IDW Publishing

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Time for a few posts just catching up on various things as 2016 (that was some year, eh?) draws to an end.

First up, my return to writing comics. A couple of years ago I had the great pleasure of writing a Rogue Trooper comic for IDW – still easy to get the collected edition, should you be so inclined (e.g. Amazon US or Amazon UK).

highlander-1-francavillaThat was a huge amount of fun, but now I have the even greater pleasure of writing a Highlander comic, again for IDW. You know Highlander, right? 1980s movie: immortals, swords, a Queen soundtrack. 80s awesomeness, really.

I’ve got to say, writing comics is intensely enjoyable after having spent so much time over the last few years working away at novel-length prose. The collaborative aspect of it – writer, editor, artist, colorist, letterer teaming up and trying steer the ship to a destination everyone can enjoy and be proud of – makes it a profoundly different writing experience. And it causes my e-mail traffic to increase by a factor of ten, easily, which makes me feel important. So that’s good.

The artist for Highlander is Andrea Mutti, and he’s doing an amazing job. Which is high praise, because it’s not an easy job I’ve given him. This is Highlander – immortals battling throughout history – so of course the story I’m telling spans a looooong time; different periods, different looks, different styles. It’s a direct prequel to the original movie, so any fans of that celebration of immortal mayhem should definitely check it out. The first issue’ll hit the shelves of comic book stores, and digital comics vendors, in February 2017, sporting a very fine cover – as you can see up above – by comic artist legend Francesco Francavilla.

You can pre-order it right now, though, at your local comic shop – and if you do you might be able to snag yourself a copy with the special subscription variant cover by Claudia Gironi:Highlander -1-cover-Claudia Gironi

Cool, no? Correct answer is ‘Yes, Brian. Cool.’

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Here’s some stuff I’ve harvested from around the web of late:

The Nerdist Podcast put out a couple of interesting/fun interviews that caught my ear: Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, talking about the comics and the movies; David J. Peterson, language guy, talking about inventing languages (including for Game of Thrones) and various real-language stuff.

Rio 2 has been all over cinema screens around the world lately. Here’s the real parrot it’s based on, Spix’s macaw:

Very pretty, no? Really quite beautiful in fact, if you ask me. But not as widespread as Rio 2, that parrot. In fact, it’s extinct in the wild as far as anyone can tell. Has been for some time. Good job, humanity. (And yes, I know the whole extinct in the wild thing is kind of a central plot point in the movies, but I still find the whole ‘let’s make fun movies and a bajillion dollars based on this’ thing a bit weird, even if it’s sort of well-intentioned.)

Amazon took over Comixology, the biggest purveyor of digital comics, to absolutely nobody’s surprise. I can’t begin to tell you how despondent the big river’s acquisition avalanche makes me. They’re a fine and clever company, I know; I use their excellent services now and again. But it’s in precisely no-one‘s long-term interest (except their own, of course) the way they’re hoovering up competitors and add-ons that incrementally turn them into a leviathan of truly leviathanic proportions. If you want to buy books online, take a look at Wordery. Good prices, good service, free delivery worldwide.

Talking of comics, I thought I’d take a moment to point out my favourite comic produced by IDW Publishing, the good folks who put out the Rogue Trooper comic what I have been writting. Locke & Key is an inspired, beautifully crafted and beautifully illustrated dark fantasy/horror comic from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Complex and intriguing, it’s loaded with terrific character writing, clever world-building and eye-popping set-piece action. Give it a try (at Wordery, of course).

And here’s one of my favourite blogs, which I don’t believe I’ve mentioned here before: Abandoned Scotland. An exploration of ruined, forgotten, derelict Scotland that’s kind of hynoptically fascinating if you ask me. Stuff that’s hidden in plain sight, overlooked and disregarded, comes alive when you pay close attention to it. Investigate it. The most grungy and crumbly places and buildings become kind of beautiful. The Abandoned Scotland YouTube channel is a goldmine of strange discoveries. Don’t suppose this is exactly how the Scottish Tourist Board wants the world to see Scotland, but as a resident it’s all simultaneously familiar and surprising. Great stuff.

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Rogue Trooper #2, written by some bloke called Brian Ruckley, will be in your local comic shop and available for digital reading at comixology.com tomorrow. Huzzah! (You can even read the first few pages of it for free in a preview, here for example).

To celebrate, I’m giving away signed copies of Rogue Trooper #1 over on the Winterbirth fan page on Facebook. If you’d like to be in with a chance of getting your hands on one, all you need to do is head over to the Winterbirth page, go to the post that starts SIGNED COMIC GIVEAWAY and follow the entirely idiot-proof instructions.

If there are more entrants than available copies, I’ll pick a winner next Monday.

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