Monday, May 21, 2018

Cover reveal: DANDY SUMMER SPECIAL 2018

Here's the cover to this year's Dandy Summer Special, as revealed on the D.C. Thomson website this week. It'll be published on June 13th but you can pre-order it from the publishers themselves:

I understand the contents will be entirely all-reprint again, as they have been for the last few years, but it'll be interesting to see what selection of stories have been chosen. 

The cover, by Ken Harrison, is brand new, and in the fine tradition of Summer Specials of old.

The Beano Summer Special is already out, and contains all-new content. It can also be ordered from the publisher.

Dandy Annual 2019 - cover reveal

D.C. Thomson have revealed the cover of The Dandy Annual 2019, set to go on sale this August. Once again it will have 112 pages of all-new strips featuring the top Dandy stars from the comic's long history such as Desperate Dan, Brassneck, and Keyhole Kate. The cover art is by Ken Harrison.

The book will of course be available to buy on its own, but at the moment you can pre-order it with the Beano Annual 2019 as a discounted "Double Trouble Pack" from the D.C. Thomson shop:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Preview: BELLA AT THE BAR Vol.1

July's release from The Treasury of British Comics will be Bella at the Bar Volume 1, a collection of the first year of Bella stories that first appeared in Tammy weekly from 1974 to 1975. (There's also a back up strip reprinting a Bella story, That Barlow Kid, from a Tammy Annual.) A favourite amongst many collectors who read it at the time, this softback book is sure to be a winner. 

Here's the PR from Rebellion, along with a preview of the first episode...

CREATIVE TEAM: Jenny McDade (w) John Armstrong (a)
REGIONS: worldwide & digital
RELEASE DATE: 12th July 2018
PAPERBACK, 114 pages
PRICE: £10.99 (UK)
ISBN: 9781781086254

Bella’s gymtastic adventure begins here! Bella Barlow is a young orphan with ambitions to be a world class gymnastic. She has the talent, but is hampered by her cruel Uncle Jed and Aunt Gert who constantly exploit her for their own selfish gains. While out cleaning windows for her uncle’s business, Bella comes across an exclusive school with a great gymnastics programme. A kind teacher named Miss Mortimer would happily accept her, but the young athlete faces great opposition from her guardians and the horrible snobbery of the school’s headmistress.

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Available to pre-order now directly from the publishers:

Preview: the first JINTY collection

These are good times for comics enthusiasts. Not only are there a diverse range of new comics available, classic strips are being reprinted too. The latest collection from Rebellion's Treasury of British Comics will be a softback compiling two serials from Jinty, The Land of No Tears and The Human Zoo which originally appeared in the weekly in the late 1970s.

Here's the PR from the publishers, plus a few sample pages...

CREATIVE TEAM: Pat Mills, Malcolm Shaw (w) Guy Peeters (a) 
REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
RELEASE DATE: 28th June 2018
PAPERBACK, 144 pages
PRICE: £10.99 (UK)
ISBN: 9781781086247

Two spooky sci-fi classics from the best-selling girls' comic of the 1970s and '80s! LAND OF NO TEARS: Whilst undergoing surgery on her lame leg, Cassy Shaw is transported into a dystopian future in which people with genetic defects are regarded as second class citizens. Unable to accept such objectionable discrimination, Cassy attempts to rally her peers (the Gamma girls) into beating the Alpha girls in several sporting events. Can she win the Golden Girl award and prove herself an equal?

THE HUMAN ZOO: Twin sisters Shona and Jenny are kidnapped along with their classmates by a superior race of telepathic aliens. Brought back to the aliens’ home planet, Shona and some other human captives are kept in cages where they are treated and displayed like animals, while Jenny is sold to another owner. Will the twins ever be able to reunite and escape to Earth?

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Direct link: 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Space was ace!

Ask most lads who grew up in the 1960s what they were interested in and "space" would be in the top few answers for many, or at least the imaginative ones anyway. The space race between America and the USSR was regularly in the news and manufacturers of toys, comics, and TV shows were eager to latch onto the huge interest in space exploration.

Even Zoom ice lolly was rocket shaped, and in 1963 it gave away a free space picture card tucked in the sleeve of every lolly. Add an endorsement by Steve Zodiac of Fireball XL5 and who could resist? 

This advert is from Boys' World No.22, dated 22nd June 1963. I was only four then, and ice lollies gave me stomach ache so I never had those cards. (I was always ok with ice cream. It was ice lollies that disagreed with me.) I thought I'd show the ad here today though to stir the memories of those of you who did collect them and its album. Anyone remember it?

Prog Preview: 2000AD No.2082

Three new storylines begin in 2000AD next week, with a new Judge Dredd serial and the return of Durham Red and Survival Geeks! Here's the info...

UK and DIGITAL: 23rd May 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 23rd June 2018 $6.75

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THE PARADIGM SHIFT by Michael Carroll (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l) 

SURVIVAL GEEKS: GEEK-CON by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

DURHAM RED: BORN BAD by Alec Worley (w) Ben Willsher (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Available in print from: newsagents, book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The GUNGE is coming!

As I said over on my other blog, Combat Colin No.3 has been delayed slightly due to my commitments on my mainstream comic strips, but it should be ready by late June to mid-July. Once again it'll have 40 pages reprinting the classic Combat Colin strips from The Transformers comics of the late 1980s. 

With this issue, we enter the time when the strip returned to its full page status, and the plots became even more fantastic in tone. Here's an example above! (This page originally appeared in The Transformers No.238, back in 1989.)

You can see a different preview strip on my other blog!

If you're interested in buying the first two issues of Combat Colin they're still in stock and available directly from me at my website:

Don't forget that if you're a fan of The Transformers comic I'll be one of the guests at TFNation in August!

This week's COMMANDO comics, - out today

Thanks to D.C. Thomson for the latest Commando press release and cover images...

5123: Home of Heroes: Convict Commandos: Wolf Warriors

The Convict Commandos are back! Join Guy, Titch, Smiler, Mallory and Jelly for their latest adventure. Tracking down Nazi super soldiers known as the ‘wolf warriors’, Guy and his gang must cross the Lundendorff Bridge and march straight into enemy territory, luring the warriors out by using themselves as bait!

Alan Hebden’s latest instalment in his fan-favourite Convict Commando series does not disappoint! Flick through the pages of Manuel Benet’s masterful artwork and feel part of the adventure.

|Story | Alan Hebden | Art | Manuel Benet | Cover | Manuel Benet |

5124: Gold Collection: Under the Wire

British Lieutenant Pete Smith had a plan: he would don the stolen uniform of an SS soldier, speak like a Nazi, and infiltrate a German POW camp in an effort to prevent a break out. The only problem was SS Captain Gustav Siegel, who had marked Pete for revenge and happened to be trapped with alongside him behind the barbed wire fence of the camp. Maybe Pete would need help escaping after all…

Penalva’s bold cover uses thick slabs of colour on a blood-red background, readying any reader to Allan and Alonso’s adrenaline packed issue inside!

|Story | Allan | Art | Alonso | Cover | Penalva |
Originally Commando No. 460 (February 1970). Reprinted No. 1295 (February 1979).

5125: Action and Adventure: E-Boat Strike!

After the Allies invaded Italy in 1943, the majestic waters of the Adriatic Sea were some of the most dangerous in the world. Crawling with Italian MAS boats, now faster and deadlier than they when the terrorised the Austro-Hungarian Navy in World War One, the only thing worse in the water was the lethal German E-boats that lurked like vultures, waiting to pick off their prey…

Jeff Anderson’s debut issue shows off his expert artwork and eye for detail, kicking off an explosive career with Commando. Paired with a story by former editor George Low and seasoned cover artist Janek Matysiak, this issue is an asset to any collection.

|Story | George Low | Art | Jeff Anderson | Cover | Janek Matysiak |

5126: Silver Collection: Home Guard Hero

When a Nazi U-boat invades the small island of Beagsay in Scotland, the townsfolk’s only hope of rescue is in Alec Fraser’s Home Guard squad. After the rest of the platoon leave the island for a training exercise, Alec is left with only the dregs of military support: seventeen year olds Iain Bissett and David Macaskell, and sexagenarian fishermen Jock and Hamish McColl. But when push came to shove they’d show the Nazis that they came to the wrong island!

If ‘Dad’s Army’ was cranked up to ten, it would be Burden’s ‘Home Guard Hero’. With the stakes higher than ever, the cruelty of the Nazi CO is written all over Gordon C Livingstone’s interior artwork, while Ian Kennedy’s cover centres on our brave Tommy hero defending the island he holds so dear.

|Story | Burden | Art | Gordon C Livingstone | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No. 2791 (September 1994).

Beano Summer Special 2018

Art by Nigel Parkinson.
Here's the cover to this year's Beano Summer Activity Special that should be in the shops soon. Once again, it'll have 68 pages and be in the bookazine format with card covers, and include a sheet of free stickers inside.

I've no idea if there'll be a Dandy Summer Special this year, but you can order the Beano edition directly from the D.C. Thomson shop here:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ken Reid at his best - collected editions!

I said I'd only break this blog's hiatus if some important news came along, and this is about as important as it gets for fans of British comics. Ken Reid's complete contributions to Odhams comics of the 1960s are to be collected in two handsome official hardback books in a slipcase!

Many (including myself) thought this would never happen, due to the fees wanted by the copyright holders, but it seems that publisher Irmantas has good negotiating skills! This is Ken Reid at his peak, with his wildest, funniest work on strips Frankie Stein, Queen of the Seas, Jasper the Grasper, The Nervs, and Dare-a-Day Davy from the pages of Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! 

More details will no doubt emerge soon, but keep your eye on the publisher's blog at this link:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Next stop, Wigan!

Firstly an announcement; I'm taking a blog break after this post as I'm still not feeling 100% due to this virus and I need to catch up with work (and enjoy getting out in the sun when I can, rather than stay indoors blogging). My apologies if you're still waiting for me to review your comics/books but I need to put my health and career first. Hope you understand. I'll be back in a few weeks, or earlier if important news breaks. 

I'll still be posting updates about my own work at:

...and if you want UK comics news, the best place to visit is Down the Tubes by John Freeman, who does a better job of reporting it than I do anyway.

On to today's subject, I'm looking forward to being at Wigan Comic Con which is happening very soon now, on Saturday 26th May. Hope to see some of you there. Spread the word!

You can find out more about the event at their Facebook page:

...and buy tickets here:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

London Film and Comic Con!

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be one of the guests at this year's London Film and Comic Con, a massive three-day event at Olympia. The dates are Friday 27th July to Sunday 29th July. 

Last year's show was very busy and a fantastic experience so I'm looking forward to being there again very much. The comics guests invited so far are shown here, and there'll be many more to be announced over the coming weeks.

You can find out the full details at their website:

Two new stories come to 2000AD next issue

The next issue of 2000AD, on sale Wednesday 16th May, sees the start of two new series when Skip Tracer begins, along with the return of Deadworld. There's also a complete Judge Dredd story too, drawn by Dan Cornwell, who recently took the plunge and became a full-time comic artist, so let's wish him well!

There's also the final chapters of Strontium Dog and Sinister Dexter, paving the way for more new stories in the following issue.

Here's the PR from Rebellion....

UK and DIGITAL: 16th May 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 16th June 2018 $6.75

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THE CHOSEN ONE by Rory McConville (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SINISTER DEXTER: THE GANGBUSTERS by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

SKIP TRACER: HEAVY IS THE HEAD by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l) 

THE FALL OF DEADWORLD by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

STRONTIUM DOG: THE SON by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Ellie De Ville (l)

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Judge Dredd meets Razorjack

After last month's prelude, Judge Dredd meets John Higgins' character Razorjack in the latest issue of Judge Dredd Megazine, on sale this Wednesday. Here's the info from Rebellion...

UK and DIGITAL: 16th May 2018 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 16th June 2018 $13

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: THIS CORROSION by Michael Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

THE RETURNERS: IRMAZHINA by Si Spencer  (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

CHOPPER: WANDERING SOUL by David Baillie (w) Brendan McCarthy (a) Len O'Grady, Brendan McCarthy (c) Ellie De Ville (l) 

CURSED EARTH KOBURN: THE LAW OF THE CURSED EARTH by Rory McConville (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Simon Bowland (l)

DREDD: THE DEAD WORLD by Arthur Wyatt, Alex De Campi (w) Henry Flint (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l) 

Features: Razorjack, Judges: Avalanche, interview with Mark Russell
Bagged reprint: JUDGE DREDD: BLOCK JUDGE by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a)  Annie Parkhouse (l)

Available in print from: book stores, Amazon, and comic book stores via Diamond

Friday, May 11, 2018

Jack and Lucy

Again, my apologies that I won't be able to attend Oldham Comic Con (Saturday 12th May) but for those of you who will be there, stop by Rachael Smith's table to pick up a free new comic entitled Jack and Lucy that sensitively deals with the subject of mental health in the young.

Written by Rachael Smith and drawn by Jacob Phillips, the comic is designed by James Devlin and edited by Tim Pilcher. The project was coordinated by Sara Kenny and funded by the Welcome Trust and Carnegie UK Trust for Oldham Libraries. 
An important topic, tackled in the comics medium, and superbly produced. Congratulations to all involved.

Fireworks Buster sells for £111.00

Everyone who had this 1965 issue of Buster remembers it fondly for its free Guy Fawkes mask. I certainly do. (One of the first issues of Buster that I had.) It's become a much-sought after item by collectors, mainly due to most masks ending up on bonfires that year, affixed to the Guy Fawkes dummies. 

Anyway, a copy has sold on eBay this morning after 15 bids for £111, sold by popular comics dealer Silver Acre. Condition described as "COMIC IS CLEAN AND SUBTLE WITH NO PEN, IT HAS A 1 INCH MAGIC TAPE REPAIR AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SPINE". (I think he means "supple".) 

Not bad for a comic that originally cost 7d (3p). I bid on it in the early stages but that's far too much for me to consider paying for a comic so I've no regrets not winning. Congratulations to whoever nabbed it though!  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

No Oldham con for me, sadly

You know how people catch "convention flu" because there's always someone there with a bug? I'm afraid I'd be the one spreading germs this weekend if I went out. I regret to say I won't be able to attend Oldham Comic Con this Saturday. This flu bug has the better of me and between falling asleep with exhaustion and feeling yuk I've dropped behind schedule with work. I'm really sorry to let down the organisers and to miss meeting up with old (and new) friends. Sounds like it's going to be a brilliant event, so I hope you all have a great day there! See you soon.

Astonishing Spider-Man No.1 - again!

Panini UK's latest relaunch is Astonishing Spider-Man, which begins a new first issue this week. It's actually volume 7 No.1, but anything that helps bring in new readers has to be a good thing.

I once saw a guy crestfallen in a comic shop as he'd tried to interest the owner in buying his copy of "Spider-Man No.1!". He wasn't trying to con the owner. He genuinely thought the first issue of Panini's Astonishing Spider-Man that he'd had and carefully saved since he was a boy was the actual real first appearance of Spider-Man, and not a reprint of a standard 1980s issue. You could see his illusions shatter as the truth was explained to him and he almost had tears in his eyes as he left, still carrying the comic the shop owner didn't want. Had to feel sorry for him, but comic shop retailers encounter people like that all the time.

So... reprint comics might not be an investment, but they can still serve their primary purpose, which is to entertain! If you haven't read Spidey's adventures for a while, jump on board with this week's issue. (It's published fortnightly.)

Here's the info....

Astonishing Spider-Man Vol.7 #001. On sale 10th May! 
100-page special packed with arachnid-adventure! £4.50.

Peter Parker is down on his luck and the most hated man in New York! But Pete’s troubles are only just beginning!
Also: Venom is back! And badder than ever!
Plus: We jump eight years into the future with the web-slinging and wall-crawling Spider-Man family!
By Dan Slott, Stuart Immonen, Mike Costa, Gerrardo Sandoval, Jody Houser and Nick Roche.
Includes material reprinted from Amazing Spider-Man #789, Venom #1 and Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #13-15.

Panini have also published a Thanos special, to interest people who have seen Avengers: Infinity War. Here's the info on that....

Six Soul Gems. Individually, they contain power beyond comprehension. Together, they could destroy a universe. And Thanos must have them all…

Resurrected by his lover Mistress Death, the Mad Titan has 
returned in order to address a great cosmic imbalance 
in the universe. To enact his genocidal plans, 
Thanos must gather together the Infinity Gems. 
Currently possessed by six of the Elders of the Universe, he must challenge each to a series of duels that will push him to the very limits of his physical, mental and spiritual strength. 

The universe trembles as the 
Thanos Quest begins! 

Reprinting The Thanos Quest #1-2, 

plus bonus strips The Thanos Annual 2014 and Iron Man #55.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Oldham Comic Con this Saturday!

It's Oldham Comic Con this Saturday, 12th May, 10am.

Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre, 
Greaves Street,

Hopefully I'll be there but I've been laid low with a flu bug all week. Cold-like symptoms have almost gone so providing the dizziness and exhaustion gets better I hope to be there. 

Here's the full guest list....

Marc Ducrow 
Lew Stringer
Jessica Lucas
David Roach
The Etheringhton brothers
Steve Austin
Yasmin Sheikh
John wagner
Carlos Ezquerra
Alan Cowsill
Jay martin
Chris Sides
Jon Laight
Lukasz Kowalczuk
Grant Richards
Lyndsey Green
Jon Scrivens
Dan Whitehead
Tab Kimpton
Joe Glass
Matt Warner
Pete Mckeirmon
Patrick Goddard
Neil Edwards
Dave Taylor
Tim Perkins
Neal Bhuna
Nigel Parkinson
Nika Nartova
Chris Imber
Sarah Millman
Dan Cornwell 
Peter Doherty
John Royal 
Ian Richardson
Aly Fell
Neil McClemets
Mindstrain comics
Marc Johnson
Joe Mathews
Dan Charnly
Katie Whittle

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Beano No.3934 preview

Here's a quick cover preview of this week's Beano, on sale Wednesday 9th May. Full of your usual favourites, plus another Big Eggo strip from me.

You can find out more at the Beano website:

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