Friday, 16 September 2011

Episode 33! Did you miss us?

HELLO HELLO! Stacey and Lee are back in the podcasting saddle again! Woo hoo I hear you say – or something like that anyway. In this extra long episode they cover a whole host of news from the small and independent press and review Those Of No Class #1, Jennifer Wilde #1, Hildafolk, Rachel Rising #1, Predators and Sugar Glider #2. It’s good to be back!

Direct Download: Episode 33


PREDATORS - Accent UK Andy Bloor

Another classic Stace portrait of Lee

Monday, 12 September 2011

Discovering FRANK SARTRE

One of the coolest things about doing Small Press Big Mouth is when comics creators get in touch to tell you about their current comic. Its brilliant cos I get to mention it on the blog or on the 'cast and look like a genius for discovering some absolute gem. Perfect example: We just received an email from James Peaty & James Reekie about their webcomic The Ballad Of Frank Sartre which is about to launch its second chapter. Second chapter? Where the hell was I for chapter one? This looks exactly my cup of tea! Anyway, I'm going to engage Smug Mode and pretend I've known about it for ages.... ahem...

Eeeew, didn't you already know about The Ballad Of Frank Sartre? Man, you're so unhip its a wonder your bum doesn't fall off! Thank God I'm here for you - now shut your flapping pie hole for 2 minutes and read the following press release. Then go and read the comic. Then tell your friends about it - and be sure to use a superior tone when you do cos you're doing them a favour, capiche?


"To be or not to be... You decide! Frank Sartre is slick, immersive, and relentless. We get swept up with the flying cars, dog-faced reporters, and killer highs--and like the title character, we're not all that certain whether Peaty and Reekie are taking us someplace safe. Essential reading!" 
Brandon Montclare - writer, Marvel's 'Fearsome Four'

"James Peaty and James Reekie are crafting a future-noir crime story that will knock your socks off. Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll combine with an extremely fallible "hero" and a strange and wonderful supporting cast of theriocephalic beat reporters, drug dealers and cabbies to make this surreal webcomic the new 'must read'!  The two James deliver a kick-ass weekly shot in the arm to the comics world. Pay attention, or else!" 
Sterling Gates - writer, 'Hawk & Dove', 'Supergirl' and 'Kirby Genesis: Captain Victory'

On Friday 16th September James Peaty and James Reekie will begin serialising the second chapter of their surreal pulp-noir graphic novel "The Ballad of Frank Sartre".

Flashing back to the mysterious events surrounding Frank's first band, The 400 Blows, while continuing to explore the weird and wonderful city of Cosmopolis, this second chapter both raises the stakes and deepens the mystery as The Stain’s murderous reign of terror continues.

"The story came from a desire to do something that was both very different from the kind of work I’d been getting in America, but also something that was completely my own," says writer James Peaty.

"When you’ve been working in the world of superhero comics, which these days tends to be hugely editorially prescriptive, it’s important to stretch your wings beyond the confines of company owned characters and do something that flexes different creative muscles.”

An experienced comics writer, with credits on various American titles including Green Arrow, JSA: Classified, Supergirl and The Batman Strikes!, James thinks that Frank is an enjoyable antidote to the glut of superhero material that currently dominates the medium.

“For me, the attraction of working on something like Frank Sartre was being able to explore a whole raft of ideas that really have no place in superhero material. I think, first and foremost, I just wanted to create a character who was morally ambiguous, even dubious. From there the notion of a world that’s almost an expression of that characters state of mind was simply too good an idea to ignore.”

But was it easy to actually bring that world to life? James says it was easier than you’d think. “Basically, and this possibly a horrific thing to admit, what I did was raid my own tastes and interests. I’ve always been a fan of artists, writers and filmmakers who create a world that deals in relatable human experience, but one filtered through the lens of the abstract. People like William S. Burroughs, Paul Pope, David Lynch and Dennis Potter are, I suppose, the inspiration behind this project, so it seemed appropriate that they should inform the look and feel of the world we were creating. “

James Reekie is a newcomer to the comic scene, and started working on the project around his commercial illustration gigs, working for magazines such as Wired, FHM and BBC Focus. "Like many artists, all my early interest in drawing was based around comics" says James, "and when I became a full time freelance Illustrator, the first thing I did was look to use some of my downtime on a graphic novel project. I was looking for something different, no tights, capes or powers. As soon I read the first pages of the script for "Frank Sartre", so strange, dark, angry and compelling, I was hooked."

The James' found it easy to work together as they share many of the same reference points. "Most of our meetings involving talking about anything but comics. We start at Paul Pope and Frank Millar, and work through mid century art house cinema, Dr Who, 80's politics and end up discussing why Sam Allardyce is the least worst choice to manage West Ham…"

The graphic novel is being released online, in it's entirety, for free. When it came to publishing the book the creative team felt that maximum readership was their goal.

"We discussed at great length how we wanted to put the book out", says artist James Reekie. "What it really boiled down to was simply we simply wanted as many people to read our story as possible. Releasing it online, for free, seemed like the perfect solution".

"We're just two guys trying to tell a story. We both share a punk, DIY ethos and we didn't want the story watered down with the pressure of fitting into a demographic to turn a profit. Producing it 100% ourselves and giving it away gives us enormous creative freedom."

The Ballad of Frank Sartre is being publish online, for free, 4 pages very Friday Chapter two starts on Friday 16th September, Chapter 1 is available to read now. Suggested for mature readers.

If you have a comic to want to tell us about or to review drop us an email or give Lee or Stace a shout on Twitter.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Exclusive: UNSEEN SHADOWS anthology cover revealed!

Hey kids! Regular SPBMers among you will be well aware of 'Bullwhip' Barry Nugent's fantastic multi-media adventure Unseen Shadows which is growing Yggdrasill-like from his novel Fallen Heroes. Well Barry is kindly allowing SPBM to reveal the cover art for the upcoming anthology comic Unseen Shadows: Tales Of The Fallen - as brilliantly drawn by Rob Carey


And here are the blurbs for the four tales within, which all expand and illuminate characters that first appeared in the original Fallen Heroes novel...

Wrath of God

The Reverend: a holy weapon forged in tragedy and flame – a murderous martyr whose cold judgement strikes with the force of a vengeful God. Despair, for the Reverend walks among you. He is the right hand of vengeance. He is Wrath.

By Cy Dethan, Steve Penfold, Nic Wilkinson & Gat Melvin

Operation Solomon

On a Tour of Duty in the Persian Gulf, Lieutenant Steph Connisbee is signed on as the pilot on a top secret mission- Operation: Solomon. During this assignment she will uncover secrets and danger and step into the world of Unseen Shadows before she even knows it…

By Richmond Clemets, Conor Boyle and Paul Mclaren

Fragments of Fate

Mythical artifacts tied to an ancient legend.  A demonic cult obsessed with determining destiny. Professor Napoleon Stone’s latest research project is about to take him on a dark and perilous journey into the unknown.  Beaten, broken, terrorised and tortured.   It’s time to discover what’s worse, being haunted by your past?  Or being tormented by your future?

By Pete Rogers, Roy Huteson Stewart & Paul Mclaren

Band of Butchers

Clancy Wallencheck is a very bad man – the commander of an elite team that have nothing to live for and a whole lot of people to kill.

From the mountains of Pakistan to the waters of Venice, there have been a thousand corpses in Clancy’s life.

This is the story of the one that mattered.

By Dan Thompson, Rob Carey, Paul Mclaren & Vicky Stonebridge

Barry tells me they are hoping to have the book ready in time for Thought Bubble. Keep up to date wirh all things Unseen Shadowy at their website and on their Twitter.

Friday, 2 September 2011


Yes, I did deliberately leave two items out of the News Bites round-up yesterday purely so I could do the footie results pun above. Okay, its no 'East Fife 4; Forfar 5' but it amused me....

Anyhoo, you may recall Stargazer is an all-ages SF/fantasy graphic novel created and published by Von Allan; well Von dropped us an email to let us know the the second volume is out soon and is solicited in this month's Previews.

In the concluding volume of “Stargazer,” Marni, Elora, Sophie and their new-found robot friend finally reach the distant tower they spotted earlier in their adventure.  Expecting to find help at the tower, the girls are stunned to discover that it is not only old and heavily damaged, but also clearly abandoned.  As the friends are dealing with their disappointment and starting to plan their next move, they suddenly find themselves surrounded by an odd assortment of little creatures, similar to the robot.  While not necessarily the help the girls wanted, the silent but friendly alien friends are nonetheless welcome companions.

Once inside the ruined tower, the girls make a few discoveries, ranging from curious to downright ominous.  While Elora goes off on her own, looking for answers to her own questions, Sophie and Marni are convinced that many of the answers they need can be found on the upper levels of the tower, on the other side of a long-ago landslide of rubble and boulders.

With the return of the monster that threatened them at the start of their adventure, the girls must unite to face their fears and fight for their lives.  Can the power of friendship and imagination get them safely home?  And does their magical quest have a fairytale ending?

Stargazer Volume Two has a Diamond order code of AUG111259 , an ISBN of 978-09-781237-4-1, a suggested retail price of $14.95 US and is 110 pages in length.  It will arrive in comic shops on October 12th, 2011.

Stargazer Volume One is now available in all channels. It has a Diamond Item Code of AUG111260 and an ISBN of 978-0-9781237-2-7.

You can download a free 34-page preview of Stargazer v2 at Von's website HERE - let us know what you think!


Next up we have the latest comic from Andy Winters - writer of SPBM faves Blood Psi, Brothers and Septic Isle - this one's called.... wait for it... SCOREGASM! What a flipping awesome title, eh? Here's what Andy has to say...

MY new football comic - Scoregasm - is now available for your delight and delectation over at [note that's .co not or .com]

You can read it at the site or download a PDF of the entire thing to keep. Whatever your preference, the 38-page book is totally FREE.

Scoregasm is part-homage to the football strips I grew up reading in the seventies (things like Billy's Boots, Hot Shot Hamish and, of course, Roy Of The Rovers) and part-poison pen letter to the cynicism of the modern game. 

Duane Leslie has done an excellent job on the art and many thanks to Eva de la Cruz for colouring the cover and Kay Downes for her fantastic website design.

Scoregasm can also be accessed through

Incidentally, Andy also posted this little titbit on his blog - anyone interested?

I'm keen to do more web-based stuff and one of the projects I'm looking at would be to bring back Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag (star of 2009's critically-acclaimed one-shot). Obviously I can't ask Declan [Shalvey] to get involved as he's somewhat busy at Marvel, but, if anyone else might be up for it, just give me a shout.

So an all-ages SF/fantasy and an adult-orientated sex-and-footie drama - how's that for diversity?


Blank Slate's anthology Nelson has been top of our Can't Wait For list ever since it was announced and they've just revealed the full line-up of creators on the book - ye gods, it reads like a Who's Who of SPBM favourites!

Flip your faceballs all over the press release below. Take it away, Russ...



We at Blank Slate are excited to announce the complete line-up for Nelson, our 54-creator charity graphic novel project that will see all profits going to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

Seeking to celebrate the incredible diversity of talent in British comics today, Editors Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix have united over 50 of the UK’s best and brightest comic creators for Shelter's great cause in the mother of all collaborations: a complete, 250 page story of one woman’s life from her birth in 1968 to the present day.

Mainstream comic sensations such as Duncan Fegredo and Sean Philips join forces with cult British creators including D'Israeli and Roger Langridge, working alongside celebrated literary comic authors like Posy Simmonds and up-and-coming alternative comics stars Luke Pearson and Jon McNaught amongst many others.

"When Rob and Woodrow came to me with their idea for Nelson, straight away it seemed to me that it should be a charity project" states Kenny Penman, Publisher at Blank Slate, "The British comic scene is more vibrant than ever before, and the opportunity to unite this diverse group of creators to aid the greatly important work that Shelter does in these difficult economic times seemed too good to miss."

Nelson's official launch event will take place on the 22nd November 2011 at The Cartoon Museum in London, with readers able to buy a special advance copy of the book at Leeds’ Thought Bubble Festival on the 19th and 20th November, where the majority of its artists will be signing copies for the public.

Currently available to order in the UK section of the September edition of Previews, Nelson will be featured in the main US section in October. Make sure to keep up to date with future announcements via the book’s Facebook page at

ISBN 978-1-906653-23-1 | 252 pages | 236 x 178mm softcover with flaps, full colour | £18.99 / $22.99


Paul Grist, Rob Davis, Woodrow Phoenix, Ellen Lindner, Jamie Smart, Gary Northfield, Sarah McIntyre, Suzy Varty, Sean Longcroft, Warwick Johnson–Cadwell, Luke Pearson, Paul Harrison–Davies, Katie Green, Paul Peart–Smith, Glyn Dillon, I.N.J.Culbard, John Allison, Philip Bond, D’Israeli, Simone Lia, Darryl Cunningham, Jonathan Edwards, Ade Salmon, Kate Charlesworth,Warren Pleece, Kristyna Baczynski, HarveyJames, Rian Hughes, Sean Phillips & Pete Doree, Kate Brown, Simon Gane, Jon McNaught, Adam Cadwell, Faz Choudhury, JAKe, Jeremy Day, Dan McDaid, Roger Langridge, Will Morris, Dave Shelton, Carol Swain, Hunt Emerson, Duncan Fegredo, Philippa Rice, Josceline Fenton, Garen Ewing, Tom Humberstone, Dan Berry, Alice Duke, Posy Simmonds, Laura Howell, Andi Watson, Dave Taylor

Thursday, 1 September 2011

News Bites 18!

Apologies for the lack of SPBM activity over the last month or so - should be back to normal very soon. 


ITEM! It's Sgt Mike Battle's birthday! Creator Graham 'Hawkeye' Pearce wants you to nominate your Top 5 Sgt Mike Battle moments/jokes/sequences from any issue of Sgt. Mike Battle: Greatest American Hero. The results are being compiled into an official top ten to celebrate 10 years of SMB:GAH. Submit your Top 5 choices by posting on the Sgt Mike Battle Fan Club wall. Happy birthday, Sarge!

ITEM! Cancertown 2: Blasphemous Tumours has a brilliant new colourist - Peter Mason. You can see sample pages on Cy Dethan's blog HERE. I've had a wee preview of the almost-complete first issue and it looks frickin' amazing!

ITEM! You can now pre-order The Indifference Engine and Broadcast (The Henry Flint art book) from the Markosia site either to pick up at the the Thought Bubble show at a special price or to be delivered.

ITEM! The 3rd Leeds Alternative Press Fair is on for the 1st October at the Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds. Open noon til 5pm, entry is free! Full details HERE

ITEM! Both Sides, the latest comic from Matthew Craig debuted at 2011BC last weekend. Illustrated by Jack Davies and myself, it will shortly be available to buy online.

ITEM! Jennifer Wilde #1 by Rob Curley, Maura McHugh and Stephen Downey is available to buy now in selected stores and online

ITEM! Also debuting at 2011BC was the long awaited latest anthology from Accent UK: Predators. This can be ordered through Previews and I recommend you do so. 

ITEM! Sugar Glider #2 from Daniel Clifford and Gary Bainbridge premièred last Saturday at a signing event in Newcastle's Travelling Man and is available to buy online now!

ITEM! Rob Davis talks Don Quixote at We Love This Book

ITEM! Awesome upcoming artist Sara Dunkerton is interviewed at Girls Read Comics Too

ITEM! Dead Star Publishing are looking for artists and writers for Rising Stars. If you're interested email: Find them also on Facebook and Twitter - and why don't you check out the awesome cover to Stiffs #1 coming up in December. 

ITEM! Kochi Wanaba the mindblowing online graphic novel from Jamie Smart has been scheduled to be published in book form in March 2012 by Blank Slate Books.  

ITEM! You guys are all reading reading Jamie Smart's Corporate Skull now on its 3rd issue, right? And Hairy Steve, the webcomic what he is doing with Steve Bright, right? Just checking.

ITEM! Have you seen this genuinely startling Korean webcomic yet? Not for those with a heart condition. Seriously.

ITEM! Comic Heroes magazine will be reviewing small press comics from their next issue. Submission details HERE

ITEM! Fab Strontium Dog fanzine Dogbreath is calling out for writers & artists. Details HERE

ITEM! The brilliant Faith Erin Hicks (Zombies Calling, Adventures Of Superhero Girl) is serialising her next graphic novel Friends With Boys online for freeee! Check it out, bumfaces!