Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Mr Benn in Manchester

A friend sent me this photo of the Mr Benn version of one of the Bees in Manchester.
A little weird but pretty cool

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Kia Wordsmith

Our third comic is up on Kickstarter.
Kia Wordsmith is a story that I've had in pre-production (as it were) for many years.
It needed the right type of artist.
It's about a young woman thief living in a fantasy type setting.
So it needed someone who could draw the human form as well as non-human forms and fantastical settings.
Enter Ian Ashcroft.
Ian's work is astonishing and I'm incredibly lucky to have him on board for at least 4 issues.
He captured my view of the look of Kia better than I could explain, almost as if he read my mind.
As t the little creature.
Well, I had no real picture of what it wold look like and asked Ian to 'do his thing'.
I love the result.
The Kickstarter has already exceeded its target, which is fabulous, and there's still 21 days to go.
I'll be looking to get it printed before the Kickstarter finishes, as I want it ready for the Nottingham Convention on the 20th October where both Accent UK and Ian Ashcroft (who will have his own table for the first time) will be selling copies.
All looks to be on track so far.


We must say that we were pretty excited about this year's Asylum event.
This is THE Steampunk event and is probably the biggest in the World, it's certainly the biggest in Europe. This year we had our secret weapon..
No, not Colin, our very own comic that tells stories about the Steampunk personas wailing around us for the three (or four) days.
This year Jemma came down to visit my in High Wycombe and we both set off early Friday morning to get to the event and set up in the University building before the weekend's event took off. Interestingly when we arrived we found that the hall we were to put our table in was already very busy and so it was an even quicker than normal set up (helped by the fact that Colin hadn't arrived yet and so I could get away with my less than perfect attempt).
And trade was brisk.
I'm glad we didn't stop off for a coffee on the way up, as I'd intended.
Colin arrived later on and re-arranged things a bit but we had a very busy afternoon.
Gary arrived even later on, he'd stopped for a nice cup of tea with Karen on his way up Steep Hill.
The highlight was when Lady Clarajane (one of the characters in the Enter The Asylum comic) turned up and let us borrow the airship (made from Lego) that her husband, Capt. Rivington, had made based on the image in the comic. It added very nicely the table display.
On Saturday we were moved a little and found ourselves next to Timebomb Comics, selling their Chapbooks and Flintlock. We had enough people manning the stalls that Jemma and I could wander into town where we met old friends who had just popped over to see what it was like and I met up with Ian Ashcroft, artist on Kia Wordsmith, our new comic. It's always great chatting to Ian and we discussed Kia's  (which is now launched over at future issues amongst other things.

Saturday evening saw us all chilling over a meal and talking about how well Enter The Asylum had done. It had been a risk but it seemed to have captured the attention of the Steampunkers.
Sunday was similar to Saturday, just as busy and we met a number of the Mountain (errr... Steep Hill) Climbers from one of the Enter The Asylum stories..

which was great fun. They loved the story and felt honoured to be in the book. The honour is all ours of course.
A few presentations and a good day at the table later and we found ourselves sat with Timebomb comics enjoying a nice meal.
This is a great event and one of our favourites for many reasons.
Monday was much quieter which meant more time to socialise and we took this great photo of the Enter The Asylum cover stars...
It was funny that we had to close the door that someone (what ? me?) had opened in front of the banner and which had obscured one of the 'stars'...
I've no idea how that happened ... honest.
So, another great Con and one that celebrated 10 years of Asylum.
I'll leave the post with my favourite costumes.
Group costume...

and individual...
but there were so many to choose from.
I need to work on mine for next year. I've got a hat that fits now, which is a start and something that some people thought impossible :o)

From Manchester to Worthing.

Well I've been to a few Cons since my last posting and have decided to try to catch up this weekend.
This post will call out the high points of the Manchester MCM and the Meanwhile event in Worthing. Very different shoes and they actually sum up, for me, the polarity of shows today.
On one side you have the small comic event that pulls in local people (both creators and customers) and at the other a monster event that pulls in people from across the UK, and beyond.
MCM Manchester then was its usual huge self. Loads of dealers selling, well... stuff you can buy in stores in the main, and smuggled in amongst it all the Comic Village.
As always the quality of independent comics was high but we had a great weekend and caught up with existing customers..
Josiah Black pops in the check on things...
and new...

visiting the stall and checking out our books.
As always it's great catching up with people and the MCMs are two full on days.
Worthing's Meanwhile Event, on the other hand, is a small event in a Town Hall type building. Much fewer stalls and comic creators but much ore relaxing with much more time to chat to people.
The Kingdom figure got his first outing and got plenty of attention.
Fewer comics were sold but I had a really enjoyable day and with driving there and back again on the day I kept costs very low. Simon (Blue Fox Comics) is certainly doing all the right things and I'll certainly be back next year.
All set up in plenty of time.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

A Kingdom table display for the Conventions.

When I was at the C2E2 event this year in cold and windy Chicago I came across a stall that sold the basic shapes for you to paint your own superhero on.
Now I've always wanted something to put on the table at Conventions.
Something with some height.
Something that would attract the casual passer by.
I'd had some success with my customised Lego figures but always struggled with the fact that people wanted to buy them and could understand why I had them on the table if they weren't for sale.
So, if I could make a Kingdom from Stephenson's Robot then that could be the answer to my problems.
It shouldn't be too difficult.
Fast forward a few months and I decided that I'd spend a weekend and do it.
I actually bought two figures, the idea being to use one on the Convention table and maybe to put the other one on Kickstarter as a reward tier.
I decided to use SuperSculpey as a means to adding the structural parts to the figure, which was recommended to me by a great scratch building modeller at the Portsmouth Convention (it's great what you can pick up at these events).
The shaping and positioning seemed to go ok.
I had to drill a hole in the head to insert the cigar, as I didn't want it breaking off later, but apart from that all was good.
I did the two and put them in the oven. I decided to bake at each stage to stop me messing the boys I'd made up when I was fiddling elsewhere.
15 mins in the oven...
was too hot for the plastic.
The arms and legs melted a bit.
Yes, I realised afterwards than I hadn't needed to put their arms and legs in in order to cook their faces.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Luckily, the box of figures came with two sets of arms and legs. The second set being shorter and thicker.
Actually it made the thing feel like it was an Animated cartoon version of Kingdom, which I quite liked.
I carried on.
Building up the major bits.
I realised that it was taking a while and that I'd been concentrating on one of them and not the two.
I decided to just make one of them.
Once I'd added the major pieces I gave it a nice black undercoat and then a nice silver.
Very shiny.
Too shiny.
I'd need to sort that out later with the varnish.

The thing about paint is that you can do a number of nice things.
Dry brushing and black washes bring it all together.

And before you know it he's taking shape and looking OK.

Painting straight lines is really difficult, but I argued with myself that when he was built it was unlikely that every line would be perfect so as long as it was pretty straight and with the same thickness of line then that'd be ok.
Then it was a matter of attaching some lego chains and other bits and bobs, painting them and then giving the whole thing a nice matt varnish.

Painting little gauges and clock hands at the end of the chains to to add detail.
All I all, it was a bit of a challenge but I'm please with how it came out.
I'm almost tempted to have a go at a Wolfboy one, but it would be a lot of clay and I'm not sure the frame would take the heat. Tempting though.

It's funny but as I look at him I'm reminded of the figures in Trumpton and Camberwick Green. Maybe a crossover is called for.
If you want to have a go yourself then you can buy them through

Kickstarter .. another success.

Well our second Kickstarter has also been successful, hitting the £1000 target, which is great.
This one is Gary Crutchley's Hard Country
it's a great story that we're linking to our WesterNoir world.
The book is going through some final minor changes and then it'll be off the the printers.
A big thank you to everyone who backed it on Kickstarter.
All backers will get free Art Cards.
Here's the original art from Gary with colours by Matt Soffe.
We're hoping to make it a 2 sided print card..
We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, 14 July 2018


Well our first ever Kickstarter campaign was a success.
We hit out £500 target for Enter The Asylum steampunk anthology in less than a day, if memory serves.
The tiers helped it get over the target and it made me aware that had we not had Stephenson's Robot reward tiers then we would have jut missed the target, something to remember for future campaigns.
All's well that ends well though and we made it.
As I type this the special print cards and the comic itself are with the printer.
It is a lovely looking little comic and I can't wait to see it in the flesh.
Hot on the success of Enter The Asylum we are in the middle of our second Kickstarter campaign, Hard Country.
Hard Country has been Gary Crutchley's pet project for a good many years and we've Brough the tale into the WesterNoir universe and published it as a Tales of WesterNoir special.
You can check it out over at, it's doing pretty well, hitting the 92% of target mark in a week. Pop over and watch the great video that Andy Bloor pulled together for us.
So, all's looking good on the Kickstarter front.