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Thought I should slip this in before I dash off...


Between Destinations

So I got back from Manchester yesterday, and as those following on Twitter would have seen, had a brilliant time recording my radio play 'Something in the Water', which will be on BBC Radio 4 later this year. When it's coming up, I'll share the photos from the production on the blog. Working with Nadia Molinari and her talented cast and crew is one of the most satisfying things I do creatively, and I wish I had time to do more. The day before, I spent a very nice afternoon in the company of the patrons of Chaos City Comics in St. Albans. What a nice bunch, and with so many aspiring creatives. You really all should produce a comic together.

Tomorrow, we fly out to Minneapolis for Anime Detour. I'm there as a hanger-on, my wife being much more knowledgeable on the subject than I am, but I'll be hosting various games and being on various panels, and looking forward to seeing my friends from Convergence again.

But before I go, there's a few things to mention. Action Comics #899, the penultimate chapter of 'The Black Ring' is in comic shops today, as is Superman: The Black Ring, the unfortunately-named hardback collection of the first half of the story. This is the issue where the plan behind the story is revealed, and it guest-stars Brainiac. These facts are not as... entirely... related as you might expect.

The interviews I did at C2E2 continue to pop up. Here are my chats with The Coventry Telegraph, IGN, and (on video) MTV Geek. There'll be a few more of these in the near future, and then a whole new burst of them about the Lex hardback. I hope that news doesn't leave you in despair, but as well as entertaining you lot, this blog is also a sort of memory chest for me, an archive that, when I'm old and definitely not bearded, I'll be able to look back on and sigh about.

Things are very exciting at the moment, with loads of upcoming comic stuff I can't talk about. I continue to keep pace with my greatest love, though, the novel, in that I'm up with my required word count to deliver the new draft in time. (May have to write on the plane, though.) And our new life in Amersham, from June, is looking wonderful. The only problem is, I'm kind of exhausted, and maybe a bit feverish, but hey, that should help the imagery. Until next time, Cheerio!

A Rather Hurried Catch-up

Day 17. One day I'll be rid of it. One day. If you'd like to help spur me on, do click on the widget top right. We're nearly there! To sample from your comments on that page: Christian, I absolutely, definitely, promise not to let the beard eat you. Thanks, my lovely editors, Wil Moss and Dave Bradley, for your donations. And Nightsky, the beard says it will indeed spare you. Thanks, everyone.

I can't believe how much I'm doing at once right now. But it all still seems to be working out. First up, I'd like to thank Mark Salter, who's generous £200 donation towards the Japan relief effort gets his name featured as a Metropolitan Police Sergeant in my new novel, out next year from Tor. Well done, Mark.

I look forward to seeing some of you at my signing at Chaos City Comics in St. Albans tomorrow, from 1pm. I've done an interview about it (and my writing in general), for the Herts Advertiser. And you can see three preview pages of what we're mainly talking about (I think that's as many as we dare show for fear of giving the game away), that is, Action Comics #899 here.

I hugely enjoyed C2E2 in Chicago. What a brilliant audience, many of whom hadn't been to a comic convention before. I signed and signed and signed, notably an enormous combat spoon, and did many interviews, of which this first video one is up, with Newsarama. The beard takes on a life of its own in that. It's like they've captured bigfoot. Also out of the blocks is the (thankfully on audio) Word Balloon Comics Podcast. The lovely Gene Ha has many pictures from the convention floor, and also from the dinner we shared with Bill Willingham and the invited guests of Fables. That was a brilliant night, as was the one where the Middleman crew met the Chicks Dig Time Lords crew. And there was much partying, and much random wandering of halls and bars and room parties. It was great to be on the DC panels as well, and to meet so many new friends. Thanks to one lady's generosity, I now have a Shaun of the Dead cricket bat, which I have promised to somehow use for the beard appeal. I await your suggestions.

Speaking of conventions, at the forthcoming Kapow Comic Con in London, I'll be part (alongside many other creators) of an attempt to set the record for 'Most Contributors to a Comic Book'. Should be fun to do something like that with an official from the Guinness Book on hand.

On Sunday, I'm off up to Manchester, to record my new horror play for BBC Radio 4, 'Something in the Water'. I'll do my best to get cast photos and stuff. It's meant to be on sometime this autumn, and is produced/directed by the wonderful Nadia Molinari, who also did 'The State of the Art'.

Anyway, must dash, so until I see you in my travels, Cheerio!

SFX Blog Awards!

I know, it's all me me me this week. I'm getting fed up with myself too. Actually, around dinnertime on a weekday I tend to get very tired of living inside my own head, and rather more want to hear about what everyone else has been doing. That's when the Twitter threads tend to form. Anyhow, the big news today, as demonstrated by the new widget on the right, is that I've been nominated for an SFX Blog Award! This is SFX Magazine's new contest for the best SF blogs/websites/podcasts. You can vote here. The category I'm in, Best Celebrity Blog, is on page seven, and you'll go past categories including many friends of this blog. My own category is... well, it's going to be tough for me to win that, considering the competition, and I'm flattered to be included! I've plonked a widget that'll get you straight to the awards if you click it, up on the right, there.

But what of the beard, you ask? As we speak, you guys have raised £729.50 for Shelter, and we're only a week in. Here's what it looks like as of last night:

Yes, I know. I look like a forgotten Simpsons character. To deal with a few of the comments on the site (which you can access via that widget top right), glad to hear from a Black Knight fan, Larry, that you participated in the glory of the Grell, Ben, don't worry, Mr. Moran, I won't hurt you, and, actually, I've been persuaded, Mags, a stage by stage shave-off is probably the most fun option. Or at least I'll try for a moustache picture. (And maybe the sideburns for Iz.)

Tomorrow I'll be flying to Chicago for C2E2. Just a few days back I was going 'well, that should be nice and relaxed, I'm only doing a couple of things', and then suddenly everyone wanted me to do things. I've been given a dealer's table, which I'll be at off and on, depending on what else is going on. (I'll leave a sign indicating when I'll be there.) But otherwise you can find me here:

Friday: 4.30pm: Signing at the DC Booth.
6.30pm: DC Nation panel in 470B.
Saturday: 2.30pm: DC Icons panel in 474.
4.oopm: Signing at the DC Booth.
Sunday: 1.00pm: Signing at the DC Booth.

C2E2 have been kind (or foolish) enough to link their website to the A Beard For Lent campaign, and they've also put up a new interview with me. Loads of friends are going, and it'll be great to be back in Chicago again. If you're there, do say hello, to me and the beard.

Talking of shows, the Saturday after that, 26th March, I'll be doing a signing at Chaos City Comics in Saint Albans, for which the shop have prepared this rather wonderful poster:

I'm looking forward to it.

Tomorrow, that is, Thursday 17th, my friend the Doctor Who author Martin Day has his latest episode of Doctors on BBC1 at 1.45pm. Of interest to fans might be that this is his attempt to 'smuggle a time travel story' into the show. It's called 'Pretending to See the Future'.

And speaking of Doctor Who, a charming young lady called Rebecca, who I met at the Cardiff Comic Expo, has a strange hobby. She asks famous people what their favourite cheese is. So if you want to know what people like John Barrowman, Colin Baker, Gareth David Lloyd and Sylvester McCoy (and Boris Johnson) prefer in the fermented lactose department, take a look here.

Until Chicago, then, Cheerio!

Be a Copper in my New Novel

You know I've got this urban fantasy novel coming out from Tor next year? Well, more of a metropolitan fantasy, in that it's set in modern London, and involves the Metropolitan Police. Anyway, if you'd like to have a police officer in it named after you (real names only, no net names), and donate to Japanese disaster relief while you're at it, why not take part in the auction here? And do take a look at what other authors have offered interesting things for you to bid on here. You've only got until Sunday, so act quickly, as they say! Cheerio!

Eagle Award Nomination!

I'm honoured to have been nominated for an Eagle Award, in the category of Best New Writer. Well, I am rather new in the context of American comics. Probably. A bit. Anyway, such friends and luminaries as Tony Lee (for his Doctor Who comics) and Doctor Who Magazine are also in with a shot. The awards will be presented at the MCM Expo in London in May. Please cast your votes here.

And how's the beard going, you ask? Well, it's all gone a bit Captain Haddock...

Better than the last photo, anyway. All donations to Shelter still very welcome, via the widget on the top right. On Wednesday I'll be back to tell you about my C2E2 schedule, and supply more ridiculous beard news. Until then, Cheerio!

Knight & Squire Preview/The Friday Beard

The total cash raised for Shelter by A Beard For Lent is, well, as shown on the widget top right (you can go see who's left comments by hitting the 'donate' button, it doesn't suck the cash out of your wallet), but as of the moment I'm writing this, it's £551.00. That's fantastically generous of you, thanks very much, that's great going for three days. Among the lovely people to have left comments are comic scribes Greg Pak and Leah Moore and John Reppion, authors John Scalzi and George R.R. Martin, and editors Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Nick Lowe. To answer some of the questions: no Nick, no way is this beard staying put after Lent; yes, I do think I look a bit like the actor Kevin Eldon now; Liz, it's all coming off at once, no, not like that; and George, thanks for your very generous donation, and when there's enough beard I'll provide photographic proof of dyeing it green. Some people have asked if the site takes dollars: as far as I can make out, you just enter the sum you want to donate in pounds, and if your account is in another currency, the site does the math(s). Let me know if that's not the case. Thanks should also go to Neil Gaiman, Tom Brevoort, and the many others who sent the link far and wide. If we go over £1000, we keep going, and all the more for Shelter. Cheers, everyone!

Here is the first Friday Beard Proof Picture:

Bloody hell, I'm scared of me. I think I may, erm, have been working a bit too hard this week.

On another subject entirely, Knight and Squire #6 is out next week, and you can see the first five pages of it on DC's news page, The Source. Jimmy's art has never looked better.

The first episode of my friend Helen Keen's new science-friendly BBC Radio 4 comedy series It Is Rocket Science is on the BBC IPlayer here. And yes, you can access the radio version of that from outside the UK. Jokes about Soviet rocket pioneers!

And speaking of beards, specifically one I'll never be able to live up to, last time out I forgot something I promised to link to, namely A Moment of Moore, a blog which publishes something related to Alan Moore every day. Excellent!

I can't post today without saying something about the Japanese earthquakes and tsunami. But it's hard to say anything meaningful. We loved what we saw of Japan and the people we met when we toured there. In such terrible circumstances, the kindness and diligence we encountered will go a long way. I've asked after some folk, but have no reason to particularly worry about them. I'm sure they're fine. I'd be pleased to see an internet response that was focussed on donation, and didn't involve using a random force of nature to justify one's point of view. That's it.

Until next time, Cheerio! And remember: a beard is a terrible thing to waste.

A Beard for Lent

It has been said that all the best male comic creators, all the best male science fiction authors, have at one time or another boasted a luxurious, bearlike, beard. Or if it hasn't, I just said it. I was wondering what a good thing to do for Lent would be (giving up alcohol is sort of just for oneself), and I was already a bit fuzzy what with the writerly existence and all, and anyhow, the long and the short of it is... well, here's me last night, the evening before the start of Lent...

Yes, I know, I'm already half way to being Patrick Moore. Anyhow, I thought why not go the whole way, let it grow and grow, and then at the end of Lent (Easter Sunday), shave it off? And to make this something one does for others, indeed, for a cause close to my heart, why not get people to sponsor the beardiness?

So I've set up a Just Giving page: A Beard for Lent and am there soliciting donations. Please pass that address around. As I've said on the page, I'll be reposting the best comments left with cash on here and on Twitter. And if you want to pay to promote something you're doing (within reason), I'll be happy to do that.

I'll be updating how the beard is going, on here and on the page, every Friday. And I'll be taking my fundraising proto-beard on the road to C2E2, a signing at Chaos City Comics in St. Albans, Anime Detour and Kapow before (and the good people there tell me they want to make a thing of it) having it shaved off at Illustrious, this year's Eastercon.

So please: a beard is just for Lent, not for Christmas. I won't stop until I've raised £1000 for Shelter. So donate quickly, for the sake of my wife's sanity. Cheerio!

Kenneth Rocafort in Action, plus Stuff!

DC Comics' news site The Source yesterday featured this lovely cover:

Which is Kenneth Rocafort providing the cover for #902 of the comic of which he is the new artist. I couldn't be happier (and don't worry, no harm has befallen Pete Woods). Those hands are Doomsday hands!

Meanwhile, I thought I'd better feature some bits and pieces that I'd wanted to put up over the last few weeks.

For the last three years, Jody MacGregor has been blogging 100 Comics to Read Before You Die). It's a brilliant series of reviews, particularly if you're a mainstream comics reader who's wondering what's good in the worlds of indie.

My old friend (Lost writer, Just A Minute winner and creator of The Middleman) Javier Grillo-Marxuach has now become a music video director, with the following track, 'Ghosts of Syllables' from the band Admiral Radley...

Next he'll be competing in the Olympic pentathlon or being cast as James Bond or something.

To celebrate International Women's Day, here's Teresa's article about a very deserving convention, the upcoming first annual Geek Girl Con!

Barry Nugent's Fallen Heroes comic has sold out of its first printing, but there's now an e-edition. Great stuff, Barry.

And it's with great delight that I report that my friend, and fellow Tor Books author, Adrian Tchaikovsky, was once in an amateur Doctor Who video! I present, for your entertainment, 'The Plague of Lychwood'....

Do check back tomorrow, when I'll be revealing the charitable thingumajig I'll be doing for Lent, which has already reduced my wife to a state of abject horror. Until then, Cheerio!

Secrets and Lies

Well, the Cardiff Expo was a pretty cool try for a first event, with over 750 people paying their £5 to come along. With only a few guests and being a one day convention, though, the bar life in the evening was a bit sparse. Still, I got to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I spent a panel trying to tell Jimmy Broxton that he's quite good, actually, him being the most self-effacing artist in the world, and I was also on the Secrets and Lies quiz show:

Hosted by the Sidekickcast. You can see the rest of the quiz on their website. The highlight is that, me having been accidentally asked questions about myself, the same happened to Charlie Adlard, only... he didn't get his correct!

Also, the lovely David Finch cover for Action Comics #899 has been released. You can see a large version of it here.

I've just had delivered (way before its release date of March 30th) a consignment of the first hardcover collection of my Action Comics run (covering #890-895). If you're intending to order one, please note that the title is Superman: The Black Ring. Lex would be annoyed.

Until next time, Cheerio!