Been a while since I've done one of these: partly because I've been swamped by work, partly because I really haven't had much to say about graphic novels. The latter hasn't really changed, so don't expect to find too much about the medium here for some time to come, except in passing.
As far as work goes, I've recently sold a prose novel to HarperCollins in New York, and sold the option to my comics serial GLOBAL FREQUENCY to The WB in televisionland. The former, still currently without a title, will be published in early 2005, and the latter, under a script commitment from WB, may never see the air, because that's how these things work. Even produced pilots aren't always screened. Just this year, the tv powerhouse Steven Bochco produced a full pilot for his misconceived sf cop show NYPD 2069 (or whatever it was called), and it was considered so heinous -- and remember, this is the guy who made HILL STREET BLUES and NYPD BLUE -- that it was never aired and the costs written off.
I work on the periphery of tv development every now and then, so I tend to keep half an eye on the medium as it exists in America and Britain, where I live. I'm honestly hard-pressed to remember a time when tv has been so uniformly worthless. I get a lot of stuff sent to me through the magic of the interweb, so I got to see the Bochco thing, and I get to see a lot of US programmes at or before airing. I have therefore been treated to this season's group attempt to make everyone turn off their tv sets and go and do something much more interesting instead. I find myself reduced to drawing amusement from seeing that CSI MIAMI's David Caruso has apparently been lent Arnold Schwartzenegger's script doctor, because he now speaks exclusively in punchlines (while Sofia Milos earns her deserved paycheck by having to gaze adoringly at him as he issues his Carusobot Command Lines), while the original CSI's cast has evidently demanded to be prettier, Marg Helgenberger strapped into rack-enhancing tops and Jorja Fox getting to wear make-up while William Petersen grows back his wispy MANHUNTER-era Beard Thing and gets a new wardrobe that has strippers hitting on his character.
No, I'm not entirely sure how long that sentence was. It's early for me. Shut up. (DOCTOR WHO actor Tom Baker, voicing a narration I'd written for him, paused in the middle of the script, eyes flicking over the paper, and then laughed down the mike: "Warren, you bastard! This sentence is sixty-five words long!")
(Parenthetically: Tom Baker's agents, two little old ladies in Primrose Hill, had been unsure about the script. "Thomas doesn't like bad words. There are lots of bad words in this script." I arrived late at the recording session, having gotten lost in BBC Broadcasting House. As I got to the door, Julian, the producer, had been organising coffee, and had just said to Tom, "is there anything I can do for you, Tom?" I opened the door to hear childhood hero Doctor Who yell: "Lord fuck a duck! Are you propositioning me, you little bastard?" I could not have been happier.)
Anyway. Yes. Busy. But back to producing this weekly, even though it's likely to contain nothing of interest to anybody. There's more going on in my daily life than graphic novels -- as there is, I would imagine, in yours. All I've read this week in terms of comics is a few issues of the bi-monthly Anglo-French sf comics anthology METAL HURLANT. I'm hip-deep in Steven Shaviro's new book, CONNECTED, which looks at the internet-enabled network society in terms of science fiction. This is actually a hugely interesting piece of work that I want to come back to in a later column, and not just because it references my graphic novel TRANSMETROPOLITAN several times. It's really about my own Wellsean vision of science fiction as a tool with which to explore and consider the temporary world. That conversation may actually take me back to comics, as it tends to lead me to talking about METAL HURLANT and the place I think it could/should have in the cultural stream. (Which may also lead me to talking about French comics of the Seventies a little, I don't know. I'm not even attempting to plan this thing anymore.) In my pocket is James Young's killingly funny memoir of touring with heroin-raddled Nico in the 80s, SONGS THEY NEVER PLAY ON THE RADIO: "You know why you never have any clean underwear? Because you shit yourself when someone looks you in the eye." And this weekend I start M Christian's new collection of omnisexual sf perv-o-fiction, THE BACHELOR MACHINE, which I'm looking forward to immensely.
In the meantime, I find myself in the unusual position of having to plan pieces for an LA gallery display of photography taken with cameraphones in which I've been asked to exhibit.
So anyway. Next week, some actual content. Maybe.