Friday, July 21, 2017

The Dandy Annual 2018 is here!

The Dandy Annual 2018 has just been published so I thought I'd give you a quick glimpse at some of its contents.

Kicking off with cover art by Nigel Parkinson, this year's book marks the 80th anniversary of The Dandy, first published in December 1937. Admittedly the weekly comic finished five years ago on its 75th anniversary, but the annual continues, so it seems appropriate for a celebration.

Perhaps to avoid mentioning that the weekly is no longer with us, The Dandy Annual chooses instead to celebrate 80 years of Cactusville, Desperate Dan's home town. In this respect, the book features a 33 page story written by Nigel Auchterlounie, featuring a thread that links through several strips drawn by various artists! 

That multi-page epic takes place at the back of the book, and before then there are loads of self-contained strips featuring the Dandy stars. There's been a bit of a change around of artists this year, so we get Winker Watson drawn by Alan Ryan...

...Bully Beef and Chips drawn by Laura Howell...

...The Smasher by Wayne Thompson... Korky the Cat by Hunt Emerson, Fiddle O'Diddle by Nick Brennan, and more.

Some strips retain the same artists as previous years, and Cuddles and Dimples wouldn't be the same if Nigel Parkinson wasn't drawing it...

I've contributed several pages to the book, with new strips of Kid Cops, Postman Prat, and Keyhole Kate...

The Dandy Annual 2018 has a healthy page count of 112 pages, although it looks very thin due to lighter, glossier, paper stock. The reproduction of the strips is excellent though, with sharp art and colours. 

Although it's sad that the weekly isn't around these days, it's great to know that the annual keeps going, with all-new content every year. (I'm actually writing/drawing pages for the 2019 annual at the moment!) Long may it survive!

The Dandy Annual 2018, published by D.C. Thomson. 112 pages. R.R.P. £7.99.
Available to buy now from online sellers such as Speedyhen and Amazon, and in the shops soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen returns for its conclusion

News just in....

After an epic seventeen-year journey through the entirety of human culture – the biggest cross-continuity ‘universe’ that is conceivable – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill will conclude both their legendary League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and their equally legendary comic-book careers with the series’ spectacular fourth and final volume, The Tempest.

Tying up the slenderest of plot threads and allusions from the three preceding volumes, The Black Dossier, and the Nemo trilogy into a dazzling and ingenious bow, the world’s most accomplished and bad-tempered artist-writer team will use their most stylistically adventurous outing yet to display the glories of the medium they are leaving; to demonstrate the excitement that attracted them to the field in the first place; and to analyse, critically and entertainingly, the reasons for their departure.

Opening simultaneously in the panic-stricken headquarters of British Military Intelligence, the fabled Ayesha’s lost African city of Kor and the domed citadel of ‘We’ on the devastated Earth of the year 2996, the dense and yet furiously-paced narrative hurtles like an express locomotive across the fictional globe from Lincoln Island to modern America to the Blazing World; from the Jacobean antiquity of Prospero’s Men to the superhero-inundated pastures of the present to the unimaginable reaches of a shimmering science-fiction future. With a cast-list that includes many of the most iconic figures from literature and pop culture, and a tempo that conveys the terrible momentum of inevitable events, this is literally and literarily the story to end all stories.

Commencing as a six-issue run of unfashionable, outmoded and flimsy children’s comics that will make you appear emotionally backward if you read them on the bus, this climactic magnum opus will also reprint classic English super-team publication The Seven Stars from the murky black-and-white reaches of 1964. A magnificent celebration of everything comics were, are and could be, any appreciator or student of the medium would be unwise to miss The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume IV: THE TEMPEST.
-- a 6-issue mini-series, each issue 32 pages in (mostly) full color, saddle stitched, 6 5/8” x 10 1/8” (standard comic-book size), $4.99 (US). Issue #1 is scheduled for June 2018.
Co-Published by Top Shelf Productions (US) and Knockabout (UK).

ALAN MOORE is widely regarded as the best and most influential writer in the history of comics. His seminal works include From Hell, Watchmen, Lost GirlsV for Vendetta, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Never one to limit himself in form or content, Moore has also published two novels, Voice of the Fire and Jerusalem, an epic poem, The Mirror of Love, various short films and oral performances, and four of his ground-breaking graphic novels have been adapted into feature films. He was born and still resides in Northampton, England.
KEVIN O'NEILL is a British comics illustrator with one of the most unique and detailed styles in comics, who has deservedly earned an enormous worldwide fanbase. He is best known as the co-creator of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (with Alan Moore), Marshal Law (with Pat Mills), and Nemesis the Warlock for 2000 AD (also with Pat Mills).

NEW! The Scream and Misty Special is coming this Halloween!

Just like a good spooky story, this was unexpected! Classic supernatural comics Scream! and Misty return this October in one combined Halloween special, featuring all-new stories! (Cover by Henry Flint.) The two comics never merged back in the day (they weren't even around at the same time) but they're a perfect match for this special! 

Cover image taken from Facebook's Hibernia Comics page. Seems it's public knowledge now so I thought readers of this blog would be interested.

Scream! and Misty are just two of the fan-favourite comic titles that Rebellion acquired a while back. Until now, Rebellion have been reprinting classic strips in their Treasury of British Comics books, so it's fantastic news that the Scream and Misty Special will contain brand new stories! 

I understand the special will be on sale in newsagents and has a cover price of £3.99. According to the date on the bar code it'll be on sale from 18th October until 13th December.

Here's the story info. (Thanks to Neil Taylor for sourcing this.)

Two of Britain's best-loved supernatural comics have been resurrected this Halloween and merged into one terrifying tome featuring all-new stories! 

Max the crazy computer makes a welcome return in The Thirteenth Floor by Guy Adams, John Stokes and Frazer Irving; the fangs are out in The Dracula File by Grainne McEntee and Tristan Jones; weirdos, warriors and weasels plucked from the pages of various 70s and 80s British comics congregate in Death-Man: The Gathering by Henry Flint; Kek-W and Simon Coleby collaborate on Black Max, the German World War One fighter pilot that's descended from a race of bat-people; the high-rise horrors of Birdwood are back in Return of the Sentinels by Hannah Berry and Ben Willsher; and fairies can be frightening in Fate of the Fairy Hunter by Alec Worley and DaNi.

It sounds like quite a variety, and of course Black Max is a character that used to appear in Thunder (and later Lion and Thunder). It'll be great to see him back! 

I'm sure this comic will be greeted very enthusiastically by fans old and new! Great news, chums!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

COMIC HEROES No.32 is here

Just a very quick heads up to say that the latest issue of the quarterly comics news magazine Comic Heroes is out now. I haven't seen a copy yet as my local shops no longer stock it, but I've ordered the issue via mail order from this site:

I'll review it when my copy arrives in the post!

Also out this week from the same publisher (Future) is a new issue of SFX with features on Marvel's new Defenders TV series, the Valerian movie, and more.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Comicraft font sale!

Indie comics publishers; want to add a professional look to your logos? Mainstream publishers; want to expand your font library? Now is the perfect time to do so because Comicraft are having a half-price font sale!

Simply choose the fonts that are appropriate for your comic, buy 'em, and download them to your computer to use in Photoshop, Illustrator or whatever. 

I've been using Comicraft fonts for my comics covers for the past few years, as you can see. (Click to enlarge.)

Sure, there are fonts you can get for free elsewhere, but if you're doing a comic you need the best, most professional fonts, and Comicraft delivers the goods. Yeah, I know this sounds like sales hype, and, no, I'm not getting any perks for doing this. I really think these are great fonts. Interested? Here's the link...

Meet the Thirteenth Doctor

In case you've been off-planet and missed the news, the 13th Doctor Who has been cast, and it's Jodie Whittaker. There's been a fanplosion online, both pro and con. Personally I just don't see the problem with the Doctor regenerating into a woman, and I've been a fan of the show since 1963! A female actor brings diversity to the part and gives the show a fresh new direction.

Ever since William Hartnell left the role in 1966 I've been a bit apprehensive about every new Doctor, but my fears were soon proved groundless and they all won me over. I'm sure any fears people have over this casting will soon be calmed. I'm excited to see what Jodie Whittaker brings to the part. She's a cracking actress and I hope she gets some great scripts! Interesting times lie ahead, and we'll see Jodie's first series sometime in 2018. Congratulations and good luck to her!

This also means big changes for the Doctor Who comics of course, and the 13th Doctor will be appearing in strip form next year. Rachael Stott, one of the artists on Titan's 12th Doctor comics, swiftly posted a sketch of the 13th Doctor on Twitter and it's spot on...

UPDATE: Someone posted this on Facebook, proving that the notion of a female Doctor has been around since 1981 at least!

...and then there's this...

What's your opinion on this huge change for the show? For or against? Post a comment below!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Doctor... Who will it be?

Here's an advance look at the cover to the next Doctor Who Magazine, which will be published on Thursday 27th July. Now, bear in mind there may be some tweaks to this cover before publication because I don't think it's quite gone to press yet, and tomorrow the BBC will announce who the next actor will be to play the Doctor!

Unless you read this blog every day, you may already know the identity of the 13th Doctor by the time you read this. I've no idea who it's going to be. I just hope it's someone suited to the role, and I'm sure they'll choose wisely.

Part of my next Daft Dimension.
Every time there's a new Doctor to be cast, people speculate whether it might be a woman this time. I know some people who are steadfast that the job shouldn't go to a woman. "Doctor Who has always been a bloke" some say. "Casting a woman would be proof of the BBC's feminist agenda" say others. 

My personal opinion? I don't care who gets the part as long as they're good at it. Our childhoods aren't being trampled on if they use a more diverse choice of actor. 

Whoever gets the role, it won't please everyone, but so far the actors in the part have won over much of the audience after a few episodes. The moral of that I guess is that we should reserve judgement until the new season actually airs, which won't be for a long time yet.

UPDATE 16/7/2017:
Jodie Whittaker cast as The 13th Doctor. Good choice! Let maximum fanplosion begin!

Jumping on point with JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE 386

The next issue of Judge Dredd Megazine (No.386) is a good jumping on point for new and lapsed readers, with three brand new stories starting. Here's a preview, courtesy of Rebellion...

UK & DIGITAL: 19th July 2017 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 19th August 2017 $13.00

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Ape Escape by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Anderson PSI Division by Alan Grant (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Havn by Si Spencer (w) Henry Flint (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Dredd: Furies by Arthur Watt, Alex Di Campi (w) Paul Davidson (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

The Dark Judges: Dominion by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Len O'Grady (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

New Books: The Leopard From Lime Street
Interview: Black Hammer's Dean Ormston

Bagged reprint: London Falling by Simon Spurrier (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

The preview for the next issue (August) carries some great news for those who used to follow Tornado comic in the 1970s. Now that Rebellion own the rights to those old strips they're compiling The Lawless Touch into one collection. Hopefully other old strips will follow in this format, as a nice accompaniment to Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics line of books..

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

Preview: 2000AD Prog 2040

Here's a preview of a few pages from 2000AD Prog 2040, published on 19th July...

UK & DIGITAL: 19th July 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 19th August 2017 $7.99

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: The Wrap-Up by Arthur Wyatt (w) Tom Foster (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Grey Area: Border Ops by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Hunted: Furies by Gordon Rennie (w) PJ Holden (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Combat Colin No.1 a success

It's been a hectic fortnight since I launched Combat Colin No.1, the first in a six-issue series reprinting the classic strips of the 1980s/90s. Half the print run has already sold, and I haven't even sent out review copies yet. The demand was beyond expectations so it's taken me a while to clear all the orders. Most have been posted now, with a few more to go in the morning. Thanks for your patience!

My thanks to all of you who bought a copy. As you may know, I'd been saying for years that I was going to collect those old strips, but it was just finding the time to do it. The 30th anniversary presented the best opportunity to launch the comic, and I'm very pleased with the warm reception its received. There's still plenty left at present, but I'll be doing a second printing in the near future. 
A few of the packages mailed this week.

In case you didn't already know, Combat Colin was a comedy-adventure strip I did for Marvel UK that appeared in the back of Action Force and, later, The Transformers over a period of four years. Issue No.1 of the reprint comic collects all the Combat Colin strips from the entire Action Force run in a 40 page comic. Full colour covers, black and white interiors. (From issue 2, it'll reprint Colin's adventures from The Transformers.)

No copies are in any shops as yet, simply because I haven't approached any, and I'm not sure if I will at present. At the moment I'm selling it exclusively at conventions I attend and by mail order. You can buy a copy here:

Thanks again for all your support! Combat Colin is back, and this time he's sticking around!

Justice in the newsagents

I'm pleased to say that, for the first time in many months, all of Titan's DC Comics are in my local WH Smith so it looks like they've finally solved the problem that caused Batman to be missing. I hope this is reflected across the UK.

Here's the PR on this week's release:

Welcome to the latest all-action issue of Justice League! In 'The Extinction Machines', an ancient evil threatens first the world, then the entire universe. In 'Darkseid War', Wonder Woman leads the Justice League against Darkseid and the Anti-Moniter. In 'Power and Glory', Superman has freed himself from Rao's capture and finally in 'Son Rise', Wonder Woman must stop Apollo as he makes a play for Zeus' throne.
Subscribe now and get a #FREE DC Comics Top Trumps Pack, plus save up to 15% off the cover price!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Combat dispatches

Thanks for your orders for Combat Colin No.1. I've sold half the print run in just over a week so I'm very pleased with that, and grateful for your support. 

Much as I really enjoy working on The Beano, Toxic, etc, I wanted to get material back into print that was totally my own style and humour (and which I own the rights to) so I'm pleased it's been well received. 

Many of you now have your copies but I'm still working my way through the remaining orders at present and will send out another stack today. Thanks for your patience!

...and if you haven't ordered your copy yet, you can buy it directly from me at this link:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

SPACESHIP AWAY No.42 is launched

Another issue of the thrice-yearly Dan Dare comic Spaceship Away is out now, being No.42 in the series. For any of you who haven't already heard of this publication, Spaceship Away is a 40 page full colour comic magazine featuring brand new stories of classic style Dan Dare and lots more material.

I was very pleased to see that the Dan Dare serial finally has a resumé box added to the first page; essential for a comic that only appears three times a year. Writer/artist Tim Booth brings us 8 pages of Shakedown Cruise, with some superbly crafted artwork. It's such a shame that most news items in the media about Dan Dare tend to ignore (or not even know) that these all-new adventures have been running since 2003!

Other strips in this issue are Operation Pintos, a 1950s(?) reprint (but it doesn't give the source) and the start of a run for John Russell Fearn's Golden Amazon, drawn by Ron Turner and newly coloured by Martin Baines. There's also a humour strip, Davy Rocket, uncredited.

Features include a very informative 5 page history of Jet-Ace Logan, the space hero that ran in A.P/Fleetway/IPC comics at various stages from the 1950s to the 1970s. 

There's also a nicely illustrated feature on Ron Turner's Tit-Bits Science Fiction comics, a little-known Dan Dare stageplay from 1972, and, sadly the weakest feature in the mag, the second part of the history of rockets. 

All this plus a centrespread by Graham Bleathman, coloured by Martin Baines, and a new back cover Dan Dare illustration by the legendary Don Harley.

Spaceship Away is well worth your support, and you can find out more info at their website:

COMMANDO Nos.5035 to 5038 out this week

Direct from D.C. Thomson, here's the latest info on the four issues of Commando that will hit the shops on Thursday 13th July...

5035: Home of Heroes:
Escape Saigon!

Richard Davis’s story is one of friendship in the face of adversity. Two men: one American, the other Vietnamese, are best friends, meeting in the hellish setting of the Vietnam war. But neither are soldiers. Van Thieu runs an American style restaurant in the suburbs and Bill Evans is an office worker at the U.S. embassy. But in the final bloody hours of the war, with choppers ferrying the last of the American employees out of Saigon, Bill won’t leave his friend behind…

With interior and cover art by prolific Commando artist Manuel Benet, you know you’re in for a treat. The cover is expressionistic, with thick brush strokes and bold colours, as the two friends take centre stage amidst the carnage around them. The interiors, are similarly stylised, though in a different way to the cover. With little shading and thin line strokes, the images are crisp, with more detail given to facial expressions, adding to the tone of the issue.

|Story | Richard Davis | Art | Manuel Benet | Cover | Manuel Benet |

5036: Gold Collection
Hunt the Killer

This 1960s reprint is all about the villain. Attentively brought to life in Gordon C. Livingstone’s artwork, Brigadefuhrer Helmut Groot oozes evil in the best way. Eyepatch: check. Scar and stitches across left cheek: check. Receding hairline: check. A perfectly despicable design for such a dastardly brute. But Groot is a treat saved for the interior pages, as the cover focuses on our own Tommie heroes, working together and dodging Nazi lookouts.

But, in E. Hebden’s tantalising story Groot doesn’t just look bad, no, the feared and hated Nazi commander is cunning and cruel in equal measure, never blinking as he orders entire squadrons of men lined up and shot before him. Determined to catch the scoundrel, every man in Captain Steve Simpson’s crew kept a picture of Groot, and that was as good as a bullseye on his head. And soon enough, with Hurribombers unable to eliminate the blackguard, it was time for Steve and his men to…Hunt the Killer!

|Story | E. Hebden | Art | Gordon C. Livingstone | Cover | Gordon C. Livingstone |
Originally Commando No 356 (September 1968)

5037: Action and Adventure:
Danger in the Desert

A Commando adventure that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Stephen Walsh’s ‘Danger in the Desert’ is a tale of espionage, with plenty of action and humour thrown in for good measure. Meet Ulysses ‘Danger’ Doyle, petroleum scientist, poet, cross-country runner and a darn good banjo player. He’s on a mission in the Middle Eastern Kingdom of Majaffa to find out why the Nazis are installing pipelines in the desert when there’s no oil… Did we mention he’s also an amateur detective?

Perfectly suited to this Tintin-esque adventure, Keith Page provides the interior artwork and the cover, keeping the whole package uniformly appealing. And, what’s more, when Walsh specified in his script that he wanted secret agent Ned Finch drawn more akin to Roy Kinnear than James Bond, that’s exactly what we got, as Page deftly obliged, poking more fun at the spy genre this issue so lovingly pays homage to.

|Story | Stephen Walsh | Art | Keith Page| Cover | Keith Page|

5038: Silver Collection
Guessing Game

One look at the cover of ‘Guessing Game’ and Ian Kennedy’s artwork is instantly recognisable. The pastel greens of the tank would make it seem almost innocuous if it were not for the machine gun turret firing just off the cover, British troops falling in the haze behind them. The interior art, however, is relatively unusual for Commando, as Vila uses sounds effects in the panels. Though sparing in use, these onomatopoeias are an interactive and exciting addition as the ‘RATATATAT!!’ of a machine gun is sprawled over and under characters depending on where they stand.

Heptonstall’s story is up to the challenge of excitement, as there are suspicious happenings afoot in the mountains of Northern Italy, with Nazis encroaching the Allied camps around Monte Cassino. Commando driver Corporal Bill Smith’s car is ambushed, his C.O. killed. He only survives by playing dead, the information he overhears vital. From what he learned, Bill thinks he knows exactly how the Axis will strike…but to find out he’ll have to risk everything and everyone. Could his guess be right?

|Story | Heptonstall | Art | Vila | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No 2634 (January 1993)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Prat returns!

The Dandy Annual 2018 will be out very soon, and Postman Prat returns in its pages. Here's a clip of one of the pages I did for the book.

You can order your copy directly from D.C. Thomson...

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Fang-tastic cover for The Dracula File collection

In case you missed the news on the Down the Tubes blog last week, here's Chris Weston's stunning new cover for The Dracula File, an upcoming book in Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics line.

The Dracula Files was a strip by Gerry Finley-Day, Simon Furman and Eric Bradbury that ran in the short-lived Scream! weekly in the 1980s. For more information, and exclusive interior pages, visit Down the Tubes today: 

2000AD Prog 2039 Preview

Here's a quick preview of a couple of pages from next week's 2000AD. See the whole comic when it goes on sale this Wednesday.

UK & DIGITAL: 10th July 2017 £2.65
NORTH AMERICA: 10th August 2017 $7.99

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: Box Office Bomb by Rory McConville (w) Ben Wilsher (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Brink: Skeleton Life by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Defoe: Diehards by Pat Mills (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Grey Area: Life On Earth by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Hunted: Furies by Gordon Rennie (w) PJ Holden (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

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

Friday, July 07, 2017

Dan Dare heads for Titan!

Cover by Christian Ward.
The secret's out! Although brand new Dan Dare adventures have been running in the thrice-yearly comic Spaceship Away for years, the character will also appear soon in his own comic from London-based Titan Comics. (The covers shown here were posted on Twitter by Titan's brand manager.)

Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future No.1 will be published in October, written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Alberto Fouche. 

The comics news site CBR has exclusive details and interior pages over at this link:

Can Dan Dare make it in the wider world of comics these days? Give it your support in October and let's hope so!

Below: brilliant retro-inspired variant cover by Chris Weston. (Ignore the bar code numbering. That's just for the mock up.)

Will BLACK MAX return?

One of the most memorable adventure strips from British comics of the 1970s, Black Max started out in the short-lived Thunder comic in 1970 before transferring over to the combined Lion and Thunder in March 1971. It was written by Ken Mennell and initially drawn by Eric Bradbury, then by Spanish artist Alfonso Font. 

The war/horror strip involved WW1 aircraft being attacked by giant mutated bats under the control of evil Baron Maximilien Von Klorr and proved popular enough to appear in Lion and Thunder until the final issue in 1974.

Now that Rebellion have bought the archive of IPC strips from 1970 onwards, is there a possibility that a collected Black Max book might appear as a future volume in their Treasury of British Comics line? Time will tell!

In the meantime, here's a couple of sample episodes from the first two combined issues of Lion and Thunder, dated 20th and 27th March 1971. Superb art by Alfonso Font...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...