Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Christmas TOXIC is here

It's a very festive foil bag for Toxic magazine this week as it contains the Christmas issue. There are a few festive features inside, although unfortunately I didn't know this was going to be the Christmas issue so my Team Toxic story contains not a flake of snow or one sprig of holly. (But I hope you'll enjoy it anyway!) In fairness, the other strips in the issue don't have a seasonal flavour either, so perhaps we were all unprepared this year.
However, the strip in the following issue (which will be on sale 21st December) will have a Christmas and New Year theme, so I'll show you a preview of that at a later date. 

Back to the current issue, which, along with a 40 page Toxic mag, contains no less than six gifts including two "Battle Blasters" and trading cards for Marvel and Minecraft. 
Toxic No.281, out now from Egmont UK. £4.99


Order now for Christmas

Once again, my apologies for the lack of posts about classic comics this past week. This is a busy period with new strips for Epic! plus pages to do for The Dandy Annual 2018 along with my regular strips for Beano, Toxic, and Doctor Who Magazine. Hopefully, I'll have time to research and show some old British comics next week. 

By the way, I'll be posting out another lot of orders soon so if you wanted to order my comics before Christmas, now would be a good time. Brickman Returns! and Derek the Troll/Rock Solid are still in print, (both of them are 32 page comics) and the Print Pack is also available. To find out more info, and ordering details (UK only) see my online shop here:
http://www.lewstringer.com/page7.htm

Please don't support unofficial online versions or pirated copies. If you want to read my creator-owned comics, buy them from me. Thanks. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Preview: COMMANDO Nos.4971 to 4974

Here's the latest info sent to me from D.C. Thomson about the four issues of Commando that will be in the shops this week. As usual, two brand new issues plus two reprints, published every fortnight. 

Commando Issues 4971 - 4974 - On Sale 1st December 2016

Commando – 4971 – Island of Last Hope
 In 1938, Germany invaded Poland…but Poland did not give in without a fight.
Captain Micha Polanski and the Polish Air Force fought valiantly against the might of the Luftwaffe. But when his brother was slaughtered, Micha swore vengeance against the plane that cut him down, the plane that bore the symbol of a Black Eagle and Swastika.
Micha was sent to Britain to continue the fight against Nazis, but he still hoped he would see that plane again and avenge his brother. As for Micha and many other Poles, Britain was wyspa ostatniej nadziei… The Island of Last Hope.

Story: Shane Filer
Art: Muller
Cover: Ian Kennedy


Commando – 4972 – Stringbag Ace
 They said H.M.S. Adventurer was a haunted ship; haunted by a shadowy figure bent on sending the carrier to the bottom with all her planes and crew.
Mystery lights flashed at night to guide enemy bombers to her. Men were struck down in shadowy corners and never knew what hit them. Guns jammed, planes blew up. Death, sudden and baffling, stalked by night along the quiet alleyways of the ship…
And a young flight lieutenant wanted to get his Spitfires and their pilots to Malta in one piece.

Story: Tyson
Art: Peter Ford
Cover: Ken Barr

Introduction -
If you’re searching for an outstanding adventure then look no further than this maritime gem. Tyson contrasts the claustrophobic confines of the H.M.S. Adventurer with the endless vistas of the skies to create a tense tale of ships, sabotage and Stringbags.
To top it all off, this issue boasts a truly dynamic cover, courtesy of iconic and greatly missed Commando artist, Ken Barr. Set at a dizzying angle, it’s a dramatic and exhilarating depiction of aerial action.

The Commando Team
Stringbag Ace, originally Commando No 265 (June 1967), reissued as No 935 (May 1975)


Commando - 4973 – Mountie Hunter
 Mounties Drew Fraser and Ross McKinley were partners and best friends. But when Drew enlisted in the Canadian Army, Ross was left behind.
However, Mountie life was far from quiet for Ross as the destruction of the war in Europe had extended its deathly claw all the way to Canada. Trains and supply lines were being targeted with ruthless precision, destroying vital supplies for the Allies. So ruthless in fact it spelled only one thing – sabotage!
Hunting the German spies would push Drew to the edge and force him to make the ultimate sacrifice. But a Mountie always gets his man…

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Vincente Alcazar
Cover: Janek Matysiak



Commando - 4974 – Press Gang
 Front-line action from the London blitz right through to the final American triumph against the Japanese in the Pacific. Not bad for a man invalided out of the R.A.F. in 1940 and not even in the fighting forces.
But then R.D. Jones was a press photographer and he and his mate Tommy Vidler were a two-man team of war correspondents, risking death to get the news to their readers at home.

Story: Alan Hemus
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Introduction -
Alan Hemus’ celebration of wartime correspondence is a boyish adventure that runs the full length of the Second World War, from the London Blitz to the final days of the Pacific War.
There is a great array of characters and show stopping set pieces, all brought to life by the dynamic pen of artist, Manuel Benet. Benet is a true Commando Comics veteran, still illustrating new issues to this day, so it’s a real joy to be able to share some of his earlier artwork – enjoy!

The Commando Team
Press Gang, originally Commando No 2479 (June 1991)



Monday, November 28, 2016

End of an era: Daily Star drops Beau Peep

The Daily Star has made the decision to drop its longest-running comic strip, Beau Peep. It had been running in the newspaper since the first issue in 1978.

One of the most refreshingly funny comic strips of modern times, Beau Peep was the creation of writer Roger Kettle and artist Andrew Christine. Beau, a distinctly comical figure (real name Bert), joined the Foreign Legion to escape his brutish wife, Doris, but proved to be an incompetent soldier and a liability to his colleagues. The strip became instantly popular amongst the Star's readers and 20 softback Beau Peep anthologies collecting the strips were published between 1980 and 1998. 
Roger Kettle announced the sad news on the forum The Beau Peep Notice Board on 26th November. Here's what he had to say...

"About three weeks ago, Andrew and I were informed that Beau Peep would be cut from The Star. The news arrived just over a year after The Mirror dropped our Horace strip and the reasons given are exactly the same. The newspaper industry is in deep financial trouble and anything that isn't considered "essential" is being sacrificed. Rather than the editorial staff, the money men are behind all these decisions and, to be honest, I wasn't surprised when the letter arrived. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad---the strip has been the dominant factor in my life. I was 24 years old when I came up with the idea and 27 years old when it was first published. If you'd told me then that it would remain in print until I was a 65 year old pensioner, I'd never have believed you. I am HUGELY fortunate and HUGELY grateful for the career I've had. In total, my Horace and Beau Peep strips have lasted for 64 years and, when you throw in my 11 years of writing Andy Capp, I simply have no grounds for even the mildest of complaints. I must admit that I find my current situation extremely weird. For a long, long time, my life has been consumed with thinking up daft ideas for daft, little cartoon characters. Overnight, this has come to an end and it's been more than a little difficult to adjust. As I think I've mentioned, I've been writing a book for some time so this will allow me to get my head down and finish the damn thing. I'd also (look away, Mince) like to write some stuff for football magazines. On top of that, me and Tarks will, hopefully, continue to produce material for an American website. 
I'm not sure of the exact date but I'm led to believe that Beau Peep will end at the beginning of December. Of course, something might happen and those daft, little cartoon characters may reappear somewhere else---but I doubt it.
Thank you a million times for your support. I will miss that silly bugger."
http://www.cameldung.co.uk/index.php?topic=3219.0

The loss of Beau Peep is yet another blow for comic strips in this country. We all know that comics are struggling, but so are newspaper strips. It does seem that the golden age of newspaper strips is over, with only a few hanging on now. (Half of the Daily Mirror's strips are reprint, for example, and newer papers such as i and The New European don't feature any strips.)

Personally, I think it's a mistake for the bean counters to consider comic strips unimportant. They add character and variety to a paper, and are more popular than they might think. Perhaps they should consider that during World War Two, when paper rationing reduced the Mirror to 8 pages, the editors considered the strips so important to morale that it still had one full page of new strips, plus Jane on another page, and a huge political cartoon on another. Admittedly we now live in an age of mass entertainment and many people seem more amused by sharing badly designed memes than reading strips, but I'm sure Beau Peep still had a large following. 
The strips shown above are the earliest in the series, from the first Beau Peep book, published in 1980, reprinting strips from 1978.

My thanks to Rob Baker for bringing this to my attention. 

Visit the Beau Peep website:
http://www.beaupeep.com


Cutting Edge

Admittedly this has nothing to do with comics but I think it may be of interest to some of you who are interested in film and TV of the 1960s. Cutting Edge: My Life in Film and Television is the autobiography of Eric Mival, a music editor and film editor who worked on popular shows such as The Prisoner, Doctor Who, Strange Report and more. You have a choice of hardback or softback and there's a special pre-order price that ends soon so find out more info at the publisher's website todaty:
http://www.quoitmedia.co.uk

Also available from the same publisher is The Callan File, the definitive book on the classic TV series. Written by Robert Fairclough and Mike Kenwood. More info here:
http://www.quoitmedia.co.uk/callanfile.htm 


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Prog Preview: 2000 AD Prog 2009

Here's your regular sneak preview of next week's 2000AD, courtesy of publishers Rebellion. This issue will be in the shops on Wednesday 30th November. 

This issues sees the episode of Counterfeit Girl substituted by a new complete Future Shock, but the character will be back in the following issue in a double-length conclusion. 

UK & DIGITAL: 23 November 2016 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 23 December 2016 $7.99
DIAMOND CODE: SEP161870
COVER: STAZ JOHNSON (a) GARY CALDWELL (c)

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Cube Root of Evil by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l) 
Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l)
Future Shocks: Return of the Revolutionaries by Rory McConville (w), Eoin Coveney (a), Ellie De Ville (l)
Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l) 

Here are previews of the first pages to each story. Click to see them larger...




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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Contemplations on Comic Cons

From the Shropshire Star.
This year I had the honour of being invited to 13 conventions in all. Unfortunately I had to cancel my appearance at two, but 11 comic cons in one year is still a record for me. I have the highest respect for anyone who organises a convention, because they bring people together and we simply wouldn't have a comics community without them. 

There was a debate on the Comics UK Forum a while ago, with some members claiming "comic cons" were no longer about comics
(http://www.comicsuk.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7077).
I disagreed, because admittedly the larger shows such as those run by Showmasters are mainly focused on film and tv stars, there are still many events that are "All about the comics" to use the catchphrase of Enniskillen Comic Fest organiser Paul Trimble.
With Joanne Alexander in Enniskillen.

Arriving in Northern Ireland.
Not that the larger events should be dismissed of course, and the Showmasters events I was a guest at this year were in London, Cardiff, and Manchester. I've found that quite often, people who wouldn't normally attend a comics-only show, are pleasantly surprised to find creators from comics they read as children at the same event as actors from their favourite movies and TV shows. (Sadly, Showmasters are now cutting back on comics guests at their events so I'm uncertain which, if any, of their shows I'll be at in 2017.)
With Emma Chinnery and Spidey at Macc-Pow!

However, it's the comics-dedicated events where you're certain to find everyone is into comics. This year has seen numerous shows all over the UK that are purely comic cons. All of the ones I attended were good fun and 100% about comics, including ICE, Lancaster Comics Day, Birmingham Comics FesitvalMacc-Pow!, Bristol Comics Expo, Shrewsbury International Comic Art Festival, and the aforementioned Enniskillen Comic Fest. There was also Stoke-Con-Trent, which, although it included actors as well, felt more like a comics con and was very enjoyable. 
With Nika Nartova and Nigel Parkinson in Cardiff.

I can't express enough how much I enjoy attending comics conventions. I think I speak for many of us in this profession that as we work in solitude it's refreshing, uplifting, and healthy (as long as we don't stay in the bar too long) to get out and meet up with like-minded people, fan and pro alike. I've lost count of how many conventions I've attended over the years, first as a punter in 1979, then as a guest from about 1984 onwards. Back then we were lucky if there was one convention a year. These days there are several events practically every weekend throughout the year, so even the 11 that I was at this year was only scratching the surface. 
Lancaster Comics Day.

For 2017, I'm booked for six conventions so far. Two of them are a return visit to the Enniskillen Comic Fest (https://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/news-of-enniskillen-comic-fest-2017.html) and the new ICE Brighton (http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/new-convention-for-2017.html). I'll reveal what the other ones are when the organisers have made the announcements public, but it's going to be a busy summer!
Macc-Pow! in Macclesfield.

One of the changes I've noticed in conventions over the years are that there are now more women at events, both creators and fans. I'm sure that things like Manga, Vertigo comics, and other more diverse graphic novels must have played a part, and it's a welcome improvement on the days when 99% of attendees were men. There are also more families attending cons now, which, again, wasn't the case back in the 1980s. It's a positive sign that conventions are attracting a more mainstream audience and that can only be a good thing for creators wanting to reach a wider readership. 
Stoke Con Trent.

Rachael Stott, Robbie Morrison, Sarah Millman, some old bloke.

If you're a regular attendee of comic cons, or if you've yet to take the plunge, I hope to see you at some of the shows next year. They're always good, informal events and worth coming along to. Support your local comic con and have a good day out!
With Hunt Emerson and Laura Howell in Enniskillen.

Thunderbirds Are Gone

Down the Tubes has reported today that, sadly, D.C. Thomson's Thunderbirds Are Go magazine has been cancelled. The title was launched in October 2015 with a massive push in supermarkets (my local Tesco had several shelves dedicated to the first issue) but unfortunately the latest issue is the last. 

You can read more about it on the Down the Tubes website here:
http://downthetubes.net/?p=35308  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Beano preview

Cover by Nigel Parkinson.
Just time for a very quick update. I see that the all-new Beano.com website now has regular previews of the latest issue. Quite right too of course. To see a few panels click here:
https://www.beano.com/posts/inside-beano-no-3862

…and don't miss the actual issue in your newsagents and supermarkets from Wednesday 23rd November!

Gotta go. Busy on future issues of The Beano and Epic!

Monday, November 21, 2016

ACES WEEKLY celebrates 25 volumes

Today, the digital anthology comic Aces Weekly launches the first issue in its 25th volume. (Each volume comprises seven weekly issues.) A few critics may still scorn the idea of digital comics but publisher David Lloyd has proved that Aces Weekly can endure. 

Having contributed several new Combat Colin strips to the comic myself I can vouch that it's a joy to work on. David gives his contributors free reign on their strips and we all receive an equal share of the profits, fairly divided, based on the number of pages we contribute. Plus, of course, we own the full rights to our strips.

David Lloyd issued this statement on Facebook yesterday:

"Friends,
Tomorrow we begin Volume 25 of Aces Weekly! We've reached a quarter-century of graphic-novel-sized anthologies of extraordinary comics storytelling from an amazing variety of Aces from across the globe. We've been blessed with great subscribers and great contributors to get to this milestone of achievement, and, to mark it, I want to pay tribute to those subscribers and their commitment to us, and also express thanks to all the great Aces who are our contributors, whose work has made us what we are : the greatest original digital comics art magazine in the world! Here's a roll-call of some of our stars, with more names to note to come - and remember : their work is always available, never out of print, never in a back-issue box, and is ready to read at the touch of a button from www.acesweekly.co.uk/shop... John McCrea, Phil Hester, Jeff Anderson, Jeffrey Vaughn, Mark Wheatley, Steve Marchant, Marc Hempel, Alain Mauricet, Alexandre Tefenkgi, Yishan Li, Carl Critchlow, David Leach, David Hitchcock, Phil Elliott, Lew Stringer, Roger Langridge, Herb Trimpe, Esteban Hernández, Mychailo Kazybrid, Bambos Georgiou, Ferg Handley, Kathryn Layno, James Hudnall, Val Mayerik, Henry Flint, Ben Dickson, Réza Benhadj, Paul Maybury, Antonio Bifulco, Seth David Tobocman, Stephen Baskerville, Rory Walker, Jimmy Broxton, David Hine, Shaky Kane, Batton Lash, Dan Christensen,Jasper Bark, Alfa Robbi, Martin Cater, Chris Geary, Laura Scarpa, Manoel Magalhães, Osmarco Valladão, Rachael Smith, Carlos Pascoa, Gary Whitlock, and Junior Tomlin...
And tomorrow we show you the future... Volume 25. Join us at Aces Weekly."
The new line up of strips that begin in Aces Weekly Vol.25 No.1 are:

MERCY KILLING
How much help would you offer a stranger?
Script : Marcello Bondi. Art Giuseppe Latanza. Letters : Gabriele Crepaldi.

DUNGEONS AND BURGLARS: The Big Hit (Part II)
In the back-story of a legendary treasure, an heroic figure stands revealed as a betrayer! But what next..?
Art : Jok. Script : Santullo.

BOOM! NOWHERE.
In a drowned world, some things must be brought to the surface...
Script: Katie Cunningham. Art : Heather Fisher.

WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME?
The continuing story of family life through a blackly comedic glass
by Paul Rainey.

GOONS OF THE GALAXY
Blue milk blues is looking like a permanent condition..!
by Marc Jackson.

FLIGHT
Waiting in orbit, a huge spaceship is called into the service of humanity, once more...
Script : Jeff Vaughn. Art : Brendon and Brian Fraim.

Remember, Aces Weekly is only £6.99 for each seven issue volume, and all 25 volumes are always available. No worries about them going out of print, and no searching for back issues. Support UK comics and subscribe today!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Prog Preview: 2000AD Prog 2008

Wonderful cover by Rob Davis.
Courtesy of Rebellion, here's your Saturday morning preview of next week's 2000AD, which will be in shops on Wednesday. Once again it's another fantastic issue proving that it is indeed The Galaxy's Greatest Comic. It may be the last survivor of the traditional weekly adventure comics but it's easy to see why!  

Anyway, without further ado, here's the info on the contents, along with previews of the first page of each story…

UK & DIGITAL: 23 November 2016 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 23 December 2016 $7.99
DIAMOND CODE: SEP161870
COVER: ROB DAVIS

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Cube Root of Evil by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l) 
Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l)
Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan (w), Rufus Dayglo (a), Dom Regan (c), Ellie De Ville (l)
Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l)









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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Christmas frolics on the top shelf

Cover art by the brilliant Simon Thorp.
You know it's November when the Christmas issue of Viz hits the shops, and the festive edition is indeed on the top shelves of all respectable newsagents from this week. The 52 page comic has its traditional free gift too, in the form of a 2017 Top Tips Calendar! This remarkable 28 page magazine can be pulled out of Viz in the same way that children across the land used to roughly pull out Chips from Whizzer thus diminishing any anticipated future resale value when those readers reached their twilight years.  

You can then hang your free calendar on your wall, although you'll first need to use a hole punch to make that possible, as Fulchester Industries haven't included a free hole with the publication. It does have its own staples though, so at least it won't fall to bits.

But enough about the free gift. "Tell us what's in the bloomin' comic, Mr.Blimey!" you all cry. Well, there's all your Viz favourites, if your favourites include The Fat Slags, Drunken Bakers, Ivan Jellical, Spawny Get, and not The Pathetic Sharks, Suicidal Syd, or Felix and his Amazing Underpants. (Note to self: Send new script ideas to Viz in 2017, you've been promising to do it for months!)

Seriously though, the strips are all brilliant, as are the satirical features. For 37 years, Viz has been one of the best, and certainly the funniest, British comics on the market and deserves your support. Don't be one of those grumpy "I've never read a copy and I never will but I'll prejudge it anyway" types. Reach up to the top shelf, plonk down your £3.20, and treat yourself for Christmas. 

As long as you're over 18, naturally. 


Ron Turner's SPACE ACE returns again!

A new issue of Ron Turner's Space Ace (No.7) is out now! Once again, editor John Lawrence has done an excellent job compiling classic 1950s material for modern readers and nostalgists alike. The colourisation by John Ridgway may be controversial for purists of Turner's stark black and white art but there's no denying that John has done a remarkable job.
 The 40 page issue features two stories: Trouble on Titan, a complete 24 page serial that had appeared in Lone Star Magazine from January to June 1955, and a 10 pager, The Time Transmitter, which originates from Lone Star Annual in 1960.

Plus there's a short old interview with the late Ron Turner and a lively two page letters section.

Ron Turner’s Space Ace is not available in newsagents. Issue 7 costs £8.95 UK, £12.50 for Europe and £14.50 for international orders. Copies may be obtained via PayPal (please use friends and family option) at: spaceace.54@virginmedia.com. Otherwise cheques (UK funds only) payable to: John Lawrence, to 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 4RB

DC Rebirth comes to newsagents

This summer, DC Comics in America restarted their line of comics from new first issues as part of their Rebirth relaunch. The continuity of the previous few years (since the Flashpoint reboot of five years ago) was retained, but there were additional hints that all the previous decades of continuity that had been wiped from history might be returning. Rebirth isn't without controversy though. Although the return of the Wally West Flash and the "real" Superman (married to Lois and with a son) have pleased many readers , the reveal at the end of DC Universe Rebirth of who are behind it all has caused some concern.
Now, Titan Comics, who reprint DC comics in the UK, have just launched a DC Universe Rebirth special, reprinting the key comic that began the Rebirth storyline. The rest of Titan's small line of superhero comics will soon follow suit. In fact, Batman was ahead of the game by having its Rebirth relaunch last month. Harley Quinn has her new first issue this week. Suicide Squad next week, and The Flash No.1 will follow suit next month. Batman No.2 is out now.(Good luck trying to find Batman though, as some branches of WH Smith still claim it doesn't exist, even though neighbouring branches in other towns do stock it.) If you have problems finding the comics you can buy them directly from Titan at their website:
http://titanmagazines.com/?locale=uk








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