Working With Markosia

On November 19th 2005 I attended the Brighton Comic Expo looking for a publisher for the comic book that would eventually be called Alpha Gods. That was the day I first met Harry Markos and while I’d like to say that I thought nothing of it at the time, you know, I’ll be honest…I was really fucking excited and thought the encounter was going to completely change my life. That was silly of me and I should have had much more realistic expectations. It was also correct.

At that point Markosia declined to publish my comic, and quite right they were too. If someone submitted my first draft of that book to me now I’d turn it down without a second thought. However, by the time of my next encounter with Harry at the Bristol Comic Expo in May 2006 I was colouring Smoke & Mirror for them, as well as some pin ups in the back of the Of Bitter Souls trade, and just about managed to achieve my aim of being a published comic creator by the time I hit thirty.

The next year saw the launch of Orang Utan Comics and Eleventh Hour…and more colouring work for Markosia, on books like Heretic, Kong of Skull Island, The Flying Friar and Shadowmancer. It also saw Harry approach OUC about producing an 80 page version of Eleventh Hour to be published by Markosia, which led to us returning to the Bristol Comic Expo in 2008 with Eleventh Hour Vol 1 and an Eagle Award nomination.

2009 saw me starting to get involved with lettering and production work at Markosia. Lettering books like Serpent Wars and The Doppelganger Chronicles, the latter being co-produced with Tynedale House. It was also the year that Alpha Gods made it to print, but published by Orang Utan Comics as Markosia had turned it down once again.

It was in early 2010, though, that I took over as Markosia’s pre-press guy and began doing all of the production work on their books. 2010 also saw the release of my first non-anthology writing work published by Markosia, Hero: 9 to 5. That same year I became Group Editor at Markosia. This was a big year for me because it’s also the year that Scorpio Pictures first optioned Alpha Gods.

So, then we get to 2013, and Markosia published Hypergirl and, eight years after first pitching it to Harry, a new hardback edition of Alpha Gods: Emergence.

The next year, 2014, saw the release of Hero: 9 to 5 – Quietus and The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley…and my promotion to Editor In Chief.

More Alpha Gods followed in 2015, and my first prose publication, Words On A Wall and The Return of the Son of Eleventh Hour in 2017. I currently have another seven books in production with Markosia.

All of this is really just to say that meeting Harry at the Brighton Comic Expo in 2005 really did change my life. And here I am, twelve years later, having just spent several days with the man himself in meetings with some amazing people discussing potential deals which might take Markosia to the next level…and it has been an honour and a privilege to stand by his side and help him make Markosia the best damn publisher of graphic novels in the UK.

Thank you, Harry…you’ve honestly changed my life.

To Cut A Long Story Short

Every now and then the fact that I used to work at a church, and be in a Christian rock band, comes up in conversation. And I usually just fudge the issue by saying “It’s a long story, I’m not into all that anymore.” But I was looking for something on my many hard drives last night and I came across this quick account of “what happened” and so I thought I’d share it with you all. Going to put it under a cut, as it’s a little long, but if you’re interested, read on…

Oooookay…I’ll try to make a very long story as short as possible…
I grew up in the church, particularly a charismatic evangelical free church. My parents were both raised in the Plymouth Brethren but switched churches when their marriage ran into difficulties (another long story which ends in my mother coming out as a Lesbian when I was thirteen). That church actually split when I was about eleven, due to some financial shenanigans that my dad became aware of, and we ended up leaving the church when I was about eleven…and neither of my parents attended any church after that.
Anyway, my sisters both stayed as regular church attenders, going to various different churches…fast forward to me being…hmmm…twenty…and my sister invited me along to the inauguration of the new pastor at the church she was going to at the time, called the King’s church…another charismatic evangelical free church type thing. At the time I’d dropped out of university about a year or two before with a view to breaking into comics, and was living with my dad…quite frankly I was just glad to get out of the house…and there was a girl (or two) there that I quite liked…so…I started going regularly. I got involved with the music group, made some friends…seemed to get on well with the pastor…and then one day I lost the part time job I had…and so ended up working full time at the church as a graphic designer. Over time I got married to one of those girls I mentioned…we had a kid…I became one of the worship leaders at the church…we went on a missionary trip across Europe to visit the refugee camps in Macedonia during the Balkans War…I recorded three CDs…got played on Christian radio a lot…rose up in the church leadership…it basically consumed my life…
And so…when everything went wrong I ended up being the one person that everyone came to. I was the one who was confided in that the pastor was beating his wife…I was the one who was told he was threatening members of the congregation (including me, actually)…I was the one who was told that he’d made advances towards some of the single women in the church…I was the one who was told about the many, many, many financial irregularities…I was the one who was told that he’d helped the assistant pastor and the head of sunday school cover up their affair…I was the one who listened to him tell the entire worship team that his wife was being “disciplined” when he had no idea where she was because she’d left him because he’d beaten her…I was the one who then watched them both lie to the whole church about how everything was fine because otherwise they would lose everything they had…
…and ultimately I was the only one who could actually do anything about it. No-one else knew everything. And everyone else was too afraid. So…I got my dad to call his brother…who called his pastor, who was kinda’ the head of the umbrella organisation that all the churches in the area belong to…and he came to my house…and he told me that he’d known a lot…but that no-one was willing to stand up and let him use their name…everyone wanted to remain anonymous…and so I told him to do whatever he had to do to get rid of my pastor…and he did…
…and, you know…no-one thanks you for revealing their pastor as a scum bag. People would rather just not know.
So the next morning my dad drove me to the church, and I went into my office and took all of my things and left (I was already working out my notice period at this point, having technically resigned).
So…I lost my job (and my second son was due in two weeks)…I lost all of my friends…I lost my band (and at that time music was as much my life as comics are now)…a few months later I lost my house (which I owned)…and two years later, ultimately as a result of all of this…I lost my marriage…I pretty much lost everything.
But I did the right thing.
And now I’m living the comics dream. So the story has a happy ending…
PS – This is an extremely abridged version of events, so feel free to ask questions if some of it makes no sense.