Monday, 28 February 2011

Whores of Mensa at London Print Studio!

Earlier this month and I gave two workshops on anthology-making at London Print Studio, London's center for print-making excellence. Pretty exciting stuff for us small-pressers!

LPS has a great team of comics interns at the moment, including Freya Harrison, William Goldsmith, Joe Kelly and Isabel Greenberg. The interns are collectively keeping a record of their LPS experiences at their amazing blog.

Here's Issy Greenberg's take on our private workshop for Issy, Bill, Freya and Joe, in which we focused on plans for their Imagined Cities anthology.

If you like Issy's work here, check her out in No Brow Press's Graphic Cosmogony - mindblowing work in there, some of it from Issy. Highly recommended!

Thanks again to Karrie Fransman for inviting us in, and for the interns and young people who came to our workshops. And thanks LPS!

Want Whores of Mensa to come and do a workshop at your school, art centre or other institution? Email me at ellen at little white bird dawt calm, and let's talk comics!

Whores of Mensa London Print Studio Wednesday!

Whores of Mensa Head Honchette Ellen Lindner here with some news about a very swiftly upcoming Whores of Mensa teaching event.

The delectable Karrie Fransman has invited Jeremy Day and I to give a FREE workshop for teenagers at the estimable London Print Studio this Wednesday!

We'll be talking about the process of putting together the last issue of Whores of Mensa, and our very DIY approach to community building through comics.

In short, it'll be a workshop about creating anthologies - why they work, why they don't, how to get into the famous ones and - most importantly - how to do it yourself!

WHEN will all this be happening? This Wednesday, 2nd February - 5-7PM
WHERE? London Print Studio, 425 Harrow Road London W10 4RE
HOW to sign up? Either turn up on the day, or email ahead for more information -

Hope to see you there!

Interview with Team Girl Comic

As you may have seen in a prior post, I recently made an awesome discovery - the world of Scotland's Team Girl Comic. Edited by Gill Hatcher, a talented draughtswoman in her own right, Team Girl Comic unleashes the storytelling powers of a cool crew of young female cartoonists on an unsuspecting UK comix scene.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Gill Hatcher?
I’m 23 and originally from Wishaw, one of the greyer parts of North Lanarkshire. I used to draw comics just to entertain my school friends, and then when I left school I started meeting people involved in the Glasgow small press comics scene. About 4 years ago I got the confidence to start photocopying and selling my work, and this evolved into Team Girl Comic. I haven’t been to art school, I studied product design which suited me because I enjoy both art and science. And now I’m doing a PhD which really suits me because it gives me the flexibility to work on comics as much as I need to!

Art by Gill Hatcher.

I’ve got quite big aspirations for TGC, and if I can find a way to live off making and promoting comics I’ll do it. The thing that’s so exciting about comics is that is it’s one of the few artistic mediums that still has so many unexplored avenues, there’s still huge scope for innovation. I think this is only just being realised, I’ve noticed a real boom in alternative comics and graphic novels in the past few years. It’s a good time to be involved.

How did Team Girl comics get started?

The group properly got together about a year ago. I had been self publishing my own comics for a few years beforehand, just photocopied booklets, but was feeling a little isolated. So I decided to try and find other female cartoonists in Glasgow to work with. At first I couldn’t find any! But from talking about the idea with people around me I realised I actually knew quite a few people who were drawing in their spare time but had never publicised their work before. Secret cartoonists! And there’s my younger sister and cousin in there too.

Art by Heather Middleton.

That’s how the all-inclusiveness concept around Team Girl Comic emerged. We started work on our first comic book, and fortunately word got round and some other cartoonists got in touch about joining in. We’ve managed to double our numbers between the first and second issue, and I hope that we can keep growing and build up a real network of varied artists.

Not everyone has the ambition to be a professional cartoonist. We range from fine artists to manufacturing engineers to schoolgirls still unsure about what they want out of life. And then there’s a few of us like me, juggling a double life of comics and ‘career’! The key thing about Team Girl Comic is that it’s supposed to be fun. Anyone is welcome to give it a go.

What's your editorial process like? How do you choose which stories to print?

Well so far, as we’re just starting out, everything submitted makes it into the comic. I’ve not yet had to deal with an unsuitable submission, especially since I want the comic to be as varied as possible. Story-wise, the comics can be about anything: politics, autobiographical, daft animals, and just because we’re an all-female group doesn’t mean the comics have to be ‘girly’ either.

What kinds of comics do you read?

I can’t speak for everyone but I mainly read what I guess you’d call ‘alternative comics’, one of my biggest influences is Mark Beyer’s Amy and Jordan strips, and I’m also a fan of artists like Peter Bagge, Julie Doucet, Dame Darcy and Simone Lia. I have to admit I’m pretty ignorant of superhero comics and manga, they’ve never interested me, although when you say you’re into comics that’s what most people assume you’re talking about. I grew up reading Twinkle, The Beano and Tintin and I still love kids comics. Right now I’m loving a lot of the DC Comics’ Minx books, their range of comics for teenage girls. And of course Peanuts is always a comfort and a joy to read.

Where can we find your work?

(In terms of in-person sales) I’m sure there will be loads of events in the next year, we’ll keep everyone posted. Team Girl Comic is available to buy from comic, music and book shops in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham (so far!). The full list is on our blog, and you can order a copy from there too.

Art by Jude Stoo.

Are you working on any additional projects?

I’ve just finished a solo project that resulted in Go Wildlife Comic, a similar format to TGC with stories about wildlife that I tried to make both entertaining and informative. Kakapos, buffalos, sea otters and the like. I also took part in 24 hour comic day this year and came up with a 24 page story called ‘The Bearoplane’, so I’d like to do something with that soon. My next project besides Team Girl Comic 3 is going to be a kids comic, but that’s just at the planning stage right now.

It's clear that there's a great comics scene in Glasgow. Who else should we be checking out?
Glasgow is a pretty good place to be if you’re making comics, there’s a growing community here that’s a mixture of professionals and people like me. Big titles like Batman and Superman are drawn in Glasgow, and although that’s not really my kind of thing it’s an encouraging environment to be in. There’s also quite a few independent shops, such as Monorail Records, Love Music and Plan B Books that are supportive of small press comics. I still think the scene’s a little more fragmented than I’d like it to be, so I’m glad Team Girl Comic has managed to bring together at least some of the female comic creators in Glasgow!

Our main contemporary is Khaki Shorts, or ‘Team Boy Comic’ as I like to call them, Glasgow’s (probably) longest running small press anthology at 11 years in the business. I’d also recommend people check out Scheme Comix by Kev Harper if you like drama, Toastycats by Magda Boreysza if you like dark tales and John Miller’s Atomic Society of Justice if you enjoy being baffled by Jimi Hendrix detective comics.

Team Comics garners an endorsement...

What are your plans for Team Girl 3?

It’s a lot of work bringing the comic out on a regular basis, between managing all the contributors, drawing your own pages and selling and promoting the previous issue, so at the moment I’m aiming for two issues per year, at least. Team Girl 2 still has a fair bit of steam left in it so it will be early next year before we see the third issue. At the moment we’ve got about 15 or so artists in the loop, including even more new people since last time so I’ve got high expectations. I’m especially excited about the possibility of seeing a comic by our youngest contributor yet and seeing the next steps of some of the new characters that have emerged from the first two issues.

Thanks a lot, Gill! Be sure to follow the ladies on Twitter - they're @TeamGirlComic - and visit them on Facebook. And look out for the ladies and their comics - especially Team Girl Comic 2, out now!

Whores of Mensa See the World: Leeds Edition

Tozo creator Dave O'Connell, four-time Whore of Mensa Ellen Lindner, Derek the Sheep artiste Gary Northfield and Stitch London head girl Lauren O'Farrell share a pint in Leeds' lovely Adelphi pub.

Thought Bubble 2010: what a crazy ride!

We experienced brilliant typography....

A brush with actual brilliance, in the form of Dr. Mel Gibson and the effervescent Suzy Varty...

Enjoyed a tour of Leeds by its owl population, crowned and un-crowned...
Here's one at Leeds' famous Corn Exchange, now a place for exchanging cash for vintage clothes and 'gourmet hotdogs' (both highly recommended.)

A big draw for Leeds and Though Bubble was a really sweet show by cartooning genius Kristyna Baczynski, who was kind enough to come along to say hello to the Whores of Mensa during the show.

Sat nav tried to drag us to the Ash Blast Car Wash (a cry for help, perhaps?) but we pushed on to Leed's historic Hyde Park Picture House.


Here's the poster for Kristyna's show.
Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Wit and whimsy abounded...
Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Even in the gents'!

Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Don't worry ladies, we were not neglected!

The Hyde Park has its own charms - like this fantastic stained-glass window! - and a wonderful history. It dates to just around the start of World War I. We were heartbroken that we couldn't stick around for a showing of Chico and Rita!

Congrats to Kristyna for taking home the Thought Bubble Competition prize two years ago - and extra special congratulations to Dave Shelton, for winning this year's prize!

Thought Bubble was a lot of fun - thanks so much to the organizers, and all the cartoonists who gave us some love and said hello. (And extra-special thanks to Stephen Betts, for doing all the driving!)

Comiket Fun

LOTS of fun was to be had at this weekend's Comiket, and the crazy dinner afterwards! Every party should have a Lady Gaga-appreciating pianist on hand, to facilitate PIZZA DANCING!

Ahem. Anyhooo....

Here's some cool stuff that we got for the Whores of Mensa Library.

FIRST! Have you read Gill Hatcher's Team Girl Comics? Based in Scotland, these young cartoonists are all women, and they are all pretty rad. Check them out online at

Second, if you don't know about Blank Slate Books...well, catch up, will you? These UK publishers are getting people like Mawil, Darryl Cunningham and Oliver East the attention they deserve, and their new book, Sleepyheads, is by Flemish artist Randall C. Find out more on the Blank Slate website.

Third, you need more appalling nonsense in your life. Conveniently, Gareth Brookes' new mini, Sherlock Holmes vs. Skeletor, supplies all you could possibly want. These arch-enemies play pranks on each other that do credit to no one except, well, Gareth. And did we mention that the cover contains hand-applied stenciling, great typography, and a mushroom cloud?

Nextly, newly minted Londoner John Cei Douglas didn't have a table, but he handed us a lovely duotone print of a comic he recently completed for Leicestershire Mind, a great mental health charity. It's also included in the newest Solipsistic Pop, debuting at the Black Heart in Camden THIS FRIDAY 12th NOVEMBER (just, you

We met Kripa Joshi when Ellen spoke at Laydeez Do Comics. This SVA MFA grad is just...well...we're in love with her full-colour, bubbly, fanciful comics. Pick up Miss Moti, Kripa's amazing ongoing series, from her Etsy.

And what a surprise! Jeremy had a new mini for the festival, collecting her weekly comics (which you really should be reading!) You can get copies of Please Send Help, or catch up on Jeremy's latest weekly offering, from her website.

Many thanks to Peter Stanbury for organizing a great day. So many comics to read!

Comica Comiket, this Sunday!

Need a copy of Whores of Mensa 5? A badge, t-shirt or print? Care to watch Whores of Mensa 5 co-editor Ellen Lindner draw in front of a crowd for 25 minutes? Or perhaps you are just hoping to find the best of British small press cartooning, in one centrally located London room?

Any which way you see it, this Sunday's Comica Comiket is the place to be, Whores Fans. Ellen and Jeremy will be selling, signing and drawing on their comics - a rare confluence of Whores. Also, the Comiket with be sharing a space with the redoubtable Comix Mart, so you can pick up some fun Marvel back issues while you're at it - perfect for Covered Blog inspiration.

Hope to see you there!

Whores of Mensa - THE T-SHIRT!!!!!

We have a special treat for you, our loyal readers - the very first EVER Whores of Mensa t-shirt!

Hand-printed in a very limited edition of 100 by Friend-of-WoM Andy Foot, and featuring a design by Cliodhna Lyons, Maartje Schalkx and Ellen Lindner, this 100% cotton shirt will make you hot and cool by turns!

Pick yours up from our Etsy shop today! (Edit: having trouble with Etsy? Please send me a mail at ellen at littlewhitebird dawt calm )

Or, buy one from us in person at BICS (this weekend!) or Leeds' very own Thought Bubble (20th November).

See you soon...

The Great Whores of Mensa Mailout of 2010

Here at Whores of Mensa HQ - South London division - the Great Mailout of 2010 continues!

Chaos reigns as we try to get packages out to our Kickstarter donors in a timely manner.

What is a timely manner, you ask? Anything quick enough so that our readers get some comics without undue delays, but not so quickly that we hold up the queue at the local post office for days on end. Tis a delicate balance, and we appreciate your patience. (We're not sending out any shop or review copies until we're done - I hope that demonstrates our seriousity!)

For those of you who went for our $25 donor bracket, you will be rewarded with the above loveliness.
A Gocco print, drawn by Sarah McIntyre, designed and printed by Ellen Lindner. Who could ask for anything more?

Missed out on the Kickstarter mayhem altogether? Please, let me remind you that our current issue is now on sale in our Etsy shoppe!

In other news this lovely bit of swag has arrive in the Whores of Mensa mailbox. It's Mardou's minicomics updating of her Anais Nin bio from Whores of Mensa 4, and it's a must-have. If you're in the UK, we'll be dropping it off at Gosh! this week. Send us a message if you're outside London (but inside the UK) and would like to arrange a delivery - it's £2 sterling. If you're in the US, you'll soon be able to order it here!

Thanks, as always, for reading!

Editrix Ellen Speaking Tomorrow Night (27th Sept.) at Laydeez do Comics

Tomorrow night, Monday 27th September, Whores of Mensa co-editrix Ellen will be making her London speaking debut at the monthly meeting of Laydeez do Comics!

Ellen will be discussing her own work, as well as the process of putting together a small press anthology like Whores of Mensa. Got an idea to do your own anthology, but a bit confused about where to get started? Come on down and pose your questions to Ellen. Here's some info on the location - Ellen will be on around 8PM.

In other nice news London comics journalist Mike Leader gave us a shout in the course of the last We Are Words and Pictures radio broadcast! Lovely Philippa Rice was Mike's principal guest, which makes us only recommend this show all the more highly. Philippa's brilliant strip My Cardboard Life lights up the London comic scene. So read all about it and find a link to the download here.

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you tomorrow night!

Whores of Mensa 5 Now on Etsy!

Itching to get your hands on a copy of Whores of Mensa 5? Quite a ways from our main stockist, Gosh! London?

Fear no more! We're currently selling the limited print run of Whores of Mensa 5 through ace DIY site Etsy!

Art by Emily Ryan Lerner and Maartje Schalkx

Art by Cliodhna Lyons

Art by Sarah McIntyre

Art by Ellen Lindner

Here's our page:

Any questions? Please let us know. And in the meantime, please take a tour of our new issue, with some rockin' sounds by the lovely Eugene Machine, our new favourite band.

Whores of Mensa 5 - On Sale Now! from Ellen Lindner on Vimeo.

Welcome to the House of Whores

Wow! What an amazing turnout for our Whores of Mensa 5 launch party!

Whores of Mensa contributor Sarah McIntyre and illustrator Noelle Davies-Brock, in an unguarded moment. Photos by Jeremy Dennis.

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and bought a copy, and extra-super-thanks to Maartje Schalkx for hosting us in her incredible Old Street loft!

Our first purchase, by Richard Hayes of the Comics Creators Guild...a moment of calm....

...and then, BAM! As so frequently happened, we turned around and the room was full of people. In this case, manic Whores 5 fans!

Kickstarter supporter Sean Purdy, champion blogger Anna Jay, comics writer Dylan Wyn Owen and illustrator Noelle Davies-Brock.

The soon to be devoured spread of cakes and other treats...

Photo by Andrew Youngson.

BBC journo George South and Beaver and Steve creator James Turner.

Whores 5 co-editrix in chief Ellen Lindner, illustrator John Cei Douglas, the mysterious Ed, and comics journalist Mike Leader.

Our raging DJ, Mr. Reginald Frothy (aka Beano star Gary Northfield)

This what we like to see! Paying customers. Why, what else did you think I meant?

What more to say? Well, you can now buy Whores of Mensa 5 at Gosh! London. We're getting copies out to Kickstarter contributors asap....and for the rest of you, we'll be posting information on how to order Whores of Mensa 5 - as well as our brand-new and very exciting t-shirts and badges! - very, very soon.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who's gotten involved in the future of Whores of Mensa and backed our Kickstarter project to fund our next issue. You RULE! We've funded our project to 140% of our requested sum.

Here's some more good news - you still have TWELVE DAYS to pre-order Whores of Mensa through Kickstarter!

Interested? Please check out our fundraising page, and watch our lovingly crafted preview video. For only $10/£6.50, you get a personalized copy of WoM 5, and a lovely handmade badge, and both will be mailed to you anywhere in the world. For $25/£16 you get all that plus a Gocco print designed and made by Whores of Mensa.

52 pages of comics, a crazy cover, work by 12 amazing cartoonists - what's not to like?

Those artists one more time:
Patrice Aggs ****A NEW ADDITION!*** (more on her in our next post!)
Howard John Arey
Francesca Cassavetti
Richard Cowdry
Jeremy Day
Peter Lally
Ellen Lindner
Cliodhna Lyons
Sarah McIntyre
Tanya Meditzky
Emily Ryan Lerner
Maartje Schalkx

PS If you're having trouble with Amazon Payments or Kickstarter please leave a message below and we can talk about alternative ways of pre-ordering. We've only received one report of problems, but we don't want to turn anyone away!


Whores of Mensa is now on Kickstarter! If our funding goal of $750/£450 is met, everyone who gives above $10/£6.50 will get a copy of the new issue of Whores of Mensa, posted to them anywhere in the world! Plus, give it a go!

What you need to do:
- watch our video, and learn all about Whores of Mensa and our fab new issue!
- visit our Kickstarter page where you will sign up to Amazon Payments and read all about the benefits of being a WoM 5 supporter.
- Give before 25th August. This is the biggest thing - if we don't reach our goal, we receive NADA. ZILCH. RIEN DE TOUT!

One cool thing about Kickstarter is that you can receive MORE than your stated goal. If we receive more than we requested, we may just make this issue even fatter and more awesome than the 42 pages of comics promised.
A little surprise, and an eventual reward for donors.

Thanks so much for reading! And please, help make Whores of Mensa 5 a reality.

Cover portrait: Ellen Lindner

Last but not least, Ellen Lindner, our co-editor in chief.  

Ellen's a cartoonist and illustrator best known for her Undertow graphic novel and for her association with the lovely Fleece Station.  

Lately she's been very busy putting Issue 5 together, and laying the foundations for fundraising. So much news to report, so very soon! Whores of Mensa 5 is on the way....

One very important note: Whores of Mensa founder Jeremy Day (née Dennis) will be presenting a comics workshop at this weekend's Caption Festival, located in very civilised and edifying Oxford. Jeremy will be kicking the Festival off on the Saturday morning, so get there bright and early!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Birthday, Mardou!

Happy happy birthday, to a fantastic founding Whore of Mensa, Mardou! That's to you.

The perfect occasion to post Mardou's lovely drawing of herself with her amazing daughter, Veronica.

MARDOU. So chic. So graceful! So talented!!!!! MARDOU.

And Mardou will be a cover star for our next issue! So exciting.

More excitment: I can finally announce some of our story contributors.

Drum roll please....the interior artists for Whores 5 (as of now!) are....

Cliodhna Lyons

Howard John Arey

Emily Ryan Lerner

Francesca Cassavetti

Maartje Schalkx

Sarah McIntyre

Richard Cowdry

Tanya Meditzky

Peter Lally

Ellen Lindner

Jeremy Day


Happy birthday, MARDOU! You rule. Whores of Mensa....salutes you.

Cocktails and Cigarettes: Dave and James

Yay! Dave and James are here. And they've brought the essential props for a memorable get-together: ciggies and booze.

Dave O'Connell does a smashing strip called Tozo - in fact, he may be well-known to you as . Lately he's shown some amazing range, launching a line of minicomics detailing (mostly fictional) comic episodes in the life of the late, great Queen Mother; and drawing tears with a stylish French romance he started as part of Josie Long's 100 Days project.

James Petrie, Dave's husband, looks on in bemusement at this blur of activity (not to mention Dave's affection for oddly coloured drinks!)

Dave and James are wonderful hosts in their own right, and we're glad to have them at the Whores 5 party!

We'll let you guess the outcome of Dave's rendez-vous with that cocktail - it does look deadly! In the meantime, why not check out his work at his website?

The deadline for submitting work to Whores of Mensa 5 is this coming MONDAY, 1st are you doing? If you'd still like to submit a drawing, but would prefer to spend the Bank Holiday in the sun, just comment and let us know, or drop Ellen a line at ellen (at symbol) littlewhitebird dawt calm We're prepared to be lenient!

Thanks, Dave, for a smashing drawing! Hope your better half will get you home all right!

Tammy Taylor In Full Flow

Here at Whores HQ we're swooning over Tammy Taylor.

She's here, she's dancing, and she's got her trademark goggles perched oh-so-delicately on her elegant 'do. Triple swoon!

Check out Tammy's neo-manga delights on her website. And catch Tammy - not to mention Whores of Mensa co-editrix Ellen - at the MCM Expo, coming up on 29-30 May at ye olde Excel Centre.

Thanks a lot, Tammy!

Now that the dance floor's been, urm, activated (any better word for it? we're not sure), are there any other potential WoM shape-throwers out there? Remember, the deadline approacheth - 1st June.

Come dancing!

Boys are Here! Shug and Al Come to the Party

Hugh "Shug" Raine and his friend Al Maceachern are here! Hello gentlemen!

We had the pleasure of making these gents' acquaintance at the recent UK Web and Minicomics Thing.
Hugh lives in Dewsbury and keeps the world up to date on his excellent work via Al distributes his thought-provoking comics and dance-provoking posters at

Thanks for the drawings, dudes!

We're behind on documenting the attendees but the party is in full swing! The 1st June deadline approacheth - if you're coming down, get your skates on! (Note to U.S. readers - this is a U.K. colloquialism meaning 'hurry up' - no actual skates are required to gain ingress.)

More drawings very very soon - and keep 'em coming!