Friday, August 30, 2019

Nigel Dobbyn 1963 - 2019

Many of us in the UK comics community were shocked and saddened to hear this morning that the comic artist Nigel Dobbyn has passed away. He suffered a sudden and unexpected heart attack last Saturday. He was just 56 years old.

The sad news was announced on the 2000AD website:
https://2000ad.com/post/5774?fbclid=IwAR0nIFUXhBev_n4YlS-OdxHws0SsFglw-EKN99ULk77YNIwJlQ50mhBCQuQ

I'd known Nigel for over 20 years as we'd met when freelancing for Sonic the Comic in the 1990s. A softly spoken and gentle man, Nigel was one of the nice guys in the industry and an incredibly talented artist. I was a writer on Sonic the Comic and Nigel illustrated several of my stories. He always did a fantastic job and I loved his art style and rich colour work. 

Here's one of the stories we worked on. Trapped in the Vortex was published in Sonic the Poster Mag No.9 in 1994. Script by Lew Stringer, Art/colours by Nigel Dobbyn, Letters by Elita Fell...





Trapped in the Vortex was one of my favourite stories that we did together.

Nigel also worked for many other comics throughout his career of course, including 2000AD, The Beano, Spider-Man and Friends and more. He had a great versatility to his work, able to adapt his style to suit the job. Down the Tubes has a fuller account of his career, which you can read here:
https://downthetubes.net/?p=110547

I'd occasionally see Nigel at various comics conventions and we last chatted at the Oldham Comic Con in May. Myself and his other friends and colleagues in the industry are stunned by this tragic news and tributes are pouring in on social media from creators and fans alike. 

A few years ago, Nigel drew this fabulous birthday card for me featuring my Brickman character. A fantastic surprise.

My deepest condolences to Nigel's wife Sue and the family for this awful loss, and to his many friends who always regarded him as a decent man and top talent. He will be sadly missed. 
Above: At the Birmingham International Comic Art Show in 2007. The Sonic the Comic team reunited. Left to right: Lew Stringer, Nigel Kitching, Richard Elson, Nigel Dobbyn. 


Preview: Next week's 2000AD

Here's what's in store for us next Wednesday when 2000AD Prog 2147 goes on sale! A Judge Dredd cover for the third week in a row... and why not? Dredd remains the strongest character in the comic and deserves his cover status. (Remember the days when the comic had "featuring Judge Dredd" as part of the logo?) 

UK and DIGITAL: 5th September 2019 £2.85
NORTH AMERICA: 5th September 2019 $32.80 (per pack)
DIAMOND: JUN191887
COVER: JAKE LYNCH

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD:  THE FALL OF BARBARBARA GRIMM by Michael Carroll (w) Nick Dyer (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SINISTER DEXTER: NARROW MINDED by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

INDIGO PRIME: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF VISTA by Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

THARG'S 3RILLERS: RED ROAD by Andi Ewington (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)

JAEGIR: VALKYRIE by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (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

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The HIGH VIS FESTIVAL is coming!

It's just over a week to go until the second High Vis Festival takes place in Digbeth, Birmingham. Saturday 7th September will see a mixture of street art, music, and comics take place at the Custard Factory and the comics guests will include Laura Howell, Hunt Emerson, Phil Winslade, and me! 

It's free admission so if you're in or around Birmingham you have no excuse. Come along and meet us. The comics area will be open from 11am until around 5.30pm. 


Coming this October...

Rebellion have teased Kyle Hotz's cover to The Thirteenth Floor Special in this advert for the 52 page all-new comic that arrives in shops on 16th October. 

Previously announced as the Scream and Misty presents The Thirteenth Floor Special it seems the title may be altered now, but we'll see. This has been a fantastic year for Rebellion reviving old comics and strips, with the Cor!! Buster Humour Special and the Tammy and Jinty Special giving us fresh takes on old characters. The line-up of talent for The Thirteenth Floor Special looks impressive, and good to see Tom Paterson in there too, which means a spot of comedy relief to the horror! 

I'll be able to reveal more about this special when we get closer to publication date, so stay tuned to this blog! 

Keep up to date with Rebellion's announcements on their Facebook page for The Treasury of British Comics:
https://www.facebook.com/britcomics/




Sunday, August 25, 2019

Celebrate BEANO No.4000 this Wednesday!

It's the longest running comic in British comics history and the Beano reaches it's 4000th issue this Wednesday! With a special red foil logo for the occasion, this edition contains a long story with the Beano stars encountering their future selves from the year 4000!

Meet characters such as Future Dennis...
The Bruised Banana...

...and Maximum Minx! 
With contributions from Andy Fanton, Nigel Parkinson, Laura Howell, Wayne Thompson and more, the Beano No.4000 arrives in shops on Wednesday 28th August, priced £2.75.

...and stick around for issue 4001 the following week, when Pup Parade returns in a new series of mini-strips written and drawn by me! 
https://www.beano.com/posts/inside-beano-no-4000


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Preview: Roy of the Rovers 65th Anniversary Special

When I first heard that there was going to be a Roy of the Rovers 65th Anniversary Special this year I presumed it'd be the same as Rebellions others specials; a 52 page comic. Instead, what we'll get is a 128 page hardback book! A wonderful souvenir of the greatest football strip seen in British comics. (UPDATE: There is also a "floppy" version of this book. See here for details.) 
The book mixes all new features, anecdotes, and interviews with a selection of classic Roy of the Rovers strips from over the decades. It begins with Roy's debut in Tiger in 1954, and ends with the rebooted modern version of today. There are features and interviews with or about the artists and writers and key moments in the long life of the original Roy Race. Definitely one for Roy's loyal fans!
RELEASE DATE: 11th September 2019
HARDCOVER, 128 pages
PRICE: £19.99 (UK)
ISBN: 9781781087381
Roy of the Rovers is the greatest football comic of all time. For generations, the exploits of Roy Race enthralled hundreds of thousands of readers. Through kidnappings and shootings, pregnancies and punch-ups, Melchester Rovers’ star striker kept the goals coming - and became woven into the fabric of football in the process. From the comic’s first appearance in 1954, all the way through to its glorious 21st century reboot, Roy of the Rovers remains the greatest football fairytale ever told. Join us as we celebrate the stories, the creators and the fans that made Roy of the Rovers the phenomenon it is today.

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

Available in digital from: Roy of the Rovers webshop andapps for iPad and Android



Friday, August 23, 2019

Preview: 2000AD Prog 2146

Here's an advance preview of next week's 2000AD, - in the shops on Wednesday 28th August!

UK and DIGITAL: 28th August 2019 £2.85
NORTH AMERICA: 28th September 2019 $32.80 (per pack)
DIAMOND: JUN191887
COVER: PAUL WILLIAMS (a) CHRIS BLYTHE (c)

In this issue:

JUDGE DREDD:  THE FALL OF BARBARBARA GRIMM by Michael Carroll (w) Nick Dyer (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SINISTER DEXTER: DOLORES 4 EVER by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

INDIGO PRIME: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF VISTA by Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

THARG'S 3RILLERS: RED ROAD by Andi Ewington (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)

JAEGIR: VALKYRIE by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (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

The Dolls of St. Dominics

The latest Comic Scene magazine (No.7) is out now and features an article I wrote about Pow! comic of the 1960s. Unfortunately there wasn't room to use all the images I supplied to illustrate the feature so I thought I'd show one of them here. 

The Dolls of St. Dominic's was heavily inspired by the St.Trinians books and films, but done in a traditional British comic style. This busy full-page illustration from 1967 is by Ron Spencer, showing the Dolls at their wildest. As I said in the Comic Scene article, this series is probably too rude to be published in a children's comic today. (It would be good to see the Dolls revived and updated one day though.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Beano sales up again

This week's issue. Art by Nigel Parkinson.
Over on his Down the Tubes blog, John Freeman has the latest sales figures of British comics and publications from the past six months... and sales of Beano are on the increase again for the fifth year in a row.

Some cynics will no doubt claim that today's Beano sales of 42,255 are poor compared to the figures of 40 or 60 years ago, but let's be fair... sales of all publications have fallen a lot since then! The fact that the Beano is increasing its sales whilst most others are falling is something to be proud of... and 42,255 copies a week is far more than most American comics titles manage in a month! 

You can read more at the Down the Tubes site at this link:
https://downthetubes.net/?p=110214

Beano website:
https://www.beano.com


Monday, August 19, 2019

Preview: DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE No.542

Here's the cover to Doctor Who Magazine No.542, which arrives in shops on Thursday 22nd August. 

Contents include...

Exclusive interviews with Billie Piper and Camille Coduri ahead of Big Finish‘s new audio series Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon!

Bonnie Langford answers questions from the TARDIS tin.

The mag investigates Robert Holmes’ final mystery - The Robots of Ravolox.

PLUS comic strip action with the 13th Doctor by Scott Grey, and another Daft Dimension from me where the Daleks go to Blackpool! 
Doctor Who Magazine No.542. 84 pages for £5.99, available from WH Smith, supermarkets, selected newsagents and comic shops. Don't miss it! 
https://www.facebook.com/doctorwhomagazine


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Combat Colin comic orders update

Thank you to everyone who's ordered copies of my Combat Colin comics recently. I've had a few delays in sending them out (holiday, deadlines, and now a chest infection) but most have been dispatched and the rest are ready to go this week. Thank you for your patience! 

Several of you have ordered back issues too, which is great. This meant that Combat Colin No.2 had to go to a second printing, and it looks like issue 1 will have to go to a third printing soon too! The new printings all have matt-laminated covers so they look really nice. 

In case you'd somehow missed my previous plugs for these comics, I'm reprinting all my old Combat Colin strips that originally appeared in Action Force and The Transformers back in 1987 to 1991. We're currently at issue 4 and there'll be two more issues next year to complete the run. All the pages are scanned from my original art, where possible. (Sadly, some of my later pages went missing from the Marvel UK offices, or were inadvertently destroyed after use, so those pages will be scanned from the comics.) 

If you haven't ordered the comics yet, you can get them exclusively from me at my web shop at this link:
http://www.lewstringer.com/page7.htm







Cover Preview: 2000AD Prog 2145

A fantastic cover by Chris Weston is coming your way this Wednesday when 2000AD Prog 2145 goes on sale, - but you don't have to wait until then because here's an advance preview thanks to Rebellion. 

It's another packed issue and here's what to expect inside...

UK and DIGITAL: 21st August 2019 £2.85
NORTH AMERICA: 21st September 2019 $32.80 (per pack)
DIAMOND: JUN191887
COVER: CHRIS WESTON

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD:  CONTROL by Rob Williams (w) Chris Weston (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
INDIGO PRIME: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF VISTA by Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: DOLORES 4 EVER by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
FUTURE SHOCKS: THE SWITCH by Erica Schultz (w) Liana Kengas (a) Simon Bowland (l)
JAEGIR: VALKYRIE by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (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

Friday, August 16, 2019

Advance Preview: JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE No.411

UK and DIGITAL: 21st August 2019 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 21st September 2019 $13
DIAMOND: JUN191890
COVER: JAKE LYNCH

In this issue:

JUDGE DREDD: RED QUEEN'S GAMBIT by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)


DEMARCO, P.I. by Laura Bailey (w) Paul Williams (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

DIAMOND DOGS by James Peaty (w) Warren Pleece (a) Simon Bowland (l)

THE RETURNERS: CHANDU by Si Spencer (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)

ANDERSON, PSI-DIV by Maura McHugh (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Pippa Mather (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Features: Interviews with Nick Landau, Doug Braithwaite; New Comics: The Vigilant: Legacy

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Out today! THE VIGILANT No.2: LEGACY

After the success of the Vigilant special that appeared last year, a second issue arrives on the shelves of WH Smith and comic shops today! The Vigilant: Legacy is a 64 page full colour comic with all-new material featuring reboots of classic characters such as The Leopard from Lime Street. Look out for Robot Archie and Tri-Man amongst others making an appearance this time too! 

Here's the info from the 2000AD website:

After their smash hit debut last year, The Vigilant return in August, resurrecting the greatest home-grown superheroes Britain has to offer – a team unlike any other, a challenge none have faced before!

Even if superhero comics have never been your thing, take up the call of The Vigilant with this 64-page special featuring Simon Furman (Transformers), Simon Coleby (The Royals), Will Sliney (Spider-Man 2099), Len O'Grady (Jaegir) and Simon Bowland (Doom Patrol).

Many years ago, a team of strange, super-powered beings were brought together by the original Dr. Sin in order to stop a reality-spanning apocalyptic event known as "The Blood Rapture." That incarnation of The Vigilant were successful in their mission, but it came at a great cost. Years later, the evil Nazi genius Von Hoffman is now searching for dangerous artifacts which will enable him to kick-start Armageddon once again.

While the new Dr. Sin and his fresh team of ragtag heroes are tested by new threats and interpersonal conflicts, Hoffman creeps closer to achieving his diabolical goal. With the complete unraveling of all reality on the line, the stakes have never been higher for The Vigilant!

If you can't get to the shops you can order it directly from the publisher at this link:


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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ROK THE GOD is coming!

One of the most enjoyable new British comics of recent years was Rok of the Reds, which ran as a six issue mini-series in 2016/17. With clear, engaging scripts by John Wagner and Alan Grant, dynamic art by Dan Cornwell, and fantastic colours by Abigail Bulmer, mixing football with science fiction it was like a traditional UK comics tale but with a modern look. 

Now there's to be a sequel, with the same creative team back again for Rok the God. This time it'll be published as a 120 page graphic novel rather than a series of comics, avoiding the wait between issues. Rok the God will be launching on Kickstarter on October 2nd, with the book to be published in 2020. 

I'll post more about this exciting project as it develops. For now, here's a cover preview (above) and the PR (below)...

 The second ‘season’ of John Wagner, Alan Grant and Dan Cornwell’s surprisingly popular Alien footie saga will be launching on Kickstarter on October 2. The story, to be published as a complete graphic novel and titled Rok the God, tells the tale of the death of Rok’s mother, the redoubtable Lady Vorga, and Rok’s elevation to Godhood. 

Sounds great – who wouldn’t want to be a god? Well, Rok for one. And with good reason. For accepting Godhood earns him the enmity of the cunning and murderous Skrel. Can the Skrel extinguish a God? They’re certainly going to try.
None of this is conducive to Radford Reds’ promotion hopes – nor indeed is the takeover of the club by the vile and rapacious Malcolm Griedy. 

Meanwhile, up in Higher Wood, there’s a hilarious pint-sized buddy movie kicking off!

Rok the God is every bit as funny and exciting as its predecessor Rok of the Reds, the story of the world’s first alien footballer. It’s beautifully drawn and coloured again by Dan Cornwell and Abby Bulmer. US comic size, 120 pages plus with a possible hard cover option. New publisher RedRok Comics is hoping to launch in summer, 2020.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Preview... WILDCAT: LONER

The second volume of stories from the short-lived 1980s comic Wildcat is coming in a few weeks from The Treasury of British Comics. Wildcat: Loner is a fabulous collection of strips illustrated by David Pugh and Eric Bradbury, from scripts by Barrie Tomlinson. 

This is some of David Pugh's most imaginative and detailed work, and of course you can't go wrong with Eric Bradbury who takes over the Loner strip later in the book. Barrie Tomlinson's scripts keep the story moving along at a fast, exciting pace, with clearly-told plots... the way good comics should be! Wildcat merged into Eagle, and the chapters from that comic are included as well, along with a full colour cover gallery.

CREATIVE TEAM: Barrie Tomlinson (w) David Pugh, Eric Bradbury (a)
RELEASE DATE: 5th September 2019
PAPERBACK, 224 pages
PRICE: £14.99 (UK)
ISBN: 9781781086841

The second volume in the complete stories from Wildcat! Silver age comics meets Alice in Wonderland in this weird and Crusoe-esque absurdist science fiction! Ex-mercenary Loner always works alone. Even if it means being on an alien planet as the sole member of one of the spacecraft Wildcat’s exploration teams! With only his customised six-shooter, “Babe”, and some alien fur balls as company, Loner must contend with psychic aliens, subterranean monstrosities, and angry shapeshifters. He might be the toughest, but can he survive being shrunk, melted, and transformed on a planet that seems to want him dead? Join humanity’s last surviving ex-mercenary on a surreal and grotesque adventure down the alien rabbit hole…, 

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

Available in digital from: Treasury of British Comics webshop & apps for iPadAndroid and Windows 10




The BLACK WIDOW Epic Collection is coming!

With a Black Widow movie finally appearing in 2020 starring Scarlett Johansson, it was inevitable that Marvel would capitalise on their vintage stories for a reprint collection. Therefore in February 2020 look out for Black Widow Epic Collection Volume 1: Beware the Black Widow, a 424 page softback. It'll reprint Natasha Romanov's earliest appearances in Marvel comics, starting with her debut as a villain in the Iron Man stories from Tales of Suspense, through to her appearances with The Avengers, and her 1970 solo series from Amazing Adventures
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Widow-Epic-Collection-Beware/dp/1302921266

I'll predict that some of the more contemporary Black Widow stories might turn up in Panini UK's Mighty World of Marvel around that time too. 

OK, this has nothing to do with British comics but I'm betting that some of you are fans of the Black Widow anyway so I thought I'd spread the news. Normal service will be resumed with the next post. :) 
©Marvel Studios.

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Striker: The Final Whistle

They think it's all over... it is now. 

The seemingly indestructible independent football comic Striker has published its final issue as a 52 page special. The concept has a long pedigree, starting out as a daily strip in The Sun in 1985, then becoming an indie weekly comic in 2003 for 87 issues. Then it returned to The Sun as a strip in 2005 until 2009, transferred to lads mag Nuts in 2010 for several months, went on hiatus until 2013 when it returned once again to The Sun until 2016. Was then relaunched as a weekly comic again in 2018, went on hiatus after 24 issues, and is now back for the final special. 

One has to give Striker's creator Pete Nash his due. He's stood by his creation for 34 years and has endured a lot of problems from publishers and distributors, not to mention the considerable expense, in order to bring his vision to his dedicated fans. Speaking of which, those fans deserve a round of applause too, for helping to support the comic through investing in shares and via Kickstarter.  

Some people seem to think that football comics are sure sellers in the UK. Not so. Roy of the Rovers has really been the only one with longevity. Scorcher lasted for four years, but titles such as Score 'n' Roar, Hot-Shot, and Champ had very brief runs. (Tiger had a very long run but that's because it wisely cast its net to cover a variety of sports stories, not just football.) Although on the pocket-sized format front, D.C. Thomson's Football Picture Story digest ran for 15 years. In the whole though it seems that football fans would rather read a factual magazine about the game (e.g.: Shoot! or Match of the Day Magazine) than bother with serialised fiction. (Certainly when I was a child, classmates who were mad keen on football were the least likely ones to read any comics.)
Yet despite its stop/start history, Striker did resonate with a lot of footie fans young and old. It cleverly used the Roy of the Rovers approach of including "soap opera" style sub-plots and ongoing continuity, but for an older reader. This could be somewhat controversial at times, such as women appearing in skimpy bikinis (or even topless) in the Striker CGI comic strip, while at the same time the comic was reprinting Billy's Boots and Kangaroo Kid from Scorcher for younger readers. 
Yes, Striker was bought by a totally different readership than yer average comic fan. With its tits and bums lowbrow humour and stereotypical depictions of European players it often read like an episode of Minder or some 1970s sitcom. It was a comic for the bloke in the replica football shirt, shorts and flip-flops, plodding around Lidl with his identically-dressed son. But let's not mock that. Most adventure comics lost their appeal to the average person long ago, and now cater to an insular fanbase with impenetrable stories that require a nerdy 30 year knowledge of the characters. What Striker did was go back to the basics, and understood the mindset of the general public. All publishers would love to appeal to readers outside of the hard core comic fan market, but Striker achieved it! 
Striker: The Final Whistle, 52 full colour pages for £4.95, is on sale now in selected branches of WH Smith or you can buy it directly from the Striker webshop at this link:
https://www.planetstriker.com/striker-final-whistle-the-last-comi


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