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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Who Would Be In YOUR UK Super Hero Group?

I write this knowing that with a 99% failure rate on getting people involved it will come to nothing but what the hell!

My question is this: if there was a British version of Marvel Comics The Mighty Avengers, and you could use characters from any British company, which ten would form your team?

Simple as that.  Just fun.

Recommendation: Lost Hero of the Golden Age Ep.1 Blue Bolt

If you are interested in comic book history and particularly US Golden Age characters I can recommend this series of short videos.  Just had a fun afternoon watching them!

Marvel Comics secret history revealed by Bell, Vassallo! INTERVIEW

Charlton Comics: The Movie and Why I Should Not Have Posted Anything!

Oh do f*ck off.  Even Sherlock Holmes would back away from this.

I posted the two Charlton Comics videos yesterday because (a) I am a Charlton Comics fans (since about 1972) and (b) it showed the dubious side of comics publishing. 

So guess what?  Today I open my email and find one from the alleged owner of Charlton Comics characters as well as ACG characters and also of Atlas Seaboard characters and company name –Roger Broughton.  Yeah, right.

So what did ‘Mr Broughton’ want?  I neither know nor care because I looked at the email address and it was from one of those throw-away phone apps.

I deleted the email.  Why?  Well, I have all my previous ‘Broughton’ emails saved but this item from the old Comic Bits Online (January, 2008) ought to explain all.

Roger Broughton…or Is It?

For this article I have drawn on paper records and emails [1995-2007] from the individuals involved.  ACG (American Comics Group) had its stars such as creator Ogden Whitney, whose past I have tried to cover elsewhere –he was the artist behind Herbie The Fat Fury. Kurt Schaffenberg, famous as an artist for DC on Supergirl and Lois Lane, drew Magic Man, while Richard Hughes wrote huge amounts of script under various names.

As with other US comics from that period, I first saw the ACG characters within the pages of  Alan Class comics.  But then ACG vanished. I could say the same about Charlton Comics, though they at least  lasted into the early 1980s.

Incredibly, as the years rolled on, we discovered more about the, uh.”unorthodox”  workings of Charlton.  Anyone who is a regular reader of Alter Ego magazine will be familiar with the company history. Even now, creators really do not want to speak too openly about this or the “Mob” connections.


In the 1980s, Charlton material was auctioned off and John Lustig managed to grab a chunk of the Romance strips, which he has re-packaged over the years and the other prominent name amongst the purchasers was Roger Broughton who, again, reprinted much Charlton Horror and ACG material under his A +  logo.

However, no new strips ever appeared and though many people attempted to try to make deals with Broughton.  But Broughton is a hard man to track down and even distributors like Bud Plant, who have handled some of the poorly selling b&w A+ books, have had chequered contacts.

Between 1994-2005 I tried to track Broughton down with a project proposal.  Every previous address was either non-existent or unoccupied.  Some journalist friends of mine in the States tried to track Broughton down for me.  They came up with the same as well as rumours of Internal Revenue Service [IRS] and other less-than  savoury folk looking for Broughton.  That, however, was his business not mine.

On 12th November, 2005 I got an email from ‘Broughton’ -but read this for yourself:

thank you for your letter,
you van contact me at Roger @jerron.com for more information.

i am working on several projects with the ACG Charlton Char actors.
when we bought Charlton and ACG comics we purchases all rights without limitations ,
over the years much material has been reprinted in several countries and we are currently  working with a major publisher   and  movie studio. hence forcing me to move from Canada to the
Chek soon with Bud Plant  for more inventory  from the ACG line meanwhile keep writing.
roger broughton”

Now, to be brutally honest, this is barely literate.  I sent a copy to some people who had corresponded with Broughton: they thought I was being hoaxed.  I was asked what address I had sent my letter to?  In fact, I had never sent a letter to any address as I had not found one that was real.

So, I forwarded all my proposals, sketches, referenced material and even a lengthy cv –everything I had [copyrighted of course]  and the email was also copied and posted to friends within the industry for protection “in case”.

After a few hours I got a new ‘Broughton’ mail:

“Thank you for your kind wishes,
I still have trouble understanding your inquiry. i have been dealing in publishing rights  for over twenty years. As a consultant I am still very much involved with the two of the major comic book publishers and I am currently working with two studios.
Your letter  was somewhat vague. What you indicated as possibilitie is somewhat true but a lot more com-plicated then indicated.

You can always forward a proposal on anything but  it is difficult if you have no professional association with any of the markets  you listed.

As far as the question and answer , the internet crowd will write what they like. anyway they should look at archive articles in the comic buyers guide who reported the purchase tot the media back in  86,  they did  a good job.

I sat reading this.  The style was slightly different and literacy poor but it seemed to be another person.  As I included a cv and had, or so I thought, been in communication with ‘Broughton’ before, I was very confused –this mail was nonsense.

But ‘Broughton’ was a consultant to “the two of the major comic book publishers” –this would be easy to check.  I made enquiries by phone and email to DC and Marvel on some pretence of needing to contact Broughton.  I checked with senior management as well as other departments.  None had the slightest idea whom I was talking about.

So, I tried a few of the larger Independents.  Similar results.


I was still trying to work in TV circles and contacted two of the studio “fixers” who knew everyone from studio bosses to the catering man.  No luck.  Besides, I was told “working with two studios” could mean anything.

I know a lot of people in publishing or reporting on comics in Europe.  They had heard of none of these licensed comics but Europe is a big place so….  

I was intrigued.  So I mailed ‘Broughton’ back stating that, of course he knew me and of my work –we had been in touch for ‘years’.  The response was… “mad”.

14th November,2005

“Ok Terry,
let me we know what is good for you and we will  do a meeting of the minds.
I am a comic book geek too . you will be happy to know that up to about 6 years ago a lot of material was reprinted in europe mostly Italy and
roger B”

But I only had ‘Broughtons’ email address.  I asked for the postal address to forward art prelims and written proposal.

No response.

I mailed again.


‘Broughton’s’ mail accounts were dead.

The only “Jerron” I could locate was involved in printing.  Roger Broughton was not listed as a member of staff.  I asked a friend who lived some 30 miles from Jerron if he could do a “paper check” on Jerron and Broughton.

No, Broughton was not listed with the company and no Roger Broughton seemed to be living in the state.

Then I got a couple of emails out of the  blue –this one from David Walker:

March 2006


I know we have corresponded in the past but I had no idea that you
were interested in the ACG or had been trying to locate roger

I can tell you that about five years ago I wanted to publish
reprints of some ACG and Charlton stuff.  I tracked Broughton down
to Jerron Printing but the replies I got were very confusing as it
took ages before he responded and then I was told he was ill so
could not reply just then.

It got more confusing when I was told Broughton only dealt directly
with “the bosses” yet it was my project and I WAS the boss but had
to deal with Broughtons front man.   This was a joke in itself in
that I got several replies to one mail and all contradicting
things.  I was then told Broughton had nothing to do with Jerron -
they just allowed him mail facilities!!!!

Phillipe Blaque a Quebec guy who was interested in the old ACG
comics told me that he had found Broughton was dead.  I was told
that before I exchanged any contract or money to make it clear that
I needed to have contact details OUTSIDE of Jerron because
Broughton was not an employee or their and they were doing all the

So, I contacted Jerron and told them that I needed persanal (sic) contact details for Broughton and to discuss the matter with HIM because he was the copyright owner and the man who I would need to make checks out to.

To say the response was hostile is understating things.  I  explained that I had been told that Broughton was dead and had only had a broughton  at jerron mail post but wanted to speak or at least write to him personally so my mind was eased.  The guy swore and slammed the phone down -their number is ——— if you want to try?
Im betting youll get the same response.

Let me know,guy.


Well, I phoned and the lady who responded said “I’ll check for you though that name is not familiar to me”  A couple minutes waiting and: “I’m terribly sorry.  I guess you must be mistaken –there is no Roger Broughton on staff”.

So, I thought I’d email Jerron and I was a little  surprised, therefore, when I got the following from Jerron:

Thanks for your inquiry. Roger does indeed reside near us, he chose store materials and use our area as a base of operations. I’ll pass your email on. You may hear from others at Jerron too as the info email gets sent to an entire team. BTW since he is here (but doesn’t work for us as such) we did give him an email he’s been using, roger@jerron.com

I’m pleased to meet you, we are very involved in comics production in the USA and around the world. Our specialty is digitising classic materials.

I’m sending you a LinkedIn invitation. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a business resource and networking site, entirely private and free. Lots of comics people on. Feel free to connect if you like.

Best regards,
Ken Cooper
Senior Vice President

Right, so ‘Broughton’ lived near Jerron but does not work for them but stores material there and therefore gets an email assigned him  (which everyone at the company has access to and can view his emails)?

After this another email from ‘Broughton’ with a phone number.  Jerron phone number and the lady answering again told me there was no one called Broughton there.

February saw a good few mails from Broughton.  Never answering direct questions about who was printing what under licence and where I could buy copies: direct requests for  answers to my proposals –nothing.

Then ‘Broughton’ told me he was coming to the Book Fair in London during March and it was suggested we meet up.  I was given the hotel name, room number and telephone number along with extension number.  This I could not miss out on.

I confirmed a date and time that I would meet him in the lobby and he confirmed that was okay.  The day before my 250 miles trip to London I phoned the hotel and asked for the extension number.  A rather bemused hotelier said the extension didn’t exist and asked who gave it to me?  I said a guest in for the Book Fair.  He told me someone else might have dealt with the guest. 

Like a fool I thought it was a misunderstanding since the hotelier’s English was quite poor.  I should have asked about the room number.

So, 24 hours later, there I was; standing in the foyer of a very small hotel with a rather bemused manager telling me that, the room number I was given meant they would have had to have ten rooms more than existed!

I made enquiries at the Book Fair with the organisers.  “No. No, Roger Broughton here”. I tried the phone number again “just in case”. Nothing. Pissed off I started on the long journey back to Bristol.

I went home and mailed Broughton whose response was that the hotel must have made an error!  Oh, perhaps if I rushed up the next day I could catch him before he flew home?

That wasn’t going to happen.

I’d arranged with a publisher to interview Broughton and explained that it  I’d not managed to gather a lot of biographical data on him - there was one excuse after another given by him and so the editor of the magazine I was working for tried to contact Broughton but no responses and I later found out an American writer who had worked for the editor lived in the area where Jerron was based but had found no trace of ‘Broughton’ –and he even called at Jerron.

In the meantime, an enquiry about the rights to Charlton characters arrived:

So I emailed Robin Snyder who I was told had been involved in the Charlton sell off:

“Hello, Robin.

My name is Terry Hooper and I’ve been working on an article on what happened to Charlton Comics characters -whether rights sold off were character rights or simply reprint rights.

I was told that you might be able to advise me -Phil Latter was kind enough to pass on your email address.  If I’ve got the wrong guy my SINCERE apologies.  If I’ve got the right guy….can you help?


And the reply:

“You have found me, Terry,

I did indeed sell the various properties for Charlton, stats, negs, titles and/or any and all rights.

  A few (such as various ghost stories and Killjoy) went to Steve Ditko and me. Some westerns went to Bill Black. Roger Broughton purchased the lion’s share of the material for reprint only. There were others but who remembers?

Good luck,


A similar response was received regarding the old ACG characters.

This all explained why everything Broughton had produced over the years was simple (varying quality) black and white reprints.  Reprints rights only.

I mentioned this very politely to Broughton in an email and even suggested how poor quality stats could be upgraded -and there came a rather belligerent reply.   I seemed to be unknown to ‘Broughton’ again (!) and he was rather insulting about my lack of comic knowledge and experience in comics!!

This time I asked for proof that he was Roger Broughton and not a couple of hoaxers and I asked yet again about the promised interview and for an address to send material to –I also asked why he said he didn’t know me again?

The response came  on 24th February,2007:

“A bad choice of words  “not knowing who you are”  what should have been said  is “who you are working with”
Being also somewhat of a historian and a fan of roman culture i know quite well your background roman history all the way to Defiant.. I envie were you live . A few thousand years of history at your fingertips, that’s very impressive..
(i am  working on a Boodika project  I hope to offer to TV)
 I  spent some time in Bath and Stonehenge during my last visit to  the UK  thinking  this was  this was a lot more interesting  to  discuss over dinner than comics.
Anyway please don’t take that as an attack on you  and your  own history. It was not meant that way.
All  of what i do is a lot more complex than  small press. The Charlton horror material represents a very small fraction of the material that we licensed over the last twenty odd years.
(I bet you didn’t know that Herbie and Fat man the Human flying saucer was printed in
again best of luck on your project
roger b”

Basically, ’Broughton’ had quickly checked the internet and discovered I had a reputation as an amateur historian specialising in pre-Roman and Roman Britain. Interestingly, the Queen of the Icenii who bloodied Rome’s nose in 1st Century Britain is often incorrectly given as “Boadicea” but her name was Boudica.  Who the **** “Boodika” is…!

My history with Defiant?  (Reading this now a penny drops.  The only ‘history’ I had with Defiant was that early morning phone call threatening me for having a Black Tower logo –explained later on so don’t worry) )

As to “who” I was working with…well, me!

I wrote back that after a couple years I was giving up and that I did not believe I was dealing with the real (the rumoured-to-be-dead ) Roger Broughton but a couple of hoaxers.  As he was so pally with Jerron I had suggested a photo of himself with the folk there that could be used in any interview –‘he’ got downright pissy over that!

In an earlier mail I mentioned that a former Charlton artist who had done some cover work for him said “Hi” from himself and his wife who had entertained Broughton before the 1980s auction.  He remembered the artist and dinner well.  I’d made up the artist and his wife story.

Comparing notes with others who had dealt with Broughton in the past, it was clear that we had all dealt with two or three hoaxers.

I told ‘Broughton’ I was no longer interested.

There followed a series of mails from ‘Broughton’ –all offering to sort out the misunderstanding and allow me “licencing rights for reprints”.  Desperate to get cheques for material to reprint but offering no address-of-business and no contract or other details.  Suddenly I realised why people might be trying to track him down. 

This was distinctly dubious.

As in the past, when the questions got too hot, someone writes to say “Roger is in hospital for a serious operation”.  Usually he then goes silent.  On this occasion, he contacted me the same evening as he had been rushed into hospital?!

Will we see more A+ reprints of Charlton or ACG material?

Who knows.

I would love to be proved wrong.  For Roger Broughton (who in another mail told me he had found I was looking for him on a Closed Membership yahoo group –where had my ‘letter’ gone then?)  to still be alive would be nice but I would advise anyone to first ask for positive proof that they are dealing with the real McCoy!

If the REAL Roger Broughton is out there I’d love to hear from him.

This entry was written by Terry and posted on January 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm and filed under FEATURES. Bookmark the permalink.

But the saga was not over.

Post Roger Broughton…or Is It?

Oh please, no. Nothing and then…TWO Roger Broughton mails in one day in response to the same article!  This was on a CBO comments.

One mail seeming to indicate that everything I said was wrong and not so well written and the other polite and well written and not blaming me.

Comics, folks. Funny old business.

1. admin on May 13th, 2008 at 3:29 am

I re-read your comments about our conversations as well as our emails and you told me you could not meet me in london and i did miss your call. You never showed at the hotel and you never mentioned that you did to me at any time.

You called and I was not as the show? Who did you talk too?

Publishing shows only list people and companies that have a booth? Ithink the center had a few thousand exibits.

I believe the $40.00 directory that they sell is for people like me that do these shows. I think the print run for such directories for the london show was over 30,000. Calling someone at a show short of paging them is futile unles they have a booth and even then the pace is frantic and you work of your voice mail.

I also never offered you publishing rights. Due to previous commitments I did offer to look into to it but there was regional complications due to future licensing projects.

No money was request and international rights are never and i say never handled by check. We use wire transfer or bank drafts until a relation is built.

And most of the material (80 %)we have sold in Europe was mostly licensed material. Popeye Hanna-Barbara ect, most of these to book publishers

The artist and the wife thing, why did you not name these people. I was never even in publishing until the mid eighties and it was not comics. Why did you not name all these contacts that you say you spoke to

I notice you did not publish any emails to this effect. We never requested any money what so ever.

I know Terry that not doing this project your pride was hurt. You seem to think that your name carries enough wait to move mountains.

I hope it can but the truth is all of this is your own conclusions.

Your knowledge of internatioal publishing seems to be some what limited. With the consolidation of publishers, distributors combined with the continuing battle for sale space we are all very cautious

The internet is the wild west when it comes to stuff like. This the only word of advice I can offer is don’t use libel as a tool. To elevate one self at the expense of others is simply wrong.

And I never did a google about you, your extensive resume that you e-mailed me (several times) was the bases of my conversation.

Sorry for spelling errors

Anyway I wish you well, and i wish you success in the publishing field.

2. roger broughton on May 12th, 2008 at 10:56 pm


I am quite surprised that my life seems to be so full of inuendo and speculation. Working with major publishers does not only mean comic book publishers.
All this bit about unsavory people and such is real news to me.

And you are right I Am a client of Jerron along with DC and Marvel, Dark Horse ect.. Consulting is also a very private business.

As far as the rest I don’t know what to say except that publishing is a tight liped business. No one says nothing. everything is timed and planned over long periods of time. The Dark Horse was discussed over 3 years ago.

The other projects we have lined up have time frames of around two years.

This said i am sorry I could not see you in London, publishing shows run long and business runs late. Too bad we could not meet face to face.

You will see a lot of activity based on our archives starting with Dark Horse.

The person called Mark andre if you could forward him my email I so i can address the situation. “je vais regler la situation”

roger b
3. roger broughton on May 12th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Michael Brown then responded:

Interesting, interesting. As someone long interested in the works put out by Charlton and ACG, the reprints (real and promised) from “Broughton” have long been of interest.

Now that Dark Horse Comics are planning on doing archive reprints of ACG materials (complete Herbie and Nemesis books so far), one has to wonder how/if this is an impact. Maybe DH has done some digging and perhaps feels the ACG material is really public domain. One has to wonder as those rights languished for years before Broughton apparently bought them (from who?), and only lead to an aborted Herbie reprint from DH and a few reprints from A+ later on.

4. Michael Brown on April 11th, 2008 at 9:54 am


Well, what a story !

I had two or three e-mails with Canada-based Roger Broughton in the beginning of the new century, when I tried to buy his comic books reprints (Terry and other adventure titles). I think I found ACG e-mail in one of the comics. I remember that he was sympathic but he didn’t seemed to exactly know what he published -who was drawing, writing, from where came the material…-

I tried to trade copies of HOP!, the comics mag I wrote in, against his comic books. He looked very interested about the french (european?) market and promised to send the comics very quickly.

I sent him some other mails and, as did the Comic Book Artist editor, he swore he had sent the books.

I’m still waiting.

Last time I heard of him was about some trouble he had with the rights of the comics he said he bought. Some people thought they had the rights.

Bravo !

5. Marc-André on January 28th, 2008 at 9:40 am


Now, I want to go back to certain points. 

(1) The ‘Broughton(s)’ I was in contact with only want cashier cheques made out in US dollars.  That in itself is very dodgy and simply means you have an open cheque.  No bank or other ID involved. A business run legitimately would have a bank account for money to go into.  This is why I insisted on some proof that I was dealing with the real Broughton.

(2) The fact that my ‘history’ with Defiant Comics was brought up was interesting. That has been referred to here: http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/the-decision-and-why-it-needs-explaining.html

The lawyer was offensive and threatened legal action and my response was “Go ahead”.  I never had a caller check in those days so I could not get back in touch. But it seemed just too much of a coincidence –unless I am being paranoid.

(3) According to the people involved in the sale of Charlton material only reprint rights were sold. Not the characters which might have presented legal problems (as if Charlton cared).  When I tried to ask specific deal rights with Robin Snyder I was bluntly told the material was sold and he wanted no more to do with that subject.

(4) ‘Broughton’ owning the rights to Atlas Seaboard comics from the 1970s is pure bull-shit.  Atlas had a brief revival and the reason only a very small number of characters were involved was because of the creator copyright/ownership issues. I have gone into this in detail.  Go ask Jason Goodman.

(5) Someone involved in publishing, needing to promote the product within the industry or to studios tend not to be very camera shy –even if they do not like photographs it all helps to sell the “goods”.  In fact, neither myself nor anyone else who has looked into the question of “Who Is Roger Broughton” has ever come up with a photograph. A real address. A real permanent phone number or traceable email.

(6) a businessman so paranoid about giving any information about himself (who even those distributing his books cannot contact –‘he’ contacts them) uses an email that anyone can access?  Come on.

(7) how many company names do you need? 

ACG Classix
America's Comics Group
Sword in Stone
Avalon Communications

You get a company, tell people what you have and build from there.  Also, according to the Grand Comics Data  base the last book published by ‘Broughton’ was ACG material in Shot Gun Harker 2003.  Another company but this was the last after the 1987-1992 flurry of reprint books.

Steve Malone tells me that after similar contacts with Broughton to my own he even checked tax returns under Broughton and the various company names.  Nothing. And “Everyone I talked to says they never saw Broughton. No one wants to talk about the reprints sell off and some say material was sold several times to different people.” I tried to contact Steve about a year ago over something else but heard nothing back.  Maybe he’s uh “swimming wid d’fishes”?

So, anything with the name Broughton attached gets deleted immediately. Based on what I learnt Broughton would be in his nineties now but I don’t believe it. I think that the name was adopted by someone connected with the original Charlton company.  No one who exists is 100% untraceable in this day and age. 

Personally, I do not believe that there was ever any such person as Roger Broughton. It was a “front name”. Don’t contact me –contact the people making the documentary if you can prove Roger Broughton existed and if you are Roger Broughton –ditto!

Steve Rude Gives A Tour of His Studio

Joe Sinnott's Drawing Table

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Charlton Comics: The Movie - Official HD Trailer #2

History of Charlton Comics - Charlton the Movie ComicCon Panel- Thomas, ...

The Nearest Thing You'll Get To A Comics Industry Pep Talk From Me

Get a cup of coffee, tea or whatever you drink, maybe even a snack. This could go on a bit (in fact, it does and I know that because I wrote this after writing what follows!).

You don't sleep much you get more opportunity to think things through.  In the last week I have binged on comic book blogs as well as vlogs on You Tube.  I have mentioned some of them.  I even read some of the comments people left there -the one in which more abusive language was used seems to be aimed at getting more views and to branch on to production outside You Tube (the vlogger actually states that last part).  What I find worrying is that there is no control over comments -racist and sexist in the extreme and even the typical You Tube racist name calling other commenters.

This is the problem.  Yes, people are finally catching on to the fact that the comics media is promoting the Big Two -don't panic, I am not going into all that again.  The point is that even the "anti Comics media" people are biased for their own reasons. Hurl obscenities and call it "freedom of speech" because you know the people who are going to comment or get attracted to your videos.  In the 1980s the radio "Shock Jocks" used the same tactics. It pulls people in and the ratings go up.  You are not adding anything serious to the argument but who cares -you got your ratings.

I read a comment today "comics are dead"!  No. DC and in the most extreme case, Marvel Comics are comatose and floating in the water.  Neither will go back to pulling in old time editors -jeez, Jim Shooter might even back off from Marvel and he knows the business- who know the creators who can write and can draw (I heard from someone the other day that a Marvel artist almost went into meltdown because his computer based system crashed and he had no idea how to pencil without digital -I have seen this myself several times and one artist even screeched "I'm not a caveman -I can't use paper and pencil!" Don't laugh).

Forget it. I just read Secret Empire #0 (on You Tube of all places) and it's art was...not that good and varied from good to bad to "passable".  The writing and dialogue....Not good at all.

But the media fed comic 'fans' who read articles by journalists who have no idea about comics except what they have been fed -for instance: Stan Lee created The Black Panther in the 1970s.  Or "Lee and Kirby created the first non black stereotype character in comics in the late 1960s".  Firstly, off the top of my head...the Panther was in a June or July 1966 issue of Fantastic Four. Kirby is recorded stating that "Blacks were unrepresented in comics".  He talked to Lee and they came up with The Black Panther....trivia in the back of my brain says at one point he was called the Black Leopard to avoid being seen as endorsing the radical Black Panther movement...also, I think Kirby's original Panther costume was quite colourful.  I am going to need to double check this (I never trust anything I write!).  But, again, wrong on different levels: the first "non stereo-typed black in comics"??  There they, as people with no idea comics exist outside the United States, get it wrong. Black characters appeared in the comics of non US publishers and were not always "stereotyped". Even in US comics there were black characters who were not stereotypes -going back to the 1950s.

And if we are talking just Marvel comics (DC had to wait until the early 1970s before they discovered black people) then how about Pvt Gabriel "Gabe" Jones?  Who?  Sgt Fury And His Howling Commandos saw publication in 1963.....

Both those companies are surviving based on movies or merchandising -a major portion of merchandise based on comics from the 1980s because that way they get all the profit not any creators.

What I realised is that many real fans do not go by what they see on The Big Bang Theory or on TV shows and movies. Some who have been collecting for 50 years have even come out of You Tube retirement because people are asking them to make more videos and talk more about comics.  These people and their knowledge put many of the cribbing 'experts' in the comic media to shame.  And out of all the YT comic channels I was subscribed to one after another has vanished so from 40 about 4 years ago at the height of the "comics are cool and hip" craze...5 are still going.  Some of the others jumped onto new crazes and became 'experts' on those. Most of the old fans followed Marvel and DC religiously but now, from almost every title a month to selected titles per month...maybe one or two Marvel and DC. That is losing your core fan base.

DC and Marvel don't care. It's the quick buck they want.  Again, let's not go over old ground.

Smaller Independent publishers are vanishing.  Even You Tubers and bloggers have noticed (maybe if they had read CBO over the last ten years....).  "The smaller guys are just vanishing like crazy!" one says.  Yes. Those still going feel they have to compete with what DC and Marvel puts out "because that's what everyone is buying" so you get all types of super hero comics. Black Tower has horror, science fiction and other genres.  Of course there are super heroes but publishing just super hero books...no.  But this is what smaller publishers think they have to do. It doesn't help.

Now, over the past (1997-2017) I have said repeatedly that I will review Small Press or Independent comics.  Whatever arrives I review: that is policy so long as you are not spouting racism or any other type of hatred (oh they have tried).  So why do mainly larger companies such as Cinebook, Titan Books et al send review books?  Well, they know their book will be noticed by a few thousand people (with stats I see how books reviewed even a year ago are still checked out in large numbers).  Also, even if they do not get huge numbers of sales immediately they know their book has been seen and that can pay off in many ways later.

I heard from one small publisher after another how they never think about review copies of their books. Even in the Small Press in the early 1980s we always kept aside review copies, maybe we were more professional!  "I have a pdf" -don't even go there.  Never touch them.  You send a pdf and it does not mean your book is printed.  People send you money.  You vanish and I get "Where's my book? You said...." I learnt very early on and I make sure people know that I will not accept a pdf. Oh, you Mr-I-Have-never-heard-of-you-before, you have a file for me at an online share site? Yeah, 1999 and 2002 taught me where to put your share site (it took others a while and even computer viruses being downloaded on three occasions by one reviewer to learn).

"But postage--"  sigh. Look, no one has to send me a book to review.  You don't want it publicised then don't contact me.  I receive a book I have to give up an hour -a large book 2 hours or more- of my time to read it.  Look through the art and then read it again.  I then have to review the book and include links to the publisher as well as other details some never include (unbelievably, how to buy, price and other basic info many do not include) which means I have to email the publisher or even search online.  Reviewing the book can take 2-3 hours of my time and I do not get paid for that time or get anything out of it other than the trouble of finding a space for one more book on my shelves/floor and reading the book (which is not always a bonus). So you cannot afford the postage to send me a book? And you complain online that "No one will review my books!"

I know that there are horror comics out there. I'm a big horror film/comic buff and you might think someone would look and think to themselves "invite him to this event/send him a copy of my comic" because I tend to promote events I go to, or used to, which means people who might not have WILL read about your event.  They never heard of your comic before but they will now or when they read a review in a month and they are into horror comics.

That is just an example but here is a better one. When Comic Bits, the publication and before it Zine Zone International were going, there was an international readership most fan publications could only dream of.  I was a big fan of AC Comics in its day and I offered publisher Bill Black a no catches free advertising space.  I also suggested he send review copies of books he wanted to promote.  No.  Why not?  I still have the letter in which he states that the US has "about 120 comic companies and there is no point promoting".  People never believed me.  Why in a crowded market would you refuse to accept free publicity because there are a lot of other companies: that would give you an advantage!   I showed the letter and it was read, re-read and read again to see if it was simply just read incorrectly.

You cannot force people to take an opportunity to have free advertising or to get their books reviewed.  It is their choice -if they can't see the benefits then it is not my job to explain it all or tell them how to run a publication (in the past more than a few asked me to do just that!). How serious are you as a publisher? Do you want to do this as a bit of fun? A hobby?  No problem.  Do you want to do this as a serious publisher -stay in it for the long run and, maybe, make money?  Then you take every and any opportunity. There are never any 100% guarantees but if you do not take the opportunities presented then there is no reason to complain later.

Even though I may be limited by languages I know, I would review non-English publications because a comic done correctly will tell you the story in pictures.  I have had publishers how I knew the story if I could not read the language?  Really.  But a covering note explaining story (a typical comic company press release does that)  and where to buy and that's it.

The whole purpose of Zine Zone and Comic Bits/Comic Bits Online was to promote smaller, independent publishers because DC and Marvel get as much free press as they want. Horror, super hero, monster, detective, sci fi, slice of life -I has covered all of that in my reviews since the 1980s. I don't dismiss any genre.  In fact, as some people know, I have given glowing reviews to work by people -writers or artists-  I absolutely hate personally.  I go by what I see and read and though some creators have come close to getting my fist in their teeth in the past that has nothing to do with my job as a reviewer.  People can't see how I do this and I just say it's "because I am a Gemini!"

Take advantage of CBO and its world wide readership.  You may not start being inundated with orders but it gets people to see your book or what your company is doing.  It also means that if you have a web site you can add a link to the review of your book or even take a quote from that review -people still tend to look and see what others think before buying.  If you are a serious small publisher do not go gently into the night -shout and scream!  It doesn't matter whether you are in Australiua, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ludwigshafen or Stockholm -if you have a love of comics and want to publish your own then do it!

The comics scene is what you make it.  You want to publish do it.  If you, as a reader who has a serious interest in comics ("I love comics!" usually means you just read one or the other or both DC and Marvel) then go out to events and see what you can find.  "But its in black and white" -that will not kill you. In fact, I know people who started collecting mainly black and white comics but hated the idea of no colour before.  Some of my favourite comics are odd, obscure things -even b&w- that as a youngster I purchased with my pocket money despite there being Marvel or DC comics on the rack.  Yeah, I should have realised I was doomed even back then.

Buy and try and you may like or even become a fan.

Long and rambling, I know, but I don't script then edit these posts.  It's what I pull out of my mind as I type.  As your mother said when you walked in on her and your dad that time "You don't like it -don't look!"

That sounded so wrong.

It is down to you, the comic buyer.  You, the small publisher.  You are the ones that can keep decent, well written and drawn comics alive and not turn around and insult readers.  That is really all I can write.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Mr Dilworth

Letter just arrived!

Horror & Ghost Stories AND The Phantom Detective!

Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories
Black & White
18 Pages
Price: £4.00 (excl. VAT)Prints in 3-5 business days

Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in...Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories as he returns with twelve illustrated text stories of horror and the ghostly introduced by none other than The Phantom Detective and guest starring Xendragon!

But for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!

Ben R. Dilworthblack & WhiteA4Paperback, 36 PagesPreviewPrice: £6.00 (excl. VAT)Ships in 3–5 business days

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... 


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!

Japanese Yokai...Because They Are WEIRD!


Japanese Yokai ~Preview

Benjamin R. Dilworth Paperback,  A4 Black and white 32 Pages
Price: £5.00 (excl. VAT)Prints in 3-5 business days
The follow-up to Dilworth's Western Yokai is here!
Text accompanied by some superb illustrations by Ben Dilworth of supernatural beings interwoven in Japanese culture such as "Kappa" the Water Monster; "Azuki Arai"; "Kuchi Saki Onna" (the Big Mouth Woman) and others.
Into ghost stories or ghost comics then this will suit you to a terror!

And Now For Some Pure Golden Age!

And if there is one thing "Herr Professor" loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring 'Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume " 

Black Tower Gold" albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager -The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!

The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

The Ultimate British Comics Gold Collection

Ed. Terry Hooper-Scharf
405 pages
Black & White
Perfect bound paperback
Price: £25.00

Combining volumes 1-6 (still available as individual issues but that works out far more expensive) of the BT Golden Age British Comics Collections (minus adverts) this is the ultimate for any Golden Age collector or historian or just plain comic lover.

Ace Hart
The Phantom Raider
Captain Comet 
Acro Maid
Phantom Maid
Dene Vernon
The Iron Boy
The Boy Fish
Professor Atom
The Tornado
Wonder Boy
Dane Jerrus
Tiny Tod
Maxwell The Mighty 
Back From The Dead
Zeno At The Earth's Core
Colonel Mastiff
Ally Sloper
Super Injun
Super Porker  (oo-er, no, Madam, ooh),
Tiger Man
King Of The Clouds
Captain Comet 
and MANY others!

Plus text features defining The Ages OF British Comics (Platignum, Gold, Silver), the artist William A. Ward and more.

If you knew nothing about British comics of the Platinum, Golden and Silver Ages then once you buy and read this book you'll be a goddam omic intellectual dinosaur! Yipes!

All in that beautiful Iron Warrior cover exclusively drawn for Black Tower by that meta-gargantuoso talented Ben R. Dilworth!

I sold my family to be able to get this book out! Help me buy them back by purchasing your very own 
whizz-o copy today!

The Deception Has Begun...Chung Ling Soo Is Here!

Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon

Terry Hooper-Scharf (W)  Gavin Stuart Ross (A)                                                                                                                
30 pages

Prints in 3-5 business days

Chung Ling Soo.  World's greatest conjurer and said to be an American stage magician in disguise.  Or was he?

In this story,Chung Ling Soo is called in by Scotland Yard to investigate a gruesome series of deaths -all amongst a party who discovered a Jade Dragon statuette in China.

Is the statuette cursed -and can Chung stop any other deaths?

 The Case Of The Thames Serpent

54 pages
Prints in 3-5 business days

Victorian conjurer and man of mystery and deception, Chung Ling Soo has been marked for death by a Chinese Tong that never fails to get its man.  Will Chung be able to escape death long enough to solve bizarre murders in London'd dockland as well as sightings of a sea serpent in the Thames?

And who is the Dragon Lord and how do his murderous plans fit into things?

The second in the Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery series

That scene still gives me chills.  But Chung Ling Soo is dead.  He is dead -right?  But if he was in the cab with Wilberforce HOW could he be the driver and.....buy the book and find out!  :-P

Both books are available as single albums but ....

The Case Book Of Chung Ling Soo

Writer: Terry Hooper-Scharf
Artist: Gavin Stuart Ross
84 Pages
Black & white
Price: £8.00 
Ships in 3–5 business days

To many he was simply a stage magician. Others knew the truth –such as Scotland Yard and the very secret Q Bureau.

From a seemingly cursed jade statue bringing gruesome and violent death to those who found it years before to a plot by a Chinese supremacist group hoping to strike and bring terror and destruction to the heart of the British Empire and seemingly unstoppable Tong assassins and an evil warlord willing to betray and murder even his own allies–this is Chung Ling Soo's world.

Sergeant Wilberforce of Scotland Yard was the closest thing to a friend the Magician had yet even he was perpetually stumped by him...and his deaths!

Collecting together Chung Ling Soo And The Curse Of The Jade Dragon And Chung Ling Soo The Case Of The Thames Serpent By Terry Hooper-Scarf and Gavin Stuart Ross in which the deception begins but just what is deception and what truth?