Wednesday, 14 February 2018

In Preview - ‘Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn’ by Ryan Heshka

Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn.

Created by Ryan Heshka.

Published by Nobrow. 100 pages. Hardcover - £14.99/$20.95.

The Story - ‘The lascivious ladies of the Mean Girls Club have been raising a riot around town, and the cops are onto them. Prepare for a mad-dash of boozing, skull busting, and general mid-century mayhem as they deliver a swift stiletto-stab to the crotch of the patriarchy,’ 

The Review - I’ve been waiting to read this book that represents a terrible example on behaviour and language to the youth of today. I loved the original comic that came out as part of Nobrow’s 17x23 series of titles and this does not disappoint! A comic that fails to discourage acts of violence and cruelty but is done with retro cool. Count me in!

A clam, hey? Well, my girls will make these donut holes sing!’

Who can deny that a comic that contains phrases like ‘Fuck Balls’ or ‘Beat these mystery turds down!’ could possibly fail to be great! Ryan has taken what he did as a much shorter form story in the preceding version of this series and cranked it up in all areas. It lampoons everything including its own sharpened wit.

Great pork swords!’

The Mean Girls with tight skirts, preened baby doll make-up, the odd eye patch and tattoo and a variety of weapons that include shotguns, knives, bats and even snakes take on the establishment. Red faced and obese Mayor Schlomo is a Southern Fried bacon eating alternative Dick Tracy villain and as soon as he appears you know that the Meanies will be beating his fat ass!

‘Hairy hatchet wounds!’

McQualude, Wendy, Wanda, Sweets, Blackie and all the rest are rude and prone to sudden acts of vengeance and larceny but you also get some origin stories in this volume and a little of what motivates them. They’ve all been wronged in some way and that’s what has made them so ‘Mean’. A car mechanic with a bed-ridden Gramps turns up by accident and lost near to the club-house and after proving herself in a fight with one of the gang looks like she is the new member but will she make the grade? Will she turn on her new sisters? 

Throughout this the plot thickens. Will the corrupt Mayor, the bent police and the abusive church members stop the girls from taking over the town? Who will end up as the bacon?

‘Holy Fuckballs! She kicked Wanda square in the sausage grinder!’

The art returns to that stylistic choice of black and white with a grey wash and that stark pink. The women are glamorously and hilariously often cliches of the 1950s/early 1960s period it is set within. The men come of less well and are grotesquely designed to amp up the razor sharp satire.

Ryan has totally kept the anarchy fuelled, trippy and retro feel of the original comic and elaborated on these characters. This is much better suited to a longer exploration that the 17x23 comic hinted towards in my humble opinion. This 100 page volume gives you that bigger meal you wanted after the last tease. You get a comix style cartoon of a book that is done with some magnificently over the top everything. You cheer for these under dog gang members who you find out are not totally without morals. 

Wait for the muzzle flashes, Wendy! Then aim to maim!’

Each burlesque Betty Boop caricature is crossed with that Lady Snowblood/Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! aesthetic and then drops of lysergic acid are catapulted into your eyes as you read. They stir up the crazy and everywhere they go bullets, booze, uppers, downers, wild animals, violence and general mayhem follows. The skirts are tight and the low cut tops are actually so tight that you think Lola Lollabrigida is gonna turn up and bash some melons too. I’d have been a much bigger fan of Dick Tracy growing up if it had these elements! 

A subversive treat that combines bizarrely unsettlingly images and dialogue with diabolically hilarious satirical commentary on modern society and it’s snowflake attitudes. I would love to see this adapted for TV or movies but I’m not sure who has the pair of bollocks to do it (other sexual organs are obviously preferred!) Russ Meyer was never this great!

Once again Nobrow have pulled out all the stops and this is a beautiful book from a design point of view. Presented in a gorgeous wrap around image on the cover with some excellently realised period/tone/story specific little extra flourishes on the end/title pages. And only £14.99! That’s a price that a lot of the comics industry should be paying attention to!

Spread the word of The Mean Girls Club!

Find a copy at or follow their antics @NobrowPress And try following #meangirlshavemorefun

Have a look at some brilliantly strange and often a tiny bit daft art of the creator at

Many thanks for reading.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

What we might be missing ....

What does the future hold for us as consumers. I hear bleak stories on the slowing down of writing and reading, faces glued to the glow of the phone or tablet screen.

We grab and look and throw away at speeds almost too fast to observe. Art is, in may, many cases disposable but does it need to be chucked away so quickly.

Should Art last? Some things last for centuries rather than the seconds we take to scan and pass by.

So. I would invite you to look at this image.

How long did you last? How long before your mind wandered and you continued to read this?

Maybe you didn’t even read this and have fucked off to Instagram or Twitter or XHamster?

Should this really be what we are like.

Take pause. Breathe deeply. Go back and have another look. There’s no trick, no hidden images.

Just art.

So... that minimal glimpse you had a second ago. What if we extrapolate that to the whole of Comics. Scrolling or page turning so quickly that we are missing the depth and the point?

Remember when we were kids and we took ages to read a comic? Then we went back and read it again. Then we pulled the comic out of our wardrobe again a couple of weeks later and looked at it again. Maybe we copied some panels or write the writers and artists down in a book or showed it to our friends.

Fuck me! I loved those days!

Take longer. Linger a little more on the panels and pages. There’s no need to rush. Treasure the moment and the comic a little more. Do we live on the dopamine levels that spark upon a small complimentary tweet? I know some people who live for that moment of self congratulatory front fart!

Hang on.....

Nope... come back.... Twitter can wait. We don’t need to take a photo of us reading the aforementioned comic. We don’t need to show how clever we are. Just get what appreciation you need from a piece of art that took some good amount of weeks or months to produce.

It’s not a cheap item. What did you pay for it? At least a few quid. So make the most of what you own. Read the credits and the letters. Even have a look at the adverts. Read all the words. Look at all the art.

Enjoy a comic. And then. Only when the warmth of that enjoyment is beginning to fade should you even consider going online and boasting that your tiny primate brain can actually read.

Sign up to our mailer at for more of the same.

Many thanks for reading.

Realism in Writing....

Here is another of the short pieces that I wrote for the Cockney Kung Fu mailer. Some of you might not have seen it so I’m cross posting it here. I’d love to hear what you think.

Do you need to fight a bull to write about it?’
This was a question that I posed on the ‘Writers Studio’ panel last weekend at the True Believers Comic Festival in Cheltenham. I got to sit down with Antony Johnston (the writer of The Coldest City, The Fuse and more), Rachael Smith (creator of The Rabbit, Wired Up Wrong and more) and Mike Garley (the writer on the Samurai Slasher series and The Kill Screen).
One of the answers related to empathy and having the ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes. The other answer was ‘Research’. We talked about how you didn’t really need to walk those miles to describe them.
It’s something that I’ve been thinking about quite a lot recently. As I am now writing for money and trying to push the different aspects of the craft for improvement I wanted to know these fine peoples opinions.
But I felt that it needed exploring it a little further. The world is never quite as simple as the media and ‘those people’ think. It never presents us with the yes or no answers, although many think it does. Different situations require different approaches, questions and possible answers.
Fiction is the only real truth.
I decided to use Cockney Kung Fu as an example. Let’s go through the plus and minus columns.
For those that haven’t read a copy yet this is a series written by myself and drawn by Nick Prolix. It features martial arts in 1970s London. The central character is a female in her late twenties. 
What would I know about that?
I’m a man in my late forties. I grew up in London and am very much in love with the period and the setting. I have been stalking the streets of Central London, the dirty South, the West End and the pre hipster crafty East End for years. It’s a fascination of a time and place that occupies me to this day. Chapter one features the infamous ‘Porn Alley’ at the top of Rupert Street in Soho. This is an area that has changed substantially. An area of sex cinemas, peep shows, brothels, strip bars and sex shops. It is virtually unrecognisable now and is mostly boarded up for one stretch of this scary lightless alley. But I walked that passage many a time over the years and wanted it to be a character in the story in the way that it used to exist. Nick pulled it off with style in the first issue. You can hear the clomp of Red’s boots as she walks. You can smell the reek of body odour, cigarettes and booze.

But....I’m not a woman. Yup, I’m not. I’ve met quite a few over the years and whilst I would never claim to understand anyone I’ve always had a couple of best friends who are from the ‘sensible sex’. I also felt that it added some cool to the story and a certain vulnerability to a female character in that time period especially. Adding a female central character to a dangerous situation in a world that hadn’t really begun to deal with equal treatment seemed like a good idea. From deciding that I had to cope with how she would walk and talk like a 1970s woman but with that Soho Red toughness. I read and watched a lot about the period. I wanted to hear her speak and move and punch.

Fighting. This is one that I will stick with regarding realism. A fight is an anger driven, chess match. It is not and never should be a choreographed ballet as some people think. A fight between two people is a brutal minute. I have to admit to having been in quite a few fights over the years. It is fought with strength and speed and a connection is made between the eyes of those taking part - and nobody else. ‘Hit first, hit hard and hit fast.’ This is what I see as Red’s philosophy in a tough world. I don’t recommend that people go out and get in a fight but use the feelings if you have in your past experienced one. A fight is something unlike anything you’ll read or watch as it happens in your own emotion and aggression. I wanted this communicated in the basement fight. Red is a scrapper, she can take a punch and come back stronger. There is never a requirement for melodrama. Just lay one on him, do it hard and where it will hurt them. If you ever took a punch on the nose, or had your brow split and bleeding, or been booted on the balls then you’ll know exactly what I am talking about.
One punch can kill someone. It happens. 
Write with truth not glamour.

Sign up for the mailer at for more of the same.

Many thanks for reading.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

In Preview - ‘Accident Man’ - The Movie.

Accident Man


Scott Adkins - Mike Fallon.

Ray Stevenson - Big Ray.

Ashley Michele Greene - Charlie Adams.

David Paymer - Milton.

Michael Jai White - Mick.

Ray Park - Mac.

Amy Johnston - Jane The Ripper.

Perry Benson - Finicky Fred.

Nick Moran - Leonard Kent.

Ross O’Hennessy - Carnage Cliff.

Original Comic Series written by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner with art by Martin Emond, Duke Mighten and John Erasmus.

Movie written by Scott Adkins and Stu Small.

Directed by Jesse V. Johnson.

The Story - Mike Fallon is an assassin who was trained from a teenager by Big Ray. He isn’t one of those guilt ridden or moral kind of guys, nah, fuck them. He’s a professional. He takes hits and makes them look like accidents. But then his ex girlfriend and their unborn child is killed in a hit made to look like a crackhead fake burglary he goes on a hunt to find out who on his crew carried it out and who paid for it. There’ll be a few dead before he gets to the bottom of the mystery.

The Rules.

Never get angry.

Never get involved.

Never get caught.

House Rules.

No Spitting.

No Killing.

No Beating up Milton.

The Review - As a fan of the comics of Pat Mills and Tony Skinner and the martial arts genre that is currently being lead by Scott Adkins in the UK this was a perfect storm for me. This is a movie of black humour and great fight scenes. I’m actually not sure that we have seen a movie quite like this before. As I am watching it I am relieved (no, not like that) that I am finally watching a British movie where the actors (well most of them - apologies Perry) look like they can kick a few heads across a room. Being a hitman looks like it is violent but fun.

‘I like the hours and it pays the bills.’

This is a movie that takes off straightaway in the satire stakes as it does in the fucking magnificent fight scenes. It is brutal and unflinching in both. As the one-liners fly so do some bone crunching kicks, blocks and punches. The fight scenes are full of genuine edge of your seats moments and you’d be hard pressed to guess who will win or come out alive. When Fallon kicks a motorbike helmet wearing ‘Southern Style’ martial arts hit man in the head you see and hear how hard he delivers each blow and you wonder how they bloody did that. This keeps going, and I genuinely believe that every fight scene in Accident Man can proudly stand against anything going on in Asian and American cinema. 

‘Is that some kind of accent or is your mouth full of spunk.’

We’re not really meant to like Fallon or any of his ‘colleagues’. They are cheeky, blunt, offensive and murderous. They band together in a vague business arrangement yet would still slit each other’s throats for the right price. As Fallon walks into The Oasis, a clubhouse for scumbags, he introduces you through a monologue to all the scruffily disparate assassins who drink themselves stupid, insult each other and wait for the next contract. This is like Lock Stock on acid! It’s that good.

Adkins is clearly in love with the source material and has spoken about how he read the comic over and over again until it fell apart. Whilst some things aren’t the same as the comic this is easily forgiven as the movie sweeps you up in it’s punk attitudes that are tone perfect with Mills and Skinner’s work. In the movie Fallon is less a preening yuppie and more a lad’s lad but this he pulls off well. I think this is the best that I have seen from Adkins. He carries scenes with a smirk and a knowing smile. 

The movie aIso adopts the narration lead approach of the comic and this is one of the reasons that puts it stylistically out on it’s own. I’m not exaggerating that it had me grinning all the way through my watch. We see and hear Fallon talking to the viewer about his twisted life philosophy and each hit he carries out.

‘I don’t see him as a person, I see him as a brand new bike.’

It is great to see so much of our beloved comic up there on the screen. The movie follows pretty much the whole of the first story arc that appeared in Toxic  in the nineties with only changing the odd moment. My smile broadened where Fallon describes how he unwinds after a murder and gets rid of his ‘P.M.T.’ Aka ‘Post Murder Tension’. He heads to a shit hole boozer, pays off the door staff and takes on a room full of thugs. A great translation of an iconic moment in the opening of the comic that perfectly sets you up for the rest of this movie.

The filmmakers cram the movie with action stars. They are all excellent. After Adkins I would have to put Amy Johnston up there as one of my favourites. Her one on one fight as Jane the Ripper against Fallon is beautifully choreographed. Blow after blow landed with real strength. Fucking glorious. 

Ray Stevenson who plays Big Ray aka the retired nutter who is now running the gaff is in both his looks, attitude and speech triumphantly anarchic. He spits lines out like an angry Frankie Boyle and fires a machine gun like he’s casually buying a paper in Tesco Express. Adkins has surrounded himself with some great talent yet I still come away feeling that he embodied the spirit of that immoral and unprincipled bastard Fallon and carries the action and the humour throughout.

(It’s also great to see ‘Fat Tony’ from Love, Honour and Obey back on the screen!)

Music is also high on the mentions for Accident man. Without spoiling the story for those yet to see the movie there is a flashback ‘Origin Story’. It kicks in with ‘A Town Like Malice’ by The Jam and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up before it leads into the chorus of ‘That’s Entertainment’. As Fallon motorbikes his way through London we also get some great soundtrack music. This movie welcomes that drive-in/midnight movie vibe and plays up to it over and over again. It genuinely leaves me wondering why we don’t get more movies like this!

Look. I loved this movie. I went straight back in and watched it again. But there are some moments that could have done with a few quid thrown at them. The signage to the Russian Gym looked a bit thrown together to quote a minor example. But you easily see past some schlocky moments and totally revel in a satirical, ass kicking, genuinely funny ride of a film. A few of my comic loving friends have watched it already and want more straightaway. It pushes outrageously at it’s out of order pitched humour and that had me totally on side. After being sent a preview copy before the UK release on the 16th of April I will totally be buying myself a blu ray when it’s available.

I genuinely believe that this is something a little different and a little special. Great for comics fans, movie fans and martial arts fans.

So do yourself a favour. Grab a copy when the movie get’s released in April.

And also make sure that you grab a copy of the original graphic novel here on ComiXology

Or a physical copy here

Look out for more of Scott Adkins movies. He’s the busiest man in martial arts movies and all are worth a look Or follow him on Twitter @TheScottAdkins

Find out more about Pat Mills and his comics and prose work at or follow him on twitter @PatMillsComics

Many thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Cockney Kung Fu - The ‘Arrival’ Of Digby.

Here’s another little story about a character who will be appearing in the next instalment of Cockney Kung Fu.

It’s a little bit ‘Adult’ in theme so reader beware.....

He got her to make him a fish finger sandwich after he’d fucked her...

Digby was very self aware. So self aware in fact that he knew what a bastard he was making of himself as he sat in the kitchen of this woman’s house in his pants. So self aware that as he asked her to make him a fish finger sandwich all he could actually think of was the fact that half an hour ago he was fucking her in her arse. He wasn’t much for pillow talk so as he had laid there in the afterglow all he could actually think of was how hungry he was feeling and if he could remember the number of a cab to get home to his Mrs.

He’d met this bird in the Brass Farthing in Shoreditch. She wasn’t a stripper, at least he didn’t think she was. She was one of the barmaids. He’d gone in there after a flaming row with his wife and had been determined to drink himself into oblivion then crawl home after the old ball and chain had fallen asleep. He’d sat at the bar and watched the grotty series of strippers lazily do their turn on the pool table. each one exposing their literal insides for a quid here and there.

Ain’t they got no pride?’ He wondered to himself.

After three or four pints of light and bitter he began to get other ideas. One side of his mind was telling him that this was typical of his arsehole behaviour and he should head home. The other side of his head was saying ‘Fuck it’. He went with the ‘Fuck it’. He always did.

That barmaid looked alright. She had a couple of home-made tattoos on her wrists but he could cope with that. She was thin like a junkie but looked like she took care of herself. Probably about twenty-five, nice little wiggle on her. So he threw a selection his normal crap on her....

Sorry if I’m bothering you darling but I came into a pile of cash recently.’

Oh yeah, I betcha did.’ She said whilst chewing gum.

Digby took his time. He drank from his pint in a cool and assured style. Stubbed his cigarette out in the bar ash tray.

Course I wouldn’t expect a clever girl like you just take the word of a stranger.’ Digby pulled a roll of pound notes out of his pocket. 

Get me a ‘nother one and a Bells sweetheart willya. And get yerself one. Go on treat yerself.’

Never failed. He may be an over the hill ex con alcoholic but he had the knack of reading women. He could tell what they liked and especially this barmaid, ‘whatsername?’, to be honest he didn’t care for names.

So he hung about until closing time and all the while was chatting to this sort. He bragged on about all the banks he’d robbed and all his mates. He didn’t at any point mention that he was married with a crazy cunt of a wife. And, do you know what? She didn’t ask.

She knows this is just a good fuck after closing time. No strings.’ He told himself.

Turned out that this girl lived locally and had a kid. The kid was ten so had put himself to bed whilst she was getting chatted up by strangers in an East End shithole pub. 

Piece of luck.’ Thought Digby.

They walked up the steps of her block of flats. Digby pulled an old favourite and kissed her in the cold moonlight as they hit the first balcony. He did the usual trick of going in soft and then kissing her hard. She liked it as she wrapped her legs around him and he pushed back with her against the wall. 

This’ll only take a couple of minutes then I’ll get to fuck her on the couch’ he thought to himself.

She lived on the top floor of the flats and Digby was a little bit puffed out by the time they got there. He tried not to show it as whatsername put her keys in the lock and asked him in for a cup of tea. He mentioned what a great view she had from the balcony as he got his breath back.

Yeah, a great view of a lot of hopeless idiots’, he thought.

Once in the kitchen Digby held back. He knew his game. He knew that he wouldn’t reach the finish line if he was all hands. So he drank the tea out of the West Ham mug she handed him and asked her about herself.

Mum lives round the corner. I know it’s a bit of a shithole but I grew up ‘ere and like it. Alfie is asleep so you gotta be quiet promise.’

Digby promised. Of course he did.

‘I got pregnant when I was at school didn’t I.’ She continues and around this point Digby was really bored. ‘I was a idiot weren’t I. Didn’t even know what sex was ‘cos I was stupid.’

Looking down at the claret and blue colours on the mug and realised that her ex might be a fellow hammers fan.

Where’s the kid’s Dad?’

Oh, that cunt. Don’t worry. He won’t bother you if he sees us out together.’

Out together?’ thought Digby. ‘Fucks sake, what does she want?’

Oh, OK, that’s cool’ Digby said out loud. As the words came out of his mouth he laughed internally. ‘Jus’ tell ‘em what they wanna hear, works every time’, he thought.

Digby drank the rest of his tea down in one gulp and realised that he’d probably invested in enough small talk by this time. as he moved in on her for a kiss he heard her giggle and her hand went straight down the waistband of his trousers.

Job done’, he thought to himself.

So here he was an hour later. Sat in her kitchen in his pants. She was frying some fish fingers and he was glancing around for a yellow pages to get a cab number.

You gonna stay ‘til Alfie gets up? He’d love to meetcha.’

Fuck no’, he thought.

Nah sweetheart. I’d better get off home. I got a lot of important business tomorrow. Need a clear head you know what I mean. You know a cab number?’

You don’t need no cab, my uncle Donny drives a black cab, he’ll take ya home.’

This ain’t going well.’ Thought Digby. He decided that he would go with the plan and get this geezer to drop him round the corner from his house.

Thanks sweetheart. But I don’t wanna put him out of ‘is way.’ One more try, cab drivers are nosey cunts.

No trouble for you babes.’ She leaned in and gave him another kiss. As he kissed this ex junkie in her fag stained kitchen he felt the blood rushing back into his Y fronts. His groin was telling him it was time for a second innings but his mind was trying to place where he had heard of a black cab driver called ‘Donny’.

And just has he bent this bird over the cooker he realised who Donny is....

Shit! This ain’t gonna end well...’ He thought.

You got any more fish fingers darling?’

She giggled.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

True Believers 2018 - It's a BIG deal!

Evening All,

Apologies but it’s shameless promo time (I figured that I promote enough of everyone else’s comics that I might get a pass on this?)

This weekend is the True Believers Comic Festival. Saturday the 3rd of February 2018 between 10am and 5pm to be specific. It’s a festival in it’s fourth year at Cheltenham Race Course. I’ve been to the last couple and had an absolute blast.

I’ll be with my podcast brothers at Tables H12 and H13. we’ll be generally larking about and trying to record some audio for the upcoming shows. Here is a handy map that only includes where we are so F everyone else.

This year is a particularly big event for me for a number of reasons.

Reason 1.

Myself, Vince Hunt, Dan Butcher, Daniel Marc Chant and Nick Prolix are launching the first issue of our anthology. It contains the first instalment of Cockney Kung Fu from myself and Nick and we are so pleased with how it came out.

It’s only £3 for 36 pages. Post the release it’ll be available in physical and digital formats over at

We’ll also have some prints and T-Shirts for sale.

Reason 2.

Myself and the very mighty Susie Gander (along with letters by Dan Butcher) have a story in the charity comic Little Heroes. This is a new venture that will also be getting a release at True Believers.

I’ve written a story that has been infinitely improved by some gorgeous coloured art from Susie called ‘Enter The Bike Force’. This is a comic that is being distributed to hospitals along with comic making kits for kids to make their own comics alongside.

It’s a great charity and Aaron could always do with more help running it. Find out more at or follow them on Twitter @littleheroeskit

Reason 3.

Panels, panels. I’ll be chairing a couple of conversations in one of the panel rooms on the top floor at the venue.

At 12.45pm.

This one will be about writing and how and why we go about it. We are lucky to have some great guests including Anthony Johnston who wrote the graphic novel The Coldest City that was made into the movie Atomic Blonde. He also wrote The Fuse for Image Comics which is one of my favourite books of the last few years. Next to him is the highly popular and thoughtful creator Racheal Smith who is responsible for the art and writing on books such as The Rabbit and Wired Up Wrong. And finally is that man responsible for the excellent Samurai Slasher retro horror comics series as well as books like The Kill Screen a certain Mr Mike Garley.

At 2.15pm.

Later in the day we get to talk crowdfunding. I’ll be joined by Rob Jones (Madius Comics), Sarah ‘Milmo’ Millman (the Welsh hurricane responsible for The Heart of Time and NPC Tea), Lyndon White (officially the busiest artist in comics) and Jon Laight (comics writer of Brethren Born and an actual fighter pilot).

We'll be talking about what it takes to start along the road of a Kickstarter, the stress of dealing with it and finally making good on all those whispered promises.

Reason 4.

At 4pm.

Put those big boy pants on!

Last year I was off my face and can't remember what I said. I just have a vague memory of Vince looking at me like I just shagged his nan!

We will also have sweets and badges!

We are also hoping that it will get recorded and we'll have it to put out at at a future date.

Looking forward to seeing everyone.

Many thanks for reading.