Tuesday, October 01, 2013

My NYCC Schedule

I'll be at New York Comic Con next week-- Wait, next week?! Yikes, where did September go...?

I'll be doing signings and panels for Skybound's THIEF OF THIEVES, Dynamite's UNCANNY and of course the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, 2000AD. Feel free to bring anything else of mine for signing too, including CAPTAIN AMERICA: LIVING LEGEND, which is out now.

I'll also be announcing a couple of new things, so stay tuned. We may also throw in a second THIEF signing if the demand's there, as I know not everyone can make it on a Friday morning.

If you're looking to get stuff signed or even if you just want to come and say hi, here's where you can find me:

FRIDAY

11:00am - 12:00pm: THIEF OF THIEVES Signing with Shawn Martinbrough (Skybound / Image Booth)

1:00pm - 2:00pm: 2000AD Signing (2000AD / Rebellion Booth)

4:00pm - 5:00pm: MARVEL Signing (Marvel Booth)    

SATURDAY

11:00am - 12:00pm: 2000AD Signing (2000AD / Rebellion Booth)

4:15pm - 5:15pm: SKYBOUND Panel with Robert Kirkman (Room 1A08)

5.30pm - 6.30pm: 2000AD Panel (Room 1A15)

SUNDAY

2:45pm - 3:45pm: DYNAMITE 10th Anniversary Panel (Room 1A08)

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

UNCANNY #1 Review Round-Up

The first issue of UNCANNY, the new supernatural crime/noir comic by myself and Aaron Campbell, is out now from Dynamite Comics. Reviews are positive across the board:
Sincere thanks to everyone who picked it up this week!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Public Statement by Residents of The Storey

The future of The Storey is due to be discussed by Lancaster City Councillors on Wednesday 12th September. The Council report into its possible future uses can be found at agenda item 13 here

Below is a joint public statement issued on behalf of every resident business and creative enterprise currently based at The Storey.



The business tenants and creative enterprises based at The Storey commend the Councillors for their decision to create a viable creative industries centre for Lancaster. It was the right decision five years ago, and it is the right decision now.

For that reason, we urge Councillors to recommend Option 1 in the Council's report on future uses of the Storey Institute; namely, for it to continue operating as a creative industries centre.

The creative industries constitute one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK economy, and those based at the Storey constitute a high-growth, high-value economic driver that brings money into Lancaster from across the UK and overseas.

The Council report rightfully recognises that the failure of SCIC Ltd does not undermine the viability of a creative industries centre moving forward. In fact, the only failing business here is the leaseholder - and that obstacle to progress is now being removed by the appointment of the liquidator.

According to the CBI, "The creative industries - ranging from advertising to architecture and fashion to film - contribute 6% of GDP, employ over 2 million people and export over £16bn annually. If the UK is to achieve a balanced, high-growth economy, it is vital that the key strengths of businesses in the creative sector are nurtured and championed by government."
 
The Storey creative hub has established productive links between Lancaster University, with its wealth of academic, research and business knowledge, and the City itself. Such relationships are proven to generate employment and increase graduate retention.

It is important to note that the Storey hub is perfectly financially viable if properly managed. Similar creative hubs, such as the Watermark in Preston, Woodend Creative in Scarborough and the Sharp Project in Manchester, are positively thriving. The Storey had almost full occupancy before the leaseholder's mismanagement drove businesses away.

Having reviewed SCIC Ltd's accounts and practices, the Storey tenants have identified numerous cost savings, procedural efficiencies and income-generating opportunities which would enable the creative industries centre to prosper. We have a wealth of relevant business experience and a commitment to making the Storey project succeed.

To that end we have already taken the steps necessary to keep the building open during the transition period, assuming responsibility for vital utilities, health and safety and insurance - in some cases, at significant cost and inconvenience to ourselves. While this should be viewed purely as a temporary stopgap measure, it underlines our commitment to the Storey and has illuminated the issues involved in making it a viable, financially self-sustaining enterprise.

All it requires is vision, will and competence.

Conversely, allowing the Storey's future to be determined solely by the Duchy's eventual plans for the Castle, as suggested by Option 3 in the Council's report, could have severe negative consequences for resident businesses, and could incur long-term financial and reputational fallout for Lancaster City Council.

The Council would risk clawback of over £3 million in funding from such cash-strapped bodies as the EU and Arts Council England if the Storey does not remain dedicated to its stated purpose as a creative hub.

Similarly, over €200,000 of European PROUD funding depends upon the Storey remaining a creative industries centre. Losing this would set back Lancaster's regeneration and economic development, and could well damage relations with Lancaster University.

Successful companies being thrown out of a Council-owned building would be a chilling indictment of Lancaster's viability - or lack thereof - as a place to do business.

It should also be noted that the Storey remaining a creative hub would not in any way jeopardise future plans for the Lancaster Castle development. With the gallery, bar, restaurant - and, ideally, the Visitor Information Centre - so close to the railway station and Castle, the Storey would only add to Lancaster's visitor offer.

Thomas Storey bequeathed the building to the people of Lancaster in 1891. If the protective Covenant is revoked, the building would be exposed to the risk of redevelopment by private buyers, and Lancaster could lose a major landmark and valuable resource - including the City's only dedicated gallery. Nobody wants to see this beautiful Grade II listed building lost to the public.

We therefore urge Councillors to stand by their original commitment to a vibrant creative industries hub for Lancaster by supporting Option 1. We would welcome a positive, productive, forward-thinking exploration of the many viable options for the future of the Storey that will generate numerous economic benefits for Lancaster’s wider economy.

The UK boasts the biggest creative industries sector in Europe...

Is Lancaster open for business?

For and on behalf of the Storey business tenants and their staff: 

AccessPlanIT
Developing high-return software for the learning and development industry
http://www.accessplanit.com

Andy Diggle
New York Times bestselling comic-book writer
http://www.andydiggle.com

Azullo
Agile digital advertising software developer
http://www.azullo.com

Fat Media
Award-wining internet marketing, branding and e-commerce solutions
http://www.fatmedia.co.uk

Hotfoot Design
Award-wining branding, design for print and web development
http://www.hotfootdesign.co.uk

InTune
International music production and education company
http://www.2b-intune.com

LitFest
We make and share stories
http://www.litfest.org

Morph Films
Video, web design, motion graphics and animation
http://morphfilms.com

NICE Bar & Restaurant
Modern, relaxed, renowned dining in the heart of Lancaster
http://www.nicebarandrestaurant.co.uk

Storey Gallery
Independent, artist-centred gallery
http://www.storeygallery.org.uk





























Monday, December 05, 2011

2000AD: Shot Glass of Rocket Fuel

Most of my public online interaction is done on Twitter these days, and 2000AD's Tweet Droid has just re-posted the submissions guidelines document I wrote back when I was Tharg's Representative On Earth a decade ago.

Not being an artist, I don't have anything terribly useful to add to those art guidelines, but I would say this to aspiring 2000AD script-writers:

Take the "twist ending" of your Future Shock and put it at the bottom of page one. Then explore the ramifications. Instead of the punchline, make the twist your premise. Trust me, your story will be 1000% more interesting, and more personal. Find your own voice.

It also occurs to me that I sent a "mission statement" to all the established 2000AD writers and artists as soon as I was appointed Editor in the year 2000, right when Rebellion bought the comic, and it hasn't been easily accessible online since.

Somebody quoted me the "shot glass of rocket fuel" line at Thought Bubble last month, and it's being discussed on Twitter right now, so I thought it might be worth publishing that mission statement in its raw, unedited form. I'm not the same man I was back then (I would hope I'm slightly more self-aware and diplomatic these days) but, for what it's worth, it was very much written from the heart.

Here's how I felt about 2000AD in July 2000:

2000 AD: A NEW BEGINNING
A call-to-arms for 2000 AD’s creators

THE PROBLEM

“2000 AD just isn’t as good as it used to be.” That seems to be the consensus opinion of the 25,000 readers who have stuck with us over the last 23 years… not to mention the 100,000 who have abandoned the comic during that time. Sure, nostalgia plays a part, but that’s not the whole story. On the whole, I think 2000 AD is better right now than it has been for several years – but at the same time, I can read progs from 20 years ago that still pack more of a punch than some of the stuff we’re publishing now. So what’s gone wrong?

2000 AD was created with a powerful sense of energy and vision – you can still feel it in those early progs. But over the years, that original vision has become diluted. For quite a while now, 2000 AD seems to have been running on autopilot, and somebody needs to stand up and question whether it’s actually heading in the right direction.

I believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it is broke, we’d better figure out what’s wrong, and fix it - sharpish! That’s what this document is all about. I believe we can make 2000 AD a lot more fun and exciting than it is at the moment.

What follows is basically my vision for the future of 2000 AD, and the kind of stories I think we should be publishing. It would be naïve of me simply to try and set the clock back to 1977 – the world, the market and the readers have obviously changed radically since then – but a lot of the core values of those early days are sorely missing now. 2000 AD used to appeal to readers young and old alike – and it should do again. I really believe that if we can put some of that energy, that imagination and that attitude back into the great work we’re already doing, we can once more make 2000 AD a creative force to be reckoned with.

THE HIT

2000 AD readers talk about getting their weekly ‘hit’ or ‘fix’ of Thrill-power, and they’re only half joking. The comic should be a drug; a jolt of raw, unrefined energy and imagination. We aren’t there just to raise a faint ironic smile on the readers’ lips; we should blast them into a whole new reality! 2000 AD should be fast, dense, bizarre, twisted, funny, insane, rebellious, dark, ironic, imaginative and exciting! We should blow the readers’ minds wide open, and give them something they can’t get anywhere else!

What we should not be is bland, derivative and familiar. 2000 AD should be the comic other people copy, not the other way round.

We may all have different ideas of what 2000 AD is all about, or what it should be. I think it’s the editor’s job to provide a vision for the comic, a common goal for us all to aim for. So let’s get down to the basics, and build it up from there.

WHAT IS 2000 AD?

2000 AD IS A SCI-FI ACTION COMIC. The three pillars of its foundation are sci-fi, action (ie. violence!) and humour. Any story that doesn’t include all three is liable to run into trouble… unless it’s very, very good! Almost all the stories in 2000 AD include some element of humour, but out-and-out comedy strips that don’t put an emphasis on physical action and jeopardy tend to get crucified by the readers.

I want to make the readers happy… because I’m one of them. I’m a 2000 AD fan. I want to publish the kind of stories I like. The kind of stories that blew the back of my head off 20 years ago, and have kept me hooked ever since. Let’s give 2000 AD its balls back.

What follows is a general call-to-arms for every 2000 AD creator. Much of it is undoubtedly grandmother/eggs stuff, but it never hurts to re-state the obvious…


DENSITY

One of the reasons ex-2000 AD writers have been so successful in the American comics market is that 2000 AD (and the whole British boys’ adventure market of old) teaches writers how to condense. When you can tell a complete action story with a beginning, middle and end (and a point!) in five pages, you’ve cracked the art of comics writing. So let’s keep it dense, tight, snapping along at a cracking pace. Never use two panels (or pages, or episodes!) where one will do. In comics, less really is more. Condensing the action down into the least possible number of panels actually increases the drama; it’s like a form of distillation. Boil that barrel of beer down into a shot-glass of rocket fuel!

Atmosphere is all well and good, but when it takes six panels for somebody to find their car keys, the readers just aren’t getting their money’s worth.

CONCEPT

The best 2000 AD series are based around a single character with a strong defining motivation, simple enough to be summed up in a single sentence. For example, “He's Dirty Harry in New York of the future; judge, jury and executioner!” or “He's a genetically engineered soldier who goes AWOL to search for the traitor who killed his fellow GIs;” or “She’s an ordinary girl living in a futuristic slum who dreams of just getting out.”

Plot and setting are important, but still very much secondary to the core character concept: Who is the hero, and what does he/she want?

EYE CANDY

There are too many ‘talking heads’ stories in 2000 AD. There’s nothing wrong with good dialogue and character interaction, but conversation itself must never be the be-all and end-all of the story. Stories must unfold though visual action, not verbal exposition. The rule of thumb is; no more than three balloons/captions per panel, and no more than 25 words per balloon/caption.

If a casual browser leafs through the pages of 2000 AD and just sees a succession of talking heads, he’ll probably put it straight back on the shelf. If he sees big, eye-grabbing visuals, weird locations, cool-looking hardware and exciting action, he might just stop and read it long enough to decide whether he wants to buy it.

This applies to characters as much as situations. 2000 AD used to be full of bizarre-looking aliens, cyborgs, robots, freaks and mutants – and they were the heroes! Nowadays, most of our characters look like they just stepped out of a mainstream Hollywood movie. Let’s remember to create characters with a bold and unique visual style.

Comics is a visual medium, and we’ve only got five or six pages to grab the reader and give him that hit. Writers need to give the artists plenty of incredible, dynamic images to draw which will fire their imaginations. Okay, so we can’t expect a big, in-yer-face ‘money shot’ (so to speak) on every page… but let’s aim for one on every other page, where possible – especially for the cliffhangers. Speaking of which…

GRAB ‘EM BY THE BALLS!

2000 AD is an action comic, remember. It’s in danger of becoming too ‘sophisticated’ for its own good. Sure, a touch of knowing irony is one of the key ingredients for a successful 2000 AD story - but at the same time, we should never be too ‘sophisticated’ to go for the big, cheesy, grab-‘em-by-the-balls cliffhanger. There used to be an energy and rawness to the action which is missing nowadays. It’s all part of the ‘hit’ the readers crave – they want thrills, dammit!

End every episode on a high note, and leave the readers gagging to find out what happens next. It’s the only way to maintain a weekly readership. If they don’t care, why should they pick up the next issue?


GET WEIRD!

Another of the dangers of becoming too ‘sophisticated’ or, dare I say it, ‘mature’ (shudder) is that it can stifle the imagination. If, when you’re writing a story, there’s a little voice inside your head saying, “Yeah, but that would probably never happen in real life,” take it out and shoot it! We need to take the readers to the weirdest, most whacked-out fringes of our fevered imaginations. That’s what they’re paying us for!

We should give the readers something they can’t get anywhere else – be it movies, TV, video games, whatever. When 2000 AD looks bland and conventional compared to the average computer game, we’re in trouble. First and foremost, let’s BE ORIGINAL!

ENOUGH, ALREADY…

So there you go, that’s what I’d like us all to aim for. Shouldn’t be a problem – most of the creators I’ve spoken to have echoed similar sentiments. The fact is, everybody loves 2000 AD – they just don’t all love what it has turned into. I think the comic has been steadily improving over the last few years, so we’re heading in the right direction. Now that 2000 AD has a new look, a new editor and a new owner, let’s have some fun with it!

Andy Diggle
Editor, 2000 AD
July 2000

Thursday, January 20, 2011

RAT CATCHER Review Round-Up


Yikes, I haven't blogged since March 2010? That's the lure of Twitter, I guess. You'll find me tweeting daily at twitter.com/andydiggle

Meanwhile, my Vertigo Crime original graphic novel Rat Catcher was released this week, illustrated by the amazing Víctor Ibáñez. Check out his art blog and tell me this guy isn't the next Adam Hughes.

Reviews for Rat Catcher have been overwhelmingly positive. Best-selling crime novelist Ian Rankin says, "Rat Catcher is hot stuff. Moral ambiguities abound, the action is fierce, and the artwork is deadly."

Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons describes it as "compelling graphic storytelling, full of twists, turns and vivid characters."

The Comics Journal says "the setting is rough, the story is hard and fast, and the mystery is engaging," and that Rat Catcher is "potentially the strongest offering from the Vertigo Crime series thus far."

iFanboy echo that sentiment, describing it as "tons of fun" and saying it "might be the best one yet."

Rat Catcher
also gets the thumbs-up from L.A. Times Hero Complex, Comic Book Resources and Largehearted Boy, who describe it as a "deliciously pulpy game of cat and mouse."

Rat Catcher is available from all good comic shops now, and will be available at bookstores and online from January 25th.

Rat Catcher | Vertigo Crime | 192 pages | Hardcover | $19.99 US | ISBN 1401211585 | Mature Readers

Friday, March 26, 2010

THE LOSERS Set Visits, Interviews & Posters


Yesterday a ton of THE LOSERS news and interviews hit the 'net, as Warner Bros lifted their embargo on set visits made during the filming in September 2009. They've also released six awesome new character posters.

The articles and interviews at Comic Book Resources, Cinematical, HitFix, SuperHeroHype, IGN, MovieWeb, SciFiWire are pretty much identical...

... but Collider wins extra points for including the original audio recordings alongside the interview transcripts:

SuperheroHype also included an interview with Oscar Jaenada (Cougar).

Last but not least, there's also a new interview with director Sylvain White over at MTV Splash Page.

Sylvain mentions referencing the colour palette of the original comics, which were coloured by the mighty Lee Loughridge. Credit where it's due!

More soon, including an exclusive set visit report by AICN's Quint.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chris Evans As CAPTAIN AMERICA


Actor Chris Evans, who plays Jensen in THE LOSERS, has accepted the role of CAPTAIN AMERICA for Marvel Studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Personally I'm delighted. Chris was far and away the best thing about the otherwise mediocre FANTASTIC FOUR movies, but more importantly he's been amazing in more serious but less well-known roles in films like PUSH, STREET KINGS and especially Danny Boyle's SUNSHINE. If you've only seen him play cocky, wisecracking characters like Johnny Storm or Jensen, you need to understand that this guy can act. I have no doubt that he'll do a fine job bringing to life the stoic, dignified heroism of 1940s-era Steve Rogers.

Chris has been on the verge of stardom for a while, and I hope this is the role that finally pushes him over the top. Jock and I were lucky enough to hang out with him on the set of THE LOSERS, and a nicer guy you couldn't hope to meet. He's funny, charismatic and charming, and went out of his way to make us feel at ease. Frankly he deserves to be a household name. I'm guessing soon he will be.

Monday, March 22, 2010

THE LOSERS News Roundup


THE LOSERS movie adaptation is scheduled for release in the USA on April 23rd, and in the UK on May 28th.

Jock and I will be signing copies and giving away free posters at the Bristol and Barcelona comic cons and the London MCM Expo in May.

Warner Bros have released this new ad poster for the movie, which has already been spotted in the wild in LA. You can see an earlier one-sheet poster here.

I've just done a short interview about the movie with The Times Online, and another with USC's Daily Trojan.

THE LOSERS has had its second successful test screening and is rapidly approaching picture lock as final edit and special effects are completed. Jock has drawn new artwork for incorporation into the film, and the main title sequence (designed by Prologue of SE7EN and IRON MAN fame) features his original art from the comic -- so no-one will be left in any doubt about the source material!

Meanwhile, Chris Evans, who plays Jensen, has reportedly been offered the part of CAPTAIN AMERICA by Marvel Studios. No word yet on whether he's accepted their reported 9-picture (!) deal. (UPDATE: He said yes!)

You can watch and/or download THE LOSERS trailer in from www.The-Losers.com, and download the first issue of the original comic for free from Vertigo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Forbidden Planet London Signing

Jock and I will be signing the new edition of THE LOSERS at Forbidden Planet London this Thursday from 6 to 7pm.

Hopefully there should be some freebie posters available courtesy of those nice folks at Optimum Releasing.

Come and say hi!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lots of LOSERS Trailer Screencaps...

... here and here courtesy of Jeffrey Dean Morgan Unlimited.