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15 November 2018

Crisis magazine - spin-off titles to collect - part 4

Crisis also published three one-off titles as the drive to introduce European comics to a British audience increased...

Cover by Brian Bolland…

Cover by the slightly racier Milo Manara

14 November 2018

Albion comic series 2005/6 collectors guide

I've only recently discovered that there was an 'ashcan edition' of the Albion comic series that came out in 2005/6...I'd love to get a copy but I guess they were issued in pretty low numbers back then so there aren't too many available now. Anyway here is what you're looking for (plus all the other Albion comics etc.)...

There was also an trade's the US version...

...and the UK version

13 November 2018

Sniper Elite Resistance 3 - sketch for Carlos Ezquerra's last work surfaces

Sniper Elite Resistance issue 3 is out now (of course) and features the original Rat Pack bunch of guys from Battle and is the last published work of Carlos Ezquerra...
...what has surfaced now on ebay (here) is the very early preliminary drawing to the cover, bidding opens at £10 and finishes in 9 days time, good luck with your bidding!

12 November 2018

Crisis magazine - spin-off titles to collect - part 3

A few more strips from Crisis that were given the trade paperback treatment...

Garth Ennis & John McCrea's Troubled Souls originally appeared in Crisis issues 15-20, 22-27 - so that's 12 issues in total

For a few troubles more appeared in Crisis issues 40-43, 45-46 - so 6 issues in total

True Faith appeared in Crisis issues 29-34 and 36-38 so that's 9 issues in total. Here's the UK reprint...

And here's the US reprint from Vertigo...
As Steve MacManus recounts in The Mighty One... 
"...To promote True Faith, Igor [Goldkin, publicist] sent the graphic novel to several religious groups as well as his normal group of press contacts. The NME reviewed the book as 'a brill kitchen-sink religious terrorism thriller', but others were not so taken by its tale of a disillusioned plumber who is radicalised by a group of church arsonists and embarks on a campaign of fiery retribution following the sudden death of his wife. Complaints were made and there were rumours that these had been brought to the attention of Robert Maxwell. true or not, the fact was that True Faith's 5,000 copies were suddenly recalled, withdrawn from sale after only two months"

11 November 2018

The long and complicated guide to collecting Charley's War

In honour of Remembrance Sunday here's a copy of my guide to collecting Charley's War (initially printed in the current issue of Comic Scene)...which is available here

The recent publication by the Treasury of British Comics imprint of their 3 volume collection of the first world war masterpiece Charley’s War got me thinking about what there is out there for fans of this amazing series to collect.

The first world war series (I’m glossing over the second world war series here) originally ran for 292 episodes in Battle from 6th Jan 1979 [issue 200] -26th Jan 1985 (that’s a total of 316 weeks so not many weeks missed) and charted the hellish story of world war one from the perspective, not of an officer and a gentleman, but rather from the viewpoint of an underage working class lad who joined up to ‘do his bit’ for King and country. The story is rightly regarded as both an anti-war classic and a high-water mark in British comics.

Let’s start with the most recent reprints and go backwards from there...

Treasury of British comics imprint (published 2018)

Charley’s War the definitive collection volume 1 – The Boy Soldier (available to buy here)

Charley’s War the definitive collection volume 2 – Brothers in arms (available to buy here)

Charley’s War the definitive collection volume 3 – Remembrance (available to buy here)

Note that for each of these volumes there is also a limited edition ‘bookplate’ edition (of 150 copies) which contains a bookplate signed by Pat Mills.

Before this Titan Books published a series of hardback volumes collating Charley’s adventures...

1. Charley’s War – volume 1 (published November 2004); episodes 1-29

2. Charley’s War – 1 August 2016 – 17 October 1916; volume 2 (October 2005); episodes 30-59

3. Charley’s War – 17 October 1916 – 21 February 1917; volume 3 (October 2006); episodes 60-83

4. Charley’s War – Blue’s story; volume 4 (October 2007); episodes 84-109

5. Charley’s War – Return to the front; volume 5 (October 2008); episodes 110-136

6. Charley’s War – Underground and over the top; volume 6 (October 2009); episodes 137-165

7. Charley’s War – The great mutiny; volume 7 (October 2010); episodes 166-194

8. Charley’s War – Hitler’s youth; volume 8 (October 2011); episodes 195-224

9. Charley’s War – Death from above; volume 9 (October 2012); episodes 225-259

10. Charley’s War – The end; volume 10 (October 2013); episodes 260-292

In addition two slipcased commemorative volumes (Charley’s War 1914-2014) were announced but never published.

And (in August 2014) one softback volume – A boy soldier in the great war – which reprinted episodes 1-86 of the series.

The Best of Battle (softback, Titan Books, October 2009) gives you nearly 300 pages of Battle strips including the first 4 episodes of Charley’s War.

Charley also had a run of reprints in the Judge Dredd Megazine, specifically

·         issue 211 (cover dated 21 October 2003) – issue 228 (cover dated 02 May 2006) reprinted episodes 1-76;

·         issues 234 (cover dated 26 July 2005) – 236 (cover dated 20 September 2005) reprinted episodes 77-88;

·         and then issues 238 (cover dated 15 November 2005) – 244 (cover dated 02 May 2006) reprinted episodes 89-109.

So, all in all that’s twenty-eight issues of the Megazine reprinting the first four volumes of material reprinted by Titan Books and I’d have to say the reproduction quality in the Megazine is better than in the Titan Books.

Meanwhile back over in Battle...After the World War One story had been completed (26/01/85) the story moved immediately (02/02/85) onto the World War Two story – this was completed on 04/10/86. Battle then moved into reprints of the World War One episodes and over the next 67 weeks (so up to 23/01/88) got the story up to episode 68. Week commencing 30/01/88 saw Battle merge with new Eagle and the reprints continued in new Eagle up until 21/01/90 –so a further 117 issues (episodes 69-84, 86-175, 178-184 & 272-275). After a break of about a year new Eagle then began reprinting Charley’s war AGAIN (from the issue dated 23/2/91 running all the way until the end of new Eagle, January 1994) – episodes 1-84 and 86-120 in total. So you may have noticed that episode 85 was not reprinted by new Eagle for a second time – this is an episode where you get a burning German falling from a zeppelin and Crimean war veteran Blind Bob run over by a lorry (and a zeppelin commander’s funeral is disrupted by a mob throwing eggs), and it was clearly deemed too much for new Eagle readers.

Before all these reprints there were the original 1980s reprints from Titan Books. The first of these slim volumes appeared in March 1983 and the cover shows a forlorn Charley looking at the graves he has dug for his fallen comrades. The first volume reprints the first 16 episodes of the saga. The second (and final) reprint volume wasn’t published until June 1986 but published a further 24 episodes in a volume with a particularly haunting cover. The cover for volume two was adapted from the opening frame of episode 25; whereas the cover for volume one seems more likely to have come from the harrowing start to episode 42 where Charley has literally scraped the remains of his best mate, Ginger, into a bag and is off to bury him.  

The final item that any Charley’s War collector should look out for is Lew Stringer’s (now rare and expensive) old fanzine, Fantasy Express, in particular issue 4 (Summer 1982) as this features the only interview Joe Colquhoun ever gave fandom. He also provides a Charley’s War cover. Fantasy Express is A5 sized and this issue is only 36 pages long (including covers) and the interview and associated features take up 13 pages in total (you also get an interview with Pat Mills and an interview with Kev O’Neill – it’s quite some issue). The wide ranging interview covers many facets of Joe’s life and career, but a couple of Charley moments stand out...

“...when I was first asked to take on Charley’s War after Johnny Red I said to the editor [Dave Hunt] “God Almighty, how are you going to make any subject matter out of such a static subject as trench warfare?” and he said “We’ve got a damn good author!”...” well Dave Hunt was certainly right about that.

Joe also remarks, with a large degree of under-statement, that “...I’ve tried very hard to bring out the realism in the trenches...that might lead to a certain amount of authenticity which is possibly lacking in the more blood and thunder, action-packed World War 2 stories [scripted, not by Pat Mills, but by M Scott Goodall].

So there you have it, the complete guide to Charley’s War reprints, here’s hoping that there’s something still for you to collect, and if not, long may you read about Charley Bourne.

And as a final treat here's Garen Ewing's depiction of Charley Bourne - this is taken from the British sketchbook volume 1 (edited by Darryl Cummingham) c.1996

10 November 2018

Warhammer monthly - cover art - Simon Davis (part 2)

Final 4 covers by Simon Davis from Warhammer monthly...

Issue 40 (March 2001) - Ulli & Marquand

Issue 55 (May 2002) - Malus Darkblade

Issue 59 (September 2002) - Kal Jerico

Issue 65 (February 2003) - Catachans

9 November 2018

Warhammer monthly - cover art - Simon Davis (part 1)

Warhammer Monthly ran from February 1998 (issue #0) to October 2004 (issue #86) with, in fact, a total of 90 different issues along the way (but that's an article for a different day). Quite a number of artists contributed to the title over those 90 issues, and I hope to highlight examples of their work starting with an artist who I'm much more familiar with from their work on 2000ad...Simon Davis

Issue 3 (May 1998) - The Summoning

Issue 19 (August 1999) - Malus Darkblade

Issue 31 (June 2000) Ulli & Marquand

Issue 34 (September 2000) - Titan

For more details on Simon's published work check out his Wikipedia page here 

8 November 2018

Crisis magazine - spin-off titles to collect - part 2

The lead story in Crisis was Third World War (by Pat Mills and Carlos Ezquerra). Carlos was the main artist but others who worked on the strip included D'Isreali, Sean Phillips, Duncan Fegredo, Angie Kincaid, Steve Pugh, John Hicklenton and Richard Piers Rayner.

The strip was collated in this 6-part reprint series... 

7 November 2018

Guy Adams & Jimmy Broxton - Hope for the the future signing

Gosh comics have announced a signing of Hope for the future featuring Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton
As they say themselves here Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton will be here signing the first collection of Hope, from the pages of 2000AD, on Saturday the 17th November, 1-2pm!

Hope…For the Future is the first collection of an exciting new addition to the pages of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. Adams has conceptualised a bold vision of an alternative 1940’s LA, and Broxton’s beautiful black and white art really sells the supernatural noir, dripping with Toth influence.

In an alternate post-war 1940s Los Angeles, where dark magic is a fact of life, Mallory Hope is a private detective haunted by his past... and by the occult forces he uses. When a new case involving a missing boy reminds him of his own lost child, Hope is determined to find him. He soon discovers all is not what it seems and dark powers lurk behind the lights of Hollywood. A stylish new supernatural detective noir mixing magic and the movies!

6 November 2018

Book Palace book plan a bumper 2019

ok so actual details are thin on the ground but on the 'books in development' section of the Book Palace website (here) they have all these gems lined up for 2019 - fingers crossed! 

 Front cover (above), back cover (below)

Artruo del Castillo's collected Larrigan

Ferdinando Tacconi's Air Ace stories

The Jet Ace Logan collection

5 November 2018

2019 comic calendars - which will you choose?

As 2018 starts to draw to a close here's a selection of comic calendars that could be adorning your wall in 2019...

The Commando calendar is available here

The Broons calendar is available here

The Oor Wullie calendar is available here

The Beano calendar is available here

A classic Roy of the Rovers calendar is available here

4 November 2018

A Gilbert Shelton signing is announced

Gosh comics have announced here a rare opportunity to meet legendary underground comics creator, Gilbert Shelton.
As they themselves say..
We are honoured to once again have the legendary Gilbert Shelton, creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Wonder Warthog, here to sign on Saturday the 24th November from 1-2pm!

One of the most iconic creators of the underground comics scene of the 1960’s, Shelton has been actively creating ever since, with new material appearing as recently as last year in his 50th anniversary celebration special Fifty Freakin' Years with the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Few creators of the San Francisco underground movement could claim the cultural cachet that Shelton has, in particular the Freak Brothers looming large over an entire counter-culture as The Hilarious Stoner Comic That I Used To Have But Somebody Stole From Me (now conveniently available in a bumper omnibus edition!)
Gilbert will be here from 1-2pm on Saturday the 24th November. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet one of the greats (and we can confirm a total sweetheart). If for some unfortunate reason you can’t make it, then you can pre-order a signed copy of the Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus, Fat Freddy’s Cat Omnibus, Fifty Freakin' Years with the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers or The Best of Wonder Warthog from our webstore for collection or mail order.