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Friday, 8 June 2012

As any Doctor Who fan knows...

Art by Smuzz. Our purpose is to amuse, simply to amuse... Nothing serious, nothing political....


STRIP Magazine price drop for digital edition

The digital edition of STRIP Issue 5
will include alternate content to
the print edition
STRIP Magazine fans waiting for the arrival of the print edition of Print Media's adventure anthology – victim to ongoing import issues – may be interested to know that Issue 5 for iPad is being worked on now by ROK Comics and should be submited to Apple sometime next week.

The price of all back issues of STRIP Magazine for iPad has also just been dropped to £1.99 per issue.

Print Media says they decided to delay submission of STRIP Issue 5 to Apple in view of the distribution issues for the print edition, but with changes to the company's plans for the title's relaunch that have superceded some copy in the print edition, the digital STRIP Issue 5 (which will also be priced at £1.99) will include updated pages from the 'real world' magazine, as well as some trailer imagery for the new-look to the title.

The iPad edition will have less pages than the print verison of Issue 5 but some exclusive trailer images from the revamp, and we have also updated 'Comic Cuts' to reflect the change of launch plans.

Print Media have announced they will be publishing a digital only version of STRIP in July. This special Issue 6 will wrap some storylines that complete in the print 'bumper' version of Issue 5, as well as again trailing the new look STRIP.

Promotion for Black Ops Extreme
by Richmond Clement and Stephen
Downey. Black Ops Extreme
© Print Media Productions
The special issue will also use some pages to promote new British comics and projects. If British and Irish comic creators would like to have a plug for their own indpendently created titles in the digital-only issue, direct Print Media via to a 1536 x 1920 image they'll consider for inclusion. On your left is an example of the kind of image they're looking for.

They will also consider running strip samples but they must be action adventure, SF, fantasy or one page humour - no horror or adult comics, no swearing and no excessive violence.

The digital issues of STRIP - for iPad only at present - are now available for just £1.99 each.

• STRIP Magazine for iPad Issue 1 here: 

• STRIP Magazine for iPad Issue 2 here: 

• STRIP Magazine for iPad Issue 3 here: 

• STRIP Magazine for iPad Issue 4 here:

Lancaster Game Designers win top award

Lancaster-based game designers Peter Cakebread and Ken Walton have won the award for Best Role-Playing Game at this year’s UK Games Expo in Birmingham, for their table-top steampunk role-playing game, Abney Park’s Airship Pirates.

Based on the songs of Seattle-based steampunk band Abney Park, the game book – lavishly illustrated by some of the top steampunk artists in the business – plunges the players into an alternate steam-powered future of strange cultures and weird gadgets. Players take on the roles of the crew of a time-travelling pirate airship in a game of storytelling and imagination.

“When we first contacted Robert Brown, lead singer of Abney Park, about the possibility of creating an RPG based on his songs, we didn’t realise how popular it was going to be,” said Ken Walton. “Steampunk is a much bigger phenomenon in the Unoted States than it is in Britain, so all the interest came as a bit of a surprise! It’s a great honour to win this award and we couldn’t have done it without all the contributions made by Robert, the artists, our publishers, and all the people who voted for us on the day.”

The game has already won the Diehard GameFANS Award for Best RPG Rule Book of 2011 and the Steampunk Chronicle Readers’ Award for Best Steampunk Game, and was shortlisted for an Origins Award too, which is given at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio.

Cakebread & Walton: Purveyors of Fine Imaginings, was set up in Lancaster in 2010. Airship Pirates RPG isn’t the only role-playing game they’ve written; the team have also produced the critically-acclaimed Clockwork & Chivalry, game set in an a fantasy version of the English Civil War, fought with magick and clockwork war machines. Both game lines are supported by an increasing number of supplements, and new games are in the pipeline.

Their games are distributed worldwide by Cubicle 7 Entertainment, who also market the Starblazer game based on DC Thomsons 1980s SF comic.

• For more information visit

Panel Borders: Brighton Comix

Continuing Panel Borders month of shows about comic book communities around the UK, Alex Fitch visits a meeting of Cartoon County in Brighton and chats to David Lloyd, Daniel Locke, Joe Decie, Steve Carroll, Nye Wright and Tim Pilcher about their work and how the experience of living and working on the South East Coast has influenced their comics. The show was recorded in June 2011, at The Cricketers Pub, Brighton.

- Panel Borders: Brighton Comix airs at 8.00pm, Sunday 10th June 2012, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / podcast after broadcast at

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Dan Dare Radio Show - Missing Episode surfaces

Back in 2008, I posted a news story here titled "Dan Dare's Holy Grail", reporting on the continued hunt for episodes of the Dan Dare radio show broadcast by Radio Luxembourg in the 1950s.

Aired on Radio Luxembourg between July 1951 and May 1956, the Dan Dare Radio Show, based on the first Dan Dare comic story from Eagle, was made on wax discs that were then sent to Luxembourg to be broadcast.

All episodes of the show were believed to be lost forever – but now, one, albeit a poor recording – has surfaced on the Internet (Mediafire link: I advise you should always scan for viruses before downloading anything from the Internet).

My source for the link tells me that one reason the quality is so bad is that, as well as it being recorded with a microphone next to a speaker (or more acurately, it sounds like the microphone is on the other side of the room), is that over the years the person who taped it recopied it from one tape to another several times (possibly with a mic next to a speaker again). One of the times this was done it was recorded at 15/16 speed which is the slowest a reel to reel will go, and that speed was almost never used as its too slow and quality is always bad.

My source also reports that two episodes of the Dan Dare show exist: recovered, it would seem, during an appeal for the return of lost or missing TV and audio shows in 2011 co-organised by the Kaleidoscope’s website (

The purpose of the appeal was to track down recordings of otherwise lost TV and radio shows that might exist in the lofts, sheds and cupboards of the general public, and was promoted on Radio 4’s PM programme and with a spot on the BBC website. A full list of materials found is listed in this PDF:

Sady, the recording of Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future: Episode 53 - The Lost World On Mars is described as "almost completely incomprehensible" (and I'm wondering if this is the episode that has surfaced online).

The other episode listed, Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future: Episode 76 - Under Sentence of Death aired on Radio Luxembourg on 21st January 1952 - but according to the PDF, the recording has been donated to Kaleidoscope "on the strict understanding that it will not be archived or otherwise distributed, without the owner's prior consent."

The Dan Dare Info site reveals Bob Danvers-Walker announced the Adventures of Dan Dare, whilst former Dick Barton actor Noel Johnson took the part of Dan, Digby was played by John Sharpe, Peabody by Anne Cullen, and the Mekon by Francis De Wolfe. Other parts were played by Kenneth Willams and Ralph Richardson. The series was produced in London by John Glyn-Jones.
The Dan Dare Radio Show was sponsored by drinks company Horlicks, who encouraged young listeners to enroll in the Horlicks Spacemans Club, and then marketed a series of related items that could be bought - usually for six pence and a label from a Horlicks jar. The Spaceman Club items included The Spacemans Club Handbook, a Dan Dare Tie, Spacefleet Service Identity Card, The Spacemans Club Badge, the Dan Dare Spaceship Cup (for drinking one's Horlicks, of course), and a Periscope.

RTL, the former Radio Luxembourg have been kind enough to search their archives for one fan, but copies of the show have never been found there and it is believed they were either destroyed after the broadcast, or when their "sell by date" expired.
However, like Doctor Who fans tracking missing TV episodes, there is a remote possibility copies of the show may exist elsewhere. Eagle, and many of its strips, was republished in many countries including Australia, France, Potugal and Croatia (to name but a few) and the radio show was also broadcast in Australia. The original scripts were also sent to Spain where they were translated into Spanish and broadcast by Spanish actors. (The name Dan Dare was quickly changed to Diego Valor).

In Australia, 4AK QLD and 4BK QLD Radio broadcast the show each Monday and Tuesday but so far, no-one has had any luck tracking copies down under. Unlike the Biggles radio show, the Australian National Film and Sound Archives does not appear to hold copies, but now fans are trying to find out of the series was ever broadcast or elsewhere.

It seems unlikely the show was broadcast in South Africa - as yet, no-one seems to have tracked down South African versions of Eagle comic - but New Zealand is a strong possibility.

The BBC’s Radio 4 produced a four part Dan Dare radio serial in 1990 - Dan Dare, Pilot Of The Future, again, based on the first comics story. This time Dan was played by Mick Ford, with Terrance Alexander as Sir Hubert.

John Ainsworth and Nichoas Briggs, who are these days better known for their work for Big Finish, produced a Dan Dare audio drama as a test, with David Banks (Doctor Who's Cyberleader) playing Dan Dare and Colin Baker playing Digby. Comic artist John Ridgway tells me he supplied Colin with reference for his to voice Digby and capture his Lancashire accent.

It's great to hear that at least some of these early shows do stil exist, and perhaps Kaleidoscope might consider passing a copy to the Dan Dare Corporation at some point so they could make it available to Dan Dare fans.

Dan Dare Info Radio Luxembourg Page

• Wiped Web Site:

• Dan Dare Corporation web site:

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Alternative Press Festival plans exhibtions and other lead-in events

Preparations are now in full swing for this year's International Alternative Press Festival on 4th-5th August 2012 at the Conway Hall, London.

The second International Alternative Press Festival will bring together UK and European small press comix, zines, book arts and print and after the success of last year’s IAPF the organisers have hired an extra room this year for even more small press goodness.

Leading up to the main fair there wil be two weeks of exhibitions at London's Orbital Comics including Dave Ziggy Greene, who draws for Private Eye and is published by French small press publisher Editions Meme Pas Mal.

Ten independent shops along Lamb's Conduit Street in Holborn will also be exhibiting Comix artists work, including Kevin Ward, Hurk and Tobias Tak, and Comix Reader Issue 4 will launch as part of the festival with an exhibition at GOSH! Comics.

All this will culminate in the main fair at the Conway Hall on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August where there'll be over 100 artists selling comix, zines, book arts, print and other self published work.

Also planned are workshops including a really cool Book Binding class with WeMakeBooks, while in the Bertrand Russell Room there will be a weekend of spoken word and poetry with Vintage Poison, ReadHorse Zine, Structo Magazine and the Camden School of Enlightnement.

• If you're Self Publisher there are still  spaces available and the orgaisers will be doing a second round of table allocations soon. Click here to apply on the Aternative Press Festival web site

Soviet Spitfires and Desert Dangers in new Commandos

Four more Commandos are now on sale, with new stories from Alan Hebden and Mac Macdonald, the latter's 'Soviet Spitfire' sure to interest fans of Battle's classic 'Johnny Red' strip. Here's the gen...

Commando No 4503: Operation Ultra
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Rezzonico Cover: Janek Matysiak

Operation Ultra as British Intelligence's top secret programme for the breaking of messages sent by Germany's Enigma machine. It was imperative that the enemy did not discover that the Allies had succeeded, or the cyphers would be changed and the war perhaps lost.

In 1943 Captain Bob Draper and Lieutenant Andy Coates of the Long Range Desert Group unexpectedly found themselves caught up in their own Operation Ultra. It was a deadly game of espionage and counter-espionage with all manner of double-crosses and treachery.

This wasn't just danger... it was ultra danger.

Commando No 4504: Soviet Spitfire
Story: Mac Macdonald Art and Cover: Carlos Pino

Paul Daly was a Spitfire pilot - a pretty good one as the DFC ribbon he wore attested. But being a fighter pilot isn't like being, say, an accountant. No, it's a risky business and all too soon a Luftwaffe shell put paid to his flying when it smashed into his knee.

Though part of him was glad to be out of danger, another part longed to get back in a cockpit once more, though he didn't think he'd have to travel to Russia to do it.

Commando No 4505: Diggers Die Hard
Originally Commando No 39 (October 1962)
Story: Eric Hebden Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Ken Barr

Johnny Grogan could do anything with that bulldozer of his. Build roads, clear forests, dig canals... he'd even make it sit up and beg if you asked him to.

Then came the day when he had to do something new with it, the day he had to turn it into a tank!

It was the Italian Army's fault - they should never have tried to get tough with a guy like Johnny Grogan. For they found they had a new war on their hands - Grogan's war!

"Here we have three members of the first Commando team to take to the field, playing their 'A' game, despite the hideous pun in the title willed on it by some editor or other," notes Commando Editor Calum Laird. "Eric Hebden's tale takes you to the outer fringes of the Second World War to find a nicely-off-the-wall situation. This is something Commando has often done over the tears, avoiding the obvious, seeking the novel.

"With Gordon Livingstone settled into his stride as a Commando illustrator par excellence and Ken Barr's stonking cover setting the right note this one is solid gold from start to finish. I think I might read it again."

Commando No 4506: Brigand Squadron
Originally Commando No 2073 (March 1987)
Story: Ian Clark Art: Terry Patrick Cover: Ian Kennedy

For fighter pilot David Morgan it was the proudest moment of his life when he was posted to the unit known as “Brigand Squadron”. They were famous for their brave deeds, and their motto was “Never run, never yield.”

But he was in for a nasty shock when he arrived. These men weren't fierce brigands, they were frightened sheep!

"Many people wonder how cover artist Ian Kennedy goes about his craft, and I hope he won't mind me sharing a little insight here," says Scott Montgomery, Commando Deputy Editor. "Just how does the artist manage to make each aircraft look so dynamic? Well, it's simple really. Every time Ian sits down at his drawing board he imagines that he's actually in the cockpit himself - ensuring that every picture is unique.

"You see, Ian had always wanted to be a pilot... but selfishly, we're glad that Mr Kennedy ended up drawing planes instead of flying them!"

downthetubes is pleased to offer an exclusive discount on a subscription to DC Thomson's Commando comic, entitling readers to save 50% by ordering using our special discount code! Follow this link to DC Thomson's subscription page. When prompted, enter this unique code COMDT - then make your payment and your subscription will be up and running! 

• 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

David Lloyd to launch weekly creator-owned digital comic

An all new sequential art magazine will soon be available exclusively through on-line subscription and was devised by David Lloyd, co-creator of V For Vendetta. It will be published as an 18-page weekly and form into seven issue volumes. There will then be a break in publication before the next seven issue volume begins its weekly release.

Contributors lined up for the project so far include David Lloyd, Kyle Baker, John McCrea, Phil Hester, Mark Wheatley, JC Vaughn, Billy Tucci, Bill Sienkiewicz, Steve Bissette, Marc Hempel, Yishan Li, Algesiras, Alain Mauricet, Alexandre Tefenkgi, Lew Stringer, David Leach, Phil Elliott, Carl Critchlow, Esteban Hernandez, Rory Walker, Dylan Teague, Dave Hine, Shaky Kane, Colleen Doran, Dan Christensen, Kev Hopgood, Ferg Handley, David Hitchcock, Paul Maybury, Henry Flint, Hunt Emerson, Roger Langridge, Cosmo White, Paul Peart Smith, Mychailo Kazybrid, Ben Dickson and Gavin Mitchell.

All creators keep the copyright on their individual characters, as one would expect from a company set up by a comic creator.

The on-line magazine has been funded by publisher David Lloyd, who has commissioned a web site - the site name as yet unrevealed - from which the weekly publication can be logged onto and read.

The comic allows creators to reap the benefits of the blossoming digital market without giving up their on-going in print work, but still manages to give subscribers a very good deal.

The comic relies on established names to attract comic readers who are aware of the reputation of the creators. This makes the shift to digital less daunting for creators and readers alike.

The weekly publication does not rely on the potentially huge audience beyond the direct sales market to succeed, but is designed to be viable even on a small percentage of the direct sales market. This can be achieved due to the structure of the company which David Lloyd has created, which is specifically designed to make money for the creators.

A seven issue subscription will cost £6.99/$10. More news as we get it!

In Review: Disrepute by Thom Ferrier

Disrepute by Thom Ferrier
Out: Now

The book: A collection of Thom's medicine-inspired cartoons, most originally published online at

The Review: Thom (in reality, Doctor Ian Williams), also author of Graphic Medicine and other books, editor at, has been sending me copies of his work for some time now. His work is keenly observed, often dark - some might say bleak - but throws up a mirror to the human condition as only someone working in health care, I suspect, could.

(Darryl Cunningham's strips evoke a similar view - I've yet to read similar life-inspired comics from a police or fire person, but I'd imagine they too might similarly be tinged with a black, acerbic melancholia).

According to his official bio, Thom has studied both medicine and art and is "a part time General Practitioner in a small rural market town somewhere in the UK" and has an interest in the Humanities and how the arts relate to medicine.

He most definitely, as claimed, has a vitriolic streak, often railing against the frustrations ofgovernment interference in medicine, managerialism and human greed, to name just a few of his targets for his cartoons and commentary.

Yet, while he's cutting about patients that, inevitably as he notes, "severely try his patience", for the most part his cartoons, while often full on darkly humoured, reveal a passion for the human condition, with a keen eye for eccentricity and personal foible - including his own.

The subject matter may often be unsettling - his cartoons about suicide are not for the squeamish, including one in which an individual builds a guillotine for his own use in his cellar - but this collection offers a compelling, beautifully printed 'taster' for Thom's larger work.

- To buy Disrepute or for more Information:

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Edinburgh Napier Creative Writing course plans 'Open Doors' event

The Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University has been called 'a radical departure' by The Times newspaper, and 'a life changing experience' by recent students.

On Wednesday 27th June, there's a chance to discover how the course could help you make writing your career with an Open Doors Event at the University. It features taster sessions that give you a flavour of the course's unique approach and you'll have the chance to quiz current students about their experiences, tour the creative writing suite, and ask the staff anything you want to know.

This event also offers the exclusive opportunity for a one-to-one consultation with reader-in-residence Stuart Kelly, and finishes with a special performance by writer-in-residence Robert Shearman (writer of the Doctor Who episode 'Dalek', among other things).

- You can order your ticket(s) here and there's a full itinerary which includes a talk by former 2000AD editor David Bishop, here

Monday, 4 June 2012

Beano Artist David Sutherland Exhibition and Talk

DC Thomson artist David Sutherland, who often signs his work simply as "DS", has been drawing The Bash Street Kids in The Beano since 1962, a remarkable 50 years. In addition to Bash Street, he was also the regular artist for Biffo the Bear for 17 years, from 1969 to 1986, and Dennis the Menace for 28 years from 1970 to 1998.

To celebrate his golden jubilee of working on The Bash Street Kids, the University of Dundee, in association with D C Thomson and the Scottish Centre for Comics Studies, are putting on an exhibition of his work at the University's Tower Building, home of the Dundee Comics Day, from 11 June to 15 August 2012. The exhibition will feature a selection of his original artwork from the DC Thomson archive.

In addition to the exhibition, on Wednesday 13 June 2012 at 7pm the University will host David Sutherland in conversation with former Beano editor Euan Kerr followed by a question and answer session for the audience. Admission to this talk is free with no need to book, simply turn up on the night.

The exhibition is taking place in the Baxter Suite, Room 1.36 of the University of Dundee's Tower Building and the opening times vary: 11 - 22 June, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm (except Wednesday 20 June, 10am - Noon) while during the summer recess, 27 June to 15 August, the exhibition will only be open on Wednesdays from 1pm to 3 pm.

There are more details of the exhibition and talk at the University Of Dundee's Museum Services website.

Images (c) DC Thomson and Co Ltd

Bryan Talbot scoops SNCF Award for Grandville Mon Amour

Congratulations to Bryan Talbot this morning, for winning the prestgious Prix SNCF prize for the French edition of his ace graphic novel Grandville Mon Amour.

Bryan won the Prix SNCF for best graphic novel at a ceremony at the Gare de Lyon, Paris on Tuesday 29th May.

Voted for by the general public, this is a national award given by the French railway company for the best in crime fiction.

"They give an award for best novel and best short film," Bryan told us. "This is the first year they've introduced the bande dessinée category and it was won by Grandville Mon Amour out of a long list of 50 and a shortlist of five."

The Milady blog (in French) has two stories on Bryan's win here and here.

- Bryan's official web site:

(With thanks to Jeremy Briggs for the Milady links)

In Review: The Loxley's and the War of 1812

The Loxley's and the War of 1812
Writer: Alan Grant
Artist: Claude St. Aubin
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Alexander Finbow
Publisher: Renegade Arts Entertainment
Diamond Code: APR121209
ISBN-13: 9780986820007

The Book: The story follows the Loxleys, a Canadian family living in the Niagara peninsula! as they're torn apart by the American invasion of Canada in 1812, and the subsequent war that raged across both countries as British troops, Canadian militia, and First Nation warriors sought to thwart the expansionist plans of the American government.

The story follows the characters through key historical events as they deal with the realities of war on their doorstep, the personal loss, setbacks and victories tied into the conflict.

The book comprises some 176 pages - 101 pages of story and 53-page summary of the warm written by acclaimed Canadian military historian Mark Zuehlke, presented with maps and illustrations.

The Review: Alan Grant, perhaps better known to DownThe Tubes readers for his work on 2000AD and Batman, delivers a superb script on this graphic adaptation of a little-known conflict that has echoes with troubles facing our contemporary world.

Enhanced still further by the beautiful line work of Claude St. Aubin, Grant not only tells the tale of the war itself - in which Britain most famously attacked and burnt the White House, but is also noted for some of the United States most appalling actions against Native Americans - but also gives the conflict a powerful humanity. With much of the war told from the perspective of those who fought and suffered because of it, the stupidity of the conflict and the actions of those who ran it are all the more exposed, such as the actions of men who stirred up the fight in the first place, then brokered for peace - only for both sides to continue fighting for months after a peace treaty hasd been signed, because negotiations took place on the other side of the Atlantic.

Alan Grant pulls no punches when it comes to the dangers of war, although there is none of the visceral horror that ocasionally graces his better known work. And yet such events as the massacre of troops, the casual disregard for human life by mercenaries are made more telling by Aubin's deceptively simple but beautifully realized line work.

The War of 1812 is perhaps little known to many on both sides of the Atlantic, despite its wider outcome: the development of Canada as an individual nation and a Canadian identity being perhaps one of the most obvious. For Britain, it was a war fought on the sidelines, when Europe was already mired in conflict with Napoleon. Fighting another war on the other side of the world at the same time must have - and clearly was - a logistical nightmare, with Britain's navy for example clearly under strength in comparison with its recent successes against the French in the Mediterranean and the Battle of Trafalgar.

This is a part of America's shared history peppered with what might have beens and what ifs, but The Loxley's and the War of 1812 never strays into such supposition, offering a straightforward and detailed re-telling, in pictures and text, of an oft-forgotten war. It's a terrific book, well deserving of a read by anyone at all interested in the period, and a powerful story of those caught up in war - at any time. Recommended.

- Note the Amazon link right is to, not

More Information:

- Renegade Arts:
- Facebook:
- Twitter:

In addition to the graphic novel, Renegade Arts Entertainment has also hired Oscar nominated screen writer Tab Murphy (Thundercats, Batman: Year One) to adapt the story into a school play, most recently performed at the Canmore Collegiate High School Theatre, as well as a movie screenplay.

Fans wanting more on The Loxley's and the War of 1812 can visit Renegade’s website,, which incorporates the fictional characters from the book, and takes you through the events leading up to, during and after the war.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jean Dujardin talks Lucky Luke

Jean Dujardin as Lucky Luke

I've just been catching up on news about Cinebook's upcoming releases, but alongside info on their new titles the bande dessines publisher has offered a quick reminder that the live action Lucky Luke film is now available on DVD.

Lucky Luke DVD
The release from Arrow Films, is well timed, considering the film stars Oscar winner Jean (The Artist) Dujardin stars as gun-slinging cowboy in this new comedy Western based on the best-selling French graphic novels.

When the President wants to restore law and order to Daisy Town there is only one man fit for the job ‘the man who shoots faster than his shadow’ – Lucky Luke! Accompanied by his faithful companion Jolly Jumper, the fearless Luke takes on Daisy Town’s worst criminals.

Crossing paths and gunfire with Billy The Kid, Jesse James, Calamity Jane and Pat Poker is there any cowboy star left for Luke to encounter?

First released in cinemas in 2009, web site Twitch praised the film's design, noting "the attention paid to the source material here is truly remarkable, the film looking like it simply leapt up off the printed page."

This fun spoof based on the classic comics by Morris and Goscinny also stars Michael Youn, Sylvie Testud and Daniel Prevost.

In a recent interview for the Huffington Post about the film last month, Dujardin revealed he's a huge fan of the original comic.

"At home, at your cousin's, in your godmother's bathroom, in the old cupboards of old houses in the country, there's always an old Lucky Luke around, often next to an old Tintin or Asterix," he said. "Out of the three comics, I've always felt closest to Lucky Luke. The drawings in Tintin are too minimalist, he always seemed too androgynous... I don't want to put the others down by comparison, but Lucky Luke was the only 'hero' to me. As a kid, I loved heroes on TV and in movies, and Lucky Luke was my comic book hero.

"I never doubted that I was Lucky Luke," he added, of playing the role. "It's very pretentious to say that, but I knew that I could be the character. Add something to him, give him masculinity, make him a movie hero. I'm convinced that if you worry too much about the way people see you, you become paranoid. You can't worry about what people think of you.  

"There's only one question to ask yourself: what do you really want to do? Go to Argentina for four months and be a cowboy? Then do it. Thanks to Lucky Luke, I had a western to do. A French western, but a western nonetheless."

Haynes launches Thunderbirds Manual

Thunderbirds Agents' User Manual
On sale this week in all good bookshops is The Haynes Thunderbirds Agents’ Technical Manual featuring some terrific art by Graham Bleathman and offering unprecedented insight into the (sadly, fictional) workings of the Thunderbirds craft and associated rescue vehicles.

With its fleet of incredible Thunderbirds craft piloted by the heroic Tracy brothers, International Rescue, the creation of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson for the 1960s Thunderbirds TV show, is the world’s foremost rescue organisation, equipped to answer any call for assistance.

Haynes - who are enjoying success with these fictional manuals, which rub shoulders with their better-known real world guides to the inner workings of cars and bikes - tell us the confidential Thunderbirds Agents’ Technical Manual has been created "specifically to support agents on their most dangerous of missions and includes a personal introduction by International Rescue’s Founder and Commander in Chief, Jeff Tracy, as well as background information on inventor Brains’ amazing technological and scientific achievements of the late 21st Century."

All of which evokes memories in fans of a certain age of the kind of "shared secrets" that were part and parcel of reading TV Century 21 comic in the 1960s.

Featuring detailed and fully annotated cutaway drawings by renowned artist Graham Bleathman, agents will also have access to International Rescue personnel profiles and never-been-seen-before top-secret mission files relating to all major International Rescue call-outs. It details how Jeff Tracy can launch and manage missions from his Pacific island base, the secret hangars and specialised equipment used in missions to date.

The Manual has been compiled by Sam Denham, a leading authority on the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, creators of Thunderbirds, and has written a variety of books and publications based on their programmes, in addition to working on other classic TV related projects.

Graham Bleathman is renowned for his cutaway drawings and no one knows more about the inner workings of the Thunderbirds vehicles. DownTheTubes readers may have seen his cutaway work before, in the 1980s Thunderbirds comic and elsewhere, and he's the artist on both Haynes Wallace and Gromit User Manuals. 

Reflecting the cross generational appeal of Thunderbirds, the Haynes Thunderbirds Agents’ Technical Manual also includes contributions from original Thunderbirds production artist Mike Trim, designer of many of the programme's famous 'pod' vehicles, and computer generated art created by talented young artist and film-maker Chris Thompson.

- Thunderbirds Agents’ Technical Manual will be available from all good bookshops from 7th June 2012 and direct from Haynes at or call 01963 442030, priced £14.99.



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