Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Preview: ROY OF THE ROVERS Best of the 1960s

I'm currently reading The Best of the 1950s edition of Roy of the Rovers and it's truly superb with great reproduction, so I'll definitely be buying this 1960s follow-up. 

Roy of the Rovers: The Best of the 1960s actually begins with a story that begins at the end of 1959 which leads into 1960. There are also selected stories from other issues of Tiger from the early sixties when the series was on peak form. Sadly the collection only reaches 1966, which was before the ones drawn by Yvonne Hutton in 1967, one of the few women artists who worked in boys adventure comics of the time. Hopefully there will be another collection that will include some of her work. 

Nevertheless, this book does still contain superb work from cover to cover from the best in the business, beginning with the often undervalued artwork of Fred Holmes shown in the samples below. Joe Colquhoun returns to the strip later and we can see how his work became more dynamic and robust compared to his early style in the previous volume. 

Oh, and Bobby Charlton listed in the credits? Apparently he wrote the series for a while. I always thought it was just a sales gimmick and a staff writer actually did the scriptwriting but the book maintains that Mr.Charlton did it so there you go.

To use a football phrase, I'm over the moon that Rebellion are reprinting these strips as I've never read them before. (My reading of Tiger began in 1969 when Jag merged into it.) I have no interest in football in real life but I enjoy these strips very much. Strange that,... or more likely it's simply that Roy of the Rovers is more exciting than reality! 

Roy of the Rovers: Best of the 1960s goes on sale from 22nd August. Under review restrictions I can only show the first few pages of the book but these dramatic images by Fred Homes give you a great taste of comics of that era. Don't miss it!

CREATIVE TEAM: Joe Colquhoun, Derek Birnage, Bobby Charlton  (w) Joe Colquhoun, Fred T. Holmes (a)
RELEASE DATE: 22nd August 2019
HARDCOVER, 148 pages
PRICE: £19.99 (UK)
ISBN: 9781781087183

The sixties are a defining decade for Great Britain. London is becoming the cultural mecca of the world, the Beatles are dominating the music charts, and in 1966 England will lift the World Cup for the first time. It’s also a period of great turmoil for Melchester Rovers and their super-striker captain, Roy Race; from a saboteur within the club burning down the dressing room, an obsessed fan trying to ruin their cup run and the Rovers crash-landing on a small South American Island, the team will have to face down problems which threaten their very existence! But with Roy Race at the helm, Melchester Rovers are always equipped to overcome the odds.The skipper’s leadership, experience and all-important left foot keep the Melchester faithful singing, and may just secure the Rovers a place in the 1966 F.A. Cup Final against the mighty Eastoke! The swinging-sixties come to life in this action-packed footballing epic! Experience the highs and lows on and off the pitch with Roy and Melchester Rovers, brought to you by comics’ legend Joe Colquhoun and World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton.




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

Available in digital from: Treasury of British Comics webshop & apps for iPadAndroid and Windows 10







Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Over the sea to Omagh Comic Fest!

The next convention I'll be at will be Omagh Comic Fest in Northern Ireland, that takes place on September 14th! I'm looking forward to meeting readers who haven't had the chance to come over to England and I'll be bringing along my comics Combat Colin, Derek the Troll, and Pedantic Stan! Quantities will be limited though, due to the weight restrictions on the flight, so drop by early! See you there! 

For more info, check out their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/OmaghComicFest/






Another brilliant LFCC!

Last weekend's London Film and Comic Con organised by Showmasters was another great event. One of the best it's been my pleasure to be a guest at in 40 years of attending comic cons. You can read more about it, and see a few photos, over on my other blog at this link:
http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2019/07/a-fantastic-weekend-at-lfcc.html


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Pick up COMBAT COLIN No.4 at the LONDON FILM AND COMIC CON this weekend!

Combat Colin No.4 is out now, and you'll be able to buy it exclusively from my table at the London Film and Comic Con this weekend at Olympia, Friday to Sunday, Table 28, upstairs at the Comic Zone! Not available in the shops!

If you can't make it to London, you can order it by mail from my web shop here:
http://www.lewstringer.com/page7.htm

If you are coming to London though, it'll be great to meet you so drop by my table. I'll be sketching on request and selling my comics. I'll also be doing a couple of talks...

Saturday 27th July:
10.45 - "Working in Humour Comics". 
Not exactly a workshop, but more of a freewheeling discussion about life in humour comics, how it's changed over the years, advice on breaking in, etc. I'm doing this on my own so I hope you'll turn up and support it!

Sunday 28th July:
4.00 P.M. - "Creating World for Children".
A panel discussion alongside Jess Bradley, Kate Brown, Grant Perkins, and David Leach talking about our work in kids' comics and our thoughts on the industry. 

LFCC is always a busy event so it's going to be a hectic weekend! See you there!

If you want to find out more about Combat Colin No.4, see my other blog here:
http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/2019/07/its-here-combat-colin-no4.html

Info about the London Film and Comic Con here:
http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com/index.php



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Review: WHO KILLED ROUND ROBIN?

No, you don't get a free knife. I added that for effect.
If, like, me, you're sometimes dismayed at the current shortage of quality independent humour comics in the UK then this one is for you! Who Killed Round Robin? is published by Red and Black Comics Ltd and (I think) is their first release. 

The story originally appeared digitally throughout 2008 on the Who Killed Round Robin weblog. The project involved seven different comics creators taking their turns to contribute a panel to an ongoing narrative... a murder mystery... with none of them knowing where the story would be heading, except that the murder had to be solved by the end of the year! 
A fascinatingly anarchic idea that could have easily gone badly wrong, but the talent involved ensured that it didn't. Sure, the story goes off at tangents, and is wonderfully surreal at times, but everything is of a top class professional standard. There simply isn't a bad panel in the book. 
Written and drawn by Craig Conlan, Ian Culbard, D'Israeli, Colin Fawcett, Nigel Parkinson, Woodrow Phoenix, and Dave Taylor, Who Killed Round Robin is full of twists and turns and is genuinely funny. What else could you ask for? 
With 52 full colour pages packed with top quality art, Who Killed Round Robin? is available from eBay at this link:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Who-Killed-Round-Robin/123805073575

You'll also be able to buy the book directly from Nigel Parkinson at the conventions he's at... and coincidentally he's a guest at the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia this very weekend, (Table 29, next to me, upstairs in the Comic Zone next to the lift) so grab a copy there!



It's SWEENY TODDLER day!

Just a little reminder that the marvellous Leo Baxendale's Sweeny Toddler book is officially on sale today! I received a complimentary copy from Rebellion back in May and I gave a mention to it here:
https://lewstringer.blogspot.com/2019/05/recommended-reading-leo-baxendales.html

...and my review of the book was written back in April when I had an advance PDF. You can read my review here:
https://lewstringer.blogspot.com/2019/04/preview-leo-baxendales-sweeny-toddler.html

It's great to see these classic strips back in print after more than 40 years. Let's hope that Rebellion publish more humour collections. Show your support by buying the Sweeny Toddler book and their Ken Reid collections and hopefully we'll see more vintage funnies collected next year!

Ken Reid's World Wide Weirdies is coming in November! More news soon!







Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Peter Hansen interviewed at DTT

John Freeman recently conducted a fascinating interview with comics collector supreme Peter Hansen and the results are now on John's Down the Tubes blog.

Peter has led an interesting life and has managed to amass a huge collection of comics and related items such as promo material for retailers, original artwork, and more. There's some great items that John photographed during his visit to Peter's house, including the cover for a dummy issue of a proposed girls' comic called Candy, that I venture none of us have heard of before. (Not to be confused with the very weird Candy comic published by City Magazines/Century 21 in the 1960s.)

It's often a concern what will happen to our collections in the future, and one such as Peter's deserves to be retained. He hopes that his collection will one day be archived in a museum to ensure that future generations can learn about the rich history of comics. Let's hope that can be achieved!

To read John's interview with Peter (and to also see a video interview with him) visit the Down the Tubes blog here:
https://downthetubes.net/?p=109362

Incidentally, I have to say again that Down the Tubes excels at this sort of reporting. My Blimey! blog only scratches the surface, but John's blog, which has been around for much longer than mine, researches its subject matter thoroughly. Remember to bookmark Down the Tubes for a great source of news and historical content. When Blimey! ends later this year, DTT is your place to go... and you should be visiting it regularly already. 



Monday, July 22, 2019

THE DANDY returns for its annual fun-fest!

The weekly Dandy ended in 2012 after an impressive 75 year run but The Dandy Annual is still going strong every year. The latest edition, cover dated 2020 as annuals are always dated a year ahead, is out now and the copy I ordered arrived today. 

The book has 112 pages and once again is all-new material with no reprint. Full colour throughout, it contains many of the Dandy favourites including Cuddles and Dimples, Corporal Clott, Beryl the PerilBlinky, and many more. Here are a few snippets...

Desperate Dan, drawn by Ken H. Harrison...

Korky the Cat drawn by Hunt Emerson...

Winker Watson drawn by Alan Ryan...

Keyhole Kate written, drawn (and lettered) by Lew Stringer (hey, that's me!)...

The Dandy Annual 2020 is available now from the D.C. Thomson shop as is the Beano Annual 2020 and will be in bookstores soon!

Will there be a Dandy Annual 2021 as well? You bet! I'm working on it now!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Review: REVEREND CROSS No.7

There's sometimes a concern with independent comics that they might not survive beyond the first couple of issues, either due to lack of sales or creative disinterest. Fortunately for us, that's clearly not the case with Reverend Cross, which has recently reached its 7th issue and is still going strong.

Dubbed "the first ever female vicar action hero", Reverend Cross is fast-paced escapist entertainment. As with the previous issue, No.7 contains four short, self-contained stories. All are written by John A. Short, with artwork by Aaron Murphy, Andrew Richmond, Gabrielle Noble, and Richard Pester. The excellent cover art is by David Hitchcock.

This is an "Origin Special", giving us some details on Abigail Cross' backstory as well as stories set in the present. Publisher/writer John A. Short has chosen a good selection of artists for this issue, giving us a variety of styles. It goes to prove that the character is strong enough to still be distinctive even when illustrated by various hands, thanks not just to the artists but also to John's confident and professional scripts.

With a cover price of just £2.99 (plus postage), Reverend Cross No.7 is well worth your time. You can order it, and back issues, directly from the publisher Kult Creations at their web shop here:
http://reverendcross.blogspot.com


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Review: ANDERSONIC No.25

I loved Saturdays when I was a child because it meant comics day! Sure, comics came out on some other days too (Dandy on Monday, Topper on Wednesday, etc) but most of them were published on Saturday. Plus it wasn't a school day, so even better!

Saturdays in 1971 meant it was the day Countdown was out, my favourite comic of the early Seventies. Basically a rebranded version of TV21, Countdown was the place for comic strip versions of Gerry Anderson shows, plus Doctor Who!

One of the main selling points for Countdown was the UFO strip, which sometimes featured on the covers. And that's my roundabout way of explaining why I like this issue of Andersonic so much. The covers are designed as a perfect homage to Countdown comic, from the logo to the UFO cover strip! 

I don't buy Andersonic very often so I didn't know it carried an ongoing UFO strip. It's superbly crafted by writer Graeme Bassett and artist Richard Farrell and would fit perfectly in a modern-day version of Countdown if such a thing existed. 

The rest of the contents of this slick 44 page A5 size well designed fanzine feature articles relating to various Gerry Anderson shows, and the highlight of the issue is an interesting interview with Joy Cuff, who sculpted many of the Thunderbirds puppets. 

Andersonic is a great read for any aficionado of those classic TV shows. The current issue is No.25 and it, and back issues, can be bought from their website here:
http://andersonic.co.uk/page13.htm





50 Year Flashback: MAN ON THE MOON!

Exactly half a century ago, on July 20th 1969, humans first set foot on the Moon. An incredible achievement recorded by the world's media. I remember it well. A perfect crescendo to a fantastic decade! 

Here's how the Daily Mirror reported it the next day. As this is a blog about British comics I thought you'd also like to see the comic strips and cartoons that issue contained. As you can seem there were a lot more than the Mirror carries these days! The Daily Mirror was a great paper in the 1960s, not just for its excellent news coverage but also for its numerous strips and cartoons. We'll never see such days again.

Andy Capp by Reg Smythe.
Useless Eustace by Jack Greenall.

Garth by John Allard. Larks by Jack Dunkley. Flutters by Ian Gammidge and Len Gamblin.

Perishers by Maurice Dodd and Dennis Collins.

Playboy! by David Rowe.
You'll notice that only one cartoon, the slot usually taken for topical/political cartoons, mentions the Moon mission. That one was probably drawn just before the deadline, as most political cartoons are. My guess is that others wanted to make sure everything went well first, as the mission could have so easily ended in disaster. Thankfully it didn't, and the historic achievement is one we can look back on with happy memories.

Note: I scanned these from a facsimile edition of the Daily Mirror. It seems there might have been some tinkering with the front cover as genuine editions are slightly different. 



Friday, July 19, 2019

The funniest comic strips ever

A gentle reminder that the two-volume set The Power Pack of Ken Reid is still available from their publisher. These luxurious hardbacks reprint all of Ken Reid's work for Odhams from Wham!, Smash! and Pow! in the 1960s. Most of it has never been reprinted before!

Frankie Stein, the Friendly Monster! The good-natured but ghastly Frankie, created by Professor Cube who subsequently also wants to get rid of him! 

Jasper McGrasper! The Victorian miser and his penny-pinching schemes that invariably backfire!

Queen of the Seas! Enoch, Bert, and their narrowboat, - a recipe for disaster!

Dare-A-Day Davy! He can't resist a dare... even though they're bound to lead to near-fatal consequences for him! 

The Nervs! The microscopic blue-collar workers inside Fatty's innards who work overtime to deal with his constant appetite! 

Plus extensive articles on Ken Reid's life and career, accompanied with rare unseen sketches and artwork!

Some of the most bizarre, and funniest, strips ever seen in British comics. All perfect vehicles for Ken Reid's manic humour. The reproduction of the strips is top notch! Not to be missed!

The books can be bought together, or separately from the publisher Irmantas Povilaika at his website here:
https://www.kazoop-comics-shop.com


To The Death!

As many of you will remember, Simon Furman and Geoff Senior were a team supreme when they worked together on Marvel UK's Transformers comic in the 1980s. Now they're back together again, producing their brand new creator-owned comic To the Death!

It's a gritty, fast-paced tale of future war with tough dialogue and suitably dynamic battle scenes. The main protagonist, Aleksy Dryagin, returns from war in space to settle back into a family life, - but it becomes impossible when he's marked for death between Tri-Corp and an organisation called White Noise. But Aleksy isn't going down without a fight..


Geoff Senior's art style is a lot looser here than it was 30 years ago, but the colours play a bigger part in the finished product. It gives the comic a distinctive look and conveys the story well.

Issue 1 ends on an explosive cliffhanger, but the comic is scheduled to be monthly so 4 or 5 weeks isn't long to wait! I understand it's a 10 issue mini-series, so it'll be quite an epic!

To the Death No.1, 52 pages, full colour, is £4.99 and you can buy it, and also subscribe, at https://getmycomics.com/ToTheDeath



Review: STAND IN YOUR POWER

I'm finally going to find time to get through the backlog of books and comics I promised to review so, firstly, apologies for the delay and, secondly, let's get on with it, - kicking off with Stand in Your Power, the new book from Rachael Smith. 

Other reviewers have called the book "emotionally brave" and they're not wrong. It's a revealing autobiographical story of a period of Rachael's life where her boyfriend had ended their relationship, and how she dealt with that... as well as her depression. Now, in less talented hands that could be a very dull and downbeat story, but Rachael's own natural sense of humour gives the book a lift in all the right places and engages the reader. 

That's not to mean it's flippant of course. Not at all. Rachael deals with the subject matter realistically and responsibly, and in an appealing way. There are pages where she talks about how she self-harmed, and it's quite upsetting, especially for those who know Rachael but didn't know about these incidents. Thoughtfully, Rachael has colour-coded those pages in green, so if readers feel it may be too harrowing they can skip that chapter. I hope they won't though, because it carries an important message.

Stand in Your Power is a sequel of sorts to Wired Up Wrong, Rachael's previous book that I reviewed here. Both are very accessible books, helped immensely by the format; square pages, with no more than four panels a page. Rachael's art style is very easy on the eye and pleasant to see, showcasing her skills at facial expressions and composition. 

I hate to use the cliché "emotional rollercoaster" but that's how it felt reading this book, as Rachael shares her highs and lows with us and it's a book of laughter and tears. The book ends on an uplifting note though, with life improving for Rachael, and I came away from it feeling happy for her and also grateful that she'd shared so much that I know will help others cope with their dark days. 

I'll go as far to say that Stand in Your Power is an important book because of how it'll help others relate. Depression is something people are more willing to talk about now than they did a few decades ago, and this book is ideal to encourage that. 

You can buy Stand in Your Power and Rachael Smith's other books from her Etsy store here:
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/641892488/stand-in-your-power

Rachael will also be one of the guests at the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia next weekend (26th to 28th July) and you'll be able to buy the book at her table in the Comics Zone:
https://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com







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