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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Sunday 31 August 2014

Dr Strange....UK Counterparts in Comics?

As I've been here watching comedies since 11:00hrs, I gradually progressed to H. P. Lovecraft audio stories and then I had to really think about something. It happens.

I've gone through the complete sets of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen with all its -though enjoyable in parts- naiive and almost school-boyish ideas of magic. So, I went to my collection of The Essential Dr Strange and, to be honest, the stories and concepts just blow Moore out of the water. And the pages in black and white actually make the books far superior to the colour comics.

Black and white is best for horror comics.

I want to write a piece on Dr Strange when possible but that might be a bit of a ways off.

A few questions rose, though.  Did we, in the UK, have anything similar to Dr Strange in UK comics?  Yes, we had Spellcaster with Sylvester Turville.  More an alchemist, though. Cursitor Doom -basically a paranormal investigator.  But any who were full spell-casting sorcerors?

So, a question for you Brit comic fans: Can you name such a character from UK comics -or did you get your Magick kick from Dr Strange?

It'll be interesting to find out.

Now, since the arms of Morpheus repell me...on to a Lovecraft documentary!

H.P. Lovecraft: Fear Of The Unknown [2008]

Saturday 30 August 2014

For Subzero -a FULL Version!

DC and Marvel Comics. Dead In The Water.

Well, I've given it a bit of thought and to be honest both DC and Marvel -DISNEY Comics are so far beyond redemption it really is no longer worth covering either of them. I was a Marvelite from about 6-7 years old so 50 years later to just look at what has happened....sad.

The thing is, though, I predicted all of this at the time Disney took over "Marvel UK"/Pannini and warned that UK creators would be out of work.  No one listened.  I demonstrated the history of what Disney does. "Total rubbish!"  When all those long faces came up to me with "Marvel UK arent giving us any more work" I could have laughed. But its wrong to laugh at morons.

I actually posted that Disney were buying Marvel MONTHS before it was officially announced and where were those "nay" sayers when it happened as I said it would?  Convenient amnesia.  When I told everyone that Disney "promised" (did anyone check for crossed fingers?) NOT to interfere in any way with Marvel comics I pointed out the history again and that Disney WOULD be controlling everything from day one...and yet Marvel COULD have purchased Disney.  Sheesh.

Disney Comics is a huge cash-cow. Marvel is dead.  Long live the memories!

Image result for marvel comics

Friday 29 August 2014

Talking about Reboots and some other things.

A fan speaks. This is typical of what MANY long term fans are saying.

Mad TV - Catwoman

Black Tower Books: The Hooper Interviews

Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & white
prose and very fully illustrated!
365 pages
Price: £15.00

From a huge selection of interviews covering the Small Press,Independent Comics from the UK,Europe and US,here are a few of the best from over 25 years. These interviewees include:

Including…deeep breath:


And many others.

Black Tower: The Amazing World Of Alan Class

The Amazing World Of Alan Class
By Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & White/text
 24 Pages
Price: £5.00
Marvel, Timely, Atlas, Charlton, ACG, MLJ/Archie Dennis the Menace (US) -one man published them all. Alan Class. Who? Class is legendary for bringing black and white reprints of US comics to a country starved of the medium thanks to a certain war! 
From 1959-1989 Suspence, Sinister, Astounding and Uncanny gave us a comic fix for a few pennies. Learn more about the man and how Class Comics came about in the long awaited print version of Terry Hooper's exclusive interview!

It Would Seem That It's Not Just Comic Conventions That Have Changed...

And I found this posting by John Squires to be depressing. Very depressing.  What next -San Diego Comic Con 2015 Special Celebrity Guest -Honey Boo-Boo?!!

Eartha Kitt- Angelitos Negros

Still a fantastic song/performance and yet those mentally constipated morons on You Tube still write nasty/offensive comments.                

September 2014 In Marvel Comics Will Be April 2015...but...only in...two titles???

Hickman's Avengers and New Avengers will be skipping forward eight months but no one is sure if that's "Marvel Universe Time" or "Publisher Time"!  Oh,  and then those titles will be staying there while the rest of the Marvel Universe  catches up in April 2015 for the "Times Out Event."

This is what the fans are talking about. In fact, I find it hard to believe or understand just what the confusion is.  Avengers and New Avengers of September 2014 will be set in April 2015.  Every other title of September will be set in September (schedule).

 "Publisher Time" or "Universe Time"???  Uh, that makes no sense. Not unless Disney has discovered time travel and gone ahead, printed and brought back comics from the future.  It's Marvel Disney Comics Universe time. Avengers and New Avengers WILL BE SET IN APRIL 2015 and ALL OTHER TITLES WILL BE SET IN THEIR CURRENT PUBLISHING SCHEDULE.

Got it?

Yes, it is a feckin great mess but all those "Yous" out there....look, I explained it all here:

So, I put all of this to one of the few 'Marvel' Comics fans I could find and his reaction was.....

I rest my case.

And it looks like the Marvel Movie Universe may be following the comics crap. Chris Evans contract for three Captain America movies is almost up and there are VERY strong rumours that a black actor will be taking on the Captain America mantle -apparently there have been try-outs.

Reaction so far? I refer you to the face above.

The UKs 'Only' Comic Company Has Its Books Printed Outside The UK....meh

Here is a funny little story.  D. C. Thomson is called the UKs last comic company (it isn't but let's go with the popular opinion people here).

This bastion of the 'industry' (please, I am trying to keep a straight face here) was so successful decades ago because it had its own printers and so everything was "in house".  How does Thomson repay the loyal workforce?

This years annuals are, it seems, printed in Italy.  But this next bit I found hilarious and I think Subzero at Tales From The Kryptonian will be a bit surprised.  The Commando Picture Libraries are now being printed in Germany??  How that will work I do not know -all Swastikas removed from covers?

So, not only is Thomson not a big UK comic company -it barely rates as an Independent these days- but it is sending its books to European printers!

Thomson could, if it so wished and completely restructured its Juvenile department, and that means getting rid of current editorial staff for ones more comic savvy, actually be a force to be reckoned with in comics and that means earning a good profit from comic sales as opposed to the meagre pickings of toys with comics accidentally attached.

Sad. But I've given up hope there.

Stuff You

Isn't it marvellous how, when you get a blog that is successful, all those people in comics who treated you like raw crap want to be added to your networks on things like Face Book or Linkedin?

Oh, cynics might say that way these people get their posts seen more easily.  Surely not?

Their chances of being added to my "networks"?  The same as Obama and Putin being caught out in a gay sex scandal.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks (Action Movie) Trailer

nice bit of enjoyable fun!

Marvel Reboot On The Way....well, d'uh!


MONTHS ago I stated that  this year (September/October) Marvel Comics were going to reboot their comics line....again.  Just google "Marvel Comics reboots" and it comes up with Marvel Comics reboot 2011...Marvel Comics reboot 2012 and so on and so on.

Now -no pun intended -"Marvel Now"- fans are up in arms as they hear everything is being rebooted from the start with...more #1s ("Number Ones" is a euphemism for peeing -you realise that, right?). I have just been reading some furious die-hard Marvel fans screeching "enough is enough!" and even some bloggers like Hippycollectibles has declared his anger at another reboot and that he is going to instead concentrate on completing his Silver Age collections.

DC reboots all the time.  They're dead in the water.

Does Marvel Disney care?  No. "Hey, those jerks will spend even more money cus its more number ones and their such dumb-asses they'll buy the lot!"  How can I adequately explain what Disney (there is NO Marvel Comics any more) is doing to you comic buyers?

It's 03:00 hrs (that's 3 am) and you wake up.  Some man in a suit is taking all the money out of your wallet/purse whatever.

You: "Who-who the hell are you? How'd  you--?"
Suit: "Ah, shut the **** up, moron. I wanted your money so **** you!"

Suited man throws something onto your bed.

You: "What was THAT???"
Suit: "I just crapped on your bed and needed to wipe my ass. You had plenty of first issues so I used those"
You: " can't do that!"

Suit moves over to you, leans right in and pokes you in the eye.
Suit: "Listen shit-for-brains -spend your money, when you get more, buy them again. Got it?"
You: "But you can't just break in here, steal my money and crap on my bed and then use my comics as toilet paper -who gave you the right?!!"
Suit: "You did you dumb-ass. Oh. I butt-*****  "Namor" your goldfish, too."

"You" goes out next morning and withdraws more money from the TRM cash machine. "You" goes to his comic shop where he has to pay extra for the, uh, 'old' comics. As "You" sits at home wondering where it'll be safe to put his comics - his eye catches the rather sluggish goldfish. "You" feels momentarily ashamed.  "You" feels guilty but realises that at least he got those comics!

Even later online he reads "Marvel To Reboot entire line next month!"  "You" shrugs: "I'll have to make sure I set up a standing order for those!"

Two months later "You" wakes up at 03:00 hrs. A suited man is taking money ........

In an office at Disney a lot of men in suits are barely concealing their sexual arousal as they rub themselves in $ bills. One laughs out loud: "We got them bitches whipped -reboot in three months, guys!"


I warned you all last time.  "What does he know?"  I warned you THIS time.  "BS, man!" So here is a snippet of more BS for you. At a "Marvel" meeting a lot of discussion was going on about rebooting and "restructuring the (comics) line" --around May 2015.

At this very moment "You" is getting ready to draw up his standing order list....unaware that in the background a man in a suit.....

Bristol street artists mourn the 'King of Paint'

What with various problems I had completely missed this in July. Very sad. A new tribute image is also up in North Street, Bedminster.

By Sophie Prideaux  Bristol Post, 23rd July.

The mural in Chapter Street in St Paul's which features the face of  Matt Hibbert – aka Mibsy, the King of Paint
The mural in Chapter Street in St Paul's which features the face of Matt Hibbert – aka Mibsy, the King of Paint
  STREET artists from across Bristol have been paying tribute to the man they dubbed the King of Paint, Matt 'Mibsy' Hibbert, who died last week.

Mibsy, who was 39, had built up a strong relationship with many of Bristol's well-known graffiti artists after opening the King of Paint shop and gallery on Haymarket Walk, which supplied spray paint and other supplies to the city's street artists.

The death of Mibsy, whose face features on a large graffiti mural in Chapter Street, St Paul's, shocked the many people who visited the shop or knew him from the Stokes Croft area.

He had recently been staying at the Dean Neurological Centre in Gloucester, but after falling ill was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

People have since taken to social media to pay tribute to Mibsy, who they said had a "heart of gold".
Bristol graffiti artist Tom 'Inkie' Bingle, who painted one of the arches on the Carriageworks in Stokes Croft, led the tributes, saying without Mibsy Bristol would be a "greyer place".

He said: "RIP Matt Hibbert aka Mibsy, the King of Paint. My deepest love goes out to all his family and friends, very sad news. As well as supporting the See No Evil events on Nelson Street, without Mibsy half of Bristol's graffiti scene would have gone without their materials to create such beautiful works and the city would be a greyer place."

See No Evil gallery in Nelson Street said: "Bristol has lost a true gent... rest in peace."

Felix 'FLX' Braun, part of Bristol's street art scene for more than 30 years, said: "I'm sure he had no idea how much his gentle nature and warmth meant to the hundreds of writers he got to know whilst working behind that counter."

Tom Deams has painted a large tribute to Mibsy in Stokes Croft. He said: "So Matty or Mibsy would have walked past this spot every day after closing up at The King of Paint graffiti shop... I felt he deserved to have his name painted big here and I feel blessed to have known him for the short period I did. Matty was a gentleman and such a nice person to know. Shine on Mibsy, we all love you."

Artist Fiv3r, who recently proposed to his girlfriend with a piece of Beauty and the Beast-themed graffiti, has also sprayed a mural for him. And Inkie said more memorial pieces are likely to be popping up across the city, including one he will be working on tomorrow with fellow artist Cheo in a mystery location in Bristol.


Stan Lee Says What????

"I created Comic Bits Online.  If Terry Hooper wants to consider himself co-creator then fine"


Why would my father say that?????

April Fool every----

August 28th?  What? I'm confused.  Did I create CBO or Stan Lee? Two can play that game.

I created Spider-Man.


What's going on?  Well, it's this or stick my finger in the electric toaster again.  The electric toaster hurt my finger.  I don't like touching the electric toaster.

I'm old.


So I Buy This Comic On Ebay....

Well, it was issue #2 of The Adventures Of The Fly #2 and I got it for just over £5.00.

This is a very early Silver Age comic.

This morning, after torrential downpours, the postman hands me two packages.  One is a cheap A4 brown envelope so I expected to find papers inside. The envelope is coming undone. Its soak. Semi-mangled. I open's The Adventures Of The Fly #2 -unbagged, un-boarded, no protection what-so-ever in the envelope. I now have a wet, falling apart, twisted 'comic'.

For every one person who protects the items sent, around 10 seem to think "oh just chuck it in an envelope" -but you as the buyer are paying for the postage you expect will cover the protected envelope.

*****! ****!  ****!

Just sent a polite BUT strongly worded message to the seller.

This is what a good copy looks like...looking at mine I could cry. It's only bin-filler now.  Survived in Fair condition since 1959....

I'm going off to cry.

UP-DATE. This is the response I just got: "I am so sorry about this. Please accept my apologies."  That's it.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

DC Comics -Warner: "No Jokes"

I think this Yahoo! News item by Drew McWeeny shows just how far behind the times DC Comics and Warner are.  Sadly, they seriously do not get the back-forth joky banter that Marvel was known for and which has been included in the movies.

Oh, and there are now rumours of some delays in filming "because of certain properties" -and I have no idea what the hell that is about.

Why Superman and Batman may lose the war to Marvel before they even begin

Why Superman and Batman may lose the war to Marvel before they even begin

Warner Bros. has ambitious plans for their superhero properties, but have they put a rule in place for all of the DC movies that has already given Marvel's flawed-but-lovable heroes the upper hand?
"No jokes."

Last week was about the fifth time I've heard that there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development, and it's very simple and direct and to the point.

"No jokes."

It would seem like a crazy rule to set for an entire series of films. How can you know what the tone is for every story you'll be telling in a series before you've even started telling it? The thing is, DC has taken a few stabs at establishing this larger universe on film, and they've gotten smacked down for everything that hasn't had Batman in it. "Man Of Steel" made money, and I'm certainly not the only person to like the film. I may be one of its more ardent defenders, but I'm not alone. I think you'd have a far harder time finding someone to defend "Green Lantern," the studio's other big attempt at launching one of the core Justice League characters with a film franchise of his own.

One thing you'd have to grant "Green Lantern," whatever your feelings about it as a movie, is that they've got lots of jokes in that movie. They are resolutely unafraid to make jokes. Green Lantern/Hal Jordan/Ryan Reynolds (there is no discernible difference between these three identities) makes jokes throughout the film, and the trailer featured plenty of them. There is a wise-ass attitude to a good chunk of the film that is very much on purpose. Every one of the guys they looked at to play the lead in the film had to be as well-liked as a comic performer as an action star. That's not a long list, but it seems like the exact sweet spot that studios are constantly searching for. Look at the reaction to Chris Pratt now that he's made the jump to a lead in the biggest film of the summer. He's the guy studios dream of when they dream of new young movie stars. A sense of humor seems like an essential club to have in the golf bag, right?

Not according to Warner/DC. Not after "Green Lantern."

Now, to be fair, no one has directly connected those dots for me. But something has caused this shift in the overall editorial voice of the DC superhero movies. There's got to be a point behind an edict as broad and as specific as that.

Here's why I have trouble believing any studio would do that. Even in the most serious of mainstream movies, some of the most memorable moments are those points where they let off steam, where a laugh is used to punctuate. In adventure movies especially, a laugh can make the difference between a movie people like and a movie people love. The right laugh can make a movie a classic. Think of that beat in "Raiders" where Indy shoots the swordsman. That laugh is not just a huge rush of relief in the middle of a harrowing and thrilling action set piece, but it's also a character-defining moment for Indiana Jones. George Lucas may have his qualms about whether or not Han Solo shot first, but Indy's no dummy; of course he's going to shoot first. That's why Indiana Jones is still alive.

Laughter also allows audiences to swallow some of the more ridiculous things that they're asked to buy into with modern event films. Suspension of disbelief is always a sort of a magic trick if you're dealing with aliens or superheroes, but you add a talking raccoon with a fetish for giant guns and a talking tree creature that is meant to be the emotional heart of the film, and you'd better figure out exactly how to embrace that absurdity, make the jokes that win the audience over, and use that humor to smuggle in the sentiment. If you've got an audience laughing, you've got them willing to accept things.

DC is going to try for some big characters with Batman and Wonder Woman and The Flash and Cyborg and Aquaman, and one thing that's always seemed true to me of DC comics versus Marvel is tone. DC treats their superhero characters more like gods, fighting battles that we simply can't comprehend or participate in because of our natures. Even Batman, who has no superpowers, is treated like he is a legend, an icon that he's nurtured as a symbol of fear. Marvel characters are more flawed, more human, struggling to live human lives while still dealing with their powers and their responsibility to the world. And if DC finds a way to try to play their films on this larger, operatic, hero-as-myth level storytelling, I'd be excited to see that. I'd want to see that.

But if "No Jokes" is a reaction to "Green Lantern," an edict that comes from a desire to simply do things differently from Marvel, it could really paint DC's movies into a corner, and I would imagine that it's giving some filmmakers pause in considering whether or not they'd want to make a DC movie.

While I thought there were some gentle pokes at genre fans in "Man Of Steel," there's nothing in that film that I'd call a joke. There were set-ups and punch-lines in the Nolan Batman films, but I wouldn't really describe those movies as "funny" in any significant way. "Green Lantern" is the one film where they really gave a character permission to talk shit in the Tony Stark manner, fast and funny and self-aware, and where audiences seemed to love it when Robert Downey Jr. did it, they did not seem as smitten with Reynolds.
Instead of worrying about something as drastic as "No Jokes," the studio should look at how important it is to get a consistent sense of tone in one of these movies. The reason "Guardians" manages to get away with some of its more outrageous moments is because it tells us right up front, during that great opening title sequence, that this is going to be fun, and it's going to be irreverent, and it's not going to take everything deadly serious. There are serious moments in the film, heartfelt moments, sad moments, ridiculous moments, and big action mayhem moments. The film does all sorts of different things, but it always seems ready to wink and dance away, and that's what we expect from it. "Green Lantern" didn't fail because it was funny; it failed because it had no idea what kind of film it was. Martin Campbell goes for big broad comedy in some scenes, and he's got a decent visual wit. He stages some of the training stuff well, and he tries to give Oa a sense of wonder. There are images in the film that I feel like he comes very close to pulling off, but when he fumbles it, he really fumbles it, and the bad guy in the movie is a disaster.

Parallax is, for lack of an easier visual description, a cloud made of poop and mouths. It is a singularly unpleasant visual bad guy, and when he transforms Peter Sarsgaard, he makes him into a repellent big-headed horror movie bad guy. Considering how light some of the sequences are, like when Hal uses his powers to make a giant green race track to save someone, the villains feel ill-considered, like they're from another film.

Consistency is key. You can make jokes, and in films about Superman and Batman and Green Lantern, it seems perfectly okay to make jokes because these are giant cultural icons. We have complicated relationships with these characters because of the ways we are exposed to them and which versions we read or watch or see first, and nobody has the exact same checklist of what makes Superman Superman or what makes Batman Batman. Trying to hold everyone making films for the studio to one somewhat rigid, joyless tone would be creative suicide.

So I'm going to put the question out there, and as we all talk to Zack Snyder or David Goyer or any of the actors working on these characters, I'd love to hear an answer, a firm denial. Is it true? Is DC really so gun-shy that they've laid this rule down for all of their films?

Is it really a "No Jokes" future we have to look forward to?

And if so, do you think Marvel feels like they've already won in terms of audience sympathy if this is really how things are supposed to move forward?

Man, I'm curious to get a look at "Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice" on March 25, 2016.

Now, if all that sounds bad you need to read McWeeny's other great piece to see just how up their own arses these people are creatively: 
Warner pits writers of 'Gangster Squad' and '300' against each other on 'Aquaman'

Yeah, and you wonder why Aquaman ain't no happy sea horse!
Warner pits writers of 'Gangster Squad' and '300' against each other on 'Aquaman'


At Long Last! The Return Of The Improbability Of The British Super Hero

I think it well worth re-posting this item (with some new artwork) because, as I pointed out in my post on Delcourt jumping on to the cash-cow of super heroes (admitting it!) by having its series Sentinels made into a film, super heroes are highly profitable and if the rather conservative big Franco-Belgian BD publishers realise this....

But where are the business entrepreneurs -hmm?

Myself, Stransky, LaBatt and Ben Dilworth sit ready.  Yes, after years of just saying "someone" needs to be a figure-head to launch such a project I am now so fed up that I am putting myself forward ("Blimey! A Saviour complex -I told you!" I can just hear that little moron screaming it now).

Forget skyscrapers. We have high streets, coastal towns, villages and cities -we have unique scenery in the UK and all are ripe for British super heroes!

“Hmm. Don’t you understand?  Think about it –we have no skyscrapers!  How can you have American style super heroes in England?”

Those were the words of a Marvel UK editor (Dave White) back in the 1980s as I sat across from him having travelled from Bristol to London at his suggestion to discuss new projects.  About a month later a very senior Marvel UK editor responded in the same words but adding “That is why UK comics have never had super heroes.”

Firstly, as I pointed out to Dave White, we are the UK. Britain. You think of characters for a comic as being English you are excluding Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  Why?

My response to the senior editor is probably why things went a little “odd” work-wise.  My first response was “So, what exactly is Marvel UK publishing? And Power Comics (Odhams) before it? And…” I went on to rattle off a very, very long list of British super characters going back to the 1940s.  I think I ticked him off.  Really, he should have known better though, in one respect, he was right.

British comics never had super heroes.

Before you start thinking that I’m on new medications and answering “Yes” and “No” at the same time allow me to explain.

Tim (Kelly’s Eye) Kelly travelled the world and even in time and space at one point and was totally indestructible.  He was not a super hero.

Clem Macy, television news reporter had a costumed archer alter ego…The Black Archer.  He was not a super hero.

Cathy had amazing cat-like abilities and wore a costume.  She was not a super heroine.

William and Kathleen Grange were incredible acrobats and wore costumes as Billy the Cat and Katie The Cat.  They were not super heroes.

In fact, for my graphic novel featuring many old IPC and Fleetway costumed characters, The Looking Glass, I noted several times that the characters were not super heroes.  In the UK we tended to call them “costumed adventurers” or even “masked crime fighters” but not super heroes.

Some, of course, were…uh..”revived” for the Wildstorm Studios Albion mini series which had great art but, sadly, showed a lack of any real knowledge of the characters by the writers –which they admitted to.  In comics you get paying work you take it!

Characters such as Adam Eterno, the focal point in the Looking Glass story had no choice and were at times almost anti-heroes.  Whereas The Spider had a choice of being a master crook and then changing sides (basically all ego driven), Eterno did not.  He was cursed to be taken by the mists of time from one period to another where he encountered Spanish Conquistadores, pirates, sorcerers and even modern day (well, 1970s) crooks.

Olaf (“Loopy”) Larsen a rather meek school teacher found the Viking helmet of one of his ancestors and, donning it (that’s putting it on his head) became a super strong, flying Viking hero…The Phantom Viking.  There are stories of The Phantom Viking rescuing ships and much more and not a skyscraper in sight.

The great exponents of British roof-top crime-busting were, first, Billy The Cat and later Katie The Cat.  Running across the rooftops and leaping the often not so great gaps between one row of terraced houses and another, the duo were the fictional ancestors of today’s urban free-style runners/jumpers –examples found here:!

To most people who never get to see the rooves of terraced houses they assume they are all steep and sloping.  However, having on two occasions chased someone across terraced root-tops I can tell you there is plenty of room to move about (though at my age I now look back and get nauseous over that memory!).

Later, in the 1970s, William Farmer became the costumed crime-fighter known as The Leopard From Lime Street.  As one Fleetway boss told me (later confirmed by artist Mike Western) “Thomson had a schoolboy who fights crooks in a costume and if Billy the Cat was popular I was sure we could do better!”

Interestingly, in the Billy The Cat series he was later to be hunted as a vigilante by authorities who did not like what he was doing.  Likewise, The Leopard was also hunted down at one point.  In fact, a number of British comic crime-fighters found themselves not just ducking the crooks out for revenge but also the very side they were fighting for!

Towns, cities, villages, countryside, coastal locations –all featured in some very fun stories that endure in the memory to this day.  And not a bloody skyscraper in sight!

When UK creators were recruited to save the ailing US comic companies such as DC in the 1980s (I was at those UK comic art conventions watching how desperate they were to recruit British talent –and in some cases introduced both parties to each other) the idea of outlawing super heroes and tracking them down so they could be arrested was a new concept.  In the UK we’d been doing that since the 1940s ( thanks to the creators who churned out material for publishers such as Gerald Swan)!

The mistake in the minds of publishers is that they equate costumed crime-fighters with skyscrapers and the United States.  Despite the long history of such characters in the UK going back to the Boys Papers of the 1900-1930s.

What it says, really, is “This is just a job.  I don’t care about comics history.”

D. C. Thomson (may they be forever cursed in the hallowed halls of British Comics Hell) have enough characters to produce good costumed-crime-fighter comics.  The same applied to IPC who appear to have now taken the stance (a letter to me from senior management dated 19th July, 2011) “We were once publishing comics but that was over 30 years ago and have no further interest in comics.” Of course, had a rich stable of characters.

I have no doubt at all that a good “super hero” comics could work in the UK but so few Independent Comics writers/publishers seem to be able to produce an obscenities free script that does not also include over the top violence and rape –the “Millar-Ennis-Morrison Legacy (MEML).”

But let’s mention, I really must, two shining examples of British “Super Heroes” by British creators that have excellent plotting, story and action without having to resort to the MEML.
Jack Staff and cast
The first is, naturally, Paul Grist’s Jack Staff.  Okay, he’s never accepted my offer to interview him in the last decade but I’ll not hold that against him!  When I first saw Jack Staff I thought “**** that anatomy is really off!”  I bought a copy.  I’m a comics bitch, I just can’t help it.

I read through issue 1 and do you know what? I..I..deep breath…I enjoyed it!  There it’s out now!  The anatomy did not put me off and, as the manager of Forbidden Planet (Bristol) said “It doesn’t make a blind bit of difference –it’s so enjoyable!” With references to old British TV comedy series and so much more each issue of Jack Staff was a must read. There was, I must point out here, a major flaw in each issue. There were not enough pages!

And while Grist takes a break from Jack Staff he came up with a new series –Mud-Man (which should not be confused with my German character Schlamm Mann –mud-man!).  Lovely stuff but, again, the major fault of not enough pages but maybe that is why this works: it is almost episodic like old British weekly strips…but with more pages…okay. Grist wins.

Then we have, and I have to say this on bended knees and in very humble tone…Nigel Dobbyn. When someone told me that he was drawing Billy The Cat I remember thinking to myself “I wonder whether his art style is any different than when he was drawing for Super Adventure Stories?”  (a 1980s comic zine).  I opened up the comic and a big thought balloon appeared above my head in which was written in bold Comic Sans “WOW!”

The style and colouring I had not seen outside of European comics (say Cyrus Tota’s work on Photonik).  After that I never missed an issue and I made a point of grabbing The Beano Annual as soon as it appeared in shops. But with this incredible talent working for them did Thomson take advantage?  No, they did something ensuring he would not work on new strips for them.  The story can be found here:

You want to see how good Dobbyn is?  Visit his website which has great art on show including Billy The Cat colour pages:

Dobbyn even re-introduced (with help from scripter Kev F. Sutherland, of course) General Jumbo but as The General.  In fact, you go over those issues and I can see why so many people were telling me that they only bought copies for Billy The Cat. I could drool on and wax lyrical for hours about Dobbyn’s style and colouring.

Now here is the real kicker.  Two talents such as Grist and Dobbyn whom any UK publisher (I know –“Who??”) should be fighting, spitting and kicking to get their hands on but are they?  Nope.  And while Grist publishes his books via Image Comics you have to wonder why Marvel or DC have not tried to get him on a title?  Could it be his style is just not understandable by people in US Comics such as Joe “I’ll sell that for a Dollar” Quesada or Dan “I’ve had another brilliant idea on how to destroy DC” Didio?  What of Dobbyn, then?

I know that if as a publisher I had the money I’d be employing both full time!!

I need to stop mentioning Dobbyn now as my knees hurt (a lot) and it’s hard typing from this position.

What both creators have shown is that there really do not have to be skyscrapers for a “super hero.”  There is enough car crime, drug crime…violent crime of most types going on in the UK and believe it or not none involve a single skyscraper.  Incredible, isn’t it?

Also, the UK is rich in legends, myths, fairy tales and much more that are just crying out to be included in storylines.  The reason the Americans and other comic readers world-wide like UK strips is because they are uniquely British.  In India, particularly in Southern India, The Steel Claw, Robot Archie, The Spider and many others are still very popular in reprint form over 35 years since they last appeared in print here.

Of course, now that the Evil Empire (Disney) has extended its stranglehold on Marvel (Panini) UK nothing new from the UK is allowed –though why doesn’t Panini with all its international branches pull in some new characters/books of their own?  Oh. Its cheaper tp publish reprint material, isn’t it? I can be so silly!

Black Tower Comics has published a wide range of comics and the costumed crime-fighters (or even non-costumed in the case of Krakos) are the most popular.

So the market is there but where are the moneymen, the backers needed to help revive the corpse that is British comics so that it can proudly boast an industry once more that takes advantage of talents such as Grist, Dobbyn and Jon Haward?

However improbable British super heroes might seem to some I can tell you they are not.  There is a history going back 80 years and even longer if you include the Penny Dreadfuls of the Victorian era.

Here endeth the sermon.

I Would Like To Point Out That Deadpool Sucks Like A 97 Year Old With No Teeth And Only A Melon To Eat.


A minor character who has been blown out of all proportion as these companies tend to do. I'd sooner read used toilet paper than anything with Deadpool in it.

Keep that to yourself, Terry. Just get on with it.

Okay, 75th Anniversary of Marvel and the celebrate with the feckin worse shit covers possible. Ahh, you say, but "photo-bombing is popular"....PHOTO bombing. Not sticking a third rate comic character as centre piece of a cover -photo-bombers are in the BACKGROUND YOU DUMB-ASSED MORONS.

Anyway, this is what Disney has released.

This October, Marvel celebrates its milestone 75th Anniversary – commemorating three quarters of a century of the best stories, the most iconic characters and one of the biggest legacies in entertainment. Oh, and Deadpool. The Merc With a Mouth is invading Marvel’s milestone anniversary for a series of special Deadpool 75th Anniversary Variants – as some of the best and brightest in the industry recreate famous covers from the past 75 years guest-starring the regeneratin’ degenerate. 

Remember that time Deadpool fought the original Human Torch? Or the time he helped form the New Avengers? No? Well, that’s what these awesome variant covers are for! Be there when Deadpool makes his Marvel for these can’t miss variant covers! 

“We really wanted to do something fun for our 75th Anniversary,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “Seeing all these wonderful artists turn in these hilarious covers has been a blast and we can’t wait for fans to get their hands on them!” 

Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on these hotly anticipated variant covers as they hit comic shelves through the month of October. No fan will want to miss the chance to see the Merc With a Mouth invade the Marvel Universe in a whole new way when Deadpool 75th Anniversary Variants come to your favorite Marvel comics in October!

Unoriginal. Brown stains in a pair of tramps(hobo) old knickers.  Greed Greed Greed and STUPIDITY STUPIDITY STUPIDITY as every comic geek chic fool buys ALL the books "because its got Deadpool on it".

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Jennifer Rostock - K.B.A.G. (Official Video)

Henry Cavill & Amy Adams takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in his Super...

I Am Absolutely TIRED Of Comics

Seriously. Do NOT **** me off.

Ahh, The Moore Question

Some months back I posted a remark on a You tube video in which Alan Moore talked completely inaccurate bollocks about that 'great thief" of creators ideas Stan Lee.

Everyone KNOWS Lee has an awful memory -its almost as legendary as his name. I have seen a couple interviews in which he says "My memory is awful: if you want to say I created the character go ahead -I don't know!"  There was an amusing Alter Ego interview with Lee in which Roy Thomas asked Lee questions but had to answer them himself because Lee just couldn't remember.

Lee has also put into writing that Ditko is co-creator of Spider-Man. That is correct.

Now, unless you read one of those badly researched or pure out to malign Lee articles then you would know the facts. In fact, even in critical articles/books Lee comes out as having always stuck by his guns and not being the villain (seriously, Lee was not the boss of Marvel).

Anyway, months after posting my comments some screeching little tit has come along to challenge me on poor or no research.  Oh my words did he pick on the wrong person to accuse of that!

Anyway, I re-iterated my comment. I also stated that I did not think You Tube comments was a place to discuss this topic (it just is not).  I invited this person to identify him/herself rather than use a silly pseudonym -that is plain cowardly if you are going to call names.

As it happens he/she has not identified themselves nor provided reference/proof of their assertion -other than Moore's diatribe.

Just No response. I win.

For the record: challenge me on a comment anywhere AT THE TIME and not months later.  However, only do so if you are willing to actually identify yourself. I will not waste my time debating with an anonymous weasel.  I'm open -you should be.

The Bizarre State of Copyright

Monday 25 August 2014

More Value Than Any Other Blog....

Okay, folks. I've been posting my bum off this weekend so it's now Monday, 2th August and 19:43 hrs. I'm tired. Fed up. Go read.

AniMangaPop! Up-Date!



 For Visitor, cosplay and Exhibitor info check out the link below:

Special Guests

The team here at aniManga POP! Love to bring you some of the most exciting & interesting guests to our show. Below are some of the guests you will be able to meet on the day!

Momoiro Otome Ensemble
Momoiro Otome Ensemble
A Meidol (Maid idol) unit! they also work as Maids at 'Maids of England', a maid cafe based in London, UK! They perform dance and song covers of Doujinshi, Anime, J-pop and idol songs!

Naomi Suzuki
Naomi Suzuki
Brought to the UK by Polygram records in the late 90’s and since then has embarked on projects of both critical and commercial success. Reaching number 12 in the UK singles charts. Naomi is also a reputable events host and worked with Matsutake Kabuki and NHK broadcasting amongst others.

A published novelist, model, actress, cosplayer and performer, originally from Germany, now living in the United Kingdom. She started cosplaying in 2009, taking part in in German Cosplay events. Making many appearances here in the UK at events such as MCM Expo and London Anime Con and also appeared in publications such as Neo Magazine.

Why? Why Not?

Fuschia pink helmets -those Nazis were sooooo gay! But then, I could comment on the fact that Sub-Mariner had orange hair.   This whole issue is brilliant.  Everett SHOULD get more praise than he has had though in Blake Bell's Fire & Water you read that Everett never thought his art was much good until the last weeks of his life.

So sad.

William (Bill/Billy) McCail 31st March,1902 –12th August 1974

     William McCail was born in West Hartlepool and his father was, unsurprisingly for that period, a shipyard worker and William initially found a job at the shipyard as well.  However, an unfortunate (or fortunate?) accident allowed him to pursue an artistic career. He went on to become a staff illustrator for D.C. Thomson in Dundee,  (publishers of The Beano and Dandy, of course) where he worked in the art department of The Courier, coincidentally, his artist brother John had worked there before him.

     McCail provided art for all types of magazines including Boys Papers such as  Rover, Adventure and Wizard also the women's story papers Red Letter, Weekly Welcome and Women’s Companion. Anyone interested in British Golden Age comics or illustrated papers will know he was the regular artist of the 'Dixon Hawke' detective stories in Sporting Post.

     Unfortunately, Thomson was a very conservative company (and still is).  You got paid a, uh, ’fair amount’ for your work and you were expected to doff your cap and humbly get back to work on the next set (comic strip).  William was guilty of “politicking” -unforgiveable back then- and so left Thomson.

   A pity certain modern day creators working for the company don't have that kind of backbone.

     In 1940, William moved to London aiming to work as a freelance artist and, together with his brother, started work with publisher Gerald Swan and this work lasted a number of years —Back From The Dead is probably his most famous work though he also produced “Headline Henderson”,”Calling All Cars”, ”Red Martin” and the pirate adventure “Old Hooky” and many others.

     Although his stories seemed to be a little what Denis Gifford termed “slap-dash”, they were well plotted and paced and William was very popular amongst the readers of Swan Comics.  At least with Swan he was told how readers appreciated his work.  Also, he had no problems with what we might call creators rights at Swan.

     Back From The Dead featured in War Comics[1940], Topical Funnies [1941] and, along with help from brother John (possibly the better artist of the two and he drew TNT Tom, Captain Comet et al) the whole story was compiled into a 52 pages long Picture Epics No.1 –along with that famous cover!

     Back in Dundee, in 1944, William set up "Livingstone Studios" which was later re-named “Strathmore Studios”.  Curiously, he specialised in drawing horses and was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy. 

     In 1962,William McCail retired.