Friday Update – 3rd March 2023

Hello there!

It’s March! Spring is almost here! Hurrah!

A new month brings new comics and you can see my full rundown of releases here, including not one but two issues of Star Wars: The High Republic and the return of Shadow Service with our third collection – Death to Spies.

Don’t forget, if you want these updates delivered to your inbox you should subscribe to my newsletter!

That was the week fortnight that was!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted an update as last Friday I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon with my buddy George Mann for our monthly get-together.

We were there on the third anniversary of the announcement for Star Wars: The High Republic, back in 2020. Little did Justina, Claudia, Daniel, Charles and I realise what was around the corner, from a global pandemic to the incredible reception the High Republic would receive. I still can’t get my head around the fact that the era we created has now spawned not one, but two TV shows! Unbelievable!

Anyway, I digress… Usually, George and I shoot back and forth to Shakespeare’s birthplace in one day, but stayed over this time to visit the ‘Making Mischief‘ British folk costume exhibition at nearby Compton Verney which was well worth the trip, as were the rest of the galleries.

For more photos, check out my Instagram post from the day. There was a lot of inspiration in those halls!

So what else have I been up to? Well, I finished my pilot script, which is now in with my team for notes, worked on the final draft of a script I’m writing for an animated show, did lettering passes for both The High Republic and Dead Seas, and put in a pitch for a new superhero gig. Weirdly, the moment I pressed send on the pitch, the superhero’s very own theme was thrown up by Apple Music. I’m taking that as a good sign!

The perils of pitching

Talking of comic pitches, I also sent off a completely different take for the horror proposal I’ve been working on for a while. My editor loved the original idea, but then we discovered that the concept was veeeeery close to another book that was being developed by a different publisher. Aaargh!

These things happen. It’s why we suddenly see two very similar movies sharing the box office. Yes, Armageddon and Deep Impact, I’m looking at you! And let’s not forget Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves which arrived a month after Patrick Bergin’s version of Robin of Loxley back in 1999.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been working on an idea, only to see that a book, comic or TV show has just about to be announced with EXACTLY the same concept. As Tom Jones once sang, it’s not unusual, but usually it’s a good thing. Sure, it doesn’t feel good at the time… it feels like a kick in the teeth… but it means that you’re thinking along the right lines, moving in the right direction.

Getting back to the horror pitch, as I knew the writer of the other series, I got in touch and we chatted about whether both books could co-exist in the market. There was a chance, but at the end of the day, I didn’t want either story to take away from the other. So what to do?

I tried one solution, pivoting on the central idea, but my editor wasn’t keen, and rightly so. The new direction just didn’t have the punch of the original concept. It was time to head back to the drawing board.

Inspiration finally struck when I was wandering around Stratford with George last week. Before I knew it I had a new proposal, complete with a pretty evocative mood board if I say so myself.

And the good news is… my editors loved it! We’re meeting in a couple of weeks to talk about the next steps! I’ll keep you updated as we move forward!

Things I love and think you might too!

I’d promised I wouldn’t buy any more books last month and then spotted C.J. Tudor’s latest thriller on the shelves. My resolve crumbled immediately.

As I said on Instagram, The Drift is more brutal than her previous work but I tore through the novel which presents three locked room mysteries that will have you grinning from ear to ear when you realise their link. But for all the bleakness there is real heart between the covers and a final twist I didn’t see coming, but wish we could have spent more time exploring.

If you want to hear more about The Drift, then I suggest listening to C.J. being interviewed on the always essential Talking Scared podcast.

Things you might have missed!

  • I posted a couple of behind-the-scene glimpses of the comic-making process here on my blog.

    First up, was the low down of a comic’s lettering script, and I also showcased Ario Anindito’s cover sketches for his Dead Seas #3 cover. You can see them here!

That’s it for now! Hmmm. Perhaps these updates would be better every two weeks rather than every Friday. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! The last thing I want to do is to clutter up your inboxes!

Until next time, stay safe!

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