Thursday, March 27, 2008
April 10th sees the publication of the Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition: The Tenth Doctor Collected Comics. This 100 page full colour comic published by Panini UK gathers together the Doctor Who strips from Doctor Who Magazine Nos. 381 - 390, featuring the stories Woman Who Sold the World, Bus Stop, The First, and Death to The Doctor. Artwork is by Mike Collins, John Ross, Martin Garaghty, and Roger Langridge. Cover price is £5.99, and you should find it racked alongside SFX, Starburst, etc.
Doctor Who is the longest running strip inspired by a tv series in British comics, having begun in TV Comic in 1964, moving to Countdown in 1971, (renamed TV Action in 1972), and taken on by Marvel UK for Doctor Who Weekly (now Doctor Who Magazine) in 1979 to the present day. Other new Doctor Who strips also appear in Doctor Who Adventures, Doctor Who Battles In Time magazine, and the new US Doctor Who monthly.
The new series of Doctor Who begins on BBC One on Saturday April 5th at 6.20pm. A tribute to Verity Lambert (the original producer of the show) will be shown on the same night on BBC Four, with repeats of three very early episodes planned. The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine (issue 394, shown below, will be in the shops on April 3rd, priced £3.99. It features a brand new comic strip, Hotel Historia plus many exclusive features.)
Monday, March 17, 2008
Six years after its launch Egmont's Toxic magazine continues to remain a successful title on the crowded shelves of newsagents and the foresight to produce a companion website has also proved popular. The site, toxicmag.co.uk has now received another upgrade with the addition of new fun features.
I was recently commissioned to produce artwork for these new additions: the Toxic Joke Machine and the Toxic Monster Maker, coloured by the mega-talented Lorna Miller. Both are pretty much self-explanatory, with the Joke Machine being similar to a fruit machine, - press the button and the tumblers spin to reveal the punchline. The Monster Maker enables the visitor to the site to make their own monster by using their cursor to move body parts into the space provided.
I've also produced artwork for an upcoming Toxic free gift, but more on that in a few weeks. The new issue of Toxic, No.112, will be in the shops this Wednesday (19th March) priced £2.25.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Walt Howarth, the prolific artist of many British annual covers of the sixties and seventies has died, aged 80.
Like many artists of his generation, his work was often uncredited, but his work would be familiar to many children due to his prolific and varied output. His career spanned 60 years but he was best known for the many covers he illustrated for the tv theme annuals published by World Distributors such as the early Doctor Who annuals. In a pre-DVD age, Walt Howarth had to produce likenesses and representative artwork often based on minimal photo reference.
In recent years, Walt had produced private commissions for fans, based on reproductions of his old annual covers or brand new creations of past tv annuals that never existed. (For example, a Batman TV Annual cover featuring likenesses of Adam West and Burt Ward, - something never actually published in the sixties.)
Update: John Freeman's blog has a tribute and more info on Walt:
Monday, March 10, 2008
The shelves of UK comic shops are not as busy with comics news magazines as they were a few decades ago so it was good to see Comics International return last week.
Launched in 1990 by Dez Skinn, Comics International has long been the "go to" news source for many comic fans as they lapped up every monthly issue. Last year, as Dez moved on, a change in ownership and other problems caused numerous unforeseen scheduling headaches for Mike Conroy, CI's new editor. (There has been a five month gap since the previous issue.) However, things seem to be on the upswing again with Barry Renshaw, Joel Meadows, and Richard Burton using their combined skills as editors of, respectively, Redeye, Tripwire, and Comic Media News to assist Mike in the current and future issues.
So, Comics International No.205 is now with us, and it's been worth the wait. Mike has expanded the focus of the mag to feature more in-depth articles alongside the news. The standout feature (for me) this issue being the first of a six part retrospective on comic strips based on Gerry Anderson's tv shows. In this first part, Shaqui Le Vesconte gives us a six page whirlwind history of almost 50 years of Anderson-related strips from Twizzle in TV Land in 1960 to the CGI New Captain Scarlet comic of 2006. When it comes to the Gerry Anderson comic strips, Shaqui knows his stuff, and I'm eagerly looking forward to further chapters as he covers TV Comic, Frank Bellamy, Countdown, and more.
Due to the delays, the news pages of Comics International have presumably had to be updated several times before publication. Even now, some of the items are a little out of date, but Mike goes into depth a bit more than some mags, so I still found much of it informative, and therefore still news.
Other articles in the mag worthy of mention include a feature on new Image comic New World Order, Wildstorm's World of Warcraft, Virgin's Dan Dare, and Nick Abadzis' graphic novel Laika, about the little Russian dog that became Earth's first cosmonaut.
There's been a few gripes on the net about CI's infrequency, and even when it does come out some people aren't 100% happy with the varied content. It's a news and feature magazine. Do people complain if not every item in Empire or The Sunday Times appeals to them? The nature of the beast is that they have a broad scope. Besides, as comic fans, shouldn't we welcome the opportunity to learn about types of comics we wouldn't usually buy? Sales of newsstand comics may be much lower than they used to be but we're living in an era of fantastic variety for the medium and it's good to see CI reflecting that.
Comics International No.205 has a choice of four different covers (two of them are shown here) so check the issue number to make sure you don't buy it twice! (Or, if variant covers are your thing, what the heck, buy all four!). £2.99 from comic shops for 100 pages.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
My apologies for not updating this blog in over a week. I'm busy with deadlines at present, plus clearing out a load of old comics.
Normal service will be resumed soon, but for now here's another one of my old Macho Man strips from the 1980's. This appeared in Marvel UK's Secret Wars title and is scanned from the original artwork.
There's no truth in the rumour that Macho Man will appear in this summer's Incredible Hulk movie. ;-)