Dublin This Weekend

I'm honoured to be Guest of Honour this weekend at the sixth Phoenix Convention in Dublin:


It's especially grand to be so honoured amongst so many old friends, many of whom have been GoH there themselves.  I'm going to strive to live up to their standard.  By sheer coincidence, Gail 'Never Fail' Simone (see, I remembered!) is signing at Forbidden Planet in the city on the Friday night, so I'm going to try to pop in and see her (depending on how fast I get through customs) before going over to the convention.  Apart from anything else, it'll be good to be back in one of my favourite cities.

Oh, and here's a new interview with me up at Den of Geek:

Which covers Doctor Who, Captain Britain and all.  I've very much looking forward to the weekend, and I hope to see some of you there.  Until then, Cheerio!

Stan Lee Nicknames: The Results

Well, the stream of responses seems to be trailing off, so I thought now would be the time to reveal the winners in our 'name current comic creators the way Stan Lee would' game. No, we never got a catchy title for that. I've settled on one or two nicknames per creator, and have taken entries not just from the Comments here, but from Millarworld, I, Fanboy, the CBR Forums and Twitter also. I will try, and please remind me, to use these nicknames when referring to said creators in future.

RICH 'THE BITCH' JOHNSTON made several suggestions, my favourite being JUDD 'THE STUD' WINICK. Widely welcomed were ACTION MATT FRACTION (Seb Patrick, although I also liked the various versions of 'mathematical fraction') and GARTH 'THE MENACE' ENNIS (Mr. Farrell). I like LEONARD 'TIBERIUS' KIRK (Govikes), but it's not the way Stan would have done it. FRIENDLY FRED VAN LENTE (Neal) is, though, as is TREMENDOUS BRIAN BENDIS (Narciso Lobo Jr.) and JOSS 'THE BOSS' WHEDON (Desktop Hippie and NotDan). The Irredeemable Shag (sic) had a couple of good ones: GENIUS GEOFF JOHNS and TOM 'DA BOMB' DeFALCO. Beadle had a whole run of interesting stuff, including GREG 'POWER' PAK (although I liked The Next Champion's suggestion of 'Jet'), WORRYING WARREN ELLIS and ANDY 'LUNAR' LANNING (which is nearly my favourite). DAN 'JACKPOT' SLOTT (Darin) had that nice level of meaning that Stan went for, and Darin's also responsible for MAGNIFICENT MARK MILLAR and GAIL 'NEVER FAIL' SIMONE. Caddyman suggested TENACIOUS TONY LEE and Dewline went for GREGARIOUS GREG RUCKA (although I did like Rob Absten's suggestion of 'mother' between his names). BIG BAD BILL WILLINGHAM is the suggestion of BlueTyson. DavidAlexanderM coined ERIC 'RAINBOW' TRAUTMANN and ForbinP went for ALAN 'LESS IS NOT' MOORE. CharlesSkaggs said EDGY ED BRUBAKER and LUMINOUS LEONARD KIRK (which is what I'll call him, rather than Tiberius.) PUGNACIOUS PETER DAVID is the unlikely creation of Drakedangerz, SASSY PETER TOMASI says Paul Montgomery. Steve Sensible gave us JONATHAN 'PHENOMENON' HICKMAN. Brian Knippenberg gave us JOCULAR JEPH LOEB, and Mark went for KEITH 'I GET NO KICK FROM' CHAMPAGNE. Ron, and several others, called it for JOE 'BIG SHOW' QUESADA.

GENIAL JAMES MORAN wrote in asking to be given such a nickname. MARVELLOUS MARK BROOKS suggested LENIL 'A BETTER ARTIST THAN' YU (although I did like 'No Soup For', whoever sent that in) and TITANIC TOM BREVOORT had some (surprisingly printable, but spare my blushes) suggestions about what to call me. Myself, I'd add NAUGHTY NICK LOWE and (entirely because of his speech habits) ****ING FRANK TIERI to the list.

But the undisputed winner is NEIL 'SHAMAN' GAIMAN (Steve Green got it before ForbinP). Enjoy your Unofficial Knock Off No Prize, True Believer! Phew, that was fun. I wonder if any of them will stick? Thanks everyone who took part, and sorry if I cut your entry from the Comments because of borderline uncertainty about whether you meant, say, 'abominable' in a nice way or not. Cheerio!

Assign a Stan Lee Nickname

Okay, here's fun. Hopefully. It struck me while I was tossing and turning last night that modern comics writers and artists have been largely deprived of nicknames, as perfected by Stan 'The Man' Lee. He decreed that the professionals who worked for him would be known as Merry Gerry Conway, Gentleman Gene Colan (or Gene 'the Dean' Colan), Sturdy Steve Ditko, Rascally Roy Thomas and so on. He was the first to call Jack 'King' Kirby. And this whole business is yet another reason why Stan was such a founding genius of all we love. Now, I was saying the other day that it's one of the disappointments of my life to have arrived at Marvel too late to get such a nickname. But then it struck me, True Believers: others don't have to suffer thus! So what we're going to do is this: plonk your ideas for Stan Lee nicknames for modern comics professionals (or for writers outside the field, even) in the Comments to this blog. Or send me them by Twitter. A nickname should hopefully not only match Stan's ear for assonance and zing, it should say something true about the individual assigned it. I'll give it a week or so, then print the best of them, with the names of who sent them in. And I'll make sure to keep using the best ones for the individuals in question from then on. Who knows, one or two might catch on! I have one caveat. This isn't the place for your satire. Only positive nicknames will be printed, no abuse allowed. Stan wouldn't have dreamed of doing that, and neither will we. Until then, hang loose! Excelsior!

About Genshiken

Apologies to the person who posted:


In my comments list. I accidentally deleted it. You're probably right, that is what I tend to do, but I think doing that makes the world a bit more fun! Do come along again, and I promise I won't delete you next time. Cheerio!

How Stuff is Going

It struck me the other day that I haven't blogged personally in a long time, mainly because I've been so busy, so if you'll forgive me I thought I'd just chunter away for a while.  So let's get the links out of the way first.  The BBC were kind enough to chat to me, Iain Banks, Ken MacLeod, Ian Watson and myself about current issues in SF, the results of which can be found here:

And here's me at Marvel, talking about vampires with reference to Captain Britain and MI-13:

We just found out we've gained an extra two thousand readers with the start of 'Vampire State' in issue ten, arresting our downward trajectory, so thanks very much if you are one of those.  There seems to be a good buzz about the book at the moment.  I've finished both scripts for an upcoming Annual, which'll be largely about Meggan.  

It was heartening to see two Doctor Who episodes on the Hugo ballot this morning (you don't need a link for that, right?) amongst what generally seems to be being welcomed as a straightforward field of the right nominees.  I'd like the new Comics category (well, it should be called the Comics category) to slightly more reflect either SF and fantasy or what's going on in comics right now (okay, that is to say I want to see Fables win).  It reads right now like it's mostly a list of the one comic that people who just read one comic read.  (Checks that sentence again, phew, passes muster.)  Better Days isn't even the best Joss Whedon comic.  Anyhow, I hope 'Silence in the Library' gets the Short Form Drama, and I'm pleased to see that Lost (which is now this terrific New Wave SF show that I hope J.G.Ballard is watching) is getting nominations again.  But I'd have liked to have seen some Sarah Connor in there.  

I'm going back to the novel whenever I can.  Indeed, I kind of panic when I can't, like I might never finish, and I really need to.  It's going to be large, mind.  Currently 75,000 words in, and we've only just finished the first section.  It is mostly the story of four Met coppers (two black, two gay, one white, one straight, one sleeping with the other's missus) who find themselves with The Sight and apply police methods to the supernatural horrors of London.  Regular readers will have seen the prologue at Christmas.  

Getting up really early in the morning, with birdsong from the graveyard outside and the quality of light with this great weather, has got me to points of real joy in the last few days.  And my script work, television and comics, is reflecting that, some of my best, I think.  I quite fancied blogging midweek, just saying 'hey, I'm really happy', but that'd be weird.

At the moment I'm reading the collection of Stan Lee's Soapbox columns from Marvel comics of the 1970s, produced by the Hero Initiative, who take care of comic creators who need financial and other help.  It's a thing of beauty, Stan as a socially aware Willy Wonka.  I'm also in the middle of (for my marathon of all his titles) Christopher Priest's The Space Machine (excellent work in the style of that tries hard not to be a pastiche), and Roy Strong's A Little History of the English Country Church.  I whizzed through Northworld and Whiteout from Oni Press, both very cool, though the former ends suddenly.  I've recently had it pointed out to me that this is because it's the first of a two book series.  And the anime show Genshiken is my new passion.  It's about a university anime/manga society, but is really about geek types and politics, and is very wise on that subject.  I know these characters from my fan life.  It's also very mature about sexual relationships, a meaningful romcom, with a maturity that still surprises when one comes across it in anime.  Basically, it's the story of a young woman who's fallen in love with a handsome, charming, if rather empty-headed, fanboy, but finds that she can barely stand his fan friends. It's laugh out loud funny in places, usually because it tells the truth.  

I can also feel the impending arrival of the English cricket season, which on its own is enough to make me happy.  The summer season wallchart issue of Wisden's marks a special time of the year for me. 

Oh, I should say, thanks very much if you've sent me a reply on Twitter.  I do like reading them, but I reply to only maybe one in ten, for two reasons: firstly, I need to do so by private message, because otherwise my 'ha ha, yes, that's really funny' shows up as a headline on the Blogger version of this blog, with no context.  And because I get so many that if I replied to them all, that would be my job.  I do hope you understand, but please don't stop saying hello.  

And I'm going to Eastercon, and have ended up on some panels, thank goodness, at short notice, but am wheedling for more.  I think I may see if I can get a few other writers together and have a go at the Rock Band contest.  

See?  Told you it'd be rambling.  Until next time, Cheerio.  

Captain Britain is Pick of the Week!

The guys at the I,Fanboy podcast have made #11 of Captain Britain their Pick of the Week!  Hear their take on it here:

Or on ITunes.  And here's their lovely Pick of the Week review itself, which they publish on their website, then talk about in the podcast:

Thanks, dears.  

Meanwhile, my editor Nick Lowe pops up talking about the book here:

And just look at his shiny red helmet!

And I talk about the book on Alex Fitch's net radio show Panel Borders here:

And on Comic Relief night, Laurie Pink spent all evening drawing cartoons on request for the charity, including this old school Cap, requested by me:

Phew!  It's looking lovely outside, but I'm back at my desk doing serious work, and not at all dreaming the cricket season approaching.  And thus summer.  Gorgeous gorgeous summer.  I will just randomly blog about life in general this week, promise.  Cheerio!

Cap #11 Preview

Here's the first few pages of the next issue of Captain Britain and MI-13, which shows just how action packed we're getting right now.  The issue's out on Wednesday/Thursday, and, as always, this will be the letters page.

Until then, busy busy busy!  Cheerio!

The State of the Art on the BBC IPlayer

Thanks everyone, for the kind words.  Here's this afternoon's play in a form you can listen to outside the UK:

The State of the Art

I'm most excited that my adaptation of Iain Banks' 'The State of the Art' is going to be broadcast this week, at 2.15pm on Thursday 5th., on BBC Radio 4, as an Afternoon Play.  It'll be available afterwards, internationally, on the BBC's IPlayer, and I'll post a link to that as soon as it's up.  It forms part of BBC radio's SF season, details of which can be found here:

It seems like we recorded it an age ago.  It was in the week when the whole Captain Britain/Gordon Brown thing erupted, and I had to nip up one floor, from the recording studio in Manchester to a news studio, to do interviews.  The director/producer is the wonderful Nadia Molinari, who's got a likeable team in place, and almost her own rep company, so we're lucky to have, for example, Brigit Forsyth in a very small role, when she might be the lead next week.  I got quite attached to the technicians and sound effects people, and found that, unlike in TV, a writer has a place to sit and stuff to do at a radio recording.  Sir Antony Sher was charming, precise, thorough, creating a Ship voice that's a bit beloved headmaster, a bit affronted theatrical, but is entirely, wonderful, the voice Iain put on the page.  Nina Sosanya was very enthusiastic, interested to be involved, and provided a Sma who's got this wonderful, brittle outrage to her.  And what can I say about Paterson Joseph?  He's very charismatic in person, asks brilliant questions, tends to give several different readings, many of which one hadn't thought of but make perfect sense.  It was a pleasure to spend that time with them, and, with Nadia offering spot on direction and editing, that we've come up with something of which I'm very proud.  Do let me know what you think.  

I was remiss in the last blog, in not mentioning, in my account of Gally, the three sisters who presented me with their own award statuette, for Best Doctor Who Episode Ever.  It may not be a Hugo, but it's every bit as welcome.  

I'm interviewed by the I, Fanboy team, in this, their latest video from the New York Comic Con.  It begins with Jim McCann being even more eccentric than usual:

Alex Fitch has just interviewed me for his internet radio show, talking about The State of the Art and a lot more.  You can find it here:

And my mate, and distinguished author, Sean Williams, has now put the entire manuscript of one of his fantasy novels on the internet, for free.  You can find that here:

Oh, and for those who've asked, yes, that Twitter was right: I killed off a central team member of MI-13 the other day.  Had to be done.  Phew, now I can get back to having my only day off for a long time past and a long time to come. I think I'm just going to lie on that sofa and read comics with the cricket on.  And then possibly fall asleep.  Do have a listen on Thursday.  Cheerio!