After six long years of hard graft Dead Girls – The Graphic Novel (that’s the collected set of eight comics, plus a few continuity pages, amounting to 208 pages) is ready to be launched. It’s the single biggest investment that The House of Murky Depths has ever made, and it’s make or break time. We need your support to make it happen. We’re starting the perks at Indiegogo with as little as £3 (a postcard of Jim Burns – that’s right, Jim Burn’s – cover) with the main perk – the graphic novel – being £32 (signed, of course, by Richard Calder and Leonardo M Giron), which will be mailed out well before the launch at the World Science Fiction Convention – Loncon 3 in August. There are lots of other great perks too, all available to see at the Indiegogo page. With a massive investment of £500 (for those with deep pockets, and a friend) you can enjoy an evening down London’s Brick Lane in an Indian restaurant with writer Richard Calder and publisher Terry Martin – that’s me, in case you didn’t realise. But there are lots of other great and affordable perks in between. At the time of writing this we’re a little shy of £400 with ten days to go. We need £5,000. Please contribute or simply pass on the link to all and sundry. The latter costs you nothing other than a little of your time but it might reach someone who appreciates a great story and stunning artwork (weighing in at an estimated 1 lb 6.2 oz (629 grams)! Thank you.
Sometimes you have to stretch yourself a little and what better way of giving you the incentive than to participate in a challenge for a worthy charity. When we heard that the Butterfly Hospice were organising a Big Bike Ride from Boston to Lincoln (a short 33-mile ride) I said to Liz, my wife, “Let’s cycle it on the tandem.”
She said, “Yes. Let’s do the return ride too.”
Now neither of us have ridden a bike for months (Liz for years) and the last time we rode the tandem we fell off after about two feet (if that). So, for us, it is a challenge. Our first preparation ride to acclimatise arses as much as anything else, not on the tandem just yet I hasten to add, went okay. A gentle 10.5 miles. We have to do that another five times, plus one more mile.
It is all for a good cause though so please sponsor us. You can do that here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/LizandTerry . Thank you in anticipation.
Richard Calder had been one of my loved authors from Interzone so when he offered Murky Depths a comic story of his own back in 2007 I jumped at the opportunity. Death And The Maiden, with artwork from Richard too, lasted three episodes in Murky Depths before we moved it to a serialised comic of its own, but then we became sidetracked, so the story never passed Episode V (Episodes IV and V are therefore very collectable comics).
There were two things that came together in Richard’s mind just then; the work of mangaka Leonardo M Giron in several comics in Murky Depths and the film script based on his cult novel Dead Girls that had been sitting unused. He contacted me: How about serialising a comic version of Dead Girls in Murky Depths, and how about using Leonardo as the artist? Leonardo’s work suited the story setting, while the story starts in a dystopian London it’s mainly set in the Far East, and therefore complimenting his pseudo manga style. Leonardo jumped at the chance and we’ve not looked back. The first episode of Dead Girls appeared in Murky Depths #9 in 2009 and ran for four issues as Act 1, with a cliffhanger in Murky Depths #12. Leonardo then recoloured Act 1 and, with additional material, The House of Murky Depths published a limited edition hardback, numbered and signed by Richard and Leonardo, with the intention of publishing further acts in a similar way. While the limited edition was a big success and sold out very quickly we realised a flaw in our planning and decided against issuing further acts as separate entities.
Murky Depths #16 featured the start of the next series of episodes of Dead Girls but it was decided that after five years of hard work that Murky Depths would have to cease publication – at least in the form it then took – and that we would start again with Dead Girls as an eight-comic series, featuring guest cover artists. While our schedule has slipped slightly Dead Girl #8 – Just Like Heaven, with cover artwork from Jim Burns, will be published in February 2014.
So now the sixty-four-dollar question. Will there be a trade graphic novel? Yes there will be, and the plans are to launch it at next Summer’s Loncon, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. We need to raise funds to do this though and while the KIckstarter route is a possibility we’d like to try to raise the money by customers simply paying the cover price to reserve a copy. If we went the Kickstarter route we’d have the pre-order option amongst the pledges and we’d likely offer an ‘upgrade’ pledge for those who had pre-ordered but decided they’d like to be a part of a pledge that offered extra.
Dead Girls – The Graphic Novel is going to happen regardless of pledges or pre-ordered funding but knowing that we have guaranteed sales makes our tickers a little less susceptible to stopping. So what’s the damage if you pre-order? Well, we expect the cover price to be £24.99 for the full-colour 208-page graphic novel. Higher than you might pay with the big boys like Marvel and DC but they’re printing a mighty sight more than we will be and they reap the rewards of ‘the more you print the less it costs per copy”. There will also be an admin charge of just over £1 and a p&p charge in the UK of about £3. Expect international prices outside of Europe to add about 50% to the overall cost. But all we want for now are pre-orders for the cover price plus admin charge of £26.09 (with your name and address, of course) PayPal’d to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you prefer, send a mail to the same address and we can sort out an electronic transfer rather than PayPal.
Oh yes. If you’ve subscribed to the eight-comic series or purchased all eight issues online we’ll offer you the trade paperback at half price. Yep, just £12.49.
Someone spammed me recently. Someone I’d only recently been in email contact with (for a sport I’m involved in). I complained that I get far too much spam already. His response was that I should get real ‘e-mail is the future.’ WTF! I’ve been emailing for over twenty years (having worked for a company at the forefront of computer technology) and have probably forgotten more about programming and protocols than he could even dream of discovering. The future? Pah!
But having been in at the birth of PCs (not even dos in those early days) I can’t claim to have kept up with new technology. I did that far better when I was working for someone else. Working for myself has meant time is precious and I’ve not allowed myself the luxury of keeping anywhere near up to date with what we can do with computers (from phones to servers).
I do miss that though and I do wish I had the time to develop the databases that I know could make the Murky Depths and Dead Girls websites (to name two) so much more user friendly. But we have to make do with what we can afford (that’s me typing away at my CSS, php and HTML oblivious to the interactive content that might bring in new customers and keep the current ones coming back).
But whatever can be done at websites, if no one knows about them and doesn’t visit them, they are a waste of electronic impulses.
Marketing, marketing, marketing. There’s no secret formula. Just luck.
And me? Luck’s never been a great companion.
With Murky Depths still in hiatus I’ve been able to get back to my own writing and have two short stories already accepted this year, which is pleasing, and another one guaranteed. I’ve been working an extra day at the school, where I teach art, which helps us keep our heads above water, although the extra day has been to work on projects around the school; murals and such like. Music had taken over a bit this year with our little trio, which we formed last September to complement the awesome Comedy Night that Donna Bond (nee Scott) helped to arrange for our village social club, testing the waters of local open mic nights and getting favourable responses. Not sure my guitar playing is improving though!
In The House of Murky Depths office things have been up and down. The ups being the publication of Matt Wallace’s The Failed Cities, the on-going Dead Girls 8-comic series, a reprint of my short story collection Probably Maybe Perhaps, and a couple of other projects that I’m not in a position to divulge yet. The downs? Well, one of them is an up really. My wife, Liz, has been looking after our granddaughter, Freya – and she’s a real gem (about nineteen months now); cheeky and charming – which means I’m constantly distracted, the office being just off the kitchen/diner. And I just can’t say no to her demands. Otherwise the downs have been a few disagreements with printers, and I was a bit hard on MPG Biddles’ staff recently not knowing that they were on the verge of collapse. So, actually, thanks for getting the books to me before the administrators came in!
Hopefully, now that the summer holidays are here, and my daughter, April, is no longer at college, I won’t have the distractions of Freya to stop me from catching up with all things Murky Depths. We’ll still see her but just not so often. Having said that, there’s lots of jobs around the house and garden that also need attending to and I took on the editorship of the local village newsletter last December which, because I have to do it properly, takes up about a week of my time each month, and playing bowls for a club that barely has enough members for one league let alone four means my evenings are all allocated in the week. Life!
I met – at least in a cyber way and later on Skype – Matt Wallace. In those days it was MySpace. Must have been circa 2005. I was impressed with his no-nonsense style, as much in non-fiction as his fiction, and eventually I took him into my confidence: I’m gonna publish a dark sci-fi anthology magazine mixing short stories with comics. It was Matt, in those early days, who gave me purpose and gave additional energy to my enthusiasm. His story The Dead Man and The Berserk that appeared in the promo Murky Depths #0 was exactly the type of short I was looking for and he rode Watcher editor to my Maven editorship to keep me on the crooked and broad (you’ll understand that if you’ve heard The Failed Cities monologues podcasts or picked up the Kindle edition). It was a dream ride. Although Matt eventually left the team his legacy remained in my mind with each issue and we never lost contact. I’ve never been one for podcasts, although I love listening to stories on the car radio – at home I always feel I have more important things to do – but I did follow the success of The Failed Cities. I knew it would be good, it’s Matt Wallace after all, and I wanted desperately to publish a solid hold-in-your-hand print edition of The Failed Cities. Matt was moving in circles that (I thought) negated me from having that chance, so I never put the proposition to him. It came as a bolt out of the blue therefore when Matt contacted me and said he wanted The House of Murky Depths to publish The Failed Cities as a limited edition hardback. I knew it would be good, like I said, it’s Matt, and I should have realised it would be very good, but this good! Thanks, Matt…
No, it’s not a graphic novel but if you order now you’ll also receive a free eight-page booklet featuring artwork from some of the artists that we used on Murky Depths. Such as Neil Roberts (2000AD covers), Kev Levell, Huy Truong, Neil Struthers, Donna Evans and Macabu. I commissioned them, with a free rein, to give us their interpretation of the eight main characters in the novel.
I’ve recently reserved my reviewing pen for the BSFA’s Vector magazine’s graphic novel and comics reviews column Picture This – yes, it’s also the title of a Blondie song (I guess you can see a link coming), so a little foray into literature.
I’ve met Sarah Pinborough (that’s the link) at several conventions but never read any of her books. I’ve heard good and bad things about her writing so I thought I’d make the effort to form my own opinion. So, free from spoilers, here’s what I thought of Sarah Pinborough’s The Dog Faced Gods trilogy.
The first book, A Matter of Blood, introduces us to a number of characters but Cass Jones is the main protagonist, a flawed London detective in a flawed world; ours but the double-dip recession is crippling the average family, jobs are hard to find and on top of that a more prevalent form of HIV is scaring the populace. Pinborough paints a bleak and depressing tomorrow (and I mean the day after this one as opposed to a far off future) that’ll make you appreciate your lot. Cass Jones is self-centred and job-focused, a copper willing to cut corners to resolve a case. Bribes are the norm in a police force decimated by budget cuts. It all starts to sound a little too real. And that’s one of the beauties of this and the following two books; you can’t deny the possibilities of what Pinborough conjures in her tale, and that makes the final revelation so much more powerful and, dare I say it, acceptable.
What starts out in the first book to be an almost straight detective mystery builds to something a whole lot more interesting. Sure, there are supernatural undertones to A Matter of Blood – Cass is forever seeing his dead brother – but these could all be purely psychological.
It’s difficult to cover the other books without giving away a consistently good plot that supplies enough twists and surprises to make you want to discover what makes Cass the person he is.
The trilogy does turn into something that’ll make you think, and being a sci-fi fan I’m inclined to say that at the end of the day that’s what The Dog Faced Gods trilogy is. Someone interested in other genres might disagree, and that’s another feather in the cap of this tale. It’s whatever you want it to be, and more.
I thoroughly recommend this trilogy to the top of your reading pile. It won’t be there long.