PLEASE Consider Supporting CBO

Please consider supporting Comic Bits Online because it is a very rare thing in these days of company mouthpiece blogs that are only interested in selling publicity to you. With support CBO can continue its work to bring you real comics news and expand to produce the video content for this site. Money from sales of Black Tower Comics & Books helps so please consider checking out the online store.
Thank You

Terry Hooper-Scharf

Friday 31 August 2012

KSTR: Crematorium

Eric Borg (W)
Pierre-Henry Gomont (A & C)
Full colour
Hard cover
128 pages
19 x 27.7 cms
ISBN : 220304702X
EAN : 9782203047020
Prix : 16,00 €

Carcès, in the south of France –a place you never see on postcards: deserted villages, businesses closing, bribes and arrangements are made with the law.  It is here that some friends meet to bask and reminisce in their shared memories. Something that might seem like a nostalgic pilgrimage.

But a pilgrimage that turns quickly to vengeance and killings by the gun or knife to settle old scores and no quarter is given.

An excellent story by Eric Borg that could, today, be set in most run down areas of any country. Well paced and when the violence happens it is brutal. The art and colour work by Pierre-Henry Gomont is spot on for this type of story. A lesson that sometimes reunions are not necessarily a good thing!

Casterman BD: Indian Dream 7 -Taj Mahal

Authors: Maryse Charles , Jean-François Charles Full Colour
Hard Cover
Pages: 48
Dimensions: 24.3×32.2×1.1 cm
ISBN: 2203038047
EAN: 9782203038042
Price: € 13.25
Date of publication: 29/08/2012

Late nineteenth century. Arriving in India from London, all the protagonists of this new round of India Dreams gradually take their  places as a new drama takes shape …

In Calcutta, Judge Arthur Byle, appointed to the Supreme Court, has difficulty getting  his wife Cybill to accept the exotic invasive nature of  their new surroundings.

While, in Rajasthan, assigned to the 8th Regiment of Bengal Lancers, the young captain Redfield must endure hostility from his superior officer, while preparing to face the terrible community of followers of Kali, the strangling thugs.

While in the state of Awadh, accompanied by  young Percy and Abe, Professor Sybellius, freshly excluded from schools in England for his great  erotomania, exclaims loudly on  top of his elephant mount : “Do you hear the silence harbinger of storms on earth as it is in the heart of men …”

All are to become enmeshed in the terror of the Thuggee.

The Thuggee cult was suppressed by the British rulers of India in the 1830s  thanks to the British and their development of a methodology to tackle crime. Suddenly, the mysterious disappearances of groups of travellers were mysteries no more and it soon became clear how even large caravans could be infiltrated by apparently small groups, that were in fact acting in unison.

Eradication of the Thuggee began in the 1830s and did not stop until 1870s: this story is set in 1846 and the attacks were still going on –as was the British effort to stop them. The scenery and costumes (particularly the British army uniforms) are well rendered and when the action comes it is fast, furious and bloody.

Sadly, as this is volume 7 I can only assume the characters are ongoing ones?  But a good read in itself.

Casterman BD: Midgard 2: Vers le Nord/ Midgard:Northward

Midgard 2: Vers le Nord/ Midgard:Northward
Steven Dupre
Colour and Black & white
88 pages
Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 1 cm
EAN13: 9782203060524
ISBN: 978-2-203-06052-4
€ 12.35
Date Published: 18/08/2012

A little alien rebel –Oon- escapes incarceration aboard a spaceship and crashes on Earth during a full scale Viking invasion.  Oon ends up as ‘plunder’ and joins captive monks below decks on the Viking ship. While they congratulate themselves on their raid, the ship is hit by a big storm.

A hermit is persuaded by a novice to go and see the wreckage of the ship. Meanwhile two monks who care for farmers are told by them where a “divine object” fell from the sky. The object is big, bizarre, and for good reason: it is another spacecraft. Inside the cockpit broken, is another alien …

Meanwhile, Snorri, a viking isolated from his group continues his journey on foot, accompanied by a boy wanderer. They do not speak the same language but understand and forge an alliance of convenience. While the Viking is hunting a partridge, the kid steals clothes that are drying near a remote farmhouse. In rage, the farmer goes in pursuit …

This book is a nice blend of history, humour and science fiction and it was a little confusing at first, coming in at volume 2! The book starts out in colour but then merges into black and white with a few pages obviously grey scaled from colour. It doesn’t matter. The art is great and the story fun.

Jungle! BD: Vie De Merde 10-Les Profs: Life of S*** 10 -The Professionals

Designer: Alteau
Writer: Eldiablo
Colorist: Pierre Schelle
Genre: Comedy
Full Color
48 pages

Audience: Teens, Adults
EAN: 9782822201179
Published August 27, 2012

Stories about teachers everybody has told during breaks. Because sometimes they take the micky out of the students  … and vice versa!

“Today, my teacher told me:” You owe me a red pen ” by making copies. FML “” Today, as a correction, my history teacher has just written “LOL” on my copy. FML ”

Find the best anecdotes of teachers from the famous site of Life Is Shit, illustrated by the talented Alteau …

As you can guess, the humour when it is visual works but sometimes the jokes (as above) fall a little flat in translation.  But then, this is French for French readers!

I’ve reviewed two other books in this series.

Volume 7:

Volume 6:

Sadly, humour escapes me sometimes!

Massimo Belardinelli On Face Book

If you are a fan of the work of the late great Master -Massimo Belardinelli then you need to know that there is a very active Face Book page dedicated to him and his work -lots of art samples to see.

Just get onto Face Book and look for -or click this link-  Massimo Belardinelli appreciation society

Casterman BD: Sibylline vol.3: 1975-1982

Sibylline vol. 3 – 1975-1982
AuteurRaymond Macherot  
Full colour
Hard cover
Pages : 200
Dimensions : 21.3×28.8×2.2 cm
25,00 €
ISBN : 2203050225
EAN : 9782203050228
Release date: 22/08/2012

First appearing in the pages of the periodical Spirou, in March,1965, Sibylline is a little mouse living  and having adventures in a world full of fantasy along with many other anthropomorphic characters including his main antagonist the black rat Anathema.

I’ve reviewed the collection Sibylline 1969-1974 here:

This is a superb high quality collection of the best of the series and the colour literally bounces off the pages and there are visual gags and –thankfully, for me- some pretty basic jokes.

This is just as good as vol. 2  -having not seen volume 1 I can’t comment on complaints by some bloggers as to quality but I seriously cannot see a company like Casterman sending out an inferior product.

Fun for all ages –and a good way to learn basic French!
My apologies for the scan quality. It seems common that French comic sites and companies to not preview pages of new books nor give links to a few sample pages for reviewers to use. This is important as I think people interested in buying need to see a sample of the work. So, as I lay the book flat to scan I heard what no bibliophile likes to hear -”crack!”. These books are for reading not scanning!

Thursday 30 August 2012

The 2nd Bristol Comic & Zine Fair

Make a note in your diaries both Paul Ashley Brown and I will be there.  Worth going to!

Casterman: Les Aventures de Boro Reporter Photographe: Le Temps des Cerises/ Adventures Of Boro Photo Journalist -The Time of Cherries III

Les Aventures de Boro Reporter Photographe: Le Temps des Cerises/ Adventures Of Boro Photo Journalist -The Time of Cherries III

Authors: Dan Franck , Jean Vautrin , Marc Veber  
Collection: Red Line
Serie: Boro photojournalist
Volume: 6
Full Colour
Hard Cover
Pages: 48
Dimensions: cm 24.1x32x0.9
ISBN: 2203017716
EAN: 9782203017719
Price: € 12.90

Date of publication: 22/08/2012
Time cherries (3/3)

1936. In Spain, the tension mounts as the political confrontations escalates into armed conflict. Working for the Alpha Presse Agency, Boro flies to Spain to capture events on film.

Meanwhile, Boro’s cousin, Maryka Vremler, has become a U.S. citizen and is in Seville to participate in the Olympics of sport and culture.  However, he is witness oto the first battle of what will become the Spanish Civil War.

This is listed as volume 6 but “Part 3” of the Time of Cherries storyline.  Basically, it leaves me as a reviewer just shrugging and having to base any review on the third part of a story!

The artwork is very nice, as you would expect and there are enough twists and turns as well as action to keep the reader’s interest but, as noted, I can’t really comment on story development.

Still, a nice book and all the previous volumes are still available.

Skullkickers #18 Features Stories by Top Indie Creators

Anthology issue of Image Comics series features top talent
cover of Skullkickers #18Jim Zub’s SKULLKICKERS is a cult hit, thanks to its hilarious writing, vibrant art, and, well, ample skull-kicking. The Image title has so much monster-bashing and face-smashing that it simply can’t be expressed by one creative team. So, with SKULLKICKERS #18, some of independent comics’ best and brightest will be pitching in with stories of their own in the latest “Tavern Tales” issue, a collection of short stories.

Included in the mix are John Layman and Rob Guillory (CHEW), Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore (THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE), Blair Butler (HEART), Charles Soule (27), and J. Torres (Teen Titans Go!, Batman: The Brave and the Bold).
The spotlight is on Aubrey Sitterson and Ivan Anya, however — the creative team won the SKULLKICKERS Tavern Tales contest and will have their short story featured in SKULLKICKERS #18.

“We put out the call to fans of Skullkickers or any creative comic creators at all — submit your Skullkickers short story ideas or submit a two-page sample of artwork based on a sample script we had posted at,”explained series creator and writer Zub. “With over 300 entries, it was incredibly difficult narrowing it down to one writer and one artist, but in the end Aubrey Sitterson and Ivan Anya popped to the top of their respective groups and their short story collaboration is going to knock people out!”

Sidle up to the bar, order an ale, and get ready to hear some tall tales! SKULLKICKERS #18 (JUL120516) will be in stores on September 26 and can be pre-ordered now.
sample page of winning Tavern Tales story
A page from the winning story by Aubrey Sitterson and Ivan Anya

Casterman BD: La Derniere Femme/The Last Woman

The Last Woman
Author: Charles Masson Black & White/grey tone
189 pages
Soft cover
Dimensions: cm 17.1x24x1.7
ISBN: 2203048999
EAN: 9782203048997
Price: € 15.00
Date of publication: 29/08/2012

Albert, decides to drive from Germany to Lyon, France –a trip following a recent period of stress and tension.  Along the way, Albert picks up a young hitch-hiker who becomes the focus of  his anger and frustration. Albert tells the young man about the good parts of his life and the various women he has loved and some of whom still have a place in his life.

But the young man vanishes.  Was he really there or was he really just a projection created by Albert’s mental state –a younger him? Certainly he seems to pop up quite a lot and seems far too relaxed about things!

A disturbing story in the form of existential road movie that will have you puzzling over the meaning and much more.

A rather nicely drawn book and, again, shows the variety of styles you can find in the European comic scene.

Casterman BD: Marcinelle 1956

Marcinelle 1956
Author: Sergio Salma Date of publication: 29/08/2012
Black & White
Soft Cover
Pages: 264
Dimensions: cm 17.2x24x2.3
Price: € 17.00
iSBN: 2203022256
EAN: 9782203022256

To many Marcinelle and the year 1956 will mean nothing. However, with relations who were miners in Welsh collieries I’d heard of this when I was younger. It is a cheat in a way but I think to understand what this book is about I can do no better than to cite Wikipedia and point readers in that direction:

“On the morning of August 8, 1956, a fire in the mines of Marcinelle resulted in 262 casualties. At the time of the incident, 274 people were working in the colliery of Bois du Cazier, also known as Puits Saint-Charles. A mining wagon incorrectly positioned in the elevator cage struck an oil pipe and electrical cables when the elevator started moving. This caused a fire, which trapped the miners working in the galleries below. Of the 274 people working on that morning, only twelve survived. Most of the victims were immigrants. Among the victims, there were 136 Italians, 95 Belgians, eight Poles, six Greeks, five Germans, five Frenchmen, three Hungarians, one Englishman, one Dutchman, one Russian and one Ukrainian.

Rescue operations continued until August 23 when the final verdict came from the mouth of a rescuer: “Tutti cadaveri!” (All corpses). The incident prompted Italy to demand better working conditions for the Italian guest workers in Belgium. Belgium, however, decided to recruit foreign workers from other countries more actively.

In the resulting prosecution, the trial court acquitted all of the accused on October 1, 1959. An appeal was lodged, and on January 30, 1961, the court gave the mine manager a six-month suspended jail sentence and a 2,000 Belgian francs fine and acquitted the other defendants.

The catastrophe had left such a legacy behind that it was selected as the main motif for a 2006 commemorative coin: the ten-Euro 50th anniversary of the catastrophe “Bois du Cazier” at Marcinelle coin. The obverse shows a portrait of a miner, with the mine “Bois du Cazier” in the background.”

Sergio Salma is a native of this region and this book has been called his most personal work to date.

It’s pretty grim story and there is a text feature with photographs about the event itself.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Black Tower: 2nd Printing -TICK TOCK: IT’S THE CLOCK!

Tick Tock Its The Clock
Ben R. Dilworth
A4 Paperback,
31 Pages
Black & White
Price: £5.00
Ships in 3–5 business days
introduced in Feature Comics #21, 1936. the Clock, eventually revealed to be society man and former district attorney Brian O’Brien, who wore a three-piece suit, a fedora, and a black full-face mask. The first masked hero of comics dealt with crime using guile and gun and usually left a calling card that bore an image of a clock and the words “The Clock Has Struck.”
Ben Dilworth steps in to fill in the gaps and what MADE the Clock -plus a revelation: What happened to O’Brien’s look-alike and crime busting companion Pug?
Prepare for violence, harsh language and to ask the question:can there ever really be justice from the barrel of a gun?

Casterman BD: Flic/Cop

Author: Sera Softcover
Pages: 96
Dimensions: cm 18.2x26x1.1
ISBN: 2203024402
EAN: 9782203024403

Price: € 18.00
Date of publication: 22/08/2012

Imaged by Sera Cop is a comic adaptation of the  book by Bénédicte Desforges, published in 2007 and which became an  immediate best-seller.

In this series of short stories directly inspired by his experience and his career as a police officer, Bénédicte Desforges paints a striking portrait of the complex business of police work in which officers come in direct contact with all levels and aspects of the human condition.

From the dramatic, humorous to the downright banality of everyday life, these stories come from a person who was a witness close to the real.  Written with empathy, the tales are illustrated by Sera who does an incredible job and his style varies from the clean line to a sort of water colour sketch and graffiti style.

It’s a very stylish book and you WILL be distracted by the art.