Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Comic anniversaries

As this blog isn't updated very often now you could check out the archive for 3,000 old posts, - many of which you may not have seen. For example, this week marks the significant anniversaries of two short-run comics...

It's been 50 years this week since City Magazines launched Joe 90 Top Secret. Read all about it here...

...and it's been 40 years since D.C. Thomson launched The Crunch No.1. You can read about that here:

Happy hunting through the Blimey! archives! 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ron Smith passes away

Terror Tests, ADVENTURE, 1956. © D.C. Thomson

Veteran comic artist of many British comics, Ron Smith, has passed away at the age of 94. 

Many fans will remember him as one of the prominent artists on Judge Dredd for 2000AD in the 1980s (and on the long-running Judge Dredd newspaper strip in the Daily Star) but his career in comics began long before that. 

Ron was a popular artist for D.C. Thomson throughout the 1950s up to the early 1970s, drawing for story papers such as Adventure and comics such as The Topper and Hotspur on strips such as British superhero King Cobra.

Although respected by his peers in the industry, it wasn't until he freelanced for 2000AD from 1979 onwards that he came to the attention of organised comics fandom. Along with Mike McMahon, Carlos Ezquerra, and Brian Bolland, Ron Smith became one of the most distinctive artists on Judge Dredd.

Ron later freelanced for comics such as Wildcat and MASK before retiring in the 1990s.

My condolences to Ron's family and friends on their loss. Truly one of the greats whose work will always be remembered and admired. Here's a small selection of his amazing output...

Lone Wolfe. BEEZER, 1962. © D.C. Thomson
The Last Warriors. TOPPER, 1962. © D.C. Thomson.

HOTSPUR ANNUAL 1976. © D.C. Thomson (Image from eBay.)
King Cobra, HOTSPUR, 1976. © D.C. Thomson. Image from internet.

2000AD, 1979. © Rebellion.
See John Freeman's tribute at Down the Tubes:

Ron Smith's Lost Adventure Comic:


This blog is rarely updated now, but you can follow my other blog, which focuses on my own work, at this link:

Monday, January 07, 2019

Exclusive Preview: THE TEMPEST No.4

As promised, here's the first of a very occasional series of posts for 2019. Don't expect many this year! Choices to blog about will be down to quality not quantity. 

...and the first choice is definitely high quality. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest No.4 should be on sale in a comic shop near you from Wednesday 9th January. (Or it might be 16th Jan. Vagarities of distribution.) It's another top standard issue from Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill and I'll definitely miss this series when it ends with issue 6. 

One of the many highlights of this series have been the covers designed as homages to British comics of the past, and this month we get one that's a perfect spoof of traditional old UK weeklies. I'm sure it'll confuse the heck out of our American cousins but we had to put up with ads for Grit and Tootsie Rolls for years in U.S. imports and it never did us any harm. 

Inside, the story of Mina and the League continues, with our pals Alan and Kevin including everything from Smash!-type parodies to nods to Little Nemo in Slumberland, Charlie Drake, James Bond, and a bit of Bill Shakespeare thrown in for good measure. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has always homaged literature and pop culture of the past but this series takes things to a whole new level. The story requires the reader to focus more than your standard comic book but it's one you'll want to read and re-read anyway. It's absolutely brilliantly bonkers.
I should point out at this point that if your only experience of the League is that terrible film "adaptation" from years ago then you need to jettison that from your mind and read the comics to appreciate the proper version. 
If you thought the excursion onto 3-D in the previous issue was a one-off gimmick, you'll be pleased to hear it's also in this issue on certain pages, and really well accomplished too. You've never seen a comic quite like it!
The extra features in this issue include an item on Ken Reid and a spotlight on obscure 1950s British superhero Marsman who was apparently drawn by Paddy Brennan back in the day. These items are a great addition to the comic. 

You don't just read The Tempest, you experience it, absorb it, and emerge with a big grin on your face. It's like no other comic on the stands and is all the better for it. As always, I completely recommend it. Here's the solicitation information:

Legendary swords clash atop the Paris Opera in 1913, while almost a century later a declining London witnesses assassination attempts, summit meetings in Haggerston Park, and the catastrophic return of a 1960s super-adventurer. Elsewhere, in the four-dimensional territories adjacent to the North Pole, a lost Shakespeare play sees its first and last performance, while Queen Gloriana's conjurer finally reveals the nature of his five-hundred-year-old game. Topping off an already heady mixture, this issue's classic Seven Stars reprint depicts our halcyon heroes as "Captives of the Creepyverse," another reason not to miss the unfolding of Moore and O'Neill's fulgurant finale in issue four of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume IV: The Tempest.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest No.4 is co-published between Knockabout in the UK and Top Shelf in the USA. 36 pages (including covers) for $4.99. Worth every penny/cent. 


Remember that my other blog is still being updated regularly! You'll find it here:

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