Wednesday, March 22, 2017

BATTLE cover selection 1975 to 1979

Right from its early issues in 1975, Battle Picture Weekly used a combination of terse captions and striking artwork to deliver dynamic, eye-catching front covers. Admittedly, D.C. Thomson's Warlord had been the inspiration (see here), but IPC's Battle took it to another level, making previous kids' comics look sedate in comparison. 

Here's a selection of some of the best Battle covers...
Art: Geoff Campion
Art: Carlos Ezquerra

Art: Carlos Ezquerra

Art: Geoff Campion

Art: Carlos Ezquerra

Art: Mike Western
Art: Carlos Ezquerra

Art: Ian Kennedy

Art: Joe Colquhoun

Art: Carlos Ezquerra

Art: Mike McMahon

Composite artwork.

Art: Joe Colquhoun

Art: Carlos Ezquerra

All covers scanned from my own collection of comics.
Artwork © Rebellion A/S



If it's Wednesday it must be BEANO day!

Cover by Nigel Parkinson.
Here's the cover of this week's Beano, taken from the lively beano.com website. Another 36 pages packed with all-new fun stuff! Pressing deadlines mean that I haven't had chance to go into town to buy a copy yet but if my strips are being published in the order I did them, this should be an accurate preview of today's stories...

Ivy the Terrible has a nightmare. What could possibly have caused that? Are there clues in this panel? 

Tubby finds a piece of rope! It's tug of war time in Pup Parade!

Beano No.3877, - out now! Only £2.50.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Previews: COMMANDO Nos.5003 to 5006

Just in from Commando HQ, the latest info on the four issues of the comic that will be in newsagents this Thursday, 23rd March. Thomsons have sent a new look press release this time, in the form of a jpeg rather than a Word document, so you'll have to click on it to read it full size. On the positive front, it shows preview panels from each of the stories...

5003 Home of Heroes: American Eagles
Story – Steven Taylor
Art – Jaume Forns
Cover – Janek Matysiak

5004 Gold Collection: Trouble Squadron
Story – Boothby
Art – Auraleon
Cover – Ken Barr

5005 Action And Adventure: Urban Gunners
Story – Ferg Handley
Art – Manuel Benet
Cover – Manuel Benet

5006 Silver Collection: Go Down Fighting!
Story – Ian Clark
Art – Peter Foster
Cover – Jeff Bevan


Comic event in Sheffield this Saturday

I know some of you aren't interested in attending comic conventions but if any of you are visiting Sheffield this Saturday I'll be at Robot: Illustration and Creative Arts Convention at the Millennium Gallery. Other guests will include Fiona Stephenson, David Leach, Mychailo Kazybrid, Peter Doherty, Bambos Georgiou and more. There'll also be loads of exhibitors and indie comics publishers. Come along and meet us for sketches and comics!
http://www.robotcon.co.uk

Monday, March 20, 2017

Fake news!

According to today's Metro, I designed Dennis the Menace's iconic red and black jumper. That's quite an accomplishment I should be proud of... considering it happened in 1951, eight years before I was born!
http://metro.co.uk/2017/03/17/freddie-fox-is-the-new-voice-behind-dennis-the-menace-this-is-going-to-be-blam-6515147/



The article even quotes me on stuff. I've never even spoken to the Metro but my quotes are from a BBC item from a while back. However, Metro didn't do their research properly, and somehow confused me with David Law. Heck, they even reckon that Dennis "made his debut" on the back of a cigarette packet, intimating it was published like that.

The facts: when The Beano were creating Dennis the Menace in 1951, editor Ian Chisholm did a rough sketch of the character on the back of a fag packet to show artist David Law what he wanted. As we know, David Law did a fantastic job on the character, later adding the distinctive striped jumper.

While the Metro mistake amused me, there's also a serious edge to it because it denies David Law his credit, and there's a possibility the error will be copied by other sources in the future. Ironically, the Metro's tagline is "News... but not as you know it".

Unless, of course, I'm a time-traveller and the story is true. With the crackpot way the 21st Century has gone so far anything is possible. 


Team Toxic in space!

Team Toxic begin a three-part adventure that has them head into space in the next issue of Toxic, on sale Wednesday 22nd March. Signal from Space sees the team respond to a distress call in deep space. What will they find? A bloomin' great Space Shark for one thing! 

Toxic No.286, available from newsagents and supermarkets from Wednesday. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

New event: BIRMINGHAM COMICS FESTIVAL in June

I'm very pleased to be able to add another event to my "gig guide" this year as I'll be one of the guests at the Birmingham Comics Festival on June 24th and 25th 2017. 

The convention takes place at Birmingham City University and other guests will include David Lloyd, Hunt Emerson, Phil Winslade and more!

There'll also be an exhibition of comic art at the university from June 1st, and other events related to the show taking place in June. Keep an eye on the festival website for more details...
https://birminghamcomicsfestival.com

Saturday, March 18, 2017

MCM Comic Con report

Comic conventions! I can't get enough of 'em. Like minds coming together to display their art and talk comics. Therefore, although I wasn't a guest at the MCM Comic Con in Birmingham today I thought I'd drop in for a browse as it wasn't far for me to travel. 
Very busy day with attendees of all ages.
I knew a few of my friends in the comics industry would be there so it'd be a good opportunity to catch up with them. Admittedly, the MCM Comic Con doesn't devote a lot of floor space to actual comics. Most of the tables in the vast hall at the NEC are taken up with dealers selling merchandise related to comics, film, and tv. There's an area called 'Comic Village' where you'll find people who create comics, covering the small press, independents, and full time professionals.
One of the few stands selling U.S. comics.
The MCM events also give priority to guests from film and television, where today you'd see people from Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Red Dwarf and more. And a couple of wrestlers too, which seem to go down well with some attendees.
I've no idea why a wrestler was dressed as the Scarlet Witch.
I know that events such as MCM have been criticised by some for not being "true" comic cons because of their emphasis on actors. Personally, I think there's room for events like this and the smaller, comics-only shows. Talking to friends today echoed that view, and we agreed that these multi-media shows bring in people who wouldn't normally attend a comics-only event and some of them are happy to discover or rediscover comics. (I found this to be very true at ones I was at last year.) Hopefully some of those fans will then check out more events, including the shows dedicated to comics.

Here's a few of the comics creators who were there today...

Steve Tanner, whose Time Bomb Comics company has now been running for ten years. 

Rachael Smith, creator of wonderful books that deserve a place on your bookshelf.

Laura Howell, fellow Beano artist and self-publisher.

It was also great to see Jessica Martin, who as a comic creator and actor was at home in both sides of the hall (http://www.artymisspublishing.com), Stuart Gould, who does a fine job printing my comics and those of others (http://www.ukcomicscreative.co.uk), Adam Cadwell, who produces some amazing comics (http://www.adamcadwell.com) and several other pals from the comics world. 

MCM Comic Con is on all over the weekend, so there's still time to visit on Sunday 19th March if you're in the area. 

Next Saturday, 25th March, I'll be a guest at Robot: Illustration and Creative Arts Convention in Sheffield. See you there! 

2000AD hits the readers with a new line-up

This coming Wednesday is a good chance for new and lapsed readers to start buying 2000AD as it features the start of a new line up of stories. Here's the info from Rebellion...

UK & DIGITAL: 22 March 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 22 April 2017 $7.99
DIAMOND CODE: JAN171931
COVER: CLIFF ROBINSON

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Get Jerry Sing by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett 9w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Future Shocks: The Best Brain In The Galaxy by Andrew Williamson (w) Tilen Javornik (a) Ellie De Ville (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 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tony Isabella reviews The Beano

American comics writer Tony Isabella, who created Black Lightning for DC Comics (now being adapted for TV) recently subscribed to The Beano after reading my posts about the comic here. When I heard that, I wasn't sure how the Beano's humour would go down Stateside but Tony liked it and he's posted his verdict on the comic over on the Tales of Wonder site here:
http://blog.talesofwonder.com/?p=626

As you may know, Tony was the editor on the early Marvel UK comics when they were still being packaged in New York. He also edited those great Marvel black and white horror comics for a time too. He has a blog full of interesting reviews and thoughts, which you can find here:
http://tonyisabella.blogspot.co.uk

The Brexit shambles explained as a comic strip

Whatever your politics, if you're interested in comics (which presumably is why you're here) this might be of curiosity to you. This week's edition of The New European features a comic strip on its front cover; an unusual step for a national newspaper, especially one aimed at adults. When was the last time this happened? On the Illustrated Police News in Edwardian times? (Actually there was an Andy Capp strip that dominated the cover of a Christmas Daily Mirror in the sixties (see here) but I digress...)

The strip is by Tim Bradford and covers the history of Britain's EU referendum from its genesis to today. The style is crude, but it gets its message across. As we know, comics are an excellent way to do this. 

If you haven't seen The New European before, you may have guessed that it's a pro-EU newspaper for those of us in the 48% who voted remain, and for any leave voters who want to see the alternative viewpoint, come to that. Intelligently written, it's published every Friday and distribution has improved recently. (I've just bought this one from my corner shop whereas Sainsbury's was the only place around here that sold it a few months ago.) 

You might not agree with all the articles within, but it does offer a balance to the anti-EU press that dominates the newsstands. Worth a look for £2. It's a fair bet you'll find out something that papers like the Daily Mail haven't told you. 

Check out their website for more info:
http://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/home

If you're interested in buying a print of Tim Bradford's cover, details are here:
http://www.buyamag.co.uk/Leisure-Magazines/The-New-European-Poster/TNEPR

The Pull List No.5

Cover by Andrew Pawley.
The fifth issue of The Pull List is now available to buy for just 99p. What's The Pull List? It's a digital magazine featuring interviews with creators involved in the independent and small press comics scene. This area of comics is so busy these days that it's great to have a publication that shows some highlights that might otherwise pass us by.

This issue features interviews with The Etherington Brothers, Paul Moore, Hannah Chapman, Sammy Borras, Andrew Pawley, and Robin Hoelzemann. If some of those names are unfamiliar to you then The Pull List is essential to expand your knowledge. All of the artists featured are producing good material that deserves its growing audience. Remember, there are far more comics out there than you'll find in your local newsagents. The comics industry has evolved and it's worth checking out what's available.

How to obtain your copy? Head over to the following link and within minutes you could be reading it. Such is the beauty of digital publications!
https://gumroad.com/l/thepulllist05

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spidey goes retro!

The latest issue of Panini UK's Astonishing Spider-Man fortnightly comic arrived in newsagents today, with a story that may be of interest to fans of the sixties strips. 

Amongst the three stories in the issue is Convention Chaos from the U.S. edition of Spider-Man / Deadpool No.7 that sees Deadpool travel back to the 1960s. It's a wonderful homage / parody of early Spider-Man stories, even down to the off-register printing (deliberate in this case). 
Written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by Scott Koblish doing a fine stylisation of Steve Ditko's work, it's not to be missed! The story is very tongue-in-cheek, with an appearance by Richard Nixon and a politician who speaks of building a wall to keep out the Mole Man. It's good fun, and worth the cover price alone.

Here's the info on the issue:

Astonishing Spider-Man Vol.6 #16. On sale 16th March 2017. 
76 pages of Astounding Action-Packed Arachnid-Adventure! Only £3.99!
A new Spider-Saga begins! There’s an accident at Parker Industries! What will Peter Parker do to save his employees, both as CEO AND Spider-Man?!

Also: in the greatest of Deadpool traditions, we present a “lost” issue of the Amazing Spider-Man! Join us as we flashback to the swinging ‘60s for one of Deadpool & Spidey’s earliest meetings! It’s totally hip, daddy-o!

Plus: The Back Cat makes her move against Ultimate Spider-Man!

By Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Brain Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness.

Includes material reprinted from Amazing Spider-Man #16, Spider-Man/Deadpool #7 and Spider-Man #5.

The Last American, - back in print!

I had the privilege of Mick McMahon illustrating a couple of scripts of mine for Sonic the Comic back in the 1990s. Naturally, he did a wonderful job. I'm pleased to see that Rebellion will soon be reprinting The Last American that features Mick's fantastically stylish artwork. Here's the info... 

        • CREATIVE TEAM: John Wagner, Alan Grant (w) Mick McMahon (a) Phil Felix (l)
REGIONS: US and UK print and worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 11 April 2017 (UK) 26 April 2017 (US)
PAPERBACK - 130 PAGES
PRICE: £15.99 (UK) $19.99 (US)
ISBN: 9781781085448
DIAMOND: FEB171839

Back in print after more than a decade, this tour de force by three of British comics' greatest talents is a chilling but prescient parable for our modern times.

After the Apocalypse, the last man alive is tasked with delivering Ultimate Victory. Twenty years after a global nuclear war destroyed the world, Captain Ulysses Pilgrim is woken from suspended animation by three military robot aides. Selected by his superiors to survive the initial onslaught, Pilgrim now has one last mission; to scour through post-holocaust U.S.A. in the search for other survivors.

Want to see a preview? Here's the first four pages...




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

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