Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Today's the day! The COR!! BUSTER HUMOUR SPECIAL is here!

Cover art by Neil Googe, coloured by Jim Boswell.
It's the day that fans of British humour comics have been waiting for. The Cor!! Buster Humour Special will be on the shelves of WH Smith and selected newsagents and comic shops from today! 

Many of the classic IPC characters are back, revived and rebooted for a new generation for the first time this century! The last time some of these characters were seen was in the final issue of Buster at the end of 1999 (apart from a reprint special in 2009)... and some characters had last appeared long before that! Now they're back, in a 52 page full-colour glossy special in all-new stories!

The comic kicks off with a fantastic three-page strip featuring Sweeny Toddler, and it's written and drawn by Tom Paterson, the artist who drew his adventures throughout most of his original run! 
Then it's on to reboots of other favourites, including Deadly Hedley by Paul Goodenough and Neil Googe, with colouring by Jim Boswell...
Hit Kid by Robin Etherington and David Follett...
Grimly Feendish by Ned Hartley and Tom Paterson... Frankie Stein! X-Ray Specs! Gums! Kid Kong! Hire A Horror! and many more, including brand new characters Swines of Anarchy by The Feek and Pye Parr...
...and a gathering of classic characters in Who's In Charge? by John Freeman and Lew Stringer...

There's even some vintage art by Ken Reid to top things off, as well as a couple of puzzle pages and a breezy look back at where some of the characters first appeared.

Publishers Rebellion and editor Keith Richardson are to be congratulated for bringing these favourites back for a whole new generation. No doubt some older readers will miss the old art styles but sadly most of the original artists are no longer around. It's also important that the comic doesn't look like a clone of The Beano or The Phoenix but has its own identity. From Comic Cuts to Oink!, humour comics have always evolved to reflect the times and changing styles so it's only natural for today's artists and writers to be given an opportunity to work on this new special. After 19 years or more in limbo, these characters will be regarded as totally new by today's young readers, and that's who this comic is aimed at, so a fresh revamp is the way to go.

That said, there are various nods to the past as a tribute to the heritage of the old comics. Even Weary Willie and Tired Tim and Homeless Hector have a cameo!

Having been one of the artists/writers on the original Buster from the late 1980s and through the 1990s it's a good feeling to be back for this one-off revival. I hope it receives the support and appreciation it deserves so that hopefully it won't be the last we see of Buster and his pals! 

The Cor!! Buster Humour Special is out now from WH Smiths, newsagents, and comic shops. 52 pages for £4.99. 

A couple of photos of it on display in WH Smiths in the Midlands...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Comics advertised on TV

It was a regular occurrence for new UK comics and free gift issues to be advertised on TV throughout the 1960s. I remember many a time when I'd come home from school, see an ad for a comic and rush up to the corner shop to buy a copy. They all tended to follow a similar pattern: show the free gift in action, a few brief images from the strips, and concluding with the cover and an enticing "Out Now!" blurb. Who could resist?

Sadly, those numerous 1960s TV ads don't seem to exist now... or are waiting to be rediscovered. I've even asked television archivists if they've found any in their searches but unfortunately they haven't. Such a pity, as I have vague memories of short, snappy adverts for Sparky, Pow!, Fantastic, and many, many more. 

However, some more recent TV ads have been preserved, thanks to video, and transferring them to You Tube. (I say "more recent", but these will still be ancient to the younger readers of this blog.) Quality is poor, but better than nothing! 

First up, a selection of adverts for Look-In from the late 1970s...

An ad for the first issue of 2000AD from 1977:

The ad for the relaunch of Eagle in 1982:

A free gift issue of The Beano (1994):

A free gift issue of The Dandy (1994):

...and finally a plug for 2000AD's revamp in 1994:

You'll find a few more if you search You Tube. Let me know if you ever find any from the 1960s!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Reverend Cross - Origin Special!

Reverend Cross is an enjoyable independent comic published by British company Kult Creations, founded by John A. Short. You've probably read my reviews of earlier issues such as here and here so you know I vouch for it as a fun strip. 

The next issue, No.7, is currently on Kickstarter where you can pledge to fund it and support the comic. It'll bring us the origin of the world's first female vicar action hero with art by various creatives and a great cover by David Hitchcock!

As with most Kickstarter projects, the more you pledge, the more you gain, starting from just £3 for the PDF version, £4 for the print version, up to £85 for all seven issues, all alternative cover versions of No.7,  and a signed page of original artwork! 

Check it out here, where you can see a great little animated video of Reverend Cross strips past and present and also samples of art from the upcoming issue:

Funding for Reverend Cross No.7 ends on Monday 22nd April, so don't miss out!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Nostalgia and Comics regenerates

As from today, the UK's longest running comic shop, Nostalgia and Comics, is no more... but don't panic! It's had a complete refit and a name change to Worlds Apart. Yes, they still sell comics, - although you'll find them upstairs now, with the ground floor being used for Funko Pops and other merchandise.

Nostalgia and Comics opened in late 1976, founded by Phil Clarke, who had previously played a huge part in the history of comics fandom by organising Britain's first comic convention in 1968. The original Nostalgia and Comics store was a tiny shop on the corner of Hurst Street in Birmingham, which opened in November 1976 as announced in Comic Media News No.28...

...and advertised fully in the following issue...
Art by Mike Higgs.
Shortly after, a second branch was opened to cater for back issues, a few seconds walk away in the subway of Smallbrook Queensway...
Art by Mike Higgs.
By 1979, a new larger premises were opened on the other side of the road at 14/16 Smallbrook Queensway, replacing the previous shops. (The subway shop was sold to Readers World who traded there for a while. The subway no longer exists, having been filled in as part of a redevelopment in Birmingham several years ago.)

With two floors, the new shop at 14/16 Smallbrook Queensway was brighter and more comfortable for customers. They are the same premises still in use today.

Years ago, Phil Clarke gave up ownership of Nostalgia and Comics when it was bought out by the Forbidden Planet International company, although they retained the name Nostalgia and Comics... until today. Now, with a complete refit, the name has been changed to Worlds Apart, which is also the name of a comics shop in Liverpool owned by FPI.

(If you're wondering why they didn't simply call it Forbidden Planet International when they took over, it's because they can't if there's a rival Forbidden Planet in the same town. Yes, there are two companies with similar names. It's complicated. Basically, the owners fell out years ago and both claimed the name for their rival shops. Forbidden Planet International with the black/gold/white branding is one company, whilst Forbidden Planet with the white/red/black rocket logo is a different company.)

I guess it makes sense for the sake of unity and branding to use the Worlds Apart name for their shops, but for many of us it's a sad loss to see the name Nostalgia and Comics go after more than 40 years. I was one of the original customers back in the 1970s and was a regular for many years, meeting up with other customers on a Saturday or Thursday before heading off for our weekly pie and a pint or whatever. Admittedly I don't visit as often as I used to but I'm sure it's still a great community spot for readers and will continue to be so under its new name.

Goodbye then, Nostalgia and Comics, but here's wishing Worlds Apart a bright and prosperous future! 

More info on the changes here:

...and a video of the refit, at the Geeky Brummie YouTube channel here:

Friday, April 12, 2019


On sale next Wednesday, 17th April, is Judge Dredd Magazine No.407, which is another packed issue of all-new material. As well as the strips, this issue features an article on Rebellion's forthcoming all-ages specials, including comments from some of us who worked on The Cor!! Buster Humour Special (also out next Wednesday and previewed at this link). 

UK and DIGITAL: 17th April 2019 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 17th May 2019 $13

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THE CRAZY by Kenneth Niemand (w) Nick Dyer (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

LAWLESS: ASHES TO ASHES by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

STORM WARNING: GREEN & PLEASANT LAND by John Reppion, Leah Moore (w) Tom Foster (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland  (l)

BLUNT II by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)

THE DARK JUDGES: THE TORTURE GARDEN by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Features: New Comics: All-ages titles; New Comics: 2000 AD Villains Takeover Special; New Books: Rico Dredd: The Titan Years

Bagged reprint: Operation: Overlord Vol.4

Available in print from: newsagents and comic book stores via Diamond
Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop and apps for iPad, Android, Windows 10

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