Thursday, August 31, 2023

Commando 5675-5678

Get your copies of issues 5675 – 5678 today, Thursday 31st August, 2023, with World War Two action in the North African desert, Italy, Germany and the Far East!

5675: Professor Warr

What happens when an aged and eccentric professor is sent to the desert front in the Second World War? Well, at first his habits provoke everything from fun to irritation from his younger, greener comrades in arms. But Warr soon teaches them that to win they’ll have to fight smarter — not harder!

Commando 5675 is the sequel to issue 5643 Warr and Pease by Suresh, which sees the return of the haphazard professor from the First World War now fighting in the Second World War. All this is brought to life by Jaume Forns with an explosive Neil Roberts cover!

Story | Suresh
Art | Jaume Forns
Cover | Neil Roberts

5676: Trail Blazers!

In his first action against the Germans, Lieutenant Guy Morton lowered his head and charged. His men cheered and followed — and that was a shock for Guy, because he’d been sure he was running away from the fight!
Deep down, Lieutenant Guy Morton felt he was a coward — and now he had been sent to command fighting men in the front line.
There were whispers about him, then came the test of courage, and Guy cracked and ran. But he realised his men were following him and cheering like mad!

Classic Commando incoming! Featuring amazing work from Allan, Aguilar and Penalva at the height of their careers!

Story | Allan
Art | Aguilar
Cover | Penalva
Originally Commando No. 494 (1970).

5677: Hell on High

They called Lieutenant Robert Lloyd a coward for flying out of formation in Lazy Daisy, his Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber. They blamed him for the death of over half of his crew, so they kicked him out and demoted him to co-pilot in another outfit.
Lloyd got a new crate and its pilot, Lieutenant Greg Hanlon, thought he knew the score and wouldn’t listen to a coward’s advice on flying. But Hanlon was going to learn that things weren’t all black and white when burning B-17s were going down around you amidst a hundred bursts of deadly flak!

Brent Towns is in fighting form on writing duty for this issue. With newcomer Guillermo Galeote on interiors and a true-to-form awe-inspiring cover by Keith Burns!

Story | Brent Towns
Art | Guillermo Galeote
Cover | Keith Burns

5678: Nothing Could Stop Him!

Steve Hunter began to wonder just what he was doing on board a rusty old cargo freighter in the middle of the Indian Ocean, especially when a Japanese submarine began to use the ship for target practice.
But he had escaped death before in the long search for his brother and he would do it again — nothing could stop him!

With Ian Kennedy on cover duty, Carrion on interiors and Bill Fear on story — this is a silver-age Commando you don’t want to miss! Nothing could stop… you from getting your copy of Issue 5678!

Story | Bill Fear
Art | Carrion
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1423 (1980).

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 30 August 2023

Tuesday 29th September marks the anniversary of Rogue Trooper’s debut in the pages of 2000 AD, and to celebrate Rebellion have shared the cover for their forthcoming collection of Rogue's recent return to 2000 AD in Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley by Garth Ennis and Patrick Goddard. 

Created by writer Gerry Finley-Day and artist Dave Gibbons and debuting in 2000 AD in 1981, Rogue Trooper is the last of the G.I.s – Genetically-engineered Infantry designed to survive the poisoned and war-torn world of Nu Earth. Betrayed by his own side, he is a lone warrior stalking these blasted lands in search of the notorious Traitor General, accompanied by his dead comrades - their personalities encoded on ‘bio chips’ and inserted into his equipment.

Blighty Valley
is Rogue’s first regular appearance in 2000 AD in a number of years – a thirteen-part story set at 'Night’s Horizon', the annual event where Nu Earth’s orbit carries it closest to a nearby black hole. The Norts call it Zvartchvintern; the first settlers knew it as Lightfall. Things have a reputation for going a little… screwy around this time. Now, Rogue and his bio-chip buddies are about to experience those effects first-hand…

Alongside the return of one of 2000 AD’s most beloved characters, the story also welcomed back acclaimed writer Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) to the Prog following a one-off revival of comedy strip Bonjo From Beyond The Stars in 2022, which featured the last comics work by the late great Kevin O’Neill.

Ennis is joined for the full run by artist Patrick Goddard (Sniper Elite), whose artwork brings a hard-hitting and yet deeply human aspect to this fantastical tale that brings Rogue's future war and the weary trenches of the Great War together in a tale packed with pathos, tragedy, and meaning.

Matt Smith, editor of 2000 AD said: ‘Garth Ennis has written classic 2000 AD characters before, but this is the first time he’s scripted Rogue Trooper. As you’d expect from someone steeped in war comics, his take on the G.I. is powerful, thrilling and explosive. With Patrick Goddard providing the stunning visuals, this a dramatic, unmissable addition to the Nu Earth saga.’

Rogue Trooper is also the subject of the forthcoming movie by Duncan Jones, the critically-lauded director of Moon, Source Code, Warcraft and Mute write, in a joint venture between Liberty Films and Rebellion, the Oxford-based games publishers and owners of 2000 AD.

Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley will be available for pre-order on 14 February 2024, followed by a full release into stores and online on 2 July 2024.

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2347
Cover: Stewart K. Moore.

Judge Dredd: A Fallen Man by Ken Niemand (w) Tom Foster (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Portals & Black Goo by John Tomlinson (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Jim Boswell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Tharg's 3rillers: Die Hoard by Eddie Robson (w) Nick Brokenshire (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey: The Cold in the Bones by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland
Azimuth: A Job For Suzi Nine by Dan Abnett (w) Tazio Bettin (a) Matt Soffe (c) Jim Campbell (l)

Battle Action #4
Cover: Keith Burns

Cooley's Gun by Garth Ennis (w) Staz Johnson (a) Len O’Grady (c) Rob Steen (l)
Death Squad by Rob Williams (w) PJ Holden (a) Rob Steen (l)

Friday, August 25, 2023

Comic Cuts — 25 August 2023

I've started to speed up a bit on the layouts for the Badger Books book, Beyond the Void, and I surprised myself on Wednesday with 11 pages laid out; I think the best I had achieved before that was 6, maybe 7. Tail end of last week I had finished 46 pages or so, and that has now risen to 71, with another 30 pages just waiting for illustrations.

Cleaning up artwork is generally the bottleneck that is slowing down the whole operation, but, of course, there have been other distractions and I've had to burn the midnight oil to get this far. Most are not newsworthy, such as my efforts to defrost the fridge. Other recent distractions are equally mundane, but are good examples of the rolling lack-of-excitement that is my day-to-day life.

For instance, we recently had a new bath fitted and everything seemed fine until we tried the new taps and water began spurting out of the flange—sleeve that covers the valve behind the handle (see illustration). Had to call in the plumber, who thought the problem was with the valve and then managed to crack the handle. Thankfully, he had a replacement set of taps, so they went in and everything seemed fine. Notice the "seemed fine" in that last sentence...

We've had some beautiful sunny weather, followed by some intense rain storms and recent overnight showers have helped to establish the new areas of lawn that I was working on earlier this year. In fact, it was growing a bit wild, because you are recommended not to cut the new grass until its roots have had a chance to grow and anchor the stem—the last thing you want is for the mower to rip up your new grass!

So I picked a sunny day at the tail end of last week and hauled the lawnmower out of the little shed it lives in and began cutting the back lawn, which was thicker and more lush than it has ever been. The Flymo (see illustration, although that's not ours, just a similar-looking one) was surfing over the old grass and I was thinking that I'd be finished in five minutes. That's when the cheerful "Wheeeeeeee" of the spinning blades turned into a grumbling "ruuurh, ruuurh, ruuurh." I switched everything off and cleaned out the underside of the mower, which wasn't particularly clogged up, but it needed doing. It didn't make any difference.

I'm not a practical man. I'm thinking there must be some sort of belt inside these motors that drives the spinny bits. Anyway, the blade was still spinning and cutting, so I thought I might get away with doing the last small area that needed mowing. Big mistake, as Arnie would say. The motor started smoking, so I ditched the mower and went to see how much a new one would cost. We've had that mower for probably more than twenty years, so it has done us proud. A new mower arrived the other day, a name brand Flymo-style mower—Flymo is a trade name that has become a generic name, like Hoover—and I was planning to give it a baptismal run today (Thursday)... but, of course, it's raining.

Two books went off to the printers and proof copies ordered on Monday. That's the motorcycle book, A Laverda Journey by George Coates, and my own Trials of Hank Janson in its new, slightly revised edition. You can see the cover top left and you can see another cover top right. That's for the hardcover edition, although I'm having a bit of a problem getting a proof for the latter printed in the UK. Hopefully I'll have it sorted when the book is released next month. Proofs are due to arrive shortly.

In the meantime, I'm powering through Beyond the Void and that has been causing a few aches and pains. Literal aches and pains: I get a lot of tension in my shoulders and neck cleaning artwork on a computer, as I'm tensed up, making small, careful movements with the mouse, and a single cover can take upwards of an hour to clean.

One solution is a nice relaxing bath, but my attempt last Sunday saw a repeat of the problems with the bath tap... actually a different and more bizarre problem: the hot water would run for a bit, the boiler would deliver piping hot water, which you could get to the right temperature by adjusting the flow of the cold water. Fine for a minute or so, but then the hot water would start to slow to a trickle and the bath was filling with cold water. It made for an interesting shower, as the water started off nice and hot and slowly went tepid.

So we had the plumber out again who, this time, discovered a couple of problems with the valve, one with the washer and the other with the o-ring. Unscrewing everything and reseating it all and screwing it back together seems to have solved the problem. It's still working as of today.

I did warn you that my life lacked excitement.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 23 August 2023

A new edition of one of the most influential graphic novels ever – in incredible detail and at a scale never before seen! Sláine: The Horned God Anniversary Edition is coming in 2024.

Timed to coincide with the 35th anniversary of its first publication in 2000 AD in 1989, this new edition of Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s groundbreaking and best-selling collection will feature brand new scans – meaning readers will be able to see its fully-painted art in unprecedented new detail.

Measuring 355mm by 270mm, the 208-page paperback Sláine: The Horned God Anniversary Edition will arrive in stores in May 2024.

Rebellion is also delighted to announce the Sláine: The Horned God Anniversary Edition Slipcase. Available exclusively through the 2000 AD webshop and also measuring 355mm by 270mm, this boxset will feature the three books of ‘The Horned God’ in separate hardcovers, housed in a stunning slipcase covered with Celtic motifs and the ’S’ from the original Sláine logo that featured in Pat Mills and artist Angie Kincaid’s first story in 1983.

This promises to be a unique collection: both editions will be produced using pages scanned from the original film, housed in the 2000 AD archive, and will also be printed at a size that more closely matches Bisley’s original artwork – giving readers the opportunity to see the greatest Sláine epic in unmatched detail.

‘The Horned God’ is the definitive Sláine storyline, its appearance in the pages of 2000 AD in three instalments between 1989 and 1990 marked a creative high-point for the comic, and the work inspired artists for generations with its incredible painted scenes of epic battles evoking the work of Frank Frazetta but in the medium of comic art.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this summer, this heady mix of Celtic mythology, barbed anti-authoritarian politics, and extreme violence combined Mills’ fascinating characters and saga-like storytelling with Bisley’s incredible artwork. It sparked a revolution in sequential comic books and spawned a multitude of imitators – yet even after three and a half decades, their masterpiece is as fresh and startling as it was when it was first published as a weekly serial.

Sláine is a wandering warrior cast out from his tribe and wandering the mist-wreathed realm of Tír na nÓg, the ‘Land of the Young’, with his duplicitous dwarf, Ukko. This deluxe collector’s edition returns us to this 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!

With brand new scans and in its oversized format, Sláine: The Horned God Anniversary Edition promises to bring one of comics’ greatest sagas to live in a way never before seen!

2000AD Prog 2346
Cover: Peter Yong.

Cadet Dredd: The Exchange by James Peaty (w) Joe Currie (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Lowborn High; Wishing Well by David Barnett (w) Mike Walters (a) Pippa Bowland (c) Jim Campbell (l)
Futute Shocks: Autocop by Karl Stock (w) Toby Willsmer (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Renk: Twinkle Toes by Paul Starkey (w) Anna Readman (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Friday, August 18, 2023

Comic Cuts — 18 August 2023

I've had my designer hat on this week, trying to nail down some pages of the upcoming book on Badger Books, to the exclusion of all else. Nearly all else. And it's not really a designer hat because when it comes to doing layouts I'm of the "Fake it until you make it" school.

A professional designer—someone with training and talent—would have an overall vision of what they want to do with a book and would look at the text and images available and be able to see in their mind's eye how they could potentially fit together. My approach is more like a child who finds themselves in a room with a box of toys—before long, the box is empty and the toys are all over the floor. Some of the toys may have escaped the room.

So after staring at the blank page layout for ten minutes in the hope that I'll achieve enlightenment like some zen master, I drop all the text and illustrations onto the page and just keep rearranging them until they fit and look OK. I then show it to people (Mel, my mum) and pretend that I'd planned that particular layout from the beginning.

The other thing that has slowed me down is that InDesign (the programme I'm using) doesn't always pick up some of the things I have done with the text in Word. I spent ages the other day indenting all the story titles in the index, for instance, but none of that formatting survived the transfer, so I'm spending another age redoing it. It does look better, so it's worth doing... but there's fifteen pages of tiny text and almost every other line needs to be highlighted and the indent for that 'paragraph' changed.

Also causing me to work in the lowest gear available is a pathological desire to clean up faults in the scans I've made of my Badger collection. Even a relatively good-looking book will have bumps and creases. The cheaper end of the paperback market were often held together by staples the cover was then glued down over them, so where the staples has rusted over the years the covers are stained a nasty brown; sometimes the staples have eaten through the cover. Time has taken its toll on a lot of these covers... and then you have human interference: tears, tape repairs, sticker tears and people writing prices in biro or felt tip  across the artwork.

In short, they're a mess and can take upwards of a hour to clean. And when you have up to nine pictures on a page, you'll understand why I'm not the world's fastest designer.

That said, I'm putting the hours in and have almost 50 pages finished, 20 of them a checklist of everything John Spencer/Badger published and 30 the section relating to cover artists. I've covered Ed Blandford, Dave Dimmock, Henry Fox, Norman Light, Stanley Nicholson and 'Paul' and I still have Dan Rainey and Ray Theobald to complete. Some of them are informative little essays, but for one or two I've had to admit that, even after forty plus years of digging, I still know nothing. But they merit a nice little gallery.

The authors I'm covering will be John F. Watt, Tom W. Wade, Gerald Evans, John Glasby, Lionel Fanthorpe, Tony Glynn, William H. Fear and B. Ward. Most of these were involved with the SF magazines that John Spencer published, so there will be lots of nice covers, some quite awful covers, and lots of quotes of frankly terrible tales.

I'm planning a break for a couple of days next week to try and clear the decks of other work so I can finish Badger in a timely fashion. Timely being still quite a few weeks, but hopefully not a few months!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Commando 5671-5674

Four brand-new Commando comics incoming! Get your copies of issues 5671 – 5674 today, Thursday 17th August, 2023!  

5671: Dutch Courage

A little shaky before battle? Not Kapitein Robin van der Laan of the East Indies Army Air Force. In his North American B-25 Mitchell bomber, he was armed and ready to take on the enemy whatever the price.

But Robin was going to find out how much it would cost — for his Mitchell was outclassed by the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero in every way. As casualties mounted, Robin vowed to take down every enemy fighter he saw — and he would need all his courage to do it!

A rare Commando about the Dutch during World War Two in Issue 5671 written by JP Bridson. With amazing art from Dan Barnfield and a true-to-form spectacular cover by Keith Burns!

Story | JP Bridson
Art | Dan Barnfield
Cover | Keith Burns

5672: …And One Was Traitor

All his life young Joe Minelli had it rough, all because he was a little guy and had an Italian name. When he passed the tough selection course for the British Special Air Service and became Trooper Minelli of X Troop, Joe thought he’d made it at last. He’d find friends and fighting comrades in the company of crack fighting men. Then things began to go wrong on top-secret raids, and the whispers began, just like at school — only a million times worse. “Minelli... Italian... Minelli...Traitor!” Now it was up to Joe...

There’s more twists and turns to McOwan’s story that you could even imagine! No spoilers but you won’t want to miss Quesada’s interior artwork and this classic Ken Barr cover!

Story | McOwan
Art | Quesada
Cover | Ken Barr
Originally Commando No. 276 (1967).

5673: Disaster at Dieppe

In August 1942, the Allies launched Operation Jubilee, an amphibious attack on the German-occupied French Port of Dieppe. It was a disaster and a strategic failure, with harsh lessons learnt at a high cost to life.

This is the story of three men: one pilot, one tank driver, and one infantryman, and their fight for survival in that hell on earth.

Andrew Knighton’s interwoven story of three friends in different regiments and their tragic adventure in Dieppe is an issue to behold. Neil Roberts’ moody and dramatic cover really sets the tone from the get-go! Not only that but Commando welcomes the debut of comic book artist legend, Mike Collins who has leant his pen to Spider-Man, Transformers, and Wonder Woman, just to name a few you might recognise!

Story | Andrew Knighton
Art | Mike Collins
Cover | Neil Roberts

5674: Stowaway!

As Johnny Hale stood on trial, charged with desertion and robbery, it seemed inevitable that he would suffer severe penalties for his crime.
But Johnny had a story to tell. It was not the tale of a coward or a crook, but the story of a man who had to rely on every ounce of his nerve and courage to carry him through the most perilous situations.
It had been a strange adventure, but although Johnny had started out as a weakling he had finished up as a real man.

This classic Commando reprint is on its first airing since 1980! With Ian Kennedy on cover duty, Enriquez on interiors and Roger Sanderson on story!

Story | Roger Sanderson
Art | Enriquez
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1461 (1980).

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 16 August 2023

Honor Vincent first came to Tharg’s attention when she won the 2000 AD & Thought Bubble Script Contest in 2021 with her pitch for a Future Shock, Relict, her tale of an immortal time-travelling mouse looking to save humanity, only to find that we’re really not worth the effort.

Since then, she’s seen her winning entry published, followed by another two Future Shocks,Smart Home and Echo, a Terror Tale, Rites, and the Anderson, Psi Division: Allied Forces episode in the recent zombie takeover of the 2000 AD Universe, The Darkest Judge!

Honor, hello and welcome to Creator Files! First of all, you’re New Yorker born and bred right?

HONOR VINCENT: I am indeed! I was born in Queens, raised on Long Island, went to college in the city, and moved back there a few years after college. I recently moved out west to Colorado, though, so I had to sheepishly hand in my New Yorker card when I picked up my Stetson.

So how did you first get into comics and, particularly as you live Stateside, how did you become aware of 2000 AD? Where were you getting your comics reading from at this point?

HV: My dad has been a comic fan since he was a kid, and has a massive collection of comics – not as massive as it could have been, had my grandpa not tossed a trunkload of them in the 70s (he swears there were some early Supermans in there).

Usually, it’s Mum that throws out the comics!

HV: When I was learning to read he saw them as a good bridge between picture books and chapter books, and he was right! So I’ve been a comic reader for a long time.

In terms of 2000 AD: I think I found it a few different oblique ways. I don’t remember when I first heard about Dredd, but I certainly knew of him before I started reading 2000 AD – saying “Y’know, Judge Dredd?” to people over here almost always garners an “Oh yeah!”, even if they haven’t heard of 2000 AD.

I’ve long admired Grant Morrison and Alan Moore’s work, and when I was hunting down more from them I happened on some of the early-2000 compendiums of Future Shocks, and loved them.

Read the full interview at the 2000AD website, or stick around to find out what Rebellion are publishing this week...

2000AD Prog 2345
Cover: Dan Cornwell.

Judge Dredd: A Fallen Man by Ken Niemand (w) Tom Foster (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Portals & Black Goo by John Tomlinson (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Jim Boswell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Tharg's 3rillers: Maxwell's Demon by David Barnett (w) Lee Milmore (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey: The Cold in the Bones by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland
Azimuth: A Job For Suzi Nine by Dan Abnett (w) Tazio Bettin (a) Matt Soffe (c) Jim Campbell (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine #459
Cover: Dylan Teague.

Judge Dredd: Fitting the Description by Mike Carroll (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Spector: Incorruptible by John Wagner (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Dylan Teague (c) Jim Campbell (l)
The Thirteenth Floor by Ian Holland (w) José Ortiz (a) Mike Peters (l)
Mega-City 2099 by Ken Niemand (w) Conor Boyle (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Rogue Trooper by Brian Ruckley (w) Alberto Ponticelli (a) Stephen Downer (c) Tom B.Long
Johnny Red by Garth Ennis (w) Keith Burns (a) Jason Wordie (c) Rob Steen (l)
Lawless: Most Wanted by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Simon Bowland
Dreadnoughts: The March of Progress by Mike Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Features: Interview: Geoffrey D Wessel, Interview: John Stokes, Interview: Steve Sampson

Friday, August 11, 2023

Comic Cuts — 11 August 2023

I managed to get the Badger book layouts started, but it has been painfully slow. I pieced together four pages on my first day, and one page on day two, although admittedly there were distractions as it was the weekend. And Mel had Monday and Tuesday off, so we're both suffering from jet-lag, not knowing what day it is.

I thought I'd tackle some of the easier sections, only to discover that there aren't any easier sections! Everything needed work and — as a for instance — I spent a whole morning trying to fill a couple of gaps I had in the last of Badger's output (it's not widely known that they were still publishing in the 1970s). I'm now missing just one ISBN, which may never have been used. I then had to sort out the index, which was not difficult, but dull, repetitive work that seemed to take forever. To give you an idea of the scale of Badger's output, the three lists I'm including — the third being the magazine checklist — run to 27,000 words. The layout for the main checklist alone is 20 pages and has 66 illustrations, all of which needed to be cleaned and resized.

And I've still got 100+ pages to go.

I'll be taking a break next week to finish off the other two books I'm working on, which is why you haven't seen the Trials cover yet. I still have some corrections to do with the motorcycling book, which I have been waiting on, and trying to keep all these plates spinning isn't always easy. Sometimes you just have to pick one and work on that.

So what have I discovered this week? This won't mean much to anyone who doesn't collect Fifties gangster paperbacks, but I think I've identified the two authors of six Hyman Zore novels, although I'm working from photocopies of first chapters only, so I'm putting a question mark against everything. There's a third author I can't identify, but whose novel appears to be a rip-off of James Hadley Chase's No Orchids For Miss Blandish.

Sorting through Badger scans I spotted a few more American reprint covers, and thanks to the folks over on Facebook's Vintage Paperback and Pulp Forum we've nailed down the source of one of them. Just a few more to go. You can see two in our header, with art by Tom R---- (I can't read the signature, see above) and Robert Schulz. I'm pretty sure that Warsmoke is also an American reprint, but I can find no signature. They are likely to be from Ace or Avon c.1960.

I've had a problem with Gmail for a while because Google changed their requirements for addresses that are their own domain, such as They now require that every domain needs SPF or DKIM. The latter stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail and apparently I need to be signed in as a super administrator in order to set this up. What does that even mean?

The change at Google means that any message I send to a Gmail address bounces. So if you've contacted me in the past few weeks and you have not received a reply, this might be why. (It might just be because I have been busy, but I do try to respond within a few days.)

I've struggled with this problem for the past couple of weeks and I still can't get my head around setting up the necessary identifiers that Gmail requires. So I've set up a new Gmail account that I can use to respond to Gmail enquiries. If you want to get in touch, use the usual address; if you're on Gmail, you'll get a reply from bearalleybooks at a Gmail address. I wasn't planning to keep checking the Gmail address, but I see that someone has already responded to it rather than responding to my normal address. Oh, well, I'll just have to keep an eye on that. Hopefully this is a workable work-around the problem.

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 9 August 2023

Due to unprecedented fan demand, Rebellion is pleased to announce that the forthcoming release of Nemesis the Warlock: The Definitive Edition will be bigger AND better – printed larger than any previous edition of the landmark 2000 AD series!

Both paperback and hardcovers editions of the five-volume Nemesis the Warlock: The Definitive Edition series will now be published in a large-format size measuring 307 x 231mm (as opposed to 276 × 210mm).

Long regarded as one of the crown-jewel epics from the pages of 2000 AD, this new series of paperbacks of Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill’s Nemesis the Warlock is being published alongside gorgeous hardcover editions with stunningly designed new covers – available only from the 2000 AD webshop – that present O’Neill’s groundbreaking and mind-bending art in all its glory.

After considering feedback from fans, Rebellion has boosted the dimensions of the collections to an over-sized format, making it larger than any previous edition.

And, for the first time, these editions will properly reprint the Nemesis the Warlock stories in their original publication order. They will also feature colour pages, as well as new high-resolution scans of the original stories, and all the covers and pin-ups from each era.

The first 176-page volume is on sale from 5 December, with pre-orders open now from 2000 AD and online retailers. Copies will be available to order through Diamond’s Previews catalogue.

The first volume will feature the stories ‘Terror Tube’, ‘Killer Watt’, ‘The Sword Sinister’, ‘The World of Termight’, ‘Alien Alliance’, ‘Secret Life of Blitzspear’, and ‘A Day in the Death of Torquemada’ from 2000 AD, as well as development sketches showing the evolution of the cloven-hoofed alien freedom fighter Nemesis and his living spaceship, the Blitzspear – plus a panel from 1981 drawn by series creator O’Neill that acted as an apology to readers when the last few episodes of ‘The World of Termight’ were late.

Burning with iconoclastic fire and wild invention, Nemesis the Warlock is the satirical sci-fi space opera that helped place 2000 AD as the true cutting edge, and catapulted Mills and O’Neill into the comics stratosphere.

Termight is the ruling planet of a cruel galactic empire, an empire led by the diabolically evil Torquemada, a twisted human despot intent on purging all alien life from the galaxy and punishing the deviants. His motto: Be pure! Be vigilant! Behave!

But there is rebellion and resistance to his rule in the form of a devilish-looking alien warlock called Nemesis, who represents everything that Torquemada hates and fears. Together Nemesis and Torquemada are locked in a duel which will affect the fate of humanity and each of them on a personal level as their conflict spans time and space!

The first volume of Nemesis the Warlock: The Definitive Edition is out on 5 December from all good book and comic book stores, with a digital edition and the hardcover edition available exclusively from

And now, this week's release...

2000AD Prog 2344
Cover: Lee Milmore

In this issue:
Judge Dredd: A Fallen Man 
by Ken Niemand (w) Tom Foster (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Portals & Black Goo by John Tomlinson (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Jim Boswell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Tharg's 3rillers: Maxwell's Demon by David Barnett (w) Lee Milmore (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey: The Cold in the Bones by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland
Azimuth: A Job For Suzi Nine by Dan Abnett (w) Tazio Bettin (a) Matt Soffe (c) Jim Campbell (l)

Friday, August 04, 2023

Comic Cuts — 4 August 2023

Quick pause to say "I can't believe it's August already." OK, that's done... let's get on.

I attended my first Paperback & Pulp Book Fair in ages on Sunday and had a thoroughly enjoyable day, catching up with some old friends and meeting a few people I knew only through Facebook.

Maurice Flanagan & Rian Hughes
I stopped going around 2000, having just had the rug pulled from under me when MS Publishing canned Science Fiction World, which I had given up a steady job on another magazine to edit. We managed four issues, but it was screwed before the first issue even came out. But that's a story for another day.

Faced with trying to survive on writing alone again I made some decisions, one of which was that I'd scale back trips out that weren't paying for themselves. If I remember correctly, I was still getting sent quite a few review copies of books, so I would take those up to the book fairs to sell, and that would pay for my train fare, plus a little spending money. Over the next couple of years the review copies dried up, and the prices of the kind of books I went to the book fairs to buy began to soar as eBay brought in buyers from further afield—especially America. Now, American collectors generally demand high grade books, but they're happy to pay for quality. Unfortunately, seeing top dollar prices on eBay also drags up the price of what you might call reading copies that are rough around the edges; the kind of book that collectors buy as a filler but try to replace.

Steve Chibnall and Stephen James Walker
I found myself priced out of the market and having no new books to write about, my interest dried up. Any money I had went instead on researching the circumstances around Hank Janson's trials, which involved some serious amounts of money spent getting copies of documents from the National Archive. I don't remember doing any promotion for the book when Trials came out in 2004 apart from an interview on BBC Essex.

I went to a few comic fairs in the mid- to late-2000s, often signing at the Book Palace table, but I don't recall attending anything since we moved to Wivenhoe thirteen years ago. So it's at least that long since I saw a lot of my book and comic collecting pals.

David Hyman & Martin Heaphy
This was the first fair held at the Holiday Inn, I believe, and I imagine it won't be the last. There was a hallway that led into two halls, the smaller of the two housing the paperback dealers and the larger dedicated to hardbacks, postcards and ephemera, but also with a smattering of paperbacks. The moment I walked into the smaller hall I spotted people I knew. To my left, Rian Hughes and Yak El Droubie of Korero Press, who published Rayguns & Rocketships, and to my right, Steve Chibnall and Stephen James Walker, the latter of Telos Publishing who put out the first edition of Trials of Hank Janson. They were promoting Miniature Marvels: The Book-Cover Art of James E. McConnell, but I also took along my copy of Hank Janson Under Cover and got them both signed. Lugging those three books up to London was something I'll be happy never to do again... and to think that I was planning originally to take up the two Reg Heade volumes...

Thanks to David Hyman, Martin Heaphy, Bob Wardzinski, Jamie Sturgeon, Paul Duncan, Maurice Flanagan, Roger Robinson, and many others, the day seemed to fly by. The exciting news is that there seems to be a lot going on, with projects ranging from a collection of cartoons and illustrations by Arthur Ferrier to a new British comic-based magazine. Even after I left, I was walking down the road with Paul Duncan discussing two projects he has been working on—the John M. Burns' collections and a long-awaited biography of Gerald Kersh. Like I said, there's a lot going on.

Jamie Sturgeon
I was able to talk to a number of people about ideas for upcoming projects. Being surrounded by collectors is a good place to try to blag scans — as I keep explaining to people, I have dozens of features I'd love to write but I'm often held back by not having the cover scans I need to illustrate them. Hopefully my pleading hasn't fallen on deaf ears.

Everyone seemed to have a great day, so I'm hoping that there will be another fair in 2024, by which time I'll have some of these long-promised projects of my own to show off.

Talking of which... I've had a fairly slow week, sorting out the final corrections on A Laverda Journey, George Coates' tale of his trip around the world by motor bike that I'm publishing as a companion to And the Wheels Went Round and starting to sort out all the scans I'm going to need for Beyond the Void: The Remarkable History of Badger Books, which will include features on some of the best of Badger's SF output — the A J Merak novels — and the very worst — a look at the astonishing stories of Barney Ward, which I'm very pleased to say will have a nice little bonus as I've found a third novel by Ward. I really wish I had a bigger collection of these old Fifties paperbacks as I'm sure I could i.d. many more authors. Unfortunately, the last collection that came up for grabs sold for something like £65,000. Not the sort of loose change I have... that's more like 65p and I'd need to check behind the cushions of the sofa to get that much.

Thursday, August 03, 2023

Commando 5666-5670

High stakes action in four brand-new Commando issues 5667-5670! Hitting shelves today, Thursday 3rd August, 2023, we’ve got adventures across the globe from the North African Desert to Norway, and Bastogne to Burma!

5667: Helicopter Heist

Before the war, Leonard Young was an enthusiastic aeronautical engineer who wanted nothing more than to build and design the next great air machine —the helicopter. But when he enlisted, the last thing Leonard expected was to be thrust into action, assisting in the theft of a German prototype aircraft in North Africa!
With the help of a group of LRDG men commanded by the indomitable Captain Michael Ross, Leonard was led on the dangerous mission behind enemy lines. But it’s going to take everything they’ve got to survive stealing the helicopter from right under Rommel’s nose!

Who doesn’t love a heist? Well, Colin Maxwell’s main character Leonard Young for one! But Leonard’s going to be pulled into action whether he likes it or not! Featuring amazing interiors from Paolo Ongaro and a bright cover from Neil Roberts!

Story | Colin Maxwell
Art | Paolo Ongaro
Cover | Neil Roberts

5668: Last Laugh

Pilot Officer Andy Howard and his crew were really up against it. Forced to crash-land in the snowy wastes of occupied Norway, they had started out on foot to deliver their Lanc’s cargo of urgently-needed weapons to the resistance.
Now an enemy ski patrol had stumbled on them, and despite the fight Andy and his boys put up, one Jerry had got away to raise the alarm. The net was drawing tighter...

Three Commando legends come together in this classic 1970s issue. Heavyweight artists AC Kennedy and Ian Kennedy do an amazing job on interiors and cover, while RA Montague’s story has you gripped on every page!

Story | RA Montague
Art | AC Kennedy
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 491 (1970).

5669: Hellcat vs Tiger

The Siege of Bastogne, 1944. The M18 Tank Destroyer, also known as the Hellcat, was one of the most effective tank destroyers of the Second World War.
The Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B, also known as the King Tiger or Tiger II, was a beast feared on the battlefield, formidable and threatening.
You might think you know the outcome of this duel, but Sergeant Mike Delaney was the commander of this Hellcat — and he wasn’t going to go down without a fight! That was if he could put the death of his last crew behind him...

Veteran writer Ferg Handley is teamed up with newcomer artists Alberto Saichann and Phil Robinson in this tank vs tank issue, as Commando welcomes new artist Phil Robinson with his debut cover!

Story | Ferg Handley
Art | Alberto Saichann
Cover | Phil Robinson

5670: The Long Way Back

The war in Burma was fierce and savage, and both sides had to make sacrifices. But Private Danny Porter could not believe his eyes when he saw that the bridge across the Bantang River had been blown up by the British — leaving scores of their own troops stranded on the opposite bank! 
This was only the start of Danny’s long way back. Soon he was to find himself turning about and going deep into enemy territory, the last place on earth any sensible soldier would want to be. 

This classic Commando is a fan-favourite for good reason. With an Ian Kennedy cover on Blasco’s interiors to Bill Fear’s intricate story — this isn’t one to miss!

Story | Bill Fear
Art | Blasco
Cover | Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 1458 (1980).

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 2 August 2023

Smash! – A new superhero mini-series launches in October!

Superheroes from across the ages – assemble! A brand new comics mini-series is unleashing the power of some of comics’ greatest characters of all time!

Rebellion is pleased to announce that Smash!, new three-issue US-format mini-series, is coming this October.

Written by renowned artist/writer Paul Grist (Kane, Jack Staff), this fast-paced action-adventure mini-series features the very best and the most outlandish heroes, superheroes, and anti-heroes that comics can offer!

From two very different 1960s secret agents – Jane Bond and The Steel Claw – to mechanical menaces Robot Archie and the murderous AI Max from The Thirteenth Floor, and villainous anti-hero The Spider and supernatural avenger Cursitor Doom, this is a series a whole century in the making.

With each issue featuring brand new art from Tom Foster (Judge Dredd), Anna Morozova (Lowborn High) and Jimmy Broxton (Hope), and stunning covers by Andy Clarke (Batman and Robin), Smash! #1 arrives in comic book stores and on the 2000 AD webshop and app on 25 October, retailing at £4.99 (UK) and $7.99 (US).

This brand new mini-series unleashes the power of some of the last century’s greatest comic book characters. Having been inspired by them to create his acclaimed self-published series Jack Staff, Grist now realises his vision with the original versions of these legendary characters.

In Victorian London, when the legendary elastic-limbed escapologist Janus Stark traps a demon in a stone idol, hoping to seal away the malevolent monster for all time – yet he has just created a prize too alluring for criminal masterminds to resist!

Sixty years later, terrifying high-tech thief The Spider organises a heist for his Crime Syndicate to the steal the statuette. But heroes from across the ages unite to confound the king of crime, and prevent him from unleashing the demon hidden inside. Can they succeed and keep the evil of the stone idol contained?

However, The Steel Claw and Jane Bond are assigned to halt the theft, but they encounter a mysterious stranger who throws both sides’ plans into disarray.

Paul Grist said: “The Spider is, without doubt, my favourite British comic character. There are others that are more famous, more heroic, or just longer running, but it’s the Spider that’s been living rent free in my head since I first came across him in the pages of a ‘Summer Special’ whilst on a caravan holiday with my family many summers ago.

“So to be asked to write a bunch of stories of his battles with his more ‘heroic’ contemparies wasn’t something I was going to turn down! At least I could finally get him to earn his keep!

“The three-issue that make up this series of Smash! give the Spider a chance to cavort across 60 years of British comics history, crossing paths with the Steel Claw, Robot Archie and Adam Eterno, as well as a few surprise ‘guest stars’ along the way. I even get to write a Janus Stark story to kick things off!

“But don’t worry, it doesn’t require the reader to have read years of British comics in order to appreciate it. But I hope that it will give the you, the reader, a flavour of the range, variety and, quite frankly, the sheer bonkersness of British comics over the years!”

Smash! is the latest comics mini-series from Rebellion, with Garth Ennis currently leading the charge with the five-issue Battle Action and YA/teen one-shot special Mega-City Max bringing audiences new takes on popular characters from the dystopian world of Judge Dredd.

Smash! #1 is out on 25 October, with subsequent issues released monthly.

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2343

Cover: Dave Taylor.

Judge Dredd: A Fallen Man by Ken Niemand (w) Tom Foster (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Portals & Black Goo by John Tomlinson (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Jim Boswell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Tharg's 3rillers: Maxwell's Demon by David Barnett (w) Lee Milmore (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hershey: The Cold in the Bones by Rob Williams (w) Simon Fraser (a) Simon Bowland
Azimuth: A Job For Suzi Nine by Dan Abnett (w) Tazio Bettin (a) Matt Soffe (c) Jim Campbell (l)

Monster Fun #10 (2 Aug-5 Sep 2023)
Cover: Abigail Bulmer.

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) Barbara Nosenzo (c) H.A. O'Millar (l)
Steel Commando by Ned Hartley (w) Dan Boultwood (a) Leila Jess (l)
Martha's Monster Make-Up by Dave Bulmer (w) Abigail Bulmer (a+l)
Witch vs Warlock by Derek Fridolfs (w) Rebecca Morse (a) Hadrian Yannou (c) Ozwaldo Sanchez (l)
The Leopard from Lime Street by Simon Furman (w) PJ Holden (a) John-Paul Bove (c) SquakeZz (l)
Global Ghoulies by Henry Flint
Franken Critter by The Feek (w) Steve Roberts (a) Harvey Caldarone (l)


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