Mallet Productions

So, new year, new project(s)...

I mentioned this back in October, but Mallet Productions is back from the dead.

"Who?" some of you may well be asking, but those of a certain age will no doubt remember Mallet Studios for their classic movies, or maybe the cult television show Mansion Of Madness.


Mansion of Madness promotional poster restored by Andi Ewington


Founded in 1935 by Jonathan Williams, Mallet Productions (later known as Mallet Studios) was a small British film company based in London that became home to some of the most critically acclaimed films to ever come out of the United Kingdom. Initially concentrating on challenging social dramas, such as The Glass (1937), the story of pub landlord who’s determined to give his daughter a better start in life than he ever had, and The Factory (1936), a gritty tale of class war in a munitions factory in the Midlands, Mallet branched out into war films, detective mysteries and even comedy (1939’s All Aboard! was one of the most successful British films of that year).

However, it was the release of The Girl In The Room (1941) that Mallet finally tapped into a rich vein of unsettling, psychological horror that would come to define their output over the next several years. Building on the critical and financial success of such outstanding movies as 23 Holborn Terrace (1951), Mallet eventually began to turn their attention to more mainstream horror and, before long, science fiction. With classics such as The Horror Of Ward 13 (1953) and The Silent Planet (1955), Mallet’s position in the cinematic landscape of the UK became assured.

In the 1970’s Mallet branched into TV, with their acclaimed anthology series Mansion of Madness. While the series only ran for five of its six episodes (ITV received a record number of complaints following the airing of the still disturbing The Devil’s Run and, as such, decided not to air the final episode of the series), Mallet used its success to branch into publishing with their comic series of the same name.

Mallet's seemingly unstoppable reign finally ground a halt in the 1970's as they turned to more mainstream - and some would say blander - monster fare for the big screen. Although they still produced such classics as 1971's The Nine Brides Of Satan, a series of lukewarm receptions at the box office saw the studio left on precarious financial footing, until the ill-fated production The Mummy Takes Manhattan and its numerous behind the scenes problems forced Mallet to close its doors for good.

Now, however, Mallet has been reborn under it's original name, Mallet Productions, and is looking to the future with new and exciting projects.

First among them is, of course, is the brand new, digital edition of Mansion Of Madness, which was launched in October 2018, with a truly stellar array of creators involved, including Andi Ewington, Maura McHugh, Alfie Gallagher, Clay McLeod Chapman, Alex Paterson, Jasper Bark and Ruth Frances Long:


Mansion Of Madness is available from Comixology, priced $3.99.

And what's next I hear you ask...? Well, the second Mallet release is already being processed and should be available soon. So, be sure and check back soon...

The Last Jedi

I'm a bit late to this party, I know, but I'm contemplating a Star Wars marathon of all the movies over the next few weeks, which would, of course, end with The Last Jedi.


I went to see the film shortly after it was released, continuing a tradition that a friend and I started with Revenge Of The Sith, of seeing every Star Wars film at the cinema. I was apprehensive, I'll admit, after seeing The Force Awakens. To me, that one felt like a "do-over" of A New Hope (and I've moaned plenty about being able to "see the joins" in the script), but having Han and Chewie back on screen was something special, something I genuinely thought I'd never see in my lifetime. I'll admit, I left the cinema feeling a little emotional after Han's demise, but I also walked out ready to forgive the films flaws, and absolutely dying to know what was going to happen in the next chapter.

When the time came around for The Last Jedi, my feelings were mixed: was it going to be a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back? Was it going to kill another of my favourite characters off? Was it going to be any good? They'd tried something different with Rogue One, and, while I appreciated that, I wanted something more...familiar from The Last Jedi. I'd tried valiantly to avoid spoilers and reviews, sticking to the trailers to get me hyped, and letting the anticipation build, so I could go in cold.

And then I saw it.

And I was completely blown away.


It felt like a Star Wars film, but it did things that the franchise never had before, it moved things around in a way I never expected and created a unique experience that left me gagging for more.

Was it flawed? Of course. The whole Canto Blight sequence doesn't quite work, and they still couldn't find anything interesting to do with Phasma, for starters, but there was so much more to it all. The characters felt more developed, the story felt...right and it did something the previous film didn't: it passed the baton to the next generation of fans.

But, for me, it was Luke's story arc that brought everything home. It felt natural to me, someone who hasn't invested anything in the Expanded Universe stuff (well, OK, I read the original trilogy by Timothy Zahn and decided I'd stick with the films, thank you very much); the way it was brought to the screen by everyone involved just left me with a whole mixture of feelings - sadness, joy, pride, hope. This was a Luke struggling with the expectations placed on him and deciding to just do his own thing - which is hard not to see as something meta about Rian Johnson's involvement, but maybe that's just me.


The icing on the cake, though, was seeing Yoda appear.

I remember feeling a swell of pure joy at seeing the little guy on screen, and I could genuinely feel tears welling when I heard his voice.


As I said to someone afterwards, I was surprised at how emotional the film left me.

But, over the intervening year since it was released, it's become even more emotional to me.

It's the first Star Wars film I never got to watch with my mam.

Back in 2016, she was diagnosed with cancer. It was caught early enough, and, after successful surgery, she was fighting fit again. But a year later, she found that it wasn't completely gone, so she went back for more surgery, worried sick, but never really letting it show and determined to beat it again.

Early this year, she found out the cancer was still there and making her sick. After a couple of false starts thanks to the "Beast From The East," she was admitted to hospital to get it taken care of, so she could start chemo. She was expected to make a full recovery and get started with the treatment shortly there after.

Only, cancer's a sly fucker.

It became clear the cancer was aggressive and after a few weeks, it became clear to the doctors there was nothing more they could do.

In April, she passed away quietly at the age of 64.

During the aftermath, when I was trying to deal with everything, a single, stupid though popped into my head that's stuck with me ever since: "she'll never see Yoda come back."

Yoda was one of her favourite characters in Star Wars, and his death in Return Of The Jedi was always a moment of genuine sadness for her. I kept his return in The Last Jedi secret, because I wanted it to be a surprise for her; I wanted to see her face light up when he appears.


I'm typing this out on Christmas Day, unsure if I'm going to post it or not. The film has become such a personal thing for me, now; it's part of a huge ball of emotions rattling around inside me, and - as much as I'd like to put the film on and watch it again, I'm genuinely reluctant. I really don't know whether I'll be able to make it through the entire thing in one piece.

But one thing I am sure of is that I'm glad it exists in the world, because I know it'll bring the same kind of joy it brought me and my mam when we watched all the previous films, to other families. It'll help forge the same kinds of bonds the previous films forged with us - which to me, is - and always has been - the legacy of Star Wars.

Zarjaz Presents... Anderson, Psi Division: I, Death

Way, way back when, myself, Dunk Nimmo and Bolt-01 produced the first solo Judge Anderson story for Zarjaz, with I, Death.


It was a fun little project to work on, and cemented Dunk as one of my favourite collaborators - so much so, we actually did another Anderson story for Zarjaz, the appropriately festive Clear And Present Danger:


You can read that entire story here - for free!

The finished pages of I, Death languished in my archive for a while until Bryan Coyle got a look at them and thought they'd look great with a splash of colour added.

So, that's exactly what he did.


Bryan did a stellar job of the colouring, and it would be a shame to let the pages remain unseen, so, with the permission of everyone involved, I'm presenting the complete, coloured version of I, Death as a festive freebie!

Click the image below to go read it, and - hopefully - enjoy!

Velicity Jones Returns in... The Godcutter Affair!

You read that right: Britain's greatest secret agent returns to the pages of Aces Weekly starting TODAY!

Myself, Bryan Coyle and letterer extraordinaire Bolt-01 are taking Velicity on another globe spanning adventure - with the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance!


Following the events of The Devil's Breath, international arms dealer Mael Riqueti has come into possession of the mythical weapon known as The Godcutter. With it, he's set to take the reigns of the secret society known as The Brotherhood Of The Blade, an ancient organisation that counts some of the richest and most powerful people from around the globe amongst its numbers. Anyone who controls The Brotherhood controls the world... 
With the clock ticking, SIU's top operative Velicity Jones is dispatched to stop Riqueti's ascension - unaware that The Brotherhood has acolytes in almost every intelligence agency on Earth keeping tabs on her...

If you enjoyed the previous Velicity Jones adventure, The Devil's Breath (available in Aces Weekly issue 29 - priced £6.99), then, hopefully, you'll enjoy this one, too, as we delve back into some more high octane pulp spy adventure.

It's also worth pointing out that, even though this does pick up a dangling plot thread from the previous story, you don't need to read that to understand what's happening in The Godcutter Affair (although, if you do want to read the previous story, then, hey, go for it).



I do actually want to do a deep dive into the creative process behind this, and talk about the creative decisions that went into the storytelling and script, but I think that's going to have to wait for another day.

What I will say, though, is that writing something as shamelessly pulpy as this is a ton of fun, and I'm grateful that Aces Weekly let us come back to do it again, and that my regular partner in crimes against comics, Bryan Coyle, wanted to jump back onboard for another adventure - especially seeing the pages as they came in. I think it's fair to say Bryan's levelled up on this one, and I can't wait for the entire thing to be available for you all to read.


You can read that first episode of The Godcutter Affair exclusively in Aces Weekly volume 37, which launches today, and each subsequent episode will arrive on the screen of your choosing every following Monday for the next seven weeks - which will take you right through Christmas and into the New Year! The issue (featuring 5 other stories) will cost you £6.99 directly from Aces Weekly - which racks in at just over £1 a comic!

So, what're you waiting for? Go! Buy!



And, of course, Velicity Jones will return...

Melody Calls...

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a good time to offer up something for the holidays, in the shape of:



Melody is an M.R. James inspired short story, that tells of the strange affair between Paul Grant and the mysterious woman known as Melody during his visit to the Scottish Highlands. It's a strange and spooky tale, that'll hopefully bring a few chills this season.

I'm exceedingly proud of this story, and I really want to share it with a wider audience than it's ever had before, so throughout December, I'm going to be making it available as a downloadable PDF on a "pay what you want" basis via Gumroad, Payhip and Sellfy.

So, if you fancy it, dive in at the links below...



If you want to read Melody on an e-reader of your choice, though, it is available at the fixed price of 99p from Amazon and Smashwords:



Out Now: Zarjaz #32!

Another day, another issue of The Galaxy's Greatest Fanzine hitting the streets... Featuring something written by, er, me!



Alex Paterson, Bolt-01 and me join forces for a one off, never before told tale of the cream of the X-Terminators crop, Joe Pinapples!


It's a simple, routine assassination, the type that the X-Terminators top operative Joe Pineapples could do without ruffling the feathers on his boa. More importantly, it'll be his thirty-seventh consecutive hit - an unheard of record in the history of his unit. If everything goes right, that is...

This is my second run around with Joe Pineapples (the first was way back in Zarjaz #11, sadly out of print), and one I'm actually pretty proud of. I wanted to try something different with the story this time out, so I stripped everything back and tried to make it a pure, over the top action story - something that was helped immensely by Alex Paterson's art.

I've been an admirer of Alex's for a while, and I jumped at the chance to work with him on this; I knew he'd do something special with the story, but I wasn't quite prepared for what. He brings a truly jaw dropping sense of dynamism to the pages and flawlessly captures the action as if it were something from a Jason Statham movies (and, seriously, I defy anyone to read this and not think of Joe being played Statham). It is something truly amazing to read - and I'm not just saying that because I wrote it!



 Zarjaz #32 is available from the FutureQuake Shop, priced £3.00 (+ shipping). If you think you can handle the extra Thrill Power, you can also grab back issues from the shop.

Remember: it ain't called Zarjaz for nothin'!

Dare YOU enter the... Mansion Of Madness...?

I've been beavering away at this for a while now, but it gives me great pleasure to finally announce that Mallet Productions is making a triumphant return with a brand new edition of Mansion Of Madness!

Those of you who are of a certain age will no doubt remember Mallet Studios for their classic movies, the cult television show Mansion Of Madness, and, of course, it's short lived - but influential - comic series.


An original Mansion Of Madness promotional poster for the TV series, faithfully restored by Andi Ewington.

Founded in 1935 by Jonathan Williams, Mallet Studios (originally Mallet Productions) was a small British film studio based in London that grew significantly over the next four decades to become home to some of the most critically acclaimed films to ever come out of the United Kingdom.

Initially concentrating on challenging social dramas, Mallet began to reshape their output in the wake of 1941's The Girl In The Room, and tapped into a rich vein of psychological horror. Building on the critical and financial success of such classics as 23 Holborn Terrace (1951) and The Picture Of Al McEwan (1953), Mallet eventually began to turn their attention to more mainstream horror and, before long, science fiction. With classics such as The Horror Of Ward 13 (1953) and The Silent Planet (1955), Mallet’s position in the cinematic landscape of the UK became assured.

Producing a steady stream of features, Mallet's seemingly unstoppable reign finally ground a halt in the 1970's as they turned to more mainstream - and some would say blander - monster fare. Although they still produced such classics as 1971's The Nine Brides Of Satan, a series of lukewarm receptions at the box office saw the studio left on precarious financial footing, until the ill-fated production The Mummy Takes Manhattan and its numerous problems forced Mallet to close its doors for good.

During their 70's heyday, however, came the cult television series Mansion Of Madness, an anthology show that's fondly remembered by many. Although only five of the six episodes were ever aired (ITV refused to show the final episode after a record number of complaints from upset viewers over the infamous The Devil's Run), the series did give way to a short lived horror comic of the same name.


Only three issues ever saw print, but their impact on a generation of up and coming creators was profound, with many crediting it as a major influence on their decision to pursue a career in making comics.

Now, Mansion Of Madness is set to spearhead a new revival of Mallet Productions, with this, updated edition featuring six stories by some of the finest creators working in - and out - of comics today that are the perfect scary read as the end of the year creeps even closer.

Ultimately, myself and Dan Hill have curated this collection with one thing in mind: to have a new generation of readers experience the same thrills and chills the original fans did.

Dan himself - teamed with Alfie Gallagher - brings you a slice of terror that's very now, in Traffic Stop...


Andi Ewington and Maan House spin a macabre tale of professional jealousy in Ghost Writer...


Jasper Bark and Paul Moore join forces to weave a strange and chilling yarn of revenge in The Whispers of The Stones...


Maura McHugh and Alex Paterson delve into the history of Mallet's publishing wing for the weird and sinister Words Are Not Real...


Clay McLeod Chapman and Adam Kindred bring you an unnerving story of dreams unfulfilled in A Nest Of Plaques And Tangles...


Making her comics debut, fantasy author Ruth Frances Long teams up with Bryan Coyle for a terrifying tale of alien invaders and urban legends in Black Dog...


All stories are lettered by Bolt-01.

Rounding out the collection is an exclusive extract from the soon to be released book about the history of Mallet's ill-fated soujourn into publishing, Waiting For The Resurrection by noted comics scholar Colin Smith.

And if that wasn't enough, it's all capped off with this front cover by Matthew Soffe:


Andi Ewington was kind enough to restore one of the original promo posters for the Mansion Of Madness TV show (see the image at the top of the post) and we were lucky enough to get some of the original Malllet movie posters from the estate of the late Carlo Ferigno, which haven't been seen by the public in over forty years!


Mansion Of Madness is available from Comixology now, priced a mere $3.99.

So, dear reader, dare you enter the Mansion Of Madness...?

Zarjaz Presents... Anderson, Psi Division: Bring Me A Dream


So, yeah, I'm back at the helm of another Zarjaz Daily!

This time, myself and Bolt-01 are joined by Chris Askham for a 15 part serial starring everyone's favourite Psi!

As always, each episode of Bring Me A Dream will debut over at the FutureQuake Blog (and the 2000AD message boards), and the strip will be compiled on its own page, right here.

In the meantime, you can check out all the previous "Zarjaz Dailies" here.

And remember: if you want even more supplementary Thrill Power, several issues of Zarjaz are available to buy from The FutureQuake site now!

Out Now: Zarjaz #31

Summer, here in merry old Blighty, sees a new issue of Zarjaz hitting the streets, featuring something pretty exciting for me...


So, yeah, as that cover kinda tells you... Steven Denton, Bolt-01 and me join forces for a very special, one off tale of The Grand Master of Termight himself, Tomas de Torquemada!


Before he became a phantom in a transporter accident, Tomas de Torquemada ruled Termight with an iron fist. However, not everyone was happy with this arrangement...

This is a bit a of a dream come true for me. I've wanted to do something with Torquemada since I got involved with Zarjaz, but wasn't able to until fairly recently, when the guys over at The Galaxy's Greatest Fanzine got permission from Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill to use Nemesis and his world. I was hoping to land the first Nemesis story in Zarjaz, but I was beaten to it (that was in the 2016 Summer Special, which is, unfortunately, sold out). Still, I can take some solace in the fact that this is the first Torquemada solo story.

For this little jaunt to Termight, I'm joined by Steven Denton - who captures the mood and anarchy of the world of Termight brilliantly, it must be said. I don't want to give too much of the story away, but I will say the finished pages left me with a huge smile on my face.

Be sure to check out Steven's work over on his blog.


Heads You Lose wasn't always planned to be a one off, though: the original idea was to go big and have two Torquemada stories, set in different periods of his life, with Heads You Lose being set before he became a phantom, and the second one - Fear & Loathing - set before the events of Deathbringer, where Torquemada is in an alternative 1980's Britain. The two Torquemada's were to meet at some point, but - try as I might - I just couldn't make it work, so I decided to scrap the second story and keep this one as a self-contained tale.

But I digress...

Zarjaz #31 - with that rather glorious Steven Austin cover - is available from the FutureQuake Shop, priced £3.00 (+ shipping). If you think you can handle the extra Thrill Power, you can also grab back issues from the same shop.

Remember: it ain't called Zarjaz for nothin'!

Station Ident


This is Imaginary Stories, the blog of a writer who would prefer it if you didn't refer to it as a "come back."

Been away from the world dealing with some life changing personal stuff, but I'm slowly getting back into the swing of it all, so bear with me. For now, you can grab some short prose stories I've written for less than a quid or maybe even check out some free comics - and if you like them, feel free to buy me a coffee.

In the meantime, watch as I continue my experiment of "being silent" on Twitter, check out whatever random nonsense I choose to post on Tumblr or marvel at my musical tastes over on Last.fm. Alternatively, investigate my other life as a retailer of previously owned books over at WYSIWYG Books. Whatever profits I make from there will be split between the Wansbeck Palliative Care Unit in Ashington and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Art by Alfie Gallagher.