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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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Monday, 30 March 2015

Cardiff Independent Comic Expo


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Cardiff Expo is back!!

For one day only we will be celebrating and sharing our love of comics.

Our Expo is all about showcasing the very best in independent comics from South Wales and beyond, their creators and their talent.

Join us on Saturday, June 27th 2015, at Cardiff Masonic Hall to celebrate with us.

Tickets can be purchased using the button above, and the first 100 ticket buyers will receive a complimentary Anthology created exclusively for CICE by a collective of the best local independent comic creators.

Family friendly cosplay is welcomed :)


Please click the links above for news, guest and exhibitor lists and more including details of three expo exclusives!

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Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Phantom. The Ancient Alien Gods. 2000 AD and The Supernaturals

Hooper's Bumper Review Sunday is over.  Enjoy it?

It's odd but that comment years ago that I was spoilt comic-wise just might be true.  I was putting books away and then decided to sort the shelves out even more.  I picked out at least seven books I could not even remember having.  Then there were the books and comic albums I had forgotten about including The Phantom Comic Album #2 from World Distributors going back to January 1967...

Phantom Comic Album TPB #2-1ST

How can you not love that cover?!

Or how about from 1978 (I think)  The Gods From outer Space: Revolt Of The Titans? Published by Magnet Books.  I think there were only four (I have just the one now that I inherited from my late research colleague Franklyn A. Davin-Wilson after his death in 1983).  There was 1. Descent in the Andes  2. Atlantis, Men and Monsters, 3.  The War of the Chariots and, 4. Revolt of the Titans.
  
http://www.solutionsblog.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/510HOk7WUiL._SL500_.jpg

Man, the memories!

Then I found the 1994 2000 AD Yearbook which, I think, was the one Managing Editor at Fleetway, Gil Page gave me.  Had a lovely fold out cover.  A very nicely designed cover.


Ahh, I got it.  Fleetway had, circa 1987, a comic based on the rather un-sensational Tonka Toy line The Supernaturals -preview comic cover below....
 

When Fleetway was thinking about (for the second time) what was supposed to be successor to that title, The Paranormals (the intro story -24pp?- was printed for the first time in Tales Of Terror 3 from Black Tower),  I had sent a European comic -I think it was a Small Press one- where they had used a fold out cover and I suggested that it might be a good idea.  On a later visit to Fleetway Gil handed me this beauty.

That 1994 Year Book really had a very cool designed cover and art.

After finding these and others I sat down to watch Finding Bigfoot....and fell asleep.  I'm guessing they never did find it.

Meh.  That's life.

Cinebook The 9th Art: Largo Winch 15- Crossing Paths

 
Largo Winch - Crossing Paths

Authors: Francq & Van Hamme
Age: 15 years and up
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182393
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
Publication: March 2015

Largo is in London for a board meeting with his group’s various CEOs. At the same time, he’s negotiating with a French aeronautics firm for a deal based upon a ground breaking new technology.

But the British capital seems to be the centre of a curious convergence: people with no apparent links to each other gravitate towards Largo and his inner circle. Old lovers, new flames, intelligence agencies, terrorists...

Will the billionaire recognise his true allies amidst such a tangled web?

Alright, I've written it and said it so often you must be sick of it by now but these covers are really great to just sit and look at.  They say "simple is best" and this is a no-nonsense cover...but a great piece of artwork no less.

And the story?  A few times I smirked but I really enjoyed the character interactions and if I need to recommend Largo Winch to you I'm guessing you've never read it?  Like XIII this series is never short of double-crossing and intrigue and, as always, that final page makes you ask "What next?" 

Colour work by Franq and Yoann Guillo is just...."luscious" and the printers Cinebook uses produce the art and colours so clearly...look at that street scene in the first page.

Love it.

Titan Books: Michael Moorcock’s Elric Vol. 2 – Stormbringer

 
 Writers Jean-Luc Cano and   Julien Blondel
Artists  Didier Poli, Jean Bastide, Julien Telo, Robin Recht, Scarlett Smulkowski
Series: Elric
64pp
Genres  Action/Adventure/ Fantasy
Format A4 Hardcover
full colour
ISBN 9781782761259
UK £10.99   USA  $14.99   Can $16.95
On sale; 31st March  


Yyrkoon fled Melniboné with Elric’s beloved Cymoril. Left behind, heartbroken and humiliated, the albino emperor pursues them with the help of Straasha, King of the Sea Elementals.

Finding that Yyrkoon is hiding in the ruins of Dhoz Kham, in the heart of the Young Kingdoms, Elric prepares to challenge his treacherous cousin and rescue Cymoril. But little does he know that this quest will forever change his destiny, as he finds the legendary cursed sword Stormbringer…

Continuing the stunning new comic adaptation of the classic Elric of Melniboné novels by Michael Moorcock! (see review of Elric Of Melnibone for link to The Ruby Throne)

Whoa.  This is pretty feckin' grim.  Great atmospheric artwork and colouring that suits the story.  Never having read Moorcock's Elric books I have no idea how close these adaptions are.  But if they are accurate -and if they are approved by Moorcock I'm guessing they must be- then that fluffy idea I had in my head for a very long time of "just another Elf story" was...not accurate.

The colour work is by Recht, Bastide and Smulkowski and as I wrote -it adds to the atmosphere.  But so many artists on one book!

I think that these two books and the Thomas, Russell and Gilbert volume compliment each other in a way.

They are certainly educating me!

Recommended.

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Cinebook The 9th Art: XIII -XIII - The Bait

 
 XIII - The Bait
Authors: Yves Sente & Youri Jigounov
Age: 15 years and up
A4 Comic Album
Size: 18.4 x 25.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
ISBN: 9781849182386
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
Publication: February 2015


XIII is hiding in France at the Préseaus, after a past more nebulous he even believed possible caught up to him again. But the organisation that’s after him hasn’t said its last word, and has considerable means at its disposal.

The organisation lures Jones, on duty in Afghanistan, into a terrible ambush, for the sole purpose of serving as bait for the amnesiac – who immediately rushes to her rescue. Meanwhile, Betty Barnowsky-Préseau is off to Maine to dig into XIII’s past…

And look at that cover.  That is an incredible piece of artwork.  We don't see covers like this with British comics...oh. That's right, we DO NOT have British comics anymore.  Not unless you count the premier publisher of comics in the UK as Cinebook.  And I do.  It's a great cover.

And the intrigue and action continues in the tradition of Vance and Van Hamme and it is a cracking read and the art....well, I wish I could draw like this!  The colour work of  Berengere Marquebreucq adds to the overall look and I hate to keep writing nice things but Cadic's Cinebook The 9th Art makes me:  this is one of the book series that mark the company as the best.

Cinebook The 9th Art: Buck Danny 5 -Thunder over the Cordillera

 
Buck Danny 5:Thunder over the Cordillera
Authors: Francis Bergèse
Age: 10 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages:  48 colour pages
Publication: January 2015
ISBN: 9781849182379
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
 
 
Managua is on the verge of civil war. Arrested by order of President Sanchez, Buck and his friends have managed to convince the pilots of the Managuean Air Force that their nation’s leader is in the pockets of drug cartels.

With the assistance of the unit they’d come to train, Buck escaped to request assistance from US authorities. Meanwhile, Sonny and Tumb will have to help their rebel allies fight back loyalist forces – and Lady X’s mercenaries…

If things looked a little grim in part one of this story then...."things hot up" even more in this continuation.   Drug cartels, intrigue and some good old aerial action that might not have been out of place in a British weekly war comic like Battle.

Buck Danny is legendary -hopefully these books will see his legend grows to include the UK!

You can read my review of part 1 -"No Fly Zone" here:  http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/cinebook-9th-art-buck-danny-4-no-fly.html
 
 

CBO Recommendation of the Week: Titan Books -Elric Of Melnibone vol. 1

 http://www.nerdly.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Moorcock-Library-Vol1.jpg

Writer  Roy ThomasArtists  Michael T. Gilbert   P. Craig Russell 
Series: The Michael Moorcock Library
US Trade format
Hardback
176 full colour pages
ISBN 9781782762881
Mature readers
 £18.99 UK   $22.99 US  $25.99 Can


Collecting the first volume of the classic adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s bestselling fantasy saga, Elric of Melniboné marks the perfect introduction to the series’ iconic antihero, his fabled blade, Stormbringer, and his harrowing adventures across the Dragon Isle. 

Adapted by former Marvel Comics editor, Roy Thomas, and beautifully rendered by longtime comics illustrator, Michael T. Gilbert, and the multiple Harvey and Eisner award-winning P. Craig Russell, this definitive collection marks an essential read for all fans of sword and sorcery and brings the Moorcock’s epic tales to life with luxuriant imagination.

If you never got to see the PC (Pacific Comics) issues then you are in for a treat here.  Those PC issues are near impossible to find and it isn't surprising.

I opened up this book, recalling the reproduction of art in the comics, and I sat back.  Yes, production in printing is...well, decades ahead of what it was but the colours and artwork are so crisp.  And the artwork really is something beautiful from two Masters of the form!

Roy Thomas, of course, knows what he is doing as an adapter of fantasy books (Conan for one) and scripter  so no surprise that this is a very good read.  

I am not majorly into fantasy but a very good comic book is a very good comic book and if you are into comics in general, but fantasy specifically, then I highly recommend this book -and more are to follow!

My review of the previous Titan book Elric -The Ruby Throne can be found here:


 
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Cinebook The 9th Art: Lucky Luke 51 -The Painter

 
Authors: Bob de Groot & Morris
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
A4 Comic album format (pbk)

ISBN: 9781849182416
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: February 2015

Among the cultural figures of the Old West, Frederick Remington stands head and shoulders above the rest – literally. A good-natured ogre by size and appetite, the artist portrays the West with such skill that the American government entrusts his safety to Lucky Luke.

Looking after such a national treasure is not usually an easy task, but Luke will soon discover that Remington hardly needs protecting – except maybe from his own excessive impulses...

Frederic Remington was, of course, a real person and painted and sculted.  His paintings of the old West are incredible -"Buffalo Hunter Spitting A Bullet into A Gun" (1892?) is a great example.  Oddly, when I saw his portrayal here the first thing I thought was "He looks a bit like actor Wilfred Brimley"...but no. Remington looked much more like this LL version...
 

See? Ya gets an educashun here!

The cover looks good and, naturally, again, so does the interior art.  It is so crisp and clean.  The quality surprises me at times.  But I remember the old printing days....sniff..sniff...I have dust in my eyes.

But Lucky Luke and his mad-cap Wild West live up to their usual standard and Cinebook should be proud to have published 51 volumes so far and more to come in 2015!!

Cinebook The 9th Art: Blake & Mortimer v. 20 - The Septimus Wave

 
Author: Jean Dufaux, Antoine Aubin and Etienne Schréder
Age: 10 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 72 colour pages
A4 Comic Album

ISBN: 9781849182423
Price: £8.99 inc. VAT

Publication: February 2015


It’s been several months since the events of The Yellow M, but the evil of Professor Septimus still echoes around London.  Important figures of the capital’s jet set come together around the questionable values the mad scientist defended. 

Olrik is forced to resort to opium in order to forget he was guinea pig. As for Mortimer, he too is trying, albeit for more humanist reasons, to revive certain aspects of Septimus’s work – to Blake’s extreme concern…

Wow. Just look at that cover.  A poster if ever there was one -so why isn't it?  Hmm?

There isn't much I can tell you about this book that you won't have read in the blurb above.  The art, of course, is superb and the story -can I say "Wow" twice in a review.  This is seriously like reading a comic version of a major Hollywood science fiction thriller.  A couple of times I had to go back to look at pages again.

This is why Cinebook The 9th Art are the best UK comics publisher.  It is a must read!

Mr India? The Indian Superman?

I keep hearing the comic 'experts' ("X" = The Unknown and "spurt" is a drip under pressure) mention that there was an India made Superman film in the late 1970s or early 1980s and that trying to find info on these -let alone images- has proved impossible.

So, allow me educate you. The Indian Superman was made in 1987 and has a release date of 31st December,  and starred Urmila Bhatt, Birbal, Dharmendra, Puneet Issar.  The movies credit Siegel and Shuster as creators of the character.


Before you ask, as IPC and Fleetway top management told me over and over "India doesn't recognise copyright"  -very long story but let's not go there!

Looking around I have just found ComicAttack.net which refers to the movie and here's a link: http://comicattack.net/2012/12/mmsupermanindia87/

Here are some stills from my now defunct India Comics file.





The other character that the 'experts' seem to have trouble locating information on is Mr India.  Well, there was a movie and picture comic based on that.  However, years before Tulisa Comics had a Mr India comic and I think somehow he channelled spirits (of India?).

My notes are scribbled and I can't read them all.  I do, however, have some scanned images which I offer here for your delectation and...fun!




And the movie?  In it the character seems to be an ordinary heroic man looking after break-dancing orphans.....yes....anyway, he can turn invisible.  So that does not look like a comic adapted into a movie (I've only seen a couple of scenes not the complete movie).

Mind you, the young lady on the dvd cover looks very nice...sigh. Back to drawing comics!





Comics...it's a funny old business.