Thursday, July 27, 2017

Leo Baxendale's CLEVER DICK (1970)

Leo Baxendale produced some excellent laugh-out-loud strips in his career and one of those he created for IPC was Clever Dick, the boy inventor. It started in Buster dated 7th February 1970 (shown above) and must have proved popular as it continued until 1982. 

When Leo quit mainstream comics in 1974/75 I understand his son Martin took over the strip. (I thought Tom Paterson may have worked on it too, but not according to Steve Holland's Buster Index.) 

The strips are still funny today, and it'd be good to see a collection published by Rebellion at some point. Here's a couple of examples of the ones I have...

Latest COMMANDO news

Direct from D.C. Thomson, here's the details of the four issues of Commando that are published today...

Diving into familiar territory, like the Dunkirk retreat, issues 5039-5042 also feature many surprises like the air battles fought over the Burmese jungle, the battle torn streets of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, and even, perhaps, a glimpse of the future...

5039: Home of Heroes:
Saved in Time!

After being struck by lightning while parachute training, Frankie Walsh had a supreme advantage in the Second World War: he could see the future! Alan Hedben’s latest Commando story is a mixture of action battles and Science Fiction intrigue. Frankie has premonitions of plane crashes and German ambushes, allowing him to save the day in the nick of time. But how are these forewarnings possible? And who is the mysterious man who seems to be behind them?

A classic Commando pairing, Morhain and Rodriguez deliver the interior artwork, using jagged panels to signify the transition to Frankie’s premonitions, the serrated edges filling the reader with unease as the potential and deadly fates of our heroes are revealed. And, wrapping up this neat little package is Ian Kennedy’s cover, showing a mysterious figure garbed in a suitable Science Fiction get up, while keeping the Commando theme in check with planes and parachutes falling disconnected around him.

|Story | Alan Hebden| Art | Morhain & Rodriguez | Cover | Ian Kennedy |

5040: Gold Collection
Hoodoo Mission

“Then came then savage confusion of the British retreat to Dunkirk…”

A Dispatch Rider during the British retreat, Mike “Wheels” Riley left his post to save injured men on the road to Dunkirk. But they were already gone. When Riley catches up with his C.O. he’s told more men died because of his absence. Tormented by guilt, Riley transfers to the Tanks Corps. in North Africa, but it seems that the ghosts of his past still haunt him in this Gold issue classic from Feldwick.

The interior tank shots from Biesla really stand out, captivating the reader in the dark claustrophobia of metal and machine, as well as the men who rode in them. Meanwhile, Ken Barr’s thrilling cover is exactly the opposite, showing Riley as completely exposed and vulnerable, fleeing a firing Junker as he races towards us on his trusty motorbike.

|Story | Feldwick | Art | Bielsa | Cover | Ken Barr |
Originally Commando No 350 (August 1968)

5041: Action and Adventure:
The Reporters!

Focusing on the Spanish Civil War, ‘The Reporters’ looks at the intermediate period between both World Wars, as tension in Europe rises. Here, while three internal armies fight to gain control of Spain, English reporter Pete Beckford and photographer Owen Carver try to cover all sides, interviewing the different factions. But, in a metafictional twist, Ferg Handley’s story becomes less about the actual war, and more about the imposed objectivism of those involved in documenting war, as bias and opinion are repressed…even in the heat of battle.

With loving attention given to the Spanish street signs and graffiti in the background, you know that Madrid native Carlos Pino truly enjoyed illustrating this issue, and his cover is equally dynamic, centring on both our heroes and their weapons of choice; the purple of the title beautifully mimicking the purple of the torn flag behind them.

|Story | Ferg Handley | Art | Carlos Pino | Cover | Carlos Pino|

5042: Silver Collection
Squadron Pride

As expected in an issue titled ‘Squadron Pride’, Ian Clark’s story focuses on an ensemble rag-tag team of pilots and ground crew, determined to prove their worth fighting the Japanese in Burma.

With search lights criss-crossing in the background, illuminating smoke, fog and the action of the aerial battle, Ian Kennedy successfully manages to bring colour to this nocturnal scene, the blues and greens complimenting the colour of the aircraft, while contrasting the red and orange of the flames engulfing them.  And featuring such terrific night battles, Jose Maria Jorge’s interior artwork really shines in this issue. The black mass of night sky around the lone Brewsters really adds to the tension, where anything at all could be lurking in that blackness – and it often is!

|Story | Ian Clark | Art |Jose Maria Jorge | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No 2645 (March 1993)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Brickman Begins: Sold Out!

Published in 2005 by U.S. company Active Images, Brickman Begins! collected all my earliest Brickman strips from 1979 to 1996, along with a stack of all-new guest art pages by comics royalty such as Alan Davis, Tim Sale, Hunt Emerson and many more.

The 152 page book was sold worldwide in comics shops and online, and I had several hundred myself to sell by post and at conventions. As from today, Brickman Begins! is SOLD OUT. My thanks to all of you who bought a copy over the years! It's long out of print so no longer available from Active Images either.

I'll be honouring the orders I've received up to today of course with the few remaining books, but I've now deleted it from my online shop.

There's a possibility I may do a reprint of sorts at some time next year, via Amazon's Print On Demand service. There will be differences from the first printing though, as I won't imitate Active Images' design and bonus pages obviously as that was just for their edition. Any new edition I do of the book will just focus on the comic strip pages, but at present that's only a plan for the future. 

All my other comics are still available though! You can order those from my online shop at this link:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

London calling! LFCC this weekend!

This weekend it's the huge London Film and Comic Con that runs for three days at Olympia (28th to 30th July). There are at least 50 comics guests attending plus loads of actors from film and TV, authors, and even a few wrestlers! Some really big names there this year! This is the major comics/fantasy media event of the summer so I hope to see some of you there.

You'll find us on the first floor, and this floor plan shows you where to find the comics guests...

I'll be at Table 21 for all three days selling my comics and drawing sketches on request but I'm also booked to do a panel etc., so here's my schedule. (Bear in mind it may be subject to change but this is how it stands at present.)


2PM: SIGNING (45 Minutes) – Signing Area


12PM: SIGNING (45 Minutes) – Signing Area

12PM: ARTISTS PORTFOLIO SESSION (45 Minutes) – Portfolio Room

You can see the schedules for all the artists/writers at this link:

For all the info about the event; ticket prices, directions to the venue, etc. see here:

See you there! If you have any questions specifically for me about the show, post them below and I'll try to answer them before the weekend. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Leo Baxendale's Big Chief Pow Wow

In the mid to late 1960s, Leo Baxendale quit freelancing for Odhams and set his sights on the better paying Fleetway comics instead. One of the strips he produced there was Big Chief Pow Wow for Buster comic. The strip ran from 14th September 1968 to 31st January 1970. (Some were fill-ins by other artists.)

Here's a small selection of Leo's pages. 

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