It snowed properly in Tokyo yesterday for the first time in 2 years, and the mercury dropped to -1°C (I’ll let you figure that out in Fahrenheit), albeit for a short time.
Needless to say, it was bloody cold.
And did you know that 100 years ago this week, Marcel Duchamp used the word “readymade” in writing for the first time — on the way to changing art forever?
In less important news, on January 14th I put the finishing touches to novel #6, and sent it off to a prospective publisher: 1970s crime-noir-pulp tipping 67,598 words, including the glossary at the back of the book, partially based on my current comic book series Trista & Holt.
My co-writer on two chapters was Renee Pickup, of Dirge Magazine notoriety, and Black Sails, Disco Inferno is a retelling of the classic medieval romance Tristan and Isolde (or Tristram and Iseult, depending on your sources) – turning things on their head by reversing the sex of our chief protagonists and placing these people in a ‘70s pulp world.
This is the decade of the Godfather films, Starsky & Hutch, Bay City Rollers, flares and disco, set in an unnamed city in which crime families flourish and the police pinch pennies from those with most power.
Marcella Cornwall, a.k.a. Queenie rules with an iron fist, and when two of her men are killed, it’s up to her niece Trista to find out the truth.
If you know your medieval lore, you’ll (kind of) get what happens next.
Now comes the waiting game, so I’m investing in a few lucky charms like digital rabbits’ feet, freeze-dried clovers (the four-leafed variant), plus I have my fingers and toes crossed.
Keep an eye on the novel’s Facebook page for updates.
My collaborative comic book project with Australian artist Frantz Kantor – Magpie – is in full flight.
We just finished Episode 2, but the first one, introducing our fledgling character Maggie, will hit newsstands in Australia on January 30 (just over a week and a half away), inside Oi Oi Oi! #7.
I think the fact that we both have strong, inspiring daughters (Frantz has three to my one!) accounts for some of the direction we’re pursuing here. This is hardly some wallflower, despite first impressions. As Frantz put it in an interview we just did, “What a pleasure to work on a smart female protagonist! Like Margo Channing said [in All About Eve]: ‘Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!’.”
We’re also lucky enough to see print alongside other goodies from creators like Frank Candiloro and Alisha Jade.
Issue 1 of Magpie has already scored some very nice feedback from Greg Hatcher @ Comic Book Resources (“Cute and funny and really quite gorgeous to look at – Frantz Kantor is evoking the Mad-era Wally Wood…”), Comics Alliance (“Magpie offers a humorous take on a superhero world, and Kantor’s art is nothing like what we’re used to in traditional superhero comics.”), Comic Crusaders (“The art looks fantastic!”), Sci-Fi Jubilee (“This new comic strip is great!”), and Jason Bennett @ PopCultHQ: “Stunning work… from these talented creators.”
Plus, just today ReGeeken very nicely put it that “Andrez always spins an incredible yarn and draws you into all his stories… The art of Frank Kantor is outstanding.”
Cheers, all, for taking a look at something that others might think obscure. Keep tabs on Magpie artwork, updates, events and new directions here.
In case you don’t know Oi Oi Oi!, to date six issues have been published on a quarterly basis and featured the work of almost 40 different Australian artists and cartoonists. #1 won a Golden Stapler Award for ‘Best Collaborative Zine’ in 2014, and #4 was nominated for the same award in 2015. The second issue was short-listed for a prestigious Ledger Award ‘for excellence in Australian comics’ in early 2015.
Anyhow, you can find out more directly from Comicoz.
Also out this month, this time in the U.S., is my redux-version of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat – with me again doing art chores alongside the script.
I’m lucky enough to have scored my first variant cover, this one conjured up by Claudia Everest of A Dog A Day fame, and I love it to bits.
While you’re at it, think about investing in their other wares, such as Matt Kyme’s That Bulletproof Kid.
You’re supporting not just indie creators like Matt, but fledgling publishers (in this case Project-Nerd, but here also read Comicoz, above) who bite the bullet and take financial risks to spotlight art they truly believe in.
Without them, we wouldn’t get half this stuff out there.
Finally, let’s talk Australia!
…and I’m talking up the comic book anthology, not the country.
Hah! I’ve been biding my time, waiting to use that silly gag. Sorry.
Anyway, I got home a couple of days ago and found this in the mail from, yes, Australia (and here grudgingly showcased by Cocoa, who had better things to do than act as her dad’s hat-stand): the Australia! anthology of sequential art (comics!) that’s also a fund-raiser for beyondblue — and it’s bloody beautiful.
I got the opportunity to do a story here with awesome artist Chris Wahl, but also included are talented cats Glenn Lumsden, Dave Dye, Paul Mason, Julie Ditrich, Dave Hodson, Tim McEwen, Dillon Naylor, Ian C. Thomas, Danny Zemp and others.
It’s absolutely stunning in presentation and feel — hats off to Nat Karmichael at Comicoz for a beautiful job. And if you want to order, support Australian talent, and a great cause, go here.
It’s been a week of downs as well, namely the passing of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and a close family friend.
All three individuals I had a lot of time for and will miss. Bowie, in particular, was a huge influence – check out his album Heroes (1977) for just one reason. I still DJ out the vinyl, and it pops up in my novel Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth.
Rickman is hilarious in Galaxy Quest (1999). Go rent this if you haven’t seen already.
Thanks, mates, for the brilliant times. A salute to you starmen and women, wherever you now may be.