Monday, 31 August 2015

4 Doctors #1

One of the great joys of Doctor Who is that at some point (usually fixed - Doctor Who fans will get that) you eventually get a multi-Doctor story, so its no surprise that Titan who took over the comic licence and have been producing some great 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Doctor story's. Have produced a weekly multi story featuring 4 Doctors, what is a surprising is just as in the TV show the 9th Doctor isn't coming to the party. So its the War Doctor who makes up the numbers instead, I'm a little disappointed as I would have liked to has seen Eccleston's Doctor interact with his future selves. But the War Doctor is a rich seam of untapped story lines so my disappointment was tempered slightly, the multi covers 19 in all for issue 1 also grabbed my attention as some of them are stunning.

Its with the War Doctor we start at some point in the Time War where we see him and his allies take down a Dalek ship, the Daleks were about to do something bad to the planet and the Doctors allies. Now I know that's a bit of a vague description of the Dalek plan but it isn't pivotal to the story, and Daleks don't turn up to sing songs and hold hands or plungers round a camp fire so we know their intentions was not good. Unfortunately the War Doctors time in the book is fleeting 3 pages to be exact, which is a shame as I would like to see this Doctor explored a bit more. 

The story switches to the 12th Doctor where we see via flashbacks that Clara has learned, that if the Doctors all meet each other it will start a chain of events that will end of the universe. So naturally while the Doctor is asleep she takes the TARDIS to Paris in 1923, where coincidently the other two Doctors are both happily walking around Paris totally oblivious that there other self is there. Clara's plan is to meet the Doctors former companions and convince them to keep their Doctor away from the other Doctors, now what could possibly go wrong with that plan I hear you cry. Well everything if the meeting place is not only a Paris cafe but a fixed point in time, (now you get it) where the Doctors are supposed to meet. Apart from the flimsy premise of getting the Doctors to meet each other, the story is actually very good with Paul Cornnell capturing the voices of all 3 Doctors perfectly. I can actually hear the voices of Tennent, Smith and Capaldi in my head when I'm reading the book, then again my head can be a scary place to be or so the voices in it tell me.

The artwork on the whole is very good although I found the 
likenesses of the Doctors to be a bit hit and miss, which proved for me at least to be a slight distraction from the story in places. The other issue I think that may hurt the book is apart from Capaldi's Doctor, the other two Doctors are with companions who haven't been in the show. I know they have been used in the comic but a casual fan who may pick up the book due to the crossover could be confused or put off, there is an explanation as to who they are at the beginning of the comic but that may not be enough we shall have to wait and see.

This first issue is a set-up issue but there is enough of a hook to keep me interested, I look forward to seeing how the story develops over the coming issues and hope for a little more War Doctor. 

Issue 1 comes with a total of 19 different covers some of which are quite imaginative, so far I have 4 of them and will hunt the rest down over timey wimey.

Four Doctors Covers (19)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Sheffield Film and Comic Convention 2015

After last years first ever and successful Film and Comic Convention to be held in Sheffield, it was always going to be difficult to please everyone in its second year as the first year was so successful. Complaints of the guest list not been as good this year are to me a little harsh and subjective, as some guests may be top of one persons list and not even make another persons. For instance Game of Thrones had a big presence last year which did nothing for me or my wife, as we have never watched the show (I know there will be some gasps at this revelation). However this year both John Levene and Peter Purves were there as guests and as a Doctor Who fan I was over the moon, throw into the mix a Doctor in Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant his companion Peri and the con was a winner for me.

What really makes or breaks a convention for me is how well it is organised and the friendliness of the staff, and straight off the bat I have to say both were exceptional with some of the staff going that extra mile for us as we had an issues with our tickets. We had pre-ordered our tickets for both days and some photo shoots but unfortunately, one of the photo shoot tickets was missing and one of the Sunday tickets was for a child. Both these issues were sorted out in no time at all the Sunday ticket at the box office before the event started, and the photo shoot by the staff at Showmasters once we got into the event. I have to say a big thank you to the staff that allowed us to gain early entry, as the time for the missing photo shoot ticket was very close to our standard entry time of 11:00. This enabled us to sort things out and get to my photo shoot on time, I do after add here that I did nearly miss my photo with Nicola but that was my fault as I was wondering round the convention floor instead of keeping track of the time.

As with all conventions the cosplayers were out in force with a wide range and variety of costumes, some of which were out of this world and some not so much. I will however jump to the defense of anyone who goes to a convention in costume, as they are braver then me and secondly they are celebrating their love of a character or franchise and that should never be discouraged.

As I said at the start of this post there has been some complaint about the quality of guests, and while I think it unfortunate that Billy Dee Williams pulled out of the show. The inclusion of Michael Biehn and Robert Englund more than made up for his absence, and the ques to both those gentleman's table never seemed to go down. 

For me it was the Doctor Who guests that had my interest and I wasn't disappointed in any of them, as the fan boy in me excitedly talked to each of them as soon as I meet with them.

Nicola Bryant was very happy to talk as she signed my Peri figure and I almost missed my photo with her. As they had changed the area photos are taken from last year and I stupidly hadn't checked, but I made it in time truth be told I was the last one there but it all worked out in the end.

Colin Baker was unfairly treated during his time as the Doctor in my humble opinion, it was a time when the BBC wanted to end Doctor Who and put no money into the show at all. So it is to his credit that he has been and still is a fantastic ambassador for the show, we talked about his work on the Doctor Who audio adventures (Big Finish) and his Big Finish regeneration story that was coming out on the Monday after the con. We also talked about Timegate a convention in Atlanta that Colin attended a few years back and one I was lucky enough to go to this year, he was full of praise for the people of Timegate and the fans he met there saying that its a great convention to visit, a sentiment I agree with. Colin signed my figure of himself and happily shook my hand as I left his table, I later had a photo with Colin (on time this time) and it was great to see he was still interacting with the fans making each persons experience with him personal.

Peter Purves played Steven when William Hartnell was the Doctor and his love of the show still shines through today when he talks about the show, we spoke about the Time Meddler story I had recently watched, and his Big Finish story Secret History where Steven meets the 5th Doctor. Peter signed a photo of himself and the 1st Doctor shook my hand and also kissed my wife Helen's hand.

John Levene played Sargent Benton opposite two Doctors the 2nd and 3rd in his time on the show, John was an absolute pleasure to meet he talked to everyone regardless if they wanted an autograph or not. Sgt Benton was a stand out character to me and the little boy I was would never have believed he would one day meet him, a fact I told John who gripped my hand with both his and said bless your heart (I did get a little misty). John made the convention for me and when I met him for his photo shoot he immediately reconsidered me, and to be honest the photo i have of myself with John is one of the best guest photos I have ever had taken. So bless your heart John it was not only a pleasure to meet you, but a honor as well you sir a a true gentleman.

The Sheffield Film and Comic con has a lot to offer fans of a wide variety of shows and is very well organised, there are plenty of merchandising to spend your money on and to be honest I did as did my wife on things for me. I can only see the event going from strength to strength as its first two years have been outstanding, if you can make the event in 2016 you should come and check it out I don't believe you will be disappointed.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Random 10 No 4: The James Palmer Interview.

The Random 10 - No: 4 The James Palmer Interview

Hi Robert. Thanks for the interview. I am an award-nominated author, editor and publisher best known for the alternate history giant monster anthology series Monster Earth. I write science fiction and pulp adventure, and my work has been published by Airship 27, Pro Se Productions, White Rocket Books, and Moonstone. For more info on me and my stuff, visit and

How did you first get into writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even before I knew what a writer was and did. I’ve been writing with an eye toward doing it professionally since I was in high school.

Who or what were your early influences?
The comic books and science fiction I read as a kid, with a smattering of Saturday morning cartoons. Starting with guys like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then moving on to SF writers like Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. Modern writers like Robert J. Sawyer, Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross continue to amaze me with their intelligent futurism and wild imaginations.

Where do you draw your ideas for stories from?
I get ideas from all sorts of places. Old comic books or cartoons, a science article, a snippet of a television show. Anything. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head full formed, others I have to work at them, often combining two ideas before I get a sense of what the story is about. The other day a visual popped into my head of a group of mercenaries and a woman breaking into a mountain crypt, and I wrote the story to figure out why. Two nights ago I finished it. Ideas are weird like that.

Not all ideas will never make it to the page

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

I love all aspects of the writing process, but I hate what comes after, like editing and the production aspects that go along with writing in this new world of indie publishing, like cover design and formatting.

If you could write a story using any character which one would you choose?
That’s a tough one, because there are so many. I’d love to write a Godzilla novel or comic. A pulp character like The Shadow or The Spider would also be fun. I’d probably want to team up multiple characters against some big huge menace.

Your books have some wonderfully designed covers, who designs them and what’s the process on getting the cover you want?
Thanks! I’ve had different people help me over the years. An artist from Singapore named Karl Comendador has done a lot of covers for me, and writer and tattoo artist James R. Tuck has done some of the cover design. I recently got Mark Maddox to start work on a cover for a book that I didn’t write, but am publishing, so I’m very excited about that, and I can’t wait to see it. I’ve just been very fortunate to be able to network with so many super talented artists and cover designers I’ve met at conventions and online on Facebook. I think the process for getting the cover you want just comes down to communicating it to the artist. I’m not an artist, but I know what I like when I see it, and I usually have a vague idea that a good artist can make even better than it was in my head. I think another good point is to not do it yourself unless you know what you’re doing. I don’t, so I try and find others who can do it for me.

You use twitter, conventions and other social media to connect to fans. Do you consider this to be an important part of your work?
Absolutely. Writing is very solitary, and it helps to get out and meet with other like minded creators and fans, even if only online. It’s also great for networking and learning about different publishing opportunities, finding cover artists, that kind of thing, as well as marketing yourself and your books.

Do you have any upcoming books or projects you wish to talk about?
I have several in the immediate pipeline. I just published a short novel called ARCHER OF VENUS (, which is kind of a John Carter of Mars type tale with time travel. It’s the first of a planned trilogy. I have stories coming in a few anthologies, including LEGENDS OF NEW PULP, featuring a new female character I created. It’s coming from Airship 27, and proceeds benefit fellow pulp creator and publisher Tommy Hancock, who is dealing with some medical issues.

My story “Slow Djinn” will appear in another benefit anthology that White Rocket Books is doing. I don’t have the title yet. I also have a story in THE AMAZING HARRY HOUDINI, coming soon from Airship 27, and a story in THE BLACK BAT RETURNS from Moonstone.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m working on the sequel to ARCHER OF VENUS, called SWORDS OF MARS, and getting some original stories together for a new quarterly project I’m creating called MASKED ADVENTURE DIGEST, which will feature several of my stories and one complete novel, and will be available for print and e-book. I hope to have the first issue out by the end of September. Fingers crossed.

How do you like to relax when you’re not writing?
I like to read, spend time with my family. I like watching Godzilla movies with my daughter, who loves them as much as I do. And of course working my way through Daredevil on Netflix.

Where can you be found for anyone who wants to check either you, or
your past and present work?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter ( And my websites are and And for news of my upcoming releases, they can visit either site and sign up for my newsletter. It’s free, and they’ll get a free e-book.


I had the pleasure of meeting James on a resent visit to a convention in the states, James is not only a wonderful writer he is also a great person to meet and talk too. I would encourage anyone who is at a convention that James is attending, to go up and talk with him. I would also like to thank James for taking time from his busy schedule to do this interview, and I wish him well in all his future endeavors. 

On a final note I am currently reading Archer of Venus and its a fantastic story.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sons of Fire # Vol 1

30 years ago Jacob Crowe started a fire which nearly destroyed the town of Black Rock, it was a fire that resulted in the deaths of several Black Rock residents. Jacob is now in prison serving time for his actions when he is asked to tell his side of the story, by a young would be reporter who has been digging into the history of the fire. As part of a school essay that he is writing, the young kid believes there is more to the story than was originally made public. 

Jacobs story is told in a series of flashbacks where we see glimpses of his troubled home and social life, all of which play a part in turning him into the arsonist we know he becomes.  (I'm trying not to give too much away)

Its during the flashbacks that we see the death of his farther and brother who die in a fire he may or may not have started, before been shipped off to stay with his mother who walked out on her family a few years previously. We also get to meet Andrew Danner  the local collage star quarterback, and his girlfriend Sarah Nickles. Andrew is a young man with secrets of his own, and for reasons he only knows seems to have made it his mission to protect Jacob when he needs him the most. Most of the characters we meet in Jacobs flashbacks all seem to have their own agenda and secrets, all of which start to intertwine into the main story arc. 

As a reader you could very easily become lost 
within the story's interweaving plot lines, but thanks to clever writing and good story pacing from writer Adam Lance Garcia,I personally never found that to be the case.

Apart from the cover the story is printed in black and white, however as the Walking Dead comic has proved you don't always need colour to show great visuals. As artist Heidi Black proves throughout this book, I really enjoyed Heidi's 
artwork which was excellent throughout the book. Her lines and shading complement the story superbly, which all helps to set up the atmospheric tone and mood of the book.

Sons of Fire is a dark tale with superhero elements inserted throughout the book, although personally I wouldn't class it as a superhero book. For me Sons of Fire is a coming of age story, where choices made by a young man are looked back on with regret in his later life.

At the end of the book I was keen to read more which I think is a fair indication of how good a book is, and I look forward to Sons of Fire volume 2 which I believe is planned for later this year (please).