Lost Tales: The Reluctant Fortune-Teller

Exclusive to The Phoenix Comic, here is a snippet of today's feature - Lost Tales: The Reluctant Fortune-Teller.

It's a story from Ethiopia, an amazingly rich and vibrant country I was fascinated to learn lots more about while researching this comic. The story features an amazingly lazy husband, and his frustrated, long-suffering wife who finally snaps and pushes him into a job as a fortune-teller, with predictably hilarious results! Not based on any husbands I know... 

So if you just can't get enough Lost Tales in the new book, pick up a copy of The Phoenix issues 240 and 241! Or, for that matter, if you read the comic and want more, pick up Lost Tales the book!

Lost Tales is here!

It's here, the wait is finally over! Eight wonder-filled world tales featuring lonely princesses, cunning merchants, invisible warriors, sea-monster best friends and many, many more awesome characters from the common literary heritage of humankind!

Lost Tales is now available to buy on my website (go here if you want the book signed with a sketch) and on The Phoenix Comic website (go here if you want to a limited edition signed bookplate! Hurry thought - they really are limited!)  

Lost Tales Out Tomorrow! Tales from far away and close to home...

Lost Tales collects eight astonishing and wondrous tales filled to the brim with princesses, magical creatures and clever peasants! I'm especially fond of this one: Riben, Robin and Donald McDonald, which features a wily farmer outwitting his bulling neighbours with clever schemes that get progressively more and more insane. The story was once common throughout Ireland and the West Highlands of Scotland (my version in based in the Highlands, and includes the more, er, grisly details that often get edited out). Amazingly though, I've also read versions from all over the world including a remarkably similar one from the nomadic Turkic tribes of the Central Asian Steppe! Now that's a widely-traveled story!

With the release of the book tomorrow (4th August), pre-order from my shop for a free quick sketch in your book!

Uncover "Lost Tales" - only one week to go...

The Lost Tales book launch is just over one week away! (Thursday 4th August) I don't know about you, but I am super excited! Here is a little snippet featuring a philosophical rice-and-beans street vendor from the story Two Merchants, just one of the fantastic fables featured in the book. Pre-order today from my website and receive a signed copy the moment it is released!! 

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Hay Festival

May 26-27 I'll be at the Hay Festival for Children & Families with The Phoenix and other Phoenix creators! There will be a host of Phoenix Comic Workshops at various times on both days. Booking information can be found on the Hay Festival's website.
Also check out Phoenix comic artist, Zak Simmonds-Hurn, who did the illustrations for this programme. Lovely work Zak!

Bradford Literature Festival


Howdy folks!

I'll be at the Bradford Literature Festival on Sunday the 17th of May. If you're in the area, I hope you'll join me at one of my events.

I'll be running two events:

This is a ticketed event. Please click on the links above to book your tickets.

IDP : 2043

So, last year I was at the Edinburgh Book Festival, doing kids' workshops with The Phoenix, and I got a strange request. Would I like to be a part of a collaborative graphic novel, being commissioned by the Book Festival, to celebrate their 30 year anniversary?
Well, not likely I was going to turn it down. Especially when they explained the premise: Scotland 30 years into the future (30 years of the book festival - 30 years in the future...) after a massive global-warming-induced flood has left all the major cities underwater, and a new city of refugees (the Internally Displaced Persons of the title) has sprung up around SkyFarm, a new high-tech farming skyscraper in New Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland.

Complicated, high-concept and full of social injustice; just how I like 'em. My job was to take the characters of the first chapter (written by comics legend Pat Mills, although at the time I didn't know that - they were very cloak-and-dagger about who was actually involved in the early stages), tell the story of how they met and flesh out the world a bit.

Well, the result is IDP:2043, a glorious sprawling bastard mutant of a book, throwing 10 wildly different writers and artists together and kind of just seeing what comes out. Comics and crimewriting goddess Denise Mina had the unenviable role of story editor, in charge of herding this group of cats into some sort of coherent narrative.


(Photograph by Stewart Attwood)

Celebrated French graphic novelist and illustrator Barroux, Costa Award winner Mary Talbot and artist Kate Charlesworth, ‘godfather of British comics’ and creator of 2000AD Pat Mills and graphic novelist Hannah Berry, enfant terrible of Scottish letters and author of Trainspotting Irvine Welsh and graphic artist Dan McDaid, graphic novelists Adam Murphy and Will Morris. Story editor: crime writer and graphic novelist, Denise Mina.

A selection of pages, one from each of the six, wildly different chapters:

IDPBerryidp-2043-will-norris-page-5IDP_Ch2_P01 copyidp-2043-irvine-welsh-dan-mcdaid-freight-books-edinburgh-book-festival idp-2043-denise-mina-barroux-freight-books-edinburgh-book-festival Page1-Ch6

Here's a few more pics from my chapter, coloured by my wife, Lisa:

Illustration from IDP 2043


Articles and reviews:

The Edinburgh Book Festival - official press release

The Scotsman "It’s great to see the book festival try something new but IDP: 2043 isn’t the “white knuckle ride of a thriller” promised on the jacket, it’s a plodding presentation of a few interesting ideas and a lot of clichés." Brian Ferguson (Ooh, burn!)

The Herald "But what I'm hopeful for is … God, am I hopeful for anything?" Hannah Berry, in interview with Teddy Jamieson

The Guardian "It's far from tidy, and the final chapter has to make some improbable leaps to get to its conclusion, but this is a quirky and thoroughly enjoyable work." James Smart

The Independent "Special note must be made of Murphy and his larger than life chapter, focusing on Cait’s anger at a dinner party for the rich, and exposing the class tensions that have been bubbling away. It is here that our protagonist truly comes into her own, more than just paper and ink, demonstrating real emotion that pulls the reader in to her life, crackling with anger alongside the fiery redhead." Laura Sneddon.

Wow 24/7 "Those who have caused most of the issues can’t see those who suffer. “I think it’s a wonderful metaphor for what’s going on.” Me, quoted from the EBF panel discussion by Heather McDaid

Buy the book here.

The Phoenix, The Guardian, The Metro, Oh my!


Earlier this week, The Phoenix took over the G2 section of the Guardian. CorpseTalk graced the pages with Daniel Hartwell and Neill Cameron’s Pirates of Pangaea, Neill Cameron’s How to Make Awesome Comics, Tamsin and the Deep by Neill Cameron and Kate Brown, Squid Bits by Jess Bradley, and Von Doogan by Lorenzo Etherington.

If you would like, you can read the full Guardian article here.




You can read more about the feature from David Fickling Books here, and a more in-depth article on The Phoenix by Dan L.

For those in the back row…

'The Phoenix is a phenomenon: a beautiful, enjoyably silly story magazine for girls and boys – it’s advert-free and it’s the longest-lasting new launch in the market in decades.'
- the Guardian

You can get your weekly copy of The Phoenix by subscribing here.

Check out The Phoenix shop for the Phoenix Presents series:



CorpseTalk Season One by yours truly. 


Von Doogan and the Curse of the Golden Monkey, by Lorenzo Etherington. 


Bunny vs Monkey: Book one, by Jamie Smart. 

With more amazing titles due out soon!

Still curious about The Phoenix? How’s about a little peek into what goes into the weekly comic. Here’s a little comic I created with interviewer John-Paul Flintoff, about the Ficklings, which featured in the Guardian last summer (2013).



In other, ahem, news… I also appeared in The Metro in a piece called Desert Island Books. Check it out:


If you made it to the bottom of the post - well done and thank you :-)



Review : CorpseTalk Book Season 1

Woo hoo! A great review from Richard Bruton at The Forbidden Planet blog.

Richard says:

"Each strip races by, a delight every time, Murphy getting the tone spot on, lightweight but thorough, information bundled with the laughs."

Corpse Talk_INTERIORS-Page 36 (1)

"I simply love that panel. The kinetic delight of Cleo being spun out of hiding, her vivaciousness to the fore, Caesar thrown back in surprise. So much going on, great cartooning. And yet so easy to miss. He does this sort of thing all the way through, you just need to stop and take it in."

"Corpse Talk is funny, it’s entertaining, it’s educational and information packed. What more could you possibly want?"

Pre-orders available here with a special drawing of your favourite personage from history as a corpse.

Also, discounts available this week on pre-orders from The Phoenix Shop!