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.
Archive for the Dead Girls Category
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 email@example.com. 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!
The House of Murky Depths has supported Bristolcon since it started, and the first year there was virtually just Murky Depths in the dealer/panel room, so unusually I was at all the panels and talks. A bonus. There was I believe around 60 people at that event. This year it was nearer 250; I sign of Bristolcon’s success, and I think one of the reasons is that it runs for just the one day and therefore makes it possible for people living within a few hours journey to avoid the problems and added cost of staying in a hotel – though missing some of the evening entertainment. A reason why I liked Thought Bubble in Leeds which has now gone to a two-day event. Great for visitors, not so good for dealers.
For me it’s a chance to visit my son, so the stay-over at his amazing new pad was worth the visit and a few bevies catching up on his achievements and plans is always enjoyable. Aside from that it’s good to meet old con friends for a drink in the Ramada bar, and leaning on it and sharing whiskey tasting with Jim Burns was the Friday night highlight after some quick catch-ups with Robert Harkess and Kim and Del Lakin-Smith. This year I set up the dealer tables on the Friday night so it was a casual ten-minute stroll in the morning for a Colosseum (just around the corner from the Ramada) breakfast – something I always look forward to, though this year the two pissed young ladies with wine and lager alongside their platefuls made me feel a little queasy.
The dealer room at Bristolcon has never been huge but spills out into the corridors, and I sometimes think the corridor might be a better place. At least everyone passes you, whereas some people never visit the dealer room itself. This year Murky Depths was at 90 degrees to Forbidden Planet, who invariable have the best spot – directly facing the entrance – with Danie Ware promoting her new novel Ecko Rising amongst other best-selling book.
From a dealers point of view, well mine anyway, Bristolcon has never been a viable proposition. I rarely sell enough to cover travelling costs let alone anything else. Initially I’d made the excuse it was a promotional exercise but, now that Murky Depths is no longer published, plugging the publishing houses, that’s The House of Murky Depths and the new YA imprint Murkee, and new titles alone doesn’t seem to excite me so much.
Despite being unable to visit the panels and reading – I’ve always been there on my own – I know it’s a good con from the attitudes of the people who speak to me at the table, or maybe my ukulele playing just makes them smile! There were several con virgins who seemed to be having a good time and I’d suggest Bristolcon for anyone unblooded at a con. It’ll give you the right vibes.
It’s a hugely well-organised con. And how many cons have you been to where tea and coffee is available all day for free! I hope everyone who picked up a goody bag on the Saturday were pleased with their free copy of Murky Depths and a big thank you to everyone who purchased a signed copy of my new short story collection Probably Maybe Perhaps.
Will The House of Murky Depths be at next year’s Bristolcon? We’ll have to wait and see what next year brings. Cons are beginning to be a liability as far as finances are concerned – maybe they always have been – although some are still a good earner. There will always be traders willing to take up tables so organisers rarely feel any obligation to dealers who have supported them from the off (Bristolcon’s an exception there too), but if more organisers don’t help us out with deals then you won’t be seeing The House of Murky Depths at so many cons in future. Shame, but that’s the way it is.
If you’re a fan of Richard Calder’s Dead trilogy or have been following the reimagined graphic novel adaptation of Dead Girls in Murky Depths you’ll be chomping at the bit to get your hands on the first of an eight comic series. Each comic is twenty-four full colour pages, without the big boys eight to ten pages of annoying adverts, with a guest artist for each cover – one issue actually rolls onto the inside back cover for a twenty-five page issue.
There’s a Dead Girls website too where you can catch up with the latest news – we’re still twisting arms on the Dead Girls #5 cover – buy the latest issue or subscribe to the series and save a few quid.
We’re also running a promotion to win a free copy of Dead Girls #1. Go to Contact form at the Dead Girls website and type Give me #1 in the Message. We’ll then randomly pick one name from each ten people who have sent the message and will post them a free copy of Dead Girls #1!
Back from SFX Weekender 2 feeling very tired and in need of a new pair of feet – they ache as much now as when I ran my first marathon. My fault, as I don’t like to sit behind the table – I think it’s rude when you’re talking to a customer, unless you’re doing a signing, of course.
This two-day event eclipsed any other convention by way of sales for us, selling more copies of Murky Depths than even the four-day Eastercon last year, and the new Dead Girls, Act 1 graphic novel was very well received and also sold well. . . and people loved the Iggy and Primavera T-shirts.
One lovely lady took out a subscription on the Friday starting with our latest issue, then came back on the Saturday and bought back issues. And several other people came back on the Saturday to buy more issues once they’d looked at their Friday purchase.
This is not your usual convention. It’s very theatrical. It’s more of an Event (capital letter intended) and attracts people who would not normally go to a traditional con – and that’s one of the nice things about it. You’re not in your room very much so the fact it’s Pontin’s accommodation shouldn’t bother most people.
And while we’re talking of Murky Depths, we had record sales in January. Woohoo!