Well, I’m in Cheltenham, I think. Largely on my own at the moment, so have taken the time to have some me time. Me time is important, guys. (Me time involves eating some food and having a nap, this stuff isn’t hard – just let me sleep!)

Found this at the hotel:

A bottle of Prosecco in a bucket of ice.

Which was lovely and made my wife even more regret that she’s not here. I’m gonna use it as a paper weight, as I don’t really drink.

(Though now I think it’s from the hotel chain as a gift because I think we were supposed to be staying at the Queen’s hotel which is dead centre in Cheltenham instead we’re staying at a different hotel which feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere – this would appear to be the fault of the hotel)

Because this place is so out of the way, I’m largely confined to barracks for the moment (the nearest tesco express is 1.4 miles away!)

Still, that means I can sit and do some work (yay!) so here’s an inktober I didn’t think I’d get time to do.

The Pale Man, holding both hands in front of his face, one hand is open showing his eye in the palm of his hand. There is text beside him that reads “In the Kingdom of the Bline the One Eyed Man is King”

When I do this inktober / monsterober / helltober things I draw them and then try desperately to think of something that would be funny with them. This just popped in to my head whole.

Anyway, depending on how things go (will I open and drink this Prosecco… maybe…?) I might drunken blog later. We’ll see.

Johnny Ghoul

Well, I’m still trying to figure out the name of my undead detective. Was going to go for Johnny Ghoul, but turns out this is such a great idea lots of people have used it. Ugh. Back to the drawing board.

Today I pencilled a page of it (actually pencilling a second right now too) and here’s a sneak peaky…

Three panels from a comic strip. Drawn in a film noir style. Panel 1 is a city at night, art deco buildings and beside it a circular panel with the an undead detective. Panel two, close up of a mob bosses face, inside the detectives office. In heavy shadow from the shades. The next panel a close up of the detective, in heavier shadow.

Actually very happy with how that pencilled page has turned out. Archangel (the city of monsters) is a sort gothic art deco world, where it’s either snowing, raining or just night time. So if I do more stories there, there’s a lot of lore to explore.


Still churning through the walking dead, I suspect it’s not really a show you should binge, but I’m sort of innoculated against the worst of it because I’m wathcing it while I work, so frequently miss stuff – much as I did with Ashoka, in fact it’s only after I saw someone mention it on twitter I discovered that the storm troopers where zombies??? Flew right past me (much like abolt from a storm troopers weapon would, those dolts can hit the side of a barn dead or alive)


Tomorrow the site launches. I dunno what to expect? An audience? I dunno. I’ve stuck a kofi link (it’s on every page, god I hope it’s not annoying) it sort of floats at the bottom and you can donate whatever you fancy to me. Obviously I’ve site costs (but, so far, they’re minor) and time costs for doing the work, but you know, I’ve taken that on myself.

What will success look like? Doing it was the real reason to do it, if you see what I mean. But an unread comic always feels sort of sad to me, so I’m hoping we get some numbers. We’ll see.

I’ll be sending out my newsletter tomorrow ( just to announce it on there. My newsletter has gotten a bit of a lease of life since I started the A4 ‘zine, I’ll post on there every time I get one together, and I’ve about 360 people in the newsletter. Let’s hope that bumps up. But I will only send it monthly… except this month, where I’m giving myself an extra bite of the cherry because of the null space…


Blogtober continues, as does inktober and monstertober and helltober and I dunno what else. Anyway, here’s my inktober drawing for today, Cthulhu….

Cthulu rising from the ocean, disturbing two tiny boats. Below him the text "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise"

Johnny Rotten

Or Johnny Ghoul, or Johnny Spade (or, from twitter and Ian Lineham, Johnny Coffin) are all names I’m mulling over for a funny little four page detective story set in Archangel, City of Monsters (where humans comingle with vampires, werewolves, cat-ladies, zombies, invisible women and any kind of monster you’d find in a b-movie).

I’d originally written the part of the detective as a human (this city has ‘em) but it just felt wrong, and then I realised why – he was, frankly, the dullest character on the page. So I mulled it over some more, and I honestly don’t think there’s any story couldn’t be improved by including Frankenstein. So I rewrote it for Frankenstein’s monster as detective, including making all of his dialogue mumbly and murmery and using heavy text captions, which was much funnier (to my eye) but still … not there yet.

Then following a few serious binges of the walking dead, which I’d stopped midway through series one, because I had young kids, one of whom had been in and out of hosptial a LOT when he was younger and I was too squeamish to deal with the tv show after that – but now my kids are 18 and 15 and I no longer lie awake at night worrying about them, so let’s blow up all the zombie children Rick Grimes. Anyway, after a bunch of walking dead, I thought – let’s make him a zombie. And the name Johnny Rotten, Undead Detective popped into my head and I thought “Yup!”.

So I refigured it and scribbled up some detailed layouts for the four page script and it all worked. It all worked lovely. If I’ve time I might spend it drawing this up.

But of course, I’m left thinking … that name… will it be a problem? So I’m in a bit of a limbo state over the name.

I still love Johnny Rotten. But Johnny Zombie has rhyme appeal even as it feels a bit generic, Johnny Ghoul is good, but suggests he investigates the undead or something and he’s not, he’s just your average gumshoe in a world of monsters. Though I did like Johnny Spade, suggesting graves and Sam Spade. Anyway, I will read any comments and take them on board.


I do wonder if anyone is reading this, it feels like the early days of blogging where you were guaranteed that no one would read it, then slowly, through webrings and rss feeds and just a gradual constant drip drip of blog posts you’d find that yes, people were coming, and then twitter became an massive dopamine mine, you could hit again and again multiple times again. I suppose this is healthier. I’d like people to read it, but not so many I can mess up my career by saying something stupid (I do remember other artists saying they enjoyed my blog but they’d never post any of the things I’d post just in case – these weren’t horrific opinions they were simply me admitting some days I couldn’t draw very well. It’s still the case, but I’m better at keeping it to myself.


Oh still at the old Inktober thing. Running out of funny things to do with it already. We’ll see… (I don’t check the list until I’m doing that day then I have to read it and go “Oh!”) this was done with pen and ink, not a medium I’m any good at any more (or ever, really) god, I miss being good with a brush. I suspect I need better glasses. And hand-eye coordination. Computers have ruined me for traditional art!!!

It begins again (A4)

I opened my notes app on my iphone and typed A4 Issue Four. Somehow I’ve still got ideas.

(For those that don’t know, A4 is my monthly ‘zine with micro stories in it and you can download it free, and, ideally print and fold it to make a neat little standee – it’s a pretty clever idea if I say so myself)

The writer/educator Una McCormack is taking copies of A4 along to her writing workshops in CERN. Which… I might be wrong here… but I think that makes me… a… scientist? I’m unsure.

It’s cool, right?

Anyway, the way it normally works is I’ll be driving somewhere, start thinking about stories for A4 and then hit upon some idea that I think might be a nugget of something and start figuring out how I’ll tell that story – like telling a joke. Nice to know nearly 16 years on twitter was all worth it. (Not really)


Friday last week is possibly one of the most expensive days of my life, early at 8:46 I phoned the dentist, luckily the had an appointment free, so I wandered up the street (it’s very close) only to find that they’re making the shift to private (theoretically keeping NHS patients, but the reality is all of their resources are moving to private, so you’ve no mission of getting an appointment) and introducing a monthly charge (along with regular charges for the various procedures) at 9:20 the dentist told me I needed a tooth out (I’m not proud of this, I blame a certain level of foolhardiness in my twenties when I’d go days without brushing my teeth) so he yanked that out. But, luckily it was NHS still – so only cost me £14. Reeling from this, I went home, whereupon the guy who did our kitchen had arrived to pick up the rest of his money for fitting it. Then, not an hour later, the guy who had done the maintenance check on our gas boiler turns up, figures out there’s a fault and then tells me to repair it is gonna cost the guts of £1000.

Honestly, I’ve had better days.


On the work front, I’m waiting on scripts, I’ll normally not talk about stuff coming up because I’ve always been superstitious about work – until it’s finished and in print it may never happen. (I’ve had things that I’ve been paid for not come out, luckily not many, but enough to make me wary) but right now I’ve a six months worth of work waiting on turning up, it’s the sort of platonic ideal of work for me – just enough to give me something to do, but not so much that I can’t keep my tinder dry for the odd short that might crop up. Of course, if it’s the only work I do for six months it’s gonna be a cold, cold winter. So we’ll see.


Catch up on the old Inktober nonsense. Thought it would be fun and add a bit of something different if, as well as doing the helltober sketches instigated by Ben Templesmith I added an appopriate motivational message to them. Of course, this was a stupid idea. I could have told you it was a stupid idea. AND YET. Here we are.

I missed yesterdays, so here it is:

Pen and ink drawing of the spider head monster from The THING. Beside it it’s written “If a thing is worth doing - it’s worth doing right.”

OF COURSE, this is the sketch that took three attempts and is still bloody awful looking. Ugh. Anyway, more success with todays…

Pen and ink drawing of the The xenomorph from Alien, beside him is an egg. Also text, the text reads “Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow”

Altogether much better, granted I started with a known image of the xeno morph and then I just tried to PJ it up. (In a good way)

Also, man alive the idea of doing a motivational message was stupid, originally this was going to be “Blood is thicker than water” and then I added the egg and it just popped into my head. And here we are.

On AI Comics

Well, it’s been coming and it’s finally here. The AI bros are now insisting that the ai content mills can make comics.

Imagine a blender where you can churn every single piece of art until it’s a sort of unrecognisable mush, and then you say “Give me some batman” and it reconstitute a batman from that mush, pulling out the most batman bits it can find. If it’s pulled in enough batman artists you’ll maybe struggle to recognise where bits of this new frankenstiened batman drawing have come from, but if you’re any sort of comic fan you’ll look at it and go “ah! it’s clearly Mike Allred Batman from Batman ’66”

You know what you can’t do with something like that? Get a Kelly Jones batman, unless they’ve already mushed up enough Kelly Jones art. Or Mignola batman unless you’ve similarly ripped every Mignola batman drawing you can find. In fact, the thing hasn’t got an original cell in its body. But man it can imitate and flatten and deaden almost anything.

And of course, a lot of what comics is is what’s NOT there. White space, the panel gutter, the writers and artists intent leaving space for the reader to interpret. But no interpretation required in these the dead spaces.

To be honest, I have much more respect for someone who photocopies the same comic art to produce new work, because that is truly transformative and done with intent. (Tracers are still rotten)

The biggest danger with this stuff is it it totally destroys a generation of kids wanting to do comics, misdirected to think this stuff can do it, it will rob them of their voice and any future career. It’s slop and we can all do better.

Will it get better? No doubt, the dataset will expand. The prompt stuff will get smarter, maybe even the ability to keep consistent within a single comic strip will happen (right now you’ll have an Allred Batman for one panel then a Bolland batman for another) but it will never be able to create something from whole cloth, it will never suddenly become the next hot artist, it will never be anything but shitty zombie art.


I’ve no time to do inktober this year – too busy and, if I’m totally honest, the thought of putting art up on twitter for it later to be grabbed by the content mills and churned into unrecognisable pap for it to be later extruded into a plagiarism patty with no nutritional value isn’t grabbing me, so, for a laugh I jokingly suggested everyone do a blogtober. Let’s get back to blogging. Let’s forget the mini thoughts of twitter where immediacy is all that matters, where, somehow the pushback against ai “comic art” has meant that the ai “comic art” is being seen by more people than real art is and where you can never truly give yourself time to think – let’s try and roll it back to when blogging ruled supreme (hah, I kid, that won’t happen, but still, it’s a nice thought). Anyway, I’ll still be posting on twitter and bluesky (and maybe mastodon) but I will also be trying to blog through the month. Let’s see when I lose track… I give it three days.