Seeking: talented people to make me look good

Update: Thanks to the efforts of everyone who forwarded and retweeted this post, I’ve now found a new artist for Squad Commander Rocket. Once again, thanks to everyone.

Get Dracula is still on the table if anyone is interested in drawing that…

Long term readers might know that I’ve been trying to get a webcomic off the ground for the last couple of years, but sadly it hasn’t worked out with the artist previously attached.

So, I’m putting out a request for an artist (or artists) who might want to collaborate on a short form (20-30 pages) comic book story to be published online first (in weekly installments) and hopefully in print later.

Since last time around, I have now got a second idea for a comic, so if you’re interested in either of the following please get in touch:

Squad Commander Rocket: a mix of contemporary drama and pulp SF intercutting between 21st century London and a retro science fiction future. Big rockets, weird aliens and modernist architecture. There’s a bit more detail on this project here, although my publishing plans have shifted a bit since then (see below).


Get Dracula: 1970s vampire gangster story set in the North of England. Nasty people and nasty things kicking nasty bits off each other.

Format for either of these is negotiable. The intent would be to share ownership once a certain number of pages had been completed, and to hopefully pull a print version together after the online version is complete.

If you’re interested in being involved with either of these projects, please contact me at scrcomic [at] googlemail [dot] com so we can discuss.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to spread the word to anyone you feel may be interested.

Image: Tyne Bridge in the 1970s (N T Stobbs) / CC BY-SA 2.0

May 9, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Squad Commander Rocket needs YOU!

Yes, it’s a massive cliche. Sue me.

Are you a talented up and coming comic book artist looking to showcase your skills? If so then the webcomic I’m hoping to get off the ground in 2010 needs YOU!

What is it? Squad Commander Rocket (title TBC) will be a weekly webcomic that will eventually be compiled into a one-shot printed comic book of between 20 to 30 pages. The model I’m looking at imitating is that used by David O’Connell on his excellent Tozo: The Public Servant, where the comic page is broken into a three by three grid, and a weekly installment is usually one row of three panels, with odd larger splashes taking up more than one row, or occasionally a whole page. (Take a look here and flick through the archive to see what I mean.)

By telling a story at roughly a third of a page a week, this will hopefully set a manageable schedule for the artist, and result in a full comic ready for print within a year.

What’s it about then? The story is a combination of pulp SF and contemporary drama, intercutting between contemporary London and exciting alien worlds. This is an ideal project for an artist wanting to show that they can draw characterisation and reality, but also action and inventive SF weirdness.

Blimey, that’s a big ask. Maybe. I’m not looking for immaculate draftsmanship or elaborate finishing, and I’m open to whatever art style is pitched to me. I’m also flexible in terms of whether the strip is black and white, full colour, or some form of spot colouring or shading. However the artist for this story will definitely need the following:

  • a good grasp of facial detail (there’s one character who appears at different times of his life, at different ages and wearing different clothes, and they need to be recognisable throughout).
  • an ability to draw buildings (architecture plays a role in the story) – I’m happy to see anything from scanned in and ‘shopped photo ref to silhouetted shapes of tower blocks, but you will need to be able to draw a straight line and be at least willing to draw backgrounds.
  • an ability, and preferably enjoyment of, playing around with the design tropes of 50s, 60s and 70s popular SF in a way that’s recognisable without just copying Dan Dare, Star Trek etc.
  • the discipline to stick within the format and required panel size, so that the individual installments will stack up OK to create the finished comic, and of course to maintain the demands of a weekly schedule.

What’s the deal then? There’s no money up front or per page, I’m afraid. I’ll also be retaining all rights to the property itself until completion. Understandably sometimes artists need to drop out of projects like this, and I’d hate to lose the story altogether. However, on print publication and for any subsequent use of the strip we’ll share ownership and split profits equally between writer and artist (with appropriate shares hived off for a letterer or colourist, if those are done separately).

Although there’s no money in the foreseeable future, this should be a fun project, and a great showcase for your artistic abilities, initially on the web and then in a nicely printed format. I’ll be swallowing the costs of the print run, and acting as publisher, while the artist will get a nice stack of comp copies to do with as you wish.

I’m not going into Squad Commander Rocket lightly – I’ve wanted to publish a comic for a few years, but have waited until I’ve got the right story and an achievable plan for getting that story from outline to finished product.

Finally, this should be a well-promoted strip. My work on Doctor Who, Bernice Summerfield etc, as well as the existing Shiny Shelf website I’m a part of, means that I have a little head start in terms of drawing attention to a new property. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a big name, but I do have a bit of a track record that can be converted into interest here and there.

How do I show my interest? I’ve set up an email address for anyone wanting to contact me to discuss this project. It’s scrcomic [at] googlemail [dot] com. If you think you may be the artist for Squad Commander Rocket, drop me a line and we can discuss it.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to send the link to this post to anyone you feel may be interested.


December 4, 2009. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Hey Kids! Comics! (updated 6/11/09)

OK, maybe not kids, considering the first couple I’ve reviewed are mature readers titles…

Anyway, as previously mentioned while I was up in London I picked up a mighty backlog of comics, and to mark that occasion I’m spending this week reviewing a few titles that we should have covered on Shiny Shelf aaaages ago. Here they are (I’m lazy and just updating this post with the others as the week goes on):

Criminal: The Sinners
The Unwritten

Wednesday Comics (added 5/11/09)
Detective Comics (added 6/11/09)

Looking back at these, they’re both rave reviews – perhaps a side-effect of the fact that, with me cutting back my spending, I’m not taking as many risks on purchases as I used to. Hmmm… will try to pick something less absolutely outstanding for tomorrow, before this turns into a total fawnfest. (I did – see Wednesday Comics review!)

Meanwhile… I’m not nanowrimo-ing. While I kind of like the idea, various reasons have conspired to mean I couldn’t start on time, and it would be foolish to throw a whole month of my career break into a single project like this. However, I am seeing how far I can use the nano ethos to get as many words as I can down for an existing project, so we’ll see how well I do with that over the month… even if I don’t get anywhere near 50,000, even 10,000 words of rough draft would be a decent start.


* Criminal artwork nicked from Sean Phillips’ blog, which is well worth RSSing to for the regular art he posts. However, work viewers beware, there is quite a bit of nudity and horror in his work…

November 4, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Eight weeks later…

… or thereabouts.

I’ve had an incredibly busy couple of months, to the extent that I can’t believe it’s ONLY been a couple of months, not three or four. I’ve left my job, finished editing a book, written a couple of short stories and a short comics script, moved house (and not across town, but to a completely different city), dashed off to deal with some family matters a few days after moving, then barely got back from that before heading off to Birmingham for British International Comics Show (BICS for short).

Speaking of which:

This rather fantastic sketch by Charlie Adlard was a raffle prize at the 70 years of Batman panel. I won.

Nice, isn’t it? I think Charlie went for the Jokerised look as he only had a green pen to work with, due to various art materials shortages that hit the panel.

I wouldn’t say I’m gloating, I’ve only put it on Flickr. And as my profile picture on Facebook. And tweeted about it. And posted it here. And I’ll tweet about this post. And post about this post on Facebook. So not gloating at all.

To be fair, alongside Sean Phillips, Charlie Adlard is one of my favourite comics book artists. I’ve already got a Bill Savage sketch I bought from Charlie at a previous Bristol con, and so to randomly win another sketch out of nowhere was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

Anyway, I’m currently on a career break with the intent of doing some freelancing, working on some long term writing projects, and try and push up my writing productivity.

(In the highly unlikely event you’re reading this and are a commissioning editor with a budget, I can write anything and, due to a fluke of space-time, I do not just deliver ahead of deadline but before the original commissioning date.)

One of the things I’ll be doing to increase my writing flow is to revive this blog starting with… well… this…

It’ll get better. I promise.

Coming up – some more BICS bits, updates on ongoing projects, and more.

Or, if you’re lucky, less.


October 5, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Acheivement Unlocked: Unhealthy Obsession, 30G

Apologies for the relative silence since returning from my wedding. I do, theoretically, have more time on my hands, but a series of weekends away, and a desire to spend every waking hour in London I have squeezing value from my Gold Membership, have prevented that so far.

Oh, and I’m working on some other stuff that hasn’t been announced yet.

Anyway, there’s some stuff from me and pals on Shiny Shelf at the moment, including a countdown of all the previous Trek movies in the run up to the new prequels, and a rather rambling review of the Wolverine movie from myself.

So, by way of an excuse for new content, a few plugs for things that for various reasons Shiny Shelf is too biased to review independently. Yes, it’s Corruption Corner:

  • The Torchwood graphic novel, Rift War, turned up through the post the other day. Collecting most of the strips so far from the monthly magazine, sans long interviews with actors and all that other stuff that I’d have read excitedly if I was ten years younger and had the time, this constitutes probably the best T’wood story in any medium. Titan and the BBC licensing people are to be credited for setting distinctive artists like Paul Grist and D’Israeli loose on the kind of material usually lumbered with stiff, heavily photo-reffed work. A great value package, nicely put together by Titan.
  • Colin Brockhurst, who edited the great fanzine Circus back in the day, has a new website. Well worth looking at for vintage ‘zine articles and some witty images.
  • I have a story in next year’s Accent UK anthology, Predators. In the mean time, this year’s anthology is Western. Please ask for it from your local comic shop, especially if that comic shop is in the US.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but that’s enough for now.


May 3, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Bernice Summerfield: Venus Mantrap

Big Finish have now put up the cover art to mine and Lance Parkin’s Bernice Summerfield play, Venus Mantrap:
Pretty awesome, huh? I love Adrian Salmon’s stuff, and he absolutely nails the tone of the play. Cheers, Ade! Also, many thanks to Lance for buying the artwork for me and Mags as a wedding present. So cheers to both of those guys.

OK, that’s enough insular backslapping, let’s widen the circle to the other ten of you reading this with a little background, or more to the point a sales pitch.

I can’t recall which came first, but there were two things I knew I wanted to do with a Bernice audio when I pitched to producer Eddie Robson: co-write the audio with Lance Parkin, with whom I’d first written for Bernice in Beige Planet Mars; and write a follow-up of sorts to that book. Venus Mantrap isn’t a sequel to BPM, and you certainly don’t need to have read the book to enjoy the audio, but it has a similar tone and one recurring character.

In terms of tone and setting, we’re back in the solar system (Venus Mantrap was a title I came up with back in the late 90s, which has been searching for a project ever since), and it’s still a future where people live and work as they always have done, but in a heightened, alien landscape with heightened, alien problems. Lance and I always liked that aspect of BPM and wanted to revisit it – that there was action and drama and things blowing up, but that the everyday life in the future was still going on, albeit disrupted. In BPM the characters worked in hotels and attended academic conferences – not everyone was a space marine or spy. In VM… well, that would be telling.

The choice of which character to bring back alongside Benny… well, there really wasn’t a choice to make. Professor Scoblow, academic and love rival, tweedy space rodent and over-sexed self-mythologiser, wasn’t even in the original plot outline of BPM, but I wrote her in for some minor expositional reason (I can’t remember what, it was over a decade ago) as a throwaway and she ended up taking on a bigger and bigger role in the plot. So we wanted to bring her back, and force her and Bernice to work together on a common problem. I haven’t heard an edit of the finished play yet, but having been at the recording I can honestly say that Jo Castleton just is Scoblow, and she and Lisa (Bernice) Bowerman spark off each other very nicely indeed.

(To slide into backslap mode again for a second, director John Ainsworth cast the whole play very well, and hit exactly the right tone in his direction.)

Anyway, the play isn’t out for another four months so I won’t go into any more detail at this stage as there’ll no doubt be future posts on this in the months ahead. In the mean time, please pre-order the play on its own, or if you so wish subscribe to the whole season. (Highly recommended, as all three other plays are written by excellent writers, and the last of the season has the legendary Doug Bradley in it, and everyone loves Pinhead, don’t they?)

A bargain at £9.99 (or an even more bargainous £35 for the four-play sub), and American listeners should benefit from the pound’s parlous state against the dollar these days.

Anyway, I’m off to get married and go on honeymoon, and will return some time towards the end of the month. Not that with my recent posting rate the difference will be that notable.

Au Revoir,


April 16, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Shiny Shelf, and a minor tease…

I wrote this thing about some British TV crime stuff. It took ages, so please read it. Plead plead, whimper whimper.

In other news: job stuff, wedding prep, Left4Dead, Peggle, whine whine, blah blah.

But who is this, on the horizon, in an image of a slightly different character of the same species ripped off the Happy Endings cover via postmodernbarney?:


31 AUGUST 2009

More on that soon…


March 29, 2009. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Busy with wedding preparations

Less than a month to go to my wedding. Blogging will be intermittent (yes, even more so than it is already) ’til after the big day, indeed the honeymoon, as preparations get more hectic. Got a few writing things to discuss and plug, but have to work those posts around making arrangements for becoming Mr Yoko Halliday. It’s all good fun.


March 23, 2009. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Rewrites, rewrites, rewrites.

Up late again working on rewrites. All good notes, and it should benefit what I’ve been (co-)writing, but these things are always slow and painstaking – you don’t want to unravel everything you’ve done already, throwing out the shape of the story or causing the sense of it to break down.

Anyway, that’s this lot done, so I can actually sleep.


October 21, 2008. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

The poorly laid plans…

Well, my plan to write about games for the rest of the week has been completely knackered by a request for rewrites on something actually paid for. Not much I can say about it, other than the finished product will definitely not feature the word ‘quim’. Spoilsports.


October 14, 2008. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

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