Friday, March 22, 2019

Are you ready for the COR!! BUSTER HUMOUR SPECIAL?

I've received my complimentary copies of The Cor!! Buster Humour Special and it's a fine publication I'm proud to be part of. Here's a sneak peel of the strip I've drawn for it (from a script by John Freeman), alongside the cover by Neil Googe. 
Loads of old characters are back in 52 pages of fun, rebooted for a modern audience by contemporary creators. As I was one of the regular contributors to the original Buster last Century I'm very pleased to be one of the "old timers" involved with this revamp. The other being the legendary Tom Paterson, whose four pages are worth the cover price alone!

The special will be in WH Smith and comic shops on April 17th, and I'll be posting more about it soon. In the meantime, you can pre-order the special (along with the other specials that Rebellion are publishing) at a discounted price here:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Preview: COMIC SCENE Vol.2 No.2

In the shops now is Comic Scene Vol.2 No.2, an 80 page whopper devoted to all things comic. There are features on Captain Britain, Marvel UK, European Dan Dare comics, Batman in the 1940s, Roy of the Rovers, the unseen Glory Glory comic, Wonder Comics, comics conventions, indie comics, movie news, and more.

This issue also sees the start of a new series of articles I've written in the Corker pull-out section. The first one focuses on some of the important artists who significantly evolved children's humour comics over the decades. Future articles will cover other subjects related to the history of UK humour comics. If you like this Blimey! blog, you should enjoy those features, as they'll be a suitable replacement when this blog ends later this year.

If you're interested in comics (and you wouldn't be here if you're not), then Comic Scene is for you. It's the only High Street magazine dedicated to comics so it deserves your support.

Comic Scene is available from WH Smith and selected comic shops, - or you could subscribe from the website:


...and here's an advance preview of next month's issue, on sale in April...

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fifty Year Flashback: TV21 goes back to basics

Fifty years ago this week, TV21 had one of its revamps, returning to the newspaper-style cover designs that made it so unique in its first three years. In January 1968 it had switched to using comic strips on the covers, but presumably sales had suffered, so now, in March 1969, after dabbling with a few news-style covers over a few weeks, it was going back to basics full time.

With a beautifully designed masthead echoing the Century 21 TV company ident (which itself had been based on the original TV21 logo) the cover gave us tasters of what to expect inside, told in the form of newspaper reports. 

Inside, the previous "editorials" by Colonel White were gone, replaced by Agent Twenty One's message to the readers alongside the Secret Agent 21 strip itself. (Strip art by Rab Hamilton. No idea who drew the cartoon.)

Captain Scarlet, which had previously been the cover strip for a year, was now inside, illustrated in grey wash by Jim Watson...
Reflecting its new "First with the Space and Spy News" sub-title, Department S was based on the ITC series starring Peter Wyngarde, Joel Fabini, and Rosemary Nichols. Not the most flattering photo of Wyngarde for the title header...
The strip did feature good likenesses of the three stars though, with art by Carlos Pino and Vincente Alcazar...
It's easy to see why TV21 was so highly regarded by its readers during the 1960s when the centre pages featured Thunderbirds illustrated by Frank Bellamy. It was a real coup for Century 21 to have this artist on the payroll...

My favourite artist on the comic was always Mike Noble. His Zero X strip had such dynamic power...

I think most of us were probably buying TV21 at this stage for those colour strips, but the black and white strips were entertaining. The Saint and Tarzan were very popular TV shows, and their strips (which had joined the comic the previous year from TV Tornado) had the right tone but were not the main selling point of the comic. 

The back page of this issue of TV21 was part of a series depicting man's journey to Saturn. Yes, by this time, the comic's attempts at connected continuity with its stories was out of whack. How could man only just be landing on Saturn in 2069 when Fireball XL5 had been regularly roaming the galaxy four years previously in 2065? Best not to think too deeply about it. Nice painting though.
This issue also featured two adverts related to Joe 90, who had his own comic at that stage. Ah, Sugar Smacks and Sutherlands spreads. All part of the wonderful 1960s....

It was around this time, a month later, when I started buying TV21 regularly again, so the revamp definitely hooked me. Sadly it wasn't to last. I suspect the change was too late and didn't boost sales enough, so this first series of TV21 ended in September 1969, replaced by TV21 and Joe 90, starting with a new first issue, and unfortunately losing most of what had made it so unique. 

My post on TV21 and Joe 90 No.1:

Joe 90 Top Secret No.1:

TV Tornado:

TV Century 21 No.1:

A selection of comics from one week in 1965:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Jumping on point for 2000AD next week

Several new stories kick off in the next issue of 2000AD, on sale Wednesday. There's a wraparound cover by Leigh Gallagher too! Here's the PR and an advance preview...

UK and DIGITAL: 20th March 2019 £2.85
NORTH AMERICA: 20th April 2019 $22.40 (per pack)

In this issue:

JUDGE DREDD: CITIZENSHIP by Rory McConville (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SURVIVAL GEEKS: DUNGEONS & DATING by Emma Beeby, Gordon Rennie (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse Ville (l)

KINGMAKER: OUROBOROS by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

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

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

...also on Wednesday the latest issue of Judge Dredd Magazine arrives, packed with great stories plus a special feature on girls' comics of yesteryear!

UK and DIGITAL: 20th March 2019 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 20th April 2019 $13

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: PLANTED by Rory McConville (w) Jake Lynch (a) Jim Boswell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
LAWLESS: ASHES TO ASHES by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
STORM WARNING: GREEN & PLEASANT LAND by John Reppion, Leah Moore (w) Tom Foster (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland  (l)
BLUNT II by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE DARK JUDGES: THE TORTURE GARDEN by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Features: New Comics: Gryyym, Classic Comics: Tammy & Jinty, interviews with Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard
Bagged reprint: Operation: Overlord Vol.3

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

Available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop and apps for iPadAndroidWindows 10

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Preview: VIZ No.284

The new issue of Viz is out now, with another 52 pages packed with fun for all ages, - as long as you're over 18 and don't mind a bit of swearing and smut. 

Viz has always been more than just sweary humour of course. It's the nation's premier satirical comic, - a tradition that dates back to the Victorian comics such as Funny Folks and Ally Sloper's Half Holiday. That's why a lot of Viz's imitators failed. They copied the rudeness, but not the clever social satire. 

This issue sees regular favourites Sid the Sexist, Drunken Bakers, Fat Slags and more, plus many other strips and parodies. Here's a little sample...
NASH GORDON by Tom Paterson.
ROBIN HOOD by Simon Ecob.
I'm very pleased to say that I'm back in this issue, with an all-new Felix and his Amazing Underpants page. Plot and artwork by me, script by Graham Dury and Simon Thorp, in which Felix gets involved in Brexit-related shenanigans. 
I first worked for Viz about 30 years ago, and became a regular in the 1990s until a few years ago, so it's great to be back. I don't know how regularly I'll be contributing as each idea is judged on a case by case basis, but I'm working on another script right now so fingers crossed! 

Later this year, Viz notches up its 40th anniversary, so give one of Britain's longest-running comics your support and buy the latest edition this week! £3.70 for 52 pages, available from newsagents and supermarkets across the UK.

Rare fanzine with first lengthy Alan Moore interview, now on eBay

Back in the early 1980s I produced several fanzines and stripzines (or "small press comics" as they're called today). One of them was Fantasy Express, and the fifth issue contained a lengthy interview by Eddie Stachelski with Alan Moore.

I understand this was the first in-depth interview with Alan Moore that appeared anywhere, although there have been hundreds since of course! In the 11 page interview Alan talks about his then-current work on Captain Britain, V for Vendetta, and Marvelman amongst many other things. 

The print runs on fanzines were very small. Fantasy Express had a print run of 150 to 200 so it's very rare! I sold copies through the post or at comic marts / conventions. Even a local newsagent took a few. 

Most of them were sold back in the 1980s but this week I'm putting an unread, unsold edition from my personal collection up for auction. Condition is excellent, as it's been carefully stored away for 35 years. Interested? If so, head over to my eBay page to find out more and see a few photos. Bidding ends on Sunday 17th March. This Sunday! Good luck!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

New! The Art of Ian Kennedy

With other UK publishers such as Rebellion and Titan delving into the archives of British comics it was only a matter of time before D.C. Thomson published something for collectors too. Now the company has announced The Art of Ian Kennedy as a 160 page art book to be published in April. 

The Art of Ian Kennedy will be the first "art of" book from the company's Media Heritage Comics team and there could be no better choice of an artist to celebrate. Ian Kennedy's artwork has graced many comics over his long career, and in recent years the 86 year old artist has begun attending comics conventions, much to the delight of his numerous fans. 

The book will focus on Ian's work for D.C. Thomson on comics such as Bullet, Commando, TopperStarblazer, Warlord, and others. It will include scans of original artwork and sketches to give readers an insight into the artist's techniques. The next best thing to owning the actual artwork! 

I know this news will please many collectors across the UK and beyond, and I'm also pleased for Ian receiving such recognition which is certainly well deserved. You can pre-order the book directly from D.C. Thomson from their online shop:

Panini UK publish 160 page CAPTAIN MARVEL special

As I reported last week, Panini UK's The Mighty World of Marvel now has Captain Marvel as an ongoing strip in the comic. Now, making the most of the movie's popularity, they've also published a Captain Marvel stand-alone special comic. 

Its full title is Marvel Select: The Essential Guide to Captain Marvel and it weighs in at 160 pages for £9.99. Considering that Panini's regular Marvel reprints are £4.99 for 76 pages, this seems like a fair deal. The book reprints seven key issues from the character's long history and evolution, from the days when she was Ms. Marvel to some of the more recent comics. The issues collected here are: Ms.Marvel 19 to 21 (1978), Uncanny X-Men 164 (1982), Captain Marvel 1 (2012), and Captain Marvel 7 and 8 (2014). 

There are also new feature pages about the character's history, creator interviews, art galleries, character spotlights, and more.

You'll find this Marvel Select special alongside the Marvel Collectors' Editions in WH Smith or your nearest comic shop. 

I went to see the Captain Marvel movie today and thought it was brilliant! The cast (and cat) were spot on, and the story packs an emotional wallop. Too bad some pathetic misogynistic trolls tried to sabotage the film's chances by leaving thousands of negative reviews before it had been released, just because they can't cope with strong women, real or imaginary! Speaking as a straight white middle-aged bloke I thought the movie was terrific and if it gives women and girls a sense of empowerment then it's a job well done!

Sunday, March 10, 2019


The second volume of the all-new Roy of the Rovers graphic novels has just been published and it's a another winner! 

Since acquiring the rights to Roy of the Rovers (along with numerous other classic comics), Rebellion have really invested in the character, revamping him for a modern audience whilst retaining the excitement that made the original series so popular. The new graphic novels, published quarterly, are complimented with new illustrated prose novels (also quarterly) and whilst it's not absolutely necessary to read both it does help to fill in some backstory. 

Roy of the Rovers 2: Foul Play picks up the story of young Roy Race a few months after Book 1. Roy is now a successful rising star at Melchester Rovers, but the club is still struggling. Football agents are interested in signing up Melchester's star player for their own teams. Will Roy succumb to the glamour of a richer lifestyle? As you might guess from the title of the book, it's not as straightforward as that, and fate can intervene.

Once again, Rob Williams' script is a pleasure to read, making the book a compelling page turner that I read in one sitting as soon as the post delivered it. A nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon, reminding me of reading the original Roy of the Rovers in Tiger and Jag fifty years ago. Ben Willsher's artwork is sublime, carrying the action along at a cracking pace with a dynamic contemporary style that's just perfect for the story. Kudos also to letterer Jim Campbell and colourists John Charles and Guilherme Lindemberg Mendes. Last but not least, the book's designer, Sam Gretton and editor Keith Richardson  They all make a great team!

These hardback Roy of the Rovers graphic novels are a superb format for today's market, and at only £9.99 very good value. I'm looking forward to Book 3: Going Up already!

Roy of the Rovers 2: Foul Play should be available to buy or order from your nearest bookshop or comic shop. ISBN 978-1-78108-669-8

You can also order it directly from Rebellion or online stockists:

Saturday, March 09, 2019

This week's Big Issue North...

There's a great feature by David Barnett on Northern comic cons in this week's Big Issue North, available from vendors now. It even includes a photo of my ugly mug but don't let that put you off. 
I'll be a guest at a few conventions in the North of England this year, plus others in the Midlands and the South. Here's the list so far. Hope to see you at some of them!

Sunday 14th April 2019
Staffordshire University,

Saturday 27th April 2019
Wythenshawe Forum

To Be Announced:
Saturday 11th May 2019

To Be Announced:
Saturday 18th May 2019

1st and 2nd June 2019

22nd June 2019
Macclesfield Town Hall

To be announced:
26th to 28th July 2019.

ICE 2019 
Saturday 31st August 2019
Edgbaston Cricket Ground
B5 7QU

To be announced.
14th September 2019.

28th and 29th September 2019
Norfolk Showgound Arena

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