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Saturday, 14 May 2011

V For Vendetta in G For Glasgow

As part of the events surrounding the new Glasgow Comic Con in June there will be a screening of V For Vendetta at the Glasgow Film Theatre. Taking place at 5:30pm on Friday 17 June, the evening before the convention, the screening will also include a question and answer session with V For Vendetta artist David Lloyd. Tickets for the screening will be available from the GFT box office from 23 May 2011.

The Glasgow Comic Con itself will take place on Saturday 18 June at the deconsecrated Macintosh Church in Maryhill, Glasgow beginning at 10am and running through to 6pm. It will be followed at the same venue that evening by the separately ticketed Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards Party. It should be noted that tickets for both the day convention and the evening party are now sold out and anyone still wishing to attend should check the convention website for details of how to join the waiting list for ticket returns.

For those 500 people who already have their day tickets booked, the convention organisers have announced some additional guests and the current line up now includes writers Jim Alexander, Emma Beeby, Martin Conaghan, Alan Grant, Ferg Handley, Mark Millar, Gordon Rennie and Jim Stewart plus artists Dave Alexander, Peter Doherty, Gary Erskine, Jamie Grant, Jon Howard, David Lloyd, Colin MacNeil, Dan McDaid, Will Pickering, Frank Quitely and Stevie White.

There are more details of the Glasgow Film Theatre screening of V For Vendetta as well as the convention itself at the Glasgow Comic Con website.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Raid yourself some new Commandos!

Keeping up the pressure on potential fans to subscribe to the war digest title, the Commando team are currently offering a copy of the latest  collection to those who take up the offer.

Selected by current Commando editor Calum Laird, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the comic, Rogue Raiders, the latest in this bestselling series of anthologies presents the ten greatest-ever commando raids stories.

Raiding is what Second World War commandos were trained for, and these thrilling comic-strip yarns show true-Brit heroes assaulting all kinds of enemy targets from the land, sea and air.

Stealthy, resourceful, daring and hard as nails, the commandos succeed against all odds in accomplishing their missions, whether against fanatical Nazi storm troopers or ruthless Japanese jungle-fighters.

Rogue Raiders includes the following stories: Operation Firebrand! (from Issue 526); Half-Pint Commando (225); Terror Team (1159); The Iron Sergeant (639); Time of Terror (544); The Mad Major (1435); Spring the Trap (1864); A Born Leader (1750); Marked Man (1628); and Ten Tough Paratroopers (2116).

Rogue Raiders is also available in all good bookshops: meanwhile, you might want to check out the latest issues of the comic, on sale now in all good newsagents...

Commando No 4391: Battling Bradley
Originally Commando No 252 (March 1967), re-issued as No 923 (April 1975)
Story: Lester Art: Alfredo Sanchez Cortes Cover Art: Hall

It didn’t matter very much what you gave Ken Bradley, boxer turned paratrooper, to fight with. His bare fists made him a match for a handful of Germans any day.

But give him a gun, especially a Tommy gun, and he’d take on anything that had a swastika painted on it. Even a tank… or a pill-box! What a man to have a your side.

"A story packed with action centred round a man determined to settle a debt of honour is archetypal Commando fare, isn’t it? If it wasn’t for the sting in the tail this would be a good action story," ," notes Commando Editor Calum Laird in a special introduction to this reprint. "The twist makes it a great one. One which has stuck in my mind for the years since 1967.

"Cortes’ artwork has a darkness about it which lends depth to the story and the cover really sums up what the whole thing’s about. I like to think that Commando’s still about the story values you see here and that someone reading a new tale today will remember it for as long."

Commando No 4392: Cossack
Originally Commando No 454 (January 1970), re-issued as No 1275 (December 1978)
Story: Peter Newark Art: Victor de la Fuente Cover Art: Penalva

For centuries the Cossack horsemen rode to war over the mighty steppes, their sabres red with blood, their savage battle-cries chilling their enemies with fear. But their greatest battles came in the Second World War when they pitted horse and sabre against Nazi tanks and machine guns.

It was a hard, tough war, even for the Cossacks — so you can guess what it was like for an RAF air-gunner who escaped from a German prison camp and rode with them!

"An RAF air gunner, just escaped from a German prison camp and riding with a distrustful band of sabre-wielding Cossack warriors, should be enough to get any keen Commando reader reaching for a copy.," says former editor George Low of this classic. "A challenging cover from Penalva and inside artwork from the incomparable Victor de la Fuente will more than satisfy the most demanding of fans. Peter Newark wrote the script and he was a master at this type of story which was the sixth to go on sale in 1970."

Commando No 4393: Operation Leviathan
Story: Sean Blair Art: John Ridgway Cover Art: John Ridgway

When the German onslaught forced France to capitulate in 1940, Frenchmen were forced to choose between co-existing with the invaders by serving the Vichy government or fighting on with the Allies. When Allied ships bombarded the French fleet to prevent it falling into German hands, killing many French sailors in the process, French loyalties were further divided.

Which way would the crew of the mighty French submarine Leviathan - with her twin eight-inch guns and ability to disappear below the waves - go?

Commando No 4394: Flak Alley
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Vila Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

In 1943, Pilot Officer Chris Buckley completed his photo-reconnaissance course and was delighted to be out of a stuffy classroom. Finally he was at the controls of a P51 Mustang.
As expected, he soon found himself dodging flak in the skies above German-occupied Europe. What he didn’t expect was to be dodging even more flak from his CO - who was convinced that Chris wasn’t up to the job!

• Official Commando web site: http://www.commandocomics.com/

• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846  

• Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.  

Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes

Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Slaine stalks the States!

21 years ago, Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s Sláine: The Horned God took the Celtic barbarian - a 2000AD regular - in a stunning new direction.

Now, this magical, violent classic is blazing its way to the US in a new hard-cover dust-jacket edition – complete with commentary from Mills, and sketches by Bisley.

Shamelessly displaying the potential for full colour painted artwork, The Horned God spawned thousands of imitators and remains one of 2000 AD’s greatest exports – a sweeping epic that incorporates Celtic mythology with Game of Thrones-style dynastic politics and good old fashioned barbarian violence.


• The hardback dust-jacket edition will be hitting US stores on 17th May ISBN 978-1-907519-74-1, priced $25

The Horned God was last released in the UK in 2008 and is still available in paperback from amazon.co.uk
and good comic shops

Dalek creator Terry Nation celebrated in new book

Aurum Press release The Man Who Invented Daleks later this month (25th May), focusing on the life of script writer and author Terry Nation, and includes background on the creation of the Dalek comic strips for TV Century 21 and other titles.

The book is written by Alwyn W. Turner, author of a number of acclaimed books on modern British culture, including Crisis? What Crisis?: Britain in the 1970s, Rejoice! Rejoice!: Britain in the 1980s, Halfway to Paradise and The Biba Experience

The Man Who Invented Daleks includes background on how the Daleks were brought to comic strip, revealing that the first Dalek merchandising - capitalising on the huge popularity of the genocidal pepper pots - was The Dalek Book, with Nation even then attempting to create an entire mythology for the creatures beyond the Doctor Who series. Published in 1964, it became one of the fastest-selling children's books of the year.

After the broadcast of the original Dalek story Britain as a nation went "Dalek mad" with one range of 'mini-Daleks' quickly selling 100,000 units.

The Daleks also became featured characters in cartoons by artists such as Giles for the Daily Express and had their own weekly strip in TV Century 21. "I suppose the thing that attracted me to the Daleks was jealousy," the book reports Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson as saying, explaining why these rivals to his own characters were included in the title's mix.

Turner notes that the strip provided ideas and storylines beyond Doctor Who that he hoped to be able to exploit in a standalone Dalek TV show which, despite the popularity of the monsters, never quite managed to materialize.

Despite this, almost half a century after their first appearance, new additions to Dalek mythology continue to top the Saturday-night ratings, while the word itself has entered the Oxford English Dictionary, passing into the language as the name of the most famous race of aliens in fiction.

Terry Nation was one of the most successful and prolific writers for television that Britain ever produced. Survivors, his vision of a post-apocalyptic England, so haunted audiences in the 1970s that the BBC revived it over 30 years on. Blake's 7, now revived as audio dramas and novels, endures as a cult science fiction classic.

But while the Daleks brought him notoriety and riches, Nation played a much wider role in British broadcasting's golden age. As part of the legendary Associated London Scripts, he wrote for Spike Milligan, Frankie Howerd and an increasingly troubled Tony Hancock. And as one of the key figures behind the adventure series of the 1960s - including The Avengers, The Saint and The Persuaders! - he turned the pulp classics of his boyhood into a major British export.

Like Arthur Conan Doyle before him, Nation was frequently bemused by the appeal of his most famous creations, and similarly cavalier toward them. Now, The Man Who Invented the Daleks explores their curious and contested origins, and sheds light on a strange world of ambitious young writers, producers and performers without whom British culture today would look very different.


In addition to charting the history of the Daleks, the book also charts their return in the 1970s - with Nation paid the princely sum £25 per episode for their appearance (low usage fees quickly came to an end once Roger Hancock established himself as Terry's agent - in the 1980s, he was paid £25 a page for any Dalek appearance in Doctor Who Magazine strip); the development of Survivors and Blake's 7; and the Daleks return to the modern Doctor Who, the creatures Nation's enduring legacy long after his passing.

Buy The Man Who Invented Daleks from amazon.co.uk

Buy The Man Who Invented Daleks from amazon.com

• Aurum Press Official Site: www.aurumpress.co.uk

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

More comic talent joins London MCM Expo line-up

With the cream of comic book talent gathering at its famous Comic Village, the MCM Expo London Comic Con is the only place to be on 27-29 May if you’re a fan of comics, graphic novels and manga.

Over 100 top comic artists and writers are coming to the show, including a rare UK appearance by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, The Authority, Fell); Jamie McKelelvie (The Uncanny X-Men: Heroic Age, Phonogram, Iron Man); Gary Erskine (Judge Dredd, Dan Dare, Knights Of Pengragon); Becky Cloonan (Demo, Northlanders and American Virgin) and many, many more.

Not only can you meet all the artists and writers on their stands, but the Comic Village features its own dedicated stage hosting panels from some of the comic world’s top names, giving you insights into their newest creations, offering invaluable advice and participating in audience Q&A sessions.

And that’s not all – Friday 27 May sees the MCM Expo play host to the prestigious Eagle Awards, the comic industry’s most prestigious fan-selected awards.

• For more on the Comic Village, visit www.londonexpo.com/comicvillage

• For London MCM Expo tickets please visit: www.mcmexpogroup.com/store



In Review: Iznogoud The Infamous

The Grand Vizier of Baghdad, who's one desire in life is "to be Caliph instead of the Caliph", returns in Iznogoud The Infamous, his seventh book published by Cinebook. Written by Asterix's Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Jean Tabary, this book was originally published as the French album Iznogoud l'Infâme in 1969 and has previously been published in the UK by Methuen in 1977.

As is usual for Iznogoud books, it consists of several different stories. In The Sinister Liquidator he persuades a water demon to dissolve the Caliph, but will there be enough water left in the bucket for the demon to live in by the time Iznogoud and his man-servant Wa'at Alahf trek across the desert and reach the palace? In The Invisible Menace Iznogoud attempts to make the Caliph invisible so that his people will forget about him. In The Unlucky Diamond Iznogoud's greed over the diamond backfires badly on him. In The Magic Doll an African witch doctor shows Iznogoud how to make a voodoo doll that he decides to use against the Caliph. Finally in The Mysterious Billposter Iznogoud imprisons the Caliph in an enchanted holiday poster.

Is there really anything new that can be said about each Iznogoud book? In each story the character's motivation is the same, he goes about his current method of achieving his task in the most extreme way, he fails, he suffers his comeuppance and by the next story the situation has defaulted back to the status quo again. It sounds repetitive and basically it is.

However these are stories written by Goscinny which means that while the motivation and outcome is repetitive, the methods Iznogoud employs to dethrone the Caliph are wild and wonderful and Tabary's artwork is equally wild and wonderful. Perhaps the best example in this book is in The Mysterious Billposter in which our main characters are pushed into a magical wall poster of a holiday beach from which they cannot escape and climbing the palm tree to the top of the poster's scene brings them back out of the hole they have just dug in the sand below themselves. It is all quite surreal but intriguing as to how they could finally escape.

Iznogoud The Infamous is a quick fun read for adults and, with its selection of short stories, would be a good introduction to humorous graphic novels for youngsters who as yet would find the 48 pages of an Asterix story too long.

There are more details of the current British Iznogoud books on the Cinebook website.

There are more details of the French Iznogoud books at the Tabary Editions
website (in French).

There are more details of Iznogoud around the world at the Iznogoud World
website.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Bristol Expo Line Up continues to grow as weekend nears











An exclusive Watchmen print by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins will be on sale
at the Bristol International Comic Expo

A quick reminder - as if you needed one - that the Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo takes place this weekend (14 -15th May 2011) at the Ramada City Inn & the Mercure Holland House Hotels.

Guest of Honour for the weekend in Rick Veitch, who will be joined by a host of other comic creators, including Sydney Jordan and Martin Asbury, along with publishers large and small.

There's a host of EXpo EXclusives that will be available to visitors, including the free STRIP Magazine Issue Zero and the chance to buy limited edition Watchmen and Razorjack prints.

Up for grabs will be...

• A very special free ashcan edition of the forthcoming UK Anthology, Nelson from Blank Slate Books featuring the work of 50 top creators at work on one single narrative (see news story).

• A special Watchmen print by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, on sale for £15 and limited to just 75 pieces, marking the 25th birthday of the ground-breaking comic by Alan Moore: proceeds will go to the Draw The World Together Charity.(Pre-order on comicexpo@hotmail.co.uk).

The original artwork has been kindly donated by Dave Gibbons and will be auctioned for the Draw the World Together Charity. This is by sealed bids only and bidding forms will only be available from the Info Desk at the Ramada.

• John Higgins is offering a limited edition Foruli print at the event - limited to just 50 pieces - from his stand at the Ramada. (Pre-order email comicexpo@hotmail.co.uk). That's part of the 'Razorjack Attack' launch, which includes the release of Double Crossing from Com.X, the first novel by Michael Carroll.

• The Etherington Brothers - Bristol Expo regulars - will have30 copies of the 140 page limited edition sketch book El Sketchbook Lorenzo volume F.I.V.E. on sale at the Mercure. The book will be a limited run of only 60 copies in total, with the other 30 going on sale online after the show, but Bristol Expo is the only show they'll be available at, ever!

Rogue Trooper, the world's greatest Genetic Infantryman, celebrates his 30th birthday at Expo thanks to John McCrea, who is producing a Signed & Numbered
Limited Edition Print which will also feature another legend from 2000AD.

Markosia will be launching Slaughterman’s Creed by Cy Dethan and Stephen Downey, Quarantined by Michael Moreci and Monty Borror and they'll have copies of their Royal Wedding comics by Rich Johnston, Gary Erskine and Mike Collins for sale.

SelfMadeHero will be exhibiting at Bristol with a range of new and signed copies of it's latest graphic novels and graphic novel biographies. They'll also be celebrating the launch of the first volume of their The Lovecraft Anthology with a special Lovecraft panel featuring SelfMadeHero creators and a signing featuring as many creators as we can lay our hands on.

They'll have creators sketching and signing at their tables throughout the weekend, so pop by and say hello.

Creators Rob Deas and Ian Edginton will also be on hand to talk about their new graphic adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.

Print Media Productions will announce the launch date of Strip Magazine, a new monthly comic magazine for the UK, part of a range of comics projects. STRIP MAGAZINE Issue Zero will be given
away free to Expo visitors, featuring background on key strips in the new comic magazine such as Black Ops Extreme by John Freeman and PJ Holden, Warpaint by Phil Hester and John McCrea, Age of Heroes by James Hudnall and John Ridgway, Savant by Jim Alexander and Ferrer and Carlos Vila - plus some highlights of Print Media Productions graphic album range.

There's also a special competition in the sampler which will offer comic creators the chance to have their work in the title when it launches later in 2011.

Confirmed guests include: Henry Flint; Lee O'Connor; Dom Reardon; Simon Bisley; Paul Cornell; Stephen Baskerville; Laurence Campbell; Alan Davis; Dave Gibbons; John Higgins; Charles Adlard; Mark Buckingham; Richard Starkings; Sally Hurst; Lee Garbett; Ian Churchill; Gary Erskine; Rob Williams; Si Spencer; Neil Edwards; Ian Edginton; D’israeli; David Hine; Shaky Kane; Neil Roberts; Dylan Teague; Phil Winslade; Al Davison; Mike Collins; Gary Spencer Millidge; Andrew Wildman; Jasper Bark; Dylan Teague; Roger Gibson; Vince Danks; Martin Fisher; Simon Williams Rob Davis; Simon Gane; Neil Edwards; Sean Phillips; Michael Carroll; Patrick Goddard; Gordon Rennie; Emma Beeby; Paul Ridgon; Lew Stringer; Mike Molcher; Laura Howell; Jim Campbell; Kev Hopgood; John A. Short; Luca Erbetta; Graham Bleathman; Webley Wildfoot; Boo Cook; Bob Wayne; Tim Pilcher; Dave Lota; GM Jordan; Bryan Talbot; John Watson; Colin McNeil; Andi Ewington; Cosmo White; Jock; Tony Lee; Dan Boultwood; Serge Pelle; John M. Burns; Syd Jordan; Cy Dethan; Stephen Downey; Vicky Stonebridge; Nic Wilkinson; Ben Oliver; Dan Lockwood; Inj Culbard; James Hodgkins; Mike Bowden; Rob Deas; Jimmy Broxton; David Roach; Kat Nicholson; Jason Cardy; Al Ewing; Tom Eglington; Dean Beattie; Dave Shelton; and Adrian Salmon

Exhibitors include Com.X. Forbidden Planet London, Incognito Comics, Panini Comics, Self Made Hero, Reed Comics, Markosia, PsiCollectables, Genki Gear, The Comic Man, Astral Gypsy and Tripwire (who recently launched their digital edition).
For more information on Exhibitors click HERE

• Pre-sales for Expo Tickets are now closed, but organisers tell us that if you want to avoid large queues then tickets will be available at 09.30 from the Ticket Desk in the downstairs foyer of the Ramada on Saturday and 10.00 on the Sunday.

Please note that the event does not open until 10.00 on Saturday and 10.30 on Sunday.

David Attenborough inspires new horror web comic

London journalist Paul Slade has just posted an unusual and exclusive  six-page comics story drawn by Hans Rickheit - inspired by a story recounted by world-renowned naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough.

Paul, whose credits include The Daily Telegraph, Mojo, Fortean Times, Time Out and a host of other publications and who makes occasional documentaries for BBC Radio 4, commissioned Hans Rickheit to draw the story for him earlier this year.

After listening to Attenborough talk about the strange breeding strategy of Britain's Large Blue butterfly and its dependence on ants to complete it - a tale that "utterly captivated" the journalist - Paul came up with an idea for a script.

"This particular project began in June 2010, when I heard Attenborough describe how the UK’s Large Blue butterfly, the Sabuleti ant and the Ichneumon wasp engage in a constant dance of violence and deception to ensure their respective children survive.

"The story began with fratricide, cannibalism and addiction, then moved on to include a spot of mind-control, forced pregnancy and hundreds of dead babies. Naturally, I was hooked. 

"... I could see every stage of it playing out as a series of comics panels in my head," he continues. "...Comics, I thought again, would be perfect. I knew I couldn't hope to draw the strip I envisaged myself, so that meant I'd have to find a more accomplished artist to draw it for me."

Coming across Hans Rickheit's "magnificently creepy" webcomic Ectopiary on the Fantagraphics website by chance, Paul then commissioned him to draw the creepy tale, turning the butterfly's bizarre life story to the comics page.

"When I discovered Hans’ magnificently creepy art, I managed to persuade him to take the strip on, and he did a great job," says Paul.

We agree - and you can check the complete story via the links below.


To read the full six pages of Paul Slade and Hans Rickheit's Mother's Day in comics form, click here.

To read Hans Rickheit's on-going webcomic Ectopiary, or to buy his books and original art, visit www.ectopiary.com 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Glasgow comic talent cameo in All Star Superman



(With thanks to Adam Thewlis and the team at the Italian 'All Star' blog): Here's a fun item for the weekend. There's a long tradition of artists featuring friends in comic strips as an in joke: Bryan Talbot, for example, regularly featured his friends from the Preston SF Club in The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and I know I made a one frame appearance in Death's Head II, drawn by Liam Sharp, as an AIM lab tech.

Here's a recent find, from DC Comics All Star Superman Issue 10 where, thanks to artist Frank Quitely, nestling on Page 14 are a group of Scottish comics talents. (For once, Grant Morrison hasn't written himself into a comic as he did most famously with Animal Man #25).

Gazing up at a mashed up Forth Bridge are, we're told, members or people connected with Frank's Glasgow Studio, some of them instrumental in the Bad Press publishing house that produces adult comic Wasted. From left to right in the panel above we have 1) Mal Young and his son, Angus; 2) David Boyd; 3) artist Dom Regan and his son Vincent; 4) Rob Miller (one of the contributors to the now-defunct comic zine Khaki Shorts); and
5) Jamie Grant.

Also in the frame, but not pictured above, are David Peter Kerr and Paul McCann.

Anyone else know of similar panels in recent British comics? (Alan Davis fun inclusions of Dan Dare and other heroes in his strips doesn't count!).

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