Wednesday, 27 December 2017

In Review - ‘Tomorrow’ from BHP Comics.


Written by Jack Lothian.

Art by Garry Mac.

Colours, design and lettering by Sha Nazir and Kirsty Hunter.

Flatting by Greg Watt.

51 pages - Full Colour - Published by BHP Comics.

The Story - This is a book that opens quietly. We see the beach at an unnamed seaside town and the sea beyond. In the sand you can see the indentations of two bums and four feet. A couple have sat here alone and you imagine that they have looked out to sea. A shadow of a love left as a moment of time in the sand.

The scene then changes to an alarm clock going off and a little old lady getting out of bed and heading to the shops. She seems alone yet cheerful. She heads down the high street to the local supermarket and is rudely brushed off when she tries to make conversation with the young woman cashier. She seems unbothered and heads home and then to bed. She is awoken later that night by noisy music from the flat above. She heads up and politely complains to the chav at his door but is again bluntly rebuffed.

The following day her routine continues again except that this time she finds that the streets are empty. There is nobody about anywhere. Everyone has gone and she is actually (rather than emotionally) alone. She cries ‘Hello’ but no one answers. Until she turns a corner and finds some strange short and squat aliens dismantling a wall. As she attempts to hide two taller, grey and centaur legged humanoids pass her and ignore her. She is scared but realises that these creatures will continue to just ignore her.

So the little old lady continues with her life. She continues to shop and wash her clothes until one day whilst hanging her smalls on the line she is approached by one of the worker aliens who has hurt its hand. She takes it in and dresses the wound. She gets attached to it and begins to see this small being as a surrogate child and starts dressing it up as a baby. One hilarious moment has her dressing it up in a toddler’s sailor costume and taking it to the seaside.

We suspect that this will not end well......

The Review - This is actually the first comic that I have discovered and then reviewed after obtaining my Comichaus app and membership. I think that it may also be one of the first books that I have reviewed from BHP Comics, it won’t be the last. It’s a great little book. It speaks to a theme of elder loneliness through the framework of an alien invasion and seeming extermination of mankind. It’s not every day that you see those two in the same comic.

It is also a fun read. The writing and art combine to present a quiet style of storytelling that is pitched in just the right tone to make you smile, be a little creeped out and also give you the odd sad moment.  the visuals carry much of what is going on here. The writer allows the artist to carry the narrative without interrupting it with speech or thought bubbles, this is deftly done. The art is clean and open and coloured superbly. Garry Mac manages to carry both the scenes that have literal scope and size to the smaller more personal moments with facial acting done with subtlety and care. I’d love to see what he handles next.

You warm to the little old lady and see her as both cute and polite but also really brave both in the post apocalypse world and also when dealing with the ghastly rude and chavvy people she comes across before everyone disappears. She is perhaps less alone after this event than before. It is also a book that will stay with you and get you ringing your mum to make sure she has the radiators on and enough shopping during this cold snap.

Highly recommended.

I read this on Comichaus but you can also get a hard copy through the app or directly from and follow them on Twitter @BHP_Comics

Many thanks for reading.

Monday, 25 December 2017

A Cockney Kung Fu Backstory.... (Contains terrible language).

Hey readers,

We are about to go to the printers with Cockney Kung Fu so I thought I could re present a story of one of the side characters.

(This previously appeared in the mailer - so sign up!)

This is a little bit more of a back story of one of the CKF characters. I'm beginning to compile a load of prose relating to characters who turn up in the story so thought you could have a look at one of the pieces in advance.

Hope you enjoy it....

Why does no one write about those funny little moments in your life? Does comedy not translate well to the comic or prose world these days. The books that actually seem really funny are slim on the newly released shelves. All we seem to get are the obligatory 'name' or 'hot' comedian who is pushed into our faces like a cow turd at Scout Camp. I don't like many comedians. Even the ones that I enjoy on stand up like Stewart Lee and Frankie Boyle seem a little self satisfying and egomaniacal when translated to a page. So what are we left with.

Bring back Barry Cryer I say!

Has Amy Schumer EVER said anything remotely funny?

So here I sit. Back in a bar starring at a pint. For those that know me personally are painfully aware of what happens when I drink. Usually I find it hard to stop, I believe myself to be hilarious and I usually end up with a little voice somewhere in my brain shouting 'Let's do shots!' If you ever see me drinking then please just step away. Join the army and shoot some unarmed and naked foreigners because that may be slightly more life affirming than hearing me talk again about the time I did a shit in a bush with a horse watching me!

So I decided to start drinking alone. Maybe I secretly can't admit that I have no alternative - who the fuck knows? I actually looked at this like a freakish and self indulgent research project. I have wandered all over London looking for somewhere suitable. The selection of really bad and dirty clubs is sadly not as rich as it was in my prime days of 1976 to 1985. I don't want anywhere that is busy. I don't want to spend ages waiting to get served. I want a bar that I can sit at the actual counter with bar staff who I won't hit on when I've had a few (that's a whole other ass clenchingly embarrassing story that I may save for another time if ever). Like the old and smelling of piss man that I am I also don't want painfully noisy music or clanking 'pub grub' to annoy me. These are the places I can take a tatty old paperback, sit and hate everyone like all good Englishmen should.

And yes, before you ask the prospect of drinking at home is a non-starter. I couldn't cope with the judging eyes of my dog Stan....

So after some time and a number of half finished pints I found somewhere. No I'm not telling you where so that you can 'pop along' for a chat. You can fuck right off. This sad cunt drinks alone. I go there a couple of times a week. The barman is always the same young Irish kid. He has on occasion tried to tell me about a club he's been to or a girl he's seeing. I wave him away and point at the optics for a scotch. He probably thinks that I am an alcoholic. Of course as a pretend alcoholic I would never admit this and it only goes to reinforce his theory. One day this shit eating with turn us all inside out like a Bobby Sands modern art piece.

As the pints flow and I begin my every drunk pint trip to the toilet I begin to feel that loss of control creeping in. I think that we are all at our hearts self-destructive. We like to feel something and in the pain and desperation of a violent or dangerous moment we can feel at least something. So I occasionally get into the odd slanging match with the other regulars. They shout out about a football team or something they saw in the news and I immediately take the opposite opinion on purpose. This conversation goes from hasty debate to 'You're an ignorant black/Irish/bird/young/old/add descriptor here cunt'. We are told to calm down and I continue falling.

Things happen when you are in an inner-city pub. They always have and I hope that this never stops. You never get this type of entertainment in a Costa Coffee or a Starbucks, all you seem to get there is a pompous cunt behind the jump pointing out what a Caramel Latte is to a little old lady. The realm of the truly demented, criminal and violent still lays in the stinking and grubby council estate public house. I have seen all sort of stuff in these places over the years. Whatever happens is normally ignored with nothing more than a raised eyebrow by the staff and regulars and accompanied with an odd 'Get out!'

Recently I was in my local. Locked in after closing at 3am. I decided to take another piss and walked into the lean to shed of a toilet at the back. Bailey was another regular an old and skinny man who would be in the dictionary if there was a page for 'He will be dead soon'. He clearly wasn't feeling too well and that packet of artisan crisps he'd bought from a junkie shoplifter had obviously gone down the wrong way as I could see the post vomit dribble still hanging from his lips as he leaned against the bottom yellow lip of the urinal. Slunched over double on the floor I could see in his lap and on the floor around him was the black and yellow sick of a hardened drinker with no small amount of old blood in his stomach.

So like all good citizens I decided to ignore he was there and go for a piss in the cubicle. This is a cubicle that could never pass as a proper toilet in toilet heaven or Toilet World in Swindon. It has no door for starters. Builders fresh off a job and regulars would shit with the door open and shout at you if you looked. As I was pissing and complimenting myself on both my aim and the clear bloodless colour of my piss I noticed a pair of shit stained socks next the the white porcelain. What would be your immediate response to seeing socks with shit on them? You hipster fuckers would immediately think 'Ewwww, how common' or 'I feel sorry for the state of modern society and it's care of the mental or old!'

Me... I thought 'Clever'. They never have any toilet paper in this pub. They tried but everyone kept stealing it. So some clever fucker has needed a rush shit (the only kind suitable to an establishment such as this as I would rather take a shit in the middle of Victoria train station than this disease ridden hovel) and dropped it out of their arse before discovering there was no paper. Being a practical bugger they have then taken their socks off and wiped with them. Genius!

So back to the bar I wander. As I take my seat again at the bar I shout over at the barman 'Dave, there's a pair of socks with man-poo on them in the bog.' He makes a comment similar to 'Fuck, not again' and wanders off with a carrier bag to get them. The bag was one of those cheap ones you get off market stalls.

Dave retuned shortly afterwards with the cacky socks in the carrier bag that's tied off in the same way that you would with a dog turd you pick up on the morning walk. This is a bag with still some air trapped. Dave, because mostly he is a stupid cunt but also because he likes to break the boredom of the shift up with some humour on occasion then takes the bag and throws it as hard as he can at one of the other regulars at the bar. This regular is now chuckling and in turn then throws the bag as hard as he can at me. And on and on this goes until the bag finally bursts and someone gets a portion of a turd on them.

Oh how we laughed.

Who says that comedy is dead?

Stick that up your arse  Michael MacIntyre!!!

Many thanks for reading.

In Review - ‘The Devil in Disguise’ issue 1.

The Devil in Disguise issue 1.

Written by Matt Garvey.

Art by Robert Ahmad.

The Story - This opens on a man named Nate snoozing in a tube train carriage. He has a briefcase on his lap and an umbrella at his side. He is woken by the moans of a pregnant woman who is staggering towards him in pain. Nate heads over to help her but as she speaks he briefly sees her eyes transform to something not human. At that moment snakes of dark ectoplasmic blood grab hold of him. Turns out that her name is Nadine and we will see her again any second.

The story then flashes back to a black mass. Full of hooded satanists and a statute of an upside down crucified Christ. They are waiting for ‘our Master’ to return. The head priest lowers his hood and calls Nadine over to the altar (see I told you).

The story then heads off in a couple of different directions both suspected and unexpected.......

The Review - I’ve reviewed a few books written by Matt Garvey recently and think that he has reached a standard where he can be judged alongside writers who are currently working for mainstream companies. This is a very solid story with what you at first imagine is a familiar style before you suspect may not be. The last few pages pull this particular rug away from you in a way that definitely has you wanting the next issue.

The story is told in a visual language similar to how Darwyn Cooke worked on the Parker graphic novels. Matt and Robert make use of an extra colour over the excellent black and white line work. This gives the book an obviously classic 1950s look that reminds me of movies like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, Curse of the Demon or X: The Unknown

Robert communicates story and urgency really well and has a style that is thoroughly readable. One small niggle would be that the colour of Nadine’s hair between scenes doesn’t feel consistent to me as a reader. It was useful that her name was included as I wouldn’t have recognised the woman on the tube as the same as was on the cover or later at the Black mass. But otherwise he is an artist I will be following closely from now on. Robert manages to tick all the cool boxes that I love, especially in mood and action.

Matt has a great handle on structure and pays attention to what is required to hook a reader in a first issue. This has a great set up, a gruesome and (mostly) explanatory, where required, second act and then gets you guessing at a great cliffhanger. Top stuff.

Find out more about this issue and buy a copy at or follow Matt on Twitter @MattGarvey1981.

Have a look at art by Robert Ahmad at or follow him on Twitter @Darth_Ahmad

Many thanks for reading.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Coming soon....

Really proud to say that I have a piece in this great tribute to the British Fanzine Scene ‘Fanscene’ created by David Hathaway-Price. look at some of the names he has involved!!

As well as an article I have written (with a spot illustration by the mighty Dan Butcher) it will also include the first print(ish) appearance of Soho Red in a Cockney Kung Fu strip. Hope you like it!

watch this space and my Twitter stream (ewwww) for link when it drops!

In Review - ‘Goodnight, John Boy’: Volume 2 (Read ‘em and Weep) by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill.

Goodnight, John-Boy (Read ‘em and Weep Book 2).

Written by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill.

Available through Amazon on Kindle and Paperback.

The Story -The Geek Detective is back! Now comic book editor and armchair serial killer, Dav Maudling, takes on a Masonic order of Knights in a bid to solve his mother’s murder. 

He also has to save kids from the Knights’ Grand Master, depraved TV celebrity and charity fundraiser ‘Fabulous’ Keen, who is getting away with crimes worse than murder. The ‘national treasure’ believes that he is above the law, but he’s not above Dave’s law.

But Dave, the ‘lard-arse assassin’, can’t murder him by proxy like his other victims; he has to face and kill Keen himself. And his ghostly femme fatale mother, a ‘ghost in mink’, is there to help him.’ 

The Review - This is the second book in a series being self published by the mighty Millsverse. It features a murderer who works in the 1970s London comics publishing world.....

I don’t think that it is completely based on Pat but I have my suspicions....

This is a second book in the run and I have been very much looking forward to reading it as the first book was both a cracking read and also something completely out of the ordinary. This is a series that in many ways mirrors the comics publishing era of the 1970s and manages to twist even that era of permissiveness to further strangeness and quirk. It gloriously flicks the Vs. It constantly traps me into thinking...

‘Fuck me! I wish it was 1976 again!’

Break out the Lionel Blairs, swig a few Baby Chams and hold on!

That’s not to say that everything in the book is all smiles and cups of tea off the hostess trolley. There are murderous intents wandering the back stairs and snugs in smokey London. In the second book Mr Mills fills out the characters by throwing them wholesale back into his world of strange sexual activities, pompous writers, bombastic fictions and yes we have the return of that violent newsagent. Relationships are explored with some unsuspected surprises as well as funnily familiar new creative and financial ventures. But, all the time, murder is on the agenda.

This book lives and breathes the 1970s. I was barely into my teens when the decade ended yet I remember the nicotine stained walls, the carefully combed greasy hair styles, the divide between those that fought in the war and the ignorant youth, the seemingly normalisation of a pinch on the bum at the office party and the heading down the pub for a light and bitter. This is the series that brings it all back. 

It’s time to Carpet Bum the Hun!’ Is the number one chant in school playgrounds!’

Goodnight....’ is also fucking hilarious. This is a dark humour that you don’t see enough of in modern fiction. It is antiestablishment, of it’s time and yet reads with genuine freshness. It gloriously revels in the trends, prejudice, peccadillos and the mood of the time. I smile constantly even at the tiny references to those shite ‘Love Is’ cartoons that at the time made me want to pull my eyeballs out of my nose and the strange popularity of movies like ‘Confessions of a Window Cleaner.’ When the bad taste of modern society is still lingering on the train home this is the book you need to pull out and read and revel in how amateur our fashions seemed back then. The 1970s was a funnily bizarre period, in many ways we were relearning things and waiting for a big change to happen. It was a time when the media of the time (yes that includes comics) were pushing on to see what was and what wasn’t ‘cool’.

I am lucky enough to be a ‘Beta Reader’ for the upcoming volumes and devour anything by Millsverse that lands in my iPad. As I read it again I am struck by how much I enjoyed the second volume, perhaps more than the first and that is saying something. It has explored and developed the style and the characters of the first volume. I’m also struck with how good Pat is with conversation. Perhaps a benefit of all the comics writing he has done over the years. Characters talk with realism and like pinballs bounce off each other in a style that makes you enthusiastically turn each page. Nobody is boring, at no point was I hoping for someone to come back for a chapter. It’s a neat trick that Pat pulls off in making every conversation hugely engaging and yet carry the story onwards.

Merged it with Scarper and Blimey’.......’We kept Toffee Nose and chucked the rest of the magazine away.’

As with the first book I loved the references to comics like ‘Everlasting Love’ and characters like ‘Wedding Belle.’ You again play detective behind the scenes of this book by trying to guess who were the real-life writers and artists that are mentioned. Some seem to be amalgamations of the comics journeymen (and women) of the times and some will make you smile knowingly. Companies like ‘Fleapit’ or ‘Angus, Angus and Angus’ are created with Pat’s usual flare for genuinely funny satire, especially in the areas of characterisation. You can almost see the grin on his face as he types away on the next chapter as you yourself discover it as a reader. He even features a comic shop in Covent Garden called the ‘Time Machine’. On what planet could that exist? Hmmmmm...

What we get in this volume is the change that was coming to comics in that period. The characters talk about the influences of Metal Hurlant and artists such as Moebius, Bilal and Druillet. Described as ‘Sensual and Dangerous’ by one of the players we see the real life parallels of the emergence of respect for the reader and the experimentation and exploration of the medium that brought you and I 2000 AD and in this fictitious world the upcoming weekly comic named ‘Space Jam’. You feel the frustration and also the enthusiasm of the creators with this new world beginning. 

This isn’t just a book for comics fans however. The use of Masonic organisations and powerful predatory celebrities brings ‘Good Night....’ fully up to date in weight, meaning and implication. Pat shows the dirty underside with humour but also cunningly shows us how we continue to be hoodwinked. These powerful undertones and championing of the Everyman that has always been one of the big draws for me to Pat’s work. If you are part of the establishment he’ll wink, joke, smile and then knee you in the bollocks. Every page has humour and sharply observed pithy storytelling. 

A hooded knight was playing eerie processional music on an electronic keyboard.’

This is a novel in a series by an author who has an ear for the edginess and tension of a story that lifts it above the banal crowd of novels on the shelves and a humour that ups the game beyond what you have previously become accustomed to in Waterstones. This series is an absolute fucking joy to read. Highly recommended. I read mine in a day and now will be bothering Pat for the next volume.

Millsverse is an example to everyone on how you can succeed in self publishing. Pat and Lisa Mills are putting out regular product of excellent quality from comics to novels to books about comics history to even recently a Judge Dredd colouring book.

Find out more about this and other books at or follow them on Twitter @Millsverse

Buy a copy here

Many thanks for reading.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Comic Cons and Sales - A short rant.

Selling at Conventions - A Short Rant.

Hmmmm.....sales techniques. 

From the point of the buyer?

I wonder what has got me thinking about this? Could it be the Christmas songs being rammed into my ears like a Prime Minister fucking a pig's mouth? Could it be the pause in the convention season that allows me to take a step back and look at what a car wreck this year has been? (LSCC anyone?) Could it be the deluded 'Best Of...' Lists that I have been reading and the one that I am sitting in this coffee shop ruminating for myself?

All the above I suppose.

(They have just started playing Shakin' Stevens!)

It is a common subject that we go to on the pod about people sitting behind convention tables looking like they really don't want to be there. But what I dislike even more than lazy sales styles is the shallow, transparent and fixed grin behaviour that accompanies the 'Hard Sell'. 

Here are a few short examples. 

As I am lazy and lack style in any way at all I used to wear gig T-shirts a lot and especially in the time off I had and often at the weekend spent at Comic Conventions (are we still calling them that? I don't think I've had the memo yet...) These gig T-shirts are like Spanish Fly to mouthy and pushy comics sellers. Here are some things I have experienced through my own sartorial idiocy.

'Hey! If you love metal (I don't and for those simpletons out there The Grateful Dead are not a heavy metal band!!) you'll love this short horror anthology.'

'Is that glam rock? (It wasn't, it was a Boosh T-shirt) Come read this man, you'll love it!' (I didn't).

'YEAH! Flash (nope, Mage). Read this man!' (This was at an American convention so I feel that I can forgive them a little - look at who their President is!!)

So, tip one in the Xmas season. Don't wear gig T-shirts. These desperate drongos will latch onto anything they perceive as a talking point and try and engage you with it. It's like some kind of fight or flight response that they shout whilst the white dribble gathers at the corners of their mouths.

Don't take a comic from the hands of the seller. This is something that REALLY annoys me. A stall holder will push a book into your hands. Someone in some donut headed TED Talk or 'How to Sell Old Rope...' Book told the world that if you put a book in someone's hands they are more likely to buy it. This may in fact be completely true as there are a lot of people out there with the brains of a Corbyn voter but it is also just plain bumptious. On occasion I will verbalise this with 'Have it back' and it will also put my back up no end. People may buy that particular comic but trust me they will avoid you at all costs at the next event. Stop it. Just stop it now. 

(Christ... Paul McCartney!)

Try not to be rude to customers. This would seem obvious but as exhibited on every single occasion I have attended a convention it is a fact that is blindly missed like an adult at a Tory sex party. I once stopped at a table owned by that bloke from Soaring Penguin (I can't remember but think his name is Anderson?) I picked up a book to look at and he literally shouted 'Not that one! (he then made that harrumph noise). I put these ones out for people to look at!' Not sure how you sell books at your stall but I'm sure this can't be a good idea? This was a few years ago but was enough to put me off this guy since. (Answers on a postcard).

Don't pity sell. More common than you may think. 'I'm just trying to pay for the table and do this for fun.' Is a phrase I have heard quite a lot recently. It's probably more honest than some of the other attempts I have described but still seems a little off? I don't feel guilt much (especially because with some of the city shit I have done in the past) but some people will walk off feeling bad. Is that something you wanted?

What else.... Oh yes. The top of the crimes are the groups who are out the front of their tables and you have to swerve like those charity chuggers on Camden High Street.  Not only are they annoying but they will also put me off heading back to that particular isle of the Con and thus affects the sales of those poor fuckers with tables around them. We all know who does this......It's the comics equivalent of a North African street market where you have to wear dark glasses to avoid having a 'Calvin Klein' belt forced into your hands. You try to give it back but all they want to do is sell, sell, sell all over your face. (INTERNAL SCREAM).

Do I have a solution? No not me. But I can tell you what I feel comfortable with.

Be nice. Be friendly. Be prepared to make small talk. Ask the attendee about themselves and don't just talk about yourself.

If someone pauses at your table do what my pal Vince Hunt does. Say hi. Ask if they are having a good time and tell them they can have a read if they like. This will get you more good-hearted sales and these people will come back for a chat and possibly a sale at the next event.


Many thanks for reading....