April 2024: Summer is Icumen In

Howdy, folks!

It looks like we’re (finally) turning the corner into some warmer weather here in the UK, which is sure to have a real impact on my mood – I’m very tired of being freezing cold all the time (because I’m too Yorkshire to put the heating on), so the mercury rising will hopefully lighten me up a little..!

The Usual

Coco Con in Lancaster at the start of the month was lovely, with a bunch of good people hanging out in a nice venue and with great footfall to boot. I did much better than I was expecting sales-wise, and had some great conversations with people while there (both exhibitors and punters). I’m looking forward to the next event the Coco team put on already!

The main focus of my time at the moment, however, is a (relatively) big piece of news – the Brigantia Vol. 2 campaign is being assembled, and we have a pre-launch link! Go here to sign up – I’m aiming for a mid-June launch, and will get all the layout/design work done on the book around then so it’s ready to send off to print as soon as the campaign wraps. Cast your eyes downwards for a reveal of the front cover, by the prodigiously-talented duo of Alaire Racicot and Rebecca Nalty (who have also illustrated all the pages in the book):

The cover for Brigantia Vol. 2. Brigantia is menaced by the evil Veteris and Balor of the Fomorians.
Art by Alaire Racicot, colours by Rebecca Nalty

I’ll be banging the drum as loudly as I can for this one – it’s the concluding part of Brigantia’s story, and I think it contains some of my best and most emotionally affecting work yet. Plus the artwork is absolutely gorgeous and I’m excited to share it with people! I’ll share a few more sneak peeks in the coming months, so watch out for those.

Most of the stories for Secrets of the Majestic are now complete, with a few that’ll be done in the next week or two – all the creative teams have been fantastic about meeting the deadline and/or keeping me informed about their progress, so it’s been remarkably straightforward keeping this on track. I have some layout work (and lettering) to do for the anthology as well, so I sense that I’m going to be spending a lot of my evenings and weekends over the coming months glued to the computer..!

I was inordinately proud of this toilet roll caption box for a Secrets of the Majestic story…

The Record

• 6 pages lettered (Secrets of the Majestic)
• Various bits of design for the Brigantia Vol. 2 Kickstarter and book layout and the Secrets of the Majestic layout

Once again, no pages written this month, but I’ve come to terms with that – I’m going to stop beating myself up about it because I have more than enough on my plate as it is. There’s no value in forcing myself to write for the sake of it – if the desire to do so comes back then great, but I won’t chase it.

The Tunes

I was obviously going to put a Final Fantasy 7 track on here – but annoyingly the Lifestream theme which has been embedded in my head isn’t on streaming yet, so this is a worthy second choice! New John Carpenter is always something to celebrate, and the master of synth doesn’t disappoint with this track. I realised the other day that I hadn’t listened to Blood Ceremony in ages – this is off their latest album, a lovely little slice of witchy psych-rock with flutes. The John 5 album this next track comes from is one of very few guitarist solo albums that I like because he actually wrote a bunch of songs, not just incessant shredding – and all the songs are serial killer themed, for the true crime heads out there. I was getting frustrated with difficult videogames this month so I decided to replay Ocarina of Time, which is why we have Dragonforce with an intensely nerdy song full of Zelda references up next – delightfully cheesy. Sonja came out with one of my surprise favourite albums of 2023, so I’m excited to hear more music from them – this continues the claustrophobic, kind-of sexy heavy metal vibes of their debut. Beginning the black metal section of the playlist, Vorga make huge, atmospheric BM with fantastic production values and a cosmic theme – all things I love! They’re followed by some classic Watain with a song that I go back to on the regular (when I feel like I need a bit of that there Satanism), and then a new Zeal & Ardor track which goes in a very different direction. Lastly, I’m putting my own band Ba’al’s new single on here because I can – Ornamental Doll is off our new EP (‘Soft Eyes‘) which comes out on May 3rd. I’m extremely proud of the three tracks on the EP, and we’ve had some great reviews for it already – if you’re interested, we’re having a listening party over on the Ripcord Records Bandcamp page this evening where you can hear the EP in full and chat to us about it. And you can pre-order the album or grab it on Friday (Bandcamp Friday!) – either digitally from the Ba’al Bandcamp, or as a lovely physical CD from Ripcord Records.

The Links

First, a couple of promotional shout-outs for friends – Asa Wheatley is running the next Sagas of the Shield Maiden campaign next month, and you’re not going to want to miss this one – every book is a polished selection of fighting viking tales, and a joy to look at. Go here to sign up for the pre-launch!

Nick Bryan is also gearing up for a stint in the Kickstarter mines with The Collected Letters of Courier Z – I had a sneaky advance look at this and it’s a lot of fun, a collection of whacky sci-fi shorts about a very frazzled planet-hopping space postie. Hit the sign-up link here!

Next up, something a bit more intellectual – this was a very interesting long-read article about the history of Arab Jews and their solidarity with Palestine: https://www.vox.com/world-politics/24122304/israel-hamas-war-gaza-palestine-arab-jews-mizrahi-solidarity

I know embarrassingly little about the history of the middle east (because I’ve never studied it academically, and never felt the inclination to go and learn about it outside of those studies) so I learned a fair few things from this article that resonate quite loudly, considering what’s happening in the region today.

Thanks for reading – please sign up to the Brigantia Kickstarter, check out the new Ba’al release and have a great month. Summer is icumen in!

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,


June 2021: Refresh, Refresh, Refresh

Howdy, folks!

Time has once again crept up on me, and I find myself writing this newsletter on the last day of the month. Still, there’s something to be said for spontaneity, right?

The Usual

It’s been a remarkably chilled month, even considering everything that’s been going on. I lost much of last week to some kind of horrible throat infection that completely halted my momentum, but I’m getting back on the horse now (and by “horse”, I mean various bits and pieces of home improvement and constantly refreshing the Kickstarter.)

Speaking of: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismole/brigantia-volume-1

We smashed the funding goal of £3k in around a week, which is wild, and now I can dabble my toes into the “possible stretch goal” waters. I’ve emailed the printer about one idea which might be feasible, so we’ll see – it’s a balancing act between producing something cool and losing a ton of money because you went too far with the stretch goals! I’m mostly extremely relieved that I can relax a bit and don’t have to spend every 10 minutes refreshing the Kickstarter dashboard worrying about whether we’ll reach the target…

The Record

*7 pages written for my Big Hype Vol. 2 story (with Rosie Packwood)

Not done a great deal of writing, since Kickstarter promo/illness/a constant, gnawing sense of anxiety and dread aren’t really conducive to productivity. That said, I’m slowly getting through the first draft of this Big Hype story and looking forward to the point that I can edit it into something that’s actually… y’know, good.

The Tunes

Real mixed bag this month of tunes, but nothing too surprising or left-field for me. We kick things off with Tortoise, a Spotify discovery that I enjoyed grooving along to one slow afternoon working from home; after that it’s into BIG ATMOSPHERE territory with Sojourner and Unreqvited, both favourites of mine. They both have big Summoning vibes, which is a good thing since there are a number of Summoning tracks that play on repeat in my head every time I’m out for a walk in the countryside! Noctule (a Skyrim-themed solo project by the vocalist of the incredible Svalbard) kick off a bit of a “heavy metal inspired by videogames” trilogy; they’re waving the black metal flag, followed by the more thrashy/glitchy sounds of Cara Neir and the bludgeoning Dark Souls-inspired death metal of Firelink. I’ve been on an Iron Maiden kick this month, and trying not think about Bruce Dickinson being an avowed Brexit supporter – he didn’t help by going on the news last week to complain about how Brexit has screwed up the creative industries (I’ll take “things that were obvious to everyone with a brain” for $800, Alex…) That said, Ghost of the Navigator still slaps. Botanist were part of my soundtrack for a very long drive down to see my parents/nephews which was very overdue, while this Leprous track was a pleasing Spotify discovery in the last couple of days. Lastly, how about a lovely jazz band rendition of one of the most relaxing videogame songs there is, Village of Dali from Final Fantasy IX? Sit back and let the sunshine vibes wash over you!

The Links

Look, we’re in the Kickstarter mines this month, okay? Don’t miss these comics Kickstarters, all run by wonderful people and all deserving of your support.
Sidequest #3: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sidequestcomic1/sidequest-3
Candles: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/castironbooks/candles-book
Filth & Grammar by Shelly Bond: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sxbond/filth-and-grammar

And for something a little different, here’s the most recent instalment of a “good news” newsletter I’m subscribed to which always brightens my day. It’s full of stories that highlight wins in the fight against climate change, public health, and otherwise making the world a better and more equitable place – because it’s good to be reminded that a lot of people are fighting hard to improve life on this planet, and it’s not all bad news all the time. Can’t recommend subscribing to these guys enough: https://futurecrunch.com/good-news-18th-june-2021/

That’s all for now – have a great rest-of-week and weekend, check out the links and enjoy the tunes!

All the best,