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Friday, 5 March 2010

Robot Archie Needs You!

Robot Archie - an image from 1964 © IPC(with thanks to Leah Moore and John Reppion): Back in 2005 and 2006, British comic creators Leah Moore, John Reppion and artist Shane Oakley had the opportunity to resurrect a big gang of classic UK comics characters in their dad/father-in-law (some bloke called Alan something or other) plotted Wildstorm series, Albion.

"We loved scripting The Spider, Charlie Peace, Grimly Feendish… every single one of them to be honest," recall Leah and John. "It was a true honour (not to mention loads of fun) working with such important, influential characters and it’s almost impossible to pick just one favourite out the lot.

"We did, however, always have bit of a soft spot for the battling British robot himself -- Robot Archie -- and it seems we are not alone.

" (not yet live) aims to be the definitive fan-site for Archie enthusiasts the world over and we’re doing our bit to help make that dream a reality," they reveal on their web site. "So, Robot Archie fans, here’s how you can help. Artists: wants your Robot Archie pin-ups and more! Writers: wants your articles on Archie, his history, reviews, interviews, and anything else you can think of!

"Fans: wants your cover scans, collectors info, classic interviews and everything else!

"Anything Robot Archie related you can think of (within reason), wants!" the pair enthuse.

Leah and John are keen to stress that they are not running themselves but they will be doing everything they can to help out with getting the site up and running and getting as many people involved as possible. If you want to submit artwork, articles, or whatever to the site you can use and they’ll be only too happy to pass your info on to the webmaster.

"Robot Archie is a true British icon: a symbol of a lost age when Newsagents’ shelves groaned under the weight of a vast range of truly fantastic, original and spellbinding UK comics," notes John. "Let’s try to recapture some of that magic and work together to make a fitting tribute to Archie and all he stands for."


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Hi-Ex Hell Trek!

helltrek_2010.jpgHow far would you go to read comics? Maybe a trip to the local shops?

Well, comics fan John Burdis has gone a few steps further than that and organised a marathon bus journey from the South of England to the Hi-Ex Comic Convention, which takes place in Eden Court Inverness on the 27th - 28th March.

"I was in the 2000AD Online Chatroom and mentioned the Hi-Ex! and how I would like to go. The problem would be the cost and the time taken. A drive from Maidstone to Stansted, flight to Inverness and taxi to hotel and then the return journey.

"One of the regulars on the forum suggested we should organise a minibus to travel up there. Later that night I pondered on this and decided why not, if enough people want to do it."

He got enough people, and the minibus - nicknamed the HiEx Hell-Trek (after a strip in 2000AD comic) will be winding its way towards Inverness, picking up comic fans on the way. And John, being an ex-soldier, is well prepared for the journey.

"I’ve had chocolate bar ‘rations’ and polo shirts emblazoned with the Hell Trek logo made for each of us, and one of the polo shirts will be entered into the HiEx charity auction on the weekend of the convention.’

But isn’t this a bit far to go to meet some comic artists?

Hell-Trekker Ration Bar

"This event has had nothing but praise from writers, artists and fans alike," John explains. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to go - plus, some of my favourite creators will be here."

Guests include French artist Michel Rodrigue, who created the official mascot for the inaugural rugby World Cup in 1987 and worked on the Tin Tin magazine.

Thargletter1.jpg"This is where the differences are between comic and football fan are apparent," he adds. "They pay £40 plus to watch a match, see the stars from a distance and never meet them. They also buy all the tops and merchandise with no real thanks from the players. But when I go to an event like this it costs a lot less to get in, I meet and talk to all the artists and writers, I can even have art drawn for me for nothing, and at the end of the day can have a drink and more chat with the writers and artists. Now that is good value as far as I'm concerned."

HiEx is organised and run by artist Vicky Stonebridge and Futurequake editor and comic writer Richmond Clements. While the long term future of Hi-Ex is vulnerable (there is a strong demand for an event of this kind in Scotland and in the North), funding is a problem. For Hi-Ex 2010 the Highland Council have kindly stepped in with a grant to assist with outreach and other additional activities.

• More Info on HiEx at:

• Follow John Burdis and the Hell Trekkers on Twitter:

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

thingNY's Call for Comic Artists

We don't normally circulate much non-British news, but this US-based music project posted their international appeal for artists on our events page, so we thought we'd repost the information here.

A New York-based xxperimental music ensemble, thingNY is looking for comic book artists, illustrators, designers and other imagicians to illustrate the comic book libretto (liner notes) of their soon to be released album, ADDDDDDDDD: an opera by thingNY.

The New Yorker's Alex Ross called new music uber-group thingNY part of the city's burgeoning avant-garde classical music scene 'striking an attitude of resistance to mainstream culture'. The not-for-profit collective comprises composer-performers from the New York city metro area and revels in creating and performing unrelenting experimental new works with passion and enthusiasm, oscillating between the 'sweeter sounds' and the 'punishingly loud'.

Debuting in October 2006 at Jersey City's landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, thingNY has gone on to produce three seasons of experimental music including a radio play by Beckett, a collaborative opera and over two dozen premieres.

Paul Pinto tells downthetubes he is hoping the show may be brought to the UK at some point.

• More info:

• The next performance is on Saturday 20th March at 8.00pm at the Issue Project Room @ the Old American Can Factory - 232 3rd St. Brooklyn, New York. Tickets at

• To read more about the project and to download guidelines and audio here:

• Selected artists will be contacted by 22nd March and final drafts will be due 1st April 2010. The company says it regrets it cannot pay volunteer artists but selected artists will receive a copy of the finished product, credit and two tickets to the thingNY show of their choice.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Macbeth - The Interactive Motion Comic!

MacbethCoverAnimated-thumb-215x215.gif(With thanks to Birmingham Mail's "Speech Balloons"): British publisher Classical Comics has just launched a series of interactive motion comics, starting with its award-winning Macbeth.

"It's been nearly a year in the making -- and still isn't quite finished!" say the company, who will be attending the UK Education Show to promote their entire comics range this week.

The Interactive Motion Comic features the wonderful artwork of Jon Haward (who has just been interviewed over on Imagine Daily) and offers all three text versions of our Macbeth graphic novel (Original, Plain and Quick Text) on disc - a format designed to give teachers and students "the very best environment" in which to experience the play. The format lets viewers choose to view one panel at a time or sit back and watch in movie mode and includes context notes for the Shakespearean language.

Not only do you see the characters from one of Shakespeare's best-loved tragedies move, but you also hear them speak in a full audio production that includes the vocal talents of the wonderful
Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply, Bend It Like Beckham, The Snow Queen) and the eminent Sir Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius, Hamlet, Doctor Who).

"We've taken the stunning artwork of Macbeth and created an Interactive Motion Comic featuring all three text versions in one engaging visual and audio experience!, " Creative Director Jo Wheeler told the Birmingham Mail.

"It's ideal for whole class teaching, for small groups, or for personalised learning.

"The concept of Classical Comics is truly inspirational, creating, as it does so magnificently, an accessible and fascinating mix of visual and audible drama," says Jacobi of the Classical Comics range. "The stage and the page brought vividly to life.

"The artwork of Jon Haward is both dramatically compelling and beautifully illustrative. His pictures illuminate the words to perfection and bring these great works leaping to mind and eye.

• To view an online demonstration visit:

• Classical Comics online at:

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