Monday, 30 April 2012

Draw Into The Shadows: Try Out For The Unseen Shadows Team At Bristol Comic Expo

Unseen Shadows's sinister Kingpin has posted this over on the Unseen Shadows website:
Unseen Shadows is currently inviting submissions from artists (pencillers, colourists and inkers) for a number of stories.

I will be reviewing portfolios at the Bristol Comics Expo (12th -13th May) from the Unseen Shadows table throughout the weekend. If you cannot make the show this year, or would like to send submissions in advance for discussion on the day please send an email but please do not send any files over 5mb by email ( I realise that this may mean the images will be in low res but that’s fine). If the files are bigger than this please send a dropbox or largefile transfer link.
The stories in progress at the moment cover a wide variety of subject matter, and it is originality and quality that I’m looking for rather than any specific genre or art style. I would rather have something unusual, challenging, inventive, creative, and inspired than another version of something that is already out there. The writers who are currently scripting the stories will be working closely with me to select the artists we need.
There are no page rates available for Unseen Shadows work. Creators are offering their skills for free at this stage in the hope of this becoming something bigger and, of course, for love of the material. All money taken from sales is put back into the company for further development and promotion. Right now consider this a way to reach an international audience as part of an already very successful transmedia project. Take a look at some of these links to see some of what we’ve already achieved here at Unseen Shadows.
What do you need to show me?
I need  to see sequentials as well as pin ups (unless you want to be purely a cover artist – which is fine, but let me know that).
What formats you work in – traditional media, digital etc.
Whether you work in colour or black and white.
If you are submitting to be an inker or colourist then we need to see copies of the underlying pencils as well as your work.
Finally one of the most important things is to let us know the length of story to which you feel you can realistically commit. Unseen Shadows has comics projects of all different lengths from short stories to graphic novel length books.

I appreciate that indie artists are showing incredible dedication by working on their comics alongside day jobs and other commitments, but if I like your work enough to publish I will work with you to agree a schedule that suits all parties.
As an indie creator myself I appreciate that making submissions can be difficult and nerve-wracking. I will look at everything I receive, and although it may take time, respond to everyone. The important thing to remember is that your work may be great, and I may personally love it, but it sometimes will just not be what I’m looking for right now, but I will keep your details on file for when I need that just that style.
If you would like to see examples of some of the Unseen Shadows projects to date, to get a feel for the type of styles that have been used, and the levels of technical expertise needed, have a look at these previews  and the preview from the Fallen Heroes Comic Adaptation. Don’t feel constrained by what you see. The Unseen Shadows universe is vast and I will be needing lots of different styles in future.
Have a look around the website to explore some of the other transmedia elements that are being developed.
If you have any questions beforehand please get in touch at

Kronos City from Time Bomb Comics launches at Bristol Expo


Time Bomb Comics is delighted to announce that their latest graphic novel, Kronos City, is being launched at the Bristol Comics Expo.

Written by Andrew Croskery, artwork by Alex Willmore, coloured by Lauren Willmore and lettered by Jim Campbell, Kronos City is an extraordinary urban fantasy set within a city through which runs a river of time. 

As a special Expo Exclusive to all attendees of this year’s Expo over the weekend of the 12th & 13th May, copies of this full-colour 140-page original graphic novel will be available for only £10 rather than the usual £14.99 price!

Also as part of the Bristol Expo weekend the Kronos City Launch Panel with the creators and publisher Steve Tanner takes place in Talks Room One at 11.15am on Saturday at the Ramada, hosted by Stacey Whittle. Afterwards the creative team will be conducting a signing session from mid-day at the Time Bomb Comics table in the main convention hall.  

Originally announced as one of the flagship releases of short-lived Insomnia Publications, Kronos City quickly found a new home at Time Bomb Comics and will be the first title to also be released digitally as well as in printed form from the Birmingham based publishers.

Time Bomb Comics will also be at the Kapow Comic Convention taking place in London over the weekend of 26th & 27th May.
KRONOS CITY, 140 Pages, Graphic Novel, Perfect Bound, Full Colour, Retail Price £14.99/$19.99,  ISBN 978-0-9561822-5-8 
For more information on this and any other Time Bomb Comics please contact

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

White Knuckle review

Okay, I’ll try to get through this review without it turning into some kind back slapping exercise.
We’ve been falling far behind with our reviews of late, so have missed out entirely on reviewing Cy Dethan’s previous two books: The Indifference Engine and Broadcast.
So, briefly: they’re both awesome and you need to buy them.
You may remember our review of Slaughterman’s Creed a while ago, which was a taught, frightening thriller that really deserves to be a movie.
White Knuckle is the story of Seth Rigal, a ‘retired’ serial killer, who is living his life out in more or less quite seclusion, or at least as close to normal as it is possible to get for a former strangler. However, events take a turn – whether these are for the better or the worse is up for debate – and he finds his quite life is no longer as quiet as he wants it to be.
As always, Dethan has populated the story with a believable cast of characters. The dialogue is authentic – even characters with only one or two lines come across as fully rounded and real.
As he did with Slaughterman’s Creed, he uses flashbacks to flesh out the story and add pathos to scenes – this is helped in no small measure by the art (more of that soon).
I’m reluctant to talk too much about the story, but I will say it’s a perfectly paced slow burn as events gradually escalate into, well, the ending. Which I will not talk about either, save to say that it, too, is perfect. And annoying, in a good way, as I really should have saw it coming, but such is the skill of Dethan that I did not.

Now, on to the art. Valia Kapadai is quite wonderful. I was lucky enough to meet her briefly at the Bristol Convention a year or two back, and I must say that there is a certain level of dissonance to be found in the bloody and violent images she beautifully reproduces and her own gentle and sweet self!
She has created an impressive body of work here, with page after page of glorious, fully painted, work. It’s a mind-boggling amount of pages to paint, and the fact that she has not only done it, but maintained a very high quality of art throughout, is a testament to her skill.
So, as I said with Slaughterman’s Creed – this should be a movie, or at the very least a TV mini-series.
Never mind your Scalped or whatever other US thriller type comics you’re reading. You should be reading this, and everything else this writer puts out. He’s probably the best kept secret in British Comics, and if I had my way, he would be a secret no longer.
Buy this.

White Knuckle is published by Markosia

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fever review

I reviewed Wayne Simmons’ previous zombie novel Flu here, and now it is the turn of the sequel.
Well, it’s kind of a sequel. The first section of the book is actually set before the events in the previous novel, and they go a long way towards explaining the origins of the flu virus that’s currently sweeping across the world. This whole section is a tight and tautly written one, with a real sense of claustrophobia in places although I did feel a bit cheated at the end of it.
The rest of the book though, sees the reader in more familiar territory. Simmons does a clever thing in not making this a straight sequel. He spends time introducing us to some new characters, and even has them encounter scenes from the previous book. This is a nice idea, as it gives returning readers something to feel good about while not alienating new readers who have not read the previous volume.
I’m actually finding it difficult to talk about the novel too much, for fear of spoilering anything. I will say that we eventually have some questions that were posed towards the end of the first book answered, but are left with different ones at the climax of this one. We meet some familiar faces from Flu as they intersect on their journey of survival with the new characters we have met.
As with his previous novels, Simmons shows here his admirable lack of sentimentality and his willingness to kill off characters at the drop of a hat.
I suspect that there will be at least one more volume in this series. Certainly Simmons has left enough unanswered questions and seems to be enjoying exploring them enough to have him pop back to zombie ravaged Northern Ireland (not the actual one, the one in this book) hopefully sooner rather than later.

Fever is published by Snowbooks.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Doctor Who The Lost TV Episodes Vol 4 review Pt2

Well, we've been away from the blog for a while as we were coming up to and then recovering from the Hi-Ex! weekend, but it's time to get this show on the road again!

We continue our review of the latest Lost TV Episodes collection from AudioGo.
Next up is The Faceless Ones.

This story is a bit of an odd one, or at least it feels like it. It feels very dated in some ways, being that it is set in Gatwick Airport in 1966, which was of course contemporary with the show bring broadcast.
The story itself is a bit of a mix, it feels in places like something that could almost have been in the Avengers (The Steed and Mrs Peel version that is), but then the sci-fi elements give it a Twilight Zone vibe. Between these two elements there is a nice story with a great sense of dread and paranoia, which I suspect would have been even more so at the time because it was using such a well-known location, and was feeding into the whole political atmosphere of the time in doing so.
The whole thing might be an episode too long, but on the whole it moves along well, helped by the always great Troughton and Hines (Michael Craze and Anneke Wills who play Ben and Polly are strangely absent for most of the story, and I suspect it is not unconnected with them leaving at the end of the adventure), as well as guest star (although she wasn't a 'star' at the time) Pauline Collins. Her character is a lot of fun and makes a wonderful foil for Jamie – it’s a pity she didn’t stay on as a companion.

The best thing about this one for me though, was the difference in attitude to airport security. Back then, before we had been trained to be frightened of everything, there seemed to be a more lax attitude to things. The Doctor’s reporting of a dead body in a hanger was met only with a sarcastic, ‘You better call the police then,’ rather than the immediate arrest and detention at Her Majesties pleasure for a few years he would receive today.
And I loved the moment when one character was enquiring about a missing passenger and they were told, ‘We’re dealing with thousands of passengers every week, we can’t keep track of every one.’
Changed times indeed.