It’s been a while, hasn’t it? In what’s been quite a hectic year comics wise, I suppose this has been my longest period of sustained radio silence, with nothing much to report since Thought Bubble in September. The main reason for that? Utter exhaustion if I’m honest. On top of comics, my 9 to 5 and family stuff, things have been very busy and I’m just emerging from a spell of feeling totally wiped.
But…that doesn’t mean I’ve not been busy behind the scenes. Here’s a quick look at what you can expect in the not too distant future.
First up is a brand new ALEX AUTOMATIC project that James and I are going to run a funding campaign for in early December. As some of you may know, James decided to do an Alex themed Inktober this year, I’m sure quietly expecting to do a few sketches and then fall away as most do. Not to doubt James’ dedication, but Inktober projects are hard and thankless and life usually gets in the way of getting a full run completed. Instead, James delivered 31 amazing images that inspired me to write a full story that you’ll be able to get your hands on once we’ve raised the printing costs. Format wise, this will be a little different. The book will be B&W, A5 landscape format and the story comes in the form of prose captions beneath the illustrations. So what about the story itself? Here’s the pitch:
In a prequel to the main comic, PREFECT 63 tells the story of a faceless Prism technician, assigned to the mysterious Project Animus, where he must observe and report on experiments designed to break and control one of their most dangerous charges, Designate 44470 or “Alex Automatic”. As he watches Alex fight the mild-altering Prism protocols will every fibre of his being, we learn about Prism’s brutal techniques and uncover the Prefect’s strange, obsessive connection to his subject.
This will be followed later in the year by the next issues of ALEX AUTOMATIC proper – that’s right, I said issues! Issues 4 & 5 will be issued simultaneously in a 48 page (probably more) flipbook that will wrap up the first Alex arc and set up what comes next for our hapless Mr Anderson. I’m very excited about what we have in store for you – you guys have waited a while for answers to some pretty big questions and a lot of them will be addressed here. We look at Alex’s past, his connection to the real Johnny Jenkins (seen at the end of #3) and examine his most important and lasting relationship. Harry & Wylde are also forced to face the horrors that made them who they are, and a new, deadly advisory finally emerges from the shadows.
And that’s not all on the 2019 roster! HOUSE OF SWEETS with my good friend and THE EDGE OFF partner Iain Laurie will be coming soon as well.
Hans is a novelist, struggling to complete a manuscript before his publishers demand the return of their advance. His sister Retha is coming to terms with the end of a relationship. They decide to spend some time together at the woodland cabin where they spent their vacations as children. However, strange things start to happen once they arrive. Hans becomes convinced that someone else is writing passages of his book, while Retha finds herself inexorably drawn to a presence in the woods. As the strange becomes terrifying, they find themselves trapped in the forest by a terrible, forgotten secret.
Suffice to say if you enjoyed the weird darkness of THE EDGE OFF, this should be right up your street.
Also coming in 2019, I’m hoping to be able to release the first issue of HEART OF STEAL with artist Katie Fleming.
Desperate to save her dying brother, teenage cat-burglar Toni Doinel steals the only transplant heart available in the sprawling moon metropolis of Alpha City. However the heart belongs to a notorious gangster, who’s not about to give it up without a fight!
Toni’s daring heist puts her on a collision course with two estranged friends, gang lieutenant Michael Roche and city cop Oscar Navarro.
In one crazy night, Toni, Michael and Oscar will discover what they are willing to risk for family, clan and aspiration in a city where you carve out your stake any way you can.
There’s a few other things in the pipeline too, an eco-horror/thriller with my pal Sarah Peploe and more new stuff with James as well as a couple of things I’ve written for anthologies and collections.
So you’ll be hearing plenty more from me in 2019. In the meantime, get ready for PREFECT 63 which we’ll be launching on Kickstarter pretty soon – I’m really happy with how it turned out and it’s a fantastic showcase for James. I’m biased I suppose but I genuinely think he’s delivered one of the most thrilling Inktober series of the year. See if you agree!