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Thank You

Terry Hooper-Scharf

Saturday 30 May 2020


The History of Starting Lineup - Bringing Sports Fan & Toy Collectors To...

I can do a 150 pages graphic novel in 3 weeks

Believe that you'll believe anything.

The ugly "want it for free" idiots are back. Seems that lockdown has inspired all those wannabe comic book writers looking for the movie deals (please either wakle up or seek psychiatric attention). Three offers to let me work for free on "big projects", hang on...BIG PROJECTS that include a 150 pages graphic novel that I would "need" to complete by the end of June (4 weeks).

Details of stories?  "I'll fill you in if interested" No.

Do you klnow how I get rid of them?

"Are you paying a page rate or a lump sum for the whole project -either way 50% is payable up front so please let me know"

Silence/...well, apart from the "You blew it dude -your chance to get in one a high paying deal!"


Now, added to the comic book wannabes we have the people, knowing that I designed figures for games (24mm and 54mm) asking me to design characters for their "funded one way or the other" games. If they got their funding then they would look at what to pay me. Nope.

I even had one person ask whether I could design and create a line of super heroes for comics he wants to publish. "Sure -how much are you paying and these would be creator owned designs?" How dare I mention money -he thought I loved comics!  I do love comics but I also like living and eating food so I need money.

I will do most of the things mentioned above for payment.

In the last year I have been asked 8 times to draw graphic novels (and letter them) for nothing. No plans on who they are to be sold to or...anything. Draw 150-200 for free and then "we'll look at that".

Comics -full of crooks, snide nasty little Midlanders and idiots.

Monday 25 May 2020

I'm leaving it up to the blog visitors now

Having asked people for their opinion the concensus seems to be that I need to be very clear on things when it comes to CBO.

I slated CBO to become defunct (after decades) at the same time San Diego Comic Con was due to start. The problem is that I cannot afford the time to keep CBO going. I had hoped that suggesting people buy books -therefore getting something physical for their money- which would at least keep me going with CBO.

However, despite weeks of working on the BTC&B Shop News and promoting the books elsewhere -no one is buying.

Therefore, and there are many daily visitors to the blog, I am going to ask that, if you can spare it, you donate via the PayPalMe box to the right, Nothing huge just what you can.

I assume that people returning to the blog ans making their way through old and new posts get somethiong from their visits here.  Do you want to see CBO continue with lengthier new posts? The only way that is going to happen is by my getting the funding to do so.

My guess is that no one will bother, however, I'll give most things a go. If there are no donations by 25th June then I'll post that fact and closure will take place as planned.

I'm leaving it up to the blog visitors now.  Stay or Go?

Thank you for your time.

Friday 22 May 2020


Thank you to the two people who used the PayPal donation box (to the right) to show their support to CBO.

"It's only $5" does not matter you showed SUPPORT for CBO. The same applies to the person who donated $7.


Thursday 21 May 2020

It Is THEFT....You Illegally Download Comics and Books You ARE a THIEF

With news last weekend that three other independent comic publishers have now quite this seems like a time for a "reminder" post. 

Just to clarify the situation for the dim-witted thieves out there. "Honest Joe" sells you a stolen item and tells you that it is stolen. The police catch you with it and you end up in court. Your defence:

"Oh yes, Your Honour. I knew it was stolen but I thought that if I liked using it I would go out and buy one"

How do you think that 'defence' is going to work, thief?

I just wanted to update this post for a specific reason. Someone pointed out that one of the illegal download sites had passed the 4 million views of the first book I did for Fantagraphic Books' Eros line. The second book is just spilling over 3.5 million.

Now, that would have, if the books were purchased, have made myself and the artist involved on one book (the widow and family on the other book) millionaires...again. I only know about the updated figures as I had an email from someone who wanted to get a signed sketch of the cjharacters. I asked when he bought his copy and was told "I read it after downloading it from ---------" So I responded "Are you gouing to buy a copy as I could sell you one signed?" and..."No thanks. Read it so just wanted a signed sketch".

My response was to explain that he was a thief. He downloaded a book that was illegally uploaded by people who are criminals (copyright and royalties theft) and he accepted the download knowing full well that it was an illega;l download site ripping off creators -AND he wanted a free signed sketch , too!  Seriously, him not paying a penny even for postage because "I'm a fan". I told him: "You are a fan who never purchased the book and has no intention to: you are not a fan you are a thief. **** off!"

That was it.  These sites will not even charge 50 cents per book view to compensate creators -I know as I have contacted them and $1 per view was "too much" and 50 cents a view? "We'll have to think about that.

These people know that what they are doing is illegal and stealing money from creators who really need it. The people who download these illegal scans know that it is illegal. "I'll read it online and if I like it I will buy it" is absolutely a lie. They think they can justify stealing 
from creators that way. The illegal scanners (read the legal notices in the books) illegally upload the books so that thieves can download them.  That simple.

So, from someone who could well do topping up invalidity with £1 million back to the original post.
Comics is a big rip-off industry. Very few involved in it at higher levels are honest because being honest ain't making you money,

I was checking on something this morning and saw comments about books I wrote for Fantagraphics Eros line in 1991 and 1997. Both top sellers but never made myself or the artists much money. This all led to my finding three site on which one of the books had been ILLEGALLY downloaded 3 million, 2.345,989 and 3,097,098 times.

So I reasoned asking for some payment would not be out of order.

I contacted the site owners and said that I, and the artists, would be happy to receive payments of $1 each for every download or deletion of the downloads.

My guess is that I am NOT going to see a payment of $8, 443,087 coming my way any time soon.

That was just three sites. There are others and £1 a download would make me very happy -in fact 50c a download would make me happy!!  But the filthy little crooks will move stuff to another site and those filthy slime ball criminals who download the comics for free will follow because they have no care or thoughts for the people who created the books -its free.

"I only download to see if I want to buy the book" is the BIGGEST lie from criminals who 99.9% of the time are NOT going to buy and never had any intention of buying. It is theft.

Monday 18 May 2020

New Old Books Into the Twattverse!

Two new "old books" have been added to the Black Tower Comic Shop News blog.

Lost on the online store the files for Thaddeus Twatt: The Fearful Fate of Friggia and The Jungle Planet have now been revised and published.

OMG -A Hooper Monday (??) Sermon of sorts

I cannot imagine doing this myself but I hear three other Indie publishers (US based) have decided to quit because "no one reads comics unless theyare Marvel or DC" and "This virus has **** up our year of events".

Now I have tried to help by offering to promote their books or link their websites but, no: they are going.

At a time when Marvel and DC have not been publishing comics and Diamond distributor crapped out its own nose you might think people who are really into comics might try Indies. No.

I have so many comics that are Indie because a cover draws my attention, I take a quick peek inside and bought it. Now if I get home and the book is crap it is crap but I TRIED it. I have had a lot of fun reading Indie comics that are drawn amateurishly. Not laughing at the art -you draw the way you draw and if you publish a comic and feel proud of iot getting verbal or online abuse about your "crappy art" is NOT what you deserve. Did you enjoy writing and/or drawing it? Was it fun? Then that is what matters. It's creative and I will not shout down people who do comics to be creative or have fun.

The best review I ever gave a Small Press Comic...well, I flicked through it and thought "crap". Then I sat down to read it and every page was pure fun and you could tell that the creator was having fun (I need to look up the title again I think it featured in a Comics World review back in the early 1990s!).

If you look at some of the most successful Indie comics, some made into movies, the art work varied in quality.

A lot of successful European comics/bandes dessinees are not what you would call a "slick style" or "What you would call pro comics standard".  The truth is that there is no such thing as a "pro comics style".  Jack Kirby -anatomy etc sometimes "out there" but sheer brilliance and you see many try to copy and fail since. In fact, writing that I just realised that the list could go on forever.  John Buscema -incredible artist and with Tom Palmer inking the art was almost photographic. If you weigh up the 'industry standard' by Buscema and Palmer...everyone fails.

If you look at Golden Age artists -US or UK- then most fail.

Everyone is different. Everyone has a style of their own.

Now what do those artists do if the publishers are going?  Stack supermarket shelves? If you are an artist you cannot really "turn it off" so do they self publish in an environment where very few actually support or buy Indie or Small Press comics?

I would say "oddly enough" but I've found it is not that odd; "sexy" covers -naked or topless females and especially the variants of one title featuring various "poses" tend to sell well. Before you say "Typical immature male fantasies" I should point out that a lot of women buy these comics. During my extremely poorly paid and ripped off "adult erotic comics" writer I was told on three occasions that the most mail (letters) received came from women -including ones asking if they could be drawn into the books! I've even had conversations about those books with some very well known female comic creators who read the books and found nothing wrong with them.

You see, if people want that sort of thing then why not? Some like to just have super heroes, some monsters and vampires and others crime noir. Comics cover them all and they are all drawn in varying styles.

Just as I would urge anyone to support Indie Music and Indie films I urge anyone who really has an interest in comics to try Indie. Perhaps the fear is that once you've had black and white you'll never go back?

So think about it. A lot of publishers have gone out of business inthe last few years and if you are a collector into the financial side of comics then Indies have limited low print runs.

To any Indie comics publishers out there facing that precipice I'd say not to give up.

Sunday 17 May 2020


Eccentric scientific genius Professor Thaddeus Twatt has decided to look in on one of his late father’s experiments… ...but then his nephew, Tomas, arrives for the Summer. Tomas has been warned that his uncle is a little “odd” but expects to have a carefree holiday in the Somerset countryside. That was his plan. In the late 1940s, Twatt’s father, along with other scientists, had created a miniature galaxy in chambers deep beneath the Cheddar countryside. A miniature galaxy into which groups of settlers flew. After decades it seems time to visit the “Twatt-verse” and see how things have gone. Tomas thinks it’s all a joke...until he is miniaturised! The duo find the entrance to the mini-verse mined and then their craft crash-lands on the first planet they approach. They find what seems to be a barren, frozen world —until captured by a group of survivors and a story is told of betrayal, sabotage and a great “Worm” that devastates cities. Are the duo trapped of frozen Friggia forever…?

Following their escape from the planet Friggia, Twatt and Tomas find what appears to be a jungle planet –complete with rather odd life forms. However, as Professor Twatt casually strolls around the Jungle Planet he finds a mine complex using slave labourers —then he sees the crystal-like flying saucer and realises that the impossible has happened…. The Crystallids are here! But what are the Crystallids and what is Twatt’s connection to them. Some of the secrets of Professor Twatt’s earlier life could be exposed by a chance encounter with a Crystallid prisoner —a man who knows Twatt...the question is: will Twatt and Tomas live ? The complete first story arc from Black Tower Adventure in one book.

Mr Dilworth

Can you access the old email account so I can forward notes?


A Rare Hooper Sunday Sermon

I know what everyone is probably thinking. Everyone is in lockdown and looking for things to do and comics to read (Especially after Marvel and DC stopped publishing) so I must be selling a lot of books.



I did warn a lot of Indie publisahers at the start of all of this to promote and let people know you are out there and what books you have. This, along with other problems, is why I decided to set up the Black Tower Comic Shop News blog.

That and all the tweets and other social media stuff SHOULD have resulted in some interest over the last 5 months at least. Nope.

The thing is that, usually, someone reads a tweet or sees a blog post and passes it along to someone they know who then passes the link on. Everything snowballs from there. But people do not think like that anymore.

If I asked the 200+ people who visit this [page daily if they pass a link along or share with another group I'd say 100% (as if 100% EVER responded!!) would say "Nah".

The thing that I have never understood is that thousands (2-3K some days) visit here and CBO as well as Twitter and Pinterest and many save "favourite" posts...WHY? They are not buying so why repeatedly check out Black Tower posts and even save some if there is no interest?

In the past I thought I was doing something wrong. I lowered cover prices to the point that any sale would only get me 2-5p (2-5 cents). Nothing. No sales. Covers? I changed a lot of those -no sales.

At a couple of local events I had my books plus old small press zines. The small press stuff sold but my new books did not.And here is where I raged (inwardly of course since a chap should not stand naked in a street screaming at the top of his voice until the police arrive and taser him...more than once): I heard several times that my books looked very professional, not amateur and had a quality one would expect from a professional company. No quibbles about pricing just "too professional".

One thing I have always insisted on BECAUSE I have bought and collected comics all my life (from age of 7 anyway) so I know that frame of mind, is that if someone buys one of my books and that means parting with their money; they should get the best quality printing and the most durable quality I can give them. They may hate the contents but they cannot argue about quality of product! :-) :-)

That, apparently, is wrong.

People do not comment. They do not share links with others. They do not buy books.

In the 1980s/1990s I used to get a lot of sales because people who bought zines told others, they reviewed the zines and we met up and chatted at marts and other events. Okay, yes, I come from a time when people could write letters, talk to one another and get together at events and because everyone knew each other no one was worried about back-stabbing little Midlanders.

Often others sold my zines. I certainly sold their via the Zine Zone Mail Order Service -I still have a couple of the old catalogues to prove it.

I wrote about UK zines and comics for US comic mags as well as some in Europe. I promoted comics /zines from other countries and from UK publishers to overseas comickers. Heck (that is not the great comic artist by the way) even India, Hong Kong and Singapore were hearing about the UK comics and zines. I'll not leave out New Zealand and Australia in the name checks but then I have to include the old East Germany (rebooted into the Unified Germany) and Soviet Union, too!

This was all done in the day before the internet using letters and exchange packages and, of course, publications such as Zine Zone International and Comic Bits as well as The World's Comics (2 issues).

Today you can copy and past and simply type "Seen this?"and post around. So simple and right now when everyone is looking for ways to break the monotony you might think comickers (that is comic lovers/fans) would be doing that but no.
Over 121 books on the online store (I will not include the boxes (seriously boxes) of photocopied comics and zines that will probably form part of my funeral pyre (along with my collection of 1900s-1990s comic collection). The boxed stuff is annoying as I could sell that but two bus trips to the nearest post office and me onb the current "High Risk" list means that ain't gonna happen.

I've sort of resigned myself to people not buying books but I'll keep publishing until I croak at which point the whole store gets deleted.

I have tried to get other Indie publishers to join in with a united push of each others books but, apparently, that might involve actually doing something. So I will keep on pushing my books until CBO closes and beyond that on the Black Tower blog.

You could all make such a difference, my luvvies.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Need Help -Transformers and Ultra Man

Well here goes another requesat for help identifying figures. Really, I KNOW there are Transformer fans AND fans of Ultra Man who visit this blog -not helping out is very rude when you know the answer.

So here are the photos of the figures. PLEASE comment if you can identify. Thank you.

Saturday 9 May 2020

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