Tuesday, March 03, 2015

It's shaping up nICE-ly for September in Birmingham

Here's the flyer for ICE, the International Comics Expo which takes place in the centre of Birmingham on Saturday, September 5th. As you can see, more guests have now been added and there's a fantastic line up including Iron Man artist Bob Layton, writer Robbie Morrison, Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson, the living legend that is Dave Gibbons and many more. Even me! 

That's not all. The following day (Sunday, September 6th) the same venue plays host to Comics Uncovered 2015, with master classes, seminars, workshops etc from some of the finest people in the industry. This is an unmissable event if you have ambitions to work in comics, or you just want to learn more about the nuts and bolts of the business. 

Book your tickets now! To find out all the details, visit the website here:

A new art exhibition from Jessica Martin

Multi-talented actress/singer/impressionist Jessica Martin has had an impressive start to her comics career. Bursting onto the scene in 2014 with the very well received It Girl, contributing to the anthologies To End All Wars and To Arms! and then publishing her second comic Vivacity. It's been a noteworthy debut and Jessica is also now a familiar face within the UK comics community at various shows and events around the country. The artist is currently hard at work on her graphic novel Elsie Harris Picture Palace to be published by Miwk later in 2015 and this month has an exhibition of her work at the Radlett Centre's Althorp Gallery in North London.
Entitled Jessica Martin's Picture Palace the exhibition opened yesterday (March 2nd) and runs throughout the month until March 31st. On her blog, Jessica describes the exhibition as "my very own hall of fame dedicated to all the Hollywood and British film icons who have enthralled me for a lifetime." There is a private viewing night on Thursday 12th March from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. 
For more information visit Jessica's website here:

...and the Radlett Centre website here:

My review of It Girl:

My review of Vivacity:

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Mike Noble in TV Comic

Before his long run illustrating Fireball XL5 and Zero X (plus a few Captain Scarlet stories) for TV21, Mike Noble was a regular artist in TV Comic from 1960 to 1965. Westerns were still very popular at the time and Mike illustrated The Lone Ranger in 1960/61. (Mike had also previously drawn the strip for Express Weekly in 1958 to 1960.) The above example is from TV Comic No.467, dated 26th November 1960.

After The Lone Ranger, Mike was commissioned to draw a similar strip, The Range Rider from 1961 to 1964. This example is from TV Comic No.579 (19th January 1963). It looks as though Mike was experimenting with a different inking technique on this one, with bolder outlines on the characters...

Here's another Range Rider page from TV Comic No.588 (23rd March 1963)...

...and another one from a year later, published in TV Comic No.634...

Personally I prefer his TV21 strips, full of explosive action, marvelously coloured, but it's interesting to see that Mike's early work also had his identifiable dynamism and excellent figure work. Definitely one of the greats, and, as always, my favourite UK adventure strip artist. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

More Baxendale Beezer Brilliance

Following on from the previous post about The Banana Bunch, here are a few more pages by Leo Baxendale that appeared in the (undated) Beezer Book that was published in 1963. Above are the superb endpapers from the book, with the characters creating chaos in the Beezer office. It's interesting to see Leo's versions of other artist's characters here.

The Gobbles is an often forgotten strip that Leo drew for the weekly Beezer from 1962 to 1964. Here are the two strips that appeared in The Beezer Book published in 1963...

Leo Baxendale's 'The Banana Bunch'

The Banana Bunch began in The Beezer No.1 way back in 1956 and proved popular enough to continue throughout the comic's run until 1993. The strip has been revived a few times since by various artists and was last seen in The Dandy in 2012 drawn by Nigel Parkinson.

Most of us will probably have grown up with the version drawn by the excellent Bert Hill, but the original artist was Leo Baxendale, who drew it from issue 1 in 1956 until No.438 in 1964. Here's a few examples of Leo's brilliance with the huge full page above from The Beezer No.295 (September 9th 1961).

Now the one from the following week, September 16th 1961...

Finally a couple of full colour pages from The Beezer Book 1964 (published in 1963). 

Truly funny stuff and some of the best material to have appeared in British humour comics. As always, click on the pages to see them much larger.
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