Always Write

Peter Rogers – Writer

Tag: maysam barza

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.

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One month into the year of doing

As we hit the New Year I decided that 2014 needed to be the year of doing, the year of getting more work out there, the year of less procrastination, less over-analysing, less self-criticism, more fun, more experimentation, more motivation, more self-belief, more collaborations and more work in print.  And less than a month into the year, so far so go.

I have a number of different projects on the go, a mixture of short stories for anthologies and mini series ideas, and I’ve been lucky enough to receive inked, coloured and lettered pages in my inbox every week this year. Here are some of the latest works in progress.

The Eve

An 11 page story, written in reverse from pre-existing and appearing in Metaverse anthology.  The Eve has pencils and inks by Jason Copland, colours by Darren Brown and letters by HdE.

Here’s Page One lettered.

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And coloured.

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The whole story is lettered, and 4 of the pages are coloured.

The Moon Eater

A 4 page story, pencils and inks by Ben Holliday, colours by Kirsty Swan and letters by Colin Bell.  This story will appear in the Haiyan Benefit Anthology book, aiding victims of the super-typhoon last November.  You can pre-order the book, and help the cause here.

Here’s a colour version of Page One.  The story is all coloured and about to be lettered.

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15-Minute Heroes

Cheuk Po has been very busy on this superhero reality show mini series, which we’ll be ready to pitch very soon. As well as the pitch pages we are very near to having all 24 pages of Issue 1 inked, with new pages arriving every week or so.

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Alongside these projects, the two books I’m co-writing with Steve Aryan are also gaining pace. Simone Guglielmini has been sending over concepts and layouts for The Promise, and Maysam Barza is working through pencilling, inking and colouring pages for Flux.

2014, I’m loving it so far.

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 😉

In Progress

Having spent most of last month banging the drum for the Kickstarter campaign, it would be easy to think that Forgotten Planet was the only comic book project I’m working on.  That couldn’t be further from the truth and I’m hoping 2014 will see lots of new work on the shelves from me.

FLUX – Time travel thriller Flux is co-written by me and Steve Aryan, with art by Maysam Barza (FUBAR American History Z). It’s been pitched to a few publishers, and we have roughs done for all of Issue 1.

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15-MINUTE HEROES – Superhero book 15-Minute Heroes features Cheuk Po on art, my artist on short story Blood Dolls that comes out later this month in British Showcase Anthology from Markosia. All of Issue 1 has been pencilled, and 7 pages have been inked, we’ll be submitting to publishers very soon.

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THE PROMISE – Something new from me and Steve Aryan, we have much of it plotted out and a very exciting artist on board.

FORGOTTEN PLANET – Sci-fi action adventure book with with artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo (Jonah Hex, Random Acts of Violence), edited by Shane Chebsey and published by Scar Comics. A new Kickstarter will be launching shortly to hopefully get Issue 1 up and running.

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ANTHOLOGY 1– I have a very exciting anthology in the works that I can’t talk about just yet, it’s something a little different and has already attracted a wealth of talent.  Richmond Clements, co-editor of Zarjaz, Dogbreath, FutureQuake and Something Wicked magazines, is editing the book with me. This will be Dapper Chimp Press’ first foray on Kickstarter.

ANTHOLOGY 2 – We are planning a themed anthology from Dapper Chimp, featuring myself, Steve Aryan, Chris Lynch and a handpicked group of other creators by invite only.

As well as these, I have The Lament of Lady Mary with artist Conor Boyle coming from Unseen Shadows, Versus coming out in the Metaverse anthology with artist Paul Ridgon and graphic novel The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley, which I co-wrote with Ian Sharman, Ewan McLaughlin is on art and that comes out from Markosia in March.

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Watch this space, there should be plenty of exciting work on the horizon with my name on it.

It’s all go and it looks great

I’m busy working on a number of projects at the moment, which means my inbox is brimming with art on an almost daily basis. So I thought it would be rude not to share.

Firstly there’s Chris Smith and the Nazi Zombies from Hell, the first book from my Dapper Chimp Press imprint. Written by Julian Burrett, edited by yours truly, with pencils by Vik Bogdanovic (Garth Kirby), inks by Ian Sharman (Contraband), colours by John Charles (Marvel Heroes) and letters and pre-press by Ian Sharman (Dr Who). The first few pages are taking shape, and Issue 1 launches at Bristol Comic Expo in May.

Secondly there’s Flux, which I’m co-writing with Steve Aryan (Mythos) with art by Maysam Barza (FUBAR American History Z). We were all ready to submit to publishers in December when the tragic school shootings took place in the US. A hasty rewrite of the opening scenes meant that Maysam had to redo almost all of the initial 6 pages of art, thankfully it looks even better than before.

Thirdly there’s Auntie Sam (working title), originally conceived for the Shadowline Who wants to create a Super-heroine” contest in late 2007. Fast forward to now and I’m reworking the mini-series with artist Cheuk Po, my collaborator on short story Blood Dolls (soon to be seen in Markosia‘s British Showcase anthology). I’m in the process of getting feedback on Issue 1’s script from my workshop colleagues over at Comics Experience, and Cheuk has been very busy on designing the characters, costumes and look for the book.

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Fourthly and finally, at least for now, I’ll have an announcement to make very soon about Forgotten Planet. Originally conceived with Azim Akberali on art duties, things are now progressing with Giancarlo Caracuzzo (Gorilla Man, Jonah Hex, Ender’s Game). Watch this space for more progress reports on all four projects and a few more besides.

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Nothing will come of nothing: speak again

In just over 3 weeks time I’ll be heading back up to Leeds for the Thought Bubble Comic Convention.  I went for the first time last year, and at this stage in proceedings I was hard at work  pimping the books I’d written that would be on sale at the show.  I contributed to anthology title Tales of the Fallen which debuted there, a book spinning out of the Unseen Shadows Universe (masterminded and spearheaded by author Barry Nugent).  And it was the first convention where I was selling The Interactives, my debut graphic novel from Markosia, in person too.

This year, there won’t be anything new from me at the convention at all.  In fact, I haven’t had any new work in print, or released digitally for that matter, for just over a year.    A second Unseen Shadows anthology, the rather excellent Tales of the Forgotten will be launching at this year’s con, but I don’t have anything in it this time around.

To all intents and purposes it probably looks like I’ve turned my back on writing comics, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.  After The Interactives was launched I made the conscious decision  to spend 2012 trying to stand on my own two feet,  to establish myself as a writer in my own right.  As part of this shift in mindset I’ll be attending Thought Bubble this year on the other side of the table, as I did at Kapow! in May .    Spending the year pitching has meant nothing new from me to read, but it’s also helped me focus and regain my mojo too.  In the last year I’ve written more pages, made more contacts, worked with more collaborators and had more fun writing than I have in years.   I’ve also joined  Scar Comics Agency, who now represent me in the UK, and I’ve become an active member of the Comics Experience Comic Creator Workshop (an online community I’d highly recommend).

So what exactly have I been working on in 2012:

I’ve revisited sci-fi story Forgotten Planet (working title), with the blessing of the original artist Azim Akberali.  I’ve been joined on the graphic novel pitch by  Giancarlo Caracuzzo (Jonah Hex, Gorilla Man, Formic Wars) and old friend John Charles (Spectacular Spider-man).  Flux is currently under consideration with publishers via Scar.

Forgotten Planet

 

I’ve been working on another sci-fi book called Flux, with co-writer Steve Aryan (Mythos, Empyre),  for just over a year now.  We’re currently working on the proposal for the mini series to go with the first 6 pages of art courtesy of Maysam Barza (who we met in the Facebook Small Press Commandoes group).

Flux

I have also been hard at work on another contribution to the Unseen Shadows Universe, which I’ll be able to tell people about very soon.  I’m editing a new title for an extremely talented first time comic writer, and acting as British dialogue consultant for Eric Drumm ( Fear Itself: The Deep ) on his new project Long Live the King .

Largely thanks to Comics Experience I’m back writing short stories again as well.   Working on the likes of Versus (with artist Dave Stokes), Teenage Kicks, Salesmanship and Blood Dolls (with artist Cheuk Po, another Small Press Commando) in recent months hearkening back to the good old Eleventh Hour days.  I’ve also had my work critiqued by Bill Rosemann from Marvel, thanks to my participation in the workshop’s monthly writing challenge.

Blood Dolls

I’m also in the early stages of planning for  a new action adventure title Tough as Steel, as well as returning to an old concept Viva Las Venus.   There’s also another potential project in the offing, co-writing with my good friend Chris Lynch (The Dark).    And I have an idea for a new imprint that keeps moving from the front to the back of my mind too.

So, despite having nothing on the shelves or iPads in 2012, I will definitely look back on this year as a very productive one indeed.

Smack my pitch up

The last few weeks have been extremely productive on the writing front, juggling lots of different projects at once seems to suit me.  It doesn’t give me anywhere near enough time to navel gaze, have a crisis of confidence and start tearing every page apart before it has time to breathe.  It does feel weird though that I haven’t had anything published in 2012, although to be honest this year has been an odd one for a number of reasons.

Since The Interactives and Fragments of Fate (my entry to the Tales of the Fallen anthology)  came out late last year it probably seems like I’ve been off the radar.  Despite having nothing new on the shelves or to download I’ve been extremely busy writing.  And it’s taken re-finding my mojo recently to remind me that this was always the plan for this year. Pitch, pitch, pitch and then pitch some more.   Take the mental step to begin a freelance writer in an if you build it they will come kind of way.  Hopefully I’ve made the right decision, I guess only time will tell.

So what exactly have I been doing?  I can’t tell you all the details but I can give you some snippets of information without specifics.  Although the eagle eyed among my twitter followers won’t need to be The World’s greatest detective to work some of it out.

1) I’ve just finished a second script set in the Unseen Shadows universe, which will appear in a future anthology.   I’ll be working with artist Conor Boyle (who worked on Operation Solomon in the first book) whose work I’ve admired for some time.

2) I’m co-writing a sci-fi mini series with Comic Book Outsiders presenter and Mythos writer Steve Aryan, a long time friend and possibly the most motivated person I’ve ever met.   The first issue is written and the whole thing is tightly plotted out.  Iranian artist Maysam Barza who I met through the Small Press Commandoes group on Facebook is currently hard at work on the pitch pages. Should be with potential publishers by the middle of August.  Having lots of fun working on this, with plenty of Skype and in person co-plotting sessions.

3) I am now represented by Scar Comics Agency and I’m really enjoying working with Shane Chebsey.  I’ve been revisiting a lot of my old ideas and his input has really helped me look at them in new ways and relight my creative fires.   I have three pages in my inbox for a sci fi graphic novel I’m working on with an artist I met on Linkedin who has DC, Marvel, IDW and Image credentials to his name.   It’s an idea that Azim Akberali was originally working on and it’s been fascinating to see the same pages drawn by a different artist.

4) I am working on 4 pitches with a writer/artist who I met on twitter. These are for two different children’s publications.  Again really enjoying collaborating with someone new and stretching some very different writing muscles.

5) I’m in the plotting stage for a short story with another artist I met on twitter and through mutual friends.  The plan for this one is to submit to a relatively new UK anthology

6) I have 2 more mini series/OGN concepts I’d like to make some progress on this year.  One is another sci-fi project and the other is an action adventure story.

7) I’m consulting/assisting a couple of friends on another three projects in an advisory/editorial capacity.

So despite the lack of anything new for people to pick up, lots going on and plenty to show in the second half of 2012 and into 2013. Oh…and a new podcast to co-host too. No rest for the wicked.