a fun time at the convention.

Thu, 21 August 2014 Shamrokon schedule

Tomorrow marks the start of Shamrokon in Dublin, the European science fiction convention (Eurocon) which is held in a different country each year.

After all the fun and frolics at Worldcon in London last weekend, I’m approaching this event with anticipation, tempered with a little fatigue.

Here’s my schedule:

  • Made In Ireland: Fantasy Classics By Irish Authors: Friday 15:00 – 16:00, D. Ulster
  • Le Fanu Track: Vampire Lovers – Le Fanu and the Silver Screen: Saturday 15:00 – 16:00, C. Munster
  • Le Fanu Track: Dracula vs. Carmilla: Saturday 16:00 – 17:00, C. Munster
  • Women of 2000AD: Sunday 12:00 – 13:00, C. Munster
  • Golden Blasters: Sunday 14:00 – 16:00, B. Lansdowne

There were so many attendees at Loncon last weekend, and I was so busy, that this weekend will be an opportunity to catch up with many of the people I missed completely in London.

Wed, 20 August 2014 Witchfinder 3 out today

Another month, another Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland issue from Dark Horse Comics is on the shelves (both physical and virtual).

Here’s the blub:

Local officials present a façade of normalcy, but the Witchfinder knows there’s something wrong with the denizens of Unland, and he’s starting to uncover what that has to do with the dying founder of the town and the elixir he invented that put the town on the map …

This comic is part of a five-issue Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder story, which I have co-written with Kim Newman, with art by Tyler Crook, coloured by Dave Stewart, covers by Julian Totino Tedesco, lettered by Clem Robins, and edited by Scott Allie.

All set in the Hellboy universe created by Mike Mignola.

Mon, 11 August 2014 Loncon 3 schedule

Elevenses at St Pancras

I’m heading over to London on Wednesday evening for the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (Loncon 3), which is taking place in the ExCel, London Dockland from 14 – 18 August.

Here’s my schedule of events during the weekend:

12pm Friday, August 15
What Do You Mean You Don’t Watch … Orphan Black, Grimm or The Returned
Capital Suite 17 (Level 3), 12pm – 1pm
Mark Slater, Jeanne Beckwith, Maura McHugh, David D Levine (I’m speaking on behalf of The Returned.)

1:30pm Friday, August 15
Best 21st Century Comics: Predicting the New Classics
Capital Suite 13 (Level 3), 1:30pm – 3pm
Ada Palmer, Maura McHugh, Hannah Berry, Adam Rakunas, John Anderson

7pm Friday, August 15
Comic Book Networking: It’s Not Just The Interwebs
Capital Suite 3 (Level 3), 7pm – 8pm
Maura McHugh, Lynda Rucker, Yen Ooi, Meg Frank

11am Saturday, August 16
Revealing the Real World Through Comics
Capital Suite 10 (Level 3), 11am – 12pm
June Madeley, Mary Talbot, Dominick Grace, Maura McHugh, Mike Carey

4:30pm Saturday, August 16
Make My Book YA
Capital Suite 5 (Level 3), 4:30pm – 6pm
Marcus Gipps, Peter F Hamilton, J. R. Johansson, Maura McHugh

11am Sunday, August 17
Writing and Pitching Comics
Capital Suite 9 (Level 3), 11am – 12pm
Maura McHugh, Paul Cornell, Mike Carey, Mary Talbot, Debbie Lynn Smith

It looks like it’s set to be one of the biggest Worldcons ever (if not the biggest one). There are so many events going on I’ve no idea where to start looking at the programme outside of my own schedule, and there will be the chance to catch up with friends and colleagues I haven’t seen in some time.

Plus, there’s all the prep (I call it my Worldcon homework) I have to do for the panels in advance of the convention.

And almost immediately afterwards there will be Shamrokon in Dublin!

Thu, 24 July 2014 Worldcon Comic Book Programme


Nearly two years ago my friend James Bacon phoned me up and asked me if I’d be on for designing the comic book programme at Worldcon in London (known as Loncon 3) in August 2014. I agreed readily enough as I was keen to raise the profile of comic books at the event. Comics are still a bit of a newcomer to Worldcon – the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story was only introduced in 2009.

I didn’t realise how much work was involved, which was probably lucky for James, as I might have turned him down if I truly understood.

I now have huge respect for the Worldcon programming team (especially the techs who have managed its database). They have achieved a gigantic task with professionalism and tact. The programme has gone online today, and I’m really pleased with the result.

Just to give you an idea of the logistic challenge involved: there are 9,000 members of Worldcon, and 1,000 of them volunteered for programming. There are 600+ cross media programme items happening over the five days of the convention. The volunteers listed their areas of interest in the programme, as well as indicating what times they didn’t want to be scheduled, or events they didn’t want to be panelled against.

Plus, many of the people I wanted to use on programming were in high demand in other areas. I had to try to assemble a diverse list of panellists, while avoiding clashes with other programme items. Sometimes I couldn’t squeeze people in because they were already heavily scheduled, and you have to try and be fair with allocation of panels. Other times people dropped off panels because of various reasons which caused difficulty in re-assigning a replacement because of the panel topic or time slot.

And always we were up against deadlines: finishing the draft programming, adjusting the programme after an onslaught of email, and finalising the programme on time for the publication deadline. Even now, I have some minor changes to make due to extremely late line-up changes.

It’s a very difficult job, and I was only in charge of one department. The people at the top level – James Bacon, Liz Batty, and Ian Stockdale – had to oversee everything. There are way too many other people to thank, but I also need to mention Emma England, Spike, Niall Harrison, Mark Slater, Alissa McKersie, and Esther MacCallum-Stewart who have been particularly helpful to me.

I have so much respect and admiration for the trojan work of all the staff of Worldcon, who have put so much effort into designing an event for the enjoyment of others – on their own time and for no payment.

Here’s the listing of all the events in my area. Several of them are cross-programme items, and here they are broken down by panels, talks, workshops, and screenings.

Panels

Thursday

  • 11am Underground Comics Go Mainstream: Has Digital Distribution Widened or Saturated the Audience?
  • 12pm Tove Jansson’s Moomins: Their Legacy and Influence

Friday

  • 11am British Comics: Influences and Influencers
  • 12pm Manga Evolutions
  • 12pm Diversity in Comics: The Good, The Bad, and the Missing
  • 1.30pm Best 21st Century Comics: Predicting the New Classics
  • 3pm What is Art in the 21st Century? (Cross-discipline panel)
  • 3pm Digital Comics (Academic track)
  • 7pm Comic Book Networking: It’s Not Just The Interwebs
  • 8pm Kapow! Best Comic Book Cosplays (cross programme event with costume/cosplay)

Saturday

  • 11am Revealing the Real World Through Comics
  • 12pm Fresh Perspectives: Comic Books for Young People
  • 1.30pm Old New Classics: The Off-Beat and Indie Comics of Yore
  • 3pm Setting Up Your Comic Book Press: New and Old Models Examined
  • 6pm From Page to (Small) Screen (media programme)
  • 7pm The New Supers: How Superheroes and Superheroines are Changing in Comics

Sunday

  • 10am Vox Populi: the new voice of comic book criticism?
  • 11am Writing and Pitching Comics
  • 12pm In Space No One Can Hear You Ink: The Best SF Comics

Monday

  • 12pm Comics: The Global Arena
  • 1.30pm How Digital Art Techniques Have Changed Comics

Talks

Thursday

  • 3pm: Experimenting with Comics by Karrie Fransman

Friday

  • 9pm Drawing the [redacted]: comics and censorship by Jude Roberts

Saturday

  • 12pm Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition by GoH Bryan Talbot

Sunday

  • 3pm Bryan Talbot:’How I make a Graphic Novel’

Workshops

Friday

  • 12pm Comics Jam Session with Sarah McIntyre! (An event for young people)

Saturday

  • 1.30pm How to Draw Manga with Inko (An event for young people)

Screenings

Thursday

  • 2.30pm Moominland Tales: The Life Of Tove Jansson

Sunday

  • Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot

Monday

  • 1.30pm What Do Artists Do All Day? – Frank Quitely
  • 4.30pm Comics Britannia – Anarchy In The UK

I hope people enjoy the comic book events at Worldcon!

But, they’ll have plenty of competition from the tremendous variety of events in the other departments: science, literature, media, television, gaming, young adult, WOOFA, music, art, video games, academic, and costume/cosplay. It’s going to be hard to decide what to attend.

Oh, and do download the Grenadine Event Guide app from either the iTunes store or the Google Play store (it doesn’t even ask for any sneaky permissions). Once you download it, type in loncon, and it will download the programme directly to your device.

It will sync with the latest updates, and you should be able to create your own bespoke programme – very handy for those of you on panels.

Please have patience if you encounter any glitches, and report them. The techies will do their utmost to resolve anything within the realms of possibility.

Wed, 16 July 2014 Unland 2 out

Today issue 2 of Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland is out from Dark Horse Comics. You can buy it online, or in any good comic book shop.

This comic is part of a five-issue Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder story, which I have co-written with Kim Newman, with art by Tyler Crook, coloured by Dave Stewart, covers by Julian Totino Tedesco, lettered by Clem Robins, and edited by Scott Allie.

All set in the Hellboy universe created by Mike Mignola.

If you’re thinking of hopping onto the series, then here are reviews of issues so far:

I’ll add more reviews to this post as they come in.

Fri, 11 July 2014 ArcadeCon 2014

ArcadeCon is taking place in the Ballsbridge Hotel this weekend, and I’ll be dropping by for a couple of panels and to chat to people.

I was a special guest at ArcadeCon last year, and it was one of the friendliest conventions I’ve ever attended in Ireland – chock-full of fantastic cosplayers and fans who are passionate about genre media.

Here are the two panels I’m on:

  • 3pm on Saturday, Ballroom: Representing Geeks: Prejudice, Privilege, Power
  • 4pm on Sunday, Ballroom: We Are Irish Comics

It should be a fun weekend!

Tue, 01 July 2014 Laydeez do Comics, virtually

This evening I’ll be ‘beaming in’ to the London meeting of Laydeez do Comics in Foyles bookshop, 107 Charing Cross Road.

Laydeez do Comics is celebrating its 5th year running, and to showcase its network around the world it has created a bumper meeting with presentations from various LdC organisers:

  • Anna Brewer Visual storyteller – Glasgow LdC
  • Maureen Burdock: Artist and graphic designer – San Francisco LDC
  • Louise Crosby Illustrator, printmaker and teacher – Leeds LDC
  • MK Czerwiec Comics artist and educator – Chicago LDC
  • Paula Knight Comics creator, children’s author and illustrator – Bristol LDC
  • Sarah Lightman Artist, curator and scholar – London LDC
  • Maura McHugh Writer of comic books, prose, plays – Dublin LDC
  • Nicola Streeten Comics artist, illustrator and scholar – London LDC
  • Simone Lia Comics artist and illustrator - guest blogger for the evening

The event is taking place from 7pm – 9pm in the Auditorium at the new location of Foyles on Charing Cross Road

Tickets are free but you have to email events@foyles.co.uk to register for a place.

I’m aiming to Skype in for the second part of meeting, but if technology breaks down there should be a presentation available that will represent my work, and the Laydeez do Comics – Dublin meetings I organise with Lynda E. Rucker.