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Thank You

Terry Hooper-Scharf

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Monday 28 September 2015

The Chances Of Anything Coming From Mars....

...Apparently still a million to one.
Just watching the NASA Mars water briefing was great BUT this should have been broadcast over all TV and radio.  Seriously. this is important news....but apparently Kim Kardashian's ass is of more importance.

We may well be Martians...or any life on Mars may be Terran (meteorite impact carrying microbes from Earth to Mars or vice versa) but I think it's fun bearing in mind that for years, in Black Tower comics, anything on Mars is set below the surface where there has always been speculation water and basic life might be.

It is why, in The Green Skies chapter Genocide On Mars the attack involved surface busting weapons. 

Everyone should really be going "Wow.  Water on Mars!" but I get the feeling the latest "affair" or deceit on a TV soap will get more attention.  Hey, it could still be like  Robinson Crusoe On Mars!!


Disney WOULD Sell Marvel Comics

No one interested at all?  Okay, I'll make it brief then.

We all know that Disney knows movies and that is where they make the BIG money, right?  Compared to the profit (yes, even that disappointing multi million dollar profit from Avengers 2) from movies the movies, Marvel comics makes....well, "pennies".

We also know that Disney, via its Marvel turn-coat hatchet men, swept through the Marvel Movies creative teams.  That they have heavy handedly been not pulling strings but attaching tow ropes connected to trucks to control what is going on at Marvel Comics is no secret.  There are a lot of things going on that we will hear about in the next few months so stay tuned (not that you tune into a blog).

NDS (Non Disclosure Agreements) mean that people booted out of Disney/Marvel cannot talk about things.  But I mentioned the situation in a post yesterday so let's not say too much that would leave the person involved open to legal action.

Back in June, Disney had a meeting to which, apparently, only one person from Marvel Comics was summoned.  The topic?  The "profit cut off point" at which Disney would get rid of Marvel.  Sound ridiculous, right?  But it does make business sense.

Disney is NEVER going to get rid of characters that should make it big movie $s. But it has learnt a few things from the whole Fantastic Four movie rights mess up.  Marvel comics are not making huge profits and the plan discussed was this. 

Disney would have a dotted line and if profits fell before that they would sell Marvel Comics as a company.  However, it would insure that it maintained the movie rights to the Marvel characters ad infinitum so it would have the cash cow.  Marvel Comics would be sold "as is" -buyer takes on staff and publishing and has all of those publishing rights and characters (which, of course, a new owner could change again!).

Disney immediately kicks off the burden of having to pay all the Marvel Comics people and is free of any comics rights arguments.  It is "in the movie business" and would have high enough paid lawyers to shut up any objections or challenges.

Initially, I thought that sounded all a bit "off" until I thought about it some more and realised there were similar deals out there.

So it makes sense.  Sell Marvel Comics while the company looks good and that drain of printing bills and wages not to mention all the building and utility costs are gone.  And Disney still has the character movie rights.  How could it lose?

Personally, since I stopped buying Marvel Comics and realised the company was dead I've no interest in what happens to it but this is what I'm told happened and, since yesterday, another person has been told something similar from a source still at Disney.


Sunday 27 September 2015

It Was Midnight And I settled Down With Martin Eden....

...Well, his book that is!

 Although I have been cutting down on comics I am an insomniac and there is only so much technical reading you can do.  So, at around Midnight on Saturday, I went to the shelves on Room Oblivion and picked out a book I reviewed in....2012 -2012 -REALLY???

Anyway, Spandex: Fast And Hard is by Martin Eden who created The O Men -this series has been collected into a series of trades but, despite really liking the copies of the zine I had (I only have the "0" issue left now) the trades are too steep for my pockets.  THAT is depressing.

Now in my review -I've re-posted below with some new images- I said Eden's art style had not progressed much since the early 0 Men I had read.  Looking at it again I think I was wrong. And I was also wrong in saying "basic colours" because looking at it over three years later the colour adds a great deal and some pages are gurt lush ("fab" if you don't speak the Bristle).

It was a really enjoyable read but were there other books or issues?  It would be a pity if there weren't but I can only go by what publishers send.

So, after over three years I can write that, if you see a copy it is worth buying -but adults only!

Made me want to start drawing comics again.  Fresh and NOT a rebooted book!!,204,203,200_.jpg
Spandex: Fast And Hard
Martin Eden
Titan Books
96 pp
Full colour
Dimensions: 258 x 170mm
ISBN: 9780857689733
Publication date: 25 May 2012

Prowler, Liberty, Glitter, Indigo, Butch, Mr Muscles, Diva — all superpowered, all British, and the first all gay super-hero team there ever was! Created by independent creator Martin Eden, Spandex charts the highs and lows of a group of Brighton-based heroes, doing battle with 50-foot lesbians, a group of deadly pink ninjas, as well as their own complicated love lives! Packed with pop culture references, nods to classic comics and chock-full of humour and drama, Spandex is a super-hero book like no other!

This is the very first collection of Martin Eden’s award-nominated comic and collects Spandex #1-3, plus bonus material!

There is “A Brief History Of Spandex” article plus a Who’s Who with this book so it ought to be all you need to know.

“There aren’t many gay super heroes around, and there’s never been all-gay super team…” writes Martin.  Does it really matter if a super hero or crime-fighter is gay? In Black Tower Comics they have co-existed with the, uh, “straights” since 1984.

In 1986, Don Melia, together with his former long-time partner Lionel Gracey-Whitman, created ‘Matt Black’, dubbed “the world’s first gay superhero.” John Byrne had to drop heavy hints (thanks to Marvel censorship) in Alpha Flight that his character, Northstar, was gay.  I could go on as there have been a few –I’ll not insult anyone by mentioning “Kaptain Kween” (last seen in a 1970s Ally Sloper magazine).

Does it really matter?

For this book –YES!

Where else would: “PINK NINJAS!!” make you chuckle? Marvel will stick to the traditional Western black-clad versions thank you.  There are lots of nice touches and I don’t think this is just going to appeal to a GLBT readership –though I want to be there when that brave comic geek buys a copy!
I don’t think Eden’s art style has progressed a great deal since he started The O Men but his enthusiasm and obvious fun he has writing/drawing this makes it fun to read. The use of basic colour is also a bonus as it opens up the artwork and pages and made this a good read.

We have very few good comics coming from the UK so to see this and its neat packaging is good –and it helps show people there are creators in the UK.

Disney WILL Sell Marvel Comics?

Closing up a lot of things and putting various projects away into archive boxes at the moment.  I think it says a lot that I am doing no comic work and have done none since May/June?

I am spending far more time on the science, natural history and research side so that in January of next year I can slide into that easily on a full time basis.  CBO?  Well, let's be honest, it's a LOT of work for nothing and 99.5% no feed-back so what I see, read and hear I'll keep to myself.

Not a single comic album or book sold all month despite the huge cover price cuts and I've heard from other publishers that they've tried similar things and all failed.  You see, the majority -99%- of comic readers out there do not want originality or good quality products -unless they are free.  They want the same regurgitated Marvel and DC rebooted crap.

As I had to explain -AGAIN- to a few people earlier: CBO is a FULL TIME and UNPAID job and I get NOTHING from it.  It's no loss to me.  And the comic and book side of things, well, the online store will stay there but I'm betting if I check in a year there will still be no sales.

CBO I may just turn into a personal blog about whatever I want and not necessarily comics.

Please consider this my final post on the matter because unless things change by December that's it.

Now, might do a review tomorrow or gossip because I heard from someone who just got fired from Disney -they did a really shitty job so he took all the flack for a decision that had nothing to do with him- that Disney has a "bottom line sales margin" and if Marvel comics does not stay above gets sold off.  Sound odd?  Well, no because there is additional info BUT I'll keep that in case anyone is interested in my posting it.....though everything I've been dead on target with over the years has been ignored until it finally happened as I stated.  See why CBO ain't my true love any more?

John Short -Octobriana

Calling all comic shop owners/managers

As you may have heard, we failed to get Diamond distribution for our new book about the cult, public domain, underground, communist super-heroine - OCTOBRIANA: THE UNDERGROUND HISTORY.

That means that most comic shops won't be carrying the book. You can of course, still buy it direct from this blog (just to your right, there) or artist Gabrielle Noble's blog.

However, if you happen to be the owner or manager of a comic shop anywhere in the world, why not get in touch with us and we can stock it direct to you. That way, you would be cutting out the middle-man (distributor) and getting copies for a better price.

Email me, John A. Short, at: and let me know how many copies you would be interested in stocking and I will work out the best price we can do for you (I'm sure we can come to a good arrangement for both sides.)

Cult of Personality - Living Colour

Dedicated to those 'great' men who actually just write comics (some not very good at all) but think they are lofty gods in the making and know everything.  You know who I mean (their fans ought to listen, too).

Well, It IS A Fighting Fund Of Sorts

The Paypal button added to the right was suggested by someone who thought "Well, if thousands view CBO each day but don't comment and you have all those feeds to other sites, surely they'll donate to keeping CBO going?"

Can I say at the outset that, like cutting book prices for September to encourage new sales, I do not believe this idea will work. 

Logically, if you really like something and want it to continue then donating whatever amount is a way of keeping it going.  But I don't believe this will work with today's comic people.  CBO closes in January they'll move on to find another blog.

There is no "loyalty" involved.  It is just read and go.

But I promised I'd keep the button there until 31st December 2015.  I still see CBO closing on 1st January.

Yeah, I'm pessimistic but nothing has ever happened to make be be otherwise!  Buying the books would be a better way of showing appreciation!

Mark Millar "Someone Pay Attention To ME!!!"

Poor boy hasn't been getting his dose of ego boosting publicity recently so what to do....ooh! Predict the death of super hero movies!  Right, Mark, not enough obscenities used in them over school boy over the top violence or sex -right?

Oh, and of course, he could have made Fantastic Four a better film....unhappy bunny?

Chris Agar at ScreenRant writes:
fantastic four 2015 trailers1 Mark Millar Responds to Fantastic Four Failure & Josh Trank Controversy

Mark Millar Responds to Fantastic Four Failure & Josh Trank Controversy

By now, everyone knows that Twentieth Century Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot was an epic failure – both critically (becoming the worst reviewed Marvel movie ever) and commercially (earning $55.7 million domestically as of this writing). Whether you want to blame the studio for interfering or director Josh Trank’s alleged erratic behavior on the set for how things turned out, there’s no denying that the project has morphed into a mess for all involved.

Honestly, that fact is a little frustrating, since Fantastic Four was a film that had potential. Featuring a talented cast of up-and-coming young stars, and the possibility of crossovers with Fox’s X-Men franchise, there were plenty of reasons to look forward to it prior to the film hitting theaters. And it’s because of that squandered promise that many – including Fox’s creative consultant Mark Millar – have expressed regret over the final product.

 In an interview with IGN, Millar talked about Fantastic Four‘s shortcomings, while also hinting that it could have been a very good film:

 It’s a shame because I think elements of it were good. Some bits were good. I remember the first half in particular works well. [Josh Trank] is brilliant. Chronicle was my favorite superhero movie in 2012 — and be reminded Avengers was out that year. I really love Chronicle. It’s just a shame sometimes things don’t work out as planned. Nobody goes in hoping it’s not going to work out. Everybody is trying their best and those guys worked their asses off. It didn’t quite come together as well as they hoped, which is a shame.”

 Millar’s comments echo the sentiments of several who saw the film; the film’s first act is generally believed to be an intriguing piece of sci-fi drama, before the story completely derails after the main characters all get their powers. Millar seems to be offering a great deal of support for Trank (who claimed his original vision would have been better received), but he’s not exactly pointing the finger at Fox at the same time. He seems to just be disappointed in the end result instead of looking for someone to blame.

 Despite Fantastic Four performing so poorly, Fox remains committed to figuring out a way to do a sequel. Given that the studio has lost close to $100 million on their investment, Fox might be better served rethinking those plans. Millar addressed the franchise’s future by saying it’s a fluid situation:

 I think everything’s open to discussion. No decision I think has been made on anything yet like that. There’s chats everyone’s going to have on the phone at some point, but the Marvel brand is such a powerful brand. Marvel doesn’t always work out great — Thor 2 didn’t work out especially well, Iron Man 2 didn’t work. But then Iron Man 3 comes along and it’s great. These things can be uneven sometimes. Avengers 2 is nowhere near as good as Avengers 1.

 Millar may be right in stating that Iron Man 2 wasn’t as good as the first Iron Man, but his comparison to Marvel Studios’ “inferior” films is simply apples and oranges. Thor: The Dark World grossed $644.7 million worldwide from a $170 million production budget and Iron Man 2 made $626.9 million globally (without 3D) on a $200 million budget. Those figures blow Fantastic Four‘s $164 million worldwide intake out of the water. Yes, some Marvel movies aren’t considered to be great films, but they still make large amounts of money – and Marvel has never put something out that got as bad reviews as Fantastic Four.

 Finally, Millar chimed in on the future of the superhero genre, which has been a hot talking point among Hollywood big shots recently. Specifically, he offered a response to Steven Spielberg’s belief that comic book movies will eventually go the way of the Western:

 The human race will go the way of the Western. Everything has to end at some point. [Laughs] We’re just going to be atoms. It’s inevitable. I think [the superhero movie genre has] got at least another good five years. The stuff that’s coming up is so strong.

Spielberg may have rattled some cages when he said superheroes’ popularity will eventually die out, but he did make a valid point. There will be a time (just like every other big genre in movie history) where comic book films are usurped by a different kind of movie at the top of the food chain. It’s true these projects can be a little more flexible in their tone and adapt to different genres, but chances are it can’t go on forever. And if Millar’s right and we “only” get five more good years of this, that means we’ll have three complete phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (culminating in a two-part Infinity War event) and two Justice League flicks. Fifteen years ago, comic book fans would have happily signed up for that.

Fantastic Four is currently in theaters. Deadpool opens February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 (probably not anymore) on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutantsis also in development.

Source: IGN

So, yes, we sense that the message here is "Only Mark Millar can save super hero movies!" And if you draw long hair and a beard onto the photo below I think you'll find we have "The next Alan Moore", not that the first is doing too much of anything really other than spouting the usual shit.

All precious little darlings.

Saturday 26 September 2015

A Victorian Mystery & Suspense Double (or Triple) Header!

Two Great Books: The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo and Wilberforce -A Jack's Lot Is Not A Happy One

Writer -Terry Hooper-Scharf    Artist -Gavin Stuart Ross
A4 Comic Album
Black and white
84 pages
Price: £6.00
To many he was simply a stage magician. 
Others knew the truth –such as Scotland Yard and the very secret Q Bureau. 
 From a seemingly cursed jade statue bringing gruesome death to those who found it to a plot by a Chinese supremacist group hoping to strike terror and destruction at the heart of the British Empire and even more seemingly unstoppable Tong assassins –Chung Ling Soo was there.
 Sergeant Wilberforce of Scotland Yard was the closest thing to a friend the Magician had yet even he was perpetually stumped by him...and his deaths! 
Collecting together Chung Ling Soo And The Curse Of The Jade Dragon And Chung Ling Soo The Case Of The Thames Serpent By Terry Hooper-Scarf and Gavin Stuart Ross 
And, as Amazon always adds, "to compliment your purchase".....and in his very own book....
Ben R. Dilworth
A4 Comic Album
28 pages
Black and white.
Price: £4.00
 Wilberforce—a Sergeant on the Metropolitan Police Detective Force. 
But Wilberforce was no common “Jack” (police officer). 
Even before working with the famous Chung Ling Soo (The Case Of The Thames Serpent), Wilberforce had “tasted the chin strap” on many tough cases –even a stint in the Army saw him used because of his detective skills. 
Here, Ben R. Dilworth, gives us a sneak peek into Wilberforce’s Case Notes for 1896. “A Jack’s lot is not a happy one” and Wilberforce was not just dealing with the ordinary criminals such as the nobblers, rampsmen, smashers, mobsmen, snoozers and skinners…. 
 ...there were the spectres, the satanic followers, vampires and other monsters —things the ordinary copper never usually encountered and often scoffed at the stories of. Wilberforce knew better.
Wilberforce was "all piss and vinegar"!
"Ripper Street" was never like this!

Friday 25 September 2015

Dene Vernon: The THING Below -It's Hammer Horror Meets Quatermass

Well, I think it is.  Okay, Hammer Horror would have optioned Dene Vernon for movies back then if comics were not considered "childish literature" -how things change.

 And the book is now ONLY £6.00!!!!!!!!!!

Dene Vernon -The Character And The THING Below!

If any of you out there has purchased Black Tower Golden Age Collection vol.1 you would have found the strip Dene Vernon -The Burning Heart”.  But who is Dene Vernon and why is he important to British comics history?

Firstly,his proper credit was “Dene Vernon. Ghost Investigator”.  In the 1930s and 1940s the work of ghost investigators such as Harry Price [despite what people write about his work at Borley Rectory] and the great Elliott O’Donnell could be found reported on in national newspapers as well as on radio.  
If they could inspire me as a teen to get involved in this type of work imagine the effect on everyday folk in the pre-TV era and before all the faking of Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures as well as others.
Comic Book Cover For Funnies Album 1949 Part 2
But Amalgamated Press and D.C. Thomson were too “clean” to touch this type of subject unless it was a “real hoot” in a humour strip.

Gerald Swan changed all that.  His comics introduced a whole group of paranormal/occult types from Krakos The Egyptian to Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead [all subjects of Black Tower collections].    Vernon’s appearance in Thrill Comics No.1,April,1940,marked the very first truly supernatural strip series in British Comics.
Tall,lean with a high forehead and thinning hair,Vernon bore a resemblance to the young Harry Price in a way.  However,his cases seem to have been pure O’Donnell and in case you are asking who O’Donnell is I give you Wikipedia's somewhat weak entry on the man:

Elliott O’Donnell (February 27, 1872 – May 8, 1965) was an Irish author known primarily for his books about ghosts. He claimed to have seen a ghost, described as an elemental figured covered with spots, when he was five years old. He also claimed to have been strangled by a mysterious phantom in Dublin.

He claimed descent from Irish chieftains of ancient times, including Niall of the Nine Hostages (the King Arthur of Irish folklore) and Red Hugh, who fought the English in the sixteenth century. O’Donnell was educated at Clifton College, Bristol, England, and Queen’s Service Academy, Dublin, Ireland.
In later life he became a ghost hunter, but first he traveled in America, working on a range in Oregon and becoming a policeman during the Chicago Railway Strike of 1894. Returning to England, he worked as a schoolmaster and trained for the theater. He served in the British army in World War I, and later acted on stage and in movies.

His first book, written in his spare time, was a psychic thriller titled For Satan’s Sake (1904). From this point onward, he became a writer. He wrote several popular novels but specialized in what were claimed as true stories of ghosts and hauntings. These were immensely popular, but his flamboyant style and amazing stories suggest that he embroidered fact with a romantic flair for fiction.

As he became known as an authority on the supernatural, he was called upon as a ghost hunter. He also lectured and broadcast (radio and television) on the paranormal in Britain and the United States. In addition to his more than 50 books, he wrote scores of articles and stories for national newspapers and magazines. He claimed “I have investigated, sometimes alone, and sometimes with other people and the press, many cases of reputed hauntings. I believe in ghosts but am not a spiritualist.”

Remember that bit about being strangled by a ghost [not unique in the lore itself]. This is what Denis Gifford wrote about Vernon’s first adventure:

“..Vernon spends the night in a haunted bedroom where a weary wanderer was found on the floor. ‘A gasp of horror came as they gazed on the terror-distorted features of the dead traveller!’  Vernon saves Dick from being throttled by a grinning black monster,chained by its neck since 1785.  But he had to burn the house down to do it.”

You know, I am quite sure that there is a similar O’Donnell story -though he never burns places down!

The creator of the strip was Jock McCail who also drew oriental detective Ah Wong for Swan’s New Funnies [1940-1949], Darrell King Of The Secret Service in Thrill Comics [1940-48],New Funnies [1949] and Slick Fun [1950].  McCail also drew Get-Your-Man-Gilligan, a Western strip for the Amalgamated Press title Jolly between 1938-39.

Dene Vernon ran as a strip between 1940-1946 so must have been popular -as many of the Swan horror strips were.
It would be nice to put together a complete Dene Vernon book at some point but these old British comics are very rare to get hold of either as printed items or scans!

But, in 2011, Vernon featured in his first adventure since 1946.  Yes, post-war Britain was the setting for…

 Writer: Terry Hooper-Scharf
Artist: Gavin Stuart Ross
Black & White
53 Pages 
Price: £6.00
It was the 1940s and he was the first British comics investigator of the supernatural. Dene Vernon -Man Of Mystery!  Terrifying hauntings.  Werewolves.  Supernatural Cults.  Dene Vernon faced them all and triumphed. But then the comics stopped!
But now Dene Vernon gets his first adventure in 60 years.

Set in the late 1940s, Vernon is recovering from injuries sustained in a previous case which almost cost him his life.  Now in a brooding depression he is called upon to investigate mystery deaths in the bombed ruins of London dockland.

Despite the assistance of one of the Silvermaigne family - famous werewolf, demon and vampire hunters-  it looks as though the threat of Lorimed may be the Man of Mystery's last....

If you liked Hammer Horror films, Quatermass or horror comics then this one is for you and all presented the way horror comics are supposed to be presented in
I think over 60 years was a long enough rest for him -and THE THING FROM BELOW was enough of a tough task for him but...well, his final fate in The Green Skies is really ...."gutting" hehehehehe er, Sorry.
But maybe an appearance in Black Tower Super Heroes before that?  I can't really say -I don't want to spoil the fun!!
Remember the name, though: Dene Vernon!

Tut-tut-tut! Really?

Not one single person out there collecting action figures has any advice on which might be best to convert to Johnny Future?

I am shocked.  Not really, I've asked for equally simple things in the past and just because so many of you checked the post out does not mean anyone would respond.

See? This is what I mean.  What goes onto CBO might just as well stay in my head.

The Denis Gifford Collection Interview...Again!

I have no idea why though I've complained enough about Blogger losing images and video clips from posts in the past.  THANKS to Duncan for pointing out the video link in the old Gifford Interview was no longer there.  So many posts I miss these things!

So, here you go.

Hamelin Newsletter 25 settembre 2015


NEWSLETTER del 25/09/2015

Si, lo sappiamo, stiamo diventando molesti. Ma abbiamo bisogno del tuo voto per giocarci la finalissima del bando Chefare!
È appena iniziata la campagna promozionale. Qui puoi vedere (e condividere) il video di presentazione.
Giovedi 1° ottobre invece partecipa all'evento Bookface "il libro di quando avevo 15 anni"
Il voto richiede la registrazione al sito, il che ferma molte persone: garantiamo che è un progetto serio e che la registrazione verrà utilizzata solo per assicurare la regolarità della votazione!

Sappiamo davvero guardare? Per riflettere sui linguaggi visivi e sulla loro portata nel nostro immaginario e nella nostra vita quotidiana Hamelin presenta Wunderkammer, una palestra degli occhi e del pensiero per promuovere un'attività critica dello sguardo.
La prima tappa del progetto prevede tre incontri di aggiornamento per insegnanti:
 19 ottobre - Una bussola per guardare
 26 ottobre - Nella rete, con Rossano Baronciani
 3 novembre - Strumenti: esercizi per parole e immagini
Gli incontri sono gratuiti e si terranno a Bologna presso la Biblioteca Salaborsa Ragazzi dalle 15 alle 17.30.
Sono rimasti solo pochi posti, inviate la vostra adesione all'indirizzo entro il 30 settembre 2015.
International Board on Books for Young People è una rete internazionale di persone, che provengono da 77 paesi e promuove la cooperazione internazionale attraverso i libri per bambini, creando ovunque per l'infanzia l'opportunità di avere accesso a libri di alto livello letterario e artistico e incoraggiando la pubblicazione e la distribuzione di libri di qualità per bambini specialmente nei Paesi in via di sviluppo.

This Book Could Stop You From Being ETERNALLY DAMNED!


I may have lied there.
Ben R. Dilworth
black & White
36 Pages
Price: £4.00 (excl. VAT)
Murdering Ghouls. Satanic Masses. Demonic Possession. Werewolves. Poltergeists. Vampires. To many of the uninitiated these are just “things that go bump in the night” -TV or film fantasy. 
In the Victorian era, The Phantom Detective used his decades of occult study to help those in danger from these “things” and he paid the ultimate price…. ….
Yet he continues to help and to observe as best he can for now he is a true... 
From one of the UK's most under -rated comic creators, Ben R. Dilworth, comes new life breathed into and a new slant given to the adventures of the former mortal who has become one of the Watchers -forbidden to act even to save a life from supernatural forces.  Except "rules are there to be broken or at the very least stretched until you can see through them!"
The much anticipated collection from the co-creator of Peter Wisdom and artist of Mark Millar's The Shadowmen!

Thursday 24 September 2015

Ben R. Dilworth: The Dark Night Detectives

Black & White
50 Pages
Price: £6.00 (excl. VAT)
Its a world where if you stand up for what is right you'll be lucky if its just a beating you get. 
A world where people are starving (if poor) and the rich live in luxury. 
A world where you have to have birthing Rights. 
Where sacrificing someone to the Devil is acceptable -as long as they pay the wages. 
A world where if you DO NOT take that bribe you WILL be made an example of. 
This shows off Dilworth's skill at writing dark and brooding stories with a hint of satire but just too true to modern life!  It also shows his skill as an artistic story teller and designer.  Some of Ben Dilworth's most provoking and dark work in ages.

Now I Need Action Figure Advice.....

....For A Conversion!

No kidding. I know the feedback on my CBO requests to date has been zero but, come on, I know there are a lot of action figure collectors out there so this should not be difficult.

During the 1960s, the UK weekly comic Fantastic started a strip drawn by Luis Bermejo titled The Missing Link.  Yes, he does look like the Hulk.  In fact, Odham's Power Comics had to drop the character because Marvel were unhappy.  Power Comics such as Pow!, Fantastic and Terrific were reprinting Marvel comics in weekly black and white instalments but this creation was far too Hulk-like.

Now, the Link was supposed to be regular, tanned flesh in colour.

Take a look at him.  Converting an action figure into the Link was east -I just used one of the current Marvel Hulk figures.  And he looks good repainted.

So no problem there.  However, the Link was changed during a scientific accident into...Johnny Future. Here's a page....

And here is a colour issue from an annual.

Johnny Future is the problem.  I used an old UK Action Force one of the Q Force divers.  These are like the old Star Wars figures of the 1970s -unjointed arms and legs so no real articulation. But the first try (using costume design from one of the stories) ended badly.  Even prepared the figure does not take paint well and the design painted on spread the way it wanted to.

You want to see the embarassing results?  I knew you would!

The problem is that the figure needed to be a better one, however, despite searching I could not find a 3.75 inch figure with a cape that could be converted -particularly because of that cowl!

So, if any of you action figure fans know of a 3.75 inch figure that might work -remember that cowl!- PLEASE let me know.

Please please please please make this at least one request I get feedback on!!!

Can You Ignore Book Bargains?

 The Hooper Interviews

The Hooper Interviews!  

 To celebrate, at the time of publication, over 25 years of interviewing comic creators -writers, artists and publishers- this 365 pages book was produced.  

Interviewees included Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman, Dave Ryan, John Cooper, Mike Western, Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Sonia Leong, Emma Vieceli, Pekka A. Manninen, Alan Class, Karen Rubins, Kate Glasheen, Ron Fortier, Jon Haward, Franco Francavilla, Rick Geary, Tania Del Rio, The Etherington Brothers, Olivier Cadic (Cinebook the 9th Art), Holly Golightly and MANY others. 

Profusely illustrated with art and photographs!

Reduced in price until October to £16.80 -an odd price but it's what the printer and earn -I get zilch!

All Black Tower comic albums (that is A4 format) are in black & white.  Once you've had black and white you won't go back to colour, baby.

BTCG has specialised in presenting original material covering super heroes, crime, adventure, sci fi, horror as well as illustrated prose -not to mention ground breaking books on "world mysteries" and wildlife.  Oh, and even a huge book of interviews with comic creators and publishers.

All the books are, naturally, available for overseas licence -but we cannot translate work: that will be up to any licensed publisher.

What follows is a brief glimpse at some books but you can visit the online store to see more details and books at:

You  can also find some on Amazon and other sources but they do not make me much money so, come on, buy from the online store and remember that at least these books will be collectibles! 

To contact me please check out "About" at the top of the page -thanks!


Black Tower Comics began in 1984 as a Small Press publisher of A5 (US -Digest size) titles such as Adventure,Presents,Windows and Hanley's Garage.  Then came the news, reviews, previews and interviews publication backed up by the mart and mail order service -Zine Zone (later Zine Zone International).

In 2009, with the innovation in publishing of Print On Demand (POD), Black Tower jumped in head first!

One of the first titles to see print in the new comic album format (A4) was The Bat Triumphant! This saw the complete story, begun in Black Tower Adventure vol. 1.  William A. Ward's long lost 1940s character once again saw print as he fought a host of  enemies in an attempt to reclaim his homeland.


And while The Bat may have fought fist and nail to reclaim his homeland, another 1940s Ward creation, Krakos the Egyptian, seemed far from willing to claim a new Egyptian Empire as promised to him by the Gods.  Tackling a number of foes and even encountering the Many-Eyed One, Krakos turned his back on the gods and the final panel of Krakos -Sands Of Terror, delivered a true twist!

Krakos -Sands Of Terror!

Of course, the flag-ship title had to return!  And so Black Tower Adventure -eventually reaching new heights when the legendary Ben Dilworth jumped on board!  Volume 2 consisted of  ten issues. Just look at these covers....

Black Tower Adventure 1Black Tower Adventure 2BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 3Black Tower Adventure 4Black Tower Adventure 5Black Tower Adventure 6ADVENTURE 7Black Tower Adventure 8BLACK TOWER ADVENTURE 9Black Tower Adventure 10

And, with something like 40 years worth of files and investigation reports could all that much delving into UFOs, lake and sea creatures and many other mysteries not result in a book or two...or three? Some Things Strange & Sinister, Some More Things Strange & Sinister as well as Pursuing The Strange and Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint set a precedence.

Whereas for decades those involved in "UFOlogy", "Cryptozoology" and "Forteana" declared many mysteries, that photographs were lost "to history" and so on, these three books swiped away the false claims.  Alleged lost photographs -found.  'Mysteries' solved by doing actual research work and reading the sources -something others had never done.
Some Things Strange & SinisterSome More Things Strange & SinisterPursuing The Strange & Weird:A Naturalists Viewpoint

And, of course, mention natural history and Black Tower Books broke new ground with that in The Red Paper: Canids.

The Red Paper: CANIDS

But not all the prose books covered mysteries and wildlife.

And if there is one thing "Herr Professor" loves it is discovering and presenting long lost UK Golden Age (1939-1951) comic strips and characters from publishers such as Gerald Swan, Foldes, Denis M. Reader, Cartoon Art Productions and others.

Scanned and restored as best as can be considering the poor print quality of the rationing years -especially red, orange, yellow, blue and purple ink printing!

Ace Hart The Atomic Man!  The Tornado!  TNT Tom!  Dene Vernon!  Acromaid!  Cat-Girl! Bring 'Em Back Hank! Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead and so many other action heroes and humour strip characters -William A. Ward, Jock McCaill and a host of known and unknown creators contribute -either in single volume " Black Tower Gold" albums or all six collected into the 400+ pager -The Ultimate British Golden Age Collection!

The Ultimate British Comics Gold CollectionBlack Tower British Gold Collection 1Black Tower British Gold Collection 2Black Tower British Gold Collection 3UK GOLD COLLECTION 4Black Tower Gold 5:Back From The Deadblack tower gold 6

Another great love is Centaur Comics from the United States.  Right at the very start of the American Golden Age of Comics Centaur had creators who were ahead of the others!  Before Plastic Man there was Plymo!  Before The Human Bomb there was TNT Todd!  Before Green Arrow and waaaaaaay before Hawkeye there was the mysterious red hooded archer called The Arrow!  And, to just break your comic mind world there was even a Black Panther -decades before Kirby came up with his character of the same name.

The Eye Sees All.  The Owl. The Iron Skull.  Amazing Man. The King of Darkness.  The Invisible Terror. The Blue Lady. The Shark. Mini Midget & Kitty.  Mighty Man. Super Anne.  The company may have been short-lived but it's characters -oh boy!

The two volume Centaur Heroes Collection has been compiled into one sweet 140 page comic collection!
The Ultimate Centaur Collection 2011

Horror. Ghost stories.  The twist-in-the tale.  Did you think that a publisher who is a big horror comic/film fan would ignore these?

Nope.  Each year since 2010, BTCG has published a Tales Of Terror anthology album and 2014s included some fun and spooky lost Swan Comic strips.  I mean how can you go wrong -even Ben Dilworth is in these!

 Tower Tales Of TerrorTales Of Terror 2TALES OF TERROR IIITales Of Terror 4

The Church Of England has it's own basher of dark forces in the Reverend Merriwether -"God's Demon0-Thumper" as the press billed him.  From an ancient Egyptian demon to a village of the damned and Varney the Vampyre, werwolves and a final confrontation with Satan himself -Merriwether pulls no punches and offers no compromise.  And in those last few seconds between life and death, Merriwether's mind recalls past cases -thanks to Ben Dilworththe Tall Man of Osaka.

Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper and Merriwether: The Test Of Satan are available as individual comic albums or in one swanky book The Collected Merriwether: God's Demon Thumper.

 Merriwether:God's Demon-ThumperMerriwether:The Test Of SatanMerriwether: Gods Demon Thumper

Oh, did I forget to mention Dene Vernon -British comics' first investigator of the supernatural and strange mysteries?  I did? Unbelievable since Gavin Stuart Ross drew the 1948 based Dene Vernon: The Thing Below!

 Dene Vernon:The Thing Below

 And did you know Ross also drew the two adventures of Victorian mystery man Chung Ling Soo? Chung Ling Soo: The Curse Of The Jade Dragon and Chung Ling Soo: The Case Of The Thames Serpent were two cracking tales of magic, adventure, murder and deception -still available as single comic albums or collected together to form The Adventures Of Chung Ling Soo!

Chung Ling Soo 1Chung Ling Soo Man Of Mystery


Ben Dilworth is no slouch either!  Chung Ling Soo's police "counter-foil" isnone other than old London "Jack" (police man) Inspector Wilberforce and when Dilworth says "Here's a Wilberforce one-off: PUBLISH IT!" you do not argue!


And did you know you can be a Gold Master of Japanese Haiku?  Well, neither did I -but guess what?  Ben Dilworth is such a master and his Osaka Brutal features his Haiku in English!

 Osaka Brutal

Old saleman that he is, Dilworth just keeps on going.  He produced Aesop's Fables -a darker version of the childrens tales and then went on to write two well illustrated prose albums looking at spirits and demons -Dilworth's Japanese Yokai and Dilworth's Western YokaiOsaka and the Yokai books were combined with Aesop's Fables into the one volume The Collected Ben R. Dilworth -though the single volumes are also still available.

The Collected Ben R. DilworthDilworth's Japanese YokaiDILWORTH WESTERN YOKAIDilworths Aesop's Fables

Horror comics yes but also some nice illustrated prose from Dilworth in...Dilworth's Horror & Ghost Stories but for the connoisseur those stories were collected together with the Phantom Detective comic strips into The Complete Phantom Detective!
Dilworth's Horror & Ghost StoriesTHE COMPLETE PHANTOM DETECTIVE

And could anyone forget the sensational Iron Warrior Versus Big Bong:When Giants Fought? But add to that the various Iron Warrior strips from Adventure and you get The Iron Warrior Collection -When Giants Fought!  In the 1940s, William A. Ward's creation was to be the most graphically violent comic strip seen until the 1970s.  That is some legacy. It continues....with a touch of fun!


In case you are wondering, yes, obviously there are super heroes.  Mix in ancient pantheons of gods, giant robot, alien invasion, Lovecraftian dark ones and so much more that the book runs to over 320 pages then you have part 1 of Terry Hooper-Scharf's Invasion Earth Trilogy" or as it is titled Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes!  And epic ending with the words: "Dr Morg has killed us all" -and if you have never read the mind altering counter actuality that is The Dr Morg Trilogy you may be saying "What? Who-?"

And part 2 of the trilogy The Cross Earths Caper ought to get you in the mood for 2015s big 31st Anniversary third part of the trilogy The Green Skies.

 The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super HeroesTHE CROSS EARTHS CAPERJourney Of The ID:The Dr Morg Trilogy

If you pass the ESTC (Epileptic Seizure Test Cover) on Dr Morg well, you are fit and healthy enough to read it and to check out all the Black Tower Comics and Books at the online store -see why we are the UKs largest publisher of  Independent Comics!