Mythic by Phil Hester and John McCrea – Preview!

CG - Im - Jun - Mythic Mythic’s been on our radar since its launch in comic form last year, more from reading this fantastical mash-up of sweary shamans, undead cyborg monsters of legend, libidinous native elementals and other pan-mythological craziness, and also from when we got to chat with series artist John McCrea at LSCC. No surprise the collection is on our June 2016 Book / Graphic Novel recommends then!
So here’s a 6-page preview of Mythic, prefixed by a bit of title info and endorsements by other creators and the industry more generally in case you has any doubt. Enjoy!

From Image Comics:

Eisner-nominated writer Phil Hester (Green Arrow, INVINCIBLE UNIVERSE) teams up with Eisner-winning artist John McCrea (Hitman, The Boys) for the fascinating folkloric fantasy MYTHIC TP, which collects issues #1-8 into trade paperback this June. Read the rest of this entry »

A Coffee with… Pat Mills at the London Book Fair! Part 3

CA - LBF - PM 3 We were lucky enough to catch 2000 AD creator Pat Mills for a coffee at the London Book Fair and got to chat about so much great stuff we had to split it into three articles! If you want the first it’s here and you can click through to part 2 here. Otherwise read onwards on what we chatted on Slaine, Celtic consciousness and myth, and comics and Scotland!



There’s nothing particularly controversial in suggesting 2000 AD went through a problem patch in the 90’s but I mention here only because of something particular Pat says of what went wrong. “It lost a new generation of kids. It became too cool. It’s a reminder that your boss should be a 12-13 year old kid”. Read the rest of this entry »

A Chat with Christian Ward at LSCC!

CGP - Jun - Ody-C After a busy Con I’ve got just one last name on the ‘To Do’-slash-‘visit’ list. Finally I make it over to A124 and catch Christian Ward, artist and collaborator with Kieron Gillen (Marvel’s Young Avengers), Nathan Edmondson (Olympus, Image Comics), Nick Spencer’s (Infinite Vacation) and Matt Fraction on current ongoing series ODY-C

Read the rest of this entry »

Titan Books – Publishing Jan-Jun 2016!

CPP - Titan Square Here’s a look at the highlights of what Titan Books have coming for you over the period January to June 2016! Publication dates are liable to change and some jackets are still to come…
*** Publisher Page – link / profile ***
*** See Other Publishers Jan-Jun 2016 ***

Read the rest of this entry »

Extract / Preview: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Nov - Foxglove Summer 1

Due Diligence

I was just passing the Hoover Centre when I heard Mr Punch scream his rage behind me. Or it might have been someone’s brakes or a distant siren or an Airbus on final approach to Heathrow.
I’d been hearing him off and on since stepping from the top of a tower block in Elephant and Castle. Not a real sound, you understand – an impression, an ex-pression through the city itself – what we might call a super-vestigia if Nightingale wasn’t so dead set against me making up my own terminology.
Sometimes he’s in a threatening mood, sometimes I hear him as a thin wail of despair in amongst the wind moaning around a tube train. Or else he’s pleading and wheedling in the growl of late-night traffic beyond my bedroom window. He’s a mercurial figure, our Mr Punch. As changeable and as dangerous as an away crowd on a Saturday night.

This time it was rage and petulance and resentment. I couldn’t understand why, though – it wasn’t him who was driving out of London. Read the rest of this entry »

Extract / Preview: Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf by Terry Newman

CBP Jun- Terry Newman 1
The arrow hit Alderman Castleview in the middle of his right eye socket. A promising start. I took careful aim and let fly again.
The second arrow caught him just below the temple. Thunk!
The final arrow buried itself plumb centre of that famous winning smile. I smirked and awarded myself a bonus point before retrieving my darts.

The picture of Alderman Castleview had occupied pride of place on my dartboard ever since he had announced his intent, the previous spring, to redevelop the Third Level and cause yet more traffic nightmares. I sat and tilted back my chair before taking aim again – but, to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it. This time I left the darts abandoned in the wood and walked over to the window instead. I leant against the ledge and took in the view. Read the rest of this entry »

KUNG FURY – Official Movie up and out and kicking bottom on YouTube!

We remember the awesome trailer to this from a few years back. From that the associated Kickstarter campaign reached it’s goal of $200,000 in just 24 hours, then more than tripling that to $630,000.

Writer, Director and star, David Sandberg’s Kung Fury is now complete and unleashed on YouTube – watch the 30 minutes of 80’s satire and awesomeness here!



A Pint with… JIM BUTCHER! Our inaugural interview with the Master of Urban Fantasy…

CA - Jim Butcher
I’d had a number of publishers ask if I was looking to do author interviews; it was certainly ‘on the list’ though I’d a mind to do something a little different – a casual pint or coffee with… But where to begin or, rather, who?
CBP - Mar - isbn9780356500904-detail
Sometimes the world does actually work a little magic and JIM BUTCHER – over on his first ever UK tour with the paperback release of Skin Game, the latest in his fantastic Dresden Files series – was good enough to be our inaugural interviewee. I caught up with Jim & co on his last day in the UK, after his talk and signing at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, up in the shop’s 5th floor bar…


Read the rest of this entry »

Gig Review: Gemma Hayes @ The Olympic Studios, Barnes – 27/01/2015

CA - GH4

Gemma Hayes is playing an intimate showcase gig in front of an audience of fifty at the iconic Olympic Studios in Barnes. as part of the promotional campaign for her current album Bones and Longing

Review by Mark Kelly

(Pictures by Lorenzo Arena)


Gemma Hayes is an artist who perhaps has not received the level of recognition that she deserves. This may change with her current album Bones and Longing, which is a particularly fresh sounding collection. As part of the promotion for this album, Gemma is playing an intimate showcase gig in front of an audience of fifty at the iconic Olympic Studios in Barnes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Story of HWJN – and the League of Arabic Sci-Fiers

You couldn’t make it up: words used when reality outpaces the shock of the invented. HWJN, a book named for its titular protagonist Hawjan, has a story of how it came about for which those words are entirely appropriate.

CA - YB Yasser Bhajatt, a Saudi Arabian computer engineer and lifelong fan of science fiction, had researched the relationship between a country’s levels of science and its science fiction output and scene. In all cases (Germany being the one exception) the correlation was too close to be chance. With a mission to ignite and foster science fiction in Saudi Arabia with a distinct cultural voice – and the hope to stimulate interest in science and progress along with – Bhajatt and his friend Ibraheem Abbas created Yatakhayaloon: the league of Arabic Sci-Fiers.

What next? Well to put out the first work of Saudi Arabian science fiction.

Bhajatt had faith in Abbas own writing. To that point his experience of publishing had been rejections of Star Trek books by the western publisher in question. HWJN fared no better with Saudi publishers (“No-one’s going to publish this crap” they were told). Undaunted in the enterprise they published it themselves; it went to number one in the Saudi Arabian book charts and stayed there. CA - HWJN Front Cover
Now the author is emphatic that HWJN is a work of adult science fiction; that’s despite a massive YA following and especially of girls, not to mention the rest of the world trying to classify it as fantasy rather than Sci-Fi. Interesting on both points and entirely valuable in the scheme of what Yatakhayaloon are presenting as their individualistic Saudi Arabian science fiction. For one thing it seems, unlike ourselves, the author is (blissfully) unaware of the glut of supernatural YA romance centring around an adolescent girl and a paranormal paramour. So much the better – we can take it on its own merits. And such books are normally about humans getting into trouble, where our protagonist here is a Jinni.

Fantasy, you cry. Well we’ll come to that – first there’s more to say of its journey post-publication. Read the rest of this entry »

Arabic Science Fiction: From Imagination to Innovation – an evening with Sindbad Sci-Fi

A hundred of us were gathered in the Science Museum’s Directors Suite for this year’s Arab Science Fiction event put together and hosted by Sindbad Sci-Fi: From Imagination to Innovation (part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Nour Festival). It’s a fantastic venue, with double tiered bookcases rising the two storeys of the room, and just the right tone for the forthcoming discussion. CA - SSF
The panel is chaired by journalist and broadcaster and science fiction fan Samira Ahmed who introduces the panellists in turn, each having a spot to introduce themselves and their work.

First up is Saudi Arabia’s Yasser (“The Jedi from Jeddah”) Bhajatt, an engineer by profession who, on a global scale, investigated the relation between a country’s science fiction scene / output and its level of scientific development. Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – Bournemouth Academy – 10th November 2014

(Images sourced online as labelled for reuse)


Robert Plant is a musical adventurer: If anybody keeps alive Led Zeppelin’s unofficial motto of ‘ever onward’ it is him, and with the Sensational Space Shifters he has put together a band who are equally adventurous, each member having come from contrasting musical backgrounds.

The Bournemouth Academy has a capacity of 1,800, but Plant makes it feel far more intimate with his warm between-song chat. Not so much a gig as catching up with an old friend. CA - Robert_Plant_Lullaby_and_the_Ceaseless_Roar_cover
Plant is, of course, promoting his Lullaby… And The Ceaseless Roar album, and five songs from that LP are included in the set. The album is very much a snapshot of where Plant is today, the songs being a potpourri of modern rock, African sounds, tribal rhythms and trip-hop. However, in a live setting that menu is added to: Rock And Roll, for example, starts with a monster electro riff of industrial proportions!

We’re also treated to three blues covers, of which Spoonful is so nigh on unrecognisable that it brings to mind some of Bob Dylan’s more ‘inventive’ live versions of his own classics. However, in Spoonful’s case, Plant demonstrates how a song, and indeed a genre, can be taken to a whole other place. On Bukka White’s Fixin’ To Die Plant steps back and lets his band rip on a much extended middle eight, which has waaaaaay more than eight bars. Juldeh Camara’s Gambian fiddle is positively otherworldly. It is not just confined to making African sounds either, as the Celtic tinged solo in Little Maggie illustrates.

No Robert Plant gig would be complete without some Led Zeppelin, and herein lies a bit of a problem for him. Many of the audience are here primarily to hear him sing Led Zeppelin songs.

CA - Plant 05 Plant starts his set with Friends from Led Zeppelin III, which is sufficiently Sensational Space Shiftered so as not to make it immediately recognisable. Going To California is pretty authentic, with an acoustic guitar and mandolin arrangement. A straight version of What Is And What Should Never Be gets by far the loudest cheer of the evening up to that point. Plant acknowledges the applause with a wry smile. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is also played straight, and features an exceptional flamenco-flavoured acoustic guitar solo from Skin Tyson. CA - Plant & Page 77

The set concludes with an epic Whole Lotta Love which commences with slow 12-bar snippets of I’m A King Bee and I Just Want To Make Love To You before the main course is served. Herein lies Plant’s problem. Despite his musical searching, seeking and exploring, 34 years after the demise of Led Zeppelin he is still their singer, no matter what efforts he makes to escape. Perhaps the answer for him lies with this band, and with the kind of set delivered tonight. A set mixing his newer material with adventurous re-readings of his musical back pages delivered by an eclectic rag bag of musicians who have a similar need to explore.

By eschewing the possibility of a full Led Zeppelin reunion and the additional millions that it would bring, Robert Plant has chosen the more difficult, and indeed exciting, road to travel. He and his cohorts take Western music to Africa and all points North, South, East and West before ending up somewhere between West Bromwich and Bron-y-Aur. Why don’t you join them? It’ll be quite a trip.

                                                                                             Mark Kelly


CA - Plant 10

Writers Resources: Words for Said

Words for SAID

Sometimes a writer can get obsessed with differentiating the ways characters speak in different situations. The advice varies and an unobtrusive ‘said’ can often do the job very nicely; but it’s worth having the options in front of you.The following is based on the scouring of numerous websites and my own notes. I’ve broken the word-lists down thematically and without repetition, so their placing is rather arbitrary but on balance of the circumstances of most common use: Elmore_Leonard
General: Basics, Beginnings / Middles / Ends, Responding
Assertiveness, Volume and Anger: Assertive, Loudly, Declarations, Angry, Critical, Commanding
Engagement, Explanation and Discussion: Putting Forward, Advising / Cautionary, Entreating, Articulating, Relating / Revealing, Objecting
Affected: Uncontrolled, Faltering, Pleading, Pained, Shocked, Weakly
Positivity, Banter and Accord: Happy, Humorously, Laughing, Accepting, Agreement, Approval, Caring
Perhaps Undignified, Miscellaneous and Others: Gloating / Derisive, Complaining, Too Keen?, Other Noises, Quietly, Miscellaneous
“3) Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.”
4) Never use an adverb to modify the verb ‘said’.”

-Elmore Leonard

Of course there’s no one way to categorise these synonyms and an attempt for perfection on this score would be an assured route to madness (perfection and madness being more appropriate to the writing itself!) I’ve intentionally omitted weaker words but still happy to receive suggestions on possibles to add.Word up people – hope it helps!

Read the rest of this entry »