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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Tripwire spotlights Slaine, Blueberry and X-Men in latest free digital edition

The July 2011 digital issue of ace comics and other media magazine Tripwire features a host of goodies - and you can download it free from the official web site (

The  Eagle Award-nominated and acclaimed magazine launched a digital version earlier this year -  a bi-monthly version of its popular Annual print publication. Described by Michael Moorcock as "the best mag of its kind that I've seen", editor Joel Meadows tells us readers can expect to see online the same depth of features and quality packaging as in the print version only in a slimmer, slicker format available for free download on the magazine's blog site

“With the exciting opportunities that the various digital platforms now offer both readers and publishers, we felt that it was the perfect time to launch,” he says.

“The bi-monthly schedule allows us to be a regular presence out there, offering us a greater range of content for readers and taking nearly twenty years of expertise to a wider audience. 2011 is going to be the year of Tripwire,” Meadows continued.

This latest issue includes a look at the publication of Rebellion’s classic Slaine: The Horned God in hardcover with its creators Pat Mills and Simon Bisley; an examination of Moebius’s seminal western series Blueberry and why it deserves to be back in print in the English language; a background feature on the genesis of bringing X-Men First Class to the big screen plus a chat with screen writers Miller and Stentz; and its Stripwire section includes a preview of BOOM Studios Elric by Chris Roberson and Italain artist Francesco Biagnini, the creator of Dingo.

As ever, it's a beautifully designed magazine and well worth the download. Check it out.

• Download Tripwire from

Friday, 8 July 2011

Harvey Award Nom for Sean Michael Wilson and Mitsuhiro Asakawa's 'Ax'

Ax: Alternate Manga edited by Sean Michael Wilson and Mitsuhiro Asakawa and published by Top Shelf Publishing, has been nominated for a Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material.

"The Harvey Awards are one of the comic book industry's oldest and most respected awards," says Sean, who was born in Scotland but now lives in Japan and has several British titles to his credit, including A Christmas Carol for Classical Comics and Iraq: Operation Takeover, which was drawn by Lee O'Connor, as well as published work for Kodansha and NBM.

"The Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in over 20 categories," he continues. "They are the only industry awards both nominated by and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. So, it's very pleasing for us all that Ax has been selected by comic book professionals, hopefully recognising the significant step forward it is in showing the work of individual, mature style manga artists from Japan.

"Past winners in this category include Lone Wolf and Cub, Moebius, Akira and Persepolis - good company to be in!

"Just to get the nomination, from out of hundreds of possible books, is great, especially as this is a kind of democratic vote system choice, not a 'panel of judges' way. So, hopefully that should help with also getting interest in our other book plans."

Britain-based talent also up for an award includes New Zealander Roger Langridge for his work on BOOM! Studios The Muppet Show (and also for best writer, on Thor: The Mighty Avenger); Duncan Fergedo for his work on Hellboy; Frank Quitely for Best Cover Artist (for his work on Batman and Robin); and Northern Ireland's Garth Ennis for The Darkness.

• Any comic book professionals who feel like voting for Ax book for the final winner can do so on the Harvey website: deadline for voting is 6th August 2011

FutureQuake blasts from the hip with three 2000AD-inspired titles

Ace Eagle Award finalist publisher FutureQuake Press have just released the latest issues of of their superb comics featuring a host of raw British talent, both new and established - including the likes of Liam Sharp - yes, Liam Sharp! - and Nigel Dobbyn. Here are the details...

Behind an awesome cover by Neil Ford, FutureQuake 18 features

Addicts by William Tennant, art by James Feist, lettered by Bolt-01
Spirit Leveller by Lawrence Conquest art Conor Boyle, lettered by Bolt-01
Praxis by Rob Burton, art by Roland Bird, lettered by Bolt-01
Counter Reality Incident by John A Short, art and lettering by Alex Paterson
Sam by Mark Woodland, art by Steven Denton lettered by Bolt-01
In His Kiss by Lawrence Conquest, art by Jack Davies lettered by Bolt-01
The Replacement Heroes: Butch Stone by Mike Moreci, art by Andy Scordellis, lettered by Jim Campbell
Not this time Johnny Tomorrow by Robert Ferrie, art by Simon Hayes, lettered by Bolt-01
Social Engagement eXperiment by Steven Fraser, art by Will Pickering, lettered by Bolt-01

Dogbreath 24 has been a long time coming but the Strontium Dog-inspired title features 48 pages of stone cold classic Search/Destroy action.

Behind the rather awesome cover by the ever talented Nigel Dobbyn is the following:

Strontium Dog - Death of a Mutant by Mark Pexton, art by Toby Philp, lettered by Bolt-01
The Gronk - Small Universe 2 written and drawn and lettered by Nigel Dobbyn - completing the tale bagun last issue!
Strontium Dog- A Moment's Hesitation by Miles Reid, art by Bruce McLaren, lettered by Bolt-01
SD's - Catch Of The Day by Matthew McLaughlin, art by Ryan Thomason, lettered by Bolt-01
Impetigo Jones - The Big Scab by Greg Meldrum, art by David Broughton, lettered by Bolt-01
• Interview: A question of Rage: Shaun Avery talks to John Wagner & Alan Grant!
• Case File Interludes: Leigh Shepherd looks at the tales from various annuals and specials!
Strontium Dog- Served Cold by Richmond Clements, art by Matt Soffe, lettered by Bolt-01
M06 - Reservation Dogs by The Emperor, art by James Feist, lettered by Bolt-01
• Star Scan - Durham Red by Mark Pexton

The awesome- award winning Alex Ronald provides the cover for Zarjaz issue 12, and sees the first annual Judge Dredd summer cover! Inside, there's a top line up, including...

Constable Dredd - The Cursed Beat by Richard McAuliffe, art by Mark Chilcott, lettered by Bolt-01
Zenith - Invasion by Chris Denton, art and letters by David Frankum
ToM-C1- Fat Chancers by Alexi Conman, art and letters by Luis Chichon
Judge Fish by David Withers, art and letters by Phillip Vaughan
Slaine - Tattered Wings by Liam Sharp (Yes, Liam Sharp!)
Judge Dredd - Moon in the Undercity by Paul Glasswell, art by Dave Thomson, lettered by Bolt-01

• The new issues are available from the FQP Webshop ( and previews will be available soon.

• More information at:

V for Vendetta Original Art on eBay

The artwork for V for Vendetta
offered on eBay
I'm selling an original piece of art from Alan Moore and David Lloyd's classic story V for Vendetta on eBay.

With the byline "We shouldn't have to live like this" - a line from the page - the art was first first published in Warrior Issue 19 (June 1984) and forms part of Book 2, Chapter 6: Variety.

The art came to me via David after I helped him with some pre-production work for another of his wonderful comics, Espers, back in the 1980s.

Initially appearing in Dez Skinn's Warrior, V for Vendetta was ultimately completed as a ten-issue dystopian comic book series published by Vertigo. It's a story set in a dystopian future United Kingdom imagined from the 1980s to about the 1990s in which a mysterious revolutionary calling himself "V" works to destroy the totalitarian government, profoundly affecting the people he encounters.

The page as it appeared
in print in Warrior
The series depicts a near-future Britain after a nuclear war, which has left much of the world destroyed, though most of the damage to Britain is indirect, via floods and crop failures. In this future, a fascist party called "Norsefire" has exterminated its opponents in concentration camps and now rules the country as a police state.

"V", an anarchist revolutionary dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask, begins an elaborate, violent, and intentionally theatrical campaign to murder his former captors, bring down the government, and convince the people to rule themselves.

On the page being auctioned, after watching another gangster get beaten to death for the crime of speaking the truth, Evey asks her companion, Gordon, "We shouldn't have to live like this.  Should we?"

Gordon's answer:  "No, kid, we shouldn't.  What are you going to do about it?"

"In one of the best word-image juxtapositions in a comic that's loaded with them, V watches over this exchange," notes fan Marc Singer on his blog, "departing silently after hearing Gordon's complacent, defeatist answer."

Detail from the page for sale from V for Vendetta
This is original art by David Lloyd in very good condition. Be warned: I set a high reserve on this, which it has already met, given the amounts past pieces have sold for - and I will be making a donation to from the hoped-for sale to "Cartoon Classroom", a project I know is dear to David's heart.

The ambition of the Classroom is to provide a means of centralising all information available on the study of cartooning and sequential art in the UK and Ireland, and to facilitate easy access to tutors in these subjects for all recognised educational institutions.

View the item here on eBay

More about V for Vendetta on 'The Shadow Gallery'

Draw Your Weapons: New Commandos On Sale Now

The latest Commandos are on sale now in all good newsagents and we have the full lowdown on the titles below.

There's now than two months to go before Draw Your Weapons: Art Of Commando starts at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London. Helping mark the comics' 50th anniversary, this exhibition will explore the history of the war comic from its initial conception and subject matter to its continuing popularity, showcasing key artwork and illustrations from Commando.

"The preliminary sketches of the displays look stunning," Calum enthuses, "and we hope loads of readers, past and present, will be able to go and appreciate the workmanship on display in the original artworks."

Commando fans may be interested  in an interview with the Commando editorial team which recently ran in the Daily Record, which includes comment from Calum, deputy Scott Montgomery and writer Ferg Handley. It's clear from the feature that the belief among war comic fans that the comic is no longer published is a constant bugbear in the Commando office, and we hope we here at DTT are helping coounter that myth.

"If I had a pound for every time someone has said, 'Commando comics, are they still going?' I'd have retired long ago," Calum tells the paper. "Even people within the business will say that and when we tell them we put out eight issues a month, they go a bit quiet."

The Commando team also tell us that suggestions for stories readers want to seen again as part of the title's reprint issues are fairly flooding in to the Commando office. "I think we may have to put more space aside in the production schedule to cope with them all," says editor Calum Laird.

To add your choice to the list, send your nominations to: Commando, DC Thomson & Co., Ltd., Albert Square, Dundee DD1 9QJ; or e-mail your suggestions to:; or send a message through the official website Nominations close on 19th August 2011.

Commando 4407: They Came By Night
Originally Commando No 6 (August 1961), re-issued as No 2563 (April 1992)
Story: Couglin Art: Savi Cover: Ken Barr

Without warning the periscope of a U-boat broke the surface. It turned and focussed on the Locksea Lighthouse. Then, slowly, the glistening, black hull of the submarine came up from the depths.

No one could deny the courage and cool cheek of the Nazi Commander who had made up his mind to capture this vital link in the guiding of our Atlantic convoys.

Then, into what was to be the most fantastic episodes of the war, sailed Skipper Jimmy Cleeves and his RAF rescue launch K20.

"Nowadays Commando writers have it tough," says Calum Laird in his introduction to this reprint. "In our 50 years, loads of plots have been used, and they have to try really hard to find a new angle on things. Back in 1961, though, when Commando first broke cover, the writers had a very open field to work with.

"So you might think that this sixth story to come out would be very straightforward. If you did, you’d be wrong. It has ships, subs, bombers, recce planes, a lighthouse… and even a carrier pigeon.

"Even when they’ve got it easy, Commando authors just can’t help writing cracking stories."

Commando 4408: The Cop Who Went To War
Originally Commando No 982 (November 1975), re-issued as No 2323 (November 1989)
Story: RA Montague Art: Ibanez-Igual Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

Dave Marley was a policeman - and proud of it. When the war came, he joined the Military Police and found that a lot of soldiers acted just like the blokes in civvy street who didn’t want to know a copper until they had trouble.

But now there was more than brawls and bank robbers to think about. There were difficult problems to be tackled with the added danger of shells and bullets crashing all around. Yes, it was a tough job, being a Military policeman…

"The Military Police do a difficult and dangerous job, and it’s not always appreciated by the common soldier, sailor or airman," says former editor George Low of this classic story. "In the rough and tumble of war, men fresh from action often don’t take it well when a Redcap gets on their case. How to win the doubters over? Prove that you are as tough and as capable of dealing with the enemy as the front-line fighters are.

"Roger Montague shows this up well in a crisp 1975 script and Ibanez-Igual did his bit with the line artwork.

The cover? That’s Ian Kennedy, of course. He draws a mean motorbike as well as the aircraft he’s renowned for."

Commando 4409 Codename: Houdini
Story: Mac MacDonald Art: Rezzonico Cover Art: Janek Matysiak

Andor Lakatos and his two younger brothers were a popular circus escapology touring Eastern Europe just before the start of the Second World War. When the Germans invaded of Poland in 1939 the three brothers were caught up in the chaos.

Andor, in particular, was drawn against his will into wartime espionage. With danger at every corner it seemed unlikely even he could escape this murky world of shadows and treachery...

Commando 4410 “Talk… Or Die!”
Story: Tom Hart Art Benet Cover Art: Benet

It seemed a straightforward job, risky but straightforward. Flying a helicopter full of gold out of South Vietnam before the advancing North Vietnamese army got their hands on it.

 As an ex Australian Air Force chopper pilot, Brendan Beckett thought the job would give him no real trouble. So how did he come to be tied to a post, knee-deep in rising water? Well, it’s a long story...

• Official Commando web site:

Commando Official Facebook page

• 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  

• Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.  

Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes

Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

More Oxfam Edinburgh Comic Event Guests Announced

The 2011 Oxfam Edinburgh Comic Event will take place at the MacDonald Road Library on Edinburgh's Leith Walk on Saturday 23 July. This year's theme will be war comics and, as in its two previous years, this will be a relaxed, discussion based event and will include signings by the guests. A selection of comics, graphic novels and related books will also be available for sale on the day with all proceeds going to Oxfam.

The guest list includes War Stories and Kate and William artist Gary Erskine, and Starblazer and Judge Dredd artist Colin MacNeil plus two former Thargs and now writers, David Bishop and Andy Diggle.

As usual the panels will be hosted by Bogie Man publisher John McShane and the event will include a DC Thomson panel focusing on Commando with former Commando editor George Low, Commando writer Ferg Handley, former Dandy editor Morris Heggie and, having interviewed many DCT personnel for this website, downthetubes writer Jeremy Briggs.

Doors open on Saturday 23 July at 11:30am with the first panel due to begin at Noon and the event will run until 4pm. Tickets are £4 per person and will be available on the door or in advance from the Oxfam bookshops on Morningside Road and Nicholson Street. The venue is a 10-15 minute walk from Edinburgh's main bus and train stations while free car parking is available in the streets surrounding it. Attendees will be pleased to know that there is a Tesco Metro just across the road for sandwiches and other refreshments during the breaks in the programme.

More details of the event are available on the Oxfam Edinburgh Comic Event Facebook page.

There are more details of the venue at the MacDonald Road Library

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Skyboat artist Ian McQue to lead Pro Concept Art Course in Dundee

Ian McQue, Lead Concept Artist and Assistant Art Director at Rockstar North, will be teaching a Professional Concept Art Course over the weekend of 6-7 August 2011 in Scotland, UK.

The course offers a rare opportunity for game and concept artists from around the world to learn first-hand from one of the industry's premier talents. Ian McQue's 'Skyboat' series of paintings are celebrated globally, and he's worked for over 15 years as a Lead Artist, Concept Artist and Assistant Art Director on some of the most successful games in the industry - including the entire Grand Theft Auto series.

The course consists of live instruction in painting, sketching, perspective, vehicle and character design, composition, and colour theory for computer games and freelance work.

It focuses on using real life reference and the world around you to achieve credibility and solve visual problems through concept art.

"I'll be doing a live painting demonstration along with portfolio reviews and one-to-one tuition," says Ian. "Above all it'll be a fun and informal couple of days making art in Scotland's sunniest city! It should be a great experience. See you there!"

• The course takes place over two days at The CTA, Unit 27, City Quay, Dundee, DD1 3JW from 10am -5pm on Sat 6 and Sun 7 August 2011 (Tel: 01382 458365). Places n the course can be reserved at

• More information via and Ian's blog at

Panel Borders: Interactive Comics

Jack’s Abstraction by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, available on Android devices
Starting a month of shows about the cross-over between comic books and video games on the Panel Borders radio show that first airs on ResonanceFM, Alex Fitch talks to web comics creator Daniel Merlin Goodbrey about the latest examples of his experiments in interactive ‘hyper-comics’: including Jack’s Abstraction, available on Android devices, and the forthcoming A Duck, which allow comic strip readers to follow differing narrative paths in various directions on the virtual page.

Alex and Daniel also talk about other recent examples of the intersection between games and comics including Batman: Arkham Asylum and InFamous 2: The Fame Strips which he designed the flash interface for but were written by Pat Mills and Howard Marks to promote the PS3 game and feature a number of well-known celebrities -  including Lady Gaga, Pippa Middleton, Justin Bieber , Lindsay Lohan (right) and Cheryl Cole - get some refreshingly satirical treatment.

The fantasy comic strips, which bring together seven of the world’s freshest comic artists, explore what would happen if some of the world’s favourite celebrities were integrated into the fantasy inFAMOUS world alongside characters of New Marais, allowing them to hold superpowers and the choice to change the world for better or worse.

• Panel Borders: Interactive Comics airs at 5.00pm, Thursday 07th July 2011 on Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / podcast after broadcast at

Read the full collection of InFamous strips online here

John Higgins to launch Watchmen print sets at SDCC

To celebrate 25 years of Watchmen, the book's original colourist John Higgins has created a brand-new limited-edition Watchmen portfolio exclusively for San Diego Comic-Con 2011.

The new portfolio comes in two flavours, each containing a set of three individual prints of fan-favorite characters Sally Jupiter, Rorschach and The Comedian, each richly-detailed image penciled, inked and colored by John Higgins.

“For me, the appeal of this collection was to consider how each character had been used within the story of Watchmen, and to place them in settings specific to their role in the story," says John. "I’ve aimed to highlight the Comedian’s swaggering arrogance, the sexual glamour and allure of the original Silk Spectre, and the psychotic violence of Rorschach.”

Set A: Limited to 80 copies
The prints (11.7" x 16.5") are coloured in Turmoil Colour Studios’ contemporary colour style and printed on ‘Tintoretto Gesso 250gsm paper’ using the latest computer-controlled technology for a high-quality print run. All prints signed and numbered by John Higgins.
Available only at SDCC 2011 at the special price of $120 per set.

Set B: Limited to 20 copies
Containing three (11.75" x 17.75") silk-screened prints on perfect 'Somerset satin white, 250gsm paper’, with hand-separated colour by John in the Old Skool style of the classic Watchmen coloring. These hand-pulled silkscreen prints are all numbered, signed and embossed with the Turmoil Colour Studios symbol by John Higgins.
Available only at SDCC 2011 at the special price of $300 per set.

Both sets will be contained in a special TCS embossed portfolio envelope.

- Portfolios will only be available at the Splash Page Comic Art Booth #4400 at SDCC 2011, but can be pre-ordered by contacting John via his website at or contact Mark Hay at

- Spotlight on John Higgins at SDCC, is taking place on the Thursday 21st July between 1.30 - 2.30pm. Any audience member at the talk can enter a free draw to win one of Set A, of The limited edition Watchmen. Store value of $120.

Tube Surfing: Two, Four, Nine, Fifty

BBC2 Scotland Only: Monday 11 July 2011 10pm will see the broadcast of the BBC Artworks Scotland documentary about Scottish comics and comic writers which, unsurprisingly, will feature Alan Grant, Mark Millar and Grant Morrison talking about their work. While it is officially only being broadcast on BBC2 in Scotland, and presumably will be available to the entire UK on the BBC iPlayer for seven days afterwards, it is worth remembering that Sky viewers in the rest of the UK are able to access BBC2 Scotland on channel 990 and so can watch or record it at the same time as those north of the border. Details of the programme are on the Artworks Scotland webpage.

Four Cornerers: Four of the seven artists who make up the Scottish daily artblog Scotch Corner were at the Kingdom Of Adventure shop in Kirkcaldy last Saturday for a signing and the recording of a podcast. Jon Hodgson, Andy Hepworth, Graeme Neil Reid and Tom Crielly were joined by Simon Fraser for a short time via Skype but technical issues, otherwise known as a blown fuse, meant that his Skype feed could not be recorded for the podcast. The reason behind the gathering was to celebrate two years of the blog's existence and their birthday present to themselves was a month's holiday as they have handed the blog over to an impressive array of other artists to show off their work and answer a few questions. To date these have included Mick McMahon, Bob Eggleton, Jimmy Broxton, James Ryman, Chris Weston and Siku. The Scotch Corner blog is here.

The Curse Of Issue 9? It looks like CLiNT has survived the curse of issue 9 but only by the skin of its teeth with the magazine's frequency dropped from 13 to an unusual 9 issues a year. Of the recent batch of comics related magazines, both Alan Moore's Dodgem Logic and Alan Grant's Wasted have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another having reached issue 8. SFX's Comic Heroes is currently on issue 7 and has gone from 4 to 6 issues a year so we will keep our fingers crossed for it and, of course, will have everything crossed for Strip Magazine in October and The Phoenix Comic in January. With Wasted gone to the great newsagents in the sky, Tales Of The Buddha and Vampire Vixens Of The Wehrmacht are both now looking for new publishers, so fingers crossed for them also.

Commando Interrogation: With the fiftieth anniversary of the first issue of DC Thomson's Commando at the end of last month, you would have expected the company to cover, or at least mention, it in their daily Dundee Courier newspaper, but it was not to be. Instead Scottish readers were able to read the thoughts of editor Calum Laird, deputy editor Scott Montgomery, former editor George Low and writer Ferg Handley in the Daily Record (the Scottish version of the Daily Mirror). The on-line version of the article has an excellent picture of Scott, George and Calum with loads of original Commando artwork but the paper version also had this priceless pic of George wearing a WWII British helmet. The downthetubes Medal For Resisting Interrogation must go to Scott as the only one of the four who managed to not have his age revealed. The Daily Record interview is here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Sneek Peek: Century 21 books return

Courtesy of Signum Books, here's the front cover of their first Century 21 book, Menace from Space, featuring strips from classic Gerry Anderson-inspired comics such as TV Century 21.

Edited by Chris Bentley, the book is in the same format as previous publisher Reynolds and Hearn's four Century 21 titles and features a cover by Doctor Who and Thunderbirds artist Lee Sullivan. (Signum was set up by Marcus Hearn, formerly a founding partner of Reynolds & Hearn). 

Menace from Space, which will include 12 complete space-inspired stories, will go on sale 10th October 2011, hardback, price £24.99, but Amazon are currently doing a nice discount on it.

Signum tell us that in August or September they'll be offering signed copies from, and a more detailed breakdown of the contents will be available then.

Titan Books acquired the worldwide distribution rights to Signum Books last October. Signum plan to publish approximately six books a year, selected and commissioned by Marcus Hearn, primarily in the areas of classic film, television and music. The books will be edited by Hearn but will come from a number of different authors.

Pre-order Century 21: Menace from Space from

Bryan Talbot exposes comic legends with 'engorged' book

The Naked Artist, comic creator Bryan Talbot's prose book documenting the outrageous, daft and occasionally educational tales of the comic industry is now available in Kindle, iBook and several other formats including PDF.

If on the night of a comics convention you were to go to the the hotel bar and buy a few drinks for a comic book pro, you'd soon hear stories about his fellow creators - tales of drinking and drugs, of missed deadlines and missing pants, of maniacal editors and crazed fans. These are the urban legends of the comic industry.

Illustrated by Hunt Emerson, acclaimed graphic novelist Bryan Talbot (creator of the award-winning The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, The Tale of One Bad Rat, Alice in Sunderland and Grandville) saves you the cost of gin and tonics by bringing you this collection of the wild and hilarious anecdotes told by - and starring - some of comicdom's leading lights. This expanded edition includes all the stories from the original print edition and more.

"It’s an updated edition with an extra few thousands words’ worth of stories," Bryan tells us. "In fact, I was thinking of calling it The Naked Artist - Engorged!"

The Naked Artist is available for the ludicrously low price of $2.99 (approx £1.86, or £2.13 for the Kindle edition in the UK). You can read the first 20% of The Naked Artist free here:

UK Readers

Buy The Naked Artist: Comic Book Legends (Kindle edition) from Amazon UK

Buy The Naked Artist (iBook) from Apple UK

Other eBook editions - Smashwords

 US Readers

Buy The Naked Artist: Comic Book Legends (Kindle edition) from

Buy The Naked Artist (Nook Edition - Barnes & Noble)

Buy The Naked Artist (iBook) from Apple US

In Review: Yoko Tsuno - The Morning Of The World

Roger Leloup's adventurous electrical engineer returns in the latest Yoko Tsuno offering from Cinebook, The Morning Of The World. The previous Yoko book reviewed here on downthetubes was The Dragon Of Hong Kong which had Godzilla overtones however with The Morning Of The World the theme is rather more Doctor Who-ish.

Yoko Tsuno returns to Bali with her adopted daughter Morning Dew and her friends Vic and Pol and there they meet up with Yoko's cousin Monya who has developed a time machine that Yoko has travelled in before. However Monya has travelled in time to 1350 and caused Narki, a native dancer, to be sentenced to death and she wants Yoko to return to the past with her to help save the girl. In 1350 Monya and Yoko are captured by the girl's tribe and, in an attempt to save the girl's life, are forced to fight off the pteranodons that dwell near the Agung volcano that the tribe calls "The Morning Of The World".

Originally published in Spirou issues 2613 to 2630 between May and September 1988 as Le Matin Du Mond, The Morning Of The World is effectively a sequel to the earlier Yoko Tsuno time travel story The Time Spiral which Cinebook have already translated. While it would be beneficial to have read the previous title to understand all the references to it, this book can be read by itself without unduly harming the enjoyment of the book. The story itself rattles along jumping from one problem to another throwing in time travel, active volcanoes, flying dinosaurs and the imminent threat of death on several occasions for both our heroine and her friends. As long as you don't think too deeply about what is going on then this is a fast moving and exciting adventure which, like all Yoko Tsuno stories, is aimed at a younger audience and so feels simplistic to a adult reader.

This means that, for instance, there is no explanation of why Yoko flies to Bali in a private fighter jet, and straps her young daughter into the plane's rear ejection seat, when they could just as easily have travelled to the island in the same airliner as the two male characters. But that is not the point since, with Yoko, Leloup is showing his young readers that women can be just as resourceful as men in roles and jobs that may still have be seen as male preserves when the story was originally published.

Like all Yoko Tsuno books, The Morning Of The World is an exciting if somewhat junior tale and if you have a younger daughter or niece, who in earlier years you would have considered buying Bunty comics or annuals for, then this is a book that would be well worth trying out on them, especially if they also like Doctor Who.

• There are more details of The Morning Of The World and all the other English language Yoko Tsuno books on the Cinebook website.

• There are more details of the original French books on the official Yoko Tsuno
website (in French).

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Simon Spurrier uncoils at Forbidden Planet London

Forbidden Planet has announced a signing by Simon Spurrier for his novel A Serpent Uncoiled at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, London in August.

Dan Sharper’s sins are a sickness. Sharper is a former underworld enforcer who now scrapes a living as a private detective, So far, so conventional. He needs to straighten up and rebuild his life, however an emotional breakdown has left him with a tenuous grip on reality and his life is about to get a whole lot stranger…

He’s tasked to prevent the murder of George Glass, an eccentric old man who knows he’s going to be killed but can’t remember why. Normally Sharper would recoil from Glass’s senile brand of New Age salvation, but the case is as tantalizing as it is lucrative. Adrift amidst liars and thugs, Sharper must push his capsizing mind beyond its limits: stalked not only by a unique and terrifying murderer, but by the ghosts of his own brutal past.

Simon Spurrer is a graduate from S.I.A.D’s Film and Television degree course; he’s received screenwriting bursaries at both the National Academy of Writing and the Met Film School, and has worked for the BBC as an art director. He’s since become an award-winning novelist – writing for Marvel, DC and 2000AD.

• Simon Spurrier is at Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR on Wednesday 3rd August 6 – 7pm.

Order A Serpent Uncoiled from Forbidden Planet
• For more news about FP's signings visit:

In Review: Rose Black

She is a vampire who is 600 years old and doesn't know why her lonely, endless life began. Such is the character of Rose Black created by Edward Murphy and Tom Campbell in Rough Cut Comics' Rose Black graphic novel, written by Campbell, pencilled by Jaeson Finn and inked by Colin Barr.

Rose has been in a French convent for decades, hiding from the world and her recent past as an agent for the British Secret Service. When a special forces team infiltrate the convent and attempt to kill her, she returns to her former spy partner, Raymond, in an attempt to understand why she is now being targeted. Teaming up with a new, younger partner, Dobie, Rose finds that their investigations lead them to the Vatican and Cardinal Bochour who is trying to eliminate the woman he considers to be the world's only vampire.

As a character Rose is a cross between Marvel's Black Widow and 2000AD's Durham Red, and not just in the similarity of the names. She is a former secret agent who is a vampire in a world in which vampires don't exist. Beginning with her as a nun, the plot slowly reveals her secret agent background as we discover more about both her and the people around her, from her former spy partner to the Vatican sect who are trying to kill her.

While the book is very violent at times, Rose is not a character who is simply out to kill and, while she is very good at killing, writer Campbell gives her a Christianity-based conscience that means she tempers the use of her demonic powers as best she can, generally only using them for self defence. The reason for those powers, and why she appears to be a vampire, is left to virtually the last page of the book and provides a very neat twist that I, for one, didn't see coming.

The black and white artwork has a nice 1980s 2000AD feel to it and while the lack of colour reduces some of the impact of the violent deaths her enemies meet, this is probably a good thing. Throughout the story penciller Finn's page layouts are impressively dynamic and, while the finished artwork feels a little rushed on some pages, where the story needs the artwork to make a visual impact it always does, leading up to the climactic impact of who and what Rose actually is.

For a first graphic novel from a small press company, Rose Black is very impressive package and left me wanting to read more about the character. Based on reports on the Rough Cut website and their blog, I won't have to wait long as a second book, Rose Black: Demon Seed is due for release very soon.

There are more details about Rose Black and other Rough Cut Comics titles on the Rough Cut website.

There are more details of the upcoming Rose Black: Demon Seed on the Rough Cut

Monday, 4 July 2011

Summer fun with Eagle Times

The Summer 2011 edition of Eagle Times is available now and features articles by downthetubes contributors Jeremy Briggs and Richard Sheaf

Here's the line up:
  • Frank and the Newspaper Cuttings: a look at the use by Frank Hampson, throughout his career, of images of newspapers and newspaper cuttings, as a powerful visual aid to storytelling
  • 'Daan Durf - Piloot van de Toekomst': Richard Sheaf delivers background on the 1980s Dutch reprint editions of the 'Dan Dare' adventures: De Mans Van Nergens (The Man From Nowhere) and De Woeste Planeet (Rogue Planet)
  • Keith Watson - Drawing from Life: the use of live and photographed figures to achieve realism of the clothed human form
  • Frank Bellamy's Pictorial Journalism: a look at some of Bellamy's illustrative work for newspapers, magazines and posters
  • Dan Goes Back to College: a report on the unveiling of the bronze bust of Dan Dare at the Southport College of Art, following its recent restoration
  • Rivals of Jeff Arnold - Buffalo Bill: part 7 of an ongoing series looking at the real and fictional Wild Western characters that appeared in British comics in the 1950s
  • Eagle's Wanderers: an examination of two fictional football strips that appeared in Eagle. Part 1: 'Home of the Wanderers'
  • Kemlo - the 'Spaceworld' books of E.C. Eliott: the life and work of Robert Martin, a prolific children's writer of the 1950s-1960s (who wrote the 'Joey' series under his own name, the 'Kemlo' and 'Tas' series as E.C. Elliott and the 'Pocomoto' western series as Rex Dixon), taking a close look at three of the 'Kemlo' series
  • PC49 in the Case of the Crying Clown - part 2: concluding another adaptation of one of Alan Strank's famous BBC radio police adventures
  • The David Pugh 'Dan Dare', part two: continuing an examination of the 'Dan Dare' stories drawn by one of the artists who took on the resurrected "original" Dan Dare in "new" Eagle 1989-1994
  • Sammy, Swift's Space Fleet Cadet: Stripography - part 2, concluding Jeremy Briggs summary of the Space Fleet stories that appeared in Eagle's companion paper
  • 'The Final Frontier': an extract from Arnie Wilson's Big Name Hunting, in which he relates an interview with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin
Membership of The Eagle Society is via Annual Subscription to Eagle Times magazine, which is published four times annually. The subscription rate for 2011 is held at the 2010 rate: UK £23; Overseas £34 (in £s Sterling, please). Postal applications to: Keith Howard, 25A Station Road, Harrow Middlesex HA1 2UA United Kingdom

If you wish to pay by Paypal (to the eagle-times hotmail address below) we request an additional payment of £1. Enquiries:

Rainbow Orchid Vol 3 Preview On-Line

The third and final volume of Garen Ewing's excellent series The Rainbow Orchid is due to be published on 2 April 2012 - which does sound like an awfully long way away.

However to keep us all going until then, Garen had just completed putting up a preview section of the book over on his website. The action takes place in England with Daily News photographer George Scrubbs encouraging the botanist Newton to help him rescue the reporter William Pickle from the clutches of Urkaz Grope.

Also helping to tide Rainbow Orchid fans over until next year are a new set of five badges featuring characters from the series that are available on the Rainbow Orchid website, along with t-shirts and the chance to get signed copies of the first two volumes.

The on-line preview for The Rainbow Orchid Volume 3 begins here.

The Rainbow Orchid shop is

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Comics @ Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is not just the largest literary festival in the UK but, it claims, in the world and it returns to the Scottish capital's Charlotte Square Gardens from 13 to 29 August. Last year, under its new director Nick Barley, BookFest shied away somewhat from the number of comics related events that had been prevalent in previous years. This year the majority of the comic events tend to be workshops in the Children's Programme, which are generally aimed at advertised age ranges, rather than talks in the general programme.

The comics highlight of the 2010 was undoubtedly writer Alan Moore being interviewed by political cartoonist Steve Bell closely followed by Bell's talk with Doonsbury creator Gary Trudeau. This year the standout comics item in the programme must be writer Grant Morrison talking about his new book Supergods. This will take place on Saturday 20 August at 9:30pm and, as Grant rarely appears at public events, we would expect the signing session afterwards to stretch into the night.

Earlier the same day as part of the Children's Programme John Fardell will be talking about the art and craft of Herge's Tintin books to a family audience advertised as 8+, while the day before, at 3:30pm on Friday 19 August, writer Tony Lee and artist Dan Boultwood will be talking about their graphic novel series The Baker Street Irregulars to an age range of 10-14.

The following week turns into something of a DFC reunion with Emma Vieceli, Sarah McIntyre and the Etherington Brothers all running workshops. Wednesday 24 August sees Emma running Drawing Vampire Academy for ages 12-15 at 6:30pm, while Robin and Lawrence Etherington will be running a Monkey Nuts workshop on Saturday 27 August for ages 9+. The Etheringtons will also be running a workshop in the School's Programme on Friday 26 August while Sarah will be running two school workshops on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24. Please note that School's Programme events are not open to the general public although there are often public signing sessions in the Book Tents afterwards.

Emma Vieceli will also be appearing in the main programme with academic Dr Mel Gibson on Wednesday 24 August for a talk on the role of comics in education entitled Getting To Grips With Graphic Novels, while the day before at 8pm on Tuesday 20 August, after his strand of talks last year, Steve Bell returns for a solo talk on his work. Later that week Metaphrog will be running two workshops on their graphic novel series Louis at 4pm on Friday 26 and 3:30pm on Sunday 28 August both of which are for age ranges 12-15. In between those workshops at 5pm on Saturday 27 Tracey Turner will be talking to 8-12 year olds about her Comic Strip Big Fat Book Of Knowledge while the final comics events will be on Sunday 28 August at 8:30pm when William Goldsmith of Vignettes Of Ystov and Nick Hayes of The Rime Of The Modern Mariner will appear together and who are, according to the programme, "two writers proving that the graphic novel is a true modern literary artform".

Tickets are a selection of prices running from £4.50 for the children's workshops up to £10 for the main programme talks.

There are more details of all the talks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival website where tickets can also be purchased.

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