Tripwire Exhibition MAY 2013

The TRIPWIRE 21 book is at the printers and will be back with us around 9th May. We’re very proud of the way it’s looking. But we are celebrating TRIPWIRE’s anniversary in a few other ways as well. Firstly, we shall be having an exhibition of TRIPWIRE-related photos and images up at the gallery at Foyles on Charing Cross Road in London. Kicking off the morning of 16th May, it’s absolutely free and it will give you the opportunity to see a selection of our magazine covers, photographs and art at a bigger size than you would normally, so it’s a very exciting opportunity for us.
Secondly, also on 16th May is our TRIPWIRE 21 evening. Starting at 6.30pm, I am joined by Michael Moorcock (Elric, fantasy legend), Mike (Hellblazer, The Unwritten) Carey, Roger Langridge (Muppets, Snarked!), Peter Milligan (Hellblazer) and Christopher (Bryant & May, Roofworld) to talk about 21 years of TRIPWIRE and 21 years of comics. We’ll also be making copies of TRIPWIRE 21 in paperback and limited hardcover available to buy at the event and get signed. It’s going to be a great evening and tickets are still available from Foyles. Lastly, we’ll be at the Bristol Comic Expo from 11th to 12th May, with a table selling TRIPWIRE 21 paperbacks and hardcovers and a panel at 12noon. So May is going to be a crazy month for us but we are pleased at last that an anniversary book will be seeing the light of day. The paperback will also be solicited in the June Previews so that our colonial friends will be able to buy the book too…

Bristol Comic Expo
TRIPWIRE 21 evening
TRIPWIRE 21 exhibition


I’ve known Tim Pilcher for over two decades now. I first met him at the long-gone comic shop Comic Showcase in Covent Garden and he has worked for Vertigo when they had a London office. He also worked until recently for Ilex Press, a book packaging company in Lewes. So as he was kind enough to give the TRIPWIRE 21st anniversary book a plug, and he can’t take the rejection of another Britain’s Got Talent audition, he’s decided to launch his own kick-starter. He was there back when Vertigo was bringing creators of the calibre of Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan and Frank Quitely, at the heart of it. So he must have some great stories to tell but to find out what they are, you’ll have to pledge on the book, which goes live on 4th April. He has got supremely talented graphic designer and artist in his own right Rian Hughes, to put the whole thing together too. So here’s some info on the book including the all-important URL. I’ll be sticking my hand in my pocket and I think you should too…

A Cautionary Tale of Sex, Drugs & Comics
Tim Pilcher
Tim Pilcher’s shocking, revealing and completely unofficial memoir of DC Comics’ legendary London office, to celebrate Vertigo’s 20th anniversary.“…For a few glorious years only, before cost-cutting set in, there was Vertigo’s ‘British Office’ – the comics equivalent of the Loaded HQ in the ‘90s. Vodka, mushrooms, Es, sex, money, travel and the pure unleashed creativity of young people having a good time together.”—Grant Morrison, author of Supergods, All Star Superman, Batman Inc. and The Invisibles.
”Comics were undoubtedly in my blood from day one. I had ‘four colour funnies’ running through my veins before I’d even heard the expression. Cut me and I bled cyan, magenta, yellow and black. I inhaled the musty smell of old comics, as if they were perfume. I sweated Indian ink and I came in process white. It was my destiny to work in comics.”This is the candid, uncensored and utterly unofficial of story of DC Comic’s infamous Vertigo UK office, written by one who was the heart of the drug-fuelled, creative whirlwind. It’s the odyssey of one comic fan in pursuit of his dream job, becoming the first British member of the DC editorial staff, and learning the harsh realities of publishing life. Along the way he meets comics professionals and celebrities including Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Jamie Hewlett, Mark Millar, Garth Ennis, Philip Bond, Paul Gambaccini, Glyn Dillon, Jonathan Ross, The Spice Girls, Blur, Adam Ant, and many, many more.
 Revealing the crazy, halcyon days of the British comics publishing in the mid-Nineties, it blows the lid off the debauchery and excess that was part and parcel of the industry. When you reach such dizzy heights, there’s only one place to go.

“Comic book guru” and author Tim Pilcher said, “It was an incredibly exciting time to be in comics. We felt we could achieve anything at the Vertigo office, and things got a little crazy. This is the book I’ve been threatening to write for the past 20 years! I suspect the first people wanting to pick this up will be all the comics professionals, to see what I said about them. There should be some very worried writers, artists and editors out there!” 
The veteran of quarter of a century of working in comics continued, “I wanted to let the world know that the comics industry is not all geeky and nerdy. In fact it’s every bit as hedonistic as the music business. If Paul Gravett is ‘The Man at the Crossroads’, then I’m ‘The Man at the Centre of a 15-Car Pile-Up’”.

There are three versions of Comic Book Babylon 
“Comic book guru” and author Tim Pilcher said, “It was an incredibly exciting time to be in comics. We felt we could achieve anything at the Vertigo office, and things got a little crazy. This is the book I’ve been threatening to write for the past 20 years! I suspect the first people wanting to pick this up will be all the comics professionals, to see what I said about them. There should be some very worried writers, artists and editors out there!” .
There are three versions of Comic Book Babylon available: eBook (with additional images), paperback, and 200 limited edition hardbacks, with covers created by design genius and comic book artist Rian Hughes. “Rian’s out done himself,” said an impressed Pilcher, “The punky/acid house colours perfectly reflect the rave mood of the times in the book.” Hughes has also designed a limited edition print and three “Sex, Drugs and Comic Books” badges as incentives.

Comic Book Babylon: A Cautionary Tale of Sex, Drugs & Comics
Comic Book Babylon: A Cautionary Tale of Sex, Drugs Comics launches Kickstarter on Thursday 4 April, 2013 for just 30 days! See a preview of it here: Comic Book Babylon

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So I am back from New York Comic Con. I missed 2011 because I was moving and that made money a bit tight that year. What is scary is just how busy it has become since 2010 and the Saturday felt like San Diego Comic Con. It was still a great show and I did loads of interviews (mainly for Comic Heroes) and I managed to catch up with people like Andy Grossberg and Susie Lee, split a room with Bill Baker, hung out with Walter Simonson, Grant Morrison and had dinner with Mike Kaluta. I was going to do a show report here but the fact is that I didn’t get to see any of the panels and the main hall was too busy for me a lot of the time, so I either hid in Artists Alley or avoided the show (which I did do for much of Saturday). So here’s a selection of photos I took of some of the people I encountered or interviewed or saw, even from a distance. This may be a multipart post…


On Sunday I went to see Talking With Gods, a documentary about Grant Morrison that was showing at the ICA as part of Paul Gravett’s rolling Comica festival. Clocking in at 80 minutes, despite the portentous title, director Patrick Meaney has done a decent job of trying to encapsulate Morrison’s significant contribution to comics and related culture. Morrison has always come across as a far more likeable character than Alan Moore and this documentary does nothing to disabuse me of this opinion. Having met Morrison over the years (and he wrote a few columns for TRIPWIRE back in the 1990s), I did know quite a bit about him already. Having said that, the sections of the film where he talked about his father, who took him along to break into government facilities, were genuinely interesting as were segments with him talking about his teenage years and his time in bands. Obviously there is a decent amount of screen time with the man himself but Meaney has included brief chats with comic industry figures like Geoff Johns, Karen Berger, Frank Quitely, Jason Aaron, Warren Ellis and many more to try to give it all a little bit of context. There are strange omissions here: despite the fact that Zenith in 2000AD was probably what exposed him to a wider comic-reading audience, AD’s editor at the time isn’t included here and there is no Peter Milligan, a contemporary of Morrison’s. The inclusion of former Warrior editor Dez Skinn was a little bit strange here too as his connection to the writer is that Morrison wrote a Marvelman story that never saw the light of day and almost took over from Moore on the character. Despite the fact that Grant Morrison as weird, out-there, occasionally drugged-up maverick feels like a persona that he has created for himself, oddly there is something very down-to-earth about him that the viewer can’t help but like. The Q&A afterwards was a little bit pointless and rudderless: a Skype chat had been set up with the director and at the screening were Rian Hughes, Frazer Irving and Steve Cook. But Hughes hasn’t worked with Morrison for a number of years and Cook, a letterer, didn’t have much to contribute. Only Irving, who had finished a Batman run earlier this year, has worked with Morrison recently and so it felt a little bit redundant. It felt a little bit like it hadn’t really been thought through properly. The event would have worked better if it was just the director who was interviewed or if they couldn’t get him physically over, then there would have been no shame in just screening the documentary. However, Gravett’s intentions were obviously decent so I’m glad I went along. The documentary is worth seeing if you’re interested in Morrison or modern comics but hopefully he may be able to insert the missing figures into the documentary for DVD or a future release…


I got back from San Diego late last week but I am still horribly lagged. It was a very enjoyable 10 days and I even got to do some fun things too. I’m hoping that the regular visitors here haven’t all died of boredom and stopped visiting as it’s been almost a month since I last put up a new post. But July and the beginning of August have been very interesting indeed, passing by in the blink of the proverbial. So here’s half a dozen photos from San Diego for you (Bruce Timm, Frank Darabont, some bloke dressed as Death who was on the escalator opposite me, John (Bender) DiMaggio, who I gave a copy of TRIPWIRE to, Matt Groening and Grant Morrison. I’ll be putting up a proper post in the next few days…

Off to the States tomorrow (to LA and then San Francisco for Wonder Con). I’m doing my Tim Kring (Heroes) interview for TRIPWIRE Annual and Sci-Fi Now when I’m over there and possibly meeting up with Grant Morrison and then interviewing Jon Favreau at Wonder Con. I’ll post while I’m away but in the meantime, here is the latest mockup cover of the TRIPWIRE Annual
By the way, our Heroes oneshot is back on with the end of the writers’ strike, so expect to see that around February next year…