Hey guys!

First of all, thank you to everyone who bought the book at NYCC! We went to our first book signing with zero expectations and it was amazing. Thank you so much.

And if you weren’t able to make it to the show, I’m  happy to announce that you can now pre-order PURE STEELE from the Blind Ferret Store!

For what it’s worth, I can tell you that this book is gorgeous. It’s a huge, hardcover tome filled with over 235 full-colour pages of raw, unfiltered adventure and intrigue. Blind Ferret has really outdone themselves and I honestly can’t believe it looks this good. I can assure you that it’s a better way to enjoy PURE STEELE, compared to going over to Ari’s house and having us read it to you from the original binder.

When an aging treasure hunter goes missing in ‘Darkest Africa’, his daughter Eleanor recruits the world’s greatest explorer to hunt him down. Set in 1910, PURE STEELE is the story of a ramshackle expedition into the heart of the Dark Continent, told in its own words. Part satire, part loving homage to pulp adventure, Pure Steele is an illustrated romp that brilliantly captures the spirit of the era with the winking wit of the modern day.

You can pre-order the book HERE and it’ll start shipping in November. We hope you read it and love it.

And for those of you in Montreal, we’ll be hosting the official Pure Steele Launch Party on WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 6TH at the BURGUNDY LION PUB at 7PM!

Kim & Ari

What’s it all about, Steele?

Now that we’ve announced the fact that our book is going to be a real live book, we’d also like to tell you what it’s about. For that reason, we’ve written up a little synopsis:

“Famed explorer Sir Jonathan Pryce is dead. As the nation mourns, Pryce’s daughter Eleanor begins to suspect that there is more to the story than the newspapers tell. When a parcel delivered to her door provides a clue that her father may indeed still live, she wastes no time in mounting her own expedition to track him down. On her newly-assembled team: a fanatical physician, a hopeless cartographer, a disgraced upperclassman and a meticulous accountant tasked with keeping the whole affair under budget. It is a motley crew, but fortunately, Eleanor has also enlisted the aid of James Alexander Steele, the world’s greatest hunter-tracker and a living legend. With no time to spare, the new Pryce Expedition makes for West Africa to pick up Sir Jonathan’s trail. At first, the task seems simple, but it soon becomes clear that the path ahead leads into a darkness and danger none of them could have foreseen.

From lies to theft to cold-blooded murder, more and more of Sir Jonatan’s secrets are uncovered and the members of the Pryce Expedition find themselves on an unlikely adventure. Told by the men and the woman who were there, Pure Steele is a tale of grand deception, ancient treasure, rampaging elephants and unpalatable French poetry.”

Pure Steele features art by Karl Kerschl, Stephen Morrow, Glenn Belair, Benjamin Dewey, Brian Patterson and Sanjulian and was written and designed by Kim Belair and Ariadne MacGillivray. It’s ultra-sweet, pretty interesting, generally quite funny and also the poems are the best.

Jim Steele by Ted McKeever

At the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, friend-of-Steele and early adopter Ted McKeever christened the Steele sketchbook with a truly awesome and pretty brutal rendering of the hero. You might know Ted’s work from the Elseworlds Titles Superman’s Metropolis, Batman: Nosferatu and Wonder Woman: The Blue Amazon, Image’s Meta 4 or Fox Atomics’ The Nightmare Factory and now you can add this fantastic picture to your mental Rolodex.

Thanks, Ted!

Kim & Ari

Chapter Two – Part One

As we prepare to enter a new year, we’re pleased to be able to throw some new pages up on the blog! With Chapter One already up, you can now enjoy the first part of Chapter Two, in which we learn a little more about our heroes, encounter an emotional French poet and hear the terrifying tale of the Kuakuvi crocodile! Stay tuned!

Flemyng only requires one to two hours of sleep a night and needs to keep moving to live, like a shark.

So many questions! Will they be answered? I hope so or we will have many angry readers!

James Steele by Dean Trippe

Once more, we can proudly showcase another rendering of everyone’s favourite literary hero (Soon). This one was drawn at SDCC 2010 by the wonderful Dean Trippe, whose work includes the delightful web-comic Butterfly and Oni’s Power Lunch. Surely though, it is his role as co-creator of the awesome Project:Rooftop to which we can attribute the unique look Steele is sporting here.

Shirtless as always.

Thanks Dean, for the ever-handsome Steele!

Kim & Ari

“James Steele” by Karl Kerschl

As writers, we consider ourselves super lucky to  be able to collaborate with some great artists and collaborators on “Pure Steele”. Everyone we’ve worked with from concept to creation has been awesome and we’re proud to have such talented people on our side–rather than working against us to create some kind of crushing rival book that would render ours unimpressive and obsolete.

The Charles-Christopher-creating, Eisner-Award-winning, Karl Kerschl  provides a number of the book’s main illustrations, standing in for Dr. Henry Flemyng’s eager reproductions of the expedition’s most thrilling moments. Before starting work on the illustrations, though, Karl produced this awesome first sketch of James Steele himself. It’s the dreamiest.

Mmmm! That's good Steele.

You’re welcome.

Next up: The final pages of our Chapter One preview!

Chapter One – Part Five


Rolling along, here are our first, quick introductions to each member of the main cast, appearing in chapter one and offering a little hint (or lengthy and specific explanation) as to each one’s personality! Do enjoy!

I was shocked to learn that a sulky race was a real thing. Who knew! Also, the horned daisy is not as cool as it sounds.

I am fairly certain that this is a real quote. It describes the Mapsgoode school of cartography to a T.

Poor Alan, looks like he has seen better times. Fun fact: if given the choice, I would cast Alan Rickman as Alan Smith in the Steele movie.


Man, that Cunningham sounds like a real ass. Thomas has written 12 letters of resignation but always ends up chickening out at the last minute.

Pure Steele: What It Is and How It’s Done


First off, thank you to everyone who checked out the website, talked to Kim at Comic Con or read the pages we’ve posted. Thank you also for the comments, some of which even came from people not related to us! It was the best. After our first little introductory posts with the blog info and the Blackwater story, we thought we might better explain exactly what we’re doing here and how we got started on the project.

Inception : In which Kim and Ari realise that the dream is collapsing.

Pure Steele is a story we’ve wanted to tell for a very long time (6 years). In 2006, Kim created James Alexander Steele III as a character for whom she would write jokey anecdotes and then Flemyng as his ever-present biographer.  “Pure Steele” was to be Flemyng’s triumphant catchphrase, uttered whenever he witnessed some feat of excellence performed by Steele. For his part, Steele was a boorish, brutish hunter whose talent for sharpshooting was rivalled only by his talent for getting hopelessly lost in the middle of the Dark Continent. This incarnation of Steele became the subject of a few brief, comedic vignettes posted to a Livejournal community which was promptly abandoned due to clashing schedules of all participants and Ari’s marked disinterest.

Reincarnation : In which Ari and Kim discover that video killed the radio star.

By 2010, Steele was long gone but never forgotten. One day in January, Kim, who had become enamoured of a BBC Radio adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Dr. No, met up with Ari for coffee between classes and pitched the idea of writing a radio drama. We reached back into our creative repertoire and recalled Steele, which would be an easy translation since we already had vague outlinea and fully-formed characters to work with. We wrote furiously. In one lengthy session at the corner coffee shop, we hashed out complete story outlines, some lines of dialogue and a new take on some of the ideas we had already had. It took approximately a week for us to realise that we knew no British voice actors or voice actors at all, had no access to recording equipment and otherwise had no idea how to create a radio drama.

Over brunch, Kim suggested that we could shorten the length of the radio play and fill in the holes with a companion book, which would save us time and money when it came to hiring that all-star cast and booking a recording booth. Besides being a ridiculous idea that makes no sense, the “companion book” was quickly recognised as having worlds more potential than our cobbled-together Steele radio hour. The next hurdle was how we wanted to create the book. We wanted to make something different, something fun and visually-oriented, but knew that neither of us had the artistic talent to create a  comic or graphic novel. Thus, Ari’s delightful use of an old-timey radio announcer voice was translated into newspaper articles, the character voices became their personal journal entries and the impossible audiobook became a full-colour scrapbook.

Reinvention  – In which Ari and Kim are not graphic designers.

The scrapbook plan came together quickly. It would be a collection of journal entries, newspaper clippings and various other ephemera on period backdrops, a glorious combination of Edwardian aesthetic and graphic design. Lamentably, we soon discovered that both of us had counted on the other having some kind of skill with Photoshop or any other image editing software whatsoever. It was not our finest hour. Undaunted, however, we decided that we would carry out our vision despite our personal failings and elected to create the scrapbook novel we wanted entirely by hand. How hard could it be?

Super hard. The answer was ‘super hard’. But somewhere between dipping fake newspaper articles in tea baths, drafting Victorian-style posters without the use of layers and painstakingly trimming the edges of a printed-out 1909 stamp, we discovered that it was also super fun. We wrote and rewrote the plot and it went from an all-out comedy to a more focused adventure, with elements of humour still remaining but joined by drama, mystery and a bit of romance. Steele went from lovable idiot to dashing hero, Eleanor Pryce from beautiful plot device to bold, independent leading lady and the sycophantic biographer, Dr. Flemyng, remained exactly the same.

The Final Draft – In which Kim and Ari get by with a little help from their friends.

Once it was all written and we began the process of putting it together, we realised that we were still missing something: renderings of the characters. Short of an open casting call for actors and models who resembled a group of people who only existed in our heads, followed by the ageing of their staged photographs (ostensibly by hand and tea baths), we were left with nothing… Except a pool of extremely talented and awesome friends and family.

Kelly Tindall – Concept artist (and the first person to put Steele to paper)

Karl Kerschl – Reluctant Flemyng surrogate, the man behind the doctor’s sketches

Sanjulian – The mysterious and world-renowned cover artist

Stephen Morrow – Up-and-coming comic book artist and provider of character headshots

Glenn Belair – Kim’s Dad and the purveyor of our editiorial sketches

Michael “Atters” Attree - Lovable cad, incorrigible bounder and Steele detractor

Together, we think (hope) we’ve created something awesome.  From here on out, we’ll be updating regularly on Tuesdays and Fridays with Steele content and occasionally tedious minutiae leading up to the book’s 2012 release. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy the blog as it develops.

Kim & Ari