Sunday, December 02, 2007

And while I'm on it I'm waiting for Ewan McGregor to grow old enough to play Ed MacBrayne in the movie.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It’s strange. After Scotland’s injury time loss to Italy at the football some weeks ago, which means we won’t be going to next year’s European Championships in the land of cuckoo clocks and lederhosen, I found myself searching the web looking for comments on ‘Calhab Justice’. Calhab was a strip written by me featuring a future Scotland, which appeared in Judge Dredd Megazine, oh, about 15 years ago. It went on for a wee while with artists John Ridgway, Colin McNeil, Lol, and Kevin Cullen contributing their woolly socks off.

Future Scotland as in reflecting the Scottish political situation back when another term of Conservative government (yep, the Tories in power, told you it was science fiction) was at odds with Caledonian yearnings of self-government. You know in some ways it was pretty prescient if I say so myself. I type now in a land with a Scottish Parliament run by the Scottish Nationalists.

Needless to say the story evolved, and not to everyone’s taste. Hipsterdad sums it up on his blog in his occasional review of old Megazines: “The weak link is certainly Calhab Justice, which has devolved from a light-hearted story about frontier judges fighting addictions to radioactive whiskey into some mad thing about a psychic super-judge obsessed with having children and bringing about the next stage of evolution or something.”

As attempt of explanation I have admitted in the past to my head disappearing up my arse, but I’ll have to think up something different in the future. And it would appear that I’ll never be forgiven in some sectors for pitching the main Calhab Judge Ed MacBrayne as a cross between Judge Dredd and Billy Connolly. But one can only run naked through Sauchiehall Street so many times before coming to the decision that full recompense has been paid.

And y’know 15 or so years on it’s still good to see the strip garner so much comment. It hasn’t been forgotten unlike so many other fragments of pop fodder over the last one and a half decades. And hey some of you guys have even fessed up to liking it. And there are some comments out there that tickle me pink, like a blog entry from Alex F (no relation), which ties into the comic strip panel up above:

“And of course there's comedy. We don't see the main character's face in this one, but rather his hapless chief commissioner - an indication that the series is very likely to make a comeback. One which will involve more mismatched police shenanigans. It almost doesn't matter what the story is (Calhab Justice, by the way) - you just need a certain kind of protagonist and you could transpose this panel onto the end. Strangely, this doesn't bother me.”

Strangely it doesn’t bother me, either.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In the middle of scripts at the moment. Few weeks ago I was commissioned a nice bundle of six scripts for DC/Cartoon Network (4 Samurai Jack and 2 Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy). I've now finished and sent off all the Samurai Jack. Don't know if you've seen the cartoon, but I think it's great. Jack is a Conan/Ronin-like figure who battles a magical monstrous tyrant called Aku. Primarily action, but with time for reflection, and dare I say it even a little pathos. I like it a lot. All in all I've scripted eight stories now for Jack, three having been published so far (the latest called 'Checklist' is in Cartoon Action Pack #18) and y'know it took me those first three strips, maybe not to find my feet, but to do the character justice. And I think with these new ones, particularly 'Tunnel of Stone', I've done just that. There's a source of personal satisfaction to be found there that I can barely begin to explain.

Now I'm starting the Grim stories with gusto. There's a different kind of tempo with these characters, dare I describe it as madcap...? The opening line reads, 'This here represents my greatest achievement since I balanced a saucepan on my head a week last Tuesday!' Capmad maybe.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yes Birmingham looks that complicated even on a map! It probably took us nearly an hour to get out of the city centre by car. But at least we got to see that little more of the city than we bargained for - again and again and again.

The weekend was great. Everyone was smiling except for the writers mostly, it's always the writers. I didn't really spend much time at the Convention itself. It seemed really well organised and I really like the guys behind it and hope they did okay out of it. For someone like me I've finally discovered there's not much point being at these type of things unless you're actually involved in or looking to promote something. There's absolutely no work to be found that's for sure! But it was good to see everyone, and it was good that they saw me :-) I came back to find I had four Samurai Jack and two Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy scripts to compose for Joan Hilty at DC/Cartoon Network. So I'm not going to moan any more and go out for a couple of beers instead.

Oh and as a footnote I did find a bar showing the Scotland v Ukraine game last Saturday in Birmingham (well done the Sports Cafe on Broad Street). There were a few Scots present. Instead of a piper there was a guy with a harmonica playing 'Flower of Scotland'. Surreal is not the word (but it'll just have to do). For the record we won 3-1 and I jumped up and down and nearly cried when that third goal went in but checked myself just in time. Fast forward four days and we're beaten 2-0 by Georgia, which sets up an all or nothing game against Italy in Glasgow 17th November. Don't think I'm not aware of the stakes involved. I forbid any of my work to be translated into Italian forthwith. It begins here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Hey there I haven't expired or anything. I just got out of the habit of writing about writing and it's taken a wee while to get back on the saddle so to speak. Thanks to all the good folks who lamented its absence. I'm with the Divinyls on this one: 'When I think about you, I dust my shelves.'

This weekend I'll be attending this years BICS or Birmingham International Comics Show for people who like a bit of a mouthful. It's my first convention appearance of 2008 which is worthy of a footnote, um, somewhere. I'll be buggering off early in the Saturday though to find a pub showing Scotland v Ukraine kick off 3pm. C'mon the Scotchland!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Out now is Cartoon Network Action Pack #10 from DC Comics. I have a Samurai Jack strip in there called 'Hit or Myth'. Of most interest I think is that this has been an idea I've been shopping round for years. 2000 AD's Pulp Fiction, Warhammer Monthly, crikey even a Star Wars anthology published by Dark Horse... All received a variation of the story and all rejected it. But y'know if you believe it's good enough, then stick with it, tweak it/improve it, and hey presto it'll get there eventually.

Well that's the plan anyway. Plenty more in the locker!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Progress on The Last Posse gathers apace. A redraft has been submitted and format set. 16,000 words of prose spread over a 80 page comic size tome, bookended by single-page illustrations with double-page ones inbetween. Artist Ken Hooper will be supplying those purty pages. Ken's worked extensively for DC among others and for your viewing pleasure his Primal Force cover is to the left.

Last year I did ok. Birds of Prey, Fury/Spidey/Captain Britain, Star Trek manga. With The Last Posse I've stretched myself further. Which was painful and I might have to go and see my doctor.

Watch this space dudes, dudettes, lads, and lassies.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Well friends and lassies that’s another year confined to the airing cupboard. Looking forward to 2007 my aspirations continue to remain modest in the extreme. This is a writer’s blog so I hope to continue reporting on my writing exploits for the mighty world of comics and prose. I don’t think my writing is ever going to change the world – unless I write that ‘Commando’ book of course – but I can have a darn good time trying.

Happy New Year to you and yours and lang may your lums reek!