Friday, March 01, 2013
Epilogue: The Last Round-Up
When, in my previous post, I announced that I was ending this blog it took a few people by surprise. Reaction from readers has been very heartening and much appreciated. Although I still don't have the time or inclination to continue with Blimey I've been sufficiently encouraged to return for one last round-up of items that have been published recently, some of which I'd promised to promote a while ago. There's a lot to cover here so relax, have a cuppa, and here we go...
Above is the cover to a brand new comics magazine, Scraps, published by Blasé Books. Edited and designed by my old mentor Mike Higgs (I know, "Not so much of the old", - sorry Mike) who also contributes two strips Kevin and his Comics and The Yesterfiles. The 16 page A4 full colour mag also features two very informative articles by Peter Hansen on British comics and annuals, a Comic ODDments feature, and promotions for books by Blasé and Ugly Duckling Press.
A copy of Scraps No.1 will appear as a free insert in Multiverse magazine soon, or can be picked up in its single magazine format at various comic marts around the country (especially the Birmingham and London ones). However, if you'd like a copy posted to you, you can send a pound coin to cover postage to Blasé Books, Hazelwood, Birchfield Road, Reddich B97 6PU. Alternatively you can pay £1 via PayPal, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Another recent debut is Hairy Steve, an all-new 32 page comic book by Jamie Smart and Steve Bright. If you thought you knew what they could accomplish from their contributions to children's comics over the years think again. With Hairy Steve the creators give us a darkly funny adult comic that pulls no punches. A lupine hero! A mad scientist! Zombies! Violence! And more.
Both creators are highly talented writer/artists in their own right but with Jamie Smart on script and Steve Bright on artwork it's a winning combination that's a must-buy. Hairy Steve was made possible via Indiegogo crowdfunding so those of us who funded it have already received our copies. However if you weren't part of that and you'd still like a copy, a few are still available at a reasonable price. E-mail Jamie at email@example.com and he'll sort out a signed copy for you.
Fans of classic British comics will be pleased to hear that Steve Holland has revised and expanded his index for Lion comic into an impressive 262 page A4 softback book. Lion, King of Picture Story Papers is published by Bear Alley Books for £25.99 plus £4 postage. Well worth it for fans of the fondly-remembered weekly, as the book features a 100 page history of the comic, profusely illustrated with sharp, clear samples of strips, behind the scenes photographs of the editorial staff, and the index section itself runs to around 160 pages with details of all the strips in the weekly, annuals, and specials.
Even if Lion was before your time this is still an absorbing book for anyone with a genuine interest in the history of British comics. It's a great showcase of the outstanding artistic talent that was working in comics back then, with many full page examples of artwork from Joe Colquhoun, Reg Bunn, Leo Baxendale, Don Lawrence and many more. (Many pages are also reproduced smaller than published size, but the reproduction is still clear and legible.) Available here from Bear Alley Books website:
Speaking of classic British comic talent, Terry Bave has published his autobiography as a chunky 298 page volume. Cartoons and Comic Strips takes us on a journey from Terry's early days right up to the present, with many examples of his artwork from over the decades.
Terry's work has always had a gentle fun aspect that has appealed to children over the years. He understands the essentials of comic storytelling, with strips that are always clear to follow, and characters that are engaging. Credit must also go to Shiela Bave of course, Terry's wife, who has worked with Terry on the scripts for practically his entire career.
Copies of Cartoons and Comic Strips can be ordered from Terry's new blog at http://terrybave.blogspot.co.uk or directly from the Lulu website here:
An excellent graphic novel from a mainstream British publisher is The Complete Rainbow Orchid by Gavin Ewing, published by Egmont. This previously appeared as three separate comic albums but now they're collected into this sumptuous 136 page book.
The Rainbow Orchid is a real epic. An old-school quest type of adventure with the heroes traversing the globe. Garen Ewing's artwork is incredibly detailed. He draws in the fine line style inspired by Hergé and Edgar P. Jacobs but brings his own approach to it. The standard is phenomenal.
There are also bonus features at the back of the book (character designs and suchlike) and nicely designed endpapers showing specially created ephemera that perfectly mimics the early 20th Century era of the story. Let's hear no more complaints about Britain no longer doing all-ages adventure strips. This is one. Right here. And the quality is as high as anything that preceded it. The Complete Rainbow Orchid is a real treat, and a bargain at only £14.99. (ISBN: 978 14052 6385 6)
The third issue of indie comic Savage! Jungle Princess was published by Kult Creations recently. It's another full colour adventure by John Short and Gabrielle Noble featuring dinosaurs, Nazis, and 'saucy' fun.
You can order the latest issue of Savage, plus back issues and other good stuff from the Kult Creations blog here: http://kultcreations.blogspot.co.uk/
There's a new event for fans of British comics in the shape of Comic Empire coming to the Royal National Hotel on March 3rd, June 2nd, and October 5th. This replaces the dormant ABC Shows at that venue but will feature items to appeal to collectors of British comics, pulps, magazines and ephemera. See the flyer below for more details and keep an eye on the website http://www.londoncomicmart.co.uk/
Jim Alexander has been a professional comics writer for quite a few years now, and he's recently produced his own comics such as Scout One, Gabriel, Good Cop, Bad Cop, and Amongst the Stars. (The latter with artwork by Mike Perkins in issue 1.) Check out Jim's blog for details on how to order your copies:
Comic Heroes, the bi-monthly magazine about comics is on its 17th issue now (and some said it wouldn't last). Available from WH Smith, Tesco and other retailers this current edition features a load of excellent features. The history of Iron Man in comics, interviews with Mark Waid, Ramona Fradon, Roy Thomas, Liam Sharp, Andy Diggle, plus Paul Gravett writing about the work of François Schuiten, with reviews and much more. A very solid issue. £7.99.
PS Publishing have released a new batch of books recently in their line of pre-code American comics reprints. There's Phantom Lady, The Heap, Witches Tales Vol.2, and Chamber of Chills Volume 4 (which concludes that particular title, having now reprinted every issue). It's great to see these classic horror comics back in print for those of us who weren't around when they were originally published.
The nice thing about these 'Harvey Horrors' is that PS reprint the entire comic, adverts and all, which adds to the experience of capturing the times. Five to seven comics appear in each volume, and there's bonus pages of features and scans of original artwork. You can order the books directly from the publisher here:
Fans of horror comics may also be interested in The Best of From the Tomb, a softback book from Twomorrows Publishing reprinting articles from the UK From the Tomb fanzine, which also includes unseen pages that were scheduled for the unpublished 29th issue. A fascinating look back at the era of pre-code horror and crime comics, plus interviews with Joe Sinnott, Shane Oakley and others.
There's a new issue of CLiNT in newsagents and comic shops right now, with another 100 page helping of over the top action and breakneck entertainment. This issue (No.6 in the second series) features the latest chapters of Hit Girl, The Secret Service, Death Sentence and more.
Look out for another British adventure comic hitting the shelves of newsagents on March 28th! That's the day when Strip Magazine is scheduled for a relaunch with its second series (numbered 1.2). The line-up of stories looks fantastic, and the big news for fans of classic British comics is that it features the return of 1970s Hotspur superhero King Cobra, revamped for the modern age. More info here: http://stripcomicmagazineuk.blogspot.co.uk/
So, plenty happening print-wise in the UK but if you want to support a digital British comic as well, hop over to Aces Weekly which is now in its third volume. A mere £6.99 ($9.99) gets you access to each seven-issue volume. Yes, only a pound an issue, cheaper than any print comic. I created an all-new Combat Colin strip for issue 1, and will be doing another one soon, exclusive to Aces Weekly. Find out more about the comic and its creators here and subscribe!:
And finally... news about my new blog! Yes, Blimey! is still ending (for the reasons I gave in my previous post) but I'm launching a new blog lewstringercomics. As the name suggests, this one will only focus on my own material. (Which won't take me so long to research for one thing.) It won't be updated as often as this blog was, and the commentary will be shorter, concentrating on showing you samples of my artwork from the past, present and, hopefully, future. I hope you'll all give it a visit and bookmark it. You'll find it here:
Thanks again for visiting Blimey! over the last six years and for your kind comments after my previous post. See you over on my new blog!