Nottingham Does Comics & Five Leaves Graphic

Nottingham Does Comics (Tues, 19th Sept, 2017)

Last Tuesday Jay and I nipped over to Nottingham for an evening of comicky goodness. We headed to Nottingham Writer’s Studio for the bi-monthly meeting of Nottingham Does Comics, who kindly hosted us as guest speakers back in June.

This time around, the guests were Magoria Studios co-founders: writer William Starling and illustrator Adam Willis, and Drugs & Wires webcomic creator Cryoclaire (aka Mary Safro).

William and Adam talked about the steep learning curve of jumping into comic creation and setting up Magoria Studios as a comics publisher. They had initially planned on working on a wide-ranging mythological based graphic novel series, but soon realised that it would be best to put out a few short one-shot comics first. Their first publication was a short comic called Filigree.

They’ve been doing lots of work behind the scenes to establish themselves as a business, looking at distribution routes and mentoring new creators. They are hoping to have lots more comics out soon, starting with the younger reader aimed Drones.


Cryoclaire has been publishing her webcomic Drugs & Wires for two years and has gained a loyal following for this alternative past cyberpunk tale. She talked about how the comic came into existence due to posting sketches of the characters and setting online – this led to people asking when she’d be doing a webcomic. On admitting that she wasn’t a writer as such, one of her online friends suggested that they work on the storylines/writing together and she gained her writer Io Black. The two live in different countries and mainly work via online chat and skype.

We picked up the first two printed issues of the comic on the night and the third issue at Thought Bubble a few days later (as we are terrible at reading comics online and prefer good ole dead tree). Highly recommended and if you’re not luddites like us you can read all the story so far online.

There were lots of questions for the speakers and then a chance to natter to other attendees, and it was all highly enjoyable.

We’re hoping to make it to the next meeting on Tuesday 14th November & you should to, as they have an excellent line-up in the form of Corinne Pearlman, Jade Sarson & Sally Jane Thompson.

Five Leaves Graphic 

Before the NDC meeting, we also popped into Five Leaves Bookshop for a meeting with my editor and publishers at Five Leaves Publishing. Five Leaves are a radical, literary and political small independent press who have been publishing books since 1996 and running Five Leaves Bookshop since 2013.

One of their latest initiatives is Five Leaves Graphic – an imprint for comics, graphic novels and related books. Their first publication was East of Aleppo – Bread, Bombs and Video Clips, by Brick.

I’m working on a book for them about my own personal journey researching the history of women working in British comics. I’m aiming to give an overview of the many women that have contributed to the industry from the 1860s to the present day. It won’t be comprehensive, as I’ll be concentrating on the stories that interest or resonate with me, but I hope it will showcase the largely ignored history of women in comics. The writers, artists, editors, publishers, letterers, colourists, designers, art editors etc…

Provisional Cover – Illustration by Marie Duval from Judy 1860s

Our visit to Thought Bubble at the weekend proved once again that there can be no denying the huge talent pool of women currently working in comics in the UK!

Provisional publication date: June 2018.


Events: Nottingham Does Comics & ArtBeat

Jay & I will be guests at Nottingham Does Comics on the 13th June.

Weird Worlds and How We Build Them @ ArtBeat 2017

The Speculators (the writing group we are in) will be running this event for the Clarendon Park ArtBeat Festival on Friday 23rd June at 6.30pm.

Friends Meeting House (Small Meeting Room), 16 Queens Rd, Leicester.

How do you create a fictional world? A discussion about world building within SF&F and related genres.

 Event Link

Factor Fiction & Friends @ States of Independence

States of Independence is our favourite local book festival, and this year we’ll have a stall.


Free of charge | 10.30am – 4.30pm | Open to all

Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Oxford Street, Leicester LE1 5XY

Workshops | Readings | Panels | Seminars | Book launches

Bookstalls | Independent presses | Regional writers

Fiction | Non-fiction | Poetry | Plays | Artist books | Magazines | Journals

We’ll have stock of a variety of our publications on the stall. Including:

Cover by Jay Eales

A zine raising money for HOPE not hate and including prose, poetry, comics and more by lots of local Leicester writers.

Two new collections of Lee Kennedy’s autobiographical comics.

We’ll also have a handful of copies of the latest book that includes short stories by Jay & myself:

That night I dream about Whitby. 

It’s the place that Effie says I belong to. I’m sitting in a cosy room, with a small window overlooking a storm-lashed town. I can hear the sea, an endlessly restless noise. The fire crackles in the grate and I’m sipping a very sweet and delicious drink from a tiny glass. The woman called Effie is sitting across the room from me, but goodness – she looks ancient. She’s like a wizened old hag sitting there. 

Effie is talking in between sips of sherry and she’s making plans. Plans of action, of attack. We’re involved in a kind of… yes, series of adventures. She’s talking like the whole world is depending on our working together to foil not one but several kinds of evil menace.

What a bloomin’ palaver! 

Nine brand new stories about Brenda and Effie’s adventures in Whitby by Greg Maughan, Jay Eales, Tony Jones, Andrew Lawston, Matthew Bright, Morgan Melhuish, Neil O’Brien, Nicholas Campbell and Selina Lock, with a prologue by Paul Magrs.

Also available to order from Obverse Books

We’re also hosting some friends’ books on the stall:

Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain is the first of its kind: a book written for and by bisexual people in the UK. This accessible collection of interviews, essays, poems and commentary explores topics such as definitions of bisexuality, intersections of bisexuality with other identities, stereotypes and biphobia, being bisexual at work, teenage bisexuality and bisexuality through the years, the media’s approach to bisexual celebrities, and fictional bisexual characters.

Filled with raw, honest first-person accounts as well as thoughts from leading bisexual activists in the UK, this is the book you’ll buy for your friend who’s just come out to you as bi-curious, or for your parents who think your bisexuality is weird or a phase, or for yourself, because you know you’re bi but you don’t know where to go or what to do about it.

Also available to order from Thorntree Press

Plus this novel by local author and fellow Speculator Daniel Ribot:

Ludmilla Vatinashkaya already struggles to balance the challenges of marriage and family with her promising career as a captain in Stalin’s army when she is ordered to direct Vampsov, a covert unit created to fight the most implacable enemies of the Soviet Union: vampires. Astonished and initially skeptical, Ludmilla takes her unit on a thrilling and violent trail of destruction as Vampsov hunts down the blood sucking enemies of Socialism. With the help of Vassily, a dark and brooding creature who denies his very nature for his love of the fledgling Soviet state, they confront the most notorious monster of all in his Transylvanian lair.

Vampsov 1938, brings to life in luscious detail the Stalin-era Soviet Union. Daniel Ribot has beautifully navigated this turbulent page of history to create an an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that’s hard to put down and impossible to forget.

Also available to order from Amazon

Hope to see some of you there on Saturday!

‘Do Something’ charity zine – Events

Cover by Jay Eales

Cover by Jay Eales

‘Do Something’ – Official Leicester Launch

Upstairs at Firebug (1 Millstone Lane, Leicester, LE1 5JN)

3-5pm, Saturday 3rd December

There will be a panel discussion, raffle and readings, and fine company. Also, cake.

Several local contributors will be taking part in the launch, including Rod Duncan, Jay Eales, Jenny Walklate, Ambrose Musiyiwa, Will Ellwood, Penny Jones & Cynthia Rodriguez.

The cake will be free, but the zine will cost you a fiver.

Facebook event:

‘Do Something’ at Astral Gypsy (Coventry)

Astral Gypsy comic shop (Unit 2E, Fargo Village, Far Gosford Street) in Coventry.

Sunday 4th December, 1.30-3.00pm

Astral Gypsy are kindly hosting us (Editors: Jay Eales & Selina Lock) for the afternoon to sell copies and chat about the zine.

We will hopefully be joined by local creator Yen Quach. Each copy of the zine comes with a free print of an illustrated poem by Yen.

Facebook event:

Do Something is a zine that came about as a result of the EU Referendum and the rise in hate crime that followed.

We sat in shock for a few days, and wondered what if anything we could do. We saw others in our social media feeds who seemed similarly lost. We put out a call to arms to the writers, the artists, the poets and comic creators. The political cartoonists. Many from Leicester, but also from much further afield. We called and they answered. Leicester based novelist Rod Duncan. Political cartoonist for the Morning Star, BlueLou. Mike Carey, writer of X-Men and The Girl With All the Gifts. What we originally expected to be a 24 page photocopied effort ended up a professionally published 72 page beast.

For the Table of Contents – see our previous post.

All profits from sales of Do Something go to the charity Hope Not Hate, which sums up the ethos of the project. It may not be a big thing, but as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. We hope that you will join us in adding to the sum of Hope and tipping it away from Hate.

The event ties in with the ‘HOPE not hate’ weekend of action.

If you are unable to join us for an event, but would like to buy a copy of the zine then please PayPal £6.50 (includes UK p&p) plus your delivery address to

Lee Kennedy Collections & Do Something @ThoughtBubble

Thanks to our friend Regie Rigby of Desination Venus Comics (Harrogate) you’ll be able to buy our newest publications at their table at Thought Bubble this weekend.

They are at Stand 1, Royal Armouries Hall.

Hot off the presses you’ll be able to purchase:

The first two volumes of the Lee Kennedy Collection.




Inner City Pagan collects strips from Lee’s small press Inner City Pagan comics plus extra material. With a foreword by Zograf.

Wage Slave collects strips from Lee’s small press Wage Slave comics plus extra material. With a foreword by Roberta Gregory.

Each volume will be £10 each.

You’ll also be able to pick up copies of Do Something! our charity zine in aid of Hope Not Hate. This will be the perfect bound edition with some  colour illustrations and a free A5 print of an illustrated poem by Yen Quach.

It includes a brand new short story by Mike Carey, illustrations by Dave Windett, Emma Reynolds, BlueLou and comic strips by Vicky Stonebridge and Paul Rainey. For full table of contents see our previous post. They will be £5 with profits going to the charity.


So pop along to see Destination Venus Comics at Stand 1, Royal Armouries Hall.

The Fiction Frontier – Starting to Write Science Fiction

22 October at 14:30–15:30

Leicester Central Library, Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AA

A panel discussion with Jay Eales, Selina Lock and James Worrad from The Speculators., a Leicester writing group. We will cover writing fan fiction, short stories, novels, comics & short films.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL – call the library on 0116 2995401
For more information on StarBase and the Sci-Fi festival, go
For more information on The Speculators, go to

Facebook event:

Small Press Day at Forbidden Planet Leicester

smallpressdayWe are taking part in Small Press Day on 9th July to celebrate small press and indie comics.

The event at Forbidden Planet Leicester is:

2.30pm – 5.30pm

23 Silver Street, Leicester, LE1 5EU

Creators appearing as part of the event are:

Drew Sumner – Ink & Booze

Jade Sarson – TeaHermit

Esme Baran – Undine Adventurer

Sally Jane Thompson – Atomic Sheep

& others

Jay & I will be running free ‘Introduction to Writing Comics’ workshops.

The workshops will introduce you to the elements of a comic script, and provide a taster of the foundations of comic book writing.

We are running the workshop twice at:

2.30 – 3.10pm and 3.50 – 4.30pm

To book your place contact Forbidden Planet Leicester with your preferred timeslot.

More info on their FaceBook event and you can book by commenting on the post there.

Thought Bubble 2015 – All the Swag!

We always enjoy going to Thought Bubble, as it’s one of the most diverse comic cons on the calendar. Lots of creators we know and lots of new talent on display too.

This year (as usual) we got carried away buying fab stuff…
Thought Bubble 2015 swag

Saturday started by bumping into comics bud Terry Wiley in the queue and then seeking out Lydia Wysocki’s Applied Comics Etc. stall. Special thanks to Lydia for letting us dump our coats with her and lending me her chair for a sit down later in the day.

Terry & Lydia have recently been involved in a project with the University of Newcastle Special Collections (WW1 archive – see Thomas Baker Brown below).

Thought Bubble swag 9 The rest of the day was spent making the rounds of New Dock Hall and the marquee tent. Chatting to old friends and meeting new people.  
Thought Bubble swag 2

I made an unexpected impulse buy of this lovely hand-painted stone by Dominika Tomczyk. Dominika’s day job is as a mannequin make-up artist – who knew there was such a job! Those in London will have seen her mannequin work in various Xmas shop displays (e.g. Selfridges). We also caught up with Cliodhna Lyons, who was table sharing with Dominika and Benedict Bowen (storyboard artist & Phoenix Comic creator).


Impulse buy at Thought Bubble - beautiful original art by Dominika Tomczyk. (@bowendesign @ztoical ) Jay’s impulse art purchase was this lovely print by Sonya Hallett, as the dog reminded us of our dog Loki (who does like eating orange things!).  
Thought Bubble swag 10

We spent a lot of the Saturday and the Sunday chatting to the various people we bought comics/books from, as well as Andy Waterfield (who was involved in the British Comic Awards this year), Rachael Smith, Leah Moore & John Reppion, Antony Johnston and lots more.


Thought Bubble swag 8 Saturday night we went for a lovely Italian meal and catch-up with Matt Brooker, Jenni Scott & Richard Buck. Walking around the halls had worn us out, so afterwards we headed back to our hotel to watch Doctor Who.  
Thought Bubble swag 7

Sunday saw us finally get to Armouries hall for more chat and swag. We also went along to meet up with some of the creators from the ‘Women in Comics’ FB group. It was lovely to catch up with Maura McHugh, Sally Jane Thompson, Karen Rubins and to meet Tammy Taylor, Julie Nick, Kerrie Smith, Edward Brophy and Sarah Louise Elliott. Jay wants to apologise to Sarah for almost cutting her out of the photo. That’s not how it looked on the phone, honest!

Mini Women in Comics FB group meet at Thought Bubble

Tammy Taylor, Maura McHugh, Julie Nick, Selina, Kerrie Smith, Edward Brophy and Sarah Louise Elliott.


Thought Bubble swag 5  Plus lots more swag below…  
Thought Bubble swag 4Thought Bubble swag 3
Thought Bubble swag 2Thought Bubble 2015 swag 1 Overall, a weekend stuffed with comicky goodness!

Here, there and everywhere in May

May turned into a very busy month for us with lots of events with some kind of creative connection…

First off was a visit to The Lakes with friends from The Speculators writing group. No writing was done, but we did lots of sight-seeing of writing-related places.

Writers in the rain!

Writers in the rain – at Wordsworth’s favourite writing spot.

Applied Comics Network Event - information, educational & factual comics.

Applied Comics Network Event – information, educational & factual comics.

Next up was a trip down to London for the inaugural Applied Comics Network Event, which I had been invited to speak at about the sessions I do at work about using comics to communicate research. I’ve blogged this in detail over on my work blog.

We both did readings at the latest Fox Bites event, which is a Leicester event for writers to read 5 minutes extracts of their work in a relaxed atmosphere in a local cafe. Organised by the lovely Adele (aka Aunty Fox) of Fox Spirit Books.

Jay entertains the audience with a sci-fi tale.

Jay entertains the audience with a sci-fi tale.

Jay read his short story Spare Change, which originally appeared in Murky Depths. While I read Once in a Blue Moon, a piece of flash fiction I wrote for the event.

The others writers who read were:

  • Daniel Ribot (author of Vampsov 1938) read his short story A Gentleman’s Agreement.
  • Marianne Whiting read an extract from her Viking novel Sheildmaiden.
  • Carol Leeming read an extract from her choreopoem – The Loneliness of the the Long Distance Diva.
  • Selina talks ancient hearts.

    Selina talks ancient hearts.

    Mayapee Chowdhury read a short story from her collection Embarrassing Siblings, Playground Taunts and other Growing Pains.

  • Leah ‘Ileandra’ Osbourne read an extract from one of her novels.

I went on a rather different creative jaunt during for the second Bank Holiday weekend, as I went on a sewing retreat. It was good fun and I learnt lots of new crafting techniques…

#sewingretreat winding up. Had a great time & learnt lots :-)

Fruits of my sewing labours.

May is being rounded-off with Jay busy working on a short story and a Speculators critiquing session this weekend.

Oh, and April brought the news that To End All Wars has been nominated for TWO Eisner Awards! Very exciting to have written for an Eisner nominated book!