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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Strip Magazine to re-launch in September

Print Media Productions has reluctantly decided to delay its planned news stand launch of STRIP from June until September 2012.

Strip Magazine Issue 1 Volume 2
The decision follows discussion with the company's news stand distributors, who suggested that the autumn would be a far better time for the new incarnation to hit the newsagents.

Speaking as the title's editor, there are also vital issues that need to be sorted out, especially a guaranteed delivery cycle from Print Media in Bosnia. Both myself and Mike Conroy, who is advising us on administration matters, discussed the situation with publisher Ivo Milicevic, who has bankrolled the project so far, and agreed the logistics of getting the first issue of the new incarnation printed and into the shops for our planned launch date were simply insurmountable at this time.

Once STRIP Issue 5 - a giant-sized issue - is released in comic shops in the UK next month (again, later than planned), STRIP will take a summer break.

While you're waiting. check out this great cover for the new look magazine by Bernhard Kolle.

Bernhard hails from Croatia but lives and works n Lubljana, Slovenia. He began his career drawing horror comics for the American market and drew the comic books Conny and Gespenster Geschichten between 1988 and 1996 for Germany's Bastei Verlag. Between 1996 and 1999 he was back drawing horror stories for Dark Horse titles like Ghost in the US before returning to Bastei and Gespenster Geschichten to draw Maddrax and Vampira.

As well as covers for STRIP, he's working on an action adventure story for the title.

- STRIP - The Adventure Comic Magazine Issue 1 Volume 2 has been solicited in Diamond PREVIEWS for September 2012.

- Crucible cover art by Bernhard Kolle. Crucible copyright 2012 John Freeman and Smuzz

It's Temple Time!

Temple APA 11
Undeath's a beach! The 44-page Temple APA (Issue Eleven) is now available to download as a totally free PDF file, containing contributions from the likes of Dave Hailwood, Jim Stewart, Paul Eldridge, Simon Mackie, Malcolm Kirk and Tony Suleri. 

Intended as a promtional device for aspiring British creators, the Temple is a useful discussion forum for people interested in self or pro publishing.

- You can download from Dropbox, MediaFire, FileDropper, or view online at MyEbook (login required due to mature content). PDF file size is 13.83 MB.

- Visit the Temple APA blog

Friday, 1 June 2012

Professional Publishers Association plans UK's first international magazine festival

The Professional Publishers Association - an organisation representing some 200 publishers and existing to promote and protect the interests of print and online publishers of consumer and business media in the UK - has announced MagFest, Britian's first ever international festival devoted to magazines.

Taking place on 26th-27th August  at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, MagFest coincides with the wider season of arts and cultural events that collectively make up the Edinburgh Festival, the largest annual cultural festival in the world. The programme includes a "How to Get Published" workshop and the speaker line up is impressive if you're at all interested in magazine publishing.

The PPA says that MagFest aims to reach out to writers, editors and designers by sharing expert knowledge and magazine publishing successes from Scotland, the UK and around the world. It is supported by PPA strategic partners Pensord and Primitive Media, and will comprise creative workshops, an industry conference and an inspirational exhibition co-curated specifically for the event by Jeremy Leslie of magCulture, London and Andrew Losowsky of The Huffington Post, New York.

The magCulture exhibition will be located in the impressive Ozone space at Our Dynamic Earth and will feature 40 stunning national and international magazines, all exemplifying excellence in magazine design. The exhibition opens to the public at noon on Sunday, August 26 and entry is free to MagFest delegates.

“We are so proud to launch the UK's first festival dedicated to magazines," comments Kathy Crawford Hay, Business Manager of PPA Scotland.

"At MagFest we aim to build a platform that not only promotes publishing in Scotland but also provides a showcase for national and international titles and reaches out to a new generation of creative writers, editors and designers.”

“As well as our practical industry sessions, MagFest will be a hub for sharing ideas and networking with peers and investors. We believe this new event will provide an invaluable opportunity for Scotland’s publishing sector to interact with influencers at a global level, and for the international publishing and creative community to come together in celebration of magazines.”

The workshops will be held on the afternoon of 26th August and will provide a unique opportunity to learn from experts in the fields of magazine design and editorial. As well as people already working in the publishing industry, up-and-coming designers and writers are also encouraged to attend.

Led by Jeremy Leslie of magCulture, the design workshop will cover the principles of magazine design and features a hands-on masterclass in magazine cover layout with Matthew Ball, former Art Director of Rolling Stone magazine, and other design experts.

The editorial workshop, How to Get Published, brings together a wealth of experience from award-winning magazine editors from New York and the UK in a forum that aims to stimulate budding writers and equip them with the knowledge they need to get published.

The MagFest industry day features speaker sessions covering the hot topics in magazine publishing today: Entrepreneurship in Publishing; The Digital Dialogue; Serious Business of Making Money; 2020Vison – the future. Confirmed speakers include publishing heavyweights and high-fliers including: Christopher Ward of Redwood publishers; John Bird MBE, owner of The Big Issue; Chris van der Kuyl from brightsolid, owned by DC Thomson, publishers of The Beano; Andrew Losowsky of the Huffington Post; Max von Abendroth, European Magazine Media Association; Matt Phare, ShortList Media; Barry McIlheney, PPA and Richard Nicholls, Future Foundation.

• Tickets for the event will be available for purchase at the MagFest website at and the latest updates on the event are available via @MagazineFest on Twitter.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Panel Borders: Totnes Comics

Starting a month of shows about communities of comic book creators around England*, Alex Fitch travels to Devon to interview artists and writers who live and work in Totnes.

Jock, Lee O'Connor, John Spelling and Dom Reardon talk their experiences in the South West, breaking into comics, the importance of 2000AD to their careers and future projects.

- Panel Borders: Totnes Comics airs at 8.00pm, Sunday 3rd June 2012, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / podcast after broadcast at

* When Alex has a larger travel budget, expect Celtic comics communities at some point in the future!


Eagle Awards set to soar back next year

“People often say ‘Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet’ and this is one of those times,” announced Eagle Awards chair Cassandra Conroy.

Referring to an announcement made by MCM Expo’s Bryan Cooney at the conclusion of 2012 Eagle Awards ceremony on Friday night, she added, “To paraphrase Mark Twain: The reports of the Eagles’ death have been greatly exaggerated.

“Neither my father (Eagle Awards founder Mike Conroy) nor I attended Friday night’s ceremony, which we were boycotting in response to actions that are now being reviewed by my lawyer. Thus we don’t know exactly what Bryan said,” she explained.

“However, with Bleeding Cool posting that Friday night’s ceremony was ‘the end of the road for the Eagle Awards after 30-some years and from next May, there'd be something called The MCM Awards instead.’ and others suggesting that next year the Eagles would be transformed into entirely new awards. I feel the need to put the record straight…

“The Eagles are neither dead nor morphing into anything else. MCM Expo is in no position to announce, imply or indicate otherwise,” Conroy stated. “In fact no third party can casually discard what my father has developed over the past 36 years. The Eagles will continue to soar into 2013 and beyond.

"We’ll be announcing further details of our plans for next year in the near future.”

DownTheTubes contacted the MCM Expo and asked for clarification of Mr Cooney's statement on Friday night.

Speaking for the organisation, which currently co-owns the Eagles with Cassandra, Paul Miley confirmed Mr Cooney had declared the Eagles were over last Friday folowing the ceremony - or at least it would seem, based on his comments quoted below, over as far as MCM was concerned.

"Bryan made a joint announcement for Bryan and I on stage last Friday to the affect that we have spent the last three years organising the Eagle Awards which we have enjoyed doing but it is time for change," Paul told us.

"It is most likely there will not be an Eagle Awards from this point forward and that we are looking to launch an MCM Awards next year.

"At this time we would not like to comment further on this matter but may in future."

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Durham Red returns to 2000AD

2000AD 1785
She’s the bounty hunter with bite, the one and only Strontium Bitch - and she’s back in the pages of 2000AD this week!

Durham Red, the bounty hunter whose mutation gives her a vampiric lust for blood, is back and this time she’s bloodier than ever.

Beginning in Prog 1784, The ‘Nobody Wants This Job’ Job story has been drawn by Durham Red co-creator, Carlos Ezquerra, and sees Red take on her very first commission as a Search/Destroy agent - which if she’s not careful could end up being her last!

Originally created in 1987 by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Carlos Ezquerra for the popular long-running series Strontium Dog, Red remains one of the strip’s most popular characters alongside Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer.

In a world devastated by the aftermath of an atomic war, a genetic apartheid is created where unaffected ‘norms’ discriminate against ‘muties’, whose bodies have been warped by radioactive Strontium 90 fall out. In this divided society, the only job open to mutants is as bounty hunters, the so-called Strontium Dogs, who hunt criminals across the galaxy.

Last seen in a series of far future epics written by Dan Abnett, in which she awoke from cryogenic suspension to find that she was being worshipped by a sect of mutants. Grant has now returned Durham Red to her blood-soaked roots in a story set in her first days as a mutant bounty hunter.

"The new story showcases Red's first-ever case as a bounty hunter acting out of the Doghouse," says Alan. "I had no desire to set her story thousands of years in the future, so I decided to allow that particular sleeping dog to lie. It's her first-ever job, so anybody should be able to jump on board and understand everything from the start."

"Alan’s script was perfect, as always. Remember that Alan and I have been working together on and off since the eighties... a looong time, and both of us know where the other stands," adds Carlos.

Elsewhere in the Prog, the flames are dying in the charred ruins of Mega-City One, giving Judge Dredd finally time to make a personal call in 'Day of Chaos: Eve of Destruction' by John Wagner and Edmund Bagwell. They’re calling in the big guns in 'Midnight Cowboys' by Pat Mills and James McKay, while the ETC are negotiating over an intergalactic forced marriage in 'Grey Area: One of Our Own' by Dan Abnett and Lee Carter And how many Doppelgangers can one man have? Alroy Rey is about to run out of decoys in 'Cadet Anderson Psi-Divison: Algoe' Part One by Alan Grant and Steve Yeowell.

- 2000 AD Prog 1785, priced £2.35, is on sale on UK newsstands now and will be available digitally worldwide from this Friday. Physical copies will be available in North America from 13th June

- Read an interview with Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra about the return of Durham Red on the 2000AD web site


Blank Slate's 'Nelson' in the spotlight at Hay Festival

Hay Festival 2012

(via Sarah McIntyre's blog): If you're in Wales at the Hay Festival this weekend, don't miss out on what is sure to be an awesome panel by six of the comics creators who made NELSON, published by Blank Slate - including Sarah McIntyre - on Sunday.

"I'm so completely proud of this book," says Sarah, who will also be doing a 4.00pm reading of Morris the Mankiest Monster in the Family Area, if you want to stop by to say hello.

Rob Davis, Woodrow Phoenix, Gary Northfield, Kristyna Baczynski and Will Morris are also on the NELSON panel.

If you're at Hay the following weekend, Sarah is back doing a bunch of other stuff, including a sold out panel with Philip Reeve, Martin Brown and Cathy Brett called Illustration Game of Consequences. Inspired by suggestions from you, these amazing artists draw live on one giant piece of paper.
"It will be random and it will be fun," says Sarah.

On Saturday 9th June at 10am, Sarah hosts Cartoon Craziness, a chance to meet this brilliant illustrator and learn how to invent your own cartoons. Expect pirates, monsters, princesses, dinosaurs, cowboys and, of course, Vern & Lettuce.

Then, at 1.00pm: Philip Reeve talks to Sarah: get along and discover a wild world of magical creatures and heroic adventures from the extraordinary imagination behind Mortal Engines - and, hopefully, a sneek peek of their forthcoming series Seawigs.

- Full info on the Hay Festival web site

London's BD & Comics Passion Festival a huge success

Jonathan Ross at BD and Comics Passion 2012
Photo: BD and Comics Passion
The weekend has passed, the temperatures soared and London's BD & Comics Passion's second festival came and went with an enormous bang.

The extended weekend of celebrations saw some of the biggest names in European Comics pass through L'Institut francais to offer the public some exceptional events. The Friday night's drawing duo between Tom Gauld and Guy Delisle was truly heart warming. With a play list created by the two illustrators, attendees found themselves following pages of funny narrative and free hand sketches that led us into their strange but wonderful minds. What a way to kick start the festival!

And what a festival it was. Grzegorz Rosinski let people into the very personal world of Thorgal, Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill talked about London’s architecture and the back drop of the city in comics, Jonathan Ross was both “refreshing and self deprecating” as he spoke about the medium, Alessandro Barbucci and Luke Pearson fought monsters to the sound of orchestral crescendo’s, the Trolls animated corridors as they amble about L’Institut, Christophe Arleston lit the way for young writers on their quest to comics stardom, David B. gave insightful commentary on his works The Best of Enemies and Karrie Fransman excited a lot of up and coming illustrators though her ideas and input on their work.

Paul Gravett and Dominique Poncet enjoy a glass of wine at the Festival.
Looks it's a French festival - of course there was wine!

Photo: BD and Comics Passion
And that’s not even the half of it. There were more talks, workshops, signings, the concert (which we will no doubt have to do again) the party, screenings, Q & A’s and generally a lot of fun and laughter.

Guy DeLisle on stage.
Photo: BD and Comics Passion
"We are so thrilled to have been able to create and host something of this scale and cannot thank enough all the brilliant authors, journalists, publishers, bloggers, students, teachers and fans who made this festival absolutely spectacular," Joséphine Seblon told DownTheTubes. "So, after a very long weekend, we are getting ready to re-build, re-vamp and start anew for the next!"

• Have a look at the Festival's Facebook page for all the pictures, sketches, comments and updates on the weekend just been:

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Japanese Embassy launches UK manga competition

The British Embassy of Japan is once again launching the major manga-writing competition, MANGA JIMAN 2012, with fantastic prizes and open to anyone fourteen (14)* years of age or over.

The manga should in some way make reference to ‘GANBARE!’, Japanese for ‘good luck!’, ‘do your best!’ or ‘come on!’.

The amazing First Prize is two (2) return air tickets to Japan, courtesy of All Nippon Airways.** The Second Prize is a fabulous TOSHIBA laptop computer. Third Prize is a superb digital camera from RICOH UK Ltd

Runners-up will receive and a selection of manga publications, available in the UK from various UK manga publishers amongst others prizes.

The winners’ works will also be displayed in a special MANGA JIMAN EXHIBITION at the Embassy of Japan.

This competition is open to all UK residents. All creations should be original and between six (6) to eight (8) A4-sized pages in length and drawn so that it reads from left to right.

The closing date for the submission of entries is Thursday, 1st November 2012.

Should you wish to enter, please read the full MANGA JIMAN COMPETITION 2012 RULES & REGULATIONS (pdf) and then carefully fill out and submit the official 2012 APPLICATION FORM (Word doc) along with your entry by post or in person to:

Manga Jiman 2012 Competition
Embassy of Japan
101-104 Piccadilly

Please contact with any queries about the competition.

* The competition is open to all legal residents of the United Kingdom who are, or will be, over the age of fourteen (14) by 1st January 2013.

**Terms and conditions apply.


Sunday, 27 May 2012

Pushwagner exhibition prompts Milton Keynes small press fair

MK Comics Fiair 2012
This summer, the Milton Keynes Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition of art by the acclaimed Norwegian artist and graphic novelist, Pushwagner. To run alongside the exhibition, they will also be putting on a number of events including, on the evening 19th July, a Small Press Comic Fair called MKomix which is being organised by comic creator Paul Rainey.

"MKomix will feature some of the best UK based comic creators displaying and selling their work," Paul tells us. "The fair will take place in the gallery amidst the Pushwagner exhibition itself. Best of all, it is free to enter and, if you’re a creator, free to exhibit.

"Currently, small press comics are one of the most vibrant, creative and diverse artistic scenes taking place in the UK and MKomix is your opportunity to sample just some of what is going on."

Pushwagner:Jobkill. Image copyright the artist, realeased for publicity purposes for the exhibition
Pushwagner: Soft City (28th June – 2nd September 2012) is the first solo exhibition outside Norway by the visionary artist Hariton Pushwagner (born Oslo, 1940). Since the recent discovery of his work, Pushwagner has become a celebrity in his home nation, appearing regularly in newspaper headlines and television talk shows, renowned for his homelessness and hedonistic lifestyle, and compared to a modern day Edvard Munch.

Pushwagner’s defining creation is the graphic novel Soft City, an epic satire of capitalism and life in the modern metropolis, produced intermittently in Oslo and London between 1969 and 1976. His work also takes the form of intricate and obsessively detailed paintings, presenting a personal mythology of a world under perpetual siege from pollution, totalitarianism and mass destruction.

At MK Gallery a tightly focussed presentation of Pushwagner’s early work will be shown in three distinct groupings; Soft City, Family of Man and Apocalypse Frieze. In addition, Pushwagner’s design for an enormous Pop Art inspired mouth will be realised in the form of a mural surrounding MK Gallery’s main entrance.

Visitors will have to step onto its projecting tongue and enter the cavernous mouth to reach the exhibition beyond.

The 154-page graphic novel Soft City provides an account of mechanical, daily life in a dehumanized, dystopian modern city. Completed in 1976, the humdrum lives of Pushwagner’s characters allude to George Gurdjieff’s descriptions of people in a state of ‘waking sleep’. The menacing controller in charge of life in Soft City and the pills the family swallows on a daily basis evoke Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Pushwanger: Self Portrait. Image copyright the artist, released for PR purposes
Following its presentation in Milton Keynes, the exhibition will tour to Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum, Norway, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, in the Netherlands.

MK Gallery’s Pushwagner exhibition coincides with the exhibition Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye at Tate Modern (28 June – 14 October). The Pushwagner exhibition will be complemented at MK Gallery by a substantial Norwegian Season of video, music and performance events with around fifty Norwegian artists and curators.

A substantial monograph on Pushwagner will accompany the exhibition. It includes commissioned texts from Lars Bang Larsen, Martin Herbert, Natalie O’Donnell, Will Bradley and Peter Mæjlender. Published by Art / Books. ISBN: 978-1-908970-00-8.

- Details about Milton Keynes Art Gallery can be found at The Milton Keynes Art Gallery is situated across the road from The Centre: MK, next to the Theatre. Nearby, there are lots of pubs, clubs and restaurants and is a short bus journey from the train station. After 6.00pm most of the parking nearby is free.


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