Friday, November 4, 2011

Vanguard Presents...

...a tribute to the video nasties of yesteryear in the form of "Speed Date", a gloriously deranged, blood-soaked 'comic nasty' in two acts, which has to be seen to be believed. Written by Dirk Van Dom, with full colour art (on act 1) by Liam Byrne and (on act 2) Bhuna, this chilling tale of modern horror originally appeared in the 2010 and 2011 editions of online horror anthology "Hallowscream", produced by the good folk over at Back from the Depths. Both installments of the tale have been collected together as a 16pp comic, with brand new cover art - shown here - by Bhuna (channeling the awesomeness of Bill Sienkiewicz no less!)

Set during a very unorthodox speed-date, which is not at all what it appears, the tale features objectionable psychopath Buck Tucker, who appeared in a one-page, darkly comedic "sit-com" type strip in Vanguard issue 1. That tale, it turns out, was nothing but a delusion our homicidal lunatic was sharing with us. What he REALLY gets up to is much MUCH worse! If you like your horror in-your-face and bloody, with plenty of twists and no holds barred, then "Speed Date" is for you.

So how do you get one? Simple - just order a copy of Vanguard and we will include a copy with your order, absolutely FREE! Issue 2 of the comic will hopefully be out by the end of the year (or very shortly afterwards), but if by some chance you haven't ordered issue 1 yet you can still do so, and we will include the free copy of Speed Date with this instead (though I must add there is a VERY small handful of copies left so you have to act fast!) If you're not interested in purchasing Vanguard at all but would still like a copy of Speed Date, we can do that too, just email us at and we will sort something out.

This is only the start of the free gifts we have planned for future issues of Vanguard. A second volume of Vanguard Presents... is in the works, along with a set of full colour, laminated postcards featuring the characters from the comic, but there'll be more news on all of that later. You can't say we aren't good to you! :)

Cheers guys, thanks for reading and keep an eye out for more updates and previews from issue 2 soon!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Issue 2 Cover

The cover of issue 2 will spotlight Call Malone and the other wonderful ladies (of the night) who star in "Atomic Call". The pic features, from left to right: Raquel "Rack" Wiseman, Sally Marrett, Colleen "Call" Malone and Mandy S.N.A (Surname Not Applicable.)

Art is by series artist David Blankley.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Forbidden Planet and Comics Bulletin Reviews

Here's a link to the final review of issue 1, as provided by Kelvin Green at Line of Fire Reviews. It's the most positive one yet, and very welcome, as I've been following Kelvin's reviews and they are always very insightful. He knows his stuff so if he's giving us the thumbs up, we must be doing something right! :)

Also, a review from Forbidden Planet International which is not quite as glowing but still has positive things to say. It's a bit "hit and miss" the review states, but that's probably always going to be the case with an anthology comic - different strips will appeal to different people, as I've already seen with previous reviews. I could call 2000ad a "hit and miss" comic, seeing as of the 5 stories that appear each week, its very rare all five of them appeal to me. There tends to be 2 or 3 strips running at any time that I love and another two that I'm not that bothered about. So that's the nature of the beast then.

Nevertheless, all comments and crits of issue 1 have been taken on board and duly processed, in order to make sure issue 2 builds on them and improves all around. And it is looking pretty good. It will have 4 extra pages, to accomodate an additional story, a cool Atomic Call cover by series artist David Blankley and a full colour 1 page strip on the back cover by Redbats' newest captive artist BHUNA - check his work out HERE.

There will also be - wait for it - FREE GIFTS! In the form of some snazzy, exclusive artcards AND...something else, that I can't talk about just yet. But needless to say, it will make money spent on this issue VERY well spent indeed! More on that closer to the time.

In the meantime, I am happy to report sales have been good for issue 1. I only have a handful of copies left and have just about made back my printing costs, which is the icing on the cake in my book.

Keep an eye out for issue 2, in early (ish) January!


DVD, October 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

2nd Review and Digital Download Info

Second review of issue 1 is up HERE on Irish Comic - another pretty favourable one too. Interestingly, this review is almost the polar opposite of the one that appeared on ECBT2000ad here. That reviewer liked the cover, "Tucker" and "Mammoth Jack" but wasn't a fan of the fantasy-themed "Halo and the Gryphon". This reviewer doesn't like the cover, loves "Halo and the Gryphon" and was (reading between the lines) so offended by "Tucker" and "Mammoth Jack" that Tucker doesn't get a mention and Mammoth Jack only receives one comment, that it is a "gorefest" which will "not be to everyone's tastes". Well--that's kind of what I was going for, so I'm fine with that really! The one thing the reviews have in common is that they both seemed to enjoy Atomic-Call. More reviews needed I think!

In other news, for those of you who have fully embraced the "Digital Age" and no longer read comics the old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy paper way (for shame!) there are now two new ways for you to check out Vanguard!

If you like (and who doesn't like you can download a copy HERE --- for only 99p, I might add!

And if you are a user, you can do the same - for the same price - HERE.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More previews and a review

So two weeks on and I'm happy to report the comic seems to be going down pretty well. Thank heavens!

The mag has had a nice little write up by John Freeman on Down The Tubes, which you can read HERE.

The first review of the comic is also online HERE at Everything Comes Back to 2000ad. Pretty happy with that one! :)

I hope to get a few more reviews coming in soon, I'll be sure to post them when they arrive.

In the meantime, here are a few more previews from Issue 1, in case you haven't been convinced to give it a try yet!

From Atomic Call, art/letters by David Blankley:

From Halo and the Gryphon, art by Louis Carter, letters by Chaingun Chimp:

From Mammoth-Jack, art/letters by Owen Watts:

Based on the response to issue 1, issue 2 is now definately a go. The scripts are written and now it just remains for me to track down my artistic comrades and lock them up in a dark room somewhere for a couple of months! Once more upon the breach, my friends! Tally-ho!!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vanguard! Issue One - Available Now!

At last, our baby is ready to be sent out into the Big Bad World!

The culmination of several months work is back from the printers and boy does it look awesome! (If I do say so myself. :)

My collaborators on this project have put their all into turning in some fantastic-looking pages and the whole thing sits together really well. With this first issue, our small-press adventure is off to a fine beginning, and I can promise that it will only get better from here. The only thing to do now is attempt to get some copies of this beautiful little comic into your mitts, so we can share all our hard work with you! And with that in's the ordering info!

The best way to order is via paypal.
Our paypal ID is
Costs are as follows:

In the UK:
Comic - £2.00 Postage - £1.50
In NI:
Comic - £2.00 Postage £1.00
Comic - €2.50 Postage - €1.00 (or free if I live close enough to you to deliver!:)

We've tried to keep the price as low as possible whilst also attempting to garner back some of the printing costs. Unfortunately, the postage cost is the regular postage cost and there's absolutely nothing we can do about that.

If you don't like Paypal and would like to discuss alternative means of payment you can contact us at

And just for the record, here's what you get for your money:

24 pages of shiny comic goodness!
8 noir- styled pages of femme fatale action by David Blankley!
7 mind-tripping pages of fantasy action featuring Gryphons and Smoke Angels by Louis Carter!
6 wonderful panels of dark humour by El Magnifico El Chivo!
5 greyscale-tastic pages of donkey-packed mayhem by Owen Watts!
4 stories covering a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, humour and horror genres!
3 preview panels from the next installments of our stories!
2 pages of gloriously atmospheric gothic art by David Withers!
and 1 arsom, full colour cover by the one and only Liam Byrne!

How do you like them apples?? :)

Go on, give us a try folks! There's something in here for everyone and I honestly don't think you'll be disappointed! We need your support and feedback to make sure the next issue is even better!


Dirk Van Dom, July 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gryphons and Donkeys and Parachuting Psychopaths...Oh My!

Earlier in the week I received the artwork for the cover to issue 1, along with the title of this post as an email subject line, adequately describing it. You can view it in all its glory below.

This wonderful piece of front cover-wizardry comes courtesy of the ever-amazing and uber-talented LIAM BYRNE, aka, GHOSTPOCKETS. I wanted something snazzy and colourful and a wee bit psychadelic and Mr. Pockets that-are-Ghostly delivered in spades, with his own renditions of the stars of the comic. I am, needless to say, incredibly happy with this! It's gonna look great as a printed mag...which shouldn't be long now, as there's only a page or 2 of artwork still to come in and then it's all systems go!

Rest assured I shall be keeping you posted!

Thoughts on the cover? Let me know!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Introducing - Vanguard!

One-Woman War Machines! Gryphons! Invisible-ish Men! Smoke Angels! Angry One-Eyed Donkeys!

This is VANGUARD, a new anthology comic featuring four (would be) on-going serials, written by myself and illustrated by some of the best talent working in the UK small press arena.

The idea for Vanguard came about when, at the start of the year, I was going through my files of old story ideas to see which ones I could resurrect and turn into comic scripts. Having gotten into the comic-scripting game last year and been lucky enough to have a number of scripts accepted by various publications, both online and print, I was keen to revisit these old ideas, which were languishing on my hard-drive gathering cyber-dust. I came across three stories in particular which I've been working on, on and off, for the best part of the last ten years, originally with the idea of developing them as novels. That plan has been going nowhere fast for a long time though, and with three half-completed manuscripts and no end in sight for any of them, it suddenly occurred to me that all three might work a lot better as comic strips. A quick trial at creating 6-7 page "part ones" for each of them made me realise I had three pretty much 'ready to go' comic series on my hands, ones I was sure would make for some entertaining reading. But what was I to do with them?

There aren't many places you can submit series ideas to in the UK small press, as most outlets prefer to publish one-off 'future shock' style shorts or fan-fiction type scripts based on existing characters. One exception to this is the excellent PARAGON, brainchild of Davey Candlish and home to stars Jikan and Battle Ganesh. I was lucky enough to get to write some scripts for Jikan last year, and also had my own series "ICARUS DANGEROUS" picked up by the comic (episode 1 appeared in the most recent edition). I realised that a comic like Paragon would be perfect for what I had in mind...but since I couldn't find another comic like Paragon, I thought to myself...well, why don't I make one?! And so the idea was born. I put out the feelers to see if I could get any artists interested and was quickly able to 'sign up' small-pressers DAVID BLANKLEY, LOUIS CARTER and BRIGONOS MAC GIOLLA CHOMHAILL to the cause. With LIAM"GHOSTPOCKETS" BYRNE agreeing to do a colour cover (and a fourth 'dark horse' strip joining the roster, with art by another great small-press artist OWEN WATTS), all the pieces fell into place and I decided...what the heck! Let's give it a shot. The worst that can happen is I put a few quid into getting it printed and have a nice looking comic on my shelf to show for it. If I actually manage to sell a few, all the better!

So, the first issue of Vanguard is very much an experiment, to test the waters and get some feedback on the stories, see what works and what doesn't. The AIM is to produce a regular - if infrequent! - comic that will develop the stories and characters within and allow them to reach their natural conclusions. The plan is that there will be 2 issues of Vanguard published each year, probably Summer and Winter editions, though how feasible/workable this is all remains to be seen.

Vanguard follows the 2000ad formula of offering a varied menu of tales, and will hopefully feature something for everyone, with sci-fi action and butt-kicking heroines, fantasy adventure featuring Gryphons and Smoke Angels, a modern-day supernatural mystery thriller featuring a cast of cursed, tragic heroes with strange abilities, and a retro-style "animals on the rampage" tale starring one very pissed off donkey!

Synopsis of all the stories can be found in the following entries, along with sample pages. If any of this tickles your fancy, please do take a chance on us and give it a try. We've all put a lot of work into producing the best comic strips we can and I'm confident you'll find plenty in here to enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Dirk van Dom,
April 2011

Atomic Call

Orphan, tomboy, juvenile delinquent, soldier. Colleen 'Call' Malone has been many things in her thirty years of life...and she's about to add 'fugitive' to the list. Detained in a juvenile detention centre during her teenage years, she was forcibly conscripted into the Irish army to serve in war-torn Libya, under a new, innovative rehabilitation scheme for minor offenders. Embracing the chance to turn her life around, Colleen dedicates herself to her training and becomes a top class soldier during the course of her years in military school and later in the field. Her past comes back to haunt her however when, denied time off to attend the funeral of 'Mammy' -- the matriarch of the orphanage she grew up in and the closest thing to a mother she ever had -- she goes AWOL in order to pay her last respects. Reuniting with old pal and fellow orphan Sally Marrett (who has also turned her life around, though in a completely different way) she agrees to repay an old debt by helping Sally with a problem - namely, providing some 'muscle' to help her deal with the goons trying to take over her brothel in Dubai! This task will see Call tempted back to her old ways of thievery and connivery, with the skills she picked up in the army allowing her to operate on a whole new level -- a level that will see her come into possession of some very powerful technology...and set the world's most dangerous bounty hunter on her tail!

Check out a preview of page 1 below. Art by David Blankley.

Halo and the Gryphon

Deep in the Arundack mountains, a young gryphon named Zephyr longs for adventure. Frustrated by his tribe's policy of self-imposed exile, he desires nothing more than to explore the world beyond Sanctuary, and can not understand why the gryphon elders insist they remain hidden from the planet's human inhabitants. After all, gryphon's are bigger, faster and more powerful than humans, what reason should they have to fear them? When he spots what appears to be a shooting star come down in the woods beyond their territory, his curiousity gets the better of him. Ignoring all warnings, he sets out to investigate, planning to retrieve the object. However, when the 'shooting star' turns out to be a high-tech alien Halo, and Zephyr unwittingly becomes its new host, a series of events are set in motion that will change his life forever. The Halo holds many secrets and is being sought by some ruthless, otherworldly foes - foes that will invade Zephyr's life, and the lives of those around him, and bring him more adventure than he could ever have imagined.

Check out a preview of a page from the first episode below. Art by Louis Carter.

The Sluagh

"The Sluagh: spirits of the restless dead, generally evil people who were welcome in neither heaven nor hell, nor in the Otherworld, who had also been rejected by the Celtic deities and by the earth itself."

Shane Easterbrook, a troubled young man with a tragic past and dark secret, finds himself cursed to a strange half-existence when he tries to take his own life. Despite what should have been a fatal suicide attempt he somehow survives...albeit out of sync with the rest of the world. Though not invisible, people look through him as though he isn't there. And whilst he quickly learns he can FORCE others to acknowledge him by physically interacting with them, he finds this is only effective as long as he remains in direct contact with them: as soon as he leaves their company, all memory of any interaction they had is forgotten. Unable to understand how or why this happened to him, Shane gives in to an overwhelming urge to travel to Ireland, his mother's birthplace, in the hope of solving the mystery, taking advantage of his 'curse' to get him by. And that's where his problems begin. The Sluagh are gathering...but is Shane one of them?

Check out a preview from the first episode below. Art by Brigonas Mac Giolla Chomhaill.


Ireland, the late 19th century and animal cruelty is at its peak. Horses and donkeys are being exterminated in huge numbers by the factories supplying cabinet and furniture makers with the all important glues crucial to the production of their wares. Equine animals – whose hides and hooves produce the best mixtures - have become the animal of choice as raw materials in the production of these glues, and the men and women employed by the glue factories act in barbaric fashion in 'converting' them. It's a nasty business...and somebody has to do something about it. Enter young Jamie Swift and her pet mule, Duncan, a Mammoth-Jack donkey she found mutilated and dying having escaped one such factory. Rescuing Duncan and nursing him back to health, the two form a special bond and unite in their goal of liberating as many of Duncan's kind as possible from the glue factories...but this act will unwittingly pit them against the nastiest, cruellest foe imaginable -- Jamie's own father!!! Watch out glue makers! Duncan Mammoth-Jack is on the rampage - and he is one ticked off pony!

Check out page 1 of the first episode below. Art by Owen Watts.