PLEASE Consider Supporting CBO

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

Terry Hooper-Scharf

Friday 31 January 2020

If I Get Mind Numbingly Bored I Do This

If you can read this....

Previously posted to the BTC&B blog

Could People In The UK Spell "UK"??

If I look at the daily stats for this blog the one thing I notice is that, for being the largest Independent UK black & white comics publisher (with a great line of prose books, too if I need to mention that) I see little in the way of views from the UK. Take today, Friday at 12 noon:

United States
"Unknown region"

The UK seems to come down pretty low on daily views. I thought we were "All British" and wanted our own comics alongside US imports...and Franco-Belgian imports, of course. UK literacy is bad. I know what you are saying: "Oh he isn't selling books so he has to find an excuse!"  No excuses -the books are good and cover genres: they just are not selling.

As for the, uh, 'excuse':

Adult Illiteracy in the UK. According to the National Literacy Trust a major 16% of adults are considered to be 'functionally illiterate' in the United KingdomLiteracy levels are falling among the younger generations and it is stated that 1 in 5 adults struggle to read and write.

That is awful.  In the UK most kids used to learn to read with comics -fun but learning- and I used to teach Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi kids using comics. I have known people from their 20's to 60's who could not spell/write their own names and, yes, had to use an "X" when signing documents.

So what about France where there is a strong comics industry?

Adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement about their everyday life. France literacy rate for 2018 was 99.00%, a 0% increase from 2015. France literacy rate for 2015 was 99.00%, a 0% increase from 2010.

So 1% illiteracy rate.

So what about Germany?  Ahem....

Adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement about their everyday life. Germany literacy rate for 2018 was 99.00%, a 0% increase from 2015. Germany literacy rate for 2015 was 99.00%, a 0% increase from 2010.

Coincidence that the UK has such a poor literacy rate and absolutely no real comics industry (ignore the people who say that there is one because if they admitted the truth...they would not be 'stars' in their own minds).  But here is the shock: 

Between 1800 and 1840 literacy in the North rose from 75 percent to between 91 and 97 percent. In the South the rate grew from about 55 percent to 81 percent. By percentage and circumstance that means UK literacy was better in the 1800s!

And according to Trends in standards of literacy in the United Kingdom, 1948-1996 By Greg Brooks, National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)  (Paper presented at UK Reading Association conference, University of Manchester, July 1997, and at British Educational Research Association conference, University of York, September 1997):

"... for the period 1948-76 the results from these tests are the only national monitoring survey information available for England and Wales. The results can be summed up as follows:

- the average reading score rose slightly between 1948 and 1952; this improvement was widely attributed to a recovery in the education system after the war years;- average reading scores then remained essentially unchanged from 1952 to 1979."
This means that people in the UK are actually not as educated as they were (which might explain Brexit and voting in Johnson).

I am always thankful to the thousands who read my posts on Black Tower Comics and Books, both on this blog and on Face Book, but I really would be ecstatic if some of them actually purchased books.

In the United States more and more comic stores are closing due comic companies having lost any idea how to run or publish ("make the money fast and ***** the fans!" is no way to keep a good business. Nor is 24 cover variants....20 cover variants or 30 cover variants -someone somewhere went insane.  Comic shop owners and "comic pundits" (gods help us) are now talking of a comic industry collapse in the United States. Is France, Germany, the Phillippines concerned about a comic industry collapse? No.

The UK is definitely not worried. It has no industry.

I once put it to three US comic store owners that they needed to try something new. I suggested, of course, that they try a few of the cheaper Black Tower titles (since most are self contained and not series) and see if they sold. They buy in the US the books are printed in the US and shipped in the US. No international postage blah blah blah.

No.  Oh, some, like a couple of European comic shop owners, were willing to have ME pay for and ship books to them for free so that THEY could put whatever comic price they wanted on them THEN decide if they would order anything (I worked it out and the cost to me came out as £350 -$400?- and I would get nothing. And, no, I never took up this "great deal to get your books seen in our stores".

They need to keep customers and I need to keep eating and paying bills.

So, please, where ever you live, consider checking out the online store -they are printed and shipped from YOUR area not overseas so no big shipping fee!

Thank You

Thursday 30 January 2020

The Top 10 Action Figures of the 1990's - List Show #79

RIP Enrique Ruiz

My sincere condolences to Santiago Ruiz and his family over the recent loss of Enrique.

Santiago runs the Tales from the Kryptonian blog and he and Enrique published Power Freaks several years back.

A very sad time.

Wednesday 29 January 2020


Cinebook Ltd Newsletter 145 - January 2020

Dear Reader,
It's a new year, and new years often bring their share of changes. As it happens, change is very much the theme in this month's batch of new titles.
First we have the conclusion to Vehlmann and Meyer's tale of cybernetic awakening IAN, and it's rife with difficult choices and painful discoveries - will Ian become human, or will humanity have to adapt to him? Hold on to your seats for this one …
In typical The Bluecoats fashion, the light-hearted tone of this tale of love under fire doesn't detract from … well, the ‘under fire' part. But the prospect of losing his partner to marriage will keep Sergeant Chesterfield suitably occupied - for our pleasure!
Finally, in Trent, it's aging that takes centre field, as a legendary gunman attempts to come to terms with his slowing reflexes, with the help of a certain Mountie. A classic of western tales - with a Canadian twist.
But wait, there's more - volume 7 of Lucky Luke (Barbed Wire on the Prairie) is now available once again after being reprinted.
Oh, and let's not forget that our new catalogue, covering the first half of 2020, is now available from our website. 18 titles, one new series, a new one-shot - we've got you covered for all your comics needs!
January with Cinebook - the times, they are a-changing!

Meyer & Vehlmann

A year has passed since the Los Angeles riots, but Ian is still being hunted by the Pentagon. Extremely hostile treatment by the media has also made him a favoured target of a majority of American citizens ... Read more

The Bluecoats 13
Lambil & Cauvin
Something Borrowed, Something Blue

War rages on, and the wounded pile up — including Blutch, courtesy of Confederate artillery. The Union Army doctors are swamped. In order to address his shortage of healers, General Alexander brings in a quartet of female nurses... Read more

Trent 5
Leo and Rodolphe
Wild Bill

While escorting a prisoner, Trent stops in a very animated small town: the famous Wild Bill Turkey is passing through on his way to his bride. Bill is a legend among gunfighters of the Old West... Read more

Islandia 2
The Western Fjords


Lucky Luke 74
The Klondike

The Mermaid Project 4
Episode 4

Orbital 8

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


Piracy but not on the high seas

I mentioned internet piracy ("Oh here he goes again!" -yes, I will because this is my only income!) but what do you do or call it when a printed copy of one of your books appears on a (in this case) Polish site selling odds and ends yet you KNOW that title never sold and you were never paid for any sale?
The only people with the publishing PDF was me, the POD company and the printers they use in different countries WHEN a copy is ordered.
This has happened three times and the POD (Lulu) response to my query? Absolutely not one word. Someone was making money on the side.
In case you wonder this looks like it was placed on a floor to photograph. And the yellow box on the bottom right with "New edition" was the temporary version between original cover and the new 2010 cover.

New This Week! 01-29-2020

Sunday 26 January 2020

He Could Have Been The First Joker

Joseph Evans Brown aka Joe E Brown July 28, 1891 – July 6, 1973 may be recalled for his amiable persona and comedic timing but I think he would have made a great Joker.

There were Batman serials in the 1940s and it is just a pity none of the classic Batman rogues Gallery were used.

Brown had one feature that would not have called for make-up....can you spot it?

Spinmaster action figures

Someone from my FB group asked whether I was going to review the Spinmaster action figures.

Love to BUT no money. I do not buy review material anyway.

Watch the vids!

Spinmaster Batman 2020 4" King Shark deluxe review

Spinmaster 2020 Batman Tactical rebirth and Joker 4" figure review


Yes, Comic Bits Online was gone for another 24 hours.
As before I suspended it and as before as soon as I re-published...the views mounted up.
This proves beyond doubt what I have written and said before. The people visiting the site daily have no interest in supporting an open, honest blog that has reached its 25th year in existence.
I have explained the situation repeatedly over the last few years but not even a single comment. A truly world wide audience that does not give a shit -welcome to the internet.
The next suspension will be for 48 hours, as will the one after that. Then there will be a 72 hour suspension and after that...
Marvellous how the publishers and companies I have helped out over the decades when no one would give them 2 or 3 lines just fall silent.

Monday 20 January 2020

Avengers Iron Man Announcement Breakdown - Marvel Phase 4

Typical internet bullshit. Robert Downey WAS signed up for Civil War there was no "if"/"but"/"maybe"

And Downey was just on TV -Joe Rogan?- and said he was not comibg back.

100% of the 'exclusives' on You Tube every day is clickbait.....fed the necessary crap to keep people talking!

I'M not telling you what this post is about!

Not even at the peak time for views  of CBO and this is what I see in stats:

Ukraine 546
United States 398
Poland 60
Russia 23
Canada 14
United Kingdom 13
Indonesia 13
Unknown Region 10
South Korea 10
Germany 8

If the amount of pain I am in is not depressing enough the stats are. It shows how many visit the blog but just really do not support its continuation. Now is the time that support is really needed but no one cares.

15,000 visitors last month.

15,000 and I got 1 -just 1- extremely rare comment (so rare I'd forgotten what I was supposed to do!).

Well, enjoy it while it lasts.

Episode 339 - MY TOP 10 TOYS AND ACTION FIGURES OF 2019 OVER $60! HOT TO...

Sunday 19 January 2020

Hong Kong Comics...AND postcards, too!

I grabbed this book when it was published in 2002.  To quote the publisher:

"Wendy Siuyi Wong's voluminously illustrated book Hong Kong Comics examines the history of this genre from its beginnings in the early twentieth century to its most influential contemporary practitioners, and in the process traces the origin of a unique Hong Kong style. 

"Over one thousand color manhua (each with English annotation) introduce the reader to this rich and varied form of Chinese popular culture. Wong examines a wide range of comic types, from political cartoons, to "lighthearted" humor comics, children's stories, and violent kung fu fighting works. Hong Kong Comics is the first comprehensive illustrated survey of the diverse and fascinating world of Hong Kong manhua."

I recommended the book on CBO, my Yahoo Manhua group, my old freeservers site and anywhere else I could.

Then I was checking on something when I saw that some images from the book were released as a 30 postcard set (it was a "thing" with books on comics back then). £2.50...I was having those!

Nice sturdy box and years later it, like the cards, are in pristine condition.

No scanner and a very old camera means no high res scans but take a look!

If you are of a nervous disposition turn away now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 You looked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In person these sturdy cards look gorgeous. How can you love comics and art and not love these?