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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Panel Borders: Scott Snyder and Jock – The Black Mirror

In the first of a series of shows about comic book creators who collaborate together, Alex Fitch of radio show Panel Borders talks to writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock about their 2010 / 2011 collaboration on Detective Comics, collected as the graphic novel Batman: The Black Mirror.

Although Snyder’s current run on Batman is also winning critical acclaim, his first story showed his great affinity with the Dark Knight right from the start; The Black Mirror, also featured back-up tales illustrated by Francesco Francavella, which combine with the ‘features’ by Jock to tell a memorable tale of Jim Gordon’s estranged son James Junior returning home with murderous intent, while a former Robin, Dick Grayson, is protecting Gotham City as the Caped Crusader .

Recorded at Kapow! comics convention, London 2012 and broadcast 1st July 2012 on Resonance 104.4 FM, you can listen to the show over on Panel Borders now.

• The next new episode of Panel Borders will be broadcast / podcast on Sunday 15th July 2012.

Electric Man film heads for San Diego and London

The comics-inspired feature film Electric Man has been selected to screen at the San Diego Comic Con (full details here) and screens in London tomorrow night.

The movie was selected as only one of three feature films to play this year's San Diego event from over 200 initial entries and is a major boost to a small Edinburgh-based indie film company.

Toby Manley, Mark McKirdy and Fish, it's been described as "The Maltese Falcon meets The IT Crowd", a diverting mixture of romantic comedy and hectic chase thriller from co-writer/director David Barras.

Buddies Jazz and Wolf are the impoverished owners of Deadhead Comics and need £5,000 to save the business. When a mint condition copy of Electric Man issue 1 from 1937 turns up in their shop they think it's the answer to their prayers. But the coveted comic is hotly pursued by an American collector, the sinister Jimmy and a femme fatale by the name of Lauren McCall.

The dry wit of the screenplay and bantering relationship between the central duo are the star attractions in this impressive micro-budget production.

Reaction to Electric Man has been hugely positive, and it was BAFTA nominated in the script and score categories in the New Talent Awards and shortlisted as Best Feature Length drama at this year's Celtic Media Festival.

"An amusing hybrid of romantic comedy and hectic chase thriller” says Allan Hunter from Screen International of the film, while comic artist Frank Quitely calls it “A wonderfully twisty-turny comic caper, made and played with warmth, wit and genuine affection.”

"Shot in 19 days on a budget of £55,000, Electric Man is a good deal more polished and
confident than many recent micro-budget, independent Scottish efforts," notes Screen Daily. "... The dry wit of the screenplay and engaging performances help to carry the day. Attractive Edinburgh locations add to the appeal and the film should merit a realistic theatrical release."

"This isn’t simply a comics movie, it’s a terrific Indy movie set in Edinburgh that
anyone can enjoy," feels Joe Gordon over at the Forbidden Planet International blog. "... I really think you’re all going to enjoy..."

UK fans will get the chance to see the film this Sunday (8th July) at the Prince Charles Cinema in London, full details here. The production team are also running competitions for free tickets on twitter and Facebook - check out @electricmanfilm and

Friday, 6 July 2012

Treating Comics Seriously: Six Questions For Curator Jesper Ericsson

Jesper Ericsson is the curator of the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen which celebrates the 200 year history of the Gordon Highlanders infantry regiment from its creation in 1794 to its amalgamation with the Queen's Own Highlanders in 1994.

The museum is holding an exhibition entitled Steadfast! Commando at the Gordon Highlanders Museum from 9 July to 30 November 2012, named after the English translation, Steadfast, of the regimental motto, Bydand. Jesper told Jeremy Briggs about the background to the exhibition the museum and why he wanted to hold an exhibition of Commando artwork.

DTT: Could you tell me a little about the regiment and the museum?
Jesper Ericsson:
The Gordon Highlanders was one of the most famous infantry regiments of the British Army in its 200 years of existence (1794 - 1994), seeing service from the Napoleonic Wars, India, the North West Frontier, Afghanistan, both World Wars through to Malaya, Cyprus, Borneo, Northern Ireland and Bosnia. The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, is the current unit that includes in its antecedent history The Gordon Highlanders.

The Museum is a 5-Star Museum, one of only two in Aberdeen, and we are a completely independent self-financing charity. Because the number of core staff is so small, we would be lost without our extraordinary and loyal volunteers. We currently have around 180, who help in the tea room, guiding, collections, research and the garden. Many are Gordon Highlanders, some even who served in the Second World War, whereas others may have had family who were in the Regiment. Others come from different branches of the military and many have no connections to the Regiment at all! The Gordon Highlanders was very much a family Regiment, and that is how it still feels at the Museum thanks to our volunteers.

DTT: Did you read comics as a child and, since you became the curator of a military museum, were war comics a particular favourite?
I can safely say that reading comics such as Battle, Warlord and Commando set me up for where I am today! I think I was about 9 or 10 when I discovered war comics, and have kept all the issues I ever bought. As a kid growing up in Cambridge, I still remember cycling down to the market in the middle of town on a Saturday morning, heading for a particular book stall that sold second-hand Commando comics for 10p an issue, 5p if it wasn't in the greatest of condition. Then after buying 10 - 15 issues, it would be back to my local newsagent to pick up my issue of Battle or later Battle Action Force, then home to devour the stories and artwork!! Up in the loft I've got hundreds of issues of these three titles and I still look out for old comics at car boot sales or second hand shops, and buy new ones every month, so the interest and buzz of seeing amazing new artwork and stories has never left me.

DTT: Why chose to put on an exhibition of Commando artwork in the museum?
This is pretty much my dream exhibition, it's as simple as that, and when Calum Laird, Editor at Commando gave me the opportunity to loan artwork I absolutely leapt at it!

DTT: How did you choose the artwork that is on display and does it have any themes?
Choosing covers was both incredible and nightmarish. For every cover that was chosen, I could have happily picked a dozen more! There are themes - for example alongside the Commando display I've curated a special exhibition about The Gordon Highlanders in North Africa, in particular the Battle of El Alamein since it's the 70th anniversary of the battle later this year. In this special exhibition room, I've got quite a few desert themed covers, including issue 1 'Walk - or Die!' In the corridor outside, where the main Commando display is, it's a wide variety (air, sea and land) to try and show a 50-year sweep of what Commando is all about - from classic covers to some more unusual ones. I've also picked several with a Scottish theme to throw in the mixture. You'll have to come and visit to find out more!

DTT: The publicity for the exhibition includes an image by Ian Kennedy of a piper, what is the story behind this?
Yes, this is brilliant. When I was going through the covers, in the back of my mind I was looking for a 'poster boy', for want of a better expression. Then I came across this cover by Ian Kennedy from issue 2349 'Warrior Blood', published back in 1990 and never reprinted, and thanks to some wizardry from the Commando design team, he was magicked into a Gordon Highlanders piper! We're very chuffed with him indeed, as he's completely and utterly unique to us.

DTT: Will the museum have any events relating to the Commando exhibition during its run?
Most definitely. At 1pm on Monday 9 July, we've got a 'Meet the Commando Team' event at the Museum. This is completely free, but needs to be booked. We're hoping to see editor Calum Laird, deputy editor Scott Montgomery, graphic designer Grant Wood, former editor George Low plus artists Ian Kennedy and Gordon Livingstone, who will be taking questions and signing comics, so I'm really looking forward to that as you can imagine. We have also got art classes and other activities planned. The best place to look is the events page of our website, as any updates will be announced there first.

DTT: Jesper, thank-you for your time.

The Steadfast! Commando At The Gordon Highlanders Museum runs from 9 July to 30 November 2012. Entrance to the exhibition is included in the normal museum admission price.

There are more details of the Gordon Highlanders Museum at the
museum website and an up-to-date listing of all the museum's events in the website's events section.

There are more details of Commando at the official Commando
comic website.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Print Express launch Comic Printing Competition

The folk at British online printers Print Express love designers, writers, artists and anything creative and they've been running a number of competitions to help support interesting, creative people. Now they've decided to do something a little bit special - and if you create comics (but haven't yet had any professionally published), then this competition is for you.

If you send Print Express a e-copy of your comic, they'll pick a winner from their favourite entries and produce a small number of professionally printed books of it (enough copies for you to give to some friends, or you can use the extra copies as portfolios).

"We've run some competitions for writers in the past," a spokesperson told us, "but this is the first time we've ever run a competition for comic artists so we're not quite sure how to get the word out. If you think the readers of downthetubes would be interested in entering our competition, we'd love it if you'd be kind enough to mention our competition on your site."

We're happy to oblige. To enter, please email your comic as a PDF to: - or, if you find it easier, email them the link to your comic on your site or blog.

The full details of the competition are here on their blog, but the rules are as follows:
  • Please, nothing stronger than a PG rating
  • The comic must have been created by you, and you must have the rights to it
  • You keep the full rights to your work
  • Print Express would like to post a few images from your comic on their blog, so only enter if you're happy with them granting them that right (they won't publish it anywhere else, other than in the books they send you).
  • There's no entry fee and the competition is open to everyone
  • Only one entry per person, so please only send us your favourite
  • Deadline is 8th August 2012

Glasgow Comic Con 2012: More Pictures

Following up on our review of Glasgow Comic Con, here are some more pictures from the event, courtesy of the organisers. Photography by by Alasdair Watson © Alasdair Watson & Glasgow Comic Con

Queueing around the block

Newly-signed creators for Black Hearted Press

Doctor Strange sees all!
A new 2000AD fan meets writer John Wagner

Comic artist and writer Jim Starlin signs for fans

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely on stage

Steadfast! Commando Art Exhibition in Aberdeen

For the third time in less than twelve months the Commando archive has been opened to allow artwork to be used in a public exhibition. After the Draw Your Weapons exhibition in London's National Army Museum and the Battlelines exhibition in the University Of Dundee barely a month later, the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen are about to present Steadfast! Commando at The Gordon Highlanders Museum.

This is a new display of Commando artwork especially selected by the museum from the DC Thomson archive and includes a special section commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein and the role of the Gordon Highlanders in the Desert War in 1942 and 1943. The exhibition opens at the museum on Monday 9 July 2012 and runs until Friday 30 November 2012 and entrance to the Steadfast! exhibition is included in the general admission price for the museum.

In addition to the exhibition itself, the museum will be holding the following tie-in events -

Meet the Commando Team - Monday 9 July 2012
"A unique opportunity to meet the team behind Commando Comics. A short talk will be followed by a Q&A and signing session."
This session will include Commando editor Calum Laird, deputy editor Scott Montgomery, graphic designer Grant Wood, former editor George Low and two long time Commando and DC Thomson artists, Ian Kennedy and Gordon Livingstone.
Monday 9 July, Sir Jack Hayward Room, 13.00 – 14.00. Free but booking required. This is a family event for age group 5+.

Operation: Art Attack! Children’s Session - Friday 20 July 2012
"To coincide with our special exhibition, Steadfast! Commando at The Gordon Highlanders Museum, we are offering this unique opportunity to create your very own Commando style comic. Starting with basic building blocks you will discover the techniques needed to bring a story to life through illustration and design. Working with an artist you will create a finished piece by the end of the session."
Friday 20 July, The Education Room, 10.00 – 12.00, then a one hour break for lunch before restarting at 13.00, ending at 15.00. Lunch not provided, bring your own or use the museum tearoom. Cost £10.00 per child (payment made on the day), booking required. Suitable for age group 9+.

Operation: Art Attack! Adult Session - Saturday 21 July 2012
As above.
Saturday 21 July , The Education Room, 10.00 – 12.00, then a one hour break for lunch before restarting at 13.00, ending at 15.00. Lunch not provided, bring your own or use the museum tearoom. Cost £15.00 per adult (payment made on the day), booking required. Suitable for age group 16+.

Commando Collage - Wednesday 25 July 2012
"Commando covers are famous for their vibrant design, action and accuracy. This class will explore our special exhibition as inspiration to design your very own Commando comics front cover using collage techniques. "
Wednesday 25 July, The Education Room, 11.00 – 13.00. £2 per child (payment made on the day), booking required. Suitable for age group 5+.

Steadfast! Commando At The Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen runs from 9 July to 30 November 2012.

There are more details about the exhibition on the
museum website and an up-to-date listing of all the museum's events in the website's events section.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

2000AD announces San Diego ComicCon schedule

Along with many British comic creators, 2000AD, the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic will be flying the flag for British comics and heading to the greatest show on Earth with a packed schedule of exclusive signings and panels.

"San Diego Comic-Con 2012 will be truly Dredd-ful this year as we celebrate the impending release of DREDD 3D in September," a 2000AD spoke-droid told us. "We’ll have top Dredd artist, Jock, all to ourselves, while we’re also entertaining Greg Staples, Pat Mills and Clint Langley! We’ll also be revealing the details of the new Dredd series with IDW, plus unveiling some exciting news about 2000AD’s future. All signings take place at Booth 2806, with details of the panels below.


• Masters of the Web — featuring Karl Urban, with artists Jock and Greg Staples, the panellists include some of the top online bloggers and journalists. Room 24ABC, 4.30pm – 5.30pm


• EXCLUSIVE Jock sketching/signing: 11am – 1pm
• EXCLUSIVE first screening of Dredd, Reading Cinemas Gaslamp on 701 5th Ave., San Diego – 10pm

• Clint Langley sketching/signing: 11am – 12pm
• IDW’s Chris Ryall, Dredd movie concept artist Jock, 2000AD’s Matt Smith and Ben Smith, and some very special guests join moderator Douglas Wolk to announce the creative team of IDW’s series, talk about the return of the Dark Judges, and much more. Room 8, 12.30pm – 1.30pm
• EXCLUSIVE Jock sketching/signing: 2pm – 4pm

• Clint Langley sketching/signing: 11am – 12pm
• Greg Staples sketching/signing: 1pm - 2pm
• EXCLUSIVE Jock sketching/signing: 2pm - 4pm

• Pat Mills/Clint Langley dual sketching/signing: 11am – 1pm

In Review: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century: 2009

Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Kevin O'Neill
Colourist: Ben Dimagmaliw
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Chris Staros
Publisher: Top Shelf productions / Knockabout
80 PAGES Paperback, 260 X 170mm
ISBN 9780861661633

The Book: The third chapter of the third volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen continues the adventures of the three surviving members of the League – Allan Quartermain, Wilhelmina Murray and Orlando – from the preceding instalments.

As the story begins, in the titular year of 2009, Orlando is the last survivor of a massacre he is responsible for in the fictional Middle Eastern locale of Q'Mar and about to be given a medal as a war hero. The character returns to the underground base as seen in Century: 1969, and while beginning one of his regular transformations into a woman, Orlando is visited by Prospero from the Blazing World and instructed to reform the league and find the missing Quartermain and Murray before the apocalypse they've been trying to avert all century comes to pass.

To aid Orlando on this mission, she contacts a character previously seen in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Black Dossier for help and begins a quest to stop the now adult moon-child / Antichrist, which series antagonist Oliver Haddo has managed to create, from destroying the world.

The Review: An epic finale to volume III of the increasingly inaccurately titled League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – although a league is equivalent to three miles, common parlance would suggest it should be a team of more than three members, and volume IV looks likely to feature a league where the women outnumber the men – which sees the plot strands of the previous two instalments, as well as many elements from Black Dossier wrapped up before setting up the future of the team.

The comic displays the creative team's exemplary talent in creating a gripping, thought-provoking and entertaining title as much as ever, however while the story does provide an appealing conclusion to volume III of the franchise, 2009 is less satisfying than its predecessors in using the recent cultural landscape to provide a fictional universe.

The previous instalments of Century used iconic pieces of fiction and fact to weave compelling backdrops to each issue's story. 1910 combined The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill with Moonchild by Aleister Crowley, mixing in the actual events of the year such as the coronation of George V and the appearance of Halley's Comet, while 1969 combined elements of Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin, Performance by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg and Get Carter by Mike Hodges and Ted Lewis with the backdrop of events happening in 1969 in the lives of The Rolling Stones such as the death of Brian Jones and the band's performances in Hyde Park and Altamont.

In comparison, 2009 sees Moore and O'Neill mainly use only one popular fantasy franchise as fictional inspiration and little – beyond the opening scene in the Middle East – from the real 2009, which saw such events as increased militaristic posturing by North Korea, the second activation of the Large Hadron Collider and the death of Michael Jackson, which could have informed the plot. Vaguely hysterical newspaper headlines from around the time of the release of the comic on June 18th 2012 will probably have spoiled the identity of the Antichrist in 2009 for many people, but this was signposted in the previous instalment when Tom (whose “middle name is a Marvel” and “last name's a Conundrum”), a teacher of “occult studies at a school up North” absorbs an evil spirit and disappears through a wall next to Platform 10 at King's Cross station.

Certainly, the fictional franchise this character is the main antagonist from, is one that has been incredibly successful in both print and film formats, so you can see why it would be tempting for Moore to co-opt some of the characters and situations, particularly as the film adaptations have been a major cash cow for Time Warner, owners of previous League (and Watchmen) publishers DC Comics. However, the fictional landscape in recent years has been richer than that, regardless of Moore's protestations on the subject, so there could have also been references to the work of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and even the author's own work (beyond a character transforming from a 'real' person into a drawing, as previously seen in his Neonomicon). In the League's timeline, fantastical creatures were banished from the Earth in the 17th century, but the massive re-emergence of fantasy as a genre due to the work of Pratchett, Gaiman and J.K. Rowling should have seen more fantasy in the fictional mash-up of the year being presented to us, which the League has always typified in the past.

Specific fictional events in previous instalments have come from fictions written both before and after the years each issue has been set in – for example the events in a fictional 1910 (or thereabouts) as later conceived of by Brecht and Crowley – and there have been a handful of apocalypse fictions set in 2009, such as the backstory of the films I am Legend and Roland Emmerich's 2012, not to mention alien incursions witnessed by the media in Cloverfield, Doctor Who and Torchwood – the latter two being referenced anyway via pictorial cameos by a couple of Doctors and Captain Jack Harkness. Instead, the rest of the fictional landscape of 2009 is used to cameo various British comedies from The Thick of it to The Fast Show and fifty years of James Bond on screen. One could argue the dismal world presented in Century: 2009 is due to much of our recent fiction being overshadowed by the rise of 'reality television', but if I could find half a dozen SF antecedents for a fictional 2009 by spending five minutes on wikipedia, it seems odd that Alan Moore hasn't provided his 2009 with a richer fictional backdrop.

The previous two instalments of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century, not to mention Black Dossier, which is also a must read to recognise a handful of returning characters and situations in Century, were more ambitious and challenging than the original two volumes published by DC. Criticisms levelled at 1910 and 1969 have been mainly due to too many obscure references and the odd habit of characters breaking into song, and neither criticism is that valid, looking at Moore's work as a whole. With 2009 both the obscure references and the singing are kept to a minimum and ironically the issue is less satisfying, as it sacrifices some of its meta-textuality for a simpler narrative than its predecessors.

However, while the main plot may be a little over-familiar and derivative – which is at least suitable, considering the franchise Moore is riffing on – the excellence of the characterisation both in terms of script and Kevin O'Neill's sensitive handling of the characters is as great as ever. The continuing theme of immortals dealing with the emotional and intellectual problems of their continued existence becomes increasingly paramount in this instalment (references to baryonic matter and immortality via Century's back-up text story 'Minions of the Moon', suggest an influence by Stephen Baxter, a writer who's also a fan of and sequel writer to the works of H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke) and I sincerely look forward to the continuation of this narrative in volume IV and the proposed shorter issues set in between the instalments we have already.

Second Glasgow Comic Convention proves success

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely at Glasgow Comic Con 2012. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely at Glasgow Comic Con 2012. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
David Robertson of Fred Egg Comics reports on a weekend offering a range of big name guests and upcoming comics revelations... Photos kindly provided by Craig Hastie at Comics Anonymous

The second Glasgow Comic Convention moved into two venues this year, giving more room, with small pressers, Waterstones and various signings happening right across the street from The Mackintosh Church at Queens Cross Hall. The event was still a bit tight at times. At one point there was a single line of people that split off to Jim Starlin sketching, a snack / coffee vendor and the toilet.

There were lots of events on, and as with all cons, you had to pick and choose. The first talk I attended was a panel with writers David Bishop, Alan Grant and John Wagner and Multiverse editor Mike Conroy asking the usual questions such as “Why do you think 2000AD has lasted so long?” David Bishop came up with a memorable line, describing the big superhero companies constant representing of their characters and stories as “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.

Next was a Cosmic comics talk with artists Rufus Dayglo and Jim Starlin and writer Eddie Deighton. Dayglo swore a lot, which was disconcerting as there were a fair amount of kids in the room. He also was the most politically vocal of all the guests over the weekend, stating his displeasure at Marvel Comics’ poor treatment of Jack Kirby’s estate.

Artist Jim Starlin. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Artist Jim Starlin. Photo: Craig Hastie 
of Comics Anonymous
Jim Starlin was asked what he thought of the movies that featured the characters he’d created to which he remarked that he had to pay to see (SPOILER WARNING) Avengers, in which Thanos pops up at the end for 30 seconds. He wryly commented that he could find no fault with it.

During Saturday, attendees were encouraged to vote in the SICBA Awards for small press comics. The books were available to read to help you make your choice, and the winners were announced on Saturday night.

There are always things going on at comics conventions that make you wonder what the connection is to comics. The ICW Wrestlers were in attendance, ostensibly to judge a cosplay competition, but really to stage one of their mock bouts onstage to publicise an event they were holding in Glasgow on Sunday night.

Changes to the schedule meant that after going across the road to see Jim Starlin signing as advertised I found he was actually in the church in the dealers’ hall. Also Mike Ploog and Colin MacNeill did not turn up at all, which was disappointing.

Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison appeared on stage to end Saturday. Maintaining his mystique, Morrison appeared only as he walked onstage. He seemed a bit nervous at first, which was perhaps understandable as he was appearing to his home crowd. Notable in his talk was his statement that in his upcoming revamp of the Charlton Comics characters, he plans to update the storytelling techniques of Watchmen. The example he gave was that instead of having a nine panel grid structure on each page, he would have eight panels. This talk was a lot shorter than advertised so they could move on to a signing session.

Cosplayers at the Con. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Cosplayers at the Con. 
Photo: Craig Hastie of 
Comics Anonymous
Sunday was a quieter day from the beginning. It started off with a quiz. Comedian Billy Kirkwood was shouting in order to get the crowd enthused, and asked a organiser if he was allowed to swear. The answer came in the affirmative and it wasn’t long before we’d heard more swearing onstage.

Then came Rufus Dayglo and Karrie Fransman. They were the first comics creators of the weekend to actually talk about making comics, which was great. Specifically, they talked about how they approach the blank page and decide what to put in their stories. Dayglo said he was sick of reading dark superhero stories all the time, and laughingly pointed out a Batman cosplayer off to one side of the stage – “I can see Batman over there giving me the evil eye; “I’ll pull you offstage. I’ll f*** you up”

During John Wagner’s talk he revealed that he can see himself retiring very soon. He said there is one more Judge Death story that he thinks looks really great. Wagner became very enthusiastic when talking about his hobby/small business of keeping chickens and selling eggs around his village.

I quickly ran off to catch up with Frank Quitely, whom I’d first met at Dundee Comics Day last year. He always makes time to encourage small pressers.

Although he wasn’t scheduled to do so, Jim Starlin spent all weekend signing and sketching. In the final talk of the weekend, he revealed that he made up his Warlock stories in the 1970s by sitting down, drawing and making it up as he went along. He also said that when he killed off Robin in Batman, it created lots of publicity, but there was masses of merchandise that featured Robin still in the stores and so Starlin’s name became mud and his DC work dried up in the space of two weeks.

Starlin stated that both his own mother and his mother-in-law are both very ill and this is inspiring him in a direction for a final Dreadstar story. Starlin’s talk was a really great way to end the weekend and when it was over he received an ovation that appeared to make him a bit embarrassed.

The weekend was very enjoyable, and I hope the rumours of a third next year turn out to be true.

Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Craig Hastie, Sha Nazir of Black Hearted Press, Frank Quitely and Jim Stewart 
on stage at Glasgow Comic Con 2012.
Photo courtesy of Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

75 years of The Dandy exhibition

To tie-in with the 75th anniversary of the Dandy, the Cartoon Museum will be holding an exhibition of all all things Dandy related this autumn. Opening on 24th October the museum promises a fun exhibition for all the family and for readers young and old.

More details can be found on the museum website (

Monday, 2 July 2012

No Heroes But One Award!

The “little comic that could” No More Heroes picked up the award for Best Comic at the SICBA (Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards) event held at Glasgow Comic Con over the weekend.

The four-issue mini-series about the suspicious death of the world’s greatest superhero and his sidekick’s search for the truth has picked up a lot of attention since its March debut thanks to its unusual origins. When its writer Gordon Mclean lost his job he used his redundancy money to fund the comic and teamed up with artist Caio Oliveira to make his dream of being a comic creator a reality.

“Winning this award is an incredible honour and a hell of a way to top off what’s already been a shockingly successful few months for our comic," says Gordon. "We’ve sold a hefty amount of copies of what’s basically a debut comic by an unknown creative team and of course there was the bizarre situation of seeing issue one becoming the most pirated comic in the British indie scene and sitting in the torrent charts next to Batman and The Walking Dead. Sod it, I’m putting that in the win column too!”

 Gordon and Caio are now planning on using their success to find a publisher for No More Heroes and take their comic to a wider audience.

“If ever there was a time to get a publisher to pick up our comic it’s now," Gordon enthuses. "We’re award-winning, the response from readers and critics has been incredibly positive and we’ve received a lot of attention from comic book websites, magazines, blogs, podcasts etc.

"A special thank you to Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool – he’s been a hell of a supporter of No More Heroes and by featuring it on his website he raised its profile immensely.

 “I’ve also adapted the title into a film script that’s picked up some studio attention," Gordon reveals. "If all of this this isn’t enough to convince a publisher that this is a hit comic waiting to happen then I don’t know what is!”

Glasgow Comic Con was founded in 2010 by Sha Nazir and John Farman – two respected figures in the Scottish independent comics scene and co-owners of Black Hearted Press. This year’s guests included Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Jim Starlin, John Wagner and Rufus Dayglo.

• Anyone interested in No More Heroes should its official website at 

British Comic Awards launched

News today (via The Emperor and the Forbidden Planet Blog) of the launch of the British Comic Awards website.

The British Comic Awards is described as a brand new initiative to annually celebrate the very best in British comics. The organisers aim to commend and highlight the best stories told by writers and illustrators over the past twelve months.

"Our awards recognise the finest examples of creativity, ingenuity, skill and originality in sequential storytelling in all genres and formats. We don’t distinguish between printed work and digital, or between published and self-published work; our only criteria is that the creator(s) be from the UK.

"The Awards are designed to focus on the work itself and the wonderful stories being told by the wealth of talent in this country."

There are only five awards which will emphasise the high quality of all the nominated books, not just the winners and these are:

• Best Comic for short-form, self-contained stories.

• Best Book for long-form comics and collections.
• Young People’s Comic Award for short and long form comics suitable for children voted for by young people.

• Emerging Talent to recognise irrepressible talent and potential in a young or new creator.

• Hall of Fame to commemorate the career and legacy of an influential figure from Britain’s rich comic history.

More details about each category can be found on the site's Awards page.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Scotch Corner Art Blog Celebrates Its 3rd Birthday

The Scotch Corner daily art blog is celebrating its third birthday and, like last year, has called on a number of guest artists to give a short holiday to the Scotch Corner regulars, artdroids Graeme Neil Reid, Gary Erskine, Simon Fraser and Alex Ronald, and artists Jon Hodgson, Andy Hepworth and Thomas Crielly.

The first guest for July is artdroid Henry Flint who provides the illustration of a 2000AD cover for the current Judge Dredd saga 'Days Of Chaos'. In addition to several images, each guest will answer a series of questions and Henry reveals that his first published work wasn't in 2000AD but actually in The Dandy where he, as a reader, sent in a picture of Deperate Dan which won him Star Letter and a jigsaw.

Further guests to come in July include Paolo Rivera, Mike Austin, Paul Bourne, Simon Gurr and INJ Culbard.

The Scotch Corner art blog is here.

New Futurequake, Zarjaz now on sale

Futurequake 21
The latest issues of the ace indie comic titles FutureQuake and the 2000AD-inspired Zarjaz are now on sale.

Behind the cover of Futurequake Issue 21 by Gibson Quarter and Keiren Smith there are eight strips to astound you, including 'Aclonement', a two-pager by writer Dominic Teague and artist Charlie Parsons and letterer Bolt-01; 'Before Tomorrow Comes' by writer Joshua Spiller, artist John Cahill; 'Call of Nature' by writer Lee Robson and artist Jason Smith; and other contributins from creators Dan Fox, Ben Michael Byrne Pete Hobson, Max Dunbar, Gary Robinson, Dave Thomson, Ricky-Marcel Pitcher, Gibson Quarter, Craig Collins, Sam Weller, Derek Hamill, and artist Dan Cornwell.

Behind the ace Judge Dredd cover for Zarjaz 15 by Edmund Bagwell, Peeps the butler droid delivers Judge Dredd strips aplenty and more from the likes of Samson Horn, Phillip Vaughan, Lee Robson, David Broughton, Mark Howard, Alex Paterson, Bolt-01, Kevin Levell, Shaun Avery, Simon Bennett Hayes, Rich Wells, Nora Rodriguez, Richmond Clements and Stephen Prestwood.

The samples sent to intrigue and tantalize simply leave us urging you check out both great titles.

- Check out both titles at:


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