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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Titan Books: The Dark Knight Rises (Novelisation)



The Dark Knight Rises

Novelisation by Greg Cox
Titan Books

ISBN: 9781781161067
Dimensions: 175 x 106 mm
Mass market paperback: 416pp
Publication date: 24 July 2012
£7.99

Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman return in the thrilling and hotly anticipated conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
The blockbuster movie will introduce new faces to the franchise as well, including Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), Bane (Tom Hardy), John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard).

From the team that brought you Inception, The Dark Knight Rises is guaranteed to be the blockbuster hit of 2012. This enthralling official novelization will transport fans into a Gotham City once again under threat.

That is all Titan tells us on its web site. I’m guessing everything else would be a spoiler.  It’s a nice compact book, from what I read it seems okay though I must point out that 416 pages novels is not something I can really afford the time to read –I’m busy working and publishing myself.

And, not a major fan of Batman movies since they kicked out Michael Keaton (who by now would be perfect to play the aging Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns!) I’m not going to see this movie and I’ll not spoil it by telling you what I’ve read!

But the book is there and it is only £7.99.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Accent UK: 2OMBIES



2ombies
Accent UK
Black & white/grey tone
16.5 x 24.5 cms
228 pages
£10.00
Available via the Accent UK site: http://www.accentukcomics.com/2ombies.html

Firstly, let me say that as a reviewer I find it very ***** annoying when I get a bulky book that has no page numbering.  I have far too much work to go counting every page and this has been a problem over 30 years based on my experience. You get a book from France or Germany -or even Titan books in the UK and you get page count, book size and a little background info. Apart from contributors the Accent UK site has no information.

Contributors are:

Cover art Garry Brown.
Recorded Delivery. Story by Kalle Shanahan. Art by Charles D Chenet and inks by Yifeng Jiang (12 pages).
Dead Harvest Story by Lee Robson. Art by Valia Kapadai (6 pages).
Bits A Hugo story, Story by Jason Cobley, Art by Paul HarrisonDavies (5 pages).
First Report Story and Art by Douglas Noble (1 page).
After Petroleum Story by Margaret Killjoy  Art by Fanny M Bystedt (6 pages).
Hell’s Nazis Part 1. Story by John Halfpenny. Art by Gary Crutchley (5 pages).
Preparing For The War. Part One The Castle. Story and Art by Dave West (1 page).
The Promised Story by Jim Mortimore. Art by Tim Keable (6 pages).
Insides Story and Art by Patrik Lindberg (6 pages).
Mother’s Love Story by Steve Tanner. Art by Alex Thompson (4 pages).
Resurrection Shop Story by Craig Gilmore. Art by Simon Wyatt (8 pages)
The Dealer. Story by Nigel Tuttle. Art by Bo Ashi (9 pages).
iZombie Story by Paul L Mathews , Art by David Golding (1 page).
�The Ringmaster’s Trick� Story Stephen Lowe. Art Marleen Lowe (4 pages).
Look Ma New Hands Story Cally Cason. Art Jay RainfordNash  (7 pages)
ZOMBIE Shorts Story by Tom Wilson (1 page)
The Long Haul Story by Ollie Masters. Art by Nathalie Nilsson (6 pages)
The Manchester Derby. Story by Dino Caruso, Art by Wesley Bernick (4 pages)
The Price Of A Kiss Story Max Deacon. Art by Adam Gross  (6 pages)
Hell’s Nazis Part 2. Story by John Halfpenny. Art by Gary Crutchley (5 pages).
Preparing For The War. Part Two Holidays. Story and Art by Dave West (1 page).
The Things We Leave Behind Story Mark Douglas. Art by Peter Mason (7 pages)
ZOMBIE Shorts Story by Tom Wilson (1 page).
Deadbeats Story by David Hailwood. Art by Neil Alexander (4 pages)
Retribution Story by Jim Schwitzer.  Art by Graeme Howard (8 pages)
Dance With The Devil Story by Jeff Marsick, and art by Kirk Manley (10 pages).
‘One Way Out’ Story by Martin Fisher. Art by John Cahill (7 pages).
‘What am I ?’ Story by Ryan Doman . Art by Dave Hughes (7 pages)
DeadTube Story by Michael Burness. Art by Steven Howard (4 pages)
Pet Z Story by Rebecca Bowles. Art by Steve Holder (7 pages )
Pursuit Story and Art by Andy Forber  (3 pages)
Allen Woodsberg Goes Mainstream Story by Michael Lindal Andersen. Art by Pedro Lopez (9 pages).
Preparing For The War. Part Three Milk. Story and Art by Dave West (1 page).
Fever Dreams. Story and Art by Owen Johnson (8 pages)
Survival Story Dave West and Andy Bloor, Art Andy Bloor.
Children Story by James Johnson. Art by Leonardo M. Giron (11 pages).
Things Left Undone Story and Art by Douglas Noble (1 page)
Pin Up 1 Shane Oakley
Pin Up 2   Steven Howard
Pin Up 3 Andrew Thomas
Pin Up 4 Mo Ali
Pin Up 5 Spencer Douglas
Pin Up 6 Andy Bloor.
Pin Up 7 Danny Hayles
Pin Up 9   Stuart Simmonds
PinUp 10 Crispian Woolford
Pinup 11 Shaun Mooney
Pinup 12 Charles D Chenet
Back cover art Garry Brown.

There is a nice Shane Oakley splash page and a two parter, Hell’s Nazis, Hell’s Nazis by John Halfpenny and Art by Gary Crutchley -it’s as a zombie story might appear in an old British weekly war comic!
There is a nice mixture of quality when it comes to art which adds to the overall feel of the book.  Some of the stories are also quite tongue-in-cheek such as Moother’s Love by Steve (Time Bomb Comics) Tanner and  art by Alex Thompson.  Okay, Mila Jovovich is nowhere to be seen in this look so I guess I’ll just have to live with that.
If you like Zombies and zombie comics then you ought to really like this new book, which is a follow-up to Accent UKs best-selling Zombies (which I missed out on).  Forget the soap opera that is The Walking Dead and read some good old British zombie fun…well, it’s fun until they start nibbling on your head.
Highly recommended.


The 2nd International Alternative Press Festival







Not long to go before the IAPF2 kicks off in London! As well as the Main Fair at the Conway Hall on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August we have an exciting line up of exhibitions and events, check out the details below and on our website!
Lamb’s Conduit Streetfrom 21st July a parade of 11 shops will host artwork by an exciting line up of international comic artists, with special late openingon the first Thursday in August (2/8/12)Some of the shops and artists involved are:The People’s Supermarket – Kevin Ward and Lord HurkThe Lamb Pub – Tobias TakBikefix – Maartje Schalkx John Dawson flower shop – Karoline Rerrie
Schuller Opticians -
John Miers
Michael France Undertakers -
Matt Abbiss

Comix Reader Issue 4 Launch & ExhibitionOn Friday 3rd August celebrate the launch of the UK’s top underground comix newspaper at Gosh! comic shop in London, there will be an exhibition of the original artwork and artists from the paper will be there too! 7pm Onwards.
Dave Ziggy Greene Exhibition
From July 21st to August 5th, the Orbital gallery will hosting HUNG – An exhibition showcasing the work of David Ziggy Greene, a London based cartoonist who works here and across the channel in France.
It will include his samples of his regular illustrated journalism work for Private Eye magazine (UK) and Charlie Hebdo newspaper (France), illustrated gig reviews for Stool Pigeon music paper (UK), zine work for Tonton zine (France) and Fanzine Helban (France) as well as featuring comic book pages from his recently published book Nager Avec Des Chaussures as published by Éditions Même Pas Mal (France).
Plus there’ll be extra work from special guest French artists associated with David’s work! Including:
Julien Loïs – ouikid.com
Besseron – besseronolivier.free.fr
Terreur Graphique – terreurgraphique.com
Gilles Rochier – envraccity.wordpress.com
Charlie Hebdo cartoonists – charliehebdo.fr
Launch Party!
All are welcome to come along to Orbital Comics
on Saturday 21st July at 7 – 9pm to help launch the show as it opens to the public.
It’ll be the place to be with booze, comic art, music and cool people!
Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JA

Alternative Press / London / alternativepress.org.uk         

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Don’t Tell The Creators What They Are Working On..




Superman 1 Sign by George Perez

I think that if you want some of the reasons why DC is so screwed up you need only look at an article posted by Bob Bricken on The Topless Robot blog back in June:

http://www.toplessrobot.com/2012/06/breaking_dcs_new_52_might_not_have_been_completely.php

George Perez, brought on for Superman, could not wait to hand things over to Keith Giffen. You would think that if Didio at DC said “let’s get George Perez in on Superman -he knows what he’s doing and he’s a fan favourite”…well, you think that he might have had everything written down and prepared.  Instead, Perez arrives on the book and is told he cannot do what he was doing and brought onto the book to do.  Mainly, it seems, because editors these days have little in the way of brains or balls.

Perez wrote:

“Unfortunately when you are writing major characters, you sometimes have to make a lot of compromises, and I was made certain promises, [...] and unfortunately not through any fault of Dan DiDio — he was no longer the last word, I mean a lot of people were now making decisions [...] they were constantly going against each other, contradicting, again in mid-story.”

But I just shook my head at this:

“I had no idea Grant Morrison was going to be working on another Superman title. I had no idea I was doing it five years ahead, which means … my story, I couldn’t do certain things without knowing what he did, and Grant wasn’t telling everybody. So I was kind of stuck. ‘Oh, my gosh, are the Kents alive? What’s his relationship with all of these characters? Who exists?’ And DC couldn’t give me answers. I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, you’re deciding all these things and you mean even you don’t know what’s going on in your own books?’ So I became very frustrated …”

Firstly, I do not give a damn if it’s Alan Moore, Grant Morrison or any of the other so-so writers in comics today who seem to think they are mega stars and the Shakespeare of comics. They are writing comics.  They are being paid to do so by a company.  The editor has to edit and pull them inline or else he is NOT an editor -he’s a wet piece of string (you have no idea how I had to hold back there).

A company pays someone to write and/or draw a comic.  Forget this poncified. egocentric crap of “graphic novelist” or “graphic illustrator”: they are writing and drawing comics.  Graphic novels are extra thick comics.
Would Julius Schwarz or Stan Lee or even Roy Thomas have sat back and said: “okay. We’re paying you but you do not want to tell us WHAT you are going to be doing on the book? Fair enough -you are the star!”  Like bollocks would they.

Here is a good example of how crap DC bosses are.  Bob Wayne sat on a DC panel at the Bristolo Comic Expo a few years ago along with Howard Chaykin.  At these events DC usually insulted British comic fans but got away with it.  But on this one occasion one person in the audience said: “There does not appear to be much continuity with DC Comics. I’ve read them since I was a kid and I’m 45 now. Everything seems to be thrown out, chopped or changed. It’s difficult to follow.”

To which Howard Chaykin responded and Bob Wayne nodded in agreement while grinning:

“F**k continuity.”

I know standards are slipping and this was only in the UK but that someone high up in DC would allow and not apologise for that sort of response to a loyal fan is unacceptable. Of course, the geeks in the audience who had no real intellect, giggled. A woman with two youngsters at the front of the audience left looking disgusted. Nothing.

I have no respect for management or editors at DC comics.  I would say the same thing if offered work by them (which would show they were frikking insane!).

We hear constant talk about “creator conferences” to sort out what is going to happen in titles over the next year. Are DCs bosses then turning to writers at the end of these events and saying “of course, YOU are the star. Just ignore us if you want to.”??

Marvel Comics, as I already mentioned in other postings, has lost it creatively. I am shocked that so many people hang on to everything they are told by Marvel is “great” -which is just about every single thing Marvel publishes or wipes its ass with. It’s like a junkie that gives up heroin. It’ll toy with methadone a little but you know it is going to get straight back on the heroin in a short time.

“Dark Reign” could apply to any and every event from Marvel since it committed hare kari with Avengers Disassembled. The House of M ‘event’ just left me asking what the hell was going on?  The methadone or, as we comickers call it, “The Heroic Age” from Marvel, finally seemed to be the company seeing sense but then they returned to the heroin (Dark Reign) stuff.

Marvel, or rather Disney, do not care about the comic fan. Quite honestly they would sit back and watch you drown slowly unless there was money in it for them to help. Marvel has had to escape bancruptcy -On August 31, 2009, the Walt Disney corporation announced a deal to acquire Marvel Comics’ parent corporation, Marvel Entertainment, for $4 billion, with Marvel share-holders to receive $30 and 0.745 Disney shares for each share of Marvel they own. Thus silencing any criticism since share-holders are there to make money.

When Joe Quesada took over as headman at Marvel there was a positive change. The books became far more European in the way they were written and thinking behind them. Then someone -Quesada?- lost it.





Possibly the greatest Avengers series ever was Avengers Forever by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco.  Fantastic art. Gripping stuff but above all else, Busiek managed to clear up all the continuity glitches in 40 years of Avengers history. Just as he had helped return the Avengers to former glory, along with George Perez -fantastic art and great stories with some nice twists, Busiek managed to weave a complex story that I’ve read so many times in its 12 issue series format that I had to buy the trade before they tore apart.







And Marvels response…”Avengers Disassembled” (imagine “Avengers Disassembled” as being written in a sort of excremental smear).

Oh, and Busiek was told to **** off. Sorry, according to Marvel Busiek left the title as the new writer was “far better” than he was. Aneurism time as you try to work that out.

DC and Marvel employs its own little stable of writers who grow fat while defecating the same stale brown crusty cobs over and over to, apparently, ‘fan’ praise. Let’s not go into how many pencillers or inkers it takes to put a 22 pages book together  -or why a certain company employs veteran creators such as Sal Buscema to tidy up the “new guys’ work” and make it printable.  I mean Sal Buscema has more talent in his toe nail than some of the ‘big’ stars (who cannot draw a comic on schedule) and he has to wipe the snot from their noses???

Just as Alan Moore needed an editor to stand up and say “No. This needs more editing…” so do other ‘stars’.

I like a quote from John Byrne at a UKCAC convention in London in the 1980s: “You go to events and its ‘John Byrne’ the big comic super star and everyone looks on in awe.  I go to a supermarket to buy groceries and I’m just a schmuck in the till queue!”

Slightly paraphrased there.

You have creators rights now but that does not mean you can do whatever you want and mess things up.  The editor was the person who was there to say “No. Redraw that panel” or “You cannot re-name a character who has existed for 20 years because it sounds better to you” or, more significantly: “No. Sorry. Rape is not a form of entertainment that has to be in every issue of your current comic.”  Considering other factors, editors ought to really say rather firmly:”We have standards.”

Alan Moore doesn’t like it then he walks off.  He doesn’t mind not getting paid then fair enough. He wants to argue with editors and publishers and get himself black-listed, or as he likes to call it “making a stand” then fair enough. His decision. But he needs/needed (has he REALLY quit comics this time?) editing. The same for the other premadonna ‘stars’ in comics. Editors make sure they get paid. An editor needs to have balls and to say:”Look, we pay you. We expect you to do a good writing job but within standards. You do not want to be edited -okay, walk. Go look for a job elsewhere.”

Until companies tell their editors to get balls and do their editing jobs (or quit) and these ‘stars’ get to understand they are paid to do a job things will just keep getting worse at Marvel and DC (I don’t want to ask “can it get worse?”).

 
Quesada: “What is my job? Uhh. Lemme see. Uhh. I, uh, no, wait -I know this one!”
 
 
Didio: “What is my job? Uhh. Lemme see. Uhh. I, uh, no, wait -I know this one!”
 
 
Those changes will never happen, though. Why? Because comic buyers won’t say “enough is enough” because they dare not.  Or, more simply put, the comic buyer is the piggy bank that company executives like to squeeze every penny out for quick profit.  Does management or any editor really care about the fans? No. Bosses want big profits (they are businessmen) and the editors do not care so long as they make the boss happy and get their cheques.

“Simples”, as a great philosopher once said.

Disney, and Marvel, just keep grinning and say “Look how much our movies make!”

Now, off to put a portfolio together to submit to Marvel and DC.  I’m hoping for either Quesada or Didio’s jobs since they aren’t doing them.


Yes. I am a bastard.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Liefeld Saves DC Comics Now He’s Leaving…Why Are Comics Still Crap Then?


Artist (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA),erm, well, he’s leaving DC like Grant (snicker) Morrison?
No. No. Deeeeep breath…..bwahahaha..ugh…okay. Serious face now as this guy earns more than me (Him Olympic opening ceremony to my run down, money starved NHS). According to Comix Talk:
http://talkcomix.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=287%3Aliefeld-leaving-dc&catid=5%3Anews
Currently working on Deathstroke, Savage Hawkman and Grifter, Liefeld used his Twitter account to reveal why they will be his last work for DC:

“The current corporate comics conditions are an absolute bear, on both sides, for both Big 2. Not a political statement #fact…”

“As for DC work, I’ve done my job, stopped the bleeding, revived the patient….enjoying my collaborations… Gotta say, for me personally, working at DC this past year has been ridiculously enjoyable and fun. Treats talent right.”

He also stated 2013 will be when he leaves.



Cover by Liefeld which doesn’t look that bad -he writes the book, though not drawing.

Uhhh, am I reading that right? Is he saying he’s saved DC Comics? Have I missed something??

I’ve never been a big fan of his artwork but, unlike some, I will not really attack him because of that. If he loves drawing and earns money from it fair enough -I assume he has enough fans to sell comics? The internet is full of sites discussing Liefeld tracing or lightboxing art but this is nothing new.  And most artists have “swipe files” -even Wally Wood had them and there are examples of where he used images from British war comics in his work.  Liefeld admits it so its not deceitful.

My arguement is with the ego displayed at times in statements.  The above from his Twitter cannot be said to be a misquote.


Cover for Earth 2 (2012 series) #3

DC is sinking into the mire creatively wise and so is Marvel. If you only use a certain stable of writers then the comic suffer -as with Captain America of late and the fact that Marvel is going in full circle again after a year.

AVENGERS 28 (AVX, WITH DIGITAL CODE)

WHY was Marvel so successful in the old days?  Well, okay, artists that knew their business and produced their work on time without computers (no 5 pencillers or 3-4 inkers on one 22 pager!).  BUT they took in new writers and artists.


File:Heroic Age.jpg

After all the anti-hero, dark reign crap Marvel launched the “Heroic Age” with a big hoo-ha.  The Avengers had a good storyline with some interesting plots and nice John Romita Jnr art -and great colours.  Without a word, quite suddenly, the plotlines were gone (as was Romita) and everything had gone back to Dark Avengers mode again.  That shows a company that has lost all sense of editorial/publishing leadership.

I’ve cancelled FF from my pull-list. In fact I’ve cancelled so many titles I think the only Marvel Comics I get now are Fantastic Four, New Avengers (which I am going to be dropping), Mighty Avengers (is there another one??), Captain America (dropping after YEARS!!) I think that’s it. From my once mighty list that’s all I now buy though I am getting Avengers V X-men (but if it was a regular series I’d have dropped it by now).



DC? uhhh, Justice League (about to come off my list), Earth 2 (enough is enough -its going)….is that all I’m down to on DC now? I have never, ever purchased so few comics and in the 1980s I got all the monthly DC and Marvels.  I have tried Before Watchmen because I can’t criticise what I have not read.  Some nice art but, seriously, its not adding much to what the original series told us.


justice-league-new-52-6-cover

So, please, forgive me if I hear Liefeld has “saved” DC and is now leaving. Where will he go next? What will he do next?

You really want to know? Exclusively (as if I cared) -He’s off to Marvel Comics. That’s the company he and a bunch of his mates left in the 1980s to go off, formed their own company to rival Marvel and become major stars.  How’d that work out?

Oh, right. They ended up doing work for Marvel and DC.

I’m sure Liefeld is a nice guy. I’m just not losing sleep over this.

The 2nd International Alternative Press Festival






Not long to go before the IAPF2 kicks off in London! As well as the Main Fair at the Conway Hall on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August we have an exciting line up of exhibitions and events, check out the details below and on our website!
Lamb’s Conduit Streetfrom 21st July a parade of 11 shops will host artwork by an exciting line up of international comic artists, with special late openingon the first Thursday in August (2/8/12)Some of the shops and artists involved are:The People’s Supermarket – Kevin Ward and Lord HurkThe Lamb Pub – Tobias Tak Bikefix – Maartje Schalkx
John Dawson flower shop – Karoline Rerrie
Schuller Opticians -
John Miers
Michael France Undertakers -
Matt Abbiss

Comix Reader Issue 4 Launch & ExhibitionOn Friday 3rd August celebrate the launch of the UK’s top underground comix newspaper at Gosh! comic shop in London, there will be an exhibition of the original artwork and artists from the paper will be there too! 7pm Onwards.
Dave Ziggy Greene Exhibition
From July 21st to August 5th, the Orbital gallery will hosting HUNG – An exhibition showcasing the work of David Ziggy Greene, a London based cartoonist who works here and across the channel in France.
It will include his samples of his regular illustrated journalism work for Private Eye magazine (UK) and Charlie Hebdo newspaper (France), illustrated gig reviews for Stool Pigeon music paper (UK), zine work for Tonton zine (France) and Fanzine Helban (France) as well as featuring comic book pages from his recently published book Nager Avec Des Chaussures as published by Éditions Même Pas Mal (France).
Plus there’ll be extra work from special guest French artists associated with David’s work! Including:
Julien Loïs – ouikid.com
Besseron – besseronolivier.free.fr
Terreur Graphique – terreurgraphique.com
Gilles Rochier – envraccity.wordpress.com
Charlie Hebdo cartoonists – charliehebdo.fr
Launch Party!
All are welcome to come along to Orbital Comics
on Saturday 21st July at 7 – 9pm to help launch the show as it opens to the public.
It’ll be the place to be with booze, comic art, music and cool people!
Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JA

Alternative Press / London / alternativepress.org.uk         

Friday, 27 July 2012

New Star Trek Movie


George Takei just announced this on Face Book.  At last a Captain!!
Friends, I’m thrilled to share this news with you today. As announced at Emerald City Comicon, where I’m appearing this weekend, Paramount Pictures has green-lit a new Star Trek Movie entitled “Excelsior” in which I will play the captain. This announcement is part of Paramount Studio’s 100th-year anniversary campaign. The studio has acknowledged the fan enthusiasm for this concept ever since I appeared in command of the vessel in “The Undiscovered Country.” J.J. Abrams will direct, with Robert Orci again writing the screenplay. My co-star in Allegiance, Paulo Montalban, has been cast opposite me to play the mercurial “Agha,” the grandson of Khan (played by Ricardo Montalban in the Second Star Trek Movie). Also featured are Gilbert Gottfried (playing a wily Ferengi First Officer) and Lisa Lampanelli (as a Bajoran security officer).
More to come on this breaking story soon. Thanks again for the years of support, and I’ll see you on the Bridge of “Excelsior.”

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Comics Night With Team Girl Comics IS TONIGHT!!!!




To celebrate the release of our 5th issue, we&#8217;re hosting a special night of comics-themed fun, as part of the Glasgow Merchant City Festival. Hope to see you all there!<br /><br /><br /><br />
Here&#8217;s a link to the facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/503624689662931/

To celebrate the release of our 5th issue, we’re hosting a special night of comics-themed fun, as part of the Glasgow Merchant City Festival. Hope to see you all there!

Here’s a link to the facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/503624689662931/

RENDR No Show Thru


This looks and sounds very interesting but not finding too much info on the web -anyone used this?

Would be interesting to get some to review the product since I’m one of those tearing pages out!!

RENDR™ No Show Thru Paper by Crescnet is revolutionary paper that allows you to use 100% of the sketchbook, sketchpad This sketchbook is your legacy, your history, your thought process documented. No more tearing out the next page.

No more limitations to what types of media you use in your sketches, RENDR™

Crescnet Rendr No Bleed Paper

New Comic Artists -What Instruments To Draw With.



I keep getting asked by people trying to get started in the industry what I would recommend to draw with.
Okay, you see an artist uses pure sable brushes or this tech-pen or that one -all very highly priced.  The thing is that unless you are rich or have stepped right into a very well paid long term art job you are wasting money.  For an artist every single penny counts and job security is …well, not something artists get very often.

I have used Rotring pens (over priced and not great -this was in the 1980s), Guillotte nibs, caligraphy pens and even the very cheapest fibre tip you can get. I HAVE used brushes and still do but mainly for inking in large areas or effects. I used to go to the old Westminster Comic Mart in London and visit China Town to buy cheap brushes and b-i-g bottles of black ink.

However, if you try Berol you can find Broad and Fine tips but also Handwriting pens that allow you to draw using an even finer line.  You can do almost everything the very expensive pens can and quickly.  The only thing I would say is, once you’ve inked art using a Berol pen give it time to dry and do not try to erase pencil lines straight away as it can smudge.

Since the 1980s I have (despite the fact they seem to be harder to find in Bristol) used various pens but the main ones have been Berol Fine and Broad -the line is so good (until the tip wears down) that other professionals have sworn blind that I am using brushes!And when I say “use” them I mean a lot -the last little stationer I used sold me the pens in the boxes at a discount after the owner saw me looking at the pens and said “You’re an artist, arent you? You can get a trade discount”!

You can also take Berol pens around with you for sketching.

BEROL P12 Colourfine Colouring Pens
The colour Berol pens I have had little experience with as they are harder to find. However, I knew one artist (Paul Slydel) who only used Berol colour pens to colour and when I first saw his work I thought he had been using brushes and colour inks.
Berol Broad Felt Tips 12 Pack
If you can find the pens and you are an artist I can recommend them highly!

Strangers 4



Thanks to Jean-Marc Lofficier for the up-date.


Homicron, sent to the distant planet “Alpha”! Starlock, powerful guardian of the bridge on the stars exiled on Earth! Jaleb the telepath, secret agent of the “Galactic Federation”! Jayde, young shapeshifter, abandoned on the planet! And the mysterious, Futura, a native of another land! Five strangers in a hostile world grouped by Tanka, son of the jungle and guardian of Time! Five aliens, who alone can protect our world from cosmic threats beyond human understanding.

Stangers II # 4:
Tanka and Jayde face Azaka Thunder … Guest Star: The Black Driver
This should be available on 31st July.

Strangers Universe #2 

STRANGERS UNIVERSE #2 should also be out at the same time, but that’s still a reprint (in color however) of old Mike Ratera KABUR stories from 2002.


http://www.wangacomics.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=130:strangers-universe-#2

The Mighty Titan – Kickstarter




5 Issue Miniseries that wraps Joe Martino’s cancer in a superhero shell. Who will protect The Mighty Titan’s alter ego from cancer?
  • Launched: Jul. 05, 2012
  • Funding ends: Aug. 14, 2012

The Mighty Titan is my newest creation that essentially takes my cancer (and other) experiences and wraps them in a superhero shell. This isn’t autobiographical. I have researched and talked to other cancer survivors to try and get the feeling of what other people have experienced. The plan is to do a 5 issue mini-series with the possibility of it continuing. I created Titan in 2004 during my first bout with Kidney cancer. It was a tough decision to take some of my personal experiences and put them to paper in order to entertain and possibly allow people a glimpse of what some of us go through while battling this potentialy deadly disease.

Make no mistake, this is still a cool, fun superhero book with vile villians, giant Mechas and some really great mythological creatures. But there is certainly an underlying theme of fear and loss.
This funding will help me pay my friends who are helping me, printing and help to bring this story to a broader audience. I am using this as a pre-order engine. I have budgeted for around $2000 per book bare bones and then I can hopefully work off of the profits of 2-5 to continue. We have just over a month to raise funds and I hope you can help me make this book happen!

TITAN

Imagine for a moment that you were the worlds strongest protector. Imagine that no knife, bullet or bomb can harm you. Then imagine in that moment you are told that you have cancer.

Titan is a character who is for all intents and purposes, invulnerable. He cannot be harmed by any means known to man. His alter ego doesn’t have such luck. Titan’s alter ego is dying. What now?

Isn’t this the perception that we all have when not touched by cancer? We are all under the belief that we are invunerable.  Aren’t we all someone’s protector? Aren’t we all everything to someone?  Not until that lump, or pain, or (un)lucky scan.

How we deal with this defines us. How we live with this strengthens us. What we lose is innocence and the loss of a clear mind.

This is my epitaph. This is my way of dealing. This is my way of helping others understand what it feels like to be invunerable…

And then, one conversation, one sentence later… never feeling that way again.

“I am sorry, Mr. Martino. You have renal cell carcinoma.” were the last words my 33 year old innocent, clear-minded self ever heard. From that day forward, I had cancer. Life was over. Even though, through the support and resolve of my friends, family and doctors. I survived. Twice.

THE TEAM:

WRITER/CREATOR: Joe Martino - Joe has been creating comics since he was 10 years old. His big “break” came when he decided to do everything (mostly) on his own and publish Shadowflame back in 1996. Since then, he has been published by Arcana with Shadowflame and Ripperman, Main EnterprisesCoscom Entertainment and a slew of other independent publishers and made some great friends along the way.

PENCILER: Luca Cicchitti - is a relative newcomer to the comic world. His pencils are bringing Titan to life in a way we couldn’t have imagined.

PENCILER: Cory Smith – Cory Smith is an illustrator and comic artist living and working in New York. Since graduating from the Joe Kubert School in 2004, Cory has worked with clients such as Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Disney, Crayola, and many others on a wide variety of projects and properties. Cory is the artist on the Aspen series BROKEN PIECES, and is the co-creator of THE INDEPENDENTS with writer Ben Christian.

INKER: Jeff Austin – In 1965, Jeff was born. At present, the story hasn’t ended. Jeff is also very well known in the indy comic scene and one of the best inkers out there. He has worked for Image (Big Bang Comics) Main Enterprises (Betsy and more), Arcana (Shadowflame, Ripperman. Dead Men Tell No Tales) , Trinity Comics (The Wraith) Faust, FemForce and many others.

COLORIST: Keith J. Betancourt – For those who know him, Keith is considered a triple threat. He is a penciler, inker and digital colorist. As a colorist, some of his work includes the cover to Time Flyz Volume 8, The DVD Cover to Worst that can Happen (Interspecies Wrestling), art for the NJ hardcore band Ripface Invasion and more from the independent comic Megazeen. Since the age of 2 Keith has been honing his skills, anticipating the day when he can officially break through the comic book world and and show them what he can really do.

Letterer: Johnny Lowe - Johnny is a writer/letterer/editor. He self-published two issues of his own title, FICTIONS, co-wrote GROUNDED ANGEL, an online manga-style comic with Steve Horton, wrote the second JUDO GIRL mini-series for Alias/Bluewater, and has lettered titles for companies such as Image Comics, Wildstorm, Devil’s Due (don’t ask about Devil’s Due), and Boom Studios. He currently letters MORNING GLORIES for Image, and recently lettered the large-format one-shot ENORMOUS, also for Image, for release in Summer 2012. In his non-comics work he copyedits books for University Press of Mississippi, edits a trade pub, and is a copy editor at GodwinGroup.. He has lettered most of Joe’s projects including Shadowflame, Ripperman and “Crimson and Caress”.

The books will have covers by some of my greatest inspirations and artists that were kind enough to take the time out of thier busy schedules. Jerry Ordway, Jamal Igle, John Byrne, Bob McLoed and Phil Jimenez.

Also involved in one way or another are John Orlando, Robert J. Sodaro, Rob X. Roman, Bryan Magnaye, Danielle Alexis St Pierre and Frank M. Cuonzo.  Kickstarter Trailer credits are Joe Martino, Anthony Paladino of Ripface Invasion and Elviz Christ from Saint Avarice!

Special thanks to Jasmin and my kids Alyssa and Vincent, who I continue to do this for.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

When Helden Turned Into Dorn Der Morgenstern

 There are a few German comics -Small Press, Idependent- that I like to get out every-so-often and re-read. Nostalgia and big chunk o’ fun all in one.

Randalf Paker may not mean much to English language comic fans but in 2001 Caption Comics published the comic series that he wrote and drew based upon a long running role playing game (RPG) he was games master of.

The title, Helden/Heroes was initially sold in gaming shops but really took off and spawned the comic.  So what was it about?

This is from the IPP website -http://ipp-comics.de/en/

Helden (Heroes) is the retelling of the fantasy role-playing game group that I led as the gaming master. The charakters and story of this group were so exciting, I had to write it down somehow. Since I love drawing, I used the COMIC to tell the story. —Ralf Paul

In this story seven heroes from the farthest corners of the World meet and stumble into their first adventure. In the center of it all is the mercenary Benwick, who, because of the imprisonment of his mother, is forced into a difficult mission…

Helden #1
Helden Issue 1 Page 1
Helden Issue 1 Page 3

The colour blowing your mind yet? I love this! Unfortunately, I can’t show the gorier scenes!

Helden #2
Helden Issue 2 Page 3

The heroes gathered.  Well, almost. I can tell you that this image says it all.

Helden #3
Helden Issue 3 Page 1





Helden #4

I show people the cover below and they mostly all go “oooh” I’m just not sure why??!

Helden #5

Things are fickle in gaming and comics. As issue 6 was finished the interest had waned to such a degree that the cost of high quality printing, especially in pre-print on demand days, was too high.

Helden #6

Nr 6 felt bulkier than usual (all the IPP books were printed on top quality thick paper stock) what I found inside was the cover and,uh, issue nr 7!  Yes, the heroes finally get together and…well.  Nothing nice happens.

What is more there is a nice ending involving a rather bloodied Morning Star. “What’s a ‘morning star’?”  Its like a mace with spikes -DON’T you even dare ask “What’s a mace, then?”!!!!


Helden Issue 6 Page 3

Though I tried order the new title, when I heard that the follow-up was to be titled Dorn Der Morgenstern/Thorn The Morning Star, no comic shop was interested in getting me copies.  Why? It was foreign language and was not carried by Diamond. That made it “impossible” to get hold of.

So what did I do? I sent an email to Ideenschmiede Paul & Paul GbR and got a nice email back and…voila! I got Dorn 1-4.

Was I impressed? Of course I was.  Other than Helge “Herod” Korda and Mathias “EmdE” Dinter who were producing the semi parody Heroes From The Black Lagoon only one other person I knew was doing German super heroes -me, starting in the early 1980s with D-Gruppe.

This was no American artist drawing a super hero based in what an American artist thought Germany looked like: this was a German creator.

The IPP web site explains Dorn…

“The Morningstar also known as Dorn” describes the life of Paul Paker – a computer genius and game freak. An experiment gone awry and murdering circumstances have pushed him into a corner of society. Only an idea as phantastic as the events which put him there can release him. This improvised idea results in an ingenious but rather complex plan.

A German Super Hero.

Dorn Issue 1 Cover

Dorn Issue 2 Cover

One of my favourite spreads from the comic comes when Dorn reveals himself on TV!

Dorn Issue 3 Page 15

For various reasons the title never got beyond nr 4 and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who heaved a depressive sigh.  But now….HOPE!

My scanner decided to crap out on me so I thought I’d check online for cover images but apart from my previous items on the series I found only one other source -IPP.  A company I thought was no more!  And I found something a few of us have been hoping for a loooong time now -Dorn nr. 5 is currently being put together!

Dorn Issue 5 Cover



The gift in the cracker is that, as you’ll notice on the cover scans not my own, Helden and Dorn can be read as web comics.  So check out the IPP web-comics if you speak German but if not there is still a LOT of great art!