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Hello. I'm Antony Johnston, and I write comics, graphic novels, and videogames.
I also make podcasts and music for fun.
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It’s May the Fourth, also known as STAR WARS day. A very special day for geeks all over the world.

And what better way to celebrate, than with a very special episode of UNJUSTLY MALIGNED?

Oh, yes. For episode #10, Sci-fi fan, Whovian, and podcaster Erika Ensign joins me to defend STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE, surely one of the most-maligned movies in all geekdom. It’s a great episode, and while I won’t spoil the ending for you, I will say Erika makes some really good and persuasive points…!

As always, if you’re enjoying the show, please consider taking a moment to rate and review UMP on iTunes. It’s by far the best way to help spread the word about the podcast.

There are yet more great guests and subjects yet to come; right now I’m scheduling beyond episode 20 (!) so there’s plenty lined up. To make sure you don’t miss an episode, subscribe in iTunes. Worth it, promise.

 

THE FUSE #12 goes on sale this week, ending the ‘Gridlock’ story with murderous revelations…

CATHY KUANG’S MURDER — SOLVED! But what will the truth cost Klem and Ralph? It’s a dangerous place out there on the solar arrays, as Ralph is about to find out…!

…And one hell of a cliffhanger concerning Ralph and his mysterious motivations!

In the letter column, we also have photos from the Fantastic Comics book club Justin and I attended, plus the FUSE/SHELTERED joint signing at the Arcane Comics party from last month. Fun stuff.

Finally, our backup strip TABLOID also draws to a close this issue, with Phoebe finally piecing together the story that nearly cost her life.

THE FUSE #12 is available from all good comics stores with the order code JAN150685, or you can get it digitally from Comixology and Image Comics. If you want a (spoiler-filled!) sneak peek, there’s a preview on Tumblr.

 

WASTELAND #60, the double-sized epilogue and final issue of the series, goes on sale this week.

‘Before and After Science’ tells the story of what happened just a few years after the Big Wet, as Marcus roams the wasteland searching for his destiny; and deep in a bunker, a certain scientist builds a certain talking machine…

A young man called Marcus wanders the desert, following the call to A-Ree-Yass-I… but what he does there will echo through the world for years. And decades later, a familiar tale will begin.

This is the final capstone on the epic story of WASTELAND, bringing everything full circle. Making it has brought on a cascade of mixed emotions for both myself and Chris; from painful to cathartic to satisfying, and just about everything in between. I talk more about that in the afterword of issue #60 itself. Spoilers: it was all worth it.

With this final issue, we’re also releasing the final song on the WASTELAND Original Soundtrack, ‘I Recall’.

That completes the album of songs I’ve been making to accompany the book since 2006 (!) and you can now buy a high-quality version of the entire soundtrack on Bandcamp. The album purchase includes two bonus tracks, a booklet PDF, unlimited streaming, and high-quality lossless audio formats to download.

I’ve spent the last six months remixing, re-sequencing, and re-recording guitar parts on most of the songs, to make them suitable for high-quality audio. So if you haven’t listened in a while, give it a whirl.

(If you don’t want to buy the album, fear not; you’ll always be able to listen to MP3s for free at thebigwet.com.)

WASTELAND #60 is available from comic stores with the order code JAN151525, and digital readers can find it at Comixology. You can also read a six-page preview at Comic Book Resources.

 

If it’s March, it must be GDC…! No, wait, I already did that one. Hang on…

Oh, yes. *cough*

If it’s March, it must be Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle! Yes, once again I’ll be in the lovely Pacific Northwest, or as I like to call it, “America with British weather.”

And a couple of lovely things are happening later this week:

• On Thursday, there’s a FUSE/SHELTERED joint signing at the Arcane Comics pre-con party!

This will literally be the first time the entire FUSE team has been in one place, what with us being spread out over four countries across three continents.

And, as we share colourist Shari Chankhamma between us, the same is true for SHELTERED. So we thought we’d do something special to celebrate, and Arcane Comics were kind enough to host us as part of their party.

The Arcane party is open to all and will be completely nuts, with 20-30 creators all in attendance. You really should come along.

• On Friday, Oni Press is hosting a WASTELAND wrap party at the Tap House Grill, to celebrate 60 issues of post-apocalyptic adventure!

As WASTELAND reaches its end at issue #60 (itself on sale in a week or two), we decided to see it off in style with a party worthy of the end of the world as we know it. This party is also open to all, so do come along and help us bid farewell to our strange little book.

• And then there’s the con itself, of course. FUSE artist Justin Greenwood and I will be signing at the Image booth (#312) on Saturday from 1-2pm. If you can’t make that, swing by Justin’s table at G-14, I’ll be hanging out there from time to time over the weekend.

Hope to see you there!

 

UNJUSTLY MALIGNED, my pop culture podcast, is now a month old. Awwww.

But who should I invite to be a guest and celebrate this amazing milestone? Who could possibly be worthy of such an epoch-shattering event?

In hindsight, the answer is obvious: I asked my friend, and everyone’s favourite geek, Wil Wheaton.

Wil talks about his love of the original TRON — we geeks often consider TRON to be a universally beloved movie now, but it was surprisingly divisive in the sci-fi/nerd community, and even within the movie industry. There’s lots of stuff in this episode that you probably didn’t know; and what better reason to listen in?

If you’re enjoying UMP, please do consider taking a moment to rate and review the show on iTunes. That’s the absolute #1 best thing you can do to help spread the word… apart from telling all your friends, of course.

There are still loads of great guests yet to come, including Brianna Wu, Dan Moren, Emma Vieceli, Al Kennedy, Glenn Fleishman, Erika Ensign, and more. So remember to subscribe to ensure you don’t miss an episode!

And wait till you see what we have planned for episode 10…

 

THE FUSE #11 goes on sale this week, as the ‘Gridlock’ story arc races toward the finish line.

(Geddit? Racing to the finish line… ‘cos the gridlockers are racers… erm… look, solicit text!)

And so another body drops. Was it the same killer? Oh, please. Don’t you know better by now? It’s time to figure out what the hell connects gridlocking, drugs, terrorism, and cellphones once and for all!

And I promise you, by the end of this issue, someone will have been arrested for double murder. But that’s all I’m saying!

In addition, our backup thriller TABLOID is also crashing toward its conclusion, and the letter column returns.

THE FUSE #11 is available from all good comics stores with the order code JAN150685, or you can get it digitally from Comixology and Image Comics. If you want a sneak peek, there’s a six-page preview on Tumblr.

 

Today I launched a brand new podcast, UNJUSTLY MALIGNED, on the Incomparable network.

The UNJUSTLY MALIGNED podcast, or “UMP” for short, is a show about the sometimes strange things we love that everyone else hates. In each episode I chat with a different guest, as they explain why that thing you may think is terrible is actually really great.

My first guest is Jason Snell, tech journalist and head honcho of the Incomparable network itself. Jason talks about his love of the deeply uncool STARGATE SG-1, and explains why he feels it gets overlooked when people discuss great sci-fi on TV.

Future guests include Moisés Chiullan, Leigh Alexander, Emma Vieceli, Glenn Fleishman… and how could I do a show like this without inviting Wil Wheaton? I couldn’t. So I didn’t. And there are many more guests to come.

There are a few different ways you can listen and subscribe to the show:

• The simplest way is through iTunes

• On a podcast app, such as Overcast (which I use myself)

• Or, if you know how, you can use the direct RSS feed

And the show is on twitter at @umpfm.

I’ve been recording episodes of UNJUSTLY MALIGNED for a couple of months already, and it’s been a huge amount of fun. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I’m enjoying making it.

 

Two big releases this week:

First up is UMBRAL Book Two: The Dark Path, collecting issues #7-12, in which pretty much everything that can change, does:

Rascal has escaped the city — and the clutches of the terrible Umbral shadow-creatures, disguised as humans! But danger also haunts the dark mist of the Bulaswode, and as betrayal prepares to stab her in the back, Rascal must choose whether to trust her friends… or an Umbral!

And then, for monthly readers, THE FUSE #10 is also on shelves with part four of ‘Gridlock’.

What does terrorism look like on a space station? Klem and Ralph are about to find out — and so are you. You lucky readers.

In which terrorists are raided, ‘facial dazzle’ is employed… and somebody else gets murdered. Of course they do.

UMBRAL Book Two is available from all good comic and book stores with the Diamond code DEC140700, or the ISBN 978-1-63215-204-6.

THE FUSE #10, meanwhile, is available from comic stores with the order code NOV140653, or digitally from Comixology and Image Comics. There’s also a five-page preview of the issue on Tumblr.

 

It’s increasingly difficult for me to talk about things I’m working on, these days.

In the case of videogames, I’m often legally bound through NDAs not to say anything before the developer does.

With comics, although I’ve returned to focusing almost exclusively on creator-owned works, I still don’t want to talk about things too early, because it would spoil the impact of an official announcement — and in the current market climate, every bit of PR needs to make as much impact as possible.

All of the above means most of this journal is taken up with on-sale announcements and con schedules, which is frustrating.

So I want to tell you that 2015 will be an interesting and exciting year for me, with lots of new things. No doubt some of the following won’t see publication before 2016, but this is pretty much my workload for the year:

Comics

A new dark fantasy series, a violent tragedy, with art by a familiar collaborator;

A new horror miniseries, part of a larger project that’s yet to be announced, and one of the most formally ambitious projects I’ve ever attempted;

And a modern pulp spy series, with a new collaborator, that I’ve been planning for some time.

(Those are all for different publishers, by the way.)

Videogames

Two large-scale games with major publishers, at least one of which will continue through 2016;

Two smaller mobile games, including one that’s been in the works for a couple of years;

And a very interesting and unusual small-scale project, working with some people I admire enormously, over which I’ll have more creative control than just about any game I’ve previously worked on.

Miscellaneous stuff

There’s always ‘miscellaneous stuff’, isn’t there? Well, for 2015 that includes:

A YA novel, which will hopefully be just the beginning of a wider project;

I plan to compile, revise, and expand my writing advice articles into an ebook;

And as the WASTELAND Original Soundtrack project draws to a close, I’m going to continue making music for its own sake, which will hopefully culminate in a new metal album by the end of the year.

(Notice how things get more vague and woolly the further down that list you go!)

So, yes. That little lot should keep me busy. Oh, and I didn’t even mention the podcast…

 

UMBRAL #12, ‘If It Bleeds’, goes on sale this week.

This is a genuinely climactic issue. Rascal discovers more about herself, and her destiny, than perhaps she’d like; Shayim and Munty are both revealed to have been harbouring secrets the whole time, and their fragile friendship is shattered; while Dalone begins to realise that maybe he isn’t as unknown to this world as he thought…

Oh, and there’s a big fight. And some magic. And even some Umbral-on-Umbral action. Don’t believe me? Check out the six-page preview on Comic Book Resources and see for yourself.

UMBRAL #12 is available from all good comics stores with the order code OCT140771, or you can buy it digitally from Comixology and Image Comics.

 

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