While most people conjuring up the Tristan/Tristram and Isolde/Iseult tale of yore probably think love-potion histrionics, armour, much bodice-ripping, Richard Wagner’s opera, or James Franco in one of his lamest film roles, I steer towards something far nicer: A book of myths and legends that I grew up with, illustrated by the great Alice and Martin Provensen.

The Provensens' work

The Provensens’ work

My dad picked up this tome for me when I was in primary school, and I call it simply Myths & Legends — though the official title is the somewhat long-winded Golden Treasury of Myths and Legends Adapted from the World’s Great Classics (originally published in 1958~60), with the stories adapted by Anne Terry White.

So, I always dug the tale of Tristram & Iseult (also known as Tristan & Isolde) and had it in mind for years to adapt the story in some way, somehow. I did pay homage in my novel One Hundred Years of Vicissitude, but on New Year’s Eve I got the bug in my “creative” bonnet to have a swing at the yarn — as a comic book.

Trista & Holt #1

Trista & Holt #1

So I started the first issue on NYE, tuning out to Japanese new year TV programs, with very little plan other than (a) I’d make it noir/crime related, and (b) it’d be all black-and-white and more of a slow-burner than my other comic Bullet Gal. I think I was 3 pages in when I decided to set the bugger in the 1970s — placing events in an unnamed city in which crime families flourish and the police pinch pennies from those with most power, our heroes members of rival clans, star-crossed heirs apparent destined to find love, loss and betrayal. Blah, blah. That’s the premise, anyway.

Trista & Holt #1

Trista & Holt #1

It’ll probably change.

I’m currently two issues into the run, and loving the diversion; I’ve also lassoed in fellow scribe Renee Pickup, who’ll be doing an origin issue of sorts, plus my old artistic accomplice Matt Kyme (Tales to Admonish, That Bulletproof Kid) for one issue as well.

The title? TRISTA & HOLT.

There’s even a Facebook page where I put regular work-in-progress rubbish and waffle on a bit more than here.

Otherwise? Big news this week is that, thanks to Luke Salmond in Melbourne, we’ve wrapped up compiling the 12 issues of Bullet Gal into a 348 page trade paperback for Under Belly Comics in North America — and that book should be published within the next 6 weeks.

art by niagara detroit

art by niagara detroit

Once again, here’s the cover art for the volume, with that superb cover painting by artist Niagara Detroit.

There’s also bonus art in the book lined up, done by people like Matt Kyme, Dan Watts, Maan House, Asela De Silva, Walter Geovani, Neville Howard, Andres Silva Blanco, Al Barazi, Chris Yarbrough, David Foster, Zack Rezendes, Joe Badon, Giovanni Ballati, Steve Myers, Jennyson Rosero, and others.

It’s also now listed on Goodreads.

Meanwhile, we’re still publishing the 12-issue arc monthly via IF? Commix in Australia, and have just pushed through #8.

Bullet Gal #8 [IF?]

Bullet Gal #8 [IF?]

Honestly? I’ve been quite staggered by the very cool reviews coming in (Jesus Christ, people get—and appreciate!—where I’m coming from?!).

Check out these ones if you have time from very cool cats like Dan Leicht @ All-Comic, Steven Alloway @ Fanboy Comics, Paul Bowler @ Sci-Fi Jubilee, Tim @ ReGeeken, and Cory Anderson @ Geeks With Wives.

It’s this kind of grassroots support and encouragement that helps to nurture indie stuff like I do, since we don’t feel quite so much that we’re banging our heads against a corporate media insensitive to small-fry.

Thank you, mates.


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