Press Release – Burke and Hare the graphic novel

Myebook - Burke and Hare - click here to open my ebook

Here’s a press release about the upcoming new graphic novel Burke and Hare being launched by Insomnia Publications which I also believe is the first from their Vigil imprint.

I’ve stuck on the Myebook preview for you guys to have a look at and stand by for a full GS review coming soon.

Check out the press release below for all the info


Press Release

For Immediate Release

Burke & Hare by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering

Alan Grant, writer of Judge Dredd, Batman, LOBO and The Demon (to name but a few) and, co-creator of Strontium Dog recently said:

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’.”

And judging by the response to the pre-release review copies the universe is indeed rippling for a great many people.

Burke & Hare is the first book from the recently launched Vigil ‘bio-graphic novel’ imprint, Insomnia Publications, delving into the murky, misquoted history of Scotland’s most notorious serial killers, to unravel a ghoulish story of medicine, murder and money.

The book marks writer Martin Conaghan and artist Will Pickering’s triumphant return to the world of comics following a 10-year absence, and they are here to set things right.

Brimming with murder, intrigue, cover-ups, conspiracies, and mystery, the gruesome tale of Burke and Hare has inspired many other artists to create fiction, plays, poetry and films drawing on the terrible events of the infamous West Port Murders of the early 19th century. However, from the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson to the up-coming John Landis movie starring Simon Pegg, myth has become fact. It is now time for the truth to be set free.

Over a 12 month period from 1827-1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland, two Irishmen by the names of William Burke and William Hare murdered 16 people and disposed of their bodies to the eminent dissectionist Dr Robert Knox at 10 Surgeons’ Square. These men were not graverobbers, they were serial-killers, plain and simple.

Featuring an outstanding cover, called “fabulously macabre” by the Forbidden Planet blog, and interior design from Rian Hughes, the book has also received incredible support from creators throughout the comics industry and includes a pin-up gallery with contributions from:

  • Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, We3, The Authority)
  • Gary Erksine (Dan Dare, Jack Cross, JSA Strange Adventures)
  • Stephen Daly (Film and TV, Laws of Attraction, The Count of Monte Cristo)
  • Dave Hill (Gabriel, 2000AD)
  • David Alexander (The McBams, VIZ)
  • Alex Ronald (Judge Dredd, Lobo)
  • Stuart Beel (Wizards of the Coast, Vis Interactive)
  • Lynsey Hutchinson (Skeptic)
  • Stref (MILK)

Vigil is the new imprint from the rapidly-expanding Insomnia Publications. It will specifically deal with historical graphic novels and stories of a biographical nature. Books will be between 80-120 pages in length with extensive research notes and additional supporting material.

Crawford Coutts, MD of Insomnia says: “Insomnia’s books are aimed at older teen and adult readers. With each of our products we look to publish something which is unusual, literate and thought provoking. With the launch of the Vigil line we we’re starting to mine a rich seam of stories based on fact, not facts dressed up as fiction. The stories could be about a significant global event, the life of a famous personality or historical figure, cultural events, political scandals, wars, assassinations, rock stars, miscarriages of justice, cover-ups, conspiracies or inspirational tales from ordinary lives.”

Historical accuracy was paramount in the development of Burke & Hare, with Martin and Will spending much of the last year waist-deep in research material: original documents, biographies, contemporary maps, portraits, street scenes, architectural drawings, fashion illustrations, photos of antique furnishings and fireplaces – all to ensure that the representation of history in a comic offers something that cannot be achieved in any other medium.

This is as much a work of scholarship as entertainment and readers will almost be able to smell the 19th century every time they turn a page

Reaction to Will Pickering’s “period perfect” artwork has been incredible and there is a very good reason for the authentic period feel. Will has gone to extraordinary lengths to dig out accurate representations of the real-life people and places of late-Georgian Edinburgh featured in the story. Not only did the creators make numerous trips to the city – including a personal showing of William Burke’s skeleton – but for the pages 54+55, Will found a painting in the national portrait gallery featuring all of the members of parliament in 1833 simply to unearth a head shot of Sir George Sinclair – a character who appears in just four panels in the entire book.

Burke & Hare will be launched at the renowned BICS (British International Comics Show) 2009 on Saturday 3 October 2009. Writer Martin Conaghan and artist Will Pickering will be available at the Insomnia stand to talk about the book, sign copies, and provide sketches. There will also be guest appearances by some of the gallery contributors.

Visitors to the show will be able to get the book at the special price of £XX or as part of a 3 books for £20 promotional offer.

Useful links:

  • Insomnia Publications Blog:
  • Burke & Hare official website:

GS Reporter: Nuge

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  1. BryanS /

    The Burke and Hare movie is a comedy and doesn’t portray the real story of their crimes. It’s a shame really as Landis had an opportunity to do a good movie about the real Burke and Hare and wasted it. The documentary on Burke and Hare was much better imo.

    • BryanS /

      If anyone is interested in the documentary it is called Burke and Hare the Body Merchants.

  2. By the way, the documentary is called Burke and Hare the Body Merchants if anyone is interested.

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