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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Famous 5 fun at Wisley

No, it;s not the name of one of those new-retro 'famous 5 go gluten-free' type books, this is a real thing happening throughout the Summer holidays at RHS Wisley gardens in Surrey.

Timed to co-incide with the 75th anniversary of the first Famous 5 book being published RHS Wisley are promising that from 22 July - 3 September, their summer activities have a Famous Five on a Garden Adventure theme - and we're all invited! Follow the self guided trail to crack the mystery of missing Uncle Quentin, sow cress for your egg sandwiches, watch amazing birds of prey in flight, and much more.

Free self-guided trail: Five go on a Garden Adventure The Kirrins are on holiday with Julian, Dick and Ann. Uncle Quentin has been called away by the secretive Ministry of Research on a rendezvous with a mysterious person at RHS Garden Wisley. He was expected back for tea, but there has been no word.....

Choose a character, pick up a free trail and set off around the garden to help crack the mystery, solving puzzles and gathering clues as you go!

Surely, this'll be the best book-themed kids activity near the A3 this summer?

There are plenty more details here

And then once you've got them all home you can introduce them to the wonders of Famous 5 comics - previously featured hereherehere and here

Friday, 21 July 2017

The latest issue of Eagle Times, the journal of the Eagle Society (dedicated to the memory of Britain's national strip cartoon weekly), has just been published.

The Summer 2017 issue (volume 30, part 2) has much of interest - as well as a very striking cover...

Highlights look set to include...

  • 'Life after Eagle' - a recollection of the merged Lion and Eagle from 1969 - 1970 - where 'Dan Dare' lived on for a while, albeit as repeats and in black-and-white 

  • 'Hulton's Boys and Girls Exhibition: 1959' - a look at the programme of the fourth Hulton's Boys and Girls Exhibition, held at London's Olympia in August 1959

  • 'Leo Baxendale (1930 - 2017)' - an obituary of the comic genius who created The Beano's 'Bash Street Kids' and so many other wonderful characters for D.C. Thompson and I.P.C. including 'Danny Dare' for Wham! 

  • 'The Shepherd King', part 2 of a three-part examination of Clifford Makins' and Frank Bellamy's strip about the biblical King David, comparing Eagle's strip with biblical accounts of David's life

  • 'The Road of Courage' - an appreciation and an ethnic criticism of Eagle's back-page story of Jesus as told by Marcus Morris and drawn by Frank Hampson 

  • 'Space Fiction Movies in Eagle’s Times', part 2: a look at films about space exploration and alien visitations to the earth, the bread-and-butter of the Eagle's Dan Dare's adventures between 1950 and 1969. This part covers 1954-1956, including Conquest of Space, and Forbidden Planet

  • 'PC 49’s Last Case', part 1 - beginning a new story, based on the characters originally created for the radio series by Alan Stranks 
  • Two Tributes: Martin Aitchison and Howard Corn 

  • 'Eagle Times - What’s Next?' As we near the completion of 30 years of Eagle Times, the editors seeks the views of members on the future of the Eagle Society's journal

  • Full details can be found here - including how to subscribe - currently the price for UK subscribers is £27 per year, for which you receive 4 (A4) magazines a year.

    Thursday, 20 July 2017

    Lee Sullivan's satirical take on the Transformers

    Here's Lee Sullivan's irreverent (heretical?) take on of "Spitting Image - the giant komic book" (which is filled full of strips by great names)

    Wednesday, 19 July 2017

    an introduction to Buddy comic

    Stood at a car boot sale on Sunday morning with a pile of comics in front of me wondering whether to buy them or not...that was me last Sunday...I'd vaguely heard of Buddy but didn't know much about it, I knew it was a DC Thomson title and my collecting interests are based around Hulton/Longacre/IPC/Fleetway titles - there's only so much room in the house, you've got to draw the line somewhere. I could see that the seller had 20ish issues for sale, I could see they weren't all consecutively numbered but I could see they went from issue 1-40. A quick google told me that the complete set of Buddy went well beyond issue 40 so this would only be a sample of the whole run, I wasn't on the verge of completing the set with my first purchase.

    Anyhow, thought I should have a quick flick through and see if I could be tempted to buy 'em...

    Cover's a bit bland, who's this lad? Buddy I guess. Very DC Thomson cover. Not inspired. Pop pistol long gone.

    Ooh, but hang on, turn the page and there's the Wolf of Kabul that I've heard about (I'm a cricket fan so any story involving cricket in some at will grab my attention) - and the artwork is by Mike Dorey, all those dirty, smudgy pictures that he does so well.

    I'm les interested in Andy Gray - although they must cover more interesting people from time to time.

    Turn the page from Andy Gray and blow me down but there's 4 pages of Denis Mcloughlin's fantastically detailed art,

    Jonah? Count me in some more, I love Jonah.

    Hmmm, Billy the Cat - never read it but  people enthuse about it, maybe I should give it a go.

    So my quick flick through encouraged me that there was more to Buddy than meets the eye, so I took the plunge and purchased the 22 issues for a fiver, why nor give buddy a try yourself?

    Tuesday, 18 July 2017

    Joseph Merrick #6 - coming soon

    It seems only the other day that Tom Ward & Luke Parker were sending out copies of 'Merrick the sensational elephantman #5', in fact it was only in May. But my copy is still sat in its wrapper as I've yet to read it, the shame, the shame!

    Anyway, they haven't been hanging around as Tom has just announced that the next issue (#6) has been completed and the printed copies should all be out by the end of July. Great news for all those who backed this great Kickstarter campaign.

    Here's the cover to issue 6...

    There are things to buy here - and you can even pre-order issue 6 - but be warned there is a limited print run of only 500 copies - and you can only order 2 issues, so don't delay.

    Monday, 17 July 2017

    What else can you do in Birkdale if you don't love golf?

    As it's the Open golf tournament this week, I wondered if there were comic-y things you could do if you were in the area and not interested in the golf, so the question is what else can you do in Birkdale if you don't love golf (but do love comics)?

    Plenty! The original Eagle magazine specifically as this part of the North-West is where the magazine has its genesis.

    Located in the middle of Southport there's the Atkinson (formerly known as the Atkinson Art Gallery) has, as part of its permanent display, a section on Dan Dare...
    photo: Dan Whitehead, from his review that he posted over on Down the Tubes (here

    Then there's The Bakery in the Churchtown suburb where the very first issues of Eagle were put together, in recent times (as Mike Burrows shows on his blog here) it's been in a pretty dilapidated state...

    ...but it's looking much happier now...

    And there's always St James church in Birkdale where Marcus Morris was the incumbent before he left to find fame and fortune as the editor of Eagle (and many other titles eventually)
    More details here on the church.

    Hope that's given you a few ideas for how to pass the time when you're not trudging around the course at Royal Birkdale this week.

    Sunday, 16 July 2017

    Tennis comics - sort of

    To round off this most tennis-y of weekends here are the most tennis themed covers I could find, both are Lucky Charm covers....this 30 issue reprint series is hard work to track down, certainly harder work than it's 'brother' paper Red Dagger. It's worth it though for an introcduction to girls comics and a snapshot of stories that are not likely to be reprinted any time soon. And the Ian Kennedy covers (like issue 12 below), did I mention the Ian Kennedy covers?

    I've got copies of both these volumes on my shelf but I lazily lifted these scans from the fantastic Girls comics of yesteryear website (here)

    Saturday, 15 July 2017

    Tank Girl on the beach

    Tank Girl writer and co-creator Alan C. Martin has announced that Friday 4th August (the day of his birthday) is the very day you should rush to Worthing beach!

    Over on the Tank Girl facebook page (here) he explains is thus...

    SIGNING! After last year's craziness, we'll be returning to Worthing Beach on Friday 4th August (my birthday) with our pop-up shop, crisps and cider! This time we'll be joined by the majestic artiste Warwick Johnson-Cadwell. We'll be happy to scribble obscene images and our illegible signatures on anything you bring along! we'll also be selling sets of our exclusive new mini-prints! Hope to see some of you there, Alan XXX

    You can also check out the Tank Girl shop here for all sorts of cool Tank Girl merchandise, including this rather eye-catching badge...

    Friday, 14 July 2017

    Ant Wars is back!

    Coming, from Rebellion, in February 2018 is one of my least favourite comic strips ever! Who demanded it? Who knows? Not me! I'm featuring this only because it was re-printed in new Eagle , so out of a misguided sense of loyalty to that here are the details, all courtesy of Broken Frontier (here), about the Ant Wars reprint coming next year...

    Inspired by cult B-movies like Them!, early 2000 AD serial Ant Wars will be collected by UK publisher Rebellion in early 2018, bringing the bug-based horror favourite to an entirely new audience of readers. Written by the prolific Gerry Finley-Day and illustrated by a number of artists associated with the early days of 2000 AD, Starlord and Tornado – Jośe Ferrer (Robo-Hunter), Lozano (M.A.C.H.1), Pena (Planet of the Damned) and Azpiri (Black Hawk) – Ant Wars plays on our primal fears of the insect world with an edgy underlying ecological twist.
    The story originally appeared in 2000 AD #71-85 way back in 1978 and has been reprinted a handful of times over the years, including in Eagle #217-231 (1986), the Quality reprint series Scavengers for the US market in the late ‘80s and 2000 AD Extreme Edition #4 in 2004. There was also an Ant Wars cameo appearance in 2000 AD’s Armoured Gideon serial in the mid-‘90s

    This compilation also includes Simon Spurrier (Godshaper, The Spire) and the legendary Judge Dredd artist Cam Kennedy’s related Zancudo tale from the Judge Dredd Megazine in 2005. Ant Wars is a perfect complementary package to Rebellion’s ongoing Treasury of British Comics volumes.

    RELEASE: FEB 2018
    PAGECOUNT: 112
    CREATORS: Gerry Finley-Day, Simon Spurrier, Jose Luis Ferrer, Alfonso Azpiri, Cam Kennedy
    When military personnel spray an untested insecticide on ants in the Brazilian rainforest, the colony mutate into super-intelligent creatures with a taste for human flesh! As the terrifying army head closer towards civilisation, Captain Villa and a young forest native race ahead in the vain attempt to warn a thoroughly unprepared world! Also includes Zancudo – bonus story by Si Spurrier and Cam Kennedy!

    For anyone collecting the Quality Comics reprints, note that a different numbering system was used for the US reprints compared to the UK reprints. So, issue 10 in the US is issue 22 in the UK; issue 11 in the US is issue 23 in the UK; and so on up until issue 14 in the US which is issue 26 and is the only issue to have the Ants on the front cover, thus...

    Ant Wars only appears in these 5 issues.

    Thursday, 13 July 2017

    Pat Mills - Be pure! to be published as actual book


    The Secret History is now available to buy from ...

    I've just ordered mine...

    Great news for all fans of Pat Mills and historians of British comics...the (currently e-book only) volume Be pure! Be vigilant! Behave! not only has a smashing new, Roy Lichtenstein inspired cover by Alex Ronald but the book will shortly be going on sale in paperback! 

    As Pat says"...This will just take another week or two for it to become available. I'm working on the rest of the cover design right now (spine, back cover), and our formatter is working on the book interior. Once complete (hopefully tomorrow) it gets uploaded to CreateSpace; they send us a proof copy, we okay it; and then it goes on sale."

    And a few more bits of Pat-based news:
    • Pat gave a talk at the Marxism Festival in London last Saturday: The Politics of 2000AD, which went down a storm. The talk was recorded and it should be available for replay soon.
    • He has just completed three days in the Spokenworld Studio, narrating Be Pure! for audiobook.  According to producer Neil Gardner, Pat is a natural! The audiobook version of Be Pure! will be on sale direct from Spokenworld Audio from the second week of August, followed by Amazon a month or two later.
    • In addition to the Marxism Festival and audiobook narration, Pat managed to squeeze in an interview with Afshin Rattansi, the host of RT's Going Underground show. Talking 2000AD and Be Pure!, the show will be broadcast on Saturday 22nd July

    Pat Mills, Lisa Mills and John Freeman at the 2000ad con in February 2017

    Wednesday, 12 July 2017

    MACH1 reprint volume - cover reveal

    Rebellion have revealed the covers for M.A.C.H. 1 - The John Probe Mission Files....

    It's due out in March 2018

    Starting out as a rather crude take-off (as many of those early 2000ad were) of the six million dollar man the series eventually became more interesting as John Probe well, probed, his back story to find out how he came to be the Man Activated by Compu Hyperpuncture that he was.

    Script is Pat Mills, art is By Enio.

    King Solomon's mines - lost Eagle magazine strip

    Over on Comic Art Fans (here) there's an opportunity to spend £5k on a comic strip that was never published.
    The strip? King Solomon's Mines
    The artist? Frank Bellamy
    The comic? It was going to appear in the original Eagle magazine

    Here's what the seller has to say
    Episode # 3, from a total of three unpublished strips completed by artist Frank Bellamy. Intended for EAGLE magazine, as a replacement strip for FRASER OF AFRICA, but aborted when the Editorial team decided not to go with two consecutive African-based series - and replaced by MONTGOMERY OF ALEMEIN. Image size of approximately 20" x 12", artwork in excellent bright condition on heavy CS10 illustration board.

    At one point the seller owned episodes 1-3 of this strip. The strip looks fantastic and I'm only sorry that there's only 3 episodes of this strip. The seller is the same one as yesterday's blog posting - selling the Modesty Blaise tryout art by Frank Hampson.

    Tuesday, 11 July 2017

    Modesty Blaise - the earliest ever drawing

    Over on Comic Art Fans (here) to be precise, the earlist known example of Modesty Blaise art is up for sale and what's better is that it's drawn by that maestro of comic art, Frank Hampson

    Here's what the seller has to say...

    In 1962 Beaverbrook newspapers asked Peter O'Donnell to suggest a new strip idea. He thought long and hard and came up with MODESTY BLAISE. Kennedy Aitken, who was Beaverbrook's Strip Cartoons Editor, suggested they should invite Frank Hampson (creator of DAN DARE) to interpret O'Donnell's script.

    Hampson accepted the offer, but took many weeks to return his strip, giving no reason for the delay. O'Donnell was dismayed at the eventual sequence of dailies, feeling Hampson had, "totally misunderstood the character" and suggested his former partner Jim Holdaway be given the strip to illustrate. O'Donnell and Holdaway had worked together very successfully on a previous newspaper strip, ROMEO BROWN.

    Of Hampson's tryout dailies, which pre-date Holdaway's published strip, eight have survived. I owned all eight at one time. This one tryout daily I kept was, to my mind, the best example - and the only one to exist as pure pencils. Of the remaining seven surviving examples, Hampson part-inked those (possibly used for practicing on in later years, as I firmly believe all of Hampson's tryout dailies were submitted for approval in pencil stage).

    This daily strip is the earliest MODESTY BLAISE to exist as it was originally illustrated and presented to Beaverbrook newspapers for consideration. I am making this rare gem available for sale for a limited time and am looking for offers at or above $5,000. Image size is about 18" x 5" and the artwork is in excellent condition.

    Monday, 10 July 2017

    Fisrt ever Commando collectors fair/swapmeet

    Saturday 16th September should be a date in the diary fro all Commando collectors as Andy Yates is holding the first ever collectors fair dedicated to all things Commando.

    Where is it being held? Stoke-on-Trent....easy access from the M6 at Junction 16

    Can you be a bit more precise? The venue is the Harriet Higgins Community Centre, Rotterdam Road, Poolfields, ST5 2PE Newcastle under Lyme.

    Time? 10am-2:30pm

    Is there a facebook group> Of course there is, just search for First UK Commando Collectors Swapmeet/Fair

    Andy has promised to bring along as he puts it I will be selling approximately 2000 doubles from my own collection of Commando, War, Battle, Air Ace, Warlord,V ictor...and other assorted DC THOMSON titles...but there will be bags of space for other people to have stalls- or just turn up have a brew and swop with each other! I will release other details as I think of them....PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH OTHER COLLECTORS.

    So go on, why don't you...

    Sunday, 9 July 2017

    Misty - volume 2 coming soon

    A cover for the 16th November (paperback, £14.99) release of the 2nd volume of Misty reprints has just emerged...
    Again, this is taken from the back of the Leopard from Lime Street volume that Rebellion have just issued. These stories weren't reprinted in the Best of Misty monthly (unlike, say, the 4 faces of Eve story from the first Misty reprint volume), so this volume represents the first chance for many of us to read these stories..

    The blurb on Amazon says....

    Following up our hit first volume of the ‘horror comic for girls’ with another collection of two stories: The Sentinels and End of The Line.  Misty was a revolutionary concept by 2000 AD’s creator Pat Mills in 1978 and left its mark on a whole generation of young women. The two identical tower blocks, known as  ‘The Sentinels’ to the locals, stand tall over the town of Birdwood – but only one is occupied while the other remains mysteriously empty. When Jan Richards’ family lose their home they decide to hide out in the abandoned block so they can stay together, only to be sent into a parallel world where the Nazis conquered Britain in 1940… In End of the Line, Ann’s father was one of a group of engineers believed to have been killed whilst working on an extension to the London Underground but when she and her mother are invited to the opening of the new train tunnel, Ann discovers a mysterious time portal through which several workers are being kept as slaves by an evil Victorian called Lord Vicary.

    Saturday, 8 July 2017

    Faceache - by Ken Reid

    Faceache - the first hundred scrounges (available to pre-order on Amazon here) now has a cover image...
    This is taken from the back of the newly published The Leopard from Lime Street and as you can see it promises Faceache strips from Jet (01/05/71 - 25/09/71) and Buster (02/10/71 - 10/03/73). Hardcover, £14.99 says Amazon. I love Ken Reid, I love Faceache, roll on the end of November (publication date is listed at 30/11/17 - not always met but what can you do?)

    Friday, 7 July 2017

    is an Oor Wullie annual worth this much?

    The very earliest Oor Wullie annuals are particularly scarce, especially in high grade but even I was surprised to see one on offer for £25,000! The condition is superb. It's currently listed on ebay here, but if that's too much for, the seller, incredibly, has another copy...

    ...listed here for half the price

    Still too much for you? Ok how about the seller's 3rd (!) copy of the annual, this is listed here for just £6,000

    A more worn version of the 2nd book is also for sale c/o the same seller, this volume (here) is yours for £4,500
    Comic Book Postal Auctions have sold publishers file copies of these 2 volumes before - in each case, the book sold for less than £5,000

    Happy bidding!

    Thursday, 6 July 2017

    Bunny vs. Monkey

    The insane battles between a bunny, a monkey and all sorts of other woodland cuties (albeit often armed to the teeth with ridiculous, eye-popping end of the world weaponry) continues in Jamie Smart's Bunny vs. Monkey book 4, which is now out.

    All previous volumes are available at the Phoenix comic webshop here where you can buy volumes 1-3 for £25 (here) - Bunny vs Monkey, it 's the most bonkers fun you can have in comics right now.

    Wednesday, 5 July 2017

    Judge Dredd partwork to be extended

    Rebellion have today announce that the Judge Dredd partwork that Hachette have been publishing for the last 2 years will be extended by another 10 issues.

    Full story is here and the link to the back issues for the series is here

    The series is available to order via your newsagent or larger comics shops.

    Covers below for some of the issues...

    Tuesday, 4 July 2017

    Spaceship Away part 42  now out
    The latest issue of Des Shaw's ace magazine related to all aspects of the original Dan Dare series has just been published. This issue has 8 pages of Tim Booth's Shakedown Cruise story, Andrew Darlington explores the complex and fascinating history of Jet-Ace Logan. Two new strips, Operation Pintos and The Golden Amazon begin, there are features on the history of early rockets, Ron Turner's Tit-Bits SF comics, a cutaway by Graham Bleathman and an amazing discovery by Jeremy Briggs. Intrigued? By the magazine now to find out more. 

    More details from their website here

    Rear cover art by Don Harley

    Individual issues cost £8.50; email; tel. 01793-642568