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Friday, 1 January 2010

DC Thomson bids farewell to Bill Graham


DC Thomson editor Bill Graham - whose credits include Starblazer, Warlord and Spike and had a long and varied career with the Dundee-based company - has just retired.

Previously interviewed by Jeremy Briggs for the site, what we haven't published before is a picture of him with his lesser-known brother — PC Murdoch from the Oor Wullie strips!

"The story goes that the comics/boys’ papers staff held a PC Murdoch look-a-like competition and he won," claims Commando editor Calum Laird, who kindly sent us this picture.

"He was, however, the only entrant. And he had no idea the competition was going on!"

downthetubes would like to thank Bill for all the support he's given this site over the past few years and wish him all the very best for the future.

Read our 2008 interview by Jeremy Briggs with Bill

Comic Book Alliance launches logo competition

The Comic Book Alliance - a UK-based not-for-profit organisation - has just launched a competition for creators to come up with a logo, which runs until the end of January 2010.

The competition, intended to find an iconic logo for the new organisation dedicated to the promotion of British comic books, that can be used in all its promotional material and merchandise. It's open to all British nationals, professional or otherwise and there is a fantastic range of prizes to be won, including free Full Membership of the CBA for life (excluding travel and accommodation costs).

The winning designer will be recognised as the logo’s creator on the CBA website and see their design on t-shirts, book covers, affiliated websites, banners and flyers produced by the CBA and used in promoting the British comic book industry not just in the UK but around the world.

Once you have created your design simply scan it, saving it as a jpeg image and then email the picture to Included in your email should be your name, age, address and contact telephone number.

Keep your original design safe: the winning entry will be collected from you in order that a high resolution scan of the logo can be made.

The winner will be announced on the Comic Book Alliance website on the 1st March 2010.

Primarily run by volunteers, the CBA aims to promote graphic novels, webcomics and sequential art in its many forms, and British-based and ex-pat comic creators - be they artists, writers, colourists, letterers or editors.

• For full information about the CBA and this competition visit:

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Dan Dare Figures: Sneek Peek


Award-winning toy figure maker Day2Day Trading has just sent us these impressive shots of their new Dan Dare prototype figure, due for release next year (2010).

The Dare figure is just the start of a full Dan Dare range from Day2Day, also known for their Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Sinbad ranges.

The quality of their figures is impressive and we're looking forward to seeing how the project develops.

More info:


Seek and Strike out for the new Commandos...

commando_seekandstrike.pngThe latest issues of DC Thomson's Commando went on sale a day early this week as we bid goodbye to 2009.

There's also some advance news for the next round of issues on sale in January 2010. "We'll be starting the year by re-issuing the first book featuring an Ian Kennedy cover by way of thanking the man for 40 years of sterling service to Commando," says editor Calum Laird. "The book is No 453 from 1970, and is titled Seek and Strike."

downthetubes hopes to pay its own tribute to Mr Kennedy's stirling service to Commando and comics in the new year, but in the mean time, check out these interviews with the artist in conversation with Chris Weston and Terry O'Donnell.

Here are the new Commando issues on sale now...

commando4255.jpgCommando No 4255 (previously No 2608 from 1992): Never Volunteer!

Story: Cyril Walker. Art and Cover Art: Ibanez

The Dakota droned away and the canopy cracked fully open above Bob Slade, a private in the Parachute Regiment. He adjusted his rigging lines and took a quick glance at the barren desert wastes below.

Unlike his mates descending all around him, Bob had been here in North Africa before — as a soldier in the French Foreign Legion, charged with the murder of an officer. And he knew as well as every other Legionnaire that the Legion never forgets... nor forgives!

commando4256.jpgCommando No 4256 (previously No 2618 from 1992): Battling Rust-Bucket!

Story: Ian Clark. Art: Gordon Livingstone. Cover: Jeff Bevan

The Duchess of Alna was a pleasure boat by trade, more suited to ferrying holiday-makers than going to war. Yet that’s exactly what she had done in 1940, as one of the heroic "Little Boats" of the Dunkirk Evacuation.

And now, more than 50 years later, when some said that she was only fit for scrap, this unlikely battleship was off to the rescue again — slap in the middle of a war-zone!

Gordon Livingstone (now retired) and Jeff Bevan were both staff artists on Commando when this book was first published. Jeff’s work was seen throughout the Boys' Papers but Gordon was almost exclusively a Commando artist, taking an average of four weeks to illustrate a complete book.

The two new stories on sale this month are both set in the Ardennes, marking 65 years this month that the Battle of the Bulge was fought there. The Winter Warriors is the last new book drawn by the late Ricardo Garijo, completed before Need To Know but held over for the Ardennes connection.

commando4257.jpgCommando No 4257: The Winter Warriors

Story: Ferg Handley. Art Ricardo Garijo. Cover: Ian Kennedy

The Ardennes, December 1944. In the murderous confusion of what became known as "The Battle Of The Bulge", Allied soldiers warily stalked the frozen wastes and eerie forests of the battlefield, aware that at any moment they could be cut down by enemy gunfire. Not to mention marauding Nazi panzers or the terrors of hidden minefields.

For a squad of rookie American GIs it was going to take all their wits and courage to stay alive...

commando4258.jpgCommando No 4258: Friends Or Foes?

Story: Peter Grehan. Art and cover art: John Ridgway

When the Germans launched their Ardennes offensive — the desperate last-ditch "Battle Of The Bulge" — in December 1944, they sewed seeds of confusion amongst their enemies by using special units dressed in Allied uniform.

Royal Engineer Sergeant Bob Ashford wasn't the only one who couldn't tell friend from foe. Nor was he the only one who decided to shoot first and ask questions later...

• For more information, check out the official Commando site at:

• 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

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