- Home of Christopher Barker's Writing and Colours

by Chris

Looking ahead…

So B.I.C.S is rapidly approaching, early October sees what should be my first real con of the year with Bristol being smaller than usual and me having to dash off early.

I will hopefully be going there with samples of my work in progress and ideas to show to anyone who is interested but I will also be very interested in one particular Graphic Novel that is due for release thereabouts, Burke and Hare.

Yes it’s from Insomnia but regardless of any ties I have when i first saw pages from the book i knew I had to get it, there should be more graphic novels like this.

The book also has a foreword from the awesome Alan Grant, further proof (as if it were needed) that this book is going to be something special. I’ve quoted the below from the Insomnia site.

"There’s a moment in life that I savour: that delicious, perplexing instant when you realise that something you’ve ‘known’ for years is actually a crock of nonsense. Like discovering there’s no Santa Claus. Or realising your parents can’t read your mind when you think about sex. The Universe ripples like Predator shimmying through the jungle…and when it rights itself, reality has taken on a slightly different hue.
I had just such a mini-epiphany the first time I read Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering’s ‘Burke & Hare’. At school in the 1950s and ’60s I was taught almost no Scottish history, and I spent the next 50 years believing Burke and Hare were ‘resurrection men’, graverobbers who dug up freshly buried corpses and sold them for cash. It was a revelation to discover they were actually serial killers, vile brutes who measured the price of human life in pounds, shillings and pence, monsters for whom alcohol and smothering were the tools of their trade.
And yet… Burke and Hare were men, too. They were human beings who – superficially at least – weren’t all that different from their Edinburgh contemporaries. The major difference between them and most of the human race is that they saw murder for financial gain as an acceptable way to earn a living.
Revealing their story in generally short, concise chapters, Martin Conaghan’s script is sparing and very much to the point. Indeed, he takes great care not to over-embellish the story with fiction, sticking almost religiously to the facts as presented to us by history. It is an approach which works well, presenting the killers’ heart-chilling evil deeds as being almost mundane in their execution.
Will Pickering’s art fits the story – and the times – perfectly. Facial expressions are beautifully captured, as are the dress and general atmosphere of the period. The detail on many pages – especially those external shots of Edinburgh in the early 19th Century – is priceless. And Rian Hughes’ cover design is exactly what the story inside demands.
Together, Martin and Will have produced something of which they and their publisher – the relative newcomer, Insomnia – can be very proud. As well as being educational and entertaining, they’ve gone one better and given us something important.
Hopefully, the Universe will ripple and change for a great many of their readers. "
Alan Grant, Moniaive,
July 2009

Exciting times..


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