The team at Soaring Penguin Press have always been huge fans of artist Mark Stafford’s work, with a story by him appearing in their very first publication, back in 1997. Well, good news. A new book, Mark Stafford’s Salmonella Smorgasbord, is on the way, gathering work from across his varied career in creating fascinatingly grotesque art.
A regular contributor to SPP’s Meanwhile anthology, Mark is perhaps best known for work such as Kangkangee Blues, as the co-creator of the graphic novels Cherubs! (with Bryan Talbot), The Man who Laughs, Lip Hook, and The Bad Bad Place (with David Hine), along with extensive work on other projects, Mark has twice been chosen by the British Council to collaborate on projects in South Korea. He is also the current artist-in-residence at London’s The Cartoon Museum.
Mark Stafford’s Salmonella Smorgasbord presents stories and pieces in a hefty 200+ full-colour pages, celebrating the grotesque imagination of one of Britain’s most inventive comedic/horror artists. This new collection brings together many of Stafford’s rarely seen short comic strips, alongside restored older comics, and even more recent design work for theatre posters, record covers, beer labels, and T-shirt designs – meaning there’s plenty to discover, even for the most ardent fans.
While the following images aren’t necessarily in the book – they’re examples of items available for sale from Mark’s Etsy store – they do reflect the kind of craziness to expect…
“Mark’s work deserves to be seen,” enthuses Soaring Penguin Press Co-Publisher John Anderson, “and has to be seen to be believed. Believe me when I say that once you start on Salmonella Smorgasbord it’s, well, unkeepdownable.”
“I’ve been a fan of Mark’s work for over 30 years and I’m full to bursting to be able to serve all these rarities in one literary repast,” added Co-Publisher Tim Pilcher. “This collection is what his work has long-deserved and is perfect for existing gourmands, and a mind-blowing entrée for those yet to discover the twisted world of Stafford. Bon Appetit!”
Salmonella Smorgasbord is scheduled for February 2022 and the excited publishers pitch it as perfect for anyone with an appreciation of horror, comedy, and underground comics. But they’re not alone in that view. We’ve enjoyed much of Mark’s work here at downthetubes for years, too, his work distinctive, unique and unforgettable, his co-creations such as The Man who Laughs and Lip Hook with David Hine some of the most enjoyable graphic novels of recent times.
Andy Oliver, over at the brilliant Broken Frontier web site is a fan, too, noting “Mark Stafford has built up a reputation in UK comics in recent years for visual storytelling that is eerily macabre in tone and atmosphere.”
Reviewing The Bad Bad Place, James Ferguson, over at HorrorDNA.com commented, rightly, that “Every single panel is creepy and weird. No one looks normal. There’s usually an odd trait to them, like eyes that are too wide or a strange shaped head. That’s just the regular people too… Stafford really excels, delivering some of the grossest creatures this side of the Black Lagoon.”
• Mark Stafford’s Salmonella Smorgasbord is due in February 2022 | ISBN: 978-1-908030-48-1 | 200 pages, full-colour, Paperback | UK £16.99/US $25.99