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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Death of a legend - Leo Baxendale dies

It is with great sadness that I re-run the text and images that I posted only a few days ago in tribute to the great Leo Baxendale who death has been announced. To bring so much pleasure, so much joy to some many people over so many years is a rare privilege but it is one that was afforded to Leo. For this, we are all in his debt. I shall be re-reading one of his books today in tribute. Thanks, Leo.

Every comic collector out there wants Leo Baxendale book on their shelves right? I certainly do and I've managed to acquire the following from second hand bookshops, charity shops and the like over the years (so, that's why I haven't posted a picture of Willy the Kid book 1).

I remember this from the Guardian but don't recall realising somehow that is was by Baxendale
 Willy the Kid book 2 - front cover
and rear cover

Book 3 - this has a dustjacket over a plain blue cover
and here's the back cover

What this was doing in a 2nd hand record shop in Croydon (about 20 years ago) I have no idea

Acquired in the socialist bookshop just by the British Museum for a very comradely price, I was very happy.
You can buy Leo Baxendale items from his website here

Down the Tubes added to my scans and limited text thus here

The art of Stranski - by Lorenzo Etherington

Who's Stranski? I hear you ask
Who's Lorenzo Etherington? I hear you ask

Ok, so he's not really called Lorenzo he's called Lawrence but he draws ace adventure comics - he often works with his brother (they're the Etherington brothers dont'cha know) - and their work has appeared in many places including The DFC comic and currently in the Phoenix comic where Lorenzo has illustrated Long Gone Don and Von Doogan.

He seems incredible prolific and he uses Kickstarter to fund some of his publishing ventures - he's produced a couple (!) of 600 pages books filled with his illustrations. He currently has a new Kickstarter running (here) for his latest project "Stranski" - see book scan above. It's got a week to go and is funded way in excess of his original target but I wanted to flag it up because it looks so cool and thought it might appeal.

In other news he's currently on a run of producing 4 covers for the Phoenix comic...

Last week's cover...
This week's cover..
More details about all things Etherington can be found here

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

DC Thomson - how times change - part 2

Following on from yesterday is the main body of the article noted, the pages are slightly bigger than A4 so (for my convenience) I've had to do double scans for most pages to get the final column in.

Monday, 24 April 2017

DC Thomson - how times change - part 1

As an inveterate collector of comics published by Hulton / Longacre / Fleetway / IPC I have only a few items in my collection that relate to titles published by DC Thomson, but I was aware of the antipathy that some have felt towards them as a publisher and so set out to collect a very few items that I thought were relevant to the history of British comics.
I duly acquired 'A very funny business' by Leo Baxendale
The DC Thomson fun book
and this issue of the Sunday Times magazine
Dated July 29th 1973 it shows (on the front cover) W. Harold Thomson and inside (over 5 pages) it recounts some of the history of the firm, but mainly the secrecy that surrounded DCT at the time and their antipathetic attitude towards the press - "...we never give any information about anything to anybody" is a quote from their spokesman.

As the magazine is harder to track down than the books I will share scans of the magazine (which I have just acquired). The magazine is lightly larger than A4 so the scans have had to be 'doubled up' for each page, so apologies for that.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Inking Woman @ the Cartoon Museum opens this week!

The Inking Woman
26 April‒23 July 2017

‘Why are there no women cartoonists?’ Well, actually, there are – lots of them. The Inking Woman showcases the work of 96 named British artists, and a few more anonymous ones, revealing a wealth of women’s wit and insight spanning 250 years. A wide-ranging selection includes prints from the 18th century, caricatures, joke, editorial and strip cartoons from magazines and newspapers, postcards, comics, zines, graphic novels and digital comics. The exhibition – the largest of its kind to date – demonstrates that women have always had a wicked sense of humour and a perceptive view of the world. Some of the cartoons will be familiar, but there are also forgotten gems from the past. We hope that it will be a voyage of discovery for the visitor.

For many years the world of cartoons and comics was seen as a male preserve. The reality is that women have been drawing and publishing cartoons for longer than most people realise. Mary Darly (fl. 1760–1781) made satirical prints and ran her own print shop with her husband, Matthew. In about 1762, she illustrated, wrote and published the first book on caricature drawing published in England, A Book of Caricaturas. In the nineteenth century, Britain’s first comic character, Ally Sloper, was developed by the actress and cartoonist Marie Duval (1847–1890?), who drew hundreds of humorous cartoons and comic strips for Judy magazine and other penny papers.

The early years of the twentieth century saw women taking the stage politically in their fight for the vote. The suffragettes used cartoons in their campaigns, and the exhibition features posters, postcards, newspaper cartoons and even a board game, which rejoiced in the name ‘Pank-a-squith’. The early 1900s was also the height of the postcard boom, with women such as Flora White and Agnes Richardson producing comic postcards, including light-hearted propaganda during the Great War.

From the 1920s, a few women cartoonists began to appear regularly in print. Artists such as Annie Fish, Victoria Davidson, Margaret Belsky and Antonia Yeoman were published in magazines such as Lilliput, Punch, Eve, the Daily Sketch and the Daily Herald. The practice at the time was for artists to sign with their surname, so most readers were unaware of the cartoonist’s gender. In 1920, Mary Tourtel created Rupert Bear for the Daily Express, and nearly a hundred years later he is still going strong. In recent years, women joke cartoonists such as Grizelda and Kathryn Lamb have become regular contributors to Private Eye, The Spectator, the New Statesmen and The Oldie.

From the 1960s, feminism inspired both professional and aspiring cartoonists to question the roles assigned to them and address subjects, such as patriarchy, equal rights, sexuality and child rearing, previously unseen in cartoons. Groups such as the Sourcream Collective broke new ground. With limited access to the mainstream press, feminist cartoons often appeared on postcards, T-shirts and mugs published by companies such as Leeds Postcards and Cath Tate Cards. Collections of cartoons by artists such as Fanny Tribble, Angela Martin, Jo Nesbitt and Cath Jackson were published by feminist publishers such as Virago, Sheba and The Women’s Press.

The most famous woman cartoonist to come out of the 1960s was Posy Simmonds, who began her career in 1969. The exhibition features a number of her Guardian strips, including a sample of her bestknown strip, which followed the lives of Wendy Weber, a former nurse, her polytechnic lecturer husband, George, and their family and friends. Posy would later go on to produce Gemma Bovery and Tamara Drewe, retellings of classic novels later republished as award-winning graphic novels.

Over the last thirty years, women have come increasingly to the fore in comics, zines and particularly graphic novels. Fanny, set up in the early 1990s by Carol Bennett and Cath Tate, published six topical comics and two anthologies, the first featuring exclusively the work of women artists. In 2009, the network Laydeez do Comics was formed by Sarah Lightman and Nicola Streeten. Open to everyone, but led by women, LdC aims to give a voice to women cartoonists and space to the domestic and the everyday.

The comics and graphic novels in the exhibition cover all genres and topics: history, politics, health, nature, fantasy and classic literature. Recent examples include stories about the refugee crisis – Threads by Kate Evans; mental health – On Sanity by Una; and the experience of dealing with ageing parents – Life, Death and Sandwiches by Teresa Robertson. There is even a kids’ horror comic – Karen Rubins’ The Shivers –Crybaby from The Phoenix.

Self-publishing of comics by women, in print and online, comic conventions and events and the use of social media have allowed more and more women, of all backgrounds, classes and races, to find their voices, tell their stories and attract a growing audience. The Inking Woman is a celebration of the
vibrancy and variety of women’s cartoon and comic expression in the UK.

For images or more information contact Anita O’Brien on
020 7631 0793 or 020 7580 8155 or email

Follow us on twitter #inkingwoman

Sponsored by Cath Tate Cards

Open: Tues – Sun, 10.30 – 17.30 Closed Monday.

Admission: £7, £5, £3, Free to Under-18s.

List of artists included in the exhibition:
Carol Adlam, Sally Artz, Ros Asquith, Mabel Lucie Attwell, Angela Bailey, Charlotte Bailey, Rachel Ball, Henny Beaumont, Margaret Belsky, Hannah Berry, Marie Brackenbury, Jess Bradley, Lucy C. Byatt, Kate Charlesworth, Gemma Corell, Mary Darly, Riana Duncan, Victoria Davidson, Caroline della Porta, Jean de Lemos, Wallis Eates, Hannah Eaton, Kate Evans, Annie Fish, Jacky Fleming, Karrie Fransman, Janis Goodman, Sophie Grillet, Grizelda, Katie Green, Isabel Greenberg, Ottilie Hainsworth, Merrily Harpur, Gill Hatcher, Rozi Hathaway, C. Headley Charlton, Rachel House, Laura Howell, Cath Jackson, Nicola Jennings, Lee Kennedy, Paula Knight, Kathryn Lamb, Nicola Lane, Annie Lawson, Simone Lia, Sarah Lightman, Maggie Ling, Sue McCartney-Snape, The Surreal McCoy, Liz Mackie, Cinders McLeod, Angela Martin, Jessica Martin, Ernestine Mills, Jo Nesbitt, Sofia Niazi, Danny Noble, Edie Op, Corrine Pearlman, Phyllis M Purser, Viv Quillin, Elizabeth Querstret, Agnes Richardson, Carolyn Risdale, Teresa Robertson, Christine Roche, Karen Rubins, Lesley Ruda, Alison Sampson, Fiona Scott, The Suffrage Atelier – several unknown artists, Posy Simmonds, Ginny Skinner, Zara Slattery, Erica Smith, Jackie Smith, Snowy Lake, Nicola Streeten, Carol Swain, Annie Tempest, Mary Tourtel, Fanny Tribble, Matilda Tristram, Myf Tristram, Una, Suzy Varty, Emma Vieceli, Judith Walker, Flora White, Bev Williams, Women’s Social and Political Union artist, Antonia Yeoman and Paula Youens.                        

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Havok - part the first

Ages ago I ran a series of postings about the Havok toy line and spin off comic that appeared in 2000ad - anyway, one of the issues of 2000ad that I was missing has now been acquired (for 50p!) so without further ado here are some ultra-violent adventures from the Havok universe, in fact as this is episode 1 it all starts here...

Creators involved are Robbie Morrison, Robert McCallum, David Millgate and Annie Parkhouse,

Previous postings can be found here...
prog 1022 - episode 2 - here
prog 1023 - episode 3 - here
prog 1025 - episode 4 - here
prog 1026 - episode 5 - currently missing
prog 1028 - episode 6 - currently missing
prog 1032 - episode 7 - here
prog 1036 - episode 8 - here

Friday, 21 April 2017

Leo Baxendale

Every comic collector out there wants Leo Baxendale book on their shelves right? I certainly do and I've managed to acquire the following from second hand bookshops, charity shops and the like over the years (so, that's why I haven't posted a picture of Willy the Kid book 1).

I remember this from the Guardian but don't recall realising somehow that is was by Baxendale
 Willy the Kid book 2 - front cover
and rear cover

Book 3 - this has a dustjacket over a plain blue cover
and here's the back cover

What this was doing in a 2nd hand record shop in Croydon (about 20 years ago) I have no idea

Acquired in the socialist bookshop just by the British Museum for a very comradely price, I was very happy.
You can buy Leo Baxendale items from his website here

Thursday, 20 April 2017

new Frank Hampson artwork discovered?

Browsing the Book Palace website last night, I came across this...

The link itself is here where you'll see it described thus "...This is gorgeous painting, probably used for a magazine illustration or advertisement in the late 1950s. Depicting a scene at a British port as travellers disembark from their cruise and have to face the close examination of British Customs control. It has been attributed to Frank Hampson as it very closely resembles his technique and style".

I'd go along with the Hampson attribution.
I'd go along with the magazine illustration or advert - although I wonder 2 things:
a). when would he have find the time to fit it in with his Dan Dare commitments (unless he did it when he wasn't working on the strip through ill-health)
b). is it actually a finished piece or (incredibly) 'just' a rough? The reason I say this is that only the 5 figures in the foreground of the picture look complete to me - the rest of the picture is just not quite finished to Hampson's usual high standard. The cranes in the background look particularly sketchy.

The final question then is what is it an advert for? Well, I'm assuming it's for the brand of booze that gramps has been caught trying to smuggle through Customs.
Two bottles then - I'm going to guess the one in the Customs officer's right hand is Courvoisier and in his left hand some Stolichnaya vodka.

Yours for £1250!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Striker volume 2 - updated with some story details

Is now available for pre-order and looks great...
The second book of the entire Striker collection is ready to order!

Entitled Thamesford to Warbury, it’s another quality heavyweight hardback of nearly 300 pages, featuring every Striker episode from the start of the colour strips in 1990 to the early Warbury adventures in 1994. As with the first book, there’s an introduction by Striker creator Pete Nash with his thoughts and memories from that particular period in Striker’s fascinating history.
There are two purchase options: £25 (including post & packing) for an unsigned copy or £30 for a signed copy

Books will be dispatched around the end of April 2017

Pete Nash has now released some story details...
The Trouble With Theresa (conclusion) – what will happen to Nick’s new wife?
Burn-out – Nick joins a sinister Italian club where success really is a matter of life and death.
Falling Star– Nick’s new rival has his finger on the self-destruct button.
Deadly Ambition – enter Rodney Crampton, Thamesford’s murderous new owner.
Micky Mulligan’s Comeback – a hard-man defender comes out of retirement but hides a secret from Nick.
The Boy From Ballygilpaddy – Nick comes up against the IRA in Northern Ireland.

More details here

As was the case with the first book, we will only be printing one edition and will be offering the books exclusively to Strikerworld members before advertising them in The Sun - so be sure to buy your copy now

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Monster wrestlers in my pocket - issues 1+2

I'm always keen to check out the more esoteric end of the British comics market - and sometimes that means delving into the world of the toy tie-in comic. So here we have not just Wrestlers in my pocket but Monster Wrestlers in my pocket. It's a whole new sub-set of a toy-line you'd probably forgotten about.
Anyway, here are the covers to the first 2 issues of this title (it only lasted 3 issues - so if you have a spare copy of issue 3 please let me know and I'll buy if off you!) - cover art is by Don Wazejewski ( who worked his way up from working in fanzines to illustrating strips in new Eagle and in Battle comic.

In both issues art is provided by Don and by Rob Sharp. Contents are adverts for other toys, 'character' profiles; some strip cartoons; games etc.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Achtung Commando! - issues 3+4

So here we go with issue 3 - best cover yet I reckon!
64 pages in this issue - contents are...
interview with George Low
Commando index - issues 61-90
Commando comics and me - Harry Warren
The writer's craft - a closer look at Harry Warren's Commandos
Ken Barr - the comic strips

Issue 4 then...
64 pages in this issue - mind you the size of the font has doubled (to something more readable!)
Published in May 2002
interview with Ian Kennedy
Ian Kennedy - the Air Ace years
Commando index - issues 91-100
Denis Mcloughlin - an appreciation
plus page after page of Ian Kennedy art - even I thought this issue was paying £15 for in 2002

It was (I discovered after buying up back issues on eBay many years later) - a great magazine this, the like of which I wish still existed today. All 4 issues are well worth seeking out by anybody with an interest in British comics.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Doctor Who - part 2

And here's my other Doctor Who item, this is a reprint of the 10th anniversary Radio Times special (can't recall quite when it was reprinted, late noughties). I collected it because of the Frank Hampson illustration for the 'How to build a Dalek' feature. Having last worked on Dan Dare in the late '50s, the 1970s represented a fallow period for Hampson. The magazine also features work by Frank Bellamy and by Peter Brookes (who went on to become a political cartoonist for The Times).

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Doctor Who - part 1

To celebrate the launch of the new series of Doctor Who this evening I thought I'd see what Who type stuff I've acquired over the years...right, I've had a look and the answer's not much...enough for one 'new' Who post today and a 'classic' Who post tomorrow.

First up then is Where's the doctor? a Where's Wally type of book but with the added bonus that the pictures are all by ace cartoonist Jamie Smart (whose work I mainly know from the DFC and the Phoenix comic but he's done loads of stuff (

Front cover
Rear cover
Who are we looking for
 How hard can it be to find them? Oh, I see...