Saturday, November 04, 2023

Upcoming Releases

An occasional column of comic-related books and magazines that you might want to look out for...

CROK is the latest release from Justin Marriott, publisher of Paperback Fanatic and Battling Britons. This broadens out his coverage of comics beyond the war genre – CROK stands for Comics Rule, OK! – and its coverage mirrors Marriott's own experience of growing up reading Action!, 2000AD and Halls of Horror.

The first issue covers a broad range of subjects, from Lion's The Black Archer and Jet's Bala The Briton to the SF yarns in Judy and Bryan Talbot's art on Nemesis the Warlock. Written chiefly by Marriott and Jim O'Brien, the first issue dips into the work of Bill Ward (Judge Dredd), John Kent (Varoomshka), David Lloyd (his early fanzine career), Carlos Ezquerra (early horror stories) and Clifford Harper (Class War Comix).

A few of my favourite characters and subjects from this issue: Night Raven (I loved the text stories, and David Lloyd did a fantastic strip version; here both Dez Skinn and Steve Parkhouse contribute first hand knowledge), James Bacon's exploration of the Garth Ennis/John McCrea strip Troubled Souls, Marriott's look back at Kids Rule, OK and Jim O'Brien's take on Tammy's Slaves of War Orphan Farm.

It's an excellent debut, as you would expect from Justin,
Jim and James.

Comics Rule OK
Justin Marriott, 28 Oct 2023, 51pp, £5.99. Available via Amazon.

Comic Scene is back with its 2024 Yearbook, now published in A5 size with a spine rather than the A4 magazine of yesteryear.

Its a 100-page volume with an eclectic mix of contents, beginning with a tribute to the late Kevin O'Neill – could there be a better place to start? – and a round-up of highlights of 2023 (and so up-to-date that there's mention of the passing of Keith Giffen and Tony Husband). I won't list every article as there are over two dozen, but some highlights include Joan Ormrod's history of the early days of Wonder Woman, interviews with Aly Fell and Anna Morozova, a look back at Beau Peep, AXA, Bogie Man and Bunty, dips into Spirou, graphic novels for youngsters, classic British comics and Manga.

Comic Scene was always a supporter of the small press and there's plenty on offer in this volume. The book is rounded off by an extensive directory of creators working for both mainstream and small press. And Pat Mills returns with a 'Final Word' about his latest creation M17.

There's something here for everyone.

Comic Scene 2024 Yearbook
ComicScene ISBN 978-173968195-1, November 2023, 100pp, £9.99. Available via the ComicScene website.

The Chefs of Death is a recent Kickstarter project... indeed a Kickstarted project as it achieved its goal. Created by Alex Finch, the story will take you back to the photo-stories of early Eagle when it relaunched in 1982 with the likes of Doomlord, Sgt. Streetwise and Thunderbolt & Smokey.

Finch says of Doomlord, "it was the first time I'd ever read a comic which featured a violent anti-hero and a bleak view of humanity, and even at such a young age I fell in love with it, and apart from Tom Baker's Doctor Who nothing has influenced my passion for science fiction more. Ever since that age I've always wanted to create my own photo strip comic, and, well, it took longer than planned, but I got here in the end!"

And The Chefs of Death is the result. It stars Ian Lane, Chris Denton, Chloe Taylor, Ben Schenck, Louisa Gosse and Finch himself.

There's still time to support this project on Kickstarter and a number of stretch goals that could be reached if enough people back the project.

The Chefs of Death Issue 1 by Alex Finch & others.
Alex Finch, December 2023, 34pp, £4.

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