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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

LFCC 2018, - another triumph!

Just one of the busy halls at LFCC2018.
The London Film and Comic Con that took place at Olympia last weekend was another winner! A convention that ran for three days (with Saturday having the longest hours of 9am to 7pm), it was very busy, albeit tiring (especially at my age). I enjoyed it immensely though, and the event had a nice friendly, upbeat atmosphere throughout. 

My thanks to Tony Lee and his team for the invitation and for their hospitality over the three days, ensuring the show ran very smoothly. It can't be easy organising over 100 comics guests, so respect to them for making it look less stressful than it surely was. 

I was hobbling about all weekend due to a strained Achilles tendon (that's what exercise does for you, kids!) so if any of you were wondering why I was limping, now you know. It was even more painful by the time I left on Sunday, but I don't regret going to the show. It was a superb event and I met a lot of really nice readers, plus it's always good to catch up with fellow creators and establish new friendships too. The comics community is great, and always has been.

Anyway, without further ado, here's a few photos from the weekend...

It was great to meet EMILY McGORMAN-BRUCE, who draws RUBI for THE BEANO.

Mighty MIKE COLLINS, comics creator and Doctor Who storyboard artist!

Fantastic rising talent VALENTINA SENNAIS and STARFALL comic, which she illustrated.

Fellow contributors to DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE, CRISTEL DEE, BETH AXFORD, and friends with their excellent 13th Doctor cosplay outfits.
Never mind Beatlemania, it was NIGELMANIA when NIGEL PARKINSON came to that London!

Best Cyberman cosplay ever!

Convention pics are a surefire way of finding out what the top of your head looks like! Doing a sketch for LaptopGeek92 and Dracorum Order (who took the photo of me). 
My comics did really well over the weekend. COMBAT COLIN sold out, and the launch of PEDANTIC STAN proved popular too!
One of the sketches I was commissioned to draw.

Everyone posts photos of their "convention haul" so here's mine. Reviews of these comics and books will appear on this blog over the next few weeks.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Advance preview: 2000AD Prog 2092

Thanks to Rebellion for this sneak peek at next week's 2000AD...

UK and DIGITAL: 1st August 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 1st September 2018 $6.75

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL by Rory McConville (w) Leonardo Manco (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

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

GREY AREA: M.I.A. by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

MECHASTOPHELES // TRUE FAITH by Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie (w) Karl Richardson (a) Simon Bowland (l)

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

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

PEDANTIC STAN mini-comic to debut at LFCC

The London Film and Comic Con is this weekend, I'm one of the many comics guests who'll be there... and I'm bringing along a new comic featuring a character from the past.

Pedantic Stan, The Comics Fan was created by John Freeman and myself back in 1990 and appeared in the comics news magazine Speakeasy every month. It's never been reprinted so now I've gathered all the stories together (plus a special one that appeared in the UKCAC 1990 con booklet) as an A5 landscape mini-comic. 
The 16 page comic will be exclusively available from my table at LFCC over the weekend for £2.00 After that, you'll be able to buy it from my online shop next week (and from other comic cons I attend this year). 
Pedantic Stan, The Comic Fan is, as you've no doubt guessed, a strip that pokes fun of a certain type of fan... sometimes gently, sometimes not. John Freeman came up with the concept, originally calling him Captain Pedant, but I suggested Pedantic Stan as a more suitable name. John wrote the early strips, with me drawing them, and I took over script and art after a few months. 
I remember that John and I had fun creating the strips so I'm pleased to bring Stan back for a new audience (and also for those who remembered him from 28 years ago). 
The London Film and Comic Con takes place at Olympia for three full days: Friday 27th July until Sunday 29th July. There's a huge guest list of actors, comics creators, and more including Dan Slott, Peter Capaldi, Sarah Pichelli, Rachael Stott, Nigel Parkinson, David Lloyd, Mike Collins, Jason Momoa, Tom Baker and many, many more. 

You'll find me at table 29 on the first floor, in the comics area, alongside fellow Beano contributors Emily McGorman-Bruce, Nigel Parkinson, and more.  I'll be bringing along my other comics too, such as Combat Colin and Derek the Troll. (Combat Colin No.3 isn't ready yet but it will be out in mid August or early September.) I'll also be drawing sketches on request. 

Panel discussions:
The schedule so far is that I'll be on a panel on Friday afternoon at 2.00PM called Creating Worlds For Children, with Jess Bradley, Yasmin Sheikh, Grant Perkins, and Emily McGorman-Bruce. 

Then on Sunday, at 4.00PM, I'll be on a panel celebrating 80 years of The Beano with Nigel Parkinson, Emily McGorman-Bruce, and Danny Pearson. 

If you're coming along to LFCC, drop by my table to say hello (and buy a comic and/or a sketch if you're interested), and I hope you can make it to the panel discussions too.

For more info on the event, see the convention site at this link:

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cover preview: Doctor Who Magazine No.528

Panini UK have just released the cover to the official Doctor Who Magazine No.528, which goes on sale on Thursday 26th July. With an exclusive cover image of Jodie Whittaker the 13th Doctor, the 84 page mag is packed with features, interviews, news and reviews.

Plus there's a topical new Daft Dimension strip from me. Here's a sneak preview...

Interest in the new season of Doctor Who is building up as it prepares to arrive on our screens in October. Don't miss out on this issue!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Review: Ken Reid - His Complete Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! Strips Vol.1 and 2

Now this is how to do a strip collection. You'll already be aware from previous posts that Irmantas Povilaika in Lithuania has gained permission to reprint the strips that Ken Reid did for Odhams in the 1960s. After a very successful Crowdfunding campaign, the books have been published... and they're even better than expected.

The strips are divided over two chunky hardbacks; Volume 1 reprints Frankie Stein and Jasper the Grasper, and Volume 2 reprints Queen of the Seas, Dare-A-Day Davy, and the 23 episodes of The Nervs that Ken drew. The strips he did for the annuals are also included, in colour. Each book also contains detailed biographical information on Ken and his work, accompanied by never-before-seen sketches and artwork from Ken's files (thanks to Ken's son, Antony). 
Although scanned from 50 year old comics, the reproduction is crystal clear and as perfect as can be imagined, with even the finest detail intact. The paper stock is sturdy, and is matt, which looks and feels far better and more substantial than the glossy stock that publishers often use today. 
The two books reprint all of Ken Reid's published strips for the Odhams comics, plus a lovely bonus of the 'banned' Dare-A-Day Davy strip that involved Davy kissing the skeleton of a corpse he'd dug up. (Even the very liberal-minded Odhams editors felt this was too much.) You may have seen a photocopy of that before, but here, the reproduction is excellent.
Ken Reid was unique. Oh, there have been some who have tried to emulate his style a little, and many of us have incorporated tiny quirks of his artwork into ours, but no one has even come close to matching his talent for manic comedy-horror. And who inspired Ken? You can see a little bit of Basil Reynolds in there, and a bit of Basil Wolverton perhaps, and no doubt some influence from Disney's Snow White animated movie, but Ken's style was distinctly his own. He was always one of the best in the business, and these strips represent him at his peak and most unihibited (and therefore at his funniest).
The strips that Ken didn't draw, such as fill-ins by other artists, or the long run of The Nervs by Graham Allen before Ken took over, aren't included, - and rightly so. This is a celebration of Ken Reid after all, and shouldn't be diluted.
People who backed the crowdfunding campaign will also receive prints scanned from some of Ken's original art. These are on a glossy card stock and, again, reproduction is top class.
Quite simply, these strips are the funniest and best illustrated humour strips of the 1960s... and arguably of any decade. These books are limited, so don't miss out!

Check out Irmantas' great blog too:

Beano 80th anniversary cover revealed

Cover art by Nigel Parkinson.
This is the cover to this week's Beano, which is the 80th birthday issue. No.3945, on sale Wednesday 25th July. More info:

Some might have expected it to be a retrospective issue, but that requirement is covered by the Beano: 80 Years of Fun bookazine (or even better in the box set with 8 facsimile back issues). The weekly Beano is aimed squarely at the kids, so it's lively and story-led. 

It is still somewhat special though. It has 8 extra pages, is guest-edited by David Walliams (known to a lot of kids for his children's books as well as his X-Factor appearances) and includes an extra-length story featuring Beano stars past and present. 

Sadly, the extra-length story has pushed out Big Eggo this week, but he'll be back the week after. 

How has the Beano survived when all other traditional humour comics have long gone? I think it's down to two main factors...

1) Familiarity. 
The Beano has maintained the same core characters since the 1950s; Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids, and Roger the Dodger. (Add Billy Whizz to that too, who's been running - pardon the pun, - since 1964.) Other strips come and go, but those five strips are constant. Parents and grandparents recognise those characters and the "Beano style" so they feel confident that the comic is suitable for their kids. 

Other comics, such as The Dandy, Buster, and Whizzer and Chips, retained a few core characters but mostly used to bring in new characters all the time. This meant the identity of the comics changed somewhat, being the same in name only. That said, The Dandy's 75 year run was nothing to be sniffed at. 

By maintaining the brand, everyone knows what the Beano is and regards the core characters as friends. Even better, that they interact within each other's strips and all live in 'Beanotown'.

2) Adapting to change.
Although maintaining a recognisable 'Beano brand', the comic has also changed with the times so that new generations can relate to it. Dennis is no longer the bully who picks on 'softy' Walter and ends up getting spanked. That type of character became tired and outdated years ago, and modern Dennis is more likeable albeit still mischievous. The Beano has a more diverse mix of characters now too, and subsequently is appealing to a more balanced mixture of both boys and girls. 

Maintaining the status quo and adapting with the times isn't an easy balance to take but the Beano has achieved it and proves to still be a popular read. (Sales have even increased in recent times.)

So... Happy Birthday to the Beano and long may it reign! 

The Fan Club returns!

The Dennis the Menace Fan Club was a very popular thing decades ago, with its black wallet and two distinctive badges that Beano readers could send away for. Well, now it's back for the comic's 80th anniversary, with a more modern look as the Dennis and Gnasher Fan Club

The two badges remain, and although the Dennis one shows the modern Dennis, the Gnasher one is still hairy and boggle eyed. 

You can find out all about the pack at this link:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Beano: 80 Years of Fun, The Box Set

You'll be hearing a lot about The Beano this week, and rightly so. It's the first British comic to celebrate 80 years of continuous publication, and most likely the only British comic that will ever reach that milestone. The actual anniversary is 26th July (the original publication day of The Beano No.1) although the official birthday is 30th July (the cover date of the first issue). 

You don't need to wait to celebrate though, because D.C. Thomson have just published a handsome limited box set full of Beano goodies that is available now from selected shops or directly from the publisher. Beano: 80 Years of Fun, The Box Set includes the 100 page bookazine I reviewed last month (which is available in shops on its own for £6.99) packaged with a whole lot more for £25. 

Within the slipcased box you'll find reprints of eight significant issues of The Beano. Naturally, there's the first issue, and we also have...

No.272 (1945): The first Beano to sell over a million copies.
No.452 (1951): The first to feature Dennis the Menace.
No.954 (1960): One of the first 'new look' issues to modernise it for the Sixties.
No.1768 (1976): The first to announce the Dennis the Menace Fan Club.
No.2280 (1986): One of the 'Gnasher is missing' issues that had nationwide publicity.
No.3052 (2001): The issue with Jim Petrie's final Minnie the Minx artwork.
No.3800 (2015): Record breaking issue number.

The reproduction of the comics is wonderful. The ones that were originally on newsprint have been reprinted on a nice matt paper with a 'yellowed' effect to look as authentic as possible. Printing is sharp and clear. The more recent ones are reprinted on a quality glossy stock. 

They're excellent facsimiles, although it should be noted that the racial stereotype character of 'Peanut' has been removed from the mastheads of Beano Nos.1 and 272. There have also been four pages removed from Beano No.1, one of which also featured Peanut. Should this have been done? I think so. We live in troubled times with the rise of far right groups, and anything to help minorities feel less demeaned has to be a good thing. Such minor edits won't lessen a reader's enjoyment of the comics themselves.

The selected comics are a great showcase of the high standard of creative talent that The Beano has always employed. My favourite issue from this set is the one from 1960 which includes pages by Leo Baxendale and, on the back page, Ken Reid's Jonah. You'll find other creative giants in these comics too, including Dudley Watkins, Robert Nixon, David Sutherland, Nigel Parkinson, and many more who have made The Beano the long-lasting comic it is.

Along with the 8 comics the box also contains perfect reproductions of a classic Gnasher Snapper free gift, and a replica Dennis the Menace Fan Club pack complete with badges. There are also four postcards using artwork from memorable Beano Book covers, and a huge A1 sized poster featuring every Beano character from the past 80 years! I don't know who drew the poster, but he/she has done a spectacular job. I was very pleased to see the characters from Super School included (a strip I drew for the Beano several years ago). 

As I already reviewed the 100 page bookazine the other week (see here) I won't go into too much detail again, except to say it gives background information on each of the reprinted comics, so is an essential asset to the box set. 

This truly is a superb collection and well worth the money. Collectors who have long been wishing for such comic facsimiles should be very pleased, and younger readers will enjoy the experience of seeing ephemera from the past. Check out your local WH Smith or bookshops to see if they have a copy in stock, or order one directly from D.C. Thomson at this link:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Preview: The next issue of 2000AD

Here's your preview of the upcoming issue of 2000AD, on sale this coming Wednesday. That's quite a... distinctive alien on the cover illustrated by Mark Harrison!

Top class artwork throughout, and I'm pleased to see David Hitchcock in there this week!

UK and DIGITAL: 25th July 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 25th August 2018 $6.75

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: A BETTER CLASS OF CRIMINAL by Rory McConville (w) Leonardo Manco (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

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

TERROR TALES by Laura Bailey (w) David Hitchcock (a) Simon Bowland (l)

GREY AREA: M.I.A. by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

DAMNED: THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Available in print from: newsagents, book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Friday, July 20, 2018

Have you gone for GOOF! yet?

After the Issue Zero launch issue, the all-new online comic Goof! gets rolling next month with No.1, available from 4th August. Here's publisher/editor Marc Jackson with the details...

GOOF! issue one brings back all the new comic strips you discovered in issue zero (Nona the ninth, Two Wizards, Donald Dogsbody, Olivia and Puff and Derek the Troll) plus some new additions. Cartoonist Nick Brokenshire who has worked for Dark Horse and most recently for IDW on Star Wars adventures brings us ‘Space Stupids’ an outer-space adventure about bounty hunters rounding up ‘stupids’ It’s a hark back to classic 2000AD style strips like Robo Hunter, so expect sci-fi thrills, with a crazy twist. It will be two-pages per month and the story will unfold over the coming months, so this is a great time to subscribe. On being involved with GOOF! Nick said ‘There is no way on earth that I could not get involved in a comic titled "GOOF!" I relish the opportunity to entertain readers with my ridiculous SPACE STUPIDS alongside all the other wonderful creators. Fun and whimsy can take on many different forms and you'll find them all in GOOF!’

In addition to that, the main website will also feature a letters page (send yours to and a ‘GOOF! of the month’ section, where we profile our creators and ask them about making their comics. It’s a great opportunity to connect the creators with the readers, something that GOOF! is all about. This month we have a double-whammy of Jim Boswell (creator of Stick-Pig) and Observer comics prize winner Tor Freeman (Spells in the forest) for you to discover with many more to come!

Subscribe now to read issue zero and be ready for issue one when it arrives next month!

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:

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