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Hello. I'm Antony Johnston, and I write comics, graphic novels, and videogames.
I also make podcasts and music for fun.
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Today I launched a second podcast: THRASH IT OUT, in which Brian LeTendre and I listen to a heavy metal album, then use it as an excuse to argue about stuff.

If you listen to UNJUSTLY MALIGNED, you may remember Brian was my guest on an episode where he defended Megadeth’s album RISK. If you enjoyed that show, you’re going to love THRASH IT OUT.

But this show isn’t about defending metal albums; it’s about discussing them, and seeing how our different tastes meld, clash, and sometimes wildly diverge.

Brian and I have both been metalheads since we were kids, but we come at it from different sides of the genre: I’m a Motörhead/Death/Slipknot kind of guy, while Brian is on the Megadeth/Exodus/Queensrÿche side of things. And that’s what makes the show great. Because, as any headbanger knows, arguing about metal is half the fun of being a fan :) so this show is much more informal than UMP.

It does have a nifty theme song like that show, though.

In the spirit of the underground, THRASH IT OUT is completely independent. We’re not part of a network, we don’t have sponsors, we don’t take ads.

Instead, we’re going directly to listeners for support with a Patreon. THRASH IT OUT will run in “Volumes” of 10-12 episodes each, and the more patrons we get, the longer we can keep doing it.

Support the show and help us stay independent by becoming a patron.

If you love metal, you’re going to love THRASH IT OUT. Give it a spin.


Right now I’m on stage, announcing my next book from Image Comics:

CODENAME BABOUSHKA, with art by the redoubtable Shari Chankhamma and lettering by Simon Bowland.

CODENAME BABOUSHKA is an action-packed modern pulp spy thriller in the style of classic British high-stakes espionage adventures like MODESTY BLAISE and JAMES BOND.

Contessa Annika Malikova is the last of a noble Russian line. Three years ago, Annika fled to the USA with family friend Gyorgy Gyorgyov, claiming political asylum. Rarely seen in public, she settled in New York and quickly became an enigmatic figure of the Manhattan social set.

But the Contessa has a dark secret. In fact, she’s the legendary crime lord codenamed “Baboushka”! After her organisation was betrayed and destroyed by a cabal of rival mafiya, she escaped to America and laid low…

…Until Mr Clay, head of the shadowy EON (Extrajudicial Operations Network), discovers her true identity. Threatened with deportation back to Moscow — and the certain death that awaits her there — Baboushka is forced to work for EON, taking on dirty jobs so classified even the CIA can’t sanction them.

CODENAME BABOUSHKA’s first mission, The Conclave of Death, begins in October. Each issue will feature two covers; a regular ‘silhouette’ cover by Shari Chankhamma, and an ‘art cover’ by an all-star line-up of female artists, including Tula Lotay, Annie Wu, Leila del Duca (shown here), Kate Leth, and more.

We’re also commissioning backmatter essays discussing female heroes and other subjects, by authors and critics like Danielle Henderson, Maya Rodale, Katy Rex, and more.

We’ll publish the book in ‘missions'; each will be part of Baboushka’s ongoing adventures, but stand alone as a story. Think of it like a new Bond movie every so often… except the sexy Russian femme fatale is the star.

CODENAME BABOUSHKA: THE CONCLAVE OF DEATH #1 is now available for pre-order at all good comic stores.

You might think she’s a hero. That would be a mistake.


Yesterday at E3, Sony announced RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, an upcoming sci-fi e-sports game for their Morpheus VR headset.

RIGS is being developed by Sony’s Guerrilla Cambridge studio here in the UK. I’m working with them to develop the game world of RIGS, and help design and script the commentary dialogue systems. Longtime readers will know of my love for the NFL, and RIGS is very much a game built around the idea of huge, spectacular sports events.

I can’t say any more — no surprise there — but you can watch the E3 trailer, which I scripted, to get more of an idea. Looking forward to this one.


THE FUSE Vol 2: Gridlock goes on sale this week.

ZERO-G MURDER IN THE COLD OF SPACE! They call it ‘Gridlocking’ — maglev-bike races across the Fuse’s vast solar arrays. Fast, dangerous, and very illegal. So when the #1 gridlock racer turns up dead, Klem and Ralph begin their own race to catch a killer… in a case that will force them into the dark underbellies of drug smuggling and terrorism in zero-g!

‘Gridlock’ is a step-change from Vol 1, ‘The Russia Shift’, with more action, not to mention quite a bit more sci in the fi. After easing readers into the familiar-but-odd world of THE FUSE, we’re now diving deep into orbital space culture — as well as solving a murder or two, of course!

THE FUSE Vol 2: Gridlock is 160 pages of sci-fi crime, and available from all good comic and book stores.

In comic stores, the order code is APR150584; in bookstores, the ISBN is 978-1-63215-313-5. Digital readers can get it from Comixology or Image Comics.


SILENCAEON is the name of my new dark ambient music project.

Most people know I’m a big old metalhead in my spare time, but less well known is my love for experimental, ambient, and drone (Not least because it’s great writing music!)

My interest started with Brian Eno’s groundbreaking ‘discreet music’ soundscapes, and developed through the ’90s when ambient outfits like Aphex Twin, Autechre, and FSOL were at their peak. Towards the end of that period, darker bands like Sunn O))) and Neurosis started bringing a heavy metal attitude to their pioneering soundscapes, and the darkwave movement began its own modern revival, all of which I revelled in.

So basically, there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on here. And if you like any of the music I just mentioned, you might like SILENCAEON too.

The first release, Thorn, is now available at Bandcamp. Stream for free, or buy to download. And enjoy.


It’s May the Fourth, also known as STAR WARS day. A very special day for geeks all over the world.

And what better way to celebrate, than with a very special episode of UNJUSTLY MALIGNED?

Oh, yes. For episode #10, Sci-fi fan, Whovian, and podcaster Erika Ensign joins me to defend STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE, surely one of the most-maligned movies in all geekdom. It’s a great episode, and while I won’t spoil the ending for you, I will say Erika makes some really good and persuasive points…!

As always, if you’re enjoying the show, please consider taking a moment to rate and review UMP on iTunes. It’s by far the best way to help spread the word about the podcast.

There are yet more great guests and subjects yet to come; right now I’m scheduling beyond episode 20 (!) so there’s plenty lined up. To make sure you don’t miss an episode, subscribe in iTunes. Worth it, promise.


THE FUSE #12 goes on sale this week, ending the ‘Gridlock’ story with murderous revelations…

CATHY KUANG’S MURDER — SOLVED! But what will the truth cost Klem and Ralph? It’s a dangerous place out there on the solar arrays, as Ralph is about to find out…!

…And one hell of a cliffhanger concerning Ralph and his mysterious motivations!

In the letter column, we also have photos from the Fantastic Comics book club Justin and I attended, plus the FUSE/SHELTERED joint signing at the Arcane Comics party from last month. Fun stuff.

Finally, our backup strip TABLOID also draws to a close this issue, with Phoebe finally piecing together the story that nearly cost her life.

THE FUSE #12 is available from all good comics stores with the order code JAN150685, or you can get it digitally from Comixology and Image Comics. If you want a (spoiler-filled!) sneak peek, there’s a preview on Tumblr.


WASTELAND #60, the double-sized epilogue and final issue of the series, goes on sale this week.

‘Before and After Science’ tells the story of what happened just a few years after the Big Wet, as Marcus roams the wasteland searching for his destiny; and deep in a bunker, a certain scientist builds a certain talking machine…

A young man called Marcus wanders the desert, following the call to A-Ree-Yass-I… but what he does there will echo through the world for years. And decades later, a familiar tale will begin.

This is the final capstone on the epic story of WASTELAND, bringing everything full circle. Making it has brought on a cascade of mixed emotions for both myself and Chris; from painful to cathartic to satisfying, and just about everything in between. I talk more about that in the afterword of issue #60 itself. Spoilers: it was all worth it.

With this final issue, we’re also releasing the final song on the WASTELAND Original Soundtrack, ‘I Recall’.

That completes the album of songs I’ve been making to accompany the book since 2006 (!) and you can now buy a high-quality version of the entire soundtrack on Bandcamp. The album purchase includes two bonus tracks, a booklet PDF, unlimited streaming, and high-quality lossless audio formats to download.

I’ve spent the last six months remixing, re-sequencing, and re-recording guitar parts on most of the songs, to make them suitable for high-quality audio. So if you haven’t listened in a while, give it a whirl.

(If you don’t want to buy the album, fear not; you’ll always be able to listen to MP3s for free at

WASTELAND #60 is available from comic stores with the order code JAN151525, and digital readers can find it at Comixology. You can also read a six-page preview at Comic Book Resources.


If it’s March, it must be GDC…! No, wait, I already did that one. Hang on…

Oh, yes. *cough*

If it’s March, it must be Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle! Yes, once again I’ll be in the lovely Pacific Northwest, or as I like to call it, “America with British weather.”

And a couple of lovely things are happening later this week:

• On Thursday, there’s a FUSE/SHELTERED joint signing at the Arcane Comics pre-con party!

This will literally be the first time the entire FUSE team has been in one place, what with us being spread out over four countries across three continents.

And, as we share colourist Shari Chankhamma between us, the same is true for SHELTERED. So we thought we’d do something special to celebrate, and Arcane Comics were kind enough to host us as part of their party.

The Arcane party is open to all and will be completely nuts, with 20-30 creators all in attendance. You really should come along.

• On Friday, Oni Press is hosting a WASTELAND wrap party at the Tap House Grill, to celebrate 60 issues of post-apocalyptic adventure!

As WASTELAND reaches its end at issue #60 (itself on sale in a week or two), we decided to see it off in style with a party worthy of the end of the world as we know it. This party is also open to all, so do come along and help us bid farewell to our strange little book.

• And then there’s the con itself, of course. FUSE artist Justin Greenwood and I will be signing at the Image booth (#312) on Saturday from 1-2pm. If you can’t make that, swing by Justin’s table at G-14, I’ll be hanging out there from time to time over the weekend.

Hope to see you there!


UNJUSTLY MALIGNED, my pop culture podcast, is now a month old. Awwww.

But who should I invite to be a guest and celebrate this amazing milestone? Who could possibly be worthy of such an epoch-shattering event?

In hindsight, the answer is obvious: I asked my friend, and everyone’s favourite geek, Wil Wheaton.

Wil talks about his love of the original TRON — we geeks often consider TRON to be a universally beloved movie now, but it was surprisingly divisive in the sci-fi/nerd community, and even within the movie industry. There’s lots of stuff in this episode that you probably didn’t know; and what better reason to listen in?

If you’re enjoying UMP, please do consider taking a moment to rate and review the show on iTunes. That’s the absolute #1 best thing you can do to help spread the word… apart from telling all your friends, of course.

There are still loads of great guests yet to come, including Brianna Wu, Dan Moren, Emma Vieceli, Al Kennedy, Glenn Fleishman, Erika Ensign, and more. So remember to subscribe to ensure you don’t miss an episode!

And wait till you see what we have planned for episode 10…


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