New review of FLU – UN:BOUND!

Pretty cool review of FLU at UN:BOUND:

Following my recent spout of Zombie book reviews, Flu by Wayne Simmons is a modern- Zombie Apocalypse story set in present day Belfast, following different individuals as they try to make the best of a bad situation and survive.

The story begins with two police officers carrying out one of the governments “quarantines” on a family that has begun showing signs of the mysterious flu virus sweeping the country. People show signs of a sniffle, and normal cold symptoms that gradually get more severe until the disease proves fatal, and it’s highly contagious.

Oh, and once you die? You start walking around again.

The book follows model-like ex-lawyer Geri, who comes across squatters McFall and Lark, as well as Karen, a young church-goer who has found herself under the protection of ex-terrorist Pat. Also presented to us, are George and Norman, the two policemen who have seen the quarantines first-hand and are haunted by more than just the walking dead. Then there’s the ex army-man Jackson, who has left his family behind to work with sadistic researcher Gallagher in an attempt to attempt to stop the outbreak.

 Read more:

http://hagelrat.blogspot.com/2010/09/flu-wayne-simmons.html

Interview – Dan Henk, Tattoo Artist and Writer

zombiedan

 

Up next in my series of interviews with people that I particularly respect within the sci-fi and horror genre is tattoo artist and writer, Dan Henk. Dan is respected worldwide as one of the finest horror and realist tattoo artists around and I’m honoured that he has taken the time out of a hectic schedule to answer these questions.    

WS: So, who are you and how do you contribute towards the horror and sci-fi genre?

DH: I’m Dan Henk. I do everything from paintings, storyboards, writing, tattooing and secret assassinations for the CIA – but don’t tell anyone!

My paintings and writing almost always involve horror and I’ve been in quite a few galleries, 6 books and a slew of magazines. Tattoo-wise I do a slightly broader range of material, almost anything realistic (except religious stuff). however, I’m fairly well know in the tattoo community as a horror artist. I’ve been a featured tattoo artist in over 30 magazines and 5 books.

flyboyprint

WS: What attracts you to the horror/ sci-fi genre?

DH: It’s the best genre going! Fuck that run of the mill “daily drama” shit!

Seriously, I think any good story and/or artwork needs a good sense of drama, suspense and other foundation elements but any story is better when you add an element of sci-fi or horror!

WS: You specialise in horror realism. Why do you think people like to get archetypal horror images tattooed on their bodies?

DH: They identify with the movies. The outcast, “anti-square-conformist world” implications of it. To them, and to me, the monsters are the heroes, they’re the stars that make the story worth telling.

pennywise

WS: How much of your tattoo work is custom? How different is the process to creating a custom horror tattoo to reproducing an image from a film/ comic etc.?

DH: Well, everything I do, I draw up with my take on it. So it might be Travis Bickle or Jason Vorhees but it isn’t a dead ringer from a scene you will see in a movie. I often put my own slant on a customer’s idea to shift even the more serene or everyday material towards horror. After all, that is why they came to me. For example, I’m currently doing a Batman sleeve. I made the Batman more dark and aggressive and the Joker a zombie. I do portraits as well, again with a bit of a reinterpretation because; although there are plenty of straight forward portrait artists, people tend to come to me because they want something a bit darker.

WS: You’ve also written a sci-fi/ horror novel – tell us a little about that.

DH: After 5 years and way too many hurdles, I completed my first full length novel called By Demon’s Driven. The full title is taken from an Alan Moore quote, which says “Thus mollified she goes, harsh words forgiven, down highways in the dark, by demons driven”.

BDDart

I’m pretty excited about it and have been pimping it out everywhere! It mainly centers around an antisocial loner who stumbles across an alien artifact. He ends up immersed in a sweeping, wild ride that involves everything from the fall of the US government to a revisitation by unfriendly aliens.

jasonprint

I painted a front and rear cover for the book and am currently working on 10 interior illustrations.

The novel is currently finished and edited. As I wait on feedback from a few publishers, I’ve also just written a short story “The Beauty of Ignorance”. Can’t keep away from the beast for too long!

WS: How important are conventions to your career?

DH: I do maybe 15 conventions a year. This year even more. This summer alone I went to Liverpool, Sheffield, Amsterdam, Breda (Netherlands), Belgium and Austria.

It gets my name out to the point where about 2/3 of my customers travel from other cities to see me. I’m sponsored by Eternal Ink – in fact I just made a set of zombie tattoo colors called the Living Dead Set, which they’ve added to their repertoire – and Emillion, a European machine maker, is building a Dan Henk version of his tattoo machine, featuring a backpiece incorporation – the Necronomicon symbol – and one of my paintings as the coil wrap.

None of this would be possible without the exposure of conventions which have enabled me to work by appointment only, in a room of my own with a full flat screen and DVD player that features a constant run of horror movies.

elizabeth short

WS: Finally, what’s next for Dan Henk and how can people keep in touch with you?

DH: I have way too many projects right now! I’m constantly on the road and all my stops are up on my website (www.danhenk.com). I’m featured in three tattoo books that are due to be published soon: this includes one book on skull paintings and a book on the Monica Art show (Dan’s late wife – editor). Paul Acker and I are finishing up an 18 month calendar that hosts 19 of our paintings, smaller black and white horror drawings, the birthdates of horror movies icons and the premieres of classic movies. I’m working on a t-shirt for Eternal Tattoo, character design for an upcoming movie and a bi monthly full page comic strip in Tattoo Artist Magazine. Paul and I will be at the 2011 World Horror Convention (Austin, TX) and we’ll have everything from prints and our calendar to hopefully copies of my novel for sale there!

DH: Thanks for the interview Wayne, and see you in hell!

WS: Sounds good, mate. Save me a good pitch. Somewhere nice and warm 😀

For tattoo work or any other information on Dan – e-mail: dan@danhenk.com

Flu and Zombie Britannica GIVEAWAY!

 

Zombiezbcover

We have signed copies of two great zombie novels from Snowbooks to give away to THREE lucky readers.

Wayne Simmons’s Flu, described by one reviewer as “a bloody fun read and an absolute page turner”, has sold over 2,000 copies since its publication on April 30, and has been received well by readers and reviewers alike. One critic said: “I can honestly say that this is the best novel I’ve read since Scott Sigler’s Infected and Contagious. A must read for every zombie fan.”

Zombie Britannica has been described as “a swashbuckling tale that will keep you turning the pages”. One reviewer said: “It took me less than two days to read this book and it was so addictive I had to read it again, and images stayed with me for weeks.”

 Three of you can win signed copies of Flu and Zombie Britannica by answering this simple, zombie-themed question:

Night of the Living Dead was the movie that made Zombie Godfather, George A Romero, a cult name in 1968. Name the similarly titled movie, released in 2007 and directed by Scott Thomas:

A) Flight of the Living Dead
B) Fright of the Living Dead
C) Twiddly-dee-dum-dee of the Living Dead

Send your answer and postal address using the contact forms at thomasemson.net or waynesimmons.org by September 30, 2010. The first three correct answers drawn from our cauldron will win a signed copy of Flu and Zombie Britannica. Good luck!

Flu and Zombie Britannica are available from all good bookstores and online retailers, including Waterstone’s, Amazon, Play and the Book Depository.

The Book Depository – watch people shop for books live!

I’ve made no secret about The Book Depository being, in my view, currently the best place to shop for my horror novel, FLU if you are from outside of the UK or Ireland. TBD is doing FLU at the outrageous price of £4.78 (approx $7.45 USD) with FREE international shipping! However, what’s also cool about TBD is that you can watch people shop for books live! And for some reason that entertains me. See for yourself, it’s addictive!

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/live

Interview – Stephen Downey – Artist (Cancertown, Torchwood Magazine)

Our first interview features Belfast-based comicbook artist, Stephen Downey!

WS: Tell us a little about yourself: what contribution are you currently making to the horror/ sci-fi genre?

SD: I’m a Belfast-based artist that mostly draws comicbooks. Most of my work as yet tends to focus on the monstrous or gory.

superhero sample

WS: Your first major release was Cancertown (Insomnia Publications). What’s it about? 

SD: Cancertown is a story written by English writer Cy Dethan. It tells the tale of Vincent Morley, who suffers from a massive brain tumour that enables him to travel between London and the monsterous alternate version that he dubs ‘Cancertown’. Morley, with the help of a little burnt girl called Bugfuck, sets out to retrieve the lost people who fall into this horrific place, but the monstrous residents of Cancertown have their own plans… 

Cy wrote a brilliant script that was really fun to draw and my artistic collaborators, Mel Cook on colours and Nic Wilkinson on letters, really brought a lot of atmosphere and style to my black and white artwork.

It was great seeing my first major work (I’d drawn a few pages for the Belfast anthology Small Axe a few years previously) in such a well presented and put together graphic novel available in both comic stores such as Forbidden planet and a lot of the big book stores like Waterstones and Amazon.co.uk

Cancertown spread
 

WS: Recently, you got involved with the BBC’s Torchwood Magazine. How did that come about?

SD: I met the Torchwood comics editor Martin Eden at BICS, a comic con in Birmingham, last year. I had drawn a few superhero sample pages as well as showing some of my Cancertown and Slaughterman’s Creed pages. Martin really liked my work so we kept in touch and a few months later, when he needed an artist for an 11 page story, he emailed me. I’d been a fan of the show and jumped at the chance to add something to the Torchwood mythos, including a new villain, Mr. Q.

It will be on the magazine racks in the UK inside the Torchwood Magazine on August 19th, then reprinted in the US early next year.

Cancertown spread2

 

WS: So, what is talesofthe.com?

SD: Talesofthe.com acts as a showcase for Northern Irish creative talent. It started because a lot of my friends are creative types and interested in different media. Some of them are studying film, others are musicians, writers and artists and we felt having a place to showcase creative media from Northern Ireland would give us an incentive to produce more collaborations as well as show off work from other local creators. We sometimes have themed months, but usually it is open to anything local creators want to submit.

Talesofthe.com is open to all NI creators, and we try to hook people up with collaborators, for eg find an artist to create illustration for some prose. Everone keeps the rights to their own material so any NI residents can email contact@talesofthe.com if they have any pieces to submit.

WS: What are you working on now? 

SD: I’ve just finished my second graphic novel Slaughterman’s Creed, again with writer Cy Dethan and letterer Nic Wilkinson. Joining me on art duties this time is local inker Andy Brown and Scottish colourist Vicky Stonebridge. Its a horror/mob blend and its titular character, Sidney is an uneducated killer that knows only the trade of the slaughterman which he employs to get rid of anybody his boss Big Lenny Addison doesn’t like. Things change when Lenny asks Sidney to go against his code and Sidney turns on Addison’s human trafficking empire, determined to bring it down.

I’ve a few covers to do for the series, which I’m working on at the moment. The book will be released digitally this year and out in graphic novel format early 2011.

Slaughtermans creed panel

WS: What are your hopes for the future?

SD: At the minute comicbook illustration is only a part time job, so I’m hoping to work my way into a successful fulltime career, ideally working with some established properties but still mixing that up with creating and drawing my own characters and stories.
WS: Any advice for others who want to get into comics writing/ drawing? 

SD: The old cliché is to keep drawing/writing constantly, but I’d also recommend doing some research on your trade. For artists books such as ‘How to Draw the Marvel Way’ and Scott McClouds ‘Understanding Comics’ can be really helpful at highlighting storytelling techniques you may not necessarily think of.  The Loomis books on anatomy and figure drawing, which you can find online as PDFs, are a great help for drawing people too.

WS: How important are conventions to you, as someone entering the genre industry? 

SD: I’ve found comic conventions invaluable in getting work and making contacts in the industry. Every comic I’ve drawn can somehow link back to a meeting at a convention, the big ones being in Bristol and Birmingham once a year – which I found out about through the 2D festival in Derry. Even if you don’t get a job immediately at a convention you’ll hear about various companies that you can send samples to, and collaborators to work with.

Slaughtermans creed panels

WS: Where can people find out more about you and your work?

SD: If anyone wants keep up with my forthcoming projects or see some upcoming art, including some work in progress stuff, you can follow my blog at stephendowney.blogspot.com or www.stephendowneygallery.com

WS: Anything else you want to say which hasn’t been covered.

SD: Not too much. Just thanks for the interview and maybe one day if your readers keep an eye out they will see a collaboration between us.

WS: Well, I can only say amen to that! So stay tuned, folks! You never know! Thanks again to Stephen for taking the time to talk to us.