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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Aline & Robert Crumb at Comica Festival 2012

Aline and Robert Crumb
Photograph: Lora Fountain
The Comicica Festival is starting to announce this year’s stunning line-up for the 9th London International Comics Festival, spreading across the month of November and across assorted venues all over the capital. And it doesn’t get much classier than welcoming Aline and Robert Crumb to make their only public appearance exclusively at Comica.

The Crumbs are in the UK to launch their collected autobiographical comics in an essential hardcover compendium Drawn Together, published in the UK by Knockabout Comics.

• Aline and Robert Crumb will be at Foyles in Charing Cross Road, London on Saturday 3rd November at 6.30pm. Sign up right now for the Comica Newsletter to get first notification of how and when you can buy tickets (which will be limited and of course in high demand), or check  the website regularly for further updates:

"Heroes and Idols" up and running in Edinburgh

Heroes and Idols is a new retail presence at the Games Hub, Edinburgh.

The store stocks a whole range of comics and related merchandise, and tells downthetubes theywill be organising exclusive signing events and comic and toy marts in the future.

"We are happy to order stock in for customers," James Lundy tells us, "and offer massive discounts on pre-order items."

• The Games Hub is at 101 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9JB. You can find out more information from their blog here: 

downthetubes Comic Shops UK Map (via GoogleMaps)

View UK Comic Shops and Exhibitions in a larger map

Grant Morrison headlnes Dundee Comics Day

A reminder that one of the world’s most successful comics writers, Grant Morrison, heads the stellar line-up of top industry talent appearing at this year’s Dundee Comics Day.

The annual event, part of the Dundee Literary Festival, takes place on Sunday, 28th October and this year’s programme, entitled ‘Invisible Symmetries: The Comics of Grant Morrison’, celebrates the work of the Glasgow-born writer.

It will be preceded by two special events in the run-up to Comics Day – a screening of the documentary ‘Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods’ at Dundee Contemporary Arts on Friday 26th, and a two-hour workshop on creating comics using Manga Studio on Saturday 27th. This workshop will be delivered by Dave Gibbons, the co-creator of Watchmen and one of the world’s most respected comics artists.

Grant Morrison began his career at the famous Dundee publishers DC Thomson before going on to work for Marvel and DC Comics and write for many of the world’s best-loved publications, including Superman, Batman and X-Men.

He will be discussing his approach to writing comics, his thoughts about superheroes (as expressed in his recent book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero), and his experience of working with some of the best comics artists in the world.

Joining him at the event will be several of his collaborators, including Frank Quietly, Peter Doherty, Rian Hughes, Frazer Irving and Cameron Stewart. They will talk about their experience of working with Grant Morrison, as well as discussing their wider careers and future projects.

Dr Chris Murray, event organiser and one of the UK's foremost authorities on the subject, said Grant Morrison’s upcoming appearance was causing a great deal of excitement among comics fans.

“Grant Morrison is, quite simply, a legend in the world of comics,” he said. “Having him come here is a real honour and we are absolutely delighted to be able to pay tribute to a truly great comics writer.

“The fact he is Scottish and began his career with DC Thomson is testament to the great comics tradition here. We have a fantastic line up of other artists and writers and this is an event no true comics fan should miss. We know that people are planning to travel considerable distances for this year’s Dundee Comics Day so I’d advise people to get their tickets fast.”

Dundee is one of the great powerhouses of comics production, not just in the UK, but internationally. The publisher DC Thomson is at the heart of the city, with its long running comics, The Beano and The Dandy, and a host of beloved characters, such as Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan, and the Bash Street Kids.

Building on this local tradition and expertise, the University of Dundee is currently leading the way in this emerging academic field, with modules on comics at undergraduate level and the UK’s first Masters course in Comics Studies.

The Scottish Centre for Comics Studies (SCCS) is based at the University, bringing together researchers, teachers, archivists, artists and writers, industry professionals, and others involved in the promotion of Comics Studies.

Comics Day has been held annually since 2007 and has attracted some of the biggest names in the industry, including artists, historians, scholars and writers, in that time. It is designed to appeal to anyone with an interest in comics, and will be accompanied by an exhibition of comic art work. Book signings, talks and the announcement of the Dundee Comics Prize winners will also take place.

The events will be held in the D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre and Baxter Suite, Tower Building, University of Dundee. More information about any of the events is available by contacting Dr Murray at

• To buy tickets, please visit Tickets are also available from Literary Dundee, 6th floor, Tower Building, University of Dundee, tel 01382 384413.


Transitions 3 - Keynote announced

The Transitions symposium is fast approaching, taking place on Saturday 3rd November at Birkbeck College, London.

Transitions is a one-day symposium promoting new research and multi-disciplinary academic study of comics/ comix/ manga/ bande dessinée and other forms of sequential art.

The keynote will come from Dr. Julia Round (Bournemouth University) and Dr. Chris Murray (University of Dundee), editors of Studies in Comics and Dr. Roger Sabin (Central St. Martins).

Transitions is part of Comica 2012, the London International Comics Festival, and is organised in association with Birkbeck, University of London; the School of Film and Television Studies and the School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia; Studies in Comics (Intellect), European Comic Art (Berghahn), Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics (Routledge), the Contemporary Fiction Seminar and The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship.

This event is free, but please register your attendance by email at transitions[dot]symposium[at]gmail[dot]com

• The programme can  be accessed here on the Comica web site and here

Hobbycrafts and Art Materials Live back at Birmingham NEC

The Crafts for Christmas, Hobbycrafts and Art Materials Live! Event takes place from 8-11 November at the NEC, Birmingham.

With everything you need for a beautiful handmade Christmas, the organisers say it's the perfect way to add some sparkle to the festive period this year - but downthetubes readers might simply want to check out the range of creative talent and find out more about their work, whatever the season. The Arts Material Live section also sounds like it might have things to offer artists who follow this site.

Whether it's a cuddly snowman for a little one, some festive decorations for the house or a beautiful necklace for that special someone, Crafts for Christmas offers a huge selection of handmade gifts and crafts from hundreds of exhibitors. A brand new Graduate Area will bring together an abundance of work from the very best of newly qualified British designers and makers. On sale will be gifts that include textiles, glass, wood, metal, jewellery, furniture and much more.

Quite asides from the Christmas-oriented areas like the Prima Magazine Craft Theatre, where you can pick up some clever ideas to add some creative handmade touches to your decorations and a Festive Food and Drink aisle, Hobbycrafts is the UK's largest creative crafts show.

The organisers claim it will be bigger and better than ever this year, with over 200 exhibitors bringing the best of the creative craft world together. Stock up and discover all the latest innovations and supplies from the world of creative craft and speak personally to the exhibitors for their advice and ideas.

With everything from stamping, beading and jewellery making to papercraft, cardmaking and calligraphy - you will find everything you need for your next hobbycraft project.

All visitors can enjoy a free programme of Quick & Easy Workshops, Make & Take sessions, Talks and Demonstrations each day of the show, as well as experts including popular TV craft personality Stephanie Weightman.

Art Materials Live is the UK's liveliest and biggest art materials show, where leading professional artists will be on hand to offer the very latest in art supplies, ideas and innovations as well as their top tips and advice to leave you feeling inspired and enthused.

Visitors to the show can attend one of the pre-bookable hands-on workshops organised by the Leisure Painter & The Artist Magazines, or can vote for their favourite painting in the 'Simply the Best' competition. Some of the best artists in the country will be demonstrating a variety of techniques, showcasing a whole range of mediums, materials and subject matter from which you can learn.

• For more information and to find out what's coming up at the NEC, visit or follow The NEC, Birmingham on LinkedIn. Tickets for Crafts for Christmas, Hobbycrafts and Art Materials Live! are on sale now priced at £9-£12 for a one day ticket and £14-22 for a two or three day ticket and are available from The Ticket Factory: or 0844 338 8000.


Friday, 19 October 2012

Panel Borders featuring Hannah Berry and Julian Hanshaw

Panel Borders: Sussex to South Asia and stops in-between

Continuing a month of shows about travel in comic books and graphic novels, Alex Fitch talks to Julian Hanshaw about his new collection of short stories, I'm Never Coming Back which includes his award winning entry to the Observer / Cape Graphic Short Story Prize, and depicts magical-realist stories of travel around the globe.

Also, in a talk given at Laydeez do Comics earlier this year, Hannah Berry discusses her second graphic novel, Adamtine, which tells the tale of a group of people trapped on a mysterious, sedentary train in the middle of the night, the paths that lead them there and their attempts to escape.

8pm, Sunday 21st October, Resonance 104.4 FM / streamed at / extended podcast after broadcast at

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Creating Aces Weekly: Behind the Scenes with editor Bambos Georgiou

Interest in Aces Weekly, a new weekly digital comic conceived by David Lloyd, has accelerated now the title is up and running, with the project attracting plenty of press attention at last weekend's New York Comic Con.

downthetubes caught up with Aces Weekly editor (and comic book inker) Bambos Georgiou and creator David Lloyd to get the latest on the project.

David Lloyd

As the co-creator of V for Vendetta and creator of the graphic novel Kickback, David Lloyd should need no introduction to regular downthetubes readers. He originally trained as a commercial artist in an advertising art studio before becoming a strip cartoonist in 1977 and his numerous credits include Night Raven and Doctor Who strips for Marvel UK, Hellblazer, Slaine, War Stories, Global Frequency, Aliens, Marlowe: The Graphic Novel and much, much more. Aces Weekly is his latest project, breaking new ground in the digital comics field.

Bambos Georgiou

A comic professional for over 20 years, who has read comics since age of 5, Bambos Georgiou worked as an editor for Marvel UK and has a string of creator-owned projects to his name.

"This project is fairly unique, as it's been set up by a couple of creators to benefit their fellow creators," explains Bambos of Aces Weekly's origin.
"The whole thing was David's idea and he asked me what I thought back in October 2011. I looked at his basic premise, put in my two cents worth and we took it from there, gradually laying the ground work.

"Fairly early on, we established that it should be weekly and available on home computers as well as on an iPad."

Progenitor © 2012 Phil Hester and John McCrea
It's an ambitious project that has attracted some top line creators across the globe, including Phil Hester, John McCrea, Kyle Baker and many more. "I don't think creators will get too many opportunities like this," Bambos enthuses. "They get to keep their copyright and the majority of the revenue is paid to the creators.

"The pages are all landscape," he says of the title's format, "as Aces Weekly is tailored for the screen ratio of all digital delivery devices. We want to reach everyone - at home or anywhere else they happen to be.

"Aces Weekly is readable on both home computers and tablets," he adds. "Our web designer has made it compatible with every device. You just need an internet or wifi connection.

"We have gone for straight comics without any technological tricks such as panel to panel progressions," he expands on the project's presentation mechanic.
"David and I both wanted to just make comic strips available exclusively digitally," he adds. It's very much about the strips as opposed to any technological gimmicks.

"I believe in the comic strip medium, I don't think it needs 'improving', he expands. "If you link content with technology, like computer games, the technology moves on and your content becomes old fashioned. You can still read V For Vendetta and it's a very good (make that great) comic, but people don't play Pacman any more because it's old fashioned, the technology's moved on.

"For me, digital media is just another way of getting comic strips in front of readers. It's up to our web designers to make it work – I'm just interested in the comics!"

Talking generally about the move to digital comics, "We looked at what had been done and realised that most comic companies were merely making their print books available in digital formats as well.

"We wanted to produce something that was only available in a digital format, exclusively. To sell that to the established comic market we knew we needed names that comic fans recognised and trusted. We know they'll be taking a leap of faith, but it's a bit easier when you've got well known, popular creators providing the content."

How did were the initial creators chosen for the first issues of Aces Weekly?

"David gathered together the talent, which comes from all over the world," Bambos reveals. "He's been going to comic conventions for years and has met lots of comic creators, many of them wanted to be involved with his project.

"Once people like Kyle Baker, John McCrea, Phil Hester, Mark Wheatley, Billy Tucci, Yishan Li and Alain Mauricet were involved, I knew it had a good chance of success. That was the first wave to say they were willing to sign up, so it really was a very positive response from the start.

Legion Zero, an upcoming story for Aces Weekly. © 2012 Kev Hopgood and Ferg Handley

"We've got creators from all over the world contributing, UK, US, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, China and the Philippines. It's a pretty incredible line up."

As to the title's planned frequency, "we're publishing Aces Weekly in volumes, seven weekly issues to each volume and a volume costs £6.99/$9.99/EU 7.99. There are two-week breaks before each new volume begins - this is to give those creators producing stories across volumes maximum time to deliver, whilst not keeping readers waiting too long for the following volume.

"Each issue has up to 30 pages of brand new comics including extras such as pencils and sketches which builds up to 210 pages per volume - a very good deal.

"In most volumes six stories are serialised through the seven issues, but in Volume 1, and other volumes coming up, we'll also be featuring self-contained three-pagers, that are previews of upcoming stories or comedies, or one-off dramas."

Paradise Mechanism © 2012 David Hitchock
The initial serialised strips are Valley Of Shadows by David Lloyd & Dave Jackson, Shoot For The Moon by Alexandre Tefenkgi & Mauricet, Return Of The Human by JC Vaughn & Mark Wheatley, Progenitor by Phil Hester and John McCrea and Paradise Mechanism by David Hitchcock.

"The self contained three pagers feature some well known characters making a welcome comeback; Combat Colin by Lew Stringer, Thrud by Carl Critchlow, Psycho Gran by David Leach and Gimbley by Phil Elliott. There are also strips by Spanish creator Esteban Hernandez and UK creator Rory Walker.

"I've teamed up with Mychailo Kazybrid to produce a three pager called Dr Queer. Mychailo and I work on the Wallace & Gromit strip which appears in the Sun newspaper."

And will any of the strips be returning in future volumes or will we see a change of line-up?

"Smash Mannix, Progenitor and Return Of The Human are all set to return," Bambos reveals."Any of the strips could make a comeback: it depends on the creators and the reader reaction, but those two strips are already booked in for future volumes. The self contained three pagers will also be appearing semi-regularly, which I think helps to break things up a bit."

Of course, despite the digital presentation of the comics, there are many who still like their comics on paper - so are there any plans for collected editions of the strips that feature in Aces Weekly?

"The title was designed to be exclusively digital, so we have absolutely no plans for print versions," says Bambos. "These creators are involved in the future of comics because the future of comics, and most media, is digital."

That digital new world remains something of an unknown and Bambos and David - and the creators - know the long term eventual success of Aces Weekly is not just down to great comic storytelling but letting people know the comic is available and encouraging subscriptions. But they also know it will be some time before they know if all the hard work they've put into the project so far has paid off for all concerned.

Art © David Lloyd
"In the direct sales market publishers and creators know how many copies they've sold three months before the comic's been printed," he acknowledges. "With digital comics it's a long term proposition, we'll still be on sale in three months or three years.

"It's down to us to get the message out there to the general market, you know the 99.99 per cent of the population that don't read comics in the UK and US. Now that's a prize worth going for and it's not going to be attained by turning a comic strip into a graphic novel and putting it into a direct sales comic shop."

Despite these unknowns, there is one positive for the creators concerned, Bambos reveals.

"The money our creators get from a single sale of Aces Weekly is greater than the royalty from most graphic novels – and that's just on 21 pages of material! "It's a sweet deal," he opines. "David and I are creators – so, as I've said many times, the whole project is geared towards the creators."

Initial reaction has been very positive, the title's creator, David Lloyd, tells us. "I had an excellent time promoting Aces Weekly at the New York Comic Convention over the weekend," he reveals. "There was no quiet moment from the beginning to the end - a dozen interviews with everyone from Canadian tv to the Wall Street Journal and including the trusty Bleeding Cool. Visitors to my table every minute were reacting with enthusiasm to my enthusing about Aces Weekly."

"Readers can subscribe now and get all the issues that have been published up to that point in our first volume," Bambos reminds us. "We're trying to make it as simple and attractive to buy the comic as possible."

• Head over to now and check it out for yourself. Issues 1 - 3 are now available!

Interview compiled with help from 'The Emperor'. Thanks to Bambos and David for their time providing this interview.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Art stolen from Suydam Studios

Alien Genocide by Arthur Suydam
New York-based comic artist Arthur Suydam is seeking help in the recovery of two pieces of art which were recently stolen from his studio.

While we normally cover British comics news we're sure our readers are aware art theft is very much an international issue and we're happy to repeat his appeal here.

Little Devil by Frank Frazetta, drawn from memory by Arthur Suydam after its theft from his studio
The two artworks are Alien Genocide by Arthur Suydam (gouche painting, image above) and Little Devil by the late Frank Frazetta (ink drawing 8 1/2 x 11” - note the image below is by Arthur, drawn from memory).


If you see these artworks or have any information on their location, please contact Arthur at or call 001 212 475 4840. All personal information will be kept confidential.

Award winning creator and Marvel artist Arthur Suydam’s meteoric rise to superstardom for his work for the smash hit series Marvel Zombies broke graphic novel records. He was recently honored with the Spike TV Scream Award, (best writer, best artist, best comic of the year). Suydam’s short story Christmas Carol was chosen for inclusion in The Mammoth Book of Horror and Legends for best comic horror stories of all time and The Art of Painted Comics (2008).

Suydam’s popular covers have graced the covers of Deadpool, Marvel Zombies, Batman, X-men and many more.

• Web Site:


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Furman, Roche signing at Dublin City Comics

Simon (Transformers) Furman and Nick ((Maximum Dinobots, Last Stand of the Wreckers) Roche will delivering their popular script-to-page presentation at the Dublin City Comics on 27th October, as part of a whole day in-store event.

The presentation takes a page of Spotlight: Shockwave through all stages from outline/script to sketch/breakdowns/finished art and also includes a gallery of rare/unseen Transformers artwork.

It will be followed by a Q&A session.

As always, Simon will have rare/signed original scripts, comic/script packs and more with me for sale.

• For more information and updates, check out the DDC facebook page here.

Andrew Wildman draws Doctor Who "PS"


[WARNING: SPOILERS if you have not seen Angels Take Manhattan]

Comics artist Andrew Wildman has provided some poignant visuals to a special postscript to the latest Doctor Who TV episodes written by Chris Chibnall.

Now live on YouTube, the 'PS' centres on Rory's father, Brian, after events in Angels Take Manhattan, which ended Rory and Amy stuck in New York in the past and the Doctor unable to rescue them.

Later, a devastated Doctor reads an afterword by Amy in a novel he began reading in the episode, telling him all is well and asking him not to be alone.

In the PS, a middle-aged man delivers Brian a letter from Rory telling him what happened to the couple.

Aside from storyboards for the BBC for The Fades and Doctor Who, Andrew's comics credits are numerous, including the hugely-popular Transformers: ReGeneration One for IDW and the creator-owned graphic album Frontier, written by Jason Cobley.

He is also creating a Children’s TV series with Bob the Builder scriptwriter, Simon Jowett and developing his own Graphic Novel, HORIZON.




Monday, 15 October 2012

Magic Merlins and a danger-prone 'Duck' just part of latest Commando line-up

Commando No 4539 - The Magic Merlin
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Morahin Cover: Ian Kennedy

As the Battle of Britain reached its climax, RAF Flying Officer Toby Mortimer was assigned a brand new MkII Hurricane. Toby's flying suddenly improved, and he got more kills in his new Hurri. But why?

Toby put it down to his new plane's Rolls-Royce Merlin XX - because its serial number exactly matched his date of birth! That engine became his good luck charm. He was sure that his life and the Merlin's were inexplicably linked.

Which was not such a good thing when another pilot had to take over his kite!

Commando No 4540 - The Duck That Went to War
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Jaime Forns Cover: Janek Matysiak

The DUKW, better known as the Duck, might not be as well-known as the Jeep but this amphibious truck was just as vital to winning the Second World War. Able to take supplies from ship to shore without needing a harbour it kept the fighting men supplied with bullets, bandages and bully beef.

This is the story of one such Duck and its crew of two. Together they got far closer to the action than you would expect for a floating lorry.

Question was, would they be able to get away again in one piece?

Commando No 4541 - Massacre In The Sun
Originally Commando No 28 (June 1962)
Story: Eric Castle Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Ken Barr

When the Japanese attacked, Corporal John Reynolds dived into the bushes. When he crawled out his two stripes had gone and on his shoulder he wore a Major's crown.

Always he had wanted to be an officer and now he was.

He might deceive the Japs, but could he fool the Chindit battalion he was called upon to lead?

Here is the strange story of the bogus major

"There are various themes which have featured in Commando more than once and here, Eric Castle weaves two of them together," notes editor Calum Laird of this reprint issue. "Talk about value for money! He has the soldier who just needs a chance to show his worth, and the private soldier who adopts an officer's rank. And they are one and the same man.

"If shades of John Wagner and Mike Western's Darkie's Mob abound in plot they also echo in the art - Gordon Livingstone's jungle is hot enough to feel, his Chindits have real stubble, while Ken Barr's cover captures fear and claustrophobia in the same instant."

Commando No 4542 - And Now Strike Back!
Originally Commando No 2106 (July 1987)
Story: Bill Fear Art: Ruiz Cover: Jeff Bevan

Ready to board their new ship, seamen Len Garret and Tom Brooks were stunned to discover that Chief Petty Officer Alf Edwards was on their crew. Having clashed with him many years before, they knew that life under his command would be far from easy.

However, in the following weeks they changed their minds. No longer did they think Alf was going to make things difficult - now they suspected he was trying to kill them!

"Conventional wisdom - as well as reader feedback - has it that of Commando's air, land and sea adventures, maritime stories are the least popular," reveals Deputy Editor Scott Montgomery. "Perhaps this is because the pace of a sea story is slower than those containing aerial dogfights or tank battles.

"However, this tale could belie all that - as it truly is action-packed from start to finish, with some great characters and memorable set-pieces.

"And staff artist Jeff Bevan excels once again with a wonderful cover. Look at that ship lurching in the water. It almost makes one a little seasick just looking at it!"

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:

Commando 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

• Steadfast! the Commando artwork exhibition at The Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen runs until 30th November 2012. There are more details about the exhibition on the museum website.

Brunel University's Screen Media Research Centre announces comics events

The Screen Media Research Centre at Brunel University has announced two upcoming seminars about comics

Il giallo a fumetti: Diabolik, fumetti neri and the 'Fantomas gene'
Presented by Leon Hunt, Wednesday 24th October, 4.00pm

The creation of Italian comic book character Diabolik in 1962 both looked back to one of the founding pulp supervillains Fantomas (enjoying a revival at the time) and spawned a wave of fumetti neri (dark comics) featuring masked characters whose names invariably featured the letter K (Kriminal, Sadik etc.) 50 years later, three editions of Diabolik (two of them reprints) appear every month on Italian newsstands as well as two Il Grande specials per year - with enviable market penetration, it remains a huge cultural phenomenon. 

Mario Bava's Diabolik/Danger: Diabolik (Italy/France 1967) adapted the comic into a much-loved cult film that outside Italy and France is probably the best known incarnation of the character. But in some ways the film, with its counter cultural hero, pronounced eroticism and pop art opulence, provides a misleading impression of the comic.   

Diabolik is a comparatively conservative and formulaic comic, mostly aesthetically unadventurous, its titular character never having undergone the kind of overhaul that American comic book heroes like Batman and Spider-Man have enjoyed.  Nevertheless, the character proliferates both as a comic and across different media - a triumph of the iconic and the formulaic.  This paper from Leon Hunt examines Diabolik as a continuation of the 'Fantomas gene' (pulp media's mystery-villain archetype), as Italian cultural phenomenon and as popular icon whose 50th anniversary is being celebrated this year.

Leon Hunt is a Senior Lecturer in Screen Media at Brunel University.  His most recent publications include Cult British TV Comedy (Manchester University Press 2013 forthcoming) and co-editor of East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film (I.B. Tauris 2008) and Screening the Undead: Vampires and Zombies On Film (I.B. Tauris forthcoming 2013). 

The Superhero City: Film, Comics and Urban Imagery 
Presented by Federico Pagello, Wednesday 21st November, 4.00pm

For the last 15 years film adaptations of superhero fiction have been one of the most successful trends in Hollywood cinema. Influenced by features of the original comic books such as their peculiar approach to visual narrative, their work on time and space and their typical serial structures, superhero films reveal key characteristics of contemporary popular cinema. Thought the analysis of the varied and contradictory uses of the urban imagery of superhero fiction in films such as Superman (1979), Batman (1989), Spider-Man (2002) and The Dark Knight (2008), it is therefore possible to address the aesthetic and cultural meaning of the genre, to examine the connection between film and comics and to highlight the way in which influential directors such as Richard Donner, Tim Burton, Sam Raimi and Christopher Nolan have used superhero stories to express their personal take on contemporary American cinema and society.

Federico Pagello was awarded his PhD from the University of Bologna in 2009 and is currently a visiting scholar in film studies at King's College, London. His dissertation, focusing on the image of the city in the film adaptations of superhero comics, was published as a book in 2010 (Grattacieli e superuomini: L'immagine della città tra cinema e fumetto, Genoa: Le Mani). He was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bologna (2009-2010) and Limoges (2010-2011).

• For more details of venue, please contact: Geoff King, Director, Screen Media Research Centre, School of Arts, Brunel University,

Comicsy, British small press marketplace launched

A brand new website designed to help UK small press creators sell their wares has just been launched by Tim West, co-editor and and writer for the horror anthology Hallowscream.

Tim tells us Comicsy - already being used by creators such as Malcolm Kirk, Jim Cameron and the Midlands Comics Collective - is suitable for those looking to get their goods online, in an easy to manage web store, and for folk who have already set up their own sales site but want the benefits of being part of a small press shopping network.

"Think of it as a permanently open, online comic expo," he says.

Whatever you're looking to sell - comics, artwork, books, posters, sketches, graphic novels, or anything, with Comicsy, you can be up and running in no time," he continues. "Simply open your own 'Comicsy Shop', add your products, and start receiving orders.

"I've been looking at doing something like this for a long time but couldn't find any software that did exactly what I needed," Tim explains. "I'd given up for a while but some positive feedback about such a site like this on the forum sparked my interest again and I continued my search for something suitable and found it.

"After messing around in small press comics for a few years previously,  I went to the 2012 Bristol Comics Expo. I met a load of really nice people and was surprised at the skills, passion and commitment of all the exhibitors. There are so many talented folk, producing great stuff, yet they’re unknown outside of the scene.

"It seemed a shame that small press creators only had expos and conventions where they could come together and sell their products.

"Most of these comics creators and artists had their own websites but finding other related stuff involved trawling through the internet, not really knowing what to search for.

"I thought -  why not have a permanently online comic expo where goods are for sale 24/7? Strength in numbers and cross selling galore.

"There are some useful buyers and sellers guides on the site that explain the site’s functions but, in a nutshell, sellers can sell physical goods and post them out, offer digital downloads of their products, or link back to other websites if they sell directly from their own site or use a print on demand service like Lulu.

"Hopefully these three options means there’s something for everyone.

"If the site gets popular I have plans to develop it further, with extra services and better design.

"The advantage of being a member of the Comicsy network is that your goods will sit alongside other UK small press creator's work," he enthuses. "Buyers will be able to browse all items on the site, hopefully resulting in more sales for everyone.

"I hope this sounds an appealing idea to comic creators. Marketplace style websites have proven themselves to be a successful way to engage a target audience and generate sales. The small press industry here in the UK produces some amazing work.

"If this site can raise the profile of creators and the spread the goodness of self publishing, then it's got to be worth it."

• For more info on selling via Comicsy take a look at their sellers guide.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Ghost Chef stalks the Sunday Times

Ghost Chef by Sarah McIntyre
Ace comic creator Sarah McIntyre reports that her character Ghost Chef features in today's Sunday Times in one of their occasional Funday Tmes supplements.

"The Funday Times supplement used to come out weekly, but now only comes out every so often," she explains, "this time to celebrate the release of Tim Burton's latest animation, Frankenweenie. I came up with a new Ghost Chef character just for the occasion.

"It usually has a Scooby-Doo strip, but I'm hoping their latest commission might mean they're interested in having home-grown comics on a more regular basis. Fingers crossed!

The half-page comics strip was commissioned by Sunday Times Supplements Editor Karen Robinson.

Ever busy, Sarah also reports she is appearing at a London event with Booktrust and their comics-artist-in-residence Hannah Berry on 19th November at the Word Centre. Tickets are £6 and there are details here on the Booktrust web site.


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