NOTE: Blimey! is no longer being updated. Please visit for the latest updates about my comics work.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Sorry for the lack of any proper updates recently. I'm busy with lots of comics work on at present so I haven't had time to research and scan old comics. This blog will get back to normal soon though, when I've cleared this current pile of pages to draw. I'll also be selling more old artwork on eBay when I find time to sort some out. 

In the meantime I'll still post short news items when time permits. I'll continue to update my other blog which focuses on my own work as that doesn't take up any time to research. (

Thanks for reading and I hope you'll stick around because I still have a lot of old classic material I want to cover here. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

New Comics Festival for 2015!

These days there are numerous comic events up and down the country giving all comic fans ample opportunity to attend at least one. Next year will be no exception, with a brand new one added to the list. The Birmingham Comics Festival will take place on 18th April 2015 at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground. 

The venue's exhibition hall has the capacity to cater for over 2,000 visitors and the car park accommodates 600 vehicles. One of the organizers is Steve Tanner (publisher of UK comics company Time Bomb Comics) and guests for the event will be revealed at a later date. 

Birmingham has a good history of comic events, having hosted the very first British comic convention back in 1968, and others including this year's excellent International Comics Expo (which will be back in September 2015). 

To find out more about The Birmingham Comics Festival, visit their website here:

Into the ARENA!

As you may already know, Steve Holland's Bear Alley Books will soon be publishing a collection of the DC Thomson strip Arena. The serial originally ran in The Crunch weekly adventure comic in 1979, and was created by Dave Taylor (not the artist of the same name) and illustrated by Argentinian artist Enrique Alcatena.

You can read more info about the strip at John Freeman's essential Down The Tubes blog here:

The latest news is that Steve now has copyright clearance so the book is definitely on. You can see the cover above, coloured by Martin Baines, designed by Steve Holland.

I think this is the only way we'll continue to see classic UK strips reprinted, - under license to outside parties. Admittedly Egmont have reprinted classic Thunderbirds strips in book form, but I doubt they'd be interested in the more obscure strips. Similarly, DC Thomson annually reprint selected old Dandy and Beano strips but it's not worth their time to reprint material that would have a more limited appeal. So it's great that people such as Steve Holland, Titan Books, Hibernia, etc actively work to gain permission to produce the books themselves. 

To keep abreast of developments as to when Arena will be published, keep an eye on the Bear Alley Books blog:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Free Ivy!

Would you like to read this week's Ivy the Terrible strip that I drew? You can see it online free courtesy of The Beano. Just follow this link:

Of course, if you pay just £2 you can see it in print, along with a stack of other all-new strips in the latest issue, out now! Here's the cover to look for, drawn by Nigel Parkinson. If you haven't read it for a while, why not try it? Support Britain's longest-running comic and remember the old motto: Never Be Without A Beano! 

DALEKS 1997!

A lot of us who grew up reading TV21 in the 1960s will fondly remember The Daleks strip on the back page (1965 - 67). What some of you may not be aware of is that 30 years later, in 1997, there was a brand new sequel to those strips!

Starting in Doctor Who Magazine No.249 (12th March 1997), The Daleks ran on the inside front cover for six issues. It was written by John Lawrence and illustrated by veteran artist Ron Turner, who had been one of the original artists on the TV21 strip. Some of the Dalek figures were a bit 'off model' but it didn't matter, - Ron Turner was still producing stunning artwork even at 74 years of age! 

Here are the first two episodes of the revived Daleks strip. It's a shame it didn't run for more than six issues, but the fact that a new series of strips happened at all is something to be thankful for. The comic series concluded in a similar way to how the original TV21 run had, with The Daleks intent on reaching Earth, presumably acting as a prequel to the 1964 Doctor Who TV adventure The Dalek Invasion of Earth

Sadly, Ron Turner passed away in 1998, just 18 months after this run of strips, but his work lives on for fans old and new.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This week's Commando action

Every other week four issues of Commando go on sale and here are the previews for the latest batch. In newsagents on Thursday. Thanks to DC Thomson for the images and press release. Here we go...

Commando issues 4743-4746 – On Sale 25 September 2014

Commando No 4743 – Return To The Sky

No, you’re not seeing things, that is a Sopwith Camel scout attacking a Ju 87 Stuka. But surely, you say, they’re planes from two different wars, their designs nearly 25 years apart. Surely they would never have met in combat.
   Well, yes and no.
   How this unlikely pair came face to face takes a bit of explaining. It’s the story of a warrior’s…

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Carlos Pino
Cover: Carlos Pino

Commando No 4744 – Scourge Of The Desert

The Sign of the Scorpion was their badge, and soon the Germans learned why…for the men of the Long Range Desert Group would fight as long as they drew breath. Their raids were as fast as the sting of the scorpion, and twice as deadly!


The sub-title “the toughest desert rat of them all” would seem to sum up this story very neatly but there is a lot more going on here than just a lantern-jawed British hero beating the beastly Jerries. There are at least two other battles going on alongside that struggle.
   Gordon Livingstone’s crisp interior artwork — with Zip-a-tone shading in amongst the black pen work — marries excellent detail work along with dynamic figures to match the frantic mood of the action.
   Ken Barr’s cover work does what it always does — makes you want to open the book. And as you’ve done that, it’s worked!
   Originally titled Single Fare To Tobruk, this is classic Commando at its finest.

Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Scourge Of The Desert, originally Commando No 123 (July 1964), re-issued as No 663 (July 1972)

Story: Kenner
Art: Gordon Livingstone
Cover: Ken Barr

Commando No 4745 – “On The Run!”

On the retreat to Dunkirk, Sergeant-Major Mike Fletcher had hooked up with a trio of individuals separated from their units. Eventually they were captured and became POWs.
   However, Mike saw some potential in this down-trodden and uninspired bunch. The Sergeant-Major was determined to turn them into proper soldiers once and for all!
   First, all they had to do was escape…

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Morahin
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4746 – No-Gun Hero

When Johnny Peace was called up to the army he refused to fight, refused to kill anyone. And he was branded a coward.
   So he went to war as a medical orderly. Not for him guns or grenades — his only weapons were his medical satchel and his courage.
   A coward? Not Johnny Peace. There was probably never a braver man in the British Army!


Although Medical Orderly Johnny Peace (yes, really) is our eponymous No-Gun Hero, he is all but upstaged by a magnificent mutt — the fierce but noble Alsatian called Satan (yes, really).
   There have been a few fighting dogs in Commando’s long history. Memorable canine “tails” (sorry, at least one pooch-related pun is compulsory) have included “Wagger’s War” (No 1106), “Billy’s Best Friend” (No 3938) and “Hounds Of War” (originally No 67, re-issued late in 2013 as No 4664).
   So, “Fetch!” a cuppa, “Sit!” back and enjoy the story of a devilishly heroic hound.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

No-Gun Hero, re-issued as No 2299 (August 1989), originally Commando No 965 (September 1975)

Story: Bernard Gregg
Art: Boluda
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New! Funny Monsters Comic

Who says British comics are dead? Certainly not long-established cartoonist Joe Matthews who has put his time and effort into independently producing his own new children's comic which will be available in selected newsagents from this week. Funny Monsters Comic is the title, and it features a mixture of strips and puzzles with all-new characters, all created and illustrated by Joe himself.

The strips are: 
Zackster, Kid Zombie, featuring the 'life' of a young zombie.

Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite! featuring the critters that live within a grubby teenager's mattress.

Milly, Monster Hunter, - a two page prose story of comedy horror.

Werewolf Growl, - a boy who becomes a werewolf.

It's a fairly even split with the contents, with puzzles and activity pages taking up half of the comic. It's a slim publication, - only 16 pages, - but is bagged with two trading cards, stickers, and sweets. Priced at £2 for an independent comic, that's a reasonable price.

So how can you get hold of a copy? Joe explained:
"The comic goes out next week and will be in around 3000 corner shops around the Midlands and North West. People can also send a message on my Facebook page if they want one and I can send them one without the sweets for £2 inc postage." 

Joe will also be selling the new comic at various comic conventions and shopping centres etc. "I will be at the following venues sketching and selling Funny Monsters Comic: Sunday 28th September Stoke-Con-Trent, Saturday 11th October The Living Deadcon, Liverpool. Saturday 25th October Preston Comic Con, Sunday 26th October Wheatsheaf Comic Con, Rochdale, Monday 27/28th Millgate shopping Centre Bury. Wednesday 29th October Bay View Shopping Centre, Colwyn Bay. Thursday 20th October Leeds St Johns Shopping Centre. Friday 31st October Kelsalls Bookshop, Littleborough. Friday 31st Oct evening at the Baum for Rochdale Ghost Walks. Sunday 16th November Bolton Comic Con."

Issue 2 is scheduled to be a Christmas issue but for now let's give the first issue our support. It's easy for critics to bemoan that comics aren't what they used to be, but here's a guy who's actively doing something to try and change that, with a brand new title that's not all 'filler' and not based on a toy/TV/movie. 

New comics for children are a rarity these days, especially ones from an independent publisher, so I hope comic fans (and their kids of course) get behind this admirable venture in order to keep it going and for it to develop. 
Funny Monsters Comic No.1, - on sale this week! 

Facebook page:

Friday, September 19, 2014

New look for 2000AD

Cover art by Greg Staples.
Next week Britain's longest-running adventure comic weekly 2000AD reaches the landmark issue Prog 1900, and gets a facelift with a new design and masthead. 

The issue also sees the start of three new stories, with two others to begin the following week. The Forbidden Planet International Blog has the full details, along with previews of the strips, so check it out now:

2000AD Prog 1900, on sale Wednesday 24th September. Still only £2.45.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New look for Marvel Legends in October

Next month, Marvel Legends becomes the last of Panini's six Marvel Collectors' Editions titles to be revamped with a Marvel Now! branding. Following its sister publications such as The Mighty World of Marvel and Avengers Universe, the comic will restart with a new No.1 and have a slight redesign including a new logo. 

Marvel Legends (which I've always considered to be the modern equivalent of Odhams' Fantastic) features individual stories of Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America and this line-up continues in the new look issue. It will be an ideal 'jumping on point' for new and lapsed readers as the first issue begins new story arcs for all three strips. 

The last issue in the current series, No.102 (shown below) is in shops now, and the new Marvel Legends No.1 goes on sale on October 16th, still at £3.50.

DWM 478 out today!

The traditional format of the British comic being a publication comprised exclusively of comic strips only really gained traction in the last half of the 20th Century. Before then, comics were usually a mixture of text stories and comic strips. So perhaps it's not too surprising that the basic model would keep evolving. 

Today, that all-comics format that most of us grew up with has practically died out in the UK, save for a few titles such as The Beano, The Phoenix, Commando, and 2000AD. It's understandable that to the casual browser and various curmudgeons it may seem that "the UK comics industry is dead", - but that's not really the case is it? I fully agree of course that we don't produce anywhere near the comics output as we used to, but there are still strips being produced in the UK for British publications. 

One example, Doctor Who Magazine, which every month features 12 and a bit pages of comic strips originated here in the UK. Granted that's only a fraction of its 84 page format, and granted that most readers buy the mag for the features, but 12 pages is nothing to be sniffed at.

In this month's issue, out today, The Eye of Torment part two by Scott Gray, Martin Geraghty and David Roach continues the adventures of the new Doctor. It's good, solid, professional stuff. 

Oh, and the 'bit' part of "12 and a bit pages of comic strip"? That's the second of my Daft Dimension humour strips. Ok, vested interest declared, but I have promoted DWM here several times in the past before I was a contributor. It's a good mag, and if you're a fan of Doctor Who an essential purchase. 

By the way, when I plugged DWM last month apparently some of you bought Doctor Who Adventures by mistake. That's a good mag in itself, and features all-new comic strips by John Ross and Jamie Smart, but it is pitched at the very young, so if you want a mag for the older fan, Doctor Who Magazine (cover shown above) is the one you want. (But don't let me stop you from buying both of course.)

Doctor Who Magazine No.478. Out now. £4.99.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy Birthday to Mike Noble!

Today is the 84th birthday of Mike Noble, one of the greatest adventure strip artists of British comics, - and certainly my favourite. I've been a fan of Mike's work for 49 years, ever since his Fireball XL5 strips in TV21, and although he's not as active in illustration today his style is still as dynamic and accomplished as it ever was. 

Mike's a rare visitor to comic events but I did have the pleasure of meeting him ten years ago at a Bristol Comic Expo, and he came across as an unassuming and genuinely nice bloke. 

On Facebook today, Beano artist Nigel Parkinson (who used to draw for Thunderbirds the Comic) said:
"Lovely fellow and very humble. When I met him (wow, 20 years ago!) he was saying to Alan [Fennell] how much he admired Embleton and Bellamy and how he wished he could draw as well as them. Well sir, you did and do!"

I wrote a tribute to him and his work seven years ago on this very blog and you can read it here:

Today, the Down The Tubes forum has a birthday tribute to the great man, which you can read here:

Here's wishing Mr.Noble a very happy and healthy birthday, and many more to come! 
Photo from LOOK-IN in 1971 showing Mike's original art.


The mighty Simon Williams, brilliant comic artist and all-round good guy, has given his blog a bit of a makeover and it looks great! Simon is a natural superhero artist of the old school (but not old fashioned) where storytelling was clear, the pages were exciting, and the characters were suitably dynamic. He was a regular on the much-missed Spectacular Spider-Man and Marvel Heroes comics from Panini, and one of his strips featuring Death's Head is reprinted in the Marvel Heroes Annual 2015, out now!

Check out Simon's blog to see his awesome work, including authentic looking imaginary cover creations such as the one shown above. And Marvel editors, if you're reading this, give Simon a series!  

Monday, September 15, 2014

FA the Comiczine

This will be old news to some of you, but for those of you who didn't already know, Britain's most enduring comics fanzine has a new life online these days. FA the Comiczine can be found here: 

FA started out as the fanzine Fantasy Advertiser way back in 1965, created by Frank Dobson as a way to sell his comics via mail order. When Frank emigrated to Australia in 1970 the editorial reins were passed on to Dez Skinn and Paul McCartney (not the Beatle). You can read Dez' fascinating anecdotes about it on his website here:

Although still heavy on the sales ads, Dez did include some great features too, such as in Fantasy Advertiser No.55 (April 1975) which carried an interview with Stan Lee by Charles Murray.
Cover art by Bryan Talbot.

By the time I first discovered the 'zine, in 1977, it was being edited by Colin Campbell and had a pretty even balance of features, strips, and ads. 
Cover by Trev Goring.
Cover by Jeff Anderson.

Martin Lock became the next editor/publisher in the early 1980s, giving the 'zine a good comics news section, and continuing the features and a lively letters column. 
Cover by Eddie Campbell.

Martin Skidmore took over in the mid-1980s, and abbreviated the title to FA because he felt 'Fantasy Advertiser' sounded a bit like a sex contact mag. It also allowed FA to cover material beyond the fantasy genre. 
Cover by George Perez.

FA was taken over by Trident Comics in 1988, retaining Martin Skidmore as editor, but unfortunately the mag closed when the company went bankrupt in 1991. However in 2010, Martin revived the title as an online 'zine with new material. 

Sadly, Martin Skidmore passed away a few years ago but his colleagues and friends have continued to keep FA the Comiczine going. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Fantasy Advertiser so hopefully there'll be something significant to mark the milestone on the website. It's the fanzine that seems indestructible. Check it out. There's some great articles by Nevs Coleman, Andrew Moreton and others, plus Martin Hand's bizarre strip World of Flimsy

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jessica Martin event at Elstree

As many of you will know, Jessica Martin's debut comic It Girl has proven to be very popular with readers, often selling out at comic shops such as Gosh! (shown in the photo above). The comic, telling the true life story of 'It Girl' Clara Bow, has impressed a lot of us in the industry (see my review here) and I'm pleased to see that Jessica has recently produced strips for anthologies such as To End All Wars (which I'll review when I get the chance) and To Arms! Jessica is also working on a graphic novel, Elsie Harris Picture Palace, and the pages I've seen so far look great. 
A page from It Girl.
That's not all, because Jessica's talents extend beyond the drawing board. As many of you will be aware, she's also an accomplished performer on stage and TV and on Friday 10th October at 8pm Jessica will be giving a 75 minute talk at Elstree Studios about her career in light entertainment. Tickets (only available by booking in advance) are £12, and you'll also receive a signed copy of It Girl. Sounds like a bargain to me, and a good night out.  

Follow this link for more information:   

Current Commando comics

 Here's the PR for the latest four Commando comics that are in the shops now!

Commando Issues 4739-4742 – On Sale 11th September 2014

Commando No 4739 – Attack In Arabia

On the morning of the 28 June 1914, two pistol shots fired in a Sarajevo street had 
plunged the world into war and pitched men of all nations against one another. In the 
world’s first truly global conflict soldiers, sailors and airmen found themselves fighting 
in far-flung battlefields.
   In the arid wastes of the Middle East, British troops faced Turks, Germans and 
Austrians in battles just as wasteful of lives as those on the Western front. This is the 
story of five British soldiers prepared to put their own lives at risk to save thousands 
of others. 
   Men determined to blunt an...

Attack In Arabia


As a tribute to those who served during the years 1914-1918 — on land, sea or in the air; at home or abroad — Commando is producing stories of characters caught up in the tumult of the First World War. None of author George Low’s inventions are real people but we’d like to think that the experiences he has imagined for you will not be far away from what actually happened to so many.
   Last month, the miners of Messines were deep below the earth digging their way towards enemy lines. Other British soldiers, though, fought under the blazing sun of the Middle East where the land was as much an enemy as the soldiers of the Ottoman Empire who they faced.
   I hope you enjoy this and the other stories in the series as much as we have.

Calum Laird, Commando Editor

The series continues in four weeks with In Flanders Skies… Commando No 4747

Story: George Low
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Commando No 4740 – Portrait Of Death

These men had recklessly pursued the blood-cursed painting for itself, and for the military secrets hidden in it. But it hadn’t been called “The Portrait Of Death” for five centuries for nothing…


So, what have we here? A cursed portrait whose evil has brought death throughout history. That seems straightforward enough, but keep your eye on the plot because there a few extra threads woven into the canvas of this one. Eric Hebden’s stories usually give full value and this one’s no exception. The inside art by Cortes — one of some 29 he did for Commando — you’ll be pleased to her is a lot clearer than the plot. Crisp, definite lines and shading only where it’s absolutely needed give a very clear read.
   Ken Barr’s cover couldn’t be clearer either. It tells you exactly what you’re going to get.
   Every picture tells a story…as they say.

Calum Laird, Commando Editor

Portrait Of Death, originally Commando No 120 (Jun 1964), re-issued as No 655 (June 1972)

Story: Eric Hebden
Art: Cortes
Cover: Ken Barr

Commando No 4741 – Mistaken Identity

Second-Lieutenant Ashley Windsor was a good-natured type but a bit naive and impulsive. Serving with an infantry regiment in India, he was the butt of many a joke amongst his fellow officers — especially when he hinted that he was a (very) distant relative to Queen Victoria.
   This silly remark set off an extraordinary chain of events, including a small war against a scheming local tribal leader — who thought he would end up rich if he could capture a member of the British Royal Family!

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Vila
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4742 – Jet Pilot

The photo-reconnaissance Spitfire flew so high and so fast, that it was considered safe from German fighters. Except, that is, when the enemy was an Me262 jet piloted by Max von Mellenburg.
   Max had flown Luftwaffe planes over Britain and Russia with deadly success. Now he was preparing to defend the skies of his homeland as the Allies closed in for the final battle.


Brought to you by a trio of top Commando contributors, this sterling air story features a premise which, when used sparingly, can be very effective, as Alan Hebden shows here. For a change, we are firmly on the side of a German hero — a Luftwaffe pilot who has no allegiance to the arrogant and cowardly Nazis.
   There are stunning aircraft illustrations throughout from Jose Maria Jorge, and Ian Kennedy’s Me262 jet is so dynamically drawn that it looks set to practically soar off the front cover.

Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

Jet Pilot, originally Commando No 2263 (March 1989), re-issued as No 3787 (February 2005)

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: J.M. Jorge
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Arms! - Launch party at Gosh! comics store

To Arms! is an all-new anthology of comic strips themed around World War One. The independent project gained its funding via Kickstarter and will be unveiled at a special launch party at London's Gosh! comic shop on Friday night (7pm to 9pm, September 12th, at 1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR.)

From what I've seen, To Arms! looks like a great collection of small press creators, with contributions from Jessica Martin, Karim Iskander Flint, Matt Duncan and more. You can read more about it here: 

...and visit the Gosh! comics website here:

Jonah, - Plug's Uncle!

I'll keep it brief as I should be at the drawing board but I thought some of you would be interested in hearing that the seafaring calamity known as Jonah has a guest-starring role in this week's Bash Street Kids story in The Beano... as Plug's uncle! 

There's certainly a bit of a family resemblance with the teeth, but is this the first time it's been mentioned? Curiously, the old Beano character Jinx was said to be Jonah's sister, so I guess that makes her Plug's aunt! 

The Bash Street Kids is written by Stu Munro and drawn by Dave Sutherland (who has now been drawing the strip for 52 years!).

For the few of you unfamiliar with Jonah, it was one of The Beano's greatest strips of the 1950s, illustrated by the brilliant Ken Reid. Here's a couple of classic examples of some of the best British comics work to have seen print.

From The Beano No.852, dated november 15th 1958...

From The Beano No.928, dated April 20th 1960...

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