Hocus Baloney
Where slightly troubling dreams come true

Artlyst interview!


Hot on the heels of the Missed Deadline /Youtube film cames this: a Q&A interview I did for Artlyst .

It’s like a multimedia blitz!

Of two interviews!;


I actually finished it a few weeks back, but there you go. Questions were by multi-talented artist/musician/Resonance FM broadcaster Jude Cowan Montague, and it was a pleasure to waffle at length about stuff that matters. we did a radio show about Lovecraft and such a while ago, there’s a link at the end of the Artlyst piece. And watch that space, because Jude’s also lined up Rachael Ball and others for future slots.

Happy to have been involved.

In other news, the SKRAWL magazine got thoroughly Kickstarted to well over the stretch goals, so you will be seeing my ‘Clash Of the Behemoths‘ in print in the near future.

I’ll tell you more when I know more.

Stay safe


On Film! The Bad Bad Art short.


A few weeks back pro cameraman James Lloyd and Missed Deadline girlboss Jessica Kemp came around to the ink dungeon and filmed me working in the studio on the artworks I did for the Cartoon Museum fundraiser, and then chatting about them, and me, and other stuff.

The results have been edited into shape by James and can now be seen here:

Normally any footage of myself under any circumstances makes me curl up into a ball of solid embarrassment, this has not changed, but James and Jess have done a pretty fine job. It’s a fun little film. Obviously all the artworks have been sold now, but you can still donate to the Cartooneum’s justgiving fund here;


Or buy copies of The Bad Bad Place, (and make a donation) here:


That’s all for now

Stay safe


The News Agents’ radio show

Alrighty, here’s the News Agents episode featuring me wittering on about Lovecraft and other things. Interview and creepy soundtrack by Jude Cowan Montague.

Pretty happy with it.


An Evening of Creepy Comics! Poster and details.


Be afear’d

This is coming up soon at the Cartoon Museum:



An event i’m largely responsible for.

I’m deeply sorry.

Le blurb;

“The nights are getting longer, there’s a chill in the air, it’s the time of year when we all feel strangely drawn together. So why not draw together around the Cartoon Museum fire* in London, to talk about the ghostly, the ghastly and the eerie? Yes… It’s time for … An Evening Of Creepy Comics!

On the Wednesday 11th December, Morbid Mark Stafford (The Bad Bad Place), Chthonic Cathy Brett (Who Killed Jojo?), Necropolitan Douglas Noble (Jazz Creepers) and Diabolical Dan White (Sticky Ribs), unrepentant cartoonists of the uncanny one and all, will gather to discuss the wide wide world of creepy comics, in their various forms, from EC to underground, manga to mainstream, all manner of nightmarish sequential art will be ruthlessly dissected and assessed in gruesome detail.

In a slideshow. With some chat.

There will be drinks! There will be comics! Some of the drinks will be mulled! Sketching and signing will occur! The Cartoon Museum has spoken!

* There is no actual cartoon museum fire due to current regulatory standards. An imaginary fire can be rendered by a cartoonist upon request.”

Tickets can be ordered here:


Hope I’ll see some of you there.


Sonnet Exchange in South Korea

CXLV page 0ne

CXLV page 0ne

Well, I’m back from a whirlwind visit to Seoul, South Korea. Four days is nowhere near enough time to familiarise oneself with such a huge and multifaceted city, so spent much of it in giddy culture shock. I was there as part of the British council’s Sonnet Exchange event, part of their 400 years of Shakespeare celebrations. Basically, my part was to collaborate with a  Korean poet, Bo seon Shim, on a graphic adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, whilst a British poet, Ben Wilkinson worked with a Korean artist Sung Goo Won on another. Last Thursday saw us onstage at Kaos Hall in the extraordinary Book Park ( a combination arts gallery, bookshop and performance venue,) reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets and the poets reactions, on English and Korean, whilst my and Sung Goo Won’s art was projected behind us. Compere Sarah Olive, a Shakespeare scholar, then quizzed us about our work together.

It was a strange process, at least as far as I was concerned, made up ofSkype calls and emails and not a little panic. After we settled on Sonnet CXLV I came up with a basic idea of a couple visiting the cinema, falling out and reconciling, whilst their actions are mirrored and contrasted with the onscreen action, the conclusion of James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein. I sent roughs of this to Bo Seon, who rightly pointed out that I had left him nowhere to go, and little space to fit his contribution in. And , y’know, why Frankenstein? With the deadline approaching, I started to sweat a little, until we were rescued by politics, Brexit and the Trump election, which had begun to take prominence in our email exchanges. Bo Seon had flagged up a dark interpretation of the Sonnet, centering on broader hate speech and divisiveness rather than simple relationship dynamics. I started to render the couples part of the pages, leaving the cinema screens blank, partly because I needed to work on something. And the day after Trump’s victory a poem was delivered, born of anger, as it were. Bo Seon suggested I fill the cinema screens with scenes of political apocalypse, and a week of late nights later, here we are.

I will post our collaboration soon. Meanwhile here’s the Ben Wilkinson/ Sung Goo Won collaboration:


And here’s Sarah Olive and myslf doing our best to plug the evening on morning radio:


And here’s some of my art in the Chosun Daily newspaper about the project:


Aaand there are some photos here:


Whilst there, I learned a lot about the Korean cartooning scene, visited the spectacular Manhwa Museum in Bucheon, and hopefully made the beginnings of more collaborations to come. Deep thanks to Rebecca Hall, William Kemp, Misun Seo, Juyoung Jeon and all at the British Council for their trust, patience and consideration. And the food. Good god! The food!

More later,



The Men Who Laugh :- Hine/Stafford podcast.

Back in 2014 David Hine and my good self were guests at the rather splendid 22 Panels comic art festival in Falmouth. As part of proceedings we were interviewed on stage by Chris Thompson, then of Orbital comics shop, now of Titan books, who has just released this podcast version of the event. Obviously you’ll have to imagine what Dave’s referring to in the slide show, but it’s a pretty fun chat overall. Thanks to Chris, and to Nicholas Heartland, who put the festival together. Enjoy!


S.M.A.S.H. Art Panel 06/02/16: video link and speech notes

Starring Moi

Ok, I was part of the Middle discussion (Art) on Saturday 6th February 2016, at this event. I was delighted to have been invited, despite nerves about the public speaking aspect, which, it turns out, I was right to have, because I was afflicted with a massive tension headache throughout, meaning that my contributions to the thing were, shall we say, … compromised. Seemed to go alright, despite my shonkiness. I’m not about to watch this video link out of fear that my perception is woefully misguided:


And here are the notes for the spiel that I made a pigs ear of delivering at the beginning of the thing:


Notes on Art

An asinine debate bubbles up repeatedly on certain message boards of that there internet, like the results of some ghastly gastro-intestinal disorder: which is more important in comics, the writing or the artwork? Why is it asinine?

Consider this; you’re drawing a graphic novel from a script, it’s a rags to riches affair, about an artist who gains the world but loses his soul. Bit clichéd I know, but hell, you need the money. Who doesn’t in this economy?

Somewhere in act one there’s a scene where the artist, as a young student, chats to a friend in a café, in the last act, there’s a scene where, much older he talks to the same friend, in a restaurant. In both scenes they are talking about a third person, maybe the artists muse and would be lover. I don’t know. It doesn’t exist. Apart from the dialogue, the script gives you nothing.

But you, as an artist, and knowing the story’s shape, decide to emphasise certain things. You might make the café a real greasy spoon job, all chipped mugs and formica tables. You might surround your two characters with workmen and little old ladies and a couple with a pram on the verge of a nasty argument. You decide that the artist and his mate have been nursing two cups of tea, because they can’t afford the full English.

With the later scene you decide that the restaurant is as exclusive as possible, maybe the artist has a regular table, maybe it’s actually separated from other diners by a velvet rope. The food comes in tiny, beautifully laid out portions on huge plates. It is largely ignored, as are the staff, whom the artist never acknowledges.

In short in the first scene you do everything you can to emphasise the artists poverty and place amongst the common people, and everything you can to get over his alienation and aloofness in the second. You consider body language and clothing, placement: the first scene has our two characters squeezed in almost nose to nose, the second has them separated by an acre of tablespace. The first scene is all balanced compositions and cheerful colours, the second all dutch angles and desaturation. Maybe the café scene is a breezy six panel Kirby grid, and the restaurant scene takes place in a gazillion cramped little Chris ware boxes. And so on, and so on…

Here’s the thing: how much of that drawing could actually be considered writing? How much of that ink on paper is doing the same job that a novelist does in a prose novel? How much would the book lose if the cartoonist involved said bollocks to all that detail and just drew the figures and the table? The bare minimum required to get across the scene?

The internet argument is asinine because in comics, the artwork is the writing. The page design is the syntax. Everything on that page, from panel progression to balloon placement and lettering font is going to affect how the reader perceives the story. This much is bloody obvious to anybody who creates the damned things.

In short, the internet is a fucking idiot.


The blurb for the full event ran as follows:
Getting philosophical about the art of comics. Three subjects. Three panels. Informal chat – followed by a discussion with the audience.
Ramsey Hassan (Zorse)
Alison Sampson (Genesis)
Mike Carey (The Unwritten)
Katriona Chapman (Katzine)
David Allison (Mindless Ones)
Mazin Saleem (Kraken Podcast)
Chrissy Williams (Over the Line)
J. A. Micheline (Comics Alliance)
Mark Stafford (The Man Who Laughs)
Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine)
Kelly Kanayama (Women Write About Comics)
Hannah K Chapman (Comic Book Slumber Party)Hosted by Joel Janiurek (Barbican Comic Forum)Discussions on Meaning, Art and Diversity.

Free admission.

The S.M.A.S.H. events at the Barbican are well worth attending, if you haven’t, the level of comics related blather just seems to be on a higher level than most other inky shindigs. And the pub chatter afterwards maintains the standard. Thanks to Joel Janiurek for making it all happen.

Link here:  https://londongraphicnovelnetwork.com/category/s-m-a-s-h/





Check out the mural

Mark painted a mural for the graphic novel section of the John Harvard Library near Borough tube. The mural is in sections, with each section depicting a genre of comic art, with the main protagonist reading a comic of the next genre. Shown is an initial sketch for true story comics. The mural is in glorious technicolour and well worth checking out. You can find a map and opening times on the Southwark council site