Monday, 25 July 2011


Back near the start of the year I had the honour and privilege to collaborate on a short comic with the hugely talented Valia Kapadai for submission to the Eagles Initiative competition. (I blogged the full experience HERE if you're interested)

Last week, however, it was announced that the Eagles Initiative contest had unfortunately had to be cancelled due to low turn-out. On the plus side this meant Valia and I were now free to show everyone what we did. So here it is - the complete GLOOMY MONDAY - story and art by Valia, script by me. 

Thanks again to Valia for letting me collaborate with her on this - hopefully this will just be the first of many comics we will create together!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Comic Review: Vanguard: Beauty & The Beasts

Rich McAuliffe reviewed Vanguard: Beauty & The Beasts on the incredibly awesome Everything Comes back To 2000AD blog and has kindly given offered to let us reproduce it here. Cheers, Rich!


Picked up a copy of this from one of the 2000AD forum regulars. All the stories are written by Dirk Van Dom with a different artist on each so I’ve made a few notes for each.

Cover by Liam Byrne:

Loved it. Felt very pop-art and features cool versions of characters from each of the four stories inside.

Atomic Call : Trendsetter.   Art by David Blankley

A cool story with a bounty hunter/thief who has a glove that basically lets her dial in whatever bit of kit she wants. Did feel a bit like a technicological version of The Mask (more the original comic than the Jim Carrey watered down movie) but the concept works really well and I really liked the artwork which makes the most of the black and white format. The story includes lots of clever over the top ideas and I especially liked the story behind the object she was there to get. Good stuff. My only nitpick? They introduce what I assume is her nemesis at the end and it looks like Sam Jackson playing the same character he plays in everything. Just like the leaked Avengers trailer, this put me off slightly, but thats just a personal thing.

Halo and the Gryphon.   Art by Louis Carter

I liked the art in this which felt very kids story book, but the story didnt grab me at all. Just not my type of thing I’m afraid. That usually means that everyone else who reads this collection will have it as their favourite. Its one of those magical fantasy type stories and I’m the one guy in the world who thinks Princess Bride was a waste of Columbo. Go figure.

Tuckers Romantic Escapes.    Art by El Chivo

A well done, darkly humerous strip that proves in the right hands it’s totally possible to tell a story in just one page. Sets up the main character to reappear in subsequent installments and makes you want to see more of his “adventures”. Nice bit of story telling.

Mammoth Jack.  Art by Owen Watts

Evil, man eating donkeys killing crazy Irish people. Whats not to love?
Definately the most over the top story in the collection and probably my favourite.Reminded me of the type of movie I love to watch after a few beers, just loads of fun.  Also a quick note to say that for a small press book the lettering in this, also by Owen Watts, was top notch, especially when dealing with the sound effects. Sets up the world and main protagonists for subsequent installments…. bring it on.

So overall a really decent collection. One semi-miss for me but played against three hits thats good going for an anthology… it’s all I usually get from 2000AD. I especially liked that coming from the same author all the stories felt different and it shows a lot of versatility in his writing. It also shows he can score some damn good indie artists, the true sign of a good small press writer.

Basically for £2 you cant go wrong with this so go over to the Vanguard Comic site and check it out for yourself

News Bites 17

ITEM! The mega-talented Valia Kapadai has teamed up with Rich McAuliffe for a strip in the next  Gothology. Valia describes it as "the WEIRDEST story I ever illustrated!" Also she'll be appearing in the much talked about Womanthology!

ITEM!  from Matthew Craig is looking for an artist:

Rajesh Ramani is Britain's newest superhero, protecting the people (especially the ladies) of Birmingham with fast hands, fast feet and even faster moves. But can this kung fu Casanova resist the charms (or force of arms) of Shakira Salt and the Accelerati?! 18 pages of ultramodern Eisneresque kung fu flirting ripped from the beating heart of Britain's Second City!
The final deadline for this strip is quite near -19th August (if the artist letters, as well, earlier if not, as I'm still struggling with an injury to my hand). The story will be the first strip in the Birmingham hero anthology NEW STREET TALES, which I'm hoping to debut at the Birmingham Comicon BC2011 on August 27th. Contact Matt via email if you're interested. 

ITEM! The full line-up of creators at the Manchester MCM Expo have been announced including Daniel Clifford, Stephen Downey and Graham Pearce. Check it out!

ITEM! It was announced that plans for the Cardiff International Comics and Animation Expo 2012 are now underway! Yes, you read that right "and animation", and it will also be a 2-day even instead of one! Keep your eyes on the CICE Twitter and website for further announcements!

ITEM! Barry Nugent has announced another spin-off comic from Fallen Heroes - this one featuring the character of The Hand! Full details on the Unseen Shadows blog.

ITEM! Andy Bloor has updated his blog with some nifty preview art from Accent UK's upcoming Zombies 2 anthology - as well as a lovely Axel Pressbutton piece he did for me for my birthday! Have a butchers!

ITEM! Oh and speaking of Accent UK, they've gone digital, by the way! Starting with Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man!

ITEM! Axe Cop artist Ethan Nicholle had posted an fantastic preview image of his new comic Bearmageddon! Wow!

ITEM! The Paper Jam Comics Collective have announced their next anthology - Alchohol And That

Stace guests on CBO ep117

Our Stace is out and about again giving other less fortunate podcasts the benefit of her expertise and general extra touch of class, donchaknow. In this case its the mega-awesome Comic Book Outsiders and a series of books very close to her heart...

"In this special episode while Scott is away, Steve is joined by a guest co-host, Stacey Whittle from the podcast Small Press, Big Mouth. Both Stacey and Steve are enormous fans of the Dresden Files novels by Jim Butcher. Just ahead of the release of latest book in the series, Ghost Story, they look back across the series talking about favourite moments, characters, events and how its main character, Harry Dresden, and the series have evolved. This episode has a lot of spoilers about the series to date. We also discuss some other urban fantasy series towards the end and make a few recommendations."

Direct download: Comic Book Outsiders Ep 117

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

News Bites 16

You want the news? You can't handle the news! ...ummm... actually, thinking about it, yeah, you probably can. Here y'go then, chuck...


ITEM! Kevin Gio Logue'Introducing Zombies Hi part 1 is now available for download from his blog, £1.50 for 32 pages. 

ITEM! There's a nice interview with the creators of ace anthology Tales Of The Spiffing at

ITEM! Like free comics? Of course you do! Well you can download the complete 52-page Empires by Static Girl HERE. Dinosaurs! Spaceships! What are you waiting for?

ITEM! Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett have a new webcomic Lady Sabre & The Pirates Of The Ineffable Aether - its steampunk high adventure and looks fab!

ITEM! Zarjaz #12 and Dogbreath #24 are out now! - and so is FutureQuake #18! Buy them!

ITEM! Jamie Smart is running a Find Chaffy art contest! Full details HERE

ITEM! Attention creative types! The 5th annual Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Contest is now open!

ITEM! BBC3 Scotland's programme on Scottish comics creators is now available to watch online for those who missed it.

ITEM! Better, Drawn is a new site featuring comics on the subject of living and coping with long term mental or physical illness. Fascinating reading and well worth a look. Thanks to the ever-excellent FPI blog for the heads-up. Also you can follow Better Drawn on twitter HERE

ITEM! Artist Lee Sullivan has compiled an excellent blog: Guidelines for Writing & Drawing Comics

Monday, 11 July 2011

Stace's latest SFX blog: Live Life, Love Genre

Heads up SPBMers - Stace has got a new blog post up on the  SFX magazine website in which she "rediscovers the joys of geekiness beyond just her beloved comics" - check it out HERE

...and don't forget her own brand spanking new blog Whittle Waffle which you can find HERE

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

East African Crisis

Last night we received an email from Graeme Howard, artist of Cancertown 2 and Dick Turpin And The Crimson Plague. This is what he said...


Hi Lee/Stacy,
Thought I'd send this sketch in. As a Dad myself the images of starving and desperate people especially children in East Africa at the moment really bugs me. So I knocked this up...

I don't know maybe something could be done as in the way we got together to help the people in Japan with the anthology that was put together. After all a few minutes sketching or writing isn't much if we can make make some sort of difference. Anyway that's enough preaching I'm off to draw people killing each other. 



For those who might not be aware, Somalia is currently suffering a devastating food crisis due to horrific drought conditions - the worst the continent has seen in 60 years. 12 million people are thought to be affected - thousands of children face starvation.

I personally haven't the first clue about how to set up a charity book, but a massive fundraising appeal has been launched and donations can be made via UNICEFSave The Children, OXFAM and The British Red Cross.

Graeme has also blogged about this on his website. If anyone out there is interested in creating some kind of benefit book with Graeme you can contact him there or by email or drop us a line and we'll put you in touch. Likewise if you're involved in any other fundraising projects give us a shout and we'll give them a big plug.

Here are those donation links again:

News Bites 15

Okay do you want the Good News or the Bad News? Bad News? Okay, the Bad News is pretty bad so brace yourself: My cuppa has gone cold. I know, I know. I'll try to soldier on... Anyhoo - the Good News...


ITEM! Jamie Smart's brilliant Corporate Skull is updating every day this week as issue #2 rockets to its conclusion!

ITEM! This Saturday (9th July) is the Birmingham Zine Fest. Matthew Craig will be there and would like to meet any artists interested in collaborating on comics projects!

ITEM! The Harvey Awards short-list has been announced

ITEM! 'SPANDEX is good superhero comics, the type Marvel and DC have largely forgotten how to make' Martin Eden's Spandex comic gets a great write-up on Bleeding Cool

ITEM! Check out Cy Dethan's new blog post in which he reveals Valia Kapadai's outstanding front & back covers to their upcoming Markosia book, White Knuckle. Valia has also uploaded a White Knuckle sketch.

ITEM! The eagerly awaited Predators anthology from AccentUK has been re-scheduled for August's Previews.

ITEM! There's a brilliant new blog post from Jim Campbell, concerning some fundamentals of constructing a comic page… its great, check it out!

ITEM! advice on creating comics from Andy Diggle via his Twitter:

"Seems a lot of you want to make your own comics. The best advice I can offer is, JUST DO IT! You don't need anyone's permission. Just pick up a pencil and get drawing/writing. Don't ask, "How can I get into the comics industry?" Ask, "How can I become a better comics creator?" The answer is PRACTICE. So go make some comics. Short is better. Learn to condense. FINISH stuff. Keep learning from your mistakes until you get really good at it. Then the comics industry will come looking for YOU.
Good places for aspiring creators to hook up: Millarworld creative, Panel & Pixel, Freakangels/Whitechapel, Deviant Art. Study every pro comic script you can find. Compare to the finished art: what changed and why? For better or worse? Study every pro comic script you can find. Compare to the finished art: what changed and why? For better or worse? Finally, I can't recommend the Comic Book Script Archive highly enough. Now go make comics!"

ITEM! Blank Slate announce they are publishing Harvey James's A Long Day Of Mr James Teacher via their Chalk Marks imprint.

ITEM! Sugar Glider and Sugar Glider Stories are now stocked in the excellent Orbital Comics, London. Speaking of Sugar Glider, Disco Daniel Clifford says on the SG Facebook page "Sugar Glider co-creator and artist, Gary Bainbridge, has confirmed today that Sugar Glider #2 will be out in August. And it's looking fantastic! Well worth the wait!"

ITEM! Moon Freight 3 creator Luke Foster will be at Connecticon: it's this Fri-Sun, and I'll be at table 76 in the Artists Colony. You know you want to be there, too.

ITEM! Want to create a webcomic? Read these posts on the Drawing Words & Writing Pictures site.

ITEM! Geek Syndicate announce Summer Of Indie

ITEM! Lots of Unseen Shadows updates to catch up on: Firstly, author and creator Barry Nugent reveals: "I've been approached by another writer to do a fifth [Fallen Heroes] spin off"; secondly, he's posted a first peek at Fallen Heroes #2 and thirdly Unseen Shadows now has a shiny new trade dress!


You're still thinking about the fact my tea's gone cold, aren't you? Yeah *sigh* me too....