downthetubes is undergoing some main site refurbishment...

This blog is no longer being updated

The downthetubes news blog was assimilated into our main site back in 2013.

Hop over to for other British comics news, comic creating guides, interviews and much more!

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Hookjaw Interview

Well, not Hookjaw himself, which would just be gut-wrenching sounds of gnashing shark teeth, but with the Collected Hook Jaw about to munch its way through the swimming public once more (just when you thought it was safe to go back to the reprints…) Joe Gordon over at Forbidden Planet International has posted an interview with Chris Smillie from Spitfire Comics (and Starscape) which was also a nice nostalgic indulgence, truth be told!

"After seeing the rise in interest in Brit comics via [my] Superhero Store, plus letters in Comics International, I thought I’d just put in a cheeky request to Egmont saying ‘well, if you’re not going to print them, can I?’" Chris says of his reprint project plans. "After all the doomsayers telling me how difficult Egmont/IPC were to deal with, I found them quite refreshing. As long as they got some cash from you, they were actually quite keen to do a deal.

"The rights issue isn’t as complicated as it sounds as the retired editor of Lion (and numerous other comics), Gil Page, actually handles all the licensing for both Egmont and IPC," Chris also reveals. "Both companies pretty much regard Gil as the knowledge base, so he can direct people to the right company in any dispute.

"I think a big problem was the amount IPC wanted for reprinting their stories, which was an enormous page rate. Hopefully, it has changed since the Titan deal to allow other publishers in. I’m not entirely sure why there has been so little interest from publishers when you consider the Beano has been the best-selling book in the UK for most of the past 50 years. But with Titan, Hibernia (Doomlord), Look & Learn and now Spitfire, it’s all changing." Read the full interview...

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

2000AD competition over on FPI

Joe Gordon from Forbidden Planet International has just dropped me a quick line to advise of a pretty cool 2000AD competition he's lined up.

"I just can’t let the 30th anniversary of 2000AD at the end of this month pass without marking it, so I’ve manage to wheedle Judge Dredd Complete Case Files Volume 5 signed by Alan Grant and John Wagner and the Complete Nemesis the Warlock Volume 1 signed by Pat Mills from them as prizes for an anniversary competition," he reveals. "The answer to the competition is easier than chewing munce gum (just don’t drop that wrapper, citizen)."

Folk have two weeks to get their entries in (deadline is Wednesday 21 February) and the first correct name out of the hat will win these rather collectable signed volumes. The first incorrect answer out of the hat wins a one-way trip to the Cursed Earth’s Mines of Mutieland.

Details are over on the blog where Joe says he is in "raving fanboy mode" about the anniversary. ("I offer no excuses," he confesses, "since I am indeed, a raving fanboy") and the competition can also be found on the main webstore.

Forever Albion

I've just posted the first of three interviews to mark the release of Titan Books Albion collection, the first being with writers Leah Moore and John Reppion. Interviews with IPC's Andrew Sumner and the project's brilliant artist Shane Oakley - who remembers my comics fanzine SCAN from way back when, to my surprise - should follow soon...

This week's searches on included...

In order of most searched terms:

- 1 "web site" (why would so many people search a web site for "web site")
- 2 "Hilary Duff" (This is a comics site, people. Is Hilary Duff doing comics? I don't think so)
- 3 "petta" (were they looking for PETA or jazz singer Sherry Petta?)
- 4 "Alan Moore" (I haven't got him)
- 5 "Captain Britain" (Doesn't Alan Davis have shares?)
- 6 "Carrie" (I haven't got her, either, though I'm guessing they mean the adult comic character)
- 7 "comic art" (Yes, I have lots of that. Enjoy!)
- 8 "Garth" (write to the Daily Mirror and demand they bring him back!)
- 9 "how to build a fighting robot" (OK, I did some stuff on Titan's Robot Wars magazine...)
- 10 "Knockout" (Fab comic!)

Strangely, the one thing that has been most search for on my site for ages - a ringtone based on the theme music to "On White Horses" doesn't figure, which is just typical since I've added some direct links on my search page.

Sheesh! There's no second guessing some people.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Family Obsessions

Steam Engine pic by my Dad
Originally uploaded by JohnFreeman.
Obsessions run in our family. I love comics, my Dad loved trains. I'm now trying to find out where he took some of his earliest steam engine pics and have added a small batch to my new Flickr site), partly to try Flickr out and, well, because I'm curious as to where these pics were taken. London? East Anglia?

You see, I told you obsession ran deep...

The Dead Goldfish

The Dead GoldfishI thought this cartoon might have originally appeared in Viz - it seems to be based on an old Internet-circulated joke - but a version is being passed on from the "Bore Me" site, an archive of "viral" e-mail jokes and pictures which, it seems, several people have just found and have begun "viralling" all over again...

Every joke I get that I pass on I tidy up and in many case "anglicise" the content. I'm waiting to see how long it takes before a joke I've amended this way - as I have this cartoon - gets back to my mail box. But I think I'll check the BoreMe site and see if any of them have ended up there.

Yes, I do need to get out more...

People leave the strangest things behind

Following up on news reports that people would rather read a comic -- sorry, book -- than have sex, after a survey conducted by Travelodge, I scurried over to their web site to find the full text. What books would they rather read? Award-winning books like Alison Bechdel's Fun Home or something scurrilous by Alan Moore?

Sadly, the survey isn't among the press releases just yet, so an item for Monkey News will have to wait. But as you do when you go exploring on the 'Net, I did find an intriguing list of items left behind in Travelodge rooms, including the following bizarre items in 2006:

1. Australian cycle racing team bike worth £19,000
2. Spys dossier ("Mr Bond, you may have defeated SPECTRE but you really have to do something about those memory lapses of yours after a quick one with Moneypenny")
3. A pet dog ("Darling, why are buying dog food?")
4. False teeth ("Dwahlink whif if youf buyin dog fud?")
5. Porsche and Aston Martin keys ("Bond!!!")
6. A hollowed out bible containing £250 cash ("At least I didn't forget the drugs...")
7. A full six foot length of snake skin (Was the snake found later in the air conditioning?)
8. Diamond ring belonging to an ex football player (And ex-husband when his wife found out, I expect)
9. 2 briefcases containing collectable glasses from famous people including Elton John (Well, it could have been something embarassing like two briefcases full of Wonder Woman comics, but Joss Whedon didn't need them anymore)
10. BBC ID card (Michael Grade didn't needed it anymore, either)

Apparently, the most common items left in a Travelodge room in 2006 were:

1. Mobile phone and chargers
2. Toiletries
3. Clothing items
4. Shoes
5. Books
6. Hen/ Stag Night accessories /adult toys
7. Jewellery /watches
8. Laptops
9. Electrical Gadgets Ipod, digital camera
10. False teeth /limbs
11. 2000AD*

* Oh, all right, I made the last one up. You should never leave a 2000AD behind. It will haunt you.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Save us from Guardian readers

So the world's going to h*** in a handbasket and what are Guardian readers doing? Arguing about who has the best computer.

I'm considering joining Harlan Ellison and Alan Moore in the typewriter zone.

Not very seriously, mind, but considering it.

ComicSpace up and (fully) running

The new online comics community ComicSpace, described as "MySpace for comics creators and fans" is now fully up and running and if you're so inclined, there are now some fantastic samples from many British artists on the site, including Bill Greenhead and Andy Oldfield's Judge Smeg; Garen Ewing's Rainbow Orchid; James Turner's Beaver and Steve ; Neill Cameron's simply gorgeous Thumpculture; and much, much more besides.

This is a great place to see plenty of lively, enthusiastic comic creators doing what they do best and the best part if, you can even narrow your search down to creators who might live in your own town or county. Which I suppose might be a little scary for the creators involved if you start turning up on their dorrstep demanding autographs. Check it out.

Latest News on

Contact downthetubes

• Got a British Comics News Story? E-mail downthetubes!

• Publishers: please contact for information on where to post review copies and other materials:

Click here to subscribe to our RSS NewsFeed

Powered by  FeedBurner