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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Saturday 31 December 2022

Jada toys The Invisible Man review

Top 10 Reasons Why Collecting Batman SUCKS!

The Usual

 Someone on the FB group asked what I'd be doing tonight?

Working and planning to try to save my business in 2023. Why?



Hexagon Comics USA now offers translations of selected titles from the catalog of this 70-year-old French comics publisher. Books can be purchased on amazon or through the website Retailers can purchase them at a 40% discount from distributor Ingram or from the publisher at the website above.




story by Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by Alfredo Macall & Nestor Vargas; cover by Nestor Vargas. 

ISBN-13: 978-1-64932-111-4. 

7 x 10 TPB. 94 p. b&w - US$12.95.


THE SEA KING, a young naval officer who gained the power to breathe underwater thanks to his uncle’s experiments... MARINO and EGA, two “kidz” from the alien sunken city of Kosmos with their own strange aquatic powers...  MISS METEOR, a scientist who traveled to the negative dimension of Zhud where she gained cosmic powers in a freak accident... THE ZORR-KO, a powerful android built millions of years ago by the mighty Fomore civilization and abandoned on Earth... These characters, all “strangers,” have been brought together by TANKA, a former jungle lord recruited by entities from our planet’s farthest future and now empowered to protect our world from extra-terrestrial menaces.
In this seventh volume of Strangers, the mission of our heroes is to travel to the Kosmos to reclaim the water component of the powerful Kera weapon, and to Zhud to rescue their fellow Stranger Homicron, while thwarting the evil schemes of two would-be conquerors.... 





story by Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by Manuel Garcia, Fernando Blanco, Javier Pina, Eduardo Alpuente, Peru Bros, cover by Manuel Garcia. 

7x10 tpb, 160 p. color
ISBN-13: 978-1-61227-299-3 - US$34.95

HOMICRON is a NASA scientist whose body is inhabited by a mysterious alien from planet Alpha. STARLOCK is the former servant of supremely powerful cosmic entities who has managed to escape from his Martian prison and is hiding on Earth. FUTURA is a mysterious woman from a parallel dimension. JALEB is the secretive agent of a Galactic Federation of telepaths. JAYDEE is a teenage, alien metamorph, abandoned on Earth as a baby, and who may well be the deadliest killing machine in the universe... 

These characters, all “strangers” to Earth, are brought together by TANKA, a former jungle lord who has been recruited by entities from our planet’s farthest future to be their “time agent” and is now empowered to protect our world from extra-terrestrial menaces.


A Head's Up For 2023

 Since 1997 I have put up a Merry Christmas post on CBO. That's 25 years.

In all of that time not a single response. So Christmas from now on -not on CBO.

That is my New Year's Message

Sadly, a number of Independent comic publishers have vanished in 2022 and there are various reasons but lack of sales is going to be the main one. Piracy -illegally uploading new books and then illegally downloading them for free is a crime.  If you do this then you have no real interest or love of comics: uploader or downloader you ARE a criminal.

As an example: I had a friend who used to gather stats from illegal download sites and was looking at two books I wrote -one was drawn by the late Art Wetherell and the other by David Gordon. The illegal downloads for both ran into many hundreds of fact...I am wrong. I posted this back at the beginning of the year:

 <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 characters. I asked when he bought his copy and was told "I read it after downloading it from ---------" So I responded "Are you going 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 illegal 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 a 0 bank balance 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.>

Readers may gather that I was not a happy bunny when I wrote that in May, 2022. I have a leaking roof that cannot be repaired and debts...well. The thing is that we are facing the likelihood of many other small publishers going down that drain. My stats pal noted that none of them had as many illegal downloads as my Eros books but would be thousands of dollars better off and far from struggling to survive.

On the 22nd December, Publishers Weekly posted an item headed Indie Comics Publishers Face Year-End Financial Troubles

There is a problem in defining an "Independent" comics publisher. These are generally small and Image and IDW are not Independents but worth a whacking load of money but like trading off the "Independent" title. In Calvin Reid's article he notes: 

"Aftershock Comics, an indie house based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing $10 million to $50 millions in liabilities"

WHOAH! Take a deep breath and sip that coffee (or tea) really slowly. If you are dealing in millions of dollars you are not and "Independent" you are a publishing house. An Independent publisher would (hope) to be dealing in sums in the very low thousands but at best several hundred dollars.  Believe me, as the largest Independent publisher in the UK (200 books ranging from one off comics to comic albums and graphic novels) I am not even dealing with hundreds in profit.  My last payment for sales covering six months this year was £16.75 (roughly the same in dollars).  With no events that are affordable to even sell at and the internet getting me a couple million views in 2022 amounts to people looking but not buying.

That is how bad it is. You can see why I would not mind some of that money from downloads now.  The current excuse from some publishers is "Well the pandemic---" and I stop them there. People can sit at home during lockdown and order books and have them delivered to them so how did lockdown affect sales?  Now it's "Well, the recession--" and anything is blamed rather than telling the truth. The truth is that people in their hundreds of thousands would sooner download and steal new and old books than support the creators and publishers. That is a provable fact -just look for an illegal download site and see how the latest releases are available as well as hundreds of giga bites of old books. NOT A SINGLE PENNY/CENT of those downloads goes to a creator or publisher.

What is the most popular day in  the comic year? Free Comic Book Day when retailers have to buy in comics (yes, they BUY them) so that people who never visit their stores normally will try to grab handfuls and the store owners have gotten wise to this -freeloaders will visit several stores and grab comics from each only to put them straight up on Ebay where people will PAY for what were FREE comics. I have even heard retailers discuss how the freeloaders selling online have had the gall to argue that they want two copies of a free book or demand the books and some will even threaten to give a store bad publicity if they do not get what they want. Are those comic fans?

Last year I saw a Free Comic Book Day comic on Ebay for $10.00. It sold for $20.00 !

If you are a real comic book lover or fan then you need to start supporting the small Independents and stop saying "I always support Independent comics and buy some Image or IDW" -it shows you have no idea. Look around at shows or online for the small publishers struggling because even before the much blamed pandemic they were going out of business -and posts on that are still on CBO.

That is my New Year's Message. Sadly, everyone is completely deaf.

Friday 30 December 2022

Wilhelm Busch, Max und Moritz, Hans Huckebeen and Plisch un Plum

 Big tidy up day today...I can actually freely move in a 3ft (90cms) square space in my room. I moved my copy of Schwager & Steinlein's 2010 (cushioned hardback) Wilhelm Busch: Die schönsten Geschichten für Kinder and a sheet of paper fell out. It was an A3 (A2 folded) flier or news sheet I got free while in Germany and was about the Deutsches Haus in New York. Why did I pick this up? Because inside was a one page reproduction of Wilhelm Busch's Max und Moritz -seriously, look up Max und Moritz...oh, here:

Above the rather chunky Busch book.

Below the Deutsches Haus flier

I  also, obviously, also have Anaconda Verlag's 2008 Max und Moritz pocket book with art reproduced in black and white.

And, again, the 2001 Verlag M. Nauman Das Berliner Wilhelm-Busch-Album. Black and white and featuring Max und Moritz, Hans Huckebeen and Plisch un Plum

 All very enjoyable to read and look through.

MUST Reading For Late Nights


Image Comics 1963, Reverend Cross, Jack Staff and other "stuff" by my 'Bed'

Interesting question but please ask in the Comments section. What books/comics do I have by the side of my bed? Well, I do not have a bed I have a reclining chair. Next to it is my shelving with my Silver/Bronze ages Dr Strange and trades, Sub-Mariner collection and below that my Justice League of America, All star Squadron trades and below that my John Byrne collection, Image Comics 1963 series.

Below that my Classics Illustrated books, Vampirella (essentials style) trade, Jack Staff, Mud Man and Burglar Bill books. Also a selection of other comics that I like to pick up every so often including Kult Creations Reverend Cross, Helga Frankenstein and Jungle Princess -if I could pay artists there are certain British Golden Age female characters I would love to see Gabrielle Noble draw!
I also have my collection of David Gordon books...

Then there are, of course the Paul Ashley Brown and Tom Ronson books

Oh, there are also some of the 3.75 inch action figures I am converting into Platinum and Golden Ages British characters. (yes, I have a very crappy camera but no money =bad camera!) 

And, of course, my Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology which I am sure we all have at arms reach....don't we?

I do like to read through 1963 even though it was an enormous car crash -even those who remember it and try to work out just what was going on -with the creators- get confused. A pity as the characters were great and suitable for development. 

If Image Comics ever wants to revive the characters I'm here. Just saying.

Thursday 29 December 2022

A Black Tower Weekly Comic??

I have now been asked twice why I never published a weekly comic. If the persons asking that question meant as in the old newsagents weekly comic then that is not possible any more. You have to be a big company and if you are not then the closed shop distributors will not even look at you.

If you mean a Black Tower buy from the online store or  from me weekly comic  -I did. It was called Bristol Comic     Book, black and  white, 32pp and featuring a mixture of strips. All the weekly issues were sorted out for the first 12 weeks (3 months).

No one bought or showed any interest.

I then added a colour cover and re-titled it Black Tower Adventures.


The Black Tower Face Book page has a lot of those covers in its Albums section.

You can produce a good product but it does not mean people will buy. Regular Black Tower comics, comic albums and graphic novels have been oddly criticised in the past as "There's nothing else like these out there" and even "they are very good production and high quality but (again) there isn't much like this out there".

Low priced books, quality printing and that is a minus?


So, Stuart and Paul: I have tried!

Terrific and the Avengers

 Not touched on in any of my Avengers posts (I don't think so) is the fact that the team appeared in Odhams weekly comic Terrific.

According to Wikipedia:

"Terrific was a weekly British comic published by Odhams PressPower Comics imprint in 1967–1968. Terrific was similar in format to its sister title Fantastic, which had started publication two months earlier. The two titles were quite unlike other British comics of the time, consisting mainly of material reprinted from American Marvel Comics, serving as an introduction to many of Marvel's superhero characters. In this  respect, Fantastic and Terrific can be considered precursors of the Marvel UK weeklies such as The Mighty World of Marvel that appeared beginning in 1972."

Now, although the Avengers had some reprints in Class Comics, which count as their first official UK appearances Terrific featured them at the same time.  As far as I am aware the team ran for the full 43 issue run which was five years before Marvel UK ushered in their first appearance in their Mighty World of Marvel in 1973 when the Avengers first appearance as a team was reprinted in three (b&w) parts. Later the team got their own weekly comic of which I have a full run.

here are a selection of some of the covers and Avengers splash pages -you will note that, as was normal in weekly comics, one U.S. full colour issue was divided into 3-4 b&w reprint parts.

As a quick end note I ought to point out that no matter how many times Ebay dealers declare "Rare -First Appearance of Kang" it is a lie. As Rama Tut you need to buy Fantastic Four #19 or Avengers #8.  Getting black and white UK reprints separated into 3-4 parts and thinking you have a gold mine in your hands is...misleading yourself. I know two people who purchased the 1970s Marvel weekly Avengers "first appearance of Kang" for "quite a bit" (I understand £25 and £30 respectively) have now found that the comics are selling for a maximum of £4-5.00 depending on the dealer.

The same applies to the UK Alan Class black and white reprints -they are never going to make back what you pat for them. The money and investment lies with the U.S. original books and another warning: if the U.S. comics you see have a printed UK cover price it seems collectors look down on those.

Iron Studios Jurassic Park Final Scene Statue Review!

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Obscure British Super Heroes -Unit 4

 It has been a long time since I did one of these!  About an hour ago (0050 hrs) I picked up an old copy of the (obviously) printed Comic Bits and found tucked inside a copy of Rich Holden's Un-Caged no. 5 from 1987.Rich published from Hawarden, Clwyd (Wales) and produced a large number of small press comics of which I have a few.

It is hard to explain why but, whenever someone heard that a new issue of Un-Caged or any Holden publication had arrived they immediately had to see it. When it was funny you were in hysterics and when it was not so still laughed. I vaguely recall a strip featuring a young lodger who somehow fell for his aged land lady! I really need to dig out those issues.

Anyway, I was reading through this issue and suddenly saw Unit 4 by Dave Cross who I recall exchanging a couple of letters with. I looked at the strip and realised it had totally slipped my mind.  Again, I need to see if there were strips in previous issues or not.

The style is what you expect from the small press -someone competently drawing something he was having fun with. No major cosmic or pan-dimensional parallel crises just a good old fashion hit-and-run. It still reads as fun over thirty years on.  And I thought to myself "I'll have to do an Obscure British Super Heroes post on this" as I carried on reading and

...another Unit 4 strip!

This one had no text and saw a cowboy on a flying horse capture two of the team. Why? No idea but at the time cowboys on flying robot horses or robot cowboys on flying robot horses were "a thing" -I still have a strip John Royle drew for me that was published in volume 1 of Black Tower Adventure that is still enjoyable to read in 2022 and that involved robot horses and cowboy robot gun-slingers.

So just what is going on?  No idea but if there is another part in issue 6 I hope it explains everything like who are these characters and why Unit 4 and...well enough to satisfy my aging mind!

Where is Dave Cross today?

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 | Official IMAX® Traile...


Boss fight Studios The Phantom review

Tuesday 27 December 2022

This Is How It Will Work

 Just some information for when the books only become available via me. There is absolutely nothing anyone can do about postal rates and it is a fact of ordering online or from people directly that you cannot suddenly make postal charges vanish.

Until, in the UK at least, we start getting independent events (where organisers are not bullied by ''creatives') where books can be sold directly we're stuck with it. If you order via the online store currently then you will find the shipping information and you do not have to order whichever book you are looking at to see the shipping rates -simply come off the page or go back to the store.

Those are the current shipping options you will see if you are in the UK in other parts of the world there should not be a great difference (in some cases apparently lower!) and, yes, even I have to pay those so get a grip.

If you want to order through me then what will happen is that I will tell you the book and postage (whichever you choose) cost. You can then pay me via PayPal and once that payment is received the order will be placed. If you decide not to bother then no problem. 

IF you wish to order online the same thing applies really so if outside the UK that is probably your best option. In January I will finally get around to updating pricing so that I can finally earn more than pennies from a sale.

Sunday 25 December 2022

My Stance on AI Art

  I have had two comments asking why I am not declaring my stance on AI artwork. Just look the topic up online as it is the latest fad "cause" now that wokeness and virtue signalling are on their way out.

Sure, make sure artists you employ CAN draw. As an artists agent in the 1980s/1990s I had at one point 100 submissions a week but that died down to 40-60 a month later. I had people wanting to work in comics who produced great splash page art. Lots of illustrations and each one was asked for actual comic strip work since that was the area they wanted to get work in. Roughly 75% could not put together a comic strip page and those that could ..the art was bad.

It was comic companies that encouraged digital art and now they are telling anyone submits digital art "We will never use you again and we are going to do our best to black ball you out of the industry. W...T....F?  The editors and publishes acting like gangster goons need to lose their jobs.

Who does the lettering for comics?'s done on computer -black ball those people!!

Who does comic colouring and ...uh-oh..."digital effects/colouring...okay: black ball THOSE people.

Hang on...Jim Lee and almost 95% of comic artists use digital drawing tablets (*name your brand).  Okay well those people need to be black balled.

Pencil, pen/brush and ink drawing only. Hand letterers only. Hand colourists only and anyone using a digital device MUST be black balled.

Oh. Wait. Editors and publishers all use digital devices to carry out their work. Well, if those two faced back-stabbers who have encouraged digital art since the 1990s are honest and fair then they need to resign. Now.

The comic prima donnas MUST have their false cause every year or so and they are running out of options so now it is the turn of AI artists. Until editors, publishers, artists, colourists and letterers all drop digital and go back to hands on skills they need to zip it.

I, and those I work with, use pencil, brush/pen, paper and ink. My  one exception when putting a book together is the lettering as osteoarthritis does not encourage lettering hundreds of pages with a pen!

Black Tower Comics & Books

Mr Dilworth and Mr Schiltz

 Mr Dilworth if you are still with us -Have a Good Christmas

Mr Schiltz -Bah! Humbug! it!

Coming In January 2023