Sunday, March 01, 2015

Mike Noble in TV Comic

Before his long run illustrating Fireball XL5 and Zero X (plus a few Captain Scarlet stories) for TV21, Mike Noble was a regular artist in TV Comic from 1960 to 1965. Westerns were still very popular at the time and Mike illustrated The Lone Ranger in 1960/61. (Mike had also previously drawn the strip for Express Weekly in 1958 to 1960.) The above example is from TV Comic No.467, dated 26th November 1960.

After The Lone Ranger, Mike was commissioned to draw a similar strip, The Range Rider from 1961 to 1964. This example is from TV Comic No.579 (19th January 1963). It looks as though Mike was experimenting with a different inking technique on this one, with bolder outlines on the characters...

Here's another Range Rider page from TV Comic No.588 (23rd March 1963)...

...and another one from a year later, published in TV Comic No.634...

Personally I prefer his TV21 strips, full of explosive action, marvelously coloured, but it's interesting to see that Mike's early work also had his identifiable dynamism and excellent figure work. Definitely one of the greats, and, as always, my favourite UK adventure strip artist. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

More Baxendale Beezer Brilliance

Following on from the previous post about The Banana Bunch, here are a few more pages by Leo Baxendale that appeared in the (undated) Beezer Book that was published in 1963. Above are the superb endpapers from the book, with the characters creating chaos in the Beezer office. It's interesting to see Leo's versions of other artist's characters here.

The Gobbles is an often forgotten strip that Leo drew for the weekly Beezer from 1962 to 1964. Here are the two strips that appeared in The Beezer Book published in 1963...





Leo Baxendale's 'The Banana Bunch'

The Banana Bunch began in The Beezer No.1 way back in 1956 and proved popular enough to continue throughout the comic's run until 1993. The strip has been revived a few times since by various artists and was last seen in The Dandy in 2012 drawn by Nigel Parkinson.

Most of us will probably have grown up with the version drawn by the excellent Bert Hill, but the original artist was Leo Baxendale, who drew it from issue 1 in 1956 until No.438 in 1964. Here's a few examples of Leo's brilliance with the huge full page above from The Beezer No.295 (September 9th 1961).

Now the one from the following week, September 16th 1961...

Finally a couple of full colour pages from The Beezer Book 1964 (published in 1963). 


Truly funny stuff and some of the best material to have appeared in British humour comics. As always, click on the pages to see them much larger.

Friday, February 27, 2015

David Leach Conquers London

David Leach Conquers the Universe, the comic written and drawn by artist/editor David Leach gets a special variant cover for the London Super Comic Convention on March 14th and 15th.

Publisher Dead Universe Comics are re-releasing six of their titles, each with an exclusive London landmark-themed variant cover. These exclusive editions will only be on sale at the convention.

I reviewed David Leach Conquers the Universe No.1 (with its original cover) last summer and thoroughly recommended it. You can read the review and see more about the comic here:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/david-leach-conquers-universe-so-you.html

David is currently working on issue 2. Something to look forward to!  

Information on the variant covers for the other titles will be released on the Facebook page of Dead Universe Comics:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dead-Universe-Comics/411695270458

For more info about the London Super Comic Convention, visit their website:
http://www.londonsupercomicconvention.com/

David Leach is also the creator of Oink! character Psycho Gran who now appears in her own digital comic. You can read more about that here:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/psycho-gran-returns-in-her-own-comic.html

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The new Doctor Who Comic is here!

Today saw the launch of Titan's new Doctor Who Comic in UK newsagents (although so far I've only seen it in WH Smith). I was surprised to see that the format is A4, rather than the US format of the Titan and Panini comics. Also, Smiths are displaying it in the young children's comics section with The Beano, Dora the Explorer, Angry Birds Magazine etc rather than alongside Doctor Who Magazine, 2000AD, and the aforementioned other Titan and Panini comics. I can't help feeling its intended age group may pass it by as Doctor Who Comic is aimed at a more sophisticated reader than the juvenile titles it's sharing its shelves with but presumably Titan have good reasons for doing it. 

The comic itself is a squarebound 84 page publication with exactly the same paper quality that Titan's CLiNT comic had. The content repackages the first issues of the recent individual Doctor Who comics that are sold in specialist comic shops. So we get long episodes featuring the 12th Doctor by Robbie Morrison and Dave Taylor, the 11th Doctor by Al Ewing, Rob Williams and Simon Fraser, and the 10th Doctor by Nick Abadzis and Elena Casagrande. Excellent value for £3.99 considering each story would cost around £3.00 each in its original format. 

These are top quality stories by top people in the comics industry, most of whom are based in the UK. I'm reluctant to call this publication a 'reprint comic' in the same way that, say, The Mighty World of Marvel is because the strips have only very recently appeared in their original format a few months ago, also by the same publisher. I'd rather consider this a 'British edition' than a reprint, in the same way that books have editions in different countries. But I suppose most will still regard it as a reprint comic so each to their own of course. 

In any case it's good to see another comic on the UK newsstands. Let's hope it proves to be a success! If you have trouble finding it in newsagents you can subscribe to it here:
http://titan.subscribeonline.co.uk/subscriptions/doctor-who-comic?offerCode=DWC1TM

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By the way, to correct an assumption a few have made, this new comic does not replace Doctor Who Magazine or Doctor Who Adventures, nor does it feature the same strips. They're three different publications by three different publishers. 
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