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Saturday, 31 January 2009

Tales of Vanity and Vengeance!

US publisher Eureka Productions has just published its latest title, Graphic Classics: Oscar Wilde, featuring work by British comics creator Nick Miller, whose credits include football comic Rammie (see news story) and downthetubes very own Really Heavy Greatcoat.

This Oscar Wilde release marks the sixteenth volume in Eureka's Graphic Classics series of comics adaptations of great literature, which includes much-praised titles focusing on authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain (see news story), H.P. Lovecraft and others.

Nick Miller and writing partner Antonella Caputo contribute their adaptation of "The Canterville Ghost" to this new volume, which also features "The Picture of Dorian Gray", Wilde's tale of narcissism and horror, adapted for comics by Alex Burrows and illustrated by Lisa K. Weber, "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime" by Rich Rainey and Rich Tommaso, and an adaptation of Wilde's exotic Biblical play "Salome", illustrated by Molly Kiely.

A host of creators, including Nick, Antonella, Roger Langridge, Hunt Emerson and more have all contributed to past volumes of Graphic Classics -- full list below, all links to

Graphic Classics: Oscar Wilde
Edited by Tom Pomplun
Published January 2009, Eureka Productions
Distributed by Diamond Book Distributors
ISBN 978-0-9787919-6-4

• Graphic Classics are available from bookstores, comics shops, or direct from the publisher at:

Nick Miller and Antonella Caputo's Team Sputnik web site

Expecting Great Things from John Stokes

(with thanks to Jon Haward): Classical Comics, the British publisher adapting classic works of fiction into comics for both schools and general readers, has just published some pages form its latest project, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, on its web site.

Adapted by Jen Green, the art for the project is the work of former Marvel UK and IPC artist John Stokes, whose perhaps most memorable credits for downthetubes readers include Black Knight for Hulk Weekly, Fishboy for Buster, Future Shocks for 2000AD, the comic strip adaptation of the film Time Bandits, Doctor Who strips and much more.

Jon Haward, who has been working for Classical Comics as both artist and art director, is delighted with John's work. "I'm really happy for John," he enthuses, "and publisher Clive Bryant, as I think this book has winner stamped all over it."

Stokes' work, coloured by Jason Cardy, brings Dickens' powerful tale of Pip, Miss Havisham, and the spiteful Estella to glorious life, his attention to detail without losing sight of the need for strong storytelling in plenty of evidence from these sample pages.

As a tale described as "one of the greatest works of literary history," John and the Classcial Comics team have certainly done it justice in graphic novel form.

• Great Expectations, which will be available in Original Text and Quicktext formats, will be published in March. Order it from

John Stokes' Profile on Lambiek

Friday, 30 January 2009

Monkeying about with Young Gods!

Ground-breaking British indie publisher Orang Utan Comics Studio have released the first part of their Young Gods Online Graphic Novel onto an unsuspecting world this week, aiming to bring the title to comics fans in new -- and free -- ways.

An action packed adventure tale, Young Gods, in part previously serialised in 'newspaper strip' form on ROK Comics, is a stunning looking book that's certain to appeal to a wide range of comic book fans. The series sees OUCS make the bold leap from the printed page into digital media, with Young Gods being available to read completely free online, via the digital publishing site

OUCS were the first organisaton to sign up to myebook’s publishing partnership plan when it went live last year.

“I think we recognized the huge potential of myebook about thirty seconds after first being shown it,” said Orang Utan Comics Studio’s Managing Editor and Young Gods’ creator, Ian Sharman. “It’s an ideal solution for small studios like ourselves who want to get our work in front of as many people as possible but don’t have the capital to finance large print runs.”

With the recent policy changes at speciailst comics distributors Diamond reducing the opportunities for small press and independent publishers to reach a wide audience through traditional print publications, OUCS see online digital publishing as an essential tool for distributing their comics to a wider market.

Ian Sharman has been working on Young Gods since he was a teenager, gaining the initial inspiration while listening to the Little Angels album of the same name. However, the road from original idea to the comic book page has been a long one, and finding the right creative team to bring his ideas to life proved very challenging.

“I think we went through seven artists, including at one point myself, before we found Ezequiel Pineda," he reveals. "His unique style was exactly what I was looking for, allowing the focus to shift from the overblown superheroics to the diverse characters that make up the team.

"The addition of Mauro Barbosa on colours proved that lightening can strike twice, as his dynamic colours proved to be the perfect complement to Ezequiel’s art.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate,” Ian continued, “finding not only one, but two extremely talented artists with the same passion for this comic that I have.”

The first part of the Young Gods OGN, which introduces the team and sets up plot points that will be continued in a six issue series that the creative team are currently hard at work on is available to read FREE online right now, and the second part will be released on 28th February. Be one of the first to read this exciting new comic, and share it with your friends online, just as you would a YouTube video!

Myebook - Young Gods: Part One - click here to open my ebook However, for people who prefer to read their comics on the move, rather than sat at a computer, Orang Utan Comics Studio are also exploring other areas of the digital revolution in comics, making Young Gods available to download to your mobile phone via ROK Comics.

• To find out more about Young Gods, read character bios and creator profiles, please visit
• For more information on Orang Utan Comics Studio visit them online at

• Promote Young Gods!

The success of Young Gods will almost entirely depend on fan support, on word of mouth and the book spreading across the internet in a viral fashion. With this in mind, Orang Utan Comics Studio have produced a promotional video which they are encouraging their fans and supporters to put on their blogs and web sites in order to spread the word about this ground breaking release.

Brautigan Comic part of new Torpedo Quarterly

2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of American writer Richard Brautigan, whose best known works include his 1967 novel, Trout Fishing in America, his collection of poetry, The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster (1968), and his collection of stories, Revenge of the Lawn (1971).

Marking the anniversary of one of his favourite writers, Brighton-based comics creator Paul O'Connell is one of several contributors to the leatest issue of the quarterly Australian fiction magazine Torpedo, whose latest offering is a special Brautigan themed issue.

Co-edited, and with a foreword, by Brautigans daughter Ianthe Brautigan, the special issue features Brautigan inspired fiction from 30 writers, a section of Richard Brautigans own writing plus a specially designed envelope containing eight full colour A5 double-sided prints featuring artwork based on his stories, one of which prints is a comic strip by Paul using Richard Brautigan's own text, called 'The Library'.

In Brautigan's novel The Abortion: A Historical Romance 1966, the narrator is the sole employee of a library that collects unpublished and unpublishable books. It's sole criteria is that books must be delivered in person. "A chapter in the novel which I adapted into comic strip form
describes a typical day in the life of the library," Paul told downthetubes, "and the many kinds of
characters who stop by to leave their charming, idosyncratic and bizarre manuscripts and books."

"It's a real privilege to be included in this special edition."

Apparently, the idea for the kind of library featured in the novel proved so popular that it inspired more than a couple of actual real life libraries based upon the same principle.

Other contributors to the magazine include Brian Evenson, Ryan Boudinot, Dan Pope and Caren Beilin, an outro by Radiohead illustrator Stanley Donwood and a cover by Los Angeles-based illustrator Kristian Olson.

Torpedo is available now to buy from the Falcon vs Monkey website
Brautigan Bibliography and Archive
A bio-bibliographical archive for Richard Brautigan, his life, and writings

Time for a Little Music...

Ace comics artist and painter Chris Reynolds, creator of Mauretania Comics, kindly sent me a copy of trombonist and composer/arranger Mike Hext's Mr OK, a new album for which Chris has provided the cover.

Mike came to prominence after winning the first ever BBC TV Young Musician Of The Year Competition in 1978 and has since led a versatile career as a trombonist, valve trombonist and composer/arranger, much in demand as a jazz and studio musician, and who also composed the soundtrack to the film Hunters of the Lost Sun back in 2003.

Now, I have to confess I'm not a huge jazz fan, so dropped the CD onto my player with some trepidation. I needn't have been so worried: it's a terrific, mellow piece of work, a tribute to the American valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. Pleasant on the ear, if you're a fan of such music it's well worth tracking down, either from label Mainstem's web site ( or via Mike's official site, where you can here the title track.

Produced by David Hays and recorded at Red Gable Studios, London, the album features a high quality line up including Martin Shaw on Trumpet/Flugel, Nick Rodwell on Alto Sax, Jim Rattigan on French Horn, Malcolm Edmonstone on Piano, Julian Jackson on Bass and Andrew Bain on Drums.

Chris also directed me to some of his terrific new paintings on his web site, a collection of stunning art from this talented 'Stuckist'. Below is just one of them, Ocean Mails, which sort of reminds me of those frontispieces you used to find in old British boys' annuals. Smashing stuff!

A Cartoon History of Here

Venues across northern Britain will play host to new performances of The Cartoon History of Here over the next few months, an event described as "a live-action cartoon" created by Yorkshire poet, broadcaster and comedian, Ian McMillan and several times Cartoonist of the Year, Tony Husband.

The two top funny men reflect upon local stories, legends, rivers and romance, presenting poems and cartoons to go in a "a fast-flowing, rapid-rafting adventure", offering comedy, cartoonery, poetry and improv in a hilarious live-action cartoon of the local community they're visiting, starring its friendly folks, fantastic fortunes, dazzling ambition and tenderest moments.

Ian McMillan ("The John Peel of poetry", says Alec Finlay) hosts weekly hit radio show The Verb. He’s Yorkshire Planetarium’s Poet in Space, Poet-in-Residence for The Academy of Urbanism and Barnsley FC, Humberside Police’s Beat Poet, Yorkshire TV’s Investigative Poet and a regular on shows such as Newsnight Review, The Today Programme, Just A Minute and Have I Got News For You? His rip-roaring poetry shows are legendary. Cats make him sneeze. "‘He's one of my all-time heroes - he’s such a talented bloke, I could kill him" says Mike Harding.

Tony Husband is Cartoonist in Residence at The Lowry and a cartoonist for titles such as The Times, Private Eye and PR Weekly and whose latest book is The World’s Worst Joke. He's been awarded Strip, Gag and Sports Cartoonist of the Year no fewer than ten times by the Cartoon Arts Trust and won the 2005 Pont Award given in memory of the great thirties’ cartoonist for his depiction of British life. Tony also has a weekly strip in his local paper, The Tameside Advertiser, can be found in Who’s Who and says Ian makes him sneeze.

The event is suitable for ages 9 and over, running time 80 minutes.

Tour Dates So Far...

• 30 January: Pitchcombe Village Hall Box Office 01453 763181

• 7 March: The Lamproom Theatre, Barnsley Box Office Box Office: 01226 200075
• 13 March: 7.30pm St Paul’s Hall, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield. Part of the Huddersfield Literature Festival 2009. Tickets from the Lawrence Batley Box Office Tel: 01484 430528 (
• 18 March: 7.30pm Ledsham Village Hall, Capenhurst, Cheshire Box Office: 0151 339 3327
• 19 March Helsby Community Centre, Helsby, Cheshire Box Office: 01928 723399
• 20 March Kettleshume Village Hall, Cheshire Box Office: 01663 735149
• 25 March 8.00pm Kirkgate Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria Box Office: 01900 826448
• 26 March Ireby Village Hall, Cumbria
• 27 March Ullock Village Hall, Cumbria

• 24 April Arnside Educational Institute, Church Hill, Arnside. Tickets: adult - £8, child - £4.50, family (2 adults and 2 children) - £19. Box Office: 01524 762254

Dangerous Ink interviews John M. Burns

(with thanks to Jay Eales): Cosmic Publishing, who also publish Comics International, have just released the first issue of the revamped, alternative arts magazine Dangerous Ink, which includes an interview with 2000AD and one time Modesty Blaise artist John M. Burns.

The interview spans his entire career, starting with his work for Link Studios in the 1950s alongside Harry Lindfield and Gerry Haylock, whose work also featured, much later, in another title he worked on, the 1970s comic Countdown.

Combining comics, 'fine' art, comic strips and more the magazine also has interviews with 1960s Batman actor Adam West and Canadian cartoonist Doug Wright.

The magazine was first conceived back in January 2007 by two Glasgow creatives, Will Couper and Tom Green. Past issues have included interviews with comic creators such as Joe Matt, Thomas Ott and Frank Quitely.

• Dangerous Ink is available from selected newsagents, comic shops and the Dangerous Ink web site.

Tube Surfing: 30 January 2009

• British independent publisher FutureQuake Press have just released the latest issues of their brilliant anthology titles, FutureQuake and MangaQuake. FutureQuake #12 offers its usual mix of science fiction comics tales and boasts a cover by Eagle award-winning artist Declan Shalvey, with strips from writers Tom Davies, Robert Murphy, Martin Hayes, Kieran Murphy, Raz Greenberg, Mike Lynch, Gareth Whitty, Karl Stock and Dan Whiston, and art from Chris Geary, George Coleman, Jim Boswell, Paul Carter, Charley Spencer, Ed Traquino, Toby Philip, Adrian Bamforth, Gibson Quarter and James Kircough. FuruteQuake has always been one of my favourite indie mags and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

• If you're in London at the weekend, don't forget the The Alternative Press Fair 2009 is on tomorrow, Saturday 1st February. Bringing together the worlds of alternative comics, zines, self-produced art-books, poetry and diy/punk culture for one amazing day, like a great colourful blancmange that you can’t eat. Meet the artists, see their work, buy some if you like it, then relax and enjoy an exciting evening of music, song and melody, starring the Singing Sensation of the Nation, Mr. Trent Miller (& The Skeleton Jive)...

• The February 2009 issue of Thomas Cochrane's Fat Man comic is now online -- a 25 page bumper edition. You can also view it at
Responsible for the death of millions, the mysterious 'Tegel Project' threatens the very core of civilisation. Betrayed by MI5, the Fat Man finds himself caught between the blazing guns of would-be assassins and the blood-red lips of silent movie star Louise Brooks.
Unable to trust anyone and faced with a series of unpalatable choices, he careers madly along the arch of time on the seemingly impossible mission of keeping himself and his lover alive. Read Part Five...

• What is it with Panini UK and their total inability to update their web site properly? Thus, it falls to Al Ewing to point out that Marvel Heroes #3 is now on sale in the UK while the official web site is still promoting #1, the fools. "tt's a giant monster special," says Al, "with my Iron Man story with Kev Hopgood joined by an absolute gem of a Fantastic Four tale by Rik Hoskin and John McCrea, containing what I think might be one of the best Thing moments I've seen all year... It's a beautiful bit of business that turns a fun story into a great one."
(I suppose I should confess I haven't updated my New Comics page lately, either, but then again no-one's paying me to do this...)

Doctor Who Adventures #100 is offering 100 prizes in its 100th issue, on sale now, including books, DVDs, audiobooks and toys. The issue also has a special feature about some of the sonic devices in the series – everything from the sonic screwdriver to the sonic blaster - and the comic strip for the issue sees The Doctor and his new friend Heather take a trip to the planet Delquis.

Discworld author Terry Pratchett has just been interviewed by The Times on Alzheimer's and his best work and notes how some Harry Potter fans have accused him of plagiarism even though his 'school for wizards' has been around for, what, 20 years? "I've had letters from Potter fans, less so these days, mostly from America, accusing me of plagiarism,” he says. When one newspaper “fabricated” a row between Pratchett and JK Rowling - in fact they have met and get on - he received death threats from American Potterites. “E-mails,” he says, “ and very stupid.”

• Fancy yourself as a superhero? has launched Homespun Superheroes, a fun new Flash game designed to develop skills such as memory, observation and response time to help build up "superhero stamina." Specially designed tests will help improve rank and supply your avatar with a hero rating that will help you to master the streets and "clean up crime."

• The trade paperback edition of Leah Moore and John Reppion's four-part Top Cow/Dynamite Entertainment crossover mini The Darkness vs. Eva - Daughter of Dracula is out this week, as is Mike Raicht's Creature Feature #2 from Th3rd Wold Studios, which features a 12 page story called "Imago" written by Leah and John and drawn by 2000AD's P J Holden.

Could New UK Laws Threaten Comic Collectors?

(with thanks to Leah Moore and John Reppion who mentioned The Bookseller article on this matter their blog).

New laws designed to tackle extreme and child pornography could make owning mainstream comics like Batman or Judge Dredd illegal, campaigners claim.

The Bookseller notes an article in the Daily Telegraph citing concerns raised on the web site protesting against two pieces of legislation and urging comics fans to lobby their MPs on the matter. The first, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, has just come into force, but concerns were raised about the new laws as far back as May last year, by Mark Lawson in The Guardian and later, by artist David Hockney on the BBC's Newsnight.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act makes possessing "extreme pornography" - defined as any "extreme image" produced "solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal" - illegal.

The second is the Coroners and Justice Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, which will introduce a similar law banning the possession of any image involving sexual activity and children.

While many have welcomed the government's latest attempts to legislate on the appalling illegal trade in child pornography, claim that if the new rules are interpreted harshly, their hobby could be criminalised.

In a statement, the website says of the rules outlawing sexual violence: "Isn't that how Batman, Punisher, Judge Dredd get anything done? A kick in the balls or a*** would constitute this, and a kick in the balls is a well trodden part of humour."

It added that the new law on images of children would make owning some comic books, and "particularly some forms of Manga", illegal.

The comicshopvoice web site suggests that the law could affect titles such as Lost Girls, Wanted,
Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen, Punisher, Manga (pick a title -- elsewhere, anime fans have described the act as "criminalising" their genre) and Cerebus.

The site continues: "Because this is a minefield for the law it then falls on the Police to enforce it, and it is their judgment that could lead to a prosecution.

"We could get to a point where the police could legitimately visit your home or workplace, and sanctioned by an un-elected magistrate or judge go through your collection and if they find any comic book that they feel will cause sexual arousal or displays extreme violence then they could arrest you."

Comic book fans are being urged to lobby their MPs, the group adding: "What is frightening about this law is that it gives [the Government] carte blanche to invade our lives, to shut down our comic shops and ultimately it could lead to censorship of books and films as well."

"The ingenuity of the human mind allows both the creation of art and the misuse of images," Mark Lawson said of the proposals last year. "The twisted mind will always find loopholes - and the government has correctly identified one - but, if closing a loophole threatens other legitimate forms of expression, then it is wrong."

You can write to your MP via

• What do you think? Discuss this issue on the downthetubes forum
• For a complete look at the new law, visit the official site

• For further comments see:
Coroners and Justice Bill: the most toxic law ever?
Mark Lawson commented on these proposals in The Guardian way back in May 2008
"Professor Sapient" outlines the issues in considerable detail here, also noting censorship elsewhere - more food for thought

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Tube Surfing: 29 January 2009

Dave Taylor has just posted this stunning teaser for a new Judge Dredd story, a four parter written by Ian Edginton. Look out for more soon on his blog. Dave's one of several comics artists involved in the fab online stripjam, Huzzah!, along with Faz Choudhury, Dylan Teague, Paul Harrison Davies, Rob Davis, I. N. J. Culbard (who's got some terrific designs for his Sherlock Holmes project for SelfMadeHero on his blog), Colin Fawcett, Sketchybeast, D'Israeli and Dan McDaid.

• Talking of Paul Harrison Davies, my fellow Lancaster-based comic creator has been recommending some good comics reads, including D'Israeli's Stckleback, Bogie Man and the Verttigo title Northlanders, which I enjoyed myself. Check out his hot picks here. He also rightly directs people to web comic Rip Haywire, which is still in its early days, and "a great throwback to classic US adventure strips like Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy and Steve Canyon for the Dilbert generation".

• Both Andrew Wildman and Faz Choudhury highlighted this video on Facebook, showing Spanish cartoonist and animator Juan Berrio at work, making unusual use of a moleskin notebook. Simply stunning...

• Bad news for Magazine fans: Realms of Fantasy is closing down following publication of its April 2009 issue with Managing Editor Laura Cleveland telling SFScope the news came very suddenly. So suddenly, Warren Ellis notes, that even Editor Shawna McCarthy (currently on vacation in Italy) hadn’t been informed yet. RoF failed to embrace the digital age -- its web site doesn't seem to have been updated for a couple of years by all accounts -- which surely can't have helped.

• In more bad magazine news, several are mourning the announcement that DC Comics MAD Magazine will switch from monthly to quarterly publication, beginning with its 500th, April 2009 cover dated issue. DC are also killing spinoffs Mad Kids (ceasing publication after 17 February) and Mad Classics (ending on 17 March). The quarterly schedule will begin in April and the change will see the humour magazine expand from 48 to 56 pages.
Brushing off the gloom, as you'd expect from Mad, editor John Ficarra told the New York Times, "The feedback we’ve gotten from readers is that only every third issue of Mad is funny. So we decided to just publish those."

• (via Cy Deathan): The Insomnia Publications blog is currently featuring an interview with Cancertown and Slaughterman's Creed artist, Stephen Downey, discussing his methods and influences, and offers advice on breaking in.

• Neil Gaiman, who is a guest of the Dubin Film Fair which is screening animated fim Coraline, has received the prestigious John Newberry award from the American Library Association awarded for his novel, The Graveyard Book, for the most outstanding children’s book.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Coraline Game Released, New Trailer...

Games company D3Publisher, publishers of titles diverse as Shaun the Sheep and Ben 10: Alien Force (due for US launch February 2009) has released the Coraline videogame in the US for Wii, Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2.

Based on Laika's new stop-motion/3D animated movie of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, the game allows players to take on the role of the adventurous Coraline and interact with the characters from the movie. It features the voices of Dakota Fanning (Coraline Jones), Keith David (Cat), and Robert Bailey Jr. (Wybie Lovat).

“The Coraline movie is absolutely mesmerizing," Bill Anker, vice president of business development, D3P said when development of the game was announced last October, "and we feel that the visual style and tone of the game will bring the amazing stop-motion animated film and thrilling storyline to life for players.

“We’re confident that Coraline will offer a truly immersive and interactive gameplay experience that gamers as well as fans of the movie and best-selling book will enjoy.”

Gaiman himself reveals he's been busy for the past few days, promoting the film as part of the international press junket. "While I am completely frazzled and braindead and hoping that room service will come while I am still awake, I am also happy that I can point to for today, and to the blog of my ultracompetent assistant Cat Mihos, to tell you what happened," he notes on his blog.

Directed by Henry (The Nightmare Before Christmas) Selick the Coraline movie is released in the US on 6th February and 8th May in the UK. Here's a new trailer for the film...

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

New Asterix Tales on the Way

One of the longest-running gags in the Asterix books, created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, has been given a revamped 'origin story' treatment in a new Asterix book, already on sale in France and due for release by Hodder in the UK in June.

New Asterix stories are also in the works for release later this year after the character's co-creator Albert Uderzo signed a deal with French publisher Hachette-Livre.

First released in English back in 1989, How Obelix Fell Into the Magic Potion When He Was A Little Boy reveals how Asterix' clumsy friend and menhir delivery man Obelix ended up in a cauldron of magic potion and was permanently imbued with super strength.

Ever since he fell into the magic potion, there has been something mysterious about Obelix… What was it that happened exactly? How did Obelix manage to escape druid Getafix's eagle eye and taste that magic beverage?

René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo first explained the mystery in 1965, in Issue 291 of the French comic magazine Pilote, in a text story illustrated by Albert Uderzo, which lifted the veil on the childhood of our Asterix and Obelix and, for the very first time, introduced the pair's mamy fans fans to their parents.

How Obelix Fell Into The Magic Potion When He Was A Little Boy reappeared in album form in 1989 after Albert Uderzo, having reread the text with nostalgia, decided the text deserved a richer set of illustrations. That album, re-published in French this month to mark the 20th anniversary of the story's first album publication, is the latest release in an extensive program of "re-mastering" of the Asterix albums and features a new cover immortalizing the moment before the fall,

Narrated by Asterix in person, the story offers up legions of scoops and unforgettable images. We learn, for example, that Obelix was a frail, timid and bullied child, who was constantly taken to task by his classmates.

• In December 2008, Albert Uderzo finally decided to entrust Asterix's future to publisher Hachette Livre, paving the way for new Asterix stories. Describing Hchetter as "a great publisher, financially stable, and capable of guaranteeing Asterix international renown and continuity, the move was also approved by Anne Goscinny, René Goscinny's daughter, who considers that this was "the best way to guarantee the work's continuity".

Uderzo is now working on an album of new Asterix stories, to be published on 22 October as part of the celebrations commemorating the 50 years since Asterix was first created in the pages of the Pilote magazine on 29 October 1959. Uderzo has also revealed he has an idea for a new 44 page new Asterix story.

How Obelix Fell Into The Magic Potion When He Was A Little Boy is released in June in the UK. Available via

Take a look at the original pencil drawing by Albert Uderzo for the new cover of "How Obelix Fell Into The Magic Potion When He Was A Little Boy" on the official web site

Try your luck in an Asterix Quiz on the official Asterix web site and win a copy of the "How Obelix Fell Into The Magic Potion When He Was A Little Boy" album

Monday, 26 January 2009

Tube Surfing: 26 January 2009

(with thanks to Chris Wasshuber): Who created Lucky Luke? The cowboy, published by Dargaud and the creation of Morris, has been a beloved fictitious cowboy in Europe for the past 60 years bringing joy and entertainment to many readers and audiences. A recent discovery reported on has unveiled a Lucky Luke cowboy created by an American, Arthur A. Dailey, at least as early as 1934. Mr. Dailey, in 1934, created and wrote a series of radio programs for boys and girls called "Lucky Luke" – a cowboy who had many adventures in the Old West. Were the radio shows syndicated to Europe and heard by Morris? The Lybrary article points out some interesting similarities...

Neill Cameron has posted some stunning Doctor Who samples on his blog, hoping someone, somewhere on the Internet will see them and, I'd argue, have the good sense to commission him. Neill sent me the pages a while back and I offered a few suggestions based on my past experience as a former Doctor Who Magazine editor which I'm sure he didn't really need. Check them out here

Sean Phillips has just posted a cover sketch for the Incognito project he's working on, written by Ed Brubaker. Sean's been publishing several art pages at various stages of development on his blog which will be of interest not only to his fans but artists, too.

• For just 99p you can hear Simon Guerrier's first episode of his new Doctor Who play, The Judgement of Isskar. The accompanying Prisoner's Dilemma is also out now, too.

• Over the last 18 months, 2000AD artist Colin Wilson has been working closely with Melbourne playwright Tom Taylor on a variety of comic projects, and the first of these to surface looks like being in Flinch, a new anthology title of Australian comic talent published by Gestalt Comics. "This lovely little book, with contributions from, amongst other, Chris Bones, Christian Read, Bobby.N, Justin Randall," he notes on his blog. The anthology features a cover by Shaun Tan, has recently surfaced on, with a planned publication date of May."

• (via FPI Blog): At the end of the week rumours started circulating that Captain Britain & MI-13, written by Paul Cornell, has been cancelled. The good news is that those rumours were just rumours; Captain Britain & MI-13 is not cancelled, and according to the piece on Newsarama, Marvel assures everyone that it’s a healthy book.
Paul himself notes the collected edition of the first four issues of Captain Britain and MI-13: Secret Invasion, has already sold out and will shortly be going to a second printing. "It seems we're currently at number five in the UK graphic novel sales charts! " he comments. "I'm thoroughly chuffed."

Preserving Our Comics Heritage

John Birch works for the National Library of Scotland located in Edinburgh, one of the UK's five legal deposit libraries, and curated their successful Local Heroes exhibition covering comics and graphic novels last year.

In an interview for downthtubes, he gives Jeremy Briggs the benefit of his experience in organising this exhibition and its related events, as well as the legal requirements regarding archiving small press comics and fanzines for the nation, which some publishers may not be aware of.

Read the interview on the main downthetubes site
Discuss the interview and ways to save our comics heritage on our forum

Rainbow Orchid Re-Mastered Update

Garen Ewing has updated fans on progress with his Rainbow Orchid collections, with the first volume of this critically-acclaimed indie strip now scheduled to be published by Egmont UK in August 2009.

" I have been working practically every minute of the past two weeks going over part one with a fine-tooth comb, re-lettering, dialogue editing, and in some cases re-drawing entire panels," the artist, who drew Charlie Jefferson and the Tomb of Nazaleod for The DFC comic reveals. "... I don't think I've been to bed before 3 am most nights, and a couple of days ago I did a 38-hour stint, with just a 2-hour mid-morning snooze!

"But I think it's been well-worth it," he adds. "...
It's great to finally get what I actually wanted down on paper.

"To answer the main question, The Rainbow Orchid (volume one) should be out in August 2009, and I will confirm that as soon as I'm able. Having now completed the 're-mastering' (for want of a better term)... I will be conjuring up some artwork for the extra pages in the book - it should be a very nice little package when all put together."

The Rainbow Orchid was originally started in 1997, but it wasn't until 2002 that it got going properly, with the series published in indie comics anthology BAM! These strips were eventually published in a black and white collected edition in order to guage public reaction, and it quickly sold out at British comic cons, nominated for two National Comic Awards and then sold out through internet sales. The last copy was sold on ebay for £79, with some frantic last-minute bidding.

In 2006 the story started receiving interest from publishers, and in the Spring of 2008 The Rainbow Orchid was picked up by Egmont UK.

Read Garen's full post on remastering Rainbow Orchid on his blog
Rainbow Orchid publication checklist

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Maw, Paw an' PM Broon

While the UK comics community, and the national newspapers, may have made much of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's appearance in the first issue of Marvel's Captain Britain and MI13, it is unlikely to have raised much interest in Number 10 or in the Brown family home in Scotland. However the Prime Minister's appearance in The Broons in today's issue of DC Thomson's Sunday Post newspaper is much more likely to capture his attention.

As tonight is Burns Night, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns, and the beginning of the Scottish tourism promotion of Homecoming Scotland, Maw and Paw Broon have invited Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to join them at their Burns Supper in their Number 10 - Glebe Street that is.

Maw Broon, of course, is Scotland's latest celebrity chef with 2007's Maw Broon's Cookbook and 2008's follow up Maw Broon's But An' Ben Cookbook. Last year at this time the Sunday Post issued the 32 page Broon's Burns Night magazine, which combined Burns Supper recipes and other Burns Night traditions, as a free giveaway. This magazine proved so popular that it was expanded and issued as a 48 page softcover book towards the end of last year by Waverley Books who had so successfully published Maw's other titles.

In today's Broons tale, artist Peter Davidson has included Gordon Brown's wife Sarah as well as singer Dougie MacLean whose song, Caledonia, is the official anthem of the Homecoming promotion. The story ends with Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond sharing a drink together, which will no doubt amuse many as in reality there is no political love lost between the two men.

However there are no politics to be had in the story. Indeed Maw is quoted in the Sunday Post as saying, "The only political wranglin' goin' on in oor hame is when Daphne and Maggie want tae use yon hairdryer at the same time. Mebbe we could get some other politicians round to solve the problem. A'body knows there's plenty o' them that specialise in blowin' hot air."

The Broons (c) DC Thomson and Co Ltd

Complete Dracula Announced

US publisher Dynamite have announced the launch of The Complete Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, Leah Moore and John Reppion, with art by Colton Worley and covers by John Cassady.

Issue 1 of the five-issue comic series will go on sale in April, and begin "the complete story of the Lord of the Undead -- Dracula!

"For the first time in 112 years the tale that Bram Stoker intended to tell is told (including "Dracula's Guest"!)," their PR proclaims. "If you thought you knew how it began or how it ends, you were wrong! A five-issue issue odyssey of life, death and the blood that flows within us all!"

In addition to the comic, fully-painted in a rich, moody style by Worley, Moore and Reppion also provide bonus material such as script pages, annotations and samplings of the original text by Bram Stoker.

• Dynamite Entertainment:

Birmingham Comic Show Revamped

British podcast and comics news site Geek Syndicate reports that after three successful conventions, The Birmingham International Comics Show is regenerating into The British International Comic Show.

"This is simply to reflect how the show has become the UK’s largest comic industry event and to help attract a wider variety of visitors, exhibitors and sponsorship," co-organiser Shane Chebsey told Geek Syndicate. "We also don’t want to be limited to Birmingham as a location for the show, and the name change allows us flexibility on this front."

There are no plans to move locations, though. "We think Birmingham is the best location for a show," he said. "...However, we are always looking at other possible venues and events that International Comic Shows as a company can offer, both to the industry and to fans."

• The British International Comic Show takes place on 3-4 October 2009 Read the full news story on Geek Syndicate Vist the British International Comics Show web site

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