Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

The latest release from Rebellion, out today.

2000AD Prog 2116
Cover: INJ Culbard

JUDGE DREDD: MACHINE LAW by John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (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)
BRINK: HIGH SOCIETY by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

C P Shilton

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

C.P. Shilton was a versatile painter and minor illustrator of periodicals and children’s books, able to work in a variety of styles and subjects.

He was born on 19 March 1887, and baptized on 12 July 1887 at St Margaret’s Church, Stoke Golding, Leicestershire (it is sometimes erroneously referred to as being in Warwickshire, as its post town is Nuneaton). The baptism record gave his name as Claud Percival Shilton Pegg – however, all later records give his first name as Claude (with an “e”). His father was Thomas Shilton Pegg (1861-1953), a grocer and carpenter, who had married Susan Hall (1860-1931) on 25 December 1882 in Stoke Golding. Thomas was the son of another Thomas Shilton, who had married Elizabeth (or Eliza) Pegg in February 1863 – hence the family name of Shilton Pegg, although the Pegg was quickly dropped. Thomas and Susan went on to have three children: Harry (born in Winshill, Derbyshire, in 1883), Hetty Angela (born in Stoke Golding in 1887) and her twin brother Claude (both Hetty and Claude were baptized on the same day).

At the time of the 1901 census, the family was still in Stoke Golding, at Dadlington End, with Thomas now working as a grocer, baker and draper, and his son Harry working for him as an apprentice. The family was comparatively comfortably-off, as in both the 1891 and 1901 census records they were shown as having a young female domestic servant (aged 13 and 15 respectively).

It is known that Claude Percival Shilton received his artistic training at the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School (founded as the Leicester School of Art in 1870), although when he studied there is not clear). When he joined the RAF in 1918 his service record gave his occupation as “Artist, Poster Designer and Illustrator”, with his employer as the School of Art, Leicester, between March 1908 and June 1911, and the Westminster School of Art, London, between February 1912 and July 1914. This suggests that he was employed at both establishments, although he could have been there as a student.

At the time of the 1911 census Shilton was recorded at 35 Margarette Terrace, Chelsea, working as a commercial designer, and one of three boarders of Beatrice Hitchens. However, he was also recorded in the Leicestershire Electoral Register as a lodger at The Birches, Stoke Golding, having the sole use of an unfurnished bedroom in a property owned by his father.

During the First World War Shilton served in France with the 3rd Leicestershire Regiment, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. In April 1918 he was transferred to the R.A.F., and was eventually discharged in March 1919. (When he joined the R.A.F. his enlistment form showed his date of birth as 19 March 1889. This was presumably a mistake by Shilton or the officer who completed the form – Shilton would have had no need to lie about his age.)

In the meantime, on 18 March 1918 (when he gave his address as being in Hursley, Hampshire) he had married Alice Payne, a teacher (born on 6 October 1887, the daughter of James Payne, a manufacturer) at St. Margaret’s Church, Stoke Golding. After his discharge from the R.A.F. he and his wife moved to 49 Elsham Road, Kensington, while at the same time Shilton was renting a studio at 7 Brook Green Studios, Hammersmith. In 1927, they moved to West Hall Road, Mortlake, Surrey, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Whilst he had obviously been working as a professional artist before the First World War, most of his work appears to have been anonymous – as a commercial designer he would presumably have worked on things such as advertisements, posters, packaging etc. His career as an illustrator appears to have begun in 1914, when he produced the cover for an issue of the story magazine Yes or No, although his next known work did not appear until 1920, when he was one of several artists who contributed to Arthur Mee’s book on England and its history, Little Treasure Island: Her Story and Glory, published by Hodder & Stoughton.

In 1922 he designed the dustjacket for an edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, published by John Murray.

He went on to illustrate a handful of children’s books published by the Religious Tract Society and Cassell & Co., between 1925 and 1931, mainly school and adventure stories, by authors such as Frank H. Shaw, Michael Poole, David Ker, M. Harding Kelly, Rita Coatts, Gunby Hadath and Alfred Judd.  He also became a regular contributor to children’s annuals and similar books, with his illustrations appearing in volumes such as Collins’ Schoolgirls’ Annual, The British Girl’s Annual, The Best Book for Girls, Schoolgirls’ Stories, The Empire Annual for Girls, The Empire Annual for Boys, Teddy Tail’s Annual, Thrills and Spills, Young People’s Own Annual, Girls’ Interests, The Girls’ Adventure Annual, The Schoolboys’ Story Book and The Boys’ Budget.

He also contributed to a variety of periodicals, including Young England, Modern Wonder, The Schoolgirls’ Weekly, The Red Magazine, The Detective Magazine, The New Magazine, The Bystander, and, most notably, Chums (between 1925 and 1940). He also contributed covers to George Newnes’s Black Bess Library in the early 1920s.

As a painter, in oils and watercolours, he specialized in landscapes, village scenes (both in the UK and abroad), and flowers – he did several paintings in Kew Gardens. Some of his paintings verged on the twee, being the sort of image commonly found on biscuit tins and chocolate boxes, but many others showed a real talent. Little of his work as a designer has been identified – his best-known work, “The Girl at the Wheel”, appeared in a magazine in the 1930s, and has been widely reproduced.

He illustrated only a handful of books in the 1930s, and seems to have concentrated on his commercial work, as he was recorded in 1939 registered with the Temple Art Agency. His entry in the 1939 Register recorded his occupation as “Commercial artist and magazine illustrator.”

On 13 June 1939 Shilton enlisted in the 6th East Sussex Regiment, and a year later was transferred to the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, with whom he served as a Lieutenant until 1945, when he briefly joined the Pioneer Corps.

He continued his artistic career after the war, illustrating a few more books and also being used regularly by the Mellifont Press as a cover artist for their western and horse-racing paperback reprints in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. In the 1950s, he was a member of the Society of Fulham Artists.

He died, of a cerebral haemorrhage and arteriosclerosis, on 15 May 1968 at 81 West Hall Road.  His wife died in March 1976.


Books illustrated by C.P. Shilton
Little Treasure Island: Her Story and her Glory by Arthur Mee, Hodder & Stoughton, 1920 (with other artists)
Red Blossoms: A Story of Western India by Isabel Brown Rose, Religious Tract Society, 1925
Go-Bang Garry: A Public School Story by Gunby Hadath, Hodder & Stoughtopn, 1926
The Gordons' New Mother by Kathleen M. Macleod, Religious Tract Society, 1926
Jerry Makes Good by Theodora Wilson Wilson, The"Boy's Own Paper" Office, 1926
The Spirit of the Game: A Quest by Basil Mathews & other authors, Hodder & Stoughton, 1926
Outlaws of the Air by Frank H. Shaw, Cassell & Co., 1927
Boys of Gresham House by M. Harding Kelly, The "Boy's Own Paper" Office, 1928
The Isle of Adventure by Alfred Judd, Cassell & Co., 1928
Wonder Island by Gunby Hadath, Cassell & Co., 1928
Cousins in Devon by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1928
Brownie Blue-Shoes by R. G. Parkinson, Religious Tract Society, 1929
Grimshaw of St. Kit's by Michale Poole, Cassell & Co., 1929
Storm Sent: A Mystery of the Sea by David Ker, The "Boy's Own Paper" Office, 1929
Quinton Kicks Off! by Michael Poole, Cassell & Co., 1930
Nancy, New Girl & The Girl Who Was Different by Ethel Talbot, Frederick Warne & Co., 1930
Tony D'Alton's Wireless by Arthur Russell, The "Boy's Own Paper" Office, 1931
Mary’s Shining Light by Ethel Nokes, Religious Tract Society. 1931
The Riddle of the Screen by C. W. C. Drury, Sheldon Press, 1932
Facing It Out by Rita Coatts, Juvenile Productions, 1937
More Thrills with the Paratroops by"Pegasus", Hutchinson & Co., 1944
Ringed Round with Foes by C. Bernard Rutley, George Newnes Ltd., 1945
Paratroops in Action by "Pegasus", Hutchinson & Co., 1946
The Story of Our People Vol.1: The Making of the Kingdom, 55BC to AD1170 by Oswald Harland, George Newnes Ltd., 1951
The Leopard Men by James Shaw, Frederick Warne & Co., 1953
Midshipman’s Luck by S.C. George, Frederick Warne & Co., 1955

(* I previously published a brief piece about Shilton in 2011 which contains some examples of his paintings.)

Friday, January 25, 2019

Comic Cuts - 25 January 2019

My life is a case of one step forward followed by a stumble. Last week I mentioned I was waiting on new glasses which were due to be picked up on Saturday. I got into town early and arrived at Specsavers at about a quarter past nine. Hung around at the collections counter and was seen between five or ten minutes later. Tried on the glasses and they felt OK. There was a blurry line on the right lens, a manufacturers mark, which the girl serving me went off to clean.

She came back ten minutes later and said that the mark on the lens wasn't shifting and the new glasses were in the lab upstairs where they were soaking the lens in... something (I didn't catch what it was) that would lift the mark off the lens. I pushed off for ten minutes to look in one of the charity shops and returned. Was seen ten minutes later by a different girl who said that the mark was proving to be particularly stubborn, could I come back in ten or fifteen minutes.

I actually went to some shops across town and returned at eleven. Was seen ten minutes later by a guy this time who said the problem hadn't been resolved and all they could do was send them back to the people who manufactured them.

So I'm going back on Saturday and will hopefully be in receipt of my new glasses. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

But to balance this bad karma, I was asked recently whether I wanted to be interviewed for a little piece that's going to be filmed for The One Show. It's about Harry Bensley, a.k.a. Iron Mask. It's just a short piece and I don't yet know all the details, but I'm heading up to London on the 7th of Feb, so I'm guessing it will be broadcast the following week... maybe? I'm not sure how far in advance there little films are filmed.

So we've got "lenses" and "ones" for our random scans this week. I'll have some more "ones" next week and hopefully a bit more news.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Commando 5195-5198

Tons of Motor Torpedo Boat action, a Gloster Gladiator duelling Messerschmitts, a risky attack on a U-boat base during an eclipse, and the triumphant return of Ramsey’s Raiders! All this and more in brand new Commando issues 5195–5198, out today!

5195: Spitfires of the Sea

“Get the kettle on, Dawes!” Not for all the tea in China did Able Seaman John Dawes want to be posted to a Motor Torpedo Boat! But he would soon find out why those little boats were so important to the war! Iain McLaughlin spins a tale that the Commando Editor calls a very classic Commando yarn in ‘Spitfires of the Sea’, with everything a good comic needs – action, drama, and a nice warm cuppa!

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Morhain & Defeo
Cover: Janek Matysiak

5196: The Flying Fox

You may be asking why the Gloster Gladiator on Ian Kennedy’s fantastic fiery cover has six guns… because of the Flying Fox, that’s why! Brian Fox was known as the Flying Fox before a horrible accident nearly ruined his pilot career. Now a stationed on a small island in Greece, he’s harassing Italians and German pilots with his modified museum piece!

Story: Brunt
Art: Terry Patrick
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 495 (August 1970).

5197: Ramsey’s Raiders: Race Against Time

You may have seen the full-colour Ramsey’s Raiders graphic novel, but for the first time since 2015 Ferg Handley’s Ramsey’s Raiders return in a brand-new adventure in the biweekly Commando comics! This time the ragtag team of mavericks are on the trail of a deadly nerve agent developed by Nazi scientists to turn the tide of the war! The race is on for the Raiders to stop them!

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Ian Kennedy

5198: Operation Eclipse

Finishing off the trifecta of stunning Ian Kennedy covers in this set of Commandos is ‘Operation Eclipse’. Alan Hebden’s unusual plot follows an attack on Germany’s strongest U-boat in Norway – during an eclipse! But with a cowardly captain commanding a crew of convicts, will the operation go off without a hitch? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Dennis McLoughlin
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2758 (May 1994).

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

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.


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

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).


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.


Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books