Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE celebrates issue 500

Doctor Who Magazine reaches its monumental 500th issue this week, with a bumper edition on sale Thursday 26th May. Here's the cover above, designed as a homage to that very first issue back in 1979 (below). It enters the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running magazine based on a TV show. 

The chunky 116 page 500th issue comes packaged with a 116 page anniversary special plus other extras in a shiny card envelope...

Contents of this mega-issue include an extra-length 20 page jam-session strip featuring brand new artwork by some of the various artists who have contributed to the mag over the years including Mike Collins, David Roach, and Dave Gibbons! 

Other strips include a full page for The Daft Dimension (by me) and the return of Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett on a new full page strip. Plus lots of features and interviews of course!

For more details, visit this website here:

This is a landmark achievement for both magazines and comics and I'm very proud to be a part of it. Be sure to pick up a copy of Doctor Who Magazine No.500 on Thursday! Priced £9.99. Here's the cover of the package to look out for...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

EL MESTIZO! (1977)

The issue of Battle Picture Weekly and Valiant dated 4th June 1977 introduced its readers to a brand new character: El Mestizo, created by writer Alan Hebden and artist Carlos Ezquerra. The debut of the series was announced with a brilliantly designed cover (above) with art by Ezquerra. 

Traditionally, war comics tended to focus mainly on World War 2 although Battle did broaden its scope somewhat. Even so, a story set in the American Civil War with a lead character who was a lone gunman clearly had elements of a 'Spaghetti Western' about it too, making El Mestizo a unique strip in the comic. I'm not sure how that went down with readers. One would think it'd be welcomed as a refreshing change, but some readers can have fixed preferences when it comes to comics. 

At any rate, the series only ran for 16 weeks, ending in the issue dated 17th September 1977. I'm not sure if there was another series. As always, Carlos Ezquerra's artwork is a joy to see and this is some of his best work of the period. Without further ado, here's the first episode. One of the most interesting things is how that first page slowly builds up to the entrance of El Mestizo. It was very unusual for British comics to use sequential techniques like that at the time...

Carlos Ezquerra is a guest at the Manchester Film and Comic Con this weekend. Why not come along and meet the great man? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New! COMBAT COLIN mini-prints!

Hot off the presses! Here's something new I'll be selling at the Manchester Film and Comic Con this weekend. A postcard-size full colour print of Combat Colin and Semi-Automatic Steve, featuring new exclusive artwork designed for this print.

I'll also be bringing along copies of Brickman Returns and Brickman Begins too, and doing sketches on request, so I hope to see you there! Other guests include John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra and Lee Sullivan!

Don't forget that brand new Combat Colin adventures appear in the following issues of digital comic Aces Weekly:
Vol.1 No.1
Vol.8 No.7
Vol.16 No.6
Vol.21 No.7

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This week's COMMANDO comics

It's the UK comics industry's longest-running adventure title and four issues are released every fortnight (two new, two reprint). It is of course Commando, and here's the info on the four editions that will be in the shops this Thursday...

Commando No 4915 – Nemesis Of The North
 Smolenskaya Ostrov, a small island in the Barents Sea, was feared by the Russians, who had given it a much more ominous name — the Island of Death. This inhospitable place was uninhabited, apart from the packs of the ferocious polar bears who roamed its barren wastes.
   Now, “Jelly” Jakes, Titch Mooney and the rest of the Convict Commandos were tasked with preventing the outbreak of a deadly virus — if they could survive long enough to complete their mission.

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

Commando No 4916 – Duel To The Death
 It was like a duel between two knights of old. Each combatant knew the look and reputation of the other. Only this time, on one side was a giant white Sunderland flying-boat and on the other, a black-hulled German submarine, the U-37. Dick Stapleton and an Aussie crew flew the “Flying Porcupine”; the merciless Nazi, Kapitan von Bloeke, commanded the U-37.
   The North Sea convoy routes just weren’t big enough for both of them…

 Sanfelix’s stunning cover image perfectly encapsulates a truly thrilling sequence from this book (and it’s on pages 10-13, if you wish to skip ahead). Expertly drawn by veteran interior artist Gordon Livingstone, one of our heroes attempts to extinguish an engine fire on the wing of his Sunderland Flying Boat…while it is still in the air.
   As far as I’m aware, I’ve never seen anything quite as daring as that in many years as a Commando reader and, latterly, as a Commando staffer. Wonderful stuff indeed.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Duel To The Death, originally Commando No 210 (April 1966)

Story: Tyson
Art: Gordon Livingstone
Cover: Sanfelix

Commando No 4917 – Death On The Ground
 In 1963, in the skies above a group of remote islands in the South Pacific, many military aircraft disappeared without trace — so many, if fact, that the area became known as the “New Guinea Triangle”.
   When R.A.F. Flight Lieutenant Jon Day, and his C.O., Squadron Leader Richard Gibson, became embroiled in the mystery, they discovered that their dangerous foe was on the ground as well as in the air.
   The Englishmen would have to improvise and use their wits to survive — even if that meant using captured weapons to bat away enemy grenades!

Story: Steve Coombs
Art: Morahin
Cover: Janek Matysiak

Commando No 4918 – Eagle In The Sun
 In the air war over Russia Anton Pozetski found life dangerous and confusing. It was easy to identify the enemy — they were the Germans and they shot at you. However, it wasn’t so easy to identify your friends. For a start, the Political Commissar and the Squadron Commander were apt to stab you in the back and they regarded the R.A.F. as enemies.
   Life was going to prove even more difficult for Anton when he joined an R.A.F. squadron on active service.

 All of our artists are very versatile and capable of drawing any subject. However, even after five decades, Ian Kennedy is still usually our first port of call whenever we need an aeronautical cover. So, I imagine that’s what happened back in 1991 when the then-editorial team wanted an illustration featuring a Russian Polikarpov 1-16 using its propeller to shred the tail fin of an enemy Heinkel 111 bomber. Featuring Ian’s usual dynamic style and sense of drama, this is yet another prime example of his legendary work.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Eagle In The Sun, originally Commando No 2497 (August 1991)

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Terry Patrick
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Sunday, May 15, 2016

This week in 1952: KNOCKOUT No.690

Knockout was a popular weekly from The Amalgamated Press / Fleetway that ran from 1939 until its merger into Valiant in 1963. (See the first issue here: 

Let's take a look at a few pages from issue No.690, which went on sale on Wednesday 14th May 1952, priced 3d (1p) for 16 pages. The cover feature at this time was Mike, drawn by Eric Roberts, who would later produce Winker Watson and Dirty Dick for D.C. Thomson's The Dandy

On page 3, a nice busy full page illustration by Reg Parlett featuring a Scout group called The Beaver Patrol...
Knockout featured a mixture of humour strips, prose stories, and adventure strips. Here's Tod and Annie, The Runaway Orphans, by Hugh McNeill...
A prolific cartoonist of the 1950s was Denis Gifford (who was also a noted comics historian of course). Here's his Steadfast McStaunch strip years before he revived and redesigned the character for Whizzer and Chips...
Our Ernie was a long running character in Knockout, with each surreal strip ending with the catchphrase "Daft, I call it!". The dated appearance of this strip makes me wonder if it might be a reprint. Art by Hugh McNeill...
Another popular adventure character, Sexton Blake. Artwork by Graham Coton I believe...

On the back page, the ever-enjoyable Sporty by Reg Wooton, one of the few comics creators back then allowed a credit. (And quite a predominant credit too, always beside the logo.)
Knockout changed quite a bit over its 24 year run. I'll show some pages from another issue soon.
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