Sunday, April 30, 2023

Harmsworth's Comic Paper Rivals by Alan Clark

The ever-prolific Alan Clark has another book out on the early history of British comics. This volume concentrates on the publishers who rivalled the innovative Alfred Harmsworth, whose Harmsworth Publications would become Amalgamated Press. His Comic Cuts was the template for dozens of papers, a mix of cartoons, jokes, short sketches and proto comic strips. Within weeks of its launch in May 1890, it was selling 300,000 copies per weekly issue... the kind of numbers that attracted copycats and rivals.

First out of the trap was Trapps-Holmes, whose Funny Cuts arrived just two months later in identical style, size and price (½d.). For George Trapps and Sydney George Holmes, it was a runaway success, and it ran for 1,566 issues; along with Larks!, World's Comic, The Halfpenny Comic and others. To Trapps-Holmes goes the credit for publishing the first weekly colour comic, The Coloured Comic, which ran for 415 issues, although only the first 18 months were in full colour.

The company struggled during and after the Great War, and George Trapps  went missing in 1919, leaving behind debts, although he left a large estate when he died the following year.

Trapps-Holmes neighbour was James Henderson, a Scot who launched newspapers in Glasgow, Manchester and London, who published Our Young Folks Weekly Budget in 1871 and Funny Folks in 1874, pre-dating Harmsworth's papers, but priced at 1d. by the time Harmsworth released his budget halfpenny titles. The former published the stories of Roland Quiz and, most famously, the original serialisation of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Gilbert Dalziel was the publisher of Ally Sloper, the first regular British comic character, so popular that his Half-Holiday title was selling 500,000 copies a week at one point.

C. Arthur Pearson and George Newnes were more substantial rivals to Harmsworth, especially in later years in the women's magazine market. Pearson published The Big Budget, which ran for over a decade, The Scout story paper, which ran for almost 60 years, and Dan Leno's Comic Journal, the first title based on a real person. Newnes made his fortune from Tit-Bits, but was also a publisher of the high class boys' paper The Captain and the long-running Enid Blyton paper Sunny Stories.

Throughout, as usual, Clark dips in and out of various titles, all heavily illustrated, and highlights many of the top creators who worked on them, ranging from the hugely prolific story writer Charles Hamilton (Frank Richards, Martin Clifford, etc,) to big names of the Victorian and Edwardian comics era, Tom Browne, Frank Holland, Warwick Reynolds, Julius Baker, Jack B. Yeats, and many etceteras. T. Murray Ford kicks off a section at the back that rounds up a number of small outfits who published with mixed success, and a gallery of magazines and books from some of the rivals.

If you have bought any of Alan's recent books you'll know exactly what to expect. Newcomers will enjoy the scrapbook style of telling the history of these fascinating publicaitons.

Privately published, the book can be purchased via eBay for £25.00. You'll find a few earlier titles still available at the same link.

Harmsworth's Comic Paper Rivals by Alan Clark
Alan Clark [no ISBN], (April) 2023, 314pp.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Eagle Times v36 no1 (Spring 2023)

It's always a shame to begin a new year of Eagle Times with a tribute, but editor Darren Evans draws a brief but useful picture of the life of Joan Porter (nee Humphries), who died last December. She was Frank Hampson's long-standing assistant, working with him from the earliest days in The Bakehouse and following him to Epsom, where she survived the closing down of Hampson's studio and accompanied him as he researched 'The Road of Courage'. She retrained as a teacher and worked as such and as a mental health nurse, and in later life contributed to both Eagle Times and Spaceship Away!, answering countless questions from Eagle fans.

The issue begins with a long and interesting quest 'In Search of Eagler Books', which takes as its jumping off point a series of reviews from Eagle readers published in 1952, ranging from the classic John Buchan novel The Thirty-Nine Steps to Glenn Balch's western Indian Paint, with non-fiction, schoolkids adventure, smuggling war-time adventure and science fiction. Eric Summers offers some entertaining insights into the books and their authors and along the way proves what a shame it is that we have today lost the mid-list, where many of these authors would have sat, cheerfully turning out a couple of novels a year, now long-forgotten.

More books are reviewed as Steve Winders reaches Luck of the Legion's Secret Mission, the next in his trawl through Geoffrey Bond's novels starring Luck, Trenet and Bimburg. The interesting thing here is that the book references real events as the legionnaire pals' mission is to recover the missing wooden hand of Captain Danjou.

David Britton continues to explore the realities of Indian history behind the work of Charles Chilton, shifting his focus to the story of the fugitive Dull Knife, while Peter Barr examines the life of sporting hero Freddie Mills. Steve Winders begins a series on the life of Lord Baden Powell, the subject of a biography by Luck of the Legion author Geoffrey Bond, and Steve also pens the opening chapter of a new PC49 yarn, this one set at the Earls Court Motor Show.

A few additional fillers mean the issue runs to the regular 48 pages, always interestingly filled and the magazine is definitely worth your support.

The quarterly Eagle Times is the journal of the Eagle Society, with membership costing £30 in the UK, £45 (in sterling) overseas. You can send subscriptions to Bob Corn, Wellcroft Cottage, Wellcroft, Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 9EF; subs can also be submitted via PayPal to Back issues are available for newcomers to the magazine and they have even issued binders to keep those issues nice and neat.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Comic Cuts — 28 April 2023

The essay I have been writing these past couple of weeks is finished, although I need to read through and rewrite. It took a couple of weeks and is 20,000 words long, although that includes the bibliography. Information gathered along the way I'm planning to repurpose for various introductions, expanding on some elements of the essay depending on the book. I have one of those started, but I need to get on with them.

The longer essay will be published in full in the next Forgotten Authors volume, the fifth, which I think is getting closer to completion. As always, I'm working against myself by actually including authors whom nobody recognizes, which makes the books tricky to promote. They sell, but really slowly... which is why there hasn't been a new volume for a couple of years, as the fourth volume completed my original plan to write a book called Fifty Forgotten Authors. It wasn't meant to be the year-long slog that it turned out to be, because my first thought was that I had ten years of blog posts to draw from, so most of the book would already be written.

When I came to picking out pieces to include, I began revamping them and sometimes that meant they doubled in length. And then there were the authors I had never written up who I decided that they deserved to be included, so there was an awful lot of brand new material. The fifty essays ranged in length from 730 words to 32,700 words, and the four books totaled 264,000 words. Phew!

I'm not planning to get to work on a new volume in the near future, but I cobbled together a rough contents list to see what essays I had in hand, and the total wordage was around 70,000, which is the length of the other books. If it happens—when it happens—it will probably include a piece called 'Before the Newgate Calendar', essays on James Skipp Borlase, Alfred Duggan, a few pieces on pen-names where the author is still a mystery, a Sexton Blake writer of note, and a couple of stories of criminal antics from people who then became writers under different names.

I had another good week for finding books in boxes from people having a clear-out. There was one in particular where I found a few Alistair Maclean, Dennis Wheatley and Kingsley Amis novels that I didn't have... or, rather, I had most of them but not in those editions. I've scanned them all and updated the Alistair Maclean cover gallery... but I thought I'd use the scans to illustrate today's column. The header is from 1986, and the artist is Vicente Segrelles, who was a hugely popular cover artist in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a comic strip creator, writing and drawing The Mercenary.

The next is an oddity. This is the Continental Edition of Maclean's The Way to Dusty Death with no cover image. It was priced 40p and released ahead of the first UK paperback, which appeared in 1975, priced 50p. I suspect that this was released to mitigate the release of pirate copies in some territories.

Thirdly, we have a movie tie-in edition of The Guns of Navarone from 1978, the year that the movie sequel, Force 10 from Navarone, was released—a fact mentioned on the back of the book.

I have noticed recently that when I update some of the older cover galleries, the images cannot be altered (I tried enlarging some with zero effect). The images themselves are stored lord only knows where, so at some point I might begin re-posting some of the old galleries when I update them, stripping out and re-uploading cover images. Another task added to the list of things I need to do that I'll probably get around to in a year or five.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Commando 5639-5642

Our ANZAC Day special Commando issues 5639-5642 go on sale today, Thursday 27th April, 2023. With two issues dedicated to ANZACs fighting in during World War Two in the Pacific alongside two classic Commando reprints!

5639: The Kokoda Trail

The Kokoda Trail — an unforgiving path slicing through the jungle of Papua New Guinea for sixty gruelling miles. Through thick mud, merciless terrain, and Japanese attack after attack, Australian soldiers retreated, hoping to survive the Kokoda Trail or die trying!

Ferg Handley’s gritty tale of survival in the inhospitable landscape of the Kokoda Trail is brought to life by Alberto Saichann’s stark and graphic interior artwork. What’s more, Neil Roberts’s superb cover pays homage to classic Commando issue No. 15!

Story | Ferg Handley
Art| Alberto Saichann
Cover | Neil Roberts

5640: The Prisoners

Classic Commando incoming! Bill Davies had been a pickpocket before the war, and when he got into uniform, his mates reckoned he stole from them too. No-one liked the little rat. But Bill wasn’t a little rat… he was actually a hero!

Commando 5640 has never been reprinted until this issue! On its first outing since 1975, this issue is brought to you from the pen of Hardwick, the pencil and inks of Marzal, and a cover by Staff!

Story | Hardwick
Art | Marzal
Cover | Staff
Originally Commando No. 960  (1975).

5641: Sink the Tiger!

The unthinkable has happened — HMAS Tiger has been captured by the Japanese and is being used to create havoc amongst allied shipping! The Australian Navy’s most experienced destroyer commander, John Griffin, is called in to solve the problem, his orders: “SINK THE TIGER!”

Another rip-roaring tale from Brent Towns’s The Wombat and The Tiger series! With interior artwork from outstanding newcomer, Esteve Polls, and Keith Burns’s amazing work on cover!

Story | Brent Towns
Art | Esteve Polls
Cover | Keith Burns

5642: The Fighting Fishermen

Trawler crews may not look as smart or disciplined as the men of the Royal Navy, but they have an instinct about the sea that is bred in their bones. So, when war broke out, the Germans began sowing mines in Britain’s vital shipping lanes, many of these fishing boats were given a new and dangerous task — to stop catching fish and start catching mines!

This silver-era Commando features work from prolific writer RA Montague, with zesty, seafaring interiors by Flores, and topped off with an Ian Kennedy classic!

Story | RA Montague
Art | Flores
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1433 (1980).

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 26 April 2023

He’s the legendary star of classic British horror comic Scream!, and now Max – the murderous AI – is back with new adventures in a fantastic collection!

Max, the A.I. superintendent of Maxwell Towers has found a kindred soul in one of his residents, a young, disturbed boy call Sam Bowers. Together they work to rid the building of all the ne’er do wells who lurk in the dark corridors of the block, luring them to the dreaded thirteenth floor. But this power has started to corrupt Sam, surprising even Max – and their activities have not gone unnoticed, as WPC Hester Benedict becomes more aware of the sinister events taking place at the building.

Out on 14 September and written by Guy Adams (Heavens Gate), this collection includes art by Frazer Irving (Batman and Robin), John Stokes (Star Wars), Tom Paterson (Sweeny Toddler), Kelley Jones (The Sandman), VV Glass (Dr Who) and Vince Locke (A History of Violence).

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2329
Cover: Luke Horsman.

Judge Dredd: The Disciples of Death by Ken Neimand (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Durham Red: Mad Dogs by Alec Worley (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Heart of Darkness by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Enemy Earth: Book Two by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley by Garth Ennis (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Rob Steen (l)

Friday, April 21, 2023

Comic Cuts — 21 April 2023

So what have I been doing for the last two weeks? Well, I celebrated my birthday by taking it easy for a couple of days: went down the pub, ate too much cake, watched a couple of films, read a book, made a disappointing trifle, wandered around some charity shops and bought a few books, pottered around in the garden, wrote a big chunk of a new Forgotten Authors essay and worked on a couple of reprints we have planned.

A nice, relaxing couple of weeks.

We're planning to release a few more old thriller novels in a few week's time. We have the text for three proofed, and we're working on two more so that we can release them as a set — as I did with the four Hercules, Esq. novels by Gwyn Evans. I also have another book by Gwyn in the works, hence five books.

I confess that my motive for doing these is so that I have nice-looking copies of these books on my shelves. If I can sell a few copies and pay back some of the time I have put in, all the better, but that's not the main reason. (And this is also why they come out so irregularly, because they're an indulgence that I really ought not to allow myself... it's only having Mel at home at the moment that is allowing me to squeeze this in between the paying work because she's doing most of the text corrections and proofing.)

For someone trying to slim down their book collection, this might not be the most sensible move. And, as mentioned above, I did find some more books to buy on my trip into town, which you'll find dotted around this column. The Anne McCaffrey was her only solo Pern novel I was missing from my collection. This is the second time I have tried to complete a set; my partial set was sold off many years ago during an earlier purge when I sold off 500 or so SF books and magazines.

I got rid of all my Robert Harris novels during the latest mass dumping of books about five or six months ago... so why did I buy another one? Well, I do actually like his books, although I was rather disappointed by the last one I read. Munich was, unfortunately, a bit of a damp squib as far as I was concerned, although enough people seemed to like it for it to be made into a film, which I also thought a bit meh. I remember excellent adaptations of Fatherland and Archangel (my favourites amongst Harris's novels) that the BBC did way back when, the latter with Daniel Craig, and I enjoyed The Fear Index last year. It wasn't great, but it was at least thrilling in places.

The Second Sleep looks like another of his SF-nal thrillers, which have been my favourites of his books (I'll add Enigma and The Ghost Writer to my list of favourites, both fine thrillers that were turned into fine movies), and it was well reviewed. I wish I had more time to read for pleasure rather than reading for work purposes. But I'll get around to it eventually.

Ditto a collection of Bryant and May yarns by the late Christopher Fowler, London's Glory, a book about Gerald Durrell and his family and their time on Corfu — the period covered by the recent TV series The Durrell's. And a couple of others that I don't want to show because they're for other people who read these posts and I don't want to spoil the surprise. Finally, Cloud Cuckoo Land, a mainstream novel with SF elements which I picked up recently. That lot should keep my collecting bug happy for a bit.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 19 April 2023

Rebellion Publishing has acquired Karl Stock’s fascinating group biography of the UK’s writers and artists who reinvented comic books, setting the stage for comics to conquer popular culture.

Based on years of interviews with a generation of leading writers, artists and editors, Comic Book Punks: How a Generation of Brits Reinvented Pop Culture examines and celebrates how comics grew from little-regarded kids’ magazines to global franchises.

Exploring the early careers of the likes of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison and more, Stock tells the story of the triumphs and disasters that rewrote the rulebook on what comics could be and who they should be for.

Comic Book Punks will be released in November 2023.

“The creative revolution which occurred in British comics and spread across the Atlantic at the end of the 20th century had the same kind of pop cultural impact as Britain's great record labels or city-based music scenes, yet until now it hasn't been recorded in-depth on the same terms as these other hugely influential movements," says Stock. "Writing this history of an era, a stack of great comics and a group of visionary creators which crackled with genre-redefining invention has been an honour and a great pleasure, and hopefully reading it's as entertaining and revealing as the research process.”

“Stock has written the definitive account of a generation of comic book creators that turned the entire medium on its head, as important for the graphic novel as the New Hollywood filmmakers of the '60s and '70s were for cinema," acquiring editor Ben Smith said. "Stock's meticulous research, breadth of reading and one-to-one interviews make this group biography unmissable. Peeling back the layers of influence, collaboration and inspiration that saw ever-lasting works of importance created, Stock also finds the lost and overlooked narratives that opened the doors to the escalating ambition of these artists and writers. As we have sadly lost too many creators from that era in recent years, the timing of this book couldn't be more important in explaining and marking their legacy.”

Karl Stock has written 'Tharg's Future Shocks' for 2000 AD, Dredd prose fiction for the Judge Dredd Megazine and strips including 'Sniper Elite' and 'Death Wish' for Rebellion titles such as Battle, The Vigilant and Cor! & Buster, as well as interviews and features about comics for the Judge Dredd Megazine, Tripwire, Comic Heroes and more. He is the co-author of the 40th anniversary edition of Thrill-Power Overload, 2000 AD's official history, and lives in Scotland.

2000AD Prog 2328
Cover: John McCr5ea / Mike Spicer (cols).

Judge Dredd: The Disciples of Death by Ken Neimand (w) Neil Googe (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Durham Red: Mad Dogs by Alec Worley (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Heart of Darkness by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Enemy Earth: Book Two by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley by Garth Ennis (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Rob Steen (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine 455
Cover: John Higgins.

Judge Dredd: One-Eyed Jacks by Ken Niemand (w) Kieran McKeown (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Spector: Incorruptible by John Wagner (w) Carlos Ezquerra (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Dark Judges: Death Metal Planet by David Hine (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Devlin Waugh: Karma Police by AleŇ° Kot (w) Rob Richardson (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Anderson, Psi Division: The King of the Six Sectors by Matt Smith (w) Carl Critchlow (a) Shawn Lee (l)
Judge Dredd - Mega-City Two: City of Courts by Douglas Wolk (w) Ulises Farinas (a) Ryan Hill (c) Tom B. Long (l)
Treasury Classic: Jane Bond by Mike Hubbard
Dreadnoughts: The March of Progress by Mike Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Features: Free Comic Book Day, Dave Gibbons interview, Rob Richardson interview

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Commando 5635-5638

Tally-ho, chaps! The latest Commando tales of action and adventure see our heroes on land, sea and in the air! From Marines in the Pacific, murderous U-boat captains, feuding flyboys and zealous Zeros, this Commando set has it all. Get your copies today, Thursday, 13th April!

5635: Glory In Guadalcanal

Tommy Hicks was fed up. He had joined the US Marines to see action and gain glory. Only, his unit had been moved from airfield to airfield without seeing hide nor hair of the enemy, not to mention any combat. How was he supposed to make his pop proud and earn his respect if he didn’t even get to fire his rifle?
    Well, Tommy was going to find out that there’s more to war than glory —even if he had to learn it the hard way!

Story | Ferg Handley
Art | Vicente Alcazar
Cover | Vicente Alcazar

5636: Atlantic Veteran

Commander Ernst Strubler — ace U-boat captain with a list of kills as long as your arm, a veteran of the fearful battles of the Atlantic convoys.
    Lieutenant Dave Moore of the Royal Navy — second in command of a sub-killing corvette. He was another veteran — he’d seen his first ship sunk by the U boat, and barely escaped with his life.
    Now they were ranged against each other again. For Strubler, it was a race to cripple the convoys that were Britain’s lifeline —for Dave it was a chance to settle the score with Strubler once and for all. It looked as if nothing could make either give way... short of being sunk.

Story | RA Montague
Art | Watson
Cover | Jeff Bevan
Originally Commando No. 957 (1975).

5637: Out of Sight

Edward Cuthbert-Powell and Archie Perkins may have been top of the class together at RAF Flying Training School, but the pair had little else in common. While Edward was loud and brash, Archie was quiet and a bit of a loner, much to the frustration of his classmate. When both are assigned to RAF Biggin Hill for the Battle of Britain, Edward begins to suspect there is more to Archie than meets the eye. But with the fight against the Luftwaffe hotting-up, will Edward get to the bottom of Archie’s secret?

Story | Frank Buhagiar
Art | Diego Garavano
Cover | Mark Eastbrook

5638: Bombs Gone!

The Japanese fighter screamed in to attack the Blenheim — but suddenly the bomber dodged aside, leaving the astounded Japanese pilot firing at thin air!
    At the controls of the British aircraft was Sergeant Ron Elliot, a natural pilot who was an ace at whatever plane he was flying. The trouble was, he knew it. And his commanding officer knew it too... and didn’t like it!

Story | Staff
Art | John Ridgway
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1415 (1980)

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 12 April 2023

Our future – is their reality! Pre-order the brand new comic special set in the world of Judge Dredd and coming this summer!

Mega-City Max is the brand new 48-page one-shot comic set in the dystopian world of Mega-City One, home of Judge Dredd.

This is a stand-alone science fiction anthology – with no continuity knowledge required – aimed at teenagers, with fast-paced, action-packed and hilarious stories featuring updated versions of 2000 AD characters like Harlem Heroes, De Marco P.I., Devlin Waugh and Walter the Wobot – as well as brand new characters!

Out on 19 July, this new title features the hottest breaking talent in the industry including Hannah Templer (Cosmoknights),Ramzee (Edge of Spider-Verse), Oliver Gerlach (Young Men in Love), VV Glass (Boom’s The Last Witch), Lucie Ebrey (Amazing World of Gumball), Korinna Mei Veropoulou (Escape From Bitch Mountain), Roger Langridge (Bill & Ted Are Doomed) and more!

Pre-order now from or ask your local comic book store or newsagents to reserve you a copy!

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2327
Cover: Simon Davis.

Judge Dredd: Down By Law by Ian Edginton (w) Leigh Gallagher (a) Peter Doherty (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Durham Red: Mad Dogs by Alec Worley (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Heart of Darkness by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Enemy Earth: Book Two by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley by Garth Ennis (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Rob Steen (l)

Essential Judge Dredd: Judgement Day by Garth Ennis (w) Carlos Ezquerra, Peter Doherty, Dean Ormston, Chris Halls and Anthony Williams (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-178618778-9, 11 April 2023, 160pp, £22.99 / $29.99. Available via Amazon.

The essential Judge Dredd graphic novel series – this is the ultimate introduction to the Lawman of the Future! It is Judgement Day! Sabbat the Necromagus has resurrected every corpse in the whole world to serve as his zombie horde. All over the globe the Judges are facing unimaginable odds, but then the unthinkable happens and time-travelling Strontium Dog, Johnny Alpha, arrives to lend Dredd a hand. It is the team-up of the century as Dredd and Alpha fight back against the walking dead! Essential Judge Dredd: Judgement Day is a fast-paced and action-packed epic scripted by Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys), with art from Carlos Ezquerra (Strontium Dog), and Dean Ormston (Black Hammer).

Hawk the Slayer by Garth Ennis (w) Henry Flint (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-183786020-3, 12 April 2023, 144pp, £16.99 / $24.99. Available via Amazon.

THIS IS A STORY OF HEROIC DEEDS... The cult classic film Hawk The Slayer continues in a brand-new comic book sequel! Years after the final defeat of Voltan, his brother Hawk suspects the influence of the Dark One’s masters- the ancient and malevolent Black Wizards, whose touch remains a blight upon the mortal world. At the behest of his mysterious sorceress ally, Hawk gathers comrades old and new- Gort the Giant, Crow the Elfin bowman, warrior woman Bella and the dubious bard Wain- and sets out to finish the Wizards once and for all. But what awaits him, deep beneath the once-holy fortress of Dainsford, is a horror beyond his darkest nightmares. Writer Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) and artist Henry Flint (Judge Dredd, Sancho Panzer) unite to conclude the tale from the 1980 fantasy adventure, as the characters brought so memorably to life by Jack Palance and John Terry return for one final battle… WHEN THE LEGIONS OF DARKNESS STALK THE LAND!

The Best of Jane Bond by Mike Hubbard (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-178618802-1, 13 April 2023, 96pp, £14.99. Available via Amazon.

It's the Swingin' Sixties, and there's only one spy standing between crime and world domination - and her name is Jane Bond!
Jane Bond, Secret Agent, is the finest spy on Worldpol's roster. Armed with her wits, her fists, and an array of futuristic tech, she is our last line of defense against a international criminal underworld. From fighting a school of super villainesses, to foiling plans to melt to Arctic ice caps, to escaping the clutches of a giant mechanical lobster, there's no shortage of dangerous missions Jane must undertake for Queen and Country!
    his collection of campy espionage adventure from 1960s girls' comic Princess Tina is lovingly restored to its full glory, and is lavishly illustrated throughout by Mike Hubbard, the artist of iconic Daily Mirror strip Jane.

Friday, April 07, 2023

Comic Cuts — 7 April 2023

After last week's excitement—and I do find getting a new book out exciting—this week has been a bit patchy and not so smooth running. Not that anything has gone wrong, but I just haven't had a good run at the work that needs to be done.

For instance, I hoped to have the first pass of The Spider artwork finished on Monday, but I had pages left over until Thursday; that means I won't finish the second pass until today (Friday), rather than Wednesday. One reason was that I had to take a break mid-week while we got started on the next book we're doing. I was kicked out of my office so Mel could use the scanner, so I took the opportunity to get my next Forgotten Authors essay started... which I now have to leave behind while I return to The Spider.

I'm working on the last (sixth) volume, with more Mytek and Kelly's Eye up next. In between, I'm hoping to get some introductions written as having Mel working with me for a bit means that we should be able to get some more titles out. I'm planning to reprint a handful of old 1920s thrillers, including at least one more Gwyn (Hercules, Esq.) Evans. As I said last week, these old paperbacks don't sell very well for us, but they're books that I just want to have nice copies of on my shelf... and maybe there are other people out there that will enjoy them.

As well as publishing On the Queen's Service, I had another book make an appearance in late March. Don Lawrence: Meister der Illustrations – und Comickunst was a reprint of the material I put together for Don Lawrence: A Scrapbook of Strip and Illustration that was going to be a book in 2014 but which was eventually published as an Illustrators special in 2018. That version was cut by 16 pages, excluding some of Lawrence's illustrations for Look and Learn and Speed & Power. These have been reinstated for the All Verlag edition, which has also been expanded so that where I had trimmed down some of the text material that Lawrence was illustrating, the text has been reinstated—and translated into German, including a serialised western by John Hunter and two short stories by Arthur C. Clarke. The book has grown to 198 pages and is a thing of beauty.

Once the Illustrators edition has sold out, I might put the collection together as planned in a limited run but at a slightly lower price than the special. You never know, but maybe one day I'll also get around to finishing the book that was supposed to follow it... Ron Embleton: A Scrapbook of Strip and Illustration. (Please don't hold your breath waiting for this! It's something I barely got started on.)

I'm not sure what will be happening next week as I'm planning to take a couple of days off following the bank holiday—it's my birthday!—so I may or may not have time to write... maybe just something short. My point being that, if I don't post as normal, I'm not dead. Just enjoying myself.

(* The Spider (c) Rebellion Publishing. One euphemism for penis I could imagine slipping through, but two in the same panel...? Someone in Lion's editorial office was having a laugh!)

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 5 April 2023

From the creative team behind some of the most iconic moments in 2000 AD‘s history, John Wagner and Colin MacNeil, comes a brand new thriller set in the world of Judge Dredd!

Torn from the pages of the Judge Dredd Megazine, Surfer follows young skysurfer Zane Perks as he is hired by a film company to play the lead role in a recreation of legendary skysurfer Chopper’s victory in the infamous Supersurf 7.

However, after being double crossed by the production company and arrested by the Judges, Zane sets out to clear his name and find out the secret behind the scam.

From America to Chopper: Song of the Surfer, Wagner and MacNeil have been responsible for some of the most famous moments in Dredd history and this new series introduces a brand new character in a series packed with their trademark noir, grit, and humour.

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2326
Cover: Cliff Robinson / Dylan Teague (col).

Judge Dredd: Shrine by Ken Niemand (w) Nick Dyer (a) Len O'Grady (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Durham Red: Mad Dogs by Alec Worley (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)
The Order: Heart of Darkness by Kek-W (w) John Burns (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Enemy Earth: Book Two by Cavan Scott (w) Luke Horsman (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley by Garth Ennis (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Rob Steen (l)

Monster Fun (5 April/6 June 2023)
Cover: Matt Baxter.

Gums by Stacey Whittle (w) Brett Parson (a+l)
Kid Kong by Alec Worley (w) Karl Dixon (a+l)
Hell's Angel by Chris Garbutt (w+a+l)
Space Invaded! by John Lucas (w+a) Barbaras Nosenzo (c) Jay Osborne (l)
Steel Commando by Ned Hartley (w) Dan Boultwood (a) Leila Jess (l)
Draculass by Lizzie Boyle (w) Rositsa Vangelove (a) H.A. O'Millar (l)
Witch vs Warlock by The Feek (w) Rebecca Morse (a) Hadrien Yannou (c) Ozwaldo Sanchez (l)
The Leopard from Lime Street by Simon Furman (w) PJ Holden(a) John-Paul Bove (c) SquakeZz (l)
Hire A Horror by Matt Baxter (w+a+l)


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