Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Christopher Fowler ( has been chronicling the adventures of Bryant & May for some time now and I have to admit that it was David here at the Corvus Rookery who introduced me to the delights of London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit. I have so enjoyed following their endeavours to rid the city of such criminals as the Leicester Square Vampire while having to contend with increasingly hostile management from the Home Office, that I want to let you into the secret.

Initially set up during the Second World War to deal with cases that could adversely affect the nation’s morale, the Peculiar Crimes Unit handles bizarre cases and find connections that anyone else would have missed. As with any series there is continuing delight from the characters that people the PCU, especially the two elderly detectives who refuse to be either promoted or pensioned off.  They each personify a different approach to detective work, one modern, tech savvy, suave and a ladies’ man; the other intuitive, sensitive to the psychogeography of the city, it’s history and liable to involve mystics, witches and all manner of unorthodox methods.

Fowler is a class act. His love of the city shines through each paragraph, London is the third character in this series, as we read, we learn of the history of this city, the layer upon layer of half remembered events and people that still influence the present. I have savoured every one of the series, and I wait impatiently for the new volume The Invisible Foe to be released on 2nd of August.

Fowler writes beautiful prose and weaves complex plots that yield their secrets slowly. His characters are believable, their motivations like our own. Each novel wears its’ research easily, it aids the telling of the tale, it is not flash, or merely an information dump that you come across in inferior authors work. You have a week to catch up on the first nine books, so you’d better get on with it, hadn’t you.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Those clever people at Time Bomb Comics ( have produced another fantastic novel, London Calling, ok it was published in 2010 and I am a little tardy in reviewing it, but it is brilliant. Written by Stephen Walsh with art by Keith Page, London Calling is a multi-reality romp, which works on so many levels and is not afraid to play with the readers expectations. The layers of reality peel away like the skins of an onion.

There are many references to post-war British culture, I read it three times before I felt I had the measure of the story. Among my favourites was, in the background of a frame the image of the Drifters-that’s The Shadows before they made it big. The text abounds with these little details. It is a joy.

The art work matches the cleverness of the text and makes the jumps in the fabric of reality more believable by presenting realistic variations on London. This is a quality graphic novel.

London Calling presents a number of possible futures and probable pasts, it expects the reader to keep up with the reality shifts while it throws a generous dose of walk-on appearances by famous and fictional characters into the mix. This is superb tale telling. I only have one question: When’s the next one out?

Thursday, 12 July 2012


After service was so rudely interrupted last week by a smug round of back slapping here at the Rookery following the very positive review of CO2, this week we are posting the second part of Tim Hart's musings on the creation of Victoriana. Take it away Tim!

So the 'Agency of the Eye' (named after an English literature concept) uniforms were based on what Domonick wears in the trailers (although his is modified with accoutrements for his rogue nature). Basically a black, long half-cape coat with a decent hat and the eye-masks.

The masks were a nightmare for design. After varying designing and redesigns on bits of old till roll from work (where I do a lot of my thinking). I came to a conclusion that the full face mask, although offering anonymity was starting to look like an aid to bizarre fetish. Especially when I was trying to work out what kind of mouth pieces to have and everything was looking quite Gimpish. For a family friendly story, I had to reconsider rapidly.  So I decided to lose the lower half of the mask and go for a Venetian style one. This idea was reinforced by a photo I saw of Saskia wearing one and it got me thinking about the old Domino masks worn by people like the lone ranger and Zorro. Especially as I have to be able to reproduce it as a prop for the filming of the trailers. The solitary eye motif was must on the mask, representing the all-seeing watcher of London. It represents a lot of things.

The script for the issues had been given to George and I eagerly awaited to see her fantastic creation based on my ideas and she didn't disappoint. A full page of Agency members, all varying styles of dress with pinstripe (a nice evolution from the earlier Agency images in the comic where they are still very normal looking Victorian dress). But she had taken my crude biro picture and turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse. The mask now covered the entire top of the head from the nose up and the lens eye were now almost camera like aperture. If (God Willing) I get a live action film, these will look bloody amazing. It's a nice feeling when things come together like this.

Thanks Tim. 

There will be more about Victoriana over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


I’m interrupting normal service here at the Corvus Rookery to announce that CO2 has received its first review, and what a review it is! Golden Eagle, the noted blogger and book reviewer ( has recently posted a very positive review of our humble preview. She describes it as “unique and unusual...particularly due to the setting and format...the preview maintains its integrity through visual continuity and a strong setting.” She ends her review by awarding CO2 a thumping 4.5 out of 5! Thank you Golden Eagle.

The question I have to ask you all out there reading this is “why haven’t you got a copy?” You can email us and we can fix that.

Normal service will be resumed next week when Tim Hart spills the beans on the creation of his steampunk masterwork Victoriana