Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Fab 4000 project attracts Hollywood talent

News from Tim Quinn of a very worthy project including a concert at The Cavern on Monday 29th May...

A project created by the children of St Vincent’s School for the blind in Liverpool has inspired two Hollywood stars to fly over and pay a visit to the school. Chyler Leigh, star of the US TV series, ‘Supergirl’, and her musician/actor husband, Nathan West, were so impressed by the students’ creation of a brand new super-hero comic book featuring the pupils themselves showing how everyone can help to make the world a better place, even without super-powers, that they have arranged to drop into the school and give a few drama lessons at the end of May.
Word about the comic book spread through the cast of ‘Supergirl’ who all agree that it is a beautiful idea. Chyler and Nathan intend to help make the comic book go global via a website they are creating. They have also arranged to play 2 benefit concerts for the school at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club on 29th May. Chyler will be singing with Nathan’s band, East of Eli on the night and they will be welcoming the school choir on stage for a few numbers. They are also promising special surprise guests to join them on the gig, and will be holding a celebrity auction of Hollywood items. 
Before her role in ‘Supergirl’, Chyler was one of the leads in the award winning TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. 

Tim Quinn writes:

Having spent many years of my career editing the extraordinary characters of Marvel Comics, the last thing I expected on my return to my hometown of Liverpool was to find real-life super-heroes wandering the corridors of a local school. But that is exactly what happened when I visited St Vincent’s School. I’d been invited into the school by the Head Teacher, Dr John Patterson who told me that his pupils were crazy for all things super-hero.  I hadn’t realised it was a school for the blind until I turned up there early one morning. I was moved to see that all of the students were dressed as super-heroes. It was an extraordinary sight to see them walking the school corridors with capes, masks, canes and seeing eye dogs.  
Sitting chatting with the students later that morning, I asked them what it was about super-heroes that they enjoyed so much.
“I love the colours,” said a girl, blind from birth.
“I like that they want to help everybody,” explained another student.
The children had been pulled into the super-hero world by listening to the award winning American TV series ‘Supergirl’.

Turns out that the students also enjoyed helping everybody. They had come up with a project to raise funds to send to people suffering from the blight of Black Fly in Africa. The dreaded Black Fly lays eggs in water systems causing people to go blind. Obviously a cause close to the children of St Vincent’s hearts. I’ve found a lot of heart at St Vincent’s School.

Inspired by the children, I worked with a fellow Marvel artist to create a brand new super-hero team based on St Vincent’s amazing pupils. The comic book tells the story of how they have come together to help people less fortunate than themselves. We call the team THE FAB 4000 – The World’s Largest Super-hero Team. We invite readers from other schools to get involved and become members of the team by following a simple super-hero charter that is featured in the comic.

I’m very happy to relate that the work of St Vincent’s pupils has come to the attention of the stars of ‘Supergirl’. Chyler Leigh and her actor/musician husband Nathan West were so moved to hear the story that they have arranged to fly over to the UK to visit the school and produce 2 benefit concerts for the school at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Chyler and Nathan will be making a documentary about the children of the school and their extraordinary concept while they are in town. Chyler explains, “We think this idea is brilliant and we want to help to make it go global. We are so looking forward to our first visit to Merseyside.”

Flying straight from the cast of TV’s ‘Supergirl’ series, actress Chyler Leigh and her actor/musician husband Nathan West’s band East of Eli will be playing 2 very special gigs at Liverpool’s Cavern Club at 4pm and 8pm on Monday 29th May. The concerts are to benefit Liverpool’s St Vincent’s School for the blind. Chyler and Nathan are also bringing unique Hollywood and DC Comics items to include in an auction during the shows. PLUS: A brand new comic book will be launched by the pair that night! Look out for ‘The FAB 4000!’
Tickets going fast from:

4pm show:

8pm show:

East of Eli and Chyler Leigh links:

A choice of monsters for the next DWM cover

Doctor Who Magazine No.513 arrives in the shops this coming Thursday, 1st June, and it gives buyers a choice of two covers. You can either go for the one featuring the all-new female leader of the Ice Warriors, or the one featuring the return of the first generation Cybermen. 

Or better still, buy both!

The 84 page magazine will feature loads of features as usual, plus part two of the 12th Doctor comic strip The Soul Garden by Scott Gray and Martin Garaghty, and another Daft Dimension by me. 

Yes, the Ice Warriors and the Cybermen are coming back to the TV series as the current season of Doctor Who races towards its climax. We're only just past halfway so far though, so don't miss episode 7 tonight! (Or, if you're reading this later, catch the show on BBC iPlayer.)

Doctor Who Magazine website:

Coming up in the next 2000AD...

Here's your weekly advance preview of the next issue of 2000AD. Prog 2033 will be in the shops this coming Wednesday, 31st May...

UK & DIGITAL: 31 May 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 1 July 2017 $7.99

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Hoverods by TC Eglington (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Defoe: Diehards by Pat Mills (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Scarlet Traces: Cold War - Book 2 by Ian Edginton (w) D'Israeli (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

80 year Flashback: FUNNY WONDER Whitsun issue 1937

Whitsun was a bigger deal in years past than it is today, and 80 years ago the comics of the Amalgamated Press used it as the theme for that week's issues. I've previously shown the Whitsun issue of Jolly Comic for 1937 (click here) and now here are a few strips from The Funny Wonder of the same week. The comic is scanned from my collection.

Funny Wonder had 8 tabloid-sized pages, all printed in black ink on green paper for 1d. The wonderful holiday theme logo illustration and Pitch and Toss cover strip is the work of Roy Wilson I think. (Might be by one of his imitators but I'm sure it's a Wilson page.) 

Inside, Merry Moments with Marmy and his Ma sees mum and son visiting a fair for the holidays. Note the "Fat Boy" attraction; a depiction of times when the "Freak Show" was a voyeuristic attraction at fairs. Art by Wally Robertson I believe.

Charlie Chaplin had appeared on the cover of the comic for years but by 1937 he was one of the centre-spread strips. Art by Bertie Brown.
Sally, the Sunshine of Our Alley, had a resourceful girl as the lead, and the title of the strip was of course inspired by the 1931 film Sally in our Alley starring Gracie Fields. 
The comic included a cut-out badge for readers to become part of "The Funny Wonder Secret Society", but stipulated that only regular readers could wear it. (That excludes all of us then, unless we have a bound volume of issues to read.)
Fifty percent of the issue was taken up with prose stories and, on the back page, the only adventure strip in the comic; Tim McCoy. Those speech balloons are a bit shouty! 
I hope you enjoy reading this summer issue from 80 years ago. If you have a laptop or tablet, why not sit in the sunshine and enjoy a good read? (22 degrees C here at the moment!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

LAWLESS collected

Rebellion are certainly putting out a lot of collections of strips these days. Next month sees the awesome Lawless Volume 1, with amazingly detailed artwork by Phil Winslade. 

Ludicrously, there are still some people who claim today's comics aren't as well drawn as those of decades ago. Take a look at this, folks. Phil's artwork is on a par with any of the best work published in comics since comics began! The high standard of comic art today is incredible. 

Here's the info on the book from the publishers, along with the first five pages to whet your appetites...

CREATIVE TEAM: Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
REGIONS: UK & US print, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 15 June 2017
PRICE: £14.99 (UK) $20 (US)
ISBN: 9781781085431

The first collection of 2000 AD's latest breakout success set in the Judge Dredd universe, with an incredible new female Judge. The backwater planet of 43 Rega has spent five years recovering from an invasion of aliens known as the Zhind. isolated and a hotbed for trouble makers, Badrock is an colony township desperate for a strong law enforcer to take charge. Enter Colonial. Marshal Meta Lawson. Tough, surly and determined, Lawson seems to be ideal for the role. But is this law-woman exactly who she claims to be?

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

Time for a sort out!

From this week I'm starting to list some items on eBay again. My house is just too overcrowded with books and comics that I'll never get around to re-reading so I'm selling off some of them. 

There's only a handful of items up so far to see how they go, but I'll be putting more up next week. I have some duplicates of comics (such as the above issue of Smash!) that I don't need, and various graphic novels and books that I'll be selling at reasonable prices. If you're interested, visit the link below:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Charlie Grigg honoured at his old school

The late Charlie Grigg, who drew Korky the Cat for many years, has been honoured with a blue plaque at his old school in Oldbury. 

I never knew Charlie personally but, like many of us, I grew up entertained by his artwork for The Dandy on strips such as Korky the Cat, The Red Wrecker, and The Umbrella Men, and on The Topper with strips such as Foxy and Splodge. I'm very pleased for his family that they've achieved this honour for him.
You can read the full details over at John Freeman's Down the Tubes blog today:

The BBC's Midlands Today covered the news in its 21st May broadcast and at time of writing it's still available on iPlayer, 3 minutes in:

Saturday, May 20, 2017

TV Comic with Target (1978)

TV Comic underwent quite a few changes over its 33 year run. It started out as a comic for very young readers in 1951, aged itself up a bit in the 1960s to compete with Dandy and Beano, changed to a tabloid sized comic (as Mighty TV Comic) for a while, and by 1978 its emphasis was more on adventure strips due to absorbing the failed Target comic. (Target had lasted just 18 weeks and you can read more about that here: )

Here's a few pages from TV Comic with Target No.1397, dated 22nd September 1978. The cover strip rotated its characters and this week it was the turn of Kojak, drawn by David Lloyd early in his career before he went on to find fame with V for Vendetta. (Today, David is the publisher of digital comic Aces Weekly )

TV Comic had been printed in the slick photogravure format for years, until changing to web offset in 1971. However, by 1978 it had downgraded to cheap newsprint and, as you'll see, a very limited approach to colouring. Charlie's Angels was illustrated by John Canning...

The Doctor Who strip in TV Comic by this time was a reprint from earlier issues. In the case of this story, it originally appeared in 1974 featuring the third Doctor, with art by Gerry Haylock. For this 1978 reprint, John Canning redrew some of the figurework to replace Jon Pertwee's Doctor with Tom Baker's! 

The Kicktail Kid wasn't related to any TV show but was instead publisher Polystyle's attempt at a superhero strip. (Perhaps trying to compete with the numerous Marvel UK weeklies around at the time.) David Lloyd had been the original artist on the strip but this work is by someone else and I don't recognise the style. 

TV Comic with Target also featured several humour strips of course, as the comic always did, mostly based on cartoon characters. One of the longest running in the weekly was Tom and Jerry, drawn by Bill Titcombe, which was on the back page of the comic that week. 
With only 20 pages, TV Comic was relatively expensive at 10p, but it was still popular enough to survive for a few more years (when its print quality would improve again). 

Nosferatu lives!

This isn't comics related but it may be of interest to those of you who like classic horror movies (and by classic I mean films from the early 20th Century). The people who publish the excellent Classic Monsters Magazine also do one-off special editions of individual movies. Coming up in October is one dedicated to Nosferatu, the 1922 German expressionist movie that set a high standard for chilling horror films. 

Here's the info from their website:
Though controversial in its day for its unauthorised use of Bram Stoker’s story Dracula, F W Murnau’s 1922 expressionist nightmare Nosferatu remains a powerful piece of filmmaking. Our Ultimate Guide to this silent horror classic explores the creation and legacy of one of cinema’s all-time favourite vampire films.
Produced in full colour and designed with the beautiful attention to detail you’ve come to expect, our Nosferatu magazine guide is the perfect companion piece to the movie. It’s packed with images, artwork, information and trivia which will place you right at the sinister heart of this beloved motion picture.
Biographies of the cast and crew, from Murnau himself to stars Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim and cinematographer Fritz Arno Wagner, shine a fresh light on the people who brought Count Orlok’s shadow-haunted horror tale to life, while a range of articles examines the impact that Nosferatu had on horror cinema and filmmaking more widely.
So come with us as we walk the eerie streets of Wisborg, and take a fresh look at a turning point in horror cinema. Just like the movie itself, this is a Nosferatu guide you can’t afford to ignore – and remember, the first 250 copies are signed with a FREE Nosferatu art print!
To pre-order your copy, visit the publisher's website here:

Classic Spidey theme revitalised

This is a video that composer Michael Giacchino released yesterday of his dynamic orchestral version of the classic Spider-Man theme. It's going to be used in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming movie this summer... but surely it's too short for the main theme?

Indeed it is, as it only runs to 37 seconds. Then it occurred to me that's exactly the same length as the Marvel Fanfare theme used over the Marvel Studio logo at the start of Marvel movies. So I'm betting that the orchestral Spidey music will play over the Marvel logo intro instead of the usual fanfare theme.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is released on 7th July so we don't have long to wait to see if I'm right. 

Prog Preview: 2000AD Prog 2032

Courtesy of Rebellion, publishers of the galaxy's greatest comic, here's your regular advance preview of the next issue of 2000AD, on sale this coming Wednesday.

UK & DIGITAL: 24 May 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 24 June 2017 $7.99

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Sons of Booth by TC Eglington (w) Nick Dyer (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Defoe: Diehards by Pat Mills (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Scarlet Traces: Cold War - Book 2 by Ian Edginton (w) D'Israeli (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Available in print from: UK newsagents and all good comic book stores via Diamond 
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