April 2023: Raining, Pouring

Good morning, folks!

As is always the case – I’ve got not one but two things to shout about this month, so I’ll dispense with the customary preamble and get straight into it!

The Usual

First: Kickstarter campaign shilling time! At the start of this week, the good Professor Elemental and I finally (after several years of trying to get it off the ground) launched the Kickstarter campaign for The Art of Professor Elemental, a 220-page collection of almost all the comics we’ve made together. I’m talking the anthologies (Prof Elemental Comics 1-5), the tie-ins (Apequest, Nemesis) all the other stuff! Plus there’s a load of other art and text in there as we take you through ten years of steampunk silliness with, I hope, a nice dollop of charm and humour.

The campaign is located here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismole/the-art-of-professor-elemental

As of right now, we’ve raised 115% of our target (£6951), and we hit the funding goal in less than 5 days! Which is frankly ridiculous, and I’m intrigued to see how much higher we can go. Please do take a look and back if you’re interested – we have digital tiers as well if you don’t want to pay for the physical book and just want a solid collection of 10+ years of my comics-making life!

Anyway, next thing on the agenda: TOILETS!

Cover for the Secrets of the Majestic comic anthology. A checkerboard floor and an unusually grandiose bench.

Pitches close for the Secrets of the Majestic anthology which I announced TOMORROW, on May 1st. We’ve had a great spread of ideas so far, and I’m amazed that people actually wanted to pitch – we’ve also got a handful of BIG NAMES in the mix, who I’m not going to reveal just now, but… let’s just say it’s [Redacted] and [Redacted]. Exciting, yeah? You’ve still got time to send through your pitch if you’re interested, here’s the link!

Next step will be to trawl through the pitches with my co-editor Gary, send out the acceptance/rejection emails and get cracking on (another) Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds so we can pay everyone. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we won’t be able to get it out for this year’s Thought Bubble (because it’d require a mad rush for all the creators, which I don’t want to do) so we’ll set the launch for next year’s event!

Speaking of Thought Bubble – very pleased to announce that I’ve been accepted for a table this year! However, because an inconsiderate relative decided to book their wedding on the same weekend as this year’s con, I’ll only be able to do one day and have thus only applied for a half table. It’s going to feel very weird not doing the full-power TB experience but hopefully it’ll still be a successful con! And I will of course make the sojourn to the toilets 😎

The Record

• 4 pages of second draft/notes on Serpent of the Deep (with Gustaffo Vargas, for Fractured Realms)
• Finished the page-by-page outline for The Black Rubric sequel, which currently stands at 50 pages
• Outlined my own pitch for Secrets of the Majestic

Bit of a quiet month on the productivity front, but I’ve made up for it by outlining a few things and advancing some other creative endeavours. I also bought a lute (after years of wanting to), which I’m counting as a massive achievement:

Chris with his new lute, looking wistfully off-camera.

The Tunes

This month’s playlist starts off very low-key, with some tracks that Spotify apparently categorises as “gloomcore” by Air Hunger and Tales Under the Oak. Forest vibes! They’re my shit! Next, Queen Florence is back with a new track which I love – no further analysis, it’s just her usual brand of gothic melodrama with catchy/soaring vocal lines and it’s AMAZING. Blood Ceremony are up next, a long-time favourite of mine with a new track – their last album was fantastic prog-psych-rock with a Jethro Tull feel, so I’m looking forward to more of the same. Afsky are our first step into the “atmospheric black metal” part of the playlist, with this lush track – they’re new to me this month and I’m mildly annoyed I hadn’t listened to them sooner. The same applies to Saidan, with their Japanese myth/horror take on black metal – the cover art is very Junji Ito, which is a good sign (to me, anyway!) Dawn Ray’d are a phenomenal band from the UK underground who couple fierce leftist/antifash views with black metal, and their new album is an absolute punch in the face – vicious, angry, but full of hope. Highly recommended. This month saw news that one of my favourite bands of all time (Agalloch) are reforming for “limited shows”, which I am extremely excited about it because I somehow never managed to see them live – wherever they play, I’ll be there with bells on. Couple of classic heavy metal bangers to see us out – new Sex Machineguns (Japanese speed metal, another long-time favourite) and the almighty Judas Priest closing the playlist with Hellrider, which is one of the top-5 most fun songs to play on my personal list!

The Links

Not a link this month, but a recommendation – we recently watched the Thai movie ‘Hunger’, freshly released on Netflix, and it was genuinely excellent:

Poster for the Netflix movie Hunger. A female chef stands in front of a wok which is dramatically on fire, while two other chefs loom in the background.

It’s not lost on me that two of my favourite films watched this year (the other being The Menu) both dig into the intersection between class and food, specifically fine dining. I like eating nice food, but I can say with some certainty that I’ll never be as awful as the rich people in movies like this who treat food like yet another status symbol – spending vast sums of money on “exclusive experiences” and culinary delights that they utterly fail to appreciate. Anyway, the film kept us guessing throughout and had some brilliant, tense scenes – it’s not as stressful as The Bear, or as dark and twisted as The Menu, but I will always enjoy seeing an arrogant, misogynist culinary school graduate humiliated for vastly over-complicating a simple and wholesome dish like fried rice, and the lead actress (Chutimon Chuengcharoe) is an absolute revelation in the role.

And that’s all from me for this month – thanks for reading! If you’re in the UK, I hope you enjoy an extra day off tomorrow as we celebrate May Day/Beltane.

All the best,


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