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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Thursday 28 February 2019

Welsh and Gaelic Language Comics -Where Are They?

Here is another thing I dislike. My "Uncle Cyril" -my gran's cousin was from Treorchy and used to visit once a year. He loved reading and watching Westerns and was a big Professionals fan. Old pigeon racer and had a steel plate in his head from a mine accident.

Now my gran's family -the Cases- were all over South Wales and after she died I lost contact with them as she had all the addresses and phone numbers!

Anyway, Uncle Cyril and I were watching some old British film and the Welsh in it were sneered at. They were not speaking but gargling by the sound of it. I turned to Cyril: "THAT is not it?" He then told me how the English had tried to stop Welsh as a language.

I had never heard of this and at school we were told Welsh had almost died out as "They find it better to speak English" -I told Cyril. "Idiot boards" he replied. It seems that when he was at school (late 1920s?) he was punished every week as he refused to stop speaking Welsh -English in lessons but school yard and outside the school if a teacher heard the kids speak their native tongue there were two things the teacher did -corporal punishment and making a child stand in a corner or wear a board around his neck that said "Idiot" one of the boards had "Idiot Welsh speaker" on it. I asked whether he stopped speaking Welsh? His reply: "I wore the board a lot!"

There was the odd comic in Welsh and my mother, German, used to watch the Welsh programmes on the TV during the 1970s (they had Asian-Indian- programmes as well which is how we got to see the Sikh Elvis!).

I could never understand why there were no Welsh language comics as they were the best way to keep the language alive through youngsters -there was a zine published in the early 1990s in Welsh but that seemed to be it.

Rambling a bit aren't I? Anyway Dalen Books came along and I'll need to find out if they are still going.

The English also tried to stop Gaelic in Scotland but -as far as I know- didn't use idiot boards. Some old lags on a building site once told me how their teachers had tried to stop them using Gaelic and how they would often respond to a teacher's question with "dirty language" and if the teacher asked what they said they would give the proper answer in English.

Like Wales there were a few Gaelic language comics but not long running.

The question has to be this: WHY are there not more comics published in Welsh or Gaelic? Is there that little interest?

Maybe a question to ask on CBO?

Bob's From the Basement 2/27/2019 Part III, Comic Books & a Captain Marv...

Wait, what? I've heard this from other people but I thought they were mistaken. Virtue/'SJW' Marvel has wiped the best Captain Marvel out of its literature?  Why? Was it because she was black?? Because she was fighting for equal rights DECADES before SJWs so that needs to be hidden?

WTF is going on? When I saw Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel first I thought "No. Captain Marvel is dead!" Not -"A WOMAN!!!" Not "OMG....SHE'S BLACK!!!!" But Mar-Vel was Captain Marvel.  By the end of the first Rambeau (sure I spelt that wrong) appearance that was it -loved her. It was like a fresh breath of air and totally seperate from Ms Marvel -Carol Danvers -oh, people keep saying it's "MIZZ" not "Miss" and I once asked a VERY feminist equal rights woman about this. "It can be Miss or Mizz the point is it is not the 'owned by a man Mrs" she also pointed out that it varied due to regional accents and how they pronounced "Ms".

I actually really felt depressed when Rambeau left Avengers and I never met anyone at the time who did not like the character. Captain (Rambeau) Marvel missing?? Muslim -okay. WHITE, blond and blue eyed -ahem- ersatz Captain Marvel (formerly known as Ms Marvel) is okay...I think Bob has a VERY good point and really, Marvel and Disney need to gag its actors because this seems a recent thing and it is reflecting negatively. "Smile", Brie and the creative team who did the interview to kill promote the movie, does not mean "I wanna screw you". Find out the history of the phrase and its usage.

A Former UK Comics Legend Editor

A top ranking former British comics editor legend talks about his career and assesses his great achievement in making the industry what it is today!

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Urbanus De Vuilnisheld - Officiële Trailer

How Many Ideas. How Many Scripts. How Many....

...nervous breakdowns?

I get asked the question every-so-often: "What does it take to write comics?"  Well, if you are going to be a script writer you need to think on your feet  and be creative.  Back in the 1980s up until UK comics died in the mid-1990s I used to submit comic and series proposals weekly to "That Scottish company", Marvel UK, Fleetway and so on.  I also submitted scripts.

Now, if you boil comics down (I've done that for a meal in the past) there are six main story plots.  If you have not sorted out what they are then you are not ready to write comics!  As a comic writer and artists agent I used to get between 40-100 packages  per week and when you think about the total number submitting it is mind-numbing.

There were very basic problems when it came to artists.  Yes, I did get the letters from students who wanted to draw comics and noted how their relatives, particularly mothers, told them how good they were.  They were not but I never once wrote back: "Look, you are crap. Get lost!"  I told them where there were faults and how to try to correct those faults and develop an art style.  Now, these people very rarely included a form of return postage so that came out of my pocket so there was no need for me to respond but, you know, I'm such a great guy :-/

Some might write back rather furiously but I had already spent money on them so I did not want to become their pen pals (pen pals was still a thing back then).

There were any number of pages where a hand contained a hand featuring five fingers and a thumb or two left or two right feet on a character.  The biggest fault was the material submitted.  If you want to work in comics then you need to construct a page of panels to show that you know how to make a story flow and keep action going.  I used to get a package of single page illustrations from people who wanted to be comic artists.  I had to explain again and again, at my own expense, that editors were not interested in seeing single illoes.  Some would send comic strip work in and in a number of cases it was very amateurish and yet they sent superb black and white and colour illustrations.  In these cases I suggested that they try magazines that used illustrations and sci fi publications and that was all I could do.

Those people have vanished into the ether.  Someone like Jon Haward I was more than pleased to promote and there were others.  Jon thanked me publicly several times for helping him and in my collection is a copy of the Eagle (1980s) in which Jon drew Dan Dare -and it has a very nice thank you note written across the page.  Others got their breaks through my efforts but later decided that they never knew me even though three of them were interviewed by me in the old Zine Zone as well as published in my new talent Previews comic!

Samples followed the usual pattern -The Evil Dead was a cult horror movie so there were strips basically ripping that off. In the 1980s zombies were big so zombie strips followed (yeah 35 years later nothing has changed. Originality went down the toilet) but the largest number of submitted hommage strips were Blade Runner based followed by 2000 AD inspired work. This should not be that surprising since artists tend to think visually and draw from things they have seen -John Cooper was chatting to me one day and told me that his One Eyed Jack character was based on his favourite tough guy actor -Clint Eastward and that is quite obvious if you look at the series.

Remember: these were people were looking to break into comics as artists and for some I did write scripts but the horror of what some of them did with those scripts....well, that is for another day.

With writers you expect them to know the basics.  There was one who made an Alan Moore style detailed script look tame.  The writer wanted a view through a bathroom door key hole where a body could be seen. He wanted that view to show all four walls and the details he demanded be put into each...including the back of the door the key hole was in.

It was not until two artists I sent his scripts to got back to me that I found this out -he had sent new scripts to them once he got their addresses and that was totally out of order.  In fact, because the artists said it was impossible to draw all four walls through the key hole the remarked that they had no imagination and were not that good.  I pointed out that what he described wanting in that panel -yes, through the key hole and all four walls in detail in one panel- would take at the least four panels and he tried to insist I was wrong so I told him to draw out what he wanted in that one panel roughly and we would see. He couldn't.

There was a definite ego problem in comics with people thinking that they would be the next Stan Lee "but better".  I couled name four wannabe writers who wanted their own stable of artists and were quite open about the fact that were the comic drawn well it would be because of their superb writing skills. If you think that was a thing of the past well, in the 2000s I banned a certain writer from the Yahoo 360 version of CBO because he literally screamed at me that I had credited artists more than him. I warned him and I told the company he was working for.  I moved CBO to another site and my review of a well known mystery play/movie he had adapted from the book was posted. Private emails that the artists "could never have drawn the scenes that well without my script!"  He also got insulting but he was a star so what was I going to do?  Simple, I contacted his publisher and explained that he had now achieved a life long ban and would never be mentioned on CBO again.  They understood!

It has to be understood that you cannot have a comic without the writer just as you cannot have the comic without an artist. If you are writing for a career/living then stick your ego up your jacksy because it will hinder you. You may well write a superb story but it is how the artist visualises the story that will end up making it good or bad. Alan Moore's Watchmen is a good story, even with the odd bits lifted from TV/cinema but it is Dave Gibbons art as well as John Higgins' great colour work. Writer-artist-colourist MADE the book.

I once adapted a short story, Torch of Vengeance, a fellow whose art I liked named Terry Ford drew the story.  I expected it to be well drawn but what was returned was superb. I have had people say that was a great story and I never fail to point out that it was a basic story that I adapted and that had it not been for the artwork it would have been an easily forgotten piddle in a dark alley. Comics are a visual medium and I think Will Eisner proved this and when people say "I loved that Spirit strip -it was a fantastic story" but ask them to explain more and they will talk about the dark alleys or gloomy rooms and sewer....and what happened. You see, they loved the story AND art. Would they be impressed with six panels on a page where the description of what is happening is written?

Any artist who has ever worked with me will tell you that I write the dialogue and what happens, however, when it comes to action sequences for instance I say "You know what the outcome is: you have two pages and make up as many panels as you need!"  Art Wetherell enjoyed that aspect and I hope other collaborators did.

There are some that do make you wonder what they are doing in comics.  An artist from the United States contacted me and I had seen his art pages for sale on a couple of the big comic art sites.  So I wrote a full four issue mini series and sent it off to him.  The opening scene was a huge tower block in the middle of a US city and on all four sides were huge clock faces that could be seen from where ever you stood.  "I don't understand what you mean by a clock face on each side of the building"  I sent back a jokey reply but found out he was serious....  Then the villain: half his body was human while the other half was completely robotic looking...."I really do not get what you mean" he wrote.  In the end I drew the tower with clocks as well as the villain for him. Then he understood.  After a month I got his email -he had completed the art for the first six pages. I opened the files...I thought I was looking at abstract art and where there were figures...well, uh, they were -just about.  "I think we can go to publishers with this to sell the series!" he wrote.

I sat back and typed him a message.  There was no "finished artwork" -had he sent the roughs by mistake?  I then got the full story; the mess I saw WAS his "finished art" so I checked the site he was selling art on and it was slick -really good inking so what was going on?  I pointed out that he had signed an agreement with me as I had with him -I wrote and did all the work out of my own pocket and he did the full art.  He told me that he had three guys he used regularly and he sent them the pages he had scribbled (like to ones in my possession) and they inked. I breathed a sigh of relief and asked who he was getting to ink?

Well, it seems that all charged roughly $175-$200 a page so if I could get the full amount for the 24 pages he would approach one of the inkers.  I needed to pay up $2,400 to someone who, to be fair WAS doing the complete artwork from scratch. Oh, the, uh, scribbler wanted to retain full rights to the art to sell of "as I usually do" to make money.

Therefore, my little US collaborator was breaching his contract with me in the fullest sense and had falsely presented himself as THE artist of the sample pages he sent me and was selling.  He squiggle a few lines on a page and paid someone to actually draw what he described his scribble was from scratch and he then sold the art page to make his money and at least another 50% on top.

So I had, in a week, taken the time to type up a full 4 issue mini series of 24pp each for nothing. I have old photos of me with stacks of old reams of scripts covering just a year.  For Fleetway/Egmonts Revolver comic I produced a total of 20 short scripts -one was used but the artist basically ignored the script so what was published was...nonsense.  Other scripts were nabbed by another editor and character names altered and used as his work. That is 20 scripts that would turn into 4-8 pages stories once drawn over three months. Got paid once.

I wrote complete 6 issue mini series for Fantagraphic Books sci fi, monster, hard boiled and what ever the other imprints were -one accepted but Fantagraphics dumped the other lines quickly without warning and knowing full well I had produced the scripts. Freelance writer.

I wrote a number of Action Force stories for Marvel UK -two at least were used as the artists involved mentioned having drawn them -the titles were changed and I am not buying lots of comics to see what was stolen and not paid for.  Freelance writer.

I wrote text features for County Magazines like Shropshire Life, Derbyshire Life, The Dalesman and so on.  These are glossy mags aimed at the local squires and toffs but they pay nothing.  A two page feature will get you £20 and when you think of the paper used and postage the £s drop off -oh, and you do not get the standard publishing contributors copy.  You had to pay the £5 for a copy or get a copy and not the cheque.  You have to do a LOT of those to keep eating but in the end I had a 26 cms high stack of article copies on my desk and I realised I was on a kicking to nowhere.

Freelance writer.

Some editor wanted a Gloucestershire ghost story - the "real thing" mind not made up- in two days. Fine. It HAD to be in a certain city/town.  Okay.  It had to be in a certain area.....okay I have enough books and archive material.  Did they mention it had to be a pub ghost?  And it had to be connected with the Civil War.  Oh I got the item alright...ah.  Some soqap celebrity I had never heard off was opening a branch of the Co-op. Story dropped to free up space.

Freelance writer.

Whatever the subject you are asked to write about you tell the editor "No problem" because you are a freelance writer.  I gave up in 2010 because I realised that it was interesting but I needed money!

With comics you have to turn your hand to various genres: I have written single gag cartoons by the dozen -covering most subjects.  I wrote a good number of scripts when the Warhammer comic was announced -it was a mess for artists (some very well known established ones, too) and writers were told "Nothing is restricted. YOU will be creating the mythos!"  Then I heard one writer after another had scripts returned and had to do re-writes...which were then returned for more re-writes.  I re-wrote five scripts four times and just asked them what they wanted?  They had no idea. I jumped ship.

Please do not even mention the alleged 'humour' comic Triffik.  Fax after fax from the editor who was re-writing EVERYTHING submitted with the effect of making it very unfunny.

Back in the late 1980s I was asked about a comic I intended to publish.  I was asked "What would happen if--" an artist dropped out. A strip didn't work. This, that then another this and every single time I had a solution because I was taught to think on the spot and never panic.

For all of the Black Tower publications I have only adapted three old projects.  Everything else is brand new.

Iget ideas all night and all day, every day.  I do not keep notes and have given up sketching out the ideas.  So long as my brain keeps going it is all up there.  But I did take the challenge to tick down every time I had a good idea that could be developed. Last Saturday -8 ticks.  Sunday 6 (I really was not well) and Monday I had 7 more idea and Tuesday four.  The secret is to develop your imagination. I will give you an example.

A good few years ago I was challenged to come up with a full story idea for whatever someone came up with and never faltered.  One person was obviously ticked off so decided to throw something that I could not possibly come up with a story idea for: "You are lying in the garden and see two blades of grass move"...hehehehe. I came up with a short silly idea that involved wind and two rabbits. The person was not impressed until I outlined a series of 15 events that began with a man with a petrol grass cutter and ended in a nuclear reactor explosion that made the two blades of grass move!  That one needs drawing one day.

The trick is to keep challenging yourself when you see or hear something. One trick is, if you collect toys or items that can fit into a box. Lots of items in the box but, eyes closed, you take out a toy cowboy.  You do the same again and this time you take out a toy robot.  Too easy. Even pulling out a dinosaur toy is easy.  But you have to think of a story involving that cowboy and the robot or the cowboy and dinosaur -I just look at items (figures etc) that are on my shelves and the story runs through my mind.  You can make the story child-like, serious, horror, sci fi or humorous but the whole point is that you need to keep exercising the imagination

I get ideas all the time but I do not draw or write them down.  I'm not being paid to create the stories so they amuse me. I have enough stories in my mind and some written down once to keep a 60 pages anthology title going for two years if published monthly.

Does it frustrate me that most of these stories are not published?  In a sense, yes, but if you have read this article you will understand why I no longer tear my hair out (not having much helps) or scream and rage.  And I have not even gone into the radio or TV work from 1992 have escaped lightly!

Here Is A Glimpse...but only a small glimpse!

Here is a tiny glimpse of what goes on here at the Tower.

Two weeks ago I got a message from someone in the United States -I thought I recognised the name but with my talent for forgetting and mixing names up I left it.  I was told that my opinion carried a lot of weight and that there was a lot of respect for my work and integrity....

At this point I was suspecting an escaped lunatic but also wondering why, if all of this was true...I am in dire financial trouble?

I never, ever give out names -I spent 30+ years as a UK police forces wildlife expert as well as other work I'll not discuss. Althopugh I signed one specific document it never affected what I do. I was quite proud that one particular person stated to colleagues that "His word is more binding than the official secrets act".  Which is probably a good thing as I could make a lot of money out of selling stories (I am my own worst enemy).

I still do not divulge names from people in business I deal with because I'm not stupid and business is business.  Imagine asking me how to set up a new UK anthology comic and how to publicise it, etc. and then you see all the details across the internet so that your competition knows what you are doing and can get there first.  Not good, right?

So I ask "Mr. D" how I can help.  Well, it seems that Mr. D's company were thinking of producing a UK monthly anthology away from the licence held by another UK company -you see why this could get awkward.  He wanted an assessment of the market and also wanted to know who best to not employ as he had heard about the arguments and so on and the last thing his company wanted was to employ people who would be at each others throats giving the Company a bad reputation.  That list I sent straight away.

I looked at the word doc Mr. D sent me and what he and The Company wanted. I told him that it would be two weeks work and I needed to sort out the consultation fee (even the BBC paid me that!). I will quote here:

"Dan says the best we can offer is in offering (sic) you the possibility of some work once things are set up"

To those who do not know Biz-speak that means: "Do it all for nothing and maybe -maybe- we'll think of...."  Yeah, that vague.

So I told Mr. D : "No"  At that point there was a long gap before the next message -I knew the plan they had and what it entailed and there was even a comment about messages from the company being confidential so I pointed out that he had not placed that notification on any message.  I could hear the squeak of his arse over the internet. So, I pointed out to him that I gave no info out on business dealings and that he was safe.

That was it.  More of my precious life wasted.  It gets funnier though since a couple days after someone using a throw-away message account contacted me and said that he worked for a pop media internet site (I checked and his name appears nowhere on it) and that he had heard that The Company were thinking of publishing in the UK during 2020 -could I confirm having heard  anything about this?

Firstly, why come straight to me?  Never even heard of the site he mentioned until I checked and I never had any dealings with them.  Secondly, where had he heard this rumour?  Thirdly, why did he use a false name?  It was quite obvious Mr. D was having someone check on me and so I told him it was all news to me but, hey, is there any writing work going at his Pop Media site?  He said he'd ask but never heard back and the mail account is closed. I did ask the site owner if he knew how I could contact so-and-so as I believed he had written for them...never heard of him.

Childish? Silly?  Well when it comes to companies and money get ready for a real kindergarten.

Back in the 1980s I met with the late Robert Maxwell as Maxwell Pergamon Publishing (MPP) wanted to publish a line of comics and, quote: "Build a British comics empire that can leap across the Atlantic". I never have and never will divulge the full details of that meeting but a full plan was presented and seemed ready to put into action.  However, I was in London and had just left Marvel UKs offices when I was greeted by a rather gruff man in a very expensive suit.  As it turned out this man had been told I was visiting Marvel that day (I assume by someone IN the offices) and he wanted a chat.  No, I was NOT going to get into his car and go "somewhere" but it was a nice sunny day so we took a walk instead.

This Mr. Y turned out to be employed by a man considered Maxwell's business rival, Rupert Murdoch. There was a lot of talk at the time that if Maxwell went into comics then Murdoch was going to take him on.  It seems that Mr. Y had knowledge of what I had discussed with Maxwell from someone "in the company -an editor" and the punchline was how much would it take for me "to tell Maxwell to **** off" and set things up for Murdoch as "We have the best printing and we can go at short notice". At that point, somewhere in my tiniest of brain recesses a voice told me to tell him to "**** off" because thinking money was going to make me stab someone in the back...well, it just isn't going to work (now you know why I have no money!).

I politely told him that the offer was nice but that I could not jump ship (a very bad turn of phrase in the circumstances) unless Maxwell either tried to cheat me or pulled back from the project.  "Well, the offer was made. I hope you don't regret refusing it" said Mr. Y as he walked off.

A week later Maxwell had "fallen off his yacht" and the crap hit the fan. I contacted the number Mr. Y gave me as MPP could not answer a straight question and finding reference to the project was "not a priority".  Murdoch's organisation, through, I assume, a secretary, told me they did not know what I was talking about and that it would be pointless calling back. Oh they knew and I knew that they knew I knew and....anyway.

I began a lot of work, including on D-Gruppe, for Bastei Verlag in Germany and I have to admit that I was shocked when I discovered that the person who initially contacted me was THE top man at the company.  I wrote a lot of scripts and other material and got strips drawn -John (Accident Man) Erasmus did a Deutscher Michael strip in colour. I was even preparing to visit Bastei when I visited family in Germany.  But all contact stopped. I phoned to see what was going on but a secretary told me that there was no one at the company who could answer my questions.  We are talking months of hard work.  Months later I was talking to Gil Page Fleetway Managing Editor who explained that Fleetway had been purchased by the Egmont Group and that Bastei -at the time I referred to- had been purchased by Egmont. I later spoke to a former Bastei editor who confirmed what Gil had said: Egmont had taken everything over and editors were not allowed to contact people working on projects (I guess for business and legal reasons).

Then we had Looking Glass, an IPC Media and Fleetway/Egmont approved return of their (I say "their" though they had no copyright on the characters -HM Intellectual Properties Office) action heroes.  Some 112 pages and then a complete arschloch of an IPC Intellectual Properties Manager contacts me to cease and desist using the characters.  He was vague as he seemed to think that IPC characters and Egmont characters were owned by IPC...oh, and he also thought that MY characters in my own publications were owned by IPC so I told him to take me to court as I had everything I needed to counter sue his ass off.  Then he "consulted IPC Legal" who were equally dumb-ass.  Apparently, here citing "Legal", DC comics had successfully sued Marvel Comics to stop them using the Marvelman character because they owned the rights.  Firstly, Time Warner, the owners of IPC Media at that time, did not own DC in the 1940s and 1950s when as National Periodicals, it sued Fawcett Publishing because Captain Marvel was too close to Superman. In the UK this made Mick Anglo turn Captain Marvel into Marvel Man (waaaay before Marvel even existed so any lawsuit from them would just have been time-wasting).  I pointed out that his "Legal department" had Googled things and got them messed up.

The CEO at IPC sent me a letter to send to the IP man (in the same building as the CEO) stating I had full permission for the project.  The IP man came back with the fact that the owners -Time Warner- over-ruled that permission.  I got so fed up I told him where to go.  It was at this point that he asked me whether I would put "together a list of all the characters owned by IPC Media"....he had no idea.  The IPC Legal department had no idea.  He had sent threatening emails, blocked the project and more and now wanted me to tell him what IPC owned?  It came down to the fact that there were NO legal or other documents claiming ownership of characters as the characters were never copyrighted. I told him that it would take me two weeks of work but if IPC wanted me to do this for them it would be paid work. The IP man felt this was unreasonable.

Two years later I exchanged emails with someone at Time Warner and DC Comics over a project and mentioned the IP man. There was silence for a couple days then both got back to me: there was no record of their involvement in the matter and as far as they were concerned they had no real interest in the characters "because of legal reasons".  My project should have gone ahead unhindered.

You see why the industry is in a mess?

So, after Mr. D (you remember Mr. D?) I hear from M. P. based in Belgium.  Lots of chat about the mess Brexit will leave and blah blah blah so I then ask why he is contacting me?  He mentions someone I do recall because that person was in the German small press and I had not heard the name for years.  It seems that my "reputation" is such that I was the only person considered straight forward and honest enough to contact.  It seems that, since 2015 (2015??), M. P.'s company had been looking at the UK market as a possible future base of operations to launch some books -having read an old British Comics Industry Annual Report of mine (the last I wrote in 2012).  So the usual chat followed and a request for a publishing document -how to do "this" and achieve "that" and I mentioned that would take a good amount of time so mentioned a consultation fee.

"Don't you have all of that information to hand?" I was asked.  I pointed out that I did but to update and make it relevant to their plans it will take a week or so.  "Okay, we can wait a week" I was told and I said "So I will get a consultation fee?"  And then: "We will need to discuss that and we'll let you know once we've seen what you have submitted"

"Do the work for NOTHING" is what that means.

Whether it is comics (my entries on Wikipedia keep getting taken down in the UK but I am on a number of US and European comic data bases) or wildlife (via my books or my work on technical papers) or other work I know that I do have a very credible reputation and that outside the UK I am far better known. I can list off at least four requests for information on comic creators this year and the number of such requests over the last ten years has increased.  Where information I researched and forwarded was used I should -it is the must do in research- get a credit.  Certainly if the information is used in a thesis it must be credited.  Nothing.  Some people ask for information claiming they are working on a book but are not -they just want to use the info on blogs.

For this reason, no amount of flattery gets me doing free work.  You have a project or want to use my knowledge -pay me.

Why people working for big companies think I should work for free beats me -maybe they want to claim my work as being theirs?

So all offers accepted so long as you pay!

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Cinebook the 9th Art Newsletter 134- February 2019

Dear Reader,
This month we're delighted to bring you our first ever title illustrated by veteran artist Dany. Penned by the master himself, Jean Van Hamme, Story Without a Hero is a gripping tale of ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances, and how they will – or will not – survive them. An audacious concept at the time, this protagonist-less adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat and begging for more – though that'll be next month!
In the meantime, there's more hostile wilderness to be found in Distant Worlds, although it's decidedly weirder than a South American jungle. Leo and Icar's imagination shines as they reveal more of Altair's exuberant nature … and mysterious past.
Finally, Lucky Luke too is in unfamiliar territory, as he is tasked with escorting five Daltons, including a banker from Switzerland, who hopes to turn his nephews into productive members of society – yes, THOSE Daltons. How do you think that will go, hmm?
February with Cinebook: strange new worlds!

Distant Worlds 2 
Icar & Leo
Episode 2
Paul and Professor Stanford's archaeological expedition are exploring the ruins of Altair in an effort to understand how the people who built them vanished altogether. Protected from various dangers by their deadly guardian angel the Stepanerk, they make some decidedly unexpected discoveries ... Read more

Lucky Luke 72 
Morris & Bob de Groot
Marcel Dalton
Marcel Dalton is the Dalton Brothers' Swiss uncle. He is not only honest, but a banker to boot. Having purchased a small bank in the US, he decides to hire his nephews to force them to make a honest living. Although he's assisted by Lucky Luke, they have their work cut out for them ... Read more

Story Without a Hero 
Dany & Van Hamme
A plane from a South American company crashes in the jungle. Only half of the passengers and crew survive. Some businessmen, a university professor, a steward, an aging movie star, a banana republic general, a young boy and his nanny... All these varied personalities will have to find a way to unite and work together to survive...Read more
Lucky Luke 73
The Prophet
Mermaid Project 2
Episode 2

North-American readers, to locate a comic book shop near you that stocks or can order these titles and many more, us this handy Read more 

Or, if you're a retailer yourself, please go to: Read more

May 11 & 12, 2019: Cinebook will exhibit at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada

Marvel Comics: "Screw the fans -we just want their cash!"

A Note from Mr Friendly at Marvel:

"Come on you dumb-ass cash cows -25 variant covers.  We're gonna milk you like a prize cow! Don't give your cash to any other publisher that needs it because buy any one of these and they will not be worth millions in a few weeks!"

Here is the thing: you do NOT need 25 covers to a book. A cover is a piece of art designed to make the potential buyer pick up a copy. It is the same comic book.  I've chatted to people who collect as many variant covers as they can get -one even paid $150 because it was "the last one I needed".  I ask all these people the same thing: "What was the story like?"  not one had a clue as to the story and only one actually followed the comic and after the book went into acid free backing board and Mylar it would not be opened again.

These idiots -they are because these variant covers are NOT going to make you loads of money unless you find another sucker- say that they are "supporting the comics industry" when they are not.  They are supporting Disney-Marvel greed.

Some comments from fans on the George Perez FB page:

Hard pass. Marvel can suck it

Marvel makes it so easy to drop more books with stunts like this...

One cover is plenty for me. 25 different variant covers? Ridiculous.

I know some people love the variant cover thing, but I really hate it. It artificially inflate the number sold and I feel it is harmful (and confusing) to the market. I guess Marvel is going to do what they are going to do and some fans will buy or try to collect them all... Me? I think I just want the Perez cover and that is all.

It goes on and on by the way! For 20 years I have been pointing this out but...suckers are suckers.

My question is why Marvel never went for 50 variant covers -the suckers are out there (and the distributors and store owners will all work their own cons to make a bigger buck out of this.  But, here is your list:

Collect all 25 variant covers of War of the Realms
War of the Realms #1 Battle Lines Variant – Cover by Nexon

War of the Realms #1 Cho Variant – Cover by Frank Cho

War of the Realms #1 Christopher Variant – Cover by John Tyler Christopher

War of the Realms #1 Dauterman Wraparound Gatefold Young Guns Variant – Cover by Russell Dauterman 

War of the Realms #1 Granov Variant – Cover by Adi Granov 

War of the Realms #1 International Connecting Variant – Cover by Rodney Ramos 

War of the Realms #1 Lim Variant – Cover by Ron Lim 

War of the Realms #1 Ottley Variant – Cover by Ryan Ottley 

War of the Realms #1 Perez Variant – Cover by George Perez 

War of the Realms #1 Dauterman Variant – Cover by Russell Dauterman 

War of the Realms #1 Horn Variant – Cover by Greg Horn 

War of the Realms #1 Hugo Variant – Cover by Victor Hugo 

War of the Realms #1 Takeda Variant – Cover by Sana Takeda 

War of the Realms #1 Quesada Variant – Cover by Joe Quesada 

War of the Realms #1 Quesada Virgin Variant – Cover by Joe Quesada 

War of the Realms #1 Simonson Hidden Gem Variant – Cover by Walter Simonson 

War of the Realms #1 Camuncoli Connecting Realm Variant - Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli 

War of the Realms #1 Pyeong Jun Park Variant – Cover by Pyeong Jun Park 

War of the Realms #1 Artist B Variant – Cover by TBA 

War of the Realms #1 Zero Variant – Cover by Zero 

War of the Realms #1 Simonson Hidden Gem B&W Variant – Cover by Walter Simonson 

War of the Realms #1 Art Adams Premium Variant – Cover by Art Adams 

War of the Realms #1 Blank Cover Variant 

War of the Realms #1 Party Variant – Cover by Amanda Conner 

War of the Realms #1 Finch Variant – Cover by David Finch

Monday 25 February 2019

So Be It

It appears that cowardice wins and bullying and trolling is what the UK creatives want.

You get the non-industry you deserve.

Please, in future, do not moan to me about distributors, store owners or sickening behaviour amongst fellow creatives unless you have a spine.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Super7 Vintage Style Masters of the Universe HE-MAN - Filmation Retro Co...

Massive Cover Price Reductions... not, it seems, encourage sales. As just announced on the Black Tower Face Book page, thousands have viewed the reduced cover price books but not one of the many thousands appear to have bought even the cheapest title to check it out.

As of the end of February I will close the online store down for a day as all the prices are returned to normal.  Anyone complains "Oh I was going to buy that, too" afterwards gets a life time CBOI ban.

Thursday 21 February 2019

Quick Note

Just to reiterate to people who do not seem to understand things. Far more time is taken up by former British comic professionals in arguments, name calling and making allegations that are untrue than you can imagine. Two of these people are still arguing after it all started in 2012.

This is very sad.  It shows that there really is no comics industry in the UK. 

If only those years had been taken up with creating comics or promoting comics.  It is all very depressing.

As for my post Comics in the UK -This HAS to STOP NOW. Well I asked the ones who had reported problems whether they would care to air the problems on CBO...nothing.  I do know that certain comic forums have referred to the post and made it clear what will happen if people speak out.

You may see now why I prefer to have nothing to do with UK events and comics outside of Black Tower.

I would much sooner spend my time writing and talking about British and German comics history -even look at the two full colour 1941 German comics I have.  But the lack of support for the blog means that I am no longer prepared or willing to do long posts full of images like the mega posts.

We are in a very sad state of affairs when it comes to comics and 'fandom'

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Comic Book Palace (Ep. 35)

Comics in the UK -This HAS to STOP NOW

In the last week I have been in contact with one former UK comic event organiser who admitted that he had never allowed me to book a table at his events due to bullying/intimidation from certain UK comic book 'nice guys'.  Names of other organisers who did likewise were given.

I can name three UK comic creators who were blacklisted, trolled and blocked from events by the same group of individuals.

If you are an adult then there is absolutely no reason what-so-ever to give in to intimidation or threats of giving you bad publicity.  If this is carried out over the internet (how the cowards usually operate -via emails or UK comic forums) or in person then you have an option. The police. It is NOT a joke or "Oh that's silly -they have much more important things to do" because it has been proven time and time again that such intimidation has serious consequences.

Shop owners have proven their interest in the quick pound and screw what comic buyers wants BECAUSE they will not speak out on the illegal monopoly of comic distribution in the UK.  In the past they have contacted me over this but do not want to be named -through fear of delayed orders or 'lost' consignments.  Business monopolies in the UK are illegal. Shop owners have the Business and Monopolies Commission they can go to.  They choose not to because it is easier to be complicit in perpetuating the monopoly and high prices (that put some of them out of business).

They want that then that is their problem.

What I am more concerned about is the fact that a number of comic creators have said privately that they have put up with intimidation, harassment at events.  That they know comic events have blacklisted them through similar intimidation and one even mentioned constant "nudging" by the same people at one event.

If you are a child you should not have to endure bullying. If you are an adult you should know better than to sit back and accept bullying and harassment.  These nasty little turds are nothing -they never really were but like fatbergs in a sewer they come together because they are cowards.  These people have no real interest in comics because they are has-beens for the most part or need to seem a "big name" because they once erased pencils of someone who no one really knows in comics.

I gave shop owners the opportunity to speak out on CBO and they buckled. If you are an event organiser or were, or if you are a comic creator and faced bullying and were blacklisted from events -here is your chance to speak out.

NOTHING vague -if you state something make sure you can back it up.  No "I'll say so-and-so did this".  You give names and evidence because this is not an attempt at some SJW/Anti SJW campaign full of lies, rumours and twisted facts.

Personally, I do not think that anyone will take me up on this offer.  That is precisely why these people continue to do what they do.

If you do have the guts get in touch at

Tuesday 19 February 2019

No More Stat Counter

The Views counter at the top of the page is gone.

Yesterday there were over 11,000 page views.  So far today (1315 hrs BST) there have been 10,000 plus views -not recorded on blogger stats.

The all time page views for CBO stands at 9 million since 2011.  And that is counting ONLY Blogger registered views .

A pity that lack of funds prevented the planned mega posts and videos.