Friday, January 31, 2020

Comic Cuts - 31 January 2020

I've put in a fairly solid week of work on the Rocket index, writing up the backgrounds of many of the reprints and digging up what I can on their creators. Some are big name strips that will be recognised by most – Flash Gordon, for instance – but others are far more obscure, such as the two Dutch reprints carried by the paper.

I'm taking a break writing about the last of the original British strips in order to put together this column and thinking back on the week. There haven't been too many distractions – a visit from a chap named George who wanted some advice on the book he is writing, and a trip down to the doctor for another blood test are all I have on the calendar.

The latter is due to elevated levels of sugar in my last blood test, which was done because the previous blood test had shown a low level of HDL cholesterol. Well, the latter didn't get a mention this time, so seems to have sorted itself out. I'm sure the blood-glucose measurement is probably also an aberration – it just happened to be high that morning when they did the test – but I'd rather keep an eye on it than ignore it. We shall see what happens when I go for a review at the tail-end of next month.

This comes at a time when I'm feeling rather chuffed about losing some weight. I lost half a stone last year and hope to do at least the same this year. I've already lost the couple of pounds I put on over Christmas, and a couple more, so the slightly brisker walks and a bit of time on an exercise bike seems to be paying off.

I said last week that my tablet had died following an attempted Windows update. Well, the good news is... it's alive! Playing around with the USB stick I had been using as an external hard drive to the tablet, I discovered that it locked itself into a safety mode: I could read files but could not write or delete anything. Following this up, I found that ScanDisk's advice was simply that there was no way to unlock it as it entered that mode when it detected potential problems or damage.

I spent a very satisfying few minutes taking a hefty rock to it to make it unreadable before throwing it away.

But before that I was able to copy off the temporary files and folders associated with the Windows update onto another drive, and plugging that in to the tablet caused it to reboot and revert back to its previous pre-update mode. It seems to be working fine and I've subsequently bought a micro SD card to make sure that it has plenty of free space in the future. And a new USB stick.

We're about to take a look at The Man in the High Castle. The review is full of spoilers, so hop to the end of the column if you don't like that kind of thing.

And so it ends. One of my favourite TV shows of the past few years finishes with season four and does so in style. Although based on the Philip K. Dick novel, The Man in the High Castle has moved far beyond the hints of alternate realities offered by the book and made the slipping between worlds of Julianna and the portal created by the German Reich to breach another parallel world central to these last two seasons.

The premise of the novel—what if the Axis powers had won the Second World War and now controlled a divided America—is still central to the storylines of all the characters. A new resistance has grown in Japanese-controlled Pacific States, the Black Communist Rebellion (BCR). The resistance against the Reich, who control the Eastern territories, is being battered and losing ground. They need more weapons and their leader, Wyatt, does a deal with the BCR: weapons for aid in an attack on leading Japanese figures.

The attack is only a partial success, leading to swift reprisals. During the attack, Robert Childan, an antique store owner who has adopted a Japanese lifestyle and ingratiated himself with the Crown Princess, is snatched by the BCR and offers to help, informing the BCR leaders that the Princess is pressing for the Japanese to withdraw from America to concentrate their forces in Manchuria.

Reichsmarshall John Smith is still obsessed with Juliana Crain, who transported herself to another dimension just as Smith shot her at the end of season three. She now works as an aikido teacher, teaching (amongst others) Smith's son, Thomas, who has survived in this dimension. His father (alt-Smith, for want of a better way of avoiding confusion) is a mild-mannered salesman who ends up dead when a Nazi agent travels from the Reich to kill Juliana and to spy on Thomas and pass back news to the Reichmarshall.

Juliana decides that there is no alternative but to kill the Reichmarshall.

Meanwhile, the BCR decide that they need to make a bold move to prove they are not a broken force. They decide to attack the oil supplies the Japanese desperately need to maintain their armies in China. They manage to pull off a major coup, forcing the Emperor to announce a withdrawal from the US. But while the BCR celebrate, John Smith sees this as an opportunity to unite the whole of America under one flag—the swastika.

While this is the broad outline of the show, its strength has been its characters and their personal lives. John Smith is torn and desperately trying to balance two lives: in one he has his two daughters, one of whom reviles the life she is forced into in the Reich and wants to escape to the Neutral Zone; in the other he has his beloved son, who wants to join up to fight in Vietnam.

In the Pacific States, Inspector Kido cautiously investigates the murder of Trade Minister Tagomi, knowing that there is a conspiracy to scapegoat an innocent man and close down the case. He, too, is having problems with his son, who uses opium to blot out the memories of his past actions.

And then there's Robert Childan, a selfish and slippery man who falls in love with the Japanese way and a Japanese woman. Just when you think he might have redeemed himself and is given a chance to make a new life...

What of Helen? John Smith's wife is forced back to the Reich. As she desperately tries to integrate back into society, she is treated with suspicion and no little contempt. She suspects her husband is having an affair but then learns about the alt-dimension and her husband's trips there. Will she help Juliana thwart Smith's plans to become Reichsführer of an autonomous North American Reich?

OK, so these are major spoilers if you haven't begun watching the show yet, but I wanted to emphasise that The Man in the High Castle is so much more than just an alternative history. Yes, its world-building has been impressive, but equally so has its character building and its development of multiple storylines  that have woven together into an immensely satisfying whole. Thankfully, as Amazon is a streaming service, you should easily be able to get all forty episodes for the foreseeable future and given how easy it is to accidentally sign up for Amazon Prime, you might find yourself with a free pass to watch the whole lot before you cancel your subscription.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

This week's releases from Rebellion Publishing...

2000AD Prog 2166
Cover: INJ Culbard

JUDGE DREDD: KILL BLOOPY by Kenneth Niemand (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Jim Boswell (c) Annie Parkhouse (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 ZAUCER OF ZILK: A ZAUCERFUL OF SECRETS by Peter Hogan (w) Brendan McCarthy (a+c) Len O'Grady (c) Jim Campbell (l)
FERAL & FOE by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a+c) Joe Elson (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Friday, January 24, 2020

Comic Cuts - 24 January 2020

I've had a fairly solid week of work on the new Rocket index, trying to tease out the web of connections between a lot of the creators involved. I've made one or two interesting discoveries along the way, some of which will make it into the book, while some bits will have to wait for another opportunity.

Rebellion have released a information about their 2020 release schedule for the Treasury of British Comics (scroll down if you haven't seen it yet). I thought you might like to see the front and back covers of the Johnny Future book for which I've penned a short 'n' sweet introduction.

I almost had a heart attack on Wednesday (and, no, this is not a follow-up to my medical discussions of last week).

With the tablet bust, I had a lightbulb moment and wondered whether the USB stick I was using as an external harddrive to give the device enough space to do a Windows update might also be part of the problem. The tablet is just turning itself on and then immediately shutting down.

So I plugged the stick into my PC and something weird has happened. I can read the files on the stick, I can copy the files off the stick. What I can't do is delete anything from the stick. Why this is the case I have no idea. The good news is that it might mean that the tablet can be revived... I buy a new stick; I've copied the files relating to the Windows update onto another drive. I put them on the new stick, plug in the stick... and hopefully that will give Windows enough space to do the update.

But with the tablet out of action and the stick also seemingly screwed, the heart attack moment came when I plugged in my 5tb external hard drives to copy a couple of files off the PC – as usual I was running out of space – and only one of them fired up. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I tried the power cable from the working one in the not working one and, lo and behold, it fired up without any problems. Could the fault be the plug???

No... following the cable back to the wall, I noticed that I'd unplugged the extension cable so that I could charge my electric razor. D'oh. Once I plugged the extension cable back in everything worked fine. Heart attack averted.

But I spent the rest of the afternoon appalled at how easily I accepted the idea that these bad things come in threes. I don't consider myself superstitious and while I might jokingly reference bad luck and the old wives tale that misfortune comes in threes, I don't actually believe in it.

I did a little digging for data to back up my (dis-)belief, and it's caused by the human desire to see patterns in random or concurrent events. It's called apophenia. We look for a pattern and cherry pick the events that have happened recently to support the idea that bad things come in threes. Confirmation bias and the historic use of groups of three to differentiate good and bad options (e.g. three little pigs, three bears, etc.) leads us to believe that something is actually happening. Two things going wrong is, after all, just a coincidence... so for bad luck to be involved, there must be a third thing. Three also means that, once we've figured out what that third thing is, we're safe from any more things going wrong. At least for a while.

So... apophenia not angina. Phew!

A look at The Expanse with some spoilers, so jump to the end of the column if you don't like that kind of review.

It's good to have The Expanse back. I was a big fan of the first three seasons, and disappointed that SyFy dropped the show, especially when it was getting such rave reviews from the people who were watching it. I have to guess that, by the third season, all that was left watching were the hardcore fans and there simply weren't enough of them.

The show moved to Amazon Prime and I think there has been a certain tension leading up to the show's release as fans will know that the novels by James S. A. Corey are plotted in groups of three. The SyFy series covered the first three books (Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War and Abaddon's Gate) and Amazon were picking up with the next trilogy (Cibola Burn, Nemesis Games and Babylon's Ashes).

Now, the SyFy shows had come to a reasonable conclusion, as had the books. The protomolecule – an alien weapon that had infected Eros – has been destroyed and a vast number of rings have opened up, paving the way for human expansion across the galaxy. Quite a nice place to end. The worry was that Amazon would do one series, end on a cliffhanger and drop the show again.

Well, that looks unlikely. The fourth season, at a slightly trimmed-down ten episodes, has been very positively received and there will definitely be a fifth.

Does it deserve its 100% Rotton Tomatoes score? Well, I really enjoyed it. There has been a land rush through the gates and more and more people are trying to escape to new worlds leaving some worried that the Inner Planets will suffer... why terraform Mars when you can just fly to a planet with breathable air?

Problems on a planet named Ilus, aka New Terra, mean that James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are sent to investigate. They find a state of extreme tension exists between Belter settlers, who have discovered vast deposits of lithium, and the RCE, sent to study the planet. Tensions continue to boil when strange alien towers begin to activate. Hot spots and eruptions cause a tsunami and the warring newcomers are forced to hide together underground.

Meanwhile, Chrisjen Avasarala is struggling in the polls against Nancy Gao, who has emerged as a credible contender, especially after she makes a potentially disastrous decision while trying to track down a terrorist. And Bobbie, out of the Martian military and free of Avasarala, struggles to find meaningful work; circumstances dictate that she ends up working with a group stealing and smuggling tech. And out in the belt, Drummer and Ashford have captured Marco Inaros but a decision by various OPA factions is made to let him go leading to consequences greater than either could imagine.

I was a little worried that, with an expanding cast of major characters, some would be sidelined and given little to do, Bobbie certainly seemed like she was to be a victim of this, but the pace of her storyline picked up after a couple of episodes. Miller returned as the untrustworthy ghost in Holden's head and Amos and Naomi both had plenty of cause to regret going planetside. The mix of politics, personal stories and spectacular space opera that has been the strength of The Expanse so far hasn't been lost in the move to Amazon. It looks promising for the future... in fact, given the cliffhanger, the next season could be a blast.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Commando 5299-5302

From World War Two battles in Crete, Dunkirk, and North Africa to the Battle of Hastings! The latest issues of Commando  are out today!

5299: Sladen’s Promise

Sebastian Mortimer was the son of a lord. Out of spite, he joined up in the Second World War as a private only to find that his long suffering butler, Anthony Sladen, was now his sergeant! Sebastian was convinced that Sladen was going to get his own back on him. Blinded by this, Sebastian failed to realise that that Sladen had a made promise that he wouldn’t break.  

Story: Dominic Teague
Art: Morhain & Defeo
Cover: Keith Burns

5300: Battleground

Lieutenant Dave Manning was eager to get into the fight, too eager in fact as he bungled one of his first pieces of action by ordering a suicidal advance. Deemed too risky to lead, Dave was kicked to the curb as an Equipment Officer and ordered to take the unfit, old and shirkers with him back to the base areas — away from the fight. Only, as luck would have it, Dave would get his chance to fight, leading his band of rejects to join up with Americans of all people!

Story: Leach
Art: CT Rigby
Cover: AC Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 701 (1972).

5301: 1066

Commando goes medieval in issue 5301, with a story about the infamous Battle of Hastings. When Durwin saves the life of Harold Godwinson, he is rewarded with becoming his housecarl. Durwin is there when Harold swore on the bones of a saint that he would let Duke William of Normandy become king of England. Only Harold had no intention of keeping that promise and that could only lead to one thing — war!

Story: Andrew Knighton
Art: Klacik & Muller
Cover: Ian Kennedy
5302: Target — Crete!

A classic Commando from the archives, we enjoyed Target — Crete! so much, we put it in The Art of Ian Kennedy book! But we weren’t satisfied, and so the Cretan yarn has returned for a reprint. Showcasing the talents of Ian Kennedy, Gordon C Livingstone and RA Montague, Target — Crete! tackles the invasion of the small island that the mythical Minotaur was said to have lived on. But does the half-bull half-man turn up in this Commando? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Story: RA Montague
Art: Gordon C Livingstone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1478 (1981).

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Today's Rebellion releases include the latest issue of 2000AD and the Treasury of British Comics collection, Billy's Boots, a brand-new collection of one of the most popular football comic strips ever produced!

2000AD Prog 2165
Cover: D'Israeli

JUDGE DREDD: KILL BLOOPY by Kenneth Niemand (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Jim Boswell (c) Annie Parkhouse (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 ZAUCER OF ZILK: A ZAUCERFUL OF SECRETS by Peter Hogan (w) Brendan McCarthy (a+c) Len O'Grady (c) Jim Campbell (l)
FERAL & FOE by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a+c) Joe Elson (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Billy's Boots by Fred Baker, Mike Western, Colin Page & Tom Kerr
Rebellion ISBN 9781781086711, 23 January 2020, 112pp, £14.99. Available via Amazon.

Young Billy Dane was one of the most passionate football fans at Bingley Road Junior school…unfortunately he was also one of the worst players! Then, one afternoon, Billy’s grandmother got him to clean out her attic and Billy finds a pair of old fashioned football boots that belonged to ‘Dead-Shot’ Keen – a famous centre forward who once played for England. Join us at the start of a stunning saga which entertained football fans for over twenty years!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Treasury of British Comics 2020 schedule

Don Lawrence’s Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire and Hugo Pratt’s long-lost war comics are two major releases from Rebellion’s imprint, which aims to bring back into print the best series from more than 100 years of comic book publishing. Acquired by the Oxford-based company in 2016 and 2018, the comics archives of publishing giant IPC contain hundreds of classic titles and characters that helped define British culture for decades.

For those that love their history, Masters of British Comic Art (April) promises to become one of the definitive histories of British comic book art. Written by artist and comics historian David Roach, this 384-page high-production hardcover compendium is a wildly entertaining and educational journey through the history of British comics - from the birth of the 20th century to the ‘80s American invasion.

And from funnies to frights, from superheroes to skateboarders, there’s something for everyone in the 2020 Treasury collections. The first mass market paperback collections of The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire will debut in March and November, giving new generations the chance to savour this lush, expansive epic from Lawrence, the British master of painted artwork.

War comics dominated the British newsstands for decades and with good reason – February and September will see the War Picture Library collections of forgotten war comics by Carto Maltese maestro Hugo Pratt, which shed new light on the formative years of this groundbreaking artist, with fan favourite artist Ian Kennedy’s stunning Battle of Britain series collected in April and a brand new collection of Death Squad from classic war comic, Battle, in August.

There’s homegrown heroes aplenty with the first collection of superhero Johnny Future (April), cited as a formative influence on talents such as Alan Moore, and the complete collection of Rebellion’s reboot of classic British superheroes in The Vigilant (September).

Comics aimed at girls, which sold millions of copies in their heyday, are a rich treasure trove of great stories and incredible art and skateboarding series Concrete Surfer (June) and the high-fashion hi-jinx of Sugar Jones (August) are two fantastic series that feel as fresh and fascinating as they did when they were first published.

And there’s plenty for kids with football flight of fantasy Billy’s Boots (January), the collection of new Cor! Buster stories (November) from Rebellion’s recent specials, Ken Reid’s Football Funnies (December), as well as second volumes of The Thirteenth Floor (October) and Black Max (October) alongside paperback editions of popular collections The Dracula File (October) and Faceache (November).

Editor Oliver Pickles said: “Each of these books is an absolute gem, showcasing some of the most glorious art that has largely been forgotten by today’s comic reading audience. This roster continues the mission statement of the Treasury of British Comics of bringing these ignored masterpieces back to the forefront of the public’s consciousness”

Third World War
Pat Mills, Carlos Ezquerra, Angela Kincaid, D'Israeli
ISBN: 9781781087510
9 January (UK) 7 January (US)
UK £19.99 // US $24.99
Pages: 208pp // Paperback
Available via Amazon.

Using brand new scans of the original artwork supplied by the family of the late Carlos Ezquerra, this definitive collection of Pat Mills and Carlos Ezquerra’s ground-breaking, highly-political comic book classic of global capitalism, rebellion and exploitation is collected in its entirety for the very first time! Eve is unemployed after leaving university and is immediately conscripted as a soldier working for a corporation and discovers just how South American countries are being exploited to create food needed to feed the increasing population for their profit under the guise of western paternalism. ‘Third World War’ is suffused with economic, political, and social issues, and deals with ever-more prescient issues around capitalism and global politics. Ezquerra’s painted colour artwork is a highlight of his long and distinguished career. A truly anti-establishment graphic novel from the late 1980s, this is unlike anything else published by the Treasury of British Comics so far!

Billy's Boots
Fred Baker, Colin Page, Mike Western, Tom Kerr, Bill Lacey
ISBN: 9781781086711
23 January 2020
UK £14.99
Pages: 120 // Hardcover
Available via Amazon.

A brand-new restoration paperback of one of the most popular football comic strips ever produced! Young Billy Dane was one of the most passionate football fans at Bingley Road Junior school…unfortunately he was also one of the worst players! Then, one afternoon, Billy’s grandmother got him to clean out her attic and Billy finds a pair of old fashioned football boots that belonged to ‘Dead-Shot’ Keen – a famous centre forward who once played for England. Perfect for nostalgic gift purchase for dads who remember it fondly from hugely popular Scorcher magazine, this is the beginning of the popular serial that ran for over 20 years - never before been reprinted! A brilliant companion comic to the new Roy of the Rovers comics and fiction, these fantasy infused sports stories are sure to delight and surprise!

War Picture Library: Battle Stations
Donne Avenell, Hugo Pratt
ISBN: 9781781087527
20 February 2020 (UK) 18 February 2020 (US)
UK £14.99 // US $19.99
Pages: 64 // Hardcover
Available via Amazon.

The first in a major series of new collections bringing the long lost UK war comics of Italian art maestro Hugo Pratt to the public in stunning new editions. Two brothers of differing rank have to make extraordinary sacrifices in the line of the toughest duty. This is a true story of courage under fire; a high-octane story of a blistering World War II naval battle. All illustrated by Hugo Pratt, one of the world’s most renowned comic book artists. This thrilling war picture story marks the beginning of the Treasury of British Comics mission to return all of Pratt’s UK work to print. Published in an oversized format befitting the importance of his incredible and highly influential artwork. Part of a new ‘War Picture Library’ series showcasing the finest combat comics illustrated by legendary and iconic artists, this oversize book highlights the extraordinary the artwork of the international comics luminary and creator of ‘Corto Maltese’.

The Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire Volume 1
Mike Butterworth, Don Lawrence
ISBN: 9781781087558
19 March (UK) 17 March (US)
UK £19.99 // US $24.99
Pages: 304 // Paperback
Available via Amazon.

The Trigan Empire was a landmark 1960s science fiction series which rivalled Game of Thrones in popularity and was the precursor to every mythic sci-fi adventure to come! Under the leadership of Trigo, the Vorg tribesmen band together to resist the Lokan invaders, forming a new country, The Trigan Empire. This is the epic story of its rise and fall. Featuring an extraordinary combination of the Roman Empire and ancient Greece, Trigo’s story is told in ground breaking fully painted artwork. Originally published in Ranger magazine, it transferred to the hugely popular Look and Learn where it ran for over a decade. This is the first in a series collecting all the stories painted by the legendary Don Lawrence.

Masters of British Comic Art
David Roach
ISBN: 9781781087596
2 April (UK) 7 April (US)
UK £39.99 // US $50
Pages: 384 // Hardcover
Available via Amazon.

This wildly entertaining and educational tome is a journey through the history of British comics - from the birth of the 20th century to the ‘80s invasion of American comics and through to today’s best contemporary artists! A high-production hardcover compendium perfect as a coffee table book or academic encyclopedia, Masters of British Comics is painstakingly researched. Behind a brand new cover by superstar artist Brian Bolland, and featuring artwork from a vast number highly-acclaimed artists carefully scanned from original artwork, Masters of British Comic Art is the definitive study and celebration of a beloved industry! Featuring a Who’s Who of talent, including Brian Bolland, Yvonne Hutton, Dave Gibbons, celebrated greats such as Don Lawrence and lost masters like Reg Bunn and Shirley Bellwood. Author and 2000 AD artist David Roach takes us on a journey through time detailing the surprising and fascinating evolution of the art from its humble beginnings to its current world-conquering status.

War Picture Library: Battle of Britain
Ian Kennedy
ISBN: 9781781087794
16 April (UK)
UK £14.99
Pages: 128 // Paperback
Available via Amazon.

The second in the new ‘War Picture Library’ series showcasing the finest combat comics illustrated by legendary and iconic artists. Two true stories of aviation heroism and derring-do - ‘Never Say Die’ and ‘Steel Bats’ - set during the Battle of Britain in 1940 and drawn by comics legend Ian Kennedy! A talented pilot who never loses his determination to defend his country against immense obstacles both technical and personal. A squadron undertakes heart-stopping missions to combat the intense night-time assaults of the Axis air force. Set against the backdrop of the Battle of Britain comes an enthralling collection of aviation and heroism featuring daredevil pilots and the lengths they go to stop the German Luftwaffe attacking Britain.

The Complete Johnny Future
Alf Wallace, Luis Bermejo
ISBN: 9781781087589
30 Apr 2020 (UK) 28 Apr 2020 (US)
UK £19.99 // US $24.99
Pages: 208 // Hardcover
Available via Amazon.

One of the most memorable comic strips of the 1960s, which asks the question “What if King Kong became Superman”? This is the complete hardcover collection of breathtaking Pulp adventure comics - beloved by fans and the creators it inspired – Alan Moore among them! ‘The Missing Link’ - a creature of limitless strength, is drawn to Britain in pursuit of an expedition party he encountered in his homeland. The man-ape causes havoc until he accidentally stumbles into an experimental nuclear research facility and is bombarded by radiation. Instead of killing him, the creature evolves into an advanced human. Now possessing a genius mind, super-strength, enhanced senses and the ability to fly, as Johnny Future he protects mankind from such sinister beings as The Master, Disastro, Animal Man and the Secret Society of Scientists. Perfect for fans of Rebellion’s only other superhero property – ‘Zenith’, the first superhero saga penned by comics legend, Grant Morrison!

Concrete Surfer
Pat Mills, Christine Ellingham
ISBN: 9781781087633
25 June 2020
UK £9.99
Pages: 80 // Paperback
Available via Amazon.

A skateboarding rivalry, timed to coincide with skateboarding’s 2020 Olympic debut! Sent home to Britain after her parents fail to establish a new life in Australia, Jean Everidge is forced to rely on family charity, moving in with her Aunt, Uncle and cousin Carol, successful gymnast, beloved of teachers and pupils alike, and all round charming “top girl”. Jean has one solace left to her – skateboarding, surfing the concrete pavement, while forgetting all her troubles, and feel free. But Jean’s freestyling talent soon attracts attention, and if there’s one thing Carol can’t stand, it’s being out of the spotlight. With the new skatepark freestyle contest coming up, just how far will Carol go to stay number one?

War Picture Library: Battler Britton
V.A.L. Holding, Hugo Pratt
ISBN: 9781781087664
30 July 2020 (UK) 28 July 2020 (US)
UK £14.99 // US $19.99 // CAN $26.99
Pages: 64 // Hardcover
Available via Amazon.

In this second book in the series of collections reprinting every story drawn by Hugo Pratt, the Italian art maestro meets one of the most popular British comic book characters: Battler Britton! Battler Britton is a World War Two air ace as skilled a fighter on land as he is in his Spitfire. In 1960, Hugo Pratt drew two of his adventures - Wagons of Gold and Rockets of Revenge - and they are to be reprinted in graphic novel format for the first time. These fast-paced adventure stories feature the classic character facing off against the Nazis and this second book continues Rebellion’s mission to bring all of Pratt’s work back into print. Readers of Corto Maltese will love these forgotten classic war stories from the worldrenowned comic book artist, published in a format larger than originally published to show off his impressive and universally-lauded artwork.

Death Squad
Alan Hebden, Eric Bradbury, Carlos Ezquerra
ISBN: 9781781087688
20 August 2020 (UK) 18 August 2020 (US)
UK £14.99 // US $19.99 // CAN $26.99
Pages: 128 // Paperback
Available via Amazon.

Meet the deadliest band of fighters on the Eastern Front in an all-out all-action, complete-in-one brutal war story from the pages of the classic war comic, Battle! During World War Two the Eastern Front was Hell on Earth - German Punishment Battalions were thrown into the thick of the conflict where they were expected to fight well and die hard. In these harshest of conditions only the strongest warriors survived. Enter the Death Squad – Grandad, Swede, Licker, Gus and Frankie. Alone they were failures and outcasts, but together they were one of the most formidable combat units the Russians ever faced! One of the all-time classics from the groundbreaking and hugely influential Battle comic, this features gritty art from Eric Bradbury and Carlos Ezquerra, bringing the horrors of the Eastern Front to readers in a brand new collection!

The Best of Sugar Jones
Pat Mill, Rafael Busóm
ISBN: 9781781087701
20 August 2020 (UK)
UK £14.99
Pages: 112 // Paperback
Available via Amazon.

Sugar Jones is the charming twenty-something host of her own late night variety show, beloved by viewers up and down the nation. Only her assistant Susie knows her secret – Sugar is really selfish, sour, scheming - and 40 years old! She do anything to make a quick buck. Written by 2000 AD legend Pat Mills, Sugar Jones features stunningly beautiful art from Spanish illustrator Rafael Busóm - it’s not just a comic book but an archive of 1970s fashion too! A luscious collection that will appeal to readers young and old, a morality tale that combines fashion and soap opera in only the way ‘70s British comics could! Sugar Jones is a forgotten gem from The Treasury of British Comics’ archive!

The Vigilant
Simon Furman, Simon Coleby, DaNi, Henrik Sahlstrom, Warwick Fraser-Combe, Staz Johnson, Will Sliney, Jake Lynch
19 September (UK)
UK £14.99
Pages: 128 // Paperback

Classic British Superheroes remade for a 21st Century audience! Lost in the mists of time, home-grown British superheroes once entertained and enthralled millions of kids…Now, the likes of Adam Eterno, Blake Edmonds, Thunderbolt the Avenger, and The Leopard from Lime Street are back for a new generation of readers. This volume collects the trilogy of Vigilant stories written by Simon Furman (Transformers) and drawn by an all-star roster of artsists including Simon Coleby (Dark Souls), DaNi (Coffin Bound), Henrik Sahlstrom (Thirteenth Floor), Warwick Fraser-Combe, Staz Johnson (Spider-Man), Will Sliney (Spider-Man 2099), Jake Lynch (Judge Dredd)

The Thirteenth Floor Vol Two
John Wagner, Jose Ortiz
ISBN: 9781781087725
UK £14.99
Pages: 176 // Paperback

Collecting the darkly comical series from the pages of Eagle, this second volume of the hugely popular The Thirteenth Floor continues the misadventures of the murderous machine A.I., Max! The Thirteenth Floor exists in Maxwell Tower - an experimental tower block run by an A.I. called Max who looks after his tenants and take revenge on those who threaten them by sending them to The Thirteenth Floor - a place where nightmare and reality become one! This second collection of the popular series which began in Scream! and continued in Eagle carries the story further into the Eighties with the authorities becoming more aware of Max’s out of control vindictiveness, and their attempts to shut him down.

Black Max Vol. 2
Ken Mennell, Alfonso Font
ISBN: 9781781088623
UK £14.99
Pages: 112 // Paperback

Bi-planes vs giant vampire bats in this thrilling collection of war comics with a horror twist! Lieutenant Tom Wilson returns to battle Baron Maximilien Von Klorr and his attack force of giant vampire bats in a continuation of the popular series. The World War One era story moves to England with a monstrous albino bat attacking London with each page beautifully drawn by Alfonso Font working on one of his very first comic series. This exciting World War One aviation adventure is ideal for fans of Charleys War, Battle, and Hammer horror films!

The Trigan Empire Vol. 2
Mike Butterworth, Don Lawrence
ISBN: 9781781087756
UK £19.99 // US $24.99 // CAN $33.99
Pages: 288 // Paperback

The lost sci-fi classic from the 1960s continues in gloriously restored collections! Among the distant stars, fractious tribes come together to found a mighty empire that will wage war against aggressive kingdoms, battle alien invaders, and conceive of incredible new technologies. This extraordinary volume continues to chart the glorious Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire! A landmark in British comics history, painted by the legendary Don Lawrence in stunning, classic style, and springing from the grandiose pen of Mike Butterworth, this is an epic tale that creates a new far-future science fiction mythos that captured the imagination of a generation. This new collection features an introduction from one-time Don Lawrence apprentice Chris Weston (The Filth).

Cor! Buster
Cavan Scott, Neil Googe, Hilary Barta, Tom Paterson, Sheli Paroline, Olivia Hicks and Brett Parson
ISBN: 9781781088647
UK £10.99 // US $13.99
Pages: 96 // Paperback

Brighten up the Xmas holidays with this bumper collection hilarious stories filled with laughs and fun, for kids of all ages! Britain's golden age of humour comics returns for the 21st century, with brand new stories by today’s top talents. Featuring characters like Kid Kong, Grimly Feendish, Faceache, and Frankie Stein are given new life in this compendium of hilarity by Neil Googe (The Flash), Cavan Scott (Doctor Who), Tom Paterson (The Beano, The Dandy), Shelli Paroline (Adventure Time) and Hilary Barta (DC Comics Plastic Man)!

Ken Reid’s Football Funnies
Ken Reid
ISBN: 9781781087794
3 December (UK)
UK £19.99
Pages: 144 // Hardcover

The master of British humour comics turns his pen towards the hilarity of people who play football! For four years from 1970 Ken Reid drew a weekly humour strip for Scorcher and Score, this collection collects the first two years of those strips.  Featuring the characters Sub,Manager Matt, Hugh Fowler and the Football Forum pundits, this collection combines Ken Reid’s love of football with his natural ability to find the funny side of the great game. This is the first collection of the never before collected strips from Scorcher and Score.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Henry Porter

Remembrance Day (2000)
Orion 0752-, 2000, 482pp, £5.99.
Orion 978-0752--82771-1,  [2nd imp.] 2002, 482pp, £5.99. Cover photo
---- [5th imp.], n.d. (c.2005?), 482pp, £6.99. Cover design by Nick Castle (photos: Getty, Corbis)

A Spy's Life (2001)
Orion 0752-84806-2, 2002, 470pp, £5.99. Cover photo: Getty Images/Adri Berger
Orion 978-1407-22948-5,  [later printing] n.d. (c.2005?), 470pp, £6.99. Cover design by Nick Castle (photos: Getty, Corbis)

Empire State (2003)
Orion 978-0752-85892-0, 2004, 455pp, £6.99. Cover design by Nick Castle

Brandenburg (2005)
Orion 0752-88494-7, 2006, 564pp, £6.99. Cover photo: Getty Images

The Dying Light (2009; as The Bell Ringers in US, 2010)
Phoenix/Orion 978-0753-82796-3, 2010, 519pp, £6.99. Cover design

Firefly (2018)
Quercus 978-1787-47855-8, 2018, 474pp, £7.99. Cover design by Henry Steadman

Friday, January 17, 2020

Comic Cuts - 17 January 2020

Shortly before Christmas, I took a trip to the doctors for one of those NHS Health Check visits where they measure your weight, blood-pressure, cholesterol levels and plug the information into a formula that tells them (and you) if you need to make any lifestyle changes to reduce your chances of a heart attack or stroke.

Well, most of my results were OK... I'm overweight by quite a large margin, but my blood pressure was fine and other results were within the boundaries of where they needed to be. The only one that wasn't was my "good cholesterol" levels. If you're under fifty, you might not be aware of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) which absorbs the bad (or low density) cholesterol (LDL). Well, my levels of HDL had crashed since my last MOT and this caused the formula they use to give them their numbers to rank me far higher on the "at risk" scale than I expected.

Long-time readers will know that I started taking walks and doing a bit more exercise when I put on weight after giving up smoking and lost one-and-a-half stone, although it bounced back by half a stone over the next few months. That was around 2013-14 and my weight was roughly the same until 2018. I managed to lose that during last year and I'm hoping to lose a few more pounds in the coming months—I'm currently a pound heavier than I was just before Christmas, having put on three pounds over the December/January holiday period.

The ratio of HDL to LDL meant that my numbers were skewed and automatically meant another appointment with a doctor. Which I attended, to be told that it was probably nothing to worry about and that the low levels that day were likely to have adjusted themselves naturally. But to properly check what was going on I needed a blood test, which I had earlier this week.

My last experience of someone taking blood was as a blood donor. This was many years ago and the nurse popped a needle in, drew out some blood, and then couldn't get the needle out again. I've no idea why, but she had to get a colleague to help her.

I mentioned this while the doctor was getting ready to do the same this time, more as a way of distracting myself than as a warning—I have a healthy fear of needles and pain. After jabbing me a couple of times, the doctor announced that she couldn't get the needle in the vein and had to switch arms. The next attempt worked perfectly.

From which I can only conclude that my left arm is possibly dead, as there seems to be no blood flow. It still moves around, which might mean it's a zombie arm.

Which made me wonder whether there are other zombie arms out there. One search of the internet later... blimey! You can get zombie arm earings on Etsy and Tesco does a severed arm decoration. One review: "A good fun realistic size zombie arm, currently on top of the cistern in the downstairs loo ready for tomorrows festivities."

Other reviews of severed arms from Amazon: "It was better looking than I expected, I didn't have high hopes but it's brilliant for the price", "Worked a treat but dog chewed the end and stuffing had come out", "I had purchased two Goth silver rings for my fiance for Christmas and wanted to wrap and present them accordingly. I thought the traditional little jewelry boxes were a tad lame so I opted for placing them both onto the fingers of the severed hand and then wrapping the whole thing up", "So what arrived was not the arm pictured here. The one I got is small, the size of a child's arm and isn't as nice quality as the picture", "I got a piece of very cheap, thin, pink plastic the size of a small child's arm that had been dipped in red food dye at some point", "You know when you buy something and wish you hadn't? This is one of those times."

That's enough of that. But talking of dead, my tablet is deceased. It is no more. And it doesn't even have lovely plumage.

It was killed by a Windows 10 update. The best explanation I've heard is that there was enough space to download the update, but not enough room to actually install it. It is now trapped in a cycle of turning itself on and turning itself off and I cannot (nor can anyone else) figure out how to factory reset the machine. Thankfully there was nothing of any importance on it, but I'm stuffed if our internet goes down again, as it was my only way of communicating with the outside world (see Comic Cuts passim).

Vale tablet. You died too soon... actually just too late as the warranty ran out in December.

On Sunday, I wrote a short introduction for the Johnny Future reprint that Rebellion are publishing in April.

Here's Rebellion's promo for the book:
‘The Missing Link’ - a creature of limitless strength, is drawn to Britain in pursuit of an expedition party he encountered in his homeland. The man-ape causes havoc until he accidentally stumbles into an experimental nuclear research facility and is bombarded by radiation. Instead of killing him, the creature evolves into an advanced human.

Now possessing a genius mind, super-strength, enhanced senses and the ability to fly, as Johnny Future he protects mankind from such sinister beings as The Master, Disastro, Animal Man and the Secret Society of Scientists.
Apart from the visit to the doctor, I've spent most of the week working on the new index that Bear Alley Books will be publishing next month. I'm digging deep into the creators of Rocket, the 1950s SF comic, and have found some curious connections between the various artists and editors of the paper. I'm still gathering notes, although I've written up a couple of sections and the index is pretty much done. I've also been reading a couple of books by Paul Brickhill which tie together a lot of the creators. All will be revealed shortly.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion Publishing has announced the upcoming release of a new graphic novel line focusing on the indispensable stories of the greatest lawman of the future, beginning with a blistering tale where the terrorists want only one thing – democracy!

Perfect for new readers and retailers, the Essential Judge Dredd line of graphic novels will focus on the key stories that have established and confirmed Dredd’s place as one of the most complex and nuanced characters in comics.

The first collection in the new line, Essential Judge Dredd: America, includes work by John Wagner (A History of Violence), Garth Ennis (Preacher), Alan Grant (Batman), Colin MacNeil (Judge Dredd), John Higgins (Watchmen), John M Burns (Modesty Blaise), and Jeff Anderson (Transformers).

Out in September 2020 and retailing at £19.99 / $25, this 160-page paperback in larger format (276mm x 210mm) collects the America storyline, which focuses on the lives of ordinary citizens living under Justice Department’s despotic system.

Time drew childhood friends America Jara and Bennett Beeny apart, but when they reunite Beeny discovers America has become involved with the terrorist organisation ‘Total War’. This dark and complex tale is considered to be one of the best stories to ever come out of the Judge Dredd universe.

Now contextualised with contemporarily-thematic stories, the collection will also feature new colour by renowned Watchmen colourist John Higgins.

The series continues in November 2020 with Essential Judge Dredd: Origins, the unprecedented epic that sees Wagner and Ezquerra return to tell the origin story of their greatest creation.

Ben Smith, head of Rebellion Publishing, said: “Not only is America one of the most amazing Judge Dredd stories ever told, this incredibly prescient look at the demands society must make for democracy and what a state will do to protect itself couldn’t be more contemporary. This is not only the ideal first story for any reader new to Dredd, it’s something everyone should read in this year of all years. Make sure you read it before you vote, citizens!”

This week's Rebellion releases.

2000AD Prog 2164
Cover: William Simpson
JUDGE DREDD: KILL BLOOPY by Kenneth Niemand (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Jim Boswell (c) Annie Parkhouse (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 ZAUCER OF ZILK: A ZAUCERFUL OF SECRETS by Peter Hogan (w) Brendan McCarthy (a+c) Len O'Grady (c) Jim Campbell (l)
FERAL & FOE by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a+c) Joe Elson (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 416
Cover: Andrea Mutti

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)
ZOMBIE ARMY: LAST RITES by Chris Roberson (w) Andrea Mutti (a) Matt Soffe (c) Simon Bowland (l)
LAWLESS: BOOM TOWN by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Features: 2020 graphic novels, Third World War, Zombie Army: Last Rites, Interrogation: Matt Soffe
Bagged reprint: Judge Dredd: Blaze of Glory

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2000AD unveils its graphic novel line-up for 2020

From folk horror to sci-fi fantasy mash-ups, from new series to old favourites – 2000 AD’s graphic novel schedule for 2020 is a high-octane blast of the very best in comics!

Leading the way in encouraging younger readers to pick up the comic book habit is 2000 AD Regened (September) with a collection of all-ages re-imaginings of the legendary anthology’s greatest characters by creators such as Alex De Campi, Alec Worley, Chris Weston, and Neil Googe.

This year’s list combines the best of 2000 AD’s newest output while presenting old classics in fresh ways, including a new Collector’s Edition of Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s seminal industry-changing Sláine: The Horned God (May) and revisiting the beginning of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s mutant bounty hunters Strontium Dog with Strontium Dog: Search and Destroy (June), a sumptuous hardcover featuring restored colour pages.

Science fiction with a twist has been 2000 AD’s raison d'être for more than 40 years and two collections this year reinforces the comic’s place at the bleeding edge of sci-fi publishing - Kingmaker (April) by Ian Edginton and Leigh Gallagher, which brings an alien invasion crashing into a Tolkien-esque world, and the fourth volume of Dan Abnett and Richard Elson fan-favourite epic Kingdom (February), with more dark secrets uncovered by dog soldier Gene the Hackman.

There’s plenty to keep those who enjoy horror happy too, with the break-out folk horror hit of Thistlebone (December) by Tom Eglington and Simon Davis, Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton’s 1940s magic noir thriller Hope ... Under Fire (August), and a new collection of 2000 AD historical slasher classic Fiends of the Eastern Front (October) with new stories from Ian Edginton, Dave Taylor, and Tiernan Trevallion that take arch-vamp Captain Constanza to new conflicts.

For fans of the greatest lawman of the future, the latest hit Judge Dredd stories from 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine are collected for the first time, with John Wagner, John McCrea, and Colin MacNeil’s Judge Dredd - Mechanismo: Machine Law (March) while Rob Williams and Chris Weston introduce a Judge even more deadly than Dredd himself in Judge Dredd: Control (July). Meanwhile, the best-selling Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files series continues publishing the law in order with Volume 35 (May) and Volume 36 (September)

And as part of 2000 AD’s mission to introduce new readers to its greatest character, the brand new Essential Judge Dredd series launches in September with two books revisiting the most important stories from more than four decades of Dredd – Essential Judge Dredd: America (September) and Essential Judge Dredd: Origins (November).

“Our books for 2020 really are the best of old and new,” said senior graphic novels editor Keith Richardson, “and reflect the fact that 2000 AD continues to produce the best comic books out there. Whether you’re a veteran fan or a new reader looking to dip your toe in, from prestige editions of classics like Sláine: The Horned God and Strontium Dog: Search and Destroy to new series like 2000 AD Regened and Thistlebone, we’ve precision-engineered this year’s schedule to make sure there’s something for everyone!”

Kingdom: Alpha and Omega
Dan Abnett, Richard Elson
ISBN: 9781781087534
6 February (UK)
UK £15.99 // US $19.99
Pages: 144 // Paperback
Order from Amazon.

The latest collection of 2000 AD’s latest breakout success from the mind of New York Times bestselling SF and Warhammer author Dan Abnett! A high octane wide-screen action series, perfect for fans of the films Aliens and Dog Soldiers! After dragging Gene to their faltering cryogenic space station and abandoning his pack to the swarming insect “Them”, the masters are how holding Gene in idyllic V.R. suspension. Rescued before execution by an old friend, and joined by a terrorist working to undermine the master’s grip on the world below, Gene forms a tenuous alliance. The three must work together to infiltrate the master’s security systems and steal the codes to their massively destructive arsenal. But Gene might not be prepared for what else he finds…

Judge Dredd - Mechanismo: Machine Law
John Wagner, John McCrea, Colin MacNeil
ISBN: 9781781087541
5 March 2020 (UK) 3 March 2020 (US)
UK £10.99 // US 13.99
Pages: 96 // Paperback
Order from Amazon.

A buddy cop tale like no other! Man and mechanismo, on the mean streets of Mega-City One. The next chapter in the legendary Judge Dredd epic, penned by incomparable Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner! With art by renowned DC Comics artist John McCrea (Deadpool, Wonder Woman), this is the new blockbuster collection from Judge Dredd’s co-creator. With Mega-City one eating Judges faster than they can be replaced, the Justice Department prepares once more to trial a radical solution for their manpower shortage: The Mark-8 RV Mechanismo unit, robotic judges programmed to deal with everything the city can throw at them. Judge Dredd has never hidden his feelings on robot Judges, but the responsive, resilient and ultimately expendable machines may be the answer to the justice department’s problems. Dredd is ordered to put aside his prejudices and conduct an assessment with one of the latest models, nicknamed HARVEY…

Ian Edginton, Leigh Gallagher
ISBN: 9781781087572
2 April (UK) 7 April (US)
UK £14.99 // US $19.99
Pages: 144 // Paperback
Order from Amazon.

The Magic is Gathering! The inhabitants of the nine kingdoms fought hard to liberate their world from the tyranny of Ichnar the Wraith King. Little did they suspect that a greater threat would soon fall upon them in the form of the Thorn – a race of aliens intent on stripmining all of the magic from the world. Now old enemies have formed an alliance - Wizard Ablard, ork Crixus and the dryad Princess Yarrow have set aside their differences and are seeking to use the Ebora world spirit against the invaders… The first book in a thrilling post-modern fantasy action saga, written by one of 2000 AD’s modern masters Ian Edginton (Scarlet Traces, Brass Sun).

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 35
John Wagner, Alan Grant, Gordon Rennie, Richard Elson, John Higgins, Ian Gibson, Siku, Ben Willsher, Colin MacNeil, Kevin Walker, Paul Marshall, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra
ISBN: 9781781087541
14 May 2020 (UK)
UK £19.99
Pages: 304 // Paperback
Order from Amazon.

The latest in the smash-hit, best-selling graphic novel series! Almost half a million copies sold! The floating multi-story metropolis of illegal delights known as “Sin City” has anchored outside Mega-City one, and Dredd has seemingly been sent aboard to keep what order can be kept on a lawless floating city. His real task? Locate Ula Danser, the De-Megification terrorist determined to destroy the Mega-Cities at any cost! But Danser isn’t working alone - Dredd’s old enemy Orlok is coming to meet her, and he’s carrying a cargo intended to pay back everything Dredd did to East-Meg one - with interest! The latest in the world-wide best-selling, flagship 2000 AD graphic novel series which has become a perennial classic. Includes artwork by some of 2000 AD’s very best, including Cam Kennedy, Ian Gibson, Carlos Ezquerra, and Marvel artist Kev Walker!

Sláine: The Horned God Collector's Edition
Pat Mills, Simon Bisley
ISBN: 9781781087626
28 May 2020 (UK) 26 May 2020 (US)
UK £19.99 // US $24.99 // CAN $33.99
Pages: 208 // Paperback
Order from Amazon.

Rediscover one of the most influential graphic novels ever, with the Sláine: The Horned God - Collector’s Edition. Timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of its first publication, this new, larger edition of the bestselling 2000 AD collection, written by industry visionary Pat Mills, features the groundbreaking fully-painted art of comics legend Simon Bisley. One of the most popular stories ever published in the pages of 2000 AD, The Horned God is a heady mix of Celtic mythology, extreme violence, and beautiful artwork. As well as Mills’ fascinating characters and saga-like storytelling, the stunning enormity of Bisley’s work on the series cannot be understated, with epic battles and vast landscapes evoking everything from the work of Frank Frazetta to Gustav Klimt. This deluxe collector’s edition returns us to the mist-wreathed realm of Tír na nÓg, the ancient land suffering under the dominion of the Drunes; strange druids who have poisoned the land with their magic. Sláine has had enough of their tyranny and, through the Earth Goddess, he learns some shocking truths about the priesthood and his own future. Now Sláine must unite the four kings of Tír na nÓg and use their mystical weapons as he and the Sessair tribe prepare for all-out war!

Strontium Dog: Search & Destroy
John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra
ISBN: 9781781087657
26 June 2020 (UK)
UK £19.99
Pages: 144 // Hardcover
Order from Amazon.

The earliest adventures of one of 2000 AD’s greatest series - Strontium Dog - are to be reprinted in colour for the first time in decades. Reprinted with its original colour pages, Strontium Dog: Search and Destroy is a sumptuous hardcover 144-page collection collecting the origins of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s hard-hitting story of prejudice and violence. Strontium Dog: Search and Destroy brings back into print one of the seminal series of British comics, a science fiction Western that merges everything from time travel to a trip to Hell itself. This new collection is a must for fans and collectors alike, restoring this series to its rightful place as one of the key series in the annals of British comics. Originally published in Starlord, 2000 AD’s sister comic, these early stories had a profound effect upon readers, including future film director Edgar Wright. After the comic merged with 2000 AD, Johnny Alpha quickly became a fan favourite character and Strontium Dog remains one of the most iconic strips in the history of British comics!

Judge Dredd: Control
Rob Williams, Chris Weston
ISBN: 9781781087770
9 July 2020 (UK) 7 July 2020 (US)
UK £14.99 // US $19.99 // CAN $26.99
Pages: 128 // Paperback
Order from Amazon.

Writer Rob Williams follows up his smash hit Judge Dredd: Small House with a brand new collection that sees him at the mercy of Judge Pin - his most sinister opponent since Judge Death! The psychopathic SJS Judge murders officers that fall short of her standards, and Judge Dredd is in her sights in this collection of stories featuring flesh-eating Kleggs, hijacking ape gangs and out of control war robots reprogrammed by insane accountants in tales ranging from deathly serious to outrageously funny, all from one of the most popular contemporary Dredd creative teams - Rob Williams and Chris Weston. Entirely drawn by Weston, the talented artist for DC Comics (The Filth), Image (Ministry of Space) and Marvel Comics (The Twelve), this storyline is a game changer for the Dredd universe.

Hope ... Under Fire
Guy Adams, Jimmy Broxton
ISBN: 9781781087718
20 August 2020 (UK) 18 August 2020 (US)
UK £9.99 // US $9.99 // CAN $12.99
Pages: 64 // Paperback
Order from Amazon.

The second volume of the dazzling 2000 AD debut – mixing Hollywood noir and occult magic! In an alternate post-war 1940s Los Angeles, where dark magic is a fact of life, Mallory Hope is a private detective haunted by his past…and by the occult forces he uses. An inspired new classic in the making, a stylish supernatural detective noir for fans of The Fade Out (Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips) and the novels of Raymond Chandler, James Elmore and Dashiell Hammett.

2000 AD Regened
Alex De Campi, Alec Worley, Chris Weston, Neil Googe
ISBN: 9781781088135
27 August (UK) // 25 August (US)
UK £10.99 // US $13.99
Pages: 96 // Paperback

Your old 2000 AD favourites break out with an all-new all-ages bumper adventure package! 2000 AD Regened is a one-off, bumper, all ages instalment of the Galaxies Greatest Comic! Join Cadet Dredd in three astonishing adventures (one of which is brand new for this collection), discover how Johnny Alpha became a Strontium Dog in ‘Trial Run’ and meet the teenage intergalactic bounty hunter and her family in ‘Full Tilt Boogie’, plus many other new takes on old favourites!

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 36
John Wagner, Gordon Rennie, Andy Diggle, Henry Flint, Ben Willsher, Ian Gibson, John Ridgeway, Mick McMahon, Jim Baikie, Simon Fraser, PJ Holden, Carl Critchlow, Staz Johnson, Carlos Ezquerra
ISBN: 9781781087695
3 September (UK)
UK £19.99
Pages: 304 // Paperback

The best-selling Judge Dredd graphic novel series continues with the most popular crossover story in its history! Mega-City One – a nightmarish enclosure located along the Eastern Seaboard of North America. Only the Judges – powerful law enforcers supporting the despotic Justice Department – can stop total anarchy running rife on the crime-ridden streets. Toughest of them all is Judge Dredd – he is the law and these are his stories... Judge Dredd has brought countless monsters to justice but now the ultimate killing machines, cinema’s most famous xenomorphs, surface in Mega-City One and it may well be more than the Justice Department can handle! Features action-packed stories from some of 2000 AD’s greatest, including Carlos Ezquerra (Preacher), Mick McMahon (Hellboy, Slaine), Ian Gibson (Halo Jones) and Henry Flint (Haunted Tank)!

Essential Judge Dredd: America
John Wagner, Garth Ennis, Colin MacNeil, John Higgins
ISBN: 9781781088609
UK £19.99 // US $25 // CAN $34
Pages: 160 // Paperback

Beginning a brand new series of essential stories from one of the greatest ever comic characters, the Essential Judge Dredd is the perfect jumping on point for new readers! In Mega-City One, the Judges are the law – acting as judge, jury, and executioner. But how do the citizens really feel about a system where they are powerless? America Jara and Bennett Beeny grow up as best friends, living a fairly trouble-free life in a dangerous city… bar the odd, negative encounter with a Judge. Time draws them apart, and when they are brought back together, Beeny is a successful singer and America has become involved with a terrorist organisation known as Total War, which has the Justice Department in its sights! This dark and complex tale is considered to be one of the best stories to ever come out of the Judge Dredd universe. Now it has been contextualised with contemporarily thematic stories and recoloured art by John Higgins (Watchmen).

Fiends of the Eastern Front
Gerry Finley-Day, Carlos Ezquerra, Ian Edginton, Tiernen Trevellion, Dave Taylor, Dave Kendall
ISBN: 9781781087749
UK £19.99 // US $24.99 // CAN $33.99
Pages: 176 // Paperback

Sink your teeth into the collection of the classic supernatural war stories from the pages of 2000 AD - now expanded and updated! Buried deep underground are the remains of Wehrmacht soldier, Hans Schmitt, and his diary, which journals his eerie encounter with the Romanian Captain Constanta and his platoon of blood-sucking freaks! Back in 1943, with the Russians willing to fight until their last man in order to defend Stalingrad, Panzergrenadier Richter discovers Constanta’s secret and learns than sometimes your allies can be just as dangerous as the enemy! This fiendishly-fun collection features the breathtaking art of Carlos Ezquerra (Judge Dredd) and Colin MacNeil (America, Chopper: Song of the Surfer), with stories from Gerry Finley Day (Rogue Trooper), David Bishop (Thrill-Power Overload), and recent classics from Ian Edginton (Stickleback, Scarlet Traces), and Dave Kendall (Fall of Deadworld), that takes the blood-soaked story of Constanta back into history!

Essential Judge Dredd: Origins
John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra
ISBN: 9781781088630
UK £19.99 // US $25.00 // CAN $34.00
Pages: 192 // Paperback

The origin of Judge Dredd, and the Mega-City One Justice system – This is Judge Dredd: Year One! An unusual delivery is made to the Grand Hall of Justice, a package that will force Dredd to lead a mission into the Cursed Earth and into the darkest recesses of the history of the Judges and Mega-City One... In this acclaimed epic, history is written by Dredd co-creators John Wagner (A History of Violence) and Carlos Ezquerra (Strontium Dog) with a special introductory tale featuring the art of Kev Walker (ABC Warriors: Khronicles of Khaos). Now presented as part of the Essential line of Judge Dredd stories, this book is the ultimate introduction to the Judge Dredd universe.

Tom Eglington, Simon Davis
ISBN: 9781781087787
3 December (UK)
UK £12.99
Pages: 64 // Hardcover

The first volume in an all new creepy folk-horror series, beautifully painted by the popular Sláine artist Simon Davis! England, 2019. The secluded rural village of Harrowvale holds a dark past — that years earlier, on a farm bordering the vast tracts of woodland, it hosted a cult that was seeking to escape civilization and find purity in the old ways, namely worshipping an ancient deity called THISTLEBONE. Led by the charismatic Jasper Hillman, their pagan beliefs grew ever more radical to the point where they held the young Avril Eason captive with the intention of sacrificing her. But Avril escaped.


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