Thursday, 12 April 2018

Some more Cockney Kung Fu Verse - Warning Adult material!

 This is a piece that appeared earlier this week in the Cockney Kung Fu mailer that myself and Nick Prolix put out. we are having a lot of fun with it and I highly recommend signing up at

I’ve been playing around with short stories about the background players in the main Cockney Kung Fu strip that is appearing in the awesome Comics anthology. Hope you enjoy this one? Let me know. it’s a bit bleak! 

The story of Sidney Small.
‘I am the observer of the rotting of my own morals.
I watch like a voyeur on the terrible things that I do.
I am detached and revel in the dirt and the seediness.’
(The Diary of Sidney Small 16th December 1973).
Sidney walked down the stinking alley like it was his second home. A bowler hat on his head and a rain soaked beige raincoat made him look like every other male visitor to porn alley in Soho. ‘You’re not a handsome man so try to dress smartly’ his wife Ellen had told him again and again. But his wife should be the last thing in his mind this evening.
It was raining and the water was dripping off his thick round glasses. He took them off every so often to clean them. His eyes bared like a newborns he squinted out at the passers by, ever on the look out in case he was ripped off or keeping them sharpened for a girl he hadn’t met. Sidney had a chubby and jowelly face with a small hitler like moustache. In the office he was catcalled with ‘Don’t tell them your name Pyke’ or ‘Morning Captain Mainwearing.’ He just ignored them.
He knew that nights like this were his revenge, his secret. He would find a girl, a pice of fuck meat and show them what he was worth. He’d take it out on her like he would on those slags in his office if he got half a chance. This was his place, this was where they would never see him. This was the place that he is anonymous. This is the rush he feels, the danger and the sex. Nobody really knew him, nobody really knew the energy that rushed through his body and his loins. This is where he came to feel most alive. Where time stopped and he didn’t have to worry about the morning accounts meeting or getting a report done at the last minute. He loved Soho at night.
That’s not to say that he didn’t feel ‘guilty afterwards’ he convinced himself. As he walked away from the alleyway or basement or porn cinema and the ache had subsided he knew he ought to feel more. The fact is that over the last few years this had become easier. He knew where to go and what to say and how much to haggle.
So here he was on this cold December evening. He’d told Ellen that he was at the Airfix Club again and that it would go on a bit later as it was their Christmas Drink. She’d just ‘OK dear, have fun’, and kissed him on the cheek as he left that morning. Without a flash of guilt he left the house and walked to Southfields Underground Station to head into the office with all the other sheep. ‘It’s good to have a plan, she falls for it every time’ he told himself.
The clock had moved slowly around to 5pm and as soon as it hit the hour he collected up his typing, tidied his desk and made for the tube. As he was crammed into a smoke filled tube carriage he could feel the need rising. That feeling in his stomach that he had to quench. He knew that the only thing that would do it is shooting his muck into one of those painted whores in Soho. His face reddened as he rode the tube the few stops to Tottenham Court Road, his anticipation rising. He didn’t care if anyone noticed his ruddy face, he didn’t know these people and he didn’t care to know them.
Sidney doubled his pace through the cold early evening and took a short cut round Soho Square and finally into Wardour Street. He tutted as he walked past an arcade machine bar and at the over the hill gay men looking to pick up rent boys. ‘Perverts!’ He told himself. He convinced himself that these were the real villains, the real sex offenders, not him, not Sidney Small.
He manoeuvred around the Greek and Jamaican drugs dealers as they ignored him. Then he finally walked into Berwick Street. The stall holders were clearing up and the stink of brown and dirty fruit and veg and soggy cardboard hung in the air. Sidney preferred the street when it was quieter and when the workers of the day had disappeared. It allowed for him to walk about amongst the transient streets trash unnoticed and unbothered.
It was dark now and cold as hell. Sidney could see his hot breath in the air as he walked. He was out of breath through the pace he had been walking and his excitement. ‘Don’t have a heart attack, that’d be difficult to explain to Ellen’ he thought. The bright lights of Porn Alley stung his eyes as he approached and he paused to clean the rain and condensation as he ducked under the lip of an empty market stall. He could hear the music drifting up from his familiar street. Tacky rock music played loudly and was designed to get the hearts racing of the men looking to spend money in the peep shows and grotmag shops.
So down the familiar path this power addict again walked. Junkie men with pock marked faces and dark eyes stood in the doorways with their slags next to them. The women spoke with that strange combination of cockney and fake french in some ridiculous attempt at making them both more sexy and just a tiny bit sophisticated. Sidney, as usual, said nothing about this fakery and continued on with his smutty quest.
What you looking for? Girl?’ A Greek man stepped out of the shadows. His hair was greased up like a teddy boy. He stank of cheap cologne and was wearing a wide collared shirt and waistcoat. Sidney recognised him as one of the local pimps.
Sidney uttered a nervous ‘Yes’. His eyes were darting about, looking for trouble approaching.
We got this lovely lady. Straight from the streets of Paris’.
As this wide boy gestured a girl toppled over from the other side of the alley. Clearly unacquainted with how you walk in heels and obviously not from France she looked up at Sidney with bloodshot eyes and not a trace of the European exotic. She was young, maybe sixteen at the oldest. She had put on make-up like it was a new concept to her and was trying to use it to look older. One look would convince you that she’d be dead in a bin shoot in a few years with a needle hanging out of her arm.
Alright Mister?’ She said, sounding like she was straight off the streets of the Elephant and Castle or East Lane market.
Ha,ha, ha,’ laughed the Greek, ‘You gotta forgive my Parisian friend, she’s picked up the old cockney quite quickly’. He was fooling no one and knew it.
Sidney grunted. He looked the girl up and down like she was hanging on a hook in a shop. His top lip was sweating grease onto his moustache ‘How much?’ His heart was racing and he could feel his erection beginning.
Well you see, we haven’t been able yet to purchase a hotel suite for mademoiselle yet tonight so you might have to go locally for a cuddle’, conned the Greek.
Acceptable’, pompously uttered Sidney. He knew what he wanted, it wouldn’t take long and he couldn’t afford to pay for a hotel room anyway.
The Greek pimp looked up and down the alley cautiously, ‘five then, quick...’
Sidney already had the money in his pocket. He’d had to steal it from the petty cash at work in case Ellen had spotted it missing. He handed it to the Greek and in the next motion grabbed the arm of the girl and pulled her away up the alley. He knew where he was going.
You’re a bit keen ain’t ya’, said the girl and Sidney noticed then that she was more than a little drunk.
The pair walked to the end of Porn Alley and were about to turn right to find a quiet corner when an older prostitute put her head out of a doorway.
You OK darling?’ The older woman asked.
Yeah, fanks Peggy, jus’ business, be back in a mo’
Don’t let him hurt ya honey or he’ll have me to deal with.’ The older whore was looking at the girl but pointing at Sidney.
Sidney said nothing. He ignored this empty threat from another piece of street trash. He would be hurting this girl. And he’d be enjoying it.
To be continued.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

A few early morning thoughts about The Human Beings issue 5

The Human Beings issue 5.

Created by S J McCune.

Published by Millicent Barnes Comics.

(Not a review.)

A discussion on the connection a comic made with the reader (me) after a spectacular bout of insomnia.

This is a series that I have followed closely. A series that has me thinking about themes and meanings after each and every reading. I find it darkly dreamlike. It possesses you as you read. A possession of the moment. Dive in.

I opened up issue 5 after twenty six hours with no sleep. This frazzled state has me snappy and weary, the bright light of the morning is stinging my eye balls, but in a strange way improved the impact of this comic on me, a person who is merely a reader, well maybe. (I may be a little paranoid and/or angry? NO I don’t want milk with my black coffee!!!!)

I’ll start with the cover. This close up of the face and the seemingly sedated dead eyes of the woman remind me of some of the iconic images of a previous series of Stuart’s called Monolgue. Added to this image is the ghostly hand passing over the right eye of the subject. The cover makes use of bright colours as a counterpoint to an otherwise darkly created image. It’s a strong scene setting opener. Powerfully in your face, close up with that added twist. This is a cover that you would reach for on a shelf.

Page 1 was a surprise. Not at first viewing did I think that this was part of the story but after reading this and working back through previous issues I am now wondering if I need to reconsider.... It’s a self portrait of the creator himself, partially hiding in a hood. A shadow over the image shows the shape of a hand and a smart phone that are in turn photographing the self portrait. An image of an image of a person. Hmmm, the revelation of the self, the view in the mirror, the establishment of the person. Underneath reads the quote;

Everything is and is not as it should be

Nothing left to burn

That’s it

I’m out....’

What does this quote mean? How does it link to the narrative. Does it stand alone with just the creator pictured above? I’m guessing it’s a bridge into the story. 

The Human Beings remains both a story that I have obsessed over at each release and also a mystery to investigate. There are clues dropped throughout this series. I have followed and deciphered and guessed. As Stuart is a friend of mine I occasionally challenge his wry grin at my guesses both on the phone, online and in person. This cunning bugger never gives much away. But I do feel that his comics are both a story and a communication. A reach out in a real way to the reader.

I am reminded of Bacon’s assertion that art is a recreation of something else. A figure, a feeling, an emotion, a story, politics, beauty, horror. All reimagined in another way. And yes, maybe a discussion or a proposition.

The Human Beings is a comic that gets you thinking. It inspires me to write about it and leads me to tangentially write about other subjects. That should be enough. But I do love a mystery! Follow the clues.

My thoughts on some of the comic follow. But I am careful not to spoil.

The story takes place after the cliffhanger of issue four. Things are seriously going off the deep end. Crowds in a busy train station bustle about to get on carriages. A spotlight of colour picks out faces for the benefit of the reader whilst a narration talks about the reality of a government that are unprepared for a destructive event of this scale. I am struck with how Stuart deals with faces throughout his work. His style allows for the strangers in a crowd, unnoticed and anonymous but also for the close-up, the character study through the sudden look and the reactions of his more focused character studies.

In the middle of the description of how the world was falling I began to realise that words that are on occasion whispered in previous issues are now almost shouted. The story is breaking out......

Power took root in the insane.’

What you also get from this sequence is that The Human Beings is very much of the moment. I’m not sure how much this is intended but should that matter. The drama of our own real-world news seems in sync with some of the drama in the comic. However I really hope it wasn’t. 

The reflections of current news items is only a small part of the themes of this series. It is in other ways in my mind a reflection of ourselves. Our strange and hidden motivations. Our knowledge of the lives and actions of others are on occasion an alien country. Stuarts cast are strange and oblique reflections of ourselves, they will look sideways at you and through you as they speak.

So this is what makes us Human Beings?’

This characteristically intense and mysterious artistic approach is intrinsically at harmony with the layouts and art experimentation you experience as you turn the pages. As with other comics he mixes multi movement images in an excellently designed full page series of flowing images. It shows the value of both experimentation, but also doing so with a reason linked to the narrative. This includes overlapping dialogue and narration boxes on occasion to show a fever dream echo of the chatter of voices.

See what I mean about reading when sleep deprived?

The story keeps on rolling and you see some genuinely touching moments come along as the seeds laid in issue one are played out (for what I suspect is just the moment). Some mysteries are expanded upon and will again pique your interest and judging my the teaser page for the next issue there are more on their way.

It is a reading experience that you will return to. Add to that a shorter story and a hint at what will follow in the next issue. This is highly recommended (with or without sleep!)

I backed this on Kickstarter and await the collection and the single issue any day now. Stuart is one of those reliable creators who uses the crowd funding platform as a pre ordering system. I can’t wait to see the next physical copy!

Find out more about this and other comics from Millicent Barnes Comics at or follow the creator Stuart McCune at @SturatMcCune

Many thanks for reading.

Friday, 6 April 2018

In Review - ‘Meta Worlds’ a new superhero novel series.

Meta Worlds.

Written by Harry Harris and CD Mick.

Published by Mediaaria CDM - 336 pages - £12.00 - Black and White interior illustrations.

The Story - ‘META WORLDS was conceived with the intention to introduce a new type of storytelling. Storytelling with a focus on interconnected, on-going storylines which comprises of a range of characters and factions of complexity, scope and depth.’

‘The concept behind Meta Worlds originated in C D Mick’s and Harry Harris’ mutual love of the comics genre and high drama storytelling, with influences ranging from science-fiction to gritty crime thriller fiction. The launch of Meta Worlds introduces a new line of publications, comprising compelling characters, concepts and themes, rooted in both the contemporary and fantastical worlds.’

MMi (Meta-Mercs Investigations), is the second of Meta Worlds’ ongoing anthology stories, which introduces MMi, - the Crime-Fighting Team of extra-ordinary individuals made up of law-enforcement operatives that nobody wants, but society soon discovers that they desperately need...’

The Review - Every so often we see a prose novel about super heroics come along. Who remembers books like The Wild Cards series written and edited by George RR Martin himself, Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman or  Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin. Meta Worlds came along recently and was a little different from the norm but nonetheless enjoyable. It’s about a group of super powered Black Ops heroes but it’s not told in the traditional prose style that you might expect from previous iterations.

This volume has two stories and I have just finished the piece by Harry Harris, a story entitled ‘MMi - Meta-Mercs’. It mixes a modern Detective/Spy drama with all the touchstones we loved about books like The Knights of Pendragon or even Espers. It has that British feel about it, you can hear some of the characters talking with a Sweeney style cockney lilt. It’s brash and cocky and cool in all the right ways.

This is a Special Ops Superhero team that I’d love to see return and feature in more novels and comics. Characters include Danny Carter (Codename: ‘Bulldog’) an ex Detective Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police and now the leader of the group.  Alexandria Sinclair (aka ‘Red Soldier’), an ex army officer with extraordinary abilities and Steven Green (aka ‘Minotaur’) an ex Marine who looks like he could tear your head off and poop down your throat! The story opens on a brutal underground powers fight club, the tension build and never stops even after the fight ends.

If you looked at the structure of the writing on the page you might be forgiven in thinking that it was prepared as a film or tv script but upon closer examination it has richer scene settings and a more elaborate descriptive style. This script(ish) style also allows for the action to race along and the superbly pulpy language to spark. I soon warmed to this style and found it a cracking reading experience. It had me remembering books like Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan series or The Destroyer from Warren Murphy. An unapologetic hard boiled action thriller fiction and a perfect distraction from the BS of the modern world. 

I’m yet to read the other story ‘Silencer’ in this volume that is written by CD Mick but after enjoying ‘MMi’ it’s certainly next on my list.

Not only is this a cracking read it also features the spot illustrations of my Awesome Comics Pod Brother - Dan Butcher. A perfect choice to illustrate this series you get a fleshing out of some of the designs of the characters. Dan is the creator of Vanguard, an ongoing British superhero webcomic that you can find at and on twitter @VanguardComic You also get some of those classic character profile breakdown pages in the back matter.

The cover is by Ciara McAvoy a noted Scottish artist and respected illustrator in the Film Industry, where she has won numerous awards for her work; including a Davey Award and a Creativity International Award for her Filth poster in 2014 and five total Communicator Awards in 2015 for Filth, X-Men and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Ciara’s art for Meta Worlds is her first book cover artwork.

The author Harry Harris has served in the British Military and in UK Law-Enforcement for thirty- three years. A lifelong Comic, Sci-Fi and Action movie fan, “MMi” is his first published work. You can find more about this creator on Twitter @HHarrisMMI

A Writer, Publisher and Founder of the publishing company, MEDIAARIA CDM, CD Mick is a lover of Literature and Storytelling in all its forms, dedicated to exploring the craft of creative writing to its fullest potential.

Find out more about this new publisher and their other books at

META WORLDS was awarded a Gold Davey Award in the ‘Design/Print –Promotional Covers (all inclusive)’ category at the 13th Annual International Davey Awards 2017.  Winners of the Davey Awards are selected and judged by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts (AIVA); an assembly of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts, dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media.

You can find this book on Amazon here 

Many thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Upcoming 2000AD Event.

Morning All,

On Saturday the 14th of April at The All saints Parish Chuch, Leamington Spa is the fourth annual Leamington Comic Convention.

This is a convention that makes comics it’s central focus. There’s a big line up off guests that includes Marvel and 2000AD’s own Al Ewing, Jason Gunn from ‘Surface Tension’, Sarah Grayley from ‘Rick and Morty’ as well as a host of other comics creators and indie and small press comics sellers.

I’m going to be there with my podcast brothers Vince and Dan and we’ll have issue 1 of the Awesome Comics anthology for sale along with some exclusive prints by Black Panther artist Ed Traquino. Later in the day we’ll be doing a live pod and welcome any questions you might have in advance. We’ll be joined by Jason Gun and be chatting about creating your own comic and the pitfalls you might face. I’ll be trying my best not to swear.  There might also be the odd prize up for grabs on the day.

I’m also pleased as punch to brag that at 11am I’ll be interviewing the mighty John Wagner of 2000AD, Judge Dredd, Batman, Rok of the Reds, Strontium Dog, Boba Fett, Star Wars comics fame. He’ll be releasing the trade of Rock at the event and signing copies. This is a fucking ace collection of a comic that successfully mixes sci-fi, alien invasion, humour and football all in one gorgeous romp that is brilliantly drawn by Dan Cornwall. I’ve already read it and shall be double dipping on the collection as soon as I arrive. I’ve got loads of questions to ask John about his days at the Prog as well as how he found working for DC and Marvel. And why he chose to go another route with his new mini series Rok. Anyone who has heard John interviewed before will know that he’s honest, straightforward, funny and really interesting. Should be ruddy great! 

Pod favourite Darrell Thorpe will be running a kids workshop and encouraging them to create their own comics characters.

Here’s the schedule so you don’t miss out!

many thanks for reading.

Monday, 2 April 2018

In Preview - ‘The Edge Off’

Today its a bit of a preview of a preview if you understand what I mean. The Edge Off is a new comic that will be hitting Kickstarter on the 20th of April 2018. the creators are very wisely creating a bit of buzz for the undoing bid before it goes live. I got a press release through from the guys as well as a cheeky look at the whole comic. It’s a little bit special. Here’s what they have to say about the venture.

The Story - ‘Mob enforcer Lee Butler was always the old man’s favourite, but now the old man is gone and Eddie, the son who always felt usurped by Lee, is calling the shots. When Lee wakes up to find himself spiked with a new designer psychotropic and his daughter kidnapped, he figures Eddie has worked out that Lee has been moonlighting for one of his rivals. Desperate to get his daughter back, Lee sets off into a swirling nightmare of danger and double cross, his perceptions fried, unable to tell which monsters are real and which are imagined. As the night unfolds, Lee finds himself compelled to run a violent gauntlet towards a confrontation that will force him to face up to every terrible decision he’s ever made.’ 

This is what you call in the business a class press release it explains what you need to know and allows for sites to cut and paste into articles (as I have where). the guys went on to talk about their influences in the style of the Edge Off. there are a couple of mentions here of some of my favourite movies. if you haven’t seen Performance or The Long Good Friday I highly recommend a viewing or two. 

Straight off the bat I loved the cover for this. The starkness of the background plays well with the feelings of isolation and paranoia. Add to this the strangely double tied masked figure and the face of burning emotions that is revealed. That’s how you do a cover!

“Nightmare Noir” - The Edge Off Influences 

When approaching The Edge Off, creators Iain & Fraser wanted to blend Fraser’s love of noir, crime thrillers and action with Iain’s signature brand of unsettling horror inspired by figures such as David Lynch, Jeff Lemire and Daniel Clowes. Into that mix they threw the woozy thrum of Performance, the acid fried perplexity of Inherent Vice and the dour grime of British mob films like Get Carter and The Long Good Friday. What emerged is The Edge Off. A nightmare noir, that takes the main character on a terrifying journey he doesn’t even realise he’s on until it’s far too late for him to turn back.’ 

I have now read and reread this comic. It is quite the experience. Fraser and Laurie do indeed channel the movies and styles they quote above. But added to that is something more. Reality morphs and quakes around the story. Even to the point where you feel that the edges of the panels are quivering and shaking as the hallucinogenic take hold of them. One favourite panel of mine has as it’s frame a mouth and teeth for example. This is a comic that shows the backwards and blind fall into madness and *without spoiling) does so in a way you might not expect. My advice would be that you don’t try and second guess what happens. Just go with it. I have a feeling that this will crush it’s total on Kickstarter very quickly.


Fraser Campbell is the writer of comics Alex Automatic and Sleeping Dogs, and publishes work under his own Cabal Comics imprint. His comic Alex Automatic won best UK Single Issue at Edinburgh Comic Con in 2017.  Catch up with him on Twitter @FraserC69

Iain Laurie is best known as the artist behind Iain Laurie’s Horror Mountain and the smash-hit indie horror And Then Emily Was Gone. He also contributed to DC’s Love is Love anthology in 2017. Have a look at more of Iain’s brilliantly disturbing art on Twitter @iainlaurie 

David B. Cooper is a colourist from Glasgow, Scotland. In addition to colouring 

books such as Alex Automatic, Forged and Double D, he has written and self-

published comics Face Down In The Mud and Dead Silence. 

More information can be found here

Many thanks for reading.