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Friday, 29 July 2011

In Review: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Century: 1969

By Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Publisher: Top Shelf/Knockabout
Out: Now


The Book: The second volume detailing the exploits of Miss Wilhelmina Murray and her extraordinary colleagues. Volume two takes place almost 60 years after the events of Century: 1910, in the psychedelic haze of Swinging London in 1969 - a place where Tadukic Acid Diethylamide 26 is the drug of choice and where different underworlds are starting to overlap dangerously to an accompaniment of sit-ins and sitars.

The Review: Before you do anything else, I strongly recommend going back and reading Century: 1910 before you begin 1969. While this fantastic new League story - described by Moore himself as a critique of culture - can be read on its own, there is plenty of set up in 1910 that impacts on this one, as Mina and her much-reduced League set out to foil the villainous Haddo's plot for world domination.

In this new adventure, peppered with some wonderful contemporary visuals, the vicious gangster bosses of London’s East End find themselves brought into contact with a counter-culture underground of mystical and medicated flower-children, or amoral pop-stars on the edge of psychological disintegration and developing a taste for Satanism. Alerted to a threat concerning the same magic order that she and her colleagues were investigating during 1910, a thoroughly modern Mina and company attempt to navigate the perilous rapids of London’s hippy and criminal subculture, as well as the twilight world of its occultists. 

Starting to buckle from the pressures of the twentieth century and the weight of their own endless lives, Mina and her companions must nevertheless prevent the making of a Moonchild that might well turn out to be the antichrist.

It's a fine, if increasingly downbeat and disturbing tale, as, once again, the League find their foe a tough match - Haddo's torment of Mina on the astral plane at the climax, for example, matched by an equally disturbing treatment of her body by an 'admirer' as she battles for survival. As ever, we're treated to a multi-layered, finely told adventure, complemented by superb art from Kevin O'Neill - indeed, as Moore himself has said, one of "the finest and most distinctive comic book artists this country has ever turned out".

As with Century and other League volumes, the story unfolds against a backdrop of all things 1960s - and there is plenty throughout to catch the eye marking that decade. My favourite are probably panel at a petrol station, featuring a car smash involving The Saint and James Bond as Parker from Thunderbirds looks on, along with cameos from Garth, Andy Capp and Flo as Mina re-encounters the mysterious time-jumping Norton.

In terms of 'incidental' (and some not so incidental) characters to enjoy, who could fail to enjoy appearances by Jack Carter, of Get Carter fame and a number of surrogate Krays.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Century: 1969 is another fine feather in the cap of Messrs Moore and O'Neill, who have already revealed the adventure will come to a head, at some point and in their own time, in another quality volume.

Plus, there may still be more stories to follow... but we'll just have to wait and see!

• Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill are signing Century: 1969 tomorrow (30th July 2011) at Gosh London - see news story

Web Links

• With help from Moore expert Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Jess Nevins has already posted up an online set of annotations to the brand new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1969. If you're in a hurry, you could also read the Newsarama 1969 Cheat Sheet, compiled with Jess Nevins help 

Interviews

The Guardian: Alan Moore: an extraordinary gentleman – Q&A
Moore discusses the evolution of modern culture, leaving his characters in the lurch and how tablet computers will transform the language of comics. He also hints that he's looking at digital comics storytelling, and thinking about how to apply his script writing to comics specifically created for this medium.

Wired: Alan Moore Takes League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to the ’60s
Visionary comics writer Alan Moore has largely migrated beyond the madness of the faltering comics industry, which is being overshadowed by film and television at Comic-Con International. But, lucky for us, not entirely.

More Reviews

Good Comic Books
"
In the books out of body conclusion, I almost had to check that nothing had slipped into my own drink, O’Neill warps and distorts the usually geometric panels and basically displays an out of body experience as one long acid trip, it’s nuts!"

i09
"O'Neill delivers his master class in acid trip visuals, and if you dug Black Dossier, you'll love this."

Green Lantern artwork stolen

Green Lantern: Legacy Page 27. Please
note, this may or may not be one of the
stolen pages - it's included here as an example
(via ComicArtFans): Green Lantern artist Brent Anderson's car was broken into while at the San Diego Zoo during the San Diego ComicCon week and many pages of original art were stolen.

The artists is putting out an appeal far and wide for help retrieving the pages, so we're doing our bit to alert comic art dealers and collectors about the theft, given the huge number of places online this art may turn up for sale

The stolen pages include the following:
  • 50 pages from Astro City Vols. 1 & 2 and Local Heroes
  • Astro City: Dark Age Books 1 (#s 1-4), 2 (#s 1-4) & 3 (#s 1-4) (50 pages)
  • Green Lantern: Legacy approx. 45 pages between pages 1-45 (except page 5)
  • Green Lantern Silver Age Special (approx. 4 pages)
  • Green Lantern/Plastic Man team-up special (approx. 8 pages)
  • Rising Stars #15-24 (approx. 48 pages)
If you see any of these pages surface, email Brent at kneedeep-at-sonic.net. Thank you.

Green Lantern © DC Comics

MCM Expo attracts host of comic creators

The first MCM Expo in Manchester, taking place tomorrow (Saturday 30th July) has gathered a strong line up of comic creators alongside its TV and film guests.

Warpaint and 2000AD artist John McCrea, artists Leigh Gallagher, Stephen Downey, Al Davison and writer Antony Johnston are just a few of the creators expected at the event, along with indie creators such as Lizz Lunney, Sergeant Mike Battle creator Graham Pearce, Rob Jackson and Adam Cadwell.

Joining them will be independent publishers such as Time Bomb Comics and Accent UK.

Taking place at the Manchester Central venue, the event will also see appearances by Red Dwarf star Craig Charles; Sarah Jane Adventures actress Anjili Mohindra and actors Warwick Davis and Kenny Baker.

• There's more info on the event at: www.manchestermcmexpo.com

Pirates of Pangea teaser poster revealed by Phoenix Comic

The team behind The Phoenix Comic, which launches "early next year" in the UK, continue to tease potential readers with some tasty artwork and other announcements.

The latest news includes the release of promotional art for Pirates of Pangea, "an epic adventure of Cutlass and Claw", drawn by Neill Cameron.


Confirmed creators involved in the title, which will be aimed at the 8-11 age group, include Jamie Smart with Bunny versus Monkey, Dan Hartwell and Neill Cameron on Pirates of Pangea and Patrice Aggs – animator on The Snowman, co-creator of The Boss and the artist behind many fantastic children’s books, who has created Blimpville for the title.

Set in Blimpville – the world’s most accident-prone town – the strip is called WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?! and is part story, part brain-baffler, part mystery and all eye-popping visual wonder. Expect some sneak peaks on the comic's blog very soon.

"I'm having so much fun drawing this thing already," says Neill of Pirates of Pangea, "and I absolutely can't wait to set it loose upon the world. (I know that January seems like a long time to wait, but believe me from the point of view of me having to draw it all, it is no time at all)."

Web Links

The Phoenix Comic Official Site


The Phoenix Comic Official Blog

The Phoenix Comic on Facebook


Follow The Phoenix Comic on Twitter

Belfast 'Barcamp" announced for comic creators

(with thanks to Andy Luke): The date has been confirmed for the second Comics Barcamp in the English speaking world - essentially an “unconference”, a creative business brainstorming seminar, run along communal lines.

To take place at Blick Studios in Belfast in September, who are also co-sponsors of the event,  this free gathering is aimed at anyone who likes. or creates small press/ underground comix or who simply enjoys non-hierarchical events with an emphasis on spirit of creativity, alternatives and co-operation.

"The communal element is essential," says organiser and comic creator Andy Luke, who has posted more details about the event here on comicsbarcampbelfast, "because if a set number of people don’t take part, barcamp doesn’t happen.

"It relies on advance planning, but has an improvisational element that keeps the energy fresh. It also generally has reverberating effects after the event such as a web-streamed presentations and blogging.

A comic Barcamp is a place where no-one is viewed as the 'star' or put on pedestals, where there's a lack of 'industry experts' and a focus on inclusion and giving the underdog and comix small fries a chance to share their experiences and looking at mutual ways to support each other.

"There's no heavy corporate dominance, dog-eat-dog competition, and no tiny little area to put all the small press and underground comix freaks in to make them feel out of their depth," Andy explains. "This is an event where everyone is welcomed to contribute, have fun, relax and share collaboratively together in a warm and friendly environment.

• Comics Barcamp will take place on Staurday 3rd September at Blick Studios, Malone Road, Belfast. Barcamp is a free event

• Find out more here: www.irishcomicnews.com/september-3rd-uk-irelands-comics-barcamp

Andy Luke's thoughts on Comics Barcamp in 2009

Irish Comic News: Gar Shanley and Andy talk about the 2011 Comics Barcamp

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Kieron Gillen discusses gameplay and fantasy comics

Concluding Panel Borders' month of radio shows looking at the crossover between comics and games, Alex Fitch talks to writer Kieron Gillen about how his history as a video and computer game journalist has influenced his comic writing career.

Alex and Kieron talk about the latter’s experience writing for Warhammer Monthly, developing an online game The Curfew for Channel Four and how game playing has only had a small impact on his writing Thor and Uncanny X-Men.


The ever-busy Kieron has his name to a number of US projects right now, including Generation Hope, Journey into Mystery and Uncanny X-Men, which comes to an end in October with Issue 544 and the return of Mr. Sinister.

• Panel Borders: Kieron Gillen – Gameplay and fantasy comics airs at 5.00pm, Thursday 28th July 2011, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at www.resonancefm.com / podcast after broadcast at www.panelborders.wordpress.com

Comics and Conflicts Conference schedule published

Conference Poster designed by Pete Stanbury
The full schedule for the Comics and Conflicts Conference, which will be held on 19-20th August, 2011 at the Imperial War Museum in London aimed at comics scholars, practitioners, and enthusiasts has now been published.

As we previously reported, the conference speakers and guests include Charley's War co-creator Pat Mills; Martin Barker and Roger Sabin on Doonesbury; Garth Ennis (Troubled Souls, War Stories) and Francesca Cassavetti (Fabtoons).

The Conference has been organised by Alex Fitch (presenter of Panel Borders, the UK’s only weekly broadcast radio show about comics), Ariel Kahn (Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Roehampton University) and ComICA director Paul Gravett.

The Comics and Conflicts events form part of a Children’s literature festival being held from 13-21st August 2011, which accompanies the Imperial War Museum’s new exhibition Once Upon A Wartime: Classic War Stories for Children.

For more information about the exhibition and the festival visit the Imperial War Museum web site.


Here’s a run down of the two days of events:

Friday 19th August:

9.00am – War Comics Conference opens; coffee and registration
10.00am –Introductory talk by Martin Barker and Roger Sabin about the depiction of war in the Gary Trudeau’s comic strip, Doonesbury
11.00am – Choice of parallel sessions: Representing Trauma (Chair, Ariel Kahn) / Ethnicity, Nationalism and Representation (Chair, Paul Gravett)
12.20pm – Lunch
1.20pm – Panel on The Image and Reality of War: (Chair, Garth Ennis) featuring ILEX book editor Tim Pilcher, Darin Jensen, Isabelle Delorme
2.40pm – choice of parallel sessions: Form and Content: (Chair, Roger Sabin) / Conflict and Ideology: (Chair, Alex Fitch)
4.00pm – Coffee break
4.20pm – In conversation with Pat Mills, from Charley’s War to Ayatollah’s Son followed by signing
6.00pm – Close
Please note: ticket cost for the entire day is £30.00 / Students £15.00 including Pat Mills talk or £6 for Mills talk only.

Saturday 20th August

10.30am – Celebrated Canadian artist David Collier talks about his work, followed by comic making master class at noon (separate ticket).  David was inspired to become a cartoonist by Robert Crumb, who published his first comic. He is the author and illustrator of Chimo, which depicts his decision to re-enlist in the Canadian army and go through basic training again at age 40. David has been creating since his first tenure in the army, when he drew strips and discovered his talent for the biathlon in which he has competed nationally. There will be a signing after this event.


11.30am Artists and publishers discuss Trauma and Conflict (Chair, Paul Gravett) with Danish artist Mikkel Sommer, writer and illustrator of Obsolete, and Adrian Searle, the publisher of Dougie’s War, plus artist Dave Turbitt.

2.00pm Artists and publishers discuss The Personal and the Political (Chair, Alex Fitch) with Francesca Cassavetti and her mother, Eileen Cassavetti talking about the latter’s wartime diary which Francesca has published as a comic; joined by Sean Duffield, publisher of War – the Human Cost plus contributing artists Dan Locke and Ben Naylor. There will be a signing after this event.

3.00pm In Conversation with Garth Ennis – from Troubled Souls to Battlefields; a rare UK appearance by the writer, followed by signing

4.30pm Film Screening: Comics go to War, directed by Mark Daniels. This fascinating documentary directed by Mark Daniels looks at the work of artist who are either born into conflict, or engage with it as journalists. Artists whose work is discussed include Joe Sacco, author of two books about the Middle East (Palestine, Footsteps In Gaza) and several from the former Yugoslavia. Greg Cook documented his experiences in Iraq. Keiji Nakazawa was a young boy when an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, an experience he depicts in his celebrated manga Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen). Zeina Abirached’s comic Le Jeu des Hirondelles describes her childhood during the civil war in Lebanon. In her award-winning Persepolis Marjane Satrapi gives compelling insights into life in Iran before, during and after the Islamic Revolution.

All Saturday events are £6 / the film screening is free.

• The Conference takes place at the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ. Nearest tube: Lambeth North (Bakerloo) / Elephant and Castle (Northern line, City Branch) / Southwark (Jubilee).  Book tickets at http://wartime.iwm.org.uk

In Memoriam: Martin Skidmore

Photo courtesy Andrew Moreton. Share Alike Some rights reserved by Andrew Moreton

(Last updated 11/8/11): We're sorry to report that Martin Skidmore, a longtime stalwart of British comics, has died after a long and difficult battle with cancer, aged 52.

He died peacefully, surrounded by good friends in hospital in London, bouyed in his last days by good wishes from many British comic creators, including Alan Moore and others.

An inspiration and a very good friend to many, Martin will be profoundly missed.

Martin, who charted his battle with terminal cancer on his LiveJournal, Japanese Arts and on his Facebook page, contributed a huge amount to the British comics scene as editor of Worlds Collide, the original Fantasy Advertiser (which, despite his illness, he recently revived (sort of) as the online site, FA - The ComicZine), the 1980s British independent comics imprint Trident Comics (which included work by Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Mark Millar, Eddie Campbell and others) and much, much more, including contributions to web sites such as Freaky Trigger and ILX.

Despite his battle with cancer, Martin seems to have resolutely tried to keep his humour. "Bad health news update," he noted in his last facebook profile post on 15th July. "Exciting new cancers are proliferating all over me, and I am unlikely to have much time left - could still be some months, could be a couple of weeks, depending on when one of the tumours hits vital organs, and there is no predicting that.

"I am now on morphine painkillers - I suspect addiction is not a concern..."

I haven't seen him in the flesh for a number of years, but he has been hugely active online, not just discussing comics but reviewed a bunch of singles every week with many other talented writers (often via the Singles Juke Box), as well as books and Japanese arts, when he wasn’t, as his bio on FA notes, "watching football or other TV or doing his day job as a systems analyst at a top London university."

Martin Skidmore interviews Dave Sim. Photo: Frank Plowright, via Martin Hand
As the editor of Fantasy Advertiser, he was part of the lifeblood of the British comics scene in the 1980s and ran a title that cast an honest light on the comics industry of the period. He published many still seminal articles, not least of which was a guide to writing comics by Alan Moore that I still have lurking in a box somewhere. He was always curious, open to others viewpoints while always having his own, which he made with fervent politeness.

Everything he did, he seemed to do with consummate care. When he launched FA online, it was not before attracting writers included in ‘best music writing in the world’ books, or who had been invited to vote in Sight & Sound’s 10-yearly polls as one of the world’s leading movie critics.

"I am ambitious about this site," he enthused in a pre-launch email. "I want it to be great, and to advance the form of comics criticism. The launch content is a decent start, I like to think, but I am aiming higher."

Martin (centre) with Hassan Yusuf (left), Theo Clarke (right) and Andrew Moreton (far right) at the Royal National Hotel Comic Mart, in Summer 2009
Martin was, without doubt: "A man who helped shape the UK comics scene, and whose passion for the medium and its people was unstinting to the end" -- as noted by the team at Gosh! Comics London in a tribute on his Facebook page.

"Back when I was starting he was an enthusiastic supporter and promoter of me and my work," notes Mike Collins, one of Trident Comics creative team in the 1980s. "He gave me opportunities in Fantasy Advertiser and with Neptune publishing that were invaluable in getting me established. A genuine good bloke."

"Martin's love for comic art and storytelling shone through in everything he did," says ComICA director Paul Gravett. "He was one of the good guys."

A nice guy," agrees David Lloyd. "And one of the major strengths of British comics fandom and its early indie publishing successes."

Martin was the first magazine/fanzine editor of whom I could say, I recognised an actual human being behind the editorial style," says artist, writer and designer Chrissie Harper. "...Martin’s generosity and indulgence is something I’ll never forget."

Martin Skidmore in 2008
Photo courtesy Martin Hand
"These days everyone’s an online omnivore, of course," notes his friend Tom Ewing in his tribute on Freaky Trigger. "But Martin was the real thing: he had an endless, unshowy curiosity, a frank and level judgment, and the depth of experience to give that judgment weight. When he said that something – Tezuka’s Phoenix, for instance – was among the art he loved best in the world, you listened, because you knew he never said that kind of thing lightly. And though he was humble and good-humoured, he was also quietly and rightly proud of the Japanese arts project and the work he’d done for the British comics industry through Trident Comics and the FA zine.

"...Martin was the kind of contributor every community wants – quick to say something welcoming or smart, slow to anger, possessed of a working bullshit detector but enough of a gent to use it wisely."

"This is a passing that many of us knew was coming, not something sudden and unexpected," notes Ned Raggett. "Martin knew most of all. With a directness, clarity and forthrightness that is astonishing, he discussed his situation, through emails and in various posts via Facebook, acknowledging the cancer he had been diagnosed with, the steps that were going to be taken. And he continued on nonetheless, for that was his way.

"...We are mourning him on ILX,' he added. "We will mourn him elsewhere. His friend Tim posted a link to one of his favorite pieces Martin wrote for Freaky Trigger, commenting “it’s a really good way of remembering how Martin wore his great intelligence and his great insight lightly.” Please read it, and note Tim’s wisdom in summing up Martin’s abilities...

"To the end, Martin lived."

• Any donations to Macmillan Cancer Support (http://www.macmilla n.org.uk/ Home.aspx)  who made a massive difference to the quality of life Martin had over the last few months would be most gratefully received.

Comic Creator Tributes

Martin Hand

Chrissie Harper

Tony Keen

Tom Spurgeon: The Comics Reporter

Lew Stringer recalls Martin's comics work at Trident and on Fantasy Advertiser

'Mr Tsk'

Tributes from the Music Community

Freaky Trigger

The Singles Jukebox


Ned Raggett

You can post condolence messages for Martin here on FA.com

ThunderCats re-launch brings more new merchandise

Promotional art for the new ThunderCats animated series. © Warner Bros.
(Updated 18/8/11, revised launch UK date added): Panini UK, which signed a deal to publish a new ThunderCats comic earlier this year (see news story), is not alone in seeing the potential of the renewed franchise.

Warner Bros Consumer Products UK has announced it has completed deals with four new partners for the ThunderCats licensing program, which now has a total of nine licensees.

With no launch date yet for the ThunderCats comic, master toy licensee Bandai will be the first of the licensees to introduce new ThunderCats products in the UK (see www.bandai.com/thundercats), but other new partners include TV Mania, who will release a kid's apparel range, including t-shirts and hoodies (their other licenses include Marvel characters and Ben 10); Cooneen (nightwear and underwear - they also produce Transformers gear); Zeon (who are developing watches, bags, gifts for adults and kids featuring imagery from the new ThunderCats series); and Gemma International (paper part wear, greeting cards, gift wrap).

(As well as Panini, previously announced licensees include include scooter makers MV Sports (who also hold a Doctor Who license), costume makers Rubies and branded bedding producer Character World).

In the new series, the ThunderCats are on the move. After the kingdom of Thundera is attacked by the lizard people, Lion-O leads Tygra, Cheetara and the other heroes on a quest for the Book of Omens and the magic stones of legend. But he'll have to face villains like Mumm-Ra, the ancient evil sorceror, and Slithe, the dangerous lizard general. Luckily, he has the Sword of Omens and its amazing powers at his disposal.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Japan's Studio4°C, the new animated ThunderCats series, which launches this week in the US, is set to premiere on Cartoon Network in the UK from 10th September at 11.00am (it was originally announced that it would launch in August), with new episodes airing on Saturdays until the end of October.

It will then be stripped daily, running weekdays at 6.00 and 8.00pm and Saturday mornings until Christmas.

ThunderCats looks to be joining a 1980s animation revival that already featured Transformers but also includes Voltron Force (see my news story on SciFiPulse.net), big time...

US Cartoon Network ThunderCats page

• Bandai ThunderCats Page: www.bandai.com/thundercats 

ThunderCats 2011 Fan Page on Facebook

Thundercats © Warner Bros.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Gosh! Comics Moves home - but not before one mega Alan Moore signing

Top London comics store Gosh! Comics have outgrown their happy home of 25 years close to the British Museum and are moving to new, bigger premises in Soho. But, before they go, they’re saying goodbye to 39 Great Russell Street with a huge signing on the 30th July with Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill celebrating the release of their highly-anticipated League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969, published by Knockabout Comics.

Century 1969 takes place almost sixty years later than the previous story, in the psychedelic daze of Swinging London during 1968, a place where Tadukic Acid Diethylamide 26 is the drug of choice, and where different underworlds are starting to overlap dangerously to an accompaniment of sit-ins and sitars. 

The vicious gangster bosses of London’s East End find themselves brought into contact with a counter-culture underground of mystical and medicated flower-children, or amoral pop-stars on the edge of psychological disintegration and developing a taste for Satanism. Alerted to a threat concerning the same magic order that she and her colleagues were investigating during 1910, a thoroughly modern Mina Murray and her dwindling league of comrades attempt to navigate the perilous rapids of London’s hippy and criminal subculture, as well as the twilight world of its occultists. Starting to buckle from the pressures of the twentieth century and the weight of their own endless lives, Mina and her companions must nevertheless prevent the making of a Moonchild that might well turn out to be the antichrist.

Joining Moore and O’Neill on the day is British comics mainstay Gary Spencer Millidge, known for his award-winning self-published series Strangehaven. Millidge will be signing copies of his new book, Alan Moore: Storyteller, the most comprehensive and accurate biography of one of Britain’s most creative minds ever published. It’s a lavishly designed 320-page illustrated hardback with a cover by Chip Kidd, a wealth of unpublished material, a foreword by the great Michael Moorcock and even an audio CD. You can catch a sneak preview over at Millidge’s blog.

Get your pre-orders in now for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Gosh! Exclusive Bookplate Editions and you can pick them up on the day. 


Gary Spencer Millidge, author of the astonishing and highly recommended Alan Moore: Storyteller (on sale now in all good bookshops - review soon!) will be signing from 12pm until 1.00pm, with Moore and O’Neill to follow at 2.00pm until 6.00pm. 

Visit the hallowed Gosh! basement and fall down the infamous spiral staircase for the very last time!


• More information at: http://www.goshlondon.com/​events/

British publisher MediKidz on the hunt for comic artists

British comics publisher Medikidz - a fast-expanding company set up to explain medicine to children through dynamic comics - are looking for enthusiastic pencillers, inkers, colourists, letterers and art studios to help create their books.

The London-based company is specifically looking for artists who will be able to match the artwork of their previous books (30 in progress).

"We produce two titles per month on average, so we are looking for regular artists," explains Ned Hartley, a name some readers may recognise as a former editor at Titan Magazines. "Consistency through the series is very important to us especially between characters, so we will not contact artists who we do not think will fit the established Medikidz style."

'Skinderella'
Medikidz was founded by Dr Kim Chilman-Blair and Dr Kate Hersov whom, after working in paediatrics, became frustrated by the lack of engaging education for their young patients. During their time as doctors, they were unable to provide children with resources to help educate them about their new diagnoses or medicines - in their language, at their level.

Worldwide, there's an enormous lack of useful material for young people about medicine and health - but most of what exists targets parents only. This realisation was the catalyst which lead them to create Medikidz.

"Gastro"
The 'Medikidz' are a gang of five larger-than-life superheroes from outer space, which are each specialists in different parts of the body. The characters are designed to be fun and appealing to young people in order to be able to entertain, as well as educate them about serious medical issues. They are destined to become characters with whom children can relate, and befriend.

The Medikidz characters live on 'Mediland' - a living, moving planet shaped just like the human body. The children are taught about their own body by going on a personal tour through Mediland. Medikidz is designed specifically for young people: therefore we will speak their language, at their level. Think "Marvel meets Medicine" and you have the concept!

"Chi"
Credibility is the cornerstone to the Medikidz offering - professional medical writers and doctors write all the content, which is subsequently peer-reviewed by leading consultants in each respective field. Medikidz also gains the endorsement of established and well-regarded medical institutions, foundations and spokespeople. Medikidz has established a Medical Advisory Board, consistsing of dozens of the world's preeminent physicians, as well as a Youth Advisory Board, a group of young people aged 6-16 years old, affected by illness, whose voice and opinion help to shape the direction of Medikidz.

"Pump"
As well as the 25 current comic book titles on paediatric conditions (such as Epilepsy, Scoliosis, Leukaemia and Cystic Fibrosis) Medikidz have also produced titles relating to adult conditions, so that a parent or loved one, when faced with a diagnosis, has somewhere to turn to help them explain it to their children.

Already published is What's Up with Bridget's Mum? Medikidz Explain Breast Cancer and What's Up with Tiffany's Dad? Medikidz Explain Melanoma and next in this series will be, What's Up With Grandpa? Medikidz Explain Alzheimer's Disease, with Colon Cancer, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis and Schizophrenia to follow.

Medikidz keep on getting approached all the time to write on new conditions - in fact now there is a list of 300 to do.

The company also produce pamphlets and brochures explaining paediatrically-licensed medicines (increased understanding can lead to improved adherence) and hospitals investigations, such as "Medikidz Explain MRI Scan" or "Medikidz Explain Endoscopy".

"Axon"
Since launch in September 2009, for which Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the spokesperson, Medikidz has distributed over 1,000,000 comic books globally, demonstrating in this short space of time, the definite, substantial and unsatisfied need the Medikidz initiative.

• If you're interested, send MediKidz a sample drawing of the main Medikidz characters using this submission form, along with a sample of your previous work

CLiNT #9 arrives Stateside - delivers Supercrooks Exclusive

British comic fans have already read it but the latest 100-page issue of CLiNT - perhaps one of its most potentially controversial issues yet - goes on sale in the US this week.

Issue 9 is packed full with brilliant comics and includes a thrilling first look at super-villain heist comic Supercrooks, the continuation of Kick-Ass 2, an exclusive strip by British comedian Jimmy Carr, Turf, Superior and Jake Ellis.

CLiNT's exclusive first look at Supercrooks offers behind the scenes insight on the upcoming comic and movie, the brainchild of Mark Millar and artist Leinil Yu.

A supervillain heist story that is being written in parallel to the movie script, check out some preview sketches and get the low-down from Mark and Leinil themselves, and from Academy Award nominated Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo who will be bringing the strip to the screen.

CLiNT #9 also delivers the latest episode of Kick-Ass 2, in which Dave Lizewski's father has just discovered his Kick-Ass costume! And it looks like Justice Forever are in trouble, as a familiar foe returns to wreak havoc...

"Beat My Score", a story by famed stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr, co-host of Channel 4's 10 O'Clock Live, stirred up the usual knee-jerk right wing press hostility in the UK before anyone had the chance to read the story - a nihilistic satirical sideswipe at the glamorisation of school shootings in modern culture.

Now American readers can decide for themselves and assess whether Japanese artist Ryusuke Hamamoto's grim strip will really pollute young minds.

In this issue's episode of Superior, schoolboy-turned-superhero Simon has been trying to use his new powers to be a true hero - he has saved a space-station from crashing into New York and has rescused a nuclear submarine.

However, the media have started to take notice and feisty reporter Madeline Knox is determined to get the scoop...

With all these strips and its usual selection of off-the wall features you'll find CLiNT on sale in all good US comic shops now. UK readers should still be able to find copies on sale in newsagents.

- CLiNT online at http://titanmagazines.com/t/clint/uk/9 and http://titanmagazines.com/t/clint/us/9

Enjoy 'Gnashional Trust' fun as The Beano invades stately homes

Britain's National Trust has opened its doors to the nation's best-loved cartoon characters this summer - letting The Beano's mischief-makers run riot across the country.

This week's issue of The Beano is the first ever time the National Trust has given fictional characters keys to all of its 300 homes and access to the 617,500 acres of land it cares for. The comic's creative team have had full creative control as characters from Dennis the Menace to Billy Whizz conquer castles and race ponies across grand estates.

The hope is that by letting Beano characters invade their properties, it will help the National Trust bring its places to life and prove that its doors (and copious amounts of fresh air) are open to all - breaking down preconceptions of the organisation.

Dennis the Menace and Gnasher kick off the chaos as they conquer Powis Castle in Wales, fooling National Trust staff with dozens of "hedge menaces" disguising the real rascal and his companion and becoming King for the day.

The Numskulls, who live inside Edd's nostrils (of course), are sneezed out at Edwardian Surrey estate Polesden Lacey into a game of croquet - and a planned bug hunt - to enjoy the buzz of bumblebee racing. Meanwhile, Minnie The Minx takes her dad on a manic trip to Northern Ireland to discover the iconic Giant's Causeway - and find the giant Finn McCool himself.



The Bash Street Kids take over Devon family manor Arlington Court as they enjoy the great outdoors - bat watching and pony racing with a less than happy teacher to calm them down. Fellow mischief-maker Billy Whizz - the fastest boy in The Beano - explores the country in less than a day. Fooled by Attingham Park's false doors, to completing Cragside's 8 foot high rhododendron maze in seconds and experiencing life as an Anglo Saxon at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, Billy has a fast-paced day topped off by a good night's sleep in Lyme Park's Edwardian Nursery.

"We're delighted to open our doors to The Beano and all of its mischievous characters," says Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust. "The Trust and The Beano are both British institutions and we are hoping the news that we have opened our doors to them all will encourage families to take a leaf out of Dennis' book and organise a trip to one of our places.

"As our black and red stripy friend says; 'a menace always has a plan' and this summer should be no exception.

"Wherever we can we have tried to take away ropes and show the fun side of our places with everything from mazes to talking portraits. We are certain that real-life Dennises will find that it is not all 'please don't touch' anymore - in some places you can even have a go on the snooker table."

"We couldn't think of a better way to prove what fun kids can have at 'Gnashional Trust' properties by letting the world's most famous menace and his friends from Beanotown loose on them," added John-Paul Murphy, Head of Brand Marketing of The Beano publishers, D.C. Thomson. "Dennis hasn't let his own 60th anniversary affect his ability to cause his own brand of havoc and it is a fitting birthday treat for him to become 'King of the Castle' at Powis.

"We're sure Beano readers will have just as much fun as the characters have when they visit the venues featured in our comic this summer."

- The Gnashional Trust issue of The Beano goes on sale Wednesday 27th July. For a behind-the-scenes look at the takeover visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/thebeano.

- National Trust sites taken over by The Beano:

Powis Castle, Powys (Dennis the Menace & Gnasher)
Polesden Lacey, Surrey (The Numskulls)
Giant's Causeway, County Antrim (Minnie The Minx)
Arlington Court, Devon (The Bash Street Kids)
Attingham Park, Shropshire (Billy Whizz)
Cragside, Northumberland (Billy Whizz)
Sutton Hoo, Suffolk (Billy Whizz)
Lyme Park, Cheshire (Billy Whizz)

The National Trust is including a Kids Go Free offer over the whole of August. This nationwide offer excludes the Bank Holiday Weekend only (27th-29th). To download your voucher or find out more, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/augkidsfree

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cartoon Museum celebrates Doctor Who in comics

London's Cartoon Museum is to host an exhibition of Doctor Who comic art over the summer, celebrating almost 50 years of his adventures in print - and hopes it might solve a long-running mystery about the artists who first drew the strips.

The exhibition includes the work of many artists and spans the Doctor's comic incarnations from TV Comic onwards, including Dave Gibbons, Lee Sullivan, Martin Geraghty, John Ridgway, Gerry Haylock, Ron Turner and many others.

Doctor Who is the world’s longest‐running comic character based on a TV programme. A uniquely British superhero by turns eccentric, wise, often kind, sometimes dangerous, but ultimately mysterious, this exhibition of over 100 works is the first to showcase the Doctor in his many incarnations and shows how the character has evolved in comics over the last 47 years.

The museum hopes that during the exhibition the public will help solve the mystery of who created a number of early comic pages including iconic images of the Daleks and Davros.

The show includes all eleven Doctors – plus his early film incarnation played by Peter Cushing.

Doctor Who in Comics is of course intimately connected to the TV programme, but the comic stories have also taken fans on imaginative and far‐flung adventures which would have been way beyond the budget and special effects capacity of the BBC. The Doctor has been appearing in comics for 47 years and has been drawn by many great comic artists including Frank Bellamy, Martin Geraghty, Dave Gibbons, John Ridgway and Lee Sullivan. Between 1989 and 2005, when the programme was off the air, apart from a one‐off TV film in 1996, the Doctor lived on in comics, the only place where fans could continue to see their hero in new adventures.

The Dalek Omnibus, 1976, artist unknown
Doctor Who first appeared on BBC television on 23 November 1963. The programme rapidly attracted a following – particularly with the appearance of the Daleks in the second story. What is less well known is that on 14 November 1964 the Doctor featured in his own strip in TV Comic and he has continued to appear in comics in every year since.

In 1979, he finally got his own title with the arrival of Doctor Who Weekly and its descendant, Doctor Who Magazine, continues to this day and is the biggest selling SF magazine in the UK (if not the world).

In his comic life, the Doctor was sometimes ahead of his time. In 1980 he was accompanied by his first black companion, Sharon – 25 years before Mickey or Martha Jones appeared on screen. Favourite villains such as the Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Master have made many  and many important characters such as Sarah Jane Smith, K‐9, Brigadier Lethbridge‐Stewart, Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, Martha Jones and Amy Pond have all featured.

The exhibition, drawn in part from private collections of Doctor Who art, includes the original illustrations from the 2006 story which went on to inspire the famous TV episode ‘Blink’, and artwork from the only story to be written by a ‘Doctor’ – The Age of Chaos by the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker.

The Usual Suspects Revisited by Lee Sullivan
The exhibition includes stories from TV Comic, 'The Daleks' from TV Century 21, Doctor Who Weekly, Doctor Who Monthly, Doctor Who Magazine and Doctor Who Adventures. The organisers say it has something for fans of Doctor Who of all ages, showing how a story evolves from script to finished page.

The museum is also running special Doctor Who-themed workshops for kids over the summer.

• Artists in the exhibition: Frank Bellamy, Doug Braithwaite, Mark Buckingham, Mike Collins, John Canning, Paul Crompton, Vincent Danks, Al Davison, Dave Gibbons, Steve Dillon, Martin Geraghty, Paul Grist, Gerry Haylock, Walt Howarth, Dicky Howett, Richard Jennings, Daryl Joyce, Roger Langridge, Dave Lloyd, Paul Neary, John Ridgway, John Ross, Andrew Skilliter, Ben Templesmith, Ron Turner, Barrie Mitchell, Adrian Salmon, Lee Sullivan and Andy Walker.

• The Cartoon Museum is open Tues – Sat, 10.30 – 17.30; Sun, 12‐17.30. Admission £5.50, £4, £3. Free to under‐18s. Find it at: 35 Little Russell Street London WC1A 2HH Tel: 020 7631 0793. E-mail: info@cartoonmuseum.org Web: www.cartoonmuseum.org

All Doctor Who material is © BBCTV © Doctor Who Magazine/Panini UK

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