For the ninth year in a row the Mindless Ones will be hawking our tawdry wares at the Thought Bubble comics convention, which is taking place in Harrogate this weekend.

None of us have cracked the secrets of eternal life, but the dadforce is strong in this group, and at least three of us are more handsome than we were back in 2011, where Andre Whickey tried to sell me for low low price and failed completely.

Will the gang manage to make some money off me this time?

Unlikely. Everyone knows my love is free.

But we’ll be more than happy to see you either at our stall – ComiXology Originals Hall, Table 16 – or at the SILENCE! to Astonish panel at Room A – Queen’s Stage, 2pm on Saturday!

Here’s the blurb for the panel:

Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die of SILENCE! and Al Kennedy of House of Astonish inflict daft games, badly researched questions and ill-advised impressions on a very special, hand-picked, crack group of comic professional victi-err… guests.

House to Astonish is Scotland’s longest-running comics podcast and has been featuring comics news and reviews for over ten years. SILENCE! is the world’s only comics podcast.

This year’s guests are: Giant Days writer and Steeple jack John Allison (not my uncle), Analog scribe Gerry Duggan, These Savage Shores writer Ram V, and word/art specialist and Breaks-smith Emma Vieceli.

Team Mindless will also be happy to savour the sweet, sweet taste of money in exchange for the products of our labour.

Here’s who’ll be selling what at our table…

ANDRE WHICKEY / ANDREW HICKEY

Dre isn’t selling any books at our table though you may be able to buy some off him.

GARY LACTUS / FRASER GEESIN

The big massive genius of his generation, Larry Gactus will be in the building with his latest misterpiece, Journey To The Surface Of The Earth #1.

Twenty pages pf A4 full colour and B&W goodness, Journey To The Surface Of The Earth was described as “a fittingly witty celebration of the mundane” by Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver, who quite rightly asked us all to celebrate “the unique mindscape of this seriously underappreciated mainstay of the UK self-publishing scene”. DARE YOU DENY HIM?

Larry Leesin will also be selling a brand new micro-zine, Good Frence #1

Good Frence has new Amusing Brothers strips and what I’m reliably told by the postman is a full page, ham-fisted Brexit analogy. Andy Oliver might not have told you to buy it but I am, right here and now. Am I not good enough for you? Fair enough, but you still deserve Good Frence, for all your sins.

Gazer Freesin will also have copies of his phenomenal autobio comic The Cleaner, the world’s best Ikea comics anthology KOMISK! and a fistful of other treats for the faithful on the table too.

ILLOGICAL VOLUME / DAVID ALLISON

I’ll be there with Beyond Whiles, the latest in my series of comics about abandoned places and the people who live in them.

A leisurely walk through a glitchy environment in the process of rebooting, Beyond Whiles is also an attempt to turn cheek into currency – in this case, by adapting the works of Weegie author and mural-enthusiast Alasdair Gray into comics form.

I’ll also have copies of LGH and Labyrinths if slow explosions or hauntings are more your thing, and I’ve reprinted Cut-Out Witch, my 2013 collaboration with Lynne Henderson.

Praise for my solo comics:

Classic British indie small press pamphlet, and a sharp burst of mood and ideas. It’s very much comics as poem – it’s the sort of work that Douglas Noble has been known to do” – Kieron Gillen

A spooky zine… Liked this a lot. The writing is really strong and the art suggests just enough to make you uneasy – Sarah Horrocks

Praise for my comic with Lynne:

“Cut-Out Witch is really good… Lovely creepy stuff” – Twitter’s own James Baker

“You do seem to be able to dash such things off quite easily, I kind of wish I could do that…” - A Trout in the Circus’ very own Plok

Praise for you, praise for me – PRAISE ME!

THE BEAST MUST DIE / DAN WHITE

The mighty Beast is back with the second installment of his new horror anthology, Sticky Ribs!

Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver, who you worship as a god, forsaking far less useful and productive deitys-in-waiting like me, had this to say about the latest release from the werewolf factory at Dead Light Comics:

This is prime White material with the juxtaposition of innocent, childlike diary entries and horrifying reality perfectly counterpointing each other and, through their contrast, making events all the more chilling. It’s Maurice Sendak by way of Cormac McCarthy, with wide-eyed innocence going hand in hand visually with a surrounding inescapable devastation.

He’s not wrong, this Andy Oliver. I can see why you’re currently building an alter for him, out in the woods, where you think no one can see you. I don’t approve of your methods but the impulse behind them… that I can get. Anyway, here’s a sneak peak of the horrors of the first story in The Beast’s latest:

As always, the ever-loving, red-eyed Beast will have copies of his astonishing kids comic Cindy and Biscuit to sell, and stories to tell that will add or remove hair to various body parts as required.

THRILLS / PAUL JON MILNE 

Paul will be debuting his new comic Hard Ships at our table this weekend.

In a move that will astonish and tantalize my fellow Miln-o-maniacs, Hard Ships looks deep into the muscle mysteries that are Milne’s muse and finds itself out there in space, exploring new frontiers of braw humour and shame.

Or at least, that’s what the postman tells me.

Milne will also have copies of  Grave Horticulture #1 and #2 for sale at our table.

Here’s what Sarah Horrocks had to say about that mulchy wonder for The Comics Journal:

Milne is an artist who can effortlessly land a fiery car engine on the neck of a musclebound maniac and you immediately understand what that’s all about. And unlike most writers today, he can give an origin story for a character in two pages or less.

The result is a tome of addled freaks, violence poets, and blood vegans who all feel coherent within a swamp of UK housing and geographic dilapidation.

Bobsy and Mister Attack will also be in full effect all weekend, dishing out love and violence to those who know how to ask for what. I pity the fools that use the wrong code words at the wrong time. Those poor souls. Those hopeless, shattered wretches. So hard to imagine their suffering. So hard not to want to be them.

So… where was I?

Yes. Thought Bubble 2019. Harrogate. Table 16, Originals Hall. See you there?

Are you celebrating comic book Christmas in Leeds today?  Are you struggling to fight off the sense of despair that comes with another winter, suddenly sure in the knowledge that your attempts to break the wheel of time itself have been unsuccessful – again! – and that while it might feel like you’re living in a bubble where nothing ever changes, that’s an illusion that can’t survive winters yet to come?

Are you at the Thought Bubble comics convention, trying to find something that will make the change of seasons seem bearable?

If so, why not come see the Mindless Ones at tables 13 and 14, New Dock Hall?

We might not be able to solve your problems, but I can guarantee that we’ll haunt your dreams.

We’ll also be blogging for money throughout the weekend – for a penny a word, one of us will write about any topic of your choosing. If you’re looking to be really cruel you should wait until Sunday morning when we will be at our most vulnerable and ask us to write a 25,00o word justification of the life of Mark Millar.

The Beast Must Die / Dan White is here, selling Cindy and Biscuit  - The Bad Girl part 2:

If you like comics that are packed full of adventure and strangeness and gross humour comics, you’ll like Cindy and Biscuit!

Gary Lactus / Fraser Geesin is here flogging his autobiographical comic The Cleaner:

If Fraser wasn’t a pall I’d have made a fool of myself online by banging on about The Cleaner at every possible opportunity.  As it is, I’m mostly going to stick to burbling lovingly at him in the pub, telling him about how the attention he pays to the overlap between everyday chores and outsized thoughts makes for one of the most hilarious and profound comics going.

My main man Mister Attack / Scott McAllister is selling copies of his student sit-com comic Wake Up Screaming, and Points on a Graph, the story of a man who is separated from his body and still has to go to work on Monday:

Scott’s one of the funniest guys I know, and his comics are a testament to his digressive wit and wicked imagination.

Andrew Hickey / Andre Whickey will be here selling his books about Doctor Who, Seven Soldiers, The Beach Boys, and the concept of entropy for £3 a pop – not a bad price to have a load of new connections in your head.  Andrew will also probably be writing 10,000 words a minute and shaming the rest of us with his ever-productive brain. The bastard.

Interview with The Beast

March 27th, 2016

Our very own Dan White (aka The Beast Must Die) has been interviewed by Matt Colegate for The Comics Journal!  Colegate talks to The Most Handsome Mindless* about Terminus, Insomnia, Cindy and Biscuit, writing for this site, and the development of his art style, and it’s all well worth a read if you like what’s best in life.

A teasing excerpt:

When did you start noticing that your style was developing? Was it an incidental discovery or was it something you were working towards?

There’s a hodgepodge of influences that I can see in everything I do, but it’s nice that a style has formed. When I’m doing a brush stroke I’ll be thinking  “the way I’ve drawn those bushes is really Bill Watterson.” The style also came out of admitting that I didn’t have to do figurative art work. I could still tell stories that I liked by using cartoons. I should say that the biggest influence in my life is Chuck Jones. Seeing the Warner Bros. cartoons broke me forever.

So you were quite strict about wanting to be a cartoonist?

I just admitted, y’know, “You’re not going to be Simon Bisley and you’re not going to be able to draw Batman”. Nor would I want to. My uncle was an illustrator and I used to look at his work and the looseness of the brush work used to really appeal to me. When I realized I could tell the stories that I wanted by cartooning, and not being a slave to anatomy and photo-referencing, that was really liberating and I think the style developed there. It was quite organic.

A lot of your work – Terminus for example, which you did weekly for Mindless Ones – consists of single panel pieces. What is it that appeals about that format?

The one panel strip is traditionally used for political cartoons or simple visual gags, but I wanted to explore what you could do. They were like haiku experiments in paring down the text. Doing it on a weekly basis was great – doing anything on a weekly basis is great because it’s a way to refine your style – and I noticed that I was getting much better at paring the words down. I wanted to do something that wasn’t necessarily funny. What about if you had a one-panel comic that just disturbed you, or made you feel a bit sad? Somebody on the internet said “It’s like a fortune cookie that you open up and inside there’s an obituary.” That was the perfect description of what I was trying to do. He didn’t mean it as a compliment but I put it on the back of the first collection anyway. It was about trying to capture something and suggest a whole world in a panel. There was a nerdy element also, because I got to tell a science fiction or horror story simply. Horror is a thing that comes up again and again in my work and Terminus was a good way to flex some of those muscles.

If you’ll forgive me for sliding straight into huckster mode – this is the internet in 2016, after all – I’ll just right ahead and say that if the interview put you in the mood to read/buy Dan’s comics, we can help you out with that!

I mean just look at this sequence, from the most recent Cindy and Biscuit book:

SERIOUSLY – BUY DAN’S COMICS!**

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Footnotes:

*Aside from Gary Lactus, who is of course the face of bad backs, and also – in his ridiculous stage name of “Fraser Geesin” – Jack of All Polymaths.

**Unless you’re broke, obviously. We don’t actually want to bankrupt you or anything. Or at least, The Beast Must Die doesn’t…