Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Inking Woman exhibition opens today

Now at London's Cartoon Museum is The Inking Woman, a new exhibition highlighting the work of women cartoonists from the last 250 years. It runs from today until the 23rd July and you'll find out the full details at this link:

Digital Rasher

The Beano website now has a couple of my old Rasher mini-strips online. Click on the links to read them:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Promoting VALIANT in 1962

Here's how the first issue of Valiant was advertised to readers, in a full page ad in Knockout dated 6th October 1962. This was definitely a case of Fleetway bringing in new comics to replace the old, as Knockout merged into Valiant the following year. 

Valiant enjoyed a long, healthy run, absorbing Smash!, TV21, and Lion along the way until it eventually merged into Battle in 1976. By then, the "NEW, EXCTING, DIFFERENT" Valiant had itself become old fashioned (despite a valiant attempt at a revamp, pardon the pun) and it was time for the grittier new comics such as Action and 2000AD to take over.

Related blog posts:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Phoenix collector covers!

Children's weekly comic The Phoenix has recently started a four-week series of "Epic Lorenzo Collector Covers" featuring the work of top artist Lorenzo Etherington. These are the regular covers as seen in the shops. They're not rare variants you'd have to pay premium for or anything like that.

As you can see from the two already published, these are fantastic pieces of dynamic comic art. Better still, each issue features its cover as a pull-out A3 poster too! 

The Phoenix is a real success story of modern British comics. Independently published, it's now on its 277th issue, features quality work by contemporary creators and no paid ads.  

Contributors to current issues include Jamie Smart, Neill Cameron, Faz Choudhury, The Etherington Brothers, and more. It has proven to engage young readers who eagerly look forward to every weekly issue. 

To find out more about it, check out The Phoenix website here:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alan Hebden set for Enniskillen Comic Fest

With just under two weeks to go, the Enniskillen Comic Fest have announced their latest guest. It's none other than writer Alan Hebden, who will be a familiar name to readers of Battle, 2000AD and Commando

Here's how event organiser Paul Trimble announced it on the Comic Fest Facebook page:

Hey there folks! Just TWO weeks away from the best comic event of the year! Hope your all looking forward to it! As a last minute treat we here at Enniskillen Comic Fest are delighted to announce yet another special guest, this time in the form of none other than ALAN HEBDEN! Alan has created a wide variety of classic comic characters including Major Eazy and El Mestizo for Battle along with fellow guest Carlos Ezquerra. He is the creator of Fighting Mann and Wardog for Battle with yet another Comic Fest guest Cam Kennedy. He has also created Meltdown Man and wrote Return Of the Mean Team. Not only that he has created a variety of Future Shocks and Episodes of M.A.C.H 1 all for 2000AD! Now how's about that for a last minute announcement!

With other guests including John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Alan Grant, Ryan Brown, Cam Kennedy, Glenn Fabry, Ian Richardson, Nigel Parkinson, Davy Francis and more, the Enniskillen Comic Fest looks set to be a great event! I'll be there too. See you there!

Find out more here:

Good to see this ad in the latest 2000AD spreading the word! 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Preview: DANDY ANNUAL 2018

The weekly is long gone but the annual keeps on coming! Amazon have revealed the cover to The Dandy Annual 2018, which is a special 80th anniversary edition. Cover by Nigel Parkinson.

I have several pages in this book, and I'll show you previews over the coming months. For now though, here's a panel from a Keyhole Kate page I did. 

The Dandy Annual 2018 is scheduled for July (but more likely to be August or September in the bookshops). 

The Whole Hog

Following recent blogs by Andy Oliver and myself, Phil Boyce has now joined in on his own blog to help promote the British comics industry. 

On The Oink Blog, Phil Boyce says "Just as the music industry has changed so much, just as the TV industry is changing, so too are comics.  Just as I said at the time the UK industry is leading the way and I'm very happy to see this still being reported in the wider comics press."

It's not the first time that Phil's praised the industry of course. See his post from 2015 here:

I can understand that some prefer the days of weekly anthology comics, but those days are practically gone, except for Beano, 2000AD, and The Phoenix. Most comics are monthly now, focus on one character, and have been that way for a very long time. (Not that comics like that are new in the UK of course. The 1950s saw an explosion of British independent comics mimicking the American format.) 

It's good to see a genuine comics fan like Phil Boyce helping to spread the word that the UK comic industry may have changed but it's still alive and kicking!

Prog Preview: 2000AD Prog 2028

Here's your weekly advance look at pages from the next upcoming issue of 2000AD with its brilliant eye-catching cover by D'Israeli. This edition will be in the shops on Wednesday 26th April. Thanks to Rebellion for permission to show this preview...

UK & DIGITAL: 26 April 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 26 May 2017 $7.99
In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Harvey by John Wagner (w) John McCrea (a) Mike Spicer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Defoe: Diehards by Pat Mills (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Scarlet Traces: Cold War - Book 2 by Ian Edginton (w) D'Israeli (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Friday, April 21, 2017


Okay, strictly speaking it's called Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #46 - Toys, but it has "Summer" as the cover date, it's a Special, and Summer Special trips off the tongue much better. 

This time, the 100 page special focuses on Doctor Who licensed products such as toys and games, covering their entire history over six decades. This isn't a mere listing of products, but a detailed insight into the background of the items, and the people and companies involved in making them happen. 

Comics aren't included because they were amply covered in a previous special two years ago (see here) but there is one strip from the Give-A-Show Projector Set shown. Superbly illustrated throughout with numerous photographs of various items, press clippings, advertisements and suchlike, this is a must-have for anyone interested in Doctor Who toys. Published by Panini UK and available now for £5.99.

Also out from Panini this week....

INCREDIBLE HULKS #10. On sale 20th April! FINAL ISSUE!
76 pages of gamma-charged action! Three awesome stories! £3.99!
So what happens when Marvel's two green heroines finally meet? Trouble! She-Hulk and Gamora team up! By John Layman and Otto Schmidt!
Also: an untold tale revealed at last! Joe Fixit battles the West Coast Avengers! By Jim McCann and Agustin Padilla!
Plus: The Maestro now has the power of a god! Don't miss Contest of Champions by Al Ewing and Rhoald Marcellius!
Featuring material first printed in Guardians Team-Up #4, Hulk Smash Avengers #4 and Contest of Champions #10.

WOLVERINE & DEADPOOL #10. On sale 20th April!
76 pages of claw-popping action! £3.99!
Wolverine is recruited by SHIELD to battle a monstrous enemy – and wait till you see who it is! By Tom Taylor and Marcio Takara!
Also: Deadpool wants to avenge his parents – by killing Sabretooth! A savage new story begins by Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli!
Featuring material first published in All-New Wolverine #8 and Deadpool #6, 8-9.

AVENGERS UNIVERSE #10. On sale 20th April!
76 pages of Earth’s Mightiest heroes! £3.99!
A new adventure! Deadpool, Rogue and Quicksilver encounter Hank Pym – and Ultron too! By Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz!
Also: The All-New Avengers encounter the all-new Wasp! Plus: the search for Nova's father begins as the team heads into deep space! By Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar!

Featuring material first published in Uncanny Avengers #9 and All-New Avengers #9-10.

Billy Bunter's KNOCKOUT (1961)

Knockout had been around since 1939, and Billy Bunter had always featured in a strip inside the comic but presumably the success of the Billy Bunter of Grayfriars School TV series (1952 to 1961) encouraged Fleetway to revamp the weekly into Billy Bunter's Knockout for a while. Therefore, Bunter became the lead strip in the 20 page comic, with his story taking up four and a half pages. 

The artwork was by the superb Albert Pease, who had previously been known for his splendid Casey Court illustrations on the back of Chips for many years. The drawings are fantastic examples of top class cartooning, although the racial caricatures are uncomfortable to see today. Nevertheless, here was Fleetway giving a character plenty of room for a decent story. A pity that these sort of longer stories didn't become the norm in British humour comics, instead of the single page / double page (or less) format that most strips still have to this day. 

This example from Knockout dated 9th September 1961. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ron Turner's SPINBALL WARS (Battle-Action 1978)

The artist Ron Turner delighted comics readers in the 1950s with his superb science fiction strips such as Space Ace and Rick Random, and in the 1960s with his colour work on The Daleks for TV21. By 1978 he was illustrating The Spinball Wars for Battle-Action, and I'd like to show you a sample of that today. This episode is from Battle-Action dated 7th January 1978.

The Spinball Wars had begun life as Death Game 1999 for Action in 1976, changed to the less violent Spinball when the comic was toned down, and later became Spinball Wars to suit the war-themed Battle Picture Weekly when it and Action merged in 1977. Though not as gory as the early issues of Action had been, Battle-Action was still more brutal than most comics, as you can see from this strip with someone being riddled with bullets, his corpse staring blankly at the reader. Ron Turner's style would have perhaps been too slick for a traditional war strip but it was ideal for the futuristic Spinball Wars

Hopefully, now that Rebellion have the rights to this old material, perhaps we'll be seeing collections of Death Game 1999 and Spinball Wars in the future?

New comic from Titan

The prolific London publisher Titan Comics launches another all-new comic this week with Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War No.1. Here's the info from Titan's website:

Ryan O’Sullivan O’Sullivan
Daniel Indro Kevin Enhart



Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War No.1 is available from comics speciality shops from today (or more likely tomorrow if Easter holidays have delayed deliveries).

Grey summer of '69

I can't actually remember if the summer of '69 was grey or blue (a bit of both as usual I suppose) but the title of this post refers to the rather drab advert for the IPC Holiday Specials that appeared that summer. 

As promotions go, it's not that exciting is it? Rather dull layout, dry text, and printed in monochrome, and yet... worked! The announcement did excite us, and we did seek out those wonderful 96 page specials, and they provided us with some great reading over the summer holidays! The advertisement raised our curiosity to find out more, and in that regard it succeeded perfectly. 

Here's the actual covers of three of those Holiday Specials from my collection for you to see them in their full colour glory.

I didn't have the Valiant Summer Special that year but you can see that cover (and more) here:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

COMMANDO previews

Here's the details of the latest four issues of Commando, that will be in the shops from Thursday 20th April. Info supplied by D.C. Thomson...

Issues 5011-5014 deliver a hotpot of unique wartime adventures, ranging from WWII Home Front detectives to grizzled Yankees in the Vietnamese jungle. While Flight of Fancy and Killer Commando tackle different genres, delivering time honoured Commando themes and stories with a Science Fiction twist and Film Noir flair, Launch the Wildcats! offers a different perspective on the Germans in WWII, and The Hill, with its Vietnam setting, tackles notions of duty and pacifism. There’s certainly something for everyone in these issues!

5011: Home of Heroes:
Flight of Fancy

“No, it can’t be? A flying saucer! It’s right here in front of me…just like in those comics!”

In a singular George Low story, Commando dips its toe into the realms of Science Fiction as WWII Private Roger Brown, general knowledge mastermind, encounters a flying saucer! Roger’s squad immediately dismiss him, thinking he’s gone mad. But was the aircraft only a figment of his imagination, or could it possibly be one of the Nazis’ experimental “Vengeance Weapons”?

The otherworldly ideas of this issues are highlighted by the stand out greens and reds of Ian Kennedy’s cover, contrasting the alien nature of the aircraft against the natural forest backdrop. However, Rezzonico’s interior art keeps Commando’s military realism intact, featuring detailed illustrations of Tiger Tanks, Panzers, PIATs and Flugkreisels.

Story | George Low | Art | Rezzonico & Vila | Cover | Ian Kennedy

5012: Gold:
Launch the Wildcats!

Giving the rare perspective of a British subject raised in Germany, McOwan’s story shows that there is prejudice on both sides, and emphasises a varied view of the Germans, many of whom hated the Nazis. These blurred enemy divides are highlighted in Gordon C. Livingstone’s action packed cove, as deep blues bleed into reds and purples across the page.

Franz Braun, really Frank Brown, attended school in Germany, cared for by his loving aunt and uncle. But as he grew, Nazism tightened its grip on his adopted homeland and Franz was forced to return to Britain. Then, when the war started, Franz fought against the country that had raised him in order to free it from its oppressive government.

Story | McOwan | Art | Gordon C Livingstone | Cover | Gordon C Livingstone
Originally issue 332 (May 1968) and 1039 (June 1976)

5013: Action and Adventure:
The Hill

It’s January, 1968. Rookie troops are stationed on Hill 466, A.K.A. Little Round Top. There’s booby-traps, deadly wildlife, sweltering heat - and the North Vietnamese Army is closing in, but the men must defend that hill with their lives. This tension is felt from page one as Janek Matsiak’s cover puts you right in the action, seating you inside a helicopter looking out at a fight of armed choppers hovering over the tangled green mass of the Vietnamese jungle. However, what makes this story unique is the characters’ view that, unlike the two world wars, this fight may have no reason…

An ensemble of characters, different motives and reservations are voiced against and in for the Vietnamese war, but thanks to Rodriguez’s detailed illustrations, each character is distinctive.

Story | Ferg Handley | Art | Rodriguez | Cover | Janek Matysiak

5014: Silver:
Killer Commando

Ian Kennedy’s second cover in the collection, the close-ups of the hero and villain, complete with a fedora, trench coat and silencer pistol are all reminiscent of the Film Noir style it pays homage to, which C T Rigby takes full advantage of in the interior art.

Mike Knowles’s story is a tale of old versus young, when a rogue Commando, trained as an expert assassin, can no longer see the line between right and wrong. After killing his ex-smuggling partner during an air raid, decorated Dunkirk veteran Kenneth Bagnall thinks he has gotten away with murder – but hot on his tail is veteran civilian policeman Ernest Hallows.

But who will win this deadly game of cat and mouse…?

Story | Mike Knowles | Art | C T Rigby | Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally 2545 (February 1992)

Monday, April 17, 2017


Here's an advance preview of Judge Dredd Megazine No.383, out next week. My thanks to Rebellion for the info and images...

UK & DIGITAL: 19 April 2017 £5.99
* NORTH AMERICA: 19 May 2017 $13

Judge Dredd: Gecko by TC Eglington (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Anderson, Psi Division: Dragon Blood by Alan Grant (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Havn by Si Spencer (w) Jake Lynch (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Lawless: Long-Range War by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Interrogation - Dermot Power, 
Interrogation - David Aja, Alex De Campi, Kei Zama, 
New Comics: Freeway Fighter, 
New Books: The Last American

Bagged reprint: Dead Signal by Al Ewing (w) PJ Holden (a)

Available in print from: newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond
Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop ( , 2000 AD iPad app ( , 2000 AD Android app ( , 2000 AD Windows 10 app (

Coming up in 2000AD...

Thanks to Rebellion for this advance look at the next issue of 2000AD, in the shops this Wednesday!

UK & DIGITAL: 19 April 2017 £2.65
* NORTH AMERICA: 19 May 2017 $7.99


Judge Dredd: Harvey by John Wagner (w) John McCrea (a) Mike Spicer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Defoe: Diehards by Pat Mills (w)   Colin MacNeil (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Scarlet Traces: Cold War - Book 2 by Ian Edginton (w)  D'Israeli (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l) 
Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond.
Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop ( , 2000 AD iPad app ( , 2000 AD Android app ( , 2000 AD Windows 10 app (
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