Scream of the Shalka Cover

Tom's been having rather disturbed nights lately, which means a lack of sleep for us, and hence a lack of engagement with social media for me.  I really am not able to function well without my full quota of nap.  So setting off on this parenthood lark was always going to be tough.  But until now Tom has been a supernaturally 'good' baby, so I'm not about to complain.  (The speechmarks are because he doesn't yet make any moral decisions.  It's not his fault he's bellowing at midnight.)

I've just sent in my MC script for the Hugo Awards, and today is the last day on which you can vote, so please remember to do so if you're a member.  That gig is now looking rather horribly real.  I don't get stage fright when I'm up there.  I rather relax when I'm in front of a big audience.  But the run up is a different matter, and I've kind of frozen and gabbled, to my own surprise, at the BSFA Awards and on some panels at SDCC, so this is all rather stressful.

There are a few exciting things to report today, starting with...


As taken from here, hence the watermark.  And if you use that link, you'll get a complete list of contents of the special features of the DVD, which is out on September 16th.  (They forget to mention that Toby Hadoke interviewed me for the commentary.)  I'm very pleased that Shalka is finally getting a DVD release.  I think it's exactly the right time to see it in context, especially considering the ways it prefigures or influences modern Doctor Who.

Staying with Who, the latest edition of Joseph Scrimshaw's podcast Obsessed is a special about the show, recorded live at CONvergence, with me, Molly Glover and C. Robert Cargill.  It's very funny and completely Not Safe For Work.

And finally on that subject, there's a belated write-up of the IDW panel at SDCC, including a few lines about The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who, my forthcoming one-off comic that marks the end of their Who range.

I've already posted the lovely cover to the US edition of The Severed Streets, my sequel to London Falling, but SF Signal also have the synopsis, which gives you a basic idea of what the book's about.  'Jack the Ripper is back, but this time he's killing rich white men' is what I'd have said.

And I've contributed a line or two to various guests answering the question 'what excites you most about this year's Worldcon' on Missions Unknown.

Okay, back to the keyboard I go.  I hope to see some of you at Faringdon's Follyfest this weekend.  It should be a lovely summer festival of bands and beer.  And we're taking Tom, of course.  Cheerio!

After San Diego

Comic Con this year wasn't perhaps as life-changing as the last one, but it was still the greatest show on Earth, an event I find perversely relaxing.  Perhaps it's the feeling of 'we won', that geeks conquered a city.  Marching through a packed schedule of meetings, lunches, panels, charity events and parties satisfies the workaholic in me like nothing else does.  It all feels relevant.  One is getting on with business while having a good time.

One of the best things about the weekend was the Gender in Comics panel.  It was billed (thanks to some ridiculous made-up controversy beforehand) as an invitation to a fight, but turned out to be both an examination of some serious issues and a homecoming, a gathering of like-minded people, including an audience who were there to celebrate rather than argue.  The panel was led by Christina Blanch, who runs a course on gender and comics, and asked us all questions such as who did we think was the most feminine and the most masculine of the super heroes.  Mostly, it was fantastic to hear stories of how the seven female creators and editors on the panel had encountered gender issues in childhood and in the industry.  It felt like the start of a yearly event, so much more than the usual, outmoded 'women in comics' panel.  You can find write-ups about it here and here and here are most of us afterwards.


(Photo by Henry Barajas.)

Another panel of note was the X-Men gathering, written up here.  I was rather sweating at the start of this one, because Jeanine Schaefer, my Wolverine editor, and the only woman present, arrived late, and I found myself sitting on an all-male panel as introductions were made, looking like I'd broken my word never to appear on such a thing again.  But she got there, and, as always, made a big contribution.  It's not just getting women on panels, it's getting editors and colorists on panels, roles where women have a larger representation than in penciling or comics writing.  This panel turned out to be a love-in too, with an appreciative audience and joking participants.  It always amazes me to see the difference between comics fans in the flesh and online, between panels I've been on and the write-ups and comments on them.  It's like online comics fandom can't quite understand the possibility that people might sometimes have a good time.

The announcement of my one-off Doctor Who comic for IDW, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who was pre-empted by the BBC while I was still on the plane, which took the wind out of our sails a bit.  You can see some more about the project (including a video interview with me) here.  And IDW editor Chris Ryall, on his Tumblr, has shared this original art mock-up of the cover by Jimmy Broxton.

I took part in the One Page Project, auctioning off a huge page of comic art made by dozens of different creators...


And, to give you a sample of the social life, well, this is from SFX Magazine fixer Adrian Hill's brithday party...


It was all a bit of a blur.  I can't wait to do it all again next year.

Wolverine #7 came out last Wednesday, and contains 'Mortal', the prelude to our 'Killable' arc, which starts next issue.  I'm very proud of this examination of Logan facing his new mortality, and it includes a guest appearance by another Avenger which plays nicely, I think.

There now follow a few messages about stuff I think people should be paying more attention to, and which I've let fall by the wayside in recent weeks.

Andromeda One is a one-day British SF convention with a feminist point of view, at which I'm going to be a guest.  Here's their press release:

'Andromeda One is a one-day SF, fantasy and horror convention taking place on Saturday 21st September 2013 from 11am to 22:00pm with Dealer's Room open at 09:00am and early bird kaffeeklatches from 08:3am.  Taking place at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, it brings together a host of science-fiction, fantasy and horror writers and publishers for a day loaded with book launches, kaffeeklatches, panels, signings, writing and publishing workshops and much more.  There will be a stream dedicated to workshops on gender parity and multiculturalism and disabilities in the SFF/Horror community.  Single Tickets are £25 each; Group Tickets (for up to five people) are £100.  Prices held until 9th August 2013.  Prices go up 10th August 2013 to £27.00 or Group ticket £110.00.  GUESTS OF HONOUR include Paul Cornell and Jaine Fenn.  Plus sessions with an impressive range of speakers: Chris Amies; Jacey Bedford; Misa Buckley (SFR); Mike Chinn; Theresa Derwin; Jan Edwards (Alchemy Press Editor/Writer); Janet Edwards (SF Writer); Simon Marshall-Jones of Spectral Press; Adrian Middleton; Stan Nicholls & Anne Gay/Nicholls; Mark West and Ian Whates.'

It's well worth your attention.  You can learn more and book tickets here.

And I'd also like to mention the recent efforts of my old chum Simon Guerrier.  He's written a time travel comedy short, Modern Man, which is in the Virgin Media Shorts contest.  The more retweets and Facebook shares it gets, the better its chances of winning.  (Use the buttons under the film.)  His previous film, Cleaning Up, starring Mark Gatiss and Louise Jameson, is now available for £2, the cash going towards funding a full-length feature.  I commend them both unto you.

As always, I wish I had time these days to write full convention reports.  The number of friends who go unmentioned is terrible.  (Eryn won two prizes at the Masquerade!  Melinda got her work praised by Moffat!  Peter got Tom a Tigger suit!  Warren got me an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit hat!  Mark and Irma were everywhere I went!)  I very much don't want the memories to fade, but they will.  And I must go forward.  So until next time, Cheerio!

The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who

The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who is the name of my forthcoming one-off Doctor Who comic from IDW, drawn by an artist I've had the pleasure of working with on many previous occasions, Jimmy Broxton.  Here's his lovely cover...


It's my anniversary celebration of the series that's formed the central thread of my career, the reason I started writing, the reason I've got to where I am.  I realised a few months ago that I had one last Who tale left to tell, and this is it, my farewell to the 11th Doctor, to be released just when he leaves us, in Christmas week.  It's the story of the Doctor landing in our world, the real world, finding himself to be a well known fictional character and encountering, well, lots of things, but notably Matt Smith.

I hope it reads like an episode. It's a 40 page story, and the issue is even bigger than that, including back-up strips I'm not yet able to mention.  (I'm writing this before San Diego Comic Con, this blog post to be automatically activated after the IDW panel on which this is going to be announced.  So I, erm, hope that worked.  Otherwise you're reading this before the panel, and I'm about to get yelled at from onstage.)

Here are the first two pages, hot off the press from Jimmy... That's an Andy Warhol painting the Doctor's looking at.



Very atmospheric, I hope you'll agree.

The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who will be out in the week of Christmas, and will retail at $7.99 in the US, but will also be available digitally, in British comic shops and by mail order.  I hope you like it.  Cheerio!

My Comic Con Schedule

Tomorrow I fly off to San Diego Comic Con.  Which will be nice, because, apart from anything else, then I'll be back in the time zone my body thinks it should be in.  Tom is staying put this time, which is good because he now seems to have settled back into knowing when bedtime is.

I'm making many public appearances at SDCC this year.  Here's where you can find me.

Signings:

Thursday 18th July, 1pm, Marvel Booth (#2329).
Friday 19th  July, 2pm, Tor Booth (#2707).
Saturday 20th July, Noon, Marvel Booth.
Sunday 21st July, 11am, Marvel Booth.

Panels:

Thursday 18th July, 1pm, Room 28DE, Gender in Comic Books, with the editor of Knight and Squire, Janelle Asselin, Boom! editor Dafna Pleban and many more, in a discussion moderated by Prof. Christina Blanch.

Saturday 20th July, 8pm, Room 9, World Building and Story Development, where a group of urban fantasy writers, including some famous names, talk about how we do the aforementioned in the pages of novels.

Sunday 21st July, 12.30pm, Room 6DE, X-Men, with my Wolverine editor Jeanine Schaefer, Brian Michael Bendis, Gerry Duggan and many more.

Special Events:

Thursday 18th July, 5pm, Vela Restaurant, behind the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, The Blank Page Project.  This is a two hour catered event, free to enter, from Comixology.  Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner will be hosting as creators fill an 8 x 12 foot blank comic page with art.  I'm one of those creators, and I'll just be writing something pithy in the corner.  You don't want to see my drawings.  The enormous page will then be auctioned off, the proceeds going to a charity close to my heart, The Hero Initiative.



Before the end of the convention, Friday, Hero Initiative Booth (#5003).  I'm taking part in a CGC Signature Series Signing Event at SDCC, again to benefit the Hero Initiative, and if you want to get a comic signed by me in that particular way at the show, your only chance now is to get to the Hero booth by the end of Friday.

Parties:

I might pop along to the first hour of the iFanboy party at the Andaz...


And the same night I might make it to the Boom! Studios party late.


But, and this is huge, there's also another panel I'll be in the front row for (because it's an all-male panel and thus I won't be on it), and not saying anything at (because if I said anything it'd just be doing the panel from a slightly different geographical location and me not being on it would be a moot point), where a new project of mine will be announced.  I won't say what day that'll be, because I don't want to give away any clues, but I will say that it's a comics project, that it's a one-off issue, and that I'm very excited.  A new blog post specifically about that should spring up here as soon as the panel's finished.  Hopefully.  If I've figured out the Blogger timing feature.

I'm also, of course, doing many meetings and lunches and breakfasts and socialising to an insane degree.  'Remember to stay hydrated this time,' said Caroline.  'Don't come back like you did last year, looking like a pickled walnut.'  I hope to see some of you there.  I'll be the pickled walnut.  Until then, Cheerio!

Everything Except San Diego

Well, CONvergence was the usual incredible time, what one expects from The Best Convention in the World.  Tom seemed to benefit hugely from the atmosphere of love and creativity, visibly coming on in his development and saying his first word!  (I am now 'Dada'!)  My life doesn't give me time to write con reports these days, but suffice it to say that when faced with a vast queue length problem on the first day, this is the con that sent out food, water and comedy to the waiting attendees, and made jokes at their own expense about it in the opening ceremony.  You can be sure they'll fix that next year.  Caroline had an epic time, appearing on two panel games, and very much holding her own against pro comedians.  I appeared on seventeen panels, only one short of my personal best, all of them featuring at least one woman.  The latter feat, still beyond the power of many events, was achieved without seeming effort on the part of the convention.

Since we've got back, however, Tom's lost the idea of when bedtime is, jetlag and the heat contributing to a pretty tough couple of days.  He slept through last night, though.  So, phew.

I'm off to Comic Con on Wednesday, and intend to blog my (vast) schedule tomorrow.  But before that, there were a couple of things I wanted to mention as worthy in their own right.

First off... this!



That's the US cover for the London Falling sequel, The Severed Streets, out over there in April (the UK edition having arrived in December).  I think it's a thing of beauty.

On 20th August, the following should arrive on your book and comic shop shelves...


That's Saucer Country: The Reticulan Candidate, which collects all the remaining issues of the Vertigo run in a rather lovely package.

And, as you can see here, on Wednesday 14th August, from 6pm-7pm, I'll be signing the collected first volume of my Wolverine run at London's Forbidden Planet.  The collection, 'Hunting Season', is out on the 12th, and contains the first six issues.

Okay, back tomorrow with all my SDCC news.  And wish us luck for bedtime tonight.  Cheerio!

Convergence and Mummies and London Falling

It's been a very tiring week, as I tried to keep up with the run in to the end of Wolverine's 'Killable' arc while Tom kept up with his first tooth coming through, and hence at one point joined me for a Horizon documentary about black holes at 3.30am.

But nevertheless he'll be coming with Caroline and I to the CONvergence convention in Minnesota on Wednesday.  It's his first trip abroad and his first flight, and we have no idea how traumatic it's going to be for any of us.  But still, we'll be surrounded by friends and the atmosphere of the world's best convention.  More about that in a moment, but first a couple of bits of unrelated news.

The mass market paperback of London Falling is due out in the UK on July 4th!  Here's the rather lovely new cover...


It'll retail at £7.99 and is nice and compact for the beach.  The e-book version will correspondingly drop in price at the same moment.

Those of you coming to the San Diego Comic Con who collect CGC Signature Series signed editions may be pleased to hear that I'm going to be signing some comics in that format at the event, with all proceeds going to the Hero Initiative.  You can see all the details here. You can either go along to the Hero booth before the close of play on the Friday of the con, or you can send in your comics to be signed via an address given in the link above.  Others taking part include Brian Michael Bendis, Louise Simonson, Gerry Conway and Dave Lloyd.  It's a very worthy cause, and I'm glad to be part of it.

I'm also very pleased to be a part of a new anthology from Jurassic London, edited by Jared Shurin, The Book of the Dead, which is a collection of stories about mummies.  Mine's called 'Ramesses on the Frontier', and is a very modern story about a Pharaoh on the march.  The book contains tales from Gail Carriger, Will Hill, Maria Dahvana Headley, Lou Morgan and Adam Roberts among others, and is illustrated by UK comicker Garen Ewing.  It'll be out this October, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Egypt Exploration Society. You can read more about it here, and Tor have a nice long piece on the background, including a chat with Jared here.

Finally, I thought I'd share with you my vast and terrifying CONvergence schedule.  It goes like this...

Thursday 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: The World of London Falling (Atrium 7). Oh, right, easy, just the one panel... and Caroline is appearing on the Super-Spy Smackdown panel game at 9pm on the Main stage.  But I'll be back in the room watching Tom sleep, unfortunately and hopefully at the same time.

Friday 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm:  Gerry Anderson Retrospective (Plaza 2).
           2:00 pm - 3:00 pm:  The 'Camp' Factor in British TV and Movies (Edina).
           3:30 pm - 4:30 pm:  SF Squeecast Live! (Atrium 6).
           5:00 pm - 6:00 pm: John Steed and Emma Peel Assemble: The Avengers (Atrium 4).
           7:00 pm - 8:00 pm:  You're Making That Up! (Atrium 6). A terrifyingly inventive panel game involving lying.
           10:00 pm – 11:00 pm: Just a Minute (Bloomington). Well, that again, really.
           11:30 pm -12.30am: Ian Fleming (Plaza 2).  I'm doing a panel... about Ian Fleming... past midnight.  And I'll probably be entirely sober.

Saturday 9:30 am - 10:30 am: Mythic Britain (Plaza 2).
              11:00 am - 12:00 pm:  The Worst of Bond (Atrium 6).
              12:30 pm - 1:30 pm:  Paul Cornell's Advanced Cricket for Americans (Outdoors).
              2:00 pm - 3:00 pm:  Powerpoint Karaoke (Atrium 6). Another game show, involving random slides that require commentary.
              5:00 pm - 6:00 pm:  British Jokes and Stereotypes (Edina).
              7:00 pm - 8:00 pm:  Obsessed: The Doctor Who Special (Plaza 2).  That being Joseph Scrimshaw's very funny podcast.
              8:30 pm - 9:30 pm:  London in Fact and Fiction (Atrium 7).

Sunday 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm:  British vs.: American Urban Fantasy (Atrium 7).
             2:00 pm - 3:00 pm:  Autograph Table.
             3:30 pm - 4:30 pm:  One-on-One with Paul Cornell (Sofitel Bordeaux).

And, of course, the opening and closing ceremonies.  I know, I know, I could have turned any of it down, but they're all subjects close to my heart.  That One-on-One will probably involve people asking if I'm okay. I hope to see some of you there.  Until then, Cheerio!