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Friday, 21 May 2010

Striker comic to go free-to-view online in July

The entire 25-year archive of the football strip Striker, first published in The Sun and now featuring in mens magazine Nuts, is to be available online as free to view comics on the Striker website when it relaunches in early July.

Creator Pete Nash told fans via the Strkerworld forum (registartion required) earlier this week that the stories will be released in stages of at least one page a day, seven days a week, with five strips to a page.

"The rationale for doing this is to build up as big an audience as possible so that potential licensees in publishing, computer games and film/TV can assess Striker’s appeal through its website following," Pete explained. He says there is strong interest from a film company that’s seeking to raise finance for a film or TV series but it’s making slow progress so far. Similarly, there is keen interest in creating a computer game from three developers - but once again the problem is raising finance.

"To print and market the entire Striker archive as a series of books would cost well into six figures and publishers are cautious about taking this on without an idea of how many books would sell," Pete adds.

"We know Striker is read by over 200,000 people who buy Nuts - but what we don’t know is how many people will visit the Striker website every day to read the free strips. It’s this figure that will be so important to potential investors in the Striker brand."

"I've met many licensing agents who want to represent and market Striker but they would all like to know just how many fans – both existing and potential – are out there. That’s what we shall start to find out by the end of this year."

The web archive will include the first Striker story that was reprinted in the comic, which was the shortened version that was created for the Striker annual published in 1989. The story that will be released on the website will feature the original Sun strips that have never been seen since 1985.

The availability of the archive will be promoted through the Striker page in Nuts and also on Facebook and Youtube in order to reach a global audience.

Folk to watch out for at the Bristol Comic Expo

(with thanks to Bryan Talbot, who can't be there due to deadlines - but Watch the Grandville trailer!): Here's a list of just some of the comics creators at the Bristol Comic Expo this weekend to look out for if you're going...

Running from 22-23 May at two venues in Bristol (the Ramada and the Mercure), this year's Expo includes Chris Claremont, Pat Mills, Alan Davis, Mike Carey, Charles Adlard, David Hine, Shaky Kane, Phil Winslade, Ian Churchill, Jock, Mark Buckingham, John Higgins, Doug Braithewaite, Paul Grist, Emma Vieceli, Lee O'Connor, Ian Edginton, Andy Diggle, Sean Phillips, Clint Langley, Steve Yeowell, Paul Cornell, John McCrea, Ian Culbard, Kev Hopgood, Kieron Gillen, Simon Bisley, Mike Ploog, Al Ewing, Garen Ewing, Steve Pugh, Rian Hughes, Gary Erskine, David Roach, Greg Staples, Lew Stringer, Ilya and many more.

The bad news is, the event is sold out, and no news if there will be tickets on the door.

The next major comics event in the UK is the MCM Expo in London at the end of this month. See our events page for information, or scroll down the listing on the right had side of this page

Clint: The Origin of Mark Millar's new comic title

For those not already wondering, veteran publisher and editor Dez Skinn has just explained the origins of Mark Millar's new comic title, CLINT, which Titan Magazines launch later this year.

If you're easily offended by bad language, don't read on.

"Back in the 1970s when IPC was rocking saleswise, there were two words you could never use in print in their holier-than-thou weekly comics: FLICK and CLINT," Dez notes in a posting to his Quality Communications group on Yahoo.

"Because Gravesend's letterpress printing was so blotchy the space between the capital letters L and I was virtually non-existent, so LI looked far more like a U.

"Hence the adage oft-heard in the corridors of Fleetway House..., FLICK OFF CLINT!

"It gives a whole new meaning to the old book/film/TV series My Friend Flicka," he adds wryly.

Doctor Who Live: Tour Details

Tickets for the BBC Worldwide Doctor Who Live - The Monsters Are Coming! are now on sale.

The show will be a  spectacular audio-visual experience - think their successful stage show version of Walking with Dinosaurs but with Doctor Who instead - featuring live music, special effects and appearances from the show's most popular monsters including the Daleks, the Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Judoon and Oods, to name but a few.

Taking in nine cities and 25 dates, Doctor Who Live kicks off in London at Wembley Arena on 8 October 2010, and will visit Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Cardiff and Liverpool, culminating in Belfast on 7 November.

With an out-of-this-world set, Doctor Who Live promises the same excitement, adventure and suspense that viewers have come to expect from the TV programme.

Although actors from the TV series will not be appearing live on stage, it will feature specially filmed new video scenes including an exclusive from Matt Smith's Doctor.

More info and ticket sales on the Doctor Who Live web site

BBC logo © BBC 1996. Doctor Who logo © BBC 2009.

Comics International publisher company dissolved

Cosmic Publications, previously publishers of Comics International (and, for a while, Dangerous Ink magazine), has been dissolved.

News broke after fans of Comics International spotted the dissolution of the company on the Companies House web site spelling an end, perhaps, to any further speculation that the much-loved comics news magazine created by veteran editor and publisher Dez Skinn might one day return.

Cosmic Publications bought Comics International from Dez after interest from several other publishers. Edited by Mike Conroy, sadly, the takeover proved problematic almost immediately, with late running publication and internal issues affecting production, before the magazine finally disappeared.

Despite several request for updates, downthetubes and other comics media made no headway with publisher Peter Boyce, who last claimed the title was "not dead" last September.

"Comics International dead?" Peter Boyce, also owner of Movie New Media told us. "It's news to me."

His comments came despite the lack of any regular issues, with the last publications being two Comics International Specials last July.

If the dissolution of Cosmic Publications means Comics International has now gone for good, will anyone step up and take on the title?

downthetubes understands that several companies have considered a new British-based comics magazine - aside, of course, from the British comics-devoted Crikey! - but have been waiting patiently to see if and when CI might return.

More comments on the apparent demise of Comics International on the downthetubes forum

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Time Bomb Comics explodes with new titles

Last_Ride_of_Henry_Golden.jpgHot on the heels of a move from Leicester to Birmingham, Time Bomb Comics has announced a number of forthcoming one-shots and graphic novels currently in development, including work by DC Thomson stalwart Keith Page.

The Last Ride of Henry Golden: is a graphic novel written by Derby-based Alex De-Gruchy, with line artwork by Giorgio Ianotti (one of the artists on the Magic City project), and colour art by Rebecca Labor. Set in Glory, Nevada. 1871 it opens with Sheriff David Samuels hunting down Henry Holden, a man who took what was rightfully his from the corrupt and ruthless landowner, John Kelly. Three weeks later, Samuels rides back into Glory with a dead man on his horse and a weight on his soul he knows he can never shake off...

Kelly is happy that all is once again as it should be in his town. But he's wrong. Sheriff Samuels knows he has damned himself - he isn't looking for any kind of redemption. But with innocent blood on his hands and a tin star on his chest he no longer deserves to wear, Samuels knows that one way or another, a reckoning is coming. And if it's one that costs him his life, well, that's just fine with him.

Skylark is a graphic novel by Jonathon Darque, with art from Katja Lindblom, who contributed to another Timebomb title, Bomb Scares. In the realms of supernatural investigations during the 19th Century, Skylark is legendary. A true adventurer from a bygone age, a man's man and somebody who left countless mysteries behind when he disappeared without a trace.

In the aftermath of the Great War, his son Gabriel has enjoyed a less than stellar reputation - labelled a fraud by the press and a disappointment by his father's peers. Yet it is Gabriel who on a routine investigation finds himself suffering for his father's sins and only he can turn back a threat older than time itself.

"Ever since my childhood years I've had a fondness and fascination for drawing as well as writing stories," says Katja of her work. "When I became a teenager it struck me what an ingenious thing it would be to combine the two. Now I'm striving towards world domination."

Angels_of_the_Somme.jpgAngels of the Somme: is a graphic novel written by Alec Robertson with artwork by Bruce McLaren, set in the Great War - a war which began for Private Doherty joined the Seaforth Highlanders wanting to do his bit for king and country, just like any other ordinary man. But ordinary men shouldn't have to face the horrors of the trenches and the grim battlefields of the Somme.

Fed up with fighting but with nowhere to go, Private Doherty joins a deserter regiment - A rag-tag unit of men from all sides just trying to survive.

Based on historical facts, Angels Of The Somme features the fascinating story of the forgotten deserter regiments of World War One. One for Charley's War fans to check out, perhaps?

Dick Turpin and the Crimson Plague: is a one-shot written by Steve Tanner and artwork by Andrew Dodd, a long-awaited follow up to Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead released back in 2008. Notorious highwayman Dick Turpin and his associate Tom King the gentleman thief are living the high-life in nineteenth century London. But Turpin's getting itchy feet and their coin is getting low, so there's just time for one last job before hitting the roads again. Who could have known that the upmarket brothel they decide to rob is infested with the curse of the Crimson Plague?

london_calling.jpgFinally, there's London Calling: is a graphic novel written by Stephen Walsh, with artwork by Keith Page, due October 2010 featuring Keith's wonderful female detective Charlotte Corday.

There are vampires afoot in London's Highgate Cemetery and only Charlotte and the garlic-toting, stake-swinging coppers of the Metropolitan Police's V-Squad can stop them!

Channelling the spirit of traditional British adventure comics from yesteryear, with a dose of Hammer horror and Ealing Studios thrown in, London Calling features classic black and white storytelling from respected Commando artist Keith Page.

It's a an impressive line up, and we're sure the Time Bomb team will be on hand at Bristol to tell fans more about their plans this weekend.

• For more information visit:

Strip! Goes Manga, Mills talks French (comics, that is)

yuri_kore.jpgContinuing ‘cross cultural comics month’ on the show, the Strip! radio show this week is looking at the winners of last year’s Manga Jiman (Pride in Manga) competiton run by the Japanese Embassy in London to find the best new Japanese style comics made in the UK.

Dickon Harris talks to the runners up – Zarina Liew and David Lander - about their entries to the competition and the crossover between British small press and manga styles in their work; while Alex Fitch talks to Yuri Kore about her winning entry “The boy who runs from the sun” and drawing comics again, having moved to Britain from the Manhwa industry in Korea, where she had seven books published.

Fans of 2000AD co-creator Pat Mills' work might also want to check out the Panel Borders archive. Continuing the podcast's month long look at 'cross-cultural comics', Alex Fitch talks to Pat about his forays into the French market over the last 15 years, writing such titles as Sha and Requiem Vampire Knight illustrated by Olivier Ledroit, which have only been released in English in the last couple of years by Heaby Metal and Panini.

Alex and Pat also talk about the latter's collaborations with the late artist John Hicklenton which have found a greater and more appreciative audience in Europe, translated into French and other European language and released as Graphic Albums than they did in their country of origin.

• Strip! - Manga Jiman 2010 will air tonight at 5.00pm, Thursday 20th May on Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / podcast shortly after transmission at

In Review: Thorgal - The Master Of The Mountains

Writer Jean Van Hamme may be more familiar to us for his contemporary thrillers such as Lady S, Largo Winch and XIII with Largo Winch having been turned into a movie and XIII into a mini series, but he has also written the Viking sword and sorcery adventures of Thorgal.

Thorgal first appeared in Tintin magazine in 1977 with the first compilation album being published in 1980 and to date there have been 32 Thorgal albums. Van Hamme wrote the first 29 before handing over the reigns to Yves Sente while the artist for all the books has been Grzegorz Rosinski. Cinebook has now translated 13 of the French language albums into English with the latest being The Master Of The Mountains which isn't so much sword and sorcery as crossbows and time travel.

Thorgal has been trekking alone through the snowy mountains and takes refuge in an abandoned cottage for the night. There he discovers a young slave called Torric who has escaped from Saxegaard, a local tyrant who styles himself Master Of The Mountains. The next morning they discover that the snow has gone, and the cottage is lived in by a young woman called Vlana. Having spoken to Vlana at length, Thorgal wakes up again to discover the snow is back, the cottage is abandoned and Torric is gone. As he leaves the cottage thinking it was all a dream, Saxegaard himself arrives and while Thorgal has never met him before, Saxegaard seems to know rather too much about him and about his dream. As realisation dawns on Thorgal that he has been time travelling between two related time periods, Saxegaard forces him to return to the past once again.

A time travel story was not what I was expecting from a Thorgal book and Van Hamme weaves an intriguingly complicated tale as Thorgal and Torric move backwards and forwards in time discovering the differences that their actions have caused after each time jump. Grzegorz Rosinski's art takes in everything from the sweeping landscapes of the mountains to the viciousness of the hand to hand combat in a style that is reminiscent of John Ridgway's colour work, as well as providing an oil painting for the cover.

Since this is a fantasy tale the method of time travel is largely irrelevant and it is the consequences of the characters actions in each time period that drive the story on as the plot becomes more complex, twisting back and forth from the past to the present through the numerous time jumps. In a way it is reminiscent of the Doctor Who story Blink in which the Weeping Angels take their victims back in time and effectively force them to take the 'long' route to the present by living through each day. In this book it means that the reader soon realises that the Master of the Mountains and the slave boy who is running away from him could actually be one and the same person while being left wondering just where Vlana fits in.

Master Of the Mountains is an unusual story for Thorgal but it is an intriguing and satisfying one that can readily be read as a stand alone book without the need for knowing the often complex back-story of the main character.

There are more details of the English language Thorgal books at the Cinebook website.

There are more details of the French language Thorgal albums at the Thorgal website (in French).

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

First Beano Book, Marvelman Cover Art up for auction

beanobook1.jpgOver 200 items of British comics and art form the Summer 2010 auction at UK auction house Compalcomics, including a rare Beano book discovered in a charity shop and cover art for an early issue of Marvelman by creator Mick Anglo.

Beano Book No 1 was found in a pile of annuals at the back of a charity shop in St Andrew's, Scotland and luckily, the manageress, Tammy, and her volunteer, Matthew, realised it was something special and sent it to Compalcomics to be auctioned on behalf of Cancer Research UK. The book is in robust, bright condition and estimated at £1500-2000.

But that's not the only rarity in the catalogue which includes art by Ken Reid, Dudley Watkins, Martin Asbury and John M. Burns and some rare Dan Dare toys.

An 1890 bound volume of Comic Cuts 1-26 is available, the scarce first issue with creamy fresh pages. Cheerio 1-49 is at lot 4 and bound with Kinema 1-36 which it became in April 1920, and there's a bunch of low grade Film Funs (including No 1) at lot 10, all at No Reserve.


Tiger Tim was enormously popular in the 1920s and lot 21 includes his first six annuals with a Painting Book and the rare Bruin Boys wooden train set, the characters all with coupling and wheels (apart from Porky Pig, whose obvious weight put paid to a set).

Football is very much on many peoples' minds this Summer and The Football Post, which was only printed in Nottingham, concentrated on their great local teams, Forest and County. There are 146 clean, flat issues from 1935-39 at lot 30. Sports paper Topical Times gave away some superb free gifts and their 1933 selection of football stars coloured cards and supplements are highly collectable. You could've used a pair of Stanley Matthews' shorts to make a tent. Have a look at lot 32.

Magic_Comic_2.jpgHotspur complete years are well to the fore with unusually high grades for 1934 and '35 and the title is well represented right through the war years along with Wizard's two rare Holiday Books, one with a cover no-one in their right minds would surely ever commission today. The Beano and Dandy's lesser sibling, Magic Comic, only ran for 80 issues to 1941 and a particularly good selection including Nos 2, 3 and 4 awaits your attention. The Beano also competes in this rarified atmosphere.

Dan_Dare_Spaceship_Builder1.jpgTalking of atmosphere, Superman was first reprinted in the UK with The Triumph in 1939 and most of these issues should fly at lot 63. Also flying will be Dan Dare's Spaceship and Rocket Builder construction sets (Mum, whaty'do you do with my spanner?)

Marvelman_original_coverart.jpgWrapping off this huge auction, there's a fine selection of artwork on offer including Desperate Dan, Oor Wullie and The Broons by Dudley Watkins, Frankie Stein and Faceache by Ken Reid and Reg Parlett, a 1957 Mick Anglo Marvelman cover, two pages of John M. Burns Bionic Woman from Look-In, along with two pages of Battlestar Galactica from the same comic by Martin Asbury, plus rarely-offered with Ron Embleton art from his satirical Penthouse strip Oh! Wicked Wanda - and some great Rupert the Bear work, too.

The US section profiles The Batman #5 and #11, first issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, X-Men and Giant-Size X-Men #1; and there's also a high grade Brave And Bold #34 - the first Hawkman adventure.

• Bids will be accepted until Tuesday 1 June at 8 PM UK time. To go directly to the main page for the catalogue, click here:

• Compalcomics holds four auctions a year. As a member of this list you will receive a message shortly before auctions open and close. Results of most auctions are posted online two weeks after the closing date.

VE Day Anniversary marked in new Commandos

Commando4295.jpgThe first two stories of the latest Commandos from DC Thomson, on sale this week, continue the VE-Day series first issued for the 50th anniversary 15 years ago. Denis McLoughlin handles the tank story with Commando regular, Ibanez, take care of our paratrooper story. Covers, with portraits on the back, are by Ian Kennedy.

Commando No 4298 is written by relative newcomer Steve Coombs with art by the veteran José Maria Jorge. "We think the combination has worked well," editor Calum Laird says.

If you haven't picked up a Commando recently, you might want to at least check these out. To the Last Man, released earlier this month, proved an entertaining story from Ferg Handley, covering a period of the Second World War era that has had little coverage in war comics, revealing that even after the surrender of Germany in 1945 life was not plain sailing for occupying forces.

The Commando format of two frame pages and lengthy caption boxes as well as balloons to drive the story doesn't suit all tastes - but its now unique position on the UK news stand as an adventure digest affords it some respect, and its continued publication is evidence enough that it works as a storytelling medium. The stories continue to be well crafted, often offering new insight into wartime conflict and the soldiers that fought in those wars.

Commando 4295: Death Ride
Story: Ian Clark Inside art: Denis McLoughlin Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

From the first day of war in 1939, the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the countries opposed to Hitler's Germany knew that it would be a long, bloody struggle before the Nazis were toppled to defeat.

They couldn't know then that the day of victory would come in May, 1945. For Sergei Baltor, Soviet tank commander, it would finally end in the burning centre of Berlin, dead comrades and shattered tanks marking every mile of the road to victory.

Commando4296.jpgCommando 4296: Strike in Silence
Story: Ian Clark Inside art: Ibanez Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

For Sergeant Bill Copeland of the US paratroopers there would be plenty of trouble to face before VE Day — both from the enemy and from within his own ranks...

Commando4297.jpgCommando 4297: The Strangest Allies
Story: Ferg Handley Inside art: Carlos Pino Cover Art: Carlos Pino

Germans in tanks are Panzer men, aren’t they? Crews of Panthers, Mark IVs or maybe even Tigers.

But not Churchill tanks.

And yet, that’s what happened. A group of Germans and Austrians, each with their own reasons to hate the Nazis, volunteered to serve in British tanks fighting their own countrymen. They were determined to help the Allied cause, even if some Allied soldiers didn’t want them to.

Commando4298.jpgCommando 4298: Crossed Sword Squadron
Story: Steve Coombs Inside art: José Maria Jorge Cover Art: José Maria Jorge
View a work in progress page for Crossed Sword Squadron on the Commando web site

Veteran pilot Pavel Sobotka was the sole survivor of the 9th Escadre — a much-feared Polish fighter squadron that had been whittled away, pilot by fighting pilot, through the long, hard-fought years of World War II.

Then, as Pavel's Hawker Typhoon hunted for the enemy over the D-Day beachhead, he encountered an figure from his past, dragging up memories. Memories best left forgotten...

• Official Commando web site:

• 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

Smuggling Vacation sequel Day of the Deal finally goes on sale

Day of the Deal by Jason Wilson, a follow up to the contriversial Smuggling VacationThere will be plenty to look out for and buy at this weekend's Comic Expo in Bristol this weekend (if you're one of the lucky ones who have a ticket for this now sold out event) - but one title you definitely need to track down is Jason Wilson's Day of the Deal.

This is a great, if sobering, sequel to the controversy-stirring but brilliant Smuggling Vacation (quite apart from media and MP furore at the storyline, at one point creator Jason Wilson considered himself banned from appearing at certain comic events to sell the self-published work).

Set several months after their first adventure, the new story catches up with the lives of now failed amateur smugglers Stan, Kaye and Mikey in their home town of Alleyton over the course of what’s meant to be typical lazy weekend.

The story contrasts sharply with the its high energy, fast paced drug smuggling predecessor, as Day of the Deal is set over 24 hours; set in one small town; and tells a more intimate and stinging tale, as Stan, Kaye and Mikey become involved in their most dangerous and humorous escapade yet.

It's a great story and it's to Jason's credit that he's again taken the initiative and published it himself once more, a testament to the sheer determination downthetubes admires about many a British comic creator.

Although lacking some of the Ealing comedy-style madcap nature of the first book, its focus on such a short time span as a drugs delivery unfolds provides plenty of wicked yet enjoyable character observation.

The finale, as drug masters, police and hapless wannabes all rush headlong to a grim conclusion for at least one of the main characters, is packed with some fine pathos and beautifully realized art. (Without giving too much away, the look on the faces of at least two characters as events reach a conclusion, for example is just brilliant).

Day of the Deal opens with the hapless couple checking their own drug farm

The release of the book has been much delayed after Wilson and his first book became embroiled by association in a high profile Midland’s drugs investigation.

Copies of Smuggling Vacation were found at many raided addresses throughout England and the Netherlands as part of Operation Downpour – an investigation into an international drugs ring, which was successfully concluded last month with the conviction of eight men at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jason's first book was to feature in the trial as both exhibit for the Crown and Defence, as the Crown alleged some of the defendants had used the book’s distribution to mask their activities, whilst two defendants claimed they were honestly and legally distributing the book to British prisons as well as coffee shops in Amsterdam.

The head of the gang, Anthony Spencer, asserted many of his activities related to research for the forthcoming book Day of the Deal for which, as with Smuggling Vacation, he acted in the credited role as ‘Crime Consultant’ for the book’s author. (Spencer is also Jason Wilson's father).

The Crown asserted Smuggling Vacation had been used as a cover for their illegal activities and that the book illustrated some of the gang’s working methods, in particular in relation to mobile phones and covert codes employed by the gang.

However, the prospect of Smuggling Vacation being used as a prosecution exhibit and its creator appearing as a Defence Witness being used in the drugs trial were averted when all defendants in unison pleaded guilty before trial to avoid the anticipated heavy sentences that a long trial would bring.

Last month, as the gang was sentenced to a combined total of 40 years the Queen’s Council stressed that they accepted the book was not part of any illegal activity and that there enquiries had shown it to be a both substantial and legal enterprise by its author.

Even so, the following media coverage saw Smuggling Vacation featuring on BBC Television and Sky Television, on Serious Organised Crime Agency’s own website and several regional papers as ‘the cement mixer gang’ made the news that day.

Reporting on the trial, WebNewswire notes that Spencer and his criminal associates were under surveillance for months. Officers watched meetings at locations in Coventry, Sheffield, Kent and Amsterdam and saw the gang burying purpose-built safes which could store up to 140 kilos of drugs, filmed a cash handover, and watched as drugs changed hands.

Intelligence sharing with the Dutch Police led to the discovery of a farm in Zwanenburg, Amsterdam, which was being used as a drugs warehouse, and a flat in Ijplein, Amsterdam, that officers described as an Aladdins cave of drugs paraphernalia, including a pill making machine. Class A and class B drugs were also recovered.The investigation and anticipated trial had understandably delayed the release of the new book as any form of promotion would have been very inhibited and legally problematic, largely because of the drug dealing themes in the new book and its uncomfortable parallels with the recent trial.

Comics and books about drugs have often been the target of police and Customs action down the years. UK publishers Knockabout, who distribute titles such as the Furry Freak Brothers here, have been frequent targets for court action in the past.

Day of the Deal is unveiled at the Bristol Comic Expo (May 23rd,24th). Prior to the launch at it is available at

Read our review of Smuggling Vacation

Smuggling Vacation is available from Smallzone and or order it through any bookshop (ISBN:9780955917004) priced £6.99.

Web Links:
Smugging Vaction Blog

Drugs Trial News Stories

Serious Organised Crime Agency: 44 years for Career Criminals who planned to flood the UK with drugs

BBC News:
Drugs gang jailed after surveillance in UK and Holland

Sky News: Cement Mixer Drugs Gang Handed Jail Terms

The Birmingham Mail: Midlands Drug Gang Jailed

Grantham Journal: Grantham man jailed for his part in a plot to flood the UK with drugs

Webnewswire: Cement mixer drug gang jailed

Get Wasted! Issue 4 hits the stands

wasted4cover.jpgIssue 4 of adult humour magazine Wasted is on sale now, featuring a sexy cover by the ever-brilliant Dave Taylor.

This issue features more War On Drugs, Alan Kerr's absolutely superb Lusi Sulfura ("She was sent to Earth to drag souls to hell... but couldn't be bothered!"), and three fab Tales of the Buddha before he got enlightened strips by Alan Grant, drawn Jon Haward - always a highlight of each issue of the adults-only magazine.

"Buddha is bonkers stuff," admits Jon, "but every one I know say they like it – even Buddhists!"

This issue also see the debut of Adventures in Sherweed Forest: Robin Head and his Merrywanna Men, again written by Alan and drawn by Jon


"I decided to draw this strip in a homage style to humour comic greats Ken Reid and R.T.Nixon," says Jon, "who drew British humour kids comics that I read growing up in comics like Cor!, Buster, Shiver and Shake and Whizzer and Chips.

"All these stories were great fun to draw as they made me laugh all the time as I was drawing them," he adds, and given the above line-up of characters on Robin Head, we can see why!

• Wasted costs £3.25, ISSN 1751-2522 and is available in all disreputable comic stores across the country or you can buy it on line via or subscribe via We're sure copies will also be on sale at the upcoming Comics Expo in Bristol later this month, too.

Read our review of Wasted Issue 3

Read our review of Wasted Issue 2

Tales of the Buddha: a WASTED gem!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

In Review: Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham

Psychiatric Tales by Darryl CunninghamBy: Darryl Cunningham
Publisher: Blank Slate

The Book: Psychiatric Tales delves inside the mysteries of mental disorders – presenting explanations and recollections using the cartoonist’s own experiences as both a psychiatric and care nurse and as someone who himself has suffered from depression.

Being able to see the issue from both sides allows Darryl to present matters in a forthright and instantly accessible way which will allow many to understand the trials of both sufferers and those connected to them – perhaps for the first time. Topics covered include bi-polar disorder, self harming, suicide, depression and theauthor also shows how for some famous people mental disorders were part of what may have made them great.

"Media representations of people who suffer mental illness tend to be appalling," notes Darryl on his blog, announcing the launch of the book. "We live in an age where racism and sexism is considered unacceptable. Yet the mentally ill are still considered fair game for ridicule and are subject to the worst kind of prejudice. I had an e-mail recently from a young man who intended to buy two copies of the book when it came out. One for his mother, and one for his step-father. He wanted to show his family that the bipolar disorder he'd been diagnosed with, was a real illness, and that he needed their understanding not hostility"

The Review: Thank you, Darryl Cunningham. Thank you, just for your general talent and hugely enjoyable cartoons, for which the Forbidden Planet International web site has been such a great platform. But thank you, this week, for what publisher Blank Slate rightfully describe as the "frank, hard hitting and moving" Psychiatric Tales: one of the more difficult, more challenging 'comic books' I have read down the years, but a positive experience.


My wife works in care, but she rarely talks much about the clients, respecting their need for anonimity. Yes, she has her favourites - even the difficult individuals have some redeeming factor, occasionally. But she rarely talks about the general 'malaise' of those clients.

In a series of short stories, some of which have appeared online down the years, Psychiatric Tales throws light not just on some of the things she has to deal with, even these days just as an assistant rather than nurse, but also how the work impacts on Carers. How the diseases of the mind affect us all, one way or another.

This is a brilliant, hugely uplifting and thougtbprovoking collection of stories and I heartily endorse it. Congratulations to Darryl on bringinging it to print and top marks to Blank Slate for publishing it.

Buy Psychiatric Tales from

Buy Psychiatric Tales from

(A US edition will be published in 2011)

Darryl Cunningham's Blog

Darryl Cunningham is the creator of the book Psychiatric Tales, and the web-comics, Super-Sam and John-of-the-Night  and The Streets of San Diablo. A prolific cartoonist, sculptor and photographer, Darryl's work can also be found at his Flickr page.

Interview with Darryl by Matthew Badham on his darn fine Blog

Blank Slate Books

Psychiatric Tales Online

Sample chapters from the book:

People With Mental Illness Enhance Our Lives

Dementia Ward



Cut and Delusions

Monday, 17 May 2010

Cinebook Announces Titles For Late 2010

Cinebook, the Canterbury based publisher of translated Franco-Belgian graphic novels, have released their catalogue for the second half of 2010 and it includes new series that haven't been translated into English before.

These new series are Long John Silver, written by Xavier Dorison with art by Mathieu Lauffrey, and Crusade, written by Jean Dufaux with art by Phillippe Xavier. Long John Silver is, as you would expect, a sequel to Robert Louis Stephenson's novel Treasure Island set 20 years later while Crusade is a supernatural tale set in the middle ages during a forgotten crusade to the Holy Land. The first Crusade title is Simoun Dja and will be released in October while the first Long John Silver title is Lady Vivian Hastings and it is released in November. Both series are rated 15+ by Cinebook.

The first book in the contemporary thriller XIII series, The Day Of The Black Sun, written by Jean Van Hamme with art by William Vance, is due to be published in May and the new catalogue shows that they will continue to be published at a rate of one book every other month. The series runs to 19 albums and while the first three have previously been translated into English and published in America, Cinebook intend to publish the complete set with the fourth book, SPADS, due in November 2010, the first time that it will have been published in English.

The other big series that Cinebook are be starting is Valerian and Laureline. This is one of the best known and highly regarded Franco-Belgian science-fiction series running to 23 albums. Written by Pierre Christin with art by Jean-Claude Mezieres, the books tell the stories of two spatio-temporal agents, the 28th century born Valerian and his female companion Laureline who comes from the Middle Ages. With both spacecraft and time machines available to them the series has the same potential as Doctor Who for a vast range of settings.

The Valerian and Laureline books have had sporadic English language releases before with the only UK publications being four books published by Hodder-Dargaud in the mid-1980s. Cinebook will be starting with The City Of Shifting Waters which is the first book in the French series although, confusingly, there is a prequel 'Book Zero' that was published afterwards. While the story originally began in Pilote magazine in November 1967 this will be the first time that this particular story has been published in English and Cinebook are releasing it in July.

More details of each series are available on the Cinebook website where the new catalogue is available as a PDF download.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Comics @ Belfast Urban Arts Academy

With its own comics convention, 2-D, at the start of June and the Belfast Telegraph newspaper having just given away a second set of free DC Thomson reprint comics over the course of a week, Northern Ireland has an active comics culture. To add to this the Urban Arts Academy are running a summer course in comic book art.

Taking place at the impressive Waterfront Hall in Belfast from 19-23 July 2010 the Urban Arts Academy Comicbook Illustration course will be lead by brothers William and Ken Simpson of Rogue Rocket who produce animation, storyboards and comic strips. Will Simpson of course has worked on titles such as Warrior, 2000AD, Batman and Hellblazer as well as storyboards for films shot in Northern Ireland such as City Of Ember and Closing The Ring.

The course is aimed at participants of 15 years and older with some experience of storytelling, design and drawing and will teach the students not just penciling and inking techniques but character development and storytelling as well. The cost is £60 and more details can be found on the Belfast Waterfront website.

In addition there will be short comicbook illustration workshops for children at the Belfast Waterfront on the weekend of 29/30 May 2010 as part of the Festival in a Weekend Urban Arts Akidemy. These four workshops run for half a day each and allow the children to design their own comic book hero and story. The two workshops on the Saturday are for ages 8-11 and on the Sunday for ages 12-14 and tickets are £7 for each workshop. Again more details are available on the Belfast Waterfront website.

Will Simpson will also be appearing at the free 2-D Comics Festival which takes place at the Verbal Arts Centre in Londonderry from 3-5 June 2010.

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