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 2021: One Year On

Feels like we’ve been here before, huh? Jokes aside, it might just be that we’ve started to get some actual sunshine over here on Hell Island but it’s starting to feel like things are changing for the better. My partner’s had a first dose of the vaccine (I’m still waiting for mine), people are starting to book gigs/cons/events for later in the year… I sincerely hope this isn’t the false ending you get in most JRPGS, where the heroes think they’ve saved the day and then it turns out there’s another evil villain (a COVID mutant strain, perhaps?) who’s been pulling the strings all along.

The Usual

Had a bit of a wobble this month – I spent several days bashing my head against an idea-wall trying to get some juice to leak out (in the form of pitch ideas for an anthology), and was convinced they were all terrible. Thankfully, I sent them to the artist and she loved the one at the top of my list, which went a long way towards quieting the little shit-goblin who sits in the back of my brain telling me I’ll never amount to anything..! It’s also helped reading through a detailed account of the development/filming/release of the Star Wars original trilogy (a.k.a three of my absolute favourite stories) in a book we picked up in a Taschen sale – so much changed between the script drafts and what we see on screen. The earlier drafts had some truly ropy/terrible parts, which I found heartening – even something as iconic and successful as Star Wars had to be wrestled into existence, and it’s not easy for anyone.

As a sign of the aforementioned hopeful return to normality, I’m very pleased to share that I’ll be exhibiting at Thought Bubble this November (assuming it goes ahead)!

I’ll be doing it under my own name (rather than as Prof Elemental Comics or as Brigantia) this time, which is a little nerve-wracking, but hey ho. New business cards/banner are probably a plan..!

The Record

• 22 pages redrafted for SPACE COWBOYS #3, following editorial feedback
• Outline/pitch written for an anthology submission
• 12 pages edited/redrafted for a horror short
• Lettering: 6 pages lettered, design work done for Prof Elemental’s NEMESIS

Not a lot of “new” pages written this month, but I’m feeling fairly good about the progress. With 3 issues out of 6 written, and a loose roadmap for where I want the rest of the story to go, it might be time to approach an artist for SPACE COWBOYS (currently mulling over an actual title – DIADEM is the current front-runner, even if it maintains my streak of one-word titles for things…) That’s a whole different kettle of fish, because finding the right collaborators for a story is so important – everyone brings their own visual sensibility and ideas to the project, and this one will require some fairly involved visuals and design work. Plus, contacting an artist and asking if they want to work with you is truly nerve-wracking (at least for me) – it’s like asking someone vastly cooler/prettier/smarter than you on a (potentially very long and involved) date 😬

The Tunes

Gradual progression from lighter sounds to heavier on this month’s playlist, because I like to lure people in with smooth synths before dropping the screechy vocals 😎 We kick things off with a lovely instrumental version of a track by KAUAN – the original from 2017 is a beautiful album and well worth checking out. Next up is Steve Aoki with a remix of “Making of Cyborg” from the original Ghost in the Shell – the recent live action movie had plenty of problems, but I still enjoyed it as a visual/aural feast. Daft Punk were (goddamnit) a hugely important band for me, since I loved their music even when I was in the grip of my “only heavy metal, 24/7” bullshit elitist phase. They were just that good! I got emotional watching their “breakup” video earlier in the month, and the ending of this track was an utterly transcendent, heartbreaking and beautiful soundtrack for it. Gunship are a band I somehow hadn’t heard before this month, despite my propensity for synthwave – plug me into the cybernet and let’s fuckin go!!

Next track is where things gradually start to get turnt, with Emma Ruth Rundle/Thou bringing some atmospheric heaviness before we plunge into a new piece from Genghis Tron (an excellent grindcore/glitchy electronica band who defy categorisation) – their last album Board Up the House was phenomenal, so I’m hyped to dig into the new release! Frozen Lakes on Mars is one of my favourite Ihsahn tracks and ties neatly into my writing mindset this month (specifically the Space Cowboys redrafts). Onmyo-za are a new discovery and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard them sooner. From Encyclopedia Metallum: “Onmyo-za’s image and concept are based on Japan’s Heian Period (aka Japan’s Renaissance) that dates back to the tenth century CE.” PUMP THIS JAPANESE HISTORY METAL INTO MY VEINS! Feral Light were a fortuitous Spotify discovery for some atmospheric BM, and we close off this month’s list with one metal icon (Chuck Schuldiner of Death) covering another (Rob Halford and Judas Priest). He is half man and half machine!

That’s all for this month – I hope we’re clawing our way to some semblance of normality, and that we can use the lessons of the last year to force our elected officials into truly changing society for the better. Fingers crossed, eh?

All the best,