Always Write

Peter Rogers – Writer

Month: June, 2013

Eleventh Hour memory lane

This week has been a definite trip down memory lane, as Eleventh Hour Volume 1 was released on digital platform Drive Thru Comics (their pick of the week title no less). Memories of the early days of Orang Utan Comics came flooding back, in some ways it seems like only yesterday and in others like a lifetime ago. I’m really proud of what we achieved back then, and of Eleventh Hour in particular. That anthology title paved the way for all the writing I’ve done since and many of the connections I’ve subsequently made.

Prompted by this news, over on the Comic Experience workshop forum, one of the other members Christopher Beckett posted an old interview he did with me. It was released online in 2011, but actually dates back to 2008 when it was due to run on The Pulse around the time we were taking Eleventh Hour to Markosia. I came across rather better than I remember, and far more eloquently than these days. You can read it here. And if you haven’t read my early work, you can get the full 80+ ages on Drive Thru for just .99 cents.

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Hoff the Hook

One of the best things about living in Cardiff, is the thriving comic community.  Myself, Chris Lynch and later Jon Rennie sought to unite the local artists and writers under the moniker Cardiff Comic Creators, back in 2007 or 2008, I think.  Through that Facebook group I’ve made many good friends, from fellow small press people to behomeths of the industry with star studded CVs.  One of our members is Simon Williams (Transformers, Spectacular Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk) and he’s been all over the news today.

I’ve been excitedly waiting for his Discotronic Funk Commandoes book to come out, and today that book became a media sensation.  Thanks to David Hasselhoff, star of Knight Rider,  Baywatch and the original screen Nick Fury, long before Samuel L Jackson. Turns out “The Hoff” ,and our own Soulman, will be at London Film and Comic Con announcing a Retro-tastic collaboration.  Wish I was going now, here’s hoping they make it to Cardiff Comic Con, or even a Cardiff Comic Creators meet up. Way to go Si! Read all about it here.

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An inspirational evening with Mr Gaiman

Last night I headed along the M4 to Bath, to spend the evening with Neil Gaiman.  Ok, he was on stage at The Forum and I was one of over 1,000 people in the audience, but you know what I mean.  As you might expect I really enjoy Gaiman’s comic work, but I’m also a fan of  his prose work too and American Gods is one of my favourite all-time novels.  So, when I found out that my friend Julian Burrett, writer of Chris Smith and the Nazi Zombies from Hell, had picked me up a ticket to the talk I was extremely pleased. The event, organised by the marvellous people at Toppings booksellers, was the first part of his tour to promote new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane

 

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All in all, the evening was really inspiring and it helped me to maintain the fire in my belly for my own writing, for a number of different reasons.  Firstly there was the talk itself, I was listening to one of the leading figures in genre fiction, someone whose work spans novels, short stories, comics and the screen.  Hearing him talk about writing  gave me the same buzz as listening to Howard Chaykin or Walt Simonson being interviewed on panels at Bristol Comic Expo years earlier.  Gaiman came across as a confident, intelligent and extremely likeable man.  His enthusiasm for his work, personified by his willingness to stay until 1am so that everyone in attendance had their copy of the book signed, was obvious and his love of stories and storytelling was infectious.  He read two excerpts from the book, and in some ways his country upbringing reminded me of my own, and the pictures in my head as he read, weaved between fantasy and reality.  The Q&A that followed (all questions fitting the author’s wonderful pre-determined question criteria, i.e be an actual question) was refreshing, he showed those posing the questions the same respect they obviously had for him.   He talked about Alan Moore‘s influence on him, his intention to one day complete Miracleman and gave us some insight into the potential American Gods HBO series.  These snippets of information were readily snapped up by the eager audience, but the real gems were the quieter responses, the ones where his guard was down and he gave us a true insight into the mind of a lifelong storyteller.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane wasn’t a planned novel, it was inspired by a secret his Father shared from Gaiman’s childhood and was solely planned as a long distance love letter to Amanda Palmer. When it was finished, it was, what many are describing as the best work of his career.  But above all it started life as a story for its own sake, a fact which I can’t stop thinking about.

One of the other reasons that I was inspired last night was seeing how passionate the other people in attendance were, he received a huge round of applause when he arrived on stage and another one moments later, when the slightly ineffectual journalist interviewing him introduced him by name. People shared a common love of the stories Gaiman has created, we all laughed together, shared the same excitement, all wanted to know more.

 

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I was also surrounded by other creative people.  Old friends Ian Sharman (Alpha Gods, Hero 9-5) and Holly Rose (Shrapnel) were there, Conor Boyle, who is drawing my latest Unseen Shadows story and writer Lizzie Boyle were also in attendance, the collective brains behind Disconnected Press.  Julian has just had his first comic released, which I had the pleasure of editing, and his brother Alex Burrett  is also a writer whose work includes the surreal and critically acclaimed short story collection “My Goat ate its own legs” from Burning House. All these people have been writing, drawing and creating because they have to, it’s an essential part of who they are and why they exist. On that note, I am no different.

From today every time I get a little despondent, too focussed on success, achievement or “breaking in”, I’ll look at my signed copy of the book and think back to last night.  But not to imagine trading places with one of the most recognisable writers on the planet.  I’ll be remembering with fondness that the reason we write, and the reason we read is one in the same. Because we all love stories.

 

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The Lament of Lady Mary

There’s no better feeling for someone who writes comics than receiving new pages from your artist. This week’s visual feast came courtesy of Conor Boyle, who I’ve been working with on my second story for the Unseen Shadows universe, created by Barry Nugent.

Our story focuses on Lady Mary Cademus and her relationship with her son Oliver Cademus, a character those who have read Barry’s first novel Fallen Heroes will be very familiar with.

Lady Mary Cademus lost both the men she loved in the First Crusade. But now eight years later one of them, her son Oliver, has returned alive. And he isn’t alone.  “So who are they? The six who ride with you, the quiet ones who have your ear.

I’ve really enjoyed working on a period piece (written with the Game of Thrones, Robin of Sherwood and Kingdom of Heaven soundtracks for company), and Conor’s first six inked pages really bring the story to life. Here’s a first look at Page One, I can’t wait to show you more as the project progresses.

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Colour me good

Two of my projects have been getting the colour treatment in recent weeks and I’m really enjoying seeing them in a whole new light.

Blood Dolls, pencilled and inked by Cheuk Po, is currently being coloured by Matthew John Soffe. You’ll be able to see the full story in the British Showcase anthology, coming out in October from Markosia.

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Fragments of Fate was my first foray into the Unseen Shadows universe, appearing originally in the anthology Tales of the Fallen. The story has now been remastered, with a few tweaks on the writing front along with the addition of colour, by original artist Roy Huteson Stewart. There’s also a new cover for the story, courtesy of Darren Brown. You can find out more about the planned digital relaunch here.

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