downthetubes is undergoing some main site refurbishment...
The downthetubes news blog was assimilated into our main site back in 2013, but we're glad you're here, because that's currently undergoing some under the bonnet refurb! So we've brought this blog back from the dead to tide us over.
We expect to be back up and running next week, just before the 2017 Lakes International Comic Art Festival - see you there?
Hop over to www.downthetubes.net for other British comics news, comic creating guides, interviews and much more!
Saturday, 11 April 2009
The terrific Cla$$war and John Higgins' Razorjack - we hope to post reviews of both next week - are available this month as hardcover and softcover collected editions, respectively.
Somewhat chastened, perhaps by the problems that beset ComX in the past - most beyond the company's control, not least the theft of their equipment, Eddie says that, "this time ‘round, we’re not going to rush projects just to maintain a presence in the public eye.
"From both a financial and timing perspective, we need to make sure all aspects of the publishing model are working efficiently before we solicit them for release," he continues. "We are still self-publishing, indie-publishing, whatever people want to call us, so we still have to count the pennies back at base.
"..Our publishing model, at least for the time being, is going to focus on graphic novel format, collected editions, complete story-arcs, etc. That was one of the big lessons we learned from our last foray into the comics industry. Read the ful interview here on comicon
Watch out also for another interview with Eddie in an upcoming issue of Judge Dredd: The Megazine.
• Talking of interviews, Insomnia Publications publisher Crawford Coutts has been talking to the Edinburgh Evening News, commenting on the recently announced news that the publisher is getting support from Business Gateway as part of Scottish Enterprise's Growth Pipeline. ""We see enormous potential in the USA and Canada," he told the paper. "...We are now working further with Business Gateway to look at how we expand further in the industry and link with other industries such as TV, film and merchandising."
• (via Forbidden Planet International): Will The DFC return? The good news is, publisher David Fickling say it will, next year as an independent title. "We are going to come back next year independently,” publisher David Fickling told the Federation of Children’s Book Groups in Sussex, journalist Jayne Howarth reports. He also revealed that when Philip Pullman, who wrote The Adventures of John Blake for the comic, heard of the closure he told David that the “story must continue.
“Don’t let the closure of your comic stop your great enterprise,” he said.
Steve Holland also notes a news item published in The Bookseller (5 April) noting that the growth in sales of graphic novels could see the title relaunched reportng David was exploring different options for the comic's future. "It's a special creation that should come back and needs to come back in some way," he said. Steve offers some comment on the graphic novel model.
• Robert Downey Jr. is officially back in the superhero business. Production started Wednesday on Iron Man 2, the sequel to his 2008 blockbuster about the Marvel Comics character. Meanwhile, PA News reports Scottish actor Alan Cumming says he would be interested in returning to the X-Men franchise. "Nobody's said anything about it, but it might be quite fun to go back," he commented. "I was supposed to do it again and they didn't pick up my option for a third one. It was sort of 'superhero interruptus'."
• Former Punch cartoonist Noel Ford has been talking to the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation website Bloghorn about how he became an artist. "I didn’t have much choice," Noel, who is editorial cartoonist for half a dozen national UK publications andproduces work for calendars, greeting card and book illustration (including the Grumpy Old Men series of books). "Brainwashed by having Film Fun and Radio Fun read to me from the age of two, bombarded with my Uncle’s and Auntie’s huge backlog of Beanos and Dandys, I drew my first cartoon around the age of five (Child to mother, “Why are bananas nice?” Mother to child, “Because you like them.”) Okay, okay, I was only five, remember." He's Bloghorn's Artist of the Month, which has also been promoting the new edition of Foghorn Magazine.
• Steve Holland reports he is hard at work on The Art of Ron Embleton book, reprinting some of Ron's finest work from the pages of Look and Learn. "With about 600 pages to choose from, it's going to be a cracking book," he enthuses, posting some examples of Ron's wor on Bear Alley.
• Over on the Birmingham Mails' Speech Balloons column, Paul Birch plugs the return of revamped (sorry) and reinvigorated fanzine From the Tomb. The story is a .jpg, so you'll just have to exercise your fingers and click the link!
• If you're a fan of the Robin Hood legend, you may get a kick from these designs for an animated Robin Hood movie by Jon Haward. "In 2004 a writer friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in drawing designs for a Robin Hood animated movie... sadly like a lot of things, they didn't get the funding."
• Talking of design work, there's a smashing post on long-time 2000AD contributor D'Isreaeli's blog on how a selection of Dredd artists have portayed the architecture of Mega-City One over the years.
Oranisers warn no tickets will be available on the door, and the only way to get tickets now is to ask to be put on the reserve list (details below).
The Expos websites www.fantasyevents.org and www.spexpo.co.uk contain fuller details of the latest additions to the line-up … including Mike Conroy and the Comics International team, Accent UK, Moonface Press, Sgt Mike Battle, Futurequake, Factor Fiction Press, Scar Comics, Ablaze Media, Orang Utan Comics, Small Zone, Self Made Hero and Genki Gear all booked into the Ramada Jarvis for both days … so here’s a short update on some of the books available at the Expos, with website details for those unable to make the event or unlucky to miss out on a ticket:
Massacre For Boys are bringing their brand new anthology title, Massacre For Boys In Colour. It's got war heroes, super heroes, Edwardian heroes, football heroes, animal hatmaking heroes, future heroes and an extra dose of war heroes. There are also some villains for balance. They will also be selling our Eagle-award nominated comic Walking Wounded.
• More details at www.massacreforboys.co.uk
TOKYOPOP will return once again to Bristol Comic Expo with a selection of best selling manga from one the world’s largest publishers of manga . They will have some special offers only available at shows and some yet to be released new titles . Make sure you drop by and if you’re new to manga, let them recommend one of their series that might appeal to you.
• More at www.tokyopop.co.uk
Time Bomb Comics bring their new, full colour, one shot, The Sisterhood: Morningstar, to Bristol – Space Nuns With Guns – the creative team of writer Steve Tanner and artist Dan Barritt will be at their table to sign and sketch throughout the Saturday.
More info: www.timebombcomics.com
As we reported earlier this week, Insomnia Publications (www.theredeye.co.uk) will launch Cancertown (the book Bryan Talbot says “will disorientate you, suck you in, chew you up and spit you out and you might well be in need of a change of underwear by the end”) at Bristol, with writer Cy Dethan and artist Stephen Downey at the Insomnia booth to talk about the book, sign copiesand sketch characters. Chapter one is available for free preview via MyEBook
ITCH will be at the SPExpo with lots of good stuff, including Leek and Sushi's Manga Show, a chunky anthology with short manga around the themes of Friendship, Japan and the UK. They'll also be selling the environmental fantasy Final Blossom, and dark fairytale Amaranth. The books are also available from www.itchpublishing.com , although if you come to the SPExpo you get a sticker with your purchase!
Metaphrog - creators of the critically acclaimed and multiple Eisner and Ignatz award nominee Louis graphic novel series - will be signing copies of their books at SPExpo, as well as selling original art from the acclaimed series. The books can be checked out at www.metaphrog.com plus their regularly updated blog is available at metaphrog.blogspot.com
After a few years away from the scene, Asia Alfasi is back with a bang with a brand-new book and a whole new website – for now, exclusive previews of her beautiful art are available at lady-respect.deviantart.com – more details to follow!
The Astral Gypsy, aka Al Davison, is artist on the new Doctor Who comic from IDW, he will be on hand for Manga portraits, character sketches and signing. As usual a great range of graphic novels, manga and graphic art material will also be available from the Astral Gypsy table.
Unico Comics (www.unicocomics.co.uk) are bringing three new books:
The Legend Known As… #1 (of 4)” is set in 2027 and 13 years after the Kato environmental disaster. The world has changed, Governments have fallen, and society is holed up in the ruins of whatever cities are left. This is a superhero comic with a twist. It shows how people react to an unknown person saving their lives and not knowing anything about him.
Borderliners #1 - Think Spooks meets Philip K Dick with television influences including The Avenger, The Professionals, The Champions and The Prisoner and you’re close to the feel and direction of this comic. As we said last year when the book was first announced, with its beautifully realized British setting and characters, it’s offering a complex but intriguing plot that is sure to appeal to fans.
Finally from Unico comes Uncle Tickle #1. Once upon a time there was a beloved TV kid’s show host named Uncle Tickle. When his show was cancelled after many seasons he lost his mind and killed everyone in the studio as it was filmed in during his live TV finale. Now he travels the country dispensing his own sickly humorous brand of retribution to all!
Futurequake also bring three new books along: the latest of its popular anthology FutureQuake 13, featuring the finest in the Small Press with another 48 pages of strips to thrill and astound: make sure you pick one of these up first as it's a top seller!
Dogbreath reaches the amazing issue 20 with the usual mix of strips and features based in the world of 200AD's Strontium Dog. Plus, how can we not mention the excellent Zarjaz: Issue 7 sees the results of the recently lifted Pat Mills character embargo! Underneath a wraparound cover by Dave Kendall the mix of strips and articles ever includes a strip from Sancho's Al Nolan and an interview with Pat Mills himself. Check out their blog for more covers: futurequakepress.blogspot.com
Lastly, but not leastly, Moonface Press who, as we again reported earlier in the week are also bringing three new books along: Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag, a scabrous parody comic that takes satirical pot-shots at The Boys, Blankets, Lost Girls, Judge Dredd and Jack Kirby by the Eagle Award-winning team of Andy Winter (writer) and Declan Shalvey (artist). Plus there's the 64-page launch issue of BritForce, the first of an ongoing series featuring the UK's No.1 superhero team, written and drawn by Andrew Radbourne and the cover comes courtesy of Glenn Fabry. Last but not least is Brothers, another UK-set superhero title, this time featuring two warring siblings, a dark government conspiracy and a truly monstrous final battle at Canary Wharf. It's a 56-page one-shot courtesy of Andy Winter (writer) and Andrew Radbourne (artist).
It sounds like a it's ging to be a great event -- if anyone is going and would like to write a report for downthetubes, please get in touch as personal and work commitments mean we won't be there (sob!)
• Ticket updates will be posted at www.fantasyevents.org/index2.html if any more become available – details on who to email to be put on the reserve list are available there now.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
On sale from 25th June in the UK, this is a specially commissioned illustration by comic artist Michael Golden and ties in with Torchwood Magazine's "Rift War" comic strip storyline.
Golden has been wowing comic fans since the 1970s on such titles as Marvel’s Micronauts and The 'Nam, and he’s been contributing to Marvel and DC comics ever since. His most recent comics projects include covers for DC Comics' Nightwing, Superman: The Man of Steel, and Vigilante.
This Torchwood Magazine Diamond Exclusive comic-artwork cover is only available to buy through comic stores.
• Find your nearest comic store in the US: www.comicshoplocator.com (US)
• Find your nearset comic store outside the US: www.comicshoplocator.com/default.asp?LocType=g
For information on Torchwood Magazine visit:
• UK - http://titanmagazines.co.uk/torchwood
• US - http://titanmagazines.com/torchwood
• Torchwood Magazine Facebook Page
Here at downthetubes we've been playing close attention to developments at Insomnia Publications, and the fast-developing acclaim writer Cy Dethan and artist Stephen Downey, two of over 100 creators the company has been working with, have been getting.
We've also plugged Cancertown, written by Cy with art Stephen Downey and we're delighted to report the book will be launched at the Bristol International Comics Expo next month.
Cancertown is the story of Vince Morley, a man with big problems and a brain tumour like a baby's fist, who lives with one foot in a monstrous alternate world he calls Cancertown. When the lost and dispossessed of London start tripping over the same cracks in reality he spends his life avoiding, Morley realises he must confront the residents of Cancertown - and risk finding his place among them.
The book is the first creator-owned title by Cy Dethan from Edinburgh-based Insomnia Publications, tipped as “ones to watch” in the Forbidden Planet blog’s “Best of the year 2008” roundup.
"Cancertown will disorientate you, suck you in, chew you up and spit you out and you might well be in need of a change of underwear by the end," warns Bryan Talbot in his introduction for the book, enthusing of the creative team behind it. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
“Unusually for a book from an independent publisher we have had to increase the initial print run by 50% based on pre-orders alone,” said Crawford Coutts, Managing Director of Insomnia.
Cancertown is the second title to be released this year by the publishing company which now is now working with over 100 creators, many of whom have worked for Marvel, DC, 2000AD, Image, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd. Heavy Metal, ImagineFX, IDW, Caliber Comics and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.
“The buzz surrounding the launch is incredible,” continues Crawford, “and credit is due to all the other Insomnia creators who have been doing a fantastic job promoting each other's work around the web, on Twitter, at events etc. This mutual support by creators is exactly what we were aiming for when Insomnia was founded. The results of this have been unbelievable and will only get stronger as we grow.”
Formed in 2006 by Dundee University graduate and former DC Thomson & Co. Ltd employee, Crawford Coutts, Insomnia Publications will release six titles in 2009 and has more than 20 further titles already in development by international creative teams, scheduled for release over the next two years.
The company has already gained critical acclaim for anthology title Layer Zero and the graphic novel Cages and the company was recently selected to be a part of Scottish Enterprise’s Growth Pipeline, to assist Insomnia develop and grow.
“Insomnia’s books are aimed at older teen and adult readers," says Crawford. "With each of our products we look to publish something which is unusual, literate and thought provoking and Cancertown succeeds in meeting all three dead on.”
• Cancertown will be launched at the SPExpo, part of the Bristol International Comics Expo on 9th May 2009. Visitors to the show will be able to get the 176 page, full colour book at a special price of £10. Cy Dethan, creator and writer and Stephen Downey, artist, will be at the Insomnia stand at the SPExpo in the Mercure Hotel to talk about the book, sign copies, and sketch characters (better ask Stephen to do that, we've no idea what Cy might draw...)
Insomnia Publications titles are available from all good bookshops, comic shops and online from Amazon. In France their titles are available from Album and exclusively on sale from independent stockist Librairie Delvaux, 17 rue du Val, 77160, Provins.
• More About Cancertown: www.cancertown.co.uk
• Free Chapter one preview on MyEBook.com
• Insomnia Publications: www.theredeye.co.uk
• Keep up to date with all the latest news and products every Monday at Midnight on the official Insomnia Publications blog: www.TheRedEye.co.uk
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
It's also very funny.
"It's the first time Declan and I have worked together since the Eagle Award-winning Hero Killers and we're both delighted with the results," says Andy.
Soon after Tim Skinner inherited his grandfather’s old comic book collection he discovered something extraordinary – it was magic and by making a simple wish he could step into the pages of any of the fabulous four-colour fantasies his heart desired. He could hang out with cowboys, futuristic robots or whiny adolescent mutants.
Unfortunately, Tim is a loathsome piece of garbage and instead of enjoying fun and frolics in a universe of action and adventure he brutalizes and exploits his comic-book chums for his own nefarious ends... Truly, Tim Skinner is a total scumbag!
Crammed to the gills with pokes at modern comics and modern comics types, parodying many a popular character, including Judge Dredd, and creators like Alan Moore, the one shot comic, which will be on sale at next month's Comic Expo doesn't spare comics readers either. "Winter and Shalvey are happy to bite the hand that feeds and they smile as they do so," notes FPI's Joe Gordon.
Also on their way from Moonface Press are two more titles: superhero title Brit Force #1, with a cover by Glenn Fabry, and Brothers, both drawn by Andrew Radbourne.
"I'm really pleased with Brothers - it's the big, crazy, 1000mph story I set out to write in the first place with splashes of triumph, tragedy, romance and loads of completely over-the-top violence," says Andy.
"Andy R has done some terrific work - there are several sequences from the script that he's just picked up and run with, transforming good, solid scenes into genuinely excellent ones."• Read more about BritForce and Brothers on Andy Winter's blog
Monday, 6 April 2009
Featuring work by Adam Grose, Dave Hailwood, Malcolm Kirk, Simon Mackie, Tony Suleri, Paul Eldridge and Jim Stewart, the anthology is intended as a platform to promote the creators and deliver some darn fine comics fun along the way. It also includes a new Small Press Directory.
My favourite parts of this issue have to be Simon Mackie's autobiographical strip and Tony Suleri's increasingly confident work - strip and illustration samples with simply stunning vibrancy. And, of course, it was great to read Paul Edridge's smashing strips he originally created over on the ROK Comics platform again -- both very funny! -- as is Malcolm Kirk's Stick Man.
"I'd like to attract some new and old faces for the next issue," says Dave Hailwood. "So if you're an old Temple member please send in a couple pages and if you can't spread the word!"
The next deadline is 22nd June 2009.
• Templeapa at: http://templeapa.ning.com
It’s described as "an internally complex time travel story, a good third of which happens backwards," by Johnston, "set on a patchwork space station filled with multiple races all hiding from the rest of the galaxy.
"This was a story I’ve had knocking around my head for far too long (most British writers, hell, most British people have at least one Doctor Who story inside them)," he reveals, "and I was stunned that it breezed through the IDW and BBC approval processes as easily as it did.
"I was offered the gig a month ago, on the day I was made redundant. No wonder I went a bit doolally."
• Doctor Who: A Room With A Deja View is published by IDW this July, alongside the first issue of the ongoing series. Read more about the project on Lying in the Gutters
Lambiek notes his most lasting fame was for drawing The Adventures of Phoebe Zeit-Geist, written by Michael O'Donoghue and published in Evergreen Review in 1965-66. Sexy cartoon albums were not new in Europe, but 'Phoebe Zeit-Geist' was a sensation in the United States.
"Very few people could surpass him as an artist, as a gentleman, and as a true gentleman in my field," said Stan Goldberg, who draws the Archie comics. "When you see a Frank Springer job, you know it's going to be the best job in the world."
• Accent UK's 192-page 2009 anthology Western is available now, price just £7.99. It features a plethora of new and established talent, including Kieron Gillen, John Reppion & Leah Moore, Andy Bloor, Dwight MacPherson, Kirk Manley and Steve Bissette, and A Fistful Of Steam Valves written by Lee Robson, with art by Bryan Coyle. "The story is a Steam Punk Spaghetti Western," says Lee, "so it became paramount to create some stand out characters that would be both recognisable and completely unique. Fortunately, we had the amazing Billy Armstrong on hand to help us out with that..."
• Simon Furman has written a Transformers story for IDW’s post-All Hail Megatron series Coda. "And a lot of fun I had with it too," he says. Without giving too much away (after all, it’s only 11-pages!), it revolves around the longstanding relationship/friendship between battle-scarred veteran soldier Ironhide and Autobot leader Optimus Prime." The first issue of All Hail Megatron: Coda goes on sale in July. For more details check out the IDW website here.
• The UK edition of Wired is on sale in all good newsagents now and includes a column by Warren Ellis. "I’m somewhere in the back, where they keep the mad people, apparently.." he notes. "Please buy one, and prove that the UK can support a magazine about the future.
• New episodes of the goregous sort of steampunk strip with fantasy thrown in, Mirabilis, which began running in the already-missed The DFC, are now appearing online: Episodes 11 and 12 on the main Mirabilis site. "This brings us up to 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants' which introduces Inspector Primo Simeon and his loyal, long-suffering sidekick, Officer Caitou," says Dave Morris.
"Ideally we're going to have episodes 1 to 13 all available to read online before too long, though that's something we will need to agree with David Fickling and Random House. (Is it a good idea effectively to give away half of your graphic novel for reading online? Some current thinking would say it is.")
• Talking of Dave Morris, remember we plugged a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine and a brilliant article by Andrew Pixley, illustrated by Brian Williamson, revealing how a Dalek TV series came close to being made in the 1960s? Dave revealed recently that he actually did try (here's hubris) to get a Dalek TV movie going with the Sci-Fi Channel. "This was before Russell T Davies's reimagining of Doctor Who, so not quite as long a shot as it sounds - the Daleks hadn't been on air for years," he reveals. "But Nation's agent explained that the BBC, although not actually having the rights, could stick their oar in to any production involving Daleks. Well, I've had some dealings with the BBC and I knew enough to drop the idea right there..."
Sunday, 5 April 2009
British indie Time Bomb Comics has announced it is looking for new talent - and will be on the hunt for creators at the upcoming Bristol Comics Small Press Expo next month.
Formed two years ago, Time Bomb's latest one-shot – The Sisterhood: Morningstar – will be officially launching at this year’s Bristol SPExpo on 9th May, a full colour dystopian science-fiction story features stunning artwork by Leeds-based comics newcomer Dan Barritt.
“We discovered Dan at the 2007 Thoughtbubble Convention,” explains Time Bomb Comics Publisher Steve Tanner, ”and the forthcoming release of The Sisterhood: Morningstar firmly cements our intention to publish quality work by up and coming creators.
“Time Bomb Comics has always had an open submissions policy, but we’re now looking for more talent and the SPExpo seems an ideal way to achieve that," he adds. "We’d therefore like to invite any comics creators who may be interested in working with Time Bomb Comics to make themselves known to us at the show, and share with us their samples and ideas.
“This is an opportunity for exposure, not riches,” stresses Tanner. “Time Bomb Comics is a labour of love so we don’t offer page rates, but we do offer a professional platform to showcase a creator’s work along with a percentage of profit, and of course all creators receive full credit and ownership on what they produce.”
In particular the Leicester-based company would like to find some talented up and coming artists who, like Dan Barritt, could work closely with one of their existing writers on a wide range of future one-shots they have in development.
• For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.timebombcomics.com
• Some bad news for fans of comics in newspapers: in the aftermath of the closure of subscription comic The DFC it seems The Guardian has cut its entire Comic Supplement from its Saturday edition. So no Vern and Lettuce or Super Animal Adventure Squad -- or any Comic for that matter! Let's hope readers complain...
• A quick reminder that the online strip Huzzah!, which features contributions from Dan McDaid, Dylan Teague, Rob Davis, Faz Choudhury, Dave Taylor, Paul Harrison-Davies and D'Israeli, among others, is cracking along nicely here. We gather there is talk of a print collection...
• Voting in the TOXIC Comic Special Poll has gathered apace, with Dave Hailwood and Paul Harrison-Davies' Hoaxers now neck and neck with Jamie Smart's Count Von Poo...
• Paul Birch reports, in his latest Speech Ballons column for the Birmingham Mail, that Borders' Bookstores UK now has a graphic novel section specifically for children's titles. "Publishers likely to benefit over the coming months include Walker Books, Penguin, Classical Comics, and Cinebook," he notes. "The latter specialise in bringing best-selling European comic books to an English-speaking readership and reviews of some of their titles will be appearing at Speech Balloons soon." Read the full column...
• Adam Cadwell has posted a report on the indie comics event Thing 2009 over on the Manchester Comics Collective forum, revealing it would seem that offering biscuits and cakes is a good way to help sell comics and thoriughly recommending Roger Langridge's Mugwhump the Great over on Act-i-vate. "It's wonderful stuff," says Adam, "So while I was disappointed that Langridge's new The Muppet Show comic wasn't available due to UK licensing reasons, I was consoled by picking up a handmade minicomic of the first chapter of the Mugwhump story. Excellent." He has plenty of other good-looking recommendations from the like of Paul Rainey and others, too.
• We're sorry to hear of the death of comic creator Ron "Nobby" Clark, who has died aged 85. "Nobby was one of the important figures in moving the action story away from historicals to more modern adventures," notes Steve Holland in a detailed tribute to the creator on Bear Alley. "Although his first action strip was a Western, he took over the writing of "Captain Phantom", a wartime spystrip featuring a "man of a thousand disguises". These were fast-moving and entertaining yarns which helped establish a more modern style of adventure strip in the UK with writers like Nobby Clark and Mike Butterworth ushering in the kind of strips that would dominate during the 1960s..." Read the full tribute on Bear Alley
• And finally for today... Brickman, Lew Stringer's classic cartoon character, is currently appearing in US title Elephantmen, and, mirroring the fate of the well known comics character he's inspired by, he's killing him off! "It's been 30 years since Brickman first appeared and I'm marking the anniversary year by killing him off!" Lew confirms. "Yep, don't miss Elephantmen 17 for the first part of Brickman R.I.P.! Coming up in future months, the Battle for the Trowel and the NEW Brickman!" For more details on Elephantmen visit the official website here:
http://www.hipflask.com/issues/elephantmen17/ or the official Brickman website at: brickmancomics.tripod.com