Category Archives: Comics

Incredibly relatable illustration

Spotted this while randomly googling imaginary libraries that I wish were mine (what? perfectly valid search thread) by Tom Gauld (who tweets as @TomGauld).


Then spent a very happy half hour checking out his comics – many have a literary theme! He does happen to have a book out – Baking with Kafka – so it seems only polite to include a link to that also – HERE!

Last one I swear but relevant to Sunday’s book club ūüôā



PODCAST – Culturally Minded Ep 02

sharing stories 01

Leeds Book Club has been¬†participating in the¬†Arts and Minds Network‘s Sharing Stories Project for the last few years.

In previous years, we read and discussed books – you can find the list below – however, in 2015, we decided to broaden our scope.

Tom of the Arts and Mind Network and I will be meeting up every few months to discuss books, music, TV, films, comics and anything else we can think of, with an eye towards increasing awareness about mental health.

If you are already subscribed to the Leeds Book Club podcast, then¬† ¬†#CulturallyMinded¬†episodes should start appearing automatically¬†soon! ūüėČ

itunesThe LBC podcast can also be found on iTunes here if you fancy subscribing!


The Movement

The Movement

02 – CULTURALLY MINDED¬†– Episode Two –¬†with Tom

Tom (@ArtsMindsLeeds) and I meet up to discuss comics – the Movement, Look Straight Ahead, 2 Kill and Psychiatric Tales; books – The Girl on the Train; Tom’s Recommendation – In and Out of the Kitchen and exciting events coming up soon!


TIP 02 – Miles Jupp – In and Out of the Kitchen


Mobile Link to the episode.

If you’d like to get involved – either recording (with us or as a roving reporter with audioboom) or with a suggested book, tv, film, comic or place to visit – please drop us a line!

PLUG and REVIEW (ish) – 2 KILL Comic

IMG_3089In my other blogging persona, you might recall me bragging about my friend Tom Ellis HERE and HERE.

Well, the little sod has gone and done it again! Damn him and his inspirational/creative self!

Tom has created a comic book series.

And written the first issue.

And published it.

And is selling it.


tom comic

Initially I had intended writing a full review for Issue One but to do so would quite spoil this twisty-turny tale.

What I will say is that this is a terse thriller. The language used is deliberately ambiguous and captures the attention and imagination of the reader.¬†The dialogue reads right, the character sound like they’re actually talking to each other (one of my normal bug bears in comics) which is a huge thumbs up.

All artwork has been created by Katie Thompson – another friend and con-family member of mine. Though I’ve seen bits and pieces of her work before, nothing on this scale and nothing so deliberately minimalist and stylistic in tone. I love the use of light and dark and that the only colour used in red. The emotions of the characters are emphasized¬†throughout – bravo Katie!

I’m hugely impressed by my two mates – this is a terrific project! However, this is not perfect¬†– not just yet.

In places,¬†I could have used more exposition via text rather than via the¬†artwork. During the dinner date¬†for example,¬†I almost resented having panels devoted to each detail of the nights progression¬†– I thought that the pace suffered slightly here as a result. (However, later, after the date – the use of the art to propel the story forwards, as opposed to the writing is spot on. I’m an inconstant woman, clearly).

I look forward to seeing the direction that Tom and his intrepid team of awesome take for the next!

Watch the trailer here


Visit the 2KILL page on facebook

Danny Snelson

Danny Snelson


You can download the soundtrack Рcompiled by Aaron Richards HERE because what is the point of a comic without a kickass soundtrack?

Or play the soundtrack on the embedded player below.

tl: dr

A brand new comic series from enthusiastic first timers;  that brings together a story, artwork and music.

Issue 1 out now!

The X Files

Four new cases!
Sort of.
Had popped in to OKComics for one of our usual (increasingly) surreal, bizarre and incoherent conservations last week when I overheard one of their regulars discussing the X Files comic.
As a HUGE fan of the series; I knew I’d have to read it.
The X Files was one of the first shows that I became OBSESSED with.
I’d rush up to the video shop every week and eagerly had over my pocket money to borrow a homemade copy of three or four weeks worth, adverts included – if Im honest with you – the adverts made it better.
It was the first show I’d memorize sections off my heart for. The first show I cut pictures out of magazines for.
And my first major crush.
Oh Fox…sorry Mulder…I was smitten from the start.

LBCGiraffe – Book 05 – Watchmen

Date:  Tuesday 5th of February 2013
Time:  6pm Р8pm
Address: 6 Greek Street, Leeds, LS1 5RW
Tel: (0113) 244 1500

* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *


“Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night.

Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else.

Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.

Was Rorschach.

Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #LBCGiraffe


Follow @GiraffeTweet for details on the deliciousables and their projects nationwide (which this month include an awesome #GiraffesCantDance giveaway!).
Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at

Return to the Dark Crystal

When single shines the triple sun,
What was sundered and undone
Shall be whole, the two made one,
By Gelfling hand, or else by none.



A few months ago, I reviewed Return to Labyrinth – a 4 part manga/comic continuation of the epically awesome 1986 Jim Henson film – Labyrinth.

You can probably imagine how excited I became when  the very same publisher (Tokyopop) announced that they were bringing out a three part sequel to The Dark Crystal, another Jim Henson film, and again, one of my childhood favourites!

The 1982 film was, without question, darker than its predecessor Рset in the ruined world of Thra. The protagonist РJen Рbelieves that he is the last of his kind, the final remaining Gelfling. 
Taken in upon his parents death by the enigmatic Mystics, Jen only finds out his destiny on the event of his Master’s death. He is told of the Gelfling prophecy, and that he is the one who must ‘heal’ the dark crystal, restoring it to a whole state and thereby restoring balance throughout the world. The Dark Crystal had been cracked a thousand years previously.

His journey, and the fate of his world, is beautifully captured in the film, and I would really recommend it, especially if you have young un’s. It can be a bit scary in places, but so is the world, and every child should have the right to see the world through¬† Henson’s eyes.¬†
(Incidentally, and for my fellow geeks, I’m delighted to hear that a sequel is being planned (announced anyway in May 2010). Ok, it’s in 3D…for the moment…but who knows, by the time it’s actually made, that fad might have worn itself out!)

The comics are not by any means a sequel to the film. Instead, the bold decision was made to set the story in the past. Hundreds of years before Jen’s story, set before the extermination of the Gelflings, but after the Great Conjunction (when the crystal was cracked).¬†

Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol’s 1 and 2 – the 3rd planned in the series was cancelled – examines a different Thra from that of the film. In this story, Thra is slowly breaking down but is not yet broken.¬†
Lahr, a herder, is a simple Gelfling, with simple needs. He lives with his family in a small village Рnot home, just the latest in a long line of attempts to retain a normal existance in a place becoming violent and dangerous. 

You have to do what you can…

After his family are captured, or possibly killed, by the ruthless Garthim, Lahr is forced to undertake a voyage to warn other Gelflings. En route, he joins forces with Neffi Рa winged female who has been similarly dispossessed by the same band of Garthim. 
After sucessfully defending the Namopo Valley village, Lahr and Neffi realise that the Garthim are capturing Gelflings *alive* for the even more evil Skesksis. They decided that they must steal into the Dark Castle, and rescue as many as they can. 

Vol 2: Trial by fire – follows on from the moment vol 1 ends, with our inspirational duo heading for the castle (hee hee, every time I think of the Dark Castle I keep flashing to that little worm from Labyrinth. “If she’d ‘ave kept on goin’ down that way she’d ‘ave gone straight to that castle.“).

I don’t want to give too much away, but the second volume, in my opinion, is a far more pace-y, dramatic and dark book. Both the Mystics and Skeksis feature far more. And, although the ending is obvious to those who are familiar with the film…ok, overly familiar with the film, it manages to be unexpected at the same time.
I’ve articulated that poorly, but I’m sure you know what I mean!

Again, I will be lending these around to any of my mates that express an interest. However, unlike the Return to Labyrinth series – which I will even lend to people who’ve never heard of the film! – I have reservations with this one.

The artwork can’t be faulted, the story line makes familiar territory new again, altogether, it is a polished and well presented product. And therein lies the rub.
While Return to Labyrinth, in places, felt a little rushed, with some characters rather sloppily put together, and pretty much all of Volume 1 being just a tad fan-girl-ish; you could tell that the creaters *really, really* loved the original film.
Here, it feels a bit more like a technical challenge. As though it was so much more tricky to put together than somewhere along the line, the books lose their sense of fun.

It’s a pity that the third volume will not now be released. It felt as though the series had found its feet, and was finally entering territory as dark as the film that inspired it. The final panals of volume 2 create a sense of forboding, and I for one, would have loved to see more snippits from that particular time line.

Long story short – if you’re already a fan of comics, manga and, obviously, the film, go check it out from your local library. Have a read, then head straight to the comments and let me know what you think!
If you are merely interested in dipping your toe into the whole comics scene, I’d go for the Labyrinth books instead!

Return to Labyrinth

Have you ever been at a party and had someone mention… the macarena or something similar, and before you know it, a whole pile of 20-somethings are on their feet, singing along, doing all the movements, generally making right eijits of themselves, and loving it?
Well, my version of that occurs at least twice a year. I’ll be at some do or other and someone will say ‘You remind me of the babe…’
And before I know it, we’re replying:
‘what babe?’,
‘the babe with the power…’,
‘what power?’,
‘the power of voodoo,
‘who do?’,
‘you do, you remind me of the babe!’
If you’ve seen the Labyrinth, and loved it, chances are you knew what I was typing before you read it!
If you’ve seen it and didn’t like it…then this might not be the blog post for you(but you’ll probably find something else you like!).
If you haven’t seen it…yet… I envy you!!!


The Labyrinth is a 1986 film, directed by Jim Henson (The Muppet’s!), produced by George Lucas (some space based trilogy, twice), and designed by Brian Froud (who created the good faeries/bad faeries book, amongst others).
More importantly, it stars a be-wigged, all singing, all dancing, all Lycra wearing David Bowie, as Jared, alongside an enchanting and enigmatic Jennifer Connelly as Sarah.
The film follows the adventures of Sarah Williams, a 15 yr old girl struggling to come to terms with the death of her mother, her father’s remarriage, and her relationship with her baby brother Toby. During a fit of rage, she wishes the baby away with the goblins, and to her shock, the baby vanishes.
He has been kidnapped by Jared, the King of the Goblins, who is in love with Sarah, but has a rather strange way of wooing her. She has only 13 hours to learn the tricks of the labyrinth or she will lose her baby brother for ever (such a pity…).
On her journey, she meets the weird and wonderful, makes some true friends and finds that life is not always as it seems. It’s all very surreal and wonderful (gotta love the MC Escher inspired ending), and there is singing and dancing galore, by creatures of all sorts and shapes. For years, it has been one of my favourite films, and I would have happily chewed off my own arm for some sort of a sequel.
Turns out, they didn’t need my arm!
The wonderful people at Tokyo Pop have released a four part comic series, designed to bring the legendary world back to life, and up to date.
It is set some 15 years in the future, and little Toby – now a rather blase, yet hapless teenager – is the hero of the books…though Sarah does make her presence felt too!
The characters that we know and love are all present and correct (Jared, Ludo, Sir Didymus and of course, Hoggle), though the focus is on new ones. Though very different (in that durr, it’s a different format completely sort of way), I do think that the spirit… the heart of the original lives on in a glorious fashion!
Everyone that I have lent these too has loved them, almost as much as the original film. So, if you are a fan, I can’t recommend these enough! If you merely liked the film, but are looking to explore the world of comics more, this is a great introductary set. I know that it’s contrary to all comic conventions, but these are set out in western linear fashion – you don’t have to read em backwards. I find reading backwards disorientating with comics. My eyes automatically move in the wrong direction, so this was fantastic.
If you fancy em, I know that OK Comics have had em in the past, and are rather super about ordering stuff in (and lending a patient ear when you want something but can’t remember the name!). I imagine that they will be available competively priced online, though I obviously haven’t looked (never understood that tendency myself) – I have mine now!
(As for me, I’ve started collecting the sister series – a sequel to the Dark Crystal! 2 down, 2 to go)
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