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Saturday, 26 November 2011

Mohawk Media announces Dick Turpin project

Publisher Mohawk Media has announced the release of a preview issue of its upcoming project, starring history’s most notorious masked highwayman, Dick Turpin.

Not to be confused with Time Bomb Comics similar-sounding title (see news story), the issue is available exclusively via the publisher’s groundbreaking line of paperless Eco Comics.

“It’s every writer’s dream to write such a famous, or should I say, infamous character as Dick Turpin," enthuses writer Chris Bunting."His multi-layered, unpredictable nature makes for great drama.

"Expect some startling revelations about the life of this legendary lawbreaker," he hints.

Born in England in 1706, Dick Turpin became one of history’s most notorious highwaymen. Reports of the day ranged from branding him a ruthless thief to a charming and gallant highwayman. 

“Turpin lived at a time when England was more like the Wild West, and criminals faced the death penalty at the gallows. Highwaymen led a very exciting life but often a very short one.

“This 18th Century swashbuckling firebrand was born to be a 21st Century complex comic book character. Dick Turpin’s return is a case of perfect timing.”

Writer Chris Bunting seems to be on a quest to make literary and cultural giants accessible to a new generation, while simultaneously pleasing established fans. Legendary names already on his résumé include Mr. T, Action Man, Dracula, Robin Hood and Jekyll & Hyde.

A Fine Arts Bachelor Graduate, Salvador Velázquez has worked under a pseudonym as a gallery artist, advertisement illustrator, and graphic designer. His comic books include Swords of Suburbia, while Dick Turpin is his first international project.

The digital and paperless Dick Turpin: Pencil-Only Preview features pencil-art from the first instalment of the upcoming title.

“This format allows the reader the opportunity to see Dick Turpin ride again in the untouched, gorgeous art of Salvador Velázquez," explains editor Stuart Buckley. “The creative team gives us a taste of what is to come: forget stuffy historical fiction, this is a comic book cocktail of action-adventure and mystery-thriller featuring one of Britain’s, if not the world’s, most recognisable rogues.

“With his mask and famous steed, Turpin has been the archetype for many highwaymen and outlaws: even the Lone Ranger bears remarkable parallels.”

Further details on the Dick Turpin project are due to be announced.

Mohawk Media launched in 2008 with the top-selling graphic novel adventures of one of Hollywood’s most instantly recognisable superstars, Mr. T. The publisher followed up with a range of new titles, including Dracula vs. Robin Hood vs. Jekyll & Hyde. Eco Comics is a new range of paperless comic books designed with the specific purpose of having a minimal carbon footprint. Eco Comics titles are also available via digital platforms Graphicly and MyDigitalComics. Further information:

• Dick Turpin: Pencil-Only Preview
is a 16-page issue featuring lettered pencil art only, and is available now in various digital formats via the Eco Comics store: for $1.95 (approximately £1.20).

• Preview art and images: and

Friday, 25 November 2011

Commando haunts the newsagents once more...

Here's details of the latest issues of DC Thomson's war comic, Commando, on sale in all good newsagents now. It's another cracking relase of both old and new tales - some featuring men haunted by ghosts, some soldiers haunted by their own fears - and still at the bargain price of just £1.50 an issue.

Commando: 4447: Colours of Courage
Originally Commando No 1182 (December 1977), re-issued as No 2412 (October 1990)
Story: Cyril Walker Art: Arthur Fleming Cover Art: Ian Kennedy

The proudest possessions of any regiment are its colours - the flags which it carries into battle. Its history is recorded on these colours, the victories it has won.

A regiment guards its colours fiercely. To have them captured by the enemy is a terrible thing. But when a man hands over the colours to save his own skin it is a disgrace that brave soldiers can hardly bear think about...

"If there are two things difficult to get right in a Commando they are French Resistance stories and ghosts," says Commando Editor Calum Laird of this reprint issue. "Resistance stories could easily be 63 pages of skulking about avoiding searching German soldiers and ghosts could easily look like normal characters drawn without enough ink.

"Thanks to ace story-teller Cyril Walker, 'Colours Of Courage' cracks along with plenty of action to break up the tension. And Arthur Fleming - an art teacher from Glasgow - manages to skilfully depict a glowing figure despite only having black ink and white paper to work with.

"Wrapped in one of Ian Kennedy's superbly drawn and laid-out covers it's got all it needs for a cracking Commando."

Commando No 4448: The Four Scars
Originally Commando No 185 (October 1965), re-issued as No 831 (April 1974)
Story: Eric Hebden Art: Victor de la Fuente Cover Art: Ken Barr

Corporal Bill Kirk felt the tiny life-raft rock lazily as the Jap struggled aboard. Both turned to look at the sinking Jap prison-ship they'd been on - Bill a prisoner, the Jap a guard. Then they turned back, to look at each other; and what that Jap read in Bill Kirk's eyes made him start back in fear.

But there was no escape for him. With only the vast empty ocean and the sharks circling the raft for witnesses, they grappled in a fight to the finish...

"I've mentioned before that I found my childhood Commando issues at the back of the garage a few years ago," says Calum Laird of ths story. "Some I had to look at again to refresh my memory, but not this one. I don't know how many times I read and re-read this in the 1960s but it must have been a lot because I had almost total recall.

"Ken Barr's cover with its ethereal hand hovering over the action, Victor de la Fuente's action-packed, high-energy inside art and Eric Hebden's crackerjack of a story with its startling twist were just what the doctor ordered in 1965 and are equally so today. I think so anyway and I hope you'll agree.

"As an aside, Ken Barr used a sheet of transparent plastic sheet with the outline of the hand painted on it to get that ghostly effect. I certainly didn't know that in 1965."

Commando 4449: Days Of Danger
Story: Stephen Walsh Art: Vila Cover Art: Nicholas Forder

Simon Katz was a young German and a fervent anti-Nazi. A brilliant mathematician, he escaped Germany by the skin of his teeth and went to work as a code-breaker for the British.

Not long after, Sergeant Barney Taft also made an escape - from the bullet-strafed beaches of Dunkirk.

Though they were on the same side, when circumstances threw the pair together, they clashed bitterly. But could they manage to work together against a ruthless enemy? They would have to if they were to survive.

Commando No 4450: The Nightmare War
Story: Mac MacDonald Art: Keith Page Cover Art: Keith Page

Private Franz Bauer, a German Army engineer wounded during the invasion of France, was haunted by the deaths of his comrades in the same battle - wiped out by a mine. When he recovered he threw himself into his new job developing the remote-controlled Borgward IV demolition vehicle, hoping it might save other German lives.

His chance to save thousands of lives would come, but he would be working alongside an unlikely ally - someone who had nightmares every bit as bad as Franz's.

• The Draw Your Weapons exhibition featuring art from Commando continues at the National Army Museum in London this month and runs until 30th April 2012. For the latest information visit:

• 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

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Panel Borders: The Danger of Romance

Concluding a months of shows about genre in comics, Panel Borders Alex Fitch talks to writer and manga translator Sean Michael Wilson and lecturer and author Ian Rakoff about romance comics this Sunday.

Sean is the editor of AX Volume 1: A collection of Alternative Manga and author of The Story of Lee and Yakuza Moon, two manga novels with varying degrees of biography about the fortunes of young women encountering different cultures across Asia.

Ian is about to give his latest lecture about comics (on 30th November) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and this month is discussing the subject of romance comics, with a focus on how they were an antidote to McCarthyism in 1950s America.

Online later this month from panel Borders are three sperate talks recorded at Laydeez do Comics - cartoonists Woodrow Phoenix, Kripa Joshi and Mawil (Markus Witzel) discussing their work. If there is a common theme between the three, it's a sense of magical realism in their art which juxtaposes the ordinary with the out of the ordinary, from Woodrow's use of road furniture in Rumble Strip, to Kripa's use of Indian mythology in her tales of domestic incidents and Mawil's blue collar stories of life in Germany through the lens of his alter-ego Sparky O'Hare.

The interviews were recorded by Nicola Streeten and Alex Fitch and are introduced by Nicola Streeten.

Panel Borders: The Danger of Romance airs at 8.00pm, 27th November 2011, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / extended podcast after broadcast at

Laydeez do comics: Magical Realism is online from 29th November 2011 at

In Review: Thought Bubble 2011

Comics writer Cy Dethan was one of many creators at this year's Thought Bubble event in Leeds earlier this month and has kindly agreed to let us post his thoughts on the vent on downthetubes, first published on his own blog...

Thought Bubble has always been considered a creator-friendly convention, so it was a massive kick to be launching three separate ventures at this one. Firstly, we had the long-awaited print release of The Indifference Engine: A Holographic Novel, which I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Having Rob Carey, the book’s artist, at the table over the weekend was deeply cool, as the man’s a total dynamo.

(Under the heading of “speaking in whispers so we don’t jinx it,” a brief conversation with Markosia suddenly means work on an I sequel is likely to kick off in earnest very soon...)

Next up was Broadcast: the TV Doodles of Henry Flint. Being a dedicated art book, this is really Henry’s show. In providing a sort of contextual commentary to the work, my role is pretty much that of a DVD extra. That said, I had an incredible time wrapping my skull around the disarming, disturbing weirdness that Henry so masterfully orchestrates, and hopefully some of that comes across in my contribution to the completed book.

Finally, there was Barry Nugent’s Tales of the Fallen anthology. Barry’s development of the Unseen Shadows property from self-published cult hit to full-on transmedia empire has proven a masterclass in what a creator with a clear vision can accomplish. With scripts from Richmond Clements, Pete Rogers, Dan Thompson and myself, and art by Steve Penfold, Conor Boyle, Roy Stewart and my Indifference Engine co-creator, Rob Carey, Tales of the Fallen fleshes out the backgrounds of several key figures from the Unseen Shadows universe while retaining a stand-alone independence that requires no prior knowledge of the novel. It was an extraordinary project to have been involved in, and I’m looking forward to getting my second bite soon.

The pre-ordering system Markosia has been operating turned out to have been a virtual necessity, as both their entire stock and ours of Indifference Engine and Slaughterman’s Creed were wiped out at the convention, due in no small part to comic shop owners looking to take large bundles of books from the tables. With more and more shops now opting to deal more directly with publishers, initiatives like pre-ordering and Stuart Gould’s excellent UK Comics service (whose first catalogue is now available) are becoming increasingly central to the indie scene.
My partner, Nic Wilkinson, was saved from performing a 50-minute lettering solo at the Saturday afternoon lettering workshop when she was joined by Ian Sharman in his hard-rocking steampunk hat. What emerged from this was one of the most interesting convention panels I’ve ever seen, with Nic and Ian taking attendees through the broad concepts and tiny details that underly comic book lettering, demonstrating that attention and forethought given to lettering strategy at every stage of a comic’s production make all the difference between seamless, fluid storytelling and becoming unreadable. For the rest of the show there was a steady stream of people coming up to the table with more questions about lettering, or asking for advice on the artistic and technical side of things. (Jim Campbell was sadly prevented from making the show this year due to a sudden deadline crunch but check out his blog for some of the best tutorials and info around).

On Sunday it was my turn to take a minor corner of that same stage (at the Alea Casino Cinema Room, straight across the gaming hall, turn left at the 1970s and take the lift t0 the second floor – if you saw the place you’d understand) for the Unseen Shadows panel. In the company of (almost) the whole creative squad, Barry took the audience through the evolution of the project from first principles to the verge of total media domination. I got to rattle off a few words about my Wrath of God story, which is a multi-narrative piece told almost entirely through the medium of gunplay. Great fun to write, and the art team of Steve Penfold and Gat Melvyn did a stunning job of bringing it to life. In a surprise move, Barry took the opportunity to announce a four-part miniseries involving Wrath of God’s protagonist, The Reverend, with the same creative team, along with a similar venture for Napoleon Stone by Fragments of Fate creators Pete Rogers and Roy Stewart.

Along with our launch books, Nic and I had taken along digital previews of Cancertown 2: Blasphemous Tumours and White Knuckle. Thanks to everyone who asked about those. The level of interest and responses we got were really stunning, with the terms “dark”, “haunting” and “ominous” providing recurrent themes. I’ll be posting more as things develop on these projects, and both books are looking solid for launches in the first half of 2012.
In the “great to finally meet” category, we have Starburst columnist and horror writer, Philip Buchan (whose work combines Romantic Poet sensibilities with balls-out body-shock atrocity), artist Alwyn Talbot, whom I seriously need to work with right now, and both Conor Boyle and Roy Stewart, with whom I am currently working but can’t really talk about yet. Outstanding to catch up with all of these guys.

Another key figure in this category would be Jacob Welby, a writer I’ve been in email contact with for a while. Jacob’s got what I consider to be a really strong, deeply original story to tell, and an artist ideally suited to tell it with him, so I was excited to be able to introduce him to Markosia boss, Harry Markos, and watch him deliver his pitch. Best of luck to you, mate.
As far as weekend purchases go, my personal highlights would have to include a double-shot of Time Bomb ComicsDick Turpin books (by Steve Tanner, Andrew Dodd and Cancertown 2’s Graeme Howard), Jennifer Wilde #1 (Maura McHugh and Stephen Downey) and Dark Judgement 2, the second all-Rich McAuliffe and Conor Boyle Dark Judges book from Futurequake.

Random personal highlights would also feature tag-teaming with Corey Brotherson to introduce Jennie Gyllblad to the underlying concepts of professional wrestling, watching David Monteith win at life as he toured the convention with his wife and new child (described at one point as a baby wearing a full-size Predator backpack), Nic developing a new life goal of becoming a professional Roller Derby player while I snagged an incredible piece of art from Vicky Stonebridge as a present for her and reuniting the Digital Wolfpack when Paul Richardson arrived at the table.

In summary, I can’t stress enough how smoothly and professionally Thought Bubble is run. It basically doubled in size this year and there wasn’t a single sign of strain from where I was sitting. Congratulations, gratitude and a permanent slot in my convention schedule are most certainly due.

In fact, my only slightly shaky experience over the entire weekend was a minor Highlander moment I had during the Saturday night mid-convention party, on receiving the ominous warning, “Gary’s brought his cards”. This seemingly innocuous comment instantly brought the Quickening upon me, as it could mean only one thing: another magician was on the premises. It is a little-known fact that when two magicians meet on non-consecrated grounds, they must duel for The Prize. 

Luckily for all involved, I never found out who the mysterious “Gary” was, and his cards appear to have remained safely in their scabbard for the duration of my stay. There can, after all, be only one...

• Cy Dethan is a British comics writer whose credits include Cancertown, Slaughterman's Creed and the Starship Troopers Ongoing Series, currently kicking bloody great lumps out of the British comics industry. Check out his blog at

• Check out info on Thought Bubble at:

• Blogomatic 3000: Thought Bubble - Day 1 in Pictures

More Reviews

Kristyna Baczynski: Thought Bubble 2011
"... Always the highlight of my creative year both productively, working to release new content for the festival, and socially, meeting and talking to more excellent people in the festival week than cumulatively across the other fifty-one of the year. This year was super special, as I had the honour of being Thought Bubble's first Artist In Residence..."

Comic Conventions UK

Forbidden Planet International Blog, Part One

Forbidden Planet International Blog, Part Two

Lee Robson: Random Thoughts on Thought Bubble 
"The key thing about this year's Thought Bubble for me (apart from an aching pair of feet), was that I've come away from it feeling more energised and upbeat about comics and writing in general."

SFX: Thought Bubble - a Comic Convention for all the Family  
"There was all the usual fabulousness that Thought Bubble offers, and loads more beside: interesting and informative panels; dealer rooms that are like comicky caverns filled with a delicious mixture of small/indie and mainstream press selling their wares; signing tables with everyone from Gail Simone and Jeff Lemire to Mick McMahon and Roger Langridge; and the more unusual things like Planet Replicas where I picked up a brilliant Dredd badge keyring."

Beano, Dandy go digital via Apple's 'Newsstand'

DC Thomson have announced The Dandy and The Beano have just gone digital through Apple's recently-launched Newsstand service, with The Beano currently in the Top Ten in the service's charts

First published in 1937 and 1938 respectively, the two national comic institutions join Commando in the App store, all delivering digital, enhanced versions of the comics, enabling fans to read their favourite strips and characters on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. 

Demonstrating the enduring  popularity of the comic brands is the fact that Apple are  promoting the free Beano app on the front page of iTunes and it is already sitting in the Top 10 downloads – only hours after the apps’ release.

DC Thomson says that even though comics are for children of all ages, the move into digital publishing underlines the company’s commitment to children’s literacy, "ensuring that our famous comics can be read by kids as widely as possible on all kinds of formats.

"Teachers, parents and educational experts all acknowledge the role comics have in providing the bridge between picture books and chapter books and with the increasing use of apps by children, we hope even more of them can now access our weekly, original and not-to-mention hilarious content."

“This is app-solutely fantastic! We’re all very app-y!" enthused Mike Stirling, Editor-in-chief of The Beano.

"Sorry, that’s app-alling!" he added. "The great thing about the new app on Newsstand is that it guarantees our fans can enjoy The Beano 24-7.  I used to read it snuggled up under the covers with a torch at night – nowadays, I’ll just cuddle up to my iPhone!”

Editor-in-chief of The Dandy, Craig Graham added:  “We’re incredibly excited about being available as a digital download. Now people can have the unique School of Mock that is The Dandy at their fingertips, wherever they are and whatever they’re doing.”

The Beano and Dandy apps are free to download via iTunes and, like the Commando app, also come with free issues of the comics (five issues of The Beano, but just two of The Dandy)  so that users can sample the kind of content they’ll get in advance, along with simple instructions of how to subscribe or download.

Payment is via the user’s iTunes account and digital copies are enhanced with interactive advertising, video and links to the existing Beano and Dandy websites – and

The downloaded issues - which did take a while to download - look great: navigation is very simple and you can zoom in on individua panels easily using the ipad or iphone's tap feature, then tap to zoom out. It seems a bit strange that there's a disparity between the number of free issues of The Beano and The Dandy but the former is definitely DC Thomson's flagship comic title, so it's understandable that it's getting the major promotion (and higher number of downloads, refelcting the popularity, perhaps, of the print titles). 

DC Thomson have developed both apps in association with Yudu Media – – and are planning to bring a range of existing titles to Apple’s Newsstand in the coming months.

DC Thomson tell us there are no plans for archive titles just yet as they’re concentrating on all our existing titles. However, after we suggested it, they're going to look at the possibility of releasing single issues of older comics, which I'd suggest would be a good way to test the market for a wider re-issue of some of the company's much-loved but no longer published titles such as Warlord, Sparky and Starblazer.

The Beano and The Dandy are published every week by D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd., based in Dundee. Other DC Thomson magazine titles include Commando, Shout, The People’s Friend, The Scots Magazine and My Weekly.  2011 sees the 60th Anniversary of the first appearance of Dennis the Menace – 17th March 1951 – The Beano have been celebrating this as “The Year of the Menace”.

Check out The Beano app on iTunes here

Check out The Dandy app here

How it Works...

• A Beano or Dandy digital subscription lets you read every issue of each comic on your iPhone and iPad as they come out. Each comic has a separate app.

• You can buy each individual issue of the Beano or The Dandy digitally for just £1.49

• The apps will remind you every week when the new Beano or Dandy is ready to give your chuckle muscles a workout, but if you buy a digital subscription to the Beano or Dandy, every issue will be delivered straight to your iPhone or Ipad each week. A 6 month subscription costs just £24.49 and a 12-month subscription costs £47.99.

• Once your subscription starts, you can't cancel until it ends, so make sure you choose the right one for you.Unless you tell DC Thomson otherwise, your subscription will auto-renew.

• The apps are free to download for iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running on iOS 3.2 or later and include read free issues right away!

• Users of The Beano and Dandy apps can choose to subscribe and receive every issue automatically - £24.49 for 6 months and £47.99 for 1 year. Or they can download the apps for free and pay £1.49 for individual issues.

The Beano and The Dandy © 2011 DC Thomson

Raising Amy Signing Event In Edinburgh

"She’s armed, she’s dangerous, and she’s a proper Scottish ginger nutcase! Just be thankful she’s not yours!" is how Markosia describe Stref's child character Amy who is about to appear in her first book Raising Amy: Born To Be Wild!

To help promote the release of the book by Markosia in December 2011, Stref (or Stephen White to his friends) will be signing and sketching at the book's launch in the Blackwell's book shop on Edinburgh's South Bridge, just up from the Forbidden Planet International shop, on Tuesday 6 December 2011 beginning at 6pm and running for 1.5 hours.

Having previously worked on the Dandy and Beano, in Amy Stref has created a Minnie The Minx for the 21st century in a three panel format. The new book has 250 Raising Amy strips in its 100 pages featuring Amy, her long suffering Mum and Dad plus her babysitter Flower and her suitor/stalker (Love Sick) Dick. With Amy holding a chainsaw and the head of a decapitated teddy bear on the front cover this is definitely a book for the older readers of humour comics.
There are more details of Raising Amy: Born To Be Wild! on the Markosia website.

There are more details of the book launch on the events's
Facebook page.

There are more details of the shop and its location on the Blackwell's Edinburgh South Bridge shop's

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Comic Creators And Cake In Edinburgh

Graphic Scotland is launching the first of a series of events in Edinburgh to bring together comics writers and artists. Comic Creators And Cake will take place in the Pulp Fiction bookshop on the evening of Wednesday 30 November 2011, which is St Andrew's Day or, if you prefer, the day of the the public sector unions strike.

The event begins at 7pm in Pulp Books on Edinburgh's Bread Street in the West Port and is scheduled to run for 4 hours. Entrance is free however, as wine will be served, tickets must be booked in advance.

Graphic Scotland describes themselves as "an independent Community Interest Company aiming to bring together Scottish-based writers, artists and publishers in international collaborations to create diverse and innovative new graphic fiction."

There are more details of the event on the Graphic Scotland website.

Free tickets for the event can be booked

There are more details of the Pulp Fiction bookshop on their
website which includes a location map.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Planet Replicas extends 2000AD merchandise line with new keyrings

Can't find your Lawmaster keys? Keys to your hab have gone missing? Well, these problems are no more!

Feel the envy of all of Mega City One with the first of a range of new, high-quality 2000AD keyrings from Planet Replicas, the same company making the Judge Dredd costumes (see news story).

Choose either Judge Dredd’s metal badge of office or one of 2000AD’s classic title logo designs.

With the metal replica of Mega City One’s finest, you too can show your support for the Judges as well as keeping your prized keys under constant surveillance. (We could say it’s so chunky that it’s bullet-proof, but we'd rather no-one found out for sure...)

And highlighting 2000AD’s rich and varied history, the other keyring shows the title design from the 1982 2000AD Annual. Made from vinyl and 7mm thick, it’s a real quality piece and totally Zarjaz!

We're told more designs in each of these two ranges are planned, and don’t forget – they’ll make great Christmas presents!

• The keyrings will shortly be available through the Planet Replicas webshop. For more information, sign up for the newsletter at

In Review: Memorabilia NEC 2011

Comics and sci-fi merchandise aplenty were on sale at the Memorabilia event at the NEC Birmingham over the weekend of 19th and 20th November.

An impressive range of guests from sci-fi and other classic programmes and films included Arthur Darvill from Doctor Who, Kai Owen from Torchwood and Bruce Boxleitner from Tron and Babylon 5.

Classic Doctor Who guests included former companions Katy Manning from the third Doctor's era, Sarah Sutton from the fourth and fifth Doctors' era and Sophie Aldred from the seventh Doctor's era plus, for comedy fans, the cast of Hi-de-Hi! was re-united.

A range of interesting panels took place over the weekend which included reunions of the casts of classic movies such as Village of the Damned and Hammer's Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter.

There was a strong cosplay element with Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Daleks and Doctors on hand to entertain the crowds.

Sci-fi fans attended in their thousands and there was absolutely no evidence of the fragile economy at this event with everyone out to enjoy themselves and have a great time.

There are more details of the Memorabilia at the NEC,Birmingham on the Memorabilia website.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Brands With Influence to rep Egmont comics and characters

Brands With Influence, a merchandising and Intellectual Management company, has been appointed to represent Egmont UK’s archive of classic comic and magazine titles that includes Roy of The Rovers, Battle, Misty and Whizzer and Chips.

The collection spans the 40 years since the 1970s.

"We feel this is just the right time to bring these titles and brands back to life through a strategic licensing program," says David Riley, managing director, Egmont Publishing Group.

"The nostalgia market remains buoyant and our brands will have a real affinity with those children, now adults, who grew up with them. We are looking forward to working with Brands With Influence to bring these classic brands back to the high street."

Whether this signals the potential revival of some of Egmont's strips in print - alongside Titan Books publication of series such as Charley's War and Johnny Red, and STRIP Magazine's publication of Hook Jaw - is not clear from this initial press notice.

IPC has a deal with a similar company, Drawn Ink, who have been actively pushing many of the company's comic characters for potential use on clothing and other merchandise.

In Review: Iznogoud Rockets To Stardom

The despicable, but highly amusing, Grand Vizier of Baghdad who will go to any length to rid himself of his Caliph so that he can take his place may be going rather further than before in his latest book, Izogoud Rockets To Stardom.

The book consists as usual of a collection of short stories - in the title story Iznogoud purchases Baghdad's first space rocket to send the Caliph on a one way mission to the stars; in Iznogoud's Pupil he becomes the teacher to a neighbouring Sultan's son in an attempt to force that Sultan to attack Baghdad and depose the Caliph; in The Tartar's Talisman a necklace makes the wearer's dreams come true but not their daydreams only their uncontrollable sleeping dreams; in My Hat a straw boater turns its wearers mad; and finally in Dark Designs Iznogoud takes drawing lessons since if he rips up a drawing made with his magic pencil, the subject of that drawing disappears.

As ever Iznogoud's motives are always the same, remove the Caliph from power by any means possible to take his place which, unsurprisingly, he consistently fails to do. As each story begins with the status quo of the Caliph being in power and oblivious to Iznogoud's machinations, this is a book that could get boring very quickly. However, since it is written by Asterix's Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Jean Tabary, it does not and indeed remains surprisingly funny as Goscinny is able to come up with more outlandish and outrageous ways for Izongoud to attempt to depose his Caliph.

Of the five stories in the book two stand out for me - the title story of Iznogoud Rockets To Stardom and Dark Designs. The first shows how Goscinny took the world around him and incorporated it into the strip since this book was originally published in French in 1969 at the height of NASA's Apollo moon programme. The second is a long in-joke with Iznogoud being taught how to draw by the slow artist Tahbari Al Tardi who of course bears more than a passing resemblance to Tabary himself.

While it is the eighth Iznogoud title from Cinebook, this is a translation of the fifth French album Des Astres Pour Iznogoud which was originally published in English in the UK in 1980. Rene Goscinny passed away in 1977 and Tabary continued on with the books himself until 2004 when the 27th title was published after which a 28th album was created by his children in 2008. Jean Tabary himself passed away earlier this year.

Iznogoud Rockets To Stardom continues the short, sharp, funny tales of the perennially frustrated Grand Vizier and are a good starting point for children for whom an Asterix book would be too long.

• There are more details of the current British Iznogoud books on the Cinebook website.

• There are more details of the French Iznogoud books at the Tabary Editions
website (in French).

• There are more details of Iznogoud around the world at the Iznogoud World

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