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Friday, 13 June 2008

McCarthy, Parkhouse Signing Date Set

Jim McCarthy and Steve Parkhouse will be signing their new graphic novel Sex Pistols: The Graphic Biography at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Saturday 28th June 1-2pm.

Jim McCarthy is an illustrator and comic strip artist who has created for 2000AD. He worked on Bad Company, Bix Barton, The GrudgeFather and Kid Cyborg.

Steve Parkhouse has worked as an illustrator and writer for many big names including Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Mark Millar and Terry Gilliam. He created the vivid illustrations for the Sex Pistols Graphic, which tells the explosive story of the rise and fall of the most famous punk band in the world.

Tube Surfing: 13 June 2008

• We're pleased to report that our report by David Baillie on the recent No Barcodes event in Camden Market, organised by London Underground Comics is online. You can read it here.
Don't forget LUC are at Camden Market every Saturday.

• The Forbidden Planet International blog features the first part of a major interview with writer and mage, Alan Moore: a second part will follow sometime next week. Moore talks about reaction to The Lost Girls, his views on the changing face of comics (and the treatment of comics creators by publishers) and the upcoming League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century.

• Debate continues to rage about the new DFC comic in several quarters: on the downthetubes Ning forum (membership required to comment), discussion has just turned to the issue of bad language in the John Blake strip by Phillip Pullman...

• New British publisher Blank Slate, whose titles include Oliver East's Trains are Mint and Mawil's We can Still Be Friends has a new blog. They've kindly sent us copies of both books and we should have reviews up next week, along with more details about their publishing plans.

Lew Stringer reports that while, traditionally, the publication time for Christmas annuals is late August / early September, in a canny move to cash in on this year's blockbuster movies, Panini UK have released two of their 2009 dated annuals early. Read his review on Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics where he also writes about some rare advertising for the very first issue of Valiant comic back in the 1960s.

• Over on Bear Alley, Steve Holland has posted his review of The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s, now on sale (don't forget to enter our competition!). "The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s is a bit of a misnomer for a book that reprints a straight two-year run of stories," he writes. "Ironically, it is one of the strengths of the Roy of the Rovers strip that is proving to be a pain from a marketing point of view—the Roy strip was a soap-opera with a series of storylines that would dramatically (often very dramatically) reboot the strip.
"You cannot easily choose a random group of episodes as representative because overarching plots would sometimes take a whole season to unfold, come to fruition and reach some sort of resolution; the resolution could very well involve the demise of major characters in the best soap-opera tradition of, say, EastEnders. Unlike EastEnders, however (and, it must be said, American comics), dead characters were never brought back to life in desperate grabs for ratings or sales. Read the full review

Win Roy of the Rovers Books!

The UK’s teams may be missing out Euro 2008 this summer, but Titan Books is bringing football home with the publication of a new series of books collecting the comic strips of Britain’s most famous fantasy footballer: Roy Race.

The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s [Titan Books, 13 June 2008, £9.99] is the first in a brand new series of bumper volumes collecting Roy’s thrilling comic strip escapades. Featuring some of Roy’s greatest matches and adventures from the early 1980s, this incredible collection is a must-have for footie fans of all ages. Thrill once more to the roar of the crowd, as Roy and Melchester Rovers face trials and tribulations on and off the pitch, including the threat of relegation, Roy’s marriage troubles, and an assassin’s bullet!

Collected together with an introduction from Gary Lineker, these are the tales that endeared Roy of the Rovers to a generation.

WIN ROY OF THE ROVERS BOOKS!

Thanks to the great team at Titan Books, downthetubes has THREE copies of the Best of the Roy of the Rovers to be won!


Simply answer the question below and send us your entry by email via to arrive no later than 12 noon GMT Thursday 19 June 2008. (Alternatively, send your answer on a postcard to Roy of the Rovers competition, First Floor, King's Yard, High Street, Lancaster LA1 1LA). Good luck!

Who is credited with creating Roy of the Rovers?

More about Roy of the Rovers on the main downthetubes website

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Venal Muse Goes Online

Venal Muse(Via: Richard Bruton of Fictions): Small press artist Marc Ellerby has just made Venal Muse, his mini comic from 2006, available in its entirety online.

'I drew this in late 2006, but I think it eventually came out around February 2007," Marc explains. "It was to tie in with an exhibition of the same name that my friend John was putting on in Brick Lane - I thought the show was great, mainly because old friends were reunited and as a force we kicked some arty arse.'

'I really like this comic," he adds. "It's a bit flat in places and maybe doesn't hit the right notes, but I still think it holds it's own a year on. I made it into a mini comic and it's sold out now (there might be a few copies at Dave's Comics in Brighton...) so I present to you the first mini I ever made and sold in it's entirety. A couple of hundred are out there in the world and I hope everyone enjoyed them. Lemme know what you think and feel free to spread this link around.

Enjoy!"

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

BBC Online Archive Plan Details Announced

The BBC has announced plans to produce a web-page for every episode of every television show it has ever made, as part of an online archive that will span nearly eight decades of broadcasting history.

"From Dixon of Dock Green to David Attenborough's finest, Hancock's Half Hour and Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC has vowed to create a home on the web for all its programmes past and present, in an attempt to exploit the "long tail" of its archive," the Guardian reports. "Spanning 81 years of radio and television, the project will create a web page for every episode of every single programme ever broadcast on the BBC, and be the basis of a future plan to introduce a searchable vault of archived shows."

The Telegraph notes that the BBC has already created more than 160,000 individual web pages over the past three months for the project, with developers looking to create content for shows going back to the 1930s.

The plan would we expect also include SF shows such as A for Andromeda, Day of the Triffids, Doctor Who, Quatermass, Survivors and the many other shows produced by the BBC.

Each web-page will include basic information about each show as well as where it could be seen, either on television, the iPlayer broadband catch-up service or elsewhere on the internet, as well as video or audio clips, but the Daily Mail says the corporation hopes eventually to make whole programmes available.

The BBC does of course hold a huge amount of additional information on the making of many of its programmes, used by researchers such as Andrew Pixley in the writing of his archive pieces for Doctor Who Magazine in the past. Whether any of that would be included - such as details of music used in the show, location shooting details etc. - has not been stated.

The project, set in motion last year under director general Mark Thompson's plan to overhaul the BBC for the digital age, was outlined in detail by the director of BBC Vision, Jana Bennett (pictured here at a Media Masterclass she gave at Bournemouth University on "Changing Media"), at the Banff Television Festival in Canada, where Thompson also talked about the BBC's future after the broadcaster received an Outstanding Achivement Award.

Read the full Guardian article

Read the Daily Telegraph article

Read the Daily Mail article (which includes an image from Doctor Who: The Aztecs)

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Animated Adventures Exhibition in Leicester

Animated Adventures, featuring Aardman's Wallace & Gromit, is now open at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester and runs until 12 October 2008.

Visitors will get a behind-the-scenes look at how animators including Aardman - the film makers behind Wallace and Gromit - create their characters and bring them to life.

They will also reveal the industry secrets behind CGI technology, stop-frame animation and set design. The exhibition will also include examples of Manga and fantasy animations, and will even give visitors the chance to try creating their own crazy animations.

The Animation Film Festival runs until September as part of the programme, and will include a range of workshops, talks, activities and screenings of animated films from across the world.

Image © Aardman Animations Ltd 2005. All rights reserved.

Weird Web Finds...



Most peculiar...

Charlotte Corday: The Hampstead Horror

Here are the first two 'chapters' of a new Charlotte Corday story, The Hampstead Horror, created by Commando, New Eagle and Spaceship Away artist Keith Page specifically for ROK Comics, the mobile comics publisher. (Read more about the project here).

Charlotte returns in a new feature-length adventure battling an alien menace in 1950's London. Ably assisted by Sergeant Maxfield and a selection of North London gangsters and Teddy Boys, Charlotte manages to save the Capital. The ethereal and mysterious Dennis the Donkey lends a hand too, while the British Secret Service proves to be worryingly inept...






Written by screenwriter Stephen Walsh, Charlotte Corday of the Surete: London Calling is set in London in the early 1950s will also be a full length graphic novel, with a few surprises.

You can view all the comics on ROK Comics on your mobile by subscribing to our WAP service for a small monthly fee - $4 in the US, £3 in the UK, other countries also served.

Simply visit this page on the ROK Comics site and choose the subscribe option. When you receive a WAP push message to your mobile, connect to the site using that link using your browser, bookmark it -- and you'll be subscribed to ROK Comics Mobile for the next month.

Yes, it's really that simple. Please note, the link ROK Comics send you is exclusive to your phone, so don't lose it!

Monday, 9 June 2008

In Review: Comic Art Now

Almost every creative industry has its creative directory but comics seems to have missed the boat -- until Comic Art Now.

Edited by industry veteran Dez Skinn, this impressive a 200-page "comic art directory" has been published by HarperCollins Design (US) and ILEX (UK), plus various European publishers.

Over 100 artists are featured -- a mouth watering selection of sample art from artists from the US, UK, Brazil, Sweden, Manila, Tokyo, Singapore, Bulgaria and more, as well as their contact details.

Unlike many existing directories which charge for inclusion, this book's selection for inclusion was based on the quality of the art rather than the artist's bank balance. Assembled from over 500 submissions, the book presents the samples in well-honed chapters according to style -- heroes and villains, science fiction, horror etc -- and while some chapters are slight (personally, I felt the humour section was vastly under represented, despite the inclusion of great talents like Lew Stringer and Hunt Emerson), Comic Art Now is a welcome first edition of what I hope will become a regular release.

One enjoyable aspect of the book, lacking from much larger art directories such as Elfande's Directory of Illustration, is the inclusion of, from most artists, a 'snapshot' of how their work was created, which means the book could be useful for other artists looking for tips on technique.

Comic Art Now probably has to get a few editions under its belt to command the same level of usefulness as The Writer's Handbook or the Directory of Illustration, and, at present, lacks an online complement which would enable updates on contacts and additional information for creative agencies seeking artists (something the Directory of Illustration does have, and how). That said, it is a welcome reflection of the as ever high standard of work on offer from many working in the comics industry worldwide and the samples will no doubt steer some readers to track down copies of the full works featured - for example, Al Davison's Scar Tissue, Sam Hart's upcoming Robin Hood: Outlaw's Pride from Walker Books, John Higgins' Razorjack or even (I wish!) an English language version of Mike Collins' detective series, Varg Veum.

Comic Art Now is also a glorious celebration of the sheer range of comics now available, for all the doom and gloom opined by many in terms of declining print sales figures etc. For that alone, it deserves every success.

Buy Comic Art Now from amazon.co.uk (ILEX Edition)
Buy Comic Art Now from amazon.com (Harper Collins edition)

• You may also like
Fantasy Art Now featuring the work of artists such as Clint Langley, Greg Staples, Glenn Fabry, James Rayman, Linda Bergkvist, Liam Sharp, Jason Chan, Aly Fell, Aaron Sng and Robert Chang.

• Buy The Writer's Handbook from amazon.co.uk
• Check out the online verisoon of the Directory of Illustration

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Afterlife Released

After a year of long evenings after work, indie British comic creator Michael Crouch has finally produced Afterlife, a one-off science fiction tale.

Afterlife
is the story of a group of people on the distant Earth colony world of Nightfall. During a routine mining operation they discover a large stone cross buried underground with a hole in each extremity. A satellite in orbit, their only connection to home, is experiencing unexplained communications black-outs. On top of that is the discovery that this barren world was once home to a race of warriors, long since dead. Or so it seemed.

Pooling their knowledge and skills together, the colonists piece the events together eventually leading them to take a giant leap of faith. Only then can events resolve themselves and the colonists learn that there may be more worlds than the purely planetary.

"I've printed this up as a 32 page comic containing the full 28 page strip in black and white with a colour cover," Michael tells downthetubes. "I had it printed by Warpton Creative, who have done a very nice job of it. It is released under my publishing name, Storm Comics (www.stormcomics.com) and is available from the web site now for £2.25. I am currently working on a historical story which I aim to publish as my second release later in the year."

• Storm Comics: www.stormcomics.com

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• Got a British Comics News Story? E-mail downthetubes!

• Publishers: please contact for information on where to post review copies and other materials: editor@downthetubes.net

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