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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Comica -Tickets Running Low!!

The Comiket Fall poster with a Blue Bear behind reminds us of the Autumn Chill!
Crumbs! Announcing this year’s stunning line-up for Comica Festival 2012, the 9th London International Comics Festival, spreading across the month of November and across assorted venues all over the capital. And it doesn’t get much classier than welcoming Aline and Robert Crumb to make their only public appearance in the  UK exclusively at Comica. The Crumbs are over here to launch their collected autobiographical comics in an essential hardcover compendium Drawn Together, published in the UK by Knockabout Comics. 
The venue, date and time for your diaries are:
Foyles Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 on Saturday November 3rd at 6.30pm. 
More than half of the tickets have already sold. To book, you simply have to sign up right now for the Comica Newsletter at (top of right-hand column) and you’ll be send the next mailing with the secret URL. Please note that Robert Crumb is not expected to sign, and Aline may be signing but only copies of Drawn Together. Tickets include a complimentary drink.
Other guests at Comica Festival 2012 include Alison Bechdel, Bryan Talbot, Kevin O’Neill, Joann Sfar, Oliver Frey, Posy Simmonds, Line Hoven and many more!
Many thanks for spreading this news.
The whole programme is online and being updated here: 
For more info, please get back to

Comics: On The Rudeness of Being Polite And Offering Advice

I was going to write something else but got distracted.  The distraction? Well, I offered someone advice and got a reply that I was being rude.  I will not mention the man’s name nor that of his company –never heard of them before and I doubt I will again but if I name him (can’t remember the company name) it would be rude.

I think the more time I spend in comics the more I start thinking there are too many dim people in the business.  Today I got an email from a newish American comic company who wrote:

“We are contacting you because we follow your site or magazine or have heard that you are extremely reputable people with great sites and fan bases. It is people like you that we want reviewing our titles and posting up our trailers and new feed about our work. Our books cover a vast array genres including horror, science fiction, mystery, noir, western, zombie and many more.”

Now, there is a BIG mistake. You CHECK who you are sending a Press Release to -a quick check or google and they would have come up with Comic Bits Online or Black Tower Comics. Change the email to “your site/blog”.  Let me explain. If you want someone to get interested in your product and say that you “regularly follow” their blog, magazine or have heard about them it does a few things:

Firstly, it makes it clear its a mass send out and they have never heard of you before.

Secondly, comics journalists can be tetchy and bitchy. They really can take great exception and I know three people who set up companies and made this mistake -they suffered for it.  And, yes, I met the journalists who gave them bad write-ups and who told me: “Hey –they couldn’t be bothered checking out who I was so who cares?”

So, I wrote back:

Can I offer you some advice after 35 years in comics?  CHECK OUT who you are sending these emails to!
You write you are emailing: “because we follow your site or magazine or have heard that you are.. blah blah”  Well, IF you were a regular follower you would KNOW that I have run Comic Bits Online for 12 years with a daily hit rate of 20-30,000.  A lot of people working in comics news get tetchy about these things. It reads like you do not know or care and just thought “ah, send it to that one as well”!
It’s a little thing but I can tell you from experience that it can get you negative feed-back. You might think it a minor PR blunder but you have to remember a lot of comic ‘journalists’ have big egoes and get bitchy.
Okay, I’ll attach a link so that you can read the Reviews Policy –appearances at upcoming events or a new book about to appear just send a word doc PR and 2-3 jpeg images -oh, and a cover image.  CBO DOES NOT review pdfs -all explained below!
Take Care and keep publishing!

Anyway, within a few minutes I got:

“I thank you for your reply; one thing I’ve learned in my decade in the business is that the rudest replies always try to make it seem like they’re not.

I apologize for the email; I will remove your name from our mailing list. Thank you and good luck with all your future work.
Sent from my iPhone”

I did write back :

“Rudest”? You clearly do not know a thing about me. I have spent many years in comics helping people establish themselves as companies or creators.  I know THREE people who set up companies and made the same error and all three suffered because of it and as I talk and meet with a lot of comic journalists I know how they work-which is why I offered the advice.
I do not know you or your company so I’ve no idea WHY you think I’m being rude??  Being rude is quite pointless but if you want to take me off your list, okay.  I’m not sure how that would affect me,though.
Seriously, I was being polite and helpful.

I’m not on their “list”…well, I never knew I was on it to start with and as I am in no way connected with the company I’ve nothing to lose.  I like the added “Thank you and good luck with all your future work” –the way comic companies kiss-off creators they do not want!

Seriously, offer advice and…well, you get a rude reply. I may just have “spam filtered” the emails.

If I offer advice –which I will not be doing anymore— it is based on experience. It is not being rude.

You want to get on in comics then learn the hard way because I’m not helping anyone out again.

I Went To Forbidden Planet For Comics and I’ve Regretted It Ever Since!

I had a choice made for me when I popped into Forbidden Planet yesterday to pick up my standing order.  Captain America –“Final Issue”  Fantastic Four –“Final issue” –I looked at the manager: “Seriously? Cancelled?” Then he explained the “Now Marvel” mess.

Captain America, as well as other Marvel titles, will be “Re-booted. Well, not really a re-boot” –basically, they’ll be re-numbered starting with…can you guess? Yes –they’ll all get new First issues!!  With Captain America this has already become a joke as he has actually surpassed Hawkman for the record number of first issues.  But whereas Hawkman earned this title over 40 odd years Captain America has achieved it in only a few short years!

The free Now Marvel book showed me what I would be in for. And the most pointless follow-on being Red She-Hulk.  Oh for f….

So, I am using the mess that is about to come by jumping ship. My standing order will now be miniscule!

Oh, and despite Tom Brevoort and others pooping on Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and Jim Shooter’s past achievements –as well as those of many others with the snorted “the characterisation and writing wasn’t that sophisticated back then” it was not until the 1990s that Marvel started producing piles of crap.  Marvel, under Stan, Roy and Jim MADE its name with stories that were breakthroughs and built on characterisation. Brevoort has probably had to many brown-nose sessions. I hate company “yes” men.

And you know those crap ideas of the past? Marvel is still stealing from them.

Now, Janet van Dyne, the Wasp, died (as did others) during the 2008 Secret Invasion storyline.  Okay, the others returned but don’t get me off topic here.  Hank Pym, one of the most maligned characters in Marvel Comics thanks to a string of hacks, became the Wasp (look, DO NOT LAUGH!) and, no, he did not drag up. He then became Eternity’s “Scientist Supreme” (you ARE laughing, aren’t you?).  Like Marvel’s much lauded “The Heroic Age” and all the plots from that, these titles vanished.


Well, latest Avengers issues sees a woman running about an alien looking marketplace, head bandaged so you’d guess she was injured?  She uses an out-of-date Avengers card to send a signal to her team.

Yes, the bandaged, unscarred woman is..Janet van Dyne!  Why the bandages? It’s not like she’s a famous actress or model we’d all point at and say “that’s—-!”  Anyway, she’s living in a microscopic universe. Remember the successful Micronauts comic based on the toys Marvel brought out? And their enemy Baron Karza?  Well, this micro universe is lorded over by …”Lord Gouzar”!

I think we can see where this is going?

Let me make one thing clear: the artwork is mainly very good. It is the plotlines and regurgitated/recycled stories that are ruining things.  Marvel have been losing a lot of readers and it’s no wonder.

As Newsarama reported in June:

“Marvel’s Unit and Dollar share both dropped, charting 37.82% Unit share and 33.77% Dollar share, down about a percentage point and about 2 percentage points respectively. DC’s rise by two percent to 38.23% Unit share only translated to a .3% gain in Dollar share from May to June 2012.”

Which brings me to the small number of DCs I get. I am quite happy to jump off the Justice League title, though the art is good the story is just not doing it for me (or others).  I was also confused to find that a “Justice League #0” had been slipped into my books –I’ve no idea where this has come from or WHY it is a “0” since the latest Justice League is #13?!!

Earth 2: you can say what you like but Earth 2 has always been the home of the Justice Society and to say “this isn’t” is pointless. With 52 Earths the title could have been based on any of them. As the Earth 2 versions of Earth 1s Justice League this stinks. BUT only as the JSA –the story is okay-ish and the art good. I might stick with this a while longer.

This brings me to the latest issue of Atlas Comics’ Wulf.  Wulf #6 to be exact. I’ve been very disappointed by the new Atlas and the stories and art and have written many times that the one consistently good title was Wulf. No more.
This issue looks almost rushed. At one point I was wondering whether rough pencil breakdowns of pages had been used?  Faces and figures are very “off” -it was quite…bad. And it cost more than a DC or Marvel comic.  And the story came to the lamest ending that seemed more like a “quick -we need to end this in one issue!” story.

Is this the last Wulf?  Well, do not go to Atlas’ own site because you will find nothing out there.  It’s pointless visiting.  And the message board…? Ditto. If you are going to publish at least let your readers know what is going on!  So many delays and rumours that it would be nice to know IF or even WHEN issues are to appear.

VERY VERY VERY disappointed in this last (?) issue but even more so in a company whose web site is so out of date.

I’d cry if I could be bothered.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Titan Books: Assassin’s Creed Trilogy

I’ll do something odd for a Sunday -I’ll review before showing the book details!

It will not surprise many when I admit that I do not play computer games -last thing I tried was the hand-held Space Invaders game!  I have seen the posters in games shop windows and I have seen the TV/internet adverts.  “Interesting” was my main thought but then -bleh!

Looking at these as a comicker, rather than a gamer, is therefore far easier.

Corbeyran’s scripts are spot on and deliver the twists and turns you would expect from a European comic.  The mix of contemporary and historical action flow well together.  As for Defali’s art in these books …”lovely” -I’ve run out of expressions to describe European comic art- and is seeped in detail with great action scenes as well as the more laid-back ones.

I need to mention here that one of the things that makes these books a treat is the colouring. Yet the colourist gets no cover credit. Shameful. But this seems to be an industry norm.  If you look at the art and visualise it without colour it looks great but a great colourist will make it look even better.  Raphael Hedon is colourist on the first book while vol. II and III are the work of Alexis Sentenac.

The concept is by no means original. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 (made into a film in 1972) was the story of Billy Pilgrim who became “unstuck” in time.  Comic strip-wise, of course, we have Garth who had similar problems.  The difference is in how the writer approaches the concept and Corbeyran weaves a good tale.

If you know someone into the game then this will make a great birthday or Christmas present -all three of the books released at once.  There is also an Art Of Assassin’s Creed which might also make a good addition to a birthday/Christmas gift.

As no images are available on Titan’s site and my scanner just stopped working I’ve had to look around for pages.  Here I think the art and colouring show how good these books are.

Assassin’s Creed I:Desmond
(W) Eric Corbeyran ,(A)Djilalli Defaux  (C) Raphael Hedon
Full colour
Dimensions: 276 x 179 mm
ISBN: 9781781163405
Publication date: 30 October 2012

This first volume of the French comic trilogy from Ubisoft, tells the story of Desmond Miles’ abduction by Abstergo and their plans to rip the blood-steeped memories of Desmond’s ancestors from his genetic code. Add to the mix the mysterious and violently terrified Subject 16 and a desperate flight from Abstergo, and this makes for a fast-paced and thrilling addition to the game’s universe.

Assassin’s Creed II: Aquilus
(W) Eric Corbeyran , (A) Djilalli Defaux  (C) Alexis Sentenac
Full colour
Dimensions: 276 x 179 mm
Publication date: 30 October 2012
ISBN: 9781781163412

Second volume of the comic trilogy from Ubisoft. Escaped from Abstergo with the help of Lucy, Desmond joins the Assassins in their fight against the Templars. But, betrayed by Patient 13, the Assassins leave Rome for Monterrigioni. On the way, Desmond uses the Assassins’ animus to visit the memories of his ancester Aquilus, a Roman citizen fighting those who would become the Templars.

Assassin’s Creed III: Accipiter
(W)  Eric Corbeyran , (A) Djilalli Defaux  (C) Alexis Sentenac
Full colour
Dimensions: 276 x 179 mm
ISBN: 9781781163429
Publication date: 30 October 2012


Following on from Desmond’s previous foray into his ancestral assassin-past, Aquilus desperately strives to avenge his father’s murder. His thirst for revenge leads him to Rome, and sets him on a quest for the mystical Ankh as the savage Barbarian tribes, led by the deadly Assassin Accipiter, prepare to descend upon Lugdunum. Desmond, meanwhile, must also fight stay alive in the present day.


The Comiket Fall poster with a Blue Bear behind reminds us of the Autumn Chill!

Crumbs! Announcing this year’s stunning line-up for Comica Festival 2012, the 9th London International Comics Festival, spreading across the month of November and across assorted venues all over the capital. And it doesn’t get much classier than welcoming Aline and Robert Crumb to make their only public appearance in the  UK exclusively at Comica. The Crumbs are over here to launch their collected autobiographical comics in an essential hardcover compendium Drawn Together, published in the UK by Knockabout Comics. 
The venue, date and time for your diaries are:
Foyles Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 on Saturday November 3rd at 6.30pm. 
More than half of the tickets have already sold. To book, you simply have to sign up right now for the Comica Newsletter at (top of right-hand column) and you’ll be send the next mailing with the secret URL. Please note that Robert Crumb is not expected to sign, and Aline may be signing but only copies of Drawn Together. Tickets include a complimentary drink.
Other guests at Comica Festival 2012 include Alison Bechdel, Bryan Talbot, Kevin O’Neill, Joann Sfar, Oliver Frey, Posy Simmonds, Line Hoven and many more!
Many thanks for spreading this news.
The whole programme is online and being updated here: 

Friday 26 October 2012

Happy Halloween – it’s the return of Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman!

Happy Halloween – it’s the return of Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman!

At a pivotal moment in her life, former crack-whore Cabra Cini found a new addiction–voodoo–and from there she crafted a new vocation–developing her own bastardized version of the dark art to carry out hits!

Introduced in Visionary Comics’ Digital Visions, Cabra is back in H!M Comics’ IF-X: Halloween–in which a friend’s Halloween fancy dress party is meant to be a night off for Ms. Cini–but events prove to be as eventful and bizarre as any of her assignments!

Written by Sam Johnson (Geek-Girl, Gold Town, The Almighties) and illustrated by Dan Lauer (Myth, Slam Dunk Kings, Zombie Highway), Cabra’s lead feature in the comic reveals a new side to her. Johnson fills us in, “Anyone familiar with Cabra Cini knows she’s a badass; she used to be in the unfortunate position of being her now-ex pimp’s abused girlfriend, and having gotten out of that ‘hole’ and found her vocation in life, she’s a much stronger woman–to the point that she’s feared by any who know her–but beneath her badass exterior, she is still a human being.”

Johnson continues, “No one has been able to get close to Cabra since she became the ‘Voodoo Lady’; though she does have physical ‘relations’ (as a former President might say) with her neighbor Jeff…

“Only, Jeff’s fallen for her. He’s been wanting to take things to the next level–for them to have a real relationship–he’s had this idea in his head for awhile, and after a couple of drinks at the party, Jeff’s going to make his move and try and break through the ‘wall’ Cabra’s put up. However–he may not like what he finds on the other side of it.”
Suggested for mature readers, Cabra Cini in ‘Bad Voodoo’ is the lead feature of IF-X: Halloween, Out Now, $2.99, b&w, 32 pages – and available to buy online at The comic also features ‘Brody and Lisa’, a supernatural romance strip from Kelci Crawford; and ‘Recovery Unit’, an offbeat vampire tale from Patrick McEvoy & David Beyer, Jr.
And if you didn’t catch Cabra’s debut, it’s up to read for free at the site!

Do I THINK When I Draw A Comic? The Question SHOULD Be Do I THINK!

I was asked about what I thought about when putting a comic together.  Well, firstly, there is the concept.  What is it going to be about is something I tend not to know until I’ve started drawing it.  Thankfully, my brain does usually allow me to know which character will be in it.

I do not use scripts. Everything unfolds as I draw it. For instance, in Krakos: Sands Of Terror I knew Krakos would be in Egypt but then I drew him on a bus tour of the pyramids!  By the time I had reached the final page I was thinking “End it with a big question mark!” but I then began drawing a “twist in the tale” that threw me off somewhat!

With Krakos there was a choice: I could try to take him down the super hero route or keep him as he was in the work of his creator, William A. Ward, as a regularly (if eccentrically) dressed man who is the “Angel of the Burning Death”!  The utter weirdness of some pages was not planned just drawn and for that I blame my brain.

Here’s an odd side-note. I had thought that “the many-eyed one” had first been seen in “Worlds Within Words” –part of the Dr Morg Trilogy.  However, there it is in Krakos! I can only assume that the great unspeakable evil mind-swiped me! So the very foundations for The Green Skies was first laid down in 2009 and I never knew it. Well, I must have known it if it is there even if three years later I didn’t know it.

Comics really screw you up.

Anyway, readers in the Netherlands, Germany and Finland (the only people I’ve ever heard from on the book) loved it.  Particularly the way in which Krakos defeated the Crimson Guardian with his, uh, “ultimate power”!  That I had no idea was going to happen but it seemed so right after it was drawn.

I do, of course, occasionally keep rough notes with equally rough sketches –I have several large and crammed full “Pukka” A4 note books.  Some of the stuff in them will never see the light of day but some might.  Most of the stuff is stored in my head. On a recent project I inserted a scene out of nowhere. It puzzled me. Last week I was digging through the stack of old sketch books and there was the scene from…1997!

A couple of one page sketches Ben Dilworth just sent me put me into a flurry of sketching and note-making last night at about Midnight!  Two new series or books worked out.  About a month ago, at 0200 hours, I sat up and filled about ten pages with notes and sketches.

Oh, just realised –Dilworth did not inspire 2 stories but 3!

So, the story is never set out in any detail and I like that as it can lead to some surprises even for me.  With The Return Of The Gods it was only planned for one character to die –that had been in the planning stages as far back as the 1980s.  However, others died at a creative whim –including characters I liked.  But it happened so that’s it.

What I think about, as a rule, is making book value for money.  Something that I would pick up if I saw it.
Back in 2000, I think it was, I got a letter from someone reviewing zines –it was a large, folded sheet of paper with some silly title.  Anyway, he wanted a copy of the previous Black Tower Adventure for review but it had sold out. So, I returned his cheque and sent a copy of the latest bumper sized Adventure (vol.1 no. 50).

Nothing back from him but I then saw a copy of his publication at a Bristol Comic Expo. I bought it. What a review! He stated that he had ordered a copy of Adventure but it was not in stock so I had returned his cheque and sent a “rather thick” newer issue. Quite seriously: he was complaining about having his cheque returned and that I had sent him a book with over 50 pages for nothing!!!!

It got ‘better’ as he noted that the comic featured characters that “have obviously been around for a long time with a lot of back history” –I still puzzle over that complaint. I had been publishing 20+ years and he had ordered issue 49 but seemed angry that the comic had been going so long.  I always put in a “what has happened so far” type intro to strips because that leaves the reader with the option of just reading the book they have or buying a back issue if they like the story.

This was the most negative review I had ever gotten because I had not taken the man’s cheque and had sent him a book with far more pages than the one he had ordered!  Interestingly, a mark on the cover of that issue showed me that he later sold it on ebay for over £20!

Most comic fans like getting a nice chunky book at a decent price, though!  I try to make sure that the covers look good and are fairly decent pieces of art in themselves. The back covers –ditto. I introduced the “Tower Of Power Pin-ups” to cover this! I like to add text features –about the artist if a reprint or something about the character(s).  It is something European readers seem to really like.

All Black Tower books are, of course, black and white (I am the biggest publisher of Independent black and white comics in the UK after all…I’m told in Europe, too).  So the colour covers should give the reader a taste of excitement so that she/he will look inside.

So, value for your Euro/£/$ is what I aim to give. And I hear from people that they tend to read the comics 2-3 times whereas they read their Marvels and DCs just once (Result!). With the odd exception most comics from BT can be read by anyone from 11 years upward and entertainment is the key word.

Also, Black Tower does not just publish comics.  There is illustrated Haiku, prose stories of horror as well as dark humour and even books on “World Mysteries” such as Some Things Strange and Sinister, Some More Things Strange And Sinister and even books on wildlife such as the Red Paper or early ballooning –Riders Of The Clouds.  Again, the mystery books (all A4 and profusely illustrated) get great reactions from outside the UK.

But comics are what Black Tower is known for and I must admit I do get really surprised by who refers to them.  In 2004 I was meeting with some naturalists and discussing distribution maps, food graphs and all that really dry stuff. As I was seeing the university folk off at the train station one turned: “Oh, a couple of my co-workers love your comics” –I was taken aback but then another asked: “Are you that Terry Hooper –Black Tower?”    At another meeting with police wildlife crimes officers I was asked about Black Tower Comics and all sorts of stuff comic related.

This is all odd since, comic community wise, I seem to be better known outside the UK than in it!

Does it matter so long as people read and enjoy the books? Not really and so long as I keep sitting at a table with a blank piece of paper and equally blank mind I’ll continue drawing!

Sunday 21 October 2012

This Is How It Started. This Is How It Ends.

I Eat Dead Pigeons And Sewer Rats -I Was Born From The Blood Of Spring-heeled Jack

I wrote, a while ago and in a semi-humorous tone, that most people working in comics were dumb-asses. Can I now remove “semi-humorous” and replace it with “serious”?

Firstly, I am still getting books with no information attached. I have had to check on books five times this week to get page counts, cover prices and other info that should have been sent with them.  Also, if you want a person to review your book email them info plus a few jpeg images to use in the review.  Why? Well, I’ve had people complaining that I did not “select the best pages” for my review.

I often ask people to send 2-4 pages that they WANT shown with the review.  I think only one person has ever done this.  The rest were all “We’ll leave that up to you as reviewer”….then they complain about my choices.

Look, if you check review sites you will find most show a cover image and the rest is text.  I was shocked at how many sites in France do this and not even the company sites offer sneak peaks at their new books. It is why I have always tried to include pages with reviews so a person can see what the art is like (Cinebook the 9th Art and Classical Comics do this with their books) and whether they might want to buy it.  Better than “Your review was great so I bought the book and the art was crap!”

As a reviewer my job is to review a book so there is no obligation to the publisher to do anything else. Scanning pages to include in the review is not part of the deal. No info, no jpeg images means your book does not get a high priority for review –I review it when I have time.  It’s the “Look, you as the publisher really cannot be bothered so I, as the reviewer, take a reciprocal approach” stance.  Probably a double-negative there but who gives a fried crap –no one reads these things.

Again, because it is hidden in plain sight to the right, here is the Reviews Policy if you have a book you want reviewed on CBO:

Reviews Policy Reminder

1. We do not touch Marvel or DC comics (well, to a certain extent these days)
2. The exception to [1] is if an artist or writer is working for either company but also works for Independent publishers .
3. We review and interview people/publications covering the Small Press and Independent Comics as well as those involved in Manga, Manhwa and Manhua.
4.  Because of legal problems as well as time wasting in the past where heavily promoted   books have never gone to print it is our STRICT POLICY that we do NOT base reviews on pdf documents.  We’ll look at them prior to interviews or to mention them in passing but if you WANT a review we need a hard copy.  No hard copy =NO review.
5.  Press Releases:Word Doc with one or two jpeg images.
DVD/Book  reviews
In the past we have been asked to review DVD releases [such as Speed Racer] and as it’s within our remit we said “yes”.  Then the DVDs never turn up [as with Speed Racer].
Our policy is this: You want a review of such items send them. Do NOT waste my time with needless and pointless correspondence.
Press Releases should go to:
Review material to:
Terry Hooper
c/o: 203 Ashton Drive
Ashton Vale
Bristol BS3 2PY
Not much to take in really.  Doesn’t matter whether the comic is in English or not. Obviously, foreign language we go by art, though.
Always, always ALWAYS send details such as:
*number of pages
*format [US/Mag., etc]
*cover price [if orderable from you include a postal cost if you can]
*contact info
There. Ever forget just check under Review Policy!
c/o   203 Ashton Drive
Ashton Vale
Bristol BS3 2PY

All of that ‘hidden’ here on CBO.  I should include: do not pretend that you are a “buddy” and want to be excluded from the guidelines cuz, you know, yer a good pal. I don’t have friends.  Oh, if you do not want to send a book for review DO NOT email me and say you’ve read the guidelines and will NOT be submitting your book!!

I do really believe that there are a lot of dumb-asses out there.  Let’s not get me started on creators whose livelihoods and careers have been negatively affected by certain crooks in comics but who respond with “He’ll tell you himself it’s all true –lovable rogue!”  Really? You get what you deserve, ass-head.

Pretty fuckin’ grim but I owe no one a “favour.”

Also, if you submit a book for review you will get an honest review.  Don’t care who you are.  If you send me a Press Release and I post it DO NOT contact me the next day and try to pretend I have made an error.  DO NOT tell me that I should be proof-reading your Press Release for errors.  DO NOT demand that I correct the errors that YOU have made….unless you are paying me?

You think all of the above is rare? Nope, it is almost weekly.  Miss-spelling someone like Herb Trimpe’s name as “Trimp” or “Trump” or even citing someone in your press release as “the creator of—-“ and when corrected stating “We meant he created the Silver Age —– not the Golden Age—–“ when the person referred to did not ‘create’ the Silver Age Comics version but started writing on the book about five years ago.

But it’s not all about reviewing or press releases.

There are people in the comics media who describe the Marvel character Red Skull as “one of Marvel’s first mutants” –he is not. Check out your comics history: the Red Skull mask was given to the anonymous Nazi by Hitler (it was only a side-effect of an early super soldier formula in the recent movie).

And for the info of a certain jerk: Aquaman is not a Silver Age creation but a Golden Age creation of Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger in…1941. And was later re-introduced on “Earth 1” in 1959 –lovely art by Ramona Fradon.

I could go on but I really would like to sit someone else in this chair for a month and see how they cope.

When it comes to the much-shortened blog list, well, I have explained this but…people asked me to put their blog on the CBO blog list. I say “Okay –but you have to put CBO on YOUR blog list” and this usually gets two responses:

1)  “Why should I publicise CBO –you’ve only reviewed a book of mine?”

2)  “No problem.”

Well, 1) gets the response that if my site is not good enough to be listed on your blog roll then I am not going to publicise yours.  2) usually gets followed up by my having noticed no links added and the response: “Oh, I thought I added that!” or “Wow, like I’ve had no time to add a link yet” (after 6 months or a year that never gets taken seriously).  Some have added a link but removed it after a week.  After 5-6 years you have to say “Why am I giving links to their sites and getting nothing in return?”

So, I gave everyone a warning that the links were coming off the blog roll unless there were CBO links added to their sites.  One person responded “I can’t see you doing that” so he was first off.  Links all removed and 5 people bleat “WHY have you removed our links on CBO?!!”  Maybe they were too busy having sex with “Miss Righty” to pay attention.

People from publishers, writers, artists and every other aspect of comicdom have taken advantage of CBO and in many –many- cases do not even say “thanks” for promoting their events or books or even pushing and backing them and their company/books when no one else would (and when they take off its “feck off CBO –we owe you nothing!”).

Changes were brought in and they are staying.

I eat dead pigeons and sewer rats.

Saturday 20 October 2012

SLG: Pinocchio Vampire Slayer Vol Three Part One: Of Wood and Blood

Creators Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins
Black & White
ISBN # 9781593622398
UPC Code 9781593622398
Order via website for savings:

Pinocchio’s wish to become a real boy has finally come true! Too bad he’s been left for dead in the middle of the Mediterranean with what’s left of the Great Puppet Theater, and his beloved Carlotta has fallen into the clutches of the vampires’ dark lord. Bereft of his never-ending supply of stakes, Pinocchio must rely on a few new friends to continue his crusade against the undead. But when the former slayer’s shocking origin is revealed, will Pinocchio be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to rout the vampire scourge?

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood (Part One) is the beginning of the end as the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer trilogy nears its conclusion.

Some nice black and white (and grey tone) art here and an interesting story.  We’ve had Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Slayer so why not…Pinocchio?

Nice little book.

SLG: Sparko

Karl Stephan
176 pages
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN-10: 1593622201
ISBN-13: 978-1593622206
See web site and Amazon for savings:

In London, hitting rock bottom isn”t all it”s cracked up to be. Indeed, when
Norman gets stabbed and thrown in the Thames, little does he know that he would soon be taking a bad trip through a subterranean nightmare jungle, writhing with curious creatures and ectoplasmic manifestations (GHOSTS, stupid!). It is here that he will be forced to confront the truth about his girlfriend”s untimely death and unravel the mystery of the river Thames. Luckily he has a friend in the pick-pocketing Belle, who keeps him ahead of carnivorous spectres, killer Chihuahuas, and black-clad goblins in guyliner.

Sparko is an offbeat urban fantasy, a nightmarish ride through the collective unconscious of the world”s glummest city; Sparko is pop psychosis, a story about love”s shadow; Sparko is a comedy; Sparko is a tragedy; Sparko is Neverwhere with Tourette”s! Go off the deep end with it!

It is a fun little book and a nice read. Art is good and the story holds together well. Sewers, monsters and more.

Friday 19 October 2012

The Art of Todd McFarlane Available Nov. 21, 2012

I’ve not seen this. This is NOT a review. It’s here for the McFarlane fans.

Description: Description: art:Source:Logos and Style Guides:In-House:General:McFarlane Company logos:Old Company logos:ToddMcFarlaneProductions:FINAL TIFF
Todd McFarlane Productions and Image Comics to release Todd McFarlane’s
long awaited visual biography

Tempe, Ariz.— October 18, 2012 – At long last, The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details, Todd McFarlane’s first and only art book, is scheduled to hit shelves nationwide Wednesday, November 21, 2012.
A visual biography celebrating almost 30 years of artwork from one of the comic industry’s most popular and iconic artist personalities, The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details, is not just another art book. It follows McFarlane’s journey from a young comic book fan mimicking his favorite artists, to his subsequent rise to comic book stardom. McFarlane, himself, provides hundreds of anecdotes throughout the 400-page book, walking the fans through his groundbreaking career.

“I broke into this industry when I was 23 years-old. The only way to put a book like this together is to have actually spent more than two decades creating the art within it,” said McFarlane.

“The passage of time allows you to build up a body of work, that as you step back, has meaning, and can be an inspiration for other artists along the way. I’m happy to be able to collect my autobiography in both a written and visual format. I hope the wait has been worth it!”

Fans will receive an up close and personal look at McFarlane’s creative take on beloved characters from both DC and Marvel Comics, and learn more about his history making move in helping to form Image Comics, where he published his brainchild, Spawn. With copious amounts of rarely seen black and white original pieces of his most famous work, and numerous drawings of the comic book industry’s most popular characters, this is a book that can’t be missed. In addition, fans get an exclusive peek at McFarlane’s first forays into various media (toys, film, animation, music videos, video games), where he put his creative stamp on everything through his signature eye-catching imagery.

Available just in time for Black Friday, The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details will be available nationwide Wednesday, November 21st.  The oversized hard cover book (9×12) is limited to 5000 copies, with 700 signed and numbered editions available.  Each book retails at $64.99 and $100, respectively, and would make the perfect gift for any art fan!

# # #

About Todd McFarlane Productions
Todd McFarlane Productions (TMP) is the company behind the monthly comic book Spawn. Created by Todd McFarlane, Spawn debuted in May 1992, selling 1.7 million copies, making it the bestselling independent comic book of all time. Spawn is published in nine languages and distributed in more than 32 countries. Currently, TMP releases the long-running Spawn monthly comic now in its 20th year. Other TMP titles include Haunt, Hellspawn, and Sam & Twitch. For complete information, visit; Facebook:; Twitter: (Todd_McFarlane) and YouTube:

Exclusive Content: Giving fans a first-hand video commentary, Todd McFarlane talks about the release of his first-ever art book and reveals some of the art that fans will find in the book.  Available here:

Bilbolbul Newsletter – VII edizione Bilbolbul: 21-24 febbraio 2013

NEWSLETTER del 18/10/2012

La VII edizione di BilBOlbul si terrà a Bologna dal 21 al 24 febbraio 2013. Il festival anticipa di una settimana rispetto agli anni passati ma la formula non cambia: mostre, incontri, proiezioni, performance, laboratori e tante iniziative per bambini e ragazzi!

Su trovate le prime informazioni sui protagonisti del festival. Continuate a seguirci, anche su Facebook e Twitter: nelle prossime settimane vi daremo nuovi aggiornamenti.

Anche quest’anno viene data la possibilità ad autori e spazi espositivi di proporre una mostra per il festival. Sul nostro sito è possibile scaricare il form di domanda, che, compilato in ogni sua parte, va inviato entro il 30 novembre 2012 a Possono fare richiesta sia autori, gruppi di artisti e fanzine, sia chi voglia accogliere nel proprio spazio (galleria, libreria, negozio, bar, locale, ristorante, atelier…) una delle mostre di BilBOlbul. Entro fine dicembre selezioneremo le proposte che verranno inserite in programmazione.

BilBOlbul Festival internazionale di fumetto fa parte della
Rete dei Festival del Contemporaneo di Bologna

Gender Bender: 27 ottobre > 3 novembre 2012 :: BilBOlBul: 21 > 24 febbraio 2013 - :: Future Film Festival :: Live Arts Week :: Angelica- Festival Internazionale di musica :: Biografilm:

Sylvia Kristel 1952-2012

According to the BBC:

Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who starred in the 1974 erotic French film Emmanuelle, has died aged 60.
“She died during the night during her sleep,” her agent, Marieke Verharen, told the AFP news agency.
The actress, who had cancer, was admitted to hospital in July after suffering a stroke.

Emmanuelle, which told the story of a sexually promiscuous housewife, spawned numerous sequels and played in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees for 11 years.

Released in 1974, the soft-focus French film was one of the first erotic movies to be shown in mainstream cinemas.

Kristel herself attributed its success to the changing censorship laws of the era.

“In a lot of countries the light went on, and that contributed very much to the success,” she said.
In the UK, however, the film was eventually given the restricted X-rating, having suffered heavy cuts. The unedited version did not appear in the country until 2007.

Kristel went on to star in several Emmanuelle sequels, as well as more mainstream films – many of which, like Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Mata Hari, played on her reputation as an erotic film star.

Sylvia Kristel at the Cannes Film Festival 
The actress caused a sensation at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival
Born in Utrecht, Holland, in 1952, Kristel grew up with her younger sister Marianne in Room 21 of The Commerce Hotel, which her parents owned.

Convent-educated, she fled her strict Calvinist upbringing for Amsterdam as a teenager, where she worked as a secretary and a waitress before becoming a model.

Aged 21, she won two beauty competitions – Miss TV Holland and Miss TV Europe – and, shortly afterwards, was encouraged to pursue acting by her boyfriend, Belgian author Hugo Claus.

Contemporary review of Emmanuelle

There have been movies influenced by other movies, and directors influenced by other directors, but Emmanuelle may be the first movie influenced by magazine centerfolds.

What makes the film work is the performance of Sylvia Kristel… [who] projects a certain vulnerability that makes several of the scenes work.

The performers in most skin flicks seem so impervious to ordinary mortal failings, so blase in the face of the most outrageous sexual invention, that finally they just become cartoon characters. Kristel actually seems to be present in the film, and as absorbed in its revelations as we are.

She had already appeared nude in the film Because of the Cats, when she stumbled into the audition for Emmanuelle, having been sent to a casting call for a soap powder commercial next door.

Speaking to The Evening Standard in 1994, she said she had no problem convincing director Just Jaeckin of her suitability for the part.

“He asked me to take my dress off,” she said. “Luckily it was an easy dress to take off.

“It had spaghetti straps which I just slipped over my shoulders and it just fell off. I carried on talking and smoking in the nude. I was not inhibited at all. I’d done nude modelling and he thought I was very graceful.”

Set in Thailand, the film was based on the erotic novel by Emmanuelle Arsan. It told the story of a bored wife, who had followed her diplomat husband to Asia, and filled her time with romantic trysts.

On release, Emmanuelle inevitably caused controversy. It was banned in Paris, where it was supposed to have its premiere, for six months. But it also made Kristel a star.

She spent seven years in Hollywood, appearing in such films as The Concorde: Airport ’79, and Private Lessons.

But the actress, whose parents were both alcoholics, soon found herself addicted to drink and drugs.

Sylvia Kristel
The actress had no regrets about being associated with Emmanuelle. “It’s hard to find a better character,” she said in 2001
“I sometimes needed a shot before doing certain scenes,” she said. “It definitely comforted me and gave me courage. But then it turned out that I almost couldn’t start a day without a drink.”

By this time she had left Claus, with whom she had a son, for British actor Ian McShane. Their relationship was volatile. In her autobiography, she described it as “awful – he was witty and charming but we were too much alike”.

Further relationships followed. She wed American millionaire Alan Turner, who ended their marriage after five months, telling Kristel he had made a terrible mistake.

Her second husband, would-be director Philippe Blot, persuaded her to bankroll his films. They were disastrously received.

Kristel said she left the marriage with $400 (£247) to her name.

“If I’d known then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with any of the relationships I was involved in, with the exception of Hugo,” she told the Daily Mail in 1993.

She stopped appearing nude on screen in the 1980s because her son, Arthur, was being “teased at school”, but returned to the Emmanuelle series in 1994, in a direct-to-video sequel where she appeared, fully-clothed, reminiscing about the exploits of her younger alter-ego.

After leaving America, she retreated to the South of France to paint, specialising in female portraits and pictures of roses. She was diagnosed with both throat and lung cancer in the early 2000s and fought the disease over the last decade.

Her agent declined to say whether Kristel died at home or at hospital, but said her funeral would be private.

Tempus fugit

Le Club Des 27 tome 1/Club 27 vol.1 – Amy Winehouse

Patrick Eudeline
Javi Fernandez
48 pages
Format: 240 x 330 mm
ISBN: 9782822201919
Price: € 12.95
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Preview pages here:

Club 27 is the first in the Jungle! Thriller series Supernatural Rock.  Club 27 is that dumb ass notion that mega rock/music stars die tragically at the age of 27 years of age and thus there is something “strange” about it. Other ‘inductees’ are Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Curt Kobain, all renowned musicians that died at the same age.  Of course, being dumb and partaking in alcohol and drug abuse had nothing to do with it, did it?

In this first volume the subject is Amy Winehouse, and it follows her early “musical career and hercheeky antics. Sex, drugs, violence, but also talent and passion.

Nice art, typical bullshit over “great lost talent” but if you are into comic book adaptions of rock stars lives you ought to enjoy this

Casterman: La Villa Sur La Falaise/TheVilla On The Cliff

Collection of Creators
ISBN: 2203049022
EAN: 9782203049024
Dimensions: cm 17.2x24x1.8
Price: € 17.00
Date of publication: 24/10/2012

The 10th anniversary of Collection Scripture –since 2002 Scriptures has welcomed both new talent and translations of foreign works remarkable for their ambition, their quality or sophisticated narrative. Jiro Taniguchi  became the figurehead of authors from all walks of geographical and narrative (Baru, Seth, Mattotti, Craig Thompson, Chester Brown, Georges Bess, Kim Dong-hwa, to name few) often inspired by literature.

To accompany this tenth anniversary, Casterman proposed ten authors from all backgrounds (some French as Cati Baur or Fred Bernard, but also many foreigners, Anglo-Saxon, Japanese or European) each create an original story of twenty boards, from a “pitch” common. The leader of La Villa on East Cliff Benoit Sokal: by the sea, a storm of unusual violence has literally halved a villa situated on a rocky promontory, suddenly exposing the curiosity of all the intimacy a household and a family, in a curious spectacle combining the  incongruous and the indecent …

The ten authors in Villa on the cliff are Cati Baur, Fred Bernard, Hannah Berry, Isabel Kreitz, Gabrielle Piquet, Nate Powell, Davide Reviati, Sylvain Saulne, Kan Takahama, Jiro Taniguchi.
Some very nice art styles on show here -showing just why French publishers and BD fans are spoilt!

Casterman BD: Eden Hotel 1-Ernesto

Eden Hotel Volume 1:Ernesto

Authors: Diego Agrimbau , Gabriel Ippoliti
Full colour
Hard cover
Pages: 72
Dimensions: 24x32cm
ISBN: 2203040882
EAN: 9782203040885
Price: € 13.75
Release Date: 10/10/2012

Ernesto Guevara Lynch, father and son (the future “Che”) are both active members of Argentina Action, an organization whose goal is to investigate Nazi military activities in their country. During the last months of World War II, they decided to get into what they believe to be a Nazi bastion -Hotel Eden, a place where they themselves have stayed with their family a few years before.

Ernesto’s father is hired to redevelop the golf course of the hotel, while Ernesto, thirteen, revives an acquaintance with the woman who had been his nurse, Helena Werber, and becomes a radio operator for SS.  Thanks to Helena, Ernesto manages to obtain confidential information, especially about an impending arms delivery. But it is still necessary to use this information to deceive the vigilance of Raynard, a young Nazi Goebbels protégé, who dream of seducing Helena …

The artwork here is lovely. Nicely detailed and bringing the atmosphere of this dangerous time in Argentina to life.  “Style” says it all –look at that cover!