Friday, July 12, 2024

Comic Cuts — 12 July 2024

I'm short of news this week as I've had my nose to the grindstone, trying to make sense of a number of mysteries surrounding Scion, the paperback and comic publisher active in 1948-54, during which time they produced 500 novels and over 100 comics.

This is my "between projects" project as I'm still waiting on the arrival of printed copies of HIGH SEAS AND HIGH ADVENTURES and news on my next planned book. I hadn't planned on writing about Scion (in fact, I'd had my eyes on a different publisher entirely), but... you know me... I'm easily distracted. I was simply poking around trying to find the familial connection between two of the company's directors and, before I knew it, I was writing up my notes and delving ever deeper into their history.

I had a broad outline of the company as I'd written about Scion a couple of times, for Golden Fun and for Paperback Parade in 1988 and 1992 respectively. I've learned an awful lot more in the past thirty years, so I'm trying to make this as definitive a history as possible, answering such questions as: why didn't the man in the cellar write enough books? and what was Jim Holdaway doing in those cellars? Which Scion author was an ex-jailbird? What was the company's connection with the London Mystery Magazine? Which editor ran off with his secretary to Canada?

These and many more questions will eventually be answered. I still have a lot of writing to do and I've got to get my hands on many more cover scans if I'm to do the book in a similar style to BEYOND THE VOID. I want to illustrate it as fully as possible, so I'm looking for books and magazines published by Scion, Milestone, Ken Publishing, Gannet Press, Teal Publications. Anything but science fiction as I think I have the great majority of those already as that was where I started collecting these old Fifties paperbacks, back when you could get hold of them at a reasonable price... indeed, back when you could get hold of them full stop.

I thought you might like a look at a trade advert that Scion published in 1951. Unfortunately it came from a bound book, so the two pages don't quite join up. (If they had, I would probably have kept the ad for the book!)

I'm off now to see if I can do some "back of a fag packet" maths and work out how much profit Scion made on Vargo Statten.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Rebellion Releases — 10 July 2024

Comics megastars Simon Bisley, Gail Simone and Kevin Eastman are headlining Rebellion’s panels at San Diego Comic Con this year – just part of its presence at the massive US comics show!

The publisher of the legendary 2000 AD returns to the greatest comics and culture show on Earth with high-profile guests, signings, panels, exclusive collections, freebies and more!

Celebrating 35 years since the debut of his groundbreaking, industry-changing work on Celtic-lore fantasy series Sláine: The Horned God, Simon Bisley will be Rebellion’s guest of honour at San Diego Comic Con, with exclusive signings.

And Bisley will join Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman for an unmissable panel as they discuss the swords, sorcery, and legacy of one of comics’ most rock’n’roll anthologies, 2000 AD!

To celebrate the release of her revival of the classic horror series for young women, the game-changing Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Red Sonja) will be signing copies of the brand new Misty anthology as well as joining Simon Bisley on the official 2000 AD panel, and heading up a panel focusing on the twin worlds of horror and romance comics!

Rebellion and 2000 AD will once again be at the heart of the San Diego show floor, with show-exclusive products, signings, free merch, free comics, and the best comics available anywhere.

This year’s show-exclusive edition is the complete Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley, and features a stunning brand new cover by artist Francesco Francavilla (The Black Beetle, Batman) in a hardcover collection from Garth Ennis (The Boys, Preacher) and Patrick Goddard (Battle Action, Judge Dredd) featuring 2000 AD’s legendary blue-skinned Genetic Infantryman, Rogue Trooper. This edition will be exclusively available at Booth #2121 at San Diego Comic Con and for 2000 AD subscribers to purchase direct through the 2000 AD webshop from 1 July.

The stunning 35th anniversary edition of Pat Mills and Simon Bisley's The Horned God will be available from the Rebellion booth in both over-sized paperback and breathtaking three-volume slipcase editions. This brand new, over-sized collection features art scanned from the original archive film and printed at a size closely matching Bisley’s original artwork – giving readers the opportunity to see the greatest Sláine epic in unparalleled detail.

There will also be limited copies of Misty, the classic horror series for young women revived in a brand new 48-page anthology, featuring megastar writer Gail Simone alongside Carola Borelli (The Deadliest Bouquet, Spider-Woman), Aly Fell (A Trick of the Light) and Marianna Ignazzi (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Letty Wilson (Owl People), with a spectacularly spooky cover from Eisner-winning artist Tula Lotay (Barnstormers)!

The booth will have free collectible tote bags featuring the Judge Dredd art of Robin Smith, free poster tubes sporting an iconic Judge Dredd cover by Brian Bolland, and free copies of Rebellion’s huge range of comic book titles.

Comics fans shouldn’t miss this year’s three incredible Rebellion panels, with times and dates to be announced:

Heavy Metal Comics With Simon Bisley & Kevin Eastman

  • Make some noise for comics’ rock ‘n’ roll superstars – Simon Bisley and Kevin Eastman – as they discuss the swords, sorcery, and legacy of one of comics history's most beloved, and most rock n roll, anthologies, 2000 AD.

Roxy and Misty: Horror and Romance Collide!

  • Horror! Romance! Gail Simone heads up a fantastic panel of creators and critics to explore the worlds of 2000 AD's incredible new genre anthologies Misty and Roxy: from reviving classic scares to kickstarting spicy stories of love and intrigue!

2000 AD: The Galaxy's Greatest Panel!

  • Comics superstars Simon Bisley and Gail Simone headline a panel of top talent to talk about the powerhouse of comics, 2000 AD, and its new and classic comics: from horror and romance to war and fantasy! Featuring exclusive announcements from across Rebellion's exciting comics range!

And to make sure that fans unable to attend don’t succumb to FOMO, the Rebellion webshop will also be celebrating San Diego Comic Con with exclusive Sláine: The Horned God T-shirts featuring Simon Bisley’s unmistakable art in fresh new designs, exclusively available online!

So stay tuned for dates and times for our fantastic schedule of panels and signings – with so much going on for San Diego Comic Con, it truly will be an unmissable and Thrill-powered year!

Rebellion/2000 AD will be at Booth #2121 in the main show hall at San Diego Comic Con from Previews Night on 24 July until close on Sunday 28 July.

And now, this week's release...

2000AD Prog 2390
Cover: Dave Kendall.

JUDGE DREDD // THE BAM-HUNTERS by Ken Niemand (w) Richard Elson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK // CONSUMED by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
ROGUE TROOPER // SOUTHER BELLE by Geoffrey D. Wessel (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Chris Blythe (c) Jim Campbell (l)
FUTURE SHOCKS // STATION MADNESS by Honor Vincent (w) Mike Walters (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SILVER // THE UNEARTHED by Mike Carroll (w) Joe Currie (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Friday, July 05, 2024

Comic Cuts — 5 July 2024

And the good news is... HIGH SEAS AND HIGH ADVENTURES is almost ready. I've had a second proof and it looks good. Now I need to order up some copies so I have them for publication day, which I've set as Monday 29th July. I've had some delays with delivery, so I'm trying to make sure that the release date can actually be met. That said, if the books come in earlier, I'll send 'em out to anyone who has pre-ordered.

I've set up a page for the book, so you can find some more details here at the HIGH SEAS AND HIGH ADVENTURES order page. I can only sort out my Ebay and Amazon shops once the book is in hand and I will work out the price once I can figure out how much Ebay and Amazon are going to sting me for in fees.

With that one in the can, I have been able to concentrate on another book... which is almost done. I'm just waiting on permission from the copyright holder to launch it, so hopefully there will be some news on that front next week.

In the meantime I have been working on my "between projects" essay. I try to write something for myself between jobs and this time I've chosen to tackle another paperback company, Scion Ltd. I'm turning up all sorts of interesting information that I'll eventually put together into a book in the style of the recent Badger Books' book, BEYOND THE VOID.

It may be a while before it appears as I have my eyes on another project that I want to work on before I tackle another book on paperbacks. Maybe I can work on them in parallel as one is a comic strip reprint and I'll want to have some breaks between cleaning-up artwork.

There's also orders to deal with — I've just had my first order for HIGH SEAS AND HIGH ADVENTURES come through.

All these comic strips and books... and all you want to know about is the garden. Well, gardening fans, I'm pleased / amazed to say that there's now a reasonable grass coverage of far end of the back garden, as you can see from the photos below.

When you look a little closer, it is a little patchy, but I want to let the new grass establish itself before I attack any gaps and put down some more seed.

So while I was waiting for the grass to grow in the back garden, I took the opportunity to attack the front garden, which had the same problems with rampant weeds and ivy, and wildly overhanging trees. In order to do something about the weeds in the grass, I'm mowing every couple of weeks, but I had left a patch that needed to be dug out and reseeded.

I've now done the top (the grass is on quite a slope down from the road) and recovered an area between four and five feet deep and fourteen feet wide, so something like sixty square feet. The grass seed is in and I have been watering it regularly when the rain hasn't been doing the job for me, and some grass shoots are just starting to show through. My next job is to cut back the trees to the right of the picture and see what lies beneath.

Thursday, July 04, 2024

Commando 5763-5766

There's war comic action across the globe in Commando this week, with zeppelins in World War I, a cursed trio, race to Dunkirk in World War II, and a foray into the Napoleonic War! On sale from today, Thursday 4th July, 2024!

5763: Zeppelin Raid

In 1915, Germany took The Great War to the British people when mammoth zeppelins rained bombs, fire, and destruction on Great Yarmouth. Seeing the devastation of his hometown, Royal Navy Lieutenant Billy Cavendish couldn’t be stopped from joining the Royal Navy Air Service as a fighter pilot to take down the Kaiser’s deadly airships once and for all!

Our first story is set during World War I, when the Germans brought the war to British shores via their ferocious zeppelin bombing raids. With story by Rossa McPhillips and artwork by Guille Galote!

Story: Rossa McPhillips
Art: Guille Galote
Cover: Guille Galote

5764: Date with Destiny

An old woman looked into the palms of three men — an Englishman, a German and a Frenchman — and foretold what strange and fearful fates lay in store for them. She was probably dead by the time the Second World War engulfed Europe in flames but not one of the three ever forgot their prophecies. They were caught up in the savage fighting — one in the RAF, one in the Wehrmacht, one in the Maquis — and as events moved on it became clearer and clearer to all three that they were powerless to avoid their… Date with Destiny!

Issue 5764 features everything that makes a good Commando comic — a fate being read, that fate coming true, and the work of Gentry, Lucas and Sanfeliz! It is your destiny to read it!

Story: Gentry
Art: LC Lucas
Cover: Sanfeliz
First Published 1971 as Issue 574

5765: Ice-Cold Alex

Corporal Alex Fraser had ice water in his veins. If you touched his heart, you’d freeze stone-cold dead. He was as cold as the Arctic when he walked into a billet in France, balled up his fist, and knocked the block off a British officer. But Ice-Cold Alex had his reasons… and no military policeman was going to stand in his way.

Here comes a corker of a Commando by Ferg Handley. Bitter and jaded by his experience in the war, the last thing Alex Fraser wanted was to be brought in by the MPs for striking an officer — but things weren’t as they seemed as they were forced to retreat to Dunkirk!

Story: Ferg Handley
Art: Paolo Ongaro
Cover: Marco Bianchini

5766: Men of War

For over a century, the old naval cutlass had hung in the hall of the French chateau along with many other relics of past wars. But this weapon was different from the rest — it was British, made of British steel, only ever wielded in wartime by British hands. How it had come to be in France was a strange tale...
But even stranger were the events yet to befall it, as the Second World War erupted across Europe and once again British shores were threatened.

CG Walker always delights with an intricately woven story that takes us from ancient war to World War II, with the tales of two family being inexplicably linked! With excellent artwork from Carmona and Jeff Bevan!

Story: CG Walker
Art: Carmona
Cover: Jeff Bevan
First Published 1982 as Issue 1605

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Rebellion Releases — 3 July 2024

Rok On! – John Wagner & Dan Cornwell's creator-owned strip coming soon to Judge Dredd Megazine!

Major news has hit the world of football today, with the announcement that highly sought-after free agent Rok of the Reds has been dramatically signed by Judge Dredd Megazine for a run in their 2024/25 Season!

The creator-owned series from legendary writers John Wagner (Judge Dredd), Alan Grant (Batman), and breakout artist Dan Cornwell (Rogue Trooper), Rok of the Reds is a hilarious and chaotic blend of sci-fi and sports that puts the shooting back into the penalty shoot-out!

The first explosive season will launch in the Judge Dredd Megazine later this year – to be followed by the second, and then a much-anticipated brand new third season by Wagner and Cornwell!

Speaking on the surprise signing, co-creator John Wagner said: “Rok fans kept asking for a third series of our alien footie saga, but keen as Dan and I were to do it we couldn’t see a way to make it happen. So when Rebellion stepped in and agreed to run it in the Judge Dredd Megazine we went from ’sick as parrots’ to ‘over the moon’ quicker than you could say ‘Fergie time’!

“We’re more than pleased, too, that books one and two will be reprinted first, helping to bring the story to a wider audience. As regular readers will tell you, you don’t have to love football to enjoy Rok of the Reds.

“As for book three – provisionally titled ‘Rok the World’ – in our alien hero’s hands may lie the fate of the human race…not to mention the more weighty matter of promotion for the Radford Reds!”

2000 AD's intergalactic ‘Manager’ Tharg the Mighty said: “With a proven track record, Rok of the Reds is a zarjaz addition to our back line, and will add even more depth of play to the already stacked roster we have in the Meg”

Originally published in two volumes, Rok of the Reds is a black comedy about revenge, redemption, and relegation. It follows Rok of Arkadi, an alien who seeks refuge on Earth after his homeworld is destroyed by bounty hunters. However, his attempts to hide under the radar are complicated when he has a chance meeting with arrogant young footballer Kyle Dixon, a bad boy who has been causing problems for his struggling team.

Assuming Kyle’s identity, Rok finds himself thrust unexpectedly into the spotlight: not only does he have to keep himself safe from ruthless alien bounty hunters – but he’s got games to win! Rok is going to have to learn to love the beautiful game if he’s going to keep his cover intact, or he’ll risk being captured by his enemies… or worse, relegated!

The first two Rok of the Reds stories will begin to be republished in Judge Dredd Megazine towards the end of 2024 – and will be followed by an all-new run from Wagner and Cornwell in 2025!

And now, this week's releases...

2000AD Prog 2389
Cover: Toby Willsmer.

JUDGE DREDD // THE BAM-HUNTERS by Ken Niemand (w) Richard Elson (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BRINK // CONSUMED by Dan Abnett (w) INJ Culbard (a) Simon Bowland (l)
ROGUE TROOPER // SOUTHER BELLE by Geoffrey D. Wessel (w) Dan Cornwell (a) Chris Blythe (c) Jim Campbell (l)
PROTEUS VEX // DEVIOUS by Mike Carroll (w) Jake Lynch (a) Jim Boswell (c) Simon Bowland (l)

2000AD Sci-Fi Special 2024
Cover: Mike Perkins.

JUDGE ALPHA // PORTRAIT OF A MUTANT by Karl Stock (w) Ben Willsher (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
ROBO-SHARKS by Dan Abnett (w) Anthony Williams (a) Jim Campbell (l)
ROGUE/DOG by James Peaty (w) Nicolo Assirelli (a) Jack Davies (c) Simon Bowland (l)
STICKLEBACK // SECRET HISTORIES by Ian Edginton (w) Paul McCaffrey (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
HARLEM ZOMBOS by Al Ewing (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l)

Monster Fun #21 – Beastly Books!
Cover: Matt Baxter.

GUMS by Stacey Whittle (w) Brett Parson (a & l)
KID KONG by Alec Worley (w) Karl Dixon (a & l)
SALLY ASTRO by Roger Langridge
THE FRIGHT-SHIFT by Matt Baxter (w) Andrea Butzbach (a) Leila Jess (l)
CAPTAIN ZOM by Ned Hartley (w) Wayne Thompson (a) Anna Nass (l)
SIR RENDER by Pete Wells (w) Stephen Webster (a & l) Barbara Nosenzo (c)
MARTHA'S MONSTER MAKE-UP by Dave Bulmer (w & l) Abigail Bulmer (a)
WITCH VS WARLOCK by Derek Fridolfs (w) Rebecca Morse (a) Ozwaldo Sanchez (l)
REX POWER by Ramzee (w) Claude TC (a) Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (l)
UNISCORN by Stacey Whittle (w) Jose Ruiz (a) SqakeZz (l)

Rogue Trooper: Blighty Valley by Garth Ennis (w) & Patrick Goddard (a)
Rebellion ISBN 978-183786195-8, 2 July 2024, 96pp, £18.99. Available via Amazon.

Together with the bio-chipped “ghosts” of his dead comrades, Rogue walks the wasted lands of Nu-Earth in search of their killer, determined to see justice done.

But a war world on the edge of an unstable black hole holds terrors beyond the bounds of sanity, and now the last GI finds himself wrenched away from his bloody quest. Hurled across reality to another world - another war - Rogue is marooned in an ancient conflict no less terrible than his own. With no way home and unknown dangers at every turn, the lone warrior must do what he was bred to do: and fight like hell for his very survival.

Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) and Patrick Goddard (Judge Dredd, Aquila) present a brand new tale featuring the classic 2000 AD character, blending sci-fi action and historical adventure in unforgettable, action-packed drama.


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