• Comics writer Jason Cobley is a guest on the BBC Radio 4 show The Learning Curve at 8.30pm tonight, Monday 23rd June, discussing using Classical Comics’ Shakespeare books in the classroom with the legendary Libby Purves. “I’m not sure whether to be excited, terrified, or just cool as a cucumber,” says Jason, author of Bulldog Empire and one of Britain’s best known indie comic publishers.
• Waterstones is celebrating 25 years of Terry Partchett’s Discworld in many ways, one of which is an interview with the celebrated author by Neil Gaiman. Terry talks candidly about his career, how he is now an honorary Brownie (for writing a proper girl in a book, The Wee Free Men. “I’ve got a woggle and everything…”), his battle with early onset Alzheimer’s, and his approach to writing. “planning. ‘Planning, planning, planning,” he reveals. “It’s more like those guys in the desert who pick up a handful of loam, or sand, and taste it, and they know whether there’s any oil nearby.
“It’s the same thing with writing: you can tell where the legs are in an idea but don’t know where the idea comes from. I think it’s some kind of alchemical thing, made up of lots of other things. Your apprehension of the world around you. Your knowledge that you are one of the few people that use the word “apprehension” in that last sentence in exactly the right way. Which doesn’t mean to be fearful about something. I hope you noticed this.”
• If you’re wondering just how important the online comics group you’ve just joined is, digital communications expert Pete Ashton is on a mssion to convince people that digital forms of communication are as important as what we might call traditional ones. “That communities and relationships that are formed online are as important as those formed in the real world,” he argues. “In fact I’d go further and say terms like ‘real world’ are redundant as the online environment is just as capable of creating results of lasting real value as face to face interactions are, especially when the two work together.”
Pete is one of Birmingham’s experts on the social internet and the city’s first professional blogger. Since setting up and running the Created in Birmingham weblog (”Linking up Birmingham’s artistic and creative communities”) in January 2007 he has been in great demand from businesses and organisations who feel they need to use the internet more effectively but don’t really understand how.
Compiled with the much thanks to Matthew Badham
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.