Saturday, 29 December 2012

Looking Forward: 2013

2012 was a pretty awesome year for comics and we predict 2013 will be too. Here are a few items to slot in your memorybrain for the new year...


Razarhawk will finally e-x-p-l-o-d-e onto the scene courtesy of Ian Matthews and Dani Abram. Eyes left for an exclusive (probably) peek at the cover art!

From Improper Books we have a trio of terrific titles: Porcelain, Butterfly Gate and Night Post. I finally got to read the preview issue of Porcelain just before Christmas and I was absolutely blown away! I honestly can't wait til February to read the whole thing!

Out almost-before-you-know (ie January) is the long and eagerly awaited Babble from Lee Robson, Bryan Coyle and Com.X. I've got my copy pre-ordered already.

The 3rd and final issue of Jennifer Wilde as well as new issues of Roisin Dubh and The League Of Volunteers from Atomic Diner.

Edit: Add to that new 3-part series Noe The Savage Boy, which looks utterly lush in the preview HERE.

From Barry Nugent's Unseen Shadows we have The Reverend: Blood Cries Out written by Cy Dethan and drawn by Steve Penfold.

From Darrin O'Toole's DOT comics Lady Babylon: An Occult Romance is launching in Spring, then Earthruler is a 60 pg tpb in late summer.

Here's one that can't get in my hands soon enough: Midnight Man by Mo "Dreamcatcher" Ali & Andy "Wolfmen" Bloor

From Craig Daley's ‏CD Comics we have Robin Hood 2020, Carnacki & Hannay and War Nurse to keep an eye out for.

...and Luke Foster informs us that the fourth and final Moon Freight 3 collection will be released and his new online strip The Centre Of Somewhere continues to update every week day!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Looking Back: Faves & Raves of 2012

Yeah yeah yeah I know, "Who needs another flipping Best Of The Year list?", right? Well you do so shuttit, cakeface, and pay attention. This is an entirely personal list (it is I, LeGrice, writing this) and is in no way intended to be a definitive overview of the Greatest Comics Of 2012, merely a record of my own personal favourites. There are no doubt some very notable omissions here (Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes, The Nao Of Brown, Saga and Building Stories, for instance) and there's a very good reason for that - I've not read them yet.

Anyhoo, make notes cos there will be a test at the end...


The Mire - Becky Cloonan
This list is in no particular order, but if I had to be pinned down to choose a single favourite comic of the year it would be this. This is the kind of comic that makes me excited about comics - for the form and the medium and the art. Becky Cloonan is a terrific artist but her skills as a writer are often overlooked I think.

Locke & Key - Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez
Possibly the best ongoing comic on the shelves at the moment - utterly enthralling, utterly unpredictable, a genuinely epic graphic novel that will hook you and chill you and have you fretting for the safety of all the main characters as the series races to its apocalyptic conclusion in 2013.

The Walking Dead - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard
At the end of 2011 it was looking like this zombie survival epic might've passed its peak, things were seeming a tad familiar, predicable, safe... but this year Kirkman & Adlard reminded us just how deeply they have their fingers embedded into our guts and how easily they could tear them out and hold them up before our own blinking, dumbstruck eyes.

2000AD - Matt Smith, John Wagner et al
In years to come people will look back and regard 2012 as a benchmark year for 2000AD - the astounding Judge Dredd epics Day Of Chaos and The Cold Deck led the charge, but just about everyone brought their 'A' game at some point this year.

White Knuckle - Cy Dethan, Valia Kapadai
This time last year I predicted this would probably be my favourite graphic novel of the year and so it is. Is there such a genre as a Character Chiller? If not then I claim it in the name of White Knuckle.

Sgt Mike Battle #17 - Graeme Pearce
Just when you thought you Star Wars parodies were completely, utterly and irretrievably burnt out along comes Pearce with a fresh angle that makes it all seem shiny and new - not to mention hilariously funny.

Princess Of Mars - Burroughs, Edginton, Culbard
Two anecdotes: As I was reading this I decided to mark with a little piece of paper any page that struck me as particularly good so I would remember to mention it in the podcast review - after a few minutes I realised I was marking Every. Single. Page. I gave up on that idea and decided to just read it. About half-way through and I suddenly became aware of an annoying voice muttering "This is SO good this is SO good." Turned out that voice was me. My brother and my best friend both got this for Christmas off me this year.

Bayou Arcana - Jimmy Pearson et al
I have to confess this book is on this list not just because its a great read and beautifully illustrated but because we were kinda helped bring it to life in its initial stages and were able to follow closely its production from start to finish. With so many friends involved in the creative teams I'm fully aware of the love, sweat and tears that went into this book and it was with a certain degree of pride that the final book is so good and was so well received. You did good, swamp kings and Cajun queens, you did really really good.

Robot Shorts - Dave West, Steve Holder
For a collection of short stories involving mechanical beings and soulless machines this is incredibly warm, funny and human. If I ever undersold in my podcast reviews how good a comic was this year it was this one. Seriously, clever, charming, wonderful stuff.

Rainbow Orchid v3 - Garen Ewing
The long awaited and thoroughly satisfying conclusion to Julius Chancer's epic adventure, which somehow we managed to completely not review on the podcast. I had one tiny quibble with one tiny element of the book which I can't say cos its a bit of a spoiler, but I mentioned it to Garen at Bristol Expo and he told me his missus agreed with me so that's all right then.

No More Heroes - Gordon McLean, Caio Oliveira
If you missed this you missed a treat - a rollicking rumba of redemption with more twists than a barbedwire corkscrew with an exploding polar bear thrown in for the kids. 

Mud Man - Paul Grist
The spirit of earthy (no pun intended) brit-superheroes like The Leopard From Lime Street and General Jumbo lives on in this brilliant comic. Grist is probably British comic's most undervalued talent - his art is deceptively simple and his writing surprisingly complex - like Moore or Morrison but more grounded (no pun intended) in the bricks and mortar (no pun intended) of real life.

The Black Scorpion - Rob Curley, Stephen Downey
Sometimes a comic comes along that seems so perfect for you you actually check the inside cover to see if its dedicated to you in some kind of wonderful surprise. So it was with me and The Black Scorpion. It also features what is, for me, one of the covers of the year. 

Welcome Return(s) Of The Year: 
Nexus Omnibus v1, Grendel Omnibus v1.
Two indie classics given the affordable doorstop reprint treatment by Dark Horse this year. Mike Baron & Steve Rude's glorious neo-retro spacecutioner Nexus and Matt Wagner's blood-drenched super-criminal Grendel - if you've never read either of these then I demand, nay implore, nay double-demand you run immediately to your favourite comics emporium and treat yourself to these. You can thank me later.

Cover(s) Of The Year: 
Porcelain / Colder #1 / Into The Woods
No further comment needed surely?

Panel(s) Of The Year: 
Frankenstein: Alive Alive #2 / The Reckoning / Jenspiration /

Oh my god the detail!
Oh my god its a sea monster!

Oh my god its Lee!

Right then. There you go. My faves & raves of 2012. Now, as I said, there's now going to be a test - so if you can just pop behind the curtain there and pee into the cup, thanks...

Monday, 24 December 2012


Can you name all the comics featured?
[Open in new window to see full size]

Sunday, 23 December 2012

SPBM Fun & Games #10

Hiya Kids! Well here we are on Christmas Eve Eve and the last of this year's SPBM Christmas puzzles - an a-MAZE-ing maze*! Have a wonderful Christmas and we'll see you on the other side!

*which I may have nicked from an old Batman annual...

Saturday, 22 December 2012

SPBM Fun & Games #9

You lucky people! Its only another bloomin' wordsearch!

Open in a new window to view full-size.
We recommend you print the puzzle out for maximum funnage.

Friday, 21 December 2012

SPBM Fun & Games #8

The funny thing is that I felt compelled to include instructions on how to do a dot-to-dot just in case...

We recommend you print this out to avoid drawing all over your screen.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Comic artist Christmas cards 2012

Huzzah! Its that time of year once again when comicy-types create their own festive greetings cards. I love 'em! Here's a few I've seen or received so far. If you see some more let us know in the comments below and I'll add them to the post!

This is available as a printable pdf at Sally's blog!

SPBM Fun & Games #7

Its day 2 of ChriSPBMas Fun & Games week - and today its a wonderful wordsearch! OoooOOoooh!

Open in new window to see full-size.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

SPMB Fun & Games #6

Hello kiddies! Its that time of year again when SPBM mansion is taken over by festive frolics. And what a load of frolics it is...

Friday, 7 December 2012

For Your Xmas List

art by Valia Kapadai
HO HO HO! Christmas is coming. Grice is getting fat. Please put a penny in a small pressers hat! We're all very excited for Christmas here at the SPBM mansion. Lee has his stockings on up already and Stace is knitting Christmas tree cosies like a Clausian frenzy, but there's still time to add some comics, merchandise or art to your Christmas shopping list. So here for your browsing pleasure is a wee directory of online shops belonging to some faithful SPBMers. Go on treat yourself, your friends, family or favourite fake geek to something cool and comics-shaped this year...


Presented in no particular order except I put Stacey's link first cos otherwise she'd punch me in the baubles...

Into The Woods

David Wynne

Jamie Smart

Art Heroes

Stephen Downey

Garen Ewing

Valia Kapadai

Ruben Moreno/Masked Manor

Cy Dethan

Sally Jane Thompson

Jennie Gyllblad

Vicky Stonebridge

Gary Bainbridge

Brittany Coxon


Bevis Musson

Luke Foster

Andrew Waugh

Matthew Craig

Becky Cloonan

Lee Robson

Maura McHugh

Graeme Howard

Corey Brotherson

Dan Berry

Heather L Sheppard

N Gingerboom












If you're an indie comics creator or artist and want a link to your shop added to this list just comment below. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Episode 41!

Welcome to Episode 41 of Small Press Big Mouth! This episode has Lee and Stace review some comics* (I bet you weren’t expecting THAT shiz!) and they chat about Thoughtbubble and The British Comic Awards.

This episode was recorded before Stace got good and angry about the shitty publicity surrounding the Awards, so is much less ranty than you might be expecting. Sorry if that is any way disappointing to you, she really does like listening to a good rant and suspects you are quite a lot like her secretly, and she will try and get good and ranty about another topic next time.

*namely Princess Of Mars, Dreamcatcher, Night Bus #3, Blackout, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and One-Eyed Jack And The Death Of Valiant.

Direct Download: Episode 41


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

17 Fantastic Fantasy Comics

Hey SPBMers, so I was asked today if I could recommend some fantasy comics/graphic novels for someone for Christmas. After spending a stupid amount of time mulling it over I came up with a not-so-short list. Then I though "I know, I'll post the list on the blog that way I won't feel like a complete nutcakeface for spending way too much time answering a simple question!" I even made a title banner, look....


Originally serialised in the DFC comic this gorgeous story of stone-age myths and superstitions was collected complete as a large format hardcover. Breathtakingly beautiful and quite scary, I'd highly recommend this for all ages with the exception of very young children.

Imagine a trio of Loony Tunes characters caught up in The Lord Of The Rings and you'll have some idea of what Bone is like - though no idea how brilliant it is. Funny, charming, uncynical, epic, fun. Available in several formats including a massive complete-in-one doorstop.

Slaine: Warrior's Dawn
Pat Mills, Angie Kincaid, Massimo Belardinelli, Mike McMahon
Conceived as an antidote to the testosteronal tradition of Conan The Barbarian this satirical Celtic fantasy is a collection of the earliest stories that ran in 2000AD. Superb B&W art especially McMahon who gave the strip a primitive sinewy style unlike anyone else. 

Slaine: The Horned God
Pat Mills, Simon Bisley
A few years later burgeoning superstar artist Simon Bisley signed on as Slaine artist for what was to prove to be Slaine's most popular story. Visually much closer to the hyper-muscularised Conan/Frank Frazetta archetype the strip still maintained its sarcastic attitude.

A Princess Of Mars 
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ian Edginton, INJ Culbard 
The seminal pulp classic has been adapted to comics many times over the years, but this by far the classiest and most faithful. Simultaneously a swashbuckling, otherworldly fantasy and a genuinely engaging romance.
Conan: The Frost Giant's Daughter
Robert E Howard, Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord
Another quality adaptation of a sword and sorcery pulp classic. I've never really been a huge fan of Conan to be honest but this really won me over. This was the first of many Conan books from Dark Horse, both adaptations of Howard's stories and original tales.

Alan Grant, Arthur Ranson
Another 2000AD serial, this beautiful paperback collects all three volumes complete in one book. This sombre, nightmarish fantasy is stunningly illustrated by Arthur Ranson

Requiem: Vampire Knight
Pat Mills, Olivier Letroit
Created by Pat Mills for the European market, this Hellbound genre-blending adult fantasy is dark, horrific and frequently sadomasochistic, but always has Mills' underlining humour. Ledroit's art is amongst the most brain-meltingly fantabulous you're ever likely to inflict your eyeballs on. Each of the five (to date) UK editions contains two of the European albums. Which is nice.

Mouse Guard
Like Bone this is another all-ages fantasy, beautifully illustrated, but in a more realistic non-anthropomorphised style. Not remotely as silly as you might imagine, but thoroughly charming and engaging. Two lush hardcover volumes to date and several spin-off series.

Wendy Pini, Richard Pini
A genuine indie classic this epic series has graced several publishers over the years, but is currently all available to read online for free!

Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz RosiƄski
This highly esteemed, hugely popular and long-running (33 volumes to date) series from Belgium combines a multitude of myths and legends. Currently being published in English by Cinebook.

Kingdom Of The Wicked
Ian Edginton, D'Israeli
This dark, psychological graphic novel involves a bestselling children's author who finds himself, as an adult, suffering black-outs and awakening in the fantasy world he imagined as a child - except it is now a brutal, war-torn place. Any time Edginton & D'Israeli team up you know its going to be good and this is no exception.

Shaman Warrior
Park Joong-Ki 

I picked up the first volume of this Korean series on the spur of the moment, knowing nothing about it, and its absolutely blew me away. The art is jaw-droppingly good and the story whips along like lightning. If you like your fantasy epics full of skull-splitting action then this 9-volume series is for you. 

The Hobbit
JRR Tolkien, David Wenzel
This needs no introduction I'm sure and this is a lush, lovely adaptation by Dave Wenzel.

Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco

The First World War brought catastrophic advancements in warfare technology - the machine gun, the fighter plane, tanks, mustard gas - but imagine if WWI had been fought instead using magic and dragons and other mythical beasts. This is the premise of Arrowsmith, an imaginative, genre-blending, brilliantly illustrated comic.  

Wolves/The Mire
Becky Cloonan
These two self-published comics from Becky Cloonan are surely so stranger to faithful SPBMers, we rave on about these brilliant medieval horror tales often enough, and we will continue to do so until every last one of you have read them!


Right, that's me spent - do you have any fantasy comics you'd recommend? Drop us a line via carrier roc or the usual methods...