Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BAT AND SPIDER _____ Launching soon, TALES OF THE BLACK ROOT, a new digital comic series in ACES WEEKLY from the UK

Note: This is an update for my BAT AND SPIDER imprint, which produces original YA horror / thriller / mystery stories. Not to be confused with the main SUPER COOL BOOKS imprint, which develops story franchises like LION CITY ADVENTURES and SHERLOCK HONG ADVENTURES for younger readers.




I hope you’re a comics fan. You’ll understand why I’m so thrilled to write this post.

. . .



Item one.

Earlier this week, I found out that Warren Ellis mentioned my SHERLOCK HONG series in his email newsletter. (It’s called ORBITAL OPERATIONS and you can subscribe to it here.) If you don't already know, Warren Ellis is a great story genius. He has written original comic books, short stories, novels, magazine pieces, bits of journalism, and more. He’s also very generous in sharing his ideas, work processes and recommendations.

Here's the article the newsletter linked to — The Sherlock Startup. If diversity in publishing is important to you, if you’re passionate about self-publishing, if you’re building an audience in the digital space, I hope you find it useful.

. . .

Hanging out with artist Koh Hong Teng

Item two.

I’ve been friends with acclaimed comic artist Koh Hong Teng for over a decade. We’ve experimented with graphic storytelling over the years, but nothing serious. Until now. Our original series TALES OF THE BLACK ROOT was picked up by ACES WEEKLY, the UK digital comics magazine. It's published by another comic book legend, David Lloyd, the artist who worked with Alan Moore on the V For Vendetta graphic novel. Our seven-part story will start running in mid-May.

Illustration by Koh Hong Teng

With TALES OF THE BLACK ROOT, we wanted to create a story universe inspired by classic Chinese horror literature. This often has a lot of fantasy elements and completely bizarre, surreal plot twists. Our first story is called, Killing Time. It’s a revenge tale, and very loosely inspired by a popular Chinese short story, Forging the Swords, written by the legendary author Lu Xun in 1926.

In our storyworld, the Black Root is a rare medicinal herb that produces strange, even magical, effects. It has been the driving force of human history. Because of the Black Root, kingdoms can rise and fall, beggars become heroes, sages turn into lunatics, bizarre dreams become reality, and everyday experiences transform into heavenly quests.

I’ll be sharing more about our creative process soon.


ACES WEEKLY is digital-only. It comes out on Mondays. It features a lot of amazing talent. Each issue contains ongoing stories which run for seven weeks. After that, the seven issues are compiled into a volume, which can then be purchased as a stand-alone collection.

So that’s two ways you can read TALES OF THE BLACK ROOT: either subscribe to the weekly, or wait for the story to end its seven-part run and then purchase the entire volume. Subscription details at the end of this post.

. . .

For the storytelling industry, digital connections are now the most powerful way to bring together creators and fans. We can reach around the world to share ideas, make connections, and experience fresh and exciting art straight from someone else’s imagination.

In both cases, I was actually sitting in my kitchen and checking my email, right here in Singapore, when I got the news. I wasn’t anywhere near a trade show in London, or an industry conference in New York, or a media event in Los Angeles.

This is the new age of publishing. Thanks to Warren Ellis and David Lloyd for showing the way.


— D






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The first ebook series from