Saturday, 31 December 2011

Looking Back: Faves & Raves of 2011

Heya kids, yeah, I know I know the last thing the world needs right now is another bloody Best Of The Year list right, but these comics are bloody good and a lot of them probably get overlooked so shurrup you. I should point out that this is an entirely personal list (it is I, Lovely Lee, typing this) of the comics that have personally buttered my muffin this year. If there's a really big famous graphic novel that's appearing on everyone else's Best Of lists and is conspicuous by its absence here, its probably because I haven't read it yet cos I'm rubbish. Anyhoo, lets crack on, in no particular order...


Yeah, I said when I reviewed this on the 'cast that this would likely be my book of the year and so it is. If its possible to double-take while reading a comic I did it. At the end of every chapter! If Dethan & Downey don't hit the big time in 2012 then there's no justice and I will burn this planet to the core! *rant foam gibber*. Expect to see Cancertown 2, White Knuckle and Jennifer Wilde on this list next year.

I'd never heard of Emily Carroll until she seemed to explode onto the scene with His Face All Red last year and she has already become one of the most exciting comics creators out there. A beautiful artist and an amazing storyteller who may just become the Eisner of webcomics. Every new comic she produces is an event to me and Margot's Room was the... er... eventiest? Bah! Superlative failure!

Something I learned in 2011 is that just because a comic is 'home produced' doesn't mean it can't be equal or superior in quality to a mainstream book - see Sugar Glider, Twisted Dark, Tw1sted Vision, Skal and many more. Ironically, given the title, N has produced a comic of utter class - a lush, beautiful SF fantasy that is destined, I predict, to become A Big Thing not unlike A Distant Soil or Mouse Guard. N Gingerboom is a talent to watch.

Wolves, a simple twisty fable about a lycanthrope hunt is a thing of beauty and probably the most inspirational comic I've read this year. Its one of those comics that makes you want to make comics of your own, to find the stories and the art inside yourself. Also the sketches and works-in-progress that she regularly posts on twitter are bloody amazing.

My love of The Walking Dead is legendary I await each book with baited breath and switch off my phone top read them. Locke & Key is the comic that toppled Walking Dead off my top spot. Locke & Key is a true serialised graphic novel essentially a suspense/horror/fantasy about a haunted house and the family that move in there...what's that you say? Heard it all before? WRONG! Locke & Key is stunningly original, wildly imaginative, gripping and unpredictable, the art is exquisite and the characters are real. If you aren't reading this its tantamount to self abuse (and not the good kind).

I love anthologies and in a year of really great anthologies (The Lovecraft Anthology, Predators, Sugar Glider Stories #2) this probably nudges out as my favourite thanks to the pure variety of the stories - too many gems to mention, just buy the bloody thing. And I so feel like I'm cheating on the others by saying that - honestly, its not you, its me! You're all awesome in your own ways, I just had to pick one...!

I'd been looking forward to this and following Jennie's progress for a long time and it didn't disappoint. I think Jennie's achievement of going back and redrawing from scratch her partly completed web graphic novel without losing any of the passion and energy is remarkable. She also produced a really really beautiful comic to hold and read and own. 

The funniest comic I read this year - yeah and this is the year that gave us Corporate Skull (see below) so that's really saying something. If you haven't bought yourself a copy yet then I'm afraid I hate you. Sorry.

I love Jamie Smart - Whubble, Kochi Wanaba, Hairy Steve, Bear, Desperate Dan... - the sonovabitch can do no wrong. Corporate Skull is, so far, 3 issues of pure unadulterated genius. Fucked up bonkers in the nut genius, yes, but genius. 

Yes, its incredibly crass of me to pick a comic I co-wrote, but hear me out. Its not really the comic I'm nominating but the creator Valia Kapadai. Really, 100% Squishy or Tw1sted Vision should be here instead - they are certainly bigger better comics than Gloomy Monday which is just a short story - but I chose this because collaborating with Valia on it was an absolute joy and a personal highlight of the year for me.

Special mention: Cover of the year: PREDATORS - Kev Mullins. Amazing. 'Nuff said. (Predators also wins the 'short story I most want to see expanded into a full-length graphic novel' award - you hear me Andy Bloor & Mo Ali?)


Next: Looking forward!

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Only yesterday we were recommending the beautiful comics of Vera Brosgol and its thanks to her that we're recommending these comics today. Last night Vera tweeted about a new short online comic by one Jen Wang entitled "Shamisen" - I clicked the link and it completely blew me away. I checked out the other comics on her website and I was blown away again, especially by one called "Touchfood". 

Ms Wang was a completely new name to me - it seems she's primarily an illustrator but has had a few comics published in anthologies such as Flight and had a graphic novel Koko Be Good published by First Second Books in 2010. 

Read Shamisen HERE
Read Touchfood HERE

Buy Koko Be Good HERE

Follow her on Twitter HERE


If you have any comics to recommend, please email us or drop us a line on twitter.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

SPBM recommends: What, Were You Raised By Wolves?

Wow, there I was making my list of my favourite comics of the year and then zoop! Vera Brosgol only goes and tweets on twitter and slips one in at the 11th hour! Apparently she produced this as a mini-comic earlier in the year for conventions, but has ran out of the printed copies now so uploaded it to her website complete and free to read.

Read it HERE. You'll be glad you did.

If you like that you might want to take a look at Vera's graphic novel Anya's Ghost which was published by First Second books back in June.

Comic artist Christmas cards 2011

Its the most wonderful time of the year... hope all you SPBMers had a great Christmas and got loads of comics - but wait! Christmas isn't officially over until A) New Year's Eve has come and gone and B) The Christmas Radio Times runs out. So until then we're mid-Festivities in my book, capiche? One of my favourite geeky things about Christmas is the ace Christmas card art produced by some of my favourite artists and this year has produced some beauties - dangle your baubles over these...

Friday, 23 December 2011

SPBM Fun & Games #5

We ♥ comics. And here are just 31 reasons why. Can you name them all?

Open in a new tab or window to see the full-size version.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

SPBM Fun & Games #4

Its double fun today! I know, I know, we're spoiling you... enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

SPBM Fun & Games #3

A Calabash Gentler Mummers Nip!  Hmm As Ascertainable Glen Rump!  A Alphabetical Mr Men Gems Urns! 

...I mean: Unscramble the anagrams! Simple!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

SPBM Fun & Games #2

Morning SPBMers! What is the secret behind SPBM's magical success? Print out and complete this Dot-to-dot  to find out!

Monday, 19 December 2011

SPBM Fun & Games #1

Well kiddies, its nearly Christmas and what would Christmas be without a few games? So grab yourself a cuppa and a mince pie and while away a minute and a half with our fun* wordsearch. And remember, kids, if you're going to use a pen make sure to print the wordsearch out first!

(*no actual fun guaranteed)

Click to see full-size

Thursday, 15 December 2011

WHITE KNUCKLE: Opening the Throttle

I'm dreaming of White Knuckle Christmas... okay, maybe not for Christmas, but Markosia's White Knuckle is definitely one of the comics I'm looking forward to most next year. 

Slide your ice-balls over the chilling press release below to see an 11-page preview as well as learn about the cool benefits of pre-ordering (oh yeah, you bet I've put my name down already!)

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Opening The Throttle:  A First Look At White Knuckle

Cy Dethan and Valia Kapadai have created a killer.

Forty years ago, Seth Rigal was a man to be feared – a serial strangler with a string of victims. Now nearly seventy and tormented by a lifetime of monstrous violence, Rigal lives on the verge of poverty and quietly waits for the death he knows he deserves. Tortured and confused, still tormented by the drives that made him a killer in his youth, Rigal finds himself almost unconsciously stalking the daughter of his final victim – only to have his precious anonymity snatched from him when he accidentally saves her son’s life. Seth Rigal, formerly known as the Gripper, just became a local celebrity.

The bodies won’t stay buried any longer.

Due for release in May 2012 White Knuckle is Cy Dethan’s latest graphic novel to be published by Markosia , and sees him teamed with internationally acclaimed Greek artist Valia Kapadai to create a complex and intense psychological thriller, distorting the ever-popular “retired gunslinger” motif into a rain-slick urban fantasy of murderous men and the needs that drive them.

Described as  "Unforgiven meets Harry Brown - and strangles him," you can read a preview of the first eleven pages at HERE

Pre-orders will officially open next year but if you want to put your name down on the list now (no payment required until they open) then email HERE.

Why would you do this? Well, the first 20 people to do so will have the opportunity to be drawn into the book as part of the Gripper's case files, and everyone who pre-orders will have the chance to win a piece of original art by Valia Kapadai of the characters in the book.

All pre-orders get their copies signed by the whole team, of course.

We are hoping to be able to get some more goodies for those who pre-order as well - so watch this space for news!

Pre-order price will be £10 instead of £12.99 (+ postage of £2 UK, £4 rest of world or free to collect from the launch at Bristol Comics Convention in May 2012)

You can keep up to date on the latest news about the book at the White Knuckle Facebook Page  or at the creators’ websites or

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Stan The Man at the LSCC

Here's some cool news for all the True Believers out there - the man they call "The Mainstream Comics Daniel Clifford" - Stan Lee will be appearing at the inaugural London Super Comic Convention on the 25th & 26th February 2012* - his first UK con appearance in 40 years! (so he must've had a corking time last time!) For full details click the flyer below!

click for full-size image

Blank Slate winter

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, so since you've no place to go why don't you glance your snowballs over this avalanche of awesomeness from Blank Slate...

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With Winter's frosty hand now well and truly upon us, there's never been a better time to settle down inside with a good read. Luckily, we've got no less than six great titles for you to check out this cold season! Read all about them below and be sure to check out for more info.

NELSON - various

All profits from this book go to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

Part exquisite corpse and part relay race, Nelson is an unprecedented 250-page collaboration between over 50 of the UK’s most exciting comic creators. Edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix, the book tells the story of one woman’s life through 54 distinctive creative voices across 54 yearly episodes.

Celebrating the incredible diversity of talent in British comics today, Nelson unites creators from across the comics spectrum, including: Posy Simmonds, Duncan Fegredo, Sean Phillips, Warren Pleece, D'Israeli, Roger Langridge, Dave Taylor, Rian Hughes, Luke Pearson and many more!

ISBN: 978-1-906653-23-1 | 252 pages | 236 x 178mm softcover with flaps, full colour | £18.99


HECTOR UMBRA - Uli Oesterle

Munich, present day. Master DJ Osaka Best has disappeared, mysteriously vanishing in a flash of blinding light during the climax of his set at Robot Mitchum nightclub. Enter, Hector Umbra—Osaka’s best friend and artist-turned-detective—to solve the mystery of a lifetime. 

61 hours, seven packs of cigarettes and countless phone calls later, Hector springs into action, turning over every dirty stone in Munich on the hunt for the displaced DJ. It soon transpires that all is not as it seems, and our hard-boiled painterly protagonist finds himself embroiled in a plot involving religious freaks, villainous Elvis impersonators, aliens and even the dead themselves. 

“Uli Oesterle is a genius and a fountain of inspiration” – Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy
ISBN 978-1-906653-16-3 | 212 pp | Hardcover, full-colour | £18.99



Growing up in the Cornwall skate scene of the 1980s and 1990s, Ed Syder details the thrills, spills, romance, excitement, and obsession of a sport that, for those involved, defined a generation worldwide.

For anyone who ever puzzled over the axel width of their trucks or oogled board designs in a skate shop, Ed recalls the teen anxiety of not having the coolest equipment as a beginner, the epoch-changing shift from vert skating to street skating, and how things just got weird when there were girls at the skate park. Also features mini-interviews with classic skateboarders Steve Steadham (of Bones Brigade fame) and Jeff Hedges.

ISBN 978-1-906653-11-8 | 98 pages | Softcover with flaps | £8.99



A brief snapshot of HARVEYJAMES’ time in Korea, A Long Day of Mr. James-Teacher encapsulates the highs and lows of his life as an English teacher. The poster-child for the new wave of manga-inspired artists adapting those styles to their own ends, James exhibits astounding craft in his depiction of one particularly grim day. 

“This spindly English anime nerd has springboarded off his love of Japanese cartoons into something new and beautiful. His linework and sense of volume comes purely from Japanese animation but he’s deconstructed the style and rebuilt it to express big ideas and deep feelings. “ – Nick Gazin, Vice Magazine
ISBN 978-1-906653-53-8 | 28 pages | 285 x 211mm softcover with flaps, B&W | £5.99



Nigel is your average 13-year-old boy from Chipton. He loves reading fantasy and sci-fi comics, playing video games, listening to heavy metal and obsessing over his classmate Martha. Oh yeah, and he spends his free time solving mysteries with his best friend Brian… a talking dinosaur with twin-mounted laser cannons on his back.

Called into action by moustachioed madman Lancaster Perrifold, the Jurassic duo are launched into the hunt for The Miracle Bird of Ndundoo, a mythical jewel-excreting creature that lives deep below the planet’s crust. Racing against the clock, Nigel and Brian must beat their nefarious adversaries, Julian and his Evil League of Lizards, to the mysterious ancient prize. Steven Spielberg’s got nothing on this.

ISBN 978-1-906653-52-1 | 26 pages | 285 x 211mm softcover with flaps, B&W | £5.99



It's the end of the world as we know it and Noah Wartowsky has survived intact. As a regular listener to Dick March's extreme conspiracy podcasts, Noah came prepared for the cataclysm by maintaining a fully-operational bunker beneath his home.

Apparently justified in his strange beliefs, Noah begins a new life as the last man on Earth; an enjoyable brave new world without work, without the man, and—most importantly—days full of pursuing his true passion: drawing comics with his pet cat.

However, all is not as it seems and soon enough, a mysterious female shows up, setting up camp in the wasteland around his bunker. Is she friend or foe? Can they co-exist peacefully? And more importantly, will there be enough weed for the both of them?

ISBN 978-1-906653-55-2 | 48 pages | 285 x 211mm softcover with flaps, B&W | £5.99

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snowwww!

Order a Time Bomb!

With the shopping days to Christmas tick-tick-ticking away Steve 'Santa' Tanner dropped us an email to remind us these beauties are available to order...

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Just wanted to give you a heads up that this month in the Previews UK Section we have the new Turpin book listed - Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague - as well as our critically acclaimed London Calling graphic novel. (The latter's been described as "award-nominated" as it made the long list of the last Eagles, but I'm not sure if that counts!)

The order codes are:



Those fine folks at Forbidden Planet International have featured the Turpin book in their recommended graphic novels newsletter and they're offering both books at 31% discount if you pre-order them through their website - here's the links for that:

Obviously any shop in the UK can order it though and Diamond UK have advised that should the orders there may be an opportunity for a relist in the main part of the catalogue, so fingers crossed.

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Friday, 18 November 2011

SPANDEX #5 comes out!

Okay right, if you're not reading Spandex you really should be okay? Issue 5 has just come out (fnar!) so there's no reason you can't get caught up real quick. Here's the press release for the latest issue that you can read now or slip inside your stocking top for later...



Get ready for some cross-dressing crossover craziness in Spandex 5! After the shocking events of the previous issue, the story focuses on transvestite superhero team-leader Liberty as she attempts to find out what happened to her missing Spandex team-mates!

Liberty ends up having to face every single supervillain in the Spandex universe – including Gayzilla, Big Boy, Muscle Mary and The Fashionistas – but she does get a little help from some friendly faces too... And along the way, we learn her origins, how he came to wear a female powersuit, and what it’s like to grow up as a transvestite superhero...

Entitled ‘Big Secret Crisis’, Issue 5 is the second chapter of the epic 4-part ‘O.M.F.G’ storyline. Spandex writer/artist Martin Eden comments: “The issue is completely mental. It features every single character I’ve created for the Spandex world, and it’s a slight piss-take of incredibly tedious comic crossovers too. Hopefully the readers will see the funny side of it! We also get to see what has happened to the missing Spandex team-members and there’s a whopper of a cliffhanger at the end!”

The issue also comes with a couple of very special extras – readers will get one of 64 mini-trading cards featuring characters from the Spandex universe, plus there is a free 4-page mini-comic featuring Spandex’s Japanese supergroup, The J-Team. “The trading cards are really neat,” says Martin, “and they introduce characters who, for space reasons, aren’t properly named in issue 5. The extra comic is fun, as I adore the J-Team characters, and it’s a nice little experiment for me as it’s told in Manga-style (ie, the reverse reading-order to English comics).”

Spandex issue 5 launched at the MCM Expo on 29 October and is now available from

Issue 5 costs £3.20 and is also available as a PDF for £1.

LAST ADMIN HERO at Thought Bubble

'Tennnn-hut! Okay listen up, you commandos! Here's the latest dispatch from your hero and mine Sgt Mike Battle...


LAST ADMIN HERO – the greatest action movie never made?

Graham Pearce publishes new SGT MIKE BATTLE Trade Paperback with Bonus Material

Sgt Mike Battle may have been fighting the enemies of freedom, democracy and capitalism for over 90 years but in November 2011 he appears in a new trade paperback entitled Sgt Mike Battle LAST ADMIN HERO. Writer/artist/publisher and all-round creative force Graham Pearce has collected issues #8-10 of the cult small-press comic Sgt. Mike Battle: The Greatest American Hero! into a brand new 160 collection of the LAST ADMIN HERO storyline.

Regarded by many Sgt Mike Battle fans as its story to date, LAST ADMIN HERO is both a tribute to and parody of Hollywood action movies. The story features a terrorist group called ACRONYM who takeover a US weapons facility and threaten to upset the balance of power in the world. The fate of the entire planet is at stake and not even Sgt Mike Battle can save the day. Everything rests in the hands of John Trojan, a simple office assistant who is more suited to filing paperwork and processing invoices than fighting bad guys.
I’ve always described LAST ADMIN HERO as the greatest action movie never made!” explained Pearce. “Its a homage to all those 1980s/1990s action movies that feature a lone hero fighting a terrorist group in a confined location, the only difference is that John Trojan is a regular office worker with no military training. Action movies always have a hero with some sort of law-enforcement, combat or outdoor pursuits background but I wanted to do a story where the hero wasn’t a cop, an ex-navy seal or stuntman. To stack things against the hero even more, I decided to arm him with only the contents of the stationery cupboard so he literally has to stop ACRONYM with a heavy-duty stapler!”

The movie analogy continues with LAST ADMIN HERO in the form of some never-before-seen extra features that is included in the collection. “I’ve added about 60 pages of bonus material in LAST ADMIN HERO, including the preview “trailer”, an alternate ending, the abandoned original 24-page version and there’s a huge sketchbook section that explains how the characters and storylines evolved during the creative process!”

LAST ADMIN HERO represents a game-changing moment for Sgt Mike Battle. As Comics International described “The sharp wit and clever satire of previous issues is present and correct, but this comic is an improvement in that writer/artist Graham Pearce backs up the jokes with a solid and interesting plot, resulting in the most well rounded issue so far". Small Press Big Mouth said ““Absolutely f***in’ hilarious!” and Redeye says “If this series doesn’t have a massive genuine cult following, the human race should hang its collective head in shame”.

Sgt Mike Battle LAST ADMIN HERO, a 168 page US-sized black and white trade paperback is out now for £6 from It can be ordered via, via SGT MIKE BATTLE Fan Club on Facebook or from Lulu (