Friday, March 30, 2018

FILM FUN - Easter 1953


Film Fun was a highly successful comic from the Amalgamated Press that enjoyed a long run from 17th January 1920 until 8th September 1962 when it merged into Buster. A total of 2,225 issues (according to research by the late Denis Gifford). It ran strips featuring popular movie stars of the day, imitating the slapstick comedy of the films but with a distinctly British flavour.

Here are a few pages from Film Fun No.1733, the "Grand Easter Number" dated April 4th 1953 but published on 30th March of that year. The strip on the front and back covers is Laurel and Hardy, drawn by Terry Wakefield, who had taken over the strip from his father George after he passed away in 1942. You'll notice that the boys are based in London. In the Film Fun strips, most Hollywood stars were relocated to England so that readers could relate to the surroundings easier. 

Film Fun's 16 pages featured a mixture of strips and prose stories, as did most British comics back then. Here's a Frank Randle strip, drawn by Bertie Brown I believe. I could be mistaken. Artists were instructed to draw in a house style back then and it's not always easy to tell the difference between them.
Red Skelton, which I think was usually by Terry Wakefield but this looks like Bertie Brown's work to me...
Finally, a George Formby strip, and this is a curious one. Film Fun often reprinted old strips and substituted the lead actor with a more contemporary one. A penciled note at the top of the page, written by the comic's previous owner, reads: 

"RP 1944  20.4.1957 Red Skelton".

My thanks to comics historian and author Ray Moore for solving the mystery. He informs me that the note means that this 1953 George Formby strip was doctored and reprinted as a Red Skelton strip in Film Fun No.1944, dated 20th April 1957. 
I hope you enjoyed this day trip back to 1953 to see what kids were reading over their Easter holidays that year, and may I wish you all a Happy Easter for 2018!

********************

P.S: I understand some of you may be having problems posting comments, so I've changed this blog's settings again to allow comments from people who don't have a Google etc account. I'd prohibited this a while ago to stop spamming and trolling, so I hope everyone plays nice now the restraints are off!


Thursday, March 29, 2018

American news: MAD rebooted!

I don't cover American comics here very often but this news is worth shouting about. E.C.'s long running Mad magazine is getting a new look next month and a restart with a new first issue. The new logo is based on the original 1950s masthead, and there'll be more emphasis on comics content. 

There was of course a British edition of Mad that ran for many years. These days, the U.S. edition can be found in UK comics shops (if they order it) and selected newsagents (a couple of months after it goes on sale in the USA).

For more info on the new Mad, check out the blog of Tom Richmond, one of the artists:
https://www.tomrichmond.com/blog/

Keep up to date with developments at the Mad website:
http://www.madmagazine.com

Mad No.1 is launched on April 18th in comics shops.



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Missed anything?

Unless any important news breaks, I'm taking a week off from this blog but remember there are over 2,000 posts from the last 11 years and you may not have seen all of them. You can discover old posts by simply typing into either of the two search windows here.

Just type in whatever comic, story, or creator you're looking for into the search windows and you'll see a list of old posts that mention them. Enjoy delving into the past, and I'll see you soon!


Although I'll be posting less here from now on, I will continue to update my other blog http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.co.uk so check that out too. Thanks.


Coming next week in 2000AD...

Here's your regular advance preview of the next issue of 2000AD, on sale this coming Wednesday...

US & DIGITAL: 28th March 2018 £2.75
NORTH AMERICA: 28th April 2018 $6.75
DIAMOND: FEB181728
COVER: EMILY ZEINNER


In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: FIT FOR PURPOSE by Rob Williams (w) Chris Weston (a) Dylan Teague (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)



JAEGIR: IN THE REALM OF PYRRHUS by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


SINISTER DEXTER: NIGHT CLASS by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) john Charles (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: UNDERTOW by Emma Beeby (w) David Roach (a) Jose Villarrubia (c) Simon Bowland (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





Friday, March 23, 2018

TOXIC no.303

The latest issue of Egmont's Toxic magazine is out now, packed with features, activities, and even a few strips. Team Toxic encounter their old foe Frankendrac again in Going Batty (written/drawn by me), Captain Gross meets Ghost Master, by Russ Carvell, and there's a Ruined Ronaldo strip drawn by Steve McGarry. 

From their website...

TOXIC IS AVAILABLE AT ALL GOOD SUPERMARKETS AND NEWS AGENTS.
OUT NOW: ISSUE 303
FEATURING:
Super Facts of the bigggest Marvel Superheroes
The top 10 coolest Cartoon Networks TV shows
The secrets behind Pixar movies
6 competitions to WIN Awesome prizes: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and LEGO City play set
… PLUS …
5  AMAZING free gifts:
1. One Double Blaster
2. UEFA Champions League Stickers
3. Hot Wheels tattoos
4. One double sided giant poster feat. Spidermand and Black Panther

5. Tox-sic Sour Sweet





Secret Empire comes to the UK

If you missed the controversial Secret Empire story arc when it appeared in U.S. Marvel comics last year, you can now jump on board from the beginning with the latest issue of Avengers Universe from Panini UK. 

The event will cross over into the other Panini comics over the next several months. 

Personally, I don't think it was Marvel's finest hour but a lot of fans did enjoy it. Make up your own minds by buying Avengers Universe No.4, out now! 

AVENGERS UNIVERSE #4. On sale 22nd March!
100-page special! £4.50!
Captain America is now Hydra's greatest warrior – and he's about to betray the entire Marvel Universe! The epic ‘Secret Empire’ saga has begun! Don’t miss a storyline that will cross over into the other Collectors’ Editions! By Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuna and Steve McNiven!
Featuring material first printed in Secret Empire #0, 1 and 2.




Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Charley's War The Definitive Collection Volume 1


As a child growing up in the 1960s I used to avoid war stories in comics. They often seemed too gung-ho, treating war as a great adventure. To be fair, IPC's Battle Picture Weekly portrayed a grittier side to war, but I was already swerving it because I thought it'd be like previous war comics. Plus I was in my mid teens by the time Battle arrived on the scene so had eschewed most British comics in favour of the adolescent power fantasies of Marvel and DC.

Somehow or other though I did pick up Battle (by then renamed Battle-Action) in 1980 and was immediately hooked by Charley's War, clearly an anti-war strip, there in the middle of a war comic. The fact that it had the superb writing of Pat Mills and art by Joe Coloquhoun (whose Football Family Robinson I had admired in Jag back in 1968) made it even more compelling. This wasn't the light-adventure style he'd employed on the Robinsons though. This was a more brutal and realistic approach. (I've since bought the first 250 issues of Battle as back issues and can now appreciate what a great comic it was in its early years.)

Charley's War quite rightly won the admiration of thousands of readers, and has been reprinted a few times over the years. Now, Rebellion are to collect the entire World War One saga in three chunky volumes as part of their Treasury of British Comics line, and Charley's War The Definitive Collection Volume 1 will be published on April 18th.
The 320 page first volume is certainly true to its definitive title. The artwork has never looked as sharp and clear as this. It's also been re-lettered by Jim Campbell, as the original printing used typeset (Battle's only real mis-step was that use of typeset). The few pages that were in full colour were greyscale in previous reprint books, but here they are in colour as intended. 

There's also a couple of bonus items at the back of the book in the form of full colour Battle covers that featured Charley, and seven pages of Pat Mills' commentary on the stories.

Charley's War is the war story for people who hate war stories... but it's also for those who love war comics too, because it respects those soldiers who endured so much suffering and made great sacrifices. It's a war story that champions bravery and condemns cruelty, whether that be the sadism of the enemy or that of some British officers Charley encounters. It's a true epic of British comics, starting with Charley Bourne as an idealistic, very naive 16 year-old and taking us through his journey of hardship and courage. There's humour too, - the black humour of the trenches that was part of the necessity to survive such conditions. 

Charley's War is an essential read. Buy it.

Here's the PR from Rebellion...

    •    CREATIVE TEAM: Pat Mills, (w) Joe Colquhoun (a) John Aldrich, Jim Campbell (l)
    •    REGIONS: UK, worldwide digital
    •    RELEASE DATE: 18th April 2018
    •    PAPERBACK, 323 pages
    •    PRICE: £19.99 (UK) TBC (US)
    •    ISBN: 9781781086193
    •    DIAMOND: FEB181726

Considered by many as the most important war story to appear in comics, Charley’s War follows the working class Charley Bourne who eagerly signs up to fight on the Western front in 1916. The idealistic sixteen-year-old experiences a hellish world of trench warfare where every day is a bitter fight for survival. Charley and his friends soon realise they have been thrust into a conflict where ordinary people are expected to throw away their lives to serve the selfish interests of those in power! Written by British comics legend Pat Mills and featuring the breathtaking artwork of Joe Colquhoun, this first volume of Charley’s War includes Charley’s harrowing participation in one of the bloodiest encounters in human history - The Battle of the Somme.


As a taster, here's the first chapter, originally published in Battle-Action No.200, dated 6th January 1979...



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




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Beano No.3927 preview



D.C. Thomson have released the cover to this week's Beano, drawn by Nigel Parkinson. There's a preview of some of the contents over at beano.com which you can see by clicking here:
https://www.beano.com/posts/inside-beano-no-3927-the-one-with-virtual-reality

There's also another Big Eggo strip by me. Can Eggo escape from Terry Tuff?

Beano No.3927 goes on sale on Wednesday 21st March. £2.50.


 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Busy day at Bath



It was a very busy day at Bath Comic-Con last Saturday. If you haven't already seen my con report you can read it here:
http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/photos-from-bath-comic-con.html



Commando comics on sale March 22nd

Here's a preview of the four issues of Commando that will be out later this week...

5107: Home of Heroes: Toe to Toe

Trading one fighting field for another (of sorts), our Tommy heroes, Jake Reilly and Tony Parsons, may appear allies, but when they’re captured in North Africa and taken to an Italian POW camp, old feuds flame up. Bitter rivals, Reilly was a top striker (and penalty pusher), while Parsons was a hard-headed goalie for a rival team. When the war broke out, they thought their playing days were over, but they were wrong…

In a perfect pairing, George Low combines two great British favourites, Commando and football, in a charming satire of European rivalries, transposing the battlefield for a football pitch. Janek Matysiak’s cover also adds credence to this, showing the pivotal match through the barbed wire of the the POW camp fence.

|Story | George Low | Art | Morhain | Cover | Janek Matysiak |


5108: Gold Collection: They Flew by Night

J-for-Jig or J-for-Jinx? The RAF were notorious for their superstitions, but when one Lanc. bomber caused the death of every pilot who flew her, everyone agreed the aircraft was hoodoo.  Everyone, that is, except Titch Bradbury. A daring pilot, who was maybe just a tad too cocksure, Titch didn’t believe in that tommyrot, and he’d prove it or die trying!

Penned by the editorial team at DC Thomson, who certainly knew a thing or two about the RAF, with Commando’s own editor Chick Chetley flying with them from 1941-46, and interior art by Gordon C. Livingtone, this Golden Age reprint will delight new and old fans alike.

|Story | Staff | Art | Gordon C. Livingstone | Cover | Gordon C. Livingstone |
Originally Commando No. 488 (July 1970).


5109: Action and Adventure: Doctor’s Orders

Captain Tom Stewart never thought he’d find himself stranded in Iraqi-occupied territory in Kuwait, bleeding internally, closer and closer to death each second. He never thought his only chance of survival would lie in the hands of US Navy Captain Doctor Jane Daly, or that she would save his life with the only tools at her disposal: a torch, a pen tube, and a penknife. It was going to be one long night…

Iain McLaughlin’s Gulf War story is one of survival, as time and terrain pose as much of a threat as the Iraqi soldiers who track our heroes. This exhilarating cat and mouse tale is then combined with an effectual cover, featuring our trio of heroes, and pristine interiors by Manuel Benet.

|Story | Iain McLaughlin | Art | Manuel Benet | Cover | Manuel Benet |


5110: Silver Collection: Fools’ Gold

Mike Barclay signed up to fight for his country – not cook for it! He only wanted to see combat, but after his squadron was attacked by Jerries, Mike was forced to flee with a group of Tommies led by Sid Blacke. Mike was in for another shock though, as he discovered that Sid wasn’t leading them back to Allied lines – but to hidden treasure, buried deep in ruins in the North African desert. Now, surrounded by deserters, with war crimes mounting, Mike’s chance of escape was dwindling, as friend and foe raced towards the fools’ gold!

With stunning interior illustrations by Keith Shone, highlighted by the white lettered captions on the deep blacks of the tomb interiors, Anthony Knowles’ treasure hunt adventure is full of twists and turns, as greed turns everyone against our hero.

|Story | Anthony Knowles | Art | Keith Shone | Cover | Ian Kennedy |
Originally Commando No. 2730 (January 1994).




Saturday, March 17, 2018

Preview: Judge Dredd Megazine No.394

It'll be in the shops next Wednesday but here's an advance look at Judge Dredd Megazine No.394, courtesy of the publishers...

UK & DIGITAL: 21st March 2018 £5.99
NORTH AMERICA: 21st April 2018 $13
DIAMOND CODE: JAN181849
COVER: ALEX RONALD

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: KRONG ISLAND by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

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

LAWLESS: BREAKING BADROCK by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie DeVille (l) 

CURSED EARTH KOBURN 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: Charley's War and interview with Robert Bliss

BAGGED GRAPHIC NOVEL: Outlier by TC Eglington (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

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





Jumping-on point for the Spring for 2000AD

The next issue of 2000AD has 20 extra pages as it's a bumper-sized 52 page issue containing the start of a new line-up of stories. The perfect issue for new (and lapsed) readers to hop on board. Here's a few preview pages and the content details...

UK & DIGITAL: 21st March 2018 £3.99
NORTH AMERICA: 21st April 2018 $7.99
DIAMOND CODE: JAN181848
COVER: GREG STAPLES

In this issue:
JUDGE DREDD: FIT FOR PURPOSE by Rob Williams (w) Chris Weston (a) Dylan Teague (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)


JAEGIR: IN THE REALM OF PYRRHUS by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)


FUTURE SHOCKS: FREEDOM WEARS TWO FACES by James Peaty (w) Dylan Teague (a) Simon Bowland  (l)

SINISTER DEXTER: by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) john Charles (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

ANDERSON, PSI DIVISION: UNDERTOW by Emma Beeby (w) David Roach (a) Jose Villarrubia (c) Simon Bowland (l) 

JUDGE FEAR: MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS by Kek-W (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)


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

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

Friday, March 16, 2018

Beano Annual 2019 - Cover revealed

D.C. Thomson have today revealed the covers of Beano Annual 2019, which goes on sale around August of this year.

The covers feature artwork by Nigel Parkinson and include iconic characters such as Dennis the Menace, Billy Whizz, and even Big Eggo. (In case anyone was wondering, no I didn't draw the Big Eggo strip inside it. This book was done and dusted long before I was commissioned to do the character for the weekly.)

The Beano celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, and the annual's cover reflects that. 

You can follow The Beano on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/beanoofficial?lang=en

...and at their website:
https://www.beano.com

...and of course by buying the Beano comic every Wednesday!





Thursday, March 15, 2018

This week's BEANO

Beano No.3926 is in the shops now, still going every week and building up to its 80th anniversary in July. It's never needed to reboot with a new No.1 and sales have even climbed over the last few years. Plus, unlike most other kids' comics today, it's very rarely bagged with a stack of gifts. Beano sells on its own merits.

At £2.50 for 36 full colour pages it's the best value comic on the stands too. Here's a list of this week's contents... 

Cover by Nigel Parkinson.

#SoBeano strip drawn by Laura Howell.

Roger the Dodger
Script: Danny Pearson. Art: Barrie Appleby.

Numskulls
Script and art: Nigel Auchterlounie.

The Bash Street Kids
Script: Andy Fanton. Art: David Sutherland.

Dangerous Dan.
Script and art: Paul Palmer.

Big Eggo.
Script and art: Lew Stringer.

Tricky Dicky.
Script: JD Savage. Art: Laura Howell.

Diary of a Prankster.
Art: Laura Howell.

Calamity James.
Script and art: Leslie Stannage.

PingPong. (Activity page.)
Art: Leslie Stannage.

Gnasher and Gnipper.
Script: JD Savage. Art: Barrtie Appleby. 

Minnie the Minx.
Script: Nigel Auchterlounie. Art: Nigel Parkinson.

Create a Minx-terpiece (activity page).
Art: Nigel Parkinson.

Rubi's Screwtop Science.
Scriot: Nigel Auchterlounie. Art: Emily McGorman-Bruce.

Learn to Speak Gnasherese.
Art: Barrie Appleby?

Dennis and Gnasher.
Script: Nigel Auchterlounie. Art: Nigel Parkinson.

Billy Whizz.
Script: Andy Fanton. Art: Wayne Thompson.

You're SO Beano.
Reader's pages.

Bananaman.
Script: Tommy Donbavand. Art: Wayne Thompson.

Wisecrack the Code. (Activity page.)
Art: Steve Beckett?

JJ.
Script: Nigel Auchterlounie. Art: Wayne Thompson.

Betty and the Yeti.
Script and art: Hugh Raine.

Make Me a Menace.
Script: Nigel Auchterlounie. Art: Hunt Emerson.

You can see a preview of this issue at Beano.com here:
https://www.beano.com/posts/inside-beano-no-3926-a-race-to-the-finish




Out now from Panini UK


The very first UK Spider-Man title was Spider-Man Comics Weekly, launched in 1973. Although he'd previously appeared in Pow!, Smash!, TV21, and The Mighty World of Marvel, (and various Alan Class comics) Spider-Man Comics Weekly was the first British comic named after the character.

That title went through various changes; Super Spider-Man, Spider-Man TV Comic, Spidey, and others.. and led to other Marvel UK comics such as The Exploits of Spider-Man. The current one, The Astonishing Spider-Man, has been running since 1995, and has been the most consistent. Apparently it's the most popular of Panini's Marvel Collectors Editions as it's the only one published fortnightly instead of every four weeks. It's had various re-numberings, and the current issue is Volume 6, No.42 which goes on sale today.

Astonishing Spider-Man Vol.6 #42. On sale 15th March! 
76 pages packed with arachnid-adventure! Only £3.99!

Peter Parker is on the run and hunted by the NYPD! (So, business as usual.)
Also: How did Normie Osborn become the CEO of Oscorp, and what does he have planned for Spider-Man?!!
Plus: The Wall-Crawler vs. The Sleeper! ‘Nuff said!
By Chip Zdarsky, Adam Kubert, Juan Frigeri, Ryan Stegman, Nathan Stockman, Mark Waid, James Robinson and Gabrielle Dell’Otto.
Includes material reprinted from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #297, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #10 and Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business: Original Graphic Novel.


There's also a monthly Spider-Man magazine for younger readers that features some comic strip material. This has also gone through a few title changes and for several years it featured all-new Spider-Man strips by British creators. Sadly, it now features American material.

Cover image of the junior Spider-Man comic from this site:
http://www.newsstand.co.uk/108-Primary-Boys-Magazines/3297-Subscribe-to-SPIDERMAN-MAGAZINE-Magazine-Subscription.aspx




Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Updated convention list

I'm "on tour" again for 2018 and it kicks off this Saturday with Bath Comic Con. Here's the full list of comic conventions I'll be a guest at so far this year. If you're attending any of these, please drop by my table for a chat. I'll be bringing along my comics to sell plus drawing sketches on request. See you there!

BATH COMIC-CON
Saturday 17th March 2018
Bath Pavilion
North Parade Road
Bath
BA2 4EU
https://www.facebook.com/bathcon/

Starting off my con calendar with a new event for me, and my first visit to the town. Looking forward to it!

***********************************

T.b.a.
24th/25th March 2018
Still waiting for the official announcement on this one.

***********************************

STOKE-CON-TRENT
Staffordshire University.
Stoke-On-Trent
Sunday 15th April 2018
http://stokecontrent.co.uk

Returning to Stoke again this year to see friends old and new.

***********************************

OLDHAM COMIC CON
Saturday 12th May 2018
Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre
https://en-gb.facebook.com/oldhamcomiccon/

Another new show for me, and a new place to visit. An impressive guest list with loads of comics creators!

***********************************

WIGAN COMIC CON
Saturday 26th May 2018
https://www.facebook.com/WigancomicconNWCCEvents/

My first visit to Wigan! Looking forward to it!

***********************************

WYTHENSHAWE COMIC CON,
South Manchester
9th June 2018
https://www.facebook.com/wythenshawecomiccon/

A brand new show! Honoured to be their first announced guest!

************************************

MACC-POW! No.3
Saturday 23rd June 2018
Macclesfield.
http://maccpow.co.uk

My third trip to Macclesfield's comics event! Always good fun!

************************************


ICE 2018
Saturday 15th September
Birmingham.
https://internationlcomicexpo.wordpress.com

Always a pleasure to attend this show! 

***********************************


More dates to be added later!

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