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Thought Bubble 2015

November 6, 2015

On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November I’ll be at Thought Bubble, Leeds (UK), on table 192 in New Dock Hall, launching the collected UK edition of The Object of my Affection, co-created by Sydney-based Phillip Marsden (Kerrang!, NME). Come along to buy copies of our “progressive filth”, collected from the pages of the now out-of-print BLACKOUT and BLACKOUT II:YOLO, which is not out of print and will also be on sale!

Object cover by Phillip Marsden and P M Buchan

The Object of my Affection is for ADULT READERS ONLY. Laura Sneddon (The Beat, The Independent) said about it: “Underground comics are often unfairly dismissed as misogynistic male fantasy fodder, but it’s fair to say that the particularly disturbing and on point look at misogyny within The Object of my Affection is both incredibly welcome and a resounding success. The objectification of women is deftly turned into a weapon against sexism, and a genuinely terrifying morality tale. Hurrah for progressive filth!”

Love Will Tear Us Apart promo logo

I’ll also be selling copies of La Belle Dame Sans Merci chapters one and two, co-created by Karen Yumi Lusted (with chapter three sadly delayed due to external circumstances, but almost complete and ready to print) and Love Will Tear Us Apart, co-created with RGB, which features backup illustrations by John Pearson (British Comic Award shortlisted co-creator of Beast Wagon) and INDIO! (British Comic Award shortlisted co-creator of Raygun Roads) and a playlist of zombie songs by Rue Morgue Radio‘s Tomb Dragomir. John Pearson and I will both be selling copies of our triptych of Manson Family-inspired A3 prints, originally created for the CULT exhibition at Orbital Comics last year.

Orbital Comics Presents

If you’re going to Thought Bubble, come along to say hi at the Orbital Comics Presents… Young Guns Art Jam from 8:30pm on Cross York Street in Leeds. I’ll be there until late, hanging out with talented artists like Martin Simmonds and Caspar Wijngaard, who is celebrating the launch of his first Image book, LIMBO.

Over the summer I relocated from Manchester to Devon, where there are cider festivals and Morris Dancing every weekend and I’m beautifully close to the beach and sea. Get in touch if you’re based in the south west of England and want to stock my comics in your store or arrange in-store signings!

Last month the British Fantasy Society also announced the winners of this year’s British Fantasy Awards. I was a juror for the third year running and helped out judging the Best Artist category this year, which was a brilliant experience.

Over the course of the past year I’ve been contributing to Andy Oliver and Broken Frontier‘s in-depth analysis of small press comics in the UK, State of the Small Press Nation. You can read the final column that I contributed to here: State of the Small Press Nation.

Introducing BKIP – The Bear Kingdom Independence Party

May 4, 2015

From the pages of The Final BLACKOUT, my upcoming satirical horror-comedy anthology with co-creators Jack Fallows (Axolotl) and Phillip Marsden (Kerrang!), comes BKIP, illustrated by Phillip Marsden, the story about Teddy Bear’s struggle to survive in a world where migrant humans are undercutting good, honest, local bears. You can read the eight page strip in full on my Tumblr. Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

BKIP page one

If you enjoyed BKIP, I’ll soon be publishing in the UK the collected edition of my other major comic with Phillip Marsden, The Object of My Affection, of which Laura Sneddon (The Guardian, The Independent) said: “Underground comics are often unfairly dismissed as misogynistic male fantasy fodder, but it’s fair to say that the particularly disturbing and on point look at misogyny within Object of My Affection is both incredibly welcome and a resounding success. The objectification of women is deftly turned into a weapon against sexism, and a genuinely terrifying morality tale. Hurrah for progressive filth!”

Object cover by Phillip Marsden and P M Buchan

This year I’ve worked with Beast Wagon co-creator John Pearson (Rue Morgue) again on a new strip called Click Bait, about Japanese YouTube schoolgirl celebrities. I have a lot of pent up feelings about the institutional sexism that seems to be prevalent throughout society and the ways that this manifests in the representation of women in comics. Click Bait addresses some of those issues in my characteristic understated and subtle way. I’ll update this site when I can confirm when and where it will be published.

Click Bait preview

Following a similar theme, by this point readers may have noticed that behind the plot of my Gothic-horror series with Karen Yumi Lusted (Tommi C and the Cat Burglar), La Belle Dame Sans Merci, lies the question of what is a femme fatale? I find the archetypal notion of the femme fatale, going from modern Neo Noir back to the Romantic poets and earlier, to be problematic. This series tackles some of those ideas. La Belle Dame Sans Merci Chapter Three is still on track for release this year, an oversized issue about child abductors, Hell and redemption.

LBDSM 3 preview

Finally, work continues slowly with artist Caspar Wijngaard (Tortured Life) on a story that we’re developing together, and like so many of my stories, it seems to be really benefiting from the additional time that we’re giving to it. More news on this when it’s ready.woe2pGWJ

How To Make A Monster

March 25, 2015

This site has been a desolate wasteland since a couple of big writing projects took off at the end of last year. I can’t reveal the main projects that I’m working on, BUT, I’m also collaborating with some insanely talented artists on a number of short and long-form comic-book projects that I hope will be ready to talk about soon.

Here’s a character sketch from an idea that I’m developing with Caspar Wijngaard, famous for his work on Tabitha, Tortured Life and other T-Pubs series. I don’t want to reveal too much, other than to say that it was born in part from my desire to create something that would play to Caspar’s dark side and flair for creating monsters.

Caspar Wijngaard concept art

The third chapter of La Belle Dame Sans Merci, co-created by Karen Yumi Lusted, is due for completion shortly and I’ll be announcing exactly where and when the comic will launch as soon as the pinups and backup material are complete. This is our longest issue yet, wrapping up La Belle Dame’s journey and delivering an ending, of sorts. You can buy chapters one and two in my online store.

LBDSM 2 cover by Karen Yumi Lusted low res

I’m also collaborating with Owen Johnson (Raygun Roads) on another project that’s still in it’s infancy. We’re holding regular meetings to hurl abuse at one another and conjure up a world that people will want to visit. Owen recently led a successful Kickstarter campaign with John Pearson, who I collaborated with last year on a series of Manson Family prints and adult horror anthology, Love Will Tear Us Apart (also available to buy online). Owen and John’s series together, Beast Wagon, is a thing of beauty, and I remember well the initial phone call with Owen early last year when he talked about his ideas to create a story about talking animals in the zoo and I egged him on to take the concept as far as it could go. As a result of his work on Love Will Tear Us Apart, John Pearson has recently completed some illustrations with my good friend Tomb Dragomir for Rue Morgue Magazine, which are well worth taking a look at.

The UK collected edition of The Object of My Affection, with co-creator Phillip Marsden (Kerrang!, Off Life), is currently being prepared for printing and will hopefully be ready to launch at a comic festival in the near future. The collected edition features a new pinup created by Gareth Brookes (The Black Project) and Asterinidae hand embroidery. Laura Sneddon (The Guardian, The Independent) said of Object: “Underground comics are often unfairly dismissed as misogynistic male fantasy fodder, but it’s fair to say that the particularly disturbing and on point look at misogyny within Object of My Affection is both incredibly welcome and a resounding success. The objectification of women is deftly turned into a weapon against sexism, and a genuinely terrifying morality tale. Hurrah for progressive filth!”

Object cover by Phillip Marsden and P M Buchan

I contributed to a series of State of the Small Press Nation columns written by Broken Frontier‘s Andy Oliver, analysing the market for independent comics in the UK. I discuss my views on the importance of expanding the readership for comic-books in the UK, choosing the right conventions to exhibit at and the ways that having a family can affect convention appearances. You can read the full series of columns here.

The talented Alasdair Stuart reviewed my adult horror anthology, Love Will Tear Us Apart, co-created with RGB, and said: “Buchan’s ear for dialogue is perfect and there’s something horrifically British about the extended silences and hunched, quiet children trying not to get in trouble.

“When the end times come, the story kicks up two gears and the result is extraordinary. There’s one page here that’s easily the nastiest thing I’ve seen done with a zombie in the last year and the ending is both emotionally satisfying and full of action catharsis. It’s a tough piece about a tough group of people and what may be their last actions but it’s also intensely compassionate and humane.

“That same compassion is on display in (short story) Drinking Bleach Instead. A couple, held together by politeness and necessity more than love, encounter the end of the world not threatening their children, but through them. This plays like classic ‘70s horror, the small cast and location creating a pressure cooker of tension. The ending is inevitable but no less horrific for that and the piece works as a carefully considered polar opposite of Love Will Tear Us Apart.

“This is a fantastic pair of horror stories from some of the best creators in the UK. It’s not easy reading at times but the best horror never is and this is certainly some of the best horror I’ve read this year.”

Love Will Tear Us Apart promo logo

I’ve also done a few Starburst Magazine reviews of my own in the past couple of months, namely the excellent children’s collected editions Pirates of Pangaea, Bunny Vs Monkey and Long Gone Done.

Speaking of reviewers, talented US reviewer Brett Schwaner, who has been a big champion of my work and UK comics in general, is preparing to release his first illustrated horror novel, Guignol – A Tale of Escalating Horror. You can read a free preview on his site an it’s well worth your time, illustrated by ‘New Orleans punk rock legend Keith Hogan’.

Finally, you can now read my savage three-page fantasy comic strip with Anna Fitzpatrick, My Heart Is Yours, online, as reported by Forbidden Planet International. Thanks as always to Joe Gordon and Rich Bruton for their support of comic creators in the UK.

My Heart Is Yours page 1 by Anna Fitzpatrick and P M Buchan

Love Will Tear Us Apart

November 11, 2014

Launching in New Dock Hall, Table 187 at Thought Bubble in Leeds on Saturday 15th November 2014, is my new adult horror collection, Love Will Tear Us Apart, illustrated by debut comic artist RGB and John Pearson (Beast Wagon, CULT), with pinups by INDIO! (Raygun Roads, Stephenson’s Robot) and Mark Chadwick (Raygun Roads, The Electra Tattoo Company) and a rundown of the Top 11 zombie terror tunes of all time by Tomb TV and Rue Morgue Radio‘s Tomb Dragomir.

Love Will Tear Us Apart promo logo

Love Will Tear Us Apart is a 48-page adult horror anthology that tackles themes of domestic abuse and familial responsibilities in an apocalyptic setting. In the end times, nobody will have more to lose than parents, and this collection reflects the ways that my outlook on life changed when I became a father.

As well as the physical copy, which launches on the 15th of November, a digital version will be available at from Monday 17th November, in a PDF that has been optimised for iPad screens.

Love Will Tear Us Apart poster

I’ll be exhibiting at Thought Bubble with long-suffering associate Jack Fallows, who’ll be selling copies of his self-loathing diary comic Axolotl 2. You’ll be able to buy copies of my Manson Family-inspired CULT A3 art prints, created with artist John Pearson. There’ll be special offers for anybody buying Love Will Tear Us Apart and the CULT prints together. I’ll also be selling copies of Gothic-horror series La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which comes with a free downloadable soundtrack, and BLACKOUT II: YOLO, the satirical horror-comedy anthology featuring strips by Jack Fallows, Phillip Marsden, Chris Doherty, Trystan Mitchell, Mike Barnes and Harley Poe‘s Joe Whiteford. Finally, there’ll be early bird discounts for anybody that wants to buy any of the above before 12pm on the Saturday.

If you’re coming to Thought Bubble, I’ll be at the Raygun Roads unofficial Thought Bubble party on Friday night and then the British Comic Awards and mid-con party on Saturday night. Say hi if you see me!

Sadie - By John Pearson and P M Buchan

CULT prints on sale at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival

October 6, 2014

On the 18th and 19th of November in the Comics Clock Tower at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, in Kendal, I’ll be selling exclusive, limited-edition prints, illustrated by John Pearson, that were created earlier this year for the CULT exhibition at Orbital Comics, in London. This will be the first time that these A3 prints have been available to buy and initially they will be for sale only in person at the Comics Clock Tower.

Sadie - By John Pearson and P M Buchan

This series of three CULT art prints, based on the lives of Charles Manson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, juxtaposes images of youth and beauty with scenes of the atrocities perpetrated by the Manson Family. My fascination with the notion that a group of young people could create a community, based on values of love and togetherness, that degenerated into committing some of the most shocking murders of the twentieth century, is something that I continue to explore in every medium available.

Working with a creative, talented portrait artist like John Pearson was a dream come true and we continue to collaborate on new projects that have not yet been announced. Look out for Pearson at Thought Bubble in Leeds this November, where he’ll likely be creating some kind of deranged live art over the course of the weekend.

Back from the dead!

September 17, 2014

If you’re looking to buy disturbing, adult horror comics, you’d better add the Lakes International Comics Art Festival (LICAF) in Kendal and Thought Bubble Sequential Arts Festival in Leeds to your calendar, because I’ll be exhibiting at both later this year, selling copies of Gothic-horror series La Belle Dame Sans Merci and obscene horror-comedy anthology BLACKOUT, as well as launching a new collection called LOVE WILL TEAR US APART.

P M Buchan at CULT

I’ll be at the Lakes Festival with BLACKOUT co-creator and long-suffering accomplice Jack Fallows on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th October 2014, in the Comics Clocktower, alongside fellow GHOSTS comic-art collective member Owen Johnson. The first LICAF last year was an incredible experience where the town really embraced the spirit of a European comic festival, so I was thrilled to receive an invitation to exhibit again.

At Thought Bubble I’ll be sharing a table with (you guessed it) Jack Fallows again, creator of the misanthropic romance collection Axolotl, and we’ll be in Leeds on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th November, in New Dock Hall. Thought Bubble was founded by my old workmate Tula Lotay and is one of my favourite events of the year. See you there!

In other news, the CULT exhibition that I put on at Orbital Comics in London with GHOSTS Owen Johnson, Andrew Tunney, Jon Lock, Mark Penman, Nich AngellJames Lawrence and John Pearson was an overwhelming success. Extended for an extra week due to popular demand and attended by some fantastic people, CULT was a chance to create dark art for the masses, and we had a ball.

P M Buchan at Orbital Comics

Bleeding Cool called us “an extraordinarily impressive group of creators” and “seven of the best comic creators on the planet making the best comics they can”. Forbidden Planet International called us “seven extremely talented individuals”. The focal point of the exhibition was a massive party with live music and live art, which culminated in me ending up wearing facepaint at a bar in central London where Korean tourists queued to have their picture taken with me and I tried to convince the team behind Twisted Dark that Newcastle Brown Ale was nothing to turn their noses up at.

Over the summer I also acted as a juror for the British Fantasy Awards for the second year in a row. Organised by the British Fantasy Society, I acted as juror in the categories of Best Comic/Graphic Novel, for which we chose Becky Cloonan’s Demeter, and Best Artist, for which we chose Joey Hi-Fi. Both very worthy winners, and I felt privileged to read so many talented works of art in the judging process.

The GHOSTS collective at Orbital Comics

Lastly, and probably more important than any of the above, Brett Schwaner at Screen Door Revolution reviewed the second issue of La Belle Dame Sans Merci (which you can buy here), which he called “a morality-bending psychodrama”, saying “Issue two continues with non-stop nihilistic demonic mayhem from cover to cover, as P M Buchan’s femme fatale unravels like a cackling witch and readers are taken along for a psychotic ride with a ritualistic child killer.” This particular review meant a lot to me, because Brett supported LBDSM from the outset, and I *really* didn’t want to disappoint him with the second issue!

I’ve been quiet over the summer because I mostly stopped reviewing for Starburst, INFINITY and The Times Literary Supplement, wanting to focus on my own stories this year. You won’t be seeing the fruits of that work for a while, but I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with some incredibly talented artists in 2014, and the future is looking pretty exciting. La Belle Dame Sans Merci Chapter Three is due out at the beginning of 2015, and The Final BLACKOUT had to go on the backburner for the sake of our sanity, but the summer has definitely not been wasted. Watch this space.

CULT launches at Orbital Comics in London

April 14, 2014

Today marks the opening of an exhibition that I’m a part of at Orbital Comics in London. Running from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th April, CULT is a collection of cult-inspired artwork created by the GHOSTS comic-art collective, which includes Owen Johnson, Andrew Tunney, Jon Lock, James Lawrence, Mark Penman, Nich Angell and me. Today is your first opportunity to buy specially designed prints and original art from the members of GHOSTS. Many of these creations will only be available at the CULT exhibition or have very limited print runs that will be made available to attendees of CULT exclusively during the exhibition.

CULT web teaser

I’ll be at Orbital on Saturday 19th April signing and selling comics from 2pm until 5pm, and then we’ll be hosting an exclusive lock-in party throughout the evening, where you can join us for drinks and occult conversation. The party will also feature a one-night-only live music performance by cosmic punk band, Raygun Roads & The Kittelbach Pirates. Entry is free with a purchase of GHOSTS exhibition material. If you want to be guaranteed a place at the party be sure to arrive at Orbital before 6:30pm. Space will be limited and we’re expecting a lot of guests.

CULT at Orbital Comics

UPDATED – To accompany the exhibition, the brilliant Alasdair Stuart from Bleeding Cool has conducted the definitive GHOSTS interview, An Army of GHOSTS Takes Over London. Click on the link to head across to Bleeding Cool and find out how GHOSTS was founded, which member of the group Mark Penman head butted and what happened during the dark puberty of Owen Johnson.

Alex Fitch of Panel Borders also interviewed Owen Johnson, Andrew Tunney, Mark Penman and James Lawrence on his (GHOSTS of) Young Graphic Novelists show, which can be streamed or downloaded from the Panel Borders website. Thanks also to downthetubes and Forbidden Planet International for covering the show, which gives a little too much insight into the minds of these deranged creators.

Of course, the central conceit of GHOSTS is that of seven UK comic creators working together to extend our reach and shake off the ghosts of our predecessors. As soon as we started work on the “Seven friends…” tagline, as soon as that basic rule was established, I knew that I was going to break it. Because the theme of the exhibition is CULT, and I was already working on a project based on the Manson Family, and what drives young people to put their faith in the wrong people, with an artist called John Pearson. John and I had never worked together before, but surely it couldn’t be coincidence that we were creating art inspired by life in the love and terror cult, and that the GHOSTS collective had independently suggested the theme of CULT?

My section for the exhibition was created in collaboration with John Pearson, a man I hardly knew who has become integral to the CULT exhibition. Given that he was a complete enigma, I spoke to John to find out more about what inspires him and why he agreed to work with me on such a dark project.

John Pearson

Who are you? Tell me about your background and how it led to sequential art.

I’m a troublemaker living in Leeds, who draws things. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember in one form or another. The biggest influence on my passion for drawing had always been my oldest brother. He got me interested in science fiction and fantasy through the old Fighting Fantasy choose your own adventure books and I was always trying to draw the quests I would read about. He would let me borrow his old comics and I would just sit and draw, I’d spend hours with the old Marvel run of Star Wars comics and just sketch out the images. Over the years I’ve done more jobs than I can remember in the creative field. I come from a Fine Art background, which has given me experience across the board with creative approaches, and an overwhelming “fuck it and do it” sensibility, so I’ve always been one to just get stuck in without reservation when it comes to creative work, regardless of whether or not I know what I’m doing.

I had a lot of links to the hardcore punk scene across the country around the time I graduated, and started up my own DIY screen-printing and design company out of my garage. I printed t-shirts and record sleeves for a range bands for a few years before the isolation of printing in the darkness on my own, in the blistering heat and often only in my underwear, finally set in. I worked in education for a while as well as illustration after that, and always endeavoured to combine my personal artistic influences with the classes I taught. I can remember getting a group of 11 year olds to recreate a huge Jack Kirby spread, each taking a small section and putting their own spin on it then combining the sections to make a gigantic mural. There was nothing more satisfying than witnessing a group of kids getting excited about sequential art from an activity I’d devised, not only just soaking it in but actually exploring the art in their individual ways and making it their own.

After spending a long time illustrating movie posters and film related commissions, I decided to finally do my own comic book a few years back and collaborated with an old friend to create a vile piece of work called Lies & Phalluses, and then a far more personal comic book following that called, Square Brow, about the daily adventures of my best friend Lauren. From that point I did a lot of character design, got involved with Thought Bubble for the last few years and worked on exhibitions including CULT. I keep taking on far more commissions that I can deal with, but sleep is something I’ve learnt to live without.


Where might people have seen your work before?

I’ve completed a variety of projects over the last few years, from Secret 7″ to working with Lionsgate films, and have exhibited illustrations in the UK and in the USA. People usually find me in Leeds lurking around in the shadows of art events with a beer in hand. I’ve been doing a lot of live illustration of recent which is something I’m working on developing over the next few months. I did a piece with Black Rose Collective last month, they’re an artist led group that sets up a lot of live painting events around Leeds and that’s prompted me to push things to a larger scale. I’ve been selling my wares at conventions and pop ups and generally being a thorn in people’s sides over the last few years. You might have been one of the few people brave enough to pick up one of my comics or illustration zines from the last few Thought Bubble conventions.

I’m currently working on a comic based on the dream journal that I’ve been keeping, which is shaping up to be a mixture of Charles Burns and Jodorowsky in terms of content. There’s minimal dialogue and no linear narrative, it’s focusing on the images and recurring themes throughout the dream extracts. It’s exciting to be working on something so personal, but at the same time a little daunting that I’ll be putting down on paper depictions of my raw experiences being digested. Snippets of that journal have escaped into existence through different forms already, the best of which was when I went to an open mic night with the intention to read poetry but had nothing prepared in advance. I signed up and was the final performer of the night following a sea of deluded acoustic acts. I was wasted and wild by this stage, and all I had with me was my dream journal, so I asked the organiser if I could open the fire escape and read from the car park. I made him stand next to me holding my whiskey and lighting my cigarettes, dedicated the reading to the previous musician who I said I would fuck for an unknown reason, then read a dream about me cooking a turkey in fear until when I opened the oven door the turkey was crowned by a huge penis which gave me an intense sense of relief. Whatever insight into my subconscious that gives is still up for debate.


Who would you say are your peers or biggest influences?

I’ve always loved film, and a lot of the posters and concept art that goes with it has been a massive influence to me. Drew Struzan was one of the biggest influences, it always blew me away how he could capture the characters so perfectly and compose the pieces in a way that flowed from the page and made you desperate to see those movies. Jean Giraud is another influence, such a crisp style and balance of detail and negative space that makes the work pop. I’ve always been a sucker for detail and capturing people accurately, and it’s a constant challenge for me developing my illustrations to reach that balance of detail and space without overworking them. So many pieces fall into being overworked and it’s easy to get caught up in those details and miss the purpose of the final piece.

Someone who I’m really liking at the moment is Ben Horton who does the designs for $lave skateboards, he’s got a beautiful style that mixes realism and something more expressive. I read an interview the other day with him that he got into skateboarding because of the freedom to do whatever the hell you want, and that comes through in his art. I think that’s something that can be a downside to a lot of sequential art to be honest, it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of predictability and conforming to what’s already been laid down, but thankfully there’s a hell of a lot of people pushing to do things a little different in the UK indie scene and self publish on their own terms.


Do you have a soundtrack while you draw?

I smash my own face against the wall rhythmically and scream “WHY ME?!” over and over again when I have tight deadlines, which, when coupled with an internal dialogue of self-deprecation and background white noise, makes the standard soundtrack to any creative endeavour.

Music and illustration have always been synonymous to me, I spent my childhood in a dark room listening to punk records and reading comic books, then worked a lot of designs for bands whilst playing music myself and helping put out records on a DIY label. I cannot work without music, it fuels creativity. Currently I’ve been listening to this big playlist for the work on CULT, here’s a little taste of what’s on it:


Danzig – Am I Demon

Misfits – Hybrid Moments

Simone Felice – Ballad of Sharon Tate

Sufijan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy Jr.

Death In June – All Pigs Must Die

Eagulls – Nerve Endings

Dead Boys – All This and More

Stooges – Gimme Danger

Reagan Youth – Degenerated


Why are we working together?

Two years ago I illustrated a comic called Lies & Phalluses, about a designer drug that gives the main protagonist uncontrollably intense erections and a compulsion towards debauched sexual experiences. That comic was filled with images of trousers being torn apart by a gigantic penis and culminates with the ejaculations becoming so intense the main character is pulled down through his body and out through his own cock, flipping him inside out in a bizarre birthing ceremony. At Thought Bubble this caught your attention, as it was around the release of the first colour BLACKOUT, and from that we ended up having conversations about collaboration based on our mutual love for the vile and depraved. The ideas for the CULT pieces developed quickly and stemmed from other projects we were talking about involving members of the Manson family. The most beautiful thing about working together is that I’ve been given a taste for how far we can push things. There’s nothing I enjoy more than testing limits, and the work we’ve made for CULT is just a glimpse of what we could achieve in future.


What is it that attracts you to dark art?

The most interesting things are pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable, I’ve always felt a sense of warmth with the darker side of things be it art, film, music or everyday life. A lot of that comes from the dreams I have. I’ve been blessed with lucid dreams and recurring nightmares throughout my life, and have sporadic sleep paralysis. Every time I say to someone how I woke up believing I was possessed, trying to scream and escape myself but being trapped in my own mind they give me an awkward look and generic comments about how it sounds horrible, to which I laugh with “nothing makes me happier”, and it’s true. The shock of things is stimulating, it’s not about being sensationalist and simply doing things for a reaction, it’s more of an internal thing for me.

When it comes to art, I’ve always been interested in depictions of pain and the human condition, be it Francis Bacon, Goya, Walter Sickert and so on. When it comes to sequential art the turning point for me was when I started reading 2000AD, I can remember the exact issue that did it, I was ten years old and it was prog 901. I fell in love with how much darker, grittier and brutally hilarious it was compared to the Marvel titles I’d read previously. Mark Harrison’s work on Durham Red was mindblowing, and so sexually charged. The same goes for Chris Weston on Rogue Trooper and Clint Langley on Nemesis. I could almost taste those illustrations, they were so saturated with character, at the time I was almost sickened by it, because it was so different to what I’d experienced and I didn’t understand that sensation, but then I grew to love that feeling and kept trying to recreate it with more extreme visual experiences. That first prog I picked up really left a long lasting impression on me.


Where do you see your art leading you in the future?

I’m working on so many ventures right now, my body is on the verge of shutting down. I’m in the process of getting new studio space at the artist led Assembly House Studios in Leeds, to work on some bigger projects. There are two exhibitions I have in the pipeline for Leeds in the next few months, plus the dream journal comic book that I’m hoping to have out for Thought Bubble in November. As far as where all this is leading me, I’m not sure, and I like it that way. I take hold of every opportunity and always push myself. While that might ultimately be the death of me, so far it’s working out pretty well. I’m spontaneous, I don’t dwell on things to a point of inaction, I just get things done when they arise. I’m looking forward to new collaborations and projects whatever they might be, especially with the sequential art side of my work. I like to keep flexible so I don’t have a path I feel compelled to tread. I love illustration in any form, and the one thing I know I’ll be doing for sure is drawing until my fingers bleed.

The Shining print by John Pearson. Not for CULT! His CULT pieces can currently be seen only at Orbital Comics.

The Shining print by John Pearson. Not for CULT! His CULT pieces can currently be seen only at Orbital Comics.

Also, completely unrelated to CULT, I reviewed Higurashi Volume 24 for Starburst Magazine this month. Higurashi is easily my favourite manga of all time, and this penultimate volume doesn’t disappoint.



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