G Day

G Day is a comics industry tradition, a day remembering former Marvel Executive Editor Mark Gruenwald, for whom it's named, and Superman and Fantastic Four artist Mike Wieringo, both of whom are deceased and greatly missed. Myself, I was reading Mark's fanzine Omniverse (about continuity in comics universes) from an early age, and enjoyed the comics work of both of them. Especially because one of my closest friends at Marvel, Tom Brevoort, is very much a supporter of the day, I wanted to mark it personally. Tom's put up several videos on the subject today.

First up, a snapshot of Mark's life:

This is a man who played acrobatic tricks and staged fight scenes in the Bullpen. Action packed!

And here's Mark talking about the purpose of humour:

Perhaps it's a little presumptuous of me to honour creators I never met, but it especially strikes me that they were around my age when they passed away. They're both still very much remembered for how happy they made the people they worked with. We could all wish for the same. And it's good to be part of an industry which recalls its people like this.

Learn more about Mark Gruenwald here and about Mike Wieringo here.

Until next time, Cheerio!

Two Comics Things

I'm on iFanboy's vidcast this morning, looking thoroughly jetlagged at the San Diego Comic Con as I talk about all my projects. I'm the penultimate interview, the video also covering talents like Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, John Cassaday and Bryan Lee O'Malley. And I'm appalled at some of the nonsense that comes out of my mouth when I'm in the wrong timezone and have been talking and talking the whole weekend...

And SF Signal's Mind Meld collective blog today asks me about Comics For Science Fiction Fans, and probably wishes they hadn't, because I proceed to continue the rant that readers of this blog will have been familiar with from two previous occasions. Luckily, people like Matt Sturges and Lou Anders are there to fill in some of my gaps, so the whole piece is rather a cool overview. One day we'll get that Hugo category sorted. One day...

I'll be back tomorrow with a quick one off post, also on something comics-related, so until then, Cheerio!

Ten Things Before Australia

(Me and my favourite cosplayer at the DC booth at the San Diego Comic Con. Photo by Pamela Mullin.)

Next week we'll be heading off for a couple of weeks of complete holiday (with, I think, no work!) before Worldcon in Melbourne. So I thought before I left I'd do a Ten Things post, just to keep my hand in, and because various things have come up. I'll probably blog occasionally while I'm out there, I'll be on Twitter continuously, and especially when we get to the convention, I'll be using FourSquare to mark my territory... I mean, to keep everyone in touch with my movements. Actually, the latter doesn't actually sound any more humble, does it?

1: My friend the South African novelist Lauren Beukes is running a charity auction (click the link and search for 'Zoo City Bares'), offering five huge (16") vinyl art toys, customised by six South African artists, inspired by her new book Zoo City. To quote Angry Robot's publicity release: 'from an African mask barn owl to a thuggish gorilla with an owl, a grisly Muti Monster of hacked-up body parts, a whimsical Bare with birds perched its ribcage, to Bi Polar Bare with a sloth on her back and cute demons cavorting on her dark side, the unique art works are very cool, all reflecting some aspect of the book, a twisty juju noir set in the decaying inner city of Johannesburg where crime and magic are inextricably linked. All proceeds from the auction go to The Suitcase Project, an organisation that works with African refugee kids in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, who are often isolated and traumatised from their journeys from those war-torn countries they previously called home.' The auction closes 11.45pm South Africa time tomorrow night (GMT +2). Shipping available to anywhere in the world and easy currency conversion can be found here. You can see pictures of each Bare and find a link to their individual bidding pages here. I'm a great fan of the book, and these toys actually represent it very well. Go on, you know you want to.

2: On Wednesday 11th from 7.30pm, one of my favourite young bands, Quadrophobe, will be playing their ska-influenced bouncy pop at the Wheatsheaf in Oxford (129 High Street), for a £5 entry fee, in support of the Sir Michael Sobell House Hospice. Great band for a great cause. Check it out here if you're on Facebook.

3: I actually think Jason Statham might make a very interesting Doctor. One of the variations that hasn't been explored is casting a big, muscular guy and have him be awkward with it.

4: If you're interested in Hull, and let's face it, we've all been there, not necessarily literally, then you may be interested in Andrew Hampel and Sean Wilson's Quick Histories of Hull, done in comic strip form. The Mick Ronson content alone may be worth it for Bowie fans. It all looks very... odd. In a good way. Probably.

5: If there's one thing that doesn't often make it into the Ten Things it's webcomics. So I'm pleased to report I enjoyed Kid Amnesia, nice newspaper-style comic strips about a forgetful superhero. The cartooning's better than the punchlines right now, but you can see it's coming together.

6: I love a library that's on Twitter, and with that and a Facebook connection, an online reading group, online loan renewal and a huge range of resources for local historians, Orkney Library and Archive is one of the best of these threatened treasure troves. 'Please do promote us,' they say, 'or any other library of your choosing. Libraries are fab.' So say we all.

7: 18th September sees Leeds' Temple Works play host to Fire Walk With Me, which looks like half a convention for Twin Peaks fans and half an art cabaret. Which is how it should be.

8: While at the Pumphouse Gallery in Battersea Park, London, from 12th August to 26th September, Paul Gravett is curating Hypercomics: The Shapes of Comics to Come, a comics experience that uses one's progress through the gallery to tell stories in different shapes. The artists involved are Adam Dant, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Dave McKean and Warren Pleece. I love what Paul brings to comics: he's one of the guarantors of quality in our field.

9: If you fancy that red leather jacket that Martha Jones wore in Doctor Who, for cosplay or... whatever... well, Abby Shot Clothiers have it for sale, under licence from BBC Worldwide. There's clearly a love for all things goth and cyberpunk in their designs, judging from the rest of their site, featuring as it does various things one might stride down a disintegrating hallway in slomo in.

10: And if you're not going to be at Worldcon, but instead are doing Dragon*Con in Atlanta, you may like to know that the Hugo Awards ceremony is going to be broadcast live at that event, from 6am on 5th September. At the Kafe Kobenhavn at the Hyatt Regency, you can join nominees Lou Anders, Kate Baker, Eugie Foster, Farah Mendlesohn, John Picacio, Stephen Segal, Mary Robinette Kowal and, subject to commitments, Cherie Priest, Mike Resnick and Rob Sawyer for breakfast as the results come in. (It's possible you may hear my dulcet tones, dears, but don't bet on it. Unless it's me accepting for John Picacio. That I'd bet on.) If you're a Facebook user, here's the event.

I'm so looking forward to the Hugos. It's good that I'm going to get two weeks of relaxation first, because I'm going to be so wound up on the night. I may need help just to put those two new nominee pins in my lapel. (What do you do when the number of your proudest possessions suddenly doubles?) I'll certainly be blogging again before Aussie, but until then, Cheerio!

Amy, Joe, Stan and Reno

Just four quick things today. I'm over the jetlag, but I'm writing to tight deadlines right now, leading up to our Australian holiday and Worldcon. Right now, the plan is to visit Cairns, Uluru and Sydney before Melbourne. It's all we can fit in, and barely scratches the surface, but I think I've managed to fit work around it so it's a proper holiday, and I won't be tapping away at anything in the hotel room.

First up, a new Doctor Who short story of mine is the prize for those who successfully make their way through Amy's History Hunt, a video based game over several days on the BBC Doctor Who site. Fun for children of all ages. Hopefully. Like most BBC website stuff, it's only available to those living in the UK. (Whenever I don't say that, I get loads of messages from people telling me that. Whenever I do, I get loads of messages from people telling me the opposite.)

Secondly, the wonderful Joseph Mallozzi today features me on his blog. He's the Executive Producer of Stargate:Universe and through said blog runs a book club, thus uniting the interests of prose and media SF fans in a unique way. The feature here is about 'Secret Identity', my contribution to the Masked anthology of superhero short stories, to which Joe has also contributed. I'll be hanging around there replying to comments, especially when the book club considers the whole volume.

Thirdly, the San Diego Comic Books Examiner has an interview with me about Soldier Zero, the book I'm doing with Stan Lee and BOOM! Studios.

And finally, also comics related, Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon in Reno, has published an introduction to their comics programming, which demonstrates how seriously they're going to be taking the medium.

And that's it for today. Must get back to the comics writing. Until next time, Cheerio!


Masked is the new anthology of superhero prose fiction from Gallery Books, edited by my old friend Lou Anders. It's got stories by SF authors like Stephen Baxter and Ian McDonald, comics writers like Mike Baron and Gail Simone and people who do a bit of both like Mike Carey, Marjorie Liu and yours truly. Getting them all together in one book makes it a brilliant party. My contribution, 'Secret Identity' is actually my favourite of all my own short stories. It's about a guy who magically transforms into a super hero. He's gay, and the hero, the Manchester Guardian, is the protector of the Canal Street area of Manchester, the gay quarter. But while his civilian self is happy with his sexual identity, the Guardian is starting to worry that he's becoming attracted to women.

One of the most interesting contributions in the book is Bill Willingham's vast 'A to Z in the Ultimate Big Company Superhero Universe (Villains Too)' which gives, in snatches of prose, a complete overview of a ficticious comic book company's involved universe of characters and incidents, and is a work of genius.

The anthology as a whole demonstrates that the superhero's becoming a valuable tool in fantasy prose, that what Stan Lee started with his insight that a super power can and should be an expression of character is blossoming into media other than comics and the cinema.

British readers can find the anthology on Amazon and it's also out in a digital edition. Or click the icon top right for more info.

Still jetlagged, and much work to do! Until next time, Cheerio!