Zarjaz Presents... Judge Dredd: Dental Plan Ep 1

With the imminent release of Zarjaz #22, the Daily Dredd's return for another mini-tale!  This time, myself and Bolt-01 (who's on lettering duties) are joined by Paul Williams for this 2 parter - which concludes tomorrow!

See all the previous Dredd mini-cases here.


With the digital release of Something Wicked #2 in the Something Wicked bundle, I thought I'd take the opportunity to plug it by re-releasing my minor contribution to that very comic...

Gifts, by myself and Dunk Nimmo, first saw print back in 2007. It was one of the first things that I wrote to actually see publication, and I've still got a soft spot for it.

Anyway, here it is...

The Thing In The Window

It's Halloween and we all like a wee ghost story around now, don't we? Especially when they're free.

With that in mind, myself and Bryan Coyle have decided to combine those things and give you this M.R. James inspired short we're calling The Thing In The Window...

You can find this story on my Tumblr, too.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that, if you liked that strip, me and Bryan also have a graphic novel out there in the world, Babble, which you can buy from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Comixology and ComicsPlus.

FutureQuake Presents: Something Wicked #1-3 Digital

Well, here's a bit of a surprise: the first 3 issues of Something Wicked are being made available digitally through the Future Quake Comicsy Shop!

Something Wicked 01-03 collects the first three issues of the annual FQP horror anthology, and includes stories by a whole bunch of people, including some 2000AD alumni, comic professionals and, er, me! You can find the full list of contributors over at the Comicsy Page.

Something Wicked #2 features Gifts by myself and Dunk Nimmo, an early strip from me (one of the things I saw published, I think), a four page tale of a macabre wedding present... Thanks to the generosity of the lads at FQ, you can actually read Gifts here for free, if you'd like.

With over 140 pages of comics - no longer available in print - for only £2.00, there's really no excuse for you not to jump over to the FutureQuake Comicsy Shop and grab yourself a copy, so you to can experience the creeping dread as Something Wicked this way comes...

Infecting Idea Space

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - around, maybe 2000/2001-ish, I think? - I scribbled some prose in an old notebook that ended up becoming something pretty huge for me on a personal level.

I know that photograph isn't great, but in the top corner of the page is the title of the story: Babble.

Jump forward to around 2007, and I'm trying to make a name for myself in the world of comics, starting with the UK small press scene. I ended up cannibalising that prose story (or what I had of it, because it wasn't complete) for a short comic strip that became the first version of Babble. The lead changed to a female, new characters were introduced and relationships established - and, more surprising than anything was that it was accepted for an anthology.


By that, I mean it was accepted for an anthology, but I ended up pulling it and taking it somewhere else when it was clear nothing was happening with it. It was accepted again for another anthology, but, again, there was no action on it (as much as I'd like to put that original script out there for the world to see, I've been advised against it, and it's advice I'm heeding). I was told, by a friend, sadly no longer with us, to keep the story and not sell it out right. And that was one of the best pieces of advice I've ever had.

Around 2007/2008, I worked with Bryan Coyle for the first time. After a couple of successful collaborations, we started kicking around ideas for something longer to work on together and Babble came back to the front of my mind. We re-tooled the original story, broke it down into its separate parts and rebuilt it.

I'm going to cheat here and link you to this interview we did with Comic Book Resources and the potted history piece I did for Bleeding Cool, rather than dive into the whole sordid history of the book again. They detail the history of Babble in more depth and give you a feel of the weird, twisting story of what we had to go through to get the book published.

But, published it was in 2013, thanks to Com.X, when they decided to take a chance on it, and us. For those of you who don't know, the story of Babble is an apocalyptic tale that centres around Carrie Hartnoll, a working class English girl who, feeling lost and disconnected with her own life, leaves for a new job and a new start in Ivy League America. She joins a research team looking into the language of Babel, but she soon discovers - SPOILERS! - the language is a weaponised meme, designed to spread through speech.

When the reviews for Babble started to roll in, I think it's fair to say we were bowled over by the positive reaction it garnered, and the sheer number of reviews that gave it a thumbs up (there's a reason we keep referring to is as "critically acclaimed", and it's the 20+ positive reviews we garnered from all over the comics press). In 2013, Bryan was nominated for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award for his work on the book. All in all, it's a thing everyone involved with was - and is! - damn proud of.

Cut to 2014 and we have the release of Memetic #1 from Boom! Studios, an apocalyptic story about a weaponsied meme that centres around a young lead character feeling disconnected from the world around him...

Reading the first issue of Memetic got me noting the similarities between the stories thinking about Alan Moore's "idea space" thing, where he posits there's a place that exists outside of us, which all humans have access to, and can pluck ideas from.

But, what if, with Babble, we've inadvertently infected the idea space with a meme of our own creation? What if, when we plucked the story threads from there, we actually left something behind without realising it? With Memetic out there in the world, will it spread the meme further and inspire another creative team to tell a similar story?

What have we started...?

Memetic #1, by James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan is out now at your LCS or via Comixology.

Babble by me and Bryan Coyle is also available from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Comixology and ComicsPlus.

You can see the exclusive trailer for Babble here:

Coming Soon: Victoria

Over at the FutureQuakePress Blog, editor extraordinaire - and letterer on the strip! - Bolt-01 has revealed a deliberately provocative preview of Victoria by me and Bryan Coyle, coming soon to the pages of Something Wicked.

Remember, back issues of Something Wicked are still available from the FutureQuake Shop and the FQ Comicsy Shop.

And, of course, it would be remiss of me not to shamelessly point out that Bryan and I have an OGN that's currently available in print and digital editions, available here:

Coming Soon: The Line Of Duty

Over at The Quaequam Blog, Bolt-01 has posted a preview of the upcoming Anderson, Psi Division strip by me and Alfie Gallagher:

The Line Of Duty is from a story by Bryan Coyle and should be appearing in an issue of Zarjaz blasting into orbit in the near future.

Remember, several back issues of Zarjaz (and its sister publication Dogbreath) are available from the FutureQuake Shop and the FQ Comicsy Shop. Oh, and be sure and check out Alfie's blog, too.

Coming Soon: Part Of The Process

Coming soon to the pages of the Eagle/True Believers Award nominated anthology FutureQuake is Part Of The Process by Jim Lavery and me.

Over on the FQP Blog, editor extraordinaire (and letterer on this very strip) Bolt-01 goes into a bit more detail about the unusual way this strip came into being, if that kind of behind the scenes shenanigans is of interest to you. I'll expand on it a bit more before the issue goes to print. You lucky people.

Station Ident

Yes, I am stealing this idea from Warren Ellis. Hello.

Welcome to Imaginary Stories, the official web presence of a writer you've never heard of.

I've mainly been kicking around the UK small press comics scene, touting my wares and writing a ton of short stories for various anthologies - many of which are still available to buy with your money - and I'm currently trying to gain a foothold outside of the scene. Because I am shameless, I will take this opportunity to say that I have a portfolio of complete strips available for any editors reading this.

I also wrote/co-created a graphic novel which I'm contractually obliged to refer to as "critically acclaimed"*. You can see the proof here. You can also by said book from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Comixology. You'd make myself and Bryan very happy if you did.

So far, I've published a couple of short prose stories on the Kindle. I may do more in the future. You have been warned.

You can find me on various social media platforms, but Twitter is my main playground. However, I am lurking around and Grooveshark, trying to infect the world with my musical tastes. I also have a Tumblr which is really just a digital scrapbook for stuff that I find interesting (you may not); it's currently set to make one post every day from now until the end of the year because why not. I am also currently exploring Medium and I'll be posting odds and ends that don't fit here or on the Tumblr.

Because you've read this far down, here's a wee present in the form of some completely free comics, some that have seen print already, some produced for on-line pleasuring of your comic reading eyes.

Thank you for reading and may your gods go with you.**

Image credits: Art by Bryan Coyle, colours by Mark Dale

* Not really, of course, but it amuses me to say that.
** Yes, I nicked that from Dave Allen. Shut up.

Zarjaz #21 - Available NOW!

Available right this very second from the FutureQuake Shop is the latest issue of Zarjaz - #21 to be exact - and it features Judge Dredd: True Believers by me and Paul Williams:

As a new series of officially sanctioned Judge Dredd comics hit the streets, the real Dredd continues his investigation into the murder of the girlfriend of the comics writer and artist Jay Lorien. However, what he uncovers may well spell the end for Mega City One...

There's not a lot I can say about this story without giving everything away (and when you read it, you'll understand), but what I can say is that True Believers was an attempt to do a more a modern Dredd tale, something more up to date and tying in with some of the current-ish story lines and narrative styles being done in the pages of 2000AD. It was also one of the toughest things I've ever written, and one of those scripts where I really had to up my game to try and make it work. Whether I succeeded in that is something I'll leave up to you, gentle reader...

As for the artwork... Well, again, I can't say much about Paul's art without giving away some huge spoilers, but I put something into the script that I wasn't sure about and Mr Williams more than rose to the challenge and pretty much blew everyone away. He also brought something modern and sleek to the pages that captures the tone of the story perfectly, but also a dynamism and kinetic energy that really makes the action sequences pop off the page. He is, for my money, a name to watch.

Paul, however, has another strip in the same issue, Tales Of Mega City One: Fear & Loathing, with a script by Santiago Mayoud. I've been lucky enough to seen some of this and I can say you're in for another visual treat. And if that wasn't enough for you, Paul's also posted a blog about his process for the two strips over on his Tumblr (along with the very first strip we ever did together back in 2008 - a strip that we'd both blotted from our memories it was so amazing. *coughs*). Me and Paul also have a Durham Red strip in the pipeline for Dogbreath, too, which should be dropping next year. More on that closer to the time.

Update: Paul has posted a couple of preview pages from his strips over on his Tumblr, with some commentary.

Letters for True Believers were by Paul and Bolt-01 - the reasons for which will become clear when you read the story. Special mention should go to Bolt-01 for, once again, putting up with me and my dialogue tweaks.

The cover for Zarjaz #21 is by art droid Patrick Goddard (with colours by Owen Watts) and looks a bit like this:

Over at The Quaequam Blog, you can find out what else is in the issue. Zarjaz #21 - along with a whole load of back issues which I may or may not have contributed to - is available from both the FutureQuake Shop and the FQ Comicsy Shop priced £3.00 (+ shipping) Earth Money. So, if you want some supplementary Thrill Power, Zarjaz is the place to be!

Remember: the editors and creators behind this issue can't be held responsible for cases of Thrill Power Overload reading it may cause.

Update: Zarjaz #21 gets a review courtesy of Owen Watts over at Down The Tubes and a review on episode 176 of Everything Comes Back To 2000AD podcast - and both have some incredibly kind words about True Believers.