I got quite a few signs ups this week, presumably from me retweeting one of my letter titles with the link. This puts pressure on me actually having a worthwhile subject line for this one.
(The subject is always me lifting a line from inside the letter itself. It’s a device I picked up from my teenage fandom of Amiga Power, who titled all their letters with a handful of out of context words. This led to one of my early band names being lifted from the AP letters page, “The Queen Mother Swallows”. We decided this wasn’t sufficiently classy, so we were re-named to the peek-teen-Midlander-circa-1992, “Phallusy.” So ends my shameful teenage confession for this week.
The unsubscribe is at the bottom of the mail, if you were wondering.)
Gazing At the Prose
And DIE 6 is out. Alternate cover by Peach Momoko. It’s actually already sold out at the distributor level, with a second printing on the way. Yes, we’ve sold out before anyone could actually buy it. Er… that means “if your shop hasn’t already ordered copies, they won’t be able to get them delivered instantly.” There should be plenty of copies available for you this week.
Doing the Saga Model and having a brief, planned gap between arcs is always a bit nerve-wracking as a creator. We didn’t do it with WicDiv, in favour of adding specials to ensure there was something available every month. There’s basically two ways it seems to work – either you get an uptick as people jump aboard for the next arc having grabbed the trade, or you get a drop as people decide they’ll stick to the trades (or just lose the momentum of the monthly push.)
So I was nervous. The orders for issue 6 were up about 5k on issue 5, which is a hell of a thing – it pushes DIE’s orders above where WicDiv was on issue 6, to give you an idea of how good that is. I keep on having to explain to Stephanie “Honestly, it doesn’t normally go this well.”
In short: thanks, you sweeties.
This issue kicks off the second arc, SPLIT THE PARTY, which while pushing on the plot at both world and personal scales, it’s got a strong character spotlight focus. This issue is Angela’s, and was a surprise to write. They’ve all been – this is a book where I’ve got all this character material, and then when I write these individual elements I see how everything lines up. Of everything I’ve written (perhaps even included my games-journo satire, Modded) this leans on my time working as a games critic, and it’s mood is explicitly from Thief: The Dark Project. I suspect most games are the Dark Project, if you look hard enough.
Also, Stephanie does wonderful destroyed robots for Angela to sit on while thinking. There’s something for everyone. Good to be back.
Once & Future #1 is out next week, and (er) it’s sold out before it’s come out as well. The above image is the cover for the second printing, which I’m told is also doing very well. Perhaps look out for some more news there in the near future as well.
More on this next week – I’m doing a lot of press and I’m sure some previews will come out shortly as well. There’s a signing at Forbidden Planet on the Wednesday to celebrate, before I head off to World Con. Hopefully see some of you there.
I just finished Gareth Hanrahan’s The Gutter Prayer which is was just gleefully berserk. Multi-perspective Fantasy with three core leads and a web of secondary characters, this city is openly febrile. There’s enough that’s familiar to ground it, and there’s enough that’s openly strange to make it worth going to. I wouldn’t want to live there, but you can tell that it’s a place that’s well lived. So many great details - It brought to mind Mieville’s Perdido Street Station with notes of Peaky Blinders (and even the Wire, in its multi-perspective all-factions-with-agency approach). Favourite elements include the saints feeling like something closer to the Exorcist than a holy person, tallow men replacing the police with their waxy bodies and quick knives and maggots basically doing their version of Three Kids In A Trenchcoat.
I tried to put a link to Multiversity’s WicDiv annotations. I failed. Let’s try again.
Kickstarters! I enjoyed The Department of the Peculiar I read from Rol Hirst and Robert Wells, and am glad they’re coming back to do some more. A very British take on the superteam, low on both “super” and “team” and compelling in the details. It’s funny, lowkey and bleak. Meanwhile, Dani Colman and Davide Tinto are kickstarting This Old House, which is a horror comic of ghost-faking charlatans getting in over their head, which is basically the ideal position for charlatans as far as I’m concerned.
I mentioned interviews upthread, and various are coming from SDCC. Firstly, Greg Miller of Kinda Funny had me on to talk all things comic (though mainly DIE) for a couple of hours, and that’s online. This was just a lot of fun – really human, wide-ranging, relaxing. I was broken post-con, but I’m told I come across relatively well. I have noticed a disturbing growth of Politician Hand gesture. I may be going full dictator.
A tendency is also shown in the Adventures in Poor Taste Once & Future interview. Er… the strapline is me talking about how great Dan Mora is, and not actually picking a fight with half the industry. Honest.
Frankly, chilling in a bar and talking to my good friend Jimmy Aquino for Comic News Insider was as relaxing end to my Official SDCC Interviews as I could wish. You can listen here.
With DIE coming back, there’s some press. Io9 did a lovely critical piece talking about why they’re jumping aboard and I did an interview with Newsarama on Monday which talks the future plans for DIE, in this arc and beyond.
Hacking through the backlog of e-mail this week is the sort of time which underlines how much I need a PA, except I haven’t time to find a PA. I need to hire a PA to help me find a PA.
(“Or maybe you could actually be organised for once” – my own Arcane Weapon, ever whispering, ever judging.)
With all the distractions, everything else has been slow. I’ve abstractly been working on Ludocrats, but haven’t really done anything more significant than “Move our weird notes into a Scrivener file.” The way Ludocrats is written is basically Jim and I get together, work out the major problems, see what we wrote last time, and beat it around a bit. When it’s ready to be scripted, Jim takes it and does a pass in purely notes form – lots of ideas, set-pieces, dialogue. I then take that, and transform it into comics, adding my own stuff. It’s then passed back to Jim for a pass, before going over to Chrissy. It’s a somewhat chaotic process, which is somewhat appropriate, as it’s a somewhat chaotic book.
The notes on the script from the writers are somewhat telling. “What is wrong with us?” is the first one in here, which sets the tone.
Anyway – I’ll be getting to that at some point today, if I don’t actually turn my attention to PROJECT MILLIONAIRE SWEEPER which also needs attention. I suspect I’d put off both and doe the lettering raft for Ludocrats 1, as that’ll mean Clayton can letter it, and we can actually read this monstrous thing. The art’s all done, after all. Last night I read the dialogue aloud to a friend when they were reading it, and it seemed to have the desired effect. It’s funny, I think. Yet at the same time, What Is Wrong With Us?
Better get back to it. There’s a scotch egg in the fridge I can eat once I’ve got something checked off my To Do list, and I crave the congress of meat, egg and breadcrumbs.
Actually… this newsletter is something on my to-do list, and now it’s done.
I am coming for you, my love, etc.