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Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Really Heavy Greatcoat Review of the Year 2011


The Really Heavy Greatcoat by myself and Lancaster-based artist Nick Miller most recently appeared in Comics International, after being publishd for many years in alternative Lancaster titles such as On The Beat and Off the Beat and online on virtual-lancaster.net.

If anyone ever offered to pay us to write it, it might still be running today - but Nick still creates an annual Review of the Year, bless him!

• More by Nick at: http://teamsputnikblog.blogspot.com

• The Really Heavy Greatcoat Archive: www.downthetubes.net/fiction/strips/greatcoat/about.html 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Devil's Heritage joins STRIP Magazine line-up

Here's the cover to Issue 3 of STRIP Magazine, on sale in UK comic shops next month.

The Devil's Heritage is a new strip to the title, by Jerome Felix and Paul Gastine and the comic magazine's first ongoing story from continental creators. The story was first published in France by Bamboo as L'Heriatge du Diable.

A mystery adventure set in 1938, the story opens with Paris-based artist Constant trying to find his lost love, Juliette - only to find a clue in a painting from the seventeenth century. But Constant isn't the only person intrigued by the mystery - the Nazis are very interested, too. Soon the hunt is on to find Juliette - and the key to an ancient secret at Renne-le-Chateau.

"The myth of Rennes-le-Château is one many people are asionate about," says Jerome of the story, which will eventually run over three spearate adventures. "It reminds them of Tintin: there are coded parchments, secret passages, mysterious men... and tragic deaths!"

Also in the issue:

• A special Black Ops Extreme 'flashback' story drawn by Nick (Judge Dredd Megazine) Dyer - whose art on this issue's Strip Challenge entry, Black Dragon, secured him the commission (PJ Holden is back on the regular story in Issue 4)

• Wizard Wex battles a deadly monster in Age of Heroes from James Hudnall and John Ridgway

• Young Mia is drawn deeper into an ancient battle of the gods in Warpaint by Phil Hester and John McCrea

• Can a shark expert put an end to Hook Jaw in our classic strip from Ken Armstrong and Ramon Sola?

• Who is Bogey-Man Bob?

The issue also includes interviews with comic creators Jason Cobley and John Ridgway - and a special retrospective feature on Starlord, 2000AD's short-lived stablemate, the comic that first brought Britain Strontium Dog!

STRIP Magazine Issue 3 is on sale in January 2012. More info at http://stripcomicmagazineuk.blogspot.com and www.printmediaproductions.com

• Read an interview with Jerome Felix and Paul Gastine (in French - Google Translate)

• A promotional trailer for the orginal French version of The Devil's Heritage...




Monday, 26 December 2011

Halo Jones stage play poster

Here's the poster for the new Ballad of Halo Jones play at the Lass O'Gowrie in Manchester which we plugged recently. The art is by Adrian Salmon, who's been a regular contributor to Doctor Who Magazine for many years, and he's posted the original art and its creation process on his blog.


• More info on the Lass, as ever can be found at www.thelass.co.uk and Lassfest at the (soon to be updated) www.lassfest.co.uk

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas - Don't Eat Too Much!

As you sit down to your Christmas dinner, or alternatively are recovering from it, we couldn't resist showing you this illustration of a Christmas meal in Tudor times taken from The Stories Of Our Christmas Customs which was first published by Ladybird in 1964.

If you think the bearded gentlemen serving the boar's head looks a little familiar that is because the artist for this book was Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson and the model he used for the man was his father, Robert 'Pop' Hampson, who was also the basis for Sir Hubert Guest, Controller of Dan Dare's Space Fleet.

I wonder how many Dan Dare fans realised the similarity at the time?

Merry Christmas.

Ladybird Books © Penguin Books Ltd

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Best of the Season to all our Readers!


Unlike the talented comic artists whose work we promote here, I can't draw for toffee, so I hope you don't mind this adaptation of a piece of art by the great pulp magazine artist Virgil Finlay.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - although we'll probably be posting more stories between now and the start of 2012!

With the launch of The Phoenix in January, 2000AD's 35th Birthday in February and the continuing strength of the UK indie press, it's not all doom and gloom out there, no matter what the mainstream media would have us believe.

Our thanks to everyone who sent us stories - publishers, individual creators and others - and the very best of luck in your comic endeavours next year.

More eCards sent to the DTT team here on my virtual fireplace on Flickr

Austerity Reviews of the Year

It is that time of the year when bloggers think of their favourite books, comics and magazines of the year. However since there can be a lot of overlap in what various people consider to be worth mentioning, and you don't really want to have to read several long reviews of the same title, we have decided to do something a little different.

In the spirit of austerity Britain, with everyone having to tighten their belts, we have decided to tighten the word count of these reviews until their pips squeak. These reviews are cheap, cheerful and quick to read as their word count is the grand total of 1.

Now that might sound easy but one word to sum up a favourite British book, comic or magazine of the last year or so is more of a challenge that you might think, especially as we have decided that no one can use the same word twice.

So in the spirit of the time of year the team here at downthetubes, John Freeman, Jeremy Briggs, Richard Sheaf and Ian Wheeler, wish you all a Merry Christmas and in the spirit of the recession we present you with, in alphabetical order, our Austerity Reviews Of The Year.

ALAN MOORE: STORYTELLER

Written by Gary Spencer Milliage
Published by Ilex Books
Website: www.ilex-press.com/books/alan-moore-storyteller/

Richard: Moore-ish

THE ASTONISHING SPIDERMAN

Bi-weekly comic
Published by Panini UK
Website: www.paninicomics.co.uk

Ian: Efficacious


BAGGAGE
By writer Robin Etherington and artist Lorenzo Etherington
Published by David Fickling Books
Website: www.davidficklingbooks.co.uk

Jeremy: Manic


THE BEANO
Weekly comic
Published by DC Thomson
Website: www.beano.com

Ian: Legendary


THE BROONS AND OOR WULLIE 75 ANNIVERSARY GIFT BOOK

Published by DC Thomson
Website: www.dcthomsonshop.co.uk/Group-View_All_Broons_and_Oor_Wullie_Gifts.aspx

Jeremy: Nice


COMMANDO - 50 YEARS A HOME FOR HEROES

Written by George Low
Published by Carlton
Website: www.carltonbooks.co.uk

Jeremy: Wow
Richard: Essential


COMMANDO

Four issues every two weeks comic
Published by DC Thomson
Website: www.commandocomics.com

Ian: Celebratory
Jeremy: Historic
John: Relentless


THE DANDY

Weekly comic
Published by DC Thomson
Website: www.dandy.com

Ian: Resilient
Jeremy: Cliff-hanging


DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE

Four weekly magazine
Published by Panini UK
Website: www.paninicomics.co.uk

Ian: Expensive
John: Brilliant


DRACULA

Adapted by Jason Cobley with art by Staz Johnson
Published by Classical Comics
Website: www.classicalcomics.com/books/dracula.html

John: Astonishing


EAGLE TIMES

Quarterly magazine
Published by The Eagle Society
Website: www.eagle-times.blogspot.com

Richard: Enduring


HURRICANE AND CHAMPION INDEX

Written by Steve Holland
Published by Bear Alley Books
Website: www.bearalleybooks.blogspot.com/2011/02/hurricane-and-champion-index.html

John: Fascinating
Richard: Necessary


JEFF HAWKE'S COSMOS

Four monthly magazine
Published by the Jeff Hawke Club
Website: www.jeffhawkeclub.com

Richard: Bargain


JOHNNY RED - FALCON'S FIRST FLIGHT

Written by Tom Tully and illustrated by Joe Colquhoun
Published by Titan Books
Website: www.titanbooks.com/johnny-red-falcons-first-flight-3951

Jeremy: Finally
John: Pleased


LONG JOHN SILVER

Written by Xavier Dorison and illustrated by Mathieu Lauffray
Published by Cinebook
Website: www.cinebook.co.uk

Jeremy: Lovely
Richard: (Cinebook in general) Prodigious


MIRABILIS

Written by Dave Morris and illustrated by Leo Hartas
Currently published by Print Media Productions
Website: www.mirabilis-yearofwonders.com

John: Marvellous


MULTIVERSE

Comics news magazine
Published by Hell Freezes Over
Website: www.multiverse-magazine.com/about.html

Richard: Occasional


THE PHOENIX

Weekly comic beginning on 7 January 2012
Published by David Fickling Comics Ltd
Website: www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk

Jeremy: Anticipation
Richard: Newsstand!


SPACESHIP AWAY

Four-monthly magazine
Website: www.spaceshipaway.org.uk/

Richard: Futuristic
Jeremy: Glossy
John: Wonderful


STRIP MAGAZINE

Monthly comic magazine
Website: www.printmediaproductions.com

(As John and Jeremy both work on Strip we will now point out that "other A4 comic magazines are available" and that Ian and Richard were not threatened with being fed to Hook Jaw if they didn't choose their words carefully!)

John: Exhausting :)
Jeremy: Hurrah!
Ian: Promising
Richard: Retro


2000AD

Weekly comic
Published by Rebellion
Website: www.2000adonline.com

John: Ace


TOMORROW REVISITED - THE COMPLETE FRANK HAMPSON STORY

Written by Alastair Crompton
Published by PS Publishing
Website: www.frankhampson-tomorrowrevisited.co.uk

Jeremy: Gorgeous


WULF THE BRITON

Illustrated by Ron Embleton
Published by Book Palace Books
Website: www.bookpalacebooks.com/index.html

Jeremy: Weighty

Friday, 23 December 2011

Last Commandos of 2011 go on sale

The last four Commandos of the year are now on sale, and the veteran title sees off its 50th aniversary year with another batch of great stories old and new – and what a year it's been for the title.

"It doesn’t seem long since I was sending out the details of the first batch of the year but it was 104 issues ago," notes editor Calum Laird. "The good news is we’ve slightly increased our sales over the year and our subscriptions have increased by a whopping 45 per cent.

"This is great news in the current climate."

Commando 4455: Valley of Secret Weapons
Originally Commando No 98 (December 1963), re-issued as No 591 (October 1971)
Script: Eric Hebden Art: Ortiz Cover: Ken Barr

The Valley of Destruction, the Germans called it. It lay deep in the heart of the Tyrolean mountains, and there Germany's most brilliant scientists worked night and day building Hitler's deadly V for Vengeance weapons.

Sun-ray cannons, flying saucers, sound cannons, rocket-propelled tanks and jet-propelled soldiers - strange, terrifying weapons, years ahead of their time.

They were all there in that valley, being made ready to unleash on Britain...

One look at the cover tells you all you need to know about this story," says Calum Laird of this archive tale. "It's a real flight of fancy. (And I don't just mean because there are Germans with jetpacks.)

"Or is it?  As more information on the Third Reich's secret weapons programmes comes to light, some of the gear drawn up by Ortiz doesn't seem so far-fetched.

"Perhaps author Eric Hebden, who had been a Major in the British Army, had some inside knowledge -- who knows?

"Whether he did or not, it's a great story and Ken Barr's Nazis With Jetpacks cover sums the whole thing up. Now, I must fly!"

Commando 4456: Jump - Or Die!
Originally Commando No 94 (November 1963), re-issued as No 587 (October 1991)
Script: Kellie Art: Cortes Cover: Ken Barr

The dull throb of the Dakota's engines pounded remorselessly in the paratroopers' ears as they filed in to their jumping order.

Nobody spoke, nobody smiled, nobody spared a kindly glance for the next bloke in line. Lips were dry and taut, and eyes glowed with a mixture of determination and FEAR!

And even as the red light changed to green for GO, Captain Bob Brown knew that he was the most afraid of all.

Which was all wrong, because he was meant to be officer in charge of this mission, an example to all the others...

"British Paras were involved in no end of covert operations in the Second World War," notes Calum Lard. "This was a problem, because most of them took place under the concealing cloak of darkness.

"Why is this a problem? Well, a dark night is one of the most difficult things an illustrator can ever be called on to draw. By definition, there's very little light to see anything by.

"This doesn't seem to have put artist Cortes off, however. His drawings of the Paras in action at night make superb use of black ink without losing any detail and without looking anything apart from, well, night.

"Kellie's script is as full of action and conflict as you'd want, while Ken Barr's cover leaves you in no doubt about the menace in the title."

Commando 4457: Fireman On The Front Line
Script: Alan Hebden Art: Olivera Cover: Janek Matysiak

As a fireman during the London Blitz, Ted Roscoe was exempt from Armed Forces duty, as his was a reserved occupation deemed important to the war effort. He knew all about danger just the same, though, dodging bombs as he fought fire after fire. However, the Army needed Ted's expertise too and he soon called to the front line.

Here Ted found himself embroiled in a deadly game of survival, with not just the enemy's hand against him!

Commando 4458: The Sea Wolves
Script: Mac MacDonald Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page

Like wolves, the torpedo boats and gunboats of the Allies and Axis hunted the seas of the Adriatic in packs. Like wolves they fell on their prey, always going in for the kill.

And, just as amongst packs of wolves, there had to be a top dog - would he be British or German?

• The Draw Your Weapons exhibition featuring art from Commando continues at the National Army Museum in London this month and runs until 30th April 2012. For the latest information visit: www.nam.ac.uk/exhibitions/special-displays/draw-your-weapons-art-commando-comics


• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandocomics.com/


Commando Official Facebook page


• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846


Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.


Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes


Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Get The Phoenix for Christmas!

The cover of Issue 1 of The Phoenix

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas present for the youngr comic fans in your family, The Phoenix - the new weekly comic launching in January - would be an present for children, delivering 32 pages of fantastic story-strip entertainment.

We've now received a copy of their free Issue Zero - offered through Waitrose - and can echo the comments of others who have praised the mix of adventure stories, humour strips and text-based features. It's a lively combination and more focused than its predecessor, The DFC, with some great creators involved.

Right now, you can take out a "Taster" for just £10 or a three month subscription for £24 and save over 30 per cent on the cover price (saving based on £2.99 cover price of £14.95 and £35.88 respectively).

If you subscribe for six months (£54) or a year (£99), you'll get a free binder.

The Phoenix launches on 7th January 2012 - check the official web site at www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk for retail outlets that will be stocking it.

It’s so easy to subscribe, so make sure you take advantage of this offer before it’s too late! (Lines open Mon-Friday 8am - 9.30pm and Sat 8.00am to 4.00pm)

"first fictions" Graphic Novel competition shortist announced

A Rat’s Tale by Adam Blackman &
Dylan Shipley: one of the shortlisted entries.

It's based in modern Britan
and aims to warn young people about
the hazards of 'drug use' and 'addiction'
Myriad Editions has announced its shortlist for its "first fictions" competition which we reported on earlier this year.

The nominees include Hannah Eaton, Thom Ferrier and Tom Eglington, who is paying for his art career by writing comics stories, including the first Tharg’s 3riller which debuted in 2000AD Prog 1740 - "Silver -Tongued Exploits of Cosmo Nibs", drawn by John McCrea.

Novelist Ian Rankin, cartoonist Steve Bell and graphic novelist Bryan Talbot were among six judges that have selected the seven-strong shortlist, joined by graphic novelists Hannah Berry and Ed Hillyer (who is also a début novelist published by Myriad Editions), and Corinne Pearlman, commissioning editor for Myriad’s growing series of graphic titles, now published with the support of Arts Council England.

The shortlisted entries were chosen from a longlist of 21, described by Ian Rankin as "a very high standard overall". Entrants were asked to submit 15–30 pages of a graphic work-in-progress, either fiction or non-fiction, in black and white.

The winning author or team will have their work published by Myriad Editions in 2013.

In all, 74 qualifying submissions were received. The shortlisted entries will be showcased,
and the winner announced, on Saturday 21st January 2012 at First Fictions, a weekend of events championing first novels past and present, jointly organised by Brighton publisher Myriad Editions and the English Department at the University of Sussex.

"We were amazed by the quantity, quality and diversity of the entries," says Corinne Pearlman.

"It was difficult to pick a longlist. It was difficult to pick a shortlist. And it will be difficult to pick a winner."

The seven shortlisted entries include six sole creators and a writer and artist team. They are:


Candidates had to submit between 15 to 30 pages of a graphic work in progress for consideration. The winner will be announced at the First Fictions event, organised by the University of Sussex and Myraiad, on January 21st 2012 and work from the shortlisted entries will be showcased there too. The outright winner will have their graphic novel published by Myriad in 2013.

• For more information, visit www.firstfictions.com

Monday, 19 December 2011

Multiverse comic magazine heads for America

It's the magazine I, Vampire writer Joshua Hale Fialkov hails as “beautifully designed, with a modern, smart sensibility about mainstream comics that’s been missing from print comics journalism for a long time” -- and Multiverse will be available in the US for the first time in February.

In conjunction with Ardden Entertainment, British-based Hell Freezes Over is launching a US edition of its flagship title. Highly regarded not only by its readers but also by comics professionals, whether they be writers, artists, editors or publishers, Multiverse is the full colour magazine that prompted one reader to say: “The content is informed, easy to read, lacks post-modern nonsense and packed into a well-structured format. I loved the balance of popular heroes and emerging or independent coverage with what comes across as educated and balanced prose.”

Multiverse is Britain’s leading comics magazine. Promotionally priced at $4.99, the first issue of the 68-page American version is being offered on page 239 of the current Previews (for February-shipping product) under order codes DEC110838 and DEC110839.

Discussing the title, publisher/editor Mike Conroy said, “Its main focus will unashamedly be the popular – read commercial – end of the business. That’s not just the ubiquitous superheroes but Star Wars, Star Trek, G.I. Joe, Transformers and similar spin-offs and licenced titles alongside zombies, vampires and other such horrors.

“Even so,” continued the veteran comics author/historian, “we certainly won’t be neglecting the innovators out there on the cutting edge, whether their print run is 100 or 100,000. We’ll be covering their latest titles as they continue to expand the boundaries of our medium.

“My goal has always been to produce an entertaining title that occupies the middle ground between the late Wizard and the moved-to-another-plane Comics Journal, " he added. "That is, just straightforward reportage without to the hype or the cerebral dissection.

"I think Multiverse is that magazine.”

• More info: www.multiverse-magazine.com

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dan Dare art up for sale on eBay

A page of Dan Dare artwork from the original Eagle is currently up for sale on eBay, on offer from American comics creator and editor Scott Dunbier.

The art is a page from the story The Phantom Fleet, first published in Eagle 50 (volume 9) in 1950.


Written by Alan Stranks, the artists credited for this story are Dan Dare co-creator Frank Hampson, Keith Watson and Desmond Walduck, but the Scott says "there’s probably more Duck here than Ham".

In the story, radio and television transmissions are being disrupted throughout the Solar System by an unknown force. Spaceships are disappearing. After a rocket ship carrying Sir Hubert Guest goes missing, Dan and crew set out to discover what has happened to it.

They find a fleet of huge alien craft containing peaceful aquatic creatures called Cosmobes who are fleeing from another aquatic race, the warlike Pescods, whose "Crimson Death" weapon destroys all metals on contact.

Attempts to destroy the Pescods' pursuing fleet fail, and they dive into the Earth's ocean and begin to build themselves a city. Fortunately for Earth the Pescods' settlement is on top of the submerged volcano Krakatoa, and when it erupts due to seismic disturbances from the pesky Pescods, they are all destroyed.









A panel from the offered Dan Dare page
The art measures 9.5 x 12.5 inches on large illustration board; the art is in nice shape but has some staining (perhaps no surprise given the many horror stories told down the years about how such art was treated by some publishers) and shows some age.

Scott previously bought and sold original comic art since the early 1980s, but "gave it up full time in 1995 to work in comics publishing."



While we were on eBay, we also came across seller "alanb1109", who regularly sells copies of Eagle and has announced he is about to offer quite a substantial collection in coming weeks.

Could be worth keeping an eye on.

View The Phantom Fleet art here on eBay

Dan Dare comics checklist (GoogleDoc, corrections, additional information welcome)

In Review: Cinebook Recounts The Wright Brothers

Cinebook return to their historically factual series Cinebook Recounts with the story of the first manned flight of a powered aeroplane at Kitty Hawk in America in 1903 with The Wright Brothers, written by J P Lefevre-Garros and illustrated by Marcel Uderzo.

Engineers Orville and Wilbur Wright had made their money printing newspapers in Daytona, Ohio and, by the turn of the twentieth century, had moved on to manufacturing the new craze of the day, bicycles. However their real desire was to fly and leaving their sister in charge of the bicycle business they used the winters to travel to the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were they flew firstly large kites before moving on to gliders. With the experience of designing and flying the gliders, their next task was to design a light but powerful engine that they could fit to their aircraft to power it. But they were not the only engineers around the world with similar plans.

This book has a bit of tortuous history. It was originally published in Europe as Biggles Raconte Les Frères Wright in 2005, part of a series of factual aviation history books themed around WE John's pilot character but not actually featuring Biggles himself. Cinebook managed to release two of the books from this series, Biggles Recounts The Falklands War and Biggles Recounts The Battle Of Britain, in 2007 and 2008 with Biggles Recounts The Wright Brothers due for 2009 but issues arose between the estate of WE Johns and Lombard, the original French publishers. This lead to Lombard loosing their Biggles licence, meaning that Cinebook could no longer release any Biggles titles. While this stymied further releases in their fictional Biggles series, as the character was not in the factual series they retitled it as Cinebook Recounts and started again.

With Battle of Britain and The Falklands War rereleased under the new series title, The Wright Brothers is the first of the "new" Recounts books, albeit with an English translation dating from 2008.

This was originally the sixth book in the Biggles Raconte series and by this point the French series had covered mainly war topics with their inherent action and adventure, so the tale of two engineers who designed big kites and then incrementally modified their designs until they reached a controllable, manned aircraft was a change of pace. This is not a dull book by any means but readers expecting a tale of adventure and daring pilots will be disappointed. Lefevre-Garros gives the background to the brothers work, setting the historical scene by mentioning some of the other people working towards manned flight at the time and even suggesting in the second panel of the book that a Frenchman beat them to it (Clement Ader did just struggle into the air in 1897 but it was an uncontrolled hop). While many others appear to have started by jumping in the deep end and building a powered aircraft that they didn't know how to fly, the Wrights started with kites to learn aerodynamics and then moved on to gliders so that they knew how to control an aircraft in flight before finally progressing to a powered aeroplane.

Backed up by Marcel Uderzo's detailed and accurate artwork, Lefevre-Garros takes the reader through the years of test flying the kites and gliders and the Wrights' redesigns on them as they found the weaknesses of each stage of their development before reaching the morning of 17 December 1903 when Orville Wright lay down in the pilot's position of the aircraft they simply called Flyer but we now refer to as Wright Flyer 1, turned the engine on and literally flew into the history books.

Cinebook Recounts The Wright Brothers is not an action packed tale of daring pilots but it is a detailed and well illustrated account of the logical design steps of two engineers that lead up to a moment in history - and that is what makes it worth reading.

There are more details of Cinebook Recounts The Wright Brothers and the other titles in the Cinebook Recounts series on the Cinebook website.

There are more details of the original French Biggles Raconte books on the International Biggles Association
website.

Put some dinosaurs in your Christmas!


Here's something that might make for a great last minute stocking filler - Dinohistoria, a different, fun and entertaining, educational card game for all the family.

Dinohistoria has 56 playing cards, each with an illustration licensed by the Picture Library of the Natural History Museum, London featuring over 30 different dinosaurs. Many of them are familiar, such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Iguanodon, Triceratops and Pteranodon, but there are over 20 other animals too, including Smilodon (Sabre-toothed Tiger) and Mammuthus primigenius (Woolly mammoth), with facts about them.

Although it's aimed at kids of 7+ the publishers, Educational Learning, have have added rules for additional games to the company's website, www.educationallearning.co.uk, so younger children from 5+ can play.

Also on sale is the Wildcat game, featuring photographs of wild cats from around the world.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Age of the Wolf set to return to 2000AD

The claws are out for the return of post-apocalyptic werewolves series, Age of the Wolf, to 2000AD early next year.

Lycanthrope-hunting heroine Rowan Morrigan is to return to the weekly comic in February 2012 in Age of the Wolf: She is Legend.

It's the second chapter in the fast-moving fantasy series – in which a spellbound moon has turned half the earth’s population into ravenous werewolves – by writer Alec Worley (Dandridge, Six Brothers) and Eagle Award-nominated artist Jon Davis-Hunt (Judge Dredd, Transformers), and it stars one of the strongest female characters to emerge from 2000AD in recent years: a reluctant action heroine who’s more than a match for the ‘Big Bad Wolf’.

In the series, London has become a primordial forest in which surviving humans are being hunted to extinction. And there are worse things than lycanthropes lurking among the overgrown ruins of the city. The fortified remains of Buckingham Palace have been taken over by a ruthless gang of slavers, the Skinners: Harry, a hulking neo-Nazi with a sinister secret, his sister Kate, a sadistic huntress with a score to settle, and their merciless matriarch ‘Granny’.

While the forest community face slavery or death, the only thing standing in the Skinners’ way is a mysterious red-haired woman known among those she protects as ‘Little Red Robin Hood.’

With this and more thrill-drenched series launching in 2000AD over the coming year, now’s the perfect time to jump aboard and buy this year’s 100-page Christmas special.

Prog 2012 features a circuit-shattering line-up of seasonal thrills including classic titles Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Nikolai Dante and Sinister Dexter, alongside stories from newcomers Dandridge and Absalom.

This issue also sees the launch of two brand new thrills: sci-fi drama Grey Area by Dan Abnett and Karl Richardson, and ancient Roman action fantasy Aquila by Gordon Rennie and Leigh Gallagher.

2000AD Prog 2012 is now on sale. For print and digital subscription details visit www.2000adonline.com

2000AD lined up for London Super Comic Convention

2000AD is to attend the country’s newest comic book convention, the inaugural London Super Comic Convention will take place at the Excel Centre in London on 25th-26th February 2012.

Many of the guests are some of the biggest names to have worked for the House of Tharg, including Brian Bolland, John McCrea, Duncan Fegredo, Paul Cornell, Sean Phillips, Nick Percival and Mike Carey.

The 2000AD booth will be stocked with all the latest graphic novel titles from the imprint, as well as comics and t-shirts.

The event joins the growing list of conventions in 2012 which will see an appearance from the ‘droids’ of, including the SFX Weekender at the start of February, San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con.

Matt Smith, editor of 2000AD, said: “We're delighted to be part of the inaugural London Super Comic Convention, which features an impressive line-up of writers and artists attending. It should be zarjaz event that no comic fan should miss!”

“We are delighted that the largest and arguably greatest publisher that Britain has to offer, will be in attendance at our convention,” said a spokesman for the event.

Comics Forum 2011 interviews online

(with thanks to Norman Boyd): MP3s of some of the talks from Comics Forum 2011 are now available for download from the website at http://comicsforum.org.

Nearly two hours of free audio content features creators such as Ian Williams (Graphic Medicine), Sarah Leavitt (Tangles), Tom Humberstone (Solipsistic Pop), Matt Sheret (Paper Science) and more.

Additional instalments from Graphic Medicine will follow, and there’s a link to subscribe to the podcast over on the site.

Coming up next week the site has a great piece by Nina Mickwitz entitled ‘Traversing Frames: the Dialectic between Comics and Travel’.

STRIP Magazine #2 on sale now in the UK

STRIP Magazine #2 is on sale now in all good UK comic shops, including many offering mail order.
STRIP Magazine Issue Two, the first comics title from Print Media Productions, features a Hook Jaw cover by Rufus Dayglo, which has also been included as a free promotional poster with the issue.
This issue's line-up is as follows:

Black Ops Xtreme Part 2, written by John Freeman and drawn by PJ Holden: the team are sent to South America to kill a dangerous terrorist!
Warpaint Part 2 by Phil Hester and John McCrea: Mia learns more about an ancient war!
Age of Heroes Part 2 by James Hudnall and John Ridgway: the magician Wex battles for his life against deadly monsters!
Recovery Inc. by Michael Penick and Dean Deckard: the company is hired to retrieve a top secret stolen prototype!
Hook Jaw, re-mastered by Jim Campbell and Gary Caldwell: Joy over an oil strike turns sour as the great white shark Hook Jaw attacks!
'Cold Hard Facts' - a man from the 20th Century finds the future is not the paradise he expected
• The second winner of our 'Strip Challenge' - "The Citadel Codex", set in ancient Mexico

PLUS - an exclusive interview with comic artist John McCrea, British comics news, a competition to win copies of Paul Gravett's new book 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die and the new collection of Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson's Mazeworld; and a sneak preview of Crucible, one of the new strips coming up next year STRIP Magazine!
You can now subscribe to Strip Magazine online at www.printmediaproductions.com at our introductory rates as advertised in Issue 1 of our new magazine.

STRIP Magazine #2 is also available digitally from iTunes, published in partnership with ROK Comics

Buy STRIP Magazine #2 from ForbiddenPlanet.com

Buy STRIP Magazine #1 from ForbiddenPlanet.com

John Ryan exhibition in Rye

John Ryan Exhibition poster
For anyone venturing to the south east corner of England there's an exhibition of Captain Pugwash creator John Ryan's work at Rye Art Gallery until mid February 2012.

John Ryan, the author, illustrator and animator, who died in 2009 in his home town of Rye aged 88, created Captain Pugwash, who became much loved on children’s television in the 1970s. He also devised The Adventures of Sir Prancelot and Mary, Mungo and Midge

Launched by Ryan in the first issue of Eagle comic in 1950, Captain Horatio Pugwash soon became a children’s favourite and an eight-year stint as a comic strip in Radio Times followed. In 1957 Pugwash and his crew aboard the Black Pig — Tom the cabin boy, Willy, Barnabas and Pugwash’s deadly enemy Cut-Throat Jake — made their debut in Ryan’s long-running series for BBC Television. 

During his long career, he created many other characters and produced a large body of work including numerous books and artworks. This exhibition celebrates his life and work through his art.

As well as original comic artwork,it also includes some of the animation boards from the Pugwash TV
series.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

New Eagle Times released

The latest issue of Eagle Times - Volume 24 No 4 - is now available from the Eagle Society.

Contents include:

  • From Under the 1950s Christmas Tree, Pepys Card Games - a seasonal look at the numerous Pepys games, which included some based around characters from Eagle ('Dan Dare' and 'Jeff Arnold') and Girl
  • The Case of Christmas Presents - PC49 appears in a seasonal short-story
  • A Look at 'Luck' - part 2 of a continuing series examining the French Foreign Legion strip by Geoffrey Bond and Martin Aitchison, that ran in Eagle from 1952 - 1961
  • Working with David Hunt, part 2 - memories of working on 'Dan Dare' projects for the "New" Eagle editor in the 1980s
  • Rivals of Eagle, takes a look at The Boy's Own Paper, the long-running boys' story paper, which lasted 88 years - from 1879 - 1967
  • The first part of a series on Visual Memories of Eaglecon 80 - the only London comics convention ever held solely for Eagle enthusiasts
  • PC49 and the Case of the Frightened Flower Girl - the conclusion of a new adaptation of one of Alan Stranks' radio plays
  • Rivals of Jeff Arnold - the 9th in the series takes a look at 'Happy Daze', a comedy western strip drawn by Bill Holroyd for D.C. Thomson's Topper comic
  • 'Dan Dare' Figures (from the 1950s to the present day) - begins by taking a look at those produced in the 1950s by the Crescent Toy Company and Eaglewall Plastics/Kentoys
  • Ron by Ron - a lighthearted look at some of Ron Embleton's appearances in some of his own artwork
  • L. Ashwell Wood, Cutaway Maestro - an addendum to the article in Eagle Times Vol 24 No 3, covering the Inside Information series, Odhams Books and the reprinting of Eagle cutaways in foreign publications
  • Eagle Annuals 1971-1975 looks at the annuals that continued to appear after the original Eagle's demise as a comic
  • 'Sammy' in colour - a strip from Eagle's companion paper, Swift, which was translated and reprinted in colour in the Dutch paper Arend - shown for the first time in English and colour
  • A short biographical piece on David Motton, the 'Dan Dare' writer of the 1960s, who recently retired
  • A report and photographs from the Eagle Society Annual Gathering at Midgham, Berkshire, 6th - 8th September, 2011

Membership of THE EAGLE SOCIETY is via Annual Subscription to EAGLE TIMES magazine, which is published four times annually. The Subscription rate for 2011 is held at the 2010 rate: UK £23, Overseas £34(in £s Sterling, please) Postal applications to: Keith Howard, 25A Station Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 2UAUnited Kingdom. If you wish to pay by Paypal (to the eagle-times hotmail address below) we request an additional payment of £1. Enquiries: eagle-times@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

British 'My Favorite Martian' strips to be reprinted

Fans of the 1960s comedy My Favorite Martian are in for a treat next year, when US publisher Hermes Press publishes a complete collection of the strips that featured in Britain's TV Century 21, most drawn by the legendary Bill Titcombe.

Gold Key Comics published a number of My Favorite Martian comics telling way-out stories of Uncle Martin and Tim O'Hara. Now, thanks to Hermes Press and their hardcover reprint series of the vintage My Favorite Martian comics, you can catch up on thes long-lost misadventures of everyone's stranded antennae-headed alien when our collection comes out this Wednesday.

My Favorite Martian: The Complete Series - Volume One, on sale this week, represents the first five issues of the Gold Key comic book that ran from 1964 and 1965, while the upcoming second volume, planned for 2012, will also feature the English TV Century 21 comics.

Not only does the first volume have artwork by Russ Manning, Dan Spiegel and Mike Arens, but also stories by Paul S. Newman and Bob Ogle, and a plethora of rare photos and memorabilia reproduced in the back. We're not just talking photos that haven't seen the light of day in decades - Hermes have worked with the TV series copyright holders, Chertok TV, to present previously unpublished set photos, many in colour, that have been thought lost since the 1960s.

This out of the world library edition comes with a sweet retro design to best present Uncle Martin's long-lost adventures. So if you're a My Favorite Martian fan, or even just a huge fan of classic TV, check this out. (And if you've never seen the show, then you'll be pleased to hear that a DVD collection is in the works for the UK).

The first episode of My Favorite Martian
in TV Century 21 Issue 1. Art by Bill Titcombe
My Favorite Martian © Chertok TV

Drawn by Bill Titcombe, who also drew TV Comic's The Telegoons and many other adaptations of US and British TV comedy characters, TV Century 21's My Favourite Martian stories have pretty much snuck in under fans' radar for many years – the comic is better known for its adventure strips based on Gerry Anderson shows such as Thunderbirds and Stingray, but it also featured a number of one-page humour strips, such as The Munsters.

My Favourite Martian ran in TV Century 21 for over two years. Like other strips based on US shows, some of the visuals don't quite match the series but Bill, like Mike Noble and others who worked on TV21's Star Trek adaptation later, were clearly working from limited reference when they started on the strips.

There's no publication date for the second volume, but Hermes Press have also announced they'll be offering a special My Favorite Martian comic book on Free Comic Book Day, next year - 5th May, 2012. Keep an eye out for it.

My Favorite Martian: The Complete Series - Volume One is available from all good comic shops now (Diamond Code: FEB111066) and both real world and online book stories. 

My Favorite Martian © Chertok TV

CLiNT delivers Montynero, Dowling's 'Death Sentence'

CLiNT is to publish the independent comic Death Sentence by Montynero and Mike Dowling in 2012.

Created by writer Montynero and Mike Dowling (artist on CLiNT’s Rex Royd), Mark Millar, publisher of CLiNT alongside Titan Magazines, describes Death Sentence as the perfect fit for the 100-page magazine's brand of big-budget action with a cynical twist.

Described as “just brilliant” by Millar, Death Sentence first came to his attention at the first Kapow! Comic Convention last year, where it stood out from the crowd of pitches with its striking concept and A-list work from the creators.

The story of three Londoners granted superpowers and six months to live by the devastating, sexually-transmitted G-Plus virus, Death Sentence is by turns dramatic, thought-provoking and hilarious; a take-down of modern celebrity culture that also takes a stand against oppressive and invasive government.

Editorial manager Andrew James enthuses, “Death Sentence has it all – a great high-concept, engaging characters, fantastic art, and gripping writing. Montynero has a spectacular career ahead of him – and Mike Dowling’s self-coloured work is a revelation.”

Death Sentence will debut in CLiNT in May 2012, with a launch at the second annual Kapow! Comic Convention.

Titan Magazines say there will be more news on the future of CLiNT in January - suggesting more new strips will be part of its content.

Reviewing Issue 12 of the title recently, comic creator and British comics pundit Lew Stringer praised the Magazine, saying "I really like CLiNT... [it's] raw, unapologetic and brutal.

"Critics may argue that the stories could be told just as well without the excessive violence and profanity, and they'd have a point, but it wouldn't be as much fun would it?"

• More about CLiNT at: http://titanmagazines.com/t/clint

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