Red Rising – Sons of Ares

In a distant future, man has colonised the solar system, but this brave new era of exploration has led in turn to a tyrannical caste system of genetically modified humans, ruled by the Golds. Down in mines of Mars, a young Red called Darrow decides to fight back. So begins Pierce Brown’s bestselling series of YA SF novels. However I must admit though I had not heard of them until my friend Rik Hoskin told me about his current comic project – Red Rising – Sons of Ares.

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Published by Dynamite Comics, Sons of Ares is a prequel series, exploring the early life of Fitchner au Barca, the leader of the resistance movement calling themselves the Sons of Ares. The first two issues are out now and it has been well received by fans of the series. Rik is working closely in collaboration with author Pierce Brown, just as he did with Brett Sanderson on last year’s graphic novel White Sands. The splendid artwork meanwhile is by Eli Powell.

You can see a few preview pages and find out more details on this page. The series is available in comic shops and also on the Kindle.

More recently Rik has been interviewed by Dynamite about his latest series, and looking forward to issue four.  Its a great read too. You can find it here. I’m hoping to post some impressions of it soon.

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Talking about my old mate Rik also prompts me to talk about the latest addition to this blog. If you look to the left of the screen, you will notice I’ve added a new permanent section, containing downloadable copies of our original audio series – Agents of Psyence. These MP3 files used to be available at Westlake Films’ site, until I took them down during that site’s revamp. Now I’ve brought them in-house so to speak. At the moment the page is fairly bare-bones but I intend to expand it in time.

Agents of Psyence is an action adventure series based on Rik’s early self-published comic Psyence Fiction. Set in present day Britain, an enigmatic billionaire called Sebastian Hayward has assembled a team of unusual specialists, including a cybernetic warrior, an ex-MI6 agent and an occult expert, to investigate supernatural crimes. It’s mixture of horror and SF, with an emphasis on pace and thrills. My own approach was definitely influenced by the work of radio director/producer extraordinaire Dirk Maggs (Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Radio 1 version of Batman: Knightfall amongst many others)

The first story Truth and Bone was adapted by Rik from the pages of the first two issues, and the second, Bloodlines, written exclusively for audio by Rik and myself. I think they’ve got some of my best production work in them and its always been an intention of mine to continue the series. Several other scripts were written by ourselves, John Isles and Peter Grehen. I released the series under the label Phantom Frame, which is where the title of this very blog comes from.

You can experience both stories for free, playing them on this site or downloading them. Hope you enjoy them, whether you’re a new listener or a returning fan.

Discover the Agents of Psyence by clicking this link

Shapeshifters and crime – “Hopcross Jilly” the first Mercy Thompson graphic novel

Mercy Thompson GN

Mercy Thompson GN

I’m delighted to learn that the first run of comics featuring were-coyote Mercy Thompson has been collected together into one hardback volume. Based on the popular series of horror-fantasy novels by Patricia Briggs, this series has been written by my good friend and in-demand comics scribe Rik Hoskin, based on a storyline by Briggs. Illustrated with marvelous artwork by Tom Garcia.

Mercy Thompson is a beautiful young woman by day, and coyote and honorary member of the Tri-State werewolf clan by night. When the pack uncover a mass grave of children’s skeletons, it leads her into conflict with a terrifying supernatural being. Worse, Mercy’s stepdaughter Jesse is now endangered.

You can find out more from the Dynamite Comics website – http://dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?PRO=C1606906682

In addition to the comic strip, this collection also includes Rik’s original script for issue one, which is interesting reading for writers like me wanting to more about how storytelling works in such a visual medium and how it is formatted. Recommended reading!

Brand new Mercy Thompson comicbook

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My good friend and fellow writer Rik Hoskin (creator of the Agents of Psyence, whose audio series I produced) has just told me about his latest project. He’s scripting the Mercy Thompson horror comic for Dynamite Publishing, working alongside author/creator Patricia Briggs.  Mercy Thompson is the heroine of a series of popular urban fantasy novels. A young Native American woman who can shapeshift into a coyote, and who’s life inevitably brings her into touch with mysteries and dangers within Washington’s hidden supernatural community

You can view some excellent preview art here:

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/07/31/exclusive-first-look-at-patricia-briggs-mercy-thompson-1/

Issue 1 (of 6) can be ordered now and will be out in October.  A full listing of Dynamite’s October titles is here: http://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/previews.html

Rik’s been an inspiration to me as a someone who’s made that transition from part-time amateur to full-time professional writer. He’s done it by not only being very good at writing, but by his versatility, working on many children’s comic titles, horror short stories and SF novels, sometimes under pseudonyms.

And someday I will return to the Agents of Pysence audio series. Yes, someday…