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Icarus Needs

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Icarus NeedsDespite the unprecedented outbreak of summer, production has not slowed in the E-merl comic factories. Freshly unleashed on the public is my new game/comic hybrid, Icarus Needs. Folks may remember the game’s protagonist, Icarus Creeps from his appearance in a couple of previous tales here at E-merl. For those interested in getting some further insight into the ideas behind the game, I’ve popped up a pdf copy of the Game Comics talk I gave last month at the Joint International Graphic Novel and Bande Dessinées Conference in Glasgow.

Staying in the world of comics theory I’ve also recently had the good fortune to see the publication of my first two academic papers on digital comics. Digital Comics: New Tools and Tropes can be found in Studies In Comics (Volume 4, Issue 1) while my hypercomic history From Comic To Hypercomic is in Cultural Excavation and Formal Expression in the Graphic Novel. Should any of my fellow comics scholars happen to be reading, I’ll also give a quick plug for the new journal on digital comics that I’m going to be editing. Writing Visual Culture: Digital Comics will be out in early 2014 and I’ll be taking submissions for papers up until 18th August. For full details, check out the full call on the TVAD blog.

Iron Duck 2020

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Hello Internet! Four quick bursts of news for you on this fine Thursday evening.

One: At the end of May I released a free-to-play browser version of A Duck Has An Adventure over on Kongregate. Anyone who hasn’t had a chance to play Duck on Android can now hop over there to try it out. The game has proved quite popular so far, scooping Kongregate’s Game Of The Week and racking up over 300,000 plays so far. Also, oddities like this page of YouTube play-throughs and some lovely reviews. Thanks Internet!

Two: The Necessary Monsters website has now relocated to and morphed into an Etsy shop. Not only can you purchase the original graphic novel there, you can also pick up the first two issues of Necessary Monsters 2: Murderbox. It’s the same great mix of spy-horror thrills, only this time with a soupçon more James Bond and Hellraiser thrown into the mix.

Three: The Iron Man 2020 serial I wrote for Marvel Comics has now been collected alongside other tales of Arno Stark into a lovely little trade paperback. Available in all good comic stories or via your local Amazon dot whatever.

Four: I’m off to Scotland! Yay! All next week I’ll be attending the Joint International Graphic Novel and Bande Dessinées Conference in Glasgow and Dundee. And on Tuesday morning I’ll be delivering a new, completely retooled version of my Game Comics paper to the assembled comics luminaries. Wish me luck!

Black Hats In Spring

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So I have a pretty insanely busy April ahead of me. So busy that I have now decided to name the next few weeks as The Official 2013 E-merl Spring Tour. Wooo! The centrepiece of the tour will be my new hypercomic installation called Black Hats In Hell that will be opening at two – count ’em, two! – different locations this month. On the 15th April I will be taking over the Postgraduate Gallery at the University Of Hertfordshire with the initial installation of the comic, which has been designed specifically to make use of unique shape of the gallery space.

Then on the 19th of April I will be installing a new, site-specific remix of the comic outside the Platform Theatre at Central St Martins in London. This second version will incorporate collaborative digressions made by some of the students at CSM and features as part of the Comica festival taking place that weekend. I’ll be there in person on Saturday the 20th April as part of the Comica Comiket and would love to hear attendees feedback about the work.

But my travels in April do not stop there! I’m also hitting the conference circuit and will be delivering two papers across three conferences without the aid of a safety net or, probably, any reasonable amount of sleep. The hijinks begin on April 3rd when I’ll be delivering a paper entitled “Comics Are Control” as part of the Adventures In Textuality conference at the University Of Sunderland. Then a week later on April 10th I’ll be at the opposite end of the country at the University of Sussex delivering a paper on Game Comics as part of their Tablet Syposium.

For the Spring Tour’s grand finale I’ll be popping across to Germany from April 23rd to 26th in order to deliver an expanded version of my Game Comics paper at the Change & Continuity Symposium as part of the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film. If any of you are in any of those places at the same time I am in those places you should probably say “hi.” And then you should probably buy me a drink because, if I have actually managed to succeed in meeting all those deadlines, then I am certainly going to be in need of one.

Bubbles, Ducks, Score & Script

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Heya folks! A quick update to direct your attention to three bits of news. Firstly, myself and the usual reprobates shall be at Thought Bubble in Leeds this weekend. Come find me at my table in the Royal Armouries Hall to get your hands on the first issue of Necessary Monsters 2 and the new, full-colour All Knowledge Is Strange mini.

Secondly, myself and the aforementioned reprobates are also amongst the contributors to the Score & Script exhibition opening in London next week at the Centre For Recent Drawing. Much kudos to John Miers for coming up with the whole concept and then inviting us all to take part. Should be some fascinating works of comics on show – I know I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what my fellow contributors have come up with.

Thirdly, A Duck Has An Adventure has been short listed for the New Media Writing Prize. Wooo! Also: Quack! You can see all the short listed entrants here and even vote for your favourite in the People’s Choice Prize (hint: choose the one with ducks in). The awards themselves will take place in Bournemouth on the evening of 28th November and you’re more than welcome to come along if it sounds like your cup of tea.


New York! New Monsters!

New York! New Monsters! published on 2 Comments on New York! New Monsters!

NM2: MurderboxTwo exciting things are happening! One: Sean and I have finished the first issue of Necessary Monsters 2! Very exciting! NM2: Murderbox picks up right where volume one left off and features more spy-horror thrills than you can shake a severed limb at. Those in the UK wanting to get their hands on a copy will be able to pick up issue one at MCM in October or Thought Bubble in November. For US readers interested in checking out the new series, I direction your attention towards the following paragraph.

Second exciting thing: I am going to be at New York Comic Con with First Comics! Very, very exciting! First Comics will be at booth #1624 and I’ll be on hand with copies of Necessary Monsters, Murderbox, Brain Fist and a full-colour, con exclusive issue of All Knowledge Is Strange. I should be about for all four days of the convention, so do stop by the booth to say hello. Karol and I will be in New York from 8th October, so if you’re someone I know in the NYC area and you want to meet up before the show, drop me a mail to merlin (at) and plans will be made.

Oh! Additional sort-of-exciting-but-probably-more-just-kinda-interesting thing I should mention: the paper I delivered at The Graphic Novel Conference in Oxford on the history of the hypercomic is now available to read online over here. Special thanks to Neal Von Flue, whose assistance with the paper was invaluable.

Beta City Beware! E-merl 7.1 Rises!

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M A S I V O !Welcome to the newly nipped and tucked E-merl 7.1! The star of the site’s new look is of course MASIVO, my new twice-weekly webcomic serial. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a soft spot for giant robots punching each other and at last in MASIVO I’ve found a suitable outlet for this guilty sci-fi pleasure. Stay tuned to E-merl every Monday and Friday to watch the inevitable carnage unfold.

In addition to the site’s lovely new colour scheme, I’ve re-organised the top navigation bar to reflect the renewed focus on hypercomics that’s come along thanks to my current doctoral studies. Expect more new work from me in this area before the year is out. Not to be outdone, my major webcomic serials have also finally been given their own page and a fancy drop down menu to make finding them all a little bit easier.

Meanwhile, over in the right hand bar, you can now see my latest tweet and if you scroll down a bit I’ve added a subscription button for those wishing to receive an e-mail whenever the site updates. Elsewhere I’ve also updated the Consulting page to reflect a couple of my recent gigs, chief amongst which would be the creation of the Strangebook prototype, which you can learn more about here.

And that’s pretty much everything for this update. I think I’ve caught and squished all the bugs thrown up by the site’s facelift, but if anyone spots anything that looks like an error then a comment on the bottom of this post would be much appreciated. Right, back to the giant robot craziness. Toodles!

See You In Chicago

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Hey everybody in Chicago! I am going to Chicago! In about… 12 hours from now, in fact. This coming weekend I’ll be attending C2E2 (The Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) as a guest of First Comics alongside my Necessary Monsters compatriot, Sean Azzopardi.

Stop by the First Comics booth to say hello. If you want to be absolutely guaranteed of finding me at the booth, try 2pm-3pm Friday, 11am-12pm Saturday or 2pm-3pm Sunday, as that’s when Sean and I will be doing our signings.

And if you are a human person who I know who also knows me and you’re going to be in Chicago during the next week, drop me a mail or a tweet so we can arrange drinking and such. Right! Off to get some sleep before my flight. Chicago! Yeah!

A Duck Has An Adventure

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A Duck Has An AdventureA Duck Has An Adventure is my new hypercomic adventure game for Android phones and pads. The game challenges you to discover all the different possible lives one duck could live, from adventures on the high seas to the halls of academia and beyond. It also features a quite splendid array of hats, as all good games should.

You can grab A Duck Has An Adventure from the Android store right now for only 99 cents (or 66 pence or 75… er… euro cents). It’s taken me about six months to create, contains over 450 panels and is, I think, a significant enough chunk of digital comics to be well worth paying for. For iPhone and iPad users I’m hoping to also have an iOS version of Duck out later in the year, so please keep an eye on E-merl for future waterfowl-related announcements.

To Belgium! Again!

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It has been simply an age since my last news post, hasn’t it? Since last we spoke I’ve finished two series (Farewell to Rule and Nile!) spoken at a couple of conferences (namely Transitions 2 and Comics Forum 2011), become a comic character, started studying for my Professional Doctorate in Design and – oh hey! – I got married. Twice! (Um… to the same girl, I should stress. The second time was in Belgium!).

Anyway! I thought I should probably write a quick news post to bring you all up to speed on the above and also let everyone know I will shortly be returning to Belgium for non-matrimonial purposes. From December 9th to 11th I’ll be attending Strip Turnhout 2011, where I’ll be taking part in an exhibition of British experimental cartoonists, alongside Karrie Fransman, Rachel Emily Taylor and Douglas Noble. I’ll be showing a selection of print-remixes of my hypercomic work , including an early look at my new game-comic opus, A Duck Has An Adventure. So do pop along for a peek if you happen to be in Flanders this weekend.

Casting my comics crystal ball further ahead, I see that in March I’m also going to be part of an exhibition entitled Morning Serial at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. The Mr Nile Experiment is going to rubbing shoulders with a veritable passel of great webcomics in what sounds like an interesting sampling of our ever-growing scene. The gallery is currently running a survey to determine which webcomics are going to be included in the online portion of the exhibition, so I encourage you all to go vote for your favourites here.

San Diego, Me & Monsters

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Necessary MonstersIt certainly has been busy on the news front lately, hasn’t it? Lot’s to get through in this update too, so let’s crack on. First the one bit of bad news – E-merl got hacked this week, which cost me a day of fretting and much annoyance as I patched and updated and repaired things behind the scenes. Fingers crossed that I’ve fixed all the problems and won’t be getting re-hacked anytime soon. Now on to more exciting matters – a whole chunk of San Diego panels got announced yesterday, including the two I’m going to be on. Here’s a quick cut-and-paste of the details of panel one:

Thursday 1:00-2:30: Comics Arts Conference Session #3: Digital Comics. Nick Langley and Ron Richards ask whether the move to digital comics will doom paper or help comics reach a new audience. Thomas Thrash and Tommy Cash discuss the balance that digital comics strike between being a necessity to continued publication of comics and an existential threat to comic book stores. Daniel Merlin Goodbrey considers the different directions potential explorers of digital comics – locative, sonic, generative, game, architectural, and AR comics – might pursue. Room 26AB.

Should be interesting, I hope. And coincidentally I just did an interview with Alex Fitch for his Panel Borders show on Resonance FM that covers some of the same territory as this talk. So for those unable to make it to San Diego, check out the podcastof the interview here. Now onward to panel two:

Thursday 5:00-6:00: First Comics: The First of the Great Independents Is Back with a Fury! Legendary ’80s independent publishing powerhouse First Comics is returning when the world needs it most, not unlike the promised return of King Arthur. And the assembled Round Table of extraordinary comics creators are here to tell you how they will once again be rocking your world with comics entertainment from the cutting edge. Panelists include Ken F. Levin, Joe Staton and Nick Cuti, Bill Willingham, Max Allan Collins, Brian Mullens, Alex Wald, Susannah Carson and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey. Moderated by Larry Young. Room 23ABC.

Well now. Why would little old me be on the First Comics panel? Here is a clue: Necessary Monsters. Yes, the Monsters website is back up and our long time in the wilderness without a publisher is almost at an end. Keep an eye on the Monsters site to see a special re-broadcast of chapter one, complete with writer’s commentary and the original script for each page. New pages will be going up daily through July and all the details of the new print edition will appear as soon as we’re allowed to release them.

And that’s your lot for now. If you’re in San Diego and want to say Hi, the best place to look for me will be at booth #2001, where First Comics have borrowed some space to setup shop from AiT. I’ll also be keeping an eye on e-mail, Facebook and Twitter throughout my stay, so do give me a shout if you’re at the show.