YALC London! Wish I’d been there! A feast of Books, Comics & Films, now that is what I call cool. It’s a word that gets bandied around a lot (particularly by me)
but hey, I just don’t think there’s ever been a really convincing user-friendly replacement. Bad. Sick. Wicked. Awesome. Swaggy. They’ve all got their place and their devotees I guess, but I’m sorry, for me nothing does the job quite like cool. It’s clean, simple, rolls off the tongue, even rolls back the years. From Jimmy Dean to Kerouac to 60s Paris to Greenwich Village to Miles Davis through to Heisenberg’s Pork Pie hat in Breaking Bad. Was that cool incarnate or what?
But I digress. The YALC London! Next time I’m rocking up for sure. Hopefully with The Savage Kingdom and its sequel out by then, I might even get an invite. A boy can dream. You see, even as a fantasy novelist with a long and pretty illustrious screenwriting career behind him, I still hanker after that visceral connection I felt when I picked up my very first Marvel Comic. That was a very big deal to me. Still is. I’d never seen anything quite like it, and it just kind of flicked a creative switch and set me on the road towards becoming a writer. Of course back then my family didn’t have two pennies to rub together, so comic books were a luxury we couldn’t really afford.
But out of adversity as they say… I got around the problem by drawing my own. Frame by frame. Page by page. Copying others at first, before branching out and inventing my own characters and stories. Below is a snap from a pencil rendition (with apologies to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, I was 12 and knew nothing about copyright!) of the origin of Spider-Man. I drew the whole comic. Spent months on it. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a great tool for learning about the economy of story telling even if I couldn’t afford the crayons to colour it in! Or maybe I just knew instinctively I wasn’t an inker or colorist. Anyway, the rest is history.
So who knows, maybe a few years down the line some author or graphic novelist or filmmaker will write a blog about how YALC and The Whispering of the Pages launched their career. Now wouldn’t that be cool.