Comic Conventions


I’ll be a punter at Nottingham Comic con this year, really looking forward to it, hoping to chat to some of the regular comics indie folk and maybe have a beer or two and talk comics, so if you see me, I’ll be wearing the Iron Shod Ape livery and so looking a little like this guy (see below)

…if you spot me, come over and say hello!

See you there!

So, today is that day.

I picked up the proofs of the this years output.

The Viking Saga book I’ve been working on with Rob Jones, (the sort of follow up to The King’s Leap), Ake’s Trial. From Madius Comics and Iron Shod Ape





24 pages, b/w – With a colour cover.


As well as Ake’s Trial, we are also going to have this…


90 (soft cover, b/w) pages of sketches from the imagination and observational drawing with a few notes on drawing and keeping a sketchbook, that has a sketch preview of the next Cthulhiad book at the back.



Drawings of cars and other vehicles…


Props and objects…


and Character sketches, and places and environments…


…alongside the drawings from the real world which inform them.


As well as these new books, we’ll have books from previous years.

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The first two books of The Lance – “Drakon” and “The White Ship”

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Vanitas & Severed Head Cult

(Read a review of Severed Head Cult here.)

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There will be copies of Tragic Tales of Horrere (books 1 & 2) available. From Little O and Madius.

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And of course The King’s Leap (read a recent review of that here, and others here), from Madius and ourselves.


Plus sundry postcards and larger prints of the artwork from the books.

We’ll be at Table #185, New Dock Hall, @ThoughtBubble, in Leeds this coming weekend. 

Right next to Madius (Table #186-187b).

See you there. g.

Okay, so its a little late… but here’s my (Gareth’s) Thought Bubble, Nov’ 2015, roundup…

Straight to the point, I loved it

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But I’ve loved it every year I’ve attended/exhibited… that includes that year Sarah, Andrew and I just came as punters.

I’ve attended an number of con’s over the years here in the UK as a visitor, mostly in tow with friends Andrew, Damian and Simon, but TB is easily my favourite experience.

It feels cohesive, like the whole show has been designed (some others have felt more like a big enthusiastic jumble sale). And as much as I really hope I can get out to more cons in 2016, TB will always be the culmination and high point of my comics oriented year.

So to echo many of the post-con online voices (to which I’m quite a late addition)… Well done to all those involved in making it work, from Tullalotay and Martha, to the team of enthusiastic and really helpful redshirts that made things run smoother on the floor.

As for us, we turned up on the Friday and after meeting up with friends at Leeds station (Andrew, Amara and Gene et al) we headed off to find food and booze.

Pizza Game

…taking in the curious marvel that is Leeds Trinity food court on the way then heading off to Whitelocks.

Meanwhile, messages where flying around on our (Madius, Little O/Horrere) collab FB messenger feed, letting me know how my Horrere brothers were doing regarding their travels and arrivals,…

[It’s weird that for the past two years we had found ourselves in the Ibis, with The Palace just over the road… this year, now we weren’t anywhere near there, that would of course be the place to meet, laughs]

…and so eventually got the call to head over and meet those that had made it to The Palace… and though I didn’t stay for long, it was great shooting the breeze on a whole bunch of things creative with AlisdairNeil and the excellently ebullient Mr Bob Turner amongst others. Then it was back to Whitelocks and off to our digs.

There was without doubt a strangeness to the Saturday morning which might have been the weather (the rain wasn’t the type you could laugh off), plus there was the terrible news from Paris (where I was to be flying straight out to on the Monday), but what ever it was, as the first morning progressed, all concerned seemed to get into their comic-loving stride and when the announcement came that the hall was opening I was excited for what the day would bring.

Though short of some of the other IronShod creators (Andrew Segal was in attendance at the show, if not with us behind the table), we did have a three strong team this year of Sarah and myself and young Kate (her first Comic con, which she seemed to love).

00 001 Thought Bubble

It was also fantastic this year to have the magnanimous pantheon of Though Bubble gods look upon our enterprise with favour and place us right next to our new collaborators Madius Comics… Whether this was in fact by design or just a happy chance I have no idea, but it was a fun weekend with those guys by our side. It was also our first time in New Dock Hall, which though now replaced by the TBMarquee as artists alley still had a massive buzz to it.

The last few years have been interesting, getting to know some of the other attendees, and more recently, getting to work with them on some great projects.

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Projects like The King’s Leap (which Rob Jones and I debuted at #TBF15) which have now taken on a life of their own; we have ideas up to issue three now, not bad considering it was supposed to be a one of 24 pager, and before that a 6 page short in an anthology. Plus the call to participate in the excellent (Tragic Tales of) Horrere with a great bunch of artists and writers (yes, those Madius boys again).

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Watching Horrere garner a whole bunch of great reviews on the lead up to, and following TB was amazing, and sitting there last night with a copy of Starburst in my hands and seeing our names in print in the comics reviewed section was knockout.

On top of that I’d hoped to get another book out from my Cthulhiad cycle of comics… but with the other non-IronShodApe books and moving house, teaching and a series of research trips to Europe, it started to seem less and less likely.

Then in the early part of October, strangely (as I was back into the new semester at work) things eased off a little, my evenings freed up and I started to doodle…

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The second book of The Lance cycle began to take shape and I thought, “what the Hell” let’s get this done.

I used a ink brush pen for the art this time, and really enjoyed the results, learning a lot about spot-black placement while I was working on it.

xx The Lance - Page 006

It turned out to be a pretty fast way of working, and one I’ll gladly try again.

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To speed my process further I tried out a new (to me) technique for toning the book, scanning some Letratone, laying it over the whole page of art in Photoshop to create a medium tone and developing highlights with the eraser tool.

Process of Work

I got deeper tones by lassoing sections of the Letratone layer and pasting them over again with a slight nudge to the left and down to create lines from the halftone dots. It ended up with a strange retro look that I liked… and again, so very quick, which I needed it to be.

Four weeks later I took Drakon (pt 2 or The Lance, Ashkelon) to the printers and there it was a third debuting book on our table.

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  • Nice to be able to do the cover of the book above in collaboration with my long-time creative buddy Dave Eccles too (there’ll be more of that if I’ve got any say in it).

Working the table was fun… and we got to meet a whole bunch of lovely people as always.

Whilst unknown to me Sarah was making deals and sorting out a great gift for me in the form of an amazing Hellboy print and sketch from Duncan Fegredo (a genuinely nice bloke).

So… Onto this (last) year’s TBF15 Haul, and a bit about the things I’ve missed…

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Things I missed or put to one side in favour of other harder to find stuff… Rob Davis’ Motherless Oven (which I eventually picked up just before the end of 2015); the rest of the Chris Wildgoose/Improper books/Porcelain-bone-china stuff (still to pick up); and The Goddamnned, Jason Aaron and R. M. Guera’s pre-cataclysm old testament skirting tale of Cain’s wanderings out of Eden (I now have the first two issues)… and the intriguing title from Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham; Nameless (which again I’ve still to pick up).

Oh, and I left my second copy of the sign language episode of Hawkeye at home (also tried to find a copy of it at the much diminished stands of back-issue retailers at TB, but no luck)… I had hoped to get it signed to the Hull Deaf Centre* and get it framed to go in the hall there… (*Sarah is now manager there).

The books I did pick up you can see above… a few of which I’ve even gone as far as to review (I intend to try and review all the books I picked up).

The Old Dark House & Shore Leave by WJC.

WesterNoir (issue 3) by Dave West and Gary Crutchley.

Papercuts & Inkstains (1,2,3a & 3b) by the guys at Madius Comics.


DTHRTL by Bob Turner.

I’ll add my other TBF15 reviews – inc Vincent Hunt’s Red Mask of Mars, Line & Wash by Duncan Fegredo, BPRD Covers (sketchbook) by Lawrence Campbell, Farel Dalrymple‘s It Will All Hurt, and Dan Berry‘s Hourly Comic 2105,  – here as I get them done…

So… that’s really that.

I’m already looking for ward to working on this years comics, and I’ve made a start…

x Ymir and the Fisherman's Daughter

Oh… and a few days after Thought Bubble the guys from Intercomics Podcast got in touch and asked if I would answer a few questions about the work I had at the show… The interview can be found >HERE< on their site :

I’m also already looking forward to this years Thought Bubble #TBF16… with the hope we can fit at least one other con in beforehand.


And as I always say… if you’ve read one of our books or maybe more than one of them, let us know what you think… send us a message @hesir on Twitter.

It really helps us to know what you thought.

Cheers, g.




Right! We’ve just returned from ThoughtBubble 2014 (15th/16th Nov’) where we were promoting two new comics created this summer… “Severed Head Cult” – a tale from The Cthulhiad, a running and fighting tentacled monsters in small attic spaces horror comic (see trailer below).

…and “Vanitas” – (again) a tale from The Cthulhiad, this time a more existential exploration of the horror of existence, with some of the characters from the other Cthulhiad books turning up and doing their thing.

As pointed out above, Inter Comics Podcast can be heard >HERE< being very nice about “Vanitas”… (from about 43mins in).

Andn that note, again as mentioned above, if you’ve read ANY of the books we’ve put out over the last three years, and have liked any of them, please, please, tell us about it.

It would be great to get some feedback, you may even get quoted on the back of next years books.

So, Thoughtbubble 2014… (#TBF14)

… As always, we had a great time and met some very, very nice people…

TB is always such a great experience for us. So much great stuff on show, over the next week or so I intend to showcase some of the great books and art we picked up, along with a round-up of the weekends events. Until then…

Thanks to every one who stopped by the stand, even if it was just to browse or chat, and of course a big thank you to those who picked up the books (new and old). …and to those of you who missed us, see you next year, or you can always chat to us on Twitter.

Gareth@hesir, Sarah – @wildflowerfaery, Damian – @DamianStreet, Andrew@Cosmonautilus and Alex – @AlexWeinle (No Alex this year, he’s a busy man dontcha know) Iron Shod Ape Icon For Thoughtbubble

…mostly it was Sarah and I (it’s me, Gareth)… as always we were joined by Messrs Segal & Street and an assortment of friends new and old.


Regarding the comics, I’d been hoping to have a Redux/expanded version of last year’s un-proofed ashcan (The White Ship, by then hopefully called no less enigmatically, The Lance) ready to debut at the show, but time got away from me and so I published two parts of the larger collection as separate books, namely “Severed Head Cult” (the fighty one) & “Vanitas” (the talky one).


In other news from earlier in the year, some of the comics work from the books (from Damian, Alex and myself) had been on show in the Illustrative Arts Exhibition in the Creative and Cultural Gallery in Hull (1st Aug until 29th Aug, 2014).

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It was a great show to pull together and great to collaborate with so many other excellent local artists and creatives…

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This is me putting some of the work up at the show…


More recently, I had the chance to exhibit work at the Hull School of Art & Design as part of “Z”, a zombie themed exhibition tied into the PlatformExpos Games Con here in Hull.

Poster Mark 001 (flat Black) SMALL

Again a great chance to exhibit along side colleagues like Dom Li, Paul Starkey and Dave Eccles, as well as some of the younger talent from the Art School.

The following works in progress will hopefully be available for purchase at Thoughtbubble, each print will be full digital colour at 420mm x 297mm on card with a matt finish and can be signed or even added to by the artist. Post card versions may be available – Prices to be confirmed (but expect them to be very reasonable).

I’ll post other editions as I get them to this stage.

Meanwhile, works in progress include:

Rust Punk Romeo & Juliet (or the Orange Pickers Daughter’s Serenade)

z Rust Punk Romeo and Juliet

Samurai vs. Toy Robots (or, The Robo-Hunters Dream)

The Robo-Hunters - Central Colours xx

Pirates vs. Tentacles (or, I Told You Not To Read Aloud From The Book!)

Pirates Versus Tentacles x


Cowboys vs. Tentacles (or, Yeah, Two More Guys With Guns Should Do It)

Cowboys versus Tentacles x

…more later!

– Gareth

Left to Right – Damian Street, Andrew Segal & Gareth Sleightholme.

We did it! We came, We draw, We conquered our fears of no sales… ThoughtBubble 2012!!!

We ended up sat next to the lovely Gemma and Lee from Kromatron Comics, check out their book here – KROMATRON COMICS

It was a great experience and one I’d like to repeat so I’m definitely booking myself in for next year… New Years resolutions will probably include trying to get to some of the local Indy Cons too like the early December Mini Con in Leeds – The Leeds Alternative Comics Fair.

29563_10151285801625218_1575903444_nYours truly, sketching away, pretending to be a Pro’ at this… laughs.