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Starburst Magazine 385, my comics reviewed & an interview with Steven Hall!

January 20, 2013

Starburst Magazine issue 385 is now on sale, directly through the Starburst website, on newsstands across the UK and at retailers around the world, and through iTunes for iPad. My Starburst column designed to introduce new readers to comics, Adventures On Alternative Earths, has been a mainstay throughout this current incarnation of Starburst, a fact that never ceases to put a smile on my face. This month I recommend the criminally-overlooked horror graphic novel Adamtine by Hannah Berry, the universally-acclaimd (and rightly so!) The Hive by Charles Burns and Ashley Marie Witter’s adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic novel Interview With The Vampire. I also give my own work a few more column-inches than usual, as I discuss my experiences exhibiting at a comic convention for the first time. To compensate for my shamelessness I also devote a page of my column to the British Comic Awards, the first of what I hope will become a British institution.

Starburst 385

This month’s Starburst strip, The Shoemaker’s Shame, was illustrated by M D Penman, creator of the Slave Labor Graphics title Peadbody & D’Gorath. A loveable lunk, part rockabilly and part Christopher Reeves-playing-Superman, Penman has just released a digital version of his latest comic D’Gorath of the Realm, and it’s a fantastically unhinged fantasy adventure, far better than I first gave him credit for. Our strip together is based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Elves and the Shoemaker, but of course includes transvestism, booze and suicide. Seeing the way that he illustrated those nose-picking, thong-wearing elves, I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.

The Elves and the Shoemaker

Rounding out my Starburst contributions this month is a three-page interview with Steven Hall, author of my favourite British novel The Raw Shark Texts, about his writing for Crysis 3. I’ve been looking for a good excuse to interview Mr Hall for at least a year, and although the focus for Starburst was his new game, the focus for me has always been his mind-blowing prose. Check out the interview for more details about his eagerly-awaited second novel! Reading The Raw Shark Texts was a real turning point for me as a writer, so being able to give something back with this interview meant a lot to me.

In other news, I set up a Comicsy webstore this week to sell digital versions of my comics! Visit to buy BLACKOUT and La Belle Dame Sans Merci (in addition to my existing store at, where you can also buy printed editions). Comicsy sells itself as the Small Press Marketplace of the UK and I’d second that description. It’s completely free to sell your creations on Comicsy and the community there is already pretty representative of the breadth of comic creators in the UK, despite opening only a couple of months ago. If you make and sell your own comics then I thoroughly recommend it.

Speaking of my comics, a couple of great reviews have surfaced online recently. On the Bleeding Cool forums a poster called MechanicleClavicles reviewed La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1 0f 4) and gave it 4 out of 5 stars, saying that “this is a wicked little indie comic featuring some truly deranged, damned, and sadistic characters. You probably don’t want to know what happens inside the pages of La Belle Dame Sans Merci (“A Woman Without Mercy”) #1 and I’m certainly not going to describe it here, because it’s simply too awful to relate!

Karen Lumi Lusted takes readers on a minimalist-manga-style trip into a day when desperate lives and restless spirits cross paths on a horrifying date with destiny. P.M. Buchan introduces two parallel storylines of amoral characters destined for doom and damnation. It’s a wicked introduction to a spine-tingled premise and you’ll surely be left wanting more if you’ve got the guts to read all the way to the final page.” The feeling, that complete strangers are reading my work and responding to it in this way, is phenomenal, so thank you MechanicalClavicles, whoever you are!

BLACKOUT 2 art by Jack Fallows, a site to encourage new comic readers, also reviewed BLACKOUT, and had a lot of great things to say about it. “The stories in here have been dredged up from the filth of the creators minds and it’s wonderful.  It’s depraved, it’s vulgar, it’s quite disgusting.  It’s highly entertaining.  If you want to read nasty fiction with no holds barred ideas, you’ll probably like this.” Again, being reviewed because I’ve submitted comics to be reviewed is one thing, but strangers responding to our creations is out of this world. Thank you!

That’s it for me this past month! I’m working on a pitch for a Folk-Horror series that will hopefully blister your eyeballs if all goes to plan, and then it will be time to write a script for the second issue of La Belle Dame Sans Merci. I’m hoping to do less interviews and writing that isn’t prose this year, but I say that to myself every month, and then the opportunity always presents itself to talk to people that I grew up reading. Just this morning I posted a letter to one of my favourite horror authors of all time, who just happens to have also directed one of my favourite films! It’s tough finding time for everything, but more rewarding than I could ever have dreamed. Wish me luck as I try to write to you nightmares!


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