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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Radio interviews with Russell Willis and Charles Kriel about webcomic apps

Panel Borders: Digitising comics

Concluding a month of shows looking at web comics, Alex Fitch talks to two experts in web based technologies about their dissemination methods aimed at bringing comics to tablets and other devices. Russell Willis discusses his Panel Nine range of graphic novels for the iPad which include titles by Eddie Campbell and David Lloyd and are about to be joined by a new digital store front for British book publishers.
Also, in a presentation recorded at Cartoon County in Brighton, Charles Kriel talks about his Indiegogo campaign to fund a new app designed to be the equivalent of iTunes for comics allowing collectors to combine their existing digital comics collections with newly bought titles to fill in the gaps, with questions asked by Alex Fitch, David Lloyd and members of the audience.

6pm, Sunday 31st March, repeated 4.30pm, Tuesday 2nd April, Resonance 104.4 FM (London) / streamed at / extended podcast at

Friday, 29 March 2013

In Review: Laptop Guy Issue 2

Created by artist Sha Nasir, Laptop Guy is one of the comics titles published by Glasgow's Black Hearted Press.

The first issue was something of an oddity - a US-size, anthology humour comic that played with the somewhat nonsensical idea of a guy with a laptop for a head in a mixture of situations - dating, TV presenting, going to a convention, appearing in Star Trek. It could so easily have been a one-off title consisting of a menagerie of ideas and writers that, like any anthology, had some ideas that worked and some that didn't.

However the one that perhaps worked the best was 'You Can't Sell Out If Nobody's Buying' written by Jack Lothian in which artist Sha's comic alter-ego tries to explain that he is using the character of Laptop Guy as a comment on society.

So it is good to see that the second issue of the title takes that basic concept and expands it into a comic length story. With Sha Nasir on the majority of the art and Jack Lothian providing the script, the reader is taken through several days in the life of Sha's alter-ego as he frustratedly tries to illustrate the comic character Marine X (a brutal version of 2000AD's Rogue Trooper and illustrated here by David Braysher). However on arriving at his drawing board one morning he discovers the artwork for Laptop Legion, a Marvel/DC take on Laptop Guy, artwork that he didn't draw but which draws him into a downward spiral that could lead towards madness.

This was not what I was expecting from the title, given the humorous first issue, as it takes it away from the single page gags into something much deeper and more interesting. It's not biographical, or at least I hope for Sha's sake that it isn't, but it does give the impression of a dark take on the 'slice of life' comics that are popular within small press circles.

For those people walking around a mart or convention looking for something out of the ordinary then Laptop Guy 2 is well worth picking up.

There are more details of Laptop Guy on the Black Hearted Press website and it can be purchased from their webstore.

Black Hearted Press will be at the Dundee Comics Expo (Table 18, College Hall) on Saturday 30 March where Sha Nasir will be leading a Comics Workshop at 11:30am (outside the Baxter Suite).

Sha Nasir recently illustrated the factual graphic novel Telling Scotland's Story written by James Crawford for the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) which features a series of stories including the Storegga Tsunami, the Frankenstein Mummies of South Uist, and the 15th century Buannachan Mercenaries. The book was featured on the BBC News site and is available to download free from the Society Of Antiquities Of Scotland website.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Doctor Who Adventures revamped as series returns to BBC

Coinciding with new episodes of Doctor Who hitting TV screens on Easter Saturday, Immediate Media Co is re-launching Doctor Who Adventures magazine and its website with a new logo, fresh design and brand-new features today, Thursday 28th March 2013.

With weekly sales of over 31,000 and ranked Number One in the primary boys magazines market, the title gives young Doctor Who fans a chance to tap into the world of their favourite Time Lord, his best friends and his greatest enemies.

Along with the regular strip drawn by John Ross - albeit in a younger style than before - the new-look Doctor Who Adventures also features a new comic, ‘Alien Babies’, by Jamie Smart, cool monster makes, a collectable Whoniverse guide, behind the scenes secrets and loads more!

The Doctor Who Adventures website will also carry extra videos, downloads and even more content.

To celebrate, the magazine is inviting kids to their ‘Monster Day Out’ event - the world’s first ever kids only Doctor Who event at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff on Wednesday 3rd April. A day packed with monster fun, visitors can meet the show’s widely popular Sontaran, Strax (played as on the show by Dan Starkey), and find out how he feels about being called a potato head during a special Q&A session.*

“We’re really excited to be re-launching Doctor Who Adventures with a dynamic new look and fantastic new content," enthuses the title's editor Natalie Barnes. "This is a brilliant year for the show, and it’s great to be a part of it.

"Our Monster Day Out is the perfect way for us to give something back to our readers – and for them to come face-to-face with one of the Doctor’s most fearsome (and shortest) allies, Commander Strax!”

Doctor Who Adventures magazine is priced at £2.99 and is available now at all major retailers and independents around the UK. Web:

• * Parents will need to register to ask a question during Strax's sesssion. What do you want to know about everybody's favourite Sontaran, Commander Strax? Would you like to know how he became a nurse? Or why he likes being a butler to Madame Vastra? Or how he gets his head so shiny? Then simply email Doctor Who Adventures at and they'll pass your questions on!

D(undee)-Day For Commando

Commando raiding party at the Dundee exhibition in 2011. From left to right: Scott Montgomery (deputy editor), Calum Laird (editor), George Low (former editor), Ian Kennedy (artist) and Gordon Livingstone (artist).
This Saturday, for the first time that we can think of, Commando will be taking a table at a comics convention.

While Commando editorial and creators have turned out in force for the three recent Commando museum exhibitions, at the National Army Museum in London and at the University Of Dundee in 2011, and the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen in 2012, where signings have taken place, there has never been a formal Commando presence at a convention before.

This will change this Saturday, 30 March 2013, at the inaugural Dundee Comics Expo at the University Of Dundee where DC Thomson are taking tables for Commando and Digital Dandy. These tables will be in the university’s College Hall and the Expo will be open from 11am to 4pm. Entrance to all the Expo events - talks, workshops, screenings as well as the dealers rooms - will be free.

Given the number of Commando reprint books that have been published since the first of the big doorstep reprints, Commando: Dirty Dozen, was published by Carlton in 2005, there is a lot of choice of books for Commando fans to get signed for themselves, or as presents, on the day.

In the meantime not even a convention can stop the Commando publishing schedule of 104 issues a year soldiering on with the latest batch of four titles.

4587 – The Battle Of Blood Island
Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page
8 Page Free Preview

Though it was known as “The Blooded Jewel,” the island of Ula was a peaceful place, its name derived from spectacular sunsets and sunrises not warfare. Sitting in the ocean west of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, the inhabitants were mainly fisher folks whose only enemies were the elements, wind and sea. That all changed early in the First World War when a force of German raiders swarmed ashore. Caught up in the action were two schoolboys. Upon them depended the outcome of THE BATTLE OF BLOOD ISLAND

4588 – The Sky Pirates
Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Morahin
Cover: Ian Kennedy
8 Page Free Preview

Pilot Officer Mike “Midge” Mercer flew a Vought Corsair fighter for the Fleet Air Arm in the Pacific - fending off hordes of Japanese aircraft as he and his fellow fliers protected the Allied fleet. To begin with, it seemed that the Corsairs - nicknamed Pirates - had the edge. But the Japanese had another card to play which posed a deadly question to the FAA pilots. Just how did you beat an enemy willing to sacrifice their own lives…?

4589 – Sunk Without Trace
(originally No 93 from November 1963)
Story: Blandford
Art: Cecil Rigby
Cover: James
8 Page Free Preview

When “The Ship without a name” glided into the Mersey Channel that night, the few watchers were seeing her for the first time, but they never forgot her, for “K-1” was like no other ship ever built. They never saw her again.Her destination - the South Atlantic. Her mission - even the Captain wasn’t sure.But one thing was certain. The Germans were waiting for her. Slowly the jaws of the trap closed. The fantastic story of K-1, the ship that was to change the whole course of the war, had begun…

In his introduction to this reprint, Commando editor Calum Laird says, "Naval stories are always a difficult trick to pull off in Commando. Our compact page size doesn’t exactly lend itself to the depiction of the epic scale and leisurely pace of most sea battles. Which is why subs and MTBs - and, as here, Q-Ships - are our favourites; for the action is close and fast. The team of Blandford, Rigby and James have come up with a story with a hidden mystery, good, effective art, and a menacing cover designed to set up a fast-moving, action-packed story. Classic Commando."

4590 – Warship On Wheels
(originally No 2176 from April 1988, re-issued as No 3636 from July 2003)
Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Denis McLoughlin
Cover: Jeff Bevan
8 Page Free Preview

The two young officers had never seen anything like it. A huge German train bristling with guns and covered with armour plating…it was like a warship on wheels. And, as they would discover, when that warship got steam up it was unstoppable - even if another train got in the way!

In his introduction Commando Deputy Editor Scott Montgomery says, "This is a shining example of a Commando caper - a fast-moving yarn that literally starts with a bang (in this case a crashing B-17 bomber) and never lets up during its 63 pages. The credit is due to writer Alan Hebden who created the many memorable characters here. There are escaping British POWs, surrendering Italian soldiers and an unlikely (and unlikeable) Nazi VIP - all brought to life by interior artist Denis McLoughlin. And there’s an excellent, as always, cover from Jeff Bevan. So, all aboard and full steam ahead for a first-class adventure romp!"

• There are more details of Commando titles on their official website,, and Facebook page.


downthetubes is pleased to offer a 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. The price quoted offers a 50% discount for three months at £12.50. That’s £68.50 off the shop price.

Please note, although the offer is not restricted to UK delivery (you need a UK bank account), the price increases for overseas delivery although the offer of 50% discount for three months is the same.

*Saving based on discounted Direct Debit price compared with shop price. First quarterly payment discounted by 50% at £12.50 and £25 per quarter thereafter. UK bank accounts only. One year discounted subscription rate of £99.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

London Film and Comic Con back in July

The London Film and Comic Con returns to Earl's Court 2 this summer (Friday 5th - Sunday 7th July 2013).

Along with a host film and TV guests such as Avery Brooks, Nicole deBoer, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker and more, there are plenty of comic-related happenings lined up for the weekend.

Comic guests already announced include Andy Diggle, Paul Cornell, Milo Manara, Doug Braithwaite, Alan Davis, Gary Erskine, Mike Collins, Ian Boothby, Laurence Campbell and Stephen Baskerville.

• For more info visit and check out the venue and travel page before you set out to make sure you're going to the right part of Earl's Court!

• To keep up to date on guest announcements, visit the LFCC Forum

Charlie Adlard, Viz creators and more join Lakes Festival line up

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has revealed more of the writers and artists who will be taking part in the event later this year.

The festival, which will run from 18-20th October 2013 in Kendal in Cumbria, has a guest list running to more than 50 writers and artists from the United States, Europe, South America and the UK, who work in a wide range of different genres.

The latest group of guests range from Charlie Adlard, the artist on the hugely popular zombie comics The Walking Dead, to the men who created Britain’s most irreverent comic Viz, and American cartoonist Gilbert Shelton.

Charlie Adlard currently works with American writer Robert Kirkman on The Walking Dead, which dominates the list of US best selling graphic novels month in and month out.  It has been turned into a popular TV series, which is currently being broadcast on FX UK, with the third series due to start on Channel 5 around late spring.

Charlie says: “I'm very much looking forward to the event, particularly because the organisers are trying to style it on an Angouleme-style show, which I'm a big fan of.”

Simon Thorp and Graham Dury are two of the people who created Viz, which introduced characters like Raffles the Gentleman Thug, The Fat Slags, Felix and his Amazing Underpants and Roger Mellie the Man on the Telly to the world.

Viz parodies British comics like The Beano and The Dandy, with crude toilet humour, black comedy and surreal jokes. This will be the first comic event they have attended for more than 25 years (as far as they can remember!)

After a period producing underground comix in the sixties American Gilbert Shelton created The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Fat Freddy’s Cat. Unlike many cults from the sixties which have since faded away, The Freak Brothers are still going from strength to strength and are acquiring new fans all the time. They are published in 15 languages and worldwide sales are now over forty million copies.

Bryan Talbot, who is a patron of the new festival, says: "Gilbert Shelton is a comedy genius and a true original. His strips furnished catchphrases to the entire underground counterculture."

Hannah Berry is one of the talented young artists at the forefront of the new golden age for British comic art.  Her first graphic novel, Britten and Brulightly, was published by Jonathan Cape while she was still studying.  The Daily Telegraph said it was ‘superb’.  The New Statesman described her second graphic novel Adamtine as doing 'horror in the traditional way, while using the quirks of the medium to ratchet up the fear'.

Hannah says: "Just as comics are finally creeping into the public consciousness in the UK, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival takes the stage as the biggest, boldest and brightest celebration of their place in our culture. Long may it continue!"

The prize winning Argentine writer and illustrator Oscar Zarate has created two graphic novels with comedian Alexei Sayle - Geoffrey The Tube Train and The Fat Comedian.  He has also worked with Alan Moore on A Small Killing and produced several graphic novels with Carlos Sampayo. He will be celebrating his new book The Park at the festival as well as running an exclusive masterclass.

Karrie Fransman's autobiographical comic strips were published in The Guardian and her comic serial The Night I Lost My Love ran in The Times. Her graphic novel, The House That Groaned has been praised by film director Nicolas Roeg and was chosen as Graphic Novel of the Month in The Observer.

Robbie Morrison is best known for the Eagle award-winning Nikolai Dante saga which was serialised in 2000AD and, as we reported recently, he has written Drowntown, an epic adventure set in a flooded, futuristic London, which will be published by Jonathan Cape in the summer.  He is also a regular writer on Judge Dredd, and has scripted Batman and Spider-Man.

Spanish cartoonist Pau has won The Oscarcomix children's comics award, the Luis Molina International contests award (Italy) as well as the Haxtur Award for Humor, for his daily editorial cartoon Pau Per Tots.

Ravi Thornton is a multi-award-winning fiction writer whose work often involves a mix of different artistic approaches including graphic novels, sound and theatre.  Her work deals with adult subject matter and ranges from dark and disturbing, through wickedly outlandish, to heartbreakingly insightful. Her graphic novel The Tale of Brin and Brent and Minno Marylebone, published by Jonathan Cape, has been nominated for this year’s Bram Stoker Awards by the Horror Writers of America

Ravi says: "As a cross-media writer, I think very visually. I don't, however, draw. This means people who do draw are one of my most favourite things. At The Lakes International Comic Art Festival I'll be surrounded by them. It doesn't really get any better than that."

Luke Pearson is the writer and artist behind the highly-acclaimed Hilda series of comics published by Nobrow, which are aimed at both children and adults, and the short graphic novel Everything We Miss.

INJ Culbard won the award for Best Graphic Novel or Comic at the 2011 British Fantasy Awards for At the Mountains of Madness, published by SelfMadeHero.  He has also illustrated Deadbeats, which was published by SelfMadeHero late last year, in which a trio of 1920s Chicago jazz musicians find themselves battling with monsters, moonshiners and mobsters.

Inko is a Japanese Manga artist who now lives in the UK.  Her work includes Milk The Cat Comix and MangaQuake. She was also commissioned to create 19 Manga posters at Embankment Station in London as part of Art on the Underground.

Hannah Eaton was shortlisted for the First Graphic Novel competition in 2012 for Naming Monsters, which was published by Myriad Editions, the story of Fran a keen amateur crypto-zoologist – an expert in the study of animals that may not exist.

Kate Evans is an environmental campaigner who marries words and images for political effect.  Her latest book The Food of Love, published by Myriad Editions, is an ironic, self-deprecating view of the impossibility of perfection in an imperfect world.

They join founder patrons Bryan and Mary Talbot, and Sean Phillips, as well as writers and artists like Ed Brubaker, Jose Munoz, Posy Simmonds, John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra and Joe Sacco.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is modelled on the European comic festivals rather than comic conventions that UK audiences are more familiar with.

The aim is create an ‘en fete’ atmosphere, making the whole town part of the festival.  There will be a much bigger emphasis on the range of talks, special live drawing events, workshops, films, exhibitions and a kids’ zone.  Some of the events, including the exhibitions and the kids’ zone will also be free.

There will be a marketplace – The Comics Clock-tower - in Kendal Town Hall, where people will be able to buy comics and where authors and artists will be signing copies of their work. It will be smaller than at most comic conventions and will focus on writers, artists and publishers who are pioneers of a new wave of innovators in the field of comics and graphic storytelling.

Festival Director Julie Tait says: “We’ve now revealed more than half the line up for this year’s festival, so hopefully people have a real sense of the range and quality of what will be on offer later this year.   There’s an exciting mix of some of the big names from the world of comic art over the last few decades, as well as some of the best up-and-coming young writers and artists working in comics.

“We want to create something that is modelled on the European comic art festivals rather than the comic conventions that UK audiences will be more familiar with.

“We hope to take Kendal over for the weekend with comic art and we’ll be putting a lot of effort into individual events to give visitors a special experience.

“So people should expect something a bit different from most other comic events.  We hope it will not only appeal to the fans but also help to bring a new audience to comics, including many local people who may still be wondering what it’s all about!”
• More details about the new event are available at  It is also possible to keep up to date with plans for the festival by following @comicartfest on Twitter or by liking the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Facebook page. Tickets will go on sale 7th May 2013.

UniVerse Titles Available From UK On Display

UniVerse is the imprint set up by the University Of Dundee to publish the work of the students on both the university's MLitt in Comics Studies and the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) Animation, Graphic Design and Illustration course's Comic Art and Graphic Novels module. It has also been used to feature the work of the winners and runners up in the annual Dundee Comics Day art competition.

The imprint's main title is Anthology, each issue of which is a full colour, US sized, soft cover, perfect bound book.

Anthology One features the work of the DJCAD students and is a 72 page book with a cover by DJCAD graduate Colin MacNeil.

Anthology Two features the work of the MLitt students and is a 100 page book with a cover by DJCAD lecturer Phillip Vaughan.

Anthology Three again features the work of the DJCAD students and is a 120 page book with a cover by DJCAD guest lecturer Dave Gibbons.

Also featured in Anthology One are the winner and runners-up in the Tartan Bucket comics prize competition from the 2011 Dundee Comics Day and includes the winning strip, Belle's Magic Mobile by Steve English, which was published in The Beano.

The winner and runners up in the 2012 Dundee Comics Day art competition are featured in a separate publication, The Amazing Mr X. In 1944 The Dandy introduced the first home-grown British superhero and the competition brought the character of Mr X back to life, re-interpreted for the 21st century prior to his appearance in the Digital Dandy strip Retro Active. The 76 page book reprints three of the original 1940s Dandy adventures of Mr X along with the winning strip by Steve Marchant and thirteen other modern takes on the character plus a history and appreciation of the character by University Of Dundee lecturer Dr Chris Murray.

UniVerse titles are now available via mail order from UK On Display:

Anthology One (downthetubes review here)
Anthology Two
The Amazing Mr X (downthetubes review here)

All four UniVerse titles will be available at the Dundee Comics Expo on Saturday 30 March 2013. Anthology Three will be launched there and will be available via mail order after the Expo.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Thrill Power, 1957 Style, in the new Eagle Times

The new issue of Eagle Times, Volume 26 Number 1 - the magazine published by the Eagle Society - features an interview article by downthetubes writer Jeremy Briggs entitled "A Thrill Of A Lifetime In 1957".

"The Thrill Of A Lifetime article in this Eagle Times has perhaps the most unusual back story any comics article that I have ever written,"  Jeremy tells us. "It began late on the Sunday afternoon of the 2012 Hi-Ex comics convention in Inverness when an older gentlemen called Bob Pegg spotted artist Graeme Neil Reid wearing a Dan Dare t-shirt.

"If Graeme had not have been wearing that t-shirt, if Bob and Graeme had not been so chatty to each other, if Graeme had not known that I wrote articles for the Eagle Society, and if I had not have been in shouting distance of Graeme at the time, then this article would not have happened.

“This is the story of a 12-year-old Yorkshire schoolboy who won a competition in Eagle comic in 1957 to fly both him and his father to Africa for an all-expenses paid holiday in what today is Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

"That would still be a major prize in any comic or magazine today - imagine what it was like over half a century ago for a schoolboy who had never been further from home than Wales, let alone even seen an intercontinental airliner."

Other features in this 25th birthday issue include -

Dan Dare Pilot of the Future on Radio Luxembourg - a review of the radio serial, sponsored by Horlicks, that aired five days a week on 208 Medium Waveband from 1951 - 1956. The article includes a story listing and is accompanied by a short article on the origins of the malted milk product known as Horlicks.

Serial Thrillers: The Adventure Serial on British Radio - a review of Charles Norton’s new book about four immensely popular series from the Golden Age of British Radio: Paul Temple, Dick Barton, Dan Dare and Journey into Space.

P.C.49 and the Case of the Circular Tins - a further adaptation from one of Alan Stranks' famous radio stories

An obituary of Charles Chilton MBE (1917 - 2013), the renowned radio writer and producer, and writer of the 'Riders of the Range' strip that ran in Eagle from 1950 until 1962, plus a report on the funeral service held on 11th January, 2013, to commemorate his life.

How I learned to stop worrying and appreciate the genius of John M Burns - a look at the career and varied work of one of the artists who drew Dan Dare for new Eagle in 1990.

When is a Hampson not a Hampson? - on the particular challenge and difficulties of reliably attributing Eagle Dan Dare artwork to its original creator and lead artist, Frank Hampson.

Charles William (Bill) Nuttall - Artist - a former Eagle letterer (Eagle Society member David Gould) provides a biographical review of the early career of lettering artist and illustrator, Bill Nuttall, and his personal recollections of working with Bill at Eagle from the mid-1960s.

Mann of Battle: Part 1 - a look at the World War II strip that ran weekly in Eagle from 1962 - 1964, written by Alfred Carney Allan and drawn initially by Luis Bermejo, then for most of its life by Brian Lewis.

Dan Dare Holiday Special 1990 - the third in a series of articles about Eagle-related holiday specials, this one looking at the only Dan Dare-specific special to be published.

Interviewing Marcus Morris - a photo-illustrated article recounting a visit in 1987 to the home of former Eagle editor Marcus Morris

Lion, King of Picture Story Papers - a review of Steve Holland's recent book about Eagle's 1950s' rival - the comic that eventually swallowed Eagle in 1969.

• Membership of the Eagle Society is via Annual Subscription to Eagle Times magazine, which is published four times annually. The subscription rate for 2013 is: UK £27 Overseas £38 (in £s Sterling, please) Postal applications to: Keith Howard 25A Station Road Harrow Middlesex HA1 2UA United Kingdom If you wish to pay by Paypal (to the eagle-times hotmail address below) we request an additional payment of £1.50. Enquiries: 

More info:

In Review: WesterNoir Book Two

After the Old West of the first book, writer Dave West and artist Gary Crutchley take us to America's Deep South where demon hunter Josiah Black is battling a new supernatural enemy in Accent UK's WesterNoir Book Two - The Crocodile Tears Of The Louisiana Swamp Men.

Former Sheriff Josiah Black is sent to the Louisiana swamps to discover the truth about a family of supposed alligator-men and to deal with them. However, once there, he discovers that the family have female prisoners and rescuing them is about to make his job all the more difficult.

It would be easy to have made this is straightforward story of a hired killer rescuing damsels from demons but it is to writer Dave West's credit that he twists the story about as we jump back and forth in the narrative learning more about Josiah Black, the creatures and their various women-folk as we do. Black muses on past deeds as he works to rescue the trapped women and this section, where the text boxes are not directly about the action in the panels yet both sections of the story are steadily progressed, is one of the reasons that helps WesterNoir stand out from the crowd.

Another reason is Gary Crutchley's artwork which keeps the whole thing in touch with reality, or as far it is possible to when the creatures featured are not mutants nor were-gators but actually the off-spring of a mating that we probably don't want to dwell too much on. His moody greytones emphasise the claustrophobic nature of the swamp environment and he is not afraid to move to starker black and white to emphasise aspects of the locale or specific story points.

Anyone considering writing or drawing their own comic title could do a lot worse than buying, reading and analysing just how this book is written and drawn, as well as how the package as a whole is presented to its reader, because they are bound to find something in here that would improve their own work.

I enjoyed the first book in this series but, if anything, WesterNoir Book Two is better and leaves me very eager to read the third book when it is released.

• There are more details of WesterNoir Book Two on the Accent UK website.

• There are more details of Dave West's work on his blog, Strange Times.

• There are more details of Gary Crutchley's work on his blog, Driblin' On.

• Accent UK will be selling their range of books including WesterNoir at the Dundee Comics Expo on Saturday 30 March 2013 at the University of Dundee.

Monday, 25 March 2013

DOJ-Con, Scotland’s largest free anime convention, unveils 2013 plans

Dundee will once again proudly nail its geeky colours to the mast when Scotland’s largest free anime, comics and video games convention returns to Dundee University Students Union this year.

DOJ-CON will take place on Saturday 13th April when film screenings, board and video game tournaments, stalls, exhibitions, demonstrations and industry presentations will take place. The event has grown in stature year-on-year, and around 2000 fans, most of whom dressed in costume, took part last year.

DOJ-CON is a product of the Animation Fundraiser Society at Dundee University Students Association. Management of the fundraiser event each year changes to the successive Animation 4th year class.

The event, previously called Dee-Con, has been re-branded DOJ-CON for 2013, emphasising the convention’s roots in the art college. The organisers of Dee-Con 2012, as well as lecturers Dr. Chris Murray and Phil Vaughan, who run comics studies courses at the University and run the Scottish Centre for Comics Studies, are working closely with this year’s management.

Organised predominantly by students and alumni of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, DOJ-CON is a fundraiser event with all proceeds going towards the animation degree show, which takes place 17th-25th May 2013.

The Dundee University Students Association and the Scottish Centre for Comics Studies are providing backing to allow DOJ-CON to take place.

President Slava Lawson explained, “The programme we’re putting together will be added to between now and the event, and the amount of support and enthusiasm that we’ve received from the guest speakers we’ve invited as well as the attendees who remember last year’s convention is absolutely incredible.”

“Our predecessors have done a great job in establishing this as a major event, so we know we have to be at our best to match the standards they set but we’re all really enthusiastic about doing just that. Even if you’re not a diehard manga or anime fan there’s a lot to interest you. It’s shaping up to be a great day and we’d like to welcome everyone along. Video game tournaments will be taking place, and the after party is always a bit special.”

DOJ-CON will feature talks from guest speakers from the animation, games, comic and anime industry as well as other specialists and enthusiasts. The list includes a talk on manga by Sweatdrop founder Hayden Scott-Baron (Dock); a workshop by professional comics artist Tanya Roberts; a talk on Korean Comics by Hannah Rose, a recent graduate of Dundee University’s Comics MLitt programme; an “8 out of 10 cats” style talk by video games music lecturer Rosalie Newcombe including video cameos by well-known composers such as Grant Kirkhope (GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie); Alisa Partridge: Lolita fashion enthusiast with influence directly from world travel, and Alice de Ste Croix aka DestinyBlue, a digital manga style artist who will be hosting an interactive character creation and creativity lecture.

Anime Ltd. run by director of the festival Scotland Loves Animation, will be providing a variety of anime films and shows to screen throughout the day including 2 episodes of the classic Cowboy Bebop and a special feature film voted for by Doj-Con fans: Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror Cert:12A (2009). Anime Ltd. will also have a stall in artists alley representing Manga UK and Kaze for attendees to browse.

The convention will feature an Artist’s Alley where up and coming anime/fan art/comic artists and illustrators can sell their work, promote their businesses and make contacts. There will also be a Games area with an entire floor of the Union dedicated to game playing and tournaments including Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Pokemon Black & White 2. There will also be an advanced constructed tournament in the classic anime card game Yu-Gi-Oh!

The Northumbria University Kendo Club will be hosting a demonstration of this Japanese martial art just before the all-important winners of the Cosplay competition and raffle are announced and everyone who has come in costume is given the opportunity to take part in a traditional masquerade.

As is tradition Cosplaying will be taking place and there will be a competition for hand-made costumes. Professional photographers Mr Drew Photography and Scott Baxter will be on hand to capture everyone in their costumes.

Over 18 attendees will have the opportunity to blow off some steam just before the after party at the karaoke night in Ait bar, opened by a special acoustic performance from Tom Paxton.

The event will be rounded off with the now-legendary after party, with Nanashi Dansu, an Eastern Asian music style club night run by David Skelley, coming to DUSA to round off the celebrations. DJ Nanashi will be supported by DJ Bubu, who has been Awarded 'Best Artist' and 'Best Release' during the World Wide Chiptune Awards.

• DOJ-Con Facebook Event Page:

• For more information on DOJ-CON please contact Slava Lawson on 

For cosplay related enquiries please visit the Facebook Page ( or email 

For information about acquiring an artist’s stall please visit the official website:

For more details of corporate stalls please contact Trevor San at

To receive all the latest updates straight to your news feed like the Facebook page: or follow the event on Twitter at @DOJ_CON

Amazing & Fantastic Tales #1 out this week

Pulp gets a modern twist with comic strips and text stories combined in Amazing & Fantastic Tales #1, due to be released later this week by Planet Jimbot, the indie publisher set up by Jim Alexander and Jim Campbell.

The first US-format issue includes ‘A Mischief of Devils’; another dramatic day in Hell by Tom Carroll, with art by Fin Cramb; ‘The Last Posse’ by Jim Alexander with art by Scott Sackett in which, to find a missing child Wyatt Earp gathers up a posse, including the Cisco Kid and Belle Starr, of famous character from the Wild West.

‘Kroom’ by Jim Alexander with art by Glenn Fleming opens with a mysterious alien falling from a portal in the sky; what does he hope to find; what is he escaping from?

‘The Roustabout’ by Lynsey May and Fin Crumb is suspense-filled horror story set on a wind-swept oil platform.

Finally, in ‘Deadlines’ by Luke Cooper (probably my favourite story in this issue) just what is the Wererat of London?

Amazing & Fantastic Tales #1 cost £2.95 plus p&p and is released on 30th March 2013. To purchase, contact Jim Alexander direct  at or find them on sale for Jim at a con or mart.

Jim Alexander will be selling his titles at the Dundee Comics Expo (Table 7, College Hall) on Saturday 30 March 2013. 
• All Planet Jimbot titles should be available from UKComics/UK-on-display, see:

• Check out the Planet Jimbot facebook page:!/groups/282788291828955/

Modesty Blaise Comic Challenge: The Winner

Davey Candlish, publisher of ace indie anthology Paragon, is the winner of our latest Comic Challenge to draw Modesty Blaise.

Here's his winning entry, which earns him a copy of Titan Books newest Modesty Blaise collection, Girl in the Iron Mask.

Davey claims he spends his time "watching cheesy 80s sci-fi and horror, even cheesier 70s ITC shows and occasionally drawing comics (but more often reading them)."

Choosing the winner was no easy task: we had some great art for this Challenge including entries from Keith Page, Dave Windett, Kev Harper, Paul Moore and many others.

• You can view all the entries here on the downthetubes forum

Find more photos like this on downthetubes Comics Forum

• Check out Paragon comic here:

Veteran comic artist Ron Smith focus of new podcasts

(With thanks to Graeme Neil Reid): Over on the Everything Comes Back to 2000AD site the team have produced two podcast interviews with artist Ron Smith which are pure gold.

Ron talks about his whole career: obviously the podcasts centre mainly on 2000AD but he covers loads of his work.

• Part One:

• Part Two:

Team Girl Comic Issue 7 Now Available

Scotland’s favourite all-female comix collective, Team Girl Comic, have just released their seventh issue.

TGC 7 is a 28 page, A5 size, anthology featuring an eclectic mix of short comic strips by female writers and artists from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages, from absolute beginners to professional artists.

The colour cover is by Penny Sharp and the black and white interior features contributions by Gill Hatcher, Evy Craig, Nondo, Jef Sinclair, Anna Clark, Claire Yvette, Honeypears, Cacachute and Claire JC Stewart in which they revisit the girl comics of yore, party like it’s 1949 and bash those bothersome bullies.

There are more details of Team Girl Comic on their website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed

Team Girl Comic issues are available to buy from their online shop as well as selected comics shops in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.

Team Girl Comic will be at the Dundee Comics Expo (Table 20, Baxter Suite) on Saturday 30 March 2013. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Colour Ranger Reprints From Bear Alley Books

Steve Holland's Bear Alley Books imprint have been putting out reprint titles from old British comics for two years now and the latest titles from the imprint are adaptations of the classic novels King Solomon's Mines and Treasure Island, both of which are being reprinted in full colour.

Both books are A4 size reprints from Look and Learn's sibling title Ranger which was published in 1965 and 1966 before being amalgamated into Look and Learn itself and from which Look and Learn received its most famous strip, The Trigan Empire.

Both of these Ranger strips were adapted by Trigan Empire co-creator Mike Butterworth, King Solomon's Mines from H Rider Haggard's original novel and Treasure Island from Robert Louis Stephenson's original novel, with Butterworth using both author's original language.  

Treasure Island is illustrated by John Millar Watt who created the Daily Sketch's Pop strip and King Solomon's Mines is illustrated by Mike Hubbard who is best known for taking over the Daily Mirror's Jane strip from its creator Norman Pett.

In addition to the strips themselves, Steve Holland had written three page illustrated biographies of each of the artists which are included in the appropriate title.

Both King Solomon's Mines and Treasure Island cost £9.99 each plus postage and there is a special postage offer when buying both together.

There are more details of King Solomon's Mines and Treasure Island on the Bear Alley Books blog -

King Solomon's Mines

Treasure Island

Both books with combined postage

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