Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: III – Away with the Fairies

jonathan-strangeSusanna Clarke’s 2004 historical fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has been adapted into a seven part television series by Peter Harness, currently airing on BBC One and BBC America.
My third article for the Daily Grail on the history and folklore Strange & Norrell draws upon is entitled Away with the Fairies and is free to read now.

Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: II – On Fairies and Witchcraft

jonathan-strangeSusanna Clarke’s 2004 historical fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has been adapted into a seven part television series currently airing on the BBC (beginning on BBC America June 14th). I’m plucking out some of the more easily disentangled fragments of folklore, magic, and the like from the book (and the show) and taking a closer look at them for The Daily Grail.

My second Strange & Norrell piece On Fairies and Witchcraft is free to read online now, and contains no (or only extremely minimal) spoilers.

 

Interview on the 2000 AD Thrillcast

Our new series Storm Warning starts in next week’s Judge Dredd Megazine. We chatted with PR Droid Molch-R about it for the 2000 AD Thrillcast.


Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: I – The Language of Birds

jonathan-strangeIn March 2006 Leah and I flew over to Dublin, Ireland for the first time in either of our lives as guests at the third annual Phoenix Convention (or P-Con, as most people know/knew it). The guest of honour that year was Susanna Clarke – author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell which had, at that point, already been out for eighteen months and won a Hugo Award. I, a chronically slow reader at the best of times, had not yet started reading the 800ish page novel, and I think that Leah was only part of the way through it. Nevertheless, we found that we got on well with Susanna and her partner, sci-fi writer Colin Greenland – who were both lovely, charming and funny – and the brief time we spent together over the course of the con was very enjoyable. It was perhaps two years later that I finally finished reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I have on only a couple of occasions in my life finished a book and at once turned to the front to begin reading it again. I thought about doing that with Strange & Norrell but I am, as I have said, a very slow reader. Instead I immediately downloaded the thirty two hour long audio-book version which to date I have listened to perhaps three or four times.

In a piece entitled “Why I Love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” published on the Guardian website recently, Neil Gaiman recalled writing to the book’s editor to say that it was, in his opinion, “the finest work of English fantasy written in the past seventy years. I am not so widely read as Mr. Gaiman and I don’t pretend to be an expert in such matters, but what I can say with certainty is that I, like Neil, love Strange & Norrell. The blend of alt. history and fantasy, the handling of Englishness and of English Magic, of otherness and madness, the subtly, the comedy, the eeriness, the epicness – in every sense; all these factors combine to make Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a work which does not so much stand apart as it does occupy a space that seems no other work could ever fill. It is as though a Strange & Norrell sized gap waited hungrily on some shelf in the realm of forms up until a decade or so ago.

Today, in 2015, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has been adapted into a seven part television series for the BBC and as I type we are three episodes in here in the UK. With Clarke’s wonderful world of magicians theoretical, practical, and street being beamed into living-rooms across this scepter’d isle, now seems like an ideal opportunity to pluck out some of the more easily disentangled fragments of folklore, magic, and the like and take a closer look at them.

Read on at dailygrail.com

Manchester Film & Comic Con this Saturday

Leah and I will be guests at Manchester Film & Comic Con this coming Saturday. We’ll only be there for the one day so please do come and say hello if you’re there.

Steve Yeowell is one of the other comics guests so Saturday would be the ideal opportunity to get your 2000 AD 1890-1899 signed by the three of us.

Hope to see you there!

filmandcomicconmanchester.com

Saint Mark’s Eve

05

Today is the Eve of the Feast  of Saint Mark – a date with a number of strange customs and traditions attached to it. You’ve probably never heard of any of this, but luckily for you I’ve written a new article for The Daily Grail all about it.

Read it now at dailygrail.com (and get ready for a night in the cemetery, or before an open fire)

Leah interviewed for Bleeding Cool about Swords of Sorrow

SoSDejahIrene01-Cov-A-AnacletoBB: For all her flaunted sexuality, Dejah Thoris of Mars has always been, at least in the modern comics, a strong and quite capable woman. What threat is she facing on Barsoom as our story begins here?

LH: Dejah Thoris is only flaunting her sexuality by Earth or Jasoomian standards. On Barsoom she is wearing the equivalent of jeans and a t-shirt.

Burroughs took the idea of a white man turning up in some remote village and being utterly amazed to see the women’s breasts out in the fresh air, and transposed it into the fantasy pulp world. It’s a classic trope, where the young dashing man is sent to a planet where the natives only wear cling film and demand lessons in Earth Kissing.

Read the full interview at bleedingcool.com

M. R. James conference report on A Podcast to the Curious

A couple of weeks ago I attended the first M. R. James and the Modern Ghost Story one day conference in the atmospheric and aptly antiquarian setting of Leeds Library.

Highlights for me included meeting Will Ross, Mike Taylor, Jane Mainlley-Piddock and Helen Grant in real life, being introduced to the likes of Chris Rose and Prof. Aaron Worth, and chatting with BBC Ghost Story for Christmas originator Lawrence Gordon Clark. Here’s a picture to prove that happened:

Lawrence Gordon Clark and John Reppion

I was there to deliver a paper on adapting James’ stories into comics. I spoke about comics and adaptation generally a bit and then focussed on the Ash Tree because, happily, I had a couple of pages which Alisdair Wood had drawn for an adaptation of that story. The Ash Tree - Alisdair WoodI’m very pleased to finally announce that Leah and I have adapted all eight stories of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary which will be published in a single volume by Self Made Hero in Autumn 2016.

Anyway, I intended to write a little report on the whole thing but I didn’t find the time, sadly. Now Will and Mike at A Podcast to the Curious have spared me the guilt by devoting a whole episode to the conference, including interviews with Helen Grant, Prof. Darryl Jones, Jane Mainlley-Piddock, and even me.

You can download it, or listen here: mrjamespodcast.com

Oh, and look at my weird sideways face here:

Swords of Sorrow checklist

As I’m sure you know by now, Leah is writing a 3 issue mini series as part of Dyanmite Entertainment/Gail Simone’s Swords of Sorrow crossover event.
Here’s a full list of all the issues in the series and when they’ll be published.

John talks Dracula on H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast #250

FireShot Screen Capture #004 - 'Episode 250 – Dracula – Part 4 I The H_P_ Lovecraft Literary Podcast' - hppodcraft_com_2015_03_26_episode-250-dracula-part-4

This month the H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast has been covering Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Knowing I still have a brain stuffed with far too much information on the book thanks to the work Leah and I did on The Complete Dracula, Chris and Chad were kind enough to invite me on to talk about the dramatic climax of the book when the tables turn and the Count goes from hunter to hunted.

The episode is available to subscribers only but if you’re interested in Lovecraft and Weird Fiction it is well worth signing up.

Here’s the link: http://hppodcraft.com/2015/03/26/episode-250-dracula-part-4/

Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris & Irene Adler #1 solicit

SoSDejahIrene01-Cov-A-Anacleto

SWORDS OF SORROW: DEJAH THORIS & IRENE ADLER #1 (OF 3)
Cover: Jay Anacleto Writer: Leah Moore Art: Francesco Manna

A team-up set up by SWORDS OF SORROW’s Gail Simone, featuring the writer that she hand-picked: Leah Moore! Irene Adler has been many things in her young life, a fugitive, a master of disguise and a femme fatale, but even she is surprised to find herself made bounty hunter, tracking savage foes across the grimy streets of London. In a far off world, defending Barsoom against an influx of trespassers, Princess Dejah Thoris is ready to put the guilty to her sword. Now, the world-colliding events of SWORDS OF SORROW have brought these dangerous women together… and the fate of planets hang in the balance!

Full SoS month 2 solicitations and covers at Bleeding Cool

Spring Equinox 2015

A photo posted by John Reppion (@johnreppion) on


Partial solar eclipse (you can see the crescent in the lens flare) above our terrace from 9:31 am today.

Things are moving. Projects old, new, and not yet real are jostling for attention. They demand time. We have no time. Nothing to spare. Hours turn to days turn to weeks turn to months. For every thing you tick off your list you add three more to-dos.

Bring on the Spring and hurry on the Summer. Give us sunshine and vitamin D, washing on the line, open windows, long days in the park, and long evenings in the garden. Give us the chance to appreciate the important things, the things which make us happy, which make us human, as we hurtle ever onward through time; into and out of the darkness.

Bookmarks for 7th March 2015

38075.pngElectricomplexity – the latest on Electricomics

38075.pngH. P. Podcraft are covering Dracula this month (and I’m already annoying them by tweeting my own notes at them, because I know a bit about the book).

38075.png1930s Jiu Jitsu with May Whitley – this brilliant video has evidently been online for a while now (although the version linked to is a pretty recent upload) but Greg Taylor brought it to my attention this week. It reminded him of my article from SteamPunk Magazine #6 entitled Baritsu, Bartitsu, and the Ju-Jutsuffragettes.

John talking M. R. James at the end of the month

The 2nd of March (today) is Saint Chad’s Day.
Chad was a prominent 7th century Anglo-Saxon churchman, who became abbot of several monasteries, Bishop of the Northumbrians and subsequently Bishop of the Mercians and Lindsey People. He was later canonised as a saint. He features strongly in the work of Bede the Venerable and is credited, together with his brother Saint Cedd, with introducing Christianity to the Mercian kingdom.
Chad is also an important character in the old English legend of The Two Princes.
Someone who would almost certainly have known all that without having to look it up like I just did is the late great Montague Rhodes James.M. R. James by Alisdair WoodI’m a massive fan of M. R. James’ ghost stories and though you don’t yet know it, not until you read these following words, Leah and I have had the pleasure of adapting quite a few of them into our preferred medium of comics. More on that as and when there is actually more to say. I, personally, will be saying some more about it at the end of the month (Sat 28th) when I attend the M. R. James and the Modern Ghost Story one day conference in Leeds.

I’ll be giving a 20 minute talk entitled ‘Adapting James’s work into graphic stories’ in The Leeds Library at 14:25.

If you’re a fan of James – a listener to A Podcast to the Curious, a reader of Ghosts & Scholars, a watcher of A Ghost Story for Christmas, maybe – then the conference is definitely something you should check out if you can. I’d certainly be attending even if I wasn’t speaking. It’s £40 for the day ( £35 concessions) and registration closes on the 14th of March.

Chris Doherty interviewed about The Problem of the Empty Slipper

sherlock_holmes_problem_empty_slipper_moore_reppion_doherty_01Artist and all round good egg Chris Doherty has been interviewed by Matt Badham about his work on our In The Company of Sherlock Holmes story The Problem of the Empty Slipper (inked and lettered by Adam Cadwell).

The interview has been published simultaneously on Down the Tubes and the Forbidden Planet Blog so take your pick and give one link a click.

Swords of Sorrow announced

Sorrow01-Cov-G-Incen10-Lotay

From Bleeding Cool:

Dynamite is putting together a new crossover event that will kick off this May. But this even is unique in that all of the writers involved are women and it focuses on the publishers roster of female characters regardless of genre.

The event start with a core series called Swords of Sorrow by Gail Simone (Batgirl) and then there will be tie-in titles Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood miniseries by Nanch A. Collins (Vampirella), Swords of Sorrow: Chaos Special by Mairghread Scott (Transformers: Winblade) and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato Special by G. Willow Wilson (Ms Marvel) and Erica Schultz (M3). And as the event continues there will be books by Leah Moore, Marguerite Bennett, Emma Beeby and Mikki Kendall.

Gail Simone had this to say about the project she’s been planning since July:

“Here’s the thing: I love pulp adventure, always have. But as male-dominated as comics have often been, the pulp adventure world seems to be even more so.  Most of the big name stars and creators are dudes, and that’s fine, it’s great. But it hit me… what if that wasn’t the case? What if adventure pulps had also been written with female readers in mind, and awesome female characters in the spotlight? That’s the scenario we are imagining, and it’s just been a blast. The key players are Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Dejah Thoris, but it’s such an epic-spanning, world-hopping event that we also have Kato, Jungle Girl, Lady Rawhide, Jennifer Blood, and so many more. It’s the crossover I dreamed of when I was a kid, and now we get to make it happen.”

The core Swords of Sorrow series that Simone is writing will be drawn by Sergio Davila and feature Vampirella, Dejah Thoris, Red Sonja, Kato (from filmmaker Kevin Smith’s reboot of The Green Hornet), Jungle Girl and more.

Simone is also the architect for the event and has this to add:

“We got the best writers around, gave them a fun combination of characters and just let them go wild.  “It’s creators like G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Nancy A. Collins and more, with book titles like Vampirella vs. Jennifer Blood, Kato vs. Masquerade, and Red Sonja vs. Jungle Girl. More about these tag teams will be coming soon, but it’s just a ridiculous amount of fun to set these characters against each other, and I’m very proud of the astounding team of writers, who I hand-picked from among the very best of new female adventure writers. There’s never been a crossover event in comics like this, ever.”

Swords of Sorrow #1 features a variety of cover editions, including a Main cover by J. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl); variants by Jenny Frison, Emanuela Lupacchino; a subscription edition by Robert Hack; and incentive editions by Joyce Chin, Tula Lotay, Nei Ruffino and Cedric Poulat.  Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella / Jennifer Blood #1 and the Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade / Kato special both feature covers by Billy Tan, while the Swords of Sorrow: Chaos special spotlights Joyce Chin.

The May Swords of Sorrow releases will be in the March 2015 Previews catalog.

A last minute Moore & Reppion Christmas

If you’re anything like us you’re just beginning to realise that it’s going to to be Christmas soon and you need to buy presents. Now. So you’re looking at the internet and wondering what you can get that’s actually going to arrive in time.

Well, we’re here to help because I’ve drawn up a list, complete with handy links, of all the latest Moore & Reppion stuff you can order online right now. No need to thank me.

In the Company of Sherlock HolmesWhat would happen if you asked sixteen top writers who don’t normally write about Sherlock Holmes, to write about Sherlock Holmes?  What if you wrote to them, saying:

In 19th century England, a new kind of hero—a consulting detective—blossomed in the mind of an underemployed doctor and ignited the world’s imagination.  In the thirteen decades since A Study in Scarlet first appeared,  countless variations on that theme have been played, from Mary Russell to Greg House, from ‘Basil of Baker Street’ to the new BBC Holmes-in-the-Internet-age.

Now, you don’t generally “do” Sherlock Holmes.  Which is precisely why we’re writing, because we suspect that you have in the back of your mind a story that plays a variation on the Holmes theme.

All we ask is that you let the Holmes stories inspire you.  You might want to write a straight Holmes pastiche, or a graphic story, or a tale about Mycroft or Mrs Hudson or Billy the page.  The story may take place in Victorian Baker Street, or in Mughal India—or on the first manned flight to Mars.  Perhaps the plot takes inspiration from a Conan Doyle tale?  Or your detective suspects that his case is related to one Holmes faced?  Or…

Why, you’d have: In the Company of Sherlock Holmes.

In the Company of Sherlock Holmes features The Problem of the Empty Slipper by Moore & Reppion, Chris Doherty, and Adam Cadwell.

In the Company of Sherlock Holmes on Amazon.co.uk
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes on Amazon.com


sherlock-holmes-crimes-and-punishments-new-feature

In Crimes & Punishments, become Sherlock Holmes and use your impressive talents as a detective to solve six thrilling and varied cases: murders, missing persons, spectacular thefts and numerous investigations that sometimes lead you into the realms of the fantastic. The great freedom of action in Crimes & Punishments allows you to conduct your investigations in the manner you deem appropriate. Choose the leads you wish to pursue, interrogate your suspects and, from your deductions, name the guilty parties… and determine their fate wisely, as surprising consequences may arise where you least expect them.

Moore & Reppion wrote some of the mysteries for the game (the one set in the Roman Baths, and the one set in the Botanical Gardens, and others which we’re not sure if they have been included).
Crimes and Punishments on Amazon.co.uk
Crimes and Punishments on Amazon.com


Legends of Red Sonja In this unique collection, ongoing Red Sonja series writer Gail Simone hand-picked eleven of the fiercest, most talented, and most popular female writers from the worlds of comics, prose, games, and television, to help her tell the greatest legends in the She-Devil’s long history! A group of savage mercenaries hired to hunt and kill Sonja come across campfire tales of her at every turn… and Sonja does not like to be hunted. – Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, Marjorie M. Liu, Nancy A. Collins, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Rhianna Pratchett, and many more tell fascinating bits of Sonja’s legend, with a wrap-around tale by Simone herself, and art by the likes of Phil Noto, Jim Calafiore, Jack Jadson, and others. – Collects Legends of Red Sonja issues #1-5, the script to issue #1, concept art by Jack Jadson, and more!

Leah Moore wrote a story for the book which was illustrated by Tula Lotay.
Legends of Red Sonja on Amazon.co.uk
Legends of Red Sonja on Amazon.com


Vampire DiariesElena, Stefan and Damon make their comics debut in a new collection that includes digital chapters #1-39 of their adventures! This anthology graphic novel will bring some of comics’ greatest talents to Mystic Falls and set them loose to bring the characters to life. Or death.

Moore & Reppion wrote three stories for the book, illustrated by George Kambadais, and Beni Lobel.

The Vampire Diaries on Amazon.co.uk
The Vampire Diaries on Amazon.com


Cthulhu Lives!

At the time of his death in 1937, American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was virtually unknown. The power of his stories was too great to contain, however. As the decades slipped by, his dark visions laid down roots in the collective imagination of mankind, and they grew strong. Now Cthulhu is a name known to many and, deep under the seas, Lovecraft’s greatest creation becomes restless…
This volume brings together seventeen masterful tales of cosmic horror inspired by Lovecraft’s work. In his fiction, humanity is a tiny, accidental drop of light and life in the endless darkness of an uncaring universe – a darkness populated by vast, utterly alien horrors. Our continued survival relies upon our utter obscurity, something that every fresh scientific wonder threatens to shatter.

The dazzling stories in Cthulhu Lives! show the disastrous folly of our arrogance. We think ourselves the first masters of Earth, and the greatest, and we are very badly mistaken on both counts. Inside these covers, you’ll find a lovingly-curated collection of terrors and nightmares, of catastrophic encounters to wither the body and blight the soul. We humans are inquisitive beings, and there are far worse rewards for curiosity than mere death.

The truth is indeed out there – and it hungers.

John Reppion’s story On the Banks of the River Jordan features in the book.

Cthulhu Lives! on Ghostwoods Books


If you’re in the UK, you might also like to check out our own little online shop at moorereppion.bigcartel.com. Sadly, if you’re outside Britain, stuff from our shop probably won’t reach you now until the New Year.