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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Monday, 27 September 2021

Confessions at 0200hrs (BST)


 Here is the first confession. Herbert Kirby never existed and the origin of the Phantom Detective is fake. 

Terry Hooper-Scharf is a pen name I have used for many years. My real name is Frank Barrel and I am a descendent of Gerald Swan the late comics and pulp publisher.

Black Tower is not quite a solo business as two very well known comic creators are backers as well as adding creative input.

Yes, I do date a former glamour model (well known) who I met at a Virgin Media launch party 9 years ago.

I am officially the discoverer of the Mongoliam Mushscrapper (1976)

I worked officially unofficially with one of HM departments on UFOs from 1977-2015

Cinebook Ltd Newsletter 165 - September 2021

 

Dear Reader,

This month, we mark an amazing milestone in our history as publishers of fine European comics. This month, we bring you our 80th Lucky Luke title!

We are very, very proud of this accomplishment, as you can imagine, and we hope that we can continue offering many more adventures of the Lonesome Cowboy – as soon as they come out in French, that is, because we’re pretty much caught up on 75 years of back catalogue!

Also coming this month is the latest Buck Danny adventure and explosive conclusion to the ‘Antarctica virus’ story arc. With the usual parade of exquisitely well-drawn aircraft engaged in deadly combat, and some ground-based heroics too, for good measure.

Finally comes Volume 1 of a two-part story taking place during the First World War. Swan Song is a stirring, heart-wrenching, gorgeously illustrated tale of simple men caught in a deadly conflict. It’s beautiful, it’s painful, it’s funny … and the second part comes out next month, so you won’t have to wait long!

September with Cinebook: all your reading needs right here!



Buck Danny 13
Formosa & Zumbiehl
The Pact

Despite every effort on Lady X’s part, Buck and Sonny have survived, and with them the antigens needed to create a defence against the Antarctic virus – a failure that puts the mercenary woman in an extremely precarious position with her employers ... Read more


Lucky Luke 80
Morris & Guylouis
The Alibi

Lucky Luke is contacted by a rich individual with an unusual request: he wants to hire the Lonesome Cowboy to escort his stepdaughter Gisella on a trip across the Wild West. He wants her to see for himself the hard life of settlers and frontiersmen at least once before she settles into a comfortable married life ... Read more


Swan Song
Babouche & Dorison and Herzet
Part 1

1917. Nivelle – ‘the butcher’ – commands the French Army, and the attacks he keeps ordering are pointless slaughters. The soldiers can’t take it any more. Discontent is turning into rebellion, and a petition is being circulated in secret. When it makes its way to the men of Sergeant Sabiane, something snaps in them ... Read more


HSE
Human Stock Exchange 3

Lucky Luke
The Complete Collection 4

Lucky Luke
The Complete Collection 5


North-American readers, to locate a comic book shop near you that stocks or can order these titles and many more, us this handy Read more 

Or, if you're a retailer yourself, please go to: Read more

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Quick Update, news and reviews


 I am waiting for the print on demand company to actually tells its creators how badly they are going to hit them with price increases before I do the re-pricing. If I had known back in 2009 that print on demand was going to be this big a pain in the ass I would have never bothered.

In the meantime there are more reviews coming up this week so there will be more content -see, there could be more if the blog got reader support. In fact I'd probably turn CBO into a full time job. But fantasy is fantasy.

Why had I not covered the recent London Small Press event? Well, if you people who asked had READ my posting you would know that. unlike the United States where they are holding open events, the UK is not and the London event was a "virtual one". Yes, I did try to see who was doing what but there appeared to be no guide to the damn thing and I know Paul Ashley Brown took part but how...no idea. 

I have had links sent to me of small U.S. publishers stating that they cannot get blogs or sites to review their books or mention their projects. That is why CBO was set up. NO PDF books for review because that is a whole nest of nastyness I am never going near again. I'm on Face Book or leave a comment and I'll get back to you (post a link to your page so I can contact you).

That's it. Just waiting to hear how the Prof escaped the Hell hounds. ....and get dinner ready.



Mr Dilworth

Just to make sure that the  Wanyudo hasn't struck...How's it going?

Friday, 24 September 2021

The Story of the Phantom Detective

 




The Phantom Detective has appeared in a number of Black Tower publications -in recent years with Ben Dilworth writing and providing art as well as a cameo in The Green Skies. His actual back story is given in part in Black Tower Adventure volume 1 number 4 (1985) in the old Small Press days (I miss photocopiers!!)


A teller of ghostly stories as well as an active combatant against all supernatural evil, the fact that after his death -or rather at the point of death- he was offered the chanceto continue as a "Watcher" was dealt with in Return of the Gods in which he had a cameo.

If you are interested in checking out some of the publications he stars in here is a ...checklist!

All characters are (c)2018 Terry Hooper-Scharf/Black Tower Comics & Books  Art/story(c)2018 B.R. Dilworth




Paperback
A4
B&W
20  Pages
Price: £4.00 (excl. VAT)
Prints in 3-5 business days

Ben Dilworth returns with twelve illustrated text stories of horror and the ghostly introduced by none other than The Phantom Detective and guest starring Exndragon!

Illustrated short prose stories were part of old comics and why not enjoy a good read prose as much as a comic strip read?






THE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE
Ben R. Dilworth
black & White
A4
Paperback, 
36 Pages
Price: £6.00 (excl. VAT)
Murdering Ghouls. Satanic Masses. Demonic Possession. Werewolves. Poltergeists. Vampires. To many of the uninitiated these are just “things that go bump in the night” -TV or film fantasy. 

In the Victorian era, The Phantom Detective used his decades of occult study to help those in danger from these “things” and he paid the ultimate price…. ….
Yet he continues to help and to observe as best he can for now he is a true... 
PHANTOM DETECTIVE! 

From one of the UK's most under -rated comic creators, Ben R. Dilworth, comes new life breathed into and a new slant given to the adventures of the former mortal who has become one of the Watchers -forbidden to act even to save a life from supernatural forces.  Except "rules are there to be broken or at the very least stretched until you can see through them!"

The much anticipated collection from the co-creator of Peter Wisdom and artist of Mark Millar's The Shadowmen!



A4
B&W
14pp
Price: £3.50 (excl. VAT)
Prints in 3-5 business days

There are times you REALLY want to see the sight of a cab coming along the road. Then there are times that you REALLY do not want to see a cab...especially the Hellfire Cab and its passenger.

For the Phantom Detective it could all just be another supernatural scuffle before tea and scones.

Or it could be DEATH ?


The Green Skies....I Had This Cover

And before anyone says "You mean you had this covered!"  Nope. 

With each book I publish (and there are 180 of them) I go through at least 4-6 cover designs. The covers are, after all, the first thing potential buyers see. The original Return of the Gods: Twilight of  the Super Heroes cover collecting the original six part series from Black Tower Adventure was pretty basic with Jack Flash on the cover...


However, when expanded from 90+ pages to over 300 a new cover was needed. I did think of various designs and tried them -from battling super heroes and gods to a hero walking through rubble. In the end I decided to go a whole different way with a cover design that was in keeping with the story but kept what was inside a secret -no spoilers. 

Oddly enough this design was praised by reviewers so it just goes to show my modest genius at work (did you just laugh??!)


There was the same problem when it came to The Green Skies. Spo much goes on in the story that picking a scene and putting it on the cover would not work. I tried various designs and rejected many (I believe I had twenty different cover designs -some I later used as promo images).

This one of the Many-Eyed One manifesting itself I thought "Cool" then looked again. I then asked myself; "Is this amateur hour?" and it was thrown out.


I then thought that maybe a plain black cover with the stark text might work -as below. I thought dramatic and eye-catching but then I looked again and the thought "great t-shirt design" killed it! 😁


I then thought about the main menace being faced, its origins and a huge "eye" in space came to mind but these all turned out looking not very good but then I found an old astronomy photo on one of my discs and tampered about with the colour and it looked even more "eye-like" than before.  I was quite happy with it -which is not a good sign.


I then decided it had to go and my first thought was to make the cover look a little like the old pulp sci fi (yes, I wrote "sci fi" get over it) covers I used to go through at the legendary Bristol Book Centre in Gloucester Road, Bristol. That led to this...


As there were three parts to this final volume of the trilogy (a trilogy within a trilogy if you will because I love pushing those boundaries 😂😂) I thought volume I would have "London", volume II would be "Paris" and volume III would, of course, be "New York". I put all the covers together and got a warm fuzzy feeling. "Covers done" I said....oh dear. Two days later I looked them over again and the word "crap" was uttered.

Oddly, back in...1987 (?) Ben Dilworth once said: "You are going to produce a comic book masterpiece one day and say how good it is. Next day you'll say 'this is shit!'" Ahem. Well, I am not known as Terry "Edge Lord" Hooper-Scharf for nothing! (actually it cost me £25 to have someone call me that).

I thought about a plain cover with a figure -a character that has an important part in the story- on it. I could not get it to look good. A colour background with a figure? Nope. In fact, to just get the first cover involved 10 mock-ups of varying designs.

Jack Flash is seen in silhouette and the background is the end paper from an old Victorian book (inside of the back cover). I messed about with changing colour shades and contrast and a few alterations and....


I didn't even (consciously) realise that there were 'eyes' in the pattern so...SCORE!

For what Jack Flash was going through the background colour seemed to fit but then it came to the next cover featuring the Druid in silhouette.  I tried to use the same colour background but it did not work. It worked for Jack Flash but the Druid was a very hippy-trippy guy and...eccentric. 

I had various tie-tied patterns and none worked so I got outthe Spirograph...no matter what I tried it was not clicking but I then found an image on an old disc quite by accident. I have no idea where it came from but it looked okay but the colours did not work. So I played around with colour saturation and filters to the point that it became a different colour to the original altogether.

It worked. Breakdown cancelled.  And believe me, I was about to throw the whole new cover design out.


Background fot the third volume was being a pain and as it happens I had to read up on something pertaining to foxes and as I put a note in the back of the book I realised that the colour end paper looked...lovely. I scanned it then toyed about with colour and contrast then saturation and....Varik Dann (or is he? Best not to ask him) had his background.

Now, having gone through all of this (don't panic about wasted paper as the back of rejected art gets used for print outs or note taking) I was still going from foot to foot with "Does it look right?  Will it work? Can I trust my own covers?" At one point I thought "No!" and looked at other possible designs. Nothing worked because the battling super heroes covers just did not fit.

In the end I finished the book editing and took another long look at the covers and...decided to go with them. Why I put myself through this I have no idea 😅😅😅 but I do. 

From Return of the Gods to The Cross Earths Caper and finally The Green Skies the covers seem to have a natural progression. 

What started as "Invasion Earth 1987" has finally been completed in...2021. Around a thousand pages over five books and a nervous breakdown all the way! "The UKs First super hero epic!" someone wrote and I think that over simplifies the story which has so many twists and turns and not one written script anywhere -and all of the notes for "What will happen" were ignored and that flexibility allows the twists and turns and being Independent means I edit and decide what goes into each book and there are no constraints put on me by a publisher.

So, that's how I chose the covers.

The Invasion Earth Trilogy Store links.


Paperback, 
A4
Black & White
331 Pages