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31 July 2018

Comicon 72 - early Kev O'Neill artwork

I've just been working on a project looking at a whole heap of comic convention programmes, and I've spotted loads of great, and interesting art in there, I'll be highlighting some of this stuff over the next few weeks, first up is the earliest piece of Kev O'Neill art I've got (I think!)...

30 July 2018

Venture Books imprint - MIlls & Boon

Inspired by my earlier posting about Mills & Boon imprint Venture Books I've hurriedly trawled the net to see what other images can be found...

The horrific trail across England in search of a small glass phial containing blood - blood that had once flowed through the veins of the Lord of the Vampires.

A monstrous, dog-like creature is the evil doctor's creation in this new Frankenstein tale set against the bleak background of Cornwall's Bodmin moor. 

Violence and bloodshed were no strangers to McCool, which made him the sort of unorthodox agent the giant oil company needed to protect their rig from sabotage. 

Two of the books have proved too hard to track down and this is the best image I can get...

The plot for Adam is as follows
Death was a low price to pay for the capture of Adam when compared to the havoc and horror which followed the primitive monster's escape from his electrified cage.

The plot for Tiger Trap is as follows
The blood of humans and big cats mingle over of death as Jake Hiller tracks man-eating tigers in a desperate bid to save the species from extinction.

It comes from here and credits the Adam book as really being by (comics writer) Fred Baker; the Blood of Dracula book by (comics writer) Chris Lowder (a.k.a. Jack Adrian); the Frankenstein book as really by Peter Beresford Ellis; and Rig 59 as being written by Peter Christopher Watts. 

There's also reprints of at least 4 of these books in Italian - sorry for the poor image quality, they're taken from this interesting sounding website

29 July 2018

MACH 1 - volume 2 cover reveal

Amazon have (here) put up the cover for volume 2 of Rebellion's MACH1 reprints
Due ouf for release on 18 April next year, they say..
When terrorists, super-weapons and other-worldly forces plot destruction, the British Secret Service need John Probe – their number one super-agent. But when Probe begins to question the motives of his superiors and the ruthless logic of his cybernetic brain, he finds the service has dark secrets up its sleeve… including failed prototype, M.A.C.H. Zero!
The agency will find out what happens when they try to control Men Activated by Compu-Puncture Hyperpower!

Yours for £16.99

28 July 2018

Did you know Frank S Pepper wrote for Mills & Boon?

Frank S Pepper is remembered as the comics writer who gave us Roy of the Rovers, Captain Condor, Rockfist Rogan and many more besides (his Wikipedia entry is here).

What he's not remembered as is a Mills & Boon writer, but here is is...90 pages of story in the 'Venture books' line of horror / adventure titles. Published in 1977 and easy to acquire if you are happy to spend £15-£20. Harder to acquire if, like me, you think that's way too much.

Those 'Venture book' titles in full...
  • Tiger Trap by Patrick McDonald
  • Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne
  • Adam by Mike Baker
  • The blood of Dracula by Jack Hamilton Teed
  • Rig 59 by Matt Chisholm
  • Big deep by Frank S Pepper

I haven't actually read it - I'll let you know if it's any good 

27 July 2018

Carlos Ezquerra returns to Battle...sort of

Carlos Ezquerra returns (sort of) to his spiritual home, Battle, by proving the cover to Sniper: Elite Resistance #3

26 July 2018

Screm & Misty returns from the grave

Following the success of last year’s fright-filled outing, the Scream & Misty Special returns for 2018! Two of Britain’s best loved comics have reunited offering an anthology of brand new tales, guaranteed to terrify and entertain you this Halloween! Featuring more treats than tricks, including the further misdemeanours of Max the computer in The 13th Floor, ghoulish goings on with the undead WW1 pilot Black Max, zombie and vampire DNA combine to create a brand new horror sensation called Decomposition Jones plus a tomb full of other tales from the realms of the Mist.
In Shops: Oct 31, 2018

24 July 2018

Food for Thought comic - part 1

First printed in 1985 in response to the famine in Ethiopia, plenty of great art by key British creatives here, shown below is the front cover (by Alan Davis), rear cover (by Ian Gibson) and an interior page (by David Lloyd).  

23 July 2018

John Hicklenton art c/o Games Workshop

Here's some more obscure (by which I mean it's not recorded on his Wikipedia page) John Hicklenton art...

1). From Warhammer monthly #22 (September 1999)

2). Berserker of Khorne from Inferno #5 (undated, 1998)

22 July 2018

How much would you pay for Beano #1?

The Beano turns 80 next week and to "celebrate" well known comics dealers phil-comics have turned up a copy of Beano #1 is superb condition and bidding is now open on this item. 
Bids start at...drum roll please...£25,000

Click here to view it - I've only selected a few images. Good luck if you bid!

They say...

The Beano comic turns the ripe young age of 80 next week, on Monday 30th July and so we are delighted to offer what is quite possibly the best example of the first issue known to exist. The comic is fresh to the market having not been offered on open sale before. Bright, fresh cover colours, light page tanning, a strong spine and just slight wear (to include slight hairline tear) makes this a very attractive item indeed. The 28 pages are largely crisp and one has several very small tears to the right hand edge. Two other pages have a very few tiny closed tears. The right hand cover edge has a 1/3 and a ½ inch tear. Being completely original with no restoration, we grade it as FN+ but some might nudge it to FN/VFN.
A total of 442,963 copies of the first Beano comic were sold back in 1938 and, to date, around 30 of them have known to have survived, held in private collections. Only one example of the free gift Whoopee Mask is known.
The price of £25,000 reflects it being the most iconic and valuable British comic, in superb condition and offered in its 80th birthday week, two years after a VG example fetched £17,330 at auction.

The Beano comic needs very little introduction, certainly not in the world of comic collecting but also not amongst the general population. Many of its characters have stood the test of time and are household names – Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, The Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx, Billy Whizz - the list goes on. We read this week that some 27 million people alive today have been regular Beano readers – nearly half the UK population!
Generations of kids have devoured the fun factory that is the world’s longest running weekly comic, The Beano. You’ll find issue #3945 in the shops this week and the landmark #4000 will be reached sometime next year. 

Apart from a few years in wartime 1940s, when it came out fortnightly, the comic has been published every week since it appeared on the news stands on 26th July, with a cover date of 30th July 1938. It survived the Second World War and indeed boosted morale, with war propaganda messages. The Beano made the decision shortly after the war to have all their characters as kids, plus it became a pure comic, with no text stories, from the 1950s. This seems like a recipe for success - the early 1950s saw print runs of around two million copies a week and the same decade saw the appearance of several iconic characters that have lasted until today. The comic was so popular that throughout the 1950s and 1960s only two free gifts were issued – kids needed no extra incentive and, put simply, it just sold itself.

In its 80 years The Beano has had just seven different editors; George Moonie (1938-1959), Harry Cramond (1960-1984), Euan Kerr (1984-2006), Alan Digby (2006-2011), Michael Stirling (2011-2012), Craig Graham (2012-2016) and the current and first non-Scottish Editor, John Anderson. Many legendary comic artists have worked on the comic throughout its time and helped create unforgettable characters – Dudley Watkins, David Law, Leo Baxendale, Ken Reid, David Sutherland and Nigel Parkinson to name a few, plus a multitude of editorial staff, staff artists and behind the scenes workers.

Since 1940 the annual Beano Book has become as much a part of the festive season as the turkey and the Christmas pud. A Summer Special has been published each and every year since 1963 and the Dennis the Menace Fan Club had 1.25 million members at its peak, the most famous being Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill. In 1988 the comic entered the Guinness Book of Records when a 235 x 170 foot cover of Beano #2396 was reproduced on Scarborough Beach to become the world’s largest comic strip. Licensed merchandise is available from T-shirts, art prints, Doc Martens boots and even a Raleigh Chopper bicycle. A street in Dundee was renamed ‘Bash Street’ a few years ago and a bronze statue of Minnie the Minx stands in the city centre. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is called Mischief Makers and based around, you guessed it, The Beano – a perfect choice considering the comic has helped generations of kids to develop their reading.

The comic today is by no means at the dizzying heights of the 1950s print figures, but the climate is completely different and scores of British comic titles have come and, sadly, gone in those 80 years. The Beano has stood the test of time and, in 2017, 1.86 million copies of the comic were sold – no mean feat today where kids are immersed in a digital world.

Indeed, The Beano has embraced the digital climate. The website was created over a decade ago, the @BeanoOfficial Twitter account has over 12,000 followers, there’s a Beano smartphone app and Dennis the Menace has his own CGI animation TV series through the recently created Beano Studios.
All this may seem a world away from the humble beginnings of 1938 when Big Eggo, Lord Snooty and his pals, Hairy Dan, Big Fat Joe, Morgyn the Mighty and Tin-Can Tommy adorned the 28 page, primarily black and white comic gifted with a fabric toy mask. However, it’s fantastic to know that 80 years on The Beano is still going strong, published from the same imposing Victorian building in Albert Square, Dundee, by a creative team of people who have the same objective and desire as George Moonie and co – to create fun for kids. Long may it continue!

You’ll no doubt read many articles in the press in the coming week about this landmark occasion for the famous comic and we hope that this auction can contribute to the celebration of a true British icon and national treasure on its 80th birthday.

21 July 2018

original Billy Bunter art by CH Chapman up for sale

Over here on that ebay a seller (not me!) has listed 5 pen & ink drawings of 'the fat owl of the Remove' himself, Billy Bunter

These delightful set of images are described thus...

These pictures are from a small collection of Chapman's work given to me by my father who in turn was given the works by his father. My Grandfather said that he met Chapman and was gifted the images during a cycling holiday in the 60's. My father remembered being left with his big sister whilst my Grandfather went, with a friend, off on the occasional cycling holiday. He also remembers his father returning with the artwork and being fascinated by but forbidden to touch any of it.

Sadly, my grandfather died before committing the story of how he came by the images, to paper. A little research shows anecdotal evidence from Chapman's Grandson that Chapman readily gave his art workaway to whoever he thought might appreciate it and was a keen cyclist even into his 90’s!”

Charles Henry Chapman, from Wikipedia….

Charles Henry Chapman (1879–1972), who signed his work as C. H. Chapman, was a British illustrator and cartoonist best known for his work in boys' story papers such as The Magnet where the character Billy Bunter appeared. He later illustrated Bunter cartoon strips and several Bunter books published in the 1950s and 1960s.

Chapman was born in Thetford, Norfolk, on 1st April 1879, and attended Kendrick School in Reading, Berkshire, where he created and illustrated a school magazine, The Kendrick Comet. He studied art at the University of Reading, after which he was apprenticed to an architect.He had his first drawing published in the story paper The Captain in 1900, andover the next ten years drew for story papers and comics including Marvel,Pluck, the Boy's Friend, Boy's Herald, Boy's Leader, Illustrated Chips, ComicCuts, Jester, Big Budget, and Ally Sloper's Half Holiday.

From 1911 to 1940 he illustrated Charles Hamilton's Greyfriars School stories, featuring Billy Bunter, for The Magnet,also drawing the magazine's covers until 1926. When the comic Knockout launched in 1938 with a Billy Bunter comic strip, Chapman drew the early instalments before being replaced by Frank Minnitt. In the 1950s and '60s he illustrated Cassell's Billy Bunter's Own annuals.

Charles Henry Chapman mostly signed hiswork “C.H. Chapman” but occasionally signed the pen name “Yorick” or initialed his work “C.H.C”

The auction runs until 7pm on Wednesday

20 July 2018

2000ad artists to gig at Orbital comics

Forktail are gigging at Orbital comics in August...
I hadn't of them either but I see that they contain 2000ad artists Simon Davis, Frazer Irving and Boo Cook and that they'll be doing a signing in the afternoon (3-5pm) and then gigging at 8pm.

They have a facebook page here where you can find out more about how their macabre cinematic soundscapes redefine uneasy listening.  

19 July 2018

Athena - the story of a goddess - launch at Gosh announced

Gosh comics have announced a launch party for Isabel and Imogen Greenberg's Athena - the story of a goddess. The party is Thursday August 9th 7-9pm

As it says here ….
The sibling creative team of Imogen and Isabel Greenberg will be here on Thursday 9th August, 7-9pm, to celebrate the release of their new Bloomsbury children's book Athena: The Story of a Goddess!
Off the back of the success of their Discover... collaborations, touring through the ancient worlds of Egypt, Greece, and the Roman and Aztec Empires, the Greenberg sisters are going mythological, spotlighting the most powerful woman in the Greek pantheon: Athena, goddess of wisdom, war and courage!
The Adventures of Athena, from her extraordinary birth - sprung from the head of her father, in the midst of a thunderous headache - to her refusal to take no for an answer. Find out how she inspired powerful gods, goddesses and humans and the terrifying fate of those who dared to cross her path.
Prepare to be amazed as you uncover the story of one of the most fearless ancient goddesses, and the tales of a world where humans, gods and goddesses could meet. Illustrated and written by the brilliantly talented sister duo, Isabel and Imogen Greenberg, this is a story of daring for goddesses-in-the-making.
Imogen and Isabel will be here to toast the release of their book on Thursday 9th August, 7-9pm. If you can't make it but would like a signed copy, you can pre-order one here for mail order or in-store collection.

Window painting (at Gosh comics) by Isabel for Free Comic Book Day 2018

Book 'signed' by Isabel, at Gosh comics, for Free Comic Book Day 2018

Book 'signed' by Isabel, at Gosh comics, for Free Comic Book Day 2018

18 July 2018

cover revealed for 2 new reprints of classic British comics

The covers have now been revealed (thanks Amazon!) for 2 new books from the Treasury of British Comics line...

Interesting to see that the Wildcat logo has been played around with a bit and that John Sanders has been credited as the writer.

17 July 2018

First ever Dennis the Menace strip on display

For anyone making the trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum to see their (small) display of Beano related material there's a real treat in store, not only is there original artwork by David Law but there's the original artwork to the first ever Dennis the Menace strip...

Image 1

Image 1+2

 Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

all items are (c) DC Thomson