Wednesday, June 20, 2018

James Hansen

I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of the artist James Hansen (often known as Jimmy Hansen) who died on Tuesday 19th June 2018. Although I never met him, I had communicated with him several times on Facebook and of course I was well aware of his work for comics such as Whizzer and Chips, Buster, Beano, Dandy, Wallace and Gromit, and many more.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Jimmy Hansen drew thousands of pages for British comics, working on strips such as The Bumpkin Billionaires, Ricky Rainbow, P5, a stint on Dennis the Menace, and Buster amongst others. He was the cover artist on Buster for the last several years of the comic, bringing a great sense of energy and fun to the strip, as he did with all his pages. 

In more recent times, he contributed the sci-fi strip Slash Moron to Aces Weekly, which he worked on with Bambos Georgiou and John Burns.

Tributes are starting to come in from people who knew and worked with him, remarking on his professionalism and friendliness. He was one of the top humour artists in the business whose work entertained countless readers over the decades. 

My condolences to James' family and friends on their loss. 

Here's a small selection of pages by the artist...

Preview: BEANO No.3940

There's a new issue of the Beano out today, and Bananaman takes the cover position. You can find out more about this issue at

There's also a new Big Eggo strip from me. Who has made Eggo so angry? Find out by buying the Beano this week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Comic Cruelty

The phrase "You couldn't get away with that in a comic now" is often overused, but you definitely couldn't get away with this story today. In fact, some comics wouldn't have published it back then either!

This episode of Percy's Pets is from Smash! Annual 1968, writer unknown (possibly Les Lilley?), and drawn by Stan McMurtry. The opening panel is vicious enough, with poor Percy being clouted so hard by his dad that his chewing gum flies out of his mouth, but the child cruelty continues throughout the story.

Smacking a naughty child is bad enough, but Percy doesn't do anything to deserve such violent treatment. The whole story revolves around how funny it apparently is for good-natured Percy to be beaten by his bad-tempered dad. 

Much as I love the Odhams comics of the 1960s, they could often be irresponsible in their comedy-violence. It can be argued that they were so over the top that the violence is on the level of a Punch and Judy Show and not to be taken seriously. I'd usually agree with that, and the way that Ken Reid handled such material, for example, was genuinely funny. This one, I'm not so sure about.

As a child, I'd find stories like this amusing, and surely that's the important thing? After all, the story is aimed at kids. To put it in context, 50 years ago, shamefully enough, it was commonplace for parents to smack their kids, so scenes like this wouldn't seem unusual then. As an adult, I find it somewhat disturbing and I'm glad comics don't feature parents belting their kids now. (Although Biffa Bacon spoofs this perfectly in adult comic Viz.) What's your opinion? Post a comment below...

The Power Pack of Ken Reid reaches 100% funding!

The popularity of the work of the late Ken Reid has been confirmed in that the crowdfunding campaign to reprint his 1960s Odhams work has reached 100% in just 18 days! 

The two-volume hardback set will reprint Ken's Frankie Stein, Jasper the Grasper, Queen of the Seas, Dare-A-Day-Davy and The Nervs from the pages of Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! 

On his Kazoop!! blog, the books' publisher Irmantas Povilaika said: "I am happy to announce that the campaign has now reached 100 per cent of its goal! The most recent supporter was the 17 year-old British Artist/Satirist Zoom Rockman, and this demonstrates that the appreciation of Ken’s work goes way beyond nostalgia!"

Raising an important point, Irmantas continued "There are still nearly three weeks to go, and the fact that the goal has now been reached does not mean that further contributions aren’t accepted! The Etherington brothers achieved 24 000 per cent with their recent Kickstarter project! :)"

He concluded, "Remember that backers of the campaign will be the only ones who will be proud owners of the slipcase edition and the prints of original artwork – these perks won’t be available to the general public when the campaign ends and the books are printed!"

To back the project and pre-order the books, visit the crowdfunding page here:

A few weeks ago I interviewed Irmantas about the project and you can read that here:

Monday, June 18, 2018

35 years in comics!

It's been 35 years since I sold my first professional cartoon; "What If Iron Man lived up to his name?" It appeared in Marvel UK's The Daredevils No.7, back in June 1983 (cover dated July), under the editorship of Bernie Jaye. Up to that point I'd received rejections from IPC, D.C. Thomson, and even my local paper, but Alan Moore (who was very supportive of new creators) encouraged me to submit stuff to Marvel. I still remember the feeling of excitement upon hearing that they had accepted my work. 

I'd submitted several cartoons on the "What If..?" theme and they used one a month, paying just £5 each, but it was a start! It soon led to work for other Marvel comics, and for other publishers too. I'll always be grateful to Alan Moore for the encouragement and to Bernie Jaye for publishing my first material. 

You never reach "superstar" status in humour comics, like some superhero / sci-fi artists do, but it's been a busy and varied career and I've made a lot of good friends along the way so that's reward enough for me. Although some diverge outside of comics into computer games, storyboarding, advertising, etc, I've managed to make a living exclusively in comics for 35 years, so I count myself very fortunate for that. Thanks to those of you who have bought and supported my work over the years!

If you want to see what I'm up to these days, check out Big Eggo in The Beano, Team Toxic in Toxic, Hygiene High in Epic, and The Daft Dimension in Doctor Who Magazine. PLUS catch up with reprints of my old work in comics such as Combat Colin, available directly from me:

...and 35 years in comics is a good time to start a brand new series of Derek the Troll stories, coming your way this Saturday, 23rd June, in the new online comic Goof! Check it out:

Goof! will be launching at Macc-Pow! on Saturday, so see you there!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Commando comics out now

I'm catching up with news after my holiday, so apologies for this info running late. All four comics are in the shops now...

5131: Home of Heroes: The Phantom’s Revenge

The Phantom is back! But doom is foretold for all those who sail on her. Hunting down a notorious French vessel which is sinking British ships in the Mediterranean, Captain Valentine has more to worry about than the dreaded Captain Ricordeau. Paying five silver coins for his fortune to be read, Valentine never expected that each coin would prophesise a different death in his crew… or that the last one would read destruction for them all!

Returning to the ‘Phantom’ series, Teague ups the stakes as the story build to its glorious climax when Ricordeau and the final prophecy come together in a dramatic crescendo. Alcazar’s bold lines prove perfect for the ornate but hard-wearing ships.

|Story | Dominic Teague | Art | Vicente Alcazar | Cover | Janek Matysiak |

5132: Gold Collection: Midnight Menace

Surrounded by advancing German troops, Second Lieutenant Matt Rogers and his batman Private Don Arle were isolated from the rest of their squadron. To make matters worse, Rogers gun wasn’t loaded — and Arlen was just waiting to put a bullet in his back. But the pair would have to work together if they were going to uncover what the Nazis were calling “Operation Midnight Sun” and stop them before they could execute it!

Allan’s classic tale of enemies turned friends is immediately spun on its head, the opening panel offering a glimpse into the story ahead, as Arlen holds his gun aimed at hero Rogers — the turning point of the entire issue.

|Story | Allan| Art | CT Rigby | Cover | Penalva |
Originally Commando No. 463 (March 1970). Reprinted No. 1323 (June 1979).

5133: Action and Adventure: The Home Front

Wilhelmina Home of the WAAC had travelled around. She knew a thing or two about car engines and mystery novels, but after her friend is found dead in his factory and his livestock look to be poisoned, Wilhelmina would have to gather all her wits to unravel the strange events unfolding. Little did she know that she would soon be caught up in a plot involving German spies that threatened the population of Britain!

Accompanying Shane Filer’s twisting story is endearing interior and cover artwork by Carlos Pino. Perfectly pairing the noir themes, Pino’s Wilhelmina is drawn as a feisty Louise Brooks, her hair and outfit always impeccable.

|Story | Shane Filer | Art |Carlos Pino | Cover | Carlos Pino |

5134: Silver Collection: Deadly Convoy

Plucky Corporal Sam Wilson didn’t always go looking for trouble, but trouble soon found him. He was the kind of guy who’d rather be in the thick of it than on the side-lines, much to the grievances of his squadron. But, when Wilson gets the chance to join the Commandos he signs up immediately, hungry for action!

Phil Gascoine’s stunning acrylic cover showcases CG Walker’s Tommie hero as the archetypal Commando cover star, his oerlikon machine-gun blazing against the diving stukas, the yellow and red burning on the muted blue of the waves.

|Story | CG Walker | Art | CT Rigby | Cover | Phil Gascoine |
Originally Commando No. 2760 (May 1994).

Lofty's One-Man Luftwaffe comes to the Megazine

The latest strip from the archives of British comics to be collected by Rebellion is Lofty's One-Man Luftwaffe, which originally appeared in the first 20 issues of Battle Picture Weekly back in 1975. The reprint will appear as a comic bagged with Judge Dredd Megazine No.397, in shops this Wednesday.

Here's the info on that issue...

UK and DIGITAL: 20th June 2018 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 20th July 2018 $13

In this issue:

JUDGE DREDD: THIS CORROSION by Michael Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer  (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Len O'Grady, Brendan McCarthy (c) Ellie De Ville (l) 
DEVLIN WAUGH: KISS OF DEATH by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)
TALES FROM THE BLACK MUSEUM: PROPHET OF STOMM by David Baillie (w) Steven Austin (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Features: 2000 AD Sci-Special creators, Nicolo Assirelli interview, Michael Fleisher obituary, Halo Jones
Bagged reprint: LOFTY'S ONE-MAN LUTWAFFE by by John Wagner, Pat Mills (w) Charles Herring, Paolo Ongaro (a)

Cover preview: 2000AD Prog 2086

In shops this Wednesday...

2000AD Prog 2086
UK and DIGITAL: 20th June 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 20th July 2018 $6.75

In this issue:

JUDGE DREDD: THE PARADIGM SHIFT by Michael Carroll (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l) 

SURVIVAL GEEKS: GEEK-CON by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

DURHAM RED: BORN BAD by Alec Worley (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Preview: 2000AD Sci-Fi Special 2018 - out this week!

The much anticipated 2000AD Sci-Fi Special by an all-women set of creators hits the shops this coming Wednesday. Here's a preview of some of the pages...

UK and DIGITAL: 20th June 2018 £4.99
NORTH AMERICA: 11th July 2018 $9.99

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THE FEELS by Emma Beeby (w) Babs Tarr (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

TYRANNY REX: “DON’T FORGET TO BLAST MY CACHE” by Katy Rex (w) Liana Kangas 9a) Liana Kangas & Gab Contreras (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

ROGUE TROOPER: THE THOUSAND DAYS by Alex De Campi (w) Sam Beck (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

FUTURE SHOCKS: DELIVERY by Tillie Walden (w+a+l)

JUDGE DEATH: DARKNESS DESCENDS by Leah Moore (w) Xulia Vicentes (a) Pippa Mather (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

DEMARCO, P.I.: LOVE REMAINS by Laura Bailey (w) Dani (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

TERROR TALE: THE HOCKEY STICKS OF HELL by Olivia Hicks (w) Abigail Bulmer (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION: SPA DAY by Maura McHugh (w) Emma Vieceli (a) Barbara Nosenzo (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Judge Anderson poster by Marguerite Sauvage

Available in print from: newsagents, comic book stores via Diamond

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: The Dandy Summer Special 2018

I always associate Summer Specials with Blackpool, as that's where my parents used to treat me to them when I was a child. It was, therefore, a pleasant surprise to find this year's Dandy Summer Special had been published a few days early when I was up in Blackpool last Monday. Naturally, I didn't hesitate to buy it, although the £6.99 cover price is significantly higher than the 1/6d (7 and a half pence) it used to cost 50 years ago. 

These days, the format of the D.C. Thomson Summer Specials is a 68 page A4 sized 'bookazine' with card covers, so twice as thick as the old specials, albeit smaller in dimensions. Apart from the excellent cover by Ken Harrison, the contents are entirely reprint. Good quality reprints though, with classic artwork from Dudley Watkins, Charlie Grigg, Eric Roberts, Bill Holroyd, Robert Nixon, Steve Bright, and more.

Most of the reprints are from old Dandy Summer Specials and Annuals, with a handful of weekly pages too. Unfortunately, a few of them have been stretched vertically slightly to suit the A4 proportions. It's distracting, unnecessary, and makes the characters look wonky. (The worst affected being a Terry Bave Winker Watson strip with a round sun turned into an ellipse!)  Other than that, this is indeed a special collection. I was pleased to see it includes a Desperate Dan story about an aquarium that was one of my favourites from the 1968 special. Genuinely funny stuff and worth the price of the comic in itself.

The Special contains a nice range of stories from 1968 up to 2006, with a generous helping of 1960s/70s strips. Instead of having the usual mixture of characters, this year they've focused on just seven, with several examples of each. The stories are Desperate Dan, The Jocks and The Geordies, Korky the Cat, Beryl the Peril, Corporal Clott, Winker Watson, and Brassneck

If you're a fan of classic British humour comics, or you want a satisfying summer comic, The Dandy Summer Special 2018 is for you. Now on sale in branches of WH Smith, and hopefully, other shops too! 

It's MACC-POW! next week!

Art by Marc Jackson.
This blog's been quiet this week because I've been away for a few days (see here) but now I'm back at the drawing board (and computer screen) and will be busily working all weekend. 

Next Saturday, 23rd June, it's Macc-Pow! 3, so get along to Macclesfield to see us! A comics-dedicated event that's worth attending. I'll post more about it in the days to come but for now here's their Facebook page:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Photos from Wythenshawe Comic Con

It was an honour to be one of the invited guests at the very first Wythenshawe Comic Con, which took place yesterday, 9th June 2018. A relatively small convention, but it attracted a lot of people despite competing with the glorious weather outside. Lots of families there, including several kids in Dennis the Menace style stripey tops! I really enjoyed the day, and the event had a nice atmosphere. Thanks to John Webster for the invite and for looking after us all. A good day and I hope there'll be more!

Here's a few photos...
The Beano's Nigel Parkinson!
Colin Mathieson of Accent UK comics.

Writer and editor Dan Whitehead.

Doctor Who storyboard artist Mike Collins.

Artist, writer, editor David Leach.

A happy customer!

'tis I.

More photos on the Wythenshawe Comic Con Facebook page:

The organiser, John Webster, also runs the Wow! Comix comic shops. Check them out if you're up that way:

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Power Pack proves popular!

Frankie Stein original art by Ken Reid.
The Power Pack of Ken Reid, the forthcoming hardback reprints of Ken's Odhams strips, has proved to be incredibly popular amongst backers. In just a week since funding began, the project is 84% backed, and there's still a month to go! If you want to ensure your copies of these wonderful books you can back the project here:

There's a new, in-depth interview with the man behind the project, Irmantas Povilaika, over on Steve Holland's Bear Alley blog, which you can read here:

(If you missed my interview with Irmantas from 1st June, you'll find that here: )

The news of Ken Reid's highly regarded 1960s work finally being reprinted has certainly excited UK comics fandom, and quite right too! Don't forget to follow Irmantas' Kazoop!! blog for all the latest updates!

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