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Saturday, 28 February 2009

Young Gods Arrive for Seconds

Myebook - Young Gods: Part TwoThe second part of Orang Utan Comics sci-fi action/adventure comic Young Gods is now available free online via the digital publishing site myebook.com.

“We’ve had a great response to the release of Part One and interest in the book is continuing to grow,” says Young Gods creator, Ian Sharman. “Hopefully with the release of Part Two people will see that we’re making an ongoing commitment to keep this series going.”

Written by Sharman, Young Gods is drawn by Argentinian artist Ezequiel Pineda and coloured by Mauro Barbosa. The story is set in 2086, a time when humanity faces a new threat -- Extra Humans. The government is struggling to cope with the growing number of mutants, aliens and supernatural beings who are living amongst us. People are beginning to panic and so, in 2050, the Department for Extra Human Affairs was established with a remit to try and contain the problem. By 2086 the situation has escalated, so they have formed a new rapid response strike force, the Young Gods. Who better to police the Extra Human community than Extra Humans themselves?

Orang Utan Comics say they now have plans to continue Young Gods on beyond this initial release, with a six part follow up, entitled Young Gods: Betrayal already in the works.

“The whole series is fully plotted out and the art team are hard at work on the first issue at the moment, and I’ll be handing them the script for the second issue any day now,” Sharman reveals.

“We’re hoping to maintain a bi-monthly schedule with the book as we don’t want to keep people waiting too long between issues.”

Orang Utan Comics have also announced plans to produce a print version of the as yet digital only Young Gods. A 48 page graphic novel collecting parts One and Two in one volume will be available soon through Indy Planet and they’re also hoping to offer the book through comic stores via Ka-Blam’s new ComicsMonkey initiative.

“These are turbulent times for the comic industry,” notes Sharman, who also functions as Orang Utan Comics’ managing editor, “but they’re also throwing up some exciting new opportunities for smaller independent publishers such as ourselves. We’d love to see the full six issue series of Young Gods: Betrayal in print through 2009 and hope to have a trade-paperback collection available in time for Christmas.”

Myebook - Young Gods: Part One - click here to open my ebook The first part of the Young Gods OGN is also still available to read online for free (link on your left), so if you’ve missed it, be sure to catch up before checking out Part Two!

• To find out more about Young Gods, read character bios and creator profiles, please visit www.younggodscomic.co.uk

• For more information on Orang Utan Comics Studio visit them online at www.orangutancomics.co.uk

Can Yuo Tell Who It is, Yet?


This is a fun little app: jigsawplanet lets you upload an image -- in this case, a spread from a 1970s Doctor Who strip from Countdown -- and turn it into a virtual jigsaw. You're then timed as you try to complete it. Who needs Brain Trainer? The system is java-powered and very easy to use, although pieces can get hidden under the main construct as you get closer to completion... but at least they won't get lost!

Off Topic: Goodbye Colorado


Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

This is nothing to do with comics, and yet everything to do with all those who have ever worked in any creative medium. As someone who has written and edited news for over 20 years, and has been reading so many depressing stories lately about the closure of newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, with the resultant loss of jobs, the complicated issues facing the newspaper and magazine (and indeed, comics) industry are nowhere more succinctly encapsulated in the video above marking the passing of Denver's Rocky Mountain News.

The reasons for the closure of the paper on Friday, just 55 days shy of its 150th birthday, are analyzed here by the paper's John Temple, but to sum up they're the ones you'd expect, and some you wouldn't: declining circulation, declining advertising revenues, spiralling costs, the rise of the Internet, the rise of internet Classifieds alternatives such as Craiglist... suffice to say, like other papers on both sides of the Atlantic, a toxic combination has put paid to the journalistic endeavours of a huge number of writers, to the dismay of the those loyal to the paper (and the delight of some that didn't care, in this case, for their perceived take on the RMN's politics).

What's telling is that as local newspapers are finding here, being part of a larger operation - in the case of RMN, it was owned by Scripps - would appear to have hastened the newspaper's demise. Local free papers in the UK have recently started to vanish, and paid-for local papers are also struggling, especially those owned by the likes of Gannett or Johnston Press. To these corporates, a newspaper would seem to have become little more than a line on a balance sheet rather than a vibrant part of a local community.

Incredibly, if you do indeed watch the video above, you'll note the corporate suits that make the closure announcement have the audacity to say that the paper was a model for how papers will run in future... but not, it seems, today,

The groundswell of opposition to and dismay at the closure is huge: see www.iwantmyrocky.com

And what will happen to the people who worked on this newspaper? What happened to the people who worked down Britain's mines, shipyards or large factories, so many now long gone...

"We will scatter," notes the front page editorial of the final edition, published Friday 27 February, "And all that will be left are the stories we have told, captured on microfilm or in digital archives, devices unimaginable in those first days. But what was present in the paper then and has remained to this day is a belief in this community and the people who make it what it has become and what it will be. We part in sorrow because we know so much lies ahead that will be worth telling, and we will not be there to do so..."

I never read The Rocky Mountain News. I had never heard of The Rocky Mountain News until I read a post on a journalism group I belong to. If it hadn't been for the Internet, one of the reasons the paper began to decline, I probably would not have known the paper had even existed, let alone be cancelled by the Men in Suits, the Bean Pushers and The Corporates -- the kind of people that have brought chaos to our economy and so many lives over the past few months.

A toast then, to the men and women of The Rocky Moutain News. Long may you and the paper you created be remembered and sorely missed by the community you served, and may what has happened act as another grim warning for all those working in our mutual creative industries...

Friday, 27 February 2009

Draw the World Together gets a Makeover


Draw the World Together, an organisation of creatives who have been raising huge amounts of money for street children around the world for the past four years, aiding the work done by the UK based charity EveryChild, has a new group where supporters, publishers and involved creators can meet and discuss plans for its future.

"Some amazing people in the world of comics have donated their time and talent to help the project," says artist Andrew Wildman, "and we have held events in the UK, Denmark, Greece and the USA. Much of our work was made possible by the generous hep of computer games company NCSoft.

"That was then, but this is NOW. DtWT has changed and has now been restructured for the convenience of all the people who are interested in playing a part. We have created a Ning network group to make it easier for Artist, Events organisers and Fans to play a part in it.

"Many artists have expressed an interest in helping out but it was often not convenient for them to be at our events as it clashed with their other responsibilities," Andrew continues. "The new structure enables artists to help out completely on their own terms and in whatever way works for them.

"Check out the DtWTning group and register," Andrew urges. "When you're in, join whichever of the three groups is relevant to you. DtWT-artist (for artists), DtWT-news (for editors, press and events organisers) or DtWT-public (for fans, readers and anyone else who enjoys comics). After that, start inviting other people!

"News will follow very soon about how you can make a massive difference to the lives of some of the poorest children around the world by simply doing what you already do."

• Join now and be at the start of making a massive difference:
drawtheworldtogether.ning.com

Best of Bulldog Finally Released

Jason Cobley has finally released his mammoth trade paperback colection, The Greatest Adventures of Captain Winston Bulldog, featuring the 'greatest hits' of his much-acclaimed indie title BAM, ranging from issue 1 all the way through to issue 28, covering something like 12 years of material.

Featuring art by Neill Cameron (The DFC), Kieran Macdonald, PJ Holden (2000AD) and many more the collection is avalable now via lulu.com.

"My main criteria for choosing the strips was to (a) not include anything where the writing made me cringe unduly, (b) try to allow the selection of strips to tell a cohesive narrative as far as possible for any new readers, (c) not include strips that demanded a thorough knowledge of complex continuity to follow, (d) leave out anything where the 'political satire' had dated unduly," says Jason, whose currently writing Frontier for The DFC.

"That leaves a range of beautiful artwork and some really good stories, so those who may have missed out on the early material, here's your chance to encounter some classics as well as later material. Like any 'greatest hits' package, somebody's favourite will be missing, and there may be something you don't think should be in a 'best of', but there it is and I'm quite pleased with it."

Jason, whose work has appeared in the Mammoth Book of New Manga, Accent UK's Zombies and adpated Frankenstein and Dracula for Classical Comics, says it was fun to revisit his small press days, even though it meant sitting at the scanner for hours on end and grappling with the pages. "I think the result is worth it," he enthuses.

• Check out the Bulldog Facebook group, Jason's blog and www.lulu.com for previews and pics. You can order it from Lulu (£7.99 plus postage).

Small Press Idol Launched

US Comics fans have launched Small Press Idol via Facebook, an event not tied to the USA if you're interested in getting involved. "It's International, this is an internet event," says organiser Ian Shires, "not tied to a physical location."

You can view the projects of Small Press Idol as they roll in via www.dimestoreproductions.com and, if you're a creator, you have until the event's end to get a project in.

If you're a simply fan of indy comics, check back on the site as often as you care to, to read the new pitches as they come in, get voted on by the judges, and turned out for your comments as well!

Contestants are currently chasing $440 cash (grows with each new contestant) and a four-issue publishing deal!

Small Press Iidol is accepting new projects till the deadline of March 20th - it is not too late to get in.

2D or not 2D?

A quick reminder that 2D, the Northern Ireland Comics Festival, returns from 4th - 6th June this year in Derry / Londonderry, featuring some of the most creative comic talent around.

The Festival will take place between The Verbal Arts Centre and Sandinos Bar and feature a diverse range of events, from educational workshops during the day on Thursday and Friday, to the always entertaining panel discussions in Sandinos, the best bar in town, on Friday and Saturday evenings. There will also be a closing party in Sandinos bar on Sat night to wrap proceedings up.

The event will also include Sketching, Signings, Dealers, an Exhibition and a whole lot more, and organiser David Campbell tells us the guest line-up will be announced soon and the event's web site will be updated with all the details.

"We are working on content for the workshops and panels so if anyone has suggestions for something they would like featured please get in touch," he says.

• All 2D Events are Free of Charge, as is All Tablespace. Contact Dave if you are a small press publisher or creator and would to book tablespace or get involved by emailing him via david@2dfestival.com

Texeira Painting Commission List Opens

Mark Texeira has long been one of the best to bring fine art painting to the sequential art world, book covers, galleries and more. Now, it's just been announced, with the last of his painting commissions out the door, that Texeira has a limited amount of space on his schedule to take on a few more full painting commissions.

Now is the chance to get the character of your choice in a full oil, one of a kind, rendition. If you've seen Tex's recent Vampirella, Conan and Wolverine you know... So let your imagination run wild. Who would you choose?

We're sure no-one reading this will be stuck for inspiration if you've see any of Texeira's work on such US comic titles as Ghost Rider, Black Panther, Moon Knight or his creator-owned project Pscythe, as well as an upcoming Wolverine special!

• For More information contact: EvaInk@aol.com
• If there are British artists offering private commissions, let us know and we'll add that information to our Comics Artists links section

Tube Surfing: 27 February 2009

• Taking place this weekend in Scotland is D-Con, at Dundee Student Union. Looks like a manga and anime-oriented event judging from the line-up, which is perhaps why we've only just got to hear about it. Special Guests include Naniiebim, creator of Here Be Demons manga, and Ross Burt, creator of Astro Funk comic and concept artist for EA Games.

• I have a few issues of TV Century 21 on sale on ebay right now, a mixed batch spanning issues 15 through 218; some of the proceeds of issues I'll be putting up over the next couple of weeks will go to Comic Relief. As I sell them, I'm putting a cover gallery on Flickr.

• The BBC report the National Library of Scotland is to embark on the laborious task of tracking down and cataloguing the countless thousands of fanzines published in the UK over the past 70 years. The library has enlisted the help of Chris Atton, a professor of media and culture at Napier University who has written both for and about fanzines for almost 30 years. If you're a fanzine editor, you may want to check out Jeremy Briggs' interview with John Birch at the NLS, which has more information on this quest.

• The BBC also reports that plans for Dundee to become an outpost of the world-famous Victoria and Albert museum are to be discussed. Supporters said the project could showcase the city's design heritage including computer gaming and comics. Given that DC Thomson has a huge office and archive in the city, it seems like a great idea to us.

• Now we know the world has gone Watchmen mad. Amazon.com are offering Nite Owl Dark Roast Coffee for sale. No, really... Meanwhile, Neil Gaiman has posted an article he wrote way back in 1986 for Time Out, detailing plans for a Watchmen film back then. "I was a very proud 25-year-old journalist, because this was the first big article on comics to be published in the UK, in a "real" magazine," he notes. "It's hard to communicate, in this golden age of geeks, how hard this was to make happen, or how important it was for a number of things, including morale.

• And finally... Doctor Who seems to be percolating into all manner of strange places. Check out this recent episode of US comic Brewster Rocket...

(Complied with thanks to Jeremy Briggs, Matthew Badham and George Lee)

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Star Trek Magazine Collected

Titan Magazines has digitized early issues of its first ongoing licensed title Star Trek Magazine, making them available for the first time on CD-ROM.

The issues, all edited by John Freeman, contain the first 24 issues of Star Trek Monthly in full colour, providing you with a fantastic search tool as well as some fascinating reading (typos and all). The only thing not included, for contractual reasons, is the reprint DC Comics strips.

Launched in 1995, back when Freeman still had hair (well, some, anyway), the Magazine helped establish Titan Magazines on the UK news stand and paved the way for other licensed tie-ins such as Star Wars Magazine, Babylon 5 and today's range, which includes LOST, Torchwood and Heroes.

The CD-ROM is compatible across Mac OSX and Windows systems and every article can be printed in full.

Features on Star Trek: First Contact and the birth of Star Trek: Voyager are just some of the highlights plus in-depth articles on Star Trek technologies, cultures and the show's history along with interviews with actors such as William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Patrick Stewart and many others.

If you've only recently discovered Star Trek Magazine and have perhaps been hunting down these early issues on eBay, this CD-ROM is a great alternative. It's just a shame it doesn't come with free bookmark like those early issues of the Magazine did!

Click here to find out more information and order

Watching the Watchmen at Borders

Borders UK has teamed up with Titan Books to bring fans two chances to meet Watchmen artist and co-creator Dave Gibbons, with an in-store signing at Borders Islington on 12th March from 7.30pm and another at Borders Glasgow on 14th March from 1.30pm, when the artist will be signing copies of Titan’s fantastic range of Watchmen books including Watching the Watchmen.

Plus, www.borders.co.uk is running a competition where 50 lucky fans can win the chance to attend an exclusive in-store audience with Dave. Taking place before the signing, the lucky winners will be treated to an exclusive presentation of material from Watching The Watchmen, including original character designs, sketches and early pages, and they’ll have the chance to put their own questions to the acclaimed artist.

Celebrating the release of the movie adaptation from Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures, and directed by Zack Snyder (300), which premieres in UK cinemas nationwide on 6th March, Titan Books is also bringing fans three tie-in books to provide the ultimate companions to the movie experience. Watchmen: The Film Companion takes viewers behind the scenes and beyond the screen with interviews and photographs to learn the secrets of the movie’s production; Watchmen: The Art of the Film explores the evolution of the movie’s artistry, from early artwork to finished stills, set piece schematics to prop showcase shots to take readers from Zack Snyder’s production design office (aka ‘The War Room’) right through to the studio floor; and Watchmen: Portraits presents a stunning collection of black-and-white portrait photographs of the men and women behind the production, taken by the movie’s official still photographer, Clay Enos.

• Dave Gibbons events at Borders stores will be taking place at: Borders Islington, The N1 Shopping Centre, Parkfield Street, Islington, London N1 0PS; Tel: 0207 226 3602 and Borders Glasgow, 98 Buchanan St , Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3HA: Tel: 0141 222 7700

• For details of the Signing Competition go to
www.borders.co.uk

Talking Up Tabella



There's a sense of fun to the output of new British publisher Tabella (www.tabella.co.uk), which was was set up last year by husband and wife Kevin and Julia Quinn. By fun, I don't mean their range is humorous, although some, like award-winning Norwegian artist Olvind Hovland's superb A Day in the Life of Alfred could probably be described as such; I mean these are books that Kevin and Julia clearly believe in and want to succeed, and they're going to get them out there no matter what conventional wisdom might say otherwise.

Based in rural Dorset, Tabella publish high quality arts and graphics books, both digital and traditional in origin. "We’re keen to expand our program, and welcome enquiries from artists/writers interested in getting their work into print," says Kevin.

He kindly sent downthetubes three of their titles: A Day in the Life of Alfred and Trial and Error: The Aviated Efforts of Jean Babtiste de Bomberaque, both by Hovland; and Hiyama Volume 1 by gruff79.

The production quality on all the books is excellent and of the three, Hovland's A Day in the Life of Alfred, a tale of alienation in the big city is my favourite. It's a stark, minimalist tome employing the style of a child's "picture book" format - illustration on the left hand page, minimal text on the right -- to trace the day of its depressed, lonely central character, infuriated that even the smallest of attempts at engaging someone he sees every day, but who he has never talked to before, are rebuffed. The sentiment must surely be one that many commuters ponder every day as they see the dame familiar faces on their journey to work, never talking unless something changes in the usual routine - the 'relative stranger' effect.

Hovland's art, sense of composition and delivery is quite astonishing, making use of a limite palette to create on the surface a simple story that stabs deep into the woes of our modern world. It's a title I'd recommend for its engaging style and masterful storytelling, while noting that this is a slim volume for its cover price, which may put off potential buyers. Their loss!

Trial and Error: The Aviated Efforts of Jean Babtiste de Bomberaque is a simpler tale, illustration rather than text-driven, revealing the determined efforts of a fictional contemporary of the Wright Brothers to successfully fly. It's a testament to Hovalnd's skill that the style of art employed is very different to that of his more recently-published Alfred: I don't know whether this displays an evolution of his style or deliberate change of look between volumes as I'm not familiar with his work, which has seen him shortlisted for, among other things, the Mercury Prize (check out more of his stunning work on his web site). All I can say is that there's a wonderful satisfaction to Bomberaque continuing efforts to become an aviator, and the quirky comedy of the closing images enhances his determination to be a success -- something many creators and inventors in many fields can surely relate to.

I'm sure that Tabella would say that the first volume of British manga title Hiyama is a little rough around the edges: Gruff79's dark and violent look at a corrupt, crime-ridden Britain, a society facing increasing gang violence and brutality is a savage "hero for our times" tale that uses manga styling to reveal a new form of justice in the form of an angry, vengeance-filled family pitted against crime lords and policemen in their employ. I have to confess to not being a manga fan and would argue that while the tale will appealI suspect, to those who are -- and it's clear from the creator's DeviantArt page that Hiyama has gathered quite a following -- the art is a tad unpolished and needs an editorial hand to realize Gruff79's clear sense of storytelling and developing ability. A second volume of the story, which will run across six volumes in all, is due to be published in June, and it will be interesting to contrast and compare.

Tabella clearly recognise some of the problems with the book but are confident of its promise. "We don't want to give too much away, but we're really excited by the Hiyama series as a whole," they say in a comment on a review of Hiyami on MyReviewer. "There are clues in the first volume as to where the series is going, but Volume 1 is in essence just the introduction. The big picture; the social and political backdrop, the characters' personalities and motivations are big issues, encompassing family, love, greed, vengeance, corruption, betrayal and violence, and the ultimate climax is dramatic indeed.

"This first volume of the Hiyama series (and Gruff79's first ever book) was pretty much completed by the time we first saw it," the publishers add. "All the pictures were drawn, with text in place, so revisions/corrections were very difficult to make (and the text was hard to check) given the timeframe we set ourselves (we really wanted to get the book in print as soon as possible). There are a few typos in there, but we don't feel they detract too much from the story. We're much more involved in the next volumes, and they will be better from that point of view.

"Gruff79 has learned a lot from doing his first book, and will definitely apply that knowledge to subsequent volumes."

All of Tabella's books are available from online stores such as Amazon.co.uk, Play.com etc., and can be ordered through bookshops such as Waterstones or your local independent book shop: their web site offers more detailed information on all the titles and links to 'try before you buy' page samples in the form of straight imagery or video previews.

This is a publisher, like Blank Slate, that's well worth watching for their eye on the quirky and the books they like, the indie work we at downtheutbes have tried to promote for several years now. I recommend checking out the web site and seeing if you like what your find.

Tabella are currently distributing the books themselves, which works for the UK and Europe, but US distribution is "in negotiation" with a US distributor at the moment, and we hope to bring you more news on developments in future.

• Tabella Publishing: www.tabella.co.uk
Olvind Hovland's Official Web Site
Gruff79's Deviant Art page

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Kez and Luke Collected

Recently arrived at the downthetubes lair is a copy of The Adventures of Kez and Luke by TOXIC Comic sub-editor Luke Paton, a collection of strips published first published online.

The drawings comprise simple stick figures throughout but there's some nicely observed relationship humour that gives an added and funy dynamic to the whole. The difference between the sexes is rarely so dramatically revealed, as a quick visit to the web site for a taster will hopefully confirm.

Copies of the indie-published print edition can be bought from www.theadventuresofkezandluke.com (click the store link) and cost £2.99 with free p+ p.

Marvel Europe Collection Released

Out now from Marvel US is Marvel Europe, a collection of strips by some of Europe's top creators from native European Marvel titles such as Panini's Spectacular Spider-Man. The trade comes with a cover by Staz Johnson and James Offredi.

Pride of place in the book for British Marvel fans has to be a story featuring Brian Braddock, the original Captain Britain, back in costume in a story from Spectacular Spider-Man Adventures #114 - but can even he help Spider-Man stop a Red Skull on the rampage?

"I'm well chuffed with this," says Jon Haward, who drew the story. "The story is inked by John stokes and written by Jim Alexander another very talented Scottish writer.

"It would be nice if Marvel US published more of my Spidey stuff – I did about 32 issues in five years on Spectacular Spider-Man, featuring characters such as Sue Storm, Spidey versus Doctor Doom, Mephisto, Ghost Rider, the Black Widow, just to name a few!"

Also in the collection is Daredevil & Captain America: Dead on Arrival, drawn by Italian artist Claudio Villa with colour from Fabio D'Auria, a series of bizarre murders suggests that a long-dead villain has returned from the grave. The desperate New York Police Department turns to the Man Without Fear, Daredevil, to solve the case. Daredevil, however, is unaware that Captain America is also investigating on behalf of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. The result is all-out action and a titanic team-up for two of Marvel's marquee heroes.

Wolverine: Saudade!, drawn by Philippe Buchet and coloured by Walter Pezzali, is a vicious, manga-styled saga of bloody revenge as only the X-Men's most popular mutant can deliver. While on holiday in Brazil, Logan has his motorcycle stolen by a group of young boys - one of whom has a secret. When a brutal gang kidnaps the boy, Wolverine sets off on a quest to find him - leading to a deadly encounter with a corrupt faith healer who may not be what he appears!

The collection also features a comprehensive atlas of Marvel Europe, from the splendour of Doctor Doom's Latveria to the wonders of the X-Men retreat, Muir Island.

Buy Marvel Europe from amazon.co.uk
Buy Marvel Europe from amazon.com

Bellamy, Noble Art Up for Auction

Rare wartime Beanos and The Dandys and artwork by Frank Bellamy, Don Harley, Ken Reid, Mike Noble and Dudley Watkins form just part of the British section of the latest auction from London-based Comic Book Auctions.

While best known for his Thunderbirds art for the 1960s comic TV Century 21, Frank Bellamy also drew some Captain Scarlet pages and it is the cover of Issue 192 that features in this auction, offered with a copy of the self same issue of the comic.

Described as being in Poster paint on board measuring 15 x 11.5 inches, the lot is expected to fetch £550-650.

Also offered is another page from TV Century 21, this time from Fireball XL5 drawn by Mike Noble. The page is from what continues to be a popular story among TV21 fans, in which Steve Zodiac and crew face off the menace of what seem to be living snowmen, the page taken from Issue 38, published in 1965, Measuring 21 x 17 inches, the art is signed by Noble and expected to fetch anything up from £300.

The Dan Dare art on offer features work by Desmond Walduck for Eagle Volume 5, No 7 in which Vora, Blasco and The Rootha attack Dan's rebel stronghold with their cosmic-ray armoured Black Cats. Another page, this time from Eagle Vol 12 No 30, is the scond page of the Dan Dare story for the issue published in 1961 by Don Harley and Bruce Cornwell, in which
Dan and Digby land on a strange platinum planet and have to run for their lives.

Deseperate Dan
art by Dudley Watkins, Keyhole Kate original artwork drawn and initialled by Allan Morley for a 1949 issue of The Dandy, Clever Dick by Leo Baxendale and Faceache by Ken Reid are among the other art offerings, alongside a huge range of comic titles spanning decades of British comics history including issues of Lady Penelope, sister title to TV Century 21 (including a rare 1966 Lady Penelope Summer Extra), Champion (from 1922), a complete year of the 1928 editions of Film Fun in two bound volumes, starring Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Mr E - Man Of Mystery, wartime issues of The Beano and The Dandy -- rare finds, given that much paper was recycled for the war effort -- and much more.

• Bids on lots will be accepted until Tuesday 10 March at 8.00pm GMT

Direct Links for Catalogue Sections

British comics, annuals and artwork
US Golden Age comics
US Silver Age Marvel comics
US Silver Age DC comics
US 1970's & 1980's comics

Tube Surfing: 25 February 2008

• Comics artist Doug Noble, whose past works include work for Marvel, Live Static and The Silent Choir and who was recently interviewed by fellow creator Sean Azzopardi, is about to launch a new longform strip called Complex. "Hopefully some of you will be interested in checking it out once it starts," he pitches. "It’s going to be fairly interesting, I hope. An end of the world story, a love story, a murder mystery." Check it out from Monday on www.strip-for-me.com
Doug is currently working with Daniel Merlin Goodbrey on the webcomic The Rule Of Death at serializer.net.

• Fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be pleased to hear the Cartoon Network has announced a second season is in the works. Now showing on Cartoon Network UK, the series features in Titan Magazines' Star Wars Comic, available in all good newsagents. The latest issue sees the start of Shipyard of Doom, an epic Clone Wars action spectacular... As the Republic and Separatist forces race to build their armies, a desperate battle rages at the crossroads of the hyperspace lanes of Nexus Ortai. Our heroes, meanwhile, head beyond droid enemy lines…

• Happy Birthday to the Forbidden Planet International blog! The team there, headed up by Joe Gordon, celebrate four years of comics and genre news blogging, encompassing US and European comics as well as British coverage. "Growing out of our increasing online presence we wanted a way that we could discuss and highlight good comics, graphic novels, SF&F, cool merch - all the things we do through our stores and the webstore and our catalogues," Joe says of the blog's aims. "Mostly we wanted to be able to use it as a platform where we could share our love of comics and SF; we’ve posted news, reviews and interviews and some great comics art, we’ve talked to folks who make comics in their bedroom in their spare time and make up part of the vibrant small press and we’ve talked to some of the best known creators and all of them have been interesting, all of them a part of the medium we love." Never mind all that, where's the cake?

• Dynamite writers Leah Moore and John Reppion will be giving a talk on their latest project The Complete Dracula, a new five issue comic book version of Stoker’s novel illustrated by Colton Worley, at the prestigious Dublin Writers Museum on Saturday 18th April. The talk will begin at 3.00 pm. More details here

• As reported previously, Captain Jack Harkness actor John Barrowman has written a Torchwood comic strip with his sister Carole Barrowman - and she's been interviewed by the Newsarama.com guys about the story that appears in current issues of Torchwood Magazine.

The Times features an interview with Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons this week. Dave reveals that he was not involved in any earlier attempts to turn the comic into a film but when it came to the eagerly-anticipated Zach Snyder film, it was the top British comics artist who approached him about making it. "I’d been invited along to the London premiere of 300," he tells Michael Moran, "which was based on the graphic novel by my friend Frank Miller. I thought it was a fantastic, a wonderful, true adaptation of Frank’s work. I think it had been announced then that Zach was in the frame to direct Watchmen, so I thought, I’ll have to go and shake him by the hand. I grabbed him on his way to the VIP enclosure at the premiere party and shook him by the hand and introduced myself. I just really wanted to say hello but we ended up talking for half an hour. I realised then that he did understand Watchmen. I got such a gut feeling that he could do it justice.” Read More...

• Talking of Watchmen, Bear Alley notes that the graphic novel has sold around 750,000 copies since it was first published in 1986. Following its appearance in Time magazine's Top 100 English Novels since 1923 and the release of the Watchmen movie trailer, it has been racking up sales at an astonishing rate these past few months and was the highest-selling graphic novel in the USA in 2008. "Brian Hibbs revealing recently that Bookscan figures put the 2008 US sales at 308,396 copies," notes Steve Holland, "and that's probably a low figure as Bookscan does not cover all outlets)." Read More...

(Compiled with thanks to Matthew Badham)

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Who Watches the Watchmen? - A Veidt Music Network (VMN) Special - 1983



Perhaps the best Watchmen viral clip yet -- an 80's MTV parody! The film makers have really gone to town in recreating media from the Watchmen Universe.

And there's more... if you haven't seen the Tales from the Black Freighter trailer for the dvd of the story from within the story, here it is...



Plus... Integrity in journalism... subscribe today at www.thenewfrontiersman.net

Paul Grist's Big Cosmic Comic

(with thanks to "The Cap): Paul Grist, whose other credits include the fabulous Jack Staff comic, has begun to run his Big Cosmic Comic, subtitled "The Continuing Adventures of the Eternal Warrior", as a blog.

The strip is a homage, of course, to a well known immortal British comics hero and other things...

"This is something I've had in the back of my head for a year or so now, and I keep coming back to it then going away again.

"This a work in progress - all comments are welcome - I hope to add at least one new page every week, depending on what else I'm doing! We'll see how it goes."

London Cartoon Festival Group to Meet

The first meeting of the London Cartoon Festival Support and Social Group (soon to be shortened to LICfest) takes place at The Cartoonist Pub in London next week.

LICfest is an online gathering of cartoonists, caricaturists, cartoon students, enthusiasts, fans, friends and relatives, all with the aim of realising the first ever London International Cartoon Festival in 2010.

The first "real world" event at the Cartonist Pub will be the first of ongoing monthly meetings, offering workshops, talks and "general good time socialising and networking", says co-organiser Simon Ellinas.

"We will be outlining our plans for the Festival, sharing ideas and generally having lots of fun and chances to meet new people with an interest in cartooning or similar art forms."

In addition to the chance to meet lots of cartoonists, there will be entertainenment from singer songwriter Will Kevans, whose web site includes a link to a fun "Bag the Banker" game.

The London International Cartoon Festival (LICfest) already has a possible home at The British Library. "We just need the money, the support and the enthusiasm to make it happen!"

• LICfest meets at the Cartoonists Pub from 7.00pm until 10.00pm on Tuesday 3rd March.
The Pub is located at the London International Press Centre, 76 Shoe Lane London EC4A 3JB. Tel: 020 73532828 (It's accessible down a street called Little New Street).

• You can join LICfest Ecademy Club and sign up to attend (completely FREE!) the LICfest Meeting Ecademy.
• You can also join the LICfest Facebook Group and register for the LICfest Meeting on Facebook.

Knights of Pendragon Collection Planned

Panini UK has confirmed a collection of the first nine issues of Marvel UK's highly-acclaimed orginal Knights of Pendragon series, created by Dan Abnett, John Tomlinson and Gary Erskine, is in development, for publication later in 2009.

Knights of Pendragon, which also featured covers by artists such as Alan Davis and Simon Bisley, was initially a highly political and environmental comic, its themes drawn from the British folklore of King Arthur, environmental issues and New Age and neo-pagan subcultures.

The 216 page collection, comprising the first nine issues of the title's original 18-issue run, will feature an introduction by co-creator Dan Abnett and is currently scheduled it for an October 2009 release.

"It’s great news," Knights of Pendragon's original editor Steve White told downthetubes. "That was such a personal project for us and paved the way for so much that followed, such as Lords of Misrule [published by Dark Horse] and Hypersonic.

"I have a lot of happy memories of that time and even though I was only the editor, I felt I invested an awful lot of creativity into that.

"Looking back, it seems a bit cliched and naïve now, but we were young and reckless, and the environmental issues we now take for granted were still relatively new in the eyes of the readers. Even so, the creative team was a fine blend of talents."

The team took the environmental concerns as far as the format of the book, publishing it on Scangloss, an environmentally-friendly paper. While that may seem old hat now, back in the 1980s it was something of a first or a comics title.

"I'm absolutely delighted that the first series will see print," commented series artist Gary Erskine, whose credits include Star Wars, Dan Dare and more and describes the title as the "Best introduction to comics ever."

"I remember seeing a collected Italian or Spanish edition years ago of (containing the first six issues) and was always a little disappointed that we never followed up at Marvel UK."

"Does anyone still remember Marvel's first (and so far, only) green superhero book?" said co-writer John Tomlinson, who now wors for Eaglemoss. "I hope it's printed on eco-friendly Scangloss paper, or we're all going to Hell!

"When I think of The Knights of Pendragon now I remember Gary's unique, strange and sometimes terrifying artwork, the amazing lineup of cover artists (Alan Davis through Simon Bisley via John Bolton) and all the great letters we got," recalls. "Not only that, but I still can't go into McD*****s without being poleaxed by guilt, or at least acid reflux."

Like Steve, he's unsure how modern readers will respond to the story but remembers the book fondly. "I'm not sure how well it's aged, but K.O.P. (the first 18 issues, anyway) gave me, Dan, Steve and Gary, still pretty green ourselves, to effectively grow up in print. It's not often you get the chance to do that."

Captain Britain: New Collection On Sale Soon

After many unforeseen and arduous delays, Panini UK's third collection of Captain Britain stories, The Lion and the Spider, is finally at the printers and should be out and in the shops in about six weeks time.

The collection, reprints Super Spider-Man & Captain Britain Weekly #239-247, Marvel Team-Up #65-66 (including the splash pages from Super Spider-Man & Captain Britain Weekly #249, 250, 252 and 253) and the Black Knight saga published in Hulk Comic Weekly #1, 3-30 (there was no Black Knight tale in issue #2).

This includes Captain Britain’s epic battles against villains such as Dr Claw and the début of Slaymaster, as well as the Lion of London’s team-up with Spider-Man and the start of his quest into Otherworld with the Black Knight.

Also featured in the collection is an exclusive intro by former Marvel UK editor Dez Skinn and eight pages of original concept/design sketches from Cap’s creation kindly provided by Larry Leiber.

"It’s been a long hard slog with this book," Panini editor Brady Webb, who edits the UK graphic novels range as well as Astonishing Spider-Man and Marvel Legends, told downthetubes, "but hopefully the fans will think it is worth it; I know I do!"

Click here for Captain Britain-related titles on sale on amazon.co.uk

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