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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Gary Northfield's TeenyTinySaurs storm Gosh!

Excellent childrens' books illustrator and Phoenix-contributor Gary Northfield has released The Terrible Tales of the TeenyTinySaurs, a delightful new kid's book from Walker Books - and Gosh London are celebrating it with a launch party on Friday 31st May.

Is it possible to fly to the moon in a bubble of snot? Can you really have an argument with a cloud? Are there bogey monsters at the bottom of the garden? 

All these questions and more are explored in The Terrible Tales of the TeenyTinySaurs - an hysterical and charming collection of comic strip adventures, following a teeny tiny gang of dinosaurs as they wind each other up and muddle their way through the myths and mysteries of prehistoric life.

The Terrible Tales of the TeenyTinySaurs Launch Party Friday 31st May, Gosh London, 1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR
• Here's a link to Gary's website with several teasers:

Friday, 24 May 2013

Titan Comics releases Devil May Cry: The Vergil Chronicles

Titan Comics has just released the first issue of Devil May Cry: The Vergil Chronicles comic, based on the all-new re-imagination of Capcom’s world-famous  eponymous videogame saga.

Both issues of the two-part 'prequel' comic series are already available digitally, to tie in with the recent release of Capcom’s newest and highly rated videogame installment of DmC Devil May Cry.

The DmC comics prequel takes place a few months before DmC Devil May Cry, revealing the crucial backstory of Dante and his twin brother Vergil; with never-before-told revelations about these iconic game characters.

Just-translated for a simultaneous release with the French comic edition, the story, in the vein of Titan’s Assassin’s Creed graphic novels, is written by Guillaume Dorison aka Izu (Omega Complex) and illustrated by artists Robin Recht (The Third Testament) and Patrick Pion (Tomb Raider: Dark Aeons).

The Devil May Cry video game series has sold over 11 million copies worldwide, spinning off into an animated series, graphic novels, manga, action figures, statues, clothing and more. The franchise has also just been picked up for adaptation by Screen Gems, the studio that produced the blockbuster Resident Evil movies.

The next installment sees Capcom collaborating with UK based developer Ninja Theory to explore new frontiers for the series. Set against a contemporary backdrop, DmC Devil May Cry depicts a duplicitous world where nothing is ever as it seems and the line between good and evil is constantly blurred. The franchise’s hero Dante bursts into this world wielding the series’ signature mix of sword and gunplay but adds additional weapons, all new powers and a revitalized gameplay system as players navigate the rich, interactive environment.

Devil May Cry: The Vergil Chronicles #1 is on sale now and #2 is on sale 19th June

• The digital editions are available for the iPad, iPhone, Web, Android and Kindle Fire, exclusively through the comiXology app and

Orbital Comics announces Comic Book Creators launch event

Orbital Comics in London have announced a special discussion panel to celebrate the launch of the new Comic Book Creators magazine from Twomorrows Publishing, taking place on Saturday 8th June.

Learn more about how John Morrow and his wife started with the Jack Kirby Collector back in 1994 - and the profound effect Kirby had (and continues to have) on comics, as well as the members of the panel.

Comic Book Creator #1, on sale now via comic shops, is TwoMorrow's newest magazine edited by Jon B. Cooke, devoted to the work and careers of the men and women who draw, write, edit, and publish comics, focusing always on the artists and not the artifacts, the creators and not the characters. Behind an Alex Ross cover painting, the frantic first issue features an investigation of the oft despicable treatment Jack Kirby endured from the very business he helped establish. From being cheated out of royalties in the ’40s and bullied in the ’80s by the publisher he made great, to his estate’s current fight for equitable recognition against an entertainment monolith where his characters have generated billions of dollars, we present Kirby’s cautionary tale in the eternal struggle for creator’s rights.

Plus, CBC #1 interviews artist Alex Ross and writer Kurt Busiek, spotlights the last years of writer/artist Frank Robbins, remembers comics historian Les Daniels, talks to Todd McFarlane about his new show-all book, showcases a joint talk between Neal Adams and Dennis O'Neil on their unforgettable collaborations, as well as throws a whole kit’n’caboodle of other creator-centric items at you.

Taking part in the discussion will be:

Chris Thompson (chair)
Chris is a podcaster, blogger and host known for his work on Pop Culture Hound and The Orbiting Pod. Web:

John Morrow (writer, publisher)
John is the co-founder of Twomorrows Publishing which has been publishing the Jack Kirby Collector since 1994. Web:

Barry Forshaw (writer, journalist)
Barry is a well-known UK writer and journalist who has contributed numerous pieces to the Jack Kirby Collector. Web:

Jason Atomic (artist, Hail To The King curator)
Jason is an artist, writer and curator who work has been inspired and affected by various aspects of pop culture. Web:

• Jack Kirby, Man of TwoMorrow: 7.00pm Saturday 8th June Orbital Comics,
8 Great Newport Street, WC2H 7JA London.

This discussion will be recorded for a special edition of the Orbiting Pod.

SEQUENTIAL gets set to launch

SEQUENTIAL, the free digital graphic novel storefront app for the iPad created by Panel Nine, is launching next Wednesday in the UK, bringing you loads of great titles from the likes of Hunt Emerson, Gilbert Shelton, Alan Moore, Krent Able and many, many more.

Sequential takes digital graphic novels and sequential art seriously, featuring work from the world's leading graphic novel publishers and creators, presented in deluxe digital editions.

Get up to date with SEQUENTIAL over at the new Facebook page - there are some great photos and sneak peeks.

Digital Dandy Issue 8 Now Available

Kat and the crew from Retro-Active face an explosive end to a rooftop rescue, Bananaman has a face-off with the ultra-naughty League of Super Villains, there's some (nearly) bare-faced cheek as Desperate Dan tries to take a bath in private, Harry's Hippo doesn't want to face the dentist after stuffing his face with junk food, and Brassneck's facing up for a spot of star-gazing!

Digital Dandy Issue 8 is available from the Dandy website,, and on the Dandy App

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Dravn to Succeed: Dave Elliott on A1, DRAVN and the lure of the anthology comic

Dave Elliott has more than 25 years of experience working in every aspect of the comic book industry from writer and artist to editor and publisher, and his latest project, the return of A1, is about to be launched, in partnership with Titan Comics

Dave created Sharky and Maximum Force and has worked on diverse titles such as A1, Deadline, Viz Comic, Heavy Metal magazine, Penthouse Comix, 2000AD, Justice League of America, Transformers, GI Joe and Doctor Who. He recently worked with the band Fall Out Boy, and with NASCAR/MMI to create and brand new intellectual properties which he cites as examples of new media integration for a more immersive entertainment experience.

In 2006, Dave co-founded Radical Studios, and, as both the co-publisher and Editor-In-Chief, was integral to the development and launch of Radical’s premiere comic book titles several of which have now begun development as film properties including Hercules (Starring Dwayne Johnson, directed by Brett Ratner and to be released by MGM), Freedom Formula (New Regency), Schrapnel, Caliber, Hotwire, Last Days of American Crime and Oblivion (starring Tom Cruise, directed by Joe Kosinski and released by Universal).

He's currently relaunching his company Atomeka, started with his partner Garry Leach, as an imprint of Titan Books. Atomeka’s titles include A1, Weirding Willows, and Monster Massacre, followed by Odyssey

downthetubes: The return of A1. Why now, after what, how many years?

Dave: I've been asked a few times over the years to bring it back but with the rise of creator owned material I really didn't see the point at the time. When Garry and myself started A1, doing creator owned material was pretty rare.  Most British creators never had the chance or the opportunity to do anything.

Then I did several projects with [US publisher] Image Comics. The approach seemed noble, giving creators all the rights and they'd just take a cut off the top. Seemed reasonable. But I saw many creators who were doing four to six issue mini-series that came out of it in debt. Their trade money already spent in paying back Image their piece of the pie. Creators quite naturally want to get their ideas out there. To seed them and hopefully get the chance to tell their story someday.

So what if you didn't need to do a six issue series? What if you could do a series of shorter stories where you wouldn't have to quit your day job? I'm offering some people the chance to do that.  To lay the ground work by seeding their ideas so when they do take the time out to do that four to six issue mini-series, the audience has had a taste for it. The creator has had a chance to get feedback and refine his (or her) ideas.

The upcoming A1 annual

downthetubes: What's the appeal of the anthology format for you - you seem to get drawn back with it, what with guest editing Heavy Metal and more?

Dave: Anthologies offer the chance for experimentation and exploration.  It's a tougher discipline as you have to tell a story in three to 12 pages, build a little character and hopefully see if the idea floats for you and the audience to want to see more. Text stories, art galleries, even articles shouldn't be off the table as well.

downthetubes:The anthology is a tough market, particularly in the United States - despite A1's amazing success in the past. Are you a glutton for punishment or one of life's optimists?
Dave: I think that needs clarification. The big A1 anthology, which will be out in October, will be more Mass Market. (The comic will just be the Direct Sales Market).

Anthologies in the comic book Direct Sales Market don't do that well. I think it is primarily down to motive for doing one.  is it just to get a bunch of characters that no one really cares much about into print to keep the copyright going? 

Now the mass market tends to react the other way. Every magazine available in the mass market is an anthology. TIME, People, Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, MAD, Heavy Metal and every bloody newspaper on the planet. The Direct Sales market has been programmed to function differently to the mass market. 

Can you imagine asking the mass market reader to have all their articles and reviews serialized over weeks or months? Recipes where you only get one or two of the ingredients per magazine? Publishing would die overnight. So why do comics do it?
The big A1 anthology, which will be out in October, will be more Mass Market. (The comic will just be the Direct Sales Market).

downthetubes: Do you have a long term "game plan" for the title beyond the initial stories?

Dave: By now, people will see I am launching A1 in two different formats with different content. First to be released will be the A1 six issue mini-series for Direct Sale. This format is to seed three projects that will be expanded upon next year with a series of graphic novels based off the properties.

This series is so people can take a test drive. I'm considering doing 6 issues a year of this so we can potentially launch two or three series a year.

The second A1, for the m,ass market, is kind of more like the old - self contained volumes, but bigger, more pages and even more experimental. Also I want to bring back some of the fun into comics (even if its only for those putting these books together).

Then there is Monster Massacre, the naughty little brother to A1. I think of it as the bastard step child of Heavy Metal and 2000AD. Very Sci-Fi and Fantasy led, but I don't want people thinking of it as a boys only comic. I've always been a big proponent of tough female characters who don't need to get raped to be kick-ass.

I'm working on a fantasy love story at the moment with Dave Wilkins. He may not quite think of it in those terms but that's where its core is going to be. Think about Lady Hawke with a twist.

So the game plan is to keep A1 and Monster Massacre going as ongoing series, each building up to hopefully a critical mass where the creators involved can see a respectable trickle of royalties coming in if they stick with it.

I am planning a third anthology that will be aimed at a more general audience that I hope to launch either late 2014 or early 2015.

downthetubes: You're writing some of these new stories, has it been good to get back to that side of the comics business after being "editor in chief" on several projects?

Dave: Hell, yes! Garry and myself started A1 so we could both do our own creator owned work and after the first issue we both had to take a back seat as the publishing stuff got in the way.  This time I am very much in the mix creatively and I hope to get Garry back in the mix when he gets a break. Wearing both hats certainly makes me a lot happier.

downthetubes: You're also working on DRAVN for Heavy Metal Magazine. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Dave: Heavy Metal Issue 262 is on sale now and serves as a great intro into the world of DRAVN. It's a big, rich, and complex story that will take at least three big graphic novels to tell.  It's sci-fi, fantasy, action/adventure, thriller, drama, all wrapped up in one big concept.  The creator is Jesse Negron, who is no stranger to working on big concepts (Google him on IMDB). What I bring to the table is partly my editor's hat and partly my writer hat. I love developing characters and their motivations. Jesse has this amazing story and I'm like the junction master on a train line, making sure the train stays on track and that the track is solid.

As it will be such a big undertaking I've agreed to co-write the graphic novels with Jesse.  We'll be working on these for the next few years.

downthetubes: From reading online interviews you seem to be pitching that as a concept that could reach a much wider audience than those who read, say HM or 2000AD?

Dave: I'd say both those audiences are perfect for DRAVN but it would also be perfect for readers of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. I liken it to Star Wars in many respects: it 's a huge universe and timeline that we're going to be entering. The best way to do that is chose one character and come in through their point of view and expand out naturally, discovering the world with them.

downthetubes: Do you think that publishers are doing enough to try and secure the next generation of comic readers?

Dave: I think they're trying as best they know how. While some people may not like licensed books, doing TV and Film tie-ins bring a new audience in.  As long as the quality can be kept high I think this is good for the market.

I forget how spoilt I was growing up. I had artists like Frank Bellamy, Ron Embleton, Jesus Belasco, Mike Noble, Brian Lewis, John M. Burns, drawing comics for me to read. Syd Jordan on Jeff Hawke, Horak on James Bond, Jim Holdaway on Modesty Blaise. But I always have to remind myself, this is a different time with different tastes.

I think we are all guilty of pissing in our own bathwater and not doing enough to bring in a younger audience.  I'd love to do another VIZ kids comic again. The special I did while I was at John Brown Publishing did really well.  We need some more books like that.

downthetubes: Are you working with Titan on comics with a wider audience, too?
Dave: That's the main reason I'm doing this. Titan have great reach beyond just comic book stores and the books I am doing are focused on as wide a market as possible. I want to get comics back in the hands of lapsed readers, new readers, in an accessible form.  People who like multiple genres. That's a lot of people and we plan on tracking them down.

downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you most offer aspiring comic creators?
Dave: Don't do it.

I'm serious! This can be a shitty industry to work in. Hollywood's mentality is spreading into comics. Chewing creators up and spitting them out once they've lost their flavor.

But if you're stupid enough to ignore that advice, then I'd suggest focusing on your own stuff. Work on your own stuff and get it right.  If you're an artist learn to draw everything!  Google will get you an image of it quick enough but you have to make it convincing.

Start a DeviantART account!!! The community is wonderful for giving you feedback.  Post your own stories everywhere. DeviantART, Facebook, set your own website with your own comic on it and post your own stories. Tweet and Facebook links as often as you can.  Find some friendly creators that will retweet to their fans.

Be persistent.

• Dave is easily accessible on both Facebook and DeviantART or follow him on Twiter via: DeevElliott or ATOMEKA_Press

• Titan Comics is at:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Commando Editor Talks At Chalke Valley History Festival

Commando Editor Calum Laird is scheduled to give a talk at the Chalke Valley History Festival at Ebbesbourne Wake near Salisbury in Wiltshire. The talk entitled  “Achtung! Commando Comics” will take place at 1130 on Saturday 29 June 2013.

Calum will be discussing the history of the comic, the studio in Milan that provided many of the artists in the early years, and the quest for ensuring historical accuracy in all weapons, uniforms, aircraft and machinery. 

In addition he will be explaining how the comics are put together, discussing plots and artwork and also revealing exciting plans for the future.  Chalke Valley History Festival describes the talk with, “For anyone who loves their war stories told with gritty plots and tough-talking square-jawed heroes and with fabulous drawings to boot, this is an unmissable event.”

Tickets to the talk also include access to the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival Airshow which takes place at 1430 at the same location on the same day and includes flying displays by various World War II military aircraft that Commando has featured over the years including the Supermarine  Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, North American P-51D Mustang, Fairey Swordfish and Messerschmitt Bf108  Taifun.

There are more details of the Festival and how to purchase tickets on the Chalke Valley History Festival website:

In the meantime the latest batch of Commandos are now in the shops...

Commando No 4603 - Scarecrow Squadron
Story: Norman Adams Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page

The de Havilland Tiger Moth was a reliable, if rather old-fashioned, aircraft used as a basic trainer for RAF pilots. Pilots like Charlie Chard who was only recently qualified when he and his comrades found themselves in the thick of the action against the German Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.

He and his fellow fliers were known as "Scarecrow Squadron" - given the nickname because they were meant to chase away enemies flying over England's coast. A dicey job that, given that their planes were unarmed! Sitting in his open cockpit, Charlie wondered if any of them would survive…


Commando No 4604 - Bernie's Buccaneers
Story: Bill Styles Art: Vila Cover: Janek Matysiak

With four 1400-horsepower Packard-built Merlin engines powering them forward at close to 40 knots, the crew of MTB 989 felt like the raiders of old when they fired a broadside of torpedoes at enemy shipping.

Privately they called themselves "Bernie's Buccaneers" after their fearless, swash-buckling skipper. They always said would have followed him into the jaws of death…and one day they did just that!

• Preview:

Commando No 4605 - Target For Tonight
Originally Commando No 57 (February 1963)
Story: Eric Hebden Art: Roca Cover: Ken Barr

When crack British Commandos were ordered to fight alongside ace American Rangers in a double strike against an important target, it sparked off the bitter, blistering feud between them that made the "other" war look like a petty quarrel.

Here is the story of this war within a war; of Mike Travers and Red Dooley, who were tough enough to lead and control the best bunch of men that two great nations ever produced.

"The names of Eric Hebden and Ken Barr are well known to Commando fans - for their gripping stories and dynamic cover art respectively," notes Calum Laird of this represented tale. "Once again, they don't disappoint.

"This story of bitter, fist-fired rivalry is beautifully set up on the cover where the two main characters are pitched against one another… at daggers drawn, figuratively and literally.

"It's different with illustrator who provided the black-and-whites for the inside pages for Roca drew only one Commando book. 50 years on it's difficult to say why that would be but it certainly wasn't due to lack of quality. He imparts movement to the figures and uses a scatter of original compositions. Who knows what he might have made of subsequent commissions?"

• Preview:

Commando No 4606 - Lost In France
Originally Commando No 2162 (February 1988)
Story: Allan Chalmers Art: Nebot Cover: Ian Kennedy

Crash-landing a burning Blenheim bomber in occupied France would generally be reckoned pretty dangerous. And so it was, but compared to what fate still had in store for Harry Conway and his crew, that crash was a picnic!

"Veteran artist Ian Kennedy's stunning, dramatic depiction of a crash-landing Blenheim bomber would, quite rightly, make the reader imagine that they were in for a rollicking air story," says Scott Montgomery, Commando's deputy editor. "It certainly starts off as one but, unusually, this tale takes an intriguing detour into espionage territory, becoming more of a spy caper - which suits Nebot's almost cartoony art.

"It's a good thing when a few neat twists and turns can challenge readers' expectations."

• Preview:

• 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.

Keith Page seeks a publisher for "Tommy Atkins' Tour of the Trenches"

Commando artist Keith Page (whose credits also include Paint It Black, the Charlotte Corday saga with Stephen Walsh and the Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler) has created a smashing-looking 32-page comic called Tommy Atkins' Tour of the Trenches - and is looking for a publisher.

If you're a publisher with a weather eye on the upcoming Great War centenary in 2014, why not drop him a line?

Check out Keith's blog at: Here are some of his pages...

New venue, ace guest list for Glasgow Comic Con

There's an impressive line up already announced for this year's Glasgow Comic Con, which will take place at the CCA Glasgow.

GCC is Scotland’s number one comic book festival, bringing in people from across the UK to celebrate the art or creating comic books.

The organisers tells the event has grown from a love for the medium and hole in the market place - and no doubt helped by Glasgow's position as a major centre of comic book creators.

A recently announced addition to an already impressive roster is Eagle and Eisner Award winner Simon Bisley, an artist best known for his work on 2000AD's ABC Warriors  and Sláine, along with Judge Dredd/Batman and DC Comics Lobo. His work has inspired various forms in media, including the Beast in the 2006 Doctor Who episode “The Satan Pit” and Simon Pegg’s character Tim Bisley on Channel 4[s sitcom Spaced.

Other artists, writers and comic creators confirmed for the event are; Alan Davis (Captain
Britain, Miracleman, D.R & Quinch, Wolverine), Carlos Ezqurra (Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, ABC Warriors), Alan Grant (Batman, Lobo, 2000AD), John Higgins (Watchmen, The Killing Joke, Judge Dredd), Cam Kennedy (2000AD, Star Wars: Dark Empire, Commando), Barry Kitson (Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Spider-Man), Mike Ploog (Ghost Rider), John Wagner (Judge Dredd, A History of Violence), Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl) plus Hannah Berry, Peter Doherty, Gary Erskine, Ferg Handley, Yishan Li, George Low, Colin MacNeil, Lorna Miller, Robbie Morrison, Monty Nero,
Tanya Roberts and more to be announced.

Further to the many talks, panels, signings and sketches taking place, some of the UK's leading independent comic book publishers will be on hand, including Scotland's Black Hearted Press and publishers Com X, Jonathan Cape, Orang Utan Comics, Rough Cut Comics and a host of small press exhibitors, comic book shops, toy shops and many more exhibitors.

The event will also host the awards ceremony for the Scottish Indie Comic Book Alliance Awards, dedicated to the promotion of local comic books, graphic novels and sequential art in its many forms and comic creators; artists, writers, colourists, letterers, designers or editors. Winners from the 2012 SICBA awards include writer John Lees and artist James Devlin, as well as an Outstanding Contribution to comics award to David Alexander.

• Nominations for the 2013 SICBA awards are now open at

• Glasgow Comic Con 2013: Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July 2013, Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD. More information from Sha Nazir and John Farman, Event Producers Glasgow Comic Con, c/o Black Hearted Press, 15 Hope Street, Flr 3, Glasgow, G2 6AB. Web: Twitter: #glasgowcomiccon Facebook:

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sean Azzopardi exhibition announced

Flashback Records, Crouch End, will be hosting an exhibition of prints by cartoonist and publisher Sean Azzopardi next month.

The event, on 7th June, is part of the Crouch End Festival 2013.

Flashback Records 144 Crouch Hill London N8 9DX Tel: 020 8342 9633


Monday, 20 May 2013

Andrew Skilleter's Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet artwork in the spotlight

Illustrator and comic artist Andrew Skilleter has just launched an extensive new Facebook page based around the original art he created for the 1990s Gerry Anderson comics.

Best known for his professional Doctor Who art, Andrew contributed many covers and pages, to the Gerry Anderson comics, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90, edited by Alan Fennell in the early 1990s, including the illustration of the long running The Complete Thunderbirds Story.

The Facebook page features scores of covers, strip pages and vivid centre spreads to be viewed and all the art is for sale.

The page also features a full account of his involvement and links to relating sites, including a full Anderson centered interview with Andrew - plus some of his detailed pencil prelim drawings for the strips.

The page will be regularly updated and will be of particular interest to the generation who grew up with the Fleetway Gerry Anderson comics of the early 1990s.

"As a professional illustrator, I was busy with a flow of commissions including Doctor Who," Andrew tells us, " when I became aware of the new Thunderbirds comic and subsequently discovered that Alan Fennell, who had done such a superb job editing the legendary TV Century 21 comic, was the editor. I had grown up with a passion for the best of the British comic artists many of whom were featured in stunning full scale and colour in TV21. I loved strips and the world of magazine publishing.

"And so began an enjoyable working relationship with Alan, producing covers for the Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 titles and illustrating virtually all of The Complete Thunderbirds Story written by Alan, and covers for a number of the Ravette reprint albums of TV21 strips. I was particularly please to have done the Scarlet cover for Ron Embleton’s strips.

"Following the sad passing of Gerry Anderson there are plans by his son Jamie for new Anderson productions, a TV revival of Thunderbirds, Egmont’s plans to reprint material from the 1990s comics and a relaunch of Sylvia Anderson’s website, so this seems the best time to bring the full extent of my Anderson involvement to a wider public."

• Facebook page:

• Andrew Skilleter's official web site: or Facebook:

In Review: Antares - Episode 3

Brazilian artist and writer Leo (Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira) continues his Worlds of Aldebaran saga with Antares Episode 3, the (presumably) middle part of the third series of his incredibly alien tales of 22nd century interplanetary settlers and the beasts and plants they find on the worlds that they settle.

While the main expedition to Antares 5 sets up a base camp, a second shuttle has crashed. The rescue party finds the survivors but loses its aircraft in the process and so the few survivors of both craft are now attempting to return to the base camp location - a journey of many months that they are ill prepared for.

Kim Keller, her daughter Lynn, lover Mark Sorenson, and friend Mai Lan, are all part of this disparate group of survivors who have little food or room in the tracked truck that must be their home. As they skirt the huge forests of the continent that they are trapped on, they must try to avoid the more dangerous of the alien beasts they encounter.

Antares is the third in Leo's Worlds Of Aldebaran sagas, the previous two of which, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse, were serialised over five French albums each. Antares is currently up to Episode 4 in French (due to be published in English in August 2013) and so I would assume that this story will also be five albums long making this the middle point of the story.

Episode 3 is very much a character piece in which we discover more about the group of survivors as they struggle to cope with the planet, the beasts that inhabit it, and the rest of their group as the vehicle slowly makes it way back to a base camp that isn't that keen on finding them. As ever Leo's imagination for alien flora and fauna is the highlight of each individual book and, despite being the 13th album of this overall series, this book is no exception with trees bearing transparent eggs and fast moving crustaceans that appear from nowhere.

I enjoyed this one, as I have enjoyed all Leo's previous books, but I'm also very aware that his sagas are often more than the sum of their parts. Individual books in the series can seem flat as apparently unrelated sequences build toward the bigger story and it can often be the fifth and final book in which everything falls into place and earlier encounters make sense.

With Antares each book to date has ended on a puzzling cliffhanger, none of which have so far been explained, and Antares - Episode 3 is no different. It makes for a somewhat frustrating read when you know that the next book is not yet available however, once they are all available, I suspect that the same plot device will make them just as addictive, and as demanding of all being read in one sitting, as the two previous sets in the saga.

There are more details of Antares (and Aldebaran and Betelgeuse) on the Cinebook website.

Antares - Episode 4 is due to be published in August 2013.

The downthetubes review of Antares - Episode 1 is here and Episode 2 here.

There are more details of all Leo's books on The Worlds Of Aldebaran website (in French).

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Jonathan Cape, Observer and Comica Comics Competition launches

Publishers Jonathan Cape and the London-based comic event Comica have got together with The Observer newspaper to offer you the chance to see your work in print and win £1,000.

Take this opportunity to get your work read by industry experts. The judges are Joe Dunthorne (author of Submarine and Wild Abandon), Stephen Collins (author of The Gigantic Beard that Was Evil), Rachel Cooke (The Observer), Dan Franklin (Publisher, Jonathan Cape), Paul Gravett (Director, Comica Festival) and Suzanne Dean (Random House Creative Director).

The first prize is £1,000 and the publication of your four page story in The Observer New Review. The runner-up will receive £250 and your work will appear in The Guardian.

Deadline for entries: 27th September 2013.

• For entry forms and terms and conditions click here (PDF link)

• For a plan of how your story will appear in The Observer and for layout dimensions, click here (PDF link)

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