Friday, November 25, 2022

Comic Cuts — 25 November 2022

Oh shit... only one month until Christmas. Where did the year go?

I know where most of this week went. A bit of a change of pace, as I was asked to write an obituary for The Guardian about the late Greg Bear. I was a big fan of his novels, especially the trilogy that made up The Way saga: Eon, Eternity and Legend. Moving Mars was another superb book.

Here I'll quote John Clute: "Between 1985 and 1990, however, Bear published six novels whose importance to the realm of Hard SF – and to the world of sf in general – it would be hard to overrate." Everything from Blood Music and The Forge of God to Queen of Angels and its sequel, the weirdly entitled / (a.k.a. Slant) I loved. My reading pace slowed down in the 1980s and has been slow ever since (too much of my reading time is spent on research), but I didn't stop picking up books that I'll read in the future, including Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children, a few technothrillers and his War Dogs trilogy.

Listening to a podcast interview, Bear mentioned he was writing a memoir. I hope he managed to finish it, or it is in a state where it can be reasonably finished by his family.

The tidying up continues, with another 46 books no longer in the house. Things have slowed down while I have been writing, but I have dug out a couple of boxes of stuff that I can chuck and I found a pile of magazines that are in such a state that they, too, can be turfed out. We're still dealing with the empty boxes that were left over from putting all my DVDs into cases — we've had two fortnightly collections already and we still have a bin bag full of them to dispose of.

Part of the problem is that we're waiting to get rid of some furniture, which we should be able to do this weekend. We're sending an armchair and a couple of old (and slightly rusty) filing cabinets to the dump. Once we have that extra space, we might be able to speed up again... and, yes, I know we cleared some space by getting rid of all those boxes of books the other week, but we can't fill that up quite yet because we need it so we can move the furniture around.

I've managed to lose a box of World of Wonder magazines. No idea where they've gone. On the other hand, I found my bound volumes of Modern Wonder. Swings and roundabouts.

The other thing that's fogging up my brain is what kind of computer I should be getting. I spotted something that was nice and cheap and seemed OK, but when I checked with someone who actually knows what they're talking about, I was told that my choice had all the oomph of a three-legged tortoise in a greyhound race. (I'm paraphrasing.)

A list of suggestions all had eyewatering prices in the £1,200-1,300 region, and I would need additional kit on top. I'm toying with the idea of a dock, as it would save me plugging in and unplugging all the various external hard drives I use. Scanning and storing comic strips takes up huge amounts of space.

So I'm still searching for the right computer or laptop. The constant thrashing of the fan on my PC reminds me every day that it could conk out any minute, so I've got to make a decision sooner rather than later. Talk about First World Problems!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Commando 5595-5598

Spying subterfuges in Italy, expert hunters-turned-soldiers, vicious vendettas in the trenches and a murderer hiding in the RAF — all in a week for our Commandos! Get yours today.

5595: The Spy in The Mirror

Central Italy, 1944. Corporal Arthur ‘Art’ Gunn limped into a British camp holding vital coded information. You see, Art was the sole survivor of a recent mission behind enemy lines but something was not right… for, while only one Corporal Art Gunn had embarked on the mission, two Arts had returned — each carrying a different coded message containing crucial intel! But who is the real Art and who is the spy?

Known for his work on ‘Cadman: The Fighting Coward’ in Victor, this issue marks Dorey’s first-ever interior art for Commando. On cover duty as well, Dorey's illustrations perfectly lend themselves to Dominic Teague’s twisting tale of doppelgangers and deceit!

Story | Dominic Teague
Art | Mike Dorey
Cover | Mike Dorey

5596: Dead-Eye Donovan

Before the war, Burt Donovan had been a famous big-game hunter in Africa. Very few men could put a bullet smack in the centre of a moving target the way Burt did — every time.

Then came the war and Burt found himself a tank commander with a different kind of prey to hunt. It stood six feet tall, had close-cropped fair hair and was more dangerous than any cornered lion. Its name was Erich Stahler, a man dreaded by German and British alike, a rogue Nazi who had to be destroyed.

A signature gritty story from Major Eric Hebden, who famously used his own experiences from the Second World War for inspiration when writing — and it shows!

Story | E Hebden
Art | Bielsa
Cover | Chicharro
Originally Commando No. 481 (1970).

5597: Dante’s War

As bullets flew in the deserts of North Africa, Dante Adriaanse had a long-awaited opportunity to even a score that occupied his every waking moment. But it was not to be that day, and his commanding officer, Captain Bekker, survived to continue the fight. Months later, as shells bombard Bazentin, another chance presents itself. Can Dante’s childhood friend Christaan Pietersen save him from himself as hellfire rains down on this terrible quest for vengeance?

November's newest World War One commemoration story is all about revenge and R Tate delivers it in spades as bitter loss from the Boer War surfaces in white-hot hate when two Afrikaners serve the empire their fathers fought so hard against.

Story | R Tate
Art | Manuel Benet
Cover | Manuel Benet

5598: Who Killed Cooper

Squadron Leader ‘Flash’ Cooper was an excellent pilot, but he had one big failing — he was a glory hunter, and glory for him often meant danger for other pilots. So Flash made many enemies, and when he finally met a sticky end, the only question was… which one bumped him off?

A delightful whodunit from RA Montague, where classically the most unlikable character is killed off by someone in his own squadron and so begins a mystery to be solved!

Story | RA Montague
Art | Jose Maria Jorge
Cover | CG Walker
Originally Commando No. 1358 (1979)

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

  • 24 Nov. Seamas O'Reilly interviews Alan Moore. [L]eaving comics is one thing — and I’d done that, which seemed like a massive relief — but stopping thinking about comics is another. Especially when you’ve been working at them for forty years, which is a fairly long career by anyone’s standards. So, I tend to find these annoying, often negative, thoughts about comics swirling up in my mind when I didn’t want them there."
  • 24 Nov. David Roach has penned a fine tribute to Kevin O'Neill. "In the early years of the '80s there was this sense that 2000 AD's two great maverick artists—Mike McMahon and Kevin O’Neill—were spurring each other on to ever more abstracted, gritty, imaginative work, to be reflected in their masterpieces; McMahon's run on Sláine and Book Three of Nemesis ran concurrently in 2000 AD in late 1983."
  • 16 Nov. Johnny Red and Commando artist Keith Burns shows off some of his models to James Bacon. "I use models to help me get the angle and pose the ships,” he says of his working process, “just like I do with World War Two aircraft, vehicles and ships, trying to capture the physics and kinetic energy of flight."
  • 16 Nov. Grant Morrison looks back at some of his older comic strips. "For three decades we of the working class got to express ourselves, and then they shut us down again. But in those three decades, tons of really cool stuff happened. You got the Beatles, you got psychedelia, you got punk rock and it was all because of the working class drive to talk until we’re shut up again."
  • 16 Nov. Neil Gaiman takes on the haters of The Sandman TV show. "Occasionally, you get people shouting at us for having made up all of these gay characters who weren’t in the comics, and then we’d go ‘Have you read the comics?’ And they’d go ‘No.’ And we’d go, ‘They were gay in the comics.’ And they’d go ‘You’re just woke and nobody is going to watch your horrible show.’"
  • 12 Nov. There have been a number of tributes paid to Kevin O'Neill. As always, John Freeman's Down the Tubes carries a comprehensive "In Memorium" piece. John Siuntres has released a 2009 interview with Kev in which he discusses the third League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volume (1hr 3m, audio on YouTube).
  • 7 Nov. John Freeman at Down the Tubes takes a look back over the career of Angus McKie.
  • 3 Nov. Interview: Alan Moore. "We had a local market called Sid’s Market Stall. It sold magazines—men’s magazines, ones with sweating GIs being whipped by Nazi women wearing swastika armbands in their underwear, which made me think the American experience of the war seemed to have been very different from what my dad told me about."
  • 3 Nov. Netflix has confirmed that there is to be a second season of The Sandman, based on the Neil Gaiman comic book series. "There are some astonishing stories waiting for Morpheus and the rest of them (not to mention more members of the Endless Family to meet)," says Gaiman. "Nobody is going to be happier about this than the Sandman cast and crew: they are the biggest Sandman fans there are.
  • 31 Oct. Interview: Mark Millar. "Nemesis was just a wee four issue series I did over a decade ago with co-creator Steve McNiven and it’s probably the series I’m most asked about returning." Millar has also launched a Youtube channel, Millar Time, for interviews, the first with Gerry Conway (video, 1h 9m)
  • 31 Oct. Interview: Woodrow Phoenix. "The thing that fascinated me about comics as a child is the thing that still fascinates me, and that is the way a strip exists inside and outside time."
  • 31 Oct. The New York Times has a Neil Gaiman quiz.
  • 31 Oct. Matt Pritchett, the Telegraph's gifted cartoonist sketches Britain's tragicomedy.
  • 31 Oct. Britain's political cartoons, speaking truth to power for 200 years.

Rebellion Releases — 23 November 2022

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a super dose of Thrill-power to take you into the new year – so let's take a look ahead to the bumper Xmas issue of 2000 AD!

Featuring a new cover by Andy Clarke (Batman), 2000 AD Prog 2312 celebrates the festive period with the traditional 100-page end of year special, featuring a brand-new line-up of stories!

Judge Dredd faces off against an old enemy that’s bust out of containment in “The Last Temptation of Joe” by Ken Niemand & Lee Carter; Proteus Vex must negotiate a full-blown interstellar war in “Crawlspace” by Mike Carroll & Jake Lynch; Cyd learns more about her state of being in “The Out” Book Three by Dan Abnett & Mark Harrison; ABC Warrior Joe Pineapples reveals his past in “Tin Man” by Pat Mills, Simon Bisley & Clint Langley; Rogue Trooper encounters Nort genetic experiments in “Brothers” by Kek-W & Warwick Fraser-Coombe.

Plus, with the unexpected return of the anarchic alien, Bonjo From Beyond The Stars, by Garth Ennis and the late Kevin O’Neill and a special Judge Dredd tribute to the much-missed Alan Grant, this is a Christmas issue not to be missed!

Full contents:

  •                Judge Dredd: The Last Temptation of Joe by Ken Niemand & Lee Carter
  •                Proteus Vex: Crawlspace by Mike Carroll & Jake Lynch
  •                Joe Pineapples: Tin Man by Pat Mills, Simon Bisley & Clint Langley
  •                The Out, Book Three by Dan Abnett & Mark Harrison
  •                Bonjo From Beyond the Stars by Garth Ennis & Kev O’Neill
  •                Rogue Trooper: Brothers by Kek-W & Warwick Fraser-Coombe
  •                Hope: In the Shadows Reel Two by Guy Adams & Jimmy Broxton
  •                Judge Dredd: Troublemaker by Gordon Rennie & Robin Smith

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2309
Cover: Simon Fraser.

Judge Dredd: Buratino Must Die by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Chimpsky’s Law: A Terrifically Disturbing Adventure by Ken Niemand (w) PJ Holden (a) Chris Blythe (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Enemy Earth: Book One by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Brink Book 5
by Dan Abnett & INJ Culbard
Rebellion ISBN 978-178618569-3, 22 November 2022, 128pp, £16.99 / $24.00. Available via Amazon.

The year is 2096 and Earth has been reduced to an uninhabited wasteland. What was left of humanity was evacuated into overpopulated space stations, or 'Habitats'. Nolan Maslow, a journalist working for The Herald, is investigating the death of HSD agent Brinkmann and the sect that has infiltrated the maintenance workers of Ludmilla Habitat. He will find out that even his most outrageous theories cannot encompass what is actually happening behind the scenes of the habitat. Taking place during the events of Brink Book One, this graphic novel adds extra layers to the story of Bridget Kurtis and her ongoing fight against the forces which are haunting the remains of humanity and driving them to madness.

Strontium Dog: The Son
by John Wagner, Rob Williams, Alan Grant, Michael Carroll, Matt Smith (w) Carlos Ezquerra, Laurence Campbell, Patrick Goddard, Chris Weston (a)
Rebellion 978-178618676-8, 24 November 2022, 128pp, £16.99 / $24.00. Available via Amazon.

In The Son Johnny Alpha is assigned to mentor Kenton Sternhammer, one of the new recruits to the ranks of the Strontium Dogs. Johnny knows that Kenton Sternhammer is his old partner Wulf’s offspring and while Kenton understandably wants to follow in his father's footsteps, Johnny is reluctant to allow it, knowing the fate that has befallen many a Strontium Dog, including Wulf, a death which still eats away at Johnny's conscience. This brand-new collection showcases all-time comics legend Carlos Ezquerra's final work on the character he co-created for Starlord in 1978, drawn before his death in 2018.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Comic Cuts — 18 November 2022

Last week's column ended in a bit of a cliffhanger, as it was written in breaks taken from packing books into boxes. On Facebook I had put out a call to anyone who wanted some free books... let's rewind that a bit... a call to anyone who wanted a lot of free books. I posted a photo of a couple of hundred, but the photo was less than half of what I needed to get rid of.

A collector got in touch and headed over to chez Holland on Friday. "Bring a van," I said. "We're in an estate car," was the reply. I'll confess that I was a bit worried at that point that it might require two visits, because I was still packing and I already had ten quite large boxes filled, and while an estate car might have the space, would it be able to take the weight.

By the time I finished packing there were 18 boxes and 10 trays — the kind that supermarkets have their tomatoes delivered in. I've had dozens of them for years because they're big and stackable. but not so big that you can't carry them when they're full. You'll have seen them in photos I've posted, because we have them littered around the living room. Why? Well, I used them to store things in the attic at the house we previously rented, and they would go in the attic here if it wasn't for the fact that we had thick insulation installed soon after we moved in to try and cut our heating bills. Everything that would have gone into the attic had to be relocated, which is why the living room ended up looking like a charity shop's back room — trays and bags and boxes everywhere!

Back to the story... our intrepid collectors arrived at mid-day. We hit it off straight away, and spent the next hour chatting about collecting, chiefly paperbacks. One guy was fifties and sixties (Pan and Corgi all the way down the quality scale to Badger), the other a James Bond fan with a serious collection of Pan editions.

I was still convinced this was not going to be a one-off trip, but I was wrong. The car had an amazing capacity to swallow up box and box, and although one or two boxes were opened and their contents stuffed into gaps, everything was loaded up. Then it was "Good-bye!" as over a thousand  books disappeared down the road towards their new home in Billericay.

We did a quick tot-up at the weekend and we think that the average box that we've packed up over the last two months has contained 35 books. One way or another, we've got rid of 34 boxes. The trays probably contain roughly the same... call it 30 books. Then there were a couple of bags of books, so maybe another 40 there and a couple of sales that amounted to another 40 books. I reckon — and this is a back of a fag packet guess — that we've disposed of 1500 books, with maybe 70 DVDs also gone. On top of that we've disposed of 300 magazines to the recycling.

Not a bad start!

Next step is to dismantle the mountain of boxes at the back of the living room and get rid of a few bits of furniture, including an unused chair, a pouffe that we used to use as a table, since replaced by an actual table, and a couple of old filing cabinets that I haven't used since we moved twelve years ago. So there will be plenty more of this kind of rambling in the foreseeable future.

Otherwise I have been writing introductions, entertaining guests (one guest, my Mum) and generally catching up with things. My research into the Fleetway Super Library series turned up a couple of interesting things. I've often described them as Britain's first original graphic novels, running to over 120 pages per issue, although it could be argued that the complete stories in early issues of Thriller Comics might also be called graphic novels. Length might preclude them, but these, the Super Libraries, undoubtedly are.

I always wondered why they came to such a sudden, crashing halt in January 1968. There was a general downturn in sales in the late 1960s and the market was fairly swamped with pocket libraries at the time, although quite a few had disappeared when Thorpe & Porter went bankrupt in 1966. So what happened in late 1967 that might have proved fatal? As usual, I suspect it all came down to costs and bottom lines. In mid-November 1967, the pound was devalued and the cost of printing the books — they were printed in Italy — suddenly jumped 14%. And since the artwork was sourced from Italy, Spain and Argentina, the wages for many artists also slumped, since they were paid in sterling.

I'm still looking at the full impact of what was happening around that period, as it is an interesting one in British comics history, although writing it all up will have to wait until I'm rich or retired. Not that I'm complaining too loudly at the moment, as my next task is to sit down and read some old Spider comics. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it...!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Rebellion Releases — 16 November 2022

It was a great shock to hear that Kevin O'Neill had died at the age of 69. Many tributes have been paid, including this from 2000AD, where Kev made a huge impact as both art editor and as an artist.

Everyone at 2000 AD is devastated to learn of the death of artist Kevin O’Neill.

Words like ‘unique’ and ‘genius’ are not uncommon in the pantheon of 2000 AD creators, but no-one deserves them more than O’Neill, whose innovative, iconoclastic, idiosyncratic, inventive, visionary, and provocative work still has the ability to shock and dazzle, even decades after its first publication.

The co-creator of Ro-Busters, A.B.C. Warriors, Nemesis the Warlock, Metalzoic and Marshal Law with Pat Mills, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Alan Moore, O’Neill was one of the most important and unique artists British comics ever produced. From the towering, Gothic bacchanals of Nemesis to the anarchic, razor-sharp and emotionally-brutal work on League, O’Neill’s art was the scourge of conservative editors and was blacklisted by the Comics Code Authority in the US for being ‘objectionable’. There are so few artists – even at 2000 AD – that have been so uncompromising in their style, a style so visceral, so extreme, so individual. And, even now, you simply still cannot mistake O’Neill’s work for anyone else’s.

You can read the rest of the tribute here.

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2308
Cover: PJ Holden

Judge Dredd: Buratino Must Die by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Chimpsky’s Law: A Terrifically Disturbing Adventure by Ken Niemand (w) PJ Holden (a) Chris Blythe (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Hope... In The Shadows: Reel Two by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Enemy Earth: Book One by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 450
Cover: Tom Foster

Judge Dredd: Babel by Ian Edginton (w) D'Israeli (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Storm Warning: Dead & Gone by John Reppion (w) Clint Langley (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Devlin Waugh: Karma Police by Aleš Kot (w) Rob Richardson (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Death Metal Planet by David Hine (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Surfer: Two by John Wagner (w) Colin MacNeil (a) Chris Blythe (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Bagged supplement: Judge Dredd: The Long Game by Michael Carroll (w) Mark Sexton (a) Len O'Grady, John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Friday, November 11, 2022

Comic Cuts — 11 November 2022

I've had a couple of busy days trying to research some artists who worked on The Spider and lost track of time, so I will have to keep this short.

I have been writing introductions for a series of Spanish reprints of the infamous Lion strip and we're on volume five (of six), so I have covered a lot of what was interesting about the strip and stories. I thought for this one I would look at the Fleetway Super Library and the thirteen issues that appeared in the Stupendous Series in 1967-68.

Of the five artists, I had written up only one — Francisco Cueto. I did a little essay about his work when I put together the two Longbow volumes as he was one of the contributors to that series in the pages of Swift. That leaves four other artists about whom I had a passing knowledge of two. Back on Monday, I thought that, if I was to research the four artists, I might as well write them up properly. Now, on Friday, I'm still writing, because I'd forgotten how long these things can take. I'm looking for information online about artists who are Italian, Spanish and Argentinean, so there's almost nothing extensive written in English. Everything has to be translated.

In the case of one artist, Giorgio Trevisan, I had a lengthy interview published in an Italian magazine that I have, so that meant typing the whole interview into Google Translate so I could get some direct information and quotes. It took quite some time, as I was also Google translating a couple of other pieces... and that was what I was doing rather than writing this column last night.

I also need to remember that writing up these little essays isn't actually getting the Introduction written. All it means is that I'm properly aware of the highlights of the various artists' careers when I come to mention them. Here's the thing: I have been enjoying the whole process enormously. I'm delving into artists I know little about and trying to make sense of how their contributions to UK comics fits in with their wider careers; I'm also looking at a ton of fantastic comic strips, most of which I've never heard of.

What could be better than that? Certainly the rest of my week hasn't been nearly as exciting. I finished transferring DVDs to carry cases and have been left with six bin bags of empty DVD cases. And I've defrosted the fridge because the ice box was getting a bit 'snowy'.

Anyway, I'm going back to packing up books, hopefully with some good news due about getting rid of them. I'm hoping that we'll shortly have some space to manoeuvre and that there will then be a small chance that I'll have my desk moved by the end of the month. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Commando 5591-5594

From ancient Rome to cricket pitches in World War One, boxing rings in POW camps and protective pooches packing pistols (yes, you read that right!), this Commando set is packed full of action and adventure for all ages. Get yours in shops Thursday, 10th November, in time for Armistice weekend!

5591: The Sins of Our Fathers

Once, the Batavi were a peaceful Germanic tribe friendly to ancient Rome, but their alliance was broken as the Romans betrayed and enslaved them. One man, Militius, would not allow that though. He tricked his captors, killing his legate, Castricius, and pushing the Romans to surrender. What no-one could have predicted was that what happened would stretch far into the future as their descendants met in another, just as bloody war.

The second story from Suresh Ramasubramanian provides excellent material for artists Dan Barnfield and Mark Eastbrook to show their creative chops, mixing ancient Romans and Batavi tribesmen with the Afrika Korps  and Italians in the heart of Rommel’s North African campaign.

Story | Suresh
Art| Dan Barnfield
Cover | Mark Eastbrook

5592: Fighting Kid McCoy

The skills ‘Kid’ McCoy had learnt before the war in the tough school of the boxing ring served him well in the jungle. For here, too, a man had to think and move fast to survive. But there was no referee to step in and call a halt when things got too rough, especially when Kid found himself in a Japanese prison camp matched against a karate champion!

A gritty tale from the Golden Era of Commando, this reprint has it all — incredible artwork and alpha male heroes ready to fight to the bitter end to save their brothers-in-arms!

Story | N Allen
Art | Aguilar
Cover | Penalva
Originally Commando No. 475 (1970).

5593: Not Quite Cricket

Eddy Phillips’ moment of cricket glory at Yateley Hall is cut down when the head boy strikes him in the knee with his bat after being shown up on the pitch. A ‘bounder’, Eddy was never going to fit in. But that did not stop him from signing up to do his bit in the Great War and attending Sandhurst with the rest of them. Only after he gets to the front and sees his old rival cower, while enlisted men are sent forward as fodder, does Eddy realise that war is still not quite cricket.

Commemorating Armistice this November, ‘Not Quite Cricket’ also marks Robbie MacNiven’s first Commando script AND Gary Welsh’s first illustrated pages for the pocket-book, a perfect addition to any Commando collection.

Story | Robbie MacNiven
Art | Gary Welsh
Cover | Neil Roberts

5594: A Friend In Need

“A friend in need is a friend indeed.” So the old saying goes. And a man’s best friend is his dog, right? That’s what George Carter figured when he found Pooch — or rather when Pooch found George. So he decided to keep him. But the officer in charge of George’s section had other ideas… especially when Pooch started giving pistols to the enemy and wandering about with live grenades in his mouth!
A rare Commando treat, this animal-themed Commando follows a tradition of canine heroes in the pages of the comic and real life, as numerous animals historically received war medals for their services to king and country!

Story | RA Montague
Art | Salmeron
Cover | Ron Brown
Originally Commando No. 1382 (1980)

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Rebellion Releases — 9 November 2022

Thought Bubble is just around the corner and Rebellion returns with panels, signings, and more at the two-day convention in Harrogate!

The annual celebration of comics and comic culture is taking place at the Harrogate Convention Centre on 12th and 13th November.

Along with signings from Jamie McKelvie (Captain Marvel, The Wicked & The Divine), Pye Parr (Intestinauts), and Ramzee (2000 AD Regened), the 2000 AD writer and artist talent searches return to the in-person show again this year, with would-be droids battling it out in front of two panels of top creative judges deciding who wins paid work with the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic!

We are delighted to announce that Gerry-Finley Day, the co-creator of Rogue Trooper, The VCs, and Harry Twenty on the High Rock, will be our guest of honour this year. He will be signing at the 2000 AD booth (Booth #4, Redshirt Hall) from 3.45pm-4.15pm on the Saturday, where copies of The Best of Gerry Finley-Day will be available to purchase. And on the Sunday morning, Gerry will be taking part in a Q&A session at the Mercer Art Gallery, close to the convention centre. Running from 11am-12noon and hosted by 2000 AD‘s Michael Molcher, there are just 20 seats available for this special event, which will be first-come-first-served and open to weekend/Sunday Thought Bubble ticket holders only.

And this year sees a special Sunday morning workshop for kids, with writer Ramzee helping the comic creators of the future make the best sci-fi comic ever!


  • 11:00-12.30 Artist Talent Search Portfolio Selection
  • 12:30-13:15 Writer talent search
  • 12.45-13.15 Pye Parr ‘Intestanuts’ signing
  • 13.30-14.15 Jamie McKelvie ‘Best of 2000 AD’ signing
  • 15:45-16:15 Gerry Finley-Day signing


  • 11:00-12:00 Gerry Finley-Day Q&A (Mercer Gallery)
  • 12:00-12:45 MAKE THE BEST SCI FI COMIC EVER! kids’ workshop with RAMZEE
  • 13:00-13.30 Ramzee ‘2000 AD Regened’ signing
  • 13:30-14:15 Artist Talent Search Panel

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2307
Cover: Luke Horsman.

Judge Dredd: Buratino Must Die by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Chimpsky’s Law: A Terrifically Disturbing Adventure by Ken Niemand (w) PJ Holden (a) Chris Blythe (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Hope... In The Shadows: Reel Two by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Enemy Earth: Book One by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland (l)

The Steel Claw: Reign of the Brain by Tom Tully & Jesús Blasco
Rebellion ISBN 978-178618681-2, 9 November 2022, 112pp, £16.99. Available via Amazon.

One of Britain’s most enduring comic book heroes returns in two stories reprinted here for the first time! The second collection of the sci-fi classic, the Steel Claw collects writer Tom Tully’s first two stories originally published in the comic Valiant between 1963 and 1964. Featuring the stunning, realistic black and white art of Spanish comics’ legend Jesus Blasco!

Friday, November 04, 2022

Comic Cuts — 4 November 2022

Everything feels like its back to normal following our ten days of isolating. I have stopped coughing, which was the last symptom of the Covid infection, and I'm not feeling nearly as exhausted as I was. Mel, who suffered what they call a bigger "viral load", has also recovered nicely. Thanks to all who have been asking after us — I'm pleased to report we're feeling O.K.

And to prove I'm O.K., I had my diabetic check up, so I can confirm my HbA1c level is normal, my haemoglobin A1c level is normal and my GFR calculated abbreviated MDRD is normal and none of this requires any action. (No, I'm not making this up... I got a print out of the results of my check up.)

I have put on a couple of pounds but, as I explained to Dr Claire, the blood test measures a period of activity of some weeks, and an uptick in sugar levels, and also my weight, is because of the six birthday cakes we had to eat following Mel's birthday. I'm sure that moving the check up to, say, early September would give even better results. And then I could pig out without worrying about what might show up in my blood test. (Yes, six cakes: I had made a banana bread, but thought that wasn't "birthday" enough, so I bought a lemon sponge; Mel's Mum made two cakes, a friend made one and there was one from Mel's workplace. We were eating cake well into October.)

While I was there I also had a flu jab, which is a quadrivalent jab this year, designed to protect against four strains of flu. We watch quite a lot of Australian panel shows, and they had a bad flu season some months ago, its worst in five years, which is thought to be a sign that it could get bad over here in the winter. So make sure you get a flu jab if you're eligible. The last few years have been a shit show as far as health is concerned and Covid is still out there (as we can attest), so don't add the risk of flu to an already piss poor situation. You're not only protecting yourself, you're also protecting your family and friends.

I'll hop off my high horse now, although there isn't much else to report. I'm cleaning up artwork for another Spanish collection of The Spider, and will hopefully be working on the introduction next week.

I've also spent some time sorting through DVDs. I bought two huge cases for carrying CDs, each with enough sleeves to fit 400 CDs (or DVDs in my case). Because everything I do is on an industrial scale, I bought a box of 16 cases many years ago, each one containing 120 pockets, which I promptly filled. I had a few empty sleeves and 3 empty cases.

Fast forward (mumble mumble) years (I can't remember how many) and I had ended up with nine piles of unsorted movies all about three feet high. So in an effort to rationalise my collection, I sorted out four large boxes of films to get rid of, a few of which I sold, but they'll mostly go to charity shops. That left the piles that were pictured in last week's Comic Cuts column. Well, I have been sorting them out alphabetically and filled the two new cases (800 sleeves) with A-J. I'm now rearranging the smaller (120 sleeve) cases and have so far filled two (J-L, M, N-O) and I'm going to spend the next hour or two filling up more. I want to get this all finished by the weekend, because I still need to shift a load of books out of the house. Didn't manage any this week, but we have now dumped some 240 magazines through the paper collection. It's a shame, but needs must...

Illustrations this week are a few random scans of books I've recently picked up.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Rebellion Releases — 2 November 2022

It’s one of the UK’s best-selling graphic novels – and a brand new print run of Best of 2000 AD Vol.1 is now available.

The smash hit of the summer and backed by an international influencer campaign on Tiktok and Instagram, Best of 2000 AD Vol.1 hit number three in the UK’s top-selling graphic novels at launch in September – with copies in the UK running out a full two weeks before the official publication date and stock in the US running low, even after a restock.

A new print run has just arrived with distributors in the UK, and comic book retailers and book stores are being urged to grab fresh copies of Best of 2000 AD Vol.1 while they can to meet demand.

Never before has a 2000 AD graphic novel sold out before it publication date, reflecting the excitement for what Wired called ‘a near-perfect primer for what makes 2000 AD so special’, while said it is ‘hard to imagine a better entry point into that world than Best of 2000 AD’.

Owen Johnson, editor on Best of 2000 AD, said: ’I’m ecstatic but not surprised that Best of 2000 AD has proven a hit, we worked hard to make it one – and thanks to all the new faces and loyal fans, our distributors, and crucially the comic and book stores hand-selling it; they’re all responsible for this success.

Best of 2000 AD’s popularity is validating, and proof that not only is there hunger for this timeless comic after 45 years, but a whole new audience is waiting to connect if we evolve. 2000 AD, like all comics, should be for everyone.’

Best of 2000 AD
is a six-volume landmark quarterly graphic novel series from the cult comic. The second volume is now available for pre-order and will go on sale in January 2023, with a cover by Becky Cloonan (Batman) and stories by Al Ewing, Colin Wilson, Alan Moore, Steve Dillon, Kevin O’Neill and many more.

With design by industry legend Tom Muller (X-Men), each volume includes 200 pages bursting with hand-curated stories old and new from the legendary comic book and, with no knowledge of continuity required, this is a series absolutely tailor-made to bring in new readers.

The first volume in this landmark series includes a cover by superstar artist Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked & The Divine), the first part of Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s feminist space opera The Ballad of Halo Jones, the first part of Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard’s modern sci-fi noir Brink, two complete Judge Dredd stories by John Wagner, Kev Walker, Brendan McCarthy and Jamie Hewlett, alien delinquents D.R. & Quinch causing mayhem courtesy of Jamie Delano and Alan Davis, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s mutant bounty hunters Strontium Dog, and Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson’s stunning Judge Anderson: Shamballa with an essay by comics critic Adam Karenina Sherif.

And now, this week's release...

2000AD Prog 2306
Cover: Alex Ronald.

Cadet Dredd: Undertow by Pauk Starkey (w) Silvia Califano, Gary Welsh (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse
Bladers by James Peaty (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Ulysses Sweet: Psychobaby by Guy Adams (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Jim Campbell (l)
Future Shocks: The Planet Breakers by Karl Stock (w) Karl Richardson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Chopper: All For One by David Barnett (w) Gary Welsh (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Comic Cuts — 28 October 2022

After laying low for ten days, we finally emerged from our cocoons and tested negative on Wednesday night. With Covid now in our rear-view mirror, I'm going to be playing catch-up for a few days.

Although I have tried not to let what felt like a "bit of a cold" slow me down, it inevitably has, as we adjusted to keeping clear of everyone. All the stand-by food (soup, beans, spaghetti, etc.) has been eaten and we almost ran out of cheese and toilet paper — I'll not say which one I'd miss the most, but you can't make a sandwich out of newspaper.

If that's the worst that has happened, I think we got off quite lightly. After a couple of days rest, we both managed to keep working, this week's output from me consisting of an introduction to a book and some 200 pages of raw scans for future books.

Life is settling back to normal. I had to cancel an appointment at the local surgery, which has been rearranged for next week; two more boxes of books have left the house, making a total of 16 so far; and I managed to put up some of Mel's Sensational She-Hulk comics on eBay (she had the complete run of John Byrne's 1989, 1991-93 issues). I walked Mel down to the bus stop this morning and I'm just about to leave the house to go pick up again.

That seems a good place to stop as there really is no more news. My next task is to put a few hundred DVDs into carrying cases to save myself some shelf space. I've got them into piles in alphabetical order... just got to get them out of the boxes and into the sleeves. I mean, how long could that take...

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Commando 5587-5590

They’re alive! They’re ALIVE! The creepy Commando Halloween specials continue with issues 5587 – 5590 on sale today, Thursday 27th October, 2022! This spine-chilling set includes ghosts, cursed cards, legendary gorgons, and the return from the dead of Commandos vs Zombies!

5587: Commandos vs Zombies 3

The dead rise again in the third instalment of Commandos vs Zombies! But this time the horde is on home turf as something evil is stirring in Blighty. Hidden deep in the Highlands is a secret bunker where terror breeds! But the bunker is silent, and the teams sent to investigate have all disappeared without a trace... That is until Sergeant Leo Manktelow comes a-knocking!

Evil returns and the dead just won't say dead in the latest comic in Georgia Standen Battle’s horrific series, brought back from the grave by the master of the horror himself Vicente Alcazar and a frighteningly good cover by Neil Roberts!

Story | Georgia Standen Battle
Art| Vicente Alcazar
Cover | Neil Roberts

5588: The Death Card

Would you accept the cursed card? Or are you too superstitious? If you are, you wouldn’t fancy being handed the Ace of Spades — the death card —as the key to your future, especially when this particular card had meant death for two previous owners! Issue 5588 The Death Card is another 'By Special Request!', an issue handpicked by a reader for our Commando Halloween specials!

This cursed Commando was penned by Bernard Gregg with art by Marzel and written by Commando Staff! A Commando so good – it just couldn’t say dead in the vaults! Don’t be cursed to miss it!

Story | Bernard Gregg
Art | Marzal
Cover | Staff
Originally Commando No. 926 (1975).

5589: Night of the Gorgons

This Halloween Commando offering is sure to PETRIFY readers! Historians mark the Dodecanese campaign as one of the last major German victories of World War Two. What the history books fail to mention, though, is that Allied and German forces weren't the only things flying over that region! For something far older and deadlier stalked the skies above the Aegean, as Flight Lieutenant Pierce Sullivan was about to discover!

You’ll need a STONY resolve to read Issue 5589 as Dominic Teague brings legends to life as gorgons attack! What’s more, Issue 5589 features Graham Manley's debut on Commando interiors and a Neil Roberts cover directly inspired by Ian Kennedy’s cover for 1478 ‘Target — Crete!’ You may want to read this Commando through a mirror – just in case it turns you to stone, readers!

Story | Dominic Teague
Art | Graham Manley
Cover | Neil Roberts

5590: The Ghosts

There’s something spooky going on in Crandon Abbey! Strange figures, eerie sounds, and mysterious moving lights seen in the dead of night. It was enough to make even the bravest men tremble. But the spirits that haunted Crandon Abbey weren't ordinary ghosts — these ghosts shot to kill and didn’t like nosy people poking around the grounds!

This classic Commando has crawled its way out of the crypt to bring horror and delight to readers once again! Featuring a spellbinding story by Bryan Perrett alongside eerie interior artwork from Llops and one of Ian Kennedy’s creepiest covers, well this Commando is too ghoulish to miss!

Story | Bryan Perrett
Art | Llops
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1289 (1979)

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Rebellion Releases — 26 October 2022

Where did she go? Out. What did she do? Everything...

Rebellion is proud to offer the ultimate edition of Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s ground-breaking feminist space opera and science fiction classic, The Ballad of Halo Jones, for review.

Published as a full colour hardcover omnibus for the first time in January, The Ballad of Halo Jones: Full Colour Omnibus Edition will feature artwork restored and lovingly coloured by Barbara Nosenzo, new introductions by Kieron Gillen (The Wicked & The Divine) and original commissioning editor Steve MacManus, and some of Alan Moore's original scripts.

In addition to the standard hardcover, the collection will also be available in a gorgeous slipcase edition with altermative cover from the 2000 AD webshop.

This radical and revolutionary series remains one of Moore’s most beloved and lauded stories and this new omnibus edition brings together Nosenzo’s colour work on the three books of Halo Jones, previously only available as separate volumes.

A cultural icon and a high water mark for both science fiction and British comics, this timeless tale from the writer of Watchmen and V for Vendetta follows one woman’s journey through dead-end jobs, deadly wars, and personal tragedy, as she changes from an innocent teenager into a world-weary woman.

Described by award-winning author Lauren Beukes as her ‘first love’ and ‘first role model’, Halo is an ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances. Trapped in a crowded housing project floating off the coast of Manhattan, a dystopian world where jobs are scarce and excitement non-existent, a bored Halo dreams of escaping out into the galaxy any way she can to rewrite her destiny.

But in a city where dangerous riots happen at the slightest provocation and even going to the shops is an ordeal requiring careful planning and a handful of zen-inducing-grenades, the price of freedom might prove to be more than she bargained for. And even when she does get out, there are challenges awaiting her in the cosmos that she could never possibly imagine or be prepared for.

First published in weekly instalments between 1984 and 1986, Halo Jones is Moore at his most inventive and empathic best, following Halo as she explores the galaxy while also, through both victory and tragedy, finding herself. It was Moore’s last work for 2000 AD before he went on to make comics history with fellow 2000 AD alumni, Dave Gibbons on Watchmen and Brian Bolland on Batman: The Killing Joke, at DC Comics.

Nosenzo’s sensitive and enthralling colour work on Gibson’s art was a revelation when published as three separate volumes on 2018, and the omnibus is an opportunity for fans old and new to experience the world of Halo Jones afresh. The project was the first major English language work by the Italian colourist, who was talent-spotted by Rebellion at the Angouleme comics festival in France, and has since gone on to work on the science fiction series Deep Beyond from Image Comics.

The Ballad of Halo Jones: Full Colour Omnibus Edition will be an essential collection not just for Moore completists but for fans of series such as Saga and Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow.

Available from all good book and comic book stores from 17 January, as well as online retailers, and digitally through 2000 AD’s webshop and app, and on Amazon Kindle.

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2305
Cover: Boo Cook.

Judge Dredd: Buratino Must Die by Rob Williams (w) Henry Flint (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Chimpsky’s Law: A Terrifically Disturbing Adventure by Ken Niemand (w) PJ Holden (a) Chris Blythe (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Hope... In The Shadows: Reel Two by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Enemy Earth: Book One by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland (l)

The Out by Dan Abnett & Mark Harrison
Rebellion ISBN 978-178618696-6, 25 October 2022, 192pp, £19.99 / $25.95. Available via Amazon.

Cyd Finlea is a photo-journalist working for the publishers Neographic. It has been a decade since she left Earth and travelled to into the deepest reassesses of outer space – otherwise known as THE OUT. Her encounters include meetings with strange alien societies and ex-pat humans, an experience that she shares with her trusty sentient backpack… This exciting, first volume introduces a brand new world introduced recently in the pages of 2000 AD, with an intriguing new female lead brilliantly executed by writer Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) and featuring the inventive visuals of Mark Harrison.


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