DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

New Year, New Comic Anthology (featuring Complete Darkness)


The Future of Comics is here... New Year, New Stories 2022

Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

Just when you thought it was safe...New Year, New Stories 2022 bursts onto the scene with a celebration of indie comics which are new for 2022! Am absolutely delighted to have Complete Darkness feature in this alongside a host of new talent!!

This project was conceived as a way to raise awareness of the indie comic artists who would normally rely on conventions to spread the word about their work. 

With 2019 and 2020 seeing loads of cancelled conventions, the Shades of Vengeance Comics team came together with several other indie creators to share their expertise in crowdfunding and generate the deserved excitement about some of the stories that you probably didn’t even know were published!

Get on board for:

- An anthology of 15 comics between 6 and 12 pages long. That’s right, there are 15 separate stories in this anthology, which comes to 156 pages in total! These are just a taste of the work of these amazing creators - each story also features a “links page” which allows you to find out more about your favourite creators in the anthology. There’s loads more detail on the Kickstarter page, so check it out to learn more about the stories. Find out HERE

click this image for more info
- It’s the second anthology of its type. The level of support that appeared for the indie creators who submitted to the anthology last year was amazing! Don’t worry if you missed it, we’re offering the chance to catch up by getting hold of New Year, New Stories 2021 through this Kickstarter… Check the Kickstarter to see photos of the previous print, giving you an idea of what to expect from 2022’s anthology! 

 - These titles all came out during 2021 or are yet to be released… Every story in New Year, New Stories 2022 either came out in the last twelve months… or hasn’t been published at all elsewhere yet! Nothing’s stopping the creators doing that, if they wish, but these are some of the freshest stories from these amazing creators, so check them out and help bring them to reality! I have been creating for almost a decade.
I asked Ed Jowett who is the supremo behind this project why he did it - he said:

"I love telling stories and bringing my ideas to life whether on paper, via audio or in other ways. For me, every story is an expression of the universe that it’s in… and I see myself as a universe creator and worldbuilder first, and a storyteller second.
I also love enabling others to tell their stories, which is why I started the “New Year, New Stories” project! As the editor, it’s been very rewarding to see stories I otherwise might never have been able to, and help people who had no idea how to get their work printed hold it for the first time." 

What a legend!

Writing, Marketing and Promotion

Writing alone may not be enough…

Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

I get asked a lot about my philosophy regarding book promotion – especially by other authors. 
Having worked in marketing and communications for over 25 years it sometimes feels like I’ve been training to market my writing all my working life!? I have to admit that there wasn’t much on book promo in my creative writing degree at university but I have picked up a few things – mostly by asking the question ‘what would appeal to me’? and then finding ways to act on those thoughts. 

When I got the publishing deal for Complete Darkness I got the chance to think of some ways to drum up pre-orders. Having a few artist types who I know – I sent them the manuscript and cheekily asked if they’d create a piece of art of one of the characters – which I’d get printed on promo cards that I could give out at events. This strategy paid off with some great art coming in and allowed me to approach events such as FrightFest London, ComicCon Scotland, Stars of Time etc who all agreed to distribute the art cards to their delegates in the show’s goodie bags. 

Having the cards as assets to offer allowed me to be confident in approaching events - I got in touch with the organisers of TitanCon in Belfast who asked if, alongside the card promo, I’d like to do a reading on stage there – what I didn’t realise was that the event also had George R.R. Martin reading!? 
On the day before I nervously read my first chapter my amazon presales rank was 6,550,000th in the world. The next day I’d jumped 6,549,125 places and sat at 875th. 

 As the launch approached I managed to top some of the specialist Amazon charts and so finally on day one over 300 copies were sold. In October 2019 the book was unleashed on the world and I arranged a launch event. As my book deals with the topic of mapping ‘Hell’ I invited and Vicar and Satanist to a London pub, sold tickets and put on wine and chips (fries if you’re a US reader). 35 people paid £10 and that gave me the budget to give each a signed copy of the book as well as some free drinks etc. The event got some national specialist press coverage and led to a journalist reviewing the book. They picked Complete Darkness as one of the ‘Top Books of the Year’ for the UK Den of Geek site alongside new books from Philip Pullman and Margaret Atwood – it was a huge credibility boost. Think it's still live so have a look: DEN OF GEEK'S TOP BOOKS OF YEAR

Since launch interacting with readers and being available is part of the author promo I enjoy. I’ve guest-hosted a writing radio show, been interviewed on lots of podcasts and spoken on panels at events. 

One of my favourite things that has happened was when a reader took the time to make and paint figures of my two main characters – they now sit on my shelf and make me grin every time I see them. It’s been a wild ride since then and a second novel is on the way along with several short stories published in various anthologies. 

Now my excitement levels are maxing out because Complete Darkness has become a comic too. My dark near-future story was developed into a comic format during the lockdown with artwork by Northern Irish artist Karl Brown. As a comic book fan, I'm beyond delighted to have the chance to now launch my own. Comics are an art form that are becoming more appreciated by the mainstream, with many of them becoming Netflix / Amazon series too so who knows where this might lead? It’s been scary launching the comic through Kickstarter as it’s very public if you fail but fortunately, we have fully funded the comic and made the stretch goal of getting a 2000AD Judge Dredd artist to create a limited alternate cover too (see below)!? 

The inspiration (left) - the alt cover (right)

Creating the merchandise folk have pre-paid on the Kickstarter for, like t-shirts, snood bandanas and new art cards for the backers has been fun – some have even taken the chance to have themselves immortalised by being drawn into issue two as a cameo character… 

The other great thing about the comic is that it introduced the novel to new readers with 42 of the backers buying the book alongside the comic. You can grab a copy of comic HERE

Thanks for reading (literally)...

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Darkmatters Top Ten Films of 2021

 Darkmatters Top Ten Films of 2021

Matt Adcock (@cleric20) shares his fav movies of the last year...

10. Bull

I'm a huge fan of Dead Man's Shoes so this brutal and fascinating tale that follows similar lines was a must-see for me. Here's the official synopsis: 

After a 10-year absence, former gang enforcer Bull returns to his old haunts to find his missing son and seek revenge on those who double-crossed him and left him for dead. Painful secrets from the past will soon be revealed and like a man possessed, Bull will stop at nothing to get back at those who must atone for their sins. 

Check the trailer here:

If you're a fan of Maskell's work in  Kill List or the original excellent Channel 4 version of Utopia, you know not to cross Neil Maskell when he’s in a bad mood. He's a British actor who will hurt you badly and I don't mean in an emotional way... Bull sees him playing the mysterious 'Bull' – a man returning home after 10 years away with bloodshed on his mind and boy does he deliver...

9. Nobody

Nobody is a slick and violent thriller that harks back to old school Arnie classics and mixes in some fight work worthy of The Raid and John Wick films! Caution even this trailer is pretty extreme:

The star of Better Call Saul star strikes a blow (actually lots of them) for all of us men over 50!! This is furiously entertaining stuff seeing a suburban father taking on the Russian mob!!

tax returns eh...

8. Free Guy

As a huge videogame fan I (and having a crush on Ryan Reynolds) I fell hard for this refreshing and original take that explores video game characters' daily lives. Packing a full-on energy that is infectious and some real heartfelt and thoughtful moments too - this is a fun time for anyone!

Highly recommended - and not just for the audacious 'other film franchise' easter eggs or the most excellent use of a Maria Carey track ever!

7. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar    

Lifelong friends Barb and Star (Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo) embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever. What follows is some of the most joyful cinematic fun ever to be committed to screen!


Read my review of Barb & Star here

6. Promising Young Woman

"Even though the gods are crazy / Even though the stars are blind / If you show me real love, baby / I'll show you mine / I can make it nice and naughty / Be the devil and angel, too / Got a heart and soul and body / Let's see what this love can do / Maybe I'm perfect for you…” 

Arriving like a shotgun blast of expertly timed catharsis, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman hits hard with its message that claiming to be a ‘nice guy’ isn’t enough in this world where #MeToo still needs wider engagement.

Read my review of Promising Young Woman here

5. Censor

Hey, do you remember when your mum warned you that watching scary movies would warp your brain and turn you into a homicidal maniac? Well here's the movie proof that she might not have been exaggerating!?

Watching Censor is a visceral experience and it's a bold, brilliant exploration of the video nasty sensation and those who had the job of censoring them!?

4. The Night House

Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep together-but then the dreams come. Disturbing visions of a presence in the house call to her, beckoning with a ghostly allure...

Spooky huh? You betcha... this is a quality mystery trip worth taking!

3. No Time to Die

Director Cary ‘True Detective’ Fukunaga brings his A-game that kicks off with an emotionally charged assassination attempt and doesn’t let up for almost 3 hours of high-octane quality Bond. The plot might be your standard bio weapon developed by shady scientists, obviously falling into the wrong hands –those of new baddie on the block Safin (Rami Malek). Safin has a great taste in spooky masks and a personal grudge against Bond so you know it’s gonna kick off big time when Bond tracks him down…

Read my review of No Time To Die here

2. Spider-man: No Way Home

This was the feel-good superhero event of the year. Picking up directly from the last film -Spider-man has been outed thanks to Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), so Peter Parker (Holland) seeks an extreme solution to regain his privacy: get Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) to magically bend reality so that nobody ever knew. However, when the spell goes wrong, the resulting multiversal mishap imports some of Spider-Man's most sinister enemies from other universes...

It's an absolute blast - literally.

1. Dune

Epic is pretty much every way - Dune (pt1) was a sensation.  

As a huge fan of the books, I enjoyed the 1984 Lynch version and even had time for some of the mini series but Denis  'Blade Runner 2049' Villeneuve delivers something incredible here... 

The story of how Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. Facing malevolent forces which leads to conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive.


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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Matt wants to be a Millionaire (game review)


Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Board Game

Ginger Fox Games (@GingerFox_UK)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Love or hate the questions for money gameshow - it sure is a compelling premise and most of us have wondered how we might do / what we might win if in the hot seat...

Now it's your chance!! The clever bods at Ginger Fox Games have created the whole Who Wants To Be a Millionaire experience - in a box so you can play it at home!? Yes, the nation's much-watched TV game show can be played head-to-head with your family and friends in the race to reach £1 million (money not included alas). 

best enjoyed with family and friends

The game is nicely crafted and allows you to relive classic moments from the show and tackle the iconic money ladder using only your wits and digital lifelines (accessible through a smart device) to reach the top. There is a lot of tension when you're getting towards the top of the board, but there is always the threat that if get a question wrong and you fall back so careful picking of where to 'stick' is vital...

Digital lifelines are fun

Like in the TV hotseat you get the chance to use lifelines - you can literally phone a friend, or log online and ask the audience. Other options include asking the host (you take turns to be host), plus the old 50:50. 

The biggest question you face is 'do you have what it takes to become a (virtual) millionaire?'

The is fun but i can see it gettig a little old once you've been through the questions a few times... It can be played by 2 or more players, with recommended age 14+.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(3.5 - Phone a friend and invite them round to play!)

Full disclosure - a copy of this game was provided for review purposes :)


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Matt faces his End Game (review) and meets David Toft

End Game

David Toft (@Dmtoft)

Reviewed by Matt (@cleric20) Adcock

“Wilson gasped and looked down. A crawling infant had locked its teeth around the back of his ankle. He shook his leg free and then kicked the child away, punching out with a fist at the same time and sending a headless body reeling back into the crowd.”

Welcome to a dark very near future where all around the world a wave of suicide attacks are bringing society itself to the brink of war and worse… Previously stable governments teeter towards collapse, the authorities are at a loss against a seemingly unstoppable co-ordinated series of attacks. Leading the investigation is Scotland Yard’s Stuart Wilson, backed up by Bill Rubek from the USA. They are aided by a mystic Karrinaand they’ll need the magical back up because the enemies they are dealing with are channeling magic!!

As the carnage and anarchy mount, the authorities begin to fear what they are facing. Could it be that the attacks are being carried out by those already dead? How desperate of depraved do you have to be to sell the very soul of a loved one  into servitude of a madman?

The heroes battle mind boggling odds and some Dark Materials-esque world jumping as they encounter a race older than mankind… Who or what will be left standing as the End Game plays out?

Toft writes with a cracking pace and some nifty ideas. If you take this wild ride be sure you’re up for it to go ‘full fantasy’ as this isn’t a Line of Duty crime battle but more a Lord of the Rings magic welding tale - nicely fused with the real world bombings as part of it.

End Game is a decent read that will delight those looking for something fresh and engaging - there are bold concepts and a thought-provking mix of ancient and modern worlds.

I had the chance to put some questions to the author in order to get to know him a bit better, here is what David said:   

If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

David: - My own self-doubt, always my biggest enemy.

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book / film of any genre? 

David: – The death of Bambi’s mother traumatised me as a child.

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

David: – A celebration of The British Empire, blame my 1950s upbringing.

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

David: - I’d find a quiet corner in a nice traditional pub. I’d savour a few leisurely pints of their best real ale while scrolling my phone for local animal rescue centres. As the evening draws to a close I’d share £95,000 between them, paying on line. That should leave enough for another couple of pints, and for me to buy a round for the whole pub on my way out.

Matt: You’re asked for a line of ‘Wisdom’ that will be taught to every citizen on earth - what is your line?? 
The man himself!

David: – Do no harm.

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

David: – One of my wife’s sisters – It’s a long story.

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

David: – Whatever you make it.

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

David: – A copy of the OED, given as a wedding present 36 (I think) years ago. I’ve used it at least once a day ever since.

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

David: – Copy edit my WIP as I go.

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

David: – Peace At Last

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Thrilling magic-peril-em-up that delivers a wild ride)

Buy your copy of End Game here