Monday, October 26, 2009

Crikey! No.12 out this Friday


Issue No.12 of Crikey! the magazine of British comics should be in shops across the UK this Friday (October 29th). Once again it contains a strong variety of content, including interviews with Pat Mills (talking at length about his time at IPC plus other things), Leah Moore and John Reppion (on Albion), and veteran comic artist Frank McDiarmid (Cheeky weekly).

Also included is Lee O'Connor discussing his new project with Pat Mills (Stars: The Ayatollah's Son) and the first part of a two parter on Doctor Who comic strips over the years.

Issues of Crikey! can be bought from branches of Borders and various newsagents across the country, priced £4.99, or you can subscribe via their website here:
http://www.crikeyuk.co.uk/sub.html

Crikey! is the only magazine devoted to British comics, and let's face it, there have been very few precedents, so I hope all readers of this blog will support it so that it can continue to thrive. Remember, Crikey! doesn't have the backing of a major publisher behind it so it's up to us to keep such independent publications alive.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

30th Anniversary of VIZ



The 30th Anniversary issue of Viz, Britain's swearingest comic, is out today (cover shown above). Originally conceived in 1979 as a 12 page comic sold in local Newcastle pubs, Viz became a massive hit with the public, with its sales gradually rising from just 200 to over a million an issue by the 1990s.


(Above: Viz No.1 from 1979)

The latest issue reflects the original format a little by featuring more half-page strips in order to accommodate more characters within its pages. Classic characters such as Tommy 'Banana' Johnson are back in new stories, along with Hector the Collector and His Metal Detector and Johnny Fartpants, and regular favourites such as Roger Mellie and The Fat Slags are also included. (I contribute a half-page Pathetic Sharks strip on page 33.)

To celebrate the rare occasion of a British comic actually lasting for 30 years, The Cartoon Museum in London will be holding an exhibition of original Viz artwork from November 4th 2009 to January 24th 2010 (35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH). For more details visit their website at:
http://www.cartoonmuseum.org/

Viz No.190, the 30th Anniversary issue, is in the shops now priced £3.00
http://www.viz.co.uk/

Friday, October 16, 2009

30 Year flashback: Doctor Who Weekly No.1


At the 1979 British comic convention in Birmingham's Metropole Hotel there was a buzz going around that Marvel UK were about to launch a brand new comic exclusively for the British market. Expectations were high, and on a panel that weekend Dez Skinn, then editor at Marvel UK, announced that the title was to feature... Doctor Who.

Personally my initial reaction was disappointment. As a (then) 20 year old I was going through my "Doctor Who is for kids" phase, - although I was still buying about 25 Marvel comics every month which kind of deflated that air of maturity. However, the news was that Dave Gibbons would be drawing the strip and I liked his work from 2000AD so when Doctor Who Weekly No.1 hit the stands on October 11th 1979 I gave it a go...

...and thought it was brilliant. From the outset Dave's artwork on part one of The Iron Legion was powerful and fantastically drawn, and the fact it was written by Pat Mills and John Wagner, my two favourite 2000AD scriptwriters, was equally pleasing. Doctor Who had previously suffered a roller coaster life in comics. Between the strips in TV Comic (mostly so-so, some dire) to Countdown/TV Action (all excellent) and back to TV Comic again (nosediving to comic strip hell) Marvel UK needed to raise the bar, which they certainly achieved. Thirty years on I still think the splash page is one of the most dynamic openings I've seen for a first issue of a British comic...


The lead strip only took up five pages in the 32 page weekly but the pace was fast and, it has to be said, more dramatically satisfying than the tv show was at the time.


The first issue had a fairly modest free gift; a small assortment of rub-down transfers that could be applied to the full-colour "panoramas" on the inside covers. (Interior colour! This was Marvel UK pushing the boat out, - but just for this launch issue.) The artwork on the transfers and the panoramas was also by Dave Gibbons...



The weekly included two other comic strips. One was the start of a reprint of a War of the Worlds adaptation from Marvel Classic Comics No.14. For the weekly, the Fourth Doctor's head was pasted onto page one as a narrator and the heading Tales from the Tardis added.

The final strip in the comic was another all-new British production; The Return of The Daleks, a four pager written by Steve Moore and drawn by David Lloyd...


The rest of the comic was taken up with short articles on the tv show. Mainly introductory for this first issue, the features explained the background story of The Doctor and the Daleks. There was also the first of a "Photo-File" series of pages with data on the actors from the show. William Hartnell was this issue's subject, and the first issue was dedicated to his memory.


All in all, a very solid publication and a great start to the comic. One thing that stands out today is that although these early issues were aimed at children, Doctor Who Weekly didn't dumb down to its readers. That's something that unfortunately can't be said for its modern-day equivalent Doctor Who Adventures. One cannot argue against DWA's success (regularly outselling other comics) but surely it would still sell on its name even if it wasn't quite so "young"? Or has the age of literacy declined so much between generations that short blurbs on photographs are now preferable to articles, and cut-out masks are more popular than fact-files?

Doctor Who Weekly has survived the years of course, maturing with its readership. It became Doctor Who Monthly less than a year into its run and still thrives today as the 68 page all-colour Doctor Who Magazine. (Issue 414 of which was published yesterday.) Today it's a sophisticated magazine with in-depth features and interviews and its comic strip is now ten pages in length, but in essence it's still the same mag that Dez Skinn edited 30 years ago. I may have been skeptical about it when I heard the news in 1979 but Marvel's decision to publish was right, - three decades later it's still with us and, along with 2000AD and Viz, is the only other comic launched in the 1970s to have survived the years!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Amazing cover galleries


Just a quick blog today as deadlines loom but here's a link to a website that should keep you fascinated for hours, if not days. Maybe even weeks. Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics is a fantastic index of DC Comics over the decades which provides background information on the characters and all kinds of other info. The best feature being an exhaustive cover gallery. Click on the Time Machine section, choose a year, select your month, and you'll see all the DC comics that had that cover date (or at least as many as Mike Voiles has scanned in so far, which is a lot).

Mike's now also opened up his Amazing World of Marvel Comics, which does the same for Marvel from 1939 to 1999. Again it's not complete yet but there are still hundreds of covers to see when you step onto the Time Platform. Behold the comics we'll never afford! Gasp at the way the cover art used to actually represent the content! It's a must-see website that's taken Mike ages to produce and is an ongoing project. Well worth a visit and definitely worth bookmarking!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Doctor Who Exhibition to close


Not exactly comics-related but as some visitors to this blog are fans of Doctor Who I thought this might be of interest. The Doctor Who Exhibition which has held a prominent position on Blackpool's Golden Mile for five years is to close next month on November 8th.

Some of the items from the museum will be transferred to other Doctor Who Exhibitions around the UK. The museum features a range of props, monsters and costumes from the history of the 45 year old tv series.


I visited the exhibition last summer and I have to say I was somewhat disappointed that only props from the "classic" pre-Christopher Eccleston series seemed to be featured, and the items seemed somewhat shabby. However, the props and costumes were designed for the tv screen of course and never intended to be convincing up close. It was still interesting to view such items, including the TARDIS console and a Mechanoid from the 1965 serial The Chase which actually looked better constructed than some of the 1980s props.



Fronting the museum is a shop selling a good range of modern Doctor Who merchandise along with numerous back issues of Doctor Who Magazine and recent issues of Doctor Who Adventures. (There you go; there is a comics connection to this blog entry. ;-))



The exhibition (which is on Blackpool seafront, practically opposite the Central Pier) will be open every day from 10.30am to 8.00pm until November 8th, when it closes its doors for the last time.


This isn't the first Doctor Who Exhibition that has appeared (and disappeared) in Blackpool. A similar one, not far from the current venue, opened in 1974 and ran for 11 years. The current one will certainly leave a void. Blaring the various Doctor Who themes out from its key position on the promenade it presumably attracted lots of passing trade from Blackpool's millions of tourists, but according to this report the decision was made by the BBC:
http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/blackpoolnews/Closure-for-popular-Prom-attraction.5762660.jp

Click on the photographs to see them full size.


The good news for Whovians is that the exhibitions in Cardiff, Glasgow, Lands End, and Coventry will continue. For more information on the Doctor Who Exhibitions around the UK visit this website:
http://www.doctorwhoexhibitions.com/

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This year's NEMI annual


Titan Books have recently published Nemi 3, another hardback collection of Norwegian cartoonist Lise Myhre's daily comic strip. The 144 page full colour volume includes a great selection of strips featuring the sharp-witted free-thinking Goth, translated into English by Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik.

Alongside the daily strips, longer Nemi stories are also included from the Norwegian Nemi monthly comic. The 11 page Monstrifer tale is particularly interesting, a story of Nemi's childhood and of learning to be proud of her individuality. Under lesser hands this could have been sickeningly cute, but Lise can be relied on to retain the right balance of pathos and biting humour, with an hilarious final panel for those who have been paying attention.


There are also a selection of full page illustrations spread throughout the book, which originally appeared as covers for the Nemi monthly. Nicely composed designs that would look great on a wall, and in fact in Norway they appear as pages in the Nemi Calendars.


The cover to the book itself is taken from a Norwegian Nemi Christmas album from 2002. For some reason the colour scheme has been changed from the original, and I have to say I prefer the more festive red and green of the Norwegian version (below).


With this third British volume, Nemi seems to be an established part of our Christmas books line up as much as she is in her native country. This doesn't surprise me, as I always felt the themes in the strip were universal enough to work anywhere. If you're a follower of Nemi from the UK Metro newspaper you'll enjoy this book, and if you're new to the strip, give it a go. Without wishing to sound pompous, it's a modern strip for modern times. When this celebrity-obsessed, brand-brainwashed, go-with-the-flow society of ours gets too oppressive, Nemi cuts through it like a knife. Best of all, it's funny.

Forbidden Planet currently have copies signed by Lise Myhre for sale from their online store HERE for just £7.99.

Below: Lise looking very glamourous at the launch party for last year's Nemi book at the Norwegian Embassy. Read about it here.



Doctor Who bonanza from Panini


News of three new Doctor Who publications from Panini UK:

First up, rapidly approaching its 30th Anniversary, Doctor Who Magazine No.414 is out this Thursday. Unusually for DWM, the issue is bagged (see above) with a free gift: four packets of the new Doctor Who Alien Armies cards (25 cards in total, including a limited edition one exclusive to DWM). The 68 page issue also features a wealth of interviews and features plus part one of a new comic strip Ghosts of the Northern Line. Here's the actual cover, unbagged:


Comic strips featuring the 10th Doctor from recent issues have been collected in a few graphic novels, the latest of which is Doctor Who: The Widow's Curse, which collects nine stories:
THE WOMAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
BUS STOP!

THE FIRST

SUN SCREEN

DEATH TO THE DOCTOR!

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS

THE WIDOW’S CURSE

THE IMMORTAL EMPEROR

THE TIME OF MY LIFE!




As a bonus, the book contains a bumper commentary section where the writers, artists and editors reveal the stories behind the strips, featuring never-before-published sketches, unused and deleted scenes, original story outlines and more. Available now from all good bookshops priced £15.99 or from Amazon currently at £11.19.



Also available now, from newsagents and comic shops, priced £5.99, is the Autumn Doctor Who Special Edition, Doctor Who Magazine Special 23: Sarah Jane Smith. No comic strips in this one unfortunately but for fans of the series DWM takes you behind the scenes of The Sarah Jane Adventures, with an in-depth episode guide, including original storyline ideas, deleted scenes, and hundreds of facts – all illustrated with never-before-seen photographs. Plus an extensive brand new interview with Elisabeth Sladen, who plays Sarah Jane Smith. (A new series of the Sarah Jane Adventures starts this Thursday on BBC1.) On sale now, priced £5.99.

Thanks to DWM editor Tom Spilsbury at Panini UK for permission to run the images.

Next year, Doctor Who gets a complete facelift; new Doctor (Matt Smith), new companion (Karen Gillan), new/retro TARDIS (based on the exterior design of the original Hartnell one), and a brand new logo. Expect to see this logo on all new Doctor Who merchandise in 2010, including Doctor Who Magazine. Click the video below for a preview...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Four more Commando issues out now


Thanks to Callum Laird at D.C. Thomson, here's the details of the four issues of the war comic digest Commando that are in the shops now...

Commando No 4235: Desert Despatches

Thought you’d heard the last of Fred ‘Ferret’ McGlone, Harry Hornby and Digby Bolton? They were the Trident newspaper’s finest war reporters in a bygone era. But Ferret still has a few tall tales to tell — and they’re all true, of course…
Like the time the intrepid newsmen went to cover the war in the Sudan, and Digby had swapped his sketch pad and pencils for a new-fangled movie camera.
Get ready to read their DESERT DESPATCHES

Story: Norman Adams
Art: Keith Page


Commando No 4236: Need to Know

A crack British unit was on a secret mission in German-occupied Greece. This operation was top secret, NTK − Need To Know. Then disaster struck. The officer in charge was killed and the only other person who knew their objective lost his memory in the same attack.
With the enemy on their trail, the team had to complete their vital task, and fast. If only they could work out what it was…
We could tell you what it was but, yes, you’ve guessed, the details are strictly NEED TO KNOW!

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Ricardo Garijo
Cover Art: Ian Kennedy


Commando No 4237: OIL RIG RAIDERS

Out of the night they came − a gang of international terrorists intent on holding a whole North Sea oil rig and its crew to ransom.
But they were not to have everything their own way. A call for help had gone out. The Royal Marines were on their way!

Story: Mike Knowles
Art: Denis McLoughlin
Cover Art: Phil Gascoine


Commando No 4238: GRADY’S AIR FORCE

As he lumbered along in his ancient Tiger Moth biplane, Eddie Sampson couldn’t wait to join his old friend, Mick Grady, who now commanded the mercenary air force flying for the government side in a bitter African civil war.
It was hard to believe that this wild, reckless Irishman could be in charge of anything. But Eddie soon had other things to worry about when a salvo of tracers suddenly streamed past him − fired by six rebel jets that were closing in fast…

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Gordon C Livingstone
Cover Art: Gordon C Livingstone



Sunday, October 11, 2009

40 Year Flashback: WHIZZER AND CHIPS No.1


Four decades ago today, on Saturday 11th October 1969, IPC Magazines launched the first of many humour titles that would propel them to the top of the British comics industry. Whizzer and Chips No.1 arrived boasting the unique selling point of it being "Two comics for only 6d", - 16 page Chips comic was inside 16 page Whizzer.

As with most comics of the period, Whizzer and Chips No.1 was promoted on television with short, snappy ten second advertisements and within other comics (such as Smash!) with four page pull-out ads on salmon-pink paper...




In reality, Whizzer and Chips was only ever one comic of course, and, within the walls of IPC, was regarded as such by its editor Bob Paynter. At the time D.C. Thomson's Dandy and Beano each had 16 pages for 4d and IPC knew they couldn't compete on that level, so the illusion of two comics for 6d worked, as Whizzer and Chips seemed better value for money as "two" comics than it would have as one.


Being a rival to Dandy and Beano was obviously the intention, and IPC's clever "two-in-one" marketing technique ensured the success of the comic right from the outset. A comic cannot survive on a gimmick alone of course, and fortunately Whizzer and Chips also had a strong content. Many of the humour strips were created by relatively new cartoonist Terry Bave and his wife Sheila who provided the scripts. Bave had learned his craft freelancing for Odhams on strips such as Sammy Shrink and Baby Smasher. For the early issues of Whizzer and Chips he provided no less than seven pages! One of the most popular, Me and My Shadow, a simple but imaginative concept, can be seen here...


Other artists who had freelanced for Odhams also appeared in IPC's new venture. Mike Lacey kicked off with Odd-Ball (which would run for many years by various artists) and Sid's Snake, but the superb Graham Allen was wasted on the limited strip Give A Dog A Bone (a dog tries to hide his bone every week with not-quite-hilarious consequences), and Mike Higgs felt the talents he'd developed on The Cloak were restrained when he was given the more pedestrian Space School to illustrate. Nevertheless, Mike still turned in a great job...


Adventure strips also appeared in the early issues of Whizzer and Chips, albeit fairly lighthearted ones compared to the sort of material that Valiant featured.


Kings of the Castle was a ho-hum strip about the working-class King family inheriting a castle, The Space Accident was a science fiction strip drawn by Ron Turner, The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk was about a kid with magic glasses, but the standout strip for me was The Stealer, nicely illustrated by Tom Kerr...


The most distinctive humour pages in the comic were written and drawn by veteran comic artist and comic historian Denis Gifford who presented us with Koo-Koo Klub and a revival of his 1950s Knockout character Steadfast McStaunch. Every week Gifford devised puzzles that McStaunch would need the reader to solve, - a great interactive idea. Whist Gifford is remembered as the author of many books on comics (who also devised tv and radio shows) his inventive comic style has now mainly been forgotten which is a great shame. Here's the first 1969 Steadfast McStaunch, completely written, drawn, and lettered by Denis...


Another gimmick that Whizzer and Chips was renowned for was the "rivalry" between the two comics, where characters from one comic would "raid" the other, - and the readers would have to spot them in backgrounds. That didn't kick off until issue two, however Chips No.1 cover-starred Sid's Snake - the characters that from No.2 would be the cover stars and mascots of Whizzer. The famous cover star of Chips, accident-prone Shiner, didn't appear until the second issue.


Right from the outset Whizzer and Chips looked slicker, stronger, and better designed than its Odhams predecessors Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! had been. Personally, as a ten year old reading it back then, I found it entertaining but not as irreverent or, well, funny, as the Odhams weeklies had been. The hallmark of IPC's humour comics was "safe" comedy, and Bob Paynter would always encourage creators to be "careful", fearing backlash from parents and retailers.

That said, a few hundreds thousands kids obviously enjoyed Whizzer and Chips immensely, given its long run. Even though I never found Harry's Haunted House anywhere near as entertaining as The Nervs, I still stuck with the comic until my early teens, - mainly due to the solid storytelling and artwork. The popularity of Whizzer and Chips led to the launch of Cor!! in 1970, and many other similar titles such as Whoopee!, Shiver & Shake, Monster Fun, Jackpot, and others which enjoyed varying degrees of success. Even Fleetway's Buster was gradually revamped into an all-humour title to fit within the IPC humour group.

IPC attempted the "two-in-one" gimmick again in the early 1970s with football weekly Score 'n' Roar and humour comic Shiver and Shake. Neither were very successful, proving that innovation is better than imitation. (My theories on Score 'n' Roar's failure can be read here.)

Forty years ago I remember a schoolmate of mine, Grant Hicks, running around the playground of our junior school with Whizzer and Chips No.1, ecstatic that he'd got "Two comics for the price of one". IPC's gimmick had paid off, and continued to do so for that title for many years.

Companion comics which fell by the wayside, such as Knockout and Whoopee! were merged into the seemingly invincible Whizzer and Chips. Eventually the two-in-one comic's luck ran out. Whizzer and Chips folded in 1990, by which time a drop in sales and budget cuts meant that it contained a lot of reprint and had reduced its total page count from 32 pages to 24, phasing out the Chips insert. Yes, in the end Whizzer and Chips merged into itself, before being swallowed up by the long-running Buster.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Alan Moore's Dodgem Logic No.1


Weird! Eerie! Authentic! Dodgem Logic, the latest idea from the mind of Alan Moore, is "the 21st Century's first underground magazine from his home town of Northampton" which will be published every two months by Knockabout. The internet is already buzzing over this new mag and the official press release can be read over on the Moore & Reppion website (that's the site of Alan's daughter Leah and her husband John, both writers in their own right)....

http://www.moorereppion.com/announcing-alan-moores-dodgem-logic/02/10/2009/




Friday, October 09, 2009

Dave Gibbons interviewed


Here's a blast from the past I dug out recently: an early Dave Gibbons illustration for Nick Landau's 1974 fanzine Comic Media No.11. Although Dave's work would soon become more polished, it's still a very striking image. Interestingly, inside the mag, Nick's editorial mentions that Dave was moving onto professional work so effectively this was his last work purely as a fan. (And this issue was the first fanzine I ever bought, - ordered via an ad in the Marvel UK weeklies.)

Speaking of the talented Mr.Gibbons leads me onto the main news item of this post which is that a long and fascinating interview with Dave about his many accomplishments (including his early days) can now be read online at:
http://sardinianconnection.blogspot.com/2009/10/dave-gibbons-interview-1.html

and part 2 at:
http://sardinianconnection.blogspot.com/2009/10/dave-gibbons-interview-2.html

The interview was conducted with smoky man and Antonio Solinas for an Italian book published in 2008 and covers Dave's entire career to date.

Before I go, here's another rare piece from that same 1974 issue of Comic Media, - a humourous ad by Dave for Martin's Bookshop. A quick Google search found the address is now a Ben Pentreath Boutique. How times change...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Best of Battle is here!

Titan Books' long-delayed The Best of Battle has finally been published and, to coin a cliché, has been worth the wait. A chunky 288 page collection of strips from the long-running Battle Picture Weekly comic of the 1970s (then published by IPC, but now owned by Egmont) which features artwork by some of the industry greats.

Inspired by D.C. Thomson's Warlord comic, Battle (as it became known) was a far tougher comic than most of its predecessors at IPC (such as Jet and Thunder). Whilst these stories still stray into the cringe worthy "Achtung Englander" type territory, and D-Day Dawson's exploits are somewhat far fetched, they also offer a grittier portrayal of warfare than had been seen in other comics of the period.


The book reprints a selection of stories from 18 different strips, ranging from the obvious choices (Charley's War, Johnny Red) to the more obscure (Panzer G-Man, Crazy Keller). Each strip is fronted by bonus material, - brief background notes on the characters and anecdotes from people who worked on the comic such as Pat Mills and Dave Hunt.


There are a few little mistakes in the book. At one point Mike Western is referred to as Chris Western (mixing him up with modern artist Chris Weston), and the D-Day Dawson art is solely credited to Colin Page when most of the selection features Geoff Campion art. It's also a bit strange that whilst we're told that Hold Hill 109 was a complete mini-serial in just six episodes the book stops short at chapter four. However, these are minor niggles and not something that should deter buyers.

Titan have wisely presented the book in a cheap softback value-for-money format for a R.R.P. of £9.99 rather than the hardback slick format of their Steel Claw and Spider volumes. Nevertheless, reproduction is first rate, with solid black inks and good clear linework.

The back of the book offers a welcome surprise for fans of the genre: "coming soon" from Titan Books will be individual solo collections for Johnny Red, Darkie's Mob, Rat Pack, and Major Eazy.

The Best of Battle is a superb collection of some of the finest UK adventure strips of the 1970s. With artwork by Joe Colquhoun, Geoff Campion, Carlos Ezquerra, Mike Western, Eric Bradbury and more it's a perfect example of a solid era of British comics. Copies are available from the Forbidden Planet website at a discount and you can order your edition here:
http://forbiddenplanet.com/37606-best-of-battle-volume-1/?affid=stringer1959


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Misty returns - twice!


Not only is the classic British girls' comic Misty back on the shelves as the latest Egmont Classic Comic it's also soon to return as an all-new one-off Halloween special! (See the cover by SMS above.)

Egmont UK launched the Misty edition (shown below), on September 16th, and it is exclusively sold in WH Smith. Its 52 pages reprint various complete mystery stories from the old weekly with artwork by John Richardson, Jesus Redondo, and others. It's available until 8th December, priced £3.99, when it will be replaced on the shelves with the fourth Egmont Classic Comic, Buster.

The other Misty special (shown at the top of this blog entry) is scheduled for later this month. This one will not be published by Egmont, but is produced with their permission. The 80 page edition will feature a selection of brand new complete stories by today's creators including John Freeman, Vicky Stonebridge, Briony Coote and Terry Wiley. It will also feature art by David Roach and an interview with Moonchild artist John Armstrong. A Bella poster by John Armstrong will be free inside.

Unlike the Egmont Classic Comics Misty special, the new Misty comic special will not be available in newsagents but you can order your copy from the publisher, priced £9.99, at the mistycomic.co.uk fan site:
http://mistycomic.co.uk/Mistycomic_Special_2009.html


Monday, October 05, 2009

A few photos from BICS 2009


I enjoyed the British International Comics Show at Millennium Point (above) in Birmingham over the weekend. Company was good and weather was quite pleasant for October. I didn't have the chance to attend the panel discussions as I was busy on Egmont's Toxic table all weekend, so bearing that in mind, this isn't a review of the event, just a few photos inside the exhibitors' halls. That said, I didn't hear any bad things about the show, and there were a good variety of items on the bill so it seems to me that everyone had a fun weekend.

Here's the photos then, with captions underneath....


On the Toxic Table; Andy Davidson (editor) and Luke Paton (sub-editor / writer). Laura Howell and I joined them for a sketching session over the weekend which proved quite successful as numerous readers dropped by for a sketch. Good to meet the readers (two of whom are in the photo) and find that today's kids are still enthusiastic about comics.


Above left: John Short, writer of Rex and Robin Hoodie for Toxic.
Above right: Andy Dodd, caricaturist and artist of various projects for Time Bomb Comics.


Vincent Danks and Roger Gibson presenting their regularly published ongoing British crime comic Harker. Website: http://www.arielpress.com/index.html


Creator of The Cloak and Moonbird, Mike Higgs displays his latest work: a huge 464 page hardback collection of classic British superhero strips from the 1950s! Great British Fantasy Comic Book Heroes is a very limited collectors' edition that you can purchase by reading the details on the flyer reproduced below:



Above left: Nigel Dobbyn, artist on such varied comics as Sonic the Comic, The Beano, 2000AD and Spider-Man and Friends sketches for the readers. Fans of his version of Billy the Cat will be pleased to hear that he's produced another strip featuring the superhero for the Beano Annual 2011, on sale in September 2010.
Above right: Writer Ben McCool makes a welcome return to British shores for BICS before returning to his New York home.


Bryan Talbot was busy all weekend signing copies of his new graphic novel Grandville. More info and details of the other dates on Bryan's signing tour here:
http://www.bryan-talbot.com/grandville/index.php#grandvilletourdates


Wil Overton shows off a great new UK comic that he and his associates have produced: Smart Bomb! I'll be reviewing it here soon. Wil also runs dinkybox.co.uk a great online store that, amongst other things, sells art supplies that are ideal for comic artists, including the Deleter G Pen nib like wot I use.


Graham Pearce with his ongoing small press comic Sgt. Mike Battle. This is a very funny humour comic that I recommend everyone should buy. I'll be reviewing the recent issues here soon (honest Graham!). http://www.sgtmikebattle.co.uk/

Sitting beside Graham is freelance artist Vicky Stonebridge who co-organises the Hi-Ex comic event in Inverness.


Mike Collins spent a busy weekend sketching for fans, including some great illustrations of the new Doctor Who! See Mike's work soon in Panini UK's all-new G.I. Joe monthly comic.

Finally, a few quick snaps taken around the halls during the weekend...






Thanks to James Hodgkins and Shane Chebsey for another enjoyable comics show. You do the industry proud, lads, and your hard work is always appreciated.
http://www.thecomicsshow.co.uk/

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