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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

Friday, 25 July 2014




July 25th 2014, Malta 
For Immediate Release 

Wicked Comics are proud to announce that internationally renowned mangaka Yishan Li (The Clique), and acclaimed comic creators Rufus Dayglo (Tank Girl) and Andrew Wildman as first guests for the Malta Comic Con (MCC) 2014 which will be held on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November at St. James Cavalier (all floors), Valletta, between 10am – 6pm on Saturday and 11am – 7pm on Sunday.  

Yishan Li: 

Yishan Li is a professional UK/Chinese manga artist currently living in Scotland. Besides a large number of “how to draw” tutorial books, her work has been published in China, France, the UK and the USA and have also been translated in many languages. Her impressive resume includes L’ Accro du Shopping a French graphic novel adaptation of Sophie Kinsella’s famous novel Confessions of a Shopaholic which was also adapted in a movie starring Isla Fisher, Cutie B, Les Contesse du Boudoir Hate’ (which is based on traditional Chinese ghost story book: Liaozhai Zhiyi), The Clique; an adaptation of the #1 the New York Times best selling series of the same name, and Will Supervillians be on the Final. She is currently working on a new graphic novel titled Girl 1 and a new as yet untitled story based on the life of Princess Diana.  

Rufus Dayglo: 

Rufus Dayglo is a Northern Irish professional comic artist based in London and is best known for re-launching Tank Girl back into the world. Before moving into comic art, Rufus worked in the animation industry on feature films, storyboarding and various commercials and was also one of team working on pop promos for the popular band Gorillaz. He has worked for a number of comic book publishers including Image Comics, IDW, 2000 AD, Ankama Editions, Titan books, and DC Vertigo books and on popular titles and characters such as Judge Dredd, Future Shocks, Snaked and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty the graphic novel spin off of the popular video game. He is currently launching his own series, Solid Gold Death Mask in partnership with Ashley Wood’s 3A Company, as well as working on an upcoming split comic with Ashley for IDW Comics. 

Andrew Wildman: 

British creator Andrew Wildman has been an illustrator for Comics, Games and TV for 30 years. He has worked on a number of popular titles including Thundercats, The Real Ghostbusters, Power Rangers, G.I. Joe, the X-Men, Spider-man and Venom but is perhaps best known for his long association with Transformers. TV works includes, character designer for the animated TV show Legend of The Dragon, production designer for the children’s animated TV show The Matt Hatter Chronicles and storyboard artist for the BBC on The Fades, The Interceptor and Doctor Who. He is also currently working for a number of new TV shows including an animated one with Transformers writer Simon Furman. Wildman is also the author and illustrator of a new graphic novel Horizon which has been described by BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz as “An intriguing book that tells a great story in four wonderful dimensions: words, pictures, speech and space”. 

“We’ve heard nothing but praise from previous guests on Li, Dayglo and Wildman, and we cannot help but feel excited that they are going to bring their unique and distinctive talents to our show. The diverse and acclaimed work they have all been involved in will certainly appease the Maltese comic fans and we’re proud to welcome them to the Malta Comic Con family. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank them for accepting our invitation and for the role they will play in making MCC 2014 the best yet!” said Chris Le Galle co-founder of Wicked Comics.  

As customary Wicked Comics have designed a number of packages for fans wishing to travel to the Malta Comic Con from abroad, which include heavily discounted accommodation rates and local transport from hotel to convention centre. Similarly Wicked Comics have a number of packages tailored for foreign creators who wish to exhibit at the Malta Comic Con including heavily discounted tables. 

More Packages info: 

Casterman BD: Faites découvrir Rush à un ado, il va lire et courir

Casterman Jeunesse
Casterman Jeunesse
Casterman Jeunesse
Les Editions Casterman vous invitent à découvrir RUSH,
la série polar qui fait courir les ados, mais surtout, qui leur donne envie de lire !
Casterman Jeunesse
Martine Rush : une dette, 6 contrats
MartineRush #1**En savoir plus
Dominic Silvagni est né sous une bonne étoile.
Il a de la chance : il vit au soleil de la côte australienne.
Il a de l’argent : son père est un riche homme d’affaires.
Il a du talent : ses performances sur les pistes d’athlétisme le promettent à une brillante carrière sportive.
Aujourd’hui Dom fête ses 15 ans.
Mais son premier cadeau est une terrible révélation : sa famille a une dette envers la Mafia…
une dette dont il est l’héritier !
Dom est contraint d’exécuter six contrats pour ces criminels…
ou il subira un terrible châtiment.
300 exemplaires offerts par Casterman
Envie de faire découvrir Rush à un ado cet été ? Il suffit de cliquer sur ce lien pour l'inscrire, nous nous chargeons du reste...
Cette offre est entièrement gratuite et n'engage à aucun achat, mais nous devons vous avertir : la série comporte 6 volumes et il n'est pas impossible qu'il vous réclame la suite !

Rush en piles

Irate Emails.....

Hmm. Just hmmm.

Anyway, I got three -THREE- irate emails from people demanding to know WHY I was not answering messages on Face Book.

Here, just for those dumb-asses, because I've stated this on FB itself weeks ago....


Got that? Good.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Time Bomb Comics

Hmm. Odd. Two requests on the same day asking me what happened to Time Bomb Comics? As far as I know Steve Tanner is still publishing TBC.  I know he goes to events selling books but new...no idea.

]I checked and the last time I reviewed anything from the company was November...2012!  The Last Ride Of Henry Holden.

Just google Time Bomb Comics!

The Hole In My Jammies But You Won't See My Lack Of Underpants

Mr Stransky and Mr Robson demanded photographic evidence regarding my holed pajama bottoms so here's a photo.  The one I got using "timer" on the camera I have NOT used. I bent over with the pajamas on but looking at the photo I realised I was not wearing pants underneath the jammy bottoms.  Took the photo to show my sister ----an hour of vomiting.  Weak stomache.

Titan Books: Charley's War: A Boy Soldier in the Great War

Pat Mills (W) & Joe Colquhoun
Publisher: Titan Books (8 Aug 2014)
Black and white
 320 pages
Book Dimensions: 26.6 x 19.7 x 2.6 cm
ISBN-10: 1781169144
ISBN-13: 978-1781169148

From UK comics writer Pat Mills ("Marshal Law," "Requiem," "Vampire Knight," "Slaine") and legendary artist Joe Colquhoun ("Johnny Red") comes a truly classic piece of British comics history, by turns thrilling, humorous and horrifying.

Often heralded as the greatest British comic strip ever created, "Charley's War" tells the gripping story of an underage British soldier called Charley Bourne fighting during World War I.

Now with completely remastered comic strips, this is the definitive edition of "Charley's War," covering Charley's first arrival in the trenches, the battle of the Somme, and a terrifying zeppelin raid over London.

I think I have both said and written this before but here goes.  This is a fantastic book. It collects volumes 1-4 into over 300 pages and the research by writer and artist is immaculate.  Having had a family friend who was a "boy soldier" (mascot) in the British army long after the First World War I can tell you there were still horror stories echoing many in this book.

As a piece of history this is an important book.  It is a book that should be in most school libraries not to mention public libraries.  Why?  Well, as noted, it gets all the facts right for one and then you have the lives and story of not just Charley Bourne but those around him. Everything is "of the period".

When it comes to the artwork you find that it is this that really "sells" the story.  In fact, you do not think "that was well written" or "nicely drawn" because the two meld to make a perfect sequence. The art is immaculate and so far removed from Colquhouns basic starting-in-comics work decades before that it goes to show just how good he was.

You could just show British soldiers in one of the first tanks in standard uniform but, no.  Some are shown wearing a peculiar face-mask and this was to protect the crew from shards/splinters of metal from the tank when it was hit by shells.  But there are the cavalry charges -out-dated by that time but still "popular with the officers"- the gritty, gut-wrenching trench warfare and hand-to-hand fighting, the every day filth and slog -singing "happy birthday" with gas-masks on- and the cruelty. Oh, and the zeppelin raids.

As a youngster I thought Charley's War was a good war story but it was only later that I learnt to appreciate the work involved and just how good it was.  This new edition is so immaculately reproduced that you might be forgiven for thinking (based on the artwork but not for ignorance) this was all new. Looking at my old newsprint editions of Battle the flimsy paper and the far from top-notch printing (according to the printer the company wanted cheap -bigger profit on the cover price then) and comparing them with this completely digitally re-mastered volume....no comparison.

At the moment there is a great fuss (when the media/people can be bothered to turn away from all the pap in print and on TV) about the 100th Anniversary of the First World War of 1914-1918.  Next year it won't be so hip or trendy and it'll be something else.  But -but- if you want to give your kids, students or even yourself a look at -I cannot call it "entertainment"! - something that will give you a great set of stories centred around a war that, unlike any before, changed the world then this book is it.

AND it's under £20.00!

There is, however, one thing that can be written about this book: whether it is in 50, 60, 70 or even another hundred years, it will still be fresh because it is "of the period" and a cracking good story -no super robots, no men in jet-packs or any of the pulp nonsense you find in other books based in this period.  In fact, I feel that I am being insulting even mentioning other "comics" in connection with this book.

In fact, Charley's War: A Boy Soldier in the Great War  will always remain a classic that can never be either repeated or out-done!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Dora Bryan: Summer Wine and Ab Fab actress dies aged 91

And, sadly, a more recent passing.  Dora Bryan.  Lovely character actress.

According to BBC News Online:

Dora Bryan in 1978 Bryan was made an OBE for services to drama in 1996
Dora Bryan, the veteran British actress whose long career encompassed theatre, film, radio and television, has died in Hove, near Brighton, at the age of 91.

She was best known for her roles in Last of the Summer Wine and Absolutely Fabulous, and won a best actress Bafta for the 1962 film A Taste Of Honey.

Her manager, David Hill, confirmed her death, calling the actress "a legend, an icon and a true star".
Brighton newspaper The Argus, reported she had died at a nursing home in Hove.

Her sons, Daniel and William Lawton, were at her bedside.

"It was heartbreaking but it was peaceful," Daniel told the newspaper. "She just left us.
"She was a tiny woman but her constitution was incredible. She loved being on stage, that's what she wanted. Not only did she do it, but she was good at it.

"She was a star, and a mum."

Born Dora May Broadbent in Southport, Lancashire, the actress made her stage debut aged 12 before working with Ensa, the armed forces' entertainment body, during World War II.

After moving to London, she was encouraged to change her surname by Noel Coward while appearing in a production of his play Private Lives.

The actress chose Bryant as her new stage name, after the match manufacturers Bryant and May, but became Dora Bryan when a theatre programme omitted the last letter.

She went on to play the title role in Hello, Dolly on stage and make appearances in such films as The Blue Lamp, Carry On Sergeant and The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery.

Bryan (second from left) recording Much Binding in the Marsh in 1953 with Kenneth Horne, Richard Murdoch, Sam Costa and Nicholas Parsons Bryan recording Much Binding in the Marsh in 1953 with (l to r) Kenneth Horne, Richard Murdoch, Sam Costa and Nicholas Parsons
She was also heard on radio in Hancock's Half Hour and alongside Nicholas Parsons and Kenneth Horne in the comedy series Much Binding in the Marsh.

Bryan, who became an OBE in 1996, headlined a number of stage revues and made several appearances at the National Theatre.

She had a recurring role in Absolutely Fabulous as June Whitfield's on-screen friend Dolly and was seen as Ros Utterthwaite in Last of the Summer Wine.

In real life she endured several hardships. She suffered two nervous breakdowns, her adopted daughter Georgina died from alcoholism and her husband, cricketer Bill Lawton, died from Alzheimer's in 2008.
She was also afflicted by short-term memory loss that affected her ability to learn lines and led to her retirement in 2006.

Lionel Blair was among those paying tribute to the actress on Twitter.

"So very sad to hear of the passing of my good friend Dora Bryan," he wrote. "She was wonderful."

Ray Lonnen, British actor in spy show 'Sandbaggers,' dies at 74

Another of my all time favourite actors, Ray Lonnen, died. Did the BBC or ITV report on this? No. Sandbaggers and, of course, Harry's Game -classics.

The Stage does a very nice tribute:


Obituary: Ray Lonnen

A well-known face in television drama, Ray Lonnen is best remembered for the Cold War spy drama The Sandbaggers (1978-80), the first of the genre that was more concerned with political intrigue than adventure, and the IRA thriller Harry’s Game (1982), in which he played an agent sent to Belfast to find a gunman who assassinated a British cabinet minister.

Just as importantly, in a profession occasionally noted for its inflated egos, Lonnen was much admired for the help he gave to young actors. He also assisted the makers of the James Bond and Indiana Jones movies by standing in for the lead characters in screen tests for would-be leading ladies. After Kim Basinger had been cast opposite Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again (1983), she wrote to Lonnen to thank him for supporting her.

On stage, he played opposite Maureen Lipman in the first London revival of Bernstein’s Wonderful Town at the Queen’s in 1986.

He trained as an actor in Hampshire and, after his professional stage debut in 1959, he was hardly ever out of work. In 1966, he was seen in The Power Game, the boardroom sequel of the shopfloor aircraft factory series The Plane Makers, made for ITV.

Between 1967 and 1969, Lonnen played a cockney trader in a now largely forgotten ATV soap opera, Market in Honey Lane. Playing an officer on-board a battle cruiser, he appeared in the Doctor Who story Frontier in Space (1973). He was more widely seen as Detective Sergeant (later Detective Inspector) Moffat between 1972 and 1977 in the police series Z-Cars.

The final episode of the third series of The Sandbaggers ended in a cliffhanger with Lonnen’s character, Willie Caine, being shot. The idea was that he would return at the start of the fourth series, directing operations from a wheelchair. But the writer, the former naval officer Ian Mackintosh, went missing when his plane disappeared over Alaska. The series was discontinued.

There were, though, many television appearances to come for Lonnen: Hammer House of Horrors (1980); Tales of the Unexpected (1983); Lovejoy (1986) and Heartbeat (1993). He also told stories on Jackanory (1970) and provided voices for the animated children’s series Budgie the Little Helicopter (1994-96).
After Wonderful Town, Lonnen’s stage appearances included the Jule Styne/Betty Comden/Adolph Green musical Bells are Ringing (1987-88), at Greenwich Theatre; the Alan Bleasdale comedy Having a Ball (1990) at the Comedy; and Misfits (1996), a play at the Manchester Royal Exchange based on the making of the 1956 film of the same name starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift (Lonnen played Gable).

 This from Newsday.com of all places (in the USA!):
Willie Caine, played by Ray Lonnen, and Neil
Willie Caine, played by Ray Lonnen, and Neil Burnside, played by Roy Marsden, on the TV spy show "The Sandbaggers." Lonnen died July 11 at 74. (Credit: handout)

Ray Lonnen, a British actor who played a spy in "The Sandbaggers," a TV series that made the bureaucratic battles of espionage as gripping as 007-style cloak and dagger, died July 11 at his home in London. He was 74.

The cause was cancer, said his wife, actress and writer Tara Ward.

"The best spy series in television history," critic Terrence Rafferty wrote in The New York Times in 2003. In a genre often pulsing with gadgetry and action, he singled out "The Sandbaggers" for its riveting look at complex office mind games and its stellar performances.

A tautly written 50-minute show, "The Sandbaggers" first aired on the British network ITV from 1978 to 1980, and reviewers noted that the program approached the caliber and nuance of a John le Carré miniseries, despite its low-budget production values.

"It was a great show about the process of doing these sorts of black ops and the process of bureaucratic infighting, which was almost comic in its elaborateness," Rafferty said in an interview.

He added that its vicious and conniving anti-hero, Neil Burnside, a director of operations for British intelligence played by Roy Marsden, was unusually risky for audiences not accustomed to deeply flawed main characters such as the TV Mafioso Tony Soprano. Lonnen portrayed Burnside's loyal and best agent, Willie Caine.

"Ray Lonnen played a really important character in the show, because he was the only person for an ordinary viewer to identify with," Rafferty said. "He was clearly a working-class type, the guy really doing the dirty work. Willie had a few more moral qualms than Burnside. Willie was a foil to a forbidding character who was very remote, very repressed, very buttoned up and hugely ruthless."

A former paratrooper who does not like guns, Caine is sent on dangerous, sometimes dangerously compromised missions to rescue agents in the field, make contact with defectors and to seduce and kill when necessary.

Only 20 episodes were made before series creator Ian Mackintosh disappeared while flying in a small plane off the Alaskan coast in July 1979. No wreckage was ever found, and he was presumed dead.

Mackintosh was a former British naval officer who was coy about his involvement in covert operations. According to the book "The Life and Mysterious Death of Ian Mackintosh," Lonnen said he repeatedly pressed Mackintosh to reveal whether he had ever been a spy by asking about plot twists on the show: "Did that happen Ian?" and "Would that have happened, Ian?"

"The replies were usually something along the lines of 'It could have' or 'It might have,' " Mr. Lonnen said. "It was always difficult to get anything out of him." "The Sandbaggers" did not attract a large audience. Its own fan page calls it "the best damned television show you never saw." But it grew a devoted following --
Particularly among prominent critics such as Marvin Kitman at Newsday -- as the series was rebroadcast on American public television and as Marsden went on to greater fame on TV playing P.D. James's poetry-writing Scotland Yard sleuth Adam Dalgliesh.Lonnen's first marriage, to actress Lynn Dalby, ended in divorce.

Besides his wife of 20 years, survivors include three children from previous relationships and two sisters.

Tempus fugit

Monday, 21 July 2014

Le Transperceneige - L’Intégrale(Collection) and CBO Postings

On Sunday, 25th August, 2013 I published a review of Casterman BD: Le Transperceneige - L’Intégrale(Collection).

It's in French and has some beautiful black and white artwork.  So, why am I mentioning this?  Well, since that review was published it has only been out of the top ten CBO posts once. If you missed that review you can find it here:


A pity Casterman decided to stop sending review books because I know quite a few sales resulted from reviews here and at the old CBO site.

The other thing I notice is that the review of the Kick Ass 2 dvd still gets a good few hits while the reviews of  various Titan Book titles are always in the top ten -ditto Cinebook The 9th Art.

I think it's because there are almost 2000 postings on CBO and so newcomers look around to see what's been covered -I'm glad to say my postings on German comics are topped only by my postings on old UK comics and characters.  I ought to point out that if you want more UK comic stuff you need to check out the Crivens! blog -on the blog list. 

So, yes, things tick along but what worries me is that days that I do not post the hits counter climbs!

I Am Ashamed. Deeply Ashamed....

The post with the most hits yesterday and today were those brief lines in which I stated I had torn the ass out of another pair of pajama bottoms.

At least no one has requested photographs!