September 2009

John is finally back from the world-spanning signing tour, and the studios did finally finish the third chapter in the Darren Dead story arc, in eye-zinging colour courtesy of Sally Hurst. This appears on schedule in the October '09 issue of the Judge Dredd Megazine.

As well as making friends and creating new contacts, the work and promotional aspect of the tour has been important for raising the profile of Razorjack. The San Diego Comic Convention and both signings in New Zealand and Australia were very successful and the talk at the Queensland College of art was a highlight of the trip and a great way to finish the tour.

This all gave John an opportunity to meet people who have an interest in what he is doing around the world. He wants to thank you all for that interest and for turning up. A lot of interest was generated by his involvement with Watchmen, which - since the movie came out this year - has become one of the biggest selling Graphic Novels in the history of comic publishing, just passing a million copies sold! Yet another milestone for such a singular book.

Razorjack, John reckons, might have a few more copies to go before it hits that high, but one day!


Announcing... The RAZORJACK PROJECT!

This is an all-encompassing title for a variety of multimedia projects that run alongside that of the graphic novel. Some we cannot talk about as it is early days yet, but once they are more fully developed, try and stop us!

The two we can tell you about are, firstly, an original music score: RAZORJACK - Blood Red Sky, with music written by Kevin Hurst, Kevin Jones and Chloe Pereira de Mello.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW TRACK: "Steam Bitch" by Kevin Jones.
Select your preferred format: MP3 or M4A or listen to the track on our MySpace page!

The second is a prosthetic Razorjack head, by Nigel Booth, master sculptor. He has worked on Hellboy 2 and Walking with Dinosaurs amongst many other quality movies. This is the final wax model before the casting of the latex prosthetic head.

We are most excited at the prospect of Razorjack making her debut live appearance at BICS in October, on the Saturday. Check her out. But do not get too close!

John will be at the Com.x tables all that weekend. Copies of Razorjack and other Com.x titles will be on sale, plus we will be announcing exciting new projects from Com.x. John will be signing, chatting and doing sketches. Sally, studio designer and colourist, will be working at the stall all weekend also, please come by and say hello.


And now a word from Garth Ennis...


And finally, John's Letter...

    We are back from the world signing tour. It went exactly the way I would have hoped, if I had known what to expect. But life is always a constant surprise, thankfully, and meeting new people and seeing new places is always an adventure. I still feel like I need a good long rest. But pleased to be back at work, we finished the story arc for Darren Dead the week we got back. We did take some of the colouring for it with us which Sally spent a couple of days working on, while I went for a bush walk in Australia. To finish Darren off back in the UK was a good way to gently get back into the routine of work after such a long tour.

    I have decided; I hate travelling!

    I hate airports, struggling with an over packed and cumbersome suitcase, I mean you are travelling for weeks, so of course you need twenty of everything. Who designed these places for god's sake, Piranesi? Banged and scraped hands, crushed toes. And don't talk about the toilets. Urgh! Wet to the touch, crowded public toilets. You feel diseased just by going into them. You believe it is possible to catch an STD from a toilet seat.

    People! Don't get me started on people, too many, too noisy. Stopping, starting, irritating people. Why do people stop in the middle of... at the bottom of... or in a doorway to? They just stop right in front of you. Why, people? Why?

    Airplanes! A long and noisy tube of metal, filled with PEOPLE! Screaming through the air, polluting the earth, making pandemics possible. You are pushed, prodded and herded like cattle. We are fed and watered. Maybe they are building up our body fat, just in case we crash land and we need to eat one of us!

    We all have experienced airport security. How many extra hands do you need, coins out, unpack laptop, put them all in boxes to be scanned, hold up your trousers, take your shoes off, then they discover your water bottle in the bag! What a pratt you feel. I hate terrorists!

    It was our first time at the San Diego comic con. I have been told many stories about its impersonal nature, massive size and over dependence on big corporate companies, it had all that and more. We really enjoyed it. Very well organized, armies of staff and security keeping everything moving. Totally different to the other con we went to this year at Bristol. But we will definitely be back at Bristol.

    Comic fans I hate. In your face, over bearing, opinionated fans, BO, invading your body space, too close, sweaty fans, halitosis fans!

    Thank God none of them came to my booth. All the fans who came over and had a chat, bought artwork, talked about Watchmen, and discovered I was the John Higgins who had done Hellblazer, or Judge Dredd or Razorjack, or any of the other myriad titles I had done before and after Watchmen. These guys were, enthusiastic, friendly appreciative and very good-looking with attractive partners. I am tempted to go back to SDCC just to meet you all again next year. Or if not there, then at the other cons and signings I am attending. A couple of people did say they had read about me being there from my website, so a special thank you for visiting my website and coming up and saying hi.

    You want to know whom else I hate? I hate famous artists who think they are the best thing since sliced bread. Me, me, me, me, me, me, superstars, in your face overbearing, opinionated artists, BO, invading your body space, too close, sweaty artists, halitosis artists, you are too far below me to talk to you artists!

    But I was very fortunate to be signing at the Splash Comic Art booth with a bunch of very nice people.

    Here was Chris, Lee, Cameron, and Ben, all talented artists, an inspiration and a spur for me to try harder. Nice, unassuming, but confident in their abilities as artists.

    I travel half the way around the world and who was the first person I saw at Splash? Chris Weston, that highly talented artist and general comic enthusiast. Chris, who I have not seen for years but who lives barely twenty miles away from me in the UK. Go figure!

    I was really pleased a number of my mates found me at the booth and came and said hi, I won't go into a long list, but great to see them all. One person, who came and said hi, was Jonathon Ross wearing a rather natty NASA jump suit. I was very pleased that he bought a copy of my Razorjack graphic novel. And my giant mate Dave Ryan, who is doing a massive independent crossover comic, War of the Independents, using all the independent heroes he got permission to use in a gigantic crossover story line: he got Razorjack.

    I hate San Diego Pedicabs!

    Landed in Auckland in shorts and tee-shirt. Big mistake for the New Zealand winter, but I did see a number of hardy Kiwis in shorts and thongs (flip flops). Kiwis are one of the friendliest groups of people I have ever met. I did the signing at Heroes for Sale on K'road in Auckland, great fun. Pleasantly surprised how many fans knew of my early Dredd work, Watchmen of course. The signings are intended to raise the awareness of Razorjack, which it did with everyone who turned up, sold all the copies of the aforementioned book in the shop, signed till the end of the day. Many thanks to all the people who turned up and to Stu for arranging such a successful day.

    I went down to see WETA Studios in Wellington, The Lord Of The Rings dream factory, amongst many other quality filmic projects. Who are now gearing up for The Hobbit. Thanks to Caroline and Rik for the professional courtesy they extended to me and the time Rik, head of studio designer, spent with me. I am often told I have the best job in the world, and most times I believe I have, but to work in such a creative environment as WETAmust come a close second.

    Met up with an old buddy Kevin Jones from my days at Wallasey College of Art ,who lives on the outskirts of Auckland. He is a musician who's talent might not be on display up on stage as in the days of his highly-rated and successful band, Non Stop Dancers. In Australia in the eighties and nineties, check out King Bov on my space, but he is still creating and writing music. And is writing new music for the Razorjack project, I took away with me the first draft of RAZORJACK's theme, Steam Bitch. He with Kevin Hurst are writing a score for this on going RAZORJACK project, more details of which will be forth coming over the months as they unfold. This is so exciting, for me to be initiating projects with creative people in such a variety of artistic disciplines.

    Now on to Australia, nearing the end of our world tour.

    I hate Australians! Australians that tell ya, "Best country in the world, mate, sunshine three hundred and sixty-five days a year mate, friendliest people. The best food and the longest beaches, mate." You know what I hate most about those Australians? They are bloody well right!

    San Diego and New Zealand were not so much holiday as a relaxing work away, seeing friends, doing business. Still great fun and exciting, but Australia was where we were finally on holiday for a while. Another old college friend from the Wallasey college, Ken Jones, who for years I have wanted to do some creative projects with. Finally we are putting in place the right building blocks for that at last. We are talking with interested companies in Australia about a number of joint projects. Early days yet, but moving forward.

    Well I won't bore you with the holiday in, "Best country in the world, mate, sunshine three hundred and sixty-five days a year mate, friendliest people the best food and the longest beaches, mate," but we did have fun.

    The final bit of work on the trip was in Brisbane, with a signing at ACE Comics, started off quiet but ended up meeting a nice bunch of people over the day and enjoyed the time spent with them. Thanks to Ian and all the knowledgeable guys who work there. Enjoyed a beer or two with them in Gilhooley's Irish bar later. Wayne Nichols turned up, the Brisbane-based artist who has worked on an impressive list of books in his short career.

    I hate bad barmen!

    And for the very first time, in my long Guinness drinking-life, I finally met an Irish one!

    Monday, the last day in Brisbane, I went to give a talk to the students in Queensland College of Art, Griffiths University.

    Students, you ask, what do I think about students? Don't you get me started on students! I hate students. Students who never turn up for lectures, students who are a drain on the state and their parents' pockets, drink too much, take drugs and never wash. I hate those students. If those students had managed to get their lazy backsides out of their fetid pits and been at the lecture, I would have said, "Hey, you at the back, WAKE UP! Get out, have a wash and get a job, you waste of space!" Luckily none of those students turned up. Only bright enthusiastic students turned up. Students who created impressive portfolios, with the help of friendly energetic and creative tutors. Students who asked interesting and varied questions, and made me feel I knew what I was talking about. Those students I like.

    The campus was the most impressive and stimulating environment I have been in for a long time. I did see student artwork that will lead to successful careers. It was a the most enjoyable few hours that I spent with these creative people and I came away energized. It was also the world premier of the music written for the RAZORJACK project, the first time it had been played in public. That was immensely exciting for me, as the lecture theatre was a state of the art auditorium with a serious sound system and impressive acoustics. I must thank Ken Jones for organizing the talk, Gillian for suggesting such a wonderful venue, and Donna at the college for making it possible, and making me feel I had done a good job. And thanks to Andi for showing me her impressive Animation department.

    Finally on to Hong Kong, just a stop over, but a great opportunity to catch up with an old drinking buddy, Dale Crain who use to work for DC but decided living in New York City was not exciting enough, so could only go one better by going to live and work in Hong Kong. This is a Mega City 1 for the 21st century.

    We were totally whacked out by the time we arrived. To finally have a shower, to get all the travel grime and dirt and other peoples exhalation dirt and body grease off was bliss. Lying back on the bed on the fortieth floor and looking out over this twenty-first-century city was amazing. Now we were on the last leg of our whirlwind world tour. Just lying back, checking out how my body had survived. Both arms, yup, both legs, all the dangly bits intact, inney belly button, just right as a salt-dip for popcorn when watching Blade Runner, director's cut, limited edition boxed set. One nipple, two nipple and three nipples!? Hang on, one two three! What the ....! The third one is purple, pulsates a little and seems to be getting bigger, bollix it's a tick! Don't panic, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Got it off and came back to a course of penicillin in the UK!

    Ok, I was not consistent in my "hate" list, how could I be? We were lucky to find most all of the nice people in the world in our path. We had a ball and everyone made us welcome in all the places we visited!

    I may really hate travelling, pedicabs and bad barmen.

    But I love being there!

    -- John, crashing through a dimensional barrier, September 2009

See also: Postcards from Alternity - January 2009