VIDEO: Arts and Disability Forum Belfast with NewsZoom Comics

Nope, commonsense law has not changed. You don’t push yourself really hard if you’re gonna be at risk because of it.

The day before yesterday, I had a woeful day. Having just gotten enough money to buy electric and gas (thanks Ben!), I tried for bed early only to get insomnia, diarrhea, fever and fatigue. Then I overslept and missed my fortnightly writer’s group, woke up to find I’d not hot water left. Today, there’s fever and fatigue residue, so I haven’t had time to create anything new, but I did find this video on an SD card from my residency at the Arts and Disability Forum. It was shot in March 2011 by gallery organiser, Leo Devlin.

As this came to mind, here’s an original promo sketch for the exhibition.

In Time

If you’d like to know more about the ADF’s links with comics run a search on this site for Going Places, Beneath the Tide or Bacon Sammich of Doom. They’re also big fans of Crippen.

I’m going to nip out to Tescocks shortly, but there will probably be a truck that throws rottweilers at me and when they bark, fireballs shoot out their mouths, and those fireballs separate into wasps, fire-wasps.

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Going Places: New ADF ComicBook

Reminder that I’ll be out with the Belfast Writers Group on Saturday reading at Falls Road Library at 11am and the Shankill Library at noon as part of the European Heritage Open Days. I’ll be reading one of my favourite shorts, or perhaps the secret project revealed at TitanCon. Others will be reading from The Ghosts in the Glass and Other Stories horror anthology.

01 Cover

03 Content

This is a focking great comic. I’m hoping I can organise printing with the ADF next week for contributors and patrons.

Download link: Going Places [10.4 mb]

Bounce 2013 Festival Review

This weekend I’m at TitanCon. Last weekend, I was deep in Bounce! An event arranged by the Arts and Disability Forum, supporting deaf and disabled artists but not disability arts because that would involve paintings in wheelchairs or a canvas balancing on a crutch or another that looks perfectly fine because it has a hidden disability, but no, this is about art, ART.

The event launched with The Big Bouncy Shared Future Drumming Day! (photo-link), a 14ft in diameter drum in the grounds of city hall playable by 25 people. There was a n ice vibe, which got me thinking of culture, politics, harmony and rock actually.  Here’s another photo link. The gallery showing unveiled Karen Forrester’s Madness in Mind photos, which look sort of like if Tori Amos’s album cover photographers made jigsaw puzzles. I’m told they’ll be up in the Royal Avenue venue (opposite Central Library), until September 22nd-Ish.

Stephen Downey and I hosted our third comics workshop for the ADF. There were a few admin messes:  the Opera House marked it over 18s (perhaps mixing it up with Ben Jones’ digital film-making workshop) Also our limit was 12, but we took in 15 and that was largely my own fault. I was really blown away by the quality of contributions. We had a 7 year old, someone in the seventies, a blind comixer, my parents! Its effing brilliant. Includes ‘piss on pity’ wheelchair bound people of ambiguous gender kissing and the kisses produce stars which bringing zombies back to life. The collected effort is called ‘Going Places’, it’s about 20 pages, and it’ll hopefully be up here in a week.

The ADF ran a series of “Stories Behind the Picture” to promote the events.

It was the Saturday events winnng it for me, particularly Sonya Kelly and Fishamble Theatre’s The Wheelchair on My Face. The singer Victoria Geelan has a voice that is the stuff giants are made of, and you should definitely look for her stuff now. The soundman Declan were very competent and this probably helped. Nonetheless I have a yearning to stalk Victoria politely. She’s touring when the album comes out in a month or two.

So, good company and sexy culture beer.

Saturday was the bigger event. Bob Collins of the Arts Council opened, like so many people that weekend with something borrowed from Seamus Heany. Bob talked about the principle of access in Heaney’s work and how that related to making disabled artists work accessible to the public through the efforts of the ADF. Caroline Parker was a big draw for many people: apparently she’s something of the legend in the deaf community. I wasn’t knocked out by her one-woman piece on cabaret and undertaking like so many others were though it was was engrossing. The piece flowed well and had elements of sign song which I was keen to find out. I found myself taking note of the Bsl signer as I’m keen to learn and she was great too. It was nice to see the hat stand i painted was on stage.

Walking to the miracle bus that shall appeareth and bounce of nearer monica cornish’s creative writers workshop.
Bounce: caroline parker’s

Catherine Hatt is a singer-songwriter with a dippy hippy trip and dependably brought spinning tunes of twirling the room from blue guitar & good dress, gentle, elaborate, stealth profound. This was followed by Dan Eggs, who I’ve known through the ADF for a few years but I’d not seen in a proper live environment. He wasn’t all funny: this is important. His repertoire has some dark serious observations from life here.Take Eggs’ ride through the fucked up parts. He could well be Belfast’s E of The Eels. Dan works best in an environment without commotion such as the Grand. Choice heckling was welcome as part of a code of conduct and decency. Pat Dam Smyth took the stage next and yelled out depressions lyrics with guitar and keyboard bombasticism. Chris McConnell drummed a big band sound and the two men were twinned perfectly. Julie McNamara MC’d the evening and did a brilliant job. The crowd had the token dickheads. The performers gave 97%, or 110 if you like.

Monica’s writing workshop came on the Sunday afternoon: we had a few problems as the event was overbooked  and one of the attendees took advantage of Monica’s giving out complimentary handouts to flyer the participants for his Tinnitus media event . More positively, the workshop produced a shower of fireballs around which different life-shapes fed, supported, grew histories and edutainments. (The session produced Little Green Box)

The evening opened with Kids In Control Adult Ensemble, a theatre company producing a piece called Blue Chevvy. I wasn’t expecting much but was happy to find my friend Linda Fearon teamed with three younger women as part of a gang acting out parts of their lives, with pieces of their relationship with community, their disability. The show was fast paced, it was funny with the best of Norn Irish satire, great dialogue, set backdrops and chalk graffiti surfaces, Nicki’s breathtakingly mentalist dancing. By the end of it, the women had me gushing like a dumb teen at a Boyzone gig. A shirt was signed that evening and the pub was fixed. Bounce! ended with a piece by the renowned Open Arts Community Choir which began in the cafe and led the crowds into the theatre. Some wonderful hosting, beautiful harmonies, superb composition.

So, wins then.

Cooke n Beans


That’s apparently a guitar. You wouldn’t know because I drew it like a fast food totem pole and when Andrew makes his guitars he welds on stones and buttons and slashes paint everywhere. He had some of his instruments on a pick up and jam exhibition at the ADF a few months ago. He encouraged people to pick these stringed beasts up and play them, using tree sticks, lightbulbs, screwdrivers, I wrecked a Nokia2690 plectrum. Some video and photos from the ADF sessions.

I don’t know Andrew terribly well, but he seems a pleasant enough man and was quite helpful in talking about the process he goes through. You can buy the instruments or just look at the pretty pictures on

In a house in Oxford filled with what the English call chavs and what the Irish more sensibly call spides, I roomed next door to a guy called Mike. An incredibly funny, pleasant and charming bloke working through a scholarship with a gifted brain. It was Mike who taught me about folding oven foil to separate, who introduced me to The Philadelphia Experiment, and whom I went on marathon video watching sessions with over a nice beers.


I felt I was on the right track but as usual the first sketch looks not much like him. Mike was fond of cooking beans until they were stodgy and I called him ‘Mike Beans’. Somehow it stuck. I couldn’t find Mike Beans on Facebook, so it was nice to catch up with him under his real name today. Stuff seems to be working out.

Mike drank a fair bit more than me, and I was working at the Thresher’s off-license at the time. This was useful for discounts. One day I must have come home with a promotional sign: ‘Buy more, save more’, according to this mp3 recorded at the time. Mike wasn’t having any of it and threw it down the stairs.



Over the next month, I’ll be taking an active part in a few events.

Dublin Zine Fair 2013, 17th-18th August

at The Exchange, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
I’ll be performing words on mic, and selling a new comic book, beside other independent publishers and artists.
Last year, I interviewed six attendees who may re-appear this year. My turn on the mic at the finale, The Bill Have A Gun Siege At Xmas, has been made into a comic for 30p.

Bounce Arts Festival Weekender with Comics Art Workshop, 30 Aug to 1 Sept 2013

at The Baby Grand, Grand Opera House,
Stephen Downey
and I are glad to be presenting a comics workshop on Sunday 1st September for the Arts and Disability Forum at Bounce!
There’s no restrictions on level of talent or ability, as long as you’re willing to make an effort to work with others. Bring your friends and family.
Our event is free, but  there’s a great line-up again this year: a creative writing workshop, a workshop on digital film-making, live music, poetry, sign-singing (which I’m excited about seeing and learning), dance, exhibitions, and theatre, in the form of Wheelchair In My Face. What a great event. [Link to the Festival Portal on Facebook]

It’s £20 for the full weekend pass. You can book these at the Grand Opera House website now.

TitanCon, with Comics Workshop, 6th-8th September

at The Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast


TitanCon is a not-for-profit science fiction and fantasy literature, media and gaming convention in Belfast with an emphasis on HBO and George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones. In the previous two years it’s attracted large crowds.


This year I’ll be presenting a less-labour intensive version of The Magnificent Factory. There will also be a comics panel featuring Paddy Brown and other comixers who have marked the trails of Irish myth and legend. The event features cast and crew members from GoT, and a number of horror and speculative fiction authors including Peadar O’Guilin, possibly the finest panel host known to cat and dog. [Link: The TitanCon website]

Workshop / Bacon Sammich of Doom

TitanCon, Belfast’s premier Game of Thrones festival starts tomorrow, with a drink andbook readings at McHughs. As noted, I’ll be trying out an idea I’ve been working towards for a while, The One Day Magnicent ComicBook Factory. (link courtesy of Hilary Lawler, ICN)

The Facebook group for The Magnificent Factory is here. Please don’t tick the yes box if you’ve no intention of going to the con. We recognise the neediness of people like that, but it doesn’t mean they get fresh custard.

There’s also a new edition of the rewarding 2d podcast up. Last weeks featured an interview with my wing-man, Factory assistant, and Irish comics nexus, Paddy Brown. This time, you can hear an interview with me, as Ciaran Flanagan and I talk about the most important issue facing the country right now: Will I and Ger Hankey be working on IDW’s Transformers comic?

Now, What do you get when ten plus comixers from different backgrounds put together a silent story about a fight past deliriums and pop obsessions to prevent oneself from dying?

All words and pictures copyright their respective creators. Thanks to the ADF people for accommodating.

BACON SAMMICH OF DOOM creators at the Arts and Disability FOrum


Dates for your calendar: the Mercurial Stephen Downey and I will be inviting you to make comics with us at The Arts and Disability Forum in Belfast. We were there in February and executive produced the baby leviathan, Beneath The Tide.

 Beneath The Tide, featuring the work of Gareth Smyth, Andrew Cochrane and Roisin O’ Hagan.
You can see the full project behind this strip by downloading the pdf version which also features work by Richard Barr and Bisson. [15mb – pdf  link]

The event is on Saturday 25th August. It’s free, and limited to fifteen places. Please get in touch via if you’d like to be on board.

ADF Festival logo designed by Gillian O’Hagan

It’s one of the first acts in the ADF’s week-long Bounce! festival. The programme has a number of people excited  with an enormous roster of talent including Sinead O’Donnell, Garry Robson, David Hoyle, animator Joel Simon, Dan Eggs, Andrew Cochrane and Claire Cunningham.

More news on the Arts and Disability Forum website, including links to the programme and purchasing for ticketed events. [

I’d a lovely weekend at the Dublin Zine Fair run by the nimble Sarah Bracken and her team. Paddy Brown did a lot of arranging for us to be there, and there was a very positive turn out. I managed a spontaneous short comedy open mic bit, and got a lot of new friends from the series of six interviews I did with artists last week.

Sold a fair few comics too, including my sequel to Optimus and Me. Unfortunately Moods of Prime went out with a page error. It didn’t make a difference to the great story, but I thought I’d reprint the correct sequencing here.

My KaBlam/IndyPlanet copy of Hold The Phones, It’s Alex Jones! arrived looking like a grown-up magazine gospel rocker dancing on ice. The Series 1 11 page preview has racked up over 5,000 views.

The book has 28 pages of new material and costs  $3.99 plus Indyplanet’s postage fees, which from the UK are a whopping $10. [Link to IndyPlanet print copy]

But you must have your forty-four pages of big fat Sitcomspiracy. The Myebook digital is still only £1.00, and works out well. [Link to Myebook Digital, gets me 90% of the sale, and so sell cheaper]

You can buy Moods of Prime in black and white for £1.25 or £2.50 in colour (plus and extra £1 for far overseas), by sending the amount over Paypal to and including your address. All sold out of my own copies of Hold The Phones.