Looking a little further ahead there are a number of excellent looking events on the horizon. The line-up at Caption this year (31 Jul - 1 Aug) looks like one of the best they've had for quite a while - Melinda Gebbie, Neil Cameron, P J Holden, Sarah McIntyre talking to Darryl Cunningham, and Paul Duffield - just for starters!
My next big event is at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. On Monday 23 August I'm doing an Adventure Comics Workshop at 5pm in the RBS Workshop Tent:
"Discover the tricks of the trade and design your own classic adventure with this hands-on comics workshop led by Garen Ewing, author and illustrator of The Rainbow Orchid series. His books are often compared with some classic adventures we all love, from Conan Doyle's books to old-school Belgian comics like Tintin - come along and discover your own style."
And on Tuesday 24 August at 1pm, also in the RBS Workshop Tent, I'm doing a schools-only event rather brazenly entitled Comics with Garen Ewing. I'm not entirely sure what this is about yet, but going by the description it looks like I've got a bit of work to do!
"Garen Ewing's The Rainbow Orchid series of comics combines the visual look of Tintin cartoons with the excitement of Indiana Jones-style adventures. Join him for a tour of the world of comics, looking at how writing, illustration and design has developed over the years."
For slightly younger readers, make sure you check out Sarah McIntyre's workshop events (Monsters and Aliens Let Loose!) on Tuesday 24th August. Moving into September, I will be appearing on a panel about comics at the Bath Festival of Children's Literature on Saturday 25 September. As they haven't published the programme yet I won't give any more details, but I am rather excited about the other creators with whom I'm sharing the table!
In case you're not aware, earlier this year SFX Magazine launched a new periodical all about comics called Comic Heroes, and the second issue has just come out. This edition includes a little supplement titled Sidekick, previewing a number of new comics including Bryan Talbot's new Grandville book, Ben Dickson and Warren Pleece's Not One Minute of Silence, Karen Rubins' Urban Beasts and the first five pages of The Rainbow Orchid volume 2, among others.
I should also mention (only because I'm drawing attention to the publication) that there is a rather so-so review of volume 2 in the main magazine (3/5 stars). The reviewer's criticism echoes that of the three or four other less-favourable reviews I've had, citing the slower pace and many plot strands. I'm totally fine with that because I happen to love such stories, but not everyone does, and we all have our own tastes. I'm actually pleasantly overwhelmed by the number of people who have cited these same elements as things that they also like, which gives me faith that not everything is going the way of stories told in a series of bite-sized hooks, an explosion every other page and nothing more complicated than a lumbering zombie or a man with a drink problem and a gun. Multi-stranded storytelling is fine, as long as it's told clearly, and I take great efforts to do that. Comics are a great medium for stories of that nature, they give the reader plenty of time to digest everything they need, and not all adventure comics have to be Tarzan rescuing Jane - the reader can cope! I must say, however, it was a thoughtful review, and I do take it all on board.
(To balance things out a bit, here's a lovely review by Kim Harte that appeared in Inis, the magazine of children's books in Ireland, and here's another nice mention by Neil Elkes over at Speech Balloons. And there are more reviews here.)
I do sometimes wonder if three volumes was the best way to go with The Rainbow Orchid as it's meant to be read as a single book with its story-flow steadily rising throughout. If I'd have planned it as three separate books the build-up and pace would certainly be different for each volume with a more rapid rise in each. But with the three separate volumes, at least it's available right now and with volume two imminent, time will fly by. Before you know it, volume three and the story's exciting conclusion will be upon us.
I'd better get on with it then!