There’s been radio silence over the past two weeks for a very good reason as I’ve been mostly hibernating finishing off the Annual (except for some work at TIME). The Annual has already gone to the printers in Canada and I see a proof next week. So for the last time (for the time being, I promise :)) here is a rundown of the features in the Annual. We have some new stuff that wasn’t in place a couple of weeks ago:

20 Years of Hellblazer by Rob Cave;

Books about comic history you must read by Andrew Colman;

Alan Moore interview by Andrew Winter;

Heroes feature with Jeph Loeb, Bryan Fuller and Tim Sale by me;

30 Years of Judge Dredd by Matthew Badham;

Grendel 25th anniversary by me;

The Power List: 25 people of influence in comics and related fields by me and Andrew Grossberg;

300 DVD feature with Frank Miller, Zach Snyder, Gerard Butler and David Wenham by me;

Hellboy feature with Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, Scott Allie and Hellboy Animated‘s Tad Stones (including some pencils from Hellboy: Darkness Calls by Fegredo) by me;

Mike Carey feature by me;

Frank Miller on Sin City 2 and 300 by me;

Paul Cornell talking about Doctor Who, Wisdom and more by me;

London’s booming post-production industry by me;

Bongo Comics and Matt Groening interview by Pat McGreal;

Superhero opinion column by Peter Mann;
Stripwire featuring Roger Langridge, Frazer Irving, Sean Phillips, Daniel Goodbrey and more;

Graphic novels you probably haven’t read but should have by Andy Grossberg, Andrew Colman, me, Rob Cave, David Baillie and more;

What is Manga feature by Andrew Grossberg;

30 Days of Night movie feature by me

So, as you can see, it’s a pretty packed issue.

We have a panel at San Diego. At the moment it’s on Thursday 26th July at 4pm in Room 10. If it changes, I’ll keep everyone up to date…

So here is the final cover design plus a selection of interior pages…

Although I’ve been into the band for a number of years, I’ve only seen them live once – back in 2005 at a magnificent gig at the Scala in London’s King’s Cross. Howl had just come out and they blew the place away – a fantastic evening. I had picked Baby 81 up the week it came out and so had a few weeks to get accustomed to the songs on it. BRMC playing the night we got into New York just seemed too good an opportunity to pass up and with the only current London gig from the band in July on a Wednesday (one of the two nights I work fairly late at TIME), it made sense. So we made our way to the Webster Hall with me leaving my camera behind because I was warned it would have been confiscated. Annoyingly there were tens of people taking shots inside and we weren’t even searched so I could have got away with it. Webster Hall was a great venue and even though I’ve been to New York many times, I’ve never been to a gig in the city. The support were adequate (don’t remember their name) but the main act was electrifying. While not as impressive a live show as 2005’s in London, it was still an amazing night with songs from Baby 81 really coming to life in the live setting. They played every song I wanted them to, including stunning versions of ‘Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll’, ‘Love Burns’ and ‘Fault Line’. They played for about an hour and a half and then came on for an encore that ended on ‘Heart & Soul’, a great track from their second album Take Them On, On Your Own. A magnificent evening where I even decided to buy a T-shirt to commemorate it. Worth every penny of the ticket price. BRMC are the torch bearers of old- fashioned rock ‘n’ roll and here’s hoping that they continue to record and tour…

I told you I’d be getting to this stuff gradually. It was only the second time I’d been to Book Expo America (or BEA as it shall now be known to save on letters:)) and the first time was two years ago, also in New York. It’s an amazing show: if you chose to, you could fill several suitcases with free books and EVERY major publisher is set up there. I went for a couple of different reasons: firstly to meet up with a couple of comic publishers to discuss Studio Space, secondly to tell some people in the comic biz about the TRIPWIRE Annual and lastly, just to see what book publishers have got coming out (which was useful for generating new book ideas and to make sure that the ones I’m working on currently a) haven’t already come out or b) so far of the mark that I will never sell them). So it’s looking likely that we have agreed on a publisher for Studio Space. I shall tell everybody when I can talk about that publicly…
Reception to the Annual was uniformly positive with many publishers telling me that it was exactly what the market needs right now. Unfortunately the direct market numbers didn’t reflect that and so we’re hoping to pick up some decent reorders. We will however be carried in Barnes & Noble in the US which is very cool indeed…
So I got to catch up with Mark Chiarello at DC, which is always a pleasure, and got to hang out with Bill Baker and David Michael Beck (a great artist who is just about to start on a big mainstream comic book project) and John Lustig, of Last Kiss fame. The trip was fun but I could have done with it being a little bit longer. Next post will contain my thoughts on BRMC on Webster Hall but in the meantime here is a shot of opening afternoon at BEA at the Javits and some nice New York city photos…

I’ll be putting up a series of proper posts later today and over the weekend but here’s a small post because I’ve only just returned from New York and Book Expo (an amazing trip for lots of different reasons). I’ll be posting a brief review of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club gig I went to at Webster Hall in New York a week ago (no photos because I didn’t want to get my camera confiscated) and talking about all the things that happened during the trip. BRMC was an amazing gig…

More later…