'She's her own Robot.'

I'm getting thoroughly into my 'five pages of comics, five pages of radio play (at the moment), 1000 words of novel, two mile run' work days. They only seem to work with what I call optional Friday, where I let myself off the hook if I don't do an element that doesn't have a close deadline attached. And they kind of leave me wondering what to do with myself at the weekend. But they let me get away from that nagging feeling I'm sure a lot of writers have, that what I do 'isn't proper work'. (My Dad once told me, when I was much younger, that I was 'always on holiday'.) And certainly, now optional Fridays are in place (me having had a rather awful Thursday night a while back), these work days are good for my mental health. I listen to an episode of BBC Radio 4's The Complete George Smiley every lunchtime (which I suspect is giving me a rather particular tone of voice, because I always start impersonating whatever I'm into, just a little bit.) And I always run listening to a podcast, such as Notes from Coode Street, which is just Jon Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe talking about current and historical SF issues, and is brilliant, or the evergreen iFanboy. Routines are great for those prone to (never that serious) depression. By teatime, I can relax and read a bit (currently finishing up Mira Grant's Feed and still making my way through the complete Conan) or watch something. (For instance, yesterday I was delighted by the Race Against Time documentary on the 'Mutants' Doctor Who DVD, a revealing look at the history of actors of colour in the show and at the BBC, which ends with era-appropriate mock ups of non-white stars in the place of various Doctors.) Then I'm ready to cook dinner when Caroline gets home.

So, in short, Paul's doing fine. And the novel at the moment... well, some days I hate it and think I'm crap, but right now I'm very, very pleased. I'll be joining my awesome editor and loads of other Tor Books authors at the SFX Weekender next week. I'll post about it nearer the time.

Anyway, the title of this blog comes from a short interview I've done, entirely about Robot Lois Lane, who I'm glad to find has a following. I'd also like to say thanks to everyone who's been so kind about Action Comics #897, Lex vs the Joker. We're getting some great reviews. Until next week, then, Cheerio!

Upcoming Action

Just popping in for a moment at the start of another packed work week. First off, the winner of our Christmas Quiz, Dean Brown, has received his comps box of DC comics, all the way down there in New Zealand. That's Jessie helping Dean make a start by reading an issue of Scooby Doo.

Dean tells me that most of his own collection has been boxed up safely lately due to being scattered by the earthquakes last September. So now he's got something to read. Well done, Dean, and thanks for having a go.

We popped along to Tony and Tracy Lee's wedding on Saturday. Great to see UK comickers like Emma Vieceli and Budgie Barnett, to hear Geek Syndicate's David Monteith's wife Siobhan sing a couple of arias during the signing of the register, and to discover that the nuptials attracted messages of congratulation from Noel Clarke, Dan DiDio and Neil Gaiman, amongst others. Neil sent... well, it was basically a short story, and you can read it here. Throw in a wonderful female vicar and the assembled masses hollering out 'Jerusalem', and all in all it was one of the best weddings I've been to.

Action Comics #897 is out on Wednesday. It's got one of DC's icon covers, a lovely David Finch portrait of Lex, and inside is a story I'm really proud of, Lex's encounter with the Joker. You can see a page from it here. Their encounter pulls together a number of threads of back story, ready for the run up to our big finale. Let's just say there's a pony in here. A magic pony. Who sings.

DC have been revealing a lot of information about the forthcoming issue #900 of Action, as you can see here. Apart from the fifty page lead story by me and Pete Woods, there'll also be contributions from Richard Donner, David Goyer and Damon Lindelof. There'll be covers by David Finch and Adam Hughes. And the whole thing will be a whopping 96 pages long.

Anyhow, back to the grindstone I go, and I shall you soon. Cheerio!

Jonathan Ross in Knight and Squire

Now I can tell you about this! Rather wonderfully, Jonathan Ross, television host, comedian, comics creator, amateur astronomer and all round good egg has agreed to appear in next month's Knight and Squire #5! And Jimmy Broxton draws him very nicely.

DC's official announcement can be found here. Thanks to Jonathan for being such a good sport, and for once more aiding the cause of comics. Cheerio!

Ten Things for January

Phew, it feels a long time since I've done one of these. I'm on a punishing yet rewarding regime right now, a lot of word count, a lot of exercise, and fitting in anything else of an afternoon is tough. But some of this stuff will go off if I don't do it now, and just for once I have exactly ten things to talk about, so...

1: Hydrocephalus, otherwise known as Dandy-Walker Syndrome, is Una Nemo's condition in my Batman and Robin run. I became fascinated, years ago, by those like Una who remain unaware of having it, but for the vast mainstream of sufferers, it's much more serious. Having created, in the spirit of Batman villains past, an extreme, pop culture depiction, I thought it was only fair to direct people to the reality. Please check out the website of the Dandy-Walker Alliance, where you'll find information about the condition, and an insight into the lives of (particularly the children) that suffer from it. (Thanks to the family members of sufferers who've pointed me towards that.) I feel, in retrospect, that I walked a fine line in using a genuine medical condition as the inspiration for a Batman villain, and hope to make slight amends by increasing awareness. So that's not the last you'll hear of that one.

2: The latest issue of Salon Futura, the new online SF magazine, has, amongst many delights, an interview with me (looking like a tramp) conducted by Cheryl Morgan on the night before BristolCon, and a very interesting podcast about the Graphic Story category in the Hugo Awards, with Cheryl talking to Maura McHugh, the aforementioned Joe Gordon and Geek Syndicate'sDavid Monteith. The links to and info about the titles they cover is a very nice touch.

3: The Art of Pete Woods is always worth a visit, but his latest post is a step by step rendering of how Pete drew a particular panel of Action Comics #898, from script to finished product. It's particularly interesting in that the issue isn't out yet. Do check it out.

4: The Forbidden Planet International Blog is a long-established thing of beauty that has lately been experiencing a drop off in linkage and comments. I should think this is part of the more general problem that blogs face these days, of Twitter being where the comments have gone. (John Scalzi, during the Just A Minute game at the Melbourne Worldcon, memorably heard 'Twitter is killing blogs' as 'Twitter is killing dogs' and went on for about thirty seconds before anyone could correct him.) But still, it's worth popping in and reminding FPI's Joe Gordon of the great service he provides to many different fan communities.

5: Ian Cullen, of this parish, has relaunched his Sci Fi Pulse podcast as SFP-Now. I've always been impressed by the range of interviews he and his comrades source, and they continue to be available as part of the podcast's archives series, as well as new episodes.

6: And speaking of Geek Syndicate, Barry, the other half of that partnership, will be launching the comic adaptation of his novel Fallen Heroes at the Cardiff International Comic Expo...

7: Schizopolitan is a good-looking new review blog covering comics, movies and TV, edited by my old friend and SFX Magazine contributor Saxon Bullock.

8: Lee Sullivan, my artist collaborator on several Doctor Who Magazine comic strips back in the day has a major new project out in February. He's the artist on the comic adaptation of Jonathan Stroud's first Bartimaeus novel, The Amulet of Samarkand. You can see designs, sketches and finished pages from the book on his website. May I suggest that said book would make a good gift for any youngster who you might want to get hooked on comics?

9: As mentioned in a previous post, I'll be signing at Orbital Comics in London on Saturday 19th February, and my fellow guest on the panel that evening will be Paul Rainey, writer and artist of the science fiction/slice of geek life indie comic No Time Like The Present. You can read the first 39 pages of it for free on his site.

10: And finally, from the House of Toast party room at Convergence (the best convention in the world) 2010, it's:

Paul Cornell Explains Cheesy Toast from E Sophia on Vimeo.

I wonder how many such gems are still to be unearthed in their archives? Let's hope for the best, eh? Until next time, Cheerio!

Orbital Signing

On Saturday, February 19th, I'll be taking part in an event at Orbital Comics on Great Newport Street in London, in the company of indie comic creator Paul Rainey. I'll be signing from 4pm, and then taking part, from 7pm, in a panel discussion with Paul. Here's the rather lovely poster, which makes me look somewhat skewed and oblong, but at least interesting.

Perhaps I should change my name to Ygor. Anyway, since it's on the same day as Picocon, I may well pop over there first and say hello (ooh, free admission for past Guests of Honour!) I hope I see you on at least one of those occasions. Until then, Cheerio!

A Day of Many Comics

At least in the case of Forbidden Planet, and perhaps for all other British comic shops too (do let me know), today is the first day that new comics arrive on the shelf at the same time as for American comic stores. Which means that, in future, I won't have to do that little Wednesday/Thursday awkwardness, and we all get to see our comics at the same time. (Well, I don't, because I have to wait for my subscription package to arrive.) So I'm pleased to say it's today that Batman and Robin #19 (the last part of the Absence storyline, in which her real motivations are revealed, check out the preview pages here), Knight and Squire #4 (preview pages here) and Secret Six #29 (the finale to the Action Comics crossover, by Gail Simone) are out worldwide.

Also, Alex Ross' gorgeous alternate cover for the forthcoming Action Comics #900 has been revealed...

There are days when I'm so pleased to be in this business! Until next time, Cheerio.

Batman and Robin Run Ends Wednesday

I've been waiting for that big news I mentioned, and it's not being allowed out yet, so I thought I'd share this with you in the meantime. On Wednesday, alongside Knight and Squire #4, Batman and Robin #19 is out. It's the last of my run on the title, and the conclusion of the Absence story. It's been very pleasing for me to have kept the title in the top ten (at #10 and #7 respectively, not that I pay attention, ahem), and thus in a fit state to pass on to the new regular team.

You can see the first few pages of the issue, and thus see the start (but not the whole story) of where the Absence is really coming from here. Cheerio!

Action #900 Cover and Steel Reminder

I had a wander out to try and see the partial eclipse as the sun rose the other morning. The bowl in which our village is situated, with awkwardly tall buildings on the edges, meant that, in my dressing gown, I stumbled through the playground and all the way to the bus stop. 'Are you all right?' called the landlady from the pub. I assured her that I was eclipse watching, and not mad. Which is not the first time I've had to shout that. I caught a glimpse, but it was clear, from the bus stop, that the sun was rising into deep cloud, so I left it there rather than get arrested.

Below is the lovely David Finch cover for Action Comics #900, which as you can see features the return of Superman to the title.

You can read more about DC's exciting plans for the issue here.

Steel #1, the one off special by my old friend (and Doctor Who novelist) Steve Lyons is in US comic stores today, and in the UK by the end of the week (because of the holidays), and, as well as being the first published US comics work by someone who's going to make a real impact in the medium, it, and the other one off specials featuring various Superman-related characters coming soon... well, if you're reading Action Comics, you might want to check them out, that's all I'm saying.

I will be back with, I'm told, some more big comics news tomorrow. Cheerio!