• Our thanks this week to the fab British Comic Art blog, for spotting Dan Dare, Mekon and Dalek on the cover of Fantastic Four 573; artist Alan Davis is of course a master of dropping in such characters into his backgrounds (older readers may recall Dan Dare in a crowd scene in an episode of Marvelman...)
• Sottish artists co-operative blog Scotch Corner has launched a competition to get a Marvel character of your choice drawn by Tom Crielly.
• Talking of competitions, artist Tim Perkins has launched a Christmas Manga Art Competition. The winner will have their work appear online here on the Wizards Keep News Pages, over on the Wizards Keep Blog and on the other Wizards Keep network places on the Internet, all 22, or so of them.
• Commando editor Calum Laird has been talking about lettering Commando artwork on the Commando Blog. "Commando has never had a 'hand-lettered' style of type," he acknowledges in response to queries on its creation. "In the early days an electric typewriter (an IBM Golfball, I believe) was used. That was later changed to photo-typesetting where the type was created and then outputted on photographic paper to be stuck on to the artwork. Most recently, the type has been totally electronic and is married to the artwork in QuarkXpress. Our current typeface is Helvetica Bold — we have used a Futura and a Spartan face in the past." What he doesn't say is why...
• Arthur Ranson, well known to 2000AD readers for his work on strips such as Judge Anderson and Button Man, now has his own official web site (www.arthurranson.com), crammed with great examples of his art down the years. Arthur reports he has an exhibition coming up from 14th January at London’s Orbital Comics gallery and also reveals the Button Man movie is still in development hell, by al accounts. "Dreamworks have a few months to decide whether to either go ahead, pay for more time to decide, or drop it," he says, countering reports of some casting decisions elsewhere on the Internet.
• Readers in and around Edinburgh might want to head along to Forbidden Planet there tomorrow evening, where bestselling author Ian Rankin will be signing copies of his comics debut Dark Entries from 5 to 7pm on our branch in Southbridge, just a haggis-toss from the Royal Mile, so please do come along (the event is free but ticketed, check with the branch to get hold of one, telephone 0131 558 8226).
• The New 'Legends' Anthology is now available from the IndieManga online shop It features five self-contained short comics by Anna Fitzpatrick, Sally Jane Thompson, Kate Holden and Rebecca McCarthy, plus IndiManga's new member, Sarah Burgess. The book has the theme of 'Myths Legends and Fairy Tales' and is suitable for all ages, comprising 130 pages black and white for just £6.00. Get it here: www.shop.indiemanga.com
• (with thanks to the Birmingahm Mail's Speech Balloon column): My apologies for what may be a re-post but a quick reminder, then, that Look and Learn is offering a bumper festive read for Christmas with its "Best Of" series. "If you know an intelligent child (8-14) who is interested in history, legend, literature, art, philosophy, nature, science or geography, and also loves pictures, it is difficult to imagine a more wonderful Christmas present," said publisher Laurence Heyworth. Complete sets of the 48 issues of the Best of Look and Learn are available for only £39.99, including UK delivery. The magazines are numbered, but undated, and are in mint condition and can be ordered direct online at: www.lookandlearn.com
In Praise of… Dan Dare and Trigan Empire Comic Artist and Illustrator Oliver Frey - Illustrator Oliver “Oli” Frey is well known for his work in many fields – as a book and magazine cover
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