Thursday, 26 August 2021

Newark here we come!

At this time of year we're normally gearing up for one of our favourite events, the Asylum Steampunk Festival, but well for obvious reasons it's not happening but we are attending a much smaller scaled back, steampunk market in nearby Newark-on-Trent! 

It's obviosuly not the same - what is these days? - but it's a lovely gesture by the Ministry of Steampunk and the local council to accommodate those, like us, who had booked their accommodation in good faith and were intending to travel just for a well deserved break, so now there will be a steampunk flavour to Newark's regular artisan and food market this Sunday, market place, 10 am to 3pm.

We're looking forward to it and if half as enjoyable as both Blists Hill and Scott's Free Comic Book Day event we'll be happy - Dave may even wear his shorts! 

I've done a few English Civil War Sketches for Newark!

Friday, 6 August 2021


After a fun and succesful return to Blists Hill a couple of weeks ago I'm delighted to confirm our next appearance, (with a further few to follow as some sense of 'normality' returns!).

Free Comic Book Day celebrates it's 20th anniversary this year as a global event amongst comic stores and stockists as a way of highlighting the comic industry and reminding readers, old and new, of it's uniqueness as a medium of entertaining storytelling.

To play our part in this annual celebration, Gary 'WesterNoir' Crutchley and I will be representing Accent UK alongside three other amazing local comic creators at Warrington's finest comic shop, Scott's Pops & Comics in the new Warrington Market!

Delighted to be part of this, not least of which because Scott is of course our eldest who bravely opened his shop last year during the pandemic and recently celebrated his first anniversary - no mean feat in the challenging circumstances!

All are welcome to join us for what promises to be a fun day, please check out Scott's Facebook event page here for full and further details! 

And if Warrington is a bit too far for you to travel, try a search in your own area to see what your local comic show is up to next weekend. 

Monday, 12 July 2021

Back To School!


We are delighted to confirm that our comics collective, Accent UK will be returning to the convention scene this coming weekend at The Town That Never Was, the annual Steampunk Festival at Blists Hill Victorian Town, part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums group!

We've had this event penciled in for some time, but with a change of dates, various ongoing restrictions - and sadly the continuing cancellation of most other conventions and festivals, we'd remained cautious, possibly too cautious in announcing it, but here we are! 

The Cthulu Party's succesful mayoral campaign of 2019

It'll - gulp - be my first event since Copenhagen in 2019 and the first together with Dave West in almost two years. In fact it's almost 18 months since we've last seen each other so you can see why we're getting a wee bit excited about being allowed out in the wild again!

The event is again run by the Ministry of Steampunk, (those splendid people behind the excellent Asylum Steampunk Festival, sadly cancelled again this year despite best efforts) in conjunction with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and this will be it's 4th appearance with us attending them all, exhibiting at the last three.

Everyone welcome from Hopeless Main to Mars (doesn't) Attacks - ack! ack!

It's a remarkable place a town literally rebuilt brick by brick around a foundry to preserve a lost way of life with working printers, blacksmiths, bakers, pub, sweet shop, chippy & much more! Special as all this is, when enhanced by the splendour of steampunk visitors it really comes into its own with attractions, musical acts, dancing, demonstrations, dinosaur detectives, artists, traders, makers & more, really bringing the town alive.

Colin meets his Asylum comic story stars!

This time, we are to be housed in the Stirchley Board School (site 46 on the map below!) dating from 1881 where along with other artists and imagineers we are presenting the perfect Back To School tonic of ABC.....Art, Books & Comics!

We are, as you can see, quite excited by actually having an event to go to and an opportunity to catch up with visitors and the wonderful steampunk community that we are privalged to be a small part of. Please do consider popping in if your logistics and personal situation allows as you are guaranteed a very different, refreshing and inspiring experience and if you visit the school we promise to go easy on the homework!

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Drawing the Charge of the Light Brigade!

Going through my art files I was reminded of this wee sketch I did of the Charge of the Light Brigade as part of my commission a couple of years ago for London's National Army Museum's new 'Society' gallery - art by me, colours by Matt Soffe. 

My long held interest in this subject was borne by a childhood viewing of Tony Richardson's landmark 1968 movie. I was probably 9 or 10 when I spotted a late night television scheduling of the movie and successfully negotiated with my parents to stay up late on a school night to watch it - clearly the sign of a young mind brainwashed by a love of history!

An old sketch of mine of a couple of the brave 600!

Although I retained an interest and have a few books on the Crimea, I'd only ever done a couple of sketches and had never seriously thought about doing something 'comicy' about the period in the same way as I had, and continue to do with the Anglo-Zulu War, so this was the perfect opportunity.

The project brief was to provide a pictorial progression of how 'Society' had depicted the army/military  in popular culture over a 100+ year timeframe, so starting with 1850's story papers, I chose to show a dramatic image from the famous charge, inspired by some of the period paintings of the time, particularly Richard Caton Woodville's dramatic painting, which I had a postcard copy of. 

Caton Woodville's The Relief of the Light Brigade (1854)

Suitably inspired, I started pencilling the action.....

Adding a little detail to better show the chaos of when the Light Brigade finally clashed with the Russian lines, cannons and all! 

Then beginning the inking....

.....and inking some more.....

... until completed, ready for Matt's colours, as shown in the final version at the top of this page.

And here's a little glimpse of the artist by the entrance to the NAM's Society gallery where the final piece was installed as a 'flip book/comic' for all visitors to see!


Interestingly enough, the NAM's Society gallery also featured a copy of the same Caton Woodville painting that had sparked my inspiration!

Not sure if I'll return to the subject but it was fun, with a soft spot for this previously unseen colour image of a Crimean-era Highland Soldier, (again coloured by Matt) when the final version remained in black n white, in keeping with the era the periodical presented.

Monday, 24 May 2021

Go Well

Been too much sad news since I last posted with important and notable double losses within both my Zulu and Comics communities which have made many other things appear trivial. Much has been written about these four very different individuals and although I have made a few comments and contributions elsewhere at the time of their passing, I don't think it appropriate to go into detail here out of respect to each other and the loved ones they left behind, other than to say that they have all been in my thoughts and will be much missed by their respective communities.

Hamba Kahle

Friday, 22 January 2021

Zulu Reflections

iSandlwana 2019, note marquees for commemoration event
'A' Company The Diehards Victorian Living History Group

Today marks the 142nd anniversary of the Battle of iSandlwana and the commencement of the action at Rorke's Drift in South Africa. Like every year, I have paused to pay my respects to the many brave soldiers, warriors and civilians who sadly lost their lives or their way of living during the conflict.

Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift 22 January 2019

One of the locals!

As previously noted, my interest in the events of 1879 was originally stirred by the 1964 movie ZULU, leading to a few books (cough, small library!), re-enactment events, museum visits and eventually several battlefield visits all leading to a hopefully deeper understanding of the period and the people.  

The Zulu Nation's Future

These interests have led to a fair few adventures under the African skies and many memorable moments shared with the delightful Zulu people and fellow history enthusiasts leading to friendships, fun and inspiration. In these challenging times when travel is a distant hope and hardship a reality, we cling onto such moments and memories and look forward to a safe time when we can have new Moments of Adventure!   

A lovely reception from the villagers who remembered our previous visit!

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Better than a Poke in the Eye?

The answer to the above question in relation to 2020 is a tough one isn't it? No doubt all your plans were cancelled and replaced with unexpected restrictions as the whole world was turned upside down and we've all had to deal with things previously unimagined in our lifetimes. 

For those families who have suffered illness and loss or financial hardship, 2020 will be hard to get over and sadly we're still in the thick of the storm with no clear endpoint. We don't know how all this will play out and the future remains uncertain.

In these times talk of comics and plans can feel trite and insignificant and at other times can offer a comforting refuge to provide focus for a positive escape and reminder of what was and can be again. 

I have been both in and out of love with comics and creating them this year but they remain important to me, but not as important as my family who have all excelled in different ways this year to face the new challenges placed on them and in doing so they have given me many positive experiences and memories and I hope that that has been the same for you in whatever challenges you have faced.

Best wishes to all and to a brighter future ahead. 

A New Year Gift for you - if Hulk shares?