ARTFULLY DONE

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Over the last few years, IDW Publishing have created a unique niche with their Artist’s Edition series, showcasing the best in comics in a large format. Manhunter and Other Stories Artist’s Edition by Walter Simonson represents the classic series where Simonson, with writer and co-creator Archie Goodwin, made his name and got noticed by the comics industry. Despite the fact that it was published back in 1972 in the pages of Detective Comics, early on in Simonson’s career, it is still a magnificent story. Goodwin and Simonson channelled James Bond and brought Eastern weaponry and sensibilities to bear in a story that predates what Miller did in Daredevil by a number of years. And despite the fact that Simonson was an inexperienced artist at this point, it is still fantastic to admire every stroke of his linework at the larger format. And you can see a real development between the first chapter and the last, Gotterdammerung, which guest-starred Batman. By the time you read the silent postscript story here which was published years later, you can see just how accomplished and exceptional an artist Simonson has become. There’s not just Manhunter here also: it also reprints Captain Fear written by David Michelinie, Detective Comics 450 with Elliott Maggin, Doctor Fate by Martin Pasko and even Metal Men written by none other than Steve Gerber. Simonson is a true original and IDW with editor Scott Dunbier have created the ultimate celebration of Simonson’s DC work. For fans of Simonson, this is a must-buy book…

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TWO’S A CROWD (FUND)
So the Kickstarter campaign ended last Sunday (14th April) for the TRIPWIRE 21st anniversary book. Disappointingly, we only got as far as 75% towards our target, so like TRIPWIRE 20 at Unbound, we didn’t succeed in funding an anniversary book through crowd funding. Crowd funding is a very strange beast. I have come to realise that it only actually works if you’re a celebrity, a rock star or someone like Amanda Palmer, who have thousands of followers on Twitter. Unfortunately we are only a magazine with a fairly niche audience. But it doesn’t actually matter. We have secured distribution for TRIPWIRE 21 and it will be carried to the UK booktrade through Turnaround and the US book trade through SCB Art. It will also be available to comic shops through Diamond US and Diamond UK, listed in the June Previews. So we are looking at the Kickstarter as a two month PR campaign. We shall also be offering the limited hardcover at Forbidden Planet in London, at our table at the Bristol Comic Expo and hopefully at the Foyles event in London on 16th May. Also if people want the hardback, then I shall make it available to order directly from us. Running a crowdfunding campaign is very stressful (it is a real emotional rollercoaster as you go from seemingly getting really close to having the wind taken out of your sails) but without both the Unbound and the Kickstarter, this book wouldn’t have happened at all, which would have been a real shame. They gave me the impetus to gather material and commission new art and writing. The fact that we are putting on an event at Foyles on Charing Cross Road to commemorate this with Michael Moorcock, Peter Milligan, Mike Carey, Christopher Fowler and Roger Langridge is something I am very chuffed about. And we’ll even have a weeklong exhibition of TRIPWIRE 21st at Foyles in their Gallery, kicking off on 15th May. So we have hopefully the best thing we’ve ever put out, so the fact that the Kickstarter didn’t work is actually academic. When we have an item code for the book through Diamond US, I’ll be putting it up here. But in the meantime, to remind everyone about what’s in the book, here’s a selection of the art and the cover…

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TRIPWIRE: FROM 20 TO 21
For those of you who have been following the TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary crowd funding campaign on Unbound, you’ll notice that it’s come down from the site. When we approached Unbound earlier in the year, it was always going to be a gamble. There was no guarantee we were going to make our pledges and unfortunately it didn’t happen. The people at Unbound were very nice and they meant well but it just didn’t fit with the other books on the site. It didn’t help that it wasn’t known in the US, the place where a large proportion of the people who would have pledged on TRIPWIRE 20, are located. So you live and learn. So it’s off Unbound but in January, TRIPWIRE 21 will be going on the Kickstarter UK site. Kickstarter is a place chock full of comics stuff and I feel more confident that it will raise what it needs. The aim is to get it out for around May time next year so this gives us more time to put it together and make it the best print project we have ever produced. So keep your eyes peeled here, on the tripwire website (www.tripwire-magazine.com), my twitter and Facebook. In the meantime, here’s a few of the images we have gathered so far to include in the book: Frank Quitely, Walter Simonson, Dave Dorman, Phil Hale, Duncan Fegredo, Michael Kaluta, Joe Kubert, Howard Chaykin, Drew Struzan, Mike Mignola…









GO WEST YOUNG MAN 2008 PART TWO
So Saturday was a great day at the show. We rolled up at our table at the Commonwealth Museum and waited for the hordes to descend. After a slow start, the hall began filling up pretty rapidly and we made lots of sales on the first day. I had to leave the table to do two panels on Saturday, the first was with Dave Taylor and Walter Simonson and that was the Studio Space panel and the second was with Walter again but wife Louise was there too. I interviewed Walter and Weezie about their career(s) and we discussed Weezie’s time at Warren, their work on X-Factor and a few other things. The weather was still very very hot so we were like ants under a magnifying glass in the hall so it was nice to get out of there and go to the Ramada, where the talks took place, because it was air-conditioned. So Saturday night we skipped the Eagles and went to an Indian restaurant called Old India with my brother, Gary, Andy Colman, Dave Baillie, Chris Weston and a friend of his called Rich. It was pretty good but the service was very slow. We then walked back to the Ramada but didn’t have a late night as we were working at the show and it’s pretty exhausting behind a table. So here are some more photos for you: St Mary Redcliffe at night, by the canalside in Bristol, by Baldwin Bridge in Bristol, St Mary Redcliffe in the piercing blue sky and the fluffy clouds and the sculpture in front (I got a little obsessed with it as we stayed right next to it), Gary at the table, the turn-out for the Studio Space panel and Paul Rainey and friend…


STUDIO SPACE SIGNINGS
So with less than a week to go until Bristol, we have firmed up some signings for Studio Space both at Bristol and beyond. On our TRIPWIRE table at Bristol, we shall have Walter Simonson, Duncan Fegredo, Sean Phillips, Dave Gibbons and Dave Taylor signing at various points over the weekend, so please stop by and check what time they will be signing at. But it doesn’t end there: on Saturday 7th June at Forbidden Planet London on Shaftesbury Avenue, we have three top artists signing copies of the book: Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and Sean Phillips. Then the following Saturday, 14th June, we have a Waterstones talk and signing at Waterstones on 421 Oxford Street opposite Selfridges with Bryan Talbot and Steve Dillon. Then, so we don’t neglect our friends in the North, Saturday 28th June will see a Studio Space signing at Forbidden Planet Manchester with Dave Taylor and Steve Dillon and possibly one other artist. So the summer will be pretty packed. Before all that (except Bristol). Add San Diego to this where we’ll be set up on the Image booth and I expect I won’t get any sleep for the next three months…




FOUR YEARS IN THE MAKING
After four years (which is how long it’s taken since we first started hawking it around, doing the interviews, getting it picked up, dropped and picked up by another publisher) Studio Space goes to the printers this weekend. So myself and Gary can breathe a collective sigh of relief. What’s also exciting is the fact that we have a number of signings confirmed to support the book. The first one will be at Bristol in a month where we’ll have a limited amount of copies of the paperback, which visitors to the show can get signed by Walt Simonson, Duncan Fegredo, Sean Phillips, Dave Gibbons, Bryan Talbot and Dave Taylor. Bristol from 10th to 11th May will be the first place anywhere in the world that you will be able to buy the book. So here are a few more pages from a couple of the chapters…