Sunday, 26 August 2012

XIII: The Trial

A word of warning from the off. This is not a ‘New readers start here’ volume!
The Trial follows on almost immediately from the previous book, Three Silver Watches, but not quite in the direction I was expecting. Yes, I figured from the title, cover and from what had gone on before that there would be a trial and that the President of the USA would be involved in it somewhere. And I was right on all counts, but also very wrong.
This being XIII, it takes a preposterous idea and runs with it in such a way that the reader is happy to come along, even though they know just how insane it is! And this one more so that other volumes. Obviously I’ll not tell you what happens here, but trust me – it’s crazy.
And it’s not only the high concept idea, but the returning guest stars that will surprise the reader. Add to that a completely unexpected outcome for one character and you’ve got yourself some classic XIII action going on.
If you’ve been following the series, then this will be a treat. If you haven’t, chances are you’ll be struggling to keep up with what’s happening for a lot of it. And as always, I can’t wait to get to the next volume!
XIII The Trial is available from Cinebook.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Remission Impossible: Cancertown Returns as Volume 2 Pre-orders Open

Cancertown 2: Blasphemous Tumours
Writer: Cy Dethan
Pencils and Inks: Graeme Howard
Colours: Peter Mason
Letters: Nic Wilkinson
Original Designs: Stephen Downey
Publisher: Markosia
Released: November 2012

Sequel to the “Where the f*** did that come from?” indie hit, Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth, Cancertown 2: Blasphemous Tumours finds a dangerously ill Vince Morley tumbling between warring worlds as the barriers between his two realities cave in around him.

In May 2009, an unknown team unleashed their first creator-owned work, Cancertown, on an unsuspecting world. As the scrappy indie outsider flew off the stands at Bristol Con at its astounding launch weekend, comic book legend Bryan Talbot said:

“For a first graphic novel from a new creative team, Cancertown is remarkable... We’re seeing here the first outing of creators who will make their mark on the future comic industry.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you."

It seems the warnings weren't enough as the sickness has returned. November 2012 sees the launch of the sequel at the Thought Bubble Sequential Arts Festival in Leeds, and it's taken a turn for the darker.

The Cancer Cell has grown and mutated to include the talents of Graeme “Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague” Howard on pencils and amazing new discovery Peter Mason on colours.

With nightmarish intensity in both visuals and storytelling, this second volume of Cancertown hurls the reader head-first through the looking glass. The foundations are shaking, the old powers are falling and all the scores must be settled before the dust ever will.

Read a free 11-page preview:

Pre-order Offers:

Pre-order and Thought Bubble Launch Special Offers

£12 Cancertown 2 (prepaid, pre-order for posting or collection)
£15 Cancertown 2 (buy from the table at Thought Bubble Launch)
£20 Cancertown 1 and 2 (pre-order or from the table for posting or collection)

Everybody who pre-orders will be entered into a draw to win a framed original sketch of the Cancertown characters by Graeme Howard.

Every pre-order will also have a DVD containing the following:
·      Scripts for all 6 chapter
·      Script for a previously unseen Crosshair origin short story
·      Cover concepts
·      Full chapter in inks
·      Full chapter in colours
Postage: £2.50 UK, £4.00 Rest of World.

Payment must be received for pre-orders by 1st November 2012 to qualify for pre-order price, competition and extras DVD.

Normal cover price of book is £16.99 (180 pages, colour).

You can pay by cheque or Paypal.

Please visit or email for more details, to place your order or for payment information.

Should’ve known better than to trust an angry, blinded monster with a spaz-hand and a grudge.”

Six months after the events of Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth, Vince Morley is a dangerously sick man. Bugf**k is in a psychiatric hospital, sticky fingers picking through the darkest corners of the mind that brought Cancertown into existence. The crossing points between Morley’s two realities are wearing thin and all the rules are changing.

I got my hand bitten off trying to save the world’s biggest c**t from something worse than him. Don’t pretend you know anything about me.”

Within Cancertown, something new has appeared – a creature of horrific violence and limitless rage. The foundations are shaking and the old powers are falling, one by one. Papercut, deadliest of the Cancertown players, seeks out Morley to claim the favour he owes her – a favour that could cost him more than just his life.
We can no longer protect you. Cancertown 2: Blasphemous Tumours is coming...

Reviews of Cancertown 1: An Inconvenient Tooth
"I described it to someone asking me what it was about as a "rip-roaring mindf***".
John Freeman, Down the Tubes

"The book grabs you by the throat right from the start and drags you kicking and screaming into the vividly twisted world of Cancertown...what we have here is a well crafted, fantastical story that demonstrates what a comic book should be. I for one can't wait to read more tales from Cancertown."
The Sidekickcast

"Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth is one of those rare treasures in its originality, well written and beautifully drawn.
Cy Dethan has scripted an exceptional story. If you like horror stories mixed with detective novels you are going to love it."
Comic Shop Voice

" I bloody loved this graphic novel.

“It was a complex, dark and twisted fantasy with a heavy noir feel to it.Think Maltese Falcon crossed with Criminal Macabre and a dash of Alice in Wonderland, trippy as hell (God knows what sort of dreams I'm going to have tonight!)...Seriously though, pick this up as it’s one hell of a read."
Geek Syndicate

"The thought put into the story was exceptional, the heart between Bugf**k (not really her name) and her father was real and Vince's predicament is never far from his mind and he knows it. The twist behind the origins of the leaders of Cancertown wasn't something I was expecting. Essentially, Dethan put together a hell of a book."
Comics Related

"Cancertown leaps out of the page at you, grabs you by the jugular and doesn’t let you go. Simply put, it’s weird, disturbing and any number of other words that you’d associate with horror. It is also compelling and, in the tradition of the best horror comics, has just the right mix of action, adventure and mystery thrown in to keep you guessing."
SciFi Pulse

Harry Harrison

It was a very sad thing this morning to wake up to the news that sci-fi author Harry Harrison had died.
Harry had been ill for some time, but this does make his passing any less tragic.
I had been fortunate enough to have met Harry a few times, through our mutual friend Michael Carroll. This led to one of the most surreal and incredible moment of my life. We were all out for a meal together and I found myself in a conversation about writing with Mike and Harry. I can’t remember what I said, but it was some observation on ‘how I write’... and I remember harry nodding in agreement to whatever it was I had said. I remember that, in my head, I was screaming – stop it! You can’t agree with me! You’re Harry Harrison! You know more about writing that I will ever know!
Harry was a magnificent man – even in his old age he was still vital, intelligent, sharp and... alive in a way I don’t see in people of my age or even younger.
RIP, Harry, you will truly be missed.

Richmond A Clements

Monday, 13 August 2012

Doctor Who: Dark Horizons Novel and audiobook review

A Doctor Who story set in Scotland, written by a Scottish author? How could Hi-Ex! ignore this ? This was one book it really would have been remiss of us not to review.
And by some no doubt timey-wimey coincidence, a review copy of the audiobook version arrived round the same time as the novel, so I’ll be reviewing both of them here.
The story is set on the Isle of Lewis, as the Doctor arrives just in time (doesn’t he always?) to get involved in an adventure with the islanders, a boat load of Vikings and a third, mysterious alien force.
Author J.T. Colgan does a wonderful job in evoking the atmosphere of the island, with some brilliant descriptions that sometimes almost leave the reader shivering with the cold and damp she’s describing.
Colgan also presents us with a good cast of characters, all of which are well written. Her take on the Doctor in particular is very good, and she gives him some wonderful lines that are in turn funny or weighted with his many years of existence.
The plot is good, if not particularly original (I think the Earth must be positively littered with crashed alien spaceships by now!), but the aliens themselves are a nice idea.
But the book is not without its problems. There are a couple of occasions where mistakes seem to have slipped passed the editing process. At one point the Doctor appears to be speaking underwater, and on another runs into the water before deciding to roll up is trousers and do it again a couple of paragraphs later.
The contemporary characters also sometimes lapse into modern language and slang, which serves to pull the reader out of the story.
But the good parts are very good. The attitude of the Vikings towards the Doctor is just brilliant and was what I enjoyed most about the story. They see a mysterious stranger with a box in a strange colour they don’t have a word for (which is another lovely touch), who can do incredible things – what else could he be but a god? This to me, made sense they would think like this and was doubly enjoyable because the Doctor was so put out by it. He likes it when people admire the TARDIS, so receiving the opposite reaction makes for some great scenes.
The audio version is read by Neve McIntosh, who has appeared in the TV show a few times, most recently as Madam Vastra in A Good Man Goes to War. She does a very good job at bring the atmosphere in the book to life, help in no small part by her having a head start with the accents. It has all the excellent production values you would expect from and AudioGo release, and is definitely worth seeking out!


Script: John Wagner, Alan Grant
Art: Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson, Robin Smith
Price: £6.99
ISBN: 978-1-78108-040-5
Published: 13th September
Market: UK and Ireland

The crime is life. The sentence .... is DEATH!

2000 AD continues its run of Manga-size reprints of Judge Dredd classics with the stories of Dredd’s ultimate foes!

They are the four grotesque lawmen of the Apocalypse: the chilling Judge Fear, the devastating Judge Fire, the terrifying Judge Mortis and their leader - JUDGE DEATH! Twisted alien super-fiends from another dimension where all life has been declared a crime. After wiping out their own world, they plan to bring that murderous mission to Mega-City One!

Judge Dredd and his wise-cracking psychic partner, Judge Anderson, must do everything they can to stop the fearsome foursome bringing their brand of justice to the city!

Featuring some of the most iconic moments in the strip’s history, this volume includes the original Judge Death story, along with the sequels, Death Lives and The Dark Judges, and the Judge Anderson follow-up, Four Dark Judges.

With incredible artwork by Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson, and Robin Smith, the latest in 2000 AD’s line of Dredd stories in B-format is an all-time classic, a must-have that will appeal to old readers and those unfamiliar with the world of Mega-City One.

Assassin's Creed 3 - Official Animus Trailer

Because Assassin's Creed, that's why!