Friday, May 28, 2010


Something I've been working on for a good few months was officailly launched at Bristol last weekend, and press releases are now on the way to the usual suspects. Here it is:


For immediate release: May 27, 2010

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THE EAGLE Awards committee is to offer untried talent a chance to demonstrate their abilities before a global audience.

Unveiled at last weekend’s Bristol International Comics and Small Press Expo, the Eagle Awards Initiative provides a unique platform from which the next generation of writers and artists can promote their storytelling ability in an increasingly competitive market.

"I've always thought the Eagles could take a far more progressive and proactive role in the comics industry, especially within the UK which has such an untapped and unsupported pool of talent," explains Initiative director Barry Renshaw. "When I was asked to rebrand the Eagle Awards themselves last year, I pitched the idea of the Initiative to the committee and it soon snowballed into something far more expansive."

Eagle Awards chair Cassandra Conroy commented, "When Barry came to me with the idea I thought it was the best way to expand and relaunch the Eagles brand; considering the Eagles recieve global recognition I believed this would help the industry discover new talent not just from here and the USA, but from places we wouldn't perhaps expect."

In what is an unprecedented global talent search, entrants will be asked to submit an original self-contained illustrated story. The thousands of projected entries will be assessed by a hand-picked jury of comics readers, which will present a final dozen to the panel of judges comprising many of the comics industry's top talents. Among those who have already agreed to participate are Peter Bagge, Karen Berger, Chris Claremont, David Finch, Dave Gibbons, Geoff Johns, Gilbert Shelton, Jeff Smith, Bryan Talbot, Ethan Van Sciver, Mark Waid and Brian Wood.

The judges will select a top three from the final 12 with the winner be awarded a £1,000 cash prize. The runner up will win £500 with the third place submission being given £250. All three stories are to be included in the *Initiative Anthology*, which will be released as a print publication and in multiple languages across the digital media.

"The Initiative is the first stage in a several year plan to reform the Eagles into a tool for developing new talent, for educating young people about the potential in the medium, and to help connect the many disparate elements of the comics industry together," added Renshaw. "As an example, we have creators, editors, publishers, journalists, festival organisers, distributors and academics from across the world among our judges.”

Established as an annual event and with the emphasis very much on storytelling, the inaugural competition aspect gets underway on July 1, 2010, when the Initiative will open for submissions.

Announcing his support for the Eagle Awards Initiative, BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief Mark Waid said, “This medium is nothing without new talent, young blood, and fresh perspectives.

“It's our responsibility to nurture the next generation of creators and share what we've learned – and, in return, learn from and be energised by them. I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and get into this,” added Waid whose numerous writing credits include *Kingdom Come*, *The Flash*, *Impulse*, *Captain America*, *Fantastic Four* and *Irredeemable*.

For further details on the Initiative, a full list of judges and complete submission guidelines, go to For press enquiries, contact director Barry Renshaw:


Introduced in 1976, the Eagles are the comics industry's longest established awards. Unique in that they reflect the people's choice, they are awarded by fans who vote for their favourite in each category of the awards. They are named after the fondly remembered 1950's British comic anthology Eagle, and were originated by two British fans, Mike Conroy and Richard Burton. The awards proved to be successful, with American publishers such as Marvel Comics announcing their victories with pride. They have relaunched in 2010 with a new look, a new mandate and a new vision for the future.


Barry Renshaw has been an active creator in the UK independent comics industry for over a decade, as publisher of his own Engine Comics imprint, the award winning Redeye Magazine, and the popular How to Self Publish - A Rough Guide, as well as running or appearing at various workshops, seminars and panels over the years. He was asked to join the Eagle Awards committee in 2009 to help reinvent the brand, and saw an opportunity for the Awards to play a more progressive and proactive role in the comics industry. The Initiative is the first part of that expanded role.


(SPOILERS) What Happened, Happened...


It's one of those times again when we have to say goodbye to our favourite fictional universes. 2010 seems to be a year of endings- the 10th Doctor, LOST, and 24, not to mention a raft of new shows recently cancelled.

On monday, both myself and a good number of other people were at the Bristol comics convention, in a hotel that didn't have SKY 1. We therefore missed out on the simulcast of the final episode of LOST, entitled The End. In a way I was glad as I wanted to watch it at home, on my 42inch flatscreen, with Julia at my side. She couldn't wait until the repeat on the tuesday however, so had the advantage over me as I sat through the final two and half hours trying to second guess the writers as to what would happen. It's an annoying habit I have, I know.

I was completely wrong of course. I didn't expect the sideways universe to be some form of limbo, a waiting room for them all to remember who they were in the lives before going into the light. What was more odd was that exact same idea had been used in ASHES TO ASHES finale, the previous friday.

I had learnt from the post BSG period, when legions of fans started turning on one another trying to put forward their intepretation of Daybreak as being the correct one, that the same would happen for LOST. After six years of build up, of mystery and questions, there was no way that the writers could satisfy everyone. Nor should they. We are, after all, just visitors in that world- we didn't help create it, we're just tourists who pay for our ticket and marvel at the local architecture. Would I have done it differently? Yes, I probably would, but that is not to dismiss or lessen the impact the finale had.

The best TV shows, the best films, the best literature, captures the reader and draws them in; it makes you care about the characters, it makes you relate to them almost as if they were real people. You become emotionally invested in the story. LOST was one of those shows, which was why it was so successful, so part of the inevitable backlash comes from the fact it's over, and we don't want it to be. We want to see Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Hurley and all the others again tonight but... we won't. It's over. We'll debate and argue the unanswered questions and remember those key moments for years to come. It will occupy several inches of shelf space in my dvd collection like BSG, LIFE ON MARS and ASHES TO ASHES, QUANTUM LEAP and B5, ANGEL and all the other shows whose universes we were able to visit, if only for such a brief time.


The end of LOST is bad enough, but the end of 24 as well?