Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Bill Mevin (1922-2019)

Bill Mevin who worked in comics for over fifty years and, prior to that, was involved in animation, died on 30 December 2019, aged 97. He had been hospitalised for some weeks.

He was born Wilfred D. Mevin in West Derby, Lancashire, the fourth (of five) child of William J. Mevin (1888?-1951) and his wife Elsie Marion (nee Cox, 1891-1987), who had married in Birkenhead in 1915.

Mevin studied at Liverpool Scool of Art. In the late 1940s, he joined Gaumont British, the studio set up by David Hand, as a trainee film animator. G-B Animation closed its doors in 1949 and Mevin contributed artwork to a 1/- flicker booklet about a bear named Brumas (1949), part of the Comic Movies Flicker Book series. He went on to work for Batchelor and Halas, contributing to The Power to Fly (1954), an advertising film made for Anglo-Iranian Oil Company charting the history of aviation from Daedalus to jets, directed by Bob Privett, and to the UK's first full-length animated feature Animal Farm (1954).

When the studio closed, Mevin joined the Sunday Chronicle as a topical cartoonist, working for them for six months until the paper was merged into Empire News in 1955. He also began freelancing to comics, contributing 'Sammy and his Speed Sub' to Swift (1954-57) and 'Wee Sporty' to Express Weekly (1956-60), along with various strips to Girl and Swift annuals.

He worked for many years on TV Comic, drawing 'Lenny the Lion' from 1957 (on the cover in 1958-60). He produced colour centre-spread strips 'Supercar' (1961-64), 'Space Patrol' (1964-65) and  'Dr Who' (1965-66). While his semi-cartoony strips were a good match for the first two, Mevin was not a good fit for the more realistic artwork required for the Who strip. Roger Noel Cook, one of its writers, lateer said "Bill Mevin was a lunatic appointment to draw Doctor Who. Bill was a whiz-bang brilliant cartoonist who I went on to work with extremely well on 'Popeye' but straight artwork was just not him!"

From thereon, Mevin was kept busy with cartoon strips that was more suited his style, including 'World Cup Willie' (1966), 'Droopy', 'Bugs Bunny', 'Huckleberry Hound', 'Popeye', 'Barney Bear', and 'Buzby'.

He also contributed to Pippin ('The Pogles', 'Bill and Ben', 'The Herbs', 'Morph'), Whizzer & Chips ('Happy Families') and Whoopee ('Dads and Lads') in the period 1966-85.

When the comic market began to shrink, Mevin acquired an agent who suggested he produce a strip spoofing overblown American soap operas like Dallas and Dynasty, although it featured a wide range of television personalities, from Terry Wogan to Mr Spock. Entitled 'The Soapremes' (fl.1986-87), the strip was picked up by the Daily Mail.

In November 1992, Mevin took over the artwork on 'The Perishers' for the Daily Mirror, which he drew for many years; written by Maurice Dodd (who had also worked on Animal Farm) and originally drawn by Dennis Collins, 'The Perishers' had been a daily institution since 1958; Collins had retired in 1983 and Dodd had drawn the strip himself for some years before Mevin came on board. The strip finally came to an end in 2006 following Dodd's death on 31 December 2005.

Mevin returned to 'Doctor Who' to produce two covers for Doctor Who Classic Comics (#7, 27 May 1993; #15, 15 Jan 1994). He was interviewed for the feature ‘Stripped for Action’ which appeared on the DVD release of The Time Meddler (2008).

In retirement, Mevin continued to draw pictures for Perishers fans and charity auctions and wrote a novel, Peggy (2016) about a young girl and a flying horse.

He was predeceased by his wife, Lilian (nee Archbold), whom he married in 1953. They lived in Bromley, Kent, until her death in 2012, aged 87.

An interview with Mevin is due to appear in Vworp! Vworp! #4.

Further information: Down the Tubes In Memoriam.

Tug Transom part 11

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Tug Transom part 6

Commando 5291-5294

Brand new issues of Commando — out today!

5291: A-Force: Aftershock

A-Force returns in part two of the raucous romp written by Ferg Handley! In Aftershock, Jack Ramsey — grandson of the infamous Ramsey Raider, has just gotten back from his first mission and is shook by the loss of one of his squaddies — Joe Bones! But when they’re sent back to Sarovia on another mission, there’s a surprising waiting!

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Carlos Pino
Cover: Carlos Pino

5292: One Moment of Glory

Jeff Bevan’s fourth ever Commando cover is laid bare on Gold reprint issue One Moment of Glory. An early cover for him but still a goodie — especially when it’s on this issue! A classic Commando tale of a posh boy versus a working-class lad, and the class rivalry comes to a head in the deserts of Libya! But will they each get their one moment of glory? Well you’ll have to read it, won’t you?

Story: CG Walker
Art: Wright
Cover: Jeff Bevan
Originally Commando No. 801 (1973).

5293: The Peregrine Falcons

As the tide of the war turned against Germany, they turned to dirty tactics and revenge weapons like the V-1 rocket. Britain, and London in particular, was besieged by the diabolical doodlebug bombs which actively sought to kill citizens and sow destruction. But one RAF squadron called The Peregrine Falcons, led by Henry Abercrombie, wasn’t going to let the buzz bombs get through. They were the best defence Britain had — and for Henry it was a personal battle!

Story: Brent Towns
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: Ian Kennedy
5294: Outcast!

Ian Clark’s expansive plot of Outcast! takes you from Pre-war French Foreign Legion, all the way to World War Two Germany on the Eastern Front, then to Communist East Germany and even further on to the First Indochina War — all in the story of one man! Plus, with art from Denis McLoughlin and a stunning Phil Gascoine cover, this isn’t one to miss!

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Denis McLoughlin
Cover: Phil Gascoine
Originally Commando No. 2471 (1991).

Monday, December 23, 2019

Tug Transom part 3

Comic Scene #11 (February 2020)

The latest issue of Comic Scene celebrates the best of 2019 and rewards the best of the year in its inaugural ComicScene Awards. I won't run through all the winners in all its many categories, but I will just say congratulations to all the winners and its nice to see some British titles getting some recognition, from Aces Weekly and Rebellion to Ramsey's Raiders and Combat Colin.

This issue contains Richard Bruton's excellent review of 2019, a fascinating, sprawling look back at everything from what has been happening in the major American comics universes (Marvel, DC) to the highlights of British publishing, including the wide range of material being published by Rebellion supporting its 2000 AD and Treasury of British Comics brands. That there is still life in the old dog yet can be seen from this year's celebration of 4,000 issues of The Beano and 400 issues of The Phoenix. Even Commando, which will publish its 5,300th issue in January, has been in experimental mood, reintroducing characters and experimenting with historical and horror tales.

Bruton also covers the small presses, comic shops and conventions, making recommendations along the way. It's entertaining, informative and probably the best thing the magazine has published this year.

Another retrospective looking at 40 years of Doctor Who strips in Doctor Who Weekly and Doctor Who Magazine begins in 2005 with the arrival of the ninth Doctor in the pages of DWM. Ian Wheeler's article weaves in interviews with Mike Collins, Scott Gray, Tom Spilsbury and others, who offer plenty of first hand insight.

Viz also celebrates its 40th birthday with an all-too-brief interview with Simon Thorp. Then we're into the reviews of small press comics, the coverage being as good as ever.

It seems a little odd to complain about comics dominating a magazine about comics, but comics now take up almost 50 of the magazine's 80 pages. The heart of Comic Scene is now a pull-out 24-page comic, Corker!, containing the adventures of 'Gallant & Amos', 'Slash Moron' and 'Megatomic Battle Rabbit'. Of these, 'Slash Moron' continues to be the most entertaining. Outside of the pages of Corker!, there are still more comics, reprints of 'Rok of the Reds', 'Lady Flintlock' and 'Captain Cosmic.

Out now, Comic Scene is available for £5.99 per issue at selected comic shops, W H Smiths, McColls/Martins, Easons (Ireland) and can be ordered at any comic shop.  The magazine is also now on sale in Australia, Canada and the USA. Details about subscriptions can be obtained from Get My Comics: £29.94 for 6 issues (save £6 plus free digital copy); £55.20 for 12 issues (save £16.68 plus free digital copy). Digital copies can be had for £2.99, on £30 for 12 issues (save £5.88‬).

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Tug Transom part 1

A bit of a change this year. I've run Paul Temple strips here at Bear Alley for some years, but this year I thought we'd have a bit of a change. Tug Transom ran in the Daily Sketch between 1954 and 1968. There were a few reprints from the Devon-based newspaper club some years ago, but there have been no official reprints. I would love to see the strip collected. In the meantime, here's a story that, if you're new to Tug Transom, will make you want to see more.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Comic Cuts - 20 December 2019

Long-time readers of Bear Alley will know that I suffer from the common complaint of being easily distracted. With my pitch out of the way, I threw myself into the task of sorting out the junk yard that the far end of the living room had become, dismantling the wall of books that separated me from the far end of my office, and boxing up all the magazines that hadn't found a buyer on Ebay so they can go back in storage.

So the boxing up went quite well, but the boxes are clogging up the living room, alongside the boxes that have been stored under the stairs for the last ten years, which I had to pull out when we were having the fuse box replaced and various electrical tests done. I still haven't had a chance to go through them to see what's in the boxes. This is not to say that there hasn't been any movement at all. From photos, you'll see I still have a large number of old fruit & veg trays that I acquired about twenty-five years ago. I've filled six large trays with books that are now living upstairs and nine of the smaller trays with paperbacks that are stacked up neatly in the office rather than forming an impenetrable barrier.

The trays are useful as they're easy to move and stack. I still have about 400 books that I took out to a boot fair a couple of years ago. I had hoped to do one or two this year, but the opportunity never arose. Not that I make much... I just hate the idea of taking them to a charity shop that would just chuck them away (as they do to most pre-decimal books these days).

You can see that there has been a little bit of progress from the above photo. The boxes don't climb quite so far up the wall and I was finally able to put up my Heade pic. It probably won't stay there as it's a little close to the window and I don't want it to fade. This is the corner that I'm thinking I'll put the desk.

The big distraction was a bit of paying work, which took me, on and off, two and a half days to complete. It should hopefully be out next week, so I'll save it for when I hear more. In the meantime, I do have something special lined up for Bear Alley over the next couple of weeks, of which all I will say is that part 1 will be appearing tomorrow!

All the best for the holiday season and Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Today's releases from publisher Rebellion includes the bumper-sized, 100-page Christmas and New Year issue of 2000AD – a perfect stocking filler and as a jump on issue for new readers.The issue includes two brand new series: 'Feral & Foe' by Dan Abnett & Richard and Joe Elson; and 'Proteus Vex' by Michael Carroll & Henry Flint.

You can find out more about the latter in this interview with writer Carroll in which he says: "It’s a space adventure story! Weird aliens, giant spaceships, espionage, intrigue, action and so on...  Science fiction, but where the science part is subservient to the fiction part. Much as I love Hard SF stories, sometimes it’s refreshing to ... just have a bunch of spaceships made out of “undefeatium” blasting the crap out of each other. We don’t always need to know exactly-how-the plasma guns work, just what they’ll do to the bad guy’s face."

The issue also includes the return of 'The Zaucer of Zilk', last seen in 2012. I'll leave it to Brendan McCarthy and Peter Hogan to describe. Here's a taste from Brendan: "I initially created the Zaucer of Zilk and sold it to 2000 AD. It was developed and added to by Al Ewing’s great creativity and writing skill. My aim was to create a British version of Doctor Strange. In this case, it’s mixed with a Tim Burton-style psychedelic sensibility, by way of Davids Bowie and Lynch, with a dash of sparkly glam rock. The British do fantasy really well and historically produce classics of the genre like Alice, the Dark Materials books, Mervyn Peake, Michael Moorcock and lately, Harry Potter.  British children’s surrealism was also a big influence on my visual approach; Yellow Submarine, Thomas the Tank Engine, Teletubbies, Rupert Bear — all baked together to create that special Zaucer magic!"
2000AD Prog 2162
Cover: Alex Ronald

JUDGE DREDD: SNOWBALLED by TC Eglington (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
GRADUATION DAY by Gordon Rennie (w) Tiernen Trevallion (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE ZAUCER OF ZILK: A ZAUCERFUL OF SECRETS by Peter Hogan (w) Brendan McCarthy (a+c) Len O'Grady (c) Jim Campbell (l)
BRINK: HATE BOX by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
PROTEUS VEX: ANOTHER DAWN by Michael Carroll (w) Henry Flint (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD: SIDNEY by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
FERAL & FOE by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a+c) Joe Elson (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
DURHAM RED: MISTLETOE KISS by Alec Worley (w) Ben Willsher (a) Jim Campbell (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine #415
Cover: Phil Winslade

JUDGE DREDD: PLUNDER by Michael Carroll (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
DEVLIN WAUGH: A VERY LARGE SPLASH by Ales Kot (w) Mike Dowling (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BLUNT III by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE RETURNERS: CHANDU by Si Spencer (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)
LAWLESS: BOOM TOWN by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Jim Campbell (l)

Features: Interrogation: Ales Kot,; Four-Colour Classics: Starblazer
Bagged reprint: Damnation Station Vol.2

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Bill Bryson cover gallery

The Palace Under the Alps and Over 200 Other Unusual, Unspoiled and Infrequently Visited Spots in 16 European Countries (Jan 1985)

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America (Aug 1989)
Black Swan 0552-99808-7, 1999, 349pp,
---- [7th imp.] £6.99. Cover by David Cook

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way (Jun 1990; as Mother Tongue: The English Language)
Penguin 0140-14305-X, 1991, 267pp.
---- [52nd imp.] £8.99. Cover by David Cook

Neither here Nor there: Travels in Europe (Feb 1992)
Minerva, 1992
Black Swan 978-0552-99806-2, 1998, 347pp.
---- [32nd imp.] £8.99. Cover by henrysteadman.com Photo: Hulton / Getty

Made in America (Jul 1994; as Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States)
Minerva 0749-39739-X, 1995, 478pp, £6.99. Cover design by Button Design Co / images by Archer Quinell
---- [2nd - 7th imp.] 1995
---- [8th - 9th imp.] 1996

Notes from a Small Island (May 1996)
Black Swan 0552-99600-9, 1996, 351pp, £6.99. Cover by David Cook
---- [2nd - 9th imp.] 1996
---- [10th - 18th imp.] 1997

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (May 1998)
Black Swan 0552-88702-1, 1998, 349pp, £6.99. Cover by David Cook

Notes from a Big Country (Jan 1999; as I'm a Stranger here Myself)
Black Swan 0552-99786-2, 1999, 398pp, £6.99. Cover by David Cook
---- [2nd imp.]

Down Under (Jun 2000; as In a Sunburned Country)
Black Swan 0552-99703-X, 2001, 397pp.
---- [5th imp.] £7.99. Cover by David Cook

Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words (Sep 2002)

Walk About (Oct 2002)

Bill Bryson's African Diary (Dec 2002)

A Short History of Nearly Everything (May 2003)

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: Travels Through My Childhood (Oct 2006)
Black Swan 978-0552-77254-9, 2007, 403pp, £7.99. Cover design by henrysteadman.com / photo: Getty Images

Shakespeare: The World as Stage (Jan 2007)

Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors (May 2008)

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything (Oct 2009)

At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Dec 2010)

One Summer: America, 1927 (Oct 2013)
Black Swan 978-0552-77256-3, 2014, 671pp, £8.99. Cover by Neil Gower
---- [7th imp.]

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island (Oct 2015)

The Body: A Guide for Occupants (Oct 2019)

Friday, December 13, 2019

Comic Cuts - 13 December 2019

I'm in the middle of a huge clearing-up operation that meant I was unable to get to the computer last night. There was also the minor distraction of an election.

I'm hoping to move my office out of the cold, cold ex-garage and shift it to one end of the living room. This has required a bit of planning. You might not have noticed, but I've been running down my Ebay sales from 600 or so items down to 90. That difference was mostly unsold film magazines, which have been piled up for weeks in the house but which I'll now bag and box up for storage. They were selling, but very slowly, and I need to make enough room to work out this Chinese puzzle of a move.

It's not as easy as just shifting the desk and computer. There's all my reference books that I like to have at arms length; there is the wall of books to my right that has built up until it split the office, which I use as a table (a bit teetering, but usually stable enough for anything I needed to review); there's the scanner to my left; and the boxes behind me that have been piled high with everything from folders, to books, to paperwork, to old cassettes, to trading cards, and to a cup full of old badges. I can see over the next week that I'm going to have to stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood in order to look seriously at all this clutter and decide whether to keep it (in which case it needs to find a home somewhere in the house) or bin it.

We're about to take a look at Spiral 7 and there are some spoilers ahead. Jump to the end of the column if you don't like that kind of thing.

Spiral (Engrenages) is probably the most consistent of all the imports that have appeared on BBC4 over the past few years. The latest (seventh) season of the French drama  opened with Laure Berthaud (Caroline Prust) suffering from post natal depression, having spent months in therapy. That sentence probably tells you all you need to know about the tone of the show.

The murder of Police Commissioner Herville (Nicolas Briancon) and a Chinese restaurateur, brings Laure back into the fold. Gilou Escoffier (Thierry Godard), her former partner, is now in charge of the unit, which lost Tintin (Fred Bianconi) last season, as he was unable to continue working with Laure and Gilou, whose methods are often beyond legal. Their already complex relationship has been further strained by Laure's erratic bond with her baby daughter and the baby's father, Brémont (Hubert Benhamdine).

Meanwhile, Joséphine Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot) is in jail, on remand for her attempted murder of her rapist. Released, she joins a former colleague Edelman (Louis Do de Lencquesaing)  until she begins working for a businessman with ties to a money-laundering gang. In her sights is Judge Roban (Philippe Duclos), on the verge of retirement and looking for a quick result in the Herville investigation—which opens him up to some sly moves from Joséphine which might cause the investigation to fall apart.

So, with everyone thoroughly miserable one way or another, why does this series still manage to make compelling viewing. Could it actually be the soap opera element? I'd say yes.

If you've followed the show for seven series, you know what you're going to get. All of the characters are flawed: by ambition, by fear, by anger, by an overwhelming and blinding desire for justice... Mel and I cheered when Tintin turned up because he was the one member of Laure's team who spoke up and had the moral fibre to leave. That's not to say he wasn't corrupted by being in the orbit of Laure and Gilou, as has happened to Ali Amrani (Tewfik Jallab), the new boy on the block caught in the downward spiraling whirlpool that is the Herville investigation.

76 episodes into the show and I still find the drama compelling. The acting and directing are superb (although the overuse of shots in reflecting pools and puddles did become a distraction), but it is the characters that make you come back time and time again. Imperfect and driven, they seem almost duty-bound to fuck up an investigation, and then cause chaos as they try to wriggle their way out so that justice is served whatever the cost to themselves. It will be interesting to see where season eight opens (the ending I will not spoil!). And there will be a season eight as it was shot during spring and summer of this year.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Commando 5287-5290

Brand new issues of Commando — out today! And this week's crop includes the revival of Union Jack Jackson from the pages of Warlord and Victor, drawn by the likes of Carlos Cruz, Francisco Fuentes Man and Jordi Franch. For newcomers, Jack Jackson is a Royal Marine whose ship, Attacker, is destroyed by a Japanese airstrike. Jackson makes it to a remote Pacific island where he teams up with US Marines, painting a Union Jack on his helmet to remind himself and others that "Once a Royal Marine, always a Royal Marine."

5287: Union Jack Jackson

Union Jack Jackson is back in his first adventure since 1991! Storming an island, going head-to-head with a Japanese sniper and saving his mates from a prisoner of war camp is all in a day’s work for Union Jack because…
    “A Royal Marine never gives up!”
    Reviving a classic character, the issue re-tells his origin in a no-holds-barred action adventure as UJJ joins the US army, with some twists along the way!

Story: Georgia Standen Battle
Art: Paolo Ongaro
Cover: Tom Foster

5288: Call It Quits

There’s nothing like a Commando with two RAF pilots who hate each other’s guts — and Call It Quits has it in spades! Like chalk and cheese, Mike Boyd is a hothead show-off while Ian Harper is cool as a cucumber and by the book. What’s more, Mike has sworn to prove he’s a better pilot then Ian, but after writing off a Spitfire and getting branded as a menace, will the headstrong pilot ever be able to ‘Call It Quits’ with his rival?

Story: Staff
Art: Amador
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 782 (1973).

5289: The Wombat and The Tiger

Brent Towns writes a fist-pumping action romp in The Wombat and The Tiger. As one outdated and one new Royal Australian Navy destroyer finds themselves outclassed and outgunned by a Japanese behemoth warship on the prowl in the shipping lanes outside Port Darwin, can the fiery Aussie crews work together to take down the devil from the Far East? Read it to find out!

Story: Brent Towns
Art: Morhain & Defeo
Cover: Keith Burns
5290: Destination Siberia

When it’s cold, it’s freezing in Issue 5290 Destination Siberia! And you couldn’t get a frostier reception from the likes of evil NKVD Major Henkel — former SS Captain and member of the ruthless gang of murderers called ‘Henkel’s Hangmen’. Somehow, the scab of a man has wormed his way into the position of commandant of a Soviet labour camp where a specific German prisoner is being held. But two British men and two Americans were going to save that German and get revenge on Henkel to boot!

Story: Alan Hebden
Art: Denis McLoughlin
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2814 (1994).

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 11 December 2019.

2000AD Prog 2161
Cover: Nick Percival

JUDGE DREDD: THE HARVEST by Michael Carroll (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
DEFOE: THE DIVISOR by Pat Mills (w) SK Moore (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK: HATE BOX by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
HOPE: UNDER FIRE by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Simon Bowland (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD: DOOMED by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

2000 AD’s all-ages special issue, 2000 AD Regened, is returning in 2020 – but this time there’s even more!

Rebellion is pleased to announce that after the huge success of this year’s 2000 AD Regened issue, Regened will take over FOUR issues of the legendary 2000 AD in 2020, with dedicated stories suitable for all ages.

Drawing on four decades of genre-defining characters while encouraging new readers to pick up the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, 2000 AD Regened has something for everyone with a stellar lineup of talent on some of the biggest characters in comics, including Ilias Kyriazis (Collapser), Cavan Scott (Doctor Who), Nick Roche (Transformers), Rob Davis (The Motherless Oven), and more!

The new 2000 AD Regened issues follow on from the successful Free Comic Book Day issue in 2018 and 2000 AD Prog 2130, which was 2000 AD’s best-selling issue of 2019.

The first Regened issue of 2020 will be 2000 AD Prog 2170 – a bumper 48-page special issue with a roster of complete stories, on sale from newsagents, comic book stores, and online on 26 February 2020.

The subsequent Regened issues will be 2000 AD Prog 2183 on 27 May, 2000 AD Prog 2196 on 26 August, and 2000 AD Prog 2206 on 4 November.

2000 AD editor Matt Smith said: “2000 AD’s 2019 Regened takeover issue was the best-selling issue of the year, so I’m excited to bringing the all-ages concept to four issues across 2020. We’ve got some great stories and artwork lined up – many by creators making their debut for the title – so I hope these will go down equally as well with readers young and old.”

In the first issue, a young Judge Dredd must defeat an interdimensional invasion in Cadet Dredd: School Trip by Rory McConville (Judge Dredd) and Ilias Kyriazis (Collapser); the lone genetic infantryman enters dangerous ground in Rogue Trooper: Savage Swamp by Cavan Scott (Doctor Who) and Nick Roche (Transformers); ghost-hunters Eliot and Meera tackle an entity loose in a graveyard in Finder & Keeper: Dead Signal by Leah Moore and John Reppion (Storm Warning) and Davide Tinto (Spider-Man); and the timid aliens from Strontium Dog, the Gronks, have a fierce new neighbour in The Gronk: The Trouble with Gronkses by David Baillie (Red Thorn) and Rob Davis (The Motherless Oven).

This issue is available to order from comic book stores in North America as part of the monthly 2000 AD packs, using the Diamond Distribution code DEC191838.

The 2000 AD Regened schedule for 2020:

    2000 AD Prog 2170 – 26 February
    2000 AD Prog 2183 – 27 May
    2000 AD Prog 2196 – 26 August
    2000 AD Prog 2206 – 4 November

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Illustrators Special #6: Brian Bolland

Brian Bolland should need no introduction. He made his name in 2000AD drawing Judge Dredd, including some of Dredd's biggest hits: Judge Death, Judge Death Lives and episodes of The Judge Child and Block War. Then, a stroke of fortune... Joe Staton was in the UK for a convention and needed to find somewhere to complete some work. Bolland's had a drawing table spare at his flat and Staton told his editor on Green Lantern that he knew an artist who was interested in doing the cover.... and Bolland was offered his first US work.

Camelot 3000 (1982-85), The Killing Joke (1988) and hundreds of covers have followed, all exquisitely drawn. While you may disagree with some of the sentiments in his Mr Mamoulian strips, and think that perhaps his seeming obsession with bondage is a bit much, you will never find a bad page by Brian Bolland.

Reading the interview that threads through this current volume, you can see why. He had diverse influences as an artist, but you can see from his work that he took most of his influence as a comic strip artist from the likes of David Wright (Carol Day), Sydney Jordan (Jeff Hawke) and Jesus Blasco (The Steel Claw). All three strove for realism even when faced with alien characters and weird, menacing enemies. His main American comic influence was not Jack Kirby but Gil Kane and Carmine Infantino.

The book begins with his first creative efforts working in collaboration with Dave Harwood, the elder brother of a schoolfriend, and takes its readers through early professional work (Powerman), into 2000AD and beyond. A comprehensive look at Bolland's work appeared a few years ago from Image, but there's plenty here that is new—pencil roughs show how Bolland is able to nail an idea, to the point where you could almost publish the rough. Over time and with the advantage of nowadays drawing and colouring on computer, he has even more control, especially of the colour palette that he uses on more recent covers for  Jack of Fables, Zatanna and Dial H.

There are glimpses of Bolland's much-anticipated autobiographical book made up of montages of illustrations, images, drawings and photos which promises to be very revealing. In the meantime, the interview here is a delightful and tasty aperitif ahead of the main course, and the artwork a trip down memory lane for old fogies like myself who have been around for as long as Bolland has been active in comics. That some is taken from original boards and the printing is superior to anything IPC or DC managed in the 20th century means you can look at it with fresh eyes and appreciate its beauty all the more.

Illustrators Special #6: The Art of Brian Bolland is available from Book Palace now. For more information on Illustrators and back issues of the regular quarterly title, visit the Book Palace website, where you can also find details of their online editions, and news of upcoming issues. The latest issue of Illustrators (#28) will feature articles on  Frank Kelly Freas, Yvonne Gilbert, Laurent Durieux and Heinrich Kley. During 2020, issues will feature Charles Addams, Lawson Wood, Roy Wilson, JJ Grandville (#29), Mort Küntsler, Earl Norem, Norman Saunders (#30), Jason Edmiston and Cornillon (#30), with specials on Pirates, Warren artists and John M. Burns also coming up in Spring.


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