This is pretty much an info/link dump I’m afraid, but if you’re looking at this site it’s all stuff you should find interesting. Apologies if you’ve already seen all this via Twitter but I suppose that’s the way things go these days.
Enjoy your weekend!
Geoff Holder is a self described “Author, Scriptwriter, Proofreader, Curmudgeonly Old Git”. He’s the writer of Zombies from History, 101 Things to do with a Stone Circle, and Poltergeist Over Scotland among many, many others.
We met Geoff a couple of years back at the very fun and very interesting Manchester Monsters Convention and have been Twitter and email followers/correspondents ever since. Geoff very kindly nominated us to take part in The Creative Process Blog Tour in which an author answers four questions and then nominates two other authors to do the same.
What are we working on?
John: Lots of stuff. Some of it at the proofing stage (Black Shuck pages coming in from Steve Yeowell, The Problem of the Empty Slipper with Chris Doherty and Adam Cadwell for In the Company of Sherlock Holmes recently signed off), some still being pitched, some comics stuff fully scripted but not yet drawn.
Yesterday I sent off a page-by-page breakdown of a new Megazine series which we should hopefully start scripting in the next week or so.
Leah: I’m currently editing a big exciting project involving us, some two bit author nobody’s heard of called Alan Moore, and some of our favourite writers and artists. We hope to be able to announce properly next week maybe, so watch this space.
I’m also writing some articles for Lifetime magazine on parenting. We have three little boys, two year old twins and a four year old, so life is busy and loud at the moment. not ideal conditions to write in, but ideal fodder for these articles. We have a lot of pitches out there at minute, so we are playing the waiting game on them, and trying to get them in front of the right people. Its hard to keep pushing everything at all times, so we settle for nudging everything forward a bit on a loose ‘when we remember to’ rotation.
How does our work differ from others of its genre?
John: We work in lots of different genres. Comics is a medium, not a genre (as many people will point out quite wearily) and outside of our comics work we both write lots different stuff from Fortean articles to Mum-blogging.
Leah: I think our work is quite different because we love comics as a medium, but we are by no means super fans of most of the industry. Neither of us have ever really obsessed about any particular title or genre, so I think we draw on other sources to fuel our ideas. John is really into folklore and Forteana, which has a big influence, and when I get the time I love fat novels, especially sci-fi. We both like mysteries and crime shows on TV and big fantasy films, so we try and bring things from all of that to our comics, instead of referencing comics that have gone before. I hope the result is better for all of that.
Why do we write what we do?
Leah: I think we write for the love of seeing things real and in the flesh when they were once in our heads. The thrill of seeing your work in print, or on screen never leaves you, and the drug like buzz is certainly addictive.
I find the little articles I’ve done raise a lot of discussion and debate on Facebook and Twitter and I find that really satisfying, seeing people talking and chewing stuff over because of my writing.
I’d love to be one of those writers whose mind is overflowing with a waterfall of ideas and all they have to do is stick out a net, but i’ve always found it much harder than that, we have to put stories together quite carefully, and make sure they are good and strong enough to write. This means we are slow as anything, but we get there!
John: We just got back from a week-long family holiday and though it was lovely, it was really nice to get back to writing when we got home. It’s something you end up addicted to, I think.
There are things that crop up again and again – not themes so much as approaches or ways of looking at things. You have to be interested in in what you’re writing, even when it’s something that’s been assigned to you, and I think the ways in which you interest yourself, the angles to use to view topics from, are the things that give a writer a specific voice. It’d weird because there’s a Moore & Reppion voice which is neither of ours; it’s a composite entity we’ve created. We write what we do in comics because we’ve found a way of squishing our two brains into one hypothetical head.
How does our writing process work?
Leah: We work differently now to how we used to by necessity of children and limited free thinking space. We used to collaborate constantly walking and talking and thinking and writing, but now we have very little time so everything is done in frenetic bursts. It seems to still work, but its a slightly more stressful way of working. I think the story part of your brain is still working even when you are wiping up sick and shouting the kids to get off the table, I think you make connections all the time and eventually they work themselves into things. I hope so anyway, or we’ll have to get proper jobs.
John: Comics work used to be done via a lot of democratic discussion and back and forth revision but now we do it in more of a conveyor belt system where we hand things on to each other at different stages. I tend to work things out in my head a lot more thoroughly before I get to actually type anything nowadays – just because I can do that bit while I’m changing nappies, or pushing a pram, or whatever, as Leah says.
With some of our most recent work it’s been a case of me breaking things down into page by page plot points, then Leah roughing the pages out, then one of us typing up from the roughs, then the other going over the script. We’re still sharing the work out between us but we’re doing it in manageable stages.
Written in the early years of the 21st century, when the author (Steve Moore) was engaged in dream-explorations and mystical practices centred on the Greek moon-goddess Selene, Somnium is an intensely personal and highly-embroidered fictional tapestry that weaves together numerous historical and stylistic variations on the enduring myth of Selene and Endymion. Ranging through the 16th to 21st centuries, it combines mediæval, Elizabethan, Gothic and Decadent elements in a fantastic romance of rare imagination.
With its delirious and heartbroken text spiralling out from the classical myth of Endymion and the Greek lunar goddess Selene, Somnium is an extraordinary odyssey through love and loss and lunacy, illuminated by the silvery moonlight of its exquisite language.
With an afterword by Alan Moore, whose biographical piece Unearthing details the life of his friend and mentor Steve Moore, and includes the circumstances surrounding the writing of Somnium.
Order now from Strange Attractor Shoppe
here are a handful of books (and booklets) lying around the house at the moment – some have been knocking about for a little while, others newly arrived – which we really should have blogged about by now. I keep spotting them and making a mental note to write just a line or two about each of them, but then work and life conspire to make me forget once again. So, finally, this is what you get: a slack, hasty post with them all lumped in together under a vague heading just so I can tick “write about all that stuff” of my mental to-do list. It’s better than nothing but less than they (and you) deserve, so sorry about that.
From Haiti and Hong Kong to the fourth dimension and beyond: discover the secrets of madness in animals; voodoo soul and dub music; ancient peacock deities; Chinese poisoning cults; the history of spider silk weaving; heathen mugwort magic; sentient lightning; Jesuit conspiracy theories; junkie explorers; Dali’s Atlantis; the resurgence of Pan (in London’s Crouch End); anarchist pirates on Madagascar; an ancient Greek Rip Van Winkle; French anatomical waxworks; Arthur Machen’s forgotten tales and the full text of Alan Moore’s unfinished John Dee opera.
Yes, Alan Moore’s unfinished John Dee opera! The one he isn’t doing with Gorillaz… even thought they’re still doing it… Wait, what? I don’t know, cheeky buggers, eh?
POE’S TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY HARRY CLARKE – I was given the Arcturus Publishing edition (which I can’t seem to Google up a cover image for) as a belated Birthday/Xmas present and it’s a really gorgeous book. It’s 12 inches by 10 inches which means that the Clarke images are massive!
The works of Edgar Allan Poe, in the rarefied company of Thoreau, Hawthorne, Twain, and Melville, represent the full flowering of American literature in the nineteenth century. By itself, this edition would be an outstanding collection of 29 tales of mystery, suspense, and the macabre; but what sets this volume apart are the magnificent illustrations of Harry Clarke. Many artists have attempted to illustrate Poe, though it is no easy feat to match graphically the powerful effect of Poe’s words on the reader.
“Hall Caine was an incredible literary phenomenon, becoming the richest and most popular novelist of the late Victorian and Edwardian era, greatly outselling all of his rivals from Henry James to Joseph Conrad. By the end of the twentieth century all of his novels were out-of-print, and ironically his major claim to fame now comes from being the dedicatee of Dracula, albeit under the disguised family nickname of “Hommy-Beg”. It is a bizarre twist of fate that Bram Stoker is now so much more famous worldwide than Hall Caine — an unbelievable reversal of their roles one hundred years ago.”
This booklet explores the intimate, lifelong friendship between Stoker and Caine in their own words. Accompanying an introduction by Stoker scholar Richard Dalby are rare and un-reprinted pieces including letters, extracts from Caine’s autobiographical My Story (1908) and Stoker’s Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906), Stoker’s introductions to The Works of Hall Caine (1905) and hitherto unknown essay “The Ethics of Hall Caine” (1909), Caine’s touching obituary to Stoker (1912), and a reproduction of Stoker’s inscription to Caine in the latter’s copy of Dracula — printed here for the first time.
The Bram Stoker Series is available by subscription only. For €25.00 (including P&P), subscribers will receive titles shortly after their publication dates. Subscribe on the Swan River Press site.
DODGEM LOGIC: THEY SAY THINGS HAPPEN IN THREES…
With only its third issue just about to be released, Alan Moore’s mystifying neo-underground magazine Dodgem Logic has evidently forced a General Election, brought a government to its knees and secured the release of Twin Peaks Season Two on DVD. Those are the kind of results you can’t argue with and which completely justify hiking our cover price to £3.50, even without our generous increase in size to eighty ad-free pages of wall-to-wall solid content in spectacular full colour.
With a beautiful but nightmarish wraparound cover provided by its increasingly unfathomable founder and this issue’s free gift of a tantalising iron-on T-shirt transfer both delineated and designed by the sublime Melinda Gebbie, Dodgem Logic #3 is our most sumptuous and substantial offering yet. We’ve got more bubblegum-card bios in our series of Historic Hipsters, we’ve got rowdy rationalist Robin Ince exploring the futility of trying to reason with mouthy reactionaries and a genius examination of town planning and its various iniquities by urban spaceman Gary Mills. Britain’s foremost self-defacing comedy darling Josie Long provides some excellent advice, but only if you’re her about ten years ago, while hilltop hierophant Steve Moore serves up a comprehensive absinthe-scented guide to the degenerates, dandies and demi-gods collectively known as the Decadents.
Fulfilling Dodgem Logic’s remit of unhelpful crazy talk, Alan Moore offers a straightforward user’s guide on how to practice hellish sorcery in your own living room, and frowning boy-king Steve Aylett’s sobering Johnny Viable concludes with a display of octopi and flirting Chinese warlords that maybe, just maybe, shows us how to love again. Melinda Gebbie takes us on the first leg of a two-part tour through the delinquent dreamtime of Beat-era San Francisco, the immensely civil but post-civilised Margaret Killjoy walks us through her blueprint for a scavenger economy, and self-sufficient-ish Dave Hamilton sows some genetically modified seeds of discontent. The awestruck reader will discover flavoursome yet frugal recipes, advanced guerrilla gardening gambits and a first-time voter’s unimpressed appraisal of the democratic process. There are trackside chats and snaps from the electrified-rail frontline of graffiti, diatribes from doctors, a cacophony of columnists, the esoteric etchings and embellishments of cryptic Kevin O’Neill or the mighty Savage Pencil, and instructions for the manufacture of those Joy Division oven-gloves you’ve dreamed of.
Currently funding much-needed school holiday crèche facilities in the mistreated but majestic district that it hails from, Dodgem Logic once again delivers on the promises it never made you in the first place, a refreshing contrast to what you’ll be getting elsewhere during this election period. We know that if our preternatural publication were a little human boy and not a magazine made out of paper, you’d appoint him to rule wisely over you in preference to all the flimsier and less coherent options on display. Frankly, thanks to you, we’re looking at a landslide moral victory.
Dodgem Logic ~ the incompetent paranoid despot of people’s hearts.
After the appreciative reception afforded to its premier edition, lauded throughout the gutters of the world, the second issue of Alan Moore’s mystifying new underground publication DODGEM LOGIC is available in early February. Delivering 52 pages of full-colour solid content thanks to its flinty-eyed Puritan policy of no advertisements, all for a frankly laughable £2.50, this plucky bi-monthly periodical is stuffed to the gills with wisdom and wonderment.
Behind a choice of three, count ’em, three luscious variant exteriors we have this issue’s cover feature, a sexy yet somehow sinister Burlesque photo spread from internationally acclaimed maestro Mitch Jenkins with an accompanying article on Burlesque past, present and future by our exotica expert, Melinda Gebbie. Former Steampunk supervisor Margaret Killjoy offers a pertinent and practical guide on ways to usefully pass our time before and after the collapse of civilisation, while Fortean Times godfather Steve Moore delivers a surreal survey of Northamptonshire’s bizarre phenomena, from phantom panthers to confused old men in treetops.
In addition to these delicacies, DODGEM LOGIC’s regular contributors continue to work their magic, with the exception of Josie Long who had a flimsy excuse and will be back next issue. Dave Hamilton’s environmental Eco Chamber column looks at the more worrying side of social network groups, while teenage mum Tink takes over our women’s page this time around with an account of life on the disintegrating edge of England’s social services. Guerrilla gardener Claire Ashby dishes out another instructive communiqué from the urban undergrowth, spooky seamstress Tamsyn Paine knocks up an exploitative freak-show sock puppet, the magazine’s Spinning Doctors dispense more healthcare advice, winsome Wendi Jarrett cooks us a Valentine feast while M.C. Illuzion ruins our appetite for it with a discourse on Mechanically Recovered Meat. Meanwhile graffiti goddess Queen Calluz introduces us to three more Great Hipsters in History. Deities of delineation Savage Pencil and Kevin O’Neil continue to enthral, bewilder and unsettle with their subversive scrawls, while the unearthly Steve Aylett poaches the collective mind of the readership in tears of despair with his obscurely terrifying comic strip adventure, Johnny Viable. Then there’s the insurrectionary ranting and refined musical appreciation of eight-page local insert section, Notes from Noho, with the whole enterprise rounded out by Alan Moore’s illuminating dissertation on the history, difficulties and numerous delights of anarchy.
Extending the ingratiating policy of quaintly and nostalgically including a free gift with every issue, and replacing the astonishing free CD of our debut, DODGEM LOGIC’s unkempt figurehead and founder also contributes a questionable eight-page mini-comic, Astounding Weird Penises, being the only solo comic book that he has managed to create in his otherwise lazy thirty year career.
With only one issue beneath its belt, DODGEM LOGIC has already managed to supply each of the sheltered-housing tenants of the area in which it had its origins with a halfway decent Christmas hamper, and is currently sponsoring its own top-rate basketball team from the same neighbourhood. If future issues do as well, the magazine hopes to extend its various activities across the district and then, ultimately, to construct an orbiting missile platform and demand all the Earth’s uranium.
DODGEM LOGIC ~ chuckling and stroking a white cat for a better tomorrow.
Just a couple of extra bits of info about Dodgem Logic #1:
Forbidden Planet now have copies of #1 available for pre-order on their website which states that they should be in stock on Friday the 30th of October.
More news, including details of the Dodgem Logic website, to follow soon.
Here is the press release for the latest wonderful project to rattle its way out of my dad’s brain:
Forty years after the uproarious heyday of the alternative press, writer Alan Moore is launching the 21st century’s first underground magazine from his home town of Northampton, a community that is right at the geographical, political and economic heart of the country; one which has half its high street boarded up and is at present dying on its arse, just like everywhere else.
Drawing upon an overlooked and energetic pool of local talent as well as numerous friends and co-conspirators from comic books, the arts or entertainment, Dodgem Logic sets out to provide a splash of subterranean exotica in a bleached-out cultural and social landscape. Published every other month by counter-culture veterans KNOCKABOUT, Dodgem Logic is a forty page full-colour spectacle that, in addition, has an eight-page local section in each issue, thus inviting other areas to publish regional editions by providing their own inserts.
As cheap and beautiful as a heartbreaking teenage prostitute, Dodgem Logic has a cover price of £2.50, with its content similarly tailored to the fiscal toilet-bowl that we are currently engaged in sliding down. Regular columnists provide delicious, inexpensive recipes, wide-ranging medical advice, simple instructions for creating stylish clothing and accessories from next to nothing, guides to growing your own dinner by becoming a guerrilla gardener, and, in the first of Dave (The Self-Sufficient-ish Bible) Hamilton’s environmental columns, a bold experiment in living with no money. The same approach to helping readers deal with socio-economic meltdown and a blitz of repossessions is there in upcoming features on the present-day resurgence of the squatters’ movement, or in our communiqués from the Steampunk/ Post-Civilisation gang on how to start rebuilding culture and society before those things have broken down completely and our children are reduced to battering each other to a bloody pulp with their now-useless X-Boxes in a dispute over the last tub of pot noodles.
Not only seeking to give practical advice on getting through a rough stretch, Dodgem Logic is also committed to alleviating the attendant sense of anguish and despair by brightening the world with the astonishing cartoon-work of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s sublime Kevin O’Neill or that of underground legend Savage Pencil; the musings of Father Ted, The IT Crowd and Black Book’s own Graham Linehan or of the nation’s sweetheart, the implacably positive Josie Long; even a delirious commemoration of the lunar landing’s anniversary by the masterful Steve Aylett. In addition to a variously-hosted women’s column launched by Lost Girls co-creator and erstwhile underground cartoon artist Melinda Gebbie, Mr. Moore will himself be contributing a lead feature on the history of underground subversive publishing from its origins in the thirteenth century, along with various illustrations and words of advice. All these and many other sterling features, including a free CD of magnificent home-grown Northampton music over fifty years, will be contained in the historic premiere issue, sporting an hallucinatory front cover by digital artist Tamara Rogers and debuting this November. Wake up and smell the fairground ozone! No ramming!