…meet the band.

grimoire_page_iii_-_Kites_page 2

Toxic Shopping is a unfinished comic project that was set in the city in which I lived when I started writing it… Norwich, here in the UK, in the early nineties.

It revolves around the female fronted punk band Toxic Shock and their friends as they deal with everyday (and occasionally not so everyday) life… hence some of it would involve Toxic (the band), well… shopping.

Mainly it focuses on the unrequited love of young science dabbler Alex Leucadian for the punk rock guitarist Kate “Kite” Vertigan… who, unfortunately for Alex, already has a partner… the lovely Hanna.

This site is now the place to find all things related to the story, some very old, some a little newer.


The Story Breakdown – (it was planned to be four books).

Book 1 – “…and Other Sad Songs” – The gang go about their everyday lives not knowing a crisis is brewing in the form of a hidden experiment in the shed.

Book 2 – “Cross References” – Set at some point in the far flung future, Alex wanders a neo-feudal church run England in search of the missing love of his life, Kite.

Book 3 – “Maybe I Should Drive” – Back in the present Harvey has a breakdown and decides to take on the role of Norwich’s resident superhero/vigilante.

Book 4 – “Spool Memories” – The gang, all back together try to pick up the pieces of their lives…


Maybe I Should Drive – 006 – Tube Mice

Tube mice is a short script to introduce to very dubious characters from a later piece called “…of Men & Monsters”, say Hi to Griff and Gerry…

Tube_Mice___Art… for those of you who are easily offended, look away now… I’ve used some bad words in this piece…

Another vingette from my un( never to be )finished “Toxic Shopping” comic book, establishing a pair of rather short lived but important characters… (no, not the nuns)…

I wrote the original of this way back in ’92/’93, in that whole post-Tarantino phase that I imagine alot of aspiring writers/scribblers went through… and it hasn’t been altered much since then…

I’m not sure, but I think it works as a stand alone anyway…

Toxic Shopping (a fragment) – TUBE MICE

Sounds of the London Underground, the echoing chatter of the hundreds of people, rushing air, and the distant rumble of trains…



Extreme C.U. of a LITTLE GIRL’S face eyes wide open (just the eyes, unblinking) staring into camera…

CAMERA pulls back to reveal her whole face and shoulders (she blinks)…


2            POV – TUBE TRACKS

We see what has been holding the girls attention… as little black TUBE MICE dart about under the rails looking for food…



The LITTLE GIRL again… head and shoulders… she squints her eyes, screwing her whole face up… Suddenly from the focal blur behind her a hand (her MOTHER) reaches out and grabs her by the shoulders (her eyes widen) dragging her backwards…

(at once annoyed and worried)



The motion blurred exterior of a London underground tube train racing through a station… the noise of the train is at first overwhelming and then fades to a regular level… In the lower left of the screen the date, time and location appears.

“London, 16:52, May 8”



The interior of one of the compartments… It has only six occupants, The CAMERA moves down the compartment dealing with each of the occupants…

This should be shown in a Dream like collage or flashback…  (FDIO) The first, a sleepy, rather PRETTY WOMAN in her late twenties…  She’s heading back to her apartment to meet her mother who called her at work an hour ago.  The phone call informing her of the fact that mum would be “staying over a few days”.  So besides her usual homeward bound thoughts of yet another convenient yet nutritious meal for one, and the coming weekends prospective lack of romantic interest, tonight she’s congratulating herself on the formulation of a watertight case for premature euthanasia…

Next to her a RED-FACED MAN in his fifties struggles with his tie, it refuses to loosen.  Instead the knot simply becomes smaller and increasingly beyond the capabilities of his sausage-like digits…  He has had to run to catch the tube, carrying his somewhat more than slight frame down two flights of stairs and onto the train where it now seemed to be contemplating a massive coronary, he self-consciously tries not to pant so loudly, which to his surprise and further embarrassment brings on a fit of hiccups…

The far end of the carriage is presided over by two NUNS, Sisters of the Sanctuary of the Holy Name, they sit in silence, one of them, the older of the two, absent-mindedly rubbing her skirts between the thumb and forefinger of her left hand, she stares at her reflection in the glass opposite wondering if the sanctuary has fallen into complete disarray in her absence, her young companion sits head down and suddenly flushes with colour whilst, for what must have been the fifteenth time since lunch, she considers sex that she’s never had, she’s becoming more and more convinced that it’s not only God that can read her thoughts and just longs for the safety of her own room.

The two remaining passengers sit side by side approximately one third the way down the along the compartment, the first, the taller of the two (GRIFF), is dressed in a crisp clean white shirt under a dark suit.  He’s reading a newspaper which appears to be in a Foreign language (Maltese) whilst listening to a personal stereo, which can clearly be heard over the clickety-clack and rush of the train.  His neighbour (GERRY) is dressed in jeans and a jumper (which could only have been a present), he carries an overcoat roughly folded around his arm.  He looks particularly uncomfortable as he scans the carriage for the hundredth time, suddenly he says…

Look at that!.

The taller man continues to read his newspaper oblivious to his companion.

(He nudges the taller man impatiently.)
Have you seen that?

(obviously irritated he removes his
earplugs with a yank on the wires.)
What the fuck now! I’m reading…

How can you concentrate to read with that shit blasting in your ears?

I hardly need to concentrate to read do I?  I mean it’s getting kind of easy, I’ve been doing it for over twenty-five years… It’s not like I’m trying to build a house of cards is it?  Besides… I happen to like this shit… Now did you want something, or what?

Look down there…
(he points down at the floor a few feet away.


6            POV – CARRIAGE FLOOR

C.U. of a discarded syringe on the floor opposite… it rocks a little with the movement of the train.




(animatedly irritated)
Whadda y’mean ‘and…?, There’s kids on this train, that kinda thing is out of order, who knows what sorta crap that thing’s had in it… Or still got in it for that matter?  Some damn junkie just shoots up on a train or in some disease ridden broom closet in a station back there, then dumps the residue of his stinking habit here… Then, some pregnant mother gets on with her toddler, she’s in a hurry, she’s visiting her husband at the hospital, I don’t know, some roofing accident or something, she’s busy thinking about the bills and food she can’t afford, and not paying attention to the kid when WHAPP!… the kid picks up the needle and sticks it in his eye…or worse, sticks it in his mum’s leg then his eye…Crack, Smack, Hepatitis, HIV…

It coulda just had insulin in it…

So you’re telling me the kid an’ his mum are gonna feel so much better knowing they’ve gotta balanced blood-sugar level?

(suddenly animatedly pissed off)
Well I…, hold on ! What kid?  What eye? There’s nobody here but us, a fat bloke, someone’s secretary an’ a couple’a goddamn nuns!…



We see the reactions of the NUNS (they look like they’ve had something seriously unpleasant waved under her nose).



GERRY looks from the NUNS, and back to GRIFF, then in a lower voice (out of the side of his mouth), as if suddenly embarrassed…

I was talking hypothetically.

You were talking crap!.

Look, there’s still five or six stops between here and our stop, not to mention the ones after we’ve gotten off.

OK What?..  Look GERRY just tell me what you want me to do for you here… I can see this is pissing you off almost as much as you are me…  So tell me, what? Should I get off the goddamned train right here an’ go write a letter to my local M.P. …or just stand over the fuckin’ thing all day with a notice pinned to my arse saying ‘STAY BACK! Possible risk of possible infection or minor bleeding’, What? c’mon tell me, what?

Now you’re being stupid.

I’m being stupid???  You’re the one who’s throwing a duck-fit over a needle that may or may not have been used by some invisible, unidentified, possible AIDS infected diabetic junkie, Fuck!… it could’a just fell out of a vets medical bag…

So pick it up.

Fuck you! you want me to stick it in my finger an’ put myself down, you pick it up.

You’ve just no idea about community spirit or social responsibility have you Griff?

No!…Besides, what community? What social? We’re on a fuckin’ tube train two hundred fuckin’ yards under ground!

OK! OK! I’ll pick it up.

With that GERRY now irritated and embarrassed by the whole scene, bends forward pulling a handkerchief from his jeans pocket, and proceeds to wrap up the syringe, carefully avoiding any actual contact with the object.  He stands slowly and moves to the end of the train, lowers the window in the door, and lets the bundle fall between the carriages and onto the line below.  All the while he is being eyed suspiciously by the two NUNS…  Brushing his hands on his jumper, he returns to his seat.

Feel better now Mr. Bleeding Heart, Saviour of the World? Can I finish reading my paper now?

Total silence from GERRY.  GRIFF smiles with smug satisfaction, flicks his paper open and continues to read.



Well… I mean, what about the mice?

What mice?

The mice…

(obviously agitated)
What frigging mice?!!

(pleased with himself)
Ah well, don’t come shouting to me when some crack-crazed tube mouse jumps off the Central Line and tries to drag you down onto the track.
(gives his paper one last flick, briefly revealing an automatic pistol in a shoulder holster under his left arm.)

(folding his arms and looking the other way, defeated)
Fuck you Griff!


Bradley – Sketches & Notes

Bradley… originally called Pink in some of the early designs… (yes, way, way before the pop star of the same name… no really, way before… but clearly not before Mr Geldof’s character in The Wall)…

Anyway, she became Bradley…

This was straight out of a sketchbook from the time I was working out some of the original story lines…


This (below) is a variant of her look, this time with no deeley-boppers (she wore them a lot)… she looks kinda French…

Space Cake

Origins… back in the day.

So, this is how it started… way back in May 1994.

I had no idea what I was doing, I’d read some comics, I’d been reading them on and off since I was a kid… Dandy, 2000AD, Oor Wullie, Ghost Rider, Shiang Hai… and other stuff when I was a kid, mostly things brought over by my Canadian cousin Dale, or stuff left around by the international rig workers that stayed at the hotel where my mother worked. Then there was a hiatus in my teens, I was still reading, but had shifted over to the cheap Lancer and Sphere paperbacks that produced reprints of REH’s Conan etc… The serious stuff began to get pushed at me when I started work with the Archaeology Unit in the late eighties, then came The Sandman, The Dark Night Returns, The Shadow, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean and all that… and a couple of guys who I worked with who were drawing their own stuff, and introducing me to new comics too (Hi Dave, hi Ian).

I guess I started thinking about how I might want to tell my own stories too…

I can’t dismiss the influence of Love and Rockets… I bought the t-shirt… and though I never actually collected all the books I was fascinated enough with the ones I read and eventually got hold of to let the ideas sink in I guess.

Its a story with girls, strong characters talking about music and love and all that domestic stuff… with a edge of SF/superheros thrown in.

It must have been an influence… must have… Strangers (SIP) was out, but I’m sure I didn’t get to it until my characters where established enough in my sketchbooks and head that they were riding their bikes past my house.

And so Toxic Shopping started here… in a sketchbook, on a living room table, at Chamberlain Road in Norwich, just character outlines really, but a story started to form, albeit meandering, derivative and naive…

I believe the original three word agenda was Robots, Religion, and Music…

See what you think.

Page 1


Page 2 (check who was name checked as coming up with the name ToxiK ShoKK – below, bottom of page – Hi Andrew!)


Page 3 (…and yes, it was three pages before one of the major characters even appeared)


Page 4


Page 5


Page 6


Page 7


…and so it began.

Who would have thought some of this stuff would end up making it to the small stage

The Tie-Dyed Garage of Judea Grain (and Alex & Kite adventure)

This was probably the first fully finished Comic I ever made… I was looking for a way to test my skills and influenced by all the crazy Moebius comics and Art I’d suddenly been exposed to, along with other European artist like Enki Bilal and Philippe Druilett… and all those other Metal Hurlant and Cheval Noir types.

So I went down the SF route… albeit gently.

Make of it what you will. – laughs.

Front Cover


Page 1


Page 2


Page 3


Page 4


Page 5

Comics centre

Page 6


Page 7


Below are the original thumbnails for the above comic’s outing…

Judea Grain original thumbnails