Friday, 26 January 2007

watching the watchmen

Recently received in my mailbox was my complimentary copy of the 20th Anniversary Watchmen tribute book from Italian publishers Lavieri. It's a 240 page trade paperback containing articles and illustrations from a wealth of comics talent including Giuseppe Camuncoli, Eduardo Risso, Jay Stephens, Dave Hitchcock and Chris Weston.
It was put together by my co-editor of the Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book, smoky man, and as you might suspect, all profits are going to aid suffers of Alzheimer's disease. It has a fantastic cover as you can see here featuring Gabriele Dell'Otto's paints over Dave Gibbons pencils.
The volume also includes my own interpretation of Silk Spectre II.

tunately the whole bloody thing is in Italian, so I can't read any of it. But the pictures are just lovely.
If you're an insane completist of all things Watchmen, or you can read Italian you can read more about it on the Lavieri Comics website here.

what's in a blad?

Don't you just hate those trendy job-specific buzzwords? What I've been working on this week is a blad which I had been commissioned to supply.
Unless you're 'in publishing' you may not have any idea what a blad is. I certainly didn't when I was asked to create one, and I'm a publisher. Fortunately, the commissioning editor explained in greater detail; it's a document for internal use at a publisher which consists of several example double-page spreads, a cover, content pages and selling points for a proposed book. From this, the publisher and their partners decide whether to commission the book proper.
Obviously I can't really say any more at this stage, apart from the fact that it's another 'how-to' type book.
Speaking of which, I also signed off the final colour proofs last week for the Draw Fantasy Figures book that I put together with the spectacular James McKay, so with any luck you will be able to see that in the Autumn.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

they're all gone now

The second (and in all probability, final) printing of the Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book has just sold out. Diamond has taken the last few off my hands in order to cover a remaining handful of outstanding book store orders.
It's a project that I am immensely proud of, and to see the last copies trickle out of the door fills me with both pride and a little sadness.
You can read a little more about it in the news section here.

Monday, 15 January 2007

the panel is back

Silver Bullet Comics' The Panel is back up-and-running with an industry-wide survey of the top five comic-related highlights of 2006.
As a regular contributor to The Panel, compiled by the ever-resourceful James Redington, you can read what my favourites of last year were right here.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

hard boiled eggs and nuts

Pets, they certainly weren’t my idea, I can tell you. In addition to all the usual Christmas festivities, we here at Abiogenesis Towers have had to contend with a couple of pet-related incidents which haven’t exactly facilitated my preparations for the New Year as regards the new issue of Strangehaven and the like.
Almost inevitably, both Mandy and I came down with head colds, probably picked up over the Christmas break at one of the festive get-togethers with friends and family. My guess is at Liam and Donna’s New Year eve party where there were certainly a number of sniffles around and lots of kissing on the lips.
Anyway, once Mandy had recovered and gone back to work, I was suffering from the peak of this particular virus.

Then, Billy Whiz the whippet started throwing up and refusing food. Billy has always been sympathetic to the ‘eat now, vomit later’ canine philosophy and was especially partial to aerial ejections from Monty macaw’s food bowl. This includes whole (shelled) Brazil nuts, which are both poisonous and indigestible to dogs. So, after several days of attempting to remove bile stains from the carpet, we decided that a visit to the local veterinarian was in order.
After an inconclusive x-ray and negative tests for pancreatitis and other conditions, exploratory surgery was deemed necessary. The culprit for Billy’s poorly state was revealed under the knife; a whole pecan nut in its shell causing a serious blockage in Billy’s small intestine.

Various theories exist which may explain the presence of this rather unusual object in Billy’s belly, as pecans are not indigenous to these isles, but if he did indeed swallow it whole from the vicinity of Monty’s stand, it was many man moons ago.
Billy is currently recovering slowly (and still dripping blood over soft furnishings) at home under the nursing care of a former cartoonist. It should also be noted that the cost of treatment currently stands at £712.00 ($1388.00) not including carpet and upholstery cleaning.

All this while we were still recovering from the shock of discovering that our 11 year-old military macaw Monty is not actually a male bird as was previous assumed, but is in fact a female. Suspicions were aroused by occasional bouts of nest-building and a rather familiar cycle of mood swings, but after calling the bird “he” for many years, it was difficult to change to “she” without definitive sexing. And unlike other bird species, male military macaws are visibly indistinguishable from their sexual counterparts without DNA testing.

Unless that is, they start laying eggs. Which is what Monty started doing just before Christmas. Just one at first, then after a few day’s rest, a second smooth white egg appeared in the bottom of little miss Monty’s cage. No wonder he… er, I mean she had been making some rather odd squawking noises in the days leading up to the unexpected arrivals.

[By the way, as regards to the title of this piece, we didn’t hard boil Monty’s eggs (not even soft boil them), I in fact refer to my all-time favourite Laurel& Hardy quote from ‘County Hospital.’]