Wednesday 30 June 2010

Sneaky Previews

Hi all! In a continuation of last weeks blog, we have more book previews to take a peek at!
Pencils and Inks: Monty Borror
Letters: Jim Campell
Art: Valia Kapadai
Letters: Jim Campbell
The Empyre
Story: Stephen Aryan
Art: Adam Bolton
Story: Lee Robson
Art: Brian Coyle

We also have another preview of Simon Wyatt's Unbelievable!

Check back next week for more!

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Damaged Goods from Damaged Minds

I like to think of myself as the sort of person that doesn't get phased by a lot. I read through all of the Damaged Goods reviews and didn't really see how it could be as bad as they said. Then it came time for editing. Then I read it. Then I understood. Then I gagged.

So I'm sure everyone wants to experience these same feelings of disgust, nausea, and some sort of sick enjoyment that does worry me a little. Well, for all of those with a strong sense of morbid curiosity, the wait is nearly over. Mark the date on your calendar, Saturday the 16th of October, 2010, and remember to bring a change of clothing... just incase.

And in anticipation of its release, here is the first official look at its front cover:

Here's a word from one of the men responsible for this monstrous creation, Richard McAuliffe.

"I'm really looking forward to this coming out and seeing what the comic fandom makes of mine and Mark's sick little comic book world. We've had some very cool advance reviews which have all been very positive if a little on the "please dont ever come near me or my family again" side so it'll be cool to see if we can REALLY offend some people or at least mess them up a little bit. Everyone at Insomnia, especially Nic Wilkinson who gave us the initial kick-start, have been really cool so hopefully we've given them a book which can hold its own with their other twisted titles."

And what about those reviews I mentioned earlier?

Barry Nugent : Geek Syndicate

"Damaged Goods is a fantastic tour de force of sick and twisted horror fantasy."

"Horror is usually my least favorite genre but Damaged Goods is a fantastic tour de force of sick and twisted dark horror fantasy."

Simon Wyatt : Comic Book Creator

"Damaged Goods’ is a carefully wrapped and decorated package of psychotic twists and turns; delivered in a meticulous and sometimes horrifically dystopian artistic style - think `Raymond Briggs-meets-Hieronymus Bosch’ and written with manic aplomb and dark affection for the genre.

Once unwrapped, this Pandora’s box of nightmares will claw its way through your eyes & play happily with your morality and fears. I half-expected a cover made of human flesh.

A genuinely, creepy and emotive parcel of shocks delivered by two creators who have yet to emerge from the shadows.

Pray they’re not hiding under your bed!"

Lee Grice : Small Press Big Mouth

"I don't know what foul childhood traumas were inflicted upon McAuliffe and Chilcott, but from the evidence of the disturbed and twisted nightmares trapped between these covers they are pair of sick sick monkeys and their monstrous talents need to be captured, weaponised and directed against less civilised nations. As for Damaged Goods itself... I say we nuke this book from orbit. Its the only way to be sure."

Damian Smith : Kryptographik

"Richard McAuliffe and Mark Chilcott bring together a great collection of Horror shorts which take a look at the Genre from a different perspective. It had me leaving the family to fend for themselves so I could finish it.

They both are on their way to making some big waves in the industry!"

Alec Worley : 2000AD Writer

"McAuliffe's pitch-dark tales of moral outrage combined with Chilcott's muscular, Lynchian artwork form a battery of short sharp shockers from the 'hit-em-hard' school of horror."

Dan Marshall : Sidekickcast

"Beautifuly bleak and startlingly effective. mcauliffe is a force of nature and i dont mean that in a good way."

PJ Holden : Artist (2000AD, Garth Ennis’ Battlefields)

"Damaged Goods is clearly a cry for help from a damaged mind. Horrifying."

Leigh Gallagher : Artist (2000AD, Vertigo)

"I doubt we will never know what perverse, bizarre acts were once committed upon the creators of this book, but we should be glad it happened if this is the result."

Cy Dethan : Author (Starship Troopers, Cancertown)

"A wide-ranging manifesto of terror from a powerful and profoundly disturbed creative team."

Gavin Jones – Sidekickcast

"It's unclear as to whether the title of the book; Damaged Goods refers to the creator's minds, the stories themselves or the sate you will be left after reading. All are equally true as the blood soaked stroytelling cannot help but leave you unhinged though thoroughly satisfied."

"Each page drips with the kind of primal horror that permeates your very soul and will be sure to stay with you long after you put the book down."

More and more keep flooding in, so check back each week for updates.

And that's not the only news coming in...

Who remembers 'Bad Rain' by Ferret? Nic Wilkinson first reported on it at about this time last year, which can be seen here. Last weekend it won the Judges Choice Award and the Sandown Quilt show. Congrats!

And finally this week, I just wanted to share with all of you some of the beautiful art work being created here at Insomnia. We're really luck to have so many talented artists here, so why not show of a little of what's in store!

Story and art: Simon Wyatt
Letters: Nic Wilkinson

Kronos City
Pencils and Inks: Alex Willmore
Letters: Jim Campbell

The Ragged Man
Story: Cy Dethan
Pencils and Inks: Neil Van Antwerpen
Colours: Peter David-Douglas
Letters: Nic Wilkinson
Butterflies and Moths

Hope you enjoyed that visual feast! Check back next week for more...

Wednesday 16 June 2010


It's been a busy week at Insomnia, getting quite a few of our Graphic Novels ready to be printed. One of those, on the verge of completion is Michael Moreci's Quarantined. For any one not up to speed on this, here's a catch up:

"Quarantine follows a group of survivors trapped in a small town in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan shortly after a biological plague is released into the water supply. This plague turns a person into a homicidal war machine, which forces the borders to close, leaving our band of survivors to fight for their lives."

The 24 page, First Issue preview is now available online:

Myebook - Quarantined - click here to open my ebook

Pencils: Monty Borror
Letters: Jim Campbell

To coincide with the release of the ebook, Michael, Monty and myself (Lauren) conducted our own interview.

Zombie comics and films have saturated popular culture. Yet with Quarantined, your art has managed to create a very unique look and feel to the genre. What was your thinking going in?

Monty: The work I did for Quarantined is very mulimedia in the fact that on some pannels I have pencils showing through with brushed inks and zerox transfers all of which I scanned in as Linework in photoshop to give it all a solid black feel. I wanted the look to be scratchy and a little chaotic. While Zombie films have sort of hit mainstream media, I look at it the same way as I do music. If I were going to start a band it would most definitely be a punk band, even though punk has made it to the mainstream. I don't believe all possible options have been explored just because I can hear a few bands on the radio. Same holds true with the zombie genre.

Name the page from any book that you feel best represents your work as a colorist and what it is about this page that you think works.

Lauren: When I became a colourist I hadn't had a great deal of experience with graphic novels, so it's hard to say who's work best represents my own. I think that the way I colour came from my previous experience with fine art, specifically with J.M.W. Turner. He was an artist who fascinated me and while I don't claim to be any where near his standard, I tried to convey his themes digitally, with layering of colour and mood. So it's not a page from a book, but if it was, I'd say Turner's Snowstorm.

There is a political subtext in Quarantined particularly influenced by American paranoia of foreign cultures. Do you find horror, or zombies, lends itself to this sort of allegory and if so why?

Michael: For sure. I think that when you're working in a strict dramatic form and are attempting to deliver a political statement, that statement tends to dominate the narrative. In genre work, specifically horror and sci-fi, you can maintain political/cultural allegory through subtext. As a storyteller, that's important to me. And it's not only about how the theme and message is delivered; it's also about creating a compelling story at the same time. With horror, you can have those weighty issues--brain candy, if you will--balanced by action, suspense, and, most importantly, zombie chaos. The best horror tends to not exist in a vacuum; the most frightening works are so potent because they tap into something deep within ourselves, into who we are collectively or as individuals. This is the central focus of Quarantined.

With horror, it's easy to be dark and have that set the tone. Your tones, though, have a lot nuance, as evidenced in the first issue. How have you approached setting the mood of the book?

Lauren: I've tried to work alongside Monty's style in Quarantined. There's an uneasy undertone to Monty's work which I've tried to show in the colour. It is hard to find the right tone, especially with the first chapter mostly taking place in the dark. I had to alter the way I worked a lot to try and find the right balance on Quarantined. In my work on Kronos City a night sky can be many different bright colours, with stars and clouds etc. but with Quarantined it felt more appropriate to have a heavy black sky, with the characters as the only focus, as that's what Quarantined is about, the characters and how they are coping with this separation from the outside world.

You're in a zombie apocalypse - what do you do?

Michael: I'd need two things: crops and landmines. I think I'd pack up my family and hide away in Montana. I don't think I'm cut out for the "double-tap" shoot-em-up lifestyle. That being the case, I'd try my hand at seclusion and living off the land. With landmines--lots of landmines.

We all hope you enjoy the read!

Finally, well done to Dream Solver who received a mention in a review the Bristol Comic Convention, which can be seen here.

Check back next week, when we will be all about Damaged Goods...

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Return of the Red Eye

Hello all at Insomnia. Did you miss the blog? It's back! All of us at Insomnia want to say a very big thank you to Nic Wilkinson for running it for so long and giving us all a very good read. It's been hard to start up again without her, but here we are, alive and well.

There has been a lot happening at Insomnia since the last update, so there are a fair few things we can bring you up to speed on.

There is a new artist joining the creative team, artist Song Ye, who will be beginning work on Celeste Sharp's novel Shock Theory. Here's a reminder of what it's all about:

"After a horrific tsunami, England is abandoned and forgotten; even by history. Rising from dark times, a single city known as Hubris is suspended in the Sky, providing a new life based on technology and social order. The N.O Government has put the clocks back to zero and reinvented London as a completely clean slate for a prosperous society and economy... But Hubris wasn’t just built on the ruins of London; it was built on shock. "

Set in a dystopian England, where the totalitation regime uses the Techframe to control its citizens using shock and sedation, Shock Theory draws on the dystopian heritage of George Orwell and Philip K. Dick, woven with theories of investigative journalist, Naomi Klein, to follow Eva and her companions as they attempt to unravel the sinister nature of Hubris and offer the only resistance to the tyrannical Dr.Shock and the New Order government.

Celeste Sharp:

"I'm so happy to have Song signed on board. I was immediately drawn to his style and talent. I'm looking forward to seeing Shock Theory's dark undertones resonate through his artwork."

And here is the talent Celeste spoke of:

Peter Sly

In other news Andrew ' Kronos City' Croskery and Stephen 'Cancer Town' Downey along with Reggie Chamberlain-King (a writer in the upcoming layer zero) have started up a "blog-style anthology incorporating all types of creative media". Here's the blurb:

Tales Of The… is an online weekly blog-style anthology incorporating all types of creative media [...] its aim is provide a platform for N.Ireland creators to showcase film, artwork, prose, audio and just about any other type of creative endeavor you can think of.

A new piece will be published every Sunday and similar in style to “Tales of the Crypt“, “Tales of the Unexpected”, or “Tales of insert term here” we intend to create exciting fiction, without being tied to any particular genre. We will have the occasional theme, but for the most part creators and collaborators have free reign to create and share whatever they want.

Check it out here:

There is new promotional material online for Unbelievable, due to be out later this year. Creator Simon Wyatt has been busy putting together teaser trailers for the book, which can be seen here.

And finally, the graphic novel Quarantined has been in the press recently. Since Michael Moreci has been working the cons on the other side of the pond, Quarantined has seen a fair few reviews along with Michael being interviewed by Gapers Block and the Graphic Novel Reporter.

Here are the recent reviews:

Comic Related

From the Tomb

Check back next week for more...

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Spring Cleaning Completed.

After several months of spring cleaning, I'm very pleased to announce that Insomnia is now a slimmer, lighter, faster and an even more dynamic publishing company.

Yes, we are changing, and as always, we are adapting to ensure the company is in a strong position in the market place and has the ability to enter into new and emerging markets. We're expanding into digital areas more aggressively to give us greater exposure and boost profitability, but we'll still be producing printed books. During the further restructuring of the company over the last few months, Nic Wilkinson, Alasdair Duncan and Martin Conaghan have all decided to resign from their middle-management positions.

Matt Gibbs has chosen to resign from Script Editing formally for the company to focus on his own writing of his books. It's a great shame to see him go as he has a fantastic talent, and especially with all the positive feedback from the half-dozen or so teams he was working with, he was doing a grand job. I'm sure he will continue to provide his knowledge and expertise within the Insomnia community on a more relaxed level in the future and I'm very excited to see what he's producing.

This will not affect any of the books.

My aim is to ensure all of Insomnia's books are published and, as I set out to do, we're continuing to strive for high quality publications. Our Sub-Editors, Lauren and Alex are continuing to provide their expert advice and assist with the production of the books.

I guess some people just don't like change, but Insomnia Publications is here to stay and will continue to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Roll on the summer and the new titles due out in the next few months.

Crawford Coutts

MD & Editor in Chief.

Monday 19 April 2010

On The Pulse

Our good friend Ian Cullen, webmaster of Sci-Fi Pulse has been interviewing some Insomnia creative teams over the last couple of weeks.

The interviews are available to download from Blog Talk Radio.

First up is the team behind the adaptation of the novel Fallen Heroes

This interview is split into two parts - the first with Barry Nugent who wrote the cult hit novel (and is currently at work on the sequel) and Martin Conaghan who is adapting Barry's book into a trade paperback. The second interview is with artist Steve Penfold who'll bring the visual versions of Barry's characters to the page.

Synospis: A stalker of demons and legends, a pair of master criminals, a teenager on the brink of madness and a man forever cursed with the desire for vengeance. They are all pawns in a plan set in motion over nine centuries before their birth. Pursued across the globe by enemies both human and supernatural they must overcome their mistrust of each other and uncover the truth before it destroys them Fallen Heroes pits an unlikely group of heroes and anti heroes against an evil which has existed since the first crusade. If they can keep from killing each other long enough they might just be able to stop the world from plunging into a new dark age.

Next up we spend time with the creative team from The Ragged Man: writer Cy Dethan, penciller Neil Van Antwerpen and colourist Peter-David Douglas.

Synopsis: The Ragged Man is a fast moving, violent character piece. It’s a psychological dissection of a man whose fear of failure is so great that he levels a world to accommodate it. Insane with grief, his self-hatred grows so all-consuming as to become a physical character in its own right, but the Ragged Man’s single-minded retreat into denial continually thwarts his own redemption. Reality is layered and fractured in the Ragged Man’s world, a world in which he clings frantically to the role of martyr, simply to deny his position as monster.
Creator Roundup

A few notes and links to what our ever busy creators have been up to recently, and where you can find their work:
  • Stephen Downey and Andrew Croskery have been working as part of a multimedia fiction project to showcase the talents of Northern Irish creators called TalesOfThe which has launched with Tales Of The Cthlulu Quarter.

  • Chris Lynch in his guise of one half of Monkeys With Machine guns has been interviewed by the lovely ladies of the The Comic Racks. Chris is also doing a number of signings at the moment to promote his new book The Dark from Markosia publications and details, and links to the ebook preview are over on his site.

  • Corey Brotherson has a a piece called Twilight's Promise in the new Tales from The Plex from Futurius.

  • James Reekie was commissioned by the BBC to produce an image for a short article on "Nature's Assassins", insects and fungus that "take out" destructive pests. That may sound more National Geographic than Comics but check out James's blog to see his concepts of turning the insects and fungus into comic book style super villains in a police line up based on the famous "Usual Suspects" poster. Look out for more of James' work in an upcoming issue of ImagineFX magazine.

  • Richard McAuliffe and Mark Chilcott have recently had a Dredd story accepted for an upcoming issue of Zarjaz featuring Judges Dredd and Death if they were London based in the late 1800s.

  • Will Pickering has been an extra in Burke and Hare, the John Landis movie version.

  • Michael Moreci will be at C2E2 in Chicago with new preview copies of Quarantined - this time with the new cover art by Keith Burns and this is his appearance schedule:

    Nerd City, Friday, from 230-330 (booth 865)
    Third Coast Comics, Saturday, from 1200-100 (booth 1018)
    Chicago Comics, Saturday, from 600-700 (booth 725)

  • Valia Kapadai has produced a self published anthology of dark stories called "Twisted Vision". It's pretty hefty at 100+ full colour pages and includes stories from some familiar Insomnia names. It will available at Bristol.

  • Kev Levell and Rich Clements received a coveted intergalatic shout out from the Mighty Tharg with Zarjaz and Dogbreath being promoted in the Nerve Centre of Prog 1681 with a special mention for Teen Wulf. Find out more about both publications at the The Quaequam Blog
Eagle Awards

The annual Eagle Awards are now open for nominations for comics published in 2009.

The way is works is that the top 5 most nominated in each category go through to the voting stage. You can only nominate once and then vote once.

It's great to see the awards back again this year.

Bristol Comic Expo Update

Comic cons are always fantastic for us in terms of meeting new creators. Next week I'll be posting details of what you need to do if you have a book proposal or art portfolio you would like to discuss with us at the show.

Over the next few weeks we'll have a lot of previews of upcoming books and details of what will be going on at the stand, with a schedule for signings and reviews.

Bye for now...

Monday 15 March 2010

Red Eye Candy

I am extremely pleased to report this week that we have a new art portfolio book in the works: Outsider Broadcast: The TV Doodles of Henry Flint.

What is more, it features the personal work of an artist whose published work I have loved for over a decade since I first saw it in Nemesis the Warlock.

A big Insomnia welcome, then, for Mr Henry Flint!

If you are a 2000AD reader you can't fail to have seen Henry's work as it has graced the pages of not only the mighty Nemesis, but Rogue Trooper, Judge Dredd, and ABC Warriors among many others.

Henry has also worked with Vertigo (The Haunted Tank mini series of last year with Frank Marraffino), DC (The Omega Man, with Anderson Gabrych), Wildstorm (Deathblow and Gears of War) and Dark Horse (with Andy Diggle and John Wagner)

I asked Henry how these images came about and he said:

"I think it's all due to health really, new family, stress, giving up smoking, losing weight. I happened to relax on a holiday to Butlins about 4 years ago and did the first of these drawings while watching TV (first drawing was the bike giant).

Then it became a thing where I realized how much TV I was watching and decided to draw while watching TV so as not to feel I was wasting so much time. Then it became quite productive if a little compulsive."

Bike Giant by Henry Flint

Cy Dethan will be working closely with Henry to write the text and translate the transdimensional creation process behind these beauties for human readers. When he first got a look at the mindblowing pictures his comment was:

"a hallucinatory mix of the disarming and the disturbing."

And he is right. The use of shape alone is incredible and they truly look like they have sprung from a mind not of this world.

Henry says he is "under the (perhaps delusional) impression that they were happy and optimistic pictures." although other people have thought them "claustrophobic"

Here are a couple of my personal favourites to be going on with. There are so many examples of poignant simplicity, skin crawling horror, psychedelic complexity, gleeful monstrosity, frankensteinian creations and strangely ominous reflections of the world here it was almost impossible to restrict myself to these two, but needs must:

The Shape of Things That Hum
by Henry Flint

Butlins by Henry Flint

You'll soon be able to judge for yourselves as we hope to have some more previews at Bristol.

Blog Talk Radio will be running interviews with the teams from Fallen Heroes and Ragged Man in the near future - times and dates to be posted when I have them.

Until next week...