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Friday, 10 December 2010

Kapow plans secret sneek movie preview - could it be Thor?

Could the Kapow convention team be planning an advance screening of Kenneth Branagh's Thor film? They aren't saying, but it's one possible option for their just-announced sneak preview movie night.

The team behind next year's upcoming Kapow convention next April continue to unveil their plans and the latest is MOVIE X - a special advance movie screening of an upcoming superhero movie.

While the actual movie has yet to be announced - it's planned as a a secret, surprise screening that will be the finale to the show on Sunday 10th April 2011 - there are plenty of possibilities, including director Kenneth Branagh's Thor, which opens 29th April in the UK.

The advance screening will be shown in a 500 seater auditorium in the London Business Design Centre with state of the art facilities.

Nobody will know what MOVIE X is until the lights go down, but organisers say fans of comic book cinema can rest assured they are in for a special treat. "Our only clue this year is that the movie features a solo superhero. Have fun guessing who he is!"

If not Thor, given this clue, it could be James Gunn's Super, opening 1st April in the US, which has a kind of Kick-Ass vibe to the plot that might appeal to Mark Millar, one of the Kapow team.

A major coup would of course be a very advance screening of Green Lantern, set for a June release.

In addition to ‘MOVIE X’, the panels, signings, exclusive announcements and portfolio reviews, Kapow! visitors will also be able to enjoy the Comic Fans vs. Pros Game Show hosted by Jonathan Ross and The Stan Lee Awards. The guest list now includes Jonathan Ross, Frankie Boyle, Noel Clarke and Stewart Lee who all write for Titan's CLiNT, plus A-list UK and US comic  creators such as John Romita Jr., Dave Gibbons, Mark Millar, Leinil  Yu, Paul Cornell and Andy Diggle.

• The full movie and TV line up will be announced on Kapow! on 14th February. Tickets for Kapow! are available in advance only, and can be purchased  at Tickets will not be available on the door.

Comic Book Alliance charity auction extended by a day!

As we previously reported, The Comic Book Alliance - “The Voice of the British Comics Industry” - are offering comic fans some very special Christmas treats this week with their very first fundraising auction — including the chance to star alongside Batman in his new comic, Batman Inc; along with other experiences that money can’t buy!

The auction has proved to be so popular that the CBA have extended the auction by 24 hours so that fans can get in those last minute bids for some real bargains!

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the bidding and response to the auction," says CBA Chair Tim Pilcher, "but it soon became apparent that there are still a few people out there who haven’t heard about the auction, and we wanted to give them that extra chance to get a really special Christmas present for themselves or a loved one.

"This being our first auction we have, naturally, had a few teething problems, but we can assure all US bidders that all the items listed are available to American fans as well. Simply contact us via and we will ensure you can take part in this exciting event.”

The auction will now end on Sunday 12 December at 19:00 (GMT).

Grant Morrison (the award-winning writer who killed Batman and resurrected him!) will write the winning bidder into an issue of Batman Inc. featuring their name and likeness, courtesy of DC Comics and Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, Batman & Robin), winner of four 2010 Eagle Awards and one of the hottest artists in comics, will draw a personalised portrait of a winning bidder.

Frank Quitely’s auction will end slightly earlier on Saturday 11 December at16:30 (GMT).

Plus, as we reported with a full list of lots here, there are dozens of signed books, comics and graphic novels from high profile creators like Alan Moore (Watchmen), Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys), Charles Vess (Stardust), and John Wagner (Judge Dredd).

And there’s original comic art and signed limited prints by the cream of British artists including zombie art work by Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Bryan Talbot (Grandville), Sean Phillips (Criminal), John McCrea (Hitman), David Lloyd (V for Vendetta), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl) and Garen Ewing (Rainbow Orchid).

There are no reserves, and all bids start at just 99p, so there’s the chance to pick up some real Christmas bargains for the comic fan in your life!

• Further details on auction can be found at: search for the seller, comic_book_alliance or at

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Radio 4 to air Eagle: The Space Age Weekly

A panel from Dan Dare: Prisoners of Space recently used
by the Daily Telegraph
(with thanks to Tony O'Sullivan): It looks like there is treat in store for Eagle fans just before Christmas. BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting "Eagle: The Space Age Weekly" on Thursday 23rd December at 11. 30am.

In the show, Tim Rice explores the lasting appeal of the Eagle that as downthetubes readers well know, ran in two main incarnations between 1950 and 1994. He touches on the impact of its flagship character Dan Dare, regarded by some as  the greatest British sci-fi hero of the 20th century, and the life of its creator Marcus Morris, who initiated it in reaction to"horrific" US comics with their "disturbing" storylines. (The programme notes, for example, how Dan Dare was originally envisaged as a space chaplain before becoming the popular astronaut).

It also examines the work of illustrator Frank Hampson, who introduced technology years ahead of its time, arguing he knew the space age was on its way while serving in the Second World War. He made the Dan Dare strips as realistic as possible by dressing his team in spacesuits and uniforms, basing the look of the fictional characters on his colleagues.

The programme also reveals the stories' educational value and, along with Dan Dare, looks at other Eagle offerings which ran as comic strips.

The show will include contributions from author Philip Pullman and Morris's daughter Sally, who wrote Living with Eagles, a biography of her father's life, back in 1998, which was published by Lutterworth Press – and Eagle Society member David Britton.

Sir Tim Rice is of course a lifelong Eagle fan and introduced the Titan Books collection of Dan Dare: Prisoners in Space.

Unpublished V for Vendetta offered in charity auction

David Lloyd is offering V for Vendetta fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a one off, never published page featurng the character originally created for Warrior by him and Alan Moore.

Offered on eBay, this is a silent "last page" from the series, especially drawn for an auction to benefit the family of a fallen Phoenix police officer and Army National Guardsman.

"I wanted to something special for this cause – so I thought I'd do a whole page," says David. "It's the only sequential action page to be drawn since I completed the last page of the story itself - and I'll never do another." says Lloyd.

Rendered in brush and ink, the silent scene depicts the iconic V giving an untitled book to Evey in the Shadow Gallery. If you've ever been lucky enough to see a page David's physical art, you'll know his work is absolutely stunning and this piece is sure to be much sought after.

On 3rd October 2009, Staff Sergeant Tom Rabjohn was deployed in Afghanistan as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team Leader. Tom was killed in action when he shielded two soldiers from the blast of an Improvised Explosive Device.

Tom served the United States of America in the Arizona National Guard and with the Phoenix Police Department. You can learn more of his story below:

100% of the proceeds for the auction - the current bid is $1000 - will go to a college fund established for Tom's three daughters.

International bidders welcome: the art will be shipped directly from David Lloyd.

• The auction ends on 15th December 2010 and can be viewed here on eBay:

• For more comic art offered in aid of this charity see

Panel Borders: Mature animal comics

Panel Borders radio show's series of shows about anthropomorphic or ‘funny animal’ comics continues tonight, Alex Fitch talks to a pair of writer/artists whose latest projects deal with animal human hybrids in adult situations.

First up is Howard Hardiman, creator of Cute but Sad, whose new project is The Lengths, a black and white comic about male sex workers, based on interviews he conducted in London and funded via IndieGoGo and an Arts Council Grant.

That's followed by an interview recorded at The Cartoon Museum with Bryan Talbot, who discusses Grandville Mon Amour, the second volume of his steampunk graphic album series set in a violent turn of the century Paris.

• Panel Borders: Mature Animal Comics airs at 5.00pm, 09/12/10, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / podcast at after transmission

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Win Bad Press goodies signed by Simon Bisley, Alan Grant and John Wagner

Bad Press Limited, publishers of the adult comic Wasted, have announced their festive competition, running from 10th December 2010 to 10th January 2011.

If you spend £9 (excluding postage) or more at, they'll enter you in a grand prize draw to win a signed copy of their Bad Press Ltd. Edition #1 bundle, featuring an ultra-rare S*** The Dog #1 traced by Simon Bisley, Alan Grant and John Wagner, Wasted #1 defaced by All Star Supremo Frank Quitely, Northern Lightz #1 misplaced by Scottish Underground hero Dave Alexander and New British Comics #1 debased by rising star Tim Rees!

Of course, if you're a Wasted fan, for just £6 you could treat yourself this Christmas to one of just 25 limited edition #1 bundles packs, comprising of Wasted, S*** The Dog, Northern Lightz and New British Comics! (This offer includes free postage to UK residents, £3.00 to Europe and £6.00 to absolutely anywhere in the rest of the known world).

The winner of the competition will be announced in Wasted #7, on sale 5th February 2011 - check out the cover to that above!

• Full details at:

Detective Comics 27 goes under a UK hammer

Rare and much sought-after US comics, including Detective Comics #27, featuring the first appearance of Batman, will go under the hammer in Gloucestershire next week.

The auction of US comics from a ‘one owner’ collection will take place on Thursday 16th December 2010 at Dominic Winter’s UK auction rooms in association with Comic Book Auctions.

Over 2,500 comics in 200 lots are on offer, perhaps the most important collection of American comics ever offered outside the US.

Included in the auction is Detective Comics #27, dated May 1939 (which recently sold for $1 million in New York). The first appearance of 'Bat-Man' is listed as CGC Apparent 4.5 [vg+], restored, cream to off-white pages. Notes on the lot indicate it has had professional restoration that includes: colour touch, pieces added, tear seals, cleaned, re-inforced, re-glossed.

Also on offer among the many comic lots are Batman #1, Superman #1, Superboy #1 and #2, issues of Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Journey Into Mystery, Iron Man and X-Men #1 - plus Mile High copies of Crime And Punishment #1-5. Many of the comics offered are with CGC grading.

Full details of the lots can be found here on the Dominic Winter Auction Room web site.

A 2001 figurine of Walt Disney
and Mickey Mouse. More info here

The US comics on offer are part of a much larger auction that also includes rare antiquarian and juvenile books, bygone toys (including Disney toys), Louis Wain postcards, a huge collection of the works of crime writer Edgar Wallace (who was also the co-creator of King Kong), first edition books, including many James Bond hardcovers, film posters (including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Goldfinger), plus many Disney figurines and serigraphs.

• US Comics Section:

• Bidding can be done online, via telephone or in the auction rom. For full details please check the website or call on 01285 860006

• Dominic Winter Auction Rooms is at Mallard House, Broadway Lane, South Cerney, Nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5UQ. Email:

Winter Combat In Carnoustie

Carnoustie Library will be hosting a war comics exhibit during the month of December.

As well as Commando images taken from the World War 1 story The 11th Hour, written by Ferg Handley, and with artwork of by both Ian Kennedy (right) and Olivera, the exhibition will also cover Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s Charley’s War and Jacques Tardi’s It Was The War Of The Trenches. Other war titles in the exhibition include DC’s Enemy Ace and anthologies showing work by Reed Crandall, John Severin, Art Spiegelman and Alex Toth. The exhibition will also look at how British comics dealt with war through the years with Adam Riches’ book When The Comics Went To War.

Senior Library Assistant David Robertson told downthetubes, "The library was planning an exhibition on World War I anyway and so I suggested doing a section on comics. I know from experience in other councils that Charley’s War goes down very well in libraries, so that was a good starting point.

"We are also quite near to D.C. Thomson’s in Dundee and I thought they might supply some material, which they did. Bill McLoughlin was very helpful and supplied some excellent prints of Ian Kennedy and Olivera’s artwork (left) from Commando. Ian is a nice guy too, and he signed one of his covers for display.

Asked if the library had a good selection of graphic novels David told us, "It does, and it’s getting better all the time. However, after suggesting this comics display in June, I searched our catalogue for war comics and found we had none whatsoever! Zero. So the collection had to be built up a bit before December rolled around. As I suspected, the books have proven popular. It’s worth noting that we take a council-wide approach to the collection, so it’s always worth asking if you can’t find what you’re after in a specific branch.

"But yes, we have super-heroes, Asterix, Tintin, Vertigo, alternative, Judge Dredd, humour, newspaper strips and loads more. And plenty of war comics now! I hope people enjoy the exhibition, it's been fun putting it together."

Carnoustie Library is located in the High Street of Carnoustie near Dundee and as well as being a public lending library it holds a collection of books and ephemera highlighting all aspects of the town’s history including information on microfilm and microfiche.

The free exhibition runs from 1 to 31 December 2010 and is open during regular library hours, Monday & Wednesday 9.30am – 8pm, Tuesday 10am to 6pm, Thursday 9.30am – 6pm, and Friday & Saturday 9.30am – 5pm.

UPDATE 8 DEC 2010: Due to the unprecedented weather in Scotland this exhibition will now continue until 21 January 2011.

Because I Am collection from Paul Davies

Brighton-based teacher and creator of 'indie' comics short stories Paul Davies has just self-published a collection of the same called Because I Am, via

"It's a collection of nine graphic short stories, drawn between 2004 and 2009," says Paul. "The stories are about the young and the old, the past and the present, the near and the far." describes it as "exquisitely paced, and written with charm and wit" while says the colection is "enthralling ... his narratives each evoke a unique emotion as much as they tell tales."

"Every bit of it is expertly handled," enthuses small press review site Optical Sloth. "There’s genuine emotion over here, a real laugh or two over there, and all the messy bits in between that make up life."

• Paul's website/blog at has a preview of a couple of the stories.

You can buy the book from via this link

Tube Surfing: Ross joins Kapow line up, Cardiff Comic Expo and more

• British TV presenter, comic book writer and lifelong comic fan Jonathan Ross has confirmed he will be a guest at Kapow! Comic Con and host the Comic Pros vs. Fans Game Show live on stage. The event takes place 9th & 10th April 2011. More info:

• If you live in the UK fancy nabbing a copy of the Burke & Hare by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering as a stocking filler this Christmas, you can get it now with free postage. The total price, delivered, is now £10. You can purchase the book at Amazon UK, or on the Burke & Hare Graphic Novel website:

• The line up for the first  Cardiff Comic Expo on Saturday 26th February 2011 includes comic creators Charlie Adlard, Mike Collins, Paul Cornell, Neil Edwards, John Ross and Simon Williams. The  event will see the launch of 10thology, a collection of 10 stories by the cream of the crop of Welsh creators and creators living and working in Wales from the Small Press and Indie scene, including industry legends such as Mike Collins.
There's also a Manga Expo Spotlight hosted by Cardiff’s Otakuzoku Store and a Small Press Showcase hosted by Fallen Angel Media.

 All advance ticket holders will receive a money off voucher for 10 thology and the chance to win original art! Tickets are only £5 and are on sale now via Paypal. Visit to pre-book. For more info, there's also a facebook page here.

• Talking of Facebook, indie comic distributors and all round good eggs Smallzone now have space there. Check it out at:

• Andy Diggle draws our attention to the Sitcom Mission 2011's 15-minute sitcom scriptwriting competition. The event launched last year and the search for the 2011 showcase is now on, and they're looking for a 15-minute episode. See the Blog, FAQs, Guidelines, Rules for further information, then Enter.

•  B7 Media, producers of all things Blake's 7-related, have just launched their new company website where you’ll find details about thir past, present and future productions, along with the ability to purchase and download our latest audio releases:

• The Comic Creators Alliance have announced the launch of their second annual fund-raising drive to raise funds to fight against Human Trafficking. Last year's drive raised a staggering $10,000 and had over 80 artists working together on a special image just for the event. This year they hope to top not only proceeds, but the number of artists working on the project. In the spirit of upping the odds, this year's drive will include a print version of the piece available for purchase as well as the digital download. Artists have until the end of the year to contact the creator of this project, Lora Innes, at to contribute artwork.
The donation drive starts on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day which is 11 January 11, 2011 and ends 24th January 2011. The official website for the drive is To learn more about what you can do to end human trafficking visit

Monday, 6 December 2010

Cinebook Release Their January-June 2011 Schedule

Cinebook , the Canterbury-based publisher of European bandes dessinee albums translated into English, have released a PDF copy of their first 2011 catalogue onto their website.

In the six months between January and June 2011 the company will publish 20 new titles, the vast majority of which have never been translated into English before.

The twin backbones of the Cinebook range are the humorous Lucky Luke books and the espionage thriller XIII. Each of these series are published at a rate of one every two months with the XIII books now well beyond any previous English language publication, while the Lucky Luke series will have reached the 29th book by June. As well as more Blake and Mortimer and Largo Winch titles are the third Bellybuttons book and Cinebook finally returns to Orbital with the third title in the SF action series.

The headline piece from the catalogue is that Cinebook will be publishing one Jean Van Hamme book each month. Van Hamme's titles range from the modern Blake and Mortimer stories, via Lady S and Thorgal to the aforementioned Largo Winch and XIII. June will see a one off special by Van Hamme along with his Thorgal artist Grzegorz Rosinski entitled Western and set in Wyoming in 1868.

With the Christmas buying season being somewhat curtailed by the current snow perhaps it is worth letting the postman do all the hard work and order up a title or two that you have not yet tried. If you like Tintin and Rainbow Orchid then try Blake and Mortimer or if you like Modesty Blaise try Lady S. If Nemi in the Metro newspaper is more to your taste then it would be The Bellybuttons, if it is James Bond you prefer then try Largo Winch, while if the kids like Harry Potter then try Scared To Death.

Reviews if the current batch of Cinebook releases including their two new series, Crusade and Long John Silver, will appear on downthetubes soon.

Download the Cinebook catalogue (PDF)

• There are more details of all Cinebook titles on their website.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Rainbow Orchid: Volume 3

The cover image for the third volume of Garen Ewing's The Rainbow Orchid has just been released showing Evelyn and Julius fighting above lava.

This does seems rather at odds with one of the teaser images that Garen has posted over at his blog which shows off the two characters in what appears to be an altogether cosier situation. However it will be a while before we know exactly what is going on and how the story climaxes as the release date for the book is given on Amazon UK as 8 August 2011.

In the meantime Garen has donated signed and sketched versions of the first two Rainbow Orchid books plus their cover posters to the Comic Book Alliance eBay auction which is going on at the moment. In addition to these he has also donated some of his original black and white line art that was used to create the Tayout Soviet flying circus poster in the first book.

There are more details of The Rainbow Orchid on the official website as well as Garen's blog.

The CBA Rainbow Orchid auctions are here : Volume 1, Volume 2 and original artwork.

The downthetubes reviews of the first two books in The Rainbow Orchid trilogy are here : Volume 1 & Volume 2.

Battleships By L Ashwell Wood

It is no secret that the team here on downthetubes are all fans of Eagle comic with John Freeman editing Titan's Dan Dare and Bible Stories reprint books, Jeremy Briggs and Richard Sheaf writing for Eagle Times while Ian Wheeler was the editor of the still missed Eagle Flies Again zine.

Original Eagle's longest serving artist was Leslie Ashwell Wood who is best known for his detailed cutaway paintings that were in around two thirds of all the issues of Eagle published between 1950 and 1969. Wood died in 1973 before Eagle fandom had a chance to talk to him and this has left many questions about this career unanswered.

Recently a selection of his preliminary pencil sketches for various cutaways and other explanatory paintings have come to light and Jeremy Briggs has taken the opportunity to examine these over on Steve Holland's Bear Alley blog. The latest of these prelims is for a King George V Class battleship of the Royal Navy, the type of ship that fought battles again the Bismarck and Scharnhorst in the Atlantic during World War Two. Jeremy compares the seventy year old prelim to its published version and is able to directly link it to a painting by Wood that is held in the UK's National Archives.

There are more details of the battleship pencil prelim by Leslie Ashwell Wood on Bear Alley.

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