The Watch Thief: Prologue 2

He ducked from the horses on the bridge over the Danube, away from wheels, passed bonnets and gowns. He smirked at the Vigszinhaz theatre in construction, future inheritance.
The line into the smaller Municipal Theatre bubbled. Barely fifteen years but short enough to disappear from security. In the scarlet carpeted foyer he spied a few of the Magyar nobility who could recognise him to Nagypapa. He kept his head down, hid under the black curls, and followed them.

Violins and harps swirled against the walls, the Fowler’s bass with the horns. The audience catcalled.

“Bring us Wagner’s second. The man who made Das Rheingold!”

“Quiet,” said a man.

“Where’s Mahler?” came the response.

Rumours of Gustav Mahler’s politically motivated ‘resignation’ appeared true. The star was nowhere. Ignacz sensed the attendants would come, so left his seat and scurried to another row, one with younger men.

On stage, tenth century Germans expel Hungarians. Their Count Telamund accuses Dutch Elsa of murder: “Where’s Mahler?”

The boys were from the local Drama school and recognised Ignacz. “Look! The little gyerek who tried to sneak into our lectures. What’s your name?”


“Looks like you missed another chance to see Professor Mahler.”

Another lad laughed odiously.

“Where’s Mahler?” asked Ignacz, sharply.

They laughed again. Timpani and triangle were muted underneath the raucous, clarinets too.
“That’s enough you boys,” said an attendant.

Ortud prayed to Wodan in soprano. “Bless me with guile and deceit, that my revenge may be sweet!”

Calls came for Budapest commissioner Count Zichy to play the lead villain. Trumpets and flutes inspired tumultuous notes in the front row.

“Alright boys, I’m asking you to leave, quietly.”

An arm touched Ignacz’s jacket.

“Oh no, we can’t have a German play!” he said, and the touch became a grip. He was stood up then, and responded by bolting his feet to the floor. “Where’s Mahler?” he roared. Then he stomped the floor, shouting it again.

As if on cue, something hit the stage. In the middle rows, people were pushing one another. The calls echoed round the hall ten, twenty times. Where’s Mahler? A punch was thrown. Ignacz was dragged a few feet, before the guard left to break up a fight. He dodged rotten fruit and outside, passed six police on their way in.

Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to and access four advance chapters, commentaries and bonus art.

The Watch Thief: Prologue

1894,  Paks, Budapest.

Nathan’s arm dripped from hot towel. He scrubbed, ceasing the stink of brine finally. On top of the wealth of Julia’s family he was two months into his role as a financier: he knew he’d never have to worry about money again. A slide of soap flowing from his pit, trickled the chest. The baby, Simon, wailed from another room. A firm dry on stolid towel then, comb and mirror to carve the beard. His hair was black and malleable. Despite a forward nose, piercing eyes, it was common for the grain merchants to pass by before doubling back. The child’s dirge escalated into cacophony, complaints in baritone, laughter gathering to chorus. Into the bedroom came Sandor, trying to run, giggles before a fall. He looked at his father, curious and pained. Then his chaser, Jozsef, came and stopped by his brother.

“You fell,” said Jozsef.

“Stop! Your synagogue clothes are not for play. Do not be so disrespectful. Go and wait!”

Nathan huffed and jangled the hangers as he took his shirt down. He buttoned breast and cuffs and reached for his caftan. He touched the fringe of the robe and took the shtreimel onto his head, fur sparking fingers.

The other room was quiet then. A large room with tall ceiling chandeliers casting light on the plush table and chairs re-made from the clutter of the boys’ adventures. Julie held Simon in her arms. He only uttered vowels and the tap as he tugged on his mother’s sleeve. Julie carefully lifted it back in accordance, then set to lining up the boys in order of age for dress inspection. Nathan entered and drew up to Vilmos. Months short of a man, he could count on him. Next to him, Lajos, as academically gifted; he wore a stubborn smile.

“Where’s Ignacz?” Nathan asked.

Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to and access four advance chapters, commentaries and bonus art.

I am about to steal your watch.

Hello your name man

The Watch Thief is going great, I rate it right up among my best/your favourite here. A few patrons are braving monthly donations. On June 7th #BelfastBookFest I’ll be unleashing The Watch Thief into free cyberspace, every weekday, and waking up ALL THE KITTENS. I see T-shirts. I see other writers run to me. In my dreams and heart, I’m relatively happy.

The first act was finished over a good cup of coffee this afternoon, in the shade. I’m working between my Ballyhackamore home, the city’s Farset Labs and The Intercontinental Bar open space on Ravenhill. Ignacz The Watch Thief is set to five days a week as it’s been doing on Patreon. Subscribers already have the first three chapters. It’s only 80p a month, for goodness sake. That’s cheaper than the Green Party! Or if you can afford the best book of the year, £3 a month gets you weekly commentaries, a freMoniaive 2017e comic, art by Ruairi Coleman and John Robbins, and today, a poem called Omelette Day. I’m really very grateful to everyone who signed up.

A few shout-outs:
Alan and Sue Grant are running the Moniave Village Comics Festival, that’s somewhere in Dumfries and Galloway. That’s 10th-11th June, reasonable admission, and great contemporaries guesting such as MacManus, Nero, Bishop, Collins, Handley, Dobbyn, Emerson and McShane.  Contact sue grant 23 at

Comic Book Guys have moved to their new store on 110 Great Victoria Street, just beforeIMG_20170526_170526 Shaftsbury Square. It’s new, snazzy boutique appealing and I do hope you visit them. If you’re looking for print copies of We Shall Not Be Stapled they’re the only place with stock left. Tell Aaron (or Austin) you want to buy stuff, jabroni.

On the subject of comic shop patrons, my thanks to Malachy Coney at Forbidden Planet Belfast. Malachy interviewed me about Axel America for the Facebook page. Malachy’s one of the sweetest, smartest and most interesting people in comics, though lesser spotted unless you’re an FPI regular. You can read his own blog, Curiouser and Curiouser, here.

Next week, I’m recording a process video for Patreon and doing final takes on the all-access promo. As well as new Watch Thief, I’m finalising plot structure for a M.A.S.H.-like situation comedy novel. Then, Sarah and I are off to Achill Island for a few days. If you’re good I’ll bring you back gifts.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Just do anything.

Ignacz Book Launch NOW

Today I’m sending out my new novel in part-work through Patreon. Next month it’ll start for free on my but now S1 a month buys four chapters and $2 gets a weekly commentary. It’s a globe-trotting time-crossing  of adventure and escape which traverses the Edwardian age to World War Two. Some of you  know the highlights, retold since I began this in 2010. It’s in the vein of my Horatio Bottomley story for To End All Wars, Yet Unlike Anything. I’m very excited to finally get ‘Ignacz the Watch Thief’ off the ground. I understand if people wait for the free version on June 6th though I’d be grateful if you spread the word. This is unique.

More information at and the prologue is already there for subscribers with more new words tomorrow.

Calloused fingers from my new comic, stained with blue ink after a reasonably good launch; thankfully it didn’t stain the customer’s copy. Then the Enniskillen Comics Fest, were I got a good chat with Colin Mathieson among others. It was nice to see Alan & Sue Grant again, they give me a warm feeling. It was old skool fest life: abandoning the table, talking with everyone, getting excited about stuff! I hosted ‘Breaking into Comics’ with Colin, Jenika, Ciaran Marcantonio and Grainne McEntee, who makes Bubbles O’Seven: Simian Agent, which is really fun. I’m excited to be reading Ciaran’s comics soon. He’s properly excited about Neon Skies, and Red Sands looks great. I seem to be out of copies of We Shall Not Be Stapled, though it didn’t sell so well. Maybe a second printing. An e-version for sale in a month.

We Shall Not Be Stapled

Shout it in the streets. Get down to the Orange band and tell them too. Tell your friends carrying messages over the border.

The Comic Book Guys have been immensely supportive of Axel America. I’m delighted to be featuring in this cosy spot lunchtime launch. There’s a raft of old and new material (see here) including pieces by myself, and an unseen Sir Reginald piece from 2006.

I’ve been working on the launch of my exciting Patreon project and my new book, Ignacz the Watch Thief. The campaign starts on Tuesday 9th at – there’s little there, but you can bookmark it.

Before that, I’ll be appearing at the Enniskillen Comic Fest this weekend. On Saturday morning, hosting a ‘Breaking Into Comics’ panel featuring Colin Mathieson (Accent UK), Jenika Ioffreda (Midnight Tea), Ciaran Marcantonio (Neon Skies) and Grainne McEntee (Bubbles O’Seven: Simian Agent) From there, I can mostly be found at the Sector House 13 table. They’ll be selling a zine edited by Laurence McKenna and Peter Duncan…well, it’s a glossy zine, with a strip beautifully painted by Ryan Brown, and marvellously written by Laurence, a feel much like The Shield, which is a perfect tone for a Mega City One Judges story. I’ve a prose-poem in there. I’m Likin’ It. Actually, that’s the name of the story. It’s good.


The Name of This Band Is…

Righty-oh naughty blank page, off to Kingpin’s wall with you. Sector House 13 Dredd story written, poems – check. Patreon project on in three weeks. New novels coming. Lots of readers. New comic, at 44 pages or more, 33 laid down. No idea of the title – polling Facebook / Twitter next week. It’s an anthology, many different writers, thus far confirmed:

Danny Pongo – Titanic Theme Park, What we too, and Madeley Feeds Africa.
Dek Baker and Richard Barr – Wee Hard Man
Mark McCann – The Game is Rigged
John Robbins – Real Irish Avengers, The Belt
Laura Reich – Gus
Ben Stone – Sir Reginald
Dan Lester – Bush Dream

I will be drawing from my own writing my too. Hands hurt but  enjoying working with different creatives: one big comics hurrah. It debuts at the Enniskillen Comics Fest on May 6th, cost £3-£5. If you’d like to pre-order I’ll post it UK for £3.50 or digitally for £1.25. Paypal drew. luke@gmail with a note.

Meantime I’ll leave you with some excerpts of the thing to come, whatever it’s called. Words by Lester, Pongo and Robbins.