Sunday, January 28, 2007

One Hour Photo

Bit of a change, this week. Just to mix things up.

I'm still wondering where January has gone, given it's barely a few days off disappearing again for another year (already the onslaught of Valentines and Easter throw outs are upon us). My schedule has not particularly got heavier, but the number commitments have increased as have the complications. I've still yet to print out my slush pile fodder (AKA my novelette, Bad Blood), but I've managed to turn out a chapter a week of my newest and latest project while other bits and pieces tick tock along to clockwork routine. I went through a panic the last few days after not properly starting the breakdowns, dialogue and panels of my monthly script after plotting it, but somehow managed to turn it out in just under three days – a 22 pager usually tends to take me 2 weeks. I'm not entirely convinced this is a good thing; I guess I'll see when I edit it before deadline this week. Although one great thing that came from researching certain parts for the script was that I learned a couple curses in Hindi. Given how stodgy and 'official laden' my research has to be for the series on a whole, this was a nice break.

In other random news, my WiiChat columns have caught up so I'm no longer ahead of my publishing schedule, so the latest two can be read here: (http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/15599-castlevania-pro-evo-half-life-more-wii.html - about certain games' chances of being made for Wii) and here (http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/15150-newest-title-wiis-library-blame-game.html - a slightly controversial one of how Wii and videogames are easy targets for cynical ambulance chasers when they become popular).

Speaking of controversy, my previously published comic book review, Spider-Man: Reign #2 has brought with it some disagreement via a rather outspoken young man who deems myself and anyone who liked the comic book I reviewed "ignorant and stupid". So there's that and my polite reply back over there: http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/showthread.php?t=41222. Drama!

This week's artist spotlight has been postponed till next week, simply because this entry is now going to be very picture heavy, with snaps of my weekend away to Nottingham for a good friend's birthday. While we didn’t end up hitting a casino (probably for the best, given my heavy overdraft) it was a good night full of drinking, eating, more drinking, dirty jokes, more drinking, playing Wii and then more drinking. Oh, then passing out, waking up, playing more Wii and then… no more drinking. I'm pretty tired (that's "TIRED", not "hung-over"), so I'm done for now while I leave you with pics from the past 24 hours. Click on them to see a bigger version.











Till next week...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Slumber party at mine (come over at nine...)

I'm soooo tired.

It's been a manic week of work and personal things all over the place, and right now I've given myself enough time to write this entry with my feet up, when I really should be focusing on this month's comic series script. And this week's column. And the most recent novel project I'm on. And getting my novelette printed for sending. And paying my outstanding bills, writing more reviews, doing research blah blah blah blah blah.

It's not that things are bad, really. It's more a case of having so much to do that I'm not knowing which way is up. Normally my mind is so chaotic that if I'm not juggling ten things at once then I'm somewhat bored, but I think my brain is going through its regular maintenance period where even the merest of decisions suddenly becomes chaos inducing. Hopefully brain work properly soon cuz all work no play make Corey something something.

So what crazed missives do I have this week? Well given I'm half asleep as I type, my brain is surprisingly cogent enough to remember my original plans, which are unfolding before your very eyes.

Firstly, it's been impossible to avoid the Big Brother bullying/racism saga the past 7 days. A couple friends alerted me to the starting of it 2 weeks back, which at the time justified my position to continue not watching. The reason being is that last year both regular BB and Celebrity BB drove me to wall punching fury because of the racism and bullying of several contestants. I'm a fairly placid person, but after witnessing it during those moments I think I started frothing at the mouth. So the intention was to ignore CBB this year (especially when Jade Goody was announced to be taking part) so my blood pressure wouldn't shoot my blood through my skin and drive me into a seething rage.

What is it they say about Best Laid Plans.

Little did I know Goody's ignorance (spread by her two vile henchwomen) would reach globe spanning levels. So I watched, I raged, felt more outrage, more rage, slept, raged some more and then cheered when a modicum of justice was done and the British public did the right thing (although I cant help but be worried that 18% still voted to keep Jade in… such reasons are far too scary to comprehend). I'm still not watching CBB every night, as the two henchwomen left (despite their apparent realisation that they're not very popular and suffering immense career damage) are still capable of making me smash stuff, but I'll no doubt be watching eviction nights with curiosity. The Jade fallout has suddenly made a lot of people notice THAT REALLY LARGE ELEPHANT standing in the room, but I have enough head banging anger inside me without the cynicism of CBB making me even angrier.

Phew. Okay, back to nicer stuff. I've really been wanting to promote my collaborators seeing as they're the poor souls who have to draw the contents of my damaged mind via the scripts I send them. So they're deserving of some attention, which I'll try and do on a week by week basis, depending on if they have sites/easy examples of their work on tap. The first person who steps into the spotlight is Armando Mendoza, who's currently drawing horror short story, The Twilight Cleaner. Armando is insanely talented and it's a real privilege to work with him; I would imagine he'll end up being a big time pro soon enough and I'd love to work on a series with him one day. Here's an example of his work (hope you dont mind, Armando!):



His blog-gallery is over here (http://bocetario.blogspot.com/). I'll be previewing our collaboration in the coming months (as long as our editor is cool with it).

In my usual personal pimping, I've a couple features that have gone up lately, my weekly WiiChat column (http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/14857-wii-sports-godfather-hotel-dusk-more.html) and a review of Spider-Man: Reign #2 (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/showthread.php?t=41222) at ComiX-Fan.

I'm sure there was something else I was going to say, but it's gone. Ah well.

Next week?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Is a madman truly mad, if he knows he's mad?

Lots of random stuff as I try to catch up on various parts of my life after a manic last few days. At the moment I'm juggling several projects and two story samples which are almost ready to send off to their respective editors. Then I play the waiting game, as always, where I indulge a lovely game of Schrödinger's Cat with my future. Still, after doing it for so long, the only thing I'm not used to is the stakes getting ever higher. Interesting times ahead; and should I be here this time next year, typing something similar, then… well. Plus ca change…

- First up. My hopes and prayers go out to Emily (who's blog you can read
here http://pinkandsmiley.blogspot.com/) and her friends and family, who are waiting for her to come off her respirator after a double lung transplant. Wishing her all the best on her road to recovery.

- On a less serious note, this week's feature over at WiiChat has gone up and can be read
here: (http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/13525-taking-stock-wii-virtual-console-wish-list.html). If you've played, threatened me for or otherwise been cajoled by myself to engage my new Nintendo Wii in the past month, you may find your words quoted briefly in this article. A kinda follow-up feature will be in the next (already written) entry, as I'm pretty much a week ahead of myself in terms of the publishing schedule now. Still, the deadlines tick tock onwards.

- The David Beckham saga has annoyed me slightly, this week. If anything just from the sheer predictable hypocrisy of the Press. When England manager Steve McClaren dropped Becks from the squad last year, the media all congratulated on his "brave move" and that 'Sir David' was no longer relevant anyway, so it shouldn’t matter. His role at Real Madrid has become increasingly sporadic anyway, so most of the UK Press has written him off as a fading star who no longer commands the importance he once had. In short, tabloids deemed him superfluous.

So as soon as Beckham says 'sod off, I'm going to the USA to play where I'll be a little more appreciated', the English sports world throws ups its arms and declares him a money grabbing hound off for a quick and easy life. What? Did they not read the articles in their own sheets about how they wrote him off mere months ago? About how extraneous he is? How he's not wanted or needed anymore? If the man wants to leave one of the best football leagues in the world to play out the remaining years of his career in the States, so what? As so gleefully pointed out by the writers of the sports pages in 2006, he doesn’t command the respect he once did, so what's wrong with him seeking a large payout that will secure his family for a long time while playing in an easier league that's less likely to crock him with a career killing injury? What's wrong in turning to a country that actually appreciates him? After all, he's "not relevant" over here anymore, so why would he want to come back? The constant bitching and back-biting has been stupid. You can't constantly tell him one thing and then expect him to not think anything of it, whether you're the media, his manager or so on. So what if he wants to go to a place where they call football "soccer"? And as for not being relevant, well, him being on all the backpages for half a week says otherwise. Funny, that.

- Out of curiosity (and a mild sense of personal vanity, no doubt) I put my face in one of those online facial recognition programs recently, to see who I most look like in the wide world of Well Known People. What I got was this: it seems I resemble more female actresses and singers than anyone else (erm, sans facial hair, obviously). Whether this is a good or bad thing, I have no idea. The very few males that DID come up included an obscure Dutch politician and Johnny Depp, bizarrely enough. Freaking weird thing.

- After several weeks of being ill, I've now pretty much expelled the remains of my runny nose/cold/whatever. Only for it to be replaced by constant dreams of snakes and spiders in my bed. Given I'm going to bed at 3am these days, broken sleep is leaving me horribly restless. My mind is clearly not a safe place. But most of you will already know this.

- I've just finished watching the first half season NBC's Heroes (thanks Andrew and Jacs!) and am now promptly hooked. It takes a while to truly hit its stride, admittedly, showing prolonged flashes of promise along with slightly inconsistent nuances and a large ensemble cast that mimics Lost, complete with its slightly frustrating uneven pace. Lost works (just about) by keeping strict focus on one or two characters per episode via flashback, which keeps a tight spotlight of engagement for the audience to follow while relating and using the main –and very slowly moving- plotline as a carrot for cliff-hanger endings. Heroes throws anything from 4 to 7 characters at you at a time, some pursuing separate plots seemingly totally aside from the main, but rarely granting enough time to get a full or satisfying grasp on one, until the final few episodes where most of the threads come together. It makes for mildly testing moments where you're following a character who's far less likeable, but remains underdeveloped because only half or less of the episode is dedicated to them, when the rest is left for the other cast members.





If anything, it's a necessary evil given the harsh climate of TV these days where shows can be cancelled if they don’t get off to a quick enough start; so 'team based' series' have to throw as much into the pot as possible as not to be cancelled half way through. And it's worked; Heroes is a commercially and critically successful marriage of the Lost style format (stringing you along, large cast, killer cliff hangers) with the drama-led superheroics of something like Smallville, with some brilliant and memorable moments. I'm certainly on board and will happily tell anyone who will listen to watch it when it debuts here in the UK next month (Sci Fi channel and BBC2).





It's always funny when the superhero genre hits mainstream TV, as most people think superheroes = all comic books, which is a bit like saying Shakespeare = all theatre and War and Peace = all novels. Heroes uses all sorts of comic book devices -story titles as part of one of the opening scenes, location and caption (as audio) narration, framing some scenes as panels and so on- but separate from that, uses a lot of superhero genre conventions and archetypes as well. At the same time, something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel are more representative of what a typical superhero comic book is like when translated to TV without its roots showing. Had much of Buffy and Angel's mainstream audience been told they're following something with very strong comic book dynamics, it's a question whether or not it would have put them off.

Heroes is openly comic book to the point of awkwardness (some of its initial attempts at using some comic book devices don’t work as well as others) but wholly embraced by the mainstream all the same, which is refreshing. It doesn’t hide its mawkishness or 'geek' sensibilities and despite NBC's willingness to use dumb taglines ("save the cheerleader, save the world" really sounds bad enough when said by the narrator, let alone the characters) it maintains enough of a straight-faced sensibility and satirical winks to keep the tone even and engaging. And it's pretty damn visceral, too, which is likely to catch anyone off guard if they thought superhero stories are a largely bloodless affair. Most of the time they're anything but, especially since the 80s. It's no more a kid's show than Grand Theft Auto is a kid's game (that's to say: it's not), but there's still likely parents who will make that assumption simply based off erroneous perceptions of the genre and related medium.

There's lots on Heroes over at the official American site (http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/) - Hiro's blog and the comic book that fills in the gaps between episodes are especially well done. Given the show's popularity, expect British culture to be flooded with ads for it in the coming few weeks.


More ramblings next week.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sunday's child

Next update coming on Sunday, with a general move for them from Thursdays to the weekend from that point onwards.

I made the realisation that updating on Thursdays is often difficult -not to mention stupid- when I have a paying Thursday deadline every week, so I'm moving my entries to a more adaptable weekend frequency to ease the pressure on my poor skull during a typical deadline crunch. It'll also give me more time to think about what I'll write. Lots of stuff happening at the moment, and not much inclination to write about it for various reasons. Nothing bad (much), it's just a bit early to announce anything yet and it's difficult to keep up with the changing nature of things.

Anyway, this is fast turning into a proper entry, which defeats the whole point. Feel free to leave your mark here in the meantime.

See you in a couple.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stand by for Action

My first entry of 2007. And it's not really that big. In fact, it's an interim entry. Sorry. Not the start I had envisioned for the year, but it's a good sign that I'm still in work at least.

Firstly, I notice I neglected to link to the feature I mentioned in my last entry, which is my Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess article at WiiChat. So that's over here:
http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/11572-how-its-impossible-fair-twilight-princess.html

Sadly, most of the readers posting in it have spectacularly missed the point, but that's the nature of writing. A new feature should be up in a few days.

Amusingly, I've come to the realisation some of you stumbling across this blog may have just typed in search engine key words that randomly occur in my posts (this is a shamefully late realisation, I know, especially given I've been working within the interweb for 6 years, but hey). So, as a little aside 'test' (*cough*), I wish to say this:

Harry Potter, Britney Spears, Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean and Wii Wii Wii, all the way home.

(Sorry if you've been innocently dragged to this page through this experiment – I can only offer a cookie as compensation for any misdirection.)

Right, to the main part of the entry. As hinted to before, it's a run down of current projects, although this time it's ones that are either hanging for a publisher or in continual progress. So further along than the ideas stage, but either being pushed along or being shopped/going to be shopped at a later date/sitting in the completed draw.

You'll notice these don’t have synopsis with them, which is mostly due to the fact that they're further from publication and so I'm a little more secretive. That, and also things can change in the process of editing and publication.

Oh, and if you're an artist and want to partner me for any of the projects below, do contact me. An artist attached to a project makes it 50% more viable, so we'd be helping each other.


CURRENT LIMBO/IN-PROGRESS PROJECTS

TITLE: Primes
TYPE/MEDIUM: Novel
GENRE: Fantasy/swords and sorcery
CURRENT STATUS: 3/4 written, 60,000 words and counting.
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED:
Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien), the Discworld Novels (Terry Pratchett)
PREVIEWS: http://cbrotherson.blogspot.com/2006/09/primes-sample-1.html and http://cbrotherson.blogspot.com/2006/09/primes-sample-2.html
PUBLISH ETA: God knows. Its completion deadline has been shifting for the past few years…

TITLE: Primes Prelude: Bad Blood
TYPE/MEDIUM: Novelette
GENRE: Fantasy/swords and sorcery
CURRENT STATUS: Written and finished, 21,500 words
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien), the Discworld Novels (Terry Pratchett), the Waylander novels (David Gemmell)
PREVIEWS: http://cbrotherson.blogspot.com/2006/08/primes-bad-blood-sample.html
PUBLISH ETA: Hopefully 2008

TITLE: God is in the Details
TYPE/MEDIUM: Full 22 page comic book story
GENRE: Psychological thriller
CURRENT STATUS: Written, in need of an artist
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs
PREVIEWS: Maybe within the year
PUBLISH ETA: Late 2007 the earliest


TITLE: L'espirit descalier
TYPE/MEDIUM: Comic book short story
GENRE: Supernatural drama/thriller
CURRENT STATUS: Written, in need of an artist
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Death: The Time of Your Life (Neil Gaiman)
PREVIEWS: Hopefully in the next 7 months
PUBLISH ETA: Hopefully 2007


TITLE: Death of a Salesman
TYPE/MEDIUM: Comic book short story
GENRE: Horror/thriller
CURRENT STATUS: Written, sketches done by the aforementioned brilliant Armando Mendoza
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed with Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller) mixed with The Wonder Years. Strange, I know.
PREVIEWS: Sketches to come soon
PUBLISH ETA: Hopefully 2007


TITLE: Faceless
TYPE/MEDIUM: Webcomic series
GENRE: Action/thriller/horror
CURRENT STATUS: First issue written, series plotted
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: The Bourne Identity, Kill Bill, Oldboy
PREVIEWS: A long way off, I'm afraid!
PUBLISH ETA: Hopefully 2007


TITLE: Silly Games
TYPE/MEDIUM: Novel, but also potentially a comic book
GENRE: Drama
CURRENT STATUS: Writing and plotting
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Microserfs/JPod (Doug Coupland), American Beauty, Clerks, Chasing Amy, Trainspotting (Irvine Welsh), High Fidelity/Fever Pitch (Nick Hornby), the Adrian Mole books (Sue Townsend)
PREVIEWS: Bit too early for that
PUBLISH ETA: 2008-2009

It's a juggling act, but hopefully you'll see a couple of these this year. That, or I'll be doing this post again this time in 2008...