Sunday, September 30, 2018

Great News, Pals! Your favourite fun-chums have joined forces - again!

These titles and more are now owned by Rebellion.
It's typical that on the weekend I went away for a holiday a huge news story broke regarding British comics. As you've no doubt already heard, on Friday it was announced that Rebellion have acquired the entire back catalogue of comics from TI Media, - comics originally owned by Amalgamated Press / Fleetway / IPC. They include titles dating back to the dawn of British comics in the 19th Century! 

A couple of years ago, Rebellion had made a similar purchase obtaining all the IPC/Fleetway comics from 1970 onwards, but now they own everything going back over 130 years. This means that old favourites such as The Steel Claw, The Spider, Grimly Feendish, and even Weary Willie and Tired Tim are now part of the same company that owns 2000AD... just as it was many years ago. 

What can we expect Rebellion to do with this important acquisition? It's too early for them to reveal their plans but it's a fair guess that some reprint collections will be on the cards as part of their Treasury of British Comics line. It's also likely we'll see updated, grittier versions of classic characters, but I hope they don't stray too far from the optimism and heroism the characters had.

Do you have any preferences you'd like to see as reprint collections? Not that this blog has any influence on what Rebellion do of course. Just comment below on what you'd like to see. (Within reason, bearing in mind the books have to be commercially profitable. It's unlikely we'll see an Alfie the Air Tramp archive for example, enjoyable as some of us find John Jukes' artwork.) 

My preferences would be...

The Best of Power Comics. Selecting stories from Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! by Leo Baxendale, Graham Allen, Brian Lewis, and more. (Ken Reid's work having already been reprinted.) Would be nice to have Mike Higgs in there too, although he owns The Cloak so it would need negotiation.

Johnny Future. Collecting the whole Missing Link / Johnny Future series by Alf Wallace and Luis Berjemo.

Football Family Robinson. Good lighthearted soccer strip from Jag (and then Tiger) with colour art by Joe Colquhoun (and later John Gillatt). 

Kelly's Eye. From Knockout, and then Valiant, with art by Solano Lopez.

The Swots and The Blots. Not necessarily the Ron Spencer strips from the original Smash! series but definitely the revamped series by Leo Baxendale that began in the second series of Smash! in 1969.

...plus I'm sure there are loads of gripping adventure serials that although might not be commercially viable as stand alone books would make good "floppy" collections bagged with Judge Dredd Megazine (as with the recent Lawless Touch collection).   

Whatever Rebellion decide to do with the strips, this is excellent news for fans of British comics and their history!




This week in 2000AD...

After a few days off I'm catching up with stuff so here's a briefer-than-usual look at the next issue of 2000AD....

UK and DIGITAL: 3rd October 2018 £2.85
NORTH AMERICA: 3rd November 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: JUL182098
COVER: KARL RICHARDSON


In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THE SMALL HOUSE by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)


BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)


FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1812 by Ian Edginton (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


SKIP TRACER: LEGION by James Peaty (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Dylan Teague (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


KINGDOM: ALPHA AND OMEGA by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


Available in print from: newsagents and comic book stores via Diamond
Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop and apps for iPadAndroidWindows 10






Reviews policy

I'm still way behind with reviews of comics sent to me so I've decided it's time for changes. 

This blog was never intended to be a review site. My intent was to focus on old comics, plug comics by myself and friends, and throw in a few other things as I felt like it. However, over time I've felt somewhat pressured to try and please too many people who expect me to review their comics. I'm sorry, but I simply don't have the spare time to cover everything. (And people I've never heard of who send me PR out of the blue headed FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE go straight into the bin). 

I'm not a journalist. This blog is something I do in my spare time, and after writing/drawing all day the last thing I sometimes want to do with my spare time is sit at a computer again to blog. If you want your comic given publicity you'd be better off sending it to John Freeman at Down the Tubes as his remit covers a wider range than mine and his blog is intended as a news site. There's no point in Blimey! covering exactly the same news/reviews as Down the Tubes. Sometimes we will cover the same news items but it's pointless us both mirroring each other all the time. John is a proper comics journalist, so he's the man to send your stuff to.

I'll get around to reviewing the comics I've been given, and my apologies to Robert, Dan, John, and the rest for the delay. I'll also continue to promote Rebellion's material, Commando, and other selected comics (including my own), but I just don't have the time to cover everything, sorry. 





Thursday, September 27, 2018

Combat Colin cover preview

Here's an advance peek at the cover to Combat Colin No.3, which will be another 40 page issue. I've just sent the pages to the printers so hopefully it'll be out in time for Nottingham Comic Con on 20th October.

This issue reprints the stories from the latter half of 1989 and early 1990, when the strip saw Colin encounter weirder villains than ever before. More news soon, but if you're missing the first two issues you can order them from me here:
http://lewstringer.com/page7.htm


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Out today: SNIPER ELITE No.2

I enjoyed the first issue of Sniper Elite: Resistance, the new war comic from Rebellion. With a fast-paced, clearly told story by Keith Richardson and dramatic, top class artwork by Patrick Goddard it was a very worthy modern day equivalent of Battle (and deserving of being published under the Battle imprint). There's only going to be three issues but I hope it proves successful enough to warrant a sequel series.

Issue 2 is published today, and continues the excitement and gritty artwork. You should find copies in WH Smith, next to 2000AD, or in your nearest comic shop. I thoroughly recommend it. Here's a little preview...

CREATIVE TEAM: Keith Richardson (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Quinton Winter (c) Jim Campbell (l)
UK, NORTH AMERICA & DIGITAL: 26th September 2018 £2.99/$3.99
DIAMOND: JUL182104
COVER: PATRICK GODDARD (a) QUINTON WINTER (c)

Based on the global bestselling Rebellion videogame, Sniper Elite: Resistance! Karl Fairburne becomes caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse as he's hunted through the streets of Occupied Angouleme by the Nazis. With just one bullet to save him, can he escape? Scripted by Keith Richardson and illustrated by Patrick Goddard, with two covers by Goddard and Colin Wilson!

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









Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Nottingham Comic Con for October 20th!

I'm very pleased to be able to reveal that I'll be one of the guests at Nottingham Comic Con on Saturday 20th October. I've been invited before, but couldn't make it either due to illness or being otherwise engaged, so I'm really looking forward to being there this year!

They've also interviewed me for their website, and you can read that here:
http://www.nottinghamcomiccon.co.uk/announcing-a-new-guest-for-all-ages/



Monday, September 24, 2018

Preview: BLACK MAX Volume 1

After the ridiculously manic over-reaction to American comics imports in the 1950s, (see here) horror comics for kids were effectively banned in Britain under the (Children and Young Persons) Harmful Publications Act. However, publishers knew that children loved monster stories, and that a well-told horror comic wouldn't really do them any harm. They were prevented from blatantly publishing horror comics, but did manage to inject elements of such stories into their traditional adventure comics. 
One such strip was Black Max, a serial that ran throughout the short-lived Thunder anthology weekly in 1970/71, and then into the merged Lion and Thunder. Black Max was basically presented as a war story, featuring arial combat in World War One, but it was its horror element that was its main attraction. 
Episode one art by Eric Bradbury.

That horror came in the form of giant mutated bats created by evil scientist Baron Maximilien Von Klorr, who used them to attack the Allied forces. Written by Frank Pepper and Ken Mennell, it was one of the more memorable series in Thunder, and deservedly became very popular with the readers. (On a personal note, it was also a favourite of my dad's, who started reading comics again a few years before he died.)
First page of episode two. Art by Alfonso Font.

Now, Rebellion are collecting the early chapters in a book to be released on October 4th. Black Max Volume 1 reprints all the episodes from Thunder, plus the first few months of its continuation in the merged Lion and Thunder. The artwork is by the amazing Alfonso Font (who also provides an introduction and new cover), although the episode from Thunder No.1 was drawn by Eric Bradbury. (Presumably Bradbury's episode would have been drawn for the dummy issue of Thunder, and he may have been too busy to do the series once the comic got the green light months later.) Bradbury of course was a master of atmospheric horror in British comics. Font's style is lighter, but equally dramatic and his bats are the stuff of nightmares.

Black Max is a superb collection. Alfonso Font's work deserves to be seen and appreciated by a modern audience so I hope comic shops have ordered this marvellous book. If your local comic shop won't stock it, you can order it directly from the publisher here:
https://treasuryofbritishcomics.com

CREATIVE TEAM: Frank Pepper, Ken Mennell (w) Eric Bradbury, Alfonso Font (a)
RELEASE DATE: 4th October (UK) 24th October (US)
PAPERBACK, 115 pages
PRICE: £10.99 (UK) $16.99 (US)
ISBN: 9781781086551
DIAMOND: AUG182151

Ace fighter pilot Baron Maximilien Von Klorr is the scourge of the skies, menacing the Allied forces during the bloodiest battles in WWI. Skilled, ruthless and in possession of two giant, mutated kingbats who fight by his side, Von Klorr AKA Black Max is almost unstoppable. Only the brave pilots of the Royal Flying Corps, including Lieutenant Tom Wilson, oppose the Black Max's complete dominance of the air. Thrilling supernatural war comics from the pages of classic British comics Lion and Thunder!


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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

New comics event for Scotland

A new event for fans of British comics is coming to Scotland! Long-time UK comics enthusiast Colin Noble is the man behind Legend, the British Comics Minimart, in Lochore, Fife, on September 29th and 30th.

"Lochore is one of the Benarty mining villages that is still trying to find their way after the demise of the mining industry in Fife", says Colin. 

"Nothing exciting about yet another comics event you would say, but this is slightly different as the dealers and stall holders are only bringing their British comic stock.  This will be the biggest massing of British comics in over 10 years as the early 2000s used to see 1000s of British comics at the Glasgow comic marts and the National Hotel marts in Russell Square, London." Colin continued.

"As their popularity began to wane, fewer and fewer dealers would bring any British comics to any event.  Which is where we are now with even one dealer bringing a box of British comics to an event being hailed as a major find for a British comics collector."

It certainly sounds promising, and there'll be guests too! 
"As I play fair with people, I am going to hopefully see the biggest meeting of Commando comic contributors since Keith Robson’s retirement do!" announced Colin.  

"Those that have agreed to attend are Ian Kennedy (Sunday only), David Alexander (McBam Brothers, Electric Soup) and Graeme Neil Reid (2000AD, Commando).  Pop ins might include Colin MacNeil (Starblazer, 2000AD, Warhammer, Megazine) and Ferg Handley (Commando, Football PSM).  If I am really lucky some of the comic creators who live in Fife might pop in such as Gary Erskine, (Dan Dare, Star Wars, 2000AD, DC, Dark Horse and Image) Andrew Christine and Roger Kettle (Wizard, Nutty, Beau Peep, A Man Called Horace, Andy Capp) amongst others"

Colin is making sure that Legend is affordable to all. "I have watched how expensive events have become over the years so the event is priced to be enjoyed by all with adults being charged £1 and any U-16 getting in free.  Comics will be for sale with prices ranging from 50 pence to how much!  It also helps that Lochore is free parking so a family can come down, go to the local Meadows Country Park and then come back to the Comics Mart.  Alternatively, the family could drop off the family nerd, go do the shopping or anything else without being moaned at and then collect a happy geek with an armful of comics that they never knew existed!"

It's a bit too far North for me to travel but it sounds like an ideal event for the many fans of UK comics who live in Scotland! Here's the details…

Legend Britrish Comics Minimart,
September 29th and 30th 2018
Lochore Miners Welfare Social Club
KY5 8DA
Open 12 - 5pm. 


Saturday, September 22, 2018

2000AD: All-new line up for Prog 2100

2000AD reaches issue 2100 this coming Wednesday. A fantastic achievement for any comic! 2000AD is the only surviving British adventure weekly comic from the 1970s, although other comics such as Viz (published every five weeks) and Doctor Who Magazine (began as a weekly, went monthly) have been around since 1979.

In celebration of this milestone, Prog 2100 will have more pages for this week, and more stories, and is the ideal jumping-on point with an all-new line up, - plus a cover by American comics megastar George Perez! Here's the info, with a preview of some of the strips...

UK and DIGITAL: 26th September 2018 £3.99
NORTH AMERICA: 26th October 2018 $7.99
DIAMOND: JUL182099
COVER: GEORGE PÉREZ (a) PAUL MOUNTS (c)


In this issue:


JUDGE DREDD: THE SMALL HOUSE by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)


SKIP TRACER: LEGION by James Peaty (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Dylan Teague (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: DEATH'S DARK ANGELS by Alan Grant (w) Jake Lynch (a) Simon Bowland (l)


SINISTER DEXTER: TIGHT GROUPING by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1812 by Ian Edginton (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


KINGDOM: ALPHA AND OMEGA by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Available in print: newsagents and comic book stores via Diamond
Available in digital: 2000 AD webshop, 2000 AD apps for iPadAndroid, and Windows 10




Thursday, September 20, 2018

Amazing artwork up for auction from top comics artists

Those of us who were guests at Nice Comic Con in Bedford this year were invited by the organiser to each contribute an A3 piece of artwork for an auction to raise funds for next year's event. That auction goes live tomorrow (Friday 21st September, UK time) and will end on Saturday 29th September. 
You can peruse the art in the auction at this link:

You'll have to register with Catawiki before you can bid, so that's important.
Art by DaNi.
Artwork includes pieces by Ryan Brown, Simon Bisley, Ian Churchill, Aneke, DaNi, Dylan Teague, Doug Braithwaite, Alan Davis and many more. My contribution is my original artwork for my convention banner, featuring Combat Colin, Pete and his Pimple, Brickman, and more characters...
Good luck to all of you who'll be bidding! 
Art by Esad Ribic.




Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mighty World of Marvel celebrates the career of Steve Ditko

The latest issue of Panini UK's The Mighty World of Marvel is somewhat special. The 100 page edition has over half of its pages devoted to the work of Steve Ditko, who passed away recently.

Editor Scott Gray has written a 9 page feature on Ditko's life and career, illustrated with many panels by the artist. MWOM had already been reprinting 1960s Doctor Strange strips so there's also the latest episode, which is The Lady From Nowhere by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and George Roussos that originally appeared in Strange Tales No.124. 



There are also several other vintage strips by the artist reprinted, including There'll Be Some Changes Made, which was Steve Ditko's first Marvel work from 1956!

Other Ditko strips in this issue are two more short stories from the early 1960s, and a long-unused Human Torch/Hulk story inked by Karl Kessel.


This issue also includes non-Ditko strips such as the regular ongoing Champions and Guardians of the Galaxy sagas. 

It's a great issue and well worth the paltry £4.50 it'll cost you to own a copy. On sale now in WH Smiths and selected newsagents! 



The Dalek Audio Annual is coming this Christmas!

My favourite annual of the 1960s was The Dalek World, which I had on Christmas Day 1965. I poured over its pages, reading it and re-reading it countless times. Subsequently, due to that, and the Doctor Who projector set I had the same day, I often associate Daleks with Christmas. 

It's been many years since any Dalek annual appeared but this December will see the release of The Dalek Audio Annual, with a fantastic cover in the style of those bygone books. The audio CD will feature readings by Doctor Who cast members Nicholas Briggs, Louise Jameson, and Matthew Waterhouse of stories from Dalek Annuals of the 1970s. 

It sounds like a nice item that'll be perfect for Christmas Day (and hopefully there'll be a Christmas episode of Doctor Who that day too). You can pre-order The Dalek Audio Annual from comic shops or from Amazon at this link...
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dalek-Audio-Annual-stories/dp/1787533670




Misty and Scream Special - webshop exclusive cover

As previously reported, following last year's successful Scream and Misty Halloween Special, Rebellion will be publishing another all-new edition for this Halloween. 

The standard cover will be by Kyle Hotz (below) and sold in newsagents and comic shops from October 17th, but there's also a variant Misty cover edition by Lenka Šimečková that you can only obtain by ordering it directly from the publisher at this link:
https://shop.2000ad.com/catalogue/RCS1853


With more treats than tricks, this issue features Black Max by Kek-W and Simon Coleby, 13th Floor by Guy Adams, John Stokes and Frazer Irving, Black Beth by Alec Worley and DaNi, Best Friends Forever by Lizzie Boyle and Yishan Li, and Decomposition Jones by Richard McAuliffe and Steve Mannion.

There'll be more details about this hotly anticipated special next month!


Monday, September 17, 2018

A choice of two Who

As revealed on The Times Ladies Twitter page (https://twitter.com/thetimeladies_) the next issue of Doctor Who Magazine gives the buyer a choice. You can have the Deluxe Edition, exclusive to WH Smith which comes in a card envelope (above) with a Souvenir Guide, Audio Adventures CD, poster, and art cards for £9.99 or the regular edition (below) with no extras (but still a great mag) for £5.99. The content of the magazine is identical in both options.

The magazine is packed with features including interviews with the stars of the new series and previews of the first few episodes. Oh, and there's another Daft Dimension strip by me featuring those Daft Daleks...

Doctor Who Magazine No.530 goes on sale on Thursday 20th September. This is a good jumping on point for new readers as the brand new series of Doctor Who starring Jodie Whittaker begins on Sunday 7th October. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE celebrates 400 issues!

Any British comic in living memory that reaches 400 issues is worthy of respect, and Judge Dredd Megazine celebrates its 400th issue milestone on Wednesday. An impressive achievement. Even more so because the comic is monthly, meaning that it's been running for over 25 years. (The first issue came out in 1990.) Very few comics have even managed a fraction of that. Most impressive of all is that the quality of content is still incredibly high, attracting some of the top creators in comics. 

Issue 400 will have even more pages than usual, and will begin a set of new stories, making it a perfect jumping on point for readers old and new. If you've never bought the comic, or have lapsed a while back, now's your chance to get on board one of the best ongoing comics being pubished. 

Here's the rundown of contents, plus a few preview pages...

UK and DIGITAL: 12th September 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 12th October 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: JUL182098
COVER: DAVID MILLGATE


In this issue:


JUDGE DREDD: THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY by John Wagner (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

LAWLESS: ASHES TO ASHES by Dan Abnett () Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)


BLUNT II by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)


DEVLIN WAUGH: CALL ME BY THY NAME by Ales Kot (w) Mike Dowling (a) Quinton Winter (c) Simon Bowland (l)


STORM WARNING: OVER MY DEAD BODY by John Reppion, Leah Moore (w), Jimmy Broxton (a) 


THE DARK JUDGES: THE TORTURE GARDEN by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: JORDAN RAMZY by Alan Grant (w) Inaki Miracnda (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


Interviews: Alan Hebden, Steve MacManus, Andy Diggle, Ian Gibson, David Bishop, Alan Barnes, John Tomlinson


Bagged reprint: First Shots - first Dredd stories by key new generation artists including Staz Johnson, Tan Eng Haut, Ianki Miranda, Sam Hart, Len O'Grady, PJ Holden.




Next week in 2000AD...

Here's an advance preview of a few pages from 2000AD Prog 2099, on sale Wednesday 19th September. The incredibly high standard of artwork every week in this comic never ceases to amaze me.

UK and DIGITAL: 19th September 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 19th October 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: JUL182098
COVER: KARL RICHARDSON


In this issue:


JUDGE DREDD: THE BOOTH CONSPIRACY by TC Eglington (w) Staz Johnson (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)


SURVIVAL GEEKS: SLACK N' HASH by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


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


FUTURE SHOCKS: TALK'S CHEAP by Mark McCann (w) Adam Brown (a) Ellie De Ville (l)


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

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




Thursday, September 13, 2018

This Saturday: ICE 2018!

One of the best comics conventions in the country returns to Birmingham this Saturday when ICE, the International Comic Expo, takes place at the BCEC in Hill Street (just over the road from the rear exit of New Street Station).
https://internationlcomicexpo.wordpress.com

There's a fine line-up of guests including John Wagner, Dan Cornwell, Ryan Brown, Rodney Ramos, John McCrea, and many more.

You'll find me at table 37, next to fellow Beano artist Laura Howell. I've indicated it in yellow in the image below...

I'll be bringing along my comics Combat Colin, Derek the Troll, and Pedantic Stan for anyone to buy, and doing sketches on request all day.
Between 2pm and 3pm I'll be joining Laura Howell, Nigel Parkinson, and Hunt Emerson on stage as we're being interviewed about our work on The Beano, to celebrate the comic's 80th anniversary.

ICE 2018 is all about comics. No actors or wrestlers, just 100% comics guests. I hope to see some of you there!
https://internationlcomicexpo.wordpress.com

***********************

Also taking place on Saturday alongside ICE, and with its own stand-alone show on Sunday, is Comics Uncovered, a seminar for those who want to break into comics. You can find out all about it here:
http://www.comicsuncovered.co.uk


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