downthetubes is undergoing some main site refurbishment...
The downthetubes news blog was assimilated into our main site back in 2013, but we're glad you're here, because that's currently undergoing some under the bonnet refurb! So we've brought this blog back from the dead to tide us over.
We expect to be back up and running next week, just before the 2017 Lakes International Comic Art Festival - see you there?
Hop over to www.downthetubes.net for other British comics news, comic creating guides, interviews and much more!
Friday, 6 February 2009
• Comics writer Tony Lee is in New York along with many British creators, with the New York Comic Con taking place this weekend. Aside from reeling at the cost of using his iPhone, the run up to the event has been a mix of business and pleasure: expect more bulletins on this massive event through the weekend on his blog.
• Andy Diggle is another British creator in New York, with several signings lined up during the weelend, as is Grant Morrison, who is one of several Guests of Honour, and Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Dan Abnett, Dave Elliott, James Robinson and many others. Guest of Honour and Thor writer J. Michael Straczynski (who is not British, but freeely admits to being influenced by British TV shows) had to cancel his appearance due to his nomination for a BAFTA Award, so he's actually in London... Click here for more about JMS’s cancellation.
• Rufus Dayglo, is, as far as we know, not in New York, but is posting some fab new Tank Girl images on his blog.
• Frank Quitely, who is just one of many guests at next weekend’s HI-Ex 2 Comic Convention at Eden Court, Inverness, has just been interviewed by the Highland News, talking about his work on Electric Soup and The X-Men. "I’ve never been desperately into the whole superhero thing," he reveals. "It’s always been more about the quality of the story for me, so if people like Alan Moore or Grant were writing it, I would pick it up. But with the X Men, they wear these dayglo spandex jumpsuits with huge Xs on them. And I tried to argue with Grant that if I had superpowers, the last thing I would want would be to have to go out in a garish costume as well! But Grant said if he had superpowers, he’d want to wear an outrageous costume to show them off!” Read the inteview in full here
• The thought-provoking documentary about 2000AD artist Johnny Hicklenton, Here's Johnny, about his battle with multiple sclerosis, will air at 10.00pm on More4 on Thursday 17th February. As we reported early last year, previously renowned for his work in Judge Dredd and 2000AD, Johnny now lives in an increasing state of immobility and frustration. He escapes the confines of his front room by drawing, and through the expression of his brilliant, and sometimes troubled, imagination we learn about the disease that he is forced to co exist with. For Johnny, to draw is to live.
London's small press creators have started a weekly event to do what they do best: "Draw sketches and get drunk."
While London Underground Comics is busy preparing its mysterious 176 project, the stall members who have done much to reignite small press comics activity in the Capital have organised a weekly get together at the Crown pub in New Oxford Street (quite close to Forbidden Planet London, Gosh and other comics stores), with the first event on Monday 9 February, starting at 6.00pm. For the latest info, check out their Facebook page
• Talking of Oli Smith, LUC's master of ceremonies has uploaded Fag Break with Daniel Radcliffe, a four page mini comic on his website: theolismith.com
Thursday, 5 February 2009
The line up for the 16 page supplement will feature nine comic strips – eight of which are completely brand new and original, whilst one, WereWilf, is a resurrected character from Egmont’s past given a modern day makeover.
The line up is:
Count Von Poo
By Jamie Smart (writer/artist)
Jamie is of course, perhaps best known for his 10-issue comic Bear and My Own Genie in The Dabdy.
By Luke Paton (writer) and Laura Howell (artist)
Luke is the creator of the web comic, The Adventures of Kez and Luke, while Laura is of course a firm favourite with TOXIC readers as the artist on Robin Hoodie for the title, and also draws Ratz for The Beano and strips for The DFC.
Spooks In Space
By Paul H Birch (writer) and Steve Harrison (artist)
Paul's the brains behind the Birmingham Mail's Speech Balloons blog, delivering the latest word on comics in the Midlands
By John Freeman (writer) and Paul J Palmer (artist)
As well as drawing strips for TOXIC and other comics, Paul also drew The Underversity, a six part story featuring characters from The Really Heavy Greatcoat.
By David Hailwood (writer) and Paul Harrison-Davies (artist)
By Paul H Birch & Shane Oakley (writers) and John Erasmus (artist)
Shane has worked on and off in the comics industry, writing and drawing for some of the big guys, and some of the microscopic. John Erasmus credits include Desperate Dan, Accident Man (for the original Toxic comic), Dervish Ropey in the Amazon, and much, much more.
WereWilf first appeared March 1976, one of three strips introduced to Whoopee! to mark the comic's second birthday. (The others were Smiler and Gook the TV Spook).
By Lew Stringer (writer/artist)
Lew should need no introduction to any British comics fan -- his credits include Combat Colin, Brickman and more.
By John Freeman (writer) and Paul Harrison-Davies (artist)
By Luke Paton (writer) and Stuart Arrowsmith (artist)
Stuart is a full-time Designer and Illustrator, producing work ranging from panel cartoons to natural history pieces for commercial use.
The supplement will come with issue 137 of TOXIC, on sale 1 April for three weeks. Readers will be asked to vote online for their favourite comic strip and the winner will potentially get a full-time slot in the magazine.
• Dickon Harris presents a trio of interviews recorded at last autumn's Comica festival in London at the ICA on Resonance FM (London) today, talking to the winner - Julian Hanshaw - and runner-up - Isabel Greenberg - of 2008's Observer / Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story competition, which attracted some 240 entries. Julian won the second annual contest with his haunting seaside tale Sand Dunes & Sonic Booms, which you can read online on The Observer web site. He'll also be talking to Tim Pilcher about his books on Erotic Comics. The show is broadcast at 5.00pm, repeated on Sunday (8th) at 11.30pm and streamed at www.resonancefm.com and podcast at www.panelborders.wordpress.com.
Also on air tonight, at 10.30pm Alex Fitch talks to director Julien Temple about his film of The Eternity Man, the modern opera by Dorothy Porter and Jonathan Mills. The film tells the true story of Arthur Stace who wandered the streets of Sydney for two generations, writing the word "Eternity" in chalk on a myriad of surfaces and Temple's film vividly brings to life this modern avatar of the Wandering Jew. Alex and Julien also talk about the director's other work, from Absolute Beginners to Pandaemonium and notions of combining fact and fiction on screen.
• Over on the Birmingham Mail's web site, Paul Birch has published a shortt interview with Duncan Fegredo in his latest Speech Balloons column. Fegredo talks about his current work on US title Hellboy, speaking enthusiastically of his creative relationship with its creator, Mike Mignola.
"As both a fan of Mike's work and a professional artist I couldn't be happier," he says. "I hesitate to gush overly as it'd embarrass Mike! I get to play in Hellboy's rich and textured world and even to expand it to areas we haven't visited yet, meet old friends and enemies, and make new ones too. As a fan that's exciting, as a pro it's enriching."
• For more information on Duncan Fegredo visit: www.fegredo.com and www.cafepress.com/fegredo and to purchase original art by Duncan Fegredo visit: www.splashpageart.com For more information on Hellboy visit: www.Hellboy.com
• Forbidden Planet International reports that many of the prize pieces from the extraordinary collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror memorabilia, props, books and collectables of the late, great Forrest J Ackerman will be auctioned off during April. Hollywood specialists Profiles in History will be handling the sale.
Artist Rob Davis, whose work includes Doctor Who and who's one of the contributors to the ongoing webjam Huzzah! has posted some intriguing pages from a planned Star Wars comic for the UK that had only limited distribution.
"Doing Huzzah! has reminded me of my last foray into Space Opera," he notes on his blog, "when I produced four issues of Jedi Academy for Lucasfilms and Deagostini a few years back.
"It was aimed at the kiddies (the younglings!?!?) and followed the jolly japes of four padwans as they go through their Jedi training."
This title should not be confused with the four-issue Star Wars: Jedi Academy series published by Dark Horse in 1998, written by Kevin J. Anderson.
Davis reveals the comic had limited distribution as a test but didn't materialize into a widely pubished title. Part work publisher Deagostini went on to produce the Official Star Wars Fact File.
• View more pages and designs on Rob's blog
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Photo courtesy of Richard of Handmade & Bound @ Alternative Press Fair. More of Richard's pics here
Masterminded by the event's organisers Jimi Gherkin and Peter Lally, who are also planning a further APF event later in 2009, deadlines, themes and specifications of the book will be issued shortly.
"We hope that you had fun at the fair," say the pair in a posting to the APF web blog. "Maybe you've seen something that inspires you to create your own alternative media; to draw a comic, produce a zine, or to write a book or some poetry - anything’s possible. Perhaps you’ve simply enjoyed what people are doing and are interested in seeing more.
"...This is why the world of small press publishing is so important," they continue. "There is the freedom to express, without having to serve others. We organised this event in order to show what is going on in the world of small press publishing and for people to meet and exchange ideas.
"To present people's work in another way, we are putting together an Alternative Press Anthology book. This will showcase the talents of small press creators and introduce people to what the scene has to offer. Please get in touch with us if you would be interested in being a part of this. We would like as wide a variety of work as possible, and to cover areas such as perzines, comics, art books, poetry pamphlets and radical literature – anything that’s out there really."
The APF team aim to a book that will do justice "to what we believe is a great scene and you too will need to do the same... The point is that we really show the best of the small press so get your pens and pencils out, your glue and glitter and let's show people what we're made of!"
• For more details and latest info on APF events and projects, visit comicsandzines.wordpress.com
• Collective Memory of London's Alternative Press Fair over at Bugpowder: a list of reports from around the Web
• View pictures from the APF event on Flickr
• David O'Connell
"..."Organizer Jimi Gherkin and team had put a lot of effort in the publicity of the event and it certainly paid off, as from door-opening until the end of the day the place was chock-a-block with punters..."
• Sarah McIntyre
"I had my own stall! This was a first for me and very exciting. And it couldn't have been a friendlier place; thanks to the huge publicity campaign..."
• Tom Hughes
"I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the people who purchased some of my comics!"
TOXIC is now edited by former Assistant Editor Andrew Davidson, with Staff Writer Luke Paton putting together the supplement now that Senior Editor Matt Yeo (also the brains behind Bulletproof Comics) has left Egmont to form his own company, SkyJack Publishing.
Issue #132, the latest issue of TOXIC, on sale now, is a Bakugan special and includes two free Doctor Who Rollers as giveaways along with a TOXIC mouse mat and a wicked whoopie cushion! Ah, aren't free gifts great!
• (via Joe Gordon at Forbidden Planet International): Wim Lockefeer has posted several reports on this year's Angouleme BD Festival via the FPI web site (Day 1 Here; Day 2 Here, with more to come) and photos on Flickr from this major event celebrating comics on a grand scale. From past experience, the whole town of Angouleme is literally taken over by comics. Je ne suis pas jalouse. Nope, we're not jealous we're not there at all. Honest… Here's one of his pics, of Judge Dredd -- "Je suis la loi!!”, who graces the outside of the town's CIBDI comics centre, which has panels decorated by comics artists.
• (with thanks to Matthew Badham): The Guardian has just published its list of science fiction and fantasy books you must read as part of a 1000-title list of books "you must read". Part One includes Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Stephen Baxter's The Time Ships and Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Part Two features Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, China Miéville's The Scar and Larry Niven's Ringworld; and Part Three rounds off the suggestions with titles such as Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids.
While there are some modern day titles in the list, such as Neil Gaiman, Miéville, Reynolds and Dan Simmons, for example, there are some unforgiveable omissions: Terry Pratchett and the brilliant Charles Stross, to name but a few...
• Strip: The Art of Ken Reid is the focus of Alex Fitch's latest Podcats on Panel Borders, broadcast last week on Resonance 104.4FM London. The last of a quartet of shows about four generations of British Cartoonists, Alex talks to writers Alan Moore and Pat Mills about their favourite cartoonist, the late Ken Reid who drew Rodger the Dodger in the 1950s Beano and a variety of underrated strips in children's comics such as Wham! and Whoopee! including the creepy classics Faceache and Frankie Stein, up to the 1980s...
• Drawn! A graphic art exhibition is running daily until Sunday 8th February 2009 at Brent Museum, London. Cartoonists, illustrators, students and designers have expressed and interpreted themselves and their view of 'graphic art' in the Museum's latest exhibition and you're invited to test your own understanding of the term and be prepared to draw your own conclusions! The exhibition features finished work – comics and large print illustrations, sketchbooks and biographies from Marc Ellerby, Antonia Hazlerigg, Drew Hussey, Jenika Ioffreda, Meiko Kikuta, Elena Sainz, Adrian Stapleton ... and also features a couple of little-known Hergé illustrations. More info at www.brent.gov.uk/museum
• London comic shop Orbital has relocated to 8 Great Newport Street, WC2H 7JF (previously the Photographer's Gallery). Orbital appropriately now also have an exhibition space, which opened with a selection of new art pages by Tom Humberstone from the latest issue of his Eagle award winning title: How to Date a Girl in Ten Days.
• Luther Arkwright creator Bryan Talbot has been busy updating his MySpace page with a sparky new look, with a revamp of his official site in the works. "It's been going for over 12 years now and is looking a little dated," he notes.
• Jason Nitti has been busy with his fun blog SuperUseless Superpowers. Great fun and some smart art: I like "PreMOMnition" (The power to see what your mother is doing at all times) and "Psychic Amnesia (Mementodamus)" in which the superuseless superhero foresees the future while instantly forgetting anything he has just foreseen. Known in some circles as Untotal Recall...
• Adam Grose has posted the next installment of his new Dragonfly strip on the Clown Press web site
• (via Speech Balloons) Classical Comics will again be exhibiting at the Education Show to be held at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre between 26-27th of March this year. For more information visit: www.education-show.com
• APF Memories - one fan's recollections of the studio's 60s heyday.
• Close Up - is the music the best thing about it?
• Alpha Incident Log - Strange goings on with a jewelled asteroid in Space: 1999...
• The Spirit of Thunderbirds - what the film missed and any new series shouldn't forget.
• The Infernal Machine - Classic episode review: Sentient computer seeks new Companion: apply Box 1999.
• Alec Freeman Character Study - there's more to UFO's Alec than you think.
• Black Sun - classic episode review
• Star Fleet/X-Bomber - the Japanese puppet series with a few things in common with Anderson's series.
• Titan Goes Pop - is this Stingray episode anything to shout about? Like, yeah man!
• Reviews of the Barry Gray Centenary Concert and Doppelganger DVD.
The new issue is available via the website www.andersonic.co.uk - price £2.25 including UK postage and also from eBay or by cheque to R. Farrell, 11 Stevenson Drive, Spital, Wirral, CH63 9AH.
If you're outside the UK please don't forget to add the postage - £0.85 for Europe, £1.25 for USA, NZ and Canada.
Monday, 2 February 2009
With art from newcomer Dan Barritt, The Sisterhood are dedicated to fighting the good fight in His name!
Sinners, it seems, are everywhere, blinded by Satan’s lure. Who else but women of faith, from all the known worlds, can thus help bring salvation to the lost souls of the galaxy?
The Sisterhood can offer comfort and friendship in these difficult times. With cloisters right across the rim, they can provide you with food, warmth, prayer, high density combat training and the satisfaction of doing the lord’s work as their unique HolyGhost Development Programme ensures a recommended dose of the holy spirit each and every day!
"This is our first full-colour book and will be launching at the Bristol Small Press Expo in May," says publisher Steve Tanner.
"We came across Dan's work at the 2007 Thought Bubble convention in Leeds," he continues. "We loved Dan’s manga-esque style and his stunning panoramic battlescapes and andwe're delighted to be able to showcase his work... We can safely say that the Dan is one up and coming British comics creator to keep an eye on."
• More about The Sisterhood on the TimeBomb Comics web site
• Dan Barritt's official web site
Founded back in 1993, Scrye is the longest running periodical reporting on the collectible game market. As with other niche magazines that have folded of late, the rising cost of producing the magazine along with declining subscriber and advertising bases cited as reasons by current Scrye editor Joyce Greenholdt for shutting down the magazine.
Scrye is not the first game-related publication that F&W has shuttered, having closed down the Comics & Games Retailer trade magazine way back in 2007.
ICV2 comments: "the demise of Scrye testifies to continuing softness in the collectible card game market and to the overall effect that the current recession is having on magazines of all types," echoing concerns about the magazine and comics market made elsewhere in the difficult economic times. The title follows other niche titles such as Realms of Fantasy to the Magazine Graveyard, which will also close with its April issue.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
A highlight of the issue must surely be an all-new Dan Dare centrespread by veteran artist Mike Noble, perhaps best known for his work on TV Century 21 and Look-In – his first SF art, we believe, in years.
But that’s not all, because the issue also includes Frank Hampson's original Operation Saturn Dan Dare story outline that's just been rediscovered by his son, Peter Hampson; science fiction author Stephen Baxter has written an article comparing Eagle and TV21; ace downthetubes' contributor Jeremy Briggs has a look at Dan's Anastasia and cutaway king Graham Bleathman tackles the craft's cockpit - a difficult job as the details kept changing in the strip!
Plus, artist Don Harley talks about working with Frank Bellamy; a debate about SF writer Arthur C. Clarke's involvement in the creation of Dan Dare continues; and the magazine lifts the lid on a hidden bit of Dan Dare Red Moon artwork.
As usual, it's a packed issue with plenty to keep Dan Dare and SF comic fans happy!
• To order online visit: http://spaceshipaway.org.uk
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