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Deadstar’s expo list 2024

Last year felt like the start of a return for us. We made it to a good number of shows and want to build on that for 2024. Check this list regularly as we’ll be putting up all our shows and appearances on here over time.

June 9th – Cardiff Comic and Gaming Festival, Cardiff
August 17th – Back to the Past, Cardiff
September 28th-29th – Norcon, Norwich
October 7th – Bristol Comic Expo, Bristol [NYC]
October 21st – Fan TC Con, Isle of Wight [NYC]
October 19th-20th – Cardiff Film and Comic Con, Cardiff
October – Wyntercon, Eastbourne [NYC]
October – MCM London, London [NYC]

[NYC] means Not Yet Confirmed

We’re also keen to work more with comic and bookstores this year. If your local store would like to host an event with us, reach out and we can discuss how and when they might work.

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We broke a lot of things and fixed most of them

We’ve been around for almost 14 years and our website had its last major overhaul towards the end of 2017. In internet time, that’s like a million years ago!

The technologies that power the site have developed quite a bit since then and we never quite kept up with refreshing them. To say the back-end of the site needed some attention would be an understatement!

Getting started

In February we started to look at what was needed to address this. Not so cleverly, we hit ‘update’ on a few server settings, and ‘upgrade’ on a few others, hit ‘refresh’ on the tab with the site open and everything looked fine… so we went away for a few days. It didn’t take long for messages to start coming in saying the site was down.

We were out of the office so couldn’t fix things ourselves… fortunately telephone tech support came to the rescue and they rolled back the changes we’d made.

Giving it another go

This week we tried it again. Rather than just click ‘update’ on this, or ‘upgrade’ on that and let the software do its thing automatically (which we now know results in a broken site) we went through things slowly and manually.

We broke things. We broke a lot of things. First we updated the php settings. That broke the site. Rollback, check site works again. Try a different php setting. Site broken. Rollback, check if we still have a website. Try again. It turned out the CMS we use wasn’t compatible with newer versions of php.

So we tried updating the CMS next. That… partially worked. A lot of the plug-ins and add-ons we have installed wouldn’t run without php being updated… but we couldn’t update that without breaking the CMS running the plug-ins. A true Catch 22 situation! Bit by bit, test by test, rollback after rollback we charted a path towards things working again.

It took us most of the night to make it work. In the end we had to disable all of our plug-ins (sorry if you tried to visit the site last night while all this was going on. It must have been frustrating having the site ping-pong between working, not working, and different parts being turned on or off all the time. We were definitely frustrated by it all!) to make any progress.


Once the CMS had been updated, we were able to update the php settings. Then came the task of updating the plug-ins before we could start switching add-ons and plug-ins back on, checking if they broke the site (or failed to work somehow). A lot of the plug-ins forgot their previous settings as part of the upgrade so we had to set various features and functions up again from scratch. Considering some of them haven’t been looked at since 2017, that was fun!

At this point, many hours into the process, we had a working site again… sort of. Some of the visuals for the site have changed a bit in ways we haven’t figured out yet and for reasons we don’t understand. Most of those changes have been fixed.

Along the way we also found a few links that pointed to dead pages so those have been updated.

Broken bits

We also discovered that some of the plug-ins we used won’t work anymore… one example is our payment processor for BitCoin. So for the time being we have removed that feature entirely. We want to support crypto currency payments long term… but that’s going back on the wishlist for a future tech upgrade. We removed a few other things too where the feature just isn’t relevant anymore.

Somewhere along the way we lost our cookie banner too. The updated version of the plug-in requires a key from a website we never signed up to for it to work. That one’s higher on our list of issues to fix as it’s a legal requirement to display and give people choices about cookies on websites.

There’s still quite a bit we’d like to improve about our website. Now that the CMS, the plug-ins, databases and php settings are all as current as they can be, it should be easier for us to tweak and build upon what the site does best. There’s a few technologies like switching images to webp format to reduce page size, and implementing caching options to improve website loading times that we’d like to explore.

Those will need to wait for another day though. Now, it’s time to enjoy the weekend!

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The Kickstarter is over. Dolphin Squad: Origins is on the way!

Dolphin Squad: Origins is funded! Our first Kickstarter was a success!

Thank you to everybody who contributed, shared social media posts, or helped behind the scenes. You are all wonderful people and we are so grateful for your support.

Dolphin Squad: Origins cover reveal
Dolphin Squad: Origins cover

The book is nearly done with proofreading. We’ve picked up and corrected for a few errors and should finish that task in the next few days.

After that it’s a case of assembling the final file for our printers, waiting for funds to clear from Kickstarter, and giving the green light to start production. All being well, backers should get their copies before the end of September!

And then?

We’ve got several shows booked for Autumn. You can see where we’re going to be by checking this list.

So if you’ve missed the campaign, you’ll still be able to get the book from us at comic cons, signings and events in the future – plus it will be on our website once the book is officially released.

We have more planned for Dolphin Squad for next year… but right now we need to rest. Its been a busy 30 days! Thank you again for your support and we’ll get your rewards to you as soon as we are able.

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We’ve reached our goal!

Last night our Kickstarter for Dolphin Squad: Origins reached its fundraising goal!


We’re coming into the final week of the campaign and it’s now looking pretty certain that we can release Dolphin Squad: Origins in 2023 thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

There’s still plenty of time to get involved: the book itself is available for £4 as an ebook, £15 for a physical copy, or £17 for both. Previous items in the Dolphin Squad franchise are available as add-ons, but the best value for money is our Collector Bundle at £45. This includes the new book, as well as the first two graphic novels, our colouring book, plus three prints of your choice!

We’ve said in previous updates that our first stretch goal comes at £1500. When we reach that point, all backers with pledges for physical items will receive a free 58mm exclusive badge… and we’re now able to show off our design (we’ll finalise it after our printers confirm it meets specifications).

Right now we’re £424 away from being to include these… but you can bring us closer.

As well as the badge, we still have several more exciting goals to unlock. At £1500 we’ll include the badge and show you what can be had if we reach £2000, and so on!

We also have a retail tier: if you have a shop, or want to support your local stockist by buying from them, back the retail tier for a 50% wholesale discount and free postage within the UK for 10 copies.

You can help us by backing the project, and sharing the word for us. Here are two images you can send to friends!

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More than 50% funded!

Last Sunday we launched the Kickstarter for Dolphin Squad: Origins, and we’re now over 50% of the way to our goal!

It’s great to see so much support from the community. We want to bring you this book and you are all helping make it happen.

Keep up the good work. Backing and funding the campaign is great, and we also need people to keep sharing the page too. Let people know they can find the book at and we’re still tracking use of hashtags #fundfabian #dolphinsquadorigins and #dspubkickstarter

At this rate we’ll soon be able to unveil our stretch goals!

  • When we reach goal at £1000 we’ll show off the badge design to be included for free in every physical pledge once we pass £1500
  • When we reach £1500, we can show off what the £2000 goal is.

  • And we’ve got more reveals planned if pledges exceed £2000!
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Dolphin Squad on Kickstarter!

After a lot of planning (and drawing) we’re finally ready for the Dolphin Squad: Origins Kickstarter!

Well… almost ready. We’re currently looking like this…

… as we go over the last bits for the campaign.

Where can we find it?

The Kickstarter is here and will run from July 9th to August 8th. If you want to share the link to friends (… or enemies!) then and are probably easier to remember than the project’s full url.

What is it?

This is the third graphic novel in our Dolphin Squad series by Danny J. Weston. Like the other two, it’s self-contained so you can jump straight into the story. Dolphin Squad: Origins tells the tale of how the squad formed and expands upon Fabian’s mysterious past, including some secrets that will impact the team’s future.

The book will be available in physical and digital editions, priced at £15 and £4 each.

Dolphin Squad: Origins cover reveal
Dolphin Squad: Origins cover reveal

We’ll need your help

The goal is to raise at least £1000 to go towards printing costs (we’re anticipating printing to be around £2500) and the project page is live now so you can register your interest before the campaign starts.

This is the first time we’ve run a Kickstarter (though we’ve backed several dozen from other creators over the years) so it’s a scary time figuring things out as we go.

We know that there’s a lot of interest in the Dolphins – they’ve been one of our most popular series since they first launched… but we don’t know how many of our fans will back the project. So we need your help: pre-registering your interest, and pledging when the campaign opens are both phenomenally useful to us because a lot of the way Kickstarter decides which projects to promote on their site is by how they perform in the first 48 hours. If we start poorly, it’ll be much harder to attract attention in the middle of the campaign – and if we don’t reach the goal by the end then we get nothing!

Sharing is caring

Below are a few different images you can share with folks on social media sites. You’re welcome (encouraged, even!) to tag us @Deadstar.Publishing on Facebook, @DSPublishing on Twitter, @Deadstar_Publishing on Instagram and we’ll be keeping an eye out for folks using #fundfabian #dolphinsquadorigins and #dspubkickstarter

More will appear over the next few days… as we said… very busy right now!

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Deadstar’s expo list 2023

Right, lets try this again… last year we had several shows queued up that had been scheduled and rescheduled over the last few year but unfortunately several of them cancelled so we didn’t make many appearances around the country. This year we want to do better. Check this list regularly as we’ll be putting up all our shows and appearances on here over time.

February 5th – Taunton Comic Con and Gaming Festival, Taunton
March 11th-12th Exeter Comic Con and Gaming Festival, Exeter
March 18th –  Bristol Comic Con and Gaming Festival, Bristol
March 25th-26th – Megacon Birmingham, Birmingham [NYC]
April 29th-30th – London Comic Con and Gaming Festival, London
May 13th-14th – Swansea Comic and Gaming Convention, Swansea
May 13th-14th – Wales Comic Con, Telford
May 26th-28th – MCM London, London [NYC]
September – MCM Birmingham, Birmingham [NYC]
September 23th – Bath Comic Con and Gaming Festival, Bath
October 7th – Bristol Comic Expo, Bristol
October 21st – Fan TC Con, Isle of Wight
October 21st-22nd – Cardiff Film and Comic Con, Cardiff
October – Wyntercon, Eastbourne [NYC]
October – MCM London, London [NYC]
November 11th-12th – Thought Bubble Festival, Harrogate
November 18th-19th – Wales Comic Con, Telford

[NYC] means Not Yet Confirmed

We’re also keen to work more with comic and bookstores this year. If your local store would like to host an event with us, reach out and we can discuss how and when they might work.

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Pricing, plans and presents

Dr Deadstar wishes you a Merry Christmas

Terry Pratchett wrote the curse “May you live in interesting times” – and the times have certainly been interesting for the past few years. Pretty much a constant flux of change and uncertainty. We are hoping that 2023 will bring some stability.

As 2022 comes to an end we wanted to lay out what lies ahead. After a pretty disastrous two years with very few shows and our coffers drying up, where we ended up in almost a dormant state just to keep costs low enough to survive, we’re now starting to look to the future with a bit more optimism.

We’re looking at new titles, better ways of connecting with you all, and how to ensure we can keep bringing you the types of weird and wonderful stories we’ve specialised in since 2010.

Things in the pipeline

In the next year we want to release the following:

  • Volume 2 of our Dexter’s Half Dozen trade paperbacks. This one will combine issues 4-6 in a remastered format.
  • Dolphin Squad book 3. Danny is hard at work on this and from what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be well worth the wait.
  • More 7 Shades (the second issue from season 2 is now ready for release, and Dave Clifford is hard at work on the rest of the season).
  • Age of Savagery 2. This was originally due for release mid 2020. It’s a compilation focusing on spotlighting new and rising talent. If you’d like to get involved there’s still time and you can find more info here.
  • There’s more… but we need to be realistic about what we can afford to print and promote… so they may fall into our 2024 release schedule instead. Watch out for another blog post in a few months.

Cost of living

It’s pretty difficult to ignore the economic scene around us. Prices have gone up for most things. Petrol, postage, costs for tables at expos and more. We raised our prices in 2018 for the first time ever and now, unfortunately, we have to announce the same again.

From 1st February 2023 we’ll be raising the prices as follows…

  • For our colour comics, the cost will increase from £4.50 to £5
  • Black and white comics will go from £3.50 to £4
  • Our graphic novels will go from £12 to £15
  • Our bundle prices will also increase – but you’ll always get a better price buying a bundle than from picking up individual items.

There are a few things that won’t change… a big one is that our ebooks will stay the same price. With no storage or print costs associated with them, we feel we can maintain their current prices for the moment.

Social media…

Right now, we have presences on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Those won’t be going anywhere (hopefully! We’re looking at you, Twitter…) but over the years we’ve noticed those sites (particularly Facebook) squeezing us and stopping displaying our posts unless we pay for visibility. They sites are businesses so we can’t really object to them wanting to make money… but with our budget after the past few years that’s something we can’t often afford to do.

As such we’re going to be more active via our newsletter (did you know that if you sign up then you get a free ebook?). This won’t replace our social media – Facebook is still the best place to see our cosplay photos from events, for example – but will allow us to ensure that you receive the really important bits direct to your inbox and saves us having to compete with kittens for the favour of The Algorithm when we want to share something cool with you.

…and Future freebies

In the past we’ve offered select titles as part of Free Comic Book Day and other similar promotions and we’ve had a lot of great feedback from that (after all, free is a fantastic price to pay!). Over a decade of in-person events has also taught us that people like to see what they are buying before they commit, and that isn’t the easiest to do online. To counter that, we are going to make the following ebook titles available for free throughout 2023.

  • Dexter’s Half Dozen #1 (the non-remastered, original comic that started the series)
  • 7 Shades #S1E1
  • New Wasteland Fairy Tales #1
  • Dolphin Squad: Heroes of the Sea (but only the main strip. For all the bonus features from the book, you’ll still need to buy a full copy)

That way you can see the artwork and make an informed choice about which series to read next.

Wrapping up

2022 was an odd year for most of us. Many of the events we were due to attend were cancelled, and Covid is still a thing. But the year has also shown us that we can continue, and we intend to.

Dr Deadstar wishes you a Merry Christmas
Dr Deadstar wishes you a Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas, Solstice, Hanukkah and any other festivities. We’re going to wind down for the rest of the year and will see you in 2023!

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It’s our 12th birthday!

Happy Birthday Deadstar

Happy birthday to us. Today, Deadstar turns 12 years old. It’s quite something to consider that we’ve made it this far. Unfortunately though, it’s also time to consider the elephant in the room.

Happy Birthday Deadstar

We are struggling

The past two years have badly hurt Deadstar. Our expenses continued, but our income dropped substantially. We make the majority of our sales at shows and conventions, and they haven’t happened. Now that they are starting to run again, there’s such fierce competition that we can’t get into many of our staples. If you were at London MCM last weekend you might have noticed that we, like a lot of familiar faces from the indie comics scene, were absent. That’s not the fault of the organisers: they were overwhelmed by applicants and they curated the best show they could. By all reports we’ve heard, it was an excellent show.

But it’s one we made no money from because we weren’t there. In a usual year, we would attend around 20 shows – and MCM would still make up 10% of our turnover for the year. This year, we lost that.

You might have noticed our calendar is a lot emptier than in past years. That’s down to three reasons: one, we haven’t been able to get into a lot of the large shows; two, a lot of the smaller local shows like Caerphilly Comic Con, or the Cardiff Film and Comic Con haven’t run this year; three, we don’t have the funds necessary to book shows and print titles.

Drawing back the veil a little, it costs us between £50 and £300 to trade at shows, plus travel and accommodation costs. We built up over several years, investing proceeds from one year into being able to pay for the following year and adding extra events to our calendar. Plus, obviously, the costs of running the business and printing things. It would be fair to say that in a given year we had £2500 tied up in event bookings.

Our bank balance is lower than that now.

How Covid hurt us

When the pandemic stopped all shows and public events, we wound down our costs as much as we could. We had to or we’d have folded within the first few months. Websales helped us keep the doors open, but they were only a fraction of the sales we were used to making. For the past two years our costs have exceeded our income.

“But what about business support?”, you might ask.

Unfortunately, each time grants or funding were announced we checked, and for different reasons each time, we didn’t meet the criteria. As such, we’ve gone through the pandemic unsupported.

What does it all mean?

At our most recent show in Swansea we were telling people about our plans to release new titles this year. We’ve got new issues of 7 Shades, Dexter’s Half Dozen, and other projects that have been in the pipeline since before the pandemic. Dolphin Squad III is mid-production (though that’s likely to be a 2023 release by the time Danny is finished with it). Lots of things that we want to release and several more that we want to reprint – but we have a dilemma. If we pay to print them then we can’t afford to attend shows to promote them… and if we try to funnel money into tables at conventions then we’re going to run out of some of our most beloved titles quite quickly (we have less than 10 copies of Dolphin Squad: Heroes of the Sea left) leaving us with gaps on the table and limiting our ability to sell.

Is there a solution?

We hope so. It comes in a few different ways: first is a request that if there’s something in our catalogue that you would like to own, please don’t wait for us to be at a show near you. Buy it today from our webstore (and if you’re a fan with particularly deep pockets, consider our True Fan bundle!). Waking up tomorrow knowing that we’ve got a large number of orders to post out would be the best birthday present we could ask for.

Second is considering changing how we launch our titles; for several years we’ve shied away from Kickstarter thinking that we didn’t need it as an established company and that if we ran a campaign we would be taking money away from brand new creators who might not have the resources and reserves we (at the time) had. It’s probably fair to say that the Kickstarter ecosystem has changed since we formed that opinion. From its origin as a place where you could fundraise to make a project possible, it has grown into a pre-ordering site of sorts, where even the most prestigious of creators list their upcoming titles as a way to connect directly with fans.

Historically, we have ensured that we have the finances to fully fund a print run before releasing a title, and have then recouped the costs from sales over time. Kickstarter would change this, granting us the money up front to pay for print runs – but before we go down that route we wanted to consult with you, our fans. Is this a method you’d be happy to support us with?

It would allow us to launch new issues more frequently, and also allow us to focus existing cash on hand for reprints and tables at shows so we can connect in person again. Ultimately, this would allow us to bring you things like this…

7 Shades S2E2 cover









… a lot sooner than our current financial situation would otherwise permit.

And that would definitely be a happy birthday gift from us to you!

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Deadstar’s Expo List 2022

Hopefully, we’ll be able to start attending events this year after quite an extended break. Several shows that we would usually attend have yet to announce new dates but these are the places we intend to be given what we know of the year so far. Check this list regularly as we’ll be putting up all our shows and appearances on here over time.

March 6th –  Bristol Comic Con and Gaming Festival, Bristol
March 26th-27th – Megacon Birmingham, Birmingham
April 9th-10th – Swansea Comic and Gaming Convention, Swansea
May 27th-29th – MCM London, London [NYC] – we weren’t able to get a table
September 3rd-4th – Tripwire Comic Con, Bristol – cancelled
September 10th – ICE, Birmingham – cancelled
October – Wyntercon, Eastbourne [NYC]
November 12th-13th – Thought Bubble Festival, Harrogate [NYC] – we weren’t able to get a table
December 3rd-4th – Wales Comic Con, Telford

[NYC] means Not Yet Confirmed

We want to support comic and book stores as they safely reopen. If your local store would like to host an event with us, reach out and we can discuss how and when they might work in conjunction with the UK’s plans to live with Covid.