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Happy Birthday to us!

Wow, the past ten years have flown by! When we had the idea in 2010 of setting up a publishing business to help showcase creator-owned books and comics we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Ten years, something close to 50 creators in print, and around 150 comic cons plus various in-store signings and events later and we’re still here as stalwarts of the UK indie comics scene. Happy birthday, Deadstar!

To celebrate we made ourselves a little video…

So we’ve had a birthday celebration for us… what about one for you?

Well, we have lots lined up.

  • Starting tonight we’ll be running a competition with a massive prize
  • We’re offering 10 x opportunities to show your dedication as a True Deadstar Fan with a lifetime subscription to anything we release.
  • £100 megabundle – probably the biggest discount we’ve ever offered!
  • Every order between now and

Introducing the Megabundle!

Until the end of June, we’re offering a copy of almost everything we’ve ever published as part of a Megabundle for £100. This deal nets you…

In all that’s £200+ of books, comics and graphic novels for just £100.

Show that you are True Deadstar Fan

In celebration of hitting 10 years – which is no mean feat in the indie comics industry – we’re opening up a special opportunity for 10 people to help celebrate with the ultimate badge of honour: showing that you are a True Deadstar Fan.

What does this get you? In a nutshell… EVERYTHING. For the next ten years, anything we release, you’ll get it. So season 2 of 7 Shades… yours. The next volume of Age of Savagery… heading your way… the merch we’ve got planned for later this year… you’ll have it.

This isn’t for the faint of heart… but if you are one of our True Deadstar Fans then click here.

The competition…

Birthday parties are fun… but they need presents. That’s where you come in. Who should we give a present to? From 6pm on Tuesday 9th June 2020 until 6pm on Tuesday 30th June 2020 tag someone on this Facebook thread that you think deserves to win* the Megabundle. You can’t tag yourself… but you can tag as many other people as you like. Then, on Wednesday 1st July 2020 at 6pm we will randomly select a winner from all the names provided.

 

For everyone else…

In our first year we launched three titles: Jaque’s Magic Beans, Rising Stars volume 1, and Twictions. In recent years we haven’t marketed them so much because we’ve had loads of cool new stuff to show you. That should change! Any orders we post from tomorrow morning will have a free gift inside… either a copy of Jaque’s Magic Beans, Twictions, or Rising Stars volume 1. We’ll continue doing this for all orders we receive up until midnight 30th June 2020… or we run out of copies of those three titles.

That seems like a pretty good way to celebrate our 10th birthday to us!

 

 

 

* Obligatory legal bit: this competition is neither endorsed nor organised by Facebook. Employees of Deadstar Publishing Ltd are not eligible to win. There is no cash alternative to the prize offered. We will make every reasonable effort to reach the winner and arrange delivery to them within 14 days of the competition ending. Failure to provide contact details by that date will result in forfeiture of the prize. We may, at our discretion, award the prize to an alternative individual after that.

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Coronavirus and what we can do about it

This… is not how we’d hoped to be spending 2020. It’s a mythical year, associated with bright futures… or cyberpunk dystopia. It’s also the tenth anniversary year for us.

Right now it looks like most of our plans for the year need to be scaled back. We were booked for a number of events but one by one they are all cancelling and postponing. We have no issue with this – under the circumstances, it’s the right and responsible action to take. From the reports coming out of China and Italy at the moment this virus looks to be very nasty. It seems likely that we will need to reduce how much we travel and how much we interact with people in order to try and control it – and that means signings and events are probably going to stop for a while.

This will affect lots of folks, not just us. So if you have a favourite creator now’s the time to see if they have a Patreon, or buy something from their webstore. Even sign up to their newsletter just so that when this does come to an end in a few months the artists, writers, musicians and other content creators you love still have a way of connecting with you.

If there’s one thing people are good at, it’s adapting and overcoming difficult situations. We have faith that we can get through this. It won’t be fun but if we stick together and support each other we’ll come out the other side stronger than before.

 

 

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Deadstar’s Expo List 2020

This year is going to be special for us – it’ll mark our tenth anniverary as a publisher. We’ve got lots planned for this year: the second volume of Age of Savagery, a new miniseries for 7 Shades, and much more.

Check this list regularly as we’ll be putting up all our shows and appearances on here over time.

February 1st – True Believers Comic Festival, Cheltenham
February 29th-March 1st – London Film and Comic Con, London [NYC]
– Cardiff Film and Comic Con, Cardiff [Event Cancelled]
March 22nd-23rd – MCM Birmingham, Birmingham
March 29th – Cardiff Comics Carnival, Cardiff
April 4th – Swansea Comic and Gaming Convention, Swansea
May 2nd-3rd – Portsmouth Comic Con, Portsmouth [NYC]
May 9th-10th – South Wales Comic Con and Gaming Festival, Cardiff
May 16th – Oldham Comic Con 4, Oldham
May 29th-31st – MCM London, London [NYC]
June 6th – Caerphilly Comic Con, Caerphilly
June 9th – Our tenth birthday celebration, Cardif
July 24th-26th – London Film and Comic Con, London [NYC]
August 1st-2nd – MCM Manchester, Manchester [NYC]
September 19th – ICE, Birmingham
September – Cardiff Film and Comic Con, Cardiff [NYC]
September 26th-27th – Wyntercon, Eastbourne
September 26th-27th – MCM Scotland, Glasgow [NYC]
October 3rd – DragonDaze, Newport
October 17th – Bristol Comic Con and Gaming Festival, Bristol
October 25th – Taunton Horror Con, Taunton
October – MCM London, London [NYC]
November 14th-15th – Thought Bubble Festival, Harrowsgate [NYC]
November – MCM Birmingham, Birmingham [NYC]

[NYC] means Not Yet Confirmed

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Interview with the creators of 7 Shades

Our  next release is going to be 7 Shades: Hell’s Belles, the follow up one-shot to last year’s 4 issue miniseries. A few months back we caught up with David Clifford and Peter Rogers while they were doing a signing event at The Comic Guru and were able to record this interview with them.

In the interview David and Peter go into detail what the creative process looks like for them as well as talking about future plans. The series has been really well received so far and we’re looking forward to that continuing. Next week we’ll be launching 7 Shades: Hell’s Belles at Thought Bubble in Harrogate. David will be at Thought Bubble and will also join us at MCM Birmingham on November 16th and 17th. We have more appearances planned for the future. Keep an eye on our appearances post for more details.

We’d love to know what you think of the video – and of the series… and if you’re yet to pick up the first season you can find it here!

Production team

We’d like to thank the following for making the interview possible:

  • Editor & Videographer: Benjamin Powell
  • Audio Engineer: Barney George Andrews
  • Sound Mixer: Patrick Flannery
  • Image FX: Dani Abrams
  • And a special thanks to Kristian Barry of The Comic Guru for allowing us to film in his store.

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Passing on our knowledge to the next generation

A few weeks ago we ran a poll on our Facebook page asking if our fans would find value in us sharing our experiences of running an independent publishing company for almost a decade. The overwhelming result was that it was something people would like to see… so we’re going to do it!

Facebook Poll asking whether people wanted us to pass on our knowledge
Facebook Poll asking whether people wanted us to pass on our knowledge

We’ve already thought of a number of topics we could cover, from what talents/roles are needed to take a comic from start to finish – to how to budget for expos and more.

As this is something we want to get YOU involved in though, we have a request: let us know in the comments what topics you want us to write about. That way we can be sure we’re giving you the really useful parts of our experience.

The first post will probably go up in December or January as we have other things (like launching 7 Shades: Hell’s Belles and Dolphin Squad: The Colouring Book) to focus on until then.

7 Shades Hell's Belles cover
7 Shades Hell’s Belles cover
Cover for the upcoming Dolphin Squad Colouring Book
Cover for the upcoming Dolphin Squad Colouring Book

 

 

 

By the way… both titles are now available to pre-order!

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More Dolphin Squad on the way!

Cover for the upcoming Dolphin Squad Colouring Book

Vinny, Fabian and Lazer-Eye are some of our fans’ most loved characters and Danny J. Weston’s Dolphin Squad stories have been part of our catalogue ever since we released Rising Stars in 2010. Last year we launched their second full length graphic novel: A Death in the Pod and now we can announce that there’s more Dolphin Squad on the way! Before the end of the year we’ll be releasing Dolphin Squad: The Colouring Book!

Cover for the upcoming Dolphin Squad Colouring Book
Cover for the upcoming Dolphin Squad Colouring Book

What’s in the colouring book?

Earlier this month we were able to meet up with Danny at the Frome Comic Con. He brought us these cool preview pages to show off. We were excited to see how the book has come together and we think you’ll like it too.

Photo of puzzle pages from the new Dolphin Squad colouring book.
Puzzle pages from the new Dolphin Squad colouring book.

We also discussed what comes after the colouring book as the world of Dolphin Squad continues to grow. We’ve now got Dolphin Squad badges, prints, and our A2 80s action movie poster as well as two full-length colour graphic novels and two stand alone shorter stories. Tonnes of stuff! So… what is coming next? Book three of course! Danny has plotted out the story for the book and scripting is under way. If you keep an eye on Danny’s Instagram as well as the Dolphin Squad Facebook page then you can see concept art, previews, and other cool tidbits as they are posted.

As for the colouring book; we’re still finalising the book’s contents. We should finish that in the next week or two. The book contains a mixture of puzzles, colouring pages and even a sneak peek at future Dolphin Squad characters! This will make an excellent Christmas or Birthday present for any dolph-fan. As soon as we’ve set a release date we’ll add the book to our store for pre-order. Check back frequently to find it as soon as it goes up! Finally, keep an eye on our events page to see where we’ll be attending for signing events. You’ll always be able to find our titles online but there’s something fantastic about meeting creators in person too.

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7 Shades – the first arc and future plans

Last year we released a four issue mini series called 7 Shades. Created by David Clifford and Peter Rogers, it’s the opening salvo in a supernatural western epic. The plot focuses around the story of Sammael Hicks, drunkard and ne’er do well living in the fictional town of 7 Shades. The Awesome Comics Podcast called it “a wonderfully sort of dark take on the western genre” and we’d agree with that but we’re only just getting started.

All covers for 7 Shades first miniseries
All covers for 7 Shades first miniseries

What’s happened so far?

In the first arc, David and Peter set up the central conflict that will run throughout the series: Samm becomes Sheriff of the town and must somehow face off against his six evil outlaw half-brothers and bring them to justice.

The premise behind the town was established, key characters have been introduced, and some of the supernatural elements were hinted at – including a demonic pact – but to avoid overcomplicating things at such an early stage the story has stayed fairly contained thus far.

We wanted to give the series a strong start so the first two issues were released at the Cardiff Independent Comics Expo while the final two issues of the first arc debuted at Thought Bubble and ICE Birmingham respectively. In each case we were able to get Peter and David there to meet the public and really show off the strength of the story. If you missed out on that, you can try out issue 1 or grab the entire first arc in a bundle!

Peter Rogers, Dave Clifford and Kevin at ICE Birmingham Sept 2018
Peter Rogers, Dave Clifford and Kevin at ICE Birmingham Sept 2018

So… what’s next?

The plan is to keep publishing 7 Shades until we reach the endgame. David and Peter have briefed us on the general direction the story will take (and it’s an exciting one) but they’re playing their cards close to their chest on the exact details. To find out what happens you’ll have to buy the issues and find out! Unlike Dexter’s Half Dozen (also illustrated by David), we won’t be releasing 7 Shades as a sequential series though. Instead, we’ll work in a manner similar to Tank Girl where we’ll complete an arc and then release the whole mini series over the space of a few months. That means that you, the reader, will be able to read whole arcs more quickly.

To make that possible there will be a special one-shot released between each miniseries. That brings us to…

7 Shades: Hell’s Belles

David has recently delivered the pencils for this 48 page one-shot. Each one of these will look at side characters and better explore the town and its secrets. In Hell’s Belles, we shine a spotlight on the proprietor and ladies working at 7 Shades’ infamous brothel. These are not your typical damsels in distress and each one has a story to tell.

Pencils from Hell's Belles page 15
Pencils from Hell’s Belles page 15

We want to be careful about exactly what we say – but the book has an Assault on Precinct 13 vibe to it, and it will examine who each of the Belles are, and how they came to 7 Shades.

7 Shades: Hell’s Belles will be released later this year and the next miniseries is on track for a 2020 release.

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Ask us about our bundle deals

Two of our price guides

When we go to expos and comic cons (and we’re doing about 20 of those this year) we have a little sign on the table with our prices and a notice that says “ask us about our bundle deals”.

Two of our price guides that mention our bundle deals
Two of our price guides that mention our bundle deals

The reason for this is fairly simple: comics are sequential and if you want to pick up a whole story arc at once we want to encourage that… so to make it easier for you we offer discounts based on how many story arcs you pick up at once.

That hasn’t really been possible with our online store until now and we felt that was a little unfair so we’ve created a few pre-selected bundles specifically for the website.

We have four bundle deals so far:

What’s in each bundle?

With each of them, we’ve tried to focus on value for money. The badges are an easy one – they sell for £4 per set of 3 but the bundle is only £6 for six badges. With the 7 Shades miniseries you can have the whole 4 issue story in ebook and physical formats for £17 – it would cost you £24 if you wanted to buy those individually. Our Dexter’s Half Dozen bundle gets you 296 pages of printed comics and the same in digital copies for just £30 compared to the £68 that would cost when bought individually. And with our Dolphin Squad bundle deal you’re getting three graphic novels, a poster, six badges and a whole host of downloadable goodies for just £30! Buying the three graphic novels on their own would be more than that.

We’ve collected things this way because that’s what people usually ask for when they see us at conventions – but if you have other ideas on bundle deals that you’d like to see, contact us and let us know!

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Announcing Age of Savagery: Mystics and Monsters

Cover page of Age of Savagery 2 submission guidelines

“I want to make a comic that’s a cross between Lord of the Rings and Mad Max.” That’s how David Powell originally pitched Age of Savagery to us. He’d been working on the fourth issue of his post-apocalyptic robot adventure comic New Wasteland Fairy Tales for a while and progress had stalled because he had too many ideas but they didn’t fit the storyline he’d already established. His solution was simple: start a new project.

Developing The World of Genodd

It was March 2017 and David had been doodling in his sketchbook drawing fantasy barbarians, beasts and gigantic monuments instead of rampaging robots and gladiator battles. For a long time player of Warhammer and War Machine, fascinated by the close-up gritty skirmish games that revolved around characterful stories and explosive escapades, a fantasy world made sense. It was the break he needed that would clear his palette and allow him to return to New Wasteland Fairy Tales with a new focus.

Concept art for Age of Savagery
Concept art for Age of Savagery

We sat down with him and discussed the world he was designing. Looking over the concept art he’d produced we tried to work out what Deadstar Publishing could bring to the table to help him. He had a solid design for the world, and one that we wanted to see brought to life but producing a graphic novel on his own was a daunting task. Working alone, he could expect to spend a year or two on it at least. Or longer. At that point, the task would be far more than a diversion.

Around that time, we had been considering reviving our Rising Stars compendium. Back in 2010 we released it as our first graphic novel and it started the careers of several creators (including David) and we’d always called it Volume 1 with the intention of producing a second and third volume etc. After a lot of back and fore we agreed that it would be impractical for David to complete a book based in Genodd on his own… but the concept lent itself well to a shared universe populated by many creators. So, we reached out. We produced a submissions document and from that solicited stories set in David’s new world. Twenty two creators came together to share their stories set in David’s world and we launched the book in May 2018. To date it has been one of our most popular graphic novels.

This is the final front and back cover to the book.
This is the final front and back cover to the book.

Doing it again

Ten months on, we’ve sold most of the first print run of Age of Savagery. We’ve had readers come back and tell us that they enjoyed the representation of a variety of characters in the stories, that they loved the art, and even a few people telling us how it had been useful to them as a sourcebook for role playing games. We’ve also had creators messaging us to ask if they could do more with their characters as they’d had more ideas for stories since the book was published.

In the last year, David has been working on New Wasteland Fairy Tales again (we’ll have a blog on that sometime in the future) but also feels drawn to return to Genodd so we’re now opening a submission call for a second volume.

Cover page of Age of Savagery 2 submission guidelines
Cover page of Age of Savagery 2 submission guidelines

Age of Savagery: Mystics and Monsters

The first volume really established the world, setting up the clans living in Genodd and their views on the world. It also showed off the prevalence and significance of the Monuments. For volume 2, which we’ve called Mystics and Monsters, we want to look deeper. In this volume we want to focus on secret societies and mythical beasts. Who are the powers at work behind the scenes? What mysteries do they protect? Will the creature that stalks the woods return or have we driven it away? What was it in the first place? If you’ve got ideas from that and you want to learn more download the submissions guidelines. We’re looking for short comics, prose stories and spot illustrations so all types of talent are needed.

You can find the submissions guidelines here. And you can email ageofsavagery@deadstarpublishing.co.uk if you’ve got any questions about the project.

 

 

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Deadstar’s Expo List 2019

2018 was possibly the busiest year we’ve ever had – we released several new graphic novels, new books, and new comic series’ as well as publishing new instalments for some of our on-going titles. 2019 looks to be equally hectic for us. Below is a list of the shows we’re at, and the ones we’re investigating attending. As the year progresses this might change slightly so keep an eye on it to see when we’re coming to a town near you!

February 2nd – True Believers Comic Festival, Cheltenham
March 2nd-3rd – London Film and Comic Con, London
March 9th-10th – Cardiff Film and Comic Con, Cardiff
March 24th – Cardiff Comics Carnival, Cardiff
April 6th – Swansea Comic and Gaming Convention, Swansea
April 7th – Illustration & Indie Publication Fair, Cardiff
April 27th – 7 Shades signing at Comic Guru, Cardiff
May 4th-5th – Portsmouth Comic Con, Portsmouth
May 11th – Oldham Comic Con 3, Oldham
May 24th-26th – MCM London, London
June 1st-2nd – Comics Salopia, Shrewsbury
June 8th – Dexter’s Half Dozen signing at Sci Fi Collectables, Bridgend
June 15th – Caerphilly Comic Con, Caerphilly
July 13th – Small Press Pop Up, Cardiff [Cancelled]
July 20th-21st – Heroes and Legends, Margam
July 26th-28th – London Film and Comic Con, London
August 11th – Frome Comic Con, Frome
Manchester Comics and Reading Festival, Manchester [Cancelled]
August 31st – ICE, Birmingham
September 7th-8th – Cardiff Film and Comic Con, Cardiff
September 28th-29th – Wyntercon, Eastbourne
October 5th – DragonDaze, Newport
October 25th-27th – MCM London, London
November 9th-10th – Thought Bubble Festival, Harrowsgate
November 16th-17th – MCM Birmingham, Birmgingham
December 7th-8th – Wales Comic Con, Telford [NYC]

[NYC] means Not Yet Confirmed