RADIO SILENCE
I realise that it’s been over ten days since I last posted anything. That’s because I’ve basically been hibernating in order to get the TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 done. Well, as I write this, I have 5 pages out of 156 left to design so I’m so close to finishing. I’ll be putting up some page designs in the next couple of days especially as we found out Diamond US isn’t going to be carrying us (we fell short of their benchmark) so we’re trying to encourage US retailers to pick stock up from us directly at San Diego in about a month. In the meantime, here is the front cover (about 95% of the way there). Enjoy…

TRIPWIRE NEWS
So we’ve officially circulated news about the TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 and the Adventure Special, which we have put back to December. Here is our press release that covers both subjects:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TRIPWIRE NABS GUILLERMO DEL TORO STRAIN INTERVIEW
(London, May 30th 2009)
TRIPWIRE is proud to announce they have added exciting new features to their already jam-packed 2009 Annual. The magazine has landed an exclusive interview with award-winning genre master Guillermo Del Toro discussing his new novel The Strain as well as a few tidbits on Hellboy 3 and upcoming movie projects. Additionally, the magazine has attained an in-depth first look at Moon, the eagerly-awaited low budget British sci-fi movie starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones.

“The addition of these two top notch features compliments what already promises to be the best Annual we’ve released to date,” said Tripwire’s Editor-in-chief Joel Meadows. “We’ve got such a big issue already. With our cover feature looking in-depth at Marvel Comics and its 70th anniversary, or the Alien 30th birthday retrospective later on, the Bongo Comics interview with Bill Morrison who’s always entertaining, or even the Stripwire section with over 20 pages of original comics –it’s just a real pleasure to be publishing this quality material. Adding these two new features strengthens the magazine further.”
On the topic of making a better magazine, Tripwire has performed a little reorganizing at the printer as well. Originally the magazine’s 2009 publishing schedule included an Adventure Special for June, a Horror Special for Halloween and a Science Fiction Special for December. Instead the editors have taken some of the more timely content from the Adventure and Science Fiction Specials and folded it into the 2009 Tripwire Annual, making it bigger and better than they’d announced at solicitation. “We’re committed to releasing the best magazine we can,” offered Meadows, “and sometimes this means making adjustments on the fly.” Features now included in the 2009 Annual are an exclusive Joe Kubert interview, a profile on publishers Flesk Publications with sidebars about artists Gary Gianni and Mark Schultz, a feature on 80 years of Tintin and a look at Dark Horse’s Solomon Kane and other Robert E. Howard properties. 

”Our first focus is on the Annual, and making it as exceptional as its two predecessors. When we saw several articles from the June Adventure Special and the 2009 Annual beginning to converge, we knew we had to sacrifice the one to make the other even better,” Meadows revealed. While the Annual has gotten larger than promised with the addition of the extra content, Tripwire still plans to do an Adventure Special later this year. “We’re looking at releasing an improved line up for the Special around Christmas with a big Conan cover and features inside that cover everything from Howard’s characters to a resurgence in the popularity of the pulps and many of the upcoming adventure movies and television shows for the next year or two.” And the Science Fiction Special? “First Quarter of 2010, maybe,” said Meadows with a laugh. “We’re still planning Fantasy and Crime Specials for 2010 and now the schedule is tightened. There’s so much we want to print, sometimes we have to make some painful choices.”

TRIPWIRE publisher and Editor-in-Chief Joel Meadows can be reached for comment at: joelmeadows@btinternet.com or 01144 208 959 4192
TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 is still available for preorder from Diamond Comic Distributors, 164 pages full colour, $15.95 US, item code MAY091149

A CRAZY WEEK
The problem with being a freelancer is that you go from sitting twiddling your thumbs to not knowing how you’re going to fit everything in. This past week, I have landed a couple of new writing gigs, while trying to get closer to finishing TRIPWIRE Annual. The Adventure Special is now coming out in December because we thought it would be too tight if we published it so close to the Annual and the Annual would suffer. But we are folding in some of what was in the original version of the Adventure Special, so that the Annual now contains the Joe Kubert Tor feature, a profile of Flesk Publications and our history of Tintin. The Annual is still available to order and with our exclusive Guillermo Del Toro interview and a first-look at the sleeper hit of the year, low budget British sci-fi movie Moon, everyone should order a copy. Item code is MAY091149…
I went to the Saturday of Londonexpo on 23rd May, which was held as ever at Excel in Docklands. The selection of comic people was greater than it has been and even Warren Ellis was there, looking like he was auditioning for Mad Max IV. The only film thing I did was an interview with Duncan Jones and effects guy Gavin Rothery about Moon which went very well. So here’s a few pics from that…

Last Sunday I walked from Hammersmith to Kew to write my sample chapter for the river and canals book and the weather was fantastic: sunny and felt like that it was mid-summer. Here’s a few photos from my walk…

RADIO SILENCE
As I write this, I am about to leave LA to go home to Blighty. It’s been an amazing trip and I’ve met lots of interesting people and even got to go to Duarte to see Andy and Susie yesterday. Where I’ve been staying has had no wireless which is why I haven’t posted any photos. It’s looking like there might be a couple of book projects thanks to this trip. I’ll put a proper post up when I’m more compos mentos at home but this was just to tell everyone I’m still alive. Bryan Fuller was a really nice guy as was Mark Verheiden, who told me he heard about the Power List and his place on it from a review Steven Grant had done of the Annual at the end of September on his column. I wouldn’t have even known he’d reviewed it unless Verheiden told me. Here is that very review…

TRIPWIRE ANNUAL 2008 ed. Joel Meadows ($14.95)
Back again for another year, TRIPWIRE is, aside from an indicia page desperately in need of graphic design, slicker, richer and more focused on general pop culture than ever. DR. WHO and SUPERMAN are the twin cores of this issue, but there are also good articles on PRIMEVAL (currently my favorite sci-fi show), the FUTURAMA movies, HEROES, and the Brit sequel to LIFE ON MARS as well as a good interview with the enormously influential sci-fantasy author Michael Moorcock, a perceptive piece on how 1968 Marvel changed the course of comics art, lots of comics and comics reviews, and even humorous silly features like the Comics Power List 2008. (No offense, but Tom Spurgeon? And citing Gilbert Shelton, whom I’d love to say is a power in the business but, because WEEDS is successful on Showtime? My friend Mark Verheiden, who’s a great guy and a terrific writer and everything but, as a bigger power in the business than Frank Miller, Dan Didio or Joe Quesada? Really? Who’s smoking what here?) Considering the ground they cover, the intelligence of the writing, and the professionalism of the design (mostly), TRIPWIRE might be the best franchise culture magazine going today. Too bad it’s only an annual.



STUDIO SPACE AND TRIPWIRE ANNUAL STILL AVAILABLE
If you scroll to the bottom of this blog, you’ll see a series of Paypal buttons which allow you to pick up Studio Space in paperback and hardcover and the TRIPWIRE Annual. Where else could you get Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, Mike Mignola, Brian Bolland and more in one place (or two places?) So if you missed either or both, here’s your chance to rectify that…

TRIPPING THROUGH THE ANNUAL WITH RICHARD BRUTON

After last week’s review of the TRIPWIRE Annual on Down The Tubes, Richard Bruton has been kind enough to review it on the FPI Blog. Check it out here: http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/?p=9420.
Preparation for the Superheroes Special is proceeding apace but it looks like the Whedon interview might not be happening. He’s battling with Dollhouse at the moment so it might be difficult to get it in. But it should still be a very nice package. 












SAN DIEGO 2008 ROUNDUP PART ONE
So here’s the first part of my San Diego Comic Con report. After we spent the first half of Wednesday going around the Midway and the ships in the harbour, myself and Gary separated and arranged to meet up that afternoon to drag the copies of the Annual to the convention center. It had wiped out horrible memories of our TRIPWIRE table at San Diego back in 2003 and so we brought the copies of the Annual into the hall to our half-table located in the Image area but we were to have a small shock on getting to the table. Apparently the copies of Studio Space for the show hadn’t arrived from Diamond and weren’t likely to get there until Friday. So here we were on Preview Night of the show with no paperback or hardback copies of the book. But luckily I had brought ten copies of it in my bags just in case (and we had copies of the Annual to sell too), so I walked back to the Embassy Suites and grabbed the handful of copies of the book that I had with me. Wednesday was reasonably brisk and we did decent sales. I’m going to put up my report on the first proper day in the next post but here are a selection of photos including the traffic on Harbor Drive at the end of one of the days at the show, the view from Gary’s room at the Hyatt looking down at the traffic, the Studio Space panel from Friday with Bryan Talbot, Tommy Lee Edwards and Howard Chaykin and a few selected images including Frazer Irving trying to cheer me up…


SAN DIEGO BOUND
This is the last post before I get crushed on the plane on my way to San Diego and the madness of Comic-Con. We shall be located on the Image Comics booth, 2729, where we’ll be selling hot-off- the-press copies of TRIPWIRE Annual 2008, Studio Space paperbacks and hardcovers. There are also two panels taking place: firstly Thursday 24th July in Room 3 from 10.30 to 11.30 am is the TRIPWIRE Annual panel with me, Andy Grossberg, Pat McGreal, Jamie McKelvie and Kody Chamberlain where we’ll be discussing the Annual and the future of genre. Then on Friday 25th July in Room 3 from 11am until 12noon, the Studio Space panel will consist of Howard Chaykin, Tommy Lee Edwards and Bryan Talbot with me asking the questions. Also, Bradstreet, Lee Edwards and Talbot will be signing on the Image signing area from 10am to 11am on Saturday 26th July. So me and Gary will be on the table for the whole show and Jeff Carlisle, who drew our magnificent Doctor Who interior piece, will also be around for some of the show. So please feel free to pop by…


A FINAL TRIP THROUGH THE WIRES
Amazingly I have finished the TRIPWIRE Annual and the pages go to Andy Grossberg for subbing over the weekend. I’m really chuffed with the way they look and so I thought I’d give everyone a sneek peek. I’ll put up another post with some designs in the next couple of days…
I also wanted to say that I’ve been thinking a lot about Andy Grossberg because he lost his dad this week.