Tuesday, August 14, 2018

'Appy Anniversary, Ally!

It's the anniversary of Ally Sloper, Britain first ongoing comics character, who made his debut this week in 1867. Thanks to John Freeman for discovering the following website that's full of Sloperness and has a scan of that very first story...

https://allysloper.co.uk/2018/08/14/the-compleat-history-of-ally-sloper-2-some-of-the-mysteries-of-loan-and-discounts-14-08-1867/

Earlier this year I had a go at drawing the esteemed Mr.Sloper myself, which you can see at the top of this post.


Monday, August 13, 2018

See you at TFNation this weekend!

Many years ago I was a regular contributor to The Transformers comic, back when it was published by Marvel UK. Not on the lead strip itself, but creating humour relief strips. Robo-Capers ran for 150 issues or so, and was then replaced by Combat Colin for several years. 

Anyway, this weekend I've been invited as one of the guests to TFNation at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole (next to the NEC and Birmingham International airport). The Transformers are still as popular as ever, although I've never really followed the franchise so come along and ask me about Combat Colin! 

It should be good fun, and a change from the usual comic cons I've attended. I hope to see some of you there! 

Other comics guests include Mike Collins, John-Paul Bove, Jack Lawrence and more. Here's the info:
https://tfnation.com/2018/






Review: Comic Scene No.1

After the launch issue (Christened No.0) a few weeks ago, Comic Scene has now begun properly as a monthly magazine and No.1 is out now. In case you haven't heard, Comic Scene is a magazine dedicated to UK comics old and new, and this first issue delivers the goods with a nice range of subject matter.

There's quite a focus on female comics creators (and characters) in this issue, which I hope will educate the corner of fandom who still aren't aware that there are some great comics produced by women, and always have been. There's an article on Marie Duval, co-creator of Ally Sloper in the 19th Century, a feature on the late, great Yvonne Hutton who drew Roy of the Rovers in the 1960s/70s, and we're brought right up to date with an interview with talented Rachael Smith. There's many other features besides, including a look at Misty comic and more.



Other content includes a look back at the first UK comics con from 50 years ago, John Freeman on why it's no longer such a simple matter to launch new comics in newsagents, Vertigo comics at 25 (okay, that's an American company, but lots of Brits have worked for them), and a free sample pull out of Pat Mills' new book on the development of Slaine. 



And, as they say, much, much more! 

Some of the articles are still a bit too brief, but most are the right length to keep the magazine busy and varied. I hope that all readers of Blimey! are supporting Comic Scene. Basically, if you like my blog you should enjoy that mag, and when Blimey! is no longer around I hope Comic Scene continues for many years to come. 

You can find out more information on Comic Scene, where to find it, and how to subscribe, at the following link:
https://comicscene.org






Sunday, August 12, 2018

Coming from Rebellion this week...

As well as the aforementioned launch of The Vigilant (see review here), this Wednesday also sees the publication of 2000AD Prog 2094 and Judge Dredd Megazine No.399. Who sez British comics are dead? 
Here's the cover previews and content info...

JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE No.399

UK and DIGITAL: 15th August 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 15th September 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: JUN181953
COVER: ADAM BROWN

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: BRAIN DRAIN by Rory McConville (w) Staz Johnson (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer  (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

DEVLIN WAUGH: KISS OF DEATH by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)

CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Len O'Grady, Brendan McCarthy (c) Ellie De Ville (l) 

STRANGE BRIGADE by Gordon Rennie (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Features: How To Write A Future Shock, Strontium Dog miniatures game, 
Bagged reprint: JUDGE DREDD: THE LOST CASES by Alan Grant (w) PJ Holden, Anthony Williams, David Roach, Paul Marshall, Nick Dyer, Karl Richardson (a) Ellie De Ville, Simon Bowland (l)




2000AD Prog 2094
UK and DIGITAL: 15th August 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 15th September 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: JUL182098
COVER: KEI ZAMA (A) KELLY FITZPATRICK (C)


In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL by Rory McConville (w) Leonardo Manco (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)


THE ORDER: THE NEW WORLD by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


THARG'S 3RILLERS: APPETITE by James Peaty (w) Andrea Mutti (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


MECHASTOPHELES // TRUE FAITH by Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie (w) Karl Richardson (a) Simon Bowland (l)


GREY AREA: THE LAUNDRY ROOM by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)


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

Friday, August 10, 2018

THE VIGILANT, - spoiler free review

In shops this coming Wednesday (15th August) is the long-awaited issue of The Vigilant, Rebellion's one-off special that teams up several classic characters from past UK comics in an all-new story. The title echoes the type of classic comic of the 1960s (Victor, Valiant, etc) and also works as the name of the team. Good choice! The comic will be available in comic shops, - and newsagents too I believe. 

Although the story in this issue is self-contained, it's evident that it could lead in to a sequel, or perhaps even on ongoing title. (Or at the very least, maybe as a new series in 2000AD.) Simon Furman's story is dynamic and moves along at a fast pace but I do wonder if there are perhaps too many characters introduced at once for readers to adjust to and care about. It's a busy comic with a lot going on! Might it have been better to start off focusing on one or two heroes instead of presenting readers with a whole team and their adversaries? Audience reaction will tell soon enough. 

Most of the characters have been updated, such as Pete from Pete's Pocket Army and The Leopard From Lime Street , - now wearing a coat for some reason (wouldn't that get in the way of his gymnastic-type abilities?). The new Thunderbolt the Avenger is a woman, which may annoy misogynists (good!) and there's a new character, Yao. 

It was great to see Adam Eterno back in action; one of my favourite characters on the 1970s. I was less enamoured to see the Steel Commando included (who I always found dull and tedious back when he was in Thunder comic) BUT the way he was handled here was superb and made me appreciate the character for the first time. There are a few unannounced old characters who appear too, but I'll avoid spoiling those surprises. 

Simon Coleby's art has a good edge to it that suits this modernisation of the classic characters. It looks both contemporary and traditional, so a good choice to illustrate this saga. 

I was expecting this comic to only feature a full-length story so it was a nice surprise that there are also back up stories that focus on three of the team members. Each story ties into the main feature. 

I really wish The Vigilant well, and hope that we'll see it return as another special, mini-series, or ongoing title. 

Here's a few preview pages and the PR...

UK and DIGITAL: 15th August 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 15th September 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: JUN181951
COVER: SIMON COLEBY

The Vigilant: Maelstrom
When the evil forces of Von Hoffman and Dr Mesmer team up and pluck the immortal Adam Eterno from the winds of time, all of reality is under threat! Only The Vigilant; a mighty team composed of super-beings, warlocks, warriors and monsters stand between us and total chaos! Join The Leopard from Lime Street, Steel Commando, Dr. Sin, Pete’s Pocket Army, Blake Edmonds, Yāo and Thunderbolt the Avenger on their premiere adventure. The Rebellion-verse Begins here!


YAO:The Demon Touched "Home"?
Following the death of her parents at the hands of demons, Yao searches the shadows, hunting creatures of the night and hoping to find those responsible. An injury she sustained during that terrible event has embued her with the power to pluck a vast array of unworldy weapons from another dimension, known as 'The Other Place.

Death Wish: Kids Rule!
Once upon a time Blake Edmonds had it all – fame, money, looks... and then the world-famous F1 driver suffered a terrible accident which left him hideously disfigured. After fashioning a mask to hide his terrible visage, Edmonds became a daredevil stuntman, flirting with death on a regular basis.


Steel Commando:In Between Wars

Developed by British scientists in WW2, the Steel Commando became a thorn in the side of the Axis powers. Due to a programming glitch he would only take orders from a lazy private named Ernie Bates. Now he follows the orders of Doctor Sin, who recently reactivated him for The Vigilant.

THE VIGILANT: MAELSTROM by Simon Furman (w) Simon Coleby (a) Simon Bowland (l)
YAO: THE DEMON TOUCHED "HOME"? by Bruce Leslie (w) DaNi (a) John Charles (c) Sam G (l)
DEATH WISH: KIDS RULE! by Karl Stock (w) Henrik Sahlstrom (a) Simon Bowland (l)
STEEL COMMANDO: IN BETWEEN WARS by Aaron Stack (w) Warwick Fraser-Coombes, Staz Johnson (a) John Charles (c) Simon Bowland (l)



Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond



Thursday, August 09, 2018

Review: Classic Beano Annual facsimiles

As I mentioned several days ago, D.C. Thomson are now offering readers a chance to obtain facsimile reprints of every Beano annual from the very first one (1940) up to 2013. A dream come true for collectors, and as an incentive for the general reader, each book comes inscribed with a message of your choice. 

I'd ordered the 1957 annual, not out of nostalgia (it's from a couple of years before I was born) but out of curiosity. It contains some very early work by Leo Baxendale, along with pages by Ken Reid, Dudley Watkins, and many more. What's not to like?
Classic early Leo Baxendale.
The book arrived today, and I'm very impressed with the quality. All of these facsimile books are scanned from the old annuals, so may contain images of any flaws (such as rips or smudges) picked up from the scan, but the 1957 one doesn't appear to have any. Reproduction is very good indeed, and as close to an accurate reprint as you're likely to get. 


Nitpickers might complain that the books aren't 100% faithful to the originals because they feature a new spine. I think that's fine, and should prevent any dodgy sellers from passing them off as originals. The paper texture is different too; smoother and a bit thinner than the original stock, but still top quality. The binding is glued, rather than stitched, but it still seems sturdy. There are new endpapers too, in addition to the original endpapers, and of course the dedication page is new. Apart from those small irrelevant differences, it's a very nice facsimile indeed. 



One thing I wish they'd done is to have used one of the additional pages to credit all the artists and writers. Every contributor was anonymous back then so it would have been a chance to rectify that. 

I'll definitely be ordering a couple more from different years. I missed out on the 1965 book when I was a kid, so I might rectify that, - and having a reproduction of the first Beano Book from 1940 is tempting too. 

You'll have your own favourites no doubt. The books are produced under license by Signature Book Publishing. I don't know how long they have the licence so if you're interested, here's the place to order your books:
https://shop.beano.com/gift-ideas/classic-beano/personalised-beano-annual-from-your-year.html





Pedantic Stan is ready and waiting

Copies of Pedantic Stan, The Comics Fan, are now available to order from my online shop. This 16 page A5 landscape comic collects all the Pedantic Stan strips from Speakeasy and a special one produced for the UKCAC 1990 convention booklet. 

Created by John Freeman and Lew Stringer (with the early strips written by John), Pedantic Stan, The Comics Fan, reflects the type of fan who was predominant at the time; a 20 something obsessed with comics. Let no one stand in the way of his bulging rucksack! 

You can order your copies here, along with my other comics:
http://lewstringer.com/page7.htm






DEFIANT! The Special Edition

I should have plugged this before now but I've fallen behind with indie reviews etc. The graphic novel Defiant!, published by Time Bomb Comics in 2015, has been enhanced as a Special Edition with bonus extras. It's being backed on a Kickstarter campaign that ends today, so here's your chance to jump on board! 

You'll find all the details here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1815843378/defiant-the-special-edition




Four Commando comics out today

Here's the info on the latest batch of Commando comics, in shops today...

5147: Home of Heroes: Walking the Line

Bailing out of his Stirling Mk. III bomber over Nazi-occupied France, Flight Lieutenant Alan Freeman knew his wits would only get him so far.
But, lucky for him, the French Resistance were ready to lend
a hand and get him back to Blighty. However, not everything was rosy in the Resistance, and there was talk of a traitor in their midst.

Would Alan make the journey to Spain in one piece?
Or would those helping him turn him over to the Gestapo?

First taking us over the trenches in World War I, then across the Spanish border in the Napoleonic Wars, Andrew Knighton’s third issue for Commando is every bit as exhilarating, this time tackling a French Resistance escape line! Matching this with bold interiors from Morhain and Rezzonico, and a marvellously tense cover from Neil Roberts, this issue will keep you guessing until the final pages!

|Story | Andrew Knighton | Art | Morhain & Rezzonico | Cover | Neil Roberts |



5148: Gold Collection: The Fighting Phantom

Bert Graham is 50. Serving as a major in the army, he’s nearly as fit and tough as he was way back in the war when he was a sergeant.

He has some really great stories, but none match the one when he and his mates were stranded behind enemy lines – and Bert took his orders from a ghost!

It’s always a pleasure to find an other-worldly issue of Commando, and ‘The Fighting Phantom’ is no exception. With a cracking story from Allan, dynamic art from CT Rigby and a truly spectral cover from Penalva, when we talk about the best supernatural issues of Commando, this one ranks high every time!

|Story | Allan | Art | CT Rigby | Cover | Penalva |
Originally Commando No. 552 (May 1971).



5149: Action and Adventure: Course for Freedom

When Jurgen Schwer joined the Luftwaffe in the Second World War, he had no idea that he would become a prisoner of war in the barren Nevada Desert, or even still — a fugitive on the run in Mexico and Colombia!

It seemed that the only way Jurgen could get back to Europe and his family was to help pilot a rogue mission to destroy the Panama Canal. Only then could he begin to plot his course for freedom!

With a quintessential combination of a classic George Low story, with an Axis hero whose conscience takes his arc beyond borders, expressive illustrations from Jaume Forns, and an instantly identifiable Ian Kennedy aircraft cover, this is one heck of a Commando for any collection!

|Story | George Low | Art | Jaume Forns | Cover | Ian Kennedy |



5150: Silver Collection: Sure-Shot Sam

Private Sam Smith was a bit of a misfit. Nobody in his infantry company pushing up through Italy in 1944 knew quite what to make of him — but nobody could say that he wasn’t a crack shot with his beloved Lee Enfield rifle!

And when some petty crooks tried to frame him, they soon discovered — like the Germans — that it wasn’t safe to fool with sure-shot Sam!

The titular Sam Smith is one of Burden’s greatest creations: a seemingly cold-blooded killer, whose only pleasure is from his rifle — but just what is his game? Find out in this silver era reprint with art from Vila and a cracking cover from the great Ian Kennedy!

|Story | Burden | Art | Vila | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No. 2834 (February 1995).






Wednesday, August 08, 2018

This week's Big Eggo...

It's Beano Day (or Wednesday as boring people call it) and this week's issue is bagged with gifts for summer holiday fun. Inside the comic itself you'll find all the usual favourites in all-new stories including the Bash Street Kids, Minnie the Minx, and of course Dennis and Gnasher.

This week's Big Eggo strip was written by Nigel Auchterlounie, who stepped in when I had the 'flu a few months ago and my foggy brain couldn't think of a suitable gag. Thanks, Nigel! (It'll be back to normal next week, with me on scripts and art.)

Don't miss Beano No.3947, in the shops now! £3.75
Cover by Nigel Parkinson.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Coming up in 2000AD...

The latest PR from Rebellion...

UK and DIGITAL: 8th August 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 8th September 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: JUL182098
COVER: KARL RICHARDSON

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL by Rory McConville (w) Leonardo Manco (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)




THE ORDER: THE NEW WORLD by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


THARG'S 3RILLERS: APPETITE by James Peaty (w) Andrea Mutti (a) 



MECHASTOPHELES: TRUE FAITH by Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie (w) Karl Richardson (a) Simon Bowland (l) Eva De La Cruz (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


GREY AREA: 86 by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)


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

Saturday, August 04, 2018

It's GOOF! day!

After the launch of issue zero last month, Goof! No.1 goes online today! The all-new digital humour comic published by Marc Jackson featuring a wide range of styles from a wide range of creators! - and with a 12 issue subscription for just £12 it's only £1 an issue! - and, unlike paper comics where subs begin with the current issue, a subscription to Goof! means you start with issue 0, so you won't miss anything!

Here's the info from Marc Jackson, along with snippets of just a few of the strips from Goof! No.1...

GOOF! issue one brings back all the new comic strips you discovered in issue zero (Nona the ninth, Two Wizards, Donald Dogsbody, Olivia and Puff and Derek the Troll) plus some new additions. Cartoonist Nick Brokenshire who has worked for Dark Horse and most recently for IDW on Star Wars adventures brings us ‘Space Stupids’ an outer-space adventure about bounty hunters rounding up ‘stupids’ It’s a hark back to classic 2000AD style strips like Robo-hunters, so expect sci-fi thrills, with a crazy twist. It will be two-pages per month and the story will unfold over the coming months, so this is a great time to subscribe. On being involved with GOOF! Nick said ‘There is no way on earth that I could not get involved in a comic titled "GOOF!" I relish the opportunity to entertain readers with my ridiculous SPACE STUPIDS alongside all the other wonderful creators. Fun and whimsy can take on many different forms and you'll find them all in GOOF!’


In addition to that, the main website will also feature a letters page (send yours to sayhitogoof@goofcomic.co.uk) and a ‘GOOF! of the month’ section, where we profile our creators and ask them about making their comics. It’s a great opportunity to connect the creators with the readers, something that GOOF! is all about. This month we have a double-whammy of Jim Boswell (creator of Stick-Pig) and Observer comics prize winner Tor Freeman (Spells in the forest) for you to discover with many more to come!

Go for GOOF!
https://www.goofcomic.co.uk











The SCREAM AND MISTY special returns for Halloween

Following the success of last year's revival, Rebellion are once again publishing a Scream and Misty Halloween Special this October. It will feature all new material from today's creators. 

It's great to see the title return, and it would be even better if it became more frequent (even as a quarterly, if not a monthly). I still have hopes that a humour title might be revived as a one-off special one of these years too, although there doesn't appear to be anything on the horizon yet. Admittedly, humour is a harder sell for the market that Rebellion has nurtured, and therefore a bigger risk, but maybe one day...

Anyway, back to the Scream and Misty special, and here's the solicitation from the Previews website. Order your copy now from your local comic shop to ensure you don't miss out! 

Following the success of last year's fright-filled outing, the Scream and Misty Special returns for 2018! Two of Britain's best loved comics have reunited offering an anthology of brand new tales, guaranteed to terrify and entertain you this Halloween! Featuring more treats than tricks, including the further misdemeanours of Max the computer in The 13th Floor, ghoulish goings on with the undead WW1 pilot the Black Max, zombie and vampire DNA combine to create a brand new horror sensation called Decomposition Jones plus a tomb full of other tales from the realms of the Mist.

In Shops: Oct 31, 2018



Friday, August 03, 2018

Review: VON HOFFMAN'S INVASION Book One

In comics of the past, scientists were either kindly old gentlemen or stark raving madmen. Von Hoffman is most definitely the latter, and a Nazi too, so that makes him especially evil. Von Hoffman's Invasion Book One is the latest tome collected by Rebellion, and reprints all of the strip from Jet comic (and the earliest ones when it moved over to Buster). 

Jet wasn't a great comic, and was pretty much one of IPC's failures as it only lasted for 22 weeks, but Von Hoffman's Invasion was the comic's highlight. Written by Tom Tully and illustrated by Eric Bradbury, it tells the story of a barmy inventor who creates a way to enlarge animals, birds, insects, and even sea life to do his bidding. His bidding tends to involve destruction and terror. (Told you he was evil.)

The script has the usual slick professionalism we came to expect of Tom Tully; straightforward plots, dialogue that sticks to the point (none of the meandering banter seen in many modern comics), and gripping cliffhangers to each episode. Eric Bradbury's art has a dark, claustrophobic energy to it that's perfect for this kind of monster-horror story. Both creators were amongst Fleetway's finest and it's easy to see why.

The book is fairly basic. No background info or bonus sketches etc. It lets the story speak for itself. There is a bonus in the form of an episode of Black Max at the back, to promote the forthcoming Black Max collection, so that's a nice addition.

Von Hoffman's Invasion is published on August 23rd as another in Rebellion's growing line of The Treasury of British Comics series. Treat yourselves to this mad romp! Available to pre-order now from the publisher:
https://shop.2000ad.com/catalogue/RCA-B0028

CREATIVE TEAM: Tom Tully (w) Eric Bradbury (a) 
REGIONS: worldwide & digital
RELEASE DATE: 23rd August 2018
PAPERBACK, 130 pages
PRICE: £12.99 (UK)
ISBN: 9781781086261
DIAMOND: JUN181957

After spending twenty-five years in prison following World War II the evil Nazi genius, Dr Von Hoffman, has sworn revenge against Britain. Having perfected a gas that allows him to enlarge and control all manner of creatures, Von Hoffman has embarked on his one-man invasion. Now every church fete, army camp and national monument is in dire threat! The only thing that stands in his way are the plucky young brothers Barry and Joey Drake…

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond








Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Beano Books reprinted!

Personalised Beano Annual From Your Year
The 80th anniversary of The Beano continues with this unexpected surprise. You can now order personalised reprints of Beano annuals from any year! Hardback reproductions scanned from the books, and for only £19.99 each! (Naturally they cost more than the new annuals because they're being printed to order, rather than mass produced.) 

Imagine; classic stories by Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, Dudley Watkins, David Sutherland, Davy Law, and many more, reproduced in their original form. 

I've ordered one of them, and will probably order more. Find out all about them at this link:

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