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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Bumper British comics auction announced

An auction of collectable British comics and annuals from the 1920s onwards - most published by DC Thomson - is set to take place next month on behalf of the estate of avid collector Des O'Leary.

Organised by Bloomsbury Auctions, the annuals of interest to British comic fans and other collection items are in Lots 143, 144, 146, 147, 148 and 149, with PF Westerman books in lot 310. The full catalogue does not have much detail but the sale includes substantially all of DC Thomson's annuals between 1924-1942, 1949, and 1950s Rovers, plus various Hotspur, Dandy, Beano and other annuals from the 1960s to date.

Also included are substantially all Percy F Westerman's story books, some Biggles books (including some in other languages) and rare Thomson one-offs like "The Truth About Wilson".

The auction will take place on Friday 8th June 2012 at 11.00am at Bloomsbury Auctions Baverstock House, 93 High Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1AL. Viewing: Thursday 7th June from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

- There's a list of the titles on offer on the DownTheTubes Ning forum here. This list is a draft intended to assist potential buyers to understand what will be in the auction. It does not claim to be comprehensive or wholly accurate. Annual dates are generally that of the following year - where an annual is undated, these may be inaccurate.

The auctioneers have sole responsibility for the sale and you may need to view the lots before the auction to be sure. Check out the auctionin full itself here:


Andy Capp TV series finally arrives on DVD

Andy Capp TV Series
Network has announced the DVD release of the complete six-episode series of the 1988 sitcom Andy Capp on 11th June 2012.

Starring James Bolam, this comedy series was an attempt to transform the flat-capped cartoon strip legend from the Daily Mirror into a television star with a cast that included Paula Tilbrook - now best known for her role as Betty Eagleton on Emmerdale - as Andy's long-suffering wife, Flo.

Written by award-wining Leeds-born novelist, playwright and journalist Keith Waterhouse (Budgie, Billy Liar), this unique series was produced by BAFTA winner John Howard Davies (Fawlty Towers, Mr. Bean).

Despite some stellar casting and creator credits, when the Thames Television produced series was first aired in 1988, it proved a disapointment. Although the cartoon was already Internationally known, syndicated in newspapers worldwide, the episodes were filmed without a studio audience and lacked the spontaneous applause which would have benefited the show.

A short online biography of Andy Capp creator Reg Smythe (word document) notes that during rehearsals the camera men and production staff all laughed out loud, but without the studio audience the atmosphere at the time of filming was described as being "frankly dull".

The series consisted of six episodes that were shown once and have never been repeated, so it's good to see this oft-forgotten gem of British TV comedy finally released on DVD, so we can make up our own minds about the ill-treated show.

Last ever Eagle Awards? Let's hope not

Marred by behind-the-scenes issued hinted at on other comic news web sites such as Bleeding Cool, this year's Eagle Awards were announced as part of this weekend's MCM Expo last night -- and the awards co-owners MCM announced as the ceremony ended that they would be the last.

Introduced in 1976, the Eagle Comic Awards are the British comic industry’s longest established awards, acknowledged as the pre-eminent international accolades, so here at DownTheTubes, we're a little taken aback by the news. The Eagles have been featured on the covers of leading US and UK titles across the last 30 years.

Over the past few weeks, there have been murmurings of rising acrimony between the co-owners of the Awards - the MCM Expo and Cassandra Conroy, daughter of Mike Conroy, the latter an integral part of the Eagles since they began.

If the Eagles are truly over - and we hope this is not the case - neither co-owner has made a public statement on whatever issues have arisen to lead to this sad day. MCM Expo owner Brian Cooney did however take it upon himself to announce their own awards will begin next year and that the Eagles are "over" as a parting shot at last night's ceremony.

The winners, reflecting for the most part the success of DC Comics '52' revamp of its line, were:

- Best Newcomer (writer): Jeff Lemire
- Best Newcomer (artist): Francesco Francavilla
- Best Writer: Scott Snyder
- Best Artist (pencils): J.H. Williams III
- Best Artist (inks): Scott Williams
- Best Writer/Artist: Frank Miller
- Best Fully-Painted Artwork: Alex Ross
- Best Colourist: Dave Stewart
- Best Letterer: Richard Starkings
- Best Editor: Karen Berger
- Best Publisher: DC/Vertigo
- Best Full-Colour US Comic: Batman
- Best Black/White US Comic: The Walking Dead
- Best Full-Colour British Comic: Doctor Who Magazine
- Best Black/White British Comic: Viz
- Best New Comic: Batman (um, what?)
- Best Manga: 20th Century Boys
- Best European Comic Book: Dylan Dog
- Best Web-Based Comic: Freakangels
- Best Single Story: Doctor Who #12
- Best Story Arc: ‘No Way Out’, The Walking Dead
- Best Cover: Batwoman #1 by JH Williams III
- Best Original Graphic Novel: Batman: Noel
- Best Reprint Compilation: Thor by Walt Simonson
- Best Comics-Related Book: Supergods by Grant Morrison
- Best Comics Movie/TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
- Best Comic Book Website: Bleeding Cool
- Best Comics-Related Magazine: DC Comics Superhero Collection
- Roll of Honour: Frank Quitely

- Huntsman Challenge Award: The Time of Reflection (Note that this Award, created as a comic strip challenge, seems to have been tacked on to the usual categories and we're not sure this is actually an 'Eagle')

Our congratulations to all the winners.

While we have no desire here to be drawn into whatever quagmire of controversy that has arisen behind the scenes over the Awards it was telling, we think, that Mike Conroy, the man who has helped run the Awards for many years, announced on Twitter that he was in the pub opposite the awards venue and would not be attending the ceremony.

Co-owner of the Eagle Awards (MCM Expo owns 50 per cent of them as part of a business deal) Cassandra Conroy also did not attend.

Here at DownTheTubes, we're surprised to hear the Eagle Awards have been summarily 'finished', and given the lack of attendance by their co-owners, we do wonder if there will be further announcements in due course.

We certainly hope so - while some have been dismissive of them in recent years, they are one of Britain's major comic awards, even though voting is open worldwide.

In Review: Commando 4500 - Lightning Strike

2011 was an important year for Commando with the 50th anniversary of the title, two separate exhibitions of artwork at the University of Dundee and London's National Army Museum, winning the Eagle Award for Best British Black and White Comic, and an increase in the number of issues published each year from 96 to a remarkable 104 at a time when other titles were being cancelled or their frequencies reduced.

2012 has seen the title move to much higher quality paper resulting in each new issue being twice the thickness of the previous format without increasing its page count, the reprint issues being themed as Gold Collection (reprinting 50 year old stories) and Silver Collection (reprinting 25 year old stories), and the art exhibitions continuing with a new presentation of artwork due to be unveiled in the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen in July.

This week also sees the title reach its 4500th issue with Lightning Strike, written by Alan Hebden and illustrated by John Ridgway.

Japan, 1945: the B-29 Superfortress bombers of the United States Army Air Force are within range of the Japanese home islands. However they don't have it all their own way as three B-29s preparing for a special bombing run are attacked by the new Japanese Shinden super fighters which shoot two down and leave the other limping to a Soviet airfield. Before it crashes there it is able to disarm and jettison the atomic bomb that it was carrying near to the Japanese island that the Shindens are based at. The Japanese retrieve the bomb while the Soviets, having seen the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions, put two and two together and, despite Japan's surrender, decide that they must retrieve the bomb from the island that has just surrendered to a small SBS team. In this first round of the Cold War, the Anglo-Norwegian SBS team must ally themselves with the Japanese to prevent the Soviet Navy capturing the American atomic bomb.

Shinden is the Japanese word for lightning and while they may look like fictional aircraft they are in fact real, although only two prototypes were built before Japan surrendered, while the modification that they receive towards the end of the story is actually how Sweden modified their similar looking Saab 21 fighters. Alan Hebden is able to take a myriad of disparate facts about the end of the Pacific war and combine them together into a tale that speeds along without ever really taking the obvious direction as the balance of power between the protagonists rarely leaves any of them with the upper hand for long.

John Ridgway's modern sketchy style of art works well on the tale and his aircraft are nicely accurate, especially at the beginning when the Shinden attack the B-29s. While those who do not read Commando regularly may still be surprised by the 'credit grenade' on the first page, it shows how far DC Thomson have come from their no credits days that John now even gets to sign his work.

Today Commando may look at first glance to be much the same as it was half a century ago but with the move to thicker paper, credits for the writers, artists and even the editorial team, and the publication date on the back cover as well as the official website, much has changed. As for the price, in 1961 at one shilling it was noticeably more expensive than its weekly rivals while today, at £1.50, it is noticeably cheaper.

If you haven't read a Commando in a while then issue 4500 Lightning Strike is worth a purchase, if only to find out just how much Britain's longest running adventure comic has actually changed since the last time you read it.

Commando is available at WH Smiths, Easons and other high street newsagents.

There are more details of Commando at their official website and Facebook page.

Details of subscribing to Commando are available on the DC Thomson website while the DCT online shop sells reprint books, CDs and metal signs of cover art.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

CLiNT revamps: more strips, more action!

Hot off the back of his 2012 Kapow convention success, Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar launches a stunning new volume of CLiNT, with a new 100-page Issue 1 featuring four new stories between its covers, coupled to a brand new look, new logo and new attitude!

Every issue from Titan Magazines now features epic news and interview exclusives you won’t read anywhere else – the first issue's including Mark Millar hmself – from set reports, casting announcements and extensive actor grillings to behind-the-scenes commentaries and new art from top comics talent!

On sale now, CLiNT #2.1 showcases a double kidney punch of new Mark Millar strips: Supercrooks with artist Leinil Yu, the story of a group of failed supercriminals who head to Spain for one last heist. The art is great, as you'd expect given Millar's connections, with some great character development from the get go when it comes to the protagonists.

Next up is The Secret Service, Millar’s hotly anticipated collaboration with Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons and Kick-Ass / X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn. (The fast-tracked movie is being plotted by Vaughn at the same time as the comic). I had a very quick chat with Dave at Kapow! as he was rushing from one event to the next, and he told me he was really enjoying drawing a regular title again – and it shows in this opening chapter. which includes a guest appearance by original Star Wars actor Mark Hamil!

The CLiNT reboot also boasts the exclusive, Hollywood-baiting Death Sentence strip – which has built up a wave of well-deserved hype. Creators and critics alike have been lining up to praise the hotly-anticipated sex, STDs and superheroics saga, written by newcomer Montynero and illustrated by Mike Dowling (2000AD, Rex Royd, Torchwood).

I've been lucky enough to see the whole first arc of this story and it's superb - hard-egded, dramatic, thought-provoking and well deserving of the praise it's been getting. Montynero's script is terrific and Dowling really delivers on the art front.

(You can buy the digital edition of Death Sentence issue 01 for 99p from Amazon (kindle) iTunes (ipad) kobo and graphicly (pc)

Rounding off the magazine's comics line-up is Rex Royd by Frankie Boyle, which is still the weakest of the strips, the great art let down by a near inpenetrable script. But anthologies always have a mix of strips that might appeal to one audience but not another.

Mark Millar discusses Supercrooks and American Jesus movies in an exclusive Millarworld movie round-up feature.

“Everything that I've done, movie-wise, I've gotten a little more involved.” says Millar. “On Wanted, I was just involved at a tangent, I'd just come in for meetings and watch footage. With Kick-Ass, I was very involved from the beginning, from the two month when the screenplay was being put together, though costume designs and all of that. And from that, to Supercrooks, American Jesus and Kick-Ass 2, which will feel incredibly hands-on."

To hear Supercrooks director Nacho Vigalondo's side of the story, check out our exclusive new interview with him, available only on

CLiNT also celebrate 20 Years of Lenore, with a special feature exploring creator Roman Dirge’s morbid imagination with a four-page sequence from Lenore #4: Revenge of the Creepig!

• CLiNT #2.1 is available from all good magazine retailers and comic stores from May 23rd.

• Special Subscription Offer! Get 9 issues of CLiNT - saving 20%, plus a FREE signed Dave Gibbons 'The Secret Service' Art Card! Hurry, only 200 signed Dave Gibbons Art Cards available! To subscribe click here

• Mega 48-Page Preview of CLiNT

• For more information and to subscribe to CLiNT, visit:

• Connect with CLiNT: Facebook – Twitter -


Commando reaches landmark 4500 issue

Here we are again with another four Commandos - and it's something of a landmark release this time around, with the title reaching Issue 4500 - surely something of a record for any comic (as, perhaps, is the number of female characters in the same issue!)

We're also told that 'Night Raider' was the first appearance of Spanish artist Matias Alonso in Commando. Alonso - these days a fine artist and no longer working in comics - illustrated several Spanish adventure comics for publishing houses Grafidea and Valenciana in the 1950s and 1960s and has additionally worked for magazines like Flecha Roja ('La Isla del Tesoro'), El Boletín and Jaimito.

Born in 1935, he began working for British publishers in the 1970s, on titles such as Air Ace, Battle Action, Commando, Eagle, The Victor and Twinkle.

His strips for Victor included 'Shiwa Sands', 'The Coming of the Bugaboo', 'Task Force with Tusks' and 'The Wild Colonial Boy', to name but a few. You can find some of his stunning covers for La Saga de Los Aznar here on Flickr and there's an article in Spanish charting his comics career here.

Commando No 4499: Hunting Mussolini
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Manuel Benet Cover: Manuel Benet

The Convict Commandos - Jelly Jakes, Titch Mooney, Smiler Dawson - and their commander Guy Tenby had been given another job. This time they were to hunt down Mussolini in his hide-out. Easier said than done when they weren't the only ones doing the same.

Guy, as usual, had a plan…but it wasn't supposed to include Jelly hanging from the undercarriage of an airborne Fieseler Storch!

Commando No 4500: Lightning Strike
Story: Alan Hebden Art: John Ridgway Cover: John Ridgway

The war in the Far East was almost over. Japan's armed forces had been ground down and the country was on its knees. The Japanese hadn't given in though, they hoped super-fighters like the Kyushu Shinden - Magnificent Lightning - could stem the flow of US bombers ravaging their country.

They could never have guessed that the Shinden's finest moment would come protecting the very enemies it had been designed to destroy.

Commando No 4501: Night Raider
Originally Commando No 35 (April 1962)
Story: Stainton Art: Matias Alonso Cover: Ken Barr

Out of the night sky he came - a man with no mercy in his heart and a blazing tommy-gun in his hands, whose one ambition was to wreak destruction on all things Nazi. He became the Scarlet Pimpernel of German-occupied Europe.

"Women in Commando are a rare sighting but, like buses, when they do turn up there's more than one," notes editor Calum Laird. "I counted at least three in here, and a bit of romance.

"Don't think that it means that Stainton's story isn't an all guns blazing story as it is, running from the beaches of Dunkirk to a full-on Commando raid in France, and with barely time to reload along the way. His touch means that the espionage, beautifully pointed up by Ken Barr's dramatic night drop cover, manages to be action-packed, not tension-filled.

"Add to that Alonso's 100mph inside art and you have a solid gold winner. Makes you proud to be part of the Commando Team."

Commando No 4502: Battle Flag
Originally Commando No 2063 (February 1987) Commando 4502
Story: Cyril G. Walker Art: Cecil Rigby Cover: Jeff Bevan

The Second Battalion, Daleshire Light Infantry, had something to be proud of - their very own “battle flag”, a standard given to them after their heroic triumph over Napoleon's finest troops. Carried into action, it would inspire the men to further brave deeds.

So when one young officer's courage failed him and the flag was captured, the thought of it in enemy hands made him vow to keep it safe - even after his death!

"Gritty action is undoubtedly what Commando does best," insists Scott Montgomery, the title's Deputy Editor. "However, over the decades there have also been comedies, capers, historical epics, science-fiction and…ghost stories. 'Battle Flag' is a good example of the latter.

"After a detailed framing sequence, veteran writer Cyril Walker cleverly weaves a tale with an eerie thread that runs throughout but does not overwhelm the action and adventure.

"Interestingly, the working title for this story was 'The Flintshire Phantom'. That's a good one and, had it been pitched today, I'm sure that it would have been used! Enjoy."

• Official Commando web site: 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

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Creating Comics: Martin Eden talks Spandex

Writer, artist and magazine editor Martin Eden has been creating comics since he was a nipper – but entered the British small press/indie comics world around 15 years ago.

After collaborating with various creators on titles such as Bulldog and Contact, he soon kicked off his own project, The O Men, a super-soap which ran for 10 years and was Eagle Award-nominated.

In 2009, he put out Spandex #1, which earned international headlines, earned excellent reviews and an Eagle Award nomination for Best British Colour Comic. Titan Books have now released the first three issues in a hardback book called Spandex: Fast and Hard.

Now also working on book collections of his old O Men series, DownTheTubes caught up with him after a successful weekend at the Kapow! comic convention to ask him about his work...

DownTheTubes: Spandex. What's it all about?

Martin Eden: It’s about a group of gay superheroes. They’re based in Brighton and they fight Giant Lesbians, Pink Ninjas and Gay Zombies – and that’s just the first three issues! It’s a big, epic super-soap comic and I delve into their personal lives quite a bit, and there are loads of twists and turns.

DownTheTubes: What inspired this story?

Martin: The idea just evolved naturally, but I did think it would be a really fun and original concept. For some readers, it would be a refreshing break from the crossover/reboot-filled worlds of Marvel and DC. It’s a complete new universe to explore, full of fun characters like super-spy James Bend and villains like Muscle Mary.

DownTheTubes: It's a welcome collection - how has it been pitched to people who haven't heard of it?

Martin: I call it a gay Eastenders-meets-Carry On-meets Grant Morrison. Actually, to be honest, I am really wary that people think it’s only for an LGTB audience. I think it’s for everyone (except kids!) - the gay aspect is just a context and a launching point for various interesting storylines.

DownTheTubes: The original strip was black and white, did you take a specific approach to the colouring? I've heard people say it's really enhanced the storytelling.

Martin: I’ve always done black and white comics, but then I realised that Spandex would only really work in colour (mainly because each team-member has a specific colour scheme). I was pretty horrified when I realised this, as colour printing is a bit more pricey – but it turns out that colour printing actually isn’t too expensive these days.

So after that, I had to teach myself how to use Photoshop and just get in there and start colouring. People seem to really respond to it, and I like to do fun things with the colours. For instance, the team’s homes are all colour-coded, their origin stories in issue 6 are all colour-themed, and issue 3 plays around a lot with the colour – a villain turns the whole world black and white and turns people into colourless zombies/drones, and only a handful of colourful Spandex members are left.

DownTheTubes: Do you have a favourite Spandex story or scene?

Martin: I think every issue has at least four or five favourite scenes – key moments that I build up to. I think I’d be bored of the comic if they didn’t have those!

Martin's favourite Spandex scene from Issue 5
Overall though, I like the scene in issue 2 where a lesbian and gay team-mate get a little bit over-excited in a fight... It shows something you don’t often see in a superhero comic... Issue 6 has a huuuuge cliffhanger which I’m really pleased with... I like the funny mini-fight between Liberty and Muscle Mary in issue 5... Maybe my ultimate favourite is a huge twist in Issue 4 involving Indigo and her girlfriend. I’m not saying any more about that! It’s a big scene.

DownTheTubes: What's coming next for Spandex?

Martin: Well I just released issue 6, which has a huuuge twist. Issue 7 finishes the four-part OMFG storyline and wraps a lot up of storylines and answers a lot of questions. Leading up to it, i’m going to be doing some cool teaser portraits featuring each team-member. If all goes well, Issue 7 will also include ‘Spandex Black & White’, a series of portraits by various artists.

Then I’m doing a Spandex Special early next year which will effectively be the final issue of the entire thing. I am just plotting it now, and I think it’s even more shocking than issue 6.

I think that will be the end of Spandex then – I’ll have told the story I set out to tell... But I do already have some more ideas...!

DownTheTubes: Would you ever consider doing Spandex stories that you write but drawn by other artists?

Martin: I did that with some mini-comics that came with Issue 6. I worked with other artists on stories for some of my supporting characters (Hag, Cherry Blossom Girl, and Bear Man & Twinkle). But for the main series, I want to do it all myself – there are so many scenes that have been in my head for years – I just want to draw them all.

Maybe if I ever do a Volume Two of Spandex, someone else could draw it. Drawing is so time-consuming, and I have a few other things I want to do.

DownTheTubes: You also created The O Men, which also earned you a lot of praise. Are they returning?

Yes! I feel guilty because I was only supposed to take a year’s break from The O Men to do Spandex. But the first issue of Spandex itself took a year to create! But now I’m reprinting the entire O Men series across five books. I didn’t finish the series – I had about 8 or so issues left, so that material will all be in the fifth/final book – all original material. I kind-of know what happens, but I do need to do a lot of writing.

DownTheTubes: What else are you working on at the moment?

Spandex takes up pretty much all my time, plus I’m working on the O Men collections, which involves a lot of tidying up scanned art. In the back of my head, I’m plotting my next series. At the moment, it’s called Top Class, and I want it to be five digest-sized books. I can’t say much about it yet, except that it might be for all ages, and it has an epic storyline (of course!)!

DownTheTubes: What one piece of advice you would give an aspiring comic creator?

Martin: Just go for it. I get a lot of people come up to me at conventions asking how to do it.

It’s easy -- just get a pen, paper, write it, draw it, do it – then get feedback, accept criticism (but don’t pay attention to online ‘Comments’ sections, people can be so nasty), learn from mistakes, go to conventions and see how people respond to it.

I would also say, don’t break your bank – just print up small amounts if you can. Try not to lose money, be careful!

And finally, make notes when you come up with ideas, because it’s annoying when you forget a good idea!

• More about Spandex at and more about The O Men at

Facebook: search for Spandex Comic, also The O Men and find Martin on Twitter @spandexcomic


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Flint and Food - Hinkley's Factoryroad Gallery lands comic exhibition

The Factoryroad Gallery in Hinkley, Leicestershire is hosting an exhibition of artwork from DJ Food's new album The Search Engine, and 2000AD artist Henry Flint's book Broadcast.

The two artists collaborated on the art work for this album and the show will include original inked comic art by Henry Flint.

Original comic art, drawings, limited edition prints, moving image, photography and vinyl will be on show which was originally shown at Pure Evil London, and will be brought to the Midlands by Factoryroad
Gallery from 2nd - 15th June.

Attendance is strictly RSVP only, so if you would like to see this awesome exhibition please email with your chosen time and date including your contact number.

• PDF flyer downloadable here: (PDF)

Monday, 21 May 2012

Panel Borders: Blue Pills and Sandcastles

Continuing Panel Borders month of shows on international creators, Alex Fitch talks to Swiss graphic novelist Frederik Peeters about his latest comic Sandcastle, published by SelfMadeHero and based on a script by filmmaker Pierre-Oscar Lévy. Sandcastle is a Twilight Zone style narrative about a group of strangers trapped on a beach where time moves at different rates; Alex and Frederik talk about the influence of science fiction on his work and his interest in autobiography which led to his award winning graphic novel Blue Pills - A Positive Love Story.

(The interview was recorded at Gosh! Comics, London in October 2011)

• Panel Borders: Blue Pills and Sandcastles is being streamed at / podcast after broadcast at 

There will be no broadcast episode of Panel Borders on Sunday 27th May as Resonance is devoting the day's programming to a celebration of the 59th birthday of KLF co-founder and musician Bill Drummond.

Comedian Peter Serafinowicz announces comics project with Jock

English actor, comedian, writer, composer, voice artist and occasional director Peter Serafinowicz announced his first comic book project at the Kapow! Comic Convention.

Nelson (not to be confused with the recent anthology collection from Blank Slate of the same name) is set in an alternate London in which Nelson is the de-facto chief of police and keeps the city free from crime due to a zero-tolerance policy which he enforces with superhuman strength.

The book will be drawn by British comics artist Jock, who fans will know from his awesome work on The Losers with Andy Diggle and his recent run on Batman with Scott Snyder.

Serafinowicz made his broadcasting debut in 1993 on Radio 1 show The Knowledge, a spoof documentary about the music industry. He subsequently lent his vocal talents to a number of radio projects before making his television debut in 1998 in Comedy Nation and You are Here. In 1999 he made a number of appearances in Channel 4 sitcom Spaced as Duane Benzie.

In the week before the 2006 Academy Awards a video circulated on the Internet called “O! News” about a newly redesigned Oscar statue, in which Serafinowicz shared his impersonations of Alan Alda, Paul McCartney and Al Pacino. A second ‘O! News’ video later appeared, parodying the 2006 Apple Corps v. Apple Computer lawsuit. This piqued the interest of the BBC, and a pilot was commissioned for The Peter Serafinowicz Show.

A full series was broadcast on BBC Two in 2007 (with a Christmas Special in 2008). For his performance, Serafinowicz was presented with the Best Entertainer prize at the 2008 Rose d’Or ceremony. The series was also nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the 2009 BAFTA Television Awards.

In 2010 Serafinowicz directed the music video for Hot Chip’s video 'I Feel Better', their second single from the album One Life Stand.

Arvon Calling

The next annual creative writing for graphic novels course that Bryan Talbot co-tutors in the depths of the beautiful Shropshire countryside for the Arvon Foundation is on 25 - 30th June this year.

This time around, his co-tutor is Hannah Berry (Britten and Brulightly, Adamtine), with Mary Talbot (Dotter of Her Father's Eyes) as the guest speaker Amazingly there are spaces still available (it’s been fully booked the last two years) so, if you'd like to do it, now's your chance!

There’s a link to the Arvon site below and also a link to Paul Gravett’s write-up of the course.



Sunday, 20 May 2012

Tripwire 20 seeks crowdfunding

Here's a small selection of some of the amazing art Tripwire publisher Joel Meadows hopes to publish in an anniversary editon celebrating 20 years -- 20 years!! -- of his magazine.

The project is seeking crowdfunding via Unbound here.

Over the last twenty years, Tripwire has been covering comics, TV and film with interviews and columns by now-famous names like Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis. Still running as an annual publication, it continues to run feature-length articles and one-off artwork cover commissions.

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Tripwire, and to commemorate this milestone, Unbound are working with editor-in-chief Joel Meadows to crowd-fund a beautifully bound hardback celebration of the publication. It will be filled with the sort of content that has garnered praise from many of the biggest and best names in genre over its twenty-year existence.

As well as the art samples here, the magazine will also include work by Mike Kaluta, Phil Hale, Mike Perkins, Dave Taylor, Roger Langridge and many more.

Tripwire 20: Anniversary Cover

Art by Duncan Fegredo

Art by Garen Ewing

Art by Walt Simonson

Art by Jon Haward

Zombies Hi And Amelia Earhart From Uproar Comics

Londonderry's Uproar Comics have been making a name for themselves in Northern Ireland with their regular publication of the anthology comic Zombies Hi, the main story of which is set in and around the walled city of Derry after a zombie holocaust. Uproar grew out of the free 2D Comics Festival, now in its sixth year at Londonderry's Visual Arts Centre, and the 2D Collective group of creators which we featured on downthetubes last year.

Zombies Hi issue 5 has just been released and is available from a variety of newsagents, bookshops and comic shops in Northern Ireland. Readers from further afield can order physical copies from the Uproar Comics website while e-copies are also available for download.

In addition, and in time for this year's 2D Comics Festival on Saturday 2 June, Uproar are releasing their first graphic novel about the American aviatrix Amelia Earhart. A historical biography may initially sound like an unusual topic for Uproar to cover, however when Earhart became the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo, she landed near Ballyarnett, just north of Derry, on 21 May 1932. This was previously commemorated in the now out-of-print graphic novel The Story of Amelia Earhart written by Felicity McCall with art by Joe Campbell and published in 2007 by Baird Publishing in association with Greater Shantallow Community Arts.

The new book entitled Amelia Earhart: First Lady of Aviation contains an updated version of that original GN and couples it with A Day in May, a text and spot illustrated account by Joe Campbell of Earhart's 24 hour stay in Derry.

The book is being released this weekend as part of the 2012 Earhart Festival and Festival director Oliver Green told downthetubes, "We believed that it was time for a new publication, as the 80th anniversary has already created a groundswell of public interest. I am conscious that the original graphic novel has all but sold out and is in circulation in the US, UK and Across Ireland as well as in Australasia. It is in regular use in classrooms in the North West, and beyond. With this in mind, it seemed appropriate not only to ask the original artist Joe Campbell and writer Felicity McCall to revise and update their work, but to commission what is effectively the next chapter in the story. With A Day in May, Joe Campbell has produced a marvellous combination of prose and pen and ink illustrations which perfectly evokes the atmosphere and ethos of that very special 24 hours in Derry. It is a work of outstanding talent, creativity and empathy with his subject matter and I am confident the new publication will not only match but better the success of the original book five years ago."

There are more details of Zombies Hi and Amelia Earhart: First Lady Of Aviation on the Uproar Comics website and Facebook page.

There are more details of the 2D Comics Festival which is free and takes place between 31 May and 2 June 2012 on the 2D
website and Facebook page.

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