Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Weatherman - Special Wraparound Cover Revealed


SPECIAL WRAPAROUND COVER OF THE WEATHERMAN REVEALED

PORTLAND, OR, 06/21/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to reveal a special, breathtaking wraparound cover for THE WEATHERMAN #2 by Jody LeHeup (SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER) and Nathan Fox (DMZ, HAUNT, Dark Reign: Zodiac). This limited cover will feature artwork by Fox and will hit select stores this July.

THE WEATHERMAN follows Nathan Bright—a man who had it all: an awesome girlfriend, a kickass dog, and a job as the number one weatherman on terraformed Mars. But when he’s accused of carrying out the worst terrorist attack in human history—an event that wiped out nearly the entire population of Earth—Nathan becomes the most wanted man alive and a target of a manhunt that spans the galaxy. But is Nathan truly responsible for such a horrific crime? And why can’t he remember?

THE WEATHERMAN #2 Cover A (Diamond Code MAY180284), THE WEATHERMAN #2 Cover B (Diamond Code MAY180285), and THE WEATHERMAN #2 Cover C (Limited, Diamond Code MAY188886) wraparound cover will be available on Wednesday, July 18th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, June 25th.

[click to embiggen]

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Interview with Jonathan French, author of The Grey Bastards - And 2 Reviews


Please welcome Jonathan French to The Qwillery, as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Grey Bastards was published on June 19th by Crown.







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Jonathan:  Let's see...It was a fantasy story I wrote in 4th grade. I was living in England at the time and my teacher, Ms. Carlsen, was an amazing Dutch woman that read The Hobbit to her class every year as a tradition. I'd already read it, but I loved hearing her read it aloud because she had such love for the story. She encouraged me to read The Lord of the Rings, to draw scenes from the book, and to write my own fiction. I ended up writing this multi-chapter short story that was more akin to Dragonlance and the Golden Axe video game than to Tolkien. But she was still unbelievably supportive to the point that she had me read it aloud to the class, which was simultaneously awkward and exhilarating.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Jonathan:  I'm a hybrid who leans heavily to the pantsing side.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jonathan:  Consistency. I don't defend my writing time very well. My son is 5 and the stuff he is doing is just so much more fun than staring at a screen and thumping at keys. I also hate trying to describe architecture. And physics.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Jonathan:  Living abroad as a kid was a major influence. I was this 9-year-old from Tennessee that had recently discovered Dungeons & Dragons and comic books, and the next thing I know I'm living in a place where medieval castles and cathedrals can be visited after school. And it all compounded from there. The interests spread to military history, weapons/warfare, wargaming, art history, all while beginning to absorb book after book: Middle-earth, Prydain, Discworld, Redwall, Conan. Those trends have continued almost uninterrupted as I've gotten older, but have also been supplemented by new pursuits like fatherhood and an interest in wilderness survival.



TQDescribe The Grey Bastards in 140 characters or less.

Jonathan:  #TheGreyBastards is a raucous tale of half-orcs riding huge war pigs. It’s been hailed as one of the filthiest books ever written. It’s now available!



TQTell us something about The Grey Bastards that is not found in the book description.

Jonathan:  Halflings in this world live underground, but instead of nice cozy hobbit-holes, they dwell in the ancient tomb of a fallen human god, sending out pilgrims to endlessly search the world for every last relic of the deity's time as a mortal warlord.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Grey Bastards? What appeals to you about writing Epic Fantasy?

Jonathan:  My wife was the one that insisted I write the story as a novel. Originally, the story was a half-formed idea for a Dungeons & Dragons game. I had painted a bunch of cool half-orc models that I wanted to use for my next game and I always like to provide my players with an element that firmly connects their characters out of the gate. Sons of Anarchy gave me the notion of a mounted gang, so I figured on having that gang be “half-orcs only.” My wife suggested I use hogs instead of horses, though I was concerned it was a little too obvious. She also said, “Forget the game. Write the fucking book.” That pretty much set the tone for the entire thing!

Far as Epic Fantasy goes, it’s always called to me as a reader and I write what I want to read. The possibilities are endless and, for me, it only gets better when married to elements from our own world history. Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age as an alternate version of our own past, Tolkien's use of Anglo-Saxon folklore, even the original Old World of Warhammer, I find all of that to be such a wonderful gateway into learning about real world events. I would love for The Grey Bastards to spark some young reader's interest in medieval Spain. So many people find history to be dull, but fantasy can be the sugar that helps the medicine go down.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Grey Bastards?

Jonathan:  I did a massive amount of reading about Reconquista-era Spain. S.S. Wyatt's translation of Daily Life in Portugal in the Middle Ages by A. H. de Oliveira Marques was invaluable. I also had to do a fair amount of internet research about different species of swine in order to make the riding hogs believable.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Grey Bastards.

Jonathan:  The cover was designed by artist and photographer Larry Rostant, along with Little, Brown Book Group creative director Duncan Spilling. It depicts the POV protagonist, Jackal; a young, cunning half-orc rider and member of the Grey Bastards.



TQIn The Grey Bastards who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jonathan:  Oats was probably the easiest. Mostly because he never gave me any problems. I always knew what he was going to say and how he was going to react. Plus, he’s both overestimated and underestimated at the same time; he’s pretty vulnerable despite his size and strength, and also far from stupid despite initial appearances. My inspiration for him was a mix of Jayne Cobb (from my favorite TV show Firefly) and the late, great MMA fighter Kimbo Slice, so I had a solid foundation to work with when writing him.

The most difficult to write was definitely Starling. I knew having a female character that was seemingly helpless through most of the book would cause trouble for some readers. But I was (and still am) playing a rather long game with her, so I kept the course despite second-guessing it on many, MANY occasions.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Grey Bastards?

Jonathan:  It was never a conscious choice. I didn't have that moment where I thought: "I'm going to address X issue!" However, I don't see how they can be avoided in a believable world. They exist, period. Bigotry, racism, and sexism are certainly a part of real life, and I could not avoid their inclusion in a book about mixed-race characters living in a male-dominated society. As a pantser, the issues came to the page organically, so I was forced to face them down. Or rather, the characters were. I tried to keep my opinions out of it and not preach or come down on any side. The characters are flawed, but they are also products of their experiences and there were opportunities that allowed them to evolve. This shit is complicated and messy in real life, so I hope that's what came to the page.



TQWhich question about The Grey Bastards do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Jonathan:  The question would be: Do you ever dream about The Grey Bastards being adapted into a tabletop wargame? And the answer is: Yes! Everyone raves about A Song of Ice & Fire getting an HBO show, but I think GRR Martin's real victory was getting a miniatures wargame. I daydream all the time about a gorgeous line of models: half-orc hog-riders, centaur marauders, orc raiders, noble and low-born cavaleros, Unyar scouts. I write up army lists for each of the hoofs and mull over a rules set for a game focused on mounted combat.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Grey Bastards.

Jonathan:  Oh, these are always tricky because my memory is awful! Here goes:

1) Jackal likened religion to madness. He had heard that in the north, in the great cities of Hispartha, there were more temples than well-fed children, that a hundred faceless gods received the wealth of the nobles and the fearful pleas of the peasants. He found that difficult to imagine, but Delia, Ignacio, and others had assured him it was true. Thankfully, such belief was all but unknown in Ul-wundulas. Perhaps the badlands were gods-forsaken, but Jackal preferred to think that the Lots were home to those who had no need of invisible old men, dog-headed demons, and sour-faced crones. Here, faith was better placed in a strong mount, a loaded stockbow, and a few solid companions.

and

2) Roundth was standing in his stirrups, balanced perfectly, and windmilling his exposed cock around in one hand as he passed. The damn thing was as thick as a floppy tankard.



TQWhat's next?

Jonathan:  The sequel is next! More Bastards are coming in March 2019. Sex! Violence! Vulgarity! Half-orc! Hogs! For those that wish to return to The Lots, it'll be a fun ride!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jonathan:  Are you kidding? It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me!





The Grey Bastards
The Lot Lands 1
Crown, June 19, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

“A dirty, blood-soaked gem of a novel [that reads] like Mad Max set in Tolkien’s Middle Earth. A fantasy masterwork.”Kirkus Reviews (starred)


Live in the saddle.

Die on the hog.

Call them outcasts, call them savages—they’ve been called worse, by their own mothers—but Jackal is proud to be a Grey Bastard.

He and his fellow half-orcs patrol the barren wastes of the Lot Lands, spilling their own damned blood to keep civilized folk safe. A rabble of hard-talking, hog-riding, whore-mongering brawlers they may be, but the Bastards are Jackal’s sworn brothers, fighting at his side in a land where there’s no room for softness.

And once Jackal’s in charge—as soon as he can unseat the Bastards’ tyrannical, seemingly unkillable founder—there’s a few things they’ll do different. Better.

Or at least, that’s the plan. Until the fallout from a deadly showdown makes Jackal start investigating the Lot Lands for himself. Soon, he’s wondering if his feelings have blinded him to ugly truths about this world, and the Bastards’ place in it.

In a quest for answers that takes him from decaying dungeons to the frontlines of an ancient feud, Jackal finds himself battling invading orcs, rampaging centaurs, and grubby human conspiracies alike—along with a host of dark magics so terrifying they’d give even the heartiest Bastard pause.

Finally, Jackal must ride to confront a threat that’s lain in wait for generations, even as he wonders whether the Bastards can—or should–survive.

Delivered with a generous wink to Sons of Anarchy, featuring sneaky-smart worldbuilding and gobs of fearsomely foul-mouthed charm, The Grey Bastards is a grimy, pulpy, masterpiece—and a raunchy, swaggering, cunningly clever adventure that’s like nothing you’ve read before.





About Jonathan
Photo by Casey Gardner
JONATHAN FRENCH lives in Atlanta with his wife and son. He is a devoted reader of comic books, an expert thrower of oddly shaped dice, and a serial con attendee.













Website  ~  Twitter @JFrenchAuthor  ~  Facebook







Melanie's Thoughts (during the 2016 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off)

If you take the orcs, the elves and the dwarves from Middle Earth, mix in some rampaging centaurs with a big helping of not very nice humans, quite a bit of swearing and a multi-layered plot then you have The Grey Bastards. Set in the bleak landscape of ‘the Lotlands’ The Grey Bastards, an elite group of half orc militia. protect their community from almost everyone else. The hero of this tale is not a tall dark and handsome knight on a white charger but rather, a greyish green half orc named Jackal who thunders onto the battle field on enormous multi-tusked hog. That doesn’t make him any less heroic. When Jackal discovers that elvin women are being held captive by a sludge monster, that the leader of Bastards might be involved and there are more and more incursions of full blooded orcs killing his friends and community then Jackal decides to take a stand….and one he might not survive.

I tentatively started The Grey Bastards as I wasn’t completely sure I would like it. I am not normally a fan of this type of fantasy so when I found myself staring at the cover I decided to give it a go. I loved it. This isn’t a book if you are sensitive to blood, guts and swearing so be warned but the plot is soo engaging. Despite Jackal’s penchant for prostitutes, overuse of certain misogynistic words used by some presidents and the fact he had tusks, he was very much the traditional hero – tall, handsome, fights the good fight and protects the innocent.

French has crafted an ambitious but intricate plot. I never knew what was going to happen next or whether Jackal would live to tell the tale. This is a sign of a good book in my view. I could very easily recommend this as one of the best books of SPFBO 2016 and potentially one of my favourite books of this year.



Doreen's Thoughts (now)

When I first started reading The Grey Bastards, I knew it was an homage to the television show, “Sons of Anarchy,” but when discovering the names of the main characters, Jackal (Jax), Oats (Opie), and the Claymaster (Clay), I thought they were a little too close to the real thing. Then I discovered that these half-orcs rode hogs – real, animal hogs – and I almost gave up reading what I thought might be a spoof. I kept reading, and despite my misgivings, I started to get caught up in the story.

There is some tremendous world-building here. I loved the description of the kiln, their hideout, where the walls can be heated to kill any intruders. Then there was the Hogback, which is a ramp that can be raised and lowered to let the hogs and their riders out over the walls. There are the sludges, gelatinous creatures that can envelop and suck the life out of a creature, and the Rohks, flying predators who could carry a whole hog. The magic is different, created out of smoke and sparks.

Given the nature of the show, I expected the sex and violence to be more graphic than it is; however, many of the other descriptions are just as graphic and gross as can be.

Just as in “Sons of Anarchy,” this hoof (club) is being run by a corrupt tyrant whose time has come. Jackal has discovered that the Claymaster is making deals and paying for them using elves, a violation of the treaty they have which could lead to war. As he comes closer to taking over leadership of the Bastards, he discovers that perhaps they are not the fierce proctors of the Lot lands that they think they are; perhaps they are simply the dregs of humanity left to survive on scraps. Along with his backups, Fetching and Oats, and the wizard, Crafty, Jackal will find out about the Bastards and their place in the Lot Lands, even if it kills them all.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Interview with C.L. Polk, author of Witchmark


Please welcome C.L. Polk to The Qwillery, as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Witchmark was published on June 19th by Tor.com.







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

C.L.:  I remember a story I wrote in elementary school about a group of nine year old girls at a carnival who had to escape a haunted house ride that was honestly haunted by the family who had founded the carnival. I was nine, so I feel it was probably a good depiction of how nine-year-olds think of themselves when they're cast as heroes.


TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

C.L.:  Definitely a hybrid. I start off plotting, and then get to a point where I don't know what happens next...but instead of figuring it out, I just write until i get to the end of what I outlined and figure it out as I go.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

C.L.:  I think the biggest challenge is the battle with perfectionism. Every novelist writes through doubt, and you never really vanquish it. I think that's all right, because that doubt means you're striving beyond your comfort zone and taking a risk. That's what the process of any art is about, I believe.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

C.L.:  Everything does. What I read, what I watch, the world outside - anything that makes me interested or intrigued.



TQDescribe Witchmark in 140 characters or less.

C.L.:  While resisting his family's demands and his detective partner's charm, a doctor discovers the secret that cost his patient his life.



TQTell us something about Witchmark that is not found in the book description.

C.L.:  Miles is actually solving two mysteries at once. He's investigating a murder, but he's also deeply troubled by what his healing powers show him when he touches some of his patients at the hospital. But because he can't reveal his magic, he's trying to find a conventional way to "discover" it so he can alert his colleagues to the condition.



TQWhat inspired you to write Witchmark? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

C.L.Witchmark was the product of about six months of simmering ideas about a character in a world rather than a bolt of inspiration. it's many small ideas braided together to make a story. I like to write fantasy because you can write about nearly anything you want and add magic, and that combination has always been irresistible to me.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Witchmark?

C.L.:  I had to research nearly everything in the book. I started with fashion, material culture, technology, and medical advances that happened on earth in the early 20th century. I looked up the history of skyscrapers. I read about the big cities of the period, mainly London, New York, and Chicago, with some looking into Toronto and Vancouver. I read about mythology, folklore, supernatural beings, and I mashed all that together to create the Amaranthines. I studied the weather, particular advances in forensic pathology, policing in the UK, Canada, and the United States. I think every page of the book has the product of research on it somewhere.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Witchmark.

C.L.:  The cover's amazing. It was designed by Will Staehle, and I think it captures the feel of the novel without being too revealing. It shows the most distinctive features of the city's worldbuilding - bicycles and apple trees fill the streets, and depicts the three central characters of the book.



TQIn Witchmark who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

C.L.:  The easiest was a very minor character in the story, one you don't meet until later, and only briefly. Alice sprang onto the page exactly as she was. The most difficult was probably Miles himself, because I had to do so much background writing to really understand him.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Witchmark?

C.L.:  I didn't sit down and think "I will write a story about social issues." I knew that my outlook and politics would soak into every word, so I let that happen as it would. I wrote about social class and the geopolitics of cities and the effect war had on those who fought it, but I didn't start there. All art is deeply political. I couldn't have written this book, or any book, without making any sort of comment or opinion on political and social issues.



TQWhat's next?

C.L.:  What's next is the sequel to Witchmark. I'm working on it right now.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

C.L.:  Thank you! I'm glad to have a chance to talk about Witchmark with you and your readers.





Witchmark
Tor.com, June 19, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

C. L. Polk arrives on the scene with Witchmark, a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.

One of Publishers Weekly's Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018!

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.





About C.L. Polk

C. L. Polk wrote her first story in grade school and still hasn't learned any better. After spending years in strange occupations and wandering western Canada, she settled in southern Alberta with her rescue dog Otis. C. L. has had short stories published in Baen's UNIVERSE and contributes to the web serial Shadow Unit (http://shadowunit.org/), and spends too much time on twitter at @clpolk. Witchmark is her debut novel.







Website  ~  Twitter @clpolk

The Walking Dead Day - Blind Bag Editions of Milestone Issues


THE WALKING DEAD DAY WILL FEATURE COLLECTIBLE BLIND BAG EDITIONS OF MILESTONE ISSUES

J. Scott Campbell, James Harren, Emma Ríos, Declan Shalvey, and Sana Takeda Blind Bag artists revealed

PORTLAND, OR, 06/20/2018 — Image/Skybound Entertainment is pleased to announce that this year’s WALKING DEAD DAY, on October 13th, in celebration of the series’ 15th anniversary, will feature collectible blind bag editions of milestone issues from Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s THE WALKING DEAD.

Fans will experience the thrill of surprise when they purchase any of the WALKING DEAD DAY BLIND BAG editions. Each of the following issues will be available to purchase as a blind bag item, where customers have a chance of opening one of multiple trades dress variants (color, sketch, virgin, etc) of each iconic issue. Covers will feature art by J. Scott Campbell, James Harren, Emma Ríos, Declan Shalvey, and Sana Takeda, among other exciting to-be-announced artists, and will retail for $3.99 each.

  • THE WALKING DEAD #1: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188674 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #2: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188675 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #7: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188676 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #19: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188677 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #27: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188678 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #48: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188679 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #53: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188680 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #92: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188681 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #98: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188682 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #100: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188683 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #108: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188684 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #127: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188685 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #138: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188686 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #167: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188687 
  • THE WALKING DEAD #171: 15TH Anniversary Blind Bag variant, Diamond Code MAY188688


ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.
ABOUT SKYBOUND ENTERTAINMENT
Founded in 2010, Skybound Entertainment is a multiplatform entertainment company specializing in television, comics, film, digital content, interactive, gaming, and merchandise. The company is led by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and his longtime producing and business partner David Alpert.

12-Page Excerpt From The New World


EXTENDED 12-PAGE EXCERPT FROM ALES KOT AND TRADD MOORE’S FORTHCOMING THE NEW WORLD RELEASED

PORTLAND, OR, 06/19/2018 — Aleš Kot (ZERO, DAYS OF HATE), Tradd Moore (LUTHER STRODE), and Heather Moore are pleased to unleash an extended, 12-page excerpt from their forthcoming series THE NEW WORLD—set to launch this July.

THE NEW WORLD #1 is a ballistic sci-fi action romance miniseries that begins with a massive-sized debut issue and features a backup comic introducing the talents of Aaron Stewart-Ahn and Sunando C.

Set in the United States of America—after the Second Civil War—THE NEW WORLD follows two lovers. One: a straight-edge vegan hacker anarchist boy with a penchant for messing with the State. The other: a chaotic, hedonistic cop with a reality TV show and a license to kill. This really shouldn't happen—and yet, somehow, it does. And soon, the entire state of New California is after them.

THE NEW WORLD #1 hits stores on Wednesday, July 25th. The final order cutoff for retailers is Monday, July 2nd.
  • THE NEW WORLD #1 Cover A Moore & Muller (Diamond Code MAY180036)
  • THE NEW WORLD #1 Cover B Moore & Muller (Diamond Code MAY180037)
  • THE NEW WORLD #1 Cover C Bertram (Diamond Code MAY180038)
  • THE NEW WORLD #1 Cover D Muller (Diamond Code MAY180039)


[click to embiggen]

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

The Magic Order Is a Hit


MILLAR REVEALS ANOTHER HIT SERIES UP HIS SLEEVE IN THE MAGIC ORDER

PORTLAND, OR, 06/19/2018 — Comics titan Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel (Amazing Spider-Man, Thor) launched Netflix’s THE MAGIC ORDER #1 last week to overwhelming critical acclaim and fan enthusiasm and, as reported upon by Deadline.com, broke industry records with some of the highest pre-order numbers in two decades.

"An important note to retailers: There will be no second printing on The Magic Order #2. Just like #1, we want to create a huge excitement on the day so that people who get their copy feel extra lucky,” said Millar. “What you order this weekend is what you get, but, as always, there is no risk to retailers, as this comic is returnable."

We live in a world where we’ve never seen a monster, and The Magic Order is the reason we sleep safely in our beds. Magic meets the mob in THE MAGIC ORDER, as five families of magicians—sworn to protect our world for generations—must battle an enemy who’s picking them off one by one. By day, they live among us as our neighbors, friends, and co-workers, but by night, they are the sorcerers, magicians, and wizards that protect us from the forces of darkness… unless the darkness gets them first.

THE MAGIC ORDER #1 will remain available for purchase across all digital platforms, including the Image Comics website (imagecomics.com), the official Image Comics iOS app, Comixology’s website (comixology.com), iOS, Android, and Google Play.

THE MAGIC ORDER #2 Cover A by Coipel (Diamond Code MAY180197), THE MAGIC ORDER #2 Cover B by Coipel (Diamond Code MAY180198), THE MAGIC ORDER #2 Cover C by Grampá (Diamond Code MAY188623) will be available on Wednesday, July 18th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, June 25th.

Select praise for THE MAGIC ORDER:

“There are few creators that do big and broad as well as Mark Millar.” —Newsarama

“I’m gonna give it to you straight. This is a comic you’ll definitely want to read, no matter
what genre you’re into. I’ve heard people describe this as mobster Harry Potter but
honestly, it’s so much more than that.” —Impulse Gamer

“Excellent world-building, gorgeous art, and breakneck pacing.” —Monkeys Fighting
Robots

“If you ever wanted an R rated version of the world outside Hogwarts, you'd be hard
pressed to find a better story than this one. Every page contains details as juicy as a
Kardashian rumor mill. The writing is ripe with tantalizing new ideas and concepts. The
art is dark and wondrous.” —Black Nerd Problems

“Completely shattered my expectations and is a book you absolutely can't miss this
week. This was tremendously entertaining.” —Lyles Movie Files

“A great first issue that will definitely leave you wanting more. The Magic Order is
fantastic.” —Outright Geekery

“This is a very strong first issue and I really hope Netflix make this one into a television
series because it is definitely the sort of thing that I'd watch.” —SciFi Pulse

[click to embiggen]

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

Man-Eaters Coming in September


CHELSEA CAIN & KATE NIEMCZYK LAUNCH MAN-EATERS—THIS SEPTEMBER: THE CATS WANT IN

PORTLAND, OR, 06/19/2018 — Eisner-nominated and New York Times bestselling thriller writer Chelsea Cain reunites Mockingbird creative team and returns to comics. Mockingbird artist Kate Niemczyk, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, letterer Joe Caramagna, and writer Chelsea Cain are joined by Lia Miternique and Stella Greenvoss for a new ongoing series—MAN-EATERS—from Image comics this September.

“Pop culture has a long tradition of manifesting our cultural anxieties as monsters," said Cain. "What scares us most right now? …Women.”

A mutation in Toxoplasmosis causes menstruating women to turn into ferocious killer wildcats—easily provoked and extremely dangerous. As panic spreads and paranoia takes root, the fate of the world rides on the shoulders of one twelve-year-old girl. Part Cat People, part The Handmaid’s Tale, all pro-feline agenda.

Niemczyk added: “Only Chelsea would have me draw a tampon wearing a cape.”

MAN-EATERS—Cain’s first comic since Mockingbird lit up Twitter and made international headlines—is produced for Image comics by Ministry of Trouble, a production company founded by Cain and Miternique in 2017 with the mission of making trouble.

MAN-EATERS #1 (Diamond Code JUL180103) and MAN-EATERS #1 Glitter Cover (Diamond Code JUL180104) hit stores on Wednesday, September 26th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, September 3rd.



ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

Skyward, Vol.1: My Low-G Life Arrives This September


SKYWARD, VOL. 1: MY LOW-G LIFE TRADE PAPERBACK WILL LAND IN STORES THIS SEPTEMBER

PORTLAND, OR, 06/19/2018 — The first story arc of the critically acclaimed, gravity-defying SKYWARD—by writer Joe Henderson (showrunner of Fox’s Lucifer) and artist Lee Garbett (Lucifer, Loki: Agent of Asgard)—will be collected into trade paperback and available this September. SKYWARD, VOL. 1: MY LOW-G LIFE will include issues #1-5 of the series.

One day, gravity on Earth suddenly became a fraction of what it is now. Set 20 years later, SKYWARD introduces a humanity that has adapted to its new low-gravity reality. And to Willa Fowler, who was born just after G-day, it’s pretty awesome. You can fly through the air! I mean, sure, you can also die if you jump too high. So you just don’t jump too high. And maybe don’t get mixed up in your dad’s secret plan to bring gravity back, which could get you killed…

SKYWARD, VOL. 1 trade paperback (ISBN: 978-1534308336, Diamond Code JAN188542) will hit stores on Wednesday, September 19th and bookstores on Tuesday, September 25th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, August 6th. It can be ordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, and Indigo.


Select praise for SKYWARD: 

"An immersive and entertaining read." —Newsarama

"Comics invite us to explore worlds where the sky's the limit, no superpower too great,
no story too small. But Skyward has given us a world where the skies are limitless and
the characters fly off the page with fresh voices and exciting possibilities." —Shawna
and Julie Benson

“This debut issue finds a way to tether readers to its high-flying story, and the issue
wraps with a bewildering cliffhanger that will leave you desperate for its next issue.” —ComicBook.com

"Henderson and Garbett have created a rich, imaginative new world anchored by a
vibrant, relatable heroine. The sky's the limit with this one." —Jay Faerber

"Compelling characters, vibrant artwork, and a super-cool world. Skyward soars."
Pamela Ribon

“A confidant debut issue that mixes strong characterization with beautiful work from
Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela that gives the reader a strong indication of what this
new series is about.” —Multiversity Comics


ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

Gideon Falls Director's Cut Coming in September


EXPLOSIVE FIRST ISSUE OF GIDEON FALLS GETS ‘DIRECTOR’S CUT’ TREATMENT THIS SEPTEMBER

“Lemire and Sorrentino will go down as one of the greatest comic teams of all time. Gideon Falls cements that. Well, Green Arrow did, but this really REALLY does it.”
Brian Michael Bendis

PORTLAND, OR, 06/19/2018 — The first issue of the breakout hit, GIDEON FALLS, from the creative team behind Green Arrow and Old Man LoganNew York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-winning writer Jeff Lemire (ROYAL CITY, DESCENDER) and critically acclaimed artist Andrea Sorrentino—will now boast a very special Director’s Cut edition.

After selling out on multiple print runs, Lemire and Sorrentino team up to bring fans GIDEON FALLS #1: DIRECTOR’S CUT—a must-have for enthusiasts of the hot new series that Comic Book Resources calls, “a pure vision of terror.” This explosive first issue will be printed in glorious black and white to showcase Sorrentino’s masterful inks and will feature Lemire’s never-before-seen first issue script.

GIDEON FALLS is a series that explores the lives of a reclusive young man obsessed with a conspiracy in the city’s trash, and a washed up Catholic priest arriving in a small town full of dark secrets. At the heart of the town’s secrets is the mysterious legend of The Black Barn, an otherworldly building that is alleged to have appeared in both the city and the small town, throughout history, bringing death and madness in its wake.

GIDEON FALLS #1: DIRECTOR’S CUT (Diamond Code JUL180231) will hit stores on Wednesday, September 19th. The final order cutoff for retailers is Monday, August 27th.
More praise for GIDEON FALLS:

“I know everybody lies in blurbs, but this comic really is amazing. Do not gloss over
these words. This is two guys at the top of their game.” —Mark Millar

"If you were a fan of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino Green Arrow or Old Man Logan,
which were instant classics in the eyes of many, then check out this original story."
IGN

"Jeff Lemire really knocks it out of the park with this comic. I highly recommend this
one. Give it a read." —Bleeding Cool

"Though Lemire is one of the busiest writers in the industry right now, the sheer
volume, diversity, and high quality of his output is remarkable. He doesn’t lose a step
here nor does Sorrentino, who is composing here at peak level too... I left the
experience of Gideon Falls more than ready to see how the mystery of this odd town
plays out in the next chapter." —The Comics Beat
 

"It’s a thriller, it’s horror, it’s literary, and it’s also something truly unique."
Newsarama 

“Sorrentino’s art offers some visually complex layouts that I found to be quite
compelling. Overall, I’m really enjoying this story and the mysterious complexities it
brings.” —Impulse Gamer


ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Interview with Todd McAulty, author of The Robots of Gotham


Please welcome Todd McAulty to The Qwillery, as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Robots of Gotham was published on June 19th by John Joseph Adams / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Todd:  Thanks, and it's great to be here!

I was into comics and science fiction at a pretty early age, and the first fiction piece I remember writing was a pretty funky mad scientist story. I borrowed my Dad's typewriter and pecked it out, one key at a time. I submitted it to a science fiction magazine at the age of 12, and I was bursting with pride and excitement just to be able to say I did that, let me tell you.

Surprisingly. I got back what seemed to me to be a thoughtful rejection. It meant so much to me to be treated seriously by a science fiction editor that I immediately set to work on another story.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Todd:  I admit, red faced and embarrassed, that I am a total pantser. I have no idea where my stories are going. I sit down in front of my computer and start typing, mostly to find out what happens.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Todd:  Getting started. I'm a procrastinator, Woowee, am I a procrastinator. The day I was supposed to start writing my next novel, I did six loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and vacuumed the whole house. I never wrote a word but, hey, my writing space sure was ordered and tidy.

Still, I do enjoy writing. I just have a hard time getting started. Once I get over that hump though, once I fall into the regular rhythm of 2-5 pages a day, it's the best feeling in the world.

You just need to exercise those writing muscles. Once you get them in shape, you can routinely accomplish things that seemed impossible when you were just getting started.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Todd:  Reading. Novels of course, but also short fiction. Read the magazines -- Clarkesworld, Asimov's, Lightspeed. There are writers doing things today that will blow your mind open. Clarkesworld has a marvelous podcast, read by the amazing Kate Baker, and I listen to it while riding the train home from Chicago in the evening. Yesterday I listened to Bogi Takács' “Some Remarks on the Reproductive Strategy of the Common Octopus,” about uplifted octopi on an alien planet. Great stuff!

If you're a writer looking to get inspired, novels are a fine choice. But I find that nothing really churns the mind like great short fiction. There's so much out there today, and so many ways to consume it. If you haven't tried, you're really missing out.

The other thing I read is newspapers. Real journalism, not just bloggers and Facebook. I think I'm the only person in my train compartment every morning that still carries a physical copy of The New York Times with me downtown. Pretty old school, I admit.

When I wrote the first draft of THE ROBOTS OF GOTHAM, it seemed flat and unrealistic until I realized I was missing a global perspective. I needed to tell the story of how the rise of independent machines had changed the entire world, not just the United States. That was a hugely positive change to the book, and I think it comes directly from exposure to so many in-depth resources on global affairs.



TQDescribe The Robots of Gotham in 140 characters or less.

Todd:  A Canadian businessman in an occupied Chicago uncovers a machine conspiracy to destroy all life and teams with humans and robots to stop it.



TQTell us something about The Robots of Gotham that is not found in the book description.

Todd:  I worked with the great folks at John Joseph Adams Books to craft what I thought was pretty serviceable jacket copy for the novel. But it wasn't until all those terrific blurbs from other writers starting coming in that I realized that there were much better ways to describe the book than just a straight-ahead plot synopsis.

C.S.E. Cooney, who'd just won a World Fantasy Award for her magical collection BONE SWANS, said something that really struck me. She said:

            "For all its breakneck world-building, constant questing, and relentless wheeling and dealing, The Robots of Gotham is deceptively deep-hearted: a novel about, of all things, friendship.”

It's interesting how the themes in your fiction aren't always clear to you until someone points them out. But she's absolutely right. THE ROBOTS OF GOTHAM is about a Canadian who gets dropped into a very ugly situation, an occupied Chicago hollowed out by a prolonged war against machines, and sets about indiscriminately making friendships. With Americans in his hotel, with foreigners who are part of the peacekeeping force, and with machines of all kinds, including some who are part of the occupying army. Those friendships become crucial when he stumbles on a machine conspiracy to destroy all life on the continent with a horrific plague.

Barry Simcoe and his new friends set out to stop it, and when they do they make two more startling discoveries: that the fabled American resistance is not nearly as extinct as everyone believes, and that there's a very big secret hidden behind the machine machinations in Chicago. A secret that America's machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.

If I had to describe the book today, I'd do it a little differently than I did when I wrote that jacket copy. I'd want to find a way to boil down what the book is all about. To say that the antidote to all this skullduggery and mistrust is friendship. The outsider Barry Simcoe is able to make friendships in a very dangerous place, with parties who are intensely hostile to each other, and those friendships spread.

Can something as simple as friendship successfully undermine a global conspiracy? Can man truly be friends with something as alien as a sentient machine? Those are the questions I had so much fun exploring in my novel.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Robots of Gotham? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Todd:  The Robots of Gotham is a standalone book, and it tells a complete tale, but it's also part of a series of stories that use the same setting. I was inspired to write it because of my love for the science fiction and fantasy series that have captivated me over the years, from The Lord of the Rings to Star Trek to Harry Potter.

Neil Gaiman once said he didn't truly understand serial fiction until he realized that the key is giving readers time to live with the characters between installments. That the magic of his Sandman comic wasn't always magnified by collecting the monthly issues into graphic novels so readers could digest them all at once. That good serial fiction has more impact when it has room to live, for readers to daydream and imagine their own stories between chapters. I think that's a powerful insight, and it's part of what fascinates me about writing a series.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Robots of Gotham? How much of the science in the novel is more fact than fiction?

Todd:  I work for a machine learning company in Chicago, and one of the great surprises of my life was how much the real world caught up with the world of 2083 Chicago I imagined, just in the three years between when I began writing the book and when it was published. The advances in machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence over the last three years alone have been staggering.

If I had it to do all over again, I might have moved my time line up by 30 years, to 2053. And even that might not be enough! We are plunging into a future world of robots and Thought Machines far faster than I had imagined. Much of what I conjectured in the book is fact already. That's both exciting and a little terrifying.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Robots of Gotham.

Todd:  I'd be delighted to! The cover was designed by Mark R. Robinson at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and it depicts a scene from the novel. It shows a massive fireball over Lake Michigan, a scant 15 miles offshore, created when an unknown group of machines create a controlled magma vent -- basically a volcano -- in the middle of the lake.

Why? That's just one of the mysteries Barry Simcoe is faced with when he arrives in the city, and sees this happening from his hotel room.

I'm absolutely thrilled with the cover. Covers are enormously important, and I think doubly so for debut authors. There's not a lot of reason for a casual browser to pick us up in the bookstore. If the cover doesn't catch your eye, we're sunk. And Mark's cover is certainly eye-catching!



TQIn The Robots of Gotham who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Todd:  That's easy. The easiest character to writer was the first robot introduced, Nineteen Black Winter, a diplomat from the robotic kingdom of Manhattan. He and Barry are both injured in the attack on their hotel in the first chapter. While Barry quickly recovers, Black Winter is dying, and no one can help him. Barry has to make a crucial decision about how much he's willing to risk to try and save a machine he just met a few hours ago.

Black Winter was easy to write because, like Barry, he's an outsider. He's just trying to make his way in a city that hates and mistrusts machines. He doesn't understand the politics any better than anyone else. But his connections and knowledge prove to be invaluable to the fledgling team when the crisis hits.

I think the hardest character to write was the villain, who's also a machine. I'll leave the rest of that question alone for now.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Robots of Gotham?

Todd:  I think social issues were unavoidable. Any time in history when a race has conquered and oppressed another, the consequences have been brutal and long-lasting. In this case the conquering race is machine, but I think the dynamics involved will be painfully familiar.

But I don't think that's the most interesting social theme in the book, at least not to me. The machines in The Robots of Gotham are gendered. There are male and female robots, and they are born with a powerful drive to reproduce. What does it mean to be part of a wholly new race that is discovering gender politics for the first time? If the ability to be transgender is part of your programming, does gender even exist?

These are very valid questions, some of which are already being asked today about people, of course. I find it fascinating to mirror that conversation in a different space, among machines, to see if we're comfortable with the same answers.



TQWhich question about The Robots of Gotham do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Todd:  When is it on sale?

June 19th! Here, let me write that down for you. Thanks for asking!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Robots of Gotham.

Thanks for the opportunity! Given the chance, I'd like to quote from one of my other favorite robot characters, Paul the Pirate, a Jamaican Thought Machine who blogs about politics. In Chapter Two he shares his thoughts on the origin of the war with America, and he's much more clear-eyed than others. Here's Paul. (Warning for language -- Paul is something of a potty-mouth.)
In April 2080, with American alliances in tatters, the fascist machine regimes of Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Panama banded together to form the SCC—the San Cristobal Coalition. The SCC stoked the flames of suspicion against America, and powerful interests backed their accusations. Diplomatic solutions failed, and on October 20, 2080, the SCC invaded Manhattan.

I was on vacation in Mexico when it happened, and like the rest of the world, I watched the invasion of America in real time. No one had ever seen anything like the war machines that emerged out of the Atlantic to terrorize the financial capital of the world. Manhattan fell in less than twelve hours. The SCC spread rapidly across the Eastern seaboard, quickly retooling device factories in New York City to manufacture huge war machines. From there, the Robots of Gotham spilled across the eastern half of the United States, and it looked like nothing could stop them.

But damn, man. Somehow America _did_ stop them. They did it the old-fashioned way, with bloody sacrifice and sheer guts and willpower. And they did it with massive war machines of their own, operated by recklessly brave pilots. They did it in the fields of Iowa, and the streets of Atlanta, and the swamps of Louisiana, wherever the fuck those are. At horrific cost and with peerless determination, America fought the invaders to a standstill, until the Memphis Ceasefire in December 2082 finally brought the bloody war to an end.


TQWhat's next?

Todd:  I am hard at work on the second book with the same setting, THE GHOSTS OF NAVY PIER. And who knows, maybe some short stories.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Todd:  Thank you for having me!





The Robots of Gotham
John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 19, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 688 pages

A thrilling adventure in a world one step away from total subjugation by machines.

After long years of war, the United States has sued for peace, yielding to a brutal coalition of nations ruled by fascist machines. One quarter of the country is under foreign occupation. Manhattan has been annexed by a weird robot monarchy, and in Tennessee, a permanent peace is being delicately negotiated between the battered remnants of the U.S. government and an envoy of implacable machines.

Canadian businessman Barry Simcoe arrives in occupied Chicago days before his hotel is attacked by a rogue war machine. In the aftermath, he meets a dedicated Russian medic with the occupying army, and 19 Black Winter, a badly damaged robot. Together they stumble on a machine conspiracy to unleash a horrific plague—and learn that the fabled American resistance is not as extinct as everyone believes. Simcoe races against time to prevent the extermination of all life on the continent . . . and uncover a secret that America’s machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.





About Todd

Todd McAulty grew up in Nova Scotia. He was a manager at the start-up that created Internet Explorer, and currently works at a machine learning company in Chicago. This is his first novel.