Friday, December 09, 2016

John Gillatt

On Facebook today, John Freeman made the sad announcement that artist John Gillatt has passed away. A popular and prolific artist in the heyday of boys' adventure comics, John Gillatt's work was primarily published in Tiger weekly. He was the original artist on SF strip Jet-Ace Logan for Comet comic in the late 1950s, and remained as one of the artists on the strip when it moved to Tiger in 1959. (The examples shown above are from Tiger dated 26th January 1963.)

Proving himself to be a perfect choice for drawing busy action scenes and a master of figurework and distinctive facial expressions, Gillatt swiftly became one of Tiger's top artists, working on strips such as The Black Archer and Johnny Cougar in the 1960s and then moving on to Football Family Robinson in late 1969 (replacing Joe Colquhoun). 

Later, he became the permanent artist on the long-running Billy's Boots serial for the comic, where his eye for detail and skill at drawing the human figure made him the definitive illustrator on the strip. Billy's Boots also proved very popular in Holland, where it had its own reprint series for which Gillatt painted new covers and supplied additional art. John was also the artist on the Scorer daily strip for the Daily Mirror for several years. 

John Freeman published a tribute to John Gillatt a couple of years ago on the Down the Tubes blog which you can see here:

No doubt more tributes will be posted online soon to this great comic artist and I'll update this post with links to them as and when.
A 1990 revival of Jet-Ace Logan by John Gillatt.

Reviews: New British comics out now

I'm behind with my reviews but I didn't want to wait until after Christmas when some of you might be spent out so I've condensed several plugs for various comics into one posting. I hope that helps to draw your attention to these worthy titles and to encourage you to support them.

First up are two comics from independent UK publisher Zebra. Midwinter No.1 is based on the classic video game created by the late Mike Singleton about a future coping with the aftermath of an asteroid striking the Earth. The story by Dan Whitehead and art by 2000AD's P.J. Holden is a cracking opening issue and I'm eagerly looking forward to future issues. It has a great cover by Steve Pugh too, so this is an essential buy!
The other title from Zebra Comics is Hex Loader, with a script by Dan Whitehead and art by Conor Boyle. An intriguing mystery with fantasy elements and an unpredictable cliffhanger. Again, one to definitely follow!

An indie publisher who has been around for a while now is Kult Creations, and their latest new comic is Reverend Cross, "first ever female vicar action hero" assigned by the church to take down supernatural threats! Issue 1 is a reprint of an earlier solo edition but this time it has a colour cover. With story by professional comics creator John Short and art by Jason Dennis it's a fast paced blast of fun and fear. 

Reverend Cross No.2 tweaks the creative team by having Gabrielle Noble as the artist but her version of Cross is as cool as ever. 

Issue No.3 of Reverend Cross has just been published and there's a creative shake up again as this time the comic contains four short stories instead of one full-length story, and each one has a different artist. It's good to see each creator's version of the character, and with John A. Short writing all the strips they still maintain the right character and tone. 

The Reverend Cross comics are fast, fun and self-contained, and can be ordered from the Kult Creations website where you'll find more info:

Not exactly a comic (although it does contain some strips) is It's Ghastly, an excellent 72 page publication from Hibernia Comics recounting the history of the short-lived but well-remembered Scream! weekly. It's the definitive story of the comic, containing interviews, features, unused art, and 16 pages of The Nightcomers, a series that was never published due to Scream's sudden cancelation. A must-buy for anyone interested in comics history!

It wouldn't be Christmas without a ghost story, and a new book by Self Made Hero has several. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary is a collection of short stories by M.R. James (1862 to 1936) adapted into comics form by Leah Moore and John Reppion. Artists are Aneke, Kit Buss, Fouad Mezher, and Alisdair Wood. It's a fantastic book at a reasonable price and belongs on the bookshelves of every comics reader.
I couldn't let this set of reviews pass in December without another shout out to Joe Matthews and Dave McCluskey for their superb comics adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. A slick 80 page production in full colour, and a perfect stocking filler for children of all ages. Only £10.00 too!
ISBN 978-0-9934490-2-4

...and last but not least, while I'm here, I'd like to give another plug to Jessica Martin's graphic novel Elsie Harris Picture Palace, the fictional story of Elsie Harris who starts out as a waitress before circumstances and her talent lead her to greater things. It's the sort of story that would make a perfect movie to be shown on TV over the festive period so it's an ideal read for this time of year. Order your copy directly from Jessica at her website:

I hope there's at least one title there that will take your fancy to treat yourselves or someone for Christmas. I'll be plugging more new comics next year.

Christmas DWM preview

The Christmas issue of Doctor Who Magazine will be in the shops on Thursday 15th December, and it's a whopping 100 pager that comes bagged with a free poster. The image above is what to look out for, as that's the plastic bag design, but inside the bag the magazine cover looks like this...

Sharp eyed readers will notice it's a tribute to the old Lois and Clark TV series, which is appropriate as the Doctor Who episode on Christmas Day has a superhero theme. A superhero in the Doctor Who universe? Well, if we can suspend disbelief for everything else, why not? 

I haven't seen the issue myself yet so I don't know what the contents are, except that there's a special Christmas episode of The Daft Dimension that I did. I won't spoil it by showing any of it here. Check it out when you buy the mag next week!

...and the Gallifreyan goodness doesn't end there, because published on the same day (15th December) is the latest Doctor Who Special Edition, which this time is The 2017 Yearbook. Here's the cover below. Treat yourself this Christmas!

For more news, keep an eye on the Doctor Who Magazine website:

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Christmas issue of 2000AD is zarjaz!

Once again, the creative teams working on 2000AD have produced a spectacular issue for the end of the year. 2000AD Prog 2011 is the bumper 100 page Christmas issue and goes on sale on Wednesday 14th December. I've seen the full issue and the line up of talent and stories is incredible. Rather than reveal too much about it, I'm only showing a handful of pages here to whet your appetites. As you can see from the content listing, there are more stories than I'm previewing here, and a couple of unlisted bonus articles about comics too!

UK & DIGITAL: 14 December 2016 £4.99
NORTH AMERICA: 14 January 2016

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Boxing Day by Rob Williams (w) Chris Weston (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Fall of Deadworld: Winter Break by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Kingmaker by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Aquila: Mors Venetiae by Gordon Rennie (w) Paul Davidson (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Ace Trucking Co.: The Festive Flipflop by Eddie Robson (w) Nigel Dobbyn (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Kingdom: As It Is In Heaven by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
The Order:  Wyrm War by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ...For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Simon Bowland (l)

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

The Christmas Beano is out today!

Cover by Nigel Parkinson.
It's in the shops now, bagged with a bunch of gifts! And here's some info on the Beano website that reveals some of the contents...

Also, still in the shops, is the Beano Christmas Special, a 68 page all-new extravaganza. Buy 'em both as a festive treat!

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