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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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Sunday, 3 May 2015

One Last Post And I'm Gone!

Ahhh. I do wish people would read posts before having as arse burger.

I did not ever -ever- state or hint that women should not be reading comics.  I encouraged my young niece to read comics when she was a tot so get it straight.  Read what is written.

If -if- any of the women currently jump onto the comic scene become real comickers then great.  The more the merrier and the same applies to all those men who are in the same category.

Mass buying huge stacks of comics then saying "I have no idea what this is -is it any good -leave a comment!" shows what you are.

Ebay Comic Traders -Time To Name and Shame The Bad Ones ...

....In My Case to Around 2-4000 readers a day!

I made some Ebay purchases from a dealer called  hp.*saucy and it was a nightmare any comic fan/collector will understand.

"I received Avengers 400 yesterday, bent double. Bagged but no backing board. The outer packaging (I should NOT call it "packaging") was one side a piece of breakfast cereal box card and the other a flimsy piece of light corrugated card -held together by brown tape. I thought a one off and today I get Young All Stars in the SAME 'packaging' -again bent and twisted.  This is NOT how you package comics -cheap but sturdy packaging is available. ."

The response to this?

"Sorry to hear that the packages sent to you were damaged in the post. I consider cardboard backing the best way to protect comics, but our opinions clearly differ. I apologise if the packaging was inadequate on these occasions. The damage you describe does sound as if excessive force had been applied.
Kind regards,
Nick."

So....now if I try to order something I get a message that I do not meet the sellers "criteria" for customers.  Ask why...nothing.

Seriously, you DO NOT take someone's money for a flimsy comic and send it with cereal box cardboard and then hissy fit because you get a complaint.

Destination Venus is another Ebay dealer I've bought from. Even a single comic gets a sturdy cardboard Comic Book Flash Mailer packaging.  THAT is how you send a comic -not in a brown A4 envelope, some birthday wrapping paper or worse.  I mean one of these:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/91DKw5AJ70L._SX450_.jpg

Silver Acre comics.  Well, I kept getting the same message that I never met their criteria. No email response so I asked Ebay what was going on?  They told me it was the trader's doing.  I contacted the trader -yeah.  They'd sell to me. Off Ebay.  And they did.  Now? Still getting the same messages and they do not reply.

This tells me that (1) they are making so much money that they can afford to say "f you!" to comic buyers. (2) they really do not give a crap about the comics or how you get them so long as they get the money.  (3)  Package/comics damaged?  Complain -you get banned.

I now see WHY old pro collectors video record packages they receive and package openings.  I'm doing the same from now on.  AND I am naming and shaming the bad boys from now on...and I will NOT buy from Newcadia comics in the US again, either.  I don't even want to go into that!

You show the customer -me- some respect and the customer will keep giving you business.  Bad traders need to be named and I've given them all a chance to sort things out or respond.  If you have a blog and you get the same crap -name and shame don't just sit there taking it. It is YOUR money.

Here is something I posted before (no responses to it on the page) but the poster nails it http://www.ebay.co.uk/gds/The-proper-way-to-ship-comic-books-my-suggestion-/10000000002065018/g.html:


The Challenge:

I am often disappointed when I win an auction for a near-mint comic, wait in anticipation and when the package arrives, I find the comic is damaged.  It is not that I was sent a poor quality book, but that the item was damaged during the shipping process.  The situation is even worse when purchasing a CGC graded item.  Recently, I purchased a CGC graded copy of Amazing Spiderman 129.  The item arrived packaged in a "bubble-pack envelope".  As soon as I saw the envelope I said to myself "I am exhausted with receiving expensive items so carelessly packaged". Of course the item was damaged, cracked in several places.  The common response to a damaged item claim from a seller is "good thing you got the insurance" or "I will send a refund after you return the item .. ps. I do not refund shipping charges".  Who needs the hassle? Who needs the time and money that is wasted chasing damaged item claims?

Listen, I know we all look for ways to cut cost but some corners should not be cut.  Here are some "common sense" rules that should always be followed when considering the shipping of a graded or ungraded item. 

1.  Shipping Cost is not overhead !  The buyer pays the shipping ! The cost of shipping (if you calculated correctly) does not come out of your pocket.

2. Your postal provider does not care about your package any more than you do.  A "FRAGILE" stamp on a flimsy package does not cause a carrier to handle your package with acutal care.  And what happens when your package is in the cargo hold of a plane with a ton of other packages on top of it? Where is the care in handling then?

3.  The Post Office gives away "FREE" boxes in an effort to expedite your shipping needs.  So the "I couldn't find a box" excuse no longer applies.

4.  The money spent in ensuring a safe delivery, pales in comparison to the money you lose when your customer returns a damaged item, along with NEGATIVE feedback. 

The Solution: 
As mentioned previously, the solution is an inexpensive product called "CARDBOARD".  It is simple and easy to use, plus you can get tons of it absolutely FREE !

Packaging an ungraded item enjoys the same procedure as packaging a graded (CGC/PGX) item.

1. Take a cardboard box (stiff, flat, thick) and cut two pieces to the exact dimensions of your "BAGGED AND BOARDED" comic book or GRADED ITEM.

2. Put the item(s) between two pieces of cardboard and tape securely into place. Use clear scotch-type tape, not DUCT tape as I recently encountered in a bubble packed item.  Items should not be allowed to slide around between cardboard pieces or damage could still occur to the corners of the item.

3. Place cardboard-secured item into the appropriate sized box with loosely balled-up newspaper as a buffer or insulation.  The item should "float" inside the box because of the newspaper you put into the bottom of the box and on every possible side of the item.

4.  Close the box and shake gently side to side, listening to hear if the item is sliding around inside box.  If it is, add more newspaper to the top or bottom, or side to side because movement equals damage.

5.  The newspaper is loosely balled-up because less paper is less weight. On average three comics, packed in a PRIORITY MAIL box, should weigh 1 lb. 11 oz. or less and one CGC item should weigh the same.  The Post Office generally charges 4-7 dollars for Priority delivery (less than 2 lbs.) within the continental United States.

REMEMBER:
To pre-cut several pieces of card-board and to have a few boxes and newspaper on hand. This will save you time in the packing process. 

NEVER use BUBBLE-PACK envelopes for shipping comics!  They only protect against scratches not against impact damage which is the leading cause of damage to shipped items. Plus you will save money by using cardboard because you will never have to purchase another bubble-pack envelope.  You will also, save even more money by recycling your newspaper instead of buying bubble-wrap.

This is a cost effective option to securely ship graded and ungraded comics and to ensure a safe, undamaged delivery to your customer.  You will have peace-of-mind when shipping delicate and expensive items and your customers will return enthusiastic POSITIVE feedback for the care you have added in packaging their items. 

Thank you for reviewing this guide.

__________________________________________________________________________

Now, the UK Post Office does not give away free boxes but the principles are the same. 

"Free postage" on an item is absolute bollox.  You are giving away a comic and making a loss?

No. Your price includes the postage.  Just check Ebay and you'll see it everywhere. 

Or you get an item at £1.00 which is 6 times cheaper than anywhere else -bargain! Uh, no. Check postage of £6.75 which, for some of the items involved I can tell you it will NOT cost to post (especially in a cheap jiffy bag) -you are paying the FULL PRICE for the item.

There are so many horror stories out there and 99% of the time the traders are rude, even try to blame YOU for THEIR bad packaging...in the hope you'll say "screw you!" and just give in.

DON'T. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

I May Not Be Back For A Good While.

Completely washed out and exhausted so I may have been a bit snappy with some people of late.

I've written about comic book geek chic and how calling yourself a "nerd" is trendy -fashionable.  So, I have had three emails from companies addressing me as "Nerdblogger" to which my response WAS snappy and I pointed out I have read comics since I was about six years old and I'm now...58(?) so I was a comicker before their parents were probably born and I'm not jumping onto the comics bandwagon as a trendy.

I got one apology and an explanation that they throw the word around so much because they publish books that are quirky and nerdy.

I note a lot -a lot- more women are jumping onto this whole "nerdster" thing.  One in a blog stated that it was her way of trying to break into "pop culture and a media career". pfah! 

That is WHY I'll watch comicbookgirl19 vlogs because she has been into the whole thing before it became trendy.  You can check out her videos on You Tube -a link on the blog roll.

Now, I do apologise but THIS is the sort of thing I'm talking about and it is so OVER THE TOP it gave me a migraine. 

You see what I mean, right?  It's like an advert for "Geek Gear".

Women into comics, my mother used to read through them, I have never seen a problem with.  Women have always read comics but it is that Big Bang Theory syndrome AGAIN: "Girls do not go into comic shops!"  And if they do, even if they are "not pretty" (WTF???) they get stared at.  I actually pointed out to several regulars in the comic shops I used to go into (I've been dry three years now) that it was good to see women not just going for Manga books.  "What women?" I was asked.  "I've not seen any in here" I'm told. The last person said that I pointed to a group of three women buying comics and he seemed taken aback!

And they are women NOT "girls".  Sorry, I came from the time when women were fighting for equal rights and to not be called "girls" (basic biology -sorry, boys, hit puberty and you are an adult).

I know, I'm writing this and no one cares.  I'm sure women read this blog but why back the old man up, right?

I am a comicker.  I am NOT a "geek" or "nerd" -my name is on University and wildlife conference technical papers FFS.

I may not be back for a looooooooooooooong time.

Friday, 1 May 2015

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

 

The League of Regrettable Superheroes

 
For every superhero hitting the big time with a blockbuster movie, there are countless failures, also-rans, and D-listers. The League of Regrettable Superheroes affectionately presents one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print—from Atoman to Zippo—complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary.

Drawing on the entire history of the medium, the book celebrates characters that haven’t seen the light of day in decades, like Natureboy, Dr. Hormone, Thunder Bunny, and more. It’s a must-read for comics fans of all ages!

Jon Morris is a cartoonist and graphic designer. Since the late 1990s, he’s operated the blog Gone & Forgotten, an irreverent look at the weirdest and most unfortunate stories and characters comic books have offered. In 2001, he was invited to participate in a superheroes-themed episode of the public radio program This American Life, a popular and frequently rebroadcast episode.
  • Available as an ebook
    E-Book ISBN: 
    978-1-59474-783-0
  • ISBN: 
    978-1-59474-763-2
  • Book Dimensions: 
    7 x 9
  • Page Count: 
    256
  • Release Date: 
    June 2, 2015


Prague Euro Comics Book Expo for 1992

It was 1991.  I was contacted about comics and the Prague Euro Comics Book Expo for 1992.  Could I help out?

Well, heck yes.  Especially as I was promised space to do my own thing at the Expo.  You'll note the Expo was organised by people based in London.  Never ever got a name.

So I went into automatic -publicising, putting material together.  Got the below event promo flyer and a thank you (of sorts).  Then silence.

Phone calls went to answer phone.  No return calls.  Faxes -no responses.  Letters -no replies.

Did it actually go ahead?  No idea.

Work in comics this sort of thing is quite common.

Going over the notes with this recent "find" cemented what I proposed the other day.  All these comic events get all the publicity and promise this and that but has one ever followed up with a post event PR/photos or even a "thanks for the promotion work"?

No. Only photos are if I went to an event and took them.

So, no, without a written and signed promise to send post event PRs, photos or event booklets/catalogues (I'm a comic historian after all) NO MORE EVENT PUBLICITY.

Since the 1980s I have actually gotten NOTHING out of promoting events (with Mike Allwood's Bristol Expo I did get a free press pass) but put in work that amounts to many hours -all unpaid and 99.9% of the time not even a "thank you".

Don't take me for a dool any more.  Pretend you didn't know?  Your emails get marked as spam.

"Take advantage of Terry" is over.




The Return Of The Crime Syndicate...Bet They Get Killed (again)

 


Wait.

W....T....F???????

CONVERGENCE: CRIME SYNDICATE #1  

"STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! The Crime Syndicate’s absolute control over their city of a bygone era comes crashing down when Superwoman is on death row while the rest of the team fights the One Million Universe’s Batman and Superman!"

"Heroes" -they are villains -that's why the Justice Society and Justice League fought them!  One Million's Batman and Superman were not in Crisis On Infinite Earths....am I on a fecking parallel Earth ??

And how many times can you kill and bring back this group of villains??????

Apparently forever.

Writer  Brian Buccellato  Artist  Phil Winslade (who is a feckin' good artist).

You can see larger scans over at Comicsvine: http://www.comicvine.com/articles/exclusive-preview-convergence-crime-syndicate-1/1100-152068/





 


Back to the Future: Secret Wars 2099

printSizeImage
"Back To The Future"...man, that would make a great movie title!

Now I thought the whole Marvel 2099 was not that well thought of? hmm.  How can you bring it back then and get people to buy copies?

No idea -wait!   A CROSS-OVER!!

Ahem.  From Marvel.com:

Not even the tomorrow of the Marvel Universe will be safe when Secret Wars hits.

When SPIDER-MAN 2099 gives way to SECRET WARS 2099 this May, the future we've known gets rocked as one of the Warzones! While some familiar faces remain, others get a drastic makeover.
Before the upheaval, we've catalogued what we know about 2099 and its most prominent players to date, in anticipation of their world behind turned inside out...

 

Has CBO Had Its Day?


It is a serious question.  Looking at the stats I note that for three days CBO has failed to get above 700 views.

On the other hand the Google+ views of CBO are well over 1000-2000 per day -in March views stood at 1,236,739 and have risen by 151,900 to 1,388,639 today. So, direct views -people coming straight to CBO- are quite low.  

Interestingly, this does prove the point that CBO stats do not include those from Google+ or else we'd be looking at total views of 3, 280,523.

So has CBO had its day? Should I post exclusively to Google+?  Well, I'm not too concerned with stats or else I'd be screaming "3, 280,523 VIEWS!!!" every bloody day.  

But this does mean that with all the feeds taken from CBO by other sites and services then the post views are now over 6 million+ but the fact that it's just a string of numbers stops me getting excited.  A £ or $ for each view -now THAT would make me feel differently!

So, maybe you ought to re-think advertising on CBO because even on its dullest days (damn. I wrote too soon as stats for today are well over 1000 now!) you're book/product will be seen by more people than on other sites.

Hieronymous Van Helsong...that name WILL pop up again...it's in this post...

The very LAST of todays scans is an A3 water colour Ben Dilworth did of a certain character from the comic Oink!

Who? Hieronymous Van Helsong of course...dummy!!!