Always Write

Peter Rogers – Writer

Final post

The title of this post makes it sound far more ominous than it actually is. Basically this will be my final blog post here on WordPress, but I’m not stopping the blog altogether, just moving it. I have a new website, so I’ll be moving things over there from now on –

You can expect the same kind of mix of writing in progress updates, new podcast episodes and general rambling, just in a new location and hosted by Squarespace rather than WordPress. As you were.

Bags of Action – Episode 22 John Wick

This month we turned our attention to a very recent release, Keanu Reeves starrer John Wick. Find out what Steve and I had to say about it by downloading the Ep


Bags of Action Episode 20 – Escape from New York

Looks like we just about managed to squeeze out another episode before March was over. For the second month in a row not only does our pick star Kurt Russell, it’s also written and directed by John Carpenter. Listen in and find out what we thought of Escape from New York.

London Super Comic Con 2015

There was a time when UK conventions tended to all start with a B (I’m looking at you, Bristol and Birmingham), these days the location of the two most unmissable shows begin with an L (Leeds and London). Last Saturday I ventured up to the big smoke for London Super Comic Con and I’m very glad I did.

Just like last year I travelled up in the morning and headed back the same day, but I’m already planning to make sure I can experience the whole weekend in 2016. I got to the ExCel Exhibition Centre at about 11.30, following two hours on the train and forty five minutes on the tube.  For the first hour or so I must have only moved about twenty feet down the first aisle, as I tended to know lots of people who were either behind tables or walking the floor. It felt like Bristol conventions of old, everywhere I looked I saw familiar faces and old friends.

It’s a very different show from Thought Bubble, with a much more big two and US focus and it’s good to have two well run shows that cater to slightly different needs. The venue is big, the layout spacious, the air con a god send and the overall vibe very laid back and positive. The crowd is diverse, with lots of families attending and with a far more even gender split than at conventions of old. I had my first professional pass for this year’s show and that, coupled with so many people I knew being in attendance, meant I was the most relaxed and socially adept I’ve probably ever been at a show, certainly in the pre pub stages of proceedings anyway.

Where 2014 was about talking to publishers, I spoke to IDW, Boom and Titan about pitches at last year’s event, 2015 was all about friends, contacts and the social side. I got to catch up with some of the no (comic) code creators, like Marc Laming, Mike Collins, Ron Marz and Brett Uren , grabbed lunch and compared career notes with Martin Fisher, hung out with podcasting behemoths like Barry Nugent from Geek Syndicate,  Gavin and Dan from the Sidekickcast and the comic book cardboard crappy cosplayers Tim, Matt and John from the hat decides and QPAW!. I got to check in with my old Orang Utan Comics colleagues Ian Sharman, David Wynne and Holly Rose, talked shop with Cy Dethan and Nic Wilkinson and met up with some of my Comics Experience workshop buddies – Chris Hurst and Ryan O’ Sullivan. The only thing I didn’t really find time to do was to actually see any of the exhibitors to get sketches or pick up books, considering the stellar line up that’s a crying shame.


Mark Millar turned up, which suggests any hope of Kapow! returning looks even more unlikely. Jonathan Ross had a table to promote his trade paperback collection for Revenge from Image Comics, with artist Ian Churchill, and Johnny Vegas turned up on the other side of the table seemingly buying every small press book in sight (expect to see him writing for 2000AD before the year is out).

Despite having to curtail my time at the pub, whisking myself away from The Fox by 9 to ensure I got the 10pm train back to Cardiff, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’m already counting down the days to next year’s show.

New look Comic Book Outsiders site

Like Knot’s Landing, Frasier, Joey and Crusade, Bags of Action is actually a spin-off. The show came about thanks to parent podcast Comic Book Outsiders. I started off as a listener and forum contributor, then an interviewee, before becoming an occasional co-host on the show, standing in when Scott Grandison was doing his best Uncle Traveling Matt impression.

Years later, Geek Syndicate presenters and recent TV sensations, Barry Nugent and David Monteith guested on an episode of CBO, where they talked about action movie classic Predator. That discussion lead to the creation of our action movie podcast, which I co-host with CBO’s own Steve Aryan. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Comic Book Outsiders now consists of three podcasts, CBO itself, Bags of Action and new show Crash Landing. You can read what Steve has to say about the broadened line up here. You can also catch up on all three shows by visiting the new look CBO website that covers the whole network too, the plan is for the three of us to be a bit more visible on social media, so if you’re a listener please feel free to interact with us.

Writer’s Room

I’ve been co-writing comics with Steve Aryan since 2011 and we have two titles in development together, Flux and The Promise with artists Maysam Barza (Fubar) and Simone Guglielmini (Near Death) respectively.  When we began work on our third collaboration, we decided that two heads may not be enough.

We’ve been taking a US TV style Writer’s Room approach to our next project, with one overarching storyline, told through a series of one shots penned by a variety of writers. Initially we began with four of us, working through the concept and breaking down the overall story via Skype. We then each pitched two one shot ideas and collectively agreed which were the strongest ones, those strongest ones would be scripted by the writer who pitched them (the idea of writing each other’s wasn’t something we were quite ready for yet). Sadly one of our number had to pull out due to other commitments, leaving us with myself, Steve and Cy Dethan (Cancertown, Indifference Engine) as the line-up for ‘Season One”.

It’s been exciting to compare notes between us and to start creating a world and set of characters together. I’ll have more to report on this project in the coming months. Steve had more to say on it here.

Bags of Action Episode 19 – Big Trouble in Little China

in the February edition of the podcast it’s one of those rare occasions where I haven’t seen the film before. This time around Steve Aryan and I are discussing John Carpenter‘s cult martial arts movie Big Trouble in Little China, starring Kurt Russell.

Find out more about the show and listen to the episode here.

The Prompt

I don’t really do spontaneous. I’m one of life’s planners, someone who likes to mull things over, let them percolate for a while before diving in.  So the idea of coming up with a story idea, writing it, getting it drawn, coloured and lettered in just over two weeks doesn’t really sound like my like my cup of tea. At least not on the surface.

The times when I do break my cycle of meticulous preparation the catalyst tends to be either inspiration or the process of collaboration, which is why The Prompt was such a fascinating concept. The idea came from a friend of mine, writer and letterer Nic J Shaw, a fellow member of the Comics Experience workshop. He challenged people to come up with a one-page story and encouraged creators to work together to get it done to a relatively tight deadline. I’ve always felt that limitations and restrictions help fuel creativity and the one-page limitation was one of the key things that whet my writing appetite. That and the thought of getting to work with a new artist for the first time. The other stipulation was that the story had to encompass the theme, the prompt itself “Coming Home”. 

I approached an artist. Someone I’d been wanting to work with for some time,  Alex Moore whose work I knew from her contributions to the Unseen Shadows universe.  Thankfully she said yes and once I knew she was on board I found inspiration by rummaging through her online portfolio to help generate some ideas. It didn’t take long to come up with something that I felt would suit Alex’s art style and that also answered the brief.

I wrestle with my creative decisions when writing fiction, agonise over my choices and beat myself up if things don’t go as well as I hoped. The very notion of The Prompt was completely liberating. This wasn’t the writer who can spend days reworking a single line of dialogue or panel description, this was the writer who used to write radio ad copy against the clock, the writer who’d write and draw multiple stories each day during long Summer school holidays.


I originally envisaged Frontier being silent and presented as a nine panel grid, but as you can see neither of those things came to pass. This wasn’t me sticking to the plan, this was me bobbing and weaving, going with the flow and allowing the natural ebb of a new creative partnership to take shape. Like all of the artists I’ve worked with before, Alex’s approach to visual storytelling surpasses the images that were in my head when writing the script. The changes she made enhanced the storytelling and made the story better than it would have been otherwise. There were some similar stories from other people who were taking part in The Prompt, so I needed to work out what made our story different. In the end, by adding the President’s speech, it gave the story a bit more depth to go with the humour. It also stopped it being an unintentional homage to Escape from the Planet of the Apes. I’m extremely happy with what we’ve ended up with, it feels self contained without being slight, something I wasn’t sure I could achieve within a solitary page.

You can see the first few Prompt one-page stories on tumblr, where more will be posted in the coming weeks. This wasn’t a one off event and a new Prompt has already been posted for next month. March’s challenge ups the ante further, with a bit of a twist and some extra specifications to consider. At the time of writing this, 187 people are members of the closed group on Facebook. I have a feeling that The Prompt will become a fixture of the creative landscape and will give readers some interesting new stories to read and creators some valuable experience along the way. I’m certainly hoping to be part of it again.

Bags of Action Episode 18 – Predator

The latest episode of Bags of Action is out now. Find out what Steve Aryan and I think about the John McTiernan directed Arnie classic here.

Start as you mean to go on

I gave myself two simple goals for 2015 – write more and read more. This certainly isn’t the first year where I’ve given myself these two objectives, but it already feels like the year that I’m most likely to sustain it.


A quote from Stephen King’s On Writing book, as seen in Brian Michael Bendis’ Words for Pictures book.

I’ve already carved out time to read more books since Christmas than I have in some time and I’ve devoured two volumes of Saga (3 & 4), both volumes of Near Death, Superman Earth One, the first Azzarello/Chiang Wonder Woman trade, The Fuse Vol.1 and Parker – Slayground. I have plenty more books queued up on my iPad or sitting unread on my shelf, such as all of 100 Bullets, some of the Dark Tower adaptations, The Death of Captain America omnibus and novels like Chris Lynch’s The Magpye: Circus and my signed copy of Neil Gaiman’s The ocean at the bottom of the lane.

On the writing front, as well as the obvious ‘write every day’ mantra that I’ve been aiming to stick to for many years, I’ve given myself some specific goals. I may not achieve all these in 2015, but I’ll certainly give it my best shot. Whichever book gets picked up by a publisher first is the most likely to jump to the top of that pile.

Flux – complete the mini series. (Scripts 2-4)
The Promise – complete the mini series. (All scripts)
The Rush – complete one issue (part of multi writer project)
Viva Las Venus – complete the mini series.  (All scripts)
Saturday Mornings – complete the mini series. (All scripts)
Fifteen-Minute Heroes – complete the mini series (Scripts 3-4)

Along with these comic based ideas, I’m also considering a return to screenwriting for the first time since the Western I wrote in the late 90s. The plan there would be to do something that could be made on a relatively small budget, probably set in one or two locations with a small cast. The kind of thing I’d have at least a small chance of being able to get made, in theory at least. Failing that a short or two might be the way to go.

Who knows what this year will bring, whatever I do or don’t get done, it certainly won’t be for lack of trying.