Nuggets from the Gutters

I’m slowly working my way back into researching and writing my non-fiction book. As I work I’m coming across little nuggets of information, or images, that are interesting but relevant to my project.

I’ve started sharing these gems on social media and thought it would be nice to round them up on the blog every so often…

From Girl Annual 2 (1954):

This article seems to be promising a lot if it can tell you the secret of ‘How to make a cat your friend and companion’
From Karrini’s Charm written by Rosemary Garland and illustrated by H. Tamblyn-Watts. Vampire Easter Island type heads?!

From Girl Annual 3 (1955):

These were mainly to amuse my sister who works for Swim England.

Children’s Comics – A Guide for Parents & Teachers by George H. Pumphrey

Pumphrey considered many comics to be harmful for children, as can be seen by the further images below.
As can be seen he was a proponent of Dr Fedric Wertham’s (now disputed) work in America that contributed to getting comics banned & the creation of the comics code. See: Seduction of the Innocent.

Pumphrey wasn’t the only person who saw comics as being harmful to British children and the 1950s saw comics brought to the attention of the British Government and some being banned.

Thanks to writer Stephen Gallagher for letting me know on Twitter that Pumphrey features in the comics history book – Haunt of Fears by Martin Barker that explores the banning of horror comics in the UK and how the British Communist Party were involved!

The Only Woman Aboard – New Publication

Cover Image of a Zeppelin and Lady Grace Drummond-Hay
The Only Woman Aboard – Written by Selina Lock, Artwork by David O’Connell & Designed by Jay Eales

The Only Woman Aboard is a new Biographical Booklet.

A twenty eight page full colour booklet/zine including:

  • Fourteen Page Biographical Essay – Lady Grace Drummond Hay: Lovestruck Glamourous Young Thing or Ambitious Feminist Journalist?
  • Nine Page Comic Strip – Lady of the Skies

Available to purchase in the UK via Etsy.

Panel from Lady of the Skies
Lady Drummond-Hay aboard the Graf Zeppelin.
Attribution Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-08192 CC-BY-SA 3.0

Remembering Terry Wiley: Independents Day by Dave McKinnon

Dave McKinnon & Terry Wiley

Photo courtesy of Dave McKinnon & Gary Spencer-Millidge

We asked Dave about his memories of the Independents Days events, as we knew he and Terry had taken part in them in the early days of publishing Sleaze Castle.

SO MANY things to talk about my time with Terry:
daft antics at University…
working on the SF Soc magazine …
after Uni, EVEN MORE daft antics with the Goon Show Preservation Society (disrupting and upsetting the “old guard” with our radical  ideas)…
Alcohol was consumed (but not by Terry)
Terry writing and performing – notably, a pitch-perfect monologue in the style of Ronnie Barker…
us meticulously editing cut-up audio cassette montages…
randomly falling into unprompted unrehearsed “sketches” – I particularly remember the pair of us spontaneously ‘becoming’ Gilbert and George at a party at Bryan Talbot’s house….

but I’ve been asked to recall

Independents Day – 1 and 2 and the Cerebus Spirits of Independence tour

Through Mark and Stephen at Page 45, we managed to piggyback onto a UK tour they’d arranged for the CEREBUS team of Dave Sim and Gerhard – each stop had guest local creators, and we got the Newcastle gig.

There we were: Dave Sim, Ger, with me and Terry right next to them – seemingly sketching, signing and selling as many books as they were!! I mostly recall, however, being horribly nervous and babbling babbling babbling non-stop. God knows what they must have thought of me. Terry, of course, just quietly got on with doing great drawings. Needless to say, alcohol was consumed (but not by Terry).

On the back of that, Page 45 later ran a couple of promotional events – the Independents Days. Amazingly, despite our (my) bad behaviour, we were invited to both.

The first was upstairs in the store – Terry and I, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Gary Spencer Millidge, Paul Grist(?)… as well as a gathering of various notable UK small-pressers in unofficial capacities. My first recollection was of being HORRIBLY HORRIBLY late – we got stuck in traffic for the Nottingham Goose Fair. Cue several panicked, stressed phone-calls to the store – who had an increasingly impatient
queue out of the door and down the street…

A massive day of sales and new contacts. Donna Barr storming down the street, declaiming “Lead! Follow! or Get Out Of The Way” Alcohol was consumed (but not by Terry). During the day Terry and I came down with some sort of hideous throat lurgy, which we managed to pass on. By the end of the day, we could barely talk (or breathe!) – there’s a photo somewhere of me, Terry, Donna, and Roberta slumped against each other in a Nottingham Street – “the sick people of comix”

The following year, ID2 – hugely expanded and relocated to a Nottingham hotel. Me and Terry, and a roomful of UK indie comix greats … and Dave Sim and Gerhard again, from Canada. Another massive day, with great exposure for all of us.

This ended with The Night Of The “Big Tab” – Dave and Ger hosted us all in the hotel bar, saying just to put anything we wanted ON THE BIG TAB. MUCH alcohol was consumed. Terry drank coke, wafted cigarette smoke away, and put up with our rowdy behaviour.

The next day, whilst I groaned and pushed my breakfast around my plate, Terry cheerfully tried to explain Vic and Bob’s Shooting Stars (particularly “The Dove From Above” to an absolutely baffled and very hung-over Dave Sim and Gerhard. I eventually sobered up enough to drive home at about tea-time.

happy times. happy times.

Dave McKinnon, September 13th, 2018

Some favourite graphic novels for LGBT History Month

Last Thursday I was supposed to take part in a talk and discussion at work about our favourite LGBTQ+ comic books and graphic novels. Unfortunately, I couldn’t because I’m taking part in the University & College Union (UCU) strike over pensions.

So, here’s a quick blog post covering some of what I planned to say…

Strangers in Paradise, Volume One by Terry Moore (Published 1995)

Strangers in Paradise Vol 1 cover

I’ve always attributed the start of my journey into becoming a comics fan in the late 1990s to reading Strangers in Paradise. At the time superhero comics didn’t appeal and I wasn’t aware of the other genres of comics that were out there. The I read Strangers in Paradise… This had women I could relate to – Francine was curvy, got embarrassed, cried, made regrettable decisions and wanted to be loved. Katchoo was sassy, protective, artistic and had major anger issues! This was a funny, slice of life comic, featuring love triangles and revenge – very different to other comics I’d seen.

We only get a glimpse of a LGBTQ+ relationship in the first volume when we find out that Katchoo is in love with Francine, but over the next eighteen volumes we see a range of relationships and sexualities (against a backdrop of organised crime). Moore continues to portray LGBTQ+ characters in his more recent work like horror series Rachel Rising.

Francine and Katchoo

Katchoo longs for Francine’s love.

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick (Published 2000)

Pedro and Me Cover

This was probably the first autobiographical graphic novel I read (alongside Maus) and autobiographical/biographical comics have become one of my favourite genres. There is something about the medium of comics that brings an extra dimension to life stories that works well for me.

It’s the story of Winick’s time on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco in 1994 and his friendship with fellow housemate, HIV-Positive AIDS educator Pedro Zamora. I had never heard of Winick or seen any of the MTV series, but it makes no difference as everything you need to know is portrayed in the comic.

AIDS patient stereotype

Winick reflects on the stereotypical idea he had of an AIDS patient – reinforced by media coverage at the time.

We get a feel for Winick’s and Zamora’s lives before the show, how their friendship developed during the show and the tragedy of Zamora’s death from AIDS.  There are many moving moments in the book, from Winick examining the prejudices he had about HIV-positive people before meeting Pedro, to showing Pedro in action as a AIDS educator, to Pedro and his boyfriend Sean’s commitment ceremony (the first to ever be televised in the US) and, of course, the grief following Pedro’s death.

Pedro joking about condoms

Pedro uses humour to get his message across during his AIDS education lectures

Winick uses black and the image of Pedro’s hospital bed fading into the distance to convey shock and grief.

Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse (Published 1995)

Stuck Rubber Baby is a fictional comic, but it draws heavily on Cruse’s own life in the American South in the 1960s and includes real events that happened in the fight for Civil Rights. The story revolves around Toland Park, a young gay white man in small town America and how his involvement with the civil rights movement becomes intertwined with his own battle to accept being gay.

Cruse portrays the murder of a black man at the hands of the KKK. Another panel makes the point that they never call the man by his name (Sledge), but only refer to him as Rastus.


Toland finally admits to being gay.

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

‘Do Something’ – how to mail order

Cover by Jay Eales

Cover by Jay Eales

Do Something – a charity zine to raise money for ‘Hope not hate‘ was born.

This was our response to the Brexit referendum vote and rise in hate crime in the UK.

Zine is 72 pages, perfect bound with some colour illustrations.

Do Something – Contents:

  • Cover by Jay Eales
  • Introduction by Jay Eales & Selina Lock
  • Illustration by Dave Windett
  • The Cleansing by Mike Carey/M.R. Carey (new short story from best-selling writer of Girl With All The Gifts)
  • #DrawTogether #Pinclusive illustration by Emma Reynolds
  • Pin Money by Penny Jones (short story)
  • Spread Jam illustration by Patrick Scattergood
  • Beyond Each Blue Horizon by Andrew Hook (short story)
  • The Man Who ran Through the Tunnel by Ambrose Musiyiwa (poem)
  • But One Country by Rod Duncan (poem)
  • Song of Defiance (for William Blake) by K. A. Laity (poem)
  • Cartoons & Comic Strips by P. B. Rainey
  • Five Years (Lyrics by Alan Bennett) by Paul Magrs (song lyrics/poem)
  • I Saw Life Jackets on the Beach by Emma Lee (poem)
  • Smiling in the Slaughterhouse by Cynthia Rodriguez(poem)
  • Walls (after Bobba Bennett) by Cynthia Rodriguez (poem)
  • Anti-homophobia quote from Nottingham LGBT Switchboard (non-fiction)
  • Extracts & Photos from the Leicester Hate Crime Project– compiled by Selina Lock (non-fiction)
  • Illustration & Comic Strips by Vicky Stonebridge
  • Rose-Tinted Spectacles by Jay Eales & Peet Clack (comic strip)
  • Hope Remains by Mike Jennings (non-fiction)
  • Migrant/Bird Illustration by BlueLou
  • Lurid Sky by Jen Walklate (short story)
  • Weyland Street by Will Ellwood (short story)
  • Internationalist Manifesto by Simon Bennett (non-fiction)
  • Project Indigo – Daughters of War by Alasdair Stuart
  • The Gospel on How Not to Build a Tolerant Society compiled by Ambrose Musiyiwa (poem)
  • To Leicester Where We Belong by Farhana Shaikh (poem)
  • What’s In a Name? by Penny Jones (poem)
  • PLUS – A5 print of an illustrated poem by Yen Quach

TO ORDER in the UK:

Paypal £6.50 (£5 per copy plus £1.50 p&p) to

Profits will be donated to Hope Not Hate

For overseas orders please contact us for a price via