Sunday, July 15, 2018

The unseen Warrior!

Every comic starts with an idea, and often with a "dummy issue" to give publishers or distributors an idea of what it'll look like. Those dummy issues are often quite different to the end product, and can utilise edited material from other comics just to give a flavour of the style of content. Once approved, the dummy issues are forgotten, and never released to the public, as work commences on production of the actual comic that will be issue one.

Well, now you can see what the dummy issue of Warrior was like, way back in 1982. Dez Skinn has published it (which he's titled No.0) in a limited quantity that you can order by post directly from him. Payment to be made by PayPal to for £15.95 plus £2.00 UK postage, or by postal order (uncrossed) made payable to Quality. Details are on the supplied graphic below...

Dez has also set up a Warrior Facebook page which gives updates on the project and I'm sure he'll answer any queries you might have:

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Preview: Judge Dredd Megazine No.398

The latest info on the next issue of Judge Dredd Megazine, on sale this coming Wednesday...

UK and DIGITAL: 18th July 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 18th July 2018 $6.75

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THIS CORROSION by Michael Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Annie Parkhouse 

THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer  (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse 

DEVLIN WAUGH: KISS OF DEATH by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)

CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Len O'Grady, Brendan McCarthy (c) Ellie De Ville (l) 

STRANGE BRIGADE by Gordon Rennie (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Features: How To Write A Future Shock, Strontium Dog miniatures game.

 Bagged reprint: THE STREETS OF DAN FRANCISCO by Arthur Wyatt, Al Ewing (w) Paul Marshall (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Friday, July 13, 2018

It's here! The Dandy Annual 2019

The weekly Dandy comic sadly ended on its 75th birthday in 2012 but the annual continues every year with all-new content. The Dandy Annual 2019 is available now, with 112 full colour pages featuring favourites such as Desperate Dan, Cuddles and Dimples, Corporal Clott, Korky the Cat, and many more, including a new Jack Silver adventure story. 

I've produced four new Keyhole Kate pages for this book, plus a puzzle page. I've created a new nemesis for Kate in the form of Doorknocker Donna, who spoils Kate's nosey antics and gets wrongly accused for the door-knocking. 

Another supporting character I created, Kates's mad inventor uncle Black Hole Bert, returns in one of the other stories, bringing with him Dupli-Kate, a robot double of Keyhole Kate!

The Dandy Annual 2019 (along with its companion the Beano Annual) is out now at a R.R.P. of £7.99. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: The Tempest No.1

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest is the conclusion to the long-running League saga, and is being issued as a six-issue mini-series, co-published by Knockabout in the UK and Top Shelf in the USA. The first issue is available in comics shops now, and it's a treat to read.
There's a sense that Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill are really having fun with this comic, as evidenced right away from the cover, which is a homage to the old Classics Illustrated comics. (Subsequent issues will homage other comics, such as TV21 with No.2.)

On the inside cover there's a tribute to Leo Baxendale, covering his life, achievements and legal battle against D.C. Thomson. It's likely that a lot of League readers won't have known who Leo was, when really he should be as well known to comic fans as Jack Kirby, so this feature was very welcome (and will spotlight other creators in subsequent issues).
In the comic itself, the story techniques incorporate traditional colour comics, a parody of the Daily Express James Bond strip (above) and even a spoof of an old-style British superhero comic (complete with fake ads and an hilarious letters page). The latter brings back Mick Anglo's Captain Universe, a fairly obscure British superhero from the 1950s (used with permission). 

Of course, as is expected with League stories, there are numerous visual references inspired by pop culture from The Beatles to Stingray and many more dotted throughout. Each turn of the page offers us a delightful nod to the past either prominently or tucked away in the background. It's a dazzling mixture that brought a smile to my face several times, and a few laugh out loud moments too. 

I've followed the work of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill practically most of my life, and its been fascinating to see their styles develop and mature over the decades and remain as enjoyable as ever, with both creators still at the top of their game. 

With so many comics today being part of the factory system of creators playing musical chairs as writers and artists are replaced on a frequent basis it's always refreshing to read a creator-owned comic that can maintain its own vision. To accomplish that in such an enjoyable way is a bonus. If you enjoy well crafted comics you'll like this. If you're a fan of old British comics and pop culture you'll get even more of a kick out of it. Jump on board The Tempest today!

Here's the story synopsis as published in Previews:

After an epic twenty-year journey through the entirety of human culture, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill conclude both their legendary League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and their equally legendary comic-book careers with the series' spectacular fourth and final volume, "The Tempest." This six-issue miniseries is a celebration of everything comics were, are and could be. Opening simultaneously in the panic-stricken headquarters of British Military Intelligence, the fabled Ayesha's lost African city of Kor and the domed citadel of 'We' on the devastated Earth of the year 2996, the dense and yet furiously-paced narrative hurtles like an express locomotive across the fictional globe. This is literally, and literarily, the story to end all stories. Here's how it begins.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest No.1. Writer: Alan Moore. Artist: Kevin O'Neill. Colourist: Ben Dimagmaliw. Letterer: Todd Klein. Publisher: Knockabout (UK), Top Cow (USA). 32 pages (plus covers). $4.99. Out now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Commando comics out this week

Cover art: Ian Kennedy.
The latest info on the new Commando comics from D.C. Thomson. Yes, it's still being published with four issues every fortnight, and every other issue is a brand new story! 

5139: Home of Heroes: The Forlorn Hope
The Forlorn Hope was the name given to those who were placed on the front line in battle. The 45th Sherwood Foresters Regiment of Foot were among those who would advance on the sieged City of Badajoz. It would be one of the bloodiest battles in the Napoleonic Wars, but on they fought against French cannons and muskets, ready to take out the best of Napoleon’s men.

Manuel Benet’s stellar interior and cover art looks straight out of a scene from Sharpe, the dedication to regimental uniform astounding!

|Story | Andrew Knighton | Art | Manuel Benet | Cover | Manuel Benet |

5140: Gold Collection: Shooting Star
Rex Barton was used to action — both on and off the camera. A film star used for propaganda pictures, Rex had had enough and took to the skies in his own kite, desperate to take down any Jerries in his path — and he was dang good at it. But when the Nazis got their hands on Rex they decided to make their own propaganda piece. The only problem was that Rex wasn’t game to play ball…

Instantly recognisable, Gordon C Livingstone’s cover shines just as bright as Newark’s film star come RAF pilot hero.

|Story | Newark | Art | Gordon C Livingstone | Cover | Gordon C Livingstone |
Originally Commando No. 483 (June 1970). Reprinted No. 1404 (April 1980).

5141: Action and Adventure: Outfoxed!
In the last bitter days of the Second World War, many soldiers were happy to wait out the end in a sleepy prisoner of war camp in the Scottish Highlands — but not Gefreiter Fritz Schmitt. He wore the uniform and had the identity papers, but he did not act like a corporal, and he did not speak to any of the other Germans. No, his only ally was Military Police Sergeant Fred Foxley… but even he would balk when he found out what Schmitt had done in the Ardennes and why he must escape…  

Inspired by Cultybraggan in Scotland, Ian Kennedy brings the POW camp to life, the perfect backdrop for Watson’s adversaries, Police Sergeant McKay and MP Sergeant Foxley, to play out their battle of wits.

|Story | Colin Watson | Art | Morhain | Cover | Ian Kennedy |

5142: Silver Collection: High Risk Rescue
First World War Coastal Motor Boat skipper Lieutenant Frank Judge was no stranger to danger; CMBs had a top speed of forty knots and launched eighteen-inch torpedoes at enemy U-boats. But when Frank is assigned a mission to sneak ashore behind enemy lines and rescue missing naval Commander Richard Berry, he wishes he had just stayed at sea!

Ian Kennedy’s moody cover perfectly suits the vintage tone of Clark’s unique World War I naval issue.

|Story | Ian Clark | Art | Olivera | Cover | Ian Kennedy|
Originally Commando No. 2824 (January 1995).

Monday, July 09, 2018

Cooling off 50 years ago

Kinky from 1968.

As the heatwave continues, here's a look back at the ice cream and ice lollies us old 'uns had to cool us off half a century ago. All images have been scanned from comics in my collection.

Strip art: Ken Reid.

Strip art: Frank Bellamy

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Steve Ditko R.I.P.

The comics industry was saddened last night to hear the news that Steve Ditko had passed away. His body was found in his Manhattan apartment on 29th June, and he's thought to have passed away a few days earlier. A sad end for the co-creator of Spider-Man, yet he lived his life as he wanted to, avoiding the public gaze and minding his own business. 

The first imagery of Steve Ditko's I saw as a child was when Odhams' Smash! weekly began reprinting The Hulk stories in 1966. They began with reprinting Hulk No.2, and that powerful image of the Hulk emerging from the swamp burnt itself into my brain forever. The art was actually by Jack Kirby, but it was Steve Ditko's inks that dominated the images, in a positive way. 
Odhams later went on to reprint Spider-Man in the pages of Pow! in 1967, with Steve Ditko on art, co-creating the character with Stan Lee's scripts, producing arguably the most popular superhero in the world. 
It was Doctor Strange that enthralled me the most though. Another Lee-Ditko co-creation, Odhams reprinted the strips in Terrific weekly in 1967. Comic readers had never seen anything like this before, with the stories taking us on unexpected journeys to nightmare realms and other dimensions, expertly realised by Ditko's unique artwork. This sequence from the first Dr.Strange story, where Strange says he will enter a dream amazed my 8 year old self and still leaves an impression today. 
The British reprints were in black and white, but we didn't mind. All the better to see Ditko's stunning designs in a way without being distracted by colour. 
Steve Ditko's run on Doctor Strange concluded with an astonishing battle between Dormammu and Eternity, - pretty much Marvel's equivalent of Satan vs God at that time. Was it any wonder I wasn't impressed by the likes of Victor and Hornet comics when such wonders as these lay in the pages of Terrific
Over the years I've discovered Ditko's earlier works, through reprints of his 1950s horror/mystery stories and they're moody and magnificent strips well worth checking out. 

Steve Ditko was quite reclusive, refusing interviews and publicity, but he carried on producing his own comics right up to his death. I'm sure others will go into more detail about his life, but today I just wanted to post my personal thoughts about his work. His classic strips continue to be popular, and Panini UK's Mighty World of Marvel is currently reprinting his early Doctor Strange strips every month. Check them out!
I'll also recommend the hardback books on Ditko published by Yoe! Books / IDW that reprint his early work. Essential reading!
Rest In Peace, Mr.Ditko, and thank you for the memories of such amazing work, and for the work of yours I've still to discover!

D.C. Thomson launch Dino World

As part of their This Is... showcase series, This Is... Dino World is the latest magazine for children from D.C. Thomson. The mag contains features and fun on dinosaurs, including a new comic strip from Jamie Smart! It comes bagged with a bunch of gifts and is in the shops now, priced £4.99.

Here's the You Tube ad to promote it:

Next week in 2000AD...

Here's the latest preview of the next issue of 2000AD, courtesy of Rebellion...

UK and DIGITAL: 11th July 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 11th July 2018 $6.75

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: ELEVETATOR PITCH by Rob Williams (w) Chris Weston (a) Annie Parkhouse (l) Chris Blythe (c)

SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l) 

THE ORDER: THE NEW WORLD by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

DURHAM RED: BORN BAD by Alec Worley (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

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

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Blog thoughts

A tiny part of my collection.
As you've no doubt noticed, I haven't blogged about old comics very much recently. It's mainly down to lack of time. Promos for the latest 2000AD, the Ken Reid books, Panini comics etc are easy to do and only take a few minutes, (especially if they supply the info), but researching old comics, scanning pages, etc takes a lot longer. Ditto for reviewing new comics, and apologies again for still having a pile of comics I haven't reviewed yet.

I had a week off last week to go on holiday, and now I need to catch up with work (deadlines all seem to come at once) so it'll still be a while before I blog about old comics here. I hope you understand. (Blog visits are well down, so a lot of you have given up. Inevitable really, and I understand.)

I must admit I don't have the enthusiasm for blogging as I did a few years ago, so that's a factor too. I've no plans to end it just yet but bear in mind that this blog won't be around forever. 

One blog I will always keep updated is my personal one. I know not all of you follow my work, but for those that do, here it is:

Another casualty of delays is Combat Colin No.3, which I'd planned to publish in May but now won't be ready until either the end of the month or August. Thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, I hope you do enjoy what I do have time to post, and if you crave old comics, have a rummage through this blog's archives to see what takes your fancy. Thanks, as always, for your support.

PS: Don't forget that you can always follow Down the Tubes for the latest UK comics news. Its blogmaster, John Freeman, does a far better job than me so I think you'll enjoy it:

Belated preview: Doctor Who Magazine No.527

It's been out for a week but I'm still catching up on stuff after my holiday so here's a belated cover image of Doctor Who Magazine No.527, in the shops now!

It's another packed 84 page issue, and you can read all about it on the DWM website here:

It also includes another Daft Dimension strip from me, and this time the target is fan-feuds! Don't miss it! 

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

New event! High Vis festival!

Adding another event to my convention schedule, I'll be at the High Vis Street Culture Festival at the Custard Factory in Birmingham on September 8th! The event runs for two days (Sept. 8th and 9th) but I'll only be there on the Saturday. 

This is a totally new event, and different from your usual comic con. High Vis focuses on music, dance, and the arts (including comics) so it should attract a good range of people! - and it's free to attend!

To keep up with developments, keep checking their Twitter account. (If they create a website I'll add that later.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Don't miss your chance to grab a Power Pack!

Endpapers from a 'Frankie Stein' panel.
The crowdfunding campaign for The Power Pack of Ken Reid nears its conclusion this Friday, so don't miss out on pre-ordering these limited edition collections of the best humour strips of the 1960s!

As reported previously, the two-volume hardback set reprints all of Ken Reid's work for Odhams, which is Frankie Stein, Jasper the Grasper, Queen of the Seas, Dare-A-Day Davy, and his run on The Nervs! The strips originally appeared in the much-revered Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! and most have never been seen since their original publication between the years 1964 to 1969. It's very unlikely they'll ever be reprinted again, so this is the perfect time to order the books.

These strips truly represent Ken Reid at his most manic, unrestrained best! That's not all. The books also feature a lengthy revealing history of Ken's life and work, and rare unseen sketches! Having seen a preview of the contents I can verify that this is truly the definitive Ken Reid collection.
People who pre-order the books through Indiegogo will also receive four exclusive prints scanned from Ken's original artwork. The books are also available separately without the slipcase.

Don't delay. Go, go, GO to Indiegogo to pre-order your books today! Full info here:

Endpapers from a 'Nervs' panel.

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