Giveaway: ‘Aama’ Graphic Novel

Calling all comic book fans!

The kind – and very cool – folk at SelfMadeHero have handed over a nifty prize in the shape of graphic novelist Frederik Peeters’ brand new book ‘The Invisible Thing’, the second instalment in his sci-fi-fantastic series ‘Aama’.

The planet-hopping space epic follows amnesiac hero Verloc Nim, his brother Conrad and robot ape sidekick (as ya do) Churchill as they journey into the unknown on a strange desert planet. Combining the philosophical fantasy of K. Dick and Kubrick, along with the impressive world-building of ‘Avatar’, Peeters’ series could very well be your next favourite science fiction fix. Already a winner of the ‘best series’ award at Angouleme festival in 2013, ‘Aama’ is a five-star “incredible saga” [Sci-Fi Now].

aama the invisible throng

So, how to be in with a chance for this graphic novel greatness to be your very own?

1) Head over to Twitter and follow @nicetogeekyou.

2) Retweet any one of the giveaway-related Tweets I’ll be sending out over the next couple of weeks.

Simples! Best of luck, geeks.

Prize Giveaway Terms & Conditions
Prize giveaway open to anyone in the UK aged 18 or over. Entry closes 11:59pm on 03/12/2014. One winner will be chosen at random and notified shortly thereafter via Twitter, whereupon a postal address for delivery of prize will be requested. Entry method as described above: to be considered eligible, you must follow @nicetogeekyou on Twitter and have retweeted at least one of the daily @nicetogeekyou tweets promoting the giveaway. The prize is as stated, with no alternative offered unless the advertised prize becomes unavailable. If a response is not received from the selected winner within 7 days, that winner will effectively forfeit his/her prize and another winner will be selected in his/her place. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms & Conditions.

Going Down to the Bayou

So, I’m officially going to New Orleans next year – EEEEEK!

the princess and the frog

‘Excited’ is a word that doesn’t really do justice to my anticipation about tripping to what is a pretty mythical place for someone who has watched too many movies and read too many books. I’m aware of the historical and cultural significance of the place, and can’t wait to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi whilst sipping on some Hurricanes and listening to jazz. ARGH!

Time to re-watch ‘The Princess & the Frog’, flick through some dog-eared Anne Rice books, and start dreaming bad dreams starring Robert DeNiro as the Devil. Might order the entire boxset of ‘Treme’ too!

Anyone got any good tips for New Orleans movies, shows, books and music? I’ll devour it all!

Dead Mouse

Ever wondered what ‘Die Hard’ would have been like if it was set in Disneyland? Well, thanks to recently published graphic novel ‘Ricky Rouse Has a Gun’, you no longer have to. Sorta.

This rip-roaring yarn is a deviant little book – in all the best ways. Jörg Tittel and John Aggs have crafted a satirical story with bite in it’s hero’s mousey teeth: not to mention gunfire and bloodshed in abundance. Despite its central character’s, erm, resemblance to a famous mouse, this is definitely not bedtime reading for kids.

ricky rouse graphic novel

So, what’s the story? Down-on-his-luck soldier Rick is lying low in Shanghai when he crosses paths with Hucheng, an entrepreneur who owns a Chinese theme park that is decidedly similar to the US’s most culturally significant amusement parks. Out of the job and desperate to support his estranged daughter, Rick becomes ‘Ricky Rouse’ and joins the park’s existing staff, all of whom are versions of some of the world’s most familiar fictional characters.

However, when a rogue band of costumed creeps take the theme park hostage on Christmas Day, Ricky Rouse has to come to the aid of both its patrons and his visiting family. Cue bullets and ultra-violence – happy Christmas!

As well as sly political undertones regarding Western-Chinese relations, the commentary on attitudes to political property is defiantly on-the-nose. Above all though, it’s a fun romp with a wicked streak of anarchic humour, Tittel’s snarky dialogue backed up by Aggs’s blood-soaked, rampaging visuals.

selfmadehero 'ricky rouse'

Published by SelfMadeHero, ‘Ricky Rouse Has a Gun’ is available now – and just waiting to give you a good time.

Trailer Tuesday: Gone Baby Gone (Gurlll)

It always seems like the hot literary properties David Fincher turns his directorial talents to have a habit of passing me by.

‘Fight Club’ was my introduction to the world of the crazy-good Chuck Palahniuk in 1999, and it wasn’t too far back that his spin on Lizzy Salander (expertly played by Rooney Mara) gave Stieg Larrson’s bestseller ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ a Hollywood remake that was, in true Fincher style, pitch black un-Hollywood.

His next movie turns to a similarly much-loved novel with a titular ‘Girl’ – and, similarly, I seem to be the only person who has access to Amazon/Waterstones who hasn’t read it. Gillian Flynn’s page-turner is a keep-you-guessing thriller that promises to mess with the reader’s mind – apparently, anyway, or that’s what all my friends who keep a commute-ready copy in their bag tell me.

With Fincher involved, plus an intriguing cast led by Batman Ben Affleck, Brit babe Rosamund Pike in what promises to be her true Hollywood breakout and Neil Patrick Harris swapping Broadway and sitcoms to give good creep, I am IN. But maybe I’ll read the book first before anyone can spoil the ending – who wants to lend me a copy? Anyone?

Parasitology: Contagious New Novels

Reading a fictionalised account of an outbreak that renders its hosts hopeless is pretty scary when the Ebola virus is the source of decidedly non-fictional headlines. But that’s why Mira Grant‘s ‘Parasite’, the first novel in an intended series (Book 2, ‘Symbiont’ hits UK bookshelves in November), manages to prey on our nightmares like the best horror does – because it’s rooted in reality.

parasitology book 1

‘Parasite’ may have to contend with the character/world-building exposition that weighs down many a first tome in a trilogy or series, but you can tell Grant is at home here. The ‘Newsflesh’ writer sets her cautionary tale in 2027, where trail-blazing SymboGen have revolutionised modern medicine with a little creation called an Intestinal Bodyguard – a parasite that lives inside its human, keeping them healthy without the need for pills, injections and more. What could possibly go wrong?

If you’ve seen ‘Jurassic Park’, you’ll know that “life finds a way” and Grant’s sci-fi conspiracy thriller with added shuffling zombie types certainly recalls Michael Crichton’s paranoid parables. The action centres around Sally, a twentysomething miracle marvel after SymboGen take the credit when she survives the seemingly insurmountable consequences of a mysterious car accident. Sally is kept under the watchful eye of SymboGen’s co-founder Dr. Banks, all while attempting to traverse a new life away from the girl she was before the accident: a girl she can’t remember. Parasitology expert and long-term boyfriend Nathan Kim provides some respite away from her required return check-ups at SymboGen and a strained domestic life with a family, including a government-employed father, who can still remember the old Sally and seem to be waiting for Sally’s own memories of that girl to return.

Then, of course, shit happens. It’s hard to review this taut, Hugo-nominated page-turner without spoiling the twisty-turny fun, but suffice to say those parasites aren’t exactly the life-saving, world-changing remedy they’ve been made out to be. Excerpts from interviews with Dr. Banks and his MIA former colleague, Shanti Cale, precede each new chapter and help build an impending sense of doom as we reach this first book’s game-changing conclusion. And, above all, it’s fun – the zombie horror and bad science elements don’t get in the way of some biting one-liners and, in Tansy, a third-act character that just screams ‘spin-off’.

So, November – hurry up with your apocalypse! ‘Symbiont’ will be ready to infect, courtesy of Orbit Books, on November 25.

Art On a Roll

When pop meets culture, you get heroically good art work like that created by Brian C. Roll. The New Jersey artist and all-round creative brain may not have prints from his portfolio hanging in The Louvre but, if you register even just a #1 on the geek-o-meter, you’ll agree that this guy’s skills are super – just like his subjects!

Brian’s Odyssey Art site collects together his ‘who’s who’ gallery of pop culture icons, many of whom will be familiar to all you genre junkies, but all in his own unique artistic style.

brian c. roll - odyssey art
odyssey art

Thinking about doing some interior decorating? Luckily for those of us who don’t have his skill with a line, some of Roll’s most eye-catching work (including the Serenity crew above) can be bought from his online store.

And that’s not all. As his interpretations of classic pop culture heroes would suggest, Roll has a distinct eye for character and his very own good and bad guys will be discovered soon when his forthcoming Kickstarter-funded project ‘The Circle’ comes full circle. Can’t wait!

Party On With Rachael Smith

rachael smith house party

Meet Mish, Siobhan and Neil. They’re a little bit lost.

Stuck in supposedly ‘stop-gap’ jobs and slumming it in their house-share with red wine and ‘Come Dine With Me’ repeats, the trio of pals attempt to relive the glory of their uni days with an impromptu house party attended by the local so-hot-right-now indie rock band. What could possibly go wrong?

Nailing the sense of apathy, disillusionment and general feeling of ‘what do I do now?’ experienced by many a twentysomething in the haze of post-uni days, comic book artist and writer Rachael Smith is on to a winner with her first graphic novel proper ‘House Party’.

house party

Smith’s story is short, but in just 100 pages she fits in enough canny characterisation, snarky jokes and kickass art to make this party one worth attending. Her cast of goofy, geeky misfits are drawn in a cute, colourful way that recalls the indie hipsters of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s ‘Scott Pilgrim’ series (Sonic Youth tees abound!) but the voice is defiantly British; while her characters may fling about ‘douchebag’ as an insult, they’re also happy calling things ‘minging’.

With a bittersweet ending that leaves the door open for more encounters with the gang (I especially wouldn’t mind seeing what tequila-swiggin’ bezzy friend Siobhan gets up to next), ‘House Party’ is a short but sweet, perfectly formed triumph.

Find out more about Rachael Smith and ‘House Party’ via her blog or track her down on Twitter. Can’t wait to see what she does next!

Trailer Tuesday: Hungry For More?

So far, Snow good. Or not so good.

This week’s Tuesday trailer (more of a tease, to be fair) is dedicated to the adaptation of the third book in Suzanne Collins’s bestselling trilogy of books, which will be the third of four films that Jennifer Lawrence is no doubt very glad she signed up for.

In the ingenious ‘Mockingjay’ promo clip below, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) addresses the Districts of Panem from his Capitol throne. But what’s this? Katniss’s sorta-honey Peeta, last seen before she ripped The Hunger Games a new one and woke up on a hovercraft Peeta-less, is at the dastardly dictator’s side. Has he gone rogue? Was he always the bad boy when she thought he was the good guy? Has anyone in the world actually not read the books to not know the answers?

Whether you’re a newcomer to the Games or a hardened survivalist, this playful approach to the trailer is enough to suggest that we’ll all be pleased with the third entry in one of the best big-screen blockbusters of the century so far. #OnePanem indeed.

Twisted Tales

Twisted Dark Vol 1

Surely, it’s common knowledge now that ‘comics’ aren’t a) for kids and b) necessarily comic. Thanks to the post-‘Dark Knight’ Nolan era, comics and graphic novels are being consumed by more adults than ever – and not just those featuring guys dressed in spandex.

If you like your graphic novels more twisted than comical, then Think Publications have the perfect tales waiting for you. The ‘Twisted Dark’ series gathers together short stories that all deliver a sharp sting, as evident in the first anthology ‘Volume One’ which I had the pleasure of sitting down with this weekend – although, of course, it was a delightfully twisted version of pleasure.

The first set of stories balances the blackly comic (‘The Game’) with the downright menacing (‘Blame’) and even controversial (‘A Heavenly Note’), the unsettling tone making for a read that won’t appeal to all. However, if you’re in the mood for something different and daring, then this is definitely worth your time; any publication that risks it all with a strip like ‘Routine’, which goes to some VERY dark places, gets my vote.

You’re in luck too if this is your kinda thing. Neil Gibson’s offbeat tales (which are accompanied by startling monochrome art, by the way) continue in further volumes which promise to connect various tales in all sorts of surprising ways. Why not take the chance and get twisted??