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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Titan Books: The Complete Flash Gordon Library vol. 2 -The Tyrant of Mongo



Alex Raymond
Hardcover
Full colour
208 pages
Product Dimensions: 28.9 x 2.5 x 26.1 cm

ISBN-10: 0857683799
ISBN-13: 978-0857683793
£29.99  -internet offers do exist –look for ‘em!
Published 6th December, 2012

“The Tyrant of Mongo” collects the Sunday newspaper strips from 1937-1941. Yes, if you were alive back then you would have needed to collect the Sunday newspapers for five years to complete this storyline but here you have it all in one volume.

I ought to say that the restoration work by Peter Maresca is suberb.

What can I say about this collection?  Titan have produced another superb quality book for collectors that cannot be faulted.  The art is…well, inspiring.  As I pointed out regarding volume 1, these strips were what influenced at least two generations of comic strip artists and some still find that inspiration today.

Wonderful rocket ships, strange cities, excellent vintage costumes and designs. And some very sexy looking females…and the odd giant throwing people about.  I think most people wanting to get into comic art can learn from this because the figure drawing and poses show what a master of his art Raymond was.

But if you don’t want to learn how to draw a comic strip and just want a great story that’s well-paced with action then this is it.

A superb Christmas or birthday gift and for the comic historian or fan a must have.

A review of volume 1 can be found here:

http://www.comicbitsonline.com/2012/06/19/the-complete-flash-gordon-library-on-the-planet-mongo-vol-1/

Friday, 23 November 2012

Black Tower: The Hooper Interviews (print & ebook)


The Hooper Interviews
A4
Paperback,
365 Pages
lots of photos and illustrations
Price: £10.00
Ships in 3–5 business days


From a huge selection of interviews covering the Small Press,Independent Comics from the UK,Europe and US,here are a few of the best from over 25 years.
Including…deeep breath:

JOHN COOPER
YISHAN LI
DONNA BARR
ROBERTA GREGORY
EMMA VIECELI
SONIA LEONG
ALAN CLASS
PAUL BIRCH
KAREN RUBINS
WILLIE HEWES
PEKKA A. MANNINEN
OLIVIER CADIC
JON HAWARD
MARV WOLFMAN
TANIA DEL RIO
JEFF BROOKS
MIKE WESTERN
MORAG LEWIS
DAVE RYAN
and many others.
You can order it via the online store at:
http://stores.lulu.com/hoopercomicsuk


eBook (ePub for Adobe Digital Editions)
Price: £4.99
Download immediately.
From a huge selection of interviews covering the Small Press,Independent Comics from the UK,Europe and US,here are a few of the best from over 25 years.
Available in ePub for Adobe Digital Editions Format

“What’s This ‘Questors’ Stuff About?”

When I was asked that I realised that it could become very -VERY- complicated.  Let’s start with Return Of The Gods.

The Mad Hatter, Mr. Gorilla, Mr. Spider and other Questors made their first official appearance in print in that series in Black Tower Adventure.  They impressed Ben Dilworth enough for him to produce a series of ad illoes.

But those are not the Questors referred to in the ad (above).
Bear with me. I may have a nose-bleed or migraine by the time I write “that’s yer lot!”

No secret that I have been involved in looking into various puzzles and mysteries since before I even reached my teenage years. Haunted houses, strange creatures…and later I was “officially unofficially” involved in the investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) -the less said about that work the better (for me).

I’m also a historian and began to dig into what I called in a 1982 article “Lost History” –European and others visiting America (North aqnd South) before they were ‘discovered’ -why New World fruit like the pineapple appears in a Romain (Pompeiian) wall painting and in Egypt –it’s a very long list.

You have read my books….haven’t you??

I also discovered rather late in the day (thanks to poor UK distribution) The Challengers of The Unknown -an excellent DC title until recent years when they lost the plot. Because of three potentially near fatal events in my early life I was once told that I was “living on borrowed time” (I was also told -three times- that I would “die through a supernatural agency”).  So imagine my delite when I found the Challengers were all living on borrowed time -hence their egg-timer (“sands of time”) symbol.

But there were real life adventurers, explorers and paranormal investigators I had read about and just thought it would be great if there was something similar to the Challengers that these people all belonged to.

The Questors was born.

I only realised recently, as I was putting fact sheets together that, after 40 years I had forgotten some of the characters. A few had died in various stories but a core remained.

Professor Stewart Questor.  In one adventure this bearded former explorer had lost an eye -in another he had lost a hand in a grenade attack.

Dr. Stephen Halliday was a former Olympic athlete who had gained some notoriety in his research and had for a time gone off exploring islands where no man had stepped foot on before (there are still a few!).

Peter Aston had been a mountaineer, archaeologist and explored the Amazon.

Major Tom Gillen was a true muscle-man type who had been a wrestler, boxer, underwater explorer and former Royal Marines Commando.

Dr. Bill Owen was a medical man who had dabbled in the investigation of the supernatural and his scepticism led him to look into tales of a Cumbrian wolf-man cult. He was attacked and became a werewolf.

If that was not odd enough a member there was Poseideon.  I’m positive I was influenced with him by a Gerry Anderson Stingray undersea dweller.

These are the main core of the Questors who have, over the years, met up with The Avenger and Turlough Flint (the Badger).

These are the Questors who will soon be appearing in BT Adventure.

So, who are Queen Liz, Mr. Spider, Mr. Gorilla and the Mad Hatter? Simples. They are from a parallel Earth and will one day…say some time in 2013…also be appearing in a comic.  That should really mess-up the fanboys!

For me it’s a case of not getting storylines mixed up and actually writing and drawing BOTH strips. 

Should be fun.

That’s yer lot!

Why Was D-Gruppe Cancelled?

Someone asked WHY I had cancelled the D-Gruppe title since it was, after all, Germany’s only super hero team (after 30 years surely someone else must have come up with something…no!).

D-GRUPPE ANNUAL 2012 

Well, those who have read it like it.  However, there appears to be a ban on publicising/reviewing my books in the UK -after over five years of publishing higher quality books, only TWO have been mentioned on review sites in the UK.  Everything else I’ve sent out has…just not been reviewed.
I had hoped that the completed 50+ pages D-Gruppe annual that I sent out to five different reviewers might have gotten a mention after all these weeks.  No. It’s pointless writing, drawing, editing and publishing a book and then sending out review books when no one reviews them and let’s comic fans know the books are out there.
After the money wasted on the printing (and double postal costs) of review books in 2012 I’m stopping.  Every -every- book sent to CBO gets reviewed. People have spent the time and effort sending the books so its only common courtesy.
As new plans are underway for D-Gruppe I do wonder whether to leave the books at the online store or delete them.  Whatever, even if people like a book it’s pointless if you do not get the mention you need to sell copies generally.
There’s your answer.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Casterman BD: Moebius’s Le Monde D’Edena vols. 1 & 2



Le Monde D’Edena 1- World of Edena vol.1 – On The Star
New edition 2012
Author: Jean Giraud Full Colour
62pp
Hardback
Dimensions: cm 24.3x32x1.1
ISBN: 2203063173
EAN: 9782203063174
Price: € 15.00
Date of publication: 14/11/2012



This was, originally, an album created for Citroen and published in English as “The Aedena Cycle.”

Moebius introduced two genderless protagonists, Stel and Atan, who have crashed  on a plain, featureless planet and must traverse it in…an old Citroën! The duo eventually stumble upon a camp of interstellar refugees who are surrounding a mysterious pyramid, and are transported to an unknown world, described as a ‘Garden of Eden somewhere in another galaxy.’

Moebius then took the idea and developed it so that it became part of the Moebius Universe which encompassed, amongst other works, The Airtight Garage, probably his most famous work (I know people will disagree!).

Having seen Moebius, and spoken to him briefly at one of the old London UK Comic Art Conventions, I’d heard about his Ichi, magic mushrooms and alternative lifestyle and so I should not be surprised that this seeps into his work.

These are science-fiction stories that Moebius uses  to pose questions about dreams, nutrition and health, biology and sexuality not to mention the human desire to live in a structured society, oh, and archetypal good and evil. All of these more philosophical elements are embedded in what have been called “deceivingly light stories,” that  allow the reader to page their way through the different layers –there is no hard boot lack of subtlety here.








And now….

Le Monde d’Edena 2- Les Jardins d’Edena/The Garden of Eden
New edition
Author: Jean Giraud
Full Colour
62pp
Hardback
Dimensions : 24.3x32x1.2 cm
ISBN : 2203063181
EAN : 9782203063181
I am guessing that there will be those who look at Moebius’s work here and call it “simplistic” in style. That just means they have not been looking. There is an abundance of lovely detail and the one thing that always stands out is the use of colour.  It can shift from a light purple to a blue or green and it is almost like a “trip” in itself.  Brings back memories of colour Windsor & Newton inks (very hard to find these days).

The two books have text feature back-ups and Casterman is issuing new editions of all six volumes in the series –these two out ….today!

Love these.





Cinebook The 9th Art: Thorgal 12 -The Brand Of The Exiles




Thorgal vol. 12- The Brand of the Exiles
Rosinski & Van Hamme
Paperback
Full colour
48 colour pages
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Age: 15 years and up
ISBN: 9781849181365
Price: £5.99 inc. VAT
Publication: October 2012

Thorgal has been gone for three years. Now, the last raiding expedition organised by the men of his village is late in returning. When a single survivor stumbles in to announce that their drakkar was boarded by the dreaded Shaigan, he also reveals that Shaigan is actually… Thorgal!
Outraged, the grieving, vengeful Viking women banish Aaricia and her children and brand her an exile. All that’s left for them is to try to find Thorgal again.
Did I ever think I would see Thorgal published in English? Yes, because it is a great series.  But did I ever think we would see it reach a twelfth volume? No. It is just one more successful series from Cinebook that I really, really hope English readers appreciate.
The twists and turns keep coming and to be honest a lot of what I’ve read so far, especially Thorgal in Mesoamerica I have not seen before.  Now his wife and children become, once more, victims of his adventures.
Will I write about the script? No.  Will I write about the art? No.  Why not? Are you kidding me? This is Van Hamme and Rosinski (and I’ve run out of ways to describe Rosinski’s art and colour work…sigh).
At 2013 UK comic conventions I want to see Thorgal cosplayers –Saintcantin has Orbital covered!
I LOVE that cover!



Time Bomb Comics: The Last Ride Of Henry Holden






THE LAST RIDE OF HENRY HOLDEN


Writer: Alex De-Gruchy
Artists: Gorgio Iannotti & Mike Bunt
Full colour
56 pages
US format
perfect bound
£6.99/$10.99
ISBN 978-0-9561822-6-5



Since 2007, Time Bomb Comics has regularly been publishing an eclectic range of one-shots and graphic novels from both brand new and established comic creators.  Their latest release “The Last Ride Of Henry Holden” marks five years of publishing history for the Birmingham-based comics publisher.



“The Last Ride Of Henry Holden” officially launches at the Thoughtbubble 2012 convention in Leeds over the weekend of 17th/18th November and will also be available through Diamond’s Previews catalogue.



A 56-page full-colour graphic novella, “The Last Ride Of Henry Holden”  is a grim tale of Old West redemption set in the year 1871, written by Alex De-Gruchy with artwork by Giorgio Iannotti and Mike Bunt, colouring by Owen Watts and lettering by Nikki Foxrobot.



“The Last Ride Of Henry Holden” will be on sale at Thoughtbubble at a special launch price of £6.00, along with Time Bomb’s full range of  titles.



For more information on this and any other Time Bomb Comics please contact stevetanner@timebombcomics.com


www.timebombcomics.com


When this arrived I was a little “meh!”  I just wasn’t holding out too much hope since Western comics have been a rarity in the UK for decades now –though Europe has never stopped it’s love of Wild West comics.

Went through the pages quickly and noted a couple of things I didn’t like with certain panels. If I get that reaction I usually put the book down and leave it a day or two.  This I did and, yesterday, I sat down and read the book in one sitting. Normally, a book like this I’ll read a bit then get on with work then read some more later.  Thing is, this was rather good.

My whole reader feeling was that I had just sat down and watched the old BBC 2 Saturday Western (if any of you are that old you’ll know what I mean).  All the elements were there except for the mighty Randolph Scott. There was even the slight twist in the ending.

Not sure if De Gruchy is a Western film fan but it’s the feeling I got. The good thing is that Time Bomb Comics produce these books as one-offs so it’s the entire story –no part 2 to wait for.

Nice cover design adds a lot to this –if you are at Thought Bubble check out their table –and The Last Ride Of Henry Holden!

Titan Books: The Super Crooks -The Heist

Writer/co-plotter; Mark Millar, Nacho Vigalondo
Penciller Leinil Yu
Inker Gerry Alanguilan
Colourist Sonny Gho
Full Colour
Hardback
128 pages
Dimensions 258 x 170mm
Publication date: 24 October 2012
ISBN: 9781781165829
£14.99

When the market is flooded with competition and the authorities are always on your tail, what’s an all-American super villain to do? Go to Spain, of course! Johnny Bolt convinces his villainous pals to pull off one last heist but will culture shock get to them before the policia do? And when Johnny’s target is revealed as the greatest super villain of all time, things go horribly wrong – but it’s too late to turn back.
A massive secret in the American superhero community might just work in their favor, and if the Supercrooks can survive, it will mean an enormous payday! From the writer who brought you KICK-ASS and the artist of SUPERIOR and SECRET INVASION!
Okay, not a big fan of much of Millar’s comic work but this, despite the expletives, is quite good.  Yes, Millar fans expect the “realistic language” so that’s out of the way. Although I actually saw the main plot twist at the end coming it still surprised me.

No surprise that this reads like a cross between the movie Ocean’s Eleven and The X-men since Millar saw it as a movie –hence calling in Vigalondo (buy the book –it’s all explained).  The sniper rifle-scope scene was so obviously a cinematic touch because you can visualise how they might use that in a movie –in the comic it just looks and sounds plain daft.

But, hands up here –it was a good read.

The art itself is superb and the colour work enhances it even more.  No faults there.  So, I’ve recommended a Millar book (crap –does this mean the Mayans were right??).

My criticism is that it’s all “super heroes with pervie secrets that are no better than crooks” and the excessive head explosions, blood and gore and anti-hero crooks are just so old hat.  Seriously, this started in the mid-1980s –Marshal Law, Watchmen –I could write a bloody long list.

I always thought that, if he wanted to, Millar could sit down and write top-notch original or standard super hero stories with his own “touch” to them.  No obscenities, no excessive blood and something that might inspire some kid(s) to say “This is cool –I want to write comics like this one day!”

I may just be an old fart and, yes, I know that certain factions will love certain genres that they expect to see such-and-such in.  Hey, I’m a horror comic film buff so I know the score (and I can tell you most zombie films now have literally the same plot and endings, which is boring).  So I get that certain people expect certain things from Millar books.  I’m just like to see him write one I could pass along to my nephews one day and say “you’ll enjoy this” (knowing full well they’ll probably prefer the other stuff!).

So, recommended.




Titan Books: Charlie’s War IX -Death From Above



Writer  Pat Mills
Art  Joe Colquhoun
Hardback
Black & White
120 pages
Dimensions: 297 x 220mm
ISBN: 9780857683007
Publication date: 9 November 2012

RRP £14.99



In this explosive new volume of never-before-collected comic strip, including for the first time reproductions of original artwork from the Colquhoun archive, things are looking up for Charley after he meets the love of his life. But the happy occasion of their wedding is destroyed by the roar of destructive Zeppelin Bombers from Berlin! The ninth action-packed volume of Charley’s War is rich in the detailed minutiae of the terror-punctuated existence of a Tommy.

Well, you can forgive Pat Mills most things thanks to his writing Charlie’s War and if you consider it probably took a lot of research to write this then think of what Joe Colquhoun must have waded through.  This was before the internet (1979?) and online research resources or internet video archives. Mills and Colquhoun would have needed to do a LOT of work.

Now, everyone knows I’m also an historian and the military is a strong interest.  So, when I see the uniforms, aircraft, tanks, naval vessels and weapons I know it is perfectly correct in detail.  If you study photographs of the period then even the scenes away from the Front are spot on.

There is no glamorising war here.  That was never the point.  It shows the desperation and utter crap that troops on both sides had to live in while fighting a war that was basically a European royal “tiff”.

These books should be in every school library.  In fifty years time Mills and Colquhoun will still be remembered for this series and, hopefully, the books will be a standard regular educational tool.
The books would make a great gift if you’ve a wargamer in the family. And this is high production quality.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

KSTR: Retropolis



Anne-Laure To & Eldiablo
Hardcover
Full colour
120 pages
Dimensions: 19.2×27.8×1.2 cm
ISBN: 2203020601
EAN: 9782203020603
Date of publication: 14/11/2012
Price: € 16.00

In a world in which the animal-world history seems to have followed a course very similar to our own, a soldier, Otto Listig, loses both hands during fighting in the trenches of the 1914-18 War.

A decade later, Retropolis, and Otto has become the owner of a night club, with criminal clientele, he is aided by a female Cyclops, Oedipa, who helps him overcome his disability.

But Otto is not just spawn in the underworld: secretly, he does not hesitate to sell some of his daughters to a very disturbing politician whose ambitions are seemingly limitless. It is in this context that he meets Polly, an heiress with a sassy rebellious temperament who has just escaped almost military surveillance by her chaperone …

This is To’s first book and what a book. I saw the cover and thought “meh!” but when I opened up the book…it is pure style through-and-through. The colour seems to make it stand out even more.  I really am glad I got this one and I do hope that some of you out there are at least trying these books –even if you cannot read French!



Casterman BD: Magasin General 8: Les Femmes/General Store 8 -Women





Authors: Jean-Louis Tripp , Régis Loisel        Collection: Universe authors
Hardcover
Full colour
64 pages
Dimensions: 24x32x1.1 cm
ISBN: 2203049227
EAN: 9782203049222

Price: € 14.95
Date of publication: 21/11/2012

The winter again. After the charleston, brought by Marie of Montreal, has swept like a fury through Notre-Dame-des-Lacs, men have finally gone back to the forest, to work throughout the cold season. Calm can finally return to the village. But not for very long …

For Mary, after sharing her bed with  Ernest and Mathurin, discovers that she is pregnant without knowing who the father is – and she had always thought that she was sterile!

Meanwhile, Réjean, the young parish priest, takes refuge  in the construction of his boat, disturbed by his intimate and existential questions that have led to a crisis of faith and he feels no longer able to answer his the religious calling.

This leads to fear and panic amongst the bigots of the village and there is even talk of going to fetch the bishop! After all, where is this all going to lead?  The mayor angry about the priest, the wild dances, lovers who live in sin and children without a father … is this not a sign of a curse unleashed on Notre-Dame-des-Lacs?

Some very nice art and it’s very atmospheric but, as to the story, not a lot I can add when I’m coming in at volume 8!  But the art sells the book for me!


Casterman BD: Alix 31: L’Ombre de Sarapis/ Alix 31: The Shadow of Sarapis



Alix 31: L’Ombre de Sarapis/ Alix 31: The Shadow of Sarapis
François Corteggiani , Marco Venanzi , Jacques Martin
Hardcover
Full colour
48 pages
Dimensions: 22.6×30.4×0.9 cm

ISBN: 2203025425
EAN: 9782203025424
Date of publication: 14/11/2012
Collection: Jacques Martin
Price: € 10.95

In Rome, Caesar comes to learn that Egypt has removed Caesarian, the son born of his marriage with Queen Cleopatra, from the throne. Very concerned, he delegates to Alexandria Alix the task of  investigating Caesarian’s disappearance. But it seems that other ears have heard of this. At Ostia, where they plan to embark on a ship to the other side of the Mediterranean, Alix and Enak are spied on and followed by unknown persons whose only  indication of their presence is a mysterious Egyptian carved stone.

Later, at sea, the two friends are again victims of the stalkers – as they try to kill them! After having lost their pursuers, and finally managing to land in Egypt, Alix and Enak opt for open confrontation and seek Cleopatra to hear from her in person what has happened to her son.

Here, in homage and tribute to the work and character of Jacques Martin, the 31st adventure of Alix is drawn by Marco Venanzi, already the author of the twenty-ninth episode of the series, and the script, which marks his entry into the world of Alix , is by François Corteggiani.

Ahh, for the days when a strip like this might have appeared in a British weekly comic!  There is little to be said about this if you are familiar with the Alix books and if you are not I can tell you Corteggiani and Venanzi remain true to Martin’s vision. Excellent stuff!


Cutting: The Dream Quest Of Randolph Carter 1



ool_dc5505760
The Dream Quest Of Randolph Carter #1
Charles Cutting
Issue one is a 24 page,full colour, high quality, American format comic which I can post to you where-ever you are in the world. The cost of the comic to buy from my site is five pounds which includes postage and packaging costs.
£5.00


I first posted on this book a good while ago -in case you are forgetful:
http://www.comicbitsonline.com/2012/04/15/the-dream-quest-of-randolph-carter/
The whole book is well worth the cost and there is something about the art style -the details, characters and the colouring that win me over. Yes, the colours are eye-tickling.
PLEASE support a UK creator who should be getting far more attention than he is!  Issue 2 should be out around January/February, 2013.  Check out the Illustrated Ape site!
http://www.theillustratedape.com/gallery/

Help Randolph Carter fulfil his quest!