Friday, September 29, 2023

Comic Cuts — 29 September 2023

We all experience the effects of the biological clock as the years pile on, the obvious signs including saying "Oof" every time you stand up or sit down and wondering why policemen are getting younger. I also think that at some point you cross a line and no longer want a fuss made when it is your birthday.

I reached that age long ago, but Mel, considerably younger, has finally caught up. So for her birthday we did ... nothing. Even her birthday cake was low key. Meeting up with my Mum and a walk down to a little gallery along the High Street was as active as we got, or wanted to get, this week.

The gallery is a little pop-up thing that has only opened recently, but we were incredibly impressed by a colourful phoenix in the window. Mel (having worked on crafts magazines for many years) recognised it immediately as needle felt. This, I'm told, involves stabbing wool with needles with little barbs on them. If you like wool, needles or stabbing, this page explains it far better than I could. For the rest of us: the magic needles make animals out of the wool.

I'll put some more photos up at the bottom of the column. We had the good fortune to meet the artist, Nicola Paton (–> Facebook), a Glaswegian former teacher, who also made little clay creatures that reminded us of something out of Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Totoro or Princess Mononoke. Another influence was Hilda, the animated series based on the graphic novels by Luke Pearson and Netflix TV series, which is a delight. (26 episodes and a movie, so far, with a third season due in December 2023 after a three year wait since season 2. It's worth having children just so you can watch this.)

The gallery is called The Old Grocery and I wrote a little about the original shop in a post back in 2014, when I must have had plenty of spare time. This week has been lazy compared to most that we've had over the last few months. Not empty—we've watched a couple of films and caught up on some TV, eaten plenty cake (proper cake, not the apple tart above), Mel has started on the books she got for presents and I've dipped into the remaining cover scans I have for the Badger Books' book and cleaned up a few.

Oh, and we finally got our new mower, care of a friend who is emigrating and wanted to get rid of some stuff. It's battery-powered and heavier than the old Flymo, but I gave it a run on Wednesday morning and... it stopped. Slight panic until I realised that (having not cut the lawn for over a month) the box at the back was full. Once emptied it worked fine... until it stopped. Not the grass box this time but the battery. Thankfully there's a second battery, which was already fully charged, and it only takes 20-30 minutes to recharge.

Now I've figured out what the machine does that will cause my heart to stop every couple of minutes, I think it and I will get on very well. It certainly made short work of the rather small front and back lawns we have, and it was over in almost no time: the battery means we don't have to mess around with unfurling extension leads and winding them back up, and the box means no need to rake up the cut grass. Win and win.

I can't say that copies of Trials of Hank Janson are flying out of the house. I still have a couple of the hardbacks left from the first print run and a stack of paperbacks that I could sign if anyone wants something with my scrawl on it. I'm being interviewed on Friday morning, when this is posted, so we shall just have to see how that goes and whether I can get the word out further than the few dozens of people who have seen my recent Ask Steve videos. But I've enjoyed making them and editing them was a pleasant break from all that cover art cleaning that I have been doing for the Badger book. Talking of which... I guess I'd better get back to it.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Commando 5683-5686

It’s all action – all the time in Commandos issues 5683 – 5686! These brand-new war comics go on sale today, Thursday 28th September, 2023!

5683: Cyclone Crellin

Cyril Crellin was born during the Regina Cyclone of 1912, and it sure left its mark. He was a hurricane on ice, armed with his lucky hockey stick he could strike the puck as hard as any monsoon, scattering rival players in his wake. One such rival would never forget the sting of defeat at “Cyclone” Crellin’s hands, though. Even war breaking out wouldn’t stop him from seeking revenge and he was happy to get his hands dirty doing it.
    A gritty tale of murder and revenge from writer JP Bridson that overlaps with D-Day! There’s amazing artwork as usual from Paolo Ongaro and one of Neil Roberts’ best covers yet! Don’t miss it!

Story | JP Bridson
Art | Paolo Ongaro
Cover | Neil Roberts

5684: Undercover Agent

Why were a dozen German paratroopers being flown into British-occupied territory? And why was there a mixed bunch of black-marketeers to greet them?
    There was certainly more to this than met the eye, and Captain Don Burke, a British undercover agent, was determined to find out what was going on.
    Issue #5684 is penned by veteran and prolific writer RA Montague and features a dramatic Ian Kennedy cover! Also, here’s a Commando fact for you: the interior artist ‘Galindo’ happens to be a pseudonym for an artist Commando readers may recognise… the incomparable Manuel Benet!

Story | RA Montague
Art | Galindo
Cover | Ian Kennedy

5685: Fly Fast, Skipper!

Aussie Flight Lieutenant Dick Thompson’s skill had been hard-won in the deserts of North Africa against the Luftwaffe. But Dick was going to need everything he had to go up against the Japanese Mitsubishi AGM Zero in the air battle over Milne Bay. The Zero was more manoeuvrable than his P-40 Kittyhawk but there was one thing that his kite did better — it was faster. If he was going to survive, he was going to need to fly fast!
    Commando welcomes Guillermo Galeote to the ranks of artists in his second Commando and his first-ever Commando cover — and what a cover!

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

5686: Out of the Future

His name was Krestor. He was a soldier — but not an ordinary one. For he fought in an army of the future, with weapons far more advanced than those used in the Second World War.
 But he was also destined to see action in that war, and in the jungles of Burma, he was to fight alongside British soldiers against the advancing Japanese!
    Weird sci-fi Commando incoming! This 1980s Commando genre-clashes in the best way possible as a man from the future fights in the Second World War! This is a classic Commando for a reason!

Story | Brenchley
Art | Fleming
Cover | Ian Kennedy

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 27 September 2023

Trick or treat! Monster Fun's Halloween Spooktacular 2023 debuts a new look!

    Across the summer hundreds of children from across the UK picked up their pencils and pens to enter the Monster Fun Draw A Monster Competition, offering the winner the chance to see their monster be drawn into a one page comic strip alongside their favourite character from the pages of Monster Fun!
    Now one lucky reader will certainly get a treat when they open the Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular 2023 issue—on shelves 4ᵗʰ October with an incredible new look—as their monster “Smizerd”, a blue wizard whose magic is all about cakes and baking, has been placed inside a Monster Fun story!
    “Everyone always says it’s hard to pick a winner, but it genuinely was for this competition! The amount of creativity we’ve seen from our readers was incredible, and we’re thrilled that so many of them picked up their pens and pencils across the summer to get involved.” says Monster Fun editor Keith Richardson, “Our Halloween issue is always a hit, but now we have the winners showcased in there too, it’s proving to be an extra special issue for readers to enjoy this spooky season.”
    The Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular 2023 will also be the first issue in a brand new design and logo, transforming the comic for the next era of monsters, mischief, and mayhem!
    “When Monster Fun launched in April last year it was our first new ongoing comic in years. Now eighteen months on we felt it time to embrace a new look as we continue to expand Monster Fun on shelves and as a brand.” Says Rebellion CEO, Jason Kingsley OBE, “Our readership is growing every month, with more and more children and families finding Monster Fun an essential reading experience. We’ve worked so hard to create a quality comic that is all about encouraging a love for reading, and working with one of our star contributors, Matt Baxter, this brilliant new look—paired with comic strips starring some brand new characters—should make our comic a real highlight this Halloween!”
    Inside the bumper 48 page Halloween Spooktacular 2023 issue popular favourites such as Kid Kong, Hell’s Angel, and Witch Vs Warlock will feature alongside new characters and strips including Frankencritter, All Hallows Screams, and the debut of a rebooted Crabbe’s Crusaders ready for a whole new generation of readers!
    For a fang-tastic Halloween, children and parents can pick up the Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular 2023 on shelves from the 4th October 2023 with a £4.99 one-off special price. Available in the UK from selected WHSmiths, TESCO, One Stop, and Waitrose stores—or at local newsagents. Issues can also be bought via the Monster Fun website, where back issues, international orders, and subscriptions to the comic can also be purchased.

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2351
Cover: John McCrea / Mike Spicer (cols).

Judge Dredd: Poison by Rob Williams (w) PJ Holden (a) Peter Doherty (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Feral & Foe: Bad Godesberg by Dan Abnett (w) Richard Elson (a) Jim Campbell (l)
Helium: Scorched Earth by Ian Edginton (w) D'Israeli (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Judge Dredd vs Robo-Hunter by Garth Ennis (w) Henry Flint (a) Rob Steen (l)

Battle Action #5
Cover: Keith Burns.

Hellman of Condor Legion by Garth Ennis (w) Mike Dorey (a) Rob Steen (l)
Nine Petrova & The Angels of Death: Night Will Fall by Torunn Grønbekk (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Jason Wordie (c) Rob Steen (l)

Misty: 45 Years of Fear by Pat Mills, Malcolm Shaw, Lizzie Boyle, Kristyna Baczynski (w) John Armstrong, Mario Capaldi, Brian Delaney, Jaume Rumeu, Jordie Badia Romero, Isidre Mones, David Roach, Mary Safro (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-178618799-4, 27 September 2023, 272pp, £40. Available via Amazon.

"The most peculiar, imaginative and challenging work in British comics " -The New Statesman
     In 1978 British comics were changed forever with the release of Misty, the classic cult horror comic for girls. Masterminded by Pat Mills, the original editor of 2000 AD, this weekly comic featured the best comics talent working on haunting, terrifying tales. From high 70s glamour to chilling stories that have haunted readers for decades, this Essential Collection curates the creepiest, campest Misty serials and short stories alongside critical essays, in a volume perfect for readers old and new.

Robo-Hunter: Planet of the Robots by John Wagner (w) Jose Ferrer, Ian Gibson (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-8183786002-9, 27 September 2023, 144, £21.99. Available via Amazon.

For forty years Sam Slade has been one of the best robo-tectives in the business, but all of his experience couldn’t prepare him for his latest case. In 2080 overpopulation of the Earth led the Space Commission into seeking out new planets to colonise. Four years later they discovered Verdus, a suitable planet in the Crab Nebula. Now, Colonists who sent there have not been heard from again. The Commission believe that robots have taken control of the planet and want Sam to uncover the truth. It’s a dangerous case, but one Sam can’t refuse – otherwise he’s guaranteed a bullet in the head!
    This classic 2000 AD strip is presented in full colour as it was when collected by Eagle Comics as a five-issue mini-series.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Comic Cuts — 22 September 2023

Firstly, the above video is under two minutes long, so won't be taking up much of your day to give it a watch.

Sales for The Trials of Hank Janson have reached double figures, which might not sound like much, but given the soft launch and the wait for hardcover copies to arrive (which they now have... and copies with my scrawl in them are now in the post) I'm not complaining. Of course, I now need the book to sell more, so I'm ramping things up a little.

One thing I'm doing is ASK STEVE. You can ask me questions about the book, how I came to write it, how I researched it, why was Hank Janson persecuted for his novels... whatever you like. Just make a comment below (you won't see it appear immediately, because I have to filter out the huge amounts of spam that I get... this blog has been running for 17 years, so it's a target), or email me direct, or comment on YouTube or Facebook. I had Mel ask me some questions, so I have a couple of little videos lined up already; I'll put a new one out every couple of days, depending on how many questions I get, and I'll try to keep going as long as the questions come in.

If you're on Facebook or Twitter (sorry ex-Twitter) or other social media platforms, please share the video with your friends; maybe the biggest problem faced by small publishers is letting people know that a book has been published. It's not in the shops, so you don't get passers by seeing it, and getting reviews into papers and magazines is almost impossible these days—review pages have been slimmed down and Trials might easily slip under the radar. And review copies cost quite a bit to send out by the time you've coughed up for printing, getting them here, packaging them up and posting them back out.

I should add that I'm not planning to keep high levels of stock here at home, especially of the hardback, which is expensive to print (but looks gorgeous!). Don't let that stop you ordering... all I'm saying is that if you want a copy to give someone (or receive from someone) for Christmas, get your order in early!

I haven't mentioned the Badger Books history—Beyond the Void—for a couple of weeks. I haven't abandoned it, just taking a bit of time off while I try to give the Hank Janson book the bests send off I can. I have half the book laid out but have left some of the longer pieces still to do. I did it that way around because I didn't want to keep shifting pictures around, so better to start on something brief and use the necessary illustrations and then the longer pieces can mop up all the unused pictures. I'll post some examples in the coming weeks, but for now the above is the first spread I have shared.

Instead, I decided to write something that I could dip in and out of, so I have been having some fun researching the publication of Diana Dors in 3-D, which was a stereoscopic booklet with photos of Diana Dors semi-clothed but never nude but which was still taken to court in 1954. The reason for picking on this was because I had been looking at Curtis Warren and the Camera Studies Club who published DD in 3D shared offices with CW.

I was looking at Curtis Warren for a bit of fun, having recently written about the Assael family in the Badger book; Harry (Hamilton & Co./Panther Books), brother of Samuel (Badger Books) was the partner of Joe Pacey, who set up Curtis Warren. It's interesting to tease out how all these companies were interconnected. Another bit of research found a link between a short-lived post-war publisher and the World of Leather chain of furniture shops.

However, I'm planning to get back to Badger Books as soon as possible, even if only to put some of the piles of Badgers I have dotted around the office back on the shelves where they belong. The last thing I want is an obituary that tells everyone I died tripping over a pile of Lionel Fanthorpe's novels.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 20 September 2023

This week, Rebellion asks the question – what would 2000 AD have been like if it had merged with stablemate Battle Action in the 1980s?

2000 AD Prog 2350 and Judge Dredd Megazine #460 are out on 20 September and form a fantastic new stand-alone crossover event merging classic 2000 AD characters with those from its former stablemates: the groundbreaking Battle Picture Weekly and the controversial Action.

2000 AD Prog 2350 is a special bumper 48-page issue with Judge Dredd meeting Action's 'Kids Rule O.K.!' in 'Juves Rule OK', former slave turned gunslinger El Mestizo crosses over with a classic Judge Dredd story, Hellman of Hammer Force descends into the bowels of hell itself, Major Eazy searches for the Treasure of Solomon, and more thrilling strips merge with legendary titles!

The crossover action heads over to Judge Dredd Megazine #460, as Judge Dredd meets arch-sorcerer Cursitor Doom, the Rat Pack becomes 'Rad Pack' in the Cursed Earth, and the Falcon Squadron from Battle's Johnny Red becomes 'Strato Squad' – plus more Battle Action crossover strips – as well as Spector, Rogue Trooper, Johnny Red, Lawless and Dreadnoughts continuing their superlative runs!

The newsstand edition of 2000 AD Prog 2350 – available from newsagents, comic book stores, and the 2000 AD webshop – features a superb character line-up cover by Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague, while subscribers to 2000 AD will automatically receive an exclusive edition featuring a cover by Batman artist Andy Clarke homaging 1976's notorious ‘Kids Rule O.K.!’ Action cover by Carlos Ezquerra.

It's the explosive crossover multiverse that time itself cannot tame – the 2000 AD / Battle Action mega-crossover is out on 20 September from all good stockists in the UK and in North American in October!

2000AD Prog 2350
Cover: Cliff Robinson / Dylan Teague (col)

Judge Dredd: Juves Rule OK! by Ken Niemand (w) Simon Coleby (a) Matt Soffe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Death Game 2049 by Geoffrey D. Wessel (w) Nick Dyer (a) John Charles (c) Jim Campbell (l)
El Mestizo: Demon With A Six-Gun by Chris Weston (w+a) Simon Bowland (l)
Dredger: Time To Kill by Karl Stock (w) Paul Marshall (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hellman of Hell Force: Fiends of Ungeistwelt Ost by Arthur Wyatt (w) Jake Lynch (a) Jim Boswell (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Major Eazy: The Treasure of Solomon by Gordon Rennie (a) Dan Cornwell (a) Dylan Teague (c) Jim Campbell (l)

Judge Dredd Megazine #460
Cover: Henry Flint

Judge Dredd: Return to Billy Carter by Kenneth Niemand (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Rad Pack by Karl Stock (w) Kieran McKeown (a) Quinto Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Strato Squad: Convoy Strike! by Mike Carroll (w) Staz Johnson (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Anderson, Psi Division: The Wolf & The Dragon by Alec Worley (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Jim Boswell (c) Jim Campbell (l)
Spector: Incorruptible by John Wagner (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Dylan Teague (c) Jim Campbell (l)
Rogue Trooper by Brian Ruckley (w) Alberto Ponticelli (a) Stephen Downer (c) Tom B. Long (l)
Johnny Red by Garth Ennis (w) Keith Burns (a) Jason Wirdie (c) Rob Steen (l)
Lawless: Most Wanted by Dan Abnett (w) Phil Winslade (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Dreadnoughts: The March of Progress by Mike Carroll (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Commando Presents: Commandos vs Zombies

The living dead rise again in Commando Presents… Commandos vs Zombies, the graphic novel collection!

Blending war and supernatural horror in a classic British Comics black-and-white format, this collection brings together the three bestselling Commandos vs Zombies issues from Britain’s longest-running war comic, Commando.

The stunning artwork is blown up to full graphic-novel size and features all the original covers as well as a brand-new wrap-around by Neil Roberts. A never-before-seen prose story is also included as a bonus, alongside an interview with the creator, and contributor biographies.

Written by Georgia Standen Battle, Commando’s first female writer in 30 years, alongside master comics artist Vicente Alcazar (Archie Comics, Red Circle Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics), and with covers by Neil Roberts (2000 AD, Warhammer), and British Comics legend Ian Kennedy!

What’s more, find out how the horror all began in the prequel to the best-selling Commando trilogy in 5691 Commandos vs Zombies 0, on sale the 26th October!

Pre-order your copy of the Commando vs Zombies graphic novel on Magsdirect today ahead of its release on 4th October.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Comic Cuts — 15 September 2023

You may have noticed from the constant mentions I've made of the fact to everyone, everywhere (and probably all at once) that The Trials of Hank Janson is out and available to purchase. I'm pleased to say that a few people have actually bought the book and I have a couple of other customers waiting on hardback copies to arrive so they can have them signed. As of Monday, I should also have some paperback copies to sign, too.

Most of the week has been spent sorting out all the things you have to do when you swap your writer's hat (a battered old flat cap) for my publisher's hat (a silk top hat, of course) and sorted out uploads to printers, writing a payment page for the Bear Alley Books website, digging out some reviews for the original edition of the book, and putting together a short, 30-second promotional video for the book (above).

I have also been involved in producing a second book which is coming close to publication. I had a meeting with author George Coates on Friday and we're both close to signing off on the book; with proof copies to hand we have found a couple of typos that need to be sorted out, but we're almost at the point of pressing the "print" button.

Tuesday we went to see Urzila Carlson at Colchester Arts Centre, a birthday present from Mel that I have been looking forward to since April. She's a South African living in New Zealand, best known to the wider world for a Netflix special (Overqualified Loser) and maybe her podcast (That's Enough Already). We first saw her on the NZ panel show 7 Days, a kind of Kiwi Mock the Week but funnier. Urzila was also a regular on Have You Been Paying Attention and was in the second season of Taskmaster NZ — please don't ask how we're watching all these shows, but there's almost no panel shows in the UK these days that compare for series length (many have 20+ episodes a year) and quality (however much I like Have I Got News For You (and I do!), an episode of 7 Days has five or six times the laughs).

I love seeing live comedy shows because there are always moments that will never be repeated elsewhere. Urzila's surprise at doing a gig in a de-consecrated church, or spotting a woman in the second row waving around a dildo (it wasn't, it was a fan); magical in-the-moments unique to that gig. We laughed for a solid hour and forty minutes without a break.

The good news is that there is a full-length live gig on Youtube if you want to see what she's like. I have yet to watch it, but there's likely to be some language and content that you'll be spending quite some time explaining to your kids; so no children in the room if you want to avoid that.

Back at Hank Janson, I'm planning to answer a few questions about the book and how I came to write it, so if there's anything you'd like to know, just drop me a line, here or on Facebook. At the same time I'm trying to sort out a small backlog of books that I've had for sale for a while but never managed to put up on Amazon — whatever you might feel about them, they are the world's biggest marketplace for books and if I'm to make a living I have to embrace them, albeit in a manly, backslapping way of barely touching and backing away quickly. More news on that as and when as there are some time-consuming hoops that you need to jump through to get a book in front of readers.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Commando 5679-5682

Honouring the legendary comic artist Carlos Pino, Commandos 5679 - 5682 are a one-off reprint set dedicated to the fan-favourite Spanish artist. The set was asked for specifically by readers and Commando was only too happy to oblige! All the issues were specially hand-selected by Carlos himself as his favourite Commandos he’s ever illustrated. Get your copies today, Thursday 14th September, 2023.

5679: Demon Driver

The flickering flames, the searching burst of German bullets, the creaking of the old bridge. It all added up to dangers to be overcome, no doubt about it.
     But for Corporal Tony Wiggins the biggest threat was in his own head where a demon lurked which, so far, he had not been able to control. And if he failed again, the Germans were going to wreak havoc!
      #5679 Demon Driver was one of Carlos’ first solo issues for Commando as he often worked with fellow Spanish artist Vicente Alcazar under the pseudonym ‘CARVIC’. This issue sparked a long and illustrious career with Commando.

Story | Alan Hebden
Art | Carlos Pino
Cover | Carlos Pino

5680: No Score Nixon

Rookie pilot Tim Nixon was keen to open his account against the Luftwaffe. But somehow his score sheet stayed blank — and he began to wonder if his lack of success was due to bad luck, or if he was just a no-hoper.
     Somehow he had to prove himself and silence the taunts of his squadron mates who called him… No-score Nixon!
     #5780 No Score Nixon was hand-picked by Carlos as one of his favourite issues he’s ever done and with good reason! Carlos’s art brings you classic RAF action with dogfights galore!

Story | Ian Clark
Art | Carlos Pino
Cover | Carlos Pino

5681: Super Soldiers

It just was not possible. No soldier, no matter how well-trained or fanatical, could keep pace with a speeding jeep — and then run even faster. But that is exactly what had been witnessed by the sole survivor of a badly-mauled British unit.
     The war was all but won, the German forces on their knees and ready to surrender… yet all that could still change if this unit of Nazi super soldiers got even the slightest chance to turn the tide.
     Weird Commando incoming! Carlos specially selected this off-the-wall issue where science fiction meets war comic, something Carlos’ has been doing for years. Whether it was his work on 2000AD, Starlord, or Commando, time and time again Pino proves he is a master artist who can turn his hand to any genre!

Story | Alan Hebden
Art | Carlos Pino
Cover | Carlos Pino

5682: Operation Nachthexen

The German forces that invaded the Soviet Union had much to fear once the Russians’ fightback got into its stride. For the Russians are fearsome warriors when roused.
     What the Germans feared more than anything was the night. For that was when the Nachthexen — the night witches — flew. Because, you see, when the Nachthexen flew, they carried death on their wings.
     Commando issue Operation Nachthexen was a notable favourite of Carlos Pino, who sought it out specifically for reprint in this set devoted to his amazing Commando career!

Story | Mac MacDonald
Art | Carlos Pino
Cover | Carlos Pino

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Rebellion Releases — 13 September 2023

2000 AD Announces Mega-Signing Day on 23rd September 2023

Six stores and 19 creators – don't miss the 2000 AD Mega-Signing Day on 23 September, Earthlets!

2000 AD are beyond zarjaz to announce a Mega-Signing Day on Saturday 23rd September 2023, taking place across the UK and featuring some of our most beloved current and classic creators!

The event celebrates not just the release of the 2000 AD/Battle Action crossover on the 20th September, taking place across both 2000 AD Prog 2350 and Judge Dredd Megazine 460, but also September's releases of The Best of Tharg's Terror Tales and The Thirteenth Floor Vol.4.

The mega-signing day is the chance to meet your favourite creators and get them to sign copies of your favourite comic!

Check out the creator lists for stores in Cardiff, London, Birmingham, Leeds, Brighton and – for the first time – Dunfermline in Scotland, get the day in your diary, and head along for a mega time!

Cardiff: Forbidden Planet International
Patrick Goddard
Dylan Teague
David Roach

London: Forbidden Planet
Rob Williams
Simon Davis
Keith Richardson

Birmingham: Forbidden Planet
John McCrea
Ian Edginton

Leeds: Travelling Man
Nick Percival
Peter Doherty
Staz Johnson

Dunfermline: Little Shop of Heroes
Gordon Rennie
Tom Foster
Karl Stock

Brighton: Dave’s Comics
John Higgins
Guy Adams
Boo Cook
Sally Jane Hurst

All signings taking place from 12pm - 1pm. Lineups could be subject to change.

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2349
Cover: Simon Fraser

Judge Dredd: A Fallen Man by Ken Niemand (w) Tom Foster (a) Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (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)

The Thirteenth Floor Vol.4
Rebellion ISBN 978-183786018-0, 14 September 2023, 80pp, £14.99. Available via Amazon.

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.
    The breakout star of legendary British comic Scream! Max and his thirteenth floor are back in a brand-new story written by Guy Adams (Heavens Gate) and 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).

Friday, September 08, 2023

Comic Cuts — 8 September 2023

It has been proofing week at Casa Holland, with the usual interruptions. An eye test on Monday resulted in... nothing, so good news. My prescription hadn't changed enough to require new glasses, so I've avoided that cost for another couple of years. The eye strain is down to too much time in front of the computer, I was told, and I need to take more breaks — so from now on I can claim my innate laziness is actually medical advice from a trained optometrist.

My proofs arrived late on Friday and I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday reading a physical copy of The Trials Of Hank Janson from cover to cover for the first time — I was darting around the text somewhat when I was doing the revisions and checking everything on screen, so this has been a real pleasure. I think it's a damn good book. It was good when it appeared in 2004 and was nominated for an award by the Crime Writers' Association, the prestigious Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction; I've been able to add more information that wasn't available to me back twenty years ago and I have reinstated a chapter that was cut from the earlier edition. I keep telling people the new version is 5% better because it's 5% bigger, but it's actually 7% (better and bigger!).

Physically, the book is taller than the old edition, so it has 26 fewer pages despite being 6,800 words longer, meaning that each page is 16% better. And that's scientifically provable!

The read-through highlighted a few odds and ends that needed to be cleared up, mostly typos but one weird glitch that meant that when I converted footnotes to endnotes for the Kindle edition it mysteriously added a blank note. Fixed now, but I still don't know why it happened. Everything was uploaded on Wednesday and Amazon takes up to 72 hours to publish.

Of course, the moment I hit the "publish" button, I became aware of a typo, a Spanish word that I had managed to misspell. Unfortunately, you can't do anything about it until the book goes live, so I've had to re-upload the text. All very time consuming.

Good things come to those who wait, and I'm now looking forward to getting my hands on some finished copies of the book and getting them into the hands of reviewers. I also need  to sort out a page for the Bear Alley Books site, post various links and start promoting the book wherever I can. Spread the word to your friends! And don't forget to mention: it's 16% better than the first edition. You can't argue with maths!

While I'm expecting most sales will be done through Amazon, I'll only be able to supply signed copies from here, so if you think that's something you would like, drop me a line at the usual address (the one just below the photo, top left) and I'll get one sent, post haste, once I have copies in stock.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Invasion Colchester 2023

This year's Invasion Colchester cosplay for charity event took place on Saturday and I, for once, wasn't there as I was proofing my Trials of Hank Janson book while everyone was out enjoying themselves. But Mel stepped up to the (photographic) plate and snapped a few pictures for me to share. Not sure what she got up to, but it seemed to involve the police if the picture below is anything to go by...



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