Saturday, 19 August 2017

In Preview - 'Impossible' from Markosia Comics.




Written & created by Chris Sides


Art & Lettering by Jake Rowlinson


Colours by Daniel Franco


Graphic design & additional editing by Ken Reynolds


Published by Markosia Enterprises







The Story - '2046. Will McGillis, an astrophysicist, is contracted last minute to join the crew of the AMALA in low-Earth orbit, who are part of an orbital clean-up operation; one that aims to rid Earth's various orbital patterns of space debris, with the future intention of building a new space station/port.



This is routine stuff, but unknown to McGillis, the AMALA's crew have been sub-contracted by a mysterious client to gain access to and retrieve sensitive information from the old, almost completely burnt-out husk of the International Space Station, in permanent high-Earth orbit. McGillis is betrayed and blown out of the AMALA's airlock into space. Unknown to the backstabbing crew, however, McGillis has had extensive military training. Willing to do whatever it takes to get back to Earth and to his family, Will McGillis must perform the impossible…'








Message from the Creators - 'IMPOSSIBLE is an 86 page graphic novel and the first in a planned trilogy. It’s the first official book in THE FROSTBYTE LEGACY, a series of stories set within a fictional future history of the world, where Frostbyte Industries, a vast, multi-national and incredibly influential technology company, is the one constant.'


The Preview -  I was lucky enough to get an early look at this new book from my old mucker Sidesy. I hate to compliment the man who once wore a T Shirt that said 'Shut Up Tony' but this is genuinely a next level for the small press world. Chris takes the writing and plotting side of things like very few others do in the small press field. He crafts and strips down and rewrites so that what he produces is of the highest quality.


The Impossible is the first in the series and I am already plaguing him with texts saying 'C'mon on Sidesy you bastard, where's issue 2'. I am, I know, prone to hyperbole, but this is one of the most expertly put together comics I have read on the scene for an age. It is honed down so there isn't anything that doesn't add to the mood and story. A story that keeps you guessing throughout. We also don't get a hint of decompression as is common place elsewhere. This builds you up, keeps you guessing throughout and shafts you with a cracking ending.

The art by Jake Rowlinson has a solid foot in both the humour/character side of illustration but also manages to carry weight with the action and drama. He reminds me a little of the work of Simon Roy on 'The Field' a couple of years ago out of Image Comics. Jake sorts them men from the boys with some excellent facial acting and you can always tell who is who and what they are thinking. A small niggle would be that a couple of the space ship models seem a little less detailed than scenes elsewhere in the story but I'm sure that readers won't mind that too much with the gold elsewhere.

Daniel Franco doesn't let the team down either and I have to admit that the change from 'earth' style settings to the blacks, blues and greys of outer space is spot on as I read it on a backlit iPad screen. Some superb use of moody spaceship interior lighting as you can see below.

It's also edited by the mighty (and really, really busy) Ken Reynolds and with 'The Kenster' on bo0ard you really can't go wrong.

Highly recommended. 





The book is launching at London Super Comic Con and worldwide on Friday 25th August and includes pinups from Jake and Dan, as well as a guest pinup by Reckless Hero’s Chris Imber and Chris Jenkins.



It will be available to buy from:






You can currently pre-order the book via my website at this link - http://www.chrissideswriter.com/the-frostbyte-legacy/impossible




Many thanks for reading.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Safari Festival 2017 - A Quick Visit.


I popped in to the Safari Festival in East London that is run by Breakdown Press. Held in the trendy sounding 'Protein' (actually just a glorified East End lock up) near to Shoreditch it was great to see that it was absolutely packed with both creators and punters. This year the summer was holding back a little so a wander round the space was an enjoyable feast of comic making enthusiasm and colourful art. Attached to the right of the venue was a coffee shop that I am now sitting in writing this...


I got to pick up some excellent books and managed to speak to some old comics pals and some people new to me.


First up was the new zine from Simon Moreton. I have loved Simon's stripped down visuals and thoughtfully poetic dialogue for years now. He should be known wider and manages to evoke mood and emotion through a minimal yet really personal style. Anything by him is highly recommended. 'Minor Leagues: Three' is not minor in any way whatsoever and collects a number of pieces of art, short comics stories and text pieces. A quiet moment in a busy city as I sat down in a local coffee shop to read it. 

Find more at www.smoo-comics.com


Did someone say 'The 1000 Yard Stare'? I got to see that look in action! (It's OK Shakey isn't really that serious or scary). Mr K was one of our favourite guests on The Awesome Comics Pod (along with co-creator Chris Baker) and I was chuffed to pick up the aforementioned comic from him in person. Do yourself a favour and head over to www.shakeykane.com and dip both eyeballs in comics lysergic acid.


(Above (left) is Charles Forsman and (right) Tom Adams).

Talking about people I hadn't met before... I got to buy a copy of the super violent and super cool 'Revenger' from Charles Forsman. He did an awesome sketch on the inside cover and it was great to hear that he had travelled over to the UK from Brooklyn for the convention. Watch this space for more on this creator.  Alongside him is the co-owner of Bergen Street Comics Publishing Tom Adams. The shop in Brooklyn closed a couple of years ago but they have carried on printing some great comics (including Michael Fiffe's 'Copra' which I also purchased finally).

Find more about this company and these two comics and more at www.bergenstreetcomicspress.bigcartel.com


Listen... I'm not going to pretend that there wasn't some strange stuff at this convention/festival. But I was reminded whilst in the hall that comics events can be extremely popular if treated/hyped right. Sure, everything wasn't exactly to my taste and I feel that I have to pass comment that there were quite a few people present who could do with a kick in the bollocks (other genetalia is available) for the outrageous prices on some of their products! As an example '1000 yard stare' was £3. Almost next to Shakey was someone selling a four page comic (plus card cover) for flipping £5 (which I might add was badly drawn and crappily lettered and in a smaller than A5 black and white format!!!)

Get a hold of yourselves! (Rant over).


Also billed as a social event and I believe that there was a pre party the night before (as well as some rather too loud 'DJ' action going on at the event...) 

Maybe I am just too old!?

This year the vibe seemed better (and literally cooler) than previous years and also better than last year was the fact that all the tables were full from pretty much the opening. (No 'too cool to be on time' creators this year - oh no!) I got some great comics and chatted to some interesting people - And all FOR FREE!!! Can't say better than that.

Watch out for next year's event at www.breakdownpress.com or www.safari-festival.com


Many thanks for reading.





Thursday, 3 August 2017

In Review - 'Found Forest Floor'

Found Forest Floor.

'An Abstract Graphic Novel'

By Gareth A. Hopkins and Erik Blagsvedt.

272 Pages. Black and White. £15.00 - print on demand - available now.



I like the odd and the strange. I like the challenging and the experimental. I like this and yet still it confuses me.

I hope that it confuses the masses.

This is a comic. I will fight anyone and make them cry with witty/nasty sarcasm if they disagree with me. Read in an accommodating frame of mind this will equally enrich and frazzle your daily toil.

Read it in small portions for I fear that it may also infect your decision making.




When this arrived through my letterbox I was having a minor comics related crisis. What was happening in the UK Small Press? Where are the books that I expect to challenge me I was wondering. Then this angular arty word soup arrived. I haven't put it down since.

'Found Forest Floor' is a graphic novel which pairs abstract illustration and poetry to create a non-linear narrative. It is illustrated by Gareth A. Hopkins and written by Erik Blagsvedt.'

The history of the creation of this book does not follow the ordinary creation of a comic. The publishers go on to describe it as follows.

'In 2016 David Quiles Guillo approached Gareth A Hopkins and Erik Blagsvedt to collaborate on an abstract graphic novel for his Abstract Editions publishing imprint.

By design, Hopkins created 250 pages of abstract illustrations through a combination of traditional and digital methods which were then arranged in such a way that they suggested a narrative. These were used as inspiration by Blagsvedt to create blocks of poetry which were then edited and inserted into the artwork by Hopkins.'



The publisher then goes on to talk about interpretation as the important aspect of enjoying, and maybe (in my case) not understanding but relishing nevertheless what these creators have accomplished. 

Cards on the table. I love this. I love anything that gets you climbing out of your sandbox and giving something a go. I do not, and probably never will pretend to understand what is going on between the covers. However, I allow my mind to sit back and the images flex and grow around the often daft tribes of verse. The words are frivolous, diabolical, funny and often satirical. You are allowed to follow them in the same haphazard way your eye drinks in the black and white art. The combination has me grinning in the coffee shop I am currently writing in.

'alphabet tea in enormous tit purring alms.'

Hopkins has created the art from quite a personal space. His family, a park in Central London and beaches he has visited are some of the inspirations for his starkly spiky black on white art. He has a style that is both pleasing and challenging at once. He seemingly draws through instinct and a stripped down vision of the subject. Allow your focus to shift literally and figuratively as you follow the pages.



Like angular Rorschach tests by a less than honest psychologist I watch the line dance about. I am more than a little worried that this book is analysing me as I turn through it and dip ahead a little. I hope, genuinely hope, that Mr Hopkins and Mr Blagsvedt are having a secret joke on the reader. Assessing us as we assess them through this book. 

I Also want a 'Prog Clock' - where do I find one?

Full Disclosure. After first reading this I headed off and took an online Rorschach test. The results were slightly disturbing to say the least. 

Aha..... Fuck It. Don't read reviews. Just order this and try it for yourself! It may well improve your day.

This explains it far better than I ever can https://intercorstal.com/found-forest-floor/

Buy yourself a copy here https://www.createspace.com/7348194 or here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Found-Forest-Floor-Gareth-Hopkins/dp/1548861669/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501781206&sr=8-1&keywords=found+forest+floor

Many thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

New 'Cockney Kung Fu' Script with added Milkshake.


Had a full lunch hour today. So put this script together. Just one page for a laugh.

Ley me know what you think?



Soho Red - One Page Story.

'ATV News Reporting'.

Panel 1.

Title - 'ATV News Reporting'.

Panel (looks like a fight card) -  'The Blackstock Arms', Finsbury Park - 'On The Cobbles' -  Bare Knuckles Competition.

Setting. North London. 1972.

An old school 1970s TV news reporter is standing outside the entrance door to the pub. Cigarette smoking away in his hand. Big 1970s collars on his shitty suit. Grubby looking witha touch of the sordid and unsavoury about him. He is holding an old school mic on a wire and talking directly to the reader as if he is talking in to the camera.

The Blackstock Arms is an old school London boozer that is on the corner of Seven Sisters Road and Blackstock Road - near to Finsbury Park tube station. It has seen better days and you can see the shadows of punters in the windows of the pub.

TV Reporter -"Good evening fight fans. Have we got an evening of bare knuckle bouts for you tonight! All the big names in cobbles fighting are here.'


Panel 2. 

Same view but the TV news reporter is looking off to his left. He is looking a bit excited at who he has just seen.

TV Reporter - 'In fact here is one coming now, looking good enough to gobble up...'


Panel 3.

Same view but we now have Red standing next to the reporter. He is looking well sleazy and virtually has his tongue hanging out. He is standing very close to Red, uncomfortably close.

Red is trying to smile but you can see that she has no time for this sleazebag.

TV Reporter - 'Yes, it's lady contender from out East, Soho Red. Welcome to the show.'

Red - 'Thanks Brian. Don't stand so close to me.'


Panel 4.

The TV Reporter is now even closer and seems to be staring down Red's top. His tongue is now hanging out and his eyes are bulging out like a cartoon character.

Red is looking more and more frustrated with this dick head.

TV Reporter - 'How does it feel being a lady in the ring with such bruisers. Won't the little man at home be wondering where you are.'


Panel 5.

Red kicks the TV Reporter full in the balls. So hard it lifts him off his feet.

Red looks angry as fuck.

Red - 'Here's one for your little man you bellend!'

TV Reporter - 'Blimey.'


Panel 6.

Red is now striding in to the pub doors. She looks the epitome of cool.

Red - 'George. Get me a milkshake will ya?'

TV Reporter (out of view on the floor and at a whimper) - 'ooooooh my gonads...'



The End.