Wednesday, July 17, 2019


It all ends here! I've followed the work of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill throughout their careers so it's with a heavy heart that I'll be reading this final comic of theirs before they retire from the funnybook business. They leave us with a fantastic legacy of work though, with comics that never compromised and always followed their own path. Very few in this industry have achieved that.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest No.6 is in comic stores today and it wraps up the 20-year story of the League in suitably "meta" fashion, as the kids say today. I haven't seen a copy yet so I'll review it when I do, but for now I thought I'd give you a "heads up" (as the kids also say) so you don't miss this milestone issue! 

Each issue of The Tempest has featured a parody of a British comic on its cover and it's appropriate that this final issue has a spoof of the early 2000AD cover design, as that comic was the one that launched Alan and Kevin into the spotlight. Don't miss it!

(W) Alan Moore (A/CA) Kevin O'Neill
In Moore and O'Neill's final comic book, this issue masquerading as a British science-fiction weekly, the plot-strands of our concluding volume and loose ends from twenty years of continuity are tied in an ingenious starry bow, as Mina Murray and her legendary confederates transition from the world of fiction past and present to the world of fiction future. Planets end in visual spectacle, lovers are united in the matrimonial event of the millenium, and deadly enemies draw close in the conclusion of their fatal dances. This is your last call for the immaculate crescendo of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. IV, The Tempest.

Friday, July 12, 2019

50 Year Flashback: STAR TREK arrives in the UK

Although Star Trek had debuted on TV in the USA in 1966 it wasn't until this day in 1969 that it was broadcast in the UK. The BBC kicked off with the episode Where No Man Has Gone Before at 5.15pm on Saturday 12th July 1969, and millions of us were immediately enraptured. 

However, many of us had already been following the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise since January 1969, when it appeared as a comic strip in the first issue of Joe 90 Top Secret, a 20 page glossy tabloid-sized anthology weekly that also featured Land of the Giants, The Champions, and of course Joe 90 himself. Although beautifully illustrated by Harry Lindfield, the scripts suffered from either insufficient information supplied by Paramount or a bad transatlantic phone connection... with Captain Kirk referred to as Captain Kurt for the first few weeks! 

Nevertheless, the Star Trek strip was exciting and fast paced, and in full colour! A big deal back when the majority of UK viewers still had black and white televisions. Even so, the strip made colour mistakes with the uniforms, sometimes giving Kirk a red tunic. It's a wonder he survived!

City Magazines, the publishers of Joe 90 Top Secret,  were on the ball when Star Trek arrived on British TV. That same week they featured Star Trek on the cover, and also on the covers of the following three issues. 

Sadly the fate of the comic was already sealed and it was set to merge with TV21 a few weeks later. However, the popularity of Star Trek ensured it a place in the new TV21 and Joe 90 comic, where it later became the regular cover strip. 

Art by Mike Noble.

In 1971, TV21 merged into Valiant, but the Star Trek strip survived, drawn by John Stokes, becoming the regular centre-page attraction (apart from the second episode which appeared on Valiant's cover). 
Cover by Mike Western.

Star Trek's British strip finally ended in the Christmas 1973 issue of Valiant. Its run in comics had actually lasted as a five-year mission, although that was more likely due to the length of the license the publishers had been contracted to rather than any deliberate homage to the Enterprise's tour of duty. 

Personally, I've never been into Star Trek fandom, and wouldn't consider myself a Trekkie (or Trekker, or whatever the favoured term is) but I did really enjoy the original series. I watched some of the newer Star Trek series too, which were ok, but I'm not fussed to ever watch them again. I do like Star Trek: Discovery, but, again, not enough to watch the episodes more than once. The original series remains my favourite; a colourful Western in space with a great cast, likeable characters, and solid writing. 

Incidentally, several Star Trek actors including William Shatner and Walter Koenig will be amongst the guests at the London Film and Comic Con at the end of this month! So will I, come to mention it. Check it out:

Do you have any thoughts about Star Trek, either the TV shows, the strips, or the merchandise? If so, share your comments below...
Sugar Smacks was my favourite cereal 50 years ago because of free gifts like these.

All images scanned from my collection. 

Cover previews: Next week's 2000AD and JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE

The latest info from Rebellion HQ...

2000AD Prog 2140

UK and DIGITAL: 17th July 2019 £2.85
NORTH AMERICA: 17th August 2019 $32.80 (per pack)
In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THE SAMARITAN by Kenneth Niemand (w) Staz Johnson (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)
ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION: MARTYRS by Emma Beeby (w) Aneke (a) Barbara Nosenzo (c) Simon Bowland (l)
ABSALOM: TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS by Gordon Rennie (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
THISTLEBONE by TC Eglington (w) Simon Davis (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

UK and DIGITAL: 17th July 2019 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 17th August 2019 $13

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 :aura 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 Aneke, Erica Schultz, Brian Corcoran, Maura McHugh, Ollie Masters; Four-Colour Classics: Speed
Bagged reprint: Psi-Judge Anderson: The Candidate

ICE postponed!

I've just heard tonight that this year's ICE2019 (International Comic Expo) which was set to take place on August 31st has been cancelled... or rather postponed... until 2020. 

A shame, as ICE is one of my favourite conventions, but hopefully I'll see you there when it returns in September 2020! 

Here's the full explanation that appeared as an announcement on Facebook, from event organiser Shane Chebsey...

Due to health reasons of the Director ICE BIRMINGHAM 2019 is being postponed until 19th September 2020.
The venue has not changed and all tickets and tables purchased for the old date will be valid for the new date.
All exhibitors and advanced ticket holders have been contacted via email already.
Please do not purchase any more tickets however until the new dates are published on the website.
New tickets and tables going live again will be announced here soon along with some exciting new guest announcements.
We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and hope that the long notice period will ensure everyone can join us on 19th September 2020 for what promises to be an amazing event.
Thank you to everyone for their continued support of the convention. We can't make it happen without you and thank you to our wonderful new venue for being so understanding.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Cover preview of this week's BEANO

Here's the cover, with art by Nigel Parkinson, of this week's issue of the Beano. You'll find it in supermarkets and all good newsagents today, with 36 pages for £2.75 featuring all-new content. 

I'm pleased to say that I'll be returning to the pages of this longest-running comic in September, with a new series of Pup Parade mini-strips! See my other blog for more details:

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