December 2022: That Was The Year That Was

Hey folks,

As per usual, this month’s newsletter will be a little different as I attempt to encapsulate my 2022 in numbers and lists and general screaming into the void. Strap in!

The Usual

I understand why the end of the year lends itself to being a time of introspection and reflection – there’s a sense of finality, a feeling of turning towards pastures new (even if those pastures are, in reality, the same pastures you’ve been grazing from for the past 12 months but with a slightly different sign on the fence). It’s nice to look back at what I managed to get done this year (a fair bit, all things considered!) But I’m making a conscious effort this year to avoid thinking about what I hope to achieve next year.

The truth of it, as laid bare by the last few years, is that we can’t predict anything with certainty and making resolutions (in my mind) is just a pathway to disappointment. I know what I’d like to achieve, but so much of it is out of my control that it’s not worth getting worked up about it – I’ll just deal with the things I can control, and leave the rest to the tender mercies of fate!

With all that said, I am very proud at managing to get Brigantia Vol. 1 out in the wild this year – it’s been a long time coming (never let anyone tell you that it’s easy to release a self-published independent comics series..!) but I’m very chuffed with how it looks and hopeful that I can shove it into more people’s hands next year. Obligatory shill (if you’d like a copy):

Anyway, without further ado, here’s…

The Record

  • Pages written: 71 (2021 total: 113)
  • Pages lettered: 78 (2021 total: 33)
  • Anthology pitches outlined/submitted: 3

It’s a little wild to me that my lettering output this year actually surpassed my writing – but it makes sense, I’ve been getting a steady stream of pages from The Phoenix all year and due to lettering a few anthology stories (Big Hype, Sharp Wit & The Company of Women) that I also wrote I can see why that total has crept up. Long may it continue! I’m hopeful that some of those pages will see the light next year, but we’ll find out – I imagine that a chunk of my January is going to be spent sending emails and figuring out what to do about the various projects on the list. Now that I’ve finished the actual writing on SPACE COWBOYS I need to start contacting artists and figure out which script to tackle next…

The Tunes

It’s a “best of 2022” playlist! These are all tracks that came out this year and have been solidly in my rotation – and it’s very much a playlist of two halves, with a bunch of pop/disco/electronica bangers from Florence + The Machine, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, The Midnight and Metric at the start before we get into the heavy shit with Zeal & Ardor, Ibaraki, Asunojokei, Wormrot and Chat Pile (which wins the award for “most unsettling song I heard this year by a country mile”). Fill yer boots!

2022’s Top 5 Things

I stole this idea from someone on Twitter, because I like it – here’s my list of top 5 things from this year! Could be a comic, a movie, an album or just a particular experience. In ascending order:

5. Wonder Woman: Dead Earth (comic) – I know this came out in 2020/2021 but I’m absolutely terrible at keeping up with comics (there are still plenty from this year which I have on my pile but haven’t read yet). I picked the collected hardcover up from OK Comics this summer and devoured it – Daniel Warren Johnson’s artwork is absolutely wild and the story manages to walk the fine line between apocalyptic dystopia and the kind of hope and emotion that I expect from Wonder Woman. It’s truly a unique book – I can’t imagine any other writer/artist doing something like this, let alone doing it this well. Highly recommended!

4. Andor (TV series) – I’ve been a Star Wars nerd for many years now, since I grew up wearing out my parents’ VHS copies of the Original Trilogy, and my relationship to that universe has evolved and changed over time. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from Andor, but I was blown away – it’s a powerful, maturely-written and acted series with a laser-focused central thesis (to wit: give the fascists and inch and they’ll take a mile, and the only solution is to simply refuse to give in and to fight at every step) and plenty of emotional depth. Plus, it looks phenomenal, both in the cinematography and the set design. I’m excited to see where they go with season 2!

3. Florence + The Machine – Dance Fever (album) – This will be surprising to absolutely nobody. I’ve loved F+TM since 2018’s High As Hope, and (appropriately) my hopes were high for this – so I’m very pleased to report that they were utterly smashed. It’s a very different-sounding record (with more of a disco groove to it) but it works perfectly – vocally, Florence has rarely sounded better and there’s a real sense of unhinged, almost pagan celebration to some of the tracks on this release. It’s an outpouring of love for the concept of music and dance, and it’s been my absolute no.1 listen this year.

2. Everything Everywhere All At Once (movie) – Reams of words have already been written about this movie, and I just want to add to the chorus. I’m so glad I took myself out on a cinema trip to see it, because I was blown away – it’s a feast of imagination and inventiveness anchored by incredible performances from Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu. It’s wild, heart-rending, hilarious and poignant all at the same time. I mean, the title is extremely apt – it’s everything, everywhere, all at once!

1. Visiting Naples – it’s been a good few years since I went on an actual holiday, due to a combination of the global pandemic (obviously) and quite frankly being unable to afford one. This year we finally managed to tick something off the bucket list, and went to Naples in Italy for a short break. I ate pizza for about 75% of my meals and gawked at incredible churches and statues in the city museum – it was divine. But my highlight of the trip was standing in the centre of Pompeii, gazing out at incredibly preserved buildings from almost 2000 years ago and feeling the absolute weight of history around me. I wasn’t sure what to expect before we went, but there were streets, and pavements, and crossing points – if you squint and concentrate a little, the crowds of tourists easily become toga-clad Roman citizens going about their lives. It’s a singularly unique and amazing experience to be able to reach back through time like that and it left me feeling both humbled and emotionally fulfilled.

And that’s it from me for this year! Thanks (as ever) for reading – I appreciate being able to splurge my words into your inboxes once a month. If you’re doing anything to celebrate the closing of 2022’s chapter in the heavy, heavy book of history, have a great time – if (like me) you’ll just be at home relaxing then I hope it’s a very chill evening.

See you in 2023!

All the best,


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