Sunday, October 23, 2016

Floor plan for Nottingham Comic Con

The organizers of the Nottingham Comic Convention have revealed the floor plan for the event, which takes place at the Nottingham Conference Centre next Saturday, 29th October. 

The show is on two floors. I'm on the lower floor (shown above) and you'll find me at table 34. Here's the banner to look out for...

I'll be available to do sketches of my characters on request, and I'll be selling my self-published comics and prints to anyone who's interested. I believe I'm also on a discussion panel at some point in the day. 

There's a great line-up of guests from the comics industry: Roger Langridge, Rachael Smith, The Etherington Brothers, Dan Berry, Chris Baldie, Abby Bulmer, Dean Beattie, Improper Books, Laura Howell, Marc Laming, and Avery Hill Publishing, along with loads of exhibitors, so why not have a day out in Nottingham and pay us a visit? 

For full details, visit the convention website:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Steve Dillon

I'm very sorry to hear of the news that artist Steve Dillon has passed away today, at just 54 years of age. I hadn't seen Steve for many years but I first knew of him back in the late 1970s when he published his stripzine Ultimate Science Fiction. The work was astonishingly good, and Steve was just 15 at the time. 

I think Steve published three issues of Ultimate Science Fiction in all, and contributed spot illos to fanzines before being discovered by editor Richard Burton and embarking on his professional career at 16 in 1978 drawing Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD for Dez Skinn's Hulk Weekly and back up strips for Doctor Who Weekly, including Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer. More work followed as Steve's style developed, and he was soon on Warrior right from the first issue in 1982, drawing Laser Eraser and Pressbutton, and on 2000AD drawing various Future Shocks and Judge Dredd.  

Since then, Steve had illustrated numerous strips, finding himself in much demand in the USA on award-winning comics such as Preacher (which he co-created for Vertigo) and on The Punisher. Steve had a natural talent for drawing pages that were easy on the eye and told the story superbly with a fantastic drawing ability. 
This small tribute doesn't do justice to the man or the amount of work that Steve created over the last four decades. I'm sure there will be many more tributes to this well-respected, well-liked artist over the coming days from his friends and his legion of fans. 

R.I.P. Steve Dillon, one of the greats.

Banned ACTION up for AUCTION!

The genuinely rare banned edition of Action is currently up for auction on eBay! This was the issue that would have been published 40 years ago last week when the order came down from IPC to suspend the title. An estimated 30 copies were printed, which I understand were only circulated in the office. An issue previously owned by ex-2000AD art editor Robin Smith fetched £2,555 on eBay last year (see story here) and this one is expected to rival it, if not exceed that price.

As I write this, the bidding is up to £750, and it closes in three days. It looks to be in very nice shape and has obviously been well looked after. If you wish to bid yourself, or just to follow the excitement, here's the link:

As Rebellion now own the rights to Action, here's a suggestion: How's about publishing a facsimile edition for the direct market of this un-circulated issue? Add a wraparound section detailing the history of the comic, and charge a tenner? Heck, charge £20 for it. It'd still be cheaper than buying the real thing. Even better, bag it with Judge Dredd Megazine and watch the sales of that issue soar!

Friday, October 21, 2016

More early work by Dave Gibbons (1976)

Concluding my look back at strips from 40 years ago, here are some examples of strips drawn by Dave Gibbons for the D.C. Thomson comics. The visual storytelling skills and dynamism of Dave's work was evident even then, and it was inevitable that he'd go far, as indeed he did. 

The Spy in the Sputnik was a typical D.C. Thomson yarn, improved considerably by having Dave Gibbons as the artist. It ran in Hotspur from the issues dated September 11th 1976 to October 30th 1976. Although it only a very short-lived series (8 episodes) it was awarded the cover slot from the first episode. 

During this period, Hotspur's editor implemented the baffling practice of moving the toplines (that traditionally ran across the top of each story page) to big flashes slapped in the middle of the artwork. This strange idea was very distracting and took the reader out of the story. (It was one reason I stopped buying Hotspur in the mid-1970s so I never saw these strips until I bought the comics on eBay recently.)

After The Spy in the Sputnik, Dave's next published serial for D.C. Thomson was The Flying Tripehound for The Wizard. Thankfully, a comic that kept the toplines at the top. Here are the first two episodes from December 1976. (A "tripehound" was aviation slang, and not the abusive term it is today.)

A while back, on the Comics UK Forum, comic historian Ray Moore kindly provided a list of Dave's strips for these comics. I've shown examples of the Simon Gaunt stories and Year of the Shark Men on this blog in the past (check out the links after this list). 

"Dave Gibbons full list of work for Wizard is as follows:

The Wriggling Wrecker 20/7/74 - 21/9/74
The Year of the Shark Men 24/4/76 - 10/7/76
The Deathless Army (Simon Gaunt mystery story) 14/8/76
The Last Torpedo (Simon Gaunt mystery story) 28/8/76
The Flying Tripehound 18/12/76 - 12/2/77
Cat and Mouse 13/8/77 - 8/10/77
Cat and Mouse 3/12/77, 17/12/77, 24/12/77

He also did occasional work for Hotspur inc

The Spy in the Sputnik 882(11/9/76) - 889(30/10/76)"

Ten years after these strips were published, Dave would be at the top of his game illustrating Watchmen, one of the greatest graphic novels in the history of comics.

NOTE: Interestingly, The Spy in the Sputnik was actually a redrawn / revised version of a strip that Ian Kennedy had drawn several years earlier. Colin Noble has the details on his blog:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Chained to his Sword (1976)

As promised the other day in my post about the early work of some of our top comics creators, here are a few examples of Chained to his Sword. This series appeared in D.C. Thomson's  The Wizard in 1976, although I there had been an earlier series a few years before. The artwork is by the great Carlos Ezquerra, designer of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog for 2000AD and Starlord

The first episode from The Wizard dated September 25th, 1976...

The episode from The Wizard dated November 13th, 1976...

The penultimate episode from The Wizard dated December 25th, 1976...

Tomorrow I'll be showing more 40 year old strips from another comics legend! 
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