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.


“To End All Wars” Nottingham Book Launch

One Wednesday 30th July To End All Wars got its first official launch courtesy of the Five Leaves Bookshop and the Nottingham Writers’ studio.

Before the launch the contributors in attendance went on a fun little photo shoot with photographer John Birdsall.

TEAW Notts group1

The sensible group shot: Ian Douglas, Pippa Hennessy, Jenny Linn-Cole, John ‘Brick’ Stuart Clark, Kate Houghton, Selina Lock. Photo © John Birdsall Photography


TEAW Notts group2

The 70s music album shot: Kate Houghton, Jenny Linn-Cole, Pippa Hennessy, Selina Lock, Ian Douglas, John ‘Brick’ Stuart Clark. Photo © John Birdsall Photography


Then we all headed into the spacious basement of the Nottingham Writers’ Studio where people were starting to congregate for refreshments and to browse the Five Leaves bookstall. I got my first glimpse of the physical copies of To End All Wars, which look great. High quality, chunky hardback with black-edged paper. Soaring Penguin have done us proud.

Once the 72 attendees were seated we launched into the official talk part of the evening.

Ross from Five Leaves started off the proceedings with a quick introduction and the unusual request to stay put if the fire alarm went off! (There were problems with it and someone would inform us toot sweet if there really was a fire…).

Then John gave a little background to the project. How it was devised by Jonathan Clode, who asked John to contribute and then talked him into co-editing. They put in a tremendous amount of work into editing and producing the book, including guiding the work of 53 creators from many countries.

Pippa Hennessy talking about her story 'Truth Be Told', which looks at censorship in WW1. She decided to make her central character a reporter who travels to the front without permission, as many reporters did, and risked being shot as a deserter or spy.

Pippa Hennessy talking about her story ‘Truth Be Told’, which looks at censorship in WW1. She decided to make her central character a reporter who travels to the front without permission, as many reporters did, and risked being shot as a deserter or spy.


I talked about my strip 'Go Home And Sit Still', which is based on the work of the Scottish Women's Hospitals. Here I'm talking about founder of the SWH Dr Elsie Inglis.

I talked about my strip ‘Go Home And Sit Still’, which is based on the work of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Here I’m talking about founder of the SWH Dr Elsie Inglis.


Here I’m talking about trying to decide which moments from the experiences of the SWH Russian Unit I should include in the story. In the background you can see some of the fantastic artwork from the strip by Arthur Goodman. I apparently can’t present without waving my hands around!

Ian Douglas talked about the U-Boat Captains that inspired his story 'Dead In The Water' about Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen.

Ian Douglas talked about the U-Boat Captains that inspired his story ‘Dead In The Water’ about Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen.


John finished off by talking about the strips he wrote/illustrated and the artwork provided by Jenny Linn-Cole and Kate Houghton (who were too shy to get up on stage).

Sales of the book were brisk and some of the attendees asked us to scribble on their copies. Our talks and the book seemed to go down very well and I enjoyed chatting to various people at the launch. My skirt also got lots of compliments and an introduction of it’s own from Brick!

Thanks to John, Ross, Pippa and Pippa’s son (for tech support) for organising the launch, and to all those that attended, for a lovely evening.

You can treat yourself to a copy of To End All Wars via Soaring Penguin Press, your local book/comic shop or Amazon. Especially as £2 from every copy sold goes to Médecins Sans Frontières.

You can also buy a copy directly from Soaring Penguin Press this Saturday 2nd August at the Birmingham International Comics Expo (ICE).


Jay and I will be popping into ICE for a few hours. We will also be at the London To End All Wars launch at Gosh! on the 20th August and at The Lakes International Comics Festival on 17th-19th October.

I will be joining Jonathan Clode and Brick on the To End All Wars – Art of Editing panel at The Lakes.

I’m very excited and proud to be part of To End All Wars, which would not have been possible without Arthur Goodman, who stepped into the artist breach at the last-minute. Thank you Arthur.