Friday, October 29, 2010

Comic Cuts - 29 October 2010

Well, the new Dandy hit the newsstands on Wednesday, although for a moment I thought it wasn't being stocked by our local Co-op, eventually finding it hiding behind all the free-gift bagged comics. Hopefully it will be more obvious in W. H. Smiths... we shall see tomorrow.

So does it live up to its 100% funny tag? Well... maybe 75%. Are kids really that obsessed with what comes out of their noses that Dandy needs more than one bogey-centric strip? That aside, all the new features are off to a bright and breezy start. It's not the Dandy of old, nor is it Dandy Xtreme. Nice colour, nice paper, lots of X-Factor gags, Meerkats and Harry Hill in a comic rather than the tiresome TV Burp. And I did chuckle a couple of times. Hopefully this is the change that will keep Dandy afloat for another 3,508 issues.

If you want to know who did what in the issue, editor Craig Graham posted a guide to the latest issue over at the Comics UK forum:
  • Nigel Parkinson - Harry Hill, The Phantom Pharter, Little Simon and chief Harry-knowing comics nut: His contribution has been incalculable - and should be applauded to the hills.
  • Jamie Smart - Desperate Dan, Pre-Skool Prime Minister, the Style Guide: Jamie's been a part of The Dandy for six years now, and when we came to set up the style guide, Jamie's name was first on our list. He was also author of a remarkable email to me which coincided, in emotion and timing, with the initial proposal for these changes.
  • Wayne Thompson - The Mighty Bork, Pepperoni Pig, Shao Lin Punks, Bananaman and Noel or No Noel: a remarkable artist and friend.
  • Lew Stringer - Postman Prat and Kid Cops: long-time champion of comics, artist and one of the first names on the list of new artists we hoped to get on board. Thanks for all the support, Lew.
  • Nigel Auchterlounie - The Bogies, Professor Dandy: great writer, artist and ideas man. Look out for much much more from Nigel in The Dandy. Also an early morning Sky TV superstar - cheers, Nige!
  • Duncan Scott - Simples!, Count Snotula and What's In Cheryl's Hair Today? - There really will be 101 meerkat episodes! Not so many of Cheryl's hair. Top guy and great artist.
  • David Mostyn - Dr. Doctor: Mr Mostyn is supremely talented as a children's book illustrator and also past Dandy artist. It's a huge pleasure to have him onboard again, and you can all look forward to some absolutely top-notch work from him in the near future.
  • Chris McGhie - iDad: Chris is very busy with things far more important than comics, but he always finds the time to help us out.
  • Alexander Matthews - Robot on the Run: Alexander is well-known in more grown-up cartooning circles, but new, I believe, to kids' comics. ROTR is, in fact, a serial (someone mentioned this earlier?), and it's a good 'un! Nice one, Alexander!
  • Andy Fanton - George vs. Dragon: a friend of Jamie's, recommended by him, and one of the first new artists we found for The Dandy. Doing more stuff as we speak.
  • Phil Corbett - Korky the Cat: Korky wasn't coming back until Phil and Chris (staff artist) combined their energies to fight his corner. Turns out it was good enough to make the cover, so what do I know?!
  • Garry Davies - TV Teaser: Great guy, simple idea, kids love it. What more do you want?
The following people work in the Dandy Office and their efforts have been unstinting, even when putting together Dandy Xtreme and working on this project: Michelle, Ally, Katy, Mark and Chris.

I noticed this week that Amazon are filling orders for the new Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future: A Biography from Orion. I've not seen any reviews yet but it could make an interesting companion to Alastair Crompton's upcoming Tomorrow Revisited... I'm still not sure how the book's author Daniel Tatarsky managed to, in the words of the publicity release, talk to "the original writers and illustrators" unless it was through a medium.

The Best of The Victor is also shipping out from Amazon and has been given the thumbs up by Lew Stringer, who describes it as "a fine tribute to the glory days of the boys' adventure weekly". From Lew's description, the book includes some full-length serials, using a technique I used for The Best of Boyfriend a couple of years ago. I won't say "pioneered", but it was the one book I had complete control over—not only choosing the contents but flatplanning the whole book so that it was laid out the way I wanted it. It was printed with a slightly grey tint which mimicked the look of old newsprint. Shame it wasn't The Best of Valiant or The Best of Lion or somesuch, but a lot of work went into The Best of Boyfriend and it was probably the best of the "Best of..." books Carlton published. It sounds like they've used it as the template for The Best of Victor, so I guess even the folks at Carlton agree.

And 100 Months by John Hicklenton is apparently available now from Cutting Edge, a little ahead of its official release date. This was the book Johnny Hicklenton completed shortly before his death in March this year. From the press release: "100 Months is an apocalyptic parable of environmental devastation written and drawn in fore knowledge of his own impending death. An intense, hallucinatory story with overtones of Dostoevsky's 'Legend of the Grand Inquisitor' and artwork of breathtaking intensity, it is the crowning achievement of a brilliant career, a true graphic novel that engages ultimate themes of life, death and salvation. Controversial, haunting and tortured in all senses, it will inevitably fuel debate around the issues of taking one's own life. Includes a foreword by Pat Mills."

News from Book Palace Books: full details of the three upcoming volumes can now be found on the Book Palace Books Blog. With luck and a good tail wind, the books will be out in December, although it depends on how quickly the finished copies ship from Hong Kong.

Not much news from me. We were helping someone move during the week and I've spent quite a chunk of time in the office shifting files around various hard drives (the new one turned up!) in the hope that I can have everything backed up but accessible so I can keep the back ups up-to-date. All a bit tedious and boring but unfortunately necessary because I'd be lost should anything go wrong with the computer. And everything is being backed up twice, which is why it is taking so damned long.

Between that and the move the week seems to have slipped away from me, although I'm glad I managed to squeeze in a couple of reviews for Bear Alley. If anyone picks up any books they fancy reviewing in these columns, just drop me a line as it's always interesting to get someone else's take on a book.

Today's random scan is another dust jacket from the Thriller Book Club. I've really got to get around to sorting these out for a gallery.

Next week... er... can I get back to you on that?

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