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Friday, 3 November 2006

Is The Eagle a British icon?

Having just received a "Media Advisory" from icons.org.uk celebrating Guy Fawkes' nomination as a national British icon, I thought I'd check to see who else was up for this "celebration of British culture", backed by Culture Online, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Bad news, folks, The Eagle is currently not considered an icon by those who've voted on some 700 plus nominations so far -- although Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes are, and have already earned themselves "Iconic" status.

If you don't agree with the current vote - apparently some one million votes have been cast for various potential icons since January -- why not nip over to the Eagle's nomination page and vote for it?

Also up for nomination are Richmal Crompton's "Just William", John Peel's radio Show, car boot sales, "The Saint", The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Daleks, Andy Capp, glove puppet hero Sooty, Roy of the Rovers, Biggles, jam roly pudding, Oliver Postgate's children's programmes - yes, the Clangers! -, Basil Brush, the Tufty Club (I've still got my badge), Paddington Bear, Mods and Rockers, Hawkwind, the Goon Show, James Bond, the three-pin plug, real ale, Rupert the Bear, Camden Market, Wallace & Gromit, Winnie the Pooh, Doctor Who -- and knotted handkerchiefs on the beach.

No Jeff Hawke, Judge Dredd or Dan Dare himself yet, but the nominations are glorious!

Thursday, 2 November 2006

More from Moores

Read Yourself Raw reports that Alan Moore discusses the new League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen book The Black Dossier at Wizard www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/wizard/002034679.cfm

Talking of Moores, folk may enjoy Leah Moore's scathing review of their hotel accommodation in Lancaster, posted on Virtual-Lancaster.

I'm happy to say (although not happy for Leah and John Reppion, obviously, they could have had a better time staying at Fawlty Towers) that no-one else who stayed at other Lancaster guest houses had such problems.

The poor experience thankfully hasn't put Leah or John Reppion off Lancaster, thank goodness. "On the contrary we were totally charmed by Lancaster and felt right at home there from the minute we set foot, weirdly enough," she told me, "as we always bemoan feeling like aliens wherever we go for conventions."

Leah and John's Albion is heading for trade paperback soon and having now had the chance to read the entire run -- the trade paperback won't include Dave Gibbons' covers, apparently -- I have to say i really enjoyed it. Lots of visual gags and taken as an "opening act" of a relanch for the IPC characters, it works very well. It's just a shame the book ran late, which must have affected sales.

John says Wildstorm are just waiting to see what the TPB sales are like before committing to more of the Albion saga. Fingers crossed.

(Dave Gibbons told me a while back that sales weren't high enough on Thunderbolt Jaxon to justify further books, but the door isn't closed on him poropsing new books featuring IPC characters -- when he gets time!)

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Astrapets

I'll put something up on the main site later, but just received two fab books from artist Bambos Georgiou, the first of his Astrapets collection.

Aimed at all ages, both The Great Space Chase and Dangerous Games are great fun: I particularly like the Betelgusian Beatniks and the fact that the Astrapets can't find anything for humans to do.

Charming, witty and wonderfully drawn, check out Bambos' site at www.astrapets.com... You can buy both books from www.smalllzone.co.uk

Monday, 30 October 2006

Lancaster Comics Festival – Thanks

I'd just like to thank all the small press creators -- Redeye, Omnivistascope, Futurequake, the Comic Creators Guild, Soaring Penguin and many others -- and professional comics creators – including Bryan Talbot, John Ridgway (pictured), Leah Moore, John Reppion, Adrian Salmon, Tim Perkins, Graeme Neil "Atrocious Cold" Reid and Dave Windett – for braving some really atrocious weather and coming to Lancaster for its first modern comics festival on Saturday.

It rained almost all day. (And I mean really rained to the point you were thinking it was good to be on a hill). The venue was miles from the nearest pub. No-one knew if the event would be a success but organiser Ant Mercer worked his socks off promoting the thing in the local press and on local radio.

Since we were selling the final issue of Eagle Flies Again at the event and sold under ten copies (special thanks to Paul Scott of Omnivistascope/Solar Wind for boosting the coffers, I feel really bad about charging him now), I imagine some small press people might be in a similar boat in terms of weighing the costs versus income (although I gather some covered their their costs, which is also great news).

But despite the weather and, perhaps, financial losses on the day, I think the event was a success from the point of view of further raising the profile of British comics, and I hope Ant will be running another one next year.

For me, the whole point of the Lancaster Comics Festival was that it offered a chance to open up the world of comics creation to a new audience. An audience that would never perhaps make it to a comics event in London, Brighton or Bristol.

Many people came to the event – I'm sure Ant can provide some firm numbers – people who had never been to a comics event before but braved the weather any way -- and yes, I include the woman with the ferret. For that alone, it was a success.

The smiles on the faces of the kids taking part in the comics jam more than made up for the terrible weather.

As for creator revelry both before and after the event (although I missed the "after", never have a stall right next to an artist with an "atrocious cold…" :) ) – well, that was just a bonus.

Thanks to everyone who came; everyone who took part; and Ant for getting the thing together.

As he and I discussed several times, this was a first Comics Festival for Lancaster (although I ran a comics event in Lancaster back in 1994 as part of its literature festival, for the most part, the numbers were nowhere near what was achieved on Saturday).

There were things that could have gone better; there were things that went better than expected. Overall, for me, it was a great day.

Let's call it a start, and move ever upwards from here…

John Freeman
Eagle Flies Again #14 – Final Issue – Is on sale now via PayPal
UK and Eire Orders: tinyurl.com/w42l5
Non UK and Eire Orders: tinyurl.com/yybxro

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