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Thank You

Terry Hooper-Scharf

Wednesday, 29 June 2022


CBO -help keep it going.


I reposted a few items the other night and, as I thought they would, the views hit the ceiling. It shows that people are keeping an eye on CBO but also shows why I no longer do the multiply posts in one day.

About three years ago I was posting feature posts, reviews and a lot more about 6-7 times a day. On some days the number of posts even reached as high as 12. Love comics so it was fun but a lot of work, especially with no feedback. It was a full time unpaid job.

Companies wanted their product to be mentioned or reviewed but mention sponsoring CBO the usual "Oh, we don't budget for that" and we are talking big companies here.

As shown with previous stats; CBO has a real world wide audience (we even had views from Antarctica at one point then they stopped...weird) and views we have -just- gone over 9 million. Does that not make a site worth sponsoring to get onto and sponsor your product -whether comics, action figures, gaming or other comic related stuff? It seems not yet CBO gets more views than some popular You Tube channels that do get sponsored.        

If you regularly read CBO and enjoy it that much then why not help to bring back more posts by donating (Pay Pal box to the right)? All other options have been tried and got zero response.

No pressure its just asking people who are regulars and enjoy CBO help keep it going.

Wasted words out of the way I now need to go do something...anything really.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Ernest Shaw 21/1/1891 - 22/2/1986

 From Lambiek:

British cartoonist, writer, illustrator and game creator Ernest, or "Ern", Shaw was born in Hull. He studied art by copying the comics of Tom Browne and taking a correspondence course with Percy V. Bradshaw's Press Art School. He sold his first cartoon to Puck in 1910. After this, he did freelance work for his local weekly newspaper, The Hull & Yorkshire Times. He joined the staff as a general artist, drew sports cartoons and made caricatures of celebrities. He also worked as a sports and political cartoonist at the Hull Daily Mail.

Good Deed Danny, by Ernest Shaw (1950)

Shaw volunteered for war service in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914, and drew cartoons for the service magazine, The Ration. His sketches of details of operations on wounded soldiers as performed by surgeon Major J. L. Joyce were printed in The Lancet. After demobilization, Shaw went to London and started as a sports cartoonist for All Sports (1919).

Image result for british cartoonist ernest shaw

Shaw was very attracted by the American newspaper strips 'Mutt and Jeff' (by Bud Fisher) and 'Bringing Up Father' (by George McManus), so he decided to develop himself in this genre. He began with 'Clarence' and 'Cyril the Sporty Scout' in Sports Fun in 1922, and 'First Aid Freddie'.

His big break came when he took over a full-page weekly composite cartoon, 'The Gay Goblins' for Family Journal, upon the sudden death of its creator, Lewis Higgins. He continued the comic from 1926 until the last issue. Shaw drew a strip which ran even longer than 'The Gay Goblins': 'Mr. and Mrs. Dillwater'. This weekly comic appeared in Answers magazine from 1923 to 1948.

Other strips by Shaw were 'Hector' in Wireless (192?), 'Sandy' in People's Journal (193?) and 'Dr. Gnome of Gnomansland', which ran for 21 years in Woman's Illustrated. Since the 1940s, Shaw concentrated on the youth market and created 'The Dingbats', whose exploits appeared in titles and annuals like Candy, Lollipops, Look & L

Allow Me To Re-acquaint You With Come On Steve!


I have a couple of the Steve books but this old article needs airing while I still live!

Addenda on dating the Steve Colour books.  Bear Alley dates the Come On Steve books as "after the war" (World War 2) and also that the strip apeared in the Daily Express newspaper until 1939.

Denis Gifford and others state the strip appeared in the Sunday Express.  Some have pointed to the books being from 1930 -Steve and the Little Engine in particular. Talk about time travel since the Sunday Express never picked up the strip until 1932. Rooke Books made this glaring error:

The problem is that, unbelievably for a British publisher, neither the dust jacket to this paperback nor the interior carries any identification of publisher or date.

Now if -if- someone writing about the books has a copy then a rough date can be given. For inside the dust-jacket is a note for readers to check out the Come on Steve strip in the Sunday Dispatch and since the strip ran for 10 years after 1939 the books must have been published around 1948/1949.

I am hoping to get a more accurate date but do not get fooled -not 1930 nor 1940 nor 1944. Simple research gives a more accurate date.

Steve The Horse Comic Strip,DVD and Mystery Statuette

There is,for some of us,a fascination for early British comics and the characters/creators.  Ally Sloper and Steve The Horse I have tried to deal with on my Yahoo British Comic Books Archives group.
And,about five years ago I used pages of art sent to me by the late comic historian Denis Gifford to produce an A5 tribute publication to Roland Davies creation,Steve The Horse –“Come On Steve”.

above:Roland Davies Studio.  Davies is in the cardigan and Steve statue to right
I knew Davies had been involved in animation and had produced features.  However,I guessed that I’d never see these as buying 9.5mm 1930s film seemed like a fantasy.
Until,quite by accident,I was looking for more Davies info when I came across a site run by Grahame L. Newnham and well worth checking out if you have an interest in Pathe or other old films:
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was an advertisement of Newnham’s for “Come On Steve!”—a complete collection of the character’s animated features on a DVD.  And the price was perfect!
Sadly,ill health put all idea of buying a DVD out of my mind. However,when I recovered and realised that I hadn’t ordered it -I did!
The disc includes:
Steve’s Treasure Hunt  [1936]
Steve Steps Out       [1936]
Steve Of The River  [1937]
Cinderella Steve   [1937]
Steve In
Bohemia  [1937]
Steve’s Cannon Crackers  [1937]
Bal Costume [French Silent version] 1937.
With a wonderfully vintage sound track it might be that some would find, in these somewhat ridiculously over the top politically correct times,Steve Of The River a little “racist” in its depiction of African natives.  But I am totally opposed to retro censorship of historical images [such as using computers to remove the cigar from the mouth of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel!]. This was the 1930s and the truth is that not everyone was racist!  This was the easiest way for a cartoonist to depict natives in a comical film.
So be warned!
The quality for 70+ year old films is great.  I loved some of the wacky scenes featuring things such as a police gyrocopter!
If you don’t like black and white animation then it’s not for you.  But if you have any interesting the history of British comics,the creators and animation you’ll LOVE this! And Grahame included some nice info fact sheets with background and all for £9.95 + 75p p&p!
Check out the website and contact Grahame for current price in case it’s altered. You won’t be sorry in adding this to your DVD animation collection!
But there is an up-date to this.  After reading the above article,Patti Brown contacted me to see whether I could help her identify a Steve The Horse statuette?  I thought that it must be the studio piece [see photo above].
That idea was quickly shot down.  This was much smaller -you can see it below next to a 50 pence piece.  There is no makers stamp or any other information.  Only one thing is certain,though,the quality and glaze means it was a professional piece rather than a one-off a fan made.  

 And there is absolutely no doubt that this is Steve The Horse!

I have tried every toy or comic merchandise auction house/collector I can -nothing.  I even tried BBC TVs Antiques Roadshow -nothing.
Anyone out there have any ideas -I’d like to know details.  Grahame Newnham would like to know details -Patti would definitely like to know more!
There,thrown open for you comickers.

above:Roland Davies a few months before his death.
Denis Gifford wrote a wonderful obituary for Davieswhich I include below for those interested in the greats of the British Golden Age of comics:

The Independent,Thursday, 16 December 1993
Roland Oxford Davies, cartoonist and animator: born Stourport, Worcestershire 23 July 1904; died 10 December 1993.

ROLAND DAVIES was the epitome of the commercial artist, never happy unless he was drawing or painting. His long career covered sports cartoons, topical cartoons, strip cartoons, animated cartoons, children’s books and boys’ weeklies, and towards the end superb paintings which were sold in art galleries to collectors who never knew of his once famous comic horse, ‘Steve’.

Davies was born at Stourport, Worcestershire, in 1904. His father, a Welsh musician, was a conductor of theatre orchestras with an eye for art. ‘He always encouraged me as a boy,’ recalled Roland, ‘by ruling in the horizon line, which taught me perspective.’ Settling in Ipswich, the boy studied at the Art School there during the evenings, then at 16 spent two years as a full-time student before becoming apprenticed to a lithographer. Here he designed cinema posters and one for the Metropolitan Railway of which he was particularly proud. His obsession with speed, whether by aeroplane, train, racing car or motor-cycle, led him to freelance cartoons to Autocar and Motor Cycle magazines, and when a new weekly, Modern Boy, was launched in 1928 he found a regular home illustrating action stories and supplying wonderful two- colour covers depicting roaring motors and zooming planes.

Curiously, his greatest success came with the very antithesis of all this speed: a lumbering, genial old cart-horse in a weekly strip cartoon called ‘Come On, Steve]’ – the inspired title was the cry that sprang from a thousand racegoers’ throats as the jockey Steve Donoghue galloped to yet another win. Davies took his sample strips – devised over a weekend – down Fleet Street, trying first the Evening News, then the Evening Standard, then the Daily Express. Arthur Christiansen, showing the editorial acumen for which he became famous, took the strip to his editor on the Sunday Express, and the following week, on 6 March 1932, Steve made his top-of-the-page debut. Davies was pounds 4 a week richer, a fee that was shortly doubled.
‘Come On, Steve’ was soon so popular that Davies conceived the idea of animating the old carthorse. Buying a stop-frame cine camera for 18 shillings, he set up a studio in his kitchen and spent seven months making a short animated cartoon. Although full of faults, the film when projected gave him the thrill of his lifetime. ‘The biggest thrill in the world was to see my drawings move, even if I had got the speed all wrong, and Steve looked as though he was floating,’ Davies remembered. In his ignorance he had placed his cel-pegs at the top of his camera rostrum instead of the bottom, causing all kinds of odd distortions. ‘Well, I learnt animation from a three-page chapter in an old book,’ he said.

 Above: Two of my little treasures published by Perry Books around 1949/1950 -the books are undated so it makes things difficult but since Davies Steve strip ended c 1949 and he retained his copyright a rough guess at date is made.
However, he had the nerve to show his film to John Woolf of General Film Distributors. Woolf would not give a decision until a soundtrack was added. Davies hired a studio, improvised a track – and was turned down yet again. He lowered his sights and showed his film to Butcher’s, a minor distributor of B-pictures. They promptly gave him a contract for six eight-minute cartoons at pounds 800 each. With finance from his father-in-law, Davies set up an animation studio in Ipswich, staffed by students from the Art School and headed by one professional animator, the young Carl Giles.

One by one the six cartoons were made, this time complete with a signature tune composed by John Reynders, whose orchestra supplied the music track and sound effects. Steve Steps Out was the first, released in December 1936, and a children’s book-of-the-film was published by Collins. Best was Steve of The River (1937), a burlesque of Edgar Wallace’s recent film, Sanders of the River.
When the Sunday Express dropped Steve in 1939 Davies, who had wisely retained the copyright, took the strip over to the Sunday Dispatch. They snapped up Steve with glee, and soon gave Davies the added post of cartoonist. He supplied topical comment in a large weekly drawing, using the pen-name of ‘Rod’. After 10 years in the Dispatch, Steve moved into children’s books, and Davies wrote and drew a full-colour series for Perry’s Colourprints, plus a run of the Come On Steve Annual.
Davies’s work for children’s comics began in 1933 when he 
drew the cover for the Daily Express Children’s Own, a Saturday supplement starring ‘Larry Leopard’. When DC Thomson’s new comic Beano began in July 1938, Davies drew a tough-guy sheriff, ‘Whoopee Hank’, and ‘Contrary Mary the Moke’, a long-eared donkey who was clearly a close relation to Steve. But his mainline comic work started in 1949 with the weekly serial of ‘Sexton Blake’, the famous boys’ paper detective, in Knockout. For TV Comic he depicted the children’s hour detectives ‘Norman and Henry Bones’, and created the sci-fi superhero ‘Red Ray the Space Ray-nger’ complete with club and badge.

He drew ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ in Swift, ‘Wyatt Earp’, the western television series, and a string of Walt Disney characters (Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh) in Disneyland. He even drew the adventures of ‘Woppit’, Donald Campbell’s mascot, in Robin. This linked back to his old speed-mania, and he wrote and illustrated several books such as The Daily Mail Speedway Book (1949) and The Ace Book of Speed (1952).

The continuing pressure of strip art finally grew too much for him, and in his seventies Davies turned to painting. Under the guidance of a publisher turned art dealer, Alan Class, he began producing dramatic seascapes and colourful Parisian street scenes, which found their way into several good galleries.

below:Roland Davies painting

Roland Davies 1904-1993

Ally Sloper's Half Holiday -Genuine Platinum

 Ally Sloper's Half Holiday No. 0247 is dated 19th January 1889 and I thought that some of you might enjoy seeing a Platinum Age "comic" for once!

Chuckle On


I was going through the items stored on CBO and found a lot of material that would have made up Mega Posts.

There was the Sub-Mariner Mega Post, the Dr Jekyll and Mr H, the Avengers, Justice League of America, Samson, the Frankenstein Monster...oh and the Atlas Comics mega post.

There was a Tarzan one planned, a Dracula one and one featuring old time favourites Mandrake the Magician, Flash Gordon and the Phantom.

There were also some short videos planned on comics.

Oh, and more Obscure British Super Hero posts.

However, as I kept writing, my time is getting more precious as I get older and to spend one to two days gathering images and putting together huge texts posts only to reaction. Nuh-huh. Not happening.

I wouldn't really care about the lack of response as thousands saw each post and more are checking them out 2-3 years on. In fact I was checking something earlier and found that posts going back to 2022 are still being read and people are really digging into the old posts (I'll admit some of them I had to check myself as I had forgotten them completely).

The problem is financial. This blog has tried everything to get support so I can concentrate on it full time but every time it was met response.

You might think that with (now) 9 million views world-wide CBO might attract a sponsor of some kind but no. 

I decided that when things clear up and I have more time I may do a sister publication to Comic Bits magazine but don't hold your breath.

I gave it a shot from 1997 to 2022 and so now it's a case of you get what I post when I post and no more 7-10 posts a day as that was full time work.

Chuckle On

Two Old Farts On A Park Bench

 I opened a book and there was a doodle from 20 years ago. When in doubt -post!

Sunday, 19 June 2022

D-Gruppe: Death Comes From The Hand Of A Friend


On seeing this post over on Comic Bits online Mr Dilworth remarked: "What?"

Ahh, bless him he has a short memory. You see I had everything plotted in my mind and a few notes and discussed them in correspondence with Mr Dilworth as well as Andrew (Fantomex) Hope. Back in 1986!

The original ending I had in mind I had thought about when I created the yteam in the 1960s in Dalborn, Germany.  However, I did not have the skills or knowledge back then to work out how I was going to work it all out.

Later, when I was discussing this with Messrs Dilworth and Hope I had worked it out.  Unfortunately things got in the way as Bastei were bought up by Egmont and the project was cancelled. Task Force Germany was to have appeared and then things developed. 

As it is Task Force Germany did appear over the years and last time it was in The Green Skies. Between that and the earlier The Trial story (Black Tower Super Heroes nos. 3-7) leader of D-Gruppe, Kopfmann and several other members vanished while pursuing a UFO in Return of the God: Twilight of the Super Heroes. That in itself was to have led to D-Gruppe -Lost In Space which I was touting around on the old blog back in...2000 (so I am a little behind in things).

It's all going to be very dramatic and.....will it actually happen though? I have other projects to finish and so I have no fixed date and it just may be that D-Gruppe in space and Days of Darkness combine.  Who knows? Not me!

You Might Think HUNDREDS of Pages of Art Gave ME A Headache....


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, that's how I chose the covers.

The Invasion Earth Trilogy Store links.

Black & White
331 Pages

The Saga of D-Gruppe: Externsteine to Days of Darkness


 Back in the mid-1980s when I finally got the first published story of Germanys first super hero team into print I was happy (only a momentary happiness but then -it was the 1980s!). I was far -far- from happy with my artwork. I had been drawing since "a toddler" I was told and never stopped drawing and later at Secondary school I taught others who wanted to try their hands at drawing comics just as a bit of fun. However, as D-Gruppe had been with me since I created them in the tiny village of Dalborn in the 1960s I wanted their first published adventure to look good.

Ben Dilworth looking over my newer pencils on one of his visits to Bristol offered to ink the pages. That was an offer I was never going to refuse!

And so was drawn The Revenge of the Ice Queen / Die Rache der Eiskönigin. There was a brief art preview in Zine Zone before the strip was published in the new comics talent comic Preview -which got a few UK creators their comic breaks. From there the strip was later published in Chris Dohr's Watcher publication in Germany which looked at pulps, TV, movies and comics -it has never been a secret that I hated the re-texting as even a national monument -Externsteine- was miss-spelt but comics is comics.

There is a secret about what D-Gruppes aircraft design was based on and I will tell you's staying a secret!

As it turns out the Ice Queen was probably not responsible for "The Externsteine Incident" that took many lives and that was revealed during The Trial strip as featured in Black Tower Super heroes.  At one point the German company Bastei Verlag were very interrested in developing the D-Gruppe comic and I put in a lot of work and even had the vastly under-rated John Erasmus draw a full colour Deutscher Michael strip.

The final words of Klaus von Happe the diminuitive leader of D-Gruppe that they needed far more power in their ranks was where the story ended. The intention was to add characters in over the following stories but by the time Bastei had expressed their interest Ben was off to Japan and one after another "new talent" fell by the wayside or decided that having to draw more than five pages a month too exhausting and not what they expected (it involved work).

One thing the editor at Bastei wanted was a back-up strip and that was where multi-billionaire LeCorbeau came in. His life had been saved when Pete Forrest and Geni got involved in tackling the Crimson guardian (way back in the first Small Press run of Black Tower Adventure) and LeCorbeau decided that he wanted to set up national groups to deal with super threats (novel idea, right?) and so he went about setting up a new Task Force Europe after its betrayal by Mastermind and then came the South Asian Task Force and smaller versions in Europe combining into the world-wide Special Globe Guard. Anyway, before it gets too confusing, LeCorbeau wanted to set up Tasl Force Germany and Enrique and Santiago Ruiz produced some pages.

 Then Egmont purchased Bastei and...wave goodbye to a year's worth of work!

And so I set to work on drawing everything myself because there is only so long that you can keep things in your head before said head explodes. That meant that all the new members were introduced in a new story -Zeitgeist which had been drawn in the 1980s but what the heck.

To my mind something was always behind the events in Zeitgeist other than the entity calling itself that. But we got to see heroes from other parallels and some nice action scenes before the climatic ending (see D-Gruppe 1-4 or The Collected D-Gruppe). Once the story was redrawn and new text added and then published it was out of the way. Or so I thought.

I then woke up after...a ten minute long sleep (nothing new there) not feeling too good and I said outloud "Zeitgeist isn't dead!" Which is how I realised that my brain had once again been hiding things from me and thus proving that I was correct and not paranoid!

This time the action started below D-Gruppes HQ and we finally found out just what Zeitgeist was -"Maupassant" is a BIG clue! But even more was later revealed in The Green Skies as the story unfolded and I realised that several characters in unconnected books all had links to the menace involved. It's annoying when you sit there and think "I drew that years ago and its linked to this?!"

But before The Green Skies Ben Dilworth had returned to some D-Gruppe stories such as a one off Evangeline story, one involving David Holmes (the British lawyer now a dual British-German national and fighting crime as the Owl); one based in Earth Parallel 667 in which that D-Gruppe investigate a large "object" in space and then the much acclaimed "The Grandfather Paradox" and who knows whether he might return to our German heroes?

However, before the first adventure was published I had planned for the rather dark ending -alluded to by various characters including the Gipsy Sorceror Tarot. It is said that the first meeting between von happe and Waldmeister was "orchestrated" but by whom? In the last published D-Gruppe story von Happe is given an item and while everyone else is mind-swiped he knows what the item is for and when to use it.

In The Green Skies it is clear that Holmes and others suspect something is going on. That the predicted "Days of Darkness" are coming.  But von Happe vanished along with other team mebers while pursuing a UFO in The Return of the Gods so who knows what to do? And can whoever does know actually do what needs to be done when it means killing a member of their own team and a close friend?   

Only time will tell and in 2019 it was the 50th anniversary of my creating D-Gruppe so perhaps a big special is long overdue?