Monday, February 29, 2016

FLINTLOCK is coming!

Just in! News of a brand new ongoing title from UK publisher Time Bomb Comics...


Since 2007 Time Bomb Comics has been publishing critically acclaimed one-shots and graphic novels.  A regular exhibitor on the booming comics convention circuit, the public face of Time Bomb Comics is Steve Tanner who, with his passion for the medium and penchant for garishly patterned jackets, is the driving force behind the Birmingham based Indie publisher. 

Now, nearly ten years on, Tanner has decided to do something different through Time Bomb Comics that marks a step-change for the brand by creating and publishing what is intended to be an ongoing title: Flintlock.
“I’m describing it as adventures in the eighteenth century!” he enthuses. He explains that the book will be a shared timeline anthology that features regular and rotating characters – and each story in Flintlock will take place at some point between 1701 and 1800.  He reveals that he has created a number of original characters who will make their debut throughout the series, including pirates, rogues, samurai, law enforcers and highwaymen.

Time Bomb Comics first became known to many for their historical horror mash-ups featuring the eighteenth century highwayman Dick Turpin, so will Flintlock just be offering more of the same?

“Well, the era is the same!” Tanner admits. “Researching the Dick Turpin stories really opened my eyes as to how rich the eighteenth century was as a setting, and sparked off for me a real fascination with the period.  I used to think it was the boring bit between the middle ages and the Victorians – how wrong I was!

“Part of that may be that we still only really see the 18th Century distilled through the novels of Jane Austen and the like.  Beyond that there’s a world in transformation with some wonderful opportunities to tell some good stories.  That said, the opportunity to create a unique highwayman character as part of the Flintlock universe was too good to pass up – and Lady Flintlock is very different to my take on Dick Turpin! 
“Actually, both the stories that feature in Flintlock Book 1 have female leads.  As well as Lady Flintlock we have Shanti the Pirate Queen.  Shanti is Asian – from India – very different from the traditional pirate. There’s so few Asian characters in British comics so I’m interested to see how she’s received.”
Over the last 9 years Tanner has evolved Time Bomb Comics from what was essentially a platform to promote his own work into something more far reaching with a wide range of creators featured in a diverse range of titles. But why would a small publisher known for producing one-shots and graphic novels suddenly embark on something perhaps considered more ambitious?

“The last full comic I wrote for Time Bomb was Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague back in 2011 – and a story actually scripted in 2010. Since then I’ve been fortunate to publish some great books featuring some great creators – including some who inspired me to start up Time Bomb in the first place – but I wanted an opportunity to wear my grand Creator hat again, which to be honest had been lying forgotten in the corner gathering dust.”

But although Tanner has written the stories himself, he has recruited some talented artists to help him tell them.  United States creator Anthony Summey is the artist on Lady Flintlock and brings a clean, classic style ideally suited to adventure storytelling.  He’s no stranger to Time Bomb or the subject matter either, having drawn Christine Logan’s “The Dandy Highwayman” short story in the 2015 released Bomb Scares horror anthology.  Also on board is newcomer Lorenzo Nicoletta, who is the artist for Shanti, and marks the first UK appearance for the Italian creator.  Finally, another Bomb Scares alumni – Bolt-01 - has provided the lettering throughout.

Time Bomb Comics successfully released Bomb Scares in October last year using Kickstarter the crowd-funding platform is being used again for the Flintlock Book One.

“I’m revisiting it simply because the Bomb Scares campaign I ran last year proved to be so successful,” Tanner explains. “It enabled me to reach a readership that otherwise I wouldn’t have.  As a pre-order model it seems to work providing you’re fair to your supporters and sensible in your expectations.  It’s not the be all and end all - if the Kickstarter fails Flintlock will still be published – but the Kickstarter allows people to get the book for a great price and with some extra Flintlock goodies if they want it!”

The campaign for Flintlock Book 1 runs on Kickstarter from 1st – 31st March.

Flintlock Book One will be officially launched on 23rd April at the Birmingham Comics Festival.

For more information see the Flintlock facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Flintlock-800342190110598/

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Brickman of Olympia

I'm heading off to the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia this weekend and will be bringing along my comics Brickman Begins! and Brickman Returns! so if you've yet to buy copies, drop by my table. I'll also be doing sketches on request for a small fee. (If you're bringing along old comics to be signed I don't charge for autographs of course.) Or if you just want to stop by for a chat, that's good too. I hope to see some of you there!
http://www.londonfilmandcomicconspring.com/

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Doctor Who Comic exterminated

The issue of Doctor Who Comic that's in newsagents today is the final issue. From next month the strips move over to the companion title Tales From the TARDIS: Doctor Who Comic. It's kind of a merger but not stated as such.

Sadly, this isn't unexpected. Titan's decision to launch Doctor Who Comic as a nice big A4 size publication was a welcome move that showed off the art better but it immediately met with problems. Even though Titan had a 'Rated T teen' advisory on the barcode, most branches of WH Smith I visited tended to stock it alongside the younger readers comics such as The Beano and nursery titles. (In my local branch it was often tucked behind Doctor Who Adventures so no one could even see it!) In such circumstances it just wasn't being noticed by the intended older audience as it would if it was displayed in its correct place with SFX, Doctor Who Magazine, and the Titan and Panini US reprint comics. 

Bizarre as it seems, I can only guess that Smiths staff made this decision based on the comic's size, as exactly the same thing occurred to Titan's Arrow and Superman comics in that format several years ago. Quite staggering really, considering publishers pay the shops a hefty fee for display space.

Next month, Tales From the TARDIS No.4 picks up the adventures of the 10th, 11th, and 12th Doctors. TftT is has a smaller US-style format so it's always displayed in the correct place. 
Next Month's TALES FROM THE TARDIS.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Advert for ACTION No.1 (1976)

I've blogged about IPC's late lamented Action comic here before (see this link for example) but what I didn't have until recently was the house ad for the first issue. Here it is, as it appeared in some of IPC's other weeklies, as one of those four-page pull outs that always whetted the appetite. This particular one appeared in Whizzer and Chips dated 7th February 1976. 




...and the cover of Action No.1...


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Commando Nos.4891 to 4894 out this week


Direct from Commando HQ, here's the news on the issues of Commando that arrive in the shops this Thursday...
Commando Issues 4891-4894 – On Sale 25 February 2016

Commando No 4891 – Cossack Vengeance
Once more the Convict Commandos’ latest mission had placed them in grave danger.
   The Germans, in league with a Russian traitor and a horde of fearsome, renegade Cossack warriors, had concocted an assassination plot that would turn the tide of the war.
   Now all Jelly Jakes and the rest of the Commando team had to do was foil the enemy plan…but that was easier said than done.
Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet


Commando No 4892 – Break Through!
Time and after time, one British company outsmarted the Germans in Crete. If the Nazis planned a sneak-raid and began it five miles away, the British knew at once — and were ready for them. If a Stuka dive-bombing attack was decided on, they got into hiding an hour before it began. They knew exactly when to counter-attack too.
   How was it done? If anyone had told the Germans, they just wouldn’t have believed it. The secret lay in a strange invisible link between Private Bill Roberts and his twin brother, Jack…

Introduction
This entertaining, borderline incredulous, yarn from 1966 definitely pushes the boundaries of what we and our readers might think as believable. Nonetheless, at its heart is a clever idea about the mysterious link between two soldier brothers and their determination to succeed on the dangerous mission assigned to them. This is an offbeat Commando, for sure, but I think it’s a good read.
   And the front cover…a homage to Sir Michael Caine? His breakout roles in classic films such as “Zulu” and “The Ipcress File” were certainly very popular back then, right in the midst of the Swinging Sixties.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Break Through!, originally Commando No 196 (January 1966), re-issued as No 835 (May 1974).
Story: Skentleberry
Art: Buylla
Cover: Lopez Espi


Commando No 4893 – Do Your Duty
By October 1945 World War II was over but some British forces were redeployed to the island of Java to support Allied troops in a battle with Nationalist guerrillas. The beleaguered men had expected to have been back home by now and some refused to fight. RAF mechanic Danny Cullen was stuck in the middle — he wanted to do his duty but was continually intimidated by those who had downed tools.
   Meanwhile, as skirmishes with the guerrillas continued, Flight Lieutenant James Haldane made sure that he carried some grenades in his Auster spotter aircraft. You never knew when you might need them…
Story: Steve Taylor
Art: Vila/Muller
Cover: Ian Kennedy


Commando No 4894 – Red Alert
Facing the brunt of the massive German invasion of Russia in June 1941 were the lowly Red Army conscripts. Poorly fed, trained and equipped, they were still expected to repel Hitler’s previously undefeated armies…and could expect the harshest of punishments if they failed.
   So, join two of these hard-pressed heroes in their trench and see for yourself what it was like…

Introduction
I hope that, like me, you’re interested in revisiting the early work of one of our current artists. This Eastern Front tale (with a neat, end of the Cold War framing sequence) is drawn by Carlos Pino — whose most recent brand new book was “Polish Pride” (No 4889), published just a fortnight ago in the middle of February.
   Carlos’ signature dynamic style is very clear to see here and it is apparent that he is still doing fantastic work to this day. We are delighted, and grateful, that this exceptional illustrator is still happy to draw for us more than a quarter of a century after his 1989 Commando debut.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Red Alert, originally Commando No 2482 (June 1991)
Story: Ian Clark
Art: Carlos Pino
Cover: Phil Gascoine
Preview: http://www.commandocomics.com/latest-issues/25th-february-2016-collection?issue=4894 

Art for a good cause

Fellow Beano artist and good pal Laura Howell has a selection of her Drawlloween cartoons up on eBay this week. All have low starting prices and 90% of the sales will go towards the Marie Curie Cancer Care fund, so bid away! Here are the links:









Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hammer horror returns to comics

Later this year, London-based Titan Comics will be launching a line of all-new horror comics based on the Hammer movie characters. There's sure to be more information in the months to come but for now hop over to The Hollywood Reporter website for the details so far...
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/titan-comics-partners-hammer-films-867566

Go Psycho!

If you're at the London Super Comic Con today seek out David Leach who will be selling copies of his latest publication, Psycho Gran VS. The full colour print comic features great new artwork by David Leach pitching ex-Oink! star Psycho Gran against some well known faces in an orgy of comic violence. There's also a 10 page gallery of artwork by guest artists including Mike Perkins, Davy Francis, Rian Hughes and myself. 

You may find David at the Aces Weekly table, where you can also subscribe to the award-winning Aces Weekly of course! 

Here's the page I did for it. I haven't received the printed comic yet so I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's contributions.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Supermovies!

For those of us who grew up in the 1960s discovering the Marvel superheroes in Fantastic, Terrific, and the other 'Power Comics', who could have imagined that one day the characters would appear in live action Hollywood blockbusters that would become some of the most popular films in history? Now here we are in 2016 with numerous superhero movies and more on the way! Look out for the next issue of the UK's top film magazine, Empire, on sale 25th February, for an exclusive Captain America vs Iron Man cover (inspired by Steve McNiven's cover for Civil War No.7) and content related to the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie!
http://www.empireonline.com/movies/captain-america-civil-war/civil-war-captain-america-iron-man-empire-cover/
FANTASTIC No.33 (1967). Cover by Jack Kirby.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Tony Luke 1966 - 2016

I'm saddened to hear of the passing of artist and animator Tony Luke who lost his long battle against cancer this week. I first met Tony in the late 1980s at the UKCAC conventions back then. I hadn't seen him for many years but we'd corresponded in recent times on social media and e-mails. A decent and creative human being, gone far too soon. 

Throughout his long fight against cancer, Tony remained optimistic and in good cheer, continuing to create his artwork and planning for the future. He had beaten the disease for a few years and many of us thought he'd be around for a good while yet. Sadly, his illness accelerated recently and it was not to be, but his courage is an inspiration to us all. 

See Tony's art on his Deviant Arts page:
http://tonyluke.deviantart.com/

John Freeman has written a tribute:
http://downthetubes.net/?p=29342

And Steve Holland has written an obituary:
http://bearalley.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/tony-luke-1966-2016.html

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Marvel Deja Vu

Even though the fortnightly partwork Marvel Graphic Novel Collection is still running, Hachette have just relaunched it again this week from issue 1. The first edition is in WH Smith and other shops now priced £1.99. It looks as though these reprints will follow the exact same order and content as the original run.

I understand it's quite common practice with partworks to relaunch before the original series concludes, as usually the issues have gone to subscription-only many months before any relaunch. However in this case, the books were still regularly on sale in some shops due to their popularity. 

So, this week you can either choose between volume 109 (The Inhumans) at £9.99 or restart from volume 1 (Spider-Man) at the starter price of £1.99. The old series may be winding down but according to the recent Previews catalogues a few more are still scheduled for the next few months. (I just hope this doesn't cause confusion with wholesalers and newsagents reserving the wrong books for long-standing orders!)

For more info and subscription details, go here:
http://www.graphicnovelcollection.com/

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PENNY DREADFUL coming to comics

Cover by Guillem March.
Titan Comics continue to expand their line of new comics this May with the first issue of Penny Dreadful, based on the supernatural TV show. The comic will be written by the writers of the TV series with issue 1 by Krysty Wilson-Cairns and drawn by Louie De Martinis. Comic Book Rescources has a gallery of the various alternate covers to the first issue which you can see here:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/titan-comics-reveals-penny-dreadful-covers-from-templesmith-march-more

Penny Dreadful No.1 arrives in comic shops on May 4th. 

Facebook reinstate VIZ page

Tuesday 16th February 2016 will go down in history as The Day Facebook Blocked the Viz Comic Facebook Page For a Bit, and everyone will remember where they were on The Day Facebook Blocked the Viz Comic Facebook Page For a Bit. They were online, Tweeting and Facebooking about it. "Facebook blocked the Viz Comic Facebook page for a bit" they said, or words to that effect. At least the ones who weren't posting about fluffy kittens or Kayne West anyway. 

Yes, after several hours that seemed like a lifetime for fans of Viz Comic, Facebook reinstated the Viz Facebook page later the same day. Facebook apologised to Viz, saying it was a "mistake". Hooray for Facebook! Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a genuine mistake and not the sort of mistake used as an excuse by a teenager filmed by security cameras shoving a DVD up his jumper or a flasher caught in the headlamps of a police car. 

A victory for common sense and rude cartoons. You can visit the Viz Comic Facebook page at this link. Unless it's been removed again:
https://www.facebook.com/VizComic

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Facebook suspends official Viz Comic page (Updated)


UPDATE 17:19. Facebook have now reinstated the page.
https://www.facebook.com/VizComic

Original story: 
Facebook, the multi-million dollar social network site that happily allows everything from photos of fluffy kittens and snapshots of people's dinners to pouting pubescent selfies, images of roadkill, far right groups such as Britain First and the English Defence League, and worse, have today suspended the official page of Viz Comic

Viz, the most successful and longest-running adult comic in the UK, posted the news on their Twitter page this morning. (See screen grab above.) It included the statement from Facebook that the Viz Page did not follow the "Facebook Terms and Community Standards". While the statement said Viz could appeal, it also warned that if the appeal was denied they'd be permanently banned.

Presumably Facebook must have received complaints about the page for them to take such censorious action. But what sort of ninny would complain about a comic when there are so many horrors happening in the world to rail against? (Yeah, sadly people like that do exist, I know.)

Until Facebook comes to its senses you can still follow Viz on Twitter (https://twitter.com/vizcomic) and their official website: 
http://viz.co.uk/

Support Viz by buying the latest issue, available from the top shelves of shops now.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ken Reid's TRIPTOE TRIERS (1974)

Here we are, finally on the last of Ken Reid's humour strips he did for Scorcher comic. Triptoe Triers started in Scorcher and Score dated 24th August 1974... and finished in the issue dated 5th October. Yes, just seven short weeks! The final one appeared in the last issue of Scorcher before it merged into Tiger

Interestingly Triptoe Triers was a reader participation strip, encouraging kids to send in ideas in the hope of winning a fiver. (Similar to Ken's Dare-A-Day Davy for Pow! in that respect.) This suggests to me that the strip was intended to have a longer run as they were still asking for suggestions the week before the final issue. Perhaps the Scorcher editor's hope was that it would move over to the merged Tiger and Scorcher but sadly that didn't happen. The reason can't be lack of popularity, as it wasn't around long enough to gauge proper feedback. (With an eight week lead-in time being the norm, the last issue of Scorcher would have been put together before the one with the Triptoe Triers hit the newsagents.) Perhaps the editor of Tiger just didn't 'get' Ken's humour? Who knows? 

Anyway, for whatever reasons, Triptoe Triers only lasted for seven weeks, and here they are in order of publication...






 ...and that was it for Ken Reid working on IPC's adventure comics, after being in almost every issue of Scorcher throughout its almost-five year run. Fortunately he was already on Buster at this stage, thanks to it absorbing Jet, and was producing work for the humour group on Whoopee! and would soon be creating material for Shiver and Shake.  


Here's a cross-reference of all the other series that Ken Reid did for Scorcher. Have fun!


SUB (1970:

FOOTBALL FORUM (1970/71):

MANAGER MATT (1971):

HUGH FOWLER (1971/72):

THE SOCCERNAUTS (1972):

HARRY HAMMERTOE THE SOCCER SPOOK (1972/73):

JIMMY JINX (1973/74):


Ken Reid's JIMMY JINKS (1973/74)

Continuing Blimey's look back at Ken Reid's strips for Scorcher and Score weekly and we come to Jimmy Jinks which ran in the comic from 25th August 1973 to 17th August 1974. Scorcher often introduced new strips at the start of a new football season and this was Ken's for the 73/74 season.

Ken's previous strip, The Soccer Spook, never always lived up to his usual standard, perhaps because it wasn't a 100% Ken Reid creation. However, Jimmy Jinks seemed to see Ken back on form with a manic little character causing chaos. A few episodes were ghosted by another hand (possibly Barrie Appleby) but the majority were by Reid. Here's a selection of some of the best...




The final episode unfortunately saw Jimmy 'blacking up' (with boot polish!). A shocking scene by modern standards but this was 1974, a time when comedians on TV told racist jokes with regularity and The Black and White Minstrel Show was still a hugely popular series. This strip has to be seen in that context, uncomfortable though it is today. 



Here's a cross-reference of all the series that Ken Reid did for Scorcher. Have fun!

SUB (1970:

FOOTBALL FORUM (1970/71):

MANAGER MATT (1971):

HUGH FOWLER (1971/72):

THE SOCCERNAUTS (1972):

HARRY HAMMERTOE THE SOCCER SPOOK (1972/73):

JIMMY JINX (1973/74):

TRIPTOE TRIERS (1974):

  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

U.S. Spotlight: HORROR BY HECK


I've always liked the work of Don Heck and thought the dismissal of his style by some people overlooked the talents he had. After all, this was a guy who was one of the main artists at the dawn of The Marvel Age of Comics in the 1960's. He was the co-creator of Iron Man and had a memorable stint on The Avengers amongst other comics. Before that he illustrated many short stories for non-superhero genres. Now Craig Yoe and his Yoe Books team have compiled a hardback selection of Don Heck's great 1950s horror comics stories in the latest volume of The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics
Horror By Heck is a faithful reproduction of those forgotten strips and proves what a great artist Don Heck was. The choice of cover image was obvious, - it had to be the notorious bullet wound cover from Horrific No.3 (Jan 1953) but Yoe Books take it a stage further and it's an actual die cut hole in the cover! Ban this filth! No, sorry, BUY this filth!

Hardback, 160 pages. $24.99
ISBN: 978-1-63140-463-4

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