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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 23-24 January 2019.

2000AD Prog 2115
Cover: Cliff Robinson / Dylan Teague (colours)
JUDGE DREDD: MACHINE LAW by John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SKIP TRACER: LOUDER THAN BOMBS by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall (a) Quinto Winter (c) (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: KEEPER OF SECRETS by Robert Murphy (w) Steven Austin (a) Pippa Mather (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
FIENDS OF THE WESTERN FRONT by Ian Edginton (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Zombo: I'm a Good Boy Really!
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08670-4, 24 January 2019, 114pp, £6.99 / $9.99. Available via Amazon.

An all-new digest sized edition of the riotous and hilarious sci-fi horror comedy about a polite bio-weapon zombie! When flight 303 crash-lands on the lethal deathworld known as chronos, all is not looking well for the surviving passengers. Enter zombo; a top secret government experiment - part zombie, part human ghoul, with a taste for living flesh and aspirations of pop stardom! Written by Marvel superstar Al Ewing (The Incredible HulkLoki: Agent Of AsgardMighty Avengers).

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hector Breeze (1928-2018)

Cartoonist Hector Breeze died in December 2018, shortly after his 90th birthday. Rupert Besley, writing on the Professional Cartoonists Organisation website, says, "Hector Breeze developed what was surely the perfect cartooning style for the kind of pocket-sized gags he churned out so prolifically and successfully over so many years (since the late 50s). With their robist lines, economy of detail and strong use of solid blacks, HB cartoons were instantly recognisable as his and stood out a mile off as funny. Central to them were his stock characters, ever charming, ever bewildered. Tramps, army chaplains, oddballs, kings. You had to warm to them. 'Gentle humour' is a damning phrase, usually coded for 'not funny'. Hector Breeze cartoons were never savage or angry, but they were funny. Damned funny."


In 1996, Ralph Steadman wrote in Art Review that Breeze's "clumsy, bewildered characters restore my faith in the seriously daft." Pete Dredge, naming him his favourite cartoonist in 2011, described him as "A master of the pocket cartoon. Out of the mouths of the mundane, benign, chunkily drawn characters comes the sharpest of captions." Ian Banx picked the following cartoon from Punch as one he loved on Breeze's 90th birthday.

Hector L. Breeze was born in London on 17 November 1928. He was educated at Dartford Technical College and found employment in a government drawing office, studying art at evening classes. He sold his first drawing to Melody Maker in 1957.

Breeze subsequently worked in advertising while selling cartoons to Punch, Evening Standard, Daily Mirror, Daily Sketch, The Spectator and the Guardian letters page. He sold his first cartoon to Private Eye in 1963, and continued to sell to them regularly for three decades. In 1973 the magazine published a collection of 100 of his best jokes in Private Eye: Cartoon Library 2. Breeze was also a contributor to The Hamlyn Cartoon Collection (1978) and illustrated Terry Wogan's The Day Job (1981).

Breeze featured in a one or two minute item on The Roy Hudd Show for Yorkshire TV (1969) and appeared on Quick on the Draw in the 1970s.

He became the Daily Express's pocket cartoonist in 1982. He was awarded the CCGB Feature Cartooist of the Year in 1984 and 1985 and was voted Pocket Cartoonist of the Year in the Cartoon Art Trust awards in 2004, but was sacked by the Daily Express six months later in 2005.

One of his hobbies was letter-carving in stone.

Breeze lived in Hastings, Sussex, before moving to Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, in the mid-2000s. He is survived by his wife Johanna (nee Bywater), whom he married in 1960 and sons Alexander and Julius.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tom Peddie

TOM PEDDIE
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick


Tom Peddie had two distinct artistic careers – firstly as a London-based illustrator for periodicals and children’s books between the late 1890s and the late 1920s, and then as a painter and muralist in his native Scotland.

He was born on 4 October 1874 in Musselburgh, Midlothian, and baptized as Thomas Hutchison Peddie. He was one of 8 children born to William Peddie, a baker, and his wife Margaret, née Hutchison. At the age of 16, whilst living with his parents at Perth Road, Scone, Perthshire, he was working as a house painter, but by 1893 he was studying at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1894, he was a prizewinner in The People’s Journal for an “amusing sketch.”

After finishing his studies, he moved to London, where, in 1898 in Wandsworth, he married Maud Worley, born in Iver, Buckinghamshire, in 1876 and the daughter of Samuel Worley, a farm labourer, and his wife Mary, a school caretaker. Tom and Maud went on to have four children: Philip Tom, born in 1899 at Endell Street, Long Acre, Covent Garden; Violet Mary, born in 1902 at 27 Coram Street, Bloomsbury; Maud Margaret, born in 1903 at Littlecroft, Hampton Road, Feltham; and Hugh Hutchison, born in 1914 at 57 Temple Fortune Hill, Hendon.

In the meantime, Peddie had begun his career as an illustrator with contributions to The Ludgate Monthly in 1898 and The Penny Pictorial Magazine in 1899. In the first decade of the 20th century his illustrations appeared in Short Stories, The Windsor Magazine, The Sunday Magazine, Good Words and Black and White. In 1908 he began a long association with the boys’ story paper Chums, and two years later he began an even longer association with Cassell’s Magazine (1910-1930), the same publisher’s The New Magazine (1910-1930), the Amalgamated Press’s Red Magazine (1910-1925), and George Newnes’s The Strand Magazine (1910-1929). His work for The Strand included illustrations for three Arthur Conan Doyle stories, “The Three of Them” in 1918, “Billy Bones” in 1922, and “The Maracot Deep” in 1927.

He also began illustrating children’s books in 1910, although only eleven have been identified. Most notable were the 38 illustrations he did for a volume of Enid Blyton’s The Teachers’ Treasury in 1926. He also supplied some illustrations for a revised edition of Hutchinson’s History of the Nations, published in 1914.

Brian Doyle, in his Who’s Who of Boys’ Writers and Illustrators (1964) commented that Peddie’s style “was rather like that of Thomas Henry’s and was best-suited to the lighter stories, especially humorous school yarns, though he could and did turn his hand to all types.” Certainly, there are echoes of Thomas Henry in some of Peddie’s illustrations, for example for The Windsor Magazine, and some of his other illustrations bear similarities to other artists such as Jessie Wilcox Smith and Susan Beatrice Pearse. Equally, he could turn his hand to historical scenes, and while not as good as other artists who specialized in this field, he was competent enough.

Having moved a few times since arriving in London, Peddie and his wife continued to live a fairly peripatetic life, moving to 29 Queen Anne Avenue, Bromley, Kent (1911), 57 Temple Fortune Hill, Hendon (1919), 59 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury (1922), and 19C Palace Gate, Kensington (1927). Throughout this period, Peddie worked for a further range of periodicals, including The Pall Mall Magazine, Cassell’s Magazine of Fiction, The Wide World Magazine, The Sunday at Home, The Yellow Magazine, The Home Magazine, Punch, The Quiver, The Crusoe Magazine and The Golden Magazine. In 1915 he began providing illustrations for the boys’ magazine The Captain, and three years later he began a 10-year association with The Boy’s Own Paper. He also designed several postcards, mostly of a whimsical/sentimental nature.

In around 1930 Peddie returned to Scotland, where he began his second career as a painter and muralist, settling at 22 King Street, Perth, and later at 3A Charlotte Street, Perth. One of his first apprentices/assistants was David Stratton Watt (1912-2008), who went on to become well-known for his paintings of the Scottish sport of curling. Amongst the work for which Peddie became known were murals in the Masonic Lodge in Atholl Crescent, Perth; murals on “The Queen Mary”; and murals of Mary Queen of Scots’ entry into Aberdeen in the dining room of the refurbished Douglas Hotel, Aberdeen, painted in 1937. He was also commissioned to paint 10 pictures for the dining room of the Gordon Hotel, Kingussie, Invernesshire, which he completed between 1936 and 1938. Three more of his paintings are owned by Perth and Kinross Council.

Peddie’s wife died in Eastbourne, Sussex, in 1935, and on 28 January 1944 Peddie married Mary Kennedy Mackay, born in Perth in 1893 and the daughter of Hugh Mackay, a painter and decorator. They had known each other since at least 1922, when they were neighbours in Golden Square. They went on to live at Fairmount, Melville Terrace, Glenfarg, Perth.

For some reason, Peddie briefly returned to illustration in 1953, when he was commissioned by the Amalgamated Press’s Len Matthews to illustrate five issues of the Thriller Comics Library, all of them adaptations of historical novels by Walter Scott, Charles Kingsley and Edward Bulwer Lytton.

Peddie died on 18 June 1954, at his home in Melville Terrace, after suffering from prostate cancer for five years.


PUBLICATIONS

Books illustrated by Tom Peddie
The Heart of Marylebone by “Handyside” (Emily Buchanan), Hutchinson & Co., 1910
The Lucas Girls, or The Man of the Family by Dorothea Moore, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1911
The Right Sort by L.H. Bradshaw, A. & C. Black, 1912
Alice Howell by M. Corbett Seymour, Religious Tract Society, 1912
Hutchinson’s History of the Nations ed. by Walter Hutchinson, Hutchinson & Co., 1914 (with other artists)
Round the Camp Fire by Herbert Strang, Oxford University Press, 1917
The Secret Channel and Other Stories of the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1918 (with other artists)
Songs of Joyland by Josiah Booth, Blackie & Son, 1919
The House of Gladness by Emma S. Allen, Religious Tract Society, 1921 (re-issue)
The Three Merles: A Boys’ School Story by R. St. C. Page, S.P.C.K., 1926
Hetty the Discoverer by Kate Mellersh, Religious Tract Society, 1926
The Teacher’s Treasury (Vol. 3) ed. by Enid Blyton, Home Library Book Co., 1926
The Adventures of Two Brothers and a Sister, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1927

Thriller Comics Library:     
No. 36   Castle Dangerous  1953
No. 48   Quentin Durward  1953
No. 52   Hereward the Wake  1953
No. 59   The Talisman  1954
No. 69   The Last of the Barons  1954

Friday, January 18, 2019

Comic Cuts - 18 January 2019

As the proud owner of a lovely new washing machine...

Yes, we had to bite the bullet and buy a new one. I wrote the column last week under some duress as we were waiting for someone to come round and fix the old one. We heard nothing from the guy who was due, nor have we heard from him since. On Friday I phoned up a couple of other people but neither could offer any help, instead recommending we buy a new machine. Which we have.

It's very similar to the old one, different in only a couple of ways, chiefly the spin function is 1,400rpm rather than 1,600rpm – although improvements in design and efficiency may make up for the difference – and IT WORKS! We've tested it and run a full wash through it and it seems to be working perfectly. No more hand washing my smalls of a weekend (OK, one weekend).

Next up, new glasses, which I'll be picking up tomorrow, Hopefully it will resolve the eye strain I'm currently suffering. The work I'm involved in at the moment means I'm reading tons of stuff on the computer screen and I'm beginning to realise how bad a lot of websites are, with their pale text against coloured backgrounds. You know it's bad when you have to highlight paragraphs to read, or (what I've been doing) cutting and pasting them into text documents, where the text can be made black and of a size that's reasonably comfortable to read. (It also means I have those notes should I need to go back to them, rather than try to figure out which one of a dozen websites that I've been looking at contained the information I'm after.)

The "con" to this is speed. Although I'm keeping up a reasonable pace of around 1,200 to 1,400 words a day, I'm often missing one or two vital details – usually financial, which companies often won't commit to their website. Trying to get this information out of said companies is a nightmare and I'm seriously worried for some. Who ignores the opportunity of free advertising?

A quick plug: on 1 February, Crikey! Volume 1 appears reprinting the first five issues of the magazine from 2007-2008 in a 200-page, perfect bound book. This is a best of rather than a full reprint, but will include articles about Frank Bellamy, Don Lawrence, Ron Embleton, Adam Eterno, Lady Penelpe, Andy Capp, plus features My Comicy Saturday, Nutty Notions and The Crikey! Chat.

If you never had the opportunity to read the original mag., this is a great chance to catch up.

That's my lot. Tired eyes have got the better of me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Rebellion releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 16 January 2019.

2000AD Prog 2114
Cover: Neil Roberts
JUDGE DREDD: BLOCKS BUDS by Kenneth Niemand (w) Jeff Anderson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SKIP TRACER: LOUDER THAN BOMBS by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall Dylan Teague (c) (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: THE SCORCHED ZONE by Eddie Robson (w) Nick Brokenshire (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
FIENDS OF THE WESTERN FRONT by Ian Edginton (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 404
Cover: Boo Cook
More action and adventure in the future-shocked world of Judge Dredd! An old enemy makes a move against the lawman in Judge Dredd: The Red Prince Diaries; the marines from Mega-City One prepare to storm Dominion in "The Torture Garden"; Metta Lawson counts the cost of her flight against Munce, Inc. in Lawless: Ashes to Ashes; truths are learned about the colony on Getri-1 in Blunt; and Psi-Judge Lillian Storm has a new case involving murderous flora in Storm Warning: Green and Pleasant Land. Plus, in the bagged mini-trade, Battle presents Operation Overlord, the first in a series collecting the best-selling D-Day graphic novels by Michael La Galli and Davide Fabbri! 

JUDGE DREDD: THE RED PRINCE DIARIES by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
LAWLESS: ASHES TO ASHES by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
STORM WARNING: OVER MY DEAD BODY by John Reppion, Leah Moore (w), Jimmy Broxton (a) Simon Bowland  (l)
BLUNT II by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE DARK JUDGES: THE TORTURE GARDEN by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Features: New creators, Editions Glénat, new graphic novels
Bagged reprint: Operation: Overlord

Monday, January 14, 2019

Turbo Jones


If you were a fan of British comics in the 1980s, you might remember Wildcat as a short-lived science fiction title from Fleetway. It was given a huge launch, with free copies of the preview comic appearing bagged with your copies of 2000AD, Eagle, Buster, Oink, Whizzer & Chips, Roy of the Rovers and MASK. I'm not sure how many readers of Whizzer & Chips would have been especially interested in this new comic, but I – then a rather older reader than Eagle and Roy of the Rovers was aimed at but still reading them alongside my weekly 2000AD – thought it looked fun.

The artwork for the preview was by Ian Kennedy, who was a regular cover artist on Starblazer, the DC Thomson pocket SF library that I was trying to sell stories to at that time, and I picked up the first issue of the new fortnightly when it appeared on 22 October 1988. In that issue, Kennedy was the artist for the lead strip, 'Turbo Jones', although from the second episode the art was taken over by Vincente Vaño (aka Vanyo).

The stories were written by Barrie Tomlinson, who was also the creator of the Wildcat comic. It was he who created the Wildcat universe and characters, taking the innovative step of publishing four stories each with their own lead characters but which shared a common background.

Set in 2488, Turbo Jones is a scientist who realises that in a mere 12 years, Earth will be destroyed by a meteor shower that will wreck the ozone layer and lead to the few survivors of the initial impacts will die a slow death from radiation. The Supreme Earth Council believe he is scaremongering and he is thrown out, leading Jones to go public in order to raise the finances required to build a spaceship.

He chooses three people as his seconds-in-command: Loner, a former mercenary, Kitten Magee, feminist kick-boxer, and Joe Alien, an alien whose own planet was destroyed. After three years, the mighty spacecraft Wildcat is completed, packed with animals and carefully selected humans who are to become the colonists of a new planet.

With Earth itself destroyed, the Wildcat finds a new Earth-like planet, only to discover that radiation storms and nightmare monsters have prevented the planet's lifeforms from travelling between the four main land masses. Each of the commanders will face a unique environment and inhabitants. Turbo Jones, along with his robotic chimp, Robo, finds himself embroiled in a war between the two main races, the Burroids, ruled by a benevolent brain, and the Arglons, who wish to enslave them.

Turbo Jones is appointed sole commander of the Burroid army to defend the city against an all-out attack. Turbo Jones' attempts to resolve the situation eventually take in his capture, escape, accusations of switching sides and a dinosaur stampede. Even when the battle is won, Jones finds himself on a malfunctioning craft that crashlands elsewhere on the planet and is left facing another meteor strike!

The latest collection from Rebellion reprints all the strips from Wildcat and Eagle & Wildcat, plus stories from Wildcat holiday specials drawn by Keith Page and John Gillatt (the latter in colour). While the concept was an interesting one, Turbo Jones is, first and foremost, a comic strip aimed at young children, and the plots haven't advanced much since the Fifties, when opposing alien nations were discovered on Venus by Dan Dare and Ron Turner was the master of drawing alien dinosaurs. While it is the obvious place to start, some of the other characters – notably Loner (also written by Tomlinson) and Kitten Magee – took off in rather more interesting (and sometimes frankly bizarre) directions.

It's an enjoyable although not outstanding introduction to the whole Wildcat universe. Personally, I'm looking forward more to Loner, which will be released in 2019, but Turbo Jones should keep you entertained while you wait.

Turbo Jones by Barrie Tomlinson, Ian Kennedy, Vanyo, Keith Page & John Gillatt. Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08665-0, 10 January 2019, 146pp, £14.99 / $19.99. Available via Amazon.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

R E McEune

R.E. McEUNE
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

R.E. McEune is something of an enigma. A prolific, if undistinguished, painter, he also illustrated several children’s books for the Halifax publisher Milner & Co., in the early 1900s. Yet he appears to have always been an amateur artist, and he spent his working life as a clerk in a colliery in the north-east of England.

Born on 12 September 1876 and christened Robert Ernest McEune, he was one of seven children of Robert McEune, born in 1827 and a grocer in Gateshead, and his wife Mary Anne, née Reay, born in 1838, whom he had married in Gateshead in 1866. At the time of the 1881 census, the family was living at 13 St. Cuthbert’s Terrace, Gateshead, with Robert senior’s grocery business, which was a partnership with his younger brother Michael Wight McEune, at 36 and 38 Bottle-bank, Gateshead. In November 1881, he filed for bankruptcy, having liabilities of £5,380 and assets of £4,300. (There was a certain irony in this, in that in 1870 he had been elected as a Guardian of the Gateshead Poor Law Union.) He was, however, able to carry on the business under his own name.

Ten years later, the family had moved to 40 Exeter Street, Gateshead, and Robert Ernest McEune had begun working as a clerk in a local colliery. He was still doing the same job ten years later, when the family was living at 36 St. Albans Terrace, Gateshead. One online source says that he studied at the Gateshead School of Art and at Kings College, Newcastle, although if he did this was presumably in his spare time.

His career as an illustrator began shortly after 1900, when he began illustrating a series of children’s books for Milner & Co., a publishing company established in Halifax by William Milner in the early 1800s, and notable for being one of the first publishers to focus on cheap books. Milner married Mary Sowerby, a widow, and after his death in 1850 the business was carried on by his two stepsons, who had been in partnership with him, and traded as Milner & Sowerby, and later as Milner & Co. It went into liquidation in 1910.

Unfortunately, none of the books McEune illustrated for Milner are dated. Furthermore, only one, an edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (which had colour plates), is listed in the major online library catalogues. (And, at the time of writing, only one other title is listed in online booksellers’ listings.)

The authors whose books he illustrated – which all had a colour frontispiece and several full-page black and white illustrations – were Mary Arkless, Jessie Phillips, May Clifford, Phyllis Ford and Amy Gordon. Presumably these were, for the most part, local authors – Mary Arkless, for example, was born in Whickham, Durham, in 1882, and for a while at least was an Elementary School Teacher. McEune also provided a black and white frontispiece for an edition of Tom Brown’s Schooldays. He was not, it must be said, a particularly talented illustrator, although his halftone plates were much better than his hasty black and white line drawings.

As a painter, in oils, watercolours and pastels, he was extremely prolific, with his widow bequeathing 200 of them to Newcastle’s Shipley Art Gallery on her death in 1970. He appears to have exhibited his first painting at the Laing Gallery in Newcastle in 1910, and presumably exhibited several times after this, although the only records so far unearthed are for the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1913, and for the North East Coast Art Club in Whitley Bay, Northumberland, in 1938. He painted in a variety of genres – landscapes, portraits, nudes and still lifes.  He is also recorded as giving a lecture on “Humour in Art” at the South Shields YMCA in 1921. Many of his paintings have appeared in auctions over recent years, although none appear to have fetched anything other than low prices.

His mother died in 1909, and in the 1911 census he was recorded still living at 36 St. Albans Terrace, with his father, and working as a colliery clerk. It is not known what, if anything, McEune did during the First World war, although at some point after 1914 (his father having died that year) he moved to Newcastle, firstly to 83 Osborne Avenue and then to 5 Shortridge Terrace. He then returned to Gateshead, where, in 1922, he married Daisy Lillie Mary Jane Smith, born on 31 October 1893 and a former shorthand typist. They remained in Gateshead, being recorded in the 1939 Register at 20 Alverstone Avenue, with Robert working as a colliery sales clerk. They later moved to Low Fell, Co. Durham.

Either during the Second World Wear or shortly afterwards the couple moved to Penrith, Cumberland. McEune was noted as painting scenery for the local Wordsworth Street Methodist Drama Group in 1950.

He died at 40 Croft Avenue, Penrith, on 16 December 1952, leaving an estate valued at £4,642 (around £120,000 in today’s terms). His wife returned to Gateshead, where she died in June 1970, leaving an estate worth just over £13,000 (£170,000 in today’s terms).


PUBLICATIONS

Books illustrated by R.E. McEune
All published by Milner & Co., Halifax, between 1900 and 1910
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (re-issue)
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes (re-issue)
The Old Boy King by Mary Arkless
The Village Tom-Boy by Mary Arkless
The Merry Twins by Mary Arkless
The Magic Ship by Mary Arkless
Jackie and the Swallows by Jessie Phillips
An Ill Wind by Jessie Phillips
Davie’s Voyage by May Clifford
Red-Caps and gre-Caps by May Clifford
The Parsonage Children by May Clifford
The Pickleburys by Phyllis Ford
Pranks of Two Schoolboys by Phyllis Ford
The Boys of Hazeldene by Phyllis Ford
Which is Which? By Amy Gordon
Piddling Jackey by Amy Gordon

Friday, January 11, 2019

Comic Cuts - 11 January 2019

It's Thursday evening as I write and I've been working from home today. I've been waiting for a guy to come round and fix the washing machine, which went inexplicably bugf*ck on Sunday, working fine one moment and flashing warning lights the next. Thankfully we were able to open the door and it seemed to have emptied properly before lighting up the utility room with a multi-coloured light show.

At work on Monday I managed to track down a guy who was both local and who knew the make and I phoned through the model number that evening. He came round on Tuesday but decided he'd bought the wrong part and would have to order up another. That would arrive Wednesday, so I arranged for him to come over Thursday morning. At midday I phoned him, only to be told he'd be here late afternoon ("after three"). It's now six o'clock and I still have no idea if he's going to turn up or not.

I emailed myself enough work to keep me going so I haven't wasted the day, but it is inconvenient at a time when I need to keep my nose to the grindstone. Also, it makes me look like a dick, because I've now had to ask twice if it's OK to work from home and there's a good chance that I may have to start the process all over again next week with someone else.

Or do I bite the bullet and just go out and buy a new washing machine? It's now six-thirty and he's not answering his mobile phone.

This is surely the last thing that can go wrong. We knew we would have to replace the TV, which we did in December, but on top of that I've had to buy two new external hard drives because one of the old ones froze solid while I was doing a back-up and now it looks (potentially) like a new washing machine.

I've also just bought new glasses – I've been struggling to read smaller print and suffering a bit eye strain for a few months and went to the opticians last weekend. They confirmed I need stronger glasses for reading and that the lenses in both eyes are starting to harden, the first stage of cataracts. I have Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts, which is the most common form, and it usually begins at around the age of sixty. I shouldn't have much trouble from it for perhaps a decade, so it's not something to worry about... yet.

Still no sign of the washing machine repair guy. I think I'd better go and start dinner.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Commando 5191-5194

Get ready for Viking ghosts, a man from Mars, Napoleonic duels, and grudges against the Germans! All this and more in brand new Commando issues 5191–5194 — out today!

5191: Viking Phantom

Something weird this way comes from the mind of George Low! In an ancient Scottish Broch, Fleet Air Arm Warrant Officer Rex Leigh is shivering – but is it from the cold? Or is it from what is lurking outside in the murk? Out there in the dark, German infiltrators aren’t the only thing Rex should be frightened of! All this topped off with an eerie cover from Neil Roberts… what more could a spook want? 

Story: George Low
Art: Morhain & Defeo
Cover: Neil Roberts

5192: Soldier from Space

Writer Skentleberry can always be relied on for a wacky Commando yarn, but this stellar adventure will blow your mind! Voltan comes from the year 3000 AD and he’s looking for men to serve in his army – but not if Lieutenant Mike Johnson has anything to say about it! This paired with Jordi Penalva’s Flash Gordon-esque cover does more than sell this out-of-this-world issue which almost belongs in Commando’s brother comic, Starblazer!

Story: Skentleberry
Art: Cortes
Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 577 (August 1971).

5193: Cold Steel

Graeme Neil Reid delivers again with his third-ever Commando cover! Here’s a Commando behind the scenes titbit: the brief for this cover was perhaps the most detailed brief in Commando history! And what a brilliant job Reid does in bringing Jim and David Turner’s Napoleonic war story to life!

Story: Jim and David Turner
Art: Muller & Klacik
Cover: Graeme Neil Reid

5194: Grant’s Grudge

A powerhouse of Commando contributors come together in ‘Grant’s Grudge’ with veteran writer Ian Clark teaming up with Gordon C Livingstone and Ian Kennedy! Follow Sergeant Doug Grant, who thinks the only good German is a dead one! Even when Grant’s treated by some kindly German doctors – the grudge remains. So what does he do? He punches them in the face and scarpers! Also a highlight in this Commando: a goose attack!

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Gordon C Livingstone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2751 (April 1994).

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 9-10 January 2019.

2000AD Prog 2113
Cover: Patrick Goddard / Jim Boswell (col)
JUDGE DREDD: BLOCKS BUDS by Kenneth Niemand (w) Jeff Anderson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SKIP TRACER: LOUDER THAN BOMBS by James Peaty (w) Paul Marshall Dylan Teague (c) (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: THE SCORCHED ZONE by Eddie Robson (w) Nick Brokenshire (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
FIENDS OF THE WESTERN FRONT by Ian Edginton (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Turbo Jones by Barrie Tomlinson, Ian Kennedy, Vanyo and Keith Page
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08665-0, 10 January 2019, 146pp, £14.99 / $19.99. Available via Amazon.
In 2488 Earth history professor, Turbo Jones predicted that the planet would be destroyed in 2500 by a vast meteoroid storm. Ridiculed by the world’s leaders, Turbo spent the next twelve years constructing a huge spaceship and employing a group of volunteers to help him leave the Earth and find a new home in the stars…
    After months in space, Turbo and his senior staff including former mercenary Loner, the mysterious Kitten Magee and the last survivor of Xgangbe-4, Joe Alien, have found a potential new home.  Now they need to get down onto the planet and make sure that it is safe for the five hundred colonists and livestock aboard the Wildcat…

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Illustrators #24 (Winter 2018)

Released in December, the latest issue of Illustrators is a French movie posters special covering the work of five artists as well as an overview of the history, illustrated throughout with some very high quality images from Heritage Auctions.

French movie posters are called affiches, the term meaning to 'put up' and attached to bills and news sheets that were struck to walls as a means of spreading news or (once colour lithography was invented) advertising. Film posters began appearing at the same time as film itself, the earliest recorded dating from 1895.

But it was in the 1920s that poster art began to find its feet, with talents like Boris Bilinsky, Jacques Bonneaud and Bernard Lancy taking them into new graphic territory with the likes of Bonneaud, Constantin Belinsky and Roger Soubie each producing over 2,000 posters.

This introductory feature gives way to five biographical pieces on five artists who, author Diego Cordoba says, "would become the most prolific and popular, and define the way French movie posters were done, all with their own personal graphic styles."

Russian-born Boris Grinsson worked in Germany until Hitler came to power. He fled to Paris where he created film posters until France was invaded and he had to go into hiding. In the post-War years, his posters included Hiroshima, mon amour (1959) and the Bond movie Bons braisers de Russie (From Russia With Love, 1963).

Some highlights of Clement Hurel's career included Voulez vous danser avec moi (Come Dance With Me, 1959), A bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960) and Le bal de vampires (The Fearless Vampire Killers, 1969). Like Grinsson (who produced over 2,000 posters), Hurel was a prolific, though precise, artist, producing over 1,500 posters.

Jean Mascii was born in Italy but raised in France from childhood. Les yeaux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face, 1960), Plein Soleil (1961), with its striking portrait of Alain Delon, and Alphaville (1965) all show his mastery of the human figure.

Rene Ferracci produced 3,000 posters between 1950 and 1980, all inspired by his innate sense of design and often focused on an object or a montage that gives an impression of the film. Michel Landi, the fifth poster artist covered here, was more a figurative artist, although he, too, had a keen eye for design.

If you're into movie posters and have seen plenty of British or American examples, this is your chance to catch up with posters from France. From portraits of Brigitte Bardot at her height to the graphically outrageous Landi poster for Duel (1972), this is a real treat for the eyes... with or without a face.

For more information on Illustrators and back issues, visit the Book Palace website, where you can also find details of their online editions, and news of upcoming issues. Issue 25 will feature Milo Manara, Greg Hildebrandt, Margaret Brundage, Art Frahm and pin-up art from Alex Raymond.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Eagle Times v.31 no.4 (Winter 2018)

The latest issue of Eagle Times arrived shortly before Christmas but became a casualty of family visits and walking to work off the extra eating. I've only just had a chance to sit down and read what is always an enjoyable magazine. Too young for this to be a trip down memory lane – usually – I have the utmost admiration for the editorial team who always managed to dig up some new facts and offer some fresh impressions of the weekly comic that inspired so many to become fans and, in many cases, professionals.

Take Lionel Jeans, for instance. In an interview by Jeremy Briggs published in this very issue, he cites the Eagle's cutaway drawings as one of his inspirations to take up technical illustration at college, which led to work in West Germany. Returning in 1981 and seeking freelance work led him to Practical Householder and then to its unlikely stablemate (both were published by IPC), the recently relaunched Eagle. Jeans provided only a handful of cutaway drawings for their 'Eagle Data File' feature, but it's nice to put a face to yet another name (he signed his work 'Jeans') and discover more about their background and career.

Briggs also provides an overview of the 'Data File' series and, along with Richard Sheaf, a checklist covering the weekly, the specials and annuals where they appeared.

Famously the home of D. C. Thomson, Dundee is the subject of Eric Summers' article 'Dundee Folk'. But, of course, it is an article about the city's Eagle connections. The connections, whilst slim, are entertaining, and any excuse to talk about Frank Bellamy's 'Happy Warrior' (Winston Churchill being MP for Dundee for a while) is an excuse worth taking.

Steve Winders' look at Chad Varah's and Norman Williams' back-page biography of 'Alfred the Great' reaches its conclusion, as does his 2-part short story featuring PC49. Will Grenham's long-running look at space fiction movies produced during the lifetime of the Eagle also comes to an end.

Meanwhile, Jim Duckett looks at crossover stories that have introduced Dan and other Eagle characters to other fictional folk. He's met Judge Dredd and other 2000AD characters, various Doctors and his own great-great-grandson. Mostly the article covers frivolous Christmas or charity crossovers, but does mention The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Rupert Bear's encounter with Sherlock Holmes along the way.

David Britton wraps up the issue with two articles, one an episode of his series on 'Charles Chilton & The Indian Wars', whilst the other is a review of the current Frank Hampson centenary exhibition at The Atkinson, Southport, which runs until 16 March 2019 - visit their website for details.

The quarterly magazine is the journal of the Eagle Society, with membership costing £29 in the UK, £40 (in sterling) overseas. You can send subscriptions to Bob Corn, Wellcroft Cottage, Wellcroft, Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 9EF; subs can also be submitted via PayPal to membership@eagle-society.org. uk. Back issues are available for newcomers to the magazine and they have even issued binders to keep those issues nice and neat.