Monday, August 29, 2016

Roy Wilson: Original artwork

A few months ago I bought a few pieces of Roy Wilson artwork so I thought I'd show them here. In case you didn't know, Roy Wilson (1900 to 1965) was the most influential artist working in British humour comics from the 1930s to the early 1950s. His lively, fluid, friendly style became the house style for The Amalgamated Press, with many artists being told to emulate him. (And many did a fantastic job of it too!) Even years later, his style influenced that of Robert Nixon, and myself to a lesser extent. 

In those days of British comics, when narrative text was glued under each panel, pages were drawn in separate tiers. Sometimes each panel was supplied to the editor as individual pictures. (This is why veteran artists would refer to "a set of drawings" when talking about a comics page.) The remarkable thing about Roy Wilson is that he was such a perfectionist that he'd often discard drawings part way through, and it's those which have ended up on eBay. 

The three panel tier below is a section of Happy Andy and his Pets from Tip-Top comic in the 1940s. It's interesting to see Wilson's drawing technique had him ink certain parts first, rather than panel by panel. For some reason he must have been dissatisfied with panels two and three, even though I'm sure they look perfect to our eyes. (To give you an idea of the size these old strips were drawn, the width of the artwork of this row is 18 and a half inches, not including margins.) Click on the images to see them larger.
Here's the panels in larger detail. Like most artists of the time, Wilson did his own lettering. (Lettering directly onto the art is something I've always preferred, and enables the artist to have control of the panel composition instead of leaving dead areas only to find the balloons stuck elsewhere.)


These next two panels are from Marmaduke and His Ma from The Funny Wonder in the 1940s. This has the word "Urgent!" written on the reverse, and the editor's note for resizing the panel for publication so I'm guessing this was used and not rejected. Perhaps the "Urgent" note suggests it was to replace two other panels, and the editor had requested the redraw?


These final panels are from the strip The Adventures of Reg Varney as a Boy that began in TV Fun in 1955. Again, the first version looks perfect, but by the second version we can see several subtle improvements that add more personality to the characters. For whatever reason, Wilson must have also been unhappy with the second one too as it's also unfinished. (If anyone has the published version I'd like to see a scan to see what the final redraw was like.)

This last unfinished panel is also from the Reg Varney strip, although possibly a different week. Again, beautiful artwork, but Wilson must have felt he could improve on it. 
Remarkably, despite the importance of Roy Wilson's work, and the beauty of these unfinished pieces, the prices were very reasonable, at around £20 each! Sadly as the years have passed, artists such as these become forgotten or ignored by newer collectors. This blog won't be here forever, but while it is, I hope it helps keep the work of these greats alive for modern readers to discover. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Great News, Chums! Rebellion buy Egmont's archive

Classic comics of the 1970s.
Breaking news: Rebellion, the publishers of 2000AD, have acquired the rights to the archive of Egmont comics. That includes comics that were previously published by IPC from 1970 onwards such as Cor!!, Battle Picture Weekly, Action, Whizzer and Chips, Jet, Shiver and Shake, Monster FunWhoopee!, Tammy, Misty, SpeedThunder, Krazy, Scorcher, Score 'n' Roar, Roy of the Rovers and more. 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-37177877

Although it's too early to say what Rebellion's plans are I'm speculating that we'll be seeing book collections of classic strips, not the actual return of weekly comics to newsstands. After all, they already have a collection of Misty strips coming out next month, so I'm guessing we'll see more product like that, which will be excellent. 
Cover art by John Richardson.

This is promising news as Egmont had done very little with their back catalogue and it was mostly languishing in limbo. Of course, the icing on the cake would be if Rebellion could also gain the rights to the comics published prior to 1970, which are now owned by Time Inc (who also seem to be doing nothing with them).

Amongst the strips I'd like to see collected are Adam Eterno and Black Max from Thunder, and a compilation of Ken Reid's Creepy Creations and World Wide Weirdies illustrations would be perfect. Let's see the return of The One-Eyed Wonk of Wigan! 

No doubt more news on this exciting topic will be revealed soon! 
Art by Ken Reid.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

ICE 2016 reveals its schedule of events

Here's the full line up of events for ICE 2016, the International Comic Expo that takes place in Birmingham on Saturday 10th September. A great convention all about comics! It's the place to be for all comics fans! See you there!


And here it is the amazing ICE 2016 full events Saturday Schedule 2016. These events are FREE to all ticket holders...

ICE 2016  ROOM  1– Hosted by GEEK SYNDICATE 

11.15 - To Hell and Back – Join Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo and BPRD artist Lawrence Campbell as they talk about their experiences working within the famous Mignolaverse at Dark Horse Comics. 

12.30 – Making Waves – Writers Joe Pruett & Marguerite Bennett tell us all about their latest projects from the new publisher shaking the American comics industry to its foundations… Aftershock Comics.

13.30 - I hope you drew enough for everyone  - A panel discussing the importance of  all ages comics and how they are an essential part of the medium, bringing in fresh readers and making comics accessible with The Beano’s Lew Stringer, Heart of Time Creator Sarah Millman, 2000AD’s Alec Worley and Doctor Who artist and writer team Rachael Stott and Robbie Morrison.

14.30 – Your hosts tale a well earned 1 hour lunch break, so please welcome Humanoids’ Tim Pilcher as he takes over with...

The European Invasion – We used to talk about the British Invasion of the USA market in the 80s and 90s but there are also a huge number of Mainland European artists now invading the pages of Marvel and DC comics. We talk to some of those invaders including guests Juan Albarran, Maria Laura Sanapo and Marco Santucci about the work they are doing for American publishers.

15.30 – The boys return with...

A Different Breed of Comic – Join Sean Phillips (Criminal,Sleeper,Fatale) Andy Diggle (Losers,Thief of Thieves) Corey Brotherson (Magic of Myths, Clockwork Watch), Jessica Martin (Elsie Harris Picture Palace, IT Girl) and Sonia Leong (Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet,Manga Life ) as they open your doors of perception to talk about different types of comics other than straight capes and tights our panellists will attempt to discuss  the infinite genres that the medium has to offer. 
Autobiographies, horror, adventure, comedy, scifi, crime, romance… the sky is just the beginning!

16.30 - Geek Syndicate Live – AN EXCLUSIVE LIVE PODCAST FROM THE EXPO FEATURING:

    The GS boys have a chat with the all star comics team Jordie Bellaire and Declan Shalvey. Find out about their work on the new Batman Series as well as a host of other projects this dynamic duo are working on.

     Plus the final event of the day…  Charlie Adlard, Rachel Scott & Staz Johnson in the Great British sketch off!  On your marks, get set...SKETCH!

ICE 2016 – Room 2  Special Events

11.00 – Goldtiger: The Truth Behind The Legend –
Join renowned creators, comics historians, and erotic dancers Jimmy Broxton and Guy Adams as they present a fully illustrated seminar on their unearthing of Goldtiger, the sixties newspaper strip posterity forgot. Why was this seminal strip neglected for so many decades? What caused the Baskerville Newspaper group to pull the plug on such a prestigious project? Why was Malta the only country that embraced the strip? Did artist, Antonio Barreti actually kill his long-suffering scriptwriter Louis Schaeffer? How many pictures of naked ladies does Jimmy Broxton hold on his hard drive? Is there a limit to the number of cats Guy Adams can own? Is any of this remotely true? Do you care?
The discussion, and accompanying visual presentation will contain new art, new information and mature themes (most probably discussed in a vaguely immature way).

12.00 – The Big Reveal – 

Join Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back Producer Gary Kurtz along with Richard Bazley (Iron Giant, Harry Potter), Paul Goodenough (How to Train Your Dragon) and comic creators Ben Oliver and Simon Furman as they reveal their new Comic and TV series The Chimeran in full, for the very first time, exclusively at ICE 2016!

Need we say more?

Followed by a short signing with the creators in the CBCS signing area.

13.00 – Offical European Book Launch: “Also Known As” –
Based on an original idea by Andrew Nicholaou, “Also Known As” is a science-fiction twist on a supernatural mainstay, a film and trans-media franchise currently in development by UK-based film producers BoxFly Pictures. 

In addition to this BoxFly produced a 110 page graphic novel, adapted by the film’s screenwriter Tony Lee with art by Christopher Jones, colours by Charlie Kirchoff and letters by Aditya Bidikar.
Join New York Times No. 1 best selling author Tony Lee and Boxfly’s Haydn Pryce-Jenkins as they officially launch the new Graphic Novel ahead of it release at ICE 2016!

13.45 – Official Project Launch: “To The Death” – 

Legendary MARVEL UK creative powerhouse team Simon Furman (Transformers) and Geoff Senior (Dragon’s Claws) officially launch their brand new project, “To the Death,” which is a stunning online comic sci fi action adventure. Find out all about the new project and take part in a Q&A with the creative team at this exclusive ICE 2016 event.

14.30 – The Men Who Fell To Earth –
Peter Hogan and Steve Park House interview with Dark Horse’s Philip Simon

Since debuting in the rebooted Dark Horse Presents anthology in September 2011, Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s Resident Alien series has spawned four miniseries runs and three collected editions—with more to come! 
With Resident Alien: The Man With No Name #1 being released on September 14, join writer Peter Hogan and legendary artist Steve Parkhouse with Dark Horse series editor Philip R. Simon on the eve of a new series launch for a conversation about Peter and Steve’s work with Dark Horse Comics!

15.15 – Peter Milligan Interview with Joel Meadows – The man behind Tripwire talks to acclaimed writer Peter Milligan, famous for his work on X-Force, Hellblazer, and a host of other Marvel and Vertigo books, about his most recent projects and what he has out this coming year.

16.00 – The CBCS Charity Auction – Hosted by the one and only Peter Doherty (2000ad)

The event fans and collectors have been waiting for all day! 

Artists and writers from all over the world have kindly and generously been donating original artwork, sketches, signed books and other unique goodies for the past few months and we have steadily built up a veritable treasure trove of items. 

All going under the hammer to raise money for our chosen charity Beanstalk, who help children with their literacy and reading in schools, a cause very close to our hearts her at ICE.
Come along and walk away with an original sketch cover form Jock or an original piece of art from Staz Johnson.
Or if signed books are more your thing, how about a signed SDCC Ltd Edition Walking Dead Hardback Compendium Edition from artist Charlie Adlard?

There are literally dozens of unique and rare items up for sale for this good cause.

Book your tickets now at: http://www.thecomicsshow.co.uk/

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New comic coming soon!

A small section of the cover.

I completed the work on my new self-published comic today and sent the pages to the printer a short time ago via the wonder of cyberspace. It's a 32 page one-off comic that collects some of my earliest published work. Hopefully it'll be printed in a couple of weeks in time to launch at ICE, the International Comic Expo in Birmingham. 

More news about it soon! 

Commando No.4943 to 4946 out this week

There's another four issues of Commando out this week. The info is below. Generally, these regular news posts about Commando receive less comments on my blog than other subjects/comics. So if you're a reader of the comic, or have an opinion about them, please post a comment below.


Commando issues 4943-49446 – On Sale 25 August 2016

Commando No 4943 – Ice-Cold Combat
 When their Handley Page Hampden bomber was shot down, Pilot Officer Drew Grange and Sergeant Adam Weir were stranded on the icy border between Norway and Russia.
   Helped by a couple of civilian hunters, the R.A.F. men were soon embroiled in a fight for survival. Finding an unarmed, abandoned Tiger Moth skiplane, they took to the skies above the remote, frozen frontier in a desperate attempt to get warn their allies of an imminent Nazi threat.

Story: George Low
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet


Commando No 4944 – Ghost Squadron
 Flak, machine-guns, searchlights, enemy fighters — these the Nazi pilots knew and could handle. These things were dangerous, all right — but they didn’t turn a man’s blood to ice water in his veins, they didn’t paralyse his hands on the controls in utter, freezing terror…
   But the new weapon used by the R.A.F. night-fighters — The “Ghost Squadron” — put the fear of death into every Nazi pilot unlucky enough to come within its range.

Introduction
 In this book there are several worthy ingredients which make for a satisfying Commando yarn: We have a glory-hunting pilot — Flight Lieutenant Buck Lee, determined to notch up as many kills as possible in his Mosquito bomber; the story title hints at supernatural activity; and we soon discover that some kind of shadowy, top secret, experimental weapon is also involved.
   This is a great adventure, with Boutland’s script brought vividly to life by Quesada’s art and Buccheri’s eerie cover.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Ghost Squadron, originally Commando No 247 (February 1967), re-issued as No 895 (December 1974)

Story: Boutland
Art: Quesada
Cover: Buccheri


Commando No 4945 – Undefeated
 Troubled by a past encounter early in his career, Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Alec Weston soon became a respected, if intense, skipper. He was determined that his submarine, H.M.S. Undefeated, would live up to her name — therefore he pushed his crew and the vessel hard.
   When ferrying a Special Boat Section assault team on a secret mission in the Mediterranean, Alec was faced with a tough decision that affected the lives of that Special Forces unit. Such was the burden of command…

Story: Steve Taylor
Art: Olivera/Rodriguez
Cover: Janek Matysiak



Commando No 4946 – Coward in Khaki
 Men’s characters don’t often change. If a man’s a crook in civilian life, he’ll probably be a crook in the army. That’s how it was with Vic Wardley.
   Everyone knew him to be a crook — and a coward as well. So why would an Intelligence Corps major single him out for a vital job in contact with the enemy?

Introduction
 Very generally speaking, Commando usually deals in “heroes” and “villains”, with the battle lines clearly drawn. However, I’d venture that “Coward In Kahaki” is an intriguing glimpse into what it might have been like if Commando had veered towards the anti-heroes prevalent in rival war comics like Battle and Action in their mid-1970s prime.
  The story title is unscrupulous in its assessment of the eponymous character, Private Vic Wardley — we’re left in no doubt that he is an unsavoury type, to say the least — but perhaps he might change his ways by the time we reach the last page…?
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Coward In Khaki, originally Commando No 1125 (May 1977), re-issued as No 2451 (March 1991)

Story: Mike Knowles
Art: Mones
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Monday, August 22, 2016

The British Invasion is coming!


A new book on comics has just been announced from Sequart. Here's the PR...


Sequart’s Book on the BRITISH INVASION’s Big Three is Now Available

Sequart Organization is proud to announce the publication of The British Invasion: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and the Invention of the Modern Comic Book Writer, by Greg Carpenter.

Moore. Gaiman. Morrison.

They came from Northampton, West Sussex, and Glasgow, and even though they spoke with different dialects, they gave American comics a new voice – one loud and clear enough to speak to the Postmodern world. Like a triple-helix strand of some advanced form of DNA, their careers have remained irrevocably intertwined. They go together, like Diz, Bird, and Monk… or like Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg… or like the Beatles, the Stones, and the Who.

Taken individually, their professional histories provide an incomplete picture of comics’ British Invasion, but together they redefined the concept of what it means to be a comic book writer. Collectively, their story is arguably the most important one of the modern comics era.

The British Invasion: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and the Invention of the Modern Comic Book Writer runs 492 pages, making it the longest book Sequart has published. It features an interview with the legendary Karen Berger (who spearheaded the British Invasion at DC Comics), and it sports a fun “Meet the Beatles!”-esque cover by Kevin Colden.

The British Invasion is available in print and on Kindle. (Just a reminder: you don’t need a Kindle device to read Kindle-formatted books; you can download a free Kindle reader for most computers, phones, and tablets.) Find out more on the book’s official page.

About the publisher: Sequart Organization is devoted to the study of popular culture and the promotion of comic books as a legitimate art form. Sequart has released twenty-five books, seven documentaries, and thousands of online articles. Its documentaries include Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously, and its books include Our Sentence is Up: Seeing Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles.

Retailers: If you wish to order copies, please send pricing inquiries to sequart[at]gmail[dot]com.

DWM 503 cover revealed

Panini UK have just released a preview of the cover to Doctor Who Magazine No.503, which will be in the shops this Thursday (26th August). Packed with interviews and features, the 84 page issue also features part three of The Pestilent Heart, a 12th Doctor comic strip by Mark Wright, Mike Collins, and David Roach. Plus there's another Daft Dimension strip by me, this time starring Daft Daleks!

Doctor Who Magazine No.503, on sale from 26th August.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

ICE 2016 is on its way!

Here's the final poster for ICE 2016, the International Comic Expo. It'll be displayed in local comic shops in Birmingham, the city where the event takes place. 

The venue is right in the city centre, no more than five minutes walk from New Street Central Station. And there's a fantastic guest list, plus me! 

Best of all, ICE is a convention that's all about comics! See you there!

https://internationlcomicexpo.wordpress.com/

Roy Story

Cover by Mike White.
There's a new book coming out on October 3rd that details the history of the Roy of the Rovers strip. Real Roy of the Rovers Stuff is written by ex-Fleetway editor Barrie Tomlinson and gives the behind-the-scenes story of the famous character. 

It promises to reveal how Roy went from "comic book hero to national institution". I would hope that it'll also include lots of info about the many uncredited artists who drew the strip over the years.

You can pre-order the book now from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Real-Roy-Rovers-Stuff-Story/dp/178531212X

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another great BEANO package this week

Cover by Nigel Parkinson.

Unlike most other UK kids' comics, The Beano rarely comes bagged with gifts, but when it does it delivers on the quality. This week's edition includes a 24 page Beano Colouring Book featuring 23 of Nigel Parkinson's covers in black and white, plus a set of exclusive coloured pencils, each featuring a Beano character design. 

There's also a Danger Mouse Activity Minimag, featuring new strips and puzzles. Admittedly this serves a purpose to promote the new comic but it's a nice collectable item in its own right. 

Oh, and there's a little set of Lego Star Wars stickers too.

As for The Beano itself, it's another jam-packed issue (doesn't actually include jam) with all the favourites. The comic is really at a high again these days. Here's a few preview snaps...
Art by Barrie Appleby.

Art by Nigel Parkinson.

Art by Wayne Thompson.

Art by Lew Stringer. (Hey, that's me!)

The Beano No.3848, out now, £3.50.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Comic Oddities: SIGNAL (1963)

It's always good to discover comics you've never heard of before and the case in point is this one I bought on eBay last week. Signal was an 8 page comic, printed Photogravure like Eagle and TV21 (but smaller) and used to promote Signal toothpaste. I've no idea how many issues were produced but this is No.4.
There's no price on the cover, or date, so I'm presuming it was given free to children at their local dentist. It was published by Newman Neame Ltd in association with Foote, Cone and Belding Ltd of London. The design reminds me of Odhams' comics of the same period so I'm wondering if it was packaged by them for the publishers. The content has a mixture of strips and features, and the quality was high. Here's a few examples. 

The strip on the front and back covers, Plotters on the Moor, is a traditional yarn of kids foiling a "foreign gang" who presumably plan to sabotage a research station. There are no creator credits, but the artwork looks like one of the Dan Dare studio artists. Perhaps Eric Eden or Don Harley?
Inside, Castle Glorious and The White Knight is also uncredited (as are all the strips in the comic). The style looks familiar. Perhaps Pat Williams or John Canning?
Gordon Glue shows us how to make "The Signal Calendar". Seems a lot of effort. 
The centrespread is very Eagle-like, with a humour strip Little Ruth by the unmistakable John Ryan (creator of Captain Pugwash), a feature on Telstar, and a mini educational strip. 
As comics were so popular with children in the 1960s it made sense for companies to use them for promotional items such as this. Gibbs, the manufacturers of Signal toothpaste, also had another comic, Arrow, which I covered in a previous blog post here:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/comic-oddities-arrow.html

Saturday, August 13, 2016

This week in 1916: SPARKS No.126

Here's a comic that the kids of 1916 were reading, exactly 100 years ago this week. Sparks was published by James Henderson and Sons Ltd. and ran from 1914 to 1917. Like most comics of the time, it consisted of 8 tabloid pages, although by the time this issue appeared the format had become shorter, almost square in shape.  

The cover strip, clearly inspired by Chips' Weary Willie and Tired Tim, was The Funny Adventures of Lemon and Dash. Like Willie and Tim, they were two wandering tramps getting into amusing situations every issue. The artwork was by Louis Briault (1885 to 1944), who also drew for comics such as The Funny Wonder, Comic Cuts, and Comic Life.

Like most comics of the day, Sparks carried a 50/50 split of prose stories and comic strips. The centre pages featured numerous short strips and gag cartoons crammed across the spread. Here are just some of them. as always, click on the pages to enlarge them.



One of the text stories, The Arch Rogue, featured Superman's catchphrase over 20 years before the Man of Steel even appeared. Up, up, and away!

On the back page, another mixture of strips and cartoons. Daniel Dauber was drawn by Walter Booth, who had a long career in comics throughout the first half of the 20th Century. I'm afraid I don't know the identities of the other artists, who are sadly all anonymous.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Brexit begins to bite British comics

When Panini's relaunch of their Marvel Collectors' Editions was advertised last month the previewed covers carried the usual £3.50 price. However, now that the comics are published they unfortunately feature a price rise to £3.99.

"We must apologise for the price increase", says editor Brady Webb in his intro to The Astonishing Spider-Man Vol.6 No.1. "Due to Brexit and the tumbling value of the pound, our printing costs have risen dramatically and forced us to raise the price".

Despite the sudden and unavoidable price rise, the comics are still excellent value for money. Each issue of the Collectors' Editions reprints three (sometimes four) issues of Marvel's American comics, which would cost around £10 or more if bought separately. With the Panini titles restarting with new first issues (reprinting Marvel comics from only a year or so ago), this is an ideal time for new or lapsed readers to jump on board. You'll find the Marvel Collectors' Editions in WH Smith and selected newsagents (and comic shops) alongside 2000AD, SFX, Doctor Who Magazine etc. 

You can also subscribe and save yourself a considerable sum. Details here:
http://www.paninicomics.co.uk/web/guest/subs


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The JOKER - Summer issue, 1934

Back before Summer Specials became a thing, weekly comics would label one issue of their regular run as a summer edition. This very week in 1934, this "Jolly Summer Holiday Number" of The Joker was in the shops. Let's take a breezy coastline stroll through some of its contents...

The cover strip was the popular Alfie the Air Tramp, drawn by John Jukes, ending with a slap-up feed. 

This issue was its regular weekly size (regular then being 8 pages, tabloid size, printed on green paper) and despite being a "Summer Holiday Number" not all the strips had a holiday theme. Here's Monty the Mountie, drawm by Harry Banger, who, years later, illustrated many strips (and quite a few covers) for the independent publisher Swan. 

Midge and Moocher has a beach setting for its slapstick hi-jinks. Art by Arthur Martin.

Perky the Park Keeper uses the standard theme of the hero accidentally thwarting a wrong 'un. In this case, someone stealing flowers! Art by John Turner.

Phil Pott, The Saucy Sea Cook has some nice art by Harry Banger. A pity it's marred by the racial slurs and stereotyping that was around at the time. Sadly, this kind of thing was prevalent everywhere back then in books and periodicals. 

The Joker ran from 1927 to 1940 (when presumably wartime paper restrictions had an impact), merging into Illustrated Chips.

Incoming COMMANDO comics this week...

Another four issues of Britain's longest-running adventure comic Commando hit the stands this week. Here's the info just in, direct from D.C. Thomson...


Commando Issues 4939-4942 - On Sale 11 August 2016

Commando No 4939 – Retreat-Or Die!
 Staff Sergeant Sid Charlton was a born soldier, tough and resolute. Caught up in the Allied retreat from Norway in 1940, he and his men were determined to live to fight the Germans another day — but they were cut off from the most direct route to the coast.
   Led by an intelligent but inexperienced young officer, Lieutenant John Barclay, they had to take a dangerous detour through hostile territory. Commandeering a stolen enemy truck, the retreat was on…

Story: George Low
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: Janek Matysiak


Commando No 4940 – Flying Flea
 When war came to the island of Silau, south east of New Guinea, the pilots of a Royal Australian Air Force squadron laughed at two freakish-looking planes already operating there.
   “Pop” Onslow and his son, Willie, ran an air-freight business which used an ancient Vickers Virginia bomber and an odd little crate called a “Flying Flea” — the Aussies reckoned it looked like a motor bike with wings.
   When Willie took the Flea into the air and ran rings around the latest Tomahawk fighter the RAAF men considered letting the plucky civilians join the war effort.

Introduction
 The little machine at the heart of the late Ken Barr’s wonderful cover is, of course, a real aircraft and not some kind of artistic license on our behalf. Created by Frenchman Henri Mignet, his HM14 was known colloquially as the ‘Flying Flea’ because of the translation of its nickname, ‘Pou du Ciel’ — literally ‘Louse of the Sky’.
   I think it’s fantastic when Commando features these real life curios and it is even better when they practically become characters in their own right — and that’s certainly the case here.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Flying Flea, originally Commando No 235, (November 1966), re-issued as No 911 (February 1975)

Story: Mcowan
Art: Cicuendez
Cover: Ken Barr



Commando No 4941 – Ram Raiders
 It was a daring tactic known as the “Taran” — using an aircraft as an aerial battering ram. Major Ilya Bezkhov of the Russian Air Force had used it on several occasions and lived to tell the tale.
   When the Royal Air Force took on a mission to deliver four Tomahawk fighter-bombers to the Russians, Squadron Leader Peter Deacon clashed with Bezkhov, whom he viewed as unhinged — a danger to himself and everyone else around him.
   However, Bezkhov saw the interfering Englishman as a coward. Could they work together to defeat the might of the German Luftwaffe?

Story: Steve Taylor
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page


Commando No 4942 – Kill Me If You Can!
 It was only a bone, white and shiny, with odd painting and carving on it. An Aborigine mystic had said it would protect the wearer from any harm.
   Well, if you’re an infantryman fighting in a modern war, you aren’t going to believe in that kind of thing, are you? Unless, of course, it starts saving your life — then you might begin to think there was something in it after all!

Introduction:
 Geography is, naturally enough, hugely important in Commando. Every tale must have a proper sense of place — the authors and, especially, the artists must evoke each location realistically enough to convince readers of the story’s authenticity and create a sense of drama and atmosphere. Here the dense jungles of New Guinea are brilliantly brought to life by interior artist Dalfiume and cover illustrator Ian Kennedy.
   And, this fortnight’s Gold collection classic, Flying Flea (No 4940), is also set in the Far Eastern grandeur of New Guinea’s truly impressive landscape. That book is well worth a read too if you haven’t already done so.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Kill Me If You Can! Originally Commando No 1110 (March 1977), re-issued as No 2444 (February 1991)

Story: N. Allen
Art: Dalfiume
Cover: Ian Kennedy



Monday, August 08, 2016

Your thoughts about conventions


As I've attended so many comics conventions over the years I'd be very much interested in hearing your thoughts about such events. Things like...

Do you prefer the larger events or the smaller shows? If you've never attended a con is it simply down to distance or other reasons? 

Which one was your first convention? Did it live up to, or exceed, expectations, or disappoint? Do they satisfy what you'd like from a convention, or do they fall short in some areas? Is there anything you'd like to see more, or less, of? 

Are there guests you'd like to see at events who never appear to be on the guest lists? Any subjects you'd like to see discussed at comics panels that aren't often covered (if at all)? 

No comments slagging off any guests or organizers though, please. Let's just be enthusiastic and/or constructive. Or just talk about your memories of favourite comic cons of the past. Over to you...
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