October 2023: Toilet Season

Howdy, folks!

First off: a happy All Hallow’s Eve/Samhain to all who observe it! I’ll be spending this evening in a spooky ghoul mask playing ceilidh tunes with Powerhouse at a new venue in Sheffield, so that should be fun, as gutted as I am to miss out on the usual tradition of watching a horror movie and welcoming trick or treaters. A few things to cover in this month’s edition, so let’s crack in:

The Usual

October has been an extremely busy one for me, what with the Lakes Comic Convention (which was a delight, albeit somewhat soggy and cold – one particular highlight was a Saturday night gig in a scratch covers band with Michael Lark, Shane Chebsey, Nick Rossert of Sloth Comics, my pal Tom Ward and Charlie Adlard on drums) and then two weekends of touring up and down the country with Ba’al. It’s also primarily been a month where I’ve been trying to drum up interest and hype for my next comics endeavour, SECRETS OF THE MAJESTIC. I’ve mentioned it in here before, but I’ve now announced all the creative teams and pin-up artists over on social media (Twitter/Bluesky) and we have a truly stacked line-up:

Kieron Gillen | Benjamin AE Filby | Tula Lotay | Laura Jones | Dave Cook | Laura Helsby | JP Jordan | Rik Worth | Jordan Collver | Owen Watts | Gavin Mitchell | Adlai McCook | Asa Wheatley | Sammy Ward | Rob Jones | Sam Chase | Paul Carroll | Lane Lloyd | Chris Wildgoose | Gary Moloney | Colin Craker | Aaron Thompson | Dan Bell | Aaron Eamer | David Cousens | Fraser Campbell | Craig Munro | Rob Luckett | James Lawrence | Ria Grix | Rob Burton | Sarah Peploe | George Joy | Mark Granger | Liam ‘Pais’ Hill | Umar Ditta | Paul Tonner | Matt Hardy | Jon Scott | Erika Price | Matt Simmons | Liana Kangas

Goddamn, right? What a group of established names and emerging creators. I’m thrilled to see what they come up with, now we just need to raise the funds so I can pay them and print the book!

Cover by Laura Helsby, colours by Dearbhla Kelly

The Kickstarter page is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismole/secrets-of-the-majestic-anthology

We’ll be launching tomorrow, on November 1st! Please do hit the notify button, check it out, tell your friends – I firmly believe it’ll be a fun book of stupid toilet comics and well worth your time.

Oh god, I haven’t mentally prepared for the Kickstarter campaign stress 😬 I will probably be a hollow husk of a man by the time December 1st rolls around, especially if we’re struggling to reach the goal…

The Record

3 pages written for an anthology short

8 pages lettered for The Phoenix

I had hopes of doing more writing this month, but it’s amazing how much being on tour demands your attention – even with various very long car rides to and from Scotland I didn’t have the spare brain capacity to sit down and work on anything. On the plus side, no notes back for the anthology short so that’s all good to go. Next month can be a writing month – I have the final act of SENGOKU planned out (and came up with what I think is quite a neat way to dovetail the two strands of the plot together, wrong-footing the reader slightly in the progress) so I just need to knuckle down and finish the first draft.

The Tunes

It is (as ever) a mixed bag of tunes this month, with a slight bias towards some of the bands we played with on tour. Kicking things off is some ultra soothing piano in this Ghibli cover from Spirited Away – perfect relaxation music if you’ve had a stressful day. Surprising nobody (given my well-publicised love of Taylor Swift), next up is the new version of Blank Space. 1989 was the first album of hers I listened to and it remains (IMO) her best, so you’d better believe I’ll have Taylor’s Version of it on loop the next few weeks..! It wouldn’t be an October playlist without some spooky tunes, so here’s master of horror John Carpenter with one of his synthwave tracks – he’s done a few albums of these and they’re all highly recommended! Hail Spirit Noir are next with their own disco/synth/theremin groove (which sounds very little like their previous album, but I’m here for it) and then we’re into a real 90s nostalgia blast with Fatboy Slim. You can thank an episode of Derry Girls for getting this song stuck in my brain this month..! Myrkur marks our turning point into metal territory – this is from her new album, which is great, but not as strong (for me) as the masterpiece that was Folkesange. Sulphur Aeon are a recent discovery but this album slaps – big cosmic death metal with a lot of interesting atmosphere. Defod opened for Ba’al at our show in Liverpool, and I was very impressed with their sound – hints of Saor, classic Dissection and Primordial but a unique mix. Hopefully we can share a stage again at some point! This Borknagar track from their latest album is an absolute earworm which was in my head for the entire drive up north (see what I did there..!) And lastly is a track from Ofnus, our Welsh touring partners and possibly the nicest atmospheric black metal band you’ll ever meet. They made the whole tour a delight (and they write excellent tunes as well!)

The Links

I’m just going to drop the one link this month, alongside my hopes for a ceasefire and for cooler heads to prevail. I don’t feel at all qualified to discuss the complex geopolitics of the Middle East but I know that what’s happening right now is truly horrific.


Sorry for ending this month’s entry on a bit of a downer, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable ignoring the situation outright! Thanks for reading, please check out the Kickstarter tomorrow and pledge if you’re able and have a happy (and safe) Halloween.

All the best,

September 2023: Sleep is for the Weak

Good morning, folks!

This month’s post comes to you from my table at the Lakes International Comic Festival (through the black magick of ‘writing it a few days early and then scheduling it to post automatically’), and it’s probably going to be a bumper one considering that I took last month off – I beg your forgiveness. Let’s get into it!

The Usual

August was probably the busiest month I’ve had in a very long time – tons of band practices to tighten up for a pair of festival gigs with my ceilidh band Powerhouse in the final week. Both gigs went very well, and we had a fantastic reception, so that was great – I particularly enjoyed playing a massive stage at Towersey Festival down in Buckinghamshire and I think we knocked the socks off quite a few people!

Me and the Powerhouse crew backstage at Towersey!

Then I went on holiday – Athens was fantastic, and a very welcome respite from my day job drudgery. Ancient temples and ruins everywhere you look, delicious food and A LOT of people. History nerd that I am, the novelty of gawping at structures from over 2000 years ago (especially on top of the Acropolis, which is worth the hype) never got old and filled me with a sense of awe and reverence that was sadly not always shared by other visitors. Here are some of my favourite pics I took (because what’s the point of having a newsletter if I can’t force you all to look at my holiday snaps?)

That there Parthenon
My face next to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion
An extremely aesthetic street cat on the island of Hydra

On the creative front, while I appreciated having some time away from it all, I also spent a chunk of the holiday fretting and planning (because I’m incapable of switching off my brain). A quick project update:

Brigantia Vol. 2: Alaire has just two more pages to draw, Rebecca has coloured two thirds of the book and we’re well ahead of schedule. Lettering depends on Hassan’s very busy timetable but we’re firmly on track to have the second half of Brigantia’s story wrapped up at the beginning of 2024! The pages are looking incredible and I can’t wait to share them with the world (not least because I’m funding the whole book myself and the sooner I can try to recoup some of that the better..!)

Pravin does some research! Art by Alaire Racicot, colours by Rebecca Nalty

The Art of Professor Elemental: has gone to print! Some minor design quibbles from the proof to sort out (which is to be expected when the book is 276 bloody pages long) but it should be in people’s hands very soon.

Secrets of the Majestic: It’s all systems go for this toilet-themed anthology (the premise in a nutshell is: why are the men’s toilets of the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate so outrageously opulent?); I’ve gone over all the scripts that have been submitted to add my preliminary notes, and my co-editor Gary Moloney will be doing the same so we can pass any feedback back to the teams. We’re currently on course to launch the Kickstarter in November, and you can sign up to be notified when that happens by clicking on this link:


The cover of the Secrets of the Majestic anthology; a marbled floor, a luxe leather bench and a pillar with a huge green tentacle snaking out from behind it.
The wraparound cover for the Secrets of the Majestic Anthology, by Laura Helsby and coloured by Dearbhla Kelly

Please do sign up – this is going to be a very fun anthology and we’ve got some truly amazing teams involved given the silliness of the premise! I’ll be sharing more on that on my social media over the coming month.

Space Cowboys: Tango has been doing fantastic work on the character designs for this, and is now into inking up a set of preview pages from the start of the 1st issue. It’s always a delight working with someone who completely gets what you’re going for, and the pages so far are matching and exceeding my expectations. The goal for this project is to find a publisher who’s interested in a slice of emotional space-Arthuriana with Jodorowsky/Moebius influences… can’t be many of those around, right??

The story’s heroine, Shay (art by Tango)!

Sengoku: I’m still making solid progress with the script for this, despite taking a writing break due to the holiday (and a million and one other commitments) – Andrew has the first ten or so pages of the script now which act as a kind of “cold open” to really set the scene and mood for the story, so we’ll keep making progress on that in due course. Given the number of other projects on my list this one is going to be more of a slow burn and that’s okay!


The Record

• 9 pages written (SENGOKU)
• 8 pages lettered (on a fun short story for the LET HER BE EVIL anthology)

A very sneaky peek from the Let Her Be Evil story! Art by Andres Labrada, colours by Maksim Strelkov, letters by me

• Cut together a first draft of the recording diary for my black metal band BA’AL’s recent foray into the studio
• Tons of other admin!

Not a huge number of actual pages written/worked on over August/September but it feels like I’ve been rushed off my feet – I’m spinning a lot of plates alongside the day job (and now a data analyst apprenticeship that I’m doing alongside my regular work, with the goal of beefing up my CV and ultimately getting paid more) which has contributed to at least one bout of stress/anxiety about everything. It’ll be nice to get some things cleared off the list so I can have an actual break in, I don’t know.. December?? 🙃

The Tunes

Kicking off this month’s playlist with one of my favourite tech-death-ish metal bands, Atheist, who are finally back on Spotify – this is the best song off their best album (IMO). Bouncy riffy good times! Still on the metal, we have Agriculture – a new discovery for me, their goal is uplifting nature/spiritual black metal. Strong Deafheaven vibes from this track which I appreciate! Astronoid continue the uplifting metal vibes with the big major key riffs and soaring vocals (which will get stuck in your head, soz!) I had cause to recommend Zeal & Ardor to a friend who doesn’t know them this month, and it sent me on a discography listen-through – the whole of their Stranger Fruit album is phenomenal but this track sticks out due to the ominous af lyrics. Piano break time! The rest of this album by Fleshgod Apocalypse is punishingly heavy symphonic death metal, but they give us a breather with this lush piece. A new Wolves in the Throne Room release is always cause for celebration (their last album, Primordial Arcana, was my no. 1 album last year) and this continues their tradition of reimagining previous releases through a more ambient and contemplative lens. The Pixies are a sudden turn back into popular music – this track in particular will be on the setlist for the “LICAF Variant Covers“, a scratch cover band that I’m guesting on guitar for this evening at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. It should be fun – I’m looking forward to showing off my guitar skills to a different audience than I might usually do! Next is Elisapie – I know very little about this album other than that it contains various covers sung in Inuktitut, the indigenous language of the singer, and that this is an absolutely beautiful rendition of Blondie’s Heart of Glass. You should all know by now that I’m a sucker for a) Final Fantasy music and b) emotive ballads, and Eyes on Me (from FFVIII) is up there with the best of both – so I’m very happy that Distant Worlds have finally recorded a version with the wonderful Susan Calloway. Lastly, to close out the playlist, we’re taking a sudden sharp turn into crushing funeral doom, with a 21-minute long slab of antediluvian heaviness from Ocean. I’ve never met anyone else who has heard this band (I picked up the CD in a HMV probably a full decade ago, and they have fewer listeners on Spotify than my own band) but this release is amazing so I’m more than happy to share it!

The Links

Just the one link this month – plenty to agree with in this list of “20 Best Samurai Movies of All Time”, even if I don’t personally put much stock in ranking films:


Still, the top two are a solid one-two punch, and there are some gems in the rest of the list as well! I’ve been watching A LOT of samurai movies as part of the research/vibe-setting for SENGOKU and it’s been great to revisit some classics I hadn’t watched in a while (like Hiroshi Inagaki’s Miyamoto Musashi Trilogy!)

And that’s all, folks! I did apologise for it being a bumper edition this month – if you made it this far, thanks for reading and have a great weekend. I’ll be at Table 23 in the Comics Marketplace in scenic Bowness-on-Windermere, hopefully hawking my comics and having a jolly old time!

All the best,


July 2023: Sunshine & Showers

Good morning, folks!

Another busy month has flown past and I find it hard to believe that we’re already into the back half of 2023 – I haven’t watched Oppenheimer yet, but I’m sure Chris Nolan has something to say about time (on the atomic level) that would explain why this year has gone both faster and slower than expected.

Anyway, let’s crack on!

The Usual

After last month’s recording adventure, I’ve spent most of my weekends this month doing music as well – a gig in Cheltenham (roughly a 3 hour drive away) was followed the next week by three gigs in 48 hours, not an experience I’d recommend! First, my ceilidh band played a wedding in a medieval tent that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Tudor times, in a field, in the middle of a huge rainstorm, to a crowd comprised partly of drunk French people; the day after that, I played two sets at an all-day doom/metal festival in Sheffield with two different bands. Le Menhir (a solo project by a good friend of mine who has occasionally recruited me and some other friends for live performances) opened the show, and later on Ba’al played what was probably one of our strongest ever sets to an absolutely packed out room – I was absolutely exhausted afterwards but it was a fantastic experience and we got some great feedback afterwards.
A very large crowd watches a band bathed in blue light on stage.Beside all that I’ve even managed to get some writing done! The wheels are starting to spin up on SENGOKU, my attempt at writing an authentic and mature samurai story which deals with themes like familial duty over personal happiness and casts a justifiably critical eye at the bushidō cult of the samurai. As anyone who knows me will know, I’ve been a huge fan of samurai stories since I was about 13 – from Kurosawa and Miike in the movies to Hiroaki Samura, Goseki Kojima/Kazuo Koike and Takehiko Inoue in manga. But I’ve been holding off on this idea until I felt I could do it justice and actually interrogate the concept, rather than just doing a “cool samurai” story riddled with inaccuracies and calling it a day.

I’ve teamed up with a fantastic artist for this story – Andrew “Monomizer” Browne, who as well as loving samurai movies as much as me (and being the only other person I’ve met to have seen Kihachi Okamoto’s “The Sword of Doom”), actually lives in Japan and speaks fluent Japanese! Here’s a test page (not from the story itself) that he’s put together as we figure out the right artistic style:
A page of comic/manga art. A confident samurai is surrounded by ruffians. Close-ups on three of them show them preparing to attack, then the samurai dramatically pushes his sword out of his scabbard with a 'CHIK' sound effect.I’m very excited to start putting this one together – expect more news as the project progresses 🙂

And lest I forget to mention other projects that are currently moving: Alaire has now finished all the inks for Brigantia #5 (the middle part of the second volume) and is cracking on with the third and final part. I was going through her thumbnails yesterday on the bus on the way to work along with the script, and I’m so overjoyed with how well she’s capturing the emotion and power of this part of the story – even just the thumbnails got me a little choked up! It’s been a very long journey but we’re approaching the end and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

The Record

• 14 pages written (SENGOKU)
• 8 pages lettered (The Phoenix)

As the above spiel probably made clear, I’ve dived into writing mode with SENGOKU – at this point the goal is to get a first draft nailed down so I can move bits around or rewrite later. I already had about 10-11 pages written so the page count is creeping up, slowly but surely!

The Tunes

Actually not that much metal on this month’s playlist! The first few tracks are all on the light end of the spectrum – I’ve had a bit of a Ghibli appreciation month, so the Totoro theme opens things up. Try not to get it stuck in your head..! Next are a few pop starlets – Taylor Swift with my personal favourite track off her re-recorded version of Speak Now (not an album I got into when it first came out – my Tay-Tay journey started with 1989) followed by the divine Lola Kirke (who I have a MASSIVE crush on) with a track off her newest album. After that we have new music from the mighty Metric – I’m looking forward to the new album! My writing soundtrack for SENGOKU has obviously skewed towards traditional Japanese music, and here’s probably the most famous piece in that repertoire – Kojo-no-Tsuki, a certified banger. After that, something completely different to kick off the brief metal portion of this month’s list – it’s a death/thrash song by a band called Pizza Death about being eaten by zombie olives. Perfect. We follow that with some more atmospheric/serious stuff – Wounds of Recollection make lush blackgaze that’s a joy to listen to, and Lowen were a particular highlight of the festival I mentioned earlier in the newsletter with their blend of middle eastern vocals and big doom riffs. Lastly, we close out the list with some more electronic sounds – Mega Drive are a pounding bridge between metal riffs and vapourwave synths, and Carbon Based Lifeforms wrap things up with some big ambient space electronica, perfect relaxation music.

The Links

We watch episodes of Somebody Feed Phil (a very good, delightfully wholesome travel/food show) with a friend every Monday night, and recently saw the episode where he visits Korea – which reminded me of the amazing Buddhist nun/best chef in the world Jeong Kwan, and that led me to this article about the restaurant she’s opened up: https://www.lottehotelmagazine.com/en/food_style_detail?no=276

Chef’s Table (the show) is almost a parody of itself (and rightfully mocked in the fantastic film The Menu, when Nicholas Hoult’s awful Tyler suggests that he has an elevated understanding of Ralph Fiennes’ Chef Julian Slowik because he’s watched his episode of Chef’s Table multiple times), but the episode about Jeong Kwan is perfect – not just because it foregrounds her philosophy over her food, but because it makes every other chef profiled in the series look like an immature, petty little child obsessed with status and “being the best”. We could all stand to be more like Jeong Kwan, quite frankly!

Thanks very much for reading this bumper-sized edition (assuming you made it this far) – next month there won’t be a newsletter, since I’ll be on holiday in Athens, eating delicious food and looking at extremely old buildings. I’m sure you’ll cope..!

Until next time, cheers!


June 2023: What Day Is It?

Good morning, folks!

This month’s newsletter is a last-minute one again – I’ve been ridiculously busy this month (for reasons that will become apparent shortly) and neglected to write it until… well, right now. I’ll keep it short and sweet!

The Usual

Part of the reason for my inability to remember what day it is comes from how I’ve spent the last two weeks – I spent 11 days in a studio with my cohorts in Ba’al, recording an absolute swathe of new music that we’ve been writing over the past few years. We had 9 songs in total, roughly 90 minutes’ worth of music, and it was A LOT to get done – a little recording secret for you: you don’t just play the part once and move on, there are so many layers and alternate takes and overdubs and other bits and pieces involved in getting it absolutely spot on. It was extremely hard work (especially with driving to and from Manchester each night, roughly 3 hours of driving per day) and I basically crashed out as soon as we were finished and went to bed at 9pm last night!

Chris playing his guitar in a recording studio

That said, the songs are sounding fantastic and I’m very happy with them so far – we’ve got some extra bits and pieces to do, and then they’ll need to be mixed and finessed to get the balance right, but I can’t wait to share them with the world!

On the comics side of things, I’ve been keeping busy as well – a couple of projects have started to take their first tentative steps, I’ve found a fantastic artist to collaborate with on one of my biggest and most ambitious stories, and pages are still rolling in at a fair clip for Brigantia Vol. 2 from the prodigiously talented Alaire. The first part of that volume has also now been coloured by the wonderful Rebecca Nalty, and it’s looking incredible!

Veteris stares down at Anna, who looks up at him defiantly.

At some point I’m going to drop one of these plates but hopefully not for a little while yet…

The Record

8 pages lettered – 4 for the Phoenix, 4 for Fractured Realms

Mostly lettering this month, I haven’t had the time to write anything (due to the reasons above) but that should hopefully change as the year progresses – nothing like getting one big project out of the door to light a fire under you!

The Tunes..?

In a first for this newsletter, I actually haven’t put together a playlist for this month – my listening was basically just Ba’al demos on repeat to get them lodged into my brain, and then relaxing ambient/electronica after each day of recording as a wind-down from all the crushingly heavy metal riffs we’d been recording! So I’ll just recommend one thing to you: an artist called 2 8 1 4 who does relaxing ambient cityscapes, kind of like a relaxed neon Blade Runner vibe. A bit synthwavey, very chilled, some lo-fi beats. Perfect writing/relaxing music!

The Links

This month marked the 50th anniversary of British horror classic The Wicker Man, and I particularly enjoyed this long-ish article about the soundtrack which remains unmatched: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/jun/20/lusty-singalongs-and-brexit-portents-the-eternal-flame-of-the-wicker-man-soundtrack

It’s one of my favourite films and the music is very much part of that, so it was fascinating to read how appreciation for the soundtrack was part of keeping the movie in the public consciousness for long enough that it could be reappraised after a somewhat tepid debut. Worth your time!

That’s all from me for this month – hopefully next month’s newsletter will actually be written in advance? We can but hope!

All the best,


May 2023: In The Toilet

Good afternoon, folks!

It’s been what you could charitably call an “extremely busy” month over here – the day job has kicked up a notch or so, and I’m in the middle of preparing for a huge recording session with Ba’al next month so I’ve been bouncing from project to project like a pinball with anxiety. Still, it’s good to keep busy, right..?
Chris Traeger from Parks & Rec explaining his philosophy for avoiding despair

The Usual

Big news this month is that we finalised the list of stories/creators for the Secrets of the Majestic anthology that I mentioned in a previous newsletter, and we’re well into the planning stages! I’m very happy with the list of people involved – there’s a good mix of established creators and some newer up-and-coming talent, plenty of very good friends of mine, plus some names that I frankly cannot believe I get to put in the credits section 🤐

We’re planning a Kickstarter campaign for the book in the next month or two, so will do a big reveal of all the creators soon – given how niche the project is (comics about a very specific toilet beloved by Thought Bubble attendees!) we’re really going to have to hammer the pre-launch to ensure we can meet our target and get this thing made. Here’s a very sneaky peek at something I spent my bank holiday Monday putting together for it:
A spooky, glitchy video of someone walking into a very opulent bathroom...

I’m hoping KS will let me set up another campaign this soon after the Art of Professor Elemental smashed it’s way to a hugely successful conclusion (£13k raised, over double our target!) but I guess we’ll see – very glad I’ll have the capable assistance of the Prof with fulfilment for that one, doing it all on your own is somewhat stressful!

Lastly, Brigantia work continues apace – Alaire is about midway through Volume 2 now, working on issue #5 (the second volume will contain issues 4, 5 and 6) and the pages she’s turning out are absolutely phenomenal. Here’s a sneaky peek to show you what I mean, I raved about this on Twitter but I’m doing it again:
An extract from a page in Brigantia Vol. 2, showing a scroll with ancient artwork on against a more realistic background.

The Record

  • 4 pages written for my SotM story
  • 6 pages written for the Mad Cave Talent Search
  • 8 pages lettered for The Phoenix

Actually did some writing this month! Obviously having a few short things to work on was helpful – I decided to have a crack at the Mad Cave Talent Search because I had an idea for a story set in the Nottingham universe, and thought it’d be worth rolling the dice. I’m not expecting anything to come of it but if nothing else it’ll be helpful to put my name on their radar! I should also have a bit more lettering to do over the coming months – both lettering my own stories and working for other people.

The Tunes

I love The Muppets unreservedly, and the new show Muppet Mayhem (which landed this month) is utterly delightful – chaotic, funny and heartfelt. So of course I had to open this month’s playlist with the Electric Mayhem’s biggest hit! From there it’s a sharp turn into atmospheric black metal land with Fires in the Distance and Non Est Deus – I’ve been listening to a lot of new music in May and these two albums stood out. Eyes of Argus have done the heaviest, sludgiest Steps cover imaginable (yes, really) and then we’re into trippy psych-doom territory with Lunar Chamber. I look forward to every new album from The Ocean (my favourite band) eagerly, and their newest doesn’t disappoint, mixing their signature proggy/heavy riffs with a lot more electronic elements to great success. From there we’re going down synthwave street with Warrington Runcorn New Town Development Plan (yes, that is a real band name) and their concrete 70s dystopia version of the Blade Runner soundtrack. They’re followed by some chiptune/vapourwave hip-hop courtesy of Kill Bill: The Rapper, and then a very weird (but good) track I discovered on Bandcamp – Whatitdo Archive Group essentially soundtrack movies that don’t exist, and this one sounds like it could be from an imaginary Moebius adaptation. Lastly, how about some righteous fury? Benefits are a sort of hip-hop/grind/noise/garage collective from north-east England and this song hit me like a lightning bolt, a sneering takedown of flag-waving “patriots” who are happy for the country to turn to shit as long as they can lord it over people who don’t look like them. “Wave yer fucking flag” as a snarl of absolute derision – it’s powerful stuff.

The Link(s)

Like the rest of the planet (seemingly) I’ve been pouring hours into the new Legend of Zelda game, Tears of the Kingdom, since it was released. It’s an absolute masterpiece – somehow expanding on the wonderful Breath of the Wild, refining it and presenting tons of new mechanics. Most importantly, it very much feels like a game where you can solve puzzles however you want – there might be one “right” way to get past this pool of lava, but you can try a bunch of things and one of them will probably work. It’s intellectually stimulating and satisfying in a way that most games have forgotten how to be. Plus Link hums snippets of classic Zelda songs when you toss ingredients into a cooking pot and it is ADORABLE.

Anyway, here’s an interview with the developers which delves into why it’s so good: https://www.polygon.com/legend-zelda-tears-kingdom/23720150/zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-abilities-eiji-aonuma-hidemaro-fujibayashi

And here’s an article about the fashion and how you can absolutely turn Link into a gender-bending twink if you want to: https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-style

And that’s all from me for this month – thanks for reading and have a good rest of your week!

All the best,


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,


March 2023: Slowly, but Surely

Howdy, folks!

I’m writing this month’s newsletter on a train on the way down to London (for a tattoo session), in a rare example of “Chris decides to actually use his time productively instead of doing everything on Saturday morning” – long may it continue!

The Usual

There have been a couple of things on the creative ledger this month which I think are worth sharing – firstly, at time of writing there are precisely 12 hours left to go on the Kickstarter for Fractured Realms, a Norse horror anthology from the team at Limit Break Comics that I was very happy to be accepted into.

Cover for the Fractured Realms comic - a Draugr on the prow of a longship.

Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulcarroll/fractured-realms-a-norse-horror-anthology

I’ve put together a tight little slice of psychological horror with my good friend (but somehow first-time collaborator) Gustaffo Vargas, and I’m excited to see how people react to it – I pushed myself a bit with this one and I hope it’ll show on the page when we’re done. The Kickstarter is fully funded, so at this point you just have a few hours to jump in and pre-order a copy of the book – and trust me when I say you will want to!

Next, but still in anthology territory – on Wednesday I announced/opened up submissions for an anthology that I’m running, entitled SECRETS OF THE MAJESTIC. It’s an extremely niche in-joke of a premise – basically, the men’s toilets at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate (the location of the Thought Bubble mid-convention party for the last few years) are ridiculously ostentatious and grandiose, and I thought there was mileage in a collection of stories exploring some wacky and wild theories about why they’re like that. The reaction to my announcement tweet was huge, so it turns out there are a lot of very talented people in the Thought Bubble crowd who are keen to explore the mystery of the toilets!

The cover for the Secrets of the Majestic anthology - the famous toilets!

The (incredible) cover is by Laura Helsby and coloured by Dearbhla Kelly, and I already know that we’re going to have some fantastic creative teams in the book once submissions close – if you’re keen to take part, you have until May 1st to team up and get your submission sent in! Here’s the link: https://forms.gle/MpNTKA42U5Xj2fUk8

Lastly, my good pal Professor Elemental and I are embarking into the Kickstarter mines ourselves with a collected edition of “The Art of Professor Elemental” – a vast Hardcover collection of (almost) all of the comics we’ve made together and tons of other artwork besides. If you found my work via the Prof and are keen on a hardback collection of steampunk whimsy for your bookshelf or coffee table, please do sign up for the campaign here to be notified when we go live (which will be in the next few weeks!): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismole/the-art-of-professor-elemental

In non-anthology news, Brigantia Vol. 2 continues at full speed – Alaire has been absolutely crushing the pages, and has now all but finished the first issue (of the 3 that will make up the next volume!) Her work looks beautiful, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you. Send her your prayers and blessings!

Lastly, a recommendation – don’t ever listen to Eve of the War from the Jeff Wayne War of the Worlds musical, because it’s far too catchy and it will be stuck in your head for a good few weeks (as it has mine 🙃)

The Record

  • 5 pages written, another story outlined
  • Logo design for SECRETS OF THE MAJESTIC

I had a pretty tight deadline for the Fractured Realms story this month, so that consumed a lot of my brain space – much as I dislike commuting to the office for the day job, never underestimate the usefulness of having roughly 90 mins a day walking/sitting on trams/walking some more when it comes to thinking of ideas and bashing a script around in your head. This was also the first month in a while where I didn’t have any lettering work lined up, and I’ll be honest – much as I enjoy being a “comics professional” on the side, it was nice to have a bit of a break! We’ll see if that changes next month…

Plus, now that Space Cowboys has moved into the very early production stages, I need to spin the wheel and decide which of my other longer story ideas I’m going to pick up and write next. There are a few in various stages of completion so it’s going to come down to which one I’m the most enthused about – which means I have to beat down my usual “all my ideas are terrible” self-doubt, and that’ll be a fun task!

The Tunes

We’re starting this month’s playlist off on the relaxed/light end of the spectrum, with (for my money) the best track off the Frozen 2 soundtrack – All Is Found. It might not have had quite the same seismic impact as the first film, but Frozen 2 was genuinely very good and the soundtrack is full of bangers, but this one always gets me in the feels. Next up is a chilled hip-hop classic courtesy of De La Soul, whose discography I had a dive through this month. We’re taking our first steps towards heavier ground with Lotus by Soen – I wasn’t familiar with the song before this month, but I’ve been asked by a friend to learn it for a recording project and it’s got some great melodies. Quest Master are a Spotify discovery – crunchy vapourwave/chiptune goodness for all your lo-fi adventuring needs! Chthonic have been one of my favourite bands for a very long time now, so new music from them is always welcome and this track promises great things from their next album. The same applies to Tribulation, who I love – although this song sounds like they’re taking a lot of inspiration from Ghost, it’s still great. REZN were new to me this month but my listening notes describe them as prog-doom and very good – this one is worth your time if you like big weighty riffs and soaring clean vocals! I was a rabid Trivium fan back when they burst onto the metal scene with Ascendancy, and while some of their albums after that left me cold, I’ve gone back to their later releases in recent years to re-evaluate them. This song in particular stands out – it’s not especially complicated but the refrain hits like a freight train. New Babymetal is a little less silly than their previous releases, but it retains all the hallmarks of their sound – epic J-pop vocals, crunchy riffs and polished production. I would still absolutely love to see them live, it’d be a hell of a show! Lastly, new Liturgy dropped a few days ago and it’s already making a strong push for AOTY status – glitchy, electronica-laced black metal with shrieking vocals, this won’t be for everyone but I love it.

The Links

Just the one link today, and it’s one I shared on Twitter a little while back – a piece published in the Guardian which looks at the links between the Guardian’s owners and the slave trade: https://www.theguardian.com/news/ng-interactive/2023/mar/28/slavery-and-the-guardian-the-ties-that-bind-us

The essential message of this piece (and the accompanying scholarship) as I understand it is that British people can’t claim that we abolished slavery earlier than the US and therefore don’t bear any responsibility for it – we as a nation continued to profit hugely from slavery, and need to be honest about that fact. Colonial history still isn’t widely taught in the UK (I didn’t learn anything about it in school, and I have two history degrees – it wasn’t until University that I had cause to do some academic reading on the subject) and we’re long, long overdue a reconciliation with the darker elements of that history.

I’ll leave it there for today – the wi-fi on this train is somewhat spotty! Thanks for reading, back Fractured Realms and consider submitting for Secrets of the Majestic if you have a toilet story to tell – and have a great April!

All the best,

February 2023: Pitter Patter

Howdy, folks!

Once again, February has careened past me in a Dodge Viper with the top down, flipping me off aggressively as it screams away into the rear-view mirror. Which is to say: compared to the inexorable length of January, I am once again bemused by how quickly this month has gone past. It’s felt like a busy one!

The Usual

Most of my “creative docket” this month has again been taken up by various bits of admin and not actual writing, which is a state of affairs that I need to try and improve on. Given the number of projects that are moving towards some state of fruition and are already written, though, it doesn’t feel as urgent – I got ahead of myself last year (and the year before that), and my logic-brain is reminding me that there’s no point having another series fully written and sitting on the backburner while I can’t guarantee the funds to make it happen. Let’s clear a few other things off the slate first!

First amongst those is a Kickstarter with my good friend Professor Elemental – over the past 10 years we’ve made a lot of comics together (over 200 pages’ worth, to be exact) and the time has come to finally put together a big artbook/collection of those stories so that they’re all accessible in one mighty hardback tome, alongside a ton of other artwork that the Prof’s mini-empire has spun off. I’ve been building the campaign page for that and we’re anticipating a launch towards the end of next month, so just a heads up that you may get additional emails from me when it goes live to encourage you to take a look! As usual there’ll be digital and physical copies available, and postage will be much more affordable within the UK (sorry, non-UK readers, but it costs an insane amount of money to post a hardback book these days..!)

Brigantia #4/Vol. 2 also continues to roll onwards, with pace – Alaire is doing a phenomenal job with the pages, and I’m very excited to share them with you all. Here’s a sneaky peek of an inked page to whet your collective whistle:

Realistically, given that I’m having to take a bit of a break from Thought Bubble this year (due to a family wedding, I’d only be able to do the Saturday, so I’ve only applied for a half table), we’ll not be able to launch it at TB this year – but I’m anticipating all the inks being finished by the end of the year, so come 2024, we can finish off Brigantia’s story (for now..!)

So, some solid progress being made on some fronts! Let’s keep it going 🙂

The Record

  • 18 pages lettered for The Phoenix
  • Yet more worldbuilding doc stuff for SPACE COWBOYS

Hot on the heels of the book-length story I lettered for The Phoenix last month, I was also tasked with lettering some in-between pages to fill the gaps between that story and the other ones that will be included in the collection. This was my first real experience of a very tight deadline, and it was not a fun time at all – I worked my regular 9-5 day job, but was doing extra hours before and after work trying to get all the pages done in time while not skipping band practices. I managed it (18 pages in just over a week!) but I was absolutely shattered on the Friday after I’d turned them in and slept for about 12 hours! Hopefully it’ll be a while before something like that comes around again…

Also, the recurrence of the SPACE COWBOYS worldbuilding doc should provide some clues to what’s going on with that – I’ve found an artist for the story, and we’ll hopefully be starting work on some character designs/pitch pages next month. It’s very exciting to get to this stage on a story that’s extremely personal to me (for a variety of reasons, it’s the most emotionally-charged thing I’ve ever written) so I’ll be looking forward to sharing snippets of that as they get drawn!

The Tunes

Let’s get some music in your lugholes! An eclectic mix this month – we’re starting off with the Tallon Overworld theme from Metroid Prime, reimagined by the fantastic Metroid Metal. I’ve been pouring hours into the remastered version of Prime that just came out – it’s a phenomenal achievement, and the game looks (and plays) wonderfully. Next, and continuing the alien theme, is the opening track from the newer version of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. I love the original as well, but Liam Neeson is a genius casting for the Narrator and this remains a certified banger. Orphaned Land are a great prog-metal band from Israel, who’ve put out some classic albums (like Mabool, which is just fantastic). Apparently they have a large Arab fanbase, and this track in particular hammers home their message of peace between different faiths with uplifting choruses and a pristine guitar tone. I spent a day at work listening to an AFI best-of – my partner is a huge AFI fan, and they have some great songs (like this one, which doesn’t fuck around!) New discovery up next – Pyramid Mass play space infused death-doom, and I was drawn in by the Moebius vibes of the cover art for this release. This track twists and turns a few times, with some weighty riffs scattered throughout.

Black metal time? Black metal time. Skeletonwitch’s last album remains a surprising but wonderful thing – fantastic-sounding atmospheric BM with some savage riffs sitting beneath the reverby guitar tone. Next is another new discovery, Hekseblad – my best description for this is “Witcher-themed raw dungeon synth BM”. It’s a fun listen! I’ve been fiddling around with some chiptune stuff this month again (I still have dreams of putting together a solo release of chiptune stuff), so this track from Zef & Danimal Cannon was on the inspiration list for that. Big, bouncy electronic riffs that will make you bang your head – similar vibe to Master Boot Record (except this came out first!) Another new The Ocean track next which highlights that this new album is definitely going in a more electronic direction – and I dig it. Lastly, hot off the presses is a new Svalbard track from their forthcoming album. It sounds great, but I feel like it ends too soon – give me more of those riffs please!

The Links

This isn’t a recent link, but we’ve finally started watching the most recent seasons of Letterkenny so I’m taking this opportunity to tell you that you should also watch it if you haven’t already:


And that’s all for this month – as ever, take care of yourselves and thanks for reading!

All the best,


January 2023: All Systems Go

Hey folks,

I know we’re only one month into 2023, but it feels like half the year has flown by already – I know, I know, time is a relative concept, but I hope it calms down at some point. This will probably be a fairly busy newsletter (I’ve even got some STUFF to SHARE) so let’s crack in!

The Usual

I always find that January turns into a month of calendar juggling, where I try and get some things in place for later in the year (not least so I have something to look forward to). And this year promises to be a big one in that regard – we’re in the middle of redecorating a large chunk of our house (because I finally ran out of patience with the horrible textured wallpaper), I’ve finally booked in some sessions to get the Japanese half-sleeve tattoo on my left arm done (I’ve had the right one since 2017 and the left is intended to be a companion piece to that) and we might even try and squeeze in a holiday.

On the creative front… hoo boy. Brigantia Vol. 2 is well and truly underway (and here’s a sneaky peek at our boy Veteris, from the prodigiously talented hands of Alaire):

I’m going to be running at least two crowdfunders this year (for a Prof Elemental collection and a collection of my oceanic sci-fi/horror Hadopelagic, with Neil McClements), with two more potentially in the running depending on how everything shakes out (Secrets of the Majestic, and Brigantia Vol. 2 depending on how quickly Alaire gets through the pages) – four campaigns might be a bit bloody much though, so I’m going to have to decide whether any of those can be pushed back to 2024.

What could this be about….? 👀

I’ve got a pitch floating around out there which I want to try and get picked up, and have just teamed up with an artist for another pitch which I’m very excited about.

And on top of all that, my band Ba’al have booked ourselves two weeks of studio time in the summer to record both a new album and a new EP, because we wrote far too much music (roughly 90 mins or so) and need to split it into two releases!

It’s a pretty daunting list, but I’ll put one foot in front of the other and get as many things ticked off as I can. Here’s hoping December’s round-up is a full one..!

The Record

  • 26 pages lettered for The Phoenix
  • 1-page anthology submission plotted
  • Worldbuilding and references for SPACE COWBOYS

Lettered a small book-length story for The Phoenix this month, which was v. cool and a nice little challenge. Definitely the most pages I’ve ever lettered over a couple of weeks, and I’d love to do more to really get my hand in!

That aside, as a consequence of the previous section (getting all my ducks in a row) I haven’t properly written anything all month. I don’t see a lot of value in scripting something that I won’t feasibly be able to get moving on for a long while – because by the time it’s the next project up, I’ll probably want to rewrite whole swathes of it. That stance will probably change as the year progresses because I have a few things outlined and ready to work on, I just need to get myself in the right mindset and find a balance (between day job, band practices, existing projects and just trying to have an evening to relax now and then..!)

The Tunes

Back to your regularly-scheduled “here’s what Chris is listening to” programming this month. First up, my favourite band The Ocean are back with this teaser for their upcoming new album – and they definitely have strong feelings about the current intellectual climate, going by the lyrics. After that, we take a trip through some vaporwave/cybernetic landscapes with new music from Boucle Infinie, Isaac Soto and Martin Ahm Nielsen/Code Elektro – close your eyes and let the digital wave wash over you. A brief orchestral break is courtesy of Aaron Grubb’s lovely rendition of Gerudo Valley (from the Zelda series), and then we’re into heavier(ish) climes, starting with Foo Fighters – I recommended Sonic Highways (both the TV show and the album) to someone this month and it reminded me how much I enjoy those songs, particularly this one with it’s orchestral vibe towards the end. The new Ahab album came out of nowhere (for me) but it’s excellent, funeral doom from under the sea. It’s followed by the excellent SONJA – trad heavy metal with a fierce as fuck trans frontwoman and great vocal lines. The last two tracks take us into more upbeat territory – Babymetal remain one of the most enjoyable bands in my rotation, and this song just slaps. Watch a live video for the full effect! And lastly, my favourite Ayreon album got remixed & remastered last year, so here’s a banger from the back end of the double album – a cosmic flight through space that laments the plight of our doomed world. Cheerful!

The Links


It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I absolutely adore folk horror – it’s right in the sweet spot of what I love about the horror genre, and can run the gamut from shlocky 70s classics like The Blood on Satan’s Claw to “elevated”, “arthouse” fare like Midsommar. I’m extremely curious about watching Enys Men at some point, and this feature both stokes that curiosity and provides some good context for the folk horror “boom” we’re seeing at the moment. Plus, it’s a little quicker than watching all 3 and a quarter hours of Kier-La Janisse’s (excellent) documentary “Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched“, which is truly exhaustive in scope..!

I have a folk horror story idea kicking around (because of course I do, so does everyone), but because of how much the genre resonates with me, I’m very conscious of the need to do it “properly”. I don’t want to just shit out something packed with cheap scares and call it a day! The result is more reading and watching (research, rather) until I feel like I’ve got a good enough background to do my own twist on the genre. Watch this space..!

That’s all for this month – thanks for reading this far if you made it. We’re through the longest month of the year! Imbolc is round the corner and it can only get brighter from here on out, so take care of yourselves and find things to look forward to.



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): https://chrismole.bigcartel.com/product/brigantia-vol-1

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,