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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Monday 22 April 2024

Hunting for Comics (and Signatures) at the Best PURE Comic Book Show I’v...



Author: Roger Leloup
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
Publication: April 2024

£8.99 incl VAT

ISBN: 9781800441309

Yoko goes to Bruges, Belgium. She’s been invited there by a local artist, Van Laet, who wants to show the portrait of her he supposedly painted. Taking in the sights before their appointment, the young woman learns that the man has an unpleasant reputation – it is said he made a deal with the devil. 

When they finally meet, the painter produces the portrait and claims that Yoko posed for it … in the 16th century! 

Whooh!  "Come and see your portrait I painted -do you mind syringes or guns?"  We have all been there (or is it just me?)  Yes, Yoko and her pals go back in time to sort out the mystery and as you might expect get into other trouble. But with time travel there are consequences despite what you might see on Dr Who.

The art as always is lovely and detailed and the architecture in particular is finely detailed and well worth checking out panels individually. I believe it was Gil Kane (I know it was) who when asked why he never put backgrounds in the early Green Lantern comics responded that no one was interested in backgrounds just the fights. Well I am glad Leloup never had that attitude!

For a series I started out thinking was going to be a "kiddies comic" I soon found out that it is good story-telling, action and adventure with plenty of science fiction. Always recommended.

How Manga Took Over American Bookshelves (Feat. Princess Weekes) | It's Lit

Sunday 21 April 2024



7x10 squarebound trade paperback, 

94 p. 


ISBN-13: 978-1-64932-267-8. - 

by Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by José Luis Ruiz Pérez, Nestor Vargas Campo; cover by José Luis Ruiz Pérez.

- Foreword by J.-M. Lofficier
- CHAOS IN KARUNDA by Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by José Luis Ruiz Pérez
- ZEMBLA VS YATAN! by Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by José Luis Ruiz Pérez
- FRANCE UNDER FIRE! by Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by Nestor Vargas Campo
- RETURN OF THE ATTATURKEY by Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by Nestor Vargas Campo

HOMICRON, a NASA scientist whose body is possessed by a mysterious alien from planet Alpha. 

STARLOCK, a servant of the Towers, supremely powerful cosmic entities. 

FUTURA, a mysterious woman from a parallel dimension. 

JAYDEE, a teenage, alien metamorph, abandoned on Earth as a baby, and who may well be the deadliest killing machine in the universe... 

These characters, all “strangers” to Earth, are brought together by TANKA, a former jungle lord who has been recruited by entities from our planet’s farthest future to be their “time agent” and is now empowered to protect our world from extra-terrestrial menaces.

In this eleventh volume of Strangers, the heroes clash with the renegade Salamandrite known only as Mr. 17, to prevent the return of his alien masters, the Wan Lords, whom Kabur once defeated in the distant past...

First, they travel to the African jungle of Karunda, and then to a secret research facility in the South of France, to stop Mr. 17 from using dimensional gateways to bring the space vampires to Earth.

Special guest-stars: The Guardian of the Republic! Zembla! And the amazing Attaturkey!

Strangers always reminds me to a degree of John Byrne's Alpha Flight. Though more correctly I suppose it was more like the Bronze Age Avengers where there were regular members and gust stars. "Season 4" helps you sort out your volumes for reading and once you get a nice stack of Hexagon books that helps.

With Lofficier writing the stories and maintaining the continuity he has created (before Hexagon Comics (Cool French Comics has not been updated since 2017 but is full of information and recommended  The knowledge of these characters and the continuity he has established makes for some excellent cross-overs and here we see a story with some twists and a dark secret held by Yatan.

All a good fun read but then we have the art. The first two parts drawn by the late Jose Luis Ruiz Perez that cannot be faulted. Wonderful to see and sad that we will see no more of his work.  Nestor Vargas Campo illustrates the next two parts and his artwork is a different style to Perez but equally as distinctive with solid blacks, grey toning and cross-hatching  which really suits black and white comic strips.

I do recommend Hexagon Comics and particularly Strangers and these are good comics that remind me of what Marvel used to be in the 1970s and 1980s before 1990s rot set in. Check out their web site and remember: this is the age of the Hexagon!

Spider-Man of the Century? Reviewing and Comparing the SHF No Way Home N...

Thursday 18 April 2024

British (early) Fan Press Publications


Some of the last things my scanner did before blowing!

 FANTASY DOMAIN 1973 (above) 1972 (below)

 NEW AEON 1979
 MORPHIOUS from 1974

 HEROES UNLIMITED  1967 (above) and 1968 (below) lots of art by Paul Neary showing a Carmine Infantino influence.


 Inserted in some of the 1978/1979 fanzines is this flyer....STERANKO!!!

Requiem 1986 -Paul Ashley Brown and Ben R Dilworth

 Today was supposed to be my weekend to relax but IO ended up clearing out and looking over old files. I did try relaxing in 1977 but ended being driven in an army land rover at speed over an East German minefield. That won't be in my autobiography.  As for the files well you can see over at the AOP blog.

Anyway, splice me a vegetarisan kipper sandwich for lunch iof I did not make a related find! Yesterday I was looking at the back of a Zine Zone and there was the back page ad for Requiem Two and amongst contributors was one Paul Brown.  "What did he contribute?" my aged brain asked me...I often have conversations and arguments with myself but I am NOT medicated (unlike my shampoo).
Well out of the cupboard and from behind the skeletal remains fell a copy of the book itself. The zine was edited by Dan Rickwood and Adam Thomas who,  last I heard, were doing time at Her Majesty's pleasure over an act of gross indecency with a tadpole.

The whole point of the British Comic Book Archive was not to just focuss on the professional artists, writers and publications but also the Small Pressers who often produced work based on more contemporary life and events.  Their contributions to art, etc are just as important as that of H E Pease, Marie Duval, E Banger, John Cooper or Mike Western.

So I opened up the zine and there was Paul Ashley "Smash the state" Brown's contribution. Bang on for the time.

jjjjjjLuckily I guided Paul away from the Crayola crayons and since this piece in 1986 he has made good progress and in another 35 years he should be fine.  oooh I can be such a beyotch!

But that issue also contained a strip by Ben Dilworth -published in portrait format so that is the way I present it here. Again, Ben was lucky that I found and guided him into obscurity  fame if not fortune.

I miss the cutting edge, raw zines that had that dark feel and was more about what was going on. I despair at modern zines where the creator constantly moans about mummy and daddy not sending their allowance so they will miss the pub crawl or how....well, more "I need attention" stuff.

I may be wrong: prove it.

1985 -Picasso Cafe by Ben Dilworth

  Picasso Cafe was the insert in A Letter To Siberia. Enjoy!


1980s German Zines

 ine Zone International or its Small Press and Independent mail order business, nor of its successor Comic Bits. Even my own existence in British comics is non-existent on the internet.  What are termed the "British Comics Mafia" (I used to think that was a joke for a long time) seem to try to delete any mention -I know two people who tried several times to place Wikipedia entries on myself and comics/Small Press but each was deleted after "complaints".

However, what cannot be deleted are items on my work in Amazing Heroes and Comics F/X, I exclude the mention of The Comics Journal as I have never seen the issue so cannot comment. I even wrote a regular page for Comics F/X -"Tel's From The Crypt".  But I was not just part of the spear head of the "British Small Press Explosion" into the United States.

 I was also very active in writing and communicating with Small Pressers in what was then West Germany and even East Germany where there was an illegal underground exchange of Small Press comics -German and English.  See how old I am?  My badge of honour is that I was on a list of "persons to be detained and questioned" by the East German VoPos (Volks Polizei)!

Not sure how they might have greeted the lovely cover by American creator Donna Barr who was interviewed in this issue along with Roberta Gregory, Canadian Colin Upton and some Bristol rogue Paul Brown (aka: Paul Ashley Brown)...and some German creators.

In my collection of Small Press publications I have, obviously, a large number from Germany. Heiki Anacher's Plop!  Although Heiki later left the zine it was taken over by Andreas Alt. From 3 DM to 3 Euro...hmm.

Above  the 2007 edition of Plop! and  the 1986 edition -both showcase new talent and genres of stripwork.

Now I may be wrong but I'm quite sure that Jo 84 was publishing Spruhende Phantasie while doing his national service in the German Army.  He was still around a few years back but not in good health. Hopefully he is better now. Spruhende Phantasie was one of those German zines that it was always a pleasure to receive and look through.
 Above: Jo 84 in Spruhende Phantasie nr. 9 and below the cover of that July,1989 issue!
And I helped to push German publications to a wider audience -oddly, back in the pre-internet days far more people were willing to look at foreign language comics than they are today. Certainly, despite so many having been 'borrowed' from me by visiting Small Pressers, I have a large number that would take all day to scan and some of these were available via Zine Zone's mail order service.

Below is the back page advert from Zine Zone International 13

Another publication that was a joy to receive was Georg K. Berres' Zebra. Below is the Ad sheet that was included with ZZI 13.  Interestingly, rather like the bulky Previews Comic (a new talent showcase) I got Forbidden Planet in London to put copies on sale.  They sold.  And as with Previews Comic the store refused to pay out the sales money.  Crooks from top to bottom.

I had thought that Zebra was the first publication I had seen the work of Rudolph Perez and Martin Frei in (both were interviewed in ZZI 13).  However, I have a copy of Lippe published by Andreas Anger (1985/86) in which both contribute strips Frei with "Diamanten" and Perez with (still my favourite) "Die Ruckkehr von Jack The Ripper"

Perez is still working in comics but online -I think!- and every link I follow seems to get me nowhere. Now there is modern tech and communication for you!

Below is a Perez cover for Gringo Comics Kurzer Prozess and I think this one is from the early 2000s. I lost contact with a lot of the old Zinesters such as EmdE, Helge "Herod" Korda and so on after one of my numerous address changes-I was keeping one step ahead of the Vopos! :-)

Martin Frei did some work on a comic adaption of the very popular cop/detective show Schimanski that starred the late Götz George who died in 2016 -

Frei later produced covers for Kurzer Prozess though I have no idea, as with Perez, what he contributed strip-wise.  And below -the man himself!
In case you never noticed in that photograph, Frei is signing copies of his detective book Kommissar Eisele...or did you notice?

Another artist, with a much different style, was Hannes Neubauer.  Loved this cover to Zebra nr. 9!

Somewhere....I use the term "somewhere" because this is Room Oblivion and things are in boxes or tucked away in other places for safety...are one or two colour postcards that Hannes sent me with a letter back in the day -we old folk say "back in the day" because we really do not want to think how many years ago it really was!

I will need to try to find them.

Below -I have no idea where I got this from or where it is but that's Hannes signing or drawing and I doubt that it was that long ago.

Trawling the internet to see what I can find I came across this piece.  Again I have no idea what from or when but it is lovely to look at!

As for this....I love it!

Of course, Hannes has a book out...I assume that it is still available and I have seen some pages online and it is stylish.

Zebra was always printed on a lovely thick paper and this added to the overall feel of the issues and the printing worked well whether it was Frei's precise line-work or Perez's free style...or even Neubauer's particular style.

Let's look at some of the covers.  I know I have others but this post has already taken a few hours with scanning and so forth!

From 1988 I also happen to have the red covered A5 Dummy.That was the brain-child of Joachim Ullmer and while corresponding with him I urged him to copyright the whole crash test dummy idea but he wasn't interested. I hope he never kicked himself a few years later when the crash test dummy toy craze hit!

Creators in Germany were doing the same as creators in the UK -experimenting with formats and genres as well as art styles.  A great day for German comics came in 1989 when a certain suave and angry bearded English-German comicker saw his super hero team published in Watcher....oh. That was me! :-P
Oddly, the cover was drawn by American Dave Fontaine and I have no idea what happened to him -he contributed quite a bit of art to Watcher and  via Zine Zone so did a few British zinesters.

Tobias Schwarz published a German language music theme comic titled Crash and things were a little complicated as Roland Altermatt was also involved in publishing -he was based in the town of Muttenz (Switzerland) and Tobias was in Krozingen (Germany).  I think there was only one issue but based on the international pricing on the cover they hoped for a much larger readership.

Nice back cover advert, too.

This post started out as a look at some issues of Zebra but not all my posts go as planned!  I have many German zines and the idea of looking at all of them and the amount of scanning that would be involved (I can find no internet presence for any of these publications) makes me faint.

Now, apart from the zines there are the Independent publishers such as Editions Quasimodo, Zwerchfell Verlag and so on.  All catalogues but absolutely not scanned yet and when I last spoke to some German comic folk I was told some of the books I have are very rare and "worth a good few Euro"...I do not have comics to sell, however.

Maybe one day.  And if you are one of the artists or zine publishers mentioned then please get in touch as it would be interesting to see what happened since the 1980s!

And if you publish a German comic, fanzine or whatever -send a copy and I'll review it.