2016 Annus Horribilis

The Queen called 1992 her Annus Horribilis. Among the things that challenged her that year were the divorces of two of her children, Andrew and Anne. More memorable is the revelation of Charles’ affair with Camilla which led to the split from Diana. Also that was the year that Windsor Castle was hit by fire.

My Annus Horribilis happily sees both my children still with their respective partners. I’ve not had any houses burn down.

However 2016 hasn’t been a good year for me.

Each year I do a review of what has gone by in the previous 12 months on the blog.

This year that’s not a great deal and in part I’ll explain why.

January started as usual with me reviewing comics and Graphic Novels from 2000AD, IDW and Small Press. I reviewed and brought news about Wildlife and Royal Armouries.

February was a quiet month for the blog but it all returned to normal in March.

March saw the publication of my first ever Comic story, Where is Gronk. This was published in issue 31 of Dogbreath with art by Nigel Dobbyn. This kind of bucks the trend for 2016 being my Annus Horribilis, though to be fair we’ve not really reached the bad stuff yet.

April saw only one article. This was due to my Mental Health, I was struggling. I don’t mention it often but I have Anxiety and Depression. I’ve done a few articles about it and I’m honest and open about how it affects me.


In May I was under a lot of stress and for a week I ate nothing, I had periods of delerium and severe shakes. I thought I was undergoing a MH Crisis. I attended a local MH Hospital and they agreed I was in Crisis.

A week later I attended my GP’s surgery with a toilet related issue. I was tested there and then. I showed infections and Diabetes, I was previously undiagnosed for Diabetes.

I ended up in Hospital. It hadn’t been a MH Crisis. I had Sepsis, this led to multiple infections culminating in Fourniers Gangrene. You can read more about my illness in another article. Simply put I almost died and needed an operation to prevent certain death, I was given 2 days as an estimate of life expectancy before the operation.

May is when Lawgiver falls and I was too Ill to attend. Lawgiver is a Judge Dredd convention and I help run it, including being a Moderator for the panels where Writers and Artists that work on Judge Dredd discuss their work.

I was devastated. This is one if the highlights of the year for me. I also felt I was letting down the organisers. Not to mention I almost died.

I was in hospital 8 weeks and I’m still awaiting another operation. This time a routine operation thankfully. Complications included an infection on my heart called Infectious Endocarditis, potentially fatal if you have weak heart but mine is pretty robust.

I also missed a much anticipated talk at Royal Armouries about the Staffoirdshire Hoard. I did however get to see the collection when I was out if hospital.

I was out of Hospital in July and convalesced at home; returning to work in September. I’d lost 2.5 stone of muscle through the Sepsis and had undergone major surgery, recovery was tough and in truth I’m still recovering.

August brought the sudden death of one if my cats, Cadbury. He was born in to this family, his mother gave birth under my wardrobe. He was 15 so not young but he seemed healthy and died suddenly. He’s survived by his sister from the same litter, Patch.

Only today another pet died, Ziva the Leopard Gecko. Again a shock.

In October I was 49. I don’t make a fuss about my birthday, usually saying “all I did this year was not die”. This year that took more effort than usual.

November brought Thought Bubble. This is the biggest Comic Con in the UK, other conventions may be bigger but they also focus on Film and TV. Thought Bubble’s main focus is comics having grown out of a fringe part of the Leeds International Film Festival.

As ever at Thought Bubble I had a great time meeting up with old friends and chatting to Comic Creators. I usually have a free Reviews Booklet to hand out highlighting Creators that are at the Convention that I have reviewed in the previous 12 months. Given how quiet the Blog has been I couldn’t find it in me to do the booklet. I missed going round asking those I’ve reviewed to autograph my review of them (I do get the odd funny look).

I hope to review some of the comics I picked up over that weekend.

One of the best parts of Thought Bubble weekend was a private Screening of Search Destroy, a fan film from the same team that brought us the cult hit Judge Minty. This time the character in question is Strontium Dog, created by Judge Dredd creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.  I am planning a Spoiler Free review of this film.

I’ve hardly written anything on or off the Blog during my illness and recovery. I miss it and intend to write more often.

So 2017 can only be better for me personally and hopefully for this blog.

What I haven’t mentioned is what most people think about 2016. So many people that I never met though they’ve affected my life have died this year. Not all were world famous. I dedicate this article to W R Logan, I think some reading this will know who he was. I never met him but he very definitely affected the reason I run this blog.


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