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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

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24 pages, b/w – With a colour cover.

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

“100 DRAWINGS”

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.

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Drawings of cars and other vehicles…

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Props and objects…

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and Character sketches, and places and environments…

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

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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.

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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.

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Below is the probable artwork (minus the odd twitch and bit of finessing) for one of this year’s Cthulhiad books, and book that will contain three interlocking narratives looking at some of the catalysts for the events in the previous (and ongoing) Cthulhiad books.

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Three broad chapters, namely “Issue”, “Zero”, and “Origin”, that make up the handy over-Title “Issue, Zero, Origin”, in which we’ll find out a little more about Harry, find out where he went after leaving Hamburg, and be a fly on the wall as Detective Malham gets to meet motormouth, “Backbone” McKendry.

The art above was predominantly painted in oils (a medium I’ve been playing with a little of late) with Graphic finishes in PhotoShop, including the warning sign in the foreground of the field.

Painting The cover

It would be interesting to play with this or a similar medium to create a full set of internal artwork at some point… just maybe not this year, laughs.

The book should debut in time for Thought Bubble 2016 (we are hoping to have a table again this year), along with a second Horrere book from Little O and Madius, a follow up to the King’s Leap (another Viking tale), and the culmination and third book of the St George cycle of Cthulhiad books “Theogeny” – which concludes the story set out in The White Ship and last year’s “Drakon”.

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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

and

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…

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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 : http://intercomicspodcast.com

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.

IRONSHOD STUFF

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.

 

 

 

The books below are those that have been (or in some cases eventually will be) seen gracing our Iron Shod Ape tables at Comic Cons.

If you have seen, picked up, or read any of the books on the list below, please help us out by writing something about it, you can copy us into your reviews via Gareth’s Twitter feed @hesir (we’ll gladly retweet them) or if 140 characters is too little, send your reviews, suggestions or even corrections (laughs) to hesir@hotmail.co.uk. Thank you, every review helps us.

Beached Rockets – SF anthology, originally published, November 2012

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Writing & art by Andrew Segal and Damian Street.

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With stories about Alien Contact, Spaceport Etiquette and Robots amongst other subjects.

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Issue 1, 24 pages, b/w with one story (8 pages) in full colour.

The Boatman – A gentle ghost story set at sea, originally published, November 2013.

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Written by Alex Weinle with beautiful b/w vector art by Damian Street.

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Find out more here – https://www.facebook.com/theboatmancomic/

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The Cthulhiad…

With writing and art by Gareth Sleightholme (you can read an interview over on InterComics Podcast with Gareth >HERE<), The Cthulhiad is an ongoing series of interwoven existential horror comics that flash backwards to the ancient world, and forwards again to the present day, stopping off at several time periods between… all following the hand-to-hand journeys of a number of occult artefacts and the people that come into contact with them, or are actively seeking them out.

The Cthulhiad also has it’s own blog  that has additional art and writing, expanding upon this universe a little more (it also includes “background/making of/notes” that hopefully add a little more to the experience of reading the physical comics)

The ongoing print based books include (so far):

The Indian Fighter – Originally published November 2012. A violent western (with tentacles), set in the year 1884.

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A nameless soldier of few redeeming qualities and violent predisposition detaches from his unit with a band of like tempered mercenaries on a secret mission to hunt down a gang of thieves who have ransacked a church.

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But what have the thieves taken? And what will be the cost of retrieving it?

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One by one our gang of cut-throats begin to realise, perhaps they aren’t the scariest things in the wilderness.

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48pages, b/w, Currently out of print – An online colour version is in the works…

Vanitas – existential horror… Originally published November 2014.

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48pages, b/w

Severed Head Cult – concerning the hunting of creatures in Copenhagen amongst other things… Originally published November 2014.

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48pages, b/w

The White ShipDrakonTheogeny – The Lance, Ashkelon Trilogy.

Book Drakon –Originally published November 2015. (page preview below) follows on from The White Ship (Video Trailer above)…

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An old man tells his protege’s the secret history that inspired the organisation they all work for. The real story of Georgios of Lod and his battle against a giant serpent in a far flung temple in Roman North Africa.

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Along the way we come across a variety of curious human and seemingly mythological characters and places. With many of them perhaps being not quite what they first seem to be.

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Three books, each 48 pages, b/w.

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The final instalment of this retelling of the story of St George and the Dragon, Theogeny, will debut this year.

plus

The Adventures of The Red Corsair.

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Currently a work in progress… Following the adventures of a team of artefact hunters working in secret as part of a effort to remove from harm potentially dangerous artefacts and items of occult power during the 1930’s leading up to WWII.

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The first story sees our hero sneak in and then fight their way out of a secret Nazi stronghold in the eastern Baltic… 

and should I ever get time…

Toxic Shopping – currently under reconstruction as a webcomic.

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some of which first manifested in this…

Dog Food Island – a one shot ashcan mini-comic containing some old Toxic Shopping tales amongst other strips.

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If you like these you may also be interested in Horrere and The King’s Leap.

Following on from the work on “The Kings Leap” (see previous post also), I was asked to contribute some work to a new comics anthology that involved Robin Jones (Writer of: The Kings Leap, Papercuts & Inkstains), Alisdair Wood (Beagle), Michael Sambrook (Papercuts & Inkstains), Al McLauchlan, & Neil Ford… all of whom are very talented chaps… Go check out their great stuff.

My contribution (I’ll keep the title of the story I’m working on under wraps at the moment) is set in a near [post-global catastrophe] future…

Some of the WIP artwork can be found below.

Inks and Grey-toning in progress…

xx Horrere - You Are What You Eat - Page 004…and pencils.

Pencils for Maddox's Room

If you want to find out more about the book, which will be debuting at Thoughtbubble, Leeds this year, take a look over at the site >HERE<