Monday, 12 April 2010

Cloud 109 and the lunch that lasted till breakfast

Like a stack of dominoes tumbling over, or a single fissile atom setting off a chain reaction, a whole bunch of blogs were late this weekend because of a long lunch chez Morris with the incredibly talented Peter Richardson and David Orme, artist and writer respectively of Cloud 109.

I say a long lunch - it was very long, and turned into rather more than just lunch. After chicken satay sandwiches, a delicious banoffi pie that Peter brought from Cook in Battle, hours of interesting conversation, and many cups of tea in the glorious spring sunshine, David had to run to catch his train, but Peter was almost out the door when we managed to drag him back, ply him with beer and wine and lasagne, set the creative world to rights - and the next thing we knew, a phone was buzzing like a trapped insect. Well, it couldn't be mine or Roz's because we never switch them on. It was in fact Peter's wife, just calling to tell him that he'd missed his train home. Undeniably true - it was one of those evenings where we all thought it was about 9:30 but the clock insisted it was nearly midnight.

In the course of the evening, we cooked up the germ of a master plan to free comic creators from their shackles. Let the Empire tremble and the Sith scatter in fear, the rebels are about to commandeer their own Death Star and get thermonuclear on their asses! Well, maybe not anything quite so belligerent, that's the Lussac-Saint-Émilion talking (thanks, David) - but it is an exciting and slightly Marxist idea for pooling a mass of scintillating creative talent in a way that allows the writers and artists to reap the rewards of their own labours. Oh, and that incidentally will give birth to the new Creepy and Eerie. I'll be getting touch with some of you offline to talk about that.

Apart from the opportunity to get together with two fellow authors whose work I hugely admire, I also got my mitts on a copy of the Cloud 109 teaser book from Lulu. The art continues a little further with the story than we've so far seen on the blog, but the book also includes the script right to the end of book one. Well, my resolve not to look at that lasted all of ten seconds. Obviously I wouldn't dream of putting up any spoilers here, but I will say that the ending is everything you'd hope for - not only tying up the first part of the story, but planting the seeds that will take it on in the next two books. And I am in awe of David's deft control in telling a story at cinematic speed without ever seeming like it's rushed or missing anything. One to watch out for. Even Roz, who is not usually a comics reader, has lately been intrigued by both Mezolith and Cloud 109, and if I can drag her away from Nail Your Novel long enough, she's promised to do us a review.

Here by the way is the original image of Goth Gina in the Cloud 109 chatroom. Peter explains on the blog why he changed this by giving her spooky contact lenses, and for the sake of the story I think he was right to do so. But he did mention on Sunday that he liked the sad beauty of the simpler version. And just to show that every comics heroine needs a Goth outfit in their wardrobe, here's Estelle (as drawn by Martin and by Leo) freeing that inner sexy darkness. Down, boys.


  1. Not forgetting the banoffee pie, brought by David and Peter. I'm sure it contained substances essential to creativity, and should definitely be eaten regularly.

  2. Yes indeed - how could I have forgotten that banoffi pie? My waistline will remember it for some time to come. Now duly recorded above!

  3. Ahhhh you guys are just awesome - really wonderful get together, I'm still fizzing away as I try and meet some paid work deadlines.

    But a very exciting weekend and I'm quite convinced that the fruits of the fabulously inspirational brainstorming will have ripples way beyond the immediate reach of those delicious satay sandwiches and the slices of banoffi pie.