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Behind the cover: The Fictional Man

The Fictional Man

To celebrate the publication of a stunning reissue of The Fictional Man by Al Ewing, we spoke to designer James Jones on the process of creating such an eye catching cover.

And now over to James:

The Fictional Man is an extraordinary novel from one of the most exciting voices in British fiction. I love working with Rebellion and when this brief dropped from the brilliant David Moore I couldn’t wait to get going.

I always start by reading the brief and any material given to me by the Editor. Over and over, until I really get what it is they want, and also how far I can push their initial ideas.

Reading the manuscript was a joy, and I kept coming back to the line: “The Fictional’s thoughts were as visible to the author as words on a page”.

I rolled with this idea, producing sketches and illustrations created entirely from letters and words. Cloning typography, using multiple heads to represent multiple characters. Multiple layers and storylines intertwined. Before working my ideas more fully via my computer. 

I really wanted the whole thing to be made out of typography, with just a colour block for added effect.

With the main character being an author, I also played around with the idea of placing a real book on top of the created illustrations. Adding another level and more depth to the cover options. I also quite liked the idea of tears (again made from typography) running down the cover. Which I was able to use across the back cover.

All of the typography used to create the cover was taken from the book. Overlapping key lines over and over again in different sizes to create the final illustration.

I also wanted the line “What’s it like, not being real? to be quite prominent.

The texture has that book/movie poster feel to it, and the red colour-way definitely suited the book’s atmosphere the best.

Final cover by James Jones.

James Jones is an award-winning freelance Art Director and Designer working with publishers and clients all around the world. In addition to freelance work, James was most recently Art Director for Head of Zeus, overseeing their Non Fiction imprints. Find out more at and follow James on Twitter and Instagram.

The Fictional Man by Al Ewing is out now!

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OUT NOW: The Fictional Man by Al Ewing (reissue)

The Fictional Man

A very happy paperback publication day to The Fictional Man by Al Ewing. This stunning new edition features cover art by the talented designer James Jones.

“What’s it like, not being real?”

In LA, where today’s star is tomorrow’s busboy, discarded “Fictionals”—characters spun into flesh-and-blood by technology—are everywhere. Screenwriter Niles Golan’s therapist is a Fictional. So is his best friend. So (maybe) is the woman in the bar he can’t stop staring at. It’s getting so you can’t tell who’s real and who’s not.

Niles isn’t completely sure how real he is…

“A fascinating tour-de-force, it’s hard to see how Ewing could possibly better this exhilarating page-turner!” — SFX Magazine

“An effortless and rapid read…the novel works perfectly. Highly recommended.” — Starburst Magazine

“This book is smart, brave, funny, and affecting.” — Comic Book Resources

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Free eBook of the month – August

El Sombra by Al Ewing

We’re pleased to share that August’s free eBook is El Sombra by Al Ewing.

Sign-up to our newsletter and get a free eBook every month straight to your inbox.

The terrifying Luftwaffe, on their steam-driven wings, have torn apart the sleepy town of Pasito in the heart of Mexico, only to rebuild it as a terrifying clockwork-town where the people become human robots, furthering the nightmare dreams of the Führer.
That is until the return of a man the desert claimed nine long years ago, who has escaped from the doors of death to bring his fury upon their world.

Not subscribed? Get your free copy today by signing up for the Rebellion Publishing newsletter.

Once subscribed you will receive this month’s free eBook in your welcome email, and be enrolled to receive our future newsletters full of bookish news, exclusive offers, reading recommendations, and a free eBook every month.

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The El Sombra Trilogy is out today!

Today is the day! Al Ewing’s most heroic of creations, the scouge of the Ultimate Reich, is back on the shelves in a handsome omnibus edition: The El Sombra Trilogy.

We’re not ones for hyperbole here at Abaddon (ahem), but read on for the full lowdown on this none-more-pulp collection…

The El Sombra Trilogy by Al Ewing


In the quiet Mexican town of Pasito, the future is born. A man dies; a fool and braggart, best forgotten. In his stead, a legend arises: the man in the bloodstained mask, the Saint of Ghosts. El Sombra!

Yearning for justice against the Nazis that plundered his home, El Sombra will cut a swath across the world. He will hunt his enemy to the streets of Manhattan – home of the mighty Doc Thunder, the terrible Blood Spider, and all the monsters and gods who fight beside them – and finally into the heart of the Ultimate Reich itself!

Thrill at the legend! Follow a story as vast as the whole world, from the beginning of the human race to the end of the time!

He defies man! He defies death! Nothing can stop him!


If that hasn’t sold you, then we don’t know what will. Smash the Nazis! Be a hero! Join El Sombra today!

The El Sombra Trilogy is out now!
Buy: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Google Play|Kobo|Rebellion Store

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The Rebellion Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three: The Fictional Man on sale now!

Two days! Two tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em days to Christmas! It’s so close we can almost smell the mince pies. 

And so, in the spirit of the thing, here’s another cracking Advent Calendar offer. Al Ewing’s brilliant, mind-bending, subversive slice of genius The Fictional Man is now only 99p in the Kindle store. 

Get it bought – you won’t regret it!

The Fictional Man is only 99p now!
Buy: US|UK

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The Rebellion Advent Calendar Day Fourteen: win The El Sombra Trilogy!

Another day in Advent means another piece of Rebellion festive cheer!

Today, we’re giving away copies of Al Ewing’s brilliant El Sombra Trilogy, one of the most explosive, bonkers and downright brilliant books ever to have been released from the Abaddon stable.

So head over to Instagram, follow us and like the El Sombra post to be in with a chance of winning this steampunk spectacular! 

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The Rebellion Advent Calendar: Day Nine

Advent, 9 December 2015: Santa Wars!

A loyalist Elf batallion shivers in the trenches beyond Burnt Turkey Ridge. They clutch sharpened candy canes and await the rebels. Word comes down that Rudolfite troops are headed right for them. 

‘Remember what we’re fighting for, lads,’ says Sergeant Merrymittens. ‘Presents under trees! Drinking before midday! Eating so much you feel sick! Christmas, damnit, we’re fighting for Christmas!’

The ragged elven cheer is shortlived. The rebels, led by Colonel Prancer, smash into their flank. Candy canes crack; baubles rain down on defender and attacker alike; elf battles elf. 

‘For Santa!’ cries Merrymittens, hurling himself at a charging reindeer. 

For a time, all is chaos, and violence, and tinsel. 

…and then it’s over. The battlefield is strewn with broken baubles and slightly scratched elves.

On Burnt Turkey Ridge, in a heavily fortified bunker of triple-baked ginger bread, Claus surveys the destruction. 

‘Rudolf,’ he whispers, a single tear rolling down his rosy red cheek. ‘What have I done…’


War is hell people. But you know what’s actually kind of great? Advent, that’s what! And today we’re celebrating with another awesome offer: Al Ewing’s Death Got No Mercy eBook is now only 99p/ppc! 

Can you resist a book that has a man punching a bear on the cover, especially after our rousing tale of elf versus reindeer? OF COURSE YOU CAN’T! So head on over to Amazon and get yourself involved. And don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another Rebellion Advent special…

Death Got No Mercy is now 99p/99c!
Buy now: UK|US

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The Rebellion Advent Calendar: Day Seven

Advent. Day seven. Claus the Mighty is feeling the strain. His mood is as black as the coal he gives naughty children, and heavy is the head that wears the merry red hat. 

Christmas is on the cusp of being cancelled due to industrial action. The reindeers, under the leadership of Rudolf, have unionised. The elves man their own tiny picket line and hurl abuse at the few of their kind that work on through the tumult. The mince pie mines are silent. There are no scissors snipping ribbons in the Wrapping Enclosure. 

Claus upends a bottle and smashes it on the floor. He burps, wipes a sleeve across his sherry-stained beard and clears a pile of tattered tunics from an ancient trunk. He takes out the whip, the one he hasn’t used since the Great Agreement of 1902, and growls a single word:



Yes, it’s all getting rather grim in the North Pole, but worry not! We’re still celebrating Advent, primarily to try and keep old Santa’s spirits up. Today, we’ve knocked Al Ewing’s work of actual, proper genius The Fictional Man down to 99p/99c in eBook. So get yourself over to Amazon for a proper pre-Christmas treat. Go on, you deserve it!

The Fictional Man is now only 99p/99c!
Buy now: UK|US

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The very real genius of Al Ewing

We’ve known for years that Al Ewing is a genius, but it turns out that internet is bursting with people who want nothing more than to prove it.

First up, the David Mann over at Sequart has written a frankly enormous three-part think piece on Al’s El Sombra trilogy. It’s a thoughtful, illustrative look at what makes Al such a brilliant writer, and dissects his take on pulp superheroics – which, let it be forever we remembered, we published long before Al conquered the American mainstream comics market and the rest of the world discovered him.

Check out Sequart’s look at El SombraGods Of Manhatten and Pax Omega and have your mind blown.

But wait, that’s not all!

Blogger Too Busy Thinking About Comics has taken a similarly deep interest in Al’s Pax Brittania work – this time focussing exclusively on Gods Of Manhatten.

Have a read and join the fun:

Part one: On Al Ewing’s Gods Of Manhatten, and what the superhero comic might learn from it

Part two: Developing the habit

Part three: Death without a last hot dog?

Part four: His gun full of magic bullets…

It’s all really rather brilliant isn’t it – just like Al. Don’t forget you can follow Al on Twitter.

El Sombra
Buy: UK|US|eBook

Gods Of Manhatten
Buy: UK|US|eBook

Pax Omega
Buy: UK|US|eBook

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Sale highlight: Death Got No Mercy

With 25% off all eBooks direct from the DRM-free Rebellion Store we’re here to help you find a title you’ll really love with our title highlights:

Death Got no Mercy

Al Ewing

Get the eBook now

Cult writer Al Ewing takes a blood-thirsty romp through the world of the Afterblight

One man against a city of maniacs

This ain’t a complicated story, but then Cade wasn’t a complicated man. He

didn’t exactly care about people, did Cade, but if one of the people he almost cared about was in trouble, he’d help out if he could. If that meant heading down to San Francisco – even though nobody ever came back from there alive – well, fine. If that meant taking on whole armies of religious maniacs, coupon-clipping cannibals and helter-skelter hippies who dealt out free love and fast death in equal measure, armed with nothing but his two fists and a decent hunting knife… well, I’m kind of runnin’ my mouth here.

This ain’t a peaceful story, is what I’m tryin’ to say. And Cade… Cade wasn’t a peaceful man.

Why the critics loved it:

“If you’re after a short sharp dose of post-apocalyptic fiction then you could do a lot worse than pick this up.” – Graeme’s Fantasy Book Reviews

“A man. Punching a bear. This defines classic cover” – Pornokitsch, classic covers series

Critics who were less sure (and their critics):

(click image to see full review)

Why we loved it:

Riding rough-shod through a blistering, Technicolor adventure, Ewing has created a vastly fun entry into the fan favourite Afterblight shared world series. If you haven’t discovered this maestro of underground fiction, now’s the time to start.

Read it? Love it! Try this:

Blood Ocean by Weston Ochse

Get the eBook now

 Kavika Kamalani is a Pali Boy, a post-plague heir to an ancient Hawai’ian warrior tradition that believes in overcoming death by embracing one’s fears and living large. His life on the Nomi No Toshi, the floating city, is turned upside down when one of his friends dies, harvested for his blood, and he sets out to find the killer. Kidnapped himself and subjected to a terrifying transformation, Kavika must embrace the ultimate fear – death itself – if he, his loved ones, and the Pali Boys themselves are to survive.