Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

The HELSREACH Animation

Richard Boylan’s HELSREACH animation started going live in instalments about a month ago, with his artwork set to (laid over?) a heavily edited version of the audiobook. About 5% of every chapter, by my vague estimate.

Watching these a while back prompted me to get in touch with Richard to say how much I loved them, and there’s nothing I can say here that isn’t going to be obvious from watching them yourself. Suffice to say, they’re absolutely incredible. The look of them. The mood. The freaking feel. 

I avoided linking them for a while – in fact, I completely refused to respond to their existence – since I wanted to talk to both Richard and my publisher first, to get the lie of the land. And while I usually can’t abide listening to my own audiobooks or re-reading my own work, these were different enough to not trigger my “I need to get away from this desk” reflex. And, way more importantly and less self-indulgently, they’re also just bloody brilliant.

A personal fave moment, and one that really drives home how Richard’s animation and direction elevates the material way above the source material, is the arrival at Helsreach in Part III. The head tilts, the body language; the sense of weight and emotion from guys in freaking helmets with their faces masked. That moment when Grimaldus is silent in the gunship, with Bastilan answering on his behalf, conveyed everything I wanted to express about his despondent fury and the directionless, guilty discomfort at his exile – and in this it was all done without the main character speaking a word. Just great direction and editing.

Annoyingly humbling… But mostly just awesome.

Part IV is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Anyway, enough talk. Enjoy!

May 4, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Actually haven’t heard of these. Will have to have a look see.

    Comment by Rory | May 4, 2017 | Reply

  2. Well, aren’t they just righteous!

    Comment by djhousley | May 4, 2017 | Reply

  3. Awesome work. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Juan Mieza | May 4, 2017 | Reply

  4. Emperor!!!!!
    These are glorious! Thank you for bringing them to our attention.

    Comment by Ioannis | May 4, 2017 | Reply

  5. They are amazing !

    Comment by bigblackfiend | May 4, 2017 | Reply

  6. First of all, Helsreach is my only novel I’ve ever read from SMB series and I totally loved it. First video gave me serious goosebumps and now I need to get the audiobook. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Morraw | May 5, 2017 | Reply

  7. holy macaroni batman! Goosebumps from watching this.

    Comment by ivonnevanblerk | May 5, 2017 | Reply

  8. […] [Aaron Dembski-Bowden, H/T Alan Vermeer] […]

    Pingback by This Warhammer 40,000 Animated Short Series Is Unbelievably Gorgeous – The Space Out | May 5, 2017 | Reply

  9. Reblogged this on Shaven Wookiee.

    Comment by shavenwookiee | May 5, 2017 | Reply

  10. […] [Aaron Dembski-Bowden, H/T Alan Vermeer] […]

    Pingback by This Warhammer 40,000 Animated Short Series Is Unbelievably Gorgeous | Gizmodo Australia | May 5, 2017 | Reply

  11. Fantastic!

    Comment by David Tab Robertson | May 5, 2017 | Reply

  12. This stuff is amazing and awe inspiring. Some day we’ll see a movie or 3rd person MMO that can show the world how amazing the 40K universe can be. I can’t help but think of Arkhona instead of Armageddon and the WH40K Eternal Crusade video game. What a great lead in these type videos would be for that game.

    Love your work BTW Aaron. Thank you for what you do.

    Comment by Njord | May 5, 2017 | Reply

  13. Wow this us very cool! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Thomas | May 7, 2017 | Reply

  14. The animation made me go back and re-read the book. It was a fine read indeed.

    Comment by Michael Lamendola | May 8, 2017 | Reply

  15. […] Helsreach – Part 1: Prologue – A Warhammer 40k Story […]

    Pingback by Art for May 2017 – Like Barley Bending | May 16, 2017 | Reply

  16. I’m wondering how this animation style was achieved.

    Comment by stefangoedhart | July 24, 2017 | Reply

    • very carefully I imagine 🙂

      Comment by bigblackfiend | July 24, 2017 | Reply

  17. I’ve been watching the series and thus far they are excellent!

    Comment by Kendall Kendrick Jr | December 11, 2017 | Reply

  18. Hi, when can we expect new episode?

    Comment by Bubaa2706 | December 13, 2017 | Reply

    • Why not ask the guy who makes them?

      Comment by maybrick2001 | December 13, 2017 | Reply

  19. I discovered your works after having my mind blown after seeing Richard series on Youtube. Just bought the Hellsreach book on audiobook now and have barely slept since. The voiceacting in the Audiobook is suberb (also recognized that from the series), this was my first direct encounter with the Warhammer universe (other than having heard of it), but now I’m hooked. Will be trailing the store for more 🙂


    Comment by Eirik | May 15, 2018 | Reply

  20. I too (plus many of my peers) had heretically not been formally introduced to your WH40k work until I saw the Boylan animations. After watching them I acquired both the print and audio books post haste, and hope to explore more in the future. It is good to finally see the comments of the author on both the animation and your work. This is truly an example of how non-profit fan content can increase publicity and awareness to both the lore and books, and I am glad it has been done so.

    Comment by Sam | August 4, 2021 | Reply

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