Friday, September 19, 2014

New look for 2000AD

Cover art by Greg Staples.
Next week Britain's longest-running adventure comic weekly 2000AD reaches the landmark issue Prog 1900, and gets a facelift with a new design and masthead. 

The issue also sees the start of three new stories, with two others to begin the following week. The Forbidden Planet International Blog has the full details, along with previews of the strips, so check it out now:

2000AD Prog 1900, on sale Wednesday 24th September. Still only £2.45.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New look for Marvel Legends in October

Next month, Marvel Legends becomes the last of Panini's six Marvel Collectors' Editions titles to be revamped with a Marvel Now! branding. Following its sister publications such as The Mighty World of Marvel and Avengers Universe, the comic will restart with a new No.1 and have a slight redesign including a new logo. 

Marvel Legends (which I've always considered to be the modern equivalent of Odhams' Fantastic) features individual stories of Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America and this line-up continues in the new look issue. It will be an ideal 'jumping on point' for new and lapsed readers as the first issue begins new story arcs for all three strips. 

The last issue in the current series, No.102 (shown below) is in shops now, and the new Marvel Legends No.1 goes on sale on October 16th, still at £3.50.

DWM 478 out today!

The traditional format of the British comic being a publication comprised exclusively of comic strips only really gained traction in the last half of the 20th Century. Before then, comics were usually a mixture of text stories and comic strips. So perhaps it's not too surprising that the basic model would keep evolving. 

Today, that all-comics format that most of us grew up with has practically died out in the UK, save for a few titles such as The Beano, The Phoenix, Commando, and 2000AD. It's understandable that to the casual browser and various curmudgeons it may seem that "the UK comics industry is dead", - but that's not really the case is it? I fully agree of course that we don't produce anywhere near the comics output as we used to, but there are still strips being produced in the UK for British publications. 

One example, Doctor Who Magazine, which every month features 12 and a bit pages of comic strips originated here in the UK. Granted that's only a fraction of its 84 page format, and granted that most readers buy the mag for the features, but 12 pages is nothing to be sniffed at.

In this month's issue, out today, The Eye of Torment part two by Scott Gray, Martin Geraghty and David Roach continues the adventures of the new Doctor. It's good, solid, professional stuff. 

Oh, and the 'bit' part of "12 and a bit pages of comic strip"? That's the second of my Daft Dimension humour strips. Ok, vested interest declared, but I have promoted DWM here several times in the past before I was a contributor. It's a good mag, and if you're a fan of Doctor Who an essential purchase. 

By the way, when I plugged DWM last month apparently some of you bought Doctor Who Adventures by mistake. That's a good mag in itself, and features all-new comic strips by John Ross and Jamie Smart, but it is pitched at the very young, so if you want a mag for the older fan, Doctor Who Magazine (cover shown above) is the one you want. (But don't let me stop you from buying both of course.)

Doctor Who Magazine No.478. Out now. £4.99.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy Birthday to Mike Noble!

Today is the 84th birthday of Mike Noble, one of the greatest adventure strip artists of British comics, - and certainly my favourite. I've been a fan of Mike's work for 49 years, ever since his Fireball XL5 strips in TV21, and although he's not as active in illustration today his style is still as dynamic and accomplished as it ever was. 

Mike's a rare visitor to comic events but I did have the pleasure of meeting him ten years ago at a Bristol Comic Expo, and he came across as an unassuming and genuinely nice bloke. 

On Facebook today, Beano artist Nigel Parkinson (who used to draw for Thunderbirds the Comic) said:
"Lovely fellow and very humble. When I met him (wow, 20 years ago!) he was saying to Alan [Fennell] how much he admired Embleton and Bellamy and how he wished he could draw as well as them. Well sir, you did and do!"

I wrote a tribute to him and his work seven years ago on this very blog and you can read it here:

Today, the Down The Tubes forum has a birthday tribute to the great man, which you can read here:

Here's wishing Mr.Noble a very happy and healthy birthday, and many more to come! 
Photo from LOOK-IN in 1971 showing Mike's original art.


The mighty Simon Williams, brilliant comic artist and all-round good guy, has given his blog a bit of a makeover and it looks great! Simon is a natural superhero artist of the old school (but not old fashioned) where storytelling was clear, the pages were exciting, and the characters were suitably dynamic. He was a regular on the much-missed Spectacular Spider-Man and Marvel Heroes comics from Panini, and one of his strips featuring Death's Head is reprinted in the Marvel Heroes Annual 2015, out now!

Check out Simon's blog to see his awesome work, including authentic looking imaginary cover creations such as the one shown above. And Marvel editors, if you're reading this, give Simon a series!  

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