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Friday, 26 November 2010

Talbot joins 'Space Nite' fund raising artists to help Bill Mantlo

A special fund-raiser show in aid of US comics writer Bill Mantlo includes this piece of art featuring 1980s fav ROM Spaceknight by Bryan Talbot along with more pieces from artists such as Mike Allred, Matt Timson, Jeffrey Brown, Michael DeForge, Tan Eng Huat, Ben Marra,  Luke Ramsey, Jon Schnepp and dozens more.

Bill, who wrote every issue of Marvel Comics toy-inspired title Rom, was the victim of a hit and run accident 15 years ago, spent several months in a coma. He's now paralysed and lives in a care home. The show and collection of art (to be published in 2011) will help his family pay the costs of his care.

The original artwork and one-off prints of each illo will also be auctioned on ebay.

This new show, which will be on display at Floating World Comics in Portland, Oregon next month, features work by artists and illustrators both inside and outside of the comics  industry which has led to a variety of styles and interpretations of  an iconic cult character.

Donations to the SPACENITE – BILL MANTLO FUND go directly to Bill’s brother and caregiver, Mike Mantlo. You can donate direct via a link in this blog post

• ROM Space Nite benefit art show for Bill Mantlo, Thursday 2nd December 6-10pm, Floating World Comics,  20 NW 5th Ave #101, Portland, OR 97209. Tel: 001 503 241 0227. Artwork on display until 2nd January 2011.

• View artwork from the exhibit here:

• The 2007 show:

Ultimate Harryhausen - Master of the Majicks

Master of the Majicks is a three volume illustrated history of the career of Oscar winning, stop-motion special effects master Ray Harryhausen, written by British journalist Mike Harkin and published by Archive Editions in the USA. The first book of the set to be published was Volume 2 - The American Films and this has now been followed by Volume 3 - The British Films which is now ready for release. Volume 1, ironically the last of the set to be published, is due in spring /summer 2011.

Master of the Majicks Volume 3 covers the films that Ray Harryhausen created whilst living in the United Kingdom, running chronologically from The 3 Worlds Of Gulliver in 1960 to Clash Of The Titans in 1981. It therefore includes Jason And The Argonauts with its outdoor skeleton fight, considered by many to be the greatest stop motion set piece ever filmed. With a foreword by The Golden Voyage of Sinbad's Caroline Munro and a preface by Hellboy's Guillermo del Toro, the A4 size hardback runs to a remarkable 640 pages and includes over 3600 colour and black & white photos and other illustrations.

The book's author Mike Harkin recently presented a preview copy to the now 90 year old Harryhausen in his London home and said of the meeting, "Ray met me at the door of his home and soon I was unwrapping his copy of the book. For the next two hours his eyes hardly left the book as he studied every page. Only a few pages were turned before his first exclamation: 'Oh my God - 3D pictures!' as he reached for the 3D glasses on his side table. It seemed that with each page he said, 'Where did you get those pictures? I have never seen them before!' Ray had only reached the chapter on Mysterious Island before he leaned back and said, 'I have never seen such a spectacular book. The layouts are beautiful, and the pictures leap out at you. You have done me a great honour by putting this book together.' At one stage Ray had tears in his eyes, he was so thrilled with it.

"The two and half hours I was with Ray just flew past, but it was getting late. I thought he was going to crush my hand as he held it tightly and said, 'This is a book to treasure. I can't imagine anyone who loves our films not wanting to buy this book. Thank you so much!'"

With such a sumptuous, low print-run, book there is always the drawback of cost. Volume 3 costs $84.95 plus postage from the USA, however copies are available from London's Cinema Store which has a excellent history of promoting Ray Harryhausen books in the UK. If $85 seems a lot for a single book then consider that copies of the sold out Volume 2 are currently being offered on US Amazon Marketplace for over $1200 each.

There are more details of Master of the Majicks Volume 3 on the Archive Editions website including sample pages and a slide show of some of the photos from the book.

There is more on the career of Ray Harryhausen on his official website.

There is an article about the British Clash Of The Titans comic strips on Bear Alley.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

CLiNT Issue 1 Goes to Reprint with comic-style cover

The first issue of Mark Millar's brand new comic anthology, CLiNT, has sold out - and will now have a second printing with a spanking comics-styled cover featuring Kick-Ass.

With its third issue now on sale in UK newsagents and comic shop, the 100-page monthly magazine published by Titan features brand new comics alongside news, features and interviews, with a mix of celebrity contributors and hot new talent.
CLiNT #1, which launched early September, boasts the first-look at Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s Kick-Ass 2, and Titan say it has flown off shelves. This first hit issue also included the start of Nemesis, by Millar and Steve McNiven, and sees two of the UK’s most outspoken TV personalities present their comic debuts.

Turf, by Jonathan Ross and acclaimed artist Tommy Lee Edwards, mixes vampires, aliens and gangsters in a slick period thriller. Rex Royd, by comedian Frankie Boyle, introduces “The Renaissance Man of Madness” in a supervillain strip.

Comics retailers will be able to order copies of the second printing of CLiNT #1 with its new Kick-Ass cover from this weeks Previews Plus and December’s Diamond PREVIEWS.  For more information visit

CLiNT issue 6, which includes the latest installment of Kick-Ass 2 is also listed in December’s Diamond Previews.

• For more information on CLiNT, visit:

• CLiNT #1 trailer:

• Connect with CLiNT on Twitter:
or Facebook:

Panel Borders: Spandex!

Continuing British comics radio show and podcast Panel Borders' month of shows looking at unusual depictions of superheroes, in an interview recorded at the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds, Alex Fitch talks to writer/artist Martin Eden about his small press comics The O Men and Spandex, the latter featuring the world’s only all gay superhero team.

Alex and Martin talk about distribution of small press comics, his experiences with the media’s interest in his new comic when it launched last year and representations of gay characters in sequential art.

This show was recorded live at Thought Bubble, Leeds and the show airs at 5.00pm, Thursday 25/11/10, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / podcast  after transmission.

• More about Spandex at

• Cool review of Spandex 3 by Paul Rainey:

ComICA Continues with Steve Bell, Gonzo and Much More...

Here are the exhibitions, events and conversations still to come in the 2010 Comica Festival, which this year teams up with the London Print Studio at 425 Harrow Road, London W10.

The centre-piece of the festival is That's Novel, an exhibition which will allow you to discover the very best comics by leading international innovators and the British cutting edge, together with related events, conversations and films.

• To book tickets (where required) and for further details and events, please visit www.comicafestival. com and the regularly-updated Comica News Blog.


Sarah Ardizzone & Ros Schwartz: The Little Prince
Institut Francais, 17 Queensberry Place, London, 7.30pm Thursday 25th November 2010
£5, £3 concessions

A dialogue between two translators looking back at the biggest selling French language book, now adapted into a graphic novel by Joann Sfar.
For over sixty-five years Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince has captured the hearts and minds of its readers. The whimsical story with a fairytale touch has sold over 80 million copies in 230 languages. Joann Sfar has recreated this beloved story, thanks to his literary style and sensitivity to the original and offers an exciting graphic adaptation.

Joann Sfar's graphic adaptation has just been translated by Sarah Ardizzone and published in English.  Meanwhile, The Little Prince now appears in translation by Ros Schwartz from its original version by Saint-Exupéry.
This dialogue between the two translators aims to look back at this chef d'oeuvre published in 1943, the biggest selling French language book, in particular its reception in the UK, since it was first translated by Katherine Woods. Ros Schwartz has translated a wide range of fiction and non-fiction from French. Twice winner of the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, Sarah Ardizzone's most recent translations include works by Daniel Pennac, Faïza Guène, and Mathias Malzieu.

Paul Gravett: From Escape To Now
Laydeez Do Comics, The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Street, London E1 6.30pm to 9.30pm, Monday 29th November. £1.50 on the door.

The guest speaker at this month’s meeting of ‘Laydeez Do Comics’ is Comica Director Paul Gravett, who will give an illustrated talk about his lifelong passion for comics, recalling the Eighties era of Escape Magazine and reporting on his latest travels and discoveries.

Great British Comics: Steve Bell & Bryan Talbot
ICA, The Mall, London SW1, 6.45pm to 8.15pm Wednesday 1st December 2010
Tickets £12, Concessions £11, ICA Members £10

Steve Bell's sharp-as-a-tack If… strips in The Guardian continue to skewer everything from the Muhammad cartoon riots of 2006 to the ConLibDemolition. Bryan Talbot is celebrated as this country’s father of modern graphic novels, from Luther Arkwright and Tale of One Bad Rat to Alice in Sunderland and Grandville.

In this rare encounter, two of Britain’s most brilliant graphic storytellers swap tales of their prolific careers, from their underground comix origins to their latest full-colour hardcovers, If… Burst Out and Grandville - Mon Amour. Followed by book signing.


That's Novel: Lifting Comics From The Page!
London Print Studio, 425 Harrow Road, London W10 Until 18th December 2010. Free.

An exhibition celebrating comics by international innovators and the British cutting edge.
From searing memoirs to global manga, from The Tower of Babel to The Walking Dead, discover the latest, greatest and up-to-datest in comics by leading international innovators and the British cutting edge, featuring art by: Charlie Adlard, Ho Che Anderson, Will Bingley, Brick, Darryl Cunningham, Karrie Fransman, Anthony Hope-Smith, John Hicklenton, Robert Kirkman, Chie Kutsuwada, Metaphrog, John Miers, Mustashrik, Nobrow, The Pleece Brothers, Pulp Theatre, David Quantick, Paul Rainey, Philippa Rice, Savage Pencil, Sean Michael Wilson, Carlos Nine.

Graphic Short Story Prize 2010
Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2 Until 30th November 2010

Another innovation for this year’s Comica Festival is an exhibition of the artwork by the winner, runner-up and commended finalists in the Observer/ Jonathan Cape/ Comica Graphic Short Story Prize. This year’s entries came to an impressive total of 279. For the first time, visitors to Orbital Comics,, only a minute from Leicester Square tube station, will be able to see the framed artworks by the very best entrants, on the walls of the Orbital Comics Gallery for free and open daily throughout November. The seven finalists whose stories are on display are Graphic Short Story Prize Winner Stephen Collins (In Room 208); Runner-up Anna Mill & Luke Jones (Square Eyes); and Commended creators Anthony Blades (Picus Viridis), Scott Dessert (Catsitter), Fumio Obata (Going Back), Andrew ‘Stilly’ Stilborn (The Dust Enclosed) and Jason Synnott (Ordinary Job).
Any other entrants who post their graphic short stories online feature a listing here, so that many more of the entries can also be enjoyed.


Launch Party: A Graphic Cosmogeny
Nobrow, 62 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3QR 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Thursday 25th November. Free

A launch party for Nobrow’s most ambitious publication yet, the story of creation retold by 24 international artists in A Graphic Cosmogony. The party marks the opening of the Nobrow exhibition Murmuring Landscapes featuring Jon McNaught and Rob Hunter, whose prints will also be available for sale.

Launch Party: Frank Hampson - Tomorrow Revisited
Chris Beetles Gallery, 8-10 Ryder Street, London SW1Y 6pm to 8pm Tuesday 30th November 201. Free, but RSVP is essential to: gallery [at] chrisbeetles [dot] com.

Celebrate the 60th anniversary of Dan Dare and the genius of his creator Frank Hampson with the publication party and selling exhibition of classic Eagle original art for a lavish new biography and artbook written by Alastair Crompton. For full book details and a preview of some of the pages visit the book’s website.

Launch Party: Gonzo in association with SelfMadeHero
London Print Studio, 425 Harrow Road, London W10 6.30pm to 9.30pm Thursday 2nd December
A free event, but RSVP essential to douglas [at] selfmadehero [dot] com or tel 0207 487 4395.

Publisher SelfMadeHero is having a party and you're invited to celebrate the launch of Gonzo: A Graphic Biography Of Hunter S. Thompson by Will Bingley and Anthony Hope-Smith.

"If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up."

Over the course of Hunter S. Thompson's extraordinary life he was publicly branded a bum, a vandal, a thief, a liar, an addict, a freak and a psychopath. Some of these were true. Yet, even when compared to the most significant figures of the 20th century, his legacy remains a brilliantly vital force. This is his story - the story of a troubled kid who went on to become an international icon, a story that plumbs the darkest depths of American society and charts the now-legendary adventures that birthed Gonzo journalism and a lifestyle beyond imagination.

David Bircham: Alien Ink in association with Channel 4
London Print Studio, 425 Harrow Road, W10 Noon to 5.00pm Saturday 4th December 2010. This event is free, but you must RSVP: either call/text - 07950 101 607 or email: edd [at] pressureblog [dot] com.

Real teenagers with real issues form the heart and soul of Channel 4’s straight-talking online serial off the streets of Camden. Each weekly webisode lets readers interact with the highly individual cast based around trendy tattoo parlour Alien Ink. Creator David Bircham invites you to spend the afternoon at an invitation only event, which will feature exclusive unseen art from the online Alien Ink comic. Do not miss this opportunity to mingle with the rising talent of the UK, experience talks and attend a comic masterclass. 

Film: Grant Morrison - Talking With Gods
ICA, The Mall, London 4.00pm Sunday 12th December. Tickets: £10; Concessions £9; Members £8

A fascinating film documentary Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods details the vision of one of the comic world’s most popular and controversial writers. Famous for such works as The Invisibles, Arkham Asylum and All-Star Superman, Morrison talks extensively here about his comic-book creations and his connections with the magical world. The film also includes contributions from Geoff Johns, Douglas Rushkoff and Mark Waid, amongst others. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Frazer Irving, Rian Hughes, the film’s director Patrick Meaney and Comica curator Paul Gravett.

Read Paul Gravett's report on Comica Argentina Night: Carlos Nine & Thomas Dassance, which took place last night

• To book tickets (where required) and for further details and events, please visit www.comicafestival. com and the regularly-updated Comica News Blog.

A chance to win a signed book by Neil Gaiman, courtesy of the Open Rights Group

Britain's Open Rights Group - the UK’s leading voice defending freedom of expression, privacy, innovation, consumer rights and creativity on the internet - marks its fifth birthday today, and is offering anyone who joins by donating or than £5 between now and 10th December a book by the organistion's patron, Neil Gaiman - and the chance to win a signed copy by the author.

Celebrating Open Rights Group's 5th birthday, ORG says our digital rights face an increasing number of challenges: the government has put widespread internet surveillance back on the agenda, Net Neutrality is slipping away and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (which has been rejected by the European Parliament) is being used to further restrict copyright provisions.

By joining ORG now, you'll receive a free copy of graphic novel Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law? and could win a unique signed book from Neil Gaiman, who recently sent a video message in support of the organisation (above).

Founded in 2005 by 1,000 digital activists, the Open Rights Group campaigns to change public policy whenever citizens' or consumers' rights are threatened, by talking to policy-makers and mobilising supporters to stop bad laws in the UK and EU.

The group is funded by donors and depends on regular contributions to run and win their campaigns.

Read more about the Open Rights Group's birthday here

Open Rights Group on Facebook

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Giles Andreae and Sarah McIntyre win Sheffield Children's Book Awards

Comics artist Sarah McIntyre has won this year's Sheffield Children's Book Award for her book Morris the Mankiest Monster, written by Giles Andreae.

Celebrating its 22nd year, the awards were presented at Sheffield Town Hall this week.

Commenting on the award on her blog, a shocked Sarah says she had no inkling that Morris the Mankiest Monster was going to win a prize.

Described as  "the most revolting picture book of the year", The Bookseller warned potential readers "Morris the Mankiest Monster just gets worse and worse as you read aloud the rhyming text, snot, ear wax, pustules... it's really hard to keep going.

"This book needs a warning to parents - they're going to have to read it over and over again - children will absolutely love it."

"I could hardly believe it when Morris took the Best Picture Book prize," Sarah reveals. "I hadn't even prepared a speech, and since the weather was cold, I wore my scuffy ten-year-old Doc Marten boots and thick socks my auntie knit me, thinking no one would notice (since I wasn't going to go on stage or anything). But not only did they ask me to do one speech, but two speeches when Morris won the prize for the Overall Winner 2010! That's up against all the big-kid novels!"

Run by the Sheffield School Library Service, the Sheffield Children’s Book Award began in 1988 and was first started to encourage children and young people to read and also to highlight the very best children’s books published each year. In the first year just six local schools took part, but this number has grown every year to a total of 152 schools in 2007.

Each school chooses a book category for the class and they are given a start up pack of ideas along with a collection of books to read and review. Each child is asked to vote for their favourite book and these votes are then collated over the summer.

Our congratulations to Sarah and Giles for their win, and all those who also won, commended and shortlisted.

The Winners

Overall winner 2010: Morris the Mankiest Monster by Giles Andreae & Sarah McIntyre
Best Picture Book: Morris the Mankiest Monster
Best Shorter Novel: Boom! by Mark Haddon
Best Longer Novel: Gone by Michael Grant

Highly Commended

Picture Book: Don't Dip Your Chips in Your Drink, Kate! by Caryl Hart & Leigh Hodgkinson
Shorter Novel: How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant by Elen Caldecott
Longer Novel: The Dead House by Anne Cassidy


Picture Book: The Great Dog Bottom Swap by Peter Bently & Mei Matsuoka
Shorter Novel: Secrets of Hightower by Martin G Naylor
Longer Novel: Life, Interrupted by Damian Kelleher

Read more about Morris the Mankiest Monster

• More about the Sheffield Children's Book Awards at:

downthetubes offers Commando subscription discount

We regularly plug DC Thomson's Commando title, published eight times a month (delivered in two packs of four for subscribers) and offering a range of war-inspired adventure stories.

Now, downthetubes is pleased to offer an exclusive discount on a subscription to Commando, entitling readers to save 50% on the usual subs price by ordering using our special discount code.

To get your discount, follow this special link to DC Thomson's subscription page. Then, when prompted, enter this unique code COMDT - then make your payment and your subscription will be up and running.

The price quoted of 50% discount during first three months at £11.75 then £23.50 thereafter is for UK only*. Although the offer is not restricted to UK delivery (you need a UK bank account), the price increases for overseas delivery although the offer of 50% discount over first three months is the same.

Commando editor Calum Laird tells us there's been a significant increase in subscriptions to the title over the past year, with the title making full use of the Internet to promote new issues and  developing its own online presence - all good news for fans of the comic and those working on it!

* Please note, this saving is by Direct Debit only. First quarterly payment discounted by 50% at £11.75 and £23.50 per quarter thereafter. UK bank accounts only. One year discounted subscription rate costs £82.25. Saving of £52.15 based on the yearly cover price of £134.40.

In Review: Thought Bubble 2010 by Matthew Badham

This report is a bit late. I was summoned back from Thought Bubble on Sunday morning (I had planned to stay for some of the events that were taking place on that day) because my wife had picked up a stomach bug and the kids needed looking after. She's up and about again, giving me time to process my thoughts after a hectic, but enjoyable convention experience.

So, here, in no particular order, are ten for Thought Bubble 2010. That is, ten thoughts on what worked and what didn't (very little, in terms of the latter), and stuff that you should make sure you do if you attend next year.

1. I think that Thought Bubble is going through a bit of a transitional phase at the moment. It's 'growing up', as it were. For the first time ever, the main exhibitors' hall was a little crowded and difficult to navigate. I suppose that's just a symptom of the fact that word of mouth has drawn more people to the con.

2. Despite the above, Thought Bubble feels like one of the most welcoming cons I've ever attended. It's hard to say why, really, but contributing factors possibly include the friendliness of the numerous volunteers working at the con; the cosplayers, whose exuberance and general good humour is massively infectious; the good cheer of the various writers and artists in attendance, who, despite the fact they're packed behind tables for most of the day, stay 'on form' for their fans; the fact that Thought Bubble is the last con of the year and so fans and pros alike are determined to have THE. BEST. TIME. EVER.

3. Which is what is generally going on at the after-con party. You have: comic creators DJing. A packed dance floor. A casino straight out of a David Lynch film. Dancing. Dancing. And more dancing. Time loops. Folds in on itself. Runs out of sequence. Matt Sheret plays the Pixies. Al Ewing plays Meatloaf. Masterful. Fantastic. Did I say THE. BEST. TIME. EVER. If you go to Thought Bubble in 2011, you should be there. I'll meet you on the dance-floor.

4. Which is when it occurs to me that the comics community owes a debt of gratitude to the people who run Thought Bubble. And all the other cons, big or small. Caption. The British International Comic Show in Birmingham. Bristol etc… Because as far as I know none of those peeps are getting rich from running cons and they work their arses off each year to provide a space for fans to play and professionals to network and play. Cheers, chaps.

5. Speaking of people who work hard: if you do go to any conventions next year, make sure you check out the various indie comics exhibitors that are selling their wares. There's some incredible work out there at the moment from the likes of Phillippa Rice; Sean Azzopardi; Francesca Cassavetti; Luke Pearson; Tom Humberstone; Lizz Lunney; Sarah McIntyre; David O'Connell and more… I could go on, but won't because I'll never stop. Seriously, ditch whatever super hero comic you're habit buying and spend some money on work from the likes of those guys instead.

6. Try and have some random encounters too. I think one of the best things about cons is that a mutual love of comics throws people together who wouldn't normally meet each other. For example, I ended up having breakfast on Sunday morning with a woman who works for the Swedish governing political party. Cue a fascinating discussion on Swedish politics.

7. Not strictly related to the con, but I promised to pimp the following in my report: The Other Murdock Papers - A Daredevil Blog and The Mighty Jambo - a super hero web-strip.

8. Back to the report. One of the things I regretted this year was not getting to more panels and events. The programme for Thought Bubble was ridiculous (as in ridiculously good). Damn. Next time, I intend to rectify this state of affairs. You should also go to as many panels as possible. The one I did attend, on self-publishing, was great.

9. Buy a pastie. You should buy a pastie. Seriously. The pastie shops in Leeds are open until 4.00am or something. It's bizarre.

10. And finally, you should be inspired. I was. Don't think I'm going to do anything as a consequence. Make a mini-comic. Organise my own event. But, you know, maybe that's not always the point. Maybe all I'll be inspired to do is attend again next year. And dance. And dance. And dance some more.

• Thought Bubble web site:

More Reviews

•  Bleeding Cool"Thought Bubble, hitting well above its weight with a guest list including John Romita Jr, Becky Cloonan, Tony Harris, Kieron Gillen, Bryan Talbot, Dan Abnett, Doug Braithwaite, Dider Crisse, Ian Churchill, Paul Cornell, Paul Duffield, Adi Granov, Antony Johnston, Barry Kitcon, Jamie McKelvie, Sean Phillips, Steve Wacker, Richard Starkings, Duncan Fegredo and so many more."

Forbidden Planet Review by Richard Bruton
"Thought Bubble was an absolute blast – a wonderfully enjoyable convention..."

The Guardian: Thought Bubble Leeds is comic book fans' delight
Guardian guest blogger and comics fan Helen Patchett went along to see what all the fuss was about

The Other Murdock Papers: My Weekend at Thought Bubble

Creator Views

•  Sean Azzopardi's Report

Garen Ewing

Keiron Gillen, Writer
"A pleasure to say hello to everyone and, as always, an incredible job by the Thought Bubble staff."

•  D’Israeli

•  Ellen Lindner

Sarah McIntyre 

David O’Connell
"Thought Bubble was brilliant. I don’t know what else to say really… it was one of those events where the magic seemed to happen."
•  Ernesto Priego

Photo Reports
Blogomatic 3000: Thought Bubble 2010: A Comic Con in Pictures
"All I can say is roll on next years Thought Bubble – which will be a two-day extravaganza!"

Lynn Allingham Facebook photos

•  Sean Azzopardi's Flickr set of photos

Selina Lock Facebook photos

Lizz Lunney Facebook photos

Sarah McIntyre Facebook photos 

Publisher Reports

Cinebook photos on Facebook

Moore and Reppion back to Raise the Dead

US publisher Dynamite's hit series Raise the Dead returns with an all-new tale of undead debauchery, plotted by British creators Leah Moore & John Reppion, scripted by Mike Raicht, and with art by Guiu Vilanova.

Raise the Dead 2 #1, which will arrive in comic shops this December, also features a cover by the amazing Lucio Parrillo, with a 1-in-10 incentive cover by Vilanova.

In issue #1, the zombie infestation continues unchecked and only a handful of survivors fight for their lives against the rising tide of un-dead mayhem. Will these poor souls find hope in the small coastal town of Alfredo Bay or has that world died along with most everything else in this post apocalyptic nightmare?

"I'm so excited to be working with Leah Moore, John Reppion, Guiu Vilanova and everyone else at Dynamite on the follow-up to Raise the Dead," says scripter Mike Raicht. "I loved picking up the first volume with all of the twists and turns it provided.

"As most people might guess, I'm a huge zombie fan. Working on this book with John and Leah has been an awesome experience! As for the new volume… our heroes have made it to the small coastal town of Alfredo Bay hoping that it provides them a bit of a respite from the zombie onslaught. Does it?

"Well if it did, that might make for a pretty boring book. In this new volume, we introduce some new characters, catch up with some old ones and, of course, have a bucket load of zombies and gore to throw at you.

"And just wait until you see what Guiu Vilanova has been cooking up for the art. I've seen the pages for the first issue and a half and I'm even a little skeeved out by the whole thing!"

•  Raise the Dead 2 Preview pages here on Comic Book Resources

Raise the Dead (Original Series Information on Moore and Reppion's web site)

Follow Mike Raicht on Twitter

Guiu Vilanova's official blog

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

In Review: Grandville Mon Amour

The Jonathan Cape edition of Grandville Mon Amourby Bryan Talbot
Published by: Jonathan Cape (UK) Dark Horse (US)
Out: 2nd December 2010 (UK) 22 February 2011 (US)

The Book: Set three weeks after the finale of Grandville, Grandville, Mon Amour pits Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock of Scotland Yard against an old adversary, Edward 'Mad Dog' Mastock - a psychotic serial killer whose shocking escape from his execution at the Tower of London begins this fast-paced, Hitchcockian steampunk thriller.

With a range of new and fascinating characters and a mix of Holmesian deduction, knowing humour and edge of the seat action, Grandville Mon Amour continues the vein of high-octane adventure begun in the first volume. Can even LeBrock escape the past or do heroes have feet of clay?

Follow the badger!

Mastock is a truly horrific villain and there are panels featuring him that might make
your hair stand on end. Or your cat's. Art © Bryan Talbot

The Review: Set in the same steampunk universe as Grandville but a standalone adventure in its own right, Grandville Mon Amour is a slightly more cerebral steampunk adventure than its predecessor but a delight all the same, peppered with the kind of action and humour we've come to expect of Mr. Talbot.

The tale opens with Mastock's brutal escape from the Tower of London and with LeBrock in pieces, his home a mess, still racked by remorse for his failure to prevent the death of “the Divine Sarah”. While the aftermath of the events of Grandville are in evidence they're not vital to the story, and, thanks to some TLC from friend Roderick, we're soon on the hunt for Mastock in France, who's taken to murdering prostitutes while searching for a missing and dangerous artifact capable of bringing down a government.

Although working outside the law after resigning his post following a blazing row with his superior officer, it's not long before LeBrock finds allies in the French police and the criminal underworld to help him track down the escaped murderer and bring to an end his horrific murder spree.  This, of course, proves no easy task - Mastock has to be one of the most brutal anthropomorphic villains I've ever encountered in a comic. Along the way, we're treated to some wonderful cameos and supporting characters, such as Madam Riverhorse, the brothel-running hippo, and Billie the Badger, a sex worker who helps Ratzi and LeBrock find Mastock - although not the way she probably wanted to.

There are twists in the tale, of course - a deeper game is afoot, beyond Mastock's murderous rampage through the city of Grandville. Without giving away the plot, LeBrock finds he's soon chasing far more dangerous villains who have been hiding their true natures for years, ever since Britain gained independence from France after a brutal uprising.

Grandville Mon Amour is an ingenious and enjoyable conspiracy-laden tale, set in a world Bryan himself describes as "like Jules Verne and Sherlock Holmes directed by Quentin Tarantino - with animals." The beautifully-realized story comes peppered with visual treats and asides, such as banged up miscreants that include a well known duck and a sex-obsessed aardvark, but these details never distract from the main story - like the grave-digging steampunk robot and Victorian pump room where LeBrock finally confronts Mastock, they're there to come back to on a second reading and savour all the more.

There's some fun dialogue too: I especially enjoyed sex worker Billie's off panel appeal, "looking for a good time, ducks?" only for Lebrock to turn and find her propositioning two well-heeled mallards, who respond, "Not with you, dearie. You're not even water fowl!"

On top of this, we're still left with questions. How can an anthropomorphised cat have a 'real' cat as a pet? What is the role of humans (or 'doughfaces') in this mad, twisted universe? All things you're left to ponder  -- and which Bryan tells me are both questions that will be addressed in Book 4: Grandville Noel.

A final word for the production on this book: the print quality is superb, doing full justice to Bryan's terrific art.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable romp of a book. Find it: buy it.

Web Links

The official Grandville and Grandville: Mon Amour homepage
This is the official home on the web for Bryan Talbot's new graphic novel Grandville and its sequel Grandville: Mon Amour
Order Grandville Mon Amour from Grandville Mon Amour from

Pre-order Grandville Mon Amour (Dark Horse edition) from amazon.comPre-order Grandville Mon Amour(Dark Horse edition) from

• GOSH Comics London are selling an exclusive bookplate edition of Grandville Mon Amour. More details on their website

Bryan Talbot will be signing Grandville, Mon Amour at Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR on Thursday 2nd December (6 - 7.00pm).

Ten Questions for Bryan Talbot: downthetubes interview

Comic Book Resources Interview with Bryan Talbot
August 2010

Zombies? British Comics have been there, done that back in 1979...

The Crunch Issue 14Prompted by the hit US TV show, there's plenty of interest in The Walking Dead, drawn by Britain's very own Charlie Adlard and published by Image Comics. Indeed, it seems comic fans just can't get enough zombies at the moment, with IDW preparing Infestation, a crossover zombie saga launching next year that will even run in some of their licensed titles such as Star Trek and GI Joe.

What may surprize downthetubes is the fact that the usually straight-laced DC Thomson published a zombie-inspired tale here in the UK, way back in 1979.

Plague 2000 featured in The Crunch from Issue 14 - cover dated 21st April 1979 - until Issue 29, cover dated 4th August 1979.

Set in the year 2000, the story reveals mankind has been decimated by a terrible death plague. Many of those not killed by the plague have become something far worse - 'The Crazies', zombified humans determined to kill.

Captain Brett Cantrell is assigned to lead an expedition across a devastated United States to New York to find an antidote for the plague, facing the worst of The Crazies along the way.

While stopping short of calling them zombies, there's no doubt in my mind that this story must have been inspired by films such as George A. Romero's The Crazies and, more likely, Dawn of the Dead, released in 1978. Dawn of the Dead would have been a film readers of The Crunch would have been well aware of, even if they had never seen it. (Back then, there would have been no other way to see such a film except at the cinema, and it wasn't always easy to sneek into a showing if you looked under age).

The storyline might also have borrowed from Roger Zelazny's SF novel Damnation Alley (which also influenced the original Judge Dredd Cursed Earth saga), which is a much better book than its dire film adaptation might suggest.

Like many British comics of the time, The Crunch drew its inspiration from popular film and TV. Editors would work on the principle that while most of their readers could not actually see more 'adult' films like Jaws (in the case of Action) or Dawn of the Dead legally, they would be aware of it and its storyline.

Plague 2000 features on the cover of Issue 21 and 23. The Crunch itself - which features some stories that are quite hard hitting and gruesome at times, which might seem at odds with DC Thomson's normally 'wholesome' image' - ran for 54 issues before amalgamating with the Hotspur in February 1980.

Such was the impact of Plague 2000, it's haunted one Crunch reader since childhood, prompting him to try and find out more about the strip on the downthtubes forum. "The artwork kept me buying," Colin Noble recalls.

IDW's upcoming zombie epic, Infestation, also has a British element. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning will pen Infestation #1, launching in January 2011. This initial 32-page story begins in IDW's own Zombies vs Robots universe, where something goes terribly wrong and ultimately infests  the worlds of Transformers, Star Trek, G.I. Joe and Ghostbusters with zombies and infected robots.

From there, the story spins ferociously into each of the four properties throughout February and March, and culminates in April's bombastic finale, Infestation #2.

In February, Transformers Infestation #1-2 and Star Trek: Infestation #1-2 will ship bi-weekly. The Transformers title will also be penned by Abnett and Lanning, with fan-favourite Nick Roche handling the art. Star Trek  will be written by mainstay authors Scott and David Tipton and illustrated by Casey Maloney.

Discuss Plague 2000 and The Crunch on the downthtubes forum 

• More about Infestation here:

Monday, 22 November 2010

John Maybury's Space Babe lands on Kindle

John Maybury's wonderful Eagle Award Nominated absurdist, surreal and naughty SF comedy comic Space Babe 113 is now available in e-book form from Amazon for Kindle, iPhone and iPad.

Intended for mature readers (and immature readers of adult age!), the comic (Space Babe 113 Shorts) features a collection of Space Babe's shorter adventures with the usual Space Babe humour and cartoon nudity.

Originally published as a print comic, John has been plugging away with Space Babe for some years, experimenting with different eformats including, at one point, ROK Comics WAP mobile comics subscription service.

The strip was one of the nominees for the Eagle Award for Favourite British Black And White Comic in 2010.

"It really isn't hard to produce a comic for e-readers such as the Kindle, iPad etc.," John says. "All you need to do is sign up as a self-publisher with Amazon (details here). Upload your comic, set the prices and after a short while (about 24 hours for the Space Babe 113 comic), it was up on Amazon ready for people to buy.

"This is pretty straight-forward and covered on the Amazon site and other places. A number of formats are supported for the e-comic document, HTML being the one I was most familiar with."

John has added some notes on how he  formatted the e-comic pages for the Kindle to the Space Babe 113 website ( - please note provisos below about this site).

• The comic is available for the Amazon Kindle and other formats including the iPad and iPhone (via an Amazon App).

Buy Space Babe 113 Shorts (Kindle Comic) from 

Buy Space Babe 113 Shorts (Kindle Comic) from

• Alternatively, three black and white volumes of Space Babe can be ordered from Soaring Penguin for £2.25 each.

Read a 2008 interview with John Maybury on downthetubes

Space Babe Official web site
Please note that even though it's a comic, John reminds all his visitors that Space Babe 113 is for mature readers only. If you're not old enough for such material, please do not view the site.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Transformers Prove We're Two Nations Divided by a Common Language

Hasbro, the toy company behind the hugely successful Transformers toy range (which has of course spawned both movies and comics) have had to scrap the UK launch of one of their latest characters due to a what can only be described as a case of cultural misunderstanding.

The character in question is called Spastic.

In the UK of course, spastic can be considered a hugely offensive word if used inappropriately.  However, spastic is widely used in the US to mean a clumsy or overexcited person. (Golfer Tiger Woods famously referred to himself as a 'spaz' a few years back and was forced to apologise following a negative British reaction).

The medical term "spastic" became used to describe cerebral palsy and has been defined as "Increased resistance to muscle stretching and loss of normal elasticity of leg and/or arm muscles resulting from CNS disease process. Often manifested by muscle stiffness, which can result in difficulty moving the arms and legs." British charity Scope, which aims to help disabled people achieve equality, particularly those with cerebral palsy, was founded as the Spastics Society in 1951.

In the UK, the word began to be used as an insult and became a term of abuse, used to imply stupidity or physical ineptness and the society changed its name to Scope in 1994.

In a company statement, Hasrob told Transformers fans they intended no offense by use of the name for one of its products "which has not and will not be available via traditional retail channels in Europe, including the UK.

"Thank you once again for notifying us about your concern," they told Transformers fan site Seibertron. "As a marketer of children's products, input from parents, families and fans regarding their experiences with our brands is extremely important to us.

"Our goal is to have all families who enjoy our brands feel good about their purchases and experiences."

"Hasbro aren’t usually ones to risk their reputation over something as trivial as the name of the toy, but it seems that this time they’ve certainly forgotten to scope the subject material at hand," notes Reputation Management in a blog post, a company which works to fight negative and incorrect content on the Internet."... [They] have said they were shocked by the level of outcry caused outside their own borders."

British and Americans do, of course, often use different words for common objects - "trousers" are "pants" in the US and a "lift" is an "elevator", for example. Normally it causes amusement. Just occasionally, it can result in genuine offence being taken.

A similar situation occurred with the UK release of the film The Last Airbender, with phrases such as "I could tell at once that you were a bender, and that you would realise your destiny" taking on a rather different meaning for British audiences.

The Transformers toy will continue to be called Spastic in America.

•  Scope Charity web site

Artists challenged to create a Super Hero for the Stan Lee Foundation

Talenthouse has once again joined forces with the Stan Lee Foundation and Prismacolor to offer talented fans, designers and illustrators the unique opportunity to meet the legendary Stan Lee and create a comic book character for the foundation.

To participate, graphic designers, illustrators and fans -- and this does seem to be a worldwide comptition -- are asked to submit their original character designs to , by 9th January 2011.

Not only will the the selected artist see their character turned into a limited edition action figure, but they will also be presented an award by Stan Lee at the the 2011 Comic-Con in San Diego. The Artist will also receive full flight and accommodations to San Diego along with tickets to Comic-Con.

The winner will be chosen from the 20 highest voted submissions ,but  The Stan Lee Foundation say they may look beyond these finalists to select the submission that they feel best fits their requirements.

Based in Palo Alto California, Talenthouse is a platform providing opportunities to the world’s creative community – a place to participate in unique projects with artists and brands, collaborate, gain recognition and compensation. The Stan Lee Foundation, established by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee, is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide access to literacy, education and the arts throughout the United States.

• For more information on the challenge go to:

• Latest Talent House news at or follow them on Twitter -

• Stan Lee Foundation:

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