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Friday, 12 March 2010

Mad Science Theme for Caption 2010

Independent comic creators festival Caption has been confirmed for Saturday 31st July and Sunday 1st August at the East Oxford Community Centre, Oxford.

The theme is Mad Science and all ideas based around the theme welcome, so get those pencils going...

The event will be running the Caption comics table as usual, so if you have comics to sell just take them along to the event and they'll sell them for you for a 10% fee.

If you are interested in being on a panel, doing a talk, running a workshop or being on the Caption Committe then please contact If you are interested in providing artwork or articles for the Caption Programme Booklet then please contact

Mad Science, eh? Plenty of Madd Science here from Steve English, a strip which won him £5000 in a competition back in 2007.

• There's more of Steve's work at:

Small Press Creators: Badham wants to hear from you!

Matthew Badham - Photo by disraeli

Matthew Badham, a contributor to downthetubes, perhaps best known as a feature writer for Judge Dredd: The Megazine (and other outlets), is writing a 4000 word piece about the British indie/small press comics scene - and wants views from small press creators for the article.

"I'm going to be using my contacts book to gather primary research material in the form of quotes from indie comics creators," says Matthew. "However, any indie/small press comics types who want to be proactive and get in touch with me via mattbadham(at) to chat about the scene are more than welcome to do so.

"I can't promise that I'll have space to mention every comic creator I speak to, but I will try and mention as many as I can (and hopefully get them some publicity).'

• Contact Matt via mattbadham(at) (tell him we sent you!)

• Photo by Matt Brooker (disraeli)

More Carol Day newspaper strip stories online

Fans of the classic  Carol Day newspaper strip may be interested to hear that the strip's official web site,  www.carol-day. com has recently updated with new stories and art. The new stories are "Money Matters" and "Jimmy Hayes".

Carol Day ran from 1956-1967, and was created by David Wright:  it was syndicated in around 70 papers around the world, but this high-spot of the newspaper comic strip has never been collected, and it never appeared in the US.

According to Patrick Wright, David's son, "even though the Hearst Newspaper did attempt to head-hunt my father in the early 1950s, it was felt Carol Day was too sophisticated for the American market!"
They've also added a few new pieces of original art for sale from Dangerous Currents (
Roger Clark, who runs the site, has also been able to put together about half the episodes of the story from the first Carol Day story, "Charles Logan" .  

"I think it's enough that you can make sense of the story even with the gaps, and the art is so nice to look at that it seems well worth putting up, even  in incomplete form."

This site is a real labour of love and a great archive of a classic British newspaper strip that fully deserves wider attention.

Dan Dare Movie in the works?


(via Bleeding Cool): Comics and entertainment web site Bleeding Cool has picked up on a report on reviews site Pajaba that British-born actor Sam Worthington has been cast as the lead in a new film -- Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future.

Worthington's most recent project, Avatar, may be familiar with our readers: he also stars in the soon-to-be-released Clash of the Titans remake, pictured above.

Before we get too excited, Pajaba's source - the anonymous "Hollywood Cog" - would appear to be someone working at a Hollywood casting agency. Web site CHUD, commenting on casting rumours for Spider-Man 4 last year, notes: "The Hollywood Cog is privy to lots of stuff, and he reports every bit of it. I bet that most of what he reports is 'true' in the broader sense - an agent did say that so-and-so was up for a part - but he's reporting decontextualized office gossip."

Whether the actual casting report is true or not, the story does suggest a Dan Dare feature film, based on "the most successful comic property in the history of the UK" may be in the works - although there have been many rumours of Dan Dare feature films before, including one directed by Ridley Scott with designs by Rian Hughes.

Picking up the rumour, film magazine Empire notes Pajiba’s sources have been spot on about several stories, so they’re inclined to believe a film incarnation may be in discussion, "even if the movie itself vanishes into a development wormhole|.

The animated Dan Dare series - shot in CGI and the work of Dan Dare copyright holders the Dan Dare Corporation - may well have prompted this latest rumour as film studios like Warner Brothers, who are apparently producing the film, race to duplicate the success of James Cameron's Avatar.

Pajaba says the project has been 'slow to develop' - which could imply the studio is struggling to pick the right 'Dan Dare' setting for the movie: the fabulous but scientifically inaccurate original created by Frank Hampson and Marcus Morris for Eagle, complete with the Mekon and life on Venus; Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes bitter satire, Dare, from the 1980s; or even the most recent re-imagining by Garth Ennis and Gary Erskine.

While Dan Dare remains a rumour, as we previously reported a film based on another Frank Hampson-created Eagle comic strip - Road of Courage, the story of Jesus - is in the works as an animated project from Bill Melandez Productions.

News Stories elsewhere:

Pajaba: Sam Worthington Signs On to Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future

Bleeding Cool: Avatar Star Sam Worthington Is... Dan Dare?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Unmasking Corruption with Comics in Liverpool


Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption comes to Liverpool this month, with an exhibition of political comic work to coincide with the release of their new comic book anthology.

The free exhibition, at the Contemporary Urban Centre in Greenland Street, will take a retrospective look at how comics have been employed throughout history to debate and highlight political issues, and will include content from previously unseen archives as well as highlights from the limited edition Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption Comic.

The book itself, which aims to engage and challenge the issues of social injustice in a bid to politicize a new generation of activists through the medium of popular comic culture, features original work from leading comic artists, satirists and creative figures from around the world including Dave McKean, Peter Kuper, Lee O'Connor, Pat Mills, V V Brown, Dan Goldman, Aleksandar Zograf, Bryan Talbot, Asia Alfasi, Dylan Horrocks and Marcus Bleasdale.

The Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption Comic Book is available while stocks last.


15th March - 28th March 2010 - Tues-Sat: 11am-6pm, Sun 11am-4pm
Contemporary Urban Centre, 41 – 51 Greenland Street, Liverpool L1 0BS
Box Office: +44 (0)151 708 3529 Tel: +44 (0)151 708 3510

Event Info:

Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption Comic Info:

WebFinds: Cliff Robinson's Captain Britain


Regular readers of downthetubes will remember artist Cliff Robinson - one of many great creators on 2000AD down the years. He began his own blog some time ago, and has been posting some fantastic art, including this brilliant 'faux' Captain Britain Weekly cover - inspired by CB's first run in with Captain America back in the 1970s - and a fun 'Robot Archie' illustration.

Commission-764057_cliffrobinson.jpgHis blog features the preliminary drawings for the Robot Archie, Judge Anderson and
Modesty Blaise art. "Looking afresh at these drawings and the finished art, I'm beginning to wonder whether I've drawn Modesty's waist just a tad too thin," he notes.

• Check out his blog at:

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Troops to get a boost from King Kong and Friends

This month Britain's Comic Book Alliance will be joining with the 'Support Our Soldiers' charity to send thousands of comic books and graphic novels to troops stationed around the world and many miles from home.

The CBA spoke to troops before Christmas and were told that one of the biggest problems facing service personnel was boredom when they are not deployed in the field. Comic books have always been a favourite with the troops because they are light, entertaining; easy to carry, share and read.

Passing on that information on to its members, the CBA were instantly inundated with offers from publishers and retailers wishing to help. "There were so many offers that it was impossible to arrange for shipments before Christmas," says CBA spokesperson and co-founder GM Jordan. "Plus, the CBA simply did not have the expertise to send out the parcels themselves.

"Thankfully the problem was solved when Support Our Soldiers, who have been sending goodwill parcels to members of the armed forces since 2003, agreed to take the donations to ensure they reached the people who needed them the most.'

With the S.O.S partnership in place there was a further complication: the donors were spread out across the UK. The comics needed to be collected and then delivered to a central point for distribution and with time running out; it looked like they were in danger of failing to meet their March deadline.

Luckily the Post Office was at hand and, thanks to their logistical skills, they were able to collect all the donations into a central depot in the South East before shipping them north to be delivered to S.O.S.

"We owe a great deal of thanks to the Post Office, when we explained the difficulties facing us the managers and staff understood the difficulties involved and found the right solution to help us. Without the Post Office we would have been in serious trouble," GM Jordan explained.

The CBA is especially grateful to help from independent comics publisher Markosia Enterprises and comics retail chain Forbidden Planet, who were amongst the first to pledge their support and been a great supporters of the CBA.

Titles distributed to the troops include Markosia's King Kong of Skull Island, Starship Troopers, Harker and the critically acclaimed Hope Falls by Tony Lee.

“Thank you for doing a great job on our behalf and we wish you well” said Harry Markos, head of Markosia, before adding, "If our small token goes any way towards cheering up the troops then we are all very happy."

The CBA was founded in 2009 to represent the comic book industry in the UK, working with retailers, publishers, creators, educators and fans to ensure a bright future for the industry.

Web Links

• Comic Book Alliance:
• Support Our Soldiers:
• Markosia Enterprises:
• Forbidden Planet:

New Doctor And Companion To Visit Their Hometowns

Doctor Who actors Matt Smith and Karen Gillan

As part of the pre-publicity for the new series of Doctor Who due to start on BBC1 at Easter, new Doctor, Matt Smith, and Karen Gillan, who plays new companion Amy Pond, will be undertaking a short publicity tour.

As well as Matt Smith's hometown of Northampton and Karen Gillan's hometown of Inverness they will also visit Belfast, Salford and Sunderland.

The tour takes in the five locations in three days beginning in Belfast on Monday 29 March and concluding in Salford on Wednesday 31st March. Each location will have a screening for local children of the first episode of the new series, The Eleventh Hour, written by the series' new show runner Steven Moffat.

• The trailer for the new series is available on the BBC Doctor Who website while there are more details of the tour on the BBC News website.

Scottish superhero film in the works from Mark Millar


Wanted and Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar has told Scottish TV network STV he is aiming big for his first directorial outing which will shoot later this year, taking his cues from the South African feature District 9.

In a video interview on the STV web site, the former 2000AD writer says he wants to create an epic Scottish superhero movie that will have a 21st-century Trainspotting vibe while being “as cool as X Men 2”, with plans to shoot this summer using a local cast and crew.

In first part of STV's extensive interview with Millar about all his projects, he explained: “The plan with the Scottish movie was that I realised that everything I’d written, even though I’m a Scottish guy from Coatbridge, everything I’d written was set in New York or Los Angeles. I just thought that’s quite weird; normally people will do something that is a wee bit to do with where they came from, so I thought that it was quite odd that I’ve never done that.

"It’s a lazy shorthand to always set something in America that everybody understands.

The film will shoot this summer, Mark reveals.

"... My plan is to start directing [the film] in June, June and July," he continues. "We’re prepping it just now. We want to do it with an entirely new cast, people nobody have seen before, young people from Glasgow and Edinburgh and work with local teams. Everyone that works on the movie we want to try and keep Scottish and just create a superhero movie with its own unique flavour.”

Millar is reconciled to the way his comics work has been adapted for the silver screen. “You compromise in film, it’s just the way it goes," eh says. "Sometimes you write a black character that when it comes out in the movie it’s a white character and so on. It’s a collaborative process and everybody’s got an opinion, and if you do something in the studio system you have to defer sometimes.

View the first interview here on the STV web site

• In the second part of the interview, Mark talks about how Kick-Ass’s independent status was preferable to the studio system behind the likes of Superman.

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