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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Comic Cuts

Updated: Sunday night...

I've had connection problems thanks to an ancient modem with ADD which keeps losing track of the web; we're waiting on a new one which will, hopefully, resolve the problem and the frustrations of trying to upload anything will be a thing of past. Thankfully I'd uploaded all the pages of 'Caroline Baker' so it was just a case of posting each daily episode. I've another short series of these which I'll post at some point.

Most of the week has been dedicated to putting together the new edition of The Mike Western Story. This first appeared as a little A5 booklet back in 1990 and featured a fascinating autobiographical essay by Mike to which I added a brief running commentary. The new edition will be bigger, brighter and have a lot more information on Mike's career, plus what I hope will be a few very nice surprises. My main problem at the moment has been trying to dig out examples of Mike's forty years as a comics' artist as most of my comics are stashed away in boxes in the attic and not so easy to get at. Lugging even a few year's worth of Valiants around, doubled over, isn't doing my back much good.

The breaking news this week has come from Titan Books, who have signed a big deal with Egmont to reprint a variety of strips. The headline-grabber will be Roy of the Rovers who is to star in a whole series of books, starting with The Best of Roy of the Rovers: The 1980s (ISBN 978-1845769482) to be released on June 27. It will be a bumper, 208-page collection of classic stories and here's what Titan have to say about the new series:

"He's back! Britain's most famous fantasy footballer, Roy Race, makes his long-awaited return, in this first bumper volume collecting the very best of Roy's thrilling escapades! Featuring the cream of Roy's matches and adventures from the '70s and '80s, this incredible collection will be a must-have for footie fans of all ages! Thrill once more to the roar of the crowd, as Roy and Melchester Rovers face trials and tribulations on and off the pitch! As featured in the recent BBC 'Comics Britannia' documentaries, these are the tales that endeared "Roy of the Rovers" to a generation, and provide the ultimate introduction to the best football comic ever created!"

Titan's deal with Egmont covers quite a range of titles, including Battle Picture Weekly, Action, humour comic Buster and girls' comics Tammy and Misty. Look out for future reprints starring 'Johnny Red', 'Major Eazy' and 'The Rat Pack' from Battle.

Titan will be releasing their next James Bond volume, James Bond: The Paradise Plot, in April alongside the second Jeff Hawke release, Jeff Hawke: The Ambassadors.

As I made a bit of a fuss over the sales figures of Virgin's Dan Dare #2, the latest figure for #3, 10,245 shows a healthy increase over both 1st and 2nd issues. The explanation seems obvious: interest in the first issue has driven orders up—unfortunately, too late to increase sales for issue 2 due to the way orders through Diamond (where these figures originate) are made some months in advance. So sales for #3 are up 31% reflecting the demand for #1.

Tucked away in the back of Diamond's Previews magazine is an announcement from Virgin that they will be releasing the first three issues in a special hardback edition on April 23rd. This 80-page book is in an oversized format (7.4" by 11") which Virgin helpfully illustrate (see above) with a comparison to the original comics size. The book will also include reproductions of the five covers used on the three issues by Bryan Talbot (also the cover for the book), Greg Horn, John Higgins, Brendan McCarthy and Garry Leach. The book retails at £6.99 so this will be a cheap way to catch up on the series so far.

Other news from here 'n' there...

* Philip Pullman is to write for the new DFC comic that is due to be launched on subscription at the end of May. The strip, 'The Adventures of John Blake', is to be drawn by John Aggs. John Freeman's Down the Tubes has more details of the planned line-up and the FP International blog has some additional pics.

* Alex Fitch's Panel Borders has the first part of an interview with Alan Moore.

(* Pics: First sighting of a Wild Wonder drawn by Mike Western © IPC Media; Roy of the Rovers through the years © Egmont UK Ltd. Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation/Virgin Comics.)


  1. Look forward to hearing more about the best of Buster book....from Titan...I can't wait...mind you I could just read my old Busters in the mean time :)

  2. Hi Peter,

    Just spoken to Nick at Titan and he tells me that they're still trying to figure out what's best to do with each of the titles. A Best of Buster is probably the right way to go, although some titles—Battle being the obvious one—lend themselves more to having individual strips reprinted.

    Roy of the Rovers will be kicking off (no pun intended) the new series of books; there will be a Battle Annual towards the end of the year but, at the moment, a lot of the ideas they have are still to be finalised. I'd say that 'Johnny Red' is likely to be one of the first titles out of the gate because there's a lot of people with fond memories of the character and because he was initially drawn by Joe Colquhoun... and Titan have some experience at publishing Colquhoun-drawn war stories!

    After that, we'll just have to wait and see... how much pressure will it take for Titan to buckle to demands for a collected edition of "Slaves of War Orphan Farm" from Tammy or a Ken Reid-drawn Faceache Annual?

  3. I really hope the best of Buster is a success....there is so much in Fleetway which was very good..

    Faceache book sounds cool...
    Or how about the complete Ken Reid book DC and Fleetway vol 1.. 2.. 3 ..4.. 5 ..etc..

    Well there is a complete Peanuts..Calvin and Hobbes...Far Side...Mad artists collected together..

    I'm sure the Best of Buster will have adventure stories and humour...letter pages..joke pages...competitons of the of characters...artists names..e.g Reg Parlett.dates..history...a bit about Andy Capp...the mergers...some adverts of the past...well here some ideas...I liked the Look In best of the 70's book

  4. I'd love a Darkies Mob book. Johnny Red would be up there on my list too.

  5. Funny you should mention Darkie's Mob, Crow, as that was one of the story suggestions I had.

    Wearing my fanboy beanie, this is all about getting the books that I want onto my shelves. Ignore sales projections... I want the collected Ken Reid from Buster, Darkie's Mob and The Sarge from Battle, Ella on Easy Street and Becky Never Saw the Ball from Tammy, Dredger from Action... the list is long.

    Some of them (a lot of them) would be considered very un-PC nowadays but they were all great stories.

    Anyone else care to submit a wish list?