Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good-bye 2007

I have returned from my Christmas revelries and in mere moments will place my nose on the grindstone once more in preparation for 2008. I hope the diversion of my end-of-year list was tolerable. Here it is in full, including numbers 21-30 but excluding numbers 31-42 which to be honest I just put in order for my own amusement. Yeah I heard that "Neon Bible", it would have made a pretty good 7" single. But no I didn't hear that new Animal Collective "Strawberry Jam" deal, I'm saving it for a slack week.

1 WIDOW CITY - Fiery Furnaces
2 RISE ABOVE - Dirty Projectors
4 MIRRORED - Battles
5 GA GA GA GA GA - Spoon
6 EASY TIGER - Ryan Adams
7 TONES OF TOWN - Field Music
9 SPIRIT IF - Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew
10 THE STAGE NAMES - Okkervil River
12 IN RAINBOWS - Radiohead
13 PERSON PITCH - Panda Bear
15 IMAGINE OUR LOVE - Lavender Diamond
16 DYNAMICO - Mitch Easter
18 THE PIRATE GOSPEL - Alela Diane
20 LIKE THE LINEN - Thao Nguyen
21 A BRIGHTER BEAT - Malcolm Middleton
22 TIME ON EARTH - Crowded House
23 BOXER - The National
24 MOUNT EERIE PTS 6+7 - Mount Eerie
25 23 - Blonde Redhead
28 WILD MOUNTAIN NATION - Blitzen Trapper
29 ARE THE DARK HORSE - The Besnard Lakes

I do have some (very very) modest diversions for Monday and Tuesday, but regular comics resume Wednesday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Albums not of the year

I spent Saturday compiling my albums of the year for 2007. Shelley has submitted some very thoughtful reviews this year - she's getting very good at this! Well, very good for someone whose thoughts aren't by any means well organised. Look out for them week of December 24.

But this year I heard a lot of records that I had missed on previous annual trawls. I've put an asterisk next to the ones you can get on - take advantage of their 50 free tracks new subscriber deals, it's a very good site if you like music on indie labels.


1. THE GLOW PART 2 - The Microphones *
2. EVERCLEAR - American Music Club *
3. SECAUCUS - The Wrens
4. ADELIE LAND - Handsomeboy Technique *
5. 完全な昼間 - Kabbadi Kabbadi Kabbadi Kabbadi
6. DOG PROBLEMS - The Format *
7. SING THE GREYS - Frightened Rabbit *
8. COSMIC THING - The B-52s
9. MEL - East River Pipe *

Now I realise that number 8 is a bit controversial - there was certainly a point in my life when I thought I'd be physically sick if I ever heard "Love Shack" again. It probably coincided with the period of my life where I had a series of "bad pints". But it's such a pretty, overlooked album and you can get it for a pound almost anywhere. LET'S RE-EVALUATE Y'ALL.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Terrible realisations that may cost me a wife

I just realised that when I air-drum at my desk with my Wacom pens (I have so many!), I do the "Meg White head thing". I can't help it, it makes drumming fun! NO ONE MUST EVER SEE THIS.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Experience ought to help you tell but it really doesn't

I have been practising some more with the Cintiq and Manga Studio, with a view to using them for my next side project. I stuck my finger at random in 2003's comics and redrew this one.

Monday, December 03, 2007

No A-loha(n)

I've had word in, it's official: from 12pm today you may now listen to your Christmas albums.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My youth

The circle has been squared, you can now watch old Chart Show specialist charts on Youtube!

The dance chart October 1989. I'm delighted to say that based on the record at number two, I still knew after 18 years what the record at number one was.* We didn't have a VCR in 1989, but I still remember being very, very disappointed.

The Indie Chart of March 1990. Fugazi were obviously too scary for Saturday lunchtime network TV but it didn't matter as they didn't make videos due to principles, so we got a Lush promo clip instead!!!

I am feeling weak and giddy and must rest. ENJOY THE PAST.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Flying vees

Cover work continues, I revised Shelley because the perspective was off and I wanted something slightly more manic. I think this might be where I leave it, I quite like it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Old Man Winter's clammy fingers

Dear friends, work has begun on Scary Go Round book 6, encompassing Jan-early Nov 2007's comics. I started a bit too fast last weekend and my body told me to slow down in no uncertain terms. But you will be pleased that I have made my first attempt at the cover! There are usually about 70 attempts, but it's something to look at isn't it? Yes it is.

See it here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I waited and waited and waited then stuck a pencil in my eye and felt better

I recently managed to score a second-hand Wacom Cintiq from a school at a "knock down price", and tests are ongoing indoors as to what I will use this fancy tablet-monitor witchcraft for. When I want to try something new out, I like to stick my finger randomly within the pages of Looks, Brains and Everything and re-draw the page at hand. So here's what I produced this time:

It was actually some of the bonus pages I drew to fill in the plot holes, so I can't offer you the original in the archive, but I have a feeling that seasoned blog readers already own this book.

Because the Cintiq screen is skiddy glass, it forces you to commit to more long strokes than I would normally make. But there you go, kind of a bonus comic for today!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dark farmhouses against the sky

I'm just trying to shove some of the mouldier old posts off the page. Noting useful to say at all.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mini-Lohan Christmas Spectrackular

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that Lindsey Lohan's little sister has made a Christmas album (featuring Lindsey and their doting mother!). I was excited, because I sensed that here we had a new release that would touch skyscraping holiday releases like Phil Spector's "A Christmas Gift For You" and Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas LP. But then I saw that it contained a song called "I Like Christmas".

I've never seen a more uninspiring song title than "I Like Christmas". You've gone to the recording studio to celebrate, in song, the birth of the one true messiah, with your "troubled" sister in tow, and the best you can come up with is "I Like Christmas".

I kind of picture it as a banjo-plucking number

I like Christmas
I like Elvis
I like gettin' high with elves
And I like pie


I like Jesus
I like George Strait
I like drivin' while I'm flyin'
A yi-yi-yi

Ding digga-ling-ding digga ling ding ding


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back to business

I just had a brilliant idea. When my Scary Go Round book collections go out of print, I'll delete all the comics that were in them from the site. That way, buying one of my books will be a ticket to a very exclusive club.... and everyone will want to be a member.

Now, this may sound drastic, but I went to business school*, and I know all about supply and demand. I'm giving it away like the school bike on the last day of summer term and this madness has to stop.

Of course, this will render the Scary Go Round archives very confusing, but I like to think that an "oral tradition" will spring up, where the old stories are retold round campfires. "And lo, the comic did return after Christmas... and all heads were HUGE".

I've had a few more business ideas. I'm going to take all the speech bubbles off the comics the day after they run. To hear the dialogue after that, you'll have to phone a premium rate line and request a live reading from one of our operators. And all you other webcomic artists, don't try to steal this idea, because I have patented it.

The final change I intend making is the insertion of a wealthy patron into the comic. Wallace Paul, a beneficiary of Google's IPO, recently divested himself of a lot of stock and made a considerable donation to me in exchange for a 5-year contract as co-star of Scary Go Round. I think you'll like him! You'll have to, as I'm contractually obliged to draw him in every panel.

Well, thanks for joining me for Mindshare Wednesday!

- John Allison

* in a dream, once

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Winners don't do hugs

I've been practising drawing Shelby Winner so she doesn't have five faces in her first five appearances (woah, daylight on magic there &etc). So here's one of several. There was a big hairstyle workshop a couple of Saturdays ago, which ended with the words "more thatchy" written over and over again.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hamsters are the reason

Shame on ALL OF YOU for the fact that I am now working on this. I extend the hand of friendship to the 11 people who will probably say they'd buy it so I don't feel bad in my life. It is now available - here's your chance to prove that reader pressure is a force for good.

An intermediate yellow deal I posted

My original rough

It's the Saddest Wookiee minus the sales, I think.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

...and heavy friends

It's time to gear up some new tshirt designs for Christmas, and maybe a hoodie too for those cold afternoons. I had a look in the ideas cupboard and it was pretty musty in there, but with a dinner of crumbs from the toaster in prospect, I knew I had to dig deep.

So I thought I'd do a series of SALUTES TO ROCK AND ROLL. Here's the first one, it's Led Zeppelin isn't it? If people like this one, I'll take requests and do a series of creepy looking band shirts. If people don't like this one, I'll make some shirts wth impenetrable phrases on them referring to sci-fi classics.

"My other car is the Starship Enterprise (the captain is Pike though see I know a lot about sci-fi)"

"Babylon 5? Babylon 4 more like oh wait that one vanished didn't it"

"I am a Cylon but we look like humans man now you're confused"

"Amy Acker ate my hamster"

and so on.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rocktober 2007: Head and Shoulders smile miasma

Rocktober came to a close with a full-on shoegazing spectacular on a Sunday. A small sonic cathedral was erected and every effects pedal in the borough was plugged in. The result: VWOMMMMMMMM.

ASOBI SEKSU + Scanners + Kyte @ Manchester Night & Day Café - October 28th

As the bald man grooves alone:

Kyte: pedals depressed vigorously. Young men, fresh from youth club, intent on celebrating the scene that celebrates itself. The main Kyte may have been singing in a language of his own creation or simply describing onomatopoeically the sound of two cushions rubbing against one another. Turning away from the crowd to hit a snare drum is the new thing. 6/10

Scanners: a furious racket as another British group emerges from a meeting declaring "Sleater-Kinney were right all along". I don't know why this is happening. The main singer lady knows what to do. Guitar lady knows what to do (although she is concentrating pretty hard so maybe she doesn't know all that well). Men of rock hold the line. They were pretty good! 8/10

Asobi Seksu: is she playing a keyboard? Yes she is playing a keyboard. The register high, the wall of sound deafening but soothing (mostly deafening). Asobi Seksu, you made me realise (that you are a decent band). 8/10


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hypothetical good news bad news desk

Changes are afoot for Scary Go Round art once more, I am strongly considering inking with a brush and drawing at twice the size. This shouldn't take me any longer (it's actually a lot easier to pencil when I don't have to shove everything into boxes 9cm or sometimes 7cm tall). But obviously there will be a period of adjustment as I am not the most disciplined brush-inker and will need time to get hep to bristle ways.

There's also a strong possibility that in the future I may have to switch to doing the comic in black and white - purely in service of the print editions. Colour printing is getting more and more expensive and the weak dollar means that while some of the sting is taken out of it for me, I'm selling fewer books (and all other items) to the USA, where the greatest percentage of my readers are. I don't like the idea of this move very much and if I can avoid it, I will. I certainly don't want to punish my many loyal readers, who like me, enjoy all colours.

Anyway that was the good news bad news desk, here are some roughs as I prepare for a new and whiskery way. I include a mess of black and white tones that ought to make any future efforts seem elegant and refined in comparison.

PS If you are from the Guardian and wish to serialise Scary Go Round in G2 daily in exchange for a fat wedge, that's fine! Just send me the fat wedge.

Monday, October 22, 2007


A nice profile piece and interview with one of my very favourite cartoonists, Posy Simmonds, in the Telegraph.

Rocktober 2007: they won't stop DRUMMING

My week of sonic sounds is now over. It was tough in the rock trenches, viewing acts that were in many ways disparate but all unified by a deep desire for the audience's love.

BATTLES + Prefuse 73 + Dirty Projectors @ Manchester Academy 2 - October 17th

Dirty Projectors: art pests or the future of sound? Musical Marmite reputation confirmed by "tricky" 12455/34761 time signature. The ladies sing pretty, a man moves around and sort of yelps. The drummer faces sideways. Excellent new "Rise Above" album very thinly mined. 6/10

Prefuse 73: you could tell these guys were into graffiti. They were very good at working their machines but I was not excited. 6/10

Battles: woah! What is going on? The widest keyboard, the hardest working man in showbusiness on drums. Robot vocals not actually performed by robot but instead by a man. More time signatures. This is the sort of music Buck Rogers and Twiki would dance to in the 25th century. 9/10

LES SAVY FAV + Clockwork @ Manchester Club Academy - October 21st

Clockwork: anyone who had been looking for an excuse that weekend to put their fingers in their ears was richly rewarded. A band who have heard Joy Division and want you to know it. 2/10

Les Savy Fav: a fusion of bog-standard late 90s indie rock and a tubby, bald, bearded fun-lover who delivers. Good times the order of the evening. Everyone is watching, no one is talking to their friend. The bald man runs around but there is no need to be scared. If you're lucky he will not sweat on you. 8/10


Although my birthday was on Saturday, it's not too late to send me a present, particularly if the present is:

1. A Cintiq
2. A unicorn ride
3. Some jam

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rocktober 2007: A maelstrom of difficult emotions

Last night I moved into town using short, sharp jerking movements. The railway approach platform lights were not working so it was a unique opportunity to journey into fear. Well, I say unique, they weren't working on Saturday either.


BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE PRESENTS KEVIN DREW: SPIRIT IF + Noah and the Whale @ Manchester Club Academy - October 16th

Noah and the Whale: proficient, but yawns prevail. The sound of the Neutral Milk Hotel with all feeling, fear and drama removed. O England! 4/10

Broken Social Scene: given their shrunken 4-beard line-up and a missing lead guitarist, most heads wore the forgiveness hat at a jaunty angle. But what was not to enjoy? Extra half mark for feeble but sustained attempt to play the hits of Pavement. Extra half mark for not cancelling and ruining Rocktober. 8.5/10

DISCLAIMER: All scores commensurate with cost of gig. Full disclosure: £15.

TONITE: ROCKTOBER 2007 LOSES ALL CONTROL WITH... BATTLES + Prefuse 73 + Dirty Projectors (!!!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rocktober 2007 COMMENCES

It's a big month for rock shows, I have poured your cash contributions to the Scary Go Round machine into the coffers of local ticket agencies and as a result have a glittering array of entertainments in prospect. In the time honoured style, I will review them with as little fuss as possible.


¡LOS CAMPESINOS! + You Say Party We Say Die + Sky Larkin @ Manchester Night & Day - October 13th

Sky Larkin: who can argue with these new sensations? Right minds across the nation firmly agree that they are "as good as Sleater Kinney" and can only get better! 8/10

You Say Party We Say Die: perm/bacofoil combo and frenzied attack matched only by resolute Canadian politeness. They're asking, but you're not dancing. Might just turn it around. 6.5/10

¡Los Campesinos!: No one can deny they have the chops and the new new sound. Front-Campesino needs a trip to the barber to truly convince. 1/3 shirtless line-up suggests that they will never fight in a man's army. The songs deliver! 8/10

DISCLAIMER: All scores commensurate with cost of gig. Full disclosure: £7.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hauntlie Two

On friday I have to draw Ryan and Shelley in their halloween costumes. What should they dress as? The prize in this no-purchase-necessary competition (as free as the air you breathe) is that, if successful, I will do what you say.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hauntlie Mk 1

After the success of the Big Chew 2007 yesterday, here's a new wallpaper to celebrate. It's halloween-ish but I think it might be good any time of the year! You can download it here, it's 1600x1200 pixels which should be big enough to swaddle any screen.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Big Chew 2007

There was a 100% positive vote for me to eat the three-years expired gum so here goes. I will write as I go. I have decided to eat two pieces at once as it is the "pellet" style rather than sticks of gum.

SMELL: it smells pleasantly minty with a "mountain frost" edge.

CONSISTENCY: slightly tackier than new gum, not smooth and shiny, probably due to the fusty air in my cupboard.

TASTE: now i don't think they made this mountain frost flavour for very long because it is suspiciously chemical. I am nervous about swallowing the resultant mouthful of saliva but I will force it down!

TASTE UPDATE: within a minute almost all flavour has completely vanished! The half life of flavour must be very short! I am chewing a mouthful of tasteless petrochemicals.

THE VERDICT: I feel a bit funny. I have gone blind in one eye and there is a ringing in my ear. Please someone call an ambul

Bounty from the cupboard depths

I dug out an old jeans jacket from the cupboard (for a fancy dress party) on Friday and in the pockets I found:

* 1 unopened pack of gum, expiry date 2004
* 1 unopened pack of "Listerine Breath Strips" which i can only imagine must have been free, expiry date 2004
* 87 pence, still legal tender

Now those breath strips were basically poison fresh from the packet so I don't intend investigating them further, but what of the unopened pack of Mr Wrigley's "Mountain Icy Wind" gum? What would happen if you chew a piece of gum that was officially dead in the water three years earlier? Will it crumble to dust in my mouth and choke me? Will it release toxins that render me a dessicated corpse in minutes? Is it full of 1000 tiny spiders?

It's up to you to decide: EAT or DON'T EAT! Following the result, there will be a special blog post with realtime chewing.

ABOVE: the kind of elaborate and exciting hallucinations I predict will result from this dangerous stunt.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Everything's going my way

Huge news. the Wispa has been reinstituted by Cadbury's ("Cadbury"). They had them at the station today! Maybe all my dreams are coming true one by one!

I wonder which of my dreams will come true next?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Goats glorious goats

Yesterday I found out that it's not that unusual for a goat to climb on top of a cow and stand there for a while. This is big news. If this keeps up (and what reason is there for it not to?), goats will surpass donkeys in my animal rankings system to take the number one spot. What do YOU know about goats?

I got my calculator and my slide rule out this morning and have decided, quite arbitrarily, that Ghosts (my most recent book) has not been a hit. I wouldn't say out loud that its sales have been weak, but if they were represented by a man, it would be the man below:

Three people have written to me to say that they enjoyed it, but one of them received it free and their experience may be coloured by that fact.

I suspect that this turn of events tells me the following:

a. The market does not want new Scary Go Round stories (it may be saturated by the current five-a-week schedule)
b. I should use my spare time just to go for a walk rather than crafting coherent tales
c. Bonfire night is coming soon and tinder has never been at such a premium

I am not too depressed as I really enjoy bonfire night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Take the pennant

Lars Brown has sent me a jam-centric drawing and I present it for your edification below.

Lars is the creator of "North World", the hottest new thing on the comics scene. He's got a book coming out, you'll enjoy reading it (if I know my onions - and I do).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Most haunted

I worked up a new tshirt design this morning. What do you think? (Nothing you say will make me change it unless you can produce a copy of your art degree certificate).

Following the inverse law of tshirt sales to design effort, I predict sales of around 4-7 units.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


There's a nip in the air, autumn has arrived and to celebrate, I have finished this poster and will run it hotfoot to the printer for consumption! It's not for everyone but I hope it appeals to a few folks who like both of the concepts addressed.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I don't know if I'm sold on this yet but efforts persist.

[EDIT] The finished version is above!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mystifying concepts desk

I have a lot of sketches knocking around for prints and posters that, as you have probably guessed, I will never make because of certain problems. Here's one that I quite liked, but should really be a poster for a rock show.

For example
+Bob Groke
and Jimmy Giggles

At Manchester Dog & Other Dog


Friday, September 07, 2007

An H and a P

A while ago Gene Ha, America's leading (some would say premier) comic book artist asked me to send him a pencil sketch so he could mess around with it. There wasn't really much to it but this is what eventually came back:

That someone who has worked with Alan Moore would take an interest in my little venture gave me a huge swell head for at least a week. Thank you Gene!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Some thoughts on Apple's new iPod line

For crying out loud, Steve Jobs, if you're going to tuck your jumper in (which is a peculiar move on its own), use some of your millions to BUY A BELT. Sweet Jesus almighty and all the saints, learn to get dressed.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A single yellow glove

Peter Marigold is a fascinating designer whose work has some very clever real world applications. After a day spent basically destroying my living room then attempting to restore order, I found the sentiments expressed in this interview with Mr Marigold very soothing.

I think the enforced gouging and and repainting in the front room is a watershed moment, a call to arms to put childish things aside and shape up, thirty year old man! Maybe next time I'll show you the neat isthmus I made of smashed laminate flooring and underlay. Pleasing.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good news bad news

A) The Ghosts books are in stock and look great. They are now on sale but...

B) Unfortunately during a routine boiler maintenance visit the engineer discovered a gas leak and I spent most of the last two hours ripping up the laminate flooring in the sitting room.

So when considering point A) please think kindly of me and also consider point B). The good news is, if the leak isn't in the sitting room, I will have to rip up all the flooring in the dining room too! HURRAY!


Addendum: OF COURSE that is not covered by my household insurance!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sketch blog etch-a-sketch mungo

All artists should keep a sketchbook and draw in it mercilessly, until the pages fall into dust and your finger becomes a pencil. I always have 3 or 4 on the go at once - for my ever-changing moods. I like to draw when I'm watching TV! Or waiting for a tardy friend in a public place. If you have a sketchbook, you still look friendless, but at least you're not bored.

Here are a couple of pages from the last month or so that you may enjoy. Or find awful.

I think the above page is good because it captures many of my preoccupations at once.

This page on the other hand is merely testimony to what I was watching at the time. Can you guess what it was? It wasn't terribly good.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A very short series (Ps: MUNGO!)

Influential webcomic artists that no one remembers #1: Scott Thigpen. Have we all lived so long? Scott was extremely nice to me on the way up. His reward is, from looking at his site, a fancy old life.

Mango Mungo


Proving that times have changed and etc, in the University shopping precinct on Oxford Road, there is an outfit offering the full range of waxing services. Now I believe that a person should be allowed to wax whatever they fancy, but I am really not sure about the arm wax. I have never looked at a lady's arm and thought "strong peasant blood!" I'm sure there are a few perma-sleeved werewolf arms out there, but the fact that arm waxing consumes one third of this shop's (wide) frontage really concerns me.

Has daylight been shone in upon magic? Am I naïve? Or has an entirely new neurosis been unleashed upon the lady populace?

Tomorrow: chest waxing - a treatise.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Racing car face

I have finished drawing my Ghosts book, and selected a suitable printer to hand-etch each copy. Hand-etching is carbon neutral, provided you plant a tree for every monk who dies in the process. I will put these on sale once I have a delivery date - hopefully at the start of next month.

Unfortunately I have no other news, as I spent my weekend drawing and my hands are now claws. I can't do a thing with them!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Come fill your cups

Thank you for all the ghost correspondence! I will try to fit as many as possible in. The call for correspondence is now closed. A short poem:


Ghost on shelf
Is watching me
Died of croup
In '33


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Forget forward-slash and revert to stroke

Wasted two minutes this morning thinking about what kind of middle-aged English man I want to be. Don't want to look like Gryff Rhys-Jones. He seems like a nice man but he's all over the place visually speaking. Iain Duncan-Smith also a serious no-no.

Please can I have some more letters via email about ghosts for my Ghosts book? I will answer your ghost problems or merely commiserate. There is still a page to fill and I want to lay this book to rest by August 22nd. Usual address &etc.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So cruel, the internet

Mere minutes ago, I read a "rumour" that Veronica Mars was going to join the cast of Lost. I rode around the house on an imaginary horse believing everything to be for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Then when I had finished doing that, I read another story that said Veronica Mars does not want to go and live in Hawaii. Then I wept.

No one understands* why I like Veronica Mars, one of my friends said it is for silly girls. Then he said I should go boil my head (he didn't really).

Work on the Ghosts book has been frenzied this week, there are just three pages left to draw. I have decided to lay it out in the style of the New Yorker, and require some letters for the letters page. These should be on spectral or supernatural issues (on which I am an expert) and extremely well written. Send them to, then hold your breath for a month or so. Letters may be edited for reasons of style or brevity.

* I think any breathing, straight, man understands.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

We're not in canvas any more

In San Diego, a few ladies asked me about Crochet Today "tote bags". I had never thought about printing on bags and had only scant understanding of the tote concept, so I sent them away with a flea in their ear. But given a morning of tinkering, I came up with something suitable for the lady about town. I'm the new Lulu Guinness! Without the money, the class, or (let's be honest) the lady chromosome. OY OY!


I had to remove the bottom baring gnome from the previous post. What started as a whimsical nod towards modern social mores turned into a picture of a miniature geriatric exposing his haunches and nothing more. Woe is me.

The Irish Panda shirt is now available: thrill, thrill to the panda and his ways.

A short poem

"How I Will End Up Living Under A Bridge With Jeph Jacques"

Webcomic t-shirt economy
May you roll on in fine perpetuity
Though with crushing inevitability
You'll collapse, then:


Monday, August 06, 2007

Teatowels of the past

I didn't do a Scary Go Round teatowel in 2006 but this year, once again, I will offer you the opportunity to dry your dishes the SGR way. This year I want to draw a wholly up to date array of critters such as gnome, goblin, were-wolf, as many as I can fit on there. Please use this post to make suggestions, here are the ones who have made the list so far:

1. Gnome
2. Goblin
3. Were-wolf
4. Wendigo

Keep it brief, I don't have all flipping day &etc.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

He's probably just thirsty

A lot of people wrote to me a couple of months back with an interest in an Irish Panda tshirt. Well here he is.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Flattery desk

Ace Soda Pop sent me this excellent picture before my trip, sadly once again showing me up as an artistic charlatan. Isn't it great?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I am the king of carrot chowders

Well, I am back from San Diego. What an exhausting trip. Flying straight out to San Diego then straight back isn't really the way to do it if you want to maintain some bodily strength but I did my best. And by "best" I mean I caught a cold almost immediately and spent the week snivelling.

As always it was a great pleasure to spend time with my Dumbrella friends. It's easy to feel remote and out of the loop when you only visit once or twice a year, but they always make me so welcome. And we had able help on the booth from some dedicated characters who did their bit almost solely out of a misplaced sense of civic duty. Thank you everyone!

Working on a booth means that you don't get much opportunity to go and lig around, casting your rheumy eye over exhibits and leaking money like a burst branch of HSBC. But I did get the opportunity to meet and get some drawings from some very talented Spumco artists, and I did go to get a book from Carla Speed McNeil and find her wearing one of my t-shirts! THWILLS!

Finally, from the sunshine state, THE VINE THAT MAKES YOU VIRILE:

1. Which premier league webcomic artist snores like a tractor being driven backwards up a hill, but LOUDER?
2. Which webcomic has taken the cookie-cutter sideways-smirk into exciting new territory... that had people ready to KILL?
3. Which outer-space TEENAGER appears younger than his own son?

From my mouth to your ears, the facts are the crack and your lips are welded to the pipe. I remain...



Sunday, July 22, 2007

Feeling les(s) diabolique

For laundry reasons I decided to wear my disappointing Spoon shirt today. When I put it on, I rather liked the cut of my jib in it. I had a new quality, some might call it a "manliness". So I have decided it is an all right t-shirt, though I'm still not sure if it is all right to source goods in Honduras, where child labour is a kind of national sport.


I can't believe these posts don't get 2000 replies. They're both thought-provoking AND insightful.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dream symbols

My brain is slipping fast into Comic-con mode. I know this because last night I had a dream that me and my Dumbrella friends were on our way there, and as we travelled, we all admired Jeff Rowland's new hairdo. He claimed it was his "con hair" and part of his "game face". You may be surprised to hear that he had gone out and got a super-tight perm and then a flat-top on top. Jeff looked extremely fresh.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Best New Band In Britain Alert

In addition to my earlier Greenwald Alert, I wanted to give a best new band In Britain alert. Surely, surely Los Campesinos! I often feel like most contemporary British bands don't have any magic - Los Campesinos! arguably have TOO MUCH. I'm going to see them on October 13th and... TEARS OF JOY, Sky Larkin offer stellar support!

Let's hope I survive my Californian adventure and return, refreshed, to rock anew.

Ever Decreasing Circles

I only read two articles on the internet today. One was an article on Entertainment Weekly's website about Achewood, by a "David Greenwald". Then this evening I went looking for information about Mount Eerie parts 6 and 7. Within seconds I was reading a review of a gig by "David Greenwald".

Does David Greenwald control the internet? Have this man's entertainment tentacles penetrated every corner of my media life? I can only imagine that upon landing in California next week, Mr David Greenwald will be lying in wait with a pearl handled pistol in his hand.

What is his game? And WHY? Will I live long enough to find out?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fitted shirt

I don't usually make posts that are pure complaint, but I pre-ordered Spoon's "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga' and ordered the mystery Spoon shirt at the same time. Well, the package arrived today and it is the most horrible tshirt I have ever seen. And I work in WEBCOMICS! The shirt is made in "Honduras" and feels like you could push your finger through it. The design makes reference to "Les Diaboliques" which is appropriate because it is diabolically poor.

The one good thing I can say about this shirt is that given its sickly light yellow hue, it will be indistinguishable from my other dusters when I cut it up.


Spoon are still the best band in the world.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Banjax'd with a Fender Strat

I can't believe it's July! The year is hurtling past with what can only be described as unprecedented fury. It hasn't really been a fun year, as I have dedicated almost every spare moment to fierce labour. While others have been dancing in the streets, high on life, I have been locked away, pale and gremlin-like.

"But John," you say, "what have you been up to? We see no evidence of back-breaking toil!" Well, in addition to attempting to entertain you with my daily yarns and that, I have been drawing another small book in the vein of Girlspy and Scare-o-deleria. A standalone tome featuring 32 pages of larks and japes (ie, story), and about another 8 pages of "fun" (exact nature of "fun" yet to be determined).

I made it to page 26 before Comic-con madness meant I had to get ahead on other things, but on my return I will lay down the rest and rush it to the printer for an early September release.

If I sell more than a thousand out of the traps, I will do another stand-alone thing. It will be a deal between us. If no one cares about this laboured-over spectre-centric tome, I will start ENJOYING MY LIFE (also WINKING AT GIRLS and GETTING UP LATE).

Money raised from this book will go towards my continued attempts to escape Chadderton. Thank you for your interest!

Anyway, here's the cover. I think you'll like it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

No way

I have just returned from a two and a half hour biopic of Edith Piaf, in French. I hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about Edith Piaf previous to today but now I am thinking she had some good ideas about singing. I reckon this one will be rocking the multiplexes coast to coast like Grease, Star Wars, Jaws or Total Recall!

I think this is a good film for people who like sounds, ideas, boxing, disease and pianos! 8/10!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canon vs diocese

I have received a handsome picture from reader Rene Engström. Isn't it great? Yes it is now pipe down.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

To celebrate the postal strike tomorrow...'s a postcard I designed for San Diego (provided I get it hotfoot to the printer). It's less hoity-toity and more sassy.

Its a seriou's problem!!!

What is going on on the BBC news website today? Its apostrophe armageddon! Everywhere I look, willy-nilly misappropriation. Its a disgrace and I will be writing to those fiend's about their slapdash effort's! Perhaps it is the new strain of life in Brown's (Browns) Britain.

In other, correctly punctuated news, I will put eight hoity toity prints (of 20) on sale on the website next week. I have run out of archival paper and I don't think you want them printed on toilet paper or old gas bills.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hoity + toity = HOITY TOITY

I have almost completed a new print. Whether I will sell it on the web site or in San Diego, I don't know. But it is very hoity toity and that is the main thing. Anyway everyone can look at it because here it is. I drew it in "Manga Studio", the futuristic tool of champs, chumps, no-goodniks and captains of industry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Reader, as you may know, I am thirty years of age. I could grow a full beard if I wanted to. I have climbed the jungle gym of life and stand atop the monkey bars bawling about the terrible sights I have seen.

So why is it that I am no longer able to buy a drink without being asked for ID? A note for American readers, in the UK you almost never get asked to prove your age unless you arrived at the bar in a pram sucking a lolly. I don't think I was ever refused a pint of foaming, nut brown ale when I was 17. Now, wizened and decrepit, I have to repeatedly prove that it is not 13 years ago.

This came to a head in Marks and Spencers when I was buying an expensive bottle of liquor as a Father's Day gift. The cashier had plainly seen me coming, I could feel the skunk eye being applied. "That's right, I'm a child," I said. "I'm going to drink this in Piccadilly Gardens then choke on my own vomit in the gutter".

I didn't actually say that, as I was too busy reaching under the cushion in my luxurious baby buggy for change. Plus I had a lollipop in my mouth.

Then, THEN, this morning I received some free samples in the mail which included "anti aging cream - for MEN". I am tempted to apply it just to see what happens. My guess: nothing good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Turkey Ham

Now come on, turkey ham. Is it "ham" from a turkey, or turkey-like meat from a pig, or worse, some kind of grisly mutant beast? No one is telling us what "turkey ham" is and there's only a picture of a farm on the packet. No doubt, behind the dry-stone walls of this farm are machines extracting pure swine from the traditional holiday bird.

Ban this sick stunt!

Monday, June 11, 2007

In my world "funny" is never going to be a noun

It's the 11th of June and boy is it ever warm. The sun is going beserk and we will cook like clams on concrete.

It is just 7 weeks until San Diego Comic-con, the premier event in the comics calendar. I haven't been for the last couple of years because it is expensive and about 18,000 miles away. As a working man at a working show, one starts in a negative financial position and hopes to move oneself into a positive financial position through charm and weasel words. This is a lot harder when you're 8 hours adrift and surrounded by fat, sweating stormtroopers.

So as I will be a walking dead man when I hit California soil, it is Up To Me to Arrive Prepared. Here are the tasks I have assigned myself:

1. Crank handle on button machine, making badges for the ages
2. Draw a small and terrifying "mini-comic" then fold that mother
3. Make "limited prints" for people good enough to show up with too much money/gratitude

I can work the button machine like a devil, and small, terrifying minicomics are just a matter of sitting down for a couple of hours in one place, folding folding folding. But what shall I render on these "limited prints"? Nothing works, nothing works!

I think the immense efforts of SECRET PROJECT X (now 71% complete) might have broken my brain. More later.

Monday, June 04, 2007

End of an era

On Wednesday the last dangerous appliance that I bought with my house is being rooted out and cast into a dustbin. Following the deaths of Exploding Oven, Rusty Fridge and Carbon Monoxide Production Specialist Fireplace, later this week I bid farewell to Gas Hob That Doesn't Spark On The Left Hand Side And Sometimes Leaks A Bit Of Gas - or as I call him, Steven.

The passing of the last of the "enemies within" will be marked by a five-gun salute outside Chadderton Town Hall. Anyone who wants to come down and twist a sticky dial, or wave a match around a suspicious-smelling burner one last time, is more than welcome.

I also intend to make flapjacks from the 17 years of crumbs firmly wedged between the lip of the hob and the work surface. These are strictly for display and not to be eaten.

Monday, May 28, 2007

My holiday is over

Due to the complicated, byzantine nature of the webcomic game, while you continue to enjoy some beautiful guest comics by my friends in art, my little break is over. That it should end on a bank holiday is particularly cruel, but since I scheduled it myself, I don't think I can take local government to task.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mystical Dream Theatre

It occurs to me upon writing the title of this post that "Mystical" sounds the same as "Miss Tickle" (bear with me here). Living with Miss Tickle would be a daily agony. You wouldn't be able to enjoy a hot drink or a cream horn for fear that she would home in on you and cause you to spill it in your involuntary mirth.

Who says intelligent discourse is dead?

I just watched the season finale of Lost, which had me with my head in my hands, wailing "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" in the time-honoured style. But a greater mystery this week was posed by a packet of Asda Spinach and Ricotta Fresh Pasta Ravioli I purchased. The package features a "serving suggestion", however the "serving suggestion" does not depict the product, but rather a bowl of ricotta cheese and some spinach leaves. So the implication is that one should reconstitute the ingredients within from the items provided.

That's just silly. You shouldn't do that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dicing with death

Yesterday while washing up I accidentally chipped a mug, then proceeded to lacerate myself between my ring finger and little finger with it. Well, I must say, I haven't seen that much blood for a while. It was a bit like "Re-Animator". I wounded my drawing hand, so I suppose it was lucky that I didn't slice myself up nearer the business end. I don't think I will be doing anything very rugged for a week or two!

All Tomorrow's Parties was a magical fun-fest of colossal proportions. I have compiled the following list of micro-reviews for your edification.

YO LA TENGO - why am I standing in a food court 6/10
NOTWIST - refugees from the low countries, possibly IT consultants 7/10
SPARKLEHORSE - nothing a nice gargle wouldn't fix 5/10
TALL FIRS - plainly not on a mission to excite 5/10
DEATH VESSEL - floundering minus his old timey banjo revue. "Is it a boy or a girl" cry harks back to the 1960s 4/10
AKRON/FAMILY - community project of percussion fails to connect 5/10

GO! TEAM - any fule no I like the Go! Team 9/10
LES SAVY FAV - 200 costume changes! 8/10
WILCO - why am I standing in a food court part 2 6/10
APPLES IN STEREO - some of these men are wizards 9/10

SLINT - alas I am making some macaroni at this point ?/10
MICAH P. HINSON - nothing a nice gargle wouldn't fix 7/10
BAT FOR LASHES - were playing crazy golf directly in front of me this morning 7.5/10
BAND OF HORSES - best band of the weekend 9.5/10
MODEST MOUSE - v.good but Johnny Marr is not going to be in the band for very long because he obviously wants to be in charge 8/10
CAPRICORNS - I had to play darts on my mobile phone to take my mind off this mess 1/10
GRIZZLY BEAR - hippies 6.5/10
DO MAKE SAY THINK - I have never been more tired zzz/10

So well done everybody, well played etc!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Old John Robertson he wore a Stetson hat

I have returned from All Tomorrow's Parties in Minehead a broken man. My fragile constitution has been ravaged by a mixture of best bitter, crazy golf, water slides and experimental noise-scapes. I will write a bit about what I saw and what was good later in the week, once I have grown some new brain cells.

If you listen to Gideon Coe on BBC 6Music, you can hear me all week introducing my favourite records from the last 5 decades just after 12pm. I wasn't able to hear it today as I was not near a radio set, but apparently I was taken to task for my use of the term "juju".

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Oh my goodness, Prime Minister Tony Blair has resigned! This is so unexpected and the nation is on its knees! Fortunately a task force has been assembled to run the country during this transitional phase:

Rabbi Lionel Blue

Former England wicketkeeper Jack Russell

and Bagpuss (pictured discussing transport policy with Professor Yaffle, who is consulting in an advisory role)

I would write more but unfortunately there's now a curfew, and rationing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ward em off

After the brief congregation of evil spirits over the blog early in the week, I'm burning sage and getting the good feelings back. Here's a drawing I did today for one reason or another (secret).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Oh god what a faux pas

Apparently my Rice vs Pasta has terrible racist overtones. When I drew it, it was just a piece of rice and a piece of pasta. Little did I know I was releasing the secret bigot within. After all, Italians vs Chinese is one of the foremost struggles in Britain and the world today. Every day on the streets I see these two diverse racial groups (and apparently, sworn enemies) engaged in toe-to-toe combat on our "mean streets".


It is about dinner decisions.

Readers, I throw myself on your mercies. You decide!

Shirt lab is now closed

Here's what I came up with, I'll put these on sale later this week. Maybe no one will want them, but I like to think design-wise they have a certain something.

My thinking on this one was that rice and pasta are basically enemies, rice has strength in numbers, but that lone grain of rice on the pantry shelf is easy meat.

Certain aesthetic choices were made here that I hope please and do not offend.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Where are my BISCUITS?

The tshirt lab has been open this afternoon... just wait until you see RICE vs PASTA!

During the course of manouevers, I drew this. It's like the cover of a '70s feminist zine, full of hooked fury!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Finished manga terror

I like Manga Studio! This is the first time i have managed to draw anything coherent with my tablet, ever!

Memory Layne

I found this page on my site today. That was quite a maverick design! And who can forget the Sons Of Mongor... I wonder where they are now and what they're doing with their lives. I've thought about doing some more creatures, but nothing I've come up with has been quite good enough. There is a big white earwig prototype that was so utterly terrifying that I had to lock it in a room and throw away the key. It really is creepy.

The good news is that I'm putting the remaining limited prints from the London show on sale today. The page is up, the fix is in!

The final news today is that I have bought Manga Studio, a computer program for people whose lives lack speed lines. I can't really draw very well (living as I do in WOBBLE TOWN UK) with my graphics tablet but I was trying to work out how to use it last night and drew the following mysterious image.

Please, don't ask me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

That little chlorine bath (for feet)

I realised today that it is almost 12 years since I last went swimming. I only stopped going swimming because my friend Martin Owen borrowed my goggles and lost them in Sheffield University sports centre pool. I decided not to go swimming again until he bought me a new pair. That was 1995, and you could fill a municipal lido with the tears I've shed since.

Of course, this stopped being a point of principle in about 1998, and indeed my college-era beer-storage frontispiece probably had a lot more to do with my lack of enthusiasm for the aquatic way (though it may have aided buoyancy!) In fairness, Mr Owen has had little opportunity to make amends from his no-doubt highly-paid position in the chemical engineering game, as we have not spoken since 2000.

So perhaps I should break this hoodoo, this Indian sign, and go back into the water. I don't know what will happen. What are people wearing to the pool? Should I go for a full body wax then rock a Speedo? That sounds awful!

The one thing that comforts me is that should I ever collect on my goggle debt, ocular interest will probably entitle me to a snorkel, mask and rubber duck.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Simple pleasures

I always liked "Great Big No" by the Lemonheads, off "Come On Feel the Lemonheads". But today for the first time, I enhanced the pleasure of singing along by singing "GREAT BIG NOSE".

Great big nose!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Still trying

It's now 3 years, two months since I released my black and white Scareodeleria book - the book that was meant to be number one in a quarterly series! Excuse me while I execute a hollow laugh.

I live in hope that I'll manage another standalone project, because although I am pleased with my efforts on daily Scary Go Round, I find the book collections very dense reading. It's nice just to be able to tell a yarn without worrying about getting the quips and snipes in just the right place and ending whatever you were trying to say in the bottom right hand corner of your piece of A4 paper.

This morning I spent £50 and gave myself a headache trying to make one page of a prospective follow up. I don't know about you, but £50 and a headache won't do. At that rate, by page 22 I'd have spent £1100 and be suffering from some kind of aneurysm (probably several).

I should explain that in producing this project, I am attempting to become "the new king of manga". You and I both know that I am not going to become the new king of manga any time soon. Even with the aid of the ministrations of my spiritual guide Mr Godiba (see here), I'm not going to be the new Junko Mizuno.


That was less intense than I hoped it would be.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fancy womerns

I was delighted and excited to learn about today the existence of "Unknown Hinson", depicted below. I have never heard his music, and I think to hear it would only disappoint. Just to know that this man is out there is enough for me.