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.

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