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Friday, 3 December 2010

UK indie comics distributor Smallzone launches Print on Demand service

British independent comics distributor Smallzone - also the team behind Scar Comics - has just announced a UK-based Print on Demand service for all UK comic publishers.

The service, arranged in partnership with BookVault, enables publishers to print books and sell them without a huge outlay and the Smallzone service has been deliberately tailored to comics publishers.

"Now - finally - there is a true POD option for UK publishers," enthuses Smallzone's Shane Chebsey, "which means no more expensive shipping from the US and no more having to spend a fortune in big runs of comics just to get a reasonable price per copy.

"We're very excited about this as we think it will enable small publishers to have more choice in their printing options and publish comics and graphic novels without having to break the bank.

"It also means that small publishers will no long be restricted to black and white interior art. Colour printing is now affordable on lower runs."

Smallzone can also intergrate the retail service with the printing service so publishers don't  have to worry about finding storage space for their print run.

"We can print and sell the books for you and you just sit back and enjoy the royalties," says Shane. (The combined service is only open to publishers who qualify for a smallzone listing).

• For more information and to view prices go to: www.smallzone.co.uk/printing.htm

Fay Dalton Scoops Pickled Award

British illustrator Fay Dalton has won the Pickled Ink agency's Pickled Award, launched earlier this year in a bid to find an artist to draw a new graphic novel by Super Gran creator and writer Jenny McDade.

The judges, who included 2000AD co-creator Pat Mills, felt her submission set her apart amongst entries from around the world. "Her photo-realistic characters ooze class, emotion, attitude," they declared, "and have an airbrushed quality that parallels the celebrity photographs splashed over the covers of today’s glossy magazines."

"She's the most exciting female comics artist I’ve seen since the Golden Age of female comics, which was so long ago most people have forgotten it existed (Jackie, Misty, Tammy etc) and that mainstream female comics once outsold male comics by at least a ratio of two to one," says Pat.

Fay, a Portsmouth University graduate with a first class degree in Illustration, is based in London and says she is inspired by a wide range of artists and illustrators like Gerald Scarfe, James Jean and Cindy Sherman. She enjoys illustrating current social issues such as celebrity culture and plastic surgery but also loves illustrating for children's books, and creating character designs.

"I often illustrate serious subjects with a lampoon twist," she says. "However I approach my subjects with an open mind."

“Fay has huge potential," Pat Mills enthuses. "Her work with Jenny’s great story shows that for a female audience there’s finally a British mainstream alternative to American super heroines, female “art house” comics and Manga. It’s cool and sexy, funny and emotional.
So there’s going to be a lot of blokes following it, too.“

Pickled Ink feel Fay's work will provide perfect visual accompaniment to Jenny McDade’s feisty, sexy, insalubrious, glamorous graphic novel script Party Girls and she's a richly deserved winner of the Pickled Award.

More of Fay's submission, which clinched hr win, will be revealed at the London Print Studio on Thursday 16th December where Pickled ink will be hosting a Q&A with Pat Mills and Jenny McDade as part of Comica Festival, an annual comics festival directed by Paul Gravett.

Pat and Jenny will be discussing Party Girls as well as the world of girls’ comics in general, offering an insight into why female comics dropped off the radar in Britain and the efforts that are being made to bring them back

In the meantime, Fay’s full portfolio is available to view at www.pickledink.com and whilst Party Girls is in development, Fay will be available for commissions.

• Q&A with Pat Mills & Jenny McDade: London Print Studios, Thursday 16th December 6.30 - 8.0pm. See www.comicafestival.com for more info

London Kapow comic event snags Judge Dredd exclusive

Visitors to the upcoming Kapow! Comic Con next April (9th - 10th) will be amongst the first in the world to get an exclusive sneak peek at various upcoming comics, movie blockbusters and hit TV shows from some of the biggest publishers and studios in the world.

Andrew Macdonald, producer of international blockbuster hits such as Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Last King of Scotland will be talking about the upcoming Dredd, based on Judge Dredd from the 2000AD comics.

“It's fantastic to be involved with Kapow!," says Andrew, "and I’m really looking forward to talking to all the fans about our upcoming Dredd movie.

"I’ll be on the 2000AD panel with a little taster of what people can look forward to from our 2012 release”.

The full film and TV guest list will be announced on the Kapow! website on 14th February 2011, but the comics creator guest list is already filling up, with appearances from the likes of John Romita Jr. (Kick-Ass), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Frank Quitely (Batman), Leinil Yu (Secret Invasion), Bryan Hitch (The Ultimates, The Authority) and more signing autographs, speaking on panels and giving exclusive previews of upcoming works.

Tickets are on sale now at http://www.kapowcomiccon.com/ and are selling fast, say organisers.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Doctor Who-Inspired Cover for 2000AD


There's a rather splendid Doctor Who-inspired cover on this week's edition of 2000AD. Judge Dredd is depicted surveying a portaloo-style TARDIS with a Tom Baker-like scarf trailing out from under the door!

Drawn by D'Israeli, it's promoting Episode 2 of the Judge Dredd tale Doctor What? written by Al Ewing and drawn by Brendan McCarthy.

It's not the first time that the TARDIS has been interpreted as a portaloo. Christopher Biggins portrayed a Doctor-like character, in the Big Finish Doctor Who story The One Doctor, who used one as his mode of transport and many a jokey newspaper article has suggested that a portaloo might be a suitable design for a revamped time machine.

This cover is great fun and well worth picking up even if you don't buy 2000AD normally.

• Buy 2000AD in all good newsagents and UK comic stores, or online at http://shop.2000adonline.com

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Comic Book Alliance charity offers Batman fans the chance to star in a comic alongside their hero

Last updated 10th December

Yes, you read that correctly! Thanks to the Comic Book Alliance, this is a fund-raising auction where the highest bidder will get to star alongside the Dark Knight in his very own comic!

Not only will the winner's name be included, but Chris Burnham will also draw their likeness into the story as well. All written by "the man who killed Batman" no less award-winning scribe and comics legend, Grant Morrison!

Batman Incorporated is the new best-selling comic book from Grant Morrison highlighting the new status quo in the Batman series as Bruce Wayne takes the Bat-franchise global.

The winner, who will appear in will feature in Batman Inc. #4 on sale 16th February 2011.will have the choice to be brutally slain by the villain or dramatically rescued by Batman in a story that takes Batman in a desperate race across two continents and two decades in a spectacular battle to save the world from a terrifying new threat.

The auction is being run by the Comic Book Alliance, “The Voice of the British Comics Industry”, who are offering comic fans some very special Christmas treats this very first fund-raising event.

Along with an appearance in Batman Inc.,  Frank Quitely, winner of four 2010 Eagle Awards and one of the hottest artists in comics (All Star Superman, Batman & Robin) will draw a personalised portrait of a winning bidder.

Alan Moore tribute
book - signed by Alan
"This is ideal," enthuses Quitely. "Some lucky bidder gets to enjoy a cutting caricature of themselves, I get to exercise my cruel sense of humour, and the CBA gets the money it needs to help it carry on its vital work — everyone's a winner!"

Plus, there are dozens of signed books, comics and graphic novels from high profile creators like Alan Moore (Watchmen), Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys), Charles Vess (Stardust), and John Wagner (Judge Dredd).

Walking Dead art
by Charlie Adlard
And there’s original comic art and signed limited prints by the cream of British artists including zombie art work by Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Bryan Talbot (Grandville), Sean Phillips (Criminal), John McCrea (Hitman), David Lloyd (V for Vendetta), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl) and Garen Ewing (Rainbow Orchid).

The CBA supports and promotes comic creators, publishers, retailers and distributors, both in the UK and abroad. At the heart of the Alliance, founders Tim Pilcher, Shane Chebsey and GM Jordan have assembled an Advisory Board made up of leading academics and professionals from a wide spectrum including chat show host, turned comic book writer, Jonathan Ross and V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd.

In the last year the CBA has helped organise and promote major exhibitions and sent thousands of free comic books to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The CBA also runs a website that helps the general public find their local comic book retailer (www.comicshops.co.uk) and with over 1.5m visitors.

“The UK has one of the most creative and extensive comic publishing industries in the world," feels CBA Chair Tim Pilcher, "a legacy that has produced some of the best artists and writers currently working in the medium. It’s been wonderfully overwhelming to see so many of them generously donating their time and items to this very worthy British cause and coming together to support the medium they love.”

There are no reserves, and all bids start at just 99p, so there’s the chance to pick up some real Christmas bargains for the comic fan in your life!

Complete List of items in the Inaugural CBA Auction

• An appearance in Batman Inc. written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Chris Burnham. Courtesy of DC Comics

• Personalised caricature by Batman & Robin artist Frank Quitely

Fables art by
Mark Buckingham
• Two pages of Fables original artwork by Mark Buckingham

Spider-Man original artwork by Andie Tong

The Walking Dead artwork by Charlie Adlard

Daredevil limited edition print by Adi Granov

Criminal art by
Sean Phillips
Criminal original artwork by Sean Philips

Tank Girl original artwork by Rufus Dayglo

Peter Pan signed limited edition book, pus original artwork by Charles Vess

• Original Letraset Manga Artwork by Nana Li

Inspector Gadget original artwork by Dave Windett

Whiteout signed print by Steve Lieber

Yesterday’s Tomorrow’s hardcover signed by Rian Hughes

Luther Arkwright
limited edition print
Luther Arkwright signed limited edition print by Bryan Talbot

Punisher original artwork by Laurence Campbell

Warhammer 40K original artwork by Kev Hopgood

War Machine original artwork by Kev Hopgood

Marvel Heroes original artwork by Kev Hopgood

G.I. Joe original artwork by Kev Hopgood

Button Man 3: Killer Killer graphic novel and Strontium Dog script signed by John Wagner

Wasteland hardcover graphic novel signed by Antony Johnston

Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman signed by Alan Moore

Rime of the Ancient Mariner graphic novel signed by Hunt Emerson and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Smuggling Vacation and Day of the Deal graphic novels signed by Jason Wilson

Day of the Deal exclusive “prison edition” graphic novel signed by Jason Wilson

The Erotic Adventures of Space Babe 113, Complete set signed by John Maybury

Iron Man & Black Widow limited edition print signed by Khoi

Wormwood: The Last Enemy signed by Garth Ennis

Wormwood: The Last Battle #1-3 signed by Garth Ennis

The Boys Limited Anniversary Edition hardcover graphic novel set (1-5) signed by Garth Ennis

The Boys #39 Signed by Garth Ennis

The Boys #40 Signed by Garth Ennis

The Boys #41 Signed by Garth Ennis

Preacher: Books 1 & 2 Deluxe Hardcover Editions Signed by Garth Ennis

Preacher: Dixie Fried graphic novel Signed by Garth Ennis

JLA/Hitman Issues 1 & 2 (complete) signed by Garth Ennis

Hitman: Ten Thousand Bullets graphic novel signed by Garth Ennis

Hitman: A Rage in Arkham graphic novel signed by Garth Ennis

Crossed graphic novel signed by Garth Ennis

Battlefields: Happy Valley and Tankies signed books and script by Garth Ennis

Territory original artwork by David Lloyd

Abe, Temptation, Candleman signed books and original art by Glenn DakinHorse print signed by Emily Hare

Strange Embrace hardcover graphic novel signed by David Hine

Daredevil European Tour limited edition print signed by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale

• Signed print by Hermann

• Hermann exhibition poster signed by the artist

The Rainbow Orchid original art by Garen Ewing

Peter Pan by Charles Vess
The Rainbow Orchid Book 1 & poster both signed by Garen Ewing

The Rainbow Orchid Book 2 & poster both signed by Garen Ewing

Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #9 signed by Gary Spencer Millidge

Strangehaven graphic novel (Book 1), print and postcard pack signed by Gary Spencer Millidge

Strangehaven graphic novel (Book 2) and print pack signed by Gary Spencer Millidge

Hitman original art by John McCrea

The Authority original artwork and signed graphic novel by Simon Cobley

Low Life: The Red Seas graphic novel signed by the artist, Steve Yeowell

Burke & Hare graphic novel signed by Martin Conaghan & Will Pickering

Tours de Bois-Maury signed print by Hermann

Merry Christmas Mr Zombo (from 2000 AD) Script signed and illustrated by Al Ewing

Blake's 7 replica badge by Termight Replicas

• The auction runs until at 7.00pm GMT on Sunday 12 December at 19:00 (GMT) later than previously advertised - see news story - on www.eBay.co.uk: search for the seller, comic_book_alliance or further details can be found at www.comicbookalliance.co.uk. (Frank Quitely’s auction will end slightly earlier on Saturday 11 December at16:30 (GMT)

Tube Surfing: Kapow Comic convention, War Comix and Mag, Scientist


Kapow! Comic Con Trailer from kapowcomiccon on Vimeo

Mark Millar has announced a new London-based comics convention, Kapow (9-10th April 2011) which will host the first Stan Lee Awards ceremony (see Newsarama and Bleeding Cool for more news). The guest line up includes John Romita Jr., Andy Diggle, Jock, Steve Dillon, Duncan Fegredo, David Hine, Simon Furman, John McCrea and Kieron Gillen, plus Frank Quitely, Lenil Francis Yu and Dave Gibbons.
If you buy your ticket before 31st December 2010 you'll be entered into a prize draw for your name and likeness to appear in an issue of Kick-Ass 2. More information at: www.kapowcomiccon.com

• Along with titles such as Luke Pearson's beautiful-looking story Hildafolk, London-based publishers NoBrow recently released A Graphic Cosmogony for sale online, and it's now on sale in all good book shops. Paul Gravett, organiser of Comica festival describes it as "their most ambitious publication yet, the story of creation retold by 24 international artists."
Contributing artists include Brecht Vandenbroucke, Ben Newman, Jon McNaught, Stuart Kolakovic, Mike Bertino, Mikkel Sommers, Jack Teagle, Andrew Rae and many others. More info here

•  As part of ongoing promotion for his War Comix project, Sean Duffield sent us this fun Rom Spaceknight cartoon. We suspect there's a tip of the hats to the latest Wikileaks revelations, too...

• Ace artist Rian Hughes has been interviewed by Comic Book Resources about the US edition of Yesterday's Tomorrows, which is being published by Image Comics in December. The collection includes his and Grant Morrision's take on Dan Dare, published in Revolver and Crisis in the 1980s.
"Grant plays on this nostalgia for a simpler, less politically complicated age," Hughes says of the story he and Morrison strove to tell with Dare, "while mirroring the fate of his original creator, Frank Hampson, who lost control of the copyright and made very little money from the merchandising success of the property, living in reduced circumstances in later life. A sad story."

• Lancaster comics artist David Hughes (no relation to the above) has written a computer game for the Sinclair Spectrum (no, really, the Sinclair Spectrum - I had no idea it was still being used!) based around his Norman character on his blog, details can be found at www.stonechatproductions.blogspot.com on how to play.  "It's linked to comics in that there is a prize for the first person to complete it before Christmas will get a selection of my comics," says David. Reader will recall David's book Thomas Wogan is Dead has been released for iPad by Tabella so he's no stranger to eComics.

• A unique Ron Embleton painting of actor David McCallum as Man from U.N.C.L.E. agent Illya Kuryakin has been relisted on eBay after it failed to meet its £250 reserve on first offering. As we previously reported, the painting was a prize offered in Lady Penelope comic in the 1960s. View the auction here

• Ace cartoonist Malcolm Kirk recently launched a new web comic, Mag, Scientist, which he tells us he hopes to update at least once a week on his blog. Check out the first episode here

• Fans of free gifts given away with British comics are sure to enjoy Lew Stringer's three-part series of articles about such items on his blog (Part 1 here). Lew traces the giveaways back to the 1930s, noting that many were more refined than the cheap plastic toys given away today.

• And finally... the winner of our recent Grandville Mon Amour competition is Michael Charlton from Lancaster, England. We asked you who was the right wing French Prime Minister in Bryan Talbot's Grandville? The answer is Jean-Marie Lapin. Congratulations to Michael - the book is on its way. Read our review of Grandville Mon Amour here

Spaceship Away 22 soars to the shelves


Spaceship Away Part 22, the comics magazine inspired by Eagle and featuring all-new Dan Dare advntures is now available from publisher Rod Barzilay.

This issue features a simply glorious wrap-around cover from Ian Kennedy and the Dan Dare adventure, Green Nemesis, has more pages than usual. Plus there's the usual selection of great comic strips including the start of a new Journey into Space tale, more of Frank Bellamy's Garth, coloured by John Ridgway, and another fine cutaway from Graham Bleathman.

Features include an article and more artwork from Eagle and Dan Dare artist Don Harley; while artists Bruce Cornwell contributes his own full Venus Shuttle colour cutaway development page from 1950 and Tim Booth gives an insight into his world.

Continuing the exploration of the history of Britain's favourite space hero, Pat Mills gives readers a behind the scenes, low-down on the later Dan Dares; Gary Erskine talks about the Virgin Dan Dare; and Rian Hughes is answering questions about his Dare, written by Grant Morrison. It's another cracking issue, so order now!

• To get Spaceship Away delivered to your door, simply go to www.spaceshipaway.org.uk and follow the links. Spaceship Away is also available in some specialist magazine shops.

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