I suspect this month’s newsletter is going to turn into a long one, given that it’s been a busy month, so apologies for that in advance – strap in, let’s get to it!
Let’s do a Thought Bubble recap, shall we? This month saw me yet again in attendance at (in my opinion) the UK’s premier comic convention, Thought Bubble in Harrogate. As with every year, it was a delight to see so many pals that I spend a lot of time chatting to/interacting with online in person, and I managed to squeeze in enough socialising to keep me going for at least the next 6 months. Some highlights of the weekend:
- Initiating several people into the Cult of the Majestic Toilets (and deciding, perhaps against my better judgement, to try and put together a toilet anthology for next year’s convention…)
- Meeting Gail Simone, who I’m pleased to confirm is not a bear and is in fact a lovely human being
- Drinks and good times with the Dangerous Nights crew
- Making more money than I ever have at TB before, to the extent that I covered my hotel and table fees and got into (whisper it) actual profit! …profit which I then promptly spent on buying stuff from other tables. Oh well!
I know I say this every year, but comics people are the best people, and it’s a mantra that’s proven true every time. It’s truly a vibrant, welcoming, creative environment, and as is always the case I came home buzzing with the desire to make more comics! I don’t have space to shout out everyone who made it an incredible weekend, but you know who you are and I appreciate the heck out of each one of you 😤🖤
Since I finished sending out all of the Kickstarter packages (except for the three people who haven’t completed their surveys yet) in the first week of November, Thought Bubble also saw the official debut of Brigantia Volume 1 and it was extremely gratifying being able to show it off to people. Now that I’m out of the fulfilment woods I’ve taken a step back and can appreciate how much work we’ve put into it – I think the book looks beautiful, and I’m very proud of it. I’ve been reaching out to various comic shops (so I believe it’s now available in Gosh! Comics down in London, Travelling Man in various branches, and Destination Venus in Harrogate) – plus I’ve added the book to my online store and Comixology, so it’s officially available to the general public! If you’d like a copy (or you’re after gift ideas), it’ll be posted out in plenty of time for Christmas: https://chrismole.bigcartel.com/product/brigantia-vol-1
Even though I haven’t sat down and actually scripted many pages this month, it’s felt extremely busy! Part of that is lettering work, part of it is trying to get ducks in a row for some other projects. Anyway, here’s the count:
- 8 pages outlined for The Black Rubric II
- Prose piece written for a one/two-pager
- Initial notes/plans/ideas for ‘Secrets of the Majestic’ (the aforementioned “toilet anthology”)
- 8 pages lettered for The Phoenix
- 3 pages lettered for Sharp Wit & The Company of Women
Phew! The lettering workload is likely to continue into next month as I need to finish the pages for “Let Justice Be My Axe“, and I’ve also agreed to letter some anthology stories for my good friend Owen Watts. Space Cowboys #4 and #5 have also gone off to my mighty editor Claire Napier – the last two issues of the story, so once those come back with notes on I can tweak them accordingly and we can start actively hunting for an artist (and try to come up with a proper title for it..!)
On top of that, one of the bands I’m in (Ba’al) have now finished writing new material – we’ve got 9 new songs, most of them epic-length ones, and the next step is to tweak/refine them and figure out any extra bits we want to add in. It’s a very different creative process to writing music or comics solo, but just as satisfying – especially when just throwing riff ideas around in the room results in an extremely heavy/catchy/atmospheric song!
Lastly, it doesn’t count as comics work, but I’ve done a load of wallpaper stripping this month and I’m getting ever closer to being able to bring in a professional to replaster/redecorate the spare room and the stairs. The tyrannical reign of the awful, textured, 80s wallpaper which fills most of the rooms in my house is almost at an end!
This month’s playlist runs the gamut from “tracks which link to stuff I did” to “heavy shit I’ve been enjoying”. We start things off with a blast from the past – the World Map theme from the phenomenal Final Fantasy Tactics by Masaharu Iwata. I was struck by the sudden urge to play this game again, and overjoyed to find that my tablet will run the Android version – it remains wonderfully written and fun. Next up is a track from the recent re-release of the Dredd soundtrack, remixed by Mogwai – I went over to Leeds the night before Thought Bubble to get my hands on the vinyl for this and it was very worth it, since I got to hang out with pals Rik Worth and Alfie Gallagher and watch Jock live-paint an amazing Dredd piece! Continuing the “comics” theme, here’s a heavy metal version of the famous Batman theme by Powerglove – the tragic news of Kevin Conroy’s passing hit while we were socialising at TB, and I think my Christmas break will be spent binging the animated series in tribute. Public Service Broadcasting are up next – I go back to this album a lot (and have put this song in playlists before) but it’s just so, so good! One more nerd song before we get to the heavy shit – Steel & Silver by Visigoth is based on the Witcher and has a very catchy power metal chorus which WILL get stuck in your head. Next up are a couple of big atmospheric black metal tracks I’ve been exposed to this month – An Abstract Illusion with a monolithic song, then the phenomenal Molten Gold by Toadeater. Weird band name, incredible album! Next is a classic Borknagar song – again, I’ve been listening to them a lot this month just because they’re great and fill me full of nostalgia for my college days. Penultimately we have a track by Brazilian prog-black-metal band Papangu recommended by my pal Adam who was an excellent table assistant at Thought Bubble, and rounding things off is a new MASTER BOOT RECORD track which showcases their unique blend of chiptune and heavy riffs.
I know that Twitter is on fire and slowly sinking beneath the waves thanks to a certain edgelord techbro, but here’s something delightful for you to get your teeth into – artist pal Jordan Collver, going through his process for researching and producing scientifically-rigorous comics which play with the form (and look beautiful, to boot!): https://twitter.com/JordanCollver/status/1597605358817931265?t=LRtnSYM-neP50WufEJ-rcw&s=19
And that’s all for this month! Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you have a lovely December – next month’s update will probably take the form of a yearly round-up with some recs for various things I’ve enjoyed this year and you may have missed.
All the best!