Hocus Baloney
Where slightly troubling dreams come true

Boo To the Morlocks!


I recently added two new designs to my Redbubble shop.

This is ‘I’m On Team Morlocks!’

Blurb: ‘State your allegiance to H G Well’s loveable cannibalistic underclass from his novel The Time Machine. C’mon, who the hell seriously wants to be on Team Eloi? Go Morlocks!’


Because team Eloi sucks.

It’s slathered all over the usual range of merchandise and is available here:


Aaaand also there’s this;


Jump scare!


‘Don’t look up…don’t look up…Don’t look-

Jump-scare lady goes boo!

Are you terrified yet?’

It’s available here:


So, y’know, that’s your Halloween sorted.

All for now.

Stay safe.



Black Shuck.


Bad doggie.

Bad doggie.

Above is Black Shuck, or my version thereof. Black shuck or Old Shuck is a bit of British folklore, about which many a weird tale is told, part of the Black Dog strain of myth wherein supernatural canines are generally menacing portents of doom, bringers of actual doom, or occasionally ghostly guardians of the unwary traveller. I attended an all-day London Fortean Society event ‘The Haunted Landscape’ at Conway Hall back in 2017, ( link here; https://conwayhall.org.uk/event/haunted-landscape-2017/ ) which formed part of the research myself and David Hine did in the process of creating Lip Hook. during which Mark Norman gave  great talk about the subject of phantom dogs, I made notes and cherry picked my favourite bits to create this image, which, for lack of anything else to do in the lockdown, I have uploaded onto my Redbubble shop, so you can get yourself a print, or t-shirt, or whatever, of it here;



Stay safe.’

And be a wary traveller.


Commissioned Sketches!

A moonlit stroll in Dunwich

A moonlit stroll in Dunwich.

I’m now offering a commissioned sketch service through my Etsy shop, link here:




“I thought i’d offer the opportunity to commission original A4 ink sketches, similar to the two pictured, which I rendered for people prior to the Malta and Thought Bubble conventions last year.
Those were drawings of Lovecraftian scenes, but if you’d like drawings of any characters from Cherubs, the Man Who Laughs, Lip Hook or the Bad Bad Place, or want me to have a go at any other characters from the wide wide world of comics or literature, here’s your chance.
Sketches will be rendered in pencil, pen, brush and ink on A4 bristol board or thick cartridge paper.”

A flood in Lovecraft country

A flood in Lovecraft country

Look forward to hearing from you.

Commissioned Paintings Now for Sale!


Alrighty, I’ve decided to offer a commissioned painting service through my etsy shop, link here:


Above is ‘Astro-Mariachi’, a piece I did for a mate’s birthday, ask for similar, ask for different, it’s up to you, here’s the blurb:

“I’m now offering a service of creating commissioned original acrylic paintings of pretty much anything you desire, on 20x20cm (8x8inch) canvas boards.
I’ve actually created these for years, largely as gifts for friends, and, for a limited time, as a service from an old website. Take the illustration as an indication of what I was often asked to make, it usually involved :
Two animals and a situation,
renderings of mythical creatures,
pop cultural mash-ups,
any and all gothic/lovecraftian weirdness,
parodies of art masterpieces
And so on. I generally avoided portaiture and caricatures, because attaining good reference material, and then a good likeness, proved more time consuming than it was worth. But if you want a mole reading Marx to a bumblebee, a mariachi Astro Boy, an aardvark in an X-wing, or the Bride of Frankenstein on a Studio 54 dancefloor rendered in vivid acrylics on sturdy canvas then I’m your man.
Ideal bespoke gift for the tasteful and refined, obviously.”


Elvis the Bronto-Sex Dolphin.


Have added, once again, to my merch empire;

Bronto sex dolphin vote copy

The spiel;

“Do your civic duty and register to vote, suggests Elvis, the bronto-sex dolphin, avatar of democracy, and wearer of lingerie.

Many have died and suffered earning you that precious right to express your political opinion at the ballot box. And if it takes a sexually ambiguous cetacean mammal/dinosaur hybrid to remind you of that legacy, so be it.”

Available on redbubble; https://www.redbubble.com/studio/promote/43858464?ref=uploader-to-promote

And teepublic: https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/7539964-vote-vote-vote-says-elvis-the-bronto-sex-dolphin

Why do I do these things?

So that evil does not prevail.

That must be it.


The Bad Bad Book- sketches and such.

The cover.

The cover.

Well, that’s that then.

After Malta, Thought Bubble, the Mega City Comics signing and The Cartoon Museum event, I think we can say that the Bad Bad Place has been thoroughly launched. It should be available from all decent comics boutiques and sales sites seviced by Turnaround distribution. And is purchasable from Soaring penguin here:


At the Cartoon Museum launch myself and Mr Hine gave a little presentation about the book, its genesis and themes and such, with a slideshow, and I thought you’d like to see a bit of it. Here’s my first sketchbook pass at Ned;

bad bad sketch nedNed and Mutt and notes.

One of the things that became clear upon riffling through old sketchbooks was how concurrent the conceptual phases of Lip Hook and Bad Bad were. Pages of character designs for both books were thoroughly mixed up under the same covers, to the extent that a couple of cast members seem to have starred in both books. I now think of them all as bit players, like Peckinpah’s regulars, ready to be called upon for the next book. Ned pretty much pops up in Lip Hook with a hook on his hand. I like to imagine in his time off from featuring in our books he runs a junk shop in hastings specialising in maritime antiques and curiosities.

Here’s a misnamed Malise, amongst others;

Malise, young Ned and his parents.

Malise, young Ned and his parents.

The sketchbook phase is often done without much knowledge of how much each character will actually feature in the story. Ned’s parents only get a few panels, Malise takes quite large role, though not often looking quite as she does here….

Bit players; Bradley Clamp, a snot-nosed boy and a whole lot of ink:

Bradley Clamp and co.

Bradley Clamp and co.

Freehand dip pen scribbles that slowly evolved into an actual character, in a style that doesn’t really resemble that used in the finished book much. The episodic nature of the Bad Bad Place‘s construction meant that I didn’t know, say,  Bradley’s role in the whole thing. I wish could have another crack at the framing of those damn council meetings , looking back. too manyclose ups and mid-shots for my current liking. Bradley’ gammon face was alaways a pleasure to draw though…

Here’s a skew-faced Serena and , uh,…siblings:

Serena and the brood.

Serena and the brood.

There are a few key differences between Lip Hook and Bad Bad, despite their entwined conception. for a start, the new book is much more condensed, with the 10 page chapter constraints, (which we broke a couple of times,) meaning that we had to exercise a lot of control to fit the story in to the required space, it’s also a bit broader and more out there. Lip Hook takes place in its own little world, but it could all take place in ‘reality’, just about, given that a trippy fog hangs over everything and some of the cast are prone to visions. It’s like a story that takes place in mine and David’s memory of rural areas in the 1970’s and thereabouts.

The Bad Bad Place, on the other hand, has your actual supernatural craziness happening in the story, there’s weird creatures and a Brigadoon style apparitional house and strange business happening underground and a whole Lovecraftian flavour that would have been wildly out of place in the earlier book.

I love the tone of Lip Hook, but damn, those beasties is fun to draw.

Here’s some inks, first page of chapter eight. Hope this doesn’t give away much for those who haven’t read the beast:

Ned and Jenny inks.

Ned and Jenny inks.

The bit before the colouring and lettering, and after the thumbnails and pencils, obviously.

Loved drawing these two characters interactions, kind of sad to give them up. One of the effects of the book’s looong production is that I actually spent a lot more time on the pages of this than anything produced on a tighter deadline. I like this dip pen and brush wonky lined look I’ve ended up with right now, but it’ll evolve into something else eventually.

Thanks to John Anderson and Tim Pilcher of Soaring Penguin for making it happen, and the fine folks at Malta, Thought Bubble, Mega City and the Cartoon Museum for all their gracious help.

Haven’t scanned them yet, but all the pages, both pencils and inks are for sale, should you wish for anything.

Get hold of me via Twitter and Instagram as @marxtafford

Hope you like the book.

And, importantly, buy the book.

And then post about the book saying how damn fine it is.

So that other people buy it.

That’s all for now.



The ‘Moody’ shirt! On sale now.

Moody demon dark web version


Found an old sketchbook page of a little demon expressing his dizzying emotional range, and, as is my compulsion these days, I’ve turned it into a t shirt design, or rather, two t shirt designs for you, yes YOU! To wear: the above version is the dark version, but a light background variation is also available. I’ve uploaded both versions to both merch shops, Teepublic and Redbubble. See what works for you, cash and postage-wise.

Should that be your bag.

Here’s Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/marxtafford70/works/39940546-moody-dark-version?asc=u&ref=recent-owner

Here’s Teepublic: https://www.teepublic.co.uk/t-shirt/5274844-moody-dark-version?store_id=212862



Wear my Art! Merchandise and such!

dragon chick t copyRighto, I’ve got pages on both Teepublic and Redbubble, so you can surround yourself with Hocus-Baloney merch. I doubt it’s going to make me rich, but I do enjoy turning odd pieces of sketchbook nonsense into t-shirt designs and the like.

The idea that my art is being worn by strangers and baffling their friends keeps me warm at night.

here’s my Teepublic shop:


and here’s the Redbubble;


The shops have slightly different ranges at the moment, but that will doubtless change over time. They have sales on occasion, so keep checking.

And buy stuff.

Of course.

Meanwhile magazine

From Meanwhile#1

From Meanwhile#1

The Bad Bad Place is a dark tale of new town enervation and supernatural revenge, unrolling chapter by chapter in the pages of Meanwhile magazine, written by David Hine and rendered by yours truly.

There will be ten chapters in all, and the magazine that houses it also fetures Gary Spencer Millidge’s Strangehaven, and a revolving Brit-centric line-up of other strips. There’s been some fantastic work in there so far. Have a shufty, it’s worth buying direct from publisher Soaring Penguin’s site; http://soaringpenguinpress.com/

latest: http://soaringpenguinpress.com/product/meanwhile-6

back issues: http://soaringpenguinpress.com/product/meanwhile-1-4

and digital versions are available from Sequential: http://store.sequential.cc/catalogue/book/meanwhile__5_by_david_hine_and_gary_spencer_millidge_and_mark_stafford/857



Save Our Souls Magazine

from SoS#1

from SoS#1

Save our Souls is/was an anthology magazine edited by David Ziggy Greene, of Private Eye and Charlie Hebdo renown.

It mixes comment pieces, reportage, illustration, and a lively mix of personal, satirical and journalistic comic strips to great effect.

It feels good to be a part of it.

There were three issues .

My stuff is in all of them.

I have no idea if there are going to be any more, and I can’t find an online presence.

happy hunting.



Hocus-Baloney Merchandise!

taking care of business.

taking care of business.

Is your life lacking?

Do you want to distract yourself from the emptiness athat gnaws  away at the very core of your being with a whizz-bang colourful geegaw or trinket?

Yes? Well then welcome welcome welcome!

I have trinkets galore!

Come one !

Come all!

( though maybe not that guy…)

I have set up a Redbubble page , in a fit of larcenous greed, and so some specially selected and skilfully transmuted bits of my art, like the chap above, are now ready to be printed across a range of desirable products- t shirts, dresses, tablet and phone covers, bags and duvets, mugs and leggings. It’s all available here; https://www.redbubble.com/people/marxtafford70  and I’ll be adding more designs as and when the mood strikes.

Look spiffy.

Live spiffy.

I heartily endorse this product or service.



Despite years of dedication to retaining such anonymity and impoverished financial straits as befits an artiste of his calibre, Mark’s work has encroached on the commercial realm, and is available in bookshops across our fair isle. Details of what on offer can be found on the comics page

Lovecraft Anthology book

Copy of spacecolour10 copy

First published in 2011, The Lovecraft Anthology vol. One is available from Self Made Hero. Great collection of creepy tales from a fine line up. Dave Hine and myself got great notices for our ‘The Colour Out of Space” adaptation, but the book’s full of fine, tenebrous. eldritch, stygian things…

Here’s the book on the Self Made Hero site: http://selfmadehero.com/title.php?isbn=9781906838287&edition_id=154

Aaand on amazon Uk; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lovecraft-Anthology-Vol-1/dp/1906838283/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497632753&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Lovecraft+Anthology


Cherubs! goes digital with Sequential, The Man Who Laughs out!

Hey Kids! Do you like looking at things but feel guilty about killing trees? well congratulations!A spiffy digital version of the Talbot/Stafford supernatural comedy apocalypse graphic novel is available from Sequential: http://store.sequential.cc/catalogue/book/cherubs_by_bryan_talbot_and_mark_stafford/776

Meanwhile, in the land of proper books with paper and all that;

The Dark Horse print version of Cherubs is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Cherubs-Bryan-Talbot/1595829849/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497634168&sr=1-1&keywords=cherubs+talbot

Though I notice that, after four years, no buggers’s actually reviewed it, so if you buy a copy, give it a go, eh?

And The Man Who Laughs:-Nominated for the ‘best book’ category in 2013’s British Comics Awards, My collaboration with the writer Dave Hine on Victor Hugo’s misshapen 1869 masterpice, for Self Made Hero is bloody marvelous, even if I do say so myself, and I don’t have to, because lots of other people are saying it for me.  So buy a copy.

Here’s the Self Made Hero page:


And here’s the amazon page