Preview: Shelly Bond and the Secrets of Comics Editing

Octocon is delighted to be able to bring you an interview with renowned comics editor Shelly Bond, conducted by writer and Octocon stalwart Michael Carroll.

Saturday 2nd October at 7pm Irish time (UTC+1) – watch on our Twitch channel!

If you have questions for Shelly, you can ask them during the interview via Twitch, or tweet them in advance @Octocon.

Shelly Bond and the Secrets of Comics Editing

Shelly Bond’s editing career includes a 22-year run at DC Comics’ Vertigo line and the creation of Black Crown, IDW’s ‘indie record label’ imprint that merged music and comics. As well as her work on Sandman, Lucifer, Clean Room, Fables and Kid Lobotomy, she’s also known for the Hey, Amateur and Insider Art anthologies, and her recent successful Kickstarter: Filth and Grammar: The Comic Editor’s Secret Handbook. Join us as she shares industry stories and insights.

About Shelly Bond

Shelly Bond is the editor of the Eisner award-winning series Bitter Root, Fables, and The Sandman: Overture. She’s the Editor-in-Chief of OFFREGISTER.PRESS and BLACK CROWN with her husband, artist Philip Bond. A former DC/Vertigo Executive and Editor for over two decades, Bond has been driven to edit & curate comic books, crush deadlines and design/innovate. She’s best known for her self-published anthologies funded through Kickstarter including Insider Art, Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed The World, and Heavy Rotation. Shelly is currently writing and art directing her magnum opus, Filth & Grammar: The Comic Book Editor’s Secret Handbook, thanks to 2,375 Kickstarter backers. She wields red pens and tap shoes with equal aplomb and lives in Los Angeles.


Shelly Bond

Octocon Presents: Live from Dublin Space Port – What Next for Star Trek?

Our final Octocon Presents panel of the year will take place on Tuesday 14th September at 8pm IST (UTC+1), streamed as always on our Twitch channel, where you’ll also be able to ask questions of the panellists via the chat.

Octocon gathers together Irish Trek fans for a round table discussion of the explosion of new Star Trek material coming to us through the end of this year and into the next. Lower Decks returned in August, to be followed by Prodigy for kids on Nickelodeon; Picard brings back Q, we jump into the far future in Discovery’s fourth season, and we even get new action figures and perhaps a new motion picture too. Join us as our shuttle rises to the space dock and we anticipate Star Trek’s brightest future.

Meet our panel

Linda Butler

Linda Butler

Linda is a cosplayer, crafter and content creator. Trekkie since TNG. Half of The Nerd Escape Podcast on YouTube. She/her

Twitter: @heninahat1 | Instagram: @Heninahat | YouTube


Gerry Mc Evoy

Gerry Mc Evoy is a National Game Writer Award Winner and the European admin for the Vintage Role Playing Games group (not OSR affiliated), and runs the Irish conventions listing site, He also writes Sci-fi and Fantasy, runs a near daily Interactive Fiction game on Twitter (@legendgerry) and is a former world martial arts champion. He’s the sort of guy who reads the Mountains of Madness campaign, thinks what this needs is the cast of Muppets Treasure Island and then actually writes it. (Best Scenario Warpcon 2020)
The funny part about this bio is people are going to chide him about the other things he does that he’s neglected to mention.

Kat Dodd

Kat Dodd is an American transplant that escaped from a small town in Arkansas right between Toad Suck, Pickles Gap, and Wooster. The first story they ever wrote was in a purple crayon in their journal, and Kat hasn’t stopped writing since. Their typical genres are a conglomeration of fantasy/sci-fi, LGBTQI+, and YA, with a thread of romance going through them. Kat lives with their Spouse-Type-Creature, though Kat frequently forgets to feed him.

Twitter: @TheKatDodd

James Brophy (moderator)

James Brophy

A photographer and graphic designer based in Dublin, James has also worked in Visual effects and film development while writing materials and making art for Octocon on and off for the last 20 years.

Twitter: @jamesfbrophy

Glasgow in 2024 Book Club

This year’s Octocon book club will be hosted by the Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid.

Up for discussion is the novella This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Join the chat on Sunday afternoon (time to be confirmed).

Glasgow in 2024 background and logo, Octo and Octocon logo, cover of the book This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Best described as an epic time-travelling love story, This Is How You Lose the Time War has the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella, the Reddit Stabby Award for Best Novella, and The British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novella.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?

Get it everywhere you get good books! (And if they don’t have it, order it!)

You can also chat to the Glasgow in 2024 bid during Octocon at their Discord fan table.

Calling fan organisations and conventions

Whether you’re a space navy or a writers or crafters’ group or another SF convention, we’d love to have you with us at Octocon.

Our virtual fan tables are text-based channels on our Discord server, where you can post information about your organisation or convention, and talk in real time to Octocon attendees.

We also offer the option of a voice channel, and if you’re interested in hosting a Zoom party or get-together during Octocon, we can help you with that too!

And best of it, it’s completely free! (Although you will need to register for Octocon – again, completely free!)

Apply for a fan table

Octo can help with all your fan table tech needs

Who’s coming to Octocon? (part 2)

Since Octocon is online again for a second year, we’re taking advantage of being able to have programme participants who haven’t been able to make it to an Octocon before – from all over the world, too, from Scotland to Australia, and Brazil by way of Italy!

We sincerely hope we’ll be able to welcome them all to a future in-person Octocon too…

Darren Shan

Darren Shan

Darren Shan was born in London but has spent most of his life in Limerick in Ireland, where he lives with his wife and children. He has published 57 books for both children and adults, and has sold over 30 million books worldwide, making bestseller charts in the USA, the UK, Ireland, Hungary, Dubai, Japan, Taiwan and elsewhere. He is currently writing the Archibald Lox fantasy series, of which six books have already been published, with the final three due to see print in 2022.

Website: | Twitter: @darrenshan | Facebook: darrenshanverified

Check out Darren’s own news post about his Octocon appearance.

Aliette de Bodard

Aliette de Bodard
Picture by Aliette de Bodard & Francesca Myman

Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris. She has won three Nebula Awards, a Locus Award, a British Fantasy Award and four British Science Fiction Association Awards. She was a double Hugo finalist for 2019 (Best Series and Best Novella).
Her most recent book is Fireheart Tiger (, a sapphic romantic fantasy inspired by pre colonial Vietnam, where a diplomat princess must decide the fate of her country, and her own. She also wrote Seven of Infinities (Subterranean Press), a space opera where a sentient spaceship and an upright scholar join forces to investigate a murder, and find themselves falling for each other. Other books include Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders, (JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.), a fantasy of manners and murders set in an alternate 19th Century Vietnamese court.
Her space opera books include The Tea Master and the Detective (2018 Nebula Award winner, 2018 British Fantasy Award winner, 2019 Hugo Award finalist). Her short story collection Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight is out from Subterranean Press.

Web: | Twitter: @aliettedb | Instagram: @aliettedb

Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. Her multi-award winning work has been translated into nearly thirty languages, and has been described as “a game-changer” (Shelf Awareness), “stylistically mesmerising” (Publishers Weekly) and “out-of-this-world awesome” (Kirkus). Several of her series are currently in development for film and TV. Raised in Australia and occasionally Ireland, Amie has degrees in history, literature, law and conflict resolution, and is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing. She is the host of the podcast Amie Kaufman on Writing. Amie lives by the sea in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library.

Twitter: @amiekaufman | Instagram: @amiekaufmanauthor

Laura (El) Lam

Laura Lam
Picture by Lawrie Photography

Originally from sunny California, Laura Lam now lives in cloudy Scotland. Lam is a Sunday Times Bestselling author whose work includes the near-future space thriller, Goldilocks, feminist space opera Seven Devils (co-written with Elizabeth May), BBC Radio 2 Book Club section False Hearts, the companion novel Shattered Minds, and the award-winning Micah Grey series: PantomimeShadowplay, and Masquerade. Lam’s short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty WomenSolaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of HistoryScotland in Space, and more. Lam’s romance alter ego is Laura Ambrose. Lam lectures part-time at Edinburgh Napier University on the Creative Writing MA.

Web: | Twitter: @LR_Lam

Fabio Fernandes

Fabio Fernandes

Fabio Fernandes is a Brazilian writer currently based in Italy. He has published several books, among which the novels Os Dias da Peste and Back in the USSR (in Portuguese) and the collection L’Imitatore (in Italian). Also a translator, he is responsible for the translation to
Brazilian Portuguese of several SF novels, including Neuromancer and A Clockwork Orange. His short stories have been published online in Brazil, Portugal, Romania, the UK, New Zealand, and USA, and also in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, The Apex Book of World SF, Vol 2, Stories for Chip. Co-edited (with Djibril al-Ayad) the postcon anthology We See a Different Frontier, and, with Francesco Verso, the anthology Solarpunk – Come ho imparato ad amare il futuro (How I learned to love the future). Graduate of Clarion West, class of 2013. Formerly slush reader for Hugo Award-winner Clarkesworld Magazine. His first book in English, the collection Love. An Archaeology, was published in March by Luna Press Publishing. A steampunk novella, Under Pressure, will be published by NewCon Press later this year, and a weird SF novel, Love Will Tear Us Apart (in Portuguese) will be published by Uboro Lopes Editora in 2022.

Twitter: @fabiofernandes

Francesco Verso

Francesco Verso

Francesco Verso is a multiple-award Science Fiction writer and editor.
He has published: Antidoti umanie-DollNexhumanBloodbusters and I camminatori (made of The Pulldogs and No/Mad/Land).  Nexhuman and Bloodbusters – translated in English by Sally McCorry – have been published in the US by Apex Books, in the UK by Luna press and in China by Bofeng. He also works as editor of Future Fiction, a multicultural project, dedicated to scouting and publishing the best SF in translation from the World, from more than 30 countries and 11 languages with authors like Ian McDonald, Ken Liu, Liu Cixin, Vandana Singh, Xia Jia, Carme Torras, Olivier Paquet and others.& From 2019 he’s the Honorary Director of the Fishing Fortress SF Academy of Chongqing (China). In 2020 he co-organized the FutureCon, an online convention with more than 65 guests coming from 20 different countries.

Twitter: @Francesco_Verso

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Who’s coming to Octocon? (part 1)

Octo has been hard at work on social media, announcing some of the wonderful writers, artists and creatives who will be appearing at Octocon this year!

We’re particularly delighted to welcome back some of our previous Guests of Honour.

Kim Newman (GoH 1995)

Kim Newman is a movie critic, author and broadcaster.  He is a contributing editor to Sight & Sound and Empire magazines.  His books about film include Nightmare Movies, Millennium MoviesKim Newman’s Video Dungeon and BFI Classics studies of Cat PeopleDoctor Who and Quatermass and the Pit.  His fiction includes the Anno Dracula series, Life’s LotteryProfessor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’UrbervillesAn English Ghost StoryThe Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School and Angels of Music.  His comics include Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland and Anno Dracula Seven Days in Mayhem.  As ‘Jack Yeovil’, he wrote the Vampire Genevieve and Dark Future novels for Games Workshop.  His next novel is Something More Than Night (Titan Books).  He has written for television (Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema), radio (Afternoon Theatre: Cry-Babies) and the theatre (The Hallowe’en Sessions), and directed a tiny film (Missing Girl). 

Web: | Twitter: @AnnoDracula

Maura McHugh (GoH 2015)

Maura McHugh

Maura McHugh lives in Galway and has written three collections: Twisted Fairy Tales and Twisted Myths – published in the USA – and The Boughs Withered (When I Told Them My Dreams) from NewCon Press in England (which was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection). Her science fiction rom-com radio play, The Love of Small Appliances, broadcast in June 2019, is available online. She’s written comic books for Dark Horse, IDW, and 2000 AD, and her monograph about David Lynch’s iconic film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Non Fiction. She walks and dreams in the woods often.

Twitter: @splinister | Instagram: @splinister

Dan Abnett (GoH 2017)

Dan Abnett

Dan Abnett is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning comic book writer. He has written over fifty novels, including the acclaimed Gaunt’s Ghosts series, the Inquisitor Eisenhorn Cycle, and volumes of the million-selling Horus Heresy series. His many other novels include The Silent Stars Go By (Doctor Who), Rocket Raccoon and Groot: Steal the Galaxy, Triumff, and Embedded. In comics, his 2008 run on The Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel formed the inspiration for the blockbuster movies. He is also noted for significant work on DC’s Legion of Superheroes and Aquaman and, for the Vertigo imprint, The New Deadwardians. A regular contributor to the UK’s long-running 2000AD, he is the creator of series including Brink, Grey Area, Feral and Foe, Lawless, Kingdom and the classic Sinister Dexter. He has also written extensively for the games industry, including Shadow of Mordor and Alien:Isolation. Dan lives and works in Maidstone, Kent, in the UK.

Nik Vincent-Abnett (GoH 2017)

Nik Vincent-Abnett

Nik Vincent-Abnett began working as a freelance editor, but has published work in a number of mediums, including advertising, training manuals, comics and short stories. She has worked as a ghost writer, and has collaborated with her partner, Dan Abnett, writing novels, and in the games industry. Nik’s latest solo, independent novel, The Wipe, was published by NewCon Press in the spring. She lives and works in Maidstone, Kent, where she cooks and decorates, and throws pots.

Michael Carroll (GoH 2020 & 2022)

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll is the author of over forty books, including the award-winning New Heroes series of Young Adult superhero novels and the #1 Amazon best-selling cult graphic novel Judge Dredd: Every Empire Falls. He currently writes Judge Dredd, Proteus Vex, Mayflies and Dreadnoughts for 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. Other works include Jennifer Blood for Dynamite Entertainment, Razorjack for Titan Books (co-written with artist John Higgins), and the Rico Dredd trilogy for Abaddon Books, for whom he has also created the acclaimed Judges series.

Check out his website at and/or his acclaimed comics blog Rusty Staples at

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Octocon Presents: Turning Roads – an Irish Folklore Comics Anthology

Octocon is delighted to announce that our August Octocon Presents will focus on the recent successful Kickstarter of the comics anthology Turning Roads, on Wednesday August 25th at 8pm (UTC+1).

Many Irish myths and legends have been retold through the lens of science fiction and fantasy, and this year’s successfully Kickstarted comics anthology, Turning Roads, brought together writers and artists from all over Ireland and beyond to add their own modern perspectives. What decisions did its creators make when selecting their stories and styles, and how did they choose their collaborators?

Watch live on our Twitch channel OctoconIRL.

Meet our panel

Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer and comic creator from Dublin. His work primarily focuses on the extraordinary, be that through magic, science or just downright chaotic. He is a founding member of both Limit Break Comics and Cupán Fae, Dublin-based creative groups.
His obsessions include tea, foxes and spreadsheets.

Web: | Twitter: @writeranonymous | Instagram: pcarrollwriter | Facebook: paulcarrollwriter

Clare Foley

Clare Foley

Clare Foley is a Dublin-based illustrator and comic creator, using traditional watercolour techniques and hand lettering. She released her first comic, ‘La Grande Breteche’ in 2016, followed by ‘Frozen Waste’ (written by Aaron Fever) in 2017, and the ‘Blood Runs Cold’ anthology in 2018 (featuring stories written by Paul Carroll, Gary Moloney, JP Jordan, PJ Holden, and lettered by Paul Carroll, Kevin Keane and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou).
She has worked on a number of collaborative projects including with Linen Hall Library & PRONI, and Alliance Francaise. She is a member of Rogue Comics Ireland, and a founding member of

Web: | Twitter: @clarefoleyart | Instagram: clare.foley93 | Etsy: ClareFoleyArtist

Leeann Hamilton

Leeann Hamilton

A freelance artist and illustrator of your ideas.

Twitter: @peannlui | Instagram: peannlui | Youtube: peannlui

Gary Moloney

Gary Moloney

Gary Moloney is a lawyer by day and vigilante writer by night from Cork, Ireland, known mainly for his work in comics. His debut anthology, Mixtape, was named Best Irish Anthology by ICN in 2018. He enjoys windsurfing and arguing with Chaz, his aging King Charles Spaniel.

Twitter: @m_gearoid

Catherine Sharp (moderator)

Technical writer by day, fiction writer by night, and always a passionate lover of SF and fantasy (and cake, caffeine and kittens), Catherine’s first Octocon was in 2012. In 2013 she offered herself up on the Octocon altar of volunteering and moderation, and hasn’t looked back. She’s much less terrified this year to be in charge of programme for the second online Octocon.

Twitter: @CSharpWords

Octocon Presents: Bag of Tropes – Writing for Tabletop RPGs

As part of our Octocon Presents series of events in the run-up to our virtual event in October, we’re proud to present Bag of Tropes – Writing for Tabletop RPGs, on Wednesday July 28th at 8pm (UTC+1).

Roleplaying games provided comfort, escapism and social contact for many of us during the pandemic – if we couldn’t party together in person, then at least we could carouse virtually across a landscape built from imagination. But who crafts the signposts and the places they point to and how do they create the mechanics that keep the system rolling?

Watch live on our Twitch channel OctoconIRL.

Roleplaying Octo
Octo really likes to get into character when they’re roleplaying!

Meet our panel

Gareth Hanrahan

Gareth Hanrahan

Gareth Hanrahan’s a writer and game designer based in Cork. He’s written more gaming books than he can readily recall, by virtue of the alchemical transformation of tea and guilt into words.
Web: | Twitter: @mytholder

Elaine Lithgow

Elaine Lithgow

Elaine Lithgow is a Line Developer at Cubicle 7, currently working on the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer: 40,000 tabletop roleplaying licences from Games Workshop. She studied Games Design and Production management at university, and has since worked on video games, board games and now tabletop games. She loves writing epic adventures with larger than life characters, as well as the odd foray into the murky waters of grimdark and horror. When she isn’t writing, she can be found delving into digital dungeons or consuming fiction at a frankly alarming rate, all in the name of ‘research’.
Facebook: Cubicle7Entertainment | Twitter: @cubicle7 | Instagram: cubicle7

Paddy Finn

Paddy Finn

Paddy Finn is a writer and founder of Penny Dragon Games, an imprint of Starcane Press. He and his team publish a small mountain of TTRPG content but are probably best known for Mag of Holding, a quarterly supplement for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. When not writing or running games, Paddy can be found at the nearest caffeine dispensary or hanging out with fellow gamers in the growing Penny Dragon Games Discord community.

Gerry Mc Evoy

Gerry Mc Evoy

Gerry Mc Evoy is a National Game Writer Award Winner and the European admin for the Vintage Role Playing Games group (not OSR affiliated), and runs the Irish conventions listing site, He also writes Sci-fi and Fantasy, runs a near daily Interactive Fiction game on Twitter (@legendgerry) and is a former world martial arts champion. He’s the sort of guy who reads the Mountains of Madness campaign, thinks what this needs is the cast of Muppets Treasure Island and then actually writes it. (Best Scenario Warpcon 2020)
The funny part about this bio is people are going to chide him about the other things he does that he’s neglected to mention.

Janet O’Sullivan (moderator)

Janet O'Sullivan

Janet read much too much, much too young and never stopped. She has been involved with running gamer and SciFi events for over a decade, as they are a way to bring joy to her communities. When she is not doing that, she works as a communications expert and is a human rights activist.
Twitter: @sharrow_irl