A Dredd-ful T-Shirt...


Literally no idea how I missed this, but that image is from Jurassic Farce by myself and Stewart K. Moore/Bubba Zebill - which is still available in the pages of Zarjaz #18, which you can still buy from the FutureQuake Shop.

The t-shirts were a very limited - and I’m guessing unlicensed - run, and all the profits went to Parkinson’s UK. Still kicking myself for not grabbing one…

Anyway, if you're curious, this is what the original image looked like:

And, just for fun, here's a specially coloured version of the same image:

And, just because, here's Judge Death by Stewart, too:

Station Ident



Welcome to Imaginary Stories, the web presence of a writer lost in delusions of adequacy.

For the last few years, I've been mainly kicking around the UK small press scene, writing a ton of short stories for various anthologies - many of which are still available to buy with your money. 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 we can confidently call "critically acclaimed." You can still buy said book from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Comixology. You'd make myself and Bryan happy if you did.

I lurk around various social media platforms, but Twitter is my main source of interaction with the world outside. Apart from face-to-face conversations, obviously. And telephones.

You can find me on Tumblr, too, but that's a pretty much a digital scrapbook these days, filled with curios and stuff from around the web. You can also find me over at Medium, should you want to, or you can sample some of my prose work.

Now, get off my lawn.

Image credits: Art by Bryan Coyle

Something Wicked #10 - AVAILABLE NOW!

The FutureQuake Press horror anthology, Something Wicked, reaches its 10th issue, and features a wee tale of love and horror from me and Bryan Coyle (with Bolt-01), called Victoria...


A young girl, Caroline, finds herself escaping the crushing reality of her life by lapsing into daydreams of someone called Victoria. But who is this mysterious woman and what is her connection to Caroline and her flatmate, Paul?
Slightly tricky to write a synopsis of this one, given the short nature of the strip...

Victoria is a story I've had kicking around the backwoods of my mind for quite a while, but it wasn't until recently that I've felt confident enough to try and write it. Without wanting to give too much away, some of the subject matter needed a delicate touch, one I wasn't sure I could have managed before now. Even then, it took a healthy dose of confidence (or arrogance, I'm not sure which) and a pro picking the original script draft apart to make me go for it.

With all that in mind, I knew it had to have the right artist to make it work, and - to my delight and eternal gratitude - Bryan agreed to do it. It's a story that features - spoilers! - a fair bit of nudity, but, I knew it couldn't be a "T'n'A" strip, otherwise the tone and atmosphere I tried to build into the script would never work. I've worked enough with Bryan down the years to know that he would get it immediately and treat those aspects of it with the right level of respect, and avoid any atypical comic book poses that would usually come with female nudity. Along with his trademark storytelling clarity, he brings a level of grounded realism to this, too, which works in the story's favour to a simply amazing degree, but at the same time, he pushes himself to a higher step in terms of his own work, and produces what I think might be some of his best art yet. Seriously, I could actually fill the entire post praising Bryan's work on Victoria, but he's not paying me enough to stroke his ego, so I won't.

Anway, the wrap around cover to Something Wicked #10 is by Jon Taylor and looks like this:


The comic features 10 - count 'em! - strips from some of the finest talent the UK small press has to offer and us. You can find a full list of contributors and more previews over at The FQP Blog.

Something Wicked #10 is available from the FutureQuake Shop and the FQ Comicsy Shop, priced £4.00 (+ shipping). You can still get back issues of Something Wicked from those links, too, and the Something Wicked Digital Bundle is available exclusively from 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 from these fine retailers:

Zarjaz Presents... Judge Dredd: Dental Plan Ep 2


And with that, Dental Plan is done! Remember, if you want to read more of these mini-cases, you can find some here.

A sincere thanks to the lads at Zarjaz for giving me the opportunity to do these and to Bolt-01 for providing the lettering and giving it that authentic Zarjaz feel, and special thanks to my art monkey partner in crime Bryan Coyle for the script assistance.

You can, of course, still read the previous Daily Dredd with Bolt-01 here, the Daily Dredd with Bryan here, and my previous Dredd collaboration with Paul Williams, True Believers, is still available in the pages of Zarjaz #21, currently available from the FutureQuake Web Shop or the FutureQuake Comicsy shop.

Without wanting to tempt fate too much, it's looking like the daily strips will return in 2015, with three full length tales...

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.

Gifts

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.

Twice.

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: