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100th Post: Reflecting on Nearly 3 Years

It’s really surprising to see that I started this blog nearly three years ago. And to find that this is my 100th post. Have I really had that many interesting things to say?! Excuse the self-indulgence here, then, as I look back at what’s changed since my very first blog post on 30th April 2010. (In no particular order…)

1. I’m now a freelance writer.
2. I’ve interviewed Matt Smith. (I know; I haven’t said anything about this massive event on this blog yet. But stay tuned!)

Matt and Moffat

3. I launched the Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus site in October 2010.
4. I had my first article printed in Real Travel magazine.
5. I work for the Doctor Who site, Kasterborous.
6. Amy and Rory left the TARDIS last year. (Don’t press me on the matter; I’m still a bit teary.)
7. I have an FdA in Professional Writing. (You can read more about that course here.)
8. Spooks has finished. (Thank God for DVDs!)
9. I’ve started my first novel.
10. I’ve written for the Weston College Higher Education Prospectus.
11. I did the web copy for Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf for both their own website and Amazon.

doctor-who-scarf-4

12. As well as doing the official press release!
13. I’ve started my first children’s book.
14. The Amazing Spider-Man reached #700.
15. I’ve worked for Kasterborous’ sister site, CultBritannia (and you can read my first article here.)
16. I’ve learnt how to add videos to my blog!
17. I wrote The British Comedy Guide’s 10th anniversary celebratory article of The Office.
18. I’ve started a few scripts…
19. … And am searching for an agent.

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

20. I reviewed the Armstrong and Miller Tour for Bristol247
21. … And for Guide2Bristol.
22. The latter of which has been quoted on the official A&M website!
23. I copy-edit regularly for Kasterborous.
24. I reviewed the Day of the Daleks: Special Edition DVD for Kasterborous in two parts (here and here).
25. Then reviewed it for ItchyBristol here.
26. I’ve ran two blog advents across December 2011 and 2012.
27. I’ve worked on four Doctor Who ReKapped articles (learn more about that here), with another one in the works.

A Town Called Mercy 3

28. Clara Oswin Oswald has joined the TARDIS (sort of).
29. Neil Armstrong has passed away.
30. And so has Sir Patrick Moore.
31. The Killers have released a new album, Battle Born (and you can read a review of their single, Runaways here).
32. Avengers Assemble! has been released.
33. My review of the Doctor Who graphic novel, The Dalek Project went online here.
34. I’ve contributed two features to the upcoming Kasterborous Magazine (stay tuned for that).
35. Ray Bradbury has died.

The Illustrated Man

36. I’ve joined Twitter!
37. I’ve reviewed the last episode of Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall, for Cult Britannia.
38. I have worked in a shop, Giggs, during the Christmas 2011 period – a shop which has since gone bust! (Nothing to do with me, I might add.)
39. I’ve read countless books – and you can see my top 10 reads of 2012 here.
40. Two episodes of 1960s Doctor Who have been found!
41. I reviewed Mission to the Unknown for Kasterborous’ Doctor Who@50.
42. The Gunfighters too! (And that’s certainly not the last of my involvement in the project.)
43. I created the Introducing: Doctor Who series for Kasterborous.

The Gunfighters 4

44. Doctor Who Confidential has been axed. (And was voted the best show ever on BBC3. Typical.)
45. I previewed Forbidden Planet’s Doctor Who Fun Day for ItchyBristol.
46. And in a short piece for The Mercury.
47. And finally for Bristol 247.
48. … For whom I also reviewed it.
49. The price of a 1st class stamp has increased to 60p.
50. I reviewed Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf.
51. I write a regular column, Bristol Comics Corner, for Guide2Bristol.
52. Death in Paradise debuted on BBCOne.
53. Tuition fees increased, with a cap at £9,000.
54. … Something which I argued against in this Bristol247 article.
55. Brandon Flowers released his first solo album, Flamingo, and I reviewed it here.
56. I was thanked for my article about Jack Vettriano’s Bristol exhibition.

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

57. I previewed the Slapstick Festival in 2011.
58. I created my own website, using Moonfruit…
59. Then deleted it, as I wasn’t happy with the inability to update.
60. The Dandy ceased publication. (Read my article on that here.)
61. I’ve submitted an article to the Doctor Who book, Celebrate, Regenerate.
62. The Doctor Who Experience opened in London –
63. – Then moved to Cardiff.

JLC dress and Dalek

64. I reviewed Mack the Life, Lee Mack’s autobiography, for The British Comedy Guide.
65. I interviewed comic writer and artist, Jerry Holliday.
66. The Ice Warriors have been confirmed to return in the second half of Doctor Who, Series 7.
67. The world didn’t end on 21st December 2012. (Always a good thing, I find.)
68. The Bristol Comic Expo returned to Brunel’s Old Station.
69. I previewed the 2012 Expo here.
70. And reviewed it here.
71. The James Bond film franchise hit the big 5-0.
72. My former tutor, Marc Leverton, who’s a freelance writer, has written a guest blog post about his experience of publishers.

How To - Journalism

73. A review of his book, How to work as a Freelance Journalist, can be read here.
74. Steven Moffat has left Twitter. (Again, nothing to do with me!)
75. I’ve seen Steven Moffat at the Doctor Who Experience!
76. Sherlock burst onto television in July 2010.
77. I’ve helped Kasterborous begin their 50th anniversary celebrations with monthly Introduction articles.
78. January’s was Frontier in Space.
79. And this month’s is Vengeance on Varos.

Frontier 3

80. Tying into this, my editor called a second Frontier in Space piece I wrote one of the best articles the site has ever published. A massive compliment. You can read The World Behind: Frontier in Space here.
81. I reviewed Lee Mack’s Going Out live tour for Guide2Bristol
82. … And Bristol247!
83. I’ve visited the National History Museum for the first time.
84. Colin Baker appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
85. My article, Room with a View?, was the most-viewed article on Kasterborous in 2012!
86. I’ve begun work on a number of non-fiction books – but researching is a long task!
87. I reminisced on the anniversary of Matt Smith’s debut as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy and Arthur Darvill as Rory here.
88. And celebrated Matt’s Doctor here.

The 11th Doctor

89. I’ve started a short story collection.
90. My jewellery article, With This (Time) Ring…, was surprisingly popular, making the Kasterborous top 10 list of the most-viewed articles of 2012.
91. I looked at the top 10 guest stars in the Tenth Doctor era here and here.
92. I’ve started reading the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
93. T4 On The Beach (held in my hometown) has been cancelled.

David Tennant

94. I’m working on a particularly-exciting documentary idea – though it’s only in development in my head at the minute!
95. I’ve seen Peter Kay live at Manchester’s M.E.N. Arena.
96. Parts of Doctor Who: The Snowmen were filmed in Bristol, as were bits of Night Terrors.
97. I previewed tours by Micky Flanagan, Ed Byrne and Stewart Francis for my local newspaper, The Weston and Worle Mercury.

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

98. I’ve seen the asteroid, 2012 DA14!
99. I’ve added a new section to my blog: Testimonials.
100. I’ve written 100 posts!

But don’t go anywhere. This is just the start.

Thanks for sticking with me this long.

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Exclusive Interview with Jerry Holliday

ADVENT DAY NINETEEN: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Yesterday, my interview with local comic writer and illustrator, Jerry Holliday, as part of my regular comics column, Bristol Comics Corner, was published.

Jerry Holliday

Jerry has launched Bonafide Comics with his graphic novel, Doxie the Dog in Ambienceworld, and I caught up with him to discuss why he’s decided to bring back a character he first created in the 1980s, why he’s gone with independent publishing and the actual creative process. Here’s a quick preview:

“There are definitely advantages (and disadvantages) to self publishing. I’ve always enjoyed it, from printing zines and distributing them when I was 14 years old to this most recent project. Publish on demand is a dream come true for me. It enables you to get your comic, novel, whatever it is, out there without the inventory costs.

On the other hand you have to put a lot of work in with marketing, promotion and distribution, so a publisher can be pretty handy for that if you just want to focus on the product.”

You can read the full interview over at Guide2Bristol here.

Thanks to Jerry, who was a pleasure to interview, and I recommend checking out Bonafide now!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012, Published work

 

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40% Off Avengers Vs. X-Men!

ADVENT DAY FOUR: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Today, a look at my other blog, Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus – and an incredible offer!

It may not be classed as an omnibus, but the Avengers Vs. X-Men Companion is both the size and price of a normal Marvel omnibus… so I guess you kind folks will be interested, right?

AvX Companion

Released in May 2013, the HC is a huge 1088 pages long, featuring every Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-in! Naturally, a large RRP comes alongside the large page count: £75.

But if you pre-order it today (Tuesday 4th December 2012), you can claim 40% off, bringing the price down to just £45! All you need to do it get over to Forbidden Planet International.

It looks to be an amazing book. Here’s the blurb and contents:

Every AvX tie-in, collected in one massive volume! When Captain America declares war on the X-Men, how will Generation Hope and the Avengers Academy react to their mentors’ actions? As the Secret Avengers battle the Phoenix Force in space, Iron Fist discovers the connection between K’un Lun and Hope Summers! And when the Avengers try to secure the Jean Grey School, Wolverine must decide where his loyalties lie! But as the Phoenix Force arrives, tipping the scales of battle, the Avengers and X-Men realize the stakes are higher than they knew — and the that fate of the Earth is in their hands.

Collecting Avengers Academy #29-33, Secret Avengers (2010) #26-28, Avengers (2010) #25-30, New Avengers (2010) #24-30, X-Men Legacy (2008) #266-270, Wolverine & The X-Men #9-16 And #18, AvX: Consequences #1-5, Uncanny X-Men (2012) #11-20, and A-Babies Vs. X-Babies #1, written by Christos Gage, Rick Remender, Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen & Skottie Young, pencilled by Tom Grummett, Renato Guedes, Walter Simonson, Mike Deodato Jr., Rafa Sandoval, David Baldeon, Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw, Jorge Molina, Greg Land, Daniel Acuna, Ron Garney, Gurihiru & others, with cover art by Jim Cheung.

AvX HC

The book is the perfect partner of last month’s Avengers Vs. X-Men hardcover, with an RRP of £55.99. (FPInternational has it for £37.51, though!)

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012, Books

 

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Axel Alonso talks Daredevil and Punisher!

ADVENT DAY THREE: To celebrate advent, I’ll be adding new content to this blog every day in the countdown to Christmas; reviews, opinion pieces, short stories… that sort of thing! So make sure you pop back in between shopping, packing presents and nursing a headache.

Every Friday, Comic Book Resources talks to Marvel’s new Editor-In-Chief, Axel Alonso. It’s always fascinating stuff (especially to me, as I’ve been a fan since… well, forever), but this week’s is particularly of interest, as he talks about two of my favourite characters, Daredevil and the Punisher.

On Daredevil and The Amazing Spider-man, he notes that “the one thing that’s common of both titles is that there’s a real sense of optimism and hope at their core. This has come up in conversation around here — how these titles provide refuge from a world that, right now, is kind of scary and frustrating. Peter Parker and Matt Murdock have big problems, but there’s something fun at the core of those books that may in some small way contribute to their appeal.”

Coming Soon: Daredevil #10.

And Daredevil is certainly getting some rave reviews: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=4089

Now, I have to admit that I haven’t had the chance to read the latest run of DD – I still can’t bring myself to finish Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark’s fantastic run, in fact – but one comic book I definitely can’t wait to read each month is the new Punisher. I second the fantastic reviews it’s getting:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=3836

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=4159

What’s more, the interview with Axel is accompanied by some stunning preview art of Punisher #07-08.

There’s also a nice little moment where Axel discusses the discretion writers must take when creating comics: “Comics are words and pictures, and sometimes the best dialog is the sparsest dialog. The risk of employing lots of silent scenes, however, is the occasional internet complaint about “decompression” or what have you. But at the end of the day, a comic book should entertain and affect the reader, and it doesn’t always need lots of words to do that.”

As a wannabe-comic writer, it’s something worth bearing in mind.

You can read the full interview here:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=35738

And remember to check on my other blog, Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus, for all the latest omnibus news: http://marvelomnibus.wordpress.com/

 
 

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Online nonsense

Hello everyone!

How have you been keeping? Good? Good. Me? Yeah, fine, ta.

I’ve been busy setting up some website nonsense, actually. Yeah, it’s gone well, thanks. Twitter’s not as bad as I thought:

Twitter profile

 http://twitter.com/prbates36

Why, yes, I am following Steven Moffat and Stan “The Man” Lee. Speaking of which, I am still regularly updating my Marvel Omnibus blog. Yeah, take a look sometime:

 http://marvelomnibus.wordpress.com/

 There’s quite a few crazy online activities going on, huh? Yeah, but I’ve got a, sort of, base for it all now:

Moonfruit homepage

http://prbates.moonfruit.com/

There’s a bit of a portfolio there, and I update it with the latest goings-on when I have a free minute. No, don’t worry; this is still where most of my online work will reside. It’s just now got a cousin, or something like that.

 Oh, the course is going well too. Essays galore at the minute, but I still have some spare time to watch Doctor Who, never you mind!

But enough about me; what about you? Oh. Oh, you’ve gone. Okay. Fine. Whatever.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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P-P-P-Published pieces

These last three months have flown by.

The much-anticipated Professional Writing has returned for a second year, and I’m finding it as fun as the last (but don’t tell anyone). The enthusiasm from my class has prompted more pitches, and a brand new blog. A niche, a flight of fancy, an indulgence; call it what you will, but do take a look:

http://marvelomnibus.wordpress.com/

I’ll be posting news and info up as much as possible, so don’t get rid of your internet connection, will you?

Isn’t technology wonderful? Mmmm, but who can beat a good ol’ magazine? So why not pick up Real Travel magazine this month (issue 57; dated December 2010) to see an article I wrote in the Summer? The piece is ‘Have you ever… had a failed plane landing?’ and can be found on page 22. Go on; take a look!

In September, I went to the opening night of The Armstrong and Miller Show Tour – my favourite double act – and loved every second. Well… almost every second; I sank into my chair when the two picked on the audience. The pair still deserved the massive applause (and then some) so I swiftly knocked out some reviews, which can be found here:

http://www.guide2bristol.com/news/955/Comedy-review-The-Armstrong-and-Miller-Show-at-the-Bristol-Hippodrome-theatre

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

And here:

http://www.bristol247.com/2010/09/25/armstrong-and-miller-double-act-deserve-ongoing-popularity/

Armstrong and Miller Bristol247 review

Armstrong and Miller Bristol247 review

And you think that’s it, don’t you? I can tell by the look in your eye. Well, you’d be wrong, my friend. On Monday (22nd November), my absolute favourite comedian, Lee Mack, returns to Bristol, this time to the Colston Hall. And guess who’ll be there…

I went to see Messer Mack in February and begged for an action replay. He (happily, I assume) obliged. So here we come. And what, you may ask, has this got anything to do with p-p-p-published pieces? Well…

http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/what-s-on/lee_mack_in_bristol_1_729707

Lee Mack: Going Out Mercury preview

Lee Mack: Going Out Mercury preview

I know I’m gonna love his show – and accompanying DVD – and can’t wait ‘til Not Going Out returns. Now if I could just get to work for his PR team and slowly rise through the ranks…

In other news:

  • Kudos to the brilliant Karl Pilkington, who has – and will continue to – entertain me with An Idiot Abroad, and his exceptional books. Long will I remain a fan.
  • I’m obviously looking forward to the next Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol, which looks to be just mind-blowing. The Sarah Jane Adventures have fed my obsession, with some fantastic storylines and acting, as have Classic Who DVDs and a convention that came to Weston. I met Sarah Sutton and saw Wendy Padbury again; really lovely people, who I’d love to interview someday (if you’re reading this…?).
  • But not all is well. I’ve just seen a Dolmio advert that rips off the “intruder window” joke from Doctor Who and has taken all of the credit. Feel free to form a protest. I’m trying, y’know.

Well, that’s all for now, but come back soon, won’t you…?

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Published work, Unpublished work

 

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Summer Daze

Everyone is supposed to think summer is marvellous. Yet all those I talk to dislike it. I completely concur, by the way.

Aside from anything else, it’s far from productive. The sun seems to pop up, birds sing, flowers bloom, and I look away in disgust. No, that’s not quite true. I like the jovial nature of summer; it’s the inescapable heat that drives me to distraction. I’ve not been a typical lazy student (I do so hate stereotypes), but I probably should have done a bit more than I have. At least it’s given me more time to indulge in my other loves. For instance…

I’m absolutely loving, loving, loving Brandon Flowers’ Flamingo album. Well done to him on that masterpiece. And here’s to the next The Killers album.

My comic and graphic novels collection has grown once more (though this will never be exclusive to summer), picking up massive omnibuses as often as I can. I’m currently working my way through the brilliant Brubaker/Lark run on Daredevil, in case anyone’s wondering. My find of the summer is probably the complete Man Without Fear miniseries by Frank Millar and my favourite artist, John Romita Jr. Near mint, cheap and off eBay. Never thought I’d say that. I’ve had a couple of comic-related surprises creep up on me too. X-Force: Sex and Violence had the perfect coupling of brilliant writing by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and beautiful art by Gabriele Dell’Otto. One Month to Live is based on a lovely, deep concept; Hawkeye and Mockingbird is lively and clever; while Daredevil: Black and White has been the best read all season. All this and I still haven’t had time to read Shadowland and its many tie-ins.

For you non-comic fans out there, this has been the summer of ideas. I’ve had a lot. That’s not bragging; a lot have been awful. But I’ve hand-picked a few I’m actually quite happy with. Many are still in development, but at least they’ve been picked from the ether. My tutor, Marc, has convinced me to write ideas down, so there are a couple of scribbles in a notebook somewhere. I’m not used to it, really. Writers actually writing?! It’s all a bit alien to me.

Quirky, comical, serious, factual. Ideas just everywhere, and some development on something that began festering about two years ago. Hoping to complete that by next summer.

I’ve begun writing down comic storylines, in case Marvel suddenly beg me to write for all of their characters. I’m prepared. I’m making some progress on an ongoing Daredevil storyline that I’m pretty pleased with; which is also true with a Deadpool plan that’s been brewing. You won’t know any details until Marvel really do beg me for work. So don’t hold your breath.

Where do ideas come from? Well, anywhere. A recent idea for a trilogy of stories (based on OAPs, like all the best ones) emerged while watching Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Best not to ask at this stage.

I haven’t just been sitting in an idea-stew though. I’ve written… things! A couple of features, many-a-review, and scripts (comics and otherwise) ’til they’re coming out of my ears. Now and again, I find myself watching my beloved Coach Trip, thinking, “AREN’T I SUPPOSED TO BE PITCHING STUFF RIGHT NOW?!”

Television hasn’t been very inspiring over the summer. Summer telly is infamous. I find myself in a state of despair every time I see the likes of Big Brother (it’s not George Orwell’s fault, you know) and The X-Factor (of course it’s all staged, you goon!). A couple of gems have stood out, however; Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse was excellent, as always; Sherlock was genius and inspirational; The Deep was mostly superb; and Doctor Who (which just nuzzled the edge of summer) was, of course, the best. But best not to look at the rest of the schedules.

Ah well. At least Spooks is back.

Summer: it’s been a mixed bag. But I think I’ll remember the good stuff.

(PS. I, also, have some exciting news, but that’s going to have to wait until I get everything sorted out. So come back soon, won’t you?)

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2010 in Unpublished work

 

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