If you’re a fan of the work of comic creator Mark Stafford, perhaps best known for his projects with David Hine such as The Man Who Laughs and The Bad Bad Place, then you really need to check out Salmonella Smorgasbord.
Offering a peek into this amazing, distinctive artist’s chaotic, cluttered and downright disturbing mind, if you know his work, you’ll want this book.
Comics, beer mats, posters, kitchen aprons – there’s nothing Mark can’t turn his twisted mind and idiosyncratic talent to. He’s been writing and drawing comics of all kinds for, ooooh, yonks now, and this book, a new project from Soaring Penguin Press, offers a fantastic snapshot of his work.
Mark co-created the Dark Horse graphic novel Cherubs!, with Bryan Talbot, and with the writer David Hine he has collaborated on the horror serial “The Bad Bad Place” for the anthology title, Meanwhile… from Soaring Penguin Press, as well as two books for Self Made Hero, an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s romantic tragedy The Man Who Laughs, and Lip Hook, a “tale of rural unease”.
Alongside these, he’s contributed creepy nonsense and bitter satire to numerous anthologies, has been on a fair few gallery walls, designed and drawn beer labels, theatre posters and at least one mural, was twice selected by the British Council to work on projects in Korea, and has been the long term ‘cartoonist in residence’ at the Cartoon Museum in London since 2008.
If you don’t know his work, you need this book.
Salmonella Smorgasbord – Mark Stafford’s Collection of Crimes Against Cartooning is one of a number of projects Soaring Penguin Press is currently seeking support for through crowdfunding.
The British publisher switched to a crowdfunding model for its projects in 2020, following the publication of the UK Comics Creator Survey by Hannah Berry. Co-Publishers Tim Pilcher and John Anderson examined their business model to see if there was a way to redress the imbalance in the earnings of comics creators.
“We realised that the traditional royalty-based pay scheme meant there was almost no chance of creators getting a living wage,” said John Anderson. “We needed a way to ensure that money was provided up-front to the creators, in exchange for allowing us to publish their stories. That meant crowdfunding.”
Tim Pilcher added, “We’re still committed to publishing alternative voices – another aspect of comics that the Survey flagged as unbalanced. Crowdfunding titles that are less populist envivatibly requires a deeper commitment from us, but it’s a challenge worth taking in order to bring new and exciting creators and work to the world.”
Soaring Penguin Press have published a number of notable titles, including Loisel’s incredible adult take on Peter Pan (in English for the first time), To End All Wars: the Graphic Anthology of the First World War (which was nominated for two Eisner Awards), Ellen Lindner’s The Black Feather Falls (nominated for an Ignatz for Outstanding Series).
More recently, they published Breaks Volume One and Breaks 2: Truth & Dare, a BL series by Emma Vieceli and Malin Ryden, The Bad Bad Place, a horror story by David Hine and Mark Stafford, and Anthony Smith’s Learn to Speak Cat: Fake Mews. In 2023, as well as continuing Meanwhile…, they plan to publish Blessed Cure, an award-winning graphic novel about a young Brazilian man who endures conversion therapy, Mark Stafford’s Salmonella Smorgasbord and Nord by Martin Simpson.
UPDATE, 14th December 2022 – NORD was successfully funded
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.