For Zarjaz, me and Stewart K. Moore teamed up for a Judge Dredd strip we had to call Jurassic Farce:
In need of a financial boost for the city, Justice Department grant Ramon Baxi's Travelling Circus Of Wonders access to The Big Meg. But when an animal rights protest turns violent, the creatures of the ancient world - resurrected by 22nd Century science - are unleashed into the streets and only Judge Dredd stands between them and total destruction...I have to say, Jurassic Farce was an absolute blast to script. It's Judge Dredd versus a load of dinosaurs! What's not going to be fun about that? That said, the first page proved to be a complete dog to nail down; I knew how I wanted it to play out, but just getting those captions right so I could set the chaos loose in the rest of the script... But, still, this strip contains, possibly, my favourite scene I've ever written for Zarjaz, maybe even one of my favourite things I've ever written at all.
This is my first time working with Stewart and - at the risk of sounding overly hyperbolic - his work on this just blew me away. He brings a sense of dynamism and intensity to each page that just grabs you and doesn't let you go until the final panel. I'll admit, there were a few things in the script that I was never sure would work well on the finished page, but Stewart took them on and just made the whole story unfold beautifully, injecting it with a real sense of chaos and danger. He is most definitely an artist that is "Prog ready", and I wouldn't be surprised if his name pops in 2000AD in the near future. It was an absolute pleasure doing this with him, and I really hope this is the first of many collaborations.
However, Stewart (as Bubba Zebill) will be returning to the mean streets of The Big Meg as the illustrator for Tin Man's second Dredd gamebook, Judge Dredd: The Dark!
The cover for Zarjaz #18, by Ben Wilsher looks like this:
The complete running order for this Dredd-centric issue is available over at The Quaequam Blog.
Meanwhile, over in Dogbreath, me and editor extraordinaire Bolt-01 take on the Strontium Bitch herself, Durham Red, with a story called Neon Nights:
When a simple job goes disastrously wrong, Durham Red finds herself trapped on an alien planet, fighting her vampiric cravings and a fugitive from the local authorities. Determined to see the job, through, Durham takes one last run at her target, Robyn Redfearne, a mutant who can manipulate peoples innermost desires - including Duram's blood lust...This was a strange one. Bolt-01 asked me if I'd contribute some stuff to Dogbreath (the other results of this, Best Served Cold with Simon Bennett Hayes and Enough For Good with Steven Denton were in Dogbreath #25 and #26 respectively - both are still available from the FutureQuake shop, too), but when he asked me if I'd be interested in doing Durham Red, I almost said no. I have to put my hands up and admit, apart from reading The Vermin Stars by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, I'm not all that familiar with the character, but I wanted to try it anyway for the challenge. I just never realised how much of a challenge it would be...
This is my first time working with Bolt-01 as an artist (all our previous collaborations have been with him as the letterer and/or editor) and, I have to say, I was wowed with what he produced. I'd seen some of his sketches on his blog (and have an original sketch of The Mighty Tharg by him on my first ever acceptance note from Zarjaz), so I had an idea of what his style looked like, but he really impressed me with his storytelling clarity and page composition. I think Bolt-01 may well be one of the best hidden secrets in the UK small press right now... And it gives me great pleasure to say we've got something else cooking at the minute. More when I can say.
The cover for Dogbreath #27, again by Ben Wilsher looks like this:
The complete running order for this issue is available over at The Quaequam Blog.
And, in case you haven't noticed what's up with both of those covers:
Pretty scrotnig, eh?
Zarjaz #18 and Dogbreath #27 are both available now, priced £3.00 (+ P&P) each. You can get them both - and a whole lotta back issues - from the FutureQuake Shop, and they're also both available from the FQ Comicsy Shop!