Ian Rankin, one of Britain's biggest-selling crime writers who sparked alarm and grief among his fans when he retired his hard-boiled policeman John Rebus, will this week make a foray into comic strip writing.
The Edinburgh-based novelist has written Someone Got to Eddie for the sixth edition of the UK magazine CLiNT, launched last year by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar.
Rankin follows other high-profile names including Jonathan Ross, Stewart Lee and Frankie Boyle in writing for the magazine. Of course all this is assuming that the latest Clint magazine will get to the shops on time - the title, this short in its existence, has already seen its last two issues arriving late and it seems to have skipped a month somewhere along the line.
Rankin admitted he found the experience hard work and challenging. "If you're a novelist and you're used to working on your own, this is a very different mindset, it's a very different way of telling a story. It's all geared to the visual, it's all geared to you explaining to the artist what you want to show.
The novelist said comic books were an art form like any other. "I've been reading comics my entire life and I'm a great champion of them. I do think they are an aid to literacy which is especially important in high schools and with boys."
Rankin published 18 Rebus books, retiring him in 2007 in Exit Music. Since then he has made his first foray into the comic book genre when he wrote a comic book called Dark Entries featuring the established Hellblazer character John Constantine and – in Complaints – created a new character, Malcolm Fox, a cop who investigates cops.
A follow-up to that is due out this year but Rankin did not rule out a return of Rebus. "I know what he's doing, he's working for a cold case unit, staffed by retired detectives. He's still working as a quasi-detective."