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THE UKs LARGEST INDEPENDENT COMICS PUBLISHER Between 1984-1994 I worked freelance as a writer/artist/editor/agent in comics as well as comics journalism for MU Press,Blue Comet Press,Fantagraphic Books,Eros Comics,Dorne,Fleetway,IPC and others in the United States,UK and Europe. During this period I also produced large numbers of single panel gag cartoons for agencies in Germany such as Boiselle-Lohmann and Baaske Agency –these going to magazines and publications around Europe. I also worked as a freelance editor in comics and publications ranging from wildlife,astronomy and science fiction magazines. From 1984 to present I've been self publishing comics as well as publications on a wide variety of subjects under the Black Tower banner. I have also produced packages of work for companies in India,Hong Kong and China. I have also been working as an industry advisor for smaller companies in countries such as India,Canada,Singapore,China,Europe and the US. hoopercomicsuk@yahoo.com

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Friday, 29 May 2015

Cinebook The 9th Art: The Survivors - Episode 2

 
Authors: LEO
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
Paperback

ISBN: 9781849182430
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: March 2015


The small group of marooned humans, minus a few individuals who left after a difference of opinions, survived one group of aliens, received help from a second, and is now travelling towards what appears to be a town. But their adoptive planet is a truly peculiar place with many surprises in store: a wild and unknown nature, inhabitants with unpredictable attitudes and morals ... and other, even stranger phenomena well beyond their comprehension!

This "The Wolds Of Aldebaran" story is almost a "How The West Was Won" but set in space.  Leo has produced some great characters and art -some very imaginative art!- and never ceases to amaze.

In this story we see humans getting involved in "survival" -so you can guess they've taken their knack of using weapons (even if small weapons) to make a point into space.  I think Leo's opinion seems to fall on the side of "There is no reason why aliens are not going to be like us so we need to be careful" -as opposed to "They'll be our space Brothers and Sisters".

If you've not read at a copy of a book in this series then you really should.  Initially I was a little cold but sitting down and reading and looking at the art made me a fan.  Don't ask "why?" because I try never to question it these days!

 


Silicon Hearts -A Reminder.

Everyone Should Have A Silicon Heart...


I'm sure people here remember Kat Nicholson?  She was interviewed on CBO as one of the artists on Classical Comics A Mid Summer Night's Dream:
http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/classical-comics-nicholson-cardys.html 

No idea where the interview went.  Hmm.

Anyway, I do not promote kick-starter projects.  I can, however, point you in the direction of some nice art and what might be a very good project to support by passing the word around.



The project Face Book page (it's on the blog roll) has some interesting art so why not check it out?

https://www.facebook.com/SiliconHeart/photos/a.253108708198872.1073741828.159826847527059/432192520290489/?type=1&permPage=1

 

Cinebook the 9th Art: Kenya 3 - Aberrations


 



 Kenya 3 - Aberrations
Authors: LEO & Rodolphe
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182492
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: April 2015


After reporting to London, Kathy Austin returns to Kenya to continue her investigation. In the palace of Count Di Broglie, the young English woman finally meets the last survivors of the Remington expedition, but they lack material proof to support their stories. Kathy is ordered to obtain information on Irmanius, a rather inquisitive individual who’s been snooping around the country. Who is he working for? The Americans, the Russians… or some considerably more foreign power?

This gets really WEIRD.  Aliens of various types, UFOs and Sea serpent along with various odd Government sorts.  Almost like my life from 1977-2007 but no phrases such as "You did sign the Official Secrets Act"  -I'm sure CBOs two viewers in Antarctica will appreciate that.

Anyway, this series is developing well and the "coming of the saucers" sequence is a nice touch.  I don't think this series could be anything but good.  If you are into Forteana, UFOs or the weird give this a try.  Like very good comics -give this a try!
 

Supergirl - First Look

"Why haven't you posted or mentioned Supergirl?"  Well, I assumed everyone had seen this by now -am I wrong?



Sun Trap? Oh, It WAS Supposed To Be A Comedy? Now Let Me Tell You...


 


Back in the late 1980s-1990s, I wrote scripts and series proposals for TV.  Back then you had BBC, ITV (before de-regulation did everything all the top boys were saying it would not), Channel 4 and later Chennal 5 (the station hardly anyone used to be able to watch thanks to total screw up technical issues).

My most famous failure, that actually got a mention by a BBC TV producer whose name I cannot recall in some Guardian article, was A Cabinet Of Curiosities which was written at the same time as the horror-sci-fi The Diaries Of Fred Purvey -the BBC man told me "We'll go with your idea for the two main characters!" which would have been Roy Hudd as Fred Purvey and June Whitfield as "Mystic Marge".

I wrote all the scripts for each series (seven for each), put together creature and production illustrations and handed them in -the offer of the BBC footing the huge photocopying bill seemed a good one (all the scripts were typed, kids -no computers.....who is that keeps fainting at the back??).

Nothing.  Then more nothing.  So a couple of calls and eventually I hear "Oh. Didn't anyone contact you? There's this new TV series from the US -it's already made so no production costs."  And my kill fee? Ever tried to get money out of the BBC?  Bureaucracy and "we have no idea what you are talking about" followed by "Who was the producer?  Oh, he's left. We can't enter into discussion on this."

So I cursed this stupid, no name, crap US TV show and prayed for it to be a massive flop.

It was called "The X-Files" -no, I never heard of it either.

Anyway, I continued with my quiz/challenge show projects, documentaries and even comedy.  Yes. I wrote comedy.  Sad Lad's Pad was described by someone at the BBC as "a very surrealistic version of Bottom but with three characters rather than two."  I guess he must have read the script!  

I think the first episode was titled "Barbara Windsor" and if memory serves me right the second involved the Sad Lads ending up in a Moroccan style British prison.  Hookahs, fez's the works.

The guy in charge loved it. "I'm glad you came to us rather than radio first!"  I never even thought of radio. Anyhow, the six scripts (I think I only have the rough first two episode scripts now) were read and the producer loved them.  And then came the inevitable silence.  Then a letter from a new producer stating "sadly these scripts are not as funny as you seem to think they are" -which was feckin' weird.  I never laid any claims and I had never said in writing or over the phone that my scripts were great because I never would. Also, WTF was this new man?

A quick call and I found out that the old producer had left for a higher paid job at an independent company.  The assistant, who I had talked to a great deal before then told me that it was "traditional" for a new producer to throw out any ideas approved by a predecessor -if it bombed HE got the blame.  If it was a success then the previous man got the credit for commissioning the series.  So in the bin it went.

I asked about what for the BBC was a very -very- rude letter?  "Oh, he's straight out of university and never worked in TV before so he's rather rude to the point of insulting even established scripters."  I wish I remembered his name (it's in a file) because one day.....

Let me tell you, this approving, going through discussing, sorting out cast or presenters and producers then leaving and everything being dumped covers all BBC departments including Wildlife -three times I was asked by the BBC Wildlife unit in Bristol (over the phone once and twice in person) "Do you know where that piece of footage is?"  To which I responded: "It's BBC footage.  Wildlife footage.  Surely you know?"  but it seems "the BBC is a big place as is the wildlife unit and those pieces of footage could be anywhere here!"

Now, the BBC seems to have lost its reputation for TV comedy.   "Mr Khan" appears to be a 1970s, not very good ITV comedy...for children.  Bottom and  The Mighty Boosh seem to have been the final stabs at comedy before obscenity filled 25 minute crap took over.  Not funny but unless there is an obscenity every other word it cannot be funny, right?  Oddly, I did actually enjoy Uncle for some reason.

But the other night I watched the latest late night comedy, Sun Trap.  Bradley Walsh has proven himself a good actor and funny so I thought "why not?"  I sat there, my sister also watching the TV, not a single laugh.

WHY was this on at 22:45hrs?  Kayvan Novak from this performance, should never work again. Bradley Walsh was only really a cameo but this really dented his reputation.  Novak had a Scottish (??) accent that covered being a gay Frenchman(?), a.....no.  Basically it covered every accent you need. If ever a show needed canned laughter it was this.  It had no life.  No humour and it, again, seemed to be a failed CITV (Childrens ITV) programme from the 1980s.

I may be a little hard on Novak because he had a senseless -and I DO mean senseless- script that had no gags or humour.  The characters were sheets of blank paper.  

I got quite angry.  I thought my age.  Then I got angrier as I thought through it that night.  My scripts back in the early 1990s were  "sadly these scripts are not as funny as you seem to think they are" but in 2015 the scripts for Sun Trap were funny? 

Kids, look for independent companies or produce your own shows or films or audio podcasts -anything but go through what many, many others have over the years. Learn.  You will always get ripped off, messed about, insulted and hardly ever paid!

Below: Bradley Walsh: "We took the money. Sorry."
 

I Think We ALL Know Which One I Am.....


Cinebook The 9th Art: Thorgal 15- Arachnea

 


Thorgal 15- Arachnea
Authors: Rosinski & Van Hamme
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182478
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: April 2015

Thorgal, his family and their friends Darek and Lehla have left their island to sail south and look for a safer place to live. After a storm scatters them, Thorgal and WolfCub’s boat flounders on reefs at the foot of a strange, mist-covered cliff. One perilous climb later, the little girl is trapped by a mysterious, invisible force, and her father, after going for help, discovers a very curious city cut off from the world...

I usually like to spend some time when it comes to Thorgal to discuss things -we've moved from the sci fi origins to Meso America...it has been a very exciting read.  Now we have more fantasy, with a tinge of horror? Yes, my favourites (but not it seems 99% of humanity's) -spiders.  Bless 'em.

Great art, great colour work by Graza and a nice twisting tale with a little "ahhhhh" toward the end. And at album number 15 this has turned around completely the impression I had of Thorgal from what I had read in German.  I made the assumption it was "just another barbarian" series. It certainly is not. Writer and artist both deliver some of their best work. 

No wonder Thorgal is a popular series!

 

What Do Artists Do All Day - Frank Quitely


A mix here. I like some of Quitely's work but it often leaves me cold -too clean and antisceptic. But he is very popular and I still likr reading his Earth 3.

Profile - Boo Cook - Comic Artist

 

Oh my gods. Pencil roughs for a writer would be never heard of in old weekly comics -you drew it and that was that. If you are doing a graphic novel or a series you REALLY want to be your best work then this amount of effort could be useful.



I just say "Why spend time on thumb-nails and roughs -just draw the feckin' book!"  But that might just be me. Boo Cook does seem to be enjoying himself though....WHAT???

One Day In The Life of a Comic Book Artist

 
I was responding to a comment earlier about the "old School" comic artists who work on paper and....did someone at a Wacom drawing tablet just faint?  Any way, here is Gerry Alanguilan who has worked for Marvel, DC, Image and so on.