Okay, so, first post for a while.  So? What’s been going on?

Well it seems like yesterday that I was sat behind the table at Thought Bubble 2017 last September, seven months ago, and we are already gearing up for this coming September. Already looking forward to it.

Last year sow some really welcome reviews of the comics both in print, online and on air, some live events and cons, some weird but refreshing comics projects including pin-up pages & limited edition prints as well as some of my comic art projected in front of a live audience as part of a one person theatre production,

…as well as some top meet-ups with other creatives, out of which has come some potential new projects.

What are these you ask?

Well, first up, some vague news, a statement that I may well be committing to spending a little more time on Iron Shod projects and other comics and illustration based projects for a little while in the near future. Trying to get this, these, projects off the ground, trying to set up and exploit what potential my personal artwork etc might have, both digitally and as printed art.

All a little scary, but its a uniquely timed  opportunity I can’t let drift.

And with all that comes some new comics projects in the offing, most I can’t really talk about (yet to be announced creature feature stuff with regular collaborators, as well as potential new partnerships, etc), but here’s a couple of things that have been tentatively announced.

1 – Part three of “The Viking Saga” by Rob Jones (and Madius Comics) and myself, the concluding part of our three issue run looking at myths and monsters in the lands of ice and snow.

2 – A new* project “Koenig City Sketches”… superheros, super villains, corporations and crime in a 1930’s noir styled sprawling metropolis. This first instalment a visual intro to the city and some of the characters who live, work and hunt there.

3 – The, at present, tentatively titled “Reality Obscures”, the next book from The Cthulhiad, with more monsters, occultists and monster hunting following on from 2017’s Some Rough Beast(s).


4 – probably more mini-sketchbooks, postcards and even some larger printed art – Watch this space for more details.

Well, I’m excited…

Time now to catch up on the backlog of mini-collabs and friendly projects that have probably languished a little while other parts of my life took precedent. 2018 should hopefully end as a fun year creatively, making up for all the stress and trauma of the Christmas break and the first half of this year…


You can find me post sketches and finished art in all the usual places – Twitter – @hesir / Instagram – AKAhesir / Facebook – @apoheniainc / and my Art Station / Visual Development Portfolio amongst others and oh, I now have one of these… Ko-fi I’m not exactly sure what it is yet (I’m sure this will feature as part of the coming week’s/month’s efforts), but I have one, laughs.

*to be fair this is actually an old project, one that has basically sat around until I found a style for the art I liked, and has now reached critical mass in terms of material ready to go.



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!

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

Straight to the point, I loved it

YAWYE (SMEAT) - Horrere - You Are What You Eat - Page 003 (flat)-1

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).

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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).

YAWYE (SMEAT) - Horrere - Postcard 001

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…

00 002 ThoughtBubble

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.




Papercuts & Inkstains – Issues 1, 2, 3a & 3b

Published by Madius Comics

Various Creators.


Review by Gareth Sleightholme.

“Papercuts…” is a four (or more correctly, three and a bit) issue, b/w horror/SF anthology comic series, at this point amassing a total of 108 pages. Scripts come from staple Madius storytellers, Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook, with art by Brian Burke (Incandescent Memories), Dan Butcher (Vanguard), Rory Donald, Nick Gonzo (50 Signal), Jim Lavery (Zarjaz, Detective Werewolf), Paul Moore, Rosie Packwood, Kevin Pospisil, Mike Smith, Angela Sprecher ( and Stephen Weafer. A title in which the narrative confidence, design and overall quality has improved with each subsequent issue.

Jones and Sambrook’s narratives cover subjects from the hygiene issues of time-travel; married life and zombie death; Poe-esque, raven haunted, existential angst; loopy blue collar occultists; nefarious cosmic corporate-military shenanigans; werewolves; demon-brides; rootin’- tootin’ wild-west gamblin’; vampires; horror hotels; post-modern pop-culture vigilantism; toasted cyclists a T-Rex and… well, you get the picture… all the food groups, with stories veering from humorous to poignant, sinister to action-packed and all paces and atmospheres in between.

Four “Papercuts…” books in and Jones and Sambrook show no signs of slowing either. The enthusiasm for the medium (from all concerned) that rushes out of the pages of the Papercuts & Inkstains anthologies is palpable. At times it feels like being caught by that guy down the pub, the one who tells his stories at a thousand miles an hour, gesticulates wildly without spilling his drink or dropping ash; charismatic and more than a little mad, but somehow compelling. Elsewhere it feels like they’ve tapped into the vibe of those anthology comics you picked up at your first cons, or that strange underground comic that somehow came into your possession as a kid, from who knows where, that left you hanging for more, but kept dragging you back to pour over the panels.

At the book’s heart is the ongoing tale of those urban, ne’er-do-well, would-be acolytes of the dark gods. Smith, Jones & Sambrook’s Profits of Doom, a group of housing estate, hooded high-priests attempting to juggle the seriousness of their occult calling with the vicissitudes of everyday living in a northern town; the madcap humour of this central story, snappy dialogue and the great art a welcome recurrence with each issue.

Other stand out moments for me include Jim Lavery’s sophisticated art style on Together Forever (issue 2), Paul Moore’s dynamic action-packed art on Vampire Wonderland, and the euro-indie stylings of Angela Sprecher on A Roll Of The Dice (issue 3a). But there’s plenty for everyone here.

I’m yet to dig into the rest of the Madius offerings (they’ve published/co-published over a dozen titles in their first year alone), but if P&I is any indicator there is going to be a wealth of great stuff to choose from, their books already having had a run of great reviews from podcasters and other comics creatives…

Now, what’s this about a Funk Soul Samurai?

Follow these loons on twitter: @MadiusComics, @RobJonesWrites, @Rapiaghi, @Nick_Gonzo, @DeadCertMike, @pocketmouse, @imnotdaredevil4, @ARiseToDarkness, @VanguardComic, @sprech4, @karl-ellie, @Burky126, @Jimlavery1, @PMoore121

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.

Hello! I’m Gareth Sleightholme. I draw and write comics amongst other things, mostly about monsters and the people that hunt or are hunted by them…


And we are “Iron Shod Ape“! A creative collective of comic book fans now making our own books…

We had a Great time at Thought Bubble this year (Sept 2017), the new TB set up seemed to work. We got to meet a bunch of lovely people as always, and it was great to get some regulars back to pick up the new stuff… thanks to everyone who came by the table, and particularly to those of you who said cool stuff about us on the internet, you have no idea how much it helps, so cheers. You may also have see me at at the Hull Horror Fest in October last year too.

If you want to catch up with us, our next gig is at the Geek Fair on Saturday the 28th April 2018. See you there!

Iron Shod Ape Team Shots

00 001 Thought BubbleLeft to Right, Sarah, Gareth and Kate at the Iron Shod Ape table #TBF16

Over the last few years we have showcased titles such as:

The Boatman, Beached Rockets and several books from The Cthulhiad, as well as joining forces with indie powerhouse Madius Comics to publish two of a loose trilogy of Viking Saga books; The King’s Leap and Ake’s Trial (the third is coming soon!).

You can see the kinda fun we’ve had doing the shows here -> #IronShodApe

The Cthulhiad books look a little like this:

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…people in the comics world have been kind enough to say things like this about the books:

Praise for “The Cthulhiad”:

“Dialogue is great, the story moves at break neck pace.”

“Glorious thick, dark inking and great use of shadow. Add to that great character work and design and it all adds up to make this book a pleasure to look at.”

“…this is is the first book I’ve read in The Cthulhiad series. Severed Head Cult has left me chomping at the bit for more. I want to know everything there is to know about this comic universe.”

Stevie Robinson, Other Worlds Than These.

a harrowing tale of monster hunting. Sleightholme choreographs an excellent fight scene with a creature that flows like water…”

“…part of Sleightholme’s Cthulhiad series. If this is what can be expected from it, I’m definitely interested in seeing more. He’s created a terrifying world dripping with mythology and lore.”

James Ferguson, Horror Talk

“In a world of quick, efficient storytelling and conventional three-act structures, the Cthulhiad stands alone like a bewildering tower of Lovecraftian passion and excess.  Challenging to read and gorgeous to look at, this is a series designed to reward the patient…”

“Intricately detailed and packed with expression and dynamism,”

“…it’s Sleightholme’s artwork which is clearly going to provide the main selling point for the Cthulhiad.”

– Craig Neilson-Adams, The Big Comics Page

xxx Kings Leap - Page 006


Praise for “The King’s Leap”:

“Rob Jones (Madius Comics) actually has some pretty damn impressive ‘straight writing’ chops. The narration is bold and dramatic.”

“Sleightholme’s artwork is an absolute delight… with a cinematic flow to his panels that keeps the story moving forward smoothly throughout”

“The King’s Leap serves as an eye-opening broadening of the Madius Comics horizon, and firmly cements Gareth Sleightholme as an absolute must-watch artist.”

– Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej), Big Comics Page.

“Robin Jones has captured the essence of the epic tale and twisted it…”

“I was unfamiliar with [Gareth’s] work before this, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it from now on… action sequences are as fast-paced as the script. Here there be monsters, and Sleightholme draws some fantastic ones, creatures that recall Lovecraft and those great beasts in Pacific Rim.”

Brad Gischia, BagAndBored.

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…elsewhere including praise for (writer and artist on the Cthulhiad) Gareth Sleightholme‘s other comic art on books like Horrere.

“…gorgeous”, “…stunning art” – (Shane/Dawn of Comics), Comics Crusaders.

“[Gareth] packs a hell of a lot into his panels. The details in the line work are jaw dropping and the panel layouts are just great…”Stevie Robinson, Other Worlds Than These.

“…look at this artwork. Isn’t its messiness grand?” – Jessica Maybury, Girls Like Comics.

“The visuals were amazing too …almost overwhelming but in a really good way that adds to the buzz of the terror” – Susan Omand, Garbage File.

“[Gareth’s] art is surprisingly evocative” – Max Deacon, Scream.

“The artwork by Gareth Sleighthome is incredible; packing each frame with more details than you’ll take in right away”Kieran Fisher, ThatsNotCurrentBlog.

Sleightholme does another stellar job with the visuals, proving that he’s equally adept at zombies as he is with swords and sorcery…”Craig Neilson-Adams (AKA Ceej), Big Comics Page.

“[Gareth’s] work in this short is fantastic, looking like something that would be at home in 2000 A.D. or any of the other top anthologies on the market.” – Brad Gischia, BagAndBored.

“Geof Darrow-esque detail” – Pipedream Comics.

On that note…


TWEET US @hesir, thank you!

…this blog is a work in progress, put together as we geared up for our first gig (back in November of 2012) at ThoughtBubble, where we launched Beached Rockets and The Cthulhiad/The Indian Fighter.
Let us know if there is anything we can do to improve it or anything else you would like to see on here.