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Hi! I’m Gareth Sleightholme. I draw and write comics (amongst other things), mostly about monsters and the people that hunt or are hunted by them…

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Welcome to the Iron Shod Ape Comics blog*, if you’ve just stumbled across IronShodApeComics, we were originally set up as a creative collective of comic book fans and artist/writer/designers who decided to have a go at making our own books… and of course occasionally working with others on theirs. This ethos continues, but at the moment you might mostly find work by me (Gareth) on here. Though there will be be more collaborations with the original team soon I hope (I do hear there is something a little SF in the works somewhere to the south as you read this).

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If you are interested in pin-up art, cover art, straight forward work-for-hire interior comics art for your comic, or even bonus art for your comic kickstarter, you can contact me via – hesir@hotmail.co.uk or tweet/DM me @hesir. For more about all that, follow this >LINK<

2021 to 2022 – A Quick Round-up.

So, the last few years have been stranger than those that came before, and as I said then, those were weird enough. Not just for me, for everyone really. Lockdowns, the Virus and everything that came with it. Outside of the obvious feelings of gloom, reading about the outcomes, the deaths and long term illnesses, and the range of lifestyle changes that followed in their wake, I suppose, I still remained relatively untouched. Ultimately, my working life didn’t change that much. I now work from home, mostly digitally these days, from my iPad in the comfort of my living room. All of which includes the other new normals, zoom meetings, with clients both local and as far afield as the US.

And in terms of comics work? Well… We saw Spacewarp take on its new sleek Punx Edition look, as it hit the newsstands, which was great. Seeing something you’d worked on, not only in your hands but professionally distributed, and even appearing on the shelves of WHSmiths, with people posting sightings on social media was a real boost. And there should be more news on Spacewarp’s future direction coming soon. Keep an eye on Spacewarp’s and Pat’s Twitter and other social media for details. If you missed it your local stores, you can still find it here.

Elsewhere, I also lucky enough to produce more comics work for yet another museum project (following on from the Barnsley Museums History Kids comic project), this time for the ongoing Hull Maritime Project, part of a city wide celebration of history and culture during the long term refurbishment of the Maritime Museum building. For which I produced a set of comic inks style illustrations to be used in a series of videos of actors reading from classics to do with the sea (Moby Dick, The Odyssey, Treasure Island etc). Plus two comics adding a background narrative element to the ongoing outdoor public events that had been arranged, including the #HullKraken.

One (The Strange Case of the Very Strange Case) looking at the local urban myth of some kind of sea monster that found its way up the Humber Estuary and into the River Hull.
The other (Drawing Close to the Isle of The Sirens) a looking at the myths behind the creatures in one of the Hull Feren’s Art Gallery’s most popular paintings, Ulysses and the Sirens by Herbert Draper. Both comics featured two precocious kids who loved reading, art and investigating historical mysteries.

These two books were followed by a workshop for young people interested in writing.

I got to showcase and talk about these at Hull Comic Con too, which was once again a lovely small indie comics event (encased in a larger geek culture event).

Also in the works is FlintlockBook Six, for Steve Tanner and Time Bomb Comics (who are publishing some great stuff at the moment). This will be my third time on art duties for Flintlock and her adventures. The art is done, and over with Steve and his team at the moment, and there might be another little surprise there too, but that’s not for me to tell, look out for it’s announcement from Time Bomb soon. You can read a bit about me coming on board Steve’s female character led historical adventure project here.

And most recently, my fellow Hull based comics creator, Sean Azzopardi pulled together an exhibition at Hull’s Shirethorn Arts Hub, called Framed, you can see a bit more about the exhibition here. And we got to chat a little as part of a set of interviews he did to accompany the show.

…and for the rest of the year? Well, there’s going to be another Hull Comic Con, and towards the end of the year, Thoughtbubble. Which if we get selected might just make it our tenth time being there, which would be cool. If we are there, and you are too, come say hello.

2018 to 2020 – Quick Round-up.

The last 24 months have been weird but great. I quit my job at the art school I had worked at for the previous ten years, not an easy decision, as I enjoyed teaching a great deal. So it was with some trepidation I found myself saying the words out loud, “…right, that’s it, I’m now doing comics!”,

And though I’ve certainly got a long way to go to turn this into a fully viable career path, I am enjoying it. As you might have seen if you’ve seen me at the various cons I’ve tabled at over this last two years, TBF19 & 18, Glasgow, True Beleivers, Nottingham, The Lakes and Bridlington & Hull Comic Cons.

And I have to say “Cheers!” to everyone who has shown enough confidence in me so far to allow me to contribute to their projects. And thanks for the great support from those who have given us great shout outs and RTs etc.

SPACEWARP.

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Space Warp early promo art above, from none other than the Godfather of British Comics, Pat Mills and his Millsverse books.

I spoke more about this on
the IronShod blog but, needless to say, its great to be part of this, working with a writer whose work and legacy has been such a big part of my (and many others) formative comics years. You can also see Pat talking about some of the designs I sent through in the early stages of the project HERE.

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The book is out now (as of the end of July 2020) and available on Amazon and Comicsology: 6 stories, 70+ pages, painted colour colour by myself (pencils by Mike Donaldson), and black and white art interiors. With bonus material available on the site.

And there is a bunch of Spacewarp merchandise available HERE too, including t-shirts with art by yours truly.

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Here‘s some of that earlier work I did on Flintlock too…

You can find some process stuff in the video above from Book Four of Flintlock and below a speedy process of a Kickstarter print done exclusively for one of Steve Tanner‘s other period comics, Dick Turpin and The Vengeful Shade.

THE HISTORY KIDS

As I said, I was lucky enough to be involved in a small way with the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley’s excellent Kapow show last year (you can find out more about that HERE, as well as other comics workshop projects) . And this year am working with them and Elsecar Museum to produce a comic call the “The History Kids in The Mystery of the Whirlygig”.

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The comic is filled with opportunities to get involved in the story including two print it yourself mini board games, and was designed to run over ten days in August, during the uncertain lockdown period.

Here’s a bit of process work for that:

Other stuff completed or still in the pipeline…

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There should (eventually, but man it’s taking me time to get around to it) also be another book from the ongoing collab’ with Madius ComicsRob Jones, though on hold for a little while there, it should be out this year. The third in a trilogy of our Viking Saga stories and this one is going to be a doozy, all pencils are complete and I’m part way through inking it.

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There is also the book I’ve been working on with Vince Hunt (Writer/Artist of the Red Mask From Mars, and one third of The Awesome Comics Podcast), again this has been on hiatus, not Vince’s doing at all (he’s been producing some great work of his own elsewhere so you should go check it out), but hopefully I should get around to something on that this year too, despite the delay.

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And from the way back machine, it was all those years back (or so it feels now) great to be involved with the excellent Kickstarter pulled together by Rob, Mike and Alisdair (Madius, Little O) for the collected edition of Tragic Tales of Horrere. All those guys have new stuff in the works, Rob in particular has been killing it with his new lettering career, and if you are into classic horror movies, you should check out Claret by the amazing Mr Wood. A beautifully realised project.
Horrere has been out a while now in this new printing (120+ pages), but it is beautifully put together, and It’s great people got to see it.

And though it’s hard to believe, there’s yet another, still to be announced comic project I’m working on, which should be great. Looking forward for that immensely.

All that, plus new work on my The Cthulhiad books, and maybe some other fun comics and comics art stuff too. Again, check out the blog for more on all that.

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Oh! And now that I mention it, about The Cthulhiad… Books 1 & 2 – “Severed Head Cult” and “Vanitas” are now available on the Comichaus app if you are a subscriber… get over there and check it out, leave a review. (you can find a bunch of reviews of the series here along with reviews of other comics work).

Oh, and in amongst all of that I somehow found the time to get married to Sarah (that was back in Sept’ 2019, wow, crazy), the woman who nearly a decade ago stood next to me at Thought Bubble as punters, and said. “So how come you don’t have a table here? You love this stuff, I don’t get it, you should get a table”.  Its really all down to her to be fair.

So all in all, I guess it’s going pretty well.

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Cheers to those of you who said cool stuff about us on the internet, you have no idea how much it helps, thank you. If you get the chance drop by our future con tables and say Hi… more info here:

Now head up to the blog and see more stuff, or go check out my (Gareth’s) twitter feed @hesir, or similar stuff on IG @AKAhesir.

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*…our previous blog is still available here – https://ironshodape.wordpress.com/ – should you wish to see some of the old posts.