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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Photos from Macc-Pow! 3

A good time was had by all at Macc-Pow! in Macclesfield yesterday. This was the third annual event organised by Marc Jackson and it was another pleasant day. Thanks to all who chose to abandon the glorious summer weather to come indoors at Macclesfield Town Hall to see us!

Special thanks to Marc Jackson for putting on the show and to Jessica Kemp for interviewing David Leach and myself on our careers in comics. (I think an audio of the interview will be available as a podcast at some point.) 

The event was also used to launch Goof! the all-new online humour anthology comic that features strips by Emmeline Pidgen, Joe Matthews, myself and many more. It's available for just £1 an issue and you can find out all about it here:

Great to see friends old and new! Without further ado (because it's too nice a day to stay in) here are a few photos from yesterday...

Macc-Pow! organiser (and editor/publisher of Goof!) Marc Jackson...

Creator of Kane, Jack Staff, Mud Man and more, Paul Grist...

Jessica Kemp, editor of Missed Deadline...

Laura Howell, artist of the Beano's Tricky Dicky...

David Leach, creator of Psycho Gran...

Joe Matthews, creator of Space Dog for Goof!

Emmeline Pidgen, creator of Nona the Ninth for Goof!

Dan Whitehead, writer/editor of Ella Upgraded, Frankestein Texas, Hex Loader, and more!

Colin Mathieson  of Accent UK comics...

After attending four conventions in the North of England over the last few weeks I'm having a break for a while (including a break from blogging for a few days) but my next con appearance will be at the mammoth three-day event London Film and Comic Con on July 27th to 29th at Olympia! See you there!

Friday, June 22, 2018

New! Beano: 80 Years of Fun

An unexpected arrival in WH Smith today was Beano: 80 Years of Fun, a 100 page bookazine celebrating 80 decades of the UK's longest-running comic.

Unlike more lightweight writings about comics, this is a proper magazine about the history of the Beano, with anecdotes and images proving proper information for readers young and old. The old policy of D.C. Thomson to cloak their artists and editors in secrecy is forgotten, with pages dedicated to background information on all the people to have edited the comic, and spotlight features on some of their top artists. It's nice that James Hansen is included, although tinged with sadness as he passed away just before this magazine was published.

As John Anderson's editorial informs us, this special focuses on eight issues of the Beano from across the years "to help us understand the wider socio-political landscape and cultural trends of the times". Peanut, the caricatured black boy who was the comic's original mascot, has been erased from history, with covers altered to make it look like he never existed. That will no doubt annoy some collectors, but in the current political climate of growing right-wing extremism perhaps it's for the best to avoid such outdated gross imagery.

There are some excellent rare items in this bookazine, including correspondence between editor R.D. Low and artist Reg Carter on the creation and development of Big Eggo! Being the current artist on the strip, I found this particularly fascinating. 

Priced at just £6.99, Beano: 80 Years of Fun is well worth buying, and a worthy addition to the history of comics. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

GOOF! Brand new comic out this Saturday!

There's an all-new humour anthology comic coming this Saturday and you don't even need to leave your house to buy it! Goof! is a brand new online comic featuring a variety of strips - 30 pages in all, - and a subscription means it'll only cost you a pound an issue.

If you did want to leave your house, you could come along to Macc-Pow! at Macclesfield Town Hall, where Goof! will be launched with many contributors in attendance. Here's the info from publisher Marc Jackson...

"This weekend sees the launch of GOOF! issue zero, it’s like issue one, but it comes just before it! Like a bonus issue! More comics, fantastic! Featuring a feast of funnies created by an international line-up of cartoonists, all coming together to create something unique. At just £12 for 12 30 page issues, you’d be crazy to not sign-up and if you sign-up in person at MACC-POW! this Saturday then you get it for just £10!! Holy WOW! Only a GOOF! could come up with that idea! Don’t miss out, make yours GOOF! This Saturday!"

Meet all these characters and more in Goof! No.0 this Saturday!

© Jim Boswell

© Joe Matthews

© Clara Soriano

© Fulton Beal

© Lew Stringer

...and here's the info about Macc-Pow! Go to for the full details...

Out today from Panini UK

Marvel Legends Vol. 3 #25. On sale 21st June 2018.
76 Action-Packed pages featuring Marvel’s ‘Big 3’ – Iron Man, Captain America and Thor! £3.99!
A Secret Empire Chapter! Steve Rogers and Hydra have a vision for the world... and the world better fall in line... or else! 
Plus, The Search for Tony Stark begins! Tony has been in coma since the end of Civil War II... so how can his body just disappear?!! 
Also, Thor and the Odinson side-by-side against Apocalypse!
By Nick Spencer, Joe Bennett, Brian Michael Bendis, Stefano Caselli, Alex Maleev, Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar!
Includes material reprinted from Captain America: Steve Rogers #18, Invincible Iron Man #593 and Generations: The Unworthy Thor and the Mighty Thor #1!

Astonishing Spider-Man Vol.7 #004. On sale 21st June! 
76 pages packed with arachnid-action! Only £4.50!
Two Spider-Men for the price of one! Peter Parker and Miles Morales investigate just who is the other Miles Morales of Earth-616! 
Plus, Eddie Brock is Venom once again! Venom battles Scorpion – Round Two! 
By Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, Mike Costa, Gerrardo Sandoval, and Tradd Moore.
Includes material reprinted from Spider-Man II #1 and Venom #6, 150-151.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

James Hansen

I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of the artist James Hansen (often known as Jimmy Hansen) who died on Tuesday 19th June 2018. Although I never met him, I had communicated with him several times on Facebook and of course I was well aware of his work for comics such as Whizzer and Chips, Buster, Beano, Dandy, Wallace and Gromit, and many more.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Jimmy Hansen drew thousands of pages for British comics, working on strips such as The Bumpkin Billionaires, Ricky Rainbow, P5, a stint on Dennis the Menace, and Buster amongst others. He was the cover artist on Buster for the last several years of the comic, bringing a great sense of energy and fun to the strip, as he did with all his pages. 

In more recent times, he contributed the sci-fi strip Slash Moron to Aces Weekly, which he worked on with Bambos Georgiou and John Burns.

Tributes are starting to come in from people who knew and worked with him, remarking on his professionalism and friendliness. He was one of the top humour artists in the business whose work entertained countless readers over the decades. 

My condolences to James' family and friends on their loss. 

Here's a small selection of pages by the artist...

Preview: BEANO No.3940

There's a new issue of the Beano out today, and Bananaman takes the cover position. You can find out more about this issue at

There's also a new Big Eggo strip from me. Who has made Eggo so angry? Find out by buying the Beano this week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Comic Cruelty

The phrase "You couldn't get away with that in a comic now" is often overused, but you definitely couldn't get away with this story today. In fact, some comics wouldn't have published it back then either!

This episode of Percy's Pets is from Smash! Annual 1968, writer unknown (possibly Les Lilley?), and drawn by Stan McMurtry. The opening panel is vicious enough, with poor Percy being clouted so hard by his dad that his chewing gum flies out of his mouth, but the child cruelty continues throughout the story.

Smacking a naughty child is bad enough, but Percy doesn't do anything to deserve such violent treatment. The whole story revolves around how funny it apparently is for good-natured Percy to be beaten by his bad-tempered dad. 

Much as I love the Odhams comics of the 1960s, they could often be irresponsible in their comedy-violence. It can be argued that they were so over the top that the violence is on the level of a Punch and Judy Show and not to be taken seriously. I'd usually agree with that, and the way that Ken Reid handled such material, for example, was genuinely funny. This one, I'm not so sure about.

As a child, I'd find stories like this amusing, and surely that's the important thing? After all, the story is aimed at kids. To put it in context, 50 years ago, shamefully enough, it was commonplace for parents to smack their kids, so scenes like this wouldn't seem unusual then. As an adult, I find it somewhat disturbing and I'm glad comics don't feature parents belting their kids now. (Although Biffa Bacon spoofs this perfectly in adult comic Viz.) What's your opinion? Post a comment below...

The Power Pack of Ken Reid reaches 100% funding!

The popularity of the work of the late Ken Reid has been confirmed in that the crowdfunding campaign to reprint his 1960s Odhams work has reached 100% in just 18 days! 

The two-volume hardback set will reprint Ken's Frankie Stein, Jasper the Grasper, Queen of the Seas, Dare-A-Day-Davy and The Nervs from the pages of Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! 

On his Kazoop!! blog, the books' publisher Irmantas Povilaika said: "I am happy to announce that the campaign has now reached 100 per cent of its goal! The most recent supporter was the 17 year-old British Artist/Satirist Zoom Rockman, and this demonstrates that the appreciation of Ken’s work goes way beyond nostalgia!"

Raising an important point, Irmantas continued "There are still nearly three weeks to go, and the fact that the goal has now been reached does not mean that further contributions aren’t accepted! The Etherington brothers achieved 24 000 per cent with their recent Kickstarter project! :)"

He concluded, "Remember that backers of the campaign will be the only ones who will be proud owners of the slipcase edition and the prints of original artwork – these perks won’t be available to the general public when the campaign ends and the books are printed!"

To back the project and pre-order the books, visit the crowdfunding page here:

A few weeks ago I interviewed Irmantas about the project and you can read that here:

Monday, June 18, 2018

35 years in comics!

It's been 35 years since I sold my first professional cartoon; "What If Iron Man lived up to his name?" It appeared in Marvel UK's The Daredevils No.7, back in June 1983 (cover dated July), under the editorship of Bernie Jaye. Up to that point I'd received rejections from IPC, D.C. Thomson, and even my local paper, but Alan Moore (who was very supportive of new creators) encouraged me to submit stuff to Marvel. I still remember the feeling of excitement upon hearing that they had accepted my work. 

I'd submitted several cartoons on the "What If..?" theme and they used one a month, paying just £5 each, but it was a start! It soon led to work for other Marvel comics, and for other publishers too. I'll always be grateful to Alan Moore for the encouragement and to Bernie Jaye for publishing my first material. 

You never reach "superstar" status in humour comics, like some superhero / sci-fi artists do, but it's been a busy and varied career and I've made a lot of good friends along the way so that's reward enough for me. Although some diverge outside of comics into computer games, storyboarding, advertising, etc, I've managed to make a living exclusively in comics for 35 years, so I count myself very fortunate for that. Thanks to those of you who have bought and supported my work over the years!

If you want to see what I'm up to these days, check out Big Eggo in The Beano, Team Toxic in Toxic, Hygiene High in Epic, and The Daft Dimension in Doctor Who Magazine. PLUS catch up with reprints of my old work in comics such as Combat Colin, available directly from me:

...and 35 years in comics is a good time to start a brand new series of Derek the Troll stories, coming your way this Saturday, 23rd June, in the new online comic Goof! Check it out:

Goof! will be launching at Macc-Pow! on Saturday, so see you there!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Commando comics out now

I'm catching up with news after my holiday, so apologies for this info running late. All four comics are in the shops now...

5131: Home of Heroes: The Phantom’s Revenge

The Phantom is back! But doom is foretold for all those who sail on her. Hunting down a notorious French vessel which is sinking British ships in the Mediterranean, Captain Valentine has more to worry about than the dreaded Captain Ricordeau. Paying five silver coins for his fortune to be read, Valentine never expected that each coin would prophesise a different death in his crew… or that the last one would read destruction for them all!

Returning to the ‘Phantom’ series, Teague ups the stakes as the story build to its glorious climax when Ricordeau and the final prophecy come together in a dramatic crescendo. Alcazar’s bold lines prove perfect for the ornate but hard-wearing ships.

|Story | Dominic Teague | Art | Vicente Alcazar | Cover | Janek Matysiak |

5132: Gold Collection: Midnight Menace

Surrounded by advancing German troops, Second Lieutenant Matt Rogers and his batman Private Don Arle were isolated from the rest of their squadron. To make matters worse, Rogers gun wasn’t loaded — and Arlen was just waiting to put a bullet in his back. But the pair would have to work together if they were going to uncover what the Nazis were calling “Operation Midnight Sun” and stop them before they could execute it!

Allan’s classic tale of enemies turned friends is immediately spun on its head, the opening panel offering a glimpse into the story ahead, as Arlen holds his gun aimed at hero Rogers — the turning point of the entire issue.

|Story | Allan| Art | CT Rigby | Cover | Penalva |
Originally Commando No. 463 (March 1970). Reprinted No. 1323 (June 1979).

5133: Action and Adventure: The Home Front

Wilhelmina Home of the WAAC had travelled around. She knew a thing or two about car engines and mystery novels, but after her friend is found dead in his factory and his livestock look to be poisoned, Wilhelmina would have to gather all her wits to unravel the strange events unfolding. Little did she know that she would soon be caught up in a plot involving German spies that threatened the population of Britain!

Accompanying Shane Filer’s twisting story is endearing interior and cover artwork by Carlos Pino. Perfectly pairing the noir themes, Pino’s Wilhelmina is drawn as a feisty Louise Brooks, her hair and outfit always impeccable.

|Story | Shane Filer | Art |Carlos Pino | Cover | Carlos Pino |

5134: Silver Collection: Deadly Convoy

Plucky Corporal Sam Wilson didn’t always go looking for trouble, but trouble soon found him. He was the kind of guy who’d rather be in the thick of it than on the side-lines, much to the grievances of his squadron. But, when Wilson gets the chance to join the Commandos he signs up immediately, hungry for action!

Phil Gascoine’s stunning acrylic cover showcases CG Walker’s Tommie hero as the archetypal Commando cover star, his oerlikon machine-gun blazing against the diving stukas, the yellow and red burning on the muted blue of the waves.

|Story | CG Walker | Art | CT Rigby | Cover | Phil Gascoine |
Originally Commando No. 2760 (May 1994).

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