Thursday, 10 March 2011

Walking on air

A red letter day today because I just packaged up the script and layouts for the first episode of Mirabilis season two and sent them winging their way over to Leo. In amongst readying all of our digital channels and getting the 200 pages of Mirabilis: Winter proofed for the imminent hardcover release, I haven't had a chance to put pen to paper (that is, fingers to keyboard) and actually do any new writing for months. And that's what I've been bursting to get on with more than anything else, because the ideas are flying thick and fast and you get to the point where you feel your head might just explode if you don't let them out!

Not to give any spoilers, but those of you who've already read season one will know that it ends with quite a cliffhanger, leaving a couple of our main characters in pretty deep water if not dead. The story picks up two months later, on the morning of the spring equinox, and nothing has been heard from those characters in all that time. So I'm starting out by exploring how the world has changed now that the green comet is getting nearer and magic is weaving its way into the fabric of daily life, and then I'm focusing in on the sharper and deeper impact that the disappearance of those two (whew - nearly gave their names away!) has had on those left behind. As Jack is fond of saying, "Everything changes," and in the episode I've just finished writing there are several OMG moments that are guaranteed to leave regular Mirabilis readers stunned. They even shocked me, and I wrote 'em!

We've got the whole eight issues of Spring pretty much mapped out now. So I know we're going to meet some new characters who are destined to be major players - some nice, some not so, some downright horrid. I know we'll be going to India, Atlantis, Valhalla, Shangri-La, Bloomsbury and Dorking. I know that relationships are going to get shuffled like cards, hearts will be broken, and at least two lead characters are facing tragic ends. I'm at that happy stage for a writer when the characters have taken over and all I have to do now is listen to what they're saying to me and get it on the page.

It's going to be great seeing the new issues going through the production line. Leo's pencils are a delight; I don't know whether it's because that's when the events of the story first come alive, or simply because loose sketches are so full of energy, but that's almost my favorite part of the process. Then my other favorite part is when the inks go on and everything acquires a real weight and luxurious detail. And then there's my equally favorite bit, when Nikos and his assistant Mike put the colors on and the whole story goes from being my script to a cinematically vibrant work of art. For a writer, there's nothing to equal it.

So when will you get to see the new issues? We're planning on #9 being ready by the middle of May, and therefore on Graphicly, Comics+ and our own Mirabilis iPad app by June 1st. Then we're going to aim to stick to a bimonthly schedule, meaning that the first half of season two will be reaching a climax at the end of November. (Seems a long way off? When you have 120 pages of a comic book like Mirabilis to create and publish, trust me, that's the blink of an eye.) Anyway, it's going to be a blast for us working on these new issues and bringing all those amazing story developments to life, and I think you're going to have even more fun reading them. In the meantime, there are eight issues to collect digitally for iPad, iPhone, Android and PC/Mac - so don't be shy, jump right in!


  1. What location are you choosing to set Shangri-La in? I believe that there are several locations all over Asia considered to fit the description of the place as given in Lost Horizon. Many of these are in: India, China, Tibet and Pakistan, as well as other places. A recent, popular new theory is that Shangri-La is inspired by Hunza Valley in Pakistan (the author went there before writing the novel), and apart from the beauty of the valley, the people there are remarkably long-lived and sprightly. Unfortunately, it's been severely affected by natural disasters.

  2. It's Shangri-La, Hamza, so its exact location will be hard to pinpoint, if not meaningless, though I'll certainly be drawing inspiration from all sorts of sources - including the Hunza Valley, thanks for the tip! But mostly it's one of those places that exist in a logic-defying geography that's only possible because of the green comet. As Mr Gaiman puts it in Sandman #39: "...the soft places, where the geographies of dream intrude upon the real."

  3. Sounds interesting and can't wait to read the comics. As a fun fact, many scientists say that the people of Hunza Valley are the "Happiest People in the World" and are even more long-lived and hardy than the Sherpa people (of either Nepal or Tibet, although I can't recall which).

  4. I just read in yesterday's paper that the happiest people in the world are sixtysomething male Asian Jews living in Hawaii. They found one guy who fit the bill, and he said, "Sure I'm happy, I guess." (Well, what else?) The Hunza Valley sounds a better bet for Mirabilis - I need to do some research into that, always one of the most fun parts of writing.

  5. Well my info regarding the "happiness" of the valley's people is somewhat outdated (from a few years ago I believe), plus the recent flooding/landsliding there has to dampen the spirit, even if you're among some of the longest-living people on Earth!