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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Weird Western set for release from Print Media

On sale from Prnt Media Productons at the end of this month is the the much-praised graphic novel Frontier: Dealing with Demons, an all-ages 'Weird Western' by Jason Cobley and Andrew Wildman.

The Wild West... and Daisy Adams is suddenly all alone, living on the plains, left with her father's old coat and a catapult. Then Mitch Seeker, the son of a sheriff, runs into her life. And they've been running ever since, chasing werewolves, ghosts and demons, on a quest to track down the man who turned them both into orphans and unleashed weirdness into the Wild West.

In 1866, out on the Frontier, things got Weird. History failed to record everything that happened, but Daisy wrote it all down in her diaries.

In Frontier, follow Mitch and Daisy as they seek justice but end up finding more adventure and danger than they counted on. It's weird. It's wild. It happened out west!

First published in the acclaimed Random House weekly comic The DFCFrontier: Dealing with Demons weaves an engaging, adventure-filled tale of derring-do in the American West. This collected edition includes additional feature material, including pages from Daisy's secret diary and reveals just how the story was created.

"Cobley and Wildman put the 'Wild' into the Wild West with Frontier," says the BBC's David Gilyeat of this story. "Imagine True Grit spun out into an ongoing action adventure serial, with a weird and wonderful script and sprightly, dynamic artwork. Oh, and with really cool monsters."

"A great comic needs three things: dynamic art, original and thrillingly-paced storylines, and characters we can root for," enthuses Dave Morris, creator of Mirabilis, also published by Print Media. "The team of Jason Cobley and Andrew Wildman are unsurpassed on all counts, and Frontier shows them at the top of their game. Put it on your Wanted poster right now."

Frontier – now being considered as a possible TV series with a trailer shot earlier this year -- will appeal to anyone who's ever enjoyed a cowboy film or comic, but has an added fantasy element that will draw in plenty more readers. With great characters, werewolves, ancient gods and demons and a bad guy that bullets can't kill, there's plenty to enjoy!

Writer Jason Cobley (Interviewed in STRIP Magazine Issue 3, on sale now in all good UK comic shops and for iPad) has adapted Dracula, Frankenstein and An Inspector Calls as graphic novels, working with artists Staz Johnson, Declan Shalvey and Will Volley to bring the classics to new life.

As well as working as a teacher for almost two decades, he has written the adventures of Captain Winston Bulldog for almost as long, with a variety of UK comic artists including Neill Cameron, most notably in the epic Bulldog: Empire. Based in East Anglia, holding back the sea with just a dustbin lid and some twine, Jason is currently working on a children's fantasy adventure novel The Legend of Tom Hickathrift, due out from Mogzilla later in 2012.

Frontier artist Andrew Wildman is an illustrator of some 25 years industry experience. His work has been used in advertising and publishing but it is for his work in the field of comics that he is best known, illustrating for books such as Transformers, The X-Men, Spider-Man and Venom. Further work includes character and environment design as well as storyboarding and animated movie production for the Video Games industries on projects such as Wing Commander, The Mummy, Gunlok, Jesse James: Gunfighter, Delta Force and Dredd versus Death.

Andrew was also Head Character Designer for the animated TV shows Legend of The Dragon and Zorro: Generation Z, Production Designer on the children’s animated TV show The Matt Hatter Chronicles and storyboard artist for the BBC on The Fades and Doctor Who.

He's currently collaborating again with Simon Furman on the eagerly anticipated Transformers comic book series, Transformers: ReGeneration One and is also creating a Children’s TV series with Bob the Builder scriptwriter Simon Jowett and developing his own Graphic Novel, HORIZON.


Title: Frontier
Creators: Jason Cobley (writer) Andrew Wildman (artist and cover) Release Date: 28th January 2012
Format: Hardcover Graphic Album
Page Count: 68
Publisher: Print Media Productions Ltd.
ISBN-10: 0956712134 ISBN-13: 9780956712134
Product Dimensions: 31.5 x 23.5 cm
List Price: £14.99

Friday, 20 January 2012

Duncan Fegredo provides cover to latest Dark Horse Presents

The ace art of Duncan Fegredo graces the cover of the next Dark Horse Presents (#8), on sale 1st February.

Fegredo's British credits are of course extensive, including work for titles such as Crisis for Fleetway back in the 1980s, before working on Kid Eternity at DC Comics with writer Grant Morrison and Enigma, an eight-issue miniseries for Vertigo imprint. He's also drawn Judge Dredd for 2000AD.

Dark Horse Presents #8 features a brand-new B.P.R.D. story, the beginning of Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson's The Massive, new Skeleton Key, and the conclusion of Howard Chaykin's Marked Man?

The legendary anthology also commemorates the 100th Anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan with Thomas Yeates, unravels the mysteries surrounding Neal Adams's Blood, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's Beasts of Burden returns, and more great comics!

- More info on the Dark Horse web site

Comics @ Glasgow Film Festival

Last year the Glasgow Film Festival at the Glasgow Film Theatre brought writer Mark Millar on board to curate a comics creators and movies strand which included amongst others a talk by artist/writer Dave Gibbons and screenings of Luc Besson's The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec. This year the GFF's comics strand has expanded further with an impressive array of creators on hand to talk about their work plus a varied selection of comics based film screenings.

Firstly the creator events -

Setting the Scene: Scotland and the Future of Comics (Dr Chris Murray and John McShane)
Tuesday 21 February 14:00
"Two of the stars of the BBC film Scotland’s Amazing Comic Book Heroes will use their powers to step off the screen and expand the discussion on the future of comics in Scotland. Dr Chris Murray runs the Comic Studies MLitt/PGDip course at the University of Dundee. His research interests lie in comics, film and popular culture, and he has published essays on various aspects of comics. John McShane is chairman of the Scottish Cartoonists Society and his company, Fat Man Press, published The Bogie Man, one of the early examples of a comic book to film adaptation (starring Robbie Coltrane, no less). He has also published works by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Eddie Campbell and other famous comics creators. John and Chris will expand upon ideas raised in the film and answer your questions."
Dr Chris Murray, as well as running the Comic Studies MLitt, is also the organiser of the Dundee Comics Day and was interviewed on downthetubes here, while Fat Man Press' The Bogie Man was actually a BBC TV production and John McShane's Scottish Cartoonists Society Ning group is here (requires membership).

Mark Millar and Frank Quitely
Tuesday 21 February 16:00
"Writer Mark Millar and superstar DC and Marvel artist Frank Quitely talk about their first collaboration together in ten years, taking us through the step-by-step process of an idea becoming a script, a comic book and eventually a big budget movie. Both living and working in Glasgow, they explain how geography is no disadvantage in Hollywood movies or New York publishing and open the floor up to any aspiring writers and artists in what’s bound to be a very lively session. Their last book together was award-winning Authority and their new, yet-to-be-revealed project is already one of the most anticipated comic-book events in 2012."
As curator of the GFF's comic strand it would be odd for writer Mark Millar not to be on a panel while artist Frank Quietly is an old hand at comics talks and is always worth listening to.

Writing for Games and Comics
Wednesday 22 February 12:30
"So you have a great idea for a video game or comic but where do you start? We bring together a panel of distinguished video game and comic book writers, including Rhianna Pratchett and Gordon Rennie, to give you tips on how to get into the industry and get ahead. They discuss the ups and downs of being involved in the industry, the difference between writing for games and comics and the challenges you might face. Learn about the games studios that make comics and hear stories of how your favourite comic books were brought to life on screen as games."
Video game writer Rhianna Pratchett is, of course, Sir Terry's daughter while Gordon Rennie, amongst his other writing credits, is a long standing scriptdroid for 2000AD and the Megazine.

Kate Brown in Conversation
Wednesday 22 February 13:45
"What does it take to build a full-time career as a comicker? Is it something you might want to do? Kate Brown will tell you everything you want to know but have never dared to ask. In 2010, Kate was awarded the Arts Foundation Fellowship for Graphic Novels and used it to fund the completion of her self-published comic Fish + Chocolate, which has since been picked up for publication by SelfMadeHero. Her other credits include the all-ages title The Spider Moon for The DFC/The DFC Library (adapted into a performance piece by PlayBox Theatre). Currently she is working on the all-ages title The Lost Boy for the Phoenix. Kate will speak about her wide experience in the comics industry and take questions from the audience."
Artist/writer Kate Brown's new graphic novel Fish + Chocolate demonstrates her ability with mature storytelling in addition to her work for the two children's comics DFC and Phoenix. We would expect Bryan Hitch and Charlie Adlard to both be popular talks on the Wednesday afternoon but our recommendation is that those attendees buying tickets for the other two should also make a point of attending Kate Brown's talk.

Bryan Hitch in Conversation
Wednesday 22 February 15:00
"British comic book artist Bryan Hitch is widely recognised as one of the industry’s leading artists and storytellers, with his books regularly selling over 100,000 copies an issue in America alone. Also highly credited for his design work, his designs have appeared in the successful relaunch of Doctor Who in 2005 and numerous feature films, including Captain America, Thor and Star Trek (2009), as well as the upcoming The Avengers film, based on The Ultimates comic book by himself and Mark Millar. Bryan will discuss his career, including his new book co-written with Jonathan Ross, before taking questions from the audience."
Bryan Hitch's artistic journey took him from Marvel UK to Marvel US with a lot of interesting places in between.

Charlie Adlard in Conversation
Wednesday 22 February 16:15
"Apocalyptic graphic novel The Walking Dead, a survival story of a world overtaken by zombies, captured the imaginations of a legion of fans and is now a multi-million dollar US TV series. In this unique event, Shropshire-based artist Charlie Adlard drops in on GFF to discuss how he came on board as illustrator for the series and the effect it has had on his career. After the conversation we will screen one of Charlie’s favourite episodes from the Golden Globe-nominated series. An unmissable event for fans keen to delve deeper into one of the hottest comics and TV shows around."
Charlie was at Hi-Ex in Inverness in 2010 before The Walking Dead was broadcast on TV but because the series is now on TV we would expect this to be the most popular of the creator events.

Women in Comics
Thursday 23 February 15:15
"Casual graphic fiction readers might see the way women are represented and decide that the medium must be male dominated and that the industry is a prejudiced place for women to work. But is all as it seems? How does sexism in comics compare to that in mainstream film? And what are the actual experiences of women working in the comics industry? Women in Comics presents original research by Graphic Scotland and brings together Denise Mina, Kate Brown, Penny Sharp and Gillian Hatcher to talk about the difficulties of getting into the industry and the future of how women are drawn."
There was a time when we would have been hard pressed to come up with any female creators in the professional British comics scene other than writer/artist Posy Simmonds in the Guardian, however we could now add Laura Howell in the Beano, Kate Brown in The Phoenix and Tanya Roberts in Star Wars: Clone Wars. As well as the aforementioned Kate Brown, the Graphic Scotland team discuss the topic with writer Denise Mina, animator Penny Sharp and Team Girl Comic's Gillian Hatcher.

In addition to the creator talks and since, after all, GFF and its subsidiaries are a film festival, the following comics related films, shorts and documentaries will be screened -

The Rabbi's Cat 3D (Not certified but 12+ advised)
Saturday 11 February 15:30

Tatsumi (15)
Tuesday 21 February 18:00
Wednesday 22 February 12:00

Flash Gordon (PG)
Tuesday 21 February 20:15

Superman (PG)
Wednesday 22 February 17:45

Night is Day (Not certified but 12+ advised)
Wednesday 22 February 18:30

Death of a Superhero (Not certified but 15+ advised)
Wednesday 22 February 20:30
Thursday 23 February 13:00

Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters (Not certified but 12+ advised)
Thursday 23 February 13:15

A History of Violence (18)
Thursday 23 February 15:00

Electric Man (Not certified but 12+ advised)
Thursday 23 February 16:45

Superheroes (Not certified but 15+ advised)
Thursday 23 February 19:20

The Crow (18)
Thursday 23 February 23:00

There are more details of all the talks, panels and screenings plus how to purchase tickets at the Glasgow Film Theatre website.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Blasé Books releases Pictorial Guide to British 1950s Sci-Fi and Horror Comic Books

(via Lew Stringer): Redditch-based Blasé Books have just released The Pictorial Guide to British 1950s Sci-Fi & Horror Comic Books.

Designed by comics creator Mike Higgs, the 288-page full colour softback by comic historian Mike Morley (one of the contributors to the short-lived but wonderful Crikey! magazine) charts the fascinating and largely little-known period of Britian's comic history.

Spaceships, monsters and superhroes are all examind in what Blasé Books calls "their garish glory".

The book covers the sometimes short-lived but numerous UK comic books of 60 years ago including Captain Marvel, Race for the Moon, The Human Torch and Adventures into the Unknown - dozens of different titles which, as Lew Stringer points out on Blimey! It's Another Blog About Comics were not all American reprint

"Many were home grown British comics too, such as the Tit-Bits Science Fiction Comics with fantastic artwork by Ron Turner," he notes.

The book contains hundreds of sharply reproduced covers (and some interior pages) showing the sheer scale of the output of comics back then. Traditional British comics and story papers are also mentioned, when they fit the book's remit, such as Comet, Adventure, and Lion.

"Marcus Morris may have created Eagle as an antidote to comics such as this but, as people who were kids back then will tell you, readers often didn't choose between Eagle or horror comics, - they bought both!" says Lew.

"Sadly, many of these comics were short lived, when, as the author tells us, the witch-hunt against comics in the UK spearheaded by the National Union of Teachers put such comics out of business as publishers feared prosecution if they continued. Dark times indeed."

You can order the book via the Blasé Books eBay store (which also sells British comics art)

• The limited edition book can also be obtained post free in the UK by sending a cheque in sterling for £14.95 payable to Blasé Books at: Blasé Books, Hazelwood, Birchfield Road, Redditch B97 6PU United Kingdom. 

(The post free price only applies to orders in the UK. If you live outside of the UK and want a copy please e-mail Blasé Books at the e-mail address above and they'll tell you how much postage will cost to ship the book to you).

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Is It Just Media launches free Robob title for schools

Surrey based independent publisher, Is It Just Media?, have announced the arrival of The Adventures of ROBOB, a new interactive magazine and trading card game aimed at primary school children which includes an element of contributed comic strip.

The magazine was launched last year and encourages readers to write their own stories based around the character set and environment for the ROBOB trading card game. The best of these stories will be published each month in the glossy, A4 magazine, while a further selection will be published on the website (

Readers will also have the opportunity to submit their own comic strips, news stories and pictures for publication in print and on-line.

An added and innovative twist to the project is the option for children to submit their own character designs and a selection of these are made into real trading cards, distributed with the rest of the collection.

The magazine addresses key social responsibilities for children in school years 3 to 6 and is a recognised resource of the National Literacy Trust. The product range also promotes a very strong ‘anti-bullying’ message with the backing of Kidscape, the UK’s longest standing Anti Bullying charity.

Godstone based graphic designer Marcus Leitch, the creator of the project, reveals he got the idea for Robob while on hold on the phone for a long time, and started scribbling at his desk. The result of his doodles was a cute, retro robot that he promptly named ROBOB.

On returning from school, Marcus’ son, Lucas, saw the drawing and immediately fell in love with it and started designing his own characters. With a few key robots created and a fascinating background story, The Adventures of ROBOB trading cards and magazine were born.

A prototype of the cards and magazine was then presented to Kidscape, the UK’s longest standing Anti-Bullying charity, who were enticed by the strong moral messages running through the range. Kidscape kindly agreed to lend their support to the project by providing a dedicated team offering professional advice and guidance in the form of an ‘Agony Uncle’ page.

Today... The Adventures of ROBOB is a beautifully produced, cool, fun and educational monthly publication and collectable trading card game. The magazine is distributed throughout schools, libraries, clubs and retail stores for free.

Some schools have incorporated the magazine into their Literacy Clubs and Peer Mentor schemes.

Is It Just Media? Say they're already receiving thousands of drawings and stories from readers each month and continue to expand the card collection using the readers’ designs.

"We will be featuring more 'readers comic strips' in future issues," Marcus told downthetubes. "It's a section of the magazine that seems to have really captured our readers imagination."

The collectable trading cards now have a strong, loyal fan-base throughout the South East of England and The Adventures of ROBOB is on the verge of becoming a nationally recognised brand.

• More info and a pdf download of the first issue at

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

British Comedy Conference seeks papers on comedy and comics

The organisers of the Sixth International Comedy Conference, which will take place later at the University of Salford have issued a Call for Papers.

The theme for this year's two-day conference is 'Drawing The Line' and the academic event aims to push the boundaries and take on board topics that deal with comedy and humour from a variety of sources including those focused on stage and screen - and beyond.

"Comics can have two meanings - comedians and graphic images," explains Mel Gibson. "Both make us laugh though in different ways; both sets of 'comics' can employ a variety of techniques to make us laugh.

"Some comics have become films - Asterix, Popeye, Fritz The Cat - and some comics have been filmed and made into comics - for example, Laurel and Hardy, Frank Randle and Beryl Reid, who all had regular strips in Film Fun."

'Drawing The Line' calls forth for papers on all topics concerned with comedy and humour, be it film, TV, cartoon or literature. Topics for papers might include:

• Silent Comedy and slapstick - links to newspaper cartoons
Dennis The Menace
• Robert Crumb /American Splendor - Biopics of cartoonists
• The changing face of satire - Lampoon to cartoon to caricature -
Spitting Image.

The organisers invite abstracts of no more than 200 words which you should email with a brief biog to - David James ( and Dr CP Lee ( The submission date has been extended to 14th February 2012

Drawing The Line - Comics, Comedy and Comics runs at the University of Salford Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University 31st May and 1st June 2012

Comica Conversation: Craig Thompson and Marcel Theroux

Graphic novelist Craig Thompson.
Image via Paul Gravett
The first Comica Conversation of the year takes place in London next week: a chance to meet and chat with Craig Thompson, hailed for his graphic novels Blankets and Habibi, and novelist and presenter Marcel Theroux.

American graphic novelist Craig Thompson is in London to promote Habibi, one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of 2011, seven years in the making and published in Britain by Faber & Faber.

Habibi, based on a Middle Eastern fable, tells the story of Dodola, who escapes being sold into slavery and rescues an abandoned baby she names Zam. They live in isolation in an old boat in the desert. As they age their relationship shifts from mother and son, to brother and sister and eventually lovers. In the meantime however Dodola is forced to prostitute herself to desert traders in order to provide for Zam. When he seeks an alternative means of income Dodola is captured by the Sultan and Zam is forced into a quest to try and rescue her.

At heart Habibi is, like Thompson's Blankets, a profound love story, but it also functions as a parable about the environment and the state of the world. Set in the place where Christianity and Islam began, it explores the fundamental connection between these religions, and also the relationship between the first and the third world and the increasingly important battle for the earth's resources.

Craig has kindly agreed to do one ‘live’ speaking engagement for Comica Festival. For this UK exclusive event, Craig will give his illustrated talk and presentation about the ‘making of’ this remarkable book, giving rare insights into his research and process.

After this, Craig will give an in-depth interview about Habibi and his other graphic novels, including the much-loved autobiographical story Blankets, to Marcel Theroux, the novelist and broadcaster who reviewed Habibi on BBC2’s The Review Show.

The evening concludes with a Q&A session with the audience followed by a book signing and sketching session, organised in association with Gosh! Comics.

And if you need further incentive to get along: Faber & Faber have generously given the event organisers a copy of Habibi and Craig Thompson will pick out one ticket holder on the night to win it.

• Comica Conversation: Monday, 23rd January, from 7.00pm in London at the St Albans
Centre, near Holborn/Chancery Lane.
Full details and how to book are online here:

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