Always Write

Peter Rogers – Writer

Tag: markosia

Dapper Chimp reunites with Orang Utans to go Ape in London

One week today I’ll be getting the (very) early train Eastwards, for London Super Comic Convention at the Excel Centre. The show is in its third year, but this is the first time I’ve been able to attend. I’ll be roaming the floor rather than sitting behind a table, but I’ll also be spending some time with my old Orang Utan Comics colleagues and the Markosia crew.

This show sees things go full circle, as one of the first books I ever wrote is being released there. I met Ian Sharman (Hero 9 to 5, Alpha Gods) back in 2006, on both the Markosia and Visionary Comics Studio forums, and he asked me to take on the scripting duties of a space opera that he’d plotted out.  8 years and many artists after I handed in my first draft of the script, The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley is being launched at the show.  With new art by Ewan McLaughlin, and following a rewrite by Ian last year, you can pick up the whole mini series at the show, as a graphic novel from Markosia.

As I did with Kapow! in 2012, I’ll be heading up and back in one day rather than spending the whole weekend.  I’ll be trying to meet up with as many people as I can on the Saturday, including artists Marc Laming and Luca Pizzari who are both taking part in the anthology project I’ll be launching on Kickstarter very soon.   It’ll be my first convention of 2014, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

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Bubble Burst?

I won’t be at Thought Bubble this weekend, and to say that I’m gutted about that would be putting it mildly.  The Leeds based comics festival has developed into probably the UK’s best convention, it’s well organised, well funded, slick and welcoming.  I went last year and in 2011 (complete with Movember moustache and some killer dance moves) and thoroughly enjoyed myself both times.  The writer’s panel last year was my second favourite I’ve been to, beaten only by Tony Lee interviewing Howard Chaykin in Bristol back in 2006.

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Lots of my friends are going and the guest list is, as always, full of stellar names like Matt Fraction, Fiona Staples, Geoff Darrow, Kelly Sue Deconnick, David Aja, Rafael Alburquerque, Image Comics’ Publisher Eric Stephenson and Director of Business Development Ron Richards. I also usually get to do some in person co-writing at TB too, as my writing partner Steve Aryan is based locally.  We did a lot of work on Flux (our creator owned mini series with Iranian artist Maysam Barza) in Leeds, and we could have spent some time working on our new project (with art by Simone Guglielmini from Image’s Near Death). We also recorded an episode of our podcast Bags of Action from Steve’s house last year, about Enter the Dragon if my memory serves me correctly.

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Sadly, Thought Bubble wasn’t to be for me this year, but you can still pick up books with my name on them at this year’s show. If you head over to the Markosia stand in New Dock Hall and pick up British Showcase Anthology, 144 pages of stories including my own Blood Dolls with Cheuk Po.   Over on the Orang Utan Comics stand, they will have limited copies of sci-fi romp The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley, which I co-wrote with Ian Sharman and features art by Ewan McLaughlin.

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I was originally meant to be sharing table space with my good friend Chris Lewis (my singing partner on Warren G and Nate Dogg’s Regulate at last year’s Mid Show party) at the convention.  So if you see him, please say hello and pick up a copy of his excellent mini series Drones, the trade paperback debuts at the show.  He’s also in New Dock Hall as well.

And if you really want to make me feel better about missing the comic event of the year, feel free to back the Forgotten Planet campaign on Kickstarter 😉

Blood Dolls hits Comixology

At the end of last year I wrote a short story called Blood Dolls, as part of a monthly writing challenge on the Comics Experience workshop forum. After getting some feedback and critiques from other forum members and workshop staff, I set about re-writing a second draft. Around the same time I met an up and coming artist called Cheuk Po, a fellow member of the Small Press Commandoes Facebook group.  He was looking for scripts to work on, so I sent him Blood Dolls.  Fast forward about 10 months and you can now read our story via Comixology.

I was approached by editor Adam Cheal to submit a story to a new anthology from Markosia called British Showcase, around the same time I was receiving pages from Cheuk. We brought in Matthew John Soffe on colours and Mindy Lopkin on letters and pretty quickly our little rock n’ roll tale was complete. The full 146 page anthology features a host of British talent, and the physical copy debuted last month at the Scardiff convention.  You can pick the book up digitally for just $4.99 or £2.99, which is an absolute steal.  Go get it.

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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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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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The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley

If my memory serves me correctly it was back in 2006 that I began working on the sci fi comic book that is now Zakk Ridley.  Lots has changed since then, the titular hero is on his third name and the project has been developed with a number of different artists along the way (I’m thinking it’s seven by now). 

Ian Sharman and I met on the Visionary Comics Studio forums that year, and he approached me to take his plot and turn it into a mini series. I think it was the second mini series I ever wrote (after my own space opera Viva Las Venus), and the first time I’d ever worked from someone else’s plot.  My writing was a little rough around the edges and was perhaps a little decompressed, but I had good ideas about structure and foreshadowing that enhanced what Ian had already put to paper. 

When the book was first picked up by Markosia I remember Tony Lee, who was mentoring us both at the time, saying it was the best thing either of us had worked on.  Fast forward just over 6 years (that’s scary in itself) the book is finally taking another step towards being published.  Following the success of Alpha Gods and especially Hero 9-5, Ian was asked by Harry Markos, the Markosia publisher, to rewrite the story himself. I have the revised scripts in my inbox ready to compare and contrast.  And there’s a new artist attached in the shape of Jim Rodgers.  Here are some samples, you can expect the book to hit the stands in 2014 from Markosia. 

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The Interactives trailer

Just been reminded about this, if you haven’t read The Interactives this trailer shows you why you should.

Back to the old school

Back in late 2007 I entered the Shadowline  Who wants to create a Super-Heroine writing contest. Much like the recent Top Cow Talent Hunt, which I also entered, the deadline was the end of the year. I can definitely remember being at my parents for Christmas and working on my idea there.  

My concept, which has gone by the name Fifteen Minute Heroes and also Auntie Sam, like around 5,000 other entries wasn’t named the winner. But, there was something about it that I really liked, even if I do say so myself. It wasn’t the high concept, or even the super heroic element, it was the human side of the story and the central characters’ relationships with one another.  I talked to a few artists about bringing the story to life, people like Carlos Gomez, Eric M Smith and Braxton Harrison.  Working with Braxton almost came to pass, but he was too busy to work on the book in the end.  That was a real shame, especially when his concept work looked this good.

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I got moving on the series pretty quickly, I plotted the whole mini series, did a character bible, broke the story beats down page by page and scripted all of Issue 1 and much of Issue 2.  But, it was around this time that I started doing the same thing for the concept that eventually became The Interactives (thanks to my friend writer/artist Simon Wyatt who came up with the title). So the project got sidelined and I never felt the urge to return to it, until now.

I’ve been working with Cheuk Po on a short story called Blood Dolls, which will be appearing in the British Showcase anthology from Markosia.  Working together has been great, and we’ve both been keen to collaborate on something longer. So I sent Cheuk some of my ideas, a mixture of new and not fully fleshed out stories, and older ones like this one.  And he was interested in this super-heroine concept, so I went back and looked at it again.  Tonally, it’s along the same lines as The Interactives, and I’m surprised to say I’m still really happy with it. And I’m very excited about rewriting it and getting it moving again. Watch this space. 

 

Drive Thru Comics makes The Interactives Pick of the week.

Totally unexpectedly the first issue of The Interactives is the Pick of the Week at Drive Thru Comics.  So, if you’d like to read the first issue of the mini series as a PDF for just $0.99, you can do just that here.

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The Interactives is a curious work

I’m very envious of the person who posted this review of The Interactives today.  You see they’re reading 365 graphic novels in 365 days (my review is nestled perfectly between Chew and American Vampire) and I’d love to find the time to do that.  Especially when I have so many unread graphic novels on my shelves and in my digital account.

It’s great to still be getting positive feedback almost a year since the book came out and almost two years since I finished writing it.  I’m still very proud of what me, Luciano Vecchio, Yel Zamor and Ian Sharman managed to achieve.   All I need now is one or two other books with my name on to sit alongside it on the shelf, and I’m most definitely working on that.