Tuesday, 30 October 2018

In Preview and on Kickstarter - ‘Here and There.’

Here and There.

Written by Chris Sides - www.chrissideswriter.com 


Art by Adam Jakes - www.instagram.com/adam_jakes_comic_art 


Coloured by Aljosa Tomic - www.voidexperiment.portfoliobox.me 


Edited / lettered / designed by Ken Reynolds - www.kenreynolds.co.uk 


52 page one-shot - Full Colour.

The Story - ‘Eric Jacobs is a damaged man. With his body in a coma, he unwittingly ekes out an existence in an inescapable dream-state where he’s hunted by wave after wave of monstrous creatures. But with a cryptic message from ‘the outside’, Eric’s time is starting to run out... ‘

The Preview - I’m always reminding myself what a lucky position I’m in as someone people send their new comics to for review/preview purposes. Firstly I get some great comics to read and secondly I also get to connect on a creative level with artists, writers and editors who are passionate about telling stories. That’s what we are all about isn’t it? We are a hobby/industry/pastime/medium all about communication of a story. This is done in all manner of shapes and styles. 

I’ve known the writer of Here and There for some years now. Mr Sides is a thoughtful guy who produces in my opinion some of the best stories out there. They are always original and show a flash of otherworldlyness that set him apart from many of the other writers out there in our comics world.

This book is exhibit one in why I think Mr Sides is one to watch.

(I am legally obliged at this point to say that this is the same man who once got a T-Shirt printed that read ‘Shut Up Tony’ - I still have photos!)

From page one of the sixteen page preview I was sent you can tell that this has some deftly carried out pacing and sets up a story with sinister style. A man is running away from an animated misshapen cadaver with a bandaged face and exposed lipless teeth. He runs into a house and pulls a kitchen knife on the creature. But to his surprise this ghoul speaks to him, reminds him of crimes and mistakes he has made before our hero in angered desperation stabs it back to beyond the grave. A breathlessly fast paced opening is excellently handled by all of the creative team.

Appearances in the comics and stories by Mr Sides are always deceiving but this was maybe just a part of a dream? Could the reality of life in a world abandoned by hope be much better?

The art is by Adam Jakes and the colours are by Aljosa Tomic and they are easily worthy of an Image book and the close kept and tight angles of each panel that are shown front and centre in the bleak light easily disturbed this reader. A good horror has you turning and looking for the exit, this had be scanning for an escape route for the characters throughout my read.

Our hero Eric and his travelling companion walk into an abandoned town looking for food. You can feel the tense atmosphere which is literally cut with a knife when more ghouls appear. I’ll leave you to pledge to see where this heads next.

I get the feeling that absolutely nothing is what it seems in this tale. It may be too early to judge but it seems to speak as much to the psychology of death and loss as it does to stabbing ghouls in a post apocalyptic survivalist fiction. Eric is tortured by his past, a past that might just be more real now than he suspects. The echoes of our past live as long as we remember them? Are our dreams the only true reality in a world that flashes by us without a nod or pause?

It also has a Double Decker Bus as the residence of choice! What’s not to love about that!

A big shout is also due to that Cheery on the Awesome Cake Mr Ken Reynolds who letters and edits this gem along with some cracking design work.

This project is currently running on Kickstarter and doing extremely well. There are a number of pledge levels.

Digital rewards - ranging from a £2 no-frills package to £5 one-shot bundles to £10 

Back catalogue bundles, including a 3 month subscription to the Comichaus app. 

Print rewards - printed copies from £8, an art print package for £12, a mixed print and digital package for £20 AND a print back catalogue package for £35.

Art rewards - HERE & THERE artist Adam Jakes has 10 commission slots open for £55 AND the original cover artwork is available for £250. 

Find the Kickstarter here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrissideswriter/here-and-there-a-psychological-horror-one-shot-com

Many thanks for reading.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Pen and Ink!

Yesterday I headed back into central London and met up with some chums to have a look through the musty old books at The Paperback Pulp Book Fair at The Royal National Hotel in Russell Square. It was a pretty impressing affair. Albeit one where there was a pretty high amount of stinky body odour!

Amongst the eclectic mix of old hardbacks and postcards in the larger outer area were some fair sized stacks of comics. They were not obsessively boxed up in bags as you might get at a Comic Mart or hope to get at a Comic Convention but rather in piles without order or seeming care. Like the back room of a charity shop or a seaside second hand bookshop or a much ignored family shed this kind of has a charm of its own. As I looked at the books and comics it did occur to me that I’d much rather be here than at that abominable cash grab of self obsessed and attention grabbing individuals going on in East London at precisely the same moment.

I wandered about and spotted some bargains and a whole lot of nostalgia. New England Library had a fair representation. Books about Skinheads, Bikers, Punks, dodgy cops and Mods adorned a number of the shelves. These were little dirty secrets of books that dealt with the dodgy subcultures of the UK in the seventies and eighties. A little transgressive sure but they are looked back on with affection by many who read them at the time. These were books that had been read by someone on a break at work and here often showed some wear and tear - but ain’t that kind of the point of a second hand book?

Confessions of a Window Cleaner - Come on! They really did novelisations of this series of cack films? Christ on a Bike! I then headed into the smaller but much more tightly packed back room. This was a ruddy goldmine of crime books, sci-if, movie adaption, annuals, retro porn, comics and more. Piles of cheap novels and magazines were all over the shop!

Some of these books just screamed at me like a teenager on the Embankment for a photo! Minder!

How much? I’d love to read this but £65 is a hefty price tag.

We forget that some of these books were the only access we had to movies. I remember picking up the movie novelisations long before the film got a UK release (back in the seventies and eighties movies came out sometimes months earlier in the States). I was chatting to some pals last night about this very subject. I have an overly affectionate titled towards some less than average films because I read the adaptions first. Dragonslayer anyone?

I have no flaming idea what they were going for here? Looks like a combination of two sci-fi franchises because they both began with ‘Star’? This was kindly bought for me by Mr Wilson. 

So... here is the obligatory haul photo. Great to get these, especially the Avengers novelisation and the Oz Trials book as I’ve been looking to read them both for a while. I cant wait to crack them open.

Thanks to Jason Wilson and Sarah Harris for the company and chats as we wandered around feeling like the youngsters in God’s Waiting Room!

A cracking day all round!

Many thanks for reading.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Nottingham Comic Con 2018!!!

Just a quick one this week. I’ve just landed back to reality after a great day at Nottingham Comic Convention 2018. I’ll be posting more about this soon but here are just a few of the highlights of the day.

Warnings - I gush quite a bit in this one!

As I’m sure you’ve heard me say before this is one of my favourite events of the year. This year Kel and Kev Brett put together a flawlessly organised and executed day from start to finish. When you arrived there were staff who helped you unload stock and there was a little packed lunch and drink awaiting when you got to your table. That’s gotta take some beating right?

I didn’t get any time to circulate and see people but huge thanks to those who popped over for a chat!

I was situated on the Lower Level of the venue representing Flying Eye, Nobrow and Hilda. I was joined during the day by Luke Pearson straight off the back of the triumphant release of the Hilda Netflix series and he was busy all day signing and sketching in books. There were great moments almost every minute where he was chatting to fans and meeting some young Hilda’s!

Speaking of Luke we later got to sit down in front of an audience and talk about  both the comics and the TV series in front of a packed room. This lead into a series of great questions from fans before another line formed for sketches. There is a rumour circulating that Luke wasn’t such a great scout! (I can neither confirm nor deny this comment - but it did make us chuckle). This talk was recorded so watch out for it appearing on an upcoming episode of the Awesome Comics Podcast.

I also got to moderate the Women in Comics talk with two of my favourite people Sally Jane Thompson and Emily Owen. It dug deep into the subject and stressed the need to be respectful of people and also not to view everything simplistically as black and white. Big shout out to a pair of great and engaging panelists.

To the right of me was my road tripping buddy Hamish Steele. He had kept me awake to and from Nottingham on the long drive with chats about Doctor Who and indie comics. Big shout out.

To my left was the Mighty Prolix who rules all he surveys. He got me these as an early Burpday present and I was (for just a moment) overtaken with a lump in my throat. I’d recommend working with Nick to anyone (you’ll just have to wait in line).

Opposite me was the Awesome Comics table being run by Vince and Jo. Shows how busy we both were that we barely got to chat. Issue 3 of the Awesome Comics anthology was selling like hot cakes and I even got to write the odd insult on comics that came to the table. Loving the work everyone concerned is doing on this series and hugely proud of Vince, Dan Marc and Mr P!

Comics Power Couple Christian Wildgoose and Laura Trinder were there repping for Improper Books. Both are working on a Batman book and I got some insider secrets about their process. 

Chris gave be a copy of this excellent Porcelain print.

Laura handed me this ‘So good it makes me want to weep’ print as well.

I barely got to walk around but I did manage to pick up this sketchbook from one of my new favourite artists. Head over to Instagram and look up @ian.aschcroft.art for more from this exciting new talent. I also witnessed the top moment when Ian’s daughter presented Luke with her Hilda story. Who says comics ain’t great!

CYN got a release as well. Mine and Matt Harrower’s homage to sexy demonic nymphomaniac, bumpkin searching nineties comics characters. These are available to buy here at only one of your alien pounds! https://hpmatt.bigcartel.com/product/cyn 

And finally (for the moment) I got to see the physical copy of Inter Space. The charity anthology that Nottingham Comic Con produce every year has myself and Dave Broughton in a four-pager affectionally poking fun at (so-called) Comicon pop culture guests. Head over to http://www.nottinghamcomiccon.co.uk/ get your own copy.

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon and am still buzzing from a brilliantly run event. This is exactly what the UK comics scene should be bout. Loads of comics, loads of smilies, a real creative buzz and some veggie Haribo delivered to my table (by Kel Brett). All of this run by volunteers for charity.

Highly recommended every single year.

More to come.

Many thanks for reading.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Coming Soon......

This beauty is coming your way on October the 20th.

Three continuing stories, letters pages from crazy followers, a reader art page and a cover by the mighty Ed Traquino.

Murder Road by Vince Hunt and Daniel Marc Chant.
Cockney Kung Fu by Tony Esmond and Nick Prolix.
Vyper by Dan Butcher.

These are violent stories not for the faint as heart! 

Go to https://awesomecomicpod.bigcartel.com/ for issues 1 and 2.

Get on it!

Many thanks for reading.

Friday, 12 October 2018

In Preview - ‘Around The Block’ by Prolix

Around The Block.

Created by Prolix.

16 pages - Black and White - Published by Nick Prolix Comix.

‘.... a miscellany of mini-comics, comic strips, works-in-progress and other assorted addenda to the world of The Sheep and the Wolves!’

That cover almost looks like it’s drawn on an old school brown paper bag. The sort of one that you used to get when you bought something in Soho (or so I am told...) Trust me, you are in for a treat with this new zine.

Nick Prolix, my creative brother from another mother, is back. He’s a prolific bastard and will not only have issue 3 of the Awesome Comics anthology out with us at the Awesome Comics Podcast table at Nottingham Comic Con but also a new zine called Around The Block.

This is a collection of short gag strips (and more) that make for a great little taster of Nick’s style. They’ll take our presupposed attitudes to comic book mice, television 1960s witches, sappy soldiers, unhappy vikings and more and give them a Prolix twist. Along with that we get the appearance of a handful of returnees. Some characters from his Slang Pictorial series are seen going about their quirky daily business as well as certain red headed ass kicker (still my favourite punch to the face moment in comics!)

All of these stories have Nick’s characteristic refined clean line style that is always a total pleasure to read or just sit and marvel at. I know he’s a pal but this guy is genuinely next level good.

Anything by this hepcat is worth your coin.

This will be getting a release at Nottingham Comic Con on the 20th of October.

You can also head over to get this and other examples of Nick’s work at http://www.thesheepandthewolves.com/ and why not follow this comics rascal on Twitter @nickprolix

Many thanks for reading and see you at Nottingham!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Signing ALERT! Punk is Coming to Swindon!

So. Imagine you cant get to Nottingham Comic Con on the 20th of October but fancy popping into a comic shop and meeting one of the UK hottest artists.

Then The Incredible Comic Shop in Swindon and it’s event organiser Sarah Harris have something brilliant up their torn black T-shirt sleeves.

Punks Not Dead is coming to Swindon!

Martin Simmonds is an artist who you might have seen on some Marvel covers (Jessica Jones and Quicksilver) as well as a Hulk story with Al Ewing that he has in the works. 

He’s also been responsible for some of the gorgeous art on Death Sentence from Titan Comics, contributed art to LIMBO from Image Comics and many, many more.

If I had to pick a current artist who I would both buy anything by and be one to point out for future greatness it would be Martin. Colourful work that has great detail and harks back to Dave McKean or Bill Sienkiewicz and with a triumphant sequential flow that makes for a fun read. 

Punks Not Dead (written by David Barnett and art by Martin Simmonds) tells the story of a quiet schoolboy called Fergie who bumps into the ghost of a dead punk rocker called Sid in an airport bathroom. Sid then follows the kid around only to discover that this particular schoolboy has some pretty kick ass psychic powers. But beware, a shady MI5 team lead by the Queen of the Mods is following close behind. It’s a combination of small town gritty life and outrageous supernatural happenings.

Series two has just been announced by Shelly Bond and Black Crown Publishing at the New York Comic Convention and I cant wait to see where this story goes. You can tell that David and Martin are having an absolute blast telling this story! No spoilers but the this odd couple may be heading to the capital for more magical adventures!

Just watch out for the Demonic Magpies!

So head over to The Incredible Comic Shop, 21 The Plaza, Brunel Centre, Swindon, SN1 1LF on Saturday the 20th of October 2018 between 11am and 2pm.

There will be comics, art, prints, sketching, art and comics chat and cookies.

They know how to put on a signing at the Incredible Comic Shop!

Find out more about the writer David at his website https://davidbarnett.wordpress.com/ or follow him on Twitter @davidmbarnett

Follow Martin literally around the street or on Twitter @Martin_Simmonds or have a look at his website http://simmonds-illustration.com/

You can look at the Black Crown empire at their website https://www.idwpublishing.com/blackcrown/ and see the other great books they are putting out and follow them on Twitter @Blackcrownhq

And finally head over to The Incredible Comic Shop in person or online at their Twitter stream @ComicIncredible

Tell them we sent you!

Many thanks for reading.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Who Doesn’t Like a Little CYN!


Black and White interiors.

£1.00 for physical copies. 50p. For a digital download.

Available from the 20th October 2018.

From the sarcastic minds of Matt Harrower and myself is the story of a demonic warrior, he meeting with an historic warrior and some strange motives.

The nineties huh? It’s no secret that myself and Matt are fans of that often tasteless decade that produced some over the top movies, some laddish music and some brilliantly trashy comics.

As a tribute we produced this zine. It contains a short comic and some articles on our favourite movies and comics of that time gone by. With a deep dive in sarcasm and genuine affection for the products of those years. We’ll be launching this at Nottingham Comic Convention on the 20th but you can get it through us on here if you can’t make it on the day.

All just for £1.00.

If you fancy a copy contact me on here or on Twitter @Ezohyez.

You can find out more about Matt’s work by visiting https://hpmatt.bigcartel.com/ and I highly recommend following him on Twitter @hp_matt

"Look what ya did, you little jerk!"


"...Mr. Hall, I was surfing the crimson wave. I had to haul ass to the ladies."

Many thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Kickstarter Corner - ‘Our Final Halloween’ by people called Michael!

Our Final Halloween.

Written and co-created by Mike Garley.

Art ad co-creation by Michael Lee-Graham.

Letters and logo design by Michael Stock.

Currently being Kickstarted here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1668205146/our-final-halloween-a-one-shot-digital-horror-comi

35 pages - Full Colour - £3.00.

Five kids wake up in an abandoned house. They don’t know why they're there, how they got there, or whose blood they’re covered in...

Covered in blood, disorientated, and with no short-term memory, these five kids will need to work together to solve the mysteries of this hellish house, or this will be their final Halloween.

Our five survivors will have to work together to decipher the mysteries of the house and the role they play within it.

It soon becomes clear that everything isn’t what it seems and they’re involved in something bigger and darker than they feared. But despite this they still seem somewhat prepared, which only adds to the tension...’

The Preview - This is the new Kickstarter from Mr Garley. He is a pro at this game now and you now know and expect his books to be polished, great reads and out on time (always an important factor especially on this project - read on). To complicate matters he will be releasing this as a digital download as soon as the terror of Halloween hits us later this month.

I’ve been sent the first ten pages of the final thirty-five and after having tore through these pages this morning am excited for the prospect of the rest of the comic. It sets up fast and brutally. The blood drenched art leaves you with no doubt about what you are letting yourself in for with this suburban supernatural horror story. Nothing here thankfully exhibits the cliche of ‘Hidden in the Shadows’, it is all full on, all the time, in your face with a baseball bat swinging. 

I am a big horror fan. I have been since the 1970s and am always worried that this genre I love is becoming over sterilised and formulaic. I yearn for the days that pals would get together and produce something so truly horrific you wondered as you watched what truly twisted individuals created its storyline and effects. I get the sense of this from the three Michaels at work here on this project. There seems to be no holding back and I sense that the creators are egging each other on....’More blood’ I hear one of them shout!

Good horror works against the rules of fiction. There is a clear adversarial aspect to the relationship of the writer and the reader. In horror you actively distrust the creators, the dynamics of this style of writing almost insist on this style. You don’t want cosy settings or happy endings and as you sit in that easy chair reading under the glow of the midnight lamp you want the feeling that something or someone will creep up behind you and slit your throat. That lack of trust and wariness is evident here in Our Final Halloween

Who do you trust from the cast? The fact that you flip-flop between trust and suspicion of what every player is doing and what their intentions could be is an example of some good writing. I cant wait to see where it goes. I suspect that there are a few more twists waiting in those puddles of blood and under the floorboards.

The art has a great quality of immediateness and wide-eyed drama. Michael Lee-Graham uses a calculated spread of colour in his use of a minimal palette (although I can only guess how many times he had to head back into the paint shop for more red?). The players are all different and easy to identify even in this short ten page preview that I was sent. None of them identify as a hero or villain by design seemingly, always a great approach. You can also sense the layout of this suburban home and you mentally prepare escape routes as you search the panels.

So head over to the above link and pledge before the month runs out.....

It’s also cool to see that this project will offer a soundtrack as part of the £5 pledge level. That’s a great little touch.

Find out more about Mike Garley at http://mikegarley.com/ or follow him on Twitter @MikeGarley

Follow the artist Mike on Twitter @mikeleegraham

Find out more about the lettering and logo design by going to Mr Stock’s website at https://www.michaelstock.co.uk/ or follow him on Twitter @sheriffstocky

Additional bonus art (previewed snippets above) by incredible creators such as:

Kate Brown danse-macabre.nu - @autojoy

Steve White stevewhiteart.co.uk - @sharkbitesteve

Meaghan Carter megacarter.com - godslavecomic.com

Sam Beck sambeck.ca - @_twothirty

Many thanks for reading.