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.
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