Sunday, 22 February 2009

Official Website

Welcome to The Red Eye, the official Insomnia Publications blog.

If you were expecting the official website ( we're currently moving to a new hosting company and having a new website produced. During this process we'll be able to give you the latest news and information about Insomnia and our products on The Red Eye.

We look forward to bringing you New Art, New Writing and New Concepts on our new website very soon!

Monday, 16 February 2009

The City That Never Sleeps - Insomnia heads to New York

Where do I start? Like most stories, I suppose the best place would be the beginning...
What an incredible time we had. New York – what a city! I fell in love with it as soon as we stepped out of our first (and only) “interesting” experience in a NYC Cab. The architecture is stunning - the height puts our tall buildings to shame in the UK; the people, the millions of people, are so friendly, chatty and stylish - in so many different ways. Audrey and I stood out a little in our Snowboarding jackets to fight off the cold (you’ll see how cold with some of these pics) we did the tourist thing for the first four days and I successfully managed to visit some of the comic book shops including Forbidden Planet and avoided the Sex and the City tour. Next time she says… damn!

our home for the week... not the Chrysler... 31st Street

it's a lot smaller in person...

A ninja in a snowboarding jacket...?

We setup our stand at the Jacob Javits centre located at booth 2447, Aisle 2400, 655 West 34th Street on the Thursday morning to avoid the rush of people on the Friday. Some of the displays being erected were incredible! As this was our first comic convention in the States the only events we had to go on were Bristol, Birmingham and London. This was looking like the size of London (ok, 4 times the size of London) but with the comic content of Bristol and Birmingham. It was HUGE!

On the Friday, we arrived early to get the material out on the table and put the finishing touches to our booth (like the chairs which cost $150 to rent!) On my venture to retrieve the afore mentioned seating appliance, I bumped into Richard Emms (former editor for Markosia and partner of Flash Gordon’s publishing house, Ardden Entertainment), who, incidentally was positioned at the end of our aisle. It was good to see a friendly face amidst the blur of golden age, silver age comics, t-shirts, scantily-clad women and some seriously impressive cos-players!

Josef Rother (Argstein, Heavy Metal) was the first to impress. He’d been advised by Jim Alexander (Layer Zero: Choices, Marvel, DC, 2000AD, Black Library) to come and have a chat. Josef showed me some wonderful work which he’s being doing and we’ll hopefully be able to do something together in the future. His discussions over the weekend were very enjoyable, comments constructive and not to mention he seems to know everybody and took the time to introduce me to David Lloyd!

I spoke with a number of the comic shops based in New York and there was lots of interest from everyone about Cages, Cancertown and the rest of our line up for 2009.

Surprisingly, I was able to quickly secure an interview with Comixology in the afternoon with Peter Jaffe to discuss Insomnia, our products but more notable, our business model and how we’re aiming to promote and generate exposure in the USA and Canada.

First thing on Saturday morning, whilst I was still half-asleep, a rep from a film studio came over and we had a good chat about Insomnia and our titles, this seemed to be a continuing theme for the rest of the weekend!

The amount of interest, especially in Cancertown, was incredible, more and more people kept coming over and asking, “what’s this Cancertown I keep hearing about?”
Thankfully I’d had so much practice pitching to people about the story of Cancertown before Pete’s Basement turned up and did a short interview which you can see below:

Jim Alexander, who’s from Glasgow incidentally, came to see me for a chat. We decided that it may be a cheaper idea to meet up somewhere more local next time rather than meeting up in Manhattan. Although it’s a good excuse for us to both go to NY again!

The number of submissions we received across the course of the weekend was incredible and so was the standard of work. It was amazing to see the vast amount of talent gathered in one place. Thank you to everyone who took the time to pitch and discuss your ideas. We’ll endeavour to get back to everyone as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who came over to the table and showed an interest in Insomnia - your support is hugely appreciated!

Thanks to Audrey for doing a fantastic job at the booth, talking with creators, doing some portfolio reviews and on her opportunities to grab food, drink and free tea from Starbucks (tea you say?!) she did a wonderful portion of promotion.

Thanks to our neighbour at the con, Benjamin Colon, and his friend (see below) for driving traffic to our table.

Sex really does sell!

Hi to Andy Tong and Ben Templesmith. Sorry guy’s I was hoping to see you both over the course of the weekend but unfortunately both of you were either too busy or away when I was able to make it to your tables in the Artists Alley!

And finally, a huge thank you to all the Insomnia creators, you’ve done and are continuing to do an incredible job with the books you’re working on. New York has been a fantastic experience and the response Insomnia received has been amazing and I very much look forward to the “transatlantic" future!

So… what’s next for Insomnia… I’ll leave that for next week!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Layer Zero: Choices

I had never put an anthology together before, although I had contributed to them, and I had seen other people do it. It always looked like quite hard work. Appearances were not deceptive. However what you don't realise from watching someone else do it, or even by contributing to them, is just how incredibly rewarding it is to see the whole thing come together.

The final contents list for Layer Zero: Choices is below and we are very excited about this one. I think this book is really going to show the vitality and creativity out there in comics today. We have an incredible mix of writers and artists from all around the world, resulting in a great mix of styles. Several of the stories are already complete and more finished pages are flowing in every day.

Some contributors are experienced professionals in comics (previous work including stints for DC, Marvel, Image, 2000AD and Metal Hurlant to name a few), some are new talents and some are known in other fields such as journalism, novels, screenwriting and graphic design.

Watching the teams work together, many of whom had not known each other before, and seeing the help, advice and support from the more experienced people, the energy, innovation and enthusiasm of the newer creators and the sharing of storytelling techniques from other fields as the stories have come together, is inspiring and just wanted to be able to help happen when Insomnia was set up.

Here is the list of what you have to look forward to.

  • Pencils and Inks by Scott James, colours by Jason Millet
  • Beautiful People: Script by Jim Alexander, Art by Dean Stahl
  • Beggars Can’t Be Choosers: Script by Chris Barker, Art by Des Langford
  • Borrowed Life: Script and Art by Valia Kapadai
  • Butterflies and Moths: Script by Corey Brotherson, Art by Ariyana Vidya
  • Death in Therapy: Script by GM Jordan, Art by Michael Tribble
  • Devils Due: Script by Richard Casey, Art by Preston Asvedo
  • The Devil Road: Script by James Johnson, Art by Leonardo M Giron
  • Erratum: Script by Matt Gibbs, Art by Des Langford
  • The God Trap: Script by Chris Lynch, Art by Gary O'Donnell
  • Hobson’s Choice: Script by Thomas Romeo, Art by Tom Harry
  • Hunger: Script by Peter Forbes Art by James Daniels
  • Love Like a Bullet: Script by Aiden Langley, Art by Jane Summerfield
  • Magpie: Script by Richard McAuliffe, Art by Mark Chilcott
  • Nearest and Dearest: by Monty Borror
  • The Proposal: Script and Art by Scott James
  • Red Wire Blue Wire: Script by Alexi Conman, Art by Larry Watt
  • The Right Choice: Script and Art by Stephen J Butler
  • So Much To Do, So Little Time: Script and art by Dave West
  • Soul: Script by Steven Stone, Art by Gary Crutchley
  • Time Wave Zero: Script and Art by Adam R Grose
  • The Turtle Guitar: Script and Art by Ben Powis
  • Waste: Script by Cy Dethan, Art by Ben Mcleod
  • Waiting for the End: Script by Martin Conaghan, Art by Nulsh
Pin ups
  • Andy Bloor
  • Marcus Truckle
  • Angus Day
If you like what you see in Layer Zero then keep an eye out as several of the creators have books out through Insomnia later this year and next.

Layer Zero: Choices will first be available at Bristol Comics Expo 2009 where you will find our Stand in the SPExpo in the Mercure Hotel.

The next Layer Zero will have stories on the subject of Survival. I already have four stories submitted and accepted for that one, and I'll put details up of how to submit in the next few weeks.

Next week it will be over to Crawford for a round up of his adventures at the New York Comic Con.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Baggage, Books, Bones and Banshees

Well, Crawford has left for New York, with his bags packed full of books, where he will be manning the Insomnia stand at the New York Comic Con 2009.

This will be a great chance for him to catch up with some of creators for the first time in person, and hopefully get to talk to lots more talented people with stories to tell. Me, I'm snowbound in London, but he's promised to bring back lots of pictures for the blog.

If you've got something to pitch to us (here are the submission guidelines if you want to check them first) , want to find out more about Insomnia, or just want to stop by and say "hi" in person you can find us at stand number 2447.

So, what else happened last week?

For starters last Wednesday, the 28th of January, was the 180th anniversary of the hanging of William Burke, one half of the infamous Burke and Hare. As you will remember, Insomnia has a book by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering out later this year on this very subject.

The research that is going into the book is just staggering. The "extras" we are going to have for the back of this one this will really deserve a book of their own. Martin and Will took a trip up to Edinburgh last week to do some on-site work, get some more visual references, meet with Crawford, and even get a personal showing of Mr Burke's skeleton.

Huge thanks to Lynsey Hutchinson, who works at the Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh, who took Martin and Will on a personal tour of the incredible exhibits related to the Burke and Hare case.

They also managed to take in a private tour of the Anatomy Museum where Dr Findlater removed Burke and Hare's life masks, and Burke's death mask, from the cabinet for them to photograph. This where, as mentioned earlier, they got a chance to see Burke's skeleton face-to-face, which was "quite incredible" according to Martin.

Making comics is not all sitting in the warm thinking about scantily dressed superheroines in distress, you know?

I am also pleased to be able to announce Insomnia's latest signing: Sidhe by Rachel Robbins.

The pitch outline was so good I am just going to reproduce it here in Rachel's own words.


Emer O’Connor is a Shaman Priestess, capable of performing simple white magic, “kenning”, and traveling between the worlds. Yet the line between the land of the living and the kingdom of the dead has been blurred as of late.

A fundamentalist Christian cult usurping democracy, pharmaceutical companies with political clout, and growing discord between the Irish clans crept into existence, and the world is giving way to early apocalypse.

Like the few other practicing witches, Eden tries to blend in with the brainwashed masses, lest her dedication to the Old Religion lead to her “disappearance”, as it has with so many others.

Then the screaming begins.

According to Gaelic mythology, five spectres of darkness descended from the ancient fairy race Tuatha De’Dannan: the Bean Sídhe, more commonly referred to as Banshees. Each of the five banshees were bound to one of five powerful families: the O’Gradys, O’Neills, O’Briens, Kavanaghs, and O’Connors.
Once upon a time the Sídhe’s hair-raising screams merely alerted friends and family of a loved one’s impending death. But times have changed, and the Sídhe have returned with a more sinister mission: to put the universe back in balance via mass genocide, at last fulfilling an ancient prophesy.

Where in days past they foretold and warned of impending death, now their piercing screeches claim the lives of the ailing and infected—before the diseased hosts have become terminal.
After the alleged double suicide of Emer’s parents, her saintly sister’s fatal overdose, and baby brother’s sudden illness, she feels called to action. And so begins her quest to silence the Sídhe.

Every prophesy has a loophole.

And some info about Rachel herself

Sídhe creator Rachel Robbins resides on the coast of New England with her thirteen-year-old son-- writing, sculpting, reading, drawing, exploring, and always seeking a new soundtrack to life. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing, while her undergraduate degrees were in English and psychology. Rachel’s interest and focus has always been on the mythological and mystical aspects underlying a text, and from whence said fascination Sídhe was spawned. Citing a blurred line between genres of artistic expression, Rachel is as much inspired by self-portraits of Frida Kahlo, the faeriegrrls of J.H. Waterhouse, nightmarish creatures of Geiger, Goya, and Bosch, and the rough-hewn sculptures of Louise Bourgeois as she is by Latin American magical realism, dark Russian prose, Romantic era authors, and neurotic confessional poets. She finds the graphic novel a perfect medium within which to interconnect and respect these expressions of the creative process. Rachel has recently completed a novel titled The Land Of Nod, is developing a line of organic healing teas, painting a larger-than-life deck of tarot cards, and plotting the sequel to Sídhe.

At the time of writing I have just been told that Jazma magazine wants to interview Richard McAuliffe and Mark Chilcott about Damaged Goods (out later this year). More on that with links once the interview is published.

Until next week.